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10/27/02 Letter from


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Penny Markowitz-Moses

October 27, 2002

601 Eagle Bay Drive
Ossining, New York 10562

Dear Fellow Ossining Citizen,


I am writing to you about my growing concern with the mean-spiritedness and anger that I am seeing not only at the Village's public meetings but elsewhere across the community.


Why is this so troubling? Because the kind of angry, boisterous, accusatory, and, at times, slanderous commentary that we are seeing at our meetings is stifling an open dialogue about issues. Citizens who want to participate in discussions are discouraged, even intimidated, by what is often a rowdy and hostile atmosphere. When basic civility is lost, open dialogue goes out the window.


Worse, this angry attitude is not limited to municipal meetings. The few negative people who behave so outrageously at Village Board meeting are also among those whose barrage of downbeat comments, angry letters-to-the-editor, and destructive behavior cast a pall over the entire village. While the focus lately has been about the plans for the waterfront, the overall effect is to damage the community as a whole.


Ossining has made real strides in recent years. I have seen a revived spirit and a renewed sense of pride throughout the village. A recent article in New York Magazine picked Ossining as one of the Metropolitan area’s best communities for residential real estate investment. The article pointed to the numerous unique attributes of our diverse community and to the vitality that our citizens demonstrate on a daily basis. This endorsement of our village is something about which we can all be proud.


I do not mean any of this to suggest that we shouldn't have - or indeed, encourage - open and honest dialogue and discussion about the many issues that we face as a community.


But as we move forward, I am asking each and every resident of Ossining to think about our community and how we want to be known. Are we a village that is angry, hostile, and intolerant, one in which differing opinions are shouted down? Or are we a forward-looking village with a proud heritage and a great future, one in which people can agree to disagree in a civil manner?


The days when Ossining was down and out are long gone. And public hostility, anger and incivility should have gone with them.


Thanks to so many of our residents - old and new - who are investing their time, money, and lives in their homes, their businesses, and our civic life, Ossining will be featured in many more magazine articles as one of Westchester’s great villages. And that is good for all of us.


I appreciate your time and interest. I am hopeful that all of us who care about our community and its future can join together in treating our fellow citizens with respect, and in keeping our village moving forward.


Sincerely yours,


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