From Fred Eisenstein, Sea Cliff
March 14, 2018
To the Editor:
I am writing this letter in strong support of the Civic Progress slate of highly trusted Trustee Kevin McGilloway, and new candidate, Henriette Rohl, a star member of Sea Cliff’s own farm-team of energetic and committed volunteers. I’ve been a resident and more-than-casual observer of Sea Cliff doings for over 35 years. If you’re somewhat new to Sea Cliff, you may not know that behind every Civic Progress trustee is a deep bench of volunteers. They’re sitting on boards and committees, (wo)manning our museums, music and events. They’re researching laws and ordinances and travelling to other progressive Villages, to see how they do it. They’re raising funds outside of tax revenues and wielding power tools to get the beach band shell built; securing donations to get the Children’s Library restored; and reaching out for effective environmental solutions, all without asking for a dime. And in that context and among that group, Kevin and Henriette truly shine. To my mind, Kevin has ascended to the role of some sort of patient sage and source of wisdom on the Board, and Henriette has been a tireless advocate as a member of the Traffic Committee and Environmental Conservation Commission. Like our new plastic bag ordinance? You might want to thank the ECC volunteers for their efforts. The Open Gov’t party claims to stand for “transparency”, and really, who could possibly argue against that? Certainly not anyone I know. Kudos are deserved for hastening the adoption of online meetings (something that was in the works anyway). My question is this: after the well-intentioned but (let’s face it) trendy clichés and multisyllabic corporate organizational buzzwords, signifying, to my mind, procedure elevated over substance, what in fact does O.G. actually stand for? This is not a rhetorical question. At this juncture, I can’t support mere pleasant platitudes over a long record of tangible results that are so obvious in the daily quality of our Village life. I’m wondering who will fill the big shoes of the cadre of Sea Cliff volunteers recently disheartened by all this unjustified backbiting. After all, who wants to take time away from family, friends and paying jobs when you’re volunteering under the stern gaze of naysayers. Is there a new batch of eager volunteers waiting in the wings? After viewing online Board Meetings, I’m not sure that I’m seeing that. Sincerity, perhaps (and that counts for something I suppose), but it seems uncoupled from any nuanced approach to the issues facing us, or any truly pragmatic solutions, or even a modicum of the required commitment of time, effort, and follow-through to make real results happen. To me, conceiving of projects and then passing the buck to our taxpayers in the form of costly “boilerplate” consultants, or new hired hands on the payroll, well, that just isn’t worthy of the moniker “volunteer”. Are we now to become a knock-off of Garden City or East Hills? I’m not saying ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. I’m saying, if we’ve finally got our engine tuned up, a little more adjusting will have it singing sweetly. So why would you throw a wrench into it? With the current team, we have the highest bond rating a Village can achieve, we haven’t ever pierced the tax cap (umm, yet), and we still have great and efficient services. That’s not something we stumbled upon by accident. That was the result of the past few years of deliberate long-term planning, deft execution, and is wholly by design. I’m all-in for Kevin and Henriette , all-in for their continuing pursuit of our progressive agenda, and all-in for something I heard the other night here in town that seems to fit just right (and I hope they don’t mind me quoting them): conscientiousness, not contentiousness. That sounds more like the Sea Cliff I’ve always known.
Thanks for listening,