Op-Ed: Peter, Scott and Joe and snow in August

By PETER LANE

What do Peter Jovanovich, Scott Pickup, Joe Sack and snow in August all have in common?

If you allow me the political equivalent of poetic license, I will attempt to make the connection. Outgoing Councilman Peter Jovanovich, whose term ends this coming Dec. 31, has announced his intention to seek an independent line so that he can challenge Councilman Joe Sack, the Republican candidate for the post of Rye’s mayor, thereby seeking to extend the reign of outgoing Mayor Doug French, whose term also ends this Dec. 31, and the continuing city employment of Rye City Manager Scott Pickup.

Now, I assume that most of us who follow Rye City politics know that: a) Jovanovich is a Doug French guy; b) Pickup is a French and Jovanovich guy; c) neither French nor Jovanovich had a prayer of becoming the Republican nominee for mayor; d) French, Jovanovich and Pickup have made it crystal clear they want Sack anyplace else in the world but on the Rye City Council, let alone on that council as the city’s mayor; and e) Sack has made no secret that he disapproves of French’s‑and Jovanovich’s‑governance of the city and that he is no fan of Pickup’s performance as city manager.

Okay, so far Peter Jovanovich’s candidacy looks like an attempt to garner some payback for French, keep Scott Pickup running Rye post-January 2014 and to thwart Sack and his “Rye United” team‑which includes candidates for City Council Kirstin Bucci, Terry McCartney and Julie Killian‑come Election Day this November.

But, you may rightfully ask: Where does the snow in August allusion come in?

Before I explain my rhetorical device, let me, in the interests of full disclosure state that, while I enjoy cordial personal relationships with Doug French and Peter Jovanovich, politically I stand firmly in the Joe Sack camp. Further, I, along with the very same Joe Sack, am a candidate for district leader in Election District 9 in the Sept. 10 Republican Party primary. Finally, Joe’s other political supporters and effective running mates in this Sept. 10 esoteric exercise‑Rye Republicans, please mark your calendars and hang on to a copy of this column‑that I’m about to describe are: Andrew Dapolite and Diane Tolve in Election District 2; Daniela Vitiello in Election District 3; Grace Nemarow and Al Vitiello in Election District 4; Bob Cypher and Angela Sculti in Election District 8; and Jim Flick and Bill Soviero in Election District 13.

Now, it seems that a small handful of Republicans actually support Doug, Peter and even Scott Pickup and believe that Peter, as “Doug Redux,” and Scott should continue to plot Rye’s future and run our city. This handful of disaffected GOPers was unable to stop the vast majority, myself included, of the Rye Republican City Committee‑the official body of the local Republican Party‑from nominating Joe and the rest of the “Rye United” team as its candidates in the November general election. They couldn’t even come up with alternative candidates to present to the committee, or to oppose its ticket in Republican primaries for mayor or city councilmembers. So, they have decided to attempt to take over the Rye Republican City Committee on Doug’s, Peter’s‑and, indirectly, on Scott’s‑behalf by running Republican primaries on Sept. 10 for the political posts of district leaders in six out of a total of 14 of our city’s geo-political subdivisions known as election districts.

The district leaders‑officially known as Members of the Westchester Republican County Committee‑from their respective, election districts are the folks who compose the Rye Republican City Committee.

All political parties are entitled to have their own respective local committees.

Now, if you’re still with me, I will tell you where the snow in August comes from. In Rye, Republican primaries, particularly those for the political posts of district leader, are as rare as, you got it, snow in August.

Okay, I admit that going from Republican primary to snow in August is a bit attenuated, but, in my defense, what kind of a title would “Peter, Scott and Joe and Republican primaries for district leader in six of Rye’s 14 election districts” have made?

Peter Lane retired as the Rye City court judge and an acting Westchester County Family Court judge at the end of 2009 and is now, among other things, a political consultant.