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Brakewood, Gelfarb Swap Charges of Unfair Claims

HARTSDALE, N.Y. - The campaigns of Daniel Brakewood and David Gelfarb, both running for the Westchester County Legislature 6th District seat, squared off in front of the Westchester Fair Campaign Practices Committee Thursday night over charges and countercharges of unfair campaign practices.

The session was chaired by Evelyn M. Stock, who pointed out the panel has no power of enforcement, but does inform the public of its findings.

Neither candidate attended the meeting as they were involved in a League of Women Voters debate in Harrison. Brakewood, a Democrat, was represented by his wife, Carolee Brakewood, and Port Chester Mayor Dennis G. Pilla, while Gelfarb, a Republican, was represented by Michael Scarola,  Port Chester GOP district leader and Port Chester Village Trustee Joseph Kenner. The 6th District encompasses most of Harrison, Rye Brook and Port Chester.

Brakewood filed complaints against Gelfarb for statements made in his campaign mailer, including an assertion that Gelfarb cut town taxes by 50 percent, increased the fund balance by 22 percent and reduced town spending by more than $1 million. The committee found the statements to be unfair, as Gelfarb was a member of the Rye Town Council and did not single-handedly accomplish the actions.

A complaint that spending cuts did not total more than $1 million was found to be unjustified, as figures presented by Gelfarb's team backed up the claim.

Three of Gelfarb's complaints about claims made on a mailer were rejected by the committee, but the panel did find in Gelfarb's favor on one complaint, that signs produced by Friends of Dan Brakewood - "Vote Brakewood – County Legislature" - indicate incumbency. The committee's guidelines, the finding said, state that campaign publications should not create the false impression that he or she is an incumbent.

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