Dari Alexander

From the August 11 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends: BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): What does that do for housing prices? NAPOLITANO: Well, you could have a magnificent home on an acre of property in Chappaqua -- the town where Bill and Hillary Clinton live -- and next door to you could be a homeless shelter.

Obviously that will reduce the value of your property.

So, in that respect, the government is taking money from you by suppressing the value of your real estate.

[...]NAPOLITANO: It's a very -- these things happen all over the country all the time.

What's unique about this is there is no place in this county for low-income housing without putting it right next to expensive housing.

And the other interesting thing about this is the cost is extraordinary: $30 million into the Treasury Department alone just to sort of slap the wrist of the people in Westchester County.

It doesn't slap their wrist.

It takes money out of their pockets in a recession.

KILMEADE: So 85 million -- that's the cost.

But 30 million of that goes into the Treasury?NAPOLITANO: Correct.

Correct -- to compensate the Justice Department and HUD for having pursued this --KILMEADE: Right.NAPOLITANO: -- and to punish Westchester for not having done this quickly enough.[...]NAPOLITANO: Look, the mentality behind this law is the same mentality behind health care, and it says, "The right to live wherever you want is a right." It is not a right.

You get to live where you can afford, not wherever you want.

But the law says you get to live wherever you want, and wealthy communities in New York like Westchester County have to buy land and develop low-income housing now, or they'll be paying these $30 million fines.

Big brother is right here, and this is an example of it.

Fox ignored millions Westchester sought, received in federal housing aid2000-2006: Westchester County sought, received $52 million in federal housing aid.

In a February 24 ruling, Judge Denise Cote wrote that Westchester County "applied to HUD for federal funding, including Community Development Block Grants ("CDBG"), on behalf of itself and the Consortium each year from April 1, 2000 to April 1, 2006," totaling $52 million.

Cote further stated, "In order to receive certain federal funding, including CDBG funds, the County was required to certify that it would meet a variety of fair housing obligations, including that the County would" affirmatively further fair housing.

[U.S.

District Court for the Southern District of New York, 2/24/09]Fox didn't acknowledge agreement would settle lawsuit claiming Westchester misrepresented its fair housing effortsNY Times: "A federal judge has ruled that for years Westchester County misrepresented its efforts to desegregate overwhelmingly white communities when it applied for federal housing funds." In February, The New York Times reported, "A federal judge has ruled that for years Westchester County misrepresented its efforts to desegregate overwhelmingly white communities when it applied for federal housing funds.

Between 2000 and 2006, while the county sought and received more than $50 million in federal housing aid, it left it up to each community to decide where lower-income housing was to be built, according to a lawsuit filed in 2007 by the Anti-Discrimination Center, a Manhattan nonprofit organization.

As a result, the county's villages and towns remained as segregated as ever, while its cities continued to house a disproportionate number of people from racial minorities, who make up the bulk of residents in subsidized units and public housing developments, according to the lawsuit." [The New York Times, 2/26/09]NY Times: Agreement "would settle a lawsuit filed by an antidiscrimination group and could become a template for increased scrutiny of local governments' housing policies by the Obama administration." The New York Times reported on August 11: Westchester County entered into a landmark desegregation agreement on [August 10] that would compel it to create hundreds of houses and apartments for moderate-income people in overwhelmingly white communities and aggressively market them to nonwhites in Westchester and New York City.

The agreement, if ratified by the county's Board of Legislators, would settle a lawsuit filed by an antidiscrimination group and could become a template for increased scrutiny of local governments' housing policies by the Obama administration.

[...]The lawsuit, filed under the federal False Claims Act, argued that when Westchester applied for federal Community Development Block Grants for affordable housing and other projects, county officials treated part of the application as boilerplate -- lying when they claimed to have complied with mandates to encourage fair housing.

A Westchester official originally dismissed the suit as "garbage." But the county was largely repudiated in February when Judge Denise L.

Cote ruled in Federal District Court that between 2000 and 2006 it had misrepresented its efforts to desegregate overwhelmingly white communities when it applied for the federal housing funds.

Judge Cote concluded that Westchester had made little or no effort to find out where low-income housing was being placed, or to finance homes and apartments in communities that opposed affordable housing.

[...]Andrew J.

Spano, the Westchester County executive, attributed the settlement to "a historic shift of philosophy" by federal housing officials.

