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50 Years Later: The SHS Class of 1968 Returns for a Memorable Reunion

50 Years Later: The SHS Class of 1968 Returns for a Memorable Reunion

They came from as far as Switzerland and San Diego and as near as E...

Deb Pekarek to Chair Scarsdale Bowl Committee

Deb Pekarek to Chair Scarsdale Bowl Committee

Deb Pekarek has been named Chair of the 2019 Scarsdale Bowl Committ...

Scarsdale Girls Varsity Swim and Dive Team's Historic Season

Scarsdale Girls Varsity Swim and Dive Team's Historic Season

The Scarsdale Girls Varsity Swim & Dive team has followed up la...

St. James the Less Hosts Graveyard Tour and Halloween Party

St. James the Less Hosts Graveyard Tour and Halloween Party

The ghosts will haunt the graveyard at the Church of St. James the ...

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Putting "We" Before "Me"

45CushmanRoad(This is the opinion of site founder Joanne Wallenstein) When I think about what brought us all to Scarsdale, it was the chance to join a successful community... a place where things worked and people cared. It was evident in an outstanding school system that was the result of collaboration between educators, administrators and parents ... in our lovely village-run recreational facilities and quality programs enjoyed by residents young and old... at our first class library that not only offered the latest books and movies but innovative programming and educational opportunities for all.

That's why I moved to Scarsdale and why I am proud to live here today. To me, it's a place that is bigger than any one of us. It makes me feel good to know that most of my friends recognize that it's sometimes necessary to make individual sacrifices for the greater good of the village.

But these values have been severely tested this year. We began 2017 with a highly contentious election that threatened Scarsdale's system of governance and the non-partisan system which had previously shielded the community from bitter partisan politics. A fight about the first village-wide revaluation in 44 years dragged on for months, with accusations, FOIL requests and angry voices at Village Hall. Long after the aggrieved received tax adjustments, the dissent continued.

On the school front we had another divisive rift. Even before the school district could openly examine options for the future of Greenacres Elementary School another faction of indignant residents organized a powerful campaign to safeguard the views from their backyards. Though in a minority, they squashed an open discussion about the best course of action for the school, the children and the future, insisting that their own property interests trumped community values.

And sadly these same debates continue on issues such as safeguarding trees, preserving historic homes and recycling.

Community-minded residents are proposing changes to the village code to prevent the destruction of our tree canopy, with others claiming that any tree preservation is a "taking" of their property rights.

In November, the entire Committee for Historic Preservation stepped down, because the few times they ruled against the demolition of a historic home, their decisions were overturned by the Board of Trustees. Why? Because the Village Trustees feared lawsuits from residents and developers. So as it stands now, any home, no matter how lovely or vital to the fabric of the neighborhood, risks destruction by developers who reap handsome profits from tearing down the town.

Even something as positive as a proposal to start weekly curbside pickup of food scraps and recyclables has met opposition from a few residents who object to bringing their empty bottles and cans to the curb. They claim this is a cut in service, ignoring the societal benefit of increasing village-wide recycling and cutting down on waste.

What's the common theme here? It's a lack of compromise and consideration for the good of the community. It's putting "me" first and depriving your neighbors of the opportunity to live in a place that values the "we" before the "me."

Think about it – if we allow our tree canopy to be destroyed, if we permit Scarsdale's historic homes to be razed, if we put "tax neutrality" before educational excellence, what will be left for the Scarsdale of the future? If we build an elementary school with cramped classrooms, poor air quality, environmental hazards and limited access to playgrounds, who will choose to move here? If we allow our schools to deteriorate from first rate to adequate, if we permit the destruction of our trees and historic homes, who loses? You ... that's you and the value of your home too.

What's makes us great is our willingness to work together for the common good. Yes we are faced with a hostile environment in Washington, but let's use that negative example to fuel a resurgence of community in Scarsdale. We have a legacy to continue. It's our responsibility to leave this a better place than we found it -- or at least as good a place as we found it.

