In Lysander, voters will elect two town board members, a highway superintendent, a town clerk and a town justice. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7. If you are unsure of your polling place, visit ongov.net/elections and click on “Polling Place” or call the Onondaga County Board of Elections at (315) 435-8683.
My name is Roman J. Diamond, I’m 24 years old, a Baldwinsville native and seeking re-election for a second term as your Lysander town councilor. In 2011, I graduated from C.W. Baker High School and obtained my bachelor’s degree in political science from SUNY Oswego in 2015.
In 2011, I was elected as a member of the Baldwinsville Central School District Board of Education, and served in that capacity until 2014, when the residents of Lysander elected me to serve as the youngest town councilor elected in Onondaga County.
I am the son of John and Gretchen Diamond and the oldest of eight siblings. I currently work as a team leader for Falso Service Experts, and my responsibilities consist mainly of managing and growing their retail division in Central New York. I am a parishioner at St. Mary’s Church in Baldwinsville and a member of the Knights of Columbus.
I am deeply honored and privileged to accept the endorsements from the Republican Party, Conservative Party, Independence Party, and the Onondaga County Veteran’s Party.
I am running for re-election as your Lysander town councilor because I believe I offer a unique perspective on local government, not just because of my age, but also because of the four years of experience I have gained as your town councilor, and the three years I served as a member of the Baldwinsville Central School District Board of Education. I want to continue to help the Lysander community fight for and maintain an open and transparent government. I will also continue to find long-term solutions to stabilize property taxes and prevent overdevelopment, which I believe will change the fabric of our community.
The greatest joy in my life is being able to serve and advocate for all of the residents in the town of Lysander. I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given to serve my community first as a school board member, and now, as a town councilor. These experiences have greatly benefited and shaped me professionally. As such, I believe they can also benefit the residents I serve.
New York residents are fleeing the state in droves because of high taxes and few job prospects. I will not surrender the community I love. I will stay dedicated to my community, which has the lowest property tax rate in Onondaga County. In that end, I will continue to fight against the persuasive calls for overdevelopment. I want to continue to preserve the unique characteristics of this town while looking for long-term solutions to budgetary issues.
We purchased our first home in Baldwinsville after I was hired to become the director of Beaver Lake Nature Center in 1978. We then built a home on Dinglehole Road in 1983, which is where I live. We raised our two children here; my son is a fireman for the city of Oswego and my daughter lives with her family just down the road from me. My wife and best friend taught math for North Syracuse schools until she passed away in 2010.
My undergraduate degree is from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry and I have a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University. I was lucky to have had the wonderful career I did in parks, having done conservation/education work for both New York City and Atlanta, Georgia, parks and recreation departments before enjoying my extended career with Onondaga County Parks. In that agency, I was not only director of Beaver Lake Nature Center, but also director of Recreation and Public Programs, instituting loved programs such as Lights on the Lake, the Golden Harvest Festival and so many others.
I became commissioner of the department in 1995, overseeing all the parks including the zoo, stadium, Beaver Lake, Onondaga Lake Park, Highland Forest, Jamesville and Oneida Shores beaches, museums and many other sites. I was responsible for a $14 million budget, 125 full-time and 190 part-time staff.
My 67th birthday is around the corner. I am registered to the Republican party but am proud to have received endorsements from the county Conservative, Independence and Veterans parties. I serve as a board member for Parks and Trails New York, a statewide non-profit agency dedicated to preserving parkland. I am a board member for the Alumni Association of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry. I am a visiting professor at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, where I have taught courses on public administration of natural resource facilities.
I think I share the sentiments of so many residents that Lysander is truly a unique and beautiful community in its current balance of greenspace and areas that have been developed. It has been my goal to preserve this character by insuring that future development recognizes the value of open space and farmland protection. We are doing this by requiring that new development set aside significant areas that will remain undeveloped in perpetuity at no cost to taxpayers. In addition, new developments must show that all new and future operational and infrastructure costs can be borne by the taxes generated by the development.
