County Sales Tax Receipts Sink. Spano Asks Albany to Help Out.

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WPCNR Evening Star Reporter. From Westchester County Department of Communications. July 22, 2002:Westchester County is predicting a $5 million shortfall in sales tax revenues if numbers from the first six months of the year are any indicator.
According to sales tax receipts released by the state, Westchester collected $328,625 less than expected during the first six months of the year. Sales tax receipts were $116,136,962 from January to June 2002 compared with $116,465,587 that was budgeted.

Sales Tax to the Rescue?

“The news is not good,’’ said County Executive Andy Spano. “The shaky national economy is causing people to spend less, and that means we are losing vital sales tax dollars. This does not bode well for next year. We are facing a $102 million deficit caused by programs the State imposes on us, and if Albany does not give us a new revenue source, the people of Westchester could see a State-imposed double digit tax increase.’’

Asks Albany for 1% Increase in Sales Tax

If Albany would allow Westchester to increase its sales tax by 1 percent, it would raise about $75 million, enough to close about three-quarters of the budget gap.

“Without the sales tax increase our options are not good: a 29 percent State-imposed increase in property taxes or severe cuts in county services or a combination of both,’’ said Spano.

Westchester County Budget Director Kate Carrano said the latest sales tax figures are another blow to the county’s efforts to close the estimated $102 million budget gap.

“The 2002 budget amount for sales tax revenue was the same that was budgeted for 2001,’’ said Carrano. “However, 2001 actual revenues came in $4.5 million short. In the current sales tax picture, we are facing an additional $500,000 shortfall.’’

Spano said while increased costs for State mandated services like pre-school special education, Medicaid and health care were hurting the county, two added mandates from Albany this year delivered a crushing blow — the addition of Family Health Plus health insurance for working families and passage of the Health Care Reform Act.

Both these new programs must be funded by Westchester, increasing the cost to county taxpayers by millions of dollars. This year Medicaid costs increased 19 percent — more than double the 8 percent increase budgeted by the county based on the normal expectations from previous years.

Spano said while these programs were certainly worthy, it was not fair for Albany to pass along their cost to Westchester residents. He said the least that Albany could do was to give Westchester the right to raise additional revenue.

“Our State legislators know how much these State mandated programs are hurting our taxpayers and our only relief is the ability to raise the sales tax one cent on the dollar,’’ said Spano. “I hope they will work with us. Albany caused the problem. Now we need Albany to help solve it.’’

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Attorney General and SEIU Union Endorse Naomi Matusow for 89th

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WPCNR Evening Star Reporter. From the Matusow Press Office July 22, 2002 UPDATED July 23, 2002: Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced Tuesday his endorsement of Naomi Matusow for re-election as Assemblywoman for the 89th AD, specifically praising her record on environmental protection and public safety issues.

Today, Assemblywoman Matusow also picked up the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union, announced by union President, Dennis Rivera.
“Naomi Matusow is an Assemblywoman I can rely upon for support of my efforts to protect the citizens of our state and their environment,” said Mr. Spitzer. “Naomi carried the assault weapons bill to a successful conclusion, and together we will ban possession of .50 caliber sniper weapons.”

“Naomi Matusow sponsored legislation that now requires fingerprinting and background checks for new school employees and mandates reporting of allegations of child abuse and/or child molestation, in a school setting, to law enforcement authorities.”

“Naomi has sponsored legislation that improves air quality, and is working with me on legislation to help keep New York cleaner by strengthening the provisions of our five-cent deposit bottle law”.

“Naomi Matusow has done a great job in the Assembly for the past ten years. I enthusiastically endorse her for re-election,” concluded Mr. Spitzer.

Matusow is running for re-election in the recently re-drawn 89th AD, and is currently facing a Democratic primary challenge for that seat from Adam Bradley of White Plains. No Republican candidate has announced to date.
SEIU Weighs In.

Dennis Rivera, President of 1199 SEIU, announced the union’s endorsement of
Naomi Matusow for reelection as Assemblywoman for the 89th AD, praising her
record on her commitment to workers’ rights and health care.

The Service Employees International Union 1199 has 220,000 members who live and work in New York State.

“(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 was gratified by the union support:

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of 1199 SEIU. The contributions of the workers in the heath care services are a critical component to providing the best health care and necessary social services possible “, said Assemblywoman Matusow.

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“WPW” Matusow Show Fails to Air Due to Technical Glitch.

