By CHRIS EBERHART
Both Democratic candidates for the Tuckahoe Board of Trustees said they’re running in this March’s elections to bring balance to a Republican-dominated board.
Incumbent Trustee Steven Quigley and Tuckahoe Democratic Chairman Chris DiGiorgio were both nominated by the party during its Jan. 27 caucus to run against Republican nominees Steven Alfasi and Melba Caliano.
Quigley, 61, who’s an intellectual property attorney at a Manhattan-based law firm, has been the only Democrat on the board for the past three of the five years he’s served as village trustee. He said, typically, Tuckahoe’s issues are non-partisan, which is why most votes are unanimous. But he said there have been two issues—re-zoning to accommodate affordable housing and the plastic bag ban—that were partisan votes, in which he was voted down 4-1.
Quigley said the affordable housing re-zoning would’ve allowed the village to apply for infrastructure grants from the state. But since it was voted down, the improvements must be funded by Tuckahoe taxpayers.
The plastic bag ban would have been a step toward encouraging responsible environmental practices and sustainability in Tuckahoe, according to Quigley.
DiGiorgio, 47, who’s been the village’s Democratic Party chairman for the past three years, is an eye doctor with a practice in New Rochelle. He said his business background will differentiate him from the other three candidates, who are all attorneys, and his Democratic ideology, along with Quigley’s, will help balance the board.
DiGiorgio used Quigley’s plastic bag ban proposal—which was proposed in March 2013 and would have banned plastic bags in Tuckahoe retail stores—as an example of how the current Board of Trustees vote on issues. He said he and Quigley are “strong environmentalists,” but the Republican trustees and mayor “don’t believe in global warming,” so the vote will always be in the Republicans’ favor.
“Issues like the plastic bag ban are voted along party lines, so it’s always a 4 to 1 vote,” DiGiorgio said. “It’s important for [Quigley] and me to be on the board to bring balance and maybe pull a Republican vote to our side.”
Besides the defeated plastic bag ban proposal, DiGiorgio said transforming industrial zones into business zones in Tuckahoe is another environmental issue for the village. He explained industrial zones are allowed to have chemical plants and electronic manufacturing, which create pollution, while business zones are “more green.”
While the amount of industrial zones in the village is dwindling, DiGiorgio said there are still some that remain, which he is strongly opposed to.
“There’s an industrial zone on Marbledale Road where Medi-Ray is,” DiGiorgio said. “But there shouldn’t be any industrial zones in Tuckahoe for environmental reasons. Industrial zones are 1970s thinking, but environmentally-friendly businesses are geared towards the 21st century.”
DiGiorgio said the village is losing out on state grant money because Tuckahoe Republicans have not signed an agreement saying Tuckahoe will be committed to being green.
Quigley added to DiGiorgio’s sentiment.
“Tuckahoe will be eligible for New York State funded grants if we adopt the Climate Smart Communities Pledge” he said.
Quigley said the pledge is a voluntary, non-binding resolution that “will signal Tuckahoe’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases.” By adopting this pledge, Quigley said Tuckahoe will be eligible to apply for grants that are available only to municipalities who have signed it.
Elections for the two open village trustee positions will be held on March 18.