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Ralph Marsocci

Ralph Marsocci's Unopposed Run for Bergen Village Mayor

By C. M. Barons

I spoke with Ralph Marsocci by phone this Friday afternoon.  He is a tough guy to get hold of.  I tried first at his business, Ralph & Rosie's Deli, and an employee conceded, "I hardly ever see him."  But he did offer Ralph's cell number which connected.  I hadn't prepared Ralph for my call, thus he wasn't prepped for my questions. 

The Village elections are March 16th.  Two trustee seats and the mayorship are on the ballot- none opposed- all Republican-endorsed candidates.  For the past forty years, the good-ol-boy network (a block of approximately 300 call-activated dyed-in-wool Republicans) has limited contested races to sporadic (futile) write-in or third party skirmishes.  There is no active Democratic Party in Bergen.  The village political protocol leans to the food processing plant that has had so many names that locals merely refer to it as the canning factory.  Nothing has been canned there since the 1940s; the food is frozen.  The good-ol-boy network sees to it that cheap electric and water flow into the factory, and complaints of foul odors marring someone's summer barbecue fall on deaf ears. (Tip for Realtors: if you're showing a Village property, do it in the winter when the factory isn't running.  For Town properties- check the Zuber and Pocock manure spreading schedules.)

I had been disappointed by the current mayor, Wayne Bailey, a Bergen newcomer who's administrative apex amounted to renaming a few village roads.  They were avenues; now they're streets.  I asked Ralph Marsocci what his position was on street names.  He wasn't aware of Mayor Bailey's obsession with street-names, so I briefed him on the situation.  Ralph admitted that the issue was not something he had given any thought to. 

I moved on to my hot topic: property taxes.  "They're too high," he hinted.  My version has more to do with getting rid of property taxes.  I explained that income tax was fairer.  "Well, there's nothing we can do about that," he confessed.  I argued that the village was funded by property tax; how the village gets its money seems to infer complicity in the method of taxation.  Ralph wasn't going to commit himself on that topic. 

I gave him a break from my line of questions and asked what his own platform was.  "I'm interested in public safety," he noted, "I think we're over-staffed in that area."  He was describing the village public works department.  "I think we could cutback there and save a little."  I then asked him how he felt about consolidation; Bergen has both Village and Town administration and separate highway departments.  "Yes," he admitted, "I've been for that for a long time."  He didn't offer any detailed vision of a consolidated Bergen, but he seemed to agree that streets could be maintained without two highway departments.

I initially queried Ralph on his affiliation.  "I'm Republican endorsed," he noted.  I asked if he had decided to run or if the party had recruited him.  "I'd been thinking about it a long time," he answered, "I decided to run."  As I mentioned at the outset, a run without Republican endorsement was a masochistic act.  Ralph does not reside in the Village of Bergen.  His business is in the Village of Bergen.  If not for his party affiliation, residency might be questioned- a "Birthers" premise for disqualification.  However, Ralph does pay village taxes.  He has a long history of involvement in both town and village politics, and he has a more impressive involvement in village activities like Park Day, Youth Soccer, Oktoberfest, Masonic events, Bergen 10K Race; no one could question Ralph's qualifications as a standard bearer for the village.

I hadn't satisfied my desire to know the pivotal ingredient in Ralph's candidacy.  I knew his history in the community and his irrepressible drive to revive the business district.  Ralph already has outlets at hand to mobilize those efforts.  Eventually, he drifted onto a topic that seemed to exert more fire than inspiration.  "...Like what they did with the trash pickup," he elaborated, "I pay alot more for that."  Trash fees- okay- if that's what it took to get Ralph to run; I'm for it.  At the end of our conversation, I told Ralph he could count on my vote.  I meant it, and being morally opposed to uncontested elections, that's a major concession.

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