By Ben Cohn
Westchester Community College student Brandon Neider has announced his candidacy for the 4th District City Council position. Neider, 18, was born and raised in the 4th district and attended Lincoln High School.
Neider was the leader of his junior ROTC unit at Lincoln and says, “If I could be trusted at 15 to manage the 25,000 dollar ROTC budget, I think I am qualified to be in office.”Neider feels that the incumbent, Republican Dennis Shepherd, has been “absent from the community” during his term in office and has not “truly represented” the people of the 4th District.
Neider says, “I attend many events throughout my community, and I almost never see Shepard there. If I am to become a City Councilman, I will spend most of my time on the street to really solve problems. There is no way he [Shepard] can be representing his constituents without being there.”Neider asserts that unlike Shepard he has been very active in 4rth District community.
If he is elected, Neider wishes to address what he describes as flagrant water bill overcharging, a problem throughout Yonkers, and the Vandenberg tunnel, which he says has caused many accidents through a planning mishap associated with the beleaguered Cross County traffic area.
While the 4th District is relatively affluent, Neider says there is still room for improvement in the local schools, which work hard to fund themselves, but still need money for basic things like textbooks and building repairs.
Neider faces an uphill battle against a settled opponent who has already established connections within the Yonkers political machine, and who is known for his aggressive campaign tactics.
Neider said: “Shepard’s recent vote against the redistricting proposal shows just how out of touch he is with the community he represents; there are few in the 4th District who were opposed to it; it’s like he’s voting against his own constituency.”
Neider is self financing his campaign but is also attempting to raise money through donations. He will be having his first quasi-fundraiser June 5th at 840 McLean Avenue from 6 to 10 pm.
In order to be on the ballot in November, Neider must secure one of the party lines-Democrat, Republican, Independence, Working Families, Conservative, or he will have to go out and collect 1,500 signatures and, in essence, create his own party line to run on. Councilman Dennis Shepherd was recently endorsed by the Yonkers Republican