THE HEZITORIAL: A Doable Vision to Eclipse the Talk and the Drama Presently Consuming Yonkers By HEZI ARIS

Hezi Aris Hezitorial 20 Comments

ehezi_charicature4It is recognized though rarely mentioned that the City of Yonkers (CoY) is a diamond in the rough. Yonkers is by every measure the centerpiece of the county. Yet when measured against the barometer of median wealth, it is outdistanced by most of Westchester County. Juxtaposed to that measurement, CoY is sought after by every retailer for its very location, location, location aspect, and every imaginable developer, for one reason or another. The very promise diversity of people inspire has languished mostly because the battles that have been fought to dominate the City of Hills have exhausted CoY’s ability to wrestle control of her destiny, often by bullying tactics that have shunned Yonkersites alike, no matter their innate capacity to excel beyond the opportunities in which they are permitted to engage. Lest anyone infer this conundrum of capacity for excellence and outcome is a recent environment of acknowledged malaise, study has proven the dilemma has exhausted CoY for some seven decades. A collective resurgent individual effort in search of doable vision worthy of attaining success and direction still eludes the city once referred, “The City of Gracious Living”. Such attributes were the “top” accolade of its time. They were gained with sweat and toil mostly by an immigrant population who created a robust sense of self acknowledgement throughout the metropolitan region that presently languishes in the minds of those old enough to remember or history buffs that yearn to appreciate the wealth of history and the contributions the City of Yonkers made over four centuries; laudable at the very least. The crossroads yearning for better can be afforded every Yonkersite the potential to create rather than replicate the past, indeed exceed in time with a vigorous, enterprising, cultural, redefinition of CoY. The history and the present attest to the delineation above. All required now is the engine to kick start the process. It is easier than most would imagine. In fact, it has stood openly camouflaged before us; to this day unseen.

It is the engine that will bring purpose to Yonkers once it is adopted. It will redefine bond-ratings based on verified standards rather than superficial hopes. It will create the gravitas that has for too long eluded Yonkers. It will mitigate the loquacious promises of “so-called” developers who stand cup in hand for a piece of the taxpayer’s largesse in Albany or the Yonkers IDA, who are otherwise incapable of moving forward with their “plan”. Truth be told, those “so-called” developers don’t have a pot to piss in; if they had, they would have begun the projects they assert they can complete. The promise of construction jobs, the rebuilding of a school infrastructure, the complimentary demand to invest in CoY eclipses every other concept brought forward to date. In fact, the project will heal the wounds between union membership and Yonkers City Hall, drive educational excellence, move Yonkersites up the economic ladder, bring an even greater sense of community and neighborhood culture, as well as an easier load for mitigating police work. This program will reassert the long lost commitment Yonkersites must make to the Yonkers Police Department, the Yonkers Fire Department, the Department of Public Works, the CSEA workers who remain the backbone to the Yonkers Board of Education, and the SEIU workers. Lest anyone believe this editorial will prove itself a panacea to that ailing Yonkers, think again. However, be assured the mechanism to kick start Yonkers toward a doable imprint that will draw people to consider Yonkers as the alternative to Brooklyn, Hoboken, Austin or elsewhere, can be accomplished and done so within no longer than six-months duration for its very adoption. Just recognizing the “miracle” it embodies is awesone.

The effort will only gain support and bring about a doable outcome if it is shared honestly and openly with Yonkersites; that is, gaining counsel expert at such concerns, with no familial ties to those in office and/or related to those in office. The focus must be to gain “trust” by working on maintaining the transparency of purpose and affordability. What is that kick-starter? It is the Public Private Partnership for Education (P3forE). The P3forE concept has the private sector making the investment for the cost of the project that needs to be paid off  over time. At issue is only whether the P3forE debt can be paid over a a financial term commensurate with CoY’s ability to pay. That can be worked out. The size of the build out is only based on whether the debt service can be managed by CoY.

