4 White Plains Organizations to Receive Master Card Tech Grants Wednesday.

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Four White Plains organizations have been recognized by MasterCard International for their efforts in improving the educational and technological opportunities for under-served youth and will be awarded the first grants from the MasterCard Youth Education and Technology Fund. The awards will be given Wednesday, December 5 at 10 AM at Master Card Headquarters at 2000 Purchase Street, Purchase.

The organizations are: Cardinal McCloskey Services/ASPRIE Program, New York School for The Deaf/Campus Weather Station, The White Plains Library/Teacher in the Library, and The Street Theater, Inc./A Better Chance.

David Ruth, senior vice president, Global Communications, MasterCard International, will recognize these organizations at the association’s first annual awards presentation for the fund. Westchester County officials, board members and senior executives from the award-winning organizations, as well as representatives from the Westchester Community Foundation and MasterCard’s Review Committee will be in attendance.

Francesca Borges Gordon, director, Public Affairs at MasterCard, will also detail MasterCard’s community outreach program and Youth Education and Technology Fund initiative.

The award recipients were chosen from among 40 proposals, submitted to the Westchester Community Foundation and selected by MasterCard employees. Programs focused on providing direct service to children of diverse backgrounds from kindergarten through high school.

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McLaughlin Searchers Seek Yanofsky Input on Profile. Public Meetings Set.

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UPDATED DECEMBER 8, MEETING DATES RELEASED, ONE CHANGE:Hazard, Young & Attea, the search firm engaged by the White Plains City School District, will interview Dr. Saul Yanofsky for his input on developing a Superintendent of Schools Job Profile in the weeks ahead, Board President Donna McLaughlin reported to WPCNR Friday.

The School Board plans a 5-day over-the-weekend series of public meetings, January 10 to 15 for community direction to be communicated to the Search Consultants.

On Saturday, December 8, WPCNR updated the last public comment meeting date. The School Board changed the Bethel Baptist Church meeting to Wednesday, January 16, from Tuesday January 15. Time remains 7 PM. Other dates remain the same.

Speaking by telephone, Ms. McLaughlin updated WPCNR on the School Board meeting with Hazard, Young & Attia which took place last Tuesday afternoon.

Public to Meet with Hazard Young Consultants Four Times

McLaughlin said the firm and the board set four public meetings at which the search firm consultants, Deborah Raizes and Dr. John Whritner would take the pulse of the White Plains public on their thoughts for a new superintendent

All four meetings will be held in one 5-day marathon from January 10 to 16 (2002), at the following times and locations:

Thursday evening, January 10 at 7:30 PM in the White Plains High School All-Purpose Room.

Friday morning, the next day, January 11 at 10 AM at Education House, Homeside Lane.

Sunday afternoon, January 13, at 12:30 PM at St. Bernard’s Church, Chapel Hall.

Wednesday evening, January 16 at 7 PM at Bethel Baptist Church.NOTE: The School Board has changed this date from originally the 15th the 16th of January.

Ms. McLaughlin said the two consultants would also be meeting with community groups individually to hear public opinion and comment on the needs, qualifications, and concerns of the city as they apply to creating the new Superintendent job profile.

In addition to the community-wide sessions, the search consultants will be meeting with groups of staff members, PTA representatives and others during the first two weeks of January.

Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates will report on their findings based on these profile sessions at a
public meeting of the Board of Education on Tuesday, January 29th at 7:30 P.M. at Education House.

Yanofsky Input Will Be Sought.

Ms. McLaughlin corrected an earlier report she gave WPCNR, saying that Dr. Saul Yanofsky’s input would be sought directly by the Hazard Young Search Team. “I did not realize that they interview the former superintendent as part of their search process,” Ms. McLaughlin said.

Advertising to begin in January.

The Board President outlined the timetable that the board and the consultants have developed at their Tuesday afternoon session.

“We hope to have the superintendent profile completed by the end of January, and begin advertising in Education Week with it at that time,” she said.

