Maintenance, Cleaning Workers and Others Get New Help When Buildings or Contracts Change Hands

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Board of Legislators and SEIU 32BJ. September 16, 2019:

On Monday night, the Westchester County Board of Legislators voted on a bi-partisan basis, 16-1, to strengthen a law protecting building service workers like cleaning staff and maintenance personal, who face displacement when building ownership or service contracts change hands.

The Displaced Service Employees Protection Law was originally passed also by a vote of 16-1 in 2013. It created a required transition period, during which new employers must offer workers the chance to remain on the job. It also created a time frame for those offers and for that transitional employment, and created limits on the size of contractors who are covered.

The changes passed Monday lower the threshold for covered contractors from 15 to 5 employees and extend the transitional employment period from 60 days to 90 days.

The SEIU issued this statement: “The Westchester County Board of Legislators passed an amendment to the Displaced Service Employees Protection Law to further prevent shady contractors from leaving workers jobless. That is what happened in White Plains exactly a year ago, when a new building owner let go of five loyal cleaners at 1 & 3 Barker Street. The county’s displaced worker law, passed in 2013, was intended to guarantee such workers a temporary period of employment after a contract changed hands at medium and large commercial buildings, if the contractor had 15 or more employees.

But the new owners of 1 & 3 Barker brought in a contractor whose size and identity still remains hidden from both the former employees and the union that represents them, 32BJ SEIU.

“It was hard for the employees to enforce their rights,” said 32BJ SEIU Assistant to the President Lenore Friedlaender in testimony before the Board of Legislators this evening. “We didn’t know the name of the new employer and we could not establish that the new employer had 15 or more employees…These amendments would strengthen the existing law, insure a more level playing field for responsible employers, and provide more transparency when service contracts change.”

In addition, there are expanded requirements for information sharing to ensure that workers know in a timely manner precisely whom they must communicate with at the new employer.

Leg. Catherine Borgia (D -Briarcliff Manor, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Peekskill), one of the co-sponsors, said, “Since 2013, it became clear that there were provisions that needed to change.  We needed to prevent employers from making an end run around the spirit of the law by using small companies, or avoiding their obligations by not being sufficiently transparent in their communications with workers.  We want to make sure the law does what it was intended to do — protect working families in Westchester.”

Another co-sponsor, Leg. Kitley Covill (D – Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers) said,

“This law is about protecting people who, through no fault of their own, find their livelihoods threated. With the changes we’ve passed, these hard working people will now have a longer time to find new work or better yet to maybe make the case for themselves to their new employers, more people will be covered by the law, and new employers won’t be hidden behind a string of names, address and legal entities. We want to make sure service workers in Westchester County are getting a fair shake.”

Co-sponsor Leg. David Tubiolo (D – Mount Vernon, Yonkers) said,

“Today, we rectify the loopholes to stop corporate greed from taking advantage of working people. With our amendments, service workers will be reassured that they can’t just be displaced, because a company wants to make an insignificant profit. Protecting working people is part of our identity, being just and fair, but is also good government in action”.

Lenore Friedlaender, Assistant to the President of 32BJ SEIU and head of the union in the Hudson Valley, said, “When employers try to circumvent the intent of the law in an effort to reduce wages and benefits it destabilizes the playing field and creates a destructive race to the bottom. Workers wages, benefits and job security suffer as a result.”

“We all understand that our jobs could change very suddenly, if an owner of a building changes the contractor. I have seen it happen to friends of mine,” said Maria Trejo a cleaner at the BOSCES School in Valhalla and a member of 32BJ. “That is why we first passed the Displaced Worker Law. But we need to make that law stronger. We need to make sure that new contractors don’t hide, and it’s important that small contractors follow the rules just like big contractors.”

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Candidates Forum October 16.

Candidates Forum for
The White Plains Common Council Race 

 Wednesday October 16
7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.

Church Street Elementary School
295 Church Street
   The League of Women Voters of White Plains will hold a Candidates Forum for the candidates for three seats on the White Plains Common
Council. The Forum will be held on Wednesday October 16 from 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. at the Church Street School at 295 Church Street, White Plains. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.

