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James Arndt Seeks Two-Year Common Council Seat

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The Daily White Plains has put together a guide for voters interested in learning more about the Common Council and county legislature candidates before the Nov. 8 elections. Each candidate was asked the same questions.

James Arndt , 44, a manager at Hugo Boss who ran unsuccessfully in 2009, is competing to fill the remaining two years of the council seat Mayor Thomas Roach left vacant when he won the mayorship in a special election this February. Councilman, John Martin, a Democrat, was unanimously appointed to temporarily fill the council seat this April. In his own words, here's how Arndt describes his campaign:

Why did you decide to move to White Plains?

I've been in White Plains 11 years. We moved here for our first child. We loved the school district and we wanted them to give our kids the chance to grow up with people from all walks of life.

Why would you be a good representative in the coming term?

I've been in the private sector now for over 30 years. We should run the government as a business and put business people in there who know how to run things. I'm talking about reducing salaries, not having a cell phones, not having layoffs. At the end of the year, we need to think about returns on investments. If I'm going to invest in a new fleet of vehicles, what is my investment going to get me? It's all reactive not proactive.

If elected, what are the three biggest goals you'd work to accomplish?

I would stop the bleeding of the forces of our city. I think we have a headcount of about 980 on our roster, and of that 880 are the workers, the bees. We have maybe 100 that are the upper queen bees. Why do we keep cutting the fire department, the police, people that do road work, when we’re adding a press representative for the mayor. City hall is reducing head count and then not saving any money because they're hiring all of these consultants. So residents don't see it on the payroll.

The agency of the parking authority is a needle in my side. We as a city put a new fee out there. We abuse residents and visitors that come in and boost our sales taxes. The parking authority makes an excessive amount of money. Why are we penalizing people who want to shop here. If you're from Scarsdale, you're going to go to Greenwich where parking is 15 cents per half an hour.

We keep talking about how we want to have a central park of White Plains and we have this beautiful piece of land called the Ridgeway Country Club. If given the opportunity again, I would ask for an assessment of $300 to $450 a year over a three year period and buy the land so we're not buying it with a bond or debt. I'm about preserving open spaces for all residents, and I'm not sure how much larger parcels we have left.

Has the local government made any mistakes or had any oversights that you'd try to avoid?

I often wonder what they're doing. There’s no economic boom. Okay, there's a new hotel downtown. Cappelli wanted the rights to redo the Metro-North station and they wouldn't give it to him. However, Cappelli is very talented in what he does and he could have brought something to the city that was a great tax-revenue-maker. It would have been a beautiful gateway. It doesn't need to be Cappelli, but it needs to be somebody.

I would've removed [former Mayor Adam] Bradley sooner. The rounds of the wheels was not that I don’t like Bradley. But he should've stepped down and said, "Excuse me, I think I have a personal problem I need to deal with."

What's the best part of White Plains?

I love the people of White Plains. I started working here at 13 at a beads store. It was 31 years ago and I knew back then I wanted to be a part of this city. It’s a family feel here. And I love it.

Other related experience:

Experience:

- Member of the Westchester County Planning Board

- Member of White Plains Public Schools Safety Committee

- Catholic Sunday school teacher at St. Bernards on the Hill

- Member of County Executive Robert Astorino's transition team

Will you vote in the Nov. 8 election? Are there any additional questions you'd like us to ask candidates? What would you like to see city hall accomplish in the coming term? Join the conversation below.

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