Letter to the Editor: McKenzie, Running Mates the Right Team to Lead Peekskill

I am writing to express my unwavering support for The McKenzie Team because it is the right team to lead the City of Peekskill.

Deputy Mayor Vivian McKenzie has deep roots in the community, she has a long record of community involvement, including employing young people at her iconic Kathleen’s Tea Room, she is an active member of the Business Improvement District (BID) and she is a property owner. Vivian has championed affordable housing for people who cannot afford market-rate rent, but she also advocated for mixed-use housing to accommodate those who can pay market-rate and those who are Section 8 eligible. In addition, she advocated for workforce housing so that there would be an incentive for our police and fire personnel and their families to call Peekskill home.

Vivian understands that a healthy, vibrant and, yes, “progressive” city requires a fair and balanced approach to maintaining and growing our tax base. Vivian, along with Mayor Rainey and her fellow council members, ushered in almost unprecedented economic revitalization of the city, some of which included securing an A1 bond rating from Moody’s Investor Services; obtaining a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Grant from New York State, including $2 million to reconstruct Fleischman’s Pier; completion of the longest riverfront trail in Westchester County; conducting an energy audit and upgrades of all city-owned property, reducing 1,100 tons of city carbon emissions each year; installing two charging stations for electric vehicles; completing the Central Fire House; appointing the first Latina female City Court Judge (Vivian also helped appoint the first African American male judge and first white female judge to the City Court); and welcoming a number of new businesses to the city such as the Abbey Hotel & Spa at Fort Hill, Ty’s Bread Basket Bakery, Bantam Tools and Apple Farm Grocery Store.

Vivian has a proven track record of successfully collaborating with her colleagues and other officials around the state to get things done for the citizens of Peekskill. She is poised, talented, forward thinking and she will be ready on Day 1 to move this city toward greater inclusiveness, affordability and prosperity. Why tinker with success by voting for Peekskill 4 Progress, which has no record of success of any sort to show or any meritorious ideas that would warrant entrusting the direction and further progress of the city to such an inexperienced group of people?

Councilman Ramon Fernandez is a fierce advocate for all residents of the city, and he will continue to advocate for greater access to governmental services and affordable housing. He loves the city and its people, and he has made it his mission to help everyone experience the American dream.

Councilman Dwight Douglas has been called an “[e]xperienced [p]lanner.” I call him the wizard of planning and development. Dwight’s years of experience and the sheer breadth of his planning and development knowledge is second to none. His continued presence on the council will ensure that the city will always have an experienced member at the ready to help inform the discussions of the council regarding the city’s project planning and future development.

Rob Scott is a young minority business owner who owns PK Blendz Juice Bar. He is a success and represents the hopes and aspirations of millennial entrepreneurs. Rob knows what it takes to run a successful business and wants to help create a city where the opportunity for success is open to everyone and not dependent on who you are, your age or where you come from.

The McKenzie Team is committed to building on the success Rainey and the council have achieved by moving forward on downtown revitalization and connecting it to the waterfront by promoting further commercial development and by jobs creation. The McKenzie Team will also be improving our city parks and making the city more family friendly by adding a Boys & Girls Club to the Kiley Center.

I consider Vivian a friend, a role model and a mentor and I know she will make a wonderful mayor. Because The McKenzie Team is experienced and committed to building a 21st century city that represents all of our values, they are the right team to lead our city. I ask that you support them on primary day.


Pamela Hallman-Johnson