Last summer officials in Westchester County agreed to spend more than $50 million "to create affordable housing in overwhelmingly white communities and aggressively market it to non-whites in the county and in neighboring New York City."
The agreement settled a lawsuit filed against the county by an organization called the Anti-Discrimination Center. County officials had fought the lawsuit for three years, but settled because of what County executive Andrew Spano called "a historic shift of philosophy" by federal housing officials.
What "historic shift in philosophy" was Spano referring to?
Under the Obama administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is intent on integrating racially segregated neighborhoods - not just in Westchester County but across the country. Indeed, HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims said that the Westchester County settlement was a first step, and that he hoped it could "serve as a model for building strong, inclusive sustainable communities in suburban areas across the entire United States."
"Strong, inclusive sustainable communities" is liberal-speak for multi-racial neighborhoods that have high rates of violent crime and low levels of civic health. For years the federal government has been tearing down public housing projects in inner cities and giving the displaced residents Section 8 vouchers that allow them to rent housing in upscale suburban neighborhoods. According to a 2008 article in The Atlantic, police have discovered there is a "near-perfect" match between Section 8 rentals and incidents of violent crime. And in what was the largest study ever conducted on civic engagement in America, Robert Putnam, a liberal Harvard University professor, found that "all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings." Specifically, Putnam found that "the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogeneous settings."
Westchester's incumbent Congresswoman, Democrat Nita Lowey, supported the settlement, but Lowey's 2010 Republican challenger, Jim Russell, came out strongly against it.
Russell recognizes that "HUD has an insatiable desire to reconfigure neighborhoods across America" and understands that the settlement it forced on Westchester County will "lead to the irreversible demise" of the county. If elected, Russell vows to introduce legislation that will amend federal housing laws to "stop the HUD steamroller" and let "natural housing patterns" endure.
Russell gets it. He understands the danger posed by HUD and groups like the Anti-Discrimination Center, and he's willing to do what it takes to save Westchester County (and all other communities across the country that HUD is intent on "reconfiguring"). He deserves our support.
Jim Russell, the Republican challenger in New York's 18th Congressional district race.