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Scarsdale, White Plains Have Fear of Mandatory F.A.R.’s

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Just as White Plains residents have balked at Department of Planning zoning recommendations for its Southend neighborhoods which would limit “MacMansions” and expansions, Scarsdale residents have rallied against its village Floor Area Ratios.
From WPCNR’s affiliate, Scarsdale Today, comes this report filed by Scarsdale beat reporter, Sean Cover:

At the Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 27th, the Scarsdale Neighborhood Association of Presidents (S.N.A.P.) Committee on Bulk Housing submitted a report recommending very substantial changes in the Village’s Floor Area Ratio Cap and Bonus Program proposal which was created to regulate over-sized housing in the community.

Even though the Village revised its proposal on November 11th, S.N.A.P. found the flaws so serious it could not recommend the proposal or the Village’s proposed 90-Day Moratorium on construction.

Scarsdale Today readers will find links to download the S.N.A.P. report on the revised F.A.R. Cap proposal and its October 22nd report on the original proposal. The October 22 report includes a comparison of the FAR ordinance proposed for Scarsdale to the relevant codes of five neighboring communities that employ FAR-type requirements(Eastchester, Tuckahoe, the Village of Mamaroneck, the City of Rye, and Greenwich).

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You Be the Judge Poll: Mr. and Mrs. White Plains What Would You do?

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It’s never happened before in White Plains history: a jammed voting machine has perhaps, and perhaps is the key word prevented Larry Delgado from winning District 18 and reelection. Mr. and Mrs. White Plains, how would you decide what to do? Take the You Be the Judge Poll at the right.

WPCNR’s unique polling system now let’s you, Mr. and Mrs. White Plains weigh the issues just as Judge Francis A. Nicolai will be doing next week when Hockley attorney Adam Bradley and Delgado Counsel, Jeffrey Binder, present their briefs to the Judge Monday afternoon. We’ve listed four possible avenues of decision. Or, you can vote “other,” and explain your solution in a comment or an e-mail.
Your opinion counts, use it!

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Fortunoffs Comes to Talk

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“They listened to what we had to say,” according to William Null, Fortunoff’s attorney, as he and Louis Fortunoff were leaving City Hall Thursday evening, in describing a surprise Executive Session with the Common Council involving the prestigious upscale retailer. The Council has also agreed to vote on the Fortunoff proposal on Decmeber 20.
Prior to the Common Council Work Session before Mr. Null and Mr. Fortunoff arrived, the Council agreed to hold a final vote on the Fortunoff proposal on December 20.

The reasons given for the December 20 vote was to qualify Fortunoff’s for a Westchester County Industrial Development Agency grant for this year for use on the proposed construction of a Fortunoff’s White Plains store.

Fortunoff’s plans to build a 4-story retail center with specialty on-the-street shops and restaurants on the former Saks Fifth Avenue site.

Asked about how Fortunoff’s was dealing with complaints of residents on Hale Avenue about the construction plans, Mr. Null said Fortunoff’s was meeting with the neighbors within the next three days to deal with their concerns prior to the public hearing continuation at next Monday Common Council meeting.

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City’s Hands Tied on Library Parking Protest. County Keeps Libe Lot Closed.

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WPCNR has learned that the County Executive’s office is standing firm on keeping the White Plains Public Library Parking Garage closed to the public, despite a groundswell of local protest lead by County Legislator William Ryan.
Since the World Trade Center attack, the county has closed the garage to public parking with the exception of county employees, and apparently to members of the American Trial Lawyers Association, whose stickers are automatically waived through to park, according to various legal counsel who have spoken to WPCNR.

According to members of the White Plains Public Library Board, Library attendance is down.

Thursday evening, WPCNR learned a Common Council Executive Session was held regarding the White Plains Public Library Parking Garage security. We do not know the details, and efforts to piece together information from city sources attending the meeting were met with stony silence, citing security concerns.

However, WPCNR has learned from sources behind preparation of the materials presented last night that petitions signed by White Plains citizen organizations, including The Old Guard, and the White Plains Beautification Society were delivered to the council, requesting opening of the library garage.

County Legislator William Ryan has expressed his support for opening the garage on a phase-in basis in a news conference earlier this week.

