LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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Received on September 27, 2014
To the Editor:
I'm writing concerning a situation that if passed will have an enormous impact on our Village of Sea Cliff. The City of Glen Cove will be voting to allow the building of SIX, four story high apartment buildings called The Villa, on this Tuesday September 30th. There will be 194 units that are expected to house 776 occupants. This proposed development will be on a narrow two block strip of land, on the east side of Glen Cove Avenue, on that very dangerous steep hill just south of the Boys club and a few blocks from the Village of Sea Cliff's border. READ MORE
DISAPPOINTED THAT GOP PROMOTES DISCRIMINATION
Received from Donna Kianka, Sea Cliff
June 18, 2014
I was disappointed to read that the Republican/Conservative party recommends in an ad hoc fashion not obeying the laws of New York State and consequently promoting prejudice and discrimination. The withdrawal of support from Bruce Kennedy, a man who does uphold the law and does not practice any form of biased based decisions, certainly does suggest this. The decisions by these parties also suggests that Lou Imbroto also supports this position and is like-minded. If you feel that all people deserve equal and fair treatment then the Republican/Conservative party's actions and choices need to be factored into any voting decisions. In addition, does this mean I no longer have to pay my taxes, as we apparently have defaulted to a cafeteria style government?
Received from Terry Glassman
May 23, 2014
To the Editor:
So, I was at the BOE Meeting last night. During public comments there was a lot of emotional discussion regarding the politics of campaigning and the mud slinging that went on. I post this here in the hopes that we can all refocus on what our district is about. First and foremost, it’s about the children/our children. READ MORE
April 1, 2014
Eileen Stanton, North Shore Parent Action Committee
The issue of High Stakes Mandated Testing is a concern of some parents around the country. For those against testing, refusing to allow their children to take the tests is a parental right and viewed as the best way to impact changes in the current mandates. NSPAC sees refusing the tests as a personal decision best left to each individual family and supports whatever decision is made. READ MORE
THANK YOU FROM TRUSTEES-ELECT VILLAFANE AND MCGILLOWAY
March 24, 2014
To the Editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of the Village of Sea Cliff who voted on March 18 and to express my gratitude to those who made my re-election possible. No one wins an election alone. Many individuals contributed their time and efforts to the election campaign. I would like to especially acknowledge Dan Maddock, Cece Wheeler and the members of the Civic Progress Party for their support and guidance. I was extremely privileged to have Kevin McGilloway as a running mate. His business acumen will be a real asset to the Board and the residents of Sea Cliff.
I look forward to working with Mayor Kennedy and Trustees Lieberman, McGilloway and Vogt in continuing the long tradition of volunteer leadership that has made Sea Cliff a wonderful place to live.
To the Editor:
Now that the Village of Sea Cliff election is over, and before I am sworn in as Trustee, I wanted to express my thanks to a number of people who contributed to my election. The most obvious point to begin is by thanking all those residents who voted for me. Also special thanks to fellow candidates Elena Villafane and John Reali who so generously counseled me in my first pursuit of an elected position. I also deeply appreciate the hard work performed by the many behind the scene people who made everything from distributing campaign signs to organizing meet- the- candidates gatherings run so smoothly and effectively (special thanks to Dan Maddock who coordinated everything). To one and all, Thank You!
Beyond a simple thank you to all these people I can only reiterate my campaign pledge that I commit to doing my very best to represent the best interests of the residents of Sea Cliff by working in partnership with Mayor Kennedy and Trustees Lieberman, Vogt, and Villafane.
VOTE YES ON THE BOND ON DEC. 3
November 24, 2013
I am writing in support of the proposed Infrastructure Bond (“Bond”) that the North Shore School District (“District”) will vote on December 3, 2013. I make this recommendation because the Bond is the only responsible way to finance required infrastructure projects. As a former attorney for the New York City Buildings Department, I have witnessed the devastating results of failing to maintain critical infrastructure.
The District must finance numerous projects at the high school, middle school, and three elementary schools. These projects include the following: two roof replacements, numerous electrical replacements and repairs, masonry restoration, security system improvements, asphalt replacement, a retaining wall replacement and asbestos abatement. Many of the projects concern the structural integrity of school buildings. Most of the projects were caused by ordinary deterioration, despite upkeep from the District. Failing to complete these projects would be irresponsible, placing children at risk, as well as exposing the District to liability. Ultimately, these projects concern the well-being of our youngest residents. Accordingly, the District has determined that these projects are absolutely necessary. To debate their merit is not the subject of the December 3rd Bond referendum. The District must pay for these projects; the only question is how to do so.
