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Last updateTue, 11 Dec 2018 2pm

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people commentsThe Scarsdale Procedure Committee (PC) Chair Madelaine Eppenstein and Vice Chair Eric Cheng are asking for voters input on how to improve the non-partisan system’s governing document and the Citizen’s Nominating Committee processes.

According to the chairs, “The Scarsdale community’s non-partisan system of electing qualified candidates for village office, which has worked well over its long history, is governed by the Non-Partisan Resolution (NPR) – a living document that has been amended 41 times since its adoption, most recently in November 2012. The system establishes a method for selecting a slate of candidates for Mayor (every two years), Trustees (every two years, staggered terms) and Village Justice (every four years). Periodically, the community is asked to consider proposed changes to improve the system by means of one or more amendments to the NPR, which are ultimately submitted to the electorate for a vote. This is one of those pivotal opportunities for the public to weigh in and share their views as part of the review process.”

The Procedure Committee's mandate is to administer the annual non-partisan procedure for the election of voting members of the Citizen's Nominating Committee (CNC) and to publicly explore potential revisions to the NPR. The CNC in turn nominates a slate of non-partisan candidates to run for election to the positions of mayor, trustee and village justice that may be open in any given year. CNC members are elected by their neighbors to vet and select candidates for Village office as part of the non-partisan system.

Up to 23 members of the PC include a chair and vice chair, 10 members who are appointed currently by the president of the Town and Village Civic Club (a 501(c)(4) Village civic organization), 2 representatives designated by the chair of the Confederation of Scarsdale Neighborhood Association Presidents (SNAP), and the most recent retiring class of 10 voting members of the CNC.

Procedure Committee chairs Eppenstein and Cheng said, “All comments received from Scarsdale voters and community organizations during the month of April 2018, and any prior recommendations made, will be reviewed by the Procedure Committee during the month of May 2018. By June 1, 2018, the Procedure Committee plans to submit to the community, for public comment, any potential proposals to amend the Non-Partisan Resolution as part of the required 90-day public review period. At the end of this formal public review, the PC will propose amendments that, in the Committee’s judgment, should be presented to the electorate for a vote in the CNC election on November 13, 2018. The entire procedure for the amendment of the Non-Partisan Resolution is contained in Article IX of the NPR here

Email comments to: meppenstein@eppenstein.com.

The members of the 2018 Procedure Committee are: Charles Baltman; Sarah Bell; David Dembitzer; Eric Cheng; Madelaine Eppenstein; Timothy Foley; Jeff Goodwin; Mayra Kirkendall-Rodríguez; Eli Mattioli; David Peck; Richard Pinto; Pam Rubin; Greg Soldatenko; Jill Spielberg; Eve Steinberg; Nancy Steinberg; Michelle Sterling; and Bruce Wells.
For more information visit the Procedure Committee website at http://www.scarsdaleprocedurecommittee.org/

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arestcrandallveronNew York State law requires government officials to be sworn in on the first Monday in April so the Village of Scarsdale didn’t let an unexpected snowstorm interrupt the ceremony.

Village Manager Steve Pappalardo and Village Clerk Donna Conkling were at Scarsdale Village Hall at noon on Monday April 2 to swear in the three newly elected Village Trustees. As their families, well-wishers and Village staff looked on, Justin Arest, Lena Crandall and Jane Veron each took the oath of office and vowed to uphold the U.S. Constitution during their two-year terms.

Pappalardo joked, “You get sworn in today, and then you can swear at us for the next two years!”

Ha!

It was a proud moment after a toughly contested election.

Best of luck to our volunteer trustees.

ceremonycrandallLena Crandall is sworn in by Donna Conkling.ceremony arestJustin Arest is sworn in by Donna Conkling.ceremonyveronJane Veron is sworn in by Donna Conkling.steveaanddonnaVillage Manager Steve Pappalardo and Village Clerk Donna ConklingsteveandjanePappalardo and VeroncrandallwithboysLena Crandall and her boys.arestfamilyJustin Arest and family.janeandandrewJane Veron and Andrew FeldsteindaraanddanMayor Dan Hochvert and Dara GruenbergdebandjonDeb Pekarek and Jon Leslie

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cake2For the second year in a row, the Scarsdale Non-Partisan Party slate came out on top in a contested election for three positions on the Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees. The election pitted three candidates chosen by the Citizen’s Nominating Committee against an independent candidate, and spurred a lively campaign.

