Corcoran Turns Down GOP Invitation to Run for Matusow Seat

WPCNR High Noon Newsl. July 2, 2002. 12 noon E.D.T.: Candyce Corcoran of White Plains today rejected the Republican nomination to oppose Assemblywoman Naomi Matusow or her challenger for the Democratic nomination, Adam Bradley in the November Assembly contest for the 89th Assembly District.
In a statement to the media, Ms. Corcoran said,

“I am deeply honored that the Westchester County GOP selected me as their candidate for 89th State Assembly District. Although I have had enormous support and encouragement to serve in Albany, I must decline the offer.

It is my personal belief, that I can be most effective right here in Westchester County, to continue on as a community activist placing People Before Politics.

Corcoran, offerred the Republican nomination for the 89th District by Westchester GOP Chair, James Kavanaugh on June 20, has spent two weeks attempting to secure financial commitments and support from the state and county GOP parties to finance her run. Corcoran was defeated by William Ryan for the County Legislator position in November, 2001.

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School Board Shocker: Richard Bernstein Resigns from Board. Applicants Welcomed.

WPCNR Evening City Star Reporter. July 2, 2002. 1:15 A.M. E.D.T. Richard Bernstein, a two-term member of the Board of Education, announced by letter, his immediate resignation from the School Board Monday evening.



THEN THERE WERE SIX: Michelle Schoenfeld set out only six Board of Education member nameplates Monday evening. Richard Bernstein had announced his resignation.
Photo by WPCNR


At the regular Board of Education Monday evening, Michelle Schoenfeld, Clerk to the Board said that,” in a letter to the District Clerk, Mr. Bernstein said his decision was based on time contraints in connection with his job as well as family responsibilities. The resignation takes effect immediately.”

Dorothy Schere, newly elected President of the Board of Education, said there were three avenues for dealing the vacant position. She said the Board could leave the position vacant until the next School Board election, they could hold a new election, or appoint some one to serve until May 20, 2003, when the 2003 School Board election would be held.

Schere said it was the Board’s unanimous decision to appoint a member of the community to complete the term.

Public invited to apply for appointment to seat by July 15

Ms. Schere invited anyone who wishes to be appointed to Mr. Bernstein’s seat to send a letter to Michelle Schoenfeld, Clerk to the Board of Education, stating their qualifications or resume by July 15. Schere said the Board would review applications and “begin interviews in late July.

Schere thanked Mr. Bernstein for his time taken to serve on the Board.

The departure of Bernstein leaves a vacant position on the 7-member Board, paving the way for a possible return to the School Board of recently deposed 18-year Board member, Larry Geiger, should he so desire and the Board of Education appoint him, or Stephen Sules, the other Board member defeated in the May 2002 School Board elections. Even Dr. Saul Yanofsky could apply.

Mr. Geiger, Mr. Sules, Dr. Yanofsky, or any other resident of White Plains, wishing to serve should send their letter/resume to Ms. Schoenfeld, Clerk of the Board, 5 Homeside Lane, White Plains, New York 10605 by July 15.

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Robbins of South Orange-Maplewood’s Renowned Columbia High, New WPHS Principal.

WPCNR Evening City Star Reporter. July 1, 2002. 11:30 PM E.D.T.: The Board of Education reorganized Monday evening, and appointed Dr. Christine M. Robbins, currently Principal of the South Orange-Maplewood Columbia High School in New Jersey, to lead White Plains High School, replacing William Colavito.



DR. CHRISTINE M. ROBBINS
First Woman Principal of White Plains High School.

All Photos by WPCNR


Dr. Saul Yanofsky introduced Dr. Robbins to the White Plains community describing her as “the other bookend we’ve been looking for,” as the statuesque and dignified Dr. Robbins sat next to new Superintendent of Schools, Tim Connors, in the front row at Education House Tuesday evening.

Seasoned Savvy Principal

Dr. Yanofsky described her as a new chapter in the district’s history, the first female Principal of White Plains High School, saying, “She survived the typically lengthy White Plains selection process. She comes to us from South Orange-Maplewood High School where she is familiar with the politics of a diverse school district. She has served three different districts, and this is the fourth high school where she has served as principal.”

Familiar with a White Plains High Environment

Yanofsky said Columbia High School where Dr. Robbins now serves, is “so much like White Plains High School,” saying it has “the same degree of diversity and its issues” and is approximately the same size (1,800 students). White Plains High School, as of September, 2001, served 1,763 students.

