WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL-CHRONICLE EXAMINER. From White Plains Common Councilwoman, Milagros Lecuona. The following message is a transcript of her remarks to the Common Council December 2, 2019:
I want to thank the mayor for giving me these few minutes and to be able not to say good-bye but to say thank you. Yes, there are lots to be thankful for.
TODAY IS a bittersweet moment. On the one hand it has been an honor to serve you all as your council person for these past 12 years but on the other hand, I am happy to leave my seat and open up an opportunity for other people to join the common council and bring new blood.
As you know, I do believe that term limits are crucial for the city democratic participatory process. This doesn’t mean however, that I’m disappearing. I got to the common council through my lifelong community advocacy efforts. That’s my nature and that will never change. I will be as always, one call away, one email, or a stop in the street…
It has been a pleasure working with the City commissioners and city staff, (need to mention Anne McPherson and Monica Guzman) working with volunteers who dedicate valuable family time to serve on important city boards and committees and business owners who understand the city’s potential and are willing to invest in White Plains future.
My special thanks go to the residents of White Plains for their trust and support but also for the challenges they brought to me, agreeing or not always, residents like Carry Kyzivat, helping me with her stories, thoughts, complains, advice, become a better public servant and to understand the repercussions and relevance of municipal legislature.
But most of all, I want to thank the residents of White Plains, for giving me and my family the gift of their friendship, making us feel at home since the first day we moved to White Plains 30 years ago.
To the mayor and common council, especially the newly elected members I wish them wisdom to legislate well and courage to carry the voice of the people. We should never forget that we are elected to serve all residents equally regardless of party line, economic status, race or ethnicity. History will judge our city not by how many high-rise buildings were raised but by how we treated those in need. And when in doubt, keep in mind, it’s always about putting RESIDENTS OF WHITE PLAINS first.
I also would like to recognize two members of the common council who were important to me while on the council. Councilman Krolian for being a true team player and an important independent voice on this council who always showed compassion and courage.
I want to thank former Councilwoman Rita Malmud. She was on the council when I first joined and from day one, she became a great role model for me through her insistence on moral and ethical values on the council and as a tireless hardworking reliable public servant.
Needless to say, my family’s support, advise and love also made it possible for me to serve.
Before closing I would like to raise a few of my concerns.
- As long as the distribution of city’s revenue remains as is, which means, increasing the city’s debt unprecedently for capital projects and rightfully so, but without addressing the current path of budgetary annual operating revenue decreases and without creating new sources of revenue.
- As long as development continues getting approved by the council without having an updated Comprehensive Plan that reflects current urban planning best practices and city needs, without compromising the already compromised city’s infrastructure and protecting the residents present and future best interests, especially our precious open spaces.
- As long as we continue to leave unresolved parking issues, retail store vacancies, keep approving luxury rental units without studying the population projections, which goes back to point 1 and 2, the Comprehensive Plan-responsible growth and the Budget revenue.
I’m very concerned about the city’s economic resiliency and its future well fare.
I do believe as an urban planner and after 12 years on the council that there are a few useful things I could leave you with I have a list with more than a dozen recommendations for the common council.
Mostly recommendations I’ve made in the past that the council has heard before. I’m passing a copy to the clerk for the records and in case residents would like to consider them.
Let me briefly mention three of those recommendations.
Update the Comprehensive plan to protect White Plains suburban livability and the beautiful character of our neighborhoods and open spaces.
Incrementally close Mamaroneck Ave to pedestrian usage and leave a lane for a trolley and emergency vehicle, creating a linear park that will bring pedestrian activity downtown without competing with the malls. Among other advantages, this will help bring new revenue to the city.
Develop Baldwin Farm as a nature educational center. Among other advantages, that could also help will bring new revenue to the city.
If you want to read the whole list not just of recommendations but also what I consider to be my legacy on the common council for 12 years, please visit my Facebook page and my website at:
www.lecuonadesign.com under Projects
or find me in Facebook: Milagros Lecuona
It has been an honor to serve you