Friday, October 25, 2019

Early Voting Begins!

Friday, October 25.

Tomorrow Early Voting begins!

A quick reminder: Francesca, Laura and Liz still need your help. They will be canvassing on Sunday (Oct. 27) in Sleepy Hollow. Check in at the Senior Center at 55 Elm in Sleepy Hollow, 10 am - 2 pm to lend a hand.

Below are the Democratic Slate and the location and times for Early Voting. Please note that in the previous slate I sent, I forgot to include State Supreme Court Justices and the Family Court Justices. They have been added for your review.

Please consider voting early. This is a brand new option and there will probably be some bugs. Good attendance will help bring them to light so they can be fixed before our big election next year.

See you at the polls.


Democratic Slate for 2019

Please note that sources of information about the candidates are in parentheses; FB refers to Facebook for those of you who don’t have an account. These sources are primarily candidate-generated so we encourage you to do a web search for additional information
State Supreme Court Justice (vote for 4)

            Nancy Quinn Koba, Esq  (FB: Judge Nancy Koba; website

                Steven Milligram, Esq (FB: Judge Steven Milligram; website

                Lewis J Lubell, Esq (FB: Lewis J. Lubell; website

                Gina C Capone, Esq (FB: Judge Gina Capone; website

County Court Judges (vote for 2):

                Melissa Loehr, Esq (FB: Judge Melissa Loehr for County Court)

                Robert Prisco, Esq (FB: Robert Prisco Campaign; website: Robert Prisco for County Court Judge

Family Court Judge (vote for 2)

Mary Anne Scattaretico-Naber, Esq (FB: Mary Anne Naber; web bio:

Wayne Humphrey, Esq

Town Board (vote for 2):

                Francesca Hagadus-McHale (FB: Francesca Hagadus Democrat for Mount Pleasant Town Board; Interview with Indivisible Pleasantville

                Laura Divenere (Interview with Indivisible Pleasantville

Town Justice:

                Elizabeth Smith, Esq (FB: Friends of Elizabeth Smith; website: Elizabeth Smith, Esq. for Mount Pleasant Town Justice; Interview with Indivisible Pleasantville


We don’t have the exact wording, but it’s essentially: should the Superintendent of Highways be an appointed position? (it is now an elected position; other town department heads are appointed)

Early Voting:
Location:              Community Center
                                125 Lozza Drive
                                Valhalla, NY

Dates:                   Saturday, October 26 through Sunday, November 3

Times:                   Saturday and Sunday:   12 pm – 5 pm    
                              Monday, Wednesday, Friday:   8 am – 4 pm
                              Tuesday and Thursday:   12 pm – 8 pm

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Meet the Candidates: Francesca Hagadus-McHale

Hi, Everyone,

Here’s the last installment of Meet the Candidates.  Francesca Hagadus-McHale is a current town board member who is seeking another term. In this interview, she describes some of the challenges to governing a sprawling town like Mt. Pleasant. Feel free to share this and/or the previous interviews with fellow voters. We’re working together for an informed electorate. Now, for Franceca…

IP: Francesca Hagadus- McHale is a current Mt. Pleasant town board member running for re-election. Hi, Francesca, thanks for doing this interview with Indivisible Pleasantville. Some of our members may not know what a town board member does so please tell us about your role and responsibilities.

Francesca Hagadus-McHale: As a Councilwoman on the Mt. Pleasant Town Board, I attend work sessions every second Tuesday to listen to residents as they outline proposals and questions ranging from requests to build new structures, additions, solar farm installations, traffic issues,  water quality, to the building of the North 60 Project. We also discuss personnel, budgeting and other financial matters. On the alternate Tuesdays, I appear on the air with the rest of the Board on the air to discuss the agenda and to take questions from the floor about many of the abovementioned issues, as well as others on the Residents’ minds.

IP: What do you bring to this job; what experiences in your background make you a good fit for this position?

FH:I have been a Resident of Mount Pleasant on and off since I was 12 years old. I attended Pocantico Hills School, and Sleepy Hollow High School. I moved,  with my family,  to Pleasantville 26 years ago and have seen the changes over the years. I am a teacher and  former Department Chair, so I am used to meeting the needs of a large group of people and managing a budget. I am very active in the political arena, striving for justice and transparency.

IP: You’ve been on the town board for about a year now. Tell us about your contributions.