He described her as bringing to Columbia High School new initiatives, new ways of transitioning students to high school and an innovator in how extra-curricular activities are weaved into the high school environment.

He also expressed admiration for her academic writings, saying, “she is the most published administrator, I’ve ever seen.”



NEW LEADERS IN THE FRONT ROW: Timothy Connors, Superintendent of Schools to be, left, and Dr. Christine Robbins on right at Monday evening Board of Education meeting. Mr. Connors was brought in midway in the Robbins courtship.


Connors Involved in Hire.

Dr. Yanofsky said that once Dr. Robbins had been selected as a candidate that the School Board “involved Tim Connors midway on in interviews,” including making a site visit at Columbia High.

Dr. Linda Ochser, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources told WPCNR that the new principal had applied to the City School District through the second advertisement for the position placed in the New York Times.

Enjoys a Diverse School.

Dr. Robbins told WPCNR she was familiar with White Plains High School through work with students at Columbia High, working with students of White Plains High School on the Minority Achievement Gap issue.

She said was attracted to the White Plains Principal position, because “I really enjoy a diverse school,” and because of her admiration for Dr. Yanofsky’s achievements in the City School District, involvement in the minority achievement gap issue, and the environment Mr. Colavito, the retiring principal, has created at WPHS.

She said she also wanted to move closer to home, having spent nine years in New Jersey school systems, the last three at Columbia High.

She currently lives in South Orange during the week, and makes her home in Stratford, Connecticut, with her husband, Dr. Donald Robbins, a retired school administrator, who has a position at the University of Bridgeport.

She and her husband are parents of two daughters, Melissa, 25, a graduate of the University of Pittsburg, and Heather, 22, a graduate of the University of Connecticut.

She said she was interested in moving to White Plains.

Respect for Mr. Colavito’s legacy.

WPCNR asked how she planned to begin her transition to WPHS. Dr. Robbins said “I’m going to be supportive of Mr. Colavito’s initiatives, get to know the faculty, administrators, and students.”

Dr. Robbins said she had not known Mr. Connors prior to interviewing at White Plains, but felt he was a very dynamic leader, and looked forward to working with him.

She begins at 515 North Street on July 16.

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County Social Services Building Flooded

WPCNR City Evening Star Reporter. From Westchester County Department of Communications. July 1, 2002. 6:00 PM E.D.T.: A broken water pipe at the Westchester County office building at 112 East Post Road downtown, caused the building to be closed to the public, affecting about 950 employees. County officials said they expect to have the six-floor building reopened Tuesday.
Departments and offices affected were: Social Services, Probation, Mental Health, Consumer, Women, and Youth, Veterans, Section 8 of Planning and the Civil Service Employees Association. Depending on their job responsibilities, some employees were relocated to 150 Grand Street.

Others remained at their regular duties “in the field” or were sent home.

The water pipe into the boiler in the basement of the building apparently burst some time over the weekend, causing about 20 feet of flooding in the basement.

The White Plains Fire Department and the county Department of Public Works responded when the water was discovered Monday morning. Damage is being assessed.

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School District Names Dr. Christine M. Robbins to Head WPHS.

WPCNR NewsReel. From Board of Education. June 30, 2002. 11:00 PM: The Board of Education will be asked to approve the appointment of Dr. Christine M. Robbins to replace William Colavito as Principal of White Plains High School. Dr. Robbins is being offered a three year contract extending to July, 2005.

Dr. Robbins comes to WPHS from Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, and the South Orange and Maplewood School District.

An intriguing matchup with White Plains

The District mirrors the White Plains district. It consists of six elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school and serves 5,000 students. (White Plains served 6,708 as of September, 2001). The School Budget of South Orange-Maplewood was approximately $56,000,000 in 1997-98, according to the South Orange Village Township, the latest figures WPCNR has been able to obtain. In contrast, the White Plains City School District will spend $126.9 MM in 2002-2003.

Superb reputation.

Columbia High School is one of the top schools in New Jersey in numbers of Merit Scholar Semifinalists, according to information supplied by South Orange Township. The school is home to one of the two students selected from the state of New Jersy to be PresidentialScholars. Columbia also boasts 3 students who recently were given state awards for high scores on Advanced Placement tests.

In 1997, the Columbia High School was chosen a School of Technology Excellence by the American Technology Honor Society.

The school, similar to White Plains High, is strong in music, winning state and national awards. Its Jazz Band performed at the inauguration of former Governor Christine Todd Whitman and with South Orange jazz artist, Thelonious Monk on the NBC Today in New York Show.

