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Good Intentions Not Enough, Bronxville Candidate

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. — Gordon Burrows smiled amiably when his opponent Theo Moustakopoulos let out one of his slogans during a recent debate in Eastchester .

“Vote for the Moose,” Moustakopoulos said, referring to his nickname.

Burrows even called Moustakopoulos a “nice guy,” just before pointing out that it's not enough to be an effective county legislator.

“This isn’t the time to have somebody who doesn’t know how to look at a budget,” Burrows said.

Now in his third two-year term, Burrows, 53, a Republican, is running for re-election as county legislator representing District 15, which includes Bronxville and sections of Yonkers. During his campaign, he contrasted his many years as legislator with the lack of political experience of his two opponents.

Moustakopoulos, 30, who is running on the Democratic and Independence lines, is an exotic-car dealer facing his first election. Delfim Heusler, 40, a blogger backed by the Working Families Party, ran for office several times before, including for the same District 15 in 2009, but was never elected.

Burrows said that aspiring politicians like Moustakopoulos should start in lower positions where they can learn the basics, just as he did before spending 10 years as Yonkers councilman.

Yet his opponents point to a taint in Buirows' career.

Last year, Burrows was with a friend inside a car on a parking lot when both were arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance, in that case cocaine. They ended pleading guilty for disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.

“The underlying charges were not drugs. I had nothing in my blood system,” Burrows said, calling it an “unfortunate incident” for which he took responsibility.

“It was my car,” he said. “I should have been smarter.”

Burrows said, however, that it’s not a reason for people not to vote for him Tuesday.

Mentioning “taxes, taxes, taxes, flooding” as his priorities, Burrows said the county needs to be more fiscal responsible in order to reduce taxes.

“I believe government cannot spend more money than we have, and that what’s been happening in Westchester County,” he said.

Just as he did with Moustakopoulos, Burrows acknowledged the good intentions of his opponents on the 17-member county legislative board, which is spilt 12 to 5 in favor of Democrats, the so-called “Democratic supermajority.”

“We are all altruistic people. We all want to do the right thing,” he said, but then he criticized the high cost of the programs the Democrats support, using cars as a metaphor to compare the two party’s approaches. The supermajority's “Rolls Royce plan,” he said, ended up costing more and serving less people than the “Chevrolet plan” the Republican proposes.

“I think there has to be a philosophical discussion of what is that people really want from county government,” he said. “And basically what they are willing to pay for.”

He mentioned childcare as one of the programs on which the county spends more than required by state law.

Burrows said that he was one of the legislators responsible for trimming the county’s tax levy by 2.2 percent after Rob Astorino took over as County Executive, and that he fought against all the tax increases that had happened before.

“You only get a certain amount of money,” he said. “As a result, we are helping less people and we are not helping the people that most need it.”

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