You can learn a lot about a place by looking at its roads. Where it’s going? Where it’s been? What are its priorities? What it’s willing to tolerate and, worse, what it’s willing to accept. What do our roads say about us? A lot I’m afraid, and what they are saying is not good.

This weekend, I saw a little boy in tremendous pain, lying on one of our roads. His bike had hit a pothole so large; he was thrown off the bike and on to the street. It was heart-breaking to see and infuriating. We need to do better. This young child was just enjoying a summer’s day bike ride, and now he’s in pain. This is Mount Vernon’s governments’ fault and we are all to blame.

Citizens of Mount Vernon need to stop “tolerating” the condition of our streets and roads. We need to stop “accepting” the status quo as somehow normal. We need to assess our priorities. Nowhere in Westchester County are roads dangerous to drive, ride a bike or walk across a street. It’s too easy to get lulled into inaction slowly, over time. Mount Vernon’s streets are terrible and embarrassing. What does it say about us living with less for so long?

Our government must to do better. Citizens must demand more of our leaders and, if they don’t listen, we must hold them accountable – myself included. We must demand the best for our community and ourselves at all times.

It may start with our roads, but it ends with a better, more inspired community that sees problems and finds solutions. One that rolls up its sleeves and tackles challenges. One that takes pride in itself and looks out for its people, especially its most vulnerable.

Tonight, one of those citizens is in pain because we all failed him. He may not be the only one. It’s our responsibility, now, to roll up our sleeves. We’re not afraid of challenges here in Mount Vernon. Let’s stop thinking that what we have is good enough or that somehow we deserve it. Let’s not stop until we identify all of those things that our children have to fear today but, if we’re successful, should not have to even think about tomorrow.

Let’s get to work.

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