Response to Supervisor Greenstein’s call for NCNOW to check its facts

Tuesday, April 29, 2013
by Christine Yeres

Last week Rob Greenstein posted two non-anonymous comments to my article, Tensions surface over survey and funding, supervisor resigns his Master Plan hat, NCNOW.org, 4/25/14.  Both are critical of my fact-checking.  In one, he takes issue with my description of him as “an energetic proponent” of retail development at Chappaqua Crossing and the move of town hall to its cupola building; and—after recasting one of my “assertions” in the piece—calls it “so patently false that it is offensive and 100% wrong.”  To support his claim, in another comment he produces an email from Sabrina Charney.  In both comments, he urges me to check my facts, adding “you owe it to your readers—you owe it to the community.”  My responses follow. 

And by the way, although Rob doesn’t mention this himself in either comment, in “checking my facts” and going over the video tape again what leaps out for me is that Rob Greenstein and Sabrina Charney repeat (as both have stated repeatedly elsewhere) that there is no money budgeted for the Master Plan process. While it may be true that the 2014 budget contains practically nothing for the Master Plan, it is also true that if the Town Board wants to find dollars for it, it has the power to do so—plus, mortgage tax revenue is reviving, as the comptroller has told Board members (that’s a fact I triple-checked), which will send/is sending dollars into the reserve fund.  The Steering Committee responsible for the Master Plan review are the ones to decide how many dollars they need for it.  Without funding, the Master Plan review is set up to fail.  Now to Rob’s comments.

To be clear, these were not conversations.  They are Greenstein’s complete comments to my article, with my comments interposed after any point that I believed called for response. Parts of my responses appeared as “Editor’s Notes” within his comments.  In some cases I have expanded on them here.

Greenstein’s comments to NCNOW are reprinted below, interspersed with my responses:

By Rob Greenstein on 04/26/2014 at 8:08 am:  Really Christine!?!?!  I am “an energetic proponent of a development plan that assumes approval of as much as 120,000 square feet of retail development at Chappaqua Crossing”.  This is one of your more ridiculous assertions.  It is not worthy of a response.

Also, your assertion that “that Town Planner Sabrina Charney had prepared a survey without asking Steering Committee members for input, and was on the point of sending it out to residents” is so patently false that it is offensive.  It was absolutely sent to Steering Committee members and it was not even remotely close to being sent to residents.

Christine, as a reporter, you have a responsibility to check the facts before you print things. 

Greenstein’s FIRST POINT:  “Energetic proponent”

GREENSTEIN:  Really Christine!?!?!  I am “an energetic proponent of a development plan that assumes approval of as much as 120,000 square feet of retail development at Chappaqua Crossing”.  This is one of your more ridiculous assertions.  It is not worthy of a response.

YERES: First,  if not “energetic,” then “tireless”? And I would say “both.” 

I wrote “as much as 120,000 square feet of retail.”  And you left something out, Rob.  It was “plus the move of town hall to [Chappaqua Crossing’s] cupola building.”  Yes, you have been a tireless proponent of both.

And as to the 120,000 square feet, here are your own words:

In the TB Work Session of April 1, 2014, Greenstein told Town Board members, ““He’d [Summit Greenfield’s Felix Charney] be willing to give us the land” for tennis bubble, but not have it count as part of the 120,000 square feet.  The rent’s too low for his economics,” and that there might be “some fields at Chappaqua Crossing for the town.”  Asked by email about the tennis bubble and field space, Greenstein responded, by email, “No tennis bubble @ Chappaqua Crossing & no fields.  We are not adding anything to CC besides the retail which is replacing office space at a 1:1 ratio.”

and

I’ve asked our attorneys a number of times if can we approve less than less than 120,000, but the “Findings” and the Settlement specifically mention 120,000 square feet.

and

So if I’m trying to get 90,000 square feet [of retail at Chappaqua Crossing, down from 120,000] and build 30,000 in downtown chappaqua…. But I don’t want to talk about pretend stuff. I want to talk about real options.

and

“We’re still looking at 120,000 square feet of retail (total),” said Greenstein, “but if we can reduce some of that by, for example, a 30,000-square-foot gym, and hopefully a pool that the Greeley swim team can use…”

and

“But we’re trying to figure out possible options.  We’re also talking to the developer about putting a tennis bubble and an indoor recreation space at Chappaqua Crossing.  Now that won’t count toward the 120,000 square feet of retail—although I’ve asked a million times—it’s not happening, but I’ll continue to ask.  That’s something we think many in the community would welcome.  Maybe not.  But we’ll find that out during the Master Plan process.”

And then, of course, are the excerpts of emails from you to your Master Plan subcommittee members:

“As I previously mentioned, we are heading towards retail @ Chappaqua
Crossing. And this is happening despite the work of this committee.”

and

“This group’s job is to help shape Chappaqua Crossing—to make it a win for the community. . . . So, let’s not waste our time debating whether we think there should be retail @ Chappaqua Crossing.”

