Everything in decency and in order. I'm here today as Judith Robinson testifying on Bill No. 130156.
I have watched this inception, this campaign to create a land bank, the meetings, the $200,000 foundation funding, the lack of African Americans involved in any leadership position as we embark on a land grab.
Most of the vacant land is located in the areas where African Americans were sold raggedy properties, also where white flight happened overnight in some cases, where families were redlined, and where government policies, NTI, added to the vacant land bank from 40, 50 years before.
There are several areas of concern: white supremacy, institutional racism, ignorance, and greed. This land bank will be another layer of bureaucracy deciding who gets to develop, who gets vacant land. If this process so far is any indication of the future, we have major problems.
African Americans lose in the implementation of these policies. This land banking alone, with the RCO fiasco, land will move without input from homeowners and residents. As public documents will prove, land banking has been ongoing for decades. This is something different. If PHA is not brought to the table, being the gentrification agency with many unmaintained parcels, we will continue this illusion of eliminating blight.
The Sheriff Department -- and I'm going to readdress this in the future -- is selling tax lien properties without proper notification. They tape the notification on the stakeholder's door.
We must work to abate the ills that cause people to abandon properties. Little focus is on that area as we grab land in neighborhoods where social ills are out of control.
We must have inclusion of homeowners in this process who reside in these communities and who are vested for the long haul. Having institutional knowledge to avoid some of the nonsense that has been ongoing would also be of value.
You deposit land in the bank, but I ask the question, who can make a withdrawal? That is the big question. Over a decade or more I have been observing this process, and as the documents that I put before you today will prove, African Americans lose. There's a gentleman, a very worldwide artist, who is being asked to move out of his property and make way for some development.
Whenever African Americans are involved in this process, it appears that there's no way they can be included in the development or that their input is accepted. I'm sure we'll be talking about these things as time comes, but I appreciate your time and attention.
Thank you very much.