PUBLIC HEARING HELD BY STATE ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE AT MICHAELIAN BUILDING NOW ON STATE ASSEMBLY WEBSITE AS OF THURSDAY A.M. INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO FIND IT IN FOLLOWING ARTICLE

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The opening of the May 29  Public Hearing of the State Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions Tuesday at 10 A.M  on the subject of storm response by utilities. It was not streamed on the internet on either the State Assembly website which gave NO instructions on their website on how to see the live stream or streamed live the Westchester Government website. This morning the complete video of the hearing was posted on the Assembly website, 48 hours after it happened, with again NO INSTRUCTION on the Assembly Main Page where to see the video, not even a photo and headline.

WPCNR THE POWER STORY. By John F. Bailey. May 31, 2018 UPDATED 3:35 PM EDT:

The public hearing that lasted 7-1/2 hours Tuesday held to ascertain the extent of the failure of area power companies to restore power across Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, and Putnam counties and points north for two weeks is now available for viewing on the New York State Assembly website.

Since this morning, WPCNR has learned  through an informed source who was watching it that the Assembly did stream it live, but there was no instruction Tuesday morning on the  NY Assembly Site Homepage, the source said. They also noted that less than 100 persons were viewing the stream at the time.

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Westchester County Executive George Latimer addressing the Public Hearing Tuesday.

It me be of interest to Westchester residents and across the state, since this hearing was not streamed live by Westchester County government existing streaming technology, which they do for proceedings in that Michaelian Building Legislative chamber on virtually a daily basis.

To compound this inexplicable failure to communicate of how to see coverage  an important hearing on the Westchester.gov website, the hearing was not streamed live on the New York State Assembly website.

I know that because I looked for it at 10:30 AM on the Assembly website and it was not there. It was not there. If it was being streamed, there is no way you could discover how to find it. When I punched  the “Watch Live” button on the Assembly Home Page, I got a bunch of pictures with no promo of the current stream whatsoever. So either the assembly team had started it late. The Assembly Press Office has not responded to WPCNR for an explanation of this communications gaffe.

The hearing, also I am told by a responsible media person who was there was not covered by the local press or the New York metropolitan area outlets while it was live. No cameras were observed by the media expert contacted by WPCNR

There was also no coverage yesterday in the news outlets, paper or electronic. Where was the New York Times? The most crucial local story in the last month ignored by all the news fit to print.

Inquiries to Westchester County Board of Legislators Chair Benjamin Boykin, and the county press office as to whether the New York State Assembly denied Westchester County the live televising of the hearing have not been responded to.

The Assembly press officer contacted yesterday afternoon by WPCNR did not respond when asked when the Assembly would be finished posting the 7-1/2 hour hearing. I do note however it is up this morning. Good work, Assembly!  It only took 48 hours.

The media source WPCNR spoke with yesterday said the State Assembly had brought in their own streaming equipment and crew to record the meeting.

So to catch you up on this hearing, here is where you can find it on the New York Assembly website.

The link to the public hearing is not splashed on the front  Assembly Homepage, as if they almost don’t want you to look at it.

I mean if used taxpayer dollars to record something for 7 and a half hours I would think you would ballyhoo that. Splash it on the front page of the website. I would if I wanted you to see your state assembly at work.

The Assembly press office also did not respond to the WPCNR question asking if the assembly denied Westchester government the right to stream live from their own chamber.

Finding the video on the New York State Assembly is difficult. so here is how to find it, step-by-step:

1. Paste this in your browser:

http://nyassembly.gov/av/hearings/

2. In upper right hand corner of the website page, Click on

Video Camera Icon  with the words “Watch Live” near the Facebook icon in the upper right.

You will be presented with the “Assembly Proceedings” Page, and in the center you will see a pic entitled “Committee Hearings”.

Click on that Committee Hearings  photo and you will be taken to the video list, the hearing you want is this one entitled, and click on MP4 Video. It has all 7-1/2 hours of this marathon hearing.

5-29-18 Public Hearing on the Response of Utilities to Winter Storms in the Hudson Valley May 30, 2018 07h 01m Agenda Video MP3 Audio MP4 Vid

 

In the first 20 Minutes you will hear Amy Paulin of the 88th Assembly District, Chair of the County Board of Legislators, Benjamin Boykin, David Buchwald, Assemblyman.

County Executive George Latimer repeats his demand that the Public Service Commission examine and evaluate the mutual disaster aid plan the utilities now use (sending for convoys of equipment and crews from out of state) and that has failed repeatedly to restore Westchester County in a timely manner in storm after storm the last 18 years.

