by Jack Greenspan
Here in Scarsdale, we have a unique non-partisan party that dominates our politics. They nominate candidates with their elected nominating board (CNC), and then put them up for usually uncontested elections. They believe that taking all of the politicking out of running for village office will make better people to run for office.
However, there are a couple problems I have with the non-partisan party. One of the problems I have is with their nominating process. Each candidate is only given ten minutes to sum up their accomplishments and civic service record, no CNC members can ask candidates any questions, and the candidates are not allowed to talk about their positions on pressing issues at all. And there are pressing issues in our Village- the revaluation, keeping taxes under the state tax cap, improving our roads, and other issues. This is representative of an overall trend of the CNC and their candidates- a pressure to come to a consensus. The fact that the CNC doesn’t ask candidates to stake out a position on issues is because the CNC doesn’t want to be “divisive,” which is, after all, the reason that the party was founded. However, this leads to a false consensus on big issues in the Village. Trustees feel the need to be in agreement, so that they don’t seem “agenda-driven” or out to cause trouble. This mentality is toxic for our political system, and ultimately, our village.