Yonkers, NY — Yonkers City Councilman John Murtagh (R-5) (pictured) today criticized as “dangerous grandstanding” a letter (copy attached) sent by Assemblyman Michael Spano to Assembly Majority Leader Sheldon Silver which describes Yonkers as facing a “dramatic increase in violent crime”, “shootings”, “rape” and “robbery”. The letter, dated October 7, seeks $200,000-$300,000 in unspecified state funding in order to “control the violence that has been plaguing [Yonkers]”.
“Yonkers, like every large city, is facing significant budgetary issues and is always concerned for its citizen’s safety”, Murtagh stated, “but that calls for serious people to make a real effort to address complicated issues. Assemblyman Spano’s letter is anything but a serious attempt to address the issues confronting Yonkers. In the first place, the notion that crime in Southwest Yonkers can be solved for $200,000 is laughable. If that were the solution I am confident that the Amicone Administration and the City Council could find $200,000 fairly easily somewhere in the City’s 900 million dollar budget. Worse still, Assemblyman Spano’s request for a mere $200,000 undermines the City’s real efforts in Albany to address long standing inequities in the way the State funds Yonkers’ budget.”
Mr Murtagh continued, “If the Assemblyman were serious about addressing Yonkers’ budget and crime control issues, he would finally force the majority in Albany to solve these inequities and he would lead the fight for real relief for local government budgets by championing pension reform, mandate relief and other genuine fiscal reforms.”
“Token gestures and fear mongering are not what the citizens of Yonkers need or want. Solving Yonkers budget shortfall and addressing crime in southwest Yonkers will take a concerted effort on multiple fronts and over many years. These are issues that the City Council and the Mayor have been hard at work on for a long time. If Assemblyman Spano wants to be a part of finding real solutions I know my colleagues and I would welcome him, but what is needed are real and creative solutions not easy gestures,” concluded Councilman Murtagh.