Polls closed at the Scarsdale Library at 9 pm and after the votes were counted, former Mayor Jon Mark came to the Scarsdale Woman’s Club to announce the results:

Here are the counts:

Jane Veron who will return for a second two- year term as Village Trustee, received 1,361 votes. Justin Arest got 1,243 and Lena Crandall, 1,234. Both will serve their first terms. These were the three candidates on the Scarsdale Non-Partisan Party slate.

Bob Berg, ran independently on the Voter’s Choice ticket and receive 519 votes.

There were 69 absentee ballots and a total of 1,659 votes including the absentee ballots.

Last year, Berg and three candidates ran against the SCNP slate and drove 2,854 residents to the polls. Though they lost 2:1, the turnout was unprecedented. This year about half the number voted but the count still exceeded the normal participation in an uncontested election.

In the weeks before the vote, the campaign was visible all over town.  Robert Berg won the right to place political signs in the Village right-of way and posted them throughout the town.  Candidates and volunteers from both sides handed out materials at both the Scarsdale and Hartsdale train stations, engaging commuters in conversations about the election. Candidates appeared at public events such as the Chinese New Year festival, village board meetings, a meet and greet and the League of Women Voters' Forum. Berg was even spotted campaigning at the recycling center. Though Scarsdale is known for its non-partisan system, the community-wide debate became markedly partisan.

Commenting on the results, Campaign Co-Chair Jon Mark said that this was not the first time the 100 year-old Non-Partisan system had been called into question. He said there had been similar challenges in the 1980’s and 1990’s. He concluded, “Just because something is 100 years-old, it doesn’t mean it can’t work. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let’s help new residents understand how the Non-Partisan system can work and foster a sense of community."

Mayor Dan Hochvert said, “We should give the people in this town credit for the results. They believed in the candidates vetted by the CNC and the Non-Partisan system."

ML Perlman said “I am proud of Scarsdale today. It’s inspiring to see the historic and overwhelming support for our Non-Partisan system."

ArestandMark2Justin Arest and Jon Mark

MLandRonSRon Schulhof and ML Perlman

 sternDeb Pekarek, Bill Stern and Dan Hochvert

BKBK Munguia and Eli Mattioli - Photo by Harvey Flisser

Hochvert Flisser SamwickDan Hochvert, Miriam Flisser and Marc Samwick -- Photo by Harvey Flisser

 trusteepartyPhoto by Harvey Flisser

RublinArt Rublin, Tim Foley, Eli Mattioli and Madelaine Eppenstein - Photo Credit Harvey Flisser

 

DianeandDaraDiane Greenwald and Dara Gruenberg

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Police estimate that over 2,000 people came out for the Westchester County March for our Lives on Saturday March 24, just one of more than 800 events that were organized around the country to protest gun violence.

A portion of the White Plains Post Road was closed to allow the protestors to march from the Post Road elementary school to the plaza between the White Plains Library and the courthouse.

Residents from Scarsdale appeared in force along with a cross section of the young and the old, students, people of all races and local officials, united in their belief that more can be done to control guns and safeguard people. They carried colorful and clever signs, calling for change to protect people against guns.

We spotted local photographer Steven Schnur taking photos and he agreed to share his work with you. Look out for Amy Paulin, Nita Lowey, Andrea Stewart Cousins and Tom Roach in the mix.

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Photos by Steven Schnur

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LenaCrandallCNCLena Crandall is running for Village TrusteeLena Crandall is one of three candidates running for Village Trustee on the slate of the Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party. We asked her about her experience and views and here is what she shared:

Why are you interested in serving as Village Trustee
?

After close to twenty years as an active member of this community, I now have a broad perspective and understanding of the issues, opportunities and constraints in civic matters. Furthermore, my professional background as an attorney will be invaluable in analyzing, researching and discussing whatever topics may arise.

You have worn many hats as a volunteer in Scarsdale. Tell us about some of the things you have done, what has been most meaningful to you and why?

Just about every situation presented challenges. One of the most meaningful, however, was when my initiative with the Conservation Advisory Council and the Friends of Scarsdale Parks improved the stormwater work between Scout Field and Harcourt Road. Thanks to our collaborative efforts to bring updated environmentally sound engineering practices into the mix, the project incorporated the existing old-growth forest to naturally absorb and filter rainwater in a low-cost, aesthetically pleasing way. Without us, the woodland would have been replaced with an unsightly, old school stormwater basin. County Executive Latimer has recently come out in favor of more "green infrastructure" approaches like this to address stormwater management.

