Legislators Make It Illegal for Westchester Employers to Ask Salary History. County Executive to Sign Bill Tuesday Afternoon

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Board of Legislators. April 10, 2018:

The Westchester County Board of Legislators Monday night passed a measure to combat gender pay inequity and also to help job seekers who may have been downsized or may be returning to work after a long hiatus.

The new provision, passed unanimously by a vote of 16 – 0, will bar businesses in Westchester from asking about a job seeker’s previous salary history as a requirement in a job application or interview.

Untethering future earnings from a person’s salary history is an important step in fighting the gender pay gap.  A study by the American Association of University Women in 2013 found that women get paid 6.6 percent less than men in their first jobs. When pay for each subsequent job is tied to prior salaries, that inequity is perpetuated.

But the measure protects more than just female job seekers. Workers, regardless of gender, who leave or lose higher-paying jobs often face resistance from when they’re looking for lower-paying work – work they might really need. Employers might believe they can’t afford the job seeker, or that job seeker will be unhappy or more likely to leave sooner.

Board Chair Ben Boykin said, “This is a crucial step in combatting women’s pay inequality, but it also removes a barrier of discrimination — whether intentional or unintentional — that will help all job seekers, including older workers, or workers who are making career transitions, or those returning to work after raising children, and it will do so at no cost to businesses.”

“Historically, women and people of color have been paid less for the same jobs as men, and that disparity grows exponentially over a career if every salary offered is dependent on the previous job’s pay,” said Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), the primary sponsor of the law. “This legislation will level the playing field and ensure that all employees have the same opportunity to make the best salary they can negotiate without reference to what they might have been paid in previous jobs.   Many industries are already eliminating the salary history question in their hiring practices. It’s time for Westchester businesses to do the same.”

Majority Leader Catherine Parker (D-Rye), said, “The Democratic caucus has championed the salary history legislation from its inception because we believe it will give Westchester residents a chance for real parity in wages and will reduce the possibility of conscious or unconscious bias based on gender, race or age.”

Legislator Margaret Cunzio, (R- Mt. Pleasant), stated, “This legislation brings this issue to the forefront and ultimately to a place of fairness.  If you are applying for the same job- you should be treated and compensated the same way- fairly.”

Studies have found that women are less likely to negotiate salaries than men are.  A survey conducted for online job site Glassdoor, found that 68 percent of women seeking jobs accepted the first salary they were offered without negotiating, compared to 52 percent of men, and when they did negotiate, men were more than three times more successful than women in negotiating for higher pay.

Furthermore, the gender negotiation gap appears to increase with age. The same Glassdoor survey found that 77 percent of women 45-54 accepted the first salary they were offered.

 

Similar measures are already on the books in New York City and in several states, and another such provision is being considered by the state legislature in Albany.

 

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County Executive Latimer Eliminates Past Convictions/arrests Question on County Job Applications. Legislator Borgia to Launch Bill to Eliminate “The Box” on Job Applications in Private Sector Next Week.

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Click This Link for WPCNR video of today’s remarks: Latimerdropbox

Giving Persons Who Have Paid Their Debt to Society a Fair Chance:  County Executive George Latimer left and County Legislator Catherine Borgia announcing end to the “ever arrested? Convicted of a Crime?” Question on Westchester County job applications this afternoon in Ossining at Hudson Link Headquarters.

WPCNR County Clarion-Ledger. April 9, 2018:

County Executive George Latimer signed an Executive Order today prohibiting the county from inquiring about past convictions when filling out an application to work for the county.

Latimer said the Executive Order does not prohibit background checks or fingerprint checks being performed following applications for employment being received and in the interview process– especially for applicants working with children, seniors and vulnerable populations.

You can see WPCNR video of Mr. Latimer’s reasons for signing the Executive Order, and Sean Pica Executive Director of Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison at this link:

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Catherine Borgia, the County Legislator told WPCNR she would introduce a bill next week to remove the “arrested? Convicted of a crime?” question that would prohibit the question from all employment  applications in the private sector across the county.

Mr. Pica told WPCNR his organization Hudson Link has 780 persons who have served prison terms currently available for employment in the county and the metropolitan area, many of whom with college and graduate degrees, (earned in prison),who are eager to work and work hard. Pica reports his organization gets 100 new clients each year completing their prison sentences whom they take under their wing, follow up with them and attempt to place.

His organization, Hudson Link may be contacted by organizations and businesses wishing motivated, serious applicants. He may be reached directly at (914) 941-0794 or at spica@hudsonlink.org.

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City, School District, County Spare White Plains Taxpayers in Budgets. Modest Property Tax Increases

WPCNR QUILL & EYESHADE. By John F. Bailey. April 9, 2018:

As the WPCNR battery of tax accountants, consultants, financial advisors and legal advisors debated tax strategies prior to filing the WPCNR massive tax return next week, the numbers for the extensive WPCNR properties do not look too intimidating at least for 2018-19.

My tax strategists advise the way the White Plains City Government and the City School District have set up their preliminary budgets for 2018-19 deliver a sustainable pace.

