A Lawsuit Gets in the Way of Woodcrest Heights Subdivision

WPCNR Afternoon Tribune: Planning Board Round-up By Shivaun Dipshan. Wednesday, June 19, 2002. 3:00 PM E.D.T.: The Planning Board’s June monthly meeting revealed that plans for the Jillian Estate Subdivision have been put on hold due to the expiration of the builder’s contract with the landowner.

A lawsuit is pending between the applicant and the owner. The applicant is suing the owner because he wants a renewal of the option agreement, which expired in June. Mary Cavallero, Chairperson, said that the board will “adjourn pending advice from the law department.”

The Jillian Estates is a proposal for 14 new homes that would be placed parallel to Sunset Drive. The proposed location is an environmentally sensitive area. Neighbors are saying this construction would change the character of the neighborhood. The developer, Leslie Cohen estimated that the number of tress that would be cut down is 168.

Eric Press, Co-President of Woodcrest Heights Homeowners’ Association has said that the project would create extra traffic and noise.

Worried About Appearance

Seth M. Mandelbaum, the representative for Nextel Communications presented the revised design for the wireless facility they wish to install at White Plains Mall based on the comments of the Planning Board’s last meeting.

Their new design is 8ft lower and sleeker than the original. The actual structure of the design is 10 ft, adding to the height of the penthouse. There would be 12 antennas that would be 4 ft. high by 6 in. wide.

Carlos Roskell, Planning Board Member, voiced his concern about adding more height on the penthouse.

“We did lower the facility as much as possible,” Mandelbaum said.

J. Russell Imlay voiced his concern about the visibility of the facility.

“We want the antennas to look like they belong there…It’s gotta look right,” he said.

Residents, Jim McMahon and Erica Schornstadt, who live in the area voiced their concern about the health threat, esthetic effect, and the over development in their neighborhood.

Cavallero explained that the reason the board was so concerned with this facility as opposed to others was because people can see it from their windows.

The board then asked the representative to come back on July 16th with an architectural design that would be more appeasing to the eye.

Improvements Need to Be Made on Jaffee Subdivision

The Jaffee Subdivision planned at 89 Woodcrest Avenue, also in Woodcrest Heights, was told that treatments of the driveway would need to be examined before the board made any decisions.

“We will need to see a profile of the driveway to make improvements on it, said Susan Habel, Commissioner of Planning. She asked for cut and fill estimates, cross-sections on all 3 properties and driveway profiles.

Habel also said that they would have to do a survey of the adjacent properties to make sure they wouldn’t be affected by blasting.

Further discussion of the subdivision is set for their July 16th meeting.

Plans to visit Armogida Site

The Armogida site, which is planned at 57 Hall Avenue, is an environmentally sensitive site. Residents who live near the planned site complained about serious problems of erosion and sewage. They also said there were not enough parking spaces there already and if they were to improve the street it would only make it worse.

Cavallero, recommended that the board “schedule a time to look at it.” The visit is scheduled for June 29th at 8:30 a.m. and is not open to the public.

Changes Need to Be Made on St. Agnes Antenna Sitings.

Both Omnipoint Communications and Verizon Wireless are requesting permits for antenna facilities to be set up at St. Agnes Hospital, which is located on North Street.

Omnipoint needs these antennas to supply reliable coverage around the surrounding area. They already have existing antennas on the building and are requesting the permission to change them.

According to the representatives, the change will be very minimal, the framework and the zoning divisibility will not change.

The antennas for Verizon are planned for the lower roof of the main building of the hospital.

Cavallero said that she was open to co-location because it “cuts down on extra poles going up.”

She said the board is likely to approve these facilities next month unless there are any objections from the Department of Public Works.

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To Vote on Housing HQ. Overnight Parking Studied. New Soccer Field

WPCNR Common Council Chronicle-Examiner. By John F. Bailey. June 20, 2002. 12:00 PM E.D.T.: The Common Council was shaken up Wednesday night by the White Plains Housing Authority request to put their proposal to build a new headquarters on Fisher Court adjacent to the Bethel Baptist Church to a vote, without considering an alternative site.

The matter of bringing overnight parking to Old Mamaroneck Road was put aside pending a study by a Mayor’s Committee of three councilpersons on hours, technology, and logistics.

Susan Habel delivered yet another weighty set of New York Presbyterian Hospital documents responding to Common Council questions.



