Where have we heard this before?

Westchester Case

July 22, 2012 — Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has long played the not-very-subtle game of giving lip service to Consent Decree compliance even as he assures ultra-white municipalities and their residents that he will do nothing to get them to change their exclusionary zoning.

Now Astorino, encouraged by the fact that the federal government has still not sought to compel Westchester to take the legal steps against exclusionary municipal zoning required by paragraph 7(j) of the Consent Decree, has upped the ante still further.

To comply with the Consent Decree, something that Astorino characterizes as being dictated to by HUD, would, according to the County Executive, represent a “careening toward a different country.” Translated, Astorino is saying that both Article VI of the United States Constitution (which establishes that federal law is the “supreme law of the land”) and a binding federal court order (under which Westchester has acknowledged its authority and power to compel municipalities to get rid of exclusionary zoning) are essentially un-American.

The AP story in which the “careening toward a different country” quote appeared also documented the following:

“The last thing we want,” [Astorino] added, “is five years from now, for people to say, ‘What happened? Why is this neighborhood completely inside-out now? Why do I have a six-story government housing project or building or townhomes in my neighborhood when it wasn’t zoned for that when I moved in here?’”

In this one statement, the County Executive seeks to stoke ugly fears based on stereotyping, once again assures those who prefer the status quo that he will continue to resist compliance with the unambiguous action requirements of the Consent Decree, and attempts to aid, abet, incite, and coerce municipal officials into ignoring their own existing obligations to affirmatively further fair housing (both by the example of his own non-compliance and by implicitly threatening those officials that AFFH-compliance would bring down the wrath of both the County government and their constituents).