Who You Callin’ ‘Riffraff’? Clovis Councilman Defends Renters During Council Meeting.

During last week’s discussion over a new housing development project in Clovis, there was one comment that really rubbed Councilman Vong Mouanoutoua the wrong way.

A resident was expressing their concerns about the element of blight and crime that could be brought into the neighborhood with the introduction of a large apartment complex.

“I’m concerned with the traffic, the noise congestion and more people living in a condensed area bringing in riffraff if there’s rentals,” the speaker said.

It was that term -- riffraff -- that seemed to strike a chord with Mouanoutoua.

“I am a riffraff, because I rent,” the councilman countered, calling the characterization “unfair.”

“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.

“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.”

Ultimately, the council approved four projects that will add 1,000 lots to the city.

Clovis is in the midst of a population boom. Between 1990 and 2012, the number of residents doubled from 49,000 to 98,000. Today, it has a population of 109,000. By 2035, that number is expected to swell beyond 175,000.