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Petty Trump Tweets but not the Housing Crisis? Scant Media Coverage of Homelessness

homelessThis essay was submitted to Scarsdale10583 by Carly Glickenhaus, who is a SHS grade and freshman at Georgetown University.
Over a steaming cup of hot chocolate on Park Avenue, the homeless men and I debate whether the New York Mets stand a chance this season. Spending hours on the cold streets of New York on Saturday nights talking to the homeless while handing out food and clothes, I noticed we felt a common connection as members of the same city and life. In a world where misunderstanding of differences incites political conflict, there is hope for progress. Equality. Change. However, how can we make a change if we do not know it needs to be made? As a result of disproportionate news coverage, there is not enough public awareness surrounding homelessness, leaving rightful members of society ignored, voiceless, and silent.

On a single night in January 2016, 544,084 people experienced homelessness in the United States. To give visual context of this statistic, 500,000 people were drawn to Washington for the Women's March this January. The aerial views streaming on the news showed downtown Washington inundated by bodies. If every homeless American were to stand next to each other, they would fill the heart of the nation's capital.

The media's pervasive access to every American home and mind grants the press the power and duty to shape public opinion and direct the public attention to homelessness. By inadequately portraying homelessness, the media may be playing an active role in perpetuating a glaring social injustice. The frequency of articles and the minutes of airtime designated to the housing crisis influences how ordinary voters and our elected leaders think about the problem. Democracy depends on the availability of diverse, factual information to ensure voters can make educated decisions.

During this election season, we closely reexamined the way the government upholds our individual rights to property and privacy, women's rights to bodily integrity, and religious rights to free self-expression. The media focuses on singular identity groups like women, the LGBTQ community, Muslims, Blacks, but we give sparse attention to a population that encompasses all of these identity groups. 500,000 flocked to the White House to demonstrate their support for equal human rights on the basis of gender, but a justice issue of equal gravity does not receive the same attention from the public. The homeless are denied rights to property, rights to bodily integrity, and rights to self-expression every night as they sleep on concrete, meekly shielded by sheets of cardboard and coldly ignored by even the kindest passerby. The nation as a whole has a responsibility to change the way the public thinks about homelessness because if we cannot solve the cultural crisis at our doorsteps, we do not have standing to fight for democracy and human rights abroad.

If social justice bills are to earn a vote in Congress, homelessness must find a spot in the national consciousness along with gun control, immigration, and abortion, which the media loves to talk about. Increased media coverage is needed to influence government decisions to allocate resources and funding to address the chronic homelessness, veteran homelessness, and unmet need for emergency food assistance. When the press chooses to cover stories about Trump's juvenile games, our treasured agents of democracy misrepresent the issues that plague our nation.

My plea to you, the public, is to do the job the press is failing. On Facebook, stop sharing links to Trump's latest petty tweet. Before we can move forward in our politically polarized culture, we need to carefully choose our conversations. Let's use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as forums to return to core democratic values so we can move forward. Share articles about housing and social justice issues. Share "Humans of New York" photos until the muffled voices become shouts to Congress. Today, the press is becoming a platform for the mud-slinging of political parties, but if we can calm our insatiable thirst for controversy, then perhaps we can direct the national attention to the issues that will be victories for any party, for the American image, and for humanity.

Carly Glickenhaus, SHS '16, is a freshman Biology major and Division I Varsity Lightweight Rower at Georgetown University. She is a member of the Tour Guide Society and serves as Marketing Director for Homeless Outreach in Georgetown's Center for Social Justice. She wrote this opinion piece for her Writing and Culture seminar at Georgetown.

LWVS Hosts Winter Fundraiser

LWVS1The League of Wonen Voters Of Scarsdale held its annual winter fundraiser on January 28, 2017. Among the guests were former League president Michelle Lichtenberg, New York State Assemblywoman for the 88th District Amy Paulin , US Representative for the 16th Congressional District Eliot Engel, County Legislator Ben Boykin and Village Trustee Marc Samwick (above) as well as Scarsdale's Mayor Jon Mark, members of the Scarsdale School Board, Village Trustees, members of the LWVS and a spirited group of friends.

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Free Panel on Alzheimer's at the Scarsdale Woman's Club

alzheimerslogoUnder the auspices of the Scarsdale Forum, the Alzheimer's Association Hudson Valley Chapter will present a program, "What Alzheimer's disease is and what you can do about it," starting at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, at the Scarsdale Women's Club, 37 Drake Road.

Topics to be covered include the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's, the importance of early detection, research trends and clinical trials, getting a diagnosis, treatment options and living with Alzheimer's. Legal and financial issues related to dementia will be discussed, as will innovative free programs and services available from the Alzheimer's Association for families living with dementia.

