BRANDING A CITY
Cuomo Re-Elected...now what?
In announcing his win for a second term, the Governor stated,
"We are...at the end of the day up state and down state, BUT WE ARE ONE STATE.
We are gay and we are straight, BUT WE ARE ONE STATE.
We are Black and White and Brown BUT WE ARE ONE STATE.
We are rich and we are poor BUT WE ARE ONE STATE...
and that unity gives us strength...and that strength makes New York unstoppable."
And those words made me continue the thought...
In fact we have ONE STATE CONSTITUTION
that says that all of our children are entitled to a SOUND BASIC EDUCATION
throughout this state...not based on their zip code... or the ability of their homeowners and parents to pay.
WE ARE ONE STATE where the prevailing wisdom should not be common core
WE ARE ONE STATE where the issue should be COMMON SENSE
WHEN OUR CHILDREN HAVE A COMMON BASIC RIGHT
THE SOLUTION IS A COMMON GROUND
FUND THE CHILDREN AS EQUALS REGARDLESS OF WHERE THEY LIVE
REGARDLESS OF WHERE THEY LIVE
That means that the State, when it establishes the expense of education, by
implementing its own curriculum, teaching, staffing, and administrative guides...
That means that the State, when it requires that our expenses increase whether a school
district can pay...or not...
That means that the State, when it caps revenue to the locality by cutting State reimbursement,
and capping the local real estate tax..
That means that the Governor needs to identify a statewide funding mechanism that establishes
all of our children...and makes up the difference in the funding sources that are currently available...
by design of the Governor. Better schools will attract children to a maligned city. It is, after all, a
better life our all children that is the impetus for buying a home.
RE-BRANDING A MALIGNED CITY
October 19, 2014 Mount Vernon
,NY, On Saturday, October 18th, I hosted, as President of the Board of Education of the Mount Vernon
City School District(MVCSD), a conference called "REPARATIONS FOR MOUNT VERNON". It featured three graduates of the MVCSD School system. One, Dr. Lawrence Spruill, a past principal of our high school, and current professor of history at Morehouse College; Jamal Doggett, Principal of the Longfellow Elementary School; and Malcolm Clark who recently graduated the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Our discussion over the course of three hours was multifaceted. Dr. Spruill's presentation was about the local 350 year historical African American Heritage of Westchester County that eminates from the National Historic Site of St.Paul Church which is located on South Columbus Avenue along with a cemetary with 10,000 grave markers that include the stones of many people of African Ancestry. He discussed with us the reprehensible manner in which people of color have been left out of the history of Westchester County. Most recently, the 350th Anniversary of Eastchester
was celebrated throughout Eastchester
, with banners announcing their celebration...no where noting on the banner that the founding of Eastchester
350 years ago took place at St.Paul Church on South Columbus Avenue which is located in the current City of Mount Vernon
. Dr. Spruill discussed freed African American settlers of the Revolutionary and Post Revolutionary Era- Benjamin and Rebecca Turner as well as the most recent heir of that real estate owning family. Re-Branding the City of Mount Vernon
has a lot to do with identifying a multitude of mischaracterizations of the community, the history, the government and school district. At this one event we had three outstanding graduates of our school system-belying the knee jerk condemnation of our school district. The adverse BRANDING we've received has to do with a media that only reports the adverse urban characteristics of poverty which, like many cities, is only a part of our identity. Our community was founded by a multi-cultural array of hard working people-residents of all races, religions and ethnicities who owned real estate, earned and lived off that property from its inception. By pattern and practice-as evidenced by the infamous ANTI-DISCRIMINBATION CENTER v. WESTCHESTER COUNTY law suit- people of color were directed away from 42 of the 45 municipalities of Westchester County by the failure of those municipalities, in connivance with the County of Westchester, to develop affordable fair housing. What that law suit failed to address, is the pattern and practice by which people of color were redirected to reside in the City of Mount Vernon
. Rather than decry that effort, the City of Mount Vernon
has embraced it. The failures of the forefathers of Eastchester
and Mount Vernon
to acknowledge the contributions of its first inhabitants will be addressed when I introduce a resolution at the next School Board meeting to rename our Longfellow Elementary School which is on the same campus with our Longfellow Middle School for two of the inhabitants from the Revolutionary and post Revolutionary War era- Benjamin and Rebecca Turner. The campus is proposed as a K-8 model in our school district's restructuring plan. Our hope is to develop a relationship between this newly named Turner Educational Park and the St.Paul Church National Historic Site for the purpose of providing the only National Historic Site in Westchester County with an educational learning center that is specifically centered on the people who first settled our communities regardless of race or ethnicity...leaving no one out...by pattern or practice. In so doing, Mount Vernon
- by embracing its multi-cultural rightful place in Westchester history- will Re-Brand itself as a center of culture and sophistication in the same manner that rebuilding the Shomberg Center brought to Harlem
Short Sale Definition...Short Sighted Outcome...Crisis is
I recently learned from a seasoned J.Philip Realtor-MARY KINGSLEY- that "A short sale is when you sell a house for less than what is owed and the funds are “short” to pay off the lender. You need to get the lenders permission to release their lien even though you are short the funds to pay them off in full."The City of Mount Vernon has a third of the mortgage pre-foreclosures in the County of Westchester. What type of bank approaches real estate licensee/persons that specialize in getting below market sales of properties that leave the seller with outstanding debt, leave a city with a subprime mortgagor likely to default, and at a loss for its departing middleclass, and leaves a lendor with loss of a secured debtor? Perhaps the CRISIS at hand can create opportunities for working families unable to tolerate the listing prices elsewhere...hmmm
I went to a Mount Vernon
City Council meeting on October 8th where the neighborhood deriding blogger who described himself as a realtor, revelled in down selling Mount Vernon
in order to get the lowest possible sale price for short sale/foreclosures... He prided in a specialization that also engages in unfounded allegations and presents himself as a "journalist" as he takes intimidating pictures, and makes unfounded allegations about people who are trying to make Mount Vernon
a better place. He profits by depicting Mount Vernon
's demise... He is able to do business with banks that have been left to offload the very homes whose subprime mortgages caused the downward spiral of home values throughout the county. I am unnerved by a banking system that will sell undervalued properties rather than invest in our City by Branding it differently. I don't see how the banks benefit by enabling the speculators...
I've lived in the City of Mount Vernon
, New York since 1986. My son attended its public schools...and is graduating Louisiana Tech with a Masters Degree in Kinesiology. Since January 2008, I have been fulfilling three consecutive elected terms as a School Board Trustee. Since July 2014, I have been the President of the Mount Vernon
City School District. I live across the street from my son's Graham Elementary School. The question I have for the readers of this blog: How do you sell a city that has been branded...for decades... adversely... by pattern and practice... by its residents and its neighbors? Mount Vernon
is a community that has a 350 year history centered on the National Historic Site of St.Paul Church - where the region of Eastchester
was first established. In its celebration of the 350th Anniversary founding of Eastchester
- The Village of Eastchester
forgot to invite Mount Vernon
to the party...Hmmm. On Saturday, October 18th between 10am and 1pm there will be a discussion at the Longfellow Elementary School in Mount Vernon
of that history... Everyone is invited.
Author: Thomas Ricapito
October 8th 2014
About Thomas: I got into real estate sales by accident in 2006. At the time, I recently earned a Bachelor's Degre...