Political foundation of yonkers by Nusrat M. Jahan
Nicholas Wasicsko became a city councilman in 1985 at the age of 26 with a campaign that read, “Don’t get mad, get a new councilman”.  As a city councilman, Wasicsko watched, listened, and learned, while planning to run for a higher position to help Yonkers, the mayoral seat. The mayor of Yonkers was a largely symbolic position in 1987. Belkin describes it as, “a bully pulpit with no real administrative power, a hot seat that received a lot of attention and an equal amount of blame. He had one vote, like everyone else, but he got to hold the gavel.” Most contenders for the mayoral seat were men that were well established in the business world and wanted something to add to their resume. Angelo Martinelli, a millionaire publisher, had held the mayor's office for twelve of the previous fourteen years and was a household name. Martinelli was like the others in the white eastern Yonkers, the son of an Italian immigrant who settled in the Bronx and migrated north. Rimer describes him as a man defined less by what he stood for than by what he stood against. In the city where the 18 percent of the population was black and Hispanic, Martinelli staunchly opposed busing to integrate the schools and public housing in white neighborhoods. Part of the suit against Yonkers accused him of controlling the school board to prevent any efforts at integration in the 1970's. Marteinelli admitted to the charges that he politicized the Board of Education. Wasicsko tried to paint the race as a referendum on Youth vs. Age. Then, he tried to portray the incumbent Martinelli as confrontational and aggressive. However, this strategy did not work against Martinelli. The local newspaper criticized Nick’s “naive enthusiasm”. By the summer of 1987, Wasicsko raised a mere $5,170 in comparison to Martinelli’s $67,388.
Many feared Wasicsko’s political career was over for being too ambitious for the Mayoral candidacy. Many at City Hall kept their distance and did not include him in civic events that would have helped in his campaign. But amidst the segregation case, Wasicsko found a new slogan for his campaign, “Don’t Get Mad, Get a New Mayor”. Belkin stated at that point, “Nick was more than just a candidate. He was becoming a cause.” In the fall of 1987, the noise about housing became louder and Wasicsko was finally being heard. He used this opportunity to remind voters of the single vote that separated him from Martinelli: the vote to appeal Sand’s order. Martinelli believed the housing was “inevitable” while Wasicsko believed the city deserved a “second opinion”. Martinelli stated he changed his views in 1979, when he lost his bid for re-election. Wasicsko was smart in that he never stated his actual position on the desegregation case. Instead Wasicsko stated that Yonkers had a right to appeal. In reality, he did not know his stance but he believed he could be a great mayor for Yonkers if given the opportunity.
On November 3, 1987, Wasicsko defeated the incumbent Republican Martinelli by 1,466 votes. Public opinion polls showed that Wasicsko garnered more votes because of his stance on the housing dilemma. At the age of 60, Mr. Martinelli lost by a slim margin to Wasicsko, who ran with little enthusiasm from his party and who spent $30,000 on his campaign. ''Not to take anything away from Nick,'' Martinelli said, ''but I would've lost to anybody. Anybody.'’ He would leave behind a Council controlled by anti-housing opponents. At age 28, Wasicsko was the youngest mayor in the country. Four out of five incumbent city council members considered moderate on the segregation issue were out of office. Wasicsko mingled and schmoozed with not only Democrats but with Republicans and Conservatives who were opposed to the housing project.
 Lisa Belkin, Show Me a Hero, (Little Brown & Co, 1999), 8.
 Lisa Belkin, 8.
 Ibid, 8.
 Sara Rimer. "Our Towns; Metamorphosis Of a Mayor, And Its Cost." New York Times, December 1, 1987.
 Lisa Belkin, 8.
 Ibid, 18.
 Ibid, 18.
 Ibid, 19.
 Ibid, 21.
 Sara Rimer. "Our Towns; Metamorphosis of a Mayor, And Its Cost."
 Lisa Belkin, 20.