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Q & A with Republican Candidate for Common Council Steve Woods

Republican Candidate for Common Council Steve Woods answers a few questions from Patch.

On Nov. 8 Peekskill voters will have a lot of choices to make. There are three open Common Council seats and the mayor is also up for reelection.

Patch sent all candidates the following five questions and asked for brief responses. We will run a series featuring the responses over the next two weeks. Here is the second of our series, featuring Steve Wood’s unedited answers. Read his biography .

Democratic candidates Kathleen Talbot, Darren Rigger and Don Bennett (incumbent) are running for the Council seats. Mayor Mary Foster is running for re-election into what would be her third 2-year term.

Republican candidates Joe Brady, Steve Woods and Barbara Kerasiotes are running for the Council seats and Tony Washington is running for mayor.

Read more about the Republican candidates and the Democratic candidates .

1.  Why are you running for political office?

I have chosen to run because my city needs strong leadership to guide it into a positive future.  During the past four years the quality of life has declined drastically, past development for the down town area and the riverfront have not moved forward, all while taxes have increased and new taxes, including the transfer tax, and the utility tax have been added to the backs of the tax paying citizens. I am running for political office first and foremost because I love the city that is my home town. As an elected official that sets policies for this city, I will demand that all decisions made will be for the Progress For Peekskill and a better quality of life for those who choose to live here.

2. What do you feel makes you qualified to run for your position based on professional and personal life?

I have a proven track record over my twenty five years of professional experience in procurement, sales, engineering, and operations, making sound decisions including both risk and financial management. I have always considered all stakeholders when making difficult decisions. Personally, I have served on boards in senior leadership roles enacting policy which affects the operations of the entire organizations.

3. What are the two or three of the most important issues facing Peekskill that you plan to tackle first if elected?

The most important issue is quality of life in Peekskill. I want to be part of a city that is moving forward and taking steps to improve life for those of us who have lived here all our lives or those who are new among us and are seeking an up and coming community to live in. This desirable quality has been adversely affected by overcrowding which causes disturbances to those who live here. Absentee landlords as well as others must be in compliance with city codes to ensure safe living for the residents who inhabit these homes and to also address the impact that code violations have on neighboring homes.  It is difficult for our citizens to keep paying higher taxes especially since poor financial decisions continue to be made.

4. How are your plans and solutions different from other candidates?

In the past four years, commercial development has been thwarted by the current administration. As a councilman, I will make decisions to encourage sound commercial development that will ease that tax burden of the residents of Peekskill. The commercial development will be part of a master plan that must be in place to insure progress in Peekskill.

5. How do you measure the success of elected officials in Peekskill?

Development, cleanliness, appealing entrances to the city, diligent code enforcement, contented citizens, higher property values, innovative use of city property, settled contracts with city union employees, mutual respect for all, and open lines of productive communication.

tom October 09, 2011 at 05:28 AM
OK Patti..so you tell us what the answers are. And while you're at it...in your expert opinion..why is the firehouse unnecessary? I actually visited several of the fire stations in town when they held the open houses and was appalled at the conditions that the firefighters had to work/live in and the had no viable space for offices, record keeping or training that is all required by state and federal law. Also nice try to use the "mid hudson region" tag line...but compare the salaries within Westchester. There are cops in Westchester who's highlight of the night is a traffic stop...Peekskill is a violent urban environment and those guys are underpaid. Tax increases are going to happen especially on the backs of zero increases and a tax decrease. I can live with 3.5%. I live in Peekskill simply because I love Westchester and can't afford the other places.
TMac October 09, 2011 at 05:51 AM
Patti I applaud you for your consistency, not a lot of people have that & I respect the right for all to have freedom of thoughts and opinion. But I disagree with you on the firehouse. The stations are outdated, out of code, in utter disrepair, one is beyond rehab/function and are unsafe for the employees who are tasked with the protection of fire/medical of the citizens, workers, visitors of Peekskill. While financial times are hard, the cost of the firehouse is spread out with a bond as any big purchase to lighten the financial burden. No different then buying a car on a personal level. Construction costs are at a premium & everyone talking about the economy, anyone out there wondering how many trade workers may find work who are laid off with such a project? Destroying downtown? How exactly? A new building that fits in with the 2 (only 2) newer buildings in the area will destroy it how? Its on the fringes, IMO that's a weak argument, but its yours and I respect it. Is downtown destroyed with a firehouse 2 blocks up the street that is falling apart? Fuel oil burned in 4 buildings, 1 non stop as its not insulated. As said no office/training space. Use of diesel for employees to meet up for training/details. Did you notice during Irene all trucks were pooled on crompond outside? Why? Better resource management. Its tough I understand..but woefully needed. Simple, safe working environment that meets code and fire service standards is needed 10 years ago..not just yesterday.
TMac October 09, 2011 at 06:09 AM
Ladies and gents, if you have never seen the fire stations for yourself I urge you to go see them and ask yourself if you would feel safe working in such conditions. Then ask if you were running a business that had 5 buildings, all older, non energy efficient, little to no office space, yet increasing regulatory demands for both career/volunteer for training/documentation, and employees had to use company vehicles to burn fuel in order to simply have the numbers to perform their jobs daily...and this is just the tip of the iceberg...if that makes any economical sense. You couldn't even post all the health and safety issues with the buildings in one post on here. So while some are touting they do not support the building during election year (shocker), what are the viable solutions? Rehabbing the others (1 cannot be and was recommended to be condemned, yet employees still work there) looks nice because of the slightly smaller price tag, it still doesn't solve the space issue, the energy efficiency issue, the heating cost issue and the logistical issues. As far as salaries go, its a far stretch to say that the police are overpaid. They are in the bottom 3 of Westchester County, are one of the busiest and lets face it, as said, Peekskill is an urban environment. Read the paper everyday and look at the number of arrests and say they are overpaid. Firefighters,lowest paid in Westchester,yet one of the highest fire rates in the county and only FD that provides Paramedic services.
Patty Villanova October 09, 2011 at 11:42 AM
We- have become a 2 class society- the new aristocracy that works for and is Big Government- - the politicians of both parties, the unelected bureaucrats who are running things, the municipal unions and their employees-- all supported by the lowly taxpayer which is the second class. The new aristocrats are also the protected class. Except for the politicians who at least theoretically can occasionally be voted out of office, it is nearly impossible to get rid of these people once they're hired. In the private sector we have all had to tighten our belts. Many of us are facing the choice, do we pay our taxes or heat our house. Meanwhile, the bureaucrats & union workers get their pay increases, pensions, health insurance & other benefits that the private sector peons can only dream of. The answer is simple: Big Government has to be made smaller, much, much smaller. We need fewer employees who make less money & have fewer benefits. Start advertising the jobs at city hall at half the pay & see the busloads of qualified applicants that will come banging down the door.
