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Home Government The Last Word: Rye Mayoral Candidate Doug French

The Last Word: Rye Mayoral Candidate Doug French

MyRye.com asked each city council and mayoral candidate for their "last word" – what they'd each like to say the voters of Rye before each of you head to the polls this Tuesday, November 3rd. We'll be running these "last words" Saturday, Sunday, and some may run Monday.

Our first "last word" comes from mayoral candidate Doug French:

Doug French IMG_5126 Dear Rye :  Your next City Council will make decisions over the next 4 years that will define our City for the next decade.  After 12 years under one Mayor, it is time for new leadership and a fresh voice to meet those challenges.  The Change for Rye team is not about changing Rye — it’s about changing what your government focuses on and how it gets things done.  We need to do better.  We have to do better.  Our City Management has turned over 4 times in 8 years, our City taxes have risen 80% this decade, we have 4 expiring labor contracts, our litigation costs are the fastest growing expense we face, and we continue to make poor decisions on our capital investments such as the purchase of the Lester’s building while our pedestrian safety, streets, and sidewalks are some of the worst in the County.  I believe sound fiscal management and business practices can have profound impact on public sector problems.  It works in NYC, it works in other communities and it can work here.  It is time to put the focus back on back the fundamentals of governing:  Taxes, safety and capital priorities.  I ask for your vote along my running mates Suzanna Keith , Richard Filippi and Peter Jovanovich on November 3rd.

Can't Decide?

If you missed them, read MyRye.com's profiles of city council candidates Andy Ball, Richard Filippi, Peter Jovanovich, Suzanna Keith, Myles Lavelle and Joe Murphy. And also read our profiles of mayoral candidates Doug French and Steve Otis.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Doug,

    Although I don’t know you personally, I’m hoping you’ll become Rye’s next Mayor and your team of Keith, Jovanovich and Filippi join you.

    We have had a sorry past few years under a Mayor who now endlessly deliberates and then makes costly, wrong decisions. Mr. Otis doesn’t understand Rye at all or he wouldn’t countenance the violation of our environmental laws, the abuse of senior citizens and the depletion of our treasury through ridiculous real estate investments, a parade of highly paid consultants and the explosion of litigation in all directions. He can’t even retain a decent city manager. Tell me – how long would a guy like this last at a managerial level in a private sector enterprise?

    Thank you and your team for those revealing graphs and other financial disclosures that put the lie to the all the blathering Team Otis has about experience and transparency. I hope you use everything you’ve learned about how things are now done by Mr. Otis to turn the page and return us to the way Rye used to be – a fiscally rational, law abiding small city that respects rather than sues its neighbors and puts Rye’s issues first rather than Albany’s.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EChWR1_Ah4

  2. Mr. French, Mayor Otis, and all the people that are running for election:
    I applaud all of you for wanting the best for Rye. You have many different ideas. I only plead with you whoever wins is to take the time to know the issues and know what is right from wrong. If all you do is read the bloggers and the untruths from citizens that have agendas Rye will never be the good city she should be. None of us will really know what happened to Shubert’s pond. I still find it interesting that Chantel came out of the woodwork two years later to say that she told Shue there were wetlands. Why was she silent for two years and never go to a council meeting to challenge Shue. After two years of silence, now everybody believes her. Are you listening to Mr. Shubert because he is not going away. What happens to his poor neigbors that have a right to do work on their own property. All I am asking you for is to look for truth. Truth isn’t always loud. Do you just listen to the people that have agendas? TedC talking about the Police Department. I didn’t know he was on the force. How does he know so much “truth” about the goings on there. Does he listen just to friends and think that is truthful. Do you not think that some of his friends are disgruntled city employees with very loud agendas? Obviously there are problems on Hen Island but I don’t see any other residents complaining about it other than Ray. Good luck to all of you that are running. Please don’t just take the Myryes and the Lohuds as factual.

  3. Ted has read the NYS Correction Commission report where Connors was cited for needlessly and recklessly exposed the public and the cops to unsafe and dangerous conditions.

    Ted has read the NYS Comptroller report which was highly critical of the way Connors handled the way cops were out on disability and lost, misplaced or destroyed vital paperwork.

    Ted has read the overwhelming Vote of No Confidence the Rye PBA gave to Connors.

    Ted has read the engineer reports where Connors allowed the cops to work and the public come into a dangerous mold infested building.

    Ted has read the engineer reports where Connors allowed the cops to work and the public come into a dangerous asbestos infested building.

    Ted has seen the two NYS Department of Labor citations Connors received.

