To the Editor:
I believe that citizen involvement is the basis of a functioning democracy, on every level of government, and applaud those who do so in the interests of improving our communities, or correcting that which is unfair or unjust. I am always concerned, however, when such involvement acts as a cover for partisan political gamesmanship.
Mr. Steinberg wrote a lengthy piece a couple of weeks ago, the vast majority of which was dedicated to pointing out what he considers to be the “shabby look” of the Upper Village, due to some shop owners having allowed the displaying of “advertising fliers” in their windows. His vision of the Upper Village is that it’s look should conform to the sole positive example he cites – ASAP Mortgage – which he considers to be a model. He says “If every business owner and landlord followed their example,” and kept their “glass clean… the Upper Village would be a better place.”
Neither Mr. Steinberg nor I have any idea why some business owners in our village might choose to allow their storefronts to be more liberally used by those who are looking to communicate with their neighbors. He is of course within his rights to express his disapproval of their choices. And he has every right to offer a range of solutions — as he does, at great length.
Had that been the entirety of his piece, I would applaud him for his efforts, even though his views do not represent mine, nor those of many others in this Village who may not agree with his wishes to impose his aesthetic vision on our neighbors. But that does not seem to be the entirety of what his piece aimed to accomplish.
Mr. Steinberg began his comments with an assertion that “the Village” (i.e. the current Board of Trustees and Mayor) has no interest and has done nothing to address local issues, while instead spending its time on state and national issues. Of course this is wildly incorrect. The vast majority of the work with which Mayor Pugh and the Trustees have concerned themselves since taking office four and a half months ago has obviously and provably involved local issues. That being said, there are also important subjects on the state and federal levels on which our Village (often in concert with other municipalities) has felt the need to comment. This is in no way irregular, nor is it evidence of a lack of interest or concern for the issues arising in our village. It is merely an example of thoughtful leadership – paying attention to the broader needs of our residents, while building lines of communication with our sister municipalities and state and federal officials whose decisions affect us all.
Finally, it seems odd that Mr. Steinberg did not raise his complaints about the “shabby look” of the Upper Village during the two years in which the previous administration was in complete control. Did the offending fliers suddenly appear in December? It seems clear that this piece, rather than being about civic improvement, was rather meant to attack the current Village elected officials, who Mr. Steinberg did not support, after two years of giving a pass to the previous administration which he did support.
Richard Masur, Chair
Croton Democratic Committee