White Plains Police Vote to Endorse Delfino for Mayor

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WPCNR has learned that an overwhelming vote of White Plains Police Benevolent Association members Tuesday evening endorsed Mayor Joseph Delfino for Mayor.
Three different sources have confirmed that the White Plains Police are standing behind their Mayor.

EARNS POLICE ENDORSEMENT: The Honorable Joseph Delfino, Mayor of White Plains inbetween meetings.WPCNR PHOTO

The action took place Tuesday evening at which time the leadership asked for the support of the members for Delfino’s reelection. The WPPBA has so far not returned calls for official confirmation.

Support was unanimous, according to a WPPBA member who attended the meeting:”They asked all in favor, say ‘Aye’ or ‘Nay,’ and I heard no ‘Nays.’,” our police source told us.

The shocker comes 8 days after the White Plains Labor Coalition had previously announced that the police were endorsing Mayor Delfino’s opponent for Mayor. The Tuesday vote has the police breaking away from the Coalition’s support for Robert Greer.

WPCNR’s source said the endorsement to his knowledge was only for Delfino, and we are attempting to find out whether the rest of the Republican slate is included in the statement of support. Our source informs us that the police are staying with their endorsement of Bill Ryan for County Legislator in the 5th District.

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Westchester Air Chief Named “Business Woman of the Year”

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Westchester County Airport’s Millie Hernandez-Becker, President and CEO of White Plains’ own Westchester Air has been named Northeast “Business Woman of the Year” by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“I am deeply honored to be selected as a regional winner for the Northeast,” said Ms. Hernandez-Becker, who has risen to President and CEO of Westchester Air since joining the aviation charter firm in 1987 as President of Sales.

ONCE A FLIGHT ATTENDANT, NOW SHE RUNS THE AIRLINE: Millie Hernandez-Becker of Pound Ridge, President & CEO of Westchester Air is the 2001 Hispanic U.S. Chamber of Commerce Northeast Business Woman of the Year for her vision in pioneering aviation charters. She is shown with one of her company’s Gulstream jets at Westchester County Airport. PHOTO BY JOHN VECCHIOLLA

“This award has very special meaning for me because this organization (the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce) has supported me throughout the years, and has been such a source of inspiration. They have helped me to expand my business to the national level, and have done so much for the Hispanic business community,” commented Ms. Hernandez-Becker.

Westchester Air has provided air charter services flying out of “HPN” since 1983. Ms. Hernandez-Becker is credited for “growing the company” in the 1990s as being among the first to identify the market opportunity created by offering private aircraft as affordable substitutes for corporations downsizing and divesting themselves of their own private fleets.

A resident of Pound Ridge, she has over 20 years of experience in the aviation industry in most facets of aviation operations, beginning as a reservations agent with New York Air at LaGuardia, moving to Flight Attendant, then to supervisor, responsible for ground operations, ticketing, ramp and baggage. In 1985, she moved to Westchester County Airport as Assistant Manager for Ground Handling, Inc., where she supervised, trained and managed 52 agents at “HPN,” scheduling the daily operations of seven regional and national air carriers.

Ms. Hernandez-Becker received the award at the organization’s 22nd Annual National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. The “Business Woman of the Year” recognizes major accomplishments in the areas of business and economic development, leadership and quality of service, and innovation in promoting the growth of Hispanic businesses.

She has, in her career, received the Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Award for Hispanic Heritage Month, the New York State Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force’s “Businesswoman of the Year” Award, Mentor Magazine’s 1996 “Woman of Achievement” Award, and the 1996 Hispanic Entrepreneur Award. She has recently received a Presidential appointment to the National Women’s Business Council.

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Hospital Awaits Turndown to File Lawsuit on Council Loose Lips

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Based on reports of private conversations with New York Hospital insiders and city officials and candidates by a person attempting to mediate a solution, WPCNR has learned the prospects of New York Hospital adapting a conciliatory mood for negotiating a parkland deal in the SEQRA process are bleak.
The Concerned Citizens for Open Space Candidate’s Forum at the White Plains Public Library, last week revealed that New York Presbyterian Hospital has “the upper hand” on the city. The extent of this problem became soberly apparent last Thursday night. Prior to the Candidates’ Forum, William P. Harrington, the hospital dashing legal counsel, had a letter delivered by hand to members of the Common Council. WPCNR has obtained this letter.

Harrington letter is blunt.

The letter is harsher in tone than Harrington’s similar letter of June 18, 2001, when he admonished the Council to adhere to terms of the settlement. (See last week’s WPCNR story on “Candidate’s Forum.”)Here are Mr. Harrington’s statements in this new letter, dated October 1, 2001:

This letter is prompted by my clients’ deep concern regarding comments attributed to Common Council members in the September 2001 Edition of the White Plains Watch which raised, once again, the specter that the City will seek to illegally coerce the dedication of park land as a condition of the approval of Plan B.

These statements represent the second time in recent months that the Common Council members have seen fit to violate the Stipulation and Order of Settlement (the ‘Settlement Order’) which amicably resolved the Hospital’s civil rights litigation against the City and the Common Council members. The Settlement Order recognized that the Common Council could not demand parkland as a condition of the review and/or approval of Plan B. Yet, despite the Hospital’s unequivocal position that parkland is not available, Common Council members have insisted on improperly rekindling this issue in public forums. These statements have and will continue to cause significant harm to my client.

While the Hospital is fully committed to address all legitimate issues in the expeditious SEQRA process to which it is entitled under the Settlement Order, it will not tolerate the injection of the irrelevant, divisive parkland issue into the review process.

Accordingly, I am compelled, once again, to demand that the Common Council comply with the Settlement Order.

