Thingish Things

Obama Smackdown in Westchester

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Apr• 04•12

Not a lot of people have been watching what the federal government has been trying to do to Westchester County. And they may never know about it now, thanks to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino who just went toe-to-toe with the Obama Administration in court and beat them.

Mr. Obama’s Justice Department labeled Westchester County, an attractive suburb immediately north of New York City, a racist enclave. Its reasoning? Not enough black and Hispanic people live on the most expensive blocks in the most expensive neighborhoods within the county’s wealthiest towns and villages. The county itself is plenty diverse — it’s as diverse as Manhattan and the third most diverse county in New York State — but the Obama Administration wanted to force the County to integrate towns virtually block-by-block, demanding that they change hundred-year-old zoning ordinances and local infrastructure to accommodate multi-family dwellings. State-of-the-art public housing being built by the Astorino Administration in high-priced villages was insufficient, the Obama Justice Department argued in federal court. Mr. Astorino had to “break down barriers” to the most desirable neighborhoods.

The Obama Administration never once considered that these “barriers” are financial. Damned straight some blocks in Westchester are exclusive. They’re exclusive because the houses on those streets cost a fortune. There are homes within three miles of me that give Versailles a run for its money. And as much as I’d like to move my family into one of them — or into one of the barns on their properties — I cannot, because I don’t have enough money. (Can I sue someone?) Some of those houses, incidentally, have “for sale” signs posted alongside the road.  They don’t read “for sale for rich white people”, they read “for sale.”  That means anyone with enough money can buy the thing.  Got that, Mr. Obama? 

The Obama Administration attempted this Orwellian overreach under the auspices of a housing settlement signed with the federal government by a past county executive. Westchester was to be a test case for upscale communities around the nation that would be deemed racist because of the price tags of their housing stock. Think of the implications of that. The federal government would have gained the power to determine the racial and economic balance of every neighborhood in America.  That may sound Kumbaya to some, but it sounds like Maoist China to me.  

America — and Westchester County —  have been integrating on their own in recent decades to match economic and demographic shifts. And that integration will hopefully continue to the benefit of all of us. But not at the point of a federal sword, thanks to one brave New York county executive. The power that would have given Washington would have been frightful. 

I was proud to call Rob Astorino a friend and client yesterday.  I am prouder still to call him a friend and client today. He’s got guts. 

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.