2-City Budget

The city is raising property taxes 2.9% and the School District is raising them 2.9%. Both property tax increases are under the tax caps (1% for the city and 2% for the school district).

3-SCHOOL BUDGET

The City increase ups the tax on  a White Plains median priced home of $650,000 assessed at $16.475/$1,000 of assessed value, $172 to $3,482.

The School District total property tax on that $650,000 home goes up $297 to $10,616.

Add the 2018 County Property Tax for White Plains,(including sewer and garbage) of $2,146.

4-TAX IMPACT

 The median home of $650,000 will pay $16,244 in property taxes in 2018-19.

The school district  did the residents of White Plains a big service by cutting the rate they raised the budget. Last year the district raised the budget 3%. This year they raised it 2.1% to a total preliminary budget of $218.6 Million. Had they increased it 3% as they did last year, the 2018-19 School Budget would have topped $220 Million ($220.7 Million).

However, depending on how Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to shield the property tax deduction from being limited by President Trump’s new tax law, fairs in the courts, you most likely will pay more federal taxes on your 2018 return than you do this year due to loss of deductibility of state and local property taxes.  Take that $16,244 projected property tax increase for example. Withdeductibility limited to $10,000 in the new tax bill, that decreases the income deduction by $6,000. If you do not allow for that by increasing your withholding  now, you will be scrounging to come up a tax payment. Of course if you’re assessed at more than $17/$1,000 of assessed value the stakes are much higher.

The Trump tax law now in effect is touted as a tax cut for all. It’s not.  It is a massive tax increase on every one who owns a home and is subject to a state income tax.

Looking at the 2019 Westchester County Tax outlook is not positive.

Pressure on the school district and the city will increase next in 2019, to cut spending more when the outcry from the White Plains middle and upper class homeowners see what the Trump Tax Law does to them if they had not planned for the impact.

With the $15 Million surplus in sales collections achieved in 2018, the deficit decried by the County Legislature which prompted the Astorino Airport lease deal has been taken care of with that surplus, if they wanted to use the surplus for that purpose.

The County Board of Legislators which passed all the Astorino administration budgets except the 2018 one, and raised that slightly, is now singing a song of deficit spending about the past eight years.

County Executive George Latimer is having  the state comptroller’s office audit the county budgets. That report is supposed to be in by the end of the year just about budget time.

Perhaps the County Board of Legislators should have paid more attention to Astorino spending the last eight years, after all, they passed his budgets. The County property tax if it raised in White Plains say 10% would go up $214. If it went up 20% it would go up $429—not appreciably egregious.

If the comptroller finds the Astorino administration was able in the comptroller’s  office opinion to hold the line on taxes by creating deficits and unfunded mandates or God knows what, at the expense of services, this could be a license to spend for the County Board of Legislators to “put the county on a prudent financial footing, deliver services badly underfunded.”

If you go by the rationale that county spending should have been increased 3% a year for 7 years, that is a 21% increased one time in the county budget to “put the county on a sound financial footing.”

You have to ask yourself who was looking at the county budget the first seven years of the Astorino administration. The answer is the County Board of Legislators.

Does 21% one-time increase in your lowest tax, the county property tax sound right to you?

 

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America’s Greatest Loss–Gunned Down Today In Cold Blood

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WPCNR THE BIG EXTRA. News & Comment by John F. Bailey.  Reprinted  with a Retrospective from January 15, 2018:

You know what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would do if he were alive this morning?

You know what Dr. Martin Luther King would say, don’t you, in your heart, local leaders? You know what he’d do?

After the single worst thing any American President has ever said has embarrassed every decent American, what do you think Dr. Martin Luther King would have done?

I can see him now, joining the women marching to Washington to protest harassment of the nation.

I see him now marching down to the White House, walking up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White Wolf’s Lair (The White House), slowly in that dignified gait, arms linked with women, men, of all colors and nationalities, with swelling crowds growing behind him. They are not taking selfies. They are serious. This is not about them it is about saving America, and  they are  shouting slogans:

“EQUALITY, LOVE, COMPASSION FOR ALL–NOW”

“EQUALITY, LOVE, COMPASSION FOR ALL–NOW”

“NO TROOPS AT THE BORDER. NO TROOPS AT THE BORDER.”

“AMERICAN MERCY! AMERICAN MERCY!

“LET THE POOR, THE HUNGRY THE PERSECUTED IN”

“NO HATE.”

“NO HATE.”

“NO HATE”

“NO COLORS

“NO TAXATION WITHOUT EQUALIZATION”

“BOYCOTT THE BARONS”

”DON’T KILL THE SICK. KILL THE CUTS.”

“”LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.”

I can hear  the crowds roaring behind him now.

When the guards stop him at the White House Gate. Washington is at a standstill.

He would give the greatest speech of his life.

The crowds would continue to gather marching from sea to shining sea to flood Washington with a human flood of decency, goodness and honor and respect…and gather until the President would agree to see Reverend King. The east coast would be jammed with traffic to Washington.