FH: I have expedited the passing of the Home Rule law which adds a 3% fee to any hotel stay in Mount Pleasant, This fee goes directly to the Town of Mount Pleasant.
---I have met and toured both the Hawthorne/Cedar Knolls and Cottage School campuses which serve New York’s most needy children. I attended a joint meeting Chaired by NYS Senator Peter Harckham on how to best help these schools. There is a significant part of the community that promotes fear of these children. I am striving to mitigate this fear by encouraging community involvement and the resources to recruit, train and retain support staff to work with the children and ensure Town security.
---I have promoted Mount Pleasant as ONE Town with diverse Villages and hamlets. Because Sleepy Hollow High School won the Metro award for Best Overall High School Theater Production, I invited the entire cast, parents and teachers to a Board meeting to receive a Proclamation acknowledging this honor. Also invited were two Briarcliff High School students who had received top Metro awards.
---I attended two meetings at the Mount Pleasant Library sponsored by NYS Senator Pete Harckham where I answered questions from the Residents. For example, it was pointed out that there are many vacant stores in Valhalla and Hawthorne. I am looking into ways to fill these vacancies as retail is very difficult to maintain tenants.
---I have also met with Westchester County Offices to address the dangerous intersection in front of the Hawthorne Train Station. Elwood Avenue is Town maintained, but Commerce Street is County maintained. As a result, planning is very near completion for a better traffic flow, in order to avoid further pedestrian danger. 

IP: Running for office is very demanding as we can see from your Facebook posts. Why are you running again?

FH: I ran for a one-year term to fill a vacancy. I won handily, with a mandate. I am now running for a full four-year term, so that I can continue the work I began in this term. It is very important to have both parties represented on the Board, to keep it from being a “club”, and maintain transparency. As the first Democrat elected in 30 years, I intend to continue to bring my vision for ONE Town of Mount Pleasant working together to remain forward-thinking.

IP: What else would you like to tell our members?

FH: Mount Pleasant is very large. It has the unincorporated hamlets of Valhalla, Hawthorne, Thornwood and Pocantico Hills. There are two incorporated Villages of Sleepy Hollow and Pleasantville, both with Mayors and Board of Trustees. There is a part of Briarcliff Manor and a part of Chappaqua in Mount Pleasant as well. Our children attend schools in the districts of Valhalla, Mt. Pleasant (Westlake), Armonk ( Byram Hills),  Pleasantville, Chappaqua, Briarcliff, Pocantico Hills and Sleepy Hollow in addition to the two Special Acts Schools of Hawthorne/Cedar Knolls and The Cottage School. Maintaining a “ONE Town” vision needs a great deal of ongoing effort.

IP: Francesca, thanks for helping us inform our membership. Best of luck.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Meet the Candidates: Laura DiVenere

Hi Everyone,

Time for another installment of Meet the Candidates. This week we’re talking with Laura DiVenere who, with Francesca Hagadus-McHale, is running for Mt. Pleasant Town Board.

If you are finding these posts useful, please drop us a line to let us know or "Like" the post on Facebook. Now for Laura....

IP: Laura DiVenere is running to be a member of our town board. Hi, Laura. I think this is your first campaign for public office; tell us how your background and experience make you a good candidate.

Laura DiVenere: Yes, this is my first campaign for public office. I believe that I’m a good candidate because, I am not a politician. I am a resident who lives in the town of Mt. Pleasant for over 22 years. I am a Mother, Wife and Realtor.  I’ve been active in the community, teaching CCD for 12years, a Girl Scout Leader for 10years, I’ve been on the PTA Ways and Means Committee.  I graduated from Iona College with a degree in International Business. I was a Purchasing Agent (15years), I am a Realtor (12 years).

IP: Why are you running for this position?

LD: I am running for the Town Board position because I love my town. I raised my children here, and I truly believe it’s a beautiful place to raise a family, as well as, retire here. Being a resident of Mt. Pleasant for over 20 years gives me the knowledge of what’s needed and if in some small way I can improve our quality of life, I will try my best to do so.

IP: You have been busy campaigning all summer. Tell us what the experience has been like and what you’ve learned about the residents of Mt. Pleasant.

LD: During the summer months we were attending meet-n- greets, some fundraisers and most town events. It’s been busy but a fun busy. I’ve met so many wonderful people from town and met up with old friends as well. I’ve learned that the residents are ready for a change and were very receptive toward me. I truly had a blast this summer.

IP: What do you hope to do as a town board member?

LD: What I hope to do once I’m on town board is listen. I feel so many residents aren’t heard. I would also like to bring business for economic development town-wide to increase our tax base, while keeping our town’s charm.

IP: What else would you like to tell our members?

LD: I would like to thank you, Karin, and Indivisible Pleasantville for taking time out of your busy day to get to know me better. I am always available, I always have a notepad and pen with me if anyone has questions. I hope I can make you proud. Thank you.

IP: Thanks, Laura, for taking the time to answer our questions. Good luck at the polls.

