FLASH! Dunphy Issues Secret Ruling on Council Seating. Council Meets at 8

Special to WPCNR:The Mayor’s office announced Thursday that Corporation Counsel Edward Dunphy has issued his opinion on Common Council right to appoint an interim councilperson in a hand-delivered letter to each Council Member. The letter presents Mr. Dunphy’s opinion on the composition of the first Common Councilmeeting of the new year Monday evening.
The Mayor’s Office announced a special meeting of the Common Council for 8 o’clock Thursday evening in Executive Session to discuss Mr. Dunphy’s opinion and the issues it raises.
George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer, told WPCNR Thursday morning that Mr. Dunphy’s legal opinion on whether or not the council had the right to appoint an interim councilperson to fill the contested third seat on the Common Council, had been hand-delivered to members of the Common Council Thursday morning: Rita Malmud, Tom Roach, Benjamin Boykin, William King, Robert Greer.

Executive Session Called to Mull Dunphy Directive

Gretsas told WPCNR, “The Common Council will meet Thursday night at 8 to discuss the letter and ruling, and if they agree the letter (Dunphy’s) will be made public.”

City Hall refused to release the contents of Mr. Dunphy’s letter, citing attorney-client (Common Council being the client) privilege.

Delgado Oliva Not In Meeting

Asked if Pauline Oliva and Larry Delgado, previous incumbents of the Council, whose terms expired Monday evening at midnight, had been invited to the meeting, Gretsas said they had not.

Asked whether Tom Roach would be on the council, Gretsas said that Mr. Roach, and Rita Malmud, technically started their terms at midnight January 1, and that swearing in was strictly a formality. On the other hand, he said, Oliva and Delgado terms had officially ended at the same midnight hour.

The Dunphy Directive

Dunphy’s letter was expected to touch on a range of issues raised by the historic contested third seat which is currently unfilled by order of the Appellate Division, New York Supreme Court, Second Department, Brooklyn.

The Appellate Court is still reviewing Judge Francis Nicolai’s decision calling for a continuation of the November 6 election and a revote in White Plains District 18. A decision is expected either Thursday or Friday of this week

Armchair analysts think Delgado may “holdover.”

Legal analysts in the city, Jeffrey Binder, Delgado attorney, and John Martin,a former Councilperson who was himself appointed a councilperson by the Common Council, believe by virtue of the Public Officer’s law that Mr. Delgado could legally “continue” in his seat or “holdover,” until the seat is filled by a new election or a court ruling.

Other issues speculated as being covered in the Dunphy Letter are: whether the council has the right to appoint an interim councilperson (sources have told us that the Democratic council caucus would prefer reappointing Pauline Oliva); the mechanism for removing such an appointee; how long they would serve; and whose seat is vacant.

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WP Little League Requires In Person Parent Signups Jan 12 & 19

Special to WPCNR:The White Plains Little League will conduct In-Person Registration for children, ages 5 to 15, who want to play in the 2002 WPLL on Saturday January 12 and Saturday, January 19.

Registration will take place at Ridgeway School Cafeteria from 9 AM to 3 PM, both Saturdays. Registrations will not be accepted at the Department of Recreation and Parks, or be accepted by mail, as in previous years.
The Registration fee is $65, or a maximum of $150 for a family of three or more. Scholarships are available, based upon need. Parents registering their children should bring proof of residence in the form of a utility bill, or driver’s license. Children who played last year will be on our records, so there are no complicated forms to fill out.

It is important, in order to achieve orderly composition of teams that parents register their children on those two days. Registrations will only be accepted in-person on January 12 and 19. If registration is missed, you will be placed on a waiting list, and subject to a $35 late registration fee, in addition to the $65 fee.

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White Plains Bravest Choose New Leader

The White Plains Professional Firefighters have elected Jim Donahoe as their new President, replacing Adrian Scapperrotti, according to WPCNR Fire Department Correspondent, Duncan MacRae. MacRae reports Mr. Donahoe edged out Scapperrotti by one vote.
Duncan MacRae, White Plains Firefighter, reports to WPCNR that Donahoe took the reins of the firefighters union as of January 1, by virtue of one vote in a secret ballot that was recounted three times. Donahoe was previously Scaperotti’s Vice President.

