more than half of the city’s houses arernnow rental units and that Lima oftenrntops those national rankings of affordablernhousing.rnIn typical bureaucratic fashion, agencyrnofficials never bothered to tell therncommunity about their plans. The mayor,rna liberal Democrat who was a publicrnhousing bureaucrat before being electedrnto his post, did not see any reason to raisernthis “divisive” issue, either. (As his toprncommunity development official toldrnme, people in the community are not capablernof having a rational discussionrnabout such matters.)rnAfter the Lima News reported aboutrnthe plan in early January, residents simmeredrnwith anger. They knew from pastrnexperience that Met houses brought arnwave of crime, drugs, and lower-class culturernonto their blocks. And they bitterlyrnresented the fact that the agency wasrnspending $96,000 per home for welfarernmoms in a city where a typical houserncosts about $50,000. But there was also arnsense of resignation—and fear. Morernthan a few residents told me about thernthreats and harassment they enduredrnfrom Met Housing tenants after theyrnfiled a complaint with the housingrnagency.rnThe policies imposed on Lima are thernsame ones the feds are inflicting on citiesrnthroughout the country. We know whatrnhappened after HUD built those dehumanizingrnhousing complexes in big citiesrnacross America in the 1960’s. Instead ofrnproviding affordable housing for America’srnpoor, HUD-funded apartmentrnblocks turned into some of the nation’srnmost dangerous places.rnNever let it be said that bureaucratsrnare deterred by ignominious failure.rnHUD’s new plan is to scatter low-incomerntenants throughout middle-class neighborhoodsrnso the underclass won’t be isolatedrnin public housing ghettos. In otherrnwords, if the “racist” and “class-conscious”rnmiddle class won’t move to therninner city, the feds will move the innerrncity to the middle class.rnThe encouraging news is that after thernLima News ran a series of columns thatrnraised these points, residents began tornspeak out and city councilmembersrnmoved the issue to the top of their agenda.rnThe response by the agency was swiftrnand furious. Model public housing tenantsrnwere trotted out to show the lifechangingrnresults of the agency’s programs.rnThe local code czar claimedrnthere are no more problems at Met propertiesrnthan any other properties (she convenientlyrnneglected to check police logsrnhlled with calls relating to Met-ownedrnproperties). Met Housing supportersrncastigated agency opponents as meanspiritedrnracists.rnThis paragraph that I wrote in a bylinedrncolumn came under heavy fire;rnWe’re assured that, this time, thernhouse designs will be more sensitivernto their surroundings. I’mrnmore concerned, however, aboutrnwho lives inside the houses thanrnwhat they look like from the outside.rnPeople who work hard andrninvest their hard-earned cash in arnhouse tend to make better neighborsrnthan government dependents.rnBut instead of running for cover, tworncity councilmembers publicly supportedrnmy column, and scores of residents wroternfavorable letters to the editor. After thernensuing debate, the council voted 7-2 torndeclare a moratorium on the building ofrnthe 28 houses until a study is done torndocument its impact on neighborhoods.rnThe vote was largely symbolic. Thernagency is accountable to a local boardrnconveniently stacked with public housingrncheerieaders and to federal officialsrnin Columbus and Washington. Whenrnthe agency, as expected, ignored therncouncil’s vote, the council refused tornback down. The council is now seekingrnan injunction to stop the project afterrnlearning that the agency ignored anrnOhio law requiring it to gain approvalrnfrom the county planning commissionrnbefore proceeding with construction. Inrnresponse, HUD sent an attorney fromrnColumbus to bully the city into droppingrnits resistance. “The federal governmentrnis saying, ‘If you don’t let MHArnbreak the law, then we will cut offrnCDBG [community development blockrngrants] funds,'” one councilmemberrnsaid. “If the federal government withholdsrnfunds, then we need to sue themrnfor violating the law as well.”rnThe Lima City Council voted 7-2 tornproceed with the lawsuit after membersrnpointedly said that HUD could keep itsrnblock grants. Only at this point didrnHUD and Met Housing agree to a publicrnmeeting to discuss the scattered-siternplan. Despite their efforts to stack thernmeeting with pro-public housing advocates,rnangry residents showed up inrndroves and documented the damagernMet Housing policies have inflicted onrntheir neighborhoods.rnNo one in Lima is entertaining seriousrnhopes about stopping the agency’s latestrnfolly. But we have stirred a much-neededrndebate, annoyed some overpaid bureaucrats,rnand proved that charges ofrnracism and heartlessness do not alwaysrncarry the dav. That mav be a modestrnachievement, but it could be a first steprntoward taking back our city from an arrogantrnelite.rnSteven Greenhut is editorial-page editorrnof the Lima News in Ohio.rnLetter FromrnLondonrnby Derek TurnerrnAllah in Piccadillyrn”The retrogressive tendencies of the massesrnwere invariably reinforced by the periodicrninvasions of aliens who had no respectrnfor official deities or temple creeds.”rn—Donald A. McKenzie,rnMyths of Babylonia and AssyriarnJust over a year after the opening of arnvast, phantasmagorical Hindu temple inrnNeasden, north London, has come newsrnthat Britain’s Muslims are flexing theirrnmuscles again. “Muslims planning 100rnnew mosques by millennium” ran thernportentous headline in the Daily Telegraphrnon February 3. Although some ofrnthese mosques are still at planning permissionrnstage, the various architects allrnsound confident that obtaining the permissionrnwill be a mere formality in almostrnall cases. This means that 100 or sornnew mosque buildings (they are not allrnnew mosques, as some are merely replacingrnold, unsuitable mosque buildings)rnwill soon be arising to change Britain’srnurban skylines. All will be built accordingrnto the classic Muslim pattern, with arncentral dome and minarets, and separaternentrances for men and women. Somernhave already arisen, like the Bilal Masjidrnmosque in Harehills Lane, Leeds, whichrnis almost complete. “If you stand inrn38/CHRONICLESrnrnrn