SCARSDALE, N.Y. Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees candidate Harry Reynolds filed his nomination papers Friday and began his campaign with an attack on the very system he eschewed to get on the ballot.
Scarsdales Non-Partisan System describes itself on the internet as representative government in its purest and most democratic form, Reynolds wrote in a press release dated Friday, Feb. 17. In a process secret from beginning to end, Scarsdales Non-Partisan System keeps secret the identities of persons seeking its nominations to elective office, and it keeps secret what is said when those applicants appear before its nominating committee where neither the applicant nor the committee itself may discuss any issues. Issues are anathema. The committees object is to divine from the applicants history the applicants desirability as a mayor or trustee. If nominated, she runs in an uncontested election in which she will not campaign, make promises, raise or debate any issues. Is this representative government in its purest and most democratic form?
Reynolds said his concern about the systems secrecy is threefold: It does not allow citizens to judge the elected Citizens Nominating Committees judgment when it comes to vetting and choosing candidates, it does not allow voters to know where the candidates stand on issues crucial to the village, and it does not allow citizens to know who has been rejected.
In the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, he wrote, the secrecy of the Non-Partisan System was notoriously used by that system to keep Jews out of Scarsdales public offices (see, OConnor, Carol A., A Sort of Utopia, Scarsdale, 1891-1981, pp. 98-100) at the very time that Hitler was scourging and slaying Jews in Europe. Do you want class or religious hatred or social injustice of any kind to reappear in Scarsdale because of the Non-Partisan Systems infatuation with secrecy and your failure to strike it down? Look to history when it taps on your window.
Reynolds also asked, Do you accept the systems belief that you should not be told what a prospective trustee or mayor knows, thinks, believes, plans, or desires concerning issues directly affecting our lives? Is that secrecy proof of representative government in its purest and most democratic form, or is it the very opposite of a democracy?
The Board of Trustees election is set for March 20.
The Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party has endorsed incumbents Kay Eisenman and Jonathan Mark for reelection to the Board of Trustees. The party also named Scarsdale native and attorney David Lee as its choice for the seat currently occupied by David Toder, who was not eligible to run for reelection, having served two terms.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.