Cappelli Sweeps the Council, 7-0; City Center Approved.

The Common Council voted approval of the Louis Cappelli City Center project unanimously Thursday evening, leaving a $275 million check from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce as the final piece left to continue what Mayor Delfino described as “a great adventure.”
A jubilant, magnanimous Louis Cappelli, described the City Center as the greatest project he has ever undertaken. He thanked the Common Council and the Mayor for their cooperation, their feedback and honesty, (“despite some tense moments”). He saluted the City of White Plains Planning and Building Departments, their host of boards as being the best staffs “foremost” of any he has ever worked with on any of his projects in his 30 years as a developer.




CAPPELLI THANKS COMMON COUNCIL FOR HIS DREAM PROJECT: Louis Cappelli said when he was taking Robert Greer on a tour of New Roc City two years ago, that he wished he had the Tishman-Speyer Project. Thursday night that wish came true as the Common Council granted the Super Developer the City Center project. WPCNR PHOTO

The $350 million project will bring a host of goodies to White Plains.

Cappelli will contribute $500,000 towards a redesign of the Main and Mamaroneck fountain, as part of the City Center acquiring EJ Conroy Drive. He has secured tax abatement from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency that will result in the City of White Plains taking over the new parking garage he will build 7 years sooner, bringing an additional $20 million to the city. He will build a community performing arts theater inside the 16-screen theater, retail and restaurant complex in the city’s heart.

Architecture by Committee

He has granted the Common Council design approval of the two 34-story apartment complexes, which are being designed by Frederick Bland of Beyer, Blinder, Belle of New York. The Council will also have some input into what the exterior of the City Center will look like in the complex 94-page resolution approved by the Council officially at 9:18 PM Thursday night.

Full steam ahead.

Cappelli said after the historic approval that he had all properties he needed to acquire “under contract.” In two weeks he expected to have a 24-foot foundation dug from EJ Conroy Drive to Mamaroneck to Martine to Main Street.

On the question of financing, Cappelli told WPCNR that closing on his Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce loan had been delayed a week from September 25 to October 2. The Super Developer said he had a letter of commitment for $275 million in financing, and “expected no problems.” Cappelli indicated he had not decided yet how construction of the new parking garage would be timed. He would either build it first and open it early, or delay it a year. He predicted the City Center and apartments would be opened by August of 2003.

Common Council commentaries laud developer

Council President Rita Malmud said Thursday evening was “a culmination of a year of effort to find the right way to develop the downtown. The Cappelli project is the best opportunity in over a decade to do so. I applaud the Cappelli company for agreeing to a higher standard of architecture.”

Ms. Malmud expressed the desire that a mural be painted on the Martine Avenue side of the project. She also reported that the Cappelli company would be paying non-discounted permit fees to the city well in access of $400,000. Malmud expressed some concern about what would happen if a fire broke out on the 34th floor of the apartments.

Fire Chief Mark Damon assured her that White Plains fire codes require sprinklers and a smoke purifying system and are the strictest in the state.

Benjamin Boykin II,stated that with the approval of the City Center, “We begin to move forward for future generations…we need to move forward as soon as possible…the Council contributed by demanding great architecture. On Monday we saw a new design (for the apartment towers), that I think is a great improvement. It has a lot less bulk and a lot lower look. This is thanks to Councilman Greer and who said we should not compromise on the architecture and design, and we hired Beyer, Blinder Belle in July to advise us.”

Councilman Larry Delgado said “I want to thank Mr. Cappelli and all of his team. I thank the Mayor and his staff. I know how hard they have worked, how many late nights they have put in.”




COUNCILMAN LARRY DELGADO CASTS HIS VOTE, THANKS STAFF FOR “LATE NIGHTS THEY PUT IN.” Councilman William King followed with pleas for more inspired design from Fred Bland.WPCNR PHOTO

Councilman Robert Greer said “A successful project has many fathers and mothers and a failure is an orphan. Mrs. Malmud and I fought together to have movies downtown years ago, and now this (City Center) is the product of that effort.” Greer complimented the developer on being able to accept council direction on the project and resolve problems as they arose. He also congratulated Mr. Cappelli on moving to hire Frederick Bland, “a first-rate architect rather than one who is not quite first rate.”

Councilman William King remarked that “I am glad to vote for this project. We are just as confident in White Plains now as we were before September 11. I want to thank the staff who developed a 94 page resolution in two days.” King expressed that he did not like the new Bland design: “It doesn’t bowl me over. I think it’s looking a little bulky and we need a more classic look.” He said he hoped we would look at alternate forms of transportation other than the automobile.

