White, who is seeking her second term, is running as a Democrat. Riso will be on the Green Party line. There is no Republican candidate.
Patch sent questionnaires to both candidates. Their answers are listed in alphabetical order by last name after each question.
Why did you decide to run for election?
Beth Riso: I have been struggling to get a leaf blower ordinance, and other environmental and quality of life issues passed for quite some time. I was not making headway through the current board, so I hoped a run for mayor would bring these issues to the forefront.
Jennifer Laird White: I am running for re-election because, for the last four years, two as Trustee and two as Mayor, I have enjoyed working for the residents and businesses in the Village of Nyack and I believe we have seen substantial progress. I think we are a financially and environmentally healthier community, our Village has never looked more beautiful and many more positive and exciting changes are in process.We have weathered two horrific storms and supported each other throughout their aftermath. We are in terrific fiscal shape and I want to continue working for the Village of Nyack and all of it’s residents as we continue to move in an excellent direction.
Patch: What personal or professional experiences qualify you to serve as a town board member? Have you run or held elected office previously?
Riso: I have been involved with many community groups and issues for many years, and have worked a number of jobs within large and complex organizations.
White: I have served as Mayor for the last two years and as a Village Trustee for two years prior to that. I served as a Nyack Park Commissioner for five years and founded the Nyack Park Conservancy. Prior to my commitment to public service, I was a producer and correspondent for CBS News. And I am a mom. Those mom skills are particularly helpful in the job of Mayor.
Patch: What are the top three issues facing Nyack residents?
Riso: Noise, filth, communication with the government.
White: The Tappan Zee Bridge, keeping taxes low and property values high.
What are your plans for addressing these issues?
Riso: Enact a leaf blower ordinance, enforce the cleanliness of restaurant and bar sidewalks, add recycling and garbage cans, make sure phones are answered and phone calls returned in Village Hall.
White: I serve on the Governors Transit Task force looking at transit options for the Tappan Zee. I have worked closely with the Governor's office on bridge issues related to the Nyacks.
We have kept taxes low by restructuring the financial operations at Village Hall, creating full accountability, eliminating overtime and becoming creative in the area of revenue generation.
Property values will remain high as long as our downtown is thriving, we have healthy and happy residents and our streets and neighborhoods are safe and attractive. News in the press is no longer about bar activity but about amazing events happening every weekend from those tried and true like Art Walk to newer events like Walk to the Beat, the Chambers Classic Car Show and wonderful things happening at the Hopper House. We are constantly working with merchants on downtown health and economic development. We have added a recreation department to create new activities for our youth and seniors, we are undergoing a major overhaul of Memorial Park and by spring should have an incredible amenity for all residents to enjoy, we have become leaders in stormwater reduction and green practices for homeowners and businesses and we continue to work with the school district and law enforcement on improving options for our kids and reducing crime in our community.
Patch: How do you differentiate yourself from your opponents' platforms?
Riso: Mine is more "green."
White: I have not seen any description of my opponents platform but have heard that her primary interest is in a seasonal ban of leaf blowers. I find gas powered leaf blowers as environmentally unpleasant as the next person but also understand that they have become a key component of commercial landscapers work and that disabled residents use them at various times of the year when raking and shoveling is difficult.
In order not to hurt small businesses during this difficult economic time and to avoid creating hardship for those with disability’s, we have a created a committee of smart, interested people ranging from residents, landscapers, people with disabilities, environmental advocates and members of the Village Board and Land Use Boards to try to create a comprehensive plan for dealing with the ever increasing number of gas powered tools in the Village. I am quite proud of the work we are doing because unlike the overly simplistic seasonal ban, which we do not have the staff to enforce, we are working on a program that would include public outreach and education, incentivization for business owners and large Village properties to adhere to good practices, limiting hours and possibly days of operation and encouraging both home owners and businesses to move away from the environmentally unhealthy machines and practices.
In the end, this kind of comprehensive approach will, I believe, actually reduce the use of power tools in our community, encourage less expensive and environmentally healthy choices and actually have a tremendous impact that an unenforceable blower ban could never have..
Patch: If elected, what would you like to achieve over the course of your term?
Riso: I would like to bring back some peace and quiet to the village. I would like to beautify the village naturally, with more trees. I would like to be an example of an earth friendly, low carbon footprint, village, while maintaining fiscal constraint, and encouraging more retail.
White: I would love to continue to see the momentum we have going now increase. I think we can work hard to improve our parking situation, finish beautifying our waterfront and our downtown, encourage many more businesses to call Nyack home, develop some sort of transit plan that benefits the Nyacks and increase recreational activities and job opportunites for our residents. I would also like to work at continuing to grow our relationship with the Governors office and our State and Federal representatives.
Patch: Incumbents: Do you have other employment or own a business in addition to your elected post? Challengers: What is your current employment and will that change if elected?
Riso: I own my own real estate company, and rent an office in Nyack. My hours are flexible, and set by me.
White: I have committed to being a full time Mayor at a very part time salary. I think the Village of Nyack, as wonderful as it is needs that kind of full time attention for a while longer and I feel fortunate that I am able to offer it. We have made huge progress but there is much yet to do. I am asking for the honor of your vote and the opportunity to remain the Mayor of Nyack for the next two years.