Clark Neuringer's remarks at campaign launch

Remarks by Clark Neuringer

delivered at Campaign 2013 Kick-Off at Roasted Peppers Restaurant September 8, 2013

Thank you very much being here on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.

In particular, I want to welcome all of the elected officials here with us – past, present, and future ones.

I’d like to thank Kerry for his very thoughtful remarks.  I cannot imagine having a better running mate for this campaign.

So here we are – kicking off an exciting 60 day sprint to election day, November 5th.  Kerry and I believe we will make the stronger case to voters, focusing our message  on what we believe are the four most pressing issues facing you, the voting public:land-use; quality of life; civility of government, and taxes.

I believe these issues are inherently inter-related and are the foundation of most things that affect every resident of this village.

Decisions regarding how our land is used and developed should not be the result of ill considered, impulsive decisions that would subvert and/or by-pass long established careful review processes contained in our codes.

And politics should be kept out of these processes.  Our land-use boards and commissions should be allowed to do their critically important work without political interference. The checks and balances provided by the work of these boards and commissions is critical to ensure appropriate land use and development in the Village.  I believe that efforts of the current administration to eliminate or minimize existing oversight functions of certain of these boards and commissions – in particular the Harbor and Coastal Zone Management Commission, is dangerous and may lead to ill-conceived and politically influenced land use decisions.

And the much discussed potential re-zoning of Hampshire Country Club should simply not be considered before having a rational and zoning code compliant development plan submitted and put through a full land use review process. Why would anyone initially consider what might be a possible end result without subjecting a proposed development first to a normal rigorous review process?

In our coastal village, so much of our quality of life involves water. Too much of it, and we flood.  We need to be pro-active and take action before we flood again.  We can’t afford to wait for the results of the long-promised Army Corps of Engineer study. Together, we should have a conversation about things we can and should do now to reduce repetitive flood damage in key residential areas. This is a high priority for me.

It is also crucial to continue to aggressively clean our waters. I applaud the many volunteers who recently gave so much of their time taking water samples that allowed us to  identify a few key pollution locations. But we need to go further and make sure that any information obtained concerning sources of pollution is immediately shared with the public, especially if there are potentially unhealthy water conditions– and not just at our beaches.

For me, residents of this village who give their time to attend a public meeting and stand at the podium to address their government must be respected – without being cut off by arbitrary time limits imposed on some but not others. Arrogance, threats, and bullying tactics have no place in our village government.

If we are serious about the issue of taxes, then we must have a serious conversation about options available to us as the status quo is not working well. I want to have that conversation – not behind closed doors; not in special sessions inaccessible to the public, but out in the open with full public participation. One of the things we should talk about is finding the highest and best use for the Industrial Area.  That could reduce the tax pressure on residential homeowners.  We also need to take a hard look at possible wasteful spending. For example, we are now spending more of your tax dollars for attorneys than we did under the previous administration.  Kerry and I want to make sure we control costs, with input from the public on the best ways to do that.

I’ve lived in this village for 38 years and for almost 23 of those years, I’ve had the honor and privilege of serving as a volunteer on every single village land use Board or Commission: The Board of Architectural Review; Planning Board; Zoning Board for 10 years, 5 as Chairman; and currently on the Harbor and Coastal Zone Management Commission. I believe I’m qualified to further contribute to our village and would relish the opportunity to do so. After four years of the current administration, we need a course change. I want to work with Village residents in an open and respectful manner so that we can, together, chart the best course for the future.

I’m a realist; I’m an Architect; and I'm a citizen volunteer. I’ve never been a politician.

This will be a difficult campaign.  We are up against a two-term incumbent.  However, voters can and should compare our records of accomplishment and temperament in dealing with the public.  Any such comparison will lead to strong support for our campaign. You all know what we have had for the last four years.

I offer myself – along with Kerry – as a pragmatic, experienced alternative.

We can really achieve so much; we can win this thing – but only with your commitment and help.

Kerry and I ask only two things of you:

First, vote on Nov 5th.

And second, vote Neuringer / Stein.

Thank you all so much for joining us today.

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Village of Mamaroneck Democrats