Something is wrong in the Sea Cliff village election due on March 21 at the children’s library. One of three candidates, Jeff Vitale, was sitting up on the dais with three duly elected trustees from previous elections. Deputy Mayor Kevin McGilloway told me and about 30 residents in the audience that Interim Mayor Ed Lieberman, who was not present at the Feb. 13 village board meeting, had exercised his right to “appoint” someone, anyone, to fill the seat until March 21.
I argued that gives Jeff “a head start” in the ongoing campaign before the voting takes place. They even gave Vitale a nameplate in front of him exactly like the duly elected trustees next to him. The uninitiated would think that Vitale had won the election. Instead, I am convinced that the powerful Civic Progress Party has pulled a fast one on us with the actual election only four weeks away. After the meeting Jeff Vitale, whom I like and respect, came over to me and admitted that even he was surprised by the mayor’s action. Nevertheless, he of course accepted the offer.
The result obviously is unfair to Ms. McDermott and myself. The voters of Sea Cliff are being duped in this, the first contested election in our village in eight years. Something stinks. The only recourse is that the electorate of Sea Cliff protest by considering a vote for independent candidates such as McDermott and myself who will serve the village well free of incumbrances like this travesty. What’s more, I am running as a write-in candidate, my choice, to promote confidence in voters and avoid any type of confusion at the polls. This election takes on a more important role than even I could imagine. If the village government remains status quo, I truly believe we are in grave danger of becoming a serfdom of sorts with no rights whatsoever. I am supported by the People’s Voice committee which has specifically avoided the political party label. It was nobly begun by John Burns coming out of the Army from World War II. But Civic Progress no longer serves us well. And it is time to wake up while we still have a choice in a Democratic society.
Be part of Sea Cliff history and vote March 21 with a Meet the Candidates Night on March 14, hosted by the Civic Association, hopefully held in the spacious school auditorium instead of our village courtroom where citizens could be turned away.