Danby Town Board 2021
Why I'm running for a seat on the Town Board
I care about Danby. It's my home.
I have something to contribute to making Danby a better place to live. My voice would make a valuable addition to the decision-making process. What's more, I have the time and the determination to make a positive difference. The most effective way I can help make good things happen is as an elected official.
I have decades of institutional knowledge about Danby. I like to gather information and opinion from Danby residents. I research issues carefully. All of this, together, makes it possible for me to take the needs of the entire community into consideration....leading to well-informed and impartial decisions.
What are the qualities that make a good Councilperson?
Danby's a great place to live. In today's rapidly changing time, it needs elected officials who do their homework, who want to hear and listen to its residents, and who can find the common ground that's best for Danby and our quality of life.
We need inclusive leaders who want to be responsive to the needs of the entire community. We need leaders whose goal is to lead by example. We need leaders who sweat every penny of today's taxes and think hard about tomorrow's zoning.
What skills and experience can I offer?
In my heart and soul, I'm an engineer, a techie, and even a nerd...but one with effective social skills and the ability to communicate ideas. I joined the, "I Never Guess, I Look It Up," club in Elementary School. I still have the button!
When something captures my interest, I ask questions, I do research, I soak up all sorts of information. This allows me to build a comprehensive understanding.
Danby is my home and it has very much captured my interest.
My work as a programmer, analyst, and consultant depended on the skill of asking the right questions. What are the relevant facts, and what seemingly irrelevant information can have an effect on the outcome? What is the best or simplest way to solve a problem? What can go wrong, and how are problems identified? Sweating the details is second nature to me.
My experience with photography and graphic design taught me to look at the big picture. I look at the edges, at the parts, at the highlights and quiet spots, and at how the balance between all of these contribute to the desired result.
Dealing with performers and dancers -- often in situations where they're under pressure -- has taught me that, in order to earn their respect and cooperation, I must treat them with the same respect. Government is similar: you have to be honest, open, and willing to work with everyone. You cannot exclude anyone or hide information from your peers or from the public.
How would I communicate with Danby residents?
Personal contact, telephone contact, published articles, mailings, Email, and modern technology.
Nothing beats face-to-face discussions with individuals or groups. I look forward to these interactions.
Email works because it allows the sender to carefully consider and craft words and allows the recipient to carefully digest the message.
I have experience with written communication, as an author and as an editor, for several print publications including the Danby News. I've had some success presenting complicated subjects as readable and informative articles...without talking down to the reader. My decades of experience as a Dance Caller have taught me how to provide information and instructions clearly using few words and in a friendly manner that encourages participants.
My technology background has taught me to use a combination of web sites, databases, response forms, and Email to communicate. When a picture can work better than words, I create maps and graphics.
Scroll down for more FAQ...
What are my office-specific goals?
I want to help create a climate of good, transparent, and inclusive government that works toward
Maintaining Town infrastructure: roads, buildings, and equipment
Promoting energy efficiency
Protecting our environment and natural resources
Protecting us from light and noise pollution
Providing universal, affordable high-speed internet
Protecting the Town's rural character
Preparation for emergency and disaster events
Enthusiastic support for Community Organizations
Working well with other municipalities and government branches
What are the major issues facing Danby?
Zoning and Planning
Open Space: Preserving our quality of life (Rural Character, Taxes)
Broadband Internet: Living in the modern world
Involving The Community In Government
More detail on these subjects can be found on the Focus On page of this web site.
What are the greatest challenges facing Danby?
Danby's greatest challenge is the need to move forward effectively in today's changing world. This involves ALL of the major issues outlined above, but the most important ones are closely linked: Planning (how Danby will grow) and the need for universal Broadband.
Danby needs communications to grow and growth will facilitate a cost-effective communications infrastructure.