    It seems to me that given all of this information Ted has come to a reasonable conclusion that Connors has messed up the Police Department long enough and needs to go.

    Otis has seen all of this information too. He has chosen to not address Connors for fear it will make him look bad.

    Basically, the residents and the cops have to suffer through with this idiot Connors for Otis’s own ego and political agenda.

    This pattern has to end. Hopefully on Tuesday it does.

  4. Dear Honest Citizen,
    I am not familiar with Mr. Schubert and his pond, The Rye Police Department or their grievances but I am very well versed on Hen Island and what transpires on the Island as I once sat as a member of the Board of Directors. We own cottage #13 on Hen Island’s north end. My wife Barbara and I have owned our cottage for over fifteen years and we live three doors away from Ray. “You say Ray is the only one complaining” that is not true. We have written letters to the Building Department, the City Manager, the Zoning Board, the Mayor and City Council on several occasions over the last few years, I have never received one response to any of my letters. Our last letter was just last month.

    In 1995 when we purchased our cottage, I did it as a surprise gift for my wife knowing how much she loved the water. After our first season we began to see what Hen Island life entailed. To our amazement we discovered some of the residents still buried their garbage in the center of the north end of the Island. We had a rat infestation similar to what you would find in a garbage dump, the island had no formal maintance program, and public safety was never an issue discussed by anyone. I once witnessed one of the cottage owners disposing of a major appliance by dumping it in the tall grass in the rear of the Island. During the West Nile virus epidemic when dead birds were found on the Island as they frequently were, the instructions from the Board was to bury the dead bird and not report the incident to the Health Department.

    One might say we didn’t do our due diligence before we purchased our cottage but on the other hand, who would ever think or even check for that matter, to see if people were burying garbage in the yard in 1995. Who would think that a municipality would allow a community to avoid all the safety, building and environmental laws from inception? Who would think that owners would have been allowed to build septic systems just feet from the shoreline?

    In 1997 Ray purchased his cottage on the Island. I helped him run successfully for the Board of Directors and eventually he became President. During his term, Hen Island became a different place with the center of attention being placed on safety and responsibility. He stopped residents from burying their garbage on the Island, had thousands of pounds of buried garbage dug up and removed from the Island, implemented and organized a committee whose purpose was to make the island residents safe and implement a regular maintenance program; he created a responsible atmosphere that never existed before. Ray coordinated meetings with several governmental agencies in effort to make Hen Island a better place to live. He was singlehandedly responsible for implementing access to the Westchester County Medical Center helicopter. (If I may add, this has already saved the life of one adult resident and a small child was flown off the island for medical reasons a few years back) I could go on and on about all the community related improvements Ray should be credited for. Ray even introduced art to the Hen Island community. Should you walk on the north end of the Island you will witness many sculptures and whimsical artworks located and installed by Ray and the committees he has directed?

    Ray is one of the best neighbors a family could ask for. Although Hen Island still has a ways to go, we are where we are due to his efforts. There are many of us who support his efforts to right Hen Island wrongs. Most of his supporters may not agree with his tactics but do support his cause, I personally support both as I believe he has been effective with an administration in Rye that has tried to suppress the realities of Hen Island. I have not used my cottage for the past two years for a number of obvious reasons. Many on the island choose not to come forward in support of Ray due to fear of retaliation and harassment from the current Board of Directors and other islanders. I am sure you have heard of the many incidents of vandalism and harassment directed at Ray. Most people just are not willing to subject themselves to that type of pressure. As you may have recently read they are now trying to remove Ray from the Island because he is, for lack of a better word a whistleblower. Others refuse to come forward because they are simply embarrassed that they have been silent for so long knowing Hen Island’s unhealthy and dangerous situation for years. Ray is the voice of those that will not speak and is a very special and determined person. We who support him are happy to have him on our side.

    Claudio and Barbara Iodice
    Cottage # 13 Hen Island

  5. “One might say we didn’t do our due diligence before we purchased our cottage ”

    Ya think???

    While I disagree with Ray’s methods, I have to admit he certainly keeps the issue in the spotlight. When I asked him yesterday to post an e-mail he was discussing, he posted a link of him reading it. Lol..it was over an hour long!!! There was no way I was going to watch for an hour. But I did. It was interesting. He definitely has some valid points, but also is a little overboard with some.

    At the end of the day, I hope everything gets resolved so both sides can be happy.

  6. Claudio Iodice,
    Here’s to you sir – this was quite a confirmation of everything Ray has told all of us about for years.

