WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Westchester County Executive and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino challenged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to a debate Tuesday in response to two advertisements released Monday attacking him for his stance on the 2009 fair and affordable housing settlement.
Despite the counter-efforts of the County Board of Legislators, Astorino said April 23 that he would rather forfeit the $5.2 million in 2012 community development block grants than comply with the settlement, which would mean adopting an analysis of impediments that acknowledges zoning in some Westchester communities is exclusionary.
In the video, Astorino calls out Gov. Andrew Cuomo for making what he believes are insinuations he and Westchester families are racist, and challenges him to debate publicly in Westchester about the issue.
"How about standing behind your attacks by publicly debating the issue, if you have the courage to," he asked. "I'll defend the communities you are debasing, and you can defend the bureaucrats at HUD -- the agency you used to lead -- and the charges you make in your ads. We can hold it in Chappaqua, where you live, to make things convenient for you."
He also referred to civil rights activist Al Sharpton's appearance in front of county offices last week, citing it as a deliberate move by Cuomo.
The gubernatorial candidate said he believes Cuomo is aware of the diversity of Westchester County, and that the accusations are purely a campaign move.