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WPCNR White Plains Variety. July 22, 2002: WPCNR has been notified within the hour by Public Access Channel 71 that this week’s edition of White Plains Week featuring an interview with Naomi Matusow cannot be aired this evening because of an as-yet-to-be-determined technical error which caused the program not to record.
At this hour, Public Access engineers are checking to find the cause of the error that failed to record the 30-minute interview recorded Friday morning, July 19.

Engineers are also checking on whether or not other programs recorded Friday also failed to transfer successfully to tape.

WPCNR is working to set up another date to interview Ms. Matusow. An interview with Robert Ruger, previously recorded will cablecast in place of the Matusow interview.

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County Drought Emergency Not Over, Spano Says.

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WPCNR County Clarion and Call. From Westchester County Department of Communications. July 19, 2002.:
Despite a wet May and June, Westchester remains in a drought emergency with mandatory restrictions on water use, County Executive Andy Spano said Friday.
The region has been hurt by an unusually dry July, with only a quarter-inch of rain since July 1, instead of the historical average of 4 inches.

July and August are typically the months when water usage rises. But there has not been significant rainfall since the end of June so an increase in water usage could severely impact supply.

“Another dry spell like last fall and winter and we could be placing the system under severe stress,” said Spano. “This would be particularly true if the levels in the reservoirs at the end of this summer are lower than what we had last summer. We must continue to conserve water now to make sure that there is enough water for the very near future.”

Only 80% of Capacity. 15% Lower Than Normal.

Westchester gets 85 percent of its water from the New York City water system. It will take significant rainfall to bring these reservoirs to what is normal and desired for mid-July — 93 percent of capacity. The system storage is in the low 80s and has not fully recovered from the dry fall and winter when capacities were as low as 40 percent.

“We had a false sense of security in May and June when we received almost 11 inches of rain,.” said Spano. “However since then less than a quarter-inch of rain has fallen in the reservoir system. We all must do our part to use our water wisely and limit non-essential water use. An increase in consumption could result in further restrictions.”

Current restrictions:

• Limit lawn watering to no more than four hours per day between 5-9 am and 7-9 pm on an odd-even schedule; odd-numbered addresses water on odd-numbered days and even-numbered addresses water on even-numbered days;

• Require business and non-residential wpcnr_users of more than 1000 gallons per day to devise and implement plans to reduce water use by 15 percent;

• Bar the use of a hose to wash sidewalks, driveways and automobiles.

For a complete list of residential and business restrictions and other water saving tips, please visit the County’s website at

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Planning Board Endorses Hospital Proposal and New Location

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WPCNR Planning Board Roundup. Special to WPCNR. July 19, 2002.: The White Plains Planning Board this week endorsed the New York Presbyterian Hospital biotech/proton accelerator proposal, and encouraged the White Plains Common Council to approve the project, according to WPCNR sources who attended last Tuesday evening’s meeting.
WPCNR’s source reports the Board not only supported the project unanimously, but also approved the new location of the project on the interior of the hospital property.

In other matters of note, the developers of the Scott Circle subdivision withdrew their proposal abruptly Tuesday before the meeting began.

According to our contact, “the applicant was unable to achieve the depth required for the middle lot.

In other projects of community interest: XM Radio’s application for an antenna for their satellite radio system and the Bayrakdarian subdivision on Greenridge Avenue were adjourned until the August 13 meeting.

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The American Cancer Society in Westchester is hosting their 2002 Golf Classic. This year’s event will take place on Monday, August 19th at the Centennial Golf Club in Carmel, NY.
This year the American Cancer Society is honoring Debbie Schreibman of Scarsdale. Debbie is an American Cancer Society volunteer and has facilitated breast cancer support groups for the American Cancer Society in Westchester for the past 10 years.

The day’s activities will include brunch, awards ceremony, cocktails, hors d’ oeuvres, an All-American barbecue dinner, prizes, a hole-in-one competition and more. This year participants will be able to purchase flag dedications to honor or memorialize someone who has battled cancer. The flags with their personalized messages will then be placed on the walkway to the 18th Green.

For information on the Westchester Golf Classic, sponsorship, journal listings, event packages or general cancer information contact the American Cancer Society at
1-800-ACS-2345 or

# # #

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy and patient and family services. For more information, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit

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Peter Bassano Appointed to Board of Education, Replacing Richard Bernstein.

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WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey July 19, 2002. 1:30 PM E.D.T.: The Board of Education today announced that longtime White Plains attorney, Peter Bassano, has been appointed to complete the term of resigned Board member, Richard Bernstein.
Mr. Bassano is employed by the White Plains law firm of Bleakley, Platt & Schmidt. He has been a resident of White Plains for fourteen years and has two children in the White Plains public schools.

