Positions…

If  I were ever elected to office, I would:

Fairer Taxes:

I will review each and every line item in the budget and identify issues, over-payments, waste, fraud and abuse of the Taxpayer’s money.  I will not continue the practice of treating taxpayer money like a personal piggy bank.  I will make sure each job is filled with the most qualified applicant, not the person who got the most signatures on a poitical petition!

The current Supervisor has such poor negotiation skills, he was not able to come to an agreement with the Village of Pomona on a simple road maintenance contract, why would we think he could have negotiated successfully with Mirant or, now, GenOn on much more complex issues?

The Town DPW lost the road maintenance and snow plowing contracts with the Village of Pomona 3 years ago, yet, even though 15 miles of roads were taken off their hands, the highway department did not cut back.  They continued to hire more personnel, buy more trucks and increase salaries. Loss of the contract with Pomona continues a pattern of lack of negotiation skills and, raising taxes to maintain the department’s bloated budget is a slap in the face to taxpayers.

While taxes were skyrocketing, mostly due to the failure of negotiation and gross miscarriage of the Mirant over assessment by the current Supervisor while he was Financial Director, the current board and Supervisor have been giving themselves raises every year.  This is a slap in the face to all taxpayers in Haverstraw.  Do we really want the guy who negotiated with Mirant to lead us over the next few years?

Concern for environment:

The Hudson Valley, and specifically, the Haverstraw Bay Area, is one of the most unique and ecologically sensitive areas in New York State.  When the land was purchased in 1666 from the local Natives, it was with the understanding that it would be respected and protect for all time.  The name of the area was “Haverstroo” meaning Oat Straw because of the vast amount of coastal plants growing along the banks of the Hudson River and Minisceongo Creek.  The land deal was sealed in a patent in 1671 and the Town was actually incorporated in 1788, so the seal of our Town recognizes the origins of the land deal, not the incorporation date.  Our leaders have come to forget what the seal means and have, over the years, polluted our river front with landfills, industry and power plants.

While this was a common occurrence during the Industrial Age of our nation, most coastal towns, especially along the Hudson River, have come to realize the value and importance of the waterfront and the environmental impacts such abuses have caused.  Unfortunately, not in Haverstraw.

The old time regime is still stuck in the 1970’s mentality of development, industry and utilities.  Our current Supervisor fought the DEC in 1996 to keep an illegal landfill open, even though it was causing great damage to the Haverstraw Bay.  This is still the mindset in Town Hall.  They are, as we speak, negotiating a deal that will sell off a portion of the toxic landfill property to United Water, putting the future of that property in the hands of a private, for-profit, corporation that cares little for the health and welfare of the Haverstraw people, let alone, the Haverstraw Bay.  This needs to stop.  The incumbents need to move over and make way for the 21st century, where we care for our environment while preserving our history, honor our land treaties and move our people forward with ingenuity, creativity and an open mind toward the future.

Vision for future:

I see Haverstraw as a thriving, historical, lively Town that will attract tourists and visitors and be a hot bed of education and history.  We can take the lead in advertising and expanding awareness of the historical value of the Hudson Valley and the Hudson River. We should, this is where much of the settlement and the expansion of industry on the River corridor began.  The legacy of brick making alone, makes Haverstraw a prime area for historical value.  Knowing how much of New York and the entire Tri state area was built with Haverstraw brick will peak the interest of many Americans.  Combine that with the Stony Point Revolutionary War history and the Lafayette encampments on Camp Hill Road in the western part of Haverstraw, and we have a complete tourist enclave, flanked in the west by Harriman State Park, the north by Bear mountain State Park and the East by the mighty Hudson River.  Once we establish the mindset that we will be tourist and visitor oriented, we can move forward with the plan.

We need a good hotel/ resort area: Letchworth is screaming for this type of development We need more restaurants, galleries and shops: The Village of Haverstraw has started to attract great restaurants, but the Railroad Ave/ Gaga Arts area has been sorely ignored as a potential corridor for streetscape.  We need to re evaluate our zoning and planning for that area and establish a plan to go forward to revitalize the entire area.

