Why we are running for Village of Lansing Trustees
Yasamin Miller: In 1974 the Village of Lansing was formed in response to the local residents’ protests about rapid, uncontrolled development . That is how the Community Party came to be. Ironically now, they seem to be fully supporting development despite significant local opposition, development they insist is based upon a comprehensive plan that uses data more than 12 years out of date. Since they have been the unchallenged decisionmakers for decades, they set the agenda for the village.
I first started attending Board meetings because of the proposed Lansing Reserve development. The dismissive attitudes that many experienced from the trustees for expressing our views were extraordinary. I decided to run for Trustee after it became apparent that Village representatives had their own agendas. This was reinforced when I was inadvertently sent an email from the Village clerk that was a summary of concerns the trustees have about the Lansing Reserve proposal (dated 4-28-12).The clerk was reprimanded by a trustee for sharing this information with me as they had no intention of making this document public. Clearly they have had discussions and made decisions behind closed doors – why? Choice and transparency are the hallmarks of democracy. If we have no competition, then we by default have trustees who are all of the same mindset. Just taking a look at the voting record will reveal they vote as one.
I came to this country in 1986 with a graduate degree in statistics. I am the founding director of Cornell’s Survey Research Institute. Part of my work involves collaborating with municipalities to help them understand how to meet the needs of residents by conducting public opinion surveys. I also have significant business experience. I am solely responsible for providing work to support our 50+ person team as we get no university funding, and I have done so successfully for 15 years. My job requires me to bring people together from varying backgrounds (economically, professionally, ethnically, etc.) to achieve a common goal. This experience is what I bring to our village government.
Our village needs a different perspective than what has been in place for decades. I will see to it that inclusion, open government and accountability occur. True representation is of critical importance for us at this time. Given decisions that lie ahead, without trustees who are from the “outside” we cannot leverage the power of diversity and inclusion that is critical to ensure our village remains a wonderful place for all.
Brian Goodell: I am currently a Lead Coordinator in Facility Services at Cornell University where I have worked since 1989. I have a long record of public service over the decades, serving for over a half a dozen organizations, including serving for the Varna Fire Department, Cornell United Way as well as TCAT. I served my fellow Service and Maintenance workers as their union president for three years. I am the father of five children and grandfather of seven. I am a hard-working man who punches a clock every work day. I am a family man who has experienced the struggles of raising a family and living from paycheck to paycheck.
I believe that my work and community service experience over the years positions me well to serve as a Village of Lansing Trustee. I have a strong sense of community, building relationships, and improving the lives of the average person. I regularly interact with people who are not politically engaged in our village, and who are feeling detached from our representatives. I hear from my neighbors and colleagues that they are concerned about the direction the village is taking in terms of development in their areas, but feel that no one cares about their concerns. I want to make sure that the voice of ALL people are included as major decisions that will impact the future of our village are being made now. One political party, uncontested for decades, inevitably has limited ability to represent all the people. Choice is important for any political system to function in a healthy fashion. Knowing your community and responding to its diverse needs is at the heart of effective public service.
My wife Nancy and I are blue collar, hard-working residents. We face the struggles that the current economy has given to us every day. I know many in the Village that feel that they are not represented with the current one-party system. They see decisions made without their input, and aren’t even included when these decisions that will affect their lives are made. It is time that they are represented and given a voice. A responsive voice that is accountable to them. A voice that understands and listens to them. I want to be that voice.
The Trustees have all come from one party, who in turn hand-select the Planning Board members. I am a strong believer in the democratic process, and feel that everyone should have representation regardless of their background. It is important to have residents who are not “insiders” part of the governing process to challenge, reevaluate and ensure that the agenda being set by our village representatives accurately reflects the needs and desires of the residents, not those from the outside seeking to profit from the resources we have. I want to ensure that diverse opinions are given fair and equal voice and has a place in our local government. I also want to ensure that the founding principles of our village are upheld, assuring development proceeds with the desires of the community, protecting our environment, making the village a great place to live for everyone.
Learn more: Yasaminandbrian.wordpress.com