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Letters in Support of the Voter's Choice Party Candidates

MayraLetter from Voters Choice Party Campaign Char Mayra Kirkendall Rodriguez

Scarsdale Voters Choice Party Trustee Candidates Are Ready To Serve You

I strongly support the Scarsdale Voters Choice Party (VCP) Candidates, Row A: Berg, Cohen, and Selvaggio for Village Trustee. I personally know all three of these Scarsdale residents and can attest to how empathetic and helpful they are to residents. I have worked with Bob Berg on multiple Scarsdale Forum committees and know that he is a good listener and he is very analytical about facts and data. As someone whose profession is centered on identifying and mitigating financial risks, I know that the VCP candidates have the expertise, not only to pose the right questions, but also to make favorable policy recommendations. They are sensitive and responsive to Scarsdale’s considerable economic and demographic diversity, which calls for new policy approaches, especially during this crisis when Scarsdale’s median household income has decreased due to job losses or salary and bonus cuts.

The VCP candidates have been working hard to serve you on the Village Board. Even though they are not yet in office, the VCP candidates succeeded in convincing the Scarsdale School Board and Village Boards to allow residents to pay our Village and Scarsdale taxes in two installments, providing respite during these tough times. Additionally, for over two years, members of the VCP have sent numerous letters to the Scarsdale Citizens Non-Partisan Party (SCNPP) Village Board recommending that a long-term financial plan be created, that budgets be stress tested, and that data be provided on how the Freightway Redevelopment project could crowd our schools, train platforms, and roads. I have read through numerous emails, obtained under the Freedom of Information Law, and I could not find any evidence that a financial analysis was conducted to measure how this project could impact our quality of life and taxes. And unfortunately, despite the VCP’s recommendation Scarsdale Village does not have a long-term financial model or plan. Global rating agencies and the Government Finance Officers Association have long recommended that all municipalities have at least a five-year financial plan to help them withstand unexpected crises.

The SCNPP says it represents all of Scarsdale, but it has never had a person of color on its ticket, despite Scarsdale being 25% non-Caucasian. In its very first year of being created in 2017, the VCP had the first minority in the history of Scarsdale run for Village office. Thank you Greenacres resident Carlos Ramírez! I, an American of Mexican background, am one of the co-founders of the VCP and this year’s VCP Campaign Chair. The VCP has actively sought out, and will continue to seek, voters from every demographic group in Scarsdale.

Recently, SCNP supporters barraged local media with letters criticizing the VCP. Rather than providing specific examples of how they know their candidates or what expertise they have, most of the letter writers are asking you to vote for ‘the party,’ clinging to over 100 years of single-party rule in Scarsdale. Where is the SCNPP’s platform? Where is the SCNPP’s plan on how it will remedy a potential $3 million dollar shortfall in Village revenues? What is the SCNPP’s plan for Freightway and a large parking garage near the Village Center and where are the data for these projects? Please do review our candidates’ CVs and our platform on our website and leave aside the negative campaigning.

For a year, I volunteered in the Scarsdale Procedure Committee, and I know that SCNPP candidates are not asked one single question when they come to present for ten minutes before the Citizens Nominating Committee behind closed doors. As someone who has worked in Russia and numerous emerging markets, I love living in a democracy where I can do my own research about candidates’ personal and professional backgrounds. Why shouldn’t all Scarsdale residents have the right to ask all candidates questions directly about important municipal issues that affect our daily lives?

This has been a very rough year and everyone is very busy. As your friend and neighbor, I urge you to make time to vote in this very important Scarsdale Village Trustee election by Tuesday, September 15th. Please participate in our democracy. Voter participation in Scarsdale local elections is incredibly low; usually less than 10% of registered voters participate because there usually is no choice.

You can download an Absentee Ballot Request Form here and take it to Village Hall, 1001 Post Road, until September 14th at 5:00pm. You will be given a ballot and you can vote right there and then. Election Day is September 15 at the Scarsdale Congregational Church, 1 Heathcote Road; polls are open 6am-9pm.

After you vet all six candidates, I hope you will join me in voting for Row A: Berg, Cohen, and Selvaggio, candidates who are inclusive of all of us.

