Mayes and Smith vying for unexpired Cortlandt City Council seat
When voters head to the polls on Nov. 8, lost in the mix of some of the high-profile state and congressional contests, there may be a local race in the town of Cortlandt where Councilman Robert Mayes and the native de Verplanck Warren Smith are vying for a one-year term on city council.
Mayes, a fifth-generation resident of the city, was appointed in February to fill a vacant seat created when supervisor Dr. Richard Becker successfully removed Linda Puglisi. Smith, who ran unsuccessfully a year ago in his first attempt at Cortlandt, was one of 15 candidates who threw his hat into the ring to be nominated for the vacant council position. fully democratic.
The winner of the Nov. 8 election will serve the final year of Becker’s board’s four-year term. The seat will be up for grabs again next November.
“I love this city and want it to stay a great city to raise a family in,” Mayes said. “I think we have a great team here at Cortlandt. I find it a great working environment.
“You really have to want to do that. I really want to do this,” Smith said. “We need a balance. It would be better if we had a different voice to shape our policy.
Mayes, 42, an attorney with the New York State Department of Corrections and a former Westchester County assistant district attorney, served nearly two terms on the Lakeland Board of Education before joining city government.
A resident of the Crompond section of Cortlandt, he has been involved in several civic organizations, including as a Cortlandt American Little League coach, Cub leader, board member of the Mt. Pleasant Blythedale Foundation, and member of the Westchester Black Bar.
During his eight months on city council, Mayes said he took a special interest in the city’s recreation department and was proud the city preserved more than 30 acres of open space in the north end. .
He mentioned fiscal responsibility, infrastructure improvements and technological advancements as three areas he plans to focus on if he is victorious. He also rejected the idea that a party-dominated council was undesirable.
“I have always believed that local government transcends politics,” he said. “I don’t necessarily think there’s a Democratic or Republican way to do it. I am raising my young family here. Cortlandt focuses on that kind of community. Cortlandt has been my home and I hope it will always be my home.
Commenting on the proposed development in the Medically Oriented District (MOD), Mayes said he was keeping an open mind and listening to all stakeholders, although he believed an assisted living facility would be beneficial.
As for Verplanck’s career site, Mayes said he thought the indoor football facility “could absolutely work”.
“I would like to see this area developed,” Mayes said. “I don’t see it as a regional attraction, but as a local attraction.”
Smith, 59, was born and raised in Verplanck and graduated from Hendrick Hudson High School in 1981. President of the Verplanck Residents’ Association and a longtime Scouts leader, he is director of operations for a commercial printer in New York.
He was involved in the effort to stop the Port Cortlandt industrial project and has been a regular attendee at town meetings in recent years.
“I got bitten by the virus,” Smith said of his interest in getting elected. “I have a hard time saying no to people if they need help. This party does not do good governance. You don’t get all the different views. For now, everything is one-sided. It’s not like one voice that I’m going to move the needle, but I want to give them a different perspective.
“I am not, and I will never become, an average career politician. I am simply a lifelong member of our beautiful community and care deeply for her and my fellow citizens. I believe it is time to put into practice the values and strategies that I have taught all these years.
Smith said city officials “should have been upfront from the start” about their preferences for the MOD, noting that the city needed “wise development.”
“I believe something should be there, but you can’t do everything,” he said. “I’m not against development, but you have to take into account the neighbors around it. If scaled correctly and damped for traffic, this could be a good fit.
A member of the city’s quarry committee, Smith said anything built on the quarry property in Verplanck “could be an anchor or an engine to develop more business.”
“It’s something special. It’s a magical place that could be a really good draw,” Smith said of the 100-acre site. “Some of the proposals are more targeted than others. The football project is still ongoing. I hope it will happen again. We have to find something to do with this career.