Letter to the Editor from Trustee Candidate Francine Ryan

The Q&A between Mr. Donnelly and myself at Tuesday’s EPOA meeting gave each of us a chance to talk about our ideas and differentiate ourselves for the voters of the East. I’d like to reiterate the essence of my platform for residents who weren’t able to attend. 
  1. Clinton Road Firehouse unmanned/closing at night.  Approved at the 7.30.12 and 12.20.12 BOT meetings by Mr. Donnelly. Importantly, the “Fire Operations and Data Analysis” commissioned by the village that contained the recommendation specifically states a Community Risk Analysis (pg. 15) should be done before any recommendations are implemented, since “the risk contained within the community today, and tomorrow, is the primary driver.”  No Risk Analysis was done before the Trustees voted. I’m against this action, since more than half of fires happen at night and a fire doubles in size for every extra minute it takes to respond.
  2. Taxes. Up nearly 30% in the past 10 years - - including 5.91% in 2009, during Mr. Donnelly’s first term. I have suggested ways to reduce expenses utilizing the excellent recommendations of the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee (ink available @ Estates POA website), as well as the kind of Green Initiatives (solar, wind, etc.) Kate Murray implemented in the Town of Hempstead. Metered parking in some areas of the village, as with every idea, is an open to resident feedback.
  3. No Communication from Village during Superstorm Sandy or the Noreaster.  Village residents were in the dark and cold, and Mr. Donnelly is on the Public Information Committee!  We need to be utilizing 21st century means of effective communications that are available and people are already plugged into.  
  4. Budget: No one would disagree that allocating $22.5 million on police and $9 million on Recreation (the Garden City Submitted 2013 Budget) is smart. Isn’t allocating $6.9 million to the Fire Department as important?
In conclusion, I’m concerned with the way the board is handling our business, the failure to set deadlines and execute against them and the consistent lack of communication with village residents.  My personal and professional qualifications and experience have prepared me to bring a diverse, optimistic perspective to finding new and successful solutions to solving our problems and moving the village forward.  Please go to www.ryanfortrustee.com <http://www.ryanfortrustee.com>  to learn more.  

GCBob January 18, 2013 at 10:45 PM
I would like to take some time to answer Mrs. Ryan's comments as I was in attendance at the Tuesday evening EPOA meeting. Her first concern seems to be the unmanned fire stations during evening hours. She states that she's against his action and claims that more than half of the fires happen at night and fire doubles in size every extra minute it takes to respond. If however Mrs. Ryan would have listened to Trustee Donnelly's response she would have heard him say that statistics show," If 420 alarms coming at night, that's 1.1 per night with three firehouses, of all those alarms there were five working fires in 2012, four of which occurred during the day." That translates to only one working fire during the evening in 2012 while response time has greatly increased using the new Firecom system which has resulted in a three to 3 1/2 min. reduction per dispatch time. The second concern seems to be village taxes which she claims have gone up nearly 30% in the past 10 years. Now just going by tax rates alone the rate per hundred of the assessed value in 2003-04 it was $30.44 while in the current year of 2012-13 village tax rate is $42.84 an increase of $12.40 in 10 years. I don't know what Mrs. Ryan assessed value is on her property which could obviously influence the amount of taxes she pays but these are the base amounts. If she really wanted to influence a change in taxes she should lend her expertise to our school district whose tax rates back in 2008-09 was $371.85 per hundred of assessed value while in 2012-13 the tax rate is $556.353 and increase of $185.168 in just five years or approximately 10% per year. As far as no communications during super storm Sandy it was stated that our village clerk, Mr. Ridgway, is revamping our emergency procedures and providing for better communications between the village and its residents. Lastly, Mrs. Ryan states that no one would disagree with allocating $22.5 million on police but she states in the Garden City paper that a possible way to save money is to utilize the Nassau County Police Department instead of a private police force. I don't think any resident in this village would like to rely on the Nassau County police rather than on our own private police force. All that being said I fear that Mrs. Ryan just hasn't convinced me that she has the working knowledge and experience to be a village trustee but maybe she should volunteer her expertise to the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee and or our school district.
John Davis January 19, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Thanks for clearing a lot of that up Mr. Orosz, a lot of that tax material is really confusing. What I found very interesting was that Mrs. Ryan was suggesting that taxes have been too high and she is looking to cut taxes and raise revenue. At the meeting she talked about renting St Paul's to generate revenue to offset taxes. However, St. Paul's would need a multimillion dollar renovation to rent it out. That renovation would raise our taxes significantly. When she was pressed with the question of how we would raise revenue she originally seemed to evade the question. When pressed several times for an answer about how she could do this she talked about parking meters. When the audience showed they did not want parking meters she started stating that the Citizen’s Review Budget Committee (CRBC) would come up with the ideas to generate revenue. Here is someone who has had many months to plan a campaign and come up with ideas of what she would do if she were to become a Trustee. She does not seem very creative, nor does she seem to be the problem solver she claims to be if all she can come up with is Parking Meters and if that does not work let the CRBC figure it out. It sounds like her idea of “finding solutions and solving problems” is to “pass the buck” to the CRBC.
