Parents Meet Tuesday to Organize Platform and Candidates for School Board

Midnight News Roundup Filed 02/04/02 12:15 AM: A Citizen’s Committee is calling a meeting at the YWCA on North Street Tuesday evening at 7:30 PM to identify issues facing the White Plains Schools and to seek candidates to challenge for the two school board seats up for election this May.
According to Steven Rabinowitz, a concerned parent, the meeting is being held because he and a number of parents feel the present Board of Education has been “non-responsive” to the community.

Mr. Rabinowitz’s letter to parents calling the meeting keynotes the meeting purpose:

“In the light of recent events with regard to the dismissal of Dr. Yanofsky, it has become clear to many of us that the current Board is both non-responsive to the wishes of the community and does not adequately represent the diversity that is White Plains. Accordingly, a number of us will be meeting to come up with a platform and program for the upcoming Board elections, and a process for identifying candidates who would be willing to run on that platform.”

The group will meet in Room 218-221 on the side entrance of the YWCA at 515 North Street Tuesday evening at 7:30 PM.

The terms of Stephen Sules and Larry Geiger are up this May.

Come help us develop a program and a vision for quality education, diversity
and accountablity on the Board.

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White Plains High Students Excell at Education Clubs Competition

Sunday News filed by Michelle Schoenfeld 02/02/02 10:30 AM EST:Fifteen students in the White Plains High School Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) received awards at the Regional Competition in Kingston on January 10th.
First place trophies went to Josh Wagner and Adam Kroetsch for
Travel and Tourism; Evan Eckfeld and Paul Sass for E-Commerce; Aurey Kaufman for Introduction to Occupations; and Edden Friedman for Marketing Math.

Second place winners were Desiree Schwartz and
Allyson Winston for Apparel and Accessories; Tom Sommer for Food Marketing; Adam Reiss for Marketing Management; Spencer Waldorf for Retail Merchandising; and Matt Bruno for Business and Marketing Law.

Winning third place trophies were David Schindelheim for Vehicles and
Petroleum Marketing; and Adam Rotberg and Jay Greenbaum for Sports and Entertainment.

All 24 of the White Plains competitors have qualified for the New York State DECA Conference in Rochester in March. Edie Rennwantz is advisor to the group.

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King Komments: I’m Not Voting for Waller-Maple Parking Garage

Councilman William King Komments Filed 02/02/02 10:00 AM:William King’s latest commentary on goings-on around White Plains takes city to task on the parking double-deck plan and raises his concerns about spending allocations.
I’m voting against the double-decking of the Waller Maple Parking Lot that’s in the Council agenda package for Monday and Tuesday’s meetings.

I won’t vote for it on Tuesday. I feel $75K is another waste of public funds.

We should be using funds like this toward the astroturfing of Eastview playfield(s).

If we had not spent the $300K pursuing, and ultimately giving up on, the Ian Behar suit, which I voted against twice, and if we turned off some of our streetlights (turning off up to half would have saved us $375K this past year), we would have had enough for the astroturf.

When you waste money, it could actually be used for something else. I am reminded also that the cost overruns on the public works garage were close to $1M, ($1.2MM) weren’t they? Where are our priorities – just for more parking garages?

I think also we have an expensive City Hall renovation/expansion project coming to the end of final design soon that will be a stretch for us on top of the $23m we are plunking into a now oversized City Center garage.

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Officers Named for St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The Sunday News 02/02/02, 10:00 AM ESTInstallation of White Plains 5th Annual St.patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshall will formally take place at Dooley Mac’s, Tuesday Feb 12th at 6:30.
John Martin, the former Councilperson has been named this year’s Grand Marshall. His aides are Marie Byrne, Patricia Douglass , Betty Foster, Mary Harnett, William Flooks, Rev John F. Quinn, Patrick Smith, and Mike O’Donnell.

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Cappelli Hedges Hotel Bid. Urban Renewal Agency Has No Problem With That.