As always, audience questions must be submitted in advance, they will not be taken from the floor during the Forum. We will solicit questions via email in early October and they may also be submitted in writing at the event. The Forum will be recorded for subsequent viewing. It is not certain if it will also be streamed live. For additional information on the Forum contact us
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With Service Employees International Union 32BJ on the dais with them, County Chairman of the Board of Legislators, Benjamin Boykin, held a news conference this morning introducing the significance of tonight’s upcoming vote on a new addition to the County Displaced Workers Law that would close a loophole allowing companies to evade treating service workers unfairly by hiding behind previous dispensations for number of employees.

Chairman Benjamin Boykin explains the new law.

Leonore Friedlaender
, of Service Employees Union International 32BJ, details the injustices corporations have committed under the former displayed workers’ law.

Maria Trejo An SEIU 32BJ worker fired from her job in White Plains last year, tells of her plight.

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The Enigma

Why is the most successful Democrat Politician not running for President?

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

WPCNR CAMPAIGN 2019. News and Comment by John F. Bailey. September 15, 2019:

He sent state aid to U.S. hurricane disasters and Puerto Rico before the federal government.

His legislation attempts to protect his state residents from the deduction denials costing them thousands in taxes under the new tax law(in defiance of the federal government).

He has fought to protect immigrants in New York State from deportation and falling into the clutches of ICE.

He has invested in aid to prevent businesses from leaving the state.

He has invested in aid to students seeking a college education.

He has invested in infrasture (deliberately misspelled) : building a new bridge and modernizing LaGuardia Airport and modernizing the subway finally.

His leadership is prosecuting those who need to be prosecuted.

He has accomplished more in his eight years as Governor than any other governor in the country.

His tireless energy and usually upfront in every crisis in every corner of the state are unlike any politician I have seen who has headed this state.

He is Andrew M. Cuomo. Someone completely different for a Democrat: He does not talk.

He acts.

Except in the time when the country needs a man like this in the presidency.

And we need him now.

The President will not push Andrew Cuomo around in a debate.

The President cannot lie fast enough or tweet effectively enough to disintegrate Andrew Cuomo’s confidence and towering logic of argument. Mr. Cuomo for the last eight years just pounds out the ever shining light of what is right everytime he speaks out.

We need this guy.

He is a leader.

Before the Democrat debates started, though Mr. Cuomo shockingly was not as proactive during budget season in the spring. He did not speak out on rolling press conferences and press releases and videos and appearances.

I got the sense something was not right.

Is this the man going after the President for wrong-doing?

I thought to myself what is going on with Mr. Cuomo?

He could have gone into the primaries and if voters did not like his style. So be it. But it would not damage his splendid record in New York State.

But he one of the best governors we have ever had. Occasionally he bows to politics, but not until this year did he show reluctance to follow through on issues.

After Thursday, I had great regret that Mr. Cuomo was not on that stage. He would have towered over them.

He is the strongest Democrat since FDR. Has the most conviction of Abraham Lincoln.  A throwback to Teddy Roosevelt (the best Republican President), Eisenhowerian in his logic.

I was shaking my head.

If Cuomo ran against the President, he would not be intimidated. He would not fumble or get flustered.

He would not need coaching.

Mr. Cuomo is the Democratic Hamlet.

Mr. Cuomo may be feeling now is not the time for him personally.

I can’t get into his head.

If he is thinking that the first “American Dictator,” the current President, is not defeated, he can run in 2024, but by then he will be challenged by the latest Kennedy incarnation in Massachussetts, or Chelsea Clinton. You cannot procrastinate the present.

But I find it hard to believe Andrew Cuomo has ever thought that way. He has grown as a man and politician. He does not make the same mistake twice. He does not step aside for politics.

We need him.

America needs him.

The fact that the Democratic Party leadership is not imploring him to run, astounds me.

The governor says he wants to complete his term as governor and serve the people of New York.

That’s not the Andrew Cuomo we know.

He knows he is the best man for the job of saving this country.

This must be torturing him. It does me.