Monday, September 23, 2019

September 22 Meeting Minutes

HUGE THANKS to those who made it out to our meeting yesterday at the bowling alley!
  • We had a presentation by Owen Borda on the 2020 census
  • Owen underlined the importance of getting an accurate count - an undercount can trigger redistricting and cause us to lose members of the House of Representatives
  • Owen asked us to help get an accurate count in many ways
  • Spread the word about the census
  • Report locations of homeless encampments and help identify people less likely to be counted (Owen emphasized that census officials/census takers are not mandated reporters and are forbidden by law from reporting anything other than count numbers - they pose no threat to people based on living situation or immigration status)
  • Help recruit census takers (a well-paying job that can be open to people regardless of immigration status, prison record or education level)
  • Submit census materials in a timely manner (this information will be mailed to homes in March)
  • Justine Fontinell informed us about this month's service project - a much need food collection for the Interfaith Food Pantry - please see details in a separate email
  • Francescas Hagadus and Elizabeth Smith spoke to us about their campaigns and the entire Mount Pleasant Slate. They are putting out an urgent call for canvassers/door knockers. No experience necessary and snacks provided! To participate please contact
  • John Fisher let us know about the efforts of the Mt. Pleasant Democratic Committee on behalf of candidates. They have several upcoming events that will be share on our FB page and website
LOTS TO DO to make the census and our November races a success! Please find a way to get involved!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Meet the Candidates: Elizabeth Smith

Hi Everyone,

Election season is in full swing and we have some excellent candidates running for local office here in Mt. Pleasant. We want you to get to know them so we’ve done interviews with Francesca Hagadus-McHale and Laura DiVenere who are running for Town Board and with Elizabeth Smith who is running for Town Justice. We’ve asked them to help us better understand the parts of town government they want to join as well as to introduce themselves to all of you.

We will post one candidate interview each week through email, the IP website, and IP’s Facebook page. We are beginning with Liz Smith and we hope you find these interviews helpful. 

IP: Elizabeth Smith is running for Mt. Pleasant town justice and this is her first foray into political waters. Hi, Liz. We talked when you were first getting your campaign started and you helped educate me about our town court. If I hadn’t been called for town jury duty years ago I doubt that I would have known we have a town court and I’m sure I’m not alone. Please give our members a brief overview of what the town court is and what the town justice does.

Elizabeth Smith: Karin, I have to first thank you and Indivisible Pleasantville for this opportunity. Your time is very valuable and I appreciate that you are spending it with me.

The Town Justice Court is a lower court, and has jurisdiction over civil matters under $3,000 and misdemeanors and violations that occur within the Town. A person accused of a felony (a serious crime punishable by over one year in prison) may also be arraigned in Town Justice Court. An arraignment is when a person accused of a serious crime appears before the Court to hear the charges against him or her and enters a plea of guilty or not guilty. The trials of these types of cases are heard by the Westchester County Court located in White Plains. A Town Justice also has the power to solemnize marriages and administer oaths.

IP: What in your background and experience make you a good match for this position?

ES: As I shared with you and a few IP members, my grandfather was murdered when I was 8 years old. He was attacked in the elevator of his apartment building. He was a Local 3 elevator operator. September 13th marks the 33rd anniversary of his death.
This experience tore my family apart and thrust us into the court system. I joined my mother, a victim advocate, in candlelight vigils, protests outside the Governor’s office and at conferences for Parents of Murdered Children, Survivors of Homicide, NYS Office of Victim Assistance (formerly NYS Crime Victims Board) and MADD. Andy Warhol said “They say time changes things but you actually have to change them yourself.” I had a choice. I chose to honor my grandfather’s legacy in the best way I knew how - to use this experience to help others.
That is how I came to study Criminal Justice and Law.  I have been practicing for 15 years. I spent three years as the sole associate at a busy law firm in White Plains.  I represented clients in civil, matrimonial, criminal and surrogate court proceedings as well as election law and liquor licensing matters. In 2007, I joined the Unified Court System where I have worked for the last twelve years. In this role I have written over 2,000 decisions, settled hundreds of cases and assisted with countless hearings and trials.
I know firsthand the impact Court’s have on individuals and their families. I know the frustration of feeling that your side of the story was never heard. I know the importance of applying the correct law to the facts of the case in making a decision. I believe that my personal and professional experience makes me a good match for this position. I have experience from virtually all sides of the bench. This has given me a unique perspective that I would use to make a meaningful impact on the Town of Mount Pleasant.

IP: Why do you want to be the Mount Pleasant town justice?

ES: I believe I would do the job well. I have always been active in my community and I can think of no better way to serve the Town of Mount Pleasant.

IP: I understand that candidates for judgeships are limited in what they can say about the future, but what else would you like us to know about you?