Asked about Donahoe’s plans for the firefighters union, McLain writes,

“He wants to become more personally involved with the membership. He wants to be a physical presence rather than a voice on the other end of the phone or the sender of a fax.”

McLain was asked his own personal reaction to the departure of John Dolce, previous Commissioner of Public Safety, and what it might mean for the department, he writes,

“Well as we all know John Dolce was ‘Public Safety’ to a lot of people and politicians in town. He lost a bit of his luster with some politicians when he didn’t support pay parity for police and fire. With his retirement, we hope that the city leaders can look at the structure
of the Public Safety Department.

McLain continued, “A separate police and fire commissioner are definitely needed. The demographic of this city is changing with its skyline. It would be in the best interests of the citizens if this were to happen and it wouldn’t cost a dime.”

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Downtown Gala Sold Out. Dance, Ball & Fireworks “Beautiful”

Special to WPCNR: The New Year’s Eve Gala staged by the White Plains Downtown Business Improvement District was a complete sellout and success according to BID spokesperson Darlene Gardner Wednesday morning.
She reports 175 persons officially attended the dance, buffet, and ball drop celebration held underneath the “Big Top Tent” erected, complete with dancefloor, reception area and rest rooms on Mamaroneck Avenue Monday evening, enough, she said to cover the expenses of the event.

“It was like being at a wedding,” Ms. Gardner told WPCNR today. “You had a vestibule, a place to hang your coats, restrooms, but you’d look out the windows of the tent, and see you were on Mamaroneck Avenue.”

Ms. Gardner described the actual ball that was dropped from White Plains Fire Department’s largest Hook N Ladder as “a beautiful thing,” and said the fireworks launched from the Cappelli City Center were “a once-in-a-lifetime show.”

She said people called most of Monday, but the number of attendees were held at 175. She anticipates that the event will be staged again next year. Ms. Gardner said the avenue attracted a large crowd for the ball drop and fireworks by midnight and that it was well attended by city officials and dignitaries from City Hall and the community.

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SPANO, BRONZ AND ABINANTI URGE PRESERVATION OF TAXTER ROAD PROPERTY

Special to WPCNR:County Executive Andy Spano and County Legislators Lois Bronz and Tom Abinanti today pledged the county’s support to help preserve 200 acres of land in Greenburgh that represent the last major parcel of open space in Southern
Spano said he would work in partnership with the state, the Town of Greenburgh and land preservation groups to purchase the Taxter Ridge property on Taxter Road as part of his administration’s open space preservation program.

“As we have done with the Gaisman Property in Greenburgh, Hilltop Hanover in Yorktown and Davids Island in New Rochelle, we will work in partnership with local government, the state and others to preserve this environmentally sensitive property for future generations,” said Spano. “This is an especially important piece of land because it is one of the last really large parcels in what is a mostly developed area of the county. We should not miss out on an opportunity to save this property from development.”

Bronz and Abinanti, who represent Greenburgh, said local residents were deeply concerned about the future of the Taxter Ridge Road property.

“Adding Taxter Ridge to the acres of green space demonstrates this administration’s commitment to preserving the environment,” said Bronz. “This property has trees, streams and wildlife that is not found anywhere else in this county. It is an important asset to Greenburgh and Central Westchester. Preserving Taxter Ridge is essential to helping to maintain our quality of life in Westchester.”

Abinanti said, “Once again Westchester County is rescuing must-save open space. Preserving Taxter Ridge is crucial to the continued environmental health of Greenburgh and all of mid-Westchester.

“Development on the Taxter Ridge site would destroy environmentally significant open space and pour traffic down Taxter Road into the already overwhelmed 119-9A intersection.”

A haven for amphibian, reptile and dozens of species of birds, the Taxter Ridge property bordered by Route 9 is currently owned by the Unification Church.

The Trust for Public Land and the Westchester Land Trust have taken an option on the property through the middle of next year, but area residents, who have so far raised more than $25,000 to help preserve the property, fear that it will be developed if a permanent arrangement is not negotiated soon.

While no purchase price has been named for the property, Spano said he was hopeful that a deal could be negotiated as it has in similar circumstances across Westchester.

