Yonkers Reality Check Hezitorial
YONKERS, NY — October 28, 2019 —Yonkers’ Riverfest celebration took place on Saturday, September 14, 2019. It was the 27th reincarnation that celebrates a resurgent waterfront rising along the majestic Hudson River that draws over 15,000 people to Yonkers Downtown, one of Westchester’s biggest events. Riverfest is replete with musical entertainment, a diverse choice of international cuisine and food, and carnival games and cuisine, exhibits, children’s activities. It is Yonkers biggest outdoor event. It began at Noon and culminated at 7:00pm. The tradition, no matter its promotion, is an elaborate and opaque veneer seemingly intended to obfuscate a reality that has been denied for years.
It is a place where locals and transients can walk down New Main Street without fear of becoming a crime statistic; a place where Spano suck ups are admonished to attend. The reality is that the 2-block radius, is intended to promote a struggling waterfront that is surrounded by poverty, struggling businesses, crime, as well as low income housing units build alongside rental units ranging from $1,500 to 3,500 market rate rentals.
This realty, certain to be redefined by Yonkers City Hall wordsmiths as “fake news,” is in fact as real as the fact that 65 percent of Yonkers Public Schools’ student population is NOT proficient in English Learning Arts (ELA), and likewise not in math, as deduced by the most recent test scores. The Yonkers Board of Education, under the aegis of Superintendent Dr. Edwin Quezada, is glaringly deficient by his skill set. He is guiding a failed educational system and curriculum that cannot seem to muster yearly proficiency test scores from its student body. It must also be noted that the Spano Administration’s fingerprints are all over the consistently failing Yonkers Board of Education (YBoE). It should not be misconstrued that the teachers are at fault; this is an administrative failure. This is akin to the reality that Mayor Mike Spano and those before him, John Spencer and Phil Amicone, have consistently been crying for New York State funding asserting they have been short-changed. Tin cup in hand, Yonkers continues to cry out for more, yet only last week, Yonkers City Hall will go it alone, spend $100 million to build new schools. That is what Mayor Mike Spano advised. How will Mayor Mike Spano pay for this grand intention? It seems nothing more than a Mayor Mike Spano a folly. Were New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to conduct an audit as to how the City of Yonkers (CoY) and its department the YBoE, to decipher how funds have been allegedly commingled with overtime abuses, and new job openings for friends and families. Perhaps Yonkers standings would rise to an evolving and worthy trajectory praised for positive capacity;then again there is no vision and thereby no plan.
Riverfest cannot ever camouflage a failed and crumbling school district where lead continues to course through its water pipes, as asbestos dust and mold permeate many school buildings. Yonkersites don’t know whom to believe. It is Yonkers City Hall who is responsible for spewing falsehoods.
Then there are the recent rash of violent crimes that have taken place within the last month involving another shooting, armed robberies, a violent street brawl at Murray’s Ice Skating Rink in which brawling street thugs slashed opened the face of yet another Yonkers victim out with his family.
The Spano’s have been at the helm for almost a decade and one has to wonder what has changed that would not have naturally changed anywhere else in the nation. From that time the City of Yonkers has been ruled by the Spano clan in which each brother and some cousins have had their hands in the pot.
It is allegedly common knowledge and practice in Yonkers that lobbying cash can get things done. Every Yonkersite knows that Yonkers beats to its own drums, demonstrates selective enforcement on anything from internal rules to the New York State Penal Law. An example of that selective enforcement is why no one from the Yonkers Police Department, not the Yonkers Acting Police Commissioner, now the Yonkers Police Commissioners John Mueller, nor Mayor Mike Spano, nor the Mayor’s Communications Director Christina Gilmartin have informed the public about the tragic accident of Deputy Communications Director Akeem Jamal since September 14, 2019, almost 6-weeks ago; not a word. To this day, there has been no public comment about the accident. Could that be because someone was not following policy and procedure for handling serious physical injury accidents involving a city official? Maybe the real victim of Jamal’s accident will get justice through his attorney. The young deputy communication director was spotted drinking with his boss, Mayor Mike Spano, Yonkers PBA President Keith Olson, Yonkers Police Commissioner John Mueller, and Yonkers City Councilman and Yonkers Brewery owner John Rubbo.
As an aside, Mr. Jamal Akeem, by the grace of God and his youth, was released to a rehabilitation center in New Rochelle and is slowly recuperating.
