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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Uncategorized

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

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

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

Maybe, maybe not.

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

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

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

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

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

What does having an interim councilperson mean?

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

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

Issues at large

Issues Dunphy is reported to be grappling with are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other Council action last Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

On the eve of the DEIS Public Hearing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calling Movers and Shakers

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

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

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

Proton therapy gaining momentum.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delgado Attorney Talks

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

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

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

Two weeks and counting.

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

Theory of How the Judges are Reviewing

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

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

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

What a finding for Hockley Seems to Say

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

Delgado action based on Patchogue 1992 jammed voting machine case

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

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

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

An eerie sense of deja vu.

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

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

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

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

The Appellate Court remedy in 1992:

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

Form of election in question

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What would this mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Councilperson of the Week

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

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

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

Posted in Uncategorized

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Reduce the amount of time in the shower.

3. Fill the bathtub halfway only.

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Uncategorized

Indian Point Shuts Down. Explanation Sought.

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

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

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

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Choose the 2001 CNR White Plains “Person of the Year”

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.

Posted in Uncategorized

Big Tent to Go Up Monday for New Year’s Eve Mayor’s Bash

Mark Scuyler of White Plains Downtown reports reservations moving briskly for the Mayor’s New Year’s Eve Street Party “under the big top.”
White Plains socialites should reserve promptly if they want to bring in New Year’s with the Mayor Monday evening.
Schuyler advised WPCNR that tent technicians will begin assembling the “Big Top Tent” on Mamaroneck Avenue between Main Street and Martine Avenues on Monday at 8 in the morning (when Mamaroneck between Main and Martine will be closed to vehicular traffic), in preparations for the 9 AM party Monday evening.

The Mayor’s Vision

White Plains Mayor Joseph M. Delfino announced, “The City of White Plains has much to celebrate in the New Year. The exciting new development of the City Center site builds optimism and pride in the Downtown and all of White Plains. The Downtown is already a destination for entertainment and fine dining. The addition of new retailers, new residents, a new performing arts space and movie theaters confirms that White Plains is alive and thriving.”

Splendid Coffee Shop Proprietor to Chair the Ball

The Chairman of the Gala, Gus Manessis reports that “The City of White Plains’ sponsored count-down and Fireworks has captured the public’s imagination. People are excited and pleasantly surprised at the whole idea. Imagine, being able to celebrate New Year’s right near our own homes and businesses. Companies and local businesses are stepping up to make this a success. The City of White Plains has helped us with the Gala at every step.”
The BID processing reservations now. “It’s terrific!”

Mr. Schuyler reported Wednesday morning that “It’s terrific! We’re still processing orders for the last two days,” when asked how the response was building. Only 300 swingers will be allowed in the “Big Tent,” which will be heated and furnished with nightclub tables, buffet, bandstand and dance floor. Free party hats and noisemakers will be furnished. Schuyler suggests you phone in reservations now at 328-5166.

Look at all you get without leaving town

For just $75 per person, folks wishing a New Year’s Celebration without leaving town gain entry into the “Big Top Tent” complete with nightclub tables, bar, buffet, and entertainment. Mr. and Ms. White Plains can turn back the clock, dance to musicians of the Count Basie touring swing band. indulge in an elegant buffet feast catered by Sam’s of Gedney Way, and enjoy beer, wine and champagne.

Cappelli’s City Center Combines with Louis Fortunoff to Launch New Year’s Eve Fireworks

This is the first year that fireworks will fill the skies of downtown White Plains on New Year’s Eve. During previous years, the building landscape of the city did not allow for launching fireworks, due to the lack of open space. With the demolition of the former Macy’s store now complete, Cappelli’s City Center site provides the ideal location.

Louis Fortunoff, whose East End Fortunoff’s complex was approved just last week is contributing $10,000 to pay for the fireworks display and the other Louis in town, Louis Cappelli is providing the City Center excavation for a launching site.

Cappelli organization provides launch pad

“We are thrilled to be a part of the New Year’s Eve festivities in downtown White Plains this year, “ said Bruce Berg, Executive Vice-President of Cappelli Enterprises. “We can’t think of a better way to bring in the New Year than by having fireworks launched from the City Center site.”