Upon taking office in 1998, Spano made a $25 million commitment over five years to open space acquisition for passive recreation. Under his new Legacy initiative, announced in his last State of the County address, he doubled that amount to $10 million a year over a five-year period, also including funds for active recreation such as ball fields.

So far more than 2,300 acres of open space has been preserved with county government assistance since Spano took office. This includes the Gaisman and Glenville Woods properties in Greenburgh, the Hillpoint Property in Cortlandt, Hilltop Hanover in Yorktown, Davids Island and Glenwood Lake in New Rochelle and the Haibershaw property in Yonkers among others.

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City Corporation Counsel Mulls Council Ability to Appoint 6th person.

The Mayor’s Office reported Friday that city Corporation Counsel Edward Dunphy is still studying the city charter to determine whether the Common Council has the right to appoint an interim Councilperson to fill the still vacant, undecided Sixth Councl seat.
A spokesman for the Mayor’s office advised WPCNR that in the last meeting of the Common Council for the year last Thursday that the council pressed the Mayor as to a ruling on appointing an interim councilperson.

Insiders around the White Plains holiday party circuit have confirmed that the council has asked Pauline Oliva to remain on as a councilperson. Ms. Oliva also let slip in the December 20 work session, she would vote for the south end FAR, Setbacks Zoning ordinance in January, indicating she expects to be on the Council next Monday evening.

Maybe, maybe not.

However, Corporation Counsel Edward Dunphy, is delving into the city charter. According to the Mayor’s office, he has not yet determined whether or not, it is legal for the council to appoint an interim member.

John Martin says “No.”
John Martin is the councilperson who was appointed by the Common Council in 1994 to replace Sy Schulman on the Council. (Schulman was elected Mayor in 1993.)

Martin wrote WPCNR last week in reaction to our The Scoop column, quoting the section of the charter dealing with vacancies on the Council.

Martin says, in his opinion, the council does not have the right to appoint, the way the city charter reads:

Martin wrote, Section 14 of Article I states that “if a vacancy shall occur in any elective office of the city otherwise than by expiration of term, the common council shall appoint a person to fill such vacancy…” (emphasis added) Since the vacancy here is by expiration of term I see no authority for the council to fill this vacancy!

What does having an interim councilperson mean?

The Common Council meets one week from today on January 7 to take up the critical New York Presbyterian Hospital DEIS on their Plan B project. The council obviously would like to appoint a person, most likely, Pauline Oliva, to fill the seat remaining vacant due to the Delgado, Hockley election case now before the Appellate Court in Brooklyn.

The Mayor’s office indicated Friday that Dunphy had not yet reached an opinion on the Council right to appoint.

Issues at large

Issues Dunphy is reported to be grappling with are:

One, a mechanism by which an interim council appointee would be removed.

Two, whether or not Mr. Delgado or Ms. Oliva would “holdover.”

Three, whether in absence of a specific procedure in this type of situation (an undecided election), the Mayor might have a right to appoint a sixth councilperson.

Four, the sanctity and legality of decisions, resolutions, and votes taken by the council with an appointed member, or a 5-person council.

Five, the validity of hearings and procedures before a “short” council.

Six, should the council appoint a sixth member in lieu of a Dunphy opinion, it raises the question of whether the Mayor’s office would allow that sixth appointed member to be seated next week.

In other Council action last Thursday

The council authorized spending $2,000,000 to execute the road improvements to Bloomingdale Road and Maple Avenue in connection with the Fortunoff project approved December 20.

They also authorized transfer of a liquor license to facilate a sale of a local bistro.

The Council authorized a pay increase for city Economic Development Officer and city hall media relations contact, Paul Wood.

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M. D. Anderson “Cancer Blaster” Doesn’t Have “Jing” Yet

Private fundraising efforts are underway to raise money to construct a proton accelerator facility at M. D. Anderson Medical Center in Houston, Texas. It is a model for the New York Presbyterian Hospital Plan B project. WPCNR interviewed Dennis Valencia of Optivus Technology in San Bernardino, California, on December 21 on the “cancer blaster’s” progress.
WPCNR has been keeping track of the progress of the proton accelerator cancer treatment apparatus as its proponents attempt to bring its technology East of the Mississippi River, most notably to New York Presbyterian Hospital in White Plains. It has been cleared for installation at M. D. Anderson Medical Center at the University of Texas, a big hurtle.

