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bronxvilleOfficials will hold a rally at the Bronxville Train Station on Wednesday October 7 at 11 am to plead for President Trump and Congress to save public transit from doomsday cuts. Billions in federal aid is needed to preserve the imperiled Metro North railroad service.

Come to Bronxville on Wednesday at 11 am to join Bronxville Mayor Mary Marvin, NYS Assemblymember and Chair of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Amy Paulin, MTA Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi, Metro-North Commuter Council Chair Randy Glucksman, NY State Council of Machinists Legislative Director Norman Brown, Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA Executive Director Lisa Daglian, NY and League of Conservation Voters Policy Director Patrick McClellan.

The rally will be held at Metro-North Bronxville Station at the green space between Station Plaza and Parkway Road (rain location: south side of the station building on Station Plaza.)

ReinwaldAnne and Charles ReinwaldAnne Rachel Reinwald, a long-time resident of Scarsdale, NY died September 18 in Rocky River, Ohio. She was 94.

Anne was born in Flushing, NY and graduated as Valedictorian of Flushing High School in 1944. She then went on to earn a BA and MA from Hunter College. Anne taught in the New York City school system for over twenty-five years and was loved by and dedicated to her students. After marrying Charles Reinwald, the love of her life, she moved to Scarsdale where she raised her three children and lived for over 50 years. Her husband passed away in 2011.

In addition to teaching, Anne was very active in the community and volunteered at the Scarsdale Women's Club. She played in the town tennis league, was an avid gardener and enjoyed painting with watercolors. After retiring from teaching Anne became a real estate agent and divided her time between her homes in Scarsdale, NY and Jupiter Island, Florida.

Mrs. Reinwald is survived by her son Charles Reinwald (Sarah), her daughters Lisa Silverman (Bob) and Andrea Dabbar (Paul), and her grandchildren Andrew, David, Samantha Silverman and Katie, Will Dabbar. She adored her family, who will remember her as “a caring and generous person who kept strong ties to her family and friends until the end.”

In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations be made to Covenant House or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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

newtrusteesJustin Arest, Lena Crandall and Randy Whitestone were elected on Tuesday September 15After a bitter and divisive election for three seats on the Scarsdale Village Board, Scarsdale’s Non-Partisan Party came out on top, defeating the Voter’s Choice Party slate 2:1. Current Village Trustees Justin Arest and Lena Crandall, and first time candidate Randall Whitestone were elected to serve. They defeated Robert Berg, Sean Cohen and Robert Selvaggio, who staged an aggressive and lively campaign. Also elected was Village Justice Joaquin Alemany.

The election, originally scheduled for March 15, was delayed due to the pandemic. This delay stretched the political fight from weeks to months. Campaign signs, emails, ads, social media and letters were all employed with expenses underwritten by contributions to the two parties. The Scarsdale Non-Partisan Party campaign was led by co-chairs Dara Gruenberg and former Scarsdale Mayor Jon Mark. Mayra Kirkendall-Rodriguez, who was a founder of the Voter’s Choice Party and ran for school board in May, served as the party spokeswoman for this campaign.

bergZoe and Robert Berg awaiting the results.Commenting on the outcome, Jon Mark said, “Our team is delighted that our residents have once again shown support for our non partisan system. It’s what makes Scarsdale great. Dara Gruenberg added, “We are thrilled that this community has come together to elect a slate of thoughtful, collaborative, committed candidates who understand the importance of civil dialogue and putting the community before personal interests. Thank you to everyone who helped with the campaign in big ways and in small. It all matters, and it certainly takes a Village! We are grateful for the time, commitment and support you showed. Thank you to all of the voters and to our Village Clerk and her staff, as well as the dedicated people who worked at the polls. It was a long day and a long campaign made even more challenging by COVID. We are so appreciative of everyone who helped."

The charged campaign was highly visible. The Voters Choice Party papered Scarsdale with political signs on Village property. In 2018, candidate Robert Berg sued the Village for the right to place signs in the Village right of way. The judge issued a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order, preventing police from removing political signs posted in the right of way in front of people’s homes. The party fully exploited this ruling and placed signs on public property throughout the Village.

The Voters Choice Party distributed door knockers on residents homes and even issued a FOIL request to secure the Village’s file of resident email addresses, so that that could blitz resident’s inboxes. Scarsdale Mayor Marc Samwick subsequently wrote letters to state legislators asking them to propose legislation that would exempt the release of personal information from FOIL requests.

Using techniques borrowed from the current national campaign for president, the VCP employed fear tactics to scare people into voting for them. They claimed that tree laws, written to protect Scarsdale’s tree canopy, were putting residents at risk of getting hit by falling trees. They took credit for squashing work on a potential development project at the Freightway Garage site by spreading fear that the project would crowd schools, despite the fact that Scarsdale’s school population is declining. As a result, the rusting garage remains in need of a major overhaul or replacement and taxpayers will have to foot the bill. They repeatedly claimed that the Non-Partisan party was racist and lacked diversity, though their own slate featured three white men.

It was a highly partisan campaign for a Village that prides itself on its non-partisan system of governance.

For the March 2020 election, residents had the choice of voting via absentee ballot and the Village collected hundred of ballots before the election was postponed. Residents could also vote by absentee ballot in the weeks leading up to the September 15 election, so before polls opened on September 15, the Village Clerk already had hundreds of absentee ballots.cake

On September 15, voting took place at the Scarsdale Congregational Church and was steady throughout the day. At around 1 pm Berg himself turned up at the polling place and stayed too long. After about 25 minutes a poll worker asked him leave the room but Berg would not cooperate. When another poll watcher approached him he moved to the entryway and ultimately outside, but stayed within 100 feet of the poll, which is prohibited by law.Jaffe BergPoll worker asking Berg to leave the polling place.

