Alphonso Jackson is such a tool. He has approved MS Governor Haley Barbour’s plan to divert HUD Community Development Block Grants for housing to be used for port repair and expansion. And he did so even though he believed that MS was indeed diverting funds needed and intended for housing, something which Haley denies. From theSun Herald…
GULFPORT –The U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development approved a state plan Friday to spend $600 million in
grants on the Port of Gulfport instead of housing.
advocates have been the loudest critics of the plan, and their concerns
were backed this week by two congressional Democrats – U.S. Reps.
Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif. – who urged HUD
Secretary Alphonso Jackson to oppose the plan.
But despite those
cries, Jackson sent a letter to Gov. Haley Barbour on Friday approving
the state’s plan to divert the $600 million, initially earmarked for
housing, to repair and expand the Port of Gulfport, the third-busiest
container port along the Gulf of Mexico.
Frank and Waters sent a
letter to Jackson on Thursday, citing a recent FEMA report that
estimated more than 40,000 Mississippians remained displaced after the
storm as of November 2007.
Opponents of the port spending say
curing the state’s profound housing crisis is a much more pressing need
than upgrading the port.
The money is part of $5.5 billion in HUD
Community Development Block Grants approved by Congress after Hurricane
Katrina. The Mississippi Development Authority, which answers to
Barbour, is charged with administering the grants.
The MDA disputes the claim that the money is being yanked from
affordable-housing programs. Barbour has said the state’s original
request in 2005 for Katrina-relief funding through HUD included the
port project, in addition to housing.
Barbour issued a statement
Friday, saying he appreciated HUD’s recognition; he said the port’s
restoration “has been a key component of Mississippi’s comprehensive
recovery plan since the fall of 2005.”
I bet he does appreciate Alphonso when even though Alphonso believes Haley is diverting the funds he finds a way to blame Congress…
In the letter from HUD, the federal housing secretary did express some qualms with the plan to move the money.
remain concerned that this expansion does indeed divert emergency
federal funding from other more pressing recovery needs, most notably
affordable housing,” Jackson wrote to Barbour.
But Jackson said
specific “congressional language” associated with the recovery grants
gave him little choice but to approve the diversion.
For some silly reason I thought when the Dems took back Congress we’d see an end to this crap but here is Water’s weak reaction…
The Associated Press on Friday she could not understand why Jackson
believed he didn’t have the authority to reject the plan.
“I am suspicious that Barbour receives favored treatment with this administration. He kind of gets his way,” Waters said.