And if the President had the courage to meet Dr. King in the Oval Office. Mr. King would shake the President’s hand

Then Dr. King would raise his right hand in his trademark style and point to President Trump and say to his face:

“Mr. President, with all due respect, I am here on behalf of the American people in the name of God and out of your respect for America to withdraw your remark and apologize for your terrible remark which insulted every immigrant in this country, every Latino, every Muslim, every Irishman, Jew, German, every son and daughter of slaves.

By those words you shattered America, you broke my heart and those of millions of not only Americans, but those around the world. America was the place people could hope would welcome them and give them shelter from the storms tyranny and genocide.

Your apology will not undo the damage that terrible remark made but I call on you to make it as a start. I and thousands of Americans and even those who think that remark was justified (but know it was not justified or true in their consciences), know you must apologize, or the America we once knew will be lost for decades.

You must immediately Mr. President undo the damage your hurtful words have done with visits the countries your words have hurt and shamed with that remark.

I call on what is decent in you to forget the forces that shaped you into a person who would feel this way to make that remark. It is not too late to reach into your heart and find the love in it that for some reason was denied you long ago that has compelled you to say this thing and adopt so many attitudes and policies that appear to hurt millions in this country and around the world.

We the American People have been embarrassed by your words. Millions respect you as a leader, but I assure you a leader does not gain respect by the hurtful disrespect you showed last week.

I respectfully, Mr. President, ask you to apologize now and I will convey it to the American People and the World and accompany you on a crusade to heal this rift and restore the hope America once held to the world.

May I have your apology, Mr. President?”

The great Martin Luther King, Jr. is not alive today to make that powerful argument to the President in person.

He was killed in 1968 because he was that persuasive, dangerous to the establishment of the time (and he would have written a much better speech to confront Mr. Trump than I imagined above).

I can only shake my head in deep sorrow about an America I thought was gone  that has returned  viciously in the last year with all the excuses and reasons: segregation, redlining, slums were allowed to exist for a hundred years after the Civil War.

Another Civil War grew this last year: The New Robber Barons in $5,000 suits and the white shirts have returned from the grave to say what is good for them is good for America. That immigrants fleeing tyranny and death in their homelands are no longer welcome here. That children born as U.S. citizens of immigrants arriving here illegally can no longer stay.

We have evil men and women running Washington now, and no congressmen especially Republicans have any moral conscience or decency. Unspeakably evil. I cannot believe the President is going to ask National Guardsman to protect the border from the refugees from Central America. I can see the itchy trigger fingers of the National Guard shooting innocent children, can’t you? (I remember when the Ohio National Guard gunned down 4 students at Kent State. God forbid they do that again.)

We have neo-Nazi-Fascists running the country, who are following Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kamp  strategies: Stack the courts, suspend constitutional rights, curtail the right to vote, but at least they haven’t started pulling persons that disagree with them out of their shops and places of business ( remember Kristallnacht? 1938, 80 Years ago–Nazi Germany). And making deals with their opposition then shooting them after they can power. The White House is full of minds that will sink to that cowardly level.

The Congresses have passed a tax bill which will steal from the poor and give to the rich. They want to cut social security and medicaid this year. They have crusaded against a free press. They have repealed environmental laws. Network neutrality laws What’s next? Food standards??

Like it was good for us in the days of rotten meat, snake oil medicine,  unsafe railroads, segregated lunch counters, segregated schools, toney private schools. Unequal funding of schools. Cultivation of college for the elite.

But  now Jim Crow America is back, joined by Jose Crow, and Mohammed Crow.

Hatred of the different is back. So back. It is sickening.

Disdain for the downtrodden, the  unlucky and the underpaid is back. Disrespect for women is back. Violence against women is encouraged by the sick men who make our films, filmed in grisly detail.

If you want to see reality where America is headed: Watch the Nazi death camp films. The piles of bodies. The children’s shoes. The piles of bones. That’s who is running the government these days. Small-minded, greedy little rich boys and debutantes who have never loved anyone but themselves. They have the values of the Nazis, the Mongols, The Huns, The Romans. The Czars of Russia. The KGB.

I wonder  what Dr. Martin Luther King, the greatest equalizer of them all, would have said or done in reaction to what America’s Worst President Ever has done in 440 days.

There are no champions like Dr. Martin Luther King today — anywhere across this land. Some speak but they do not act.

Where is the boycott–the nonviolent Dr. Martin Luther King strategy that starved the bigoted South out by not buying local retail products in segregated towns–and forced them to desegregate the schools.

How about boycotting Exxon, Mobil, and taking mass transit.

Boycotting the drug companies and the doctors writing prescriptions for death with opioids just for the money of it. How about boycotting the hospital profiteers who condone running up Medicaid bills, and the doctors who make hundreds just for sticking their heads in a hospital room. I know this happens. And you know who you are.

How about withholding your taxes and demanding being paid as independent contractors when you take a job? I’m just throwing out ideas here to give pain to Hurt, Incorporated — the crimes against humanity syndicate, the real life SPECTRE-of our time that is running America now and ripping it apart.

