Race for Rockland district attorney heats up

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The race for Rockland district attorney heated up Monday with the GOP challenger coming out swinging against the 12-year incumbent.

Former Haverstraw judge Tom Zugibe claims Rockland District Attorney Michael Bongiorno made inflammatory and racially insensitive remarks at a senior citizen forum last week. In an excerpt from Bongiorno's speech, he said, "You are not at risk in your homes in the neighborhoods you live in...the problem is focused on that area of Spring Valley because of the unique demographics and change in the population in Spring Valley."

Zugibe said the comment is not only racially insensitive, but it is also inaccurate. The Democrat claims the increase in rapes and robberies from 2005-2006 occurred all across the county, not just in Hispanic communities.

Bongiorno, however, said he has the stats to back his remarks. He said there has been an increase in robberies in Hispanic communities, but Hispanics were the victims. In addition, he said many immigrants living in Rockland come from countries where the age of consent is younger than 17, contributing to the increase in rapes.

The Democrat still feels racial discrimination exists under Bongiorno's leadership and cited other incidents. Bongiorno said Zugibe is making a disgraceful low-gutter political move.

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