Follow the Leader

I’ve read several private and public political polls lately that, at first glance, suggest a personality disorder among New York’s electorate. The unsurprising core condition: Voters want everything — tax cuts, service increases, less debt, and more (small “s”) social security. They dislike Republicans, on balance, but generally like the GOP’s policy prescriptions. They don’t trust Democrats in office, but plan to keep electing them – unless Republican candidates cut through the clutter and reach them. But they oppose the kind of political spending that would require. Large numbers of voters self-identify as independent, but only major-party candidates are electable. They want “transparent” government, but don’t follow public affairs.

While polls like these prove challenging for political professionals, they confirm something elemental and reassuring: Voters are human. They want everything good, when given the choice, and none of the bad. But they still know they have to take their medicine, like it or not.

Today, we see in a Siena College poll that New Yorkers are loving Andrew Cuomo, but blanch at the cuts – none specified yet – that he says must be made in education and healthcare spending. His approval rate is an astronomical 77% in New York, with 47% saying the state is moving in the “right direction”, which is a good number in this environment of stubborn, yes, malaise.

What these polls further confirm is that people still follow the leader, just as they do in all other aspects of their lives. We have been following leaders since kindergarten or before. Real ones emerge effortlessly, and we follow them instinctively.

Without leaders, a lot of us would sleep ‘til noon and eat Three Musketeer bars for breakfast. The football would never move downfield and fire drills would be survival-of-the-fittest affairs.

Leadership is what got Rudy Giuliani elected twice in a city that is 8-1 Democratic. He carried the Upper West Side in 1997. On issue after issue, Upper West Siders disagreed with Mr. Giuliani, but he led them through dark times and they followed him, believing he would get them back to sure footing (where they could clobber him.)

Voters have an uncanny ability to discern over time which leaders are real and which are false prophets. They stand by the real ones, even when they disagree with them. Governor Cuomo is in that evaluation process today, and so far, voters like what they see, even if they don’t like what they hear.

Bill O’Reilly is a Mount Kisco resident who writes the blog The

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Fox Lane Captures Section One Wrestling Championships

The Fox Lane wrestling team, coached by Mount Kisco resident Joseph Amuso, captured the New York State Section One wrestling championship for large schools with over 50% more points than New Rochelle, the second-place finisher.

Tow Fox Lane wrestlers who are Mount Kisco residents, Sam Speno (112 lbs) and Steven Rodrigues (130 lbs), won the individual Section One championship for their weight class. Fox Lane had four wrestlers finish in second place in their weight class: Danny Ventura (119 lbs), Peter Grippi (125 lbs), Tom Grippi (135 lbs) and Matt Pasqualini (145 lbs).

As section champions, Sam Speno and Steven Rodrigues will go to the state championships. The four Fox Lane runners-up may be selected as wildcards based upon prior year finishes. Congratuations to the entire Fox Lane team for a job well done.

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Quotation of the Week

I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon. – Author Unknown

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Connor Farrell Qualifies for NYS Diving Championships

Connor Farrell, a Fox Lane High School student, qualified for the New York State championships for diving with a stellar performance in the Section 1 diving championships. Connor placed third in the section and his score far exceeded the minimum score necessary to advance to the state championships.

Since Fox Lane High School does not have a diving team, Connor had to do much of his training on his own. Connor worked hard to perfect many dives, including a 2 1/2 pike that he used to in the Section 1 championship

Connor is a lifeguard at Mount Kisco Memorial Pool and is a diver for the Mount Kisco Memorial Pool Swim and Dive team.

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Fox Lane Wrestlers Enter Weekend as Team Favorites

The Fox Lane wrestling team coached by Mount Kisco resident Joseph Amuso enters the Section One tournament as a favorite to win the section championship for the large schools (Division 1). The Division 1 tournament will begin Saturday at Lincoln High School in Yonkers at 9:00 a.m. and continue on Sunday at 9:00 a.m. The finals are scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Wrestlers have to win four matches to win the Section One crown.

