Democratic Response to Mayor Amicone’s Final State of the City Address By Chuck Lesnick

eHezi Archives 44 Comments

Lesnick_Chuck with Flag After Years of Rising Overtime and Mismanagement Under Republican Mayors,Democrats Pursue Shared Sacrifice, Reform and Consolidations 

We have just heard the last State of the City address from Mayor Amicone, who has served over 15 years in City Hall as both deputy mayor and mayor. We thank him for his many years of public service.

 Tonight, though, is not about taking a victory lap but rather to enact an agenda for the future; that ensures our city will be a safe, vibrant and diverse community, where families can work, educate their children, and grow old gracefully.



 However, we first must take an honest look at the state of our city.

 While the Mayor deserves some accolades, we must face the facts that compared to 15 years ago:Our tax levy has grown by over $130 million – that is more than 100%;

Police overtime has skyrocketed over 250%;

Businesses, such as Stewart Stamping and Precision Valve have left Yonkers and dozens of small businesses closed, resulting in hundreds of good jobs being lost.

 While the recession sparked the downturn, the city did not help itself over these fifteen years of Republican Administrations. We have to stop talking and start working. 

First, this will require sacrifices from everyone. 

 We also need to recognize that our municipal workers and their union leaders are — not the source of the problem, but rather an important part of the solution. We want to work with the unions, not break them.

 Providing quality education continues to be a challenge for our city.  Rising public school enrollment due in part to the closing of catholic schools, puts even greater demands on the system and its resources.  And the situation will only get worse with the proposed state budget cuts.

 We must prioritize our efforts to preserve pre-K, music, arts, sports and a reasonable class size. We Democrats agree that our children should not be forced to suffer from the costly mistakes of others. 

Economically, we must make the city more attractive for companies and residents by enhancing our transit-oriented housing, locating office and high-tech jobs near bus and train-lines, and increasing foot traffic downtown and citywide.

 While our retail sector promises to grow at the new Ridge Hill Village and the Cross County Shopping Center, where hundreds of good construction and retail jobs were added, we need to focus on creating more permanent jobs, particularly in the environmental and biotech sectors. 

Also, we need to preserve our historic resources and use them as a foundation for economic growth. Where possible, we should adaptively reuse these important buildings and not tear them down without warning.

 We are still waiting for the Administration to send us master plans on Nodine Hill, Ravine Avenue, South Broadway and Downtown Yonkers. 

We need to pass affordable housing legislation that we can all agree upon. 

And we need to enact a living wage bill for the workers in our great city. 

Overall, working in a bi-partisan way, in all levels of government, we have created a safer city. Most of the credit is due to the men and women that patrol our streets. 

However, more can and must be done. 

We must ensure that all neighborhoods are safe and the seemingly endless investigations and reports regarding overtime and pension abuse, as well as civil rights violations, must end. 

Management reforms must be implemented to insure that such incidents become rare. 

Efficient streamlined government must become a priority for this city. 

The Inspector General and his predecessor both provided specific ways to reduce overtime, consolidate departments and eliminate agencies like the Yonkers Parking Authority. Purchasing is a function that could be more efficient if the Board of Ed and the City merged departments. 

Unfortunately, these recommendations have been ignored by this Administration. 

On a green note, in 2009, the City Council passed sustainable development legislation that would, over time, reduce high-energy costs. The Mayor vetoed this legislation and promised an alternative. It is 2011 and we are still waiting. 

Yonkers has the potential to once again become a first-rate city in the Empire State with great schools, safe streets and parks and a thriving economy. 

So, I end, where I started — with the economy, the budget and the need for a better city government. The pressure to cut spending in all levels of government is great. We need flexibility, creativity and mutual respect for the jobs that all of us must do. 

Sacrifices are required from the top to the bottom. 

Only by coming together can we can work through our toughest challenges. 

I know the men and women who live and work in this City. They want fair, honest and open government from their leaders. They want their services to remain strong and their schools to improve.

 We Democrats get that.

 Today, we all face a new fiscal reality. Together, we will embark on this difficult journey and come out stronger on the other side.

Chuck Lesnick is the Yonkers City Council President. He is also in active pursuit to earn the endorsement of the Yonkers City Democrat Committee in his effort to launch a campaign for Mayor of Yonkers.