PROPOSED SITE OF SOCCER FIELD: The South end of the Saxon Woods Pool Parking Lot is the location for a soccer field Westchester County proposes to build and pay for, and turn over to White Plains to run.
Photo by WPCNR




WORLD CUP LAUNCHING GROUND: The proposed site of the new joint Westchester County/White Plains soccer field venture that awaits Council approval of the Inter Municipal Agreement as soon as it is received from Westchester County. The road is the Southbound entrance to the Hutchison River Parkway.
Photo by WPCNR

Commissioner of Recreation and Parks, Arne Abramowitz announced a new agreement with Westchester County to build a synthetic surface soccer field in Saxon Woods Park.

Housing Authority Shocker.

Anthony Tascione, Executive Director of the Housing Authority, appeared to request the Council to proceed with reviewing the Authority’s proposal to build a new headquarters on Fisher Court. Tascione said it was the site that the Authority could afford, and that recent opposition to the headquarters by residents of Winbrook and the pastor of Bethel Baptist Church was a reversal of previous written support for the project from the Bethel Baptist Church on church stationary, signed by the Secretary of the Church.

He said the authority had reviewed 23 locations and the Fisher Court location made the most sense. He alluded to the fact that the Authority had received positive acceptance of the location up until the eleventh hour, when opposition suddenly surfaced.

Hockley is Hot.

Councilman Glen Hockley was aghast that the Housing Authority was refusing to look at other locations for the projects, in consideration that housing authority executives had told him that they would look at other sites, after a tour of the area with him. He was quite upset about it, shaking his head, reddening, in obvious irritation with Mr. Tascione for not having been at the June Common Council meeting public hearing on the project, “after listening to the public, listening to the ministers, hearing the opposition, the waste of our tax dollars, that they should sit back and look at other opportunities (to build or rent elsewhere).”

Councilperson Rita Malmud, pursing her lips said, “I’m kind of surprised.”
The Mayor said Larry Sallee, Chairman of the Housing Authority had personally contacted him, and asked to have the headquarters matter on the July Common Council agenda.

Tascione politely responded, “The Housing Authority will be in attendance (in July), and they will be able to respond. With all due respect, we met with the residents over the years. I have letters published supporting the location. The authority has done what it can. There’s always some level of opposition to any project. There’s never going to be a consensus.”

Hockley, growing red with irritation, said. “That’s a bit insensitive.”

Benjamin Boykin, Council President, added, “We’ve seen letters of endorsement refuting the project.”

Tascione said he had a letter from the Secretary to the Minister of Bethel Baptist Church, and the previous minister in support of the location. “We take these letters in good faith,” he said. Reverend Daly Barnes of Bethel Baptist Church was not available for comment, nor was Mr. Tascione this morning to see who signed what letter and when. But, given Mr. Barnes impassioned complaints about the project at the public hearing, the church has changed its mind.

Overnight parking not as simple as it seems.

Councilman William King’s crusade to bring overnight parking to specific areas of White Plains in a pilot program, met another round of opposition from Parking Authority Director, Albert Moroni, Commissioner of Public Works Joseph Nicoletti, and Mayor Delfino, when a slightly amended measure was submitted by Mr. King.

Mr. Moroni noted the complexity of deciding how to meter the spaces on the targeted area, on Old Mamaroneck Road between Shapham Place and Mamaroneck Road. He gave the Council the choice of individual meters or a central electronic metering facility. At this point, the selling of onstreet overnight parking permits has been discarded as unwieldy, and the thinking of Mr. Moroni at this point is for a time-sensitive metered system.

Mr. King contacted WPCNR to tells us that overnight street parking permits is not dead, however it requires a home rule request to be approved by the state legislature to execute it.

Free Parking During Day Would be Eliminated.

Mr. King acquiesced to Mr. Moroni’s suggestion that to be fair, free parking during daylight hours, 9 AM to 6 PM on the apartments section of Old Mamaroneck Road approximately in front of Surrey-Strathmore apartments from Bryant Avenue on down to Mamaroneck Avenue, would be eliminated. Mr. King contacted us to point that there already is paid parking during the day from Strathmore Place down to Mamaroneck Avenue.

Nicoletti Quietly Worries About Snow Removal.

Commissioner Joseph Nicoletti said the overnight parking on that street would definitely hamper snow removal. He pointed out that parking on both sides of the street would prevent ploughs from getting through, and that freezing after a snowfall, when the street could not be ploughed properly could create a dangerous condition. He recommended the overnight parking be suspended during the winter months.

Council Enters Bizarre World of Parking Management.

Mayor Delfino, who lives in an apartment building, said the Council was playing with fire, because if overnight parking was granted in one area, then Battle Hill or Fisher Hill with similar needs would want it too. He said those streets in those neighborhoods are so narrow it would make it very difficult for fire trucks and snow plow vehicles to get through.