Come on in, Governor Cuomo.  

You would blunt “the first American Dictator’s” appeal to the voters who love a strong man,(even a Donald Trump who talks loudly and has no stick) you would win over the troubled Trump voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin Illinois, Ohio because you,more than any state leader have done things to save jobs, create jobs and rebuild areas of your state.

You have the performance record.

No one running for President can defeat “The First American Dictator” except you.


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 Youtube link for WPW of 9/13 is...

Video of Mayor Roach of White Plains and County Executive George Latimer delivering Messages of hope at the White Plains 9-11 Rememberance and Renewal gathering at Liberty Park.


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Service Employees International Union 32BJ Rally to Support Displaced Workers Legislation –Official Condemns Supreme Court Failure to Lift President’s Asylum “Block”

WPCNR RIGHTS REPORT. From the Service Employees International Union 32BJ. September 14, 2019 (Edited):

SEIU 32BJ, the union of building service workers, continued its crusade for the immigrant worker Friday, announcing the union would hold a news conference at 12:30 Monday in the the Michaelian Building Westchester County Government HeadquaBoard of Legislators rotunda, in support of improvements to Westchester County Displaced Worker Law, in consideration before the Board of Legislators.

“Horrified” at Supreme Court washing its hands on asylum

The union also announced it was “horrified” at the Supreme Court decision to allow the President’s ruling that immigrants wishing to seek asylum in America had to seek asylum first from countries they had to travel through on route to the United States.

Leonore Friedlaender of the union issued this statement:

“As one of the nation’s largest unions with majority immigrant membership — and as believers in the promise of America — we are horrified that the Supreme Court this week acceded to the Trump administration’s viciously inhumane change in asylum policies.

By forcing migrants to first seek asylum in a country they pass through before being allowed to apply here, the administration will in effect end hopes around the world of finding a safe haven from suffering.

Human rights advocates have repeatedly demonstrated that countries like Mexico and Guatemala are simply not able to offer the security that asylum-seekers need. We will continue to support efforts to fight this decision in the courts, in the streets, and at the ballot box, until we restore the basic right to refuge that has long formed the core of our asylum laws and our noblest national values.”

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White Plains Observes the 18th Year of Never Forgetting 9/11.

WPCNR MILESTONES. September 11, 2019: Citizens, dignitaries and leaders gathered in Liberty Park off Silver Lake in White Plains as they do every year on September 11.

Mayor Roach arrives prior to the start of the ceremony.

They assembled to remember the six White Plains residents who died in the attack on the World Trade Center Towers eighteen years ago today: Sharon Balkom, Marisa Dinardo, Hemanth Kumar Buttur, Joe Riverso, Gregory Rodriguez and Linda Sheehan, and the thousands of others who perished . The short, direct program recognizes and renews dedication of purpose. WPCNR was there. Mayor Tom Roach and County Executive George Latimer addressed the gathering, and Fran Croughan and members of the Common Council told accounts of ordinary citizens who distinguished themselves forever by their responding to the “test” of that awful day 18 years ago today. Here is video of the complete event.

Wayne Bass, Commissioner of Recreation and Parks begins the solemn observance at Liberty Park at 8 AM.
The Observance continues. On location video by WPCNR
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Rememberance of a Requiem: The White Plains Candlelight Walk September 2001.

Posted on September 11, 2018 by John Bailey

WPCNR MILESTONES. September 11, 2019:  Reprinted from September 17, 2001:

Editor’s Note: It happened at 8:40 A.M. this morning, 18 years ago. The shock of that day lingers always. White Plains like America struggled to pay tribute to the lives lost that day, the thousands who tried to save the Americans plunging to their deaths, the first rescuers trapped by collapsing buildings.

White Plains was no exception. A week afterwards, the city held a Candlelight Walk to remember the 3,000 lives lost. The injured, the forlorn at their loss.  I was there for that walk . This is my account of that walk.

White Plains held its remembrance of this horrible day when the World Trade Center was ruthlessly diabolically, destroyed, taking the lives of  over 3,000 people, with the toll still climbing daily for weeks as its spawn. The dead continue to mount as thosen taken ill by the toxic black smoke and debris leave us far too young, it seems, every day.

