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Home Government Sack: Disbrow Off the Table, Debate Still On the Table (And Let's...

Sack: Disbrow Off the Table, Debate Still On the Table (And Let’s Mind Our Manners)

Continuing the discussion on possibly locating the police/courthouse facility at Disbrow Park, Councilman Joe Sack has submitted the following additional op-ed to MyRye.com in response to comments from Rye Mayor Steve Otis:

I am glad to read the Mayor’s representation that he is opposed to building the police station at Disbrow, and his vouching that it will never happen.  If there is no chance that it will be built there, we should never have been seriously talking about it in the first place, wasting our time and the consultant’s fees.  Unfortunately, at least two other members of the Council suggested that we specifically consider Disbrow as recently as Monday night – and it wasn’t just for “illustrative” purposes, although even that approach makes no sense if the site was truly off the table.  Based on that, it seems my early and forceful opposition to the Disbrow site has achieved the purpose of nipping this misguided plan in the bud.  I am disappointed, however, that the Mayor has decided to inject into this policy debate an attack on me personally, using phrases such as “intentionally mischaracterized” and “completely disingenuous”.  Despite the fact that it is well known that the Disbrow courts are just feet from my own family’s front door, and that I am a staunch advocate for quality of life issues especially along the Oakland Beach Avenue corridor, I will not question the motivation of those proposing this specific site, despite its obvious inappropriateness in my view.  I am also glad that we can have this conversation on the MyRye.com forum, as I think it is useful in bringing the public into the debate, on both the Disbrow site and the wider police station issue.  While the Council talked about all this at a public meeting the other night, unfortunately not a single member of the public was able to attend.  Either on-line or off-line, therefore, I continue to welcome comments of all kinds from the public, as well as the Mayor.

-Councilman Joe Sack

12 COMMENTS

  1. Councilman Sack:

    I am glad that your efforts have thwarted any possibility that Disbrow Park would even be considered as a site for any new Police H.Q. I do feel though that a new or expanded Police Station needs to get done sooner rather than later.

    Was the Monday night meeting publicized? Was the meeting announced on the Rye website?

  2. Councilman Sack,
    Now that you have realized that Mayor Otis has his own agenda with regard to certain issues and that we are in the public form, I would like to personally invite you once again, to tour the Hen Island community. This time,
    I hope you will not listen to the voices of the other officials instructing you to not get involved with the Hen Island situation. I am hopeful after you witness first-hand the ignored health, safety and environmental
    violations, you will come to protect our community as you did your own. I am elated to see that you are a staunch advocate for quality of life issues. Quality of life issues on Hen Island are in drastic need of attention. Now
    that we know that your neighborhood is safe can you please help us to make our neighborhood safe for our families?

  3. Mr.Sack-
    You suggested the City’s property of Rye Art Center should be considered for a Police & Court Facility.

    As a Palisade Ave resident why should the RAC site should be evaluated by the City onsultants?

    It seems the RAC site has similar constraints as the Disbrow site.
    Would the RAC move to the old Police/Court site? Would the skate park & tennis courts have to be relocated?

    Thank you.

  4. Garnet Graduate: Take your mask off. At meeting on Monday, attended ONLY by City Council members, staff and consultant, I said putting police at Rye Arts would be JUST LIKE putting it at Disbrow.

  5. Councilman Sack:

    Was the Monday night meeting that was attended by ONLY City Council members, staff and consultants properly noticed and announced? Was anything on the City of Rye website announcing this Monday night meeting?

  6. I agree with Mr. Sack’s comments on public discourse. It is, of course, wise to advocate public input into decisions that may have the potential for a profound impact on the community. Our public conversations should not be limited only to public meetings, as not all interested parties have the luxury of attending these events. Many of us have full-time jobs that are becoming more and more demanding in the current economic challenges. This electronic forum is an alternate venue for dialogue that provides the council with differing views – and the consideration of a diverse set of opinions usually results in a wiser choice.
    However, one benefit of a public meeting is that participants must be physically present, and they are required to state their name and address for the public record. Perhaps “Wry Record” and “Garnet Graduate” could enter into the civic spirit of this electronic forum and provide readers with their names to prove that they are, in fact, individuals who live in Rye, work in Rye and are either property owners or stakeholders. Without this information, we don’t know if they are nothing more than shills for others, alter-egos of participants or just simply wimps.

  7. It must be nice to live in what sounds to me to be Fahey’s fantasy land. Unfortunately, some people have to remain anonymous because people who tell the truth about the dysfunctional Rye Government, mismanagement, malfeasance, misfeasance and even crimes committed by Rye officials are retaliated against for no other reason than for reporting it. Kill the messenger at all costs is the prevalent theme in Rye. Mr. Fahey should know this. I believe that Fahey and Chew were a part of the Rye Citizens Last Party.

  8. Councilman Sack and former Councilman Fahey are both blatantly misstating the facts with regard to the lack of public participation at Monday’s Rye City Council meeting or whatever it was they had on Monday night.

