Category Archives: Letters

LETTER

Letter: Is our town board doing right by its citizens?

 

 

To the Editor,

Transparency is the buzzword. Again and again, the present Harrison town board has proved that they are as determined as possible to keep the citizens of Harrison unrepresented and uninformed. The citizens are left in the dark. It is a town board’s responsibility to represent, respond and inform its community. Meetings must be conducted with clarity and dignity, but the present Harrison town board continues to allow its citizens to be treated with disregard and disrespect.

Some members of the town board have been allowed to monopolize discussions so often with abbreviated meetings, there is little time left for opposing opinions. We all know that time is valuable and trying to streamline government can be beneficial, but not at the risk of seemingly being undemocratic.

Running governments, whether they are town or country, can be messy. Citizen participation adds to the richness and substance of our democracy. Therefore, when citizens are not allowed to share their opinions and governments have an agenda, the democratic process is lost.

The existing Harrison town board has worked to silence the community. It’s time for some new members on the board so that townspeople can once again have a voice.

 

Patricia DiDonato, 

Harrison

 
LETTER

Letter: The current city council’s good deeds

 

 

To the Editor,

There’s an old saying, “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither the facts nor the law, pound the table.”

Unfortunately, we are seeing this axiom play out in the current race for Rye City Council where our Democrat opponents simply don’t have the facts on their side.

So instead, at the last debate, they pounded the landscape of shops and restaurants on Purchase Street as being afflicted by a “scourge.” They pounded on our economic vibrancy, saying, “We can kill the goose that lays the golden egg.” They even pounded on the Marshlands, claiming it is home to an “epidemic.” They argue this is all true because the current city council is too slow to act, and offers “no action” whatsoever.

Since our opponents readily admit they’re new to Rye, having only lived here a few years each, we thought we’d to take this opportunity to set the record straight.

The fact is, when the current mayor and four new city council members were seated in 2014, the city was mired by scandal and mismanagement, dating back well over six years and two prior administrations.

Instead of doing nothing, the current city council has done much to keep its promise to restore faith and trust in our city government, including:

– Replacing the discredited city manager with an experienced professional who has a proven track record.

– Hiring an established and respected catering company to a long-term contract at Whitby Castle, turning years of past six-figure losses into years of projected six-figure gains.

– Protecting Rye’s interests against the county’s over-reaching plans for Playland.

– Fighting to mitigate impacts on our neighborhoods caused by the development of the United Hospital site in Port Chester.

– Passing landmark legislation by creating Rye’s first-ever historic district downtown.

– Settling longstanding labor disputes with the police and public works.

– Working proactively with study groups and neighboring municipalities on deer overpopulation.

– Crafting historic legislation to dramatically reduce rock chipping while allowing for strongly-held opinions to be heard on all sides.

We encourage our opponents to stop pounding both the table and the seven volunteer members of our community who have worked hard to reform our government and do right by the taxpayers of Rye.

Yes, there is always more to do, like continuing to improve infrastructure, tightening up purchasing policies and staffing our firefighters for success. But the fact is, this council has done good work, and we look forward to building on their success as your city council representatives beginning on Jan. 1, 2016.

 

Councilman Rich Mecca,

Leon Sculti

Jim Culyer,

Republican candidates for Rye City Council

LETTER

Letter: Questioning city council debate coverage

 

 

To the Editor,

I watched the League of Women Voters Rye City Council candidates’ forum and was impressed by the lively give-and-take. I was especially impressed by the confidence, articulateness and command of facts of the two female candidates, Emily Hurd and Danielle Tagger-Epstein.

Imagine my surprise when I read the Rye City Review’s coverage of the forum in the Oct. 2 issue. Reading that article, you would never have known there were two great women running. The article mentioned or quoted the three male candidates 22 times, an average of more than seven times per candidate. It mentioned or quoted the women a mere six times, averaging three times per candidate. In other words, the article gave the women less than half the coverage that it gave the men.

As a psychologist, perhaps I should not have been surprised. Many controlled studies have shown that unconscious bias makes people devalue women’s intelligence, logic and skill. For example, when subjects are given papers that are identical except that the authorship is attributed to someone with either a man’s name or a woman’s, they rate the work they believe to be a man’s more highly. Similar studies show that people devalue many other things, from job resumes to violin performances, when they are believed to come from women.

I suspect the reporter who covered the candidates’ forum is suffering from unconscious gender bias, because in the article the female candidates were all but invisible. In real life, they shone.

 

Olga Cheselka,

Rye

 

Editor’s note:

Republican candidate Jim Culyer was quoted in the referenced article three times, consistent with the coverage of both of the Democratic candidates Danielle Tagger-Epstein and Emily Hurd. What the author of the letter fails to understand is that for candidates, debates are opportunities, for better or worse, to capture the media spotlight. It serves no reflection on the other candidates who may not be as loud, boisterous or theatrical in their approach or their comments. This idea of capturing the spotlight is currently being reflected on a national political stage with the candidacy of Donald Trump. The coverage in question has nothing to do with gender bias.

