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Saturday, February 4, 2023
Home Green Team French is EAGR, Team Otis is MIA

Team French is EAGR, Team Otis is MIA

UPDATE: Rye Mayor Steve Otis has told MyRye.com: "The date was set by the organizers before clearing the date with our schedule. We had a campaign event scheduled from 7-9. In addition, I had a Rye Town Park Commission meeting this evening that ended at 7:30. The organizers were informed of the conflict weeks ago.  Our understanding was that if our event ended in time we would come to the library. Our event did not end until about 9:45."

EAGR Rye logo In a strange turn of events, no candidates from "Team Otis" – Rye Mayor Steve Otis, City Councilman Andy Ball and candidates Myles Lavelle and Joe Murphy – showed up at the Environmental Advocacy Group of Rye (EAGR)'s environmental forum for Rye city council and mayoral candidates at the Rye Free Reading Room Tuesday night.

Rumor was Otis was attending a wake and the others were at a private fund raiser but it seemed unusually that no one was sent to speak on behalf of "Team Otis". Otis sent along a statement that was read aloud. The forum is scheduled to air on Rye TV Wednesday evening.

EAGR member Judy Martin filed the following report with MyRye.com on the forum:

The moderator (was) Simon Delecta from the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.  He opened with comments about how the stated purpose of the fund is to get people to learn about the political process and the role elected officials play on environmental issues.

Doug French was the first speaker. He was to address the question about what type of sustainability plan would his team propose for Rye and what would be the timing of its implementation.  He talked about the importance of enforcing the water retention rules that are on the books, improving and enforcing pedestrian safety codes, and proposed that the city leverage the school and city network to educate the public about environmental issues, a "shared network with schools".

Fillipi was next. His question was about how we can improve traffic and air quality in Rye.  He first talked about his extensive experience on the water runoff issues and his endorsement from Green World Taxi.  Specifically, he said step one is to get the message out on a complex issue and balance proposed steps against costs, next update the Master Plan on sustainability, encourage people to walk more and seek grants so that specific user groups can be engaged such as from AARP for the elderly, expand Safe Routes to School, possibly have more bike racks if the user groups think that would be helpful, replace city vehicles when needed with a bio-diesel truck and hybrid police cars, enforce the idling laws on the books.

Jovanovich was next. His question was about strengthening building codes to improve energy efficiency. He talked about the leaf blower ban and possibly expanding it to additional properties and the clubs, he said he was in favor of previously proposed regs on storm water runoff (implementing them), he is in favor of a public hearing on the deer problem and then thinks the city council should take a position and vote on culling, he thinks the city should expand what it is doing to limit pesticides to include ball fields.  Regarding building codes, he said that as a member of the BAR, the regs are out of date and decisions are made on an ad hoc basis, e.g., with regard to solar panels. He would favor soliciting input from local architects.

Keith had question #6 regarding reduction of construction and household waste.  In her general statement, Keith reiterated statements made about safe walking and biking routes for children and adults to town, mentioned developing a sustainability plan regarding public space and land use and establishing carbon footprint reduction goals. She said we should explore building codes to reduce constriction waste, expand the reusable bag program, encourage use of permanent water bottles, encourage the use of organizations such as Freecycle and Green Demolition.

Since there was time left at the end of all of the statements, the 4 candidates were given an opportunity to answer the other 4 prepared questions.  Keith said she would move ahead with a sustainability plan and mentioned reduced water use, reduced impact of pesticides in LI Sound, energy efficiency in homes, choices of city vehicles, energy use in city buildings, and green roofs on city buildings such as has been done by SUNY Purchase to reduce storm water runoff.

French was there should be a more active role by government on initiatives for safe routes to schools.

Jovanovich said codes should be changed to improve land use within the city such as has been done with the Bird homestead.  He cited keeping steeply sloping land as open land and mentioned some land use regs that should be "brought back".  He also stated that the city was doing a good job with water runoff and thinks that it is important to give firm support of the staff so that when regs are enforce, the staff is not second guessed.

No questions were taken from the floor.  There were 20-25 people in attendance.


  1. To anyone who made the effort last night to attend this important Rye environmental debate, the total absence of anyone from the Otis ticket was both stunning and offensive.

    What could they possibly be thinking given the multiple environmental “controversies” that have arisen under Mayor Steve Otis’s administration?

    Rye taxpayer money was spent to field a full media crew from Rye TV – and all they had to record concerning the positions of the incumbents was – 4 empty chairs.

    As another writer termed it – this was like a slap to the face of the voters.

  2. Otis goes out and picks a Republican, a Democrat and an Independent to run on his ticket to give the appearance that his ticket is non partisan.

    Lo and behold Otis and all three of his running mates fail to show up at the same event.

    Are we to believe that Otis’s three running mates, if elected, will not vote in lockstep with Otis.

