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When NIMBYs attack
August 21, 2006 3:04 AM   Subscribe

Residents try to ban child abuse victims from their neighborhood. A bunch of Taichung residents decide that their community is too nice for a home for victims of child abuse. From the article: "a committee formed by residents of the community passed a 'resolution' in June to prohibit the teenagers from moving in under the pretext of maintaining the "high quality" of the neighborhood."
posted by Poagao (99 comments total)

 
They basically want to open a boarding school for sex abuse victims in their neighborhood. i.e. "troubled youth" 15 of them in two houses.
posted by Paris Hilton at 3:16 AM on August 21, 2006


NIMBY in Taiwan.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:23 AM on August 21, 2006


This would never happen in the US.
posted by mischief at 3:31 AM on August 21, 2006


In the end, it's all about the US.
posted by Bugbread at 3:38 AM on August 21, 2006


The media here reported recently about a US couple adopting an 11-year-old girl from Taiwan. The contrast between the societies in these examples is pretty embarrassing for Taiwan, which wants to improve its international image.
posted by Poagao at 3:45 AM on August 21, 2006


It happened in Toronto. You can thank Councillor Rob Ford for sucessfully preventing a women's shelter from being established in my neighbourhood in northern Etobicoke, because it would be too dangerous. To paraphrase a local bigoted resident, abused women are all crack users and prostitutes. Rob Ford was standing there as the resident said this, and said nothing to contradict it, and lobbied against the shelter in City Hall.

There are some people who are simply so vile it makes me sick.
posted by jb at 4:02 AM on August 21, 2006


Out of sight, out of mind!

Charity begins *ANYWHERE ELSE*.
posted by asok at 4:11 AM on August 21, 2006


Just another example of why "neighborhood associations" and "homeowner's associations" need to be outright banned. I am continually amazed that the lunatic right, which will scream bloody murder when environmental regulations infringe on the right of a property owner to do anything he pleases, are not lobbying against such anti-property rights groups.

You buy a house and think "hmmm, I'd like to plant some flowers, or maybe a tree" and the local powermad assholes say "nope, you can't do that, it'd violate subparagraph 133.d.c.32.VII.32.a in the microscopic print where it says we essentially get to run your life!"

I have seen absolutely nothing good come from homeowners associations, they are just an excuse for wannabe autocrats to interfere in everyone else's lives.

Naturally, someone here will say "but you have a choice, you can chose not to buy a house in a place with a homeowner's association". Except that's not true. Virtually 100% of new construction has such groups and many old neighborhoods make abiding by the rules of the local busybodies a condition of buying a house. People looking for large (ie: expensive) homes for places like battered women's shelters, etc will in all likelihood discover that no large homes come unencumbered with such crap.

I'm not the kind of person to call for bans on much of anything, but one thing I will propose banning is this sort of petty tyranny.
posted by sotonohito at 4:15 AM on August 21, 2006


I have seen absolutely nothing good come from homeowners associations, they are just an excuse for wannabe autocrats to interfere in everyone else's lives.

It's all about property value, which is a big deal when everyone has all their investments tied up in their homes.
posted by delmoi at 4:36 AM on August 21, 2006


In other words, love of money, evil, etcetera.

Sickening.
posted by konolia at 4:55 AM on August 21, 2006


Just another example of why "neighborhood associations" and "homeowner's associations" need to be outright banned. I am continually amazed that the lunatic right, which will scream bloody murder when environmental regulations infringe on the right of a property owner to do anything he pleases, are not lobbying against such anti-property rights groups.

I don't think it has much to do with the right and more to do with batshitinsane pathological Martha Stewart wannabes who've convinced themselves that molding their surroundings in their own image as far as the eye can see is their God-given right. An acquaintance recently read to me a notice her landlord received from the local HOA regarding the state of her lawn, including the full text of the relevant regulation, and it was like reading dietary laws from Leviticus about them that walk on two legs and four legs and cloven and uncloven hoofs and chew the cud and don't chew the cud. It's gotten to the point where I feel like I've got more freedom renting, with a contract that spells out a limited set of rules which can't be changed, at least for a year, and where there are legal constraints on what those rules can be, than I would if I ever bought a place, which is just fucking pathetic. I love cities and never thought I'd want to live anywhere else, but lately the idea of saying "fuck it" and moving to the middle of nowhere, like maybe next door to the guy in rural Vermont we used to drive past when I was a kid with "MORE ZONING = LESS FREEDOM" spray-painted in 10-foot-high letters on the side of his dilapidated barn, is starting to sound like a good idea.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 4:56 AM on August 21, 2006


Look at you all, with your unkempt lawns and dilapidated shingles.

This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 5:00 AM on August 21, 2006


"It's all about property value, which is a big deal when everyone has all their investments tied up in their homes."

Well delmoi I am not obligated, nor is society, to ensure that people's investments work out ok. Under that logic we should ban electric lights because it hurts people who invested in kerosine lanterns, or ban cars because it hurts the buggy whip investors. For that matter we should ban all innovation and change because it might hurt someone who invested in an industry which would be harmed by the change.

The homeowners associations seem to represent yet another example of the "public risk, private profits" mentality. Investment involves risk, that's life. Maybe your neighbor will plant a tree, or (gasp) paint his house a color you disapprove of (horrors). That's part of life, either suck it up and deal with it, or start a blog and whine about it, or something. Just don't tell me that I can't paint my house, or put up a clothesline, or get solar panels, etc. I'm not obligated to protect your "investment". Don't like the risk? There's an easy solution: don't invest.

On preview: It looked like I was going off on you there. That wasn't my intent, I realize that you were simply pointing out an argument in favor of the homeowners tyranny groups. Rather than rewrite the whole thing to avoid the term "you" and similar stuff, I'll tack on this disclaimer. Naturally, if you *were* writing your actual opinion, then the somewhat aggressive tone of my response does apply ^_^

On further preview: I never thought I'd see me and konolia on the same side of any debate. Politics, strange bedfellows, etc. Wow.
posted by sotonohito at 5:01 AM on August 21, 2006


These kids probably are more inclined to criminal behavior than most kids who haven't been abused and abandoned to group homes.
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:27 AM on August 21, 2006


sotonohito, Why not start a homeowner's association review website? You might even try recommending a devaluation based upon past incidents. :)

You can also make their lives difficult by lobying to reduce the fees or organize votes aginst the troublemakers.. or just harass the troublemakers about stuff (racism, inequitable inforcment, unprovided services, etc.).
posted by jeffburdges at 5:31 AM on August 21, 2006


Homeowners associations that niggle about gardens and grass are bands of fuckheads, but I do appreciate zoning laws that protect me from some bastard (who doesn't even have to live there) opening a loud, smelly, sun-blocking factory abutting my back garden. Some control of who can do what and where they can do it is a good thing for everyone.

In this case, it seems, from a reading of the linked article, that such local objections can be overcome, and that not all Taiwanese are against having a couple houseloads of messed-up teenagers move in right next to their family homes. The article mentions plenty of support on the other side -- though maybe not much support from people who would actually have to live there.

