The media event was held to formally announce Duane Jackson’s candidacy for County Legislature, but the protesters were out to attack a different official – Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster.
Chanting “Foster must go!” and “Support public housing in Peekskill,” about 10 protesters from Peekskill and elsewhere marched in front of the Field Library, across the street from City Hall, in a plaza where Jackson and his supporters were kicking off his run.
The rally-goers railed against what they said was insensitivity to racial issues.
Darrell Davis, chairman of the Committee for Justice, one of two groups organizing the rally, said speakers at Peekskill Common Council meetings are treated harshly when they exceed the five-minute time limit imposed on each person who addresses the council.
“The cops would come and snatch the microphones out of our hands,” he said. “Very insensitive stuff.”
They also object to the ban on clapping while people are speaking at council meetings.
He said the protest was against the local Democrats in general, but the chanting and the signs carried attacked the mayor directly.
Foster, one of several Jackson supporters at the media event, said the protesters were welcome to their views.
“It’s America,” she said. “People are allowed to say what they want. We don’t try to move them.”
She noted that they are regular attendees at the Common Council meeting
s, and are expected to follow the same five-minute talking time limit everyone else follows. She said the procedures were put in place to stop some member of the public from intentionally disrupting meetings.
“It works that way for everybody,” she said.
But the real focus of attention, she said, was Jackson, a Buchanan village trustee, who is running against Republican Legislator John Testa for his district 1 seat on the legislature.
Speaking to supporters, he addressed public housing among other issues, talking about New York City police officers who can’t afford to live in the county.
“They would love to live in Westchester, but they are being priced out,” he said. “They go to Orange county and Putnam County. We need affordable housing for our public servants, we need it here in Westchester and we’ve got to take care of that.”