Category Archives: Letters

LETTER

Letter: Give PE in our schools a chance

To the Editor,

It’s a new year, and with it often comes New Year’s resolutions. Many adults resolve to exercise more, be healthier, and really commit to it this time!

What about our kids? I hope they also want to exercise more, focus on healthier habits, and be motivated to continue it into adulthood. PE in school and youth athletics are critical, and we have some phenomenal PE teachers in our school district with an engaging curriculum. However, the PE instructional spaces at Mamaroneck High School are nowhere near on par and haven’t been updated as far as anyone can remember.

Locker rooms go unused because the lockers are rusted and won’t secure belongings. Plumbing and electrical installations are antiquated and ventilation is poor. Not where I imagine my kids getting hooked on lifelong fitness. And not particularly safe, either.

Our town prioritizes youth sports, which I think is a positive thing. We have improved fields, worked to expand field space, and schedule teams so as to maximize the number of kids who can play. However, when those young athletes grow up and want to compete at the high school level, we offer them a weight room with exposed pipes that leak. We have them leave their sports bags and equipment in the hallways, because nothing fits into the existing (broken, rusty) lockers. There are no showers available (or even running water) and no changing or meeting space for female athletic teams.

The plan that the district has proposed reconfigures unused space so that PE instruction can expand. Infrastructure is replaced so that our kids are safe and so is their gear. Health and wellness becomes the focus and the facilities will reflect how we feel about supporting our young athletes.

Please educate yourself on this issue, and then vote YES to the bond vote on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at your local elementary school. Your kids will thank you.

 

Lisa Sommer,

Larchmont

LETTER

Letter: Political arrogance in the ‘friendly village’

 

 

To the Editor,

The village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees received the initial recommendations by their appointed Ad Hoc Parking Commission. The commission’s chair, Maria DeRose, and committee member John Farris, noted that the recommendations are based upon a consensus of the committee and a poll of 500 responses, as well as personal visits to Mamaroneck Avenue merchants, where the majority of those who responded are either in favor of single-space meters or no change on Mamaroneck Avenue.

The following in part was presented to the board of trustees at its Dec. 21 meeting.

The village should develop and implement a plan to:

Install multi-space parking meters at certain off-street lots to include:

Hunter Tier Parking Deck
Phillips Park Road (adjacent to the Heithaus Walkway)
East Prospect Lot (across from House of Honda)
Spencer Lot
Emelin Theatre Lot

Establish a pilot program to test single-space “smart” parking meters on Mamaroneck Avenue.

The majority members of the Board of Trustees chose to ignore their appointed committee and the response of merchants and residents by passing a resolution to install multi-space meters along with the single-space meters on the avenue.

Led by Trustee Leon Potok, with support of trustees Illissa Miller and David Finch, all Democrats, they make a mockery of the intent of the Ad Hoc Parking Committee by continuing Potok’s original quest to have all multi-space meters on Mamaroneck Avenue and potential license plate readers and limited time in the village.

I believe, along with Deputy Mayor Louis Santoro, that this is a formula for economic and community development disaster at the expense of the residents, merchants, visitors and shoppers in the village. This blind support by Potok, Miller and Finch flies in the face of facts that many communities are reversing the use of multi-space meters in favor of single-space meters.

This certainly will tarnish the image of a “friendly village” to one that many will choose to shop and dine elsewhere. The obvious impact on seniors, drivers with small children, the disabled and weather factors clearly demand the support of the parking committee recommendations to help assure the continued viability of the “friendly village” as the prime destination it has become and should continue to be.

The democratic process avails all who live, work and visit the “friendly village” of Mamaroneck to contact the three trustees Potok, Finch and Miller—lpotok@vomny.org, imiller@vomny.org and dfinch@vomny.org, respectively—to support the recommendations of their own ad hoc committee and the best interests of the continued vibrancy of the village of Mamaroneck.

 

Norman Rosenblum,

Village of Mamaroneck mayor

LETTER

Letter: Donate to The Community Fund

 

 

To the Editor,

We at the Cancer Support Team, CST, wish to express our deepest appreciation to The Community Fund for its support of our free home care services for cancer patients in Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe. CST is the only Westchester-based home care agency licensed by the New York State Department of Health specializing in oncology. With the support of The Community Fund for our nursing, social work counseling, case management and financial assistance services, we continue to respond to requests for services from residents of Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe who face a myriad of medical and psychosocial challenges associated with a cancer diagnosis.

