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Thoughts While Strolling (7)

March 7, 2008


Here Today, Gone Tomorrow. The useful life of political campaign signs is short at best. On Wednesday afternoon of this week a humongous sign appeared on what appears to be a storage building on the empty lot where Croton Dodge formerly stored its new-car inventory. Shortly after the property came on the market, Mark Franzoso quietly snapped it up.

The building is a metal industrial-type structure that appeared out of nowhere. Sitting forlornly on this empty lot like the Little House on the Prairie, it is quite out of step with a neighborhood valiantly trying to establish its identity.

Your correspondent wondered whether Croton had exchanged a lot with its not unattractive rank upon rank of shiny new cars for one that may soon house a shabby array of dumpsters, lift vans or similar storage buildings, all sporting advertising. This location is one of the most visually sensitive in the so-called Harmon Gateway Area.

In previous strolls, we had noticed that the vacant property was starting to show signs of neglect evidenced by accumulating litter. Moreover, ignoring the Village’s snow removal ordinance, after snowstorms the lot’s sidewalks are never cleared of accumulated snow, which soon turns to ice and makes walking to the station hazardous for commuters.

The sign’s message was simple and decidedly one-sided politically: “Vote for Joe Streany Village Trustee,” it fairly shouted, leaving poor Joan Minett to find her own patrons and advocates elsewhere. The Stroller estimates that the sign measured about 16 square feet in area, which would have taken it far beyond any limit set by the Visual Environment Board.

Not only was the sign large, almost approaching a small billboard in size, it was an elaborate example of the sign painter’s art. No piece of scrap cardboard amateurishly hand-lettered with felt-tip pen, this sign was outsized and handsomely framed. A sign so large and potentially long-enduring could serve a candidate for several campaigns before showing evidence of wear and tear.

As we said, the sign went up on Wednesday, presumably erected by or paid for by Mark Franzoso. As suddenly as it went up, it disappeared just as abruptly. By Thursday it was gone. A mystery novelist writing about its short life would undoubtedly title the account “The Case of the Disappearing Sign.”

The Stroller is left with a half-dozen questions: (1) Who paid for the sign? (2) Does its expenditure represent an equivalent political contribution? (3) Was it intended to last for repeated campaigns? (4) Why did it disappear so quickly? (5) Where is it now? (6) Is it going to turn up at a different location?

“It’s a puzzlement,” as Yul Brynner used to say in the long-running musical “The King and I.”

In case you think we’re making this up, here’s a pair of before- and after-photographs:

South Riverside Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson, New York on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 (Click image to enlarge.)

South Riverside Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson, New York on Thursday, March 6, 2008 (Click image to enlarge.)

Add Another Odd Couple. This one may be the oddest couple of all the odd couples we have discovered and recorded so far: Joan N. Minett, 42, living at 5 Van Cortlandt Place is registered as a Republican while her husband, James P. Minett, 54, living at the same address, is registered as a Democrat. Her middle name is None (We’re not kidding, it’s None—but we’re not going anywhere with that.), and his is Paul. Political discourse in that household must indeed be very spirited.

On March 8, 2008 10:39 AM, Devil's Advocate said:

This story should surprise no one. The Franzosos used to do whatever they wanted until the Elliot administration and Ann Gallelli finally reigned them in and made them start to follow the rules everyone else was forced to comply with.

Getting Streany in office would give the Republicans a super majority which would allow they to act with virtual impunity. Streany and Franzoso are no strangers to the old “give and take”. If anyone thinks that dumpster was positioned on the old Croton Dodge lot for any other purpose other than to house that sign, I have a bridge to sell them.

This is good ole boy politics at its worst. Why else would the Schmidt administration allow Franzoso to violate the village sign ordanance in this case and all over Croton for years without an any repercussions. Let me give some examples; The “temporary” sign on the building on the corner of Maple next to the Blue Pig has been up for years ILLEGALLY, The “temporary” sign on the Manhattan Morgtage building has been up for years ILLEGALLY. Ever seen Franzoso signs nailed to telephone poles all over town? Thats right they are ILLEGAL. Like paying taxes on the land Franzoso uses to load and unload trucks, park cars and block the sidewalk, well guess what? You are. That is all Village owned land.

Dont let the Republicans successfully brush this incident off as Democratic “nitpicking” because it is not! Both Streany and Franzoso knew this was illegal, and for two guys with demonstrated “ethics deficiencies” and common interests, we should be very concerned as to what they are all plotting behind the scenes. This coupled with the Schmidt “open government” which finds it necessary to hold closed door “executive sessions” twice a month is a VERY SCAREY SITUATION!!!

If you vote for Gallelli and Oliver for no other reason than to prevent the Schmidt administration from getting a super majority and all of the freedom that comes with it, then that is good enough for me.

I will leave you all with one final thought. If you had to entrust someone with $5000 - $10000 of your own personal money, which of these candidates would you trust with your money.

The average Croton taxpayer is entrusting the Village Board with $5000 - $10000 a year in Village taxes. Remember on Election Day that this is not a popularity contest, but a choice of people to manage your money. Experience, honesty, and intelligence DOES COUNT!


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