Executive order could put the public at risk

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Like a number of communities, Sikeston has seen an uptick in violent crime recently despite a concentrated effort by the Department of Public Safety to monitor and control the criminal element within our community.

I shudder to think where we would be today without the quality of Public Safety leadership and the dedication of the men and women who serve here in uniform.

But despite these best efforts, Sikeston unfortunately has gang and drug activities that bring unwanted violence and diminish the quality of life for all residents.

I have long argued that one of the tools to combat crime is a concentrated effort to monitor housing. Private landlords and public housing units must be able to exclude those who have a criminal background as an assurance to the residents of Sikeston that the best efforts are being made to keep our community safe.

But in one of the most blatant disruptive actions ever taken, the Obama administration - through yet another stupid executive order - has told private landlords and Public Housing Authorities they can no longer use criminal history or arrests as a basis to deny housing to an individual.

In his obsessive quest for "fundamental transformation" of society, this president wants to transform communities where lifestyle and past criminal actions are ignored, apparently for the "great good" of all citizens.

The end result of this massive Obama mistake is that some law-abiding citizens may well be put at risk by allowing the criminal element to move in next door.

Here's how our national housing policy has worked in the past.

If a person is arrested for a crime involving drugs or violence, those individuals can be prohibited from housing assistance from taxpayers. A whole host of other crimes - shoplifting, driving while intoxicated, bad checks, etc., are not and have never been a basis to deny housing.

But if an individual is guilty of manufacturing meth or child molesting, those crimes remain automatic reasons for housing denial.

Sikeston has approximately 250 public housing units, about the same number of Section 8 properties and around 2,000 private rental properties.

And now one of the tools that helps to keep our community safe has been removed by the Obama administration.

So just keep in mind, your hard-earned tax dollars may well be going to house criminals within our community and private property owning landlords may well be forced to rent to someone with a checkered criminal history.

Don't ever tell me elections don't have consequences. This latest executive order is the result of a liberal community activist trying his best to transform this nation into his image.

God help us.

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