Pound Ridge Candidate Leads Effort On Human Trafficking

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Ali Boak, Pound Ridge Democratic candidate for Town Supervisor (second from left) with Peter Harckham, County Board of Legislators; Phil Goldstein, Westchester County Social Services, and Steven Vandervelden, Westchester County DA's office.
Ali Boak, Pound Ridge Democratic candidate for Town Supervisor (second from left) with Peter Harckham, County Board of Legislators; Phil Goldstein, Westchester County Social Services, and Steven Vandervelden, Westchester County DA's office. Photo Credit: Contributed by Ali Boak
Ali Boak, second from right, meets Lisa Gharety Ogundimu from the Office of Children and Family Services, Madeline Hannan, IOFA Project Director, 
Lynn Baniak, Analyst OCFS, Tina Frundt, Founder of Courtney’s House, and Deanna Croce, Safe Horizons.
Ali Boak, second from right, meets Lisa Gharety Ogundimu from the Office of Children and Family Services, Madeline Hannan, IOFA Project Director, Lynn Baniak, Analyst OCFS, Tina Frundt, Founder of Courtney’s House, and Deanna Croce, Safe Horizons.

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. -- Pound Ridge Town Supervisor candidate Ali Boak is helping lead an effort to build awareness of human trafficking. 

The Democratic candidate is co-founder and president of the International Organization for Adolescents and as a "longtime advocate for adolescent health, she is an international expert on the issue of child trafficking," according to a press release. Boak is joining the New York State Office of Children and Family Services to "develop a blueprint to build awareness about human trafficking," according to the release.

"She has been integral in developing a strategic, statewide response called ChildRight: New York," representatives said in the release. "The program provides crucial training to police and social workers in five counties—including Westchester—who may come into contact with trafficked children. These child welfare workers play a huge role in identifying sex and labor trafficking, and in getting children who are victims the help they need." 

Boak said she was looking forward to working with the state in the release.

“I’m thrilled that New York State is setting an example for other states by developing this response to identify trafficked children,” Boak said in the release. “ChildRight: New York will help service providers who come to their rescue by assisting and supporting these vulnerable youth.”

Ali Boak, Pound Ridge Democratic candidate for Town Supervisor (second from left) with Peter Harckham, County Board of Legislators; Phil Goldstein, Westchester County Social Services, and Steven Vandervelden, Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, Organized Crime Bureau.

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I ditto the comments about this article identifying Ms Boak as a candidate if this is not an endorsement. I have sat through ... and heard from others who also have sat through... town board meetings. Ms. Boak is often unprepared or admits to not having read the info before the meeting.... another Nancy Pelosi who says let's vote then we'll find out what it's about??!?

"Lilli", with all due respect, I don't think you understand why Ms. Boak has people who play by the rules up in arms over her behavior. Let me put it bluntly: she is unethical. The FIRST thing the people of Pound Ridge (or any other town in this country) should expect from their supervisor is . Nothing else matters if you don't have integrity.

Is it ethical to lead a local charity while running for town supervisor? No. The ethics board in THIS TOWN told her as much! She got 'free advice' on this exact conflict... and decided to ignore that advice. The PR Partnership has been a political front for her from day 1. A way to get her name out there. It's not even up for debate. People have quit the PRP b/c they've said "it's getting too political."

Is it ethical to have the PR Democrats be a sponsor of Harvest Fest? No, it is not. Is it ethical to send campaign flyers around with 3 year old photos of Conant Hall and the Library to fool voters into thinking this is a shantytown with dilapidated buildings? No, it is not. Is it ethical to publicly oppose Pete Avellino's plans for a 2014 'Go Green Day' in Pound Ridge at a town board meeting in June, only to then steal his presentation and pass it off as your own environmental plan on your campaign website 4 months later? Certainly is not! Is it ethical to meet with the head of the PR theater company on behalf of the town board over the scheduling of Conant Hall and then (allegedly), in the same meeting, broach him about the Partnership buying a block of tickets for resale as a fund raiser? No, it isn't. Is it ethical to elbow your way into the elementary school to start a 5th grade student government when you're running for town supervisor? And then use that on your resume as a qualifier for that position? No and no. Is it ethical to collect thousands of dollars for new streetlamps you claim we need (as a PRP agent), tell everyone that you're going to do this with private donations and then attempt to fund the whole project through a federal reimbursement program (as a town board agent) under the guise of "safety?" Nope.

And how about her pet charity? Have you seen the books on this IOFA? I have... yikes! As of the latest filings available they spent less than 10% on programs and were in the hole, yet she stated in a recent Housing Board Meeting that "with her masters degree from an Ivy League School and a small salary of $70,000 from her not for profit she qualifies for affordable housing in Pound Ridge." Ummm... she actually said this. The Directors (her husband is one) loaned IOFA 40 some odd thousand dollars to keep it afloat while she continues to collect a salary? What is the point in that? Why not just cut the salary? Does she need the money?