Strong in Math

In 2002, four Columbia High students received perfect individual scores on the New Jersey Math League Competition. In the team competition, Columbia placed third in its division among 80 other schools.

Involved in Successful Freshman Transition to High School Program

Most recently, Columbia HIgh School under Dr. Robbins, working with a district-wide committee has developed a program to transition middle school students more successfully to high school.

According to the South Orange& Maplewood Board of Education Meeting Highlights, February, 2002 issue, “based on research, visits to other school districts, and discussions with district staff, committee recommended creating teams or clusters.”

This program was instituted for 50% of the 01-02 Freshman class and “has shown a measure of success” and all 2002-03 Columbia freshmen will be included in the cluster program.

The South Orange-Maplewood cluster program divided half the freshaman into five clusters for three core subjects, language arts, science, and social studies, according to the Highlights report.

The newsletter describes the teachers in the cluster as having “a common planning time in order to share information about students, develop cluster activities, and plan instructional strategies.”

Dr. Robbins obtained a B.S from Pennsylvania State University. The nominee for Principal holds an M.S. from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a EdD from the University of Virginia.

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Naomi Matusow: An Independent Woman

WPCNR Morning Sun. Exclusive Interview By Shivaun Dipshan. June 29, 2002. 2:30 AM E.D.T.: Assemblywoman Naomi Matusow has proven to be different, from her opposition to the sales tax in White Plains to going slow on the reform of the Rockefeller drug laws but one thing will always stay the same, her.



Assemblywoman Naomi Matusow of the 89th Assembly District
All Photos by WPCNR


Nothing Has Changed

In an interview with WPCNR at her Mount Kisco office Thursday, Matusow said that even though she only represented a small portion of White Plains before redistricting she has always helped the entire city.

“I have never felt that I have represented only a small portion of White Plains,” she said.

She worked for and successfully passed the mandating of a minimum of 10% in building aid for all the schools in White Plains, which was incorporated in the state budget. This aid also extended to computers as well as textbooks. She noted she also worked with Audrey Hochberg to fund a magnet school in White Plains at the beginning of her 10 years in the Assembly.

Matusow said she would make the same effort to represent White Plains, even though she now represents a larger portion.

Helping to Improve all of White Plains

With discretion over state aid money allotted to her district in the budget, Matusow has donated it to many organizations. For example, she arranged $8,000 over the course of a few years to The Loft, a gay and lesbian organization, and $3,000 to My Sisters Place.
She arranged the funding of $17 million towards establishment of the Judicial Training Center, being created at the law school of Pace University, in White Plains.

She secured $125,000 for the Center of Advanced Technology at Pace University. Matusow has also earmarked $25,000 to the Youth Bureau of the City of White Plains.

In order to improve White Plains transportation, she arranged $100, 000 dollars for a transit-related project, which has yet to be determined by the Mayor.

Assemblywoman Matusow most recently has arranged a Multi-Model grant of $400,000 given to make improvements to any transportation system in the City of White Plains. In a coincidence, White Plains Commissioner of Public Works, Joseph Nicoletti, contacted Ms. Matusow by telephone just Thursday afternoon during this interview to thank her for the Multi-Model monies.

Trying to Get More Money from the State

Matusow voiced her concern about White Plains not getting as much state school aid as it should. She said that upstate they get about 60%-70% of school budgets paid by the state opposed to the 5%-10% that White Plains gets. (White Plains will receive approximately $8.8 MM in state school aid in 2002-03 in a school budget for 2002-03 of $126.9MM.)

She said that it was outgoing Superintendent of Schools, Saul Yanofsky, who brought her attention to the need for reform of how state school aid for building facilities was being denied White Plains.



I DON’T BELIEVE YOU LEGISLATE WITH HEADLINES…RESULTS ARE WHAT I STAND BY: Assemblywoman Matusow noting to WPCNR Reporters projects and bills she has sponsored, gotten passed, and how she has shifted state money to White Plains organizations.


“Making sure we get as much aid as possible is my primary position…We ought to be getting more money from the state”, Matusow said. However, she pointed out that the amount of money made available to the White Plains City School District is determined by formula, and suggested that both the school district and the City of White Plains come to her with specific project needs in the schools and the city.

Ms. Matusow said that White Plains stands to get $1 million from Albany by December if the State Senate passes the Assembly bill increasing local aid 10% over the next three years. She said the bill increases aid 4%, 3%, and 3% over the next three years.