Suppose it's true that the shelter would depress local housing prices. Maybe the government, especially if these shelters are a government project (are they?), should guarantee to make up the difference. Check the past and current prices, figure out a fair way to track those prices compared to houses in other neighborhoods, and then pay up (perhaps in tax adjustments?) if the shelters actually do end up costing neighbors lots of money. That would spread the cost of helping these kids over all citizens, not just the immediate neighbors of this project site. Everyone would be doing their part to help and not disproportionately burden a small part of society with the problem while the rest ignored it. Also, people who wanted to move away could do so with guaranteed prices, and people who support such shelters could show it by moving into that neighborhood.
posted by pracowity at 5:32 AM on August 21, 2006


Perhaps people ought to protest loudly and publicly about the arrival of CEOs and other TLA-titled people in their neighborhoods. After seeing what those people have been up to for the past 10 years, would you want them around your children?
posted by clevershark at 5:42 AM on August 21, 2006


Here a CA HOA trying to wash away homes of non-white residents. (see also pvtgov.org)
posted by jeffburdges at 5:47 AM on August 21, 2006


Well delmoi I am not obligated, nor is society, to ensure that people's investments work out ok.

Not to speak for Delmoi, but he was just stating a fact, not offering an opinion.

Indeed, neither you nor society are obligated to ensure investments (FDIC etc. notwithstanding), but it's asking too much of human nature to expect people to stand idly by in the face of threats real or perceived to those investments, not to say quality of life. Given a choice, would you cheerfully move into such a situation? Currently I rent, with a view to buying when the prices go down, and I can assure you that a group house of fifteen teenagers of any kind would absolutely affect my decision to buy.

(On preview- clevershark makes a good point, and one entering my current calculations. I want a good school system, but also do not want my darling daughter overly exposed to children of immense privilege. Hard to find a decent middle ground these days....)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:52 AM on August 21, 2006


jeffburdges: Because it is my contention that the problem is not that some homeowners associations are acting in bad faith, but rather that the entire system is the problem. It invites, and will inevitably produce, the sort of BS this post was about. The solution is not to police the organizations, rate them, or otherwise try to clean them up, but simply to eliminate them.

As for preventing factories, etc from building right next to residential neighborhoods, protests against such things can be undertaken without giving Mrs. Grundy license to tell you what you can plant in your garden. I'll also observe, as a bitter swipe, that as a poor person I'd be glad to see some of those HOA types get a factory next door to them for a change. There is a direct correlation between income and asthma and its mainly due to the fact that poor people live next to pollutants because they don't have any choice in the matter. Cry me a river if a factory wants to block your expensive, HOA encumbered, home's precious sunlight.
posted by sotonohito at 5:57 AM on August 21, 2006


Bugger, hit post instead of preview. I was going to remove most the the bitter class warfare rant out of that....

IndigoJones: All the bitterness of the above post, and the aggressiveness of my first post most definitely do apply to you. I'm *so* sorry that you rich bastards might be upset by people trying to make life better for sexually abused children. I repeat: I'm not obligated to do squat to ensure that the housing bubble continues, if you lose some money because someone "undesirable" bought a house in your neighborhood too bloody bad. Its called life, risk is involved, you aren't guaranteed a return on any investment. Don't like that? Don't invest.
posted by sotonohito at 6:04 AM on August 21, 2006


as a poor person I'd be glad to see some of those HOA types get a factory next door to them for a change.

As a fair person, I'd be glad to see that nobody gets a factory next door to them for a change. Protective zoning is good for everyone, and especially good for people who can't afford fancy lawyers. A factory doesn't have to be built in anyone's back yard.
posted by pracowity at 6:05 AM on August 21, 2006


thirteenkiller

Agreed.

Victims of child sexual abuse are far more inclined toward criminal activity (including vandalism) and sexual behavior (including, ironically, child sexual abuse) than normal teenagers.

The neighbors' opposition to the facility's arrival is a wholely reasonable sentiment; they have a right to organize in opposition to such a potentially damaging, and certainly devaluing arrival.
posted by The Confessor at 6:15 AM on August 21, 2006


If that's true pracowity, why do they keep building them in my backyard? Look at East St. Louis, one of the poorest parts of the USA. The factories are built, literally, right across the street from the housing. Of course, technically, the factories are in different cities so they don't pay any taxes to maintain services for the people who work in them, isn't that nice? The city of East St. Louis has attempted, several times, to force the factory owned "towns" to incorporate into ESL, but the (rich, white) legislature of Illinois keeps telling the (poor, black) people of ESL that they aren't allowed to do that. As a consiquence East St. Louis has some of the highest property taxes in the USA, and despite that can't afford to maintain its sewage systems, much less its roads.

I agree that no one *has* to have a factory in their backyard, but the reality is that a great many people do. I think the fastest way to bring about laws to make get factories out of everyone's backyard would be to build some factories in the backyards of people with disposable income since they seem to be the only ones who get listened to.
posted by sotonohito at 6:16 AM on August 21, 2006


The Confessor: Can we ban black folks for the same reason? Black teenagers are statistically much more likely to be convicted of crimes than white teenagers, so by your reasoning opposing the arrival of any black family is a wholly reasonable sentiment; they have the right to organize in opposition to such a potentially damaging, and certainly devaluing arrival. Right?

Oddly there are several groups which share your view: Stormfront for example, or perhaps you like the more traditional KKK. After all its perfectly rational for people to organize in opposition to anything that might lower property values, right? I know the people I just liked to would agree with you completely.
posted by sotonohito at 6:22 AM on August 21, 2006


Coming, as I do, from Australia, where you are still allowed to erect a fence or plant shrubs in your yard*, can someone explain to me how the fuck a random, non-government association of private individuals can force you to do anything with your property? I mean, what the fuck? Do they send you to jail for not mowing your lawn or what?

* caveat: New subdivisions, managed by private development companies, can often impose regulations, specifying that fences can't be erected, or giving you a list of allowed colours to paint your shed. However, these limitations dissapear once the subdivision is up and running and the devloper has sold all their allotments. And I still don't know how the hell they can enforce them.
posted by Jimbob at 6:33 AM on August 21, 2006


sotonohito, black criminals don't commit crimes because they're black. It's not the blackness that damages them.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:34 AM on August 21, 2006


Jimbob, I don't know exactly what the arrangement is in this case, but even in the absense of non-governmental "neighborhood associations" there are city councils which can make the same sorts of rules.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:36 AM on August 21, 2006


Jimbob: Typically when you buy such a house you are obligated to sign a contract which says you will abide by the rules and regulations of the homeowner's association. Sometimes this is mentioned in the microscopic type on page 76 of your purchasing agreement, other times its right out there in the open.

Thirteenkiller: Are you arguing that the abused children chose to be abused? Or what? I'm missing your point completely here.
posted by sotonohito at 6:40 AM on August 21, 2006


Sotonohito, how did you get THAT from what I said?

Blackness can't cause criminal inclination. Being abused can.

Maybe this neighborhood's reaction isn't fair, but it isn't unfounded either. Wanting to exclude people because of the color of their skin would be unfair. I wouldn't blame people for worrying about their new black (or white or Latino or whatever) gangster neighbors from some horrible inner city neighborhood, though.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:59 AM on August 21, 2006


Maybe this neighborhood's reaction isn't fair..