Also of note is the  Public Service concerns in which their representative seems to be indicating according to a person who caught the testimony that their jurisdiction may not enable them to demand changes of the utility procedures that it is a matter of the state legislature to consider.

 

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City Approves $193.9 Million Budget. Sets Free Parking at On-Street Meters on 6 National Holidays in City; Approves New Parking Plan Making Convenient Downtown Garages Cost More; Peripheral Lots to Downtown Meters Unlimited for $1.25. 2% Raises for Commissioners,Mayor. Concern About Sales Tax Expressed for Future. Mayor Defends White Plains Capital Projects Borrowing. Touts 81 Cents A Month Tax Increase.Says White Plains Most Envied City in the State of NY for its Financial/Growth Position

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THE BUDGET APPROVAL SCENE LAST NIGHT AT THE COMMON COUNCIL CHAMBERS IN DOWNTOWN WHITE PLAINS NY USA. THE LIVELY 1-HOUR MEETING MAY BE SEEN HERE COMPLETE WITH THE LIVELY FEISTY INTERCHANGES OF MAYOR, COUNCILPERSONS AT

http://whiteplainsny.swagit.com/play/05302018-690

(Simply copy and paste the above url into your browser and Hit Go to see the entire council meeting last night)

WPCNR COMMON COUNCIL CHRONICLE-EXAMINER. By John F. Bailey. May 31, 2018 UPDATED, 12:10 PM EDT:

The Common Council approved a $193.9 Million Budget last night by a vote of 5-2, with Mayor Tom Roach, Councilpersons John Kirkpatrick, Nadine Hunt-Robinson, Jason Brasch, and John Martin voting to approve. Councilpersons Dennis Krolian and Milagros Lecuona voted against the proposal.

The Budget for 2018-19 increases $9 Million from $189 Million this year to $193.9 Million this year. The property tax increases 2.9%, from $205.42 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $211.36 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Mayor Tom Roach in a hard-hitting, confident rousing defense of the budget said the increases amounts to 81 cents a month for the average assessed home in White Plains ($9.72 a year).

The budget in the ordinance approvals following the approval of the budget, approved a geographically sensitive parking policy, giving the city the power to price outlaying city parking lots away from the downtown, more leniently than the city garages in the center of town. The geographic areas have yet to be defined. Though it is not clear whether garages along Main Street will go up in price slightly, the Mayor said lots such as Waller and Maple would allow residents to park for more than one hour unlimited for $1.25. Currently there is, WPCNR believes a 1 hour limit.

Councilwoman Milagros Lecuona told WPCNR the policy is the beginning of implementing a system now in use in San Francisco where parking in the center of the downtown is more expensive than parking in the outskirts of the city limits. The city of Cincinnati also has implemented such a policy.

Another parking change was approved as part of the budget. An issue that new Councilman Justin Brasch campaigned on was put into effect. Parking will now be free in the City of White Plains on 6 National Holidays: July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Memorial Day.

Not Free Parking on Holidays in city garages or city lots.

The legislation approving the “Free Parking” on holidays, though only says parking is free at on-street meters. This means that if you go to White Plains on July 4 a Wednesday, you can park at meters on the street Free, but you have to pay for parking in the city parking lots and garages.

Raises of 2% were approved for Commissioners and  the Mayor, and secretaries and staff of some departments, including the Mayor’s Office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY DETAILS EFFORT TO MAKE US CYBER SECURE

WPCNR SECURITY NEWS. From the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. May 31, 2018:

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen Wednesday released the following statement regarding the Department’s role in executing President Trump’s Executive Order 13800 Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure:

“Pursuant to President Trump’s Executive Order 13800, DHS has developed ways to improve our protection of the federal networks, work more collaboratively with our private sector partners, and reduce the threat of automated cyber-attacks from botnets. The work undertaken reflects months of extensive research and collaboration with the private sector.

“DHS has recommended ways to improve our federal risk posture and modernize the federal IT enterprise. Additionally, the Department has outlined how it will prioritize private sector access to tailored intelligence and capabilities in order to mitigate risk where a cybersecurity incident could result in catastrophic effects. Lastly, DHS worked closely with the Department of Commerce in crafting recommendations to improve the resilience of the Internet of Things ecosystem and dramatically reduce the ever-growing botnet threat.

