June 10, 2023
914 Politics

Yonkers Branch Executive Committee of NAACP and The WBWPC Speak Up Against Term Limit Extension

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The Yonkers City Council held an internal vote on a procedural rule that would allow the City Council to proceed forward on a vote on Tuesday, November 22nd to once again extend term limits without public input. In a 4-2 vote – Republican Majority Leader Mike Breen was not present for the meeting – the council moved the charter amendment to a vote to enact it before the full board.

In 1994 and in 2001, Yonkers citizens overwhelmingly voted to support keeping a two four-year term limit on the Mayor and Yonkers City Council members. Despite this, Mayor Spano and his city council allies voted themselves a 3rd term limit extension in 2018. Now they want to do it again. Advocates are demanding the city unilaterally override the wishes of the residents. 

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Yonkers Branch Executive Committee joined the long list of those opposed to the Yonkers City Council voting to extend term limits for the second time in four years without a public referendum on the June 2023 ballot.

We, the Yonkers Branch Executive Committee voted unanimously AGAINST this second attempt to extended term limits. Within four years, the Yonkers City Council along with the mayor’s executive authority have decided for the VOTERS to utilize their own authority to extend the terms for service as the elected body. 

We are against the term limits being extended, but we adamantly are in support of Yonkers residents being allowed to decide with a public referendum on the June 2023 ballot in deciding this matter. This is a democracy not a monarchy.

The Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus also released a statement strongly opposing the extension of term limits from three four-year terms to four terms for the mayor and city council.

The WBWPC joins with the citizens of Yonkers and the various democratic organizations in condemning the process by which the Yonkers City Council is moving forward to extend the term of the Yonker’s Mayor. 

In two separate referendums, Yonkers residents has made their voices clear in their overwhelming vote for a limit of 2 terms for the mayor.  The City Council’s move to circumvent the will of the electorate flies in the face of what we cherish the most in our democratic republic.

WBWPC calls on City Council to authorize a city-wide referendum on this issue in 2023 and for the mayor to abide by the 1994 and 2001 referendum and leave office after his current term expires.

Congressman Jamaal Bowman, The New York Working Families Party, NYCD16-Indivisible and other community advocates have also have also publicly opposed the extension of term limits without a public referendum.

Hundreds of people packed into a Yonkers City Council meeting Monday night to debate the pros and cons of the second term limit extension in four years, for city politicians. There will be a vote tonight Tuesday, November 22nd, on whether to extend term limits for the mayor and members of the council without putting it before voters as a referendum question next November.

The council is scheduled to vote on the measure tonight at the legislative chambers starting at 7 p.m. The public will get the chance to speak once more before the vote – that’s starting at 6:30 p.m.

Stay tune to Black Westchester for more on this developing story!

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