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Outdoor Farmer's Market Proposed for Croton

March 8, 2006

croton_republican_trustee_candidate_james_m_steinberg.jpgConsiderate of Croton’s quality of life, two candidates for local office are taking the initiative to propose bringing an outdoor farmer’s market to the village on a seasonal basis.

Trustee Jim Steinberg and trustee candidate Jose “Joe” Gonzalez introduced the idea of a mobile produce market which would establish a venue for local farmers to sell fresh produce and other seasonal goods to commuters.

During the investigation into the viability of coordinating such a project, Trustee Steinberg learned that the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is interested in establishing a mobile market program similar to that which is successful on the Long Island Railroad.

Steinberg explained, “The mobile market would sell fresh, New York grown fruits and vegetables, out of a mobile unit at the train station. This program would be run at no cost to the village and would be established in an area of the station that would be both convenient and unobtrusive to homebound commuters.” Additionally, Steinberg added, “In the tradition of the farmer’s markets that are held in Ossining and Peekskill throughout the summer and early fall, I am happy to spearhead the effort to bring a similar program to our village.”

On March 18, 2006 1:06 PM, dors said:

While the current administration ‘contemplates’ the ramifications of eminent domain they seem willing to spend $10,000 on a study of our shopping habits. Hmm, 10K for a consultant to look at closed stores or 10K to consult with an eminent domain expert. Politics as usual?! Election day is coming none too soon.

On March 18, 2006 11:55 AM, weewill said:

Since I was the target of Jim Steinberg’s misguided attack at the last Village Board meeting, it seems appropriate for me to respond to his late “quality of life issues”.

The “farmers market” at the commuter parking lot would negatively impact the awful congestion and poor traffic flow already in play there. The idea itself isn’t bad but it’s obvious that all the implications and consequences of such an activity have not been throughly thought out.

A walking tour of Croton’s history is also a nice idea but it seems that little thought has been given to the mechanics of such a tour; how it would be organized, advertised and executed. Who might be available to conduct the “guided tours?” Would this be a one-shot deal; a once a year event; poossibly a part of our annual summerfest?

Please note, I’m not opposed to the ideas. I just think that as presented, just a few days short of election day, the incumbent candidate is somewhat self-serving.

The very best I can say is that the lack of preparation is due only to Mr. Steinberg’s inexperience in village matters and not an attempt to garner votes. He shoots from the hip without considering the consequnces.

That’s a dangerous approach when one is responsbile to the taxpayers.

Georgianna Grant X Trustee

On March 18, 2006 11:05 AM, Just The Facts said:

Personally, I am still awaiting the answers to these questions raised by Reality Check as well as by me above. After the Croton GOP chairman volunteered to answer any and all questions on March 9th (see above), I asked him some questions, over a week later there is still no response.

If this doesn’t prove the fact that Schmidt, Steinberg and Brennan administration rushes to action with out doing their dilligence first, I don’t know what does. This fact should scare each and everyone of us taxpayers as the current administration “contemplates” an emminent domain that could cost this village FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS or more. Ask yourself, do you really want an administration that takes action first and asks questions later? Can we afford this at this pivotal time?

On March 18, 2006 10:55 AM, Reality Check said:

Time for another Reality Check.

I previously commented on this transparent attempt to create a feel good issue to run on and divert people’s attention from very real problems which the Cudequest/Schmidt/Steinberg administration is ignoring. Now we have another 11th hour attempt at the same goal with the newly announced “Museum in the Streets” initiative. After a year of inaction Mr. Steinberg is just bursting with ideas!!

But I digress. After posting my original comment, I decided to take another look at what candidate Steinberg had to say. Perhaps I had been unfair, and in his remarks I might find reason to support Mr. Steinberg and this idea.

Well I was not unfair at all and there is surely no reason to support the Steinberg/Gonzalez/Cudequest candidacy.

