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Let's Continue Moving Croton Forward, Together

February 8, 2006

Crotonblog: Letters to the Editor, Croton-on-Hudson, New York 10520
Last night (Jan. 31) and the night before (Jan. 30), we received the nomination to run for Village Trustee from the Croton GOP and the Independence Party, respectively. It is almost one year since Greg Schmidt was elected Mayor, Tom Brennan was elected Trustee and Jim Steinberg was appointed by the Mayor to fill his unexpired term.

Since that time, the Schmidt-Brennan-Steinberg team has set high goals and they are very proud of their accomplishments. Together, Greg, Tom and Jim worked hard to reign in spending, “opened” village government, established a formal dialogue with the leadership of our youth sports programs and earmarked funds for consulting services to address the best way to enhance the village shopping experience. In addition, they continued to support the battle against the Millennium Pipeline, have worked diligently to protect the village’s interest relating to the former Metro Enviro site, and established a committee to move forward on the much needed community center.

To continue this important work, we are asking that you support and vote for the Steinberg-Gonzalez team on Election Day — March 21, 2006. Together, we will continue the successes of the past year, stay focused on the issues facing our village and set new goals towards improving the lives of our fellow Croton residents.

Together, the Steinberg-Gonzalez team stands for and supports:

  • Open government that practices fiscal responsibility.
  • Using Croton Landing for our youth sports programs.
  • Establishing a community center.
  • Enhancing the village shopping experience.
  • Addressing the flooding problem at the train station parking lot.
  • Establishing a program called “Office Hours” to further enhance communication between residents and the village board.
  • Expanded programming on the village cable channel.
  • Protecting Croton’s interest in connection with the Millennium Pipeline, Metro Enviro and its successor, NIR.

Over the next month and a half, we ask for your support and truly wish to hear from you. Information and updates about the campaign along with our full-length platform can be found by visiting, www.crotongop.com.

Let’s continue moving Croton forward, together.

— James M. Steinberg, 83 Morningside Drive, 827-3229

— Jose Gonzalez, 2 Stephanie Lane, 827-9408

This letter was sent to Crotonblog via the United States Postal Service as bulk-rate mail.

On February 28, 2006 3:25 PM, Mrs. Smith said:

What I find most disturbing about Mr. Steinberg is that he is a lawyer, yet he is willing to be involved in what may be legal, but what are certainly unethical and shady tactics employed in obtaining a second line on the local election ballot (see: “The Independence Party Caucus that Never Was…”). I would have hoped for much higher standards than those displayed by him in this particular situation.

On February 28, 2006 10:36 AM, Devil's Advocate said:

For what it is worth, here is my take on the Republican ticket (I am a Republican by the way):

Mr. Steinberg is probably the best of the Republican lot (including the Mayor and Trustee Brennan). He is clearly intelligent, however is just too green to understand that his position on issues needs to look beyond his 37 years of life experience and encompass the interests of all Crotonites, not just newbie young parents (this is coming from someone who is Mr. Steinberg’s age). With that said he has some potential, unfortunatly he will not be elected because the Republican majority must be broken NOW!

Regarding Mr Gonzalez’s candidacy, for myself and many others, it only took 5 minutes of exposure to Mr Gonzalez’s treatment of his girl soccer players and their parents to know he will never get our vote.

On February 27, 2006 2:14 PM, Reality Check said:

Time for another Reality Check.

It is hard not to laugh at the notion, promoted by Mr. Steinberg and Mr. Gonzalez, that the Schmidt/Cudequest/Steinberg administration has advanced the cause of ‘open government’ here in Croton.

What does open government mean anyway? To me it means a government which is transparent in its dealings with the public. It means a government which has important discussions in public, in the light of day, and observeable by all of us. It means a government which includes the public in its decision making process, giving more than just lip service to public input. It means a government which seeks out opportunities for public participation, rather than going out of its way to avoid them.

And what exactly have we had in Croton since the ascendency of the current administration? More secret meetings than ever before; the stiffling of debate by minority board members; the concentration of power in a putative mayor (Mr. Schmidt), a shadow mayor (Ms. Cudequest), and a majority on the Village Board (Mr. Steinberg & Mr. Brennan) sitting there with a big rubber stamp.

To me this is not open government. How many executive sessions have been called since Mr. Schmidt became our figurehead mayor? How many secret meetings of which we are never told? If the record is examined carefully I am sure the answer will be “more than ever before”.