Saturday Night News, Filed 02-02-02, 10:00 PM EST: In a hastily arranged meeting with the Urban Renewal Agency Friday, Cappelli Enterprises reserved the possibility of building a 5-floor City Center, while still keeping in play a 4-floor City Center with a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, pending whether or not Louis Cappelli strikes a deal with the Ritz.
In what the Mayor’s office characterized as simply a matter of bookkeeping with the Urban Renewal Agency, the 3-person URA passed without comment a provision in the Land Disposition Agreement with Cappelli Enterprises Friday morning.

Keeps Open Cappelli Ability to Build a 5-Floor City Center Without New Paperwork.

The provision inserted in the Land Disposition Agreement allows Mr. Cappelli to return to the original 5-floor configuration, should the hotel design collaborations and, presumably, negotiations do not result in a luxury 5-star hotel for the City Center and South residential spire.

George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer, said that the provision simply allows Mr. Cappelli to not have to resubmit all the legal paper work to submit a new LDA if he returns to five-floors.

Gretsas Makes Sense of It All.

Gretsas downplayed reading anything of great significance or precedence in the maneuver because, as Gretsas put it, “It’s not really a big deal. The LDA documents basically memorialize the agreement between the city and Cappelli Engerprises. The Common Council will determine whether it’s (the reduction of the number of floors) is a minor site amendment.”

Gretsas said that the Council may make that determination Monday, or within the next 30 days, or the next council which is Tuesday. On Monday evening’s agenda the Council will consider Information Item 32, Commissioner of Building Mike Gismondi’s letter declaring the Cappelli-requested City Center floor excision as a minor site plan amendent. Because the hotel plan, affects the residential portion of the project, not the retai, it would be presented separately by Cappelli to the Common Council, as an amended site plan.

Malmud: Sears possibility played into Cappelli request.

According to Councilperson Rita Malmud, speaking to WPCNR Friday afternoon, the circumstances around yesterday’s meeting arose Thursday evening when Cappelli Enterprises contacted city hall. Malmud said they asked if they could make the alteration in the LDA agreement preserving the ability to build five floors.

Malmud said the Cappelli organization indicated that Sears “has not signed on the dotted line” to bring their Great Indoor Store to City Center. She said that Cappelli Enterprises now reported Thursday and Friday that the new Sears Chief Executive Officer has expressed renewed interest in the project.

Previously, it had been rumored extensively in real estate circles, that the Sears organization had become cool to participation in the City Center and was withdrawing. Malmud also said that the previous Sears CEO, according to her information had set a moratorium on new commitments, now apparently being reconsidered by the new Sears CEO, Allan J. Lacy, who was promoted to CEO in December, 2000.

Friday, Ms. Malmud confirmed that Sears is now interested again, and Mr. Cappelli is still interested in Sears. However, to accommodate Sears, the hotel would have to go elsewhere, and Mr. Cappelli would need all five floors.

According to Malmud, Cappelli Enterprises sought a way to remain at five floors if Sears came through, preserving his 120,000 feet of retail. However, if he was locked into a four-floor building, he could not accommodate Sears. Consequently, Malmud says, Mr. Cappelli wanted to keep both options open.

Bank concern over scaling down the retail without a hotel committed.

Ms. Malmud added that it was her understanding Mr. Cappelli’s bank (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) was concerned that so much of the retail was being eliminated from the project. She said this concern was part of Cappelli’s request to not throw out the fifth floor option permanently. Mr. Cappelli latest date for closing on his financing is February 10.

Spokesman confirms Malmud analysis

Geoffrey Thompson, spokesman for Cappelli Enterprises said that the organization LDA request “preserves its flexibility,” and that was all that was sought. Thompson stated the Ritz Carlton project was still in play, that designs for the Ritz Carlton project were in progress. Asked if Mr. Cappelli was envisioning the Ritz-Carlton for another part of the complex or another parcel in the downtowm, Thompson said he had “no comment” on that.

The Cappelli request for a minor site plan amendment eliminating one floor from the project was first presented January 22, when he disclosed the Ritz-Carlton was interested in securing part of the City Center for one of their luxury hotels.

