December 22, 2005
Holleran’s “Shipping News” is “Excellent”
I just read your article, "The "Secret Life" of Larchmont Producer at Chat 19, on producer Leslie Holleran, and in it she mentions her movie "The Shipping News", which she fears not "everyone" saw. My husband and I saw the movie, and, having read the book, we both thought we might be disappointed. But we thought the movie was excellent, doing justice to an excellent book.
Larchmont , NY
December 14, 2005
Kemper Family Thanks Supporters
Happy holidays and thank you to all the citizens of Mamaroneck who have supported the ongoing effort to prevent the Mamaroneck School Board from destroying Richard Kemper Park.
Sixty years ago when my grandparents bought the land next to Mamaroneck High School and deeded it to the Mamaroneck School District to be “maintained in perpetuity as a memorial to the late Lt. Richard Kemper, and the other students and former students of Union Free School District No. 1, Town of Mamaroneck, N.Y., who gave their lives in the service of the Unites States of America in World War II” they never expected that sixty years later an attempt would be made by the Mamaroneck School Board to use the land for some other purpose. The language of the deed was clear and in any case everyone understood the park was a valuable asset to the students and the community.
The park honors the young men and one woman from Mamaroneck who were killed in action during World War II and serves as a reminder of the values they sought to preserve, values which we celebrate during the holiday season. Each of them died fighting for peace, freedom, justice and equality. Hence, by preserving the park we not only preserve their memories, but we help to preserve those values as well.
Therefore, were they alive today, I think each of them would join me in wishing you a happy holiday and in thanking you for your support.
Hopefully the Mamaroneck School Board will hear your voices this holiday season and put an end to its effort to destroy Richard Kemper Memorial Park.
[We want to specially thank those who set up the Kemper Memorial Preservation Fund. In response to your appeal, my family is going to contribute $2000 to the fund. See: Citizens' Group Starts Fund to Preserve Kemper Park]
Paul Cantor &
(Richard Kemper’s nephew & grandnephew)
November 17, 2005
Larchmont Farmers Market Proposed
A group of local residents has been busy exploring the concept of a farmers' market in Larchmont. We will present our findings and a proposal from a business partner, Community Markets, at the Village Board meeting on Monday, November 21, 7:30 pm at Larchmont’s Village Hall.
The idea: Saturday morning market, 8am to 1 pm, fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. Perhaps there would be live music by contributing residents and local schools. Market season would be May through November.
We are considering the Metro North parking lot as a potential site, (upper deck, Manhattan bound).
Community Markets has created and manages markets in other Westchester communities, notably Rye, Bronxville, and Pleasantville. This group compared Larchmont's proposal to other communities in Westchester and assessed information we shared with them on why Larchmont is attractive for a farmer's market: density of village population; walking community; central, visible location; few competing retailers.
We invite all residents interested in learning more or supporting the idea of a farmers' market to attend the board meeting.
November 15, 2005
Thanks from Children's Corner
The Children's Corner would like to congratulate both Judy and Paula, editors of the marvelous Larchmontgazette.com, for the recognition they have long deserved. We thank you both as well for the service you provide our non-profit organization. The Larchmont Gazette has been a superior operation in this community. It is truly a success.
Thank you for the outstanding work you do for us and all who are fortunate enough to "use you." Please accept our heartfelt feelings about your "Sunny" award.
Keep up the great work!
November 2, 2005
Post Road Development Could Harm Historic Neighborhood
Recently, several of my parishioners and I attended a meeting concerning the potential multi-family and multi-story development along the Boston Post Road in the block behind our church. This potential development would have an adverse impact on our facility which relies on already limited on-street parking in the neighborhood and is part of historic Heathcote Hill. We throw our support to our neighbors who are valiantly trying to prevent overdevelopment and preserve the historic neighborhood feel of the area. This is a special section of the Post Road (between Fenimore Road and the Delancey/Orienta Avenues) where the harbor is close to the road, and Harbor Island Park would be affected by any development. As one of my parishioners had stated at the meeting, we enjoy looking out from our church window and being reminded of God’s handiwork.
A moratorium has been suggested and further study of the impact this development will have on our environment is needed. We owe it to our community to preserve and protect our environment and historical sites. The uniqueness of our community situated on Long Island Sound requires us to act responsibility with regard to further building and expansion.
It is my hope that our community leaders would study this proposal carefully and not act too quickly. We want wisdom and not decisions based on monetary gain.
The Reverend Dr. Marvin E. Henk
St. John’s Lutheran Church
November 2, 2005
WCLA Endorsed Only Castro fo DA
WCLA Choice Matters endorsed Tony Castro for District Attorney in 2001. His integrity and commitment to women’s reproductive rights were irrefutable. We still consider those two factors key in the endorsement process in 2005. WCLA Choice Matters has therefore again endorsed Tony Castro, and not Janet DiFiore.
Our endorsement policy is extensive but clear. For example, questionnaires aren’t sent to those seeking the Right to Life (RTL) line; we seek consistency between candidates’ actions and questionnaire responses; and attempts to mislead voters are noted.
Janet DiFiore’s actions, as reported in The New York Times (NYT), on September 27, 2005, run counter to these conditions. Attorneys for DiFiore “mounted a campaign to remove the Right to Life party from the ballot…” because “…it could have cleared the way for Mrs. DiFiore to win the 2 to 5 percent of voters who typically vote for the Right to Life Party.” The Westchester County Board of Elections rejected DiFiore’s attorneys’ efforts. The RTL candidate, De Cintio, remains on the ballot.
The RTL Party is a one-issue organization with a mission directly counter to that of WCLA-Choice Matters. RTL voters focus on denying women the right to terminate a pregnancy and, for many RTL voters, the right to any form of birth control.
Apparently, DiFiore hoped by eliminating De Cintio, she’d become the candidate for the RTL voters. These actions don’t demonstrate integrity. They show a desire to mislead pro and anti-choice voters. WCLA-Choice Matters is looking for a leader. That’s why we’ve endorsed Tony Castro!
Catherine Lederer-Plaskett President/Chair WCLA Choice Matters
October 26, 2005
Add Skate Monitor at Chatsworth
I live on Addison Street up the block from the Chatsworth playground. I also am the father of a committed 11.5-year-old skater. In light of those facts I feel I have a unique perch from which to view two issues now facing the village - the need for a safe facility where our community's kids can skateboard and the need to harness the unmanageable skate-scene at Chatsworth.
It is clear that the Chatsworth scene started getting out of hand when Chatsworth became a regional, and not just local, skate spot. That's not to say that all of the skaters from White Plains or New Rochelle or wherever are bad kids, or that ours aren't, but simply that the sheer number of kids has outgrown the space.
The condition in which the kids leave the place is disgraceful. Although I believe that some of the stories that are circulating about skater-incidents at Chatsworth have blossomed from minor incidents into urban legends, it is undeniable that there is a general disrespect by many of the skaters of their surroundings and of the fact that the Chatsworth playground is a community facility shared by many constituents, particularly young children. In contrast, the basketball court at Chatsworth attracts players from around the county, but that area isn't left a mess every day and the basketball players don't yell obscenities at passing girls.
Before there is a dedicated facility for our local skate-athletes, an interim solution would be monitored skating at Chatsworth. The Village would issue skate-permits to Larchmont and Mamaroneck kids, similar to Flint tennis permits. Skating would be open only to permit holders during monitored hours. At all other hours, the no–skating rule would be enforced strictly. Skaters who mess up - litter, drink, deface property, harass other park users, etc. - would lose their permits. Permit fees and minimal daily use fees would defray the cost of monitors.
I recognize that monitored skating would not be appetizing to many free-spirited skaters and would effectively chase away some of the current group of skaters. I believe, however, that monitored skating will be welcomed and honored by the most committed skaters in our community, who will recognize that it is a better alternative than not skating at all.
Our Village and community justifiably devote considerable resources to provide opportunities for youth athletes in a number of sports. There are many skate-athletes in our community who are as committed to their sport as any travel team participant is to soccer, baseball or hockey. I recognize that a number of our skate-athletes need to demonstrate the maturity and responsibility to be worthy of our community’s support. However, the poor sportsmanship of some should not be an excuse to deny our skate-athletes a safe place to practice and participate in their sport. We need to keep exploring how our community (families, businesses and government) can provide appropriate venues and opportunities for our skate-athletes as we do for other youth athletes.
October 6, 2005
Town: Cross Walk Will Be Painted Within Month
I am writing in response to Mrs. Mirabella's letter regarding the crosswalk at Central School on Palmer Avenue. Mrs. Mirabella is correct when she states that the Town Traffic Committee recommended painting a cross hatch cross walk at Central School. The painting of the lines has been overdue in part because Palmer Avenue is a County of Westchester owned road. The Town of Mamaroneck does have responsibility for maintaining the flashing yellow lights denoting the cross walk and for posting a school crossing guard at the school entrance on school days. Unfortunately the responsibility for painting the lines has been a bit more fuzzy. We have, however, worked out this matter and will have the lines painted within the next month.
Stephen V. Altieri
Town of Mamaroneck, NY
More Attention to Central School Traffic Safety Needed
I have found it amazing that so much effort is spent on parking
and traffic around Murray Avenue School, yet the Mamaroneck Town
Board and Traffic Commission pay little more than lip service to
those of us who live and (try to!) walk in the vicinity of Central
School. (See: Town
Sets Moratoriium on Commercial Signange, Finalizes Colonial Avenue
I don't begrudge Murray a bit of their
deserved attention from the Town, I just wonder why, after my repeated
letters and attendance at no less than two Town traffic meetings,
the safety of pedestrians on this side of town has been ignored.
We were promised, at the very least, diagonal lines on our crosswalk
two years ago. We have gotten nothing. The larger insult was that,
until recently, the entire crosswalk remained unpainted for two
years after the promise was made. I kid you not!
I sent letters
to county and town governments, twice, and received no satisfaction
whatsoever. I begged for simple interventions, namely, repainting
of existing light poles warning of school crossing, more visible
crosswalk lines on the street, and, of course, signs attached
to existing crosswalk signs that remind drivers of a frequently
ignored NY State law that requires drivers to stop for pedestrians
in a crosswalk. My parents' town up in Massachusetts has them posted
on all of their school crossing signs.
Day after day, during
school hours and outside of school hours, children and adults
dodge across that street, and it is frightening.
The annual Central School Scare Fair is approaching. Please be
careful crossing that street, everyone. It is extremely dangerous,
especially outside of school hours.
Meg McConney Mirabella
Thank You From 9/11 Family
It is with a warm heart that I write on behalf of my family to
FIND and our wonderful community of Larchmont/Mamaroneck. FIND's
mission was to help support the families of 9/11 victims, both
financially and emotionally. With the leadership of Bob Meglio
and his committed trustees, the entire Larchmont/Mamaroneck community
rallied together to make sure that we knew that we were not alone
in our endeavor to go forward and carry on. Our struggles were
great. But greater was the support that we received from our neighbors.
The camaraderie that the Larchmont/Mamaroneck community has shown
to me and my family will never be forgotten. The community walks,
the mother/father hockey games, the Flag Pin project, and the Memorial
Garden will forever remind us all that there is much more good
in our world than evil. It is this message that you have given
to me and my children. For this, I am eternally grateful. They
say it takes a village, (and a town), now I know what they mean.
Ryan, Timothy, Mary Kate & Allison
September 8, 2005
Letter to the Community from Friends in Deed (FIND)
Friends in Deed (FIND) was founded after the tragic events on
September 11, 2001, with a mission of helping and healing. Since
our inception, we have reached out to the families in our community
who lost a loved one. FIND would like to thank our community for
all its support throughout these years.
Thanks to the generosity and goodwill of our community, FIND has
fulfilled its mission and built a stronger community in the process.
We have come together and reached out both financially and emotionally.
In the past four years, FIND’s fundraising efforts included
three CommUnity Walks, two charity hockey games, a cooking demo & dinner,
Irene Ohl’s Flag Pin Project, T-Shirt sales and Wall Street
commission donations. All this hard work has helped raise over
$250,000! This financial support has helped nine families and 17
children in our community. To date, we have contributed approximately
$10,000 per child towards their college accounts.
As important as the financial support is, of equal importance
is FIND’s emotional commitment that has helped carry the
torch and follow through on our mission of healing and remembrance.
Each year we come together to remember our friends with the Town
of Mamaroneck, Village of Mamaroneck, Village of Larchmont and
the Police, Fire and Ambulatory Departments of our three municipalities.
FIND also planted a Community Garden and Memorial Stone in honor
of our friends lost as a living memorial. As each year passes,
the healing continues and we lean on our friends and family. I
hope our efforts have helped bring this community together and
has made us all stronger. This year we will continue to remember
our friends on Sunday, September 11th at 1pm in Memorial Park.
I am eternally grateful to this community that has helped make
FIND a reality and to my fellow board members and volunteers who
made FIND a force within our community. I want to thank my friends
and family for their strength and support and especially to the
families who have allowed me to be a small part of their lives.
The friends we’ve lost may be gone but will live forever
within our hearts.
Robert M. Meglio
August 19, 2005
Let Forest City Build
Regarding Forest City business plans, I have only to say that
there is a stage at which the public has to defer to the business
judgment of the developers who are nice enough to jump through
endless loops and years of small town procrastination to have the
privilege of building condos or rentals within community boundaries.
I have no particular view on the housing market that I care to
share, other than lauding the generation of more sensible (not
IKEA-type) development to offset the "tax and spend" mentality
of our state and local politicians. The reason why I don't have
views that I care to share on the housing markets is that I am
not a developer. Similarly I have no views on asset allocation
that I care to share, because I am not a financial planner.
So can we let Forest City build their building? Because what may
happen at the end of all this is that they call it a day and find
a more business-friendly community.
August 17, 2005
Bait & Switch by Forest City?
I was surprised to read in the Gazette that Forest City has told
the Town Board that “market forces” necessitate a modification
from a rental to a condo model for the proposed Madison Avenue
City Proposes Midcourse Correction - From Rentals to Condo.)
In her letter to the Gazette, Councilwoman
Wittner points out that FC believes that “The rental
market has hit bottom. People want equity from the housing dollars
Have “market forces” really changed so much since
the public hearing on this project at the end of May? Has anyone
noticed renters fleeing their apartments to purchase multi-million
dollar homes? Have rents declined dramatically in the area?
The Federal Reserve had raised interest rates 8 times by May.
Commodity prices as measured by the CRB Index are no higher now
than they were back in March. Exactly what market forces does FC
see at work now that were not in force at the end of May?
I’d like to point out that home sale prices have long been
associated with rents. Just as stocks sell for some multiple of
their earnings, homes have historically changed hands at a multiple
of their potential rental income. Nationally the historical multiple
is about 12 times the annual rental income they generate. For example,
if a home were rentable at $5,000 per month or $60,000 per year
(not unusual in Larchmont) its expected selling price would be
in the range of $720,000 (60,000 x 12).
The recent appreciation in the real estate market has taken home
prices up in much the same way that stock prices were taken up
by increasing earnings estimates in the late 90’s. Currently
the multiple at which homes are changing hands nationally is 17
times annual potential rental income. This figure is probably higher
in Westchester. If the same home referred to above changed hands
at 17-20 times the $5,000 rent the sales price would be in the
range of $1,020,000 to $1,200,000. Assuming that all markets go
through cycles, a case can be made that now might be a good time
to rent rather than to buy, yet FC seems to be telling us that
even with interest rates rising and real estate prices 40 to 50%
above historical valuations as represented by rents that people
would rather buy than rent.
Having attended the public hearing on this project in May, I know
that members of the Town Board in their comments following the
vote stressed the advantages of a rental property in the area.
It was said that it would allow for younger people to live here
and give seniors who were downsizing more options - not to mention
the work force apartment issue.
