OSSINING, N.Y. Republican challenger Linda Cabral Marrero and incumbent Democrat William Hanauer are set to vie for mayor in the November general election.
Hanauer is currently serving his third term as mayor, which is set to expire in December. The position pays roughly $12,000 a year, village officials said.
The Ossining Daily Voice asked each candidate to fill out a questionnaire with some basic information. Answers were limited to 150 words. Below are Marreros answers.
Name: Linda Cabral Marrero
Family: Married to Retired U.S. Air Force Combat Veteran Gregory Marrero. Two children : Gregory and Frank, both students in the Ossining Union Free School District.
Occupation: Attorney and certified New York state teacher
How long have you lived in Ossining: Third generation, lifelong resident of the village of Ossining.
Party affiliation and ballot lines held: Registered Conservative, receiving the Conservative and Republican endorsement.
Other elected positions held: None
Civic Organizations: Serve on the board of Jesse Collyer Youth Sports. Served on the Facility Advisory Committee for the Ossining School District.
The Daily Voice: What are the three biggest issues facing the village of Ossining? How would you address those issues? (300 word limit for combined answer)
Marrero: Illegal housing is running rampant in our community. It poses a threat to the families living under these conditions and to our first responders, whose lives are also put at risk under these conditions. Secondary to the health and safety issues is the cost to the legal resident taxpayer.
Enforce the codes proscribed under our Village of Ossining Building Code, Chapter 162, Housing standards. Under §162-29, the building inspector has the authority to safeguard the safety, health and welfare of the public. The framework already exists to combat this problem; we just need to utilize the law. Further, the Code also makes provisions for a Landlord-Tenant Relations Council, which is designed to conduct research into housing problems. Another great resource underutilized.
Closed, censored government. Village Board meetings were televised in their entirety, including public comment portion. Under this administration, taping the public comment section of the meetings has been eliminated. Under the Opening Meetings law and according to the Public Service Commission, there is no legal requirement to tape the full meetings; this practice does border on censorship.
This solution is simple. All of my meetings will be fully televised in their entirety.
Accountability. Many times I have called one of the village departments only to be told to call a different department, usually ending up with the initial department I contacted. There may be legitimate reasons for this; however, we can do better.
Residents should call one number regarding all issues. Those complaints/comments/suggestions come into one office, i.e., the village manager. They should be logged into a journal with the pertinent information. The village manager and his staff should forward the information to the proper office and follow up with the residents on the final outcome. One phone call is all that should be necessary, while insuring accountability.
The Daily Voice: As a challenger, what would you do differently than the previous office holder?
Marrero: I would implement all of the above items. I would strive to unite this currently divided diverse community. I would reduce the tax burden by encouraging business development, not more residential units. I would also reach out to the county and state to find what resources are available to further combat the problems cited above. Most importantly, returning Ossining to the great riverfront community it once was in addition to making it affordable so my children will be able to afford to raise a fifth generation in their hometown.
The Daily Voice: Westchester is among the highest-taxed counties in the nation. What would you do to lower the tax burden?
Marrero: The tax cap should not have been overridden. Their reason for overriding the cap was that the state's enactment of the tax cap was "unfair to village residents." Meanwhile, the state Senators that past the legislation stated that it was of "critical importance to pass a tax cap for families struggling to pay their taxes and businesses wondering if they can stay in New York." I would rescind the local law that allows the tax cap to be overridden.
One of my first acts would be to insist on an independent audit of our budget. The same basic principles of running a household budget should apply.
Ask each individual department to cut expenses where they are not needed. This has worked very successfully in New York City under their mayor. Further consolidation of services. If necessary, elimination of unnecessary positions and through attrition as well.
The Daily Voice: Why should people vote for you?
Marrero: Ossining needs a change. We have been under the same "leadership" now for three consecutive terms. During that tenure my taxes have continued to increase and my quality of life has gone down for me and my family. I have stated on numerous occasions, Ossining is not a stepping stone for me, it is the rock where me and my husband have chosen to stay and raise our family. I have a sincere desire to correct the problems I have heard so many people speak about. I am not a politician, nor do I want to be one. I am first and foremost a mother who wants what's best for her children, and the current status of our village is unacceptable.
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