Lets look at candidate Steinberg’s own words. He states: “This program would be run at no cost to the village and would be established in an area of the station that would be both convenient and unobtrusive to homebound commuters”. Putting aside that there is never “no cost” to the Village in running a program [think skate park], I went down to the parking lot and spent some time trying to find an area which was both convenient and unobtrusive to commuters. The cab stands fit that description. So do the legally required and well used handicapped parking spaces. One could probably make a case that the money making reserved parking spots would also fill the bill, albeit not quite so conveniently. Then again, if we spend untold millions condemning the old Metro Enviro property, and moving the Municipal Garage down there, we can create just the right place for the tomato stand! So once again candidate Steinberg has presented a half baked and poorly conceived notion in an attempt to create a false image of himself and curry favor with the voters.

It is also emblematic of his style of governance that, on his own, with no public discussion or input, candidate Steinberg has decided “to spearhead the effort to bring [this market at the station] to our village.” Even the fervently supportive Ms. Barua makes the point that the idea should be pursued if supported by a majority of residents. But, in this as in all things, candidate Steinberg sees no need to be inconvenienced by finding out what the people of Croton think or want. Indeed, the chilling effect of the conduct of Mr. Steinberg, Mr. Schmidt and attorney Stecich at the last Village Board meeting insures that he will likely never find out. I guess its a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell”. Mr. Steinberg won’t ask — and we won’t be allowed to tell. But no matter, candidate Steinberg knows what is best for all of us.

It is time to get this guy off the Board. Plain and simple.

And that, my friends, is a Reality Check.

On March 12, 2006 11:28 AM, Just The Facts said:

Where is Mr. DiFrancesco???????

Last thursday, young Rob in a failed attempt to defend this ill conceived campaign stunt, made a post (see above) where he attempted to “Answer om important questions” raised regarding mr. Steinberg’s campaign stunt of proposing a farmers market. In a failed attempt to sound knowlegeable and authoritative, Mr. DiFrancesco promised to “answer any other questions” people may have.

Well, I had a number of questions and asked them of Mr. DiFrancesco later that same Thursday by making a post (see above). After all, I figured if I had these questions, others must as well so why not ask these questions in PUBLIC to the chair of the party that supposedly believes in open government.

Well, I am STILL WAITING. Mr. DiFrancesco after three days apparently has no answers to these important questions. These questions include: (i) what will be the effect on local merchants like Zeytinia, (ii) where will this be put and how many parking spaces will be needed to be closed, and (iii) what will be the effect on an already crowded and traffic congeseted ares.

Since Mr. DiFrancesco has failed to respond, I must assume that Mr. DiFrancesco has no answers. The truth must be what we all suspected, that this proposal by the Steinberg and Gonzalez campaign were: (i) not well thought out, (ii) further indicated how out of touch Mr. Steinberg is with respect to the massive problems plaguing the commuter lot and (iii) a failed attempt to cover the current administration’s failed record of not following through on its past campaign pledges (e.g. open government).

On March 12, 2006 8:24 AM, dors said:

A Saturday open air market at Vassallo Park would be a wonderful addition to our village. Could you get on that, Rob? A vegetable stand on or near the commuter lot in Harmon is ill conceived, to say the least. Dropping off or picking up people is like a PacMan game with commuters scurrying all over the parking lot! Where will the veggies go?

There is a seasonal stand set up at the Dobbs Ferry station on the river side that seems to work well for them. That station has room to breath and sidewalk space to spare. We don’t. Vassallo Park is the most under-utilized space in Croton. Rob, could you look into that?

On March 11, 2006 5:21 PM, waffels said:

I have to think that as a business idea it will never fly. Watch on any given night how people coming off of the train knock each other over to get to their cars. I can’t imagine that they would stop to squeeze tomatoes. Zeytinia has great produce and Ossining’s farmers market is a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning and has tons of fresh items. Mr. Steinberg is reaching with this idea and his timing stinks. He’s been preaching about business developement and this idea would benefit none of the business areas of the village. He had the last year to come up with ideas and not one came forward. I think this is political pandering and too little too late.

On March 11, 2006 10:52 AM, Reality Check said:

Time for another Reality Check.

