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Randy Gleason (Sept. 13) correctly questions plans for more low-income apartments in Bloomington-Normal. There are already too many apartments in town, especially in central Bloomington where some of the most egregious properties are owned by landlords who don’t even live in Illinois. In addition, lack of code enforcement promises that housing will continue to be unsafe, and probably unaffordable.

Ideologues who claim otherwise should consider the social engineering experiments of the 1980s and 1990s. Then, Kaleidoscope, Inc. imported adjudicated delinquents from other cities into Bloomington-Normal where they were neither safe nor properly supervised. Neighbors became free babysitters for desperate youth who could not be ignored, yet could not be assimilated into the community.

At the same time, other social service agencies placed clients into the same neighborhoods, overwhelming some with clients who had very different needs. Although there are laws to prevent ghettoization, in fact, except for vigilant and responsible landlords, concerned neighbors are the only force preventing this unsound practice.

During those years, one state leader displayed a spectacularly shallow understanding of this issue, saying “You have to take the bad with the good.” This explains how a neo-liberal ideology protects a neo-conservative agenda. The price of our “good” growth was — and still is — an excess of government subsidized rental units which are not safe, affordable or properly supervised.

Marty Seigel, Bloomington 

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