Happy Birthday America, It’s the Fourth of July By HEZI ARIS

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Ehezi_charicature In Yonkers, among communities throughout the nation, fireworks evoke imagery reflective in the telling of the poem “In Defense of Fort McHenry” written by Francis Scott Key, who witnessed the battle in September 1814. The poem was eventually set to music, becoming  “The Star Spangled Banner.” Congress proclaimed it the United States National Anthem in 1931, 116 years after it was written by public demand. This year will be the third year in succession fireworks will not light the sky over the majestic Hudson River. The backdrop of The Palisades reflecting the intensity of those “bombs bursting in air,” gave us that moment upon which to reflect on the wondrous history of this great nation. The financial burden besetting the nation, and New York State, has deflected out attention almost solely on survival. The pop, fizz, and bang of years gone bye, are now part of another historical chapter. Yonkers will not revel in celebration of our history, or our friends and neighbors. How sad that Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone would not find this the most propitious time for all of us to come together in brotherhood to begin anew to surmount the challenges that consume our gracious city.

Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone is term limited.  Mayoral contenders have revealed themselves to be (listed in alphabetical order): Carlo Calvi, Chuck Lesnick, Richard Martinelli, John Murtagh, and Mike Spano. Each has stepped forward to lead Yonkers into 2012. Each had a word or two to say at their respective convention about the great people of Yonkers and that we deserved better.  The told us they lived in Yonkers many years, had a wonderful marriage, a brood of children, and their temperament was set to lead Yonkers toward its potential.

Thereafter, each receded into the process underway now, that is, collecting a sufficient number of signatures to be on the November ballot. The party convention should be a platform from which candidates could espouse their vision. Some did elude to it, but the rest did not. This year, more than ever, Yonkersites have been kicked to the curb. The election process demands signatures are collected. They will be. Once armed with a sufficient number of signatures, the candidates will be ready to jockey for position in the respective, September Primaries.

One may infer that the process has so far been a contest that is distant from the concerns of Yonkersites. Yonkersites are concerned about jobs; holding onto the one they have, finding employment, and economic development as it specifically relates to job creation and tax revenue for the city.

Mayor Phil Amicone’s FY2011-2012 Yonkers Budget Proposal has yet to win approval by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. If it is approved, Yonkers will learn of it within days of the Fourth of July.  The budget is a road map that leads the City of Yonkers to a seemingly insurmountable financial wall of $100 million plus. Mayor Phil Amicone’s FY2011-2012 Proposed Budget is testimony to his lack of planning based upon the ever increasingly dire financial circumstances that gained attention worldwide. Amicone can feign ignorance. Individuals have little wherewithal to deal with such enormous financial upheavals. Cities like Yonkers were aware of these issues before they became evident to the general public. Lacking the leadership skills to lead Yonkers from the destructive shoals of his lack of financial skills and comprehension, Amicone has earned the accolade of bringing a financial control board of CoY by his incompetence. He has not reassessed his lackluster vision for Yonkers. It shows.

Yonkersites need a leader. That leader will need to create a vision for CoY that is plausible, doable, sustaining, and transparent in its expression to its people. Yonkers must focus on extracting greater financial reward for our enviable location. Creating a plan for downtown Yonkers must be based upon developers who can afford to complete the task for which they signed up. Central Avenue has suffered for lack of attention for too long. A vision for Central Avenue is urgently demanded. The Yonkers Industrial Development Agency must work more diligently in inviting business people to Yonkers. There is no reason for the Boulder’s Creek property to be fallow for so many years. Many franchises would and could open there within month’s time, not years.

Salaries must be reduced. Perhaps a two-tiered system of remuneration may be inculcated into CoY’s hiring practices.

The concepts are endless and proven. Yonkers “leaders” must depart from the provincial concepts they hold dear. It hasn’t worked. A new direction must be devised. 

Education. Yonkers must return to graduating students who learn a trade and also those who will attend college. Each can earn merit and respect on different paths.

I have hope for Yonkers. I hope you do as well. Within weeks, we may learn of the visions, assuming they have one, by those who want to earn our vote.

The election process is meant to distill the best for Yonkers. If Yonkersites demand more, they may be surprised to get it.

Happy Fourth of July! Perhaps we can celebrate with a few fireworks in 2012.

What do you think?

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eHeziHappy Birthday America, It’s the Fourth of July By HEZI ARIS

Comments 28

  1. Hey Mike maybe you could get someone to slip and fall at one of the holes under construction, thereby you can “scam” (sorry meant “sue”) while you are playing golf. The ultimate tort “lawyers” dream….

  2. the fact that someones says ‘Nick lost to a black women” SHOWS U NTHG MORE THAN TO BE A RACISTS. !! I guess thats the way Carlo rolls
    You my lil friend are the last thing we need in city hall.
    we need enough hate the last 16 years

  3. the fact that someones says ‘Nick lost to a black women” SHOWS U NTHG MORE THAN TO BE A RACISTS. !! I guess thats the way Carlo rolls
    You my lil friend are the last thing we need in city hall.
    we need enough hate the last 16 years

  4. the fact that someones says ‘Nick lost to a black women” SHOWS U NTHG MORE THAN TO BE A RACISTS. !! I guess thats the way Carlo rolls
    You my lil friend are the last thing we need in city hall.
    we need enough hate the last 16 years

  5. It will be interesting to see what happens to the downtown BID once the political leadership changes. Perhaps they’ll hire somebody who’ll actually do something of substance in the downtown instead of movies, art shows that nobody goes to and music in the summertime. While singing and dancing is all well and good, how about some real help for the struggling small downtown merchants who could really give a rat’s behind about riverfest and films.