The Bond is the fiscally responsible solution for financing these necessary expenses. If passed, the Bond allows the District to borrow money to pay for projects without an increase in taxes. Taxes will not rise because the costs associated with the Bond will be phased in as older bonds are phased out. If the Bond does not pass, our District will face dismal options.
The first option is for the District to undertake the futile attempt to simply pass the Bond again. This option would not only be an ineffective use of time and limited resources, it would delay commencement of necessary projects, surely to result in increased project costs.
The second alternative is to include these repair costs in the Board’s 2014 annual budget. To cover these costs, the District will request a vote to raise the 2% tax cap. To finance these projects by this option is not sensible. Would we want a tax increase when the Bond offers a superior solution? Further, what is the likelihood that the same voters, who did not support the Bond, would turn around and support a tax increase?
The third, and most likely outcome if the Bond fails to pass, is that the money to pay for these projects will come from the school budget. This means that money currently allocated for such things as smaller class size, enrichment activities, fine arts, and the world language programs will be adversely impacted. The money to pay for the infrastructure projects will certainly come from these programs.
In sum, the projects that are included in the Bond are inevitable. The only issue that remains is how to pay for them. Voting “yes” to the Bond referendum is the only sound option. It is important to the future of our community that the Bond passes on December 3.
BOND COMMITTEE MEMBER URGES YES VOTE ON DECEMBER 3
November 25, 2013
I served on the original community bond committee that met over this summer to discuss the proposed North Shore Schools infrastructure bond.
As part of the committee's agenda, we visited the five district schools to assess the projected expenditures. At that time the proposed bond was $33+million and I was opposed to it because I felt many of the projects we saw and discussed seemed unnecessary.
The revised $19.6 million bond we will be voting on now is a completely different story. The items covered are necessary to maintain our buildings and in many cases mandated for safety and environmental reasons. There is nothing unnecessary or frivolous included in this bond; in addition, the bond will not increase school taxes because it will be phased in as older bonds wind down.
There are myriad reasons to support this bond, but the most compelling is it is the financially responsible and savvy thing to do. Vote YES on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at the High School Gym from 7am to 10pm.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Received from Karin Barnaby, Sea Cliff, October 21, 2013
Democracy, the Rule of Law and Due Process in Sea Cliff
I was born in war-ravaged, deeply traumatized Europe in 1944. While I have no memory of WWII, I have postwar memories . . . of my brother and me exploring the rubble of bombed out buildings . . . of my father saving up cigarettes to barter for a piece of smelly mutton that he proudly lugged home in a suitcase . . . of my mother soaking our lice-infested scalps with stinging kerosene rags.
By far my favorite memory is of a package that arrived one day from America, filled with unimaginably sweet and fragrant oranges, my first oranges. The seven of us shared them, one at a time, every few days—to make them last—with great ceremony and with deep gratitude for that wonderful, mysterious place called America.
A few years later, we were lucky enough to come to America. I became an American citizen as soon as I turned 21. I took classes, had to pass a written and oral test and to swear an oath to prove that I was worthy of being an American, something that I’ve always tried to be: worthy of America—of this enlightened, generous, just and democratic America, where everyone is equal and treated fairly, protected by the rule of law and due process, or so I have always believed.
The rule of law and due process are all that stand between any one of us and the unchecked power of government officials. This is why public officials take an oath to uphold America’s law: the Constitution. I took the oath when I was elected to the School Board. I also spent an entire weekend of training before I ever sat in on our first board meeting. Every year, I took two, three and sometimes more workshops, to be worthy of my position.
Sea Cliff officials take an oath to uphold the Constitution, which, above all, guarantees due process and the rule of law to protect everyone’s life, liberty and property equally. And yet, Village officials, for years now, have disregarded the rule of law and due process that protect our rights, our lives, our liberty and our property.
Whenever and wherever officials in positions of power disregard due process and the rule of law there is injustice. For the past three years, Village officials have disregarded code and law germane to our Preston Avenue right-of-way, disregarded legal documentation, exhibits and models, and omitted key testimony, to deny our code- and law-compliant applications. They altered, manipulated and misrepresented the Village code definition of “Street.” They disregarded N.Y. State procedural mandates requiring consideration of the state-set Five Factors at our hearings. They misrepresented their actions, facts and findings in the “official” written denial, which bears little to no resemblance to anything they had actually done, discussed or determined at our hearings.
They submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court—a written document made under oath—that was not a “correct” representation of facts or of “substantial evidence” that they had discussed at our hearings. They never even conducted the required inspection of our property, with the exception of the one member who voted to approve our application. A FOILed request in 2012 revealed that there was no record that any ZBA members had ever received the annual training as mandated by NY State since 2007.
When we notified the mayor and trustees of Village officials’ disregard of code, law and due process—in statements at public meetings, in letters and emails—and requested a proper review of our application according to due process as described in Village code, the trustees did not respond. The mayor responded by deleting the ZBA's and superintendent's due process statements from the Village website. In a letter to the editor of the October 10Gold Coast Gazette, the mayor claimed the Village never had such mission statements (See attached and the October 17 Gazette for both mission statements, as taken from the Village website).
Imagine being subjected to 22 hearings for three years, always complying with all requirements and requests of every board, only to have Village officials deny your proposals over and over and over again, while they disregard facts and make determinations that are not informed or justified by any code or law.
After the 2012 Supreme Court ruling, the mayor published partial and misleading information in the Sea Cliff Circle calendar and on his Facebook (FB) “Public Official” page, headlining the judge’s denial of our Article 78 appeal, but omitting the judge’s Declaratory Judgment, which, in effect, rendered her Article 78 ruling and the ZBA denial moot. The mayor repeatedly deleted our corrective posts from his “Government Official” page—a single paragraph, dictated by our attorney, about the court granting us the right to use Preston to access our subdivision property. The mayor blocked our FB access, censoring us. He subsequently posted demeaning comments about me and inaccurate opinions about our application on his “Government Official” page, while censoring our speech, which he continues to do to this day. When we notified the trustees about the mayor’s censorship, they did not respond. At the March 2013 “Meet the Candidates,” when asked why he had deleted our informational posts and blocked our access, the mayor said our posts were “abusive.”
Imagine an America where government officials censor your speech. Imagine an America where officials can virtually seize your property for years at a time. Imagine an America where government officials misrepresent facts and findings in official documents. Imagine an America where you have no rights, where there is no rule of law, no due process—just the capricious opinions and unchecked power of government officials. That is the America of some of Sea Cliff’s officials today.
Help us restore the rule of law and due process in Sea Cliff so that we all can be assured fair, impartial and just treatment at the hands of our elected and appointed officials. For starters, let us demand that the trustees 1) institute a system of checks and balances; 2) restore Sea Cliff’s due process statements; 3) enforce NY State training and procedural mandates; 4) publicly articulate and clearly explain all codes and laws germane to any given application; and 5) enforce a reasonable timeline for all applications.
What is at stake—not just for us but for all Sea Cliff residents—is the choice between living our lives under the rule of law and due process or living our lives under the rule of favoritism and arbitrary governance. We are fighting for our rights. And we are fighting for your rights. We are fighting for democracy. We are fighting for America. Join us.
(Please send letters to email@example.com)
(Ed. note - the following letter was e-mailed by Karin Barnaby to the Mayors and Village Boards of Old Brookville, Roslyn Harbor, and Sea Cliff, and cc'd to northwordnews.)
Dear Mayors Ryba, Mandel and Kennedy;
Dear Old Brookville, Roslyn Harbor and Sea Cliff Trustees,
You, the political leaders of Old Brookville, Roslyn Harbor and Sea Cliff, along with all residents of the North Shore School District—all residents of Glen Head, Greenvale, Glenwood Landing, Roslyn Harbor and Sea Cliff—will soon feel the harsh impact of the steep 19% tax increase caused by the loss of tax revenues from the decommissioned Glenwood Landing (GWL) power plant.
As a possible means to alleviate this unheard of tax increase, I encourage you to consider the ideas listed below and ask you to support the effort to save the GWL plant until full consideration
can be given to ways the landmark building might be most advantageously and profitably repurposed as a tax-paying, commercial enterprise for the benefit of the entire North Shore-Hempstead Harbor-Glenwood Landing community, now and in
the future. Elsewhere, power plants and industrial structures are increasingly being repurposed as for-profit, tax-paying commercial enterprises for everyone’s benefit (See links to articles, below).
The demolition of the GWL plant benefits only National Grid. By eliminating this “asset” the utility aims to reduce its own tax-assessment. It plans to remediate the site to minimum standards, cover the five acres with asphalt and/or gravel, and leave the GWL waterfront fenced off, undeveloped and inaccessible for public use
(See NY State Environmental Impact Assessment Prepared for LIPA, June 2012 on the hempsteadharbor.org website).
