WPCNR FOR THE RECORD. Appellate Court decision handed down today on the Kat Brezler Appeal of her being denied a place on the ballot. May 29, 2019:
“After a hearing, the Supreme Court concluded that numerous signatures on the designating petition were invalid because they did not match the signatures on those signatories’ buff cards.
Additionally, the court invalidated numerous other signatures on the basis that the subscribing witness, Kimberly Cooley, did not provide her correct residence address in her subscribing witness statement.
Since, after eliminating the invalidated signatures, the designating petition did not contain the requisite number of signatures, the court, in effect, granted the petition, inter alia, to invalidate the designating petition (hereinafter the invalidation petition), and invalidated the designating petition. Brezler appeals.
“The Supreme Court may entertain specific objections to signatures on a designating petition that were not asserted before a board of elections to the extent the respondent was given adequate notice of which signatures on his or her designating petition are being challenged and the grounds thereof” (Matter of Lancaster v Nicolas, 153 AD3d 829, 830-831; see Matter of Edelstein v Suffolk County Bd. of Elections, 33 AD3d 945, 946; Matter of Levitt v Mahoney, 133 AD2d 516).
Here, Brezler was not given notice, until the hearing on the invalidation petition was underway, that the petitioners were challenging numerous signatures on the ground that they did not match those signatories’ signatures on their buff cards and that the Supreme Court would be comparing the majority of the challenged signatures to those voters’ buff cards to determine whether the signatures on the designating petition matched those on the buff cards.
Contrary to the petitioners’ contention, their specifications of objections filed with the Westchester County Board of Elections (hereinafter the Board) and incorporated by reference into the invalidation petition did not provide notice of this [*2]basis for challenging the signatures.
Since the lack of notice deprived Brezler of an opportunity to adequately prepare a defense, the court should not have invalidated the subject signatures on the basis that they did not match the signatures on the buff cards (see Matter of Santoro v Schreiber, 263 AD2d 953; Matter of Levitt v Mahoney, 133 AD2d at 516; see also Suarez v Sadowski, 48 NY2d 620, 621; cf. Matter of Master v Davis, 65 AD3d 646; Matter of Edelstein v Suffolk County Bd. of Elections, 33 AD3d at 946).
The Supreme Court also should not have invalidated those signatures witnessed by Cooley.
A subscribing witness is required to include, in the Statement of Witness, his or her residence address (see Election Law § 6-132). This requirement “protects the integrity of the nominating process by assuring that a subscribing witness is subject to subpoena in a proceeding challenging the petition” (Matter of Pisani v Kane, 87 AD3d 650, 651-652).
The Election Law defines the term “residence” as “that place where a person maintains a fixed, permanent and principal home and to which he [or she], wherever temporarily located, always intends to return” (Election Law § 1-104; see Matter of Dilan v Salazar, 164 AD3d 713, 714).
The “crucial determination whether a particular residence complies with the requirements of the Election Law is that the individual must manifest an intent [to reside there], coupled with physical presence without any aura of sham'” (Matter of Dilan v Salazar, 164 AD3d at 714, quoting People v O’Hara, 96 NY2d 378, 385).
Here, Cooley included in her Statement of Witness a residence address in Baldwin, New York. Although Cooley had been displaced for several months from those premises due to construction, she testified that she intended to return to the Baldwin residence once the construction was completed.
This testimony was supported by evidence that she had stayed at numerous different places since her displacement, that she still had furniture at the Baldwin residence, and that her other belongings had been placed in storage.
Notably, there was no evidence that Cooley had established a fixed residence elsewhere (cf. Matter of Willis v Suffolk County Bd. of Elections, 54 AD3d 436, 438). Under these circumstances, the signatures witnessed by Cooley should not have been invalidated on the ground that she did not provide her correct residence address on her witness statement (cf. Matter of Dilan v Salazar, 164 AD3d 713).
In light of our conclusion that the signatures eliminated based upon the comparisons to the buff cards and those eliminated because they were witnessed by Cooley should not have been invalidated, the petitioners failed to demonstrate that Brezler’s designating petition lacked the requisite number of signatures. Accordingly, the invalidation petition should have been denied and the proceeding dismissed.
WPCNR WHITE PLAINS LAW JOURNAL By John F. Bailey May 29,2019:
The Appellate Court, Second Department in Brooklyn ruled today to overrule the County Supreme Court decision invalidating White Plains Kat Brezler petition signatures (though they were approved by the Westchester County Board of Elections, clearing the way for her to be put on the ballot in a June 25 Democratic City Primary.
She will be completing on the ballot with Democratic City Committee nominees to the Common Council Nadine Hunt-Robinson, Victoria Presser and Jennifer Puja.
WPCNR WHITE PLAINS LAW JOURNAL. Special to WPCNR. May 29, 2019:
A consortium of residents has appealed the Judge Joan Lefkowitz decision of August 24 of last year, that ruled that SEQRA regulations had not been violated by The City of White Plains in approving the French American School of New York school campus plan, and simultaneously ruling that the 1925 covenent that went with any sale of the former Gedney Farms /later the Ridgeway Country Club, could not be used for any institutional use. Lefkowitz in her decision said the word institution was ambiguous and did not necessaryily prohibit a school from being built on the property.