After the news conference WPCNR learned that the County Executive is standing firm on his closure of the library garage as a security measure. County law enforcement officials have confided to reliable WPCNR listening posts that they have received no new specific information or intelligence that has lead to this decision to keep the garage closed to the public.

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Taxi Commission to Review Taxi Rate Increase with Council

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Taxi Commission Chairman, Daniel Hickey reported to WPCNR Thursday that he has reviewed White Plains taxi owners and operators request for a taxi cab rate increase.
Hickey advised the CitizeNetReporter, he has arrived at a what he feels is a reasonable and fair rate hike. He reports it is currently being reviewed by the legal department.

He says he has not discussed the increase with the negotiator for the Taxi cab owners yet and hopes to do that within the next two weeks.

Hickey said it was premature to disclose any details of the plan before it was presented to the Common Council.

Taxi cab drivers and owners are seeking a $1.25 rate increase across all zones of the city, or a combination of $1 fees for exclusive use of a cab, or $1 surcharge on radio-dispatched calls.

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Council Will Release DEIS if Hospital Grants Extended Hearing Window

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The Common Council indicated willingness to accept the New York Presbyterian Hospital Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Plan B under review, as early as their December 3 Common Council meeting Thursday evening under one condition.

Led by Council President Rita Malmud, the council indicated they would do so if New York Presbyterian Hospital put in writing that the pubic hearing on the project would not have to be completed within 45 days. Ms. Malmud pushed for March 4, 2002 as a more suitable timeframe.

A hospital executive, Constance Hildersley, said the hospital would consider “a reasonable extention,” but would not elaborate on what she deemed reasonable. Under the state regulation once the Council announces a DEIS “complete,” it has 45 days to conclude a public hearing on the matter.

The council heard from Michael B. Gerrard, and Nicholas Johnson of Arnold & Porter, the city-commissioned environmental lawyers reviewing the DEIS, that in the lawyers’ opinion the DEIS was in essence complete. Gerrard said he and Johnson had recommended several wording changes and requested the hospital undertake two investigations on two suspected hazardous waste sites.

Toxic Avenger Warning Heeded

Those sites were identified last June on a council tour of the hospital site, and highlighted illegally with yellow tape by the White Plains Toxic Avenger. The White Plains Toxic Avenger is the WPCNR nickname for an unidentified trespasser who snuck onto hospital property and strung yellow crime scene tape around the suspected toxic dumps.

Apparently based on this information, and secret testimony given Arnold & Porter’s Gerrard by the Toxic Avenger himself, these two sites were highlighted in recommendations to the hospital to have excavations conducted to determine whether toxic wastes exist. Gerrard reported Thursday night, the hospital was conducting those soil tests this week and should have the borings completed in time to be included in the DEIS early next week.

No hazardous radioactive waste stored on Loma Linda site

Nicholas Johnson and Mr. Gerrard visited the Loma Linda proton accelerator facility in Loma Linda, California, in person with a nuclear physicist consultant retained for the purposes of reviewing the accelerator facility. The nuclear consultant was Professor Lawrence Jones of the physics department of the University of Michigan. Gerrard reported that they and a New York Presbyterian Hospital representative on “a thorough tour of the facility.”

Gerrard said the three saw all safety records. Nicholas Johnson reported that there was “no hazardous radiative waste stored on the site,” and that the facility generated none. Johnson added that the accelerator emitted radiation at the nozzle. However, he said this radiation had a life of only two weeks and did not exceed that experienced by x-ray technicians.

Malmud concerned about getting adequate public opportunity to comment over holiday period.

Taking the point on the “time-to-review” issue, Council President Rita Malmud expressed concern about the holiday season curtailing the public ability to comment, if the Common Council were required to close the public hearing within 45 days. (Approval of the DEIS as complete on Monday, would put 45 days falling on January 17, 2002.) Ms. Malmud suggested the March 4 Common Council meeting as the ideal date that would allow the public adequate time to comment on the DEIS(91 days).

Councilpersons Boykin and Greer and Delgado agreed that if the hospital were to prove to be flexible on the 45 period, extending it somewhat, they could see approving the DEIS as complete on Monday.

