The Hezitorial in Preparation for the City of Yonkers’ 2023 Mayoral Election
African-American Decent vs Arab-American Descent vs Latino Descent vs Mayor Mike Spano’s Administration
YONKERS, NY — July 19, 2021 — Yonkers will be reading and commenting. Please share your thoughts and insights. Each is pertinent; each is welcome. Be exact and thoughtful in your writing. This discussion is about our past, our present, and our future because we all matter. Yonkers is after all where we live, work, and/or play!
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If you have yet to read Part 1 and/or Part 2, you will find the hyperlinks to both parts herein. Read them first or skip one or the other or both and immerse your sensibilities and interests as you contemplate Part 3.
Yonkers Politics – Part 3 of 3: Preparing for Yonkers Future By Hezi Aris
The Primary Election results have been certified. The results vanquished some candidates, gave hope for a future contest onto others, and revealed the residue a Minneapolis, Minnesota awakening had and is likely to continue, in one form or another throughout the nation. Despite the differences in divergent communities in New York State and the other 49, one thing is certain, demographics has changed and will define the outcome of such contests. Should it not, it will be because the winner(s) will be eclipsed by another candidate. What is certain is that after the first attempt to challenge the status quo, demographics will be defined by the number of people who will cast their vote. Once the outcomes are tallied, demographics will no longer be speculative, it will be a number that will have been quantified.
Yonkers is a case in point. It has been said that Yonkers, the fourth largest City in New York State can boast a constituency of residents that trace their lineage to disparate countries, by language, religion, among other differences. Yonkers prides in telling all who would listen that 60 different nationalities reside within the City of Hills.
A closer study will reveal that there are some groups of people who comprise the largest numbers of residents who can vote or have the potential to register and thereby vote. Which begs the question; who are these potential voters and about whom will they coalesce their monetary support and the most crucial aspect of all, cast their respective ballot.
The largest contingent of people who reside in Yonkers are of Latin descent. They are comprised of people whose origins can be traced to South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Spain, and Portugal. Their total population within Yonkers is said to be approximately 100,000 people, yet the number who are registered to vote is likely half that or 50,000. Many are immigrants who never filed for American citizenship, perhaps unaware that America recognizes dual citizenship. Others are defined as undocumented or may have overstayed their visa. They are not afforded the right to vote.
Potentially, those people who are of Latin descent have a potentially large prospect of filing for citizenship and after swearing allegiance to the United States, they will have gained the right to register to vote.
Another large population of immigrants who arrived in Yonkers are from Jordan. They arrived in Yonkers almost three generation ago. They were quick to become U.S. citizens and are equal in number to those voters of Latin descent. They comprise a voting block of approximately 50,000 voters within the City of Yonkers (CoY). Their potential for growing the number of registered voters is slim, since they are predominately already registered to vote. A plus in their favor is their financial capacity within CoY, as well as nationally among people of Arab descent.
Too often dismissed, but a large contingent of residents who arrived in America due to the lack of employment opportunity, are the Irish who suffered religious divisiveness, killings, and strife borne among those who clung to their Christian or Protestants faiths, and who presently reside in CoY. Their influence is respected and felt but they have yet, and likely never will be able to vote. Those who proudly extol their Irish heritage and who suffered the religious divide in Ireland arrived at America’s shores in search of employment. Entrepreneurial, educated, hardworking, English speakers who predominately overstayed their visa upon gaining employment and are now regarded as undocumented. They have raised children born in America. They never returned to Ireland, even though they could. Yet should Ireland have suffered another economic bust,as happened too often if the last 4 or 5 decades, they would not be able to fend for themselves or their family. ireland’s woes ripped families apart, as the Irish in America raised families their relatives never met. Those Irish who are in the late forties and fifties whose parents were never able to hug and kiss their grandchildren are now often too old and frail to fly to America. Those that are not citizens cannot become voters. Population-wise they comprise approximately 35,000 undocumented people. Other than the fact they cannot vote, they exact clout by way of the Irish born in America. and their ability to speak English which helped them to integrate into Yonkers society. Their businesses, employment, and heritage permit them the financial capacity to influence elections.