How many decisions are made by Mr. Schmidt, Mr. Steinberg and Mr. Brennan alone, on the telephone or in a back room somewhere, and then effectively announced in public while pretending to ‘debate’ the issue’? The sewer ‘rent’ comes to mind, the attack on the sailing school, the hush hush dealings about the old Metro Enviro site come to mind, to name but a few.

The “Independence Party” convention, which I have discussed at length elsewhere, is a stark reminder of what constitutes business as usual for the Schmidt/Cudequest/Steinberg administration.

That is why we desparately need a new majority on the Village Board. We need checks and balances put in place to control the power of a secretive group, bent on working their own private will - whatever that may be.

Do we have open government? Not by a long shot.

And that, my friends, is a Reality Check.

On February 27, 2006 9:38 AM, TeaDrinker said:

Croton-Harmon Board of Education President Marshall Goldberg has notified Crotonblog that tenative schedule for the “Black Cow table”, an informal opportunity for residents to meet with board members, is as follows;

Wednesday, March 1, 2006 from 9-11:00 AM Saturday, March 18, 2006 from 9-11:00 AM Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006 from 9-11:00 AM

The Black Cow is located at 51 Maple Street, Croton-on-Hudson and can be reached at 914-271-7544.

On February 26, 2006 7:19 PM, Just The Facts said:

SilverOne, don’t you get the point? No one knows when a table will be set up. Perhaps you should ask Steinberg and Schmidt who ran on an open and accessible governmnent. But, since you are asking on this forum, it appears that you agree with the point of many of us on this blog — the current controlling board members Schmidt, Steinberg and Brennan do not really believe in open and accessible government. If they did, they would have set up a table or had some initiative by now. Setting up a table is not rocket science — the truth is that these three say one thing and do quite another. Remember this when you go to the polls in March.

On February 24, 2006 7:19 PM, SSmith said:

silverone, here’s the answer to the second part of your question: don’t hold your breath waiting for the mayor and his yesmen to set up “office hours” as they romantically call it. they’ve been talking about it for so long it’s become like a surreal dream, like all the other platform planks they haven’t delivered on from march 2005,…..the more you talk about it, the more romantic it sounds. it’s all campaign fluff designed to make these guys look like they are on top of things and out there duking it out for us. yeah, right.

i mean come on, how tough is it set up something like that? the girl scouts organize their cookie sale quicker, for pete’s sake.

On February 24, 2006 6:13 PM, SilverOne1997 said:

i still haven’t received an answer to my questions, just some off topic rants and political rhetoric which is kind of annoying.

does anyone know when the school board has their table at the black cow and if questions have to be submitted in advance?

also, if they ever decide to do this, when will the trustees and mayor be starting their program?

thank you.

On February 18, 2006 4:35 PM, weewill said:

Let me start with where I am coming from:

1) I am NOT running for office again, now or in the future. 2) Ann Gallelli IS a very good and long-time personal friend of mine. 3) I AM a strong supporter of her candidacy for trustee. 4) I have been involved for close to 50 years in Croton’s government. 5) I served PROUDLY as a village trustee for 14 years.

I am supporting Ann Gallelli and Charlie Kane—not because we are friends—but because of their immense qualifications. Lots of other residents recognize that too. Between the Democratic caucus and the “Croton Taxpayer” petitions for a second ballot line, almost 200 Croton friends and neighbors helped to place Ann and Charlie on the village ballot for March 21.

Ann Gallelli is smart, caring, knowledgeable, informed and energetic. Ann’s long history of volunteer work in this village reflects her commitment and dedication. Ann is not afraid to make difficult decisions and does so only after gathering as many facts and as much information as possible. Then Ann weighs the immediate affect along with attention to long-range and far reaching effects as well. We need Ann’s thoughtful approach and extensive knowledge of municipal law and zoning on the board.

Charlie Kane has proven thoughtful in his approach to village issues. A lifelong resident, Charlie recognizes and appreciates the awesome responsibility of developing policy to protect the character of this village for years to come. Charlie is studious about facts, does his research, and is a valued resource to the whole board. Charlie knows more about the Hudson River than anyone I know.

