Teamsters Will Honor SEIU 32BJ PICKET LINE as SEIU VOTES TO STRIKE 250 BUILDINGS CLEANING CONTRACTORS STARTING MIDNIGHT NEW YEARS EVE

A UNION-ESTIMATED 375 TO 400 SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION 32BJ MEMBERS ASSEMBLED AT THE CORNER OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING BOULEVARD AND MARTINE AVENUE THIS EVENING . THEY VOTED IN PUBLIC TO STRIKE 250 WESTCHESTER-CONNECTICUT RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERICIAL BUILDINGS EFFECTIVE MIDNIGHT DEC. 31 IF A CONTRACT IS NOT REACHED.
WESTCHESTER COUNTY EXECUTIVE GEORGE LATIMER EXHORTED THE CROWD OF 450 SEIU 32BJ WORKERS WHO SIGNED IN APPROXIMATELY 50 WHO DID NOT SIGN IN. THE STRIKE VOTE WAS UNANIMOUS TO STRIKE SUPPORT OF THEIR CONTRACT DISPUTE WITH BUILDING CLEANING COMPANIES.
SEIU 32BJ WORKERS MARCH PAST WHITE PLAINS LIBRARY AT 5 PM THURSDAY AFTERNOON AFTER VOTING TO WALK OUT EFFECTIVE MIDNIGHT NEW YEARS EVE IF WITHOUT A CONTRACT WITH BUILDING CLEANING CONTRACTORS. LENORE FRIEDLAENDER , ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SEIU 32BJ UNION TOLD WPCNR THE TEAMSTERS UNIONS WOULD HONOR THE SEIU PICKET LINE IF THE CONTRACT ENDS MIDNIGHT DECEMBER 31 WITHOUT A SETTLEMENT.

Statements from the SEIU:

Frank Soults, spokesperson for the SEIU  comment on the effect Teamsters’ refusal to serve buildings where SEIU will picket will have : “They (the buildings) are severely affected, in various ways. It’s been a remarkably strong combination when the Teamsters and janitors strike together.”

Soults confirmed remarks made during the demonstrtation by a speaker the Cleaning Company Contractors have not discussed wages, but have demanded the union agree to lower number of sick days and the contractors wanted to make members pay for damaged equipment or property in any mishap.

Soults released a statement Friday from Tom Carey, President of the Westchester-Putnam Labor Central Labor Body, “We will walk the picket lines with you and we will ask our member unions to honor your picket lines.” Their website is here https://www.wpclb.org/

“We want the contractors and building owners to know that cleaners will not be shut out of the economic success we helped build!” said Lenore Friedlaender, Assistant to the President of 32BJ and the head of the union in the Hudson Valley. “With your authorization tonight, you demonstrate your willingness to walk off the job after December 31, to ensure that your families can continue to thrive.”

Your fight is our fight!” said Louis Picani, President of Teamsters Local 456. “Every day you go to work, breaking your backs, but your bosses do not appreciate your efforts! Let’s let them know you cannot be broken! Let’s win a good contract now, and never give up the fight!”

White Plains Mayor Tom Roach reiterated the message. “I’m here to let you know I’m standing with you in your fight for a fair contract. I know about and am very grateful for the important work you do for everyone here in White Plains. Businesses depend on you to be viable.”

The 3,000 janitors covered under the contract clean some 250 properties across the Hudson Valley and Fairfield County, Connecticut. That amounts to over 85% of the large commercial buildings in the area, from suburban corporate headquarters to downtown office towers, from small universities to sprawling shopping malls.

“This is a simple issue,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “Do we want to live in a country of the haves and have-nots, or do we want to build prosperity together? The policemen, the public employees who work in the County Building, the Teamsters, all deserve a fair contract, and so do the building cleaners of the Hudson Valley…. We call on your employers to negotiate a fair contract you can live with!”

At the height of the gathering, 32BJ Secretary Treasurer Larry Engelstein boarded the flatbed to ask, “Are you ready to tell the bosses that if we don’t get a satisfactory offer from them, we are ready to strike?”

With that, 500 hands lifted cards reading YES in bold letters — unanimously authorizing a potential strike — and the workers began a march through downtown White Plains that passed major buildings that the union members clean every day and night.

 “It can be difficult, being in negotiations, but we stand firm together” 32BJ cleaner and bargaining committee member Claudia Rodriguez said from the flatbed before the vote and march. “And what helps us most is the bigger unity behind us. Our great strength is that 3,000 of our brothers and sisters are also united. It’s what you and I do together here, in the streets, and if necessary, in the strike we will take after December 31, that will ensure we get a good contract.”

