Author Archives: news

LETTER

Letter: Open letter to Mamaroneck library Board of Trustees

 

To the Editor,

I attended the Oct. 28 board meeting with the understanding that the public was welcome. However, the board immediately adjourned to a private session and left the room. Before they left, a staff member requested that they wait, as there were about 30 community members present. Some board members remained standing, moving closer to the door. At that point, the board was given a written statement by their staff, informing them of their wish to join the Civil Service Employees Association, CSEA. The staff had voted on the matter and wished to join the same union as other libraries, including Larchmont.

This is what I would have said if I had been allowed to speak: The Mamaroneck library has always been a central part of my family. I am an active patron; my children looked forward to the library’s programs and know each librarian by name. They began in the children’s room and continue to participate in the teen room. Our librarians are our library. The new building is nice, however, the personnel are the lifeblood of the programs. They have always been helpful, personable, inviting and creative in their programs. Our librarians deserve our support.

So members of the board, I ask you: do they have your support? Why do our librarians currently have a lower morale than previously? How can you help? Will you support their vote and choice to join the union that other libraries use? Also, if you do not support their wish, why, and how many of my tax dollars will be spent in legal fees?

As a result of the Oct. 28 meeting, I now have more questions for the board:

Will the public be welcome to attend and comment at future meetings?

Would you consider video recording your meetings and uploading them to your website? The technology is available at the library.

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Linda Latona, 

Mamaroneck

 
Children of all ages dress in Halloween costumes, including this young girl dressed as Elmo from Sesame Street.

Rye YMCA hosts Halloween carnival

Ibania and Jose Estrada add some culture to Mamaroneck’s Spooktacular.

Downtown Mamaroneck offers a Spooktacular Sunday

Some of the country’s most prolific media critics took the stage at Purchase College to discuss the role of today’s modern critic. From left, Manhola Dargis, Wesley Morris, Emily Nussbaum and Amy Taubin.
Photo/James Pero

Panel discusses ‘crisis in criticism’

Some of the country’s most prolific media critics took the stage at Purchase College to discuss the role of today’s modern critic. From left, Manhola Dargis, Wesley Morris, Emily Nussbaum and Amy Taubin. Photo/James Pero

Some of the country’s most prolific media critics took the stage at Purchase College to discuss the role of today’s modern critic. From left, Manhola Dargis, Wesley Morris, Emily Nussbaum and Amy Taubin.
Photo/James Pero

By James Pero
Honored, a little moved, and slightly freaked out: that’s how Manhola Dargis, the New York Times chief film critic and SUNY Purchase graduate, felt taking the stage at Purchase’s Performing Arts Center, where she and a distinguished troupe of panelists discussed the role of the modern critic. 

“I’m trying to remember the last time I was actually on campus; I think I saw some plays here, and I think I saw Glenn Branca here,” she told the audience. “Anyway, I’m not going to take you down memory lane. What I’m going to do tonight is talk to three of the smartest people I know.”

The people to whom Dargis was referring were three fellow critics: Wesley Morris, staff writer at Grantland; Emily Nussbaum, television critic at The New Yorker; and Amy Taubin, contributing editor at the British Sight and Sound.

For the modestly-sized audience, the objective of the Sept. 28 lecture was to illuminate the role of the critic in today’s media landscape. In the fashion of any good writer, they opted mostly to show rather than tell by meandering through topics ranging from the evolution of television to the rise of online comment sections, occasionally descending into spirited discussions about quality content in the world of film and TV—
an occupational hazard for three of the country’s most prominent
media critics.

One of the longest and most in-depth discussions of the night centered on what all four critics acknowledged was a growing “crisis in criticism,” the dynamics of which are affected by the very industries that critics cover.

“About ten years ago, there was a lot of discussion about a ‘crisis in criticism,’” Dargis said. “But you don’t hear that much anymore, because I think in a lot ways we started to realize that the crisis was not so much in criticism, but that the crisis was really in journalism.”

The panelists explained that with the rapid decline in print journalism and therefore widespread layoffs, establishment jobs—like the ones occupied by Nussbaum and the like—are increasingly harder to come by.

Nussbaum, referring to an interview for Rookie magazine in which she outlined the rather grim prospects of rising to a job like hers one day, was only interrupted by a brief interjection from Dargis who took a minute to veer the coversation clear
of gloom.

“How are we [not] bumming you out?” Dargis said to an audience rife with journalism students. “I am so sorry.”

Inversely, while critic jobs—at least ones that pay a proper salary—dwindle, the amount of movies and television shows released continue to barrel through the roof.

“Now, the New York Film Festival had 3,000 features apply for 26 slots, most of them being first-time features,” Taubin said. “At the same time, where there are fewer and fewer places to write cultural criticism where you can get paid, the amount of stuff being made has gone up tenfold.”

