As many of you are now aware, I am running as a write-in candidate
for the I-year term Borough Council seat. My opponent is Peter Warren.
I have lived with my wife, Jill Lipoti, at 17 Pine Drive here in Roosevelt
for the past five years. We have one three-year-old daughter, Lian.
I serve as a full-time member on the Faculty of Columbia University,
and one of my greatest joys is when I leave New York to return home,
Although most of you have read my reasons for running
and my views about the future of Roosevelt in the leaflets Henry John-Alder
and I have been distributing around town, I think it is important
that I answer the questions given to the candidates in past Borough
Bulletins. I'm hoping this will give you a chance to do some "comparative
shopping" and to assess how Peter and I differ in our viewpoints and
in our willingness to share information with you.
1. Why are you running for Borough Council?
I am running because I
am worried. I am worried about our town's future, and I am worried
about the local institutions which create that future. Roosevelt is
facing some difficult decisions. My fear is that in
the heat of "cost-effectiveness",
concerns for the quality of our living environment will be forgotten
Make no mistake, I certainly support the most financially prudent
approach to our problems. I would hate to see a short-term "cost-effective"
solution in place of a long-term civic gain, however. Peter's past
actions have shown him to consistently ignore a long-term view (such
as the Roosevelt Master Plan, or construction specifications designed
over a period of many months) in favor of the
Perhaps there is some bizarre political gain to be had by promoting
your own ideas. But to promote them without consideration of opposing
viewpoints is not only politically unwise, it can also lead to ill-formulated
courses of action. In any
case, it will do nothing to halt the ridiculous factionalism which
is destroying out town's ability to act.
It is this concern that really
motivated me to run for the Council. We must stop the internal feuding
if we are ever to address any crisis. The best way to prevent accusations
of "factionalism" or "political motivations" is to be absolutely sure
that everyone has total access to the decision-making process. The
conversational innuendoes, the secret meetings, the phone calls to
a select "in-group" is not acting in the public trust. Yes, I am
worried. I fear for the future of open political discourse -- in our
town, our state, and in our country. Honesty has to begin at home.
2. What qualifications do you feel you have for office?
To tell you
the truth, I'm not sure anything truly prepares someone for political
service. I do have a few biographical items I can throw into the
"credential war", if it makes a difference. My most relevant experience
has been my three year employment with the Indiana Association of
Cities and Towns (roughly equivalent to the
League of New Jersey Municipalities).
I was able to observe the innermost workings of municipal government
and gain first-hand experience in solving local problems. The Indiana
Association of Cities and Towns also gave me invaluable insight into
the grantsmanship game (I was working under a Federal grant). I have
used these lessons as Director of the Computer Music Facility at Columbia
University to secure several hundred thousand dollars in equipment
grants and funding during the past three years. As a graduate student
(and subsequent Ph.D.) at Princeton University, I did consulting work
for a variety of businesses, including a number of large financial
houses in New York City. (In fact, if you are in the habit of calling
an automated system for stock quotes, chances are that you are using
softWare I developed).
I also have a long personal involvement with
politics. My father has served as President of the Indiana Senate
longer than any individual in Indiana history.
It is from my father -- author
of the first "sunshine" legislation in Indiana -- that I learned the
importance of an open public policy. My commitment to communication
3. Why should people vote for you?
This is a tough question. I feel
odd asking people to vote for me -- it seems a strange human transaction.
I would prefer that people compare my views with Peter's and make
an independent decision to vote for me. My views: total
openness in public policy-making;
aggressive pursuit of outside funding to ease our financial burden;
local control over our children's education (but this control must
be well-managed!); and prudent, financially sound development within
the guidelines of a well-thought-out Master Plan. Finally, I would
hope that people vote for me because I represent a change from the
feud-driven political shenanigans of the past decade. It is time to
change the pattern.
4. How would the Roosevelt of five years from now be different from
the Roosevelt of today?
The Roosevelt I see five years from now would
be financially, structurally, and politically healthy. The obvious
route to financial health is outside funding. No amount of financial
planning or auditing will make our obligations go away. I guarantee
that our State and Federal lawmakers will be aware of Roosevelt's
plight. It is imperative that Roosevelt be high on the list for monetary
After our financial house is in order, we must install a system
of periodic inspection. maintenance, and upgrades to prevent Roosevelt
from ever again becoming entangled in the problems we currently have.
I envision an objective system which will be
difficult to politicize -- this
in recognition of the fact that many of our Borough decisions tend
to get mired in political considerations.
I also want to change the
way business is done at Borough Hall. I'm a relative newcomer to town,
and I find the political situation to be incredible.
The time has come to bury all the hatchets and do what has to be done.
By involving all members of the public as much as possible, my hope
is that the blueprint for a more cooperative political future will
be put into effect.
Ultimately, the future of our town is in your
hands. I ask you to compare Peter and myself, look at what we have
said (or not said!) about our vision of Roosevelt's future. I also
ask you to compare how we've conducted our campaigns -- that is the most
immediate basis for making a choice. Since deciding to run, I have
done my utmost to present you with my reasons for running, my ideas
about our town, and my priorities for the future. What has my opponent
said of his "clear ideas" for our town's future? Henry John-Alder and
I have worked hard to put together a Candidates' Night to give you
a chance to discuss viewpoints with each of us in a public forum.
Peter not only refused to participate, he hung up the phone on me!
This is how opposing views are heard? In a small town like this an
action like that is just plain silly. I promise to listen to all views,
especially when I disagree.
I believe that Peter has the best interests
of town at heart and that he has some ideas that should be heard (thus
far I don't think they have...). But Peter knows what is best for Roosevelt,
and that frightens me. What happens when you don't agree with him?
No one should be locked out of decisions concerning how public money
is spent. It is our money, after all. If you have any concerns or
comments, please don't hesitate to call me at 448-9214. I won't hang