COVID-19 Pandemic, Economic Societal Divisions, Fiscal Excessiveness, Inequity Among Diverse Population, Black Lives Matter, Ensconced / Burgeoning Criminality, Stalled Economic Development Projects, and Lack of Transparency
YONKERS, NY — September 3, 2020 — Yonkers is the fourth largest city in New York State. The 2010 Census tabulated Yonkers population to be shy of 200,000. The 2020 Census will shortly be closed. Ominously, those people who submitted the 2020 Census application form amount to under 60 percent of the population. The City of Yonkers (CoY) has yet to promote the fact that for every individual, including children, not counted in the 2020 Census is valued at about $5,000 per individual in federal funding to CoY.
On August 31st, Yonkers’ Mayor Mike Spano’s Communication Director Christina Gilmartin divulged, via a press release … “Cuts in State Aid Force the City of Yonkers to Reduce Costs by $21.6 Million”
The $21.6 Million in anticipated New York State revenue was included in Mayor Mike Spano’s proposed FY2020-2021 Budget. The Yonkers City Council voted 6-1, that is by supermajority approval, adopting a budget despite six years earlier, on June 30, 2016, a similar dilemma regarding financial wherewithal became known. It was then that Yonkers City Hall reluctantly informed the public that they were expecting to receive the value of $55 million for the Yonkers Public School District that was never received. The Yonkers City Council was forced to capitulate to that reality and had to enter into an Inter Municipal Agreement (IMA) over the sum not received after having spent $40 million of the $55 million supposedly promised. $40 million out of a $55 million alleged infusion of funds was spent before Yonkers City Hall realized no such agreement was ever forged and the funds would never be realized. No proof was ever revealed of such an “agreement” having been concluded. In order to balance the budget after the fiscal calamity, the City of Yonkers had to borrow funds which were hard to arrive by because the financial capacity of CoY had waned over many years. Alas, the funds needed were obtained through the bond market. The fiscal travail of 2016 was a lesson not learned.
Similar circumstances would be repeated in 2020. Coupled with the $21.6 million anticipated funding, the Mayor’s Communications Office revealed that revenues allegedly diminished by the COVID-19 pandemic had wiped out between $45 to $50 million in anticipated revenue. The City of Yonkers is thereby facing a deficit of between $67 and $72 million dollars. The likelihood that the CoY even has the capacity to borrow such sums through the bond market or other means is suspect. The Yonkers City Council was forced into an “Inter Municipal Agreement demanded by Albany that was agreed to by the Yonkers City Council, SEIU, and CSEA in 2016. At issue is whether there is a financially prudent rationale or a lucid response to this dilemma on the horizon? So far, Yonkers City Hall is mum on the issue.
While it may be possible to suggest that the $21.6 million anticipated was allegedly a shock to CoY’s Administration, it is not in the least possible that since COVID-19 set up headquarters in CoY, that $45 to $50 million in anticipated revenue were not recognized to be lagging from the onset of the pandemic. New York State supplies every municipality with statistics attesting to the funds gained. Who deflected their attention from these monthly fiscal health reports of Yonkers? The economy has yet to be resuscitated. The nation and CoY will eventually return to work when a vaccine is proven effective. Until then, we question what happened to CoY’s “bean counters”? Which thereby begs the question, since the anticipated sums would take months to accrue, and month after month had not, why did Yonkers City Hall agree to funding an 18 percent longevity clause on behalf of the Yonkers Police Department to placate Yonkers PBA Det. President Keith Olson. CoY knew it was financially bereft and yet it did not contemplate nor ever designed a plan of any kind to bolster CoY’s prospects. Despite CoY’s fiscal capacity waning Yonkers City Hall only a few weeks ago agreed to a longevity contract when they had to know CoY was spending beyond its means since revenue was not forthcoming… all in deference to the demands of Yonkers Police Benevolent Association President Det. Keith Olson. This is best recognized to be fiscally irresponsible behavior.
To endear the unfamiliar to consider investing in a waterfront residence along the Yonkers Waterfront or a private home as an alternative to remaining in any of the five boroughs of New York City, the sister city bordering to our south, Yonkers Police Communications Director Dean Politopoulis continues to extol the fact that the City of Yonkers is the safest city anywhere in America of like population, that is, between 200,000 to 250,000.
Even before COVID-19 reared its ugly head, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. informed this reporter on the Westchester On the Level radio broadcast on March 4, 2020 that crime had risen in Yonkers. It was on that show that Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr., admitted the crime rate in Yonkers had increased by 39 percent. So much for the never previously publicly revealed crime statistic. Since CompStat was dismantled by P.C. John Mueller, there are no other means by which to substantiate the reality of crime statistics in Yonkers other than knowing it has risen many times since.
The broadcast can be heard by clicking onto the broadcast whose lede is John and Laurie Wiles, The Driving Me Crazy Duo, Review the 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Hybrid – P400e HSE, Gabrielle M. Etzel, The Unvarnished blog Publisher / Editor-in-Chief, Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr., Westchester County District Attorney, and Hezi Aris, Yonkers Tribune Publisher / Editor-at-Large, on Westchester on the Level – Thursday, March 5, 2020 @ 10am ET.