I was in favor of the previous plan and I believe that I was the
only member of the public at the May meeting who commented on it
positively. I certainly don’t fault anyone for trying to
make money, but I do question what appears to have been a bait
and switch tactic to get the plan approved.
John M. Coughlin Jr.
(Editor’s note: the writer is a certified financial planner)
August 12, 2005
Town Should Demand Rentals at Forest City Building
Editor's Note: The following letter was sent to the Town of Mamaroneck
Having been a proponent of the proposed apartment building on
I was very disappointed to read in the Larchmont Gazette
that Forest City Daly's promise to keep the building as a rental
been broken. (Forest
City Proposes Midcourse Correction - From Rentals to Condo.) Having
witnessed this project from it's earliest stages,
I remember Valerie O'Keeffe saying how valuable this project will
be to the town
because there are so few rentals in the area.
My disappointment was compounded by the removal of 3 bedroom
apartments. Most families have more than one kid. Now this building
less of an option for the average family. This was another incentive
that has been reversed.
I also recall an earlier disappointment when the percentage of
affordable apartments dropped to a paltry 9 units. This area is
under the recommendations for affordable housing, as you know.
will our teachers, firefighters, EMC and police live? Katonah?
That's pretty far when there's a volunteer emergency call.
Given that FCD has reneged on these issues, do you really expect
they will follow through on other incentives? I would hope before
project goes any further, that the town demand a portion of the
apartments remain rentals and all the "promises" be put
into a contract.
School Board Member Should Cease Partisan Political Activities
After reviewing nominating petitions for local Democratic candidates
we noticed that Richard Marsico, newly elected to the Mamaroneck
Board of Education, carried petitions.
We feel it is entirely inappropriate for a school board trustee
to engage in partisan politics, Many years ago when the School
Board Selection Committee was created it was designed to take partisan
politics out of the Board of Education. Now we see that policy
bas been changed to the detriment of the children of our community.
If members of the School Board are now in the practice of endorsing
candidates for public office we are rightfully concerned that educational
policy in Mamaroneck will now be tainted by partisan politics.
Such an infusion of politics into the formulation of educational
policy-making compromises the integrity of the School Board and
taints what has historically been a nonpartisan body.
This radical departure from established Board policy represents
a serious problem for the entire Mamaroneck School District. If
the Board members are now favoring Democratic candidates for office
should parents [who are] not members of the Democratic Party fear
that their children will be treated differently by educational
leaders in the community? Should all local po1itical parties now
plan to engage fully in the election process and nominate their
own candidates for the School Board? How can the community be sure
that Board decisions are not being made with partisan considerations
We urge the Board to demand that all members immediately cease
all partisan political activities to assure all the residents that
the Board has been and will remain nonpolitical. The education
of our children should be the main priority of this Board. The
taxpayers have the: right to be secure in the knowledge that the
decision-making process remains outside the bounds of partisan
Trustees in the Village of Mamaroneck
August 9, 2005
"God Help Us" If We Depend on MHS "Men" for Defense
in Mamaroneck Finds Curious Students, Hostile Parents: All
I want say is God help us if we have to depend on the “men” of
Mamaroneck High School to defend our country.
Village of Mamaroneck
Class of 1950
Korean War Veteran
July 21, 2005
Response on Marine Recruiter
In response to Ms. Poleman's letter regarding my
comments on the Marine recruiter:
First of all, there is no
quote from Ms. Harrington equating the recruiter with a pedophile.
However, who else would "troll" for our youth? The implied
meaning is obvious. Also, how could you say she doesn't bash the
military as a viable option? Being "appalled" at the
sergeant's message, calling her congresswoman to complain, and
telling the recruiter to "stay away from my son" is certainly
a lot stronger than a "no thank you, we're not interested."
Clandestine recruiting? How so? He was in the parking lot answering
the questions of interested students, doing his job as a recruiter
and maintaining the good public relations that the Marine Corps
has with the community. The man is in uniform telling people who
he is and what his job is about. There is no trickery or deceit
involved. As far ast being a strange place for him to be, isn't
he allowed to patronize the local merchants as you or I would?
If you had a question for a professional outside of Starbucks,
would you rather be told that they could only answer your question
in their office?
Finally, I believe your true feelings are summed up in your statement
regarding the Kemper Memorial: "No one ever uses that space." That
space is used, Ms. Poleman. It is used to honor those who fought
and died to protect the freedoms we so easily take for granted.
We are able to read Ms. Silberstein's articles in the Gazette
and debate over them freely because of their sacrifices.
July 12, 2005
Master Plan For Sports Field Needed; Keep Kemper Memorial As-Is
I am writing, as an individual taxpayer and not as councilwoman
in the Town of Mamaroneck, in response to recent letters on the
I don't disagree with the travel commissioners
and president of the Larchmont Soccer League that for some children, "sports
play a critical part in kids' development," but what does
that have to do with a high school field? I'm sure the writers
didn't mean that 1,600 children would be playing soccer at Mamaroneck
High School (MHS). Why the persistent focus on sports for children?
What's happened to service clubs, scouts, music and the arts? As
adults, probably 90% of the children whose parents were addicted
to sports won't be playing soccer, football etc.
Since there doesn't seem to be land for new fields, why not consider
converting what exists to all season-multi sport fields? For example,
the football field at MHS is unused after that season ends. Even
if it means eliminating some parking spaces, that field could be
converted for soccer use. Another field opposite the Town Center
often lies empty. There are others (Lorenzen, Flint Park). Why
not inventory what exists and form a tri-municipal committee to
create a master plan? One would factor in the numerous fields at
Harbor Island. We hear that students would require transportation
from MHS to Harbor Island. When teams practiced there in the past,
part of the warm-up was running to the field!
The School Board president stated that "board members met
with municipal leaders" as part of their "intensive investigation
of all available municipal-owned and district-owned land to assess
space availability." In the 9 ½ years I have been on
the Town Board, such a worthwhile discussion between the school
and town boards has not transpired. Perhaps one-on-one ad hoc discussions
occurred, but that does not translate into a group format and attendant
exchange of ideas.
Kemper Park with its memorial and beautiful stand of old growth
trees exists because Mr. and Mrs. Kemper had the foresight to buy
the land. Were it not for them, one would be looking at houses
and/or stores on that site. How wonderful to have green space and
serenity a stone's throw from the Post Road’s constant traffic.
More to the point, the site was given to and accepted by the School
Board in perpetuity as a memorial to their son and his classmates
and in a larger sense to all those who sacrificed their lives in
World War II. If we change the site, we default on a commitment
and contract made in good faith by caring individuals. What are
we teaching our children? Our word, deeds and even legal documents
and decisions have no standing when an adult wants something? Aren't
we teaching them that the deepest pockets don't have to take "no" for
an answer? The School Board has said that legal fees to try to
alter Kemper Park have been $186,000. They are now ready to appeal
their defeat. I cannot see this as the best use of taxpayer dollars.
July 5, 2005
Don't Blame the Math Regents; Take Responsibility
Don't blame the Math Regents Test...
Don't blame the student's
long term memory...
It's time to take responsibility!
With Math B Regents Exam Create Doubts at MHS.)
When my son, who had a math learning disability, was in MHS, I
math teachers and administrators whom I can only describe as having
a serious lack of understanding in teaching math.
Dr. Mark Orfinger, MHS principal, wrote a letter of policy denying
the use of a New York State-approved scientific graphing calculator,
telling my son: We are not denying you access to the scientific
graphing calculator. You may bring it to class, but you may not
turn it on.
The district argued with me that it is the process, not the answer
that counts. Well, that kind of thinking has backfired.
The district could not understand that not all scientific graphing
calculators were equal, and that the model calculator had to match
the course curriculum. When my son was in Murray Elementary, the
principal called me and asked me where the slash (/) for fractions
was on my son’s four-function (nonfraction model) calculator.
Most math teachers and administrators chose to remain ignorant.
My son was in the MHS graduating class of 2000.
I am thrilled that the New York State Regents have finally required
standardized testing for all high school students. No longer can
we socially promote students. It was disappointing that the Regents
failed our students when they lowered the passing grade to cover
the lack of appropriate math instruction. When these students get
to college, they will have to take remedial math to catch up. It
is the students who suffer.
I would suggest that math teachers be required to take the Math
Regents test at the same time that the students do. We should publish
their Regents scores as well. Then we will figure out where the
real problem comes from.
July 2, 2005
Recalling "Shortsighted" Plans to Close Elementary Schools
I think it's wonderful that a new wing is
being added to Mamaroneck Avenue School. (See: Mamaroneck
Ave. School Breaks Ground on Expansion Project.) Being a "graduate" of
the school in 1973, I have fond memories of the school.
remember the shortsighted plans at the time to close two elementary
schools. As the school age population of "boomers" began
to drop, it was proposed to close both MAS and Chatsworth Avenue
School. Thankfully, those plans never came to fruition, although
I think the school system rues the day that they sold old Central
School to the Town.
Marine Recruiter Story "Even-Handed"
I'm writing to thank you for your even-handed coverage of the
Marine recruiter (Marine
in Mamaroneck Finds Curious Students, Hostile Parents.) You
showed both sides, and I found the article very interesting. I
could see where a partisan side could be taken, but it was written
quite professionally. The "big" papers could learn a
lesson from you.
Soccer League Supports Kemper Project, Finds No Alternative
The Larchmont Junior Soccer League serves more than 1600 kids
in our community every year. We support the position of the Mamaroneck
Board of Education regarding Memorial Field and the Kemper Memorial
Like the Board, we believe that youth sports play a critical part
in kids' development. We experience on a daily basis the critical
shortage of fields. Every season there is more demand for fields
for kids. There are no spaces for new fields available, and the
likelihood of finding one has grown, if anything, more remote.
We deeply regret the division that this issue has caused in our
community. If there were a viable alternative to the Board's proposal,
we would support it. Since there is no alternative, we believe
that the memorial - fields, park and monument - can be reconfigured
in a way that enhances all. We sincerely hope that members of our
community on both sides of this issue can work together to accomplish
Sid Ings, President
Tony Carroll & Josh Rubinstein, Travel Commissioners
June 8, 2005
Cheating at 5K Run - A Shock
I participated in the 5K Larchmont Run on Memorial Day. At one
point the route had barricades directing the runners to go to the
right of a circle. Everyone running did so ... except for two boys
who decided to take the short cut to get ahead. It was obvious
that they were doing it to cheat, because when I yelled out that
they should go the proper way, they just smirked and ignored me.
No one else took this "short cut."
Imagine my surprise and shock when these two young men were awarded
prizes at the end of the race and accepted them. Many of the rest
of us accepted awards also, but we earned them fairly.
As a veteran of many local races as well as seven marathons, I
can tell you that I have never before seen someone cheat on a course.
It just isn't done. Whether we are fast or slow, come in at the
front or the back of the pack, runners race to challenge themselves
and to see how well they can do, but never by cheating on a course.
Perhaps we should consider what this says about our community
with its "win at any price" mentality. It's not just
about the race.
May 16, 2005
Do We Want A Cell Phone Tower Here?
Currently, the Village of Larchmont is in the
process of permitting a new cell phone tower to be erected behind
Village Hall. Locally, this subject has always involved an emotional/financial/science-filled
romp through the presentations of radio frequency experts, environmentalists,
concerned homeowners, parents, real estate professionals and municipal
I was particularly interested in this proposal because I served
as president of a local cooperative apartment corporation during
the time when our board permitted a cell phone company to make
application to install antennae on our building.
While FCC regulations control, preserve and foster the ability
of communications service providers to create systems that function,
obviously, local emotions obviously can have an effect on the success
of a project.
A few observations:
- Just about everyone has a cell phone. Although it is illegal
to drive and phone without a “hands-free” headset,
I witness drivers everyday using them without. You can’t
see a person simply walking anymore. They have to be speaking
to someone on a cell phone. You can’t go to a meeting without
a cell phone interruption, or hear a sermon on Sunday, without
a personalized, Beethovenish ring going off.
- We get upset when the things don’t work because of
bad reception. I can hardly hear a contractor trying to call
me right outside my office on the Post Road. Installers/cell
phone companies intend to make money while providing good service.
Service is the main point of the Advertising for this industry.
Municipalities and owners of tall buildings make money for leasing
their structures for antenna and service rooms.
- The scientific/medical
research seems weighted to err on the side of caution, but
there is a constant underlying feeling that there is no direct
and identifiable medical linkage between cell towers and health
problems. We are most likely bombarded with more intense electromagnetic
energy as we simply stand around.
- Cell towers
are ugly. Frankly, I would rather look at a nice technical
expression of modern life on a graceful tower than a 100 foot
attempt at camouflaging one of them. I do admit that some
attempts at hiding the antennae can succeed by placing them on
or in architectural elements of a building. (An antenna in the
cross on a religious building might be pushing it a bit , however.)
But the final question remains, “Do we want one of these
In the Town of Mamaroneck, the issue was concluded with the idea
that real estate values would decrease as proximity to the antenna
increased. People saw a “perception” of a “detriment.“
Whether or not this last is actually true, everyone still wants
to live here, and everyone’s got a cell phone.
May 12, 2005
Leveres, Marsico Sensitive to Special Education
I am writing to you as the parent of two children in the Mamaroneck
School District: an 11th grader at the high school and a
3rd grader at the Mamaroneck Avenue School. I am also writing to
you as a past-president of the Special Education PTA for our
Because I am especially concerned that our school board be sensitive
to the needs of special education students I will be
voting to re-elect Amy Levere and to elect Richard Marsico on Tuesday,
I firmly believe that these two candidates are the only ones
suited to represent my children’s needs. Ms.Levere has chaired
the Understanding Handicaps Task Force, of which I have been a
member. She has shown great concern and interest in raising the
awareness and sensitivity of the general student community to children
with special needs. Ms.Levere has also gained infinite
knowledge of this school system during her three years as a school
board member and will represent the continuity that we need in
the coming years as we welcome our new superintendent.
Mr. Marsico has been a dedicated member of the Mamaroneck Avenue
School community for many years and knows the
unique needs of our school. The Mamaroneck Avenue School has not
been represented on the school board for many years and I
believe that Mr. Marsico will be terrific. Mr. Marsico has also
been very active on the Washingtonville Housing Alliance and has
been very instrumental in raising the quality of life for those
people with whom he has worked.
These are the very important reasons I am voting for Amy Levere
and Rick Marsico on May 17th. And I urge your readers
to support these candidates and our schools, as well.
May 5, 2005
Selection Committee Proudly Endorses Levere & Marsico
This year, The Selection Committee had a particularly challenging
job to do: endorse two nominees for the Mamaroneck School Board
from a group of extremely capable and interesting candidates. But
when the final votes were cast, there was no doubt that Amy Levere
and Rick Marsico impressed the committee the most.
As a current board member seeking a second term, Amy is extremely passionate
about the school district. She is also an excellent listener, as
well as a clear and effective communicator. More importantly, she
possesses a deep understanding of the district's populations, as
well as the district's overall mission to address the educational
needs of every student, based on her school board experience and
as the parent of a Hommocks and MHS student, and a college freshman.
With the invaluable insights she has gained during her first term
as liaison to Central School, the Human Rights Commission, and
PT Council, as well as co-chair of the "Building
Bridges/ Breaking Barriers" Task Force, and a member of the Minority
Achievement Task Force, Amy will bring to the board an even broader
knowledge of - and familiarity with - academic programs and issues
so critical in education today.
Rick Marsico, on the other hand, as a first-time nominee and law professor,
brings the insight and perspective of an educator to the board.
He also possesses an 'inside view' of the school district and specific
teaching programs, through his three children, who are currently
students in our schools. In addition, Rick has a wide range of
interests and a breadth of skills that will make his voice an important
one on the board. Of course, the fact that Rick lives in the Mamaroneck
Avenue elementary school neighborhood gives the board a more personal
- and much sought-after - connection to a unique population
in our district. His presence will also strengthen the school board
by making it more representative of the diversity of our community.