Mayra Kirkendall-Rodríguez
Campaign Chair
Scarsdale Voters Choice Party

Letter from Judy Kerr

Why I Support Bob Berg

Bob Berg is no stranger to Scarsdale civic life, his community volunteer work is extensive, ranging from helping to coach Little League teams to serving in important civic leadership positions, including President of Crane Berkley’s Neighborhood Association, President and Vice President of the Scarsdale Forum, Chair of the Citizens Nominating Committee and a member of the Village’s Board of Assessment Review. In each of these roles, Bob has worked collaboratively with other volunteers to complete complex projects that benefit the community. He applies his academic (MBA and JD) and professional accomplishments to his volunteer work to benefit the community at large. More than ever, we need someone like Bob to be on our Village Board looking after our municipal needs.

Underlying Bob’s two decades of volunteer work is an unwavering commitment to the continued improvement of the communications, transparency and accountability from local governing boards to the residents of Scarsdale. In recent years, especially during difficult economic times, Bob has spoken directly to both the Village and School Boards, asking questions, making comments, and suggesting recommended courses of action. The questions that he has posed and the comments he has made have been, at times, understandably, difficult for Board members to hear, however, his public discourse has prompted each Board to make changes which have been supported by the community. Most recently, he and the other two Voters Choice Party candidates (Sean Cohen and Bob Selvaggio) for Village Trustee, have kept trying to help residents financially during these tough times by offering good faith suggestions to the Mayor and current trustees. They proposed $2 million in cuts to the $59 million budget without cutting back on services, furloughing staff, or negatively impacting our Village.

As a volunteer, Bob has demonstrated a high level of integrity and genuineness throughout his public service to Scarsdale residents, both as an exceptional leader and a tireless worker. I enthusiastically support Bob Berg’s candidacy for Trustee of Scarsdale, I hope you can consider to join me to get Bob elected, so he can help residents address the serious issues facing our village more directly. Thank you!

Judy Kerr
Fox Meadow

Letter from Paul Diamond

Do We Need the Voters Choice Party?

It used to be that the Citizen Nominating Committee (CNC) would come up with candidates who would be presented to Scarsdale voters come election day without any opposition. Yes, here in Scarsdale our elections past, only presented CNC non-partisan candidates and that was good enough. The ensuing elections then generated about 600 votes from over 5,000 homes. Is this complacency with our system or blind trust?

What about the CNC elected members (who in turn choose the slate of candidates)? This is more a symbolic election than not. In fact, from 2013 to 2019 the votes to select CNC members has remained around 300 (355, 224, 321, 368, respectively). Translation: residents are not involved in who serves on the CNC and therefore not involved in who governs Scarsdale. Historically, with almost no exception, the CNC slate for Mayoral and Trustee positions has prevailed without opposition.

Isn’t something wrong with this picture?

Recently, non-CNC candidates, Voters Choice Party (VCP) candidates, have come forward to challenge this status quo and kindled the fire for candidates to reveal their positions on a number of important issues --education, Village development (i.e. Freightway or attracting retailers), Services, Budgets, etc.. They have held debates and given the public the power to make an informed choice.

How has this impacted our general election? In 2012, 421 votes were cast for Village Trustees and in 2016, 733 votes were cast. In 2017 our community woke up: Why? Independent candidates (VCP) challenged us to think about the issues and whether or not the CNC identified the best candidates from our community to serve. The result: 2,854 votes were cast! This continued in 2018 with almost 1,800 votes cast.

So is VCP challenge to the CNC slate a bad thing or does it provide an opportunity for residents to consider issues and to exercise their right to CHOOSE the best candidate? Is it the whole slate and nothing but the slate or can we be selective to find the best candidates? I choose the later and embrace CHOICE to find the best candidates.

When I look at CNC candidates I feel I cannot embrace the slate of candidates. And, when I look at the VCP slate I see that some candidates are more impressive to me than others. For example, Bob Berg stands out to me as a candidate with a tremendous love for Scarsdale who understanding the issues. Without Bob’s energy, the Freightway Project might have pushed through without sufficient community input. He has served us for some 20 years: Board of Assessment review (7 years); roles on the Scarsdale Forum (Secretary, Vice President, President); and, as Chair, Assessment Revaluation Committee. Bob is in the know.

People like Bob Berg care about our community. Without his dedication and interest Scarsdale would still be sleeping and only a handful of residents/voters would still be making the choice for you of who runs this town.

As a native of Scarsdale who grew up in and has lived here for over 40 years and having been a member of the Forum, Past Neighborhood Association President and Past Chair of the Committee for Historic Preservation, I can attest to the fact that Bob is not just smart, he is qualified and has earned the right to be a Trustee. I leave it to you.

Paul Diamond
Circle Road

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