Thursday, September 3, 2009

Westchester Guardian/The Advocate.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Advocate
Richard Blassberg

Andrew Spano And David Paterson Each
Pull The Race Card To Cover Their Blunders

About a week and a half ago, Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano and Governor David Paterson, each very low in public opinion polls, each having been cited for major blunders, each individually pulled the race card in their desperation to bolster their position.

David Paterson, during an interview on a talk radio show, told Daily News columnist Errol Louis, “We’re not in the post-racial period. My feeling is it’s being orchestrated, it’s a game, and people who pay attention know that.” He went on to say, “The next victim on the list, and you see it
coming, is President Barack Obama, who did nothing more than try to reform a healthcare system only because he’s trying to make change.”

Paterson was attempting to explain away his poor performance and numerous blunders since assuming the Governor’s Office, as nothing more than a “media-driven racial attack.” However, his remarks were quickly rebuked, as reported by New York Post Albany Bureau Chief Fred U. Dicker, who exclusively informed his readers, “President Obama’s aides were so furious that Governor Paterson dragged him into a rant about racism
that they sent a message sharply criticizing the Governor’s comments just hours a er he made them.” Columns in the New York Times and Daily News were very critical of the Governor’s comments for several days thereafter.

Andy Spano, on the other hand, already smarting from exposure of his Administration’s violations under the False Claims Act, and more than $13 million in fines and legal expenses, in a rare appearance before the County Legislature, and then on News12’s Newsmakers program, repeatedly pulled the race card in a desperate attempt to draw attention away from the $65 million debacle his misuse of federal funds and his misrepresentations to HUD since 2000 will now cost taxpayers.

There are too many unanswered questions, one of the most obvious of which is, “Where was the $52 million spent that Spano repeatedly assured the federal government was being used for the creation of affordable housing as required under the block grants from which Spano accepted the money?”

Westchester taxpayers have a right to know which developers and which brokers and property owners, tightly connected to Spano and his clique, were beneficiaries of his misappropriation. Never mind Andy’s attempt to distract taxpayers and voters with references to racism, and the notion that, as he told the County Legislators with his voice cracking, “It’s all about African-Americans and Hispanics. If you vote ‘no’, that must weigh heavily. We would become, as the City of Yonkers became the most racist city in the United States, the most racist county in the United States.”

In the course of his self-serving interview with News12’s Brian Conybeare, Spano strained to put a favorable spin where none was possible. He began one sentence, “We weren’t accused... [quickly inserting] convicted of anything.” Of course, he and his Administration stand accused, and plainly culpable of misappropriating, and misrepresenting the use of some $52 million; and, having spent another $5 million in legal fees, theirs and their non-profit opponent’s, over the last three years, they would now have County Taxpayers bail them out.

Spano had the chutzpah to tell Conybeare, “There’s minimal ongoing impact on County taxes.” Of course, there would seem to be “minimal impact” from the standpoint of a County Executive who has pushed the County’s budget up to practically $2 billion and who gives taxpayers’ money away like candy to his friends and political contributors. Making up for the $65 million called for in the settlement he’s trying to ram
through will cost each and every household in Westchester at least $200.

Andy Spano would like the People of Westchester to forget about the deal he, and Larry Schwartz, pushed through the County Legislature last
year to buy a “white elephant” of an old and moldy building at 450 Saw Mill River Road, Ardsley; a building that one of his big campaign contributors couldn’t unload on anybody else; a building that will likely cost $20 million between purchase, repair, and renovation before any County agency ever occupies it.

The simple truth is that the federal government has learned that Andy Spano & Company cannot be trusted to do the right thing with their money, much less truthfully report it; and, Westchester taxpayers, the nation’s highest taxed, have learned the same. As for David Paterson’s and Andrew Spano’s individual pathetic use of the race card to distract voters’ attention from their blunders and low poll standings, readers are reminded that the chief advisor to each of them is Larry Schwartz, a political schemer and dealer whose deck is filled with nothing but jokers and marked cards.

Confirming our beliefs, with respect to Larry Schwartz’ role, the New York Post, in its Monday, Aug. 24 edition, reported, on page 13, “Obama aide Patrick Gaspard called Paterson’s First Deputy Secretary, Larry Schwartz, to air the President’s frustrations over being dragged into Paterson’s rant about racism.”

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