3/19/23 Update: Compare Candidates for Sleepy Hollow Mayor

Photo of a woman thinking while holding a phone.

Election Day is coming up in Sleepy Hollow -- Tuesday, March 21. Residents finally have a choice for Mayor. This edition of Bike Tarrytown's newsletter helps you compare the two candidates' positions. First we cover a bit of the LWV sponsored debate, then present the mayoral contenders' answers to our questionnaire.


The League of Women Voters of the Rivertowns held a candidates forum on March 15. It was a good event. Below, we highlight three moments.

A recording of the event is available, for now. The numbers in parentheses, like (1:02:45), indicate the time in the video when the given segment starts.

Closing Statements


The stark difference between the candidates was most apparent in the last 2 minutes. So, let's start there. Martin Rutyna gave his closing statement first; a solid, standard pitch.

Then 14 year incumbent Ken Wray, thinking he had the last word, smeared his opponent with distorted facts (a common move by Ken): "In the 5 years Martin has lived here, he's never involved himself in local government, except now, to become Mayor." Ken's belittling comments continued for the remainder of his time.

But Martin was smart. Each candidate had the opportunity for two rebuttals, to use when they wanted. Martin saved one for the end, with which he brilliantly opened: "I do a lot inside this community. Please don't underestimate what it takes to walk inside a burning building, and dedicate the hundreds of hours it takes to do that." Then he explained how he has built consensus, and that he chose to run for Mayor instead of Trustee because "the most good I can do is to change the leadership style inside our Village" so everyone participating in government can "be more free with their thoughts."

Photo of a construction zone.

The Beekman Ave Bridge in the midst of reconstruction on 4/18/19 had a sidewalk so narrow that it could not fit people using a wheelchairs, and the curb leading to it disappeared in a way that removed navigational clues for blind people.

Helping Disabled People


Martin plans to follow all parts of the Americans with Disabilities Act, like curb ramps, walk signals, as well as on the website and the design of new parks.

Ken would continue what we're doing with intersections and crosswalks. Village has a voluntary program for disabled people to register with the Police Department in hopes of interacting appropriately when officers respond.

[Bike Tarrytown: The Village built a brand new sidewalk that tilts wheelchair users into the street, had a construction zone that both was too narrow for wheelchairs and didn't prevent blind people from walking into traffic, bus service is needlessly cut off during parades and fairs, and allows sidewalks to be regularly blocked by cars, garbage, and construction.]

Route 9


Ken's answer was he has been working with the State DOT for years. Want's 1 lane/direction with turn lanes. Is working on replacing the sidewalks in front of the Philipsburg Manor restoration. The proposals for bike lanes are "interesting."

Martin says active and proactive work with the DOT is needed. Explained that people are afraid to ride on Route 9 and the crosswalks are dangerous. Will work with Tarrytown to connect cycling facilities to the [Tappan Zee] Bridge, which will boost economic development.

[Bike Tarrytown: Read about Ken's work on Route 9.]

Q & A with Bike Tarrytown

Sangwani Gondwe, a Sleepy Hollow High School student interning with Bike Tarrytown, composed questions for the two mayoral candidates. Both of them graciously answered.

What specific measures will you implement to prioritize the safety of all road users, including cyclists, drivers and people who use public transport?

[Note to readers: We inadvertently had two similar questions. The answers have been combined here.]

Martin Rutyna: The safety and well-being of our community must be the primary objective of our government. No one wants to live in a community where they don’t feel safe to walk home or go to the store. Some ways we should approach this are: improved sidewalks and crossing safety, sidewalks in front of the high-school, bike lanes, additional trees to shade and improve community wellness, a proactive environmental plan strategy and cooperation with our surrounding communities to create a more walkable and bike friendly Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown.

Martin: We will utilize a detailed action plan guided by our village comprehensive plan and prioritized by incident data to take a systematic approach to improving safety for all road users in the village. This plan should be published clearly to the community and updated based on that feedback as appropriate. I am not a traffic safety expert and will defer to those experts in road design and safety for specific mitigation techniques but the locations that in my opinion need to be on that list include: The redesign of the intersection of Beekman Ave and Pocantico St.; the intersection of Cortlandt St and Beekman Avenue; the intersection of Pocantico St and Route 9; the Beekman and Bedford Rd intersection. Beyond improvements there are additional changes that we can implement to reduce double parking, increase walkability to reduce vehicle traffic and find creative ways to make biking safer on our roads.

Ken Wray: Route 9 and Rt 448 are State roads. NYSDOT is seriously backlogged and it takes a long time to address our concerns. The Village has commissioned its own traffic study to accelerate the process.

We have dropped the Village speed limit to the lowest allowable by State law (25 mph). We are applying for several NYS traffic safety grants that provide funding for overtime so that police departments can schedule officers to specifically focus on aggressive driving, crosswalk violations, speeding, etc.

Our Sleepy Hollow Environmental Action Committee (SHEAC) and our Climate Smart Communities committee are both working to identify ways to codify complete streets guidelines in Sleepy Hollow; they are considering recommendations for the Village to adopt National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) guidelines. The Board of Trustees awaits their recommendations. Separately, the Board of Trustees has identified 10 problematic intersections and crosswalks in the Village and is undertaking an effort to implement design interventions, beautification, signal timing, and other measures to improve safety, traffic flow, reductions in double parking, and greatly improved sight lines through removing parking spaces in conflict zones.