What the rhetoric indicates

Note, if you will the words: “improperly rekindling,” “significant harm,” “will not tolerate,” “irrelevant, divisive,” “unequivocal position that park land is not available.” These are not the words signaling you want to negotiate. This letter was no olive branch. The letter produced a chilly atmosphere in the Candidate’s Forum and candidates danced around the issue to “Billy the Kid’s” written gunshots all evening long, while he watched from his fourth row seat like Jack Palance in Shane

Such a letter interjected into a campaign, connotes a very clear hospital strategy on the development of their property: They feel they have the high ground legally and will win the right to develop in a lawsuit, even if the council rejects Plan B. It appears to this reporter, the hospital is simply setting the trap once again for the Common Council. Will the council continue to walk into it, virtually writing Mr. Harrington’s briefs for him?

Intelligence from “The Hill.”

This hardball attitude is confirmed by recent statements from informed sources on “the Hill,” reported to WPCNR.
WPCNR has learned that private bipartisan overtures to the New York Presbyterian Hospital by one neutral personality, affiliated neither with the County, open space interests, or the city, well-known for their ability to achieve consensus, have been made. This person’s efforts were rebuffed strongly by a hospital executive as being out of the question at this time.

The inquiring party was told the hospital fully intends to develop their property for medical use. Our source was told bluntly they have no intention of land swaps, building repositioning, of any negotiating whatsoever. This is very recent information. It confirms what WPCNR learned from what the hospital said to candidates in September at a private briefing.

No more Mr. Rogers in the Neighborhood.

This flies in the hospital best interest to appear more neighborly by agreeing to reconsider site location of the laboratory research buildings they plan as part of the Plan B review. This, despite comments by Constance Hildersley, the NYPH Vice President for Retail Estate, that “the solution is in the (SEQRA) process” last Spring. Hildersley seemed to indicate at that time the hospital was flexible. The council fully expected to massage the location of the buildings in reviewing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Now, it seems when the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is reviewed, most likely in February 2002, it appears equally certain that the hospital has no intention of considering repositioning the proton accelerator and biomedical research buildings elsewhere on their property to be good neighbors. Does the hospital expect the SEQRA process to be a charade? It appears so in light of Harrington’s letter.

Are they expecting the council to reject Plan B, so they may pounce with a lawsuit that will make them masters of their universe with impunity?

Phantom Grants still are Phantoms

The World Trade Center attack severely jeopardized the federal and state grants the hospital was assured by Governor Pataki and Nita Lowey’s office last Spring that they were getting to build the proton accelerator.

The uncertain financial outlook buys the hospital valuable time to fight a strong lawsuit through the courts. No one is now in any hurry to get the accelerator in there. Geoffrey Thompson of Thompson & Bender, the hospital public relations person, is on record as saying the grant money is still a possibility. They are assured of it, he says. We shall see.

Getting the brief ready.

By rigorously enforcing the city settlement agreement, carefully noting the council’s reassuring statements to community special interest constituencies, the hospital appears to be compiling evidence. It is the evidence they need to convince possibly a judge that the council was predisposed to negotiating parkland for proton accelerator location all along even as the hospital prepares the Plan B DEIS. You could realistically argue the council was, (is not) reviewing Plan B in good faith at this moment.

An atmosphere of resentment

Last week the New York Presbyterian Hospital showed its humanitarian side in offering grief and coping counseling to the community in wake of the Trade Center attacks.

However, they show the shortsightedness of management in continuing playing legal hardball with the city. In view of the draconian effect the Trade Center Attack has had on New York State, aid for the proton accelerator may be a pipe dream.They may need the city cooperation very much in the months ahead.

The hospital land has more value.

One thing appears clear to this reporter: hospital land is more valuable to the hospital. Medical personnel may not really want to work at their offices in Manhattan anymore, let alone practice there. They could move medical facilities up here. They could refocus their biomedical research Center of Excellence idea along more contemporary needs.

The issue facing the next Mayor and Common Council.

This will be the number one priority of the next city administration: stroking the hospital to make a good neighbor decision.

How the next Mayor and Council will do that will require a great deal of skill at eating crow gracefully. It will require a public apology of sorts. It will need putting egos aside. Can our councilpersons do that?

They have to. There could be a summit conference of sorts. (A start could be made by quiet lobbying at County Executive Andy Spano’s conference on responding to a biological threat coming up.)

Getting the city out of this pickle, will require a stroking of hospital and New York Cornell Medical College management like you would not believe. Perhaps asking Governor Pataki and County Executive Spano to “reason” with the hospital

Pressure is on the hospital, too. They have to fund something in light of New York’s new needs. They have the place. They have the medical and federal lobbying muscle to get whatever they want. However, it would behoove them to give the appearance of benevolent community involvement.

Our Common Councils to come should beware of throwing away the “whip hand” to please a minority, or for making short term political hay to please well-connected special interests at the expense of the greater good.

The most creative minds in this city have to figure out what will bring the hospital into a frame of mind to share their property recreationally with the city. The hospital, quite reasonably, doesn’t see why they should have to.

The hospital is taking a hard line by issuance of the Harrington letter. That did not win any friends or influence people positively.

“The city,” my source who attempted to begin mediation efforts with the hospital last week said, “is in a no win position.”

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New Poll Asks After City Center Where Do We Take Downtown?

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The latest White Plains CitizeNetReporter Survey gives Mr. and Mrs. White Plains a chance to let your leaders and prospective leaders know what you think about the future of the White Plains downtown.
WPCNR has thought up a number of directions the downtown could take now that the City Center is approved, and is expected to be built.

Do we let Mr. Cappelli build the Center and see the effect it has on the downtown, before any more massive new developments are considered and approved? In other words, declare a moratorium on development?

Or do we strike while enthusiasm is high, opening the downtown to entrepreneurs like Leon Silverman and John Halpern, two major downtown property owners with grandiose visions?