“I am as close as my phone,” She said, picking up the telephone on her modest desk.

Bradley’s Political Tactics

Matusow said her opposition to the sales tax has never been a concern and has only been raised now as an issue to benefit Bradley’s campaign.

“I think my opponent has basically poisoned the well,” she said. “Bradley has succeeded in frightening them… this is a convenient hook if he can scare people enough,” she said. “I know why he’s doing it. It’s to further his political aspirations.”

Matusow described Bradley as a “me, too candidate,” who is in agreement with her on the environment, choice, and school aid, with the sales tax being his only issue.



THE ASSEMBLYWOMAN COOLY PICKED APART THE SALES TAX TRAP: Ms. Matusow, who has been opposed every time she has run for her seat, considers the Adam Bradley challenge part of the political process. She feels confident the northern communities in the 89th Assembly District which together comprise 80% of the voters, with White Plains, making up 20%
will turn the tide in her primary contest with Adam Bradley.


Matusow has not changed her stance on the 1/2% sales tax because she believes that having no sales tax can help boost business sales.

She discussed how, in August of last year, Connecticut had no sales tax on clothing and footwear for back to school sales and everybody went there to shop because it was cheaper.

She believes that the White Plains sales tax is driving consumers away.

“We live in a border area… we should enhance shopping and keep the sales tax down,” she said.

Matusow slowly said that she has voted against the sales tax five times, and “never once have I heard from him (Bradley) about it.”

She also assured us that the ½% sales tax would always pass, despite her “no” vote, and that she would never stand in the way of it getting to the Assembly floor for a vote, “I’ve never stymied it, nor would I.”

Finding New Energy Sources

Matusow objects to Mr. Bradley creating the impression she is weak on Indian Point.

Matusow toured Indian Point in January 2001 and, while she believes it should be shut down, she also understands the need for finding an alternative energy source. She also called for it being shutdown in December, 2001.

“I would like to close it but I am also actively pursuing information about alternative energy sources”, she said.

In a press release from December of last year Matusow expressed her concern about the plant being vulnerable to a terrorist attack. She is also concerned about “the safe storage of spent fuel rods, establishment of an appropriate no-fly zone, and military defense of this potential target.”

In the communication, she states that an “effort must be made to encourage investment in the development and utilization of renewable energy sources.”

Sponsors Mandatory Energy Alternative Evaluation Bill.

Matusow has co-sponsored a bill with Senator Victor Leibell, passed by the Assembly May 25th, requiring all public entities to conduct cost and feasibility studies to determine how they could convert to a more efficient form of energy. Matusow said that there is a state agency to fund such feasibility studies for cities and towns, the New York State Energy Research & Development agency.

Most impressed with geothermal energy.

Matusow believes that geothermal energy is the best replacement for nuclear energy. Geothermal energy works by heat pumps that are placed 4 feet below the ground or lower. These pumps stay at 53 degrees so that in the winter if you were trying to heat your house to 70 degrees you would start at 53 degrees instead of 0 degrees. It also works in the summer because the pump removes the heat from indoors. To find out more information about geothermal energy you can go to http://www.eren.doe.gov/RE/geo_basics.html.

Geothermal energy is used at the Westchester Country Club and has been proven to save 50% of energy, according to Ms. Matusow.

/
Matusow will continue advocating geothermal energy and is planning another visit to Indian Point to see the spent fuel rod pools. She feels that even should the plant be closed, the rods will still be there, and is concerned about that ongoing hazard.

Matusow Responds to Bradley’s Drug Law Criticism

Adam Bradley, candidate for the Democratic nomination for State Assembly in the 89th district criticized Matusow for opposing reform of the Rockefeller drug laws.

The drug laws severely punish and often incarcerate first time, non-violent drug offenders instead of offering them treatment.

Bradley sees these laws as being costly because it wrecks young lives, families and wastes tax dollars. He is concerned that incarceration of first time non-violent drug offenders is more costly to taxpayers than rehabilitation programs.

How “violent” is “non-violent” she asks.

Matusow, who is in accordance with the district attorney, thinks that the term “non-violent” is used very casually because rape in the 2nd and 3rd degree is constituted as “non-violent.” Additionally manslaughter in the 2nd degree is seen as “non-violent.”