Replace "fair" with "nice" tia
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:02 AM on August 21, 2006


Thirteenkiller: Explain please why its ok in your book to discriminate against the victims of a crime, but it isn't ok to discriminate against people based on skin color. If you believed that excluding both blacks and victims was correct I'd disagree with you (loudly, and probably rudely), but your argument would seem consistent. Either you are behaving in an irrational manner, or I'm missing a huge chunk of your argument. I'm going to assume ignorance on my part and ask you to offer a fuller explanation.

I think the keyword is "cause". As in "Blackness can't cause criminal inclination. Being abused can." While such people are socially unacceptable (and rightly so) there are those who will claim exactly that: blackness causes criminal inclination. All we really have to go by is the statistics. Roughly 1/3 of young black men will be convicted of a crime and do time in prison. I doubt the percentage of sexually abused people who do time in prison is that high (though I will admit ignorance here). It isn't necessary to wonder what causes high statistics for crime, merely to observe that if you reason that excluding people not based on what they do, but based on what a group they belong to does, is wrong regardless of whether that group is ethnically based, or based on other non-chosen characteristics.

My comment "Are you arguing that the abused children chose to be abused?" is based on what I consider to be the principle factor: choice. I quite willingly discriminate against Klansmen and people who display the Confederate Battle Flag on the basis that they chose to do so, their association with the group which (IMO) does bad things is entirely voluntary. I don't discriminate based on ethnicity or other non-choice based affiliations because no one chooses the color of their skin, so saying "some people with X skin color do bad things, therefore this person who has X skin color is likely to do bad things" is wrong. Saying "people who are members of the KKK do bad things, so this person who is a member of the KKK is likely to do bad things" isn't because he chose to join that group. You seem to be arguing that membership in non-voluntary groups is a reasonable basis for discrimination, and that's why I reacted so violently.
posted by sotonohito at 7:26 AM on August 21, 2006


Jimbob wrote: "I still don't know how the hell they can enforce them."

In some places at least, they *can't* legally enforce them. I live in a relatively new neighborhood with a HOA. The townhouses, one of which I live in, were built back-to-back and without basements or garages, so there isn't a good place to put garbage bins. The solution of most people on my street has been to build platforms for them in the indented part of the fence between houses. This works well practically and, as long as you keep your trash bagged and lidded, is no kind of hygenic hazard.

I received about 19,235 letters from the HOA about my platform and how it isn't allowed under their regulations. I ignored them (on the theory that they couldn't even prove I received them if I never responded), and they eventually stopped. I was talking to a neighbor the other day and she told me that the HOA didn't have the legal authority to impose fines, or really, to do much of anything other than send letters. So, that's what our HOA dues are being used for -- to kill trees to try to punish us for fixing a flaw in the way the homes were built. Anyone with 1/100th of a brain would step back a moment and consider that if nearly everyone was violating part of the HOA code, maybe there's a good reason for it. But apparently, having less than 1/100th of a brain is a requirement for being a HOA board member.
posted by parrot_person at 7:35 AM on August 21, 2006


sotonohito

You seem to be casting a Taiwanese incident in western terms, with American organizations, prejudices, and legal thought. That is the first fallacy in your argument.

The second is your comparison of obviously non-equivalent situations: private residences vs. a group home, and racial vs. social discrimination.

I refuse the address the remainder of your argument so long as your insist on baselessly aligning me with bigots and white supremacists. Furthermore, I've reported your accusatory post for offensive content.
posted by The Confessor at 7:39 AM on August 21, 2006


The Confessor: So, pretty much, you want sotohito to keep his grass clipped very short, and if he won't, you're going to take away his house?

I don't think people should be allowed to threaten anyone on here (which has not occured here), but aside from that, I don't think anyone should be silenced. What is so threatening about his posts that you want them removed entirely? And why do you get to decide how he may and may not express himself? You seem to be casting yourself in a role very similar to the HOA busybodies here.
posted by parrot_person at 7:46 AM on August 21, 2006


It's all about property value, which is a big deal when everyone has all their investments tied up in their homes.

And the value of "private" property depends, in large part, on the conditions of the surrounding neighborhood, which leads neighborhood busybodies to legislate what their neighbors can do with their "private" property.

As someone else said above, this is so outrageous it makes renting seem almost bearable.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:49 AM on August 21, 2006


This would never happen in the US.
posted by mischief


Actually, protesting group homes of foster kids (who have high levels of sexual and other abuse histories) happens all the time here. (There was a relatively recent protest re an LGBT group home proposed for the Castro neighborhood here in SF.) As a result, group homes tend to be in really crappy neighborhoods. Which causes other problems for kids.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 8:00 AM on August 21, 2006


parrot_person

The right to free speech does not grant free license to libel and slander.

By baselessly equating my social views with the racist agenda of Stormfront and KKK, sotonohito has crossed that line, and I am well within my rights to request that his idiocy be remedied.
posted by The Confessor at 8:06 AM on August 21, 2006


There is a correlation between skin color and criminal activity; black people are more likely to commit crimes. However, I don't think there is a causal relationship there (black people aren't more likely to commit crimes simply because they're black), and I think most reasonable people would agree with me. There are idiotic extremists who have an unreasonable and unscientific understanding of causation and correlation and think there is some innate component in black people that makes them inherently more criminal.

Black people are more likely to commit crimes because black people, due to various factors like this country's history of enslavement and abuse of black people, are more likely to live in poverty and have crappy homes and bad things like that. I would say these nasty circumstances DO cause criminal behavior, and it's not unfair to be wary of someone who comes from circumstances likely to CAUSE criminal behavior. It is not necessarily their fault; they probably didn't choose to grow up in a crappy childhood or be exposed to violence or something, but that's irrelevant. Since these are things that really screw people up, it's not inappropriate to worry that someone from those circumstances is screwed up. Skin color doesn't screw people up, so it's really not a good indicator of propensity to violence.

Similarly, abused children didn't choose to be abused, but that doesn't change the fact that they're statistically more likely to have serious social problems like criminal inclination.

Not every abused child is going to be a criminal, and it's nice when these kids can get help from caring, healthy people in safe environments, and I guess it's too bad that the people in this neighborhood aren't willing to make the effort to help rehabilitate these kids. But these people are private citizens and it's not their job to help or care, and they're right worry that the kids could cause problems.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:06 AM on August 21, 2006


Furthermore, I've reported your accusatory post for offensive content.

I've reported your post for overblown pomposity and aggravated blowhardry. You may expect a visit from the Internet Police shortly.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:08 AM on August 21, 2006


sotonohito writes "I'll also observe, as a bitter swipe, that as a poor person I'd be glad to see some of those HOA types get a factory next door to them for a change."

sotonohito I've got a story that will warm your heart (at least it often makes me feel better when I here about this kind of thing).

About 10 years ago they completed the final tear down of the pinetree line base at Mt. Lolo just outside of Kamloops. The former commander of the base had a approximately 1/4 section farm within the Kamloops city limits. As a kind of memento, and because he needed a good size outbuilding anyways, the former commander bought the large radar dome and had it set up on his farm.