Yonkers struggling downtown waterfront sits smack in the middle of a high crime area. Just one or two blocks away there was a man shot and killed in broad daylight and another man shot twice near the Castle Royale Restaurant / Hall. Since then, the Yonkers Police has been responding to numerous calls of shots fired and just last night another person was shot just off South Broadway near Valentine Lane, yet none of these incidents have been reported by the Yonkers Police Department. Yet, the men and women of the Yonkers Police Department respond to these calls running on nothing but low morale and the stench of betrayal from city leaders, including Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, Yonkers City Council President Mike Khader, Esq., Yonkers Police Commissioner John Mueller (a political hack who has yet to figure out that under his aegis he has proven himself not up to performing the job knowledgeably). If only P.C. Mueller would look into a mirror before heading out to work, perhaps he would see his reflection to be the image the public sees. His image reveals an individual of failed capacity in policing, and a failure in building respectful relations with fellow police officers and community stakeholders alike. It turns out that Mueller did not abide by Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines which he knew forbade him from sending Sully to work the street after 20 years working in his office. P.C. Mueller signed Sully’s death warrant. Sully died within a week of being assigned to the street. Sully was a diabetic and suffered from heart disease.
P.C. Mueller may even see the reflection of his best friend Yonkers PBA Det. President Keith Olson who has sold his membership out to Mayor Mike Spano. Yes, the dynamic duo Mueller / Olson, have reportedly sunk to backstabbing every Police Commissioner since Charles A. Cola. Needless to say, these two “vile smelling” political figures stooped even lower than previously known … given all the violence against law enforcement, the intentional killing of on duty and off duty police officers, the firebombing of stores, car thefts and looting, it has become evident that under their watch, it has become almost impossible to engage in proper and respectful policing in Yonkers.
Now if that isn’t grim enough, and an insult to citizens across America, Yonkers “Political Zeros” caved into the pressure of Black Live Matter (BLM), which has been noted to be a Marxist organization that operates through fear, intimidation, and extortion. Their biggest scam is pretending to march for “justice” when in reality they are far from peaceful or just. BLM uses tactics against major businesses who are intimidated by. Threats and who cave in to their demands for fear of violent protests; and thereby also get allegedly funded as part of their “agreement” to be left alone. This practice is alleged to be ameliorated with cash under the table. This political movement will no doubt backfire because ALL LIVES MATTER, and certainly BLUE LIVES MATTER. Yet P.C. Mueller and PBA Det. Pres. Keith Olson got onto their knee in deference to BLM who are demanding police departments throughout the nation be defunded. It has long been said that one can find good and bad in anything, even people. Marching into restaurants, churches, and shining lights into people’s homes at night will backfire as is trashing Elvis Presley’s Graceland.
There are all forms of harassment by which Yonkers politicos betrayed themselves, as well as the very people they are sworn to protect. That is, people of every ethnicity, hue, gender, religion and sexual orientation, who from their own perspectives were betrayed by the people who assert they represent Yonkersites in the Senate and Congress, in the New York State Legislature, Westchester County Board of Legislators and Yonkers City Council. YPD is being micromanaged by P.C. Mueller, PBA Det. President Keith Olson, among others of lower rank, and higher political clout. The puppet masters maintain the drumbeat to which all must abide or suffer the consequences, and they have to fork over funds to be lorded over and controlled. The payoff is deals like the longevity contractual agreement with the Yonkers PBA when City Hall knew CoY’s financial standing was in desperate need of life support. After all, its not about Yonkersites. So about whom are these calamities perpetrated and perpetuated?
Police Commissioner John Mueller and Yonkers PBA Det. President Keith Olson betrayed their own Police Department by buckling under the BLM movement and when they dropped onto their respective knees onto Yonkers street pavement.
New York City PBA President Patrick Lynch needs to know who his northern “brothers in blue” are. Mueller and Olson shame the uniforms they once wore. It seems irrefutable that these two suck-ups will engage in whatever it takes to maintain and nurture their political capacity. It is of such importance to them that it outweighs even the known intentional targeting and killing of police officers. Let us not forget that there are many current and former members of the Yonkers Police Department who have their own stories to tell against these disgraceful officials.
Yonkersites, as well as New York State and its political figures need to know what is going on in the City of Hills where nothing is on the level, where crime is off the charts, where the Yonkers Public School District has already failed its students, teachers, ancillary workers, and parents, and where the Spano Dynasty have carved up every department to their taste for almost a decade. One brother controls the YPD, another the Board of Education, and another the Construction / Development Industry, using a lobbying firm as a smoke screen to get things done.
Yonkers does not has sufficient funds to resuscitate the Yonkers Public School District. Layoffs have already decimated CSEA 9169 Union workers. The dismissal of teachers, and teacher aides will be next. It is only the next step in eviscerating the capacity of the once well-respected Yonkers Public School district.
As noted previously herein, Mayor Mike Spano somehow found enough cash to give the PBA and the Captains, Lieutenants, and Sergeants Association (CLSA) longevity raises, but could not provide Personal Protection Equipment (PPE’s) to its Emergency Workers.
