Category Archives: Letters

LETTER

Letter: Legislation needed to protect our residents

 

To the Editor,

At the final Rye City Council hearing on rock chipping, council members seemed reluctant to pass legislation strong enough to restore our community’s peace and quiet. Instead, they seemed ready to favor the interests of builders over the interests of Rye residents. However, strong rules will protect all residents from deafening pounding, shaking and dust—and protect, not hinder those who are renovating or rebuilding their homes.

Take a Rye family we know who decided to tear down their house and replace it with their dream home. The builder they hired used a rock-chipping machine that was insufficiently powerful and a drill that was too small for the job, along with an operator who kept his eyes on his cellphone rather than his work. Consequently, the project took months longer tha necessary, and undoubtedly cost much more than the homeowners had been led to believe. Strong legislation would encourage builders to work efficiently, even when someone else is paying them by the hour.

Furthermore, we believe that duration-limiting legislation is not enough. A resident living next to a rock-chipping project could suffer permanent hearing loss after an afternoon of raking leaves.

This is unacceptable.

Mandatory noise mitigation must be part of the solution. This involves reducing sound by using equipment that is relatively new and efficient, muffling sound with barriers, or both.

Finally, extensions to the 30-calendar-day limit are necessary. As we said previously, no one wants gaping holes all over town. However, extensions should require stiff fees. This would incentivize builders to do due diligence, plan well and work efficiently—and when they fail to do so, it would provide the city with some compensation.

We urge the city council to quickly craft and pass legislation that will provide real protection for all Rye residents—those who want to rebuild their homes, as well as those who just want peace and quiet.

 

Emily Hurd

Danielle Tagger-Epstein

Jeff Taylor,

Democratic Rye City Council candidates

LETTER

Letter: Re: Susan Watson’s charging station letter

 

 

To the Editor,

I found Susan Watson’s letter, “Parker’s charging station legislation flawed” published on Sept. 25, 2015, to be short-sighted. She decries even minimal county spending for EV charging stations, and then goes on to extoll the efficiency of markets and the private sector.
She asks, “Who pays?[…]Who benefits?”

All county residents benefit from the use of lower-emission vehicles.

I ask her, who benefits from educating our children, rich and poor alike, strong and weak alike, in public schools? Who benefits from ensuring a safe, solid infrastructure of roads, bridges and water systems? Who benefits from cleaner air and countering climate change, which the EV charging stations specifically address? Who benefits from public libraries? Who benefits from police? A system of law and justice? Who benefits from public parks? Protection of public health? Who benefits from prudent and imaginative governance?

We’re all in one society together. “We, the people” need one another, we need never
forget the whole, as well as each part.

 

Elizabeth Baird Saenger,

Mamaroneck

LETTER

Letter: Air traffic over Larchmont

 

 

To the Editor,

It’s a beautiful September morning and I would enjoy sitting on my porch, but the daily roaring onslaught of airplanes over Larchmont is in full flight. Every 30 seconds or so, jets fly on their way to LaGuardia, and they are loud. This will go on all morning and resume at the same pace in the late afternoon and into the dinner hour. So I have come inside to write this letter.

Larchmont is not a quiet village. We all live with I-95 traffic booming in the distance and commercial gardeners’ gas-powered machinery, not to mention construction. But these constant fly-overs, aggravated by the racket of truly obnoxious regular helicopter flights, are intolerable. How and why is this happening?

Will it stop or at least diminish anytime soon?

I have seen many theories on why the planes are using our communities as their flight path and why they are flying lower and more frequently than ever. Some blame ex-Mayor Bloomberg, some blame LaGuardia construction, some blame Donald Trump’s new golf course. Whoever is responsible, I do not believe it is at all fair that the burden should fall on our area to the extent that there is virtually no period during the day that is free of air traffic roar. What can be done?

 

Mady Edelstein,

Larchmont

 

LETTER

Letter: Parker’s charging station legislation flawed

 

To the Editor,

On Sept. 9, Catherine Parker convened a hearing on her proposed legislation to dedicate 10 percent of parking spaces to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at new or renovated parking lots owned or financed by Westchester County. But before the Board of Legislators conspires with the New York Power Authority to install these units, they should ask three critical questions:

What will it cost?

More than its proponents will admit.

Many state and federal programs entice communities to do their bidding with initial capital costs and temporary subsidies. When those contributions expire, however, the county will find itself stuck with maintenance costs, including labor—and the associated increases in healthcare and pension expenses—indefinitely.

Who pays?

All taxpayers pay directly; commuters and other drivers pay indirectly.