Because of The Community Fund’s generosity, CST patients receive:

• Visits from registered nurses who advise them about symptom control and pain management.

• Sessions with our social workers who guide them through the difficult emotions associated with cancer.

• Assistance from case managers who help find resources to relieve financial worries.

• Transportation provided by our volunteer drivers, who take patients to and from chemotherapy and radiation appointments.

The Community Fund’s ongoing support is vital for the continuation and enhancement of our services. On behalf of CST’s Board of Directors, staff and the people we serve, we urge you to support The Community Fund’s annual fundraising campaign. Your contribution will be used to support your friends and neighbors in your community and will continue to make our services possible.

 

Gina A. Russo,

Executive director of the Cancer Support Team

LETTER

Letter: Vote Winter for fire district commissioner

 

 

To the Editor, 

Years of reform at the Eastchester Fire District, EFD, are on the line in the upcoming election. Please vote on Tuesday, Dec. 8 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. and encourage your friends and neighbors to vote for Dennis Winter for EFD commissioner.

Winter has been a tireless advocate for the public. He has worked to manage responsibly the $16.5 million EFD budget funded by a tax levy, making this is a critical election. In the past, Winter and Chief Grogan had discovered thousands of improperly-spent tax dollars. Following this discovery, the Eastchester fire board placed the former EFD treasurer on paid administrative leave, during which she collected a salary from the Greenburgh schools. The EFD has had to spend more than $15,000 in legal fees to defend successfully itself and its commissioners from four matters brought on by the former treasurer, who happens to be Winter’s opponent in this contested race.

While Winter’s opponent is justly proud that a family member is an EFD firefighter, that is not a qualifier for candidacy. The Eastchester fire board needs to be absent of any conflicts of interest, especially when negotiating union contracts with the paid firefighters.

For access to public documents regarding this election’s candidates, visit publicsearchpro.com and bronxville.org.

 

Mary Neagle Smith, 

Bronxville 

LETTER

Letter: Keep Winter on fire board

 

 

To the Editor,

On Dec. 8, Dennis Winter will be running for re-election to the Town of Eastchester Board of Fire Commissioners. Winter has served as the board’s chairman for the last three years and, under his leadership, the board has achieved many significant accomplishments, including:

Achieving accountability and transparency to the district taxpayers.

Creating an impartial Board of Fire District Commissioners with no alliances to current or former fire district employees.

The adoption of a 2016 budget with no increase to the current $16.5 million property tax levy.

The reduction of the fire district’s property tax levy in 2015.

Completing critical revitalizations of two aging district firehouses.

Increasing the district’s Insurance Service Office rating that places the fire district within the top 2 percent of fire departments nationwide. This rating can result in lower insurance premiums for homeowners within the Eastchester Fire District.

Restructuring of the district’s administrative office including an appointment of a new treasurer and auditor.

The fire district election is especially important this year. Winter’s opponent, Cara Piliero, is the same former district treasurer whom the board placed on administrative leave in 2013 after an internal audit uncovered accounting irregularities. The board’s investigation found that Piliero:

billed health insurance premiums to some but not all of the retired firefighters required to pay such premiums, costing the fire district an estimated $800,000 in uncollected premiums;

failed to bill two fire commissioners (who had previously been firefighters) for their percentage of health insurance costs; and

overpaid one retired firefighter $235,200 in disability payments over 13 years.

Also, computer accounting records were improperly maintained. The new treasurer took over the department general ledger with a $30 million deficit incorrectly recorded. As treasurer on administrative leave, the fire district was paying Piliero’s benefits and salary. The board subsequently found out she was also employed at the Greenburgh school district collecting a second paycheck, and did not inform the fire district or the Greenburgh school district that she was simultaneously collecting a full-time salary from both entities.

Despite this alarming history, Piliero now seeks election to the Eastchester Board of Fire Commissioners, the very district she has instituted several legal actions against which have been dismissed or withdrawn at the cost to taxpayers of $16,000 in legal fees.

Winter’s volunteerism to the district has been invaluable and greatly appreciated by his fellow commissioner and the citizens of the Town of Eastchester.

Your vote matters and is crucial to this year’s election, so please get out and vote for Dennis Winter on Dec. 8.