Delfino asked Mr. King, who wants overnight parking?

King said “People want it here. I’m getting it mostly from young mothers who have young children who don’t want to walk a long distance to their cars (in assigned spaces).”

Delfino drew on his long knowledge of White Plains, saying in the 1970s there was a one-way issue in the North end of town and it became what he called a “Hatfield-McCoy” issue, saying other areas of town would want overnight parking, too and “it would change the face of White Plains.”

King said several times that New York City gets along with overnight parking.

When the council began to grapple with actual hours of parking, when parking would not be allowed on one side of the street or the other, and got into disagreements as to when there would be no parking allowed in order that the street be cleaned, the Mayor rose up in his seat and said it was up to the council, “whatever it is, work it out.”

Mayor says “Boyfriends and girlfriends are parking overnight,”

The Mayor bemused by the council predicament, voiced his opinion that the only persons who now park overnight and get tickets are boyfriends and girlfriends parking overnight as guests of residents in the apartments.

Robert Greer, grinning, said, “Well, we can’t allow that.”

Mr. Moroni said 104 spaces could be created on the stretch of Old Mamaroneck Road, between Shapham Place and Mamaroneck Avenue, with either single space electronic meters or a central location electronic space system, similar to city garages. He said parking would be 25 cents for two hours between 6PM and 6 AM, with parking not allowed from 6 AM to 9 AM, and regular day rates taking affect at 9 AM of 25 cents for 40 minutes.

The Mayor pointed out those persons who do not move their cars at 6 AM would receive tickets. He said that, “I’m not taking those calls (from those ticket recipients).” Mr. King contacted us to point out the Mayor said this assuming that there would be street cleaning one day a week between 6 AM and 9 AM. Later in the meeting, Mr. King suggested street-cleaning be scheduled for later in the morning.

With this, the Mayor said he was going to form a subcommittee of three councilpersons to discuss the overnight parking implementation, because “this has severe implications for the future of the city.”

Abramowitz Announces County/City Soccer Field Construction

Arne Abramowitz appeared to announce to the Council that Westchester County is willing to pay for and construct a synthetic turf soccer field with lights on the Saxon Woods Park property adjacent to the Saxon Woods Pool Parking Lot, nestled up alongside the entrance ramp to the Hutchinson River Parkway.

Abramowitz said the City of White Plains would have full control over the management of the field, deciding on what teams use the field. He said White Plains recreation teams would be allowed to use it. County residents would have to be allowed to use it, but White Plains would have sole discretion. He noted that if a team had three persons from outside the city, they were a county team. He also said there would be no “pick-up” soccer games allowed. Use of the field would be by permit to teams only. White Plains would set the field-use fees and keep the revenues, with the city signing a 5 year lease with 5-year option for renewal.

All that is needed is for the Council to vote acceptance of an Inter Municipal Agreement between the city and the county. Corporation Counsel Edward Dunphy said the actual copy of the IMA has not been received from the county yet. Each member of the council agreed enthusiastically this was a “win-win” for the city, as Mayor Delfino put it.

Abramowitz said the agreement came about when the county asked cities to recommend sites for soccer fields about 18 months ago. Abramowitz said White Plains recommended Saxon Woods. The county has selected Tibbetts Park in Yonkers, a site in Port Chester and one in New Rochelle, and the Saxon Woods site.

As soon as the city approves the IMA, Abramowitz said, the county would send out Requests for Proposals, and were hoping to have it built by spring 2002.

Oh, Just a Few More Documents.

Susan Habel gave the Common Council some more “beach reading” this weekend, a document supplied by the hospital answering Councilpersons’ questions on the Final Environmental Impact Statement. Habel said the rest of the document would be delivered today and Friday. Tonight the Common Council resumes the Gerard Talks, session four, discussing their FEIS concerns in the Mayor’s Conference Chamber at 5:30 PM.

Habel said the document which was inch-and-a-half thick delivered information on 1.)The types of research now being undertaken by affiliates of the hospital. 2.) Ancillary Use. 3.) Biosafety Level Three activities. 4.)Information on the Safety Officer overseeing research. 5.) Information from Commissioner Nicoletti. 6.) Number of trees endangered. 7.) Student programs 8.) Research Policy Guidelines and Control.

