Rent too damn high!

Dear Editor:

The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) and the campaigns of Eritha Akile’ Cainion for District 7 and Anne Hirsch for District 5 understand that the black community needs affordable housing!

Our platforms call for reparations to the black community! Reparations to build affordable housing and create economic development that allows the black community to thrive!

Rent too damn high — a refrain from St. Petersburg’s south side black community challenges what the city council and Mayor Rick Kriseman are doing to the community. Those city officials just approved another luxury apartment complex on 34th Street, in the heart of District 7’s black community.

At the groundbreaking for the Addison Apartments, Kriseman gave an open invitation to big-money developers from out of town to ransack the black community claiming that everyone looks at downtown, but that the 34th Street South area is the real opportunity for development.

Many in the black community are already paying 54 percent of their income on housing. Affordable housing is what is needed right now! The people can’t wait!

InPDUM is drawing a line in the sand!

At a recent press conference on 34th Street South in front of the old Kmart, where the city and developers had staged the “groundbreaking” of the Addison complex, InPDUM made it clear this development will not move forward.

“The city has crossed a line.  We are saying you can’t come into the deep south of the south side and build luxury apartments for white people when the black community needs affordable housing,”  said Eritha Akile’ Cainion, who is running for District 7.

I am running for District 5 in unity with the platform put forward by Akile. I joined her at the press conference where I stated: “So many white people I have spoken to in District 5 stand behind the call for reparations to the black community, for economic development and affordable housing. We don’t want to be part of the city’s plan to push out the black community. We want a city where social justice prevails.”

No other candidates have a platform calling for a halt to the gentrification of the black community. Only Akile and I have a plan to stop the city from pushing the historic black community out of St. Petersburg.

The third point on our 10-point platform reads: “We will build a healthy economy in this city that doesn’t tolerate real estate speculation by those outside of a neighborhood at the expense of its residents. The black community should not be forced out of this city to benefit gentrifiers and land speculators.

“We will allocate resources to aid black and low-income homeowners to stay in their houses and improve them. We support community commerce, homeownership and rent control. We don’t want our city to become a West Palm Beach playground for millionaires!”

Akile and I say that it will take a social movement to push back against the greed of the big developers and the city officials whose campaign coffers they line with donations.

We have been hitting the streets, knocking on doors and meeting the people.  So many residents feel their city officials are failing them. This makes people decide not want to vote, but Akile and I are fighting for the interests of regular working citizens in this city!

We are rallying the people to take back the city from the greedy capitalist developers and corrupt politicians.  To create a truly sustainable and resilient city, the working people must have power, and the black community must have black economic and political power!

Reparations is the way forward for justice in this city!  It is the way we create real sustainability and resiliency! Join the call! Volunteer! Donate!

Everyone donating just one dollar will build this campaign by and for the people!

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