 

Jerry Napolitano,

Eastchester fire commissioner

LETTER

Letter: Re-elect Dennis Winter for fire commissioner

 

 

To the Editor,

On Dec. 8, Dennis Winter will be running for re-election to the Town of Eastchester Board of Fire Commissioners. Dennis has served as the board’s chairman for the last three years and, under his leadership, the board has achieved many significant accomplishments. These have included:

• The adoption of a 2016 budget with no increase to the current $16.5 million dollar property tax levy.

• The reduction of the fire district property tax levy in 2015.

• Major restorations at two district firehouses.

• An increase in the district’s insurance service office rating, placing the fire district within the top 2 percentile of fire departments nationwide. This rating should result in lower insurance premiums for homeowners within the Eastchester Fire District.

• The restructure of the district’s administrative office and the appointment of a new treasurer and auditor.

I believe the fire district election is especially important this year and I encourage you to vote for Dennis on Tuesday, Dec. 8. His opponent is Cara Piliero, the former district treasurer, whom the board placed on administrative leave in 2013 after discovery of serious accounting irregularities. The board’s investigation of these irregularities found that as treasurer, Piliero billed health insurance premiums to some but not all of the retired firefighters required to pay such premiums, thus costing the fire district an estimated $800,000 in uncollected premiums, and that she failed to bill two fire commissioners who had previously been firefighters for their percentage of health insurance costs, as required. She also paid one retired firefighter an extra $235,200 in disability payments over a 13-year span, and it was found that the QuickBooks records were improperly maintained. Despite this history, Piliero now seeks election to the Eastchester Board of Fire Commissioners.

Dennis is committed to the safety of this community and the sustainability of the Eastchester Fire District. His leadership has been forward thinking, well informed, vigilant and transparent. He has worked hard to make the fire district accountable to Eastchester taxpayers.

Dennis’s value to the district has been recognized by many, and particularly by those who have had the opportunity to work closely with him. He has been endorsed by three of his fellow commissioners and the chief of department, Michael Grogan.

Your vote is critically important in this year’s election.

 

Peter Incledon,

Eastchester fire commissioner 

LETTER

Letter: Thank you to The Community Fund

 

 

To the Editor,

The Senior Citizens Council would like to wholeheartedly thank The Community Fund of Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe for its continued generous support of Bronxville and Tuckahoe senior citizens.

We know that the best way to keep our many seniors healthy and vigorous and engaged in the community is to provide regular activities that promote socialization, physical exercise and intellectual stimulation. The Community Fund has long recognized this need, and over this past year has helped fund programs including bridge, tai chi and exercise for our Bronxville and Tuckahoe senior citizens. These wonderful programs have been very popular—serving more than 500 seniors at our two centers—and they have attracted new members to both centers. The success of these programs is due in large measure to the loyal support of The Community Fund.

During this holiday season, please give generously to The Community Fund’s annual drive so that vital programs like ours can continue to serve the needs of the community we love. Contributions may be made online at thecommunityfund.org or by calling 337-8808.

 

Barbara Dimpel,
Senior Citizens Council

Karla Hay Diserens,
Bronxville Senior Citizens

 

Jennifer Vetromile,
Tuckahoe Senior Citizens

 

LETTER

Letter: Library workers have right to unionize

 

 

To the Editor,

I write as a patron and supporter of the Mamaroneck library. I was proud to have served on a bipartisan Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees that voted to support a $13.5 million bond that renovated and expanded our beautiful library. I have always been impressed with the professionalism and commitment of the library’s staff.

I was surprised to read in the Nov. 13 edition of the Review that the library board of trustees doesn’t intend to immediately allow their workers to unionize. My understanding is that more than 80 percent of the library’s staff have signed card checks that request their right to join a union be recognized by their employer. The library can waive the right to a formal election if 50 percent of the workers sign card checks, and the workers have more than exceeded that threshold. The library administration seems to be trying to force a ballot, which is an unnecessary step that delays the process and promotes fear and acrimony between the workers and the administration.

I am a lifetime union member, shop steward, and have worked to try to organize nonunion workers in my trade. It has been my experience that employers who don’t recognize card checks are actively trying to deny their workers the right to organize. I don’t think that is the case in Mamaroneck, but I am also sure that most people who volunteer for local boards don’t have enough experience in this area to know what should be the fair and normal course of events.

Income inequality in our country has grown in almost direct proportion to the decrease in union membership. As a community, we should support the rights of workers to receive a fair day’s pay for a fair days work. All other municipal employees in our area have been unionized for decades; our hard-working library workers deserve those same rights. I hope the good people who serve on our library board, whose commitment and hard work I respect, will take a cooperative and collaborative attitude toward their employees. The patrons of the library and the residents of Mamaroneck will support both sides coming quickly to a reasonable agreement.

