Questions posed by TPFYI:   

Do you believe the Village should extend Membership eligibility at the Wee Wah Beach to include all Town residents who live in the Hamlet section of Tuxedo as well as First Responders and their immediate families, which is the way it was for more than 50 years prior to 2018.  Why or why not?

If elected mayor, I will not “turn back the clock” by proposing  that operation of the beach be returned  to the Wee Wah Beach Club.

However, as a volunteer member of the Executive Committee of the Wee Wah Beach Club from 2018-2021, I worked on behalf of both Village members and Town hamlet members to provide the best possible experience at the Wee Wah Beach. In 2020, when the incumbent Village mayor first proposed restricting hamlet membership to the 2019 roster, I opposed his attempt to breach decades of tradition, which had allowed a small number of hamlet residents, who lived within set hamlet boundaries , to enjoy summers at Wee Wah Beach. In addition, I opposed any effort to restrict the membership of the brave First Responders from our Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Corps, who may be called upon at any moment to save the lives of our residents in distress.

If I am elected Mayor, I will propose that the Board Of Trustees restore the membership qualifications  for hamlet residents and First Responders as it existed for 50 years prior to 2020. This would allow for additional revenue to cover the cost of the very expensive annual management contracts that the incumbent mayor signed with a private company, when he removed the Wee Wah Beach Club as the operator of the beach in 2021. It should be noted that when the Wee Wah Beach Club was in operation, the Village received an annual rent payment from the Club. Now with the Village operating the beach, it is unclear whether the cost of the management contract plus the cost of village-employed gate checkers exceeds the membership revenue, resulting in a net loss. My proposal to re-open hamlet and First Responder membership would help close any such income gap.

In addition, the incumbent mayor speaks of improvements made since the Village took over operation of the Beach. This point is specious, as the Wee Wah Beach Club was a seasonal tenant. The Village has always owned the land and could have made improvements years ago, but failed to do so.

Briefly, why are you running for Village Mayor?

As chief executive of the Village, it is the duty of the mayor to represent the interests of all residents. In the past six years, the incumbent mayor has grown domineering and unforgiving. At public meetings, residents’ opinions are no longer given due consideration and respect. Major issues facing the Village including the budget, this mayor’s $35,700 annual salary(which I will return to the Village) and degradation of the lakes, forests and wildlife are decided  with short notice and limited opportunity for public comment. In many cases, the incumbent  mayor remains silent on controversial proposals when his advocacy and leadership is required. In addition, there is also a sense that Village Hall has become unfair and unequal in its interactions with residents. All of this must change. I am offering a return to civility, compassion and common sense in the operation of our local government. Our Village possesses a wealth of knowledge among residents in Finance, the Environment & Technology. I intend to open the government to all who are interested in participating, especially our young families, to make Tuxedo Park an even better place to live and raise our children.

What skills and attributes will you bring to the Village Government?

My experience as an attorney, judge, and  arbitrator has allowed me to approach even the most difficult issues with an ability to gather the evidence, weigh the options and reach an impartial, reasoned and equitable decision. My experience as a mediator has taught me to be a good listener and to treat all sides and opinions with respect and due consideration.

My seven years of experience as a Trustee on the Village Board in Montebello provided me with the opportunity to deal directly with infrastructure, budgeting, taxation and all other local government issues.

What are the three most important issues currently facing the Village?

1- Governance-A Village Hall that works for all the people, all the time, with equality and kindness.

2- Environment-Protecting the Lakes & Reservoir, Forests, Ridgelines and Viewsheds

3- Preserving Property Values by: (A) improving infrastructure, including especially cell service & road maintenance; (B) judicious spending to control taxes; (C) maintaining the historic architecture and unique beauty of Tuxedo Park.

Do you feel the approved Tuxedo Farms Development of 1600 residential units poses any risks for our Village?  If so, What are they and how should they be mitigated?

There is no question that a development the size of Tuxedo Farms will have both positive and negative impacts on our community. On the “plus” side, there could be an improved Tuxedo business district which may contain perhaps, a needed supermarket and a bank, to serve the larger population. In addition, an increase in the tax base as a result of an addition of 1,600 homes could result in the lowering of school taxes.

However, as a gated community, our residents moved to Tuxedo Park for its architectural and natural beauty as well as for security and privacy. The concerns that have been raised about this huge development so close to our Village border include increased traffic and noise as well as trespassing into our Village. While the issues of traffic and noise in a surrounding municipality have been, and should continue to be addressed, and as your mayor I will do so with officials of the Town of Tuxedo and Orange County, the issue of trespassing, both inadvertent and intentional can be handled by our competent and vigilant police department. At this time, even before any shovels have been placed in the ground to begin home construction, I am not in favor of spending additional tax dollars on security measures such as additional fences or gates, that may not be required.

However, should the need arise, and the Village police request additional assistance, I am prepared to consider  additional signage and gates,  as well as enhanced security measures such as electronic surveillance of the trails (assuming improved cell service) and the use of drones.

I personally do not want to create a “Fortress” Tuxedo Park.  Tuxedo Farms will be constructed in phases, starting with sections close to Route 17 and farthest from the Village borders. During the years construction takes place, the Village government should monitor the development and take reasonable and appropriate action to ameliorate any problems that develop.

In your view, should the Village amend its code, Chapter 65 - Lakes and Ponds, to allow for an increase in both dock and boat size on Tuxedo Lake?  Why or why not?

Tuxedo Lake belongs to all residents. It serves as our reservoir, as well as a venue for recreation, including boating and fishing.  As a member of the TP Boat Club I have enjoyed the opportunity to use both a kayak and rowboat on the Lake. While a guest, I have enjoyed travelling the Lake on a pontoon  boat at sunset.

As stated by Professor Jim Hayes at a recent BOT meeting: “The Lake is not getting any bigger”. With that thought in mind, as a community, we must consider whether placing larger vessels and correspondingly larger floating docks benefits the Village at large or a small segment of the population. No doubt larger boats will accommodate more passengers, but will the increased boat size plus construction  of larger floating docks impact water quality or cause the growth of algae and additional milfoil? We must obtain expert advice before making a decision.

At the April Board of Trustees meeting, I suggested that either a referendum or a survey be presented to Village residents, for their opinions on the issue of bigger boats and bigger docks in Tuxedo Lake.  At that meeting, the Mayor agreed to conduct a survey. However, at the May Board of Trustees meeting, when questioned why a survey had not been circulated, the Mayor responded: “we haven’t  gotten to that” which was followed by “other issues are of higher priority”.

While I personally oppose amending Chapter 65 -Lakes and Ponds of the Village Code to allow larger boats and larger docks for the benefit of the few , I believe that all interested residents should be permitted  to express their views as to the efficacy of this proposal.