Governing with Courage

In discussions around the village, I’m finding that some community members misunderstand my position on preserving Ossining’s charter village status.

I have never advocated for dissolving the village, and I do not believe it would be good for Ossining.  Beyond the importance of honoring our rich history, there are powers and autonomy inherent in being a charter village that we would be foolish to give up.  I do, however, believe leaders should explore more opportunities for shared services to reduce redundancy and save tax dollars.

Carolyn Mackie Oss PicAs Albany pushes us to work harder at finding further opportunities for consolidation, village officials must hold the interest of the people of Ossining as our highest priority in all decision making.  Ossining already has over a dozen fiscally wise inter-municipal agreements that do not undermine our autonomy.

It is time for change in Ossining—time to shake up the status quo.

This mayoral race is about electing the person who will best serve our community.  I’ll always strive to work with political courage for the people of Ossining.

 

Progress You’re a Part Of

Do you have a good idea for what could be done better in Ossining?  Do you ever feel people in village government aren’t listening to you?  Whether it’s economic development, collaboration with schools, safe streets, parking, parkland, recycling, trash, or taxes—everyone in our community has something they think could be better.  And the best ideas for improvement may already have been figured out by community members.  Please take a moment to complete this survey and tell me how we can better serve Ossining.

None of us knows as much as all of us.

This phrase was offered by a speaker at last month’s Pace Land Use Annual Conference of 2013.  This simple truth was at the core of every successful initiative discussed that day—initiatives already happening in other communities.  Borrowing ideas that work for other municipalities can save us money and make us stronger.

When I was a trustee-elect, Eric and I traveled to Washington, DC to attend a conference led by the New Organizing Institute.  I immersed myself among grassroots organizers who dedicate much of their lives to fighting for issues.  The message that most strongly resonated with me then as I prepared to take office for the first time was…

Do not seek elected office so you may wield power over the people you represent, rather, seek elected office so you may empower the people you serve.

Have you driven through the Avalon development on North Highland?  The fences are down and a good chunk of the buildings are up.  Please share your thoughts on development in the survey...
Have you driven through the Avalon development on North Highland? The fences are down and a good chunk of the buildings are up. Please share your thoughts on development in the survey…

Together, these two themes inspire and guide my work for the village.  Can you help me in this effort by spending a few moments responding to this brief survey?…

Keeping Connected…

Do you want to know more of what’s going on in village government?  Do you want more opportunities to impact decision making in the village?

Sign-up here to receive emails of upcoming meetings and community events.

Follow Victoria Gearity, Trustee on Facebook.

Get Nixle Alerts with emergency messages by texting 10562 to 88877.

Receive an email with any new post I put on my website by adding your email address to the “Follow this Blog” box in the upper right corner of VictoriaGearity.com.

If there is a particular village committee/council/board where you would like to serve, contact Assistant Village Manager, Christina Papes (cpapes@villageofossining.org) and ask if there are any available seats.  Even if there are none currently, you can submit your letter of interest and resume to be considered when a spot becomes available.

Come to a Village Board of Trustees meeting.  We meet Wednesdays at 7:30.  The 1st & 3rd Wednesdays are at the Birdsall-Fagan Court, 86-88 Spring Street.  These are legislative sessions and the public is invited to speak on camera to make organizational announcements or to comment on any resolutions the board will consider that night.  When the camera goes off, the public is invited to comment on any issue of interest to them.  The 2nd & 4th Wednesdays are at Village Hall, 16 Croton Ave.  These are work sessions.  This is when the board members ask questions about potential upcoming issues/initiatives, and we decide what will be the next steps.  You can also watch meetings on tv or online.  Let me know what we can do better.

If you are one of the many folks who has contacted me this year to share an idea or concern, thank you.  If you haven’t already completed this brief survey, please do.  Perhaps I’ll see you soon at a Wednesday meeting!

Music—An Ossining Community Value

There is no greater place for a music lover to live than Ossining.

The richness of music in Ossining is a huge part of what makes this community ideal for raising our family.  Last Sunday we walked down the hill to our public library to attend a free Guy Davis concert.  Paxton and Levon listened, sang and clapped along with their fellow concert-goers.  Afterward, we bought a CD and the boys joked around with Guy as he signed it and dramatically engaged in high-fives with his youngest audience members.

