Four years ago, then-candidate for supervisor Robert Greenstein brazenly campaigned on stopping Chappaqua Crossing, opposed to any retail that would compete with the hamlets.
He and running mates Adam Brodsky and Lisa Katz also set out to put the brakes on Conifer Realty’s maligned affordable housing project on Hunts Place.
When faced with the realities of serving in public office, they realized they couldn’t fulfill those promises, in part because of the actions of the previous board. Embarking on a legal fight would have been costly and futile.
However, during the past two years, Greenstein, a registered Democrat, along with Brodsky and Katz, have concentrated on what was achievable – updating the Comprehensive Plan, starting the downtown infrastructure and streetscape project, increasing road paving and bringing greater recreation amenities to town. Tax increases have been minimal.
For their ability to competently handle a multitude of issues and for being in the midst of several ongoing projects, the incumbents have earned a chance to see if they can finish the job rather than risk upheaval.
It may seem minor, but in local government quality-of-life improvements count almost as much as the big-ticket items. During the current term, there have been plenty of those. A new playground at Gedney Park and obtaining the old Wallace Auditorium at Chappaqua Crossing and turning it into the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center have been completed. The planned construction of a basketball court and playground behind Town Hall will be done next year.
To be certain, Greenstein’s tenure has not been flawless. He says he wears his opinions on his sleeve – you can add his emotions as well – which infuriates some constituents. He’s improved at controlling his sarcasm when criticized during public meetings but there have been relapses.
However, the current Town Board does work well together considering it’s a 3-2 split. Council members Hala Makowska and Jeremy Saland also get credit for that. They battle when necessary but don’t disagree for the sake of towing a party line.
Greenstein’s opponent, Kristen Browde, is a sharp, smart challenger who has displayed courage in her run as the first transgender major party candidate in New York. She has a strong grasp of the issues and has all the skills to be a successful supervisor.
However, there has been too much time spent pointing out the faults of the incumbents rather than highlighting what she would do. Some criticisms have been valid such as the refusal on her opponent’s part to solicit public input when items needed to be scratched from the streetscape due to bids far exceeding estimates.
But insisting that Greenstein and company could have stopped the Sunshine Children’s Home expansion doesn’t wash. Also trying to link him to right wing Republicans may be a smart strategy in New Castle but rings hollow. No one that far too the right would have supported a reusable bag initiative and the Solarize program or started the Community Inclusion and Diversity Committee.
Running mates Gail Markels and Ivy Pool are accomplished professionals that would be an asset to the board. Pool, the only candidate in this race who is not an attorney, is particularly strong with a degree in public administration and her background in working in the Michael Bloomberg administration and for the state.