School board to discuss larger class sizes

With school enrollment numbers oftentimes difficult to predict on a year-by-year basis, the Rye City Board of Education will soon receive a presentation on increasing class sizes. The school district’s fifth grade class enrollment, which includes the Osborn School, is considered massive this year, according to a district official. File photo

With school enrollment numbers oftentimes difficult to predict on a year-by-year basis, the Rye City Board of Education will soon receive a presentation on increasing class sizes. The school district’s fifth grade class enrollment, which includes the Osborn School, is considered massive this year, according to a district official. File photo

By Sarah Varney
At the Jan. 12 meeting, the Rye City Board of Education will hear a proposal to change the class size policy for grades three through five that would allow for an increase from 20 to 25 students per class.

The current policy with recommended class sizes of 18 to 22 students would remain in effect for kindergarten through second grade. Due diligence and the need for flexibility in accommodating enrollment fluctuations are the primary reasons for the proposed increase, according to Dr. Betty Ann Wyks, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

“It’s budget time and these things come up,” said Wyks, who will be presenting the proposal to the school board.

Karen Belanger, a member of the city Board of Education, added that space constraints, aligned with enrollment increases in certain grades, are a continuing factor. Belanger is the chairwoman of the board’s school policy committee.

Unanticipated enrollment growth in the district’s schools has been a frequent factor over the last few years. During the 2014-2015 school year, overcrowding in 10th grade math classes necessitated adding another class, for which an additional math teacher was hired this past summer, according to school district officials. This year, the districtwide fifth grade class is “massive,” according to Sarah Derman, the district’s chief information officer. Rye Middle School gained 81 students for the current 2015-2016 school year. An enrollment increase at Rye High School during the 2014-2015 school year translated to approximately 100 students migrating into grades nine to 12.

“[The proposed policy change] gives us a way to start a discussion,” Belanger said. “It is a subject that needs to be discussed from an educational standpoint, the standpoint of space constraints and from a financial standpoint.”

Belanger stressed that cost-saving is not likely to be a huge factor in this policy discussion.

The current policy that recommends 18 to 22 students per class has been in place since July 2011. “Reasonable class sizes” without proscribed numbers is the policy for the middle and high schools, according to the current policy.

At the Jan. 12 meeting, Wyks will use a Brookings Institute 2011 compilation of class size research conducted in the United States and Canada since the mid-2000s to determine the recommended class size. The majority of those studies seem to suggest that for economically disadvantaged students, fewer students make a big difference.

Molly Ness, a Midland School mother and assistant professor of childhood education at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education, agreed that the research is mixed on the effects of class size.

“The research is really split on this, but overall it is not compelling enough to say that [an increase in suggested class sizes] would necessarily be a bad thing,” she said.

The fact that fifth-graders will soon move on to middle school and a larger class anyway is also a mitigator, Ness added. Research is more unified in showing that class sizes matter less in both middle school and high school also, she noted.

And in Rye, even if the proposed increase in class sizes for grades three through five does come to pass, it might not be very problematic. “If the proposal passes and parents aren’t happy, they’ll go out and get tutors for their kids,” Ness said.

Wyks noted that the flexibility to have either as few as 20 students to as many as 25 students in a class would not be drastic enough to have much of an impact. Starting in third grade, the developmental differences between children are pretty much evened out, she said.

In education circles, the 20 to 25 student range is considered “medium.” Eighteen to 22 students is considered small, and 27 to 32 students in a class is considered large.

Even so, “our big class sizes aren’t really that big in the real world,” Wyks said.

CONTACT sarah@hometwn.com

 

A new year with new council faces

 

Like her council colleagues being inaugurated, Danielle Tagger-Epstein, a Democrat, gave her vow with family in tow. Photos/Andrew Dapolite

Like her council colleagues being inaugurated, Danielle Tagger-Epstein, a Democrat, gave her vow with family in tow. Photos/Andrew Dapolite

By James Pero
With a new year, change is often in tow, and for the Rye City Council, that change is coming partially in the form of two new faces: councilwomen Danielle Tagger-Epstein and Emily Hurd, both Democrats.

