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The Real Narrative Continued

Tired of the same old story? Let me enlighten you about our Mount Vernon GREATNESS. Sure, there are struggles, but none we have not or cannot address with your support and full force. Here is the real deal, what’s good about our beautiful City and people, from college scholarships, police accreditation and a much-needed review of the City Charter to expediting the permit application process and much more.

The progress under my administration has been so great that one article can’t contain all our successes, so allow me to focus on the triumphs we’ve celebrated just this year alone.

One of our proudest achievements is the re-accreditation of the Mount Vernon Police Department in March. The New York Division of Criminal Justice Services gave the department accreditation in acknowledgement of the implementation of policies that are conceptually sound and operationally effective. It’s an affirmation of all the steps taken to change the culture of the police department, implement 21st-century policing and build trust on both sides of the badge.

Those who invest in our City are celebrating a reorganization of the Planning Department designed to speed up the plan-reviewing process for developers. The restructuring includes appointing a liaison to work with applicants to resolve issues before their cases reach the City’s land-use boards; pre-application conferences with developers; and greater feedback to developers prior to their submission of applications. Essentially, we recognized that the former processes were a maze that slowed or obstructed our City’s rebirth.

I’ve given more power to the people by recently establishing a Charter Review Commission charged with bringing outdated rules in our City Charter into the 21
st century. The independent Charter Review Commission will meet with the public this summer to receive feedback on how our City government must change to become more efficient. After the commission is done hearing from the public, it will propose changes to our City government that will be voted upon by a public referendum.
Through the Mayor’s Healthy Home Initiative, we’ve offered several programs designed to uplift our residents. In March and April Dr. Michael C. Grayson of the Credit and Debt Management Institute offered credit score and bad debt seminars to the public and to city workers at One-Stop Career Center.

The Mayor’s Healthy Home Initiative targeted our City’s youth in February by inviting actor Michael K. Williams to speak with teens about his documentary “Raised in the System.” In the documentary, the Emmy-nominated Williams serves as a correspondent as he goes on a personal journey to expose the root of the American mass incarceration crisis: the juvenile justice system. I don’t think anyone left that event untouched by the personal tales of redemption offered by Williams and his nephew, who made a terrible mistake when he was young that led to years in prison.

We gave our youth a hand up. On April 29th, students from the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau’s STRONG Program enrolled into the Westchester Barber Academy’s (WBA) Introduction to Barbering program. During the five-week program, the 15 youths received technical and clinical training in barbering.

The environment has been a priority under my administration. I put actions to words by having Mount Vernon join Sustainable Westchester, a collaboration of Westchester County local governments that empowers municipal leaders, concerned citizens, businesses and local organizations to partner in the development of sustainability initiatives.

The partnership with Sustainable Westchester will complement my administration’s Mount Vernon Clean & Green Initiative, an effort to repair the City’s polluting sewers and transform contaminated areas into environmental assets like parks and green spaces.

My accomplishments didn’t just focus on public services. We managed to have a little fun along the way.

The second annual Mount Vernon Restaurant Week in March attracted more participating restaurants to an event that is designed to promote our local economy. Our Restaurant Week’s timing at the end of the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week allowed diners outside our City to discover some of the flavors offered in Mount Vernon.

In May hundreds of people came to Mount Vernon City Hall Plaza for Mount Vernon Rising, an extravaganza that promoted a film about Mount Vernon’s future. Attendees enjoyed performances by the UniverSoul Circus, Force MD’s and The Mount Vernon Performing and Visual Arts Magnet Program Choir.

All these efforts represent a holistic approach to elevating Mount Vernon. For decades our City suffered from so much neglect that my administration faced a monumental task when I took office in 2016. I’m proud to report that little by little, we are correcting the injustices of the past and preparing Mount Vernon for 21st-century glory. STILL WE RISE!

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