Malcolm Becker joins mayoral race

By Jay Braman Jr.
Acting Fleischmanns Mayor Malcolm Becker, missing the deadline to appear on the ballot in this year’s village elections on March 18, has announced his candidacy for the position of mayor as a write in candidate.

Becker, a longtime village board trustee, took over the mayor’s spot last fall following the resignation of former mayor Kathleen Wilbur. At age 74, Becker is retired from a long career in the fashion industry. He joined the village board eight years ago, serving as both trustee and deputy mayor before taking over for Wilbur.

On Tuesday Becker said that, at first, he had no plans to run for mayor. Then, planning board member Dave Morell announced his plan to run and no one else did. When it became clear that there would be no contest, Becker changed his mind. By then the opportunity to get on the ballot had come and gone, so Becker is going the write-in route.

“It’s the same game,” he said. “I’m trying to get people to vote for me.”

Becker’s main concern is that Morell, who is 40 years old, is “very young,” and lacks the experience necessary to run the village.

“I wasn’t going to run, but I knew in my heart that it wasn’t right to let him run unopposed,” Becker said.

Becker also points to his membership in the Coalition to Save Belleayre since its inception back in the early 1980s, his seat on the Board of Directors of the Margaretville Memorial Hospital and his position on the Fleischmanns Park Committee as a history of active involvement in the community. Becker was also the coordinator of the planning and implementation of the $12.5 million sewer system the village completed last year. He also plays a major role in the ongoing water project in the village and notes a variety of road improvements that have occurred on his watch, notably the Lake Street embankment project, which was paid for with a $250,000 FEMA grant.

If elected Becker intends to continue working on the economic revitalization of the village and keep working on the village’s comprehensive plan. He supports the efforts to get a scenic byway nomination for the Route 28 corridor and expects that federal stimulus money can be used to continue road improvements. Becker also sees opportunity for Recreation enhancements, noting that a $40,000 grant is pending that could bring improvements to the village’s park and sidewalks, This summer, he said, will bring improvements to the village pool.

Becker’s campaign information states that he is part of a “team” on the ballot this year along with Harriet Grossman and Martin Moralis, both of who are seeking re-election as trustees and are running unopposed.

A campaign slogan suggests that Becker and company have an established record of accomplishment with plans to continue to work toward realistic goals. “Not dreams-but deeds,” his brochure states.

Morell’s campaign revolves around the slogan, “Dream Big.” Morell told the Catskill Mountain News that he would like an opportunity to debate any opponent in a public forum, but Becker said no thank you.

“I don’t think its necessary,” Becker said. “I have a record. It speaks for itself. It says what I have been doing for the past few years.”

Asked if he felt this would be a big election in the village, Becker said it was hard to say. “Some years we’ve had 20 voters. Other years there have been 120,” he said.