The City Throws a Party. Ball to Drop at Midnight with Fireworks Display

The City of White Plains and White Plains Downtown, the Business Improvement District management association are partnering this year to provide a New Year’s Eve countdown and fireworks display. The event is designed to bring residents together to celebrate both the New Year and rebirth of downtown White Plains.

An official “2002 Ball” will be dropped from atop a White Plains Fire Department Hook N Ladder apparatus at midnight. Actual plans for the launch have not been released.

Residents not attending the party are invited to mingle

City Hall envisions residents not attending the party in the “Big Tent,” (revelers in the heated tent will be held at 300) coming downtown about midnight, filling the center of downtown to witness the ball drop and enjoy the fireworks.

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On the Night Before Christmas…Holiday Greetings from WPCNR

WPCNR wishes all of our loyal readers and citizens a joyous and fulfilling holiday, and dedicates this “takeoff” to good old City Hall:

On the night before Christmas…

And all through White Plains

Not a Developer was Stirring

Not even a Cappelli Crane Whirring…

The Council was home snuggled up with their DEIS

Visions of Proton Accelerators blasting their brains

A glow of half moon illuminated the City Center excavation

Larry Delgado and Glen Hockley dreamed of Judges’ vindication

As Planning Commissioner-to-be Susan Habel sat down at her table

To draw up plans for her grandiose new Planning Department Ediface.

When up on City Hall there sprung such a clatter it was Mayor Joseph Delfino with another pressing matter.

Driving a sleigh drawn by his 10 Commissioners and stalwart legal legions, the dapper Mayor cried

“On Gretsas, On Wood, Go Graessle, On Dolce, and Gammon,

Be Brief Dunphy, Dash on Earle. Count well McCarthy. Type Fast Minieri and drive on Davidson and Gismondi and Nicoletti,” the red-suited Mayor urged on his prancing 24-hour team

While out in sleeping White Plains, Malmud and Greer,

Oliva and Delgado, Boykin and King flew open their shutters aghast!

The agenda was faxed, and loyal council persons in nightshirts

Trudged to festooned council chambers at last.

Out on the darkened gloom of the City Center, fireworks were being spread out.

In anticipation of a New Year Celebration, and to finally tap

A third councilperson, should appellate judges arise from their long winter’s nap.

As the jolly old mayor spread the communciations to commissioners in their caps,

“Ayes” were said, one-by-one, the executive session ended, the resolution passed

Hitching his commissioners to his sleigh,

the Mayor’s great team took to the starry sky

I heard him read the profound resolution just passed:

“To Barbara Benjamin, and Allan Teck, visions of open space dancing in their heads

Louis and Andrea Fortunoff creators of a new fashion trend

To Fred Bland designer extraordinaire for getting us into the air

To Mary Ann Keenan and Robert Ruger, Al Del Vecchio and Sy Schulman and all who lend a hand to keep White Plains grand.

To Cavallero and Bikkal, Carbone, Gould and Fleishman, Stackpole and Early, Landesman and Garment, stalwart Fighters for FARS, sentinels of setbacks of taste and ‘elan.

To Noll, Bergens, Harrington and Weingarten formidable barristers droll

To Pollitzer and Waterman, Higgins and Falzarano, Shakeridge and Katz and the South End patrol

To Hildersley and Thompson, who have Presbyterian Hospital on a roll.

To “The Gunner,” and Connie in the Office, and “Bull” Wood, the voice of city protocol.

To the Flowers of the News World, the Three Susans and news dog Philippidis and the Dour Dean, Benerofe who tell the story to all.

To crusading attorney Edward Dunphy and the Statuesque Solicitoress always on call.

To the White Plains Bravest and Finest, Dolce, Hickey, Daimon and company, writing tickets, apprehending perps and protecting our ground.

To Adam and Frank, Candyce and William, Bob and Rita and Glen and Tom, loyal opposition who raise issues probing and profound.

To Ron Jackson and Maria K and the Reverend Barnes who stand up and have their say and crusade for the American way.

To Cappelli, Fortunoff, Kilpatrick and Ian Behar wherever you are, entrusted with our future, good luck to you.

I heard the Mayor proclaim, as he drove out of sight,

“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to All citizens of White Plains, and to All a Good night.”