Councilwoman Pauline Oliva came full cycle and supported the project after being against it from the start. “You won me over, Mr. Cappelli, your sensitivity to what we asked for. I was very impressed. You hired Mr. Bland to work up another design, and I have to compliment you for that.”

Mayor Joseph Delfino wrapped up the evening, remarking “You can’t imagine how I feel…Three years ago I didn’t know where to start…I’ve never seen a project of this magnitude move as fast. Tonight, each and every one of you in White Plains is who we thought of, is who we dreamed of in doing this project.”
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MAYOR JOSEPH DELFINO OPENS MACY’S TIME CORNERSTONE. The Mayor reads from a letter from the President of Macy’s, written in 1954, that professed skepticism that White Plains could support a department store. Also inside the capsule, which Louis Cappelli’s crews had removed from the Macy’s site were copies of The Reporter Dispatch, that worried about a “Thruway Threat.”WPCNR PHOTO

At 9:18 PM, the role was called and the project was approved. A new era in White Plains had begun.

In other business, firemen raise $41,000 for Trade Center victim relief
The Fire Chief, William Daimon, reported that White Plains firefighters had raised $41,000 Thursday morning by firemen passing “the boot” at key White Plains intersections. The chief said the firemen would be out passing “the boot” again Friday morning. Be sure to contribute!

Senior housing on Kensico receives zoning go-ahead

The 42-unit senior housing project envisioned by Bill Brown for Kensico Avenue opposite the Eastview track still must receive site plan approval.

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Tell Fred Bland How He Did in the New Always Timely WPCNR Poll

The City Center Apartment Tower Design of Frederick Bland, the “Super Architect” from Byer Blinder Belle, was presented before the Common Council and the city boards on Monday morning. See Mr. Bland’s renderings in the “5 of 6 Councilpersons Favor” Article, then cast your vote of confidence in Fred Bland in our new WPCNR Poll!
In last week’s poll only 14 guests felt confident enough to comment on what design flavor they wanted to see in the Cappelli City Center Towers. A total of 10 persons of 14 voting said they prefered “art deco, Chrysler/Empire State Building Looks,” and “Trump Tower Bold, Beautiful Elegance.”

One person said they wanted “More Match with City Hall/Martine Avenue Architecture.” One person said they preferred Cappelli’s first tower, and 2 prefered Cappelli’s Tower Two.

Now Frederick Bland has shown his pencil sketches of one design. Why not compare his design with the most preferred (by the Common Council) Cappelli Tower, and let him know he is on the right track for White Plains? Here is your chance to be an architectural critic.

You may view the sketches in the article “Five of Six Councilpersons favor new Bland Design.” The Cappelli Tower design also appears in the text of the article.

Be sure and get your votes in before the council meeting Thursday evening where they are scheduled to vote the project up or down beginning at 8 PM. It is White Plains’ last chance to be heard on the project.

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Five of six Councilpersons like Bland’s new Cappelli look.

Frederick Bland of Beyer Blinder Belle presented his first pencil sketches of how the City Center residential apartment towers should look Monday, and impressed Council and City Boards favorably. Bland totally rejected Cappelli’s previous designs for “not telling a story.”

Plea for Thursday approval.

At the opening of the Monday morning meeting, Louis Cappelli said because of the severe uncertainty of the financial markets, closing on the financing with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce was “the most important piece of the project.”

The developer said, “getting an approval (Thursday) I would be able to finance the building.” He hoped the Council would “give an approval based on direction (of the design). I have no problems, subsequent to that approval to come back on an architectural level. He (Bland) is going to have to have feedback on the design today.”

Financing still a “go,” as of Monday morning

Cappelli, holding court with news reporters on the City Hall Mezzanine awaiting Bland’s arrival said he was assured by his contact at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce that even after the Trade Center attack last week, CIBC was still on track to finance the City Center project.

Delgado: approval likely

It appears the Common Council seing the rough sketches Frederick Bland presented, is ready to give that amended site plan approval. Larry Delgado, Councilman, commented after the meeting, he felt approval was certain Thursday. His comment, asked by Alex Philippidis of Westchester County Business Journal if the votes were there for approval, was “Oh yes,” with a nod of his head.