Things are looking up for Sears

The PR newswire reports that Sears is undertaking a national rebuilding program. Sears itself reports on its website that fourth quarter earnings per share were up 11%. CEO Lacy predicts earnings per share will be up 13% to 15% in 2002.

The company is remodeling 50 stores nationally by the end of the year, as part of an initiative to “revitalize its full-line stores, creating an improved, more convenient shopping experience for its customers while operating with greater efficiency.”

“We think customers will like the new look and feel of shopping at Sears,” said Sears Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alan J. Lacy. “Our stores will be easier to shop and the merchandise more appealing. We’ll emphasize better classic apparel while highlighting our strong appliance, electronics and home improvement merchandise,” Lacy concluded.

New looks planned. Part of 4-year plan.

Of the 15 new stores on target for 2002, seven are relocations at present locations. All will offer easy-to-shop layouts, with centralized checkouts and simplified signage and fixtures.

Throughout 2002 Sears plans facelifts of 50 stores. They are “the first wave” in a four-year remodeling program during which approximately 600 of Sears’ largest stores will be updated to incorporate many features of the new stores. The remodelings begin in April.

Information on Sears appears on the Sears website, www.sears.com.

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“Friendly Gathering” To Gather March 9

Saturday Matinee News:The 2002 “Friendly Gathering,” the community St. Patrick’s Day extravaganza begun by former Councilperson Dennis Power will take place Saturday, March 9 at Kearney Gymnasium on Good Counsel Campus. This year the Honoree and recipientof the Msgnr. Ed O’Brien Community Service Award is former Councilman Frank McMahon, of McMahon Funeral Homes.
Reservations for the Gathering at $30 per person ($35 at the door) can be obtained by sending your check to Dorothy Schere, Friendly Gathering, Inc., 14 Winslow Road, White Plains, NY 10606.

Revelers will dine on corned beef, cabbage and potatoes, Irish soda bread. Beer, wine and soda are available at a cash bar.

Proceeds will benefit Grace Church Daycare, The Rainbow Connection Program at Good Counsel and Centro Hispano.

Since 1988, the Friendly Gathering has raised over $110,000 to supporty local community programs.

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Hockley Appeals Election Case to Court of Appeals

Morning Edition Filed 2-2-02, 10:00 EST: Glen Hockley has filed a Motion for Leave to the New York State Court of Appeals, with a Show Cause Order to have the state’s highest court review the Appellate Court decision ordering a new election citywide in White Plains.
According to Jeffrey Binder, attorney for Larry Delgado, the Hockley appeal was filed late Thursday afternoon, and Delgado’s attorneys are preparing their “answering papers,” expecting to have them in on Tuesday, February 5.

No oral arguments, Unless Requested.

Binder told WPCNR Saturday morning there would be nor oral argument in the case unless the Court of Appeals requested it. He said the judges would most likely decide the matter strictly on the court papers, however the seven Court of Appeals judges could bring in the attorneys for both sides for a hearing.

First, the Appeals Judges Have to Agree to Review

Binder said that Hockley’s attorney, Adam Bradley had expedited the matter by filing a show cause order, and having it signed by a Court of Appeals judge. Consequently, he expected the court to decide within a week whether or not the case would be taken up.

The decision to take the case higher makes the February 7 court appearance date set by Judge Francis Nicolai to determine a date for citywide election unlikely.

Binder said the Court of Appeals had to first decide to review the case, and then they would take up the matter.

Procedure, Procedure, Procedure.

Mr. Hockley is appealing the case on the grounds that court procedural protocols (specifically not filing for a new index number after animpounding order), were not followed by the Larry Delgado legal team in impounding the election machine in District 18 last November.

It has been the Hockley contention all along that the results in District 18 should be allowed to stand, making him the winner of the third Common Council and the case thrown out, despite the fact that the voting machine jammed on the Delgado line, clearly costing him votes.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hockley , while asking the court to deny a new election the purpose of which is to count that lost vote, has been reported allegedly “campaigning” around the city of White Plains appearing at public gatherings.

Was Delgado on the way to a win, or did Hockley pull it out in District 18?

