Rally in Support of Immigrant Protection Act Passed by County Democratic Legislative Caucus.

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Democratic CAUCUS.February 17, 2017:

Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining) is the Primary Sponsor of the Immigrant Protection Act. The Act was introduced by the Democratic Caucus on Wednesday, February 8th and referred to the Committees on Public Safety & Social Services, Budget & Appropriations, and Legislation on Monday, February 13th when additional Democratic Legislators agreed to co-sponsor.

Borgia will be speaking at a rally in support of the Act on Monday, February 20th at 12pm in White Plains on the Intersection of Main Street and Mamaroneck Ave.

“In the days since the Immigrant Protection Act was written and introduced, we have seen a huge swell of grassroots support. We worked hard with advocates and experts to make sure we crafted something that will show the ideals that we as a County stand for. At a time in our Nation when divisions run deep, it is encouraging to see so many of my neighbors ban together to say we must pass this bill to help our immigrant brothers and sisters.

“I am looking forward to the continue the legislative process on this Act that is already well underway. I encourage members of the Board from both sides of the aisle to take a hard look at this piece of legislation and work together to pass something that helps ensure the safety of all Westchester County residents.

“We will work hard to make sure all voices are heard during the upcoming committee process and I am eager to speaking with members of the public on Monday about this important piece of legislation.”

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Gedney Association: Appellate Court Decision Irrelevant in Current FASNY-CITY OF WHITE PLAINS SITE PLAN REVIEW

WPCNR WHITE PLAINS LAW JOURNAL. From the Gedney Association. February 17, 2017:

The Gedney Association has released the following statement commenting on The French American School of New York news release sent to WPCNR Thursday afternoon. The Association writes:

“The recent decision by the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court concerns a procedural matter regarding the environmental findings adopted by the City of White Plains more than three years ago in connection with the French-American School of New York (FASNY) project

Even more importantly, this appeal was related to the earlier site plan (Editor’s Note: plan now defunct) review process.

This court decision has absolutely no impact whatsoever on the current site plan that is being reviewed by the Mayor and Common Council, a process that still needs to be completed and will involve a future public hearing that will allow the voices of the community to be heard.

The Gedney Association, representing more than 1,500 local residents, will continue to vigorously oppose FASNY’s ill-conceived plan because this development, if built, will create dangerous and hazardous traffic conditions to drivers, bikers, school children and pedestrians as well as increased response times for emergency service providers.  The project will also cause environmental, and economic/quality of life issues that will adversely affect citizens throughout the White Plains area.

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Appellate Court Finds in Favor of City of White Plains in Gedney Association Suit Contending City Violated Open Meetings Law

WPCNR WHITE PLAINS LAW JOURNAL From the French American School of New York February 16, 2017:

For the fourth consecutive time, the Courts of the State of New York have rejected attempts by the Gedney Association (GA) to obstruct construction of a School for the French-American School of New York (FASNY) on a portion of the former Ridgeway Country Club in White Plains.

In a decision filed yesterday, a four-judge panel of the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court unanimously upheld a Supreme Court ruling that that there was no basis to the Gedney Association’s claim that the White Plains Common Council’s December 2013 vote violated the State’s Open Meetings Law.  The Council voted 6-1 in December 2013 to issue a findings statement under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in favor of the FASNY School proposal.

In a two-page ruling, the Appellate Court stated that the vote on December 19, 2013 by the Common Council to adopt the positive environmental findings statement for the planned School was “publicly voted upon. Accordingly, no violation of the Open Meetings Law occurred.”

The Appellate Court also ordered the Gedney Association to pay FASNY and the City for the costs of bringing their failed legal action.

John Botti, a member of the FASNY Board of Trustees who is overseeing the planning for the new School and Park said:  “Once again the Gedney Association leadership has brought frivolous and ill-conceived litigation that is a complete waste of time, energy, and money – the City’s taxpayers’ money, and their own members’ money.  The Gedney Association is 0 for 4 in Court.”  The Honorable Joan Lefkowitz previously described efforts to block the School as “a war of attrition.”

