October 25, 2013

Meredith Black, Mary Kass for Bedford board

In the midst of the some of the most partisan national politics in our history, it is refreshing to step into an arena in which labels just don’t mean a lot. Bedford town board candidate Francis Corcoran calls himself a socially liberal, fiscally conservative Republican. Meredith Black describes the issues that come before the town as nonpartisan. Julie Vulpescu acknowledges that party labels “broadcast something about how you think about certain things,” but at the same time, she also describes herself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Candidate Mary Beth Kass is more blunt: “It’s not about partisan politics at the local level; it’s about doing what’s best for our town.”

The noblesse oblige in Bedford extends so far that Bedford’s Democrats refrained from yard signs in the election, a move that probably will win them more than a few votes from disgruntled lovers of natural scenery.

All this is to say that each of this year’s town board candidates possesses the experience, drive and dignity to serve effectively on Bedford’s town board. There are no slackers in this lot, and in making our choice, we are well aware that each brings unique strengths to the table.

As a member of the zoning board, Meredith Black, although only a four-year resident, shows a grasp of the issues and a creative problem-solving approach, which included a proposal that the planning and zoning boards hold joint meetings to help cut down on time spent by applicants. As a land use attorney, her skills and input will be valuable on the board in a town where property issues matter. In candidate interviews, she said she wants to expand town government’s community outreach, consider consolidation of townwide services and “see the long-term vision of Bedford really continue to thrive and develop into something where everybody can feel as though their interests are balanced and included.”

Ms. Kass has already demonstrated her strengths in her work with Bedford 2020 and Energize Bedford, two extraordinarily successful programs that rely on know-how, outreach and hard work. She pledges to hold tight to the state tax cap “unless there was a really good reason” to exceed it and says she is in favor of studying the possibility of property revaluation. As a member of the town board, Ms. Kass would have only a slight learning curve; she is already well up to speed on issues of sewerage, septics and stormwater management, the three “S’s” of local government and the issues that will undoubtedly drive much of the town’s policy for the next four years.

Ironically, we are endorsing the two candidates who faced each other in a primary challenge in the courts over the Independence party endorsement. Politics — you just can’t get away from them.

De Palma, Paschkes for Pound Ridge board

Earlier this month, candidates for the Pound Ridge Town Board came to the Record-Review offices. They include Sherene De Palma and Dan Paschkes, running as Democrats, and Bonnie Schwartz and Peter Avellino, running as Republicans. The four are vying for two board seats. Mr. Paschkes is currently a member of the board.

Mr. Paschkes and Ms. De Palma represent the best that Pound Ridge has to offer. Ms. De Palma has proved a star at recent debates, including a meeting at The Record-Review offices and at Tuesday night’s League of Women Voters of Northern Westchester candidate’s forum held at the Schaffner Room at the library. She articulated her positions on the transportation enhancement program to bring state funds to Scotts Corners to provide safety and beautification; and she presents a knowledgeable, reasonable voice in complying with the federal housing settlement. Her financial background, as a small business owner who holds an MBA, will be particularly useful as the town works to keep budgets within the state’s 2 1/2 percent tax cap without reducing services. “My skills lend themselves to the town council role,” she said in an interview. “I have the ability to get up to speed on complex issues, and I can see problems before they arrive and bring people to consensus when there is high conflict on issues.”

Mr. Paschkes can point to a solid record of volunteerism and public service. He initiated the rehabilitation of Sachs Park, and he plays a role in the town’s environmental and fiscal management. His contributions include work on the comprehensive plan, the steep slopes ordinance, the environmentally sensitive lands ordinance and the Office of Emergency Management plan. He helped bring affordable housing to Scotts Corners and provides a much-needed voice as the town addresses the county’s settlement requirements.

A 12-year member of the ambulance corps and a 10-year Lions Club member, Mr. Paschkes understands the infrastructure needs of our community.

Our endorsement does not come at the expense of Mr. Avellino and Ms. Schwartz, who stand on strong records of volunteerism and community service, and would no doubt prove to be fine board members if elected.

But the combination of strong track records, volunteerism, commitment to the environment, fiscal responsibility and a shared vision of preserving the semi-rural character of Pound Ridge lead us to recommend a vote for Ms. De Palma and Mr. Paschkes.

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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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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