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Pound Ridge Letter: Democrats More Ready To Run Town

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. -- The Pound Ridge Daily Voice accepts original, signed letters to the editor. Send your letter to poundridge@dailyvoice.com.

I wasn’t happy when the Democrats in our community kept stealing the “Romney” signs from my front lawn during the last presidential election and I was equally unhappy during the recent government shutdown, so I have no real party allegiance either way.

However, anyone who attended the candidate’s debate at the Pound Ridge Library on Tuesday evening could not help but notice the stark disparity between the two party slates that we are choosing from in our local races. Anyone who thinks the Democrats did not clearly win on almost every point was either asleep or too engulfed in their own agendas to be objective.

Dick Lyman’s opening statement made mention of how he has held virtually every position in town government for more than 30 years of public service, and no one should disagree he has been effective in this capacity and his service is truly appreciated by all Pound Ridge residents.

But when he continued to state that now it’s his turn to be supervisor he sounded pompous, elitist and entitled. To then proceed further to describe how he has carried buckets of water for every politician and subcommittee board member during that same time period and that now it was his turn to fill those same buckets and to now have other people do the heavy lifting for him was nothing short of offensive to me and indicative of what can only be foretold as a potentially difficult working environment for any future board member, regardless of party affiliations. Basically it’s his way or the highway.

During the debate when asked about the community center failures and the pool house renovation cost overruns he justified his prior actions as a town board member by essentially throwing the recreation commission under the bus, implying the town board has no control over them. If that’s the case, then something has to change.

In contrast, Ali Boak spoke about the lack of pre-planning and coordination that brought the town to the brink of nearly having the pool shut down by the health department over what can only be described as benign neglect. In the justification of the pool house cost overruns Dick again was quick to blame others, such as architect James Best for some of the problems. Ultimately his solution was to suggest we still can utilize the original design drawings for the community center, implying that taxpayer money was not wasted, and to again put the matter to a vote, to have another ballot referendum and ask the people of Pound Ridge to approve the $6 million budget that this project will now apparently cost. So much for taking any sort of responsibility; so much for coming up with a new creative idea and so much for the $300,000 we just spent on the pool house.

On the undercard were the candidates for town board and here is where the Democrats totally outshone the Republicans. In my opinion, Sherene DePalma was the standout performer and Dan Pashkas would be a returning board member with in depth and valuable knowledge of how the town government operates internally. The two Republican candidates are newcomers to the political arena and were completely overmatched both in their stated qualifications for being suitable for elected office and in their answers to very critical questions. The Democrats expressed a vision that include maintaining the bucolic character of our town and spoke articulately and enthusiastically while the Republicans seemed to stumble along and parrot the answers of the other debaters. It was not a good night for them.

This coming election will undoubtedly impact our community’s decision making capabilities at a vulnerable time in the history of Pound Ridge and the election results may very well hinge on the turnout of independent voters. To paraphrase the opening comments of Peter Avellino, he and his Republican teammates were completely “unprepared” to discuss the issues at hand while conversely the Democrats seemed ready, willing and able to confront the challenges facing our community.

Oscar Farrell

An Independent Pound Ridge Voter

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