He even found paint rollers and brushes to insult the taxpaying residents of Yonkers. Here is what Mayor Mike Spano did.
This past weekend, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, Yonkers City Council President President Mike Khader, among other political failures, decided to cave in to the mob mentality of BLM, and participated in painting a BLM Political Statement on a PUBLIC city street which began at the corner of South Broadway and Nepperhan Avenue and went north to Main Street. They started painting the BLM Political Statement right in front of the Yonkers War Memorial. It must have been a fun day for Mayor Mike Spano and Council President Mike Khader because they actually got to use paint rollers and paint brushes. Does anyone know if Mueller or Olson had their painting aprons on?
What is important to note is on what legal grounds does the BLM political organization, or any other organization have, or even Mayor Mike Spano has to have the BLM message painted on a public street? Why was it painted before the plaque honoring those who fell while fighting for America’s freedoms in past wars? Why was the Veterans Administration Office not advised of this planned conduct? Why didn’t Mayor Spano and Council President Khader paint the BLM sign on Central Avenue, or better yet, in the section of Yonkers where Mayor Spano resides? Why not on Yonkers Avenue or McLean Avenue? The issue for legal minds to contemplate and deduce is if BLM can paint their political insignia on city streets as they have, and if other groups are permitted to do likewise? Is any and every political posture and perspective permissible? And if so, what oversight body grants such permission? Is not a permit required? Who filed for such a permit? Can the Klu Klux Klan decide to paint their symbol on Yonkers City Streets? Don’t they need to obtain permission? Anarchists of every persuasion; people promoting sex trafficking; political parties can run roughshod in Yonkers because there is seemingly no body to grant permission or deny permission. Can those who espouse bigoted and biased remarks also deface our city streets with their political dogma?
Is there no oversight of any kind? Who is authorized to make those decisions? How can they be contacted? Is everyone permitted to paint the street of their choice as they choose? Yonkers requires permits for everything? Who has oversight regarding painting public streets?
Would it be fair to paint such “signs” in every one of the six Councilmatic districts? How about ‘‘‘All lives Matter’ or ‘Blue Lives Matter’” being painted on any and all public streets in Yonkers? Yonkers residents must present this legal challenge to the Mayor’s Office. This is a political statement from a radical organization that is masquerading their extortion by feigning social justice. It seems as though Mayor Mike Spano is clearly denying other residents the right to freedom of expression by taking sides with one political statement over any and all others.
There are few legal options here. One can drive around with BLM in their personal car, but you don’t have the right to place / paint BLM political statement or any other political statement on a public street. I have yet to know of a law in Yonkers that permits the streets be painted by a political perspective that has been deemed constitutionally correct and a right by law. Now one would think that as a legal counselor, such as City Council President Mike Khader, Esq. would have done his homework on this issue. Instead Khader put his painting apron on, too, choosing chaos, engaging in illegal conduct, and defying the rights of civil liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the NYS Constitution, and the Yonkers City Charter.
Yonkers Tribune welcomes all legal scholars near and far to share their legal perspective on the issue(s) presented herein as to whether everyone has the right to paint a city street with their political perspective? What would be legal and what must be forbidden? Why did Mayor Mike Spano not consider the immediate removal of the BLM painting or accept the painting of other political statements? Do not believe for one second that this BLM painted a mural. It is clearly a political statement; not a mural. Yonkers will never be a first rate city so long as Mayor Mike Spano and City Council President Mike Khader run around with aprons and rollers laden with paint to prove their breaking the law.
Yonkers cannot shrug off the fact that it is a violent city with a failing school district, minus a qualified Police Commissioner, and PBA Det. President who are mentally and physically on their knees. Politicians from Suffolk County to Albany need to be informed what not to do as it pertains to “Freedom of Expression.” Mayor Mike Spano and the likes of Mike Khader are promoting the same environment as that cesspool known as New York City infused by the likes of Mayor Bill DiBlasio.
Yonkers has hit the pavement, it is stuck. There is no help on the horizon.
The takeaway is simple” Yonkers does not believe in inclusiveness nor in transparency. The lack of inclusiveness reveals the very bias and bigotry that was supposed to be ameliorated, instead, it has become a vehicle of extortion and threat. Inclusion has not moved one iota to redefine the failed past. The optics of Yonkers’ elected officials painting streets with BLM will last just so long. By the time the presidential elections come about, no matter the winning candidate, the BLM movement will have been forgotten and while they paint themselves as outsiders, their being included, and the diversity to which they espouse will languish and reside in the recesses of few minds.
With BLM at the forefront of this spectacle on Yonkers City Streets, it is unlikely they will be respected enough to be included as the invited cadre to any inclusive business initiatives. Their behavior will relegate them to the end of the line while women of every hue will rightfully progress up the ladder, and likely LGBTQ+ affinity groups will be remembered as their struggle perseveres. BLM has risen with fists clenched and will not be welcome to a larger tent in search of diversity. They are outliers marauding as deliverers of change for themselves, but not for those who believe that “All Lives Matter!”