Candidates Profiled: Ocean Beach 6/5/15 Trustee Election

 Here is a little bit on each candidate:Matthew Blake (1)Matthew Blake (Incumbent)Queens-raised, Matthew Blake has always considered Ocean Beach home. His family purchased a residence on the Island 34 years ago. It’s the same residence Blake and his family, including two young sons, now call home.After high school, Blake studied at Boston College and later earned a graduate degree from Harvard University; he also spent a year abroad in France. He calls his education and experience a mix of finance, economy and public policy, which he believes are the perfect mix of qualifications for trustee.”For the past 15 years I have worked on solving complex financial issues for a diverse set of stakeholders,” Blake says of his career. He currently heads a “banking and capital markets industry team” at the World Economic Forum.In the one term Blake has served, he considers working with lifeguards on employee retention, post-Hurricane Sandy community advocacy and involvement in the progress of the Windswept project among his greatest accomplishments.Blake also worked on an agreement between Fire Island Ferries and the Village that “constitutes the second largest revenue item for the Village after real property taxes,” Blake says.Service is a priority for Blake, as he has been a member of the Ocean Beach Fire Department for 18 years and has also been involved with the Island’s lifeguards, youth group and community fund over the years.”Ocean Beach is my home and I want to see it flourish for future generations to enjoy and love as I have,” he says of the position.SONY DSCChristopher Norris (Challenger)This race’s challenger is Christopher Norris, a construction management professional and Ocean Beach resident. Norris considers his background in construction to be important in post-Sandy times. Also among his strong points, Norris says he offers an open mind.“I offer a strong, independent voice where the sole advocacy is the betterment of our community as a whole,” Norris says.Norris would like to see the seat of trustee challenged more often. “I believe that it may not be contested enough,” he says of the seat. He considers the other candidates to be “good men,” though he says he would like to see women involved in village government too. He rallies for more voices on village government and he wants to be one of them.Post Sandy cleanup and rebuilding is among the most important projects Ocean Beach residents can be involved in, according to Norris.“Collective memory is a fickle thing. The momentum and the promises in the immediate aftermath of Sandy are fading with time,” Norris says of cooperation with other government entities regarding Hurricane Sandy relief.“With each week, month and year that passes since Oct. 29, 2012, that we do not aggressively pursue every avenue for funding and cooperation with the town, county (and state) is time wasted.”Norris asks residents to seriously consider him as a viable candidate for the position. “I ask that you hear me out and let me listen to your thoughts,” he says.150513-LOOKS-Greg-Pace-Portraits-Selects-1Greg Pace (Incumbent)Greg Pace currently serves as the Village’s deputy mayor, a position that is appointed by the mayor. This is his second term and he is running for a third. Pace grew up in West Islip and has spent all of his summers on Fire Island. Now, he enjoys serving the community.“I love serving this community. I feel I have a lot to contribute in terms of quality of life issues, aesthetics, finances, and outreach to the community,” says Pace, who is a television and film producer.Pace considers the most pertinent issues for Ocean Beach residents to be Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and quality of life issues. Pace plans to hit the ground running if re-elected. For example, he plans to meet with the Doctor who wrote the New York City noise code in order to perform a noise control “suggestion” that is supposed to “control music from spilling out of the bars and into the streets.”“I would like to see more positive interaction between the business district and residential district,” Pace said of the noise control study, among other quality of life ideas and issues he would like to pursue.Pace has also been a part of all of the rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. The major projects associated with Hurricane Sandy are the rebuilding of the ferry terminal and the Windswept Project.“Everybody was fearing the worst, not knowing the status of their homes,” Pace said. That’s when he got the idea to amp up the village’s communication with the public. Since then Pace has been a constant presence on the Village’s Facebook page.“Communication is big for me. I put my information out there,” Pace says.Pace also believes the current Village board can work together toward a common goal. “The current board has been extremely productive and functional despite serving during possibly the most difficult time in Ocean Beach’s history,” he says of holding office in post-Hurricane Sandy times.Brian PowerBrian PowerAfter the untimely death of Village Trustee Doug Wycoff in November of 2014, the government of Ocean Beach found itself in a predicament regarding who would fill the vacancy over the months ahead. Mayor James Mallot appointed Brian Power through the end of June 2015.To fulfill the remaining three years in Wycoff’s term, Power must be elected by the people of Ocean Beach according to the Village Code. As no challengers have made a bid for the partial term, Power runs for this office unopposed.Power has become comfortable in the position he has held for 7 months by looking for where he can “contribute.” Before this, he had absolutely no political or government experience.“I was asked to do this job and I agreed to do it. Now I feel compelled to be of service,” he says.Power, an institutional bond broker who works in Downtown Manhattan, considers public works projects, including the rebuilding of the ferry basin-area, to be among the most important to the people of Ocean Beach.Quality of life issues are also a priority. In order to better understand the issues that impact residents, he poses a question: “How do we handle the influx of visitors over the summer without losing our town appeal?” This is the type of question he hopes to answer if elected to serve a full term.Power says a 4 percent tax increase is enough to “get the work we need done.”“As a homeowner I’m increasing my own taxes,” Power says.  “I’m into keeping the tax rate low while addressing the needs of the village.” Power says his goal is to make Ocean Beach a successful community moving forward, one that he can pass down to future generations.“This is my maiden voyage into public service,” he says. “I was a busy person, raising my family, but the time is here,” he says of joining the political realm now. The Ocean Beach Association will sponsor the Village of Ocean Beach Candidate’s Forum on Saturday, May 30, from 10:30 am.-12:30 p.m., at the Ocean Beach Community House. ballotboxEditor’s Note: While several staff members of Fire Island News are registered voters in Ocean Beach, this publication takes no position of endorsement in the race.CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that Matthew Blake was an undergraduate at Boston University, when in fact he attended Boston College. We apologize for the error.