Sunday, Jul 14th

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(This letter was written by Scarsdale Little League Board of Directors)

Dear Editor,

We are writing in response to the recent Letter to the Editor (“There is No Shortage of Baseball Fields in Scarsdale,” July 9, 2022), written by representatives of a group of Scarsdale residents who oppose the proposed Crossway lights project that is currently being considered by the Village Trustees.

Unfortunately, the letter is riddled with inaccuracies regarding actual field usage in our town as well as false accusations directed at Scarsdale Little League.

The Little League, an independent youth sports organization serving close to 800 Scarsdale children ages 4 to 15, has committed to donating the necessary funds to the Village of Scarsdale to cover the full cost of installation of lights to illuminate Crossway 1 Field, which will allow for more playable fields in town.

The community members who oppose the project have argued that lights at Crossway are an unnecessary improvement to our fields and that field availability is plentiful in Scarsdale. Nothing could be further from the truth. The rudimentary analysis of field usage outlined in the Letter to the Editor was not only inaccurate and incomplete, but also misleading.

Our fields are overcrowded and at close to max capacity during daylight hours in both the spring and fall. With hundreds of players across our Little League and competitive Travel baseball programs, we have teams utilizing every available baseball field in town (including the school fields, Hyatt, Crossway, Supply and Winston) for practices and games on any given day.

Successfully assigning fields for our 70+ baseball teams — in coordination with rec softball, travel softball, football, soccer and a variety of adult teams — requires nothing short of a miracle. Scheduling involves a complex matrix of considerations and factors, not the least of which includes player and coach availability for multiple practices and games, assigning appropriate fields for appropriate ages (i.e., not all fields are playable for every age), working around other non-Little League field requests (of which there are many) and the inevitable rainouts and rescheduled games. This tricky scheduling dance happens every spring and fall — and every spring and fall, without fail, there is always a shortage of fields. It is a significant challenge that we, as volunteers, struggle to manage every season, as do countless volunteers at all of our peer youth sports organizations.

In short, there should be no debate over whether there are enough fields in Scarsdale. There are not.

That is not an opinion, it is a fact, and one that Larry Medvinksy, Chairman of the Advisory Council on Parks & Recreation, acknowledged when he endorsed the project, stating “The dramatic expansion of youth sports programs over the past ten to fifteen years has made scheduling games and practices increasingly challenging. Field availability issues affect children playing for Independent Sports Organizations (ISOs), such as Little League, and those participating in Scarsdale Recreation programs. The Parks Department is sensitive to these issues and has tried to accommodate teams by opening fields at times when conditions are not optimal, which damages the fields for future play. They have also squeezed additional practices and games onto the fields that have better drainage. However, the additional stress placed on those fields also damages them and renders them virtually un-playable later in the season.

The availability of lights at Crossway Field 1 would alleviate at least some of these issues. New availabilities would open up for scheduling or re-scheduling games or practices lost due to weather conditions due to the availability of the lights. Finally, by providing occasional practices for the ISOs at Crossway Field 1, there would be less competition for fields generally, and therefore there would be less stress placed on the Village fields. We would also point out that the usage plan’s schedule for evening games would present wonderful opportunities for the community to come together and support our student-athletes.”

The lights proposal we have put forward is thoughtful, measured and sensitive to the needs of our fellow neighbors and community members. We believe that lights on Crossway 1 will add a great deal of flexibility for scheduling, increase field availability across multiple age groups and significantly improve the overall experience of players, families and spectators. The project has been well received by PRC which has formally recommended that the project proceed.

The group of neighbors opposed to the proposed lights project has been vocal and steadfast in their refusal to compromise. A small group of community members should not be able to hinder progress in Scarsdale and halt much-needed — and broadly desired — improvements to our Village facilities.

We implore the Village Trustees to examine all of the facts and to consider the realities of the current field shortages and how that impacts our community’s youth sports programs and the broader community in support of this project.

- Scarsdale Little League Board of Directors

This letter to the editor was written by Matt Conlan

Last weekend, Scarsdale10583 published a letter in opposition to Scarsdale Little League (SLL) installing lights on Crossway 1 (the baseball field closest to the pool). To paraphrase, the letter argued: “SLL’s claim that the lights will help alleviate field shortages is untrue because SLL does not currently use all their allocated field space.” I scheduled all the games and practices for SLL during my tenure on the SLL Board a decade ago, and I quickly deconstructed this poor analysis and misleading argument to be equivalent to saying, "There is never a shortage of parking at the Scarsdale Pool because the lot is empty during the winter.”

