“Let Them Play,” Say Banned Sports Parents and Players to Governor, Section 1. “Not Fair,” Says Former County Executive, Robert Astorino

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS . By John F. Bailey. September 13, 2020: Slightly over 70 parents and their student athletes whose sports have been shut down by New York State in Westchester and Long Island, held a rally at the County Center this morning. Their message was that allowing soccer, field hockey, and tennis to play starting in October, but disallowing football and volleyball and competitive cheerleading,was unfair and called for Governor Cuomo and the Sections to “Let Them Play.”

Robert Astorino, Republican candidate for State Senate and former County Executive began the rally with this statement:

Robert Astorino begins the rally. (WPCNR Video)

After the rally, WPCNR asked Mr. Astorino if he had specific recommendations of how players in football, volleyball, cheerleading could be equipped to play safely if allowed to play, here is his response:

Mr. Astorino on keeping players safe in competition if all sports are allowed to play

More on this developing story later today.

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Drag Race in White Plains. You Lose Your Car. Common Council Crackdown on Drag Races, Noise from Races. Possible Forfeiture, Fines

WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE EXAMINER. From the Mayor’s Office. September 12, 2020:

The White Plains Common Council passed a package of legislation at its September 8th Council meeting to address the problem of drag racing on city streets.

It is well known that the noise associated with unlawful speed contests creates a nuisance and diminishes the quality of life enjoyed by our residents. The races themselves are also dangerous, not only to the participants but to bystanders and other vehicles legally using the road.

In December of 2019 Mayor Roach had the opportunity to meet with James Nolan. Mr. Nolan’s brother, Michael Nolan, was killed in a drive-by shooting that stemmed from a drag race in which he was not participating. The tragedy experienced by the Nolan family became the impetus for his campaign to address the dangers of drag racing and the nuisance they cause in our communities.

White Plains Mayor Tom Roach said, “While our PD has been aggressive about issuing tickets, having these additional enforcement tools at our disposal will serve as a further disincentive to drag racing within the city.”

The main component of the package is a local law that would authorize the City to commence a civil action seeking forfeiture of a vehicle used in connection with drag racing (aka: unlawful speed contests) after the registered owner of the vehicle is convicted under or pleads guilty to section 1182 of the New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law. Section 1182 specifically prohibits speed contests and races. A conviction under this section is a misdemeanor.

In addition to the local law, the package includes two ordinances.

The first ordinance adds a definition of unlawful speed contests to the City’s Municipal Code and provides penalties for those involved in such races.

The second ordinance amends the City’s noise ordinance to clarify that noise created during an unlawful speed contest is a prohibited noise, also subject to penalties.

A conviction or guilty plea under the City’s Municipal Code is a violation and can result in a fine.

Together, these three actions will give the City additional enforcement tools to go after those who organize and participate in drag races.

Council President Nadine Hunt-Robinson said,“Like our residents, we are very concerned about the issue of drag racing and we are pleased to take the extra step to protect the people of White Plains from this abhorrent behavior.”

James Nolan said, “This is a great honor to have White Plains pass this law in honor of my brother and to protect others from these unlawful and dangerous acts. This law will do a lot of good and will go a long way to help avoid the heartache of losing a loved one. Illegal drag racing and dangerous acts with vehicles will not be tolerated anywhere in our community. My brother was robbed of a future, was robbed of so much, but they will not take his legacy and this law is a part of his legacy. Some people may say these acts are a “hobby or lifestyle” but make no mistake, these crimes are nothing other than an act of negligence for human life and it will not be allowed at all!”

County Executive George Latimer said: “Drag racing has been on the rise in Westchester County and my administration is working with local municipalities and activists to try to curb this reckless behavior. From the risk to motorists and pedestrians to the toxic behaviors associated with it, we must put an end to illegal drag racing. I commend Mayor Roach and the Common Council on their efforts to do just that.”

Council Member Justin Brasch said, “This legislation sends a strong message that Drag Racing will not be tolerated in White Plains.  Not only can you get a ticket for speeding and creating noise, now we can confiscate your car.  This will hopefully put an end to Drag Racing in White Plains and save lives.” 