Enhanced by Zemanta

eHeziDemocratic Response to Mayor Amicone’s Final State of the City Address By Chuck Lesnick

Comments 44

  1. Yes lets all trust mike spano. The last best hope of the den of theives> A Mike Spano administration would suck what little is left of value from the city of yonkers. Spano and his like will fill the city with do nothing relatives who work only toward finding ways to loot the city by making sweetheart deals with other family members. Follow the extended family tree,or should i say money tree, that is the spano network. full employment for the spanos and f#@k everybody else. The Martinelli gang is little better. different side of the same coin. No more of the same families running this town.

  2. Thanks John, for your reminder.
    This is one of my favorite lines from all of these assholes.

    “Efficient streamlined government must become a priority for this city.”
    Maybe he can start in his own office as an example of what he can do for us.

  3. A warning to the unions!!!
    Do not trust Lesnick the Liar!!!
    He assured the community that Ridge Hill would not gain his approval until it was assured that the taxpayer would benefit from, (NOT SUBSIDIZE) the development. HE BETRAYED THEM!
    He accepted 10 million dollars from Forest Ratner, to investigate alternate routes to Ridge Hill to alleviate traffic congestion on Tuckahoe Road. He did nothing but hire his friend, MaryAnn Crotty, who also did nothing but rehash the same old nonsense and move the meetings all over the place to discourage the community members from attending. But those funds had a time limit, which has recently expired, so now the City (i.e. taxpayers will have to repay Forest Ratner.
    THANKS FOR NOTHING CHUCK!
    During last years budget crisis, he hired more self promotion staff members and then gave THEM large raises while asking civil servants to take cuts OR face layoffs.
    Be careful, and get any promises from this man in writing, because once he gets what he wants, he WILL betray you.

  4. its not that i am blaming chuck..I just don’t think
    he is the right choice to be the next mayor..based
    on his own statement which panders to the public
    employee unions rather than doing and saying what everyone knows has to be done..chuck is not up
    to the job..he is indecisive and hardly a manager

  5. its not that i am blaming chuck..I just don’t think
    he is the right choice to be the next mayor..based
    on his own statement which panders to the public
    employee unions rather than doing and saying what everyone knows has to be done..chuck is not up
    to the job..he is indecisive and hardly a manager

  6. its not that i am blaming chuck..I just don’t think
    he is the right choice to be the next mayor..based
    on his own statement which panders to the public
    employee unions rather than doing and saying what everyone knows has to be done..chuck is not up
    to the job..he is indecisive and hardly a manager

  7. I am blaming the global economic meltdown, the freezing
    of credit, and the banking failures for the lack
    of development not only in yonkers but all across the
    nation…its not fair to blame the mayor for macro
    economic events totally out of his hands…he is no
    more or less political than other elected officials
    and has tried to do a good job under very trying
    circumstances..a 96 million dollar budget deficit
    is nothing to sneeze at..and did you enjoy Rummy’s
    memo I had a fun time editing it..

  8. I am blaming the global economic meltdown, the freezing
    of credit, and the banking failures for the lack
    of development not only in yonkers but all across the
    nation…its not fair to blame the mayor for macro
    economic events totally out of his hands…he is no
    more or less political than other elected officials
    and has tried to do a good job under very trying
    circumstances..a 96 million dollar budget deficit
    is nothing to sneeze at..and did you enjoy Rummy’s
    memo I had a fun time editing it..

  9. I am blaming the global economic meltdown, the freezing
    of credit, and the banking failures for the lack
    of development not only in yonkers but all across the
    nation…its not fair to blame the mayor for macro
    economic events totally out of his hands…he is no
    more or less political than other elected officials
    and has tried to do a good job under very trying
    circumstances..a 96 million dollar budget deficit
    is nothing to sneeze at..and did you enjoy Rummy’s
    memo I had a fun time editing it..

  10. If Amicone or Lesnick had the courage to be mayor they would have ripped open the IDA years ago along with the politico commissioner Kirven and his side kick Pinto.
    None of them have done any heavy lifting and Yonkers will be a better place when they are all gone.
    rembember yonkers as a long history of martinelli.
    Martinelli comments need to be proven.

  11. Your friend is correct…and no I am not Edelman. Richard told the mayor he would not vote for the project unless they were gone. Ed Sheeran was so pissed he campaigned against Richard.

