L to E: Letter of Support for New Castle Democrats from Elise Mottel

November 1, 2013
by Elise K. Mottel

I am writing in support of Penny Paderewski for Town Supervisor and John Buckley and Mike Wolfensohn for Town Board. As a sitting town board member and an active Democrat, my endorsement will surprise few, if any. I feel that the reasons I am supporting the Democratic slate are important to share before the election.

I have worked with Penny Paderewski for nine years.  I have watched her manage our town’s finances. She is a consummate professional. She is both fiscally responsible and creative. Witness our AAA bond rating. She has been able to keep this rating and enhance our infrastructure, develop new ways to maintain our services, and improve our parks and public spaces. None of these accomplishments could have been done without a financial leader with great talents. That is Penny.

As town administrator, Penny has managed our employees through strained financial times. She has worked collaboratively with department heads, employees, volunteers and outside resources. Penny is innovative and inspirational. She knows and gets along with important partners —working with local, county, state and federal officials and agencies to benefit New Castle.

Penny provides experience, knowledge and dedication.  I can say the same about John and Mike. Michael has heady skills at building consensus on difficult issues and John votes his conscience, even if it means publicly disagreeing with his colleagues. Michael is passionate about public safety, youth sports and making sure all parts of Town have a voice. John has been a leader in bringing services to the community and helping during times of crisis.

Serving on the Town Board has great rewards. But serving, and running for office, have become difficult, notwithstanding our passion. Each of these candidates has been assailed by the opposition and their supporters. Criticism has sunk to levels that are inappropriate and distressing.

This letter may generate yet another onslaught of attacks and diatribes. Who knows how many real authors exist behind the comments and insults that appear on-line? But we all must speak out. There’s no question, this is personal. It’s personal because I live here and I believe we deserve better.

Please join me in electing Penny, John and Michael next week. Yes, we are a community like all others with room for improvement.  These candidates will take those steps forward. We have a great town.  I love New Castle. For what it is today and what it can be tomorrow under leadership that looks to improve, instead of those seeking public office without putting the public first. 

October 30, 2013
Elise K. Mottel
Town Board Member/Deputy Supervisor

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

Go away Ms. Mottel. You have zero credibility in this town.

By a town merchant on 10/31/2013 at 3:37 pm

Elise Mottel gave us the Conifer boondoggle.  She is shameful.

By Bob on 10/31/2013 at 3:51 pm

Elise Mottel has been on the right side of every major decision that New Castle has had to make over the past 10 years. Her position on Affordable Housing i.e. Conifer was absolutely the right position to have! Her position to allow natural free market forces to dictate how the downtown merchants and landlords are impacted by the approval of Chappaqua Crossing is spot on correct! Her position to promote and do more of the same is what New Castle needs! We need people like Elise Mottel to bring to New Castle more Affordable Housing Projects, to allow Chappaqua Crossing to move forward and add to its commercial base in the future. We need the oversight that she brings, the rules and regulations that she applies, and the many sets of different eyes that she mandates and invites into Town Hall to review all projects no matter how small or big. She has the support of the community, the wisdom of her experience, and the expertise that is hard to duplicate.  Elise Mottel knows what is best for all of us, knows the opinions, interest, and concerns of the silient majority. I support Elise Mottel in her support of the Democratic Party Line, because she has proven that she knows what is best for us all on many different ocasions, and knows how to make the very tough of the toughest decisions. I look forward to seeing more AFH projects coming into Chappaqua under the guidance and support of Mrs. Mottel. It truly is nice to see that she is giving people a chance from the lowest sections of the Bronx, Mt. Vernon, Yonkers, and Portchester, the ability to afford Chappaqua. The opposition to AFH has educated us all as to where additional AFH can be built, and Mrs. Mottel we look to you to have it built!. Thank you for your service and contribution to humanity. Your choice to support the Democratic Party Line is spot on and correct!

By I support Elise Mottel on 10/31/2013 at 5:02 pm

Mottel disgraced herself on Conifer (maybe there will be a fence!). It is a pity this state does not have a recall process, and we have to wait till her term is up to be rid of her.



