Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Dictos Wants to End Stain of Fresno's Discriminatory Housing Covenants
gvw_david_taub
By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 3 years ago on
January 7, 2021

Share

Redlining, the practice of limiting where ethnic minorities could live and own property in local communities, has been a stain on Fresno’s history for decades.

Now, Fresno County Assessor-Recorder Paul Dictos wants to stamp out the remnants of the discriminatory practice in official records.

In some cases, documents called covenants still contain language barring nearly all nonwhites from owning or living in specific homes across Fresno County, Dictos said.

Although such restrictions have been unenforceable for decades, they remain on the books. Dictos is seeking authority from the Board of Supervisors to strike them once and for all.

“It is an affront to me as an elected official to have them there, while I’m elected. And I think that there’s a way to wipe them out,” Dictos said.

Thousands of Documents Likely

“It is an affront to me as an elected official to have them there, while I’m elected. And I think that there’s a way to wipe them out.”Fresno County Assessor-Recorder Paul Dictos

Dictos said there are thousands of documents to research, although he believes the last covenants were filed in 1962. He has noticed the same language in the covenants he’s seen.

A covenant is a document filed by a developer that mandates what is and not allowed in a new neighborhood. It may include restrictions on farm animals at a residential property or specify what color of house paint is allowed.

Discriminatory housing has been outlawed since the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968. Local historians and housing rights attorneys GV Wire℠ spoke with do not believe any local ordinances were ever passed to specifically outlaw the practice.

Dictos said when a home is purchased, there is usually a reference in the sales contract to covenants on file with his office.

The assessor-recorder is responsible for determining property values, recording property ownership and changes, as well as maintaining certain vital records such as birth certificates.

One Neighborhood Example

Dictos shared one example of a restrictive covenant, filed in 1947 for the development at the southwest corner of Chestnut and Holland avenues, south of Fresno State.

Paragraphs 7 and 8 read:

“No part of said subdivision, nor any building thereon, shall be sold, conveyed or leased, by Deed or otherwise, to any Negro, Chinese, Japanese, Hindu, Armenian, Malayan, Asiatic, or Native of the Turkish Empire, or any person not of the Caucasian race, or any descendent of any one or more of said persons.

“Neither said real property nor any part thereof, nor any lot nor part thereof, shall be used or occupied in any manner whatsoever by any Negro, Chinese, Japanese, Hindu, Amenain [sic], Malayan, Asiatic or Native of the Turkish Empire, or any person not of the Caucasian Race, or any descendent of any one or more of said persons; provided, however, that such person may be employed as a servant by a resident upon such property.”

Born of Greek descent, Dictos said the covenant would apply to him as well.

“I shouldn’t be here. I’m a native of the former Turkish Empire,” Dictos said.

“Neither said real property nor any part thereof, nor any lot nor part thereof, shall be used or occupied in any manner whatsoever by any Negro, Chinese, Japanese, Hindu, Amenain [sic], Malayan, Asiatic or Native of the Turkish Empire, or any person not of the Caucasian Race, or any descendent of any one or more of said persons; provided, however, that such person may be employed as a servant by a resident upon such property.” — a 1947 Fresno land covenant that remains on the books

About Developer Hubert Richert

The area was known as the Richert Tract, for its developers, Hubert C. Richert and his wife at the time, Willetta A. Richert (newspaper archives reports them divorcing in 1950).

Fresno County librarians believe Richert Avenue in Fresno was named after Hubert.

According to his 1989 obituary, Richert was an innovator in processing dates. He moved to Indio, where he picked up the name “The Date King of Coachella Valley.”

Richert graduated from Fresno State and was active in alumnus activities. There are at least two current scholarships in the Media, Communications and Journalism department that he founded.

Hubert Richert (left) seen in this 1948 Fresno Bee picture (Image: Newsbank/Fresno Bee)

Housing Groups Support

Prentice Milrod, executive director of Central California Legal Services, applauds Dictos taking interest.

“As a resident of Fresno County, I’m grateful to know our County officials are making our property records comply with our laws and reflect the values we claim.  This is a first step toward ensuring we can all choose to live in neighborhoods of opportunity; I hope the other branches of our local governments are prepared to match his effort with actions of their own to guarantee fair housing,” Milrod said via email.

M.J. Borelli, executive director of the Fair Housing Council of Central California wondered what took so long.

“They should have already purged these things. I mean, this has been in place for decades,” Borelli said. “If our office were to discover those kinds of documents, it would be well within our jurisdiction to try to see those documents purged.”

Supervisor Looking Forward to Dictos Ideas

At least one supervisor is eager to hear his proposal.

