Port Chester Democrats and Republicans are now pursuing the same strategy in the March election for six trustee seats: each party will support three nominees and a mayoral candidate in a bid for a 4-3 majority on the village board.
Republicans had four nominees after their caucus Tuesday night, but newcomer Jing Xie withdrew this morning to improve the slate’s chance at victory, the party said. Democrats nominated three candidates on Monday.
At least nine candidates are seeking a trustee seats. Gene Ceccarelli is making an independent run, and Conservatives plan to include Rico Dos Anjos and incumbent Bart Didden on their slates.
Following are press releases from the two parties. For information about the March election, the cumulative voting system for trustees and upcoming voter forums, follow the Port Chester Votes page.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 30, 2013
PORT CHESTER REPUBLICANS NOMINATE NEIL PAGANO FOR MAYOR
KENNER, FERRARA AND TERENZI FOR TRUSTEE
Jing Xie Declines Trustee Nomination Because “with Cumulative Voting GOP Has Better Chance of Winning with Three Candidates Instead of Four”
Port Chester, January 30, 2013 – Port Chester Republicans Tuesday night nominated a bi-partisan slate for the March Village elections including Neil Pagano for Mayor, Republicans San Terenzi and Joe Kenner for Trustee, and 20-year resident and registered Democrat Frank Ferrara for Trustee.
And in a decision to help insure their election, Trustee candidate Jing Xie, a finance and strategic planning professional at IBM also nominated in a filled banquet room at T&J Villagio Tratorria Tuesday evening, told Port Chester GOP Chairman Kenner Wednesday morning that he was withdrawing his nomination because “with cumulative voting in place, we will have a better chance of winning with three candidates versus four. I will continue to be involved in the campaign. Let’s all unite behind these terrific candidates!”
Citing Pagano’s accomplishments as IDA (Industrial Development Agency) Chairman these last four years, former Deputy Mayor, Port Chester IDA Vice Chairman and incumbent Trustee Joe Kenner said, “one can see progress and results at work” and began ticking off the successful deals Pagano delivered with the full confidence of his IDA board. It was the Restaurant Depot deal that created over 50 jobs – many of which went to Port Chester residents – and froze the assessment of the property for the next ten years, avoiding a potential $3 million valuation reduction. The deal also eliminated years of pending tax certioraris that would have had a negative impact on village and school budgets. The Kingsport Apartments IDA bond refinancing that Pagano negotiated brought $600,000 directly to the village that was later used to purchase open space near Edgewood Park and invest in needed technology improvements in the Building and Code Departments. Kenner also highlighted the task force that Pagano is leading with members of the Waterfront Commission to develop a revitalization plan for the Port Chester marina. Kenner stated, “Neil is a full time Port Chester businessman, serving in a part time role village role, but getting full time, exemplary results with his board for the people of Port Chester. I could not think of a better person with the resolve and intestinal fortitude to negotiate with a Starwood Capital or G&S. ”
(Editor’s Note: Starwood Capital is the developer behind the former United Hospital site; G&S is the developer of the waterfront complex that includes both COSTCO and AMC/Loew’s Theaters.)
Newcomer and registered Democrat Frank Ferrara, a twenty year resident and investment manager, told the group that “my party is tone deaf to the pain that the average hard working citizen of this village is suffering” and “so I contacted the Republican party and asked if they would welcome a fiscally minded Democrat into the fold to run as a unity candidate. If you’re not prepared to make the hard choices, you’re not fit to lead.”
Incumbent Trustee Saverio Terenzi stressed how he and Kenner kept their 2010 campaign promise to hold the line on spending and taxes. “We took $1.5 million out of the tax levy. Every budget since our election either reduced the tax levy or kept it level because of the decisions we made.” Terenzi also wants to focus on sensibly developing the United Hospital site and look for innovative ways to develop the downtown business area.
Kenner noted “the energy in the room” and the slate of “accomplished, focused and visionary” individuals nominated at the caucus. Kenner said that “this team wants to engage Starwood Capital because we owe it to the people of this village to collaborate with an investor who wants to invest $250 million in Port Chester.” Kenner also took aim at the village’s current code enforcement efforts and said to the public, “we hear you. We do not want a code enforcement program that seems to unfairly punish those who simply trusted a broken system, but we do want to punish those that threaten the health, welfare and safety of our residents. The system needs to be…and will be corrected.”
In his acceptance speech, Pagano said: “The public – and government – not only deserve an opportunity to make a change, they must have it if government is to remain healthy and functional.” Pagano proceeded to summarize the Republican platform focusing on:
• Holding the line on the “oppressive” taxes property owners are paying
• Developing a code enforcement program that will “do no harm to the good guys.”