Look what they are doing, people: Refusal to help the afflicted because they are not “our” responsibility is back. If one of those stuffed shirts born with money from the brokerages and the corporations of shame ever had to trek miles, live in refugee camps in tents, they wouldn’t be able to take it for a day. They are weak. But in a concentration camp, your money will not help you.

The powerful are weak and insecure. When they fail they are the first to ask for help, declare bankruptcy, and get their loans reduced.

The weak and insecure always strike out at those weaker than they are. You know why? It makes them feel good.

Disrepect for women is back. It was demonstrated disgracefully  every day in the media  in 2016  by “candidates for President” who said they want to make ” America Great Again.” And when Mr. Make America Great Again became President,  he escalated the war on women, here is how he is doing it:

How is disrespect for women, not wanting equal pay for an equal job going to make America great? It’s not. Women have to work in America today because the corporations do not pay the men enough to pay the cost of living set by the very corporations, banks, and services, and taxes laid on them by the governments themselves.

And where are the men and women of the cloth today, (as Dr. Martin Luther King did to his everlasting courage and credit),  to refute and fight this horrible message accepted by the media and congressmen and senators as “positions,” “policies,”.

Now a lot of columnists and editors are fighting it and thank goodness they are having some effect.

For the ministers, rabbis, preachers, and society leaders today to be not speaking out against the Republican message of Fascist hate is a disgrace. Many Christian ministers are supporting such thinly disguised hate by not speaking out.

The Pope has spoken out and perhaps is the only one I can think of that has. Evangelists and ministers supporting some of the extravagant anti-women, anti-immigrant policies, and tax oppression policies should get a refresher course in Christianity.

Turn in your collars, gentlemen and ladies of the cloth. You are not worthy if you’re not marching.

The last 9 years have seen a revival of the Republican Party that resembles a revival of the Ku Klux Klan more than the Party of Lincoln.

They were lead by the sixteen  low standard bearers who were educated enough to know better, kowtowing to the frightened, the fearful and the superior and the insecure– making popular once again hatred of the black man, the Jew, the Muslim, the Haitian, the Latino,  the person who speaks Spanish, the immigrant, the refugee all those “threats” to America who work like dogs to survive because they believe in the American Dream.

The white establishment today like their version of the dream, which survives on Capitalism of exploiting the populace to make money by eliminating competition. Making deals. Creating investments without value. Using other people’s money. Using Russian help.

The real threat to America are the “leaders” the Sessions, the Grassleys, the Ryans, the Grahams who pour out this message to appeal to ignorance as Hitler poured it out to Germans in the 1920s and 1930s coming to power, blaming inferiors for Germany’s problems.

That fills me with a great melancholy. I wish there was ONE Martin Luther King today. ONE. Raise your hand stand up! Shout out! Before Trump makes it a crime to oppose government policy. Hitler did that.

Where is one Democratic elected official who would stand up to this phoney  regime. Where are Democrats who will stop feeling sorry for themselves and articulate “A New Deal,” “A New Frontier,” “A new War on Poverty,”  ”Not a War for Poverty.”

ONE religious leader, white, or black, Hispanic, or Muslim who would stand up as that Muslim woman stood up in a Trump rally and the big, brave man Trump threw her out of the rally. Trump is not brave he is a coward. It is so easy to hurt people. It takes no courage to be mean, all it takes is a mean spirit. It’s so easy with A gun and a club in your hand.

And how smart are all the business leaders who have been manipulated by Mr. Trump for decades. What geniuses, and now they are listening to him. Smart, not by a long shot.

Personally I hope they do shut the government down. Because for every day the government is closed,that is one day less the government will have to hurt you big time, hurt the environment, hurt the weak, punish those only wanting to live a peaceful, safe life.

“The Administration from Munich” efforts will be extolled by many as reforms long needed. What its supporters will not say, is why, because any progress in uplifting the poor and disenfranchised is greeted by the Republicans with roadblocks and opposition.

I guarantee you Dr. Martin Luther King would have been in the faces of Mr. Trump’s Hate Chorus a long time ago IF he were alive today. That’s essentially why Dr. King was murdered in cold blood like a black teen carrying a cell phone, today fifty years ago. (Assassination is a politically correct comfortable word for murdered.)

Donald Trump. Ted Cruz, every member of the Cabinet without hearts and compassion and, yes, our own Senators and representatives are cold people. The Supreme Court is hiding behind the semantics of what the constitution says and not ruling with their intelligence or hearts or conscience.

Today,  the man, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is being remembered.

I am not that familiar with Dr. King’s life, but I do know that he, like other great men of America who have their days, Dr. King’s name stands for a value that America holds dear — or we like to think we do.

George Washington stands for honesty.

Abraham Lincoln for freedom

Columbus for discovery,

Dr. King’s name stands for Opportunity.

Let me add to that  DR. KING stands for fairness. Compassion. A willingness to help and recognize wrong. To stop by the wayside, like Jesus did and mingle with the Lepers. There is no one running Washington today who would stop and mingle with the Lepers. Certainly not our President. 

We would not have the civil rights laws Mr. Trump wants to overturn if not for Dr. King.