Greenstein’s SECOND POINT: Whether Steering Committee members other than Greenstein (who is no longer on the committee) had input into a survey meant to be released this Friday, May 2

GREENSTEIN: Also, your assertion “that Town Planner Sabrina Charney had prepared a survey without asking Steering Committee members for input, and was on the point of sending it out to residents” is so patently false that it is offensive.  It was absolutely sent to Steering Committee members and it was not even remotely close to being sent to residents.

Christine, as a reporter, you have a responsibility to check the facts before you print things.

YERES: First, Rob, you’ve got my assertion wrong. My assertion was made from my observation of the meeting.  I wrote:  “Bob Kirkwood, Dick Brownell, Hala Makowska and Maud Bailey seemed disturbed, for example, that Town Planner Sabrina Charney had prepared a survey without asking Steering Committee members for input, and was on the point of sending it out to residents.”

My “assertion” was that—based on their reactions in the meeting—the four Steering Committee members “seemed disturbed” that Sabrina or Tiffany (they, too, seemed not to know which one had authored it)—had prepared a survey without their input and meant to send it out soon in a mailing.

Now you can seize on the fact that—as no one knew and everyone learned in the April 22 meeting—it was Tiffany Zezula and not Sabrina Charney who had composed the survey.  But both women denied its existence when asked directly about it.

You and I were both at the Steering Committee meeting.  It was evident that at least four members of the committee (only you seemed unfazed by it) had not had anything to do with the survey that was poised to be sent out in the town’s storm-water mailing.  Sabrina told me on April 22 that the date for the storm-water mailing was Friday, May 2.

It was very unclear in the April 22 meeting exactly how the survey originated. At first Tiffany and Sabrina said there was no survey.  But one of them had spoken the word “survey.”

At that, Betty Weitz asked: “What survey?  I’m on a committee.  I never saw a survey.”

“Hold on a minute,” said Tiffany.  “It hasn’t even been…”

“Is it formulated?” asked Weitz.  “Is it written?”

“No,” said Charney.

“Is it written?” asked Weitz.

“No,” came from two voices this time.

“What does ‘written’ mean?” asked Tiffany.

From the audience, someone offered, “Do you have a piece of paper with the survey on it?”

“Yes, there are draft questions,” said Tiffany, adding, “I have drafted questions.”

“But it’s a draft survey,” said Maud Bailey.  “We haven’t even discussed it.”

“Hold on,” said Tiffany.  “Can we talk about the survey in the next five minutes?”

“This is where we, as a Steering Committee,” said Bailey to Tiffany and Sabrina, “are going to have to have a discussion about this.”

YERES: That’s how the dialogue went, Rob.  I’ve just located it in the tape (embedded below) at the 1 hour 15 minutes mark—have a listen.

Later in the meeting Tiffany said that the survey was a sort of amalgam of surveys she’d used in other communities.  She explained that she understood that there were cost constraints on our Master Plan review and that there would be no opportunity—i.e., money—for a second mailing—it had to go out with the storm-water mailing.

In the general hub-bub of the group moving to a table, Maud Bailey said, “No one has had any input into this document.”  Once they settled at their table together, Tiffany told Steering Committee members that the survey she drafted was meant (considering the Town Board’s time and cost constraints) to be very general and “to raise people’s ideas and curiosity.”

To ask specific questions in it would be inappropriate, Tiffany Zezula said, explaining: “We can’t be throwing options in people’s faces right now because they haven’t even told you what they’re thinking about their general goals regarding [for example] housing and commercial development.  If you put a solution in there, or a specific about ‘Where do you want such-and-such to go?’ or ‘What kind of zoning would you like …’ – what the public is inferring from that right away is that the decision is already being made.  We’re not there yet.  We’re at the first step, which is their vision and their goals.” 

To that Maud Bailey said, “I want to respond to that.  One, it wasn’t presented like that. It was presented as ‘This is going to go out.’  And that’s is very different.  Two, it’s OK, but—sorry—it’s not a great survey.  ‘How long you’ve lived here’ is meaningless for your demographics.  It doesn’t tell you whether you have kids in the school, what grades they’re in … 

“Your concept of not putting specific plans in is completely appropriate.  I don’t have a problem with that. I still don’t like the way it’s structured.  I think it needs to be talked about.  This group [the Steering Committee] has done a pretty good job of not talking about things specifically. 

“This survey, at the end of the day: one, I don’t think will be returned, and two, I don’t think would be really useful.  What I brought up in the last [Steering Committee meeting] was a more scientific survey.  If we can’t capture who’s [returned] the survey it’s not helpful to us.”

