News Ticker

Mt. Vernon Councilman Edwards, “The Democratic Party’s Slate Is No Longer The Assumed Winners”

Chairman's last minute substitution in party's ticket, shows an unwarranted attempt at circumventing the proper process.

Chairman Reginald Lafayette seen here in endorsement of Richard Thomas for Mayor, substitutes Clyde Isley for Council when Rev DeCohen withdraws from consideration [Black Westchester]

Councilman J. Yuhanna Edwards responds to Chairman Lafayette’s letter substituting Clyde Isley as party pick. [Black Westchester]

Mount Vernon — The non-nomination of incumbent Councilman, J. Yuhanna Edwards by the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee in the upcoming primary has taken the Mount Vernon community at awe. When Rev. Troy DeCohen withdrew his nomination, instead of putting it back in the hands of the Democratic District Leaders to exercise their right to pick DeCohen’s replacement, Clyde Isley who has not been politically active in over a decade was suggested by the Chairman.

Not to diminish his work in Civil Service as former Mount Vernon Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Westchester County Department Of Corrections, but the abrupt nomination of the party brings about questions about how Democrats do business in the City of Mount Vernon. In a letter, Councilman Edwards shares his frustration with Chairman Reginald Lafayette in what he called the ‘circumventing proper process’ (see below).

Chairman Lafayette:
I am in receipt of your official letter dated June 2, 2017 received via US mail and your E-mail message sent to District Leaders on June 2, 2017 acknowledging that Rev. Troy DeCohen has withdrawn his nomination given him by the majority of all City of Mount Vernon Democratic District Leaders.

In your email, you gave accurate background information about Clyde Isley. He is a man I greatly respect. However, this was the first time many new District Leaders have heard his name and in your own words, you’re asking them to support him because of your recommendation. This type of leadership does not show the Democratic City Committee at its best. It shows an unwarranted attempt at circumventing the proper process.

Although this situation has no precedent, I believe the committee should have looked first to the second vote getter. In this case, it was me. But, please understand that I would say the same thing even if this were not affecting me directly. Right is right. Nominees should not be pulled from an unknown pool.  I interviewed with the committee and addressed the District Leaders at our convention but learned of a vacancy fulfillment through mail and email? Every person who took the time to go through the process should have been afforded the respect to be notified prior to the mass notification. And, District Leaders should have had an opportunity to express their support for me (or other candidates) since the initial slate was no longer in place. At the next District Leader General Body Meeting, can you review the process that was used to select a candidate that hadn’t already gone through the process?

We are at a crossroads in our city. The Democratic Party’s slate is no longer the assumed winners in any primary or general election. For that reason, any teams we put forth should have documented support from the current body. This did not happen in this case and unfortunately, I truly believe the party could be negatively affected.

I sincerely want what’s best for this party and the City of Mount Vernon. Best of luck in the coming election season.
Councilman Yuhanna J. Edwards
District Leader, 8th District

Councilman J. Yuhanna Edwards was responding to a letter emailed to Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee District Leaders after the withdrawal of Rev. Troy DeCohen. District Leaders had selected DeCohen, Councilman Marcus Griffith, and Janice Duarte to represent the party in the primary.

In the email with the words, URGENT! CLYDE ISLEY IS THE NEW CANDIDATE FOR MT. VERNON CITY COUNCIL as the subject, Chairman Lafayette asked the District Leaders to ‘substitute Clyde Isley as a candidate on the petition for the Mount Vernon City Council,’ and begins to give Mr. Isley’s history for new district leaders that may not be familiar with him (see below).

Dear Fellow District Leaders,

Due to the withdrawal of Rev. Troy DeCohen, the screening committee has agreed with my recommendation to substitute Clyde Isley as a candidate on the petition for the Mount Vernon City Council.

For those of you that are new District Leaders, let me give you some background information about Clyde Isley. He has a long history of fighting crime in New York City and in the City of Mount Vernon. Clyde is a former Police Commissioner for the City of Mount Vernon, Former Deputy Commissioner with the Westchester County Department of Corrections; and a retired New York City Police Department Detective Sergeant. Clyde has also served as Dean of Administration with the City University of New York, Hostos Community College.  In his private life, he has been a Real Estate Broker and business owner in Mount Vernon.

Clyde and his wife Doryne have lived in Mount Vernon for over 40 years and both were former active District Leaders in the Mount Vernon community. I am confident that he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this new role.

I ask that you join with me and the screening committee to support Clyde Isley as one of our candidates for City Council.

Thank you,
Chairman LaFayette

Just another day in the life of the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee and politics in the City of Mount Vernon. Stay tuned to Black Westchester for more on this developing story and coverage of the highly-anticipated, heavily-contested 2017 MV City Council Race.


About AJ Woodson (2375 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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