Westchester County Executive Andy Spano must be feeling the pressure from all the talk about abolishing county government. Or was it just indigestion? Perhaps a bad hair day?
Well, it must have been something that got his goat.
Word has it he stormed off the set of a public access cable-TV show in Yorktown Wednesday morning because he didn’t like the questions the show’s host was preparing to ask him.
Spano was to be the featured guest on the half-hour “Senior Forum Show,” which is hosted by Catherine McLaughlin and Nick DiTomasso. The pre-taped program airsÂ 5;30 p.m. Fridays on Channel 74. But you won’t see Spano on it tomorrow because he removed his microphone and walked off before the taping began.
McLaughlin said today that she was stunned and outraged by the executive hissy fit. The odd thing about it was that the topic dejour was a totally innocent exploration of possible funding for a new Yorktown senior center.
McLaughlin said as a courtesy she showed Spano three questions she was preparing to ask him. “He got up like a two-year-old in a tantrum” she said.
Holding a piece of paper, Spano shouted, “These were the questions that I was supposed to answer! I’m not answering any of those questions.”
Spano added, “We were supposed to talk about health issues.”
Neither McLaughlin nor DiTomasso knew where he got a separate list of topic issues. McLaughlin couldn’t placate him when she tired explaining that the show wasn’t about health care, but the year-long effort to get the senior center set up.
“I soft-balled him,” she said. “I didn’t want to hard-ball him because naturally, I want him as an ally to help the seniors.”
The hosts tried to get to come back to the set, but he refused. He left with his body guard.
“He was nasty, he was abrupt, he was rude,” McLaughlin said. “He got so red in the face I thought he was going to have a heart attack or something.”
The three questions they wanted to ask were as follows:
1) What funds are available for the seniors in Yorktown from the federal, county and state as comparative to the other Westchester municipalities and why do we not have the funding?
2). Is there a criteria and/or a formula established that provides equitable distribution for funds among the Westchester municipalities for senior centers?
3). As a long term resident elected official and senior citizen how will you assist in helping us achieve the goal of having a senior center here in Yorktown.
The show went on without him. McLaughlin went on the air and demanded that Spano issue an apology “not only as a constituent taxpayer but as a woman. He was rude and not a gentleman.”
Too bad none of this was caught on tape. It would have been a YouTube classic.
Sue Tolchin, Spano’s chief adviser, chuckled when I asked her about the alleged tantrum. Asked if her boss was going to apologize, she said, “No, no. I think they should apologize to him.”
Tolchin said DiTomasso set up the interview and the plan was to talk about county programs for seniors and medical issues.
“So we got the stuff ready for Andy to go on this program, and he gets on the program and that’s not at all what they want to discuss,” she said. “You just don’t do that.”
I asked Tolchin if Spano could have winged it. She said, “I guess he didn’t want to wing it, Phil.”