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An Open Letter to Scarsdale from Diane Greenwald

letter-to-the-editorDear Neighbors and Friends:
As many seem to know, my name has recently been used in an email outreach that went to many in town. I was oddly quoted out of context in order to assign me a position I have never publicly expressed. This email also disparages exceptional civic organizations like the League of Women Voters and sincere advocacy groups, like the Greenacres Taskforce, uses nasty language about the hard-working Joanne
Wallenstein while simultaneously informing about Bob Berg's support of the school bond and as a candidate for Village Trustee. This email was sent by an anonymous author to many in the community without their explicit opt-in. (If you got this email without opt-in, you can contact Constant Contact to complain.)

Whomever that author or authors were -- that person/s is informed about and supportive of Bob Berg running outside the non-partisan system, as a 'Voters Choice Party' candidate for Village Trustee. The email seems to promote Bob Berg and make his support for this school bond into a campaign issue.

This is not the first time that emails have been received in our community from made-up email addresses with a somewhat familiar sound to other legitimate groups, with inflammatory language and even confidential knowledge in support of Bob Berg and/or the Voters Choice Party. In this case, the assumptions made by this author/s are staggering and their tone is unwelcome.

Several in town have reached out to me to assure me their group did not distribute this email - and I believe and appreciate it. If you know who did this, please speak up. This level of discourse has to change; we have to do this better.

Today is School Bond vote day. I am not going to recommend how you vote today -- just that you do vote and that you are informed and wary of hyperbole in any direction.

I have the upmost respect for those in the community -- the PTA, The League, the Vote Yes Groups, the Vote No Groups, -- who carefully study, engage, listen, learn and make a statement. Take a stand. Advocacy is a welcome right and privilege of democracy. But in a civil society, let's do it without denigrating the other side. Because tomorrow we all have to get along.

Here is my thinking:
If this bond passes, everyone should be happy for school investment and everyone should stay involved, for there is still work to be done. The District remains accountable for their use of this money and all should stay vigilant. Be hopeful; investment can yield positive outcomes.

To District Leadership I say: there are many disenfranchised who should be included and there is community building to do. Please acknowledge missteps and even mistakes. Please be open to fix many of the bumps and concerns in the community. Make time for that.

If the bond fails everyone should try again. There is no indication in Scarsdale that this is the end; it would be a serious moment that will require careful listening and a new approach.

To District Leadership I say: Take a step back, take a good look around and change something about the approach to get to a different result. There are many in the community who are committed to school investment and will welcome new outcomes to capture their buy in. We can all consider this an opportunity -- yes a new draft can be exhausting but it can also represent improvement.

Bob Berg is certainly persistent and while I wish him luck on his campaign, if the aforementioned email is any indication of his and his supporters' approach to the community dialogue, it is unwelcome.

In any case, I am not convinced that the non-partisan system, which could likely use improvement, is so broken as to be discarded. I believe the vetting system and the civil intent of the non-partisan process remains worth trusting. Looking at the exceptional and varied candidates selected this year for Village Trustee: Jane Veron, Lena Crandall and Justin Arest, I will stick with them. I will put my name on it.

Respectfully submitted,
Diane Greenwald

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