Council Member John Martin said, “This legislation, and widespread knowledge of it, should help give our residents some relief from the excessive noise and dangerous conditions resulting from “drag racing” on our streets.”

Council Member Jennifer Puja said, “James Nolan has turned tragedy into triumph by bringing this legislation to local municipalities and I am glad to see unanimous support for it in White Plains. Speed contests are not just a risk for those participating, but for bystanders and for residents. The potential forfeiture of a vehicle sends a stronger message that speed contests are not tolerated in our city. As we near the fifth anniversary of Michael Nolan’s tragic death, we can honor his legacy by keeping our city streets safer for all. “

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Dan Seidel , one of two attorneys handling the Gedney Association appeal of the French American School of New York White Plains decision, announced the case will go on.

WPCNR WHITE PLAINS LAW JOURNAL. By John F. Bailey. September 9, 2020:

The Gedney Association appeal of White Plains approval of the French American School private school campus project on the former Ridgeway Country Club, a stalled project now in its 9th year of legal dispute will be heard by the New York State Appellate Court 2nd Circuit.

In a decision handed down late Wednesday, the court denied the City of White Plains motion to dismiss the Gedney Association appeal.

Dan Seidel, one of the attorneys handling the appeal for Gedney Association pro bono reported this to WPCNR this evening with this statement:

“This Order came down this afternoon.

I have until October 9 to serve and file the Supplemental Appendix (all the docs and exhibits that FASNY claimed I SHOULD have filed in the first place. 

The City and FASNY had their motions for dismissal denied
they get time to file and serve their opposition briefs by November 9 , and then we get time to serve and file our Reply Briefs to their Opposition Briefs by November 24.”

Mr. Seidel told WPCNR oral arguments might be made in two years.

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WPCNR CORONAVIRUS REPORT. From the Governor’s Press Office. September 9, 2020:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced indoor dining in New York City will be allowed to resume beginning September 30th with a 25 percent occupancy limit.

All restaurants that choose to reopen will be subject to strict safety protocols, including temperature checks, contact information for tracing, face coverings when not seated and other safety protocols. Bar service will not be permitted, and restaurants will close at midnight.

Guidelines will be reassessed based on the data by November 1. If the infection rate does not increase, restaurants may be permitted to go to 50 percent capacity; the State will monitor any positivity increase on an ongoing basis and potentially reassess if necessary. Business guidance for indoor dining in New York City is available here.

The City of New York will provide a team of 400 enforcement personnel to work with the State Police Task Force to ensure compliance. Restaurants must publicly post their 25 percent indoor dining capacity and the phone number and text number to report violations.

Patrons who observe violations can report issues by calling 833-208-4160, or by texting ‘VIOLATION’ to 855-904-5036.

“I want to thank New Yorkers for their hard work to increase compliance, and we can now take the next step in reopening our restaurants. We’ve been speaking with stakeholders, and we are now announcing that we can safely reopen indoor dining in New York City with limited capacity at the end of this month, as long as they adhere to strict health and safety protocols,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is good news and the right step forward, especially for restaurant owners and staff who have been struggling through this time. But it is up to all of us to ensure compliance and the health and safety of those around us.”

The Governor also announced the State to launch ‘New Yorkers Protecting New Yorkers’ PSA with New York State Restaurant Association to encourage compliance.

Guidance for Indoor Dining in New York City

  • 25 percent occupancy limit
  • Temperature checks will be required at the door for all customers
  • One member of each party will be required to provide contact information for tracing if needed
  • No bar service – bars will only be used as service bars, a source of making drinks and serving them tableside
  • Masks must be worn at all times when not seated at a table
  • Tables must be six feet apart
  • Restaurants close at midnight
  • Strict adherence to all State-issued guidance
  • Restaurants should operate with enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards
  • Limit air recirculation and allow for outside air ventilation
  • Outdoor dining will continue in the interim
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Westchester County Board Calls in The Usual Suspects for Grilling: Con Edison, NYSEG THURSDAY @ NOON

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Board of Legislators. September 8, 2020:

The County Board Committee of the Whole will quiz Con Edison and New York Electric and Gas in a teleconference with the power executives appearing by zoom to respond to their alleged “inadequate” response to Tropical Storm Isis last spring.

