It was August 2017 - our first summer as homeowners here in Bedford - when we received a postcard in the mail from 'America's #1 lawn care company' and a note, 'Get the results and the lawn you want, guaranteed' accompanied by a photo of a lush, green, suburban backyard oasis. Our lawn was a long way from that but this marketing collateral gave me a guarantee! While I demand a lot - from myself, service providers and elected officials alike - I am reasonable and know that things take time. I gave them 14 months to do what they promised but after more than a year, our lawn didn't look anything like the one they said they would create.
So I did what I often do - I took matters into my own hands. I didn't know the first thing about lawn care when I started in the Fall of 2018, but I take great pride in just figuring it out. So I rolled up my sleeves and got my hands dirty (literally) with copious research, carefully planned testing and experimentation, rigorous documentation and at times some strap-on aeration shoes. Guess what? Hard work really does pay off, and my lawn now looks like the one I wanted at the outset.
But this isn't a pitch to hire me as your landscaper. This is a pitch to elect me as your next Town Board member - because work ethic and determination are as important in lawn care as they are in local governance.
In her Friday newsletter, Supervisor Calves announced that Bedford Hills was not awarded a NY Forward grant. For anyone who actually read Bedford's grant application, that news was not a surprise. With a poorly planned application process and a hopelessly vague application submission that failed to identify with any specificity an actual plan for revitalizing Bedford Hills, the application was doomed from the outset.
I previously wrote about my frustration with the process and application and expressed my concerns directly with members of the Town Board. Their only response was an accusation that I was being negative and trying to make a political statement. But this isn't a political issue - it's simply about doing the hard work, responsibly. And I cared too much about this issue to let it go because it involved a sizable grant (up to $4.5M) for a hamlet that is in desperate need of support.
Despite the poor process (one open forum to get public input that was scheduled just a few days before the application deadline, and that was not attended by either Town Board member who reside in Bedford Hills), Councilwoman Bobbi Bittker assured me that they "...have been working tirelessly on the information gathering, drafting, and other preparation for this grant, for months". I won't doubt that she and the rest of the Town Board tried their best. But when the results are poor, it's time to look to other people for solutions (as I did with my former landscaper).
Hamlet revitalization was the cornerstone of the campaigns of the Supervisor and the Town Board members. But it cannot simply be a campaign pitch. Bedford Hills really needs help and to fix the problem requires hard work from people who are capable of creating and implementing solutions. It's simply not good enough for our elected officials to merely make empty promises that they are unable to deliver on. They must be held accountable. And when they have given it their best shot (as Councilwoman Bittker assured us they have) and the results are failures, then it's time to recognize that they are not the right people to be leading this town. Bedford deserves better.
I'm running for office this year because I know I can do better. I've witnessed too many examples of this Town Board asleep at the wheel, and I'm tired of pointing out their deficiencies and simply being told that they are trying their best. Bedford is a wonderful community, but it requires effective leadership to ensure it will remain this way for generations to come. It's time for a change.