What would Dr. King say if he addressed the group honoring him today?

What would he say about “leaders” who would be leaders of this country standing for the death penalty; standing for no health care for the uninsured; standing for less regulation of the greediest, most corrupt most evil persons on earth?

The greed just piles up like a malignant cancer. Greed is cancer. Greed is not ambition. Greed destroys a nation as cancer destroys the body organ by organ.

You know what Dr. Martin Luther King would say, don’t you, in your heart, local leaders? You know what he’d do?

In the last weeks thousands of women went to Washington to protest in Washington about sexual harassment. Two weeks thousands of children marched demanding congress pass minimal restrictions on assault weapons.

Did our wonderful congress go out and meet them?

Donald Trump the President avoided marchers near Mar-El-Lago, America’s “Wolf’s Layer.” What a coward he is.

Start more marches. Speak truth to the weak, insecure, little men (very little men) who run America today. Join stand up march on down. I have it easy I just write this column and feel smug, that I am doing something to stop the march to First American Reich.

But I cannot see Dr. King heading  the march I described at the start of this column, because someone shot him  down in 1968, from a very long distance.

Since then no African-American or Latino-American or white man or woman has stepped forward to fill his voice with the same reason, the unswerving ability to tell it like it is. To shame us into doing what is right.

When I think of Dr. King, I think of the Selma march, I think of Birmingham, I think of Little Rock, Arkansas, where he lead the African-American community in demonstrations asking for the right of equal opportunity in America: a seat on a bus wherever they chose; a restaurant or hotel of their choice; the right to apply for a job without being turned down because you were black.

Blatant in-your-face-discrimination was publicized by Dr. King and America was shown it was not right. 

It took fearlessness to do that.

Who today has that fearlessness that Dr. King and his followers showed all of America?

Where are the black and Latino and white, yes white leaders and journalists of today  (Paul Krugman, Nicolas Kristof, Charles Blow, Gail Collins are)who will stand up and point these outrages out?

Dr. King would. That cost him his life.

Losing Dr. King has come home to roost. There are no Dr. Kings today.

When I write those sentences I just wrote, it seems incomprehensible to me that someone would deny another person the right to liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness.

When you think about it, it is an awful situation to think about. In the 50 years since Dr. King was murdered, the nation has come a long way in breaking down the visible barriers of racism based on creed and the color of one’s skin.

In one year, the Nazis in the White House have ripped that apart.

We’re going backwards now.

Today, though, the language one speaks and where you are from are the prejudices practiced today.

Somehow the sons and daughters of immigrants whose ancestors were immigrants have forgotten their roots.

Dr. King would point his finger at every person and say they should be ashamed for sacrificing the futures of those who have no futures unless we help them have one– and that is not giving them free internships then not supplying jobs — that, I am sorry is slavery.

And you know what? That’s what they do.

There are too many in Washington D.C. who want to throw them out of the country.

Today the barriers to Equal Opportunity are not subtle any more.

What would Dr. Martin Luther King say about that education disgrace if he were speaking to us Monday morning?

Plenty.

They are children, you simply cannot throw  them away because they do not speak English.

This discrimination Dr. Martin Luther King would find hard to take. Ears would be ringing this morning.

He would bristle at lowering standards for minorities, because he would see right through that argument, saying:

“When are you going to raise the standards for my people? Because you don’t have to work any harder at educating them, if you do not raise your expectations for them.”

I think Dr. King would look around today and appreciate how Blacks and Whites, Hispanics and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, Muslims and other races mingle together in today’s America. Mingling nicely is not enough

But, if he was alive today he would never let the Republican candidates and the Democratic leadership in Washington get away with the prejudiced stereotyping of the hungry, the poor, America’s illegal residents that I have heard the last year

I think he’d observe we are all becoming more appreciative and respectful of each other– again with concern about the confrontation rhetoric

But, I do not think he would like today’s buzz word :”diversity” and our smugness about our diversity.

He would say that’s nice, but let’s keep our eye on the prize, to borrow the wonderful motto of the White Plains Department of Public Safety, let us treat all with integrity, professionalism, respect, and to that add opportunity.

He’d shame the banks now refusing to give mortgages to many. He’d point out the hypocrisy of holding students to pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans, falsely promoted by higher education, essentially indenturing students for the rest of their adult lives while giving away money to Wall Street, the banks, and oil companies

He’d save particular scorn for the bloated banks (and power utilities) paying dividends to shareholders while foreclosing on persons who have lost their jobs. Where is the outcry of leaders of any stripe today on THAT outrage? There has not been such an outcry, because it’s still going on.

Would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. approve?

He’d remind us that Jesus Christ chose to minister to the “hardcore” of his time. He went into their midst. He healed them and made them fishers of men.

Today there are no fishers of men. Today we throw men, women, children back into the sea to drown. We are threatening to shoot them down at the border by implication of  John Wayne Trump’s tweets.

We ignore Puerto Rico because it is a Latino nation–and right now it is creating a health crisis for the rest of the country because electricity is not all on yet and pharmaceutical a plants are shut down..

