Yonkers Redefined As a Little Bit of Country and a Little Bit of Rock & Roll
By Hezi Aris

eHezi Archives, Campaign Trail, Yonkers, NY 33 Comments

The 2021 General Election Takeaway Hezitorial

Bronxville Tribune / Greenburgh Tribune / Mount Vernon Tribune / Ossining Tribune / Westchester Tribune / Yonkers Tribune / Yorktown Tribune Publisher / Editor.

YONKERS, NY — November 3, 2021 — The general election that was concluded yesterday informed the City of Yonkers of circumstances and outcomes that must not be eclipsed by self-interest and imposed amnesia or political dogma. It’s time to call a spade a spade!

The Yonkers City Council President seat was contested between Lakisha Collins-Bellamy and Ron Matten. The last time an analagous, city wide election contest transpired was four years ago when now Yonkers Inspector General Liam McLaughlin and present Yonkers City Council President Michael Khader ran for Yonkers City Council President. The McLaughlin/Khader race realized a voter turnout of over 30,000 as opposed to a paltry showing of a total of 18,000 votes garnered by Collins-Bellamy and Matten yesterday.

A disturbing takeaway from the number of votes cast years ago to now is that the political milieu in the City of Yonkers has lessened voter turnout. Governance in Yonkers among those elected, those appointed, and even those employed has calcified over the last 11 years, even though it began years earlier, as far back as I am aware, from the days of Mayors John Spencer, Phil Amicone, and yes, even Mayor Mike Spano. A Fall cleaning may be in order because the Spring cleaning was never considered.

While the Collins-Bellamy race was extremely well funded and backed by Yonkers City Hall, her campaign effort was mute for all intent and purpose as it did not share any insight into her positions and perspectives on issues that would have been pertinent to the voter casting their vote one way or the other. City Hall’s “get out the vote” effort on behalf of Collins-Bellamy seemed to initially falter, rattling City Hall at the last moment over a contemplated  election loss. A re-invigorated get out the vote effort succeeded. Had it not, Mayor Spano would have lost “face” as he endorsed Collins-Bellamy’s candidacy. 

Juxtaposed to the Collins-Bellamy campaign, the Ron Matten campaign was proven deficient in its funding capacity, despite his résumé of accomplishment, experience, and education. Worse still, the Yonkers Republican Party was lackluster in their enthusiasm for the Matten candidacy as proven by their lack of fundraising on Matten’s behalf, as well was their lack of endorsement of his campaign. 

Yonkers City Council Majority Leader Corazon Pineda-Isaac received 94% of the vote over challenger Henry Barrera who could muster only 6% of the total tally with respect to Yonkers City Council District 2.

Incumbent Yonkers City Councilmember John Rubbo received 84% of the vote to challenger Leonora Gjonbalaj who received 16% of the vote in Yonkers City Council District 4.

Incumbent Anthony J. Merante, Councilmember representing Yonkers City Council District 6 is at present in a virtual tie with challenger Tim Hodges, albeit Mr. Hodges is ahead by a paltry 9 votes. This contest revealed that while Mr. Merante claims to have served the 6th District well over the past 4 years, learning what issues he immersed himself in was not revealed. The pushback against his campaign is that if Merante was responsive to his constituency, they were in the majority of what he accomplished on their behalf. Challenger Hodges, a nice guy, as is Merante, had expressed no issues that resonated with district residents. Each must take responsibility in not engaging the residents on issues that impacted them. The tally of votes is so close, it will surely be challenged in court. The takeaway is as simple as voters must know what the elected individual stands for, has a productive staff that is responsive to inquiry and keeps the district informed as to what he has achieved. 

The takeaway is that Yonkers has reclaimed its political mojo in some instances, got close to others, yet didn’t make it in other circumstances. Yonkers is a conglomeration of people who define themselves by one political party or another. The Collins-Bellamy/Matten contest reveals that there was a high percentage of Democrats who voted for Matten despite a paltry registration of Republicans having waned over the last 7 to 8 years or so. As in life, some are captivated by Rock ‘N Roll while others are into County; a sense of reality that by political definition engenders some Republican/Conservatives and some Democrat/Progressives. 

The adversarial harangue heard before and after the failed re-election effort of former President Donald Trump divided a nation. If society were smart, it would engage in discussion over how to progress with shared values rather than to undermine, even worse demonize the “other”. It’s time we strive for a middle ground rather that resort to finger pointing in admonishment of the other. 