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Mayors Told “Not to Ask for Anything,” in State Budget. Off $9B

Mayor Joseph Delfino reports from Albany that the State Conference of Mayors received grim news on the state revenues last week. The state is looking at revenues off $3 billion this year, and project revenues to be down $6 billion in 2002. The Mayor, member of the Executive Committee of the Conference of Mayors, said the Mayors asked the governor’s office not to cut revenue sharing for the state’s cities in 02-03 budget.

After a meeting of the New York State Conference of Mayors Executive Committee, Mayor Delfino delivered the somber news to the White Plains Common Council last Thursday.

WHITE PLAINS MAN IN ALBANY: Mayor Joseph Delfino is a member of the Executive Committee of the NYS Conference of Mayors. He met with them in Albany last week.

The Mayor said the Conference had gone to Albany to pre-lobby the Governor’s budget experts on the 2002-03 New York State Budget. Their mission: to inform the Governor of the impact of any budget cuts before they were presented with the state version of what cities should or should not receive in 02-03 spending.

Mayor Delfino reporting last Thursday evening to the Common Counci, said that the Mayors were told “not to ask for anything,” in 02-03. Delfino and members of the Conference of Mayors Executive Committee were briefed on the dwindling New York State revenue situation after September 11 by John Cahill, Deputy to the Governor, and Cathy Duncan, First Deputy Director of the Budget.

$9 Billion in the hole.

Delfino says the Mayors were advised the state was estimating a $3 billion reduction in state revenues this year and a $6 billion reduction in 2002.

The Mayors advised Cahill and Duncan, that the cities needed the governor to “keep revenue sharing where it is,” according to Delfino, and he had an admonishion for the Common Council.

“We’re (White Plains) going to have to be very creative next year in our budget,” the Mayor told the Common Council Thursday evening. “We also told the governor’s people that we do not want any more mandates that force cities to put policies in place without money to pay for them.”

Fiscally responsible White Plains is shortchanged, while profligate cities cry for aid and get it.

The Mayor groused about how White Plains contributes $67 million in sales taxes to the state, and only receives back $4.7 million in revenue sharing from the state: “Look around us. You have some cities that do not spend responsibly and ask the state ‘please help us.’ White Plains does a good job, and we shouldn’t have to be penalized. The last time we received an increase in revenue sharing was 1991.”

John Dolce, Commissioner of Public Safety, echoed this sentiment last month during a capital projects meeting, pointing out how his department lost a grant for new radio equipment because his department was told it did not need the aid as much as other police departments.

More militant attitude among Mayors

The Mayor said the mood among his fellow Mayors on the Executive Committee was of deep concern that cities were not receiving their fair share of aid. “We had one Mayor from Long Island threatening to start a political party for the cities to run candidates to get more money for cities. That’s how people are thinking and it’s frightening.”

He said several Mayors he spoke to said their cities were already being hard hit, naming Utica, Binghamton, Buffalo and Rochester as facing severe budget problems.

State unemployment up

The state Chief Economist, Stephen Kagann reports soft employment figures last week. According to Kagann’s analysis, in November 2001, private employment was off 92,200 or 1.3 percent from last year with the largest decline in New York City of 83,700 jobs, off 2.6% from 2000. Including government sector jobs, total state employment declined 75,100 or .9%.

Statewide, manufacturing has lost 5.4% of its jobs since the middle of the year 2000. Manufacturing layoffs have been the key to the larger upstate regions losses.

The Albany region gained .3%, Dutchess County declined . Small losses were registered in the North Country (-0.3%), the Mohawk Valley(-0.4%), Central New York(-0.7%), and Western New York (-0.7%). Losses were more severe in Rochester (-1.8%) and Binghamton (-2.3%).

The Executive Committee of the New York State Conference of Mayors includes Mayor Delfino of White Plains, Ellen Polimeni of Canandaigua, Eugene Murray of Rockville Centre, Gerald Jennings, Albany, Joseph Griffo, Rome, Michael Bloomberg, New York, Richard Bucci, Binghamton, Alan Cohen, Ithaca, Susan Goetschius, Wellsville, William Johnson, Jr., Rochester, Thomas Nyquist, New Paltz, Frank Pagano, Fredonia, Alice Roth, Tonawanda, Ernest Strada, Westbury and Gary Vegliante, West Hampton Dunes.

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