October 26, 2012

Bob Castelli for 93rd Assembly district

In an era where the loudest voice often wins, the Castelli-Buchwald debate in The Record-Review office highlighted two thoughtful candidates, each of whom would bring strengths to the job.

Anyone who has attended a charitable event, parade or dedication has probably seen assemblyman Bob Castelli make an appearance. A full-time assemblyman, Mr. Castelli took office in a February 2010 special election. After this year’s redistricting, his seat has now been contorted and divided, with Bedford and Pound Ridge remaining a part of the district, along with North Salem, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, New Castle, North Castle, with the addition of Harrison and parts of White Plains.

Mr. Castelli’s advantages are his experience in the office, his long experience with the New York State Police, and an academic career as a professor at Pace University. He well understands the economics of our area’s government and, in the last two years, he has learned plenty more about the politics of Albany. Part of the “class” that brought in Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mr. Castelli is a Republican in a Democratic Assembly. He is also one of the heroes of bipartisanship in Albany, helping to usher in Tier VI pension reform, the 2 percent tax cap, addressing state environmental regulations and closing the gap on state mandates.

At the same time he has managed to fight for state support for health services, libraries and the arts as well as historic sites like the Homestead. He is familiar with the inequities of the school education formula, the consequences of the Triborough Amendment and Wicks Law, which drive up costs for towns and school districts. As a Republican in the Democratic Assembly, he has effectively represented the need for structural change and emboldened his colleagues to reshape long-term positions.

Mr. Buchwald is making his centerpiece in this race some of Mr. Castelli’s votes on social issues, and here, Mr. Castelli is vulnerable. We concur with Mr. Buchwald’s support of the marriage equality act, his call for more stringent gun control regulations, and his demand for a shutdown of Indian Point.

Mr. Castelli’s strength is his ability to raise divergent viewpoints and make a real difference in a strongly entrenched Democrat Assembly majority.

For the people of northern Westchester, and as a voice of state government reform in Albany, we urge a vote for Mr. Castelli.

A vote for Greg Ball

It was indicative last week that Greg Ball came to Pound Ridge last week an hour before his debate in The Record-Review offices with his opponent Justin Wagner. Mr. Ball was detouring to Pound Ridge in order to meet with Millie Mendelson, the Pound Ridge homeowner who is the victim of unexplained electricity spikes that she says makes her home unlivable. Mr. Ball was ready to take on NYSEG and the “foreign utility” that owns it, Iberdrola, and he wanted everyone to know about it.

We won’t say he’s mellowed, because he hasn’t, and Mr. Ball will still do just about anything within the law to win. But no one can deny that Mr. Ball puts his energies where his mouth is. We can’t think of any busier politician. And he chooses good causes, like Ms. Mendelson, a sole voice in the district fighting a big utility; helping win a $150,000 grant to improve breast cancer care at Hudson Valley Hospital Center; a Mother’s Day brunch, serving food to honor Gold Star Mothers; a $50,000 grant for the Putnam County Women’s Resource Center; health care screenings at district senior centers; legislation to fight puppy mills; creation of the “Women of Distinction Hall of Fame,” honoring district women of note; a push for a moratorium on hydrofracking, despite pressure from members of his own party; and holiday dinners for veterans in which he personally serves up the grub. Love him or hate him — and there are plenty of both — Greg Ball is passionate about the people of his district.

This year Mr. Ball is running for reelection in New York’s 40th district, challenged by Mr. Wagner, a Democrat from Croton. The district includes Pound Ridge, Lewisboro, North Salem, Somers, Mount Kisco, Yorktown, New Castle, Cortlandt, Mount Pleasant and Peekskill, along with parts of Putnam County.

Mr. Ball was an early adopter of the 2 percent property tax cap, and his support and vigor in promoting the cap when it was just a distant fantasy were influential in widespread bipartisan support. While the cap fails on many levels to address the needs of towns to supplant budgets and pay for burdensome mandates, Mr. Ball is a persuasive advocate of addressing those mandated by voting for the elimination of $287 million in shifts to localities and schools statewide. Last year, Mr. Ball and the New York State Senate restored almost $4 million in funding for schools in District 40.

In the wide-reaching discussion at The Record-Review, Mr. Wagner failed to articulate a strong alternative to Mr. Ball’s Albany policies, unable to show divergences on critical issues like hydrofracking, the tax cap or mandate relief. Mr. Wagner’s signature issues — faster work on the Tappan Zee, business tax incentives and the minimum wage measure — failed to lessen our enthusiasm for Mr. Ball. Even Mr. Wagner seemed somewhat awed by Mr. Ball’s charisma.

If Greg Ball can support Andrew Cuomo’s budget and policies, we can support Greg Ball. We endorse him for re-election in the 40th district.

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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