Gedney neighbors Appeal Lefkowitz Pro-FASNY Decision to Appellate Court.

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.

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Standard Amusements Files Bankruptcy; asks Bankruptcy Court to Suspend the County Termination Agreement; Blames County for their Bankruptcy. FINAL HEARING JUNE 27.

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.”   

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Memorial Day: A Legacy of the Civil War

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.

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WHITE PLAINS WEEK OF MAY 24 NOW ON AT www.wpcommunitymedia.org, YOUTUBE and WHITE PLAINS WEEK DOT COM

WPWeek for 5-24 has been posted  the YouTube link is https://youtu.be/7mp21RiYf6k 

The whiteplainsweek.com link is  http://www.whiteplainsweek.com/

KAT BREZLER PRIMARY APPEAL

GEORGE LATIMER BURNS A BRIDGE WITH PLAYLAND SUITOR
SCHOOL BUDGET VOTE ANALYSIS
WESTCHESTER PUTNAM WORKFORCE BOARD DETAILS WESTCHESTER STUDENTS LACK MIDDLE AND SOFT SKILLS TRAINING FOR WESTCHESTER’S “GROWTH FIELDS”
NOW TELECASTING IN OUR 19TH YEAR
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City Asks for Applications for City Court Judge by May 30

City of White Plains Now Accepting Applications for a City Court Judge Position

CITY SEAL Opens in new window

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 jcallahan@whiteplainsny.gov.  Applications must be received by 5 p.m. on May 30, 2019.  Questions may be directed to Corporation Counsel John G. Callahan at jcallahan@whiteplainsny.gov or (914) 422-1411.

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Brezler Appeals. Lawyer Presents Case to Appellant Court in Brooklyn

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.”

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Attorney Scheduled to Present Kat Brezler Appeal to Have Petitions Reinstated at Appellate Court in Brooklyn Today

WPCNR STREET LEGAL. May 22, 2019:

Kat Bresler’s appeal to the Appellate Court in Brooklyn to have her petitions validated will be heard today.

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.

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White Plains Voters Pass $226,588,508 Budget, 949 to 159. Approve $24 MILLION New Capital Reserve for Future AND $6.4 MILLION IN INFRASTRUCTURE FROM FORMER RESERVE FUND

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey. May 21, 2019 UPDATED 12 mIDNIGHT.:

White Plains voters voted to approve the school budget by 85% today. The following video shows the moment when the final returns came in:

Michelle Schoenfeld, Clerk to the Board of Education emerged at 9:40 PM with the final results from Battle Hill and Church Street to complete the returns: recorded electronically and displayed on a screen, instead of the traditional chalk on the blackboard. WPCNR  VIDEO


Dr. Joseph Ricca Superintendent of Schools expressed his thanks to the voters. WPCNR VIDEO
Budget vote is displayed in the first two columns on the left. The votes for proposition 1 to spend $6.4 Million on infrastructure from the current Capital Reserve are in columns 3 and 4. The vote for Proposition 2, establishing a new $24 Million Capital Reserve are in columns 5 and 6. the last two columns are the votes for Sheryl Brady and Charlie Norris who ran unopposed for positions on the School Board.

As the school district explained in a previous briefing on the budget, Proposition 1, approved by a 994 to 106 plurality, does this:

Proposition #1 approves up to $6.4 million in expenditures for school improvement projects throughout the district, from the already existing 2016 Capital Reserve Fund. 

(In 2018, the voters in White Plains approved a $10,000,000 expenditure out of the reserve fund created in 2016.) By WPCNR rough estimate the first Reserve Fund raised approximately 16 Million in its three year existance, spending $10 million last year, and another $6.4 million depleting the leftover cash was approved for the 2019-20 budget in Tuesday’s vote.

Proposition #2 approved by a 954 to 116 margin, approves establishment of a new 2019 Capital Reserve Fund of up to $25 million over a period of 10 years, to replace the 2016 Fund which will be depleted.  Monies will be accrued through annual appropriation of unexpended funds and other legally available funds.  No additional taxes will be incurred by either of these propositions.  

The newly approved budget increases taxes by 3.44%, and is under the 2% property tax cap. Ann Vaccaro-Teich, Assistant Superintendent for Business said the budget was the result of good planning, cooperation, and hard work.

An unofficial total of 1,108 registered voters voted. There are 32,000 registered voters in White Plains, which means that 3.4% of voters eligible to vote voted. In 2017, 939 voters voted in the school budget election, meaning that voter participation increased 18% year to year.