  12. Lesnick quivered in his pants about the theft of service complaint against Pat McDow because he felt that McDow would bitch slap his ass if opened his mouth against her.

  13. Didn’t Chuck just vote to increase the income tax surcharge again, against his own party, but for himself as he’s running for Mayor, till SpaNO pops up.

  14. Chuck – your tenure has shown just what a loser you are.
    You never worked for your constituents.
    You winked and nodded when Amicone bled the city dry.
    You have the power of subpoena and stashed it away somewhere – perhaps in Regan’s desk.
    Do the Democratic Party a favor and get out of politics.

  15. Who was the councilman who steered Ridge Hill away from the IDA?
    A friend of mine just told me it was Martinelli.
    Can anyone verify that? Edelman?

  16. if Chuck was genuinely looking for reform he would address the issue that Yonkers’ admin-legislative form of government is not working.
    It has shown the only thing it produces is the very political power plays Amicone is complaining about and mastered. and Chuck will perpetuate.
    Chuck’s idea of inclusion is to give voice to various “community activists”, who in turn are selective in their inclusion.
    in doing so, he thinks he maintains an image of inclusion. its a farce, a disservice to democracy, and a theft of representation.
    the simple fact is they cannot be trusted and it’s time for Yonkers’ to hold public referendum on important issues.
    The hypocrisy of these games is clearly over.

  17. I’m happy to join this group of commenters because, by and large, I 100% agree with what is being said.
    These 2 “leaders” are jokes and I can’t wait until we are rid of both of them.
    One thing that is being left out though. Ridge Hill was originally going to have its city revenues go through an IDA subsidiary that was controlled by Amicone ane I don’t remember Chuck saying one thing about that.
    So now, they want to take credit for the one development that has happened…and they both lament the fact that it took this long. Well, part of what slowed it down was the way it smelled.
    We’ll have a trial this summer that will center on the Ridge Hill vote. I can’t remember who stopped the IDA nonsense but they should be remembered by us all.
    I will remember how Phil and Chuck have stunk up their responsibilities though.
    They should both hang their heads in shame.

  18. chuck is clearly not the guy to be the next mayor..
    His attempt to pander to the municipal unions is out
    of line..the mayor hardly went after them..he simply
    pointed out that unless they were willing to modify
    their present arrangements no new contracts would
    be signed..Chuck is hoping that by ignoring the
    pension issue that is undermining the ability of the
    city to right its finances he will successfully court
    the unions which have been in the past political players in yonkers..what chuck doesn’t get is that
    game is over…voters in yonkers like voters everywhere
    else understand that while the private sector pays
    for its own retirement benefits and health care..public
    sector unions get a pass..and on top of it they get
    to stuff overtime into the last year of work which ends
    up doubling the pensions they would have been entitled
    to…any politician who does not recognize that this
    arrangement is strangling state and local budgets has
    no right being in elected office…the fact that
    chuck is more interested in his being elected as a
    democrat sypathetic to the plight of public employees
    is exactly the kind of candidate that will lose because
    if you are in the pockets of the unions you can’t possibly represent the taxpayers of the city….

  19. chuck is clearly not the guy to be the next mayor..
    His attempt to pander to the municipal unions is out
    of line..the mayor hardly went after them..he simply
    pointed out that unless they were willing to modify
    their present arrangements no new contracts would
    be signed..Chuck is hoping that by ignoring the
    pension issue that is undermining the ability of the
    city to right its finances he will successfully court
    the unions which have been in the past political players in yonkers..what chuck doesn’t get is that
    game is over…voters in yonkers like voters everywhere
    else understand that while the private sector pays
    for its own retirement benefits and health care..public
    sector unions get a pass..and on top of it they get
    to stuff overtime into the last year of work which ends
    up doubling the pensions they would have been entitled
    to…any politician who does not recognize that this
    arrangement is strangling state and local budgets has
    no right being in elected office…the fact that
    chuck is more interested in his being elected as a
    democrat sypathetic to the plight of public employees
    is exactly the kind of candidate that will lose because
    if you are in the pockets of the unions you can’t possibly represent the taxpayers of the city….