On the eve of the DEIS Public Hearing

The public hearing on the New York Presbyterian Hospital Plan B, which proposes to bring a proton accelerator to the White Plains campus, is scheduled for the first Common Council meeting of 2002 on January 8. One of the objections of opponents of the technology have is its cost: $100 million for construction.

Funding is not currently available, and appears in doubt since Governor George Pataki of New York State has slashed funding for biomedical research to a mere $10 million statewide. New York Presbyterian Hospital had been counting on a state grant of some $50 million to help fund their proton accelerator.

It should be noted that the source of the proton accelerator facility funding is not an issue covered in the scope of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to be considered January 8.

Valencia updates WPCNR on the M. D. Anderson facility progress

When last we spoke with the articulate proton accelerator crusader, it was last spring when we discovered there has been a deliberate effort by the East Coast medical establishment to ignore the effectiveness of the proton accelerator in treatment of breast and prostate cancer. Urologists and cancer surgeons understandably have been reluctant to recommend proton accelerator treatment because it is not in their best interest (read financial) to do so.

This was confirmed by testimony of persons at public meetings last Spring, determining the scope of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement coming before the Common Council January 8.

Private funding efforts are under way. A model for New York Presbyterian Hospital?

Last spring, M.D. Anderson the cancer treatment center in Houston, Texas was seriously considering the proton accelerator. Now, Mr. Valencia reports, the Board of Regents of the University of Texas has approved a proton accelerator facility of the scope proposed for the White Plains New York Presbyterian Hospital property.

Mr. Valencia, who is Vice President of Sales & Business Development for Optivus Technology, the developers of the proton accelerator, reports that fundraising efforts to pay for the facility have begun.

Calling Movers and Shakers

“A group has been formed to raise the entire $100 million to construct the facility,” Valencia reported to us December 21. “The group consists of M. D. Anderson, a banking and financial consortium, and management consulting group which is working to secure the complete funding within a finite time period.”

Typically, Valencia told WPCNR, “The way a public-private financing operation works is that a facility makes a commitment for about 50% of the project, then works to fund the deal completely by organizing a financial structuring. We do not have the full funding of the proton accelerator yet (at M. D. Anderson).”

We asked Valencia, if he could describe the stage of the funding and the backers involved. He said it was “premature.”

Proton therapy gaining momentum.

However, Valencia said, “We’re gaining a lot of momentum now. Proton therapy is winning over many groups.”

Asked about local experts describing the gamma knife as a far less expensive alternative to proton therapy, Valencia dismissed the gamma knife as “a subset finite application.” He pointed out the gamma knife still exposed the patient to extensive excess radiation and side effects, that the proton accelerator did not. The accelerator, as Valencia has explained to us in the past, can deliver higher doses of protons, maximizing cancer kill on the tumor target, without affecting surrounding tissues, the cause of most radiation therapy side effects.

“Proton therapy is in its infancy, and is exploding into so many more applications,” Valencia said, citing its use in Taiwan, Japan, Switzerland, and Germany. He said that in a recent meeting of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology, Herman Suit of Massachusetts General Hospital and Jay Loeffler, presented evidence of the proton accelerator “higher degree of success” in treating cancerous tumors over the gamma knife and traditional x-ray treatments.

Valencia added that New York Presbyterian Hospital traditional expertise in psychiatry would compliment treatment of cancer patients because of the psychological trauma involved in experiencing the disease.

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The Scoop: Delgado-Hockley Twist in Wind in Brooklyn, USA

The Scoop is a new regular column by The CitzeNetReporter, John Bailey. It is not reporting, it is not commentary, it is just the way it is. It’s December 27. Do you know who the sixth Councilperson is going to be? We do not. We do not know when or how the third council seat will be decided. Here’s a look into the future, though this column almost guarantees a decision tomorrow:
As of Thursday, December 27, April Agostino, the Chief Clerk of the Appellate Court of the Second Department in Brooklyn, USA, informs WPCNR there is nothing to report. Appellate Court Judges Krausman, Friedmann, Feuerstein and Schmidt have not ruled on the Adam Bradley, Glen Hockley appeal of Judge Francis Nicolai’s December decision for a new election in District 18.It raises some very interesting questions.

