The Mayor continued to use her pulpit at the televised Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting on Tuesday night November 27 to defend her performance and lambast her critics. In what appeared to be a referral to Scarsdale10583.com and its users she said, "if you get your information from ill-informed websites frequented by cyber trolls who are encouraged or even wholly created as sock puppets by anonymous bloggers you'd get a skewed view of the Village's response to the crisis." These new attacks follow comments at the 11/13 BOT meeting where she said, that we (the Village and the Mayor) "were and remain hounded by divisive, nasty and unhelpful media pressure."
Also, this week, she responded to a letter about storm response from the Greenacres Neighborhood Association, saying, "I am very disappointed in the false statements, in the unofficial policy comments offered, and in Mrs. Steves' taking responsibility for publishing this in reference to the crisis."(note: Mrs. Steves is Kathy Steves, President of the Greenacres Neighborhood Association."
At the 11/27 meeting of the BOT Flisser addressed comments made by Mark Lewis, at the 11/13 Village Board meeting. He charged the Village and the Mayor with a litany of failures in their response to the storm including their inability to clear roads for the election and to have power restored in a reasonable period of time. During his remarks, he turned to the Mayor and said, "if you can't stand the heat, you should resign."
In response she said that Lewis "attacked her" with "false statements" and said that he (Lewis) was a failed "political operative" who was "hoping to improve his now lost position" as head of the "Democrat organization" of Scarsdale. She said, "the Democrat party had lost significant position in Scarsdale, including failing to raise a majority in two voting districts; Heathcote and Quaker Ridge."
We spoke to Mark Lewis to clarify his role with the Scarsdale Democratic Town Committee. He told us that he gave up his role as Chair voluntarily at the end of his term in September, 2012, before the election. Alan Goldston was elected to that position unanimously. Lewis is now serving as Vice Chair of the Westchester County Democratic Committee. Lewis said that he is proud of all the Democratic candidates who won in Scarsdale, including President Obama, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Eliot Engel. State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, the three State Supreme Court judicial candidates as well as Judge David Zuckerman who ran for County Court Judge. We also checked how Scarsdale voted on November 6th and found that Scarsdale went overwhelmingly Democratic with President Obama winning 59% of the vote, Kirsten Gillibrand, 70% and Congressman Eliot Engel, 65%.
She went on to criticize "State Legislative Representatives" – perhaps referring to State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin –and called Paulin's efforts with Con Edison "histrionic." She said, "I attended twice daily conference calls with the County Emergency Operations Center and Con Edison -- most of the time wasted at these conference calls included histrionic pleas from your elected state legislative representatives who Mr. Lewis represents, desperately angling for votes at this late stage, creating theatrical emotional episodes by those who had no command training nor authority in this event."
It should be noted that Paulin ran unopposed.
The Mayor gave an account of her activity during the storm fielding "scores of phone calls from her home phone, arranging and attending meetings and summed up by saying, "others may break down in a crisis – "I don't."
Commenting on the storm, Assemblywoman Paulin said, "This was a terrible storm. It was devastating to see so many in Scarsdale suffering. We were very hard hit. My staff and I worked diligently everyday around the clock directly with Con Ed to get as many homes restored as quickly as possible. I know every other elected official and the Scarsdale Village staff did what they could."
You can watch the 11/27 meeting on the Scarsdale Cable Channel from November 30 through December 2 at 2 pm, 5 pm, 7:30 pm and 10 pm.
See below for the email to the Greenacres Association as well as notes from Mayor's remarks at the 11/13 Board of Trustees meeting.
Emaiil to the Greenacres Association
Here is the text of an email sent by Maryor Flisser in response to a letter from the Greenacres Association about storm response. The neighborhood association letter can be viewed by clicking here. The Mayor's response is below. Excerpts from the Greenacres letter are in italics:
Sent: Sunday, November 18, 2012 5:20 PM
Cc: Donna Conkling
Subject: GA Meeting Publication
This email is public; it may be considered a written communication to the Board.
