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JessicaAultResnick(This letter was submitted by Melissa Brown Subin)
I endorse SBNC nominee Jessica Resnick-Ault for the Board of Education because of her incredible positivity, commitment to education, listening skills, and ability to look at the long-term, even while putting a band-aid on immediate crises. I have seen these qualities first-hand in her volunteer leadership of Bake Back America, and know she is eager to put them to work for the District.

My favorite word to describe Scarsdale is “amazing.” Along with my husband Herb, an SHS graduate, I have raised my own two children here. They are now in high school and middle school. I care deeply about our town and schools. As a Scarsdale native and parent, I think Jessica’s magic touch would be a great asset for our district.

Jessica stood out to me early in the COVID-19 outbreak, when she volunteered with my family’s charity organization, Bake Back America. Overnight, Jessica went from helping her daughter bake cupcakes to helping address profound needs during COVID 19, using the relationships we had with schools, hospitals and food pantries to make sure families had the necessities and educational tools they required. Jessica did big picture strategic planning while also delivering toys to food pantries at 6 a.m., rallying volunteers to replace the quarantined, or even tie-dying t-shirts to make sure there were enough for plus-sized kids at a local shelter.

Jessica’s ability to listen to problems and calmly turn them into action items helped the organization grow. Within a month, she became a leader, someone whom I consulted daily on important decisions and who helped shape our vision. That work ethic and broad growth-oriented perspective lends itself to service on the school board.

Jessica recognizes that while being a leader is important, being a partner is more so. Jessica is a team player who brings a dry sense of humor and perspective that make seemingly impossible problems manageable.

Jessica is a key player on a team that has made our organization a national force providing 250 hours a week of tutoring, laptops and extracurricular activities for students in need, necessities for struggling families, and creative volunteer opportunities for kids who want to help out. Jessica is an advocate of diversity and inclusion in our organization and has made sure no population is overlooked either for volunteering or for receiving services.

Jessica has proven that she will carefully research every problem and follow protocol, but the beautiful thing is she will do it quickly and consider others’ perspectives. She can build consensus even when it seems impossible. I have seen this first-hand as she has coordinated Bake Back America’s work with over 45 non-profit organizations during the pandemic.

A school board member must be trustworthy, and I trust Jessica completely.

I appreciate the SBNC’s review process and I urge you to come out to vote on May 18 to support the slate of Jessica Resnick-Ault and Jim Dugan.

Sincerely,
Melissa Brown Subin,
Reimer Road

AlisonSingerAlison Tepper Singer, who currently serves as the Vice President of the Scarsdale School Board, announced that she plans to run for a second term on the Board of Education. The election will be held on Tuesday May 18, 2021. Here is her statement.

Statement from Alison Tepper Singer, Scarsdale Board of Education Vice President

With the urging and support of many community members, I plan to run for a second term on the Board of Education and look forward to having my experience and qualifications evaluated by the full Village in the May 18th election.

Like so many of the other parents in our community, I am very grateful for the wonderful education both of my daughters received in Scarsdale schools. It was this experience that first prompted me to serve on the Board of Education. For the past three years, I have worked to uphold and expand the very best tenets of a Scarsdale education – academic excellence, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, student voice, physical & emotional safety, wellness, and personalized learning. It has been a true honor to serve the community in this role, and I hope to have the opportunity to spend the next three years building on Scarsdale’s legacy of achievement, benefiting and meeting the needs of all Scarsdale students.

I understand the frustration that has pervaded our community over the past year. We all lost control over our own lives and our children’s lives because of COVID-19. As the mom of a special needs child, I understand firsthand how scary it is to feel like you have little control over the decisions affecting your children and the pain that comes when they are suffering. It has been a challenging year on every front, and the decisions we have made to balance the health and safety of our community with students’ educational needs have been no exception. While people may disagree with decisions that have been made along the way, our goal was always to protect our students and families, even as we tried to incorporate all the very diverse and divergent perspectives of our school community.

Everyone who lives here knows that Scarsdale is not a typical school district, and that is why we all choose to live here. The relationships and partnerships among teachers, students, and the community were forged over decades by people who hold education as a core value. These are the important principles the board needs to shepherd and these are the values that will propel Scarsdale forward and enhance teaching and learning. I believe my experience and seniority on the Board are critical in moving this mission forward, and I hope the community will support my candidacy to make this happen.

stewartcousinsState Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins has called for Cuomo to step down.NYS Senate Majority Leader and Scarsdale’s State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins called for Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign on Sunday March 7, 2021. Her statement followed multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against the Governor from women he has worked with over the past few years. As of March 10, 20 out of 42 NYS Senators had either called for Cuomo's impeachment or resignation.