Nicoletti Announces Beginning of Post Road Improvements

The long-awaited improvements to the West Post Road medians and sidewalks will begin shortly, according to Joseph Nicoletti, who announced that Westchester County is forwarding $1.1 million to the city to pay for the work. This is money the county has long owed to the city, for the sanitary sewer work the city performed at its own expense ($400,000), the only city besides one to do so, to comply with state standards, Nicoletti said.

Work will begin by demolishing the medians first, and he expected work to be completed by late September. Residents can expect 56 trees to be planted on medians and on sidewalks, and 30 sidewalk street lights installed.

The council voted 7-0 to pass the ordinance authorizing the agreement. Mr. Nicoletti also announced a $750,000 project to reconstruct a water line in the Northwest section of the city.

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West Egg comes to White Plains: Fortunoffs Hold Ground-Breaking

WPCNR Daily Mirror. By John F. Bailey. June 19, 2002. 3:30 PM E.D.T.:A touch of class from Long Island’s Gold Coast arrived in White Plains Wednesday morning when Louis Fortunoff and two generations of his family presented a ground-breaking ceremony on the former Saks Fifth Avenue site for “The Source at White Plains,” the new Fortunoff complex about to rise at the corner of Bloomingdale Road and Maple Avenue.



TWO GENERATIONS OF FORTUNOFFS officially join the White Plains Family at the official groundbreaking for The Source at White Plains Wednesday. Louis Fortunoff is at far left, his sister Andrea, architect of the project is to his left.All Photos by WPCNR


Mr. Fortunoff, in comments to WPCNR said he has “more interest (from potential retail tenants) than we have space,” and said he expected the complex to be fully rented when it is scheduled to open in fall of 2003, or 480 days from today, as his cousin, Isidore Mayrock said.

Mr. Fortunoff made his remarks to an assemblage of suited and stylish men and women enjoying an elegant buffet, under a great white tent, being served by tuxedoed servants and chefs, more suited to the mansion lawns of legendary West Egg, than a bluff above a busy construction site.



LOUIS FORTUNOFF PRAISES DELFINO EFFORT: Mayor Joseph Delfino, to Mr. Fortunoff’s right, Andy Spano, County Executive, right, and Isidore Mayrock of Fortunoff’s at Wednesdays’ Ground-Breaking.


$92 Million Project. 700 New Jobs. $9 million A Year in Sales Taxes.
Mr. Fortunoff welcomed Mayor Joseph Delfino and County Executive Andy Spano, saying “The Source at White Plains” was the culmination of a 20 year dream of bringing Fortunoffs to Westchester. He acknowledged that the September 11 attack, there was some doubt that the project would continue, but he said his $92 million project is “my family’s small contribution to that (recovery) effort.”



FLOOR PLAN OF NEW COMPLEX: The Source at White Plains will feature street level retail with four floors of Fortunoffs rising above it. Louis Fortunoff said he is in ongoing negotiations with prospective tenants at the present time and has more interest in the complex than he has space to rent.


Mayor Delfino “Walks the Walk as Well As Talks the Talk”

Mr. Fortunoff said “without White Plains Mayor Joseph Delfino’s leadership, energy, commitment and vision we would not be standing here today…He walks the walk as well as talks the talk. As a retailer with five existing stores I can truthfully say that Joe Delfino has written the book on how a community can effectively create positive and sustained economic growth.”

Isidore Mayrock, Mr. Fortunoff’s cousin, said in his remarks, “We felt so confident about White Plains when we began discussions with the Mayor over the future of Fortunoff in Westchester. Some suggested we go to the suburbs of Washington, D.C., or Atlanta. But here in White Plains we found a City Hall that focused on solutions. We found professionals who anticipated our needs and resolved our questions in a manner that reflected how we do business.”

Mayor Delfino Praises Mr. Fortunoff’s Father.

Mayor Delfino, taking the podium, said, “This is a great day. I want this to be the most successful store in the family. Your father would be proud.” Delfino praised Mr. Fortunoff’s father’s “belief in the retail business,” and promised to help Mr. Fortunoff make this store the “finest retail complex in Westchester County.”



COMMON COUNCIL DEDICATION PRAISED. The Mayor and the Common Council, including former Councilpersons Larry Delgado and Pauline Oliva pitch in to shovel a ceremonial shovel of dirt. The Mayor praised the Council which included Mr. Delgado and Ms. Oliva for their support of the project and long hours in reviewing and seeing the benefits of the project to the city.


County Executive Praises Working Relationship with The Mayor.

County Executive Andy Spano, in his remarks, said, “I can’t wait for Joe’s (Delfino’s) Renaissance Triangle, at the center of Westchester County. Having Joe as a partner has been great. We’ve been working well together for twenty years now.”

