Readers' Letters
by: Christopher Onstott Moloy Good, executive director of the Fair Housing Council of Oregon, said a test of bias among landlords uncovered widespread instances of discrimination against applicants who were black or Mexicans immigrants. Letter writers weigh in on the topic.

I find this 'study' somewhat difficult to believe in its conclusions (Discrimination 'haunts' local renters, May 12).

While 'truthiness' supports the discrimination claim - the inaccessibility of the study, i.e., no link in the Tribune's article nor was one found on the Web, leaves me with believing, or not, an article that lacks any independent questioning of the claims.

We are told - because the Tribune was told - that the testing is the same as demanded to take legal action. Thus, if discrimination is as bad as depicted, then lawsuits should be filed rather than the tarring effect of making broad-based assertions. Of course there is always the money excuse as to the absence of lawsuits.

From the article we are not told who the landlords are or even the geographic area where the rentals were located. Nor are we provided information on the hired testers. We are told that these testers did not know why they were hired. Oh, please!

We are left to believe the published assertions, e.g., the agent didn't call the tester back because he or she is discriminating based on race or national origin. Lawsuits have special value in illegal discrimination cases. They test the claims and provide a remedy that reaches a broad base of violators or potential violators. It seems to be a preferable method of combating actual discrimination rather than making broad claims. But it is far too easy to make claims that don't have to be verified. In general, the law requires that the discrimination be intentional and that it resulted in discrimination. That doesn't seem to be too big of a burden.

Portland is a city that revels in flogging itself because of what it wants to perceive as discrimination. Commissioner Fish sees racists under the bed. He likes to remind us that he was a civil rights attorney, therefore that makes him the discrimination expert, and he knows that just because you can't see it - he does.

If these assertions of discrimination have factual foundation, that is, there is actual illegal discrimination, then the 'bad actors' have to be weeded out - not create another 'table' for conversation.

Larry Norton

Northwest Portland

Garbage surveys are a waste

The test givers depend on a bias result to keep themselves in business (Discrimination 'haunts' local renters, May 12). Just like mass media has to be liberal to survive.

In the near future, whites will be the minority in this country. So instead of wasting our time and resources on garbage surveys and red tape like this, let's put it towards our dying school systems, more public parks or even a boost to the food stamp program.

Goldy M. Chev

Southeast Portland

E-Verify for legal status of tenants

Would it be discrimination if I did an E-Verify on everyone to see if they are in this country legally in the first place (Discrimination 'haunts' local renters, May 12)?

If they are not, and I refuse to rent to them, would that be discrimination?

Clarence Leacel Smith

Southeast Portland

Housing council paid to create issues

One should look closely at the recent cry about 'discrimination' by landlords in Portland (Discrimination 'haunts' local renters, May 12).

It is indicated in the article that the charges stem from a study done by the Fair Housing Council of Oregon: Since their support (even their existence) depends on real/perceived/fabricated discrimination, they certainly have a dog in the fight.

There is little doubt that a similar study could be done with white, black and Latino people that would get vastly different results. Simple attention to dress, grooming, body language, manner of speech and documents offered or available would alter a landlord's evaluation of risk of each person as a tenant. Evaluation of risk impacts things like required deposits. The much used term 'discrimination' infers the action is unfair, but is making a sound business decision (and rental property is a business) unfair?

A quick look at the Fair Housing Council of Oregon's website is informative. They exist (and get funded) only if there is an issue. A look at the resumes of their staff suggests a certain mindset as well. Speaking of funding, note the multiple sources that seem to involve tax dollars.

I certainly do not condone true discrimination, but I have questions about this deal.

Dave Luck

Lake Oswego

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