Vote on Tuesday for the SCNPP Slate: Reader's Letters
- Friday, 17 March 2023 16:07
- Last Updated: Friday, 17 March 2023 16:07
- Published: Friday, 17 March 2023 16:07
- Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 566
To the Editor:
I write in strong support of Justin Arest’s candidacy for Mayor of Scarsdale. In the course of my own community service, most recently as Village Trustee from 2017 to 2021, I have been privileged to work with Justin and to get to know him. Like all Scarsdale residents, I have benefited from the excellent work he has already done for the community, and it is important to me that he have the opportunity to continue his service and to do so at an even higher level.
Mayor of Scarsdale has always been a very demanding job, and we've been blessed to have outstanding people in that role. The job has grown even more challenging in recent years, so it's become increasingly important that we select our mayors carefully. To begin with, of course, we need someone who has the intelligence, work ethic, moral sense, organizational abilities, and interpersonal skills to serve the public effectively. But we also need a mayor who understands the range of issues we face, both in Scarsdale specifically and in our society as a whole, and the variety of possible approaches to those issues. Justin is up to the job.
The Village faces a number of ongoing challenges. The annual budgeting process requires balancing the provision of services and the maintenance and updating of infrastructure and amenities with the need to keep costs under control. Questions of land use, which entail ascertaining what our residents want and need and reconciling those wants and needs with the demands of our society as a whole (as embodied most clearly in a recent proposal by the governor that has the potential to effect fundamental changes in communities like ours), are growing increasingly complicated. The need to provide the human resources to facilitate the functioning of our village government (for example, by moving from an in-house village attorney to an outside firm to meet our legal needs, which was done when Justin and I served on the Village board) is crucial. The importance of effective communication with our residents (as to which great strides have been made in recent years, in significant part due to Justin’s efforts) is obvious. These are just some of the things our next mayor will have to deal with. In every one of these areas, Justin has made major contributions, but much remains to be done. Justin is both eager and exceedingly well qualified to continue to deal with the challenges. We should give him the opportunity to do so in a position that will afford him the maximum impact.
I look forward to voting for Justin and to having him as Scarsdale’s next mayor, and I believe that other residents who are aware of his extraordinary record of service to our community feel the same. I urge all of my fellow Scarsdale residents to join me in voting for him.
Very truly yours,
We are writing this letter to express our full support for Dara Gruenberg’s candidacy to serve as a trustee for Scarsdale Village. We both have had the privilege of working with Dara for more than five years in her many volunteer roles. We each served as presidents of the Board of Trustees for the Scarsdale Public Library, between 2019 and 2021, a time that encompassed the fundraising for, and renovation of, the SPL--as well as the difficult period of the pandemic. Dara was President of the Friends of the Scarsdale Library during that time, and we collaborated frequently on issues related to running the Library during construction and while Covid presented special challenges. We always found Dara to be accessible, responsive, and committed. She was easy to work with, a great problem solver and a real doer; when Dara takes something on, she sees it through to completion. Dara is a truly inspiring leader who galvanized our community to embark on the successful campaign to renovate the Library, ensuring that this crucial institution remains a vibrant hub of Scarsdale Village life for generations to come. Dara had a vision of what our Library could offer, and she worked diligently with others to make it a reality.
While the Library has always been a passion of Dara’s, she is very committed to other organizations in Scarsdale and beyond its borders that benefit our community at large. Here too, we have each had the good fortune to work with Dara as an energizing and positive colleague. One such organization is White Plains Hospital where, among other things, she created and hosted a successful fundraising event featuring a professional panel that addressed women’s health issues; she is now organizing a follow-up panel where the latest medical information will be discussed, to be held on April 27th. Communicating effectively and respectfully with people in order to unify them behind a purpose is a strength of Dara's, so it makes perfect sense that she also created the Advisory Council on Communications, which provides a vital link between the Village and its residents. ACC members have also worked with Village staffers to improve Scarsdale's website, helped solicit input from residents about the future of the Scarsdale pool, and spread the word to encourage people to volunteer on local boards.
