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Letters to the Editors: 2003 ARCHIVE

(Note: Letters are posted in the order we receive and verify them, not necessarily the date on which they were written.)

To email your own letter to the editors, please click here.

December 27, 2003

PUBLIC MAY OBSERVE HISTORICAL MEETING

Recently, the local media has publicized a meeting to which the Larchmont Historical Society Board of Trustees has invited members of the Mamaroneck School Board to discuss the School Board’s proposals with regard to the Richard Kemper Memorial Park. This meeting will be held at 8 pm on January 8 at the Larchmont Village Center.

This meeting was intended as a private meeting for Historical Society board members with the School Board representatives, as our recent meeting with Richard Cantor (a representative of the Kemper family) was. As this has now been announced as open to the public, we have no problem at all with doing so in order that the public can hear about this dispute.

However, in light of the fact that this meeting was called for the purpose of giving our board members an opportunity to hear and question the School Board members and for School Board members to hear the feelings of the Historical Society board, it is my intention to limit questions to board members, or, if time permits, dues-paying members, of the Larchmont Historical Society. I hope that this clarifies the nature of this upcoming meeting.

Fred Baron
President
Larchmont Historical Society

December 8, 2003

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON KEMPER MEMORIAL

About three years ago, when I was President of the Larchmont Historical Society, I heard that the Mamaroneck School Board was planning on creating an athletic field and parking lot out of the Richard M. Kemper Park. I thought that there must be some mistake because the land in question had been donated to the School District by a grieving family. This donation was made to not only honor their only son, who was killed in France in l944, but to honor all of those from the community who gave their lives in World War II. But there was no mistake. Fortunately, to protect their donation, the Kemper family had included a restrictive covenant in the deed. Furthermore, New York State Education Law requires school boards to abide by the instructions of donors.

Why should we, as a community, insist on the preservation of this park as is? Because it provides vital insight into our community’s history. Far more lives were lost here during World War II than in any war, before or since. No matter where you lived, there was a family close by who had lost a loved one. Our community grieved and suffered. Many of the dead were not buried stateside. Others were never buried at all because their bodies were never recovered. Adolph and Helen Kemper’s gift, the park with its monument and trees, helped to give all of the families and friends some closure. It was a place to go to remember what had been and what would never be. Thousands, if not millions, of tears were shed on this ground. Each name represents heartbreak.

The School Board claims that their proposal means no disrespect to these individuals. To me, it does. Honoring the individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice is the most important thing in this discussion and honoring the promise made to Adolph and Helen Kemper is a close second. Both are way more important that any athletic field. It may be difficult for Kevin O’Shea (Journal News, Letters to the Editor, November 26, 2003) to schedule practices but it doesn’t come close to the difficulty the community had in dealing with the deaths of 100 young men and women in just three and a half years. This is the only memorial that honors everyone who lived in the Mamaroneck School District.

The School Board now says that the Kempers’ vision of a memorial park no longer has merit because it is in the wrong location. I beg to differ. The location is just fine and the vision is just fine. As a matter of fact, it is perfect.

It is the duty of the School District to abide by the promises made to a donor. If it can no longer do so, then the gift should go back to the donor with sincere apologies. Using it for another purpose is tantamount to theft.

Jan Northrup
Larchmont, NY

November 20, 2003

GAZETTE SCOOPS NEWSWEEK ON WINE

It was with gleeful pleasure that I read in your pixels that Landmark Vineyard's Overlook chardonnay was recommended as a most appropriate partner to our annual Thanksgiving turkey feast.(See: Which Wine with the Turkey?) It was indeed somewhat anticlimactic to find this same insider's tip posted in no doubt recycled pulp on page 92 of Newsweek magazine's November 24th issue. As a local, who still has deep roots in the community I applaud you journalistic scoop.

Eric Stern
formerly of Mamaroneck, NY

November 10, 2003

SPEND MONEY FOR EMPTY NESTERS, TOO

I'd love to see the money being spent on Flint Park (substantially for kids) being matched for the enjoyment of empty nesters and seniors on outdoor activity facilities. The latter don't seem to have the same ability to raise large sums (note the failure of the 11 year struggle to build a real nature center at the reservoir), but need facilities, none the less.

Joe Zelvin
Larchmont, NY

October 29, 2003

BRESCIA: CLEAR CHOICE ON MERIT

We in Mamaroneck and Larchmont are fortunate to have Judge Jean Marie Brescia as our Town Justice - a justice who was appointed by our own Town Board in January as a result of an open-merit selection process. The Board interviewed several people for the position, including Judge Brescia's opponent in the upcoming election. Judge Brescia was the clear choice of the Board.

I was proud to be at Judge Brescia's swearing-in ceremony. I recall the kind words Supervisor Valerie O'Keeffe had for Judge Brescia's qualifications, and I was impressed by references to Judge Brescia's accomplished legal career and her tireless volunteer service to the community.

I'm proud that our Town has such a qualified Justice, and I appreciate that she was appointed through our Town's merit-based process. I urge you to vote for Judge Brescia on November 4.

Alice Tenney
Mamaroneck, NY

October 27, 2003

ELECT DON DERRICO TOWN JUDGE

As a resident and an attorney with a local practice, I can only begin (in this short space) to tell you how important it is to have a Judge who has prior experience practicing law in the local courts. The Town of Mamaroneck Justice Court handles a wide range of matters, including not only criminal cases, but the court also has jurisdiction over such matters as small claims, landlord -tenant disputes, vehicle & traffic violations and violations of local ordinances.

To be an effective Town Judge, a person must have extensive experience handling these types of matters; the Court should not be a training ground. Donald Derrico, a lifelong resident of Mamaroneck, has practiced law locally for more than a decade and has handled hundreds of the types of matters that routinely come before our Court. When you compare the resumes of the candidates it is obvious that Donald Derrico has substantially more real "hands on" experience. The Town of Mamaroneck deserves a Judge who is familiar with the day to day issues that come up in our local Court, and its ins and outs.

Finally, Donald Derrico is known to have a judicial temperament. He will listen closely to the issues of each case, treat all parties with respect, and make just decisions. This factor is of extremely great importance in choosing a judge. Who we elect as Judge in the Town of Mamaroneck is vitally important to us all. I urge you to vote for
Donald Derrico for Mamaroneck Town Judge on Tuesday November 4.

Carol (Kirshner) Carozza
Larchmont, NY

October 23, 2003

QUALIFICATIONS MATTER, NOT PARTY

I have practiced law for more years than I care to admit and have lived in the Town of Mamaroneck for almost 20 years. I knew the Hon. Martin King our former Town Judge for many years. Marty King was not only a good friend but a great Judge. Despite the fact that I am a registered Democrat I always voted for Marty King, a Republican, because I believe that when selecting a Judge political affiliation is irrelevant.

I have known Donald Derrico for 10 years. In fact, we have been adversaries on several matters. Not only is he an excellent trial attorney but a gentleman as well. As a Trial Attorney with many years as a member of the Bar I think I have some insight as to what qualities make a good Judge. A Judge must be chosen based upon experience, temperament and knowledge of the law, not which party they are registered in. Therefore, please join me in supporting Donald Derrico on Tuesday November 4, 2003.

Leonard Arye
Mamaroneck, NY

October 23, 2003

DON DERRICO FOR JUSTICE

I write this letter in support of the election of Don Derrico as Judge in the Town of Mamaroneck. Don is not only a life long resident of the Town but is an experienced trial attorney. The Town of Mamaroneck has had a long-standing tradition of a bipartisan judiciary … until this year. In December Judge Martin King, who served with distinction for more than 20 years passed away. The Democratic dominated Board appointed a fellow democrat despite Supervisor Valerie O'Keeffe's recommendation that Donald Derrico be appointed. Apparently, the Democrats on the Board felt that party affiliation was more important than qualifications. Don Derrico has over a decade of experience trying civil and criminal cases. Further, Don is a certified Small Claims Arbitrator who sits in New York and Bronx County Civil Court. Don has tried hundreds of cases over the years and has appeared in local courts for more than a decade. Party affiliation should not be the measuring stick we use when electing a Judge in the Town of Mamaroneck. I urge the residents of the Town of Mamaroneck to vote for Don Derrico on Tuesday November 4, 2003.

Kristy McKeon
Larchmont, NY

 

October 20, 2003

BRESCIA IS BEST FOR TOWN JUSTICE

Jean Marie Brescia is the best candidate for Mamaroneck Town Justice. We've known Jean Marie for over seven years as a good friend, trusted neighbor and reliable colleague. Jean Marie is a good person, a moral person. She has worked very hard on behalf of our community as the President of the Mamaroneck Avenue School PTA and Trustee of the Library Board. She possesses the rare quality of modesty: downplaying her Harvard Law credentials, vast courtroom experience and extensive community service, she prefers to focus instead on accomplishing the job at hand.

Our town would be well-served by this level-headed, non-partisan candidate. We will be voting for Jean Marie Brescia for Mamaroneck Town Justice on November 4.

Harry Gaffney and Judith Dupre
Mamaroneck, NY

October 15, 2003

JUDGE BRESCIA KNOWS THE COURTROOM

As an attorney admitted to practice in New York State and the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York for over 14 years, I recognize in Town Justice Jean Marie Brescia the qualities we residents of Mamaroneck and Larchmont deserve in our Town Justice--fairness, impartiality, integrity, intelligence and a judicial temperament. From my years of experience in courts throughout the New York area, I understand how important these qualities are in judges, especially on the
local level.

Judge Brescia knows the inside of a courtroom. As a Legal Aid attorney in Manhattan and Brooklyn representing children in abuse and neglect cases, young people in criminal cases, families in landlord/tenant proceedings and seniors in social security cases, Jean Marie was constantly in court. Jean Marie also knows how to run court proceedings from her years as an impartial hearing officer in special education cases and for the New York State Banking Department. She is truly an asset to our Town Court and our community as a whole.

On November 4, I will vote for Judge Brescia and I hope that the people of Larchmont and Mamaroneck will recognize her
qualifications and commitment and vote for her, too.

Hank Joselson
Mamaroneck, NY

September 29, 2003

OUR FAR-FLUNG CORRESPONDENTS: NOTE FROM EDINBURGH

It was an amusing coincidence that I received the weekly update from Larchmont Gazette, including Diana Hechler's piece on Edinburgh, from the computer in the office of my B&B -- in Edinburgh! I spent most of last week in that bonnie city, delivering daughter Kate to the University for grad school. From the seventh floor window of Milnes Court, her residence hall, one can peer up the Royal Mile to the Castle, 2 blocks up the hill. Bagpipe tatoos begin and end the day and will probably occur even more sonorously once the Scottish Parliament reconvenes in their temporary quarters right next door.

Diana makes note of the cobblestones which are ubiquitous along with stone steps leading up, down and around this city, which has, in my experience, not one level street. My best friends during my stay were the sturdy rubber-soled clogs I bought several years ago in Alaska -- rain- and slip-resistant.

The Scots are very proud of their city -- a late-night cabby (bus transportation is more than adequate by day) pointed out Conan Doyle's birthplace, right down the street from the apartments where RL Stevenson wrote "Treasure Island." He also reminded me that Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh.

For a very pleasant abode when you visit the city I enthusiastically recommend MINGALAR (2 EAST CLAREMONT STREET EDINBURGH - EH7 4JP) run by a delightful professor of linguistics and his wife in the Leith district (the Firth of Forth is visible down the street): quiet, friendly, 3-star, not fancy but very comfortable. The #8 bus (be sure to get the scenic view from the upper level) whisks you from the front door into the center of town.

Restaurants include every imaginable cuisine (we enjoyed Thai and Bengalese foods on various nights) for very reasonable prices.

Enjoy!

Fran Snedeker
Larchmont

August 28, 2003

THANKS FOLEY'S FOR BLACKOUT HELP

I know there are many untold stories that may not get acknowledged, I want to share my personal experience.

