The Yorktown Republican Committee may have endorsed a ticket, but Ed Ciffone and Tom DeChiaro are ready to collect enough signatures to cause a primary election for town council candidates in September.
Each person who intends on running for office must collect signatures of people supporting his or her candidacy on a petition. Petition drives begin on Tuesday, June 7. In order to qualify as a primary candidate a person must collect 386 signatures by July 14. Then, from June 28 to August 16, a total of 636 signatures from any political party would be required.
Ciffone, 67, a resident of Yorktown Heights, expressed his desire to be on the town board in March. “Two town council seats are up and held by two longtime incumbents. It’s time for them to go. The town needs new honest blood on the Town Board,” Ciffone stated, referring to councilmen Jim Martorano, who has served since 1991 and Nick Bianco, who has been on the board since 1996. Both are on the ballot in November.
A registered Republican, a district leader and a Tea Party supporter, Ciffone interviewed with the GOP and then with the Democratic committee for a candidate nomination; he was overlooked both times.
Instead the Republican Party gave the nod to Bianco and Dave Paganelli, owner of Travelers Restaurant who ran two years earlier on the Democratic ticket. The Democrats endorsed Martorano and registered Republican Rich Campanaro who is the president of the Yorktown Athletic Club.
Determined, Ciffone has announced that he would seek the candidacy through a primary.
If Ciffone collects the needed signatures he may challenge more than the party’s picks. Chris Sciarra, owner of C.S. Construction and the project manager for the Winery at St. George, also interviewed with the Republican committee as a potential town council candidate. He contemplated going out into the community with petitions until he had confirmed that his business associate DiChiaro, the owner of the winery, had been taken steps to put himself in a position to run.
DeChiaro, who is a Mahopac resident, is in the process of establishing residency in Yorktown by renting a home and plans on gathering enough signatures to get on the September 13 Republican primary ballot as a town council candidate, according to Sciarra.
“I’m stepping out because he’s stepping in,” he said. “It would be a professional conflict of interest for me to remain in the race.”
While DeChiaro has not made any public statements regarding his candidacy, he is listed on Facebook as a politician. He is also the founder of the political action committee People for Honest Government (P4HG). It is through the non-profit umbrella of P4HG that DeChiaro has been able to have the winery open under temporary permits. DeChiaro bought the former church, which was built in 1912, from Michael Palmietto in 2005 after Palmietto was denied the permit to operate a small restaurant out of the building. Since then it has been a series of battles between DeChiaro and the town.
In February the zoning board granted the winery a variance it needed, but a list of items that needed to be completed as well as a discrepancy in fees that still need to be paid by DeChiaro have prevented the issuance of a certificate of occupancy.