As a farmer you can do practically anything you want as far as outbuildings go. In many cases you don't even need to pull a permit. So the dome was completely legal if a little unusual as an outbuilding.

Well the dome wasn't even completely assembled before the phone started ringing at city hall. The owners of the suburban properties abutting the farm were freaking out about the size and "unsightly" appearance of the new farm building. Letters to the editor and features on the local news went on for weeks complaining about reduced property values and how the view had been completely ruined. (note that the dome was several hundred metres from their property).

They even had one guy declaring that this kind of flagrant disregard for neighbours was typical and to prove his point the guy told a story about how BBQs with his buddies are often ruined because of the cows allowed to roam in the pasture next to him (the smell and the noise don't you know). No mention about how the farm has existed for 70 years, well before the houses were built, of course.

Anyways this goes on for weeks until one day it cuts off like flipping a switch. Seems someone on the farmer's side did some poking around and finds out the housing subdivision generating the complaints is zoned for lot sizes no less than four acres. And all the lots are less than two acres, in some case much less. In theory the farmer could push for the property owners to have to apply for rezoning and if they were unsuccessful the houses could be condemned.

Suddenly no complaints.
posted by Mitheral at 8:09 AM on August 21, 2006


Another example of this sort of thing in the US:

Las Vegas banned distribution of food to homeless in public parks.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:09 AM on August 21, 2006


IshmaelGraves et al.

Respectfully bowing out of the thread until Jessamyn sorts everything out.

FWIW, however, I doubt pomposity is an actionable offense.
posted by The Confessor at 8:25 AM on August 21, 2006


Hey The Confessor: If I call you a poopyhead, is that "libel" and "slander"? Will you report me for an offensive post?

You're such a poopyhead!!

POOOOOOPYHEAD!!!!
posted by parrot_person at 8:27 AM on August 21, 2006


Everyone hates HOAs and zoning until they need their HOA and zoning laws to keep someone else from destroying their life's savings.
posted by MattD at 8:30 AM on August 21, 2006


The Confessor: I am calling you a bigot because your comments have demonstrated you to be one. You are bigoted against the victims of sexual assault as demonstrated by your willingness to discriminate against them. I observe that other groups, for people bigoted against other non-choice groups exist and would doubtless support your position. It is up to you to explain why your bigotry against the *victims* of a crime is not equivalent to bigotry against people with dark skin, or bigotry against homosexuals, etc.

If you can't see a relation between saying: "those sexual assault victims are bringing down the property values, let's kick 'em out" and saying "those blacks are bringing down the property values, let's kick 'em out" then perhaps you need to apply a bit more thought to the situation. It is demonstrable that blacks moving into a formerly all-white neighborhood does result in lower property values, and I smile and say "not my problem" when it happens. It isn't my job to keep property values up, and it isn't the job of the government to spend my tax dollars to keep property values up.

But feel sorry for yourself because I pointed out your wealth produced bigotry, keep telling yourself that you can't possibly be a bigot because you oppose one sort of bigotry while embracing another.

Thirteenkiller I never said the people in the neighborhood were obligated to do a single thing to help the victims. I did say that they're bigoted assholes for trying to keep them out, and that if they succeed its a travesty of justice. I also said that neighborhood associations are, by the facts of their existence, quite attractive to that sort of bigotry and as such should be abolished.

I'm also still not following your line of reasoning. You seem to be saying that its wrong to discriminate against blacks because not all blacks are exposed to the social elements you believe cause the high crime rate. This leads me to conclude that you would be ok with a policy which bans people who grew up in certain neighborhoods, or in certain economic conditions from purchasing a house. Or have I missed your reasoning again?

MattD: If a person's life savings depend on bigotry, I hope they get destroyed. No one forced them to buy a McMansion, if the arrival of an [insert "undesireable" group here] wipes out their life's savings that's their fault for putting all their money into the value of a McMansion. I think I said this earlier: "This is life, risk is involved in investments, if you don't like that don't invest."

I'm poor today, but I hope one day not to be. Should that day ever come, I have absolutely no intention of buying a McMansion, or an expensive house in a "good" neighborhood. I'd be satisfied with the place I'm currently renting [1] pretty much regardless of how much money I make. No one has to go live with elitest pricks, its a choice they made. If they suffer economically for that choice its their fault. Maybe they will learn from the experience.

Mitheral Heh heh. Nice story. I like it.

[1] Funny thing about my house. Its in the "black" neighborhood. I put "black" in quotes because its not exclusively black, I'm one of maybe 10 or 15 white people in a one mile radius. The neighborhood is quite nice, kids play in the streets, etc. Every now and then someone I don't know very (the real factor seems to be people who are unaware that my wife is black) will will discover where I live and their comment usually goes: "That's a kind of rough neighborhood isn't it?"

I have a canned response: "If when you say rough you mean black, yes."
posted by sotonohito at 9:02 AM on August 21, 2006


I hate to jump into things like this, but Confessor, you come across as a heartless jackass.

When you care more about money than the lives of other human beings, people generally think of you as selfish and vile.

Money is imaginary.

People are real.
posted by MythMaker at 9:04 AM on August 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


The moral hazard that HOAs represent (that the theoretical rights of the collective outweigh the concrete right of individual action) should be recognized for what it is: a form of corporatist socialism. By restricting the rights of individuals based on nothing more than geographical proximity in order to "protect property values," the HOA detaches the act of home-ownership and its attendant activities from the realm of individual rights (to do with my property--within reason--what I wish) and places it squarely into a fundamentally economic and consequently non-democratic sphere of action. HOAs are yet another example of the unfortunate trend towards accepting the creeping usurpation and dissipation of individual freedoms in the name of "economics." If your belief that my right to paint my fence any damned color I want should be curtailed to protect your (theoretical) "property value," then you sir, should be living on a collective farm, because the mindset that allows this travesty (the suppression of real rights in favor of some wholly artificial and monetarily arbitrary set of valuation metrics) is precisely analogous that of a communist.
posted by Chrischris at 9:16 AM on August 21, 2006


IndigoJones: All the bitterness of the above post, and the aggressiveness of my first post most definitely do apply to you. I'm *so* sorry that you rich bastards might be upset by people trying to make life better for sexually abused children. I repeat: I'm not obligated to do squat to ensure that the housing bubble continues, if you lose some money because someone "undesirable" bought a house in your neighborhood too bloody bad. Its called life, risk is involved, you aren't guaranteed a return on any investment. Don't like that? Don't invest.
.


Jesus, calm down and read what I wrote. One the personal front- I'm not rich- one reason I rent is because I can't afford to buy in my part of the world, not in a town with a good school district. Also, not a bastard and if you care to step outside on that one....

Nor did I ask you or anyone else to help out on my investments. I've gained and lost on real estate over the years, but, believe it or not, I have never considered housing to be an investment, any more than I consider food or clothing to be an investment.

