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WPCNR CAMPAIGN 2017. June 8, 2017:

The gathering of signatures for contenders for Mayor and the Common Council began last weekend with the leader of the Democratic City Committee sending a letter to registered Democrats (who are eligible to vote in the September primary where incumbent Mayor Tom Roach, incumbent Councilmen John Martin and James Kirkpatrick and nominated Justin Brasch are being contested by Councilwoman Milagros Lecuona and democratic challengers Michael Kraver, Alan Goldman, and Saad Sidicci.

The Democratic City Committee Chair letter urged  Democrats to stick together and accused Mr. Goldman of being anti-immigrant, and criticised his Republican background.

Milagros Lecuona responded to the Chairman’s letter, calling on Mayor Roach to ask the Chairman to resign for his alleging Mr. Goldman was against immigrants.

Last night in the early evening, Mayor Roach contacted Democrats with a 45 second, recorded RoboCall message from what appeared to be a private company number (888-414-7752–not the city number 422 exchange)

The Mayor’s message said this:

“Hello, this is Tom Roach with a message about the petitioning process in my election campaign. This message is paid for by Friends of Tom Roach.

I’m pleased to have been endorsed by the White Plains City Democratic Committee, but I do have an opponent. So, I’m asking my supporters to be careful and only sign the petitions for Mayor and City Council that include me and my running mates.

We’re headed in the right direction. Let’s keep White Plains a progressive leader in our region. Thank you for your support.”


This morning in response to the Mayor’s apparent lack of response to her call for the Chairman’s resignation,  Ms. Lecuona circulated a news release accusing  the Mayor of “talking the talk” on immigration support, but not “walking the walk.”

Here is a copy of that news release:

“On Thursday, June 1, 2017, Common Councilwoman Milagros Lecuona issued a statement condemning the White Plains Democratic City Committee Chairman Tim James for an email he sent to the City Committee entitled “Sticking Together”. In the email, the Democratic chairman Tim James falsely claimed that Common Council Candidate Alan Goldman was anti-immigrant.  In her previous statement, Councilwoman Lecuona called on Mayor Roach to put politics aside and to stand with her in calling Tim James to resign from his position as Chairman of the White Plains Democratic City Committee. Mayor Roach has not responded.

“I asked the Mayor to put politics aside, and to stand with me in asking Tim James to resign,” said Lecuona. “What Tim said was callous, offensive, and completely out of line. Mayor Roach has not responded. In his silence, Mayor Roach has sent a loud and clear message that he will talk the talk on standing with immigrants, but clearly he won’t walk the walk.”

Lecuona continued, “I am an immigrant who had to watch the heartbreak of her own child go through the deportation process. What Tim said goes far past politics, and it is time that the Mayor stops doing the political thing and does the right thing.”

The letter from the White Plains Democratic City Committee Chair that began the petitioning campaign, distributed June 1:

