Matusow Lineup of Supporters

Hits: 0

WPCNR NEWSREEL. From the Matusow Campaign. September 2, 2002: Assemblywoman Naomi Matusow, who is running for reelection in the 89th assembly district, has garnered widespread support and endorsements from top Democrats, environmentalists, workers and women’s rights groups.
All have recognized Ms. Matusow’s efforts for the past 10 years in bringing increased state aid for public education, libraries, environmental protection and open space preservation initiatives, banning assault weapons, and supporting workers’ and women’s rights.

“I thank the various elected officials, and each group and the individuals they represent, for their support. I look forward to working with all of them in my next term,” said Assemblywoman Matusow.

TOP DEMS Give Matusow the Nod

Matusow has been endorsed by NYS Senator Chuck Schumer, NYS Attorney General Elliot Spitzer, Westchester County Executive Andy Spano, County Legislators Michael Kaplowitz and Richard Wishnie, the Northern Westchester Democratic Coalition (Democrats from North Castle, Pound Ridge, Bedford, Mount Kisco, Lewisboro, and Somers). An independent grassroots party, the Lewisboro Leadership Party is also endorsing Matusow’s candidacy.

Citing her support for libraries, the New York Library Association, said
“your support of the library community and your understanding of the needs of libraries is unmatched in the Assembly.”

Women’s Rights

NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) endorsed Matusow, thanking her “for your commitment and dedication to protecting women’s reproductive health care in New York.”

Polly Rothstein, former executive Director of Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion (WCLA) has also endorsed Matusow’s candidacy.

“Endorsement from librarians and advocates for women’s rights, as well as my fellow Democrats, gives me great satisfaction in their recognition of all the accomplishments we’ve achieved over the years,” said Matusow.


Naomi Matusow is endorsed by both the New York League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club.

“Naomi Matusow is clearly an environmental leader, and the New York League of Conservation Voters enthusiastically supports her reelection,” said Marcia Bystryn, Executive Director of the NYLCV. “The League believes that Matusow will continue an excellent voting record that reflects her strong commitment to environmental issues.”

Matusow was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1992, and has an impressive environmental record. In 1998, Matusow guided a bill that established the Clean Drinking Water Revolving Fund and negotiated the Pesticide Reporting bill through the NYS Legislature. In 2000, Matusow authored a law requiring the Department of Environmental Conservation to adopt stringent air emission standards for personal watercraft.

The Sierra Club’s Lower Hudson Chapter also endorses Matusow, praising her “for defending the environment and the natural resources of New York State. Of late, we appreciate (her) leadership role in strengthening the bottle bill, increasing the focus on alternative energy, protecting the watershed and limiting growth of the Westchester County Airport,” said Roger Savitt, of the Sierra Club.

“It is gratifying that my commitment to environmental protection,
preservation of open space, improvement of air and water quality, and
opposition to unchecked urban sprawl has been acknowledged. Every citizen of the 89th A.D., can rely on me for continued leadership on these crucial issues,” said Assemblywoman Matusow.

“My endorsements by the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters, both of whom work with me to protect our environment, bodes well for more environmental successes in the district and statewide,” she said.


Naomi Matusow, Assemblywoman 89th AD, is also endorsed by SEIU 1199 (Service Employees International Union). Dennis Rivera, President of 1199 SEIU, praised her record on her commitment to workers’ rights and health care.

“(Matusow’s) distinguished record of service demonstrates (her) commitment to the rights of workers, quality health care, and numerous other issues of importance to the nursing home, hospital, home care, clinic and social service workers represented by 1199 SEIU, ” said Mr. Rivera.

Matusow has also been endorsed by NYSUT (New York State United Teachers), CSEA (Civil Service Employees Association), AFSCME (American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees), PEF (Public Employees Federation), BTOBA (Bridge and Tunnel Officers Benevolent Association), United Transportation Union, Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body, AFL-CIO, Westchester County Correction Officers Benevolent Association, and Westchester Corrections Superior Officers have endorsed Assemblywoman

Assemblywoman Matusow is grateful for the endorsements from all of these organizations and the individuals they represent. “I am pleased to be endorsed by all those who do so much for the people of New York, including our teachers and public employees and law enforcement officers.These fine people are a big part of what makes New York great. I deeply appreciate their support of me and all the work they do for New Yorkers,” said Matusow.