Mr. Spano furnished support for the Fortunoff project through the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency.



TOUCH OF CLASS: Guests at the ground-breaking enjoyed a sumptuous buffet of culinary delights, served by tuxedo-clad servants, and elegant chefs reminiscent of a 1920s Gold Coast party, setting a new standard in ground-breaking refreshments.

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Bradley Criticises Matusow’s Position on Rockefeller Drug Laws

WPCNR Afternoon Tribune. From Greg Brennan, of Adam Bradley’s Press Office.June 19, 2002.On the steps of the White Plains City Court building today, Adam Bradley, candidate for State Assembly in the 89th District, criticized his opponent, Assemblywoman Naomi Matusow, for her vote the other night opposing reform of the Rockefeller drug laws.
Bradley voiced concern over Matusow’s failure to support reform of a set of what he described as, out-dated, draconian drug laws that severely punish and often incarcerate first time, non-violent drug offenders instead of offering them access to treatment. According to Bradley, the current reforms provide for drug courts, which have been successful in other states, as well as training for judges who handle drug related offenses.

At the press conference, Bradley stressed the need for lawmakers to show their support for treatment and rehabilitation options over incarceration for first time non-violent drug offenders. According to Bradley, the Rockefeller drug laws have been costly in terms of wrecked young lives, families and tax dollars wasted.

Bradley expressed dismay over Ms. Matusow’s refusal to support reform of these laws and called on her to re-consider her position and join other Democratic Westchester State Assembly Members and many criminal law experts in supporting reform of these laws.

In reiterating the need to reform the Rockefeller drug laws, Bradley voiced support for many of the measures which his opponent just voted against. They include:

• Treatment and rehabilitation over incarceration for first time, non-violent drug offenders.
• Drug courts for first time, non-violent offenders.
• Training for judges in handling drug offenses.
• Accountability and responsibility in rehabilitation programs and tough measures for those who do not comply with the terms of their rehabilitation.
• Effective rehabilitation measures for first time, non-violent drug offenders, which save tax dollars.

Bradley indicated his concern that incarceration of first time non-violent drug offenders is vastly more costly to tax payers than rehabilitation programs.

Bradley closed his press conference by voicing his disappointment with his opponent’s position and called on her to re-consider her opposition to the recent Assembly Bill reforming the Rockefeller drug laws. He also stated that the Bradley campaign intends to show continued leadership, not only on this issue, but on a host of other issues affecting the 89th Assembly District.

Bradley was joined, and received the support of several members of the White Plains City Council: Council President Ben Boykin, Councilman Glenn Hockley and Councilwoman Rita Malmud and Criminal Law Professor Audrey Rogers of Pace University School of Law.

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Council Takes Up Overnight Parking Wednesday; Gerrard Talks IV Continue; PB Meet

WPCNR Common Council Chronicle-Examiner. Special to WPCNR. June 18, 2002: The Common Council will meet in two work sessions this week. On Wednesday evening at 6, they will consider the issue of introducing overnight street parking in the Highlands neighborhood.

Thursday evening at 5:30 PM, the New York Presbyterian Hospital Gerrard Talks continue, with the Council receiving more advice and counsel from their environmental lawyer, Michael B. Gerrard, of Arnold & Porter, on their impending acceptance of the Final Environmental Impact Statement on the hospital’s Biomedical-Proton Accelerator proposal for the Hospital property.

Tonight the Planning Board meets at 8 PM in City Hall to discuss among other items, two controversial projects in Woodcrest Heights.

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WPW Friday: Tour Indian Point with John Bailey. Latest Hospital Council S

WHITE PLAINS WEEK WATCH. June 17, 2002: WPW, the city news round-up show on Public Access Channel 71 will take you on an exclusive tour of Indian Point, the nuclear energy plant Friday night. Viewers will also get the latest info on the Police Commissioner Search, and the alternatives that have been suggested by the White Plains Planning Department for building the NYPH biomedical center buildings within the historical district on the hospital property.
John Bailey hosts the show with Alex Philippidis of Westchester County Business Journal and Jim Benerofe of SuburbanStreet.com. Show is on Cable Channel 71 at 7:30 PM Friday evening.

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Mayor Introduces Dr. Frank Straub to Succeed John Dolce

WPCNR City Hall Herald-Statesman. Press Statement From The Mayor’s Office. City Hall. June 14, 2002. 11:00 PM E.D.T. The following is the text of Mayor Joseph Delfino’s remarks introducing his nominee for Commissioner of Public Safety, Dr. Frank Straub, made today at a news conference at City Hall to the media.