“As the world becomes more interconnected, it also becomes more difficult to secure, and our work pursuant to E.O. 13800 will help the Department confront this challenge. One of DHS’s core missions is to protect our nation against cyber threats and we are committed to achieving, with the help of our partners in the public and private sectors, a secure and resilient cyberspace.”

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AMTRAK CUTS DINING SERVICES ON KEY BUSINESS ROUTES: LAKE SHORE LIMITED (NY TO CHIGO) & CAPITOL LIMITED. GIVES CHEFS 9 DAYS NOTICE- Cold Box Meals to Replace the Elegant Dining Car Experience of Yesteryear

WPCNR 21ST CENTURY LIMITED. From Amtrak Service Workers Council. May 30, 2018

The Amtrak Service Workers Council (ASWC) denounces Amtrak’s plan to cut dining car service from the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited routes, beginning Friday June 1.

Editor’s Note: The Lake Shore Limited is the old route of the legendary train with the red carpet, The Twentieth Century Limited. The Lake Shore Limited runs out of Grand Central between New York-Boston-Albany-Buffalo and Chicago.

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The Capitol Limited is the route of the old Baltimore & Ohio, running out of Washington Union Station from Washington to Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Chicago.

With as little as nine-day notice, seven chefs represented by the Transport Workers Union of America received furlough letters, giving them a little more than a week to make a major life decision. The move also threatens jobs and pensions from coast-to-coast.

Due to this sudden decision, our members will be forced out of work, and some will be faced with the difficult decision of whether to uproot their lives, to relocate and exercise their seniority to replace ASWC members working other routes. For example, there are ASWC members with 30 years of service living on the east coast who may be forced to move to Seattle or Chicago just to complete the career they started decades ago.

Therefore, it is certain that closing dining cars on these routes will have immediate and ripple effects on Amtrak workers across the country, not only those employed on the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited lines.

Adding salt to the wound, Amtrak’s offer of “contemporary and fresh dining choices” for sleeping car customers is nothing more than a cold snack in a cardboard box being delivered to passengers in their rooms.

Riders are paying close to $1,000 a ticket, only to be fed yogurt and sandwiches? We have been told by our members that passengers already are expressing their dissatisfaction with the upcoming service and meal plan changes.

Our members are on the frontlines, and they know that passengers view the current dining service as part of the experience of riding a train through the country along a long-distance route. Our members are proud to provide this service and care about its quality because they understand that it contributes to passengers’ experience. Maintaining the current high-quality service is important to attracting passengers to Amtrak, and it’s central to our members’ livelihoods.

We demand Amtrak President Richard Anderson reverse his decision and stops these cuts.

John R. Feltz Donald Boyd Jack Dinsdale
Vice Chairman ASWC Chairman ASWC Vice Chairman ASWC
International Vice President Secretary Treasurer Local 43 National Vice President

TWU

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GOVERNOR CUOMO INITIATES A.R.M.O.R. “CYBER EXERCISES” TO SECURE STATE ELECTION INTEGRITY

WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. May 30, 2018:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the State Board of Elections—in concert with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security—will host a first-of-its-kind series of tabletop exercises focused on protecting the integrity of New York’s electoral systems against cyber-attacks. Partnering with the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, State Police, and State Intelligence Center, the tabletop exercises will identify areas for improvement in cyber incident planning, preparedness, and response through simulation of realistic scenarios attempting to undermine voter confidence, interfere with voting operations, and affect the integrity of elections.

“We have witnessed firsthand the devastating consequences a compromised election has had on our nation and New York will not stand idle and allow our democracy to be infiltrated once again,” Governor Cuomo said. ”The people of New York deserve an open, transparent election process they can trust, and these exercises are an integral part of restoring voter confidence and the integrity of our election infrastructure.

State and local officials, led by the State Board of Elections and new DHSES Cyber Incident Response Team, will utilize information gleaned from six regional tabletop exercises with state, local, and federal stakeholders to identify risks and develop necessary steps to safeguard the election process against a cyber-attack. Exercise dates and locations are below:

  • May 31: Albany County – Times Union Center
  • June 6: Monroe County – Board of Elections
  • June 7: Onondaga County – Syracuse University, Dineen Hall
  • June 11: Nassau County - Morrelly Homeland Security Center
  • June 12: Orange County – County Department of Emergency Services
  • June 18: Broome County - Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena

The regional tabletop exercises will cover all of New York’s county election jurisdictions. The exercises will be substantively similar, with several scenarios contoured for each region. The scenarios will be based on a combination of real world events and potential risks facing our election infrastructure. This includes possible social media manipulation, disruption of voter registration information systems and processes, voting machines, and the exploitation of board of elections business networks.