By a real author who exists…and votes on 10/31/2013 at 5:17 pm

At the last town board meeting Betty Weitz spoke eloquently and movingly about ethics..  While she did not say that Robin Stout and the other 2 members who voted to move forward and approve the findings were behaving unethically, I will.  She described the ‘utilitarian’ philosophy, which is what Stout, Chapin and of course Carpenter are employing in voting to approve these findings.

Stout has already demonstrated his lack of ethics when he, along with Mottel and Carpenter hid and then ignored the financials of Conifer.  Here Chapin, Stout and Carpenter spin the actual financials of this CC proposal to support their zoning change.  They are all unethical.  As with the original Conifer vote where Chapin voted yes, to move that zoning change forward,  and then voted no because they did not need his vote, he does the same here.  Does he have a mind of his own?

As poster GGC has described under Stouts last letter of spin on the CC voting, each vote to move forward locks the town into this high handed maneuver to bring retail to CC.  Remember, they have not demonstrated that this is sound financially, that the traffic CAN, let alone will be mitigated or that the majority of the town wants this.

With this vote, they are creating sprawl, ruining the surrounding neighborhoods as well as the existing downtown hamlets.  They do not care about this town.  Why in the world would anyone vote for them.

By unethical board on 10/31/2013 at 5:21 pm

Too bad that Mottel characterizes genuine concerns and opinion as ‘diatribes and attacks’.
She is representative of the dismissive treatment by the town board to the residents.
Has Elise ever responded to any resident’s concerns ?  No one I know has gotten a response from her to their emails.

Since Elise finds that her service to the town has become ‘difficult’ perhaps she should step down now. I know many who would be grateful to see her go, most of whom are the town’s merchants among many others. 

I do agree that we need better and that is why I will not be voting for the democrats in this election.

By too bad on 10/31/2013 at 6:30 pm

Elise, thank you for injecting something positive into this conversation. You’re right—much more is right with New Castle than is wrong. The Republicans rail against the status quo, but I’ll take our AAA credit rating, very few vacancies in our hamlet’s storefronts, and vibrant community any day over the whining and negativity of the so-called Team New Castle!

By Michael Zuch on 10/31/2013 at 7:30 pm

Getting an endorsement from Elise Mottel is like the kiss of death. If I were Penny, I would have told her to stay quiet.

I watched on TV as Elise Mottel read her long and emotional statement why she was voting to approve the Conifer horror on Hunts Place project. I was not sure that she would get through her emotional dissertation without breaking down (although she did scold the audience a couple of times). Nothing in her dissertation made any sense, if she had truly understood what was happening, she would not have voted for such a horrible project. Her endorsement means nothing more to me than, I want you to vote for some one like me. No I do not want some one like you who has made bad decisions. Your endorsement absolutely makes me know that I made the right decision to not vote for Paderewski, I will be voting for the sensible Democrat Greenstein.

Elise Mottel, you should have stayed out of this election except for your vote in the election booth.

By Elise Mottel, you should not have written this on 10/31/2013 at 8:02 pm

@I support Elise Mottel,
So you are saying she didn’t recuse herself from deciding on Chappaqua Crossing after all.

By bob on 10/31/2013 at 8:07 pm

For some reason, Mottel insists on making this process a political one. Why would a sitting elected official try to hand select the other members of the Town board?  This is not about supporting democrats (if it were, Greenstein is a democrat) nor is it about supporting republicans.  It is about New Castle and the good people that live here. 

Elise, and everyone else, keep local government about the people, not the party.  Please.

By Jerry G. on 10/31/2013 at 9:23 pm

The following excerpt is taken verbatim from the letter of “I support Elise Mottel”, misspellings and all:

“I support Elise Mottel in her support of the Democratic Party Line, because she has proven that she knows what is best for us all on many different ocasions, and knows how to make the very tough of the toughest decisions. I look forward to seeing more AFH projects coming into Chappaqua under the guidance and support of Mrs. Mottel.”

Well, that about sums it up.  Vote for Penny and the Democratic slate, and you will elect people 1. who know what is best for us instead of asking our opinion and 2.  who look forward to more Affordable Housing projects in Chappaqua.  This makes the decision of whether to vote for Penny or Greenstein a “no-brainer”, in my humble opinion.

By B on 11/01/2013 at 12:07 am

Mr. Zuch, are those water buckets getting heavy yet?

By bob on 11/01/2013 at 7:56 am

The people who write these horrible posts support Greenstein.  I believe that speaks volumes.  These are the kind of people he attracts.  Heaven help us.

