The special election this Tuesday for the 10th District seat of the Westchester County Board of Legislators is of unparalleled importance.
In much the same way that Americans this November will express their opinion concerning the Obama Administration record since 2008, Westchester voters will have the opportunity to judge the record of Astorino’s service as County Executive since November. It also presents us with the occasion to determine the future of a unique, homegrown Westchester reform movement for governmental effectiveness and efficiency. To this independent Republican voter, the choice is clear.
Marcotte has pledged to reduce government spending and leave more private income in the pockets of those who earned it. She has actually gone out on a limb and considered reductions in some popular local social service spending (reductions that can be more than made-up for, and services adequately addressed by the state or localities). Varian has drunk of the fiscally conservative Kool-Aid of the moment and campaigned vaguely against “year-after-year tax hikes” but in the same sentence warned against slashing “services without regard for their impact on our economy or the values that have built our communities.” Without allowing any county spending reductions, he has gamely promised local government “consolidation” but failed to explain how he will force local and statewide officeholders to accept this very legitimate and fiscally prudent assault on their political fiefdoms.
True fiscal sobriety requires a comprehensive review of the actions of all levels of government with the objective of leaving only the most necessary tasks to those offices best-suited to deliver the best services. The notion that county spending is somehow a necessary generator of local income and employment is a cop-out; a return to the “business-as usual” practices of successive Republican and Democratic legislatures and administrations that led us to a doubling of county spending in less than ten years and, a shopworn example of Keynesian economic excess writ-large. The notion that unexamined, wasteful local spending somehow represents our “values” is worse than feckless; it is positively revolting. This week’s conviction of the county legislative leader’s special assistant for wasting public assets should give the lie to that idea.
Support change, true change. Vote for Marcotte and return control of county spending to the people, contribute to their greater liberty, and leave a little more spare change in their pockets at year’s end.
Stephen I. Mayo
The writer, a New Rochelle attorney and Bronx linoleum manufacturer, is a founder of Rethinking Westchester County Government, a bi-partisan government reform group.