Or do we pay attention to the traffic problem and look at a mini-mass transit system that could take the form of bringing back the White Plains Trolley, shuttle buses (Delfin-O-Biles), or White Plains bypass roads?

Or should we go for a specific type of development like hotel/convention centers and hold the line on new residential apartments?

Let us know what you think? And, if you have some different options, send us your comments.

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Labor Supports Dem Slate. Dolce Repudiates No Comp Rumor

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UPDATED!The White Plains Labor Coalition (WPLC) representing approximately 2,000 employees working for the City of White Plains including the City School District, Fire, Teachers and Retired firefighters with the exception of the police have endorsed Bob Greer for Mayor, and council candidates Rita Malmud, Glen Hockley and Tom Roach and Bill Ryan for County Legislator.

In a surprise development Thursday, WPCNR has learned that the Police Union has voted instead to endorse Mayor Joseph Delfino’s reelection. We have not been able to confirm at this time whether the Republican candidates have also been endorsed by the police union.

The WLC in their original release to the media, said Greer had shown consistent leadership and vision for the City of White Plains, and had heard the calls of working men and women, and has attempted to address those concerns on a one-to-one basis with the affected employees.

Praises Greer’s Analytical Techniques

“We take pride in supporting Bob Greer,” stated Duncan MacRae, the leader of the White Plains Labor Coalition. “He and his team are eminently qualified to deal with the complex issues this city faces in its efforts regarding revitalization. He does this with a sense of equity for the projects that are on the drafting board, the citizens who are affected by those projects as well as the city workers who will be providing vital support services. He has broken political ranks to support building projects that serve our city and its citizens in the past and we are sure he will vote his conscience in the future.”

Charges Mayor Delfino with discouraging rescue efforts at Trade Center

“He (Greer) sponsored commendations for White Plains professional firefighters who worked in rescue efforts at the site of the World Trade Center, while his adversary (Mayor Delfino) allowed city administrators to discourage those members from participating.”

Dolce declares “no compensation for volunteering firefighters” report “an absolute falsehood.”

The “discouragement” MacRae is referring occurred the week after September 11. There was a report circulated to firefighters to the effect that Fire Chief Mark Damon had said firefighters doing volunteer rescue work at the World Trade Center attack site would not be covered by workmen’s compensation if they were injured.

Commissioner of Public Safety, John Dolce, flatly told WPCNR Tuesday that Damon said no such thing and that the report was “an absolute falsehood.”

“When the individual who was quoted as saying this was interviewed by the Fire Chief (Mark Damon),” Dolce told WPCNR today, “He said ‘I must have been misquoted,’ and I have a signed memorandum by that individual to that effect. I don’t know where we’re going with this John.”

On September 14, WPCNR had asked George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer, if such a policy had been issued, and he said that “of course, they would have been covered.”

Cites Greer’s active labor support.

MacRae further stated that “Bob Greer, Rita Malmud and the Democratic members of the City Council were instrumental in recently forming an alliance which assured that all White Plains employees would work with a current contract. They now, with Greer’s efforts, all work with a contract. His initiatives and communication with the general public have gained him the support of the Democratic Party, the Working Families Party and the Independence Party. He is also supported by the Westchester County Coalition of Professional Firefighters. We heartily support his bid for mayor and the bids of City Council colleagues Rita Malmud, Glen Hockley and Tom Roach.”

Labor for Ryan all the way.

Commenting on the Labor Coalition Support of Ryan, MacRae said in a released statement: “Bill has been a supporter of fire and police personnel in White Plains and Westchester County and has recreated the plan for the delivery of public safety services in our area. His initiative for open space in White Plains will save the taxpayers over one million dollars.”

It should be noted that Ryan’s plan for open space is for the county to contribute $500,000 to aid the city in purchase of the D’Elia property. Ryan initiated the plan after Mayor Delfino had announced to the Common Council purchase plans for the property and his timetable for asking County Executive Andy Spano for county aid to defray the $1.75 million purchase price.

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CSEA Endorses City Of White Plains Candidates

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The CSEA Westchester Local 860 and the CSEA Southern Region Political Action Committees have endorsed Robert Greer for City of White Plains Mayor; Rita Malmud, Glen Hockley, and Tom Roach for City of White Plains Common Council and Bill Ryan for Westchester County Legislature District.
Greer, who is running for Mayor of the City of White Plains on the Democratic and Working Families party lines, currently serves as a White Plains City Councilman. The CSEA reports Greer has shown a commitment to the interest of working families throughout White Plains, an understanding of the particular issues faced by city employees and a willingness to improve relations between City Hall and CSEA, which represents about 400 city employees.

The union also credits Malmud, Hockley and Roche as sharing Greer’s vision and commitment toward improving the quality of life for working families both employed by the city, as well as those residing in the City of White Plains.

County Legislator Race

CSEA has also endorsed County Legislator Bill Ryan for re-election in the 5th Legislative District. Ryan has consistently proven his leadership on issues affecting union members and all taxpayers throughout White Plains, Scarsdale and Westchester County.

According to the CSEA, it and other unions in the City of White Plains have faced deteriorating relationship with the current mayor, Joseph Delfino, over significant difficulties in settling union contracts with the city:
“CSEA members went three years without a contract,” Gary Conley, CSEA Westchester Local 860 President, said. “The other unions in White Plains faced the same problem. Mayor Delfino’s gross mismanagement of city workers and the negotiation process not only created low morale, but cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in fees from his high priced lawyers. Bob Greer is a breath of fresh air for both the workers and residents of the City of White Plains. Unlike his opponent, I am certain Greer and his team will show city workers the dignity and respect they deserve.”
The CSEA dispute with the city was over their dental coverage before they settled their recent contract, involved the increased cost of the CSEA dental plan. The union wanted the city to agree to covering a percentage. The city balked at this, citing inability to control future benefits costs. The CSEA settled its contract by agreeing to the city paying a dollar amount.