“I am open to review any proposals Paul would bring forward,” Supervisor Nathan Magsig said.

Nothing has been submitted yet.

Read the 1947 Covenant for the Richert Tract

DON'T MISS

BTC Scammy Scams, Impact of Blockchain on Global Markets: Crypto The WonderDog Show

DON'T MISS

US Vetoes Full United Nations Membership for Palestine

DON'T MISS

Barbara Corcoran: 1% Interest Rate Drop Will Send Housing Prices ‘Through the Roof’

DON'T MISS

Cavinder Twins Are Returning to Miami for Their Last Season

DON'T MISS

California Sets Long-Awaited Drinking Water Limit for ‘Erin Brockovich’ Contaminant

DON'T MISS

Savannah Bananas Dominate Social Media, Sell Out Stadiums Nationwide Including Fresno

DON'T MISS

Biden is Off on Details of His Uncle’s WWII Death as He Calls Trump Unfit to Lead the Military

DON'T MISS

Big Names in Rap, Christian Music, and Comedy Headline Must-See Weekend Entertainment

DON'T MISS

US and UK Issue New Sanctions on Iran in Response to Tehran’s Weekend Attack on Israel

DON'T MISS

Will State AG Rob Bonta Jump Into 2026 Race for CA Governor?

UP NEXT

Big Names in Rap, Christian Music, and Comedy Headline Must-See Weekend Entertainment

UP NEXT

Juror Dismissed From Trump Hush Money Trial. Prosecutors Seek to Hold Former President in Contempt

UP NEXT

Attorney Suing Fresno Grizzlies for $5 Million Is No Stranger to ‘Ladies Night’ Cases

UP NEXT

Hagrid Has a Bit of a Playful Side, but the Heart of a Giant. And He’s Ready for Adoption

UP NEXT

Biden Backs House’s Aid Package for Ukraine, Israel While Speaker Johnson Battles to Retain Position

UP NEXT

Don Arax Talks About His New Football Job at Visalia’s Central Valley Christian

UP NEXT

Dem House Challengers Salas, Gray Flex Fundraising Muscle

UP NEXT

Myanmar’s Ousted Leader Suu Kyi Moved From Prison to House Arrest Due to Heat, Military Says

UP NEXT

NPR Editor Suspended Over Claims of Network’s ‘Progressive Worldview’

UP NEXT

State Will Monitor Crop-Rich Kings County Region to Preserve Groundwater

David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

Cavinder Twins Are Returning to Miami for Their Last Season

2 hours ago

California Sets Long-Awaited Drinking Water Limit for ‘Erin Brockovich’ Contaminant

3 hours ago

Savannah Bananas Dominate Social Media, Sell Out Stadiums Nationwide Including Fresno

4 hours ago

Biden is Off on Details of His Uncle’s WWII Death as He Calls Trump Unfit to Lead the Military

5 hours ago

Big Names in Rap, Christian Music, and Comedy Headline Must-See Weekend Entertainment

5 hours ago

US and UK Issue New Sanctions on Iran in Response to Tehran’s Weekend Attack on Israel

6 hours ago

Will State AG Rob Bonta Jump Into 2026 Race for CA Governor?

6 hours ago

Biden Scores Endorsements from Kennedy Family, Looking to Shore Up Support Against Trump and RFK Jr.

6 hours ago

CJ Abrams’ Leadoff Homer Lifts Nationals Over Dodgers 2-0

Sports /

6 hours ago

See the Fully Equipped House Homeless People Built on LA Freeway Strip

6 hours ago

BTC Scammy Scams, Impact of Blockchain on Global Markets: Crypto The WonderDog Show

I sit down with Chris Kameir, a seasoned venture capitalist and blockchain expert, to explore BTC scams, the vast potential and complexities...

10 mins ago

Crypto the WonderDog Show
10 mins ago

BTC Scammy Scams, Impact of Blockchain on Global Markets: Crypto The WonderDog Show

50 mins ago

US Vetoes Full United Nations Membership for Palestine

1 hour ago

Barbara Corcoran: 1% Interest Rate Drop Will Send Housing Prices ‘Through the Roof’

2 hours ago

Cavinder Twins Are Returning to Miami for Their Last Season

3 hours ago

California Sets Long-Awaited Drinking Water Limit for ‘Erin Brockovich’ Contaminant

4 hours ago

Savannah Bananas Dominate Social Media, Sell Out Stadiums Nationwide Including Fresno

5 hours ago

Biden is Off on Details of His Uncle’s WWII Death as He Calls Trump Unfit to Lead the Military

5 hours ago

Big Names in Rap, Christian Music, and Comedy Headline Must-See Weekend Entertainment

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend