Call it by its name

There’s a new buzzword in City Hall: Reset.

As words go it’s got the virtue of seeming to be content neutral. It can mean anything you want it to.

“We promised a reset, and that reset will take until May or so most likely,” Mayor Harvey Ward says.

As though, sometime in May, the City is going to turn its computers off and then on again. Yeah, a reset.

The only problem with “reset” is that it sounds a bit like “reseg.” Which smacks of a buzzword for “resegregation.” And nobody wants to use that word in this day and age.

But that’s pretty much what commissioners will do if they “reset” city zoning ordinances to the way they were before the previous commission decided to eliminate exclusionary zoning – better known as single family zoning.

Single family zoning is a legacy of the Jim Crow era. It was imposed in an earlier century to keep neighborhoods segregated by economic class…which was and largely still is tantamount to segregation by race.

Decades later, single family exclusionary zoning continues to lock affordable housing options – duplexes, triplexes, town houses, smaller lot sizes and the like – out of large sections of the city.

The segregating impact of exclusionary zoning is why the Planning Board won’t cooperate with this “reset.” It’s why the city’s own professional planners have recommended against a “reset.”

Of course Gainesville is hardly alone in resisting inclusionary zoning reforms. A piece in the New York Times, written by editorial board member Mara Gay, takes note of widespread resistance to a proposal by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. She wants to encourage more affordable housing, partially by overriding exclusionary zoning in suburban communities.

Gay writes: “Some of the backlash to the effort to build more housing in the suburbs has evoked euphemistic language that might have brought a smile to a Southern segregationist in the era of ‘states’ rights.’”

“Euphemistic language” like we need exclusionary zoning to “retain the unique character of our communities.”

She argues: “New York has never fully reckoned with its history of racist housing policies, which have helped make the region among the most segregated in the United States.”

And: “Whether they like it or not, New York officials fighting to maintain these exclusionary housing policies are on the wrong side of history, defending zoning laws written to keep Black, Hispanic, Jewish, Asian and other Americans from sharing in the prosperity and opportunity of the country’s suburbs.”

Ward and some commissioners seem determined to undo last year’s zoning reforms no matter what. Promises to do so were made in the last election. And if keeping a campaign promise puts GNV “on the wrong side of history” so be it.

But let’s be honest and call it what it is.

It’s not a “reset.”

It’s a “reseg,”

1 Comment

  1. Hey there, Ron! 👋🏼 I just wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU 🙏🏼 for your powerful article on racial equity! You truly are the 💯 LOCAL CHAMPION 💪🏼 that our community needs right now!

    I am so grateful that you are a white man who is not afraid to speak up and share your opinions on what Black people need. 🙌🏼 It takes a lot of courage to do that, and you are setting a great example for others to follow.

    Your article was incredibly inspiring and eye-opening! You really hit the nail on the head when you called out the systemic racism that still exists in our society today. 💥 Your words were so powerful and empowering!

    I just want to let you know that I am here to support you in any way that I can! 💕 Keep up the amazing work, hun! You are truly making a difference in the world! #ChampionForRacialEquity #ThankYouRon #SpeakTruth #NoFear #CommunityHeroes 🌟

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s