Since February, I have pitched the idea of saving and repurposing the GWL plant as a viable, commercial, tax-paying enterprise, to all local, town, county, state and federal politicians, to area
mayors, to LIPA and National Grid, as well as to Chelsea Piers executives, in letters, emails, statements and in letters to the
A Change.org petition to “Save the Glenwood Landing power plant from demolition” has 615 supporters to date (www.change.org/petitions/save-the-glenwood-landing-power-plant-from-demolition).
A Facebook "Save the GWL power plant" group has almost 400 members to date.
It is my hope to motivate National Grid to take responsibility for compensating the communities that the utility, in its various incarnations, has profited from for more than 100 years, by
ensuring an environmentally and commercially viable regeneration of what is, and long has been, a haphazardly developed and utterly visitor- and user-unfriendly GWL and Hempstead Harbor waterfront.
While I have no influence, no political connections, no clout, I remain hopeful that the ideas I’ve floated will inspire and motivate enough area residents to engage with and champion them. Together, anything is possible.
Thank you for your consideration.
Reasons for Saving and Repurposing the Glenwood Landing Power Plant
Karin Barnaby, August 2013
• Glenwood Landing and North Shore residents are slated to shoulder a 19% tax increase in the coming years due to the loss of tax revenues in the amount of $14 million annually from the GWL utility.
• Saving of the GWL plant building and repurposing it as a successful commercial enterprise as quickly as possible will generate tax revenues and help alleviate the devastating financial impact of the utility’s decommissioning on the surrounding communities.
• The demolition of the GWL plant benefits only National Grid. By eliminating this “asset” the utility aims to reduce its own tax-assessment.
• National Grid plans to remediate the GWL site to minimum standards, cover the five acres with asphalt and/or gravel and leave the waterfront fenced off, undeveloped and inaccessible for public use (See NY State Environmental Impact Assessment Prepared for LIPA, June 2012 on the hempsteadharbor.org website).
• National Grid/Keyspan/LILCO/LIPA, after more than a century of profiting from our Glenwood Landing, North Shore and Hempstead Harbor Communities —substantially diminishing these communities’ quality of life and real estate values—plan to
abandon those communities without consideration for their future economic well being and quality of life.
• National Grid’s GWL site will retain so much ugly, power-generating and transmission infrastructure—turbines, fuel tanks, massive steel stanchions, transmission towers and hi-tension power lines--to make the site esthetically and environmentally inhospitable for most alternative uses, especially for any and all residential use.
• The GWL plant is a historically and architecturally unique building on Long Island. Such plants were designed as civic monuments with the best architectural features of their day. According to architectural historian, Richard Gachot, the GWL plant is a “very important vestige of early 20th century industrial architecture, a symbol of power harnessed for mass consumption.”
• The GWL plant may meet the criteria for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), America's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation, according to the NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). According to OPRHP, the building was designed with elaborate architectural detailing, such as the arched windows and detailed stringcourses and is “a rare survivor of a distinct building type of the period and is architecturally significant as a monumental example of industrial Beaux Arts design from the early twentieth century.”
• Preserving older buildings has become a standard component of urban renewal projects. According to Alexandra Wolfe, the Director of Preservation Services at the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA), “the reuse of an existing structure is an aspect of Green Building and is considered a more sustainable approach when taking into account the cost and impact of demolition and rebuilding. The idea of repurposing this GWL building is great and your reference to successful similar projects helps to drive home the possibility that dynamic commercial projects providing public benefits are possible for Long Island.”
• Elsewhere, decommissioned power plants are increasingly being repurposed as showcase, community-oriented, commercial enterprises because their location near water, their solid construction and their unusual size and shape make them ideal for repurposing (See links to articles, below).
• The LI Regional Economic Development Council met at Hofstra recently and discussed NYS consolidated economic development funding available for community and waterfront revitalization projects. The project to save and repurpose the GWL plant would seem to qualify perfectly for such funding.
• The Town of North Hempstead (TONH) Director of the Office of Intermunicipal Coordination comments on saving and repurposing the GWL plant: "Your vision for this area is a very exciting one. It would be financially sound to have this property developed for commercial use rather than residential. I shared your letter with the Town’s Commissioner of Planning who agreed that the site’s attributes are that it is has pretty much the right size, shape and topography with a large enough area for parking for such a plan. Tappan Beach is just down the street, so it could be a logical continuation of a recreational corridor and the Town would have less concern regarding any prior environmental contamination than if it were to become a residential development."