Let’s not forget the non-monetary cost of converting 10 percent of available parking to EV charging stations. Commuters, local businesses and their customers will be inconvenienced by reductions in already scarce parking, while just 1 percent of vehicle owners park and recharge. Intended as an incentive to invest in low-emission vehicles, in practice this would penalize all other drivers seeking a place to park.

It’s easy to say that the state government is paying for this initiative, but it’s important to remember that no government—at any level—has money of its own. All government spending is funded by our hard-earned current or future tax dollars. New Yorkers don’t have infinite bank accounts, so we have to make smart choices or end up paying ever higher taxes for all manner of government “freebies.”

Who benefits?

Tesla owners.

Whether those taxpayers are in Westchester or any other New York county, it’s safe to say that most of them don’t have—or can’t afford—an electric vehicle, which because of its limitations is by definition a second car. Do we really want to allocate scarce resources to benefit the 1 percent who can afford a $79,000 Tesla? Surely that money would have equal or better impact on our environment by improving bus or rail service.

I believe in the efficiency of markets. If there is a demand for EV charging stations, we can count on the private sector to provide them. As our county legislator, my goal will be to limit the cost and scale of government so we can keep and use more of our money to pursue our own priorities. The Board of Legislators should not preempt the actions of an entrepreneur who might create new jobs and pay taxes. Otherwise, it will be the 99 percent who picks up the tab.

 

Susan Watson,

Candidate for Westchester County legislator

LETTER

Letter: Re: Kathy Savolt’s letter on new LMCTV HQ

 

 

To the Editor,

Regarding the prospect of LMCTV moving into the Mamaroneck Firehouse, all discussions of possible arrangements include substantial rehab of the firehouse to bring it up to code at LMCTV’s expense from capital monies received from the cable companies, retaining the historic nature of the firehouse and remitting a monthly monetary return to the Village of Mamaroneck.

We hope the residents of our three communities—including the Town of Mamaroneck and the Village of Larchmont—will support us in this worthwhile project.

 

Jeff Meighan,

Board chairman, LMCTV

Mamaroneck

LETTER

Letter: Re: LMCTV sees firehouse as new HQ

 

To the Editor,

I read the Aug. 28 front-page article with interest. I was mayor when the Board of Trustees voted to build the new firehouse and I would like to add to some facts to the discussion.

When the board voted, it was assumed that the old firehouse on Mamaroneck Avenue would be added to the property tax rolls. This was factored into the financial projections for the project and widely publicized, including in this paper’s predecessor, the Sound and Town Report. The taxpayers were promised that the cost of the new firehouse would be offset by the sale or lease of the old building and new tax revenue.

This assumption was verified when I invited a preeminent New York City commercial real estate consultant—a personal business acquaintance—and a vice president of a large commercial real estate company to view the site. They met with me, former Village Manager Len Verrastro and former Assistant Village Manager Rob Yamuder and assured us the property was highly marketable, identified a myriad of sale and/or lease options and suggested our next steps.

In the six years since I left office, the current administration, led by Mayor Rosenblum, has not taken any action to fulfill the promises to the taxpayers by either selling or leasing the building to a commercial enterprise. Instead, this prime real estate has languished and has not been maintained.

I do not doubt that LMCTV needs more space. But the old firehouse should not be the answer just because the village administration has not proactively addressed the issue. The path of least resistance is rarely the right one. The taxpayers and the village deserve a better solution. The property should be used at its best and highest use.

 

Kathleen Savolt,

Former Village of Mamaroneck mayor

LETTER

Letter: Primary candidate Shari Rackman deserves support

 

 

To the Editor,

I have recently learned that Shari Rackman, a councilperson in New Rochelle, came under severe criticism for voting against a planned project for Echo Bay.

The residents who live in the area, mostly homeowners, are against this project. Shari Rackman listened to these complaints and agreed with them. Shari Rackman did what a city councilperson should do and put the taxpayer first. The city council should use her as a role model. As a former soldier, I salute her. Thanks, Shari.

 

George Imburgia,

New Rochelle

LETTER

Letter: Reader: I’ll take Belmont over Marraccini

 

 

To The Editor,

Primary day is almost upon us and for me, the clear choice in the mayor’s race is Ron Belmont. Since taking office, Mayor Belmont has done some great things for this town. For starters, he restored an air of calmness and civility to the mayor’s office and to town governance. The mayor was the only one to get Verizon FIOS to agree to a cable franchise agreement with Harrison. The MTA development is now in the final planning/pre-development phase, which will be a huge boost to downtown revitalization. Mayor Belmont has budgeted within the 2 percent tax cap each year while building up the fund balance. He was also the only mayor to get New York state to pass the local hotel occupancy tax.

