‘BOFA’ seeks two seats on Village Board
By Michael Turton
Restaurateur Cathryn Fadde and Cold Spring firefighter Michael Bowman are running as a team under the acronym “BOFA” for two seats of the Cold Spring Village Board. The Paper spoke with the two candidates recently about why they’re running, what they would bring as new trustees, their assessment of village priorities and their outside interests.
Thirty-seven year-old Michael Bowman works in information technology at a private school in Westchester County. He has lived in Cold Spring all his life other than while in college. He studied history at Marist College and did postgraduate work in historic preservation at the University of Vermont. Bowman served as president of the Cold Spring Fire Company for six years and as an officer with the company for another eight years. He currently serves on Cold Spring’s Historic District Review Board and on the board of directors for the Constitution Island Association.
Asked why he is running for a seat on the Village Board, Bowman said, “I ran last year and came really close (to winning). My father always taught me not to give up on something that I really want.”
His roots in the village are also a motivation. “I think we can do a lot better for the village. Having grown up here I can remember when people could go out and have a beer together after a political meeting — I don’t think that exists here anymore,” he said. “I’ve worked hard over the past two years to bridge some of these gaps. I have friends who I don’t see eye to eye with politically — but we get along. Kathleen Foley is a good example. We were polar opposites politically at one time — but now we work together (on the HDRB).”
Bowman listed what he sees as the top three issues in Cold Spring. “For probably the past five years I’d have to say it’s been Butterfield. And I’d have to go with rezoning after that. The one I’m always going to throw in there … is transparency. I think that could probably solve a lot of our issues if things were done more openly.” He added a fourth key issue, describing it as “The inability (of the current board) to make a decision.”
Bowman feels that his experience with the Cold Spring Fire Company and his understanding of Cold Spring’s past would help him be an effective trustee. “Being president of the fire company I saw the budget process every year. Also growing up here — and (my) sense of community. I always go back to that — the old Cold Spring where everybody knew each other and respected each other. I don’t think it’s very far to get back to that.”
Among his personal traits, Bowman thinks his willingness “to listen to everybody” will also serve him well. “I’m not going to push my own agenda. I’m going to listen to what the people really want. I’ll seek compromise and middle ground — not just ‘my way or the highway.’”
Bowman lives with his fiancée Donna and 10-year-old daughter Sophia. His mother, Marlene, has lived in the village since the early 1960s. He lists the outdoors, photography and brewing his own beer as his favorite pastimes.
Summing up he said this: “I had high hopes when I ran last year — knowing that I could work with anybody. I had hoped that the Village Board that was elected would be more united because the one before that was just chaos. We’ve kind of gone down that road again — you’ve got two trustees on the end — and three in the middle and they’re not getting along.” He said that if he and Fadde are elected as a team he hopes they can “push Cold Spring forward — instead of the stagnation we’ve been in for so long.”
Sixty-two-year-old Cathryn Fadde is owner of Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill in Cold Spring. A native of Colonia, N.J., she studied political science and international affairs at Marymount Manhattan College. She has lived in Cold Spring for 19 years. Fadde has served on the board of directors of the Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce for 15 years, was its president for three years and treasurer for seven years. She also acts as treasurer for Cold Spring’s Special Board for the Comprehensive Plan and Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.
Explaining why she is running Fadde said, “I think we can do a better job. I got frustrated not seeing the process move along. We keep looking on the horizon for someone who’s going to do it — and then you look in the mirror and say … OK!” She said she feels that serving as a trustee would be “a natural extension” of what she has been doing in Cold Spring for almost 20 years. “I think that I’m a non-polarizing person. I can have a conversation with just about anybody. I think it’s more about people than politics,” she said.
Fadde lists Butterfield as the top issue currently facing Cold Spring. She also ranks Main Street as a priority. “It looks shabby,” she said, emphasizing that sidewalks and curbs need to be improved. Her third top issue? “I’d have to say the lack of process. Not seeing things done in a particular order — and finished. You never get to ‘yes’ and put the shovel in the ground.”
She feels that owning a restaurant has prepared her well for a position on the Village Board. “My hospitality background really does make it easy to be nice to everybody.” She sees a number of parallels between the two roles. “I’m not going to change if I’m elected. This (the restaurant) is a business. I have to decide what needs to get fixed, run a budget, and work with various types of people. Things happen — you have to think on your feet. If the kitchen is on fire you don’t have a full week to decide what to do!”
Fadde summarized why she thinks she would be an effective trustee. “I think that I bring the ability to think through things and not make snap decisions,” she said. “When I first opened (the restaurant) I thought I could do everything myself. One of my lessons has been learning the phrase ‘Can you help me?’” If elected, Fadde said she hopes she can “lessen the divide” on the Village Board. She said that while she and Bowman are running as a team, “It’s not to say we don’t see things slightly differently. We’re not in lock step. But I think we both really care about the village. We want to see things get done.”
Fadde’s 85-year-old father, Harry, lives with her in Cold Spring. She lists golf, kayaking and live music as her favorite pastimes.