The appeal means the case may last through 2020.
The appeal papers were filed yesterday.
WPCNR Westchester County Clarion Ledger. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. May 28, 2019 UPDATED, MAY 29:
In an appearance at New York Southern Bankruptcy Court Tuesday afternoon, Judge Robert D. Drain set June 27 at 10 AM for a “Final” hearing on Standard Amusements bankruptcy filing in which it asks the court to void the Westchester County termination of the county contract with Standard to run Playland that the county terminated yesterday.
WPCNR has asked the Westchester County Department of Communications to clarify the judge’s authorization of continued payment and debtor obligations and “relief” until that Final Hearing date.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer issues this statement yesterday, on being informed of Playland “former” managing firm, Standard Amusements filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy today, in a filing that asks the bankruptcy court to suspend the County termination of the Westchester County agreement with Standard Amusements to manage Playland entered into in 2016.
Mr. Latimer’s statement:
“We have been notified that Standard Amusements has filed for bankruptcy. Our legal team will continue to address this matter as it will now be dealt with by the bankruptcy court. At this point we are continuing to focus on Playland having a vibrant and successful 2019 season.”
WPCNR STARS AND STRIPES. Contributed by Carl Albanese. Originally published by WPCNR May 30, 2011:
Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.
“Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.” — General Logan – May 5, 1868
We need to remember with sincere respect those who paid the price for our freedoms; we need to keep in sacred remembrance those who died serving their country. We need to never let them be forgotten. However, over the years the original meaning and spirit of Memorial Day has faded from the public consciousness.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day.
There is also evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication “To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead” (Source: Duke University’s Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920).
While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860’s tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868.
It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states.
The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).
It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.
City of White Plains Now Accepting Applications for a City Court Judge Position
The City of White Plains is accepting applications for a City Court Judge position. The City Court Judge position requires an attorney who is a resident of the City of White Plains and has been admitted to practice law in the State of New York for a minimum of five (5) years. The appointment will be for a ten (10) year term. Applications may be downloaded at www.cityofwhiteplains.com/judicialapplication and may be submitted to the City Court Judicial Review Committee, c/o Office of the Mayor, 255 Main Street, White Plains, New York 10601, or may be transmitted by e-mail to email@example.com. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. on May 30, 2019. Questions may be directed to Corporation Counsel John G. Callahan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (914) 422-1411.
WPCNR STREET LEGAL. MAY 23, 2019:
White Plains Kat Brezler’s attorney presenter her appeal to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Brooklyn Wednesday for the court to reverse the New York Supreme Court decision that she had “insufficient number” of valid signatures on her petition to run in the Democratic Primary June 25.
Ms. Brezler issued this statement:
” We aren’t sure when the decision is expected. Hoping by the end of the week we will know.
Our lawyer felt like he put forth a compelling argument with a pathway for the justices to put us back on the ballot.
This process is exhausting and frustrating.
We believe that the people of White Plains will ultimately have the final say. We are on the ballot no matter what on the Workers Families Party line in November. “
When Ms. Brezler filed her petitions to challenge the nominations of Nadine Hunt=Robinson, Victoria Presser and Jennifer Puja as Democratic Nominees to run for Common Council, the Westchester Board of Elections approved her petition. Three persons filed a suit challenging the validity of the Brezler signees. The judge reviewing the case, ruled on May 7 to invalidate (Brezler’s) signatures based on them not matching registration cards. That ruling, in effect eliminated the primary election June 25.
Brezler appealed at the time, detailing why in this statement in a press release: “Signatures ruled invalid (by the judge) included those from women who had remarried, a voter afflicted with Parkinson’s, and newly registered voters.”
Brezler’s news release statement after the judge’s ruling the week of May 7 noted that she had
“collected 1,175 signatures of which only 696 were necessary to qualify for the ballot. The Westchester County Board of Elections validated 780 of them. We’re fighting for an appeal because voters should decide if we’re going to expand low-income and affordable housing in White Plains, not a few entrenched political operatives.”
WPCNR STREET LEGAL. May 22, 2019:
Leo Glickman, of Stoll, Glickman & Bellina will represent White Plains’ Kat Brezler appeal argument for validation of her primary petitions to run in the June 25 Democratic Primary to the Appellate Court in Brooklyn today.
Brezler is contending that her petition signatures for the Democratic Primary approved by the Board of Elections were unfairly declared by a New York Supreme Court Judge as “insufficient” after the judge had reviewed them. The judge, Sam Walker declared her petitions invalid.
Unless the Appellate Court finds in Ms. Brezler’s favor, she will not be able to run in the Democratic Primary scheduled for June 25 against the Democratic Party nominated slate of Nadine Hunt-Robinson, Victoria Presser and Jennifer Puja for Common Council.
The argument is scheduled to heard at 10 AM this morning.