Bassano was previously a registered nurse in psychology, and has served on the White Plains Little League Board of Directors, as Safety Director and is very much involved in educational issues.

Board Confident says Schere.

Dorothy S. Schere, Board President, said, “The Board was pleased that five qualified candidates asked to be interviewed for the vacant seat. It’s a very positive indication of the broad interest in the success of our public schools and commitment to public education.” She added, “The Board is confident that Mr. Bassano will make a valuable contribution to the district in the coming year.”

Tratoros impressed.

Bassano was described by Board of Education member, Michelle Tratoros, as bringing excellent negotiating skills to the Board, one of the qualities that impressed her and other Board members.

Ms. Tratoros described him as “a person who will work very well with the Board,” and “very capable.”

Mr. Bassano, according to Ms. Tratoros, was selected from a group of five persons who applied for Mr. Bernstein’s vacant seat. She said he is very familiar with district affairs, having served on the Annual Budget Committee. He will serve until school board elections next May 20, when the seat will be up for election.

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Scarsdale Planning Board to take up Saxon Woods “Senior Housing” Project Wed.

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WPCNR Newsreel. Special to WPCNR from Scarsdale Today. July 19, 2002.: REALM, INCORPORATED’s senior assisted living facility targeted for the Saxon Woods Road area off Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains will be on the Scarsdale Planning Board agenda Wednesday evening at 8 PM in Scarsdale Town Hall.

The L-shaped, three-story complex is planned for the wooded glen adjacent to the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester property requires 14 different approvals from the City of White Plains which is vehemently opposed to the project. The city has theatened to contest the project in court, if approved by the Scarsdale Planning Board which has accepted the Final Environmental Impact Statement without negative comment. The Board is expected to approve the project.

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Jack Posen Honored

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White Plains resident Jack Posen, DDS, was recently honored by Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) with the agency’s 2002 Pillars of Community Award. Dr. Posen was recognized for his exceptional commitment and generosity of spirit to WJCS and the community it serves.

To honor his daughter, who perished when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, Dr. Posen founded The Pammy Fund to help financially needy young people realize their dreams through education. Over the past 10 years, The Pammy Fund has contributed nearly $150,000 to graduates of the WJCS Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) to help defray the cost of higher education.

PCHP is an early learning program designed to prevent school problems for disadvantaged pre-schoolers and promote self-esteem and child rearing competence in their parents. Working with families in Greenburgh, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Port Chester and White Plains, trained home visitors use specially selected toys and books to provide cognitive enrichment through verbal interaction and special game play. During the past 30 years, nearly 2,500 children have participated in the program.

“Jack Posen’s generosity has expanded opportunities for young adults and provided strength for the mission of WJCS,” said Maida Silver, PhD, WJCS Board President and White Plains resident. “A living testament to his daughter’s memory, the Pammy Fund grants nurture the hopes of others and create a family of young people carrying on a lasting and meaningful legacy.”

In addition to supporting PCHP graduates, The Pammy Fund also assists young people involved with Help USA, the YM-YWHA of the Inwwod Section of the Bronx and the Center for Preventive Psychiatry.

A graduate of Tufts University School of Dentistry and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Dr. Posen is an orthodontist in Armonk.

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The Bud Bungle: There’s No Crying in Baseball and No Ties Until Now.

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WPCNR Press Box. By John Baseball Bailey. July 15, 2002: Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig, has added another bungle to his line score as commissioner, in declaring last week’s All-Star Game a tie because the two teams allegedly had no pitchers left.
First the two managers each had one pitcher left. But, the poor babies, they had pitched recently and Joe Torre said he did not want to send Fred Garcia, his pitcher back to Lou Piniella, the Seattle manager with an injury.

As a person who has watched 12 year-olds throw well over 200 pitches in a day in fastpitch softball, I have to say that any pitcher who cannot get it up for one or two innings after having at least two days off doesn’t deserve being on an all-star team.

Second, since when do the managers of any team say they don’t want to “play it out?” Does the game mean so little that you can play three hours and not want to win it?

Third, you have to play it to a conclusion. That’s the way baseball is supposed to be.

This is so typical of the reasoning of persons that run baseball today: the integrity of the game no longer matters

I’ll tell you what Selig should have done.He should have told Torre and Brenly to get someone out on that mound and pitch.

The list of transgressions on the integrity of today’s game with Selig at the helm is long:

1. The Contraction Movement: In order to create an exclusive market for Milwaukee, the franchise Bud Selig’s daughter just happens to own, Selig has spearheaded a movement to eliminate the Minnesota franchise, which just happens to have a contending team: something Selig’s lame management of the Brewers has not been able to create since 1982. Selig also failed to disclose that the owner of the Twins, Carl Pohlad, financed Selig with a $3MM loan. That smells like a conflict of interest to me.

