Jackie Thompson: Residents Deserve Safe, Decent Housing


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blogimage.jpgAn Open Letter to Councilmember Butt by Jackie Thompson, Public Housing Resident, Housing Authority Advisory Commissioner, and Housing Board Commissioner.

"There are hundreds of people on the waiting list for these public housing units that provide clean, safe and affordable housing at far below market rates," Butt wrote. "It seems that once people get into public housing, they think they are in a hotel with maid service."

Councilmember Butt,

I have underlined a quote that the West County Times has contributed to you.  Giving you the "benefit of the doubt", I personally would like to know what you meant?  If you made this comment, I want you to know that as a Black Woman who grew up in public housing and who had to move back into public housing as a Senior Citizen, I am offended.  I don't look at slave pictures where blacks are stereotyped because it brings about a hurt of what my parents and grand parents had to endure.  I hate, and detest, racist comments as well as derogatory comments that affect cultures. Your comment is racist and derogatory at it's best and you owe "ALL RESIDENTS" of Public Housing an apology.

What you have just done is proved how others such as yourself (and be it any like you) think about low-income, project housed  residents.  Let me tell you something...there are many people in Public Housing who are intelligent, educated, and strong-willed people.  You have just offended a huge population of people (public housing residents as well as non public housing residents) who are insulted by your remarks.  It may be too late for you, but I do hope that you would publicly apologize from your seat at the dais during the next Special City Council Meeting.  If you don't, I do hope that the Mayor and City Council apologize for you from her (or their)  seat on your behalf  for what you've been quoted as saying.

Do you honestly think you made an "intelligent" comment? Why do you think the residents of Public Housing think they are in a "hotel" with "maid service"?

Well, you gave your opinion (and oh boy did you give it), but in the "opinion" of others,  you've presented yourself as a racist, and biased towards residents of public housing in the worst way.  In all of my years of working with Public Housing residents and volunteering my services with this City (and other cities), I have never heard anyone making comments such as what you've been quoted as saying.  You are no better than the official in San Pablo who made derogatory comments about Asians and Blacks.  You do remember that don't you? Your resignation from the Council should be asked for immediately!  

Let me remind you, I am a resident of Public Housing.  I don't think that I'm in a hotel and I surely don't look for "maid service";  I do look for  decent, safe and sanitary housing...I look for competent staff who know how to take a phone request for maintenance and follow-up on it ; I look for staff who don't curse me out (information sent you previously); I look for staff who have common sense and who are respectful; I look for staff who know how to maintain property and and keep the grounds clean; I look for staff who are professional in what they do, and if they are not professional at it, they should know how to act like it; I look for staff to come to work and appreciate the clients (who are the residents and keep the "maid" pay check coming). The "maids" work for the client(s)--the resident of public housing.

When you don't allow me and other residents to live in decent, safe and sanitary housing, then you are right, we are going to be demanding, but not as one living in a "hotel looking for maid service", but as people who get fed up and tell you to your face how we/they feel, then you call "us" names.  I will become demanding while looking to have the same right you have (in Pt. Richmond) where you live in a decent, safe and sanitary manner. All people have a right to live as I've stated.

Well, your "true color(s) " have been exposed about how you feel when it comes to people in public housing.  I'll close with this...while growing up in the projects of San Francisco, my parents taught me that if you look long enough at something bad..you will see something good in it.  I'm really trying to look at you and see something GOOD in you!

I'm mindful of negligent parents who attempt to raise kids..the kids get in trouble and stay in trouble..When the children get caught and go to juvenile or jail...then the negligent parent wants to say.."My child is a good child". You cannot cover-up the bad act and/or wrong doing of your "maids" who want to get paid for poor service. My conversation with residents at Friendship, Nevin and the Hacienda indicate you have damaged whatever good the Housing Authority, City, Mayor and Councilmembers are / were attempting. You said / did a horrible thing!  

Well Councilman Butt, your "City Employee Maids" who work for the "Hotel Housing Authority", should do their work or get fired--then maybe..just maybe the "Hotel Renters" won't have to complain about "Room Service" that is "horrible", and they won't have to complain about the "maids" you and the City hired."!

I am asking the City Clerk to file this e-mail in your political file with the City of Richmond.

Jackie Thompson
Resident of Public Housing, President, Friendship Manor Resident Council, Housing Authority Advisory Commissioner, Housing Board Commissioner

Photo by Ian A. Stewart, posted via Richmond Confidential.

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  • followed this page 2014-03-11 19:05:07 -0700
  • commented 2014-03-10 22:02:06 -0700
    Mr. Butt was referring to the tenants who don’t keep their apartment and nearby hallway clean, which attracts the rats and roaches that the other tenants have to endure. His comments were not meant as racist, but perhaps they were to true to understand.
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