  6. Edelman,
    How about this for mathematics. You lost the only election you ever threw your hat into, and overwhlemingly I might add (almost 20,000 votes).
    This must have really hurt your feelings because since then you became hell bent on never actually running for office again (to avoid the embarassment) but instead, opening your big mouth about every race that does happen.
    You DON’T live in Yonkers and are a paid political hack that attempts to jockey what minor fame you have to push whatever candidate pays you the most. As such you have no interest in what candidate is best for the citizens and taxpayers and quite frankly are full of sugar honey iced tea.
    To all readers, this man pushes whoever pays the most and doesn’t care about what destruction the highest paying bidder will do to our city in the next 4 years. Keep that in mind when you read his comments.
    Go back to Hastings Mike
    Oh and if anyone else wants a good laugh check out this one… http://www.michaeledelman.com/jeanine.htm
    What’s the matter Mike, can’t come up with any new issues to discuss in the past 2 years?
    I await your long winded, senseless, defensive and unimportant reply.

  7. you can argue all you want about who you believe to be more qualified, smarter, less politically involved etc but the math is the math is the math with Murtaugh on the republican line..and Martinelli on the conservative line and Calvi on the INd line
    the ony person who can win a city wide election is Richard. With the democrats outnumbering republicans by 2.25 to one a republican needs both the rep and
    consv line..Moreover even if Murtaugh were to win the primary, Martinelli would still be on the consv line which would, in a general election, attract between 4-7% of the vote virtually all of it coming from those who would have voted for murtaugh if he were on
    the line…Calvi will get less than 2%.and mike spano if he wins the democratic primary will be the mayor.. Easily. Allowing these minor parties to cross endorse is guaranteeing That no republican can win…just as the michelle bachmann’s of the world are compromising the national republican party’s ability to win nationally, here in Westchester we have our own michelle bachman or sarah palin if you like in The form of the conservative party which over the issue of gay marriage in A mayoral electon where the issue doesn’t count the chose to endorse someone Other than the republican nominee

  8. Consider the goomba quality of the comments from the Spano supporters in this thread.
    Consider the quality of the comments from the others, whether they support Calvi, Gronowski or someone else.
    Now imagine who would occupy City Hall under the Spanos vs. those who would administer this City under Mayor Calvi.
    You choose, which is better for you.

  9. I am well aware that “Tammany Hall” has existed in Yonkers for a long time, well before Angelo Martinelli.
    My point is that the Spanos are so large and well organized that they will bring it to heights never seen in Yonkers.
    Nick may indeed be making money as a consultant, but he was in power in Albany for 20 years. Politicians like that are drawn to power like moths to a light. Its the same reason that Liam is desperately trying to hang on to whomever he can to get a patronage job.
    There is no way that Nick can resist sticking his hands into the honey pot of power that is Yonkers. Mikie will be steamrolled over. We may not see it in public but it will happen.

  10. excuse me…just what “beatings” are you talking about? These “beatings” were were the result of the infamous Velella redistricting, which removed Spano’s Eastchester power base and replaced it with Greenburgh, aka Liberal Central. ANY Democratic could have and would have one that one.

  11. He’s probably referring to the beatings Nick took from a BLACK WOMAN with no experience. So now to lick his wounds Nick just claims he is making boatloads of money in the private sector. Claims beung the key word. Should be interesting to see what happens when the indictments go down though. Why did Nick spend a large sum of money on a criminal defense attorney?? Why were Mike and Nick called before a grand jury??

  12. is it me or was calvi on the council years ago and had to leave cause his brother took a bribe when he was a city official???

  13. HAHA ur right now that i look at it. all the pro carlo are from same person lol!!! rich cleans his clock in this race and as said as that is he will even lose to murtagh which is pretty tough being he is hated. whats that say about you carlo? rich beats you down hard pal

  14. cmon Carlo its obvious that you are wriitng all the pro calvi crap anti mike crap. dont you have petitons to do fella? no one even mentions you because you cant win. and as far as all the beatings the spanos have taken?? um which? oh are you doing about mike winning his last 2 elections with 74 and 67 percent??? and as far as nick goes, i dont think hes too upset being the money he is making in the private sector. envy is a bad thing

  15. Years ago when Carlo was on the Council I loved to watch him take on the status quo. I think he was more effective than Joan who really does not understand the issues and who reflexively votes No on almost everything. That is not how you govern, even in an imperfect situation like Yonkers.
    Unfortunately today Carlo and Martinelli are there for one reason: to be Spano puppets to split the Murtagh vote so Spano sails into City Hall. It has Nick Spano written all over it, as Mikie is way too dumb to concoct it.
    Whatever you think of John, realize what is going to happen to Yonkers. It will be Boardwalk Empire. Nick will be the County Treasurer and the real power. Mikie will be the figurehead mayor. The “family” will move into every important position possible in Yonkers government and control it all. The Friends and Family Club will reach heights never seen before.
    New York City Democratic Tammany Hall will be in Yonkers. Probably for 8 years.
    With Nick at the helm they will be untouchable.
    This is not a Democrat or Republican issue.
    This is an issue for the heart, soul and future of Yonkers.
    The spano groupies will whine, but the rest of you know its true.