An additional salient point about these nominees is that they came
before the Selection Committee with no particular agenda - or single
issue - to push. No, their intentions were pure and noble, highlighted
by a strong passion for education, and for working to ensure that
the Mamaroneck School District maintains its ability to reach and
teach all of its students to their highest academic levels.
The Selection Committee is, indeed, tremendously proud to present both
Amy Levere and Rick Marsico as our endorsed nominees for the Mamaroneck
School Board; and we heartily encourage voters to support them - and
the School Budget - on Election Day, May 17th.
Syl Morrone, Chairperson
The Selection Committee
May 4, 2005
Make Vote Count: Amy Levere & Rick Marsico for School Board
Every Vote Counts, and on May 17 we in Mamaroneck
and Larchmont have an opportunity to have our votes count in the
election for school board representatives. I urge everyone to vote
for the 2 candidates endorsed by the Selection Committee – Amy
Levere and Rick Marsico.
Amy has served on the Board for the past 3 years and has proven
herself to be dedicated, hardworking, and trustworthy when it comes
to making the right decisions for our schools and our children.
Of course, the fact that she is also my sister (full disclosure
here) does tend to make me a bit biased; but I think that all who
know her and have worked with her would heartily agree with my
assessment. After more than 14 years of active participation in
our district, Amy has become a knowledgeable and valuable part
of our education community.
Rick Marsico will be a tremendous asset to the board. From a professional
standpoint, I can’t imagine anyone having a more impressive
resume than does Rick – just for starters, graduate of Harvard
Law School magna cum laude and of Fordham University summa
cum laude; Professor at New York Law School with a list of
publications, presentations, and awards that stretches almost as
long as does the list of his other professional activities (consultant
to the New York State Division of Human Rights; member of the New
York Community Reinvestment Task Force and of the Civil Rights
Committee of the Bar Association of the City of New York, and founder
and director of the Community Reinvestment Clearinghouse at New
York Law School). The very fact that he is a professional academic
should not be overlooked; what better profession than that for
a school board member?
Rick’s service to our community has been equally impressive.
The Washingtonville Housing Alliance, the Little League, the Babe
Ruth League, and several other sports leagues have all benefited
from Rick’s dedication and enthusiasm. And on a personal
note, I must add that Rick is one of the most trustworthy, thoughtful,
and down-to-earth people I have met in my 11 years here in Mamaroneck.
Integrity should be Rick’s middle name.
Finally, consider that Rick represents an area of our community
that has not been represented on the School Board in several years – the
Mamaroneck Avenue “sub-district.” It’s vitally
important that our board include a voice from this part of our
district, as its needs vary from those of the other 3 districts
and its citizenry is vastly more diverse. Remarkable and fabulous
progress has been achieved at MAS over the past few years, and
it’s critical that this work continue as we move forward
under a new school superintendent. Rick’s contribution toward
this goal will be tremendous.
On May 17, please make your vote count by voting for Amy Levere
and Rick Marsico for Mamaroneck School Board.
This is a response to the information about the parking situation
on Murray Avenue and Colonial. (See:Town
Debates Traffic on Colonial Avenue.)
I have lived almost
my entire life directly across the street from the school on
Murray Avenue. I am remembering when I used to go to school there
back in the early 1990’s. I never saw the amount of vehicles
that are there now on a daily basis. Is it that kids got lazier
or the parents did? Most Murray students live within a walking
distance to the school. Why not walk on a nice day? I can understand
if it is raining like crazy or blizzarding. It seems to me that
on nicer days, there are more cars than on colder days. Also, when
I went to Murray, bicycles were the thing to do once you were
in the 3rd or 4th grade. I don't see as many bikes now as I once
did in the racks on Daymon Terrace.
There was a recent study published saying that kids who live in
suburban areas are less healthy than kids in urban areas. This
is just due to the amount of walking.
So, in conclusion, walk your kids to school. It's good exercise
and would eliminate this problem that the town is spending so much
precious time on.
April 6, 2005
Digital Darkroom Like Fill-In-the-Numbers Art
The decision to eliminate "traditional" darkrooms
from the photography curriculum at Mamaroneck High School is
no different, in effect, than teaching art with fill-in-the-numbers
books, only. There would be no way to learn photography as such,
but merely to push pre-programmed keys.
The digital darkroom is for those who know what
and how to use a darkroom, and does not replace
it in the learning of the art and craft which is photography.
Rye Brook, NY
April 5, 2005
Former Chatsworth Principal: "Don't Go Digital Alone"
I have been an enthusiastic photographer for over 60 years.
I now am almost completely utilizing digital. The foundation
that darkroom work provides is not available any other way. Software,
like Adobe Photoshop, mimics darkroom techniques.
I urge the present school administration not to jump into digital
and digital alone. The technology and software changes are difficult
and expensive to keep up with. Please provide a strong foundation
for those students who are interested in pursuing photography
as an art form or career (or both).
Dr. Bernard M. Kessler
Former Principal of Chatsworth Elementary School, 1973-75
(PS. We found funding for an after-school photography darkroom
April 5, 2005
No Darkroom? Students Will Have to Buy New Cameras
Thank you for the in depth report on the High School's decision
to eliminate the darkroom from the photography program (MHS
Darkroom Going Digital? Film Fans Opposed). As the parent
of a student who takes photography at the High School, I am aware
of another negative impact of the elimination of film based technology
from the program: students who do not own digital cameras will
have to buy one.
April 4, 2005
Don't Do Away With Darkroom
Upon reading MHS
Darkroom Going Digital? Film Fans Opposed, I was both frustrated
and saddened to hear of the new plans the administration has
for the photography program at MHS. I am currently a senior
at Tufts University, and as a MHS alum (class of 2001) and
a huge fan of Mr. Nanni, I felt the need to speak out against
the decision to do away with the darkroom. Some of my fondest
high school memories come from the four years I spent in Mr.
Nanni's photography class.
My love of photography and my insistence on taking it all four
years came primarily from the darkroom experiences I had. Personally
taking your work from idea to negative to print is one of the
most fulfilling and creatively satisfying experiences available,
and to take that away from new students is a crime.
While digital photography is definitely easier and faster, students
who sign up for photography are not looking to speed up their
creative processes. Instead, they are looking to make a deeper
connection with their work, a desire that can only be made possible
by a darkroom. My photos were not just assignments from class;
they became my children. The smells and stains on my hands from
the developer, stop, and/or fix made me feel like an artist,
and were a constant reminder of my accomplishments and my passion
for photography. Dr. Orfinger's remark that “I think it
[film] may be obsolete in a few years’ time,” is
not a justifiable reason to take away such an integral aspect
Here at Tufts University, the darkroom is still intact and
is the biggest reason why students decide to take the photography
class. No one is angry that it takes six hours to traditionally
accomplish the amount of work that would digitally take one hour;
it is viewed as time well spent.
To do away with the darkroom is a shame in and of itself, but
to not consult Mr. Nanni or the students in this decision is
a travesty. While Mr. Nanni's teaching skills will remain unbelievable
with computers, his real passion for photography shines through
in the darkroom. Please do not take this away from him, or from
the future students who are at risk of never experiencing the
things that made my high school career so amazing.
Kate Hofman, MHS Class of 2001
March 30, 2005
"Thank You" to Families Who Host Foreign Exchange
On behalf of the New York City Chapter AFS Volunteers, I would
like to say "thank you" to this year's host families.
Last summer, 19 families in the metropolitan New York City area
stepped forward to open their homes to high-school exchange students
through AFS Intercultural Programs/USA. AFS, formerly the American
Field Service, is the worldwide nonprofit organization for which
I have volunteered for almost 20 years. Other exchange organizations
have brought dozens more "student ambassadors" to communities
throughout our area. These specially selected teenagers are tomorrow's
world leaders, and they truly enrich our communities, our schools,
and especially our families. Bringing one of these young people
into our homes is not only a wonderful way to learn about other
cultures and perspectives, but also allows us to see America
through new eyes, to watch preconceived ideas melt away, and
to take pleasure in our students' new experiences.
Mitch Weisburgh of Larchmont, NY feels that during both of his
hosting experiences, thousands of things have occurred that have
made hosting worthwhile. He says, “My children always accepted
our way of life as the only way to life, but our daughter from
China and our son from Thailand have shown us that there are
different approaches to family, government, work, school, homework,
values, assertiveness. My children learned
that these different ways are not better or worse than ours,
but gained a richer understanding of humanity, as well as of
the other AFS Students in our area. If only more people knew
how rewarding and fun it is to host an exchange student or to
The world we live in is becoming smaller all the time. Especially
in the wake of the recent tsunami tragedy, many of us have wondered
what we could do to make a difference in the world. In August,
new high school exchange students will arrive in our community
for the 2005-2006 school year. Please learn more about how you
can host one of these outstanding high school students. Think
about sharing your story -- sharing what the real America is
like – with a young person from another culture.
Kristine Marsh, AFS NYC
Volunteer, Returnee & Host Sibling
March 21, 2005
It's a Shame MHS Students Will Be Denied Artistic Pleasure
I was very upset when I read your article ((MHS
Darkroom Going Digital? Film Fans Opposed.) informing your
readers that the film photography program is being disbanded.
I disagree with Dr. Orfinger's comment: “I think it [film]
may be obsolete in a few years’ time.” The comment
appears to be a way of justifying Superintendent Sherry King's
decision to eliminate the darkroom. The film students are being
short-changed by what seems to be purely an economy measure.
The photography teacher should have been consulted for his
note: we asked Mr. Model to share one of his photos. Click
for larger image.)
A few years ago, long after the so-called "digital revolution" began,
the International Center of Photography,
a major institution based in midtown Manhattan, moved its school
to a new space on 6th Avenue and 43rd Street. The museum furnished
it with state of the art darkroom equipment, as well as digital
equipment for its students.
Personally, I and many of my colleagues who are members of The
Ground Glass, Inc., a Westchester fine art photographers association,
still prefer the quality of photographic images created in the
darkroom. It is a shame that many Mamaroneck High School students
will be denied the artistic pleasure of that experience.
March 18, 2005
Academic Students Enjoy Hands-On Darkroom Experience
Regarding the article about changing darkroom to digital photography
classes at Mamaroneck High, which my Larchmont friend sent me:
Darkroom Going Digital? Film Fans Opposed.) I have an opinion
based upon my own experiences teaching photography in high school.
Until I retired in 1990, I taught darkroom photography at The
Bronx High School of Science. In doing so, I found that the students
loved the hands-on experience of film development and black-and-white
printing, and learning the controls one can use to enhance a
photo image. My intention was to expose them to the art of photography,
since I knew that the last thing those students needed was a
vocational course in it.
In addition, quality darkroom produced photos teach students
a standard that they can refer to when they transition to digital
imaging. Academic students get, and will continue to get plenty
of experience with digital photography. Let them immerse their
hands in developer while they still can, and become proficient
in 'analog' photography.
I write this although I have been working exclusively with Photoshop
since 1998; in fact, I gave my entire darkroom to my local high
school so others might enjoy the use of it.
White Plains, NY
March 1, 2005
Myers Embarking on Listening Tour
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the voters of
the 7th County Legislative District for electing me as their
new County Legislator in the special election on February 15.
I am deeply appreciative of the level of support shown by residents
of New Rochelle, Larchmont, Mamaroneck and Rye City and for such
high voter turnout for a special election in the middle of winter.
This turnout truly demonstrates the power of grassroots support.
I want o
thank everyone who campaigned with me, wrote letters and made phone calls,
and everyone who made sure that they, and their friends, and their friends'
friends... went out to vote on February 15.
In light of my strong commitment to representing all of the
residents of this district, I am embarking on a listening tour
to learn more about the issues and concerns in each and every
community. I urge residents to feel free to contact me by phone,
by email or in person as I work to make sure that this district
is represented in, and served by, Westchester County.
County Legislator, 7th District
February 19, 2005
“Pryer Manor "Mud Flat"
We cordially invite all residents of the Town of Mamaroneck
to come and see what almost $110,000 of their tax dollars was
spent on: converting a beautiful marshland with tall natural
phragmites, beautiful egrets, red-winged blackbirds, blue heron,
and a picturesque center “lake,” – into a mud
flat. I’m sure they will also be interested to know that
at least half of the marsh is located in New Rochelle. Your tax
dollars hard at work.
Our home is one of just a few that sits up high and overlooks
the marsh at full view. We have been living on Dogwood Lane for
19 years. Phyllis Wittner wrote a grant for the Town to convert
this beautiful marsh back to its original state – salt
water. It was granted – a feather in her “political
cap.” This project has been an unequivocal failure.
At a meeting in 2000, Ms. Wittner and Sven Hoeger (consultant)
presented what the project would entail. Residents were never
asked if we wanted it. We were never offered other options. It
was going forward – and that was that.
Dead phragmites lie on the marsh perimeter; an unsightly trench
exists where vegetation used to be. Birds are gone – yes,
some are returning – but why were they displaced? For a
mud flat! We are repeatedly told it will take time for the conversion.
How long do we have to wait? It’s been over 3 years.
Representatives from the DEC as well as the consultant Sven
Hoeger assured all residents at meetings in 2000-2002 there would
be water in the center of the marsh – there is mud.
During the initial excavation we were told that the heavy equipment
operator reported an unusual event – all of the water drained
from the marsh. He had never seen this happen before; he said
they must have hit a sinkhole. At this juncture, work should
have been halted. This “catastrophic event” should
have been reported to the appropriate people. Many of us feel
that’s the reason for our mud flat.
Councilwoman Wittner was very visibly absent for 2 years while
meetings were held regarding the marsh. Residents demand to have
what we were told – we did not sign up for a mud flat.
We were told – flooding each day with high tides. The
DEC installed gauges for one month. By their own admission, they
reported to us on Dec. 16 th, 2004 that flooding occurred 7 or
8 times. What happened to the other 52 times?
When concerned residents suggested to Steve Altieri, Town Administrator,
that the mud be removed – he said if the residents want
to get some money together, or apply for another grant they are
welcome to do so. This is ludicrous!
Ms. Wittner knows that the plantings were postponed because – plants
do not create water and the mud must be removed before anything
else is done.
DEC, Town of Mamaroneck, and the consultant need to rectify
this situation – our new mud flat is a mess.
Jeannette & Chuck Mirabile
February 14, 2005
Chu Behind Cuts to Rye Nature Center
What needs more press is the Honorable Franklin Chu's poor environmental
track record. Mr. Chu was one of the driving forces behind the
Rye City Council cutting funding for the Rye Nature Center in
December of 2002. Without much warning, at holiday time, all
of the Nature Center's educational staff of assistant naturalists
were fired, and environmental programming that had been running
for over 25 years was shut down. While other forces stepped in
to salvage what the Nature Center had always stood for, we cannot
count on this always being the case. The fired naturalists were
never rehired and the City naturalist's oversight of the Rye
Nature Center has become limited.
The Westchester County Parks Department is world-renowned. Visitors
come from all over the globe to witness a government parks department
that provides first class enrichment for its citizens while protecting
the natural environment. There is a reasonable expectation that
Mr. Chu will behave in county government as he did in Rye City
government, making a concerted effort to either privatize or
reduce funding to the parks and conservancies. In Westchester
County, the parks and environmental protection have been supported
on a bipartisan basis by Republicans and Democrats for decades.
World-class renown that took years to earn could be decimated
practically overnight if we elect the wrong people to run our
The Honorable Judy Myers' record as a supporter of environmental
issues and parks in Mamaroneck is well known. Based on the record
of both candidates I believe Myers will best represent the long-term
environmental interests of the Sound Shore. For those interested
in fiscal management, please note that good environmental management
is good fiscal management; environmental education is an important
component of this. By educating the public about the importance
of environmental protection and how their actions can affect
environmental quality, problems can be prevented, avoiding costly
government funded clean up and control. Myers' superior record
for keeping taxes down, as well as understanding the long-range
impact of environmental policy, will keep our taxes lower and
our county healthier.
