Re:  Letter to the Editor in response to Robert P. Astorino ,Tuesday May 29th, 2012

I was pleased to read that our County Executive is committed to affordable housing, but somewhat perplexed that he thinks that Westchester County is so diverse.  His statement is misleading as he cites county-wide diversity figures to pave over the community-by-community structural racism that has plagued this County from its inception.

Back in the “good old days” when there were big houses with lots of servants, the big houses were clustered in wealthy neighborhoods and the servants (all poor and many minorities) were clustered in the town next door.

The resulting disparities are manifest today in pairings like Rye and Port Chester. Rye City’s median family income is$207,773 and Port Chester’s is $51,652; Scarsdale’s median family income is $208,750 while Mount Vernon’s is $50,555. Rye is 7.8% minority and Port Chester is 64.7%:  Scarsdale is5.3% minority and Mount Vernon is 75.6%. Briarcliff Manor and Ossining, Bronxville and Tuckahoe, etc. are similarly disparate pairings.

The “big house” owners have liked it that way and have perpetuated this racist construct to the present

The County Executive should desist from perpetuating the diversity myth and take a leadership role in promoting affordable housing.  There are several not for profits, such as The Housing Action Council and Westchester Residential Opportunitiesas well as the very capable County planning department that could be focusing on how these 31 communities can reconfigure their zoning laws to accommodate affordable housing.  

Rather than nitpicking the affordable housing laws and decisions that have come his way, he should show some leadership in honoring their spirit.  To paraphrase his own statement “A Community where people can’t afford to live is a community without a future.



Ann Barringer Spaeth

Anti-Racist Alliance

Rye, New York 10580