Mike Risko taught me a chord so I’d look like I know what I’m doing for this pic!

There are so many ways to love music—playing, singing, listening, dancing, learning the history…  Growing up I learned a little piano, performed in every school musical and chorus concert, and sang in my college’s gospel choir.  I’m playing the piano more today than I have in decades, as I help Pax and Levon practice.  And Thursday evening I’m going to learn a little guitar at the Rockin’ Moms Night Out.  It’s a fundraiser for the Friends of Victoria Gearity campaign for Ossining Village Trustee, hosted by Risko Music.

Of course, any party is an opportunity to celebrate local Ossining businesses!  We’ll sample treats from Bellina Chocolates and Sterling Sweets, munch savory snacks, and taste selections from Ossining Wine & Liquor (85 Croton Avenue, 914-941-2733) as well as local craft brewers.  Please join us!   The Rockin’ part of the night is thanks to The Mike Risko Music School who is hosting the event and will break out some guitars and provide a mini-lesson to any musically inclined or curious party-goers.

Where else can kids meet and joke with professional musicians on any given Sunday afternoon?

The Mike Risko Music School received a big shout-out at the Guy Davis concert because of the school’s support of the free series.  Alan and Ellen Marzelli are the founders of the Ossining “Words & Music” concert series.  That series is an integral part of what makes Ossining the greatest place I can imagine for raising my family.

This summer Paxton and Levon performed before a live audience for the first time.  They each played a song they learned in their piano classes at Risko.  My boys were the opening act for the Rock Band Campers who composed and performed original pieces in a live outdoor concert at the music school.  How cool is that?!

I lived in OH for six years, so will never take Ossining’s gorgeous sunsets for granted!

So many of us gathered to enjoy warm Friday evenings at the Ossining Waterfront.  There is no more spectacular venue for live music than sitting on a blanket with friends, picnicking, listening, dancing and watching the sunset over the Hudson River at Louis Engel Park.  We have the Ossining Waterfront Vision Committee is to thank for that free public concert series.

When my boys are at Claremont, I look forward to them learning to play violin, viola or cello.  Mike & Miriam Risko demonstrated their profound connection with our community by offering a free Intro to Strings workshop for the new string players before the school year began.

Another terrific live music event is the Ossining MATTERS Benefit Concert.  That’s one ticket I’m happy to pay for.  Last year when audience members were invited to come together in front of the stage, I danced with friends, students, parents, administrators, school board and community members.  It is no wonder that this annual spring fundraiser is such a success in Ossining.

Maybe someday Pax and Levon will form a band—Blue Pizza is the name they’ve already selected.  (If there’s any garage that deserves its own band, it the gorgeous one my husband Eric built!)  Maybe someday my boys will march in the OHS band, or even play Carnegie Hall.  Or maybe they’ll just sing in the shower.  What I do know, is that the rich role music will play throughout their lives is in no small part thanks to the creativity, generosity and dedication of so many wonderful people in Ossining.

Individual contributions are limited to $1,000 and are not tax-deductible.  Please make checks out to Friends of Victoria and mail them to Friends of Victoria Gearity, 57 Prospect Avenue, Ossining, NY  10562.

Event attendees can make donations at the door.  Thanks!!

Supporting Local Businesses with Fun Raising

The Craft Beer Tasting & Pool Party was a big success thanks in large part to the generosity and hard work of our hostess County Legislator Catherine Borgia and several local businesses.  Supporting local businesses is a core value for my family.  It reinforces our goals for preserving our environment, growing our local economy, rewarding ingenuity & customer service, and just old-fashioned looking out for your neighbor.  Some of the local business that directly supported this event were:

The Mike Risko Music School    Sterling Sweets   Charms by Amy  and  The Pastures Grass-Fed Free Range Beef  (at the Ossining Farmers Market)

Bill Hanauer brings such passion to his work as Mayor of Ossining.
Catherine Borgia was such a generous hostess. She’s a fantastic cook and throws a great party. One more terrific reason to become active with the Ossining Democratic Committee!
Life-size lawn signs will be ready in October. Will you post one at your Ossining home? Send me a message below if you can!

