WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Legislators Democratic Caucus. May 1, 201
Members of the Democratic Caucus are calling for an open “Committee of the Whole” meeting with the new Housing Monitor to discuss what the Board can do to move forward with complying with the consent decree to end any further fiscal obligations of the County.
“To save taxpayers from thousands of dollars in fines, we have no choice but to explore all actions we can take due to the County Executive’s ‘total obstructionism’ – which were the Court’s words, not mine,” said Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining)(picture, above).
“For years, our Caucus has called for funding of a countywide housing needs assessment to figure out where and what exactly our needs are. Now is the time for all stakeholders to get to work on solutions, like this assessment, that can pull us into compliance and end the County Executive’s money-wasting crusade for a political talking point,” added Borgia.
A Committee of the Whole meeting is a meeting of the entire Board of Legislators and is typically called to so all members can ask questions of a certain guest on a pressing topic. In light of last week’s ruling, Democrats feel that this the perfect time to bring in the new Housing Monitor so all sides can get to work.
“The County’s analysis of impediments, a document needed to be discharged from the housing settlement, has been rejected by administrations of both political parties a total of ten times,” said Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson). “It is time for the County Executive to stop using affordable housing as a political football, and get to work on a document that will end the County’s risk of more fines. Sometimes it seems as if the County Executive does not want the lawsuit to end.”
“First, the County Executive blamed ‘President Obama’s radical HUD’ for ‘accusing the County of racism when it was only trying to enforce Home Rule.’ Now, his golfing buddy President Trump’s HUD is still rejecting County Executive Astorino’s plan to combat racially exclusionary zoning; what is his excuse now?” asked Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh). “From the sad attempt at the court ordered public education campaign of fair and affordable housing opportunities, which the Court found woefully inadequate, to the combative rhetoric from his Administration, the County Executive has again put Westchester in danger of steep financial penalties,” concluded Williams.