What follows are excerpts from a public message published on these pages November 22, 2013 Well before Mayor Catalina took office. We think that the letter speaks for itself in that it clearly sets a tone for the low level of cooperation the then mayor elect could expect. It's important to note that when you have don't have an ax to grind you don't need a public letter to state it. Conversely when when it's your intention to work in a collaborative manor a public letter designed to marginalize the incoming officials is not exactly your best foot forward.
mportant Message from Councilwoman Drew Claxton
Posted by Peekskill Democrat , November 22, 2013 at 06:05 PM
"I am confident that Vivian and I , along with sitting Council members Darren Rigger and Kathie Talbot, will be able to continue the progress we have made in Peekskill over these many years".
To be clear the lack of progress for this city is one of the major factors Mr. Catalina was elected as Mayor Catalina. The fact is the past administration had no machine in place to attract business into Peekskill. What Ms. Claxton has done is to Inadvertently attach herself and the rest of the Foster council to the failed management, poor economic decisions and policy's of the past.
"It is important to note that Peekskill has a City Manager form of government and, while the Mayor plays an important symbolic role on the Common Council, he or she has but one vote".
Ms Claxton goes on to iterate that the mayor is just symbolic. Does anyone believe Mary Foster was symbolic? Of course not. If it were just a mater of ceremony than why would Ms. Claxton bother to make herself the "symbolic" deputy mayor? While at the same time scribe a self serving civics lesson disguised as an editorial.
"These important matters will have to be debated and discussed in full view of the public, not in private conversations with staff or developers".
For me this is a no brainier, they were simply trying to marginalize then Mayor Elect Catalina. But between the lines what they are really saying is that they have no intention of working with the new mayor and city council members. Would Ms. Claxton have us believe that she has in all of her time on the council never had a private conversation with a staffer? it's ludicrous to infer that any conversation with staff is some sort attempt at something less than the ordinary. Ms. Claxton goes on to infer that any conversation with a developer by definition is some sort of misdeed. In a way it speaks volumes about her peculiar aversion to adding in any meaningful way to Peekskill's tax base. For a so called economist, she seems to have missed many opportunities to create an economy for this city. What I understood months ago when I first read Ms. Claxton's promise has progressed just a she and the rest of the Foster leftovers promised it would. Sadly they have spent more time putting up road blocks, plotting and attempting to maintain the status quo than they have performing duties of their office.
"As Democrats, we believe in open and transparent government".
Ms. Claxton asserts that she believes in open and transparent government. However there seems to be many questions about tax assessments for the Annie Owens (a bastardization of Garryowen the marching song of the 7th Cavalry?) Holding corp. which Ms Claxton owns. Annie Owens owns the real estate that houses The Bean Runner restaurant. The tax assessment was dropped from $12,000 to $8,0000 without Ms. Claxton appearing at the board of assessment or appearing in court. All of this done while a she was a sitting council member. This question has been lingering for some years now. It is also reputed that her assessment card has been illegally altered. So far Ms. Claxton has not to my knowledge answered to any of these allegations. It just strikes this writer as odd that someone so dedicated to transparency would allow these questions to persist.
"We take this charge seriously and plan to uphold the commitment".
Ms. Claxton asserts that she and her so called "Democratic majority" take their duties and commitments seriously. This statement posses an interesting question at this very moment. That is; What does Ms. Claxton and the residue of the Foster administration plan on doing about a real breech of ethics that is the threat of violence made to a citizen by city council member McKenzie?
I think their action or inaction will go a long way in enlightening the voters of Peekskill about the level of city council's own ethics.