Botti continued:  “This was an absurd claim from the beginning.  Clearly, the City followed a process and had been fully transparent in its discussions and voting on the Environmental Findings.  For the Gedney Association to file their initial lawsuit and then, even after being admonished by the Supreme Court, to file a costly appeal, is simply a continuation of the legal harassment the Gedney leaders have resorted to in a misguided effort to obstruct and delay the School’s legal rights.  FASNY is pleased with yesterday’s Appellate Court victory and remains confident in the merits of our application.  We’re fully committed to our School and Park and to becoming a vital part of the White Plains community.”

Earlier attempts by the Gedney leadership to overturn actions taken by the City to allow the project to move forward have been soundly rejected by the Courts.  Indeed, Judge Lefkowitz would not even allow the Gedney Association to intervene in FASNY’s suit against the Council’s actions in August 2015, finding that its participation would only “unduly delay” the matter.

With the latest ruling against the Gedney Association, Botti, a White Plains resident, said “Hopefully this will bring an end to the Gedney Association’s pointless and obstructive lawsuits and the Common Council will abide by the Stipulation and approve the reduced plan for the School as outlined in the Settlement Agreement.”  The reduced plan includes the Middle and High Schools and limits development to only the 28-acre portion of the property where the former country club buildings and parking lots are located.  Under the Settlement Agreement, FASNY further reduced the traffic by 42% and reduced the number of students from the original 1200 to 640 students.  FASNY has also placed a Conservation Easement on 51 acres of the property, which was recorded with Westchester County in August 2016. The publicly accessible Park will feature over 2 miles of walking and biking trails and be fully open to the public and maintained by FASNY at no cost to the City’s taxpayers.

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Carol Van Scoyoc, Chief Deputy Corporation Counsel for the City of White Plains for 22 Years Passes Away

WPCNR MILESTONES. From McMahon-Lyon and Hartnett Funeral Home. February 16, 2017:

Carol Lynn Van Scoyoc, of White Plains, NY, passed away February 12, 2017. She was 56. Carol was born February 16, 1960 in Englewood, NJ to Elaine H. Pasqua and the late William E. Van Scoyoc.

For the past 22 years, from April 1995 to the present, Carol served as the Chief Deputy Corporation Counsel for the City of White Plains. She received the Above the Bar Award in 2011 for Outstanding Public Service Attorney. She served as past president of the Westchester Bar Association, and she served as an Executive Committee member of Municipal Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.

Devoted daughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, and friend, Carol had two passions in her life, love of family and the law. Her professional acumen and excellence were only surpassed by her dedication and kindness to all people.

Besides her mother, Elaine, Carol is survived by her brother, William F. Van Scoyoc, and her sister, Susan J. McDonald. She is also the loving aunt to Melissa McDonald, James McDonald, Morgan Van Scoyoc and John McDonald.

In lieu of flowers please send donation to either Pace Law School, Pace University – Gift Processing Center P.O. Box 419268 Boston, MA 02241-9268 www.Pace.edu/givetopacelaw or Westchester County BAR Foundation c/o WCBA 1 N. Broadway, White Plains, NY 10601

Visiting hours are Thursday 2-4 & 7-9pm and Friday 4-8pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Saturday 10 am at St. Eugene’s Church Yonkers, NY. Interment to follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

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White Plains Democrats Invite Candidates for Mayor and Common Council

