I'm a relative newcomer to Mount Vernon - I moved here in 1999. I've tried to be a good citizen. I have conversations with my neighbors. I have conversations with elected officials, with commissioners, with the Mayor, with school board members and with school officials. What I've learned from my conversations is that the great majority of us want the same things: a safe, reasonably affordable city with good schools. In my opinion, the only way to achieve that is if people work together toward positive outcomes. The comments to this story are not conducive to positive outcomes. They are destructive, inflammatory and unproductive. It's really very sad. View Comment
The County had been given a deadline of April 2012 to provide Ultra Violet treatment to the water in Westchester Water District 1.
Career professionals in the County had developed solutions; Astorino allowed the progress afforded by the solutions to grind to a halt.
Now, we find out that the County has been in violation of the mandate to deliver clean drinking water for 16 months, with probable fines of $37,500 a day. 16 months x 30 days x $37,500 is $18 Million. That's a lot of money!
Cryptosporidium is the pathogen that is often behind the syndrome sometimes known as “Montezuma’s Revenge.”
It is highly resistant to chlorine disinfection, which is the primary form of disinfection used at most water treatment plants.
As long ago as 1999, the US EPA published definitive research showing that UV treatment is the only reliable and effective treatment system against all pathogens, including Cryptosporidium.
It is somewhat surprising that CE Astorino would mess with folks in Scarsdale.
His predictable pattern of abuse and benign neglect tends toward Mount Vernon, Yonkers, Port Chester, Peekskill and New Rochelle. Those folks just don't seem to make time to come out to vote, and they mostly don't make campaign contributions.
Maybe his campaign advisors told him, "Don't worry, boss. People in Scarsdale don't drink tap water. They drink bottled water. They will never find out that we are sending them potentially dangerous water.”
Hopefully, some of our neighbors in Scarsdale who do vote will get a bit vociferous about the gamble Astorino and his cronies seem to be willing to take with the physical (and financial) health of fellow Westchester residents.
The water is currently safe at the source when they test it. The real fact is: Lack of UV treatment puts thousands of Westchester residents at extreme risk of serious illness or even death from drinking improperly treated tap water. View Comment
While I'm not a supporter of Charter Schools in New York State because of the way they are funded, I am a fan of Amani because I have visited and because I believe they have focused their reources on the very most important issues.
If a student can't read, they can't learn.
If they can't read to learn, then their math proficiency deteriorates quickly.
The folks at Amani are working with the students and their families to break through the walls of darkness, and change the model. View Comment
I am a resident, taxpayer and voter in the City of Mount Vernon. Collectively, there are some 36,500 registered voters in our City.
The official date for residents in NYS school districts (other than the "Big 5") to vote for school board trustees and the district budget is some obscure Tuesday in May.
On May 21 -- which was the obscure Tuesday in 2013 for school district votes -- about 6% of registered City of Mount Vernon voters turned out, and they defeated the proposed MVCSD budget.
When a local school district budget is defeated at the polls, NYS law requires a re-vote, and proscribes a contingency plan in the event of a 2nd defeat.
On Tuesday June 18 a second vote was conducted to put a revised 2013-14 school budget before the voters.
About 1,700 people -- this time, less than 5% of eligible voters -- came out, and -- by some miracle -- passed a $224 million budget which relies on an 0.8 percent increase in the tax levy.
I certainly side with the Mount Vernon taxpayers who say, "enough is enough!". What I refuse to agree with is the notion that we should 'starve the schools because of bad management and oversight.'