February 9, 2005
Myers Worked to Insure Mamaroneck Fiscal Discipline & Stability
As a Town Councilwoman, Judy has worked diligently to insure
the fiscal discipline and financial stability of the Town of
Mamaroneck resulting in a Aaa bond rating from Moody's for the
Town. In addition, Judy serves as the liaison to the Town’s
Traffic Committee, the Board of Architectural Review, Assessment
Review Board, and as a member of the intermunicipal Cable Television
Board of Control.
Judy's community experience broadens her perspective; and, we
salute her fine work on the Board of Directors of the United
Way of Larchmont and Mamaroneck, the Steering Committee of the
Local Summit, and the Board of the Mamaroneck CAP Center. As
the founder and current director of the Larchmont/Mamaroneck
Youth Council, she has provided a voice for teens in our community.
During her tenure on the Town Board, Judy has fought to preserve
the quality of life in our community by keeping Ikea from moving
onto our border, and passing legislation to address: the development
of “McMansions,” the noise from blasting and rock
removal, design guidelines for development of commercial property
and protection of wetland and watercourses.
We know that Judy's broad experience renders her an effective
leader and she
will be a strong voice for the Sound Shore at the County level.
Phyllis Wittner, Councilwoman
Ernie Odierna, Councilman
Nancy Seligson, Councilwoman
Town of Mamaroneck
February 8, 2005
Myers as Qualified as Latimer
It is hard to imagine having another individual
in our community as qualified to represent us as did George Latimer
for the past years, but we are fortunate that Judy Myers, a person
with a proven commitment to public service, has stepped forward
and offered her candidacy for county legislator.
As a councilwoman on the Town of Mamaroneck Board,
Judy has been diligent and thoughtful in taking necessary steps
to prevent over-development in our neighborhoods and protect
natural resources such as wetlands and Long Island Sound while
at the same time keeping a watchful eye on our budget and taxes.
Before serving on the Town Council, Judy was an
extremely active participant in programs to help our children,
such as Safe Rides, Hommocks Middle School Planning Council,
Traffic Task Force and the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Local Summit.
With her vision for the future and attention to
the present Judy is the perfect candidate to fill the void left
by George Latimer’s election to higher office. Our community
can only benefit from her qualifications, integrity and dedication.
Let us all give our vote to her as County Legislator in the special
election on February 15th.
Geoffrey P. Young
February 8, 2005
Chu - for Fiscal Responsibility
On February 15, we in the 7th District will have the opportunity
to elect Franklin Chu to the Westchester Board of Legislators – and
restore fiscal responsibility for all Sound Shore and County
Franklin Chu is a leader on the Rye City Council in the getting
Rye’s financial house back in order. After years of huge
tax increases, Franklin’s hard work led to the property
tax increase being steadily reduced to 2.9% without cutting services.
After the previous majority spent down the critical surplus account
to the bare legal minimum endangering the Rye City’s AAA
bond rating, Franklin raised the surplus account back to policy
Franklin’s career, as well as his tenure in Rye government,
gives him the necessary expertise to get the County finances
under control. His calm and controlled personality allows him
to build the essential consensus with colleagues so essential
if we are to have a County government that has low taxes and
wisely spends our tax money.
In my four years on Rye’s City Council (1994-1997), we
had no tax increase, reduced the City’s debt and increased
its surplus. To do that requires the same fiscal knowledge and
discipline that Franklin has shown in Rye and will bring to White
Plains. If you want positive change in White Plains, I encourage
you to vote for Franklin Chu on February 15.
Joseph L. Latwin
February 3, 2005
Why You Should Vote for My Dad
In the Special Election on February 15th, voters should vote
for my Dad, Franklin Chu because he has great ideas on how to
run Westchester County. First, he has plans on how to lower taxes
for people throughout the county. Second, my father will support
programs to keep Long Island Sound clean for the next generation.
He is so dedicated to the safety and welfare of our county that
he volunteers to be a Rye Auxiliary Police Officer to do whatever
he can to make this a safe place.
Along with being a police officer, a Rye City Councilman and
a father, he is also a fine educator. As a school principal,
he has taught my sister and me Chinese since we were little kids.
I believe he will work hard to improve education throughout the
These are the reasons why you should elect my father, Franklin
Chu, as County Legislator.
Hadley Chu (6th Grade)
February 2, 2005
Chu Best for Job Says Dem
We routinely talk about supporting the “best person for
the job” regardless of party affiliation. We rarely find
the choices compelling enough to actually break ranks and do
so. Often, it is because it is hard to determine if the other
party’s candidate will really make a difference. The contest
for George Latimer’s successor provides that opportunity.
I am a Democrat who supports Franklin Chu.
I know Franklin Chu. I have observed him as a community leader;
I have worked with him on Rye Free Reading Room matters; I have
experienced his calm, wise counsel at public meetings. Franklin
Chu knows how to combine the strength necessary to make independently
intelligent decisions with the loyal commitment vital to representing
his constituents. I firmly believe that he has the open mindedness
to grow, the balance to make good choices and the vision to lead.
I believe that Franklin will make the kind of difference which
justifies my voting for him.
February 1, 2005
Franklin Chu has Vision and Discipline Needed for County
I am pleased to have the opportunity to support the candidacy
of Franklin Chu for the Westchester County Legislative seat vacated
by George Latimer.
During his tenure on the Rye City Council, Franklin has proven
to be a disciplined financial analyst, a strategic thinker and,
perhaps most importantly, a consensus builder able to move beyond
partisan positioning to creative problem-solving.
Franklin's fine mind, strong educational and professional experience,
and keen commitment to public service combine to make him an
excellent candidate to succeed George on the Board of Legislators.
Having worked both in and with county government over the past
twenty years, I am acutely aware of its potential and its limitations.
I believe that Franklin Chu brings both the vision and the discipline
necessary to focus county legislative attention effectively upon
key economic and community issues impacting Westchester County
and the surrounding region.
Kathleen E. Walsh
January 27, 2005
Rye, New York 10580
Continuing Ed Offers "High-Quality" Courses, Trips
Larchmont Mamaroneck Continuing Education offers a wide variety
of high-quality courses and trips at reasonable prices.
Many more people in the vicinity could benefit and take a different course
in their lives if they made a selection from the Spring brochure. It
will be in their mail next month.
Of they could call the Continuing Ed office at 698-9126 or visit www.lmcce.org.
Learn and enjoy,
LM Continuing Ed board member
January 25, 2005
Police About Helping People, Not Making Money
I must take exception to Mr. Cauley's letter
of January 21, 2005 in regards to current police contract
negations in Larchmont.
In his letter he states that post-retirement benefits are more
generous than in corporate America. Corporate America is basically
about making money, not dealing with people on a daily basis
- helping at accident scenes, fires, domestic incidents, assisting
the elderly and finding lost children. In corporate America the
employee receives bonuses for making money. Police officers perform
their job on a daily basis, at the same rate of pay.
He mentions post-retirement benefits, which in the case of Larchmont
police is a state pension and partial health benefits, with the
remainder being paid by the employee. Maybe Mr. Cauley and others
should be reminded of some recent history involving the Larchmont
police that appear lost in all the confusion of budgets.
- October-1989: two armed felons attempted to hold up Roy Rogers
on Boston Post Road. Two Larchmont Officers were engaged in
a shootout that left one felon deceased and the other serving
a long prison term.
- July-1982: Paul Marks was the manager of the Larchmont Theatre
and was brutally killed by two of his associates. Both killers
were caught and successfully prosecuted, serving long prison
- January- 1989: two residents were brutally stabbed to death
in their own home. The killer was eventually arrested and successfully
prosecuted, and is serving a long prison term.
- July-2002: Starbucks was held up by two individuals posing
as police officers. Both subjects were arrested and now serving
long prison terms.
- And most recently, September 11, 2001 terrorist attack at
The World Trade Center: the members of the Larchmont Police
were ordered to work because of the attack. Larchmont police
left their own homes and families to protect this community
in a time of great uncertainty. When residents came off Metro
North that day, one of the first things they observed were
uniformed police assisting them.
These are the things that Mr. Bialo and Mr. Cauley should be
looking at when contract time rolls around. Look at the people
providing the first line of defense to this community. Look at
our faces and stop looking at budget lines.
William B. Walsh
23-year employee of Larchmont P.D.
January 24, 2005
Chu Has Integrity, Leadership
On February 15, voters in Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle
and Rye have an opportunity to vote for Franklin Chu, who is
running in a special election to represent us in the 7th District
on the Westchester Board of Legislators.
Franklin is on the Rye City Council where he has shown integrity, leadership,
and a keen desire to do what is best for the city, regardless of political
fallout. He will certainly bring these same characteristics to the county
As a fiscal conservative, with no excess baggage to worry about,
he will deliver a business man's approach to the important subject
of county taxes.
I wholeheartedly endorse his candidacy and hope you will vote
for him on February 15.
January 20, 2005
Response to Marsh Criticism
In response to Ms. Clark's Criticisms of the
Premium Marsh project:
- 1976- Pryer Manor Marsh designated a formerly connected
- 1970s- New Rochelle, its former owner, placed a clay pipe
between the marsh and the Premium River and restored tidal
flow. Eventually the pipe clogged and ceased to function.
- 1987- a new pipe was installed on top of the old. Since
little difference exists in the elevation of the marsh and
the river, the new pipe did not function; marsh became a storm
water retention basin. Every time it rained, water collected
and had no place to runoff.
- No open water was evident in 1980 aerial photograph; the
pond was clearly evident in 1986 aerial photo.
- Current photos after project completion indicate times when
the marsh is covered with water, when it is partially covered,
times when it is a mud flat.
- The hydrologic link between the marsh and the river was
successfully restored. The DEC said, “This is the best
LIS restoration project funded by the Clean Water....Bond Act”.
- The marsh was a monoculture of common reed (Phragmites sp.)
and other non-wetland, highly invasive vegetation.
- Reports from Westchester County and two engineering firms
recommended restoration of the marsh.
- An 11 federal/state/environmental organization partnership
listed Pryer Manor Marsh on its Proposed Sites map for Restoring
Long Island Sound’s Habitats (1997-98).
The handful of residents whose homes look down on the marsh
spoke of the absence of birds. DEC commissioned two experienced
birders to execute an Inventory of Birds on Pryer Manor Marsh
September-October 2004. This professional work noted 73 species
of birds identified during 84 visits, 17 species were shorebirds
and wading birds totaling 1,181, other species totaled 2,789,
bringing the total to 3,970 birds counted. Two neighbors of Ms.
Clark’s mother received copies of this inventory. It’s
also available at the Town of Mamaroneck Conservation Department.
Yes, the nay sayers are looking at mud. The planting aspect
of the project was delayed for one year because the complaining
handful wanted an inquiry into dredging to create a pond. After
DEC installed water level recorder meters to determine the success
or failure of the project, they opined that a permit to dredge
would not be granted because the project is successful.
This spring marsh grasses will be planted in “the mud” and
native plants found in the upper reaches of a brackish marsh
will be planted around the perimeter. Instant gratification will
not be forthcoming. This is when nature will run its course,
taking perhaps 3 years for the grasses to fully mature. Planting
is followed by a 5-year monitoring program.
The total project cost is $353,870. NYS will contribute $244,500,
with the balance coming mainly from a local match of in-kind
services and cash from the owners of the marsh.
In 1995, New Rochelle sold the marsh to the Pryer Manor Preservation
Association, Inc. If Ms. Clark intends to hire “an objective
third party”, she should contact the PMPA for permission.
Mamaroneck Town Council
(For my full response to Clark’s letter, contact: email@example.com)
January 17, 2005
Judy Myers Will Have My Vote on Feb 15
Judy Myers will have my vote on February 15 in the special election
for county legislator. I met Judy shortly after she moved to
Larchmont. Our children were on the same sport team so we had
long winter afternoons to talk.
Judy is a person who cares deeply about this town and the entire
Sound Shore region. I certainly know about her passion for our
youth. Whether developing the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Youth Council,
coordinating SafeRides for teens, or working with the community
to provide for expansion of the Hommocks Middle School, Judy
is there for kids and their families.
During her two terms as Mamaroneck Town Councilwoman, Judy has
worked with her colleagues to pass strong legislation to protect
our environment. She understands the necessity to balance conservation
with development and will always work to maintain playing fields
and open spaces. She's the kind of elected official who is just
as dedicated to getting a streetlight fixed for a neighborhood
as she is to serving on the Boards of Architectural Review and
Assessment Review. She is hardworking, dedicated and committed
to working with respect for others in a bipartisan fashion.
Judy will be an asset to those of us in the districtwho live
in Mamaroneck, Larchmont, Rye and New Rochelle, and will also
work on behalf of all of Westchester County. I hope everyone
will join me and vote for Judy on February 15!
January 11, 2005
Local Marsh Has Been Decimated
Pryer Manor marsh has been decimated. The once thriving marsh,
with a pond at the center and home to year-round and migrating
birds, is now a brown mudflat.
In 2003, the Larchmont Gazette wrote What’s
happening to the small marsh on Pryer Manor Road?” The
article quoted Town Councilwoman Phyllis Wittner saying, “I
was interested in restoring salt water to the marsh because
it would bring in the small fish and other small invertebrates … and
attract other wildlife.”
State and local interests have spent more than $350,000 in taxpayer
money to “restore” the marsh, and to what end?
It’s time for an update.
Where there once was a pond surrounded by tall grasses, now
stands an unattractive manmade trench surrounding dead reeds
and acres of exposed mud at the center. Pipes and valves were
installed to connect the marsh to Premium Pond, though the water
flows only on the highest of tides. Weeks go by without any water
entering the marsh.
According to early documents, New York State contributed almost
$250,000 because tidal marshes are important to the health of
Long Island Sound. Did the State really intend to spend so much
money for such infrequent tidal flows?
Steve Altieri, Town of Mamaroneck Administrator, said, “We
don’t want [the water] to be too low and expose the bottom
of the marsh. But we prefer for the water to be well below the
level of the road – particularly at lunar high tides. We
don’t want to tempt fate.” What Mr. Altieri might
not know is that for over 50 years the marsh pond and surrounding
roads survived without a problem.
I know. I grew up on the marsh, and though I no longer live
in the immediate area, I am shocked at this project’s clear
In June 2003, Councilwoman Phyllis Wittner said, “It’s really
restoring nature to what it was before man interfered with the natural
progression.” Unfortunately, she misses the point. Nature equipped
the marsh with natural healing powers. It had survived natural disasters
including floods and fire. No one interfered until the construction vehicles
Since the marsh pond was drained, the hundreds of egrets and
red-winged black birds, which returned year after year, have
moved on. Killing the phragmites and planting shrubs has not
returned the marsh to ‘a natural state’ as Ms. Wittner
claimed when she said, “It’s these shrubs that are
the food source and the nesting place and the resting place for
song birds.” What about the indigenous birds that had inhabited
the marsh in its natural state for over 50 years?
Misguided intervention over the last few years has destroyed
the marsh after nature had taken care of it for hundreds of years.
Hardly a ‘restoration’, if you ask me. If an historic
building had been destroyed at such great public expense, the
community would be up in arms.
I’m seeking an investigation of the project and its failures.
Town of Mamaroneck and State representatives are declaring the
project a success. Perhaps engaging an objective third party
to investigate and evaluate what has transpired would protect
other areas of our community from being ‘restored’ at
Old Greenwich, CT
December 14, 2004
Scholarship to Honor Kaitlyn Moriwaki
Kaitlyn Moriwaki, a student at Mamaroneck High School, died
from a sudden illness on October 2, 2004. She was an extremely
talented artist and musician and a very special friend to many
of us in the Larchmont/Mamaroneck community. (See:
The Moriwaki family and friends are working to establish a scholarship
in memory of Kaitlyn. The Kaitlyn Moriwaki Scholarship will go
to a student or students who excel in the visual or musical arts.
