YONKERS—After angrily debating redistricting for more than four hours Monday, the only thing City Council Democrats and Republicans could agree to do was stop debating—at least for that day.
The two sides are scheduled to resume stalled discussions on how to redraw the city’s political map for the next decade at a Rules Committee meeting Tuesday night.
At issue at Monday’s special council meeting was a redistricting plan put forth by Mayor Mike Spano last Friday as a compromise meant to end months of partisan bickering on the issue.
But a compromise was not to be found: The council’s three Republicans and Democratic Majority Leader Wilson Terrero backed the mayor’s plan while the other three Democrats stood by their own.
Tempers flared as each side talked of being “disgusted” with the other for their inflexibility, lack of transparency and dishonesty.
At one point, Republican Council Minority Leader John Larkin pulled a trophy from a plastic bag and presented it to Democratic Council President Chuck Lesnick, accusing him of misleading the public in opposing Spano’s plan.
“I am going to give you an Oscar, sir, for the best performance by an actor in a fictional story,” Larkin said.
Lesnick later chided Terrero, a fellow Democrat, for voting with the Republican minority, a decision Terrero adamantly defended.
“You are a majority leader,” Lesnick retorted, “act like one.”
Around 4 p.m., council members voted 4-to-3 in favor of the mayor’s plan. But soon afterwards, Lesnick surprised observers by declaring that the measure had failed in the absence of a 5-to-2 supermajority. The city clerk and the corporation counsel then adjourned for more than an hour before returning to announce that Lesnick was, in fact, correct—the motion had failed. That prompted Terrero and the three Republicans to then call for a motion to reconsider, which passed 4-to-3. But after the two sides failed to agree on whether legislative protocol allowed them to take another vote, they agreed—unanimously—to adjourn for the day.
Looking ahead to Tuesday’s committee meeting, Lesnick said: “Hopefully, somebody will come to their senses and say, ‘Let’s compromise’.”