On Sunday, Jan. 3, both councilwomen in addition to Councilman Richard Mecca, a Republican, who was recently re-elected for his third consecutive term, were sworn in as members of the City Council at Rye City Hall by Judge Joe Latwin.

Mecca had an opportunity to reflect on his past inauguration ceremonies, the latest of which he pointed out was his best yet.

“The crowd was a lot bigger than my first [inauguration],” Mecca remarked jokingly.

But both Tagger-Epstein and Hurd didn’t have the benefit of context, as the latest inauguration
was their seminal. When asked about her sentiments on her very first inauguration, Tagger-Epstein responded with a mixture of awe and pride.

“Can you ask me how I feel tomorrow?” she asked. “It’s great. This whole experience has been the culmination of a lot of people’s hard work and it’s very exciting.”

Hurd, who like the other inductees attended the evening’s ceremony with her family, spoke to the audience and fellow councilmembers with a similar sense of pride and gratitude.

Emily Hurd, a Democrat, like her running mate Danielle Tagger-Epstein, gave her first inauguration speech, and thanked both the community and her supporters at a crowded Rye City Hall.

Emily Hurd, a Democrat, like her running mate Danielle Tagger-Epstein, gave her first inauguration speech, and thanked both the community and her supporters at a crowded Rye City Hall.

“I appreciate the support of all of you here today,” she said. “It was definitely by the grace of God that my family and I landed in Rye five years ago when we moved east, and I can’t wait to begin to give back to the community that has blessed us.”

During the evening’s ceremony, Mayor Joe Sack, a Republican, also took the podium to share his thoughts with both audience members and fellow councilmembers alike.

“I would suggest simply that you listen to yourself and your good instincts and trust yourself to do what is right,” he advised the newest members of the City Council.

The three elected councilmembers will now begin their four-year terms on the council dais. Members of the City Council receive no compensation or benefits for their service.

Richard Mecca’s latest inauguration marks his third time going through the ceremony. He told the Review that the crowd seems to have gotten bigger each time. Rye City Mayor Joe Sack welcomes the newest elected and re-elected members of the Rye City Council to the Jan. 3 inauguration ceremony, offering the trio both his own advice as well as the advice of former councilmembers.

CONTACT: james@hometwn.com

 

Rye police faces turnover, transition

 

With five policemen retiring at the end of 2015, the Rye City Police Department will see its staff decline from 37 to 32, a level which marks the lowest staff size since at least 2010, following the recession. File photo

With five policemen retiring at the end of 2015, the Rye City Police Department will see its staff decline from 37 to 32, a level which marks the lowest staff size since at least 2010, following the recession. File photo

By James Pero
The Rye City Police Department lost five ranking police officers to retirement at the end of December, effectively dropping their current staff size from 37 to 32 officers.

Among the recent retirees were two sergeants, one lieutenant, one patrolman and a detective. These five will account for a 13.5 percent decrease in the current overall staffing of the department, which is already undergoing a transition in leadership. In late December, then-Police Commissioner William Pease retired, serving as the one absence that had been anticipated.

According to interim Police Commissioner Lt. Scott Craig, the current levels are enough to qualify the department as short-staffed.

“We’re currently understaffed,” Craig said, “because some of the responsibilities we do day-to-day need to be covered with overtime.”

With the recent retirements, there are currently two lieutenants, four sergeants and 24 officers left on the force.

Despite the loss, however, City Manager Marcus Serrano, who described the amount of police officers leaving as “a good number,” said the services provided by the department won’t decline, but will instead be sustained through a combination of working overtime and promoting remaining officers.

The biggest effect of current staffing levels, according to Craig, will be seen in the interior operations of the department and not in active patrol.

“It’s not going to be noticeable on the street,” he said. “Places where we’ll see it is places like IT… What you might see is an increase in overtime.”

Of the five retiring officers, Mayor Joe Sack, a Republican, said two had already been out of the rotation for some time due to injury and a third held an administrative position. Of the remaining two, neither were patrol officers, he added.