Another source, familiar with the CSEA differences with the administration, reports to WPCNR that CSEA has wanted maximum pay levels reached before a CSEA employee reaches retirement after 20 years.
“The employees of the City of White Plains need a mayor that will respect them and show them the care that they deserve,” CSEA Southern Region President Carmine DiBattista said. “Three years without a contract for our workers is unnecessary, unconscionable and uncalled for under any circumstance. The delays in settling this contract hurt our members in the City of White Plains. That is why CSEA is endorsing Bob Greer for Mayor.”

CSEA represents 1,900 members who currently reside in the City of White Plains.

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News Organizations Sensationalize WTC Attack.

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Networks have reached a new low, enhancing the emotional impact of news with soundtracks and graphics. Newspapers overdo grieving story.

When I first heard the US-Afgan War had begun Sunday, I tuned to WABC Radio. I was appalled to hear ominous soundtrack music cleverly playing underneath a talk show host’s interviews as well as recorded statements of President Bush and Tony Blair. It sounded like Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds.

The shameless news producers of the television networks have spent the last three weeks sensationalizing and wallowing in the misery and horror of the World Trade Center attack with bumber slides reading “America Under Attack,” “America Recovers,” “America Mourns,” “US Responds,” while planes whacked into the WTC towers 10 times an hour. The on-going affect on television during the period after attack was one of an unfolding “show” to be sold.

Make no mistake. The networks loved this story, Dan’s tears not withstanding. Interview after interview, dealt interminably on the suffering. Commentator after commentator provided juicy horrors about the hijackings. To this reporter’s mind, this is what is wrong with television and radio news today. Events are sensationalized to keep you watching. To entertain, no matter how morbid, more than inform. Stringing out 24-hour coverage means more reporting of rumor and innuendo, without facts that stabilize.

The New York all-news radio stations and info-stations were not above electronic enhancement either. On radio, the soundbiters spliced up worrisome little musical signature bits with voiceovers replaying screams of “Oh my God,” comments, played over music, to signal “more” of the ongoing rescue mission coverage.

I do not know about you, but these intro bits made me feel worse. I do not need to feel the pain. I feel it. However, radio in its ceaseless interviews with suffering families, made us feel that more. It was immobilizing, and I feel, irresponsible and ghoulish coverage to overproduce the attacks in this manner.

Now, as of Sunday night, CNN, NBC and CBS, Fox News have a war to cover. We can look forward to “America Strikes Back” slides and moving trailers, I presume. Correspondents in safari shirts, repeating what the anchorpersons have just said, only from locations. This is not news. This is allowing you, the viewer to participate in the adventure.

Lest we leave the print media unscathed, I have to say that the unending 24 pt type headlines, the funeral coverage and the eulogies could be considered legitimate coverage. But is it responsible, compassionate, constructive coverage?

Reading the eulogies (especially in The Times), must be moving. I have read the esteem in which many of the dead were held by colleagues and families. But, they certainly depressed me even more. I do not think it is good for anybody’s mental health to be reading day-after-day about these poor souls, and I tried not to. The injustice of the deaths, immobilizes and makes trivial our daily pursuits from a mental health standpoint.

This is not to mention the heaped-on misery that families talking about their dead relatives were put through by the reporters getting the information. What an awful job. (“This is John Bailey of the CitizeNetReporter, your husband was killed in the WTC, could you tell me what he was like?”) I cannot believe that families are calling up the papers to talk about these folks. Once again, the media is trying to make you feel a certain way. It’s telling you to have compassion. Believe me we feel, guys. That is not their job.

The Journal News has shown a compassionate side in eliminating their obituary line charges for families whose loved ones died in the attack. However, is it compassion to seek out these grieving mothers and husbands and interview them? I don’t think so. I think it’s getting copy. It is not news. Inevitably, you also have great praise heaped upon some victims, and less praise heaped on others.

Write stories on coping with the grief, yes. Write stories on how you might be feeling, yes. But, we have seen few stories that talk about how we the living can cope with the losses. The eulogies and funeral coverage may inspire others to make more of their own lives, true. But exactly what effect this perpetual funeral has on all of us is hard to decipher. One benefit is that it may bring us together to be more tolerant and compassionate of each other.

But, when will the media ease up on the eulogizing and coverage?Once you start doing individual profiles of every person missing, you are obligated journalistically (as The Times has discovered to its probable, behind-the-scenes chagrin), to writing over 5,000 of these thumbail profiles. At that rate, we should be reading Times WTC Victim profiles for the next year and a half, unless they cut it off after reaching a certain number.

Not that these thumbnails are bad. But are they good for us? Do they inspire you? Do they make you feel better? Do they make you less fearful? They make me feel bad, remorseful and determined to live better myself. Perhaps that is good. But we’ve never covered this kind of thing before. The papers do not know what to do about it, how to cover it, and are now stuck in traditional “aftermath coverage.”

As to news coverage of the new war on terrorism,
let us return to reporting. What is reporting? It is observation. Fact-finding. Confirming.

When Edward R. Murrow was reporting from London during World War II, he detailed the blitz. He reported without musical preludes, without “key slides.” He used his observations to paint what was happening. He did not have to ask Londoners “how they felt.”