BLAND HOLDS THEM IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND: Frederick Bland of Beyer, Blinder, Belle entrances the Common Council and city boards with his new design for the Cappelli City Center Residential towers. WPCNR PHOTO

The Common Council, Planning Board, Design Review Board, Conservation Board and Urban Renewal Agency were hold spellbound on Frederick Bland as he unveiled his first pencil sketches of his vision for the Cappelli City Center residential towers.

Bland presented the evolution of his concept in three basic pencil sketches.

Nevertheless, the rapt audience liked what they saw.

The city’s recent severe critics of the Cappelli triumphal towers designs last week expressed outright support for the new Bland concept.




THE HANGING GARDENS OF BLAND: Bland’s new design for each of the 34-story towers which will face each other on opposite corners of ertswhile EJ Conroy Drive. It consists of custom penthouses at the top left tower, double-floored glass window treatments shooting down the vertical tower and elaborate stepbacks for recreational space, with possible wraparound windows on the cornices.
WPCNR PHOTO

The Common Council rejected original Cappelli designs September 4, after 5 weeks of design development by Cappelli’s team in a direction the Council had indicated the project should follow. The late objections to Cappelli’s designs were raised when council members were secretly informed by fax prior to that September 4 meeting by Robert Levine and William Rose (of the Urban Renewal Agency) and Robert Stackpole (of the Planning Board) that Bland was willing to try his hand at designing the towers.

Critics won over quickly

William Rose of the Design Review Board and Rita Malmud liked Bland’s design Monday. Robert Greer, Larry Delgado, and Benjamin Boykin II weighed in with favorable reviews of Bland’s dramatic, stepped tower with segmented horizontal and vertical glass treatments, hanging gardens, and as-yet-to-be-designed crown.




VIEW FROM CITY HALL OF THE HANGING GARDENS OF BLAND, showing the stepbacks envisioned by Bland. He sees building telling a story, and providing many custom designed apartments making for higher rentals.WPCNR PHOTO

The drawings specified neither materials combinations nor design combinations in detailed form. William King was the lone Councilman who said there were many good things he liked about Cappelli’s design and cautioned Bland “not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.” The Mayor had no comment.

Eight more weeks of design needed, Bland says.

Bland said he and his firm needed about eight more weeks to complete the single design. He said, with Louis Cappelli’s permission, he would be pleased to incorporate the concerns and suggestions of all of the persons on the assembled Boards coming back at regular intervals to do presentations. Cappelli, smiling thinly but congenially, said he was fine with that, and after the meeting that broke at 11 AM, said, “I’m Mr. Flexible, today.”

Praise from the critics

John Garment, another critic of the Cappelli originals, and of the Planning Board, said he liked the new direction first: “This is a very positive step. It is beginning to look like a promising building we can be proud of in the City of White Plains. The penthouse is definitely vertical, and I would bring it down all the way. The step-ups from the street maximize the bulk of the building.”

Rose said, “I echo John’s comment. It will be interesting to see the next generation interpreting the role of construction choices.”

Allan Briscoe of the Design Review Board observed, “This is a remarkable job of bringing down the height. Very muting of elevation. I think of these as definite pluses. One plus one (facing each other) makes an overall statement that is more powerful and more compelling.”

Robert Levine, an observer, expressed desire that Bland take over designing the overall look of the project on all four sides in addition to the residential: “We’re thinking what’s next…The exterior retail options will be the best they can be if they have your imprint.”

However, Bland said he was not designing any of the exterior retail components of the project, and that he was working with the architect handling that, Ken Narva of Streetworks.

(Robert Levine is not on any of the boards reviewing the project, but appeared to influence Mr. Rose of the Urban Renewal Agency in protesting Cappelli’s original designs September 4. He is the man whose influence induced Bland to offer his services to design the project.)

Around the Horn

Rita Malmud, who told WPCNR September 4, she would know a great design when she saw it, said, “I think your idea for a different shape is a very positive direction. Shape and spin of the buildings are of extreme importance. Use of double windows, and steps, I think that is very good. It is good they lean (face) towards each other. I agree with the center shift (moving the tower to the left side of the apartment building), rather than the tower going straight down to the retailers.”

Malmud is still concerned about the design of the top, which Bland has not decided upon as of yet.

Robert Greer said, “The combination of vertical and levels makes the building(s) look less massive. The vertical (tower) could be different colors.”




