Pleasantville Village Trustee Nicole Asquith is running for her second term and will be joined on the ballot by Chamber of Commerce Vice President W. Paul Alvarez for the Mar. 18 village election.
After serving two terms as village trustee, Steve Lord said he was ready to pass the torch now that his children have graduated from the Pleasantville school system.
He called the past six years “a great honor to serve” and felt a strong connection to the village and its residents on the board.
“We put a lot of good stuff in motion,” he said. “We confronted the reality of the present age and how the vibrancy of the downtown is critical to the future of this town.”
Asquith, who will again appear on the Pleasantville Civic Party line, stepped up to run in 2017, and part of her platform was to make Pleasantville greener. She played an integral role in the village’s new composting food scrap program and helped with other PleasantvilleRecycles initiatives such as placing recycling bins downtown.
She also encouraged the Village Board to enroll Pleasantville in Sustainable Westchester’s Community Choice Aggregation Program, a step allowing municipalities to pool their demand for electricity and offer a lower rate for residents who sign up.
“I’d like to expand on the food scrap program going forward,” said Asquith, 48, the mother of two children. “Right now, it’s a little frustrating because we can only drop off on Saturdays. There are a number of logistical hurdles to expansion.”
The Village Facebook Page was started by Asquith and she was successful in launching Pleasantville Posts, a new village newsletter first published last fall.
Downtown development is also a key issue for Asquith.
“When I first served on the board, the Master Plan was in place. It made sense to me to have development in the village for a more vibrant downtown to bring in more foot traffic,” she said. “You have to think about what’s best for the community and encountering each other in public spaces is what that’s about.”
Asquith hopes the village explores more short-term shopper parking downtown, creates additional commuter parking, improves information about parking options for downtown employees and discourages commuters from other communities from parking for free in unregulated areas.
She also wants to work with the village’s Conservation Advisory Council to pass a tree ordinance and a wetlands ordinance.
Having high school students volunteer to see how local government works is another goal Asquith wants to pursue.
Alvarez, 37, is entering his first political race, running on the Family First Party line. He immigrated with his family from Ecuador when he was nine years old.
“Even though I was born in Ecuador, I was raised here in Pleasantville and my family established their own business,” he said. “I’m very invested in this village.”
Alvarez’s parents opened Alvarez Cleaning and Alvarez Home Services on Washington Avenue about two decades ago. He graduated from SUNY Oneonta and worked in the family business. In 2010, he and his wife, Katie, purchased a home in the village. The couple has a three-year-old son and a six-month-old daughter.
Alvarez said change is in Pleasantville’s best interest because it attracts a wide variety of people.
“People my age and of all different backgrounds are moving out of the city to raise a family and it’s important for me as a minority to welcome them to Pleasantville,” Alvarez said. “It’s good to have a diverse board; it makes for the best discussions and the best decision-making.”
He later enrolled in and graduated from Pace Law School and is now an associate attorney practicing immigration and criminal law in Mount Kisco. Alvarez said he is concerned with how the new bail reform law has been impacting the Pleasantville Police Department.
“It’s a big issue and we all need to understand the difficulties it presents to our police,” he said. “If not enough evidence is provided, a case can get dismissed. The community needs to understand what the department needs to run efficiently.”
A co-owner of the family business, in 2016 Alvarez was recognized as the chamber’s Business Person of the Year. In addition to his chamber activities, he and his family have had a long history of community involvement supporting local organizations such as Pleasantville Community Television, the Pleasantville Rotary Club, the Pleasantville Community Scholarship Fund, the Pleasantville Volunteer Fire Department and the Pleasantville Police Benevolent Association.
In Pleasantville, candidates compete in nonpartisan elections on lines without national political party affiliations. All seats have three-year terms.
Election Day is typically held the third Tuesday in March. Since St. Patrick’s Day falls on the third Tuesday this year, the election has been moved to the next day. The deadline for candidates to submit petitions is Feb. 12.