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Attorney Michael Grace Enters Race for Supervisor

Last week he announced he will primary incumbent Supervisor Susan Siegel, who received the Republican Party nomination.

Michael J. Grace, former town attorney for the town of Yorktown and partner in the litigation firm of Grace & Grace has announced his run for office.

He will enter the race for Yorktown Town Supervisor and will petition to primary incumbent Supervisor Susan Siegel, who is the Republican endorsed candidate. 

Grace, the legal counsel to the town for 16 years, said he is familiar with the town’s regulatory structure as well as the history, purposes and intents of those regulations.

"The town of Yorktown has become moribund, primarily because of the unfortunate long term dysfunction of the Town Board," Grace said in his statement. " And probably more importantly because of the town’s antiquated regulatory infrastructure which has proven to be unresponsive to the town’s present and future needs." 

The problem, he said, is that the town is suffering the consequences of a town board that "has been unwilling, incapable or oblivious with respect to the need to keep pace with the challenges faced by the dual interests of promoting local economic prosperity and preserving our quality of life and the unique character of our town." 

He also spoke about the pending legislation mandating affordable housing in Yorktown, which he said will put a burden on the taxpayers.

"At a time when many are struggling just to keep their homes it is uncanny that the town board seeks to enact legislation mandating affordable housing set asides that past experience proved to be costly to the town while serving no discernible public benefit," he said. 

Grace said he is "annoyed" with the way the town operates, and even if he does not win, at least he would have raised those issues. He is opposed to the town acquiring properties, and gave an example with the Shallow Creek golf course. He also spoke about the empty store fronts and the need to change that. 

“The evidence of the failure of our regulatory structure is the blight of empty stores and abandoned, vacant lots lining our major commercial thoroughfares and commercial centers," he said adding that the town should re-examine its recent practice of purchasing land, which due to environmental constraints has minimal developmental potential.

"The acquisition of which comes atgreat expense to the Yorktown taxpayers, already struggling to keep pace with the local property tax demands," Grace said.

The reason why he's running, he said, is to make a difference and that he was prompted by the dismay with the decisions and direction the town has taken over the past few years. 

Grace and his wife Lisa live in Yorktown. The couple has seven children and one grandson. 

