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Resident Houston asks: Would you want your family treated like black people in this city?

Resident Houston asks: Would you want your family treated like black people in this city?

by Joseph KisselFebruary 3, 2017
Raises questions about the zoning of building at Corinthia and Trowbridge.

Steve Houston (above) addressed the Lockport Common Council on Wednesday during the public comment section of the meeting.

“Once again I’m here about the same issues: skin color, locational issues, racially biased intention, economic rape of the poverty stricken and the oppressed black community. “

“My first question is: how long does it take to notify the assessor’s office to find out who owns the property across from my house? To notify those people to either come out or the city is supposed to clean it up. I’ve been bringing this issue up for quite a while now and nothing has been done.”

“I get promises but nothing. The same thing with the tree in my yard. You were supposed to send out the superintendent of the streets department. You never did. You have certain people of color around certain wards — the black community — and we the black community are going to start holding them accountable. We see what they are doing for the white community but they have done nothing for the betterment of the black community. “

“And these are people who say they’re doing a good job? Good for who? Not for us.”

“One of the problems is that we have nobody in city hall that looks like me. I’m not saying are not qualified. I am sure they are well qualified. The problem is, we want somebody in city hall that looks like us. Somebody that we can go to and relate to. “

“I’m tired of paying taxes into a system that encourages the oppression of black people while giving every other ethnic group an opportunity to come into our community and economically rape us. They take the funds out but they put nothing back. They don’t hire our people. Yet still, you encourage and approve their practices. And that’s got to stop.”

“I asked you before about the building on Corinthia and Trowbridge. That property was empty for quite a few years. According to the city’s charter that was supposed to revert back to residential. It never did. Evidently, somebody made a backroom deal.”

“The recycling business is getting bigger and bigger. Has there been an impact study done? You cleaned up Waters Street but you’re dumping out there. That’s going to cause another problem down the road. That place is getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

“Some people say well maybe I shouldn’t talk about race. But I ask you, council and the people in the audience and the people watching on TV.  How many of you want your family members — wife, sisters, brothers, mother, father — to be treated like black people are this city, state or country? Let’s see a show of hands before I walk away. Anybody? Who would want that treatment for their family?”

Nobody raises a hand.

“We are tired of being dumped on,” said Steve Houston. “We are looking for opportunity and we get nothing. We get the old waiting game. We come down here with an issue and you never reply to anything. You put us on hold week after week and month after month and year after year.”

City clerk: One minute.

Houston: One minute … (pauses) I’ll be back. Thanks.

About The Author
Joseph Kissel
Joseph Kissel is a journalist, editor and photographer. He is also the Vice President of the New York Coalition for Open Government, a non-partisan, non-profit group that advocates for transparency and the public's right to freedom of information.