Dear Fellow City Committee Members and Friends:
First, a reminder that we will be handing out petitions (and sharing pizza) next Monday evening, June 5.  (But no taking signatures until the following day — the first legal day of petitioning!)  See the attached flyer for details.
Second, I want to stress the importance of unity, and of getting behind the candidates who won the support of the City Committee via our fair and democratic endorsement process.  
The Nominating Committee interviewed all candidates, accommodating the candidates’ schedules as needed, and extended the process to allow for new candidates for Common Council after Beth Smayda announced her decision not to seek re-election.  Per our party rules, anyone who was not recommended by the Nominating Committee was entitled to contest the endorsement  on the floor at the endorsement meeting if nominated by a single District Leader.  By that method, Milagros and all three of her running mates had their names placed in nomination.  By the time of the endorsement meetings in March and April, however, it was so clear to them that they lacked sufficient support among the members of the City Committee that Milagros and two of her running mates withdrew in advance of the voting, and in advance of the discussion among City Committee members that was to precede the voting.
One of the reasons we have been a highly successful local party is because we have enjoyed a high degree of unity.  One aspect of that has been respect by our members for the decision of the majority after contested votes on endorsements and other important matters.  Without that kind of ethic, no party organization can be effective.  It is what gives real meaning to our endorsements and other major votes.
So, I want to urge all District Leaders to support and work for our endorsed candidates, regardless of your initial preferences.  A couple of months ago, one District Leader, in telling me that he might work against our endorsed candidates — or at least some of them — in a primary, stressed what he called “conscience.” I certainly do not want to denigrate the importance of conscience in politics.  We would be better off if we saw more of  that in our politics.  But not every disagreement of difference of preference rises to the level of a matter of “conscience.”  (Or the term would have no meaning.)  From my perspective, neither Milagros nor her running mates have articulated — in public or in private — the kinds of major differences on policy or principle that rise to that level and warrant a departure from the normal custom among City Committee members of respect for the decision of the majority — in this case, overwhelming majorities.
Indeed, it is hard to tell what they — as a slate — stand for.  Milagros and two of her running mates are fellow Democratic District Leaders, whose views, to the best of my  knowledge, are well within the mainstream of the City Committee and of White Plains Democrats generally — which is equally true of our endorsed candidates for City office:  Tom Roach , John Martin, John Kirkpatrick and Justin Brasch.  But the fourth member of Milagros’s slate, Alan Goldman, is a very different story.  By his own admission when he spoke to the Nominating Committee, Mr. Goldman was a lifelong (now age 69) Republican until he changed his party registration to “Democratic” on October 11, 2016 — just in time, legally, to be able to run for office as a Democrat this year.  And Mr. Goldman did not even claim that his change of party enrollment was based on any change in his lifelong political views.  On the contrary, he told us flatly that he had changed his party enrollment because “There is no Republican party in this town” and that it was what he had to do “[I]f I wanted to run for office.”
And not for nothing was Mr. Goldman a Republican.  When he was asked during his Nominating Committee interview for his thoughts on how the City should deal with the problem of illegal occupancies in certain neighborhoods, he told us:  “We gotta get the INS involved,” referring to the former name of the Federal agency now known as “Immigration and Customs Enforcement” (ICE).  Can you imagine any of our endorsed candidates giving that answer?
Mr. Goldman’s presence on Milagros’s slate makes clear the incoherence of that slate.

The same day the Chairman sent out the above letter, Ms. Lecuona distributed this news release protesting the Chairman’s comments is as follows:

“On Thursday, June 1, 2017, White Plains Democratic City Committee Chairman sent an email to all Committee People with the subject line “Sticking Together,” calling for “unity” against Democratic City Councilwoman and Mayoral Candidate Milagros Lecuona, and her slate for White Plains Common Council. Committee Chairman Tim James callously described local businessman Alan Goldman as opportunistic and anti-immigrant.

“As an immigrant and a member of the Hispanic community, I found this email disturbing. Tim James has never had to live through the heartbreak of watching his own child suffer through the deportation process. I have.”

“I am absolutely disgusted that Tim James would ever insinuate that a close friend of mine is anti-immigrant, much less that I would run with someone who harbors any anti-immigrant sentiments,” said Lecuona. “Alan Goldman is an exceptional human being and is running because he wants to see bold change in our City. The fact that the Chairman would ever stoop this low and attack a Democratic candidate just speaks to the need for change.”

Councilwoman Lecuona continued, “I’m calling on Mayor Roach to put politics aside and to stand with me in asking Tim James to resign. What he said was callous, offensive and unacceptable.”

Lecuona is an immigrant from Spain who moved her family to White Plains in 1987 to pursue their American dream. A trained architect and urban planner for the last 35 years she has served on the White Plains Common Council for the past 9 years. During her time in office Lecuona has taken on powerful interests on behalf of the people of White Plains.  Entering public service was a natural progression given her lifelong community involvement.  She has been the recipient of multiple recognitions and awards.

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