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!

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

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