THE FOLLOWING LETTER FROM CROTON'S BRIAN POWERS APPEARS IN TODAY'S (9/10) EDITION OF THE GAZETTE. It is reprinted here by request and addresses the content of a recent po-Toughman race letter from a Town of Cortlandt resident, as well as the mayor and village board's role in permitting the annual race at the end.
To the Editor:
As we approach what has become the annual Sunday in September in which Croton residents must endure the misguided embrace by our elected Village officials of the annual Toughman competition event, I am amazed at some of the various public comments regarding this disruptive event.
First, I read with both amusement and annoyance the uninformed and inaccurate missive from Town of Cortlandt resident Frank Marrone’s attesting to all the benefits inuring to the Village of Croton from the Toughman event and denigrating anyone opposed to this event by labeling them as being a “hater” and “rabid”. Poppycock.
At the outset, I commend Mr. Marrone for his attempt to spin this and make the Toughman event the victim here.
I cannot deal with all of Mr. Marrone’s inaccuracies, but this is in response to the most egregious ones. So here goes.
In the third paragraph of his letter to The Gazette, Mr. Marrone offers the following: “It’s been said by that crowd that emergency vehicles can’t get through. Nonsense. Ambulances are given the right of way at all times.”
As a member of the Croton Volunteer Fire Department, let me inform Mr. Marrone that that participants in the Toughman race, in particular the cyclists, have failed to obey the Vehicle & Traffic Law and yield to emergency vehicles. In particular, I personally observed when responding to an emergency call a few years ago that numerous Toughman cyclists failed to stop and yield to an emergency vehicle (Engine 120 which had both lights and sirens on) at the intersection of Benedict Boulevard and South Riverside Avenue.
As to Mr. Marrone’s outrageous claim that people of faith who must take an extra “30 minutes to get to church on Sunday morning” because of this event and that they should therefore utilize “smart planning and an earlier start” so as to get to church on time, since it is only “one Sunday out of fifty-two”, shame on you! To then go on and further trivialize those of various faiths by asserting that the “Upper Village is inundated with traffic and parking is a nightmare for people seeking to patronize local businesses” is absolutely specious and disingenuous. Shame on you a second time!
While Mr. Marrone’s next claim that the race “brings several hundred people into Croton for 8 to 10 hours” may be technically correct, do any of those people who are at Croton Point Park venture beyond the confines of the park? I doubt it. The Village merchants clearly are not the beneficiaries. Oh wait, your solution is that those businesses should “set up booths” at Croton Point to offset their loss of business at their regular place of business is ingenuous!
Mr. Marrone’s most inane comment posits that Toughman’s future charitable contributions should be built “into the new contract”. The reason for the numerous public comments about Toughman’s purported past charitable contributions arise because of Richard Izzo’s (Toughman’s organizer) past inaccurate representations about how much local charitable organizations have benefited from his organization. And now you are suggesting that the Village by contract should obligate that various charitable organizations be recipients of Toughman’s largesse and that such is legal? Really! Shame on you a third time.
I am proud that I am one of the many “Just Say No” people who live in Croton that Cortlandt resident Frank Marrone is so dismissive of in his letter.
Finally, let me address the following to our very own Village Board for its complicity in this annual debacle.
For the Mayor to claim, as reported in The Journal News, that “the village has no control over the event because the state Department of Transportation has given Toughman permission to close the state highway and that the village has no control over the park, either, it’s owned by Westchester County”, totally ignores the fact that this Village Board has its own agreement with the organization that runs the Toughman event to allow the race to occur annually in the Village. To be clear, the Village is not obligated to grant its approval to this event and for our elected officials to imply otherwise is misleading. This Board has chosen, and continues to choose, to allow this annual event to occur. And similarly, shame on you Mr. Mayor and Village Trustees for allowing this.
Toughman's reimbursement to the village for expenses continues to fall short of the actual costs that Croton incurs.
POST TOUGHMAN NOTES, PHOTOS HERE http://everythingcroton.blogspot.com/2015/09/photosnotes-notes-from-2015-toughman.html