In a press release sent out on June 14th by the New York State District Attorneys Association, it was stated that “roughly 97% of drug felons sentenced to prison were charged with sale or intent to sell.” Furthermore, according to DCJS figures, “77% of those in prison are second or persistent felony offenders.” These facts illustrate that the typical drug offender in prison is a drug dealer and a repeat offender, according to Matusow.

“I want to make sure that people who are out are not a menace to others. I’m not willing to take that chance. We have to revise some of the law,” she said. “I didn’t feel I could go along with the majority of the assembly.”

She also said that a vast majority of first-time drug offenders (75%) are “plea-bargained” by their defense attorneys into interim programs.

Her Accomplishments

In her 10 years in the Assembly, Matusow has passed 36 bills. Some of them include the assault weapon ban legislation, the fingerprinting and background check for school personnel, which include the mandatory reporting of any sexual abuse to law enforcement.

Her legislation for mandatory reporting of sexual abuse came before knowledge of the present church scandal now sweeping New York State.

“I don’t believe you legislate with headlines…results are what I stand by”, she said.

Another bill she co-sponsored, that recently passed was one that raised the driving age, which is an issue she is deeply concerned about.

Ms. Matusow, after ten years in the Assembly is on the Speaker’s Steering Committee, playing a key role in determining what bills come before the Assembly. In addition, she is a member of the Environmental, Transportation, Economic Development, Job Creation, Local Government, Consumer Affairs and Protection; and Tourism, Arts and Sports Development Committees.

In the end only time will tell if her independent stance will win her another term in office.

Ms. Matusow will be appearing shortly on an edition of White Plains Week, the local city news roundup program on Channel 71.



THE NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY CHAMBER

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Mayor Asks Housing Authority to Back Off, Study Alternatives to HQ Site

WPCNR Evening City Star Reporter. June 27, 2002. 10:30 PM E.D.T.: City Hall is reporting tonight that Mayor Joseph Delfino has personally asked the White Plains Housing Authority to back off their call for the Common Council to vote on their proposed Winbrook site for a new headquarters.
Mayor Delfino has asked the Housing Authority for more time before the Common Council formally votes on a proposal to build a new administrative office building on the grounds of the Winbrook Housing Complex. The Mayor has asked for the postponement in an effort to reexamine alternatives and options to the Housing Authority’s current proposal.

“Before this issue is voted on, I want to be comfortable that all reasonable options have been considered,” Mayor Delfino said. ” I appreciate the housing authority’s willingness to postpone this action”.

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Yanofsky’s contract extended to July 15.

WPCNR NewsReel. June 27, 2002. The Board of Education has voted to extend Dr. Saul Yanofsky’s contract as Superintendent of Schools for two more weeks beyond the expiration of his current contract June 30. Dr. Yanofsky will be serving the district until July 15, when new Superintendent of Schools, Timothy Connors comes on board. No further details are available.

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Little League Field Scoreboard Vandalized

WPCNR NewsReel. From WP Little League.June 27, 2002. The White Plains Little League reports the electronic scoreboard at the new Gedney Field was vandalized sometime over the weekend.

According to the Little League’s report, when the scorebard activated Monday evening, it would not operate. Harvey Sommer, White Plains licensed electrician was called by Little League to investigate.

Sommer identified the problem: someone had cut the main power wires to the scoreboard in the center field area. An official police report was filed.

Anyone with information on who cut the wires is asked to contact the White Plains Police Department.

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Thunder-Boomers Predicted Again for Thursday PM

WPCNR WEATHERSCOOP. From National Weather Service. June 27, 2002. 11:30 A.M. E.D.T.: “Weather Central” is again warning the White Plains area to expect strong thunderstorms this afternoon. The 6-hour thunder-front that deluged White Plains with one inch of rain last evening may be back for an encore.
SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY
905 AM EDT THU JUN 27 2002

THE STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS PLACED PART OF THE TRI-STATE AREA IN A SLIGHT RISK FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS FOR LATER TODAY.

A VERY WARM AND HUMID AIRMASS CONTINUES ACROSS THE REGION. AN APPROACHING DISTURBANCE…PLENTY OF LOW LEVEL MOISTURE AND INSTABILITY WILL SET THE STAGE FOR SCATTERED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS BEGINNING LATE THIS AFTERNOON.

SOME OF THESE STORMS COULD BECOME SEVERE…PRODUCING LARGE HAIL AND OR DAMAGING WINDS. THERE WILL ALSO BE THE THREAT OF TORRENTIAL RAINS WITH SOME OF THESE STORMS WHICH COULD PRODUCE LOCALIZED FLOODING.

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