The scholarship will be administered by the Mamaroneck-Larchmont
Student Aid Fund. We are hoping to make the scholarship an annual
endowment – to do that, we need to raise at least $25,000.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to this
scholarship, please make your contribution payable to (and send
it to) the Mamaroneck-Larchmont Student Aid Fund, Inc., Mamaroneck
High School, Mamaroneck, NY 10543. It is important that you note
on your check and in a brief note, that the donation is to be
credited to the Kaitlyn Moriwaki scholarship. If you would prefer
a donation card for this purpose, please contact Judy Baumgarten
or The Larchmont Music Academy, 833-8941, 2089 Boston Post Road,
If you have any questions, please call or e-mail Judy Baumgarten,
December 15, 2005
Beautification Committee Encourages: Shop Larchmont
The Beautification Committee of Larchmont will again be recognizing local merchants for their holiday window displays. This is an annual award to encourage our residents to shop downtown Larchmont. The committee will take pictures and make their decision on December 18th.
Marge Piccone, Chairman
Larchmont Beautification Committee
November 22, 2005
Join Final Court Battle on Kemper Park
There is a court date set to put a final end to the Kemper Memorial battle. The NY Supreme Court (Appellate Division) in Brooklyn will be hearing the case on Monday, November 28 at 10 am. We need an end to the school board's relentless pursuit of moving this memorial at the taxpayers’ expense. This is the time of year for giving thanks not taking away from those who gave so much for our country.
A free luxury bus (with bathroom) will be boarding on Monday at 7:30 am and leaving promptly at 7:45 from Harbor Island. To sign up, call Jan Northrup at 834-5757. Or you can go on your own (see:the court website for directions.)
We need your support.
Ed Murray, Commander
American Legion Post 90
November 15, 2005
Thanks for Helping us Help Others
We would like to thank the Gazette and the kind-hearted residents of Larchmont for supporting our "home grown" relief effort to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The local response to our "Take Comfort USA" effort was overwhelming. We would like to announce that each personal donation of diapers, socks, toothbrushes etc. added up over the many weeks, and we ended up sending more than 1,000 pounds of much needed goods to both Gulfport, Mississippi and to the Salvation Army's Disastor Relief Warehouse at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
We wish we knew who all of the generous souls were who dropped donations day and night in our porch baske. To them we say, "You are angels!" We would also like to specially thank the following people: Bud and his crew at PDQ Mail Plus on Palmer for supporting us in every way. Thanks to Collins Brothers Moving for supplying the many boxes. Many thanks to 12-year old French student Antoine Prieur for choosing our cause as his school's community project and helping out. Big thanks to the Barbero family. Heartfelt thanks to Reverend Tom Nicoll at St. John's Episcopal Church and to the church's Voyager Group. You all were shining examples of goodness in a moment of darkness.
Thanks for helping us help others,
Patti & Michaela Roberts
November 3, 2005
Former Resident Keeps Up With Mamaroneck Through Gazette
I am a 55-year resident of Mamaroneck, where I attended the local schools. I have lived out of Mamaroneck for 15 years and used to find information on the local area from people who I would run into once in a while. I found your site about a year ago and find it a fantastic way to get local news from Larchmont and Mamaroneck. In your obituaries, I found three people who passed away and went to their services. Without the Larchmont Gazette I would not have been able to pay my respects to these individuals.
My uncle is on the Kemper Memorial at the Boston Post Road, and I would never have known about the controversy if it were not for the Larchmont Gazette. II hope you never get off line and have told many people about your site.
Thank you once again for your invaluable site.
November 2, 2005
Re-elect Judy Myers to County Legislature Nov 8
I am writing to ask Larchmont voters to go to the polls on Tuesday, November 8 to help re-elect Judy Myers as our County Legislator. I have known Judy for 15 years. She has been providing me and all of my neighbors with a strong voice in the Legislature since she was elected last February. Now she's running for a full 2-year term to continue getting results for us. She's working diligently to preserve Davids Island, to insure that Rye Playland gets the maintenance and safety implementations it deserves, and, most importantly, to keep the needs of the Sound Shore communities paramount as she strives to improve the quality and affordability of life in Westchester County. I trust Judy to make the right decisions and provide the right leadership for our District, just as she did for six years as Town Councilwoman. I know how important it is to her to keep our taxes in line and to listen to our concerns. She has the experience and she gets results.
Leslie F. Molinoff
October 31, 2005
Donald March is Kind of County Legislator Distict 7 Needs
I strongly believe that Donald March is exactly the kind of county legislator Westchester's 7th District needs. He is a longtime resident of the local area and has a deep historical understanding of the local area's rich past. This confluence of residency and understanding has endowed him with a deep love of the local area and an unwavering desire to seek the best for all its people. It is that kind of passion that will drive him to be an outstanding county legislator who will be a public servant in the truest sense of the term.
October 25, 2005
Parents: Don't Teach Your Kids to Break the Rules
Rye Playland in Westchester County has been a great go-to place for generations. Kids of all ages have enjoyed its rides, amusements, fireworks, concerts and everything else it has to offer.
During our last trip to the park with three of our grandchildren, just after Labor Day, I observed numerous instances of parents helping their kids get around height or age restrictions on various rides. Because the children “wanted” to go on a particular ride - often with a friend or older sibling, but sometimes alone - the parents caved in without a fight and actually were advising their children how to “fool” the ride attendants into thinking they were shorter, taller or older than they actually were.
In each instance that I observed (three in all), the attendants were courteous and friendly, but firm and properly enforced the park’s guidelines.
Somehow, I think most of the kids denied a chance to go on a ride “survived” their frustration and vowed to come back again next year when they were taller or older.
The sad part of what was transpiring, in my view, was the apparent attitude by some of the parents that they and their kids should be able to do what they want, when they want to do it. Translated into everyday life, it’s slowing down, rather then stopping at stop signs, making right turns at “no right turn at red” intersections, parking where they please, driving well over the speed limit, talking on cell phones while driving, etc.
If kids, when they are 4 or 5 years old, aren’t instilled with a sense of respect for rules and regulations by their parents, we shouldn’t be surprised that, when they become teenagers or adults, they somehow think that they are “entitled” to pick and choose the laws that will govern their actions and behavior.
It’s never too soon or the wrong time, in my humble opinion, to instill in our kids and grandkids a sense of respect for the guidelines that society tries to establish so that we can all live together in as much peace, harmony and safety as possible.
Councilman, Town of Mamaroneck
Thanks for Avian Fugitive Help
Thanks so much for featuring Sweetbird's
picture and story. I'm
this will give her a better chance of being found.
Just this morning, I was out ringing my bell when one of two
were talking together on the street remarked, after being
told I was
looking for our lost bird, "Oh, I've seen her picture recently.
it was on-line in the Larchmont Gazette."
And Sue had a few people remark to her they saw it already,
and it is
Thanks for the great work you are doing, and for caring!
September 28, 2005
To Wachovia: Fix Your Clocks
I would like to write an open letter to the managers
of the local Wachovia banks. For quite some time now, the clocks
at the banks have not been working properly. We don't know what
time it is, nor do we know the temperature. I request
that they either fix the clocks or turn them off. They are the center piece
of both the Village of Larchmont and the Town of
Frankly I find it embarrassing that these marquees
look and function the way that they do.
If all of us went into the banks - one on Palmer and Larchmont
Avenues, the other on Boston Post Road - it might help. Please
go inside the bank and ask them to fix the clocks.
September 28, 2005
Letter Jogs Memories of Working at the Inn
The letter from Ted Utz (Changes at Manor Inn: "Right
Thing") really jogged my memories of the Manor
Inn. As a girl I lived across the street from the inn, and as a
teenager I worked as a summer waitress there. I remember Ted’s
father as a young naval officer, and a day when he was dining with
his grandmother. I was so enamored of him and his uniform, that
I spilled black iced coffee down the sleeve of that uniform. I
thought my days as a waitress were over.
As things will so often happen, history will repeat itself. Two
of my sons had part time jobs also, during their high school days,
at the inn. One succeeded the other, when the eldest went into
the Army, both as dishwashers in the kitchen.
It was nice to hear of the Utz family and a surprise to me that
they still were here in Larchmont.
To Ease Congestion, Walk Your Child To School
This is in reference
to the article about the congestion around Murray Avenue School.
Sets Moratoriium on Commercial Signange, Finalizes Colonial Avenue
The simple solution to this is leave the
car at home. Use your feet and accompany your children, on foot,
to school. Do the same when picking them up in the afternoon.
is not hard to do. It is strongly recommended. It is the only
way to correct the traffic congestion around the schools.
September 16, 2005
Changes at Manor Inn: "Right Thing"
My grandmother, Mabel Bennett Utz, was the general manager at
The Manor Inn for many years during the 50's and 60's. As a child,
remember dining there almost weekly with my father and brother;
my mother wouldn't go, she didn't like the food, or that's what
said. I remember the news hour every night where the entire inn
population would work their way into the front meeting room to
a small black and white television. Their favorite was the Huntley
Brinkley on NBC (actually in those days the news hour was 90
minutes.) Then there was Bingo Night. Was it Monday, Tuesday, I
don't recall. It was the highlight of their week.
As a fourth generation Larchmonter, I am not usually one who likes
to see "landmarks" torn down.(See: Last
of Historic Manor Inn Comes Down) I'd prefer to see
the old train station,
for example, or even Cook's - great game room! In some cases, however,
we are better off moving on. In this case, I think the Mullaneys
have essentially done the right thing: preserve and update what
you can and eliminate what you can't. The Manor Inn served its
purpose long ago when Larchmont was still a "resort'" for
well-to-do New Yorkers. The neighborhood is far better off as just
that, a neighborhood. Retirement homes have become big business
and the inn couldn't compete.
I can't say I miss those evenings at The Manor Inn, even though
I won a dollar or two playing Bingo. What I really miss are those
nights at the Bevan bar back in the '60's. You know, they say if
you remember the 60's then you weren't there. Well, a few of us
those were the days!
August 18, 2005
Too Many Banks
Am I the only person puzzled by the banks popping up like dandelions
around Larchmont? It's not only bizarre, it casts a musty pall
over the whole neighborhood.
Of course, the banks are within their rights to build wherever
they want. But do our leaders have to grant the permits quite so
quickly? A bank may be the single most boring enterprise a small
village can have. And they're suddenly everywhere.
Kentucky Fried Chicken? Now a bank. Castro Convertibles? A bank.
The old Nathan's? A bank. Dom's Mobil station? Soon to be a bank.
And if it's not a bank, it's another in our endless cavalcade of
Judging by all commercial indicators, we are a town of people
who gobble prescription drugs while investing in our IRA’s.
My kids' eyes roll. Then they hop Metro North to get as far away
as the train will carry them…to a real city.
Shouldn't villages like ours have more sidewalk cafes and restaurants,
clothing shops or sports stores? Electronics? Books or a burger
joint? Sushi? Handcrafted beer? Anything but another bank. The
most excitement they offer is free checking.
Well, I hear you say, if you're so incensed why don't YOU open
a sushi place-cum-handcrafted-beer-slash-bookstore of your own
and quit griping?
Believe me, I would— but I have to get to the bank.
Councilwoman Responds: There Was No Promise of Rental Building
In response to Catherine Wach's letter, (Town
Should Demand Rentals at Forest City Building) there was
no "promise" by
Forest City Daly to build a rental building. They proposed same
because Forest City Enterprises traditionally built rental apartments.
However, as was pointed out by Mr. Levey of Forest City
Residentials who will now oversee the project, the rental market
has hit bottom. People want equity from the housing dollars they're
spending. The change from rental to condo is purely an economic
decision on the part of the developer.
The removal of 3 bedroom apartments is to try to
insure that there will be no more school age children in the building
than the Final Environmental Impact Statement projected. This was
a big concern of Murray Avenue School parents.
As for the work force housing, the 9 units were to be provided
when there were to be 159 apartments. The number of units has dropped
135, but there will still be 9 work force apartments. The Town
of Mamaroneck is not "way under the recommendations for affordable
housing" because of our success with the Hommocks Park apartments.
The only change to the Forest City Daly FEIS and
the subsequent Town of Mamaroneck findings concerns rental vs condominium
Councilwoman Phyllis Wittner
Town of Mamaroneck
School Board Member Responds
A letter published in this newspaper on August 5 questioned my
ability, and apparently the ability of my colleagues on the Mamaroneck
School District Board of Education, to remain non-partisan in educational
policy decisions because I carried petitions for Democratic candidates
for November’s election.
The suggestion that my or my Board colleagues’ judgment
on School Board matters might be influenced by political motives
is unfounded and dismaying. I have not and will not take political
party affiliation or partisan politics into account in discharging
my responsibilities on the School Board. We serve on the Board
to ensure excellent education for all the children of this community,
and that is what we are doing.
Village of Mamaroneck
Mamaroneck School Board
August 9, 2005
Selection Committee Remains Strictly Non-Partisan
The letter by Joseph Angilletta and Tony Vozza (two Republican
Village of Mamaroneck Trustees) was very revealing in several aspects.
My first issue with the letter is that it contained some serious
factual errors. The writers state, “If members of the school
board are now in the practice of endorsing candidates…” In
actual fact, the School Board has absolutely no role as a body
to endorse candidates who run for elected positions. Under the
law, a school board member may - in his or her individual capacity
- support candidates as he or she sees fit. It would be improper
for The Selection Committee or the School Board to seek to restrict
a member’s First Amendment rights to freedom of expression.
The writers also claim that the election of Richard Marsico represents
a change in Selection Committee policy “to the detriment
of the children of our community.” First of all, the committee
most certainly has not changed its policy. It continues its role
as an independent, non-partisan body, responsible for interviewing
and endorsing candidates of the highest quality for the School
Board. The community then votes for the candidates in a general
election. Moreover, the committee firmly believed that the election
of Richard Marsico to the School Board ensured that the
superior education program the district delivers to students would
be strongly maintained. Mr. Marsico was endorsed for his integrity
and intelligence, as well as his impressive background as a law
professor and overall familiarity with – and ongoing interest
in – the district.
The letter also contained some fairly outrageous statements:
“If the board members are now favoring Democratic candidates
for office should parents [who are] not members of the Democratic
Party fear that their children will be treated differently by educational
leaders in the community?” The mere suggestion that the School
Board would treat children differently based on their parents’ political
affiliation is both preposterous and offensive.
“Should all local political parties now plan to engage
fully in the election process and nominate their own candidates
for the School Board?” I am concerned that this is a threat
to the process The Selection Committee has followed for the last
60 years to identify and endorse candidates based solely on their
qualifications, and without regard to their political views or
affiliation, if any. I can state unequivocally that the committee
will never veer from its firm belief that only a non-partisan process
is in the best interests of the School Board and the entire community.
As the writers correctly acknowledge, The Selection Committee
was founded to prevent partisan politics from influencing School
Board elections. And since 1945, the committee has clearly succeeded
in doing just that. My hope is that our community continues to
value the committee’s commitment, thoughtful process and
careful evaluation of candidates, as well as the integrity it has
continuously brought to every single School Board election.
Syl Michael Morrone
The Selection Committee
July 24, 2005
Pine Brook Neighbors Appreciate Update on Flooding Progress
Thank you for your update on what is being done to address the
flooding problem in Larchmont. For those of us who live in the
Pine Brook neighborhood and who are not as directly affected as
others by the flooding, we very much appreciate knowing what progress
has been made. A well-written and highly informative article!
