Vic’s Votes

Lawn signs 2013Do you realize next Tuesday, November 5 is Election Day?  Do you know who and what is on the ballot?  There were many years when I stood in the election booth feeling hesitant to complete my whole ballot because I didn’t know the candidates—especially judges.  For today, I offer my thoughts on candidates for the county, judicial and local races.  (My next post will be about proposed amendments to the NYS constitution—there are six of them and my support is split.)

Being active in local politics has many benefits, including a familiarity with the candidates.  In the interest of helping my fellow voters prepare for Election Day, I waive my right to a secret ballot—offering you my opinion and providing links to help you read more on the candidates and issues.  Clearly I am not impartial, but the League of Women Voters is.

County Executive:  Noam BramsonI’m a big fan.  Here’s a link to a closing statement he made during a debate earlier this month that sums up well the reasons I support Noam.  This Journal News article and video offers an in-depth comparison of the two candidates.  Taxes are the first question asked in the video interview—a must watch.

County Clerk:  Tim Idoni is running for re-election—and that’s great news for taxpayers.  He has saved us $5M by reducing staff without layoffs, made county government more efficient with innovative electronic systems, reduced operating expenses by 18%, and eliminated document backlogs with active daily management.

County Legislator:  Catherine Borgia—hardworking, responsive to her constituents, and reflects my family’s values.  In her first term Catherine took the lead on several important pieces of legislation designed to keep Westchester families healthy and safe, and to increase opportunities for small business to succeed while making smart environmental decisions.  She understands the importance of finding balance in the triple bottom-line:  people, profits & planet.

I’ve spent enough hours at Democratic Committee meetings and the endless political fundraiser circuit to have spoken with each of the judicial candidates I’m highlighting here.  I’m not a lawyer, and I hope I won’t personally be in front of any of these judges.  But as I consider offering my public support for their candidacy, I imagine if I, or someone I loved, were ever to find themselves in front of these individuals, would the judge be fair?  These are the candidates for various judicial positions who pass the test…

The NYS Supreme Court 9th District covers Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange and Rockland counties.  NYS Supreme Court Judges are elected to 14 year terms.  These are the 9th District candidates I enthusiastically support.

Janet Malone

Maria S. Vazquez-Doles

John Colangelo

Victor Grossman

County Court Justice is a 10 year term.  David Everett will do a great job.  He’s an incredibly decent guy with a wealth of experience.

Kathy Davidson is running for re-election as Westchester Family Court Judge.  She is running unopposed and is very well regarded by all who know her.

Nancy Quinn Koba is running for re-election as Ossining Town Justice.  Nancy is widely recognized as smart, fair and well-tempered for her role as Town Justice.

And on to my friends running for positions on Ossining boards…

Sue Donnelly is running unopposed for Town Supervisor.  I find Sue to be collaborative and accessible.  I greatly admire the Town Hall meeting format that she initiated which demonstrates her commitment to engaging the public on issues that matter to our community.

Northern Wilcher is running for re-election on the Town Council.  Northern serves our community with a kind and soft-spoken smile.

Kim Jeffrey is seeking her first term on the Town Council.  When the primary election posed a bit of challenge for these seats, I wrote this glowing endorsement of my friend Kim.  We share a lot of values, and yet sometimes disagree with the best way to achieve them.  I believe our ability for disagree while continuing to listen and be challenged by each other speaks well for our ability to collaboratively serve Ossining from our distinct roles in the Town (Kim) and Village (Vic).

Manuel Quezada & Bob Daraio, my colleagues on the board, are seeking re-election as Ossining Village Trustees.  I hope you will join me in welcoming them each to their second term.

Local and county elections matter.  In fact, on a daily basis they have significantly more impact on our lives than national or state elections.  I implore you, please vote.  Bring a friend to the polls.  Encourage your neighbors and co-workers to vote.  And if anyone needs a ride to the polls, let me know.  Volunteers have already signed up to help get voters out on Election Day.