Posted in Uncategorized

O’Donnell on WPHS Varsity Poem and Scholar Athletes.

Hits: 0

WPCNR PRESSBOX. Letter From Ted O’Donnell, WPHS Varsity Softball Coach:


With the summer softball season starting immediately after the Varsity season, I neglected to log on to your site. As a result, I did not see your poem about the WPHS Varsity Softball Team until just now. What a nice tribute to such a very special group of student/athletes. (Letter continues)

As you know, we lost to defending Class A New York State champions, John Jay, East Fishkill, 2-1 in extra innings. John Jay ended up being ranked #2 in the state. We ended up #12. Only 7 players in Class A in Section 1 made All-State. John Jay had 2 players and we had 2 players.

Cristin Pasqua was selected 4th Team shortstop and Tara Pollard was selected 6th Team pitcher.

We had 3 of the 12 Journal-News All-County 1st Team players with Cristin, Leslie Busch and Ciara DiFrancesco. We also had 2 players on the 2nd Team with Cyndi Carnaghi and Tara Pollard. Jesse Orfe was Honorable Mention. Those 6 players also made All-Section. In addition, Kelly O’Neil and Jessica Isaacs made All-League.

White Plains HS had more All-Section and All-County picks than any other school in Section 1 for the 2nd consecutive year.

The accomplishments of this special team are too numerous to list but here are a few: 3 consecutive undefeated League 1A titles. 48 League wins in a row. 77 wins in the last 4 years. 1st WPHS team to be ranked in the Top 10 in NYS (8th 5 weeks in a row), and all of the individual honors listed above.

Champions in the Classroom

While these kids are champions on the field, more importantly they are champions in the classroom and in the community. The 7 graduating seniors are all going on to college where some of them will continue their softball careers. Leslie (Busch) Division 1 Albany, and Cyndi (Carnaghi), Division 2, University of North Carolina/Pembrooke) received the first WPHS softball scholarships.

Cristin (Pasqua) was heavily recruited by Division 3 Union where she will play. Ciara (DiFransceso) received an academic scholarship and is entering the Honors program at the University of Maryland. Kathryn (Fitzmorris) will attend a well-known school in South Bend, Indiana (Notre Dame). Jesse (Orfe) will be attending Hofstra and Kara Younkin is intending to play at Division 3 Salve Regina.

An important part of their lives

We will all miss these great kids. Softball has been an important part of their lives. Whether or not they intend to play in college, they will have a lifetime of memories from their softball days. While we are a richer community because of what they have given us these past 4 years, they, too are richer. Softball has helped teach them the importance of hard work and what it means to be a part of a team.

The experiences they had on the practice and playing field, the relationships they formed and the life lessons they learned will be with them forever. I believe that these are the most important reasons kids should play sports.

Over the years, the trophies and the scrap books end up in boxes gathering dust in the attic. The character building that takes place is far more valuable. We as adults, the coaches, the parents and even the fans, need to work harder to keep this all in perspective.

We need to focus less on starting positions and playing time. In the final analysis, that is not what is important. It is the experience of playing and being part of a team.

I know this because this is what my players tell me.

As always, thank you for the coverage and the kind words.


Ted O’Donnell

Varsity Softball Coach

August 16, 2002

Photo by WPCNR

Posted in Uncategorized

Free Career Counseling at White Plains Public Library

Hits: 0

WPCNR City Desk. From Rick Ammirato, the Mayor’s Office August 30, 2002: Mayor Joseph Delfino has announced a new initiative targeting umemployment through career counseling, education and training.

Beginning September 17, the White Plains Public Library will provide free career counseling by appointment on Tuesdays from 10 AM to 4 PM in its Center for Business, Jobs & Nonprofits.

“This program will help ensure that our residents are among the first to capitalize on the City’s rapid economic growth. This initiative, together with our Digital Divide effort launched two years ago, will help prepare our residents to complete in the City’s expanding job market,” Mayor Delfino said.

Individuals can meet privately with a bilingual (English/Spanish) professional career counselor to discuss such topics as identifying the right job/career, writing a winning resume or upgrading skills through training and education.