July 21, 2005
Disappointed at School Board Appeal on Kemper Park
I am writing to express disappointment in the School Board’s
decision to appeal Judge Bellantoni’s ruling to preserve
Kemper Memorial Park as was agreed on by the Kemper family and
the board in 1945. Jean Kemper, the sister of Lt. Richard Kemper
who was killed in WWII, is very much alive. She has spoken often
about the agreement between her family and the School Board. It
is a travesty that the board is attempting to destroy an agreement
made during a family’s and community’s grief. Furthermore,
the board states: “We are not proposing destroying the memorial….We
are proposing moving the actual memorial itself completely intact,
Obviously, there is a need for clarification. The memorial is
the park! It includes the land, trees, other plantings and benches
(the latter disappeared although the board was responsible for
maintenance). The following is on the monument: “This park
presented in memory of Lt. Richard M. Kemper is dedicated to members
of the military forces from Union Free School District # 1, Town
of Mamaroneck who gave their lives in World War II in the service
of their country.” The park was planned as a living memorial,
and purchased to honor the ninety-eight men and one woman who died
to keep our nation free.
The park was designed for “quiet contemplation” for
all who live here. It is perfectly located for teaching our young
people and community about history, honor, integrity, ethics and
justice for all. It could be a wonderful outdoor classroom.
As a former member of the Town of Mamaroneck Conservation Advisory
Commission, I think placing athletic fields next to the heavily
trafficked Boston Post Road is unhealthy and dangerous. Where is
the wisdom in having children racing down a field inhaling carbon
monoxide? Remember, the trees refresh the air and buffer the noise
between the school and the road.
Furthermore, how high a fence will be needed next to the field
to contain balls? A few months ago, I was driving past Murray Avenue
School when a large ball landed in front of my car. Fortunately,
I was able to avoid an accident. Imagine the possible deadly consequences,
of a ball flying into the heavily trafficked Post Road?
I would also like to know what is planned for the Korean monument
and the two field houses now at the football field. Will they have
to go? Moving the fields around will further reduce parking, which
is already tight.
We all want the best education possible for our children. My husband
and I raised four terrific children here. It was the teachers not
the athletic fields that helped them along the way.
I resent that the School Board has already spent more than $184,000
attempting to break the covenant of the deed. How much more will
be spent on the appeal?
I urge the board to do what is honorable and stop the appeal.
Let us spend our tax dollars on education and not litigation.
July 2, 2005
Behind Footlocker Is Strange Place for Marine Recruiting
In response to Anthony Hoffman's letter (Reaction
to Military Recruiting is Shameful), Mr. Hoffman sure
has an interesting way of reading between the lines of Ms. Silberstein's
in Mamaroneck Finds Curious Students, Hostile Parents.)
Nowhere within the text of the article is it quoted that Mrs.
Harrington was equating a military recruiter with a "pedophile." Nowhere
does Mrs. Harrington bash the military as a viable option for
post-high school graduates. What she found offensive is the clandestine
technique the Marine Sgt. uses for recruiting minors.
seen that officer outside the Footlocker, steps away from the
high school campus (where, by the way, many students go to smoke
because it's off-campus) and I wondered, what the heck is he
I have no problem with recruiters at a college
fair, or having materials available within the counselors' offices,
or for them to advertise an open house for students and parents.
But spending time in a parking lot behind a store, off the street,
where students hang out just doesn
't seem on the up-and-up. It's a strange place for a recruiter
to be "doing
Maybe Mr. Hoffman could arrange a table at the Kemper Memorial
for that recruiter. No one ever uses that space, it's plenty big
enough, and parents would be able to see the recruiter from the
street. I guess that wouldn't be allowed, since the school district
owns that property. Or do they?
On Kemper Park, Read the Judge's Decree
It is important that residents of our town and two villages are
aware of the history of World
War II and the Richard Kemper Park.
It would be appreciated if a copy of the April 25, 2005 order
by Honorable Orazio R. Bellantoni, Justice of the New York Supreme
be recorded in the Larchmont Gazette.
Link to the ruling (retyped)
Justice Bellantoni makes it
clear in the ruling that the Kemper family can enforce the terms
of the gift, that the deeds contain restrictive covenants, and
that the Board of
Education/Mamaroneck Union Free School District is not fulfilling its part
of the bargain.
Accordingly, the Board of Education is prohibited from implementing the project.
Thank you for the opportunity to publish this in the Larchmont
June 24, 2005
Reaction to Military Recruiting is Shameful
It is a shameful reflection on this community to see our local
youth cheat in competition and reap the rewards of such an act
(Letter: Cheating at 5K Run - A Shock) It's even more shameful
to see the reaction of some of our local parents at an armed forces
recruiter just trying to do his job (Marine in Mamaroneck Finds Curious Students, Hostile Parents.)
Regardless of personal views of our country's conflicts abroad,
the military is still an admirable calling for our young people
to follow. To equate a military recruiter to a pedophile "trolling" for
young kids is despicable. Military service is only one option among
many for today's young people. Military recruiters compete, not
troll, to show our youth their options along with various college
and civil service representatives.
For generations, our armed services have instilled character and
integrity into scores of young men and women. Many residents of
Larchmont and Mamaroneck have served our country proudly in the
service. It is apparent that our youth could use some of this character
and integrity, otherwise incidents such as cheating to win a 5K
run will unfortunately become too commonplace in this community.
June 8, 2005
Implement Alternatives; End
Legal Appeals on Kemper Park
The Kemper Memorial Park Preservation Fund is gratified that,
in his final judgment, NY State Supreme Court Judge Orazio R. Bellantoni
ruled in favor of the Richard M. Kemper Park, a World War II Memorial.
He decreed that the Mamaroneck School District and School Board “are
not fulfilling their part of the bargain pursuant to the covenants
contained in the Deeds” that transferred the land from Adolph
and Helen Kemper to the School District in 1945 and 1946 to create
the Memorial Park. Specifically, Judge Bellantoni’s judgment
stated that the district’s proposal for a change in land
use “violates the specific covenants” in the deeds
and “does not significantly honor the sacrifice of those
soldiers who gave their lives in the service of their country.”
In response to a suit brought by the school district last June,
which was combined with the suit filed shortly thereafter by Richard
Cantor, grandson of the donors, Judge Bellantoni issued an order
on January 5, 2005 that prohibited the schools from implementing
its proposed project with respect to the Memorial Park. (See: Judge
Rules: Kemper Park Changes Prohibited.) This
order, while binding as of its issue date, was not in final form,
so that the period for filing a notice of appeal did not start
On April 25, 2005, Judge Bellantoni signed the final judgment
and it was served on representatives of the parties on May 27.
It was then that the thirty-day clock started running for filing
a notice of appeal.
Filing of the notice advises the New York State Appellate Division
court that a party may wish to appeal a Supreme Court judgment.
It does not commit the party to appeal, but does keep the option
open. After filing notice, the party has six months to file supporting
briefs and papers. Board members have said they are now deciding
whether to appeal.
Many district residents are under the impression that the park
controversy is now resolved. However, an appeal seems likely as
$500,000 of school monies are currently being kept in a fund earmarked
for the Kemper Park proposal. Since at least $10,000 has been spent
on site plan development, $184,000 on legal fees on the part of
the school district and tens of thousands of dollars on the part
of the donors, the road the board has chosen to add one more athletic
field has proven to be quite costly. The proposal’s total
bill is still unknown, as the full costs of site plan development,
despite a Freedom of Information Law request, remain obscure.
So far, the board has been unwilling to pursue available alternatives.
We are hopeful that this attitude will change and that, instead
of spending more tax dollars on an appeal, the alternatives will
be seriously explored and implemented as soon as possible.
President, Kemper Memorial Park Preservation Fund
May 26, 2005
Dogs Tied to Poles Risk Injury
Some village residents may not be aware that a few months
ago a small dog was seriously injured on Chatsworth Avenue by a
vehicle that was pulling up to the curb. The animal had been leashed
to a pole and was not visible to the driver.
Many residents do
tie their dogs to poles while they go into shops, and this practice
can lead to serious consequences for our beloved pets. Most recently,
I noticed a larger dog tied to a pole at the curb with his large
fluffy tail cascading off into the street in full path of oncoming
My purpose in writing is to raise awareness
that our pets can be injured this way. I hope that both
pedestrians with animals and drivers looking for parking spots
will take extra precautions for the safety of our furry friends.
May 13, 2005
Interested in Whole Foods Coming to New Rochelle? Take the Survey
I work for Avalon Bay Communities, Inc., the company that built
the apartment tower in downtown New Rochelle next to the train
We are trying to persuade Whole Foods to come to the second phase
of our project at Huguenot and Division. The site is highly visible
and accessible from I-95 as well as the Post Road. It should attract
shoppers from all the southern Westchester towns.
We think this would be a big boost for downtown New Rochelle and
our project, but also a great convenience for Larchmont residents,
who now have to trek to White Plains or Greenwich for a Whole Foods.
(We plan to offer a lot more dedicated parking spaces than those
other locations as well.)
If people are interested in supporting this effort, they can fill
out a brief online survey at:
They can also circulate this link by email to friends in the area.
Thank you for your support.
May 11, 2005
For Levere, Marsico; Cost Cutting
Ideas Already in Use in Schools
Amy Levere and Richard Marsico are independent, creative thinkers
many years of community leadership demonstrate genuine concern
commitment not only to our schools, but to the entire community.
are respected by the many community members with whom they have
as excellent listeners and communicators, effective consensus-builders
and fair decision-makers. As parents of children attending our
now, they have first-hand insight into the current educational
social concerns of our district. They will bring their broad, relevant
experience to deliberations on the wide range of issues that the
board encounters every day, be diligent in considering the different
views of this very diverse community, and sensitive and thoughtful
striking a balance between the often divergent needs and interests
There is no single magic bullet that will cut the costs of our
without detriment to our educational program. Ideas such as a
citizen's committee to review construction (the district Building
Committee, including respected community members who are architects
engineers, has been doing this for the past fifteen years), or
programs on a ten-year schedule (the district now reviews budget
on a much more frequent basis), reflect a lack of knowledge of
district's budget process. Savings come from an understanding of
district finances and economic factors that affect the budget,
within and outside of the board's control, and adjustments to the
budget that save money without doing damage to the educational
excellence our community demands.
As we anticipate major changes in our district next year, it is
important to elect school board members who are not focused on
issue or viewpoint. They must not only have knowledge and appreciation
of the past, but an informed understanding of our changing community
a clear vision of the future to help guide a new administration.
In a fast-changing world, educators must keep running to stay
same place, yet if our schools simply stay in the same place,
community will fall behind. Members of a productive school board
always initially agree on every issue, but they must have the
listen with open minds, and the discipline to come to consensus
support one decision in order to keep our district moving forward.
Levere and Richard Marsico are clearly the candidates with the
commitment and ability to succeed at this challenging job.
May 4, 2005
Gerhard Stohrer: Common Sense Approach for School Board
We are writing to show our support
for Gerhard Stohrer, candidate for school board. We feel that Gerhard,
who has resided in Larchmont for 30 years, takes a common sense
approach to the issues facing the community. He is a good neighbor
and friend to all that know him. We would feel most comfortable
knowing matters facing the board would be handled with the greatest
of judgment in his hands.
May 2, 2005
Support for Levere, Marsico; Concerns About Stohrer
I have lived in Larchmont for 13 years and have two children
in the Mamaroneck School District. I am writing to express my support
for two of the candidates running for school board, while offering
my concerns about the third.
The contrasts between the candidates’ positions are stark:
Amy Levere and Richard Marsico appear to understand the financial
and operational difficulties facing the district while the third
candidate, Gerhard Stohrer appears only to be focusing on reducing
the magnitude of property tax increases. Levere and Marsico stress
the positive—that the district is doing a good-to-excellent
job of educating our children, while seeking to improve the district’s
performance where it is weaker. Mr. Stohrer appears, by contrast,
to focus only on what the district is doing wrong (primarily the
school board is out of touch with the community and “loose
spending”). Levere and Marsico stress the need to work together
as a board to face the challenges of maintaining the district’s
performance while hiring a new superintendent and assistant superintendent
for operations, all in the face of a declining assessed valuation
and flat state aid. Stohrer reportedly believes that the district
is controlled by a “small group” of professionals and
specialists. He reportedly seeks control of the district by a “top
layer of ordinary citizens,” such as himself, while carefully
sidestepping his own professional background (a doctorate and relatively
senior positions in health care and medical education).
As a longtime public finance professional, I am intimately familiar
with the fiscal challenges facing state and local governments throughout
our country, including school districts like our own. Can we provide
a better education at the same or lower cost? Unclear, since the
district’s options are limited by numerous constraints and
mandates imposed by federal and state laws and regulations, as
well as by collective bargaining agreements. Can economies be made
by the district to reduce or limit property tax increases—certainly,
if we are willing to accept fewer services. Therein lies the problem:
what will we (or, legally, are we able to) cut to achieve savings
and head off tax increases? As important, who and how will we decide
to make those cuts? Do we want to elect school board members who
can discuss the issues meaningfully and will strive to achieve
a resolution that balances fiscal responsibility and school performance--I
think so. Or, do we want to elect a person who appears focused
on controlling perceived “loose spending” and little
else —I think not.
Consequently, I enthusiastically support the re-election of Amy
Levere and the election of Richard Marsico to the school board.
Both are highly intelligent individuals with much integrity and
demonstrated commitment to serving the public and the children
of this community. Both are keenly aware of the financial challenges
faced by the district and will seek to get the most for our funds.
We would be doing a good service to all of our fellow residents
and, most particularly, our children, by electing them.
April 6, 2005
MHS Class of 1956 Needs Help Finding Missing Mates
The class of 1956 is looking for its missing mates. We have
a committee working to put together a list to contact everyone
in the class, and they’ve had considerable success. Through
one person who knows the email address of another, the list keeps
building. We’ve got an email connection going and have
been able to locate 180 classmates out of a graduating group
of 223, but we’d like to reach everyone in time for our
October 2006 reunion.
We’re hoping the Gazette readership can help us find
the following people:
Rosemarie B Erwin
Florence DeMarco Richard Downs
Gretchen Ollinger Dorothy O’Neill
Rosetta Yizar Collier
If you know how to reach any of these people, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org with
the information, or have the person contact us at this address.
Nancy (Carlson) Andersen
April 5, 2005
Darkroom Decision "Disturbing"
The decision by Dr. King to eliminate darkroom from MHS is highly
disturbing and most undesirable. Digital photography with Adobe
Photoshop assistance is a highly useful but largely mechanical
expression of photographic art.
Darkroom work offers a variety of art renderings which cannot
easily come close to what digital maneuvering can offer. Abandoning
darkroom work is like abandoning oil and water painting by substituting
lithography and printing.
Emil Sherer Finley
April 3, 2005
Going Digital Is The Right Decision
As a professional photographer (published in books and photo-art
magazines) who has also taught photography at university and
secondary school levels, I wanted to respond to the questions
raised by the decision of Superintendent Sherry King and the
very sincere responses by some of the students and photography
teacher Mr. Nanni. I understand their love for the darkroom and
the old non-digital processes, but electricity is not in competition
with a candle or the old kerosene lamp.
For years I worked in color and black and white and took great
pride in the traditional “classic print,” with its
values and toning. I also had a certain hesitation and even fear
of the new medium until I started using it. I now have sold my
darkroom and do 90 percent of my work in digital.
I have to say, “It's over” except for those who
want to continue in the “old ways.” The production
of film is being discontinued. All of the major film and camera
companies are switching to digital. This does not mean it’s
right, but it is right
It is very possible to teach basic photography without the old
dark room. For myself, I am very glad to be free of the toxic
chemistry, the tedium of waiting for that image to appear - as
magical as it was. I can see and revise my image and tone it
and print it on various papers via the new technology in the
time I would be waiting to expose my print and pass it through
Working on the computer with “Adobe” is not a shortcut
or cheating, it is an expansion beyond imagination. I am sincerely
sorry for those who feel a little disconcerted. Let those who
want to learn the old ways go to Westchester Community College
or some community center that is still using a darkroom.
