The first hour or so was devoted to the candidates for County Legislature, and the Ward candidates. On the Democrat side, I was most impressed with the performance of Ali Muhammad (at-large), and on the Republican side, I was most impressed with the performance of Thomas Cunningham (4th ward).
When the mayoral candidates came up to bat, about an 1 hour to 1.5 hours into the 3 hour forum, I was electrified to hear Randy Casale mention the Beacon Line THREE times, including at length in his closing remarks. This issue is my crank cause: http://beaconline.org .
Above, at 3:58 Randy mentions using the Beacon Line (aka the Danbury Line, aka the Maybrook Line) for commuters.
Sometime later, during a discussion about business on Main Street, Randy mentions the Beacon Line a second time as a revenue generator and congestion reliever (I was not recording video).
And finally, in his closing remarks above (0:40), Randy enthuses about the Beacon Line for a minute and a half, prompting Steve to address the topic as well in his closing remarks. Steve notes how hard it is to gain traction with the M.T.A. And he is right, this is a daunting task to cajole the M.T.A. on this subject.
But I am really, really impressed by Randy's passion for the Beacon Line.
I am a lifelong Democrat, and frankly, the Republican party at the national level frightens me, however, this is local politics. Also, Steve Gold has always impressed me, he is a strong steady hand at the mayoral steering wheel, and he has always been kind to Kevin Newman (my fellow Beacon Line drum beater) and I whenever we have interacted on this topic.
But because the Beacon Line is my crank cause, and because Randy is obviously passionate about the subject, I am voting with excitement for Randy Casale this year.
Look, it won't be easy. But if we get some use on this line, ANY use, it will be like 10 Dias opening up in Beacon in terms of an economic boost to Main Street. And if you don't want 9D turned into a 4 lane spur of i84 and our waterfront turned into an asphalt moonscape like Croton Harmon, note that the Beacon Line is a one seat trip into Grand Central from at least 2 or 3 satellite locations in Fishkill, including i84 commuters from Orange County: see the Park-and-Ride replacement scheme on the map towards the bottom of the main page at http://beaconline.org .
So I encourage everyone concerned about congestion, waterfront linkage to Main Street, and economic growth, to vote for Randy Casale on November 8. Not because Steve won't do the right thing by the Beacon Line, but to have a mayor so passionate about the subject like Randy, it might just be enough to get the Beacon Line through the goal posts, and fire up this gem of a little city like nothing in decades past nor decades to come.
Finally, I really want to thank Beacon High School and Beacon Deserves Better for putting this forum together, it was a sterling service to the city. And I was amazed by the turnout, big crowd!