On the other ticket, Jim Steinberg’s close association with Maria Cudequest is enough to make me question his judgment. Everything having to do with the recent Independence Party endorsement of the Republican candidates is suspect. The Independence caucus filings contained a number of irregularities—apparently common errors for this fringe party.

Technicalities aside, only 2 Croton residents attended this furtive “caucus,” Maria Cudequest and her significant other, Bill Rooney. So a sum total 2 votes were cast to give the entire GOP ticket the Independence Party line as well. Cudequest and Rooney operated with Steinberg’s knowledge and assistance. Jim Steinberg assisted Cudequest in the caucus filings and now owes his second ballot line entirely to Cudequest and Rooney.

— Georgianna Grant, Ex-Trustee

On February 16, 2006 9:32 PM, Concerned said:

SilverOne, while I don’t have an answer to your question, don’t you find it interesting that despite running precisely a year ago in the village elections under a platform that stressed open and accessible local government that nothing along these lines has come to fruition?

How hard is it to set up a table at Black Cow or elsewhere? Apparently not very difficult as the school board has already found a way to do this. One is only led to believe that Mayor Schmidt and Trustee Steinberg failed in their campaign pledges to bring open government to Croton. Yes, we know the democratic predecessors never (at least to my knowledge) had such table hours either – but I don’t believe the democrats ever made such a campaign pledge.

The recent metro north commuter lot fiasco is endemic of the secretive nature of this current board controlled by a block consisting of Schmidt, Brennan and Steinberg. This issue has clearly hit a chord (and the pocketbooks) of a large number of Croton residents, yet the only board discussion on this matter occurred behind semi-closed doors at a sparsely attended and untelevised work session. Open government? Hardly.

I urge my fellow Crotonites as the election approaches to look at the vast disparity between what Mr. Steinberg and his GOP cohorts promised to do and what actually occurred. I personally have faith that the voters of Croton will see through these empty promises.

On February 16, 2006 7:23 PM, SilverOne1997 said:

to anyone who has answers to my questions:

the schools have a table at the black cow? do questions have to be submitted in advance and when do they have these meetings?

also, when will the trustees and mayor be starting this? and will they also be meeting at the black cow?

thank you

On February 8, 2006 5:55 PM, Just The Facts said:

I have to agree with weewill and against Silverone. I just don’t see any action from Mayor Schmidt or Trustees Steinberg and Brennan.

In fact, to me, the three of them seem to be content doing absolutely nothing and appear to be “nice”, while they send an 18 year old kid (e.g. the Croton GOP Chairman) to do a second rate hatchet job on the democrats.

One should note that each of Mayor Scmidt and Trustees Steinberg and Brennan were given an opportunity to distance themselves and repudiate the partisan crap spouted by their Croton GOP Chairperson last week and each has apparently failed to do so.

As the owner of a flooded car (January 3rd, before the big incident of the 17th), I emailed EACH AND EVERY trustee and asked them to look into the situation. I didn’t get a response from Mayor, and Trustees Steinberg and Brennan . I did receive a quick response from Trustee Weigman.

What exactly have Mayor or Trustees Steinberg and Brennan done in regard for the parking lot situation?

Devote a small portion of an untelevised “work session” to the matter? Have they communicated their position on this via this blog? Have they set a time table for taking action? NO, NO and NO. At least Trustees Kane & Weigman as well as candidate Gallelli have voiced their thoughts. One only needs to scroll down and see at least two postings from each of Mr. Kane & Weigman and Ms. Gallelli on the subject over the past couple of weeks.

The facts are clear, the only question is will the citizens of Croton look to actions or empty words.

On February 8, 2006 4:31 PM, weewill said:

I’m sorry you’re in the dog house for voting for Schmidt, Brennan or Steinberg in the last election. You liked what you heard from them and thought they were the best candidates.

So be it; that’s what elections are all about and in this small village we should not stand for partisan politics. Having said that, I hope you will take a good hard look at the record since the last election and not take at face value what a “nice guy” running for election has to say.

May I suggest you compare the actual record with the campaign platform outlined for you. It’s pretty much the same as last year and there have been no results from those promises. They remain campaign promises with no forward movement. This present administration has brought the village to its knees and to a complete standstill.

The truth of the matter is they’ve only continued what the previous administration planned and readied for implementation.

1) They did initiate a new sewer tax to be added equal to 10 or 20 % of your next water bill.

2) They collectively deleted about $850,000 from the budget scheduled for parking lot repairs.

