October 19, 2012

Judgment call

Starting this week, The Record-Review is presenting candidate interviews for local office, including the 93rd District Assembly race between David Buchwald and Bob Castelli; the 37th District, with Bob Cohen and George Latimer; the 40th District State Senate race, featuring Greg Ball and Justin Wagner; and the 18th Congressional District, with Nan Hayworth challenged by Sean Patrick Maloney. Endorsements will begin in this space next week.

Traditionally, the Record-Review does not endorse candidates for town or county judge elections. This year we’re not going to do so either, for a few reasons.

The Judicial Campaign Ethics Handbook limits the topics and tactics that a candidate may use to promote his campaign, which hinders an objective policy analysis. Sitting judges are limited to seeking endorsements, but can’t discuss issues or cases. All candidates may answer questionnaires, but the questions must not seek to “elicit a pledge, promise or commitment inconsistent with the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of the office.” And, perhaps most compelling, in the words of Sinclair Lewis, “you don’t make enemies of judges, you may need them some day.”

That doesn’t mean we won’t be closely watching the judge race on Nov. 6 to fill the unexpired term of Kevin Quaranta, who died this summer. David Menken, who lost a similar election in 2009 to Erik Jacobsen, is returning as the Democratic candidate. Mr. Menken was challenged in that primary by Bedford’s Todd Gabor, a Democrat who has accepted the Republican nomination for judge.

In Bedford, judge races never seem to be easy. In 2009, the Independence Party primary was marred by voting machine snafus that brought it to a county legal battle. The candidates returned to court following an election so close that a recount was called for, which was decided by a mere 39 votes.

This year, Todd Gabor is a Bedford resident with 27 years experience as a litigator in district, civil, supreme and local courts. He has decided cases for 16 years as a court-appointed arbitrator.

Bedford’s David Menken has practiced law for 30 years, appearing in federal, state and local courts. He is a partner at McCarthy Fingar, one of the premier firms in Westchester County. He formerly served as Mount Kisco Village Attorney and as a member of the Mount Kisco Board of Ethics.

As in 2009, this year’s race has some compelling features:

• A rematch of the 2009 Democratic primary rivals, Mr. Gabor and Mr. Menken, at the ballot box.

• Mr. Gabor, a Democrat running as a Republican, with the full support and backing of Bedford’s Republican Town Committee.

• A dispute between the Town of Bedford and the Westchester County Board of Elections, seeking to determine whether the length of the term will be three years before the next vote in 2015, or four years, in 2016. Last week, a judge in White Plains decided against the town, determining that the term must run a full four years, beginning on Jan. 1 and running through 2016.

• The shadow of Mr. Quaranta, beloved family man, esteemed resident and charismatic political leader.

• Presidential politics: Bedford, once a Republican stronghold, is now a town where Democrats outnumber Republicans. But will the judge race be strictly partisan, or will a pull one way or another to Obama or Romney influence the outcome?

Bedford is lucky to have two qualified candidates running for judge. It is a measure of the civic concern and dedication of both men that they are vying for this important town role. We urge voters to familiarize themselves with the candidates and turn out to vote on Nov. 6.

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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