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Letter to Editor: The Charade

Resident John Ertle submitted the following letter to the editor.

On Jan. 29, Garden City will once again hold trustee primary elections, with two challenges, in the East and the Estates, to the candidates nominated by the POAs’ respective nominating committees.

Neither challenger is worthy of your vote because these candidate are not being candid with the residents whose votes they are seeking. John DeMaro and Dennis Donnelly, each nominated by his respective POA, are outstanding trustees who deserve to be re-elected.

There is ample evidence that these challengers actually represent yet another coordinated effort by the Committee to Save St. Paul’s to remove barriers on the board of trustees to their agenda, which will mean only one thing: the restoration of the St. Paul’s building at public expense.

The CSSP has continued to support a plan that has once again been rejected by independent experts and the village building department as seriously flawed, not meeting minimum safety and building code requirements and as containing unrealistic cost estimates. In any case, the CSSP’s stated goal remains the full restoration of the building, a project that has been estimated to cost $40-50 million.

Each challenger should be asked whether or not he or she met with the Committee to Save St Paul’s, or its supporters, and whether their financial supporters are also primarily (or entirely) allied with the CSSP.

Regarding Ms. Ryan: Ms. Ryan is the founder of the “Eastern Property Owners Association to Save St. Paul’s,” although she now seems to be distancing herself from that fact, making no mention of it on her Facebook page. When asked repeatedly at last week’s Eastern POA meeting whether or not she still supported the CSSP plan, she refused to answer.

Regarding Mr. Blair: Mr. Blair has never, in his 15 years of living here, participated in any village or POA board or commission. Before last week, Mr. Blair had never been to an Estates POA meeting. When he came last week, he was supported by Ms. Ryan’s campaign treasurer, who is broadly known as an ardent advocate for the CSSP. Mr. Blair has apparently attended only one village trustee meeting in his 15 years (last month). Yet when he approached the podium at that meeting, he was warmly greeted by first name by Mayor Brudie – the ultimate Save St. Paul’s advocate.

Why are these two candidates’ campaign literature almost exactly the same? Have these campaigns been coordinated? Considering Ms. Ryan’s prior outspoken advocacy for restoring St. Paul’s at public expense, and this seeming coordination, this question bears on both candidates’ true motives.

Their campaign literature offers no new ideas, just empty platitudes about lower taxes and better communication, but no specifics. Who could be against low taxes and better communication?

Well, the current board of trustees (including Mr. Donnelly and Mr. DeMaro) have worked tirelessly on the budget process to manage costs while delivering consistent village services, all while the cost environment, especially pension and benefit costs, have skyrocketed. Ms. Ryan and Mr. Blair would know this if either of them ever attended a budget meeting, which are open to the public. Their criticisms just show a lack of understanding of the process—no surprise since they have never been involved in the process.

And what about “the village needs to communicate more?” These candidates never attend village, POA or library meetings, have never volunteered to join any POA or any POA-sponsored group such as the Citizen Budget Review Committee, and don’t attend Zoning Board or Planning Commission meetings. No wonder they feel in the dark! If either of them had ever attended these village-wide meetings held every week where the trustees and village staff talk with residents, listen to their concerns and discuss important issues that affect all of us – they might re-consider their criticisms and have a better idea of the complexities of running our treasured village.

Finally, what do we know about the nominee for trustee from the Central Property Owners; Association, Mr. Richard Silver? He is not being challenged so he is under the radar at this point. Here we have another resident with ties to the CSSP who apparently was handpicked at the eleventh hour to meet with the Central nominating committee, who already had a well qualified CPOA officer who was interested in the position. What are his goals as a trustee and why did he decide to become involved?

Mr. Silver was also introduced by Mayor Brudie at the same board of trustees meeting that Greg Blair and Francine Ryan attended. Mr. Silver was asked to lead those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance, which is quite Ironic. He is another newcomer who for at least the past decade has never attended village board meetings, unless of course the CSSP proposal was on the agenda, has never participated in the budget process and has never volunteered for his POA or village-sponsored committee.

Vote for John DeMaro and Dennis Donnelly – they have dedicated their time, they have valuable experience, their record over the last few years reflects actual and concrete results in limiting our tax burden and improving village operations.
John1 January 28, 2013 at 03:58 PM
knock it down

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