WPCNR MAIN STREET JOURNAL. From the White Plains Democratic City Committee. February 15, 2017:
The Nominating Committee of the White Plains Democratic City Committee will be interviewing candidates for Mayor of White Plains and three seats on the White Plains Common Council beginning in late February and continuing into early March.
Any person interested in seeking the endorsement of the White Plains Democratic City Committee for those positions — which are up for election in the November 2017 general election –should contact Vicki Presser, the Chair of the Nominating Committee, by e-mail at vpresser@aol.com by February 22, 2017.
The recommendations of the Nominating Committee are not binding.  The endorsement will be decided on at a meeting of the full White Plains Democratic City Committee, to be held on March 30, 2017.
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Morton’s Steakhouse Coming in Summer to Former Legal Seafood Location in City Center. Retains its Stake in White Plains, Westchester’s Business Hub

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Morton’s SteakHouse is moving in to the City Center on Mamaroneck Avenue. Rendering, courtesy, RHYS

WPCNR DOWNTOWN WHITE PLAINS TOWN. Special to WPCNR. February 15, 2017:

RHYS, a Stamford-based commercial real estate firm, announced Tuesday that Morton’s Steakhouse in White Plains is moving from its current location at 9 Maple Avenue to the City Center Development in downtown White Plains.

The new 8,000 square foot restaurant is taking over the space at 5 Mamaroneck Avenue, once home to the Legal Seafood Restaurant which closed at the end  of 2013. The new Morton’s is expected to open in the summer.

City Center is a 600,000 square foot development in downtown White Plains consisting of retail, restaurant and entertainment space and is located at the corner of Mamaroneck Avenue and Main Street.

The landlord, Kite Realty, recently completed substantial renovations to the building that include façade work, new escalators, opening of commons areas to create better access, way signs and the addition of a valet line for restaurant users.

“Morton’s will be a welcome addition as a new vision for City Center continues to be ushered in,” said RHYS Executive Vice President & Principal Jason Wuchiski. “They will enjoy a prominent presence right in the middle of the city and will no doubt take advantage of the many new features the building offers, most notably the valet.”

RHYS Executive Vice President/Principal Jason Wuchiski,  Vice President Tyler Lyman and Senior Associate Ryan Stranko represented the landlord, Kite Realty Group Trust and were the sole brokers on the deal.

 

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Immigration Protection Act Gets Out of Committee at Board of Legislators

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Democratic Legislators. February 14, 2017:

At last night’s Board of Legislators meeting, the Immigration Protection Act authored by Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining) and introduced by the Democratic Caucus passed its first test on the path to becoming law. Numerous members of the public came to the Board to publicly comment on their support for the Act and expressed hope that Legislators would do the same. The Act was referred to the Committees on Budget & Appropriations, Legislation, and Public Safety & Social Services.

“This was the first step in passing this Act to ensure the humane treatment and safety of all Westchester residents becomes the law of the County,” said Majority Leader Borgia. “With all the news reports of immigration raids, even in New York, this Act is a step we must take to follow the law and make sure our County does not practice any type of discrimination. I thank Legislator Virginia Perez for her action to co-sponsor this bill; her voice is a welcome and needed one to help shepherd this bill to passage,” added Borgia.

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Also during last night’s meeting, Legislator Perez (above), the Board’s sole Latina legislator, added her name to the Act, bringing the total number of sponsors to eight. Nine votes are needed to pass the Immigration Protection Act. It will require twelve to protect against any potential veto from the County Executive.

“As a non-English speaking Latina who came to the United States from the Dominican Republic at an early age, I have a unique perspective on the Immigration issue.  To target a group of people based on an assumption of their legal status is bigoted, dangerous, unfair and a direct violation of their human rights. This Country was founded by immigrants, was built by immigrants, and will realize its future greatness with contributions from immigrants.  That’s why I am co-sponsoring the ‘Immigrant Protection Act’,” said Legislator Virginia Perez (D-Yonkers).

“We will not tolerate discrimination in Westchester County. Not against anyone, not for any reason. What we are aiming to do with this legislation is ensure that we are not perpetrators of discrimination while staying within the law,” said Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh). “Westchester County will not assist in creating a registry, we will not assist in unlawful traffic stops which lead to unjust detentions, and we will make sure everyone is represented fairly in our justice system. It is on us to make sure our County departments follow these American ideals,” concluded Williams.

