The Voters Choice Party is proud to present its 2020 Trustee slate: Robert J. Berg, Sean J. Cohen, and Robert D. Selvaggio, long-time residents and big fans of Scarsdale. They will be running for election for the three open Village Trustee positions in the forthcoming March 18, 2020 Village elections.
Residents of Scarsdale deserve a choice of candidates for their important elected Village officers. These VCP candidates are each exceptionally qualified and committed to provide common sense, workable solutions to the Village’s pressing problems, while preserving its character as a Village of single family homes.
Berg, Cohen, and Selvaggio are deeply vested in the community. Sean moved to Scarsdale from South Africa when he was in middle school and graduated from Scarsdale High School. He returned to Scarsdale to raise his family, and his wife and he continue to live here. Bob Berg and Bob Selvaggio both moved here with their families for the schools, and their wives and they also continue to live here as empty nesters. The three candidates are impressive professionals who are quantitative and data driven in their approach to solving complex problems. They have also dedicated countless hours to community service and other volunteer activities in and out of Scarsdale.
The Scarsdale Citizens Non-Partisan Party (SCNP) administration and the party's members want to redevelop Freightway Garage with a significant number of residential apartments. which will increase the number of people in our schools, roads, and commuter trains. Despite the fact that over 820 Scarsdale residents signed a petition, opposing the administration's opaque and exclusionary process of redeveloping Freightway, the SCNP's nominating committee, the Citizens Nominating Committee, recently announced that again it selected the two current trustees who continue supporting redeveloping Freightway with the currently chosen unvetted finalist developers and without significant community involvement. We want Freightway redevelopment to be put to a public referendum. The only way you can effect change is by voting on March 18 for VCP candidates.
We urge you to help bring transparency and accountability to Scarsdale Village Hall and to protect our schools and Village from overcrowding. Vote Berg, Cohen, and Selvaggio on March 18. As soon as the Village chooses the polling location, we will let you know.
The candidates will be outside of De Cicco and Starbucks today between 4-7pm collecting signatures for their petitions to be on the March 18 ballot and to listen to your comments and questions about Freightway and other important Village matters. They look forward to meeting you!
Voters Choice Party
Note: Words throughout this newsletter that are highlighted and underlined have links with relevant information.
VCP Trustee Candidates Have Decades Of Impressive Professional Expertise and Dedicated Volunteerism
Robert Berg and his wife Jill Krutick have lived in Scarsdale for sixteen years. Their two college aged offspring were students in Scarsdale schools. Jill is an artist who exhibits in New York and Miami; previously she was senior vice president in investor relations at Warner Music Group and a managing director in equity research in Citi
Bob has served as a Director and Vice President, of his neighborhood association, Berkley-in-Scarsdale (“Crane Berkley”), and is currently its President. He has served as a Director, Secretary, Vice President, President, and Executive Committee member of the Scarsdale Forum, and he is presently a Director and Chair of its Assessment Revaluation Committee. He is a member of SNAP (“Scarsdale Neighborhood Associations Presidents). He has served as the Vice Chair and the Chair of the Citizens Nominating Committee. He is a member of the Scarsdale Town Board of Assessment Review, which decides property tax grievances filed by Village property owners.
Bob has been practicing law as a litigator for the past 34 years. He started his career at Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York as a member of its Antitrust and Litigation departments. In 1985, he moved to LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby & McRae, another international law firm in New York, where he was a litigator and antitrust counselor. In 1990, he became a plaintiffs’ class action litigator, representing investors in shareholder actions and consumers in consumer fraud, false advertising, and unfair trade practices litigation. He is presently a partner at Denlea & Carton LLP, a boutique law firm in White Plains. He has been a key attorney on many landmark consumer fraud and securities fraud class action cases throughout the nation and has achieved class action settlements, which have recovered over one billion dollars for defrauded consumers and shareholders.
His BA is in Economics and Psychology from Amherst College. He holds a MBA and a JD are from the University of Chicago. As a teenager and in college, he traveled the world playing string and electric bass. He is an avid fisherman and has been known to distribute freshly caught fish to lucky Scarsdalians.
Sean Cohen, his wife Shelley and their three children have lived in Scarsdale for several decades. Shelley was a marketing professional for many years and is now in real estate. She has volunteered in numerous Scarsdale schools activities.
Sean launched Rand Defined Value Diamonds Inc. to offer high quality investment-grade diamonds to consumers at the same price retailers pay for the same diamonds, the Polished Trade Price (PTP). From his extensive experience combating conflict diamonds in 2001, Sean devoted his company Rand Diamond to document a traceable history from polished diamond back to its rough state. Rand Diamond is a primary supplier to high end retailers of ethical diamonds cut to exacting specifications at competitive market prices.
Sean has served in numerous pro bono and volunteer activities in the U.S. and internationally, including:
Being Chairman of the Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training school, a not-for-profit that teaches South African youth diamond polishing skills.
Conceiving and being a founding member of the World Diamond Council (WDC) and The Kimberly Process, a government/Non-governmental (NGO) industry partnership to solve the conflict diamond problem.
Serving as President of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), committed to promoting the highest ideals of honesty and best practice throughout the diamond industry and compliance with all national and international laws. As President, Sean met with Nonprofit Organizations to spearhead industry efforts to combat conflict diamonds.
Sean has a BAin History and Political Science from Tulane University. He holds a JD from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.