If it weren’t for Dolly Parton I would never have listened to “country” music. I grew up in the heyday of Elvis Presley, but was raised in the world of Classical music. If I can do that, it seems we should all be able to dance, sing, and swing to our heart’s desire content.

Yonkers cannot deny the City is an amalgamation of ideas and concepts that transcend the dogma of one party and the other. The anger is the city is palpable.

Politics must be about people rather than dogma.

eHeziYonkers Redefined As a Little Bit of Country and a Little Bit of Rock & Roll
By Hezi Aris

Comments 33

  1. How can someone working for MHA receiving a federal paycheck run for political office? Please check the HATCH Act and let me know. Thanks.

    1. And she has the nerve to double dip on the taxpayer with 2 full time positions? Lakisha can’t work 2 FT jobs and provide the level of service, dedication and commitment that is required. She must resign from MHA, it’s just not right or possible to hold both positions.

      1. To “Yes, she can”:
        Explain how that is possible? How exactly can Lakisha do 2 FT jobs proficiently? Does she have a clone? And bigger question is, how is this allowed, permissible or legit?

  2. Matten performed extraordinarily well considering he was up against the Spano/Jeries machine. He had the ragtag geriatrics from the GOP working for him. I saw him canvassing with John Larkin on a summer’s day. If he would have had a real campaign team, he’d have won.

    1. That is kinda the point. The Republican Party is dead in Yonkers. Nick Spano told John Larkin to hold back on Matten’s support. John Larkin, Mike Breen, and Justin Tubuiolo will follow directives by Nick. If the conservative Party would have stepped up, this election would have been different. Nick put put the false narrative that Matten couldn’t win. That stopped donation and volunteers.

  3. It’s very disturbing that Leftkowitz is sitting on the khader case, I plan on file complaints with the state and feds. You won’t get away with it.

  4. If you think they went after mike because of his sister and brother constantly criticizing the administration I doubt that, Spencer and others did much worse to them dubbing him and his brother “dumbo and jumbo” they gave spencer director of Veterans affairs , many others that went against them got jobs or contracts, this is all about the mayors race 2023 mike khader was in their way that’s the bottom line.

  5. This Election was decided June 23rd
    Lakisha won by 59% of the vote while Kadher got 29%. Khader was well funded and backed by labor and power brokers (see his campaign financials $250k) look who gave him money. Lakisha had the community supporting her and grassroot activist.

    1. You got the numbers right but wrong name. Khader29% to Spano 59%.
      Keep telling yourself that she won because of grassroot activist and community support. No one knew she existed till Election Day.
      She’s Spano’s MHA lawyer
      She’s Spano’s BOE Trustee and now she’s Spano’s puppet
      Let that sink in.

  6. Hezi, absolutely right about the comparison to the McLaughlin/Khader race. Yesterday’s election turnout hit a new low, if I am not mistaken. Almost half the turnout than that of the aforementioned race. One would have thought that this would have ensured a landslide win for Spano’s handpicked candidate against Matten, with the Spano friends and family voting network out in full force. But Matten ran a fabulous race and Collins-Bellamy can hardly boast of a ‘mandate’, which the Spanos so often love to do in poorly turned out elections.

    Merante is another story. I am disheartened to see that he is only a handful of votes away from Tim Hodges. No matter what one might think of the latter’s shortcomings, Merante voted to overturn the term limits that the voters of Yonkers put into place not once but twice. Shockingly, it does not seem to have greatly affected the voters of the Sixth District.

    1. The question here is would Hodges going after him on this be any different? Pointing this fact out risks alienating voters, especially in this district.

      Same thing as in Virginia, where the Democratic candidate had drafted scripts for ads calling out his Republican opponent for running for a private equity firm which bought small/medium sized businesses and fired their entire unionized workforces as a cost saving gambit before flipping them, but the Democratic candidate couldn’t run those ads because he had money invested in the same firm. How Yonkersian.

      1. Yes but he’ll have to fight the sleeping Giant, the Yonkers electorate. They have allowed SpaNO and Co destroy Yonkers. Thought Spencer was bad, he was, Amicone was worse…. Hovever neither one of them could beat SpaNO. SpaNO has destroyed this City. Look at the state of it. Stores closed everywhere. Downtown, looks like a dump, excuse me, the whole city does. Every road resembles swiss chess. Holes everywhere.

        Every dept useless and not held accountable. Put out 2 garbage bags the other day, they only took one. What are they paid by the bag now? Ever call a dept..? Th arrogance is unbelieveable. I guess that’s what SpaNO wants.
        Al over paid and under-worked.