My immediate response, upon learning that the blackout was not local, was to drive to Foley's Hardware on Boston Post Road in Larchmont for some emergency supplies. What I found upon my arrival was totally unexpected - the Foley's staff, operating with flashlights, guided customers through the store, now in the early stages of darkness, to find and purchase whatever emergency supplies were available. Batteries and flashlights were the first items to be depleted. There were, however a variety of candles ranging from 12 inch tapers to votive candles to plumbers candles. And, the hot items
were food coolers, charcoal/gas grills, battery operated radios, clocks, fans - even boxes of wooden matches. An extremely orderly and patient line of customers, perhaps 35-40 persons or more, formed in the now darkened store to make their purchases. They were met by the very patient staff who
helped them find what they needed and accepted checks in payment when cash was not available, while owner, John Merrill, tallied each sale by hand on paper. This continued till 6:30 or so in the evening and began again the following day.

Needless to say, the real work was to follow when the power was returned and the sales were now entered into the computer and the stock inventoried and re-ordered, a task, which I'm told, is still ongoing.

Thank you Foley's for all your efforts and for proving, once again, that this community is right there for us whenever a crisis occurs.

Sandra Tashoff
Mamaroneck, NY

July 31, 2003

WATER RATE HIKE UNJUSTIFIED

Ken Bialo is trying to raise Larchmont’s water rates again, this time by 17%, and the increase is not justified.

The stated reason for the increase is to pass through the 12% rate hike by Larchmont’s supplier of water. However, the cost of water represents less than a third of the budget of the Water Fund. (More than two-thirds goes for overhead --maintaining pipes and administration.) Thus, a 3% pass-through increase is closer to the mark.

Another reason was offered -- to maintain and replace the system's infrastructure. However, this rationale was offered for last year’s 15% increase to the current rate of $2.30 per unit. Since then, major capital maintenance projects such as a new water tank remain a vision, and the additional funds have only added to the Water Fund’s surplus.

The development of a list of projects that needs attention, and a fiscally sound program to finance the improvements has been lacking for some time now. A better explanation of the difference between the water purchased and sold by the Village is also needed as there has been an approximately 12.75% variance between those two figures (according to the 1998 figures published on the Village’s web site). If adopted the water rate will have gone up 32% since the administration took over in March 2002, and we have no projects, no plan, and no accounting for a variance that could top 72 million gallons each year.

The big change, however, is in the fine print of the budget approved last Spring. Most of the projected deficit in the Water Fund is because $140,000 was transferred from the Water Fund to the General Fund - $100,000 more than the year before. This administration thinks that the Water Fund should make larger reimbursements to the Village Department of Public Works for overtime for pipe maintenance. Disclosure issues aside, if the Village’s cost accounting policy is uniformly implemented, the General Fund should pay the Water fund more than its $2,000 annual allocation for the water used in watering the plants, fighting fires and cleaning the streets.

My conclusion is that this administration is trying to trim some whopping property tax rate increases by collecting additional revenues through our water bills. I would personally rather pay a justified increase as a property tax increase, since my property tax is tax-deductible and the water charge is not.

I attended the July 14th Board Meeting. Bialo tried to push the rate increase through, but the Board finally relented when three Trustees agreed with me that more information and public comment was needed. Since then, I prepared a detailed analysis, which I have shared with the Board. (Click here for the letter to the Board.) In short, I think the rates should not go higher than that paid by neighboring residents, namely $2.48-2.50 per unit. I also think the inter-fund allocations need to be re-evaluated.

On August 4th the Board is scheduled to hold another hearing and vote on the rate. At that time, the Board should provide residents with a complete explanation for any increase that it adopts and should commit to developing a plan and budget for maintenance of the system.

Michael Gottfried
Larchmont, NY

July 24, 2003

DISCOUNTS DUE AT HARBOR

Swimming at Harbor Island has recently returned this summer after a prohibition due to pollution. We can only hope that the County Health Department continues to find the water safe for swimming but there are no guarantees. Despite the precarious water quality, Village residents are still being charged full price to sit on a beach that may or may not offer a dip in the Sound.

At the June 9, Mamaroneck Board of Trustees meeting the board was asked to consider halving the fee for beach permits in light of the uncertain nature of our water quality. The Board is selling a product, (swimming at the beach) that they obviously can't consistently deliver. A common sense business approach would have been to offer permits this summer at a discounted rate. Having failed to do that the board should at least rebate half of the fee to permit holders.

I am a huge supporter of and worked hard to insure that the Sprayground was installed. I am delighted that it has been such a success. Yet the Sprayground was only intended to be an enhancement to the beach not a replacement for swimming in the Sound. During the recent beach closure the Village was charging admission to the Sprayground even though the Sound's water was off-limits. In most communities small sprayparks are provided free to the public. Almost every New York City park provides one without a fee. Why should Mamaroneck be any different? To add insult to injury adults without children were charged for the privilege of just sitting on the sand.

I sincerely hope that the beach at Harbor Island Park remains open but swimming there will always be tentative at best for the foreseeable future. I believe that the board should, in the interest of fairness, offer fifty percent rebates to current permit holders and to charge future permit purchasers fifty percent less. We should be doing everything in our power to encourage people to come back to our beach and to enjoy the park.

Tom Murphy
Mamaroneck NY

July 22, 2003

DAVIS -BEST OF OUR GENERATION

I was happy and suprised to see an article about my little brother's friend, Dan Davis, and see pictures from the going away party we held for him at our house. Furthermore, I was delighted to see the picture of the cake I modified/decorated for the occasion. Dan is an amazing young man, a good friend, with a clear set of goals and aspirations. I have no doubt that he will accomplish whatever he sets out to do. Thank you for giving credit to him and showcasing the best of what our generation has to offer: discipline, aspirations, and dedication. He will always have a home here in Larchmont/Mamaroneck.

Kate Jenkins
Larchmont, NY

July 20, 2003

RECORD: 336 SWIM SOUND

Many thanks to John Spollen and you for the excellent coverage of the 11th Annual Swim Across America(SAA) event this past week in Larchmont. A record number of 336 swimmers splashed into the Sound swimming to fight cancer.

As you reported, $565,000.00 has been raised to provide cutting edge research and treatment to cancer patients. Since 1992, the SAA Long Island Sound chapter has raised over $3,000,000.00.
When you consider that in 1992, SAA had 28 swimmers and raised $16,000.00, this event has come a long way.

This is truly a local, grass roots event whose support is gathered here and from the neighboring communities of Larchmont. Thank you.

Jim Smith
Swim Across America
Mamaroneck, NY

July 14, 2003

OPPOSE THE PATRIOT ACT

A group of Village of Mamaroneck citizens approached our trustees on Monday July 14 to get a resolution passed that protects major parts of our Bill of Rights, such as the right to privacy. With the implementation of the USA PATRIOT ACT and more specifically Section 215, such privileges are being threatened. In September, we will be making a similar request to the Human Rights Commission.

The act, for example, defines “domestic terrorism” so broadly that any act “that violates a criminal law," and “is dangerous to human life,” and also “appears to be intended to influence the policy of government” could be considered a terrorist act.

Federal policies adopted since September 11, 2001, including provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act threaten fundamental rights and liberties by:

(a) authorizing the indefinite incarceration of non-citizens based on mere suspicion, and the indefinite incarceration of citizens designated as “enemy combatants” without access to counsel or meaningful recourse to the federal courts;

(b) limiting the traditional authority of federal courts to curb law enforcement abuse of electronic surveillance in anti-terrorism investigations and ordinary criminal investigations;

(c) expanding the authority of federal agents to conduct so-called “sneak and peek” or “black bag” searches, in which the subject of the search warrant is unaware that his property has been searched;

(d) granting law enforcement and intelligence agencies broad access to personal medical, financial, library and education records with little if any judicial oversight;

(e) chilling constitutionally protected speech through overbroad definitions of “terrorism;”

(f) driving a wedge between immigrant communities and the police that protect them by encouraging involvement of state and local police in enforcement of federal immigration law; and

(g) permitting the FBI to conduct surveillance of religious services, Internet chatrooms, political demonstrations, and other public meetings of any kind without having any evidence that a crime has been or may be committed.

Over 130 localities and cities across the USA have petitioned for the repeal of the Patriot Act. We in Westchester must do the same and get our county legislators to oppose the act and ask for its repeal.

Luis Quiros, Member of the Human Rights Commission
Mamaroneck, NY

June 24, 2003

CHEF GONE FROM SAVINI

Procrastinators lose again! The Post Road restaurant, Savini, just lost its main reason for being. Chef Christina is no longer there for you and us to enjoy her creative menu, excellent cooking and homemade treats ranging from pasta to desserts. We understand that one won't even find the former caring, well-trained waiters, Andre and Brendan. Our personal "thanks" to Christina and crew for many pleasurable dinners.

Phyllis & Murray Wittner
Larchmont, NY

June 6, 2003

LEAF-BLOWER BAN BEING IGNORED

I applaud Susan Lavi's column about noise in Larchmont. Readers may remember I wrote to the Larchmont Gazette last summer with exactly the same complaint.

We are only a few days into the leaf blower ban but already I have heard them running and several times called the police to ask them to silence them.

It seems that I am just trying to find a little peace in my home and would like some serenity to return to Larchmont.

The construction issue is an ongoing problem. It seems the private contractors pay no heed to the hours of work and noise.

I think the village has to address these issues seriously and we as residents must be vigilant in reporting violations.

Jenny Carter
Larchmont

June 6, 2003

GRASS-ROOTS CAMPAIGN FOR LIBRARY FUNDING

Thank you for your coverage of the New Rochelle Public Library budget vote, but may I make one important correction for your readers. I was but one of about a dozen women who came together to organize a grassroots campaign to save our libraries. We were able to do so through the financial support of private monies from The New Rochelle Public Library Foundation, The Partnership for the Huguenot Children's Library, and donations to YES for Libraries.

The Larchmont Gazette has provided fair and accurate coverage of the issues surrounding the budget vote and we are grateful for your help in publicizing the importance of establishing a budget for the NRPL in the manner required by NYS law, so that the future of our libraries could be secure for now and subsequent generations. In many ways the story of the NRPL budget is an important example of how the communities along the Sound Shore are linked. We share borders, we share values, and we share political representation on the state level. We will all be wise to monitor the well-being of our neighboring communities, to "watch each others backs" as my kids would say. I am sure there are many ways we can and should continue to work together. I look forward to that.

Alisa Kesten
New Rochelle, NY

May 26, 2003

GIVING HONOR TO THOSE WHO SERVED

The photos of the Larchmont Memorial Day Parade were superb. You really caught the hometown spirit of the event. Thank you for the investigative piece on the names on the War Memorial at Myrtle Blvd. and Murray Avenue. Your work helps bring alive the terrible sacrifices our young men and women made for our country during times of war.

Please join in giving honor to their memories at our annual Memorial Service Friday, May 30th at 6PM at the above location. Again this year the ceremony will be conducted by our Larchmont American Legion Post.

Valerie Moore O'Keeffe,
Supervisor
Town of Mamaroneck, NY

May 13, 2003

HOMMOCKS TIDAL AREA SHOULD BE PRESERVED

The upcoming improvements to Flint Park offer a great opportunity to make the Hommocks tidal area accessible to the Larchmont/Mamaroneck community. This area is a salt water inlet off of Larchmont Harbor on Long Island Sound located behind Flint Park. It is a nursery and hatchery for a large number of species of birds, fish and other wildlife. Many ducks winter in the area, including species not easily observed in Westchester County, such as the American Black Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Canvasback, Common Loon, Goldeneye, and Merganser. Recently, Osprey and other birds of prey have returned and again begun nesting in the area.

The plans to improve Flint Park should allocate sufficient space to make this area accessible to the public in a natural state and maintain a sanctuary for the animals. The monies received by the community to develop the area came from an Environmental Protection Fund grant for playing fields, to restore native plant life, and to provide waterfront access and visibility. Yet the preliminary plans call for the current buffer zone to be greatly reduced and sporting fields to be moved much closer to water's edge.

The animals that nest in this area are sensitive to this encroachment and may lose one of the few breeding grounds left to them in lower Westchester County on Long Island Sound.