YERES: So back to your email critique of my reporting, Rob: my account was not “patently false.”.  I was mistaken only about the author of the survey. And you see above how that happened: when questioned directly, initially, neither Sabrina nor Tiffany took ownership of it.  Both denied its existence.  And it was slated to go out Friday, May 2 with the town’s one big post-office mailing, in order to save on postage, Rob.
 
On the other hand, what might seem patently impossible is this: Once Sabrina and Tiffany allowed discussion of the survey, Sabrina began by saying—as though it had been the plan all along—that there would be no survey going out before Steering Committee members had seen it, shared it with their groups, and approved of it.

I suppose that could have been accomplished—sending out to group members, approving content, printing, and mailing—by May 2, but I doubt it.

Since Steering Committee members [and by this I mean the four other than yourself; you were the only member who didn’t seem surprised or annoyed by it] seemed not to have had anything to do with the “draft survey,” I had a hunch – which I did not include in my story—that this was a new position taken by Sabrina, most likely the result of Steering Committee members’ reaction to having had no input into the survey.  And now you have provided (below) a way to check not only my facts, but my hunch as well.

In another comment, Greenstein provided an April 14 email from Sabrina Charney to Master Plan Steering Committee members.  Below, I have reproduced the entire email, but with my remarks interposed in response.  To view the email without interruption, click HERE.

GREENSTEIN: Christine, on April 10th, Sabrina sent an email to the entire Steering Committee attaching the DRAFT survey.  It said draft, and it was a draft. A few Steering Committee members commented on the survey.

YERES: Rob, this April 10th email may clear things up.  Since you have been so forthcoming with other emails of Sabrina’s, you won’t mind providing me this one too—especially since you’re offering it as proof that my reporting on this is “100% wrong.”  And let me FOIL for it as well:
________________________

Freedom of Information Act/Law Request
“FOIL” REQUEST

Please send me an electronic copy of the April 10, 2014 email from Town Planner Sabrina Charney to “to the entire Steering Committee attaching the DRAFT survey.”  Please include the draft survey.

Thank you.
Christine Yeres
________________________

YERES:  I won’t ask to see Steering Committee members’ comments on the survey—you say that a few of them “commented on the survey.”  But my guess is that their comments were not input on the survey but, rather, objections to having had no input

GREENSTEIN: On April 14th, Sabrina sent the following email to the entire Steering Committee.

YERES: Thank you for publishing this email.  Please note that this email was sent four days after—as you’ve just revealed—the “DRAFT survey” was sent.  Again, I need to see the text of the April 10, 2014 email that preceded this, because I’d say that the email you’re providing below reads like a response to responses from Steering Committee members who—judging from what you and I heard them say in the April 22 meeting—were probably displeased that they had not been consulted on a survey that was slated to go out in a mailing ten days later, on May 2.

Greenstein provides Sabrina Charney’s email of April 14, 2014, below.  [Here, too, I have interposed my comments; to read the email in its entirely, uninterrupted by my remarks, click HERE.]:

Town Planner Sabrina Charney to Master Plan Steering Committee Members:

CHARNEY: Dear Steering Committee-

Regarding discussions that were being had on the survey, I was hoping to take advantage of a town-wide mailing and include a survey that mirrored the public outreach sessions which we will be holding in May.  A town-wide mailing runs approximately $4,000.00 for copy and postage and additional money for data input and analysis.

YERES:  The $4,000 is for printing and mailing alone?  How much “additional money” for “data input and analysis”? Would this be for “data input and analysis” on the draft survey that was the subject of discussion on April 22? 

CHARNEY: As you all know there is no budget at this time for the master plan update.

YERES: The Master Plan Steering Committee didn’t seem to accept this well in the April 22 meeting, Rob, when you reminded them of it.  And as I reminded you and the Committee members during the April 22 meeting, your comptroller Rob Deary says that he can always find money if the Board directs him to do so. 

CHARNEY:  The outreach meetings to be held in May are general in nature to get people out and involved.  Tiffany will discuss this more on the 22nd, but the outcome of the public meetings will be the community thoughts on the various topics as well as some of their ideas to deal with some of the problems.

The survey that was circulated [...]

YERES: This is the “draft” survey, circulated by Sabrina in the April 10 email you have referenced, Rob. I need the full text of that email.

CHARNEY: [...] was a general survey used in other communities to get people talking and get them more importantly on notice for the public meetings.  It was intended to be goal oriented, and purposely was not to contain specific or leading questions.

YERES: In the April 22 meeting with Pace, my impression was that the Steering Committee members were not particularly worried about the degree of specificity of the survey or whether its questions should be “leading.”  Instead, they were annoyed that someone intended to mail the survey—or, if you want, let’s call it the “DRAFT survey”— without consulting them about its content.  In fact, Maud Bailey agreed that such an early survey attempt should remain general in nature.  Her objection to the draft survey was that it was it was not well thought-out.

CHARNEY:   The specificity that I think all of you are looking for [. . .]

YERES:  Again, from what I heard in that meeting, the Steering Committee members were not looking for specificity.

