Legislator Damon Maher Calls Out Local Elected Officials For Condemning Killing of George Floyd But Remaining Silent About Those Killed By Police in Westchester – by AJ Woodson, Black Westchester, May 15, 2021
“Silence is not an option – not for us as lawmakers, not for us as Americans, not for us as human beings,” the May 29, 2020 letter written to the Mayor and City Council on Minneapolis and signed by all 17 County Legislators including Maher.
Legislator Maher spoke up about police violence against African-Americans in Westchester County when his peers on the Legislator decided to only focus on injustice happening in cities like Minneapolis. Maher’s strong criticism was praised by Kamal Flowers’ brother Henderson Clarke. Last June, Kamal Flowers was shot by a New Rochelle Police officer and was declared dead later that night.
“County Legislator Maher has been standing firmly by the sides of every family member of those affected by police injustice in Westchester County. Ever since my brother Kamal Flowers was murdered by NRPD Officer Alex McKenna who was exonerated of all wrongdoing, Legislator Maher has been consistent in the fight not just for my family but the families of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., Johnathan Maldanado, DJ Henry, and many others,” Clarke shared with Black Westchester.
Million Air failed to get environmental approvals for upscale jet hangar and terminal at HPN – by David McKay Wilson, LoHud, May 17, 2021
County legislator Damon Maher, D-New Rochelle, said it’s time to hold Woolsey accountable for building his complex in defiance of federal environmental law and the lease he signed in 2015.
He called on Westchester to declare that Million Air has breached its lease, and seek to cancel it.
“It’s shocking that Million Air would ignore their express obligation under the lease to obtain NEPA approval, the clear written directive from the FAA and the county commissioner’s letter, and then proceed to complete their project as if the rules don’t apply to them,” Maher said. “The hubris brings to mind the myth of Icarus in an almost literal sense.”
Lawmaker pushes to remove or rethink plaque with Bronx River Parkway founder’s name – by Mark Lungariello, LoHud, April 29, 2021
County Legislator Damon Maher’s push to review a marker affixed to a bridge on the parkway trail in Valhalla came Wednesday, the same day a Journal News/lohud story ran online outlining the origins of the BRP and the history of Madison Grant, the conservationist and scientific racist behind the suburban thoroughfare.
Maher, a New Rochelle Democrat, had biked by the monument countless times, he said, but it isn’t particularly noticeable. He finally saw it last year while on a stroll and it struck him during an ongoing national debate on Confederate monuments.
Grant’s writings about race inspired Adolf Hitler. Legislator Maher reflects on how to properly (if at all) memorialize Madison Grant.
“My first reaction was ‘Gee, should we take that plaque down or should we cover it?’ ” Maher told The Journal News/lohud. “Or, on the other hand, should we put an explanatory plaque or a sign next to it explaining the very complex nature of this human being?”
Maher first thought of possibly removing the plaque last year and identifying if Grant’s name appeared elsewhere on parkland in the county. Now, he said he would just like to begin a discussion about it.
Divided County Board OK’s Playland Settlement: Four Democrats Vote No – by Dan Murphy, Yonkers Times, April 29, 2021
Maher raised a different point in the Playland debate, whether the State of NY has to approve the agreement because Playland is a county park. “Only the highest official, the State of New York, can give away or sell parkland. This kind of transaction needs to be approved by both houses of the state legislature and the Governor through an alienation of parkland. If you don’t ask for approval by the state, you open yourselves up to litigation and we have already spent $6 Million in legal costs on this agreement for Playland,” said Maher.
“This may be the most important vote that any of us take. Playland is the Jewel in the Crown of Westchester Parks. How absurd would it be to have a 35-year exclusive lease with someone for another county park? What if this were happening at Memorial Field, or Scout Field, or the Hudson River Museum. Those are the terms of this agreement.“ This may be the most important vote that any of us take. Playland is the Jewel in the Crown of Westchester Parks. How absurd would it be to have a 35-year exclusive lease with someone for another county park? What if this were happening at Memorial Field, or Scout Field, or the Hudson River Museum. Those are the terms of this agreement.
Westchester County Legislators Approve Revised Agreement For Playland – by Allion Dunne, WAMC, April 15, 2021
Legislator Damon Maher also voted no. Prior to the vote, he made a motion to adjourn the meeting, yet with no second, his motion failed. Maher also made a motion to amend the agreement, which also failed.
“The rush to cut off the debate here, I don’t understand. This has been pending for seven years. They’re not taking over, under this agreement, until December 1. Time is not of the essence,” says Maher. “Certainly, two weeks to hear more of the Rye community, I don’t understand.”
Maher spoke much longer than other legislators before the vote, nearly half an hour. He grew emotional toward the end, saying he and his four siblings had worked at Playland, and he has fond memories with his grandparents. Maher hopes it will be an accessible park for his potential grandchildren. “The expression is you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear,” Maher says. “I think the people of Westchester deserve a silk purse in terms of Playland.”
Legislator Maher was instrumental in receiving concessions from Standard Amusements, the manager of the amusement park. In the end, the Playland will provide summer jobs for youth from disadvantaged neighborhoods, and free parking when the amusement area is not open.
Latimer kills Saxon Woods 18-hole disc golf course plan in response to growing opposition – by David McKay Wilson, LoHud, 4/19/2021
Legislator Maher expressed concern about altering the fragile ecosystem in the Saxon Woods park. Ultimately, County Executive Latimer pulled back his idea for building a frisbee golf course.
County legislators Catherine Parker, D-Rye, and Damon Maher, D-New Rochelle, raised concerns about the course in the park’s southern end, where wildflowers carpet the forest flood, day lilies rise on a hilltop field while the Mamaroneck River meanders down below.