As I did in my career in County Parks, I want to insure that customer service and civility are the hallmarks of the governance of this town. Even with differing opinions on what course of action is the best one to take, it is my job as a town councilor to respect everyone — fellow board members as well as the public. I think I have done that.
We are among the most frugal of towns in Onondaga County and my goal is to see that we remain that way by having an approach to taxation that remains stable from year to year. Yet, frugality does not mean we cannot be innovative and dynamic. The discussion on the Spray Park is a perfect example. Enhancing quality of life is essential to the health of communities. That is why the facilities of Onondaga County Parks are not only loved by millions of yearly visitors, but they serve to make our overall community a better place to live. If a Spray Park can be built without any significant impact on taxpaying residents but it can serve to bring joy and fun to our families and children, that is the type of balance that can be achieved by a town committed to serving its residents.
Lysander is my home, and it has been an honor to be able to give back what I can as I have tried to do as a member of the board. That is the reason I am running again for this office.
I have worked in the public sector my entire career with one notable exception. While I was in high school and college I worked for my father, a small business owner who often worked seven days a week. I know what it means to count every dollar to insure a business stays in business and that is why I will never take the public tax dollar for granted. I think I bring a wealth of experience and know-how to this work from my career and upbringing, and the lessons I have learned about respecting people are part of who I am. This is not a stepping stone career move for me, but all about giving back to the community I call home.
Politicians are notorious for looking at things in the short term — perhaps it’s built in to the tenure of their positions to go for the gold today without contemplating that maybe that gold is gotten from robbing Peter’s future gold to pay Paul today. There is no question that all local municipalities are beholden to and at the mercy of what New York state does. The cooperation between neighboring municipalities has been and continues to be exemplary, which is why the call for consolidation of local government into something bigger like the county, has been looked at very skeptically. The real problem is an out of control state government budget and the mandates that stem from Albany which ultimately means local communities have less of their own dollars to spend.
The good news is that town government can be managed with a reasonable and common-sense approach. Being clear about our goals, such as tax stabilization, preserving greenspace while keeping us attractive to folks who want to build new homes and move here, and ultimately working together as a team are really the things that will keep us moving forward.
Hello, my name is Kevin Rode. I would like the honor to represent the residents of Lysander as one of their town councilors. I work for Strategic Aligned Companies in Syracuse. I am 41 years old, and I am a registered Democrat. I grew up in Lysander and have lived here almost my entire life. I currently live in Radisson with my girlfriend and her daughter.
I am running for town councilor because I care about our community and the direction it is heading. I have attended almost every town board meeting, budget and work session over the last six years. I have watched our citizens’ concerns seemingly fall on the deaf ears of our current town board and feel we need to change this problem. We deserve a town board that will listen and understand our residents’ concerns and work together with all elected officials and town employees to do the work of the town.
I feel that I am the best candidate because of my desire and drive to make the Lysander Town Board approachable and my willingness to understand the needs of its’ residents. We have a very diverse town. In less than five minutes, you can go from medium to high density housing to open farmland. I have lived in both areas of Lysander. I grew up near the hamlet of Lysander, worked on my family’s farm on Dunham Road, and have resided in Radisson for most of the last 10 years.
The management roles I have been in my entire adult life have given me the experience to work under many circumstances. From running my own sporting goods store in the old Tri-County Mall, as an operations manager overseeing 60 employees across the Northeast in two distribution centers, to managing the Dry-cleaning distribution division and bookkeeping at my current job, I have learned a multitude of skills to deal with many different issues and many different types of people. I feel the skills I have developed help set me apart from the incumbents, and make me the most prepared for the office.
Over the last year, we have had two developments approved after our Comprehensive Land Use Plan, or CLUP, has been in place. I feel that the town board did not treat the developments equally, and we need to revisit some of the processes involved in CLUP.
There is currently a spray park proposed for Lysander Town Park. While there has been a lot of employee time spent on the project, the town board was unable to answer my question of how much time and monies had been spent on this project at the last meeting. With a preliminary estimate of around $500,000, the residents deserve to know what time and monies have been spent already. The residents of Lysander need town board members that will listen and use their knowledge to make decisions in the towns’ best interests.