Here is an excerpt from one of his broadcasts aired September 22, 1940, 61 years ago. It could have been written the night of September 11, 2001:
“I’m standing again tonight on a rooftop looking out over London, feeling rather large and lonesome. In the course of the last fifteen or twenty minutes there’s been considerable action up there, but at the moment, there’s an ominous silence hanging over London. But at the same time a silence that has a great deal of dignity. Just straightaway in front of me the search lights are working. I can see one or two bursts of antiaircraft fire far in the distance. Just on the roof across the way I can see a man wearing a tin hat, a pair of powerful night glasses to his eyes, scanning the sky. Again, looking in the opposite direction, there is a building with two windows gone. Out of one window there waves something that looks like a white bed sheet, a window curtain swinging free in this night breeze. It looks as though it were being shaken by a ghost. There are a great many gosts around these buildings in London. The searchlights straightaway, miles in front of me, are still scratching that sky. There’s a three-quarter moon riding high. There was one burst of shellfire almost straight in the Little Dipper.

Down below in the streets I can see just that red and green wink of the traffic lights: one lone taxicab moving slowly down the street. Not a sound to be heard. As I look out across the miles and miles of rooftops and chimney pots, some those dirty-gray fronts of the buildings look almost snow-white in this moonlight here tonight. And the rooftop spotter across the way swings around, looks over in the direction of the searchlights, drops his glasses and just stands there. There are hundreds and hundreds of men like that standing on rooftops in London tonight watching for fire bombs, waiting to see what comes out of this steel-blue sky. The searchlights now reach up very, very faintly on three sides of me.There is a flash of a gun in the distance but too far away to be heard.(c)

This is reporting, ladies and gentlemen. Do you see the difference?He reports a tense situation by describing it clearly. Here is Murrow’s description of a bombing raid on London October 10, 1940:
This is London, ten minutes before five in the morning. Tonight’s raid has been widespread. London is again the main target. Bombs have been reported from more than fifty districts. Raiders have been over Wales in the west, the Midlands, Liverpool, the southwest and northeast. So far as London is concerned, the outskirts appear to have suffered the heaviest pounding. The attack has decreased in intensity since the moon faded from the sky.

…Five minutes later, a German bomber came boring down the river. We could see his exhaust trail like a pale ribbon stretched straight across the sky. Half a mile downstream there were two eruptions and a third, close together. The first tow looked like some giant had thrown a basket of flaming golden oranges high in the air. The third was just a balloon of fire enclosed in black smoke above the housetops. The observer didn’t bother with his gunsight and indicator for that one. Just reached for his night glasses, took one quick look, picked up his telephone, and said, “Two high explosives and one oil bomb,” and named the street where they had fallen.

…And back at headquarters I saw a man laboriously and carefully copying names in a big ledger – the list of firemen killed in action during the last month. There were about a hundred names. I can now appreciate what lies behind that line in the morning communiqués: “All fires were quickly brought under control.”©

Thank you, Ed, as CNN would say.

In the weeks ahead, we are going to be seeing news conferences, stand-up pieces by reporters, and so much commentating it will make your head spin. It would be responsible if the networks and radio stations stopped packaging, overproducing, and underreporting. Observe and report what you see.

The great strength of Murrow was he reported facts which people could deal with here in America. He did not dwell on how terrible the blitz was. He interviewed, sure. But, always to get facts which by his delivery of them made the horrible palatable without fear.

I have a few news tips for the networks: Do not telecast and broadcast every soundbite from every side. Most of what is “spun” is propaganda. Report, do not distort. Interview, do not stick microphones in diplomats’, protestors’, congresspersons’, and Islamic and Israeli faces. Interviewing means asking tough questions in a sequence designed to produce facts.

Let us lose the intro and closing graphic and audio “bridges,” it is in poor taste. Let us return to reporting. We all feel low enough. Trust me.

© 1967, the estate of Edward R. Murrow. From the book, In Search of Light, the Broadcasts of Edward R. Murrow 1938-1961

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The Yonkers Wednesday Night Fights

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Pro Boxing Returned to Westchester County last week at the Yonkers Arena. Some 500 fans attended. One was our colleague at Westchester Wire, and the Yonkers Tribune, EHezi. He filed this report from ringside at Yonkers Arena. Here is his blow-by-blow.
The Yonkers Raceway Arena parking lot was almost empty as I arrived to the venue for Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing Productions and Alex Ramos’ Retired Boxers Foundation presentation of the Main Event between David Telesco vs Faustino Gonzalez and Vinnie Maddalone vs Greg Tomlinson.

It was 6:45 PM. This was my first attendance of a live “bout.” The evening was unusually warm. The parking lot was filling up quickly. I entered the arena. The venue was an Everlast-equipped ring, straddled on all four sides by 3 judges, a coterie of “press” representatives, of which, I was one, and a subdued crowd filling the seats with expectation.

The Ring Announcer gave the audience a few minutes to prepare for the upcoming events. It was about 7:30 PM. Decorum achieved, the presentation unfolded with the introduction of “Jun” a singing sensation who, donated the song “Stick and Move” to benefit the Retired Boxers Foundation, founded by Alex “The Bronx Bomber” Ramos. The rendition was powerfully delivered and seemed to whet the audience for the evening: the “Main Event.”

The first bout of the evening was between Gary Carriero, of Port Chester, New York, and his opponent, Franklin Betances of Newark, New Jersey. This would be a six round “fight.”

Round 1: The adversaries meet in the center of the ring. Immediately, Carriero lands a strong right to Betances. Betances responds, yet only glances his opponent. The energy level is high. So much so, that it is palatable. The men are ready for this confrontation. They are through with the initial posturing. Moves are about to be made.

An exchange of powerful jabs are passed, staccato like delivery by each of the protagonists in the ring, cause a yearning within the crowd to explode with pent up energy.

The moment would have to wait a while. The bell rings.

