December 30, 2019

On the evening of November 5th, when I was reelected to the County Legislature by a large margin, I exchanged texts with my four siblings, all younger, who were telling me how proud our late parents, especially our Dad, would be that I was able to defend my first-term record and, more importantly, stand on principles — that is, doing what I know in my heart and head is right despite a lot of online static and bullying. 

I also have solemn thoughts of my father every November 11th — Veterans Day — because he was a proud veteran of the US Navy.  He served in the Pacific during WWII and his ship made it to Japan with the occupation forces.  Upon returning to his home town of Hastings-on-Hudson, he joined the James Daley VFW Post on Warburton Avenue.  He served stints as Post Commander, Chaplain, and one year was the Grand Marshal of Hastings’ annual Memorial Day parade.  Dad remained active in the post until the final months of his last illness.

I was privileged again last month to be a speaker at this year’s Veterans Day observance at Parkway Oval in the village of Tuckahoe, town of Eastchester, bordering our beautiful County trailway.  There were many Cub Scouts and Brownies present and I told them how my Dad told me stories about what it was like to be in Japan right after the war ended. I said that he always told me that both sides — the ordinary Japanese people and the American soldiers and sailors — were afraid of what would happen and how they would be treated by the other side once the Americans landed in Japan after the war.  But my Dad would say, and I repeated, people were very friendly to each other once the bad leaders had been stopped.  He also told me about a man known as a great warrior, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who helped the Japanese people establish true democracy, with a prosperous economy and more rights for women.  A good message for children, I thought, and helpful to be repeated in this particular place where there is a significant Japanese and Japanese-American population.

So I hope for a year of peace and justice, and will keep in mind our continuing goals here at the County Legislature for the New Year.  First, we must work with the Executive branch to carry on the essential task of ensuring fiscal responsibility, which makes everything else possible.  We must follow through on the efforts to rehab and rebuild roads and bridges under our jurisdiction.  If you have been following my official County emails [you can sign up at my County page if you’re not on that mailing list], you know that we are making good progress on my platform planks of making more affordable housing and working families’ childcare available, things that benefit the development of our society as a whole.  I repeat my campaign pledges to redouble my office’s efforts on these issues.

In addition to investing the tax dollars you entrust to us in government in programs that should result in long-term savings, I also pledge to continue to look for cost savings.  For example, I’ll continue to look into potential reallocation of resources as NYS criminal justice reform unfolds and we shrink the incarceral state.  Expect a more lengthy discussion in the coming months. 

I wish all of you a happy and healthy new year.