We need bike ways and walking paths: Haverstraw should be the gateway to Harriman.  With health and exercise becoming more main stream, our area should be linked to the biking of Nyack, the trails of Hi Tor & Harriman and the scenic walks along the Hudson.

We need good, local jobs: high speed Internet and technology centers will be bringing jobs to many small towns over the next decade.  We can pair up our education system with tech companies and offer incentives to both companies and students to locate in Haverstraw and stay and work in Haverstraw.  In addition, for the contractors and working folks in Town, we need to embrace the talent we have locally.  If a contractor is living in our town and does not have the opportunity to bid on local projects, we need to open that up and train, teach and help those contractors get licensed and become eligible to bid on Town and local projects.  The jobs should go to local talent first, keeping the money and resources within our town borders.

Honest & open government:

Since the leaders of our town have been in power for so long, they have forgotten what having a Town government is supposed to mean.  The reason the Town Supervisor’s term is 2 years, is because the Town is supposed to be run by the Town’s people, not by career politicians.

A small group of power brokers, lead by a Democratic Chairman that has been at the helm since 1965, have treated our Town Hall like their own personal kingdom, and our tax money like their own personal piggy bank, for far too long.

Anyone who dares to dissent or disagree is immediately called out, ostracized and even threatened.  I have heard residents of Haverstraw say they cannot openly support me for fear of losing their building permit, jeopardizing their liquor license or having a family member lose their job in the Town.  This is totally unacceptable.  This is America.  This is 2013.  This is not Tammany Hall in the 1920’s.

My pledge:  honest and open government.  A fair bidding process on taxpayer funded projects, openly accepting ideas and input from the public, fair hiring practices that put the most qualified applicants in positions that the taxpayers pay salaries for, not the person who got the most signatures on a candidate’s petition.

When I am Supervisor, you will no longer have to be afraid of your government.  I will work for you, the taxpayer, not the Party bosses.

Cultural diversity & history:

The settlement of immigrants in our town, historically, is very interesting.  Currently, we have representatives from dozens of countries around the world.  We need to celebrate our cultural diversity, not ignore it.  The Latin Day parade & Festival is just a start and, I think, does not go far enough.  65% of our Town is Hispanic, yet there is less than 5% representation of this immigrant group in our local government and police department. This is unacceptable. We have a large Italian American and Irish American population, yet no partnering with our heritage countries overseas.  We should be twinned with cities in Ireland, Italy and the Dominican Republic, as well as others, to exchange cultural, economic and tourist information and encourage exchanges between Towns and cities of Haverstraw and those of our ancestors.  This will bring ideas and talent to our Town, as well as the tourist dollars we so desperately need.

Development & planning:

As a developer, planner, artist, architect, municipal elect official and project manager, I have a unique understanding of the overall planning and development process and how it affects our lives and our communities.  I negotiate and prepare contracts everyday.  I have coordinated multi faceted projects and complicated events for over 30 years.  My entire life, I have been surrounded by Union members, professionals and creative people, on various levels.  Haverstraw has mind blowing potential for creative, sustainable and lucrative development and preservation.  The current administration can not see it.  They are stuck in big box stores and utilities.  They are looking for a silver bullet to “save” them from the complete and utter failure of the Mirant debacle.  They are blinded by greed, power and complacency.  Haverstraw has no chance of surviving under the current regime.  The Town is dying a slow death under the current regime and if we keep doing the same thing over and over, we will continue to get the same drab results.

Children, families & education:

There is one thing, and one thing only, that can bring our property values up and keep them that way: a good school district.  Our current leaders are in an old time mindset that the school board and Town Board are completely separate entities.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  What happens on the Town level, completely affects the school system and visa-versa.  Zoning, planning and spending decisions in the Town directly affect the schools populations and tax base.  Teaching methods, class size and access to good guidance, including job training and preparation for acceptance to good colleges, in the schools directly affects property values and the Town tax revenue.  As Supervisor, I will work closely with the schools (both North Rockland and East Ramapo) to make sure they understand the importance of successful education for all of our children and how that affects all of our lives.  Lack of education for our citizens increases dependency on government and hurts all of us.  Nothing is more important than a good education.  Not only for our children, but for the future of our country as a whole.