Column: Affirmative action for ex-cons
The left has a big problem with private property. It hates property owners almost as much as it hates orthodox Christians. Owning a car or a store or an apartment building or even a home gives one a dangerous feeling of self–reliance and personal accomplishment. It encourages one to think of himself as an individual and not as a docile member of the collective.
Those are dangerous thoughts.
What you decide to do with your property may also run counter to what leftists feel is best for the “community.”
That’s why this Christmas in Venezuela the confiscatory socialist government is seizing 4 million toys. Government toy commissars raided three warehouses to prove Santa and his henchmen “can’t play with the rights of Venezuelans.” The Associated Express explains local “supply” committees will spread the spirit “fairly” to well–connected Chavistas and the deserving poor.
What, you thought a government insider was supposed to buy toys for his family? That would be like Joe Biden buying his own Amtrak ticket.
Here in the D.C. area the Marines handle toy distribution, so the D.C. city council has decided to spread the balm of social justice by in effect seizing rental property for “returning citizens.”
I know what you’re thinking. Why would “returning citizens” need help acclimating themselves to their hometown? Just how long was that vacation? Did the Airbnb tenants overstay their welcome? Are we talking about former Hillary campaign staffers returning from New York on a Bolt Bus?
Certainly not, “returning citizens” is another leftist euphemism to hide the truth. In flyover country the term for these individuals is ex–cons. And although Democrats can hardly wait for them to vote, many are somewhat wary of having them for neighbors.
According to the Washington Post, a startling one out of every 10 residents in the nation’s capitol are ex–cons. Currently there are 60,000 wandering the streets and another 8,000 are turned loose each year. And you thought going to a Trump rally was dangerous.
Council member Kenyan McDuffie, a member of the parasite class of political lawyers, has proposed a new ordinance that prohibits landlords from refusing to rent their private property to prospective tenants that were convicted more than seven years ago. And, if while showing the apartment, the landlord notices an ankle monitor they still can’t “summarily” reject ex–cons.
Even if the parole officer attends the interview, the landlord can only conduct a background investigation after issuing a “conditional” approval.
This would bring jurisprudence in the nation’s capitol into a situation where there is no statute of limitations on rape accusations, but a convicted rapist can attend your condo’s Solstice Party if it happened before 2010. The same goes for sex offenders, murderers, drug dealers, pedophiles and defeated Congressmen. During the vetting process arrests without conviction won’t count at all, regardless of how many witnesses disappeared before trial.
I predict it’s going to be very hard for people with homemade tattoos to find an apartment if this passes.
No landlord is going to take a chance on any renter that doesn’t look like Will Smith. That’s because after conditionally approving a tenant, subsequent rejection is never going to be for a prior conviction.
The landlord is always going to be characterized as a bigot.
Just as a council report implies the justice system is racist because “African Americans and Hispanics are arrested, convicted and incarcerated at disproportionate rates compared to their share of the U.S. population.”
When these same ex–cons are denied occupancy at “disproportionate rates” because the pool is composed of minorities, it will prove the landlord is a bigot.
Although I do see potential career path for Amanda Knox who could add a white, female applicant to the rejection pile.
Instead of violating private property rights to impose its version of “fairness,” why doesn’t the council just build more public housing? There are a couple of reasons. First the “returning citizens” just came from living in a dorm and second, neighborhoods in the affluent parts of town would fight to the death to avoid having a half–assed halfway house in the vicinity.
So the council adopts a “trickle in” program that salts ex–cons all around the city. It makes them harder to track and who cares what some landlord thinks?
The fact the new law opens landlords to negligence lawsuits from tenants who encountered a “returning resident” that wasn’t completely socialized is not the council’s worry.
The only plus side I can see is all the social justice warriors who were simply too busy with their career to camp out at DC Occupy can now participate in a social engineering project from the comfort of their own apartment.
Contact Michael Shannon, a commentator and public relations consultant, at firstname.lastname@example.org.