Dara is a tireless volunteer and true leader who works to improve the lives of people around her. Importantly, she is a team player, who will undoubtedly be an asset to the strong slate being put forward by Scarsdale's non-partisan system.
We wholeheartedly endorse her candidacy.
Very truly yours,
Elyse M. Klayman
To the Editor:
Justin Arest earned my recommendation for Mayor by hard work, dedication, and thoughtful consideration of the many issues addressed by him in his service on the Zoning Board of Appeals and Board of Trustees, among many other offices. As a colleague on the Board of Trustees working with Justin on various policy proposals, budgets, and legislations, I saw firsthand Justin’s open minded, analytical, and thorough approach. Justin consistently provided alternative perspectives in discussions which often resulted in improved policies, statutes, and decision making by the entire Board of Trustees. I can safely say that his leadership on various Committees of the Board of Trustees resulted in significant accomplishments throughout our service together in enacting legislations, adopting fiscally responsible but effective budgets, and in implementing effective policies.
I also worked across the table from Justin as a member of the Board of Education. This experience provided further evidence of Justin’s ability to navigate the complicated dynamics of working with different interests and constituencies. Justin’s dedication to completing the work of the Village in a timely and efficient manner were again on display in this context. He endeavored not only to assure that discussions were meaningful and thoughtful but effective in their implementation. Justin’s participation assured the completion of projects and successful application of all policies and procedures agreed upon under any circumstance.
As a leader Justin challenges those around him to be thorough, thoughtful, and methodical in a way that creates an environment of success. His skills at negotiating differing interests and perspectives have already been repeatedly proven. I am convinced that Justin not only will be a successful mayor, but will prepare the Village for many years of success beyond his terms. He has my wholehearted support and I hope the voters will join me in electing him as the next Mayor of Scarsdale.
Very truly yours,
Carl L. Finger
To the Editor:
It is my pleasure to write in support of the candidacy of Dara Gruenberg for a first term, and Sameer Ahuja for a second term, as Village Trustee.
There is a lot to be said about one’s energy and ability to motivate and influence others. I met Dara less than a year ago when, with the support and encouragement of Trustee Ahuja, the Advisory Council on Human Relations for which I am vice-chair, partnered with the Advisory Council on Communications, for which Dara is chair, on shared projects and goals. I was struck by her tact, ability to analyze a proposed initiative within seconds and determine which Village departments, personnel, and resident volunteers are best suited to get results – with the least red tape. Dara’s accomplishments within the Village of Scarsdale and Westchester at large are incredible. However, what stood out most to me is her selflessness. Whether it is being a patient advocate at White Plains Hospital, spearheading the realization of the Scarsdale Library’s long-term vision, or providing sound guidance to fellow dog owners, Dara’s genuine altruism is apparent. Dara’s focus on improving inclusion and equity within the Village is something she is passionate about. She understands and appreciates the fact that diversity of ideas brings about the best results – in government, business, and within a community.
Sameer’s love and passion for Scarsdale is rooted in his experiences as a youth. His perspective as a Scarsdale High School alum and as an immigrant, is invaluable. Not only for the fact that he is a successful businessperson who effectively applies his analytical and communications skill set to Village governance, but also because of his cultural background which has led to a broader perspective at the decision table. Sameer is an effective collaborator, a tested civil servant with a solid record of accomplishments in local government, and as Village Trustee, he has earned the respect of his neighbors and Village staff. Not only has Sameer been instrumental in leading Village technology into the 21st century, he has also worked tirelessly to usher in a new and more diverse generation of leaders in the Village workforce including a new Village Manager, new Village Clerk, and numerous others who are working collaboratively and effectively with the Village Board. As an added benefit, the diversity of Sameer’s past work and volunteer experiences across numerous sectors provides a unique perspective to the numerous initiatives that come before the Village Board.
Please join me in supporting Dara Gruenberg and Sameer Ahuja, and voting for the 2023 Scarsdale Citizens’ Non-Partisan Party ticket.