When the polls closed at 9 pm, the hand counting of over 800 absentee ballots began. It wasn’t until 11:30 that the results were announced by Village Clerk Donna Conkling who had been on site since 6 am.

The votes were as follows:

Total machine votes: 1,167
Total absentee ballots: 754
Total votes: 1,921

Voters Choice Party

Robert Berg 635
Sean Cohen 598
Robert Selvaggio 614

Scarsdale Non Partisan Party

Justin Arest 1,294
Lena Crandall 1,310
Randy Whitestone 1,271

Village Justice Alemany 1,468

Village Clerk Donna Conkling announced that they received 807 absentee ballots however 51 were duplicates, from non-registered voters or void and were not counted. She announced that the newly elected trustees could be sworn in as early as Friday September 18, 2020.

After the announcement was made, a quick reception was held in the dining tent in Scarsdale Village, ending past midnight.

At least for this year, Scarsdale’s non-partisan system of governance withstood another challenge, primarily due to the efforts of a dedicated team of defenders.
countingvotesCounting the votes. Photo by Lisa VanGundy.

churchVoting took place at the Scarsdale Congregational Church. Photo by Lisa VanGundy.

electionsignsThis is the opinion of site owner Joanne Wallesntein
A bucolic village that protects its landscape, trees and vistas is now covered in a barrage of political signs. Though political and commercial signage in the Village right of way were previously barred by Village code, a challenge to that law has resulted in an onslaught of advertising which some find to be an assault to their senses.

Looking back, political fights were rare in Scarsdale as the Village’s non-partisan system of governance prevented such mudslinging. Rather than elect Village or school leaders in general contested elections, the Village has relied on committees of elected nominators to vet and select candidates for the positions. But in the past few years a persistent group of challengers has contested Scarsdale’s non-partisan system and marred each election with bitter partisanship.

This month, Scarsdale will hold its election for Village Trustees and Village Justice on September 15, a contest that was originally scheduled for March, but delayed by Governor’s orders due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the challengers, Robert Berg, is making another bid for Village Trustee. A lawyer by trade, Berg sued the Village in January 2018, prior to a school bond vote, after Scarsdale police removed signs that Berg had posted in the Village right of way, within 13 feet of the curb of his own home. He claimed this violated his First Amendment rights and sought to prevent the Village from “continuing to interfere irreparably with residents’ Free Speech rights.”

According to Berg, “I filed an action in federal court and sought emergency relief to prevent the Village and Police Department from continuing to interfere irreparably with residents’ Free Speech rights. The following day, the federal judge held an emergency hearing and issued an injunction forbidding the Village and the Police Department from taking any action with respect to residents’ placement of political signs in the Village right of way in front of their homes so long as those signs do not present a traffic or safety hazard. The federal judge found that I had demonstrated irreparable injury and a substantial likelihood of success on the merits. See Berg v. Village of Scarsdale, 2018 WL 740997 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 6, 2018).”

However, when interpreting this ruling, the Village of Scarsdale did not stop at the front lawn. Instead, they issued a February 2018 temporary restraining order that said, “Effective immediately the enforcement and or removal of any sign placed on the village property or the right of way will cease. The department will not remove any signs placed on village property or right of way nor will a village code summons be issued to a person placing sign on village property or right of way. This will be for any sign, i.e. Commercial or political.”

In short, Villagers were now free to post signs not only on their yards, but anywhere in Scarsdale.

While the Village awaits a decision from the court, Berg’s Voters Choice Party is taking full advantage of the temporary restraining order and plastering lawns and Village properties with political signage for their slate of candidates. The Scarsdale Pool, Village Hall, and traffic islands have become venues for his campaign. Worse, once those signs are gone, we may find signs for dating websites, lawn-care, and food delivery that police will be barred from removing.

Traditionally, even realtors were prohibited from posting “for sale” signs in front of homes on the market. Now, however, we confront a blitzkrieg of signs, in a startling departure from Village norms.

“The taxpayer owns Village properties. That's us,” wrote resident Lee Fischman. “Having political signage placed on Village properties' right of way is akin to appropriating our endorsement. I did not give Berg, Selvaggio and Cohen permission to advertise in front of taxpayer property and neither did the judge.” Deriding the signs as a “public eyesore” in the “midst of summery greenery,” Fischman cited a Supreme Court decision, Los Angeles vs. Vincent (1984), in which the high court deemed signs posted on public property “a significant substantive evil within the City’s power to prohibit.”

So what to do? In the face of this visual assault, the Scarsdale Citizens Nonpartisan Party produced some SCNPsignsigns of their own to defend their nominated slate of candidates. They requested that supporters place signs only on their own lawns, and welcome the removal of any of their signs not placed in front of residential property.

Was the lawsuit civic-minded as Berg claims? Does it help or hurt the taxpayer? It’s not clear how much money the Village has already spent defending themselves in court but it is evident that many do not like the signage. It’s yet to be seen whether this pageantry will assist the Voter’s Choice Party in their bid to defeat the candidates selected in the non-partisan process. My bet is that the signage will confuse and annoy many that the challengers are seeking to persuade.

The real question is, will taxpayers benefit from selecting trustees who file costly lawsuits and litter our neighborhood? As their sign reads, are they really for a “better” Village?

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