The following was submitted to Scarsdale10583 by Harry Reynolds who ran for Scarsdale Village Trustee as an independent candidate in March, 2012: Resignation to one’s fate takes practice. My fate today is answering last week’s soporific article by the Non Partisan trio of Dan Hochvert, Bill Kay, and Bruce Wells, three genuinely good hearted men who have the cult-like belief that secrecy is a “term [that ] does not apply” to the Non Partisan party. They claim that potential candidates are diligently vetted, are not asked about any issues because where they stand can only be learned after they take office, and that “relatively little in the party’s procedure is confidential”. They do not say what drives them to appear on stage now, a month after the election, to make their bold, outrageously false claim that there is no secrecy in their party.
When in March I ran for Trustee, the Non Partisan party, including the Non Partisan trio, did not answer my argument that the party keeps secret the identities of persons seeking its nominations to elective office and that it keeps secret what is said when those applicants appear before the nominating committee where neither the applicant nor the committee itself may discuss any issues. The Non Partisan party is the only party on earth that has no core political belief and no issues of any kind. Their nomination committee’s object is to divine from the aura given off by the applicant’s history whether she is fit to be a mayor or trustee in an uncontested election in which she will neither campaign, nor make promises, nor raise or debate any issues. According to the Non Partisan party, this is “representative government in its purest and most democratic form”, notwithstanding that its total lack of transparency leaves Scarsdale’s citizens to walk around its electoral process like unemployed extras on a movie lot.
The Non Partisan trio’s article did not tell you that they defend its secrecy about the identity of applicants on the ground that applicants would fear embarrassment should the public learn that they had not been nominated. I attacked that kindergarten defense because the public’s supervening right to know who were rejected is necessary for it to determine the integrity and judgment of the nominating committee. It enables the public to see whether the party has discriminated against anyone or has manipulated the system for the advancement of the interests of individuals within the system. For example, are you aware that out of at least 17,000 residents in the village two of the present trustees are marital partners of persons actively engaged in the Non Partisan system? Ask the Non Partisan trio how that came about and you will be told that it is a secret. Ask them how it was that David Lee was nominated as trustee when the published descriptions of Robert Selvaggio and David Lee show, in what must be the opinion of many, that Selvaggio was unquestionably the superior applicant. They will say that that, too, is a secret.
Last, and this is the big kicker, the Non Partisan system, including the Non Partisan trio, requires you to accept their party’s belief that you should not be told what a prospective trustee or mayor knows, thinks, believes, plans, or desires concerning issues directly affecting your lives and those of your children. Is that secrecy proof of a “representative government in its purest and most democratic form” or is it a fascist’s dream? Indeed, is it not the most harebrained belief that you will find in any electoral system in the West? What did the Non Partisan candidates answer in March when confronted by it? Nada, niente, klum, nothing. When Non Partisan candidates run in elections, they run with their heads kept very low.
After much reflection, we have decided to leave Scarsdale, but without leaving it. How so?
Our organization, relying upon Village Law, § 9-912 plans to propose this winter a change in the name of Scarsdale. Until that time, our organization will be at large in the village soliciting proposed names from residents who oppose the Non Partisan party’s practice of governance by secrecy. We will invite our ingenious high school students to join the search. Surely, they constitute a well, if not a pit, for names for our wonderful village to whom they owe so much for their expensive educations. As a public service, of course, we will disclose periodically the names variously proposed for our village, names selected in the main by our temperate citizens in good taste.