Delgado Attorney Talks

First, we asked Jeffrey Binder of White Plains, Larry Delgado’s attorney, how the four judges received the case. It has been two weeks since the Brooklyn 4 issued a permanent stay of Judge Nicolai’s decision, pending their review of the Hockley appeal.

Binder said the judges followed the track of the Delgado argument for a new election on Friday, December 14, very well. In Binder’s opinion, observing the arguments by David Lewis for Delgado, and Adam Bradley for Hockley, (each had 30 minutes to present to the panel of magistrates) “The judges were very prepared. They knew the briefs. They are (the judges) very much wedded to a notion that a remedy can be conducted. They have no interest in rushing things.”

Binder said Lewis, an attorney experienced in arguing before the Appellate Court, handled the judges “curve balls” very well and handled their questions.

Two weeks and counting.

Well it has been two weeks and still no decision from the judges. Ostensibly, Adam Bradley’s argument for a permanent stay pending appeal, relied on the 30 days notice the electorate is supposed to receive before a new election. Judge Nicolai’s decision called his special canvas of District 18 (previously scheduled for December 18, before the Appellate Judges stayed it), a “continuation” of the election. Anyway, the Appellate Judges did not agree and issued the permanent stay. At the time, Binder said he, John Ciampoli, and Mr. Lewis had expected a decision to be imminent. However, the judges are apparently taking their time because when you look at the case, there are a lot of very significant, precedent-setting issues involved in election law that the Appellate Judges will be ruling upon.

Theory of How the Judges are Reviewing

There was speculation in some quarters that the presiding judge usually writes an opinion and circulates it among the other three judges. In addition, if there is disagreement, they get together and resolve it. However, there is no definite operational procedure as to how the Appellate Judges are review an appeal.

What we think is the Appellate Judges see the implications of the Adam Bradley-Glen Hockley argument that the Election Law does not allow for inspection of a voting machine, and that the election results of November 6 for District 18 should stand.

Should the Judges uphold the Bradley-Hockley appeal, Mr. Hockley would be the winner.

What a finding for Hockley Seems to Say

However, a closer look at what the judges would be saying by declaring that the District 18 results of November 6 should stand, the Appellate Judges, in effect would be saying that if there were a voting irregularity on election night that is just too bad. Election results are election results. This would mean, if not overturned on appeal, that in future elections throughout the state, irregularities would by virtue of this kind of decision, be allowed to stand. A decision like that could support future efforts such as the current appeal, to block irregularities from being investigated.

Delgado action based on Patchogue 1992 jammed voting machine case

The heart of the Delgado argument before the Appellate Court December 14 was based on a 1992 case in the Town of Patchogue, New York, in the matter of Felice vs. Berger & Ihne where Vincent Felice was hooked up in a race for Trustee of the Village of Patchogue, where a voting machine also jammed. The circumstances were similar to November 6, 2001, at George Washington School on the Larry Delgado line.

According to the public record, and WPCNR goes to the case brief here:

Felice received a total of 832 votes, while the top three candidates for the public office of Trustee received 914,898, and 886 votes respectively. Felice alleged that a voting machine in the 20th Election District had “malfunctioned and failed to tabulate votes cast for him on the Democratic Line. Felice also submitted affidavits of 91 voters who stated that they had pulled the lever on the machine in question for Felice on the Democratic line. The machine, which was subsequently tested by the Suffolk County Board of Elections and found to be defective, had record eight votes for Felice, only one of which was cast on the Democratic line. Significantly, the record indicates that the other Democratic candidates each received in excess of 135 votes on the same voting machine and that Felice led all candidates in the aggregate vote total from the other eight election districts.

An eerie sense of deja vu.

This chain of events is virtually identical to the predicament Larry Delgado found himself in on the early morning of Wednesday, November 7. On the Republican and Conservative lines, fellow Republicans Bob Tuck and Mike Amodio received 168 votes and 135 votes respectively, while Mr. Delgado received only 47. Right away Republicans felt there was some error in the voting machine, since Mr. Delgado had been running ahead of Tuck and Amodio in every other city district. This is remarkably similar to the Felice case.