Confused June 20, 2011 at 12:36 AM
I would like to ask Mr. Grace a few questions that I would like straight answers to. The article states that you were town attorney for 16 years. Based on the breaking news of an audit that was conducted by the State Comptroller's Office in which allegations have been made against certain individuals in the Yorktown town government, what would you have done differently than those other Supervisors to have prevented the type of alleged activities from happening? As town counsel, I'm sure you must have seen or heard rumors about alleged illegal activities by town employees. What did you do during those 16 years to protect the taxpayers who you are now asking to vote for you? You make the following statements recorded in the aforementioned article, "The town of Yorktown has become moribund, primarily because of the unfortunate long term dysfunction of the Town Board" and "And probably more importantly because of the town’s antiquated regulatory infrastructure which has proven to be unresponsive to the town’s present and future needs." How can you change things if you are only one vote on the board? What makes you think the town is better served by you rather than the incumbent supervisor, Susan Siegel?
Francis T McVetty June 23, 2011 at 08:20 PM
Confused-"What makes you think the town is better served by you rather than the incumbent supervisor, Susan Siegel?" DUH, look what is happening under her reign!
Confused June 26, 2011 at 01:14 AM
Francis, why don't you enlighten us with what you believe has happened under the incumbent supervisor's reign. Let's me see if I got this straight... She instituted new purchasing/procurement procedures, she had the state comptrollers office do an audit of the town's financial procedures and look what they found. She removed Mr. DiBartolo as Director of Labor Operations, employees seem pretty glad for that one. She's exposed past malicious practices of former supervisors while maintaining her pre-campaign slogan which was to to keep her word. I believe she will be running under the motto of "promises made, promises kept." She's done both. She brought in a qualified person named David Rambo to run the Water Department. Mr. Rambo exposed Mr. Dibartolo lack of management skills by showing that money slated for purchasing new water meters was instead used for purchasing new trucks. He also identified mismanagement of the water department budget. Francis, you must be alluding to the fact that some people don't like her because she's straight forward and tells the truth. She doesn't concoct stories like other politicians. Mrs. Siegel is not a politician (thank goodness). She's a real person like the rest of us. Referring to Mr. Grace, I do not know the man. What I do know is that he was town attorney for many years and must have been in the know about rumors, innuendo and truth concerning illegal activities that happened in the town while he was there. What did he do about it?
Francis T McVetty June 26, 2011 at 11:18 AM
Confused, why don't you tell us your real name. I think you are working on her re-election campaign. Come on now, full dis-closer , please. The personal dispute between the supervisor and the highway superintendent has cost the Yorktown taxpayers a lot of money already, not to mention the future law suits pending. In closing, the supervisor is a lose cannon. The expression "activate brain before engaging mouth" certainly applies to her. Her people management skills are certainly in need of a major adjustment. We didn't need a new water supervisor at over 85k. Let her also explain the Cablevision franchise agreement. It is time for a SWEEPING change in Yorktown government! The supervisor was backed for her present position by the past supervisor Linda G. Cooper. Lets look at her record in regard to cable franchises. The town and its attorneys have failed the taxpayers in regard to value received for these franchise agreements. Again, we need NEW people with new ideas.
Francis T McVetty June 26, 2011 at 11:20 AM
Confused, why don't you tell us your real name. I think you are working on her re-election campaign. Come on now, full dis-closer , please. The personal dispute between the supervisor and the highway superintendent has cost the Yorktown taxpayers a lot of money already, not to mention the future law suits pending. In closing, the supervisor is a lose cannon. The expression "activate brain before engaging mouth" certainly applies to her. Her people management skills are certainly in need of a major adjustment. We didn't need a new water supervisor at over 85k. Let her also explain the Cablevision franchise agreement. It is time for a SWEEPING change in Yorktown government! The supervisor was backed for her present position by the past supervisor Linda G. Cooper. Lets look at her record in regard to cable franchises. The town and its attorneys have failed the taxpayers in regard to value received for these franchise agreements. Again, we need NEW people with new ideas.
Confused June 26, 2011 at 05:27 PM
Francis, don't you think that DiBartolo would sue any supervisor or for that matter anybody that calls him out for all his questionable and perhaps even illegal activities. Where do you think the money for his lawsuits comes from? It's the money he took from the taxpayers! You call her a "loose cannon," is that because she doesn't kiss certain councilman's backsides? Is it because she does what she thinks is in the best interest of the town? I don't care if she was backed by former Supervisor Cooper she was also backed by thousands of honest hard working people. You say we didn't need a new water supervisor at over $85 thousand. We don't need a highway superintendent that collects over $125 thousand a year. Why is he working over at the Yorktown Funeral Home during the day driving a limo and greeting people? At least Mr. Rambo is at his job 8 hours every day working. He does what he is being paid to do. Can you say the same about Mr. DiBartolo? He claims he needs more people to get the work done. That's a laugh. He doesn't know what to do with the staff he has. Why is the deputy highway superintendent emptying garbage cans in the highway garage when he's being paid over $115 thousand a year? As for the cable agreements, she is but one vote on the town board. I don't hear you harping about Councilmen Bianco and Martorano. I don't know what you know about leadership. She might not look like a leader but performs like one. As supervisor she might be too strong for you.
Francis T McVetty June 26, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Confused, please answer the following 1- why don't you post with your real name. # 2- are you working on her re-election committee? As for "As for the cable agreements, she is but one vote on the town board. I don't hear you harping about Councilmen Bianco and Martorano." I have and have been shut down by the SUPERVISOR on several occasions! She , for one does NOT take criticism kindly.
Confused June 26, 2011 at 08:11 PM