The African-American population in Yonkers make up approximately 20,000 yet are infrequent voters. One would not be too far off the mark when stating that at least half to three-quarters do not cast their vote. There have been incidents in the past where Blacks have been dissuaded from voting, by subterfuge. Incidents where poll watchers advised Black voters that their polling stations had been changed, when in reality it was a scam which caused many to go home. From a demographic perspective the 20 to 25,000 voters who regard themselves as Blacks have yet to be counted as voters. Historically, they have chosen to or been dissuaded from voting. Today, they are more often dismissed than heard. Their potential to garner a more potent block of voters can conceivable increase to 15,000 voters more if they recognize that their lack of political involvement has cost them opportunity and financial outcome. There have been years of conjecture about the potential influence and prowess of the African-American population, but it has never materialized. The George Floyd killing may have informed more African-Americans that if they cast their vote they would be a potent force when combining their effort with those of Latino descent or those of Jordanian descent or that of Mayor Mike Spano’s Administration should he contemplate a fourth, 4-years term. Their prowess can be exacted and respected should they align their potential voting block with those of Latino descent, those of Arab descent, or the process of Mayor Nike Spano’s Administration. Their alliance with one or the other would be a formidable undertaking yet plausible. The African-American populace in Yonkers has no chance going it alone. Their only option is to become a supportive block of voters that can swing the secondary block to either those of Latin descent, Arabic descent, or cast their vote for a conjectured fourth term effort by Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. The most pithy point is that they will not be recognized or wield any clout if they do not combine their interests with another block of voters. Not finding a partner will diminish and eviscerate their potential clout years further. They cannot afford to not cast their vote. Their only challenge now is with whom will they consummate an agreement. Not finding a partner will eviscerate any future prospect they may potentially presently have.
While demographics are extremely important, those who are in the employ of Yonkers City Hall / Yonkers Board of Education, garnering an easy 15,000 votes out of 5,000 employees, can, if determined to do so, gain another 7,500 votes above what they have in the past come to realize for the last two decades, albeit it in hindsight. If it becomes pertinent they can muster a more exuberant total of a 22,500 voting block. Adding an African-American partner to Mayor Mike Spano’s effort could see their marriage win. The African-American voter can also win if they coalesce their agenda with those of Latino descent or those of the Jordanian-American contingent. The only issue that conforms to the demographics is that the African-Americans will be the belle of the ball.
The demographic winner are those who count themselves among those of Latin descent. Language and culture coalesce under the demographic umbrella to reveal them as unbeatable. If they want to win they will have to find a candidate worthy of their vote.
Alas, the Jordanian-American community has been undermined recently by present Yonkers City Council President Mike Khader’s lackluster election loss. Even so there may be a credible candidate that the Jordanian-American voters can rally their support. From a fiscal perspective they are very educated and they are consistent voters.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, loved and respected by many has been said to be contemplating a fourth, 4-years terms. He won his third 4-years term after winning approval to break the two 4-years term maximum as defined by a public referendum that the Yonkers City Council eclipsed . mayor Spano was approved by the Yonkers City Council for a third 4-years term. Even so Mayor Spano lost a tremendous amount of support from Yonkersites by breaking the referendum which denied him a third 4xyears term so much so, that it is unlikely the voters will accept his running for a fourth 4-years term. The logic for Mayor Spano to maintain his effort to be at the helm for three consecutive 4-years terms will be the same logo every should he choose to get authority from the newly ensconced Yonkers City Council before the 2023 November election. Will the Yonkers City Council of 2022-2023 dare to break the term limitation again?
No matter the outcome, the voting public will define the final outcome. Complaining or demonizing anyone about the final outcome will fall on the back of the voting public, but not on any of the candidates vying for the Office of Yonkers Mayor. If they voters choose to be unengaged in the November 2022 election they need only look at the mirror for why the outcome they begot was due to their casting their vote, not voting, or not voting in large enough numbers to make the difference of their choosing to come about.
Based on population, the people of Latin descent should logically win the next election. At issue is if any of the groups of people in logical contention have a leader about whom they can or want to coalesce. From that perspective, Mayor Mike Spano mat be presumed to be the logical winner. The others who are immersed in this contest have yet to plan for the November 2022 Election. If Yonkers repeats its past conduct of waiting only a few months prior to engaging the public, Yonkers and Yonkersites will be the losers. Not even crocodile tears will be shed.
What may not be recognized, whether Yonkers or any other city, is that a change at the helm will not and cannot expunge the conduct of the administration prior to the most recent elected.
The prospect for the future has become the responsibility of the voter as it has always been. That dynamic will not change.
Tell us what you think, what your hopes are for yourself and your family. Tell us if you are willing to become a citizen and thereafter register to vote so that you can have a say in the outcome a 15 months from now.
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Part 1 of 3, entitled “Yonkers Politics: An Introduction By Hezi Aris
Part 2 of 3, entitled “Yonkers Politics: Past, Present, and Future by Hezi Aris”