Brian Pugh: Why I am running for Mayor

To The Editor,brian-pugh-group-cropped
As regular readers of The Gazette may know, I am running for Mayor of the Village of Croton in the November 2017 election. I am a native of Croton-on-Hudson and I am running to restore progressive government to our Village that reflects our community’s values.
Our local leaders that we elect set policy that has a tangible and substantial impact on our community.  Since being elected to the Board of Trustees in 2014, I have articulated, in these pages and elsewhere, my values and a vision for our community.
My priorities include:
1) Continuing to control property taxes by actively managing our Village’s expenses and supporting the development of revenue sources beyond residential property taxes, including initiatives to stimulate our commercial sector such as mixed-use zoning in Harmon, which has sparked new investment in that neighborhood;
2) Strategic capital investments (such as the timely completion of the Croton Point Avenue improvements and the replacement of the Fire Department’s 20+ year old Engine 118), while interest rates remain low;
3) The restoration of meaningful public information & communication by the Village government (e.g. the return of the monthly Village newsletter);
4) Securing energy savings and ensuring environmental protection through initiatives such as Sustainable Westchester’s Community Choice Aggregation program;
Although this agenda might seem like common sense, each item was opposed by some or all of the members of the current majority on the Board.  Contrary to what some say or imply, it does matter who we vote for in local elections.  Local government is not just about personality, but about principles and priorities.
That’s why I am proud to be running on a slate with Amy Attias and Sherry Horowtiz.  Our slate is united by common purpose and shared values.  It’s on this basis that we’ve received the endorsements of the Crotom Democratic Committee, the Working Families Party, the Women’s Equality Party and the Independence Party.
My general approach is to capitalize on underused opportunities for progress. Even before I held elected office, I organized a referendum campaign that moved Village elections from March to November. Through my relationships with grassroots organizations, I have moved forward important issues despite being in the minority on the Village Board.
With a new majority, on the Board, I look forward to being able to do much more for our community and to preserve and improve my hometown.
Sincerely,
Brian Pugh
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Sherry Horowtiz: Why I am running for Village Trustee

Hi, I’m Sherry Horowitz. I have written several Letters to the Editor over the past year and a half, most of them in support of the Community Choice Aggregation program (the CCA) for Croton. Today I’m writing to intsherry2017roduce myself to you as a candidate for the position of Village of Croton Trustee, endorsed by the Democratic Party, the Independence Party, the Working Families Party and the Women’s Equality Party. I made the decision to run for office in November’s election because I believe that government can be a force for good in people’s lives and I would like to be a part of that process.

I have lived in Croton for 44 years and have owned and operated Childrenspace since 1979. Although this is my first foray into Village politics, I have been a lifelong activist and advocate for women’s rights, the environment, prison reform, humanitarian causes and independent media.

I believe in strong and compassionate leadership.  A good leader has the vision to know what is possible and beneficial and the energy and passion to pursue those goals and make things happen. In my long and successful tenure as steward of Childrenspace, I have demonstrated these leadership qualities.  I have also developed a wide variety of competencies: fiscal management, marketing, staff selection,  professional development, human resources, curriculum creation, communications and regulatory compliance. I have successfully interacted with licensors from the NYS Office of Children and Family Services, contractors, parents, teachers, children, community members and school district personnel.  I have close personal and professional relationships with such local institutions as the Croton Free Library, the Croton Caring Committee and Teatown Lake Reservation. As a teacher of young children, I’ve also acquired a tremendous respect for individual differences, the ability to listen to others, the virtue of patience and the importance of a positive, problem-solving attitude. I know how to build a strong and caring community, and I would love to bring that skill to the Village we all call home!

In the past months, many of us have been galvanized to stand up and speak out against policies that do not reflect our basic human instincts and beliefs.  Let’s translate that energy into greater community involvement in local decision making, and let’s meet it with more responsiveness on the part of elected officials.  If elected, I would work for more and better communication to inform and connect people, and  would create opportunities for free and open dialogue on issues that impact all of our lives in both large and small ways.  Together, and with your support, we could create a truly representative government in Croton. Brian Pugh for Mayor; Amy Attias for Trustee.  Dedicated to service and community.

Respectfully, Sherry Horowitz

 

Amy Attias: Why I am running for Village Trustee

To the Editor:

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My name is Amy Attias, and I write to introduce myself to you and the Croton community.  I am running as a Democratic candidate for Village Trustee in Croton-on-Hudson in this November’s election.  I am proud to be part of a strong, diverse team of candidates, including Brian Pugh for Mayor, and Sherry Horowitz for Trustee.  All three of us have been endorsed by the Democratic, Independence, Working Families, and Women’s Equality parties.

 

I have lived in Croton for 15 years, and am probably best known around town as the “Attias Mom,” a criminal defense and civil rights lawyer, and a musician. I have met wonderful people over the years from places as diverse as football games and track meets to the library, the kayak launch to a gig playing music at the Green Growler or a local charitable fundraiser.  I have shared my legal experience in many high school programs and officiated over a wedding in my own home in the Trails.  Until now, I have participated around town in many lower-profile but positive ways.

