African-American woman for GOP charges Cuomo use of ‘race card’

Candidate for New York State Gov. Rob Astorino Candidate for New York State Gov. Rob Astorino makes his acceptance speech after being nominated at the Republican Party Convention in Rye Brook on May 15, 2014. Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

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ALBANY -- In a biting response from Republican nominee Rob Astorino that shows how intense the governor’s race is getting so early, an African-American politician accused Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of reducing racial discrimination to a political sound bite.

“Shame on you Andrew Cuomo!” said Pearl Quarles, a New Rochelle Republican who has given Astorino critical support before. “Accusing Rob Astorino of discrimination is unforgivable.”

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In an Astorino Internet video, she referred to the Cuomo campaign’s first two television ads. They accused Astorino of turning his back on New York’s long tradition of fighting discrimination in housing.

The ads seized upon Astorino’s fight with the federal Housing and Urban Development Department over plans to build more low-income housing in the county.

Astorino denied any discrimination, but said he won’t let HUD trample local zoning laws that prohibit high-rise apartments in towns. HUD is waging a similar fight in Nassau County.

"You obviously don't know what racism is, so don't disrespect those of us who do,” said Quarles in the statement directed at Cuomo. “Rob Astorino opposes that scheme . . . [which would] hand local zoning decisions over to Washington. That crazy plan would lower our home values, raise taxes and overcrowd our schools,” said the first African-American woman on the Westchester County Legislature.

“Mr. Cuomo, your use of the race card disgusts me," she said.

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The Cuomo campaign had no immediate comment.

Cuomo is scheduled to accept the Democratic nomination for re-election on Thursday on Long Island at his party’s state convention.

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