It turns out that Blaber, who presently splits his time between Brooklyn and Kingston, didn't choose New Paltz without reason. He lived in the village for three years before starting a job with the Working Families Party, which took him down to Brooklyn. He's careful to point out that New Paltz has a very high transient population, and that his own ties here are at least as strong as some other rumored candidates.
So why New Paltz? He told me when we sat down at the
Blaber has reached out to all the possible candidates mentioned in the gossip pages, since (as far as I know) no one else has declared as yet. He's hoping to run as part of a slate of candidates, and he's searching for the right mix. As for what their party will be called, he thinks he may run a contest for ideas. All he knows for sure is that he will steer clear of anything that suggests affiliation with Working Families, because that kind of confusion has caused trouble for candidates in the past.
"2011 is going to be an interesting election year, and it all starts with New Paltz," he told me. He expects the race to be interesting, and he understands that he needs to set himself apart from other younger candidates that may emerge. Expect a platform of unifying the various factions of New Paltz; better communications with the village board, town council, and residents; and greater inclusion of District 9. In fact, he's planning on starting with a non-partisan voter registration drive targeting the thousand new freshmen arriving on campus this weekend.
Since he mentioned the "U" word, I asked him his views on merging our governments. Like me, he's not willing to believe that it's a bad thing, or a good one, without more information. I also asked him about one of my other favorite issues, that of districting up the village board so each member is elected from one district and the mayor is the only at-large official. He believes it makes for a more accountable and responsive government.
Blaber doesn't expect this to be an easy campaign, and he's planning on winning it "block by block by block."