[Bike Tarrytown: Many of the good things mentioned in the final paragraph were proposed in 2018 and ignored by Mayor Wray. Changes started happening once Jared Rodriguez became a Trustee.]

What reforms will you implement to ensure accurate and transparent crime and car crash reporting?

Martin: Currently our village does not appear to be reporting any crime statistics to the state. I will work as Mayor with the Chief of Police to ensure all state mandated reporting, including crime and crash statistics, are fully and accurately reported. I will set this expectation clearly and firmly with Chief Bueti.

[Bike Tarrytown: As we understand it, crime stats are reported to the FBI.]

Ken: All crimes and car crashes are recorded by the Sleepy Hollow Police Department (SHPD). Every accident report is available for review by making a request to the SHPD. Police Chief Bueti makes regular presentations to the Board of Trustees, which typically include statistics on these and many other issues the Police Department manages.

We will be implementing an electronic reporting system so that as the officer enters accident details it will be automatically sent to the DMV in Albany.

SHPS enters crime data in the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) system, currently in use by some 17,000 police departments nationwide. The data is amalgamated in a hierarchical system for reporting. (For example, if there is a home break-in and there is an assault in the same incident, the more serious crime, in this case the assault, gets recorded and reported out by the UCR. Therefore, UCR doesn’t provide complete data on each incident.)

SHPD will soon be adopting a new Record Management System (RMS) and is currently reviewing available systems to identify one that meets our needs and is cost effective. (The available systems range in cost from $75K to $250K.) The new RMS will make retrieving data more complete and accurate, in part because we will also be able to retrieve and compare data from the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), an alternative system which is based on victim reporting. Police departments have found that sometimes victims report to the NIBRS but not to their local police department. The NIBRS also collects and reports data in greater detail than the UCR (including demographic, incident date/time, whether the offenses were attempted or completed, expanded victim information – such as hate crime or other bias). The FBI is recommending that local police departments adopt these new RMS and is providing support for the transition process.

[Bike Tarrytown: Sleepy Hollow's Police Department reported crashes to the DMV and crimes to the FBI just fine prior to 2016.]

How will you ensure every segment of Route 9 is safe and comfortable for all road users?

Martin: Route 9 is a state road and under the direct management of the state. That does not mean we cannot lobby the Department of Transportation to make changes. Our primary focus should initially be the Beekman Ave, Route 9, Bedford, Hudson Terrace, New Broadway intersection. It is too complex, limits traffic flow, and is dangerous to drivers, walkers, and bikers. We need to work cooperatively with the appropriate state authorities to have the redesign completed and implemented as promptly as possible. In the meantime, some local remediation efforts should be made to improve walker and biker safety while crossing.

Ken: NYSDOT controls Route 9 in its entirety. The State agency dictates design, traffic signals, speed limits and stripping. NYSDOT recently announced an initiative to consider redesigning Route 9 from the Hastings-on-Hudson border with Yonkers through Sleepy Hollow to Rt 117. The effort will be a multi-year initiative including representatives from each affected community, the public, design engineers and state government. Given his professional background, Trustee Jared Rodriguez was appointed a Trustee Liaison for the Project. He will keep us and the public abreast of project milestones and progress and reiterate the community's needs during the ongoing NYSDOT public outreach and design process. Please bring your specific Route 9 concerns to the Village Board of Trustees in writing, or in person during Board Meetings, so we can be sure to accurately represent the community's needs.

Please do your best to directly reach out to your NYS Legislators, the Governor and other representatives to let them know you support a safe and inviting Route 9.

[Bike Tarrytown: 30 people came to a Trustee meeting to request the Comprehensive Plan have better wording about the Route 9 safety plan. Fifty emails and 10 postcards were also submitted. The Mayor then removed all wording about the Route 9 Plan from the Comprehensive plan. Similarly, the family of Xiomara Chimbo, a student seriously injured by a car crash, presented the Mayor with 800 petition signatures calling for street safety fixes on Beekman Ave. The Village did nothing.]

How will you address disinformation from public officials and ensure accurate information about village issues is widely available to residents?

[Note to readers: This question was inspired by the 35 bits of disinformation Mayor Wray told regarding Route 9.]

Martin: I believe that government should be transparent and accountable. Those principles are the basis of my campaign platform and will roll into the everyday fabric of our village government under my leadership. Each responsible department head will have a clear set of expectations set and they will be evaluated upon those expectations. Required reporting will be on time to the state and community and any non-factual content will not be tolerated. Finally, our agendas, actions and decisions will exceed the state required notifications. I want our community to find it easy and convenient to know what is happening in Sleepy Hollow and we will increase technology utilization to help make that happen.

Ken: Disinformation is a common problem on social media today and elsewhere in our society. The best way to combat disinformation is to boost your critical thinking skills; start by asking yourself if claims by individuals represent their surface-level identity, or their self-interest, financial interest or corporate interest? Who exactly is making a claim and what is their track record at telling the truth, or what is their expertise in a particular subject? Do claims align with science or law? The best way for the public to stay informed on Village matters is to attend meetings, read Village communications and reach out directly to your public officials. We are always available to engage with the public in civil discourse. Much of what we implement as policy or regulation comes as a result of direct requests and comments from the public. There is an established and long-standing process for public outreach and collection of public comments. Of course, the best way to be involved in self-government is to vote for your preferred candidate, one who most closely aligns with your personal objectives. Single-issue candidates are less likely to deliver progress across the spectrum of critical issues nor for a wide diversity of residents, particularly as they exist in Sleepy Hollow.

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