That said, my point stands. A house of teenagers of any kind is a threat to quality of life, and although you are big enough to suck it up, even welcome it, you're naive to expect others to follow along. Not saying I would have signed the petition, on principle I rather doubt I would have- but by the same token, I would not move into the neighbourhood if I knew the situation already existed or soon would. I dare say most people would not, whatever they might say to the contrary

Also, drop the sarcasm. It's cheap and really unattractive.
posted by IndigoJones at 9:50 AM on August 21, 2006


I'm also still not following your line of reasoning. You seem to be saying that its wrong to discriminate against blacks because not all blacks are exposed to the social elements you believe cause the high crime rate. This leads me to conclude that you would be ok with a policy which bans people who grew up in certain neighborhoods, or in certain economic conditions from purchasing a house. Or have I missed your reasoning again?

No, that's pretty much it. It's not very friendly to ban them, and probably not legally enforcable in a lot of those cases, but the people involved are not unjustified in being worried about their potential new neighbors. It's the same thing as people not wanting gangsters or sex offenders or meth addicts in their neighborhood. Whether the undesirable chose their affiliation or not is irrelevant.

It's not just an issue of people in McMansions whining about their funny looking neighbors who don't weed the garden; these could be reasonably sized houses and there could be legitimate safety concerns with having people like this in the neighborhood. Property value takes crime rates into account as well as how pretty the flowers are; it can be a useful indicator of quality of life.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:18 AM on August 21, 2006


IndigoJones: Choosing not to move into a neighborhood, for whatever reason, is an individual decision that harms no one and is therefore in my "so what" category, I may agree or disagree with that decision but I generally won't waste my time or yours discussing it.

Attempting to prevent a charitable outfit from improving the lives of sexually abused children is another matter entirely. Defending people who claim that their *potential* economic harm should bar people from a non-choice group [1] from buying a house in their neighborhood is being a bastard, and I don't mean that in the archaic sense [2].

Should the people in that neighborhood chose, en masse, to abandon the place that too is their right, and while I might mock them for that decision it wouldn't incense me. Should you, or anyone else say to themselves "well, there's a house with several sexually abused children around there, I'll chose not to move into that neighborhood" that's fine too. My only objection is to people who say "they shouldn't be allowed to buy the house, and I support their opposition to the purchase". Such people are bastards.

Thirteenkiller Well, at least you are an honest bastard unlike The Confessor. I will merely observe that the line of reasoning you have chosen to embrace tends, I would argue inevitably, to result in an extremely unpleasant society. I won't invoke Goodwin, but I will point out that people with more or less your line of reasoning were the cause of segregation, the "gentleman's agreements" which prevented Jews, Italians, etc from buying homes in certain neighborhoods, etc. Enjoy your heritage of bigotry with The Confessor chum.

[1] Er, that people who belong to a group through no choice of their own, such as victims of crimes, phenotypes, etc. A "choice group" being one which a person chooses to join, such as a club, corporation, theatre troupe, etc.

[2] I could care less whether your, or anyone else's, parents were married. I mean bastard in the sense of obnoxious jerk, as you knew full well.
posted by sotonohito at 10:33 AM on August 21, 2006


No, that's pretty much it. It's not very friendly to ban them, and probably not legally enforcable in a lot of those cases, but the people involved are not unjustified in being worried about their potential new neighbors. It's the same thing as people not wanting gangsters or sex offenders or meth addicts in their neighborhood. Whether the undesirable chose their affiliation or not is irrelevant.
posted by thirteenkiller

Hmm... interesting. I noticed that you have a British Fiancee. Britain is also the home of many Islamic Radicals, well known for their plans to blow up subways and airlines. I'd be pretty uncomfortable, thirteenkiller, having you as a neighbor. After all, how do I know your "fiancee" won't be sheltering undesirable elements? I know it might seem a bit "cautious" and probably even "unfair", but frankly, I think I'm not too "unjustified in being worried about" you people. Just to be safe, you know...

See how well that (your) bullshit argument works?
posted by Chrischris at 10:38 AM on August 21, 2006


^ What
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:44 AM on August 21, 2006


this specific case seems very lame to me, and in general, it seems like homeowners associations are lame.

while some aspects may make sense to me (e.g., let's decide together if we should refurbish the shared swimming pool), and some aspects don't, but seem relatively innocuous (e.g., "And the front of everyone's house has to be at least 23% brick? Sign me up!!!"), but deciding who can or can't buy property or live in it, seems to be going entirely too far.

i mean, we do already have municipal, state and federal governments that are democratic and allow us to address issues like zoning in a public forum. what IS the primary advantage of doing this with a homeowners association, aside from the fact that it's probably easier to be discriminatory?

my home is my castle, therefore i prefer to live the feudal lifestyle seems somewhat backwards to me. no ages like the dark ages, i guess.
posted by snofoam at 10:45 AM on August 21, 2006


My point (in case you seemed to have missed it): the justification of discrimination of individuals based on their origin, financial situation, or class affiliations, is inherently unjust. You argued that poor people, those from disadvantaged situations, can be justifiably discriminated against as a preventative measure. I merely extended your argument and created another class (those cohabitating with foreigners from nations which breed or harbor terrorists) with which to discrimate. My class of undesirables is at least as justifiable--in the abstract--as any you listed in your post. Simple, see?
posted by Chrischris at 10:52 AM on August 21, 2006


No, because being foreign, even being from a country with terrorists, doesn't make someone dangerous.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:58 AM on August 21, 2006


having been abused doesn't make someone dangerous, either, though, right?
posted by snofoam at 11:05 AM on August 21, 2006


Well, in a lot of cases, it does.
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:10 AM on August 21, 2006


No, because being foreign, even being from a country with terrorists, doesn't make someone dangerous.

Perhaps, but the truth is that in any given individual case we don't really know for sure, now do we? Anyway, since cohabitating foreigners are a definable class about which some might have reservations why should I (or my property value) be exposed to the risk they might represent, if I can prevent it with a handy little HOA covenent?

Hmmm?
posted by Chrischris at 11:12 AM on August 21, 2006


Listen, did you read what I wrote about why it's not appropriate to be worried about people just because they're black? I think that applies here. Not everyone's "reservations" are founded.
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:14 AM on August 21, 2006


Perhaps, but the truth is that in any given individual case we don't really know for sure, now do we?

What about a group home for sex offenders who've served their time and are ostensibly rehabilitated? I mean, sure, likely enough they'll reoffend, but it's still wrong to discriminate, right?

Isn't it kind of a well known fact that abused children are more likely to abuse others who are smaller and weaker than them? I've certainly heard it from more than a few psychologists.
posted by 912 Greens at 11:17 AM on August 21, 2006


having been abused doesn't make someone dangerous, either, though, right?
posted by snofoam

Well, in a lot of cases, it does.
posted by thirteenkiller


i guess i don't get it, then. perhaps someone could make a web site to help folks figure out how dangerous they are:

1. come up with a list of characteristics, like having been abused, being black, growing up poor, etc. and an an overall dangerousness percentage for having each attribute

2. have users select the characteristics that apply to them and generate a custom DangerScore™

3. ???

4. Profit! (or just pre-emptively jail anyone who scores as too dangerous)
posted by snofoam at 11:35 AM on August 21, 2006



Listen, did you read what I wrote about why it's not appropriate to be worried about people just because they're black?