 

I wish to serve my community as Trustee in order to help move Croton forward, bearing in mind the times in which we live and the new challenges we face as a village. For instance, we must take real steps to address climate change and adopt environmentally sound policies and initiatives on the local level.   We must vocally and directly support our neighbors regardless of their legal status or religion.  We must work closely with our police and schools to open our minds to innovative approaches to address the scourge of opioid addiction in our area.  I plan to begin a conversation on domestic abuse, which is more common in Westchester than most of us realize.  I want open, honest and transparent communication between the Village government and our residents.  I believe strongly that we can be fiscally responsible while spending what is necessary to maintain and improve our Village, through a balanced, well thought-out plan for spending, borrowing, and taking care of our Village’s infrastructure and equipment,

 

I would be honored to join in the tradition of strong Democratic leaders in this Village whose vision and thoughtful actions over many years have resulted in achievements like the purchasing of the train parking lot, which is our largest single source of revenue, and the conceiving and creation of Croton Landing, one of our Village’s treasures. I support progressive values, based on well thought out and responsible economic strategies, and a determination to govern with respect and openness.

 

Adjusting to reality, creating innovative solutions, and building bridges, is what I do as a person and a professional. This is an historic moment in our country. The voices of the small villages are precisely the voices that need to be raised.  I would be proud to be a part of that voice as Village Trustee.

 

Amy Attias, Croton on Hudson

 

Brian Pugh: CHOOSE to Energize Croton!

To the Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped

A graduating Croton-Harmon High School senior presented his CHOOSE project on improving energy efficiency in our community at Monday’s Village Board Meeting. That CHHS student’s presentation detailed his work to further Energize Croton’s goals of energy efficiency and environmental protection.

The presentation explained the process of performing a home energy efficiency upgrade through Energize NY, the parent organization for Energize Croton, which arranges for free or reduced cost Home Energy Assessments, helps homeowners find an energy efficiency contractor and guides them through the upgrade process.

Energize has prevented 114,000 tons in CO2 emissions, resulted in annual energy savings of 731,125 kilowatt-hours (the typical US home consumes about 10,800 kWh annually) and saves homeowners millions of dollars a year in energy costs.

The Village has partnered with Energize for many years to help residents cut their energy consumption. I appreciate the efforts of this senior to further educate our community on the initiative (including preparing 5 new informational videos for Energize) and am grateful that CHHS’ Dan Delaney helped him select Energize for his CHOOSE project.

The student’s entire presentation can be viewed on the Village web site as part of the recording of the 6/19/17 Board Meeting. Interested residents can also reach out to Energize directly at 914-302-7300 ext. 8102 to discuss getting an energy audit for their home.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh

Brian Pugh: 125 Years of the VFD

To The Editor:brian-pugh-group-cropped

This weekend I was honored to be invited to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Croton Fire Department. The inspiring sight of the many fire companies from across Westchester County that had joined us in recognizing this historic anniversary reminds me of something that one of my favorite authors once wrote:

“When the alarm goes off [firefighters] are almost the only examples of enthusiastic unselfishness to be seen in this land. They rush to the rescue of any human being, and count not the cost….There we have people treasuring people as people.”

Our fire department is all-volunteer–but professional or volunteer, all firefighters are committed to protecting the life and limb of their neighbors–at the risk of their own.

Thank you for all that you do and all you have done for the last 125 years.

Ann Gallelli: Capital Ideas

To the editor,ann2016
The Village’s Capital Fund budgeting is always about long-term planning. It looks ahead for ten years to identify known and expected large expenses as well as routine ones. These are usually for equipment, or buildings or for infrastructure. The idea is to not have several big ticket items come in the same year. Occasionally something comes up that, anticipated or not, must be paid for immediately. Such a circumstance occurred this year as we acted on an important opportunity, the acquisition of the property for the new DPW building. It can also happen if some piece of equipment or infrastructure breaks down and requires immediate replacement.
When major expenditures occur outside the 10-year plan, the plan must be adjusted. Sometimes this means pushing a planned expenditure out to a later year. This approach has its downfalls, however, pushing them off tends to force bigger expenditures in later years. This is because several big items may require financing in a single year but also because the cost of borrowing is going up as well as the actual costs of the equipment or the proposed work.
This year at its June 5 meeting, the Village Board approved its Capital budget for the current 2017/2018 fiscal year. For the General Fund Capital budget, it calls for $1 585,000 to be bonded, $1,900,000 to be spent from the Fund Balance, and an additional $203,000 to be paid for with Bond Anticipation Notes (BANs( 5-year notes)). The items to be BANed are primarily vehicles or small equipment purchases.
The major portion is to pay for the acquisition and costs associated with a new building to be used for the DPW and Water Department headquarters. At the same time, it has the result of pushing off some large expenditures into coming years. These include, with estimated costs, the replacement of Engine 118 ($700,000), three large DPW trucks (each at $250,000), postponing the Croton Point Avenue Improvements (while at the same time adding parking spaces and traffic at the train lot), improvements to the HMB bridge, and an Ambulance replacement ($200,000).
While we are fortunate this year to have a considerable amount of Fund Balance money available to help with the purchase and reduce this year’s bond costs, this will not be the case in the coming years for the above-mentioned items and any unforeseen items.

