Complete finding of the Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee:
WESTCHESTER COUNTY FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES COMMITTEE
14 North Chatsworth Avenue #3E, Larchmont, NY 10538
March 12, 2010 Contact: Evelyn M. Stock, Chair
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 914-472-4719
Findings in the Complaints of
Ann Gallelli and Richard Olver against Gregory Schmidt and Randall Swan
Candidates for Village Trustee, Croton-on Hudson, and Susan Konig, Chairperson of the Croton-on-Hudson Republican Committee.
The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee met on March 11, 2010 to hear the complaints of Ann Gallelli (D) and Richard Olver (D) against Gregory Schmidt (R) and Randall Swan (R) in their contests for village trustees of Croton-on-Hudson and against Susan Konig, chairperson of the Croton-on-Hudson Republican Committee.
Ms. Gallelli and Mr. Olver stated that their opponents in a campaign advertisement March 4 in The Croton Gazette, and in a March 6 mailer falsely accused them of planning to build apartments in Harmon and a mall at the train station.
Unfair Campaign Practice
The Committee determined that there was no documented proof that Ms. Gallelli and Mr. Olver had such plans.
Ms. Gallelli and Mr. Olver objected to their opponents’ mailer that said they wasted tax money to create a toxic community garden.
Unfair Campaign Practice
The Committee determined that the property has been tested and found safe for gardening.
Ms. Gallelli and Mr. Olver said their opponents misrepresented the truth when they placed in their mailer a photograph of row housing that bears no resemblance to anything situated in Croton so as to portray the threat of urban blight.
Unfair Campaign Practice
Committee Guidelines state that a candidate should not use campaign advertisements that depict fictional or hypothetical events; that advertising that depicts a scene that never took place undermines the distinction between true and false campaign advertising. (More)
Ms. Gallelli and Mr. Olver said their opponents claimed they wasted money by issuing $1.9 million in new bond debt since 2009 and that there is no indication in the mailer what the purpose of this bonding was.
Fair Campaign Practice
While the Croton Board of Trustees had authorized bonding for five different projects totaling $1.9 million, the charge that it was wasted is not in the purview of the Committee to determine.
If a candidate or campaign wishes to quote from a Finding, the Committee requires that it be quoted in its entirety. The Committee regards selective quotation of its Findings as a violation of fair campaign practices.
Committee Members: Evelyn M. Stock (Chair), Miriam Cohen (Coordinator),Victor Goldberg, LaRuth Gray, Susan Pace Guma, Ruth Hinerfeld, Milton Hoffman, Lee Kinnally, Polly M. Kuhn,, Ernest Prince, Susan Schwarz, Lorelei A. Vargas.
Ex officio: Representatives of the Republican Party, Democratic Party, Independence Party, Conservative Party, Working Families Party.
The purpose of the Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee is to promote a climate in which candidates conduct honest and fair campaigns. The Committee encourages candidates to conduct campaigns openly and fairly, to discuss issues, to refrain from dishonest and defamatory attacks, and not to use campaign materials that distort the facts.
The Committee does not sit as a censor of political discussion nor as a body to enforce election law or make legal decisions. Its task is to accept written complaints about alleged unfair campaign practices and to determine whether the action complained about is indeed unfair. Among other things, the Committee will consider to be unfair any campaign practice that is a misstatement of a material fact or that misleads the public.
The Committee has no power to compel anyone to stop doing what it has found it be unfair. If the Committee acts on a complaint, it will release its findings to inform the public. The Committee may choose not to consider a complaint; in that case, a hearing is not held and the parties to the complaint are so notified.
Statement of Principles of the Committee, as stated in its Manual, available at www.faircampaignpractices.org. The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee believes that candidates should conduct their campaigns in accordance with the following principles:
- The candidate will conduct a campaign for public office openly and fairly. The candidate will discuss the issues and participate in fair debate with respect to his/her views and qualifications.
- The candidate will neither engage in nor be involved with unfair or misleading attacks upon the character of an opponent, nor will the candidate engage in invasions of personal privacy unrelated to fitness for office. (More)
- The candidate will not participate in or condone any appeal to prejudice.
- The candidate will neither use nor be involved with the use of any campaign material or advertisements that misrepresents or distorts the facts.
- The candidate will clearly identify by name the source of all advertisements and campaign literature published and distributed.
- The candidate will not abuse the Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee process in order to obtain political advantage.
The candidate will publicly repudiate materials or actions from any individual or group that would violate this Statement of Principles.