Letters to the Editor: In Support of P4P in Democratic Primary

P4P candidates (from left) Amy Vele, Amy Perlow, Conor Greene, Vanessa Agudelo

Well-Versed in Moving Communities Forward

I’m supporting the Progress 4 Peekskill slate in the Democratic Primary because I am tired of the current council making sustainability an afterthought.

There are millions of dollars in state funds that the city cannot even compete for because we lack a Sustainably Coordinator. This could be a part-time position costing $20,000 that could open up hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding.

The Peekskill Council has been all Democratic for years, and despite promises of action on climate when running for office, there have been only modest moves in the right direction once elected.

Conor Greene, Vanessa Agudelo, Amy Perlow, and Amy Vele are well-versed in moving communities forward.

Conor Greene helped to co-found Peekskill Walks which has already mobilized Peekskill for the formation of the Esther Street pocket park.

Vanessa Agudelo has pushed for independent benchmarking (a necessary step to unlock state funds) and has often been the lone voice on the council to prioritize sustainability and refuse to invest tax payer dollars in costly natural gas conversions that don’t align with state climate laws.

Amy Perlow is a public education advocate, running school programs and fighting for our kids’ educations.

Amy Vele ran the Peekskill Dems campaign last cycle and serves as legislative aide for Legislator Colin Smith.

I encourage voters to compare the P4P Environmental Platform to that of the other slate. It is night and day.

This team has clearcut, achievable goals to move Peekskill forward on sustainability and make us competitive in seeking state and Federal funds to do it.

The all Dem Peekskill Common Council has had four years to move our city forward, but their lack of goal setting and refusal to make sustainability a priority is a missed opportunity.

Progress 4 Peekskill is ready to seize those opportunities.

Courtney Williams
Scientist, environmental advocate

The Time to Act Is Now

I came out in 1981, when I was 16. At 18, I registered to vote and I voted for Democrats in virtually every election since. I saw their platform as more closely aligned with my values; equality, individual rights, liberty, opportunity, and democracy. However, as a gay citizen I was often disappointed by the Democratic party’s defense of these values.

Decision after decision fell short. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” “Defense of Marriage” Act, Obama’s refusal to put “gay” and “marriage” in the same sentence, all felt like slaps in the face, but juxtaposed against the Republican policies, what choice did I have? I got used to turning the other cheek.

It took 36 years between when I came out as gay and the Supreme Court decision of 2020 that finally declared LGBTQ+ people deserving of equal protections under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. During those years, we lost thousands of gay lives to teen suicide and anti-gay and anti-trans violence. 

The price of glacial, politically calculated change is very, very high and rarely discussed. At this moment, we face many issues that put the lives and well-being of Peekskillians at-risk: housing insecurity, food insecurity, health impacts due to environmental racism, climate change, and inequitable access to healthcare, including COVID vaccines and treatment. We don’t have decades to act! We need to create affordable housing options for a range of wage earners; we need to upgrade our infrastructure; we need to modernize our zoning; we need to listen to all stakeholders.

The Democrats currently in power want me to be happy with the minimal actions they have taken to address these serious issues, but I have no more cheeks left to turn. I’m voting for the full Progress4Peekskill slate so I won’t be 92 when we finally take action against gentrification, racism and climate change.

Janine Melillo


1 Comment

  1. Peekskill is 25% African-American yet not ONE Black resident of Peekskill joined Conor Greene on his ticket.

    Is that “Progress” or “Advancement”? No.

    Vivian McKenzie has a diverse and inclusive ticket for tomorrow’s Democratic Primary election. As our Deputy Mayor Vivian McKenzie will become the FIRST Black woman in that office.

    Now, THAT is progress and advancement.

    This is the kind of diversity and advancement we must have in Peekskill and our nation.

    Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m

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