How City Hall Resegregated Dallas

The city was becoming less divided. Then corruption stepped in.

Sadly, City Hall policies identified by HUD in its investigation amounted to a form of negative social engineering that halted and even reversed the previous trend. Using statistical concepts generally accepted in his field, Beveridge showed that segregation trends shifted and grew steadily worse from 2000 to 2010. That's the same period when neighborhood leaders in southern Dallas sensed an ominous change in the wind, when the city report showed a dramatic altering of the city's policies for locating low-income housing, and when Don Hill's personal trajectory changed from future mayor to federal inmate.

The HUD report is only the first salvo in a federal action of a type that has already achieved results elsewhere that were either dramatic or devastating, depending on one's view. In 2009, Westchester County, New York, with a population of about a million, signed a deal with HUD to get out of a similar complaint and paid HUD $62.5 million as restitution for federal money that HUD said Westchester had deliberately misspent. But since then Westchester has held new local elections. New officeholders who ran for office against the HUD settlement have dragged their feet on aspects of the settlement. Now HUD is in the process of cutting off all of Westchester's federal housing aid, a blow that would be devastating here.

The HUD action accusing Dallas of segregation, like its action against Westchester, is an administrative action, not a lawsuit. HUD is saying we took their money and misspent it and here's what we have to do to make them whole. Dallas can appeal the original finding up the chain at HUD. The Westchester case was a little different. They started out in court, where a federal judge whupped them worse than HUD would have.

Daniel Fishel

The state of Texas may have had the Westchester debacle in its rear-view mirror when two nonprofits brought a similar complaint in the wake of hurricanes Ike and Dolly in 2008, accusing Texas of spending federal housing relief money in ways that increased segregation. Texas settled relatively quickly in 2010, agreeing to spend $1.7 billion on housing and other infrastructure to reduce segregation and improve conditions for the poor.

It's clear from comments on the Observer news blog last week that people here have very mixed feelings about the role of government in combating segregation. A number of commenters offered thoughtful remarks about the desire of people to live where they want to live and the natural tendency of people to clump by social and economic affinity.

It's easy to dismiss those arguments as echoes of the same things people said to justify Jim Crow back in the day. But this is not that day. We are not supposed to be in a black and white newsreel from the 1950s.

America has changed for the better. A sentiment expressed by some commenters was that if people in this day and age are less racist than people used to be, then they ought to be able to make housing choices without being accused of racism.

The two most important points to recall in all of this are: 1) the evidence in the Beveridge report that Dallas was trending toward less segregation before City Hall intervened with new social engineering policies in 2000, and 2) those social engineering policies were deliberate, strategic and their effect well known.

We have a right as citizens to say we weren't headed in this direction when things were left to happen organically. But we have a stern obligation to identify the policies and the people responsible for turning that trend.

If you think about it, the one thing almost everybody in the city ought to be able to agree on right now is that nobody wants to be in this picture. We could probably stay up all night long and the next day, too, debating art criticism about the picture, whether the light is right and so on. But mainly, who wants to be in it? Why are we? And how fast can we get out of it?

« Previous Page
My Voice Nation Help

Copied from the DMN article: 

"As part of its investigation, HUD explored other recent downtown developments, including the Lone Star Gas Lofts project. The first phase of that project converted offices at St. Paul and Jackson streets into 107 rental units for low- and moderate-income residents.

The net result was a concentration of affordable units in one building, HUD said.

By allowing that, the city “subjected persons to segregation, restricted access to housing choice, and denied persons the opportunity to participate in a program because of race, national origin and disability,” the HUD letter said.

Ted Hamilton, one of the Lone Star developers, said his company never intended to segregate lower-income residents from those who pay market value. Another 63 affordable units will be scattered over two residential buildings as part of the second phase of that development, he said. The complex also will include shared common areas and amenities for all complex residents."

I am hearing that folks are already circling the wagon on this project. Owners/developers/City, be prepared for what is coming. 


OK, we now know the dirty deeds! 

So lets get with it: who is to blame for this? 

So who was in power in 2000, when these discriminatory practices were implemented? 

Who was Mayor? Who were the City Council Members? Who was heading Housing? Who heads Economic Development? Who was the City Manager? Who was the Assistant City Manager over both ED and Housing? 


I don't understand what the issue is!? Low income folks can't produce enough economic power to drive this city to keep its resources. I'm middle class and can't even afford to live downtown or uptown. But still, south of 30 is a dump. By its own class of citizens and lack of respect for the law is the sole reason it's a dumpy area. Keep them down there. Why make downtown look like south Dallas. Why!! So we can look like ny? I want want every hard working person wants. To have a high quality of life and not worry bout if my own property will be stolen. This is a dumb article.


@fedup1 And, who has been complicit in continuing the policy since that time?



Your answer is to "Keep them down on the farm"?

You borrow money from HUD, you have to play by their rules.

Whats hysterical about this whole thing is that the minority city council members who  are responsible for being the voice for the miniorities in Dallas sold them out lock stock and barrel to line their own pockets and still they keep getting elected.

How stupid is that?