Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano’s proposed FY 2012-2013 budget will at last be daylighted from behind its opaque hideout. The contention of whether the budget deficit is $89 million or $150 million is moot. At issue is how does the City of Yonkers (CoY) sustain its viability as it presumably pursues a doable financial paradigm true to the city’s plight and reflective of its needs and desires. A wishlist that leads to success as opposed to the make believe, pie in the sky schemes proposed over the many years passed is professed to be the goal. Neither of the camps of power has afforded anyone a clue. They have coalesced into the one and “true” party. The names refer to the “One,” God-like in the deference given Him, called upon under various names. Some will cry out for Jehovah, while others prefer to call him Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Independent and even Working Families. To those who work diligently to undermine public understanding of how things are, a feigned battle cry espousing the righteous tenets of one name for the Almighty is described by calling out his name. While the Almighty is the One and only Almighty, he is known by disparate names. He responds to all with adherents under many names, god-like in His name
being heard, the budget will be divulged on Monday morning, April 16th, to the agony and acrimony of some, quiet jubilation of others, and the ‘I told you so!’ admonitions of others. Each facet of those we have chosen to govern us will share by differing percentages responsibility for failure or success. Let us open those opaque doors to find out where we may be.
The one and only focus must be the budget deficit that has been revealed to loom between a low end figure, just shy of $90 million, and a figure of $150 million at the more onerous end of the fiscal crisis. It was difficult to see through the maze born of old and the crisis born anew. The old has been on stage before all Yonkersites to see, a five-ringed circus of issues that need attention, but can await the greater concern, that is, the fiscal health of a city panting for a much fatter coffer.
Will Mayor Mike Spano come clad in gear made for a long drawn out fight now or will he cower to a date in the calendar years hence? Will he slash the budget by say 15 to 20 percent across the board, including the 2nd floor or will only those in the “friends and family network” get their piece of the pie? Will water rates rise to compensate for the con games of the past in which some paid, while others got away with a simple wink and a nod? What about the real estate tax arrears overdue 20, 30, even 40 years? Will they stay forgotten, or will they be demanded? Will those in arrears find foreclosure insinuate itself into their comfortable world of deceit and theft? Will their properties be sold of to make Yonkers coffers whole today? Will the Yonkers Board of Education Central Office find itself gutted out of its spending sprees and thefts? Will the Gasboy pumps be closed to those who are not entitled access? Will the city fleet of cars be turned in for sale now rather than later? Will City Hall pay its fair share? Will City Hall conduct itself fairly by showing proof of those that use the parking lots, pay their parking tickets, etc.?
Will City Hall demand payment for arrears from developers? We are talking millions here? When will it be returned? Who is responsible to return money lost to Tara Circle, Yonkers Baseball, Philipsburgh Performing Arts Center, the money Yonkers id owed yet over which words are expended but little else. It is only talk. What is the city doing about the allocated funds held by the Hudson River Museum for a project not authorized by New York State? The questions are endless. Yonkersites have the answer. So do we. What will be the administration’s answer?
Will Yonkersites be consumed over whether the Yonkers Parking Authority is a cesspool of hacks and has-beens who protect the status quo of corruption and greed? They are heard raising their voices in weakness and now recognized to be outmaneuvered by their lack of forthrightness. In similar fashion Leakes & Watts, and the Hudson River Museum remain the tomb of those not worthy even to be seen, much less spoken about. When will the Yonkers Chamber of Commerce cease stealing funds from the Department of Social Services? When will DSS find the intestinal fortitude to shut down this Kevin Cacace / Bernard Pierorazio scam that has endured for over 8 years with the full knowledge of former Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone who refused to set it straight? When will Yonkers City Hall demand Yonkers Corporation Counsel claw back the money awarded the Regan brothers for skirting the intent of the law? When will the contract to pay off former Yonkers City Councilman John Murtagh be dissolved? When will Lisa Mirjaj pay legal costs to protect her son in a court of law at her expense or her son’s expense rather than at the Yonkers taxpayer’s expense? When will the failures of Corporation Counsel over a property seized by eminent domain, later to be relinquished half-heartedly, be permitted to progress through the process by which all matters are permitted to evolve toward resolution? When will the bigotry end? Who will pay for trampling on the Yonkers City Charter, the New York Constitution, and the U,S, Constitution. If former Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone was permitted to stick a finger at the courts who will be first to cut off his hand?
