Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Response to ‘Peekskill Deserves Better’


This rebuttal is in response to Brian Orsi’s opinion article dated November 2, 2023.

First, I promise my response will not be as long as his treatise. Let’s refresh your memory with a couple of quotes from the first paragraph of his story. “Start where you are, use what you got, do what you can. When my mind is racing, and I begin to worry about my family’s future, I try to filter my thoughts through this lens. I start to think about where I am, what I’ve got, and what I can do, here in Peekskill.”

I credit Mr. Orsi for starting a business in downtown Peekskill and putting in that effort, which is more than what many other people do as armchair quarterbacks after being here for a short time. It is so easy to think you can do a better job than the elected officials in your city. But thinking and doing are two entirely different things.

No matter how brilliant it may appear, change cannot be brought about just by proposing an idea. Real change happens only when people put much effort into making it happen. You may have doubts about the abilities of your local officials to execute the task they were elected for, but at least they are putting in their best effort to achieve it.

Mr. Orsi’s number one concern is the “housing shortage,” followed by a host of others. Carelessly constructing new housing in the city could increase the number of police officers, firefighters, DPW workers, and even schools. It is essential to consider whether our current infrastructure can handle these additions. Additionally, increasing these services could potentially result in higher taxes for all homeowners. It is worth noting that while grants and tax relief may have made the construction of recent housing possible, it does not guarantee instant tax revenue for the city. When our staff and elected officials review these types of projects, it is simple to toss in ideas, but making sure they achieve what is suitable for the long-term success of Peekskill does not equate to holding back on development.

Mr. Orsi goes on to say that folks should consider becoming a District Leader with the Peekskill Democratic City Committee. He says, “The commitment is low, and the absolute quickest way to effect change here would be to floor vote these people out of their seats during the nominating process in an election year.”

I have served as a District Leader with the Peekskill Democratic City Committee for many years. Contrary to Mr. Orsi’s belief, it’s not a low-commitment role. Unlike Mr. Orsi, who only occasionally attends meetings to offer suggestions but refuses to help implement them when asked, the rest of us fulfill our duties despite our busy schedules. I am 80 years old, and although I don’t particularly enjoy going out in the winter months to get petitions signed, I do it because that is the democratic process.

Other District Leaders, besides myself, would also like to retire from the PDCC. I had high hopes for younger Democrats, such as Mr. Orsi, to be able to join and continue the exceptional work that the PDCC has accomplished. It took a great deal of hard work for the PDCC to break the more than 20 years of complete Republican control over our city government.

The last quote of his, I find particularly disturbing. “When you go to vote in the coming weeks, for the local races, consider writing in quite literally anyone but the names of the people holding this community back. Think carefully – it’s not all of them. Send a message, Peekskill deserves better.”

I agree with the ending part of that quote. “Peekskill deserves better.” It deserves younger Democrats willing to step up to the plate and do the work rather than writing newspaper articles telling others what they should do and patting yourself on the back for your brilliant ideas. And that means working within the system and not trying to sabotage it.
Ideas and insults are cheap – executing the ideas takes hard work, work that this current administration works diligently to achieve each day. But maybe, Mr. Orsi, it is time to walk away from your computer and put some leather on the pavement.