Many of us know you from your involvement with the Friends of the Scarsdale Parks: How did you become interested in plants, trees and landscape? What are some of the initiatives you spearheaded here? What other projects would you hope to see developed here in Scarsdale?

I grew up in a rural area in Upstate New York. The outdoors was always my playground. So, I couldn't understand why parents wouldn't let their children play in a wooded area next to the Fox Meadow ball fields. My curiosity led to the eventual discovery that this abandoned lot used to be an outdoor classroom. As I studied other outdoor classrooms, I also learned about stormwater management, arboriculture, and many land use-related topics.

The Friends of Scarsdale Parks heard about my efforts and invited me to join their board. I was quickly promoted to president. We changed the direction of FOSP from garden-tour organizers to stewards of our remaining public open spaces. We created a partnership with the Village to improve deLima Park with help from the little-known Parkland Reserve Fund and FOSP donations. Thankfully, the current FOSP Board has built upon this foundation to improve other areas in our Village.

In general, joint projects between our local non-profits, government, private businesses and volunteers yield better results with lower overall costs to taxpayers. One recent example is the Scarsdale Library renovation project. The Library volunteers have literally raised millions of dollars to renovate and expand this significant public facility. I am interested in seeing more collaborative efforts between local businesses, the Village and volunteers.

What are your thoughts about the proposed changes to the tree code?

The proposed legislation was studied by the Conservation Advisory Council, the Friends of Scarsdale Parks, an appointed working group of volunteers and staff, and subsequently modified in a series of public Board of Trustee Sustainability and Law Committee meetings. I listened closely to the remarks at the recent Public Hearing in Village Hall. There are reasonable concerns about safety in light of stronger, more frequent storm systems. The Village Board said that the law would be clarified to make it easy for homeowners to remove dangerous trees as of right, without a fee or replacement requirement. This makes sense: safety has to be the number one priority.

The new notice-of-any-tree removal requirement, whether it’s due to a hazardous condition or as-of-right, will provide useful data for future analysis. More importantly, the record of tree removals will also assist the Land Use Boards in their review of properties under development. The Village has already started gathering input from the Board of Architectural Review, the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals on this and other topics. Taking a further look at how other communities have approached this issue might also be instructive. There’s always work to be done in finding the right balance between the rights of homeowners and community considerations.

I hope residents will answer the Village Board’s request for more input by sending an email to clerk@scarsdale.com.

As you know, the entire Committee for Historic Preservation resigned in November. What are the issues with the current code and what would you like to see changed during your tenure? I attended the Village Trustee Land Use Committee meeting with former members of the CHP. They provided recommendations, which will be reviewed by the next Board of Trustees. I intend to contribute information from The National Trust for Historic Preservation with respect to rehabilitating homes to make them "useful and functional for contemporary living while preserving important historic and architectural features." However, the path to a solution to the issue of preservation is not yet clear and I look forward to participating in future discussions.

The need for sustainability and conservation is becoming increasingly important. What are some initiatives in these areas that are on your agenda for the Village?

Sustainability has different definitions. My view is that we must always strive to deliver essential municipal services in ways that are cost-effective, efficient and environmentally responsible. Scarsdale is already taking a leadership role with the weekly pickup of food waste, but there is more we can learn from other communities with respect to tree management (discussed above), healthy landscapes, pedestrian-friendly streets and other planning approaches to lowering our carbon footprint. The Freightway Project is a unique opportunity to bring the best of sustainable development to town. The key is to stay informed and in close communication with the community we serve.

Some say that residents are steering away from volunteering due to a decline in civil discourse. Do you think that’s a valid point? And if so, what can be done?

I've actually noticed an increase in attendance at Village Board meetings. But I am concerned that our residents who prefer civil discourse may be less inclined to speak up on issues that are important to them. My hope is to make Village Hall more accessible to all residents, whether they've lived here for a lifetime or a few weeks. The hallmark of the Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party is that candidates are selected for their ability to not only work on the issues, but also with one another and the community on difficult topics. I have spent my years working in Scarsdale brining new voices to the table. As Village Trustee I will have more opportunities to encourage all residents, regardless of citizenship, to become involved in our democratic process. I hope to make it easy, meaningful and fun to live in our Global Village.

The Village election will be held on Tuesday March 20th. Voting is from 6 am to 9 am and noon to 9 pm at Scarsdale Library.

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