FROM THE FRED BLAND SKETCH BOOK: Actual sketch of the Hanging Gardens of Bland that shows how one set of windows serves 2 floors. Note penthouse pinnacle at top where custom luxury suites are envisioned. Colors appearing are not suggested and are a result of retouching for display purposes only.WPCNR PHOTO

William King demurred to praise as much, saying, “I don’t think the buildings need to be redone. I don’t like white-gray (Bland’s suggested color combination).” King asked Bland, “Are you aware of Mr. Cappelli’s later designs?”

Bland said he had only seen the first set of designs Cappelli had originally done. King expressed Bland should look at the latest ones because “We shouldn’t be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.”




THE CAPPELLI TOWER DESIGN NOW HISTORY: The most favored Cappeli Tower design that the Common Council rejected September 4. WPCNR PHOTO

Pauline Oliva, weighing in, said, “You’ve been more sensitive to some of our city architecture, the Westchester Arts Council Building, City Hall, and the Greenpoint Bank Building. I feel it blends in.”

Larry Delgado observed, “We’re going in the right direction,” but worried whether the new design would “stand the test of time.” Mr. Bland said he could not guarantee that.

Benjamin Boykin II, wrapped up comments of the Council by reporting, “You’ve done a wonderful job on two things, redesigning the aesthetics of the building and making it look smaller.”

He also worried about the materials, and whether Cappelli would restrain Bland in any way on costs.

Cappelli opens checkbook again.

Cappelli smiling magnanimously said, “Fred has a free hand. I’m not restraining him in any way.”

Cappelli then renewed his pleas issued in his opening monologue at 8:15 AM: “Just the last thing I want is to get an approval and not to get my financing. Find us a way to achieve a great building, but give us a way to get financing on the project (next week).”

Breaking for comments

Susan Habel wrapped up the proceedings by advising the Council they could vote to approve the amended site plan Thursday evening as scheduled, and retain architectural control of the residential towers by granting what she called “an approval with conditions.”

Then the boards met separately in various chambers of City Hall to marshal their comments on the designs to offer a consensus of whether the design Bland presented was acceptable.

Late Monday afternoon, WPCNR has learned that the boards had returned a favorable enough response to proceed with the Thursday meeting. The Mayor’s office refused to comment on what they called “procedural issues.”

The procedure of how various Boards’ commentaries are going to be integrated in relation to the amended site plan for Council approval Thursday evening has not been reported yet by the Mayor’s office.

Bland said he had had only about three days to do the designs, and Cappelli said that he had worked with Bland in his home Friday in working on the new design.

The Council vote on the amended site plan approval for the City Center project is to be held Thursday evening at 7:30 PM.

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Lousy Cop – Until You Need Me!

Well Mr. Citizen, I guess you have figured me out. I seem to fit neatly into the categery you place me in. I’m stereotyped, characterized, standardized, classified, grouped, and always typical. I’m the “lousy” Cop.

Unfortunately, the reverse isn’t true. I can never figure you out.

From birth you teach your children that I am a person to be wary of, and then you’re shocked when they identify me with my traditional enemy, the criminal.

You accuse me of coddling juvenile criminals, until I catch your kid doing something.

You may take an hour for lunch and several coffee breaks each day, but point me out as a loafer if you see me having just one cup, even if it is the middle of the night when my family is home sleeping without me.

You pride yourself on your polished manners, but think nothing of interrupting my meals with your troubles.

You raise hell about the guy who cuts you off in traffic, but let me catch you doing the same thing and I’m picking on you.

You know all the traffic laws, but never got a ticket you deserved.

You shout “foul!” if you observe me driving fast en route to an emergency call, but literally raise hell if I take more than ten seconds responding to your call.

You call it “part of my job” if someone strikes me. But its “police brutality” if I strike back.

You wouldn’t think of telling your dentist how to pull a badly decayed tooth, or your doctor how to take out your appendix, but you are always willing to give me pointers on how to do my job.

You talk to me in a manner and use language that would assure a bloody nose from anyone else, but you expect me to stand there and take it without batting an eye.

You cry, “something has to be done about all the crime!” but you can’t be bothered with getting involved.

You’ve got no use for me at all, but, of course, it’s OK if I change a tire for your wife, deliver your baby in the back seat of my patrol car on the way to the hospital, arrest the neighbors kid for damaging your property, save your son’s life with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, or work many hours overtime to find your lost daughter.

So, Dear Citizen, you stand there on your soapbox and rant and rave about the way I do my job, calling me every name in the book, but never stop a minute to think that 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, your property, your family, or maybe your life might depend on one thing – me, or one of my buddies.

Yes, me, the “lousy Cop.”

