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Letter: Return Reform-Minded Candidates to Albany

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – The Lewisboro Daily Voice accepts original, signed letters to the editor. Letters may be emailed to bdumas@dailyvoice.com .

To the Editor:

While the Katonah-Lewisboro School District Finance Committee’s report unequivocally showed that the BOE has a lot of work to do with the union before quality education becomes affordable, retiring school board member Mike Gordon's finger-pointing at Albany was not unfounded. His "battlefield conversion" might have been too little too late for some, yet it brings up an important issue facing voters.  As the mother of two John Jay graduates and a taxpayer, I have been continually frustrated over the years with the failure of many to give more than lip service to the problems created by the Democratic leadership in Albany.

For northern Westchester taxpayers this should not be a partisan issue. While on one side is Sheldon Silver and his Democrat majority in the New York State Assembly, and on the other reform-minded Republicans like Assemblyman Bob Castelli. With the passage of the 2 percent property tax cap, Governor Cuomo has shown there can be a middle ground."

But much more needs to be done. Pension and benefit costs are still sky high and growing, as Mr. Gordon noted, the Triborough amendment creates an unfair playing field for the board when dealing with the union, and the Wickes Law creates incredible inefficiencies when building a municipal project. Even as local families struggle, we receive only a fraction of taxes back in the form of state aid.

Big-city union money is the mother's milk of Mr. Silver’s stranglehold on Albany Democrats and the key to his ability to protect unsustainable union contract terms antithetical to the best interests of taxpayers and their children. Things are even worse than the problems documented in the report. For example, New York shares with Ohio the distinction of being the only other state to lose two congressional seats after the last census.

It is not just a coincidence that Mr. Castelli replaced a White Plains Democrat two years ago or that he is being challenged by another White Plains Democrat again. As before, expect the people knocking on doors and telephoning on behalf of his opponent to be members of the CSEA and the UFT. Do you remember the out-of-town zoo that accompanied Dr. Kreutzer's hiring?

Sure, the school board needs to change its ways. But returning reform-minded candidates like Bob Castelli to Albany will be an important step towards a return to fiscal sanity.

Grea J. Kulhanek

South Salem

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