Eighteen  years  this coming week is the observance of the White Plains Candlelight Walk — an event organized to help the public of White Plains do something, come to grips with the Trade Center genocide.

The Candlelight Walk was a public outpouring of emotion that put into perspective how the events that took place 9/11/01 ripped us apart and brought all Americans of every race, religion, creed and origin together for a short time, a very short period of time — judging by the Presidential campaign of prejudice, class warfare and labeling now in full swing.

Republished From WPCNR of  September  17, 2001: 

They carried flags, “thank you signs,” and lit candles. They came from all races, ranks and religions to walk, remember and celebrate what it means to be an American and prayed for America’s future on the White Plains Candlelight Walk Sunday night…

Police estimated a crowd approaching 8,000 persons gathered at the White Plains Railroad Station who marched shoulder to shoulder, Black to White, Hispanic to Hassidim, Italian to Jew, Arab-to-Asian, Old-and-Young, American-to-American in a solemn, uplifting remembrance and commitment  to America’s future.

Candlelight March on Main

The White Plains Candlelight Walk staggered city officials with the streaming turnout filling the broad Main Street boulevard with ranks of 30 to 40 persons shoulder-to-shoulder all the way from the City Hall steps back  to Bank Street.

By 7:15 PM the parking lot below the clock tower at the railroad station was filled, and still they came. Every race, every creed. Neighbors greeting each other. Shaking hands. Some carried signs. Some carried flags. Some brought their own candles, but they came. They walked. Pushed strollers. Children did not cry or misbehave. Persons said “Excuse me,” and smiled at each other. They knew this was important.

WHITE PLAINS REMEMBERS:Crowds milling at White Plains Railroad Station at twilight, awaiting start of the  Candlelight Walk to Remember the victims of the Trade Center catastrophe. WPCNR PHOTO

A disciplined group

They lit each others’ candles. At 7:35 PM they began to walk slowly south on Bank Street filling the broad cross street with quiet, orderly, confident humanity. For such a large crowd, they were serious and stalwart.

Some carried signs reading “Thank You White Plains Bravest and Finest,” and “Thank you Fire and Police.” They sang impromptu versions of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” waving their flags. Their spirits were steady. Their pride high. No fear. Their love of country and fellow Americans was glowing.

The city stops for a remembrance

As dusk stole velvetly over the streets with an orange sun receding to the West, traffic on Hamilton Avenue stopped for this long freight train of White Plains citizens. They took 30 minutes to reach City Hall, and still, from this reporter’s vantage, reached back to Bank Street.

There was no honking of horns from stopped autombiles. No animosity. Motorists recognized something special: thousands of tentative, yet determined steps of America on the way back were being taken.

The City Clergy in a remarkable ceremony

At the City Hall steps, with Main Street jammed with humanity, a quiet, respectful crowd drew close to the old neo-classic columned brick façade. They waved flags, their candles in their hands glowed like they do at a Meadowlands concert.

MAYOR DELFINO OVERWHELMED: The Mayor (center) stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Councilpersons, city clergy, choir, and dignataries, saying “God will get us through,” at the conclusion of the historic and moving White Plains Candlelight Walk on the steps of old City Hall. WPCNR PHOTO

Mayor Joseph Delfino welcomed the multitudes thanking all for coming, thanking the White Plains firemen and policemen for their efforts the past week, but his remarks were hard to hear. Somehow you did not have to hear them. Everyone understood what he was saying. Everyone felt it, too. I did.

The Mayor was surrounded by a host of the White Plains clergy from many churches behind him. The men and women of the cloth had assembled at his call to present an ecumenical service of remembrance and prayer for the victims of the World Trade Center disaster. There was a chorale group and ensemble. But, I cannot tell you who they are at this point.

The message you heard even if you could not hear it

There were no news releases or media briefs at this gathering. No text of the Mayor’s remarks was handed out. He did not make many. It was not that kind of event. It was regretfully special. You did not need to know who was offering the prayers, rabbi or priest, minister or pastor.