 
LETTER

Letter: Democratic candidates’ record of leadership

 

 

To the Editor,

Thanks for your coverage of the LWV Rye City Council candidates’ forum. One of the things viewers learned about was the exceptional track records of leadership in Rye organizations by candidates Emily Hurd, Danielle Tagger-Epstein and Jeff Taylor.

Emily serves on the board of the Rye Nature Center where she has co-chaired its Oktoberfest twice, growing its attendance and raising record funds. She served as board secretary for Voluntravel, a local nonprofit organization specializing in international volunteer trips for high school students and their families. She led a neighborhood campaign against overdevelopment in the Milton Point area that culminated in a law change to the Rye City Code, and she is an active member of Build a Better Rye.

Danielle volunteers her time and energy to leadership roles in her children’s school and her family’s house of worship. She is chair of Rye Neck School District’s Health and Wellness Committee and educates students about nutrition and wellness, with a special focus on keeping children safe from Lyme disease. At the Community Synagogue of Rye, she promoted sustainability and healthy living by helping to build and plant its Early Childhood Center’s community garden. She chaired and led the synagogue’s annual fundraiser with great success, and she serves on its board of trustees.

Jeff began his Rye volunteerism years ago by leading the Famous Artists program at Osborn and Midland schools. He joined the board of directors of the Rye Arts Center and eventually became board president. During his tenure as president, the RAC exceeded its fundraising goals and offered the community several terrific art exhibitions, including the first-ever retrospective of the mMid-cCentury mModern design genius Irving Harper.

Their campaign focuses on concerns they are hearing repeatedly when they talk to Rye residents. One concern is that when people bring a matter to the current council’s attention, the response is inadequate. This is a major campaign issue, because in contrast to Emily, Danielle and Jeff’s commitment to a more responsive local government, the other ticket has been defending the current council’s performance.

One local party committee selected all of our current city council members. The result is a governing body that engages in little debate. If we continue to have single-party rule, we will continue to have a council that rubber-stamps whatever is before it and feels no urgency to be responsive to major issues facing Rye.

On Nov. 3, Rye voters will have the choice of sticking with the status quo or rejuvenating the council with fresh voices and new ideas.

 

Meg Cameron,

Rye Democratic Committee chairwoman

 
LETTER

Letter: Oh deer, we’ve got a real problem

To the Editor,

The comments made by the Democratic City Council candidates during the Sept. 24 League of Women voters forum regarding deer population management in Rye are factually inaccurate and parrot numerous misstatements made by County Legislator Catherine Parker on her social media page.

Emily Hurd, a Democratic candidate for City Council, suggested that if the City of Rye alone were to cull its deer population within city limits, deer would not re-enter our city from neighboring communities because “deer do not travel far from their birthplace.”

Ms. Parker has similarly stated, in defense of her own record of inaction, that “there are deer in Rye that don’t step hoof into the Marshlands,” a county-owned property. Both statements are false.

Deer do not respect property lines and town borders as Republican candidates Jim Culyer and Leon Sculti pointed out in the forum. White tail deer are constantly migrating in search of food. That is what brings them into our neighborhoods. They walk freely through our streets in the evening, nighttime and early morning hours and pose a danger to drivers. Deer feast off native plant life, damage our ecosystem and make way for invasive plant species. Deer also serve as hosts for Lyme disease which has become more prevalent in recent years, according to recent data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a 2010 study conducted by Rye resident Hank Birdsall, there were approximately 45 to 64 deer on the 173-acre Marshlands property. Those numbers, by all estimations, have increased in the last five years.

Ms. Parker and her City Council trainees need to realize that a solution to deer overpopulation has to be developed by working collaboratively with our neighboring municipalities as Mayor Joe Sack and Mamaroneck Mayor Norman Rosenblum have done by partnering last year.

But is up to the county to coordinate and direct the action to be taken. Ms. Parker, who represents both Rye and Mamaroneck, seems like a logical point person for this project but first needs to acknowledge her role as our county representative.

 

Denise Eisman,

Rye

LETTER

Letter: Keep Molly Spillane’s restrictions in place

 

 

To the Editor, 

The following is an open letter that was submitted to the Village of Mamaroneck Zoning Board of Appeals on Sept. 1.

We are writing to the Mamaroneck Zoning Board of Appeals as residents of Mamaroneck who have been directly affected by the noise issues generated by Molly Spillane’s since 2009.

