One of Hillary Clinton’s top picks for vice president thinks she lives in a town that discriminates against minorities.
Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julian Castro says he is not interested in being Clinton’s running mate but a most recent Washington Post piece says he is the “obvious choice, and the one getting the most buzz” for the other slot on the Democratic presidential ticket.
Since 2009, HUD has been attacking Westchester for not being sufficiently racially diversified, which resulted in a settlement between Westchester County and a New York-based group called the Anti-Discrimination Center.
The settlement mandated the county to build 750 units of affordable housing in 31 of its richest and whitest towns. Westchester County Executive, Republican Rob Astorino, inherited the settlement from his predecessor and eventually found himself in a legal battle with both the Justice Department and HUD.
“We’re in federal court again and it’s getting so outrageous that they’re literally trying to muzzle me from speaking out against what HUD is doing and that’s a frightening proposition for anyone in America, when the government is trying to use it’s powers to silence opposition and that’s what they’re doing,” Astorino told The Daily Caller Tuesday. “So that’s one aspect. The big thing is just that now HUD through it’s rules is now trying to get it’s claws to every community and socially engineer the makeup of suburbia.”
The settlement established annual benchmarks the county had to make in order to have financing and building permits prepared. The Journal News reported that Westchester said it made its benchmarks, but a court-appointed HUD monitor and the federal government disputed the county’s claim that it had at least 450 units financed by the end of 2014.
The Clintons have been living in the town of Chappaqua since she and former President Bill Clinton first moved to the Empire State, and she ran for the Senate sixteen years ago. The tony locale is part of Westchester County, which is about 40 minutes north of New York City. HUD specifically singled out Chappaqua for not having enough affordable housing.
The 450 units in question reside in Chappaqua Station, which The Journal News reports were approved for funding in late 2014 but have not been built yet. That’s because local government officials in the town of New Castle, which has zoning jurisdiction, opposed the construction of the Section 8 housing. The county could only receive the $2.9 million in government funding for the project if the required construction approvals were received.
On May 23, Judge Denise Cotes ruled that the town obstructed the construction of the housing in different ways, which included calling for the project to be relocated and testifying against it in front of a state board.
Additionally, the judge ordered the county, under the settlement’s consent decree, to pursue “all available means as appropriate” against municipalities hindering the affordable housing.
“These actions are precisely the type of municipal opposition that the Consent Decree anticipated might occur and that impose upon the County the affirmative obligation to use ‘all available means appropriate’ to counteract such hostility,” Cote said in her ruling.
Clinton is silent on the issue, despite being called out by Astorino to address why the Obama administration is coming after the town she and her husband reside.
“This is what’s happening right now and Hillary Clinton presents an extension of Barack Obama and his policies and has been dead silent on this issue, even though the very town she lives in is under assault by HUD and is deemed by HUD to be discriminatory and segregated,” Astorino said.
He explained, “I’ve asked her directly in front of her house as to whether or not she will fight for her county or her town that is deemed discriminatory and segregated or if she believes the policies of the Obama administration are correct and she’s refused to answer that question,”
He added, “Every suburban community needs to know what she will do if she becomes president, because if the policies continue it’s the end of suburbia.”
Other localities around the country are now going through what Westchester finds itself in, including San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Baltimore County, and Newark. Astorino spoke to members of the American Legislative Exchange Council and addressed the issue of the results of taking HUD block grant money.
“I talked about what they should expect and the warning signs that if you take money from the federal government, specifically HUD, they are going to be able to start dictating terms on zoning in neighborhoods,” he said.
He went further onto say, “I was in Newtown, Massachusetts at their invitation at a big community gathering. They are considering whether or not to take money from HUD and I wanted them to know what the implications are as well as in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.”
In 2015, Castro, who was head of HUD for two years already, put forth a regulation, known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), that requires $3 billion of annual community development block grants on 1,200 recipient cities and counties to rezone neighborhoods along income and racial requirements. The mandate essentially would reduces inner city Section 8 vouchers for tenants who want to stay where they are and double vouchers for tenants willing to move to the suburbs.
Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee attempted to defund the AFFH regulation with an amendment in a Senate appropriations bill last month, but every Democrat and 13 Republicans tabled his amendment.