Lastly, it is completely untrue that she recuses herself at town board meetings when it comes to the PR Partnership. I was at a different one than Ms. McDermott was where Ali once again did not recuse herself – which then prompted one of our residents sitting in the audience to speak out and force her hand. She left in a huff, not graciously.

The biggest problem here is that when you examine the whole body of work, it all reeks of self-promotion. Many people do charity work and volunteer locally with absolutely no fanfare. They seek nothing other than to help others. That is their reward. Not for Ms. Boak, though. She is always on the hunt for votes and political gain --and it's so transparent. I am legitimately shocked that she has no advisers around her who tell her to cut the BS.

So, you are incorrect in your charge that this is some sort of character assassination. This is the truth. This is what's happening. Please, open your eyes.

You are defending the indefensible, Lilli.

The voters deserve someone as supervisor who wakes up each morning determined to do what's best for Pound Ridge each day, rather than what's best for them. And that person is out there --and ready to lead.

@PR Integrity, thank you so much for saying what so desperately needed to be said.

I do not think anyone is bashing MS Boak personally. They should be bashing the Dem campaign manager/advisors, however. When you hear about her every waking move - 'Dem candidate tied her shoe', 'candidate drove past a dirty dumpster', 'PR Dem candidate holding a yoga class for xxx', 'Candidate spearheading human trafficking', 'Dem candidate vows to end light pollution in PR', etc. -- it kind of makes one suspect of focus and her take on reality. I have not read a thing about how she will help with the PR infrastructure, or a plan for waste water removal - which is a core component to adding business in town. It is THE ISSUE. Flower baskets and pretty streets are far more romantic to discuss than waste water, and deer management, I fully agree. But the latter are real, and the ‘sexy’ stuff is a want more than a need. Most important, is why have we not heard why she voted on a $1.85 project before fully understanding all details and long term cost implications? Anyone that voted on this expensive project without proper understanding should be relieved from their job, period - Let alone, trying to run for supervisor. Maybe $2 million is not a lot of money to them, but it is to me. Ali seems to do a lot of good out there, and has a great heart, from what I read. But, I do not feel she, nor the rest of the Democratic ticket will be good for Pound Ridge. BTW, she is a candidate for public office, so she can stomach a little criticism. Ask Sarah or Hillary.

To McDermott 1
Yes, at every town board meeting I have attended Boak has graciously recused herself on the PR Partnership and Green Streets discussion.

Thank you. I hope that the recusal also includes not voting on PRP and Green Streets issues? I have to admit I have been to only one meeting recently and Ms. Boak did NOT recuse herself. It pertained to the TEP reimbursement program, and many members of the PRP and Green Streets were there. The representatives from the Partnership actually promised a large sum of money toward the project if it is funded. I thought that was the entire goal of Green Streets from the start. Now it could fall on all taxpayers. At this meeting, not only did Ms Boak NOT RECUSE herself, but she took tours of the town with the President of the PR Partnership and the consultant that the town was paying for. Her name is on the letterhead of the letter to our current Town Supervisor lobbying for support of the TEP reimbursement program. According to town code of ethics (http://ecode360.com/6832396) this is a violation, Town Board members should know the town code inside and out regardless of months of service. Do you agree? These actions are unethical and simply not the kind of government we should have in Pound Ridge. Furthermore, they are jeopardizing the Partnership's charity status and integrity as well. The Partnership has done some good, and is now looking like something created however just as part of the political plan of Ms. Boak.

From the PR Town Code of Ethics, Conflicts of Interest: note in particular "D"

A. No Town officer or employee shall participate in the consideration of, vote on or administer a matter in which he has or will have an interest. Editor's Note: For standards constituting "an interest," see § 74 of the Public Officers Law.

B. No Town officer or employee shall engage in a business transaction or have an interest, direct or indirect, including any arising from a close personal, family, business or professional relationship which is prohibited by Article 18 of the General Municipal Law.

C. Every Town officer and employee shall publicly disclose in writing to the Town Board any actual or prospective interest he has in any legislation before the Town Board or in any other matter before any Town agency, as soon as he has knowledge of such actual or prospective interest. Every such written disclosure shall be made part of and be set forth in the official record of the proceedings of the Town Board. Every Town officer and employee shall also publicly disclose any actual or prospective conflict of interest (including without limitation any which arises from a present or prior relationship with a person or entity which seeks to do business with the Town or is affected by actions of any Town agency, officer or employee), to the extent required by § 803 of Article 18 of the General Municipal Law.

