CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- The race for New Castle supervisor has been heated at times during this election cycle. The tone was on display several times at a recent candidates forum, where incumbent Rob Greenstein and challenge Victoria Alzapiedi faced off and weighed on several major issues.
At the forum, which was held on Thursday and sponsored by the local League of Women Voters chapter, the candidates weighed in on issues such as development at Chappaqua Crossing, Conifer Realty's affordable-housing and coyote management.
Greenstein, who is seeking a second term and is running on the "Team New Castle" slate, has the Republican and Independence ballot lines. Alzapiedi, who is on a ticket called "One New Castle," has the Democratic line.
Greenstein, a registered Democrat, repeatedly blasted previous town officials who were supported by the New Castle Democratic Committee, tying their records to the committee as the whole.
On the issue of Conifer, Alzapiedi voiced her opposition to the project, a 28-apartment building that would be on a site located between train tracks and a highway. Calling the site a “horrible location," Alzapiedi said she would never have supported rezoning the property for residential usage, an action approved by a previous board. She added that she will do what she can to make sure it is not built at the site, and argued that not enough review has been done of a suggested alternative location off of Washington Avenue.
Greenstein quickly shot back.
“The fact is, you know, talk is cheap and action is what matters."
The incumbent supervisor argued that he tried (unsuccessfully) to get the project moved.
“But this was a gift that was given to us, this site, by the prior Town Board, the New Castle Democratic Committee," he said, a remark that was met with an angry protest from someone in the audience.
Greenstein doubled down on his remarks; when he looked at his opponent, he said about the site, “it's a terrible, terrible location that is handed to us by the very people who nominated you to serve on this Town Board, and that's their gift to our community."
Alzapiedi argued that she is different from previous officials and that she probably would have run for supervisor even without the committee's endorsement.
Alzapiedi called for allowing Ethics Board investigations to be initially independently in response to complains. She expressed concern that the Ethics Board could become dependent on the Town Board. Greenstein noted his own ethics suggestions, such as having a waiting period for a former supervisor to become town attorney.
When the issue of coyotes arose, it served as a moment to revisit a controversy of the recent past, particularly the Town Board's decision to split a group of volunteers into two committees, whose eventual reports differed on when it is appropriate to use lethal force. Alzapiedi, who chaired the group that advocated for a more narrow range of scenarios for lethal action, clashed with Greenstein during the review process. The town eventually adopted a management plan with aspects from both reports.
Alzapiedi, at the forum, criticized the decision to create two committees, noting that she wanted the volunteers to stick together. Greenstein, who called his opponent "a little too passionate," defended the decision, calling the end result a “great report.”
Greenstein made a comment that elicited hisses from the audience.
“When we started two committees, the goal was to find somebody who was pro-coyote and somebody who was also more in favor of protecting our dogs.”
Video of the forum is available here , beginning at about the one-hour and 20-minute mark.