By best wishes for New Castle on 11/01/2013 at 8:15 am

Whether Mr. Greenstein wins or loses, he made an important contribution at the League of Women Voters’ Candidates Night by pointing out what even school children know or can imagine: There is NOTHING Democratic or Republican about town government’s important functions of public safety, road paving, water supply, garbage collection, zoning and so on.

Yet, sadly, the traditional time and format constraints of the League’s Candidates Night provided NO OPPORTUNITY to discuss that—to point out that afffiliation with national political parties is as irrelevant as it is misleading.

Like any other municipality, New Castle needs a Supervisor and a Board with knowledge and skills in the most important, long-term local issues.

That starts with the property tax burden on homeowners and the strength of the non-residential property tax base, which, also sadly, was not illuminated at Candidates Night either. Views on domestic and foreign policies, however justifiably and passionately held, have no relevance to how the town should be run. (Does it really matter more whether this or that store is built/rebuilt at a particular location than whether “FOR RENT” signs blossom like daffodils, reflecting weak patronage and high taxes?)

Without an opportunity for another, more comprehensive Candidates Night, will our candidates please use NewCastleNOW.org as its functional equivalent—fortuitously and easily available—and treat these issues with more than the meaningless, vague advocacy of “fiscal responsibility?”

For starters, they can answer relevant points & questions by Long-time resident in the string of comments on the article “Grocery at Chappaqua Xing.” (They also should elicit comments from our School Board, whose impact on our property tax burden is so great.

Come to think of it, we have a NONPARTISAN school board. If our long experience with that has been positive, why not extend the concept to town supervisor and board?

By Nonpartisan on 11/01/2013 at 9:04 am

I was a long long time resident of Chappaqua , boy things and the people that have moved to Chappaqua are totally different .Its shamefull how you people fight and treat each other ,this is not NYC or Long Island ,talk to each other in a better way .Its a shame a nice friendly town has changed so much.And you Newcastle now.org
I hope you publish my comments ! !

By Tony on 11/01/2013 at 10:07 am

Elise writes, “Criticism has sunk to levels that are inappropriate and distressing.” 

I agree.  To all those who fill the comments section of websites with anti-Town Board comments, I hope this election will quiet you down enough to join the silent majority.  How the current Board Members put up with the nonsense of opponents is beyond me.  If the Town Board Members show contempt for residents, the fault lies entirely with the residents who do not understand how things work under our system of laws and who do not respect the legal counsel who spend countless hours overseeing our community.  Anti-Town Board comments stymie the good work of our Democratic Party and all they do to serve us through the town government.

By BG on 11/01/2013 at 10:52 am

Experience does matter and we the Democrats have the community on our side. The community wants more AFH Projects! The community wants Chappaqua Crossing to be approved “As is.” The community wants additional commercial to be approved at CC. The Democrats have both the experience, wisdom, and foresight to understand the needs of the community. We are the party that is in the “know,” “knows what is best,” and “knows” how to conduct the business of the community that enjoys the history of returning us to elected office time after time. Our values are your values, and your values reflect our values, and this is nothing to run from. You can trust us to change New Castle as we have been doing. The change that we need to approve is the change that will be good for all. No longer can Chappaqua enjoy the reputation of being “Planet Chappaqua.” Planet Chappaqua is about being detached and removed from the important issues of the day i.e. AFH. We need to be the community that leads, that sets the standard as we have been doing and demonstrating throughout the years. A community that will take steps to squash the reputation of being “planet Chappaqua.” This is nothing to be proud of and we need to demonstrate this by doing our part to develop more AFH. Don’t you agree that we need more AFH for our Police, Firefighters, Ambulance Volunteers, Postal workers, DPW employees, and all those who cannot otherwise afford to live here. We need to open up our Schools to families who otherwise would not have the ability to attend them. People talk about core values, our core values are to be there for those who otherwise would not have a voice in an area that some have dubbed “Planet Chappaqua.” We need to do our part and Greenstein and Team will not take the path or go in the direction that we have been traveling in and doing with your continued support over the years. A vote for us, is a vote that will continue forward with what we have done to date.

By Experience matters! on 11/01/2013 at 10:59 am


You expected more from the LWV than that organization is capable of delivering.