The elimination of Minneapolis-St. Paul as a major league city would be the second time in 50 years that a thriving franchise had been taken away from its loyal fans to serve the interests of owners with a self-interest. Anyone remember the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants who were moved out of New York simply to appease Walter O’Malley?

2. The Sandbagging of Montreal: Selig is also the man who arranged to have major league baseball take over the Montreal franchise, and reward its incompetent owner, Jeff Luria with the Florida Marlins franchise. Has Luria shown astute management of Montreal? No. He has traded off star after star since 1994 when the Expos were contenders and drawing well in the Paris of the North.

This week, Luria is at it again dealing two Marlins stars away when his team still has a shot at the NL East Wild Card. No wonder Miami fans stay away. What a bum.

3. The Rewarding of Huizenga: In a parallel outrage, Selig allowed Wayne Huzienga the erstwhile owner of the Florida Marlins to break up a World Champion in 1997, to save salaries, because it suited the major league owners’ agenda to do so: (i.e., it was too expensive to put together a contending team).

The intriguing parallel is that when Charles O. Finley tried to do the same thing with the old Oakland A’s of the mid-70s, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn stopped him. Selig never lifted a finger, because it helped him prove a point that even a multi-millionaire like Huizenga could not afford to keep winning ballplayers. The result of that: Miami fans do not believe in their team, or baseball anymore. They show up in woeful numbers to support a very exciting Marlins team this year. The Huizenga betrayal all too fresh in their minds.

4. The Juicing of the baseball. Tom Seaver, the Hall of Fame Pitcher, proved in a Mets telecast within the last two years, that the baseball is indeed more tightly wound than the baseball of 40 years ago by showing the inside of a 2000 baseball compared to a 1960s baseball. It proved that despite, baseball’s claim the baseball has not been “jacked,” that hitting has been artificially inflated by the juiced baseball.

5. The Shrinking of the Strike Zone. By demanding that umpires shrink the strike zone from belt to knees, it forces more offense into the game, taking away the high strike from the pitcher. The ball right over the plate, belt high is easiest to hit.

6. The Beanball Warning: Pitchers live on the outside corner. When hitters crowd the plate to hit the outside pitch, traditionally pitchers have thrown inside to scare hitters off the plate. They cannot do that now, because umpires warn them about throwing at hitters, with the next inside pitch meaning ejection. Another pitcher weapon taken away.

7. Interleague Play That Means Nothing.We applaud Mr. Selig for championing interleague play, but unfortunately he has not taken the other step: realigned teams in divisions geographically so teams like the Cubs and White Sox, Yanks and Mets, Dodgers Giants, Royals-Cardinals, Marlins, Devil Rays, Rangers, Astros are in the same divisions. This way the interleague meetings would mean more.

8. The Looming Stike: In 1994, the owners took a players’ strike over free agency and salary cap. We lost the World Series, the only time the Series has ever been cancelled. Now, they are about to force the players into another strike over virtually the same demands disguised in two other strategies: contraction and a higher luxury tax on the richer teams. What makes the owners think the players will give in now, especially when the players have already been paid three-quarters of their salaries?

9. The Failure to Support Women’s Softball. The National Basketball Association gained a whole new fanbase by creating the Women’s N.B.A. As a result, millions of women are becoming basketball fans. Does baseball support fastpitch softball, the fast-growing women’s sport as a result of our Olympic success? No. Another example of the failure of Selig and his owners to recognize the opportunity to promote the game to a whole new fan base.

10. Failure to Look at the Whole Game. Just as Torre and Brenly mismanaged their pitching staffs Tuesday evening, creating the “Bud Bungle,” Selig and his fellow owners are not looking long term. They are so wrapped up in their egos and micromanaging their budgets, and in controlling the players, they do not realize the game is being jeopardized.

No one really cares how much the players make, as long as their team wins. No one really pays to see an owner put a terrible team on the field. Clark Griffith and the Carpenter Family who owned the old Washington Senators and Philadelphia Phillies, respectively did this repeatedly for years. No fans came. The argument that teams cannot afford to compete, I do not buy.

You build with scouting and through the draft. How is it that the Twins won Series in 1987 and 1991, if they were in too small a market? How is it that the Kansas City Royals contended for years in the late seventies and early 80s when free agency was just as rampant as it is now? Why did the Yankees never win in the eighties when George Steinbrenner spent millions? It is astute judgment of talent and management of it that builds winners, not just money.

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