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Mayoral Candidate’s Remarks Upset Officials

January 12, 1989 GMT

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) _ A man seeking to be mayor of racially divided Yonkers said nearly all blacks lived well under slavery and made other comments that brought denunciations from political leaders, who called the remarks ignorant and inflammatory.

John Casaburro, who is seeking the Republican and Conservative nominations for mayor of the city just north of New York City, made the remarks at a Yonkers City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Casaburro said ″90 percent of all blacks lived well and had it good″ under slavery.

″They’re no longer in the back of the bus. Now they’re slaves to the bus,″ he said later. ″Now they’re spending two hours a day just to go to school. Not a school of their choice, but a school based on racial quotas.

″Most black men are encouraged not to marry a woman,″ he added. ″They’re encouraged to impregnate, not marry her, because it’s almost an irresponsibility to get married since welfare will take care of her.″

Mayor Nicholas Wasicsko, a Democrat seeking a second term in the November election, on Wednesday called Casaburro’s remarks ″extremely unfortunate. He’s not typical of the sentiment of the city.″

Such comments ″do absolutely no good,″ said Westchester County Executive Andrew O’Rourke. ″They’re inflammatory. There’s no basis in fact.″

Racial relations are already strained in Yonkers due to opposition to a court-ordered housing desegregation plan.

Faced with bankrupting fines imposed by a federal judge, the council reversed itself Sept. 10 and agreed to support the judge’s order to affordable housing to remedy what the judge determined was deliberate segregation.

Casaburro has campaigned as a member of the Save Yonkers Federation, a citizen’s group which has sued to stop the desegregation plan.

However, federation President Jack O’Toole said Casaburro was neither an official nor a committee member for the association.