Attorney General Requests Judge Nicolai in Delgado-Hockley Case.

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WPCNR WHITE PLAINS LAW JOURNAL. By John F. Bailey. December 18, 2002 10:00 E.S.T.: Joel Graber, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s right-hand man, handling the Delgado-Hockley quo warranto action, filed a Request for Judicial Intervention Monday with County Clerk Leonard Spano.

The action requests a “preliminary conference” that could result in the assigned judge declaring Larry Delgado the real winner in the disputed 2001 election, where the jammed voting machine in District 18 cost him the election, in the Attorney General’s finding. After the preliminary conference, it is expected there will be a court appearance for Mr. Hockley to make his case.

Mr. Graber, Assistant Attorney General, in his Request papers filed with the County Clerk, specifically asks for Judge Francis Nicolai to be assigned to the case. Justice Nicolai wrote the original decision calling for a special election in the 18th district, that started Mr. Delgado and Mr. Hockley on the way up to the Court of Appeals last March and on the road to today’s quo warranto situation.

In the first edition of this story, the supposition was made that the judge eventually assigned might have the option of decalring Mr. Delgado the winner, but WPNCR has been advised that there would have to be a court process to hear Mr. Hockley’s side.

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Sabbath Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities

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The Havorah Program of Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) and Bet Am Shalom Synagogue invite persons with developmental disabilities to Sabbath Services on Saturday, December 21 from 1:30 – 2:15 PM at 295 Soundview Avenue, White Plains.

The WJCS Havorah Program is designed to connect children, adolescents, and adults who are developmentally disabled with their Jewish heritage and customs.

All are welcome and admission is free.

For information and reservations, call Gail Oliver at 845-565-8610.

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756 Sign Up for White Plains Little League. Register Now online.

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WPCNR PRESS BOX. From Billy Wooters. Information Officer, WPLL. December 17, 2003: The White Plains Little League announces that online and in-person early registration was completed over the weekend with about 75% of expected players signed up by their parents. Billy Wooters of the Little League reports that parents can still register their children in for the 2003 season by registering online or by e-mail only without a late penalty. Here is his report:
Many thanks to those that helped out on Thursday night and Saturday. Now the real challenge begins. We currently have 756 players registered (562 in person and 194 on line).

I will be sending out a post card note to the 522 players that are eligible to return and play this year that have not registered.
Last Ups

Online registration is still available till December 31st at the regular registration price:

Tee-Ball (Pre-K) – Machine Pitch (2nd Grade) = $75.00

Minors (9 years old) – Seniors (15 year olds) = $90.00

After December 31st late registration begins. Anyone who signs up after December 31st will be added to a waiting list and that doesn’t guarantee you a spot in the line up.

Rates also increase significantly after December 31st.

Sign Up Today, by going to:
or Email:

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What ‘Cha Doin’ New Years, New Years Eve? Party with the Mayor

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WPCNR WHITE PLAINS VARIETY. From Downtown Business Improvement District. December7, 2002: The Mayor’s New Year’s Eve Party moves off Mamaroneck Avenue and into the Westchester Arts Council Building on Mamaroneck this New Year’s Eve. Reservations for the $100-a-person gala are still available by dialing (914) 328-5166.
Mayor Delfino’s 2nd Annual New Years Eve Gala will provide buffet dinner, dancing to the Robert Church Orchestra, and the obligatory Midnight Champagne Toast complete with White Plains own 2003 “Ball Drop” in spectacular fashion on the City Center site.

Mastercard, VISA and checks accepted. R.S.V.P.’s are being accepted up until December 23.

The Mayor will even arrange to drive you home within the White Plains city limits.

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Wood, Habel say Mills Has to Come in and Talk. Plans very preliminary.

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WPCNR MAIN STREET JOURNAL. By John F. Bailey. December 14, 2003: City officials blitzed by the blindside immaculate acquisition of The Galleria this week anticipated by the Mills Corporation emphasized that the mall plans revealed on the Mills Coporation website were described to them as preliminary and conceptual.

Both the city’s economic development troubleshooter and its Commissioner of Planning said it was too early to have a reaction to the plans used to dazzle Wall Street analysts Tuesday. Reaction around the city though was upbeat.
Paul Wood, city Economic Development maestro, reiterated that Mills Corporation, the nationally prominent mall innovator, prospective new owners of The Galleria, told the city Wednesday the plans were purely conceptual, and that they would be coming in to talk extensively with the city in February, 2003, after they had closed on the property.