We should use this opportunity to sensitively develop and open this area for the education and enjoyment of the community. The Mayor and Trustees of Larchmont are wisely seeking input from the community on the plans for Flint Park. A well organized and vocal constituency needs to advocate on behalf of the protection and enhancement of this beautiful natural area and the animals that live there.

Our Village officials and the community groups who have volunteered their considerable efforts and time to beautifying Flint Park are seeking input. Members of the community can register their interest in preserving this important environmental area with these community groups (such as the Flint Park Conservancy and the Village's newly formed Environmental Committee), with local environmental organizations and Larchmont's elected Village officers.

Michael Zupon
Larchmont

May 8, 2003

COMMENTS ON BUDGET SURPLUS DESERVE RESPECT

Comments reported here and elsewhere convey a disturbing response by some Republican members of the Larchmont Village Board to the passage of the 2003-4 budget. Two Democrats expressed concern over the large amount taken from surplus and allocated to next year’s revenues in order to control the tax rate increase. Trustees Kolbert and McAndrews commented because they found the amount, $420,000, to be so great. And indeed it is historically the largest ever. Comments are surely in order.

The Republican response, failing to acknowledge the validity of comment, was typically dismissive. One said, in effect, “Don’t panic.” Questioning is not panicking. The other said, in effect, “The surplus is the people’s money and we’re giving it back to them. They’ve been overtaxed for years.” Neither of those statements is true. In fact, they reveal a very shallow understanding of government and taxation.

Paying taxes is not the same as shopping in a store. You don’t check out your police protection, fire protection, recreation, street cleaning, etc., render payment and get change. You entrust your tax money to elected people to fund village services at a level they have determined to be necessary. If there is revenue unspent at the end of a fiscal year, that revenue is retained by the village till needed for expenditures. There are no refunds. Even allocating surplus to an anticipated budget is not a refund. It is the exercise of the rights and duties of elected officials to manage village finances in a manner consistent with their fiduciary responsibility to the village residents.

It is also a fact that unexpended tax revenues are not the only source of surplus funds. Far from it. Other sources are non-tax revenues that exceed budgeted figures, insurance reimbursements and investment earnings, which our treasurer has always pursued assiduously. Attributing surplus funds exclusively to over-taxation is false.

The prudent use of surplus funds also allows the Village to address emergencies without borrowing at what might be an inauspicious time. Yes, major capital projects are funded by issuing bonds. But that method of financing is not always the most appropriate or prudent. For example, St. Augustine’s school annex, now the senior center and children’s library, was purchased with funds taken from surplus. Surplus funds also paid for reconstruction of the Nassau Road sewer line when it unexpectedly collapsed and required instant repair. There was no need to borrow. Remember, money borrowed must be repaid, both principle and interest. It is not free.

While drawing down funds from surplus for use in an annual budget may be acceptable, the amount of the funds so used requires prudent judgment and thoughtful discussion. To dismiss questioning and comments is inappropriate. Respect for questioners is essential to civil government.

Miriam Curnin
Larchmont, NY

 

April 24, 2003

SENIORS SHOULD GET ONLINE, LEARN FROM KIDS

I agree with your editorial about what cybernetics can do to help local government reach the citizens. My answer, in two words, is: A lot!

Although I have been a Virginian for more than a year,I lived 46 years in one house in Larchmont and eagerly follow Larchmont news online through The Larchmont Gazette, a great innovation in local journalism.

So the fact that Town officials are pondering email and the Internet as means of keeping the citizenry informed is good news. And much as I admire Supervisor Valerie O'Keeffe, I agree with you that local government can't wait for 100 percent of the population to get computers and get into the Internet and the email circuit. No doubt many citizens, mostly the elderly, could not now be in the cyber loop with local government--but that problem is not insoluble.

I have a suggestion for senior citizens who want to follow local government news but lack computers and/or the skill to use them. Let your children teach you! That's what I did. I have a son and a niece who have patiently led me along to where I can buy books and other stuff I want online, print out a map online, do family genealogy online, get my Larchmont Gazette delivered weekly to me in Virginia by e-mail, Gazette, and e-mail friends and family as far away as California and England. Right now I'm working with Virginians and New Yorkers on a project relating to the United Nations, and how do we communicate? E-mail, of course. How do I communicate with my 90-year-old brother-in-law and his daughter in England? E-mail.

I haven't the faintest notion how those little microchips make my computer work, and I don't have to know. It is a Godsend, and my life is a lot richer at age 84 because of it.

And what helped geezers like me can help local government too. Valerie, please reconsider!

Wallace Irwin Jr.
Staunton, VA

 

 

April 23, 2003

GAZETTE "ENORMOUSLY HELPFUL"

Your web-paper has grown into an enoromously helpful tool in keeping members of the community informed. Local news is so poorly and sparsely covered that the Gazettee is helping to fill a very large void. The only thing that I find lamentable is that you have not yet branched out to cover the Village of Mamaroneck. Why not morph into the Sound Shore Gazette?

Tom Murphy
Mamaroneck

April 22, 2003

ACTION ON DAVIDS ISLAND NEEDED NOW

Since the late 1960’s thousands and thousands of citizens around Long Island Sound have protested against turning Davids Island over to Con Edison for a nuclear power plant or over to Xanadu or Donald Trump for 55 story towers. Millions of dollars obtained with the help of Congresswoman Nita Lowey and reduction of point- and non-point source pollution have begun the cleanup of one of our most precious resources, Long Island Sound.

All that effort now seems to have been in vain. Due to the current fiscal situation and the high cost of clean- up, action on this vital issue has been put on hold while those hoping to develop the island are beginning to line up once again. There has been a lot of lip-service in Westchester about clean water and the environment, but this latest inaction by the County legislators is simply incomprehensible. The island should be purchased by the County for the benefit of all its citizens and for future generations; cleanup can begin when the fiscal situation improves. Southern Westchester with limited waterfront access and population density should not be a stepchild in Westchester County’s acquisition of parkland and open space.

Imagine if legislators in New York City had adopted the view of Westchester County in planning the city. Central Park would be covered with income-producing apartment houses or office buildings. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We can’t squander it. The time to act on Davids Island is NOW, tomorrow will be too late.

Marlene Kolbert
Larchmont


April 7, 2003

ANTI-WAR DEMONSTRATOR HARRASSED

I am a Larchmont housewife and a community activist. I am also a patriotic American who feels our government has led us into the first of so-called pre-emptive wars in Iraq, perhaps to be followed by the same in North Korea and Iran), for the wrong reasons. Despite an onerous government, Iraq did not threaten us and was never proved to have weapons of mass destruction or to have been connected to Al Qaeda and 9/11.

It is heart-rending to me that our brave young American men and women are being killed for other reasons, unacknowledged publicly, by Bush, Cheney and Rusmfeld. In all conscience, I felt compelled to raise my voice in protest and therefore participated in such a demonstration in White Plains on April 6.

For this expression of my perceived patriotic obligation, I have been harrassed by numerous anonymous calls, some threatening, calling for me to leave Larchmont and even America, "or else." There are presumably the same people who profess support for democtratic values like free speech in this country.

Iris Freed
Larchmont


April 7, 2003

ENJOYED BONADONNA ARTICLE IN SOUTH AFRICA

We're in Cape Town, South Africa, and wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed the extremely well written article about Colonel Reed Bonadonna article about Colonel Reed Bonadonna and his family, by Judy Silberstein.

Reed's father, Robert, and his wife Eileen, have been friends of ours for very many years. We met while on holiday in Florida. Last July we visited them while they were visiting Reed and his family in Larchmont, and had the pleasure of meeting the family. They invited us to a bbq and an outdoor concert, and we had such a pleasant time getting to know them all. What a lovely family. And what a nice town too.

Isn't it wonderful how close we all are, despite being thousands of miles apart in Iraq, New York, Florida and South Africa.

Vic & June Barter
Cape Town, South Africa


March 18, 2003

LARCHMONT TAXI STILL VERY MUCH IN BUSINESS

I would like to inform the people of Larchmont that there is no truth to the rumors circulated that Larchmont Station Taxi & Limousine Service International are out of business or have been purchased by Leon's Taxi or Red Oak Transportation. Larchmont Station Taxi is still owned by me, John T. Villanova, and has been since the year 2000 when it was incorporated. I am the same person who innovated the taxi industry in the Village by offering Lincoln Town Cars for taxi service. I have also owned Limousine Service International for the past 20 years - the service many of the people in Larchmont have come to rely on for high quality limousine services.

John T Villanova, Jr.
Larchmont, NY


March 13, 2003

MCANDREWS RESPONDS: PROPAGANDA AND DISTORTION

I take strong exception to the statements made by John Rote in his letter of March 10.

When I took Rhetoric 101, I studied propaganda and its use of distortion, so I know it when I see it.

Throughout this campaign, Geoff Young and I have delivered a positive message of experienced leadership, open government and fiscal responsibility.

Each year I was a trustee I voted to lower taxes by using money in the surplus. In 2000, I voted that $250,240. be used from surplus to lower the tax rate. In 2001, I voted that the surplus be reduced by $191,280.

I believe we should use some of the surplus this year to lower taxes also. The question is how much. My concern is that drawing down the surplus precipitously this year will harm the Village and its taxpayers. The surplus is an asset that keeps our borrowing costs low; allows the Village to pay overbudget and unexpected items, like snow removal, without the costs of borrowing. The surplus produces income and provides the Village with the wherewithal to purchase open land, for example, if the opportunity arises.

The surplus is a Village asset. It is a tool to be used wisely. Thanks to years of careful planning, the Village has a surplus to help mitigate tax increases.

Anne McAndrews
Larchmont


March 13, 2003

REPUBLICANS KEEP PROMISE OF OPEN GOVERNMENT

Last year when the Republicans won the majority on the Village of Larchmont’s board a new era began. The newly elected mayor and trustees immediately kept their promise that village government would be more open and accessible, which it has over the last year.

Last year as a newly appointed member of the expanded Parks and Trees Committee I found myself able to give back to a community I have known all my life and part of the new open government process.

The committee, which I joined, was expanded from 2 members to 7 members and given the task to come up with different ideas, themes and enhancements for the parks in Larchmont; something it had not had a chance to do in the past. This new change directly came from the newly elected Republican majority. Open space for our residents would play an important role going forward and input was going to be needed by an expanded committee of village residents and those who would like to be heard or participate.

The Parks & Trees committee meets on a monthly basis, and the first order of business on our agenda begins with “Those Who Wish To Be Heard”. This allows any member of the community to be heard on issues as it relates to Parks and Tree’s in the Village. Over the last year we have enhanced the structure of the committee. We are hard at work developing ideas and proposals for Addison and Flint Parks and in the process of developing a Tree Ordinance for the Village.

Our liaison to the Village Board, Trustee Verni has given us encouragement and guidance during the past year and I know that his presence at our monthly meetings will be missed when he steps down from office on March 18th.

However, I am confident that both Republican Trustee candidates Wiener and Johansen who I know personally will be committed, as is Mayor Bialo and Trustee Feld to continuing the open government process. I know they will continue to encourage residents to be involved so positive change can make Larchmont a better place for all.

John Stackpole
Larchmont


March 13, 2003

"STUNNED" BY DENIAL OF REQUEST FOR REPORT

At the Larchmont League of Women Voters candidates debate, I was stunned when Democratic candidate Geoff Young said he was told his request for a
consultant's report had been denied by Republican Mayor Ken Bialo. Much of the debate, indeed much of this campaign and past campaigns, has been about "open government."

In discussing "open government," Republican candidates Phil Johanson and Mike Wiener repeatedly stressed open "meetings" and lamented that citizens did not take advantage of opportunities to participate. Open "meetings" are one slice of open "government." Being denied a report paid for with public funds -- taxes paid by property owners -- is something else. Any citizen should be able to see that report.

The Larchmont Republican leadership has set the tone -- and it is not one of open government. The Republican candidates are supporters of a denial of fundamental fair play, not to mention raising suspicion about what is in the consultant report.

