Local election features two candidates for one council seat

One a write in, other on ballot


Ballot for Peekskill residents. Photo by Fleekskill on Twitter

By Regina Clarkin

Peekskill resident Lee Esther Brown is hoping that the 1209 people who voted for her in an unsuccessful attempt to win a seat in last year’s Common Council election will write her name on the ballot this Tuesday. The seat she is campaigning for was vacated by Mayor Vivian McKenzie when she became mayor last November. The seat is currently held by Brian Fassett who was appointed to the position by the Common Council in February and now needs to be officially elected by the public. 

Lee Esther Brown’s campaign sign on Washington Street

Speaking to the Herald this week, Brown said she is running on a campaign of accountability and responsibility around quality of life issues. “There’s been a watering down of loitering and nuisance laws,” said Brown, saying that such ordinances are difficult to reinstate once gone. She added that there are also a lot of quality of life issues around complaints of overcrowded housing.She said she knows of people who have addressed issues with Mayor McKenzie and she’s seen McKenzie take action – but that she’d like to sit next to the mayor to address the issues. 

Fassett, who was the Business Improvement District president for four years, said he also sees quality of life issues as a major concern, and points to steps taken to address the issues. “These quality of life issues were severely neglected, especially in the downtown, but now there has been a working group of department heads (Building, city services, police, fire) to deal with day-to-day issues such as trash, public intoxication, parking, code violations and illegal businesses. That was one of my main focuses going into this and I’m proud to see that happening.” 

Brian Fassett’s sign on Nelson Avenue.

He said his focus is on local politics; he is not looking at this position to become a stepping stone. “My initial intent was to encourage more civic engagement in Peekskill’s government and get more people involved in the process. We can’t do our job unless we hear from residents to know how we are doing our job. As a resident, I know good things are happening but we (city government) are not good at getting that information out. We need to get better at that.”  

Brown’s campaign signs went up Sunday at key locations in town such as the intersection of Washington Street and Hudson Avenue and the library.  About councilman Brian Fassett, Brown said, “I couldn’t let him sit there and not be challenged. I’m not tired yet, so that’s why I’m running.” Fassett said he ordered 30 lawn signs and they’ve been up for three weeks. 

Brown is a familiar face at Peekskill Common Council meetings, usually commenting on items on the agenda and asking probing questions of city officials. 

The two propositions on the back of ballot for Peekskill voters. (Photo by Fleekskill on Twitter)

In addition to the one seat open on Peekskill’s Common Council, there is a bond proposition specific to Peekskill’s Field Library. The proposal asks voters to approve an increase of $125,000 to the $1,458,000 annual contribution of the city to the Field Library.