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Moving Candlelight Walk: Thousands Throng Main from Bank to Broadway

They carried flags, “thank you signs,” and lit candles. They came from all races, ranks and religions to walk, remember and celebrate what it means to be an American and prayed for America’s future on the White Plains Candlelight Walk Sunday night
Police estimated a crowd approaching 8,000 persons gathered at the White Plains Railroad Station and marched shoulder to shoulder, Black to White, Hispanic to Hassidim, Italian to Jew, Arab-to-Asian, Old-and-Young, American-to-American in a solemn, uplifting remembrance and rededication to America’s future.

Candlelight March on Main

The White Plains Candlelight Walk staggered city officials with the streaming turnout filling the broad Main Street boulevard with ranks of 30 to 40 persons shoulder-to-shoulder all the way from the City Hall steps to Bank Street.

By 7:15 PM the parking lot below the clock tower at the railroad station was filled, and still they came. Every race, every creed. Neighbors greeting each other. Shaking hands. Some carried signs. Some carried flags. Some brought their own candles, but they came. They walked. Pushed strollers. Children did not cry or misbehave. Persons said “Excuse me,” and smiled at each other. They knew this was important.





WHITE PLAINS REMEMBERS:Crowds milling at White Plains Railroad Station at twilight, awaiting start of Sunday evening’s Candlelight Walk to Remember the victims of the Trade Center catastrophe. WPCNR PHOTO

A disciplined group

They lit each others’ candles. At 7:35 PM they began to walk slowly south on Bank Street filling the broad cross street with quiet, orderly, confident humanity. For such a large crowd, they were serious and stalwart.

Some carried signs reading “Thank You White Plains Bravest and Finest,” and “Thank you Fire and Police.” They sang impromptu versions of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” waving their flags. Their spirits were steady. Their pride high. No fear. Their love of country and fellow Americans was glowing.

The city stops for a remembrance

As dusk stole velvetly over the streets with an orange sun receding to the West, traffic on Hamilton Avenue stopped for this long freight train of White Plains citizens. They took 30 minutes to reach City Hall, and still, from this reporter’s vantage, reached back to Bank Street.

There was no honking of horns from stopped autombiles. No animosity. Motorists recognized something special: thousands of tentative, yet determined steps of America on the way back were being taken.

The City Clergy in a remarkable ceremony

At the City Hall steps, with Main Street jammed with humanity, a quiet, respectful crowd drew close to the old neo-classic columned brick fa├žade. They waved flags, their candles in their hands glowed like they do at a Meadowlands concert.





MAYOR DELFINO OVERWHELMED: The Mayor stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Councilpersons, city clergy, choir, and dignataries, saying “God will get us through,” at the conclusion of the historic and moving White Plains Candlelight Walk on the steps of old City Hall. WPCNR PHOTO

Mayor Joseph Delfino welcomed the multitudes thanking all for coming, thanking the White Plains firemen and policemen for their efforts the past week, but his remarks were hard to hear. Somehow you did not have to hear them. Everyone understood what he was saying. Everyone felt it, too. I did.

The Mayor was surrounded by a host of the White Plains clergy from many churches behind him. The men and women of the cloth had assembled at his call to present an ecumenical service of remembrance and prayer for the victims of the World Trade Center disaster. There was a chorale group and ensemble. But, I cannot tell you who they are at this point.

The message you heard even if you could not hear it

There were no news releases or media briefs at this gathering. No text of the Mayor’s remarks was handed out. He did not make many. It was not that kind of event. It was regretfully special. You did not need to know who was offering the prayers, rabbi or priest, minister or pastor.

The different prayers and appropriate hymns rose on the cool early autumn night echoing skyward, warming hearts, and somehow fit splendidly meaningfully together. The White Plains clergy, in this reporter’s opinion, should do this more often under pleasanter circumstances. It was very special and so right.

The impromptu public address system could not be heard clearly beyond 100 feet. However, the people of White Plains listened and soaked in the spirit of the sweetly sung entreaties to The Almighty, with no catcalls, no disrespect, dedication and silent endorsement of the message. Children did not cry.

A moving sequence

The most moving sequence of the service occurred when each Man and Woman of God voiced a prayerful sentiment and the ensemble sang “Lord, listen to your children preying.” It was a White Plains “Moment to Remember.”

The service concluded with the throng singing “We Shall Overcome.” After several moving choruses with the multitude of citizens swaying together, the final stanza which goes “We Shall Stand Together,” closed the old 60s protest song with a roll of applause and cheers.