  20. chuck is clearly not the guy to be the next mayor..
    His attempt to pander to the municipal unions is out
    of line..the mayor hardly went after them..he simply
    pointed out that unless they were willing to modify
    their present arrangements no new contracts would
    be signed..Chuck is hoping that by ignoring the
    pension issue that is undermining the ability of the
    city to right its finances he will successfully court
    the unions which have been in the past political players in yonkers..what chuck doesn’t get is that
    game is over…voters in yonkers like voters everywhere
    else understand that while the private sector pays
    for its own retirement benefits and health care..public
    sector unions get a pass..and on top of it they get
    to stuff overtime into the last year of work which ends
    up doubling the pensions they would have been entitled
    to…any politician who does not recognize that this
    arrangement is strangling state and local budgets has
    no right being in elected office…the fact that
    chuck is more interested in his being elected as a
    democrat sypathetic to the plight of public employees
    is exactly the kind of candidate that will lose because
    if you are in the pockets of the unions you can’t possibly represent the taxpayers of the city….

  21. Yonkers – where a quasi private/public entity (backroom deals w/taxpayer money) holds leases on commercial and taxpayer real estate. How much taxpayer money did the $8million man agree to when he bought out the Zuppa lease? another classic case of government interference with a free market.
    Business friendly? – a bad joke.
    The IDA and Downtown Waterfront Development should be investigated
    Chuck is correct – its not the unions that are the problem – but once again he misses the point. Yonkers government IS the problem.
    His decisions and lack of leadership as city council president are part of the Yonkers Train Wreck.
    All the meetings for SFC were a great show and would be comical entertainment if it were not for all the egregious “missteps” along the way. A game of “how do we use taxpayer money—and leave nothing”. From a taxpayers point of view, RidgeHill and SFC are likely the worst real estate deals ever.
    and then there is the little matter of the BOE books—-still unopened. The actions appear all correct – the results net zero once again.
    McDow-besides parking cars -let’s not forget she is also a sitting board member of the DWBID run by an invisible straw man and controlled by Developers – the same ones who have held yonkers hostage. (there’s that business friendly joke again)
    In doing nothing, she has actually done a lot of damage.
    The DWBID should be outlawed and a class action lawsuit filed.
    a criminal investigation of McDow should have happened under Chucks watch for the parking issue.
    it didn’t and it never will.
    Bottom line
    forget all the words spewed by the players on both sides- you only have to look at accomplishments and disasters.
    the answer is none and endless.
    it’s not sacrifices Yonkers needs – it’s a clean sweep from top to bottom starting with Phil and Chuck.

  22. almost forgot…re the posting about certain councilmembers working hard to get SFC passed….thank you guys, you worked hard to give the city to a developer who is almost broke and will probably be building lincoln log homes soon…tied up our downtown for almost a decade…yeah, that was a real nice job…look at White Plains, New Rochelle and see how successful his work has been there. TEN YEARS – nothing in downtown Yonkers. Remember that.
    Also forgot another hypocritical statement of the mayor’s re his concern for “small businesses”. Which he had that concern for the five or so who had to close in the downtown while he was waiting for his billion dollar SFC project. He thought nothing about preserving those entities except the two restaurants who continue to feed him.

  23. Mr. Nuts,
    Just when did Mr. Murtagh wake up from HIS seven years on the council and decide thta “something has to be done with the out of control payroll”…I’ll tell you when – NOW when he is running for mayor. Talk about absentee councilmembers…Murtagah was the “where’s waldo” of the Yonkers city council most of the time, and Sheperd is the “who care’s where waldo is – he’s worthless anyway”. He’s missed about four city council meetings already…I almost miss his two syllable “HEE-YAH” at roll call (for you non-watchers of the council meetings, that is Shepherd-speak for “HERE”
    And, to a poser above, I was not at all defending Lesnick. My remarks concernng him was a mere once sentence indicating the his rebuttal is an annual post-mortem of the mayor’s speak, very simple.
    And to another poster…”McDow working hard”….at what? Figuring out where she stashed her car for five years at the Buena Vista Lot?

  24. Chuck, which budget did you not vote for in the last 6 years. You are part of the problem and the reason why people are leaving Yonkers like the rest of the state to place where the taxes are not out of control. You’ll never be Mayor, so start shoveling somewhere else.
    I’m not a Murtagh groupie, but at least he gets the fact that something has to be done with the out of control payroll.

