Colin Schmitt on combating blockbusting
New Windsor, NY -- (3/22/16) Colin J. Schmitt, who is exploring a run for New York State Assembly, issued the following statement regarding the on-going blockbusting occurring in South Blooming Grove and threatening numerous other communities in the region.
“As I have been out in the community meeting with my neighbors one of the top concerns across the 99th Assembly District has been blockbusting. I recently attended a local South Blooming Grove Village Board meeting along with hundreds of other concerned residents. It is completely and utterly unacceptable for these blockbusting antics to continue. I forcefully oppose these blockbusting tactics and will seek to do all in my power both now and when elected to combat this type of unscrupulous behavior.”
The process of blockbusting involves real estate agents or other individuals who use heavy handed tactics and overt pressure to force existing residents of a targeted neighborhood to sell their homes. Most recently the areas in and around the Village of South Blooming Grove have faced these tactics. Aggressive door-to-door solicitation, including offering cash on the spot for a sale have been commonplace. Invasive phone calls and insistent mailings are also some of the methods that are being used to try and force people out of their homes. Fear and pressure are the hallmarks of blockbusting. It is both illegal and unethical.
- Following the lead of other municipalities, including most recently the Village of South Blooming Grove, NY and Toms River, NJ, I urge all local towns and villages facing or with the potential to deal with a rash of blockbusting to impose a multi-year ban on all direct solicitations by real estate agents. These bans have previously been deemed constitutionally sound and can be taken up on the local government level without the need for state legislative approval. Area residents should immediately contact their Town or Village Boards to urge them to take up this priority.
- In the State Assembly I would work to ensure the entirety of Orange and Rockland Counties are designated “cease and desist” areas under existing state law. Once designated as such, homeowners in designated areas would be protected from blockbusting activities. Brokers and agents would be barred from calling, mailing, or soliciting homeowners listed in the designated zones. Those who failed to comply would face significant fines and penalties.
- In the State Assembly I would support increased civil financial penalties and fines for those engaging in blockbusting activities. Those guilty of such behavior should face double the federal penalty on the state level and at least a five year ban from engaging in any real estate related activity in the entire state.
George Kydon, Town of Blooming Grove Councilman, stated "I thank Colin for his direct involvement on this issue. Here in Blooming Grove we have been dealing with the horrors of blockbusting and it is only a matter of time before it shows up in towns across the county. Colin has it right, each municipality needs to stand up and take proactive steps to protect area residents from all infringements against our neighborhoods and our rights. Blockbusting is certainly the top concern right now, we must also stay vigilant for the many other issues that plague local residents of Blooming Grove and Orange County.”
Colin J. Schmitt is a resident of New Windsor. He serves in the Army National Guard and previously served as Director of Operations for the NYS Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee. For more information visit www.ColinSchmitt.com.