3) They are meeting to discuss a community center but as far as we know have no clue how it’s going to be paid for.

4) Village shopping, if anything, is much diminished since this board took office. There are more vacant stores throughout the village than there have been for many years.

5) The Millennium pipeline fight has not even come before the board since they’ve been in office yet they claim to “continue the fight.”

6) I do like and give them credit for “expanding cable programming” and for the suggestion of “Open Office Hours” – but I won’t hold my breath waiting to see it happen. (I thought they were already taking credit for open government.)

To my knowledge, this is the very first letter sent to residents from Steinberg, none from the Mayor, and none from Brennan. Look at the record and you’ll see at least 6 letters from Ann Gallelli over this past 6 months and 3 from Charley Kane and Leo have been posted on crotonblog and in the Gazette with detailed, in-depth facts to keep the public well informed. Zero from the other side of the aisle.

The Mayor, and Trustees Steinberg and Brennan are “nice guys” but nice guys don’t necessarily make good elected officials. They mean well and I’m sure they have good intentions. However, they appear not to have the skills or experience to analyze and make the right choices. Village government becomes more and more complex, funds are less and less available, taxes go higher and higher, and needs become more critical.

We need experience and good solid planning for the future to meet and solve those needs.

On February 8, 2006 9:43 AM, SilverOne1997 said:

hello. long time viewer, first time commenter.

i would simply like to share a few points. i’m a registered non, meaning that i, for better or worse, do not have any political affiliation. i do tend to lean to the left and for the most part support democrats for elected positions especially the federal level. the first time i voted for a republican (s) was in the village election last march. my vote for greg schmidt was negotiable with my husband, who is a staunch democrat, because schmidt was also a registered democrat however when i pulled the lever for steinberg and brennan as well i was in the dog house.

it wasn’t long before the new troop took office and started doing what politicians do in this small town system, get to work for people like you an me, that i realized this isn’t about republican/ democrat, liberal/ conservative, this is about croton and doing what is right for this village.

i think greg schmidt has a vision for croton that in full bloom will produce a sweet result for all to see. keeping the environment as a priority has won him and the other 4 members my respect and admiration, for whatever its worth. i also like how, in contrast to some other opinions on this site, the mayor listens to residents and allows for open dialogue. this was something that i did see in the previous administration, but not to this extent.

reading this letter that was sent to my home the other day, i was actually pleasantly surprised that a candidate was taking the time to write a letter that was not expressing radical viewpoints or attacking another candidate or that was blabbing on about meaningless issues. this letter, instead, laid out a platform on where the candidate stands on the issues and also pointed me in direction of the online platform which all should take a look at. i don’t agree with everything in the platform or everything in the letter, but i do agree with our elected members taking the time to articulate their beliefs.

over the summer jim steinberg was with a handing out brochures for a local race, i don;t remember who the man with him was, but my husband and i met jim at the train station on our way to the city. steinberg was extremely nice and compassionate and he actually took the time to answer some of my questions with real, honest answers. he had a passion about what he was doing and it was easy to tell that by speaking with him for just that short period of time.

i look forward to hearing from all the candidates in this race and hope that they all are as open and honest as steinberg. needless to say, my husband was equally impressed and so i now am finally out of the “political” dog house, i thank jim steinberg for that as well.

On February 8, 2006 8:21 AM, Mrs. Smith said:

I too received this letter and was interested in the “progress” touted over the almost one year in office.

established a committee to move forward on the much needed community center”. What progress has there been on this project? - none that I have heard in the past 9 months, and this was one of the prime issues in last years campaign.

Earmarked funds for consulting services to address the best way to enhance the village shopping experience”. Interesting as Mayor Schmidt has been head of the chamber of commerce in Croton for well over ten years and has made NO progress whatsoever in “enhancing” the shopping experience in Croton - surely that is the number one charge of any chamber of commerce.

Addressing the flooding problem at the train station parking lot”. Only since it became a political issue because so many cars were totalled in January - before that, the Schmidt/Brennan/Steinberg team were only responsible for removing funding which would have carried forward continuing improvements on a long term plan.

“Using Croton Landing for our youth sports programs”. This is the most ludicrous idea of all. Do they look at what happens when the tides are high? It is under water almost and besides, that is a wonderful passive park where many people go to relax and walk - it is not suitable for a sports field.



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