Democrats Young and Anne McAndrews were articulate in speaking of the broad concept of open government, which includes reaching out to all sides of an issue, not suppressing those you don't what to hear.

John Boudreaux
Larchmont


March 12, 2003

JOHANSON DEDICATED, COMMITTED

In the March election I will be casting my vote for Village Trustee candidate Phil Johanson. Like Phil, I too, am a lifelong Larchmont resident. I feel that I have come to know him very well over the years and I am qualified to speak about Phil’s character. I know his priorities and abilities, and he will serve the Village well as a Trustee.

As a committed and devoted father, I have witnessed Phil with his four children, and he is one of the most involved men I know.
As a dedicated volunteer, I have seen Phil serve his kids and the community as a coach of kickball, t-ball, baseball, soccer and basketball, as a teacher of religious ed., as the Cubmaster of our Chatsworth Pack 33, and as a parent volunteer in classrooms, at carnivals and on class trips.
As a faithful son, I have also witnessed the numerous times that Phil has been on hand to help out his mother and mother-in-law, both Larchmont residents for 30+ years.

Phil is successful in the financial investment industry in his work. He has also been a dedicated member of the village budget committee. This unique qualification sets Phil apart from all of the other candidates. I feel confident that Phil will work hard for Larchmont. Phil is like many of us with young children. He knows about Larchmont’s past, he cares about Larchmont’s present, he wants to work hard for Larchmont’s future.

Vote for Phil Johanson on March 18th.

Nancy Dyer
Larchmont


March 12, 2003

SUPPORT FOR UNDERSTANDING HANDICAPS PROGRAM

I am writing to voice my support for our school district's elementary
school program "Understanding Handicaps." I was dismayed to learn that this valuable program has been eliminated in the proposed school district budget for next year.

Understanding Handicaps gives children hands-on exercises to experience what life is like for persons living with a variety of disabilities, such as deafness/blindness, physical disabilities, or learning differences. The children also speak with and ask questions of a
person who has that handicap. As a volunteer in my son's classroom
during two of these units, I could see the children developing empathy for the people sharing their disabilities, as well as admiration for their resilience and achievements.

These lessons are at least as important as the ever-increasing emphasis on high test scores. The salary for the professional who conducts this program is a real bargain for the District, one that we cannot afford to eliminate.

Leanne Grove


March 12, 2003

CLARIFYING EDITORIAL

We are writing to correct a misconception that may have occurred on the part of your readers in response to an editorial appearing in the Gazette on February 13, 2003. That editorial was written by the editors of the Larchmont gazette and expressed concern about the process the Village government and the mayor are using to make needed changes in Flint Park as a result of the receiving of a $125,000 grant. It was not written by the Flint Park Conservancy and does not reflect the opinion of the organization, although it may reflect the opinion of individual members.

The Flint Park Conservancy is a bipartisan citizen’s group whose mission is to improve the grounds and facilities in the Park for the community-at-large. The Conservancy has worked with both Democratic and Republican town administrations and believes it is in the best interest of the Village to work cooperatively with government to achieve the results we desire. We are happy to be part of the process and hope that the Village involves other relevant community entities soon. We believe that the best Park for our community will result from the early and active participation of all interested parties in reaching a collaborative plan and joint implementation effort.

The Flint Park Conservancy
Larchmont


March 12, 2003

IN SUPPORT OF WIENER AND JOHANSON

I am writing to express my support for Trustee Mike Wiener and Phil Johanson candidacies for Larchmont Village Trustee.

As a life long resident of the Village of Larchmont, I have known many Trustees and Fire Chiefs and I can attest to the amount of time, energy and dedication it takes to fulfill these positions. Mike Wiener has these qualities. In less than a year, Mike has had many accomplishments; let him continue the work he has begun.
As Trustee, Mike has continued his drive for public safety. He led the enactment of the new residential sprinkler law, long a fire safety issue. He initiated tri-municipal discussions to review and expand emergency procedures. He has solved numerous problems at Village Hall: the wet basement, the new heating system, and installation of the new phone system. He has been a leader in storm water cleanup. He has worked to resolve the flooding in Pine Brook.

I have known Mike since he was a boy. I have watched his volunteer activities mature from Eagle Scout, to a volunteer firefighter, to Fire Chief and now his current service as Village Trustee. There are few, if any of us who could say that they have had 25 plus years of continuous, dedicated volunteer service to this village, as Mike has given.

I have also known Phil Johanson since he was a youth. His dedication to our youth is unsurpassed. Phil’s many years volunteering as a sports coach and Cub Scout leader has proven that he has patience and energy. His service on the Budget committee, and as a financial professional will bring valuable insight and experience to the Board.

Mike Wiener and Phil Johanson have all the necessary skills, energy and dedication to get the job done. I urge Larchmont residents to cast their vote for Mike and Phil on March 18th.

Nancy Andersen
Larchmont


March 10, 2003

MCANDREWS WRONG ON BUDGET SURPLUS

Another election is upon us and Anne McAndrews is still defending the need for a huge budget surplus while advocating a double-digit tax increase for residents. The Village of Larchmont currently maintains a $2.5 million surplus - double what it was 10 years ago. That means that over the past ten years, Village residents have been overtaxed to the tune of over $1 million dollars. Why are our taxes being raised, every year, only to see the surplus balloon?

This is the wrong year for McAndrews, and her running mate, to further punish residents. Right now, we’re facing a County tax increase of at least 14%, and a nearly 10% hike in our school taxes. McAndrews thinks we should reserve our “rainy day fund” for a disaster, or for a project of her liking, rather than use a tiny portion of it to keep our taxes “unrealistically low.” I don’t think anyone in this Village thinks taxes here are “unrealistically low.” For the past ten years, the Village Board has made allocations from the budget surplus to keep taxes affordable. McAndrews knows this, since she voted to do just that during her two years as Trustee. One only needs to look at how the surplus has grown to see that this kind of budgeting hasn’t hurt the surplus one bit. It continues to grow.

Finally, the current operating budget for the Village is approximately $10.5 million. A surplus that is 25% of the operating budget strikes me as both unnecessary and unjust. Most Village residents would rather keep more of their hard-earned money than further contribute to the already bloated Village coffers. With so many residents out of work right now, I don’t know how McAndrews can justify such a hefty tax increase when it’s just not necessary.

On Election Day, Tuesday, March 18th, I urge all residents to vote for Trustee Mike Wiener and Phil Johanson, the two candidates who are committed to sound fiscal policy.

John Rote
Larchmont


March 7, 2003

WIENER EMINENTLY QUALFIED

I am writing in support of Trustee Mike Wiener in the upcoming election in the Village of Larchmont.

I have known Mike since he was a teenager. He has worked toward the betterment of Larchmont for as long as I can remember. From his Eagle Scout project of refurbishing the police garage to his service as a volunteer fire fighter to his subsequent service as Fire Chief and now as a Trustee, He is very involved with both the safety and infrastructure in our village..

Especially in these troubled times, Mike Wiener is eminently qualified to take care of Larchmont as our Trustee. Mike has proven that he has the energy, drive and dedication to get the job done

I urge everyone to vote for him on Tuesday March 18th.

Carolyn Whittemore
Larchmont, NY


March 7, 2003

OUTGOING TRUSTEE FOR JOHANSON, WIENER

I am delighted that Phil Johanson and Mike Wiener are running for Trustee. Two of my biggest priorities since being on the Board have been the long-needed renovation to the business district and Flint Park. I am excited by the progress that this Board has made on furthering the planning of both these projects, and fully intend to stay involved to help see these through to completion. I know Phil Johanson shares these same concerns, and believe his involvement on the future Board would be invaluable for the implementation of these improvements. As a father of young children, coach, and member of the Flint Park Conservancy, Phil will provide a unique perspective as the Board looks to make the park even better. In addition, with a background in finance and a member of the Village Budget Committee, he will be able to make prudent fiscal decisions as it relates to both projects, so that they are reasonable, affordable and balanced with our other responsibilities in terms of the delivery of municipal services.

More importantly, we cannot lose sight that we are living in an age of an ever-increasing threat of war and potential terrorism attacks. No one is more qualified to keep the Board focused on this very unfortunate reality than Mike Wiener. Through his service as a past Fire Chief, Mike has brought real-world experience to the Board this year on the issue of emergency preparedness, most recently spearheading a tri-municipal effort to better prepare the community in the event of a potential disaster. Now more than ever, we all should be comforted that we have someone on our Village Board like Mike Wiener who will help keep us safe.
I encourage everyone to support Phil and Mike in this upcoming election.

Chris Verni
Larchmont Village Trustee



March 6, 2003

WIENER & JOHANSON: PROVEN TRACK RECORD

Responsible Larchmont residents will have to decide in the coming weeks whether to vote for Michael Wiener and Phil Johanson, candidates that have a proven track record for accomplishment and progress. This will not be easy because in some cases it will require us to set aside old time party affiliations and friendships in order to do what is best for ourselves, our families and our community.

We are proud to be members of a relatively modest family that has been deeply committed to our Village for three generations; in this time I cannot recall a more important election or a clearer choice for the future direction of our community. Our Village leadership has been making steady progress in balancing rapidly increasing demands and costs for services (security, police, fire, recreational, and so forth) against a stagnant tax base; now is not the time to abandon these gains.

Michael and Phil are fervently behind the Mayor's commitment to keeping property taxes under control without sacrificing our special way of life. Most of us agree that we are currently facing difficult fiscal, environmental and safety challenges in Larchmont. Our trustees must be prepared to dedicate the kind of time and effort necessary to meet these obstacles. Michael Wiener and Phil Johanson are serious about this commitment and come to this job with sound judgment and vast knowledge of our community, our people, appropriate technical expertise, and business experience.

For example, Michael has been at the forefront of issues involving oversight of environmental, zoning, financial and emergency preparedness initiatives. Phil has been a leader in developing our recreational and community infrastructure. Michael and Phil have devoted many late nights and weekends working for us in areas such as "Storm Water Management", Flint Park Facility Expansion and fiscal oversight, to name a few.

In time we are confident that Larchmont will be well positioned to rebound from our present setbacks. However, we will need dedication, maturity and experience to weather this storm and Michael and Phil are by far the best candidates for us in Larchmont at this moment. They deserve our support on Election Day. Thank you.

Chuck Crowley
Larchmont, NY


March 5, 2003

KOLBERT FOR MCANDREWS YOUNG, BERNSTEIN

I have been in office for one year and I want to thank you again for the confidence you expressed in me when you elected me Larchmont Village Trustee. It has been an exciting learning experience for me, but it’s also been a lonely year.

On March 18th, we have the opportunity to elect a terrific Democratic ticket: for Trustee, Anne McAndrews and Geoff Young; for Village Justice, Jerry Bernstein.

The Board will face some very significant matters in the coming months. Under government mandate, we must clean up our storm water. Plans to improve Flint Park, currently being circulated, will require your input and the delicate balancing of the needs of the many people who love and use Flint Park. Issues of governance in the Village will be very important in the coming year. In the current economic climate, how will we maintain the level of services we enjoy while practicing fiscal responsibility? How important is adding open space to the community? Should we join the Greenway—a move I have been advocating for some time now. Monitoring construction of the SSO (sanitary sewage overflow tanks) behind Flint Park will be vital. I continue to follow developments with Davids Island, an issue with long-term consequences for Larchmont and Long Island Sound. And these are only a sampling of the matters with which the Board will grapple.

We need Trustees now who are knowledgeable and experienced, and have the commitment and vision to deal with these issues. Anne McAndrews and Geoff Young are not only long-standing Larchmont residents, but both have previously served as Trustee. They will not need a tutorial to get up to speed. They understand the issues and will be able to get to work on them immediately. Geoff would tell you that many of the issues have not changed since 1991, though they may have become more complicated. And Anne was intimately involved in the planning for many of the projects that the Board is now trying to move forward.

The community needs Anne and Geoff at the helm, and I need Anne and Geoff by my side. Jerry Bernstein, running for his third term as Village Justice, clearly has done such a superb job that he is unopposed. Please help elect McAndrews, Young and Bernstein on March 18th. It’s terribly important that we not let voter apathy squander this unique opportunity for Larchmont. In our community, recent elections have been won or lost by a single vote. Please make your vote count and support this ticket.

