David Buchwald Announces His Candidacy for Reelection to Assembly District 93

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Mr. Buchwald at a recent visit to the White Plains Television Studios.

WPCNR CAMPAIGN 2018. From Assemblyman David Buchwald, July 12, 2018:

David Buchwald, Democrat representing the 93rd Assembly District, formally announced his re-election campaign Wednesday.

Buchwald has earned the endorsement of five parties, including the Democratic, Independence, Reform, Women’s Equality and Working Families Parties.

Illustrating the breadth and depth of support Assemblyman Buchwald has received, over 2,500 Democratic signatures were collected by volunteers, more than five times the amount required to make the ballot. An additional 341 signatures on the Independence, Reform, Women’s Equality and Working Families Party petitions were turned into the Board of Elections.

Assemblyman Buchwald said, “I am honored to have such wide support throughout Westchester. In the Assembly, I have worked on behalf of Westchester residents, from fighting to protect our environment, to standing up for women’s rights, to working to reduce our tax burden. I am grateful that I have earned the support of Westchester’s community and political leaders of all stripes.”

Buchwald continued, “And now, more than ever, it is critical to protect our shared values, as they are under assault from Washington. I would consider it a great honor to continue to stand up for my constituents and to represent Westchester in the State Assembly.

First elected to the New York State Assembly in 2012, Assemblyman David Buchwald has dedicated himself to making Westchester a better place to live, work and raise a family.

A tax attorney by trade, David’s legislative priorities include fighting to protect and preserve our environment, strengthening our public education system, championing sensible gun safety laws, protecting women’s reproductive health rights and the civil rights of all New Yorkers, cleaning up Albany and securing electoral reform.

He is also the author of the groundbreaking constitutional amendment allowing the forfeiture of corrupt public officials’ taxpayer-funded pensions.

The 93rd Assembly District includes the communities of Bedford, Harrison, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, New Castle, North Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge and White Plains.

 

 

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After Drought in First Quarter, Interest in Westchester Luxury Homes Grows in 2nd Quarter

WPCNR REALTY REALITY. From Houlihan Lawrence. July 12, 2018:

The luxury market in Westchester County ($2 Million priced and higher) improved after posting a 20% decline in Q-1, according to the Houlihan Lawrence Luxury Market Report released Wednesday. Year-to-date, Westchester County luxury sales are down just 7% and Q-2 sales kept pace with the same period last year.

Westchester’s s luxury market, the ultra-luxury segment of the market ($5M+) is performing better than it has in years.  Through June 30th, there are a total of 21 closed and pended sales over $5M, compared to 19 sales in 2016 and 18 sales in 2017.

Pended sales will likely close this year, and 2018 is on track to exceed the previous two years.  More significant are the number of $10M+ sales this year. Two closed and three are pending – a striking increase from 2016 and 2017, when a single $10M+ sale closed each year.

Houlihan Lawrence observes:

“The ultra-luxury segment momentum is evidence that buyers are resurfacing. Their behavior is marked by a combination of right-brain and left-brain decision-making.  A property’s location, lifestyle and quality appeal to their emotions, which is important but often not enough to make an offer.

Typically, when the left-side of the brain can rationally identify value and justify the purchase price, a buyer will confidently move forward.  Both heart and head have to be in agreement because one without the other creates inertia.

“For sellers, there is plenty of competition in the luxury market for buyers’ hearts and minds.  Positioning your home to entice a buyer is equally as important as pricing your home realistically.  One without the other leads to a listing that can languish on the market.

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Governor Cuomo Says New York State Needs to Pass a Roe versus Wade Abortion Law in New York State. Will Sue if Supreme Court Overturns Roe v, Wade

WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. July 11, 2018:

Republicans in the  New York State Senate have always said, when pressed for a state abortion statute,:

“Well, we don’t need New York law because we have Roe v. Wade and nobody’s crazy enough to try to roll back Roe v. Wade.”

The exception is  the man they nominated for President of the United States who wound up winning the election.

But that was always the answer, you don’t need a New York law. We have Roe v. Wade. Well now we know we’re not guaranteed Roe v. Wade.

And the New York law, does not currently go as far as Roe v. Wade. Roe v. Wade has the protections that we now rely on in New York.

