Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski is taking on U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan over $589 million in disaster relief funds. The federal government is threatening to pull all of the funding if public housing flooded in Hurricane Ike is not rebuilt.

However, the mayor’s vision is to break the culture of poverty and government dependency and boost the local economy by giving qualified residence vouchers to rent housing anywhere in the city instead of building public housing, which is often a breeding ground for concentrated criminal activity.

Unfortunately, Donovan’s demand not only affects low-income residence, but private businesses and the local government as well. By holding all of the funding hostage, he has divided the city rather than help it unite in recovery. A HUD official went so far as to state his desire to overturn the will of the voters by saying the mayor “was elected on what I describe as an anti-housing platform… The secretary wanted to make sure that he did not see that happen.”

Does an unelected federal official have the right to hinder the will of the local electorate and refuse release of their tax dollars because of their own personal political agenda? Of course not, but it is happening more and more.

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