The 2021 General Election Takeaway Hezitorial
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.