To make an appointment with the career counselor, register at the Reference Desk or call the Library at 422-1480. This service is free and open to the public.

Funding is provided by the White Plains Library Foundation with sponsorship gifts from JP Morgan Chase and The Shirley Benerofe Foundation.

Posted in Uncategorized

Eastview Fields Scheduled for Completion by November.

Hits: 0

WPCNR Schools Report Card Dispatch. By John F. Bailey. August 30, 2002: Commissioner of Public Works Joseph Nicoletti advised WPCNR Wednesday that the athletic fields at Eastview school will be completed by November 1, with the baseball and soccer fields being resodded first and ready by October 4. The track pictured below will be completed by November 1.

POPULAR TRACK & SOCCER FIELD BEING REFURISHED BY CITY: The scene Monday as work was progressing on the Eastview Middle School Campus athletic track and soccer oval.
Photo by WPCNR

Posted in Uncategorized

Local Football league holds registration

Hits: 0

WPCNR PRESSBOX. August 20, 2002:
The Atlantic Coast Football League is holding registration for the fall men’s 2002 season. The league is offering players 18 and over both flag and 2-hand touch football.
. In flag, there will be an 8-on-8 two-count league and an 8-on-8 no-count league. In 2-hand touch there will be a 7-on-7 ‘A’ league and a 6-on-6 ‘B’ league. Both teams and individual players are welcome.

Games will be played on local fields including: Westchester Community College in Valhalla, Trinity Field in New Rochelle and Croton-on-Hudson Park. The league begins on Sunday, September 15, 2002. For further information visit the Football Page at or call Mark at 1-877-ONSCORE.

Posted in Uncategorized

Virtual Labor Day Weekend at Beachcliff

Hits: 0

WPCNR White Plains City & Country Les Chochons Qui Vole at Beachcliff:For the last weekend of the summer, WPCNR introduces a new feature about food and wine featuring the tasteful adventures of nine area residents who are members of a secret wine society, Les Chochons Qui Vole (The Pigs Who Fly). This Labor Day Weekend, for those of you not spending a final weekend in “The Hamps,” or “The Berks” or “The Dacs,” or “The Jersey Shore” or “The Cape,” we take you now to enjoy a sunset dinner overlooking Long Island Sound on the North Folk of the Gold Coast.

THE PIG WHO FLIES, celebrated mascot of Les Chochons Qui Vole presides over the conviviality, conversation, and contretemps of every meeting of the secret wine society. The priceless statue was created by a former member of the group.
Photo by WPCNR

The Story So Far: Les Chochons Qui Vole were founded by a former publishing editor, Michael, and his wife, Cassandra in 1986, inviting Cassandra’s daughter and her husband, a doctor, another friend of theirs, Sonny and his wife at the time, and an old school friend Ron and his wife, Pin, and yours truly and spouse.

Investing in Vintages, Not Stocks.

Financial resources were pooled to stock a wine cellar and for the last sixteen years the group has met approximately five times a year. They sample the great wines of the planet, in consort with self-created culinary experiences from all nations, and to ruminate on the issues of the day.

16 Years of High Living and Delicious Dividends.

Eighty gatherings of this iconoclastic conclave have been held. The objective: to sample wines expensive and economical, see if the price matches the experience, compare vintages and drink good wine at affordable prices. The dividend: preparing feasts themselves better than any restaurant can.

Wives and Husbands prepare the dishes and each couple chooses the course they will prepare from the menu suggested by the host couples. On occasion picnics will take place at parks and scenic vistas in the area or selected restaurants.

A Lifetime in Wine and Good Taste

During this nearly quarter of a century, four of the original twelve “Dining Disciples” have departed the group, others have changed professions and retired, but Les Chochons Qui Vole continue to meet and remain forever young and “forever wine.”

The protagonists and prolific consumers in this unique society range from real wine enthusiasts and gourmands and preparers of food-to-die-for to persons like myself who just enjoy drinking wine and eating good food.

The society, founded in 1986 meets very loosely, bimonthly in the homes of the members. Michael, the self-appointed “wine steward” keeps the club’s “cellar” of fine wines and finetunes the selection.

Creating Special Occasions.

The Club host for each meeting plans the upcoming dinner, picnic, brunch, around a specific theme. The members munch to tastings of flights of wines intineraried around a 5 to 6-course dinner showcasing the palatery delights of a chosen cuisine from around the world. Each couple prepares a dish.

