The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Baltimore:
A Travesty of “Justice”

Aug 19, 2013

The Baltimore City Housing Authority recently paid off court-awarded claims for 6.8 million dollars won by six people for lead poisoning they suffered when living with their families in public housing. When they were children, these people ingested particles of lead-based paint from trim work in these houses; they suffered permanent brain damage and have severe learning and behavior problems. This happened after lead paint was banned in Baltimore in 1950.

These claims are just part of 12 million dollars awarded years ago to former residents of Baltimore public housing. But for a long time the city refused to pay any of them.

So where did the housing authority finally come up with the funds to pay off these six claims now? From federal public housing funds that otherwise would be spent on providing 700 families with public housing! Who gave the city permission to do this? The federal government!

This is outrageous, particularly since Congress just cut more than 10 percent of the federal funding for Baltimore public housing when more affordable housing is desperately needed.

Where should the money for settlement of these claims come from? How about from the politicians and city officials who allowed this lead poisoning to occur in the first place!? How about from all the developers and corporations that cut corners with lead paint and have been getting hundreds of millions in tax breaks and other subsidies from the city and state, while the victims of lead poisoning have been waiting for decades for compensation!?