 

Tom Murphy,

Mamaroneck Town councilman

LETTER

Letter: Thanksgiving and Native Americans

To the Editor,

Thanksgiving, like most holidays, is marked by a frenetic pace of commercialism. Indeed, it is a prelude in this country to Black Friday and the insane push by corporate America to buy and consume.

Like Christmas, its original meaning has been lost and perverted with this deluge of consumption and indulgence that was exemplified by the death of someone at a Walmart several years ago who was trampled by other patrons in this rush to purchase. However, little has been said or written about the true origins of this holiday that is predicated on a lie and actually had a genesis of mayhem and murder.

The first Thanksgiving was in 1620 when the Pilgrims, in what is now Groton, Conn., were supposed to be engaged in prayer and celebrating the Native Americans’ period of harvest, which had saved the Pilgrims from starvation during the winter of 1619–1620 when they landed on Plymouth Rock. The Native Americans fed them maize, potatoes and other types of agricultural crops. They were repaid by the Pilgrims when 700 Pequot men, women and children were murdered and burned alive by the Pilgrims and their harvest was destroyed.

This atrocity was replicated over and over by the Pilgrims and the Puritans in their treatment of Native Americans. Thanksgiving was defined by the “Churches of Manhattan” as a “celebration of victory over the heathen Indian savages.” These savage and barbaric acts continued for the next two centuries by the English, Dutch and their progeny, the Americans. It continued when President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving on two days, the first being the anniversary of the victory at Gettysburg in August 1863 and the second being the last Thursday of November.

The Algonquian native tribes who lived throughout New England and resided in what is now Larchmont and Mamaroneck have declared—like their fellow Native American tribes—Thanksgiving as “an official day of mourning.” That was declared in a proclamation in 1970.

Unfortunately, today and on Nov. 26, the indulgence of food, alcohol and the ongoing perversion of the meaning of this holiday continues. The celebration of Thanksgiving to Native Americans is like for those who are Jewish: Germans celebrating the Holocaust.

 

Clifford Jackson,

Larchmont

LETTER

Letter: Re: Latona’s open letter to library board of trustees

 

 

To the Editor,

Last week, you printed an open letter to the Mamaroneck library Board of Trustees that asked questions I would like to respond to on behalf of the Mamaroneck Public Library Board of Trustees.

First, the library has always welcomed community input and involvement. In fact, these very values are what drove each of our trustees to serve the library in the first place.

Our meeting on Oct. 28 followed the printed agenda that caused the board to go into executive session to discuss legal matters immediately after opening the meeting. As with all boards, these executive sessions are confidential and closed to the public. However, the board informed the audience that they were welcome to stay and that the board would soon be returning to continue and complete the rest of the meeting.

At that point, a member of the audience stood up and asked to be heard by the board before it moved into the scheduled executive session. This individual indicated that she was an employee and that she was selected by others present to make a statement to the board regarding unionization. A letter was also handed out to the trustees. The board welcomed the comments and provided the speaker with a full opportunity to be heard. When the designated speaker concluded her comments, she thanked the board, and no one else requested to speak. The board then continued into executive session as originally planned. Nobody else asked to speak to the board that night, and certainly, no person was refused an opportunity to speak.

Second, the letter you printed stated that the staff voted to join a union and asked if we would support their vote. In fact, even though a union has filed a Petition for Certification at the N.Y.S. Public Employment Relations Board, PERB, no union election has taken place. No union has yet been certified as a bargaining representative for any library employee.

The board’s response to the union petition has been simple and straightforward. The board supports the employees’ legal rights to organize and seek union representation; however, the board wants to make sure that each and every affected employee is afforded another fundamental right: the right to participate in a proper and fair election administered by PERB. Ensuring that each affected staff member has a full opportunity to understand all of the issues and to vote in a union election is an essential right that we are committed to upholding on our employees’ behalf. The board would, of course, respect the outcome of any such union election.

I have been a lifelong resident of Mamaroneck, and together with my wife, our three children and their families, we have a deep connection and appreciation for all that the library does.

As trustees, we are charged to act in the best interests of the entire Mamaroneck Public Library community. Please be assured that we continue to do so.

 

Len Tallevi,

President of the Mamaroneck Public Library Board of Trustees