Originally from: Woodside, Queens
Birthday: October 17
Bio: Before becoming New City Patch editor, William "Bill" Demarest was a journalist for Gannett Co. for 26 years, serving as a reporter and editor for The Journal News in Rockland County, N.Y., for 18 years and then as Assistant Managing Editor of the Daily Record and dailyrecord.com in Morris County, N.J. Bill has been a Rockland County, N.Y., resident for more than 20 years and lives in Nyack with his wife, Lisa, and children Sam and Sarah. He has long been active as a volunteer in the community, having served as a coach and official with Nyack-Valley Cottage Little League and as a volunteer parent in the Nyack Public Schools - supporting school stage productions at Nyack Middle School and Nyack High School. An avid baseball fan, Bill is a lifelong supporter of the New York Mets and he serves as an umpire for youth baseball and softball games in Rockland County.
At Patch, we promise always to report the facts as objectively as possible and otherwise adhere to the principles of good journalism. However, we also acknowledge that true impartiality is impossible and human beings have beliefs. So in the spirit of simple honesty, our policy is to encourage our editors to reveal certain key beliefs to the extent they feel comfortable.
This disclosure is not a license for our editors to inject these beliefs into stories or to dictate coverage according to them. In fact, the intent is the opposite: we hope that the knowledge that our beliefs are on the record will force us to be ever mindful to write, report, and edit in a fair, balanced way. And if you, the user, ever think you see evidence that we failed in this mission, we wholeheartedly invite you to let us know.
How would you describe your political beliefs?
I am a registered Democrat who believes it's essential for every American to vote, especially in their local elections. I also believe Americans should cast their vote based on a judgment of the candidate's qualifications, not simply the candidate's party affiliations. As a journalist and as an American, I strongly believe in the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment - Freedom of Speech, Religion, the Press, Freedom of Assembly and the Freedom to petition the government.
How religious would you say you are? Casual, observant, devout, non-religious?
I was raised Roman Catholic and attended Catholic schools from first
grade through to college. I am not a member of an individual church or congregation, but faith has played a significant role in my life. Perhaps it was the spirit and atmosphere of my college, Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., that had the most impact on my character - with the Christian Brothers and the lay faculty emphasizing the importance of learning about people who are different than yourself and taking positive action to bridge those differences.
Local Hot Button Issues
What do you think are the most important issues facing the community?
The economy, education, taxes and the environment.
Where do you stand on each of these issues?
As a worker and taxpayer, I am concerned New York State is at a
significant disadvantage to other states because government at the
highest levels has been mired by scandal and political sniping for so
long that opportunities for innovation and improvement are missed or
bungled. Somehow, the standard political divisions need to be overcome to create an economic environment that will lead to job growth and an increase in the tax base.
I worry that we have created a world in which our children
will actually have fewer educational opportunities than their parents
because fewer people in the community are supporting our schools -
and too many school leaders have squandered the support they may have once had in the community. The public must be willing to support its schools and the schools must embrace the needs and concerns of the public and ensure our children - our future leaders - are well-rounded people and prepared to tackle the challenges of the future.
This issue is linked equally with the economy and schools. We
need strong leaders who will put our tax dollars to good use and be
willing to break down the old systems to create a cost-effective and
less expensive government that still cares about human beings.
We need to protect the wonderful setting we have in Rockland County by preserving open space and waterways. When we build and grow, we should do it in a creative fashion that allows new buildings and facilities to blend with the environment - not become an
environmental stain. However, we also need to have more active
recreational facilities - such as baseball and soccer fields - so our
young people can play healthy sports at safe facilities.