We never passed the New York State law because we relied on Roe v. Wade and everyone assumed it would always be there and because the Republicans wouldn’t pass it, using that as an excuse.

We now need to codify Roe v. Wade, which will actually increase the protections in New York. God forbid they do what they intend to do.

I want to get it done before the Supreme Court does that because I don’t want any gaps in a woman’s right to protection and we have a better legal case when the Supreme Court acts because I will sue when the Supreme Court acts and I want the New York State law in place.

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Assemblyman Buchwald Hosts Crimes Against Seniors Awareness Programs TODAY in Chappaqua

WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. From Assemblyman David Buchwald. July 10, 2018:

Westchester County residents were hit with 10.5 million scam calls in the month of April alone. So I am bringing experts from the Attorney General’s office to Smart Senior Seminars today, Friday.

At these events, seniors will learn how to spot scams and protect themselves from thieves operating online, on the phone or even knocking at their door.

If this topic is of interest to you or a loved one, please join us at a Smart Seniors event on Friday, July 13, at 1 pm at the Chappaqua Community Center (10 Senter Street). I have previously hosted Smart Senior sessions in White Plains, downtown Harrison and West Harrison.

 

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Westchester D.A. Establishes Path for Immigrants to Report Crimes Against themselves and Immigrant Community or Themselves

WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. From the Westchester County District Attorney. July 10, 2018:

Following last week’s arrest of a Congers by Westchester County Police for selling fake Green Card to undocumented immigrants residing in Mount Kisco, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. reminded immigrants in Westchester of an important service of the District Attorney’s Office: Westchester County District Attorney’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

All Westchester County residents have the right to live without being victimized by anyone and know they can report a crime committed against them or report a crime they have witnessed without fear­–even if they don’t speak English, don’t understand the laws of the U.S., or are residing in the U.S. without legal status.

Our office is here to help. We will meet with people anywhere they feel comfortable and speak with them in any language.

“Because immigrants are often exploited for their vulnerability, we believe they should know their rights and seek help without fear of reprisal.” Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. said. “We commend those who have come forward to seek justice in this case and the Westchester County Police on this scam arrest. Most importantly, we want to make sure immigrants know they can reach out to our office whether they are victims of a crime or witnesses to a crime.”

Westchester County District Attorney’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Hotline (914) 995-1616.

Translators are available.

The Office can be reached by email: OIA@westchesterda.net

For more information, view or download Immigrant Affairs PDF.

 

 

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County Auditors Peg 2018 Budget Deficit at $47 Million, including Union Settlements, Debt Service, Pension Payments to Come. Suggest Possible Solutions.

WPCNR County Clarion-Ledger. By John F. Bailey July 9, 2018:

PKF O’Connor Davis, Westchester County auditors, advised the County  Legislature: a 5.7% Property Tax Hike and a ½% Increase in the county sales tax could close the county budget gap.

County Executive George Latimer declared that increases in property taxes and county sales tax rates were not foregone conclusions and any member of the press reporting so was “mistaken.”

Latimer commenting on the  current  upward trend in Sales Tax Revenues through May, said it has to be monitored, and he is not planning to set aside the sales tax receipts surpluses now accruing monthly at present.

The impact of using a property tax cap accumulation of savings achieved through two years of the county being under the tax cap was explored by O’Connor and Davis Partner Nick DeSantis said, as well as the revenue to be gained from a ½% increase in the county sales tax rate, was explored.

DeSantis said because in analyzing  the dimensions of the county deficit in the 2018, DeSantis felt his firm should explore with the legislature possible ways to eliminate the looming deficit.

DeSantis said the deficit is $47 Million He said this is the figure if –as little as a a hypothetical 1% retroactive increase in the Civil Service Employees Association (covering approximately 3,000 county workers)–, is agreed on. That 1% would add $16.5 Million to the budget gap of $32 Million.

If the county is unable to keep the raises at 1% the deficit would rear higher than the $47 Million. The CSEA has been without a contract the last 7 years.

After a detailed look at how the county got into this budget deficit, DeSantis, Partner  of PKF O’Connor Davis, said the deficit developed because

* The county borrowed to cover pension liabilities since 2012;

* Failed to fund current labor settlements with county high ranking officers in the 2018 budget,

*Used $19.9 Million to furnish those expenses in the county budget for 2018, after the legislature refused to go along with the former Astorino airport lease plan.