JM October 09, 2011 at 02:29 PM
Steve, you lost me. I'm an ultra conservative Republican, who at this moment in time will be voting the status quo. While my political anger is purely directed at federal and state govts., whereas local govt., i.e. my city, should be party agnostic, in my view. We all live together in Peekskill, we all have the same goals to improve the quality of life right here, and I want to and need to hear how that will be accomplished not that it hasn't been successful. Bashing the other party from a throne simply because it is the opposing party doesn't work for me nor does that strategy offer solutions. I'd like you, Steve, to be more active in working with the current city administration moving forward; I'd like you, Steve, to be knocking on my door to introduce yourself as several of the current elected officials have....because they don't fear us taxpayers perhaps.
JM October 09, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Not in my view. At least she has viewpoints and articulates them and carrys on rather than abandon Peekskill all together. I'd rather have 100 Patti's setting up businesses here than 10 folks who are nothing more than "silent outsiders" who set up shop, live elsewhere, take profits and return nothing to my city.
Patty Villanova October 09, 2011 at 02:49 PM
By the way, check out today's edition of LoHud for information about all the City, County & State pensions. Peekskill's top 4 pensioners are: James Madaffari-$90,986, Anthony Taccarilli- $90,665, Dave Greener- $82,089, Charles Wassil $75,496. Now compare them to what they'd get in the private sector. I've had interactions with Greener for example, and in my opinion,he was not very competent at his job. Also in my opinion, no way should he be getting that kind of $$ for the rest of his life. But that's not the point which is that YOUR city officials negotiated these pensions without thinking about what it means to the taxpayers who are stuck paying forever and ever. Why DIDN"T they have more consideration for us? Why DIDN'T they hire professional, tough negotiators to represent US? Same is true for the school districts which are much much worse because of the teachers union thugs. The taxpayers don't have a chance unless drastic measures are taken. Which will never happen in an election year. So why don't the REP candidates have the courage of their "convictions" (whatever they are) and say something about the runaway cost of City government? Instead of insulting our intelligence with BS and platitudes.
Patty Villanova October 09, 2011 at 05:03 PM
As I said, I don't vote in PeeKskill; given my investment I wish I could. I don't think it's such a good argument to vote for someone just because he's better than the current crew that now occupies city hall. Also, the problem is not real estate speculation.
Marge October 10, 2011 at 03:43 PM
We "need" no government employees; none, nada, niente. Government is an idea and it can be scrapped at any time. By our silence, we are complicit with its corruption. Why try to save a system that is completely and utterly corrupt from the foundations up to the tippy top?
Marge October 10, 2011 at 03:46 PM
Amen to the "gift" of services comment! What horse manure. I'm sick to death of "festivals" being run here, there and everywhere. If you want sausage and peppers go to a local butcher shop or raise pigs. Stop spending local tax money are overtime for civil "servants." Who is serving whom?
jo October 10, 2011 at 04:06 PM
all I can say from reading all of this is Wow..and Whoa... God Help Us..
Vincent October 11, 2011 at 06:04 PM
Elizabeth I agree with you. What Candidate Woods is not a 'wannabe' and namecalling isn't necessary ...what Woods doesn't mention is that his family has deep roots in the community (Peekskill and also Hudson River Valley)...John and Hadden streets are named after one of his ancestors who was a 'founding father', ...His Great Grandfather was the mayor of Croton on Hudson and was resopnsible for bringing public water works to Croton...just some background information. Candidate Woods has a strong connection to Peekskill and is willing to work and fight for change ...the quality of life is appalling and from the tone of some of these emails, I can certainly see why...
Marge October 12, 2011 at 01:36 PM
Why is is called "Common Council". Any background or history on that? [by the way, "Soviet" means rule by councils...]
Marge October 12, 2011 at 01:59 PM
I guess the sales tax, property tax, income tax, fees, fines, etc., are all going to the Department of Redundancy Department, or to tax heaven, since none of it seems to be showing up in the fire department buildings. It's also no accident that police have taken over the duties private citizens used to take care of when police were few/far between and were called peace officers and walked a beat. In years past, more people had weapons and less perceived need of "policing" --police often show up after the incident has occurred...they mop up. Arrest statistics are nice; but does the media tell you how many of those people are immediately back out on the street? Does the media tell you why and how the cases were resolved--whether through trial, etc.? No. There is basically no follow up. They just want you to believe the cops are "on the job protecting you" and the courts are meteing out the appropriate justice (or "just-us"). I wonder what has happened in the last 100 years to change things so dramatically?
