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

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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.

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NY TIMES endorses Adam Bradley in September 10 Primary

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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.

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

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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.

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Council Kills State Early Retirement Option for City Employees

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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.

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Conservation Voters Call Matusow “Extraordinary Environmental Champion”

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WPCNR MORNING SUN. From NYLCV. August 28, 2002:The New York League of Conservation Voters, a statewide environmental group, announced today its early endorsement of N.Y.S. Assemblymember Naomi C. Matusow (D) for the 89th Assembly District in Westchester County.

“Naomi Matusow is clearly an environmental leader, and the New York League of Conservation Voters enthusiastically supports her re-election,” 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.”

“I am honored and delighted to receive once again the endorsement of the New York League of Conservation Voters. It is gratifying that my commitment to environmental protection, preservation of open space, improvement of air and water quality and opposition to un-checked urban sprawl has been acknowledged. Every citizen of the 89th A.D., can rely on me for continued leadership on these crucial issues,” said Assemblymember Matusow.

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

Matusow has played a role in the N.Y.S. Assembly in sponsoring pro-environmental legislation. On recycling, Matusow introduced a bill to expand the definition of the term “beverage” in the state bottle bill to include non-carbonated drinks. Matusow also sponsored a bill that would make considering means of alternative energy mandatory for energy performance contracts.

Early endorsements are only awarded to candidates who demonstrate exceptional leadership on environmental issues. The process includes a candidate questionnaire, interview, independent research, and a full Board meeting and vote.

“Assemblymember Matusow is a leading environmental advocate and continues to work to maintain and improve environmental conditions in Westchester County,” added Bystryn. “Voters can rely on Assemblymember Matusow and that’s why the League fully supports her in her bid for re-election.”

New York League of Conservation Voters was founded in 1989 as the nonpartisan political arm of New York’s environmental community. NYLCV seeks to make conservation and natural resource protection top priorities with New York’s elected officials, political candidates, businesses, and voters by mobilizing New Yorkers as a political force on behalf of the environment. In 2001, NYLCV made over 125 endorsements statewide, including races in New York City, Westchester, Long Island and the Capital District.

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SERGEANT JOE FRIDAY REPORTS: City Faces Shortage of Pizza Delivery Specialists.

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WPCNR SERGEANT JOE FRIDAY REPORTS. By John F. Bailey. August 28, 2002: Angelo Magnotta, veteran pizza purveyor to the city, has never seen anything like it.

No one, it seems wants to deliver pizza around the City of White Plains.
Tuesday evening, Angelo had to call in Ray, a veteran delivery man for many years for the White Plains Pizza Institution to make the White Plains.

He does not know what he will do this evening to handle the orders which mount in intensity as the weekend approaches.

Magnotta usually uses young persons to deliver his take-out orders that Donny his pizza chef puts together, along with Italian specialties from the kitchen. But, in the last two weeks his summer Delivery boys have all gone back to college.

What has surprised him is that no one has answered his ads in the local newspaper to apply for the position.

Angelo says he finds it surprising because at $2 a deliver plus tips, on a good night an efficient Delivery man who knows the city can make over a $100 in a night.

He’s also looking for a good pizza cook to help Donnie out.

Angelo turned to the CitizeNetReporter for help find responsible persons of any age who would like to deliver Magnotta’s pizzas, and a seasoned pizza cook. Contact Angelo at 761-8661 for more details.

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Assemblywoman Paulin Joins Spano in Panning Commuter Tax

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WPCNR NEWSREEL. From Assemblywoman Amy Paulin. August 28, 2002:State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale) today expressed her opposition to reinstating a tax on Westchester residents who commute to New York City.
“Our hard-working families should not be burdened with a tax just for commuting to the city,” Paulin said. “The talents and skills of our Westchester commuters help make New York City the thriving place it is. Our commuters already pay for transportation in tolls and fares.”

The commuter tax was lifted in 1999 because it was deemed unfair to residents. Recent reports have indicated that Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, may be considering reinstating the tax to increase revenues.

“We need to keep families here in Westchester, not drive them out with additional taxes,” Paulin said. “In the Assembly I will fight for the best interests of Westchester to help maintain our quality of life.”

Last week County Executive Andy Spano lead off with his own unequivocal opposition to reviving the commuter tax.

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City Settles Oakley Avenue Drainage Suit for $15 Grand.

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WPCNR CITY DESK. From The Mayor’s Office. August 28, 2002:The Mayor’s Executive Officer, George Gretsas, announced Tuesday that the city has settled a lawsuit over drainage problems on Oakley Avenue with Ro-Jay Properties.
According to the settlement announced, the city will pay Leon Jones, owner of RO-JAY PROPERTY, INC., the sum of $15,000. In addition the settlement requires the City of White Plains to create drainage improvements on the 148 Oakley Avenue property within one year.

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Boy Who Lost Dad on September 11 Crusades for National Firefighters Day

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WPCNR NEWSREEL. From Stephen Morton. August 27, 2002: WPCNR received a chain e-mail today, which we usually ignore but this one was different. The e-mail seeks names of persons supporting a National Firefighters Day to be celebrated annually on September 11. If you’d like a copy of the actual letter let WPCNR know.
The idea comes from a young man, Condor Geraghty, whose father was killed in the World Trade Center attack. Here’s the text of that message forwarded to WPCNR pal, Steve Morton, who e-mailed WPCNR with the crusade letter:

This boy lost his father on September 11th. He’s got a really great idea. Thanks!

I lost my Dad on September 11th; he was Chief Edward Geraghty,
Battalion 9, New York City Fire Department. He lost his life with many other heroes that day, victims of the terrorists.

Firefighters from all over have come to the aid and rescue of the
tragedy in New York and Washington, D.C. Many firefighters have lost theirlives to save someone else’s; the truth of the matter is, they do this every single day.

They truly are heroes.

I know many people feel helpless, especially those who live far from NYC and DC. We all want to do something to show our appreciation, our support. I think we can…

In honor of the bravery, courage and determination of American
firefighters, there should be a day in our nation to celebrate and
appreciate their hard-work and never-ending passion for saving lives. I think we should honor all those other heroes who still live today.

I’m starting a petition for a National Firefighters Day. Will you
help make every September 11th “National Firefighters Day”? Please join me!

Thank you.

Condor Geraghty, age 14

Rockville Centre, New York (I Love u,DAD!!)

PS – When this list reaches 300 names, please return it to me.

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Model of City Center to be Unveiled NEXT Wednesday at Mamaroneck and Main

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WPCNR NEWSREEL. From Cappelli Enterprises. August 28, 2002:The official debut of the Sidewalk Bridge and model of the City Center scheduled for Wednesday afternoon has been POSTPONED until next Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 PM, due to threat of rain, according to a Cappelli Enterprises spokesperson.
This sidewalk bridge is the first-of-its kind in Westchester County. The 15-foot high model of the multi-story apartment towers currently under construction will be the centerpiece of the display. The sidewalk display, to remain during construction, includes project renderings and quotes from well-known political and historical figures.

The sidewalk bridging protects pedestrians from the construction activity taking place.

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