No Trains, Buses, Or Bikes? No Bridge!

by Jen White

After nine years of meetings, hearings and research, Governor Cuomo’s request to have the reconstruction of the Tappan Zee Bridge fast tracked was approved last week.  The members of the public and the local officials who participated in years of meetings were shocked that the final plan dismissed the need for public transportation that they expressed.

On Thursday, October 27th, the Federal Transportation Authority will present their plan for the reconstruction of the Tappan-Zee Bridge in the Adler room at the Palisades Mall.  The meeting is from 4:00pm until 9:00pm.  I will be there to express my opposition to a construction scope that has inadequate public transportation, has rejected years of public comment and jeopardizes our waterfront.  I urge you to join me.

The plan that has been released by the Federal government is a betrayal to the spirit of public comment and participatory democracy.   If we fail to show up in large numbers, we are surrendering our ability to shape the final stages of this project.  Even more alarming, our failure to turn out for this hearing will send the message that it’s acceptable for the State and Federal government to ignore us.   If we fail to boldly assert our interests at this critical moment, we are placing the fate of our village into the hands of others.

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Doug Foster’s Closing Statement

My name is Doug Foster, and after giving a tremendous amount of time volunteering for our Village, I decided to run for Trustee.

Nyack needs a change, and voters are lucky to have 3 new, capable candidates running for the two open trustee seats.

So why vote for me?  I’ll give you 4 good reasons:

  1. Experience
  2. Vision
  3. Positive attitude
  4. Smart Plan

Reason 1 – Experience

I bring 15 years of professional experience in local government.  After getting my Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Cornell, I worked for the City of Ithaca in the Planning Department on:

  • Master Planning
  • Economic Development
  • Parking Studies
  • Parking Garages
  • Parks and Recreation

I’ve been to hundreds of public meetings, and also know how to run them.

Plus, you’ll get the extra bonus of my being a web developer, and having built municipal websites.

Reason 2 – Vision

I can step back, see the big picture, and effectively communicate what the issues are. The Village has a structural deficit. We have urban issues without the budget to support them.

We MUST address this structural deficit or we can’t build a sustainable future.  Consolidation of services and possibly governments with South and Upper Nyack is necessary to achieve sustainability.

Reason 3 – Positive attitude

I know there’s negativity about a combined Nyack.  People say it’s been this way for a long time and can’t change.

I disagree.  I’ve talked to MANY South and Upper Nyackers that want One Nyack.

It needs to happen one step at a time.  There’s a new State initiative with  “NON-COMPETITIVE” grants to study the consolidation of services and/or governments.  Who’s against getting more information at no cost? No one I know. I’ve  always been able to get things done with a positive attitude.

Reason 4 – My five point plan

I’ve spelled out a specific plan.  Here are the top priorities:

  1. Improve our decision making process
  2. Investigate structural changes, starting with consolidation
  3. Bring openness and transparency to our residents
  4. Improve management
  5. Encourage Economic Development

If you elect me, I’ll use my experience, my vision and my positive attitude to implement the plan I’ve spelled out.

Action Plan for Nyack

Doug FosterBy Doug Foster

The Village of Nyack is rich with assets such as our vibrant downtown, scenic waterfront, diverse residents, strong sense of community, and a wonderful mix of residential, commercial and institutional development. Unfortunately, over the decades the Village has developed a structural deficit, where our tiny, balkanized tax base is unable to sustain our assets.

The Village is “asset rich, cash poor.” Our survival strategy has been to borrow from our infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, buildings, etc.) in the form of deferred maintenance.

Let’s treat this situation as a call to action. We need a Village Board that is willing to work together and tap into our amazing pool of residents to identify problems, find solutions, and implement them. If we are smart and focused we can regain a sustainable budget and build a better community.

As a starting point, I have outlined a Five Point Action Plan to move Nyack forward.

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Practical Party

by Jen White

Nyack needs to change. We have no business playing the game of partisan politics. There is just too much work to do.

We live in a Village with crumbling sidewalks and not enough tax revenue, with empty storefronts and an underutilized waterfront.

There are pockets everywhere of people who feel unheard and disenfranchised, from developers with ideas for responsible expansion of both our real estate options and our coffers, to out of town visitors who’ve heard we have parking problems and don’t want to come anymore.
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Friends of Nyack Forum – Opening

My name is Doug Foster, and I have been a professional planner since 1990 and have worked in local government for 10 years and affordable housing on a national level. Currently I own my own consulting business here in Nyack.

