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HUD: Expensive Money

HUD has decided that it is a right under law for anyone, to live anywhere they want, regardless of ability to afford it. HUD has empowered itself to defend this right by targeting local zoning laws as tools of racial discrimination. Has Cary added itself to their target list?

When HUD offers Cary $1.6 million in low-income housing money to build a $300/night luxury hotel and martini bar in Downtown Cary, do you think there just might be strings attached?

 “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”.

Quietly across America, HUD is launching an assault on personal and property rights to create “racial and economic equality”. In America, these rights are protected at the local levels, so HUD uses grant monies and discrimination lawsuits as their weapons of choice. Local government takes the grant money, eventually ceding its authority, sacrificing our property rights to central government.

This is about “disparate impact” –  a dangerous federal precedent that must be fought tooth and nail at the local levels. Instead of having to prove actual incidents of housing denials based on race, HUD now uses demographic statistics as proof of racist housing policies. So if your neighborhood is not demographically “correct”, HUD declares that your town used discriminatory zoning, and the burden-of-proof of innocence is put on the Town.

In other words, HUD believes that is a right under law for anyone, to live anywhere they want. This is probably the most important Local-Federal dispute that you are not paying attention to.

Westchester County: HUD’s “Grand Experiment”

Joined by the Justice Department and a federal judge, HUD has decided to make an example of Westchester County, NY,  targeting its zoning laws as racially discriminatory. The county was sued back in 2006 under the obscure False Claims Act of 1863. It had accepted a HUD grant but allegedly had made false claims by failing to produce a satisfactory analysis and plan to correct its racially biased housing program and local zoning regulations.  So, HUD claims Westchester is making false claims by not admitting it has racially discriminatory zoning?  How could Westchester report on housing discrimination that does not exist?

Westchester spokesman Ned McCormack says such a plan is hard to produce because zoning concerns how land is developed—such as where to put sewers, or multifamily homes—not who lives where.

Westchester is less segregated than many ethnic enclaves in New York City… local governments should be able to determine zoning rules for such things as multifamily developments or lot sizes.

HUD bureaucrats who want to re-engineer neighborhoods according to some diversity formula will do more harm than good.

HUD’s Racial Subdivisions,  Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2013

 

More than the citizens could take:

New Yorkers, more than any, know the inevitable result of government housing projects. And they know that spreading them out among the suburbs as condos and townhouses, new projectsdoes not change the model or alter the downward spiral of government dependency and crime.

In 2009, former Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano, caved to HUD and the DOJ, settling out of court but admitting no wrong doing. Of course HUD smelled blood in the water. It still wanted Westchester’s admission of housing discrimination and a target of 750 low income homes in 31 so-called “eligible” (meaning predominantly white) communities. That mandate grew to 10,700 units of subsidized housing. And the county was not allowed to put these units in minority communities. Nope. They had to be evenly spread amongst all of Westchester’s upscale  communities.

With median home prices in Chappaqua NY at $800K, Harrison at $900K and $1.2 million in Rye,  affluent taxpayers in the leafy hamlets of Westchester were not about to watch Section 8 housing pop up along their tree lined streets.

 

Are you following this, Mayor Weinbrecht?

The 2009 lawsuit and a settlement that would drive subsidized low-income housing into Westchester’s most affluent communities, landed squarely in the lap of then County Executive Andrew Spano, a 12 year incumbent. He and his legislators, adherents to Sustainable Development, had long courted the favor and funds of HUD’s social engineering. Spano lost his “safe seat” in an upset that year.  He was soundly defeated by Rob Astorino, who ran on a promise to fight Federal encroachment and defend citizens’ property rights.

“Washington bureaucrats, who you will never see or meet, want the power to determine who will live where and how each neighborhood will look. What’s at stake is the fundamental right of our cities, towns, and villages to plan and zone for themselves. This home rule is guaranteed by the New York State Constitution.

 

HUD thinks it can trample on Westchester because it has the misguided notion that zoning and discrimination are the same thing. They are not.”

Westchester County-Executive, Rob Astorino

Under Spano, Westchester’s politicians had accepted HUD’s false premise: that zoning is a mechanism for racial integration – that they had authority and responsibility to use zoning for “economic diversity”. The role of local government is simple: to defend the right of any person to live in any neighborhood,  in any home they can afford.  It is not a role of local government to subsidize anyone who desires to live there,  or to enforce racial quotas down to the neighborhood and street level. Once local government makes the fatal mistake of exceeding its authority through social engineering, HUD takes control of everyone’s property rights.

County Executive Rob Astorino has  personally taken on HUD on behalf of the people of his community. This is Cary’s trajectory. Let’s hope Cary’s Mayor finds the leadership, courage and principles to wean Cary from the HUD and EPA teet before it is too late. Otherwiase it will be up to his successor, to clean up his mess and restore our neighborhoods, property rights and the proper role of local government.

 

Basic private property rights are controlled and protected at the local level,  and that poses a real problem for centralized government.

 “Zoning exists to keep traffic from endangering kids on their way to school, to prevent factory noise and smoke from invading residential neighborhoods, and to stop raw sewage from polluting our drinking water”

“They are trying to force neighborhoods to change with a gun to their head by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. They are trying to take away zoning rights. It’s frightening because it’s coming to a community near you if we can’t protect our zoning in Westchester.”

Westchester County-Executive, Rob Astorino

 

Disparate Impact:  The Most Important Local-Federal Dispute You’re Not Paying Attention To:

Using the power of the Federal Government to gut local zoning regulatory controls into a tool for  “economic equality”, racial “diversity”, and rights for “protected classes”,  is the essence of creeping socialism.

“[HUD is] really after something different: a standard of discrimination based on statistics, not actual demonstrations of people who have been denied housing because of race. It’s called “disparate impact.”

 

In other words, what we have here is social engineering. As one of its officials has admitted, HUD wants “to remove zip codes as a factor in the quality of life in America.” In other words, anyone has the right to live anywhere — even if he can’t afford it. So even though blacks and Hispanics and other racial minorities who can afford Westchester housing prices are as welcome as anyone, HUD sees only racism.

 

If Westchester loses, it will have national implications. Because if a concept as arbitrary as disparate impact becomes the measure of discrimination, local authorities everywhere will have no effective defense against bureaucrats in Washington bent on finding racism to justify imposing their own ideological agendas.”

A Home in Westchester New York Post, April 29, 2013

Cary’s Town Government is clearly playing into the hands of HUD’s power grab. Are they just flirting with these Marxist notions of economic equality and wealth distribution to ease collective guilt? Have they thought it through and think they can out maneuver HUD and the DOJ?  Or, is this ideology finally bubbling to the surface?

 “Cary needs to change its zoning laws to bring more  economic diversity”

“Everyone who works in Cary should be able to live in Cary”

Imagine Cary Steering Committee, February 19, 2013

 

“How many of our school teachers and police officers and firefighters can afford to live in Cary?”

Gale Adcock, Cary Town Council

 

“It’s disappointing that only 20% of our Town of Cary employees – our firefighters, police, and even public servants like our teachers – can afford to live in Cary.”

Lori Bush, Cary Town Council

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