Who is the person who had the most impact, the most effect on the future of our city and our neighborhoods and way of life in 2001? White Plains CitizeNetReporter has nominated a list of 12 outstanding individuals whose tireless devotion to service has made a big difference in our lives and we present them to you in the first White Plains CitizeNetReporter White Plains Person of the Year Poll.
The following are capsule descriptions of why the individuals deserve your consideration for ” White Plains Person of the Year.” If you wish to point out other individuals for honorable mention, don’t hesitiate to drop us an e-mail.
To vote, point your “indicator” on the empty circle next to the candidate, CLICK, then CLICK on the gray “VOTE” Trigger. We do not expect any “jammed lines.”
Nominations were selected at random, and all achievements are to be lauded and commended for their creativity and response to the community:
First nominated is Reverend Daly Barnes who singlehandedly organized the feeding of over 400 residents of the Winbrook apartments when that complex was shut down because of a rupture of a gasline pipe in August. Reverend Barnes was a quiet hero who organized volunteers, sought contributions and cooked meals for 7 days in his church, feeding the residents of Winbrook.
Second nomination is Kate Brown of the Trust for Public Land who negotiated the first White Plains purchase of significant Open Space ever: the D’Elia property for $1.7 million. She demonstrated a model for the White Plains of the future and would not take “no” for an answer. Her ability to negotiate rationally with a longtime city adversary showed how land use disputes can be resolved for the public good.
Louis Cappelli, “The Super Developer.” It was the winter of 2001, when the dashing developer came on the scene and expressed the desire to purchase the Macy’s property from Tishman-Speyer. He did. Within a month he showed plans for a grand City Center with matching Cappelli Towers breaking the height ceiling in downtown. Within 7 months he had his approvals and is building. His gutsy investment in the downton, arguably turned around the city and is the reason why White Plains is the only city booming in Westchester County.
Frank Williams, Director of the Youth Bureau. Frank takes care of the youth in White Plains who need help, a place to go, a future to build on. He runs the Youth Bureau and has secured by Pauline Oliva’s figures over $600,000 in grants for Youth Bureau programs in the last two years. He negotiated and supervised the move from the DPW garage to Eastview, without a hitch. He has instituted programs for bilingual students and made them feel a part of the city. He is the reason why the youth have a voice in White Plains.
Saul Yanofsky. Dr. Yanofsky is the “hands-on” Superintendent of Schools who will have served the School District for 12 years at the end of his contract in June, 2002. He has overseen the racial balancing of the White Plains Schools. He organized and inititated the technology upgrade of the school system into a model other school systems envy. He has overseen the White Plains reaction and successful negotiation of state mandated test challenges. He will be missed.
Susan Habel:Deputy Commissioner of Planning. Habel is a tireless public servant who oversaw the first revision of the city zoning code since 1982. Her vision of the city and the needs of the city as it proceeds into the 21st century and coordination of codes to preserve neighborhood character and provide for responsible city growth was accomplished in just two years with a minimum of neighborhood and business opposition. Truly a Solomonesque achievement.
John Dolce:Retiring Commissioner of Public Safety. A man who shuns the spotlight, detests publicity, and loves his job as the city’s chief law enforcement officer. A man who looks like he stepped off the set of “Dragnet,” he has developed a police and fire department that operates efficiently, protects the public with a velvet glove, and has earned the respect of the entire community and surrounding towns.
Mayor Joseph Delfino He came into office with the city at a standstill. In four years, his administration has turned that perception around, putting over 1,600 new apartments into construction, two new developments: the Bank Street Commons and City Center, and initiated the “Digital Divide Program,” the “Open Space Initiative,” and brought Fortunoff’s to White Plains. His administration has brought more development and progress to White Plains in four years than any other.
Mike Graessle, Retiring Commissioner of Planning. His 32 years of service to White Plains leave a legacy of projects that changed the city: The Galleria, The Westchester, the development of White Plains as a business center. His smooth style of bringing developers needs together with neighbor and city needs set a model for how development should proceed in a city.
Pauline Oliva Ms. Oliva has throughout her service as a Councilperson, been a voice for the residents of White Plains. She introduced a policy in the city of requiring housing units be set aside for moderate incomes. She has pioneered youth services in White Plains and has long been its voice.
Louis Fortunoff The owner of Fortunoff’s, the upscale jewelry and consumer products store, has followed Louis Cappelli into the White Plains down, giving White Plains a dramatic one-two punch to revitalize its core and anchor its East End as a posh retail destination in Westchester County. Mr. Fortunoff’s faith in White Plains in a tough economic climate is a terrific vote of confidence for the city.
Frederick Bland, The “Super Architect.” Mr. Bland was brought in at the eleventh hour to make the Cappelli Center apartment towers architecturally acceptable to forces opposed to the City Center. Under intense pressure he devised a design, enhanced it and combined the grandeur of Cappelli design with the elegance White Plains sought. His designs created in less than a month answered Common Council objections and clinched the project approval by the Common Council.
Pauline Oliva:Ms. Oliva is retiring after two terms as a councilperson, and has long served White Plains as a neighborhood advocate. She pioneered the moderate income housing percentage rule in White Plains. A good listener, a rational evaluator, and a politically independent representative, she will be missed.