David Carlucci made at least four trips across the Tappan Zee on that Saturday. He’s working hard to get to know the Ossining voters he seeks to represent now that his NYS Senate district includes Rockland and Ossining.

I’m not sure what Sandy Galef and I found so hilarious, but I love this picture. She takes her role as public servant seriously, but is joyfully light-hearted about the rest of life.

Ossining’s in Rockland?

Ossining is in Rockland County?  If the proposed NYS Senate redistricting lines take effect, Ossining will be carved out of Westchester and taped on to District 38.

How did this happen?  The Republican lead Senate and the Democratic lead Assembly decided to renege on the commitment that many members of both parties signed last year to allow an Independent Redistricting Commission to draw the lines.  Instead politicians drew lines to ensure their own reelection, not to ensure that voters are fairly represented in Albany.

What can we do?  Sign this petition right now!  On Friday, March 2 the petition will be presented to Governor Cuomo, the State Senate and the State Assembly.  It is widely anticipated that Governor Cuomo will veto the bill and make modifications to the most egregious examples of gerrymandering.  Ossining has a smaller population than many of the other most disenfranchised communities, so we need to shout louder to be heard.  Please join in the chorus of Ossining voices directed at Albany, and sign this petition.

Paxton Looking Yonder at District 38

District 38?  I had the pleasure of meeting David Carlucci (our would-be senator) this weekend at a Westchester County Democratic Party Brunch.   He struck me as approachable, engaged and knowledgeable.  When I invited him to attend next week’s Energize Ossining Community Launch, he knew what I was talking about.  He even took it a step further and recognized how the recently passed “On Bill” payment system will be an asset to the Energize program.  Senator Carlucci committed that he, or a representative from his office, will be at the Energize Ossining Community Launch next Thursday, March 8 to help us all understand how homeowners can take advantage of the rather confusing, but extremely beneficial, “On Bill” payment system.

Clearly my opposition to the senate redistricting has nothing to do with the David Carlucci.  But even if Senator Carlucci makes dozens of trips across the Hudson to get to know Ossining, there’s no guarantee that he will continue to represent us until district lines are redrawn a decade from now.  It’s not a stretch to imagine that a politician ambitious and competent enough to get elected to the NYS Senate at age 29 will continue to run for ever-higher elected office.

Below is the letter I sent to Governor Cuomo earlier this week.  There’s still time for you to send an email to the Governor.  And it will take only a minute for you to sign the petition referred to above demanding that Ossining be represented by a senator on our side of the Hudson.

Governor Cuomo,

Senate Republicans may claim the district lines they propose are, “fair, legal and consistent with the Voting Rights Act”, but to Ossining voters, being lumped with Rockland County feels unfair, gerrymandered, and consistent with the worst of partisan politics. 

Please do not allow Ossining’s senate district to be gerrymandered into District 38 with Rockland County.  You ran for governor with a vow to “fix” Albany.  The Republicans’ proposed districts are intended only to strengthen and broaden their power in the senate rather than to fairly represent the voters of our state.  This partisan manipulation is enraging to Ossining voters on both sides of the aisle—and deservedly so.

Rivers are natural dividing lines between districts, counties, states, even nations.  The Hudson River is wide and Ossining residents must drive several miles to the nearest bridge connecting us to Senator Carlucci.  Let District 38 maintain its constituents in Haverstraw, Stony Point and Orange County.  They share demographic needs and geographic accessibility.

Ossining residents would be better served by a senator in Westchester.  Republican Senator Greg Ball who primarily represents areas north of us in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties, would be more connected to us geographically.

Maintaining Ossining as part of District 37, or including us as part of District 35, would more fairly represent our demographic constituency as well as allow for our senator to easily connect to us geographically. 

I implore you to veto the Republicans’ proposed senate districts; restore Ossining’s senate district to the east side of the Hudson; and draw lines that honor the needs of NYS constituents above partisan incumbency. 

Sincerely,

Victoria Gearity

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: