2.5.21 - 3.14.21   vol. 17

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CANDIDATE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR #1

Dear Neighbor,

 

We write to whole-heartedly endorse the re-election of Mayor Jennifer Lapey, Deputy Mayor Michelle De Lillo and Trustee/Fire Commissioner Joe Senerchia.

 

Like many couples, we are registered in different political parties; I am a life-long Democrat, and my husband Gary a registered Republican. It has meant some lively conversations around the dinner table over the years. But one thing we have always agreed on is that the Manor Village election is about local issues, not national politics – and that the two should not be confused. Our local elected officials should be selected based not on party affiliation, but whether the candidates have a record of demonstrated competency, applicable skills, trustworthiness and a detailed knowledge of the community. After all, we depend on our elected officials to look out for the best interests of our families on a wide variety of critical issues – financial, safety, environmental and local harmony.

 

These are the very reasons why it is important to both of us that we keep the current, proven team of leaders in place. This has been a challenging year, and we are not out of the woods yet. We’ve known Jen since our children were in pre-school together and Michelle lives just down the street. If you don’t already happen to know them personally (as many of us do), you should know these fellow neighbors are of the highest integrity, with an incredible depth of knowledge and skills on the issues that matter most to running a small village bordering one of the largest cities in the world. They lead with impressive competence, calm and seemingly endless energy -- and community spirit. We do not know Joe personally, but have been impressed by the strong reputation of his family’s local electrical business and the noteworthy commitment he and his family have shown to fundraising for ALS with, and in honor of, his brother Anthony, Jr. – another well-known community volunteer who worked tirelessly with our town youth.

 

It seems obvious that important local issues in our Village, which have little or nothing to do with state and national issues, would be drowned out and short-shrifted if the election was moved. We believe our Village election should stay separate and distinct so that the matters specific to our Village can be given proper discussion and consideration in the period of time prior to election.  And we are glad that Manor Leadership supports this position.

 

This year more than ever, the wisdom of this approach seems clear. While the Village of Pelham has chosen to change its election cycles to follow national schedules, that does not mean that we should follow suit.  They have different approaches to spending and taxation as well. It is perfectly fine to have different approaches between the two villages on these and other issues.

 

Gary and I are taking the time to write this letter primarily because we believe in the leadership of our current elected officials. Their proven record of responsible financial management of our tax dollars has maintained and enhanced the quality of life in our village.

 

Please join us in voting to re-elect Mayor Lapey, Deputy Mayor De Lillo and Trustee Senerchia.

 

Joan and Gary Friedman

 

 

Fellow Neighbors –

 

My husband Pete and I will be voting to re-elect our neighbors Mayor Lapey, Deputy Mayor De Lillo and Trustee Senerchia because they are doing an outstanding job leading our Village on a variety of fronts.  We write this letter to respectfully request that you also support their re-election.

 

For those in town who know me, you know I have never written an election endorsement letter.  As a working mother, I have typically focused my civic involvement on non-political activities that my children would have witnessed or been directly impacted by (Class Mom, CCD teacher, advocacy for small class sizes in elementary schools, etc.)   More of you may know Pete, who served several years on the CNC (Citizens Nominating Committee for the School Board), followed by a three-year term on the Pelham Board of Education.

 

Like many, we moved here, with toddlers, from Manhattan in 2007, looking for a positive, secure neighborhood environment with good public schools that was an easy commute for our jobs. We came at the selection process from different angles but both agreed that Pelham fit the bill.  Having grown up in the suburbs of Northern Virginia, I wanted the kids to be able to safely walk to school, parks and friends’ houses, know their neighbors, and play in rec sports in a convivial environment. By contrast, Pete grew up in a one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx and found Pelham appealing because, as he put it, there seemed to be more “real people” here and greater economic diversity than many of the other Westchester towns we had explored.  In the end, Pelham was an easy choice.

 

Why are we sharing this now?

 

Because we have lived here for 14 years and are very pleased with the high level of services we have consistently received from Manor Leadership.

 

Because these Leaders having voluntarily donated their professional, highly SPECIALIZED SKILLS from their current (and past) day jobs (e.g. civil engineering, municipal environmental expertise, capital improvement management, fire code compliance, and law enforcement) to make our lives better.

 

Because Manor Leaders have not rested on their many accomplishments but have instead continuously  looked for ways to accelerate the modernization of our Village - in a fiscally responsible and carefully considered manner – especially since Mayor Lapey’ election in 2015.

 

These good, hard-working professionals are our NEIGHBORS. They have managed our village in a responsive and responsible manner.

 

We have experienced this responsiveness on a first-hand basis.  Here are just a few examples:

 

- When we had a drainage issue on our street in 2019, Mayor Lapey personally and immediately responded on a Saturday afternoon; the Fire Department promptly cleared the blockage, and the town manager listened to our specific concerns and -- within a matter of days -- implemented a physical correction to help ameliorate future issues.

 

- The Village texts from the town and police informing us of local safety, power outages, water problems, and traffic issues – keeping us informed and allowing us to navigate around the crisis of the day.

 

If you think this level of prompt service and competence is commonplace or easy to replicate – or that just anyone can do it -- we beg to respectfully differ.

 

We strongly encourage you to join us in re-electing Mayor Lapey, Deputy Mayor De Lillo and Trustee Senerchia on March 16.  We’d be happy to speak neighbor-to-neighbor if you’d like to know more.

 

Sincerely,

Carrie & Pete Liaskos

 

 

Dear Neighbors,

 

I am a non-party affiliate neighbor and on March 16, I’m voting to re-elect Mayor Jennifer Lapey, Deputy Mayor Michelle DeLillo and Trustee/Fire Commissioner Joe Senerchia. I’m writing to urge you to do the same, and here’s why:

 

They are doing a great job and are the most qualified to keep doing it. Jen, Michelle and Joe are some of the neighbors who you may have met through their dedicated leadership over the years ranging from Board roles and coaching in Little League and Hockey, to elected Site-Based Councils (Prospect, Siwanoy and PMHS), the Pelham Education Foundation and CNC (Citizen’s Nominating Committee supporting School Board candidate selection), and to the Junior League and the Preservation & Garden Society. They have led with grace under pressure to balance the many constituents’ needs and priorities with finite resources. We can look back at the record of their even-handed approach in these previous roles, and their professionalism in our elected Village roles to know we can count on them to deliver for us every day.

 

Diverse professional backgrounds representing our residents and benefitting our Village. This leadership team is comprised of three professionals with highly specialized skills and experiences that are directly related to their Village service positions. Not only is Jen currently a practicing attorney, she is a former Bronx prosecutor who has years of experience working with police. She understands, firsthand, the importance of good policing and the detrimental consequences of overreach. Michelle is a working civil and environmental engineer in a leadership role at NYC DEP (responsible for clean water for 50% of NYS!). Joe is a licensed electrician and has been a successful small business owner in our town for many years. Could we be more fortunate to have: (1) a Mayor who understands the practical ins-and-outs of law enforcement, compliance with governmental requirements, and potential liability issues, (2) a Deputy Mayor / Commissioner of Public Works who has a deep knowledge of environmental code, infrastructure needs and capital improvement management, and (3) a Fire Commissioner who has an in depth understanding the Electrical Code and local business concerns? It would be hard to imagine a more qualified group of public servants. I see no reason to make any changes to this effective team just for the sake of change.

 

Open-minded, inclusive approach driven by our first-ever female Leadership Team. Jen was elected as only our second female Mayor. But when she appointed Michelle to be the Deputy Mayor, they became the first all-female Leadership Team in our Village history – for either Village, in fact! During this time, we’ve witnessed bi-partisan appointments with unanimous approvals of neighbors into roles on the Planning Board (D-2, R-2, I-2) and Zoning Board of Appeals (D-2, R-3). We have also seen the appointment of the first-ever female Police Commissioner (Breda Bennett) and the first appointed (now elected) openly LGBTQ representative (Maurice Owen-Michaane). This right-person-for-the-role approach is fair, pragmatic and Pelham Manor-focused. I know I can count on them to always put our community first in their decisions.

 

My friendship and respect for Jennifer and the entire Lapey Family began when our kids were young and my wife and I were starting out here in Pelham Manor. Having grown up nearby in Mount Vernon, I am now proud to call Pelham Manor our home – one we find welcoming, inclusive and respectful of all resident and visitor to our Village. Please join me in voting for Jen, Michelle and Joe on March 16.

 

Respectfully,

Tom Spana