In a cynical attempt to polarize and scare white suburban homeowners, President Trump took a page from the playbook that others have used successfully to create fear of affordable and low-income housing. In verbal remarks, he specifically identified Westchester as a victim of efforts to “affirmatively further fair housing” (AFFH). Based on the experience of another politician who used the tactic, I believe the president’s political ploy will not succeed because there has been too much success in building safe and attractive affordable housing in the New York Metropolitan Area.
The president tweeted:
“I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood…Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH Rule. Enjoy!”
In 2013, Republican Robert Astorino successfully used the same tactic with postcards warning of crime and reduced property values that low-income housing would bring if his Democrat opponent were elected. Here are the postcards the Astorino campaign sent to predominantly white areas.
Despite running in a county that is 2 to 1 Democrat versus Republican, Astorino won the election.
Four years later, however, after more than 750 units of affordable housing were built or approved in predominantly white, affluent areas, he was beaten by the current County Executive George Latimer.
In addition, this same president who denounced high crime and low property values that low income housings would supposedly bring, last year set up the “White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing” to “Reduce and streamline statutory, regulatory, and administrative burdens at all levels of government that inhibit the development of affordable housing;” and “Encourage state and local governments to reduce regulatory barriers to the development of affordable housing.” I supported the president in this effort, which directly challenges home rule to eliminate excessive environmental, building code, and other restrictions on development.
Here are links to stories in The Journal News and News 12 Westchester involving CHI.