Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bazzo Says: Governing Yorktown, My Choices

Bazzo Says:


Next week, next Tuesday to be exact, you must do your civic duty and vote. People make the mistake of only really going to the polls during presidential elections. Yet, more than the federal government, more than the state government, no entity picks your pocket and has greater influence on your property or business than your local and county government. Actually, your school board election has a greater influence on your pocket and your children’s future, but that’s for another column.

As for our county elections, neither of our present representatives have an opponent. It is sad in one way—not having any way to make a protest vote—however, both Mike Kaplowitz, not only as one of our representatives but also chairman of the Board of Legislators, and John Testa have served us and the county as a whole well. Both have tried to be partners with the executive branch instead of thorns in Rob Astorino’s side. With Mike at the lead, you are seeing first-hand how it is possible for two parties to work together for the good of the citizens and not just the prevailing party. Truth be told, the only people against this partnership is Kaplowitz’s own Democrat Party that believes the only comprise consists of the other side totally surrendering their principles. Thank our lucky stars Mike is able to keep the children in his party at bay.

As for the town justice race, both Republican incumbent Gary Raniolo and Democrat challenger Richard Abbate are men of good character. I hold the view that town justice, town clerk and highway superintendent (which is not on the ballot this year) are non-political positions. So when making your choice it comes down to character and job performance, should an incumbent, as in this race, be on the ballot. Gary Raniolo, along with Justice Sal Lagonia, have been excellent in performing their duties. So, and this is not to be meant as a slight to Richard Abbate, I do not believe a change is necessary. Raniolo deserves another term.

Now the race for town clerk is another matter. It is an open seat. Alice Roker has exemplified what a public servant should be, especially in a non-political position. Her taking the reins when former Supervisor Linda Copper left her position before her term expired showed how truly a public servant should put the town first, even though it requires great sacrifice. She will be missed. I will miss her.

On the Democrat side you have deputy town clerk Diana Quast. Her claim for election rests on Alice Roker’s endorsement. True, she has been deputy town clerk for 12 years and knows the ropes, however, it is also true that at times her people skills leave something to be desired. Now, this is not from personal experience. This is the feedback I have gotten from people who have dealt with her as liaison to the parks department and when she was acting town clerk. Problem is when you tick off one person they go home and tell two of their neighbors. This may come back and haunt her.

The Republican candidate, Mary Capoccia, does not have this baggage. She will need time to learn the ropes. Yet, again this is the feedback I have received, she has the people skills necessary to interact with the public. When choosing who should be the next town clerk, one should not look for the next Alice Roker any more than two years ago one should not have looked for the next Eric DiBartolo as highway superintendent. One looks for someone who will do the job well and serve the public before they serve the party. You made the correct choice two years ago when you elected Dave Paganelli highway superintendent, and I believe you will make the correct choice again if you elect Mary Capoccia as town clerk.

In the town council race it gets tricky. First and foremost, I believe it is necessary to retire Susan Siegel to private life...again. As well-versed as she is on town matters, her conclusions more often than not are wrong. She also has a problem with decentralized government. Property owners and business investors have rights. They should not have to go through hoops to get from point A to point B. Their time is valuable and should be respected. Government should work for them not the other way around.  Government should, within reason, help expedite their desires, not continue to put up road block after road block. Neither should proposals be talked to death in hope the proposer goes away. These people deserve an answer as quickly as possible so they too can move on one way or another.

So the question to be asked is: Who is best suited to retire Susan Siegel? I believe that person is Democrat candidate Ilan Gilbert. He is a man with the perfect temperament to be on the council. He is not a party-person first. He, by instinct, listens to every side and makes his decision accordingly. When he makes a decision, it will be based on the more compelling argument, not on who is making the argument. This is necessary, for I believe the Republicans will retain a voting majority. So when a person as respected by both sides as Ilan is speaks, both sides will take notice. This will be necessary.

The next choice comes down to two people of good character with the basic instinct that it is time to make Yorktown more business friendly. Now, being they are of the same belief regarding taxes and attracting business as our present supervisor does not make them a rubber stamp.

 A rubber stamp is someone who votes for something even though they know it is the wrong thing to do because it is the party’s wishes.  You see this on a national level as Democrats vote lock step with this president even though these policies have done great harm to the nation. You saw this locally last year when Supervisor Grace nominated Ilan Gilbert to fill the vacant seat on the Town Board and the same Democrat Party that gave him the nomination this year, blocked his appointment as to keep the seat open so as to impede the supervisor and give Susan Siegel a chance to win the seat in the special election. No knock against first-time candidate Ed Lachterman, who should he win, will do the town proud, but Tom Diana deserves a full-term on his own. He has earned it.

Finally, we have the race for Supervisor. No surprise here. Michael Grace has earned and deserves another term. This man has proven to be a person of true conviction. He makes sense. His arguments are the more compelling. He, at great sacrifice on a personal level, has put the town first. He has the right vision in moving the town forward. He knows how to set the agenda. I will not knock Vishnu Patel. He believes what he believes. That is to be commended. However, like Susan Siegel, what he believes is more often than not wrong. He has been and is a great ambassador for this town. However, he does not have the temperament to be an executive. His voice should be heard on the council, but as a councilman; not as supervisor.

This is what I say. What say you?  

Volpe/Bazzo Report:

Guests:  Author John Curran talks about his new book on the history of how Peekskill got their street names
Yorktown:  Wednesdays 9:30 p.m. channel 74 November 4 & 11
Peekskill: Wednesdays 9:30 p.m. channel 15 November 4 & 11
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Bazzo  10/31/15


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