The way to honor Dr. King today is to honor the afflicted, help the troubled with dignity, not humiliate them, not shun them, not “throw  them out.” 

The way Dr. King would view our world today?

He’d observe that “we need a lot of work.”

He’d point that out with his long finger pointing right at us.

He’d say, “I still have a dream. But  you are tearing it apart.”

He’d be pointing his finger at the double-standard of justice for the minority youth and the wealthy institutions that exists today.

He’d be calling upon all to keep our eyes on the prize and not on the power, the prestige, and the people who would steer us away from what needs to be done.

We need to make the comfortable uncomfortable, and comfort the afflicted.

Posted in Uncategorized

Deaths from Opioids in County Rise 400% in 6 Years. White Plains Hospital Announces Forum on the Opioid Crisis in Westchester.

WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. From the White Plains Hospital Medical Center.  April 3, 2018:

  According to the American College of Surgeons, 60% of patients prescribed with an opioid recently said they were keeping leftover drugs for future use.

Nearly one-half reported not knowing what to do with leftover opioid medications, and about 40% of those using opioids without a prescription had obtained them from friends or relatives. Here in Westchester County, opioid-related deaths have increased four-fold from 2010 to 2016.  

To combat this significant public health issue and provide the community with resources for support, White Plains Hospital is moderating, 

Change the Conversation: A Panel Discussion on Opioids in our Community on Thursday, April 12th at 6:00 PM in the White Plains High School Auditorium (550 North Street in White Plains- section A Parking). 

The interactive panel discussion will bring awareness to the community, empower individuals to take action against opioid abuse, and discuss positive solutions.

Following introductory remarks by White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach and Westchester County Department of Health Commissioner Sherita Amler, MD; keynote speaker Stephanie Marquesano, founder of the harris project and Ardsley resident, will share her personal story of loss and her mission to positively impact the opioid crisis in the community.

A panel discussion will follow with various experts, each providing a unique perspective on the opioid crisis, its effects on our community and resources for intervention and recovery. 

Panelists are:

·      Dahlia Austin, MPS, Westchester Department of Community Mental Health

·      Richard Ellsasser, MD, Director of Psychiatry at White Plains Hospital

·      Lilly Neuman, CASAC, St Vincent’s Hospital Westchester, a division of Saint Joseph’s Medical Center

·      Christina Spano, Detective, White Plains Police Department

The program, free of charge and open to the public, will be moderated by Dean Straff, MD, Associate Director of Emergency Medicine at White Plains Hospital.  Advance registration is recommended, but not required.  More information can be obtained by visiting http://www.wphospital.org/opioidpanel or by calling (914)-681-1119.

Posted in Uncategorized

Second Gun Buyback in White Plains April 13, 9AM to 1 PM at AME ZION CHURCH 65 LAKE STREET, WHITE PLAINS

WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. From the Attorney General’s Office. April 3, 2018:

Four years since White Plains held its first Gun Buy Back on March 23, 2014( where 94 guns were turned in by the public,) the state has decided to hold a second Gun Buy Back event.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is sponsoring the second buy back in collaboration with the City of White Plains Department of Public Safety, Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino Jr.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 13 at the Mount Hope AME Zion Church, 65 Lake St. in White Plains.

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Commissioner of Public Safety David Chong (center) with Mayor Thomas Roach to his left before the display of 54 handguns and 40 rifles, shotguns and military rifles turned in by the public Saturday morning at the first ever White Plains Gun Buy Back–March 23, 2014). The arsenal of 54 “highly concealable” hand guns was impressive below.

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Ninety four guns were turned in by the public at large in four hours that morning of the first Gun Buy Back,  ( no questions asked). The citizens were paid a total $5,075 for the guns from state (crime) forfeiture funds.

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Assistant Attorney General Gary Brown, (above) then in charge of the Attorney General’s Westchester Office said 54 handguns all in working, firing condition, were purchased back and 40 rifles, including shotguns and military weapons were turned in.

Mr. Brown said the event was a success.. Brown told WPCNR the majority of persons turning in guns were over 40 years old. Many, he said, had had the guns in their possession for years and were pleased to get them out of their possession.

Mayor Thomas Roach of White Plains in a news conference back on that day March 23,  said his office worked with the Attorney General Office to set up this morning’s gun buy back, but had no idea what to expect. “When I  arrived about 9:30, there were 40 people sitting down waiting to turn in guns.”

By 10: 30, 80 guns had been turned in for cash payments in the form of debit cards. The guns were turned in and no names were recorded.

White Plains Commissioner of Public Safety David Chong called the White Plains Gun Buy Back a “success,” and hoped, working with agents and the attorney generals office, that another White Plains Buy Back could be arranged.

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Commissioner Chong  (left) pointed out the vast array of pistols to Mayor Roach(center),  what he called “easily concealable handguns” as now being weapons that could not be stolen out of persons homes and possibly used in a crime.  Assistant Attorney General Gary Brown stands at the far right.