Robert Selvaggio and his wife, Lisa Sammaritano, and three children moved to Scarsdale 25 years ago. Lisa is a rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery and Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College
Robert is on the board of the Pelham Community Rowing Association where he has been teaching Tae Kwon Do to teenagers and adults in Westchester for over 15 years. He has been a volunteer basketball and little league coach in Scarsdale. He was a board member of the Scarsdale Teen center for two years. In Manhattan, he was head of the Finance Committee of St. Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic Church, where he was a key player in successful sale of Rectory and former School property to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center providing the Church a perpetuity that ensures its ongoing viability.
Robert is Co-Owner and Head of Analytics at Rutter Associates. Rutter Associates provides advisory services in the areas of market risk management, credit risk and credit portfolio management, economic capital and risk adjusted performance measurement, valuation and model review of exotic derivatives and hard-to-value assets and liabilities, and litigation support. He has long worked in financial economics and public and housing finance.
Robert has a BA in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania and holds a PhD in Economics from Brown University.
Scarsdale School Budget Season is Underway
Earlier this year, Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey stated that the early draft of the 2020-2021 school budget is a total of $167.1 million. This is a 3.92% increase from 2019-20. Presently, this represents a projected tax increase of 3.66%, or $268,118 above the projected tax levy limit. Here is the preliminary budget presentation.
The Scarsdale Schools Administration and School Board are asking for your involvement and feedback during budget season. Here are all the remaining dates and times that you can turn up to comment on the budget.
Monday, February 10, 2020:
Budget Study Session #2, 6:30 p.m., Room 170-172
Business Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Room 170-172
Executive Session, if needed, Board Conference Room
Tuesday, February 25, 2020:
Listening Session on Community Engagement, 7:30 p.m., Room 170-172, High School
Departmental and non-departmental expenses are expected to increase 2.32%. Presently, there is a budget deficit of $855,548, which means that taxes will go up by $135 for a home assessed at $1.5 million. The largest increase in expenses is coming from the Human Resources department with a rise of 21%.
The Village of Scarsdale Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet in work sessions with the Budget Officer and staff for budget discussions on the following remaining dates:
Monday, February 10, 2020 - 6:00 P.M. Trustees Room
Tuesday, March 10, 2020 – 6:30 P.M. Trustees Room
Briefing sessions on the preliminary operating and capital budgets will be held in the Third Floor Meeting Room and have been scheduled for:
Thursday, February 27, 2020 – 7:00 P.M. – Operating Budget Wednesday, March 4, 2020– 7:00 P.M. – Capital Budget
Thursday January 16's agenda and proposed changes in recreation fees are here. The Village budget is NOT put to a public vote, so this is your chance to give feedback. Write the Mayor and Board of Trusteeswith your comments and questions and request a response.
Overruns in Scarsdale Library Reconstruction Are Significant
The Scarsdale Library reconstructions and renovation will now cost over 17% more than had been initially forecast by Scarsdale library staff and board. The June 2018 approved project funding was $18.55 million. Unexpectedly, on page 66 of the Village Board Agenda for June 28th appeared the new projected cost of $21.74 million.
Halt Freightway Redevelopment Petition Reaches Over 820 Signatures
A group of concerned Scarsdale residents and merchants launched a petition to halt the Freightway Redevelopment process until the Scarsdale Mayor and Board of Trustees study and answer residents' qualitative and quantitative questions about the project's impact on:
all of Scarsdale schools' teacher-student ratio,
health and financial stability of residents, Cornerstone Children's Center, and merchants in the surrounding area of Freightway during project construction,
crowded commuter trains,
Village traffic congestion,
parking availability during the years of feasibility studies and construction, and
Scarsdale residents' property values and taxes.
Importantly, the petition calls for a public referendum on this important project. Please sign the petition, which may be found here. Please include your street address in the comment section and any feedback you would like to send the Mayor and Board of Trustees by the February 9 deadline. In less than 48 hours, when the petition was first launched on December 17, 2019, it garnered 500 signatures. Even during the holiday break, residents signed the petition.
The residents also created a Facebook page to encourage discussions about Freightway; merchants and residents have been exchanging articles, comments and questions on that site.
Information About Freightway Redevelopment
If you missed the December 11 Freightway Redevelopment meeting, the video is here. East End Capital LLC's and LCOR LLC's proposed designs are here, andAvalon Bay Community's presentation ishere. The Village updated its Frequently Asked Questions about Freightwayyesterday, but unfortunately, none of the questions, that we have been sending to the Mayor and Trustees and have published in this newsletter several times, have been answered.
The deadline to comment on the Freightway Redevelopment process and proposals is February 9. Please write to mayor@Scarsdale.com, DConkling@Scarsdale.com, and Freightway@Scarsdale.com and submit your views and questions.
We Welcome Your Letters
Do you have anything that you want to say to the Scarsdale Mayor and Trustees? Please send us your letter, and we will publish it in our newsletter insuring that it gets to Village Hall and our thousands of newsletter readers.
Scarsdaleresidents are entitled to borrow passes from the Scarsdale Public Library to visit an incredible select list of museums in New York City and Westchester County . Please visit the library site to see the list and to learn about the library's rules for borrowing passes.
Scarsdale has numerous classical musical concerts throughout the year including Handel's Messiah, Beethoven's Ninth, and Verdi's Requiem. Here are the 2018-2019 calendars for:
The Voters Choice Party was created in 2017 to increase transparency and accountability at Scarsdale Village Hall, to discuss issues relevant to residents, to give voters a choice of different candidates, and to increase voter turnout.
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