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County to Study Westchester Sewage System. Appoints Mike Kaplowitz to Conduct Review to Control Costs, Find Efficient Changes to make in Sewage Treatment for County’s Future

MikeKaplowitz, (County Executive George Latimer and Director of Operations Joan McDonald looking on,) said:  
“I’m excited about the challenge to find cost savings and consolidation efficiencies within the Department of Environmental Facilities.  I want to thank County Executive George Latimer, my long-time mentor, for this opportunity.” 
(Westchester County Photo)

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION LEDGER. By John F. Bailey. December 10, 2019:,UPDATED 10:20 PM EST UPDATED DECEMBER 12, 2019. 12:30 PM:

The county sewage treatment system has problems that need to be fixed.

Wednesday afternoon, County Executive George Latimer appointed Mike Kaplowitz the outgoing County Legislator, (who chose not to run for reelection), Deputy Commissioner of Environmental Facilities, and charged him with the specific task to study the County’s 7 Sewer facilities in 13 different communities and find possible cost savings and the facility fixes that are needed. Mr. Kaplowitz will be paid $107,690 in the position.

The news release detailed Mr. Kaplowitz’s qualifications this way:

Kaplowitz has represented the 4th District (Yorktown, New Castle and Somers) since 1998 and has previously served as Vice-Chairman of the Board. On January 6th, 2014, he was elected as Chairman of the Board.

Further, Kaplowitz’s education and expertise as an attorney and certified financial planner led to his appointment as Chair of the Budget & Appropriations Committee in 2003. Kaplowitz is a long-time environmentalist and is also a past Chair of the Westchester County Legislature’s Environment & Energy Committee.

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COUNTY BOARD PASSES 2020 BUDGETS

WPCNR COUNTY CLARIONLEDGER. From the Westchester County Board of Legislators , December 9, 2019: 

This morning, the Board of Legislators voted 15-1 to pass the county’s 2020 operating, capital and special districts budgets.

The $2.1 billion operating budget, which includes a $1 million cut to the county property tax levy, continues work begun last year to strengthen the county’s finances. 

The 2020 budget uses no on one-shot revenues and contains no borrowing to fund operating expenses. It also adds $10 million to the county’s fund balance.  2020 will be the second year in a row that the county has added to its rainy day funds, after years of declines under the prior administration. Rebuilding the county’s fund balance is essential to protecting the county for the future and improving the county’s credit rating, which keeps County borrowing costs low.

The budget strengthens crucial services for Westchester families, especially in the area of child care, including increased support for the county’s Invest in Kids programs. There’s also more funding for nonprofit organizations which provide early childhood support programs. The budget also includes an increase in the reimbursement rate paid to child care providers, to make it easier for parents to find affordable, high quality child care and easier for providers to recruit and retain qualified workers who are being lost to higher paying jobs in other areas, like New York City.

The 2020 operating budget also increases money available for eviction prevention programs, expanding legal help for those facing eviction in Yonkers, and extending that support to Mount Vernon, Ossining and Peekskill. The programs help people remain in their homes, saving the county millions of dollars annually by keeping families out of the shelter system.

There’s also additional help for legal services for domestic violence survivors and for community health centers and criminal justice reform.

The capital budget commits $20 million to County funds that support the creation of new units of affordable housing.  It also continues efforts begun last year to accelerate long-lingering projects needed to repair and improve County roads, bridges, parks, and refuse and wastewater treatment facilities. Among other efforts, these include commitments to renovate Memorial Field in Mount Vernon and reconstruct the South County Trailway.

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WESTCHESTER COUNTY SALES TAXES POP CORK IN OCTOBER–RISING 31.3% –ON TRACK FOR 7.7% INCREASE FOR 2019 END OF YEAR. WHITE PLAINS MAINTAINS 5.4% GROWTH AFTER 4 MONTHS OF FIS 2019-20

WPCNR QUILL & EYESHADE. From the NYS Department of Taxation & Finance. December 9, 2019:

Westchester County sales tax dollars, if last year’s 2018 figures are met, will generate $593,369,046 when the county fiscal year ends, an annual increase of 7.7% over 2018 when the county received $550,562,481 in sales tax receipts.

The White Plains sales tax dollar handle in October was $4,009,241 down about 1% compared to October 2018, when $4,044,424 was generated.

