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Bill Clinton: We're Not Out of Touch, We Talk to People at the Local Grocery Store

4:46 PM, Jun 24, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Former President Bill Clinton insists he and his wife, Hillary Clinton, are not out of touch. The examples he cites? They talk to people at their "local grocery store on the weekend" and, he adds, they "talk to people in [their] town."

"I think I had the lowest net worth of any American president in the twentieth century when I took office," said Bill Clinton today. "But I still could have been tone deaf. And, you know, now I don’t. And we’ve got a great life and I’m grateful for it. But I still, we go to our local grocery store on the weekend. We talk to people in our town. We know what’s going on. The real issue is, if you’ve been fortunate enough to be successful, are you now out of touch and insensitive to the agonizing struggles other people are facing. That’s the real issue."

The Clintons have a home together in Chappaqua, New York, a rich town that boasts "a median household income of $163,201," as the New York Times once noted.

The Times explained, “Stately houses are set on spacious, hilly lots shaded by old trees; its village center has gourmet restaurants and bakeries; its schools are top notch and its 9,400 residents have a median household income of $163,201, ranking the area roughly 40th among America’s wealthiest communities. It is no surprise that Chappaqua is the home of a past president and perhaps a future one, Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as a Hollywood star or two.”

One wonders whether they've discussed with their numbers one of the hot topics in Chappaqua: whether a low-income housing project should be built, a move that would desegregate the town. As the New York Times has also noted, “The project would allow Chappaqua, where 91 percent of the residents are white, to contribute to a desegregation settlement Westchester County reached in 2009 that is being overseen by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. The agreement is a condition of Westchester continuing to receive federal housing dollars after it was accused of lying about its compliance with fair-housing mandates. It requires the county to spend $51.6 million by 2016 to help finance the building of 750 units of moderate- and low-income housing in some of Westchester’s 31 largely white communities, including Rye, Larchmont, Harrison and Mount Pleasant. The county is required to aggressively market those apartments to nonwhites.”

The paper has added:

The plan has become the center of a bitter three-year-long communal and political battle. Robert J. Greenstein, the current supervisor of New Castle, which includes the Chappaqua and Millwood hamlets, was elected in November partly because of his opposition to the project. In September, a town board led by his predecessor, Susan E. Carpenter, approved the project, 3-2; the new board is, in effect, trying to overturn what the previous board agreed to. ...

Some residents who oppose the project have banded together in a group called Chappaqua for Responsible Affordable Housing. They said they support the creation of moderate-income apartments but think the location is terrible because it is on a forlorn, polluted field.

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