As I read their full analysis, it became obvious that the opponents’ Field Use Analysis contained substantial systematic errors such as over-counting fields that were available to SLL and only counting the game usages listed on the SLL website, failing to capture each team’s weekly practices, which nearly doubles SLL’s total weekly field usage. I assume this massive data error was inadvertent rather than deliberate misinformation. Similarly, the analysis of Youth Soccer field usage only incorporated SYSC’s practices, missing the fact that their teams dominate Scarsdale’s field usage every Sunday for games. All in all, it was shoddy data collection and analysis by people clearly not understanding SLL’s total scheduling needs nor the field allocation matrix the SPRC works so hard to construct.

Regarding game schedules, Scarsdale residents should know that field availability is not SLL’s only constraint when scheduling games. The most critical scheduling constraint is that SLL has a duty to manage pitch counts for their pitchers to avoid arm injuries, so games are scheduled with a few days of rest in between. Secondarily, SLL aims to provide a predictable schedule that meshes with the schedules of other popular sports like soccer and lacrosse, allowing kids to try/play more than one sport if they’d like. Also, it’s important to realize that SLL’s coaches are parent volunteers, not professional coaches, so scheduling of games and practices needs to be considerate of their work and family schedules.

With Saturday as the obvious anchor of SLL’s weekly game schedule, and the need to give pitchers a rest between games, mid-week games for kid-pitch leagues are bundled on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. The argument that “few or no games are scheduled on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, so there is no field shortage” is a red herring borne of ignorance. Although players are not available to pitch games on those days, SLL’s available fields are used for teams’ weekly practices on days the teams are not playing games.

I am no longer a coach or board member of SLL as my son and daughters (yes, they played SLL, too) have long ago aged out of the program, but I remain spiritually affiliated with SLL in the purpose to pass along the love of baseball to younger generations. Personally, I think playing under the lights would be a fun, exciting, and memorable experience for SLL players. Given the community’s widespread enthusiasm and financial support for the installation of lights on Butler Field a couple of years ago, I suspect an overwhelming majority of Scarsdalians also endorse adding lights to Crossway 1 to improve the SLL experience for current and future children.

While disagreeing with their priorities, I respect that some local neighbors fear that the players’ enhanced fun would come at the expense of their evening quiet. That said, I felt it necessary to set the record straight that their letter demonstrates the opponents’ complete misunderstanding of SLL’s scheduling challenges and field use patterns. Their letter earns a big Bronx Cheer from me.

Public Service Message: The proper name of the field complex, and the road it is named after, is “Crossway,” not “Crossways.” Previously called “The Crossway,” the singularity of the name is historically significant as it was the only way to cross the undeveloped fields between Weaver Street and Mamaroneck Road. The all-too-common reference to the road/field as “Crossways” is analogous to referring to the GWB as the George Washington Bridges. Please pass the word.

fireworks1After a 2 year pause due to COVID-19, the Village of Scarsdale’s Annual Fireworks Spectacular, open to the public, will be presented at the Scarsdale Pool on Thursday, June 30th, at 9:15 PM. Returning to the spectacular will be a performance by the Westchester Band at 7:30PM. Please note that a $5.00 fee will be charged to all non-pool members entering the pool starting at 5PM in conjunction with the scheduled fireworks. Beginning at 8PM ALL individuals entering the Pool Complex will be charged $5.00. Picnicking is allowed on the grounds, but alcoholic beverages and smoking are not permitted. Pool members wishing to avoid paying the $5 fee are advised to enter the pool facility before 8PM.

JamaalBowmanIn the latest development in the fight over redistricting congressional, state senate and state assembly maps for New York State, Special Master Jonathan Cervas, released redrawn maps on Friday night May 15, 2022. Cervas, who is from Pittsburgh, was appointed by a judge in Stueben County to redraw the maps after Republicans charged Democrats with gerrymandering

The intention of Cervas’ work was to lead to a bipartisan structuring of the maps, and to keep communities of interest in the same district.

However after the new maps were unveiled, Democrats representing Scarsdale were not happy.

State Senator Shelley Mayer explained, “This year’s redistricting process was deeply disappointing. First, although the bi-partisan Independent Redistricting Commission was established and adopted as part of the New York State Constitution with the intent that the Commission would create a single set of maps, it was entirely foreseeable that they would be deadlocked on their charge. As expected they failed to produce what was demanded – a single set of maps for the United States Congress, the New York State Senate and Assembly. Notwithstanding their inability to agree, the Legislature was explicitly empowered to draw new lines pursuant to the principles enunciated in the NYS Constitution. The Legislature did just that, drawing new maps based on true ‘communities of interest;’ maps that were ultimately signed off on by the Governor.

