Bardonia Civic Association Hosts Candidates Forum (VIDEO)

The Bardonia Civic Association brought in 18 candidates to its meeting Monday night

With a little less than a month to go until the Nov. 8 elections, the Bardonia Civic Association hosted a candidates forum Monday night at the St. Francis of Assisi Church, where 18 candidates for town, county and state government came out to talk to voters.

“At our fall meeting, we always try to have the candidates come in and talk to us if there’s an election coming up,” said Arlene Whitaker, president of the Bardonia Civic Association.

She said they invited 21 candidates, so having 18 show up was a solid turnout, as was the crowd that came out to the event.

“We must’ve had about 100 people here tonight,” she said. “And many of them had questions about different issues. It wasn’t about one problem or one issue. It was a very multi-faceted evening.”

The candidates in attendance were:

  • Rockland County Sheriff: Louis Falco, democrat; and Tim O'Neill, independence
  • Family Court Judge: Paul Chiaramonte, republican
  • Rockland County Legislative District #9: Christopher Carey, republican; and Christopher Martone, democrat
  • Clarkstown Supervisor: Alex Gromack, democratic incumbent and Ralph Sabatini, republican challenger
  • Clarkstown Town Council:  Shirley Lasker, democratic incumbent; Frank Borelli, republican incumbent; David Ascher, democratic challenger; Shibu Abraham, republican challenger
  • Clarkstown Clerk:  Justin Sweet, democratic incumbent and Diane Holland, republican challenger
  • Clarkstown Justice - Howard Gerber, democratic incumbent and Antonio Reda, republican challenger
  • Clarkstown Superintendent of Highways:  Wayne Ballard, republican incumbent and Dennis Malone, democratic challenger
  • New York State Supreme Court Justice: Paul Marx, democrat

The forum gave each candidate two minutes to make opening statements, then opened it up to the crowd for questions directed at any of the candidates and ended with giving each candidate another two minutes for closing remarks.

One of the biggest issues the Bardonia Civic Association has faced in recent months is a at the intersection of Bardonia Road and Route 304. One big reason many are opposed to the convenience store is because it would be close to Bardonia Elementary School, and bring in increased traffic to an area where children walk to and from school. Along with standard questions about taxes, questions about the QuickChek were the most common ones asked during the evening’s question and answer portion.

“The issue is at the top of the agenda on everybody’s mind,” said Michael Hull, one of the more vocal opponents to the convenience store in the Bardonia Civic Association. “I’d be surprised if anybody didn’t know this is an issue.”

The proposal hasn’t been brought into the Planning Board yet, but once the official process gets under way, Gromack said it will have to go through multiple committees and stages to make sure it would be a worthwhile addition to Bardonia, something that’s not just determined by the various committees.

“You all have a voice, your voice can be heard at all these various levels of committees that review any application,” Gromack said.

The questions about the QuickChek were directed only at a few candidates, so not everyone spoke about it. Sabatini said he has some conflicting feelings in that he’s pro-business, and thinks the convenience store could bring business into the town, yet he’s also pro-community, and if the majority of people in the community don’t want the store, then elected officials should listen to that. 

“If they treat the Bardonia Civic Association the way they treated the 3,500 people that signed the term limit petition, dismissing it out of hand, then I will support you a hundred percent in blocking the QuickChek,” Sabatini said.

Martone said he has a personal affiliation with the issue in that he has a young child starting Bardonia Elementary School next year. So while he said it’s important to bring business into to town, “we also want to protect our community.” He said he hopes a compromise can be reached between the two sides that would benefit everyone.

Hull also asked candidates if any of them had received donations from the people who own the property where the proposed QuickChek would go, but nobody had.

Other topics that came up a few times during the question and answer portion dealt with taxes, possible cuts and the large number of candidates signs placed all throughout town.