CHARNEY:   [. . .] is scheduled to come this fall- after the general public outreach is accomplished and after the work groups have examined the 1989 TDP [Master Plan] in relation to the public outreach meeting conclusions and your work group work.  The fall round of public outreach will be to obtain feedback and get the public’s priorities on the steering committee’s work regarding goals, objectives and implementation strategies. We will use this time to ask any specific questions that are needed.  This is Master Planning.

If a general survey does move forward, I will need to have something ready to print by May 2nd, if we want to leverage the town-wide mailing that is being done. Obviously, this does not leave much time, as Tiffany and I are unavailable from April 25- April 30th.

If it is decided that we move forward with a general survey, it may be possible to include a section which addresses specific questions related to “live applications” before the Town Board- I can think of one- Chappaqua Crossing.

YERES: So a general survey – the draft survey that was slated for mailing – would have been permitted to carry with it specific questions on the “live application” of Chappaqua Crossing?

CHARNEY:   Specifically, we could include questions related to moving Town Hall to the Cupola Building and repurposing the Town Hall property in Chappaqua.

YERES: There is it, Rob, the other part of your plan that includes retail at Chappaqua Crossing: “moving Town Hall to the Cupola Building and repurposing the Town Hall property in Chappaqua.” 

So does this mean that sending out a specific question—about your town-hall-to-cupola plan for which you are the “energetic proponent” I described—in the “general,” non-specific survey would have been permissible because related to the “live application” of Chappaqua Crossing?

CHARNEY: Discussing things that are not yet pressing [. . .]

YERES: This might be a typo.  Let’s ask Sabrina about this wording.  Should it read: “Discussing things that are pressing,”i.e., the “live applications”?

CHARNEY: [. . .] would be inappropriate to the Master Plan process, but we have an obligation to try and make headway with the reality we are dealing with.

YERES: Is this the “reality” you mention frequently—that the previous Town Board has tied your hands and approval of retail at Chappaqua Crossing is a given, because, as Sabrina’s email says, “we have an obligation to try and make headway with the reality we are dealing with”?

CHARNEY:   Again, this effort would give us an opportunity to get some quick feedback and gives us an opportunity to spread the word about coming out to the larger meetings.

We have a lot to discuss on the 22nd so if folks want to talk more about the survey, can people be available before or after our next Steering Committee meeting or another day?  I will try and make myself available as much as possible to make this work.

Please let me know your thoughts,
Sabrina

GREENSTEIN: So, Christine, once again, your comment that Steering Committee members were not asked for input and the survey was on the point of sending it out to residents is 100% wrong.  Please check your facts - you owe it to your readers - you owe it to the community.

YERES: Well, Rob, seeing Sabrina’s email of April 10, 2014 will enable me to check my facts for my readers and the community.  But I also have eyes and ears, and I attended the April 22 meeting. It looks to me as though Sabrina may have invited input on the survey only after objections were raised by committee members.

So until you show me the April 10, 2014 email you referenced—from Sabrina to Steering Committee members—I don’t think we can say that I was 100% or any other percent wrong when I wrote that “Bob Kirkwood, Dick Brownell, Hala Makowska and Maud Bailey seemed disturbed, for example, that Town Planner Sabrina Charney had prepared a survey without asking Steering Committee members for input, and was on the point of sending it out to residents.” And, depending on the text of Sabrina’s April 10 email, even your inaccurate paraphrase of my account may be proved 100% correct—that “Steering Committee members were not asked for input and the survey was on the point [of being sent] out to residents.”

I will copy Town Clerk Mary Deems and Town Counsel Ed Phillips on the FOIL request this morning.

Town of New Castle Master Plan Steering Committee 4/22/14 from New Castle Media Center on Vimeo.

____________________________________

For NCNOW’s archived articles on the Master Plan, visit our Master Plan page.

On four days in May, tell us about the future of Your New Castle, NCNOW.org, 4/25/14

In TB work session, argument breaks out over Greenstein’s place on Master Plan steering group, NCNOW.org, 4/25/14

Master Plan and Chappaqua Crossing: An update from Supervisor Rob Greenstein, NCNOW.org, 4/25/14

Tensions surface over survey and funding, supervisor resigns his Master Plan hat, NCNOW.org, 4/25/14


Comments(40):
We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

Dear Editor Yeres- your tireless and outstanding efforts providing NEWCASTLENOW to our community are widely recognized and admired. I believe you have done an outstanding job separating your personal feelings about retail at Chapp Crossing ( you have been honest in reminding us many times that you live in close proximity) from the role of unbiased /impartial editor. That is not easy and I give you credit for the effort.

This letter is troubling because you have clearly taken an enormous amount of time constructing and reconstructing dialogue through written and video in order to “do battle” with Rob Greenstein. This has now taken on a personal tone. As editor, you will always be subject to criticism no matter what you write or what you allow others to submit. To lower yourself and get in the mud on this issue is beneath you. You also open yourself up to future debates and dialogue with other board members and residents.