Dargis, who during the early 2000s was the chief critic for the L.A. Times, told the audience that during her tenure at the L.A. Times there were approximately 1,200 employees, and now there are just 600.

Newsrooms around the country have gone through a similar shift. According to CNN Money, the New York Times headcount had shrunk by half between 2009 and 2014, and Dargis said, at least in regard to cuts at L.A. Times critics were often the first to go.

This cut in employment and spike in the amount of films and television shows being released—the latter of which can be summed by a 1,000 percent increase in scripted shows for cable since 1999, according to Variety—has led to an unavoidable blind spot in coverage.

“Fifteen years ago there were about 400 movies [that] opened up in New York City,” Dargis said, adding that fellow chief critic at the New York Times, A.O. Scott, started keeping track. “A couple years ago, the number climbed to 600, and then 700, and then it was 800. I mean, every year it was another hundred movies…Last year it was 1,000.”

Dargis went on to explain that because of the influx coupled with the decline in staff, the New York Times, which had
traditionally reviewed every movie opening up in New York, had to begin capping.

For both the publications and the critics themselves, these new dynamics are a problem that remains to be solved.

“You want people to see movies that don’t have $200 million budgets. You want people to see movies that don’t have wall-to-wall commercials. You want people to see something besides a Michael Bay movie,” Dargis said. “How are people supposed to make choices when there are so many choices?”

CONTACT: james@hometwn.com

 
LETTER

Letter: Fresh and new may not be what’s best

 

 

To the Editor,

Rye does not stand at a crossroads. The reform of our government began when Mayor Sack and the current council were elected to office in 2013. Meg Cameron, the current Rye Democratic Party chairwoman, was beaten badly in that election as a candidate for city council.

Richard Slack and Richard Mecca were appointed two vacant council seats in January 2014, and ran in a special election last November to serve out their terms in 2015. In that election, Cameron not only chose not to run as a Democratic candidate against Rich Mecca and Richard Slack, she actually supported the election of each by endorsing both candidates.

Now, we are all to believe that Mecca and Slack—who Cameron fully supported—and the rest of the current city council has laid the entire City of Rye to waste in 12 short months?

And why? Because Cameron says so.

Here’s the truth: Meg fashioned herself as a “new voice” during her failed run for city council in 2013. She has repackaged and reused that slogan to attack the very people she once endorsed and to malign the entire current city council through her new voices and fresh faces ticket.

That ticket is so new that they have never even seen a council packet, which backgrounds each issue on the city council agenda and is available online, as Jeff Taylor admitted to John Carey during his RyeTV interview last month.

That ticket is so fresh that they will insult the elected officials of Port Chester—who have authority over a million-square-foot development that threatens Rye’s neighborhoods—by saying those elected officials tend to “shoot their mouth off on topics they have no idea what they are talking about.” Again, see Mr. Taylor’s interview with Judge Carey.

Is that how Meg Cameron and Democrats Jeff, Danielle and Emily intend to represent Rye? By insulting the elected officials of our neighboring village? Is that how to best mitigate the impacts of the United Hospital development, by mocking the very people we need to work with?

Unfortunately, it appears so.

After all, Jeff, Danielle and Emily have used the entire election cycle to insult the elected officials of our own city and the intelligence of our voters. That is not new, just fresh.

Leon Sculti,

Republican city council candidate

LETTER

Letter: Re-elect Richard Mecca

 

 

To the Editor,

I write to urge fellow residents of Rye to re-elect Richard Mecca to the city council. I have been honored to serve with Richard on the city council over the past two years. Richard has brought a refreshing dose of down-to-earth common sense to our deliberations. Time after time when the council has addressed important issues such as the hiring of a new city manager, our decision to protect Rye’s interests over proposed changes to Rye Playland, enacting groundbreaking rock chipping legislation, or amending our charter to give the council needed oversight over hiring a police commissioner, Richard has been an integral part of the council’s action.

As a longtime resident of Rye, Richard brings a unique perspective to the council that is enormously valuable. His well-reasoned positions are influenced by Rye’s impressive history and his experiences. The Rye community and the council need precisely the skills, demeanor and integrity that Richard has brought to his public service. Richard’s focus has been on what is best for Rye without regard to partisan politics. Given this philosophy, it is not surprising that in last year’s council election, Richard was supported and endorsed by both the Democratic and Republican parties.

The bottom line is that Richard Mecca has been an outstanding city councilman. As I leave the council at the end of this year, I know that our city is better off with Richard continuing to work for the rest of us.

 

Richard Slack,

Rye City Councilman

LETTER

letter: Get senior citizens involved and heard

 

 

To the Editor,

To be the best community it can be, Rye needs the presence and wisdom of senior citizens. In turn, seniors need elected representatives who care about the issues of affordability, accessibility and appropriate city services.