Members have traveled the world, around the nation, and live around the New York metropolitan area, from Queens to Westchester, Suffolk County to Fort Lee, and bring a lot of culinary experience and preparation expertise to the table.

A Peak Into Rare Archives of Taste

WPCNR has obtained permission of the members to present for the amusement and suggestion of our readers, the extensive wine notes and menus of the 80 meetings of Les Chochons Qui Vole, prepared by the obsessive but lovable Wine Steward, Michael, its founder.

Weekend at Beachcliff.

For our debut selection from the club archives, WPCNR has chosen the most recent meeting held at “Beachcliff,” Sonny’s magnificently refurbished cliffside bungalow overlooking Long Island Sound where a summer meeting was held. Let WPCNR take you there now to experience an idyllic summer wine experience (in celebration of Labor Day Weekend) overlooking Long Island Sound on a sultry summer evening.

Minutes of Meeting No. 79:

Picture if you will driving through the former potato fields of Suffolk County and motoring into the erstwhile vacation colony of small cottages on small backroads East of Port Jefferson. You pull up in front of a tiny bungalow which its owner has recently refurbished.

He has added two Hamptonesque decks snug to the edge of the sandcliffs overlooking the crescent panorama of Long Island Sound. The effect is as a ship’s bridge plowing out to sea with the wind from the water in your face.

A World Apart By the Sea

The air is humid, but astir with salty soundbreeze, perhaps the only place in the metropolitan area that is in the least bit comfortable on this muggy steamy summer of ’02. The dress casual and light for the women, golf shirts and khakis for the men. We are greeted by Sonny and ushered in to the booklined living room, and proceed to the small kitchen retrofitted with modern kitchen conveniences where Cassandra is fixing salad, and the first of the wines are being removed from their travel casks by the attentive Michael.

Cue the Sunset

The first order of business is to adjourn to the lower sundeck with the brooding, amazing clear dark slate gray waters of the Sound sprawl indolently stretching across to the Connecticut shore, visible in the waning lazy orange sun. We prepare ourselves for the sunset and the first course:

All of Michael’s notes begin with, of course the most important thing: the selection of wines for the affair:

On the Beach Wine Selection:

2000 Newton Chardonnay


1999 Paul Pernot Puligny Montrachet


1999 Robert Sinskey Pinot Noir


1999 Trapet Gevrey Chambertin


1998 Girardin Clos Vougeot


Now WPCNR turns the narrative reins over to the historian of the club, the impeccable Wine Steward, Michael:

On August 10, 2002, les cochons met to toast, if not roast, the pig. No one was sorry, however, that Sonny did not follow through on his longstanding threat to offer up a suckling pig, given the incredible flavor and perfect cooking of the beef tenderloin that served as the main course.

The day was perfect, as we got in behind the wheel, and not even the traffic broke the spell as we wound our way out into the wilds of Suffolk County. Michael and Sandy arrived first, in order to take up Sonny and Shellie on their offer to be ignored while enjoying the beach. Then Sol and Jean making their first visit to the Frankel’s fabulous beachfront property, followed fast behind, with Solomon greeting Michael with a cheery “hey bro!”

After a short walk on the beach, Sol and Jean returned to the house, where they were properly awed by the view. When WPCNR and spouse followed soon after, the meeting was called to order (“sooey!, sooey!”).

As to wine and food, the meeting was one of our most successful – and if we say that every time, that doesn’t make it false.


Served on the lower deck, the curried scallop salad appetizer was a stunner, with the spices (savory coriander seed, cumin and fennel) coming through the red wine vinegar. The scallops – London Lennie’s famous – were full of favor, the mango and figs (the last a necessary departure from the recipe after the greengrocer informed “yes we have no jicamas, we have no jicamas today”) providing a sweet foil to the spices. Tomatoes and arugala completed their wonderful dish.

The First Vintage

A Newton unfiltered Chardonnay, rich, rounded and slightly sweet, turned out to be a perfect accompaniment as as twilight rose in the east. Indeed, it was Solomon’s pick as the best of the evening (with the disclaimer that he also says that about the first wine he drinks).