As election polls rolled in on Election night, Delgado had trailed most of the evening, and took the lead over Hockley with only District 18 to go. Delgado’s supporters were confident that Mr. Delgado would do well in District 18, it being a strong Republican district in the past, despite being Tom Roach’s home district (Democrat candidate and certified elected councilperson). However, a strange result was reported, Delgado received only 47 votes in District 18 more than 100 votes behind his Republican co-candidates, Bob Tuck and Mike Amodio.

If the canvas results of election night (including the results of District 18 as recorded on Election Day), are allowed to stand by the Court of Appeals, Hockley wins the election, 6,140 votes to 6,093.

The Republicans felt something was wrong here. And there was. They asked that the voting machine be impounded early Wednesday morning after election night.

The voting machine in District 18, was determined to be jammed by Judge Francis Nicolai’s inquiry in December. The counter jam cost Larry Delgado approximately 100 votes he figures based on how the Republican Ticket had run citywide.

Mr. Delgado was leading Mr. Hockley going into District 18, 6,046 votes to 5,995 votes. It is the contention of the Delgado camp that Delgado would have taken District 18, beating Hockley by over 50 votes, had the voting machine not jammed on his line.

Will the Court of Appeals review the case?

According to John Ciampoli, Mr. Delgado’s other attorney, election cases did not fare well in the eyes of the Court of Appeals last year. He said in late January that the Court of Appeals received 50 cases involving elections last year and only decided to hear two.

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Rod Johnson Tapped for Deputy Commissioner of Planning

The Friday Night Final, 2-1-02, 7:15 PM EST: The Mayor’s Office announced today that Environmental Officer with the city, Rod Johnson has agreed to accept the Deputy Commissioner of Planning position. The appointment will be considered by the Common Council at the Monday evening Council Meeting.

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DOWNTOWN BID LOSES MARK SCHUYLER

Morning Edition, Filed 1-31-02:Mark Schuyler has resigned from his position as Executive Director of the White Plains Downtown Business Improvement District, announcing he is moving on other fields related to special events, according to a Journal News report by Susan Elan this morning.
Harold Vogt, Director of the BID said a successor would be appointed with the responsibility of the position shifting to economic development. The ebuillient and always forthcoming Schuyler promoted various special events in his three years as Executive Director, including most recently, the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Celebration. He also presided over the introduction of the Clean Sweep Program of cleaning the downtown streets during the day that has been greeted with enthusiasm by most downtown merchants.

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CCOS Appeals for $50,000 to Contest NYPH Biomedical Plan, Issues Talking Points

Morning Edition, Filed 1-31-02, 9:00 AM EST: Concerned Citizens for Open Space, the resident organization most identified with promoting a Central Park for White Plains is appealing to its membership and the public to fund their effort to frustrate the New York Presbyterian Hospital plan to construct a biomedical research complex on its property, now coming up for stage two of its public hearing Monday evening before the Common Council.
In a mailing to its membership this week from the 18-member CCOS Board, called upon citizens to write to newspapers and the Mayor and Common Council, and providing addresses of the public officials to do so, to advocate against approving the project.

CRUNCH time

The Board’s letter called the current situation “CRUNCH time,” saying “We have reached a crucial point in our fight to preserve this precious open space in the heart of our city…if the hospital is successful, our city will be dramatically and negatively changed forever.”

The letter calls for raising $50,000 to fund CCOS efforts to obtain “legal help, expert testimony on traffic, impact on real estate values, environmental issues, the impact of a Proton Bean Accelerator and appropriate city planning,” and asks the membership to renew their dues and “add as much as possible” to the membership fee.

Son of IKEA

The two-page letter points to the successful letter-writing that lead to the defeat of the IKEA development in New Rochelle as the reason why citizens should write the Mayor and Common Council to advise against the plan. It also advises that the 1984 hospital proposal to build “a city within a city” was defeated by overwhelming numbers of persons coming to City Hall to speak out in opposition.

The letter contains an address sheet of Common Council members and the Mayor, and a two-page yellow flyer of “Talking Points” to use against the project.

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