This year, endorsement meetings were thwarted by a visit by Hurricane Irene, but we were able to have a somewhat abbreviated version of our usual marathon endorsement process. That said, here are our endorsements for the 2011 New York City primary on Sept. 13.
Mount Vernon Mayor’s Race
There are many candidates in the race for mayor of Mount Vernon. The Amsterdam News interviewed two for our endorsement, current Mayor Clinton Young and City Comptroller Maureen Walker.
While Young has done a competent job as mayor over the last three years, working to bring down crime and nearly bringing to the finish line a significant development project, despite the obstacle of a conservative county executive who has shown little interest in the development of the predominately Black city of Mt. Vernon, there is another candidate: Walker.
Walker has served the city of Mount Vernon for nearly two decades as its comptroller. In that position, she has gone above and beyond her duties and has helped citizens in many ways.
First, she was instrumental in lowering property taxes, helping rectify a double-digit increase that had occurred when she first became comptroller. Over the years, she has been able to keep tax hikes down and continues to fight to bring down the overall tax burden of the citizenry.
In addition, she vows to tackle the growing crime in her city. She realizes that the only way to bring in new business and create new jobs is to reduce crime, and that is high on her agenda. She understands that there is a direct correlation between crime and lack of resources for young people, and sees a great need to create more recreational facilities as well as ensure that programs like the Police Athletic League are funded so they can provide viable programs for the young people of Mt. Vernon.
Walker also wants to make government more open and accountable. With her skill and expertise, we believe that Walker will make an excellent mayor. Therefore, the Amsterdam News enthusiastically endorses Maureen Walker for mayor of the city of Mount Vernon.
54th Assembly District
The 54th Assembly District is not a cakewalk. The issues that affect Black New York are magnified tenfold in this district that includes Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick, Cypress Hills and East New York.
This district needs solid and informed representation, people who understand the real issues and have experience in public service. Two of the three candidates for this seat are standouts, Deidra Towns and Jesus Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, at only 26, has already begun to distinguish himself within his community. But while youth and lack of life experience do not necessarily preclude one from being able to be a fine legislator, we do believe it would behoove the voting public to go with a person who has been involved in the system and who understands the way Albany works.
Towns is that person. She grew up in the district and has lived there her whole life. Her motivation for entering the race and wanting to represent her community is simple: She wants to make it better. She believes there are enormous possibilities in the 54th District, and said there are vacant or underutilized factories that could be the perfect place to entice green companies to move to, in turn creating green jobs in the district.
She sees the growing problem of violence in the community and believes that expanding the Cash for Guns program may be part of the solution. But she also sees that there is a great need for services for those who have served time and are now returning to the community.
Towns believes she can leave a legacy of service and progressive change, and so do we. Therefore, the Amsterdam News endorses Deidra Towns for Assembly in the 54th District.
District leader 70th AD
April Tyler moved into the 70th District when she was a student in 1984. Since then, she has been involved in the community, making it better for all those concerned.
First elected in 1994 after working as a tenant organizer, Tyler worked with the community on banking and housing issues and personally helped over 50 buildings organize for better living conditions, in some instances helping them become low-income co-ops. She has also been involved in the PTA.
With these accomplishments and all her experience, including working on other people’s election campaigns, she is the best person for this position, and the Amsterdam News endorses April Tyler for the 70th Assembly District leadership.
- Erika Edwards is running for civil court judge. She came in to see us even though she has no opponent in the primary or general election, because she wanted to make sure that the community knew what she stood for, and to show us that she is really committed to serve. Edwards has been an attorney for years. She served as an assistant district attorney, moved on to a large law firm and then set up her own shop doing defense work. She has seen both sides of the court fight, and now wants to be in a position where she can help make real change. Edwards wants to have a wider impact, and we believe she will do more from the bench to make our communities better. That is why we endorse Erika Edwards for civil court judge in New York County.
- W. Franc Perry is running for judge in the 5th Judicial District in New York County. He has over 20 years of experience working in the courts, and has been committed to the community and to the law. Perry believes that the highest form of public service is helping neighbors settle disputes. He believes being a judge in the community will allow him to give back to those who brought him along the way. With his 20 years of service to the bench, we believe it is time for him to take his seat on it. Therefore, we endorse Franc Perry for civil court judge in the 5th District in New York.
- Cheryl Gonzalez currently holds the appointed position of judge in the Housing Court of the City of New York. She has spent over 20 years in the court as a judge and a court attorney. Gonzalez has seen the way courts in New York work and is committed to being an independent and responsible jurist. She loves the law and believes having the opportunity to serve would allow her to help the community create a level playing field. She is running in a contested race-that being said, we wholeheartedly endorse Cheryl Gonzalez for civil court judge in the county of Kings.