Board Chairman Benjamin Boyin said, “After Storms Quinn and Riley in 2018, we were assured things would be better next time. But nothing has changed. When confronted with Isaias, the results were just as inadequate. From the over-reliance on mutual assistance, to inadequate in-house resources, the system remains broken. We want to hear that substantial changes are coming.”

The meeting is not open to the press or the public. You may see a stream live on www.westchesterlegislators.com . A link to the stream will go live when the meeting begins. Be patient.

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False E-Mail Attempts to Extort Cash Using John Bailey’s Name

It has come to my attention that persons I have emailed in the past have received emails from John Bailey, asking if they could do me a favorand when they write back they are asked to send money through gift cards.

My email list has been hacked, and the email is not, repeat not from me. (Even I got the email).

Please do not pay attention to it, just delete it. And do not open any future emails saying “From: John Bailey.”

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Posted on August 31, 2019 by John Bailey

WPCNR NEWS AND COMMENT. By John F. Bailey. SEPTEMBER 7, 2020. Reprinted from the CitizeNetReporter Archives:

It is Labor Day 2020.

Look back at the history of the labor movement, workers have always had to fight and die to make progress.

Because management is not fair, equitable, or humane. They don’t care about you as a person. They use you up. Use you. And when you get hurt. Too bad. And now our feckless Supreme Court has taken away the class action suit.

Business and government “internships” today are a nice word for slavery without whips.

Labor Day first made its appearance when low wages and long hours were protested against in the mid-nineteenth century during the American Industrial Revolution.

Management works for themselvesalways.

Oregon instituted the first Labor Day in the 1870s, and New York in the 1880s.

The National Labor Day Holiday came about because of national outrage over two violent strikes that were ended by armed intervention by the military and private detectives, the notorious “Pinkertons.”

Let’s go back to the 1890s and learn what Labor Day is all about. It’s not about a day off. It is a memorial day. It’s not about “good job.”

The gay 90s were not so gay if you were a worker.

They were a time when the so-called robber barons thought nothing of bringing out private security forces to shoot strikers. They  lowered wages with no mercy. It was all about them, their mansions, their fortunes, their tax-free profits. (No income tax before 1913, folks).

In the Homestead, Pennsylvania steel factory strike in 1892Andrew Carnegie, the steel baron, wanted to lower wages to make the Homestead factory  more profitable. (Instead of pulling down statues, they should change the name of the Carnegie Institute. Mr. Carnegie was no saint.)

Steelworkers in Homestead Pennsylvania, made $10 a week, working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, as much as  84 hours a week.

Carnegie’s Deputy  Chairman Henry Frick wanted to pay them less, and attempted to bring in non-union laborers to replace them.

Two thousand union workers barricaded the plant.

Frick hired Pinkerton Detectives to disperse them. On June 29, 1892, “Pinkertons” killed 7 union workers with gunfire, and injured “countless” others and three Pinkertons were killed.

The Governor called in the National Guard to restore order. The armed intervention broke the Amalgamated Association union.

After this, according to “Steelworkers in America” by David Brody, wages of steelworkers at Homestead declined 20% from 1892 to 1907 and workshifts went up from 8 hours to 12 hours (96 hours a week). 

What a great fellow, Carnegie. What a humanitarian! That’s your robber baron. He’d fit right in with today’s Wolves of Wall Street, and our national leadership wouldn’t he? He’d be in the Trump cabinet.

This union-killing in Pennysylvania was followed by the 1894 Pullman Strike in Pullman Illinois.

George M. Pullman, the creator of the sleeper car, housed his workers in Pullman City, Illinois, and charged them rent. 

In the depression of the early 1890s, in 1893 wages at the Pullman Palace Factory fell  25%, but Pullman did not lower his rents to his workers.

The rent, if not met, was deducted from worker pay.

Pullman was a garbage person.

A nice guy, George Pullman.  He could run a bank today, couldn’t he? He could run an airline and an airliner manufacturing company.

On May 11, 1894 workers with the American Railroad Union under the leadership of the great  Eugene V.  Debs, started a wildcat (unauthorized) strike in protest of Pullman’s policies.