• Seeking out “smart growth” development that adds the “right kind” of assessables to the tax base
• Developing a plan for the “underutilized, unmanaged, unproductive and unattractive” marina area
Pagano said that “if you climb in the saddle, you’d better be ready for the ride. Well ladies and gentlemen, all I have to say is, let’s ‘mount up’. We’ve got an election to win.”
At the Tuesday night meeting Republicans also nominated Jing Xie, a finance and strategic planning professional at IBM, who spoke to the group on similar themes of development and fiscal responsibility raised by the other candidates. But early Wednesday morning, Xie contacted Kenner and announced that after “careful consideration” he would decline the Republican nomination. Xie explained, “To the people of Port Chester, it was an honor to receive the GOP nomination for village trustee yesterday evening. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting more folks in the village and listening to some of their stories. It is a testament to the current PC GOP leadership of Joe Kenner and Michael Scarola that we were able to organize such a strong and diverse team of candidates. After more careful consideration and discussions with the team, I’ve decided to decline my candidacy in this year’s election. With cumulative voting in place, we will have a better chance of winning with three candidates versus. four. I will continue to be involved in the campaign. Let’s all unite behind these terrific candidates!”
Acknowledging Xie’s declination, Kenner said, “As the Chairman of the Port Chester Republican Party Committee, I regret that the people of Port Chester will not have the benefit of experiencing Jing Xie’s intelligence, energy and great vision for this Village in this race. But don’t think for a minute that this party is going to let a talented professional like Jing slip away. Last night the people saw in Jing all of the positive qualities that are sorely missing in our elected officials. He truly inspired the crowd and lifted our spirits. Jing is going to be an integral part of this campaign, and if I have anything to do with it, you have not seen the last of Jing Xie.”
PORT CHESTER DEMOCRATIC PARTY ANNOUNCES SLATE
FOR 2013 VILLAGE ELECTION
JANUARY 29, 2013
Port Chester, New York – Members of the Port Chester Democratic Party gathered on Monday, January 28 to select its slate of candidates for the 2013 Village elections. Hattie Adams chaired the nominating committee for the Democrats this year. According to Adams, “The committee unanimously endorsed Mayor Dennis Pilla, Deputy Mayor Luis Marino, and Trustee Daniel Brakewood for re-election to their positions. The committee also unanimously endorsed former Trustee Greg Adams to run for Trustee.”
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Adams noted that he is extremely excited to return to the board after narrowly losing his election bid in 2010 by a handful of votes. According to Adams, “I worked well with Mayor Pilla and Trustee Brakewood when we were together on the board. We managed the budget in a way that not only held the line on tax increases but also invested in quality of life programs needed by residents.” Mr. Adams served as Trustee from 2007 to 2010. He is a retired social worker who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. He is also an active member of the NAACP, and the Bethesda Baptist Church.
Deputy Mayor Luis Marino, who in 2010 became the first Hispanic ever elected to the Port Chester Board of Trustees, noted in his acceptance speech that the redevelopment of the former United Hospital site was going to be his top priority when he is re-elected. “I will never vote to approve 820 apartment units on that site,” Marino said. He also added, “I want to work with Starwood to come up with a realistic plan that is consistent with our newly adopted Master Plan.” Mr. Marino is an active Volunteer Firefighter, and served on several Village Boards and Commissions prior to his election to the Board of Trustees in 2010. Mr. Marino graduated from school in Lima, Peru and has been employed by the Scarsdale Union Free School District since 1984.
Trustee Daniel Brakewood, who was first elected to the Board of Trustees in 2006 and re-elected in 2010, served as Deputy Mayor in 2010. In his acceptance speech, Trustee Brakewood noted that Village Democrats have not held the majority on the Board of Trustees since the late 1990’s. Brakewood said, “We’ve reigned in spending, launched code enforcement, completed the Master Plan, implemented new entertainment laws, and implemented several quality of life programs as minority members of the Board. If we can win this election, we will be able to bring real change to our Village.” Trustee Brakewood, an executive at Pitney Bowes in Stamford, CT, holds a PhD in Sociology from Indiana University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Bowdoin College.
Mayor Dennis Pilla delivered the key note address at the caucus. He noted that he has been proud to represent all of the residents of Port Chester in his capacity as Mayor. Mayor Pilla was first elected Trustee in 2006; he was then elected Mayor in 2007. He was re-elected Mayor by wide margins of victory in 2009 and 2011. He is also the President of the Westchester Municipal Officials Association. In his speech, Mayor Pilla noted that “Port Chester is at a crossroads. This next election will determine whether our village moves forward with a government that works for all of the people or one that goes back to the days of ‘good old boy’ politics.” He also noted that “Honesty, integrity and respect for all have been the bedrock of my commitment to work for the people of Port Chester. Sadly, these values seem to have gone out the window with the behavior of some Board members. This type of behavior is unacceptable for our Village residents to be subjected to, and brings down our Village’s fine reputation.” Mayor Pilla is a former corporate executive who holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Fordham University.