Francis, why do I have to post with my name? My opinions still remain the same. I try to protect my anonymity because I do not want people contacting me, slandering me, threatening me, etc. I can't speak for the supervisor, only myself. With that said, I do not know the circumstances of her shutting you down. I do know that during the courtesy of the floor she will let you speak. When the courtesy is closed she will answer your question. If by chance you speak back to the board at that time she will admonish whomever speaks out. The audience is not allowed to speak out once the courtesy of the floor has been closed. I believe that she like most of us does not like to be criticized. I do agree with you that perhaps she need to be a bit more tactful when she's criticized. Let me add this. How many times have you seen Councilman Bianco talk to Mrs. Roker or someone else on the board while a person is addressing the board? How many times does Councilman Bianco disparage the person who stood at the podium with remarks that border on being contemptuous? He's rude! Truthfully, Bianco and Martorano have been on the board far too long. They have no new ideas. Murphy is using the board to spring board himself to a higher political office. Councilman Patel is happy as long as he can present an award, speak about beautifying Yorktown, etc. Mrs. Siegel is truly about making Yorktown a better place for all of us. Finally, I am not part of her campaign or on her campaign committee.
Francis T McVetty June 27, 2011 at 03:01 AM
Thank you for answering the main question about you NOT being part of her campaign. It looks like you at least agree with me that most of them should go. We disagree with whether the supervisor should also go. Election time is just around the corner, we will see what the voters have to say about the way the town is being run. I do think that we need a change in the county legislator. Terrance Murphy would be a good replacement for Mr Kaplowitz. He has been there TOO long and was too tight with Andy Spano. It is time for a real change in both Yorktown and the Westchester county legislators.
Bill June 27, 2011 at 04:34 AM
Frank, you continue to be confused when you talk about cable franchiseS. The Verizon agreement was negotiated and signed under Don Peters. Why are you blaming Susan Siegel for it? And as you've been told multiple times, the franchises had to be equivalent so there was little room to negotiate the Cablevision renewal once the Verizon agreement was in place. And once again, the town got a great deal on both agreements -- the value received is excellent and the vast majority of taxpayers were definitely not failed. It would have been foolish to turn down significant money in exchange for something that a very small portion of the population cares about.
Francis T McVetty June 27, 2011 at 01:27 PM
Bill, the FIOS agreement was negotiated under both Cooper & Peters. Lets not get started again how GOOD a deal the taxpayers got. We got peanuts. We negotiated from a position of weakness. When two agreements come to within a year of each other, you negotiate with BOTH of the parties. You use one against the other, a fact that was lost on the people that ran the town.You don't let the cable providers dictate the terms. That is how you make great deals. One other question, how do you let one of the parties write into the agreement that they will only pay what they owe the town only AFTER they sign a contract with the competitor? How could our town attorney let this happen. How about handing Cablevision a "boiler plate" agreement with NO differences. Is this the way to negotiate? There was a rush, as usual to get an agreement. You know what happens when you rush into an agreement. It is much like the Health care plan we are now stuck with.
Bill June 27, 2011 at 02:16 PM
Frank, every time you post on this topic you show your ignorance. Because of the cable laws, Cablevision had no incentive (or interest) in negotiating an early renewal. Doing so would have hastened their competition's entry into the market so why would they want to do that? And given that one contract becomes the basis for the other, you cannot negotiate one against the other. They know how things work, even if you do not (and once again, you give Cablevision a way to delay their competition). And the town board consulted with the PSC on the matter, as well as an attorney who had negotiated other franchise agreements. So they understood how these things worked. As for delayed payments, because of the level playing field regulations regarding cable agreements, Verizon could not be obligated to pay the next installment until Cablevision was also paying it. We were probably lucky that they agreed to make the first payment upon signing of the contract. In any event, the taxpayers got $300,000 out of both contracts combined that we never had in there when the only thing we were worrying about was public access. I think that's much more than "peanuts".
Francis T McVetty July 01, 2011 at 11:44 AM
Bill, It seems that other towns did NOT think that you are right in your thinking. Better deals were made by other towns in Westchester. If cablevision didn't want to negotiate , then we could have held them to the previous agreement and and held their feet to the fire. We could have forced them to correct the problems that were overlooked by the town attorney and town council.They were in breech of contract on many issues. I know you didn't give a crap about OUR studio, but many did. There were many issues with it, but nothing was done about it. All anyone on the " negotiation committee" was interested in, was bringing in FIOS. One councilman told me, Frank do you want to be the one that denies the people a new service? Money is NOT the only thing when it comes to a franchise agreement. By the way, a 15 year agreement, who does that in this day and age? Come on Bill , you were duped by the two companies.
Bill July 01, 2011 at 02:11 PM
It was not our studio, it was Cablevision's and was available for use of multiple towns. And as was shown at the Cablevision hearing, the previous franchise agreement didn't even say that the studio had to be in Yorktown, only that one had to be available for residents, which the one in Peekskill would have satisfied. Other towns may have gotten more if they showed that they were already spending money running a studio, something that Yorktown has never done (also I think their numbers included franchise fees, which the town has always kept for the general fund). And you're right, people were calling town hall on a regular basis asking for the ability to get FiOS because they were fed up with Cablevision, and were thrilled when it became available. But it still doesn't mean that there was anything wrong with the franchise agreement. Simply that the attorney realized the constraints given the former agreement with Cablevision. And 15 years makes a lot of sense when you realize that the general consensus was that franchising authority was going to be taken away from the local communities and that this was likely to be our final agreement. You folks continued to claim that the equipment at the studio was terrible, then you complained that too many people from other towns were using it. Do you realize how stupid that sounds? If the studio is horrible, why would people from other towns want to use it?
Bill July 01, 2011 at 02:11 PM
Frank, you have proven over and over again that you are clueless when it comes to cable franchises and the cable needs of the vast majority of Yorktown residents. I don't understand why you don't just give up and stop making yourself look foolish here, especially given that it's a dead issue.
Francis T McVetty July 01, 2011 at 05:23 PM
You write " And 15 years makes a lot of sense when you realize that the general consensus was that franchising authority was going to be taken away from the local communities and that this was likely to be our final agreement." Did that in fact happen? NO, if you had asked someone at the psc you might have known that.
Francis T McVetty July 01, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Bill, you also write that "But it still doesn't mean that there was anything wrong with the franchise agreement. Simply that the attorney realized the constraints given the former agreement with Cablevision." . Come on Bill how long are you going to cover the town attorneys posteriors?

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