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How HUD Elites Attack a Little White Community

HUD v. Local Government

“Our Town” news for Orangetown, Clarkstown & N. Bergen (NY)

Right and Wrong

Washington, D.C. elites also have plans for Pearl River

by Michael Bongiorno
July 20, 2016

Michael BongiornoRecently, a movement has stirred among some Pearl River residents to incorporate the hamlet as a village.

The purpose of the incorporation would be to increase local control of growth and zoning to preserve the community’s current quality of life, including good schools, open space, parks and property values. Those are certainly laudable goals – and historically community development and expansion have been left in the hands of local elected officials and the voters to whom they are beholden.

Unfortunately, radical leftists in Washington, DC, have quite a different vision for Pearl River (Median Yearly Income, $91,618) and similarly situated communities (and that would include Minuet, New City, Suffern, etc.). In his final months in office Obama has embarked on a strategy to move inner city residents to the suburbs via taxpayer subsidies in the form of Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 8 subsidies. The admitted goal of this euphemistically titled “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” is to racially diversify middle and upper middle income neighborhoods.

In the myopic minds of left wing D.C. elites such as HUD Secretary Julian Castro ([was considered] for Hillary Clinton’s running mate), most well-to-do suburbs are too white and too wealthy, and they resent those demographics.

Obama, Castro and their comrades view the “white flight” to the suburbs that accompanied the deterioration of many American cities starting in the 1960s as a racist act that left poor people of color behind to suffer increased crime, poor schools and a declining infrastructure. Never at a loss for coining catchy phrases, Democrats refer to this phenomenon as “economic segregation.”

Castro intends to combat economic segregation by greatly increasing the value of Section 8 housing vouchers so that indigent people can move into more affluent areas. According to commentator and investigative journalist Paul Sperry, HUD also plans on suing land-lords for discrimination if they refuse to rent to Section 8 tenants with criminal records and to pressure suburban counties taking federal grant money into changing their zoning laws to permit more high-density, low-income housing to be built.

One can visualize central planners at HUD Who have never even been to a community looking over demographic statistics and then deciding a certain municipality needs more or less of certain categories of people. These bean-counters could well conclude that since Pearl River’s black population, according to the 2011 census, was 6.39% there is a need to double that percentage to reflect national demographics (or should they follow state demographics?).

The very idea that neo-Marxists and bureaucrats with no knowledge of or insight into a community (or just about anything else) can pigeonhole people by race and ethnicity – especially in a nation where a large percentage of the population is of mixed racial and ethnic ancestry and then decide where those people can or should live, is offensive and a sign of destructive hubris.

The same progressives who devised the programs and strategies that destroyed many once-great American cities – welfare programs that ruined the two-parent family, city planning that destroyed moderate-income housing stock, and a bleeding-heart attitude towards criminals that caused unprecedented crime spikes —now arrogantly believe they can remake suburbs into egalitarian utopias despite all evidence to the contrary.

For the most part citizens, white and black, did not move to the suburbs because they were hate-filled bigots; they moved as a perceived matter of survival. According to Sperry, experimental voucher programs in the counties surrounding Dallas and Chicago have led to increased crime in those communities. For all the empty talk about caring about the middle class, the social experimenters do not care about declining property values for middle class workers’ most valuable asset, their homes. According to leftist ideologues, even if middle class people struggle to purchase and maintain their homes, they still need to work a little harder to redistribute wealth – and housing – to the less fortunate.

Make no mistake about it, the burden of this quest for egalitarian paradise will fall on the middle class as the truly affluent can always move to areas where it is virtually impossible to build high-density, low-income housing or purchase large amounts of land as a buffer.

Another major flaw in the thinking of the social engineers is that they ignore the past five decades of American history. They are stuck in a pm-civil rights mind-set. There are many laws on the books outlawing housing discrimination.

The demographics cited by the left are a product of economics, not prejudice. Many people of all races and ethnicities simply cannot afford to rent or purchase homes in the most high-priced communities, including wealthy city neighborhoods.

Liberals simply hate any free market result, hence the need to cite “economic segregation” and impose a “solution.” Moreover, these misguided progressives ignore the emergence of a vibrant and expanding black middle and professional class. Many African American citizens have also moved to the suburbs and have contributed to the diversification of those communities. This diversification process will increase over time, leading to more diverse communities without creating resentment, increasing crime, increasing taxes (for schools, police, Medicaid, infrastructure) and hurting property values.

Further, what about the large influx of Asians and other ethnically diverse people into suburbs? Doesn’t that count towards diversification? Not in the minds of Obama and his overbearing social engineers who view every issue through a racial prism where everything is, literally, either black or white. To be blunt, Obama, Castro and their disciples view “white” America as inherently and incorrigibly racist and in need of enlightenment and re-education. (In June 2015 Obama declared that slavery, segregation and racism are embedded as “part of our DNA,” and by that he meant perceived white racism directed at blacks.)

In the coming months the Obama administration will do all it can to “transform” the United States by relocating the urban poor to more affluent areas. Hillary Clinton, no doubt, will continue this social experiment at the expense of the declining middle class.

Ironically, Clinton’s super-wealthy hometown of Chappaqua (population only 1.9% African American; median yearly income: $163,201) is fighting affordable housing expansion, specifically the Chappaqua Station project. (Since I cannot afford to live in Chappaqua, does that make me a victim of “economic segregation”?

As the saying goes, you can’t make this stuff up!

Michael Bongiorno is the former District Attorney for Rockford County, NY and the former President of the New York State District Attorneys Association.  He can be reached at

Law Office of Michael Bongiorno
Bardonia, NY

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