Joseph Agosta October 12, 2011 at 05:05 PM
Seems obvious Patti must have an issue with Italians also. Oh and by the way, what went on between you and our city official that made him come out and tell us we had to move because you are a business owner? Something must have happened to make him feel that powerful. And to think the two business owners he tried to move were both long long time residents of Peekskill.As are our families. Oppp's did I say too much????
Marge October 12, 2011 at 06:09 PM
I don't think Patti has an issue with Italians or any other ethnicity per se'; you just happen to be Italian and she just happens to think you should do your fund raising on your own property and not on public sidewalks. As a person trying to run a business, I can see where she'd take umbrage to dealing with so-called street fairs impeding on her regular and potential business traffic.
Dick Johnson October 12, 2011 at 06:14 PM
Sick of festivals? You do realize that "festivals" bring outsiders into the city, which keeps local businesses like Patti's alive....right? If we were to leave it up to downtown Peekskill to keep lovely businesses like The Coop alive, everybody would go bankrupt. One of the best things to see when you go into shops downtown is the many NEW faces. People are coming to Peekskill to shop and eat and experience the city. Festivals keep people coming in and keep people coming back. If Patti hates having a sausage and pepper truck parked in front of her building then maybe she should relocate to PV where she pays taxes and where no one would ever see her store. There is plenty of room for everyone Patti, play nice! And Fat Joe, I love your honesty. Maybe when Patti leaves, you can open up your deli in her empty spot.
Patty Villanova October 12, 2011 at 06:34 PM
You think I've got something against Italians with a name like Villanova? It has been my experience that the various festivals bring in people for the day or the weekend; for the most part they are "one offs." We might get thousands of people in town for the event, but it doesn't translate for the rest of the week or month. You need consistency and variety on a daily basis. The restaurants in downtown are thriving now because there are so many of them. People have a lot of choices when they come to Peekskill to eat, drink and be merry-- everything from the Quiet Man to DSG to BeanRunner et al. For the opposite reason, because there are so few wonderful shops like Side Effects and the Coop, shoppers are no longer coming to downtown Peekskill as there's simply not enough stores to make it worthwhile to drive here, spend money on gas and risk a ticket from some over-enthusiastic cop. All those "variety" stores on Park and Bank Sts. are nothing but fronts for other activities if you get my drift. They do nothing to bring in new people with money from outside Peek. Yet somehow the city officials condone and encourage them, even though they are a huge detriment to the community. Wonder why that is? Use your imagination.
Dick Johnson October 12, 2011 at 07:05 PM
if the council brought in big business, everyone would scream "what about the little shops??". if the council brings in variety stores (which are legitimate crap)...people are still screaming "these stores suck"....but if you don't give the hispanics a chance in Peekskill, then you're called a racist. Seriously people....you can't make EVERYONE happy. it's impossible. Fat Joe went through the necessary channels to sell his food at an Italian Festival...and he took the oppurtunity to have his business be seen downtown instead of on the outskirts of the city. He didn't do anything wrong. Finn telling Joe to move after everything was set up is absurd. His pepper and sausage cart might've had an additional 20 people walk past Side Effects and might've raised curiousity as to what's inside that store. Grant it, I've walked past it 100 times and always said to myself...."that stuff looks neat but i'm not wasting my money on high-end consignment crap". Maybe we should focus on our OWN businesses instead of slinging mud at other business owners. Maybe it's not a high-end consignment crap kind of economy. Maybe the loudest angriest business owner doesn't always get their point across as strongly as they'd like. Less is more people. Less is more!!!
Dick Johnson October 12, 2011 at 07:05 PM
