Mayor Jenkins’ racism charges:
Story by Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO January 3, 2014 Two declared candidates for the Village of Monticello Board reacted to comments made by Mayor Gordon Jenkins in response to a December 23 press conference announcing the slate of candidates.
Jill M. Weyer and Doug Solomon were cross endorsed by Monticello United, a coalition made up of the chairs of the Town of Thompson Democratic, Republican, Independence and Conservative Committees. The third candidate Monticello United en-dorsed is incumbent Village of Monticello Justice Josephine V. Finn.
In remarks to the Democrat, Jenkins accused Monticello United of practicing racism, then singled out his own party the Democrats for “never support[ing] minorities. It’s 100 percent racism.”
“That’s just ridiculous,” replied Solomon, the former Monticello PD chief, now heading up Beacon’s PD. “It goes without saying that this village badly needs a change. In my 10 years as Monticello chief I did as much as anyone to maintain a diverse police force, and I believe it to be a diverse force to this day.”
He added, “I’ve been recognized by the NAACP and making claims of racism within the Democratic Party, or that I’ve taken part in racism of any sort is just ridiculous.”
Defending his record, Solomon said, “We had a drastic spike in gang activity in ’05-’06 and at that time I wrote an Impact Tools grant and through joint operations with the State Police and the Sheriff’s Office, over a three-year period from ’07-’09 reported crime was down almost 40 percent in the village… If that doesn’t show how much I care for all of the residents of this village, I don’t know what else to say.”
Solomon added, “I also worked very hard to implement 12-hour work shifts for officers, and that move alone saved the village hundreds of thousands of dollars… I can go on but this isn’t about me. It’s about the Village of Monticello and the desperate state it is currently in. I’ve been door to door the past few weeks and the response from all [regarding the Monticello United ticket] has been phenomenal. People are very eager to see a new board in place come March… the people of this great village are tired.
Weyer is the daughter of the late Jim Kenny, a former village mayor and acting commissioner of the Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management.
“This campaign is democracy at its finest,” Weyer said. “It shows that in politics, people can work together for a common goal and put aside differences for the betterment of the community. There has been talk about change and that change is needed in the village for some time now. The last election showed that and the vote was split. In my opinion if the parties were serious about wanting change, they had to work together and I was only going to run if I had the support of all parties.”
Weyer added, “As for the racism comments from Mayor Jenkins, this is untrue and voter history proves it.”
Also supporting the candidates was Village of Monticello Trustee Carmen Rue.
“Chief Solomon has the wisdom, and Mrs. Kenny-Weyer the personal and professional background and knowledge that our community desperately needs to restore the public's trust in village government,” Rue said. “We need Judge Finn to remain on the bench where she has served… with distinction.”
Rue added, “Doug and Jill’s election this March will breathe new hope into a community that is tired of being pulled down. I look forward to working together with them on the Board to uplift Monticello and take our united village to a secure and hopeful future for ourselves and our children.”