May 1, 2012

Bill That Would Put People Into Foreclosed Homes Draws Heavy Flak

5-1-2012 New Jersey:

Americans for Prosperity TV spot says bill would move drug addicts, sex offenders, and homeless into affordable housing.

Although it still enjoys support from a broad coalition, legislation to turn some foreclosed homes into affordable housing now also faces deep-pockets opposition.

Americans for Prosperity, an economic policy group launched by coal billionaire David Koch, is mounting an advertising campaign on radio and television trying to rally public opinion against the proposal -- Senate Bill S-1022.

"A lot of people don't even know this is happening, or the significant negative impacts this bill will have on our neighborhoods," said Steve Lonegan, the former Bogota mayor and gubernatorial candidate who is the state director of Americans For Prosperity.

He echoed the TV spot, which suggests the effect would be to "move in drug addicts, ex-cons, sex offenders, and homeless people."

"Any local official would have to be crazy to support this," Lonegan said of the legislation, whose primary sponsors are state Sens. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) and Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) and Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Union).

The proposals' backers include the state League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Builders Association, the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, the New Jersey Bankers Association, and other groups not often found lined up together.

Supporters said the criticisms reflect a misreading or misunderstanding of key provisions of the bill. At least, those who responded politely said that. ..For the remainder of this story: by Joe Tyrrell

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