These tabletop exercises are part of the Board’s cybersecurity plan that was approved on May 3, 2018, to further strengthen cyber protections for New York’s elections infrastructure through the Board’s Secure Elections Center. The plan, dubbed ARMOR has four elements:

  • Assess the risk to State and County Elections Systems;
  • Remediate the vulnerabilities;
  • Monitor ongoing Operations; and
  • Respond to incidents.

 

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MGM AGREES TO PURCHASE EMPIRE CITY CASINO IN YONKERS — TAKEOVER BY 2019

WPCNR WESTCHESTER COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. May 30, 2018:

Yahoo Finance reported today MGM Resorts International MGM and MGM Growth Properties  have reached an agreement to buy Empire City Casino’s race track and casino.

If Empire City gets a license for live table games on or before Dec 31, 2022 and MGM Resorts accepts it by Dec 31, 2024, then the latter will pay an additional amount of $50 million to the former. Valued at $850 million, the deal is expected to close in first-quarter 2019.

On completion of the deal,  MGP will acquire the developed real property related to Empire City from MGM Resorts and will lease it to a subsidiary of the same. MGM Resorts subsidiary will control the property. The deal will help the company solidify its position on the East Coast. Over the past two years, MGM Resorts has been constantly increasing its presence on the East Coast.

MGM Resorts said that “With Empire City’s approximately 40 percent share of gross gaming revenues in the market, we believe there are significant opportunities for MGM Resorts to further drive growth.” The company expects the deal to be value assertive within the first year of closing. In 2017, Empire City recorded net revenues of nearly $230 million and $70 million in adjusted EBITDA.

 Empire City Casino not only has 5,200 slots and electronic table games but also offers live and simulcast horse racing, besides numerous dining outlets.

Furthermore, the company might start offering sports betting in the near term as the Supreme Court has overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) that banned sports betting outside Nevada. In fact, the court ruling has opened the door for other states to enter sports betting business. MGM Resorts had said that “We have already established the architecture to deploy sports betting as soon as the states allow us to do that.”

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3 Computer Issues Analyzed

WPCNR COMPUTER INTELLIGENCE. By Aaron Woodin, PC Ventures. May 30, 2018:

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Aaron Woodin, (center), in an appearance on People to Be Heard on White Plains Television with John Bailey and Jim Benerofe.  Mr. Woodin is founder of PC Ventures of White Plains, has begun a private service for his clients in which he alerts clients like the CitizeNetReporter on disturbing trends he encounters in his current business. The following is reprinted with permission of PC Ventures on current issues he finds affecting his clients:

This week, he addresses three situations he has been seeing a lot of:

1. Phone scams - Many clients of mine are receiving calls from people claiming to be from iCloud, Apple or “The Windows Department” (Microsoft).  Any inbound call you receive from these companies is fraudulent, and you should hang up without any hesitation.

Their objective is to take over your computer and pretend to fix an array of nonexistent problems.  Next, they ask for payment via credit card for this phony service, and aggressively sell a worthless “support” plan.

If you haven’t hung up yet, certainly DO NOT give these strangers any sort of payment information.  If you have encountered this situation and feel like your computer may have been compromised, call me so I can check to make sure no “back doors” have been left on the computer to allow the scammers future access.

2. Windows 10 updates.  A Windows update early last week (Around May 20) rendered two otherwise fine computers useless and in need of replacement.  I’ve seen this happen to other clients’ computers.  Microsoft is clearly  (apparently) NOT vetting their updates properly before release, so I’m recommending that if you are prompted for an update, say no.

If you are repeatedly prompted, or want to completely quash updates, I can either talk you through it over the phone, or stop by for a quick tech visit, although this is an option best done if other tech issues need to be dealt with.

3. Backups.  Computers are relatively cheap.  Your data – documents, digital pictures, music, etc are precious and essentially irreplaceable.

I highly recommend buying an inexpensive external hard drive, like the Western Digital Passport (around $60-$75), at the very least.

For additional peace of mind, I recommend an online backup service called Carbonite, currently $72.00 a year.

I prefer my clients go for both of these solutions, but if you choose one, choose Carbonite, because it works automatically in the background.

I’ve seen unfortunate situations in which a computer dies, and it turns out that the backup hard drive was detached, broken, or full.  This shouldn’t happen with Carbonite.

