Staten Island Borough President - General Election 2013

 James S. Oddo
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Endorsed Candidate – James S. Oddo (R, C, I)

Has returned questionnaire, responses available at www.citizensunion.org
Age: 47 Occupation: City Council Minority Leader
Education: Fordham University (BA), New York Law School (JD)

James Oddo is currently the Minority Leader in the City Council, a body he has lengthy experience working in, having also served as a counsel and a staffer to former Councilmember John Fusco. He believes the borough president’s office would be a natural extension of his work in the City Council to improve the lives of people on Staten Island and in New York City as a whole. Among his top priorities are redevelopment following Hurricane Sandy, North Shore development, and the health and wellness of Staten Islanders. Oddo supports implementation of a program modeled after post-Hurricane Katrina redevelopment in New Orleans that involves government acquisition of coastal areas to jointly build elevated communities with homeowners, given the right of refusal to return. He believes the construction of the ferris wheel and related projects on the North Shore will spur investment and grow jobs. Oddo is troubled by the health indicators of Staten Island residents, and believes the government should work to improve wellness by educating the public, providing incentives for diet and exercise and establishing healthy options for consumers. On reform issues, Oddo will live stream borough president meetings and is committed to diversity in appointments as well as bringing in outside talent. He believes too much transparency, however, can distract from the mission of the office, pointing to disclosure of discretionary funding while in the City Council that resulted in inquiries that tied up his staff and took away time from constituent services and other work. Citizens Union believes Councilmember Oddo is hard-working and focused on delivering for the constituency he serves. His conference’s bold moves to change the New York City Board of Elections this past year were also welcomed by Citizens Union. His “can-do” approach and coalition building skills earn him our endorsement.


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Louis L. Liedy (D, WF)
Has returned questionnaire, responses available at www.citizensunion.org
Age: 66 Occupation: Retired Teacher
Education: Wagner College (BS)

Louis Liedy is a retired school teacher who is running for office for the first time. He has been involved in politics in the past while serving as a delegate to the teachers’ union and as President of the North Shore Democratic Club. Liedy is concerned about overdevelopment on Staten Island and notes that it has become increasingly developed over the years. Even with these concerns he supports the proposals to develop the North Shore, including the ferris wheel and outlet malls, believing it will attract tourists and bring in money to Staten Island. Liedy believes an inventory of tax exempt properties on the Island should be developed along with the amount of unpaid taxes. Under his plan, the city would buy these properties from private entities when they want to sell, and then conduct hearings to ensure the public has a say in how they are used. Liedy also wants to tackle education issues. He believes the Chancellor should be appointed by the Mayor, but ought to have experience in the classroom. Liedy is concerned mayoral control has resulted in instruction that is overly focused on teaching to the test. On reform issues, Liedy would hold more hearings on land use decisions, put borough presidents’ discretionary capital funding online, and implement term limits for community boards. He would solicit resumes for borough president appointments rather than filling them through patronage, and would serve himself on many of the boards the borough president makes appointments to. Citizens Union believes Liedy is a sincere and well-meaning candidate, but he lacks the experience and vision of his opponent. He also needs a more robust campaign operation to compete in this race.
 

 


 
The following candidates were not scheduled for an interview by Citizens Union:
Henry J. Bardel (G)
Silas Johnson (Lt)