theLoop asked Westchester County Legislature 7th District candidates (in alphabetical order) Democrat Catherine Parker and Republican John Verni to give us the TOP THREE reasons we should vote for either one of them.
Their responses are here:
Catherine Parker has been a member of the Rye City Council for six years, and owns Parkers, a store in downtown Rye:
The Three Most Important Reasons Voters in the 7th District Should Vote for Me
1. I have a Proven Record of Experience Tackling the Issues that are Meaningful to Us
Most of us probably agree, our property taxes are a burden many cannot sustain. Though escalating healthcare costs and pension contributions make it very difficult to keep taxes down, I have a record of supporting budgets well below the 2% tax cap.
Flooding is a huge threat to our sound shore, and the damage to our communities caused by flooding is enormous both in cost and emotional stress. To build our sluice gate, we partnered with our neighboring town, the county, the state, and federal governments. The county is poised perfectly to play a greater role in flood mitigation, both financially and by sharing expertise and manpower.
Our environment is a precious resource, and clean water, air, and a reduction in CO2 emissions must be a priority. I have passed much legislation during my six years as an elected official that served to benefit our environment. The NY League of Conservation Voters has endorsed me.
2. I will Reflect our Social Values and Stand Up for Women
Women’s reproductive rights have been under threat during the current administration. I will support the Clinic Access Bill.
I will support a permanent ban of gun shows at the County Center.
3. I Will Work Across the Aisle to do what is Right for My Constituents
I have demonstrated an ability to look at an issue not through a partisan lens, but just to see it for its own merits. While, my opponent points to his example of working with both a Democratic and then a Republican Mayor to build his train station, he had a clear financial interest. My sense of duty and responsibility to the voter is the only motivation for me. I would be honored if you would give me that chance to do right by you.
John Verni is a businessman and attorney. Verni is a Principal in the Club Car restaurant, and helped lead the renovation of the Mamaroneck Train Station for the restaurant. He served six years as an Assistant District Attorney.
The voters of the Sound Shore district should vote for me because I have the professional background, record of accomplishment and community involvement to address the most important issues facing our Sound Shore communities.
1) Taxes – The number one concern we hear throughout this district is the high level of taxes. Our young families and seniors are finding it hard to afford to live in our community. I believe we must find a better way to deliver the services we need at a cost we can afford.
As a businessman and redeveloper, I bought the old Mamaroneck Train Station from the MTA, which was an asset generating no income and converted it into a community asset generating $60,000 in property taxes. Through “smart growth”, I was able to take something that was generating nothing and turn it into a positive for our tax base.
Although my opponent touts her record of keeping taxes under the tax cap, which may be commendable, during her term on Rye City Council taxes have gone from $131.49 per thousand to $148.91 per thousand, which is still a 13.25% increase. The taxpayers of the Sound Shore are already taxed to the max. As a businessman, I will help the County find ways to cut expenses through shared services, energy service contracts, and reforms to our competitive bidding processes so our taxpayers are getting the services they need at the best price. Also through “smart growth” policies, like the train station project, we can generate new revenues and control taxes. If we follow this path, we can keep taxes in check and still provide help to those most in need.
2) Flooding and the Environment – Since the Mamaroneck train station is at “ground zero” for flooding in this district, no one knows the need to address flooding better than me. Flood mitigation will require both a regional effort that brings together the federal, state, county and local governments to address the high costs of such an effort, as well as more local efforts such as aquatic restoration projects.
Also, we need to upgrade our sewage and storm water infrastructure to avoid beach closings. Old and broken pipes, as well as illegal hook-ups, allow storm water to get into our sewage system and overload our sewage treatment plants. Upgrades are expenses, so the County should help the municipalities with the cost and performance of these upgrades to protect the environment.
I have the background in reconstruction and redevelopment to help the County coordinate these efforts at a reasonable cost to the taxpayers and for the protection of our environment.
3) “Right-sized development”, not “over development” – Several years ago, I joined with my neighbors to stop a large IKEA store proposed for our neighborhood. I support “right-sized”, transit-oriented development, but oppose “over- development”.
When large scale projects are proposed for our area, we need someone with my expertise to help review them. One such project is “Sustainable Playland “.
It is no secret that Playland has been losing $3 – $5 million per year under County control. I like the “concept” of “Sustainable Playland” in which a local group brought together experts in the field to make Playland both economically and environmentally sustainable. My background in redevelopment, especially in historic preservation, makes me perfectly suited to help the County address the issues related to this project. Like all projects, this plan must be closely examined and go through the appropriate levels of review under our SEQRA laws. The County must balance the benefits of the Playland redevelopment with any negative impacts on the environment or the surrounding neighborhoods.
Another project that has been discussed but that I oppose is the large-scale residential development proposed at Hampshire Country Club. Given the problems with flooding that occur in that area, the limited access into that neighborhood, and proposals that I have heard discussed which are completely out of character for the neighborhood, I will use my expertise as a land use attorney and redeveloper to help address any out-of-scale development of the Hampshire Country Club site.
I am also passionate about historic preservation and have recently joined with my neighbors in an effort to save the DeLancey House, the former home of James Fenimore Cooper, on the Boston Post Road.
I am not a politician. I love the Sound Shore and want to protect our community and our environment. With my background, I will bring the experience of a businessman and the heart of a humanitarian to the Westchester County Board. I will fight to have the county government we need at a cost we can all afford, without balancing the books on the backs of those most in need.