P3forE is a long-standing concept that brings together the public sector (the People, that is, Yonkersites), represented by Mayor Mike Spano, the Executive branch of office), and the Yonkers City Council (the legislative branch of government), with the private sector (financial institutions) to build and rebuild a school infrastructure (school buildings) that must be as modern and relevant to those in the field know to build. The buildings must include the appropriate wiring for Internet and other electricity based concepts, build out that incorporates expected increases in student registration populations, and most importantly, a bond to support the project structure for a 50 to 75 year term as debt payment is made over a likely 25 years term. Such a beginning should also spur a beginning that builds at minimum one school in ever council district to reduce busing costs and time to get to and from one’s home to the school and back. Adopting a P3forE program must incorporate the building of a four-year state endorsed university aligned with the New York State sponsored StartUp program that permits business investment in Yonkers relieved of paying state taxes for 10 years, but only in an area with a school of higher learning; a requirement demanded by the business inducement program. Even without the StartUp program, the fourth largest ciy in the state needs a school of higher learning.

A good friend suggested transforming the former Homes for America building becoming a Pre-K center. Pre-K is funded for only a half-day in Yonkers. While the need for full day is required, perhaps the second half of the day may need to be overseen by volunteers. Difficult times require volunteerism. Let’s not forget it IS all about “our” children. Besides, volunteerism can be managed so people need only offer an hour or two a week.

The task may seem daunting, but it is not. The task is doable. Yonkersites have the heart; we only lead the leadership to get us there. This plan is commensurate with serving the viability of a great city with specific needs. Graft of any kind must be ostracized; accomplished by total transparency. And lastly, the old guard that has brought Yonkers to her knees over the many years of corruption under their watch and over which few state or county departments have delved to correct it maligned outcome must be supplanted with credible experts who are willing to share their knowledge for the benefit of the City of Yonkers’ benefit. The time is now. Let’s do it.

Remember that the strife, bigotry, stress, animosity, nepotism, patronage, and graft revolves about only one thing; survival. Survival can only be accomplished by earning a living. P3forE will begin the process of reviving the cachet long ago lost to the bickering, finger-pointing antics of those wanting only to carve a larger piece of the pie for themselves. The $1 billion plus budget of the City of Yonkers must be managed to produce a return commensurate with and even exceeding the investment made over many years by Yonkersites. Do you agree? If there is another option, I would like to hear it. It is time Yonkersites speak their mind in name or anonymously to return CoY to a balanced frame of mind and purpose. If there is a better way to resuscitate a city yearning for more, please share it online. Let everyone know your thoughts; don’t just share your brilliant concepts among a few friends and associates. That hasn’t worked.

I beseech you to engage in the discourse. If City Hall and the Yonkers City Council can’t come to terms with the reality Yonkers presently faces, public input will help guide the process toward enlightening those demanded to serve the public interest. I’ve rolled up my sleeves. Please do likewise. Let’s get it done!

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Hezi ArisTHE HEZITORIAL: A Doable Vision to Eclipse the Talk and the Drama Presently Consuming Yonkers By HEZI ARIS

Comments 20

  1. Threesidesto truth

    The p-3 program will be the doom of the City. The blue ribbon panel said it and why, because they knew that if they said it was a good thing that the fiscal catastrophe would happen before they were dead and people would ask questions as to their findings.
    Read before you comment. Some of us actually take the time to read what we are getting into before producing a blanket statement. While on the subject, are there any check and balance mechanisms in the IDA?

  2. Politico

    Real democrats don’t like the spaNOs ,meaning the average dem.voter will not support him they know deep down they are just trying to hijack the party deep down they are republicans. Mike will have a dem primary and a republican challenger that is 100% guaranteed and both will be formidable candidates, so he can buy off all he wants the fact is he will be challenged!