The ruling democrat party machine will fight tooth and nail to keep party affiliations front and center in town elections. That’s where its power lies. Without it, its members would have to stand on their own and prove they were worthy of election. It’s the last thing the current town board wants. Clearly if it happened, they would all lose.

By bob on 11/01/2013 at 11:00 am


Thank you for the levity.  Much needed at this time.

By Bob on 11/01/2013 at 11:47 am


You write: “If the Town Board Members show contempt for residents, the fault lies entirely with the residents who do not understand how things work under our system of laws.”

I hate to alert you to this but in this country elected officials serve at the pleasure of, and answer to, the citizens, not the other way round. Try to remember your nation’s history. Read some Lincoln (if your party bosses will allow you to read something written by a Republican).

By bob on 11/01/2013 at 11:58 am

Read Robin’s letter.  Śhe has exposed a nest of corruption in the DPW that Penny has presided over .  This information has changed my vote.  Ît is too important to ignore.  We must end the corruption.  We cannot put the fox (Penny) in the henhouse.  Need to mix it up on the board.

By Robin’s letter: TB ignores corruption on 11/01/2013 at 12:18 pm

Bob’ s writings show he is a tea party republican. He is the Chappaqua version of Texas senator Ted Cruz . The way he deals with the 50 50 split on CC isssue is to ignore it .Just so everyone is aware that his postings show that he is an extreme ,political , republican partisan , and wants to move conifer closer to where the readership lives.

By Dear bob on 11/03/2013 at 11:35 am

Responding to Bob:

You say that I “expected more from the LWV than it is capable of delivering” at Candidates Night.
Is it a matter of capability? Or of willingess? Of whether the most qualified candidates run and win after a thorough, factual debate of issues or whether IRRELEVANT national parties are forced on election for local office?
The more our campaigns and debates at Candidates Nights avoid the macro issues—taxing and spending—by staying immersed in micro issues (how many drug stores or nail parlors should we have), the more they resemble trivia pursuit and fail to ensure good government, which I had long thought was a League goal.
It should be possible to have a debate devoted exclusively to Supervisor and Council with time allocated in advance to the 4 or 5 most important, long-run issues—beginning with the fiscal agenda—instead of allocating time via a Russian Roulette game of recognizing questioners in the order at which they lined up—regardless of their issues—the way we are recognized at a deli counter to order baloney.
Given the brief total time allocated for Candidates Night—could the Library not be asked to keep the auditorium open longer?—the Town Supervisor and Council election should not have been shortchanged. Because candidates for judge, county legislature, etc. should not be treated unfairly-=but might not on their own attract many voters, could our electronic town hall—NewCastleNow.org—make available its pages for their election as well as for the Supervisor and Council races? If not this time, perhaps next time?
And, before it’s again too late, could we have a true community debate on whether we should extend the nonpartisan format from school district to town?
If Rob is correct in asserting that the League has a bias toward partisan election for Town office, who can be entrusted with conducting a poll of community sentiment to get the ball rolling?

By Nonpartisan on 11/03/2013 at 1:12 pm

A clarification:

I’m pretty sure “Dear bob” means to attack bob, not Bob (who writes here regularly too). But you all have to understand that “Dear bob” is somewhat intellectually challenged and hopelessly confused, especially when he is really mad and flummoxed and resorts to vicious name calling.

By bob on 11/03/2013 at 1:41 pm


Actually, I agree with all you say (although I would add that the New Castle chapter of the LWV leaves much to be desired). And I agree with you that we should have nonpartisan town elections, like the school board.

I’m not sure your last sentence is addressed to me or Rob Greenstein since you use the name “Rob” in that sentence. But I did NOT say the LWV has a bias toward partisan election. What I wrote was: “The ruling democrat party machine will fight tooth and nail to keep party affiliations front and center in town elections.”

By bob on 11/03/2013 at 2:25 pm

Bob is a broken oppositional record who , as a matter of his personal preference , does not approve of the type of housing in conifer whilst the residents will love it. Who is he to approve or disapprove if someone’ s lifestyle…. If they , themselves , are happy with it.

As to CC , he does not want retail and is on record as repeatedly insisting that “nobody” wants retail when that repeated statement Is. Now known to be absolutely false.

