During last week’s debate about approving a Clovis housing development, a comment from the audience set off Councilman Vong Mouanoutoua. He delivered a passionate retort, defending apartment renters like himself as good citizens.
Members of the public brought up concerns about approving more housing projects, including apartments, in the neighborhoods where they live. They were worried about increased crime.
Neighbors Worry About Crime
As one speaker put it, “If you start to have a lot of rentals being occupied in a neighborhood so close to our neighborhood, I think there is a potential increase in crime.”
Another speaker said: “I’m concerned with the traffic, the noise congestion and more people living in a condensed area bringing in riffraff if there’s rentals.”
When it was his turn to speak, Mouanoutoua took exception to being characterized as “riffraff.”
Vong Defends ‘Riffraff’
“I am a riffraff, because I rent. I think it is unfair to associate a zoning, or a term or medium, with crime (and) with bad citizenship. That comes with the city; that comes with our police; that comes with the community,” Mouanoutoua said from the dais.
“You can have apartment renters who are outstanding citizens. But I think it was unfair, that many of us who came first, whether you apply it to the country, or apply it to a street, we keep thinking (it) is ours. No one can come in,” he continued.
“We can’t make that mistake. Because we have to look at it as a whole. If we as a community say this is what we expect in Clovis of a person, we can put in an apartment there and that person will be outstanding. But, if we as a community think as apartment renters as riffraffs, then riffraffs they we will be.”
The city council approved four projects that will add 1,000 new lots to Clovis, many in the Loma Vista area in the southeastern part of town.
(Disclosure: One of the projects approved last week was proposed by Granville Homes. Granville is the corporate owner of GV Wire)