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Bronxville Candidates Engage in Courteous Debate

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. — Incumbent Gordon Burrows and his challenger Theo Moustakopoulos looked more like peers than opponents during their debate, so similar were their opinions and so courteous were they to one another.

Burrows, a Republican, is in his third two-year term as county legislator representing the 15th District, which includes Bronxville and the northeast and northwest of Yonkers.

Moustakopoulos is an exotic-car dealer running on the Democratic and Independence lines with no previous experience in politics.

Delfim Heusler, a blogger backed by the Working Families Party and the third candidate in the race, couldn’t attend the debate, which took place Sunday in the Eastchester Town Hall and was organized by the League of Women Voters.

Burrows and Moustakopoulos agreed on almost everything. Both listed reducing taxes and mitigating floods as their priorities. Both spoke against the county paying alone for state-mandated programs.

They agreed even more when Eastchester resident and longtime activist Manfred Moses, 86, asked whether county government was really necessary.

“Why do we need this level of government for? What does it do for us?” Moses said.

Both were quick to reply that county government does serve a purpose. It delivers services better than the state, said Burrows. It takes better care of the communities, added Moustakopoulos.

But while Moustakopoulos’s answers were usually general, Burrows’s experience as legislator allowed him to provide specific examples. So, after somebody asked how they plan to attract business to the county and Moustakopoulos said that he favored anyone that doesn’t harm the community, Burrows mentioned the development that occurred in Yonkers when he was a city’s councilman.

“You saw Home Depot, you saw Costco, all these things occurred during my watch,” Burrows said.

Moustakopoulos was, however, specific on one of his priorities: preserving Playland.

“We need to make sure it stays where it is, we don’t lose it,” he said.

Neither candidate ever said the words “my opponent,” in stark contrast with the debate to District 10’s county legislator that had taken place just before, during which candidates Sheila Marcotte and John Fitzpatrick spiked one other frequently.

Even in the final comments, Moustakopoulos didn’t address Burrows directly, saying only that the district “needs a change” and that he will bring “integrity and character” to it.

Burrows, on his side, called Moustakopoulos a “nice guy.”

“Ted is a nice guy, I am a nice guy,” Burrows said. But then he added, “But you’re not voting for nice guys. What you want to do is vote for somebody who is going to be able to represent you best, who has the experience.”

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