Tuesday, April 3, 2007

City readies "Boot the Mentally Retarded" Revenue Stream

This is typical of a liberal like Houston Mayor Bill White. I bet he was looking as a big paycheck for the city and possible political contributions from the developes he sells the land to.

Read the clip below. If this doesn't "piss you off," then nothing will.

The Houston Chronicle's Melanie Markley reports that the city is proceeding with plans to tear up its lease with a local non-profit group that houses the mentally retarded, so that it can deliver their prime River Oaks real estate to local developers (and enjoy a nice revenue boost):

For more than 40 years, it has occupied a prime chunk of public real estate near River Oaks caring for, employing and housing the mentally retarded.

But now the city of Houston is planning to sell the land to the highest bidder, meaning the nonprofit Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation has to find a new home.

The center's directors do not intend to go quietly. They have a 99-year lease signed with the city in the 1960s that required them to construct buildings and provide services for one of the city's neediest populations.

The 99-year lease, signed in 1963 by then-Mayor Lewis Cutrer, is not valid, city lawyers argue, because the city charter limits such agreements to no more than 30 years.

Center officials also worry that the move seriously will jeopardize the centrally located services they provide for roughly 600 Houstonians.

Most at risk, they say, are the nearly 200 adults living in a dormitory on the property. The center faces the task of building new living quarters or finding other facilities and homes that can take them.

We're thinking that it's not going to be very helpful to Mayor White's plans to run for statewide office when opposition researchers discover that he was the Houston mayor who booted mentally retarded people out on the street to help out real-estate developers (or, for that matter, that he was the Houston mayor who planned to finance his big freeway towing program partially on the backs of poor people whose cars were towed, confiscated, and sold by favored towing companies).

Here's hoping Mayor White rethinks this one. He can surely find some other ways to generate revenue.

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