It was indicative last week that Greg Ball came to Pound Ridge last week an hour before his debate in The Record-Review offices with his opponent Justin Wagner. Mr. Ball was detouring to Pound Ridge in order to meet with Millie Mendelson, the Pound Ridge homeowner who is the victim of unexplained electricity spikes that she says makes her home unlivable. Mr. Ball was ready to take on NYSEG and the “foreign utility” that owns it, Iberdrola, and he wanted everyone to know about it.
We won’t say he’s mellowed, because he hasn’t, and Mr. Ball will still do just about anything within the law to win. But no one can deny that Mr. Ball puts his energies where his mouth is. We can’t think of any busier politician. And he chooses good causes, like Ms. Mendelson, a sole voice in the district fighting a big utility; helping win a $150,000 grant to improve breast cancer care at Hudson Valley Hospital Center; a Mother’s Day brunch, serving food to honor Gold Star Mothers; a $50,000 grant for the Putnam County Women’s Resource Center; health care screenings at district senior centers; legislation to fight puppy mills; creation of the “Women of Distinction Hall of Fame,” honoring district women of note; a push for a moratorium on hydrofracking, despite pressure from members of his own party; and holiday dinners for veterans in which he personally serves up the grub. Love him or hate him — and there are plenty of both — Greg Ball is passionate about the people of his district.
This year Mr. Ball is running for reelection in New York’s 40th district, challenged by Mr. Wagner, a Democrat from Croton. The district includes Pound Ridge, Lewisboro, North Salem, Somers, Mount Kisco, Yorktown, New Castle, Cortlandt, Mount Pleasant and Peekskill, along with parts of Putnam County.
Mr. Ball was an early adopter of the 2 percent property tax cap, and his support and vigor in promoting the cap when it was just a distant fantasy were influential in widespread bipartisan support. While the cap fails on many levels to address the needs of towns to supplant budgets and pay for burdensome mandates, Mr. Ball is a persuasive advocate of addressing those mandated by voting for the elimination of $287 million in shifts to localities and schools statewide. Last year, Mr. Ball and the New York State Senate restored almost $4 million in funding for schools in District 40.
In the wide-reaching discussion at The Record-Review, Mr. Wagner failed to articulate a strong alternative to Mr. Ball’s Albany policies, unable to show divergences on critical issues like hydrofracking, the tax cap or mandate relief. Mr. Wagner’s signature issues — faster work on the Tappan Zee, business tax incentives and the minimum wage measure — failed to lessen our enthusiasm for Mr. Ball. Even Mr. Wagner seemed somewhat awed by Mr. Ball’s charisma.
If Greg Ball can support Andrew Cuomo’s budget and policies, we can support Greg Ball. We endorse him for re-election in the 40th district. (ARTICLE)