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ELECTION: Barrett vs. Politi for North Elba supervisor

November 3, 2017
By GLYNIS HART - For the News ( , Lake Placid News

North Elba town Supervisor Robert "Roby" Politi, running on the Fair and Honest Party line, is facing a local challenger as he asks voters to re-elect him for a sixth term. Attorney Brian Barrett is listed as a Democrat.

Both candidates were asked the same set of questions and responded via email.


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Brian Barrett

Barrett has lived in Lake Placid full time since April 2006. Asked what inspired him to run, Barrett wrote: "I am inspired by the region, and the people that live here. I am running for the People of North Elba. I want to create a better community for the People that live here, and provide a better experience for the tourists and visitors who fuel our economy."

Asked what skills or experience qualified him to be the best town supervisor, Barrett said he loves people: "I am deeply empathetic to their problems. I have always been a zealous advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves."

Asked what achievements in his career he is most proud of, Barrett cited the 2010 jury acquittal of Silas Benedict, a St. Regis Mohawk man accused of smuggling drugs into the country. Due to Benedict's age and medical condition - he has diabetes - Barrett said that any plea bargain would have resulted in Benedict's dying in prison.

"I knew he was innocent, and we took our case to a jury of 12. Silas was acquitted of every charge in his seven-count indictment. He was freed from confinement that day, and he continues to reside on his ancestral land as a free man."

In the upcoming term, Barrett foresees the following challenges: Should the Trump administration's tax cuts go through, state income and property taxes would not be deductible on one's federal income tax returns, he said. That, Barrett said, would force New York state to shrink its budget, ending support for "luxuries such as ORDA," the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

"The Town of North Elba and the region as a whole needs to be prepared for this possibility," Barrett wrote.

"To that end, the Town needs to review its annual contribution to ORDA, funding to Craig Wood Golf Course and other public expenditures for Ironman and other major events."

Barrett offered a raft of new ideas for government of the town, including dissolving the village of Lake Placid and renaming North Elba "the town of Lake Placid."

Other ideas include heating sidewalks in downtown Lake Placid, building more parking garages, paying a living wage to all town workers, possibly passing a moratorium on short-term housing rentals, bringing concerts back to the Olympic Center and turning the town's focus from sports to be more inclusive of arts and entertainment. He'd like to build a community center "with indoor soccer and lacrosse fields and an indoor track and heated pool," and start a town swimming program "to make sure every child in our community is taught how to swim properly, and taught about the dangers of swift water in our area."


Roby Politi

Politi is a Lake Placid native whose parents lived in both Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.

"I am running for a sixth term because there is still unfinished business to accomplish in North Elba and Essex County. I am committed to serving the people of this region and am proud of the accomplishments of my Town Board."

As qualifications, Politi listed more than 40 years of business experience and leadership skills for managing town government.

"I have also contributed 20 years of governmental service to the people of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Ray Brook and Essex County," he said. "My long-standing relationships with the governor's office, state representatives and county supervisors continue to produce beneficial returns."

Asked what achievements as supervisor he was most proud of, Politi replied, "When I first became Town Supervisor I initiated a resolution at the County level that would shift collected sales tax monies back to local municipalities. That legislation has returned over $2 million in revenues to the Town of North Elba, the Village of Lake Placid and the Village of Saranac Lake to relieve taxes. Today, the Town of North Elba has a low debt level, a strong fund balance and is rated by the New York State Comptroller's Office as a financially 'Stress Free' community."

Challenges facing the town in the upcoming term, said Politi, are "housing stress for the local population and visiting workers as well as related environmental strains and the deterioration of our Olympic venues."

North Elba, he said, has become a victim of its own success, with commercial growth and increased numbers of visitors, as well as a strong second-home economy contributing to the housing crunch.

"Our plan is to engage the community on varying civic topics that will help guide a sustainable lifestyle and mission for the future, and continue to collaborate with our events partners (NYS and ORDA) to secure the necessary funding to upgrade our facilities and enhance the economic vitality of the region."



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