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Chong singled out a very realistic looking assault weapon replica that fired multiple rounds of BBs, which he said “sadly is available to the public.” He said such a gun ( a working replica of an assault rifle) could lead to an unfortunate incident and regretted such a working replica was available for sale to the general public, and did not have to be licensed.

Here is how the April 13 Buy Back will work:

Payment will be made by debit card on site.

The following are the types of weapon and the amount of the debit card:

  • Non-working and antique firearms: $25
  • Rifles and shotguns: $75
  • Handguns: $100
  • Assault Weapons: $150

Here is the procedure to turn in a gun at the drop off site: Weapons must be unloaded and placed in a plastic or paper bag or box and transported to the site in the vehicle’s trunk.

After the unloaded gun is examined by police officers, the debit card will be issued in the appropriate amount.

People can drop off as many weapons as they wish, but licensed gun dealers and active or retired law enforcement officers are not eligible for this program.

No identification is necessary to drop off a gun, because, organizers said this is an amnesty program and no questions will be asked of the person dropping off the firearm.

Parking is available on site.

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Saving Margaritaville

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WPCNR STAGE DOOR. Commentary on Broadway By John F. Bailey. April 3, 2018:

When I first heard about Escape to Margaritaville, the just-opened Jimmy Buffett musical at the Marquis Theatre in the Marriott Marquis Hotel, 46th Street, I told my theater companions, having just seen Carousel with them, I need to see Escape to Magaritaville.  I need some beach in my life. So they agreed.

My taste in Broadway was on trial!

I love all Mr. Buffett’s songs, Fins, It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere, Cheeseburger in Paradise, Come Monday, and of course the plaintive regret of Magaritaville.

But last week, eagerly looking forward to Saturday night’s performance I opened up the Times (New York, not London) and stumbled onto page 2, and was struck by an article by, a critic defending his apparently negative review of Escape to Magaritaville.

He panned it. The review was so scathing, that an undisclosed number of persons assailed the Times Arts Section with protests. (Editor’s Note: The “Times” never disclosed the number of critical letters they receive.)

The critic evoked memories both Canbyesque and Simonian even Kaelinian  evoking the  best Addison Dewitt (the critic) viciousness in the movie All About Eve.

Well I was totally mortified.

Here I had persuaded my friends to take in this show because I thought it would be entertaining, different and give us all the feel of the Caribbean in Times Square.

I was not expecting a socially significant musical, I was not expecting a “politically-correct-critic-approved” musical based on a critic’s smug standards.

I was looking for entertainment. Like rock and roll music, calypso songs, Little Richard, Fats Domino. I like those songs because the emotions  make me feel good.

Heaven knows there’s enough out there every day to make us feel bad.

I hate the way writers, directors producers get you going one way in a motion picture, or a musical and then pull a “gotcha” ending.  Like the guy and the girl look like they are going to get together, than they either break up, or one dies, and that is supposed to be mature, knowing real creativity, “rip your heart” out reality.

I don’t buy that.

I have my heart ripped out enough every day. And I take it.

I go to serious plays, and I go to musicals, on and off Broadway. I like plays that are serious and send a message. I’m not afraid of being disappointed.

But not every great show has to do that to be great entertainment.

Shows don’t  always have to condescend to the theater snobs of the world who hate silly shows that are commercial successes. I like chateau neuf du pap, but I also like beer and yellowbirds.

If musicals and entertainment have to have serious moral morbid denouements, we never would have had vaudeville, the Chaplin movies, standup comedy,  Never would have Casablanca,

Today the “theataaa” is replete with a mindset that “theataaa” should be serious only. What would Shakespeare think? Odds-bodkins!

Entertaining isn’t enough today the highfalutin  say.: Musicals should leave you with a message to be  worth the audience seeing, tell you what to think.

According to the reviewer in defense of his review of Escape to Magaritaville, he has to be a theater snob to save serious uplifting Broadway. How condescending of him.

I say, enough boring Broadway.

Enough message shows.

We get so many messages today.

I got a message from Escape to Margaritaville and so did anyone who was there that Saturday night:

I got uplifted plenty at Escape to Margaritaville!

Sometimes you just want to get drunk and view!

Laugh til you plotz,  and feel your heart fill your chest.

There’s nothing wrong with that–critics!

A musical should not be trashed if it sends everybody out into the night feeling great, exhilarated, shaking your head, laughing at the absurdity of what they just saw, discovering, savoring anew the feelings and fun of  Margaritaville, looking at total strangers and saying,

“How could the critic say what he did about this show? What was he looking at?”

That’s what they said to me. Think Hairspray. Think Book of Mormon. 

My friends genuinely liked it and we laughed our heads off and it kept you in suspense throughout.

Will Tully and Rachel get together finally or won’t they? Well, you won’t be disappointed! You will be smiling broadly as you walk out onto the great white way. You will be delighted.

I liked this show and I was not bored for one minute. No yawns in stretches of boring book. No lousy filler songs. There is no bad Jimmy Buffett song.

I loved the use of old-time set design. Moving trees. Sunsets. Bali Hi–Trader Vics palms.  An erupting volcano. I liked the sinuous languid choreography of Kelly Devine,  no tired boring Broadway kicking here. The switching of sets.