    Monday’s meeting was not noticed and posted until the Friday before the meeting. When it was posted, it was only posted in the foyer at Rye City Hall. It wasn’t sent to the press. It wasn’t e-mailed to all the Rye residents who are signed up to receive meeting notices. This isn’t 1776 when people had to go to City Hall to find things out about their community. This is 2008.

    I believe that Shew and the Rye City Council did not want the public to participate in the discussions concerning the Rye Police Station and intentionally did just that. My belief is bolstered by a Confidential Memorandum that I found in my mailbox that is addressed to Shew, Pickup and Connors detailing that the public need not be present for these discussions. This Confidential Memorandum also details how to get around the NYS Open Meetings Law should the need arise.

    Just like when Shew, Otis and the Rye City Council purchased the former CVS site in what I believe was in secret, in my opinion they are once again intentionally shutting the public out of these discussions with deceit and dishonesty.

    I hope that Councilman Sack and Fahey will spare us any further feeble and disingenuous attempts at saying the public did not participate in this discussion.

    Here are some excerpts from the October 17, 2008 Confidential Memorandum addressed to Shew, Pickup and Connors that I found in my mailbox:

    Some Council members suggested at last night’s meeting that the public be involved in the process. This can be tricky since the universe of participants is almost limitless and there is no real known appropriate community organization, other than maybe the City Council itself, which are the publics’ elected representatives.

    If four or more members attend one session it likely constitutes a quorum of the Council and the meeting may need to be properly noticed and open to the public. If this is a concern I recommend that the interviews with the Council be staggered with no more than three members at any one session. Also, any Council member that cannot attend should be encouraged to provide written comments to the consultant.

    I believe this clearly shows the intent and premeditation to keep the public from this discussion. Is this how we want our Rye government to operate? I’m going to send the Confidential Memorandum to the Journal News and the Committee on Open Government so they can see how our Government is working.

    I hope this helps Fahey figure out whether I am a shill for others, an alter-ego or just simply a wimp. What I am not is a conspirator, facilitator or obstructor of open and honest government.

  9. The last paragraph should have read that I am not a conspirator or facilitator against open and honest government nor do I obstruct open and honest government. Sorry for any confusion.

  10. At the Rye City Council meeting last night Steve Otis, George Pratt and Joe Sack went toe to toe over the blog postings Sack and Otis made on the MYRYE website. It was quite the battle. It is must see TV.

    Not surprisingly, none of them made any mention of the confidential memorandum and why the City of Rye and the Rye City Council made sure that no one from the public would attend their October 27, 2008 meeting on a proposed new Police & Court facility. It appears that they would rather fight each other over nonsense than to fight for open and transparent government.

    Rye government has become dysfunctional and it needs to be overhauled as soon as possible.

    Here is the memorandum which in my opinion clearly shows the intent of Shew and the Rye City Council to exclude the public from attending their meeting of October 27, 2008. It should also be noted that this meeting did not take place in the public City Council chamber which further demonstrates they did not want the public there and ensuring it could not be televised. In addition, the meeting announcement was not posted on the City’s website and it was only posted in the lobby at City Hall the Friday afternoon prior to the Monday meeting. This is 2008 not 1800. Why wasn’t the public made aware of this meeting via the City’s e-mail announcements like every other City Council meeting?

    To:O. Paul Shew, City Manager

    From:Christian K. Miller, AICP, City Planner

    cc:Scott Pickup, Assistant City Manager
    William R. Connors, Police Commissioner

    Date:October 17, 2008

    Subject:Police/Court Study Process – October Consultant Meetings

    Now that JCJ Architecture has been retained, we are eager to begin the process. Most immediately we would like the consultant to get City Council input before the annual budget process begins on November 5. To that end, please confirm the Council’s availability for a one-day/evening session with the City Council on Monday, October 27, 2008. I propose the following stakeholders and preliminary meeting schedule:

    StakeholderTime
    Office of Court Administration & Court Staff:1:00 PM
    City Management/City Hall Staff2:00 PM
    Police Department Staff:2:30 PM
    PBA:After 4:00 PM
    City Council & City JudgesEvening Meeting (7:00 PM)

    Some Council members suggested at last night’s meeting that the public be involved in the process. This can be tricky since the universe of participants is almost limitless and there is no real known appropriate community organization, other than maybe the City Council itself, which are the publics’ elected representatives. If a broader voice is desired I recommend setting up a website similar to the one I created for the CBD Plan . The website could explain the various alternatives, include other background information and provide an opportunity for public comment. All responses would be recorded and provided to the Council and consultant for their use and information.

    If four or more members attend one session it likely constitutes a quorum of the Council and the meeting may need to be properly noticed and open to the public. If this is a concern I recommend that the interviews with the Council be staggered with no more than three members at any one session. Also, any Council member that cannot attend should be encouraged to provide written comments to the consultant.

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