We know Greenstein is a lose cannon. If you are going to take issue with his statements and comments on this why not on other things he has done and will do. I am reminded of the Town Board meeting which I know you attended where Greenstein accused a resident of being out of his mind and drunk. As editor , why didn’t you take him to task in your publication? I am not suggesting that you should have but merely pointing out the slippery slope you are on by engaging in this current debate.

Keep up the good work and stay on task! You’re better than this.

By Big Christine fan on 04/29/2014 at 10:06 am

Defensive aren’t we?  Why are we watching this slow motion train wreck?  Yeres and Greenstein are wasting time fighting with each other.  Other than the entertainment value, this battle of the wits (or maybe I am half right) is useless to the town.  Greenie should learn to control his impulsiveness and Yeres should stop taking the bait.  Add in Betty W. and you have the entire three ring circus.

By Nancy D. on 04/29/2014 at 10:43 am

In other news, Hall of Scoops opened, the juice bar next store is thriving, taxes are due tomorrow, the school is working on next year’s budget, the town clean up day was a huge success, the farmer’s market will be moving outside soon and we are expecting a lot of rain.

By Bored in the 10514 on 04/29/2014 at 10:48 am

Ms. Yeres, you are not a reporter, you are a blogger.  This is the worst kind of blog as it allows anonymous comments with no accountability.  Even WestportNOW.com requires bloggers to register and be logged in to post comments.  So, we have a blogger who lives near Chappauqa Crossing, who controls the content, controls the comments and allows anonymous comments. 

It’s okay that your blogs are opinionated.  No need to apologize for that.  Blogs are supposed to be opinionated.  But please don’t call yourself a reporter.

By This is a blog on 04/29/2014 at 11:34 am

I may have missed a debate on this issue, but recently a friend advised that a reputable and outstanding sr living center approached the town (ie, Greenstein) about the possibility of using cc for the development of a graduated sr living center similar to Rye Atria.  Reportedly, they were advised by G that of “no go” bc retail was done deal on all fronts and no room for this sort of development.  Seems odd given all bonuses of sr living additions to our area… Logical outcrop for many reasons and could reduce controversy on many fronts.  True?  Was this proposal explored or discussed and I missed it?

By Promote the seniors in 10514! on 04/29/2014 at 11:35 am

Nancy D’s phrase is exactly how I feel when reading NCN for more than the past year.

My gut told me that this bully with a short temper would not make for a good leader for our town. Seems like things are getting worse, not better here in our little hamlet.

Don’t see any viable solution anywhere on the horizon.
Quite a SNAFU

By Slow Motion Train Wreck on 04/29/2014 at 11:38 am

Christine is right to respond to Rob.  Rob made accusations about Christine and NewCastleNow that required replies.  If the record shows that Rob’s criticisms were inaccurate—and I think that it does - than all of us need to hear that. 

My opinion is that accusations and name-calling do not accomplish anything.  Nor does flying off the handle—Rob—and attacking your critics. 

I’ve known Christine for several years.  Full disclosure:  she’s published a few essays and letters that I’ve written, including letters on the CC topic.  Based on my dealings with her and the coverage that I’ve read in NewCastleNow, including coverage of meetings that I have attended, I think that her journalistic ethics are impeccable.  She keeps meticulous records—see her letter, above—and strives for accuracy.

Nonetheless, the volume on these issues needs to be turned DOWN.  Those of us who oppose the planned retail expansion at CC do not oppose all development at that site, and never have; it’s scale, and the effects of that scale on the wider community (i.e., not just Lawrence Farms), that have been the issues.  The opposition has been labeling people unfairly—NIMBY, BANANA, whatever—and our side has not been too polite, either.

Maybe we should turn CC into a conference center and schedule a retreat—a meditation weekend for all.

That’s a joke but, seriously, this apparent policy of “equal opportunity abuse” needs to end. 

Thank you, Christine, for your civil, detailed reply to Rob.

By Rita Tobin on 04/29/2014 at 11:48 am

From the audience, someone offered, “Do you have a piece of paper with the survey on it?” 

Christine, can I get a quote next time? 

Keep up the good work, you provide and invaluable service! 

Editor’s Note:  The camera was facing forward—I couldn’t see who said it!  Thanks.

By Chris Roberta on 04/29/2014 at 11:52 am

Hey, there, “This is a blogg,” you should contact Rob Greenstein.  These are exactly his obsessions (I mean concerns). He doesn’t comment anonymously, though, so this must not be him.  Don’t tell him you’ve commented anonymously - he’ll scold you for being amoral, unethical, etc. etc. He bragged when he was running for office that he commented under multiple names. But now that he’s The Government he thinks it’s amoral, unethical, etc. etc. 