Will Monday, April 16th be the day of reckoning which will place the entire city on notice to the heavy lifting required or will the city dissolve into a sea of malcontents comfortable in stalling a process with more smoke and mirrors or can Mayor Mike Spano keep us on the straight and narrow, focused on an amenable outcome to the benefit of more than only some?
If Mayor Spano cannot drive the equation forward by setting the tone at Monday morning’s presentation of Mayor Mike Spano’s Proposed FY2012-2013 Budget, Yonkers will find itself mired in the respective election process for New York State Assemblypeople and New York State Senators that will embroil the city in what they do best, have a slugfest between the political parties to the detriment of the public for whom they have the temerity to claim they will speak. Will this be the scenario that befalls Yonkers again, passive approval, and a welcome wagon to meet the New York State Control Board when they are permitted the keys to the city?
What will it be?
If I were a betting man, I would put my money on those that will bitch about anything and everything but shrink from uttering a discernible sound to make the changes most people require to survive.
The unions have yet to speak. What are they waiting for? Yonkers Tribune / The Westchester Guardian have learned that Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano is contemplating the reduction of Yonkers Firefighters by 60 and the closure of two firehouses. With former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky and former Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch completing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s delegation to turn Yonkers into a success, will the union membership say what needs to be said or will they release another brood of white rats to roam City Hall? Will it all be accompanied to the cacophony of fire engines wailing throughout the environs of City Hall?
Will the Yonkers City Council show themselves worthy to maintain and revitalize the City of Yonkers to some sense of self respect or will they consume themselves in anticipation of the next election? Are they even worthy of their part-time salary and staff, potentially over $1 million in savings right there, if they cannot be a potent balance as a Legislative body in a city in which there is a strong Mayor form of government? Is Yonkers City Hall the stepchild to City Hall, nothing more than a smaller version for maintaining patronage?
I am certain there will be many who will cringe at dismantling the Yonkers City Council. Find the answer by asking yourself what they have they done in the last 16 years that merits their being maintained and paid? Those whose answer is nothing get the big prize, those who responded otherwise are part of the problem.
The same goes for Yonkers Corporation Counsel. Yonkers is self-insured, yet Corporation Counsel has yet to divulge the legal fiascos over which they have blundered but have kept the truth from being known to Yonkersites all, not just a few. Refer to the eminent domain inferred above.
It seems almost pointless to make rational argument to an entrenched power structure hell bent on taking every crumb off the table and sharing it among their “friends and family” network. The silence is the promise never afforded those who would quietly await their turn at the trough. Even so, they wait obediently for the largesse that they are only permitted to see but never touch or feel. It is the one narcotic for which there is no antidote. Will Yonkers remain a patient waiting in the emergency room purgatory while others are soothed by the comforting attention of those who believe they are worthy of attention?
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano won election because he was a “nice” guy. He is young, handsome, a family man, married to an accomplished woman, a growing family, and with a name that has earned worth and respect. Will Mayor Mike Spano prove himself worthy of the adulation heaped upon him? Is he benevolent or has he taken Yonkers for a ride?
If Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano defines the fiscal severity confronting the city and defends nothing but the citizenry to the best of his ability he will climb to heights he cannot fathom. If he protects con artists of the past and present, he will lose the mayoralty, the support from Governor Andrew Cuomo, and tarnish his name for generations. I have faith in Mike Spano the man. Does the Yonkers City Hall team he has amassed have the ability to see his vision bear fruit or have they still to be convinced that Mike Spano IS the Mayor of the City of Yonkers?