The Yonkers Times reported on Thursday, Feb 3rd that during an interview on WVOX Radio 1460 AM, with Phil Reisman and Matt Richter, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said that Congressman Jamaal Bowman “should have been arrested for voting no to the infrastructure bill,” and that he was “looking at” a possible challenge to Bowman in a democratic primary this June.
“They should have arrested him (Bowman) for his no vote on infrastructure. I’m a hardcore moderate in the middle, and that is where most of us are and end up. But the democratic party over the past two year has been pushed to the left, and the reforms, like bail reform, have gone too far,” Yonkers Times Dan Murphy attributed to Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano.
Several organizations and community leaders immediately began to release statements pushing back against the Yonkers Mayor demanding an apologies including the Black Dems of Westchester, The Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus (WBWPC), Yonkers and New Rochelle branches of the NAACP, NYCD16-Indivisible, Indivisible Westchester, The Progressive Women Of Pelham, Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFRJ) and the New York State Working Family Party, just to name a few.
But at least one local elected official has now come out in support of Mayor Spano. Late Sunday night, CBS2 received a statement from Yonkers City Council Majority Tasha Diaz in support of Spano.
“In all my experiences with Mayor Spano, I can say he stands for inclusion and respect. He’s not a racist. People can interpret remarks differently when politics are involved, but as a Black councilwoman and a woman of color, I will stand with Mike Spano any day.”
While Spano may have the support of Councilwoman Diaz, Westchester County Board of Legislators Majority Leader Christopher Johnson who represents District 16 in Yonkers, issued a statement Sunday evening, after appearing on People Before Politics Radio condemning “recent racist comments made by Mayor Spano.”
“The ignorant comments made by Mayor Spano in reference to Congressman Jamaal Bowman’s vote on the infrastructure bill and bail reform are unacceptable” says Majority Leader Christopher Johnson. “Black people are 5 times more likely to be arrested than their white counterparts, even when they are not committing a crime. For the Mayor to suggest, even in poor judgement, that Congressman Bowman be arrested for taking a vote on a bill is racist. It’s hurtful, particularly to people who live in this city who look like Congressman Bowman and I, who face those unjust realities every day. I have disagreed with Mayor Spano over many issues but have never resorted to calling for his arrest. A full apology needs to take place immediately.”
It’s unclear where the rest of the Yonkers Council members stand since there has been no public comment from them or any other elected officials that represent Yonkers. Black Westchester invited Mayor Spano to appear on our radio Show People Before Politics this Sunday, to hear what he has to say on the matter, we are still waiting on an answer from his office.
Stay tuned to Black Westchester for more of this developing story!