The legal and political wrangling has taken four years to define and construct. Its structure, originally the vision of Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone, languished in thought for years.Before evaporating into a mirage, a triumvirate of developers were courted into our realm, enticed with the promise of Yonkers' booty and treasure. They would come to relish the vision; they would extrapolate its concept into one of a grander scheme to the tune of $1.5 billion, only to rescind their word by $1 billion less, resting "their" vision at $500 million..
Exhausted by the hotly contested battle for Ridge Hill, Yonkersites tended their wounds after fighting Forest City Ratner, as well as the Benedict Arnolds of Yonkers City government, both from the Executive and Legislative branches of government, who fought The People's battles for their greater personal power, all the while permitting The People their own deaths for battles they urged they fight. The People would in time be abandoned under relentless public relations assault to their character, and the unforgiving subterfuge lost in the legal battlefields, bloodied, gasping for relief, eventually to succumb in defeat before his "Lordship" Bruce Ratner and his minions of salivating greedy wannabees. Surrounded by the sycophants at City Hall, Lord Ratner sang his delusional praises to the accompaniment of Mayor Amicone and the Second Floor's off-key rendition to calling the boondoggle a success. Mayor Amicone continued to sing, bolstered by economic development czar Ed Sheeren, who has never forgotten how to wag the tail, to Mayor Amicone's delight.
The most important aspect to be gleaned by the Ridge Hill development project is that is has not unfurled as promised. It was and continues to fall short of the bill of goods sold to Yonkersites. The financial debacle that originated in the United States only exacerbated the folly still being built; now delayed years into the future without a tenant in sight, and concerns of alleged bribery, among other alleged illegalities, that may be revealed as part of the investigation by law enforcement agencies that was City Hall's convenient excuse for the forced resignation of a Yonkers Senior Housing Inspector whose purview was Ridge Hill.
More importantly still, is the fact that our legal team, as good as they believe themselves to be and as erudite as we would hope them to be, are childlike in their ability to comprehend the multilayered complexities of negotiating contracts with Fortune 100 firms and those whose legal team is comprised of such largesse as to reveal our puny equipment. We should have learned then, yet are in denial still, that our legal eagles have yet to fledge. They have been proven unworthy of sitting across the negotiating table against the likes of Forest City Enterprises, and the likes of SFC Yonkers. Comprising the now departed Struever, the still existent Fidelco, and Cappelli, of SFC Yonkers Inc., SFC Yonkers has long engaged the legal acumen of Al DelBello, by the hiring of his law firm, and formally contracting the lobbying talents of former New York State Senator Nick Spano, among a cadre of others.
If so far in this reading you only see the names of those who have or presently wield power, you may safely infer that economic development in Yonkers is nothing more than the passing of wealth from one generation of insiders to their progeny, next of kin, or families and friends network. Now that wasn't such a leap, was it?
Yonkers resolve was undercut by its inept leadership in the Executive Branch; and further, equally suffered the clumsy inability to translate opportunity, experience, and education into a palatable formula of success for The people by the Legislative Branch of government.
One could suggest that collective action is the only alternative to the dysfunction that has been nurtured within our borders but it has never been easy to achieve or sustain. Success has been fleeting and eventually flaccid. One could argue that among a clique of so few interested parties, the Executive, Legislative Branches of government, and some, but not all tangential hangers on, the challenge of returning value to The People would and could be garnered among the cooperation of like minded thinkers. Alas, as difficult as it may be to write, it is likely harder to read and comprehend, that not all in Yonkers are concerned about the survival of fellow Yonkersites with equal consideration. In fact, many Yonkersites are marginalized in the equation of economic development or given short shrift for political consumption at best. The crumbs of inclusion are few , and wanting, and most of all, telling of our failures.
Under the various circus tents constructed to deflect attention of every adversary and cynic, the other "team" is called nothing more than a misfit or a miscreant. Reckless rhetoric and provocative actions of a few within different facets of any given perspective and equation dominate the news cycle in order to overshadow the meandering skullduggery of the few who hope to maintain their stranglehold of power of Yonkers "potential." Continuing the deceit are stirring speeches, ensuing press releases, and the blame game finger pointers who embellish each others' nighmares into hysterical heights of frenzy.
Passage of the SFC Yonkers Inc development project looks to win the day despite our leaders' inabilities to speak earnestly and with intelligence, moderation, and insight into Yonkers plight, and its need for more than what is "agreed" contractually. Unfortunately for Yonkers, the peer pressure and the high stakes before the City of Hills continues to be non-existent; neither is there a robust Fourth Estate whose collective gravitas is sufficient to set a tone and convey the concept that Yonkers deserves to succeed for its own sake and for the sake of Westchester County for the county to maintain and grow. Without Yonkers, Westchester County cannot thrive, much less be viable in the 21st Century. Westchester County would like Yonkers not to get that reality.
The financial return postulated for approval in one week's time will go very little in transcending Yonkers precarious financial instability and economic woe for years to come. Yonkers deficit will suffer financially as it will likewise come to infect every sinew of our city. From the lack of funds for our police force, which will atrophy, relegated to being undermanned for years to come as needs for security heighten their load. Despite the soon to be hired Firefighters, for which an allocation has yet to be devised, we continue to lie to ourselves when future financial growth and planning is the requisite for good government, not political plotting and playing a blame game.
Yonkers gaping budget deficits, the taxing burden on our elder community of citizens who built and continue to sustain Yonkers suffer the burden as they are pushed out of the equation for consideration by those with the power to vote them relief. Our children and grandchildren fight to stay close to home only to eventually abandon the environs they love and the family to which they wish to maintain proximity because the economic environment has robbed them their option otherwise by government action. The decayed infrastructure deteriorates as the seconds tick away only to be mentioned when politically expedient. Similarly, the Yonkers Board of Education remains in "our" collective thoughts as a political football of value in times needing a deflective moment of pity, sorrow, scandal, or coverup; rarely over educational excellence.
The makeshift scaffold before Yonkers is rickety at best. The future success will require collective leadership and thought. The personal governance Mayor Amicone has afforded is proven to be inadequate, the pandering posture of lesser offices equally inadequate. Pushing SFC Yonkers forward will promote the gloating utterances of the thin-skinned leadership that brought us to the precipice of failure with few if any options left before Yonkers. I suspect they have robbed us of all choice once considered viable.