Round 2: Carriero and Betances return for the second round. The pent up energy and determination to defeat their opponent is presented with equal focus by each of these conditioned men. Betances steps with alacrity and delivers a salvo of left, right, left, right jabs that cause Carriero to lose his balance. Carriero recovers, yet again, Betances unsteadies his opponent. The second round ends.

Round 3: Determined, the two opponents return to the match with will and power. Carriero seems to have more attitude, yet Betances seems to derive strength from his plodding, deliberate plan, he has developed, to keep his approach less emotional. It is a plan that he hopes will reduce his opponent’s ability to endure the evening. Carriero taunts Betances by trying to jab him here and then, there. The taunting fails to emit an uncontrolled response from Betances. Betances will not be lulled into a game plan he has not rehearsed or one he feels is not his own. The round ends.

Round 4: Each jab thrusts a spray of sweat from the opponent struck, to fly through the air – Carriero seems to have become tired.

Round 5: Detances is focused. Carriero loses control of his aim. Muscles sapped of their power seem not to find their goal. The throws go wild. They seem impotent. Franklin seems strong. He impresses me to be an intelligent and well-thought- out “fighter.” Carriero lands a “lucky” throw. Betances responds with a powerful battery of the body of the weakened Carriero. Carriero is trying to get into a routine he has practiced often. It seems Betances allows the routine to be practiced on his body. Before too long, Betances responds with a few return “hits’ that scream, “No, not on me, you don’t!” R R r r r i n g. The round ends.

The final round, Round 6: The opponents approach each other at the center of the ring; they size each other up, again. Betances strikes; the referee separates the combatants. A commendable exchange ensues. Betances seems to get the better of Carriero. The crowd backs Carriero. Sentiment is strongly in his corner. Carriero may sense this at last and unleashes his might and energy onto the unsuspecting demeanor of Betances. The assault saps Betances’ strength. The bell sounds. The protagonists cease their “fight.”

The judges come to a unanimous decision. Gary Carriero is acclaimed the winner with a vote of 60 to 54.

The performance in the ring took my breath away. The adrenalin had me writing feverishly. My subjective view is not meant to be condescending nor derisive. Let me state unequivocally now, that I respect these well-honed athletes and respect their ability to transform their internal drive and expose it in the public arena with such resolve.

Let me not forget to mention that a bevy of beautiful women entered the rings between rounds, clad in revealing gear, attesting for all to see, the number of the round awaiting our attention. These were the representatives of The Round Card Girls website on the internet.

I was glad to have been invited to this venue. My libido revved to unexpected heights as the adrenaline surged with each punch. Does it get better than this? Who knows?

The second bout of the evening pitted the talents of Eduardo Torres of Puerto Rico against the fight debut of Kevin Carey of Brown Mills, New Jersey, in a four rounds battle in the welterweight division.

Each fought gallantly. It seemed to be a struggle of heart more than of form. Even so, the judges pronounced a 39 to 37 score in favor of Eduardo Torres.

Bout 3 was in the heavyweight division. It was a match between the talent of James Harris, of The Bronx, and his capable opponent, Anaudi Santos, of Hempstead, New York, in a four rounds match. This would be the inaugural fight for Santos.

The first round was a simple one in which each sized up their opponent. Santos delivered a few blows and was met in kind by Harris.

The second round was a repeat of the first round. The crowd wanted more. The protagonists needed the time to set up their form. The bell rang a second time.

Round 3: Harris and Santos connected when they delivered a jab. Each connection met with a flurried exchange. They each exhibited a graceful form of adulation to their sport. The energy they brought to bear through the exercise of their connecting arms upon their opponent was like a poem to the art of boxing. They epitomized the “perfect” boxing form. they were both “smart fighters,” exchanging jabs, all the while, searching for that slight weakness in their opponent’s armor and delivery. Finding the Achilles Heal was tantamount to winning the bout. The bell was rung. The round closed.

A runway display of the latest Antonovich Furs designs were displayed.

Round 4: Santos came out determined to make a statement. The assault hit its mark. The hits were an impotent flurry. He would need to focus and set up for a viable statement. Time was limited. We were in the fourth and final round. Yet, the set up came moments later. It was quick, it was meaningful, and it took Harris by surprise.

Despite the potent assault, Harris was prepared. Both fighters were sticking to their “game plans.” They each were weakened by their efforts. Their efforts commendable and very respectable.

By unanimous decision, Harris received 40 points against 36 for Santos.

First Knockout of the Night

Bout 4 was in the middleweight division. It found Miguel Gutierrez of The Bronx, on one side and Eric Simmons of Brooklyn, on the other. The four rounds were not to be utilized tonight between these two. Within the first round, actually, within 1 minute 52 seconds, Gutierrez was Knocked Out by the still undefeated presence of Eric Simmons.

“Jun” returned to the ring to sing “We Fought For the World” and to introduce Alex Ramos and the Retired Boxers Foundation. The theme to “Rocky” was playing in the background to introduce the Main Event. The air was electric. Craig Tomlinson of Reading, Pennsylvania, weighed in at 220 pounds. He did not seem to be in his element. Vinny Maddalone came to the ring. He was impressive. Expectation was rife.

The Main Event

Round 1:The 10 rounds would begin with Maddalone unleashing a turret of right, left, right, left, right, left jabs. An endless assault, all leaving their mark. The pounding, hard. Maddalone was crowding Simmons with unrestrained energy. The pummeling seemed to bring Tomlinson to his element. He shone in the arena. It was as if he needed the ring to express a part of him that is diminished when out of the ring. He thrives in the arena.

Maddalone moves, as if he smells the “kill.” The expenditure of power is taxing on Maddalone. He rests on Tomlinson, evidently resting for the next assault.

Maddalone seems to need a two-step approach against his opponent. He needs to be goaded into his attack. When it begins, he is relentless. Tomlinson is stimulated into top form by the confrontation. He holds his own. He is responsive. He is not active. His mental resolve may just now be waning. The bell rings. The second round ends.

