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Sunday, August 14, 2022
Home Government Taylor's MyRye.com Candidate Q&A

Taylor’s MyRye.com Candidate Q&A

Tune in all week long for Rye City Council candidate question & answer interviews.

Your Name: Jeff Taylor

What Rye office are you running for: Rye City Council. 4-year term.

Taylor head shot photo

SEARS: What do you read to keep up with politics, art and culture?

TAYLOR: For Politics I like a breadth of political spectrum: The New York Times, The Guardian, Drudge Report, Redstate, Breitbart. For art and culture: The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Gawker, Art Forum, Art in America, Journal of American Institute of Conservation (about art forensics… I operate an art forensics lab). For local politics, art and culture: MyRye.com, The Rye City Review, The Rye Record, Rye Daily Voice.

SEARS: What do you read to keep up with friends?

TAYLOR: Drudge and Gawker stories, for some reason, seem to come up a lot in conversation.

SEARS: What political leaders of today do you admire and why?

TAYLOR: Angela Merkel: even if I do not always agree with her, I admire that she has had to wrestle with some incredible problems, and has done so with humanity. Pope Francis: I see as inspiration in that he has been a fresh voice. Justin Trudeau: I admire how he made defense of Science as a central plank in his campaign platform.

SEARS: Why are you running for office?

TAYLOR: I love Rye, but I see that many of its core assets are not performing nearly as well as they should. Downtown definitely needs comprehensive re-thinking for it operate at its full potential.

SEARS: Why are you running for office  now?

TAYLOR: I have two really great running mates and a shared desire to make the City Council more responsive to the issues residents raise each year. This is an opportunity to work with an amazing team who all have the same vision of what Rye can be.

SEARS: What are the three most important issues in Rye City heading into 2016?

TAYLOR:

  1. Downtown: This is a complex snarl of inter-related problems, including: parking, pedestrian and bike access, shop vacancies, and a complicated relationship with the Metro-North station.
  2. Quality of life issues: These include rock-chipping, poorly-thought-out development, pedestrian safety, and sidewalks.
  3. Infrastructure: Flood mitigation work and road maintenance are key here.

SEARS: What are the three of the most important capital projects that need to be funded in 2016 and how much does each one cost?

TAYLOR: I will not be giving cost estimations. I ran my own business in fine art transportation for 10 years, and my most essential activity was giving cost estimates. I can assure you that any estimate given without thorough knowledge of actual input costs… is nonsense, and more likely to cause confusion than be helpful. Each of these should be properly studied with cost estimations provided by relevant professional contractors.

  1. Forest Avenue Sidewalk.
  2. Multiple proposals need to be considered to solving parking issues in downtown, with full public participation and commentary.
  3. Flood mitigation projects, for which money has been accepted from NY Rising.

SEARS: Please answer the following questions yes or no.

TAYLOR:

STATEMENT

Yes or No

Optional: one sentence explanation.

Rye Playland is a pawn in county politics

No

Not necessarily. A lot will be determined in how the next 12 months play out.

Rye Playland does not need to be re-invented by anyone, leave it alone

 

Playland did well financially this year but needs major capital investment to be properly maintained for the future.
This issue has not been resolved.

Rye Playland will be in good hands with Standard Amusements

Wait and see

 If elected, I would hope to engage with Standard to work towards the best possible Playland.

Rye Town Park should be controlled (or owned) by Rye City

 

The City and Town of Rye each own 50% of Rye Town Park. Any change in management or ownership would require the consent of both.

Rye City is prepared for the next “100 year” flood

No

Not yet. We need to execute the flood mitigation projects in the NY Rising grant, and then some.

Rye City should have additional restrictions on residential development

 

We need a whole new master plan. That will obviously require re-thinking current zoning and a community discussion of how to balance all interests.

Rye City property taxes are too high

 

Everyone knows they are high everywhere, but cutting taxes would involve catastrophic cuts in services.
We need to keep the City operation lean and efficient and get the most for our tax dollars. The City is about 17% of our property tax bill.

Rye City needs to reduce its deer population by active management including sharp shooters or bow hunting

Yes

Rye should be more aggressive about addressing this issue. While bow
hunting may be allowed I do not
believe use of firearms is legal in
Westchester County for this purpose.

Rye City needs additional professional fire fighters

Yes

Frank Culross expressed the current situation as “staffed for failure.”

The Starwood project on the Port Chester boarder is generally a good idea

 

The question for Rye is are we adequately representing our interests connected to impacts on Rye traffic and neighborhoods? Rye should have been in the discussion with our neighbors in Port Chester earlier.

Rye Golf Club is better but still a mess and needs aggressive oversight

 

Hard to say. Every week it seems there’s more drama about the club in the press. Those of us who are not club members just feel drama fatigue.

Rye City parking downtown is a serious mess and has a negative impact on local business and residents enjoying downtown

Yes

 

Rye City paid meter parking downtown has a negative impact on local business and on residents enjoying downtown

Yes

But in the current situation where there’s under-capacity anyway, it’s the only solution. Parking requires a total re-thinking, but yes, of course metered parking is a deterrent.

Rye City has a serious issue with residents texting while driving and remediation steps need to be taken

Yes

 

Rye City should be more pedestrian and bike friendly

Yes

This is a central part of our election platform.

Tell us more about you:

SEARS: What do you do for your day job and how is it relevant to serving Rye City?

TAYLOR: I am an assistant professor of Arts Management at SUNY Purchase. My background in cultural commerce and cultural policy allow me to understand the intricate workings of the leisure economy and how it relates to the over economic success of our city. I also have a business as an art and antiques appraiser and I operate an art forensic laboratory at SUNY Purchase, where we analyze artworks with scientific instruments to determine authenticity. So catching fraud is one of my central activities, and that skill would also be useful in government.

SEARS: Tell us about your family, why you moved to Rye and how many years you have lived in Rye.

TAYLOR: My wife Andrea Megyes works for Dietl International in fine art shipping. Her clients include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Gagosian galleries. My son Benjamin is in 3rd grade at Osborn School. We have lived in Rye for 4 years. We chose Rye because we loved the natural beauty, the charming downtown and the coastline. My wife is Hungarian, and Hungary is a land-locked country, so for her it’s very special to live so close to the ocean.

SEARS: What are your three favorite Rye traditions?

TAYLOR:

  1. Halloween Window painting. My son loved it this year, though I did have to talk him out of painting Jason from the Friday the 13th movies on his window.
  2. Fireworks at Fourth of July over the Sound.
  3. Rye Harrison football game.

SEARS: If you could go to the airport right now with friends or family and fly anywhere in the world for vacation, who would you take and where would you go?

TAYLOR: I would take my Mother (and the rest of my family) to France. My Mom is such a Francophile. She’s 75 and she takes French classes always hoping to get back.

SEARS: If you could create an endowment to fund any existing non-profit you designated, what lucky non-profit organization would that be?

TAYLOR: Irving Harper Museum. I had the opportunity to co-curate the retrospective on Irving Harper last year at the Rye Arts Center, and before he died I made a personal promise to Irving that I would find a way to make him a museum.

SEARS: What are your three favorite Rye restaurants?

TAYLOR:

  1. Rye Road House. Great food, and it’s practically across the street from me. I go here to watch football games. I get the country-fried steak for brunch.
  2. Ruby’s. The place I take out-of-town people for a special meal. Oysters. I love oysters.
  3. Three: Patisserie Salzburg. A real Central European Konditorei. Apple strudel… just like in Vienna.

Thanks Jeff!

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