Editorial: Palm Springs bulldozed a Black neighborhood. Compensate survivors
(CNN) — On April 17, Palm Springs city officials approved a plan that would destroy a community of single-family homes, demolish the single-family homes and build condos in their place.
The community is called the “Bishop,” and its residents are Black.
Under an order issued by Palm Springs’ city council in February 2017, the city would purchase the properties and build a new community just north of the city’s commercial center. The city would then sell the properties for $1 to residents who will be unable to afford the condo costs — which will be financed through sales of the existing properties.
On May 5, the city council unanimously approved what is called “the redevelopment plan.” It would demolish the existing single-family homes and build 11,000 new residential units, each with a monthly rent of $1,800. The city would also build 8,000 one and two-bedroom condos, and 3,000 three-bedroom condos. The new land will cost $1.6 million to purchase, plus $2.3 million in costs that are expected to be paid by the city if approved.
The city’s redevelopment plan says the new community will be “affordable to moderate-income families” who live there and will “provide a variety of housing options.” The city will work with the developers to “work toward the goal of increasing the affordable housing stock in the city.”
But the project would be a “social cleansing” that would remove the Black residents and tear the “Bishop community down to make way for a more diverse and vibrant city.”
“The mayor has had the courage to ask the public to help him decide how best to proceed with a plan that was both a tragedy and a tragedy for Palm Springs.” — Donald Trump, July 2018
Palm Springs’s city council says this is a “once in a century decision” that should be “reconsidered in three months.”
The plan is clearly a political statement that says to the people in the area, “You are not wanted here.”
The redevelopment plan says this isn’t the first time this has happened to people of color