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Pittsford's political shift


Republicans have historically been the dominant political force in the Village of Pittsford. They had the enrollment advantage and held most, if not all, of the elected offices.

But when Pittsford voters go to the polls on March 18 to elect two village trustees, they won't find any Republicans on the ballot.

The Republican incumbent trustees aren't seeking re-election, and the only two candidates on the ballot, Alysa Plummer and Peggy Caraberis Brizee, are running on the independent Pittsford Village United line. (Plummer is also running as a Democrat.)

It's not clear why the GOP is sitting this election out; Pittsford Republican Leader Peter Glennon did not respond to a call for comment. Pittsford Republicans don't have the numbers they used to, but they aren't marginalized, either. Of the 960 active voters in the village, 358 are registered Democrats and 334 are registered Republicans. Another 194 voters aren't registered with any party.

Like many area villages, Pittsford has stepped back from the traditional Republicans vs. Democrats political dynamic. Longtime Mayor Bob Corby, who won re-election in 2013 on the Pittsford Village United and Democratic lines, says that village residents aren't voting on party lines.

"It's really about the village," says Corby, who backed Plummer and Caraberis early on.

Corby and two other candidates — registered Democrats — created the Pittsford Village United line during the contentious 2013 elections after Corby lost the Republican endorsement.

The central issue in that race was Mark IV's highly controversial plan to build 167 high-end apartment units at 75 Monroe Avenue. Many residents say that Westport Crossing is a poor fit with the village — a position echoed by Pittsford Village United.

Plummer and Brizee, who are both active in the Pittsford community, say that the project isn't the main reason they're running. But it's crucial, they say, that Pittsford officials oppose the plan if it clashes with the village's character.

The project and its related lawsuits have taken up a lot of the community's attention and energy.

"It has been a distraction, no doubt," Brizee says.

Plummer and Brizee say that it's time for the village to move on and that they're eager to begin updating the village's zoning codes and comprehensive plan.

Westport Crossing is a factor in Trustee Lorie Boehlert's decision not to run for re-election. In an e-mail, she said that the village should negotiate with the developer instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend itself from lawsuits.

"The village [board] is going in a direction that I do not want to be part of any longer," she said.

Trustee Tim Galli, who's been on the board for 10 years but is also not seeking re-election, says that it's simply time to move on.