With the November 3rd elections just around the corner, it’s time for MyRye.com to introduce you to the candidates looking for your vote. This is your city and your election, so tell us what you think of the candidates and of our coverage. Leave your comments below.
Today we introduce you to city council candidate Andy Ball.
Your Name: Andy Ball
Your Elected Position: city councilman
Your Day Job: Executive Vice President, Grey Advertising (Grey/NY). Report to global chairman/CEO, currently involved in biz dev, specialty is brand positioning & communications strategy. Accounts I have run in the past include: AT&T, Miller Brewing Co., Compaq, Verizon Wireless
If MyRye.com asked your co-workers for one word to describe you, what one word would they use?
Candidate closing statement at The Osborn Debate (October 19, 2009):
Your Political Affiliation:
Agnostic. Technically an Independent, running on Democratic ticket (again). Political affiliation is (or at worst, should be) immaterial in matters of local governance. My perspective on this matter?… the archetype of the ideal councilperson: a poor politician that manages to be a consistently effective elected official.
Why are you running again for elected office?
Agreed to run in early 2005. Reasons why are old news, but was somewhat familiar with the nature & demands of the position, having observed my father’s 8 years on the council (he was/is a Republican). Now as then, I feel that Rye should be led by volunteers that
a) Possess a deep understanding of the essence of our community
b) Bring good judgment and a capacity for clear thought to all matters
c) Arrive with no pre-baked agenda & are not tilted towards a single issue
d) Are prepared to put in the preparation time the job requires throughout their term
e) Are well known, visible figures in town, and…
f) Do not aspire to higher political office beyond rye.
I’d submit that I hit all six of these marks.
City elections are coming up this fall. What should we know about the elections this fall? Who else on the ticket are you supporting?
Allow me to modify the question a bit (or, to turn a favorite phrase of one of my council colleagues, to bifurcate the question for you…)
What should people keep in mind about any mayoral/council election in rye, and what should they know about this one?
Any election in Rye: candidates and the press care about the election a lot more, and a heck of a lot earlier, than the voting public. It would be better if we could all stay out of the way until October. Also, as the last two (contested) elections of 2003 and 2005 clearly demonstrate, many if not most of the issues and chatter that attend the elections are shortly eclipsed by the unforeseeable realities of governing. Thus voters would be wise to see past the acoustics of the election, and strive instead to choose people that will bring a thoughtful, principled approach to matters known and unknown.
What should people know about this election?: Two things… 1) That there will likely be a lot of sniping from a tiny minority of people (you could fit them all in a van) whose “participation” in the civic process tends to be petty, personal, and counter-productive. but people should also 2) Be mindful of the fact that this exact dynamic was in full force during the last BOE election (with comments section of myrye.com serving as primary canvas for their grafitti), and it had utterly no effect on the outcomes of the contest.
Now then… who else on the ticket am I supporting in this election. uhhh… my running mates, maybe? Here’s what folks should know:
- Myles Lavelle tends to be the smartest, and the best-humored person in any room he walks in to. speaking from experience, I’ll tell you that we can’t have enough of these attributes on the council.
- Joe Murhpy is the epitome of the selfless volunteer, earnest as the day is long, and a wise individual. His time has come.
- Steve Otis brings a skill set and a depth of knowledge and experience that no one else posesses. Period. In the current economic climate, the importance of these credentials cannot be overstated.
What are the three most important issues facing Rye over the next five years?
You know the list; everyone will have largely the same things (it’s an election)
Rye sustained $80 million in damage in the April 15, 2007 flood. Is Rye prepared for the next “100 Year” flood? What are the most important things we need to do to prepare, how much will they cost and how should Rye pay for them?
