Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Advocate
Richard Blassberg

For Ernie Davis It’s Three Strikes, You’re Out!

It appears the People of Mount Vernon have had their fill of Ernie Davis and his broken promises. They are more keenly aware than ever
before that ‘Old Ernie’ merely talks a good game but does nothing; nothing about violence in the streets, violence in the schools; schools that are going backwards despite sky-high taxes. The fact is, conditions are so bad in some neighborhoods that many houses are up for sale, and families are moving back to the Bronx and other communities where parents feel their children will be safer.

Under Davis, Mount Vernon has become a city without hope, without a future for young people. Only a select few, those politically
connected, those closest to Davis, enjoy the limited recreational opportunities - summer camp, summer youth employment. Money
provided by the federal government for housing and recreational opportunities, lots of money, somehow mysteriously disappears. How does a mayor who has been in charge for 12 years, fully three terms in office, look his citizens in the eye and tell them he can’t account for $3 million missing on his watch? How does he ask for a fourth term?

Ernie Davis has been getting away with corruption and indifference to the serious needs of Mount Vernon families for so long that he believes
he is anointed. He’s been controlling the election process, bribing party workers, and ward healers with City jobs and contracts for so many
years that he places little stock in the power of Mount Vernon’s families to control their own city’s destiny. And, what he cannot control by
bribery, he has lately attempted to control by force and intimidation.

Last week the Mayor sent ‘goon squads’ into certain neighborhoods armed with lawn signs, attempting to intimidate homeowners, many of
them middle-aged and elderly, into keeping his campaign sign on their property. Homeowners in one such neighborhood, in the southeast
section of the City, that had been inundated the weekend before last with Davis signs, had taken down just about every one of them by last
Wednesday afternoon.

That evening Mount Vernon’s favorite son, and strongest supporter, Denzel Washington, was greeted by more than three hundred cheering residents in the parking area of the Centennial Church on Eighth Avenue, at an event billed as “The Mount Vernon Youth Forum” featuring “It’s Time For A Change.”

Washington, who frequently comes home to the city of his youth, has contributed more than $2 million and much of his time and energy
primarily to the city’s Boys and Girls Club, and to other youth-oriented programs over the years, and holds a very special place in the hearts of Mount Vernon families. A er greeting and congratulating numerous young people, some for academic achievement such as Rashad Senior,
who will be going to Harvard University on a full scholarship; others for athletic prowess, such as 12-year-old Deajah Stevenson who will be
competing in the National Junior Olympics in California, Washington spoke to the crowd about the importance of providing opportunities
for their children, and encouraging them to reach high.

He then turned to his friend, County Legislator Clinton Young, declaring, “I love this brother like a brother and I support him one hundred
percent.” Washington then introduced Young as “The Next Mayor.”

Ernie Davis has become a tired act. It’s time he exits the stage and makes way for someone more positive, more motivated, and more
concerned about the families of Mount Vernon than he has been for a very long time. It’s time for a leader who will renew the spirit and
the confidence of Mount Vernon. In brief, it’s time for a change, time for Clinton Young.

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