if the council brought in big business, everyone would scream "what about the little shops??". if the council brings in variety stores (which are legitimate crap)...people are still screaming "these stores suck"....but if you don't give the hispanics a chance in Peekskill, then you're called a racist. Seriously people....you can't make EVERYONE happy. it's impossible. Fat Joe went through the necessary channels to sell his food at an Italian Festival...and he took the oppurtunity to have his business be seen downtown instead of on the outskirts of the city. He didn't do anything wrong. Finn telling Joe to move after everything was set up is absurd. His pepper and sausage cart might've had an additional 20 people walk past Side Effects and might've raised curiousity as to what's inside that store. Grant it, I've walked past it 100 times and always said to myself...."that stuff looks neat but i'm not wasting my money on high-end consignment crap". Maybe we should focus on our OWN businesses instead of slinging mud at other business owners. Maybe it's not a high-end consignment crap kind of economy. Maybe the loudest angriest business owner doesn't always get their point across as strongly as they'd like. Less is more people. Less is more!!!
Marge October 12, 2011 at 08:38 PM
Fight the military-industrial-phamaceutical-bureaucratic system-- not one another. Know who are your real enemies.
Joseph Agosta October 12, 2011 at 09:44 PM
Wow Marge! Let's see! I pay taxes for my home, I pay taxes for my business, I pay taxes on another building in town. Hmm and I have resided here all my life! I would say that as a lifelong resident of Peekskill who has chosen to bring his family up here I have the right to use a street that was set aside for a fund raising event. Oh plus having a contract and paying a fee with the Festa Italiano Committee who has a contract with the City of Peekskill I therefore have a right to use this street which was set aside for and paid for by the Festa Italiano. Bring it on GENIUS!!!!
Joseph Agosta October 12, 2011 at 09:46 PM
How does Patti know I have a glass house? Must be stalking me!!!!!!
Joseph Agosta October 12, 2011 at 10:12 PM
Ok I've had enough fun. I'll go away now!
Patty Villanova October 12, 2011 at 10:47 PM
Whether he knows it or not "Fat Joe" was just another pawn in the game being playing by the politicians and their friends in the Good Ole Boys Club that 's been in existence way longer than either he or I have been around. The Feast was just another way to put a lot of money in the pockets of a certain few who know how to manipulate the system to their benefit, It's the oldest story in the book. Whatever money the vendors made for their greasy sausages and zeppoli is nothing compared to what some others took home with them, again thanks to the taxpayers picking up the tab for overtime police protection, sanitation and other city employees. I think the GOP candidates would have a lot more street cred if they'd demand an accounting of how much the I.F. cost the City, (including the $15 grand that was "donated" by the BID board), how much DFI made and how much the various charities were given.
Joseph Agosta October 13, 2011 at 12:51 AM
Pawn is such a small piece! For all you know I col be the king! King Joe, It has a nice ring to it wouldn't you say? Oh,that' right, I am a goomba so I guess I'll have to be "The Don!"
TB October 14, 2011 at 12:55 AM
I am a former resident of Peekskill and now a resident or Newburgh. I had been reading the comments of both mayors and happened quite accidentally to read your comments to "A Fat Joe." I must say as a "business woman" in the city of Peekskill you ought to be ashamed of yourself. I hope that the Italian residents who might enter your store be as appalled as I was to hear you refer to them as Goombas!!!!!!You owe us an apology regardless of your political views of the City of Peekskill and its management. That was nothing more than a "racial slur" and you should be ashamed of yourself. As a local educator I also suggest that you pay close attention to your grammar and sentence structure. I'm sure that you DO NOT represent the majority of business owners in Peekskill. On a side note- they are very lucky you do not have the voting power in Peekskill!!!! I'd be very concerned of the outcome if you did. Please redeem yourself for your insensitive and rude comments about our Italian residents.
Liz Giegerich October 14, 2011 at 02:16 AM
Please keep this civil and about the public issues, not about personal issues or circumstances. A comment has been removed for violating our terms of use. Be nice. Thanks.
John Q. Public October 14, 2011 at 03:40 AM
Joe seems like a very good guy. I'm seen him speak at 2 council meetings. Brief and to the point. He has a positive agenda to cut waste and dedicate more money to public safety than the current administration. He's actually said more in 2 Council appearances than nearly every Council member has in 4 years of public meetings, other than Drew and Mary. He's what we need. Brains, heart, and a heartbeat.
Joseph Agosta October 14, 2011 at 03:32 PM
I apologize Liz. I will stop now. But it was fun!!!!!

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