At one of the City Council candidates’ debate the tickets’ contrasting approaches to these issues were on display. In response to a question from the audience, we emphasized the importance of seniors in our community. Ensuring a senior-friendly community is a matter of respect for the residents who have shaped our city. It is even important for Rye children who need to be interacting with seniors so they can learn and appreciate the city’s history.

Rye currently has no senior center, contrary to the assertion of a candidate running on the other ticket. What Rye seniors actually have is access to a single room in the Damiano Recreation Center from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays from September to June. In the summer, the seniors’ meetings are displaced by Rye Rec’s camp program, and the seniors have been searching for a summer meeting space. That the city has not been more helpful is beyond our comprehension.

Another issue that came up during the debate is that Rye Golf Club only allows seniors one day a week for pool use, when there is a clear demand for more than one day. Furthermore, the golf club does not mention senior pool access anywhere on its website. To us, unpublicized weekly pool access seems better than nothing, but less than Rye seniors deserve.

We do not have all the answers to the concerns of Rye seniors, but we know that where there’s a will, there’s a way. We have that will. We will find a way.

 

Emily Hurd

Danielle Tagger-Epstein

Jeff Taylor,

Democratic Candidates for Rye City Council

 
LETTER

Letter: Watson should replace Parker

 

To the Editor,

The role of county legislator can be one of the more obscure and ineffective positions in local government, especially if you are content with just filling space and feeling important.

But as a county legislator, you can actually make a difference, mainly if you are willing to work hard and take stands that serve to actually benefit the folks who live in your district.

Unfortunately, the current county legislator representing our district, Catherine Parker, has been mostly the former, and not much of the latter. This is remarkable, because as a former City of Rye council member, Parker should know full well the importance of standing up for Rye.

For example, in regards to Rye Playland, the county administration took the position that it could build a monstrous new development in the Rye Playland parking lot without seeking Rye’s approval. However, the Rye City Council took the position that the county needed to submit the proposal to be reviewed by Rye’s local land use boards, just like any other property owner in Rye. Sadly, Parker refused to support Rye’s position, and instead agreed with the county administration’s position. Luckily, Rye was able to successfully stand up for itself without her help.

As another example, Rye has asked the county administration’s help to control the deer over-population problem, but the county has denied Rye access to county land and the county’s deer culling program. Unfortunately, rather than pressing the county administration to assist Rye, Parker has joined the county in blaming Rye and telling the city that we’re on our own.

I believe that Susan Watson, who is running for county legislator, will do a better job of standing up for Rye, and I respectfully request that Rye voters elect her to replace Parker.

 

Joe Sack,

Mayor of Rye 

LETTER

letter: I endorse Judge Lust for town justice

 

 

To the Editor,

Election Day is right around the corner. I am writing to express my support and endorsement
of Judge Marc Lust, who has served our community as town justice for the past 16 years.

I have known Judge Lust for nearly 30 years, ever since he and his family moved to Harrison. In that time, he has devoted himself to the wellbeing of Harrison, participating in many
community activities, including years as a coach in our recreational youth program. He is
intelligent, a person of the highest integrity and someone I am proud to call my friend.

Over the years, Judge Lust has become known for his strong sense of fairness and for
the professional way he runs his court, treating everyone with dignity and respect. He is also former president of the Westchester County Magistrates Association.

With the leadership of Judge Lust, our town court has earned an outstanding reputation
for dispersing fair justice. In fact, the Harrison police know who to turn to when they need to get their job done. Whether needed to issue a search warrant or to get out of bed to conduct an arraignment, Judge Lust is the person the Harrison police turn to for assistance. He has always been there for our law enforcement people and now it is our turn to be there for Judge Lust.

In recent weeks, some negative comments have circulated regarding Judge Lust, based
on allegations, and it is important to remember that sometimes, things aren’t always how they appear. Let’s not lose sight of what Judge Lust has done for our community over the past
16 years. The goal of any election is to elect the most qualified candidates, and that makes our choice
on Election Day an easy one.

Please join me in voting for Judge Lust on Nov. 3 so he can continue to serve our community.

 

Martin Rogowsky,

Former Westchester County legislator

LETTER

Letter: Sheila Marcotte goes above and beyond

 

 

To the Editor,

It is refreshing to see an elected legislator working so hard for each of us. Sheila Marcotte’s work ethic is inspiring. I am not just referring to her county budget work, resulting in no tax levy increases—five years in a row—or her efforts to deliver true bipartisan reform to the Westchester County Board of Legislators, but also the time she puts in for our seniors, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the Historical Society and the youth of her district. She is truly remarkable. I don’t know how she gets it all done but I sure am glad she is my county legislator.

As my neighbors, I ask that you please think of her and all she does for us on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3. She’s earned your vote.

 

Bill Chilson,
Tuckahoe