In the Felice matter, Appellate Court Called for a New Election between just the two candidates

What the Delgado attorney team argued before the court was that a similar remedy might be considered to that of the Felice Ihne matter. In Felice vs. Ihne, the Appellate Court ruled, and again we go to the case law:

Since the appellant (Mr. Ihne), has not been certified by the Village Clerk and has not assumed his elected office, a quo warranto action is presently unavailable. We have observed, however, that a court may order a new election in a plenary action for a declaratory judgment, where, as here, the office, in question, has not yet been filed.

The Appellate Court remedy in 1992:

Accordingly, in light of the compelling evidence establishing a faulty vote tally in the 20th Election District (in Patchogue), and its effect upon the outcome of the election results, the election of Ihne must be declared invalid and a new election held between Felice and Ihne.

Form of election in question

The judges if they do not grant the Bradley-Hockley appeal, (effectively saying election results on election night count no matter what), have several options, and probably a few I have not been able to think of yet.

A. Declare a citywide election between Mr. Hockley and Mr. Delgado.

B. Declare Delgado the winner, throwing out District 18 altogether (in which case Delgado outpolls Hockley 6,046 to 5,995.

C. Declare a citywide election between Hockley and Delgado and all other council candidates, perhaps throwing out Nicolai’s certification of Rita Malmud and Tom Roach results, though that is highly unlikely. (Remember Judge Nicolai certified the Roach-Malmud totals, declaring them winners of the first two Council Seats.)

D. Uphold Judge Francis Nicolai’s Supreme Court decision, holding a “Continuation of the Election,” between Hockley, Delgado, Tuck, Amodio, Malmud, and Roach, with just 366 voters in District 18 allowed to vote. Alternatively, the Appellate Judges could adjust this District 18 only decision, making it between Delgado and Hockley only, throwing it open to all voters, perhaps. There may be other options.

E. Declare Hockley the winner, based on results of Election Night.

Common Council majority said to be considering appointing an interim councilperson.

It should be remembered that part of the Appellate Court granting of a permanent stay of the District 18 “continuation” ordered by Judge Nicolai, was that neither Hockley nor Delgado could be appointed or take an oath of office in the meantime.

However, WPCNR has learned that the Democratic council members are considering appointing an interim councilperson, though it has not been ascertained whether they have informed the Mayor whom they want to appoint.

Edward Dunphy, city Corporation Council, told WPCNR that “in the event of a vacancy” on the Common Council, the majority of the council is allowed to appoint someone to serve. However, there has never been a situation where an election has failed to produce a clear-cut winner as it did November 6, thanks to the voting machine jam in District 18.

In the past, John Martin was appointed to the Common Council to fill a vacancy, but this was in the middle of a term.

2002 is different. There is no precedent where the council appointed a councilperson at the beginning of a term due to an inconclusive election.

Delgado camp would take legal action to block an interim appointment.

Jeffrey Binder, Delgado attorney, said that it was their intent to file a quowarranto proceeding to “enjoin” the council from appointing a sixth councilperson until the Delgado-Hockley runoff election (if that option is ordered by the Appellate Court), was decided.

Who would the Democratic majority appoint to the vacant seat? Pauline Oliva let slip during the Common Council meeting of December 20 that she would be willing to vote for the “MacMansion” Zoning Ordinance in January if she were on the council. It appears that Ms. Oliva’s retirement might be very short. Perhaps she’s already missing the power rush of being “on the council.”

What would this mean?

I was having lunch after the regular taping of White Plains Week recently with some reporters, ex-reporters, and legal buffs who love militant legal speculation. We came up with many interesting sidelights to the interim councilperson issue, as well as the prospect of what having a “short council” does to the dynamics of city government and city decisions.

A. One lawyer pal I know, said, “Well does Larry Delgado “holdover?” It’s an interesting question, it’s never come up before.

B. Which council seat is vacant? Is it Pauline Oliva’s seat? Is it Larry Delgado’s Seat? Is it Rita Malmud’s Seat? Our sources tell us, it is Ms. Oliva’s seat. So if she’s reappointed, couldn’t Mr. Delgado be just as likely appointed rather than Ms. Oliva?

C. Does the Common Council have the right to appoint in this situation? It’s never come up before. A Delgado suit could argue the mechanism for vacancies does not apply to seats left vacant by a suspended, incomplete election – and hence Delgado could holdover, or the Mayor might appoint. Law Clerks start your Nexis-Lexus searches!