The accusations of inappropriate comments, touching and kissing come at a time when there is zero tolerance for this kind of behavior. The #metoo movement encourages women to come forward with reports of sexual misconduct and to call the aggressors to account. Conduct that was excused or ignored just a few years ago is now viewed through a new lens, but the 63 year-old Governor does not appear to have updated his act.

In her statement, Stewart-Cousins notes that the state remains in a crisis and says that the Governor’s behavior is a distraction. She said, "Everyday there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government. We have allegations about sexual harassment, a toxic work environment, the loss of credibility surrounding the Covid-19 nursing home data and questions about the construction of a major infrastructure project.”

“New York is still in the midst of this pandemic and is still facing the societal, health and economic impacts of it. We need to govern without daily distraction. For the good of the state Governor Cuomo must resign."

Though Stewart Cousins statement signals that the Governor may be losing political support among his own party, he responded by saying he will not step down. He said, "I'm not going to resign because of allegations. The premise of resigning because of allegations is actually anti-democratic." He contends that he was elected by the people and will continue to serve them.

Cuomo has asked Attorney General Letitia James to set up an inquiry into the sexual harassment allegations and apparently plans to stay in office pending the outcome.

At the same time Cuomo is battling these accusations, news has emerged that his office altered reports of deaths at nursing homes to conceal the number of COVID deaths.

It has been a sudden fall from grace for Cuomo whose handling of the pandemic and daily COVID briefings during the height of crisis were highlights for residents quarantined at home. He often spoke of his mother, his daughter, her boyfriend and his own family’s struggles to carry on with life restricted by COVID. With hundreds of New Yorker’s dying daily, his folksy messages were inspirational and provided reason for hope.

However, according to a March 4 Quinnipiac poll, now, a year after the outbreak in New York, Cuomo’s approval has dropped from 72% in May 2020 to 46% in March 2021 though 55% said he should not resign.cuomo5The Governor says he plans to remain in office.

What do locals think? We spoke to a range of Scarsdale residents who offered their opinions on whether or not the Governor should step down. Some spoke of Senator Al Franken, who later regretted his hasty departure from the US Senate, wishing he had waited for an investigation from the Senate Ethics Committee. Others spoke of politicians who remained in office including President Trump, who was accused by many women of more serious offenses and stayed the course, despite allegedly paying to silence accusations.

Supporters contend that even though Cuomo’s reputation is tarnished he remains an effective advocate for New York and believe he should stay on the job to complete his term, while others think that between the accusations of a toxic work environment and his attempts to hide the true number of COVID deaths, he can no longer lead effectively and should resign.

What do you think? Post your comments below.

scalesofjusticeWhat does County Executive George Latimer think about the Governor’s crisis in Albany? On Monday March 15, Latimer made a statement about Cuomo, asking for critics to wait to come to judgement.

Though he said the charges against Cuomo should be “taken seriously,” he urged his constituents to put off calls for Cuomo’s resignation until Attorney General Letisha James can conduct an investigation and an “objective assessment.” He said, “I have faith that she will supervise a “professional review.” He recognized that the NYS Assembly Judiciary Committee has been tasked with conducting an impeachment review with a broader scope and he will also await the outcome of that review.

Latimer said, “The results of these two investigations represent the rule of law and protect all of us. If we abandon process how will that affect us when a future matter arises?”

Latimer sought to diffuse talk about a phone call he received from Larry Schwartz, Cuomo’s secretary who handles vaccine distribution. Latimer said, “Questions have arisen about outreach from Larry Schwartz to County Executives. I spoke to Larry but that’s not unusual…. I have known him for 25 years. He made no effort to influence me or threaten me.”

He concluded, “At the end of the day my career in government, or anyone’s career in government, is not as important as the system of democracy itself.”

COVID Tracking

Also on Monday, Latimer provided an update on COVID cases and vaccinations in Westchester. As of Monday, the county COVID tracker showed 446 new cases and 5,347 active cases in the county. He said that both new cases and active cases are declining, along with hospitalizations which are down to 252 this week. He reported that deaths have fallen to single digits for the last few nights. He said, “The numbers are encouraging but the virus is still out there.”