After 4 months of the White Plains fiscal year which started in July, the city is 5.4% ahead of the 2017-18 pace generating $17,150,917 in sales tax dollars , up $892,624 from the $16,258,293 taken in July-through-October in 2018.

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OUT OF THE SUN: 78 YEARS AGO: JAPAN ATTACKED PEARL HARBOR

Out of the Sun

The Arizona engulfed December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor

Out of the sun on the quiet Sunday they came

Birds of death blazened with red suns raining fiery havoc on Battleship Row.

One by one, ruthless planes dove, destroyed to their nation’s shame.

Thunderous explosions scattered fiery death on Sunday dawn’s glow.

Flames belched from bowels of stricken Arizona, America’s pride,

On Hicham Field pilots raced to planes to defend

As their birds were crippled on ground by Zeros’ glide

Gunners in turrets on ships floundering filled skies with flack’s din.

In search of carriers, marauders could not find

Ruthlessly strafed and bombed leaving Pearl

In smoking ruin. Ships sunk, burning as raiders flew into the Sun

The day of infamy had been ignited in the Zeros’ swirl.

The Attack Begins 8 AM December 7, 1941

As America listened a world away,  somber FDR

Spoke of  this day that will live in infamy.

America must never forget its  Pearl Harbor Scar

When an unsuspecting America slept in complacency.

To the 2,403 perishing that day under merciless bombs

Hails of bullets,  terror of torpedos out of nowhere

America must remember forces against our freedoms

Relentlessly work always to surprise with deadly bombs’ glare.

Vigilence is the price of freedom always to be defended

By dark forces in far off places we have offended.

Against those who would destroy our republic from within

The answer is not curtailing freedom at home rather it to champion.

The USS Arizona lies in Pearl’s waters, bleeding the lives

Of her men through the eerie eternal slick marking the rusting hulk.

Beneath Pearl’s waters, the blood of free people oozes from the shadowy bulk,

Bleeding forever, freedom’s spirit living forever in lost lives remembered.

She never rests.



Note: The Pearl Harbor attack which took place 78 years ago today 2 PM Eastern Standard Time, and its aftermath is dramatically depicted at http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/pearlhbr/pearlhbr.htm

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WHITE PLAINS WEEK THE DEC. 6 PROGRAM on www.wpcommunity media.org AND ON YOUTUBE at https://youtu.be/ShVFxC7iGgE

JOHN BAILEY AND JIM BENEROFE TRUTH JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY SINCE 2001
ON


youtube link for the 12-6 wpw ..
 
https://youtu.be/ShVFxC7iGgE

THE SNOW JOB
THE URBAN RENEWAL EMINENT DOMAIN DECISION
JOURNALISM RESURGENCE
THE CRISIS IN ASSISTED LIVING
PEDESTRIAN SAFETY WARNINGS

PLUS WHO WANTS TO RUN FOR DAVID BUCHWALD’S SEAT–EVERYBODY

AND MORE.

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URBAN RENEWAL AGENCY APPROVES EMINENT DOMAIN OF PROPERTIES ON EAST POST ROAD. DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN ALL WILL BE ACQUIRED, CITY COUNSEL SAYS. NOW NEGOTIATIONS BEGIN. MAIN PROPERTY OWNER TO MEET WITH HIS TENANTS FRIDAY. TELLS CITY, “LET’S MAKE A DEAL.” IF JUDGE EVENTUALLY GRANTS EMINENT DOMAIN, PROPERTY OWNERS CAN CHALLENGE MOST AMBITIOUS URBAN RENEWAL PROJECT IN 50 YEARS

WPCNR DOWNTOWN LOWDOWN. December 4, 2019 UPDATED 10 PM EST UPDATED 11:30 AM DECEMBER 5 UPDATED WITH LIVE VIDEO, DECEMBER 6, 2019 8:55 AM:

The White Plains Urban Renewal Agency voted unanimously this morning in city hall to consider eminent domain being used to acquire the 13 following properties on the North side of East Post Road from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to South Lexington Avenue for future unspecified projects yet to be determined.

Counsel Shawn Griffin of Harris Beach told the Urban Renewal Board that by voting for the resolutions before them, they were not making any firm commitment to eminent domain of the properties and in future months the pros and cons of possible uses of the properties would be brought to the board. Griffin said that should the eminent domain process be deemed advantageous then the city would make an offer to the property owners. The city would then, if the owner(s) did not agree it was acceptable, the city would take the eminent domain requests to the court and a judge would rule on eminent domain. Griffin in addition pointed out that the owner(s) could then sue for a higher offer.