I wish it weren’t the case, but the simple fact is that 100 year floods can’t be prevented, and they won’t be denied. Short of elevating all structures in our flood plain—or somehow activating the decades old vision for dams at both the SUNY Purchase and Bronfman property sites—there’s only so much that can be done for 100 year floods. This is why all our actions are rightly framed as “mitigation” not preparation or prevention. We have been focused on minimizing the effect of flood events on people & property… buying time, reducing cross-section width and reducing prospective water level outcomes… and delivering maximum effect for the more common 25 and 50 year floods (it dosen’t have to be a massive flood to do serious damage to Rye). The Rye Flood Action Committee is acutely aware of this, and has worked effectively with us over the past two years.
Our most immediate need is to implement the current phase of projects, which are approaching completion or approval. Funding will be from other government entities.
Next phase will projects will be more costly, and will require the cooperation and support of neighboring municipalities and other levels of government.
Teachers in Rye public schools have been operating without a contract for over two years due to a stalemate between Rye’s Board of Education and the Rye Teacher’s Association. What specifically should be done to resolve this stalemate, if anything?
You got me. Like any other rye taxpayer that is not directly involved in this complex matter, I can only hope that some resolution that is a) fair to both RCSD employees and Rye residents, and b) sensitive to the prevailing economic picture—can be reached.
Grade Rye’s handling of the following issues over the last two years on an A, B, C, D or F scale
Sorry Jay, I’m crushed for time and will pass on this one—but even if I had an hour or two I’m not so sure I’d comply.
The balance of this Q&A attempts to get at what your respondents think about matters of import to Rye, why they’re running, etc. Fine. Your outlet is doing a good service by sharing such stuff.
Yet here you seek a critique of “Rye’s handling” of six important topic areas (five of which are council-relevant). Well, two of the eight candidates are among the “handlers”… incumbents that have been intimately involved in these things. One of the tickets includes no incumbents.
So with this exercise, what had been a straightforward Q&A suddenly swerves into becoming a platform for campaigning, and you have handed a ticket full of first-time office seekers a platter full of produce to throw from the orchestra section onto the stage. There’s plenty of time for that stuff down the road, and in my opinion this kind of thing is best left for the debates.
What are your three greatest contributions to Rye?
As you may have sensed, I’m not campaigning here so I’m not going to make a list (though I easily could). I’m sure I’ll have to drag a lot of the particulars out during the actual campaign. But here’s one I’ll give you… it’s qualitative, and at a glance may not seem like a big deal, but it is, and a surprising number of people have noticed and welcomed it.
In both executive and regular/public sessions, I am a unifying force on the council. This was one of my stated intentions when I first ran, and from the moment I got up there I have largely succeeded. ask Seitz, Hennes, or more recently, Sack… and I am confident that they will agree.
Up until 2004 the council was prone to bickering and discord, which would inevitably diminish the potential effectiveness of the group. Terse, unnecessary crap was far too common. With few exceptions, this is rarely the case these days.
I have made it my business to defuse such situations as they surface, and steer the group back on-topic. Not simply to lower the volume, but to return our energies to the job we were elected to execute.
Why do I choose this “contribution”? Because over the next year or two, it will be essential that we have a council that works well together, whose collective energy is directed towards the job at hand, and not at each other. We are facing uniquely challenging budget seasons, tough infrastructure issues, etc. If we don’t hang together well and truly work side by side… well then we’ll just be… politicians… and Rye will be poorly served. that’s not what I’m about.
What are the three best reasons to live in Rye?
The best reason to live in Rye: to raise your children here
Where can we find you on a Saturday morning?
Depends what time we’re talking…
Where do you live in Rye?
Grew up on Fenton street—spent mid 80’s to 1997 living at various Rye addresses including Ridgeland Terrace, Boston Post Road, Purchase Street (multiple)—after which lived on Loder street—currently on Central Avenue.
How else are you involved in the community?
Was a founding member of & the public face of the Save the Rye Town Doc association 1999-2001; our efforts were successful (the RTD is still there). On the council, liaison roles have included bd of arch review, landmarks commission, rtv commission, recreation commission, senior advocacy committee, and zoning bd of appeals. Lifelong parishoner, Resurrection Church. Leaders of Tomorrow – Summerfest associate. Rye Mens’ softball & mens’ 30+ basketball.