As Ossining Village Trustee, I have witnessed many issues that are not being addressed head-on by our current mayor. At this pivotal point in Ossining’s history, it is vital that we have a change in leadership, and elect a mayor with the courage to address tough challenges and the openness to respect differing opinions. On Tuesday, September 9, I am asking my fellow Democrats in the Village of Ossining to cast their vote for me in the mayoral primary. I am proud to be endorsed by the Ossining Democratic Committee, the Westchester Independence Party and many community leaders including Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and County Legislator Catherine Borgia. As mayor, I will work to strengthen our community, grow our local economy, and continue to collaborate at every level so Ossining can reach its full potential. As mayor, I will focus on:
- Generating Greater Tax Revenue & Creating a Vibrant Downtown: Too many business owners have told me of the obstacles and frustration in their efforts to open and grow a business in Ossining. We need to adopt a “Welcome. How can we help you?” approach at every opportunity. Eight years ago, who would have thought that Peekskill, a river community with perceived hurdles greater than ours, could become a mecca for art, live music, and great downtown restaurants? I’ve heard enough excuses. As mayor, I will prioritize generating greater tax revenue and improving our quality of life by growing a vibrant downtown.
- Improving Decision-Making with Smart Development: During this next term of office, critical decisions will be made about the development of Market Square properties at the heart of our downtown. Before we ask a developer for his plan, Ossining’s talented and engaged community members need to craft a vision for the future of this key location. As mayor, I will lead the effort to make this collaborative process happen, because we must make smart development decisions that honor our history and strengthen Ossining for future generations.
- Addressing Concerns Head-On of an Overburdened School System: My efforts as Trustee have already begun to build stronger communication between our planning department and the school district. We must take advantage of the opportunities for school district concerns to be addressed during the planning process, while exploring more ways to ensure that our school buildings have room for the children of Ossining. As mayor, I will recognize that collaboration between the municipality and the school district is an obligation I have to all our residents, whether their priority is from a tax perspective or a concern for quality of education. I’m in this for the long-haul—as a parent to two young children in our school system, I have a personal stake and firsthand knowledge of the impact of development decisions.
- Solving the Problems of Overcrowded Housing: For much of the last eight years the current mayor has not been willing to even acknowledge that our overcrowded housing problem is real. Overcrowded housing creates unsafe conditions for first-responders and residents, and it unfairly taxes law-abiding property owners by creating too much stress on our municipal services and schools. The new laws that I have joined with two other trustees to promote, will provide our building department with additional tools to better enforce our zoning laws—but they are only a first step in the right direction. We need a mayor with the political courage to find comprehensive solutions by inviting all stakeholders to the table—firefighters and housing advocates, police officers and planners, code enforcers and property owners.
In my time on the village board, I have not seen the current mayor make sufficient progress on the issues above, and in some cases even create obstacles. This is what led me to decide to run for mayor. Ossining has seen a lot of ribbon cuttings and symbolic legislation. It’s time for village government to go beyond this and work harder for the people we serve.
As mayor, I will improve communication with residents via better use of email and social media. I will hold weekly office hours so that residents can meet with me with no appointment necessary. And I will work to once again keep the cameras rolling throughout public comments at village board meetings.
The current mayor began his tenure after having been appointed to the position of trustee and serving less than one term. I have benefitted greatly from my experience these past two years as a Trustee and I understand how the “system” works and what it takes to run a municipality. I have also benefitted from watching how things can go awry, and how a change in governing style, to one of a collaborative administration, could have beneficial outcomes for all involved.
Democrats, I’m asking for your vote on Tuesday, September 9. Voter turnout in primary elections tends to be very low, so your individual vote will have a big impact on the outcome. Bring a friend to the polls and together we will help Ossining reach its full potential.