A letter from Justin Holmes

Dear Editor:

I want to thank the candidates for mayor and Village trustee for the honor and opportunity to moderate the first ever Slash Root municipal debate.

The debate was lively, effective and unconventional.  Our members put together a long battery of questions that were quite different than those that have been asked at other debates. Many of them centered around technology, cognitive liberty and the future of our village’s economy and traffic.

I was astounded at the quality of our three mayoral candidates. Each of them spoke with eloquence, passion and command of the issues facing the village.

Pete Healey did a great job of quickly adapting to an unorthodox format and freely let himself reveal the philosophy underlying his activism. In a general sense, Pete’s vision of a single co-terminus government in New Paltz is one I share.

Jonathan Cohen showed enormous passion and dedication not only to the village but to humanity. He repeatedly connected the dots to the larger issues of society and was warmly received as such here at Slash Root.

As proud as I am of both Mr. Healey and Mr. Cohen, and as honored as I will be to have them as mayor if they are victorious, I have decided to support Jason West. I thought Mr. West’s knowledge of the nuts-and-bolts was very convincing, as is his general vision of the community that I call home.  I have long found him to be a profoundly compelling leader, and I am hopeful that he is prepared to work hard in building coalitions throughout the community.

Every one of the trustee candidates performed superbly. I had never been exposed to the politics of Mr. Glenn, who was very helpful and effective at keeping the questions unambiguous. Similarly, the debate provided my first exposure to Martin Sherow, who was very thoughtful and who won a great deal of respect.  Rick Bunt was also a newcomer to our scene, and his communication skills and passion for the environment were very welcomed.

I have known Amy Cohen and Emily Crocetti for some time, and I am excited to see both their names on the ballot this year.  Ms. Crocetti was a contemporary of mine at SUNY New Paltz and always a smart and good friend.

However, the two trustee candidates who really caught my attention were Ariana Basco and Sally Rhoads, both of whom I’ll be supporting for New Paltz Village Trustee.

Ms. Rhoads spoke with such grace and concern that the entire room waited on every word from her relatively quiet voice.  I believe she has the power to begin the process of removing the acrimony that currently characterizes the relationship between the town and village. Although I disagree with her stances on the noise ordinance, I am willing to set aside this difference to cast a vote for someone of her character and contemplation.

Ms. Basco is the most impressive candidate I have seen, for any office in New Paltz, since R.J. Partington III ran for Student Body President in 2005. She has tremendous wisdom beyond her years and an unshakable commitment to her principles.  She combined these character traits with relentless outreach to every corner of our community. She is a blessing and will be a great leader not only of our village, but of our generation.

Justin Holmes

Head Instructor, SlashRoot Collective

SlashRoot: Coffee House and Tech Dojo