Round 3: They come at each other. They must tire each other out. This round will be used to sap the opponents’ strength. Maddalone goes “wild” in his display and assault. Tomlinson responds, yet is weakened by the unending assault. He falls upon Maddalone. The referee sends each to his corner. Tomlinson got hurt in this round.

Round 4: Maddalone’s barrage continues, yet he too, seems to have lost steam. No, he reaches deep down and pummels his opponent into “submission.” Maddalone is unrelenting. Tomlinson seems incapable of fathoming from where his opponent musters his power. The fight is stopped.

The referee called the fourth round to a halt after 45 seconds. Maddalone remains undefeated and continues his venerable wins.

The match, a commendable example of the sport. Raw energy, unremitting and unrelenting, when channeled by hours and hours of disciplined practice is poetic. These men are a credit to their art and their sport.

Bout 6 would close the evening with the much-awaited second part of the Main Event. Faustino Gonzalez of Miami, Florida, against the favorite David Faustino of Port Chester, New York.

Feature Match

Gonzalez made an impressive entrance onto the ring. Before the first round, he looked gaunt. He proved to be strong, and aggressive, active, plodding. On the other hand, Telesco was impressive. He had bulk, he had attitude, and he seemed assured, perhaps even cocky. The first round would be taken by Gonzalez.

Round 2: Telesco could not find his form. Perhaps his cockiness colored his form. Gonzalez would connect; it seemed, with every punch. The crowd started to yell, “something to remember” at every moment Gonzalez would connect on Telesco’s body.

Round 3: Telesco came out determined. He came out fighting. He was held in check by Gonzalez. The crowd started to fear that perhaps, tonight, Telesco could not gather all it would take to defeat the Floridian. Then, the thought that perhaps Telesco wanted to saunter through a few more rounds was his plan, came to mind. Was I rationalizing this? Gonzalez lands a few on Telesco, making sure Telesco would take the pain with him. Gonzalez landed his jabs. Telesco would be pained. He would remember the assault. The bell rang.

Round 4: Determined, Telesco comes out of his corner with a demeanor that says, “I won’t be beat!” The crowd is not so sure. They fear the worst. They are invested in Telesco. They are not prepared for the loss… Telesco cannot seem to get past Gonzalez’s jabs to do any harm. Gonzalez lands jabs to the face and the mid-section. Telesco is made tired by the assault. Gonzalez seems to have taken the first four rounds. He has held Telesco at bay. The bell rings.

Round 5: Telesco is reminded by the crowd that they are with him, that he is their champion, that they will not take defeat tonight. Telesco starts to swing. he lands a few jabs. The crowd appreciating his connecting. Telesco, in my opinion, seems to have been hurt. He seems tired, he is not breathing in a steady and regular fashion. He seems spent, more so mentally than physically.

Gonzalez accumulates his point gains on Telesco in an unexciting, yet plodding, and steady manner. He seems to have a steady supply that drives him. I question though, if he has a reserve. Telesco, despite his poor showing so far, seems more rounded. He has a reserve that he has not yet tapped tonight.The bell rings.

Round 6: More of the same. The crowd is just about ready to capitulate defeat, yet they hope against all hope. There is no way this evening can be challenged. The towel is at hand. Will the white towel be virtually thrown into the ring in submission? The bell rings.


Round 7: Gonzalez continues his methodical form against Telesco. Telesco begins the round with a determination not yet revealed tonight. Within seconds, Gonzalez is on the floor. He stands up. Telesco pummels him onto the canvas again. The crowd yells, “Good night.” The fight is over. The fight is stopped.

The crowd would not be denied. Telesco wrenched victory from defeat for the fans and reached deep into his heart to clutch victory. Telesco showed his metal. He is formidable, but only when focused. He is a tour de force. No wonder he is loved by the fans.

What a night. I will be back See you there next time…This is Hezi at ringside.

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Tigers outkick Gorton, 20-6, in game of attrition,

Hits: 46

White Plains evened its record at 2-2 Saturday on the foot of Orlando Cruz mastering the 25-knot winds swirling across Donald D. DeMatteo Stadium in Yonkers. Jeff Lee, after setting up the first Tiger TD, in words of one fan, “looked like Lawrence Taylor” with sacks, tackles and whack-downs that frustrated Gorton all afternoon.

GOING INTO THE WIND, it was impossible to pass Saturday at windswept DeMatteo Stadium. The Tigers move on Gorton in second quarter action in Yonkers. WPCNR PHOTO

The mustang northwest winds whipsnapping across DeMatteo Stadium meant field position and proficient kicking would be needed. White Plains elected to receive, and Gorton took the East goal of the old stadium, so they would have the wind in the fourth quarter.

Wrong decision. It cost them two touchdowns in the first 6 minutes of the game.

A Jeff Lee 48 yard “Rebound” Sets Up First Six

Starting at their own 23, the tigers were facing a 2nd and 14 on their 17 after illegal motion. Darrell Mack dropped back, rolled away right and threw downtown 48 yards on the far sideline to flanker Jeff Lee, triple-teamed.

In the air he went, the ball was tipped high and as Lee fell to earth the ballwas batted down into his hands, and he cradled it in, as his back hit the turf for a 1st on the Wolves’ 34 yard line.

After two pass plays failed, Spencer Ridenhour, lugged the ball to the Gorton 27, and the Tigers faced 4th and 3 on the 27.

Mack dropped back as if to pass, freezing the Gorton secondary to the far side of the field and pitched the pigskin back to Ridenhour who turned the near corner and bulled to the 11 yard line for a 1st and 10. A counter play up the middle moved White Plains to the 3. On the next play, Spencer Ridenhour took a pitch back and bulldogged up the middle into pay dirt and it was, 6-0. Conversion was successful and within 3 minutes, it was 7-0.

