MEDIA RELEASE: Astorino Delivers anti-HUD Warning to RI Municipalities, SRO Crowd
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 25, 2016
Westchester County Executive Warns of Federal Intrusion into Local Matters Astorino Encourages North Kingstown and Other Localities to Forgo CDBG Grants, Keep Local Decisions Local
Providence, RI — Despite efforts by the federal government to silence him, Westchester County Executive, Rob Astorino, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd of concerned citizens and lawmakers, relating how the “grand experiment” by the federal government in his county can lead to an infringement on the sovereignty of other local governments. Astorino was the featured speaker at a Sunday afternoon fundraiser in North Kingstown for the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, which first raised attention in 2014 about RhodeMapRI, a scheme that is still being advanced in the state as surrogate to an intrusive agenda by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Astorino, in his second term as Executive for the New York county, who for years has been fighting off new HUD mandates, in addition to those imposed in an historic court settlement by his predecessor, urged Rhode Island localities to forgo the HUD money that is often dangled in front of them, and to keep local land-use and development decisions local, instead of ceding them to the federal government.
Multiple local officials from the Town of North Kingstown, which is currently considering a HUD grant of about $125,000, were in attendance, with one official commenting that Astorino’s experiential warnings will help them “sharpen their swords” in their fight against federal mandates. Other state and local officials from North Providence, Barrington, Central Falls, Exeter, Foster, Coventry, and Richmond were also present.
“Once HUD gets into your city or town, they will not go away. They want never-ending settlements and mandates, designed by Washington, D.C. central-planners and ideologues, who will try to dictate who can live where,” commented Astorino. Echoing the Center’s concerns over the past two years, Astorino also warned that localities can be deemed by HUD to be “discriminatory” if certain income and racial housing “quotas” are not met … a method he ridiculed as “guilt by statistics, rather than by intent”.
Astorino, a former and likely future New York gubernatorial candidate, listed a number of other counties into which HUD has sunk its teeth: Baltimore, Maryland; Marin, California; Nassau, New York; and Dallas, Texas.
Astorino’s advice was threefold: municipalities should not accept new HUD funds, often presented as Community-Development-Block-Grants (CDBG), which he called “central to the process”; local governments should return any unused HUD funds, and; citizens who value property rights and local sovereignty should run for various town, planning, budget, or zoning board seats.
In order to silence opposition, the federal government, in a May court hearing, according to Astorino, will challenge Astorino’s right as an elected-official to speak openly in criticizing the HUD agenda, instead seeking to force him to parrot HUD’s views.
Mike Stenhouse, CEO
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About the Center The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is Rhode Island’s premiere free-enterprise research and advocacy organization. The nonprofit Center is funded entirely by private tax-deductible donations and never accepts public funding. The mission of the 501-C-3 organization is to return government to the people by opposing special-interest politics and advancing proven free-market solutions that can transform lives by restoring economic competitiveness, increasing educational opportunities, and protecting individual freedoms.