After the Riverfest celebration concluded with libation and some salty foods at the Yonkers Brewery was over the young 22-year-old Akeem Jamal left to fend for himself.
Hours later, witnesses informed the Yonkers Tribune that Akeem Jamal departed the Yonkers Brewery and drove his 2017 BMW sedan to dúo Tapas Bar & Lounge serving a “sexy and sophisticated clientele and menu!” Information obtained advise that the gathering went into the early morning hours and ended at duo’s bar and restaurant with the Yonkers Mayor still celebrating with his young director until the early morning hours. Even more insulting to the Yonkers Taxpayer is that Mayor Mike Spano had a Police Detective, a member of the Mayor’s Security Unit sitting outside the bar while he was partying inside with 22-year-old Akeem Jamal. One has to question why Mayor Mike Spano didn’t go home to his family and wife Mary Calvi, Channel 2 News Co-anchor? Yes, Mike Spano was out on the town or on the prowl; you decide. There is an old adage, that when the cat’s away the mice will play.
The driver of the 2003 Chevy Trailblazer was a 53-year old male resident of Wappinger Falls, NY. The BMW driver was 23-year old Akeem H. Jamal. Both men were removed from the wreckage of their respective vehicles by Empress Ambulance EMS Paramedics. The YPD suggest the injuries suffered by the Trailblazer driver were not considered life threatening, even though he suffered from a broken leg, whereas Mr. Jamal suffered severe internal bleeding and was placed into a coma at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Westchester County Medical Center. Yonkers Tribune had learned early on that the Wappinger Falls resident had retained legal counsel and will sue the City of Yonkers.
For all intent and purpose Yonkers is an anomaly, something out of a time warp. It may behoove Netflix to scout out some of its characters for what really could be called “StrangerThings”. Only in Yonkers and only under the Spano regime could a person like John Mueller be appointed to the top spot of the Police Department after refusing a transfer order, amongst other things. Only in Yonkers can the Police Union President, Det. Keith Olson, get away with threatening and targeting civilians and assaulting police personnel, and file a frivolous law suit in an attempt to silence free speech or censor the media.
So why not celebrate? You have the Mayor Mike Spano’s brother Nick Spano, Johnny Spano, and Lenny Spano all licking their fingers from the rewards of having a failed babbling mayor as their brother. They cry about a cash strapped Yonkers but give out raises, promotions and jobs, and then cry for their fair share to NYS for more cash for so called “education”.
Yonkers is a failed city and will stay that way until someone outside the beltway comes knocking. Yonkersites are sick of the sleezy politicians, and their lying city officials. So, yes, if you want to get off the train and run to your apartment rentals and sprint back to the train in the morning, then come to Yonkers. Truth be told Yonkers has nothing to offer but higher tax rates for the homeowners, a failing school district and downtown of homeless people who supposedly are now being issued summonses by the Yonkers Police Department. Did they create a summons for mental health or for being homeless?
Here is what downtown Yonkers has to offer you: drug dealers, robbers, and street gangs right around the corner. You also have a handful of diehard Yonkers employees hanging around some of the failing businesses like Peter Kelly’s X2O – Xaviar’s on the Hudson, who filed for bankruptcy, owing months of overdue rent for use of the Yonkers Pier owned by the City of Yonkers, despite Peter Kelly having gotten a lot of taxpayer subsidized freebees. In fact if you hurry you can rent or buy a penthouse and witness what Yonkers has to offer. Point in case on how Yonkers could be wrong for you and your family under the Spano Administration is that you too can live in a city where the cachet is defined by the adage, “Yonkers, the city of hills, where nothing is on the level.”
Remember Yonkers is only for the Spano’s and make sure you hire a Spano so you can navigate in Yonkers. Who knows you may even run into the wrinkled suit Mayor Spano wears when he parties with 22-year-olds at the local bars. Or you may even run into him and his brothers in Eastchester, NY, partying and dancing at Gigante’s Bar and Grill, where they know how to pack in the cougars. So if you are dead set on living on the waterfront and working in Manhattan you may want to go further north or to New Jersey. It will be a lot safer and smarter. The choice is all yours. You may want to ask around before stumbling into a time warp like Yonkers.
The takeaway is as real as it is tragic. Yonkers has yet to learn to celebrate worthy accomplishment, and yet to learn how to contend with adversity and challenge in a forthright manner.