Letters from Readers
- On Our Minds
- Published on Thursday, 16 March 2017 09:14
- Joanne Wallenstein
Here are letters from Michael Rubin, Madelaine Eppenstein and Sunil and Geetha Subbakirshan
(From Michael Rubin)
Neither Scarsdale nor our Country is a Disaster
This resident read with disbelief the statement of Mr. Robert Berg, Mayoral candidate in next week's village election and leader of the Voters Choice Party, that "the system is not working...It's a disaster here (Scarsdale)."
The last I looked Scarsdale is still an exceptional community, with likely a thousand families having moved here to raise their families and live their lives as I did 28 years ago. Are mistakes made? Of course. Are things perfect...never have and never will. That's why there are erasers on pencils.
On the revaluation issue, Mr. Berg was quoted in the NY Times as saying "They deserve to be hammered - the lesser valued property owners were subsidizing the rich ones." Hammered? Really? Any resident that disagreed with their revaluation results...and there surely were many...had and did use the grievance system in place to obtain fair adjustments and correction of errors.
Mr. Berg's stated desire to "hammer" any resident for any reason whatsoever is not consistent with the attitude I would expect or want of an elected official in the Village of Scarsdale, or in any government in this country. This is his group's dog whistle issue, tax revaluation. The issue is a red herring.
The basis of our current method of electing officials is best stated by The Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party: "to promote the election of non-partisan candidates for village mayor, village trustees and village justice. Our local non-partisan system encourages cooperative, deliberative and open civic government to attract highly qualified individuals to public service."
It is this resident's opinion the primary reason for Scarsdale's incredible success as a community, year in and year out, consistently for over a century, is this very method we use to pick our elected officials. These dedicated men and women, in turn, spend their time and use their honest efforts to make the right decisions for the residents of this village without any political agenda, except to preserve and protect the village. They hire the most competent professionals to manage the village on a day-to-day basis.
The sky is not falling and this village and our country are not disasters. But to be sure, I urge every resident reading this letter to vote next Tuesday, and bring your friends and neighbors, and vote for the CNC candidates, Dan Hochvert for Mayor and Matt Callaghan, Carl Finger and Seth Ross for Village Trustees.
(From Madelaine Eppenstein)
Vote for Dan Hochvert as Scardale's next mayor and the Scarsdale Citizen's Non-Partisan Party (SCNP Slate for the candidates who have the experience, temperament and commitment to lead the Village.
You might be asking, who is this guy Dan Hochvert, and why should we vote for him for Mayor? Since Dan doesn't boast or engage in self-promotion, I'd like to share what I know about him from personal experience as a civic volunteer and friend. I've worked with Dan on many civic projects and committees to help maintain the quality of life in Scarsdale. Dan has worked on a study of the Scarsdale Library renovation, on improving traffic safety on Village streets, on fostering a more collaborative relationship between the community and the schools, on revising Village Code policies and procedures, and on the conservation work of Friends of the Scarsdale Parks. Dan has also worked on planning and policy meetings with Village department heads, the Village Manager and staff. These are just a few of the numerous community building civic activities in which Dan participates, often taking a leading role.
The Trustee nominees who share the SCNP slate with Dan, Matt Callaghan and Carl Finger have served with distinction on the Village Board and in other civic capacities, and with Seth Ross's solid business and civic experience they will all complement Dan's leadership and advocacy for good governance at Village Hall. More information about the slate is here: www.scarsdalecitizens.org.
Integrity and Qualifications Matter
Dan Hochvert is the quintessential Scarsdale civic volunteer who has been continuously active for decades working for local organizations and on Village boards and councils. He is smart, effective and has the respectful manner and strength of character to get things done as a team player. It would be hard to find someone more qualified than Dan to be our next Mayor, with his comprehensive knowledge of our government which he gained while he was a two-term Trustee during 2006-2010, and as chair of the Planning Board more recently. Dan has also been active in other civic activities too numerous to mention, including as a long-time board member of the Teen Center; as former president and now board member of the Scarsdale Forum; as co-chair of the Forum Education Committee, and active in numerous other committees such as Municipal Services, Sustainability and Neighborhood Character-Downtown Revitalization; as a member of the Adult School Advisory Committee; as a long-time member of the League of Women Voters; and as treasurer and lead parks conservation field worker for Friends of the Scarsdale Parks.
Dan isn't someone who just puts his name on lists of committees to impress people, or joins an organization that looks good on a resume. Dan works hard on the committees he joins, whether as a member or chairperson. He's the real deal – honest, resourceful, trustworthy, fiscally prudent on the boards he serves, thoughtful, compassionate to all including neighbors and friends in need – and full of good humor and camaraderie. Dan would rather find a practical solution to a problem than waste time and resources on a fight over issues that would be better served by collaborative problem solving. In that regard, Dan and his slate believe in a fair, predictable and sustainable property tax roll.
Experience, Temperament and Commitment
Dan is also a professional engineer with an impressive background in technology management, communications, national security and emergency preparedness, and has had active duty experience in the Air Force and National Guard. Dan has instructed engineers and officers in economics at Hotel Thayer at West Point. He has developed and delivered testimony before Congressional committees. Dan was also the lead technical negotiator in the sale of Bellcore (in a billion-dollar deal, Bell Communications Research, was formed when AT&T was broken up into regional telephone operating systems). At the request of the Department of Defense, Dan formed a corporation to deal with national security and emergency preparedness, recruited its CEO, and for a time chaired its board of directors. In the groups we serve on together I and others have often relied on Dan's good advice, technical skill and uncanny ability to address and solve problems while he maintains respect for the opinions of others.