DeSantis pointed out in his report to the County Board legislature that the $47 Million longfall in the 2018 budget ahead, could be met by a combination of property tax increase and sales tax rate increase.

He said a county legislator figured that a 5.7% property tax increase would take care of the 2018 budget gap in combination with a ½% increase in the county sales tax rate which he said would gain the county $50 Million  to keep and $20 Million to share with towns and villages it collects the sales tax for ($70 Million total). The ½% would have to be approved by the New York State Legislature.

WPCNR emphasizes this combination is just a hypothetical, and Mr. Latimer warned against even thinking the county was going to do this doing this.

The union situation regarding the settlement with the teachers with Westchester County Community College, and the 3,000 CSEA members remained to be settled.

County Legislator Benjamin Boykin told WPCNR that built-in salary increases in the expired previous union contracts and step level increases were paid over the years without a new contract years based and in negotiation were the retroactive increases due on any new contracts  remaining to be negotiated.

Asked by WPCNR  whether the positive performance of sales tax receipts at the conclusion of  2017 ($520 Million collected through 2017 compared to $505 Million in 2016),  and the strong 6% $13 Million gain in sales taxes the first five months of this year, would be used to meet the $32 Million deficit in 2018–

Latimer said it was too early to tell, that the sales tax would be monitored.

Present sales tax receipts for 2018 project, combined with the 2017 surplus in sales tax receipts  already amount to a $13 Million surplus and if you figure the 6% can sustain itself  the rest of the year, that amounts to a $32 Million gain in sales tax receipts –almost $32 Million.

Asked if the developing surpluses in sales tax receipts month by month might be put in escrow month by month to lower the deficit, Latimer did not say one way or another, saying the county would watch the trend.

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Good Time to Buy. Good Time to Sell. Westchester Median Sales Price up 6 % in Year. Sales soft in 2nd Quarter

 

WPCNR REALTY REALTY. By John F. Bailey  July 9, 2018:

Buy baby, Buy!

Sell, Wilbur sell!

That’s what the second quarter 2018 Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors numbers are saying to homeowners and home seekers.

For the seller with time on their hands you can hold out for what you want.

For the buyer, you can get more house for your money if you up your offer.

That is because prices are going up, but sales are going down. The seller is being turned into a competitor with other owners, and the buyer if they are well-heeled can move on it, the way WPCNR sees it.

The Westchester County Median Price of Single Family home is $710,800 up 6.1% from a year ago.

Why is it a good time to sell or buy? Low inventory, that is why. The HGAR  (Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors)second quarter report says, and I quote, “Overall inventory in Westchester County remained fairly stagnant; cooperative listings were down 23% from the second quarter of 2017….other counties in the the region saw drops in their available inventory (houses for sale), 9.55% (down) in Putnam, 8.1% (down) in Orange  and 4.15% (down) in Rockland County.

HGAR comments low inventory and higher prices is resulting in lower sales figures. In all housing types,  Westchester County in the spring summer buying season were down 5.7%.

Rockland was dying in inventory at 11.3% down. Putnam managed to be only 4.6% down in inventory. Orange County increased 1.9% overall, and was up 2.9% in single-family sales. It could be that sellers in Orange County are either being squeezed or wanting to get out while they can with a profit. It is an interesting puzzle, who knows?

Despite this obvious soft trend in inventory ( creating the siutation where realtors are cold-calling homeowners to suggest how they should consider putting their homes on the market)in the house-hunting season, HGAR notes hopefully, “New construction, still attractive mortgage rates and a vibrant Hudson Valley economy continue to point prospects for a good year.”

THE WESTCHESTER STORY

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ALL NEW WHITE PLAINS WEEK TONIGHT: THE JULY 6 SHOW ON THE INTERNET NOW–WHITEPLAINSWEEK.COM AND YOU TUBE

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County, Working with Mount Kisco Police, Uncovers Counterfeit Green Card Scam. Charges One

WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. From the Westchester County District Attorney. Jully 6, 2018:

On the morning of July 5, 2018 Westchester County Police detectives arrested a 48-year-old Rockland County resident in connection with a scam, in which he promised “Green Cards” in exchange for cash to undocumented immigrants residing in Mount Kisco.

