It is a tribute to obduracy, that is, of being stubbornly resistant to moral influence, that the Yonkers political class has denied Yonkersites the vision they had been promised. Economic development, upon hearing how it could apply to the rejuvenation of Yonkers, was adopted almost from its first telling. Were it to be completed, it would have been grounds for optimism. Instead, the projects espoused, indeed authorized forward by government toward completion, in most respects have atrophied by their lack of merit. To put it bluntly, there is no return of investment of taxpayer money in the projects proposed except for the promised skyline imprint. While Yonkers' politicians squabble, the economy deteriorated to where we reside both physically and mentally today; in the doldrums.
The City of Yonkers (CoY) has yet to curb public borrowing, our debt service is over $50 million annually. Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone, aided and abetted by Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick, better known to most as “Lesnick the Liar,” have spoken of long term consolidation concepts but have instituted none. Both efforts will be required by one side or the other, and the public will not insist on haste.
All this has already inflamed partisan politics. It is only January 2011 and we are already neck deep in campaign efforts for November 2011, dismissing the issues that ail us for drama. Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives, and Independence parties have come together for non-aggression pacts when it suited them to respectively indulge in their own shenanigans, that is, their respective political agenda. None have seen the merit of working toward the needs, desires, and/or wants of The People, that is, the City of Yonkers. To imagine a coming together of disparate political agenda toward a centrist philosophy where the outcry is, “Why can’t we all just get along,” is a mindless Madison Avenue jingle empty of ideology, without which it cannot survive, nor will it.
What is required today are defendable policies rather than etiquette only those with a 25 years plus pedigree in Yonkers deem appropriate. CoY cries out for more than the same old claptrap. No matter what side of the aisle one leans, Yonkers is full of political wannabees, and retreads, who simple wannabee. They are waiting their turn at the city's trough.
The Independence Party will await the process to do what they always do, that is declare the perceived front runner their endorsed candidate. This usually takes place a week or two or five or eight before election day. In all honesty, credit is sometimes seemingly taken after the ballot has been cast. Only in Yonkers.
The Yonkers City Conservative Committee, perhaps emboldened by its recent reorganization process may conduct itself in a manner to which it demanded the old regime did not and show us how its done, or they will become the harbingers of a tiring and loquacious diatribe of ill conceived concepts not ready for prime time. They have the opportunity to field candidates for November 2011. Will they? Or is that simply talk?
The Yonkers City Republican Committee have a few candidates to field. The most prominent among them is Yonkers City Council Minority Leader John Murtagh. Mr. Murtagh may best be regarded as Yonkers second Wunderkind. Yonkersites had high hopes for him. He came in fighting against then Yonkers Mayor John Spencer by curtailing his reign on the issue of term limits. Two terms and your done was the gist of Mr Murtagh’s message. Mr Murtagh won Yonkersites' endorsement. He was to be Yonkers’ messiah. He had looks, an erudite Fordham University education, was a lawyer, having followed in his father’s footsteps, and wore a mantle of rebelliousness about him. After a few years of challenging the system, Murtagh aligned himself with the Amicone Administration. Then he departed their aegis to pay attention to his law practice and became idiosyncratic in his behavior within the Chambers of the Yonkers City Council and without. His hubris moved him beyond the grasp of Yonkersites, or so he thought. He failed miserably against incumbent NYS Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins. The failing exacted his Prometheus like demise and imbued him with a melancholy that would distance even his hardcore supporters from his side. His 2011 year effort is however unabated and unchastened by the history he created.
Yonkers Deputy Mayor William “Bill” Regan has earned a deleterious resume replete with failure as Chairman of the Yonkers Parking Authority upon which he presides to this day. The YPA has suffered financial calamity, squandered millions in subsidizing downtown business owners to which he will not attest, and has yet to collect the over 7 years in parking fees permitted present Yonkers City Council Majority Leader Patricia McDow. A seemingly quid pro quo scenario that has allegedly prostituted her many votes, especially the ones cast for economic development issues she does not have the acumen to grasp. To top it off, Mr Regan, when recently questioned about his possible candidacy hid behind his wife’s endorsement of him while incapable of speaking to his own belief in being a valid candidate. Mr.Regan’s incapacity to state the obvious, that he is a candidate, is outrageous behavior. He knows full well Mayor Phil Amicone is slated to appoint him Mayor of Yonkers when Mayor Amicone abdicates his position.
