Richard Masur: Playing Politics With A Pandemic

Dear Neighbors: 

Richard Masur

Mr. Paul Steinberg wrote a piece that was printed in last week’s Gazette and published on the website of the Croton United party.  As everyone who reads this publication is aware, he is an avid and frequent contributor to these pages and that website. I have been a far less frequent contributor to the Gazette, and have never (to my knowledge) been published on that website.  When, on occasion. I do write I have tried to make my letters civil in tone and encouraging of a reasoned discourse among the members of the Croton on Hudson community.  


In that spirit, I want to make clear that I have no way of knowing what Mr. Steinberg’s (or anyone else’s) motives are in writing what they write.  Nor do I choose to speculate on what his (or anyone else’s) motives may be. I believe that we are each entitled to our own opinions and have every right to express them publicly.  What I do not understand is what there is to be gained by ascribing malign motives to people who have gone out of their way to run for office and have sacrificed many hours of each week to serve our community by doing the job of elected officials.  I would point out that every member of the Village board was elected by the residents of Croton on Hudson and, as in this current cycle, all the Trustees and the Mayor have run unopposed for three straight elections.


I will not recap Mr. Steinberg’s extremely lengthy piece, nor will I attempt to refute the many misstatements and baseless assumptions that fill his piece.  I simply ask, once again, that we try to comport ourselves with civility and, if we disagree we do so without being disagreeable.


However, I feel I must raise a question about the central thesis of Mr. Steinberg’s piece.  He states as fact that, “Where a normal human reaction is to grieve the loss of life, the Board of Trustees and Village Manager see a tremendous opportunity.” How does he know this?  He cannot. So, he spends the rest of his words attempting to “prove” the case that the Mayor and the Trustees and the Village Manager are placing lives in danger by allowing the work to continue on the construction of the much-needed safety improvements to Croton Point Avenue.  He cites Governor Cuomo’s order that “non-essential construction is going to stop” but, for some reason, he omits the fact that the Croton Point Avenue project has been deemed by the state to be an “essential construction project”, leaving the impression that Croton Point Avenue is “non-essential construction”.  That is simply false.


Mr. Steinberg’s specious premise is that the Village is somehow defying the Governor’s orders for cynical reasons: that the Village is “using” this crisis to endanger lives for political purposes.  But they are not. The Mayor and the Trustees are doing the business of the Village, as well as they can under very difficult circumstances, while ensuring that the contractors are taking all possible steps to protect the safety and health of the workers on the site.


So, who is actually trying to “use” our current crisis for cynical political purposes?  Is it the Mayor and the Trustees, or is it Mr. Steinberg? You decide.


Richard Masur 

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