Jason West wins for Mayor in New Paltz

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The once and future Mayor
May 3, 2011

Jason West was Mayor of New Paltz New York from 2003 to 2007. An active member of the Green Party at that time, West was the first official in the United States to marry same-sex couples. He was arrested and charged with “solemnizing marriages without a license”. The charges were later dismissed.

After losing in a run at re-election West headed out west, to the University of California at Berkley to study urban planning, and later returned to New Paltz. This year he again ran for Mayor [West is an enrolled "Green” who ran on a local, line], and according to posts on his Facebook page, he has won that race, giving him a second but non-consecutive term.

West ran on the “Cooperative Party” ticket.

More on the race at Times Herald-Record
West returns as Paltz mayor
/ May 4, 2011
“West will be joined on the board by former NYPIRG organizer Ariana Basco, who received 372 votes and former library board president Sally Rhoads, who got 331 votes.”

11 thoughts on “Jason West wins for Mayor in New Paltz

  1. Kimberly Wilder Post author

    This was an interesting race. (I did not participate.)

    Jason had some important, Green Party support, such as Rebecca Rotzler.

    Pete Healey was another old-time Green Party member, and he was running for Mayor, too.

    I don’t remember which of the characters are still enrolled Green.

    [Update from a reliable, on-the-ground source in New Paltz: Jason West is an enrolled Green Party member]

  2. JT

    So why wouldn’t he run as a Green candidate? Could he not get on a local ballot that way? I find that hard to believe in hard Left New Paltz.

  3. Kimberly Wilder

    To JT: Jason did not run as a Green Party candidate the other time he won, either.

    In New York State, many local and village elections are by custom and/or by requirement “nonpartisan”.

    Here in Long Island, the Village of Amityville has that tradition. A man ran on the “Conservative” line once (which is a party in NY). He did very poorly, and had a backlash for using an official, party name.

    Jason is enrolled Green, but he ran on what I call a “made-up party name”, for this election. It is often done like that.

  4. pete healey

    Actually, Jason ran as a Green in 2003, along with fellow Green Rebecca Rotzler and independent (who would turn Democrat in six months) Julia Walsh. I know, I helped on that campaign.
    I ran for Mayor this spring on a government consolidation ticket because we have both a town and village government here and they fuss and fight and hold turf wars all the time. I believe a unified government could bring sense, and PR, to New Paltz. Jason and I discussed this two months ago and he refused to go along with any of it. His campaign was run by the left-wing of the Democratic Party and the Green vote, what little is left of it, was split between us.

  5. Kimberly Wilder

    @Pete – Jason often identified as a Green in the 2003 campaign. Though, the ticket (and ballot line, I am almost sure) were called “The Innovation Campaign.” I found a news story:

    http://www.newpaltz.edu/oracle/article.cfm?id=784

    With the platform of “grassroots democracy” and the idea of local control, I find it hard to believe that a proposed merger fits core Green Party values.

    When two things merge, the big thing almost always swallows the bad thing, to bad effect.

    Also, an observation of the village system: As far as I have seen, the places with the good fortune to be “villages” in New York, to have local control over zoning, and a small government that citizens could win a campaign in, are largely rich areas. I think the rich want what is good for them.

    I hope things go well in New Paltz. Jason and the Green team did good things last time around. Hope they do a good job this time. And, good luck to Green Party and/or progressive organizing in the area.

  6. pete healey

    Of course it was a Green campaign. The Greens had just lost their ballot status and when all 3 of our candidate won and became a majority of the Village Board the howls were loud and long about the Green Party “ruining everything”. This was a solid Democratic Party stronghold, how dare the Greens compete against two Democratic tickets and win with 40% of the total!

    And as for a “big thing swallowing up a small thing” or whatever it is you think is going on here, that isn’t the case at all. All of New Paltz has 14,000 people in it. We don’t need two separate, overlapping, and conflicting municipal governments to govern 14,000 people. It’s a green concept that rational, sensible, right-sized government be constructed to serve the public, and that’s what I and others are proposing. And further we’re proposing to use the village form since it’s flexible and adaptable to New Paltz’s unique situation. These are the ideas that Jason rejected, and instead he organized with left-wing Democrats to take control of the existing unservicable structures and “rule” them in the name of “progressive” values, whatever they are.
    Lastly, there is no “Green Team” this time around, and he doesn’t have a majority. Two of my running mates won seats on the board and the fifth member doesn’t belong to him or us.

  7. Kimberly Wilder

    Pete, I am still more correct in you than saying that in 2003, he did not run anymore as a “Green” than he did now…at least on the ballot.

    Now, maybe there was more “Green Party energy and support” the first time around. I guess, so.

    But, neither time did the ballot line say “Green”.

    Thank you for your detailed comments on consolidation. It will be interesting to see how your community works it out. I don’t understand the lay of the land there enough to know which way makes more sense.

    Good luck to all of you and to New Paltz.

  8. pete healey

    We submitted two petitions in 2003, one for the Green Party and one for the Innovation Party. The Board of Elections refused to allow us to have two ballot lines even though we qualified by submitting two valid petitions. Jason and Rebecca were (and are) Greens and the third candidate was friendly to the Greens. Sorry but I was there.

  9. pete healey

    @Peter, how many Paltzes do you know? Is there an Old Paltz, or a West Paltz (maybe people will start calling my village that now)?

  10. greenish

    Yes there is an old Paltz, as you probably should know! It is the Palatinate or Pfalz region of Germany.

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