Thursday, June 5, 2008
In Our Opinion...
Predictable Melodrama At The Expense Of Yonkers’ Schoolchildren
It’s been an acknowledged, and much regretted, fact, for many years, that the Yonkers Public Schools, and the 23,000 youngsters who attend them, have been getting the short end of the stick, financially, from the State. Under New York State’s Public Education Funding Formula, the City of Yonkers receives barely half the funds per student that cities such as Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester, receive.
Certainly, throughout John Spencer’s eight-year regime, and for more than four years under his disavowed sidekick, Mayor Amicone, a total of more than a dozen years, teachers, parents, and most importantly, the kids, have had to put up with the insecurity and humiliation of never knowing, from one year to the next, whether sports, music, art, and a host of other activities that youngsters in other cities, other school districts, in New York State, could take for granted, would be available to them.
Nick Spano, for all his supposed political clout in the State Senate, Republican #3, somehow could not reverse the inequity in ten terms. Each year though, he played Santa Claus, apparently saving the day at the 11th hour, as though, for some reason, Yonkers kids were “the poor relatives” who had to go begging. It became a very tired act.
Some believed, with the introduction of video gaming at Yonkers Raceway, a giant step had been taken that would insure Yonkers Public Schools’ solvency. Not so. At last Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, May 27th, the latest in a series of political maneuvers and posturings, “full of sound and fury”, nothing productive with respect to the school funding problem was accomplished.
The Mayor had requested to speak to the Council, a rare request, particularly in light of his recent State Of The City Address. An air of mystery somehow attached as though the purpose of his request was unknown. Nevertheless, the Democratic majority, and the three Republican members, of the Council, had all come armed with their individual responses to Amicone’s brief statement, which called for passage of a resolution put before the Council, by him, weeks earlier, that demanded action in Albany to fix the funding formula.
Prior to the Mayor’s brief remarks, Teacher’s Union President Pat Puleo had made a reasonable presentation pointing out, among other things, that a city of 200,000, with a $1 billion budget, ought not be cutting $22 million from the repair and construction of school buildings. She declared, “No security officers, no guidance counselors; there’s no place to cut the schools’ budget!” Council President Chuck Lesnick laid out the Majority position, declaring, “We differ with the Mayor on strategy and not substance. The Majority will not sign this
Explaining it would be better if the resolution could pass 7-0, Majority Leader Sandy Annabi, claiming that the language of the resolution needed to be reviewed, then called upon Lesnick to explain what had been said by local state legislators behind the scenes. Lesnick explained, “It’s not the right time and place is what our state legislators have said. Having said that we wanted their advice, we feel we ought to follow it.”
All three Republican councilmembers fully availed themselves of the opportunity to ventilate and selfpromote on the subject. Dee Barbado, urging passage of the resolution immediately, stated she didn’t think it was “antagonistic.” John Murtaugh, referred to the Majority’s resistance to act immediately as a “tap dance.” Liam McLaughlin took the position that the resolution wasn’t too critical of the powers in
Albany, and urged, “We have a serious issue right now.”
A vote was taken with all four members of the Democratic Majority voting “No”; and the three Republicans “Yes”. Irrespective of the political motives and mileage, the predictable melodrama certainly did nothing to advance the cause of quality education in Yonkers. For the moment, the Mayor and his minority Party brethren on the City Council, came off more concerned about the City’s public school children while Council President Lesnick and company appeared far too concerned with offending their legislative representatives in Albany.
Reader Complains Of Yonkers Ticketing
It seems that Yonkers PD have nothing better to do on a Saturday evening/early morning than to give out parking tickets on Bronx River Road. On 5/25 at 12:02am I received a ticket for parking less than 30 feet from a crosswalk, a crosswalk with no sidewalk and led to nowhere but the fence to the parkway. Why are crosswalks put in locations that led to nowhere? You would think YPD would be paying more attention to car burglaries, destruction of owners vehicles, muggings, need I go on rather than sitting in their cars rolling down their windows and slapping bogus traffic summons on taxpayers’ vehicles just to fill their quotas. It’s bad enough on Bronx River Road there is a parking
problem to begin with, but this type of ticketing is ridiculous especially at that hour of the morning.
This type of policing does not re-flect the high standards that Chief Hartnett expects or should tolerate from his officers.
Reader Exposes County Police Conflict Of Interest
Does anyone find it interesting that Ron Gatto is in charge of the “Environmental Enforcement Unit” for Westchester County Police, yet he has his subordinate making a “Consumer Affairs” arrest and subsequent vehicle impounding of a garage door installer? All the while Ron Gatto’s wife owns a garage door installation company and that the arrested party is the number one competitor of Ron Gatto’s wife’s company, Whitaker Overhead Garage Door.
Is it more than coincidence that both garage door companies are from Yorktown, further proving that this was more personal than professional? Are there no more environmental violators for Gatto’s unit to focus on? I’m sure the Guardian can take it from here...
A Concerned County Resident