“For anyone to suggest that the department will somehow be understaffed either in the very short-term or even after all the retiring spots are quickly filled, that strikes me as an unnecessarily sensational perspective,” the mayor said.

According to Serrano, both he and Craig—who recently took over the department on an interim basis until his replacement, Michael Corcoran, takes the helm on Feb. 1—are already working to fill in the gaps.

“We were made aware of the potential retirement of these individuals,” Serrano said. “We’re working on what to do with the Police Department.”

The increase in overtime, Serrano said, will be a temporary fix until new officers are promoted or transferred in from other neighboring departments.

The department has historically had 40 officers on duty, but once 20090 hit, staff size began to diminish.

While the level of 32 is not an all-time low—in 2010, the active patrol force numbered just 27—it is, according to a 2011 assessment by former Police Commissioner William Connors, below the level of 35, which he deemed “just adequate.”

Currently, the levels of overall staff are at their lowest since at least 2010 when staffing plummeted to just 33 officers, 27 of them being active.

Now, the new commissioner, Corcoran, from the West Orange Police Department in New Jersey, will be tasked with overseeing a department with key positions to fill.

According to the mayor, the entry of a new police commissioner isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“In fact, it is a fortuitous coincidence that our new commissioner is starting in a few weeks, because he will now be able to shape the department through his own new hiring and promotional decisions,” Sack said. “This transition to a more fully staffed department will take place seamlessly under the leadership of the city manager and new commissioner.”

Further, Sack added that the retirements, positions which he expects to be filled in short order, will actually strengthen the department over time since the city will no longer be hindered by the two officers—Lt. Joseph Verille and patrolman Daniel Camacho—out on workers’ compensation.

Verille had been inactive since 2012 after sustaining a hand injury during a car crash in which he rear-ended a motorist on Interstate 684; it is unclear why Camacho was inactive.

Corcoran could not be reached for comment as of press time.

CONTACT: james@hometwn.com

 

RTH Titans ice Sabers 8-2

 

Max Picker takes a shot against the Sabers. Picker had a hat trick in the Titans’ win. Photos/Mike Smith

Max Picker takes a shot against the Sabers. Picker had a hat trick in the Titans’ win. Photos/Mike Smith

By MIKE SMITH
On Dec. 28, Rye Town/Harrison turned a fast start against Somers/North Salem into a solid finish to the calendar year. With an 8-2 win over the Sabers at the Rye Playland Ice Rink on Monday, the Titans head into January as the owners of a 9-1 record and seem to be picking up steam as the playoffs approach.

Max Picker scored the game’s first goal just six seconds into the contest, taking the opening faceoff down the length of the ice and beating Sabers’ netminder Ben Winter to put the Titans on the board. Picker finished with a hat trick on the night, while Doug Harrison added two goals and junior Jackson Schultz tallied a goal and four assists to lead the Titans to a one-sided win.

The Sabers found the net twice late in the game, but tallied only 11 shots to RTH’s 25 as the Titans’ depth propelled them to a late game surge.

Jack Shapiro challenges a Sabers’ defenseman on Dec. 28. Shapiro found the net in the second quarter to give the Titans a 4-0 lead.

Jack Shapiro challenges a Sabers’ defenseman on Dec. 28. Shapiro found the net in the second quarter to give the Titans a 4-0 lead.

Jackson Schultz carries the puck along the boards at Rye Playland. Schultz had a goal and four assists in the Titans’ win over Somers/North Salem.

Jackson Schultz carries the puck along the boards at Rye Playland. Schultz had a goal and four assists in the Titans’ win over Somers/North Salem.

Joey Livornese makes a stop against Somers/North Salem on Dec. 28. Livornese and the Titans topped the Sabers 8-2.

Joey Livornese makes a stop against Somers/North Salem on Dec. 28. Livornese and the Titans topped the Sabers 8-2.

“I noticed their bench was short and that certainly plays to the end of the game,” Titans’ coach Jason Head said. “But we wanted to start strong, which we did with that goal by Max, and finish strong.”