Aubrey C. Phillibert II
To the Editor:
It was a Tuesday evening when my wife told me we were going to the Library to speak to someone about the proposed renovation project, to which I responded, “Why in the world would anybody want to put money into a library in this day and age?”. That’s when I first met Dara Gruenberg, and by the end of that initial meeting, I couldn’t wait to become part of the library project. And seeing the finished project, well, Dara was spot on: it has made the community better.
Having served as Chairman of White Plains Hospital for 7 years, I very early appreciated the importance of our Foundation, which was in need of an overhaul. Dara soon thereafter joined our Foundation and has injected the energy, vision, and achievement orientation that has made an important contribution to a remarkable transformation in the quality of our community’s healthcare. This includes initiating important programs during the early days of the Covid Pandemic, where she helped the community support the Hospital, directly impacting the Hospital’s protective equipment needs as well as funding requirements, and helped the Hospital address the needs of the community by sharing information that allowed people to make the best healthcare and lifestyle decisions for their situation. She now has the responsibility of Co-Chairing (with yours truly) the campaign in support of the most important construction project in the Hospital’s history.
Dara’s talents are many, but what is perhaps most important is her relentless zeal to make the community, our community, a better place. Given that, I cannot imagine a better candidate to serve on the Scarsdale Board of Trustees.
To the Editor:
I am excited to write in support of the candidacy of Sameer Ahuja for Village Trustee for a second term. I’ve come to know Sameer through his role as liaison to the Technology Advisory Committee, which I chair. From the get go, Sameer has been an engaged and dedicated liaison, someone our council has come to view as part of the team.
Sameer supported and encouraged the TAC to seize the moment on at least two critical areas of technology for the Village. One was the transition to a managed service provider and the other was wireless service gaps. Building on a few years of work to evaluate a long-term technology strategy for the Village, the TAC has been focused on identifying a permanent managed service provider to handle Village technology. Sameer was instrumental in ensuring that the Board and the community had the information needed to be comfortable with this shift. He took a balanced view, sharing both benefits and risks. I was impressed by how Sameer was able to support me in representing all of our work in an easy to understand presentation of the managed service provider opportunity to the Board.
Sameer also encouraged the TAC to work on wireless coverage gaps, an issue of great import to public safety and quality of life. What distinguished Sameer’s contribution here, is that while he urged the TAC to pursue this project and provided timely connectivity with staff and the Board, he frequently communicated with us and Village staff as we developed the initiative, drove it forward, and owned the outcomes. This approach makes it clear to me that Sameer appreciates the power of rallying the collective energies of Scarsdale’s residents through our volunteer boards and councils. He has been a positive force during our meetings, and has built relationships with many on the TAC.
I look forward to partnering with Sameer in the years ahead to advance technology initiatives to support the business of the Village, resident needs, and more broadly quality of life, in the Village of Scarsdale. Sameer Ahuja is an excellent choice for Village Trustee. I urge you to come out and vote on March 21 for him and the entire Scarsdale Citizens’ Non-Partisan Party slate.
Scarsdale Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) chairman
To the Editor,
I enthusiastically support the Citizens’ Non-Partisan Party candidates for Mayor, Trustees and Village Justice.
Each of the CNC nominees has proven their dedication to the Village and their integrity – former Trustee and Deputy Mayor Arest serving four years of exemplary service on the Village Board, Trustees Ahuja and Brew serving nearly two years as committed Trustees, and Dara Gruenberg has played pivotal roles in getting the newly formed Advisory Council for Communications up and running, and serving as President of the Friends of the Scarsdale Library as it raised an unprecedented amount of funds that enabled us to renovate and expand our library into the crown jewel that we enjoy today. Village Justice Cynthia Dunne has served ably in that capacity and has earned our vote.