  3. Inside Baseball

    There’s no way the Dems will not endorse Spano. He owns them. Look what he’s done since he came into office: Given jobs to every last Dem who has any kind of influence in the party, placed his former Republican allies into Dem leadership roles (as district and ward leaders, giving them added delegate voting strength at nominating convention), placed his family members, chief of staff and second deputy mayor into Dem party roles (all former Republicans and non Dems), and so on and so forth. The only way this guy has any kind of reelection issue is if the Feds indict him. And even then I’m not so sure that he doesn’t coast in. He and his family have made politics a business, one that few others can offer any real competition. They will remove term limits in the next year and be here forever. Get used to it, Mayor Mike is not going away.

  4. Oh Really

    ” Yonkers is by every measure the centerpiece of the county.”

    “CoY is sought after by every retailer for its very location, location, location aspect, and every imaginable developer, for one reason or another.”

    Oh,really?

    1. Walk Thru Getty Square!

      Anyone old enough remembers when Yonkers USED TO BE the centerpiece of the county. That title has belonged to White Plains for many, many years now. Yonkers will never, EVER again be the centerpiece of the county! Anyone who thinks or believes that is nuts!

  5. light at the end of the tunnel

    Lions, often thought to be a Republican, this candidate once put a scare into the Spano machine.

  6. are you blind

    Trying walking on main st it’s filthy double parked cars the cops can’t even get by they no to avoid it there are taco salesperson all over the sidewalks with shopping carts then you hit ghettos square homeless drunks riff raff drug rehabs and carbon monoxide from all the busses and that air freshener of low tide but the worst oder drips and ozzez out city hall.

  7. Tired of it all

    This is one of the best editorials I’ve read in a long time. And I think you’ve hit it on the nose. Hezi.

    The City is on track right now for good things. We have artists interested in coming to Yonkers…for real…something I never thought would happen. Our bond ratings are rising. The downtown is getting private investment…some with government help…some without.

    But it’s good right now. And it needs to keep going. The P3P would be a good step. And there are other good steps. But former Mayors who created many of our problems are not the answer…I can tell you that. This Mayor has done some good things…and he has stumbled. But former Mayors need to go away.

    I can’t remember which one did that well.

  8. light at the end of the tunnel

    Just got word that the decorated veteran with budget and administrative experience has formed an exploratory committee in contemplation of a mayoral primary.

    1. LIONS AND TIGERS AND MAYORS, OH MY

      Light? You must mean the LED lights he pushed. He is a Republican…who is he going to primary?

          1. LIONS AND TIGERS AND MAYORS, OH MY

            I can’t imagine any heretofore unearthed Democrats, east or west side. You will have to give a few more hints.

    2. CSLewis

      The republicans in Yonkers will not run a candidate against Mikey. In fact, they will give him a Wilson Pakula, and Mike will run unopposed. He’s really a republican, you know. Justin Tubiolo will not allow anyone to run without Spano’s blessing.

      1. Oh really ?

        Like Justin could really do that when there are Republicans interested in running? Keep believing that kool aid.

          1. You're right Spano 30% to Opponent 70%

            You seem to forget that Spano had a close primary with Chuck Lesnick for the Democratic line. The only reason Spano won that primary was because every union in the City and some from outside the City backed Spano in the primary. Without that union support in the primary Spano would have lost to Lesnick. Next time, Spano won’t have any real support from labor. Maybe a few useless paper endorsements but no real support.

            Spano also had the Conservative line through a write in which was only possible because of the teamsters and firefighters. There’s little chance of Spano having the Conservative line next time. Hugh Fox will not give it to him and the unions will not help him with a write in.

            Spano also had the Working Family line. There’s no chance he will have that line in the next election.

            What will happen is that there will be a Republican challenger who will get the Republican, Conservative, Independent and Working Families lines. That Republican will also get the grass roots support of most labor unions in the City.

            Spano will also face at least one opponent in a Democratic primary and maybe more. He has pissed off so many of the rank and file Democrats that it does not matter who the so-called Democratic leaders support. The Democratic voters will decide who the Democratic candidate is. How many votes does it take to win a Democratic primary in Yonkers? Do I hear Chuck Lesnick in the background?

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