YONKERS, NY — A meeting of the Budget Committee was called for Thursday night for 10:30 a.m. this morning. Upon my late arrival to the Yonkers City Council Chambers where the meeting was to take place, I found the audience pews filled to capacity by an entourage of mostly Hispanic women and some young children expressing their heartfelt concerns that the budget, should it presently stand with a stated budget deficit of $43 million would rob the only hope they had for the future of their children. Each eloquently spoke in philosophical, pragmatic, regional, and rational concepts to express the needs of their children with regard to getting an eduction. Most spoke in Spanish. Their ideas translated into English by a translator. The parents explained they were citizens and had little to bequeath their children except for the advancement only education can give them. They stressed that the future of their children is the future of the city. The wondered why their children, like baby birds, needed to spread their wings, not to have them clipped. The priority must be education rather that the physical structures of development that would in future years disintegrate while their children’s education, were it available to them would endure. Education must be the priority of the education budget they collectively stressed.
It seems the largely Hispanic audience was called to demonstrate at City Hall. They marched and were accommodated at the Yonkers City Hall Chambers and afforded expression of thought before Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick, Councilman Wilson Terrero (District 2), and Joan Gronowski (District 3). After being advised that Yonkers Public School Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio was awaiting to speak, the audience soon completed their speaking at the lectern. When Mr Pierorazio entered the august chamber he said, "I am in awe of our parents and how wonderful they are. It proves that language does not divide our city!”
The reality is that notice of the parents’ demonstration at 9:00 am and their continuing entry to the Yonkers City Council was divulged only to Cable News 12 Westchester and the Spanish press. The Spanish press did not attend but Councilman Terrero advised he would keep the Spanish press informed.
The Hispanic community, as eloquent as they are will not be heard by the local American press because they do not advise all media, local or otherwise, to their concerns. They are kept silent by their lack of bilingual skills and continue to bitch amongst themselves. They are playing the same game, except on different sides of the ghetto as others within Yonkers. They have been manipulated to be silent for many years and were today told to demonstrate their concerns. The dialogue to prioritize education among ALL Yonkersites has not taken place. People of every diversity have been silent in Yonkers while the going was good. Now there is little, if anything to offer. Perhaps their collective expression is too late. Where have they been over the last decade of my coverage of the city? Why were they silent? Why are they standing before the Yonkers City Council? Why is the demonstration not before Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone?
It was Phil Amicone who had presented proposed budgets before the Yonkers City Council for 8 years. He has demanded and received almost unanimous consent of his proposals by the ever changing Yonkers City Council representatives. He has brought the City of Yonkers (Coy) to her knees over his fiscal ineptitude to the silence of almost every corner. It seems the deals were always more enticing than righting the wrongs. There is little wiggle room today. The Transitional Financing Authority (TFA) is a spin-up designed to maintain CoY shackled for a minimum of 5 years in financing a $43 million hole with a $20 million fix. The $23 million shortfall is supposed to be gotten from union concessions yet their is no discussion among the 3 unions and City Hall. The budget is supposed to be sent for approval process to Albany by June 1, 2011. If the date is missed, CoY will run out of funds because it cannot levy taxes upon the citizenry. That day or week has yet to be divulged.
When Superintendent Pirorazio presented a quick overview before President Lesnick and Councilman Terrrero, he was followed by the Yonkers City Council’s auditor Nicholas DeSantis. Mr DeSantis was recapitulating the figures used by the Yonkers Board of Education in reducing what was once an $87 million deficit to the present $43 million. As he was speaking, notice was afforded President Lesnick to advise him that Mayor Amicone’s office had cut off recording and simultaneous transmission of the briefing on Channel 78. This took place at approximately 11:55 a.m. The briefing was closed by 12:15 p.m.