    Today Ray brought a dozen or so pictures of Hen Island into the Rye Train Station and boy did people get an eyeful. Lifelong residents of Rye like Jimmy Amico and me couldn’t believe what we were hearing at first but we knew that Steve Otis was not to be trusted with the truth. When we took a look we knew there was a big problem undercover out there. Another Otis cover-up – it just figured.

    I hope that small band of pollution and safety code deniers among the property ownership ranks leaves your property alone now that you’ve given Ray public support. Anyone familiar with what happened to the original Floatie Mobile would have to be concerned that they could find their cottage damaged – or worse.

    Thanks Mr. Iodice – you are a welcome addition to this site and a stand-up guy for Rye.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EChWR1_Ah4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OmlmbcNyd8

  7. On November 3rd – Help Me Get Rid of Mr. Floatie

    Rye residents who’ve been following City Council meetings or driving around town have become familiar – reluctantly I’m sure – with Mr. Floatie and his associate, Jack. A. And many of you probably know that I am their sponsor.

    But what you may not know that it has never been my intention to offend or embarrass the people of Rye. I love this City and its wetlands and watercourses. So to any of you who have been affronted by Mr. Floatie’s presence here, I sincerely apologize.

    I introduced these two characters for the sole purpose of drawing attention to the serious environmental and sanitary legal violations which threaten the health and beauty of the community we live in and treasure. And although I only get to live in Rye part of the year, it is the place I value most.

    By now I hope that you realize that Mr. Floatie’s amiable presence here n Rye has in fact brought much needed attention to the issues of clean water and a healthy environment. But I know that many people here just simply wish he would go away.

    I am emphatically one of those people.

    Nothing would please me more than to retire Jack. A., Mr. Floatie and The Floatie Mobile forever. But I need your help. I cannot retire these hard-working character activists for a healthier, safer Rye if nothing is going to change in Rye City Hall.

    For years Steve Otis has looked the other way on the Hen Island clean-up investigation. He has exercised his “Mayoral discretion” in the matter and proven that he has no intention of enforcing the laws on the books which protect our sensitive sound shore environment that he gives so much environmental lip service to. So what can we do?

    If politicians don’t act responsibly where discretionary enforcement is concerned our only recourse is to take a stand in the voting booth. So please remember tomorrow to vote for Doug French for Rye City Mayor.

    With a fresh start and Doug French in the Mayor’s chair I’m sure Rye will soon be the safe, healthy, non-polluting waterside haven it should always remain. That’s what I want and I believe everyone wants.

    Help Me Hand Mr. Floatie His Walking Papers.

    Say Goodbye to Mr. Otis So We Can All Say Goodbye to Mr. Floatie

    Ray Tartaglione
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEVYeKIvxuA

  8. You have excelled in crap deliverance. Make a stink and blame others for the stink unless they change their way.
    What is now left is a bit of the smell of your influence the substance of which has long been flushed. Fading, fading..gone

  9. So, who still doesn’t think Charmain Neary is working for Steve Otis and was sent to MyRye for ONE PURPOSE AND ONE PURPOSE ONLY?

    Since the post about Mayor Otis whining to the owner of The Rye Sound Shore Review about getting his *** kicked by Doug French in their election poll, Charmian once again called Mr.Sturman to now complain about it being posted on MyRye.

    So Charmian, if you are not working for Otis why are you calling a respected business man and wasting his time instead of minding your own business???

    Most people have better things to do than listen to your twisted thoughts!

    Go vote already and stop WHINING!

    Yes Charmian, you and Otis have been exposed or should we say BUSTED!

    She has worn out her welcome and her calls will no longer be excepted by Mr.Sturman. I wonder how much longer before she wears out her welcome here in Rye?

    Charmian,Charmian, when will you learn!!!

  10. This is a copy of a letter that was sent to Mayor Otis after I appeared in front of the County Legislatures. IT CLEARLY states Rye’s responsibilities as to County Owned Roads!
    Notice the date of December 10, 2008;

    I appeared in front of Mayor Otis and the City Council for the first time since Jarrid’s accident on June 14,2006!

    THAT IS 2 FULL YEARS OF LIES THAT OTIS & COMPANY WERE FEEDING MY FAMILY AND I!!!

    Judith A. Myers
    Legislator, 7th District
    Majority Whip

    Honorable Steve Otis
    City Hall
    1051 Boston Post Road
    Rye, NY 10580

    – ~ -‘
    BOARD OF LEGISLATOR

    Committee Assignmen
    Budget & Appropriatic
    Community Servi.