These qualities are important because our new Mayor must be someone who has the "right stuff" in ideas, temperament and commitment, the person who will make a positive difference in the lives and security of Scarsdale residents. Dan Hochvert is that person. He is appreciated for all that he does in the Village on issues that affect Scarsdale families, without ever expecting any recognition. Dan is the person who, during his four years as a Village Trustee served as chair of the Board's Municipal Services, Technology, Personnel, and Sustainability committees, leading initiatives that improved services and oversight in the daily operations of Village management. Dan also served as Police and Fire Commissioner.
History of Achievement
While he was a Trustee, Dan served as Village Board liaison to the Advisory Council on Cable TV (during his tenure Dan was instrumental in new equipment procurement for the SPTV operation at Village Hall); the Advisory Council on Senior Citizens (during his tenure Dan took the lead for seniors to have regular bus service and a meeting room schedule); the Scarsdale-Edgemont Family Council, Inc.; and various Neighborhood Associations. As a Trustee and later as the Chair of the Planning Board, Dan made a difference in the way Village governance works to benefit Scarsdalians:
• Dan successfully persuaded the Village Manager at the time to revise the complicated Building Chapter of the Village Code and led the complete re-write of the Stormwater Chapter;
• As the liaison to the Cable Commission, Dan recommended changes to the Cable Chapter to account for the introduction of competition due to Verizon's franchise request approval;
• Dan recommended and saw the implementation of improved accessibility and responsiveness of the Building Department;
• Dan has continued work with the Village to revise the Tree Chapter to help maintain the Village tree canopy and reduce the practice of clearcutting by developers;
• As chair of the Board's Municipal Services committee and with support from the Mayor at the time, Dan requested the Village Manager to assemble all department heads who were affected by the update to the Stormwater Chapter, and worked on amendments that substantially reduced flooding in order to protect residents and their property;
• During the update of the Village Center Comprehensive Plan, when a Village consultant had recommended that the top of the Harwood building above sea level should be the guidance for future building height in the Village Center, Dan researched the height of the CVS building and confirmed that due to the lower ground level in that area, the consultant's recommendation would have permitted the CVS building to be about 15-20 feet higher than was eventually built. The consultant had also recommended three-story buildings along Scarsdale Avenue. By visiting the homes along Overhill, Dan determined the potential negative impact and helped the parties reach consensus that both proposals should be eliminated from the update;
• While on the Planning Board, minimizing the negative impact of development on neighbors was the goal of Dan and the Board.
Commitment to Collaboration
It is widely known that Dan is the person who is unfailingly on the phone or stopping by Village Hall to chat with department heads when something is amiss or broken in your neighborhood, and who pursues solutions to problems until they're resolved. He is the person who has comprehensive knowledge about how the Village operates under the Village Code, having worked on amending the stormwater, building, tree and other chapters. Dan is the mayoral candidate who has been attending and participating in the current budget meetings at Village Hall to ensure that the issues that need to be addressed in your neighborhood are explored and will be addressed in the new administration. He is the person who regularly attends meetings of the Board of Education and co-chairs the Scarsdale Forum Education Committee as an advocate for maintaining the excellence of our schools in a collaborative relationship with the Board of Education, even though his children graduated from Scarsdale High School more than 30 years ago. And Dan is the person who surveyed Village center streets and helped draft the detailed recommendations to the Village in the 24-page traffic safety report of the Forum Municipal Services Committee to ensure public safety on our roads.
Dan, Matt, Carl and Seth love this Village and our community. They have pledged to dedicate the next two years to listening to all of the diverse voices of our residents, to rolling up their sleeves, and to working with anyone willing to help them move our Village forward. They ask for the privilege and responsibility of serving you. This Scarsdale election matters. Please, FOR THE LOVE OF SCARSDALE, next week on March 21 at the Public Library VOTE ROW A for Mayor and Trustees: Dan Hochvert • Matt Callahan • Carl Finger • Seth Ross. They are your neighbors on the Citizens' Non-Partisan slate who are vetted, honest and ready to serve.
Submitted in my capacity as an individual, nearly 24-year resident of Scarsdale, and not on behalf of any organization. For full disclosure, I am a proud member of the Citizens Nominating Committee, the Campaign Committee of the Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party, the Board of the Scarsdale Forum and Chair of its Municipal Services Committee, and the Board of the Friends of the Scarsdale Parks, Inc.
(From Geetha and Sunil Subbakrishna)
Informed choice is Good for Democracy
Kudos to the LWVS for hosting the Village Trustee debates. We were very encouraged by the turnout, the discussion, and the atmosphere of the event. It was useful to directly hear from the candidates. Hopefully such forums will encourage more voter participation.
While we know and respect both candidates, we support Bob Berg for Mayor. At the debate, Bob demonstrated his excellent grasp of the complexities of Village Government. He is willing to take a stand when needed, but only after thoroughly researching all aspects of an issue. This makes him capable of recognizing and tackling the ineffective parts of our government, while leaving the well-functioning parts alone.
The Village faces complex, contentious issues such as the overall level of taxation, the conduct of tax assessments, and the condition of our infrastructure. The community needs leadership at Village Hall that recognizes these challenges and is open to considering fresh, innovative ideas and solutions. We believe that Bob Berg is best suited to address these challenges as our next Mayor.
Geetha and Sunil Subbakrishna