by Robert Kimmel –
Running unopposed on the ballot under the independent Unite Sleepy Hollow banner, Mayor Ken Wray and three incumbent trustees were returned to their village posts last month. It was the sixth straight victory for Wray and his third since forming the non-partisan Unite group in 2015.
Along with Wray, Trustees Glenn Rosenbloom, John Leavy and Denise Scaglione regained their positions in the March 19 vote. Without opposing ballot choices, voter turnout was substantially less than what the village experienced in past elections when there were competing political slates.
“If there is anything positive to report
here, it is that Sleepy Hollow voters
quickly recognized the threat and
they rallied to the polls to deny him.”
While the ballot listed only the Unite Sleepy Hollow team, opposition to the mayor developed during the month leading up to the election. Biking activist Daniel Convissor pursued a write-in campaign for mayor citing an array of reasons for his action. Following the election, Wray described it as “Dan Convissor’s cynical stealth strategy to exploit low turnout typical in uncontested elections. It failed miserably,” the mayor added.
Convissor had distributed an election flyer warning that the village would be consumed by traffic and pollution because of recent development projects and emphasized the need for improved transportation. He also called for reforms to “make it easier to get new homes built, at a variety of sizes and prices” to increase affordability, and to more widely announce public hearings, among his other proposals. He challenged Wray’s capability to pursue a “safer, happier, healthier village.”
“I think I was running a very positive
campaign; I didn’t slander anybody. I
ran very above board.”
What Convissor said prodded him to run as a write-in candidate was the village’s consideration in February of a proposal banning biking on sidewalks and strictly limiting parking time on them, which ultimately was shelved. Convissor heads Bike Tarrytown, a group which has been actively supporting the concept of a bike path on Broadway through both Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow as part of a bicycling lane within five Westchester villages on Route 9. His late decision to run required a write-in campaign, he explained.
After the election, Wray’s reaction to Convissor’s bid was sharp. “If there is anything positive to report here, it is that Sleepy Hollow voters quickly recognized the threat and they rallied to the polls to deny him,” Wray stated. “They saw Dan’s ploy for what it was; an unqualified person attempting to seize control. Had he succeeded, the progress of the past twenty years would have been upended; partnerships that we are relying on to help us define our future would be in serious jeopardy.”
“Dan’s credibility is now being called into question,” the mayor continued. “His advocacy efforts and his networks are damaged. I placed him on the Environmental Advisory Committee, and he has offered workable improvements to village streets. But his zealotry about bike lanes got the better of him.”
“I think I was running a very positive campaign; I didn’t slander anybody,” Convissor countered. “I ran very above board.” He asserted that his platform supported that position. Convissor collected 52 write-in votes, according to the unofficial count as provided by the County Board of Elections.
Rosenbloom, who is also Deputy Mayor, collected 462 votes while gaining his fourth term as a trustee. Scaglione matched that number of votes to garner her third term, and Leavy is also back for his third term as a trustee, having secured 446 votes. Wray got 447 votes. The mayor, running as a Democrat, won his first bid for office as a trustee in 2009. His last mayoral victory, two years ago, was also in an election without opposition.
By comparison, in regard to turnout, during the 2015 mayoral and trustee election when the mayor was opposed by Democratic candidate, Karen Wompa, about 1,000 Sleepy Hollow voters cast ballots. The mayor handily won re-election that year doubling his opponent’s votes. The Unite Sleepy Hollow group in 2015 consisted of Democrats, Republicans and Independents as it does today.
Wray related what he considered to be a major pursuit for his new term. “The biggest push is to make sure the Edge-on- Hudson development sees completion and that it moves forward with the proper, strong oversight and that we will be able to move forward on our Village Commons project,” he said. The Commons is planned within the 29-acre East Parcel of the former GM plant given to the Sleepy Hollow as part of the deal approving the GM sale to developers. Plans for the Commons include a community center, recreational facilities and outdoor amphitheater.
All three of the reelected trustees had cited their desire to remain in office to continue to pursue the fulfillment of all the planned projects.