The different prayers and appropriate hymns rose in the cool early autumn night echoing skyward, warming hearts, and somehow fit splendidly meaningfully together. The White Plains clergy, in this reporter’s opinion, should do this more often under pleasanter circumstances. It was very special and so right.

The impromptu public address system could not be heard clearly beyond 100 feet. However, the people of White Plains listened and soaked in the spirit of the sweetly sung entreaties to The Almighty, with no catcalls, no disrespect, dedication and silent endorsement of the message. Children did not cry.

A moving sequence

The most moving sequence of the service occurred when each Man and Woman of God voiced a prayerful sentiment and the ensemble sang “Lord, listen to your children preying.” It was a White Plains “Moment to Remember.”

The service concluded with the throng singing “We Shall Overcome.” After several moving choruses with the multitude of citizens swaying together, the final stanza which goes “We Shall Stand Together,” closed the old 60s protest song with a roll of applause and cheers.

The Mayor rallies the crowd

Mayor Delfino came to the podium. With clergy, councilpersons, and congresspersons to his right and left, spoke proudly and earnestly to the crowd:

“Never would I have believed that we’d have such a turnout. I am overwhelmed, this is truly the greatest community in America,” and went on to thank all the city’s clergy for coming together for the service, saying that “God would get us through.”

The Mayor said that there was a Remembrance Book in the City Hall rotunda, which would be placed in the White Plains Public Library for all to sign. The Mayor announced this because not all of the thousands could march into the rotunda to sign it that evening, which brought one of the few laughs of the night.

Everyone leaves with a sense of a job to be done

The remarkable evening of remembrance and renewal closed with a rousing singing of “God Bless America,” with outstanding voices from the steps of City Hall, helping the citizens out with the second and third verses.

The crowd slowly dispersed.

They returned to cars, parents pushing strollers, couples arms over shoulders. Old city and county political rivals often adversaries, shook hands on the City Hall steps.

Some young persons in their 20s stood in front of the fenced off E J Conroy Drive, and, impromptu, shouted “USA,USA!” Then they changed what they were chanting. They crossed their hearts and began to recite, in unison: “The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag,” getting every word right with dignity and dedication.

You should have been there, but you wished you never had to be.

EPILOGUE (Written in 2006): It is seven years since 9-11-01, and the sense of working together has left us.

Instead today we see a fractured politicized landscape in which our “leaders” have played upon our fears to restrict the very freedoms that created America and which we stand, or used to stand.

 Leaders play citizen group off citizen group, use minorities as scapegoats, and sanctimoniously proclaim their patriotism. Most distrubing of all, they pass the buck and refuse to take responsibility, and do not communicate and cover up.  It is sobering to see so many weak people elected to office and being selected to run for office, some without even the experience to execute the position.

The legacy of America is still there. Whether our “leaders” understand it, I am no longer confident.

The job is not to ask what can I get out of my country and government, but what I can do for my country and to improve the way I govern for  all not just the connected, the influential and the powerful, and the managerially challenged and whether it will benefit me the officeholder/seeker — and this goes from the Oval Office to every, Governor’s Office, Mayor’s Office, Assemblyperson’s office, State Senator’s office, County Legislator’s office.

Your job is not to turn Americans and races and groups against each other but to work for the good of all, please.

Comment (2009): The CitizeNetReporter wrote the above epilogue in 2006. It is sobering as we read today’s headlines on September 11, 2009, that it seems I could have written it today, based on events this week. We are still using rhetoric, not leadership, myth not fact, and playing one group off another, and raising fear after fear to win a point. One need only look at the last two weeks of health care debate to realize that.  Perhaps we should try and work together instead of working to obtain power and our point of view. Maybe someday. But perhaps never. The more the players at leadership in America change, the more they stay the same, it seems.

 Observation, 2018: Sadly the trends I noted in 2006 and 2009, have only taken on momentum.

We have a selfish, self-centered President, ripping persons apart.