Rob, I know you must not be reading this because you don’t READ anonymous comments either, remember?  But your “assertions” - all these “assertions” flying !!!! Whew! - are very very very transparently ... self serving.

Resolve to give this up and get on the the community trust track.  And make friends with this person who thinks Christine’s a blogger. 

By A friend for Rob Greenstein! on 04/29/2014 at 12:29 pm

I understand there’s a need to cover trivial stories when it’s a slow news day.  But, we do have substantial topics and more important things to cover.  You can do better, Mrs. Yeres.

Editor’s Note:  Name them.

By Slow News Day? on 04/29/2014 at 12:35 pm

To Rita Tobin- I’m glad to see you have acknowledged that both sides have been unfair and aggressive when you say ” and our side has not been too polite either”.
I’m curious- when Greenstein was on your side ( or so you thought) why didn’t you condem and criticize him then for his aggressive behavior, name calling, and attacking his critics as you are now doing? Now that he is apparently working with the developer as he promised and retail at CC is becoming more a reality, you and the NIMBYs see him as the opposition. Only a few months ago he was your ally. As an ally for your “stop retail at CC” cause I guess it was ok for him and Katz to behave so poorly, so aggressively and go on the attack. 
Perhaps I missed your past comments and letters in which you condemed their behavior - if so accept my apology.

By Resident on 04/29/2014 at 12:49 pm

To “Slow” :

There is no more important topic than the future of the town. The town board has the Master Plan committee on a starvation diet.

By Future of the town on 04/29/2014 at 12:54 pm

Christine Yeres has done as much, or more, than any single New Castle resident in enabling transparency and communication at the local goverment level. She has committed immense effort in establishing a first-class website that enables ALL New Castle residents to be informed of relevant happenings, and to let their feelings be known. Yes, she is a reporter, despite the offensive comments made to the contrary by the anonymous toughguy who bemoans that she allows ‘anonymous comments with no accountability’.
  However, I too think Christine should refrain from engaging in a highly public spat. I do not want to see the credibility of my favorite online read be compromised. To date she has been consistently fair and impartial.
  Rob certainly has a knack for getting people’s dander up but I’m not convinced that he acts in a devious manner, or is truly interested in forcing his agenda down people’s throats. I am still hopeful that he’ll do what he believes to be best for the citizens of New Castle.
  I still don’t understand why the 55yr and older housing concept got discarded as being ‘unenforceable’. From a demographic and tax revenue/liabilty standpoint, it would have been (in my opinion) the most common sense option.

By steve walsh on 04/29/2014 at 12:56 pm

To the Editor,

Please assure your readers that you never post anonymously.

By Resident on 04/29/2014 at 1:11 pm

@ Rita Tobin- You must really take the readers for ignorant suckers when you make such comments regarding Rob Greenstein’s inaccurate criticisms, name calling accusations, and his flying off the handle. Now you want the volume turned DOWN. I agree with you 100%.
But where were you for the last 2 years when Greenstein/Katz did the name calling, dishonest petitions, bullying, disrespectful displays at Town Board meetings? Back then these tactics were in support of your NIMBY enclave. Those that spoke or commented (anonymously or otherwise) were treated poorly by Greenstein and Team New Castle. Previous Town Board Supervisor was regularly insulted and yelled at. Supporters of retail at CC were ostracized, labeled crazy or dreamers, and embarrassed.  Mr Greenstein, if nothing else has been consistent in his style and demeanor. When he was fighting for your cause to stop retail at CC I do not recall you asking him to tone it down. I don’t recall letters/comments from your side of town asking for polite and appropriate decorum. To the contrary, you all showed up at Board meeting after meeting, dominating and monopolizing the agenda and cheering on the bad behavior. They circulated a deceitful bogus petition. Then the Whitehouse/Greenberg survey was taken off line because you folks stuffed the ballot box using multiple log ins. Where were you then?
As others have said, you got what you deserve and what you voted for. My hope is that a well planned, well organized multi usage facility with manageable retail comes to CC. The entire community can not and should not be held hostage to a few dozen households. Greenstein is making good, or at least trying to, in his efforts to scale down this project, bring the community some perks, and negotiate with SG. That and bring Whole Foods to CC is what he campaigned on.
This personal battle between Ron &Christine; is a waste everyone’s time.

By West sider on 04/29/2014 at 1:36 pm

Why is it that for all the promises of transparency, I am as confused as ever as to what is really going on?

By in the dark on 04/29/2014 at 2:35 pm

Greenstein and Brodsky are selling off the towns future in chunks to developers. THey think that’s progress.

