The votes were cast on September 13, 2011, on Primary Election Day. Depending on where one resides, the opportunity of party ward and district leaders to cast their vote in their respective party, were it the Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Independence, or some other party, was cast. The political backdrop has been raucous, driven by the divide separating the electorate from the elected, the strife and dismay over deteriorating job prospects, a sense of political impotence; or so has the milieu within which we reside been distilled by media and pundits alike. Who are we to believe the pundits and / or media, or the vote count?
Has the vitriol heard among the political discourse, such as it is, driven the votes cast with respect to one of the lowest voter turnout in Westchester County? What cajoled the votes to be cast? At a time of international posturing, foreign national interests taking stances of self-interest, the states among America strapped for cash and saddled with mandates often not funded by federal dictate and law, and our county supposedly screaming for resolution to the taxes paid, mind you, the highest in the nation, what drives us to say one thing and yet in juxtaposition not reflect our espoused issues and concerns by the votes we have cast?
There are many cities, towns, villages, and / or hamlets that fall within the borders of Westchester County. Some may attest to government responding well to the electorate. Such communities will attest and extol the virtues of governance among its elected officials and its residents. One such community is the Village of Bronxville, governed by Mayor Mary C. Marvin and Administrator Harold Porr III. The patina of governance under their umbrella has exemplified excellence through times of challenge and need and times less so demanding. They have each striven to work together in deference to The People who entrusted them their vote. The results are proof of their conduct and resolve to serve the constituents to the best of their ability. The stellar aspect of governance with them at the helm has been their savvy to maneuver the village to safe haven. Their intellectual prowess, experience and awareness of their personal strengths, self-awareness, a constrained ego maintains them in office and sustains the viability of Bronxville.
Juxtaposed to the Village of Bronxville are the Cities of Mount Vernon and Yonkers. The populations of each differ greatly. Bronxville is comprised of less than 8,000 residents, Mount Vernon can count approximately 70,000 people within its borders, and Yonkers counts approximately 200,000 residents. Bronxville is a much wealthier community than are Mount Vernon and Yonkers. The economic constraints and challenges that have exacted a heavy toll on savings and accumulated wealth of those who have as opposed to those who had little has exposed the precarious situation that is suffered, often unseen and under reported, in communities challenged in meeting the needs of their communities.
Sixteen years ago, Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis took the helm of a city plagued with crime, an infrastructure in decay, no development, graft, and declining educational excellence. Over the next twelve years Mayor David created a vision of development along Sandford Boulevard extrapolated from his engineering renderings, and sold the concept of development with Mount Vernon as the venue> The imprint on Sandford Boulevard today is testimony to the legacy he left behind. Four years on, Mayor Ernest Davis is the “Comeback Kid,” having garnered one hundred plus votes more than cast for Comptroller Maureen Walker in the Mount Vernon Democrat Primary Election.
Both Mr Davis and Ms Walker exemplify an earnest love for the City of MountVernon and a recognition that they must serve Mount Vernonites if Mount Vernon is to evolve and thrive beyond these challenging times.
The City of Yonkers saw many upsets. John Murtagh eclipsed the ho-hum campaign efforts of Richard Martinelli in the Republican Primary Election. Carlo Calvin exceeded initially conjectured prospects but remained a distant third place finisher. Among the three, Mr Murtagh, as polished as he may be in a court of law, has yet to refrain and restrain his often ill-tempered and combative tone and demeanor. These three will meet each other as the next challenge is in winning the General Election of November 8, 2011. Mr Mutagh name will be found under the Republican line, Mr Cali, under the Independence Party line, Mr Martinelli under the Conservative Party line.
Among the Democrat field, Mike Spano devoured the opposition, eclipsing the efforts of Chuck Lesnick and Bob Flower. Mr Spano will be ascribed on the Democrat Party line. The Westchester Guardian / Yonkers Tribune have concluded the likely accession of Mike Spano onto the Conservative Party line, and even the Working Family Line.
The Conservative Party Primary was a write-in challenge that found Mssrs. Calvi, Murtagh, and Spano challenging for prominence.
The Working Family Party, after place-holder Evan Inlaw, Esq., relinquishes his hold on the line by the offer of a nomination to judge to serve the Yonkers City Court, is seen by The Westchester Guardian / Yonkers Tribune to approach Mr Spano to carry the party designation.
The mayor race in Yonkers saw Carlo Calvi on the Republican side and Bob Flower on the Democrat side each defining and delineating many thoughtful and doable recommendations worthy of attention and incorporation by the future mayor of the City of Yonkers. Their efforts did not win the majority of voters. Chuck Lesnick, present Yonkers City Council President, and Richar Martinelli, the Yonkers City Council President defeated after one term in office by Mr Lesnick, did not garner support of the electorate, this, despite the prognostications by some pundits in media. Mr Lesnick will have time to lick his wounds over the last two years of his tenure as president of the Yonkers City Council. Mr Martinelli will be able to successfully recoil to his printing and publishing business unlikely to return to the political arena.
The most prominent vote getter in the Democrat Primary Election was Mike Spano. He exemplified hope to the voter. The litany of diatribes and innuendo and hate cast about Mr Spano’s family did not overwhelm the basis for Mr Spano’s election win. In measuring each candidate, the most approachable candidate for mayor was judged to be Mike Spano. Not only approachable, Yonkersites judged Mr Spano someone they could speak to and be heard.
Mr Spano has shown himself to be even tempered, mellow if you will. The voters desired someone they believe to be approachable; someone they believe will listen to their wants and needs.
Before and after the election, there is not likely to be one Yonkersite who did not or will not wonder about former Senator Nick Spano’s influence over the mayoralty of the City of Yonkers should his younger brother, Mike Spano, be given voter approval in the general election. No one has an answer to what will be. What can be said is that Mike Spano’s imprint upon his campaign effort has Mike Spano written over it, though some will assert the opposite. The commentary from any side will not diminish the final vote count. If it is Mike Spano, or another, the person voted to become mayor cannot help but reveal who he his by the demeanor and acumen of his governance.
Every Yonkersite knows that Yonkers needs a leader who can lead by inclusion of all people within our borders, who will nurture economic development that will sustain and relieve the taxpayer base; focus on the growing gang violence, create jobs, and set a civil tone of team-like precision among those we employ.
2011 may be a time of experiment for the voters who have come to recognize the failed promises and avarice of those elected to office in the past. The experiment may fail, but it may also succeed. Perhaps we must each resolve to do our best for our community in order for the people we elect to know we are concerned about their success and that their only focus must be toward the public good.
Time will prove what will be appropriate and correct for Mount Vernon and for Yonkers.
The voters have spoken. They will speak again in the general election.