Supporting Local Businesses with Fun Raising

The Craft Beer Tasting & Pool Party was a big success thanks in large part to the generosity and hard work of our hostess County Legislator Catherine Borgia and several local businesses.  Supporting local businesses is a core value for my family.  It reinforces our goals for preserving our environment, growing our local economy, rewarding ingenuity & customer service, and just old-fashioned looking out for your neighbor.  Some of the local business that directly supported this event were:

The Mike Risko Music School    Sterling Sweets   Charms by Amy  and  The Pastures Grass-Fed Free Range Beef  (at the Ossining Farmers Market)

Bill Hanauer brings such passion to his work as Mayor of Ossining.
Catherine Borgia was such a generous hostess. She’s a fantastic cook and throws a great party. One more terrific reason to become active with the Ossining Democratic Committee!
Life-size lawn signs will be ready in October. Will you post one at your Ossining home? Send me a message below if you can!

David Carlucci made at least four trips across the Tappan Zee on that Saturday. He’s working hard to get to know the Ossining voters he seeks to represent now that his NYS Senate district includes Rockland and Ossining.

I’m not sure what Sandy Galef and I found so hilarious, but I love this picture. She takes her role as public servant seriously, but is joyfully light-hearted about the rest of life.

Ossining is Energized!

Even before last night’s official Energize Ossining Community Launch took place at the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center, word of the program had gotten out and Ossining was setting records for the highest number of residents signing up on an Energize website in a single day.  Claims that for $0 out-of-pocket a homeowner can improve their property, reduce their energy costs, and save money were too good miss out on.  So last evening a bunch of Ossining homeowners gathered in the multi-purpose room at the Community Center to find out how Energize Ossining can work for them.

Ossining Village Trustee John Codman and Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia spoke early in the evening to share their experiences from Saturday, March 3 when they each had a Building Performance Institute (BPI) accredited contractor perform a comprehensive energy efficiency assessment on their homes.  Catherine compared her assessment lead by BPI contractor Franzoso to the walk through that she did a few years ago with her utility company.  She was very impressed by the depth of information she gained from Franzoso and stressed the value of learning what unique improvements can be done for each individual home.  John Codman hired Tom from Bright Home as his BPI contractor, and spoke about the scientific approach used to measure the airflow of his house, “Basically he [Tom] took [infrared] pictures all around my house, and you can see the gradients of yellow, red, to blue—which is the coldest part.  And there was lots of blue in my home.”

Tom from Bright Home setting up his tools to measure the air flow through John Codman's house

To prepare for the assessment, John and Catherine each completed a one-page application, sent it to Albany, and hired a contractor trained in building science and accredited by BPI.  The entire assessment takes about 3 hours, and costs $0 for nearly all Ossining homeowners.  At the end of the evening every homeowner that attended last night’s meeting stayed to ask more questions; brought home an Energize application; and some folks even hired the contractor from Healthy Home who had attended the presentation along with homeowners.

The special guest speaker was nationally recognized home energy expert Dick Kornbluth.  Dick explained the building science that is the foundation of the comprehensive energy efficiency assessments.  Your home is a system that can be scientifically measured with knowledge of how air flows through your house, as well as the mechanical appliances operating in your home and the lifestyle of the people and pets living there.

Across Northern Westchester, homes make up 50% of all the energy used.  The Energize program was born out of a desire to reduce that impact.  It was piloted in Bedford.  And when the opportunity arose for Energize to expand to other communities in the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium (NWEAC), of which both the Town and Village of Ossining are charter members, Ossining was ready.  Our political, municipal and community leaders jumped at the chance to reduce our carbon footprint one house at a time, making Ossining the first community to launch an Energize program beyond the pilot.  Energize Ossining is a collaboration of both the Town and Village, coordinated by volunteers from Green Ossining, the Village Environmental Advisory Council and the Town Environmental Advisory Committee.

The average home in NYS loses 30% of its energy through hidden holes in the house.  Some Ossining homeowners signed-up on EnergizeOssining.org because they want to be kinder to the environment; some want to feel more comfortable in their homes; and others just want to save money.  Whatever the motivation, the result is a home that functions more efficiently with immediate and long-term energy savings.  And that means more money for Ossining residents to spend on something more fun than an outrageous oil bill.

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