I must admit that, when I first read of Mr. Steinberg’s “Farmer’s Market” proposal, I had a cynical thought. It actually occurred to me to wonder why this brilliant idea surfaced in the midst of an election campaign and not during the course of the past year. Surely Mr. Steinberg would not play election year politics with the economic future of the Village? I hoped not, and chalked up my suspicions to an overly skeptical nature.

But what is one to make of the fact that Mr. DiFrancesco, that arrogant chair of the local Republicans, felt compelled to respond by stating “As a representative of the campaign, I’m more than happy to answer some important questions that residents have in regard to the proposed farmer’s market”.

So it seems my cynicism was well founded after all. If Mr. Steinberg made the proposal as a sitting trustee then Mr. DiFrancesco should stay out of it. But alas, it is obviously just another calculated attempt to bolster Mr. Steinberg’s waning image. Most of us who pay attention to these things recognize him for the opportunist he is. I previously commented on his shameless, political, exploitation of the Katrina relief effort.

Mr. Steinberg has again demonstrated his inclination to put personal political gain ahead of good government for the Village.

And that, my friends, is a Reality Check.

On March 9, 2006 11:05 PM, Binford said:

“Just the Facts” makes lots of good points. A Farmers Market is hardly a partisan idea, but he way it’s been proposed sure is. Businesses “most likely wouldn’t be hurt” according to the GOP Chair—sorry—“most likely” doesn’t cut it. Maybe we need a business consultant to make sure—OOPS—the Republican majority already shot that idea down.

On March 9, 2006 7:52 PM, Just The Facts said:

Yeah, here are some questions Rob:

Where are you going to put this stand in a lot that is at 96% capacity? How many more parking spaces will this take up?

Here is another question, what is the impact that this farmer’s market going to have on the horrendus traffic plan that at exists at the station? Remember, your party’s trustee and mayor voted against appropriating funds in order to make improvements to the parking flow of the pickup area in last years budget.

Here is another question, what is going to happen when the village closes 300 parking spaces when it forecasts a flood?

Here is another question, how many minutes of additional traffic time will this cause croton commuters who just want to get home after a hard day’s work.

I am willing to bet that you don’t have any answers to any of these questions Rob, and neither do the candidates. Which will once again demonstrate that the Steinberg et al. propose things first and ask questions later — hardly the best way to govern productively.

On March 9, 2006 7:27 PM, Rob DiFrancesco said:

As a representative of the campaign, I’m more than happy to answer some important questions that residents have in regard to the proposed farmer’s market.

To answer the first concern, businesses that currently sell fresh produce such as Zeytinia and Shop-Rite will most likely not be hurt by the seasonal market because these stores also sell a variety of other products that would not be available at the farmer’s market. Additionally, the market’s operating window would be limited to homebound commuters during rush-hour so the likelihood of business being “diverted” at any measurable level is slim. This is simply an attempt to offer some convenience to the many resident commuters of Croton.

With respect to the other questions raised, the organization that would sponsor this program, Community Markets, would take care of the all the labor involved in selling the fresh goods including clean-up. The organization would also take out an insurance policy for both the vendors and the village of Croton-on-Hudson as has been the practice at other markets in other communities.

I would also like to respond to another comment charging that Jim Steinberg and Joe Gonzalez are ‘out of touch’ with commuters. For the record, candidate Joe Gonzalez is a commuter who uses the station parking lot on a daily basis. In the original Press Release he provided his thoughts on this program first as a commuter and also as a prospective village trustee.

Again, it should be stressed that this program would cost the village nothing other than optional advertising that would be quite minimal in cost because of the utilization of both the village’s web site and close circuit cable channel to spread the word.

The market would be operated on weekdays during the summer months and into the early fall.

Hope this helps.

If you have any further questions feel free to e-mail me.

  • Rob

On March 9, 2006 4:14 PM, Binford said:

A Farmers’ Market a no brainer? Not so fast. I’m not against it, but I have some questions:

Exactly how will this help business in the Village—that was the context within which Mr. Steinberg presented the idea. It certainly won’t get more people to the Upper Village—or even Harmon—business districts.