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Scuba diving on stage; flying a plane from the middle of the Carribbean to Ohio on one tank of gas  to take one last chance at love; the magical feel drifting right out into every heart watching  the giddiness of first love, feeling it, the improbability and the best kind of romances:

You know what I mean, conch?

The it’ll never-work-but-I love-how-I’m-feeling-right-now-and-want-to-see-this woman-every-minute-giddy-high feeling that every member of the audience young and old just loves and never gets tired of feeling. In Margaritaville, you get three of these romances.

The modern dedicated woman  turning down the ne’er do-well, and the ne’er do well not giving up on her. It’s hope. It’s dreams. The stuff that life is made of. The realization that you can have a happily ever after. And you better go after it, otherwise you’ll never be happy ever after.

That’s what The Times review did not tell you.

This is a musical where you can understand the words of the song. You  sway to every Buffett hit.

This is a musical where the jokes are genuinely funny because they come from the crack sitcom creators, Greg Garcia, and Mike O’Malley, that lace the improbable three romances in Margaritaville with bust-out-laughing punchlines between songs.

The leads Paul Alexander Nolan as Tully, and the glamorous career girl, Alison Luff as Rachel sizzle with chemistry and Nolan  delivers just the right Buffetting of the Buffett favorites. The supporting actors are as likable and fun as the leads.

The audience roots for them all. The audience sings along. When the actors are happy, the audience is happy. When the actors are sad and apart the audience is rapt, worrying about how are they ever going to get together.

The audience really gets involved in the whole improbable emotional roller coaster of a show where it’s always 5’clock somewhere. This was an  across all ages of an audience, too.

It’s a 2-1/2 hour island vacation where the sun, the hits, the fun keeps on coming, mon,  in this energetic, explosive show and  you do not come back with a sunburn.

You’ll have some sand in your shoes and want the next flight out to this show.

Go on, lighten up, cruise into the lobby, fins to the left of you, fins to the right of you and you’re the only ones in town having a great time.

There’s laughter in the theater blender non-stop and soon it will render the sun, dreams, and love that helps you hang on.

 

 

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MTA UNVEILS ITS AESTHETIC IMPROVEMENTS TO WHITE PLAINS RAILROAD STATION

White Plains Station Main Entrance Rendering
The White Plains station, Metro-North’s third largest, will be getting a significant makeover that will make it safer, sleeker, more accessible, and technologically up-to-date for our customers.
See more about:
Station improvements
How will this impact your commute?
How will this impact parking?
Being a good neighbor…
PHASE 1

March 2018
to
Fall 2018

PHASE 2

Fall 2018
to
Summer 2019

PHASE 3

Fall 2019
to
Winter 2020

connect with us
Starting in March 2018, as part of a $135 million Metro-North Station Improvement Initiative funded through the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Capital Program, construction is expected to continue to December 2020.

The project has been planned in phases to minimize disruption of your commute and enable you to move as easily as possible around the station and platforms.

Major changes to the station include:Station Improvement Collage

  • New side platform with radiant heat flooring for snow/ice control;
  • New replacement heated stairs from side platform;
  • New elevator at main entrance to side platform;
  • New bathrooms, ticket office, and food vendor space;
  • New and larger, glass-enclosed waiting area;
  • Upgraded main entrance;
  • New, expanded lobby, artwork, and newsstand;
  • Upgrades to the Main St. and Hamilton Ave. entrances, as well as the Mott St. tunnel;
  • New platform canopies with wood ceilings;
  • Addition of Wi-Fi, USB charging ports, electronic messaging, LED lighting, security cameras, and speakers throughout station.
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Easter’s Three Truths at Sunrise at First Baptist Church, White Plains New York USA

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Easter Sunrise in White Plains New York USA at First Baptist Church. See this morning’s observance at this link: First Baptist Church

WPCNR News and Comment By John F. Bailey. Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018:

When I was in Middle School in Pleasantville in the 1950s, as a member of the band, I was asked by the band director, Wilbur D. Lockwood  to provide music for the village Easter Sunrise Service on Flag Hill overlooking the Saw Mill Parkway. We played hymns like Christ the Lord Has Risen Today, Onward Christian Soldiers. The ceremony was always cold and difficult to get to, and still always meant a lot. A few years ago I got a hankering to seek out a sunrise service again.

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Easter Sunday in White Plains presents a sunrise service at The First Baptist Church overlooking the eastern horizon of the city every year.

I videotaped this morning’s service with Reverend Timothy Dalton and Pastor Abner Cotto-Borilla  of Iglesia Mision Bautista Hispana de Westchester, presenting the  outdoor service under an overcast sky.

Despite the drone of jet planes at points and the approving chirps of birds singing along with the hymns, the message of renewal comes through of the meaning of Easter for the 25 persons who attended.

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You can experience that service as it unfolded at 6:30 A.M. this morning by clicking on this link

First Baptist Church

Reverend Dalton begins the service and Reverend Abner Cotto-Bonilla concludes.

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