Alerted by some residents, I read Mrs Steves' published report of Trustee Mark and Deputy Mayor Steves participation at the GA meeting on 10583.
Quotes are below:
"Communications between the Village and residents was also acknowledged by the Trustees to be below reasonable expectations."
M's response: We spoke to thousands of residents on the phone, the lines in the PSB (Public Safety Building) were open and manned with personnel 24/7. The phone personnel were heroes under the pressure. I was in the same room with them. We answered thousands of emails. I spoke with scores on my listed home line alone. We sent out about over 100,000 communications. I attended 3 resident meetings myself during the crisis and Trustees continued to attend their liaison meetings, as I see here. We have not even investigated this claim statement, yet conclusions are "acknowledged."
"Robo calls from the Mayor were helpful, but a bit late in the process."
M's response: The Robo Calls started before the event and continued daily until power was almost entirely restored.
"Though not formally organized by the Village, Halloween is a major community event and the Village should have communicated some policy about trick or treating prior to and during the crisis since public safety was an issue."
M: There was careful communication about Halloween. A state of Emergency was declared to be in effect. Residents were warned about dangers to children from tree limbs and wires. I can show you quotes & responses from Residents, if you care to research this issue.
"Mr. Mark added some additional items that will now move off the back burner for more immediate consideration: Liberalizing and amending the Village code governing the installation of home generators."
Is the PB (Planning Board) "The back burner?" We held public meetings before the PB referral as well. We have been working on this since 2011, research, planning, legal, etc. This is not a trivial safety & environmental issue.
"Concern for the elderly or disabled during such a crisis was also expressed, and a plan to better identify those who may need extra assistance will be developed."
M: There is a Registry for Disabled Residents already in place in Scarsdale. The first responders have the information on their screens. We set this up in April of 2008. There's also a program for PWD in Westchester called "Ready Westchester" that dates from 2008, in which we participate. It involves county personnel coming in to evacuate disabled & elderly if needed. I publicized this on the VB, on occasions that I can document. I'm sorry that you are unaware of these programs. In addition, during the crisis, the Police Department continued careful welfare checks on residents. Residents were offered free accommodations with transportation to an assisted living facility.
"We encourage those who have not signed up for the Village's Emergency Notification system to do so through the Village's website."
M:No one ever needs to sign up for the ENS. It's automatic on the reverse 911 number. Extra numbers and email addresses may be signed up.
I am very disappointed in the false statements, in the unofficial policy comments offered, and in Mrs Steves' taking responsibility for publishing this in reference to the crisis.
Miriam Levitt Flisser
Mayor's Remarks at the November 13, 2012 Board of Trustees Meeting
At the 11-13-12 meeting of the Scarsdale Board of Trustees the Mayor recapped her own response to the storm as well as the work of the Village staff, emergency personnel and the Department of Public Works.
She said "Scarsdale Village did everything possible to assist Con Edison crews," sent out "12 robo calls", fielded "100,000 phone calls and 12,000 emails" and provided "updates to local media from employees homes."
According to her remarks, the Village also received support from local officials. "The County Executive came to Scarsdale", "our NYS Senator called" ... "our incoming U.S. Congressman came to the library on election eve" and she "spoke with the Governor's office using her shaky cell connection and being repeatedly disconnected."
She said, "These prodigious political feats did absolutely nothing to restore our power one second sooner.... This was the massive failure of the disaster response of a monopoly public utility."
She decried her critics, saying, "Those of you who took valuable time in a crisis to show your displeasure about Village elections are ignorant of the process. ... any interested citizen may appear on the ballot. And added, "These are unpaid jobs, by the way."
She ended by saying, "Your Village Administration performed admirably, and even though we were absorbing the collapse of Con Ed by accepting calls about outages, far outside of our critical responsibilities, were bereft of our own communications infrastructure, and were, and remain hounded by divisive, nasty and unhelpful media pressure in this time of crisis, we served the public with dedication."
written by There's enough vitriol here to get rid of all of the fallen trees, November 30, 2012