And how is the disadvantage being born into poverty or raised in a crime-ridden area any less fundamentally arbitrary or preventable than being born with black skin? How is being abused as a young child any more preventable by the victim than having poor and/or uneducated parents making poor life choices for that child? Either you see the arbitrary nature of your discrimination and just don't care (in which case you truly are a bastard), or you fail to understand that your classifications of who is undesirable are by their very nature as fundamentally arbitrary and unjust as any any other person might formulate. Your defending the exclusion of the abused or the poor (both categories into which it is entirely possible to fall into through no fault of one's own), makes my argument against foreigners entirely justifiable. Poor kid X or British person Y might be a perfectly nice and acceptable neighbor, but from the perspective of legislating risk mitigation (and that is what we are talking about here) discriminating against them as individual members of a suspect class is perfectly equivalent.
posted by Chrischris at 11:42 AM on August 21, 2006


And, kind of like many people have said (though why this needs to actually be explained to someone is beyond me):

Discrimination is, by definition, is the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually.

Whether people had some role in falling into the classification one chooses to discriminate against doesn't change the fact that it is discrimination. And even if 80% of abuse victims ended up being "dangerous," you would still be discriminating if you assumed an individual person was going to be dangerous based on the fact that they had been abused.
posted by snofoam at 11:50 AM on August 21, 2006


Chrischris, choice doesn't matter. AIDS victims by and large didn't choose to get HIV, but we still don't want their blood for transfusions. Nobody's blaming these kids for being screwed up; they're just acknowledging these kids have an increased risk of behaving criminally.

I'm not sure poverty by itself really causes criminal behavior, maybe it's not a good indicator. But, if more black people commit crimes than white people, there has to be SOME reason other than skincolor.

snofoam, I don't believe discrimination is inherently bad. We publically track sex offenders, even though some of them aren't going to reoffend. We don't allow water bottles on airplanes, even though most people with water bottles aren't planning to blow shit up. Landlords can refuse to rent to pet owners, even though most of their dogs won't stain the carpet. People don't generally eat raw meat, even though most raw meat doesn't have e-coli in it. And so on.
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:04 PM on August 21, 2006


What's important is not that we avoid discrimination, but that we strive to make sure our discrimination is justified.
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:08 PM on August 21, 2006


I don't believe discrimination is inherently bad.

i guess that explains a lot, and in a sense, i agree with you. discriminating against all raw meat may be a convenient way to avoid certain health risks (albeit at the unbearable cost of giving up sushi and steak tartare). but meat and water bottles aren't the same as people, and i think that's where i fundamentally disagree with you. i think discriminating against people is bad.

your examples involving people don't seem relevant to me, either. i don't know that treating sex offenders differently than other convicted criminals is necessarily justified, but having a criminal record is part of the punishment for being a criminal, and being convicted of a felony is something that happens to an individual, based on what they did (without getting into the institutionalized discrimination in our penal system). not using HIV positive blood donations is done for medical reasons, just like giving people transfusions of the appropriate blood type, it's not discrimination against the donor. i think you may have a hard time coming up with a good example of why it is beneficial to discriminate against a group of people.
posted by snofoam at 12:29 PM on August 21, 2006


Thirteenkiller, do you read what you are writing? The arguments you are using are incredibly bigoted, a la Rush Limbaugh.

How would you like it if you had the misfortune to be brutally raped as a child, and now a charitable organization is trying to help you, to put you in an environment where you are no longer being brutally raped, and the people around you were somehow suggesting that YOU are a criminal?

Not the actual criminal who raped you, but that somehow, by the fact that you, as a helpless child, had been victimized, that that made you dangerous?!

You seem to be suggesting that we should victimize victims as opposed to opening our hearts to their plight and trying to help them.

Screw you.
posted by MythMaker at 12:29 PM on August 21, 2006


we strive to make sure our discrimination is justified

but it's never justified. how do you justify discrimination?
posted by snofoam at 12:33 PM on August 21, 2006


fallacy alert. there are two definitions of discrimination in use here.
posted by owhydididoit at 12:56 PM on August 21, 2006


What's important is not that we avoid discrimination, but that we strive to make sure our discrimination is justified.

And nobody--I mean, Nobody--is more qualified to make sure our discriminations are justified than the good people who make up this nation's Home Owners Associations. There can be no greater or more effective force for determining the proper course of action which the beneficence the Commonweal may demand than those seeking to protect their property values. May God preserve the good judgement of those who would determine our fence setbacks, our designated rubbish collection days (and said disposition of those rubbish bins (steel, painted, with lids, being no more than 50 gal. in capacity, but no less than 30 gal., in good appearance with no discernable rust or residue), maximum grass heights, and the acceptable ethnic and/or economic classifications from which we may pick our neighbors! Vive La HOA!
posted by Chrischris at 1:02 PM on August 21, 2006


You seem to be suggesting that we should victimize victims as opposed to opening our hearts to their plight and trying to help them.

See, that's just it. You people seem to be suggesting people have to open their hearts to the trouble teenagers and try to help them and pretend it isn't unpleasant or potentially risky. Nobody should be forced to deal with that.

i think you may have a hard time coming up with a good example of why it is beneficial to discriminate against a group of people.

not using HIV positive blood donations is done for medical reasons

Yes, there are always reasons for discriminating against certain groups of people. It could be for health reasons, for safety reasons (kids are told to avoid strangers, airport security looks for stressed people in jackets), for financial reasons (you want a tenant who will pay their rent on time so you avoid people with bad credit, car insurance is more expensive for young males), for social reasons (girls who tan and wear lots of makeup are likely to be [vapid/easy/into pop music/whatever]), convenience reasons (need help at Target? ask someone in a red shirt), and so on.
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:02 PM on August 21, 2006


yeah, my last comment was a trick question. the answer, of course, is with the align="justify" attribute.
posted by snofoam at 1:05 PM on August 21, 2006


And nobody--I mean, Nobody--is more qualified to make sure our discriminations are justified than the good people who make up this nation's Home Owners Associations.

As for that - by 'this nation' you mean Taiwan, right? and by 'Home Owners Association' you mean grassroots community organization, right? Or maybe not. I agree they sound like assholes. The fact that the administrators of this home thing said the kids were going to use the back gate suggests the homeowners' concerns were probably mostly cosmetic.
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:10 PM on August 21, 2006


yeah, my last comment was a trick question. the answer, of course, is with the align="justify" attribute.

I fail :(
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:12 PM on August 21, 2006


See, that's just it. You people seem to be suggesting people have to open their hearts to the trouble teenagers and try to help them and pretend it isn't unpleasant or potentially risky. Nobody should be forced to deal with that.

And they shouldn't be forced to have black neighbors, or gay neighbors, or liberal neighbors, or Jewish neighbors too, because, in their timid, frightened minds they believe that it would be unpleasant or potentially risky?

Who cares if they think it is unpleasant for them? If we live in a land where we take things like "All Men Are Created Equal" (using "men" for "mankind") seriously, then tough. I don't care if you as an individual don't want black people moving in next to you. They have rights.

So do victims of child abuse. These are people who have committed no crime other than to be victimized. If we believe that people are "innocent until proven guilty" then we are talking about convicting people of the crime of being from a demographic that you don't approve of.

