Appellate Division Affirms Lower Court Decision Throwing Out Democrat Claim to Reject Testa Petitions
The Appellate Division; Second Judicial Department of The Supreme Court of the State of New York unanimously upheld a lower court decision to throw out a claim brought by Peekskill Democrat Chairwoman, Marina Ciotti on behalf of County Legislator candidate Duane Jackson, against the Westchester County Board of Elections that looked to have the court reject the petitions legally obtained by County Legislator John Testa for the Republican and Independence Parties. The Independence Opportunity to Ballot petitions forced the September 10, 2013 Independence Party Primary Election where Legislator Testa waged a write-in campaign to obtain the Independence Party line in the November General Election. This will now clear the way for the Board of Elections (BOE) to finish the counting of all votes and certify the results of that primary.
When the lower court had dismissed the case brought against the BOE in August, Ms. Ciotti decided to appeal even though the court decision was clear cut and based on the claim being time-barred. In its “Decision and Order”, the Court wrote, “Since it is undisputed that this proceeding was not commenced within 14 days after the last day to file…as required by Election Law Section 16-102(2), the Supreme Court properly dismissed the proceeding as untimely.”
“The Peekskill Democratic Party and my opponent are determined to prevent a fair and open election process,” stated Legislator Testa. Their attempt to disenfranchise the voters of Cortlandt, Peekskill and Yorktown was resoundly rejected by the lower court. To continue their quest to eliminate the voters constitutional right of having the opportunity to vote for a candidate of their choice is unconscionable,” added Testa.
Peekskill Republican Party Chairman, Vincent C. Vesce, said, “The beat goes on and on with the local Democrat Party. They seem intent on not allowing the election process to go forward unless they get their way. Even well after the time period elapsed for issuing simple challenges, they continued to waste the Court’s time and the taxpayer’s money on frivolous lawsuits such as this. To be honest, if the shoe was on the other foot and we had lost a claim in the lower court for similar reasons, I would have been embarrassed to bring such an appeal.”
About John G. Testa
Former District 1 County Legislator, John G. Testa is served five terms at the Westchester County Board of Legislators, spending the last 3 terms as BOL Minority Leader.
John G. Testa is a lifelong resident of Peekskill who first entered elected public service as a member of the Peekskill Common Council in 1998 and then served three terms as Mayor. He previously served on the Conservation and Parks Advisory Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. John became an elected official eager to improve the City in which his family has lived for more than a century and quickly earned a reputation as a strong, independent, nonpartisan voice for fiscal responsibility.
John received a BS degree in Technology from SUNY Oswego, where his academic achievements gained him induction into Epsilon Pi Tau, the International Honorary Fraternity of Technology. He earned his MS degree in Technology from the City College of New York. He began his teaching career in 1980 at Peekskill High School, his alma mater, as an instructor in Technology and Social Studies, retiring in 2013 after 33 years teaching.
John has been a leader in support for the Arts Community in Westchester. He presided over the construction of the Peekskill Art Lofts, the establishment of the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, and the complete restoration of the Paramount Center for the Arts, originally a 1930’s movie house and helped bring critical funding to many Westchester programs. Legislator Testa received the “Advancing the Arts in Westchester Award” by ArtsWestchester.
John has a been a leader on environmental issues for two decades and has a long record of initiatives he has supported and spearheaded. His active involvement in developing and promoting environmentally friendly policies began as mayor and continued throughout his time as Westchester County Legislator. His efforts consistently earned John the endorsement of the NY League of Conservation Voters.
John’s most recognizable accomplishment has been his promotion and preservation of local history and historic landmarks, bringing an unprecedented focus on the region’s rich history, and its legacy of historic Victorian architecture. His roots in historical preservation stem from his experience as a Revolutionary War re-enactor and member of The Brigade of the American Revolution for 50 years.
John was instrumental in securing the preservation of the Lincoln Depot, now the Lincoln Depot Museum, where he now serves as President. The museum was recognized in 2015 as one of The Best Museums in Westchester. He also secured the preservation of historic Fort Hill as parkland, a 40-acre parcel that was originally a Revolutionary War encampment site. Under his leadership, the United States Dept. of the Interior declared Peekskill a “Preserve America Community.”
John was able to establish a record number of National Register designations of local structures, including the first Downtown and Neighborhood Historic Districts and supported the preservation of the historic Miller House in North White Plains. In 2017 John was named a “Champion of History” by the Lincoln Society in Peekskill.
John and his wife of 37 years, Nancy, live in Peekskill and have two adult children, John, Jr. (fiancé Courtney Kelly) and Katy (husband Mike Mearon). John and Nancy recently welcomed the arrival of their first grandchild, Lacey Mae, in 2019.
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