Muffed punt snap sets up Tigers in seconds

Orlando Cruz, with the whistling wind at his back, kicked the football 60 yards into the end zone and the Wolves took over at the 20. After three plays, Gorton attempted a punt. The punter fumbled the snap and the Tigers recovered on the 10. Three runs found White Plains on the 5. On 4th down, Darrell Mack dropped back rolled to the right, passed to Wilson Moronta in the flat who darted into the far corner for 6. The kick failed, and within 6 minutes, it was 13-0, Tigers.

Tiger Dee pens the Wolves for full half as offense goes three-and-out eight possessions in row.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Wolf return man got up a full head of steam and reached the 45 in the open when Moronta met him head-on in a courageous, touchdown-saving tackle and Gorton started up at their own 45. The Wolves got a fast 1st to the Tiger 45 on a flat pass, but their quarterback fumbled a snap that bounded all the way to the left side line where the Tigers recovered at their own 42, as the first quarter ended. This was the deepest penetration Gorton was to get until midway in the 4th quarter.

Coach Santa Donato took to a conservative play-calling strategy moving into the wind. In their next eight possessions (unofficially) through halftime and until 5 minutes to go in the 4th quarter, they went three-and-out. They relied on Orlando Cruz’s sure punting to handle the wind.

In his first punt into the gusting wind from the Tiger 43, Cruz bounced it to the Gorton 32, a 25-yard punt from scrimmage.

Jeff Lee does his Lawrence Taylor Impression

Gorton tried to come back. Jeff Lee always seemed to be making the big play to stall Gorton drives. It started now. With a Gorton 1st on the 43, Lee batted down a pass over the middle, the receiver was just waiting to pull in.

On the next play, Lee nailed the Wolf QB for his first sack of the day blitzing up the middle and single-handedly bringing him down for an 8 yard loss.

Lee did this so often Saturday that a Tiger fan beside me remarked he was playing like Lawrence Taylor of the 1990 Super Bowl Champion Giants. On 3rd and 18, the Tiger line overwhelmed the Wolf passer. The Wolf punter shanked his first punt with the wind, setting up White Plains at the 50. However, they could not move. Three-and-out was to be a recurring problem the rest of the day.

If you can’t move it, let Cruz kick it.

No problem. Big Number 67, handling the snap perfectly punted into the wind with an elegant line drive low with a neat knuckle roll to the Gorton 15. I mean, Cruz got so much roll on his punts today it was amazing. On 3rd and 5 from the 20, Jeff Lee rampaged in from linebacker and recorded his second sack of the day, forcing another Gorton punt, this time a good one.

White Plains took over on their 43 and ended up back to their 35. With a lead, with the wind blowing back passes, the Tigers simply stopped passing and this hurt their ground game. Cruz made his only poor punt of the day but, no problem, Gorton’s returned muffed the punt and Jeff Lee was right there to recover it on the Gorton 43, with no time left in the first half.

Third quarter a wash with a kick from the past.

Attacking into the wind in the third stanza, Gorton used up valuable time with runs. They went three-and-out on their first possession. White Plains did the same. After an exchange of fumbles after two undistinguished series by both teams at midfield, the Tigers again stalled.

Kicking from his 40, Cruz punted with the wind and executed a thing of beauty, a coffin corner kick. Orlando’s majestic launching hit at the 15 and rolled 10 yards out of bounds on the Gorton 4, as the third quarter ended. The kick was a 45 yard punt from scrimmage (NFL quality!).

Gorton Boards with 5 minutes to go

Gorton doggedly ran the ball out to their 40 on 3rd down, where a great play by Evan McGuire delayed the drive for precious minutes . After three plays, the Wolves faced 4th and 4. Kicking with the wind, with a new punter this time, Gorton pinned White Plains back to their 14 yard line.

Then Orlando Cruz made his only poor punt of the day, popping it up, getting a blow back, and the 17-yard kick gave Gorton the ball on the White Plains 35 with 8 minutes to go. A pass on 3rd down set them up on the Tiger 15.

After three tries, Gorton faced a 4th and 10 on the 15 when the Wolf Qb found a receiver in the end zone to make it 13-6 with 4:22 to play. Jeff Lee raced in from out of nowhere to bulldog the run for a 2-point conversion.

Taking over on their own 35, the Tigers needed to make a first down. On 2nd and 7, Eric Dickey drove for a first down on the Tiger 45.

McCoy’s 55-yard second effort wraps it up

On the very first play, Jeff McCoy took a handoff and went into a pile, merged bounced off the massed Gorton linebackers and picking up an escort dashed down the middle for 55 yards into the end zone. 19-6, Tigers, and with the kick, the Tigers had put away the game, 20-6.

This game was a game won by defense and special teams, which played almost flawless football. Aside from the pummeling administered by North Rockland, the Tiger defense has been very respectable. We attribute the offensive doldrums Saturday to the windy conditions that took away the passing option for half the game. Next week the Tigers play Mamaroneck in Mamaroneck at 2 PM.

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Cappelli financing delayed another week but “sees no obstacles”

Hits: 63

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has not come to terms yet with Cappelli Enterprises on the financing of the City Center.
A spokesman for the Cappelli organization, Geoffrey Thompson, informed WPCNR Tuesday that he had spoken with Louis Cappelli Monday who reports that the financial deal with CIBC was “moving along.” According to Thompson, “he anticipates no problems.”

Originally Cappelli said he needed Common Council approval to close his financing with CIBC on September 25. Then it was delayed to October 2. Now, Thompson reports, Cappelli expects to close on the $375 million in financing “within two weeks.”

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