Marlene Kolbert
Larchmont, NY



March 4, 2003

SUPPORTING JOHANSON & WIENER

I am writing in support of the candidacies of Phil Johanson and Mike Weiner in the Village of Larchmont Trustee race. Phil Johanson is a businessman and financial professional who has lived in Larchmont all of his life. He has provided valuable service on the Village Budget Committee that I co-chair where he has become familiar with the intricate details of the Village’s finances and operations. He has served in many volunteer positions and has coached various youth sports. In short, his business and financial skills and knowledge of the Village’s workings make him very qualified for the position.

Mike Weiner has brought to the Village board a breadth of practical knowledge and involvement that is sorely needed in running a municipality. He has in-depth knowledge of computer systems, has directed the replacement of the Village Hall heating system at significant cost savings, and has used his expertise in firefighting and prevention (he served as one of the Village’s best fire chiefs) to pass the Village’s new building sprinkler ordinance. Mike has also been very active in environmental work in the area. Like Phil, Mike Weiner has lived in Larchmont all of his life.

The Village needs more business skills on the Board of Trustees. Phil Johanson and Mike Weiner bring such experience and skills to the Board while their opponents do not. I highly recommend that Larchmont residents vote for them in the upcoming election.

Bruce A. Cauley
(Former Larchmont Trustee)
Larchmont, NY

March 4, 2003

JOIN IN VOTE FOR JOHANSON

I hope all of you will join me on March 18th and vote for Phil Johanson for Larchmont Village Trustee. I have known Phil since 1995 when our sons first joined Cub Scouts. We both initially signed on to be ‘Tiger Cub Coaches’ in that first year and we ended up spending the next seven years together as Leaders. During our final two years together Phil tackled the role of Cubmaster (Pack CEO) and I served as the Pack Committee Chairman. During his time as Cubmaster, Phil ran a well respected community organization with dedication, enthusiasm, and fiscal responsibility.

Phil worked tirelessly for the hundreds of boys who participated in the pack over those years, and nowhere will you find someone more committed to the children of this community. Beyond scouts, Phil has coached countless others on baseball diamonds, soccer fields, and basketball courts. In addition, he has volunteered to be a religious education teacher at our church. He is truly a role model for our kids. I know he will keep the Village Board focused on the issues that affect our children like the expansion and improvement of Flint Park and school safety.

On March 18th we need to elect Phil Johanson, and re-elect Mike Wiener as Trustees to continue moving Larchmont in the right direction.

Phil Comerford
Larchmont, NY 10538


February 28, 2003

MCANDREWS & YOUNG SUPERLATIVE

Anne McAndrews and Geoff Young will bring superlative capabilities to the Larchmont Village Board. Having seen both in active service for the benefit of our community over many years, I continue to admire the skill with which they work with Village volunteers, focus on the important issues and ensure that things get done expeditiously.

I applaud the Democrats for putting forth such an excellent slate of candidates for the Village Board, and I urge all my neighbors to take the opportunity on March 18th to vote for them both either on the Democratic or the Larchmont Coalition line.

Justena S. Kavanagh
Larchmont, NY


February 13, 2003

FIRE MYSTERY SOLVED: THANKS VILLA MARIA!

Early in the morning on July 28th 2002 Village Paint supply had a fire in the basement of the store which was and still is located at 2084 Boston Post Road, thanks to the good work of our local firefighters from the Village of Larchmont, and the town of Mamaroneck.

We received a great deal of help and support from our neighbors and our customers for which we are very thankful.

That night was extremely hot, even without the fire. One could only imagine how hot and thirsty the firefighters were while fighting the fire.

Someone brought 20 cases of ice-cold bottled water. 10 cases to the front of the store, and 10 cases to the back of the store. I never knew who brought them, and no one I asked could tell me. It has remained a mystery to me.

I thanked everyone who helped out. However, I was never able to thank the person or persons who brought this very much needed relief for the firefighters.

So today a giant size thank you goes out to Anthony Pecora of Villa Maria Pizza and his assistant Craig Monteleone.

I should have guessed it! Because that is what they do.

If you go to Villa Maria, and you should, you will see a letter from the American Red Cross thanking them for what they did for the people of the 17 Addison Street fire.

We have all seen the poster boards with the signatures of children from the local schools thanking them for one thing or another.

You will see the pictures of the Little League teams that they sponsor year after year, and the list goes on and on.

Anthony, and Craig are special people. I am grateful that I can call them my friends.

So firefighters, the mystery has now been solved. Didn’t that water taste good!

Thank you all again.

Danny Goetze
Village Paint Supply
Larchmont, NY


January 20, 2003

SHOULDN'T CHILD BE WITH HIS MOTHER?

It was disturbing to read about the travails of little Travis Kelly, whose Chinese mother took him back to China after a domestic dispute, only to be apprehended and separated from her baby when she came back to New York after the father's death. The congratulatory tone of your article masked the real tragedy here, namely that a mother has lost her child.

Did the Larchmont relatives have high-powered attorneys? Did the Chinese mother have any resources to fight for Tristam? Just because Larchmontians are involved in a dispute like this, doesn't mean they're the heroes here. Why do you automatically assume so? Shouldn't this child be with his mother?

Stephen Kling
Larchmont, NY


January 3, 2003

TRAFFIC GOING FROM BAD TO WORSE

The traffic situation in Larchmont is going from bad to worse. I was driving on Weaver Street recently and a woman behind me in an SUV kept blowing her horn. I was doing 30 miles per hour, which is the speed limit on Weaver and plenty fast enough for that winding road. She kept honking. Once she pulled out, and for a heart stopping moment I thought she was going to try and pass me, but oncoming traffic made her move back. She finally turned off Weaver.

I live near Palmer and Chatsworth and I can't count how many times I've seen people speeding up when they see the yellow light and running the red light. Then we have those who are driving with one hand on the wheel and their cell phone in the other. Can't they just pull over for a moment if they have to make a call?

The double-parking in front of Starbucks is ridiculous. The significant other goes in for coffee and the companion sits double-parked pretending not to be tying up traffic. Can't drive around the block? Then there are the people shopping on Palmer and crossing in the middle of the street because it is soooooo far to go to the corner and cross at the light. How about u-turn heaven otherwise know as the intersection at Palmer Avenue and Depot Way?

May I offer some suggestions?

First, Larchmont should invest in those traffic cameras they use in New York City to nab people running lights. It would be especially useful on Weaver Street.

Secondly, we should invest in digital signs like the kind out on the highways (only lower) that can be reworded when necessary. Warnings like "SLOW DOWN - SCHOOL ACTIVITY" would be much better than the little yellow/black signs we have now. The same digital signs would also be handy during elections when voting is in progress at the schools until 9 pm.

Also, if drivers get points on their license and have to pay fines they may pay more attention to the rules of the road. The revenue from these fines will cover the expenses for installing the equipment and the result will be safer roads for all of us.

Maureen MacElroy
Larchmont, NY



 


 

 

December 11, 2003

MEMORIAL: COVENANT IN PERPETUITY

A community’s memorial is a covenant in perpetuity and with it comes the burden of responsibility. Memorials are a commitment from one generation to the next for reasons too soon forgotten. Simply stated, there are things more important than our own needs. The Board of Education is simply wrong-headed as it crumbles to our community’s sense of entitlement. No one, not veterans, community leaders or our school board has the right or reason to violate this covenant.

The irony of our memorial conundrum located at our most important collective investment in the future gives me cause to pause. The Kemper Memorial is an example to our children of great sacrifice. The decision to sacrifice the use of this land was made long ago. We simply must respect that decision on moral grounds. Our sacrifice and the example it sets for our future generations out weighs our current sense of entitlement.

From generation to generation the stories are told. Let future generations reflect on the price of freedom and the costs we must share across the generations. We must remember. We must teach. We must never forget.

Edward J. Merians
Larchmont, NY
MHS class of 1976

December 6, 2003

SADNESS AT KEMPER MEMORIAL STALEMATE

It is with great sadness that I continue to read articles about the stalemate between the Cantor family and the Mamaroneck School District proposal to shift the Kemper Memorial to make room for an additional playing field at the high school.

I won’t pretend to be unbiased. As the mother of three student athletes whose teams are constantly hindered due to the community-wide lack of field space, I am in favor of the district’s proposal to relocate the Kemper Memorial.

But my vote isn’t purely selfish--I believe that everyone would benefit by relocating the Kemper Memorial. For the Cantor family, a rededication of a more prominent, beautifully landscaped area to remember our war veterans could well serve their memory better than the existing memorial area. I think the school district’s proposal to enhance the memorial park area and its offer to name the new playing field after Richard Kemper creates a memorial legacy that will have far greater impact on our children and community than the current monument now offers. I urge the Cantor family to put grievances aside, to bring calm discourse to this situation, and, in good faith, work for a resolution that will meet the needs of our children and community today and in the future

My vote aside, it’s also important to note that a fair process is now taking place. Members of the School Board, who are elected representatives, are currently holding discussions with community groups to get feedback on the district’s proposal. The primary job of our Board members is to take into account the needs of over 4,000 diverse students in order to make sound policy decisions for the greater good of the entire student body. Just as they have done in the past, regarding issues ranging from curriculum to capital improvements, we must trust that the Mamaroneck School Board members will ultimately weigh all factors in coming to a final decision. It serves no purpose other than to fuel controversy and split our community for the Cantor family, or any others, to imply that the School Board is acting dishonestly or with hidden agendas.

Let’s not let this matter divert our community from our more important educational mission. My hope is for a speedy resolution, and my trust goes to our elected School Board members.

Blythe Hamer
Larchmont, NY

November 14, 2003

HELP US REACH COMPROMISE ON MEMORIAL

This past Veterans Day, November 11th, at 11 am in the morning, Cecilia Absher and I went to the Kemper Memorial. For the time we were at the memorial, we were alone with our thoughts on that cold morning. There were no flags, no ceremony; we were joined by no other community members. I thought about my tour of duty in Vietnam, the friends I made in the service, some of whom returned with me, others who did not. Cecilia thought of her cousin who was MIA for many months in Vietnam before returning home.

As the School Board has worked with Richard Cantor and his family over the past several months, the ghosts of my friends have never been far from my mind. To preserve the memory of the young men and the woman who are named on the Memorial, to honor those who served and those who continue to serve, the community and the schools must treat the Memorial with all the dignity and respect we owe our service men and women.

I agree that the School Board and the Cantor family must strive to put our differences behind us and try to work together on this difficult and emotional issue. I believe that if we and the community can honestly listen to each other and hear each others needs, we will reach a compromise that will meet the needs of the community, the needs of our student-athletes and the need to honor Lt. Richard Kemper and all those who have served and died wearing the uniform of the United States armed services. Please help us to reach that goal.

Robert G. Martin, President
Mamaroneck School Board

November 5, 2003

THANKS TO THE VOTERS FROM GEORGE LATIMER

I am writing to extend my thanks to the voters of Rye, Larchmont, Mamaroneck and New Rochelle for their support in my re-election last Tuesday. I appreciate the vote of confidence, and as I enter my 7th term as County Legislator, I will make every effort to justify that confidence.

Thanks, too, to the Larchmont Gazette for their campaign coverage in the race just ended.

I look forward to speaking with my neighbors at upcoming District Office Hours, to continue to accept their ideas and advice on how we can do a better job in Westchester County government.

George Latimer
Westchester County Legislator - 7th District

October 29, 2003

SUPPORT FOR DERRICO

As an experienced and respected trial attorney who has tried hundreds of civil and criminal cases in local, state and federal court, and as a lifelong resident of our community who has volunteered in every arena of civic activity, Don Derrico deserves your vote on Tuesday, November 4tth for Town Judge.