MISSION: WHITE PLAINS: Assistant Commissioner for Internal Training of the NYPD Counter Terrorism Bureau, Dr. Frank Straub, left, listens to Mayor Joseph Delfino’s announcement to the press at noon Friday. Commissioner Straub awaits interviews with the Common Council over the next two weeks.
Photo by WPCNR


For the past several months, we have been conducting a national search to fill the vacancy left by former Commissioner John Dolce. Over 90 candidates from 13 states applied for the job with roughly 15 individuals that we interviewed. I am very proud of the fact that this City has attracted the best and the brightest in the field of public safety and I believe it is a testament to the terrific job that our Public Safety Department has been doing. It certainly says a lot about the wonderful reputation that our department has and there is no question that it is one of the best public safety departments in the state of New York.

In searching for a candidate to head up the department, my primary concern has been that the department’s new leader be someone who understands the vital role that the department plays in preserving the quality of life in White Plains and who has the administrative background to lead an organization with roughly 400 employees.

I was also looking for someone who has the experience and vision to manage a department that will be facing new challenges in these uncertain times.

I am very proud to announce that I will be submitting to the Common Council the nomination of Frank Straub for the position of Commissioner of Public Safety.

For almost two decades, Commissioner Straub has dedicated his life to protecting public safety at the local, state, and federal levels. He currently serves in the New York City Police Department’s Counter Terrorism Bureau as Assistant Commissioner for Internal Training, where he is part of an elite group dedicated to developing and implementing the department’s counter terrorism strategies.

Prior to that, he was the chief administrator for the NYPD’s office of training, which had a $25 Million budget and a staff of 750. Under his leadership, Commissioner Straub graduated a police recruit staff of over 1,300, expanded the civilian board of visitors, and developed and implemented the department’s first responder program in the aftermath of September 11th.

He is also Co-Chair for the Metropolitan Area Terrorism Committee’s training subcommittee where he is working with the New York City Fire Department and other agencies to develop joint training programs for emergency responders to chemical, biological, and radioactive terrorist events.

Prior to his work in the NYPD, he served as Executive Deputy Inspector General in the Office of New York State Inspector General, where he led a team of investigators, auditors and attorneys charged with investigating corruption and fraud in New York State agencies.

Before that, Commissioner Straub spent almost ten years working for the United States Department of Justice. He began as a special agent, working his way up to second in command of the New York Field office, which is responsible for the Nation’s Northeast Corridor, rising to the rank of special agent in charge of the Inspector General’s Office of Research and Policy Analysis, an elite unit that conducts research on misconduct in the Department of Justice. While with the Department of Justice, Commissioner Straub administered an agency-wide accountability and performance system, and developed a nationwide anti-corruption program.

Early in this federal law enforcement career, he served in both the United States Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service and the United States Naval Investigative Service.

Commissioner Straub holds a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the City University of New York, a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from St. John’s University.

He also teaches graduate courses focusing on the investigation of public corruption, ethics, and community policing at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He has been published in several local and national publications focusing on various public safety issues.

Commissioner Straub is also a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, serving on the Police Investigative Operations Committee, and a member of the American Academy of Professional Law Enforcement.

Commissioner Straub, a twenty-year resident of Westchester County, lives in Cortlandt Manor with his wife and his two children.

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Mayor Taps Frank Straub, NYPD Counter Terrorism Expert for Public Safety Commish

WPCNR Daily Mirror. By John F. Bailey. June 14, 2002. 1:00 PM E.D.T.UPDATED 6:00 pm E.D.T.: Mayor Joseph Delfino named Dr. Frank Straub, 43, currently Assistant Commissioner for Internal Training in the New York City Police Department’s Counter Terrorism Bureau as his choice for Commissioner of Public Safety for the City of White Plains.



DR. FRANK STRAUB, NYPD
Commissioner of Public Safety Nominee

Photo by WPCNR

Straub previously was Chief Administrator of the NYPD’s Office of Training where he managed a $25 Million Budget and supervised 750 persons. He also served in the Department of Justice, as a Special Agent, and rose to the rank of Special Agent in charge of the Inspector General’s Office where he was responsible for productivity of a nationwide staff.

Dr. Straub will be interviewed by the Common Council, according to the Mayor. As of Friday evening at 6 PM George Gretsas reports no dates have been set yet for councilmembers to interview the nominee, but the Mayor’s office was working on it.

Dr. Straub’s appointment is subject to the Council’s approval. The Mayor hoped to have the Straub appointment on the July 1 Common Council agenda.