Just for one fleeting moment put yourself in the shoes of one of the poor unfortunate victims. How would you feel if you knew that you were being doubly victimized by this?
posted by MythMaker at 1:13 PM on August 21, 2006


Just for one fleeting moment put yourself in the shoes of one of the poor unfortunate victims. How would you feel if you knew that you were being doubly victimized by this?

Oh please. Why don't you try putting yourself in the shoes of these neighbors who have to worry about some screwed up kid next door perpetuating the cycle of abuse and violence on your little child? We can come up with sob stories for every point of view.

Gays don't spread gayness, Jews don't spread Jewcyness, blacks don't spread blackness, but troubled kids can cause problems. Okay? That's all I'm trying to say. I feel bad for the kids, I'm sorry they got raped, I hope they get help, and I even hope these people accept them into their neighborhood with understanding and benevolence, but it's not unreasonable for the neighbors to worry that there could be problems. Okay?
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:20 PM on August 21, 2006


blacks don't spread blackness

Actually, Science ShowsTM that that skin color thing is hereditary, if you can believe it.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:22 PM on August 21, 2006


Actually, Science ShowsTM that that skin color thing is hereditary, if you can believe it.

Well, they don't spread it to their neighbors, which is what I'm on about.
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:24 PM on August 21, 2006


Yeah, but these trouble kids are on the road to recovery. The whole point of rescuing them is to help them. By giving them hope and love they can turn their lives around.

Instead, you are suggesting we should shun them and victimize them more.

Additionally, do you have any figures or statistics showing a causal relationship between having a home for battered children moving into a neighborhood and increased crime levels? Otherwise, all you're doing is validating people's fears and paranoia towards those unlike themselves.
posted by MythMaker at 1:27 PM on August 21, 2006


No, I don't have those specific statistics, but there are plenty that show abused kids have higher rates of juvenile arrest.

And yeah it would be real nice if these people would embrace and help the troubled kids, but my point is they don't HAVE to.
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:30 PM on August 21, 2006


i think it's reasonable for neighbors to worry if they want to, and reasonable for them to leave if they want to, but i don't think neighbors should have the authority to decide who may or may not live in their neighborhood.

and discrimination may be convenient (if you're the one doing the discrimination), but it's never a just way of making a decision.
posted by snofoam at 1:33 PM on August 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


The neighbors don't have to embrace and help anyone.

They just shouldn't be able to stand in the way of these kids being helped.

Their prejudice against child victims of violence means it will be harder for these children to HEAL and to STOP the violence.

Otherwise the lesson they are learning is that they are somehow second class citizens and somehow deserved to be abused.

That kind of mindset is far more likely to spread the cycle of violence than one of acceptance and love.

I know many people who were abused as children who have grown up without being criminals.

That kind of attitude is like GW Bush's "poor people aren't necessarily killers." The assumption being made is really awful.
posted by MythMaker at 1:36 PM on August 21, 2006


Isn't it kind of a well known fact that abused children are more likely to abuse others who are smaller and weaker than them? I've certainly heard it from more than a few psychologists.

That's a myth and you know more than a few quacks. No reputable study has been able to establish a solid link or any sort of reliable statistic; many offenders experience no abuse during their childhoods, survivors of childhood abuse do seem more likely to harm themselves and or avoid physical contact with others.
posted by zarah at 1:38 PM on August 21, 2006


snofam, buhahahaha. The idea of you walking thru life without making any choices based on real world potential consequences makes me laugh, not least because I don't believe that's how you actually live your life.
posted by nomisxid at 1:46 PM on August 21, 2006


zarah, your claim goes against current professional psychological consensus on the issue. You got a cite for your outlandish claim?
posted by nomisxid at 1:48 PM on August 21, 2006


There seem to be more creeps on MeFi lately.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:00 PM on August 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Just another example of why "neighborhood associations" and "homeowner's associations" need to be outright banned. - sotonohito

In the neighbourhood where I live, concerned citizens have gotten involved in the Community Association and have done lots of good work for the neighbourhood. They do an annual back-alley clean up where garbage & other debris was removed, and where graffiti was painted over. They lobbied the City to get a grant to build a small skateboard facility in the park next to the elementary school. They hold free-of-charge BBQs, chilli suppers and family days at the Community Centre that's attached to the school. I think what sort of thing the Association spends its time and energy on is directly correlated with who gets involved. Don't like what your Association is doing? Get involved! They're typically starved for volunteers, and so it's a place where a few people can make a huge difference in how/why/what happens.
posted by raedyn at 2:14 PM on August 21, 2006


We all constantly make decisions with incomplete information. Stereotyping largely describes the process with which we justify the decision we make. If you don't like that word call it abstraction or generalizing. X (e.g. gender) means Y (a behavior or character trait e.g. impulsive) or a sufficient probability of Y for me to take choice A.

The question is whether that thought process should be allowed to affect others in their search for housing or jobs or the like. Now we can't completely rule it out because that's the way we think but we can say that it is not appropriate to rule someone out for consideration for a job on the basis of race or religious affiliation or the like.

When it comes to housing, ultimately these people have to go somewhere. To restrict them to the worst neighborhoods because of the likelihood that it will lower property values is cruel. Granted this is Taiwan and not the US. That said for those who live in the States it seems that if you agree with anti-discriminatory statutes for housing you would be sympathetic to their side for the same reason. Ostracize whomever you want in your daily relations but to refuse someone seeking a home in your neighborhood because they were a victim is ugly. And yes, I agree that a home is an investment but the right to protect an investment is trumped by the requirement of decency not to discriminate against others for having been sexually assaulted.
posted by BigSky at 2:20 PM on August 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


You got a cite for your outlandish claim?

Absolutement, but my citations are all hard copy and at work, which I am not at, currently. Worst summer job ever. Never work for social services if you want to maintain the illusion that people don't thoroughly and unendingly suck. Of course one shouldn't read mefi either, if that's the case. Mind you, I have to admit that I feel zero obligation to support anything I say, when I say it in response to other, fully unsupported commentary.

If you google you can easily find support for whatever opinion you'd like to uphold though. /re
posted by zarah at 2:23 PM on August 21, 2006


I'll second what BigSky said.
posted by MythMaker at 2:26 PM on August 21, 2006


thirteenkiller: No, I don't have those specific statistics, but there are plenty that show abused kids have higher rates of juvenile arrest.

The relationship between childhood abuse and arrests for criminal behavior is a bit complicated. It is one risk factor out of several. Personally, the differences in rates is significant but not so high as to raise warning bells. Some childhood abuse survivors do go on to engage in criminal behavior, most do not. It is also foolish to pretend that there are not childhood abuse survivors already living in the neighborhood.

The "vampire effect" myth really bothers me because it banishes survivors to a status of perminant victimhood, or ticking time bombs waiting to go off.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:49 PM on August 21, 2006


Defending people who claim that their *potential* economic harm should bar people from a non-choice group from buying a house in their neighborhood is being a bastard, and I don't mean that in the archaic sense...
I could care less whether your, or anyone else's, parents were married. I mean bastard in the sense of obnoxious jerk, as you knew full well.