For over a decade while practicing law, Don Derrico has dealt first hand with the many issues that come before a Town Judge: landlord-tenant disputes; violations of local ordinances; misdemeanor criminal matters; small claims cases; traffic violations, to name a few. He has shown his commitment to fairness through countless hours of volunteer time as an Arbitrator for New York’s Civil Court in Bronx and New York Counties, and through the same service has demonstrated the temperament required to serve in such a sensitive position as Town Judge.

Don Derrico was raised and educated in Mamaroneck and is keenly aware of the issues we face in this community. In fact, he is the only candidate in this race who practiced in our Town Court before running for the position of Judge. His candidacy is strongly supported by Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe and I join her in urging you to vote for him in the upcoming election.

Liz Noyer Feld
Larchmont, NY
Village of Larchmont Trustee

October 27, 2003

JUDGE BRESCIA BY FAR MORE QUALIFIED

I write in support of Judge Jean Marie Brescia who was appointed Town Justice and is now running for a full four-year term.Her academic credentials and judicial experience make her by far the more qualified candidate.

The suggestion that there is a ”long tradition” of Republicans and Democrats sharing the judicial posts in Mamaroneck Town is pure fantasy. In 1982 when I took office as the first Democratic Councilwoman, Mamaroneck had two Republican judges: Russell Pelton and Martin King.In 1985 David Klein, a Democrat, successfully challenged Judge Pelton, thus becoming the first Democratic judge in the approximate 350 year history of the Town.

David Klein and Marty King shared the judical post until David was elected to the Family Court and former supervisor Dolores Battalia was appointed to fill his unexpired term in 2001. Upon the death of Judge King, Jean Marie Brescia was appointed by the Town Council to fill his unexpired term.

These facts do not add up to a “long tradition.” Campaign literature that tells that tale strongly suggests a desire to mislead voters.

We depend on judges to correctly analyze the facts, determine the truth and make fair and wise decisions. A candidate for judicial office should be expected to do the same. Voters should be cautious about lending support to someone who is creating a fairy tale about a “long tradition” that never existed.

Caroline Silverstone
Larchmont, NY
Town Councilwoman, 1982-1989
Supervisor, 1990-1993

October 23, 2003

POLITICS AT ITS WORST

By nature I'm not a political person but I am not so naive to believe that politics doesn't play a role when selecting a candidate to run for office. I nevertheless firmly believe that partisan politics should not get in the way when choosing a Judge. As long as I can remember The Town of Mamaroneck always had one Democrat and one Republican Judge. In fact, after the initial election a Judge has not been opposed in subsequent elections. The Town of Mamaroneck has a long history of outstanding Judges. The election of Donald Derrico, a lifelong resident of the Town of Mamaroneck would continue that tradition. If you have read his resume or had an opportunity to see his interviews on "Meet the Candidates" on LMC- TV you must agree that he is more than qualified to be our next Judge. Donald Derrico is an experienced trial attorney who has handled hundreds of cases in local courts. He has handled every type of matter that the court has jurisdiction over. Please vote for Donald Derrico for Judge in the Town of Mamaroneck. By electing Donald Derrico we can restore a non-partisan judiciary and have someone on the bench who really knows what it's like to practice locally.

Alana Brady
Larchmont, NY

October 21, 2003

VOTE TO KEEP JUDGE BRESCIA

I urge your readers to vote for Judge Jean Marie Brescia as Mamaroneck Town Justice. As any practicing attorney can tell you, a really good judge has strong ability in three different areas: experience, intelligence and temperament. It is our great fortune that Jean Marie excels in all three areas.

Jean Marie’s intellectual qualifications and experience could not be more outstanding. After graduating from Harvard Law School, she began her legal career at Sullivan Cromwell, a highly regarded law firm in New York City. But soon it became clear that public service is her true calling. She became a Legal Aid attorney representing children and families in criminal, child abuse and neglect and landlord/tenant cases and a hearing officer for the New York State Education Department. In these positions, she acquired the knowledge that is key to the judge’s craft, such as the rules of evidence and the procedures for conducting a fair trial.

Jean Marie’s commitment to service has drawn itself closer to home over the years, as Mamaroneck Avenue School PTA co-president and Mamaroneck Public Library trustee. For her, the position of Town Justice is yet another form of the public service that she has already performed so selflessly for our Town.

Which leads to the last qualification of a judge – temperament. Jean Marie is one of the most down to earth people you will ever meet. She is just the person you would want to decide your case.

Joyce Tichy
Larchmont, NY 10538

October 14, 2003

VOTE FOR JUDGE BRECIA ON NOVEMBER 4!

I am writing to urge your readers to vote for Judge Jean Marie
Brescia for Mamaroneck Town Justice. Voters may not be fully aware of the importance of the position in the daily lives of people in Mamaroneck and Larchmont. The Town Justice functions as the small claims court for the Town, and is the court where all criminal offenses that take place in the Town are first heard. The Town Justice can issue orders of protection, hears landlord/tenant cases, and, as most people probably know, handles all traffic and parking offenses in the Town. In other words, the Town Justice guards the civility and respect for one another that must prevail in our community.

Judge Brescia graduated from Fordham College and Harvard Law School(magna cum laude). She has extensive experience in dealing with the kinds of cases that are heard in our Town Court. Judge Brescia was appointed to complete the term of the late Judge Martin King in January of this year, and she has done an exemplary job. No one who knows Jean Marie Brescia from her work as a practicing lawyer for seventeen years, an administrative law judge, a law professor, or from her involvement in the Mamaroneck Avenue School PTA and on the library board could have been surprised by her outstanding work as our Town Justice.

We have the opportunity to keep a highly qualified, committed and impartial Town Justice. Please vote for Judge Brescia on November 4th!

Barbara Henkind
Larchmont, NY

September 10, 2003

FLAGS FADE: SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES ENDURES

We lost ten members of our community on September 11, 2001 - eight fathers and two mothers - ten of the 3016 who perished that day. And though the flags we placed in our windows and on our porches have long faded, we are still gripped by the event, each of us in our own way.

Two years later, the events of 9/11 continue to be tenanciously powerful. It colors our collective consciousness and our daily interactions. We strive for closure, where perhaps there may be none. But we can take much solace from the fact that for the past two years our community banded together in support of the ten families who suffered an incomprehensible loss.

Friends In Deed (FIND), a not-for-profit organization, was organized in the aftermath of 9/11 to provide support for the local families who lost a loved one. FIND has raised over $140,000, of which over 90% has gone directly to the families or the establishment of special "529" educational funds for each of the 17 children.

On Saturday, September 13th at 1 pm at Memorial Park, FIND is sponsoring its 3rd Annual CommUNITY Walk on behalf of the families. It is a time for our community to show that while our flags may have faded, our resolve and commitment to our friends and neighbors is enduring. Please give your support to the families by making a donation and attending the CommUnity Walk on Saturday. Donations can be sent to FIND, PO Box 178, Larchmont, NY 10538.

Noel Dennis
Larchmont, NY

August 1, 2003

GAZETTE INTERESTING, USEFUL & BALANCED

This letter is long overdue. We want to commend you for your great coverage of our Village news and information. The coverage is interesting, useful and presents a balanced view.

The Larchmont Gazette is a wonderful addition to life in our lovely village. We thank you for all of your work.

Dick and Mary Ann Mumma
Larchmont, NY

 

July 27, 2003

TAX CALCULATOR VERY INFORMATIVE

Many thanks to Ned Benton for that excellent tax calculator. (see: 2003 Tax Calculator.) I found it very informative. Over the next few years as taxes fall at the federal level and rise even more rapidly at the local level it is important that all of us become as knowledgeable as possible about the basic facts.

Also: Happy First Anniversary to the Larchmont Gazette - a truly valuable addition to our community.

Elliott Sclar
Larchmont, NY

July 23, 2003

JACK SLYPER - EMPATHY FOR THE HOMELESS

Many long time residents are sad to have lost Jack Slyper this past week. The first time I met Jack I had just gotten off the 5:15 at Larchmont from a busy work day in NYC. He was planting pansies in the station flower boxes to greet commuters. The summer we had a bad drought Jack hauled buckets of water from the Duck Pond to water those flower boxes. He did a lot of
volunteer hours for the Beautification Committee over the years.

Jack also had a unique and important Security role in the U.S. Army in World War II.

But, the reason I know Jack went immediately to heaven was his empathy for the homeless when most folks were not aware of their plight. Jack planted a vegetable garden up at the reservoir and sent the best tomatoes in Town to feed the homeless.

We will miss you, Jack. All love to his family.

Julie Gilligan
Larchmont, NY

 

July 18, 2003

FIRE ALARM NOT NEEDED

The fire alarm is not needed anymore. The guys have pagers and cell phones. The horn is old and outdated. If the firefighter is out of town, say in New Rochelle, he's not going to hear the alarm but he will get the page.

So the listing of what the number of alarm sounds is totally outdated and is very annoying.

Get rid of it.

Joseph Paterno III
Mamaroneck, NY

June 28, 2003

CONGRATULATIONS GAZETTE

Congratulations and thank you Judy Silberstein and Paula Eisenberg. You have provided an invaluable service to the community during the past year and we look forward to reading the Larchmont Gazette during the coming year and many more to come. The Gazette has covered so many stories and provided much needed information that citizens might otherwise never have seen. A look at the Gazette each morning keeps us on top of local breaking news.

Thank you for being there for us.

Marlene Kolbert
Larchmont, NY

June 8, 2003

THANKS FROM HISTORIC HARBOR STREET FAIR

Sunday, June 8, was a very special day in the Village of Mamaroneck--our first ever Historic Harbor Street Fair. By all accounts, it was a rousing success. Nearly 20,000 people turned out for an event that brought everyone together in celebration of a village we love, a history we treasure, and a future we know will be bright! Due to the enthusiasm and dedication of a cast of hard working volunteers, our dream became a reality. We are submitting this letter to try to thank everyone who helped:

The more than 280 citizen volunteers who rose to the occasion as dedicated, tireless, true believers. WE SALUTE YOU!!
Our village employees: the members of our Department of Public Works, who moved mountains in a moment and earned our undying respect and admiration; the Village of Mamaroneck Police Department, who cheerfully and safely guided traffic; the Volunteer Fire Department, Ambulance & Emergency Medical Services,-who were dependable, helpful and supportive;. and the Village officials and their staff, who were our champions and enablers.
The community organizations such as the Junior League on the Sound, who sponsored the children’s games and the colonial craftspeople. All of you should be commended for the joy that you have brought to the citizens of our Village.
The Mamaroneck Historical Society, the Mamaroneck Library and the Village Historian, who brought an historical accuracy and authenticity to the event.
Our local artists, entertainers, and the staff of the Emelin Theatre who reflect the best in our world.
Our “international” food establishments who offer the best food around. If you want to eat well, just come to Mamaroneck!
· Our school districts, Mamaroneck and Rye Neck, for helping with transportation, parking, supplies, volunteers and spreading the word.
Our neighbors from the Village of Larchmont and Town of Mamaroneck, who kindly donated buses and parking fields.
No letter of thanks would be complete without gratefully acknowledging our many sponsors.
We also appreciate the wonderful and helpful coverage we received from The Sound and Town Report, The Soundview News, The Larchmont Gazette, the Rye Record, WVOX, The NY Times, LMC-TV, WFAS radio and WFUV radio, most of all, THE TIMES , serving Larchmont and Mamaroneck since 1894!
Also, we must thank the Mamaroneck Avenue Task Force, the local business associations and our more than one hundred businesses and individual sponsors, many of who were listed in our program, who gave either financial support to our Event or gifts to our silent auction. Thanks also to those who gave selflessly with no expectation of gaining publicity.

Please know in our hearts that we are eternally thankful. This event took a community to plan and execute and brought our Village together. It became a celebration of the best of each of us and brought out the best of all of us. Mamaroneck proved it is truly “The “Friendly Village”

Sunny Goldberg & Carolyn Pomeranz, Co-Chairs
Mamaroneck, NY

June 5, 2003

EYEOPENING PRICES FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

I read with great interest your survey on the substantial range of prices for prescription drugs in several local pharmacies. I would like all your readers to know that our Department of Consumer Protection has surveyed prices in 35 pharmacies thoughout Westchester for the drugs most frequently purchased by seniors. On our website we have a table which shows . Then by clicking a drug name, you can find which pharmacies offer the lowest prices for that drug. The pharmacies are listed from lowest priced to highest priced. We update this list several times a year. The survey is an eye opener as well!