Straub is also Co-Chair for the Metropolitan Area Terrorism Commitee, working with the New York City Fire Department to develop joint training programs for emergency responders to chemical, biological and radioactive terrorist events.
(More to Come)

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CNA Tours Indian Point: Radiation Cloud Procedures Explained.

WPCNR Daily Mirror. By John F. Bailey. June 13, 2002. 12:00 E.D.T.: Seven members of the White Plains Council of Neighborhood Associations toured the Entergy Indian Point atomic power plant Tuesday, and saw for themselves the security and emergency steps to be taken in the event of a possible terrorist strike at the Buchanan plant.



CNA REPS IN INDIAN POINT EMERGENCY OPS FACILITY: Jim Steets of Entergy demonstrating how the Wind Solar Map with its 10 mile mapping of the area surrounding Indian Point, predicts the direction of any radiation releases. He is shown explaining the operation of the WSM to CNA delegates, L to R, John Vorperian, Riena Kaplow, Ingrid and Carl Barrera Tuesday at Indian Point. Also observing were Joel Rudikoff and Peter Katz.
All Photos by WPCNR.


CNA CO-President Carl Barrera, Joel Rudikoff, Ingrid Barrera, Peter Katz, John Vorperian, and this reporter were escorted into the depths of the Indian Point plant by Entergy spokesman, Jim Steets, Tuesday. We saw the facilities often characterized as vulnerable to terrorist attack by prominent politicians and a threat to the public by environmentalists.
In His Sights.

I was told by Mr. Barrera to enter the complex by a side entrance where we would meet our guide. However, I drove up to the main entrance just to check it out, to be met by concrete barriers and an obvious military presence. I could feel the security personnel’s eyes on my car as I very carefully and slowly turned my Camry around — very carefully.

As I drove down Bleakley Avenue South in the direction of where I thought the side entrance was, I was met by another security vehicle of the National Guard. I had stopped my car to get my bearings on the directions, and the Guardsman riding atop a camouflaged HumVee, locked onto me with his green scope giving me a no-nonsense, once-over. Being in his cross-hairs, gave me a very unnerving feeling.

When Indian Point Checks You In, They Check You In.

In order to go on this tour, I had to be precleared in advance by the Indian Point Communications Office with a series of paper procedures. My name was on the list, which the entrance Guard checked on my visit. An identification procedure was conducted. I was told where to park and exactly where to proceed on the site.
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Evacuation Has 10-Hour Lead Time.

Before I could join the CNA group, I was furnished with new credentials, and a second set of identification procedures prepared on the spot so plant security could keep track of me on the site. Only after 45 minutes was I escorted into the Indian Point Emergency Operations Facility situation room. Jim Steets, our guide was looming over the Wind Solar Map, where the 10 miles surrounding Indian Point is rendered on a screen.



WIND SECTOR MAP identifies towns and areas threatened by any airborne radiation leaks. There is an estimated minimum of ten hours leadtime before communities can expect to have any radiation leak reach them, according to Steets.


Steets said, the Wind Solar Map is used to predict what areas might be affected should any “plume of radiation” escape Indian Point’s reactor. The Map uses wind direction and windspeed as a guide, to advise Westchester County Executive Andy Spano of communities the projected path of any radiation drift.

“The facility is staffed with people with a variety of tasks, whose job is to get all the information they can about the status of the plant, the condition of the plant, and the potential for releases,” Steets told me. “We can measure, with great certainty and accuracy exactly what a release would entail. Then we can make a recommendation, which we’ve done in drills, to the county, one or four, or all four counties (Dutchess, Orange, Westchester, Putnam), that there’s a potential for release, potentially in X amount of time, and you ought to evacuate certain areas.”

A Calculated Reaction.

“Then the County Executive can look at it and say, well, actually, we’ve already evacuated those areas, or, thanks for the advice, we’ll take it under advisement. It’s also, really his decision to make. He makes those decisions based on what’s going on at the plant, and what advice he can get from his own experts in a variety of fields, his own health department, his own advisors.”

The impression this reporter received is that, contrary to evacuation plan critics’ portraying miles of jammed highways and panic in the streets, there was no need for a “War of the Worlds” panic evacuation, given the leadtime to analyze any radiation release.

Slow Rate of Drift Means No Rush. No Panic.

Steets said that the wind speed and direction determines how fast any radiation emission, that might be brought about by a leak from the domes from any possible enemy attack. He said the slow speed of radiation cloud drift allows the county a lot of time to mobilize any necessary evacuation in an orderly manner, (“We have capability to evacuate areas”). Any shift in wind direction disperses and deconcentrates any radiation cloud, Steets said, and does not spread it in concentrated form to other areas.