There are 14 Fox Lane wrestlers in the Section One tournament. The wrestlers include Mount Kisco residents Sam Speno (112), Steven Rodrigues (130) and Drew Caico (152). Sam Speno and Steven Rodrigues are ranked first in Section One. Other Fox Lane wrestlers include: Ben Ettlinger (96); Frank Suarce (103); Danny Ventura and Ari Faust (119); Peter Grippi (125); Tom Grippi (135); Giancarlo Morreale (140); Matt Pasqualini (145); John Grecco (171); Julian Faust (189); and Dan Clune (215).

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Quotation of the Week

“The measure of a man is the way he bears up under misfortune.” –

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Photo of the Week

This week we feature another photo from Mount Kisco Daily Photo. This photo is titled “6”.

Is this picture:

(a) a clown’s car that got stuck in the snow
(b) a picture that the head of the BSCD imagines when cancelling school again
(c) what the village gave the Highway Department instead of a new snow plow
(d) a piece of playground equipment from Leonard Park.

It’s (d). I hope photographer Vito Pasquale takes a picture of this car in the spring. We can have hope after today’s great defrost

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Lineup to Sign Up for Mt. Kisco Summer Camp

Looking at the picture below, you would think that someone was giving something away. The picture, however, is a line of parents waiting to sign their children up for Mount Kisco’s summer camps. The registration started this Saturday morning at 8:00. The parents on the bottom level made the mistake of arriving only one hour early. There has to be a better way.

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MKFD Makes Progress on 9/11 Memorial; Receives Gift of $25,000

The Mount Kisco Fire Department continues to make progress on completing Mount Kisco’s 9/11 Memorial. After the planning and the initial groundbreaking (pictured below), construction began and Mount Kisco’s bravest volunteers built the block foundation up to street level.

The 9/11 Memorial Project will be built economically by volunteers in the construction and pool businesses with manpower from the MKFD. The MKFD, however, will have to raise funds as the current design of the memorial will have two slabs of black granite to symbolize the World Trade Center towers and a pentangular pool to memorialize the victims of the attack on the Pentagon.

To help the MKFD towards their goal, Daniele Churchill, owner of Churchill’s of Mount Kisco donated $25,000 to Mount Kisco’s 9/11 Memorial Fund. Ms. Churchill will present the donation to the Mount Kisco Fire Department at Village Hall before the February 7, 2010 Village Board of Trustees Meeting.

The MKFD is looking for other donations and is, among other fundraising projects, raffling off a 2010 Camaro.

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Katie Hardiman: Fox Lane Student of the Month for January is proud to announce that Katie Hardiman is the winner of the Fox Lane Student of the month for January. The student of the month is sponsored by the Mount Kisco Coach Diner on East Main Street. Katie will receive a gift certificate to the Mount Kisco Coach Diner.

As printed in this space in November, Katie Hardiman was one of the female leads in George Washington Slept Here, a play put on by the Fox Lane Players. Katie has been very active with the Fox Lane Players and will be one of the female leads in the Fox Lane Player’s spring musical, “The Boyfriend”. She’ll be playing the role of “Dulcie,” a flirtatious character. This part will require Katie to show off her singing and dancing skills. The play will run at Fox Lane High School from March 18 to March 20.

In addition to acting, singing and dancing, Katie is first-chair viola in the Fox Lane orchestra. Academically, Katie is a member of the National Honor Society, receiving high-honors each quarter. She was selected by the National Young Leaders to participate in a nation-wide leadership conference.

Katie is a leader in community service. She is very active in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Westchester where she has been an active youth group member and has traveled to New Orleans to help rebuild. She has also participated in community activities locally with Neighbors Link, gone to New York City on several Midnight Runs and works as a Sunday School teacher for the nursery and kindergarten children. Last year, she won the St. Michael’s College Book Award for outstanding Community Service.

There are so many fantastic Mount Kisco students in the Bedford Central School District. We are proud to award Katie Hardiman with the student of the month award for her community service, academic and artistic activities.

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