October 4, 2013

Notes from the campaign trail

For how long have we heard that national and local politics are two distinct and separate entities? With such gridlock in Washington that a government shutdown is imminent, it’s getting harder and harder to believe. Democrats are Democrats and Republicans are Republicans. Along with the effects on the federal government, Tuesday’s shutdown will have undeniable impact on our local elections, only one month away. And candidates may or may not be happy to identify with their national leaders.

It is hard to imagine most New York Republicans getting wildly enthusiastic about Rand Paul of Kentucky, Steve King of Indiana or Ted Cruz, Louis Gohmert and Pete Sessions, each of Texas and superstars of the Republican right, who are being applauded for their efforts to tie the running of the government to the health care law. But we would be naive to think that everybody in our region is opposed to the government shutdown. A few weeks ago, State Senator Greg Ball, who represents Pound Ridge as well as parts of Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties in the 40th District, praised the Texas way of doing things as he urged opening New York state to oil drilling. “Texas offers a model that can help turn things around,” he wrote. Other New York Republicans have already sent emails lashing out at Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, among them Ian Prior, Northeast National Press Secretary for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Mr. Maloney is “working for Nancy Pelosi,” writes Mr. Prior, “and if Pelosi says shut down the government unless we get 100 percent of what she wants, Maloney proved that he is with her all the way.”

Last week, Mr. Maloney labeled the shutdown a Republican gambit “from a group of extremists in the House of Representatives who just want a fight rather than to fix people’s problems.”

Already the government shutdown has surfaced in the election for county executive. Democratic candidate Noam Bramson called incumbent Rob Astorino an “ideological clone of House Republicans. Just like House Republicans, Astorino has pursued a right-wing Tea Party agenda that has harmed Westchester’s families,” Mr. Bramson said.

A mailer received this week from Rob Astorino does not mention his party affiliation, and he is described as a "bipartisan leader for a healthy and balanced Westchester."

This week The Record-Review began the process of interviewing local candidates. We’re inclined to believe that local candidates, most of whom are not professional politicians, should not be held to a national standard. Yet the national scene invariably rears its partisan head, even in quiet towns like Bedford and Pound Ridge. We feel badly that the candidates that could be affected the most are independent-minded Republicans concerned about local issues, not the Tea Party’s position on health care.

We’ll be publishing their debates and conversations in the weeks to come. Whether they’ll be sucked into the political maelstrom of Washington, D.C., or they’ll be judged on their local platforms remains to be seen.

Will they miss the signs?

This year, a grand experiment of sorts begins as the Bedford Democrats launch their “sign-less” campaign. This will either be hailed as a master stroke or a massive folly as the season gets into high gear.

Bedford’s Democratic candidates for the five town positions up for election are trying out a strategy of using no campaign signs this season.

According to the town code, signage for elections cannot be put up until one month before the election — in this case, Oct. 5. The Republican response to the Democrats’ nonsignage will begin this week.

The Democrats stated that the party doesn’t want to add clutter along the roadsides of the town or to put up any signs that might block a driver’s vision. There are also environmental concerns, as the signs would need to be disposed of after the election. Supervisor candidate Chris Burdick said that some residents had advised the party not putting up signs could hurt the Democrats’ chances of winning.

Campaign signs are undeniably the target of many residents’ ire, who call them litter, eyesores or worse. And it is true that the hedgerows of signs at nearly every intersection can truly mar the landscape. But whether they are effective at pulling in votes and establishing name recognition remains to be seen. We’ve heard some voters say they’ll vote for the “people without the signs,” but that is predicated on an informed electorate with both party and candidate loyalty.

Whether or not Bedford’s Republicans will see this as an opportunity to flood the landscape — and streetscape — with campaign signs remain to be seen. Or not.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York



Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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