Barry Meiselman, chairman of the board of directors for the Hudson Valley Chapter, will offer an introduction and introduce the panelists, who will include Alzheimer's Association staff members Jody Addeo, community engagement manager for Westchester and Rockland counties, and Patricia Gaston, a care consultant and director of professional education and research-related activities. The panel will also include Alzheimer's Association board member Moira Laidlaw, an attorney and elder-law expert.

Alzheimer's disease is a public health crisis affecting more than 5 million Americans. The sixth leading cause of death in the United States, it is the only one among the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. While advanced age increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's, the disease also strikes people in their 50s and 60s. Alzheimer's requires support from millions of caregivers and is the most expensive disease in the nation. Two thirds of those suffering with the disease are women, and 40,000 individuals in the Hudson Valley have Alzheimer's.
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Its mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer's.

For more information, contact:
Dugan Radwin at


Our Participation in Article 78

letter-to-the-editor(This letter was sent to by Phyllis Finkelstein of Fenimore Road)
To The Editor: In 2014, the assessed value of our 1904 home at 41 Fenimore Road, where we have lived since 1975, rose from $1,000,000 to $1,275,000. After looking around at what other comparables sold for, we hired a company to grieve what we believed was an over assessment. They were able get the village to reduce the assessed valuation to $1,185,000. They were impressed by the village assessor's stubbornness, not her fairness and were apologetic that was the best they could do. Our home is on the corner of Dobbs Terrace, an older street with modest old houses. Our increase was considerably more than these neighbors, but at least one grieved.

The 2016 reevaluation now raised our assessed value to $1,275,000. One neighbor had theirs lowered, and two of our next-door neighbors had minor increases, not anywhere near our increase. The outside appearance of our home since the 2014 reeval is unchanged, as is all of theirs, and they too are older homes, but not as old as ours. We have done no additional work and therefore, filed no building permits since the 2014 reeval. This time around we were late to initiate the grievance process due to the short notice from the Office of the Assessor, dated June 3 with Grievance Day June 17. The firm we previously engaged to grieve did not have time.

We joined the Article 78 action as irregularities began to be made public by the Scarsdale Committee for Fair Assessment. Most shocking is Ryan's complete failure to disclose the mathematical formulas used to determine the increased valuations, or any valuations at all. The hundreds of emails hard fought to obtain (thank goodness for the Freedom of Information Law), including details of the failure of the assessor's office to monitor this travesty, have been shocking. Some emails go so far as to show Assessor Albanese asking JF Ryan to change assessments to benefit trustees and a former mayor (see p. 41-45 of the Petition). It is imperative to void this reassessment as it is founded on the scam of a company too lazy and dishonest to do the job it was paid to do.

I have been told that there is the impression that only a handful of people are involved in trying to invalidate the Ryan reeval. The 150 or so of us who have paid to be part of the action are the tip of the iceberg. Talk is cheap, as they say, and some of my neighbors have not wanted to invest their money to try to win an action that depends on proving "arbitrary and capricious" behavior. There is widespread dissatisfaction with the entire process in the community, if you ask enough of your neighbors. Even some who consider their valuations fair have contributed financially to the action, supporting those who have been unfairly assessed.

We are fortunate in this community to have ethical, moral people with the expertise and experience to critically appraise the work done by Ryan. Additionally, we are lucky that these residents devoted themselves for months to gather the concrete evidence needed to move forward with an Article 78, the damning emails so slowly released by the Village despite the FOIL. I think it is accurate to say a handful of people dedicated themselves to working hard to pull together the material that has been the foundation for the Article 78.

The Mayor and Board of Trustees of the Village of Scarsdale should do the moral, ethical thing and end this travesty before it shames all those involved even further. My tax dollars should not be wasted to defend against the Article 78 that would never have happened if this outrage of a reassessment were properly monitored and supervised.

Phyllis and Frank Finkelstein
41 Fenimore Road
Scarsdale NY

Repairs at Freightway Garage Scheduled: Parking Restricted for Week of January 2nd

noparkingThe Village of Scarsdale has scheduled contractor, Schnell Contracting Inc., to perform concrete repair work at the Freightway Garage beginning the week of January 2, 2017, weather permitting. Select locations on the first and fifth floors will have concrete repair work performed to small areas showing signs of deterioration. While the scope of the maintenance work is relatively limited in nature, there will be impacts to commuters in the form of parking restrictions and access to protected workzones. As repairs are planned for the first and fifth floors, the contractor will restrict certain spaces on these floors and others beneath (ground level and fourth floor) for safety reasons. Village staff will post "no parking" signs adjacent to the work zone to alert commuters. The signs and parking restrictions will be removed accordingly as soon as the construction work allows. They regret any inconvenience this work may cause.

The Village anticipates the work to be completed in 5 -10 working days depending on weather conditions. Village engineering staff will provide construction oversight for the duration of the project. Questions or concerns should be addressed to the Village of Scarsdale Engineering Department by phone at (914)722-1104 or by email at Village office hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.