He said he had signed the agreement to avoid further litigation and possible penalties.The county admitted no wrongdoing, attributed the judge's ruling to a technicality and argued that since it had previously invested in affordable housing, "what is different is the locations where the housing must be built." [The New York Times, 8/11/09] WSJ: "Federal housing officials portrayed the settlement as a warning sign they would step up enforcement on communities that accept federal money for housing redevelopment." The Wall Street Journal reported, "Westchester County, a mostly affluent suburb outside New York City, agreed Monday to build hundreds of affordable housing units in heavily white communities, part of a settlement that could challenge other U.S.

counties to expand housing for minorities." The Journal further reported, "Federal housing officials portrayed the settlement as a warning sign they would step up enforcement on communities that accept federal money for housing redevelopment." [The Wall Street Journal, 8/11/09]From the August 11 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends: DARI ALEXANDER (guest co-host): Westchester County, home to Bill and Hillary Clinton, is one of the nation's wealthiest counties.

It is also predominantly white.

But in a landmark settlement, the landscape is about to change.

KILMEADE: Yep.

The county now has to build affordable housing for low-income people and recruit minorities to live there.

Let's bring in Fox News' senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Judge, what does this do? Why all of a sudden is this an issue, if it's something that was existing for 20 years?NAPOLITANO: Well, actually this has been bubbling up for a while.

The state of New York has a statute that requires regions -- it could be a town if it's a large town or it could be a county if there is a bunch of small towns, as is the case in Westchester -- to make available affordable housing for poor people.

The theory of the law is that poor people should be able to live wherever they want, whether it's Manhattan, whether it's Westchester County, whether it's upstate New York.

Some states, this law was forced upon the people by the courts.

In New York, this law was enacted by the legislature.

So the legislature says to Westchester County, where are the poor people? Westchester County says they can't afford to live here.

And then somebody files a lawsuit, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice jump in on the lawsuit and push it forward.

And yesterday the lawsuit was settled.So the taxpayers of Westchester County will pay $83 million in fees and fines to the federal government and to purchase and develop this real estate for low-income housing.

KILMEADE: What does that do for housing prices? NAPOLITANO: Well, you could have a magnificent home on an acre of property in Chappaqua -- the town where Bill and Hillary Clinton live -- and next door to you could be a homeless shelter.

Obviously that will reduce the value of your property.

So, in that respect, the government is taking money from you by suppressing the value of your real estate.

The other side of this is that the law was written to make sure that poor people have the right to live where they want, and the locals can't resist the law.

ALEXANDER: So, I mean, Judge, is there not a resolution to this, because obviously, with this recession and housing prices going down anyway, and people trying to get out of their homes, they certainly don't want to further decrease the value by having this kind of real estate there.

I mean --NAPOLITANO: You know, this was a lawsuit that was started in the Bush administration.

An advocacy group sued Westchester County.

The Bush Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Bush Justice Department jumped in on the suit.

The suit could have gone on for a couple of more years.

Yesterday, they reached an agreement.

It's a very -- these things happen all over the country all the time.

What's unique about this is there is no place in this county for low-income housing without putting it right next to expensive housing.

And the other interesting thing about this is the cost is extraordinary: $30 million into the Treasury Department alone just to sort of slap the wrist of the people in Westchester County.

It doesn't slap their wrist.

It takes money out of their pockets in a recession.

KILMEADE: So 85 million -- that's the cost.

But 30 million of that goes into the Treasury?NAPOLITANO: Correct.

Correct -- to compensate the Justice Department and HUD for having pursued this --KILMEADE: Right.NAPOLITANO: -- and to punish Westchester for not having done this quickly enough.

KILMEADE: And is there another shoe to drop? Does Westchester have another -- another roll of the dice to play?NAPOLITANO: No.

Westchester will have a lawyer appointed as a monitor to make sure that they take $30 million -- another $30 million -- buy real estate and develop it.

Look, the mentality behind this law is the same mentality behind health care, and it says, "The right to live wherever you want is a right." It is not a right.

You get to live where you can afford, not wherever you want.

But the law says you get to live wherever you want, and wealthy communities in New York, like Westchester County, have to buy land and develop low-income housing now, or they'll be paying these $30 million fines.

Big brother is right here, and this is an example of it.



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