• In January, Senator Chuck Schumer pledged millions of dollars in federal tax credits for repurposing the Yonkers Glenwood power plant on the Hudson as a convention center and hotel. Sen. Schumer called the $250 million project a “very high priority” that will spur development and create jobs. The Yonkers Glenwood project is slated to open in 2016 and is estimated to create 2,000 construction jobs, 1,000 permanent ones (See links to articles, below).
• In Stamford, CT, the recent Chelsea Piers conversion of a Clairol manufacturing plant, completed in just two years (chelseapiersct.com), created 900 construction jobs,
between 400 to 600 related jobs in other areas, and 250 permanent jobs in Stamford—all thanks to the impressive building-recycling and can-do philosophy of the company’s owners and architect, and the clear-eyed vision of the Stamford mayor and other civic leaders who had the imagination, will and courage to “aggressively” court Chelsea Piers executives The Chelsea Piers CT facility is located in a residential area (chelseapiersct.com). Because there is no stadium or viewing stands at the site, there is no more traffic than at any of our local school fields. It's quite ingenious. (See links to articles, below).
• Repurposing the GWL building as a Chelsea Piers-like sports, arts and recreation facility would result in a win-win for all concerned—for tax-payers, for National Grid, for political leaders and, last but most important: for area team-sports families and enthusiasts, whose demand for playing fields and sports facilities such as this has long exceeded supply.
• The GWL building is large enough to house one and more regulation playing fields entirely indoors—with plenty of room to spare for other recreational and arts activities —eliminating any concerns about noise and lights. Without a stadium or grandstand, as is the case at the Chelsea Piers CT facility, traffic concerns would be minimal.
• TONH supervisor and councilmembers claim no authority over National Grid’s plans to demolish the GWL plant. Since the 1963 demolition of NY City’s Penn Station, however, which gave birth to the architectural preservation movement in this country, such a laissez-faire approach to historic buildings on the part of political leaders is no longer valid or acceptable.
• The demolition of the GWL plant will leave the site’s prime waterfront lands unused, unsightly, inaccessible and not generating tax revenues, leaving the community and schools on their own to shoulder the 19% tax increase due to the loss of tax revenues in the amount of $14 million annually from the utility. This will have a devastating effect on the greater North Shore community’s quality of life and on its socio-economic, environmental and aesthetic wellbeing.
• Saving and repurposing the GWL plant as an attractive, tax-paying, commercial enterprise, will regenerate and revitalize of the Glenwood Landing waterfront for the first time in 100 years—and will enormously benefit all Glenwood Landing, Hempstead Harbor and North Shore Long Island communities now and in the future.
• National Grid must not demolish the GWL power plant, a structure of immense potential value to the community, until full consideration can be given to ways the landmark building might be most advantageously and profitably repurposed in the long term.
• The future economic well-being and quality of life of our Glenwood Landing-Hempstead Harbor-North Shore Long Island communities must not be subordinated to one corporation’s desire to minimize its tax assessment, nor must they be allowed to fall victim to the laissez-faire attitude of the Town of North Hempstead supervisor and council and the casual neglect of our political representatives.
• The future of the GWL plant and waterfront is a matter that requires the engagement and leadership of all local, town, county, state and federal civic and political leaders
and the input of all area residents.
• We ask that Town of North Hempstead and Oyster Bay, Nassau County and Albany leaders, together with
National Grid, convene a public forum about saving and repurposing the GWL plant, for everyone's benefit, now and for future generations, as part of an environmentally responsible and commercially viable regeneration of what is presently—and has been for 100 years—a haphazardly developed and utterly visitor- and user-unfriendly GWL and Hempstead Harbor waterfront.
• Links to informative articles about the GWL plant, power plant recycling & Chelsea Piers CT
"Power Plans", http://www.northwordnews.com/lipa---future.html
"OPINION: Reasons to Save, Repurpose Glenwood Landing Power Plant"
NYT “From Power Plant to Civic
Schumer pledges federal support for Yonkers power plant rehab
Stamford Advocate “Chelsea Piers celebrates pending debut”
WSJ "Chelsea Piers Puts Ashore in Stamford: Former Clairol Factory Is Converted Into Recreation Facility”
SteelStacks – Bethlehem PA: http://www.steelstacks.org/
Battersea Power Station – London, UK: www.batterseapowerstation.co.uk
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