The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee met on August 28 to hear the complaints of Noam Bramson, candidate for Westchester County Executive, against Friends of Rob Astorino, representing Rob Astorino, incumbent and candidate for the same office. Mr. Bramson was represented by Barry Fertel and Barry Caro. Mr. Astorino was represented by Phil Oliva and Daniel Carinci.
Mr. Bramson complained that in August of 2013, Rob Astorino’s campaign for County Executive began airing a television and a radio ad and sent out a mailer with false, misleading and out-of-context statements about Mayor Bramson’s record as a member of the New Rochelle City Council and as Mayor of New Rochelle.
The Committee decided against Astorino on all of the complaints. The Bramson campaign has asked Astorino to remove all the offending ads, which they call “Pants on Fire” advertising.
COMPLAINT 1: Mr. Bramson complained that the Astorino ads asserted that Mr. Bramson gave himself a free car.
FINDING: UNFAIR. The New Rochelle City policy of providing the mayor with a vehicle predates Mr. Bramson’s service in office, and he has never taken any action or cast any vote to obtain or enhance this benefit for himself.
COMPLAINT 2: Mr. Bramson complained that the Astorino ads asserted that Mr. Bramson gave himself healthcare for life.
FINDING: UNFAIR. The terms of Mr. Bransom’s health insurance benefits were set prior to his service in office, and Mr. Bramson has never taken any action to secure or enhance them.
COMPLAINT 3: Mr. Bramson complained that the Astorino ads asserted that Mr. Bramson raised the sales tax in New Rochelle.
FINDING: UNFAIR. The sales tax rate in New Rochelle is the same today as when Mr. Bramson took office, except for a New York State-mandated increase of 1/8 of 1%.
COMPLAINT 4: Mr. Bramson complained that the Astorino ads asserted that Mr. Bramson raised the sewer tax.
FINDING: UNFAIR. The City of New Rochelle has no authority over sewer district taxes, and the Astorino representatives agreed.
COMPLAINT 5: Mr. Bramson complained that the Astorino ads asserted that Mr. Bramson raised the library tax.
FINDING: UNFAIR. The library tax in New Rochelle is proposed by the Library Board of Trustees and confirmed each year by the voters.
The Fair Campaign Practices Committee is an independent, non-partisan board, established by the League of Women Voters to “promote a climate in which candidates conduct honest and fair campaigns.” The Westchester Fair Campaign Practices Committee members are: Susan Schwarz, chair, Miriam Cohen, coordinator, Elizabeth Bernel, Gisele Castro, Daniel S. Franklin, Jr., Victor J. Goldberg, LaRuth Gray, Susan Guma, Milton Hoffman, Lee Kinnally, Robert C. Kirkwood, Poly Kuhn, Eileen Santiago, Evelyn M. Stock, Lorelei A. Vargas. Party representatives (ex officio): Republican party, Democratic Party, Conservative Party, Working Families Party, Independence Party.