Friday, October 29, 2010

Interesting Article in the Patch

Here is a link to an article in The Patch that quotes a rep of Donald Trump indicating a more than passing interest in the former Reader's Digest property.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Follow-up to "Just the FACTS Ma'am"

The usual disclaimers apply. I am not speaking for the School Board, I am speaking as an individual. (Refrigerate after opening. Shake well before each use. Your mileage may vary. Past performance means bupkis.)

In trying to understand the point of view of the report commissioned by the town board by FACTS Presentation Services, Inc., I thought I would Google search the firm and find out what their area of expertise was. I searched on the string using quotes "FACTS presentation services". These are the results. Most of the results came from this report itself. I could not find a website nor do they list a website on their letterhead. Mr. Paul K. DeMay lists an AOL email address for his company email. That in and of itself means nothing other than it appears as if there is no company domain name or web presence.

From the search results, I found this page on which is part of Martindale-Hubbell. It lists the areas of expertise as, "Medical Experts & Consultants, Mental Health, Psychology - Educational Matters". It does not list real estate expertise nor does it list anything having to do with demographic projections. Certainly, M-H could be an incomplete list.

I also searched on "Paul K. Demay" and found even less information. All 10 results were related to the Reader's Digest project. Maybe my google-fu is failing me, but at the least FACTS Presentation Services, Inc. is not an easy firm on which to gather information and credentials.

Maybe the Town Board can point to other studies Paul K. Demay or FACTS Presentation Services has completed or other work he has done in the area of demographic projections.

If anyone has any information on this firm such as a website, promotional material, a list of clients, a list of reports, etc, please send it to me at



Friday, October 8, 2010

1X/wk Garbage Collection

The Town of New Castle recently re-considered changing the weekly garbage pickup from two times per week and one recycle pickup to one garbage and one recycle pickup per week. While I would prefer the twice weekly schedule, I would happily accept the once per week if the Town took that $200,000 per year savings and returned it to the taxpayer.

Granted, it would only be $37 per household, but if we all pledge to take that $37 reduction and spend it in town with one of our local merchants, the entire community would be better off. I would much prefer our local merchants get some stimulus spending than a corporate garbage hauling operation. Also, it seems more appropriate to spend the money in town than to just reallocate it in the budget. I would be disappointed if the savings is used to mask other issues in the budget or to pay for something else.

Let's applaud the town for finding savings and a method to help stimulate the local economy. What other services can be cut and the money returned to the tax payer? I would pledge to spend that locally too.



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Horace Greeley Homecoming Dance

Some residents have talked to me about the recent Homecoming Dance. The general issue was the limited number of tickets. Some also complained about "scalping" going on with the tickets.

First, congratulations to the student council and the administration for the successful incident free event! We are a victim of our own success. There are limits to the number of tickets we can sell to a dance as there are fire code restrictions as well as a protocol to have appropriate coverage or ratios of students to chaperons. For the first time in recent years, we reached a level of sales that would consider the dance as "sold out".

So how do you properly allocate the scarce resource of tickets in the future? Right now it is done through time. First come first served. Many students, wanting to wait until they could confirm plans, waited until the Friday before the dance to try to purchase tickets. I suggested to my children that paying the $10 (their money) early in the week was like buying a cheap call on their Saturday night plans. (Full disclosure: One of my children is on the student council and was required to be there and help setup as well as take a shift working at the dance.)

Following the dance, this week, I suggested to the administration that they consider two changes to the ticket selling protocol for next time. One, when tickets go on sale, make the first day of sales exclusive to seniors, the second day for juniors and seniors, the third day for sophomores, juniors and seniors, and the fourth day for freshman and sophomores only. Then, open ticket purchases up to the entire school.

Second, in order to prevent scalping and the older grades buying tickets in bulk, have every ticket numbered and a name logged with the sale. At the dance, only the person whose name is listed with the ticket number will be allowed to use that ticket.

These are just suggestions. I am sure there are many other good ideas that would make sense. I know the administration is considering many solutions to what is, in my opinion, a good problem; too much student participation.



Friday, October 1, 2010

Just the "FACTS" Ma'am?

The usual disclaimers apply. I am not speaking for the School Board, I am speaking as an individual. (Refrigerate after opening. Shake well before each use. Your mileage may vary. Past performance means bupkis.)

I had the chance to briefly review the report put out by "FACTS". My first impression was that Paul DeMay had a lot of guts staking his firm's reputation and future business on the numbers he used and the tone he took.

On closer review, DeMay has several "inconsistencies" with the submissions by both the developer and the Chappaqua School Board to DEIS and FEIS. It is not surprising to me that the Town's demographer came up with the numbers it did nor is it surprising to me that the developer came up with their number. The school district has hired counsel who in turn has hired experts to come up with its own projections.

I have never expected all the experts to be in concurrance. These projections are based on numerous asumptions and estimates. The concern was and is, what if the developer and now the town's numbers are wrong? I believe the risk of the estimates being wrong is great, while, at the same time, the outcome is financially significant.

I believe the appropriate party to take the risk is the developer, NOT the Chappaqua or New Castle taxpayer. As noted the other night, the developer must also believe the risk to be great as its lawyer stated they would not be willing to assume it. No monies would be put in escrow he said. As another speaker said at the town hall meeting, put your money where your mouth is.

That leads me to one question. Why should the taxpayers assume the risk if the developer won't?