As people who live in or near a mixed-use commercial and residential area of Mamaroneck, it is understandable that there will be some noise. The C-2 zone on Mamaroneck Avenue has historically been a mixed-use zone combining commercial, retail and residential in close proximity. Every other business, except for Molly Spillane’s, seems to not have a problem complying with what the village noise code requires to maintain a harmonious balance between the rights of businesses and the rights of private citizens to have a quality of life, quiet and rest.

In his letter to the ZBA published on June 4, 2015, owner Mike Hynes asked repeatedly why Molly Spillane’s is being singled out for noise-reducing restrictions and having to apply yearly for a special permit. The answer is simple: Molly Spillane’s has had more noise, fights and complaints with repeated police calls and police hours required to respond to these calls than any other business in the village, yet Mr. Hynes had the audacity to demand the restrictions that the neighborhood has worked for years to put in place be lifted. We cannot summarily turn a blind eye to the hundreds of complaints and go back in time to 2008.

Since the noise restrictions passed last year, the problem has improved a great deal for village residents and their families. It is difficult to understand why Mr. Hynes would want to go back to having no restrictions whatsoever when last year at the permit meeting, he heard such a large number of area residents voicing their concerns. A petition signed by 183 adults with 144 children living in the neighborhood was submitted to the ZBA asking the board to finally do something about the ongoing noise and disturbance caused by Molly Spillane’s. Thankfully, more restrictions were put in place that have helped alleviate but not completely solve the problem, as evident by the list of complaints from the past 12 months attached to the special permit application.

We as a group would also like to point out that we have very strong relationships with the other businesses in the area such as Bar’lees, Little Kitchen, The Red Plum and the luncheonette. These local establishments have earned our patronage through their mutual respect and understanding that local residents are the backbone of any business’ success. Perhaps Molly’s may want to look at its ongoing disregard and lack of cooperation with its neighbors as the reason for them losing business, instead of demanding a handful of people—most of whom do not live here—to be allowed to disturb the peace on a patio on a Wednesday at 2 a.m..

We also understand that Molly’s pays local taxes. We as residents also pay local taxes.  Many of us have worked extremely hard and continue to do so to be able to afford to live in an area like Mamaroneck. People continue to move here because of the quality of life in the village. If Molly’s is allowed to continue to create disturbances whether inside or out at any hour, carte blanche, the subsequent media coverage and ongoing public outcry will hardly endear Mamaroneck to someone who is considering a move to our village.

The residents of the neighborhood should not have to fight the same fight again that has taken so much time, energy and effort since 2009. We are emphatically asking that the ZBA do the right thing and renew Molly Spillane’s special permit with the noise reduction restrictions left in place that we all worked so hard to implement for the sake of our legal right to peace, quiet and a healthy quality of life in our homes.

 

59 neighboring residents of Molly Spillane’s, 

Mamaroneck 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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: 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 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: The city’s role in the United Hospital redevelopment

 

To the Editor,

We would like to thank Democrats Jeff Taylor, Emily Hurd and Danielle Tagger-Epstein for a respectful and spirited Rye City Council debate hosted by the League of Women Voters last week at Rye Middle School. During the debate, and again in a letter to the editor in another newspaper this week, our opponents floated the notion that the current city council has failed to act in a timely fashion regarding the proposed development of the United Hospital site in Port Chester.

Since our opponents readily admit they’re new to Rye, having only lived here a few years each, we thought we would take this opportunity to set the record straight.

Rich Mecca has been a Rye volunteer firefighter since 1987 (a former captain), and has been on the city council since 2014. Jim Culyer served on the Rye City School District Board of Education for 12 years as both president and vice president. Leon Sculti was elected to the Rye Golf Club Commission in 2014, and is the current chairman. None of us ran the city or held elective office five years ago.

On June 24, 2014, six months into his first term, Mayor Joe Sack went to the Port Chester Board of Trustees and testified on behalf of Rye during the initial State Environmental Quality Review, SEQR, “scoping” period—the first public hearing on the topic.

In July 2015, when the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, DEIS, was finally released, the city had its special traffic consultant review and analyze it and successfully lobbied Port Chester to increase both the number of public hearings and their frequency.

The mayor, deputy mayor, city manager, city corporation counsel and city traffic consultant have held numerous informational meetings with concerned residents. Since we have more years of perspective and experience as residents of Rye—many more years than our opponents—we’re cognizant of the history of another Port Chester project near the Rye border: Home Depot. The city spent lots of money fighting that plan in court but never received the mitigation it sought because Home Depot was located in Port Chester, not Rye. United Hospital is also located in Port Chester, not Rye.

We support the current city council’s continued efforts to work with and inform Rye residents who are engaged in this issue and to affect an outcome in Rye’s favor as part of the SEQR process.

 

Councilman Rich Mecca

Leon Sculti

Jim Culyer,

Republican Rye City Council candidates