MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Despite demonstrators Monday outside the Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino continued his “Ask Astorino” town hall series as scheduled.
Approximately 20 political enthusiasts shouted at Astorino as he made his way from his vehicle to the church, where he was greeted by hundreds of residents, local and county officials at the town hall-style speech.
Astorino said the “Mutual Aid Program,” a joint task force between the Westchester County and Mount Vernon Police departments has made nearly 150 arrests, including 28 felonies, since its creation last month. More than 34 pounds of marijuana also have been seized and removed from the city.
Since June, six uniformed officers and two detectives from the County Department of Public Safety have been working with city officers Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to reduce violence and crime.
“These are people who are off the street,” Astorino said. “That’s making it safer and that’s the county working with the city, especially during the summer, to rid some of our hot spots of some of the bad elements that are making our streets and communities unsafe.”
The county executive also gave an update on his three main campaign goals: providing tax relief, preserving essential services and promoting economic development. Astorino encouraged Mount Vernon residents to take advantage of the county’s One-Stop Employment Center on East First Street.
The event was hosted by the Rev. W. Franklyn Richardson, the senior pastor at the church, who added it was good for the community to hear Astorino’s plan.
“I am very pleased to host the county executive’s town hall,” he said. “It gives the Mount Vernon community the opportunity to be heard, and for the county executive to update us on his plan for economic development and job creation.”
A pair of local students who won the Astorino Challenge in Education also were celebrated at the event for their impressive work in the classroom. J’air Myree, from the Longfellow Middle School in Mount Vernon, and Hannah Zamor, of the Immaculate Conception School in Tuckahoe, each topped the benchmark 3.8 grade point average required in the program and were awarded with passes to Playland Park.
Joel Gonzalez, who was in the audience at the event, said that he enjoyed the county executive, and thought the audience asked poignant questions.
“I found the whole thing to be informative and interesting. It’s important to know what’s going on in your community and around you,” he said. “I hope that our next county executive continues this tradition, particularly during non-election years.”
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