The Mayor rallies the crowd

Mayor Delfino came to the podium. With clergy, councilpersons, and congresspersons to his right and left, spoke proudly and earnestly to the crowd:

“Never would I have believed that we’d have such a turnout. I am overwhelmed, this is truly the greatest community in America,” and went on to thank all the city’s clergy for coming together for the service, saying that “God would get us through.”

The Mayor said that there was a Remembrance Book in the City Hall rotunda, which would be placed in the White Plains Public Library for all to sign. The Mayor announced this because not all of the thousands could march into the rotunda to sign it that evening, which brought one of the few laughs of the night.

Everyone leaves with a sense of a job to be done

The remarkable evening of remembrance and renewal closed with a rousing singing of “God Bless America,” with outstanding voices from the steps of City Hall, helping the citizens out with the second and third verses.

The crowd slowly dispersed.

They returned to cars, parents pushing strollers, couples arms over shoulders. Old city and county political rivals often adversaries, shook hands on the City Hall steps.

Some young persons in their 20s stood in front of the fenced off E J Conroy Drive, and, impromptu, shouted “USA,USA!” Then they changed what they were chanting. They crossed their hearts and began to recite, in unison: “The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag,” getting every word right with dignity and dedication.

You should have been there.

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Those Who Never Got To Say Goodbye-Poetry

Poetry from a White Plains Middle School Student expressing what many of us may be feeling as we start a work week different from any other.
Today i learned

What textbooks would never teach

And how much people lost.

Some lost little

And some who lost much more.

I mourn for them

For those

Who lost much more than

A place to work,

Important files,

Their raise

Or their favorite lunch cafe

I mourn for those

Who’ve lost more

Than money can replace

That time may never heal

Whose tears will never dry.

Today, our world lost

Our dearest and closest loved ones

But heaven only gained more.

This is for those who never got to say good-bye.

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A Reporter’s Troubled Questions: A Little Too Late

The American people trusted our government to protect us, and in the last 8 years our leaders let us down big time. I’m sorry, “The Thing” Tuesday should not have been a surprise.
Tell me, Mr. and Mrs. America, and Mr. and Mrs. White Plains didn’t you think exactly like I did the last 8 years, that our government was looking out for our welfare? Always.

Didn’t we trust them to always have our best interest in mind in dealing with foreign policy, enemies, etc. We spend billions on the FBI, the CIA, the INS, the DEA, the ATAF, the NSA. You name it there was an agency that was out there looking out for us, Mr. and Mrs. America, protecting us against the Haitian boat people, the Mexican illegal aliens, the Branch Davidians, the Aryan Nation. Real threats there.

Weren’t we told all efforts were being made? Didn’t you and I think that?I mean, I don’t have time to check the quotes after the USS Cole torpedoing, the Ethiopian embassy blast, and I’m probably forgetting some catastrophic incidents, as well.

So when the Ethiopian embassy was blasted, we thought well, (at least this reporter did), that we’ll probably be getting a handle on this bin Laden guy real quick. We trusted our FBI, CIA, the National Security Agency, would quite rightly get on his case. We trusted them.

Well, they didn’t.

Why didn’t they?

I am blame-pointing, and not being fair. I am not being forgiving. Because I am outraged that “The Thing” that happened Tuesday was a complete surprise. This is too incredulous to be believed that it was a surprise. Couldn’t we have a little suspicion once in awhile? Were our top law enforcement and security agencies hands tied? And, if so, by whom?

Just today, we find that with a lot of effort the FBI has turned up over at least 100 suspects in this plot. In four days. You think, perhaps if they had actually infiltrated these little cells in the last eight years that maybe they might have gotten a little inkling of the September 11 plot?

We know. It’s very hard to infiltrate because these folks are from the middle east. Rubbish. It’s your job to infiltrate. It’s your job.It’s your job to sniff it out. The last plot against the World Trade Center was sniffed out back in ’92-93. And they stopped it. And we did not do anything since? That is unacceptable. There is no excuse.

I have in a joking manner referred to the Clinton Administration as the worst presidency in American history, due to Mr. Clinton’s behavior. But not until this week did we know how really incompetent the administration really was. How utterly incompetent.

There is a heap of anger out there.

I fault the management of our intelligence gathering the last eight years. Because that is the question here. How can you round up a 152 people who might have done this in 4 days and not have any inkling this plot was in the air?Are you kidding me?

