Polls will be open Wednesday, March 18, for Scarsdale voters to choose from among six candidates to fill three open trustee seats. Although not the anomaly they once were, contested elections in Scarsdale remain the exception rather than the rule. So it’s especially important this year for residents to cast their vote to shape the leadership of our community’s future.

Scarsdale has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create and execute a vision for a revitalized downtown. With Scarsdale Improvement Corp.’s expressed desire to redevelop some of its properties, and with the Freightway site in play, the hard work of creating a master plan needs to be on the board’s agenda. Taxes, services and school enrollment are all part of that equation.

These are complicated issues — as are many of the other considerations the board is charged with determining. The board needs to be transparent in all of its processes, listen to (and hear) what the entire community has to say, and in turn be able to digest all the information while being creative problem solvers in order for Scarsdale to be its best.

Prior experience working (volunteering) with community organizations should be a requirement for anyone seeking a seat on the board. We know the incumbents have attended prior board meetings, but that should also be a part of any of the trustee candidates’ repertoire. One needs to be familiar with how the board functions and have a clear understanding of its recent history in order to be able to be a productive participant in governing the village.

Incumbents Justin Arest and Lena Crandall meet those requirements — and more. We think they’ve been real assets to the board for their first term and having them serve for another two years is in Scarsdale’s best interest.

None of the remaining four candidates have served on the village board, and while some of them have impressive volunteer participation in village affairs and organizations, we feel Bob Berg is the most knowledgeable and passionate about Scarsdale. A former president of the Scarsdale Forum and current chair of its Assessment Revaluation Committee, he’s smart, works hard for the community and often has good ideas. True, he has litigation pending against the village and the police department in New York Southern District Court, a case involving free speech and political lawn signs, but we expect him to recuse himself on any matters related to that while participating in village affairs. We also expect his tone will be tempered when he’s sitting at the dais.

We also think adding the voice of an insightful challenger dedicated to accountability and transparency is Scarsdale’s best chance to be the inclusive community it says it is and wants to be. We therefore are endorsing Bob Berg for election to the third open seat on the village board of trustees.

The village is working hard to ensure the polls at Scarsdale Congregational Church are well sanitized. There are also extended opportunities to vote by absentee ballot if coronavirus “distancing” is keeping you out of public places.

Your vote matters.

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