Then we have former Yonkers City Council President Richard Martinelli who relinquished his hold on the incumbent seat he held 5 years ago when he ran against “Lesnick the Liar.” Mr Martinelli was Mayor Amicone’s rubber stamp except when it was contrary to his father’s directives. Mr Martinelli’s father is former Yonkers Mayor Angelo Martinelli. It seems Richard Martinelli’s pair had yet to descend in the days when he was Yonkers City Council President and when high blood pressure did not cause his entire head to turn beet red when he oft3en presided about the dais of power. We are now told that the pair have descended and that whatever Mr. Martinelli allegedly sniffed is no longer an issue. This telling is of the present. In juxtaposition to what is said, Mr Martinelli will await John Spencer’s decision prior to launching his own. Perhaps that pair Mr Martinelli is claimed to have grown have yet to descend lower than they must. The Republicans like Mr Martinelli because he has a printing press. So it is all about agenda, the hell with CoY.
Former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer, who brought in Phil Amicone into his two-term administration, and thereafter endorsed his candidacy for mayor to succeed him, is in the process of deciding whether to launch a campaign effort. Some people assert eloquently how well things functioned under Mr Spencer. Mr Spencer took one on the chin for the Republican Party when he challenged Hillary Clinton for United States Senator representing New York State. Yet Mr Spencer’s resilience was never the same since. His quiet backing of Liam McLaughlin, Esq., former Majoity Leader of the Yonkers City Council, against incumbent NYS Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins was disheartening. Most revealing is Mr Spencer’s reluctance to conduct himself as an elder statesman, that is, not to criticize Mayor Amicone’s administrative errors, but to see beyond Mayor Amicone’s myopia and to guide Yonkers in a salient manner, with words and vision he created and which some exude nostalgia. Will John Spencer bypass 2011 or will his bravado get the better of him? I will reflect over a cup of Joe on that one myself.
Former Yonkers City Councilwoman Dee Barbato served 10 years on the Yonkers City Council. She represented the 6th District. A wonderful person whose lackluster financial clout was her Achilles' Heel. She was and continues to be astute and studied on all subjects. Finding employ by Westchester County for herself and her husband robbed her of her independence. Were she to have cultivated her independence, she would have risen to the highest level of governance. Instead, she was played and outmaneuvered and weakened by her lack of financial prowess. The security of mind she sought was plundered by those who had the wherewithal to do what they wanted, when they wanted, without need to ask permission. Ms Barbato lacked the greenbacks to make her way to the top. I remember as clearly today as when Ms Barbato said it over a decade ago, that all she had was the support of her constituents. She went on to emphasize that people are fickle. Ms Barbato ran her last campaign to the backdrop to Tina Turner's rendition of “Simply the Best.” Fitting to her personality and demeanor but insufficient and potentially susceptible to outside influence to which sh
e may not have the largesse to withstand.
Ms Barbato’s successor, present Yonkers City Councilman John Larkin, was once a supporter of Ms Barbato but when the concept of Ms Barbato eclipsing term limits for another term, Mr Larkin put his foot down. Mr Larkin has danced with the Democrats and now as a Republican. He gets along to get along. He gives voice to Mayor Amicone on the Yonkers City Council. His questions exact responses, even if contrary to those he would have hoped for, to be dismissed by his eventual vote. He says one thing and does the other. He has become another closed mouthed politician, incapable of saying what is on his mind because he has yet to receive his orders.The Republican coffers are empty of political prowess. All they can muster is retreads. The Democrats have not an iota more. They too offer retreads and impotent wannabees. The list of Democrats is long. The Democrat list will be revealed later in the week.