ES: I live in Hawthorne with my husband and four sons. Three of the four attend school in the Mount Pleasant Central School District. My fourth is just starting Pre-K this year! I am the First Vice President of the Ninth Judicial Court Employees Association, representing over 300 court employees in Westchester and Rockland. I am also the Librarian of my chapter of the Daughter of the American Revolution and volunteer with my parish in the Religious Education Department and Parish Council.   
You can find more information about me, my endorsements and follow me on the campaign trail at, on Facebook at “Friends of Elizabeth Smith” and on IG @SmithForJustice. 

IP: Liz, I think we all know more about our town court than we did before. Thanks and good luck to you.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Indivisible Pleasantville Media Survey Findings

A big Thank You! to all of you who responded to our survey.

About 10% of our mailing list responded so we have a clearer understanding of how you are interacting with the three platforms Indivisible Pleasantville uses.
Here are the Results.

1. Which of the IP platforms do you prefer to use: website, email, Facebook? Please rank order them, 1 – 3.

Top Choice
1st or 2nd Choice

NOTE: It has been a while since the website has been active. We hope to change that to make it more useful to you.

2. What types of information on these platforms is most useful to you?

This question got a 100% response that fell into these categories in no specific order:

Meeting dates and times
Service opportunities
Candidate and issue information
Political action opportunities

All responses are listed at the end of this report.

3. What additional types of information would you like to see included?

This question got a 60% response that centered on these areas:

More information about candidates and issues as they appear on the ballot
More information about county and national Indivisible activities and issue positions
More information about meetings and events of local activist groups
More information on how to get involved

All responses are listed at the end of this report.

4. What else do you like or dislike or want to see?

This question got responses from about 40% of the respondents:

I like the friendly, hopeful tone. We are all busy and cannot do everything we'd like to do. No guilt
I like to see lists of possible "one time" volunteer needs.

Don’t like Sunday afternoon as standard meeting day and time. Prefer weekday evening 
 I dislike posting about news articles. We all read the news on our own.
Monthly Events calendar of all Indivisible events (town and county).
Be brief

NOTE:  “News” came up in questions 3 and 4. Members frequently post articles of interest on our Facebook page, but this is selective. For those of you who want more information on local issues and what our elected officials are doing, check out the Facebook page Progressives of Mt. Pleasantville. While not exhaustive, it is a good place to start.

We don’t keep any information on members other than name and email address, but a little bit more would be useful.

5. Gender


NOTE: No surprises here.

6. Age group: Just Getting Started (<30), Parenting (30-59), Thinking of Retirement or Retired! (60+)

Age Group
  No response

NOTE: To date, IP has looked at broad issues: immigration, health, issues of special interest to members in general. These age groupings represent different life stages, each of which is more or less affected by policies. For example, student debt and housing are especially critical for the under 30s, while Social Security and Medicare are central to the well-being of many retirees and those thinking of retirement. As we go forward these distinctions may become more important and help us engage more members.

7. Town of Residence (since we know not everyone lives in Pleasantville)

  The Hamlets
  No response

NOTE: What happened to the Hamlets?
Question #2 Responses
Updates and meeting info
What is happening locally, where is help needed
Events and reminders
details on upcoming meetings & events sponsored by Indivisible groups & related organizations 
positions on key issues
candidates being supported
Our meetings or events.  Other events of interest.
"Team effort" volunteer work/sign-ups, Summaries of IP meeting minutes,
Meeting dates/reminders; volunteer activities; voting events (petitions, GOTV, phone banking), GOTV activities.
Event dates/times
Political campaign info
 Meeting dates and times.  Volunteer opportunities.  Opportunities for political action.
Dates of elections
Preferred candidates
Upcoming events or actions with a date or due date
What action can be taken on a given issue; including how, what, where, when and how to contact the organizrer.
issues I need to know about, opportunities to get involved
Events, calls to action, volunteer opportunities, good articles
upcoming events, opportunities to volunteer

Question #3 Responses

Maybe other political information/articles of interest.  I know IP's focus is meant to be very local, which has been great for the MPDC cause, which is just fabulous, but I am sort of a political junky (I'm to one who pushed to organize canvases and phone banking for other Congressional campaigns in neighboring districts) so I always think people will want to know about other candidates and national campaigns. 
Key current local political/neighborhood/environmental/meetings that need attendance.
Priorities and positions of the national and Westchester Indivisibles.
Candidates bios
Details of each ballot before I walk into the polling station - everyone we are endorsing and why.
Events, calls to action, volunteer opportunities, good articles
More information about issues and candidates
How to volunteer for campaigns and projects
Who’s going
How to get involved