As Danby has changed from a quiet farming town to a bedroom community for nearby Ithaca, it's been said that Danby's biggest agricultural product...has been building lots. There has been steady pressure to develop -- mostly single-family private residences -- and that pressure seems to be increasing. The relatively low cost of Danby properties has begun to overcome the inconvenience of travel distance.
COVID-19 brought home the idea that, using the Internet, many jobs can get done from home. Danby is bracing to become a bedroom community for more distant metropolitan areas.
The lack of universal high-speed internet access has handicapped Danby residents. It has limited opportunities for school-age kids, for telemedicine, for online shopping, for home entertainment, and even for telecommuting from work. Oddly enough, this deficiency has, to some extent, slowed rapid development! We cannot continue to limp along for long.
Planning for growth involves a balancing act between protecting the Quality of Life enjoyed by existing residents and providing the framework for the location and construction of new homes.
Danby is in the midst of an effort to redefine its Zoning and Subdivision rules. I'm in favor of this process and am contributing to it. I'm offering both my familiarity with the weaknesses of existing Zoning and my ability to visualize and explain the outcomes of proposed changes.
My professional experience, along with participation in the Tompkins County Broadband Committee, has prepared me to work with communications providers and developers.
What have I done in Danby?
(With apologies for sounding like I'm bragging)
I've lived in Danby for almost 45 years. For 20 years, I paid my taxes but was mostly unaware of the vibrant community my home was located in. Around 2000, I started to become involved.
I became the editor of the Danby News more than 15 years ago and, with that as incentive, became involved in community and government activities.
I joined the Community Council and served as its President and Secretary. I've contributed to its success in producing concerts, informative programs, youth activities, the Harvest Festival, and more.
I volunteered my time with the Danby Community Park Association (still love mowing the fields!) and eventually joined its Board of Directors.
I organized the wildly successful and informative Danby Green Homes Tour. I participated in the Tompkins County Broadband Committee and I've had a role in researching and promoting higher-speed Internet in Danby.
I created the public computer facility in Danby's Town Hall. I installed the Public Wi-Fi used in the meeting room and available to residents outside, in the parking lot. The initial project was at no cost to the Town, with computers and network equipment donated by me and by other Danby residents.
I was involved with Danby Fun Day for a number of years, first as guest, then as a vendor (of prints and note cards featuring my photography), and then as one of the organizers. I miss the event!
My wife and I are the sponsors of the 2.2-mile section of NYS Rt.96B that runs through Beautiful Downtown Danby. Less politely, you might say we pick up the roadside trash...and organize volunteers to participate in that community service.
I talked my wife into running for Town Clerk and she served for a decade, providing excellent communications with the public, a reliable organization for Town records, and a friendly face at the counter...before retiring to focus on her career as a Therapeutic Harpist and, soon, an Interfaith Chaplain.
What else have I done, outside Danby?
(With apologies for sounding like I'm bragging; some of these really are big things, while others are presented in their most favorable light.)
Tersely, awaiting more words...in no particular order...
Computer Graphics research pioneer (my first "graphics chip" was the size of a washer and dryer and cost about $60,000).
Computer Consultant, working on projects as diverse as tractor overturning simulations, molecular modeling of sugars and carbohydrates, air traffic control, and...wait for it...astrology-based personality matching.
Ithaca Festival Director.
Designed and implemented the island-wide computer system for the Department of Transportation in Puerto Rico. I helped with facility design, document design and production, and the crafting of laws. Less politely and somewhat gratuitously: working with government officials, I built a Motor Vehicle Bureau. What a way to learn about government!
Energy Navigator for Cornell Cooperative Extension. Advocate for Electric Vehicles and Heat Pumps.
Dance Caller and musician (pre- and, soon, post-COVID), traveling throughout the Eastern US.
Photographer, Graphic Designer, Editor.
Professional Sound Engineer.
Designed and built Slow Lane, my dream house, at the corner of Comfort and Love in the center of Danby.
Tompkins County Democratic Committee, currently its Technology Chair.