What do you make that the reason we are not retaliating right away is those geniuses at the CIA are working the phones to the Mossad, saying, “Hey, you know anything about these guys?” I hope not.

I hate to say it, but Clinton not only disgraced the Presidency. He appears to have grossly mismanaged American intelligence on his watch. Or, the persons who ran it for him did. Here’s why:

Not to have infiltrated Bin Laden’s gang effectively after the Ethiopian embassy bombing and the USS Cole bombing is a major negligence. Is anyone suspicious at the FBI and CIA anymore? Do not forget the FBI and the CIA, could not even find those two moles, who were outing their agents in Russia for years. How about a little skepticism? Another thing, they were too busy sniffing out real threats to the country like the Branch Davidians. Of course, the FBI and CIA are going to be blamed. Police and fire officials always know no matter how they handle anything the political forces will use them as scapegoats. Sometimes they are to blame.

But, there appears to this suspicious mind, more to this than just bungling. More evidence to throw in the hopper: Could the FBI, CIA, have been consciously prevented by the Clinton Administration as a matter of policy from extensively infiltrating Middle East terror organizations? Because Clinton had this “pipe dream” of going out as being the President who arranged a Middle East lasting peace, could the FBI and CIA have had their hands tied, because the feckless, clueless Clintonistas did not want to irritate the wonderful Mr. Arafat? Because they did not want covert operations against bin Laden, Quaddafi and Hussein, poisening the atmosphere on the negotiations? Remember how Clinton, the darling of the media, was portrayed as such a diplomat? He was so concerned about his legacy?

We reporter-types have a lot of respect for law enforcement guys. We believe they are doing their job to their best, 24/7. But they have to be allowed to do it. And they have to be given solid, responsible direction. I do not think this is the FBI’s fault. Could they have done a better job? The last four days of swift detentions and shocking revelations tells me they could have if they were allowed to. For some reason they did not. Why?

You can just hear the Clinton braintrust talking to the FBI now back in 1996 can’t you? “Look if we really go after this guy, well it’s going to prevent us from creating an atmosphere for peace…dadadada daddada”

No one will write these things because they are unseemly and unthinkable. Well, I am. Too bad.

In the months ahead, members of congress will be asking these kind of questions in the biggest congressional investigation you have ever seen. They are honest questions that need to be answered. I think you’re going to see a lot of old familiar Clinton Administration regulars quizzed on camera in the next two years if we get to that point. Harsh, unfair, partisan? Yes, all of those. But the 5,000 dead persons from Tuesday deserve them to be answered.

Tuesday you saw the result of 8 years of alleged intentionally curtailed intelligence operations for what can only be political reasons. A megolomaniac President’s ego perhaps?

As an aside, to see former President Clinton appearing in public Friday comforting people on camera before President Bush arrived in New York Friday, was a disgraceful faux pas. He was the President — “The Boss” when the FBI, CIA, and the usual agencies should have been getting hard information on these Barbary Pirates. Clinton told one tearful woman looking for her husband when asked if he could help, “I am not the President.” This is perhaps a good thing, and completely in character. Mr. Clinton always passed the buck to someone else.

It strains reason to believe the FBI can finger over 150 people in four days and not have been prevented for some preposterous political reason from conducting the undercover work needed to sniff out any plots they might have been hatching.

This epic outrage has ended for all time the credibility of our usual talking heads: Yasir Arafat’s PLO is through for good. (That’s why he was crying on camera Tuesday. He was crying because he is through. And anyone negotiating with this organization again is on dream street.)
Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were caught on video tape on a television show saying God is angry at us because we as a nation support abortion, homesexuality, etc. Poppycock. Saying those things have discredited him and Robison as a credible political force, as much as “The Thing” Tuesday has ended the hopes of the Palestinians for a thousand years. How stupid and self-serving of Mr. Falwell and Mr. Robertson to say that.

Last but not least are the “journalists” of today to whom investigative reporting is a lost art. To whom the tough question is anathema to ask. To whom investigative journalism consists of telling why things happened, not telling what is going to happen. Years of talking about Monica instead of our terrorist stance? Come on.

One writer actually dreamed up this kind of debacle in the fifth rate men’s magazine, Maxim, conjuring up just this kind of scenario, only his villains were bin Laden and the Columbian drug cartels, not the Middle Eastern terrorists. If he could dream it up, why couldn’t our security agencies? To read that chilling article go to the Maxim Magazine website and do a search on “Terrorists.” The article appeared in August, 2000.

