New Bedford Activists Understand Money Power [OPINION]
The city of New Bedford has resisted the chaos and violence that has engulfed other urban areas. It is a credit to all involved in this intense environment.
The conversation should be about economic power and how that power is acquired and preserved. In New Bedford, that is the conversation that is being pushed by local activists. There is nothing left for anybody if it is destroyed.
Recently there have been two important economic matters in New Bedford that have reached a flashpoint.
The first was the auctioning off of a residential property as abandoned property. Maura Healey, the Democrat Attorney General of Massachusetts, has a program to use state laws to claim abandoned properties and put those properties into the hands of owners who will bring them back to basic sanitary codes.
According to the Standard-Times, the auction was postponed due to irregularities in the process that were discovered by local activists. A local non-profit organization, W.H.A.L.E. is the driver in this foreclosure and auction process. Local activists and some elected officials accuse W.H.A.L.E. of using its economic, political, legal knowledge to swindle the local Black community out of their property.
Local community activist Erik Andrade told the paper that the $105,000 that W.H.A.LE. put into the home was actually taxpayer money through the Community Preservation Act, and that the organization frequently tries to acquire property in that area while not caring about the people of the community around it.
“This project is not about community preservation, it is an act of community gentrification,” he told the paper. “Gentrification is a continued act of genocide committed against our community.”
The other issue is the amount of taxpayer funds organizations and private developers are receiving from the city of New Bedford to fix up properties. Again it is W.H.A.L.E. and the activists going at it over a financial dispute.
The fight is always about economics and the city of New Bedford is showing the way on how to fight within the system without destruction.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.