Mayor Mike Spano held a fundraiser for his 2023 re-election campaign for Mayor of Yonkers on Tuesday, Jan 10th. The mayor wishes to serve for an unprecedented fourth four-year term having recently signing an amendment to the City Charter allowing him to do so.
The $250 minimum ticket price would be a steep ask for the regular Yonkers resident. However, those in attendance were the familiar cadre of family members, the political and business elite, or those wishing to become so. Providing introductory remarks were Tom Meier and Lakisha Collins-Bellamy. Meier is the Commissioner of the Yonkers DPW as well as the head of the Yonkers Democratic party. Collins-Bellamy is the current Yonkers City Council President. It was she who proposed the aforementioned legislation that allowed for the Mayor to run for yet another term. The host of Republicans turned fair-weather Democrats like David Tubiolo and John Rubbo were joined by still-current Republicans like Mike Breen to support the original Conservative Democrat’s bid for another term. Other longterm Democrats like former City Council Majority Leader Michael Sabatino and Westchester Legislator Vedat Gashi were also in attendance.
The event was held at the oft-used venue for these types of affairs, The Castle Royale. Formerly known as the Polish Community Center, this 600-guest occupancy banquet hall is the goto for most political candidates and groups. The Spano family itself has an investment and management stake in this event space.
The Mayor’s Comments
The Mayor used his ten minute speech to highlight the growth he has overseen during his 11+ year tenure. The waterfront development projects focused primarily on luxury high-rise apartments were touted. Though the Mayor noted that he still believes in a commitment to affordable housing. Spano also discussed the improvements to the Yonkers Police Department. The YPD had formerly been under federal DoJ review for years. This history, and former Commissioner John Mueller, even spurred an entire multi-episode NPR podcast series. Investments from MGM in the casino/raceway and the film studios like Lionsgate were also highlighted. To illustrate a point, Spano cited the meager three days a year of filming that occurred throughout Yonkers when he entered office, to well over 200 days a year now.
What was understandably absent from the mayor’s comments was the current lawsuit Spano faces challenging his run. In December, the Mayor and the City were served with a lawsuit brought by attorney Michael Sussman representing 12 Yonkers voters. The suit challenges the Mayor’s authority to change the term limits provision in the charter without a voter referendum. A provision that was first enacted, and then supported again years later by voter referendum. A decision on this case, which could include an injunction barring Spano from serving a fourth term, may not be known for months.
No candidate, either on the Democrat or Republican aisle, has yet to announce a challenge to Mike Spano‘s re-election.