  7. Hezi
    The Liam/Mike race was very contested and energized the electorate. Secretly, city hall did all they can do to defeat Mike, amazingly Mike won and city hall wanted revenge.

    The Mike/Lakisha race was their revenge. City Hall and many others at the behest of Mayor Spano went above and beyond to beat Mike Khader.

    The underhanded tactics employed by Mayor Spano against Mike Khader has never happened in Yonkers history.

    They went as far as turning his own cousin’s against him all the while Zehy/Nader knew very well that the accusations against Khader were false.

    It became very clear after the primary, Mike Khader’s loss was due to Mike’s brother and sister who constantly criticized the administration.

    In your article, you stated that City Hall well funded Lakisha’s campaign, if that’s the case then it would make sense that City Hall pushed a”Gotv” to protect their investment in Lakisha and keep the Republican Party at bay for her to win.

    I hope this gives you an insight of why this election had a “paltry” low turnout.

    1. Excuse me ‘insight’ but you are only half as insightful as you think you are. First of all, the reason for the high turnout for the McLaughlin/Khader race was not the point. I will get to that in a minute. The reason for the high turnout and the McLaughlin defeat was the CON/CON amendment which you have either forgotten about or never heard of. THAT brought the Dems out and when Dems vote, Dems win. THAT is why Liam lost and also why Astorino lost. Get it?

      Now, getting back to the point of Hezi’s story. The point is simple. Just about half the voter turnout this City Council President race, and one would think there is a clean sweep by the Dems that the Spano machine churns out. Khader is NOT a factor since he was out in the primary. This is only Collins-Bellamy vs Matten. Again, should have been a clean sweep for Spano hack candidate. Lots, lots lots of money, no talent but the latter doesn’t seem to be an asset anymore.

      Ok, back to Khader. Did it never occur to you that all he had to do was produce proof that he paid the damn rent, if he in fact, paid the damn rent? What candidate in his right mind, knowing a primary was pending, cites a legal loophole ala his attorneys for not having to respond to the IG? Who the hell does that? I would ask if he had any sense he would have done so without hesitation. But, the impression was left that he did NOT pay the rent because ANYBODY would have provided the proof of payment and THEN challenge the process.

      But, what I WOULD want to know about this incident, is why the Yonkers Council and the IG have seemingly disappeared now that Khader has lost and is out of the picture. See, if he HAD paid the rent, he would have gone after them for intentionally sabotaging his candidacy. But, he hasn’t. Because he CAN’T. Because he didn’t pay the rent.

      1. I knew you would come back with Con/Con which is why I’ll respond now and not earlier.
        Con/Con gave Khader appx 17k votes
        How do you explain McLaughlin appx 15k votes to Mattens 8k votes?
        I agree with you on the hack Spano candidates sweep . My point is that Matten should have beaten no talent Collins (as you said) because McLaughlin garnered 15k votes against Khader. There got to be 10k Republican votes in Yonkers to beat Collins.
        Where are they?
        Now to Khader, I don’t know whether he paid rent or not, but if he did he should of showed the proof. Time will tell.
        I also agree with you that it’s unusually odd that the council and IG have gone silent since the loss,maybe he showed the proof and now he is going after recourse or maybe he didn’t, again time will tell

        1. Not responding going forth. Why didn’t Matten get close to the 15,000 McLaughlin got?? There were only 18,000 VOTES CAST IN TOTAL!!! What don’t you understand about the poor turnout I referenced? Again, 33,000 total votes four years ago, 18,000 total votes last Tuesday. The Spano machine vote (friends, families, friends of family, friends of friends, hacks etc. etc. ) – will ALWAYS WIN in a poorly turned out election. And, they will also claim they have a mandate as a result. Are you naive? Do you really think people care about ability anymore? Did you ever hear of AOC? Matten had virtually no campaign funds (I see by his financials he spent his own money, also). Also, like it or not, she was helped by the many union endorsements she received. And, last but finally not least, check the demographics of Yonkers following the last census and do the math.

          1. Your saying what I already know, I’m trying to answer Hezi’s question of why such a paltry turnout.
            Could it be because of Spano’s tactics that they turned off the voters?
            Could it be because Matten failed to invest in his own campaign to reach out to the Republican voters that McLaughlin reached out?
            This was a winnable election for Matten against a Spano hack!

          2. if Ron would a spent more money and demonstrated the connections of lakisha to the crime family game would of been over in a city wide race with a low turnout 1000 votes for the machine is not a celebration, the voters are sick and tired of the spanos stealing from the city with the friends and family network.

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