by Dave Zornow
Nyack, August 31 — Nyack’s two mayoral candidates met last night in the Nyack Center answering questions from the 100+ people in the audience covering issues including the health of downtown businesses, the village’s sometimes raucous night life and proposed Superblock redevelopment.
The evening included one dramatic moment when Nyack Mayor Richard Kavesh told the audience that in 2010 he had turned down an $11 million federal transportation grant for the village from Congressman Eliot Engel. Citing “environmental racism,” Kavesh said it was inappropriate to build a parking structure adjacent to Depew Manor apartments. Mayoral challenger Jen White responded saying the grant, submitted by Riverspace and the Village of Nyack, was not for a parking garage per se, but to study parking alternatives. “Everyone on the Village Board is on record as being opposed to building a parking garage next to Depew Manor,” she said. White criticized the mayor for turning down the money without first conferring with Nyack’s Village Board. “It’s never a good thing to turn down federal money,” White said. Although the grant didn’t specify that any structure needed to be built in a specific location, Kavesh contended the proposal stipulated that a parking garage be built next to Depew Manor. White countered that she had actually read the grant specifications. “It covered a lot more than a parking structure and included alternative parking solutions,” she said.
The two mayoral candidates and trustee candidates Doug Foster and Marie Lorenzini will respond to the question “What do you think should be done with the Superblock?” in the final edition of NyackNewsAndViews Issue Of The Week series on Monday, Sept 5.
Here are the closing statements from last night’s Candidate’s night from Nyack Mayor Richard Kavesh and Trustee Jen White:
Mayoral Candidate’s Night Closing Statement by Jen White
Just a few words on why I am running for Mayor. In the last two years, the world has changed. Powerful global, national and regional economic forces threaten to tear apart lives, families and communities. Recently, Mother Nature has shown herself to be a constant challenge to our best laid plans. The traditional role of Mayor in Nyack must change. I believe that I am uniquely qualified to perform the function of Mayor in this economically fluid and perilous time.
For decades, the job of mayor has entailed presiding over Board meetings, attending functions, legislating and, as our current mayor has often cited’€¦his favorite part of the job, marrying people.
Nyack can no longer afford to have that kind of mayor alone. The national government, the state government, the county government, everywhere you look, nothing is as it used to be. Money has evaporated; people are losing their homes, their businesses and their faith. Nyack is not exempt.
Just to tread water without drowning, local government is going to have to be smarter, more efficient, more creative and more dynamic. We have to do more with less or we risk losing what we love. Steering the village through this period is going to require an energetic and hands on approach. We cannot miss opportunities nor can we be asleep at the wheel.
I have a proven record of getting things done; of innovative thinking and a demonstrated commitment to our community through my work on the Nyack Parks Commission and as a Trustee. Nyack is a unique and wonderful place but we are going to have to fight hard to keep it that way. I believe that the kind of leadership I offer, the roll your sleeves up and get in the dirt approach, is the way we will survive.
I would ask you all for your vote; on September 13th and again on November 8th. We can get through tough times, but we have to do it together.
Mayoral Candidate’s Night Closing Statement by Richard Kavesh
Village government is the most important of all levels of government because it affects us all so directly. I’m running for re-election because helping others is the meaning of life and there’s nobody I’d rather help or work for than the people of Nyack, especially during these tough times.
During the past two years as your Mayor we’ve seen important improvements in the direction of our village: we’ve stabilized our finances; professionalized our management; renovated the downtown; and improved our infrastructure and website. I’ve established a culture at Village Hall that works for you, our customers.
But there’s still plenty more for us to do. Let’s modernize our infrastructure; when emergencies strike, let’s inform the public with our own Reverse 911 system. Let’s broaden our tax base through environmentally-sensitive development; work with the business community to form a Business Improvement District and get our night life under better control; and work with our state legislators to get residential parking permits.
Nyack’s Mayor needs to be equal parts listener, team-builder, executive, visionary, and problem-solver. I believe that I’ve demonstrated these qualities ‘€“ and a proven record of results — during my 20-plus year career as a business leader and during my 11 years as your Trustee and Mayor.
If re-elected, I promise to build on the progress we’ve already made and to work tirelessly to ensure that Nyack remains the best place in Rockland County to live, work, visit, and raise a family. Working for you will always be my top priority.
I would be honored to earn your vote on September 13th. When you go into the voting booth, ask yourself: ‘€œwho’s the most experienced, qualified, proven candidate to lead our village during these tough times?’€ In the end, though, this election isn’t about my opponent or me; it’s about all of us working together to make the village we all love even better. Let’s renew Nyack together.