By They are developers' friends on 04/29/2014 at 2:39 pm

Dear Ms Yeres :
I was a resident of Chappaqua for 35 years ,I am no longer there as our children are
Grown and gone from home ,we did stay another 15 years but school taxes no longer made sense to us ,but we do care about the town of new castle,and I remember when you started your newspaper on line.You brought transparency to the work that was done. At town hall Pluss kept all of us up to date on other town and school issues.
I am still subscribe to your great paper, and I am writing to give you my support ,I strongly feel you were right when Mr Greenstein said that your FACTS were not right
When in fact your reporting was correct..I do believe that this new board is beginning to feel the heat ,as the problem is ,they promised too much to the people and their experience is limited.In the past almost all elected supervisors ,first they had served on the Town Board and this gave them some experience, . Also I think there is too much
Animosity between people in government there and I am afraid The Town will be the looser..
Keep up the good work reporting The Town will need it!

By A B G on 04/29/2014 at 3:28 pm

NCNow; I’m pleased to read impeccable investigative reporting.
I anxiously await many more authentic facts from NewCastleNow rather than the seeds of propaganda being cast about in opinion.
Christine will find the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Integrity is an invitation and a responsibility to stand for; what that stand looks like is Christine’s role in our community.

By Tell me more on 04/29/2014 at 4:33 pm

So many have been treated rudely on these pages.  The comments are anything but civil.  The discourse is rarely civic.  The comments are reviewed and published even though the civil and civic discourse standard is rarely met.  To the editor’s credit, she is ignoring this standard with the comments directed at her as well.

By Taste of your own medicine on 04/29/2014 at 5:00 pm

It will be great to put the Chappaqua Crossing issue behind us.  It is tearing us apart.

By Jeff B. on 04/29/2014 at 5:47 pm

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. This is a valuable venue for venting, local issues and opinions. If you don’t like what’s being written, then don’t read it!
The beauty of Christine’s publication(s) is so clear to me, we have the freedom to write or read whatever we want and not fear retribution. We learn about the goings on internally and at levels within our new administration that we otherwise wouldn’t be privy to. I am grateful for this publication and I give a zillion Kudos to Christine for her brevity, brains and brawn! Go girl!!

By Cookie on 04/29/2014 at 7:50 pm

Rob is trying to marginalize this site one way or another. The silent treatment did not work. Now he is trying mischaracterize it as wholly inaccurate. As anyone who takes the time to read this post can see, Rob’s purported facts are often full of holes This is just one instance.  There are quite a few others.  This is unfortunately what he does.

By Proudly anonymous on 04/29/2014 at 8:33 pm

The bias I see is for good government and I thank you for that, Christine!!

By Robin Murphy on 04/30/2014 at 8:18 am

Christine, I am your fan.  But, we should be honest.  This is a blog.  It is the definition of a blog.  It is a personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis.  There is nothing wrong with a blog.  But if it looks like a blog, walks like a blog and quacks like a blog, it’s a blog.  It happens to be an informative blog but a blog nonetheless.

By Fan of Christine on 04/30/2014 at 9:56 am

Czar Greenstein why was is it ok for you and your team new castle brown shirts to be rude and disrespectful to the last town board but it’s not ok when someone questions you… Stop crying.. It’s a lot easier to BS people when you’re not in office.  I’m so disappointed I voted for you and your crew as you have done nothing but disappoint me.  Lisa thanks for making sure there is no retail at the Xing way to keep that promise for me..  So glad I gave money to help you get elected..  It seems like there is no difference between this board and the last one.  Trying to pin down The Czar on an issue is like trying to herd cats.. He changes his mind every other day..

By ROB GROW UP on 04/30/2014 at 1:07 pm

Do not be offended by the term blog.  Blogging is an art.  This is a very good blog!  Start your own if you are not happy with it.  It’s easy. 

http://www.bloggingbasics101.com/how-do-i-start-a-blog/

 

By Blogging 101 on 04/30/2014 at 7:16 pm

Lisa Katz just called for residents to be respectful of Town officials.  Are you kidding me. I guess it was her evil twin who screamed at and was disrespectful to the last board.  Maybe that same twin was the one who said no retail at the Xing.

By Lisa Katz evil twin on 05/01/2014 at 8:43 am

I must have missed the part when Lisa Katz asked for residents to be respectful of Town officials. If it is true that is what she said I can think of nothing more hypocritical. The last Town Board meeting I attended was last fall and because of her and Greenstein I swore off ever going again. During the public comments portion, Ms Katz and Mr Greenstein spoke multiple times. When their allotted time ran out they simply got back on line to take the microphone and belittle, yell, condemn, embarrass, and disrespect the sitting town board. Katz repeatedly yelled at Susan Carpenter. I could take no more and left when she yelled at Carpenter for not making eye contact with her as she was yelling. I though Ms Carpenter and the entire Town Board showed great restraint as these 2 bullies yelled and screamed. I recall that they repeated that “nobody in town wanted retail at CC” and they “had not met a single person in favor”. These 2 circulated a deceitful petition, manipulated the process, and fear mongered about unsubstantiated claims.
The lack of respect she showed was unbearable to watch. Now that she is a Town Board member she asks for respect??? What a joke!