Elaine Price
Dir. of Consumer Protection
Westchester County

May 26, 2003

GRANNY FOILS GERMAN SPY

Thought you might like to know about a heroic Larchmont grandmother of the Grinnel family. Her name was Carr and she was a long time Village resident. Her
grandchildren told me this story.

During World War II, troop ships getting ready for war backed up in the Long Island Sound off Larchmont's shore. Everyone knew about them but did not talk about them.

One day in Manor Park, Mrs. Carr noticed the Good Humor man's attitude toward the eager kids wanting ice cream. He did not have the right friendly touch. The
wise, suspicious lady called the FBI and reported him. Sure enough, he was indeed a German spy counting the troop ships and reporting back to the Germans.

Now, isn't that a Memorial Day tribute - remembering a smart granny?

Julie Gilligan
Larchmont, NY

May 13, 2005

SUPPORT LOCAL STORES, BOYCOTT CVS

Your edition of May 8th notes that CVS is planning to celebrate a grand opening on May 12th. For many of us, there is nothing to celebrate in having to suffer yet another CVS location in our immediate area while we travel to New Rochelle and Mamaroneck to buy groceries. This store is redundant and obnoxious.

While I am grateful to have the parking lot finally reopened, I would urge Larchmont residents to boycott this store and support our long time businesses. If we don't vote with our feet (and our wallets) we may see the demise of Futterman's, the Larchmont Store, Almarc Drugs and more. I say, park in their lot while you shop our local merchants!

Kinnan O'Connell
Larchmont, NY

 

April 26, 2003

BOARDS SHOULD RELEASE INFO EARLY & TO ALL MEDIA

I applaud your editorial on keeping citizens informed. There is no reason why we can't have an integrated community calendar online. Many times I have seen an organization schedule an event on the same day as a municipal or school forum.

But I think it is also the duty of the boards to release information on meetings at least 2 weeks ahead (or as soon as the date is known) to all media, including LMC-TV and the 4 local papers. That is in the spirit of the open meeting law and would go a long way towards informing offline citizens.

Catherine Wachs
Larchmont, NY

 

March 19, 2003

LATIMER SHEDS LIGHT ON COUNTY TAX RATE

There has been much made of Westchester County's 2003 budgetary matters; permit me to add a few facts, which can be interpreted as one wishes:

Albany 23.8%

Oneida 15.6%

Broome 27.4%

Orange 22.0%

Cayuga 16.5%

Oswego 18.0%

Chautauqua 26.2%

Otsego 11.9%

Columbia 11.1%

Rensselaer 27.8%

Delaware 12.0%

Schenectady 11.9%

Essex 21.7%

Schuyler 11.8%

Genesee 11.5%

Steuben 12.9%

Greene 12.7%

Tioga 11.8%

Hamilton 14.5%

Tompkins 17.8%

Jefferson 10.4%

Ulster 19.7%

Livingston 13.5%

Warren 10.7%

Montgomery 23.6%

Washington 15.0%

Nassau 19.9%

Westchester 14.9%

NY City 18.0%

 


Of these 29 jurisdictions, 6 have Democratic majorities, and 23 have Republican majorities.

Counties across NY State that received a SALES TAX increase (last 12 months):

Chemung 1 %

Seneca 1 %

Chenango 1%

Schenectady 0.50%

Dutchess 0.75%

Sullivan 0.75%

Montgomery 1%

Tioga 0.50%

Niagara 1%

Ulster 0.25%


Of these 10 counties, 1 has a Democratic majority, and 9 have Republican majorities. With these increases, Westchester's 6.75% sales tax rate is the lowest in the State. Source data is quoted from the NY State Association of Counties (tel. 518'-465-1473).

Added together (and eliminating the duplication of those that increased both property and sales taxes), 39 of New York's 62 counties - nearly two-thirds - suffered significant jumps in local taxes in 2003. This is unprecedented over the past twenty years. And of course, the MTA bus and subway fares, Metro-North commuter rail, and bridge tolls are all going up by 30% or so.

Any fair-minded observer can see that funding County services, including exploding mandated expenses for Medicaid and Retirement Benefit costs, has reached a crisis proportion not merely in Westchester, but across the State. The State's possible $12 billion budget gap has yet to be addressed in final form, which may well add to the burdens of all County governments.

Such a widespread impact should lead us to look for root causes, on a bi-partisan basis, and avoid the never-ending sniping that adds plenty of heat, but precious little light, on the crisis at hand.

Goerge Latimer
Westchester County Legislator
Rye, NY

March 16, 2003

WATCH LMC-TV: DEMS EXPERIENCED ON BUDGET

Because the “Meet the Candidates” programs of the Village Trustee candidates are quite informative of what residents can expect from our local government in the coming year, I encourage all Larchmont voters to invest an hour and tune into the programs airing on our local cable station, LMC-TV. The presentations show the differences between the backgrounds, abilities and approaches of the four candidates.

Noticeably, the Republican program was dominated by moderators Ken Bialo and another sitting trustee, neither of whom are on the March 18th ballot. In contrast, the presentation of the Democratic candidates focused on the candidates’ backgrounds and views, undoubtedly because Anne McAndrews and Geoff Young have the benefit of years of elective office experience. Because they were Trustees and are competent, civic-minded professionals with a demonstrated record of success and integrity, they are able to convey substance rather than simply echoing the views of others.

One major topic in both programs was the anticipated difficulties in the upcoming budget. Interestingly, the Republican panel spoke glowingly of their hope to keep the tax rate increase to 5%. Ironically, that rate represents a threefold increase from the 1.7% that the Republicans voted against two years ago as being “not good enough.” Indeed, the pension and other State-mandated costs the panel singled out as causes of the projected increase were predicted by our Village Treasurer two years ago and discounted by one of the moderators as a “parade of horribles.” The same occurred last year when one of their candidates voted with the moderators to use $275,000 of surplus (against the advice of the Village Treasurer) in order to gerrymander the increase from a little over 2% to 1.9%. You should watch their program carefully with their history as a backdrop; you are entrusting your Village’s finances to whomever is elected.

In the Democrat’s program, viewers will see that McAndrews and Young are prepared to jump right into the responsibilities of managing prudently our Village’s affairs. Their experience with our Village’s finances exceeds that of their opponents six-fold and also lends credibility to their stated plan to lower costs by re-invigorating the corps of volunteers. History has again proven their point that proper attention to “open government” can yield a greater participation of residents (e.g. in areas such as attending to our Village Web site) and a lower cost of government.

The rubber will hit the road in April when our Trustees put the finishing touches on the budget for the coming year. If you are worried about the significant tax rate increases this administration is planning, you will agree it is not a time to “try-a-trustee-on-for-size.” Watch the shows and see for yourself if demonstrated experience and integrity is important to you. Then vote for it on March 18th.

Anne McAndrews and Geoff Young are the right choices in this election. They deserve your vote. We deserve to have them as our Trustees. Please vote for them on Tuesday, March 18th.

Michael Gottfried
Larchmont, NY


 

March 13, 2003

YOUR VOTE CAN HAVE PROFOUND EFFECT ON LIFE IN LARCHMONT

Casting a vote for a local official should be a more involved decision than casting one in a national election. This doesn’t sound intuitive because in local elections you’re not voting for women’s rights, or for the future of Medi-Care; the war in Iraq is not at issue, neither is the fate of our federal judiciary.

Your vote has no bearing on national budget issues and it can’t affect environmental regulations. While your vote for local officials won’t influence domestic or international policy, it has the more profound effect of changing where you live, your street corner, your schools.

In many ways, this is the vote that counts, the vote that can directly change your quality of life, and your vote has an immediate and dramatic effect. Spend a little bit of time before the election on March 18th thinking about what you’d like to see in Larchmont’s future.

When you’ve decided what is important to you, think about which candidates best fit into your imagined plans for the future, look beyond party lines, and please, do your homework, your vote counts. Political ideology doesn’t have the same place in local elections as it does at the national level, look at experience and vision.

Think about the past few years that have elapsed following the last election and decide for yourself if your local government has exceeded your expectations. Have they been open to access? Have they gone out of their way to keep you apprised of what has been going on?

Have they kept you, the citizen, involved and in the know? This is your government and you deserve for it to perform at its absolute best. Above all though, take the time to go out to the polls, make a well educated vote and show that you care about your community and your neighbors. When the vote is over, the election decided and the new government in place, continue your involvement by sharing your ideas, opinions and criticism with your local government.

We all want the very best Larchmont we can have and your voice counts. In order to maintain the high standards we have all become accustomed to in Larchmont, please take the time to critically consider how you will cast your vote.

Alex Hu
Larchmont


March 13, 2003

JOHANSON WANTS TO GIVE BACK TO COMMUNITY

A vote for Phil Johanson for Village Trustee, on March 18th, is the right choice. People keep asking, “Why does Phil want to run?” This is what I tell them…
Phil is both excited and enthusiastic about this opportunity. He grew up in Larchmont with parents and grandparents who were constantly volunteering. Their involvements included the Boy Scouts of America, Little League, Soccer League, Church, PTA and a host of other activities. They instilled in him the importance of volunteerism. Phil exemplifies this wisdom every day. Phil has also learned that although Larchmont is great, all great things cannot stay great without consideration, maintenance and care.

Phil is in touch with every generation in Larchmont: children, adults (many with children) and grandparents. He listens to relatives’ and friends’ concerns. He is also in touch with numerous facets of the village, currently untouched by his opponents: finances; sports, recreation and Flint Park; youth concerns, our schools as a graduate of Chatsworth Avenue, Hommocks and MHS.

Phil’s volunteer commitments have given him first hand knowledge of many of Larchmont’s needs. He is eager to prioritize those needs and get things done in Larchmont.

Phil is grateful. We have four children and are thrilled to be able to raise them in a community like ours. One cannot feel so fortunate and not want to give back. Phil wants the opportunity to do positive things in the world, even if that “world” is Larchmont. Phil is not running because he wants to fill time in his day. He looks at this prospect as the next step in his commitment to serve.

Phil has been attending Village Board meetings for years (quite often as the only spectator) for the knowledge they provide to all residents. He admires the current Board’s open door policy of listening to the residents at Board meetings, during “Office Hours”, through communication with the many diverse committees, and on the street. Phil looks forward to continuing this helpful policy and working with the Mayor and the Board for the benefit of the future of Larchmont. In addition, Phil has also been active on the Budget committee, a unique qualification among the candidates.

Please come out to the polls on Tuesday, March 18th and remember every vote counts. A vote for Phil Johanson will give him his opportunity to serve, and a vote for Phil and Mike will be a vote for the team that will keep “GETTING THINGS DONE.”
Thank you for your support.

Lucy Johanson
Larchmont


March 13, 2003

MCANDREWS, YOUNG: EXPERIENCE, DEDICATION

I urge the residents of the Village of Larchmont to cast their votes on March 18nth for Anne McAndrews and Geoff Young for the office of Village Trustee. Anne and Geoff possess the experience, dedication and expertise to insure that the quality of life we enjoy in Larchmont will be safeguarded and maintained in these difficult economic and social times.

Anne and Geoff's years of community service and involvement enhance their candidacy with a unique blend of practical application and knowledge in the areas of fiscal management, land-use/zoning issues, environmental concerns and administrative process. If elected, their presence will bring a balanced, well-reasoned approach to village government.

Dorothea Constas
Larchmont, NY


March 12, 2003

REPUBLICANS WRONG ON SURPLUS

As usual, budget surplus is a major issue in Larchmont's elections. Democrats want to retain a healthy surplus for "emergencies." Republicans want to reduce the surplus to fund day-to-day expenses.

If the surplus is reduced dramatically, Democrats know that Larchmont's bond rating will be reduced, causing higher expenses in the long run. And, Republicans won't be specific about how much of the surplus they want to spend, although they hint.