Within 2 miles, Cloud Dissipates.

Steets said that any radiation escape from either dome in the form of radioactive steam, loses its concentration quickly: “The concentration of radiation diminishes so much after two miles, that areas 5 and 7 miles away you don’t have to evacuate.”

Steets said that this conclusion was “based on science.”

Steets added that it was Entergy’s opinion that the Westchester County Evacuation Plan was workable, citing the ten hours of lead time before any release of radiation would spread significantly.

Talking to Anybody.

Leading us out of the Emergency Operations Facility into a conference room, Steets said, “We are meeting with as many people as possible. If this (close Indian Point movement) is rooted in fear, all we can do is tell you where we’re coming from. We’re not afraid of this plant.”

(WPCNR Will Continue “Inside Indian Point”)

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King Komments:Overnight Onstreet Parking; Crosswalks; Commuting.

King Komments By Councilman William King. June 11, 2002.:After a short absence, Councilman William King resumes his timely comments on White Plains issues. Today he comments on the growing clamour for on-street overnight parking.
Noticed in Brooklyn Heights recently where they have weekly street cleaning that cars which can park all day and all night on one side of the street cannot park on that side of the street during a 4-hour period on Tuesdays during the day. This is the only time cars are allowed to park across the street on the other side. This seemed very easy to follow.

Also, re snow removal, what do you think NYC does when it snows? Where are people in the city supposed to park? Answer? The City of NY doesn’t deal with it and they just plow in the traffic lanes, not the parking lanes. People shovel themselves out and the snow eventually melts. That’s life.

What does the WPPA do in its parking lots where people are allowed to park overnight and around the clock? Do people who park there have to clear out so the lot can be completely cleared of snow? If so, where do they go? Does WPPA ticket them and tow them if they don’t move?

I would like to finally finalize a resolution and/or ordinance by the end of this week, well before our work session next Wed. I will look at Bob’s proposed ordinance from the early 90’s. But this is not rocket science – let’s all just think this one through and do it for action/referral at the July meeting.

On Crosswalks

I was just in Salem, Mass. and surrounding towns over the weekend. Salem’s downtown, like those of the surrounding towns, is criss-crossed all over the place with sidewalks painted green which are often also highlighted with signs, like Connecticut’s, that are red, yellow and white and say “Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk.”

And people do stop much more often than I see people stopping or even slowing down at our minimally marked (and fading) crosswalks with the small white signs with black lettering that say “Yield to Pedestrians in Crosswalk on your half of road.”

We could at least cross hatch our crosswalks to make them visible, as I have seen done in Baltimore, and maybe add a “splash” of different colors here and there just to be different.

Are you lobbying the state for changing the “state standard” sign which is very ambiguous and not too eye-catching? I hope you are – New York (and White Plains) is way behind neighboring states in this department.

Commuting and Traffic Accident Suggestions

This idea sprung from a short email exchange, I had where one said you might try to go to work using the bus instead of the car at least once a week. Also, I received an email suggesting another idea about reinstituting that Highlands shuttle bus.

And I received a call from Jim Benerofe telling me about an op-ed piece he just put up on his website about there being too much traffic in White Plains.

There have been more and more traffic accidents in White Plains and the recent horrific crash at Main and Mamaroneck was only the most tragic example. Traffic is on a lot of people’s minds a good deal of the time. As traffic never seems to decrease anywhere, it also never subsides from our consciousness.

So let’s at least try to address the issue in a more visible way. Bike Route signs was (or will be, when they actually appear) a start. The MTA and the Westchester Beeline System are both members of a national organization called APTA, the American Public Transit Association, that is pretty lame. They have an annual “Try Transit Week” every year probably around Earth Day that mostly goes un-noticed. Why do it only one week a year?

In White Plains, why not publicize it on streetlight banners and banners across the street on the major thoroughfares leading into town the way Berkeley, California does, with a different message along the same theme with each banner?

The banners could say the following messages, as briefly as possible, “Try the Bus at least once a week,” “Leave the car at home at least once a week,” “Ride a bike to work once a week,” “Help to lower air pollution,” “Help reduce U.S. oil imports,” etc.

Too many events and initiatives are not well enough publicized. Maybe corporate sponsors could pay for the banners – that Metropool guy who spoke at the last Common Council meeting maybe has funding or could make the contacts with the corporations.

Let’s be more progressive about getting people out of their cars and being a national model. Let’s keep doing things to be a more livable community.

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