FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2012
Contact: Tom Staudter | ThomasS@westchesterlegislators.com | 914-995-2819 | 914-815-4462 (cell)
BOL Majority Leader Harckham Blasts Astorino for Food Bank Tweet After Cutting Funds for County Hunger Programs
Criticizes County Executive for “Cynical Public Relations Charades”
White Plains, NY – Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) Majority Leader Pete Harckham (D-North Salem) blasted County Executive Rob Astorino for a tweet he sent out to supporters yesterday regarding a radio station’s gift to the Food Bank for Westchester.
The communication, Harckham said, was especially disappointing and ironic considering Astorino cut more than $200,000 in the 2013 County Budget for programs directed at alleviating hunger in Westchester, including $72,000 for Food Bank for Westchester.
Astorino’s tweet read: “I was on the air with @WFASfm this afternoon as they presented a $3,000 check to benefit the Food Bank of #Westchester.” (See below for screen shot of the tweet.)
But Harckham noted that the Astorino-led 2013 County Budget, “passed” by the seven Republican legislators and two rogue Democrats, actually eliminates $73,000 in funding directed towards the Food Bank for Westchester, along with funding for the Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless, the Exchange Club Prevention Center soup kitchen and the senior nutrition program offered by Westchester Jewish Community Services.
“If the County Executive were really concerned about the Food Bank of Westchester, he would not have eliminated their funding,” said Harckham. “This is the height of cynicism and insensitivity. Astorino is deliberately trying to misrepresent his Tea Party policies, which are harming Westchester’s less fortunate and low-income residents.”
Harckham pointed out that this is not an isolated incident, but rather part of a pattern of cynical behavior. In June, the County Executive publicly touted El Centro Hispano on its 20th anniversary but eliminated funding for the organization the 2013 Budget. Astorino also appeared at the 75th Anniversary of Trailside Museum in Ward Pound Ridge the same year he tried to close it down, and schmoozed his way through several ethnic heritage festivals this year at the Kensico Dam Plaza, all of which he has cut funding for.
“These cynical public relations charades must end,” declared Harckham. “If the County Executive is truly concerned about the non-profits who provide safety net services in Westchester, he needs to put money where his mouth is. Talk, and tweets, are cheap.”