“Regional Equity”—Obama’s Coming War On Whitopias


Paul Kersey recently reported on VDARE.com an emerging trend: for white suburbs to secede from larger urban jurisdictions and so form, in effect, whitopian enclaves.

But he did not mention that there are powerful forces on the other side pushing back hard—using a concept called “Regional Equity.”

Americans can be forgiven for not being familiar with Regional Equity. I had not heard the term myself until just a few weeks ago, when I caught Stanley Kurtz on the radio talking about his new book: Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities.

Put Regional Equity into a search engine and the language of the collectivists surfaces: transportation equity, environmental equity, healthcare equity, social justice, smart growth, and especially, sustainable communities.

The essence of Regional Equity is the use of centralized political power make things equal over regions—disregarding jurisdictions.

President Obama is very much on board with the Regional Equity movement. The White House website says:

“President Obama will also take a regional approach that disregards traditional jurisdictional boundaries [my emphasis—JM], setting policy that takes into account how cities, suburbs, and exurbs interact. President Obama’s urban policy agenda will use this integrated approach to enhance economic competitiveness, sustainability, and equity in our cities and metropolitan areas.”

Furthermore, PolicyLink (a pro-minority think tank run by a woman graduate of Howard University who describes herself as “national leader for social justice and equity”) states:

Under the Obama administration, a framework of regional equity has been a driving force behind the larger federal partnership for Sustainable Communities made up of HUD, the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The partnership has now issued a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for a new Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program (SCRPG) that will formalize as federal policy the very strategies that equity advocates have been seeking to advance at the community level for years. [The Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Guide | How to Link Equity to Each Rating Factor PDF]

In the past, secession could work—boundaries meant independence from the predatory desires of larger neighbors hungry for the resources and lifestyles of more prosperous suburbs.

But now, like a Black Hole whose irresistible gravity swallows nearby stars, central cities, using the doctrine of Regional Equity could suck the cash from prosperous suburban cities, impose onerous laws, and even force them to become more diverse—negating the very reasons for moving to these former enclaves of sanity and safety.

Let’s look at how this Regional Equity Doctrine is going to impact ordinary Americans.

Before I was married, I lived in Seattle—famously a relatively benign environment compared to the majority minority cities in other states. However, there were several nearby murders, many burglaries, and I witnessed wads of cash handed to a car full of blacks in a parking lot.

I wanted a safer environment for my precious wife. I was also concerned about rising taxes. I therefore not only moved out of the city, but crossed the border into a neighboring county—putting yet another jurisdictional boundary between our home and the problems of Seattle.

Once that would have been enough. But not if Regional Equity becomes the rule.

In my case, I first began to understand the reasons for white flight while attending the University of Michigan. Friends there told me that they had to pick up their son from the local high school every noon and take him home to use the bathroom. This was necessary because blacks occupied the school restrooms and robbed white kids who entered. I also heard complaints about white girls being manhandled on the school buses. The school administration was too liberal and too cowardly to do anything to protect the white students.

That is when I realized the truth: whites were not fleeing blacks because of some irrational racism. They weren’t afraid that the color would rub off. They simply wanted their families to live without fear of crime and intimidation.

Of course, the Left resents white flight. I recall a college professor lecturing on the immorality of whites fleeing cities and depleting the tax base. (Ironically, the professor herself had fled a grim industrial town in Britain for the sunny skies of New Mexico.)

Back then this was just typical kneejerk Leftist collectivism—I never heard a label for it.

Urban planners have long had little use for property rights—they just get in the way of their grandiose plans. In college, I had an instructor who had worked on the Chicago 21 Plan. The city government wanted development and certain favored developers wanted to develop land owned by a railroad, but didn’t care to pay the going price. The plan called for the city to “assemble” the land—planner euphemism for “steal”—thus allowing the developers to obtain the land at the price they, not the owner, wanted.

I asked the instructor didn’t he think it was wrong to take private land for the use of another private business. He replied that it just depended on which side you were on—an echo (no doubt unconscious) of Lenin’s notorious Who/Whom formulation.

Of course, the Supreme Court has since approved exactly this kind of nullification of property rights.

Every American who feels secure in having escaped the city should be aware of these new efforts to bring the very people they escaped from to their town.

Thus Diana Novak wrote recently of the Chicago suburbs:

“In 2010, Highland Park, Glencoe, Lake Forest, Kenilworth, Northbrook, Northfield and Wilmette all were cited by the Illinois Housing Development Authority as among the 49 Illinois communities with less than 10 percent affordable housing. According to the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act, all such communities must submit a plan for how they will incorporate affordable housing to the Illinois Housing Development Authority.”

[Diana Novak, Affordable Housing in Northern Suburbs, Chicago Tonight, April 6, 2011

The whole Regional Equity movement reeks of the very attitude Obama has towards small business: “You didn’t build that.” There is a jealousy of the prosperity achieved in white and Asian suburbs and a denial that that prosperity was earned by hard work and sacrifice.

The Regional Equity movement is redistribution of wealth on steroids—it is not just wealth that it seeks to redistribute, but entire life styles.

In fact, we have heard the agenda of Regional Equity before—it is the UN Agenda 21, applied locally. As Phyllis Schlafly writes:

“Agenda 21 is a comprehensive master plan to reshape and control the U.S. while locking us into the clutches of the U.N. under the innocuous phrase ‘sustainable development.’” [ UN Mischief from Durban to Rio, Phyllis Schlafly, Townhall, November 29, 2011]

Schlafly further points out:

“Advocates of Agenda 21 talk about the three E’s of sustainable development: economy, equity and environment. Equity means replacing our American constitutional system with central planning and social justice, which is a code word for redistribution of wealth, abolition of private property rights and giving favored corporations tax breaks, grants, and use of eminent domain.”

Schlafly adds that “Agenda 21 wants to herd people into crowded communities with limited housing space and limited parking spaces.”

Fundamentally, Agenda 21 and Regional Equity are soft totalitarianism—the subordination of nation-states and local governments to an overarching, Leftist, agenda.

No-one can predict just what stand Mitt Romney will take on Regional Equity (as usual). But there is no doubt about the position of Obama.

Americans—especially in the whitopian suburbs and exurbs—better be paying attention.

Jesse Mossman [email him] writes from an undisclosed location somewhere in America.