As Yogi Berra put it, “If you don’t know where you’re going, chances are you’ll end up someplace else.”
We all enjoy Croton for its small-town setting, close knit neighborhoods, and vibrant mix of people. But keeping it this way won’t happen will not happen by doing nothing as our Mayor and Deputy Mayor seem to think. To keep the Croton we love, we need to keep moving forward on many different fronts at once. We need to avoid being side-tracked by a single-issue administration.
For years, up until 2005, Croton was a pace-setter in creative, long-term planning. Today—as a result of such prior foresight—Croton residents enjoy public access to more of our Hudson River shoreline than in any other river town.
Such innovative initiatives and careful preparation used to earn us a place at the table when the big players like Metro North, New York State agencies and major foundations decided where to allocate their funds. Croton has lost that momentum under its current leadership, but it is not too late to reverse that trend.
In 2006, Leo, Charlie and I have had some remarkable successes: Charlie and a team of volunteers relaunched the Croton River Compact to protect our watershed. Leo initiated energy conservation studies that resulted in a major recent grant for solar power. I launched a move toward a more “people-oriented” village by helping initiate the Village’s new Bicycle-Pedestrian Committee.
Also in the last year and against the opposition of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, Leo, Charlie and I also saved Croton from a flawed, potentially lengthy, and costly Eminent Domain mistake. We made Village Board meetings accessible on the internet by initiating videostreaming. We worked hard to override the Mayor’s reluctance to cooperate with the schools. We improved government openness by ending reliance on undocumented “advise of counsel” sessions and returning to documented executive sessions—for which minutes, attendees, and topics are reported to the public. We have taken steps to examine our alternatives regarding the site at 1A Croton Point Avenue—in case litigation is not the solution. We improved recreational opportunities adding a new program director to strengthen youth and teen programs and an athletic field-use agreement with the County. All these accomplishments were opposed by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
But much more can and should be done. The Mayor sets the Village’s agenda. The Mayor gives concrete direction to the business of government. As team leader, the Mayor should encourage—and not resist—divergent points of view. The Mayor should lead the Board forward in the business of finding solutions. Collectively, Village residents have wise insights into where we should go. Collectively, Leo, Sally and I have more than 30 years experience in Village government that we want to put to work for all the residents.
With your support, we will all move forward to enhance Village finances, environmental protections, energy and resource efficiencies, and recreation programs. Let’s explore all ideas and suggestions with an open mind. Let’s control our destiny.
I ask for your support for myself for Mayor, and for Sally Odland and Leo Wiegman for Trustees on March 20th.
— Ann Gallelli, Trustee and Candidate for Mayor
For more information, please visit www.crotondems.org.