Although I comprehend the city’s settlement of a lawsuit filed by Bay Area Legal Aid in which plaintiffs claimed the Antioch Police Department unlawfully discriminated against black tenants in Section 8 housing, I resent the fact that they received one dime, although thankfully the city’s liability insurance covered all but a $50,000 deductible. (Let’s just hope the premiums don’t go up.)
Here’s the facts behind the baseless allegations, one case which Antioch won outright and one which was dropped by plaintiffs when they realized they were going to lose.
During the period when the lawsuit was filed, the City of Antioch had a greater portion of Section 8 tenants than warranted and there were some bad apples in the bunch. When neighbors called the Police Department to complain that there were nuisance, criminal or drug activities occurring at specific residences, the department’s CAT (Community Action Team) officers responded to the complaints.
According to former Police Chief Jim Hyde, only 114 of Antioch’s 1,496 Section 8 homes and apartments had been contacted by CAT as of June 2007, which was only 7.6% of the total Section 8 households, proving race was not the factor in their response; rather the specific complaint was.
Ultimately, a subsequent audit of the County Housing Authority by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department caused the county Board of Supervisors to acknowledge problems within the agency and replace the Housing Authority Executive Director. The new director made a decision to require Section 8 applicants to undergo thorough scrutiny and the sheriff’s department to conduct full criminal background checks.
On another topic, a legal notice ran in the October 27th Contra Costa Times stating that funds which have been in the possession of the City of Antioch and unclaimed for at least 2 years will become the property of the City on November 17, 2011. Claims may be submitted to the City by contacting Bernie Abejuela, Accountant I for the City at 779-6175.
I, of course, scanned the list and noted that the city was holding some funds from Allied Waste Services, Allied Waste Services Inc., Antioch Sworn Mgmt. Association, California Tactical Dispatcher Assoc, Contra Costa County Office of the Clerk, Dept. of Fish and Game and World Savings and Loan-REO and World Savings/Wachovia. Frankly, it’s hard to comprehend that the City couldn’t find a way to return their funds!