William B. Mount is going viral on Salishan.
The Tacoman once used public access television to air his world view, and now posts videos on YouTube. About five months ago, he and a woman named Jane drove through Salishan on Tacoma’s East Side with a video camera and a big box of misinformation. They delivered a 10-minute commentary on the mixed use and mixed-income redevelopment of the worn-out public housing site and posted it on the video sharing site.
The stew of untruths simmered there.
It’s at a boil now.
Tacoma Housing Authority and Tacoma City Council members are getting e-mails from people hot over what he calls misuse of Social Security funds. We are getting queries from people like Charles Davis of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Dennis Doyle of Chicago.
“Is the following accurate?” Doyle wrote, referring to Mount’s link.
The short answer to the big questions is: No.
Before we check Mount’s claims, check his Internet site.
“This is the Official YouTube Site of Dr. William B. Mount. All others are fake,” his site introduction reads. “As a former Captain in the U.S. Army, Dr. Mount has fought to expose many Cover Ups and Negligence in the United States of America.”
He lists “Forest Ranger, U.S. Army” as his occupations, but does not say where he earned a doctorate, or what kind of doctorate it is.
In “ALL DAY LIVE – WAKE UP AMERICA,” he translates the motto of the Society of Jesus, “Ad majorem Dei gloriam,” into “All for the glory of Satan,” instead of the actual translation, “To the greater glory of God.”
He says members of the Jesuit Order “are here as the hitmen of the Catholic church. If you oppose them they will kill you. They claim to have torched off the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in this report.”
He goes on to other subjects:
“The United States was dissolved in 1933.”
“Radionics is the third type of energy. Electrical, magnetic and radionic.”
“Money was outlawed in 1913 by the Federal Reserve System.”
“The FBI stripped me of everything I owned as an ambassador. The FBI is keen at taking money and killing people. If someone goes down because of child molesting, it’s usually the CIA.”
But in “ELABORATE WELFARE HOUSING PROJECT” he focuses on Tacoma.
In their windshield tour, he and Jane start with the money.
Claim: “What you are looking at is a $225 million complex, $225 million complex, of housing out of the Social Security budget for 1,300 units.”
False: No Social Security funds were used to redevelop Salishan.
In 2000, THA began replacing 855 worn-out houses with a mixed-income, mixed-use combination of 1,300 rental and privately owned homes.
The cost was $225 million. For every $1 of public money in that total, private sources invested $1.73.
A $35 million HOPE VI grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development was seed money. Commercial lenders and private investors in low-income housing tax credits were part of the mix.
Claim: “Now the people who build this do a fabulous job. These are one of the most sturdy buildings I have ever seen built in Tacoma, Washington.”
True. Salishan has won numerous awards for the quality of its energy-efficient homes and the design of the neighborhoods. Construction included an apprentice plan that trained Salishan residents for careers in the field.
Claim: “All welfare housing. All Social Security housing for foreigners will get $2,642 a month. All of that comes out of the Social Security budget.”
False: Of Salishan’s renters, 97 percent are citizens of the United States, according to THA Executive Director Michael Mirra.
“We know of no government program that pays $2,642 per month to foreigners,” Mirra said. “Persons who have entered the United States with refugee status may receive Refugee Cash Assistance of $478 per month for a family of three, if they have no other income. Elderly or disabled individuals may receive Supplemental Security Income of $545 per month. SSI clients must meet citizenship criteria or lawful admittance status criteria.”
If you would like to check his figures, click here.
Claim: “The average income in here is about $13,000 per year, not including welfare, not including Social Security refugee pay, not including Women, Infants and Children.”
False: The $13,000 figure is based on out-of-date 2000 Census data. As for the other sources, Mirra said: “We do not know of anyone who gets something called ‘Social Security refugee pay.’”
Claim: “This school was built by Tacoma specifically to house foreigners and welfare recipients.”
False. Lister Elementary School does not “house” any foreigners or welfare recipients. Its teachers have educated the ethnically diverse East Side’s students since 1950. Tacoma voters approved a bond to replace Lister, and several other schools, and the new school opened in 1998. Its magnet program attracted students from all over Tacoma.
Claim: “Yes, they have a maintenance center and a hospital and recreation center and parks and social welfare people who come by here.”
True. Salishan does have a maintenance center, and workers keep the building and grounds in good repair.
False. It does not have a hospital. Community Mental Health, a private nonprofit, built the Kimi and Dr. George Tanbara Health and Dental Clinic, which provides regional medical and dental services with a sliding scale for fees.
False. It does not have a recreation center.
True. It has many pocket parks.
True. Low-income residents have access to services that help them become economically self-sufficient and able to move out on their own.
Claim: “Look at the cars. Do you see any old ones? These are $50,000, $40,000 cars.”
False. The bulk of the cars in Salishan’s public housing lots are turn-of-the-century, mostly sedans and mini-vans. Outside the privately owned homes, some cars are more expensive. Drive through and see for yourself.
Claim: “They mollycoddle these foreigners who come across the border illegally.”
False. THA does not rent to people who are in this country illegally, and 97 percent of Salishan residents are U.S. citizens.
Claim: “And they don’t pay taxes. This housing is free if you are on Social Security refugee pay.”
False. Anyone who buys non-food goods and services in Washington State pays sales tax, and every Salishan household with earned income is subject to federal income taxes. Every Salishan rental household with an income pays rent.
Claim: “International Place. Oh my God! Look at that! Korean Women’s Association. This is 70 percent Koreans, and Chinese and Orientals who come over here. The churches bring them here and then they get them on Social Security. Plus, like my neighbor, Social Security that is $2,642 a month, plus welfare. So if you have four children, you’re bringing in $2,642, plus $2,500, plus four sets of food stamps at $128 apiece, plus Women, Infants and Children, which is another $50, $100 a month.”
False. The Korean Women’s Association was founded in 1972 by women who married American soldiers based in Korea, moved to Pierce County and got together to learn the language. It is a private non-profit that provides social services statewide. Its senior housing in Salishan does not engage in racial discrimination in its rental practices. Nor does it import seniors from other countries.
Please see the previous Department of Social and Health Services benefits summary.
Claim: “And by the way, these EBT food stamp cards are accepted at the casinos to play bingo.”
Undetermined. “We would need some reliable information before we would consider believing that a person could use them to play bingo,” Mirra said.
Claim: “Look at these brand new cars they are giving foreigners!”
False. Again, 97 percent of Salishan residents are American citizens.
“We do not know of any program that buys new cars for foreigners, or for anyone else,” Mirra said.
Claim: “There’s curbs. There’s sidewalks,” Jane said.
“Yeah, I mean, we don’t have curbs and sidewalks. We’ve been paying taxes in Tacoma for 20 years.”
True. The City of Tacoma requires new developments to include curbs, sidewalks, streets and storm drains. Property owners whose homes do not have curbs and sidewalks can agree to form a limited improvement district and pay to have them installed.
Claim: “Now Pierce County grants from your Social Security money pay for foreigners like Grace, who do not speak English. They pay for them to buy houses while you and I are hurting and scrimping and taxes and our pay’s only $10 or $15 or $20 an hour and these people are getting this housing for free. And if they qualify they actually have the county buy those $300,000 houses for them.”
False. Pierce County does not distribute Social Security money. Nor does it have a program that buys houses for “foreigners like Grace,” or anyone else.
Check the Pierce County budget for yourself at www.co.pierce.wa.us.
Kathleen Merryman: 253-597-8677
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an expanded and enhanced version of Kathleen Merryman’s July 27, 2011, column.