Congratulations on the excellent article "A HUD Roadshow Raises Questions of Conflict" (Part I, Dec. 27). As the president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 476 which represents Housing and Urban Development Department headquarters employees in Washington, D.C., I appreciate the thorough reporting of Times staff writer Claire Spiegel.
The present federal fair housing law does now provide an enforcement mechanism for HUD. The Department of Justice can enforce the federal fair housing law in "pattern and practice" cases but Justice has been reluctant to do so under the Reagan Administration.
HUD employees send housing discrimination cases to the Justice Department recommending enforcement action and are seldom informed what action, if any, Justice has taken.
HUD has estimated that as many as 2 million cases of housing discrimination occur annually. In metropolitan areas, black families seeking to buy stand a 48% chance of encountering discrimination and blacks renters stand a 72% chance of encountering discrimination. Clearly, a federal fair housing law with an enforcement mechanism inside HUD is needed.
Such a law was again proposed during 1987. It would have provided for administrative law judges who could have issued cease and desist orders and awarded damages in housing discrimination cases. The Reagan Administration did not actively support this bill and the National Assn. of Realtors opposed it.
I whole-heartedly agree with your editorial "Pierce's Traveling Circus" of Dec. 30. (U.S. Housing Secretary Samuel) Pierce should take his fair-housing roadshow to the White House and convince the Reagan Administration to actively support a federal fair housing law with teeth.
of Government Employees