Look, it's nice that you're big hearted enough to tolerate, even welcome, a group home of any sort in your neighbourhood. It's laudable, it truly is, and I applaud you for it. But again, it's absurd to imagine that your's is the majority view. Which makes this whole article a real slow news day kind of piece, interesting only in the reactions it provokes. Sort of like 60 Minutes. Cheap outrage is us.

If you had read what I wrote without the dyspepsia, you would have noticed I neither defended nor condemned the locals. Indeed, I said I doubted I would have signed the petition - but neither would I have rejoiced at the change in the neighbourhood, economic consequences notwithstanding. Mainly I pointed out that their attitude was pretty unremarkable. Realistically, any group house is going to make the locals nervous, rich or middle or just plain struggling. Only difference here is, they're trying to do something about it. Which, of course, gets us back to the whole ain't it awful 60 Minutes sort of thing.

As to your diction, and what I know full well- do your homework before you call anyone a bastard. Archaic? It's the first definition in any dictionary, and a fightin' word in almost any culture.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:11 PM on August 21, 2006


thirteenkiller, the devil on my shoulder wants me to ensure that you get sexually abused, just so that I may have reason to keep you out of my neighborhood, but the angel on my shoulder understands what you're trying to say and simply disagrees whole-heartedly.

I'll go with the angel.

I know that you don't like what the Taiwanese neighborhood association is doing, and you're just trying to defend their right to act in their own better interest, but I think your priorities of rights are badly skewed. The right of anyone who can afford to do so to purchase property and reside in that property - with whoever they choose - far outstrips the rights of their neighbors to pick-and-choose who lives there. There's no comparison.

I've seen a lot of HOA's in action, but their activities and agendas stretched only to actions, and not the people themselves. i.e., the Beverly Hillbillies could move in without problem, as long as they didn't have the Clampett Truck on cinderblocks in the middle of their front yard. Even this is going too far, arguably, as a person's property is theirs to use as they see fit, but I understand it. It goes beyond mere property values to quality of life matters, as the people who bought the homes in the nice neighborhood were buying not just the property, but the location as well. And if everybody signs into the same contract, and theoretically has a role in shaping the future of it, it is at least fair - if judged by actions.

But let's look at some hypothetical clauses of this contract.

1. You must keep your lawn in a reasonably presentable state. Unkempt lawns will be subject to notification and possible subsequent fines by the committee.

2. You must have your home decorated with holiday lights at least from the period of December 12th through January 3rd, in a manner best in accordance with your faith. These decorations should be brought down by no later than January 15th.

3. You must not previously, nor during your time as a member of this community, be a victim of sexual abuse.

4. You must keep your trash recepticals inside, or at the rear end of your domicile, except for monday and thursday mornings, when they will be picked up.

One of these is not like the others.

Darien, CT, which one would think of as being the absolute place in America to harbor similar prejudices to those of the Taiwanese neighborhood, is home to the ABC house (A Better Chance) which is essentially the exact same thing that we're talking about in Taiwan. And yet, the rich, largely conservative WASPs are proud to have the house in their community, and happy to be able to help. And as far as I know, the residents of the ABC house have never caused a problem in the town.

In short, these kids need the chance, which you know and agree with. But their actions, in the past and in their future, are a matter of choice. If they commit crimes, then they can be arrested, just like any of the rest of us. And because the charity is responsible for them, those who commit crimes will most likely not be allowed to live there anymore. You mention gangsters, meth addicts, and sex offenders as if it's a cogent simile, but those are all groups of people defined by their repeated crimes. Sex abuse victims have commited no crime by default, and deserve the chance for a better life, one less likely to result in crime, until proven otherwise.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:31 PM on August 21, 2006


Jimbob -
Well, they can't send you to jail, but they can(usually) fine you, and if you still fail to comply, take you to court and/or put a lien on your property.

However, like anything, it's only the extreme cases that make the news.
For example, my former HOA is happily collecting money for hiring lifeguards for the pool and maintaining the lake.
They also ensure that the common park is mowed, etc.

Sure, they've got somewhat silly rules (you have to have at least one tree in your yard, landscaping must not exceed x height), but looking around my neighborhood, those rules are quite happily ignored.

We also have developer sponsored HOAs over here. Some are designed to become defunct after the developer sells a certain percentage of lots (Mostly so someone won't do something really tacky to drive down property values before the developer has gotten all his money) and some continue on afterwards.
For example, my current developer-sponsored HOA exists on paper, but only because there isn't enough interest to revive it long enough to hold a quorum to vote it out of existence.
posted by madajb at 4:42 PM on August 21, 2006


nomixsid: snofam, buhahahaha. The idea of you walking thru life without making any choices based on real world potential consequences makes me laugh, not least because I don't believe that's how you actually live your life.

i never said that i never discriminate or generalize about people, but when i do, it isn't necessarily the right thing to do. i also don't walk through life (or down the street) filled with fear that a black/poor/previously abused person is going to hurt me. would i trade that freedom for for a bunker-mentality lifestyle of hiding from a horde of boogie monsters? no.
posted by snofoam at 5:05 PM on August 21, 2006


raedyn: Neighborhood associations which are 100% voluntary and don't try to use contract law (or any coercion) to tell you what kind of flowers you can plant, whether you can have solar panels, etc aren't the type of association I'm on about, and I'm relatively sure you know that. What you described is a good thing, and constitutionally protected under the association clause of the first amendment. The kind of crap where you must sign a contract saying that the HOA gets to interfere in everything you want to do with your house before you buy the house is what I want to ban.

IndigoJones: Well, I had a snarky, insulting, and (from my POV) funny reply for you. Then I decided to try it another way.

I do not demand that anyone rejoice when a group home for sexually abused children opens in their neighborhood.

I do not demand that anyone stick around if they don't like the idea.

I *DO* say that if you can't condemn a bunch of asshats who say "sexually abused kids? Fuck 'em, I've got my property values to think of" then you're a bastard (and I mean it in the insulting, not archaic, sense).

This has nothing to do with being nice, or PC, or welcoming, or anything else. It has to do with the fact that you have repeatedly said that its perfectly understandable, and implied that its perfectly defensible, for an HOA to attempt to further screw over a bunch of kids who have had a hard life already. That shit isn't defensible, and if you say it is then you're as big an asshat bastard as the HOA bastards in Taiwan.

Here's the short version: People who put their property values ahead of the recovery of abused children are evil. Claiming that such people aren't behaving in an evil manner is, itself, evil.
posted by sotonohito at 5:06 PM on August 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


madajb writes "For example, my current developer-sponsored HOA exists on paper, but only because there isn't enough interest to revive it long enough to hold a quorum to vote it out of existence."

I'd get the quorum together and get it disbanded. I'd hate to have a bunch of busybodies move in over a few years decide to activate the HOA.
posted by Mitheral at 8:59 AM on August 22, 2006


Mitheral -
I've thought about it, but most people here seem blissfull ignorant about its very existance.
I'm afraid if I start reminding people, the busy-bodies that already live here will suddenly be inspired.
Better to let sleeping dogs lie and all that.
posted by madajb at 1:15 PM on August 22, 2006


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