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Republican Candidates Take Lead in Yorktown Election

Councilman Martorano, Justice Gilbert denied new terms by voters; Paganelli to join re-elected Bianco on Town Board; Raniolo headed for the bench.

Despite being involved in a virtual dead heat for Yorktown supervisor, Democrat Don Peters said he expected to sleep well knowing he was ahead.

Unofficial results from the Westchester County Board of Elections – 2,301 to 2,299 – with 37 of 43 town election districts, or 86 percent, in the three-way supervisor race against incumbent Susan Siegel.

The lead switched several times between Peters and Grace in the course of the evening, while Siegel may be headed for a defeat. 

Peters’ slim lead and town clerk Alice Roker’s uncontested bid for another term were the lone Democratic bright spots in town races. 

Councilman James Martorano, a Democrat, was turned out of office after 20 years of service on the town board. Town justice Ilan Gilbert, also a Democrat, was denied an opportunity to extend his five years on the town bench after his Republican opponent Gary Raniolo took the lead.

First-timer Richard Campanero, a Democrat, was rejected in his initial bid for a town board seat as voters returned Conservative and GOP candidate Nick Bianco for another term. Voters also chose Bianco's runningmate, restaurateur Dave Paganelli, who was leading all four town board candidates with 3,647 votes.

The Yorktown Republican Party now holds a 3-2 town board majority.

"We knew going in it was a tough year for Democrats," Martorano said as the results showed him and Campanero falling steadily behind the Republicans.

Asked by Patch about the highlights of his two decades on the board he cited the preservation of 3,200 acres of open space, new playing fields, the town’s strong financial condition and an effort to treat everyone with civility and respect. Looking ahead, Martorano said he hoped to be of service to the town in other ways. He offered his congratulations to Bianco and Paganelli.

Gilbert said he saw his defeat as part of a political trend. When asked about his years on the bench, he cited the and the implementation of a modernized filing system.

"It was a pleasure serving the town, and I think I left the court a better place than when I arrived," he said. Gilbert wished his opponent well with the court’s workload, and added that the new justice "will have his work cut out for him."

Perhaps forseeing the outcome, councilman Martorano issued the following statement Tuesday evening: 

Congratulations and thank you to all the wonderful citizens of Yorktown who came out to vote today in solid numbers.

Special thanks go to the candidates and campaign workers who participated in today’s election. Thank you for caring, for believing in the democratic process, for putting time, sweat and effort on behalf of your particular party or candidate.

My kudos goes out to all parties including my Republican counterparts. For in the final analysis our enemy is not each other, it is apathy; it is not heated debates but the fact that the rooms they are held in are virtually empty; our enemy is not contentious courtesy of the floor comments but rather the silence of none at all. 

For in order for our Democracy to work it must be truly vibrant. What we must always cherish is not winning and losing but the free exchange of ideas which should be done with civility, respect and humanity. These have always been my personal guiding principles.

So tonight we celebrate our extraordinary democracy. This evening especially we must remember that we are ALL YORKTOWNERS. Irrespective of the outcome I sincerely applaud all the candidates who have sacrificed so much so that we can exercise our democratic right to choose our leaders.

There are no losers tonight!

Paula Costella November 09, 2011 at 01:26 PM
It would be helpful to say such things before an election not after. This way voters know more about how a candidate really feels. Principles not personalities. I agree that apathy is prevalent; perhaps it's due to the frustration residents have trying to voice their concerns about issues and opportunities for programs and services that focus on helping them and their families, programs that are geared toward children, teens and our elders. Many people in this town walk a humble path and we don't read about their good works in the media. They dont self-publicize either. Maybe politicians should make an effort to find out who they are and engage them in our Democratic process. I grew up in the post-watergate era and am used to the apathy. My generation did not create that system but I have been affected by it, as have all of us. I do believe in living in the solution but politics as a solution? I don't know. We have many grassroots programs here in Yorktown and it would helpful if politicians became more interested in them like many did during pre-watergate times. Maybe then we'd see more people attending and conversing about real issues and making steps toward real change.
Councilman James Martorano November 09, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Thank you Paula for your insightful comments. FYI I have always said what is printed above, not just after the election. The truth is that I have been honored by the voters of Yorktown several times and I have enjoyed and cherished every moment.
Francis T McVetty November 09, 2011 at 11:30 PM
Good luck James, you have served us well over the years. Lets see how these newbies do. You never know, the voters may miss your straight shooting style. Two years is not a lot of time. Stay well friend.
CJ November 12, 2011 at 04:21 PM
Mr. Martorano, I tried to find an email address for you, but I did not succeed, so I will just respond on here. You don't know me, but I just want to let you know I am devastated that you did not win another term in Yorktown. I recently changed my party from Independent to Republican mostly so I have a broader option of whom I can vote for, and I am not particularly happy with what Democrats have done to this town, county, state, and country. However, you were the only Democrat who got my vote. I must admit, I had never heard of you until I stumbled upon an interview with you on YouTube. I feel that you are one of the few Democrats (and politicians in general) who truly cares about what the people want and not the agenda of their party. It saddens me that politicians put on a face and play dirty in order to win a few votes. I admire you for not using the same tricks they use. Unfortunately, that also probably cost you a few votes. Your response to the election results shows that you are truly a class act. I hope you continue to be involved in the Yorktown community and run again next election.
Councilman James Martorano November 12, 2011 at 05:27 PM
CJ and Francis I cant tell you how much your kind words mean to me...CJ, you can email me directly at Lohillss2@aol.com.. Francis, I hope to see you around town.... As for the election results: the truth is we elected wonderful individuals who I am sure will do a great job...I remain ready, willing and able to assist them in any way they deep appropriate.....after all we all must do our part for this wonderful town we love! Again, Thanks again gentlemen!

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