Did you know…

Yale alumnae/i are called “Old Blues’?  I am kvelling over my Yale college classmate and friend Daniella Levine Cava, who won her race for Mayor of Miami-Dade County in south Florida. She will be the first woman to hold that position, and the first Democrat since 2004. This is their equivalent of County Executive in a jurisdiction of 2.7 Million people with a $9 Billion annual budget.  Daniella and I were directors of the Yale Big Brother/Big Sister program, recruiting and matching up college students as mentors for New Haven grade school children.  We also organized group trips of the “Bigs” and” Littles” to Sturbridge Village and the New England Aquarium in Boston.  I remember Daniella leading endless renditions of I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly on the long bus rides.  I also remember her having charmed Murray Lender, legendary frozen bagel macher — and founding donor of the Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac — into donating a couple of hundred mini-bagels to our annual Big/Little Sibs picnic, fresh not frozen from Lender’s Bakery No. 3 in West Haven.  Daniella will be a great mayor! 


I was glad to honor our veterans at three Veterans Day events yesterday and was ably represented by Legislative Aide Marianne Bateman at a fourth.  Here I am at St. Gabe’s garden with Marine veteran honoree Lupita Mendoza to my right, State Senator Shelley Mayer, and New Rochelle City Councilmember Martha Lopez. The County honored Ms. Mendoza, a New Rochelle resident and native, for her outstanding work with HOPE Community Services on behalf of homeless veterans. Lupita, thank you for your service and your community work!


Legal blues for Eastchester: 

First, a couple of excerpts from this month’s issue of Opening Acts, the newsletter of the Fair Housing Justice Center

FHJC’s Case Alleging Racially Discriminatory Residency Preferences Moves Forward
DENIES MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENTOn September 28, 2020, the Honorable Judge Vincent L. Briccetti denied the Town of Eastchester’s motion for summary judgment in full. On October 15, Judge Briccetti read his decision over the phone to the parties. A copy of the transcript of that telephonic hearing is available here. This decision allows the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) to proceed with its case against the Town for racial discriminatory housing practices.
FHJC Executive Director Fred Freiberg, “We are pleased with this decision and hope that it will spur the Town of Eastchester to negotiate in good faith to reach a fair resolution of this case. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits predominantly white suburban communities like Eastchester from adopting and enforcing policies in land-use, zoning or affordable housing programs that effectively exclude or limit access to housing opportunities based on race or national origin.”   
As the County Legislator who represents the people of Eastchester, I feel personally frustrated because I could get Eastchester the federal funds available via the County for Community Development Block Grants, for infrastructure projects — such as sidewalks, curb, sewers and playground upgrades — if the Town Board could and would certify to complying with federal law.  Also, the County has lots of money for private developers who will commit to as little as 10% affordable housing — geared toward households with annual incomes in the range of around $75,000 to $95,000 —  in new or renovated multiple dwellings in towns.  But I can’t get the Board interested in promoting this.  I was able to convince Tuckahoe Village Trustees to qualify for CDBG money, which they will be eligible for starting next year.  As it stands now, unless the Town settles this lawsuit, as other towns in Westchester have already done in similar lawsuits, taxpayers could be on the hook for monetary damages plus legal fees of both sides in the case.  In more than one way, it pays to do the right thing.