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WHITE PLAINS WEEK MAY 25 PROGRAM-THE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND EDITION ON INTERNET NOW.

1-opener-ANNIVERSARY

WHITE PLAINS WEEK ALL OVER THE WORLD

RKOTower

WHITE PLAINS WEEK  for 5-25 has been posted  the youtube link is
 
 
 
the whiteplainsweek.com link is
 

JOHN BAILEY

JIM BENEROFE

PETER KATZ

ON

THE CON ED-NYSEG POWER RESPONSE REPORT

THE COUNTY AIRPORT–SHOULD WE GROW IT?

THE INCREDIBLE DECLINE IN WHITE PLAINS SALES TAX RECEIPTS THAT’S KILLING THE CITY

LEGISLATION WITHOUT PENALTIES IS NO LEGISLATION AT ALL: EARNED SICK LEAVE HAS NO TEETH.

THE BARK PARK CRISIS JULY 1 YOU’LL HAVE TO PAY TO PLAY

TRUMP DAY BY DAY–NEVER A DULL MOMENT

MEMORIAL DAY PARADOX

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Need More Temporary Foreign Workers (Non Agricultural), Trump Administration Admits. Homeland Security Issues 15,000 More Temporary Visas to Fill Labor Shortage.

WPCNR IMMIGRATION INTELLIGENCER. From the Department of Homeland Security. May 25, 2018:

(Editor’s Note: This news release was issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at  4 PM E.D.T.)

DHS Announces Additional Visas for Foreign Workers to Assist American Businesses at Risk of Failing

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced that an additional 15,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas will be available for Fiscal Year 2018.

Starting this week, eligible petitioners for H-2B visas can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.  Eligible petitioners must submit a supplemental attestation on Form ETA 9142-B-CAA-2 with their petition.

In this determination, Secretary Nielsen determined there are not sufficient, qualified, U.S. workers available to perform temporary non-agriculture labor to satisfy the needs of American businesses in FY18.

This allocation is in addition to the 66,000 visas already issued this year. Secretary Nielsen made this decision after consulting with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, members of Congress, and business owners.

“The limitations on H-2B visas were originally meant to protect American workers, but when we enter a situation where the program unintentionally harms American businesses it needs to be reformed,” said Secretary Nielsen. “I call on Congress to pass much needed reforms of the program and to expressly set the number of H-2B visas in statute.

We are once again in a situation where Congress has passed the buck and turned a decision over to DHS that would be better situated with Congress, who knows the needs of the program.

Starting this week, eligible petitioners for H-2B visas can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.  Eligible petitioners must submit a supplemental attestation on Form ETA 9142-B-CAA-2 with their petition.

As Secretary, I remain committed to protecting U.S. workers and strengthening the integrity of our lawful immigration system and look forward to working with Congress to do so.”

The H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker program was designed to serve U.S. businesses unable to find a sufficient number of qualified U.S. workers to perform nonagricultural work of a temporary nature.

Congress set the annual H-2B visa cap at 66,000. A maximum of 33,000 H-2B visas are available during the first half of the fiscal year, and the remainder, including any unused H-2B visas from the first half of that fiscal year, is available starting April 1 through September 30.

On February 27, 2018, USCIS determined that it had received sufficient H-2B petitions to meet the full FY 2018 statutory cap of 66,000.

In the FY 2018 Omnibus, Congress delegated its authority to the Secretary to increase the number of temporary nonagricultural worker visas available to U.S. employers through September 30, just as it did in the FY 2017 Omnibus.

In the intervening time since enactment of the FY 2018 Omnibus, the Secretary consulted with the Secretary of Labor on the issue, in accordance with Congressional requirements, and developed this rule.

To Repeat: Starting this week, eligible petitioners for H-2B visas can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.  Eligible petitioners must submit a supplemental attestation on Form ETA 9142-B-CAA-2 with their petition.

Details on eligibility and filing requirements will be available in the final temporary rule and on the Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2018 webpage to be published on uscis.gov when the final temporary rule is posted for public inspection.

DHS is committed to ensuring that our immigration system is implemented lawfully and that American workers are protected. If members of the public have information that a participating employer may be abusing this program, DHS invites them to submit information to ReportH2BAbuse@uscis.dhs.gov and include information identifying the H-2B petitioning employer and relevant information that leads them to believe that the H-2B petitioning employer is abusing the H-2B program.

 

 

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