Constance Hildersley, Vice President of Real Estate, for New York Presbyterian Hospital said she felt the hospital could agree to a “reasonable” extension, and would report back to the Council by Monday. Ms. Malmud said she would appreciate confirmation of such an extension in writing.

Hildersley does not comment on extension or private proton accelerator fund-raising

Upon leaving the work session, Ms. Hildersley told WPCNR when asked if the 90 days was agreeable that she wasn’t talking. When asked if fund-raising efforts towards the proton accelerator were underway, she said she was not talking about that, either.

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Judge Nicolai: “The Court Has Identified a Wrong.” Calls for Briefs.

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After review of the Delgado Attorney’s Offer of Proof Thursday afternoon, Judge Francis A. Nicolai of New York State Supreme Court ruled that a statistician’s analysis could not be admitted as evidence. The Judge then ruled that “the court has identified a wrong, and the court must now fashion a remedy.”

Judge Nicolai ordered Adam Bradley and Jeffery Binder, attorneys for Glen Hockley and Larry Delgado respectively, to submit written briefs to the court by Monday afternoon at 5 PM with their suggestions for what kind of remedy should be applied.

Mr. Bradley, after this order, contended at length that if a new election was called for that it should be citywide across all 46 districts between Mr. Hockley and Mr. Delgado. Bradley cited a ruling in a Tarrytown jammed voting machine case where this actually happened. Mr. Binder declined to rebut, closing proceedings for the day by saying “I find my opponent’s argument totally without merit.”

Judge Nicolai said he would be “in touch” with the parties, after their briefs were submitted, to set a date when the case would be resumed.

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Expert Confirms Jam at 39 Votes. D-Team Tries for Vote Projection

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Attorneys for Glen Hockley and Larry Delgado agreed, based on a telephone conference call Wednesday with a voting machine expert, that Mr. Delgado’s vote total jammed at 39 in District 18. Both said no further inspection of the machine can shed further light on the crucial Delgado count.

Jeffrey Binder, the D-Team Lead Attorney plans a statistical recreation of the possible lost vote. The historic White Plains Council Election of 2001 continues Thursday at 2 in Supreme Court.
Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Binder requested permission of the court to present statistical evidence for a projected Delgado missing vote count. The judge may rule on the admission of this Thursday.

Conference Call agreed to Wednesday AM

An 8-minute conference call at the Board of Elections conducted with Sherwood Danielson, an expert repair supervisor of the Voting Machine Service Center in Jamestown, Erie County, New York, was arranged based on agreement in court Wednesday morning. The 5-way conversation shed light on what happened within the bowels of the District 18 voting machine at George Washington School Election Night.

LITIGANTS LISTEN IN TO EXPERT ON FACT-FINDING CALL at Board of Elections Wednesday. Shown are Carolee Sunderland, Commissioner of Board of Elections, Jeffrey Binder, Delgado attorney, and Adam Bradley, attorney for Glen Hockley.WPCNR PHOTO.

Trouble getting the conference call started

The conference call was about to begin (suggested by Judge Francis Nicolai), at around 12:30, when Adam Bradley, Glen Hockley’s attorney began protesting to the Board of Elections Commisioners. He expressed concern that the expert about to be called was a Delgado attorney-supplied expert. Two reporters waiting outside the open office could clearly see Mr. Bradley stalking around Reginald LaFayette’s desk in front of the two Board of Elections Commissioners, Carolee Sunderland and Mr. LaFayette.

Communications Break Down

When the conference call was ready to be placed, it could not be set up to work on the phone in Mr. LaFayette’s office. Ms. Sunderland said she could do it on her phone. After the entourage trooped down to Ms. Sunderland’s office, she could not get the conference feature to work either.

BINDER FINALLY GETS THROUGH. Jeffrey Binder is finally able to put together the conference call. He is shown coordinating the call with his New York office which set up the call with their Verizon equipment.WPCNR PHOTO.

Mr. Binder, Mr. Delgado’s attorney, with Mr. Bradley agreeing, set up the call finally through his law offices in New York which got all three parties and the conference call listeners on line in about 2 minutes.

Technicians lead off the questions

At approximately 1:30 PM Thursday afternoon, Steve Schoengold and Frank Luiso, the Board of Elections technical experts who conducted the inspection of the voting machine Tuesday, began the call, explaining to Danielson what they had discovered.