D. No Town officer or employee shall represent any private interest, person or entity (other than himself) before any Town agency or court or in any transaction with the Town or an agency thereof.

apologies for repeated post

I could not help but respond to Demsrgr8t's previous "hokey" comment. In terms of the title of this article, maybe you'll see something hokey in that too. If the word "candidate" needs to be part of this story, it may imply Ms. Boak is putting IOFA at risk for being politically affiliated with her slate. On the other hand, "Leads Effort On Human Trafficking" also implies something totally inappropriate. Maybe "on" should have been "against"? If the local Dems had anything to do with providing the facts for this story to the Daily Voice, they really should not be our elected officials after all.

To your last statement KS1, this news release IS provided by the PR Dems. You will also see that the photo credit goes to Ms. Boak. The articles here are typically one day later than those posted on the Bedford Patch. The patch clearly states it is material provided by a community source. These are press releases written solely by and for the candidate(s) in them. This was also confirmed for me by Tom Renner who is the editor of the PR DV.

it seems that everyone on here just wants to rip Ali Boak apart....
I think if you read this article you would see that it was NY State Child services along with IOFA and they are teaching first responders and social workers to detect this happening right in Westchester, which is newsworthy. I think this is an important issue I did not see anywhere that PR Democrats was part of this. I think it is great that Boak brought an event to an area restaurant and aided the local economy. I bet realtruthin PR has not sat through a town board meeting or you would have heard all of the contributions Boak has made.

I admit I have never sat thru an official town board meeting, and never heard about her many contributions. However, I have sat thru a handful of meetings regarding security in PRES - with concerned parents, Chief Ryan and all PR board members - following the Newtown, CT tragedy. At the last meeting, while chief was presenting, MS Boak was texting half the time, or it sure seemed that way (I suppose I may be wrong, but I know when people are texting - I have a 20 year old step-daughter). I could not believe it. Chief is a more patient and forgiving man than I am. That put me off on where her head is at regarding important PR issues. Funny little thing - I vote on little character traits like that, as much as anything.

Lilli, no single board meeting highlights all of the great things any person does. 21 months, vs 3 terms (her opponents, not to mention all of the committees etc he has served on) do not make for comparable math. They still refer that as apples and organges I think.
Ali does a Lot of great things through her nonprofits. IOFA and the Pound Ridge partnership. An article like this however is putting the charitable status of IOFA at risk I think, since these organizations cannot be overtly political. It is this melding of causes that is troubling to this voter. IOFA will cease to be able to do any good for anyone if they lose their tax status because of press releases like this. That is what is unfortunate. I do not think anyone is trying to rip Ms Boak apart, she does good things. I do not personally feel, as an Independent, that they translate to the skills needed to run this town. I hope that she can continue this work she is doing if not elected to Town supervisor.

Lilli, you miss the larger point- the headline of the article says "Pound Ridge Candidate leads effort...." rather than "IOFA leads effort...". If she was looking to raise awareness on the issue (a noble cause) she would put the focus on the organization and its efforts, not on her candidacy. She has turned this into a pure political photo-op, which results in diminishing the importance of the issue. It makes her look like an opportunist rather than a crusader.

It's super hard to critique those who work to end human trafficking. Maybe that's why the PR Democratic committee chose to highlight this article since the candidate they support for supervisor lacks the substance to deliver the things that most of the town's people care about. How about water in Scott's Corner? How about finding ways to save money and reduce my taxes so I can still afford to live here rather than signing us up for HUD-like disasters? If she's so awesome, what has she contributed since she's been on the board? Ms Boak works for IOFA, no doubt a worthy cause, but every time I deliver something great at work I don't send a press release.

I am curious why the title of this article refers to the PR Candidate and not the President of IOFA (a paid position)? I assume this is content provided by the PR Dems campaign, as they are usually repeated from the Patch one day later.

This article is news worthy. It only proves how DEMS care more about certain issues than just saving a few bucks here and there. Vote DEM next month and Pound Ridge will be a much better place to live.

Ms Boak sure has her hands in a lot of things out there. What it has to do with her run as PR supervisor is curious, however. I fear if elected, the supervisor title will be just another hobby and resume filler for her. I have never seen an individual more focused on self-promotion. Trafficking, yoga, lamp posts, dumpsters, 'don't kill deer' and every trivial article is posted with such importance. The trafficking issue may be very important in some places, but it still does not change the fact that she has no relevant or practical plan for running PR. Go raid a Flushing massage parlor and help some Korean teens. Or save some young Brazilians kids working in Rego Park. Law enforcement knows exactly where these places are right now. My guess is there are not many Croatian kids stuffed into any trunks driving thru Bedford and Pound Ridge. Trust me, I am not making light of this, but if it is so important to you then spend your time on something besides a photo op.

What a critical issue to Pound Ridge voters!
I see the Voice picked up the same article that ran in the Patch. Ali is second from the left? She looks a lot like Liz Ades then. Details schmeetails.
It's good to see this ethical train wreck barrelling down the tracks. Here's a trivia question: name the other PR politicians who have promoted themselves through a charity in the last 100 years. OK, that was a trick question --there aren't any.