Richard Masur: What’s become of the “Loyal Opposition”?

Dear Neighbors: Richard Masur Picture

Last week Mr. Paul Steinberg wrote yet another letter.  Once again, rather than approaching the Village directly for information, and/or posing his questions in this forum simply and straightforwardly, he seems to be using this forum to take another opportunity to attack, insinuate and provoke.  Why?  One can only speculate, since he never made it clear.

Mr. Steinberg’s letter involved a property on Hollis Ave. that has belonged to the Village for 24 years, and had recently been offered for sale.  When one scrubs his lengthy letter of sarcasm, mockery, innuendo and personal slurs, his questions boil down to the following: 1) Why has the Village offered this property for sale, after all these years?  2) Why have they done so by placing it on a website called BidNet that is generally used for solicitation of bids and procurement of goods and services.?  3) Why was there a specific time limit set on this process? And finally, 4) Why was the decisions to sell the property made in executive session and not made public after the decision was made?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with raising these questions. Of course, had there been a sincere effort to get the information, the obvious method to do so would be to ask the questions directly of the Village by simply sending an email which would then have been included in the Board’s agenda.  As I am sure that someone as well informed as Mr. Steinberg knows, there is a standing item on the agenda – “Responses To Questions Submitted By E-Mail”.  His four questions I’ve listed above could have been answered that way. I suspect that someone from the Village Board will soon address them directly.

For myself, I think the most productive question raised dealt with notice to the public.  That is a very important issue and one that should be explored directly and dispassionately.  If the perception of the public is that our government could be more “open” in its communications with them, then it certainly should be.

Unfortunately, it does not seem to have been Mr. Steinberg’s goal to get an answer to that or any other question.  It seems that he was more interested in agitating and fomenting concern among his fellow residents by raising these question and insinuating something nefarious had gone on then he was in getting answers.  To what end?  What is his motive in doing so? He does not say. And I do not claim to know.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a letter asking folks to try to be more productive and less confrontational in lodging their complaints/concerns about the governance of the Village of Croton on Hudson.  I think it bears repeating:

“We are all entitled to our own opinions. I would not criticize anyone for that. However, if your goal is truly to be of service to your fellow Village residents by pointing out what you perceive of as misguided policies, why is it necessary to manufacture “facts”, impute malign motives to, and engage in ad hominem attacks on the sitting Trustees? One thing we all should have learned from the 2018 elections is that most people in this country are sick and tired of this kind of behavior and want those who claim to be acting in the public interest to do so in a truthful and civil manner.”

Richard Masur – Chair, Croton Democratic Committee

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