The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee met on November 7, 2016 to hear the complaint of Martin C. Aronchick, Democratic candidate for Town Councilman, Town of North Salem, against William Monti, Chair of the North Salem Republican Town Committee. Mr. Aronchick represented himself. William Monti was not represented.
Complaint: Mr. Aronchick complained that, in a November 3, 2016 letter to the editor of the North Salem News, Mr. Monti wrote, “Martin Aronchick supports a 2% Transfer Taxwhen you sell your home, this is a taking of your property,” which is not his position.
In 2009, while serving as a member of the North Salem Comprehensive Plan Committee, Mr. Aronchick had spoken favorably about the North Salem Town Board considering a real estate transfer tax as a tool to fund the preservation of open space. However, New York State law (the Hudson Valley Community Preservation Act) stipulates that the 2% can only be levied on that portion of the sale price of a house that is in excess of the median price of homes in the Town. In addition, the language of the letter implies that Mr. Aronchick still favors such a tax, when there is no evidence that such is the case
Members: Susan P. Guma, [Chair], Miriam Cohen [Coordinator], Paul C. Atkinson, Nick Beilenson, Elizabeth Bermel, Gisele Castro, Daniel S. Franklin, Jr., Victor J. Goldberg, LaRuth Gray, Joan Grangenois-Thomas, Lee Kinnally, Robert C. Kirkwood, Polly Kuhn, Carole Princer Levy, Philip M. Maley, Harry Phillips III, Joy Rosenzweig, Susan Schwarz, Evelyn M. Stock.
Party representatives (ex officio): Republican Party, Democratic Party, Conservative Party, Working Families Party, Independence Party, Green Party, Reform Party
The purpose of the Westchester Fair Campaign 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 to 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 notified.
Statement of Principles of the Committee, as stated in its Manual, is 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 her/his 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.
- The candidate will not participate in or condone an appeal to prejudice.
- The candidate will neither use nor be involved with the use of any campaign material or advertisements that misrepresent 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 the Statement of Principles.