The New Racism in New Cassel is the continued refusal of the Town of North Hempstead to effectively enforce the housing codes to eliminate illegal rental housing.
To put this statement in the proper context, we must consider the “inalienable rights of suburban living” which are as follows: (1) stability—a community of homeowners, condominium/coop owners and legitimate apartment renters with one family residing therein with solid income earners (2) ambiance—a tranquil community with well-kept homes, a low population density and clean uncluttered streets (3) low crime—the natural result of stability and (4) a solid school district where children can receive a quality education which flows from stability because of small class sizes and high school taxes paid by single family home/condo/coop owners and renters.
All of the homeowners of the predominantly white villages and unincorporated areas of the Town of North Hempstead enjoy the aforesaid rights which can also be referred to as “The American Dream.” However, the predominantly minority New Cassel homeowners are experiencing “The American Nightmare.” New Cassel is drastically unstable because of the dominance of illegal housing, where slumlords rent single family homes to two to three families with as many as six to 10 or more children residing therein. There is no ambiance because of streets filled with cars and trucks on both sides and excessive trash/garbage due to illegal tenancies. New Cassel has by far the highest crime rate in the town of North Hempstead and, in most cases, three to five times the number of registered sex offenders as any other town political subdivision. Moreover the Westbury School District, which is comprised of 85%-87% of New Cassel children, is the most overcrowded district (5,200 students) and worst performer in the town.
As a result of the foregoing, the homes of the legitimate New Cassel single family homeowners have the lowest value in the town. Moreover their children who attend the Westbury School District have to be in overcrowded classrooms surrounded by at least eight out of 10 children who come from households where their parents’ slumlords pay disproportionately low school taxes because of the six or more children residing in these houses.
Consequently New Cassel homeowners, along with all of the predominantly minority Westbury Village and Old Westbury homeowners in the Westbury School District, subsidize these illegal students at the expense of their own. Additionally, a significant number of New Cassel homeowners, especially in the Westbury Hills section, along with 85% of Westbury Village homeowners with school age children, send their children to private school. This creates a huge “income gap” between the white homeowners of the other town subdivisions and the New Cassel/ Westbury Village minority homeowners because their homes are worth significantly more due to the absence of illegal housing which also leads to high performing schools. These white homeowners also save $108,000-$780,000 in private school tuition costs to educate one to two children through high school.
Most of the aforesaid problems started and escalated during the nearly 10 years of Jon Kaiman’s tenure as town supervisor and have continued unabated during Judi Bosworth’s administration. These problems could have been easily solved if proper steps were taken at an early stage such as high fines, hiring additional code enforcement officers, banning or severely limiting rental housing, making the costs of rental permits prohibitive to discourage rentals and other punitive measures such as those suggested by Westbury Village Court Justice Thomas Liotti. However, Kaiman, along with the other white members of the town council, turned blind eyes to these problems and refused to take necessary corrective actions. Moreover, Robert Troiano and Viviana Russell were/are as much to blame because of their failure to oppose this inaction and to back the aforesaid actions which would have prevented and /or stopped this destruction of their communities.
Kaiman, Bosworth and the other white councilmembers did not/do not care about these horrible problems because they were/are affecting minority homeowners as opposed to predominantly white homeowners. Moreover, insincere smiles at photo ops, presenting meaningless awards and wasting millions of dollars on the “Yes We Can” Community Center and other now worthless projects have not, and will not, solve these problems.
It is unfortunate that I have to make this commentary. However as the British statesman Edmund Burke stated, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I call upon Supervisor Bosworth and the council to immediately stop this passive racist behavior and correct these problems or alternatively to resign their positions so that we can elect representatives who will.
—Gregory P. Lewis