D. How long is an interim appointment? How long would the appointee serve?

E. If an interim appointee served, would Council decisions during that tenure be legally binding? Might not parties argue that the council was not a legal body and hence any public hearings held were not valid? We think this is a real issue. Consider what the council is considering in January: New York Presbyterian Hospital. The MacMansion zoning. Just two slightly controversial issues.

F. What procedure is in place to remove an appointee once that appointee is on the council? What is the due process? Once again, you law clerks, go to your briefs!

G. Does Council have authority to authorize spending, approve appointments, if it has an unelected member? Do such matters have to wait until a duly elected council is on the scene?


Councilperson of the Week

I am sure you can think of other questions, too. In fact, could we have rotating council members from the past be “designated councilperson” until the Delgado, Hockley thing is decided? How about appointing Mary Ann Keenan for one month, Robert Ruger for February, and perhaps Saul Yanofsky for March. Or, to assure everyone gets a chance, we could try out potential councilpersons, appointing a new councilperson each week.

Some other candidates for “Councilperson of the Week,” are: Bill Waterman, Tom Sheehan, Marc Pollitzer, Allan Teck, Ron Shakeridge, Virginia Falzarano, Jim Benerofe (he’s always wanted to do this), Alex Philippidis, Rafael Vega, Maria Kantha, Ron Jackson, Candyce Corcoran, Scott Brosius, Andy Pettitte and I’m just getting started.

The Scoop by John Bailey will be appearing weekly in 2002.

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County in a Drought — Reservoirs at 44%. Conservation Measures Issued

Special to WPCNR:Following the lead of New York City, Westchester County today declared “a drought watch” and urged residents to conserve water, County Executive Andy Spano announced Thursday, urging Westchester residents to conserve water, and issuing water-conservation measure. Reservoirs are at 44% of capacity almost half of what they should be at this time of year.
“Most people don’t think of drought and winter together, somehow the two don’t seem to mix,” said Spano. “But don’t let the cold fool you — our water supply levels are not where they should be for us to be comfortable. Let’s all watch how we use water.”

Westchester gets 85 percent of its water from New York City and acted in the aftermath of a “drought watch” declaration from the city earlier today.

A “Drought Watch” is the first stage of drought response actions. In the event of a continued lack of rain, further steps may be taken to encourage – or even mandate – water conservation.

New York City’s reservoirs are presently at 44.4 percent of capacity. Normal for this time of year is 76.4 percent. The low-water levels are attributed to below average rainfall in the nearly 2,000-square-mile watershed over the last several months. More than nine million consumers in New York City, Westchester County and three other counties rely on the city’s water supply.

Spano is urging residents and businesses to voluntarily conserve water. Simple tips for conserving water include operating dishwashers and washing machines only when full and taking shorter showers or shallow baths. Other important conservation measures include fixing faucet leaks, which can waste hundreds of gallons of water every week, and not using the toilet as a wastebasket.

1. Don’t run the water when shaving or brushing your teeth.

2. Reduce the amount of time in the shower.

3. Fill the bathtub halfway only.

4. Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when full.

5. Don’t let the tap run for cold water. Instead, keep a drinking water container in the refrigerator.

6. Fix leaks. Leaky faucets alone can waste up to 1,000 gallons each week.

7. Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket. Each unnecessary flush can waste 1.6 to 5 gallons.

8. Install water-saving devices such as low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators.

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Indian Point Shuts Down. Explanation Sought.

Special to WPCNR:Westchester County was notified by Entergy officials at approximately 9:25 a.m. this morning that the Nuclear Reactor at Indian Point 2 went into an automatic shutdown after sensing a problem with an electrical breaker in a power transmission circuit. This condition occurred at approximately 7:20 this morning
The NRC has advised us that this condition does not meet the criteria to be considered an “unusual event.” NRC staff stated that there are no safety issues associated with this automatic shutdown, and assured us that there is no risk of a radioactive release.

At this time there is no explanation of the cause for the shutdown. Entergy and NRC officials are investigating the source of the “trip” in the circuit. Officials assure us that the cause of the problem will be determined before the plant goes back on line.

The NRC has confirmed that an NRC representative was in the control room when the shut down occurred and that plant operators reacted appropriately to the condition.

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