By What goes around comes around on 05/01/2014 at 11:20 am

to “twin”

Unfortunately, it seems that all of Team New Castle has an evil twin.  The current twins are not honoring what the twins before the election said they would do.

Although one thing is consistent in that the twins were inexperienced in government before the election and they are still inexperienced - and it shows each time they open their mouths.

By 3 sets of twins on 05/01/2014 at 11:41 am

Christine does not publish all postings. If she does not publish this observation, I fear it detracts from her impartiality and credibility

Editor’s Note:  You were benched.  I offered to discuss this with you. You have not contacted me.

By Fan of Christine 2 on 05/01/2014 at 2:16 pm

Chrisitne, I’m sure you can win any war of words when it comes to parsing comments.  But I watched the video.  What I saw was nothing like what you characterized.  You make reference to “members of the committee” in terms of sources that are presented as almost akin to facts.  You throw in “adding insult to injury” when you describe some dissonance in the survey process.  Your goal is to inflame.  You are a welcome listener (and publisher) when any committee member wants to vent.  This is what engagement with the community looks like. It’s never perfect.  Perfect is impossible, and ultimately the quest for perfect is the enemy of the good.  We as a community, and you in particular, have the ability to kill this kind of engagement.  I can tell you that if I was a member of one of these committees and a committe member likened their willingness to go public with private discussions to being a tobacco whistle blower, I would be off that committee tomorrow.

We get your interest in Chappaqua Crossing.  The people that live in that neighborhood have every right to raise all of their objections, do it loudly, and do it persistently.  But please do not hijack the master planning process and all of the other potentially good things that can happen in our town.  Regardless of the facts, at the end of the day Rob is right.  You are not being truthful.  Your characterization of things are not accurate or objective.

By Inflammatory on 05/02/2014 at 2:01 pm

Haters got a hate.  I don’t know what happens in these committee meetings, but just took a look at last tape of TB meeting and no one is yelling, no one is timing, and the entire board is interacting with the speakers.  I am guessing none of the people on this post ever got up to speak in front of Carpenter & Co. where you got hit in the face before you even opened up your mouth.

By Dissappointed on 05/02/2014 at 2:50 pm

Perhaps, when a post is deleted or not approved. the editor can add a short sentence why.  For example, “This post was not approved because of inappropriate language.” Or, “This post was not approved because it is a personal attack.”

By Riding the pine on 05/02/2014 at 4:01 pm

Don’t complain about being benched when you enter Christine’s stadium.  She is the owner, general manager, coach and she is the reporter covering the team.  If you want to play ball, you play be her rules.

By Christine's Stadium on 05/02/2014 at 10:02 pm

One view expressed is that the Editor (implicitly lowering herself)  “took the bait”.  The way I see it, Ms Yeres is holding Rob’s feet to the fire and I am glad she is. In just four months we have witnessed intentional distortions and disinformation coupled with sanctimony across myriad issues. Thank you and keep it up.

By Venice on 05/02/2014 at 11:20 pm

In the original article, this blog stated, “Greenstein, according to several of his group members, including Weitz,  has pointedly steered them toward generating solutions that match his own development plans for Chappaqua Crossing and downtown Chappaqua.”

That is a flat-out lie. The author would do better to confirm this point of view with more than 1-2 sub-committee members. Several of the commercial hamlet sub-committee members are rabidly anti-development and apparently they will say anything to create unwarranted controversy. In fact, the sub-committee has not even been asked to generate any solutions at this stage of the project. As such, it’s not possible that Rob steered them toward anything. Rob did nothing wrong except try (futilely) to manage an unmanageable group.

By Truth on 05/03/2014 at 12:38 am

I believe NCN has done a wonderful job of reporting the news and has attempted to report facts without bias.  What Greenstein said was a direct attack on the credibility of this publication.  Any publication would defend the accuracy of its reporting.  Greenstein doesn’t seem to like that he can’t spin issues as he wishes.  If he can discredit NCN, then he will have a much easier time manipulating the electorate.  Let’s remember that Greenstein has a history of credibility gaps not just on CC, but on the train station lease as well.  We should all applaud the work NCN has done to keep the workings of government transparent.  Transparency doesn’t to seem to come naturally to elected officials.

By Jonathan S. on 05/03/2014 at 6:30 pm

It may not be perfect and the blogger definitely has strong opinions but it’s the only blog in town so don’t knock it.

By Only blog in town on 05/03/2014 at 10:46 pm

Dear Christine’s stadium,

I support Christine’s impartiality. My issue with her is her objections to my over the top comments and attitude. She is ok with me. I hope she will let me on to the playing field. I hope to see her at a meeting to see what she wants to tell me which may be something personal about the object of one of my comments. Otherwise, she is doing a great job. Just as thankless as Rob’s, methinks

By Benched on 05/04/2014 at 10:49 pm


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