Ann Gallelli

Adam Decker: Meet Sherry Horowitz

To Editor:

Sherry Horowitz was one of the very first people I met when I moved back to our area in 2017. We went to Sherry because we wanted a school for our youngest son where he would learn both the traditional preschool curriculum and, more importantly, to socialize and be part of a community. I and other parents have been impressed with Sherry’s ability to get young minds to begin thinking outside themselves and to start embracing their shared community.

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Sherry is now ready to take her community building skills outside of Childrenspace, the school she established in Croton in 1979, where she has helped raise three generations of Croton’s children. Her disappointment in our current leadership, particularly their refusal to engage in community based solutions to many of the problems facing Croton and our country, convinced her that Croton needs a change. She believes that it can be the village we all want it to be: a community that works to build a better tomorrow for ourselves and our children, not one that is resistant to change.

Many of you already know Sherry as a fixture in our community, as a tireless advocate for our children and for justice, and as a friend. I hope you will join with me in welcoming her decision to run for Village Trustee and voting for Sherry Horowitz in November.

Adam Decker

 

Meet Our Slate!

To the Editor:slateannouncement

This November, Croton residents will have the opportunity to elect a majority of our Village officers. I am pleased to announce the candidates that the Croton Democratic Committee has endorsed for this year’s election:

Brian Pugh for Mayor. Brian is a life-long Croton resident, attorney and activist, who has demonstrated consistent leadership and vision. He is currently serving his second term as Village Trustee, though his service to our community predated his election to the Village Board: Brian helped spearhead the campaign which moved our Village elections to November, in order to encourage greater voter participation. During his tenure on the Board, Brian has been actively engaged in all aspects of Village business. He has also consistently supported and fought for Croton’s inclusion in the Community Choice Aggregation electrical power purchasing program (CCA), from which thousands of our neighbors in over 20 Westchester municipalities are currently deriving savings and increased energy choice. He continues to lead the way in outreach for the very important Energize Croton initiative. And he was instrumental in creating a Freedom of Information page on the Village website, securing enhanced transparency from local government.

Amy Attias for Trustee. Amy is a long-time Croton resident, having seen all three of her kids through the Croton school system as a single mother, while practicing civil rights and criminal law. In addition to her work as a defense attorney, she is an accomplished musician who has performed at many venues throughout Westchester County and lent her talents as a violinist, guitarist and singer in support of fundraisers for numerous charities and worthwhile causes. Recently, Amy was one of the headliners at the “Croton Speaks Up” event at Croton Point Park that raised funds for Planned Parenthood, Sandy Hook Promise, Southern Poverty Law Center and Riverkeeper.

Sherry Horowitz for Trustee. Sherry is a well-known figure in Croton. She is an educator and small-business owner who has established and directs the much-loved Childrenspace program in Croton for over 35 years. During that time, hundreds of children and their families have become part of the ever-growing Childrenspace community. In addition to her dedication to children and quality early childhood education, Sherry has been a long-time activist and advocate for women’s rights, environmental issues, prison reform, humanitarian causes and independent media.

The Croton Dems believe that the variety and depth of knowledge, experience and vision these candidates bring to the table make each of them uniquely qualified for the offices for which they are running. And we believe that, as a team, they make an unbeatable combination.

We hope you will join thousands of Croton residents at the polls this November 7th to cast your ballot in these important local races – races in which our votes can make a real difference to the future of our village.

Richard Masur,
Chair, The Croton Democratic Committee

Brian Pugh: To Boot or Not To Boot?

To the Editor,brian-pugh-group-cropped

The Village Board has voted to hold a Public Hearing to consider Introductory Local Law 4 of 2017 that would enable the Village to tow or boot vehicles which are found to have three or more outstanding parking violations. The meeting will be on Monday, June 19, 2017 at 8PM at Municipal Building.

A Towing & Booting Local Law was first discussed at a 2016 Village work session. At the time, it was confirmed that administratively it would not be possible to recover a towed car or remove a boot “after hours”. Literally, a resident could return home via the Metro North to find their car removed or immobilized and be unable to get it back until the next day–even if s/he had money in hand to pay their fines and fees.

For better or worse, in Westchester County access to an automobile is a virtual necessity for the typical family. A car is often essential employment, for childcare and for access to other necessary services (e.g. medical appointments).

Depriving someone of their car, over three parking violations, seems like too harsh a punishment. A punishment that could lead to widely disparate and unfair outcomes. For some, having a car booted or towed overnight might be a minor inconvenience–for others, it might result in the loss of a job or worse.

Last year, I requested information to help determine the efficacy of current collection methods for overdue parking violations. To this date, that has not been provided to me.

The Village has gotten by many years without a Towing & Booting Local Law. I am not aware of any unaddressed crisis that would necessitate such a precipitous response. In the absence of more compelling arguments and information, I remain skeptical about this proposal.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh