Guest Column

The Campaign Has Reached a New Low

I am writing to Ilan Gilbert and Alice Roker with sincere disappointment and dismay.

Alice, I have known and worked with you for over 25 years. I have enjoyed our conversations and our collaboration on many town projects and town social events. Mr. Gilbert, I have also known you for decades as a fellow attorney, local judge and professional. When you obtained the endorsement of the Democratic Party, I believed that this campaign would be one focused on the issues. This is based upon your prior histories and what I believed was the mutual respect owed to those with whom you have worked and those of whom you shared friendship. In fact, I even congratulated you on having received your party’s endorsement.

My expressed disappointment at this time is based upon what now appears to be your collapse and assimilation into the truly ugly fringes of your party and your full collaboration with Susan Siegel, Melvyn Tanzman and newcomer Mark Lieberman.

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This week, you joined with Councilman Vishnu Patel to publish one of the lowest political attack ads ever witnessed in local politics. You joined in personally maligning my character having known me for over two decades. Rhetorically asking if Yorktown can “trust our current town board.” You do so referencing a headline of a column written by David McKay Wilson of the Journal News about an ethics complaint filed by Mark Lieberman, in conjunction with Susan Siegel, over the town board’s passage of the 485-B property tax abatement program. The 485-B program is designed to encourage and promote the much-needed rehabilitation and improvements to commercial and industrial properties (a program that already has produced local growth and revitalization of Yorktown’s commercial tax base). Both of you know full well that the ethics complaint was reviewed by the town’s ethics board and tossed out as having not a shred of merit. 

In your ad, you question the current town board’s trustworthiness while citing the headline about an ethics complaint filed by your own political collaborators that was dismissed long ago as not having merit. And you question our trustworthiness?

Furthermore, you tolerate the renewed harping of my past tax tardiness. My taxes are fully paid and have been for some time. There was a period of time when I had to divert my financial resources to provide care for members of my family. The reference to what was a difficult personal time for my entire family becomes particularly disheartening coming from the both of you who have had very similar crosses to bear in your own families. Perhaps you had the fortune of having better financial resources to weather your storms, but this does not make my hardships fair game for continued petty criticism.

The condescending, self-righteous indignation over a tardy tax payment is even more ironic when coming from a party claiming to have cornered the market on compassion. You claim that it is you who will treat others with respect and without contempt. If you want to be truly as transparent as you claim, you need to include a disclaimer and a caveat that such “respect” and compassion only applies to those of your choosing.

My disillusionment and visceral hurt is not that these petty matters are resurrected, but they are done so by the both of you. I expected more of you and I am sure that the town’s residents would as well. I never thought that you would join the chorus of Susan Siegel, Mark Lieberman and Melvyn Tanzman. I never thought you would join the chorus of those you had previously recognized as having never brought anything but criticism to the table.

Further, you claim that we are the partisan political party. This is remarkable given the fact that it was my administration that appointed current candidate for Yorktown justice, Aviah Cohen Pierson, to the Yorktown Ethics Board, and myself and Sen. Terrence Murphy who moved to appoint Mr. Gilbert to the vacant seat on the town board caused by Dave Paganelli becoming the highway superintendent. In fact, it was your current running mate, Vishnu Patel, who voted to keep Mr. Gilbert off the board.

Lastly, citing Siegel’s most recent frivolous complaint completes your departure from the reasonable. In your misplaced zeal you have betrayed your friends and joined the ranks of those you once held in contempt all for political gain. 

Next time you ask Yorktown: “Who can you trust?” perhaps a bit of self-examination would be in order. We have not run a negative campaign against you and will continue to focus on our successful record and vision for Yorktown.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

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