Disclosure: Tony Washington is the Republican candidate for Mayor of Peekskill.
Each July 4th, we celebrate the beginning of the United States as embodied in our founding document, The Declaration of Independence.. In laying out the case for setting out on a path fraught with peril, they began with the following words: When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
One of the primary reasons for this separation was the desire of the colonists to secure the right to establish a government that was responsive to their needs rather than one that was detached from them while it dictated the terms under which they lived. And on this Independence Day, as we look toward historic places in the area such as West Point and our own downtown where much of the fight for freedom took place, we find ourselves again in a position where the manner in which we live is being dictated to us rather than being responsive to the needs of the people of our great community.
Our citys leaders are the elected employees of the people, a message that seems to have been lost over the last three years. What passes for public input is largely the result of forums scheduled at times that limit the ability of those who do hold jobs to offer their advice. Forums are often facilitated to a predetermined end intended to codify plans already decided. Information that is crucial to the ability of the public to offer informed consent is frequently published at the last possible moment and planned agendas are summarily changed in the middle of public comment. Public hearings are scheduled and then cancelled only to reappear with different topics of discussion. The peoples grievances are met with condescension, absolution of responsibility or inaction. This is not the behavior of public servants rather; it is the behavior of those who would hold themselves above the rest of us.
Our citys finances are being undermined by unrestrained borrowing and spending. At great cumulative cost, our representatives hire an endless stream of consultants to advise them with little or no discernable added value for the peoples money. Responsible investments intended to provide jobs for the people have been sacrificed by our representatives while millions are spent by them to acquire vacant real estate with no known investors showing interest in it. Meanwhile we were told not to worry. The real estate would be sold before we had to pay for it. And with little to no significant opportunities or hope for people trying to make ends meet in difficult times. Our leaders will claim this to be no fault of their own without acknowledging their rejection of opportunities that would have surely led to real job creation and growth for our city.
So what do we do? We change the current power structure. We throw the bums out. Why? Because this fall we have a unique opportunity to come together as a community to begin to put Peekskill back onto firm financial footing, end the misguided, irresponsible borrowing and spending that are but a few pieces of evidence of the complete failure to lead that has plagued Peekskill since the current Mayor and Council assumed total control of our citys destiny.
A few short years ago, Peekskill was undergoing a renaissance. Our city had been recognized as one of the top 10 places to live in Westchester, one of the fastest growing cities in NY State and a city with an exciting future. And its not too late to restore Peekskill to that status however, I am convinced that, if we remain shackled by those who willingly sacrifice the good of the many for the needs of the few, if we fail to provide real opportunity for those who seek to better their condition while continuing to serve those who are favored , if we fail to improve the tone, tenor and civility of public discourse by bringing together all segments of our community to fully engage them in the process of confronting the issues that would restore our city to prominence, we will always remain two steps behind our neighbors instead of leading the way to prosperity for Northern Westchester.
So, as we celebrate Independence Day weekend, we have declared the causes which drive us as a team of concerned citizens and hopeful servants of the public to say our citys government must be changed. Changed in the time tested, American way, at the ballot box in November. The sideshow that currently passes for public meetings will improve, the peoples confidence in their representatives will be restored, visible action will be taken to generate growth and opportunity for everyone, not the just the anointed few, our citys charter will be respected, not changed at a whim and the best ideas, wherever the source, will be embraced rather than dismissed. And with your help and support, not just through Election Day but every day, Tony Washington, Joe Brady, Steve Woods and Barbara Kerasiotes will deliver results, not endless excuses.
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