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#34 Logical explanation 2017-12-23 19:04
The only explanation for Anon’s posts is that “Anon” is actually their real name.
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#33 Anon 2017-12-22 18:40
"Encouraging" it is not working. Anonymous commenters here are maliciously dividing the community. You know they are. If you care about the "we," and not the click rate, you should cut them off immediately.

Quoting Joanne Wallenstein:
Responding to Anon re; anonymous comments. Anon - I always use my name and encourage everyone to do it. If you think it's a good idea, why don't you start by using your name?
Rather ironic that you're criticizing anonymous commenters using the name, Anon!
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#32 Joanne Wallenstein 2017-12-22 18:11
Responding to Anon re; anonymous comments. Anon - I always use my name and encourage everyone to do it. If you think it's a good idea, why don't you start by using your name?
Rather ironic that you're criticizing anonymous commenters using the name, Anon!
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#31 Anon 2017-12-22 17:27
Maybe you can start practicing what you preach by disallowing anonymous comments on this site. They may help you get clicks but they are not helping the community.
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#30 Vent 2017-12-22 13:01
Quoting Shut the Vent:
While I don't disagree that the nature of Scarsdale's residents has changed towards more self-centeredness, irrespective of its resident's background, religions, etc., this is not a Scarsdale thing so much as a trend seen all over. Blame it on social media, trends towards materialism, etc., but mental health professionals have literally had to increase the thresholds by which narcissism is met to reflect such changes, in the DSM.

Oh--things weren't so perfect here "in the day." In 1961, the Rev. George F. Kempsell Jr.refused residents to Holy Communion if they didn't expressly oppose barring a Jewish man from escorting a local debutante to the Scardale Golf Club.

Thank you Reverend for seeing the worth of all good faiths.
My thought was more of Joni Mitchell's "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot."
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#29 Shut the Vent 2017-12-22 11:59
While I don't disagree that the nature of Scarsdale's residents has changed towards more self-centeredne ss, irrespective of its resident's background, religions, etc., this is not a Scarsdale thing so much as a trend seen all over. Blame it on social media, trends towards materialism, etc., but mental health professionals have literally had to increase the thresholds by which narcissism is met to reflect such changes, in the DSM.

Oh--things weren't so perfect here "in the day." In 1961, the Rev. George F. Kempsell Jr.refused residents to Holy Communion if they didn't expressly oppose barring a Jewish man from escorting a local debutante to the Scardale Golf Club.

Thank you Reverend for seeing the worth of all good faiths.
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#28 Vent 2017-12-22 10:19
Scarsdale has changed forever. 20, 30 and 50 years ago this was a bucolic and quiet town where flash did not exist. Trees covered most properties and people lived quietly and respected the environment and others. Homes were relatively modest and very few added extensions. Today, forget it. I have seen things that make me sad. The new crew of residents are overindulged and expect everything their way. Big bunch of bullies are blighting our village. We have taken down so many trees that now it's the emperor's new clothes. I can go on forever. You want change, you got it. Be careful what you wish for.....might as well outlaw trees so those new gigantic homes along with McMansions can show off their owners' riches. It was about character but now it's about reputation. What a farce.......
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#27 Unintended Consequences ? 2017-12-21 21:35
Quoting Wishing the aggrieved peace:
To those aggrieved by the reval: I hope that the new year finds you peace, in which you can offer suggestions for the future without being mired in how what occurred in 2016 happened. The former is highly productive, the latter is a waste of energy.


First, thank you for the wish for peace, I wish you the same. But the waste of energy, time and money was in my having to (successfully) grieve my taxes (without the assistance of tax reduction professionals) in each of the last 2 years due to the epic failure that was the 2014 reval. My contribution to the "We" was in consciously deciding not to go to Small Claims court against the Village each time, and paying more in tax each year then necessary, because I'm fairly certain I would have received an even greater reduction. Sorry, but the 2014 reval is not a good example to use for "lack of compromise or consideration". Happy Holidays all.
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#26 Koen L 2017-12-21 21:15
Well said!!
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#25 Open Minded 2017-12-21 18:13
Joanne,
I hope no matter what people think about these issues they will take a step back and look at what is best for our lovely community.
Happy holidays to everyone!
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