So delightful was it on the deck that as soon as it was confirmed that it would not be needed for a subsequent course, the second white – a crisp, light and lemony Paul Pernot Chassagne – was served solo.

The Main Course and Third and Fourth Selections

Adjourning upstairs (to the dining salon with its wraparound window view of the Long Island Sound), Les Cochons were treated to an excellent gazpacho, prepared by Sonny and Shelly as Bina was unfortunately unable to attend. Piquant and refreshing, it went well with the smoky, sweet Pinskey pinot noir.

The main course was outstanding, some of the best beef ever offered to les cochons (and clearly more than they deserved) and was perfectly cooked, juicy and rosĂ© inside and a fabulous replication of Julia’s (Child) haricots.

The two burgundies that served as accompaniment were both wonderful, firm and with good intensity and sweetness, although the Clos Vougeot was in a league by itself, perfectly round, bursting with red fruit and without a trace of tannin.

Sol and Jean provided a refreshing baby greens and avocado salad, lightly and flavorfully dressed, but we missed having a cheese course.

To say that we were then ecstatic with our dessert, Mrs. WPCNR’s to-die-for chocolate cake, so rich and dense, would be the understatement of the summer.

Posted in Uncategorized

WPCNR POLL OF THE VOTER: Bradley or Matusow– Who Will Democrats Choose?

Hits: 0

WPCNR VOX POPULI. August 30, 2002: There are less than two weeks remaining before the Democratic Primary on September 10. WPCNR has decided to test the feelings of registered Democrats towards the incumbent, Naomi Matusow, Assemblyperson from the 89th District, and Adam Bradley, her challenger going into the final stretch run to Primary Day.

We respectfully are putting Republicans on the honor system not to vote in this poll. Democrats only please. Register your preference in the new WPCNR Poll at the right.

Posted in Uncategorized

NY TIMES endorses Adam Bradley in September 10 Primary

Hits: 0

WPCNR County Clarion-Ledger. By John F. Bailey. August 30, 2002: The New York Times today endorsed Adam Bradley, White Plains challenger to incumbent Assemblyperson Naomi Matusow in the Democratic primary September 10.

ADAM BRADLEY, “TIMES” MAN: The New York Times gave its prestigious endorsement to White Plains attorney Adam Bradley, in an editorial published Friday morning, describing Ms. Matusow’s 10-year record as “unenlightened on a number of issues, including her opposition to remorming the Rockefeller drug laws and her refusal to support the renewal of a modest White Plains sales tax…”
WPCNR File Photo

Mr. Bradley said he was ecastatic about the endorsement, saying he was gratified that the Times recognized the issues he has raised against Ms. Matusow.

He told WPCNR he would continue to work hard to overturn what he described as Assembly leader Sheldon Silver’s “incumbent protection program” through which Ms. Matusow, he charged, has mailed eight pieces of campaign literature at taxpayer expense to only democrats eligible to vote in the upcoming primary.

Bradley said that Ms. Matusow has refused to reveal how much taxpayer dollars were expended on those mailings. WPCNR asked Ms. Matusow this very question when Mr. Bradley first made the charge and said she did not know, that the mailings went out automatically as a function of the Assembly Communications Office under the auspices of Mr. Silver.

Bradley scoffed at that suggestion today, charging that he believes she requested Mr. Silver to send them out, “because she panicked.”

Bradley also said that the actual monies expended by the Assembly Communications Office on these incumbent mailings statewide was not disclosed in the state budget and is not available from Speaker Silver’s office. He pointed out that Ms. Matusow could waive the secrecy surrounding how much taxpayer dollars are spent on incumbent promotion by the Assembly, by coming forth with a figure, and said she has refused to do so.

Bradley also said his fundraising efforts in the last two weeks were going well, and that he has received the endorsement of an Indian Point opposition group from the Chappaqua area within the 89th district.

He also advised WPNCR he would also work for state money to be invested in upgrading election machines to avoid the mechanical problems caused by outdated voting equipment.
Mr. Bradley’s campaign manager reports that, in addition to the coveted Times nod today,
Bradley has attracted a majority of the major endorsements in the 89th District Democratic primary, including The White Plains Labor Coalition, The Harrison Democrats, The Working Families Party, The New Castle Democratic Party and The White Plains City Democrats. He has also received the support of most of the leading Democratic Politicians in Westchester County.