TALKING TECH TO TECH: Board of Elections Technicians, Steve Schoengold, foreground and Frank Luiso explained what they found to Danielson and asked his opionion.WPCNR PHOTO.

Danielson said “It sounds like failure in that counter station.”

Mr. Schoengold, saying he and Mr. Luiso had given their opinions in court on this question, asked Danielson if the counter could have counted past 39 to 100 and somehow rolled back to 39 when it jammed. Danielson, replied, “No. No. Un-Un. No way.”

Nothing more in the machine to indicate vote

Jeffrey Binder, Mr. Delgado’s representative, jumped in, asking if there “was anything in there (inside the machine) we might find that might tell us if the (Delgado) count had gone past 100?”

Danielson said, “There’s no way I could determine that. I would not know (by examining the gears) how many more times it (may have) turned. I don’t know there’s anyone who could determine this. There’s nothing (inside) to indicate the count. (An examination) will show you where the breakage is. In my opinion it broke at 39.”

Gears on the “1’s” wheel cannot turn the 100’s wheel

Binder asked if the gear moving the “10” wheel (the second numbered wheel counter), could move the 100 counter. Danielson indicated this was impossible, saying, “when the 1’s wheel gets to 9, it transfers to zero, moving the 10s wheel (WPCNR NOTE: in this case moving the 3 to a 4). The 10s wheel is moved by a separate gear from the 100’s wheel. The 3 (changing to 4) would not move zero (in the 100’s wheel) to 100. No way.”

Binder replied, “O.K.”

Bradley establishes agreement between experts

Adam Bradley asked, “It’s fair to say your expert opinion is the same as the technical experts (of the Board of Elections)?”

Danielson said, “Yes.”

Binder asked an earlier question in a different way, asking “if there was any possible indicia (of the count inside the machine), no indicia to that effect?” And was told no.

A Man Who Knows Voting Machines

Matthew Gallagher, legal counsel from the Westchester County Attorney’s office asked Mr. Danielson what his experience was.

Danielson said he was presently an instructor for his company training repairers of voting machines, that he had started at the company in 1981.

He said, “I can tear down machines, do major repairs, minor repairs, in-field service. You name it I can do it.”

On that note, the call was concluded.

The Litigants Who Listened In.

Helping conduct the call were the two technicians executing the Tuesday inspection, Steve Schoengold and Frank Luiso, Mr. Bradley and Mr. Binder, Carolee Sunderland, Commissioner of the Board of Elections, Reginald A. LaFayette, Commissioner, Board of Elections, Mr. Delgado, Mr. Hockley, Matthew Gallagher of the County Attorney office, Steve Levy and Jeannie Palazola, Deputy Commissioners of the Board of Elections.

After the Call, Back to Court.

The two attorneys and their entourage returned to court at 2:30 PM Wednesday afternoon to report their findings to Judge Nicolai in Supreme Court.

It should be noted that Mr. Danielson was arranged for at the order of Judge Nicolai’s Principal Law Clerk, Diane Lundin. Acting on instructions from Judge Nicolai, she had asked the Board of Elections to find a voting machine expert to shed a third opinion the previous Tuesday evening after the inspection had been completed. Mr. Bradley was reported present when this instruction to the Board of Elections Deputy Commissioners, Mr. Levy and Ms. Palazola, was given.

Levy calls Board of Elections service company for expert

Steven Levy, Deputy Commissioner, contacted Dale Marshall of Voting Machine Service Center, which maintains the Westchester County voting machines to find an expert. Mr. Marshall arranged for Mr. Danielson’s availability for a Wednesday morning call.

Parties Return to Court for 2:30 Session to Discuss Call.

Judge Nicolai called the session to order and asked if the call had been made.

Mr. Binder, Mr. Delgado’s counsel said it had, and that “my client (Mr. Delgado) is completely satisfied there will be nothing to be gained by further examination of the machine.”

The judge queried Mr. Bradley. Mr. Bradley said, “I sat here and heard from two Board of Elections technicians. My understanding was this gentleman confirming what they said.”