Shawn Griffin Comments before Urban Renewal Board on what happens if properties are decided to be eminent domained by the city the vote. (8:08) WPCNR LIVE VIDEO

Gabriel Arrango, owner of EZHousing, 149 Grand Street told the CitizeNetReporter he would be meeting with his tenants tomorrow to discuss the situation Arrango told WPCNR he had told the city “Let’s make a deal.” He was concerned about appropriate alternative housing for the residential tenants of his buildings, as well as the investments his commercial tenants have made in their space, and compensation for them.

Arrango told WPCNR, he could not decide how to proceed without an offer from the city, and how the city would also reimburse commercial tenants and relocation of his apartment residents. He said he would consider contesting the city judgment that the areas targeted were a detriment to the neighborhood and should be replaced with new structures.

After the meeting adjourned at 9:55 A.M. Commissioner of Planning Christopher Gomez said the Urban Renewal Board may meet again in about 90 days on the matter.

Crossroads of South Lexington Ave and East Post Road: 2-4 Buildings, East Post Road considered for Eminent domain.
The eminent domain would include 1-3 East Post Road, and South Lex, seen from across West Post Road with former Sholz Property to right..
60 East Post Road, 42, 34 East Post  Road, (where eminent domain would start west bound, just past the Star Diner, and wowould proceed westbound to the intersection of South Lexington Avenue and East Post Road
Continuing Down the Block of East Post Road looking at the buildings being considered for eminent domain Thursday morning. WPCNR VIDEO

The properties under consideration for eminent domain acquisition by the city are

223-225 Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard

1-3 East Post Road

2-4 East Post Road

60 East Post Road

42 East Post Eoad

34 East Post Road

26-28 East Post Road

22-24 East Post Road

18-20 East Post Road

14-16 East Post Road

12 East Poad Road

188-188 South Lexington Avenue

190-192 South Lexington Avenue

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River Journal Expands. Northern Edition to Debut in Spring

WPCNR MEDIA-GO-ROUND. From River Towns Media. December 5, 2019:

Westchester-based River Towns Media LLC, publisher of the River Journal, today announced plans to launch River Journal North, a new monthly publication which will be delivered to every household and business in Peekskill, Cortlandt, and Croton-on-Hudson.

The monthly circulation will be more than 28,000, and when added to the River Journal’s circulation of 20,850, River Towns Media will reach nearly 50,000 households and 107,000 readers in the River Towns from Irvington to Peekskill. The first issue of River Journal North will be published in March 2020.

Alain Begun, Owner and Publisher of River Towns Media LLC, acquired the River Journal and www.riverjournalonline.com in October 2018.

The River Journal has served the Westchester County, NY, river towns of Briarcliff Manor, Irvington, Pocantico Hills, Sleepy Hollow, and Tarrytown for over 21 years. Bucking the national trend of an overall decline in the print media industry, River Towns Media has grown their print advertising 40% in the year since taking over the publication. 

Begun attributes the success of the publication to major changes implemented over the course of 2019, including:

“In the year since acquiring the River Journal, we’ve made the investment in the resources we needed to improve and grow the product,” said Begun.

“That investment has paid off with an increase of 40% in advertising revenue in the past year. And that ad increase has allowed us to provide even more local editorial coverage than ever before. In fact, we’ve grown the River Journal from an average of 20 pages per issue when we took over to an average of 32 pages per issue for the 2nd half of 2019. We currently have over 150 adverting partners many of who run in six or more issues. We know those small businesses wouldn’t keep spending money with us if their ads didn’t work.”

According to Begun, the northern-most Westchester River Towns have long-been underserved by local media without having a single publication delivered to homes in those communities.

“River Journal North will be unique in that it will be delivered by USPS free-of-charge to every home and business in Croton-on-Hudson, Peekskill, and all the villages that make up the town of Cortlandt,” said Begun. “We plan to deliver local coverage of the schools, the businesses, the people and personalities, the events, and local politics that make those communities so unique. And we plan to fill key advertising sales and editorial positions with local residents.”

When the River Journal North launches, River Towns Media will reach nearly as many households on a monthly basis as Westchester Magazine The weekly Enterprise prints 25,000 copies per week of their four editions, but those are not delivered to homes but are available at coffee shops, restaurants, and in newspaper vending machines.

“We look forward to serving all the residents and businesses of these thriving communities for many years to come,” said Begun.

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