Appeasement only emboldens resistance

Westchester Case

“Appeasement only emboldens resistance”

“There will undoubtedly be some who entertain the fantasy that a “patient” and “compromising” approach holds the promise of change without acrimony. There is no surer path to failed implementation.”

This language was part of a letter that ADC sent to the Monitor on August 24, 2009, two weeks after the Consent Decree was entered.  Those fundamental truths have been ignored.

Other excerpts from the letter:

“The Settlement Order is a remedial order and must be enforced as such. Whatever the Department of Housing and Urban Development (‘HUD’) comes to decide on a go-forward basis with respect to affirmatively furthering fair housing (‘AFFH’) obligations of federal grantees generally, this settlement springs from a particular history and a particular context. Westchester not only remains remarkably segregated - a dozen of its municipalities have African-American populations under one percent - its longstanding wrongdoing is clear. When the presiding judge, the Hon. Denise Cote, examined the record in the light most favorable to Westchester, she still found as a matter of law that Westchester had “utterly failed” to meet its AFFH obligations. She also found as a matter of law that every single representation of compliance in the period 2000-2006 was ‘false or fraudulent.’”

“A remedial order is not intended as a balancing act; rather, it is intended as a counter-balance to the consequences of past wrongdoing. As such, we respectfully submit that the task is not monitoring whether Westchester is doing ‘just enough’ to stay within the letter of the agreement, but rather monitoring and insuring that Westchester is doing the maximum to undo the residential racial segregation that is has helped to perpetuate.

“The lessons of history tell us unmistakably that resistance can be given no quarter…[From Reconstruction through battles in the North in the 1950s and thereafter], the failure to meet resistance with overwhelming force did not engender hoped-for ‘reconciliation’ or a ‘spirit of cooperation.’ On the contrary, the forces of resistance, alert to any sign of weakness, were only emboldened by the failure of the relevant government bodies to act promptly to squelch all such resistance.”