My wife and I were very intentional on choosing Nyack as the place we wanted to live. It has all the aspects we wanted:

• a strong sense of community

• a traditional and walkable downtown

• a vital commercial core with locally owned stores and a critical mass of stores for local residents, like a natural food store, drug store, hardware store, dry cleaners, and a great choice of restaurants and cafes. It could be better, but we are very, very lucky for the retail mix we have.

• Diverse community with a strong progressive tradition

Nyack is a special place and is worth the needed effort.

Now for the doom and gloom. Despite all its assets, Nyack has significant troubles, mostly stemming from an inherent, structural budgetary problem. Over the years the Village has “borrowed” from its assets in the form of deferred maintenance. A quick walk around the Village is all you need to see that there has been no significant investment in infrastructure since 1970.

In 1970, Nyack had its own police force and professional development staff. It had completed a major infrastructure improvement which dealt with a terrible drainage problem which periodically flooded the downtown. As much as we hate the fabulous urban renewal project resulting in our “superblock,” it did deal with channelizing the stream running through the middle of downtown.

The urban renewal project was the result of a significant federal capital infusion. It was Nyack’s stimulus money. Since then we have shed major expenses like our police department, pushed responsibility of sidewalks to the property owners, and struggled to maintain our streets. We have a skeleton staff with no administration or planning/development experience.

Now the Village faces the perfect storm where the housing crash has created a serious budget gap even with deferred maintenance. And the economy will not rescue us in the short run.

We can no longer afford to continue with business as usual. We need to be very creative and find short term ways to increase revenue and become more efficient. Short term solutions will help us weather the next few years, but we also need to make long term plans to restructure the Village so that it has the budget to plan, maintain and improve its infrastructure.

Fundraiser speech

By Doug Foster

Thank you to everybody who showed up tonight and have given support over the last few months.

In fact, Jen and I are both running because so many people have encouraged us to run.

My wife Rosemary and I were very intentional when we moved to Nyack 3.5 years ago. Finding a place that we both loved wasn’t easy, since she was coming from Greenwich Village, and I had lived in Ithaca for many years. Nyack has what we were looking for: a sense of community, the walkability, the charm, the River, the arts, the diversity, the progressiveness we wanted.

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Superblock Committee Reports

CComShould Nyack redevelop its downtown around a magnet facility like Riverspace? That’s the topic tonight at Village Hall when the Mayor’s Citizen’s Committee (CC) presents its report to the Village Board on a “Superblock” development proposal. The report details 14 critical recommendations and eight additional “other essential” steps to build the project.

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Doug Foster’s 2009 Campaign Video

Here is Doug’s closing remarks for the 2008 campaign in this video:

Jen White’s Responses to Dem Commmitee’s Questions

The following are Jen White’s responses to the Democratic Committee’s questions.  The Committee has endorsed Jen and Doug.

When you are mayor, would you include money in the budget to repair the deplorable, dangerous sidewalks on Nyack’s residential streets?

I think it was folly for the Village to eliminate any program in which an expense that should normally be provided by the Village government is split between homeowners and the Village.  That said, I don’t believe that the system ever worked in Nyack as is apparent in the sad state of many of our streets, something that cannot be attributed to economic down turn.  It is important that the health of any community be reflected in the way it looks to those visiting and living there.  I think the sidewalks need to be repaired.  How to fund such a thing is not clear to me yet.  I will repeat the refrain throughout this questionnaire that we must find alternative ways of funding necessities and luxuries in this community.  In my time raising money for Memorial Park, I have discovered many alternatives to taxes and punitive fines or general parking fees.  That said, I think that infrastructure and aesthetic repairs should be high on the list of things the Village spends, or raises money for and on.

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Doug Foster’s Responses to Dem Committee Questions

The following is Doug Foster’s responses to questions asked by the Democratic Committee.  The Committee has endorsed both Jen and Doug.

1.       There is a concern that Nyack’s infrastructure, including sidewalks, is deteriorating.  If you agree that this is a concern, how would you find money to deal with this concern?

I do agree that the apparent condition of Nyack’s infrastructure is worrisome, and there appears to be a high degree of “deferred maintenance”.  A top issue for me if I am to be Trustee is to institute proper management practices.  For infrastructure, Nyack should have a capital plan.  The base of such a plan will be a long-term analysis of roads, sidewalks, utilities and other infrastructure (like street trees).

Armed with the resulting information, a budget and calendar would be created to maintain Nyack’s assets.  Major infrastructure expenses, which have long-term benefits, should be bonded.  The key is to base decisions off of a clear plan so the process is based on good information and a long-term viewpoint.

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