After this fact-finding that nothing more was to be found by further machine breakdown was agreed to on the record by both attorneys counsel Binder requested a new avenue of inquiry.

Binder Suggests Statistical Projection

Binder then asked Judge Nicolai for the opportunity to bring in an expert statistician’s analysis of the votes Mr. Delgado most likely would have received.

Judge Francis A. Nicolai raised his dark eyebrows, advising Mr. Binder, “It can’t be too much longer. We’re already into December 1. They (the candidates) need some time to prepare.”

Binder said the statistical analysis he is suggesting could give Judge Nicolai information that would suggest “it may be reasonable to adjust the canvas.”

The Judge asked “Who and What?” and that the analysis had to allow time for Mr. Bradley to be heard and react to the analysis.

Binder stated dramatically, “A 99% probability of over 140 votes (for Delgado) on that line.”

Judge Nicolai rose in his seat knitted his brows, and said he needed to know “on what theory he is presenting? I disagree completely with your expert.”

Binder, in his quiet, unruffled voice, said, “Certainly a strong case could be made.”

The Judge said he would have to see an Offer of Proof from Binder explaining the credentials of the expert, what he/she intends to say, and the methods of his analysis before he would agree to allow the statistician’s testimony to be heard.

His Honor, expressing skepticism, remarked, “seems like more speculation than mathematical certainty.”

Judge Nicolai moved swiftly, summing things up: “There is no further need to redo the voting machine. You must prepare a written Offer of Proof, serving this to Mr. (Adam) Bradley not later than 11 o’clock tomorrow (Thursday) AM.”

Bradley Reasserts Objections to the Show Cause Order.

Adam Bradley repeated his assertion that the original Delgado complaint should have not been heard because it had not been given an index number by the County Clerk. Judge Nicolai, who had sternly refused to dismiss on this ground Monday morning roared: “It’s nonsense. I am not going to dismiss a case of this importance on a technicality.”

Bradley repeated his complaint about the way the original documents was written. Judge Nicolai said “Why are you having a problem with it? What don’t you understand?” rising and pounding his desk and saying “Exception is all. You object to my ruling. You’re wasting time.”

In a third complaint, Bradley raised the issue of not being notified by Delgado’s attorneys (when he requested by letter to be notified) that there was no need to appear in court on November 9, when the original show cause order was called.

Judge Nicolai did not give this much credence because he pointed out the letter wording in Bradley’s own words said “no petition at this time,” indicated Bradley was expecting a petition and might have checked before he arrived.

Bradley raises “remedy” issue.

Taking a deep breath, Mr. Bradley then attempted to plunge into what was obviously on everyone’s mind. He said he wanted to focus on an issue of tremendous importance, the remedy.

Judge Nicolai held up a hand, smiling with teeth not showing, brows knitted, tightlipped, “You’re being premature. That’s assuming I find a need for a remedy.”

Bradley protested, “So much is occurring and we keep doing things.”

Judge Nicolai, taking firm control in a sublime manner, defended what he called the fact-finding process:

“At every phase, that next step was helpful. It may not be your point. But it’s my point. You have an adversary role, and I have a neutral role. We have very different roles.”

Bradley responded, “This is a process of speculation. We are prolonging it, delaying the reality here: A tremendous issue about the remedy.”

The Judge serenely replied, “I don’t care. We have to establish facts…Your view is at midnight election’s over, we won, good-bye. You don’t want a factual foundation to establish a remedy. It’s fair to explore the issue, then we have a factual foundation. I’m not convinced there’s a need for a remedy.”

Public belief in election, the Judge’s goal

The judge somberly entoned his overriding concern he stated at the beginning of this winding litigatory journey Monday morning: that the public must have confidence in the integrity of the election process.

Noted No-Shows

Tom Roach and Rita Malmud who had been in court Monday and Tuesday supporting Mr. Hockley, were not in court Wednesday. Mr. Roach and Ms. Malmud were essentially cleared for certification by Judge Nicolai’s ruling Tuesday morning.

Judge Nicolai adjourned proceedings to resume Thursday afternoon at 2 PM in State Supreme Court in the Westchester County Court House.

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