Don't hesitate, Mamaroneck High School. It is a right - if difficult
- decision. Courage! Go forward and enjoy the amazing images
you will see from your students.
March 29, 2005
All the Info: Large Percentage of School Budget Increase is
The recent article on the school budget, to my mind, failed
to make a very important point. How much of the increase is actually
mandated? Did the person who wrote the article come across that
fact? It is important to understand that, as I understand it,
a large percentage of the increase is actually state mandated,
federally mandated or without much discretion due to the contractual
bind – i.e. insurance for the teachers, special education
services or reimbursements. I do really think that it is important
to be forthcoming with all of the information.
March 18, 2005
Digital Is Not the Future--It's Now
In response to Midori Uehara's article about the MHS's darkroom
going digital: (MHS
Darkroom Going Digital? Film Fans Opposed.) Film will never
go away 100%, but it's a bygone technique. If the school's photography
program is to teach photography as an art form, then the students
should understand darkroom techniques. If the purpose is to teach
them a skill that they can use in real life as a career, then
the school is doing the students a service by teaching them how
to handle digital images.
Too many photographers who are used to film lack the knowledge
of how to create a good digital file for professional use. More
and more magazine editorial and advertising photography is being
created digitally. Some major consumer magazines are up to 97%
digital. Digital is not the future--it's now.
March 16, 2005
Shame on Larchmont's Political Parties for Denying Voters a
Shame on the Larchmont Democratic and Republican parties for
denying the residents of the village the right to vote in a contested
election for board of trustee seats.
For the second year in a row, in my opinion, both parties,
for their own convenience and that of the candidates who want
to stay in office without being required to demonstrate to us
why they deserve our confidence, have struck a deal to continue
on without being challenged.
The result: out of 4053 eligible voters, 284 voted, a mere
7%. But then, why would one bother to vote when there is no choice?
The leaders of both parties and the elected board members have
a duty to groom future candidates and have failed to do so.
Quite often I hear that it is not possible to recruit people
to run because of a board atmosphere that is so contentious and
disrespectful. That must change. 2006 would be a good year for
February 28, 2005
Response to Pryer Manor “Mud Flat”
Petulant anger has surmounted facts and objectivity. (See letter: Feb
Four houses overlooking the Pryer Manor Marsh (PMM) previously
enjoyed not a lake but a freshwater/stormwater retention area
which continued to enlarge because water could not exit the marsh.
Mamaroneck got involved to protect a critical part of the tri-municipal,
New York State designated significant habitat (1 of
7 in Westchester County), the Premium River-Pine Brook Wetlands
Complex, from an ecological standpoint, and to aid in the flooding
problem that affects Town residents.
- Re Monies - the cash outlay detailed in the grant budget
- Re “unequivocal failure”- from a letter by the
DEC Marine Habitat Manager: “DEC staff measured the tides
at four locations in the (PMM) and one location at the marsh
outlet into the Premium River. They found that tidal exchange
between PMM and the Premium River occurs on a regular basis.
The excavated tidal creek in the marsh experienced tidal exchange
(filled and drained) twice daily. The marsh surface flooded
less frequently, during the spring, or new and full moon, tides,
as is typical for an established salt marsh. During summer
and fall, staff biologists observed that many salt marsh plant
and animal species had colonized the marsh, as is desired....
Based on these results and staff observations, we find the
project to be on a successful course....Please note that we
do not recommend further excavation of the site to deepen the
marsh surface, (emphasis added) as it would be detrimental
to the salt marsh ecology and to the abundant mummichog fish
and marsh birds that have colonized the site.”
- Regarding conversion- marsh grasses for
the “mud” and native shrubs appropriate for the
marsh perimeter have been ordered. The requested graminoids
are specialized plants and are grown to order. Last year’s
order was cancelled due to accusations by the letter writer
which delayed planting for one year.
- Regarding “catastrophic event”- There
was no sinkhole discovered; there never was a sinkhole. The
letter writer heard the following explanation presented by
the DEC: “The ditch was excavated starting from the road
at each end of the loop, and when the area where the two ends
met was breached, water drained from beneath an iced over ponded
area into the ditch. Because there was a layer of ice on top
of the moving water, it created some suction, and hence resulted
in the sound.”
- Residents were not asked what they wanted because they don’t
own the marsh. It is owned by the Pryer Manor Preservation
Association, Inc., who endorsed the project. Thanks to the
Association, the PMM is a protected conservation area that
will never be developed. The anger expressed can be compared
to what happens when one resident renovates or builds a home
that doesn’t appeal to the neighbors.
- Re birds- see the abbreviated inventory article.
Mamaroneck Town Council
February 17, 2005
Pull Together to Find Work Site for Day Laborers
It is rather sad for a nation of immigrants to be so divided
about the welfare and the future of its newcomers. Many communities
that have effectively dealt with providing new immigrants with
resources have successfully integrated them, and they have become
valuable members to our society.
As children of immigrants we were witnesses to the struggles
of our parents to provide for us. We care and are concerned about
the current challenges facing immigrants in our village. Finding
a permanent work site for them in our village is an investment
in the future of our community.
We urge that our government officials, who were elected to represent
the interest of the entire community, pull together their resources
to find a permanent work site for the day laborers and ensure
that these families also have a chance to achieve the American
February 14, 2005
Former Rye Councilman Endorses Myers, Rebuts GOP on Budget
I write to respond to Rye Republican Chairman Piscionere’s
letter attacking my character and record. His statistical claims
are totally false.
1. Chairman Piscionere stated that debt service in Rye “went
from less than 1% to 16%,” while I and the Democrats held
the majority on the City Council.
This is absolutely false. Debt payments, principal and interest,
stand at about 5% of expenditures, and have not risen above that
level. Rye’s debt level is considered “favorable” by
Moody’s, who has given Rye it’s highest Aaa bond
rating for over a decade. The fact is that debt has increased
because the Rye voters and a unanimous City Council approved
capital projects (maintaining our infrastructure) that had been
deferred for years.
2. Chairman Piscionere stated Rye’s “surplus was
reduced to the minimum required by law.”
This is another falsehood. The City’s financial trends
report shows that the Undesignated Fund Balance has remained
at over 10% every year - twice the desired minimum
identified in our City’s financial policy.
3. Chairman Piscionere stated that “a rating agency informed
the … Finance Committee” that without a change in
practice Rye’s “bond rating would be downgraded.”
This is yet another falsehood. No such warning was issued;
in fact, Moody’s reaffirmed the City’s Aaa bond rating
at the time of our last two bond issues. In addition, the ‘financial
crisis’ rhetoric was repudiated by the former head of Moody’s
and the City’s outside independent auditor when they reviewed
4. Chairman Piscionere tried to shift the blame for tax increases
to the Democrats, but the Republicans have had the majority for
over three years and they enacted the City’s largest tax
increase in history, 17.43% in 2003, over the objections of the
minority Democrats on the Council. I supported more budget cuts
and lower tax increases than my Republican colleagues. The Republicans
actually argued for even larger tax increases that were not necessary
and opposed my efforts to cut spending and reduce tax increases.
I stand by everything I have written. Conversely, I don’t
believe that Chairman Piscionere can validate the statistics
he used in his letter. As the Rye Republican
chairman, he should be more knowledgeable about the facts– especially
if he is going to try to use “fiction and innuendo” (his
words) to impugn the character and record of a long-time community
volunteer. I hope that ALL Rye citizens – of Republicans,
Democrats, Independents, and others – will voice their
rejection of Chairman Piscionere’s false statements and
arrogant rhetoric – as I believe it hurts us all as a community.
We need honesty and stability in decision-making in Rye and
on the County Board of Legislators. Judy Myers has a record of
consistency, leadership, and fiscal responsibility. The choice
is clear for the best person to succeed George Latimer and represent
Rye on the County Board. Please join me in supporting
2000-2003 Rye City Councilman
February 9, 2005
A Vote for Our Mom Will Help Our Whole Community
Our names are Scott and J. Amanda Schwartz and we are writing
to you on behalf of our mom, Town of Mamaroneck Councilwoman
Judy Myers. Having served on the Town Board for six years, our
mom has decided to run on the Democratic, Independence and Working
Families ticket for County Legislator in February 2005.
We’ve lived in the Town of Mamaroneck for sixteen years.
As long as we can remember, our mother has been involved with
Town affairs. From serving as Murray Avenue PTA President to
founding the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Youth Council to working to
find a new home for the Cove, our mom has always supported teenagers
and young people in our community.
Simply put…our mom rocks. Please help our whole community
by voting for Judy Myers for County Legislator. As we said before,
every vote will count. This election is not just important to
us- it’s important to the community in which we all grew
up. Thanks so much.
J. Amanda Schwartz, MHS 2002
Scott I. Schwartz, MHS 2004
February 8, 2005
Chu Will Get County's House in Order
I’m voting for Franklin Chu on February 15th for County
Legislator. This may prove to be a bad sign for him, because
I’m lousy at voting. I’ve not picked a winning president
since the elder George Bush. I’m an "independent” which
for me means I vote for the person I think is the best of the
lot and has the character to lead (or the one who will do the
least harm). In the case of Franklin Chu, I think he is just
what our county government needs to help get its house in order.
As the former President of the Rye Free Reading Room, I’ve
had the pleasure to work with Franklin over the past several
years and observe him work within the fiscal and “political” challenges
our City government has faced. Franklin is smart, honest, and
a realist. He understands how to lead, even when leadership is
not popular. As a county resident, I’m thankful that someone
with Franklin’s capability and character is willing to
serve at the county level.
February 8, 2005
Chu Has Skills & Dedication
I encourage everyone to help make a difference, on February
15. On that date, there will be a special election for the 7th
District seat on the Westchester County Board of Legislators.
The 7th District includes Rye. I ask you to come out and vote
and consider sending Franklin Chu to the County Legislature.
I believe Franklin Chu would bring the requisite skills and dedication
to serving us that would make
him a fantastic County Legislator. Having been closely involved with
Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting for nearly a decade, I particularly appreciate
Franklin's common sense balance of the needs of our children and good
use of our tax dollars.
For years, we have observed Franklin Chu as a dedicated community leader.
He has developed an admired reputation for his sage and (perhaps most
importantly) calm counsel at public meetings. He has demonstrated open-mindedness,
ability to understand and balance diverse points of view and commitment
to lead. I believe that Franklin is committed to making the effort for
us that makes me proud to be able to vote for him.
During his years on the Rye City Council, Franklin has proven to be an
invaluable public financial analyst. He has shined as a strategic thinker
and creative problem-solver. He started his career as a New York City
budget analyst, working with the team that helped salvage NYC from the
fiscal crisis of the late 1970s and this experience has been immeasurably
important in serving the City of Rye as he has endeavored to build consensus
in addressing our needs.
Franklin's ingenuity, strong education and professional experience, combined
with his seemingly boundless commitment to public service, make Franklin
Chu an extraordinary candidate for our County Legislature. Let us thank
him for offering to give his attention to our key county economic and
community issues by turning out to vote for Franklin Chu, on February
Paul D. Knudsvig
February 7, 2005
Rye Republicans & Chu Have Repaired Dem Damage to Budget
Former Democrat Rye Councilman, Douglas McKean, in expressing
his support for the Democrat candidate for the Board of Legislators,
has been writing letters to the press, which are characterized
by his accustomed fiction and innuendo. His attack on Franklin
Chu is a study in historical revisionism. During Mr. McKean’s
years on the Council, he voted for double digit tax increases
and substantial increases of the expense budget. Debt went from
$900 thousand to $17 million. Debt service went from less than
1% to 16% of the budget. Worse, the Rye City surplus, available
for capital projects, was raided to cover operating losses due
to run away expenses. A healthy $3 million surplus was reduced
to the minimum required by law. In fact, a rating agency informed
the Rye City Finance Committee that if the bad financial practices
implemented year after year by Mr. McKean and his Democrat colleagues
were not stopped, the Rye AAA bond rating would be downgraded.
In the 2001 and 2003 elections, the voters of Rye repudiated
these McKean supported practices and the balance of the Council
shifted during that period from a 5 to 2 Democrat majority to
a 6 to 1 Republican majority. The voters of Rye, in 2001, elected
Franklin Chu and other Republicans to repair the severe damage
done by the Democrats, which, if left unremedied would have done
permanent damage to Rye. Led by Mr. Chu, the Rye City budget
has been steadily improved so that for 2005 the property tax
increase was down to just less than 3% and surplus was increased
to well over 10% of total expenses. No essential services were
Only through hard attention to detail by Mr. Chu and his Republican
colleagues, is the disastrous fiscal mismanagement of Mr. McKean
and his associates well on the way to being reversed. The Rye
voters sent a message and asked Mr. Chu and the Republicans,
who swept the 2003 election by an unusually large majority, to
fix the problem. By increasing the Republican majority on the
Council to 6:1, the citizens of Rye reaffirmed their message:
act with fiscal responsibility. It is sad that Mr. McKean has
never understood the message.
The Democrat controlled Westchester County government has pursued
bad fiscal management compounded by serial financial scandals
for years. It is time to put an end to the ongoing mess. We need
Franklin Chu to be elected to the 7th District seat on the Board
of Legislators. He has seen the problem before. He knows what
to do. Vote for Franklin Chu on February 15.
February 4, 2005
Judy Myers - Strong Advocate for Local Concerns
I have long been a supporter of George Latimer when he was our
County Legislator, representing our interest in county government.
Now he is our Assemblyman in Albany being our voice for better
government. His absence has been a concern to me since I was
not sure we would have someone that would replace his ability
to listen and respond to our needs and promote our interests
in the county. Knowing that Judy Myers is on the ballot, I’m
not at all worried. Like George, Judy believes that her agenda
is the people’s agenda; and she will be a strong advocate
for our concerns and issues here in Rye as well as in Mamaroneck,
Larchmont, Rye Neck and New Rochelle. Judy really listens, and
that’s an important quality in an elected official on our
County Board of Legislators. More importantly, she is smart.
She studies the issues and listens to all the input in a nonpartisan
manner that enables her to strategize the best solutions within
fiscally sound parameters.
Judy Myers is a seasoned community leader who is thoughtful
when talking to residents whether they are senior citizens, or
supporters of the Rye Nature Center, or advocates for a better
Rye Recreation Center facility or addressing the seriousness
of traffic safety on Theall Road, or finding solutions to the
flooding problems that affect many of our neighborhoods. These
may be “local” issues, but Judy knows how important
they are to the quality of life in our community. She believes
in a healthy debate, and is always respectful of another’s
viewpoint. She is attentive to the value we place on lower taxes,
yet measured in identifying creative ways to maximize the use
of public funding within cost containment initiatives that uphold
the uniqueness of our neighborhoods. She is perceptive to our
environmental problems, continuously fighting to correct its
negative impact on our health, especially our elders and children.
I strongly believe that Judy will be a welcome voice on the
County Board of Legislators. She will be a tough, sensitive,
intelligent representative for the 7th District. I urge you to
cast your vote for Judy Myers on February 15th.
Joseph P. Murphy
February 3, 2005
Judy Myers Will Provide Non-Partisan Leadership
I am writing to voice my support for Judy Myers for the County
Legislature, to continue the kind of attentive and caring level
of public service we have received from George Latimer. Judy
has served on the Town of Mamaroneck Board for six years and
has earned a record of distinction on financial, environmental,
and community issues. She is committed to being an advocate for
Rye on county issues affecting our city. Most importantly, Judy
has worked on a nonpartisan basis to serve her constituents.
This is vitally important because issues should be decided on
the merits, not through partisan politics.
Judy’s opponent and his colleagues on Rye’s City
Council have hurt our community with anti-public processes, bad
decisions and partisan behavior over the past three years. In
the recently enacted City budget, which Councilman Chu strongly
supported, they relied upon raiding specific City funds, speculative
revenues, and delayed borrowing for the Locust Firehouse that
will cost taxpayers more in the end, just to reduce this (City
Council election) year's tax increase. This is a practice he
aggressively criticized at the LWV's debate (given the County's
0% budget increase) labeling it typical, easy election year trickery.
