Yonkers County Legislator Ken Jenkins has failed to comprehend that the Yonkers Family Court need to evolve from a revolving-door institution that solely metes out the law, to a progressive institution devoted to social change and delivery of needed services to the vulnerable women and children of our district. In his recent press releases and News 12 interviews, Mr. Jenkins has proven to Yonkers how completely out of touch he is with his constituency by categorically rejecting the co-location of Yonkers Family Court and the Yonkers Department of Social Services.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, a movement developed toward therapeutic jurisprudence. This movement developed as a result of the increasing frustration felt by judges, attorneys and social workers, regarding the shortcomings of the traditional court system. Judges were frustrated social services were not effectively allocated through the court system. Problem-solving courts developed in local courts to remedy detrimental community conditions through social service delivery to litigants who were experiencing debilitating personal conditions. The concept of service delivery is paramount to prevent recidivism and ease the burden on litigants who have difficulty navigating the bureaucracy of the courts and social services.
For the above reasons, Family Court Judge Kathie Davidson came before the Westchester County Board of Legislators imploring the body to ameliorate the long-standing abominable conditions in our Yonkers Family Court. Judge Davidson presides over these courts each day and sees the dire needs of these families. She understands that the basic concept is delivery of services to prevent further family dysfunction.
In his recent press release, Mr. Jenkins cloaked his personal political agenda in a pre-textual argument of inability to collect $4.5 million in rental arrears by the landlord of DSS, $2.5 from the County for the adjacent parking garage and a false concern for the safety of litigants, who have orders of protection against each other. In yesterday’s interview with News 12, Judge Davidson alluded to the argument of separate entrances as “irrelevant.” She went on to state “that’s the way the courthouses here in White Plains functions, New Rochelle and across the state of New York function.” “We always take precautions. As you come in to any courthouse, you have to go through security.” “As a family court judge, security is paramount to me.” “The bigger issue is why we treat and how we treat the litigants of Family Court with dignity.” “The concept of a one-stop … is a level of the importance of dignity (of the litigant).”
Mr. Jenkins has demonstrated that he is not interested in preserving the dignity of his constituents. Nor has he put forth putting forth a feasible plan over the past five years to ameliorate the dire conditions in Yonkers Family Court to ensure the dignity of his most vulnerable constituents.
Legislator Jenkins is clearly out of touch with the needs of his constituents. Mr. Jenkins is not about his constituents. He is not about the women and children of Yonkers. He is not about efficient government. However, it is crystal clear that Mr. Jenkins is solely concerned with appeasing the real estate interests of his campaign donors, preserving his salary as Yonkers IDA president despite the flagrant ethical conflict of interest, and keeping his legislative seat warm now that he has a primary challenger for the first time in his political career.
It’s clearly time for new leadership in Yonkers 16th Legislative District. Let’s not wait another decade for choice in leadership.
Yonkers County Legislator 16th Legislative District