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Letters to the Editor: Vote Lena Crandall, Justin Arest and Jane Veron

letter-to-the-editorDemocracy in Scarsdale (or anywhere) is precious and fragile. Many Scarsdale leaders for a century have maintained an effective democratic system here. The Scarsdale system depends on its Village Manager for safety and common services while it keeps the Village Manager's authority within popular democratic bounds. Government is the Village Manager and Village employees, on the one hand, and the Non Partisan system for electing vetted volunteer Trustees from throughout the Village, on the other hand, is our democratic safeguard.

Unlike New England town meetings, the residents of Scarsdale are represented through a nonpartisan system that works through a grass roots nominations process, engaging every neighborhood. The process ultimately selects a slate of locally experienced leaders whose gifts include primarily the capacity to listen to all points of view. As Trustees, their job is to be sure the ideas of residents are heard. This Trustee discipline curbs the power of the Village Manager.

Working against this tradition, of course, are individual champions of particular ideas who believe their own ideas are more important than the ideas of the people. These individual champions wind up in a fight against other Trustees and against the Village Manager.

During our 46 years of Scarsdale residency, we have witnessed this tug of war many times, between vetted volunteers who insist on listening to all the people and the self-anointed champions who need to upend the nonpartisan system to enforce their ideas. Every election is crucial to maintain Scarsdale as the democracy it is.

What struck us initially about Lena Crandall, a new Trustee candidate in the upcoming Village election, was her desire to "get all ideas on the table." Perhaps this desire stemmed from her legal training, or her immigrant family upbringing, but it became her personal signature. No matter how strongly she felt about an issue, she was restrained and encouraged contrary ideas.

We saw this first during her service in the Town and Village Civic Club (now the Scarsdale Forum). Lena wanted to be sure that special effort was undertaken to hear the ideas of residents who were Chinese or Latin American who had no experience with American democracy or limited English to understand. As Scarsdale has become more diverse in national heritage and languages, this emphasis on inclusion is even more necessary than in earlier years. Lena still insists that every resident, regardless of citizenship, needs to be included and heard.

It is not surprising to us that Lena Crandall, who rose through her twenty years of service within Scarsdale Forum (and other groups), first as Committee Chair, then Vice President, then President, and now a Past President and Co-chair of the Special Events Committee, has been nominated as a Trustee for Scarsdale's election in March. The nonpartisan system of Scarsdale has found her for us, along with Justin Arest and incumbent Trustee Jane Veron. It's up to us to vote the slate, elect Lena and keep Scarsdale on track.

Lynne and Merrell Clark
Walworth Avenue

(Letter from Eric Lichtenstein)

To the Editor:

I am a Scarsdale Village resident writing in strong and proud support of Justin Arest, one of the Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party's candidates for election as Village Trustee on March 20, 2018. I was a member of this year's Citizens Nominating Committee.

I met Justin shortly after moving to Scarsdale in 2014. A mutual friend introduced us after realizing that Justin and I were neighbors with growing families on similar timelines. It was a successful match.

What I love most about my friendship with Justin is that he is a great listener. He cares deeply about his friends' lives and is never quick to make judgments. I have had numerous discussions with Justin about our mutual interests during family visits, phone calls and backyard chats. What we share is a deep commitment to our community. I did not grow up in Westchester, I'm a Long Island transplant, and although the various New York City suburbs share many things in common, there are some subtle differences that occur in Westchester and Justin – a Westchester lifer – is my go-to guy for answers.

Justin is extremely committed to the Scarsdale community. From serving on boards and volunteering, to being an active participant in neighborhood discussions, he has proven his eagerness to work hard for Scarsdale. Justin also brings a new and fresh perspective to the Village which in the current economic environment is a huge plus. We need to encourage more millennials and young people to want to move to Scarsdale and raise their families here. Justin sets an inspiring example of civic volunteerism for others in his generation.

I have witnessed Justin's hard work and commitment to Scarsdale and its improvement in working with him on the Library Renovation Project. Another example of Justin's commitment to the community is his work on both the Zoning Board of Appeals and on the Freightway Steering Committee. He has shown that he already dedicates extraordinary time and energy to be of service to Scarsdale even with the commitments of having a young family. I expect him to continue to do so if he is elected to serve as a Trustee.

Justin is rational, thoughtful, and conscientious. He can debate the issues with fairness and keep an open-mind to all sides of an issue. He exercises mature judgment, and he is not afraid to take an unpopular positon if he believes it is the right thing for the long-term.

I can't think of a better candidate to entrust with the position of Scarsdale Village Trustee. I know that Justin will have the community's best interests in mind and that residents will respect his values, judgments and overall character. I strongly urge all eligible Scarsdale residents to vote for Justin on March 20.

Eric Lichtenstein
15A Richbell Road
Scarsdale, New York

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