Westchester County is making great progress on administering vaccines. 13% of residents are already fully vaccinated and an additional 11% have had at least one shot. Over 108,000 vaccines, both first and second doses, have already been given at the Westchester County Center, 21,000 in other county facilities and another 9,500 at the newly opened Yonkers Armory.

Traveler’s Quarantines

Governor Cuomo has ruled that New Yorkers who travel to other states will no longer have to quarantine after April 1. However, the 14-day quarantine is still in effect for international travel.

Eligibility

Also new, is that front facing public employees, such as building inspectors and those employed in public works are now eligible to receive the vaccine. Public and private employees are entitled to time off to receive their vaccines.

Last, Latimer said he has asked the state for guidance on high school graduations and end of school year activities to allow school districts to plan.

KarenBrewCommunity volunteer and 16-year Scarsdale resident Karen Brew is running on the Scarsdale Citizen’s Non-Partisan Party slate to serve her first term as Scarsdale Village Trustee. Brew worked as an Executive Recruiter and is a graduate of Cornell University and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. She raised two daughters in Scarsdale who are now in college. The election will be held on Tuesday March 16, 2021 and all registered Scarsdale voters can cast their ballots at the Scarsdale Congregational Church from 6 am to 9 pm.

We interviewed Brew about her experience and her views and here is what she shared:

Tell us about yourself, your experience in Scarsdale and why you would like to serve on the Village Board of Trustees.

We moved to Scarsdale when my older daughter was about to enter Kindergarten, over 16 years ago. I wanted to meet people and make connections so I immediately got involved, mostly in the schools. I was on numerous committees leading up to being Edgewood Elementary School PTA Treasurer for 2 years and then PTA President. From there I served on the Scarsdale PT Council Executive Committee (4 years), School Board Nominating Committee (5 years), Scarsdale Bowl Committee (2 years), Scarsdale High School Scholarship Fund for College Executive Committee (5 years) and the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale board (6 years). Both professionally and in my volunteer work, I enjoy working in teams and building solutions. I ask a lot of questions and love to problem solve. I believe with my skills and experience I can add value to the Village Board and I am excited to contribute to help keep Scarsdale the fabulous community that it is.

Were you surprised at the quick turn in events that led to your nomination?

I had been contemplating running in January but had decided to wait. When one of the selected nominees withdrew it provided me with an opportunity to reconsider. Then when I was approached, I had the benefit of knowing that Jane Veron was slated to be Mayor. The opportunity to work on the board with her experience, smarts and passion as Mayor was too enticing to turn down and so I stepped up!

What volunteer experiences in your past helped to prepare you for your new responsibilities as Village Trustee?

I think the volunteer experience that best prepares me for my new responsibilities as Trustee has been my past six+ years on the board of the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale. The League studies the Village budget annually. At a community-wide meeting, the Village Treasurer and Village Manager present the coming year’s proposed budget. The League members listen, learn and question the presenters in order to gain an understanding of the process and resulting budget appropriations. This is followed by a consensus meeting at which the participants discuss and come to an agreement on a League-issued statement that supports or disagrees with the budget and the process used to get to the draft budget.

What areas of Village governance are of interest to you – what do you hope to pursue?

I will be in a better position to answer this sort of question once I have had an opportunity to view the internal workings of Village operations up close. While I have the familiarity that comes from being a resident recipient of village services, and my LWVS work gave me some insight on the Village budget, I anticipate that having the chance to get into the details of how the Village delivers services will generate my interest in particular governance matters that I consider deserve more attention.

In your view, what are the biggest challenges facing the Village today? How will you approach these issues?

I see some of the biggest challenges as:

Figuring out how to budget in a time of rising costs and decreased revenues.

Determining how to balance meeting the needs and wants of the residents in the short term without mortgaging away the longer term because of fiscal constraints.

Revitalizing the downtown so that we have a vibrant town center for the community.

For all of the issues my approach will be to, collaboratively with the full board, gather data and facts through the functional experts, gain community feedback and then come to consensus on the best go-forward steps.

You have had a lot of experience in leadership positions for the Scarsdale Schools. Do you think the Village and Schools can do more together? If so, share any ideas.

I definitely think that there are many areas for the village and school district to work together. We saw that recently with the Butler Field lights and there are surely more. I believe that with a healthy dialogue between constituencies, areas of cooperation can be explored and worked on to maximize positive outcomes.

What else?

The combination of my work and volunteer experiences will allow me to come up to speed as Village Trustee quite quickly. I have the skills and the passion to contribute to help keep Scarsdale the wonderful community we all moved here to be a part of.

Learn more about the Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party here.

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