  16. I think we can all agree (or at least the intelligent life forms among us – which clearly excludes the paid Spano pumper/moron directly above) that Spano is the worst thing that can happen to this city. Fortunately, I think the family is done looking at the butt kicking they’ve taken in their last few elections. Must really burn Nick’s butt that he was ousted and he’s probably too embarassed to try a re-entry, so he put little Mikey up to it.
    Murtagh is a pompous jerk and I read a report that he was out on vacation while pressuring his supporters to go out and get signatures for him. Guy has to have a few screws loose and must be struggling with signatures.
    I agree with you on Joan. She is a great council woman, but unfortunately it is too late for her to get into the race as there is no way she could get the amount of signatures needed in the week there is left for petitioning. The thing that I like about Carlo is that I see him and Joan as very similar. When he was on the council he was hated by the politic insiders (Spencer and co.) and they tried to drive him out, much as Amicone and Co. are doing to Joan. These inside circles try to villianize people like Carlo and Joan and the sad part is it’s all becuse they’re good politicians with the taxpayers in their heart. The saddest of all is that this city buys into this BS spewed by these cronies and refuse to elect a good person like Carlo or Joan to a higher political office. Hopefully, with things as bad as they are now the voters will wake up and realize this city needs a POSITIVE change. Seeing as Joan most likely will not be in the race, the only other good candidate in my mind is Carlo. Same values, same principles, and good people. Hopefully voters can recognize this and help ourselves, but sadly after all the things I’ve seen in Yonkers it would shock me if someone like Carlo or Joan became mayor.

  17. lol – Mike Spano is the best candidate out there!!! calvi – bad joke
    martinelli – hes not his dad and sweats too much
    murtagh 0 god helps us
    chuck 0 well chuck is chuck
    i vote mike spano every time!!!!

  18. I couldn’t have said it better, you hit the nail on the head.the candidates for mayor are all loses. but I do happen to agree with your logic & order. Maybe Calvi might be the best choice, but that remains to be seen. but I do agree with you on Spano. electing him will only put this city closer to bankrupt. and we will also have the “Spano’s Council” to deal with.
    The only person I see who can help Yonkers out of this mess is Joan Gronowski. We need her to announce her candidacy.

  19. This is a great question. Why is Boulder Creek empty? Why is that Mexican place opposite Cross County empty? All of these places, and others, should be on the tax rolls generating lots of sales tax.

  20. Yonkers is a mess. The schools, where countless hundred of millions have been spent are a disaster. The roads and infrastructure are falling apart. The waterfront is going nowhere. Getty Square is worse now than it has been in years. Yet City government is bigger and better paid than ever before. The same for the BoE. What is wrong with this picture?

  21. In the past the State Comptroller would certify
    the City budget in about 48 hours. This one has
    been up in Albany for close to a week now.
    Yonkers may be seeing a Control Board sooner
    than the Administration thought.

  22. Hezi,
    You forgot Bob Flower, who is probably the most qualified and most independent of all of the Democratic candidates.

  23. “Mayoral contenders have revealed themselves to be (listed in alphabetical order): Carlo Calvi, Chuck Lesnick, Richard Martinelli, John Murtagh, and Mike Spano”
    Very funny that how the order falls alphabetically is the exact same way I rank the candidates from Best to worst. Carlo seems to be the man who doesn’t fall into the typical politico role and has no allegiances to any “Friends & Family Club”. He seems to be the most educated person who truly can make a change with the common taxpayer in mind. I was very refreshed to hear his ideas and see his passion for this city when he came to my door with a petition. The rest of the candidates are all causes for the problems we now face and any citizen and taxpayer who votes for one of them ought to be institutionalized. Mike Spano fittingly at the end of the list as the worst of them all. God forbid that man be elected and then the only solution truly will be to move out.
    Yonkers citizens need to realize that our next mayor should not be a person who currently holds or who has recently held office. If one of these people are elcted we will face the same as we do now in the next 4 years and maybe even worse. Only one candidate falls into that category. Hopefully the public can speak and this beautiful city can be saved.
    Great article Hezi and Happy 4th to all!

  24. I agree with “retired”. Not one of these candidates will pull Yonkers out of this mess. We need strong leadership with ideas on how to revitalize Yonkers. These candidates are comatose. Where are ten debates? Where are their positions and advertisements? This has been the perfect storm………dysfunctional mayor, superintendent and candidates. Yonkers is doomed. The only solution is to move out.

  25. I don’t see any new and innovative ideas coming
    from the current group of five candidates.
    The parties need to come up with better people
    to run for office.

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