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Frustration Over Government Shutdown Grows In Yorktown

Evelyn Nuna, an employee at Murphy's, expresses her outrage over the government shutdown while slicing lemons.
Evelyn Nuna, an employee at Murphy's, expresses her outrage over the government shutdown while slicing lemons. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- As the government shutdown enters its second week with no end in sight, Westchester residents are growing increasingly frustrated over the stalemate.

Pat Johnson, 52, of Mount Vernon expressed her thoughts yesterday near City Hall:

"It's just silly at this point," she said. "I'm surprised it isn't already finished. I mean really, how hard is it for people to just reach an agreement on something that will help millions of people?"

Evelyn Nuna, who works at Murphy's Restaurant on Kear Street in Yorktown, said there's plenty of blame to go around.

"Both parties are equally at fault," Nuna said. "It's just a sin what's happening."

Nuna said she was angry that members of Congress receive a paycheck during the shutdown.

"They do things without caring about the little people," Nuna said. "I can't believe they are still getting paid."

Nuna, who works at Murphy's, said she was concerned about the shutdown's economic impact.

"Just when I thought we might be rallying, this happens," Nuna said.

At Murphy's, the shutdown and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) became hot debates, with plenty of negative comments on Congress all around.

Despite their anger over the shutdown, patrons also expressed their disapproval over Obacamare, the bill at the heart of the shutdown.

Terrence Murphy, who runs Murphy's, said both sides need to come to a consensus.

"They have to remember they represent the American people, not themselves," said Murphy, a councilman on the Yorktown Town Board who is seeking a second term. "If anybody is taking a paycheck, shame on them. They represent us and are doing a pitiful job of it. Who is paying for it? We are."

Murphy said the shutdown has a direct impact on business.

"If people who work for the federal government are out of work, they can't go out and get dinner," Murphy said. "They have to focus on necessities to keep food on the table."

Liam McGuire of Rye said that he read online about veterans' memorials being closed during the shutdown.

"They shouldn't close the veterans memorials," the 30-year-old McGuire said. "Those should be open to the public 365 days a year.

"I'm worried about jobs. There are a lot of people out of work. A lot of government employees and private contractors aren't getting paid.

"The elected officials get paid a whole lot of money, and they're not doing their jobs. I think that they should look past all this and work for the people. There's 300 million people in this country, how many elected officials are still getting paid and not working for the people?"

The shutdown was also a topic of discussion at Lucy's Pizza on South Highland Avenue in Ossining.

Tony Arapaia, 44, who runs Lucy's, said the government needs to be run more like a business.

"It needs to be run right," Arapaia said. "This economic crisis has been a long time coming and it's going to take a long time to go away."

Arapaia, like Murphy, is worried about the long-term impact the shutdown could have on small businesses.

The shutdown was also the talk among Ossining High School students, most of whom were not even born the last time the government shutdown for 21 days in 1995.

Charlie Smith and his friends, seniors at Ossining High School, said Republicans were to blame for their dismissal of Obamacare.

"People just refute it because it's his brand name," Smith said. "They don't try to understand it. It doesn't agree with their capitalist mindset.

County Legislator Peter Harckham (D-Katonah) said he understand people's frustrations with Washington, but said things are different in Westchester.

"At the county level, 90 percent of what we get done is done unanimously or near unanimously," Harckham said. "There's 17 of us, you can't have personal animosity. I understand and share their frustration at what’s going on in Washington – can impact county operations severely because we do get a lot of money."

Casey Donahue and Zak Failla contributed to this story.

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