    Otis is running this campaign like an Albany politician about to lose their job. One has to ask why is Otis so desperate.

    Let’s not let Otis use our tax dollars to pay off his political debts and to pay for his political aspirations with more patronage.

  3. Jay – I’ve resisted giving this perspective for some time now, but recent activity on the site has compelled me to write. I hope that you give serious consideration to what I have to say here, as I believe I speak for many.

    You know, because I’ve said so, that I admire you for spending the time and effort it takes to launch a blog dedicated to sharing stories of and observations about Rye. It has a neighborly editorial voice, and provides interesting odds and ends that visitors have appreciated since its debut.

    MY RYE also performs a valuable public service as a kind of virtual village green. And, in the 21st century spirit of interactivity, you allow– and in fact actively encourage– visitor comment . As time has passed, however, your blog has become more and more dominated by three men who are involved in legal disputes with the City. These three hi jack and shut down every thread. In addition to using their names, one or more of them has created multiple identities – forming a kind of toxic Greek chorus. While anonymity is an important tool for ordinary citizens who fear retribution should they voice their opinions publicly, there is always the danger of it being used as a foil for snipers to hide behind as they attempt character assassination. Chief vs commissioner, mimi otis, the van man, mywry, and fire plunkett and shew fall into this category.

    I am referring of course to Ted Carroll, Tim Chittenden, and Ray Tartaglione. I hesitate to do so because I anticipate being attacked immediately, but this has gone on too long and Rye has been portrayed unfairly in the local news media as a result of their theatrics and worse. What residents of Rye know and what the local media should investigate is the facts about these men and their personal agendas.

    Lets start with Ted Carroll. Mr. Carroll did not want to pay his fair share of taxes on a property he developed. He went to court and lost. He appealed and lost again. So now he produces charts and spread sheets of dubious worth and distributes them under his name, and probably under several aliases as well, in an attempt to make it seem like there is more support for his vicious attacks than there is in reality. But understand, this is all because he did not want to pay his fair share of taxes on a property he developed. Mr. Carroll sued Rye. The City protected Rye taxpayers and won. Prior to this lawsuit Mr Carroll never showed the slightest interest in public life in Rye although he’s lived here every one of his 64 (?)years. Now he’s the champion of the aggrieved, everyone in city hall is his enemy, and he piles on others posts with emphatically snide extra shots to the ribs.

    Next there’s Tim Chittenden. Mr Chittenden has been involved in lengthy legal battles with the City and the police department. They too, of course, involve money. Money we, the taxpayers, will have to pay if Mr. Chittenden wins. This kind of dispute is not unique to Rye despite what you may hear about our evil police commissioner. Everyday in America some cop hates his commissioner and some cop is suing for an increased pension. Its the nature of uniformed services. There’s nothing particularly awful happening in Rye. I speak from experience as my husband retired with distinction from the NYPD. Believe me, Rye is relatively sheltered from most of the realities of public labor disputes. And I, for one, like it that way.

    Finally there is Ray Tartaglione. Mr. Tartaglione does not live in Rye or vote in Rye. He has a cottage on an Island called Hen Island run by a kind of co-op as far as I understand it. Having lived in a co-op I have some sympathy for Mr. Tartaglione as he is apparently on the outs with the Board and his neighbors over a number of issues. That is the crux of the problem. He says they pollute the Sound, they say he’s disgruntled. Now, I don’t know if he raised those issues when he served on this board, or if he’s just angry now that he was voted off. Where he loses me is how this has become our problem here in Rye when 1) we have limited jurisdiction 2) we have visited the island and issued violations where they were found. Perhaps Mr. Tartaglione wants the island upgraded at our expense. Who knows?

    What he fails to realize is that even if his neighbors are the worst people on the planet, very few of us in Rye are sympathetic to the way he’s disrupted our public meetings, hijacked our local blog, tormented at every opportunity the men and women we have elected to represent us and subjected all of us to the visual assault his crass vehicles provide. He used to park down the block in front of Kelly’s. Do Jerry and Martha deserve that? Does Luna?

    Messrs. Carroll, Chittenden and Tartaglione have turned every public forum into their own mean spirited and petty spectacle. Many people may read this blog, but few post because the tone has deteriorated as these bullies have taken it over. Council meetings too are avoided by good citizens who wish these men would just shut up and go away, but, being good people, they’re too polite to say so, so they just stay home.

    Jay, I’m asking you to moderate this blog , redirect off topic comments, and delete gratuitously vicious multiple posts. Threads of this nature contribute to the coarsening of public discourse, and I believe the majority of the people in Rye find it offensive. Repeat offenders should be warned, then suspended if need be. Again I write this fully expecting to be flamed, but someone has to speak up. I do hope that if others agree with me they will add their voices on this thread.


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