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Home Government Fairness Group Says Rye Dems Mislead in Ad; Sack: "We Continue to...

Fairness Group Says Rye Dems Mislead in Ad; Sack: “We Continue to Take the High Road”

Ad IMG_4525 (003)

(PHOTO: A group found claims in this ad published by the Democrat "Moving Rye Forward" team unfair.)

The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee is saying an ad run by the Rye Democratic slate is "unfair". The group responded to the complaints of Rye Mayor Joe Sack.

"This ruling supports what we have been saying all along. We are very grateful to the committee for taking the time to thoughtfully review these matters," said Sack. "Unfortunately, our opponents have spent lots of time and money disseminating these unfair and misleading ads. At least now the public has an independent basis to judge what they've been up to. Meanwhile, we will continue to take the high road, and run on our good record and promise for continued success."

A single ad was the subject of complaint. Sack also had issue of a "palm card" (a political flyer) and the fairness group did not find an issue in that instance.

Here is the official statement from The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee:

RYE BROOK, NY (September 28, 2017) – The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee met on September 28, 2017 to hear the complaints of Joseph Sack, candidate for Mayor of the City of Rye, against the Moving Rye Forward Campaign Team consisting of Josh Cohn (candidate for mayor), Sara Goddard, Julie Souza, and Ben Stacks (candidates for city council). Mayor Sack represented himself and was accompanied by Rye City Councilman Terrence E. McCartney and Tony Piscionere, Esq. Rye City Councilwoman Emily Hurd, Rye City Democratic Chair Meg Cameron, and attorney Rodney Brown appeared for the respondents.

COMPLAINT 1: Mr. Sack complained that a statement in an ad placed by Moving Rye Forward in the September 8th issue of the Rye City Review is false. The ad claims that "Our opponents would damage Rye's credit rating and substantially raise our taxes with their plan to move the DPW for a staggering $50M+, which is more than the City's annual budget! We will do better with your tax dollars." Mr. Sack claimed that there is no plan to move the Department of Public Works (DPW).
FINDING: UNFAIR
This statement is misleading because a number of options are under discussion and no plan has been approved by the City Council.

COMPLAINT 2: Mr. Sack complained that another statement in the same ad is false. It states that "The current Council majority responds slowly and ineffectively to issue after issue: … and Crown Castle's threat to put cell towers on residents' lawns….“ Mr. Sack maintained that Crown Castle never threatened to put cell towers on residents’ lawns.
FINDING: UNFAIR
This is a misleading statement because whether referred to as cell towers, nodes or antennae, these objects would be attached to existing utility poles that are placed on the right of way, not on the property owned by residents.

COMPLAINT 3: Mr. Sack complained that Moving Rye Forward gives the false and misleading impression that they are incumbents on their palm card.
FINDING: FAIR
The palm card does not give the impression that the candidates are incumbents.

The purpose of the Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee is to help set an acceptable standard for political discussion by offering a forum for identifying unfair campaign practices and promoting a climate in which candidates conduct honest and fair campaigns. The Committee encourages candidates to conduct campaigns openly and fairly, to focus on issues and qualifications, to refrain from dishonest and defamatory attacks, and to avoid the use of campaign materials that distort the facts.

The Committee accepts written complaints from candidates about alleged unfair campaign practices. The Committee may then hold hearings to determine whether the action complained about is indeed unfair or whether it falls within acceptable political discourse. Among other things that the Committee will consider to be an unfair campaign practice is a misstatement of a material fact or any communication that misleads the public.

The Committee has no power to compel anyone or any group to stop doing what it has found to be unfair, nor does it have the authority or power to enforce election or other laws.

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, focusing on issues and qualifications.

 The Candidate will not use or condone any campaign material or advertisement that misstates, misrepresents or distorts material fact or any communication that misleads the public. The Candidate will neither engage in nor be involved with false or misleading attacks upon the character of an opponent, nor in invasions of privacy unrelated to fitness for office.

 The Candidate will not participate in nor condone any appeal to prejudice.

 The Candidate will clearly identify by name the funding 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. This includes, but is not limited to, announcing that he/she has filed a complaint, or quoting the Committee’s Findings unless the individual Finding cited is quoted in its entirety.

The Candidate will publicly repudiate materials or actions from any individual or group that violates this Statement of Principles.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I remain mystified by members of our community who develop and them promulgate conspiracy theories. Lately, that is, unfortunately, the Demos. The hot examples? Accusing the City Council of having pre-agreed a City Strategy Plan that includes relocating DPW to across from Rye Country Day. No proof, but lots of accusations drummed up by the Demos. Thanks, Meg Cameron for your contribution to the Civic Discourse.

    Second example: Demos on the City Council cooked up conspiracy theory that the Mayor is trying to push the DPW re-lo deal with help from Port Chester. Really? The Demos couldn’t even explain this tail at the last city council meeting it’s so complicated an unlikely.

    Let’s get real folks. Civil, fact-based discourse. While the mayor and other council members may have preferred approaches to the strategic plan, the simple FACT is that any such significant spending will require voter approval.

  2. Well said Bob. I personally remain mystified by members of our community who develop and then promulgate municipal frauds. Illegally withholding public records to try and claim nothing improper was done only compounds their crimes.
    Examples you ask?
    Who created a 2nd and materially different set of 2015 Rye Golf chemical application records for use with the Westchester DA and Rye Court after the 1st set had served as evidence in a $2.55M AIG insurance settlement?
    Why did the council not tell the public in the fall of 2015 that their own scientific field testing report on the contaminated fungicide told them it produced no damage to living turf when applied at federal & state mandated legal rates and intervals – and that only by far exceeding both of those legal limits was turf death observed approximating that experienced by Rye Golf Club?
    And who benefited, specifically $$$, when federal & state regulated toxic turf chemicals were apparently massively over-purchased and over-applied at Rye Golf in 2014, less than 10 months before all 20 green complexes were killed, on a course that not only borders Rye Harbor but has several holes that are actually directly in its now degraded saltwater marshes?
    And why is Rye Mayor Joe Sack perhaps the only elected official in America that has procured – at Rye taxpayer expense – a court decision protecting his official Rye government emails from lawful FOIL disclosure – every single last one of them?
    Let’s get real folks. Civil, fact-based discourse is only possible when an informed public believes there is faithful compliance with state and federal Freedom of Information laws. What could this gavel-happy mayor be hiding in those public business emails, and who tampered with key city records in our multimillion dollar city insurance claim? While the mayor and other council members may have preferred approaches to transparency, the simple FACT is that the suppressed information still belongs to us. And its secrets are going to come out.

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