His opponent Phil Marraccini has been mayor before, in the mid-90s for a few years. To say he’s ruled the town with an iron fist is an understatement. One merely has to Google “Mayor Phil Marraccini” and read the three New York Times articles that chronicle his dictatorial tenure as our mayor. The fact that he could not get one person to be a runningmate with him for a seat on the town board speaks volumes about his credibility as a candidate. The fact that he threw his name in the ring at the last minute to run for judge and then switched to mayor when he did not get the judge nomination undermines his sincerity. The fact that his brother is our chief of police should make every resident pause when considering whether to vote for Phil. The conflicts of interest and the concentration of power in one family that will arise if Phil wins the election is a huge concern for me and should be for every resident.

 

Dave Haines,

Harrison 

LETTER

Letter: Voters should reconsider Judge Lust’s re-election bid

 

 

To the Editor,

Buried in the news just after Christmas last year were a slew of reports about the Manhattan DWI arrest of Harrison Town Judge Lust. Just Google “Marc Lust” and you will see more than a page of links to news coverage on the matter with headlines like the New York Post’s “Judge Tries to Weasel out of DWI after Boozy Christmas Party.”

I was saddened to read the reports and assumed that he would resign as town justice to deal with his criminal proceedings. I was then surprised to read that Judge Lust continued to serve as one of two part-time town court justices—in Harrison, the same court that hears DWI cases. Surprisingly, there is no judicial or governmental body regulation that requires a town justice facing DWI charges to step down pending adjudication of such a matter. According to published reports, Harrison’s other town justice, Nelson Canter, has agreed to handle Judge Lust’s caseload of  DWI cases until the criminal proceedings against Lust are resolved.

But what if he’s not acquitted?

Astoundingly, since his DWI arrest, Judge Lust had been nominated for re-election for town justice by the Harrison Democratic and Independence parties. And Judge Lust has petitioned to appear on the Republican primary ballot for September hoping to garner four party lines for re-election in November. According to news reports, when asked about the circumstances surrounding his DWI arrest, Judge Lust refuses to comment because the matter is still pending in court. His case has apparently been postponed a number of times; now slated to occur Sept. 24, two weeks after the Sept. 10 GOP primary.

Anyone can make a mistake, and this may have been the first and only time in his life that Judge Lust allegedly drove and crashed into a car while under the influence, trying to flee the scene of the accident, or trying to use his position as a judge to avoid arrest, as reported by various news outlets.

Yet a real lapse in sound judgment and common sense is evident when Judge Lust tells the Journal News that he never had any second thoughts about running for re-election, and that once his case is resolved, he will resume hearing DWI cases.

Harrison residents are being asked to consider a judicial candidate under a cloud of criminal charges for DWI, and DWI cases comprise a large percentage of cases that come before the town court. Innocent until proven guilty is the correct standard in a court of law, but it is not the appropriate standard for elective office.

It’s bizarre that Judge Lust is not required to step down from the bench pending resolution of his DWI case. It’s perplexing that the leaders of Harrison’s Democratic and Independence parties had no issue nominating him for re-election. And it’s truly an exhibition of poor judgment on the part of Mr. Lust to not step down and resolve the criminal charges against him. If he is fully acquitted, he can run for judge again in four years. There are other qualified candidates on the ballot in September and November, and Harrison would do well to select one of them instead.

 

David Singer,  

Harrison

 
LETTER

Letter: Re: Angela Giraldo’s letter

 

 

To the Editor,

Like Angela Giraldo, I am a Democratic district leader. But unlike her, I don’t condone cheating during the election process. The Westchester County Board of Elections disqualified Norman Rosenblum and Lou Santoro from the Independence Party line of the Village of Mamaroneck ballot because very basic election laws were not followed.  Laws don’t allow Village of Larchmont residents to decide the Village of Mamaroneck ballot. Laws don’t allow those unaffiliated with the Independence Party to decide its candidates. Laws don’t allow those unregistered as voters to designate candidates or cast ballots in any election.

During their fourth successive campaign, Rosenblum and Santoro foolishly failed to make sure they had 25 of the 500 qualified Village of Mamaroneck Independence Party voters sign their designating petition. They were similarly sloppy with designating petitions for the Republican line where 20 percent of the submitted signatures were disqualified. Rosenblum and Santoro hired a lawyer and chose to make a panicked trip to court even before the Board of Elections ruled on Stuart Tiekert’s challenges, spending money needlessly, just like they do with our tax dollars.

This incident is a microcosm of Rosenblum and Santoro’s tenure: skirting rules, making short-sighted decisions, spending money recklessly and blaming others for their mistakes.  Change is overdue.

 

Suzanne McCrory,

Mamaroneck