A Campaign Of Deception Has Swayed At Least 2 Council Members. What About The Other 5?

Our friends at the FHAC published their latest propaganda report and are disseminating it to the media and Council Members as credible research, which it is not. One of the most glaring falsehoods is the restating of facts as shocking lies. Let’s contrast the following facts taken from the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Home Survey (AHS) and learn how the FHAC perverted the original meaning and distorted the truth.

Child health and safety.
For households in which children under 7 years of age live in or regularly visit. Respondents were asked if all, some, or none of the electrical outlets in their homes had child tamper-resistant outlet covers. (AHS Definitions)

The 2015 AHS is asking the respondents if they have “child tamper-resistant outlet covers” installed over the electrical outlets?” Here is what a child tamper-resistant outlet cover looks like below. Aftermarket child safety devices are purchased by some homeowners and renters with small children from Lowes, Home Depot or the neighborhood hardware.

   tamper-cover-small                                      tamper-4

Here is the actual survey question asked respondents in the U.S. Census Bureau’s AHS:

How many of the electrical outlets in your home have child tamper-resistant outlet covers? Would you say all, some or none? (page 253, AHS)

Now, if you are of the mind to play fast and loose with the truth and mislead your readers to believe that the evil landlord has neglected to provide proper outlet covers required in the electrical code, and by implication the evil landlord is exposing children to grave danger and possibly death, you would restate the data so it appears to look like landlord neglect. Here’s how FHAC distorted the truth in their false report:

12,725 units had uncovered electrical outlets and children under seven living in or regularly visiting the home. (FALSE REPORT New Orleans Substandard Rental Housing Crisis Continues)

outlet-uncoveredThis is what an uncovered electrical outlet looks like, and this is  what comes to mind when you tell people:

 12,725 units had uncovered electrical outlets

A “child tamper-resistant outlet cover” and an “uncovered electrical outlet” are two distinct and separate things.

The Rental Registry (RR) advocates distorted the facts to create a nonexistent “rental housing crisis,” but the real crisis is corrupting the truth and manufacturing false reports that mislead the public. This subterfuge is being used to condemn landlords and justify the massive RR program. The proposed RR will cost renters and landlords upwards of $10 million in fees and associated compliance cost.

RR advocates have taken a small percentage of complaints, a handful of angry renters, mixed in false data, several 501(c)(3) groups, misinformed the media, added a little hocus pocus and there it is—a manufactured non-existent crisis. This is an unconscionable disservice that exploits all renters and landlords. (Source: Are Rental Registry Advocates Deliberately Misleading The Public?)

All of the FHAC propaganda follows the same pattern of misinterpreting and twisting the facts so it appears to be credible to the unwary reader. There are several other glaring falsehoods in the FHAC report that utilize AHS data. For example, the AHS ask respondents about water leaks inside their homes. Here are the questions:

Since you lived here, did water leak in– from broken pipes or water heaters, backed up plumbing?

Did any inside water leaks happen within the past 12 months?

1. Own plumbing fixtures back up and/or overflowed 2. Pipes leaked (include pipe leaks from other apartments) 3. Broken water heater 4. Other, specify 5. Unknown.  (page 82, AHS)

The questions address a specific incident that may have occurred since the respondents have been living in their homes and then narrows the incident to the past 12 months. Things like a leaking drain pipe under the sink, clogged toilet, water heater leak, or a plumbing fixture backup were some of the possible answers. Never does the question ask, suggest or conclude that the respondent is “living in units” where the landlord has not repaired the reported leak. Nevertheless, here is how the data is distorted to mislead the public into thinking that people are currently unable to get the landlord to repair a leak and consequently are forced to live in a substandard apartment:

Thousands of other families are living in units with other specific problems, including: (FHAC)

The words “are living in units” implies the present tense or ongoing problem has never been repaired. It concludes that the landlord has neglected to make the needed repair and the tenant is living in a unit that is substandard. To add insult to injury, the RR propagandist falsely characterized the respondent’s answers as “major problems,” which they were not. This is false. The RR advocates use this distortion technic to restate a simple question about a single water leak response, during the past 12 months, and regurgitate them as ongoing unresolved water leaks that are ignored by the landlord and never repaired. They paint the tenant as the victim of the evil landlord, unable to convince the landlord to repair the leak. None of the survey data supports these lies.

To properly interpret the AHS data we must look at the question being asked, the explanatory definition, and the respondents answer. The AHS has 278 pages of questions and 46 pages of definitions that guide researchers and statisticians in understanding the survey data. Because the AHS is a very detailed and complex survey, it is easy for RR advocates to cherry-pick words, phrases, and data from the full context of the AHS report and construct just about any distorted narrative one chooses. 

The FHAC report:  New Orleans Substandard Rental Housing Crisis Continues deserves
and “A+” for deception and an “F” for truthfulness. 

New Orleans City Council Members Cantrell and Williams have unfortunately based the illegal Rental Registry proposal, aka “Health Homes Ordinance” on a pack of lies, misinformation, and half-truths fed to them by a group of 501(c)(3) seeking self-validation and millions of dollars in government grant money from HUD. The RR legislation will enrich the coffers of City Hall and allow Cantrell and Williams to appear as champions of the downtrodden. We fully expect that Cantrell and Williams will relentlessly pursue its passage. There are 5 other council members that need to see through the charade being played out in the media. 

The RR will cause rents to soar and empty the pockets of renters as RR fees and associated compliance cost tax renters out of New Orleans. Higher rents make it virtually impossible for renters to save a down-payment and one day purchase their own home. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. There are 12 other detailed blogs on this site explaining everything you need to know about the proposed RR. Please contact the New Orleans City Council members and express your disapproval of the RR. Your voice only matters if you speak up!

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  1. Sid says:

    Someone should report them for fraud.


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