Commissioner of Planning Susan Habel told WPCNR Thursday she would withhold comment until she saw plans. She noted that based on what Mills Corporation was talking about, a theater on a new floor, that they already were proposing a piece that was out of compliance with zoning requirements for the property, but could not elaborate with no concrete plans. “They need to come in and talk to us,” she said.

Jacob Burns Film Center South?

David Douglas, spokesperson for Mills Corporation, told reporters that Mills was not planning a megaplex, describing the theater to be built on a new 5th level at The Galleria as an art theater, in keeping with the upgrade promised by his Chairman Laurence Siegel in the Webcast annoucing the purchase of The Galleria on Tuesday.

Douglas promised independent films and foreign films that would compliment rather than compete with the City Center National Amusements attraction now going up at Main and Mamaroneck a block away.

Man from Mills Makes Overtures to the City.

Douglas, in comments, appeared sensitive to the city’s being hurt over the way the project was sprung on them, noting that Mills Corporation fully recognizes and intends to dialogue with the city and the tenants they are inheriting at The Galleria.

A somewhat mollified Paul Wood said Thursday night, that Mills had apologized to the Mayor for the way the announcement had to be made due to confidentiality agreements with the seller, Cadillac Fairview.

Spotted at The Splendid.

The buzz at the Splendid Coffee Shop Friday held a lot of comment about the whirlwind Mills introduction to White Plains. White Plains Downtown Business Improvement District executives at a table next to WPCNR’s were glowing in comments about what it said about the future of the city with a firm like Mills coming to town. The proprietor of the Splendid, Gus Manassas said it was amazing, and he was very pleased for what the Mills presence would mean for his business down the road.

At the Official Pizza Place of The CitizeNetReporter, Magnotta’s over on Maple, “Mr. Pizza in White Plains,” Angelo Magnotta raved about the Sawgrass Mills mall run by Mills Corporation in Fort Lauderdale. Mr. Magnotta is very familiar with the “Mills touch” and said they would make The Galleria sensational. “My wife loves that place,” he said.

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“BioTech Talks” Day 2: To Resume Next Friday After “Info Review”

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WPCNR LATE NIGHT ROUNDUP. From The Mayor’s Office. December 13, 2003: Constance Hildesley of New York Presbyterian Hospital and an unidentified NYPH executive, continued exploratory talks for a second day with Mayor Joseph Delfino Friday morning in City Hall for one hour. adjourned for one week to give New York Presbyterian Hospital an opportunity to go over some figures, according to the Mayor’s Executive Officer George Gretsas.
At approximately 9 AM Friday, a long black limousine drew up to the City Hall steps, and out of that limousine emerged Constance Hildesley, former Vice President of Real Estate for New York Presbyterian Hospital, and, as yet, an unidentified NYPH representative, we believe to be Robert Volland, now NYPH Vice President of Real Estate. The grimfaced pair briskly made their way up the city hall steps against the chill wind, amidst the clank and clamor of the Cappelli construction din.

The arrival of the pair signaled that the exploratory dialogue in the wake of the Hospital’s Article 78 threat of last week, was continuing from Thursday’s New York City opening round.

Going Back To Do a Little Homework

Mr. Gretsas delivered his second “Gretsas Report” to the media on “The BioTech Talks,” saying the Mayor and the hospital representatives “had a dialogue” for one hour, and agreed to meet again next Friday.

“They (the hospital) wanted to look at some information and get back to us,” Gretsas reported to WPCNR as the reason given for the hospital scheduling the 6-day interval between rounds.

Hospital Wants Nothing.

Gretsa went at pains to assure WPCNR the hospital was behaving itself: “The hospital has not asked the city for anything, nor do they intend to.”

Asked if the hospital was possibly willing to accept a suggestion from the city in return for something they had, Gretsas snapped, “That sounds like speculation on your part.”

When WPCNR pointed out that another party present at the talks described the session as “negotiations,” and the hospital representative as a “tough negotiator,” Gretsas declined to comment.

Councilmembers informed of the Talks

Yesterday, Mr. Gretsas said that the Common Councilmembers had been contacted by telephone before Thursday’s opening round of the “Biotech Talks.” The implication was that the Council did not object to Mayor Delfino’s exploratory talks to get the hospital to pay attention to what Mr. Gretsas described as “community concerns,” which may be a possible loosening up of restrictions in the approval for land for a park.

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Cablevision Chaos Grips Gotham!

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WPCNR White Plains Variety. By John F. Bailey. December 13, 2002 UPDATED 2:45 P.M. E.S.T.: There is something wrong with your TV Set, but it should be corrected tonight according to a Cablevision spokesman.