One of the biggest responsibilities of a town councilor is creating and maintaining the town budget. My current and past job duties focused primarily on budgets and budgeting. As a town councilor, I would ask for quarterly meetings with department heads to focus on the budget. After watching for the last two years, it seems that the town councilors tend to leave most of the budget responsibility to the town supervisor. In my opinion, every town board member has a fiscal responsibility to manage the budget over the entire year, not just in October when they are working on the next years’ budget.
As Lysander grows, we have issues that larger communities and towns face. While crime is not a major issue, it is a concern of mine. As your town councilor, I would like to explore ways to combat this problem and hear residents’ concerns about their individual neighborhoods.
I would also like to host quarterly “town hall” style meetings in different areas of Lysander. I understand that meeting nights or the location of town hall does sometime make it difficult for residents to come and voice concerns. I want the residents to feel comfortable to be able to tell their elected officials their issues, and I think this is one way we could become more accessible.
My name is Gail Tosh. I’m 49 years old, recently married with two children enrolled in the Baldwinsville Central School District. I’ve had ties to CNY for 31 years, having graduated from Jamesville-Dewitt High School. My mother recently retired after teaching at Baker High School in the business department for 25 years. Currently I’m a small hobby farmer and housewife. My most recent paid work was for InterFaith Works of CNY as an English teacher for refugees.
I’ve lived in Lysander for the past four years. Two years I spent on Perryville Road off of North Hayes Road, so I know that part of town. I’ve spent the last two years in my new home on Emerick Road, on the west side of town. I received my bachelor of arts degree in social structure, social theory and change with a concentration in leadership from Empire State College.
Before moving to Lysander, I spent three years overseas teaching English as a second language. Prior to that fantastic experience I spent several years as a general/operations manager for a few pizza delivery restaurants and as a licensed professional massage therapist.
I’m running for town board because our current board lacks diversity. I see no one on the current board who represents my viewpoints, my priorities. There is no discussion of issues, no dissention, no alternative ideas debated in our town board meetings. Diversity and engaged discussion are the forces that drive our country forward. Without questioning authority, we lose our power as citizens. Our current board doesn’t question the direction of the town supervisor or even discuss important issues in a public venue. People who came to the meetings to voice their concerns about the Collington Pointe East subdivision experienced this lack of emotion and engagement from their elected officials.
I represent diversity. By that, I mean I have lived outside the norms of society in some way my entire life. I’m a woman seeking social and financial equality in the United States. I’ve been self-employed. I’m a lesbian. I’ve lived overseas in a country where I didn’t speak the language. Living outside the box, so to speak, leads to out-of-the-box thinking. Solutions can be found in desperation, collaboration, empowerment. I think for myself because I’ve been forced to in order to survive in this world. I am not easily led without intelligent discussion. Our current board members are satisfied to play follow the leader, which is obvious if you’ve been paying attention to the discussions of the proposed spray park. The spray park, as it is currently proposed, is hugely expensive, without meeting the needs of the majority of the town.
I’m the best candidate because I’m a leader, with a diverse background, educated for this position. I care about making a positive difference in my community.
As I see it, the two main issues facing our town are transparency in government and fiscal responsibility. To address transparency, I will ask questions and demand answers. I will be engaged in the process around me. I will do the required research to find the answers if I’m unsatisfied with initial results. I will be available to the public to discuss issues and hear complaints.
Monetarily I will encourage the board to make sound financial decisions. Committing the full sum of a 40-year savings account to one project, the spray park, that will not benefit most of the people who contributed to that account does not seem like a good financial decision. Not planning for liabilities in the future from this project is not sound financial planning. Paying our town engineer to spend a majority of his time on this spray park project is a waste of our town money. I believe there are better uses for our town money. I support projects that would benefit more people at a lower cost.
I will work to require quarterly budget updates from departments to make sure we were keeping on track with our expenditures.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.