If pointing out true facts is in any way inappropriate, then Yes, I am inappropriate. Instead of deriding me , fess up to your false statements Bob.

Also, please also let us all know on what basis you feel you have the right to insist that contentented local people live a certain way that YOU like, as opposed to what they like.

By Dear bob on 11/03/2013 at 3:59 pm

Our town is headed in the wrong direction. We need leadership and a new tone at town hall. The current board is so rude and nasty to those that speak at meetings. John is not a leader, Mike is not a leader and Penny is not a leader. This group was not put together very well or with much thought.
I just read today on Lohud that Penny’s mailing was unfair.
That is VERY troubling to me.

our town needs leadership I will be voting for Team New Castle on the independent line

By time for change on 11/03/2013 at 7:20 pm

Given that a party affiliation should be a no-no for a Town Administrator—the only qualification should be competence—it is increasingly regrettable that Penny did not at least take a leave when she announced for Supervisor.

Fairly or not, every mailing by her in her capacity as Administrator can be seen as an IMPROPER mailing piece—FREE advertising—for a PARTISAN candidate for the higher office. (Would be a big problem, Dear Editor, to have a list of her official mailings/messages to the community—individually or totally—at least since her announcement, if not since her starting to think about a candidacy?)
What does it tell us about her judgment in deciding to have her cake and eat it?

By Nonpartisan on 11/04/2013 at 9:53 am

Did we all read “I support Elise Mottel,” and “Experience Matters.” I do not want AFH, eventhough it is a nice idea, and I really do not believe we have found the right concept in developing out the former Reader’s Digest property. Everyone, lets vote for Greenstein and team. Good luck to the future of Chappaqua because the issues and the party affiliations rise above our own desires and needs. I think if we were all on the Titanic, at the end when the ship is sinking we would all want to be swimming towards a safety boat. Well, voting for Greenstein and Team is giving yourself that chance to swim towards that safety boat.

By James Bond, stirred not shaken on 11/04/2013 at 11:54 am

Haven’t you read the other posts , greenstein is a wolf in an ayatollah’ clothing. Please read recent revelations. Ok vote for him but please after understand his direct involvement with the yoe’s biggest and richest landlord, hakim.

Brodsky is hakim’s son in law. We can just imagine how greenstein ca afford to run for office, run a law practice and support his family.  Don’t you get it?
Hakim doesn’t want to Lise his tenants and want control if the board for want ever variances he wants or wants to stop . So, he gets his son in law Brodsky to run with greenstein son legally he can fund their entire campaign and the stirs up discontent of which there is much.

Ok penny and company stink, but she is not a wolf like the manipulative, power hungry Brodsky, hakim , greenstein power grab. Good bad or indifferent . CC is a close question , that penny may be an incompetent is against her , but by all accounts she is an honestly silly woman. The other side , with understanding of the real back story, is just too horrific to contemplate. Without the direct involvement of the self interest of the extreme wealthy hakim power grab, ok it’s a coin toss for greenstein. But with the knowledge and understanding of who he represents and how is ticket is financed.    Ok of you can’t vote for the democrats, stay home or just don’t vote for the fixes who want to get into our chicken coop.

Opinion on community events only. All must do their own fact checking

By Not greenstein on 11/04/2013 at 12:21 pm

@Not greenstein – So what, if it takes ‘Brodsky’ getting into office to get his family the chance to develop their property. They have great ideas for it, wonderful people who are interested in it, and know people who want to make that site become beautiful. Do you know who has been stopping the development of that property??Do you?? The town has been stopping it through bad planning, and not allowing good planning to prevail. So what if the parking ratio needed to be tweaked- really. I think having that site developed would just be a benefit – but people like you would rather see all of New Castle change for the worse to once again make sure that the ‘Hakim’ family does not have a chance in building this site out as it should be built. Please go rethink your position, don’t you think town hall has stopped the development of that site for far too long?

By I’ll have a cup of coffee on 11/04/2013 at 2:02 pm

@Not Greenstein
Thanks to you, the smear campaign has now sunk to an all-time low.

By 10514 on 11/04/2013 at 2:35 pm

Post a comment:

Display Name*:

Your Display Name will be associated with this comment on NewCastleNOW.org. We encourage commentators to use their real name or initials.

We encourage civil, civic discourse. In other words, be pithy and polite. All comments will be reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.