Will it hurt existing businesses—specifically Zetinia—and draw people away from the Municpal Place business district? That’s the last thing we want to do.

Who’s responsible for cleanup and are there any insurance liabilities?

On March 9, 2006 2:49 PM, weewill said:

“Ad hominem blitzkrieg”? I have no idea what a “blitzkrieg” is but I sure know an ad hominem when I see one!

It’s an attack on someone’s motives and character rather than on the problem or issue itself.

It describes Steinberg’s attack and insults relative to my motives at last Monday’s VB meeting!

Not nice!

Georgianna Grant Very Happy X-Trustee

On March 9, 2006 2:32 PM, Just The Facts said:

Back in January many automobiles were ruined in the commuter lot. Since such time, what exactly has been done about it? One untelevised work session. It would be nice if Mr. Steinberg devoted his time and attention to this real issue rather than focusing on campaign fluff and diversions.

This recent proposal is just plain stupid and ill conceived and it just demonstrates how out of touch Mr. Steinberg is with the very serious issues plaguing the Croton-Harmon station lot. Based on this proposal I really question when, if ever, Mr. Steinberg or Gonzalez has last visted the lot.

If Mr. Steinberg or Gonzalez were in touch with the issues that plague the commuter lot, they would realize that this proposal is unworkable, because:

1) The parking lot, even on its best day and even without the periodic flooding, is an absolute nightmare of congestion. It is quite apparent that not a single dime has been put into the maintenance or operation of that lot and the hodge podge traffic patterns down there prove it. It often takes over ten minutes of gridlocked traffic to get out of there at night — the last thing we need is to increase this congestion with additonal traffic down there.

2) There is a serious space crunch at the parking lot, particularly when it floods. The village’s own study indicates that the lot is at an approximately 96% utilization rate. Where exactly will this stand, the vendors and the patrons be placed? What will happen when the lot floods or is projected to flood? (note this can happen on a sunny warm day, just as much on a rainy one) Since the current administration’s “solution” to the flooding issue is to close down approximately a third of the monthly lot when flooding is projected, there is an acute shortage of parking and hundreds of commuters are left without a place to park.

3) The commuter lot is already a lawsuit waiting to happen, why subject the village taxpayers to yet another potential liability? I am not just talking from flooded car owners. It is only a matter of time before a pedestrian gets hit crossing over the main roadway through the lot (the signage and the pedestrian crossings are exceptionally poor). The intersection at the corner is another accident waiting to happen. As a taxpayer, ask yourselves in this day and age of litigation, how long will take a personal injury lawyer to file suit against the village for fostering an unsafe environment down there.

Based on Mr. Steinberg’s poor track record of following through on campaign promises (Office hours anyone???), it is unlikely this proposal will ever get off the ground, even if Mr. Steinberg wins the election. None the less, PLEASE focus on the real issues effecting our quality of life (flooding, traffic congestion), rather than silly and ill conceived campaign proposals.

On March 9, 2006 1:11 PM, Pat Barua said:

Wow.

Here we have what should be a no-brainer – a virtually cost-free farmers’ market opportunity at the train station that Trustee Steinberg stumbled across – and we get eleven spam-acious paragraphs ripping apart the Republicans for even suggesting it, followed by an ad hominem blitzkrieg on Steinberg with no mention of the farmers’ market at all.

The conclusion is inescapable: Trustee Steinberg must have come up with a great proposal!

Seriously, I hope whoever wins the election will support advancing a farmers’ market at the train station. Having an easy way to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables after a day’s work in the city will, quite frankly, help my family eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. That happens to be more important to me right now than the free skate park a previous poster lists as a top priority, but I also see no reason we shouldn’t pursue both goals if the majority of residents support them.

On March 9, 2006 12:13 PM, weewill said:

I couldn’t agree more with your comments, Payman, whoever you are. And for the record, let me tell you the boyish, smiling, choir boy face of Jim Steinberg above is nothing like the face he presents to the public at village board meetings. Will the real James Steinberg please stand up?