I worked very closely with Justin Arest for two years on the Village Board. During the time I served as Mayor, Justin was my primary sounding board. Justin was always thoughtful and available, and Justin’s heart was always in the right place. When we disagreed, the interactions were always respectful and thoughtful, and importantly, Justin always listened to the opposing perspective with an open mind. I felt so strongly about Justin’s commitment to the Village, his thoughtful approach to problem solving, and his deep desire to serve that I appointed Justin to be Deputy Mayor. Justin was always a true partner. Never was that more evident than when COVID broke out. Without any basis to assess the varied and unpredictable situations we faced as a Village, Justin jumped in wherever needed. His dedication and judgment helped us manage through the wide array of challenges we faced, from health, safety and welfare concerns, to dealing with the human elements of the pandemic, to addressing the significant impact the pandemic had on the Village budget. Justin was an invaluable partner during an extremely trying time.
I have also worked closely with Dara Gruenberg. In a community that is blessed by so many dedicated volunteers, Dara stands out. Dara’s energy, enthusiasm, intellect, people skills, and communication ability has and will continue to benefit our Village for years to come. I first met Dara when she was President of the Friends of Scarsdale Library. I quickly saw Dara’s value to the community as we had difficult discussions about the important balance between community benefit and cost. I also quicky saw that Dara addressed points with serious intellect, understanding, and unwavering dedication.
While my experiences with Justin and Dara differ, there are many similarities that they both share. Justin and Dara are each: (i) thoughtful, (ii) dedicated to serving our community, (iii) open minded to opposing perspectives, and, above all, (iv) have the upmost integrity. We are hard-pressed to find better candidates than Justin Arest for Mayor and Dara Gruenberg for Trustee. Please join me in supporting and voting for all of the CNC nominees on March 21st at the Scarsdale Public Library.
To the Editor:
I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically support the CNC’s slate for the Village Board: Justin Arest for Mayor; Sameer Ahuja, Karen Brew, and Dara Gruenberg for Trustee; and Cindy Dunne for Village Justice. I can say unequivocally that Scarsdale is getting the best of the best.
Justin has the vision, dedication, and smarts to guide the Village Board and to partner with the Village Manager and his staff. I met Justin six years ago when he volunteered to serve on the Ad Hoc Committee on Communications (ACC). He impressed me with his passion and determination to do right by Scarsdale. We worked side by side as Village Trustees, and together we became agents of change, leading the charge to transition our Village government into 21st century excellence. With confidence, I selected Justin to be my Deputy Mayor, and he was tops. Justin has a deep understanding of Village operations and a strong desire to lead us into the future. Justin is immeasurably qualified to serve as our next Mayor.
Sameer and Karen joined the Village Board when I was elected Mayor. They have shown unwavering commitment to Scarsdale and have been instrumental in advancing key priorities. Sameer championed technology and telecom, leveraging the Technology Advisory Council, to advance Village IT capabilities and close service gaps. Sameer values communications and outreach and has been a strong proponent of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Karen has handled with aplomb a myriad of quality of life, legal, infrastructure, and personnel matters. I can count on her to research thoroughly, immerse herself in the facts, and present all sides of an issue. No matter the complexity of a topic, Karen drives to closure balancing fiscal prudence with future needs. Sameer and Karen worked by my side as champions of the pool project, with countless preparatory meetings and rigorous analysis. As second term Trustees they are key to turning our concept into a design that will delight ours and future generations.
With her deep involvement in all things Scarsdale, it is hard to believe that Dara has yet to serve on the Village Board. Dara’s grasp of Village matters and her strong relationships with Village staff will make for a seamless transition to the Board. Dara elevates and catalyzes issues; she is a true force for good. Dara was my partner in proof of concept for the ACC, and we worked in marathon sessions to ensure the Library project came to fruition. I know she will apply her boundless energy and drive to the Village Board.
I had the honor to appoint Village Justice Dunne to fill the unexpired term of Justice Alemany. Justice Dunne exhibits a strong desire to serve with diligence and integrity. Scarsdale is lucky that she wishes to continue her service.
Our nonpartisan system has delivered for the people of Scarsdale for over 100 years. As I conclude my Mayoral term, it gives me great comfort knowing that extraordinary individuals stand at the ready to continue to serve this community I love so dearly.