 

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White Plains Sales Tax Revenues Up 1-1/2% Through first 7 Months. County up 1/2 % in First Month of New Fiscal Year

WPCNR QUILL AND EYESHADE. From the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.February 13, 2017:

Through January the City of White Places earned $30,057,861 in the first part of its fiscal year 2016-17 compared to $29,603,253 the first 7 months of 2015-16. This is a 1.5% increase.

Westchester County started off the first month of 2017 with a .04% increase $44,320,501 compared to $42,552, 505 in January 2016.

 

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PERHAPS AMERICA’S BEST PRESIDENT.

WPCNR NEWS & COMMENT. By John F. Bailey. February 12, 2017 From the WPCNR ARCHIVES  UPDATED.

Today marks the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, whose Presidential performance during the Civil War (1861-1865) was perhaps the most admirable of any American President.

When I strode through the official “White House of the Confederacy” in Richmond, Virginia sometime ago, where President Lincoln met generals. I felt his giant shadow over the decades.

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The “White House of the Confederacy,” Richmond, Virginia. President Abraham Lincoln met with one of his Generals in the Library (lighted window)within hours after Union troops had secured Richmond. In being in that room, I was awe struck by the spirit of the President and also by the spirits of the Confederate opposition that discussed strategy with Jefferson Davis the President of the Confederacy in the room on the second floor…a conference room: Lee, Jackson, the Confederate Generals. That room is on the second floor of this house. The ghosts in this historic home speak to us today.

Lincoln had to create things as he went, dealing with a complex political issue: slavery, while deciding to fight a war to preserve a divided nation.

How did Abraham Lincoln handle pressure and political opportunists? He did not have press agents and spinmasters and talk show hosts and superior punditry critiquing his every move and loading him up with advice. No Conways, Spencers, and Bannons.

Though he did have the “crusading editors” and “editorial boards” of his day. Let’s take a look at the Big Guy from Illinois

In the days of Lincoln, media coverage was simply print media. However, the amount of reporting on the burning issues of the day was far more detailed than today with dozens of newspapers presenting the chronicles of burning issues. People read. For Lincoln’s presidency was the presidency of the nation’s greatest crisis in its eighty-five year history (until perhaps now):

The Civil War.

It is interesting to note how President Lincoln conducted himself in dealing with America’s interests, its factions, pulling him to free the slaves.

When Lincoln was running for the Presidency in 1860 at the Republican Convention in riproaring Chicago, he was up against James Seward, a powerful New York politician. However, the western states at the time were highly distrustful of the New York political machine. (Has anything really changed? They are still distrustful today!)

Lincoln won over support by taking a position of what was good for the nation as a whole.

Taking a Position and Working To it

Lincoln first gave notice of his potential for the Presidency when he impressed Horace Greeley, influential editor of the New York Tribune with a fiery speech at the Cooper Union in February, 1860, delivering a sharp criticism of the South, hard on the heels of South Carolina’s secession from the Union. The speech included these words,

You say you will not abide the election of a Republican President. In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! (The northern states) That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, “Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!”

Greeley printed the speech in his Tribune the next day, scooping the other New York papers, by simply asking Lincoln for a copy of the speech. The subsequent printing in the popular Trib, sent Mr. Lincoln on his way. As William Harlan Hale’s biography of Mr. Greeley (Horace Greeley: Voice of the People)describes the scene at “The original Trib’s” offices, as remembered by Amos Cummings, a young proofreader:

Amos Cummings, then a young proofreader, remembered the lanky westerner appearing over his shoulder amid the noise of the pressroom late at midnight, drawing up a chair, adjusting his spectacles, and in the glare of the gaslight reading each galley (of the Cooper Union speech) with scrupulous care and then rechecking his corrections, oblivious to his surroundings.