On June 26, 1894, union members refused to service trains with Pullman Cars in their consist, to leave Chicago, delaying the U.S. Mail.

Twenty-four railroads in an organization called the General Managers Association announced that any switchman who refused to move rail cars would be fired.

Mr. Debs and his union stood their ground.

Debs said if any switchman was fired for not moving Pullman Cars, the union would walk off their jobs. On June 29, 50,000 union men quit.

Union supporters stopped trains on rails West of Chicago.

President Grover Cleveland was asked by the railroads to use federal troops to stop the strike.

(Does all this sound familiar? Right out of today’s political rhetoric.)

When Debs went to Blue Island to ask railroad workers there to support the strike, rioting broke out, tracks were torn up. Railroad cars were burned.

The Attorney General of the United States Richard Olney, at the urging of the railroad owners, obtained an injunction July 2 that declared the strike illegal.

When Debs’ union members did not return to work, when they did not return to work—-

President Cleveland sent federal troops into Chicago.

Troops opened fire on strikers  attempting to stop a train traveling through downtown Chicago.

Debs and his union leaders were arrested for disrupting the delivery of mail.

Twenty-six civilians were killed for disrupting the mail.

Because the mail could not be delivered. Because the mail could not be delivered…how pathetic.

Debs, the union leader, stopped the strike.

Debs was sentenced to six months in jail and the union was disbanded. To my knowledge no federal troops who killed civilians were prosecuted.

A number of railroad workers were black listed and could not get a job on a railroad in the United States.

It was the first time federal troops were used to break up a strike.

Pullman workers were forced to sign a pledge they would never strike again.

The threat of the federal government stopping strikes lead to an end of strikes for at least 8 years.

President Cleveland, though, was facing reelection in 1894.

And, here’s how Labor Day became a national holiday.

Union leaders and citizens were alarmed at his handling of the strike.

As PBS put it in a documentary in 2001:

“But now, protests against President Cleveland’s harsh methods made the appeasement (italics WPCNR) of the nation’s workers a top political priority. In the immediate wake of the strike, legislation was rushed unanimously through both houses of Congress, and the bill arrived on President Cleveland’s desk just six days after his troops had broken the Pullman strike.

1894 was an election year.

President Cleveland seized the chance at conciliation, and Labor Day was born. William Jennings Bryant ran for the Democratic Party and the Populist Party in 1896, losing to  Republican William McKinley.

Then came a sea change in the great coal strike of 1902, when another “exemplary” capitalist J. P. Morgan fought the coal workers.

It happened in the coal fields of Easton, Pennsylvania, when the United Mine Workers headed by John Mitchell struck the coal operators  pushing for an 8-hour day.

The coal operators employed private police and the Pennsylvania National Guard to protect non-union workers.

President Theodore Roosevelt summoned the parties to the White House to bring settlement of the dispute by arbitration. After 6 months, the coal miners won a 9-hour day and a 10% increase in wages.

T.R.’s personal intervention lead to Selig Perlman, economist and labor historian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, saying “this was perhaps the first time in history a labor organization tied up for months a strategic industry without being condemned as a revolutionary menace.’

The 1902 leadership of the great Teddy Roosevelt resulted in elimination of private police forces long used  by management to combat workers.

When Governor Samuel Pennypacker became Governor of Pennsylvania, Pennypacker created the Pennsylvania State Police in 1903, the first in the nation to supplant the independent organizations hired by management that were little more than strong-arm boys.

The lesson of Labor Day is to remember the bravery of the union leaders who put their members first, did not make deals, did not sell out their members,(and I might add, succomb to politicians’ whining) and held out for the good against managements that were neither kind, humane, fair, or appreciative of their workers’ contribution to their corporate success.

Management never  is. They talk a good game but it’s all talk. Look at the Covid firings.

So American workers should remember the struggles and the leadership of Debs and Mitchell. And the strikers and civilians who were shot down in the street for stopping delivery of mail, for God’s sake!

They introduced a new era of workers’ rights at the costs of their lives.

The battle against worker exploitation never ends. It’s still happening today.

Let’s stop it. Let’s fight it. Let’s boycott the robber barons, and vote out the scalywags in Washington, D.C. All of them.

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