  25. With respect to the unions Lesnick said it best: “We also need to recognize that our municipal workers and their union leaders are — not the source of the problem, but rather an important part of the solution. We want to work with the unions, not break them.” Yonkers is not Madison Wisconsin, although it could be if Murtagh were ever elected Mayor.

  26. The Mayor criticized the Council for its review of SFC and Ridge Hill. Martinelli tried to jam Ridge Hill through the process without community imput. Lesnick learned from the experience and had twice as many meetings in half as much time with SFC sometimes meeting twice per week. As a result there was no post approval litigation. That Council with McLaughlin, Barbato and McDow working hard; Murtagh hardly working; and the “no” sisters throwing grenades, got it done in a timely manner. Could you imagine this do nothing council doing the same? They would still be waiting for Shepherd to return from vacation.

  27. if only posters 3 and 4 above were able join their thoughts – the Yonkers story would be told. e.g. neither Amicone or Lesnick have served this city well.
    to defend one over another is to miss the forest for the trees. Amicone may very well be the worst mayor in Yonkers History and Lesnick deserves the a similar accolade as city council president.
    they have been fair weather friends and rubber stamps for eachother on every point from the BOE to SFC.
    and they are equally responsible for the fiscal state Yonkers finds itself in.
    Amicones paranoia of “political and personal agendas” is just another way of Lesnick saying “Only by coming together can we can work through our toughest challenges” – Neither have done it – nor have they intend to. More smoke and mirrors for their own failures in their respective positions.

  28. Excuse me anon at 12:42 am but a few questions for YOU.
    Mr.anon to you not think it hypocritical that the mayor rails against a pension pay out system which got started under his watch as deputy mayor in 1999, when the city decided to have a final year OT rather than three-year overtime average be counted in the uniformed employees pension? This act cost the city $20M during the ten-year period to effect the change. Yeah, and HE is not outraged.
    Mr. anon, do you think it not hypocritical that, seven years into term as mayor he is just now talking seriously about consolidation of services, (which he promised in 2003), especially at the money pit Board of Education.
    Mr. anon, do you not think it hypocritical of the mayor to boast of either he or the next mayor playing hardball with the unions with respect to their contract renewals? Oh please, most contracts, except the teachers, expired almost two years ago. If HE was going to grow a set and negotiate these contracts himself, he would have done so by now, not in the eleventh hour of his folly of public service.
    Mr. anon, do you not see the extreme paranoia evident in last night’s Soliloquy when he also railed against those with “political and personal agendas”, translated from Amicone newsspeak, to mean anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with him.
    Moreover, Lesnick not my cup of tea and he may be running for mayor, but his rebuttal last evening is standard procedure after all of the mayor’s state of the city monologues.
    The Golden Globes may have come and gone, but the mayor can still be a contender for the March Oscars in a new category – Best Performance by an almost lame duck mayor who just may be the worst mayor in Yonkers history.

  29. Of course everyone knows that Lesnicks “response” was not a “response” but was his election kickoff speech. It was free campaign time.
    I do have one question about what he said:
    “the seemingly endless investigations and reports regarding overtime and pension abuse, as well as civil rights violations, must end.”
    I find this comment rather odd. Lets see:
    Mr. Lesnick: Do you believe that the overtime situation as it currently exists is fair and reasonable and the citizens of Yonkers who pay for it should not be concerned about the methodology being utilized?
    Mr. Lesnick: Should the collective bargaining agreements not be modified in the future to reduce overtime such that police & fire employeees in their last year before retirement cannot “pad’ their overtime with the sole purpose of imflating their retirement benefits? This contradicts Gov. Cuomo?
    Mr. Lesnick: As a liberal democrat are you suggesting that the police and other agencies drop any investigations reagarding civil rights violations alledged against the police department for excessive force or other issues?
    Considering the financial situation the City of Yonkers currently faces, is any of this prudent?
    Is this the mark of a financially savvy person who understands the hard choices that need to be made to get Yonkers moving forward again?
    NO
    Lesnick Does NOT have a Clue
    But if you have ever watched his aimless rudderless “management” of council meetings for the past 4.5 years, you already know that.
    Mayor Lesnick?
    Lord I Hope NOT!

  30. “However, we first must take an honest look at the state of our city.”
    Yonkers is long past this point with any of the current pols.
    You and Amicone should go take a hike Lesnick.

Leave a Reply

This comment will be displayed anonymously. Your name and email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.