The Titans have currently won four games in a row, and after victories over Mamaroneck Black and Byram Hills, Head is beginning to like what he sees.

“This was the most complete game I think we played all year,” he said. “From start to finish, there was nothing for me to pick apart after this game.”

In fact, the Titans have seemed like a whole new team after suffering their first loss of the season on Dec. 12 against Mount Pleasant. According to senior Doug Harrison, overconfidence may have played a role in the Titans’ 8-2 loss to the Ice Cats that day.

“Losing that game, it changed the way we looked at everything, changed the way we prepared,” he said. “Everyone was too jolly before that game, now we’re quiet in the locker room, getting focused, and we’re a better team that way.”

Head concurred with Harrison’s assessment.

“I think it taught them some humility,” he said. “They learned that they’re not unbeatable.”

Of course, having reeled off four straight wins, the Titans are not lacking any confidence at the moment. Despite having more victories than all but one other in-section team, undefeated Mamaroneck, several RTH players believe the team is still being overlooked. They aim to use that as motivation when they return from break to a game against Rivertown on Jan. 4.

The Titans will have a grueling stretch to start 2016, including games against the ETBE Eagles and the reigning Division I champion Scarsdale Raiders. On Jan. 18, they will get another shot at Mount Pleasant.

“We still feel like we’re underrated based on the teams we’ve played,” Harrison said. “Each game, we love to come out and win and get higher up in the rankings.”

Contact: sports@hometwn.com

 

Column: Misery loves company

On Jan. 3, Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills dashed the Jets’ playoff hopes with a 22-17 win over Gang Green. For a Giants fan like Sports Editor Mike Smith, the Jets’ loss was a bright spot in an otherwise terrible NFL season. Photos courtesy Wikipedia.com

On Jan. 3, Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills dashed the Jets’ playoff hopes with a 22-17 win over Gang Green. For a Giants fan like Sports Editor Mike Smith, the Jets’ loss was a bright spot in an otherwise terrible NFL season. Photos courtesy Wikipedia.com

I swear that I’m not a spiteful person, but when it comes to sports, it seems like a healthy dose of “schadenfreude” is sometimes unavoidable.

Last Sunday, while watching my New York Giants put the finishing touches on a dreadful 6-10 season—and Tom Coughlin’s coaching career—the only thing that gave me any sort of comfort was seeing the Jets’ season come to an equally disastrous end.

I know. I’m a bad person.

The truth is, even for a Giants fan, this wasn’t a hard Jets team to root for. After jettisoning swagger-y blowhard Rex Ryan in the offseason, Gang Green was under new management in the form of Todd Bowles, a coach cut from the same cloth as the no-nonsense Coughlin. They played hard-nosed defense, had the franchise’s most explosive offense in more than a decade and had a likeable—if not imperfect—signal caller under center in Ryan Fitzpatrick. What’s not to like?

But jealousy is a strange emotion. I came into Week 17 with every intention of rooting for the Jets to beat the Bills—now helmed by Ryan—and clinch a playoff spot. But as the two 1 p.m. games unfolded, I found myself almost subconsciously cheering each Buffalo third-down conversion, delighting in the growing despair of the Jets fans around me.

I guess part of it is the residual resentment built up from the Rex Ryan regime. I never had strong feelings one way or the other about the franchise before Rex took over, but his tenure was marked by the kind of bravado and boastfulness that doesn’t engender a lot of goodwill from opposing fan bases.

But mostly, it had to do with the Giants’ failures. If I had to watch my team blow chance after chance and miss yet another postseason, why should anyone else—let alone people I have to see every day—have the right to be happy?

Am I being juvenile? You bet. But at least I’m not alone.

Throughout the course of the game, I was communicating with some friends in a group chat, the majority of whom were Giants or Eagles fans, and had no real stakes in the Bills-Jets game. Only my friend Mike, a season ticket-holder for years, swears allegiance to New York’s other team. But as Fitzpatrick’s interceptions doomed the Jets, you would have thought the rest of us were members of the so-called “Bills Mafia.”

Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin lost his job after another bad season for Big Blue. For Sports Editor Mike Smith, the only silver lining is that the Jets aren’t in the playoffs either.

Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin lost his job after another bad season for Big Blue. For Sports Editor Mike Smith, the only silver lining is that the Jets aren’t in the playoffs either.

GIFS of plane crashes, butt-fumbles and jubilant Rex Ryan celebrations flooded the chain, as we did our best to pile on to our buddy’s already crummy day.

I may not be proud of myself, but if I can’t be proud of the Giants, watching someone else suffer might just be the next best thing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a Tyrod Taylor jersey to order.

 

Follow Mike on Twitter
@LiveMike_Sports

 

 

Column: Hopes for 2016

New Year’s resolutions are fine for matters within our own power to control such as what we do to others and to ourselves. But for what is beyond our reach we can only hope and pray for, according to our beliefs. Here are some yearnings that fall now into the category of mere hopes.

I hope that in 2016, we Americans will gain a president-elect with the brains and stamina for this hugely demanding responsibility. Considering the broad range of our present and foreseeable problems, the person we need may not seem to be able to beat the present in our sight. But candidates can sometimes rise above their prospects.

I hope that our organs of government will function successfully in 2016, bringing about lawful and practical solutions that have been thoroughly discussed among the interested parties.

I hope that age-old religious schisms and hatred of other humans, regardless of race, color, creed or beliefs may be defeated by love and kindness and, if that fails, by either a national or international criminal court where the eyes of world might be “the jury of their peers.”

I hope to see a new Rye City Council that swears off the sloppy habit of holding private meetings to discuss the public’s business. Even in the infrequent situations where allowed by state law, private meetings are a blot on our civic reputation.

And I also hope to see a City Council where differences of opinion are welcomed and aired in a spirit of respectful debate, rather than being shunned as some sort of juvenile behavior. Let friendly smiles and good will prevail in City Hall.

And I hope to see continued support for architectural and environmental preservation in our city of Rye and that the only rock-splitting sounds that we hear this year will come from the traditional suburban “garage band” of a guitar, bass and drums and not from any destructive earth-shattering chipping machine.

And I hope to see all members of our community, Republicans and Democrats, white collar and blue collar professionals, women and men, young and old, continue to volunteer their time and expertise on our many boards and committees, our firefighting companies, nonprofit organizations and houses of worship in order to preserve the unique character of this place that we call home.

CONTACT: j_pcarey@verizon.net

 

Column: Honoring Sgt. Lemm and My Community Alert

As many of you know, our community suffered a loss with the tragic death of West Harrison resident Staff Sgt. Joseph Lemm, who was recently killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. Sgt. Lemm was cherished by his family and was greatly admired by our community. Through these dark days, I have been deeply moved by the outpouring of love, friendship and faith I’ve witnessed, especially by our residents. I hope that this show of support will encourage those who knew and loved Sgt. Lemm to draw strength from the sense of community we have in Harrison. Thank you to those involved in honoring his memory. I hope we can all find solace in celebrating Sgt. Lemm’s short but meaningful life and remembering better times.

I would like to extend my warmest wishes for a prosperous and healthy new year. I hope you and your family had a happy and festive holiday. I want to thank you for all your support over the last year. The town board has achieved incredible things so far, and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in 2016.

As we begin the new year, I am happy to report that Harrison continues to build on the success of the last few years while keeping tax increases in check, sustaining a healthy reserve and maintaining all our basic municipal services. In addition to our improved bond rating from Moody’s, Harrison’s 2016 budget was adopted and remains under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mandated tax cap. Advancing this positive trend is a priority and I look forward to the challenges and opportunities in the year ahead.

I would like to bring your attention to My Community Alert. This valuable system allows Harrison police officers and other town officials to notify residents in the event of an ongoing emergency. Text messages and emails are sent to registered residents if the Harrison Police Department believes that the community should be informed of a local incident or event. Recently, our Police Department has sent out alerts pertaining to road closures and weather updates, and has warned our community that fraudulent phone solicitations had been reported in our area. Residents can register with My Community Alert at mycommunityalert.net. I encourage all to take advantage of this very useful tool.

