Democratic county legislator Ellen Birnbaum is facing pressure to resign after racist statements she made about local black constituents were released to the press.
The comments came when Birmbaum was discussing a community center in the mainly black neighborhood of New Cassel.
"Why would anyone want to go there," Brinbaum asked to fellow legislators. "It's a bad neighborhood, it's a ghetto. It's full of those black people."
She then added, "Come on, who from the rest of the town is going to go there? After all, mostly black people live there. All they want to do is play basketball."
[caption id="attachment_26340" align="alignnone" width="750"] Birnbaum[/caption]
Birnbaum is now facing harsh criticism for her remarks, but is refusing to step down. She also disputes some of the accounts of her words, stating, "Those are not my words... I did not use 'ghetto.'"
However, Birnbaum does not dispute everything that has been reported and has said that her insensitive remarks have left her "heartsick."
She continued that though she is heartsick, she will not resign: "I will work every day for the remainder of my term to gain the trust and confidence of the African-American community in New Cassel and throughout Nassau County."
Since the comments were reported, both local Democrats and Republicans have called for her resignation.
Minority Democrat Leader Kevan Abrahams took action, quickly banning Birnbaum last week from Democrat functions. “Let’s make this very clear and very concise,” Abrahams told reporters Friday. “Legislator Birnbaum is banned from the minority caucus and the Democratic caucus.”