    Environment & Ener
    Government Operatic
    Generational, Cultural & Ethnic Diven
    LegisJar
    Public Safety & SeCUJ

    10 December 2008

    Dear Mayor Otis and members of the Rye City Council,

    At the most recent Board of Legislators meeting, Rye resident Jim Amico spoke during
    the public comment portion of the agenda. He had previously spoken with me over the
    weekend about his concerns regarding traffic on Midland Avenue and the fact that he was
    told that it was the County’s responsibility to regulate traffic on this county-owned
    roadway.

    I would like to bring to your attention Section 1640 of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law.
    It specifically grants cities and villages the right to regulate traffic by means of traffic
    signals and stop signs as well as the right to regulate pedestrian crossings. Section 1651
    states that the right of the county to regulate traffic by signals and stop signs does not
    apply in cities (Rye) or villages. Therefore, it is up to the City of Rye to address the
    Midland A venue concerns.

    At Rye’s request a speed study was done by the county in 2006 and 2007 on Midland
    Avenue, the details of which were given to Scott Pickup and Brian Dempsey. At the time,
    Keven Roseman of the County’s DPW suggested a potential crosswalk at either Goldwin
    Street or Palisade Road. Further, the suggestion of a stop sign was passed along as well,
    given the success of the stop sign that was placed on Wappanocca Avenue (another
    county road).

    I hope this clears up any confusion regarding Jim Amico’s request. If the county can be
    of further help please don’t hesitate to call me.

    Cc: Jim Amico

    .
    Tel: (914) 995-2802 • Fax: (914) 995-3884 • E-mail: Myers@westchesterlegislators.com

    800 IVlichaeilan Office Bldg. 148 Martine Avenue, White Plains NY. 10601 • wwwwestchesterleglslators.com • 914.995.2800 (

  11. A New Rye –

    My public advocacy of Rye environmental and rule of law causes is well known to readers now – but let’s face it – the subject getting the most attention throughout town these days is – can we still afford to live in Rye? Here are some thoughts.

    My strong belief is that there is no component of our property taxes in Rye – school, county or city – which cannot be cut. All can and should be cut – not simply capped. Our current “elected managers” have been asked to do this and they have failed. They have excuses and excuses and excuses. They show us pictures of cute kids, puppy dogs and flowers yet they hide their own bombshell spending secrets.

    Last spring’s school board election was a referendum on many things not the least of which were spending and property taxes. Thanks to “The Fantastic Four” and others, the ludicrous litigation spending on the Osborn Home tax certiorari ambush mess was laid bare before the voting. Let’s all hope our newly constituted school board charts a fresh and fiscally responsible course.

    At the County level, where we get to make a decision tomorrow, our current County management has led us to tops nationwide for county taxes. But Mr. Spano has a problem. A community on Long Island and one in California is very very close to getting ahead of us in their own spending and thus taking away our “top taxer” in the U.S. prize. As taxpayers of both Rye and Westchester County, our vote tomorrow will help send a signal as to whether we accept going broke as a viable municipal strategy or not.

    And at the Rye City level, where we also get to make a decision tomorrow, real spending is now literally off the charts. I offer my sincere thanks as a taxpayer to the “Change” candidates for delivering this message in such a graphically stunning way. The long running trench warfare that defines FOIL requests at Rye City Hall has produced some truly rare gems of mismanagement data but nothing so far tells the story as strongly as two simple graphs showing the dramatic upward spikes in both taxes and debt. Both were worth a thousand words each.

    Revolving – door management, slavish litigation, over the top “special” contracts and other misadventures drain Rye’s discretionary resources. Without this drain we could retain literally millions of our own tax dollars to put immediately into multiple projects that we now go “hat-in-hand” for from outside agencies. Grants are fine, but creation of an artificial dependency on them is imprudent and no way to run a small government.

    And lastly please just a few words about civic decency. All organizations find it hard to admit mistakes. Their lawyers instinctively advise them to never admit anything, which inevitably results in lawsuits and then even bigger lawsuits. In my 50 plus years here I’ve repeatedly seen strong, responsive public leaders cut the legs out from under such nonsense by coming out early and publically and saying “Yes, we made a mistake.” I don’t think anyone blamed them for that. And we were all richer for it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EChWR1_Ah4

  12. This may have been written by Republicans but many Democrats feel the same way.
    This election is not about Democrats or Republicans it is about Rye.
    Listen to the predictions of our recently lost friend Ned Gerrity one of the great Democrats of Rye.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Vlt3XyqUSw

