Riverdale Park Voters

Should Stop Ballfield Sale

Congratulations to the Riverdale Park Town Council for standing up to Mayor Guy Tiberio's attempt to prevent the referendum on the backroom scheme to sell the town's "Field of Dreams" ["A Ballfield Up for Sale Makes Politics Rough Sport," Metro, Aug. 8]. Townspeople will vote Sept. 18.

The mayor had fast-tracked a contract to sell the town's ballfield to a supporter with a checkbook -- with no public notice, no competitive bid process and no assessment of the property's market value. Admitting that the rules had been "a little bit bent," he said that a $217,000 error in the budget needed a quick fix. A meeting to discuss the questionable contract was closed to the public.

Before we start selling off town assets behind closed doors, people who own homes and pay taxes in Riverdale Park deserve to know: How did such a large budget error happen and then get overlooked until the last minute? Who will be held responsible? And what are sounder, longer-term alternatives to solve the problem?

I'm personally disappointed that my council representative, Christina Davis, whom I've supported in the past, told citizens who attended last week's council meeting that they "should be ashamed" of themselves. She's wrong. I signed the petition and showed up because I believe in open government. Confident leaders don't fear citizen involvement. They actively engage citizens and respect their opinions.

Mayor Tiberio stated very clearly at the council meeting that because of the signed contract, the referendum is now the only way to stop the sale.

On Sept. 18, please join me in voting yes on the referendum -- yes to repeal the backroom sale of the Field of Dreams and yes to open government. Then the town can have open and honest discussions about the budget and make sound decisions that move Riverdale Park forward.

Joseph P. Toscano Jr.

Riverdale Park