Local boy Ron Sims goes national, as do his critics.
Last Tuesday, New York's Westchester County voted out Democrat county executive Andy Spano in favor


Ron Sims' ZIP Code Comment Makes Him New Conservative Whipping Boy

Local boy Ron Sims goes national, as do his critics.
Last Tuesday, New York's Westchester County voted out Democrat county executive Andy Spano in favor of Republican challenger Rob Astorino. The 58-42 margin in favor of Astorino came as a huge surprise.

Westchester is one of the nation's wealthiest suburbs and traditionally leans left. Spano had the advantage of incumbency and the deeper war chest that comes with it. So why'd he lose?

The conservative wonks at City Journal, the quarterly magazine published by free-market think-tank the Manhattan Institute, say Spano's loss came partly as a result of a comment made by King County's former executive, Ron Sims.

Here's the backstory.

In August, Westchester County entered into a landmark agreement with the federal government. For a long time, small towns and counties like Westchester have put one hand out to receive community redevelopment grants while keeping the other hand behind their backs, fingers crossed, when they promised to use part of the cash to build affordable housing in better neighborhoods.

Westchester agreed to build or acquire 750 low-income units in wealthy, mostly white communities. A fact that, depending on your ideological stance, either means the beginning of (more) state-sponsored integration or is a justified strike against rich NIMBYs who can afford to wall themselves off from the rest of town.

The agreement came as a result of a lawsuit filed by a New York City anti-discrimination group that was helped in part by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. And it could serve as a bellwether for the other 1,225 cities, counties, and state governments that, like Westchester, have accepted community redevelopment grants since the program began 35 years ago.

In other words, it's a big deal. And Sims, HUD's deputy secretary, presumably knew as much when he made the following statement after the decision had been reached.

"When you can predict the illnesses people can get by ZIP code, there's something wrong," said Sims. "It's time to remove ZIP codes as a factor in the quality of life in America."

The quote didn't receive much attention in August when Sims made it. But then Spano consented to the agreement and made the unwise decision to label constituents who opposed him as racist. He got his ass handed to him as a result.

Now, thanks to Spano's ousting, Sims' ZIP code comment has been repurposed as call-to-arms fodder on conservative web sites.

Says National Review's the corner blog:

If you think "health-care reform" is the most inflammatory phrase in the political lexicon, wait till "affordable housing" gets up to speed. It's been a sleeper up to now -- I wrote about it seven years ago -- but with characters like Ron Sims in charge, this one will really catch fire.

If you care about your neighborhood -- or even just your zip code -- get ready to fight for it.

On the blog, Point of Law:
The Westchester voter revolt may serve as a signal to local officials elsewhere to fight, rather than roll over, when the social engineers and their lawyers come knocking.
And from someone who calls themselves the Vulcan Hammer:
Although a complete levelling in income disparities by geography has been a goal (expressed or implied) of socialist states for a long time, it's never been achieved, even in the old Soviet Union, with its special places for those high in the Communist Party. But that won't keep the American left from trying, and trying they are.
Sims' slip-away to Constitution Avenue may have seemed quiet up till now. But give him a few more fire-bombs like this one and we'll soon be saying of our former exec, "We knew him when..."

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