    There are forces that unite and divide communities. Lets us all unite tomorrow with our community in mind.
    Vote for Change in Rye on November 3rd
    We are excited to have, after six years, a Republican-backed slate of candidates who are committed
    to repairing Rye’s finances, restoring management discipline and prioritizing needed investments. The
    seven of us are endorsing the “Change for Rye” team of Doug French (mayor), Peter Jovanovich,
    Suzanna Keith and Rich Filippi for city council. We are asking for your vote this November 3rd.
    The “Change for Rye” team came about because three people – Doug French, Suzanna Keith and
    Peter Jovanovich – wanted to provide the voters of Rye with an alternative. Well over a year ago, they
    started talking to small groups of people throughout Rye. They heard of the pain of constantly higher
    taxes and the fear of diminished income from imploding markets. They listened as residents voiced
    their disgust with the circus-like atmosphere on display at every council meeting. They took note of
    the frustration -of voters who were deprived of a real choice to elect responsible council members.
    They came away with the inevitable conclusion that Rye is facing some serious issues – both fiscal
    . and governmental. They committed, at first to each other and now to the public, that they will do
    whatever it takes to solve these problems. The first challenge they had was to re-invigorate the
    . Republican Party. They’ve done that, and now they’re working hard on winning this campaign.
    We know the hard work they face. Each of us served on the city council, having been elected by you
    and other. Rye residents in the past to help oversee the affairs of the city. We were honored by the
    privilege to represent all residents of Rye, and we always cast our votes based on what we truly
    thought was in the best interests of the city.
    Though we were not always in agreement then, we stand united today when it comes to the choice
    as who is most fit to lead us as Mayor for the next four years. We are collectively and enthusiastically
    endorsing Doug French as the best candidate for Mayor. All of us served with the current Mayor. We
    know him well, we respect the effort he’s given Rye, but we believe we are long overdue for a change
    in leadership. We’re thrilled that Doug has agreed to run, and we know he’ll do a great job bringing
    Rye back.
    Additionally, we are also heartily endorsing Peter, Suzanna and Rich for the open city council seats.
    Out of the six candidates, only these three have expressed alarm at the lack of direction on the city
    council. Only they have called for greater fiscal restraint and demanded better governance. Only they
    are looking to bring dignity and prudence back to the city council chambers. And only they are
    expressing the need for urgent and immediate action. .
    Amazingly, their opposition thinks there’s nothing wrong with a government that continues to spend
    more and more of your hard-earned wealth, while not addressing flooding, not planning for capital
    investments, not attracting – and retaining – top talent for key managerial jobs. They even made the
    outrageous claim that 16% of your taxes shouldn’t matter! Their willful ignorance of the challenges
    we face is a classic case of a “leadership” that’s completely out of touch with our needs.
    You can be a part of the solution by standing with us and other Republicans on Tuesday, November
    3rd• Help us in re-building the party by pulling the lever for Doug, Peter, Suzanna and Richard.

    It’s time for a change!

    Franklin Chu, City Council, 2001-2005
    Bob Cypher, City Council, 2001-2005
    Bonnie Downing. City Council 1997-2901
    Matt Fahey. City Council. 2003.-2007
    Duncan Hennes. City Council 2003-2007
    Roz Larr, City Council, 1997-2005
    Joe Latwin, City Council 1993-1997

  13. Dear Mr. Amico:

    Why don’t you ask Otis for one of the Stop Signs that had to be taken down on Theall Road.

    Shew, Connors, Otis and no one on the City Council will admit who illegally put those Stop Signs up on Theall Road.

    Otis, Connors and Shew had no problem putting up an illegal, unwarranted Stop Sign on Theall Road while ignoring where a Stop Sign is sorely needed on Midland Avenue.

    The letter you posted from Judy Myers makes it clear to me that Otis was lying to you.

    Otis needs to go before another child is killed or seriously injured.

  14. P.Chief v Commish,

    Why do you think Mayor Otis lied to the Amico family?
    I can’t imagine any human being carrying out such an anus inhuman act of indecency after what they have gone through!

    I wonder if Mayor Otis attended the Funeral at Resurrection Church for their little boy would it have made any difference?

    It sure as hell shook the rest of the community!!! Resurrection only seats 800, there had to be close to 400 standing!!!

    Does anyone know why Mayor Otis did not attend?

    Didn’t Mr.Amico state that Mayor Otis never made any attempt to contact him or his family to pay his respects?

    HOW LONG HAS STEVE BEEN MAYOR???

    Doug French gets my vote!!!

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