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'Stop Valley' Group Won't Pull Support for Aronsohn

Group says Aronsohn never told them he'd publicly endorse Hauck and Pucciarelli, the candidate says he absolutely did.

Still peeved over Councilman Paul Aronsohn's dramatic endorsement of two candidates that make them nervous, grassroots anti-hospital expansion group Concerned Residents of Ridgewood (CRR) ultimately decided on Wednesday to continue its support of the candidate.

Aronsohn at Monday's televised debate . The three were "like-minded" on a majority of issues and as a trio could help change the tone of Village Hall, the apparent new unofficial slate said.

But Hauck and Pucciarelli, CRR says, have supported previous hospital expansion efforts. That marks a sharp contrast to its endorsed candidates of Jane Shinozuka and Mayor Keith Killion, who have publicly opposed expansion efforts or voted against them, respectively.

Little has officially changed from their end regarding Aronsohn's candidacy.

“CRR is not changing our endorsement at this time, as we remain fully vested in Mr. Aronsohn's admirable commitment to prevent the proposed hospital expansion,” said group chairman Pete McKenna. “We look forward to his immediate action on this matter as a first order of business should he be re-elected to the Village Council.” 

CRR said they were a bit blindsided by the public endorsement though the 'public' portion seems to be the genesis of the dispute.

Said McKenna: “We acknowledge that, prior to our endorsement, Mr. Aronsohn openly shared with CRR's leadership that his views on many issues, beyond the hospital expansion, were aligned with individual candidates who had previously spoken out in favor of Renewal; however, it must be noted that he also explicitly expressed to us that he did not plan to actively or prominently run as a formal public coalition with these individuals. CRR did not ever consider he would use a high-profile televised forum, like the League of Women Voters Debate, to publicly advocate for these candidates.”

“Clearly, there was a miscommunication at some point, but I was very explicit in my conversations with CRR leadership about my support for Albert Pucciarelli and Gwenn Hauck, two candidates who share my commitment to good, fiscally-responsible government,” Aronsohn responded Wednesday night.

“That said, I am very proud to have the CRR endorsement and look forward to working with them to preserve and protect the integrity of our Village.” 

Aronsohn is the only candidate to publicly call for the planning board amendment to be rescinded. But not so fast, McKenna says.

Although he'd like “nothing more to see” than a fresh start, McKenna said the council putting pressure on the planning board to rescind the ordinance – which Killion alluded to Monday night – would likely initiate expensive litigation from Valley. The group too has no plans to drop its lawsuit against Valley and the planning board, he added.

The grassroots group came away impressed with Mayor Killion and was upset by Aronsohn's “challenging” of the former police captain. 

“I think throughout the meeting he was challenging Keith Killion's leadership,” McKenna said. "Based on our record and our experience with this village, we have no qualms with Keith Killion's leadership. When I think back five years ago, I think the village is not in a worse place than it was."

McKenna agreed with Killion that the Valley question has taken too much in resources and energy and said the Aronsohn adage of "walking and chewing gum” doesn't hold due to the complexity of the matter.

“Quite frankly this is really complicated,” he said. “It is very, very time-consuming.”

McKenna previously told Patch that as an individual he questioned whether he'd want Aronsohn on the council let alone as potentially mayor and speaking, personally, he stood by those comments on Wednesday.

He did say, however, the organization is not urging supporters to only bullet vote for Shinozuka and Killion.

Though they're not fully pleased with his election strategy, Aronsohn remains one of theirs.

Dan Johnson May 02, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Keith lead the charge to give our village manager a 12% raise while cutting village employees. Of course, he is also against Valley expansion but aren't we smart enough here to rank on a multi point scale? How can you not have qualms with his leadership---especially when you remember that the mayor is a figurehead with no power except when he votes at council meetings. The village manager runs the village and reports to the council...all of the council not just to the 'mayor.'
Ridgewood Taxpayer May 03, 2012 at 01:47 AM
First and foremost should be integrity which Aronsohn is lacking. To tell CRR he was not running as a ticket and then pull that stunt at the end of the debate was a disgrace. Paul Aronsohn has been on council for four years and his big concern is Gabbert's raise? He has been battling with Gabbert since being hired, he voted against the raise because he hates the man not on behalf of any taxpayers.Aronsohn is taking taxpayer funded health benefits which he is entitled to from his employer. Seriously, if he were so concerned with the Ridgewood Taxpayer he would have secured that benefit from his employer rather than take from us. Don't be blind. The likelihood is Aronsohn negotiated a deal with his employer taking payment in lieu of those benefits thereby supplementing his income on our dime. Hardly concerned with Village Taxpayers when it comes to his wallet. Methinks thou dost protest too much.
Long Time Resident May 03, 2012 at 02:45 AM
That right Ridgewood Taxpayer, you keep your head in the sand and ignore the problems that the Village faces. You care about one issue and one issue only Valley. The rest of the Village could be falling apart and you wouldn't care. Gabbet's undeserved and unreasonable raise is just the tip of the iceburg.
Ridgewood Taxpayer May 03, 2012 at 03:42 PM
LTR I can't understand how you think I am anti valley based on my post. I support the Valley expansion with a few minor modifications. What I said was there was an integrity issue since Aronsohn misled CRR. I know Pete McKenna very well and, while we don't discuss the Valley issue, I can state that he is the most decent and honest man I know. His assertion that Aronsohn was not endorsing Puchiarelli and Hauck makes the most sense, Aronsohn stating he was up front about his alignment makes no sense at all. Also, I do agree Gabbert's raise was awful but also think Aronsohn's benefits are troublesome as well. It is the pot kettle syndrome. Finally, that Aronsohn would endorse Hauck after her Graydon backstroke, and especially after her debate performance, reinforces Aronsohn's main objective is to be mayor.
Long Time Resident May 03, 2012 at 05:59 PM
It is my understanding that Paul did not mislead CRR that Mr. McKenna mislead his group. What Mr. McKenna didn't expect or anticipate was that Paul was going to make his "slate" public. Of course when Paul did that it put Mr. McKenna in an awkward position with his group. That is what make sense to me. We can agree on Gabberts raise but disagree with the medical benefits since it was past practice and not inappropriate until a change in the law. I find it hard to believe people who say that they would not take a benefit or compensation if they were entitled to it. Just show me one place in the news where a highly paid CEO rejected a multi million dollar bonus for the benefit of the company. Good luck hunting for that one. Paul was entitled to that and now he isn't, case closed. Ok, Lets just say Paul does want to be Mayor. First, I would rather have Paul as Mayor than Killion. Second as much as I don't want Killion to remain Mayor I shutter to think of Riche as Mayor. Third, I fail to see why Paul wanting to be Mayor is any different than Killion or Riche wanting to be Mayor. And don't tell me about dirty tactics being used by Paul, he doesn't have the exclusive on dirty tactics, just look at the Ridgewood Blog, at least Paul doesn't hide what he is doing like Killion and Riche are doing on the Ridgewood Blog.

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