YONKERS, NY — July 13, 2018 — At a June 10th meeting of NYCD16 Indivisible, elected officials and candidates in attendance were given an opportunity to address the audience. All but one spoke about his/her vision and principles. Most were passionate about protecting civil and human rights, the necessity of affordable health care and/or the imperative of making it easier to exercise our right to vote.
The exception to all the other speakers was DOCTOR Nader Sayegh. He stood at the lectern and told his life story. From start to finish, it was a description of growing up in Yonkers and the work positions he’s held. Remember this, because it is “the tell” on the DOCTOR.
One of the first questions posed to the DOCTOR is why he calls himself a doctor when his highest academic degree is a law degree. The DOCTOR’S demeanor changed. He shrunk behind the lectern and spoke almost in a whisper. He said that in the field of education, where he has spent time as a school principal and on the Yonkers Board of Education, it is customary to refer to a lawyer who is not practicing law, as “DOCTOR.” I beg to differ. My wife and I have worked over 70 years, combined, in secondary and higher education and we have never encountered a lawyer working in education referred to as doctor – unless s/he also has a Ph.D. or M.D. degree. It is obvious that the DOCTOR made up this rule to explain away his self-aggrandizement. Even worse, is that the DOCTOR was practicing law while he was an educator, so he violated his own made-up rule.
The DOCTOR was the president of the Yonkers Board of Education when it had a $50 million “shortfall” in its budget. At the meeting, a gentleman who had worked on resolving the problems caused by the shortfall asked the DOCTOR why/how this had occurred under his watch. The DOCTOR exclaimed, “Well, we discovered the shortfall,” then proceeded with a meandering word salad, so disjointed that an accurate description of what he said is “beyond my ken”, that is, my comprehension.
But think about his immediate response: “We discovered it.” Imagine hiring a security company to protect your goods and when your goods are stolen, the security company’s president tells you “we discovered they were gone!” Of course you’d find that response ludicrous.
The DOCTOR acknowledged that he had changed his registration from the Independence Party to the Democratic Party only last year, so he could run for an office. But when I asked why he had supported so many Republicans for so long, he denied having supported GOP candidates. When I said I could prove that he had, again he shrunk behind the lectern, rationalizing that it is the Independence Party that supports Republicans and he was “just one person” in the Party.
It appears the DOCTOR has a cursory relationship with the truth. A quick search of the New York State election disclosure database reveals the Republicans the DOCTOR personally contributed to – sometimes multiple times. The list includes: Stephen Cerrato, Rory Bellantoni, Lou Mosiello, Mike Breen, John Larkin, Gordon Burrows, David Tubiolo, the Yonkers Republican City Committee and $1,000 to the odious Jeanine Pirro. Also, some Republicans in Putnam and Dutchess Counties.
On a personal level, I met and spoke with the DOCTOR on five occasions. Not once did he remember who I was, despite the fact that I spoke with him about the same issue each time. Before going on, I want to make clear that not only did he not remember my name or my face, but he did not even remember the issue I was asking him to address.
Since the Virgin Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church opened in Colonial Heights on Grand View Boulevard, at the intersection of Verona Avenue, congregants have been parking in “No Parking at Any Time” zones on both sides of the street. For drivers coming east on Verona Avenue, it can be almost impossible, to turn onto Grand View. When I approached the church about the problem, I was referred to the DOCTOR as a high-ranking church member who would be able to help. After explaining the problem and saying that I didn’t want to call the police about the matter, he said he would take care of it. Nothing changed, however, and in three subsequent encounters I had with him, like a broken record, he promised “I will take care of it.”
My fifth encounter with the DOCTOR was at the Yonkers Democratic convention where he received the Party’s endorsement as candidate for the 90th Assembly District seat. When I approached him, he thought I was coming to express my support. Yet again, he neither recognized me, nor remembered the issue I had spoken to him about four times. When I reminded him he had promised to “take care” of the illegal parking, he claimed to have “mentioned it to the priest.” So now, it’s the priest’s responsibility?
First, I doubt he spoke to the priest. But even if he had, the cars still park illegally during services, obvious to any driver in the neighborhood. And even if true, his “taking care” of it meant passing it off and not caring about the result. That is the DOCTOR.
It seems the DOCTOR has a hard time reconciling what he says from what he has done. No matter the results of his efforts, the DOCTOR sees them as accomplishments. His take on reality often ignores the facts.
Remember what I said about the DOCTOR’S “tell.” He was cofounder of the Westchester Independence Party. The Independence Party endorses candidates solely on the basis of picking a winner. It is a party with no principles or convictions. That is the DOCTOR.
I don’t blame the DOCTOR. He is a perfect example of the Dunning–Kruger effect. Incapable of recognizing his own incompetence, he has an illusory superiority complex.
I DO blame the Yonkers Democratic Party for choosing someone who is pompous, incompetent AND just became a Democrat (in name only), in order to run for office. There are many competent, true Democrats who have known the issues and would work to enact legislation that Democrats support. Yet, the Yonkers Democratic Party endorsed the DOCTOR. I can’t explain that at all.
Fred Polvere, is a national political columnist who spends his days climbing, hiking and reading, reading, reading.