If Larchmont's budget surplus was reduced to five percent of the total
budget, which Republican Phil Johanson seems to be preaching, I guess a future campaign issue will center on the "tax and spend Republicans." Because that is what the Republican philosophy will cause -- higher taxes to fund not only a higher interest rate on borrowing, but also normal
operating expenses and even emergencies.

Frances H. Snedeker
Larchmont


March 12, 2003

JOHANSON: BREADTH OF KNOWLEDGE

I am pleased that the editors of the Journal News/The Times endorsed the election of Trustee Mike Wiener, thus recognizing the unique experience he brings to the Larchmont Board and the important contributions he has made to the Village. They cited five specific achievements of Trustee Wiener during his eleven months of service, which certainly shows his “getting it done” attitude.

They said that experience is a “valuable commodity.” I agree, but then it is Phil Johanson who also deserves their endorsement because he is the candidate who also brings a real breadth of knowledge and background.

Phil, a life-long resident of Larchmont and father of four, has been an active volunteer in sports, community and religious groups involving our youth. He grew up playing in Flint Park, has coached many games on its fields and is now an active voice in the discussions regarding enhancing its facilities and adding open space.

Phil has also been a member of the Village Budget Committee, bringing his professional financial expertise to the discussion of how best to use taxpayers’ money. He believes in establishing clear priorities and relating current projects to the Village’s future needs and resources.

Larchmont is a wonderful place to raise children and Phil is clearly in tune with the issues that parents face. He also understands that we do not want to price the Village beyond the means of younger AND older residents.

Larchmont needs Phil’s expertise and insights to move forward in these challenging times.

Marian B. White
Larchmont


March 7, 2003

JOHANSON: COMMITMENT TO LARCHMONT

When the time comes to make your selections for Larchmont Village Trustee on March 18, 2003, I strongly urge you to pull the lever marked “Phil Johanson.” I know I will. The most important reason for doing so, in my own eyes, is the deep and sincere level of care Phil has for our Village and the people who live in it.

As lifelong Village residents, both Phil and his wife Lucy have time and time again answered the bell when asked to partake in Community activities. My own personal knowledge of his level of commitment spans over twenty years. Phil acted as Assistant Coach to his father, Carl, on two of my Larchmont Little League baseball teams. While the team itself might not have been confused with the 1927 Yankees, Phil’s sincerity and care for both the Community and young people on the squad were evident even at such a young age. That level of care and commitment has never faded as Phil has continued to take an active role in local school and community recreational activities involving his four young children.

Perhaps Phil’s most valued asset, and one that should not be overlooked given the fact that residents of the Village are now facing imminent tax increases, is his educational and professional background in finance. As a member of the Larchmont Village Budget Committee since 2001 Phil has already demonstrated a keen acumen in resolving the looming property tax increases which face us all by analyzing new and innovative ways to eradicate debt while still maintaining the high level of service we are all accustomed to. As a parent, and an active member of the Flint Park Conservancy, Phil has also shown his awareness for the need to “Keep Larchmont Beautiful” by recognizing the need to use the financial resources necessary to restore and renovate Village Parks and Playgrounds.

Based on all of the above, and more, I strongly urge everyone to support Phil Johanson and his running mate, Michael Wiener, as Village Trustees.

Stewart A. McMillan
Larchmont


March 5, 2003

MCANDREWS & YOUNG EXACTLY RIGHT

I have known former Larchmont trustees Anne McAndrews and Geoff Young for many years.

Anne and I have been good friends and Larchmont advocate-lawyers since the early 1980s. We have raised our families side-by-side through three decades. We first served our Village on Committees (ZBA, BAR) in the eighties and on the Village Board in more recent years. Anne also served as a multiple term President of the Larchmont Mamaroneck League of Women Voters while performing many other civic tasks which by now are well known.

Geoff Young, while previously on the other side of the political fence, has also been a Larchmont citizen with whom I have also had a long personal and family relationship. Geoff, like Anne, served this Village for many years on committees, as well as on the Village Board. Geoff is also a local attorney, whose practice has for many years involved the legal representation of our citizens.

Importantly, Anne and Geoff each bring to this election both an historical and a current perspective on Village issues, a unique resource which should be husbanded and respected by the voters of our Village.

Both Anne and Geoff are quality people, long-time Larchmont contributors of their own and time and exactly the right people to represent our Village. Given their prior experience as Trustees, their long-time commitment to our Village and their outstanding qualifications, it would be nothing less than a wasted opportunity to fail to elect them this March.

William J. McSherry, Jr.
Larchmont, NY


March 5, 2003

NOAM BRAMSON FOR MCANDREWS & YOUNG

As a life-long New Rochelle resident, I offer thoughts about the Larchmont Village election with some humility. Larchmont voters don’t need advice from me. Nonetheless, during last year’s State Assembly campaign, I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with so many residents of the Village that I feel now a real connection to the community and a great interest in its future. Please accept my comments in that spirit.

Anne McAndrews and Geoff Young are outstanding public servants. The Village would be very well served by their election.

Anne brings to the Board of Trustees a depth of knowledge about local government and a seriousness of purpose that are almost unmatched. She was an invaluable member of the Board during her last term of service: a
tireless worker who took a leadership role on the critical issues that shape a community. Water quality in Long Island Sound, emergency preparedness, and parks improvements are only a few of the subjects on which Anne’s efforts proved essential. I had the privilege of working with Anne on an inter-municipal basis and saw first-hand her determined
advocacy for open government and sensible planning. In short, Anne is the kind of elected official that most communities only dream of having, and Larchmont is fortunate that she seeks to return to the Village Board.

Geoff Young is rooted in Larchmont and passionately committed to its future. He has had a remarkable breadth of experience on a variety of local boards, addressing everything from the library, to the environment, to traffic safety. Few individuals have given so generously of their time and energy on behalf of a community. His priorities relating to investment in services, promotion of volunteerism, and encouragement of smart growth make clear that Geoff knows the role of a well-managed, inclusive government in safeguarding a high quality of life.

This is an unusually difficult time for government at every level, with serious fiscal, environmental, and planning questions all demanding our attention. Experience, clear priorities, and a deep personal sense of a community’s interests are desperately needed in local leaders. By these standards and others, Anne McAndrews and Geoff Young are the best team for Larchmont.

Noam Bramson
New Rochelle, NY


March 4, 2003

SUPPORTING MCANDREWS, YOUNG & BERNSTEIN

As a Village resident of ten years I am proud to commend the candidacies of Anne McAndrews and Geoff Young for Village Trustee and Jerry Bernstein for Village Justice. Anne has demonstrated her commitment to the Village in many ways, both as an elected official and as a tireless volunteer on many Village committees and civic organizations including the League of Women Voters and the PTAs of our local schools. Most recently I worked with Anne in connection with her ongoing efforts to revitalize the Flint Park Neighborhood Association. I have been particularly impressed with Anne’s attention to detail and unflagging devotion to the betterment of our Village both from an aesthetic and civic point of view. During her prior service as Village Trustee, Anne demonstrated time and time again her abilities as a consensus builder and a true advocate for the Village. These traits, combined with Anne’s professional background in tax and finance make Anne a tremendous asset to our community -- and will serve her well as Trustee. Jerry Bernstein has served our Village admirably during his terms as Village Justice. Jerry enjoys a superlative reputation as an attorney in private practice and it is to our community’s great benefit that he has chosen to share his knowledge, experience and sense of civic responsibility with us as our Village Justice. Also to our great good fortune is Geoff Young’s decision to return to Village politics. We will undoubtedly benefit from Geoff’s experience as a seasoned negotiator, his forward thinking and his ability to work well with others.

On March 18th I’ll be supporting Anne McAndrews, Geoff Young and Jerry Bernstein. And I’ll be certain that my votes for Anne, Geoff and Jerry will be votes for Larchmont.


Melissa Zelen Neier
Larchmont


February 26, 2003

VOTE FOR JOHANSON

I am sending the following letter concerning the upcoming March 18 elections in the Village of Larchmont:

Vote For Johanson

On March 18th I will be casting my vote for Phil Johanson for Village of Larchmont Trustee. I know how dedicated, practical and knowledgeable Phil is regarding our Village finances. I also know that Phil has the fiscal responsibility which is so crucial in this economic environment. His experience in financial services and investments will serve us well, and we will all benefit from the economic and cost/benefit analysis Phil will bring to our budget process.

Phil Johanson is a homegrown Larchmont success story, someone who understands our Village both as a parent raising four children here, and as a youth who experienced our schools, parks, and recreational facilities firsthand. I know and have worked with Phil personally and professionally and know his tremendous skills and his dedication to Larchmont. We need to keep a strong team running our Village. That's why we need to elect Phil Johanson and Mike Wiener as Trustees on March 18th.

Brad Burkett
Larchmont, NY


January 22, 2003

THE FATE OF THE MANOR INN

When the historic Manor Inn (originally, the Belvedere Hotel) of Larchmont, New York, was threatened with demolition over a year ago, a movement began to not only preserve this wonderful old building, but to continue its use as a reasonably priced residential hotel for independent seniors.

Recently, I was shown the statistics on the annual incomes of seniors (those over the age of 65) in Westchester County. It was depressing to see that, according to the 2000 census, 73% of the seniors in Port Chester (or 2,723 individuals) earned less than 50% of the median (as of March, 2002, this was $32,000). But I was shocked and appalled to see that 47% of the seniors (or 371 individuals) in the Village of Larchmont earn less than 50% of the median. The figure is slightly better for Mamaroneck, 42%, but involves more people, 1134 individuals. Bronxville's figure is 33% or 314 individuals and Rye's is 50% or 980 individuals.

In light of these statistics, it is obvious to me that Westchester County is facing a crisis with its elderly. But, fortunately, through tax credits and other programs, Larchmont can not only save and restore an historical landmark, but, also, fulfill a vital need.

Why save the Manor Inn? Why use it for senior housing? It's simple. It's the right thing to do. As a community, let's not let this opportunity pass.

Jan Northrup
Larchmont, NY



January 20, 2003

RETIRED CHIEF KERESY: "FANTASTIC WEBSITE"

Congratulations on providing a fantastic website that is professional, concise, accurate, timely, and informative. What a great way to keep local residents informed and to provide former residents with the ability to stay current and completely up to date on local activities.

The articles and photo essays are just outstanding! During the years I lived and/or worked in Larchmont, I certainly witnessed many "rag-like" newspapers and journals as they came and went. "Larchont Gazette" is by far the most informative and complete source of information about Larchmont for Larchmonters.

Thank you for your hard work and all your efforts in providing "all the news that fit to print" about your lovely community.

Best wishes from North Carolina and continued happiness and success in all your activities.

Billy Keresey
Taylorsville, NC


January 2, 2003

THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE

Saturday, December 28th, we learned an amazing life lesson – never give up hope. After three weeks (three emotionally draining weeks) of searching for our cat, Mookie, our family got the best holiday present imaginable. Miraculously, we found our cat trapped four feet deep inside the stone retaining wall of our driveway, crying for help.

We finally pulled him out of the hole with the assistance of the Larchmont Fire Department and the Larchmont Nursery stone masons.

At first, Mookie was extremely dehydrated and had a lot of trouble walking, but Gillian Fraser, a caring and helpful doctor at the Village Animal Hospital in Larchmont, gave him the medical care that put him on the road to recovery. We then brought him to Dr. Peggy Booth at the Animal Medical Center in New York City where he has stayed for the past two nights.

We are so overwhelmed with happiness to have our cat come home tonight, and we can’t begin to express how grateful we are for this community’s support and encouragement. We are also so thankful for the local businesses that allowed us to post ‘lost pet’ signs throughout the neighborhood, and the nearby shelters and Cat Assistance workers for their advice and help!

As an eccentric but kind woman in the Animal Medical Center said, “Happy, healthy New Year to all of us, bipeds AND quadrupeds!

Thanks for so much!

The Sussman / Roberts Family (Joanna, Ben, Kenny, Claudia…and Mookie!)
Larchmont, NY


 
   

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