Within days of reporting about the potential candidates running for the office of mayor of the City of Yonkers (CoY), the musical notes to the “Musical Chairs” birthday activity comes to mind. It may be the second most popular activity of sticking the tail on the donkey (no pun intended). Remember how it went? A tune is played while all the participants walk about a set of chairs that number one less than the number of participants, lined side by side, with the backs of each chair alternating with the next. When the music stops, each particpant scrambles to find a chair upon which they may sit. The one partygoer, or political contender if you will, found not sitting on one of the designated chairs is eliminated. In so doing, the process is repeated until there is one seat and two players. The one that gets to sit last when the music stops is the final winner, the political standard bearer. Who could imagine the world of politics is taught and may be learned in our formative years.
The first article published on January 2, 2011 was the The Hezitorial: Political Controversy By Hezi Aris, in which potential contenders for mayoral office from the Republican side of the political divide are mentioned. They are John Murtagh (present Yonkers City Council Minority Leader), William “Bill” Regan (present Yonkers Deputy Mayor), Richard Martinelli (former Yonkers City Council President), John Spencer (former Mayor of Yonkers), Dee Barbato (former Yonkers City Councilwoman, among others of even fewer qualification.
Since that telling, John Murtagh was admonished and taken down a peg or two by the January 5, 2011 article: Murtagh Espouses But Does Not Adhere to His Suggestion for Legislators Cutting Pay 5 Percent By Hezi Aris; followed by the Op-Ed, Murtagh's Press Conference By Joan Gronowski, and the January 7, 2011, editorial published in The Journal News, Symbolism Won't Fix Troubles with Overtime Pay.
While still in the running, the weakened Mr Murtagh may now more fully comprehend he is on his own. Endorsement from the Right to Life membership has gone elsewhere. Funding will be deflected toward Richard Martinelli who has many in his network, particularly through his dad, former Mayor Angelo Martinelli, the Chairman of the Board of the Yonkers Chamber of Commerce, as well as Chairman of The Hudson Valley Bank. Angelo Martinelli can easily afford the $400,000 to $500,000 needed to be a viable contender for mayor of Yonkers on his own. True to form, Angelo Martineeli will get OPM (Other People’s Money) for his son’s benefit. The Yonkers Tribune on January 6, 2011 reported, BREAKING NEWS: Martinelli Garners Endorsement of Right to Life Party in his Mayoral Candidacy Effort By Hezi Aris.
The majority voice voted endorsement of Richard Martinelli sidelined Mr Murtagh somewhat. The influx of RTL members having recently joined the rank and file of the Yonkers City Conservative Party under the aegis of Vincenza Restiano, will meld support for Mr Martinelli. Should Mr Murtagh wish to remain pertinent to the mayoral race he must mend and strengthen his ties to the Conservative Party. It is Mr Murtagh’s only hope to sustain his candidacy. Should he falter, Mr Martinelli will have eclipsed a potential adversary with the RTL membership, the Conservative Party, and the Republican Party.
Mr Martinelli’s prominence, should it come to be during what will prove to be massive tectonic shifts in the political arena, have catapulted him to the head of the pack. With Mr Murtagh injured somewhat, and Mr Regan hoping the fickle finger of fate as cast by present Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone will indeed appoint him Mayor of Yonkers during Mr Amicone lame duck term as reported on September 12, 2010, in The Hezitorial: The Catalyst Behind the Charter Revision Commission’s Referendum May Be an Impending Indictment of Mayor Amicone By Hezi Aris
Seemingly lost in the shuffle is Ms Barbato. Mr Spencer has seemingly folded his own tent to enter the grander tent being built by Mr Martinelli.
The tune being played for the next round leave Mssrs Martinelli, Murtagh, and Regan in contention on the Republican side. In less than a week’s time, two contenders have been either kicked to the curb or found more fortuitous prospects.
Lest we forget, Mr Murtagh's diminishing performances may have emboldened Chuck Lesnick (present Yonkers City Council President), known to too many for his good as “Lesnick the Liar.” The shame of it all for Mr Lesnick is that he may not be able to fight either Mr Martinelli’s camp or those of Mike Spano (present NYS Assemblyman) their real or perceived wrong doings because Mr Lesnick was part of the non-aggression pact that suited those elected to office rather than The People who were offered nothing but promises that years later have been proven to be stillborn. Luckily for Mr Lesnick there is talk of indictment of Nick Spano, former NYS Senator, which if true, though no proof has come forward, would severely wound Mr Mike Spano’s chances for election. Should the chatter prove without basis or foundation, which I believe is presently the situation, Mr Mike Spano can emerge a most formidable candidate. If an indictment of Nick Spano came to pass, Mr Mike Spano’s chances to acceding to the office of mayor of Yonkers are nil.
The greatest tragedy for Yonkers would be Mr Murtagh winning the Conservative endorsement, Mr Martinelli winning the republican endorsement, and Mr Lesnick walking away with the prize of winning the election. Mr Lesnick’s ace in the whole may be his trusting he may again win the support of the Westchester County Independence Party. At issue is whether Dr. Giulio Cavallo is daft enough to make a deal with “Lesnick the Liar” in the hope there will be a quid pro quo down the line.
In musical step with the republicans, the democrats will have lost the spoken but publicly unknown contenders from the Democrat aisle still in contention. Dennis Robertson has seemingly timed his ascent to slowly to ever get traction now. Shelley Mayer may also have been outmaneuvered. Only Mr Lesnick and Mr Spano have survived the initially rounds.
The scenario above is credible. The twist will come about if Mr Lesnick is cajoled to step to the side. I believe he will be told to do just that by the most powerful forces within the Democrat Party who have branded Mr Lesnick’s failed resume destructive to governance in Yonkers.
Notice if you will that all these changes have taken place without public input. Democracy at work. They never taught this in school.
It leaves Yonkers aimlessly in search of a candidate as we stand before the edge of a blurred vision and an economically challenging precipice.