Posted in Uncategorized

Democracy Dies Behind Closed Doors: Throwing Out the Bush Secret Courts

Hits: 0

WPCNR White Plains Law Journal Abstract. From WPCNR Legal Correspondent. August 29, 2003: On August 27, the Federal Court of Appeals of the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati said the Bush Administration violated the law by holding deportation hearings in secret, using the charge the people under scrutiny were linked to terrorism.

WPCNR’s Legal Correspondent has isolated key tracts of Judge Damon J. Keith’s written decision defining the unanimous decision of the three-judge panel.

The Background:

WPCNR presents the guts of that historic decision on a case brought against the Bush Administration when it barred four Michigan newspapers and Representative John Conyers of Michigan from attending deportation hearings of Rabih Haddad, a Muslim clergyman, who had stayed in this country after his visa expired.

Excerpts From the Ruling Against Secret Hearings

Judge Damon J. Keith writing for the three-judge panel. WPCNR has added bold subheads for easier reading.

August 27, 2002

The primary issue on appeal in this case is whether the First Amendment to the United States Constitution confers a public right of access to deportation hearings. If it does, then the government must make a showing to overcome that right.

No one will ever forget the egregious, deplorable and despicable terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. These were cowardly acts. In response, our government launched an extensive investigation into the attacks, future threats, conspiracies and attempts to come. As part of this effort, immigration laws are prosecuted with increased vigor.

Non-citizens subject to government power

The issue before us today involves these efforts. The political branches of our government enjoy near-unrestrained ability to control our borders. “These are policy questions entrusted exclusively to the political branches of our government.” Since the end of the 19th century, our government has enacted immigration laws banishing, or deporting, noncitizens because of their race and their beliefs.

While the Bill of Rights jealously protects citizens from such laws, it has never protected noncitizens facing deportation in the same way. In our democracy, based on checks and balances, neither the Bill of Rights nor the judiciary can second-guess government’s choices. The only safeguard on this extraordinary governmental power is the public, deputizing the press as the guardians of their liberty.

Places Actions Beyond Public Scrutiny.

Today, the executive branch seeks to take this safeguard away from the public by placing its actions beyond public scrutiny. Against noncitizens, it seeks the power to secretly deport a class if it unilaterally calls them “special interest” cases. The executive branch seeks to uproot people’s lives, outside the public eye and behind a
closed door.

Democracies die behind closed doors.

The First Amendment, through a free press, protects the people’s
right to know that their government acts fairly, lawfully and accurately in deportation proceedings. When government begins closing doors, it selectively controls information rightfully belonging to the people. Selective information is misinformation.

The framers of the First Amendment “did not trust any government to separate the true from the false for us.”

They protected the people against secret government. The office of the chief immigration judge, under the authorization of Attorney General John Ashcroft, designates certain cases to be special interest cases, conducted in secret, closed off from the public. Arguing that closure of these hearings was unconstitutional, plaintiffs in three separate cases sought an injunction against such action…

The district court granted the injunction, finding blanket closure of deportation hearings in “special interest” cases unconstitutional. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the district court’s order. . . .

The public’s interests are best served by open proceedings. A true democracy is one that operates on faith – faith that government officials are forthcoming and honest and faith that informed citizens will arrive at logical conclusions.

This is a vital reciprocity that America should not discard in these troubling times.

Without question, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, left an indelible mark on our nation, but we as a people are united in the wake of the destruction to demonstrate to the world that we are a country deeply committed to preserving the rights and freedoms guaranteed by our democracy. Today, we reflect our commitment to those democratic values by ensuring that our government is held accountable to the people and that First Amendment rights are not impermissibly compromised.

Open proceedings, with a vigorous and scrutinizing press, serve to ensure the durability of our democracy.

Posted in Uncategorized

Council Kills State Early Retirement Option for City Employees

Hits: 0

WPCNR Common Council Chronicle-Examiner. By John F. Bailey August 29, 2002:At Wednesday evening’s work session, the Common Council voted against granting an Early Retirement incentive program to city employees by a 6-0 vote. The Council saw plans for the new Calvary Baptist Church on Orawaupum Street, was presented with a unique office condominium project for Church Street behind City Hall, and heard a new proposal for swapping developmental rights between properties in the downtown.