Marko Nikac was arrested at his home in Congers, NY by detectives from the Westchester County Police General Investigations Unit.

The arrest followed a two-month long investigation into allegations that while impersonating a federal agent, Nikac offered to provide three undocumented immigrants with United States Resident Alien Cards (also known as “Green Cards”) for $3,000 each.

Nikac was charged with two counts of felony Criminal Impersonation in the 1st Degree, one count each of the felonies Grand Larceny in the 3rd Degree and Grand Larceny in the 4th Degree, and one count of misdemeanor Scheme to Defraud in the 2nd Degree.  Nikac was arraigned later that day in Mount Kisco Village Court, and released on approximately $2,000 bail.

The scam was uncovered when one of the victims described to a retired police officer, with whom he is acquainted, how he and two of his friends had paid a combined $9,000 to Nikac for three United States Resident Alien Cards.

Nikac had identified himself to the men as a federal agent and promised that the cards would be delivered within three months. After three months had passed with no cards being delivered, the victims became suspicious and asked Nikac for their money back.

Nikac initially refused and threatened the men with deportation if they persisted in asking for the return of their money, but eventually returned $2,000 of the money.

The retired police officer passed this information on to Westchester County Police who provide local police service in Mount Kisco.  County Police detectives then made contact with the victims who described the scheme in detail and identified Nikac, providing sufficient information to eventually locate and arrest him.

Acting Westchester County Police Commissioner Martin McGlynn stated that this investigation should serve to illustrate to undocumented immigrants residing in Westchester County, that they may report crimes committed against them to police without fear of immigration enforcement action against them. 

McGlynn said: “It serves the entire Westchester County community well when criminals are apprehended, regardless of the immigration status of their victims.”

County Police detectives have asked area community groups to let them know if they become aware of any other victims of this or similar schemes.  Anyone who is a victim or who knows of such victims are asked to contact Westchester County Police at (914)864-7819 or dps-rtc@westchestergov.com.

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CUOMO TO SUNY: MAINTAIN OPEN ADMISSIONS POLICIES AND EXPAND THEM

WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. 11 A.M. E.D.T. July 5, 2018:

Governor Cuomo today issued an open letter to SUNY Board of Trustees Chair H. Carl McCall and CUNY Board of Trustees Chair William C. Thompson Jr. directing them to maintain their diversity and inclusion plans after the Trump administration rescinded guidelines on using race in college admissions. The letter directs the Chairs to continue existing policies that promote racial diversity and inclusion and to prepare a report by August 15 on how they will further expand and increase diversity on campuses.

The full text of the letter is available below:

Dear Chairman McCall and Chairman Thompson,

The Trump administration’s move to rescind the guidelines on using race in college admissions is a blatant attempt to limit the participation of minorities in higher education.  It is part of a troubling trend by the President and his administration to alienate minorities and build walls to diversity and equal participation in society

As you know, this issue has been going through the courts since 1978 (Regents of the University of California V. Bakke), most recently with the 2016 decision in Fisher V. University of Texas. The courts have determined that diversity is a valuable and allowable part of higher education.

New York’s two university systems have long been bastions of diversity and engines of social mobility. SUNY is nearly 45% minority and CUNY is 76% minority.  This diversity broadens understanding and breaks down barriers and stereotypes, and it ensures all New Yorkers have the opportunity to succeed.

In this state, we embrace diversity and we encourage it. I am directing you to continue your existing diversity and inclusion plans. The new federal action should have no bearing on admission policies and should not interfere with SUNY’s and CUNY’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive student body.

In addition, I am directing you to reexamine your existing plans to ensure these plans are furthering New York’s goals of diversity and inclusion. To that end, SUNY and CUNY should each prepare a report due by August 15, 2018 outlining how they will expand and increase diversity representation on our campuses.

The Trump administration wants to take this country backwards, but in New York we are moving forward. We will continue to work together to dismantle barriers to social and economic mobility and extend the promise of equal opportunity to all New Yorkers.

Sincerely,

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

 

 

 

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