The New York State Constitution provides several governing principles for the drawing of legislative maps – they must contain nearly an equal number of residents, be mindful of racial and minority groups' opportunity to participate, not divide counties or towns unnecessarily, and not favor a particular political party. After the Legislature's maps were adopted, Republicans who disapproved of the maps affirmatively sought out a Republican Acting Supreme Court Judge in Steuben County, far away from the site of the majority of New York’s population, to challenge the process and the maps themselves. That Judge selected a Special Master with no ties to the state. Ceding that task to a single cartographer who didn’t understand our districts, our diversity, or our history is a direct threat to our democratic process and undermines the power of everyday New Yorkers and their representatives.

At the end of the day, we are left with the maps drawn by the Special Master, approved by the Judge, which in my opinion, play havoc with too many of New York’s communities. For me personally, the new map is a new challenge, one that I welcome and look forward to. Of course, I am disappointed my district will no longer include as much of the City of Yonkers, where I live and which I have represented since 2012 when I was elected to the Assembly. And I am sad my district will no longer include Bedford, which I proudly represented in the Senate.

But as I campaign for reelection in the “new” 37th Senate District, I look forward to getting to know and representing the people of Scarsdale and Pound Ridge, along with those I have proudly represented for the past four years. I will continue to fight tirelessly for the needs of all of the people I represent with a responsive and activist voice, respectful of differences but committed to my principles and all of our Westchester communities.”

The new map unifies most of Westchester County in Congressional District 16, now represented by Jamaal Bowman. Though he feared he would be challenged for his seat by Congressman Mondaire Jones, it now appears that Jones will run in the newly formed 10th district, which encompasses lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, against former NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio.

Despite the fact that Bowman has widespread support for election, he is unhappy that his constituents in the Bronx are no longer in the 16th and divided among three districts. He vowed to take “legal action” to reunite them.

In an email sent on 5/21/22 he said, “The purpose of redistricting is to produce districts that better represent the true will of the people and keep communities of interest together. These new maps, unfortunately, do the opposite.

“While I am happy that we were able to maintain the core of this district, these newly approved maps split low-income Black and brown communities in the Bronx, namely the northeast Bronx, into three separate districts. The maps also decrease the Black voter population in NY-16 from 27% to 21%, a 33% overall reduction. These maps will further mute the voices of these historically underrepresented communities in NY-16 and across New York State, dilute the power of Black voters, and weaken our representative democracy.

“These new maps also violate the New York State Constitution. Communities of interest are meant to be kept together, and this map fails to do that. And since the maps significantly reduce the Black population in NY-16, it violates federal law, and by extension the state constitution, which references the federal Voting Rights Act. The state constitution also stipulates that the core of existing districts should be retained. In Bronx county and across the state, this requirement was violated.

“My campaign is prepared to pursue legal avenues to keep the northeast Bronx in NY-16. When I ran in 2020, I committed to being a forceful voice for Black and brown New Yorkers. Over the past sixteen months, I have followed through on that promise. And just like I have fought for these communities in Congress, I will fight to keep them in NY-16 and ensure that they continue to have a strong voice and the political power they deserve in Congress.”

Accident2Miles, clutching his helmet, after his bicycle was hit by a car on Post Road.After an 11 year-old was hit by a car on the Post Road on May 27, 2022, his mother is asking for the installation of a traffic light at the intersection of Post and Edgewood Roads. See below for letters to the Editor and to Assemblymember Amy Paulin from Christine Weston of Taunton Road in Scarsdale.

Dear Editor,

I am writing to correct an item in today’s police blotter. On Friday, May 27th my 11-year-old son, Miles Weston was hit by a car on Post Road. The blotter incorrectly reads that he was “nearly hit” when, in fact, his bicycle was hit, and his foot grazed the tire of the car. There was some initial miscommunication with the police and the village on this fact, so unfortunately the blotter picked up the wrong information. I have also sent an email to the mayor, village manager, and trustees, clarifying the error. Following is an email that I sent to Amy Paulin’s office, as I am working to put pressure on New York State to install a proper traffic light at that very dangerous intersection.

I would be willing to discuss this issue further, as I have received a lot of support from community members after posting about the incident on Facebook. If anything, I would like to submit a proper letter to the editor to be printed to clarify the details of the accident.

Sincerely,
Christine Weston

June 2, 2022

Dear Ms. Paulin,

On Friday, May 27th, 2022, around 4:45pm, my 11-year-old son, Miles Weston, was hit by a car on Post Road in Scarsdale at the corner of Edgewood Road. He was walking his bike, on his way home from playing with friends at Edgewood, our local elementary school. While attempting to cross the busy Post Road using the pedestrian-controlled crosswalk signal, one car did not stop, and struck the front tire of his bike, and his foot grazed one of her tires.

