MyRye.com has invited all city council candidates to complete a Q&A for our readers this week. The election is this coming Tuesday, November 8, 2011. Today we introduce you to candidate Josh Nathan:
What are the three most important issues for Rye in 2012?
- Fiscal discipline: delivery of quality services at the lowest cost to taxpayers. A budget is not just a list of expenses and revenues over which we declare spending cut victories, but a plan for the year designed to control taxes and at the same time make sure we continue to deliver the services that are essential to the quality of life we have in Rye: from public safety to garbage collection, from infrastructure to recreational services, etc.
- Flood mitigation: This is our top infrastructure priority. I am pleased to see that our campaign has already begun to make a difference on this issue. This past Wednesday night the City Council passed a resolution making flood mitigation the City’s No. 1 priority and creating a permanent Flood Mitigation Committee with a Council liaison. This is right from our platform and item No. 5 in our Flood Mitigation Position Statement: http://www.ticketofexperience.com/Rye-Flood-Mitigation.html. Having a permanent committee with a Council liaison will go a long way to effectively addressing this issue. We used this “committee with liaison approach” at the Board of Education to fully delve into, communicate about, and effectively address many important matters. It is a good means to harnessing the talent and brainpower we have in our community.
- Protection of Rye’s interests in Playland and Rye Town Park: These two properties have a significant impact on the quality of life in Rye and the neighborhoods adjacent to them. It is essential that we are proactive advocates for our interests, and stay ahead of the curve on both matters so that we can effectively influence and properly shape the decision making at the County and Rye Town levels.
What current issue in Rye gets more than its fair share of attention?
Local government is about service and any given issue is very important to a particular constituency. Ignoring or sidelining issues rather than dealing with them fuels anger and frustration. I have found at the Board of Education that if you listen and are responsive, folks will respect you and work with you, they’ll appreciate resource limitations and will have appropriate expectations. It’s one of the really terrific things about our community, folks are sophisticated, informed and willing to step up and help. Most matters can be addressed in a team effort spirit.
Which of the current Rye Playland alternatives do you favor?
I am most familiar with “Sustainable Playland” it is a very thoughtful plan, seeking a balance of amusement park, historical beauty and 21st century park uses and needs with a year round perspective. It does right by Rye and from our perspective, that’s job one. I haven’t seen any of the underlying business plans to the other proposals so I can’t compare them from an economic sustainability perspective. That, and service to the rest of the Westchester are important issues for the County. We need to be at the table for these discussions because Rye City’s and Westchester County’s interests are not necessarily aligned. We need to be sure that as the host community our needs are met.
Beyond efficiencies through shared services, cooperation with non-profits or other initiatives, should Rye City consider reductions in various service levels to reduce expenditures?
Just because we’ve always done something doesn’t mean we must continue to do it. So yes, we should be routinely asking ourselves as a community whether the services Rye City is providing and the manner in which it does so are still appropriate. We did this on the Board of Education and it’s why (1) we were able to control school taxes to the point where RCSD tax increases are consistently among the lowest in the County and (2) we were able to shift funds to areas that required more resources from areas that no longer require the same level of funding. That said, we are not a community with extravagant or superfluous services. We need to focus on achieving efficiencies.
How did you come to run for Rye City Council?
After getting re-elected to the Board of Education in 2009, a challenging election, folks started to suggest that I next think about the City Council. I was encouraged again after the teacher’s contract settlement and again after the Osborn litigation settlement. When I started telling folks it was time for me to step off the School Board (I’m leaving a great Board of Ed, every one of them works incredibly hard and thoughtfully for our District), I was encouraged to run this year by quite a few folks. These include: close friends as well as George Latimer, Catherine Parker and Paula Gamache, who I’ve gotten to know well through our public service over the years. I enjoy serving our community. My experience leading the School Board, including successfully addressing some very significant strategic and budgetary challenges over the years, has put me in a place where I have a lot to offer. I also believe there is great value to having a school perspective on the City Council. You can read more about that on our website: http://www.ticketofexperience.com/School-Board-Perspective.html.
What Rye citizen (non-elected official, non-city employee) do you hold as a role model for the rest of us vis-à-vis their contribution to the city and its social fabric?
We are fortunate to live in a community where so many folks volunteer their time to a range of important community activities and causes, from kid’s sports to senior activities, from our school parent organizations to our many City boards and our many non-profit organizations that make Rye the incredible community it is. I’ve had the privilege to work with and learn from so many of these folks that I can’t single out a particular person, though I could create a rather long list of folks who should be recognized.
Where do you live in Rye?
Hillside Place, which is off of Rye Beach Avenue.
How long have you lived in Rye – since what year?
11 years, since 2000.
What’s your day job?
I am an attorney and executive producer
If your co-workers (from your day job) were to describe you in a single word, what word would they use?
I’m independent. But folks I work with on projects tell me they enjoy working with me and that they value my thinking.
As a young person, what was your first paid job?
My first jobs were in the summer, I taught woodworking at a summer camp, I worked in a film-processing factory and I drove a taxi. I have some great stories from driving a taxi.
Tell us about your family.
My wife is Pam. Our son Hal, age 10, attends Milton Elementary School.
On area restaurants:
I think we’ve been to and enjoyed all of the restaurants in Rye. Here is where we tend to go most often:
With Family: Aurora and Belluscio’s; With my wife: Ruby’s Oyster Bar and Bistro; With Friends: Town Dock and Water Moon; On the Campaign Trail: Le Pain Quotidien; For delivery/takeout: Piazza Pizza and now Elevation Burger
Where might we find you on a Sunday morning?
At home, at one of the beaches or parks, or downtown. It depends on the weather and on what I was doing Saturday.
What is your political affiliation?
Your favorite major league baseball team: Yankees
Your Facebook page: N/A (right now I only use Facebook in connection with alumni from a Business School program)
Your twitter call: N/A
Your campaign web site: www.ticketofexperience.com