Closing Arguments — 2017 Nyack Trustee Candidate Joe Carlin
My name is Joe Carlin. I am 62 years old, and over the course of my adult life I have, among other things, served as Team Leader in an Anti-Terror combat unit, studied Economics, was a farm manager, got an accounting license and I run my own successful small business. I am married to a wonderful wife, have 4 kids, 2 grandchildren and 2 cats.
After years of attending many village meetings and seeing how government operates here, I think we’re on the wrong track in many areas. While I believe the Nyack Village Board has done good, even great things, there are areas where we can do better. That’s why I have been a vocal activist speaking out about matters I’m concerned about and why I would now like to serve you as Trustee.
Village government should serve the people and not the other way around. It should be easy to get accurate and timely information, and for residents to be able to participate in local government. Quality of life and environmental issues have not been adequately addressed. Village management and operations need to improve. Affordable housing options should be a priority. And the list goes on.
I have many ideas for how our Village Board can better serve our wonderful community. Here are a few of them –
Village Government – We need to make it more open, transparent, and responsive to the residents. Village residents should be able to call the Village Hall and be able to speak to someone, or at the very least get their messages returned promptly. Any resident should be able to listen and view board meetings without being physically present in the board room by live steaming the meetings, and not have to tear their hair out navigating our user-Unfriendly website.
Quality of Life issues – We need to revamp our parking policies for the benefit of residents and downtown businesses alike; we need to do more to stop speeding and improve pedestrian safety with radar speed signs and better crosswalk signage; The new Shared Usage Path over the new TZ Bridge will markedly increase the number of cyclists to our Village – so how about a single-file ordinance for cyclists that will provide a safe, share-the-road environment on our village streets?
Environmental issues – We need easier access to recycling household batteries and plastic bags – how about placing collection bins at Village Hall and the DPW? And it’s about time that the Village Board enact a seasonal leaf blower ordinance to reduce noise and pollution. We are supposed to be a green village – and the Village Board should lead the way.
And of course, the development issue. I am all for smart, sensible, and manageable development so that Nyack can move forward while strengthening our quality of life. However that is not what is happening due to the policies that have been put in place the last several years by our Village Board. I would like to work with my fellow trustees to examine our zoning laws that have been changed, and tighten them up to prevent unintended consequences and overdevelopment. We should designate certain areas as Historic Districts. I think we should implement a Full Disclosure Law, like Andy Stewart has proposed for Orangetown, forcing LLC’s to reveal the people hiding behind the corporate veil. And I would work to strengthen the Building Department’s ability to enforce our zoning codes.
The Village Board seems to believe that development equals prosperity, while at the same time paying only lip service to the Village’s historic character, architectural heritage, diversity, and charm. While progress is fine and necessary, without protecting these unique characteristics, we will become just another non-descript, run-of-the-mill place like countless others in NY and NJ.
I am not saying that we don’t need or want new people in the Village (we do) – but at what cost? We can’t continue with zoning laws designed to attract development without fully understanding the impacts and potential unintended consequences.
This is a classic Catch-22 scenario – some say that we need to build and develop the Village to attract new residents and visitors, but if the result is the loss of our charming old buildings and an increase in traffic and congestion, visitors and residents will no longer be drawn here- at least not for the qualities we all enjoy now. There has to be a better way.
If elected, I promise to be an activist trustee, working with the mayor, my fellow trustees and the public to solve problems and move our village forward, and at the same time be a questioning voice that I think we need on our board.
The village’s motto is “Art and Soul on the Hudson” – I am running for trustee because I fear that we are in danger of losing that “soul”. If you feel that way too, please vote for me on Tuesday, Sept. 12 on Row A Column 6 (6A) so I may have the honor of working for you and this village we all love.
Joe Carlin’s campaign website is JoeCarlinForNyackTrustee.com.
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