Councilman Chu is basing part of his campaign upon the claim
that he “saved” the City from bad financial practices.
This myth has never been true, as the City has had Moody’s
highest rating, Aaa, for over a decade - starting well before
his participation in the process. Even during the tough economic
times of 2001-2003, outside financial experts termed the City’s
position as "strong". I opposed the high tax increases
Councilman Chu supported during those years. The hiring freeze
and job reduction review policy he claimed credit for at the
LWV’s debate were enacted by a Democratic City Council
before Franklin was ever elected.
In recent years, local Republican councilmembers - including
Franklin Chu - have whipped Rye voters into a "financial
crisis frenzy" as they projected wild future tax increases
that were not real. They even compared Rye's finances to Nassau
County's to paint their erroneous picture. Meanwhile, they enacted
record tax hikes over Democratic objections. Let's not let their
self-serving "financial crisis" rhetoric harm our community
At the LWV debate, Franklin couldn't recall even one time that
he voted against the Republican “block” on the Rye
City Council - not one vote. Are we now to believe him that he
will be non-partisan?
These are just a few additional reasons to support Judy Myers
for county legislator. She will provide better leadership for
Rye and the other Sound Shore communities - nonpartisan leadership
- controlling taxes in a sensible and balanced way, while dealing
with the whole host of other issues that matter to our community.
2000 - 2003 Rye City Councilman
February 1, 2005
Judy Myers Will Be Strong Advocate for Fiscally Sound Decisions
I am so excited to be supporting Judy Myers for County Legislator.
The Special Election for the position held by George Latimer
is February 15 and I'm telling everyone I know about Judy's enthusiasm
for public service and her strong reputation of working with
her colleagues on the Mamaroneck Town Council to keep a lid on
property taxes while looking out for the needs of our teens,
seniors and all those who believe they pay a lot in property
taxes and deserve quality public services in return. Judy knows
we need more ball fields for our children, not less. She knows
open space and public parks are amenities that improve the quality
of life for all residents. She will be a strong advocate for
fiscally sound decision on the county level.
I have known Judy for over 10 years, through our involvement
with the Junior
League of Westchester on the Sound. She is a dedicated volunteer, willing
to roll up her sleeves to get the job done. Judy has reached out into
the greater Sound Shore community and her knowledge of the people and
issues will be an asset as she represents us at the County Legislature.
I concur with George Latimer’s strong endorsement, "Judy
will be ready on day one". The election is the day after
Valentine's Day -- not a regular date for voting. So put a note
in your calendar and make your voice heard. Vote for Judy Myers
on February 15.
Nicole Silton Klemens
February 1, 2005
Concurs with Chu: County Taxes Excessive
Thirty years ago, my wife Irene and I married and purchased
a house in the city of Rye. Our house was not a handyman’s
special nor was it updated by the previous owner. For the past
thirty years, we have been updating our house and today we have
a comfortable home. Soon it will be time for Irene and me to
retire and divorce. No, we will not be divorcing each other but
regrettably, we must divorce from our home.
Our home is mortgage-free and we can afford to heat it and maintain
it. But we cannot handle the ever rising burden from local, school,
county and state taxes and fees. Upon retirement, we can probably
live here hand-to-mouth for a little while. But who wants to
live like that? Sooner or later, we would be driven out.
Today I received election literature from Rye City Councilman
Franklin Chu. He feels the way Irene and I do about excessive
taxation. Mr. Chu wishes to be a county legislator in the second
highest taxed county in the highest taxed state in the country.
He has my vote. Every time I pick up a newspaper, it seems that
taxes go up, fees go up, my temper goes up, my patience goes
I feel that since government is taxing us out of our homes,
the least they could do is set up an emigration board to investigate
where we should move to. I am not joking! I am deadly serious.
In 1997, Mr. Andy Spano promised us a 15% tax break if elected.
Where is it? Mr. Ted Dunn promised us that he would not raise
taxes and he didn’t. He was defeated.
I hope Franklin Chu can help. But it is too late for Irene and
me. We are preparing to leave. The politicians have wreaked too
much havoc on us and it will take a long time to fix the problem.
Edward F. Clark
Rye, NY 10580
January 25, 2005
Judy Myers Is Best Candidate to Fill George Latimer's Shoes
I am pleased that Judy Myers is running for the Westchester
County Board of Legislators to fill the vacancy created when
George Latimer was elected to the New York State Assembly. Because
I know Judy personally, I know that Judy will continue George
Latimer’s tradition of being accessible to constituents,
easy to talk to, and committed to quality of life issues which
impact us each day.
Again and again Judy Myers has stepped up to the plate to get
the job done whether it be heading up the PTA at her children’s
school, or serving on the Town Council. And she doesn’t
just talk about what the community needs, she makes it happen.
She helped create the Larchmont/Mamaroneck Youth Council to give
our teens positive recreational alternatives close to home, she
has protected our environment by strengthening wetlands laws
and passing legislation to protect her community from overdevelopment,
and she has worked cooperatively, in a bipartisan manner, with
local elected officials as well as elected officials across the
Judy Myers is the best candidate to fill George Latimer’s
shoes and I will be supporting her on February 15th.
January 25, 2005
Why Aren't Editors Expressing Outrage at Closing of United
It escapes my sensibilities that the editors of Port Chester,
Rye, Rye Town, Harrison, Larchmont, and Mamaroneck are not expressing
the outrage of their residents regarding the closing of United
The more intelligent minds in these areas should be thinking
not only of saving the hospital, but rather expanding and improving
it to make it better then ever.
I am a former longtime resident of Port Chester who was a former
patient at United Hospital on several occasions. I consider it
to be the finest in the Westchester area and just as good as
New York Presbyterian Hospital, where I was also a patient.
It is ridiculous to think the other hospitals, such as Greenwich,
White Plains and New Rochelle should take over the responsibility
of treating patients formerly served by United Hospital. They
would have to grow and expand in order to do so.
United Hospital services a greatly expanding and growing area.
Not only is there a present need, but an even greater future
need. Were our forefathers 100 years ago better equipped to handle
a problem like this than the present administrations?
Port Chester is by far in the best geographic situation to handle
all emergencies, as well as elective care. There is a serious
need to prevent this hospital from closing.
What would happen to the residents of these areas in case of
a serious disaster, natural or otherwise? The answer is a simple
one. Under the present manner of thinking, there would be no
immediate help available.
If this nation can build hospitals and schools in Iraq, they
certainly should be doing a much better job here.
The United States is four trillion dollars in debt and continues
to go forth with its spending. Why doesn't United Hospital follow
suit? The need is equally strong in both instances.
The State of New York will be seriously remiss if they allow
this to happen.
January 23, 2005
Consider Federal Grant to Lift Homes Out of Flood
The Town of Greenburgh recently received a federal grant from
FEMA to uplift homes in an area that experiences severe flooding.
A number of the homeowners elected to participate and to place
their homes on stilts.
This might be an option that Sound Shore communities might wish
to explore. For further info e-mail me at email@example.com
Supervisor, Town of Greenburgh, NY
January 21, 2005
Board is Protecting Village on Future Costs of Police Retirement
In reference to your article on the discussion of the in-process
police contract, I would like to make a number of points.
First, the issue is not that the Board does not want to have
a contract for the police, nor is the issue the pay raises being
contemplated by the Board and the police. The Board has proffered
a pay raise (including retroactive pay) that is more than fair.
The problematic issue is the level of post-retirement benefits
being demanded by the police. The police already receive post-retirement
benefits that are far more generous than found today in corporate
America. Unfortunately, the police have demanded a package that
will be very expensive for the Village, not necessarily now but
certainly in the future, just the time period that most politicians
are usually willing to sacrifice for the present. This Village
Board appears to be trying very hard, at quite a bit of political
the speeches of concerned citizens trying to pressure the Board
to cave-in) to keep the future tax burden from being too
onerous. I found it interesting to read of Mr. Weber's statements
lecturing the Board that "it is a people business." Do
you think that Mr. Weber offers any of his employees retirement
benefits even approaching those of the police under their current
contract, much less the even more expensive deal that they are
demanding? Of course not.
In final analysis, while it seems good to have a police force
with high morale, it should not be at an excessive or unbearable
cost. I believe that the mayor and the Board have done a remarkable
job of keeping the rhetoric down and the negotiations open.
Bruce A. Cauley
Co-Chair, Village Budget Committee
January 20, 2005
Children's Corner Thanks Contributors
The Children's Corner of Larchmont-Mamaroneck, INC. would like
to publicly thank all those in our community and beyond who have
recently responded to our fundraising letter with a financial
contribution. Donations were made on behalf of the scholarship
fund that we offer to families in need of assistance. The need
continues to grow in our community and schools. This support
enables us to offer and assist in affordable childcare before
and after school for all families.
Thank you to everyone for your contributions and for recognizing
our importance to so many children and families. We are fortunate
to be a part of such a caring community.
Barbara J. Miglionico, Director
(Editors Note: for more info and registration material,
January 15, 2005
Endorsing Franklin Chu for County Legislator
I am writing to endorse the candidacy of Franklin Chu, who is
running in a special election this February 15th to represent
the 7th district on the Westchester Board of Legislators.
Franklin has provided much wisdom to the Rye City Council over
the past three years. In 2001, he ran on a platform of bringing
much needed financial expertise to the council, and he has delivered
on this promise. His knowledge and experience has been extremely
beneficial to all of us, as he has provided sound advice and
guidance on budgets and bond referendums. When Franklin joined
the Rye City Council, our tax increases were consistently over
10% every year – he worked as hard as possible to bring
these increases down to levels below the rate of inflation, without
impacting any services to Rye’s citizens.
As liaison to the Rye City Finance Committee, Franklin has
done an outstanding job of communicating the numerous questions
and requests from the council to the committee, and informing
the council of the findings of the committee. Many of these issues
have been politically charged. Franklin has navigated the Finance
Committee away from political considerations to address these
issues from a purely financial perspective. In so doing, he has
ensured the best possible advice is presented to the City Council.
One attribute of Franklin's that I am particularly impressed
with is his refusal to engage in petty and partisan politics.
When tempers flare, many join the fray, but Franklin quietly
waits. When he speaks, other Council members then listen carefully,
because they know that Franklin has no interest but those of
the city. His arguments are well articulated, he speaks from
the heart, and he works to promote harmony within the group.
As a fellow Councilman, I realize that Rye’s loss is the
county’s gain. Franklin has done an exceptional job in
addressing the needs of the City of Rye; his presence on the
Board of Legislators will greatly benefit the Sound Shore community.
I am highly confident that Franklin will do an outstanding
job representing the 7th district as a member of the County Board
of Legislators, and I urge all to vote for him come February
Rye City Council Member
January 12, 2005
Add Lights to MHS Sports Fields
Now that the Kemper Memorial is staying put, (See: Judge
Rules: Kemper Park Changes Prohibited.) it is time to think
about other alternatives to solving the overcrowded field problem
that exists at Mamaroneck High School. In my opinion, we need
to address adding stadium lighting to the football field, so
the field could be used day and night, possibly solving the
field problems that exist today.
The seniors could play at night, and the freshman and JV teams
could play in daylight. I think this would be a simple solution
to a complex problem.
Bubba Fanelli, MHS Class of 1977
January 11, 2005
Teacher's Unfairly Depicted
MHS teachers were publicly and unprofessionally characterized
in last week’s Larchmont Gazette. (See: New
Prereqs Set for Entry Into Advanced Courses at MHS.) The
issues aren’t as simple as the article makes it appear.
Kathleen Donnison, a Social Studies teacher, pointed this out
in her December 1 response to another of Gazette
articles about gatekeeping. (See: Opening
up the Academic Gates in Mamaroneck.)
I have been teaching in MHS’s English department since
1983. I want to say something about AP-specific education and
testing, about English education and grading, about the types
of courses that should be available for all students, and about
our kids’ ability to choose from options.
The English AP curriculum is not uninteresting, but its reading
and writing are focused quite narrowly on close literary analysis.
The courses are wonderful because our teachers are, but Dr. DiGennaro
and Mr. Bosch agree that the exam limits the attention they can
give to other kinds of reading and writing activities. Many students
want more. In fact, this district’s English education and
grades have always been about much, much more. Teachers love
to watch kids learn to write many sorts of essays, letters to
the editor, journals and poems, lists and songs, meditations
and stories. We want to continue to evaluate and understand good
films and maintain our collaboration with the Lincoln Center
Program. We need to prepare youngsters for the social science
writing and research they will encounter in college. We want
your child to earn a good grade in English without valuing one
type of literary analysis over these other important ways to
read and write.
The new policy will narrow our teaching, and it will shift the
content and grading weight of our courses toward this one kind
of literary analysis. This streamlined policy honors too narrow
a focus, follows the national pack in unduly and arbitrarily
valuing AP curriculum, and therefore encourages a “foolish
consistency” rather than the educationally sound variety
of activities and classes that should be available for our teenagers.
Mamaroneck High School students have always earned excellent
SAT and AP scores, but we have never before allowed these tests
to be the arbiters of our curriculum or of excellence. The new
policy does not speak to these considerations and will have a
tremendous effect on the types of work we do with our kids and
the way we value and grade all student work. I believe the track
to AP classes will become more restrictive – not less – and
preparation for them will harm the rich curriculum and differentiated
instruction of all classes.
I understand decisions have to be made, but I believe this
has been a lopsided, uninformed one. The faculty is not “balking” or “jeering” or “resistant
to change”, as the article states. We are professional,
well-read, experienced and concerned. I am proud to be an enthusiastic
teacher at Mamaroneck High School; and for many of us I say:
I reject being publicly slurred. My own children are being educated
in this system, and my home and my friends are in this community.
I have every reason to be concerned about our schools and my
December 1, 2004
Opening AP Gates Raises Issues: Stress, Cost
As a social studies teacher at Mamaroneck High School, I find
your article about "gatekeeping" and
Advanced Placement courses to be of great interest. The article
referred to the change from two to three sections of AP American
History as having happened seven years ago. The correct figure
is closer to seventeen years. With the exception of one year,
the number of sections remained at three, increasing to four,
and then five, over the past seven years. (Editors' Note:
correction has been made.)
Your article leaves the reader believing that the teachers are “confident” about
the movement to “open the gates.” This confuses us,
because until the most recent faculty meeting, the teachers had
not been asked for input on the issue, and the word “confident” does
not reflect the nature of our discussions at that meeting, and
certainly not at our own meeting a few days later.
Parents and students want these courses for all of the right
reasons, and, unfortunately, some of the wrong ones. On several occasions,
struggling students admit that they take the courses so they can get
into good schools. Others say that they don’t want to drop the
course because their friends take it. (The social pressure is enormous.)
Some parents who spend weeks in meetings and phone calls demanding
their children’s admission are then upset when their students’ grades
fall below previous levels.
Now we may face the challenges of open admission. One will be
economic. In my department this year, the AP classes are very
large; in some cases, ten to twelve more than the eighteen maximum
recommended by the College Board. Open admission classes should
be much smaller. Regents classes and electives would have to
run opposite AP classes so that students who want to opt out
in the first quarter can do so without disrupting their schedules.
These factors dictate increased staffing, which is very costly.
An open policy cannot come without some guidelines and a lot
of guidance. Regardless of what some claim, many students simply
cannot do college work in high school. Others, who have specific
interests, would prefer to concentrate on those rather than cram
their transcripts and lives with as many AP courses as those
admissions officers demand. Others would thrive in an exploration
of various electives in a Regents curriculum.
We continue to discuss these and other concerns, and we hope
that our input informs whatever policy changes come about. Obviously,
everyone seeks the right policy for the right reasons. We want
to challenge all of our students without hurting any of them.
Mamaroneck High School