What we ought to be doing is getting out of our easy chairs, attending school board meetings, and holding the school board accountable. Of course, we should also be getting out to vote, and making sure that those who we vote for to oversee the schools are the best qualified people in our city, and that they have volunteered to serve with no hidden agenda. View Comment
Mr. Astorino has proved, over and over again, that his training as a journalist and his work in broadcasting have prepared him well for the job of cutting the legs out from under those who are struggling to attain a stronger economic footing, while smiling and telling us how much he is helping the residents of Westchester. Hopefully, the voters will come out to vote Astorino out, and Noam Bramson in. Otherwise, we are doomed to another 4 years of "Tea Party" draconian actions directed to undermining the safety, opportunities and quality of life for the working class people who are the majority in Westchester. View Comment
Mr. Astorino is not telling the entire story, and he is twisting the facts about the HUD settlement. Meanwhile, he is allowing a pattern of economic segregation in housing to become worse than it was before he took office.
Mr. Astorino is singularly unqualified for the postion he was elected to, and in just over 3 years in office, he has caused significant damage to the fabric of the lower Hudson Valley region. His primary strength, honed through years of broadcast experience, is public speaking. Hopefully in November, the voters will send him back to the radio and out of county government.
From what I've observed of councilwoman Deborah Reynolds and her actions since she was elected to serve on the MV City Council, she is living in some alternate or parallel universe. What we --- the voters, taxpayers and residents -- need is common sense leadership. We need practical and pragmatic solutions. We need our council members to spend 100% of their time working for the greater good of our City and its residents. Ms. Reynolds is clearly not doing her job, and she should be (1) censured; and, at the next election (2) voted off the Council. View Comment
Kudos to the Zonta Club for recognizing Roberta's wisdom, commitment and leadership. And thanks to Roberta for your selfless commitment to the the residents of Mount Vernon and nearby communities! View Comment
Not long ago, County Executive Astorion and his staff determined that the WestHELP facility in Greenburgh was surplus -- no longer needed because there was no longer a homeless problem in Westchester County.
Despite the heat from a settlement agreement with HUD about fair and affordable housing, CE Astorino stopped Westchester County funding to support the (now forme) WestHELP facility -- which was designed and built to provide affordable transitional housing and high-quality support services to 108 households at capacity -- thus the facility was quickly closed and became vacant.
Many of us have stood by and watched helplessly while the WestHELP Greenburgh facility -- built at a cost of about $14 Million of 1990 public dollars -- has become a political pawn and a prime example of why electing officials to manage our public domain is a bad model, pure and simple.
A decision was reached in 1990 -- and an agreement was signed by elected officials -- restricting the use of the Greenburgh site on the campus of Westchester Community College -- to provide affordable housing for at least 30 years.
Why now is it appropriate to create new affordable housing slots for homeless individuals in Mount Vernon in the same facility as an elementary school when we have 108 vacant affordable housing units in Greenburgh?
Does Mount Vernon need more subsidized affordable housing units while Westchester County is doing battle with HUD on a consent decree which obligates the County to develop affordable housing in economically and racially segregated communities to help reduce patterns of racial and ethnic segregation?
Am I living in a parallel universe? View Comment
Certain elected officials seem to feel that child care is relegated to be a ‘women’s issue’ and believe that women have little, if any, influence on election outcomes.
In fact, equal access to quality child care is way more than a ‘women’s issue’, it is a long-term societal issue. The positive impacts of quality early care and learning on early cognitive development have been well documented.
Children from households with 2 parents who are both college graduates probably benefit the least from high-quality child care, because they start out with a ‘competitive advantage’ from their home environment.
The children who need the most help — those from single parent households where the mother’s highest level of educational achievement is GED or less — are the most in need of rigorous, reliable and high-quality early childhood education (ECE) programs.
The positive impact of universal and equal access to quality ECE is clear: on individuals, on families and on society overall, although the positive program outcomes are more often gleaned from European data because of the political ‘yo-yo-ing’ that exists in the U.S.
Westchester County is one of the highest cost areas in America.
Why would the residents and businesses in Westchester NOT want to set an example for other U.S. areas in terms of equal access to high-quality early care, if for no other reason than to create a salubrious environment for employers that need a productive workforce?
In the final analysis, discrimination against children due to economic circumstances has disparate impact on single mothers. It is wrong no matter how you slice it. View Comment