john ertle January 20, 2013 at 12:44 AM
John Do not be fooled, Ms Ryan and her running mate Greg Blair from the estates, who share the same campaign treasurer are in this election, along with the CPOA nominee Mr Silver to secure votes on the BOT so they can secure the abilty to vote in favor of rehabilitation of St. Pauls. They are running on a platform to improve communication, reduce expenses and increase revenue but have yet to put forth any solid plan to achieve these ideas. Ms Ryan , when asked at the town hall meeting why she does not disclose that she is the founding member of the eastern property owners for saving St Paul's on her facebook page or her website, gave the excuse that she thought it was on them but if not it is because the space was limited. Does she really think residents take that as honest? i wonder if she is leaving this fact out of her introduction when she is knocking on doors and speaking to all the residents she claims agree with her reasons for running. She has yet to put forth any idea that makes me feel that any part of her campaign is legitimate. And why is it that her campaign treasurer, Karl Schmitt , is doing double time as treasurer for Craig Blair who is running on the same ideas in the Estates? Karl, a resident of the East was one of the few supporters present with Mr Blair at the Estates POA meeting last Tuesday? it is also very important to note that Mrs Schmitt is a strong supporter and member of the CSSP. I think that these two challengers need to come clean on these coincidences and stop trying to decieve residents.
Greg Blair January 21, 2013 at 09:06 AM
I enjoy support among residents who would like to see progress on restoration as well as residents who don't want to see increases in taxes or the use of village funds to restore the building. 98% of those I speak with think the current board is not capable of identifying solutions and carry on the legacy of process that left us with the hotel hole for so many years.
GCBob January 21, 2013 at 11:03 AM
Mr. Blair, I along with many other residents are waiting and wanting to hear your new ideas on St. Paul's restoration without raising taxes that have not been examined in the past. Might I add that every past study that was conducted was done at great expense and the bill going to the taxpayers. What would you do different if elected that has not already been done?
Greg Blair January 21, 2013 at 11:45 AM
We should stop using consultants and start talking to the folks who share an interest in moving this forward. Let them foot the bill and take the risk. The BOT should set the parameters on what the village will accept and what it will not. I've never met a consultant who got a deal done. Consultants answer the questions that get asked. Garbage in, garbage out. For more infomation, please visit gregforgc.com/issues
GCBob January 21, 2013 at 01:04 PM
Mr. Blair, over all the years living in GC, what public office, group, or public association have you volunteered your services too and what makes you feel that you are qualified for public office at this time? It seems to alot of us that you appear as opportunist to claim the position of trustee for the sole purpose of tilting the BOT vote in favor of the CSSP positions, the same group who is guiding and providing your support, am I right or wrong?
Greg Blair January 21, 2013 at 02:34 PM
I am a 55-year old CEO responsible for the turnaround and subsequent profitability of an industrial enterprise over a twenty two year tenure. I have volunteered my time to advise members of the Nassau Legislature against the ill-advised attempt to privatize the Nassau Sewer System because of tax inefficiencies and the de facto long term capitalization of near term budgetary shortfalls represented by that transaction. I have volunteered my time to assist in campaigns for elected office to support candidates who support the things I hold dear. I have met and discussed village budgetary matters with members of the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee, some of whom have advised me that serving in such a lower level volunteer capacity in the village can oftern be a frustrating waste of time, energy and talent because certain members of the Board of Trustees refuse to accept advice and counsel that is not bound in a report from a consultancy firm. I have volunteered to serve for eight years on a private school board at the request of others to contribute my skills and experience to a team effort to save a sinking ship. POA members are extremely dedicated, well-meaning folks, some of whom I fear accidentally fall prey to the belief that anyone from outside that process is ill-intentioned and the puppet of higher beings who have only self-interests and the destruction of our way of life in mind. The POAs have given us the Trustees who bait one another and rely on personal attacks to advance quantitative and qualitative issues of import to all residents - this is where the process fails and what I seek to change by example. I pay over $30,000 per year in property taxes. That level of taxation and the growth rate that brought it to that level troubles me greatly. This financial stake, the investment in my home, the five children I've raised here, and the fifteen years spent as a homeowner all give me eligibility to serve. My professional experience in industrial management and problem solving and the fact that this dialogue is occuring in this publication with me and not my opponent are just a couple of things that qualify me for this office.
GCBob January 21, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Mr. Blair, I am not doubting your professional credentials but your timing and motive. What I am asking is that if you are elected trustee of whether you support the CSSP proposal for St. Paul's, yes or no? This is a question that remained unanswered at the EPOA meeting with Mrs. Ryan. You also state that you were advised that joining the Civilian Budget Review Committee was a frustrating waste of time. Every committee for the most part is frustrating but not to participate and commit oneself to helping others, regardless of the outcome, tells a lot about a person.
john ertle January 21, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Bob You will never get a direct answer to your question as to who is providing support. And as I read his responses they say to me that he feels the only way to enact chnages is to be the person voting. Sounds like a similar theme as three residents that challenged and lost a few years ago also wanted to start at the top fornthe same reaseons. Also Mr. Blair mentioned his serious concerns about his 30k tak bill. Dont you think he should be running for school board trustee as clearly that is the portion of his tax bil that has increased in the past 10 years. Why not expend the energy on that positon since it would yield the largest savings? I think we all know why. in addition, I read some of Mr. Blairs earlier posts where he mentioned that residents should find a solution to the St Pauls issue and offer a 99 year lease in return for someone to use their own funds to rehab this gem because the BOT is not capable of coming up with a solution. Perhaps he forgot about the solution from Avalon Bay that was negotiated with the BOT? If that solution was approved the Village would be getting approx 500 k a year in tax revenue at this point and we would be looking at a rehabilitated structure and not debating this issue anymore. But we are not because the CSSP did not approve of it and spun it so residents would vote against it which they did. Im afraid that that was the only whight knight willing to do this.