Want a Memorial in the District? Make Sure to Pay the Politicians.
Today, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced legislation with Rep. Ken Calvert, Republican of California, to establish a memorial to the Fair Housing movement somewhere on federal land in the District. "The memorial speaks to the progress we have made in fair housing, but also reminds us of the distance we still have to travel," she said in a press release. "It is particularly gratifying that the idea for this memorial came from the Fair Housing Commemorative Foundation, a foundation of the industry that is subject to the laws achieved by the fair housing movement.”
It's not a new project. The same proposal came up in 2009. But the Fair Housing Commemorative Foundation doesn't appear to exist yet; at least Guidestar doesn't show it as a registered nonprofit. The "industry" Norton speaks of is the National Association of Realtors, which has agreed to fund 100 percent of the memorial's construction. The real estate sector has also been incredibly generous to Norton and Calvert's reelection campaigns, donating $315,951 and $559,776 respectively since 1989—the top-donating industry for both of them. The National Association of Realtors specifically has donated $37,700 to Norton and $93,250 to Calvert.
This, after Norton said at Saturday's town hall with the National Park Service that she wanted "to make sure the Mall isn't littered with too many statues of every Tom, Dick, and Harry."
So she'll presumably be finding an off-Mall spot for the Fair Housing Memorial (certainly worthy of memorializing!). I just hope she and Calvert have told their donors that.