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Why I Am Ready to Represent Scarsdale

arest(Sent to Scarsdale10583.com by Justin Arest, Candidate for Village Trustee) My name is Justin Arest, and I am running with Trustee Jane Veron and Lena Crandall as this year's Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party slate. I wish timing allowed me to speak with all of my neighbors individually before this election. I would take that opportunity to share more about me, my passion for working with others to make our community better and, more importantly, to hear your thoughts about what you love about Scarsdale and what issues you think need to be addressed. Obviously, that is not realistic, and therefore I write this piece to at least introduce you to me in hopes of earning your vote on March 20th.

Growing up in New Rochelle, I spent a good part of my life in Scarsdale. In fact, I met my wife in the Golden Horseshoe almost twenty years ago. Allison grew up in Quaker Ridge, and we feel so fortunate to be raising our two children as third generation Scarsdalians.

When we moved to town, I knew I wanted to get involved. It was a natural extension of my time as a member of my Community Board in Manhattan. Here, I was appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals, a logical place for my professional training and experience. I am a trained attorney and manage a real estate investment company based in Manhattan. However, I am aware that different roles require different hats. I do not consider myself a real estate manager or investor when I sit on the Zoning Board. I consider myself first and foremost a resident who takes considerable pride in the character of the Village in which we live. That's why with every application, I am careful to consider not only the applicant and his or her neighbors, but also the impact on the community as a whole, including future residents. I am always concerned about the potential for unintended consequences, and I work hard to identify and prevent what might be detrimental in the long term. What makes this Village special did not happen overnight. It deserves our protection. As a Trustee, I would continue to maintain that same sensitivity, and I would commit fully to the responsibilities of the position to represent all Scarsdale residents.

Next, I was asked to serve on the Library Project's Capital Campaign Committee. After learning more about the possibilities that a more vibrant library could offer to all Scarsdalians as well as the attractive public-private nature of the project, I wanted to help. It has been a great experience working with such a talented group of volunteers. I was flattered when the Library Board then invited me to serve on its Building Committee. We work with the architect, engineers, construction manager, Village staff, as well as other experts, to ensure that the vision of the project is translated into the final plans.

These experiences led to the Board of Trustees asking me to serve on the Freightway Steering Committee. That, in turn, led to some lively debates between me, Village staff, and the Trustees regarding the planning aspect of our Village Center area. I am a staunch supporter of holistic planning in all regards. I saw a possibility that as developers desired to redevelop their properties in favor of currently popular transit-oriented development trends, the Village may review such applications piecemeal. My hope is when we look back in decades to come, we don't regret missing opportunities to plan right and plan better. The Freightway Steering Committee did a great job at involving the community in creating its Vision Statement for the site. This type of outreach should continue at every stage of the process.

I have also taken on responsibilities within the Scarsdale Forum, a 501(c)(3) with a history of strong civic ties to the Scarsdale Community. The organization's president recognized my willingness and ability to serve and invited me to get involved. She also noticed the countless hours I had spent in Village budget sessions asking tough questions, making suggestions, and speaking with our Village Manager and Treasurer to fully understand our Village budget – both the constraints and opportunities that can exist. I am currently Chair of the Fiscal Affairs Scarsdale Committee, and also participate on the Forum's Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Nominating Committee, as well as a member of a number of other committees including the Assessment Revaluation Committee. I believe that we have learned so much from the last two revaluations that can and should only lead to a better preparedness for our next one. We must look to the future and always understand that equity is the primary goal of our Assessor's Office, and that stability is also important. This, of course, applies to a future revaluation but also is applicable to our current grievance system. I am completely committed to the goal of restoring our community's confidence in our Assessor's Office.

A constant theme throughout all of my volunteering is that communication is not only important, it is essential. Even the best efforts at transparency can be wasted if there are not efficient and effective ways to disseminate that information. The best decisions from our elected officials can only come when they understand the needs and concerns of the residents they serve. The onus to obtain the information should not be placed on our neighbors, the Village needs to reach everyone. That is why when Jane Veron announced the formation of an Ad Hoc Communications Committee, I volunteered. We have done great work over the last year, but there is so much more to accomplish.

Improving the Village we live in can only happen one way—by working together. That is why, regardless of the position, my approach to decision making is simple: I want to get the best information possible by researching, listening and often learning. I try to understand all perspectives regardless of where I start out. I ask a lot of questions. I believe we can all learn from one another and I will encourage open discussion by the Trustees throughout the decision-making process. I understand that my role as Trustee will be in an oversight capacity, but that should not lead anyone to believe that the role is passive. Trustees control policy as well as make budgetary decisions. I have great respect for the Village professionals and trust they do their jobs with integrity, but ultimately, Trustees are accountable and hold a fiduciary duty to the community to do what is in our collective best interest.

It has been an honor serving this community as a resident volunteer. It has allowed me to meet and work with an incredibly talented group of neighbors and become thoroughly versed in significant town issues concerning finance, land use, assessment, development, and renovation of a community asset. I hope I can gain your trust and your vote to represent you as Trustee.

Please Vote Row B on March 20th. Let's support our non-partisan system that looks to record over rhetoric.

******

Meet the Candidates:

The Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party (SCNP)  will host a "meet and greet" event with its slate of candidates – Justin Arest, Lena Crandall and Jane Veron -- on Sunday, March 18, 2018. The event will be held at the Scott Room, Scarsdale Public Library, 54 Olmsted Road from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Residents will be able to meet and learn about the experience and qualifications of SCNP's candidates running for the office of Trustee. There is no charge for the event and refreshments will be available.

According to Campaign Committee Chair, Jon Mark, "With the election around the corner, we want to make sure the public has access to the candidates with the most significant and relevant experience for the challenging job of running Village government. The Citizens' Non-Partisan candidates, Justin Arest, Lena Crandall and Trustee Jane Veron have the qualifications and temperament to lead."

Mark noted that "SCNP candidates have been chosen by the Citizens Nominating Committee – a committee of thirty residents representing a cross section of the Village by geography, age and even their length of residence in the Village which ranged from two years to over 50 years. The committee members were elected by their neighbors to vet and select candidates for Village office. This non-partisan system has been in place for more than a century and remains as vibrant and relevant today as it was at its inception.

Over time, the track record speaks for itself. Our real estate is in exceptionally high demand for the schools, services and the way of life offered by our special community. Scarsdale has a AAA financial rating because of decades of competent non-partisan leadership of Trustees on our Village Board. The Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party is proud to continue the 100-year tradition of CNC-researched candidate endorsement."

RSVP by emailing to: scarsdalenonpartisan@gmail.com.

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