Congress has failed to defend human rights and has chosen to let America’s reputation as the world’s safe haven to refugees for 210 years crash like the horrifying rubble of the collapsing trade center towers. The leaders have stood by, choosing to jail children, separate families, deny access and deport persons here who have long contributed to this country.

Fear of immigrants who built this land, is now rampant in the land.

Greed is in control. The government has passed tax changes, works for health reform that will only hurt millions. Regulations on the environment, consumer protection and selections of judges for courts are now offered to judges who would restrict the availability of the courts to citizens, and sell their souls for power.

America has elected leaders who do not tell the truth or horridly, respect it. Leaders  who will not fight for what is right and are without compassion.

The legacy if ever there was one of 9-11 has been tragically forgotten in the last 9 years. Americans are no longer together. No longer shoulder to shoulder. A false optimism of prosperity is touted.

This everyone for themself attitude needs to be turned around.

America has lost its way and is rolling down The Lost Highway. It knows not where it is going.

Fingerpointing and hatred are the tools of politics today.  Power is worshipped at all costs.

New leaders must lead with righteous dignity for liberty and justice for all, and respect for the truth,  not prosperity, power, privilege  rhetoric for the few.

Where are they now?

It is time.

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WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. September 10, 2019:

Hello Everyone–
I hope you are doing well.  I am running for White Plains Common Council on November 5th, and being the huge underdog in this race, I am reaching out to every possible channel that I can think of.  Being President of the White Plains Council of Neighborhood Association (WPCNA) for the past 2 years (along with Bill Brady and Chris Price — thanks Gents!), I’ve committed a lot of my time and effort to reaching out to the different neighborhoods as well as residents approaching me with issues they have that pertain to them and the city.  Those past WPCNA Presidents know exactly how much time and effort is involved, and it is a thankless job with a big salary of $0.  

Ever since moving with my wife to White Plains 5 years ago, I’ve been very passionate about helping those who’ve had similar needs and concerns to me that relate to White Plains.  We all know how unresponsive our current city administration can be (i.e. the mayor, Mr. Callahan, various Commissioners), and always finding the right person to address your questions and/or concerns can be challenging.  That is exactly why I decided to run for Common Council 2 years ago and again this year.  I am not a politician, BUT I strongly believe that people should be treated fairly.  It doesn’t matter about your gender, race, age, political party, etc.  We are all equal, and should be treated as such.  

I want to STRONGLY emphasize, especially in a local election, that this Common Council race is not about Political Parties; rather, it’s about how capable someone is to perform the duties of a councilwoman or man.  Two of the 3 Democratic candidates for Common Council have no involvement with the communities, whatsoever. 

It’s quite ironic because these two individuals–Victoria Presser and Jennifer Puja–have only been present at community events within the past several months.  Where were they before that?  It’s also very funny because the running joke with the WPCNA is that you only see the current Common Councilman/women and candidates show up to WPCNA meetings around election time.  Otherwise, you’ll never see them.  Exception to this was Milagros Lecuona (neutrally speaking, but it’s the truth).

I would also like to point out that my full-time job as an Engineer / Project Manger make me the best qualified Common Council candidate out of everyone that’s running.  I’ve personally managed operating budgets and capital projects that exceed the annual operating budget of White Plains.  The most expensive capital project that I’ve managed as Project Manager was $500 Million, for Metro-North Railroad, which was completed under budget and ahead of the scheduled completion date. Interesting how 2 of the more successful mayors in White Plains (subjectively speaking) were Professional Engineers (as am I)–Al Del Vecchio (a Republican) and Sy Schulman (a Democrat).  Food for thought.

So, to conclude my long-winded, but very important email….  I am seeking your support for my candidacy of White Plains Common Council on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.  If you firmly believe in my cause, who I am, and what I’ve just stated to you above, then I humbly ask for your vote.  I also ask you to please share this email and my message to your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and anyone else in your network.  Again, I am at a huge disadvantage running on the Republican and SAM lines, but I hope you believe in me as much as I believe in you.  Every vote counts!
Thank you very much and God Bless!

Here is the front side of my campaign card for this upcoming election:

Inline image
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