Please be aware of the following sanitation notice: Christmas trees may be placed curbside for pickup through Sunday, Jan. 31. Please do not place trees in plastic bags. No holiday wreaths or roping will be collected. Visit harrison-ny.gov for more information.

The library is continuing to offer great programs. I encourage all interested movie buffs to attend our library’s Brown Bag Cinema. Enjoy the new large screen at the recently-renovated Halperin building of the Harrison Public Library. This event is free of charge and is held on one Thursday each month at 1 p.m. Bring your lunch, sit back and enjoy a screening of a film newly released on DVD. Upcoming films include “The Walk” on Jan. 21 and “The Intern” on Feb. 18. Refreshments are provided by The Friends of the Harrison Library.

Column: New York state villages face added burdens

The New York state comptroller’s office recently announced that beginning with the June 2016 budget cycle, the 2 percent tax cap law will translate into only a 0.12 percent tax ceiling for villages in compliance.

This unrealistic limit was extrapolated from a signature piece of legislation for the governor, which limits spending growth to either 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.

In contrast, state spending is not limited in this way, nor are the projected increases in the more than 200 unfunded mandates annually delivered to villages from Albany.

Clearly, the tax cap operates in a politically expedient vacuum devoid of economic realities.

Although it is rhetorically brilliant, the long-term detriment of the tax cap cannot be overestimated.

As illustrated, if Bronxville were to come in under the cap in this budget cycle, we would have to forfeit $5 million-plus in FEMA flood mitigation monies because our 12.5 percent matching share would exceed the tax cap limit.

Unlike the exception made for school districts, capital improvements and infrastructure repairs undertaken by a municipality are not exempt from the tax cap spending calculation. This prohibition creates the most powerful disincentive for communities to repair one of the nation’s most aging infrastructures.

In an effort to counter the unrealistic 0.12 percent spending increase ceiling, many of our neighboring villages, including Tuckahoe, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley and Hastings, petitioned for a 3 percent hotel tax on each rented room; the logic being that the revenue would be a user tax, rather than a property tax, and the increased funds would at least keep local services flat.

Even though the governor signed an almost identical bill allowing the city of Yonkers to generate this revenue, he vetoed it for local villages after most of Westchester’s elected officials and the bipartisan Westchester Municipal Officials Association objected to it.

Why are there disproportionate burdens on villages, including the unrealistic 0.12 percent tax cap, the lack of an exemption for capital/infrastructure repairs and the continuation of the Metro-North tax for municipalities only, which cost our village a half percent tax point yearly?

As a close follower of the governor’s statements, I have concluded that the tax cap legislation and the recent veto are rooted in the governor’s overarching goal of municipal consolidations.

When he was our attorney general, Andrew Cuomo’s office submitted a bill allowing any citizen of New York state to start the process of the dissolution of a village, regardless of whether they lived in that village, by garnering the support of only 10 percent of the residents who voted in the last mayoral election. To put the governor’s bill into context, a non-resident would need to find only eight Bronxville residents to force a villagewide referendum or vote on dissolution. The incredibly flawed bill was amended several times, but the new bill passed has provisions that require communities to vote on their own dissolution before a consolidation plan and financial impact statement are produced. The village of Seneca Falls went this route and is now mired in years of litigation between cost sharing and financial obligations with its merged town.

On the subject of consolidation, Cuomo states that there are 10,500 government units in New York state, which are far too many in his estimation. Refuting this, the state comptroller’s office sets the number at 4,200. Included in both calculations are all of the Off Track Betting operations and Industrial Development Authorities, which have no taxing authority, so both numbers are misnomers.

In his stump speeches, the governor states, “I support consolidations. I think if you said to the taxpayers of most districts in this state, I know you like to have your name and identity. Is it worth $2,000 a year—the supposed, though undocumented, savings from consolidation—to have your name and identity, they would say, ‘Change my name.’”