Matthew Brennan October 11, 2011 at 01:46 PM
Sorry I missed the forum but some of us have to work.
Sheldon Shuch October 11, 2011 at 03:32 PM
The first responsibility of politicians is to heed the wishes of the community they represent. It is clear that those who live in Bardonia as I do are concerned about the quality of life in and around the area. Anyone who has lived here knows how traffic and safety on Bardonia Road is a serious problem and to respond by opening the Quick Check is precisely the wrong response to it. Clearly, had I wanted to live an urban lifestyle I would have returned to NYC long ago. I came to Rockland because I wanted to provide a quiet and peaceful life for my family and approving this project will create an environment that would surely not be in line with those needs. We already have a small mall within walking distance, what more do we need? I encourage all of my neighbors to urge the politicians to take a stand against this project and to vote accordingly in the upcoming elections. Finally, kudos to Mr. Hull for his work on our behalf…keep up the good fight!
Tony T October 11, 2011 at 09:45 PM
The Clarkstown Highway Dept is one most mis-managed and inefficient agencies in the Town Government and that is saying something!!!
fred October 11, 2011 at 11:38 PM
what does chd have to do with quick check
Tony T October 11, 2011 at 11:55 PM
fred October 11, 2011 at 11:56 PM
ok just curious why you would say that about the highway dept
Tony T October 12, 2011 at 01:10 AM
I have had many experiences when the CHD where they did not respond to issues.
Mark Adelson October 12, 2011 at 03:54 AM
Mr. Sabatini looked tired and had nothing creative to speak about other then the same old Republican talking point, " cut taxes and regulation." a man with his pedigree could not do better the a fifth grader. I don't mean to insult fifth graders. He would be better of running for dog catcher.
amy durbin October 12, 2011 at 09:01 AM
I think he had more to say than that. It was Gromack who said Triple AAA bond rating at least 17 times and never even had the decency to answer all those questions about the quik check and where he stood on the issue.
Concerned Resident October 13, 2011 at 06:27 PM
First thing. Your English skills could make a fifth grader look like a Pulitzer Prize winning writer. Try proof reading what you write, or taking an English class. Second. If Mr. Sabatini looked tired, I can imagine it's probably from night after night of campaigning, going door to door, and meeting with residents and business people in our town. I'm sure that's hard work. If you were there, or even bothered to read the article above, you would see that Mr. Sabatini clearly had more to say than "cut taxes and regulation". It seems to me that Gromack and Lasker are the ones who continually repeat themselves over and over. They've been questioned by countless residents at several of these events about why they are so quick to shoot down term limits, and why they voted down a public hearing on term limits and their responses are always the same meaningless responses. Remember that QuickChek was the big issue of that night and Mr. Sabatini said clearly that while he's pro-business, the needs of the residents come first. If you're going to comment, say something helpful, if not, maybe you could look into the dog catcher job for yourself. I hear writing skills aren't too important in that field. My vote goes to anyone but Gromack and anyone but Lasker. It's enough already.
Tony T October 13, 2011 at 06:37 PM
Concerned Resident, I too am a concerned resident and found your comments to Mark rather harsh. Not everyone has the same education or writing skills. Everyone should have the right to express there opinions and thoughts without your criticism of their ability to do so.....what should matter is that they are involved in the process.
Concerned Resident October 13, 2011 at 08:23 PM
I agree with you that my comments were harsh. They were intended to be because his comments toward Mr. Sabatini, a man who is clearly well educated and clearly accomplished, were harsh. Commenting that Mr. Sabatini has no more education than a fifth grader, and that he is qualified to be no more than a dog catcher is both unfair, and completely without basis. I'm all for people being part of the process but comments like that deserve a comment like mine. Let's talk about real issues instead of what the above commenter chose to talk about. If Mr. Sabatini looked tired, it was probably because he was, let's not criticize him for being tired. That's just ridiculous. As far as cutting taxes goes, that would be great, it's ridiculous how much we pay and that our taxes have increased 30% since Gromack took office. As far as the regulation that he spoke of in the comment above, I didn't hear Mr. Sabatini say anything about any kind of regulation and I haven't heard him talk about regulation at other meetings either so I'm not even sure what that means. I like to keep discussions light and professional, but I have no problem coming to the defense of someone that I believe is a good, educated, qualified person, even if that means that I have to go on the offensive to do so.
Percy Marvelous October 14, 2011 at 04:55 AM
A modicum of civility and well formulated arguments must be the order of the day. Sadly, there are repeated personal attacks here. My vote goes to anyone but Mr. Sabatini and any other Republican who blithely repeats the tax cutting mantra. We shall see just what happens on Election Day. I daresay Republicans will be trounced!
Tony T October 14, 2011 at 11:19 AM
Percy, The reason you oppose any tax cutting is because you, unlike the 53% of your fellow Americans probably pay no tax and are a recipient of some entitlement program and live at the largess of us taxpayer.
Concerned Resident October 14, 2011 at 12:31 PM
What is it that you would rather hear then? More tax increases? Since Gromack has been in office he's raised taxes 30 percent. We're the fourth highest taxed county in the country and we have nothing to show for it. I don't know where you come from, but where I come from that sucks. This isn't about Republicans and Democrats, it's about a supervisor who does nothing but waste money and run up our debt. This is local politics and if you knew anything about Clarsktown's local politics, you would see how little party lines mean. How else would Democrat Gromack also be running on the Conservative line? They're exact opposite parties. My guess is that you either work for Gromack, or you're one of his entitled contractors. Clarsktown is in debt, and so is Rockland, and there's no reason we should be. The proposed 2012 budget for Clarkstown that just came out shows yet another increase, and it shouldn't. There is mismanagement all over the place and it needs to be fixed. My vote goes to anyone but Gromack and anyone but Lasker. Thanks for taking my money, and doing nothing with it!
Percy Marvelous October 18, 2011 at 08:39 AM
Tony, I pay taxes like everyone else and I don't enjoy public largesse! You make a great many suppositions that are unfounded.
Percy Marvelous October 18, 2011 at 08:43 AM
LOL!!! No, I don't work for Gromack and I am not a contracter. My sources tell me that Gromack was voted on in a public vote at the Conservative caucus. That Gromack was chosen by rank and file conservatives over a Republican speaks volumes! Even Conservatives know Vinnie Reda and his minions should not be in power!


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