Question him in any way whatsoever and you’ll feel the sharp point of his verbal assault. I was the target of his rage at last Monday’s VB meeting as he angrily and defensively accused, insulted and raged at me for daring to suggest that the village attorney might benefit from a second opinion from an expert on the complicated Eminent Domain process facing the village. He was insulting, abusive, and way over the edge as he shouted and glared trying to silence me.

First of all, I believe Ms. Stechich to be a mature, capable and experienced attorney, who can adequately speak for herself. She doesn’t need to be “defended” by macho-man Steinberg. I was speechless at the unwarranted attack on my motives and it took every bit of self control and discipline I had to keep from returning in kind rudeness.

For years I was subjected to the rantings and ravings of the small band of brothers led and fed by Ms. Cudequest. As a sitting Trustee one must be prepared to take insults, threats, and verbal abuse. It goes with the territory. But I’ll be damned if I’ll accept it from a board member sitting on the dias! Nor will I be itimidated by this rude and arrogant young man.

Georgianna Grant X-Trustee

On March 9, 2006 9:22 AM, SSmith said:

boy if this isn’t taking a page right out of karl rove’s campaign playbook then i don’t know what is. the old “divide and distract” strategy.

i guess this latest “idea” of mr. steinberg’s is designed to take some light off of the many more pressing issues that are of grave concern for this village and for commuters who use our train station.

at a time when the village is facing the imminent decision of judge nicholai in the metro enviro debacle, and he has ruled against the village several times before, the smartest thing mr. steinberg and the republican campaign team can come up with is whether commuters can buy apples and oranges at the train station? this isn’t even his own idea!

don’t get me wrong i think politicians should always be thinking about improving the quality of life for their constituencies; but in this case i fear it is just another empty campaign promise like all the others put forth by the republicans during and since last year’s election to make casually informed voters think these guys are really doing a fine job and that all is well in paradise. i guess if my legacy was as messy as the short one thus far of this current board then i would be doing the same thing.

we are still hearing about mr. steinberg’s brilliant idea of improving the shopping experience here in the village which economically makes no sense from the standpoint of the retailer or the potential consumer. how are you going to get a 500 sq. foot retail space to compete with wal-mart or target on the same kinds of items but charge higher prices? answer: you can’t….there $10,000 saved. next.

what about the welcome packages to new home buyers? nice idea but is it really that big of a deal as mr. steinberg portrays it? probably not.

and what about the “office hours” idea? why is that so hard to put together? again nice idea but is it really a legacy maker? in fact it isn’t even an original idea from mr. steinberg he’s poaching it from the school board.

here’s what mr. steinberg should be focusing the voters on AS HE TRIES TO FINALLY WIN A SEAT:

(1) holding down taxes through smart fiscal spending.

(2) working off of past already paid for engineering studies to fix all of the problems at the train station lot instead of blaming the past study for being inadequate as he, mr. brennan and the good doctor have done. incidentally the good doctor was on the board when this study was done, so his opposition to it is strange.

(3) metro enviro/eminent domain issue.

(4) emergency preparedness for the village in case of some natural or man made catastrophe.

(5) make the skate park free - this has been the stupidest waste of time ever….greg schmidt donated benches to the place PERSONALLY and now he wants to shut it down. I don’t get that at all.

(6) thinking of new ways to bring revenue to the village to hold down taxes…and i’m not talking about some b.s. study that will cost us 10 grand and tell us what we already know. a mom & pop boutique on grand street will make no dent at all in the tax base of the village, relatively speaking. do we really need some outside consultant to tell us that?

i know bob elliott was not everyone’s favorite guy at the end because of a vocal few in town who yelled him out of office…but you have to admit the guy was way more connected and in tune with the local and state political machines than the current mayor and his cohorts. mr. elliott got things done at little or no cost in many cases to the village. that is smart politics.

how about some of this brand of networking from our republican led board…i have seen none of it beyond photo ops with rob astorino and curiously placed stories in the journal news.

these are the real issues folks. don’t be fooled by the smoke and mirrors mr. steinberg and now mr. gonzalez are throwing at us.



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