A Comeback President

Lincoln had been a highly successful politician from Illinois in the 1830s and 1840s. He was three times elected to the state legislature, and The Kunhardts’ The American Presidency reports he was “a recognized expert at forming coalitions…he learned how to keep secrets, how to trade favors, how to use the press to his advantage. And he cultivated his relationship with the party hierarchy.”

Graff’s book writes that Lincoln was described as “ruthless,” that he “handled men remotely like pieces on a chessboard.” Humor and frankness were character traits.

Lincoln was elected a congressman, only to serve just one term.

Lincoln had been practicing corporate law privately and had lost interest in politics by 1854, until the repeal of The Missouri Compromise, which had restricted slavery to the southern states. Lincoln felt stirred to come back. He spoke out against the spread of slavery, running for the senate in 1858 against William Douglas, unsuccessfully.

Saving the Union His Mantra

As the furor over slavery and the South’s threats to secede grew, a crisis of spirit and purpose in this nation which makes today’s concerns about terrorism as a threat to America, pale in comparison, Lincoln realized that the Union was the larger issue.

He expressed this in response to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, an influential figure at the Republican (Whig) Convention in Chicago in 1860. Greeley was the kingmaker at the 1860 Chicago convention who eventually swung the western states for Lincoln, giving the man from Illinois the nomination on the third ballot over William Seward, the candidate of the Thurlow Weed “New York Machine.”

Greeley then tried to influence the President-Elect to free the slaves. (Lincoln was being lobbied by the still-powerful Weed-Seward faction to compromise with the southern states on the issue of slavery).

Standing Tall Against Pressure.

Lincoln refused to free the slaves as one of the first acts of his presidency, standing firm to hold the union together, when he announced his attention not to do so, on his way to Washington after being elected. His words in this time of international tension, are worth remembering as America considers starting a war for the first time. Lincoln said:

I have often inquired of myself what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy (the Union, he means), so long together. It was not the mere matter of separation of the colonies from the motherland, but that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty not alone to the single people of this country, but hope to all the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights would be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance.

Seeing the Big Picture.

After Fort Sumter was fired upon, Lincoln was pressured harder to free the slaves. Still, Lincoln held firm. Mr. Greeley published a blistering open letter to the President, he called “The Letter of Twenty Millions,” meaning his readers (slightly exaggerated)in The New York Tribune.

Greeley’s letter took the President to task for not freeing the slaves now that the Civil War was on, writing, “all attempts to put down the rebellion and at the same time uphold its inciting cause are preposterous and futile.”

President Lincoln responded with an open letter which Greeley published in The Tribune. President Lincoln’s letter is instructive as to how a President moves in crisis, when a nation is ripped apart to calm and state his position. He begins with a conciliatory tone, calming Greeley’s bombast:

…If there be perceptible in it (Greeley’s letter) an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend whose heart I have always supposed to be right.

As to the policy I “seem to be pursuing,” as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt. I would save the Union. I would save it in the shortest way under the Constitution.

The sooner the national authority can be restored the nearer the Union will be – the Union as it was.

If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them.

If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them.

If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves, I would do it – if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it – and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.

What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union, and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.

I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I believe doing more will help the cause.

I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors, and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be new views.

I have here stated my purpose according to my views of official duty, and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free, Yours

A. Lincoln

(Editor’s Note:That is Presidential! It leaves no doubt as to who is in charge and who is responsible and why. How refreshing!)

Wearied by War

Horace Greeley described the toll the Civil War had taken on Mr. Lincoln, seeing him in person shortly before General Robert E. Lee surrendered. Greeley wrote:

Lincoln’s face had nothing in it of the sunny, gladsome countenance he first brought from Illinois. It is now a face haggard with care and seamed with thought and trouble…tempest-tossed and weatherbeaten, as if he were some tough old mariner who had for years been beating up against the wind and tide, unable to make his port or find safe anchorage…The sunset of life was plainly looking out of his kindly eyes.

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