If You Can’t Stand the Heat . . .

This letter was published in this week’s issue of the Gazette.

To the Editor,
I was saddened to see the tear-stained screed from Croton Democratic Chair Paul Rolnick, abetted by Trustees Maria Slippen and Brian Pugh, bemoaning their citation (for the second year in a row) by the Westchester Fair Campaign Practices Committee (WFCPC) for making misleading statements during the recent village election campaign, and their continuing efforts to falsely accuse Croton United of following the low road during that campaign. In fairness, neither Mayor Wiegman nor Trustee Andy Levitt joined that chorus.

The accepted procedure after one loses an election is to offer congratulations to the winners and pledge to work together for the betterment of the community (even if it is not totally sincere), and then retire to meet in private to lick ones wounds, try to figure out what went wrong, and develop a plan to do better in the future. I had fully expected that the Dems would follow this well-traveled path and, while there will certainly be honest differences between the two camps on a number of critical village issues, we would then proceed together on a positive basis and without such recriminations. But I guess they just can’t let go of past events.  

I would point out that the WFCPC citations belie Mr. Rolnick’s claim of a Dems campaign based on “. . . fact, substance, and utter respect for the opposing candidates and voters.” As I read it, the principal issues in the campaign were the fiscal policies of the outgoing board and the honesty and integrity of their candidates. Croton United presented a variety of facts in these and other areas, and not once, to my knowledge, did the Dems take specific exception to any of them nor could they demonstrate that they were false. They did, of course, offer excuses and otherwise try to justify their actions, but these attempts were soundly rejected by the voters of Croton.

It is a little-known fact that the Dems did submit a rather specious claim to the WFCPC regarding Croton United’s activities, but it was quickly dismissed by the Committee. I have no doubt that, if there was anything truly untoward in Croton United’s campaign, the Dems would not have hesitated to shout it from the rooftops and file claim after claim after claim with the WFCPC.

Mr. Rolnick, your side lost. Get used to it. Nobody likes a sore loser. Get past the election and instruct your followers, acknowledged and otherwise, to stop sniping from the sidelines. As Harry Truman said (you do know who he is, Mr. Rolnick), “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!” Instead of whining about the past, let’s all get together, both newly elected board members and those who will remain, and focus on the hard work ahead.  

If you’re upset by the repeated WFCPC citations, Mr. Rolnick, I suggest that, in the future, you follow the biblical admonition to “Go and sin no more.”

Joel E. Gingold