As some of you may have recently noticed, there have been a couple of smear articles circulating about me. I will not attempt to give any validity to this nonsense, so typical of the Mount Vernon we all desire to change. This is nothing but a desperate attempt for them to suppress any meaningful change as they profit from chaos and an uninformed populous. Only cowards hide behind their words, afraid of the repercussions of their untruths. I have fearlessly put myself and my name out there, not because I desire any fame or glory, but only to be held accountable for what I write and say. We all need to discredit the “Shadow bloggers” of Mount Vernon. That said, there has also been attempts from those within our own camp to discredit the gains I have helped champion on the school board and in the city. An old African proverb says, “quite often the scorpion that stings you comes from your own cloth,” and in this case it certainly did.
Some question what my motives are. I don’t seek or desire higher office, nor jobs, nor monetary gains. They simply can’t fathom my altruism and desire to live in a prosperous community that educates its youth to their potential, improves the quality of life and increases property values with reasonable and appropriate tax rates. Well, believe it!
Criminal minds all think alike. It’s hard for those that are unethical to believe I would do it for nothing because they would never. In the end, and once again, it comes down to jobs for their friends and family and not about proficiency, competency, and process.
They say I abuse my seat as board president because I speak to custodians, teachers, principles, and contractors. That the role of board members is to write policy and stay 30 thousand feet away and let the administration administrate. Well, we have been doing just that for decades and where has that gotten us? Not until I joined the board and started making everyone respectfully more accountable, responsible and earn their keep did we see the needle move. This my friends is the “Movement.” A movement where we all hold elected officials and all government workers accountable and responsible and make them earn our precious dollars.
You will hear that I am bankrupting the district by overspending and undermining the Superintendents Leadership. That no one in the Pennington community wants improved playfields and sports. I know these all to be untrue, blatant lies and at the very least, grand misinterpretations in an effort to manipulate your view of what I do for the district and the community. ALL decisions are vetted by the administration and approved by ALL board members. So unless the others have been sleeping for the past 2 years, they all voted for everything that I have recommended and the administration has agreed with. They are called resolutions, and nothing gets done until they get passed by the majority of the board.
I will leave you all with this…. if I have not earned the trust and confidence of my peers and the citizens of this city, then I will step down from the board and my position as a planning commissioner and you all can find your preferred champion. I believe I have served fearlessly, tirelessly, honestly and faithfully. I have helped to choose candidates for the school board and the city that I believe have the competency and the shared vision to move this city and community forward. I believe I have moved the needle.
This Friday night at midnight, we will all see if my peers believe in my vision and leadership or not. Again, if not, I will no longer trouble you with my dreams of a better Mount Vernon. On the contrary, if my peers decide to stay the course and dismiss the naysayers and manipulators, then we will continue to rise and change this city!
I will be holding a meeting at Riverside Memorial Chapel, 21 Broad Street, Mount Vernon, this Thursday night, June 29th at 7 pm, for questions and answers. I will take all questions, school district, City, PILOT and Article 78 lawsuits, etc and I hope to satisfy you all with accurate and appropriate responses.
In the meantime, please respond to all with your comments, whether of support or criticism. Please make your voices heard. We have come to a major crossroad, and I need to know from you all where you stand, and whether or not you would like for me to see it through.
AJ is a Father, Author, Writer, 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, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
You can also hear AJ every Thursday morning at 7:20 A.M. on Good Morning Westchester with host Bob Marrone on WVOX