BY ANTHONY J. BAZZO
OF YORKTOWN NEWS
TITLE: When Character Matters Most
Politics is a nasty business. In the quest for power,no matter if its national, state, county or local government, there are those who will stoop to nothing to gain that power. No if that office comes with a substantial budget, salary and can affect the lives of a good deal of people, just watch the mud fly.
Also, it is true that no one goes after those who are not perceived a threat to one seeking office and all that goes with it. Recent developments show that Dave Paganelli is a threat to the establishment phooh-bahs. It usually works this way. If a candidate feel they are confident they will be elected, they will stick to issues, what they have done and what they will do in the future. If they feel a challenger is gaining, then they will muddy up the character of the challenger. If a candidate feels they are in serious danger of losing, then the personal stuff comes out, spouses are deficient and their kids are ugly to boot. It is here when the voter should call into question the character of a candidate that would stoop to personal attack to achieve power.
You see above all, the character of a candidate matters most. Most people choose a person on a level of trust. This is especially true in local elections where party affiliation matters least. More likely than not, the voter knows either the candidate themselves or a family member of the candidate. The voter will say I like that person and they got my vote, or they don’t like that person and no matter what, they will never get that persons vote. It matters not if the candidate is a rascal, if you like them, you will vote for them. Look at former State Senator Leibell, in spite of investigations he was under at the time he was running for Putnam County Executive, he was Uncle Vinny and people elected him in a landslide. The rest is history.
So why do I bring this up? I said, this summer will be anything but boring politically in Yorktown. You have multiple primaries involving all party affiliations that will be decided Tuesday September 10. You have for the first time in recent memory all five members of the town board running for one office or the other. The biggest prize it seems is the position of Highway Superintendent. There is a lot of money and power at stake.
The Republican Party by a one vote margin nominated Greg Bernard a former town Councilman. Also seeking but denied the nomination is present Councilman David Paganelli. Dave, being of the opinion that 50 ,people should not decide who will carry the Republican banner, especially by one vote and the behind the scenes maneuvering that led up that vote, has decided to let the registered Republican voters decide who should carry the banner. The party phooh-bahs were not happy by that decision.
Party phooh-bahs by their nature do not as a rule trust the people. So it started out of the gate, the character assignation of Dave Paganelli. As most people know, when one approaches 60, dry rot sets in. So in a public statement read by fellow Councilman Nick Bianco, Dave informed the residents that he had recently had some health problems. The reason this statement was necessary was that operatives from opposing camps were spreading rumors that Dave was at death’s door. Hell I thought the campaign slogan should be “Vote For Dave, While You Still can”. The statement had to be made, before the unfounded rumors became fact in the minds of the voters.
Now in this weeks paper, there is a story about Dave’s personal finances. This is again because operatives from opposing camps have called into question Dave’s abilities. If national polls are true, then locally about 30% of Yorktowners face the same dilemma. Also like Dave, through no fault they had control of. He was in a business that relied on discretionary income. When the recession hit, on top of New York’s well known anti-business climate, not to mention the County Government’s piling on of un-funded business mandates of their own, Dave had to make decisions, hard decisions on who or what would get paid. Every Saturday I have to make these same decisions. Every week most homeowners have to do the same.
Does this situation many of us face mean we are not capable of doing our duties? Absolutely not! What it really means is that those in that situation are not afraid of doing what has to be done to survive. They don’t pass the buck and wallow in self-pity. They do what has to be done, when it has to be done. This is called character.
Another definition of character is keeping one’s word. When Dave ran, he said he would be exactly who he said he would be. He would level with you. You may not like what he say’s but it would be from the heart. This week story proves him to be a man of his word. He told you, you did not have to hear it from someone else first. He came forward and manned up. This is the type of person politics sorely needs, especially now.
What about the operatives that dug up the dirt and tried to smear Dave’s character with it. I would ask, would you really like those with that character flaw at the levers of power? I think not! I would not reward those who would employ people like that with my vote.
That his statement about personal health matters, personal financial matters is necessary shows how far people will go to win office. for a candidate they support. Let me up front. It is well known, and in fact I have stated publicly many times my friendship with Dave. It is because of that friendship, my personal knowledge of Dave, that I can state unequivocally, that there is nothing regarding his health and personal finances that would alter my opinion that he is still the best person for his position of Councilman or the position of Highway Superintendent which he now seeks. Honesty to the voter should be considered a virtue, not a flaw. The flaw lies in those making a column like this necessary. This is what I say, what say you?