The statistics don’t bare this out.

Since the most recent revision of the Consolidation Law was enacted in 2007, thanks to the governor’s efforts as attorney general, one community in the state, Altmar, with a population of 407, has consolidated with its neighbor.

Based on the federal census of local governments per capita, there is also no correlation between the number of governmental layers and a person’s relative tax burden.

Two of the most intensely-governed states are New Hampshire and Oklahoma, yet they are two of the least taxed.

New York and New Jersey are near the bottom in governmental units, but are near the top in tax burden. This is the result of New York’s “trickle down” policy of making local governments shoulder tax burdens shifted from Albany.

In Westchester County alone, $225 million collected annually at the local level is remitted to Albany for the state Medicaid program. Westchester County taxpayers could see this $225 million in local tax relief immediately if the governor and the state legislature would only do what 49 other states have done already and fund Medicaid
at the state level.

The consolidation theme mirrors the tax cap mantra in its political appeal and simplicity of message, but again does not address the true underlying issues. Eliminating a few positions in a police or public works department does not ameliorate the underlying unsustainable pension system. Rather, consolidation puts an added distance between the taxpayer and their government. I would also argue that elected officials closest to the impact of their decisions, and personally sharing the financial consequences thereof, make the more efficient decisions and are directly answerable to their constituents, be it at Village Hall or in the aisles of Value Drugs.

Consolidation decisions should be made on factors unrelated to the vicissitudes of the current Albany agenda, rather on the benefits to the most important special interest group, the New York state taxpayers.

Letter: Rosenblum is the arrogant one

 

 

To the Editor,

Mayor Norman Rosenblum’s letter to the editor on Jan. 1, “Political arrogance in the ‘friendly village,”’  disturbed me.

As a resident, I have attended numerous village of Mamaroneck meetings where the mayor is arrogant, completely controls the agenda, limits the ability for attendees to speak, and is rude to the public. This is disrespectful and not particularly friendly nor accommodating behavior from an elected official.

Rosenblum is disturbed that he cannot manipulate the three intelligent trustees who will certainly come up with a reasonable solution to the parking meter dilemma if trusted to do so. The democratic process is working in the “friendly village.” I suggest we support the three competent trustees, Leon Potok, Illissa Miller and David Finch, to make an educated decision that will be economically feasible and acceptable to the public.

 

Gloria Goldstein,

Mamaroneck 

 

Letter: Give PE in our schools a chance

To the Editor,

It’s a new year, and with it often comes New Year’s resolutions. Many adults resolve to exercise more, be healthier, and really commit to it this time!

What about our kids? I hope they also want to exercise more, focus on healthier habits, and be motivated to continue it into adulthood. PE in school and youth athletics are critical, and we have some phenomenal PE teachers in our school district with an engaging curriculum. However, the PE instructional spaces at Mamaroneck High School are nowhere near on par and haven’t been updated as far as anyone can remember.

Locker rooms go unused because the lockers are rusted and won’t secure belongings. Plumbing and electrical installations are antiquated and ventilation is poor. Not where I imagine my kids getting hooked on lifelong fitness. And not particularly safe, either.

Our town prioritizes youth sports, which I think is a positive thing. We have improved fields, worked to expand field space, and schedule teams so as to maximize the number of kids who can play. However, when those young athletes grow up and want to compete at the high school level, we offer them a weight room with exposed pipes that leak. We have them leave their sports bags and equipment in the hallways, because nothing fits into the existing (broken, rusty) lockers. There are no showers available (or even running water) and no changing or meeting space for female athletic teams.

The plan that the district has proposed reconfigures unused space so that PE instruction can expand. Infrastructure is replaced so that our kids are safe and so is their gear. Health and wellness becomes the focus and the facilities will reflect how we feel about supporting our young athletes.

Please educate yourself on this issue, and then vote YES to the bond vote on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at your local elementary school. Your kids will thank you.

 

Lisa Sommer,

Larchmont