This is Dr. Ricca’s second proposed budget the voters have passed. The first Ricca budget, the current 2018-19 budget , increased spending by 2.1 %. In the previous year, 2017-18, ending in June,  the budget was increased 2.58%. Though the school district was allowed under the tax cap to raise the budget 3% in Dr. Ricca’s first year , the Board and Dr. Ricca held the increase to 2.1%.

Dr. Ricca’s second budget, passed Tuesday is up 3.66% from the $218.6 Million budget of 2018-19. However an influx of over $2 Million in state aid is behind that 3.66% increase in expenditure. Without the additional state aid you would have a budget of 224.6 Million, or an increase of 2.7% year to year.

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“Derelict in our public duties to simply accept a bad deal struck by others.”

With 7 Days to Go Before Westchester County terminates the Standard Amusements Playland Agreement County Executive Appears to Stand Firm:

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION LEDGER. Statement by County Executive George Latimer on Playland from the Westchester County Department of Communications. May 21, 2019:

“The County elected to terminate this contract because Standard did not engage in the ongoing process to resolve its breaches of the Playland Agreement.  We outlined in detail ovCounty Executive With 7 Days to Go Before County Terminates the Standard Amusements Playland Agreement Appears to Stand Firm:er a year ago the basic problems we had with the original deal, and more recently, the failures of Standard to honor its commitments in the manager’s investment.

We wanted to work toward an amicable termination of the contract; later in the process, we offered an opportunity for Standard to provide consulting services in partnership with the County to reposition and strengthen the park. 

Those meetings, held between counsel for both Standard and the County, was the opportunity for there to be a new construct of our relationship that could be beneficial to the park, and to the people of Westchester. 

 “Subsequently, Standard has embarked on a campaign to undermine public confidence in park health and safety, working to purposefully injure the County’s ability to operate Playland.  This is disappointing behavior from a company that claims to be focused on the best interests of Playland. 

“Standard’s public relations firm has also been falsely accusing the County of a lack of transparency.  But it has been Standard that has failed to be transparent. 

Our Administration met publicly with the Board of Legislators for 2+ hours to answer questions and outline our position. We have held press conferences answering all questions from the press about this matter.

 On the other hand, Standard has not been forthcoming about the source and terms of the investment it claims is available to the company to satisfy its obligations to invest $27.75 million in Playland. 

Standard has refused to allow the County to complete its audit of the amounts Standard claims to have invested in the park. 

We already know that the vast majority of those amounts cannot properly be claimed as part of the company’s contractually defined Manager’s Investment.

Standard has yet to publicly answer questions about its investors, its specific plans for the park, the specific projects it would use its capital to fund, and a wide range of legitimate operational questions.

And financing an on-line petition that seeks to get people – who want to simply save Playland – to endorse their private takeover of the park, is deceptive.

“We all want what is best for Playland, and we agree that a public private partnership can accomplish that mission – but this deal with Standard Amusement is not a partnership; it is a giveaway of authority and responsibility of a precious public asset to a private organization whose motives and processes are at best, unclear, and at worse, deceptive. 

“We would be derelict in our public duties to simply accept a bad deal struck by others, and meekly acquiesce to the end of public management of Playland for the benefit of the people of Westchester.” 

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BUDGET DETAILS.

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. From White Plains Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Joseph Ricca. May 20, 2019:

 It’s time for our Annual Budget Vote & Election.  We are very proud of the budget we’re proposing for next year, which is fiscally responsible, tax-levy compliant, and supports 100% of our current programming.  The plan also adds exciting new learning opportunities for our students and keeps high quality teachers in every classroom.  It totals $226,588,508 and has a tax levy increase of 3.44%. 

Also on the ballot are two propositions relating to Capital Reserves. 

Proposition #1 asks the voters to approve (as we are required to do) up to $6.4 million in expenditures for school improvement projects throughout the district, from the already existing 2016 Capital Reserve Fund. 

Proposition #2 asks for voter approval (again, required) to establish a new 2019 Capital Reserve Fund of up to $25 million over a period of 10 years, to replace the 2016 Fund which will be depleted.  Monies will be accrued through annual appropriation of unexpended funds and other legally available funds.  No additional taxes will be incurred by either of these propositions.  \

We think you will agree that this is a responsible, economical method of maintaining our wonderful facilities, rather than relying on bonding which, in itself, has a high cost. You may wish to learn more by viewing this short video: https://youtu.be/TT3obcD1rO8

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