WPCNR

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Cappelli City Center New Designs to Present Monday

Frederick Bland and Louis Cappelli will present their new design suggestions for the City Center Towers Monday at 8 AM in City Hall.
As of Friday afternoon, plans were in place for the new Bland-Cappelli designs for the City Center apartment towers to be presented Monday morning to the Planning Board, Urban Renewal Agency, Design Review Board, Conservation Board and the Common Council.

Geoffrey Thompson, a spokesman for the Cappelli organization, advised WPCNR Friday afternoon that Mr. Bland has been working with the Cappelli team all week long tweaking the designs. He did not have any information whether Bland is actually drawing and designing or the nature of Mr. Bland’s participation was in the redo.

Thompson also said there was no change to his knowledge in Mr. Cappelli’s commitments from his financing banks.

The meeting is scheduled for 8 AM.

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The Bravest Come Back: White Plains Firefighters Return from WTC Rescue Mission.

White Plains Firefighters participating in volunteer rescue duty at the World Trade Center catastrophe and in relief of city fire crews in the Bronx returned to duty Saturday night in White Plains.
Duncan MacRae, of the White Plains Professional Firefighters Association checked in with WPCNR Saturday night reporting that Engines 1 and 4 of White Plains Gedney and Old Mamaroneck Road (Station 1) returned to duty in White Plains after 3 days in the Bronx. “We sent two engine companies (to The Bronx) to relieve their guys. It went on for three days. About 20 to 35 guys went down to aid in rescue work at the site, volunteering on their own, removing the rubble and debris to help rescue people. The guys were pulled towards it to help our brother and sister fire fighters.”

MacRae described the mood of the White Plains volunteers who participated in the rescue:

“There’s a lot of frustration among the men. I don’t know how to put this. They were basically pulling out dead people. We didn’t get out as many living people as they had hoped because of the pancake collapse nature of it. Our guys are dealing with it pretty well. They are very supportive to each other when they get back.”

MacRae said the men performing the harrowing rescue work were overwhelmed: “It’s too much to bear. It’s difficult for them to come back to work. But, they are still back.”

MacRae reports that Tom Van Essen, Commissioner of the New York City Fire Department “has assured us that the New York City Fire Department now has the rescue operation in hand and feels he can better coordinate the city “tours” (of duty) with his chain of command, so we’ve suspended our official operations down there.”
MacRae said the initial hits were “too massive for them to handle. It’s pretty much out now, but as rubble removal continues, it allows more oxygen to the fire, causing flare-ups.”

The crews and Engines 1 and 4 from the Gedney Station were assigned to the Bronx this week and are back on duty in White Plains as of Saturday night, according to MacRae. Cliff Gapco, Jim Escarvage and Roberto Ripari manned Engine 1, and Kevin Heffernan, Steve Glover, and Keith Simone, on Engine 4.

MacRae said “They were ready to serve any need whatsoever. On behalf of the men. We’re ready to go back, if needed.”

MacRae also reported that those White Plains Firefighters volunteering on their own at the crash site, were told they would not be covered by Workmen’s Compensation or their city insurances, if they were injured.

At this point our telephone interview was ended by the intermittent blasts of the firehorn.

MacRae, apologetically said “Looks like I’m going to have to be going out soon.”

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Prayer for the World Trade Center Tragedy

The Yonkers Tribune, a sister affiliate of the Westchester Network, created the following prayer on the day of disaster, which White Plains CitizeNetReporter presents as a tool of comfort in this grim time.
As the cries of the bereaved rise across this continent, we turn, O God, to you in shock.

We watch as this day of horror unfolds, and cannot fathom the depths of hatred and desperation that could have willed such devastation upon innocent people.

We, at YonkersTribune.com, join with others throughout the world in praying for the victims killed, maimed or wounded, and for their families and loved ones. Be near to those who grieve, we pray.

We pray for all those called into emergency service, police and ambulance drivers, caregivers, emergency personnel and passers-by — give clarity of thought, steady hands that they may do what is needed.

We pray for the people and Government of the United States of America, and indeed all nations, that those in authority might respond not out of vengeance but with wisdom, restraint, and reason.

Finally, we pray for ourselves, and people of goodwill throughout the world, that we might be given open hearts to understand the meaning in the madness of this day. Comfort us all.

In the legitimate cries of oppressed and suffering people throughout the world who live lives of ongoing catastrophe, may we hear your voice calling us to build a world of justice in order that we might create a world of peace.

In the name of The Lord, we pray. Amen

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