TOO LITTLE SAVING was the verdict of Betty Wallace, City Personnel Director at head of table, and Deputy Budget Director, Ann Reasoner, (to Ms. Wallace’s left), on presenting the budget impact of offering the state-approved Early Retirement Plan to “targeted” employees last night. Reasoner said, after extensive consultation with department heads, it was projected that only $250,000 would be saved over and above the $1.4 million it would cost the city to implement the program. The Council voted the proposal down, which would have offered all city employees one month extra of service for each year served up to 36 months towards their state pension. An employee of the Community Development Corporation affected by the possible proposal said “It’s embarrassing if you would vote that way (against it).”
Photo by WPCNR

The council saw an elaborate model of the new sanctuary envisioned by the Calvary Baptist Church. The round structure soaring 165 feet high to be built attached to and behind the present Calvary Church on East Post Road and Orawaupum Street.

THE CALVARY OF TOMORROW as conceived in an model presented to the Common Council Wednesday evening. It was presented by Gary Warshum, its architect and the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church Wednesday evening. The 165 foot high structure, with four levels of pew seating is to be constructed into the side of the Orawaupum Street Hill on the site of the former Sholz Cadillac dealership already acquired by the church. On the right is the present Calvary Baptist Church. Photo by WPCNR

VIEWS INTO THE PEWS in a close-up of the proposed new Calvary Baptist Church sanctuary. The circular house of worship would have four levels of pew seating for 1,500 worshippers. The architect advised that cost estimates of the structure were now being assembled. The church’s pastor told WPCNR that about 25% of anticipated funding had been raised and that efforts to raise the balance were under way. Funds to construct the building are expected to be lent by the Bank of New York. The council was very complimentary of the design, Rita Malmud saying, “I’m delighted to see God’s miracle here tonight. I’m delighted to see miracles continue to unfold.”
Photo by WPCNR

AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME: THE OFFICE CONDOMINIUM? The Council saw the plans owner of 40 and 44 Church Street has for erecting an 11-story “Office Condominium” behind City Hall on Church Street.
Photo by WPCNR

The only catch is the building would have parking on each “office floor” accessed from the Main and Hamilton parking garage, requiring an easement from the city and a sale of rights from the city to the developer.

Benjamin Boykin said he saw a thicket of legal issues. George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer, said the city would explore the ramifications of allowing entry for parking from the city’s garage if the council was interested in the proposal.

They were. The city will make an appraisal of the garage property being “eased,” and the issues of making a land use agreement with the developer.

Anthony Scarcella, the attorney who is planning the project, said he saw each floor of the building selling to private professional firms for about $800,000 to $950,000 dollars. To his knowledge this concept has never been offered before, because it was, he said, what he had looked to buy when he was looking for office space.

Susan Habel’s New Plan: Euclidian Zoning

The evening wrapped up with a new idea for the downtown core zoning from Planning Commissioner Susan Habel. Ms. Habel presented a plan for transferring Floor Area Ratio rights to “non-contiguous” properties within the downtown.

She told WPCNR the concept was given birth by the Cappelli City Center project, in which Louis Cappelli said he would purchase air rights over the Main-Martine garage if the city would consider swapping such rights elsewhere in the city.

A MOMENT OF ZONING ZEN, was presented by Planning Commissioner Susan Habel in which she proposed the city consider adopting an ordinance allowing transferral of an allowed floor area to another non-contiguus site. Above the Commissioner is the target area for this new ordinance: the downtown core.
Photo by WPCNR

Wednesday evening Ms. Habel presented the plan, saying the ability to swap a developmental right among properties in the downtown core would give the city the ability to direct the growth of the city with more control instead of being forced to simply consider developer “as-of-right use” on a specific site.

The council listened, glassy-eyed but dogged, and agreed to consider the swapping possibilities Habel described in a series of “what-if scenarios.” William King allowed that the ability to swap office space rights had to be watched closely, because of the glut of office space in the city. Glen Hockley suggested transfer fees be attached to such migrations of Floor Area Ratios to other sites.
The council adjourned to go into executive session on a sale of land, the nature of the land sale and location were not revealed to the media.

Posted in Uncategorized