Thursday, March 12, 2009

Westchester Guardian/The Advocate/Westchester County Government.

Thursday, March 12, 2009.

The Advocate
Richard Blassberg

Enthusiastic Crowd Of More Than 300
Converge On Royal Regency Hotel, Yonkers;
Plan Strategy To Abolish County Government
Son Of Andy Spano Says, “I Love My Father, But He’s Doing A Bad Job”

Last Wednesday, in part motivated by the commercials calling for the abolishment of County Government being run on their station and other cable channels by Guardian publisher Sam Zherka, accompanied by David Spano, the 49-year-old son of Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano, News12 decided to make the issue the question of the day by polling their viewers. Viewers responses fell into three categories: those
wanting to abolish County Government, those wanting to keep it, and those who felt it didn’t matter much either way.

The results, announced Thursday morning, were rather definitive and unambiguous. Those wishing to put an end to County Government were 60 percent; those wishing to keep it were 22 percent; and those who felt it didn’t matter much either way, 18 percent. We believe, even given the unscientific nature of the poll and a probable standard deviation of error of about four percent, viewers, those who took the time to participate,
made a strong statement.

We credit News12 for taking the public’s temperature on the subject, though we suspect had Janine Rose anticipated the very strong outcome,
she might not have run the poll given her usual protectionist treatment of Andrew Spano, and, some of her comments earlier, with respect to his son David’s participation in the campaign to eliminate County Government.

Much as Mike Edelman, Rose’s comments seemed to suggest that it was inappropriate, or somehow not right or fair, for David, a man 49 years old, to have, and express, his own opinion with respect to County Government so long as his father was County Executive.

Nevertheless, the results of the poll spoke very clearly about the sentiments of most Westchester residents. Our bloated, disconnected County Government is a luxury we can no longer afford, and has been for some time. It has created a socio-economic divide that has made Westchester both unaffordable and uncomfortable for working families.

Thursday night, on the heels of the poll, more than 300 residents, homeowners, and business people from all over the County, from as far away as Peekskill and Ossining and Bedford and Somers, converged on the Royal Regency Hotel in Yonkers to share their concerns and ideas with each other, and with White Plains City Councilman Glen Hockley, Independence Party Chair Dr. Giulio Cavallo, David Spano, and publisher Sam Zherka.

The purpose of the gathering was to give taxpayers the opportunity to learn more about the upcoming April 25th Westchester Tea Party, scheduled to be held outside the County Office Building at 148 Martine Avenue in White Plains, and to send them off with palm cards and lawn signs for distribution to their neighbors and friends.

White Plains Councilman Hockley explained the workings of the Democratic and Republican Parties, and how their committeepersons primarily
function to perpetuate their continued existence with little or no concern about community needs. He explained that he recently voluntarily took a 10 percent pay cut in an effort to set an example and to encourage public servants, at all levels in Westchester, to do the same.

David Spano, son of County Executive Andrew Spano, received a warm round of applause when he addressed the crowd, telling them that he believes his father’s expansion of County Government, and taxes, was wrong and needed to be reversed.

Guardian publisher Sam Zherka told the crowd, “We must force Andy Spano into retirement.” He said the people need to vote the 17 County Legislators out of office, and that the County could be broken up into five legislative districts requiring but five legislators and five assistants, thus eliminating 12 current legislators and 47 legislative assistants, bringing about, at a minimum, a $3 million reduction in salaries in that area alone.

Dr. Cavallo, Chair of the Westchester Independence Party, explained the workings of both the Democratic and Republican Parties in Westchester,
and how they conspire to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense.

A businessman from Sleepy Hollow rose to express the need for a “watchdog”, someone to keep an eye on corruption. Publisher Zherka responded, “The watchdog should be your district attorney. To have a watchdog we need to get rid of Janet DiFiore.” That comment was greeted with strong applause. Throughout the gathering, more han 20 people rose to their feet to express their own concerns and to relate their individual experiences
with County Government. Each account, almost without exception, spoke of an unresponsive, basically aloof and disconnected County Government, too preoccupied with lining their own pockets to help their needy constituents.

As the gathering drew to a close, Sam Zherka explained, “We’re not going to change things overnight; it will take three, four years, maybe more, but we will succeed.” He went on to say, “Alone we will not accomplish, but if we show up with 5,000, 10,000 people, we’ll not only get their attention, we’ll get the governor’s attention. They’ll know we mean business.”

The majority of the more than 300 attendees registered to do volunteer work for upcoming events, and most took stacks of palm cards and five or more lawn signs for their friends and neighbors. There was unmistakeable enthusiasm and resolve to fight County Government excesses and waste throughout the crowd.

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