June 23, 2010, Yonkers, NY — The Yonkers City Council chamber windows were open. The muggy, irritating feeling from outside the normally stuffy environment within those walls had invaded the environs. Captured within were men and women who work for the Department of Public Works, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Yonkers Fire Department, among others. Slithering about the chamber were said to be three white “rats”, the four legged kind, released during the council deliberations. Upon entering the chambers, the seven council members were met by an individual telling of how the notice of over fifty terminations would affect people’s lives and the city at large.
One by one, people came to the lectern to express their personal despair over the loss of their jobs. Wanda London noted when she was called to give back she did. Dominic Savarese spoke of the suggestions SEIU Local 704 had offered councilmembers for savings that exceeded $1 million, but to no avail, as far as he was concerned. Anthony Manzo said, “The layoffs will kill is!”Michael Moriariy said, “I don’t know if I can keep my house or feed my kids.” Al Corerra said, "After 32 years in the City of Yonkers with a house, kinds, I don’t know what to do." Bruce Goldman who works at the Parking Violations Bureau said, “We bring in revenue with our jobs.” Dennis Hall said, “I though this would be my home. Your are ruining 55 lives.” Zak Altman said, "I recently purchased a house, a truck. It will soon be in foreclosure." Bill Troy said his $37,500 per annum job (city side funding… the balance gets funded by the Yonkers Board of Education)has been replaced by an outside contractor at a cost of $200,000 annually.” He promised to sue the city. Mike Holzborg said, "I bought a home. My American dream will become a nightmare. I’m crying for the people of the city.” Mr DeLucca said, “We kept our end of the bargain, now you keep yours.” Anthony Martinello said, “The question is what are you going to do when EMS can’t get to your home due to snow because you haven’t been dug out by the Sanitation workers. Those deaths will be on your heads.”
The anger was palpable. It would not be assuaged. Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick moved forward with the City Council meeting. The meeting held those wanting to speak in abeyance. As their frustration levels soared, the Pledge of Allegiance was led by a local student, a contingent of student engineers displayed the robots that won them recognition nationally with a demonstration and the requisite picture taking.
Next the City Council delved into inquiry of the Yonkers Public Library with an assertion by their representatives advising of their need to close the facilities on Saturdays.
Next, Shawn Griffin, Esq. of Harris Beach, Yonkers bond counsel, and Dan Marsh III, president of the Housing and Economic Development Corporation spoke to the Council over the Larkin Parking Garage Lease structure vis-a-vis its financial impact, as well as its house of cards integrations with other projects. The Larkin Parking Garage entity needs approval within the next two weeks by Westchester County as the catalyst for the beginning funding aspect of the project. Achieving this hurdle will permit, if approved, said Mssrs Griffin and Marsh to proceed on acquiring the balance of the financing for the project which carries a variance required for the funding mechanism that would be set in place in favor of the Greyston Warburton Workforce Housing Project component deemed a legal requirement to satisfy the overall definition of the SFC Yonkers Downtown Waterfront Development. Further and ancillary to approval of the Larkin Garage proposal is the release of funding to enable the daylighting of the Sawmill River. Yet these house of cards plans hinge on whether Greyston holds title to the land upon which it expects to build the Greyston Warburton Workforce Housing Project.
The City Council voted approval pending confirmation of Greyston holding title to the property it wishes to develop. Read the Yonkers Tribune article dated June 7, 2010 entitled “Breached Covenant Pertinent to Greyston’s Affordable Housing Project May Invite Litigious Action and Denial of State Funding BY HEZI ARIS”] Mr Griffin has promised to make inquiry regarding the title claim. Yonkers Tribune is aware that the Colgate Estate has not been made aware of the covenant ever being broken.
All items on the Yonkers City Council thus voted upon and completed became the focus for more comment from the many people who sat through the late hour to be heard by the City Council membership over the crisis that has gripped the city and them personally.
A fireman rose to inquire if passage of the Larkin Parking Garage Project, confirmed by Christian DiPalermo, Democrat counsel to the Yonkers City Council with Mr Marsh must be thought of as a Capital Improvement Plan request, was indeed going to cost the city money? When Mr Lesnick said it would, the fireman was incredulous and said, “What the f**k are you guys doing?”
Within an eyeblink Yonkers City Council Minority Leader John Murtagh (5th District) rose to his feet, prompting Councilmember John Larkin (6th District), and then Councilman Dennis Shepherd (4th District) to do likewise, and they departed the august chambers. Their collective response was based on hearing the use of the epithet.They had all departed to their respective offices situated adjacent to the chamber, yet totally out of sight. Within a minute, prompted by a cell phone communique, the aides to the “Three Republican Amigos” also departed the chambers.
The meeting closed shortly thereafter.