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Robert Berg Announces Candidacy for Village Trustee

BobBerg(This letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Robert Berg of Tisdale Road)
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share my views about Scarsdale issues on Scarsdale10583. The resounding passage of the $65 million school facilities bond by a 2-1 margin on February 8 hopefully will be a new beginning for the entire Scarsdale community. There are many challenges ahead for our Village, and we must confront them with strength, smarts, and solidarity. Personal discord for discord's sake is unnecessary and counterproductive. Scarsdale10583 should and can be a trusted platform for news and exchange of diverse opinions.

I am honored to be running for Village Trustee in the Village election on March 20, 2018 as the candidate for the Voters Choice Party (VCP) to serve the residents of Scarsdale and to provide them with a fully independent and principled voice.

What do I stand for?

(1) Free speech for all Scarsdale residents irrespective of political views or party. Thanks to US District Judge Nelson Roman, as of early Wednesday morning, February 7, 2018, Scarsdale residents now can freely and without fear of criminal prosecution post political signs on their lawns within the 13 foot Village right of way without having opponents of their political views co-opt our wonderful, hard-working Scarsdale police officers, using our tax dollars, to violate our Constitutional rights to free speech protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

I am very proud that as soon as I learned that certain residents were using our police officers to confiscate or remove "Vote Yes" pro-bond signs from residents' lawns under threat of criminal penalty, I jumped into action. I contacted the Village Attorney, and pleaded with him to have the police stop this illegal violation of residents' free speech rights. When the Village Attorney, Village Manager, Mayor, and Village Trustees refused to discontinue this unconstitutional conduct, acting as my own attorney, I filed a federal lawsuit against the Village and the Police Department. I sought and obtained emergency relief from the federal court, which found the Village's ordinance to be unconstitutional and enjoined the Village from interfering with residents' right to post political signs on their lawns within the Village right of way. I will stand up for what's right for our residents and I won't just talk about it. I will take appropriate action!

(2) Smart investment in our schools like the school bond that just passed. While the schools are governed and funded completely and independently from Village government, their health and value clearly affect our property values and community. All our residents, whether newcomers or empty nesters, have a great stake in ensuring that our public school system spends our tax dollars wisely and provides the finest education possible for our students in a rapidly evolving world.

(3) Fair property assessment to minimize property tax volatility and uncertainty for residents and to reduce the havoc that property tax case settlements and judgments wreak on our school and village budgets and planning.

(4) Respect for our residents' property rights and pocket books. The proposed Tree Ordinance will impose new fees and burdensome restrictions on our residents. The real and only problem with trees in our Village (if, indeed, you believe there is a problem) is with developers cutting down too many trees when replacing tear downs or creating subdivisions. With subdivisions, the Planning Board can require a tree plan that can adequately deal with the issue. With respect to tear downs, the tree problem can be easily remedied by fixing the long broken FAR (floor area ratio) law which allows developers to game the system through loopholes in the FAR and build 10,000 square foot mansions on ½ acre plots. That's why all the trees are being cut down on those properties. Rather than address this long-standing problem with developers – which is also largely responsible for the rapid demolition of scores of houses over the past decade -- the Village Board plans within the next few weeks to enact an even more restrictive Tree Ordinance which will forbid residents from cutting down more than 2 live trees with a diameter greater than 24 inches over a 2 year period unless they pay large fees to the Village or plant expensive new trees on their properties. Let's solve the real problems first the right way instead of burdening our residents, who already pay the highest property taxes in the country with more nuisance laws and fees and unneeded hurdles over how they use their private property.

(5) Fund badly-needed and long-overdue Village "catch up" road repair with a modest $4 million 10 year bond which would fund the paving of 11.5 miles of Village roads in one season in a fiscally responsible manner.

(6) Institute sensible and cost effective sanitation pick-ups that increase re-cycling while preserving backyard pickup of recyclables needed by physically challenged residents and our large population of older residents.

(7) Build a Village dog park, which will be a wonderful community spot for our furry friends and residents to meet and build relationships.

(8) Continue planning for an integrated downtown revitalization/Freightway development that will create a new mixed use parking/retail/residential complex at Freightway offering connectivity with Scarsdale Avenue and Downtown Scarsdale, provide a substantially enhanced commercial and residential tax base for the Village and Schools, and impact Scarsdale school enrollment only slightly.

Thank you, once again, for giving me the opportunity to address the Scarsdale10583 community, and I hope that the changes you have made to require personal identification of contributors and commentators will make your website a real and civil community forum to exchange views on important local issues.

Sincerely,

Robert J. Berg
32 Tisdale Road
Scarsdale, New York 10583
(914) 522-9455
robertbergesq@aol.com

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