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ON THE QT

Everything You Always Suspected

Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff
Publisher and Editor

WELCOME
to On The QT #10. Back from vacation. Focused on
REFORM. The genuine, nonpartisan kind. As opposed to the kind both political parties says the other party needs. While snout deep
in the same trough. Think

ALL PURPOSE HUD.
The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development trough keeps getting deeper and muddier. HUD floats the real estate investments of the politically connected, funds influence peddling on a grand scale and performs ill conceived social experiments on the lives of its dependents. Like the late, unlamented

BUYA THUGA GUN!
Across the USA, HUD bought back guns in public housing projects. No questions asked. Claiming the program would reduce gun violence. The program was recently deep sixed. Gun control advocates made little protest; acknowledging gun buybacks were funding gun upgrades. How many public housing residents were shot with new, improved HUD guns? How was the program tested before being implemented? Was it tested? Oversight at HUD has repeatedly been deemed inadequate by the agency's independent Inspector General. Plus assorted government watchdog committees. But it doesn't take a bureaucrat to realize that with HUD, oversight is a

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.
Imagine vast amounts of money, sucked from the paychecks of hundreds of millions of faceless citizens, dispensed locally by politicians with local ambitions and local cronies. With local financial institutions and local housing and business and what-have-you groups channeling the funds. With local building departments overseeing construction and safety standards of HUD housing, preservation and development projects. Local HUD officials aren't kept in hermetically sealed boxes either. And how well can federal HUD inspectors spot overly cozy local connections? After all, HUD spelled backwards is

DUH.
Just how much interest HUD has in exposing its own mistakes is open to question. The agency has cut back on inspectors. But even without cutbacks, HUD's ever expanding involvements would require a standing army of fraud detectors to even approach genuine oversight. Due to inherent unaccountability, HUD acts as a fraud addiction enabler; corrupting politicians, financial institutions and entire communities. Particularly in areas with weak economies. Does HUD do some good? Sure. Even John Gotti blessed his nabe with the occasional picnic and firework extravaganza. Speaking of the

CRIME FAMILY GAMBINO--
They've allegedly been working hand in soiled glove with Jamaican drug gangs, laundering dirty money at several New York State race tracks, including upstate's Saratoga. According to the DEA, Jamaican drug gangs, after years of bloody mayhem in the crack trade, have refocused on their original specialty, marijuana. A much more potent and lucrative product than it used to be. Must be hot work hauling all those

DRUG DOLLARS UPSTATE.
In mid August two drug house landlords in West Utica were targeted in lawsuits filed by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Acting with the support of Utica Mayor Tim Julien and neighborhood groups, using an initiative announced in Albany several years ago. "We have children growing up around here" said a Utica neighborhood rep "We need to hold absentee landlords accountable". Downtown Utica has a still functioning, grand old movie temple, The Stanley on Genesee Avenue. Attention New Urbanites-- upstate New York is chock-a-block with beautiful small and medium sized cities. Such as Utica, Rome, Rochester, Schenectady, Albany, Troy. All struggle with similar problems: shrinking populations, low paying jobs, a mired
underclass, drugs...

BORN AGAIN
is how some see the small city of Hudson in Columbia County, New York. Its main drag, Warren Street, is an antique mecca for affluent New York City tourists and second homers. Restaurants and art galleries cater to the same. But behind the Tiffany facade lie slums where the aimless young hang on doorsteps. Drug trade flourishes. The poverty industry hums. When a cement plant was slated to open down the highway, antique gentrifiers blocked the move, fearing smokestacks would impact the antique and art biz. "Stop The Plant" signs bloomed on restored Victorians and in ye old shoppe windows. "Support the Plant" signs popped up on cottage and trailer lawns and multi families and diners and corner grocery stores. Long time blue collar residents and the shipped upstate, downstate poor can't afford Hudson homes; not on busboy and ye old shoppe worker wages. But pundits promise techtopia will cure upstate underemployment blues. And there's always HUD. Always. Just like the

GREEN MOUNTAINS
of Vermont. From whence activist attorney and QT columnist Sandy Baird dishes the dirt on a class/culture war in the town of Burlington on lovely Lake Champlain. On one side, righteous, well connected Progressives. On the other, poor whites with a love of flashing Christmas lights. As Ms. Baird puts it "Little did the Strongs realize they had moved into a viper's nest." Snakes alive! Click here & gasp!

PUBLIC SAFETY LAST
Albany, New York: Check those crazy metal spears projecting from the charred awning of a landmark burnt out dry cleaner on a major downtown corner. The ones overhanging the sidewalk in a nabe where children play. With a high school across the street. Also check the broken glass guillotine window in an abandoned store near Pizza Corners: a crucial intersection in the student-- soon to be all purpose-- ghetto. Question: Does Albany's perennially umber Mayor Jerry Jennings parachute into City Hall? Or are his eyes damaged from gazing into sunlamps? Perhaps der Burgermeister should blow the tanning booth and hit the streets: Lark & Jay? New Scotland? Flee Muggers Flee!

NEXT QT ASKS:
Will gubernatorial candidate & beastie boy Bret Schundler slouch into already blighted Trenton, New Jersey? Will Techtopia lift all ships? Is there a drug dealer in your basement? Does HUD hope to rule the world? Is the Pope Catholic?

SHINING WEBSITES:

Electronic Frontier Foundation, http://www.eff.org
"The Electronic Frontier Foundation was created to defend our rights to think, speak, and share our ideas, thoughts, and needs using new technologies, such as the Internet and the World Wide Web." EFF has fought repressive legislation, defended individual rights in court cases, launched world wide campaigns, published influential position papers and organized educational events. EFF also maintains a huge archive of digital civil liberties information. One of the most linked websites in the world. Real pioneers who've consistently understood and defended the political freedom potential of the Internet.

Skeleton Closet, http://www.realchange.org
A real fun site. An honestly non partisan, well researched round up of political scandals. The subjects covered tend to be politicians who've run for major office and are known on the national level. But Skeleton Closet does have a section for lesser known political figures and is soliciting material. So send the Skel the skinny on your favorite local corruptoid. It'll be a gift that keeps on giving.

"There's a lot of HUD money out there..."
Jacky Greene, From Convent to Condo: A Grifter's Tale

"Tonight I'll hide in the cellar and see for myself exactly what
goes on there!"
Nancy Drew, The Clue of the Tapping Heels

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updated 8/26/2001