I implore you to help me put pressure on the New York State Department of Transportation to install a traffic light at that intersection, the corner of White Plains Post and Edgewood Roads. In addition to the elementary school one block east of the corner, many cross there to access the cut-through to Windsor Lane as a short-cut to the village and train station. This crosswalk is used by children, caregivers, and commuters multiple times a day, and I have heard from many who have experienced near-miss accidents. The crossing guard that works there during school hours fears for her safety every day. Police officers I have spoken with also report being ignored when attempting to direct traffic when the crossing guard is not on duty. This is clearly a genuine issue that needs to be addressed.

Thankfully, my son was not physically hurt, though he has had nightmares and flashbacks of the event. The woman who struck him did stop, but was not apologetic at first, telling him that he “came out of nowhere.” I am absolutely positive that she is beside herself for what happened, and that it was a complete accident; however, that statement is proof positive that it is impossible for motorists to see pedestrians.

The witnesses at the accident told me that Miles has the “reflexes of a ninja.” If he had not pulled his bike back as fast as he did, I shudder to think of what would have happened. I cannot help but think of what could happen if another child or adult is not so quick to react.

I have attached a copy of the police accident report (#22-15679) as well as the statement I gave to the police. I am hopeful that these documents will help move the case along.

Thank you so much for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Christine Weston
26 Taunton Road

New16thDistrictThe proposed map of the 16th district keeps Scarsdale in one district with other southern Westchester towns, but includes portions of the districts now represented by Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire JonesThe redistricting battle in NYS goes on. After proposed maps approved by the state legislature were declared unconstitutional, newly redrawn maps of New York’s Congressional and State Senate districts were released on Monday May 16, 2022. The maps were drawn by Jonathan Cervas, the special master appointed by the court and are subject to the approval of New York State Supreme Court Judge Patrick F. McAllister, who has set a deadline of this Friday 5/20 to approve final lines. Between now and Wednesday, members of the public can submit comments on these maps to the Court via email to bwise@nycourts.gov.

The new maps, if approved, would set the stage for Republicans to win seats in the upcoming mid-term elections at a critical time. According to Politico, “The newly redrawn New York congressional map didn’t just erase the political advantage the party hoped to gain through gerrymandering before state courts stepped in to stop them. It also set New York’s Democratic incumbents against each other in a zero-sum game of survival — which will soon see some of them brawling in primaries and left others pleading with the court-appointed map-drawer to change course.”

If approved, the new maps could pit Mondaire Jones against Jamaal Bowman for the 16th district, because Representative Sean Patrick Maloney has already announced he will run for the 17th, now held by Jones. In New York City, two longtime Congressman, Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, will run against each other in the primary for the 12th district after the new maps put them both there.

In this latest draft of the Congressional lines, Scarsdale would be entirely in District 16. The newly drawn district would contain the residences of two incumbents, Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones. What this means is that they could opt to run in District 16 . Under the law congresspeople can run in any district in a state - they are not tied to run only in the district that has their residence, or alternatively they could choose to run in a different - most likely a neighboring - district.

On Tuesday May 17, Bowman vowed to continue to run for District 16 though it no longer includes much of the area of the Bronx formerly in his district, which would now be divided among three districts. He tweeted, “Now, I only have one message for NY-16: I will continue fighting for you, and I will fight to continue to represent you.JamaalBowmanJamaal Bowman now represents Scarsdale in Congress

He sent the following email to his constituents on May 17. “Yesterday a court filing unveiled the newly redrawn congressional districts in New York City. The new maps, which were drawn by court-appointed Special Master Jonathan Cervas but are not yet final, change the 16th Congressional District to remove much of the Bronx, decreasing the Black voter population by about 17%.

The whole point of redistricting is to create congressional districts that keep communities of interest together. Unfortunately, the map created by the special master splits NY-16’s historically low-income Bronx communities into three congressional districts and decreases the Black voter population by 17%. This occurred despite an outpouring of testimony urging redistricting officials to protect the Black vote by keeping the northeast Bronx with lower Westchester together. The proposal shows that Co-Op City is mapped into NY-14, Williamsbridge and Baychester into NY-15 and Edenwald kept in NY-16. The map data shows that this directly resulted in the Black voter population declining by 17%. Co-Op City, Williamsbrige, and Edenwald are strong communities of interest that must remain together as a unity and connected to lower Westchester. The Black voting power in NY-16 cannot be diluted in favor of more compact but less fair maps.”

For the State Senate lines, the draft map would place Scarsdale in Shelley Mayer's district.

The final word on the maps is due on Friday May 20, 2022.

Representative Mondaire JonesRepresentative Mondaire Jones currently represents the 17th district and lives in White Plains. Portions of his district would be moved to the 16th district in the redrawn map.