Cablevision has scrambled the city cable television channels, turning them into “mystery channels” where no one knows where to find them. But, Bill Powers, Director of Media Relations for Cablevision in Yonkers, says the correct line up of Government Access on 75, Public Access on Channel 76, and Educational Channel on 77, should be switched to, sometime today.

Cablevision, the service that carries the City of White Plains Public Access, Government, and Educational channels, spent thousands of dollars advertising a switch of Channels 71,72, and 73, to channels 76, 75 and 77 respectively only to play “3-card monte” with the channels when they went live on Thursday and Friday morning.

White Plains Cable Television Program Director, Fred Strauss, was attempting to get Cablevision to straighten out and confirm what the new city cable lineup would be Friday morning.

Cablevision reported and notified White Plains residents last Monday of their new television cable lineup, in which they are freeing up space for i/O Optimum Direct service by putting all municipal channels on the same station channels. Beginning Thursday, White Plains residents were told they would receive the City Government Channel on Channel 75, the Public Access Channel (Home of White Plains Week), on Channel 76, and the White Plains Public Schools Channel on 73.

Now You See Them Now You Don’t

Mr. Strauss said that on Thursday at midnight when the system went live with the change, Public Access appeared on 75, the government access city channel on 76, and the educational channel on 77.

On Friday morning, they changed places again, placing the Public Access Channel on Channel 76, the Government Access Channel on 77, and the School Channel on Channel 75. This is the present cablecast order of the channels as of noon.

Strauss told WPCNR he is working the telephones to Cablevision to straighten out whether this is the permanent line up, whether they will be switched back to the lineup originally advertised ( City Government on Channel 75, Public Access on 76, and School District Channel on 77), or return to what White Plains Cable Access Commission would prefer, Public access on 75, government on 76, and school district on 77.

Meantime, in tuning in tonight’s programs, be advised that you may have to do some channel surfing to find your favorites, and, of course, White Plains Week at 7:30 PM on Public Access Television, Channel 76.

Powers, speaking for Cablevision said the switching problems occurred because personnel making the switch could not distinguish between what was the government access channel, the educational channel, and the public access channel. “We’re working on the problem, and it should be corrected to the lineup as advertised sometime today,” he told WPCNR. He said in many communities the lineups are different and there were problems identifying which access channels were which.

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300 Talk Teen-Drinking Prevention at County Center

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WPCNR County Clarion-Ledger. From Westchester County Department of Communications. (EDITED) December 12, 2003:Close to 300 people attended Thursday’s conference on underage drinking – students, parents and principals representing 39 Westchester public and private high schools, and police officers from 33 Westchester Departments.

They were called together by Westchester County Executive Andy Spano, who wanted to gain input from them on three preliminary proposals made by Spano as well as to offer ideas of their own.
The event took place at the Westchester County Center.

“I was so impressed with the discussion I heard at all levels,” said Spano. “These groups had different thoughts on some of my proposals, but had a real interest in finding ways to deal with the problem. If there was a common thread, it was a belief that programs that educate teens and pre-teens about the perils of drinking – particularly those that are peer-to-peer – can be very effective. Also, that parents must be held accountable.”

As a follow up to the conference, participants will receive a list of “best practices” that are being implemented in schools and communities throughout Westchester. Hearing what works in other areas will help communities shape dynamic and effective programs for themselves.

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Mayor Talks to NYPH in NYC. Gretsas: Hospital Asks Nothing More.

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WPCNR Evening City Star Reporter. From The Mayor’s Office. December 12, 2003 UPDATED 7:15 A.M., December 13, 2003: Mayor Joseph Delfino of White Plains and Dr. Herbert Pardes, President and Chief Executive Officer of New York Presbyterian Hospital met Thursday morning in Manhattan. Present were representatives for the hospital in the first of a series of meetings coming out of the hospital’s threat of an Article 78 action last week, over terms of the August 5, 2002 Approval granted them by the White Plains Common Council.

The city and hospital agreed to continue talks, “a dialogue with the city on community issues,” according to the Mayor’s Executive Officer, George Gretsas.

THE GRETSAS REPORT: George Gretsas, Executive Officer, City of White Plains reported an “amicable meeting” took place Thursday morning at NYPH headquarters in New York. A decided change in attitude on the part of the hospital since last week’s Article 78 threat.
Photo by WPCNR News

Gretsas said the Mayor and he met with Pardes and his representatives for approximately two hours, and a tentative second meeting was being scheduled. Mr. Gretsas characterized the meeting as upbeat. He described the hospital’s attitude as friendly, decidedly different than the atmosphere last week when the hospital reserved its right to sue the city, indicating they might file an Article 78 action over the conditions of their August 5 approval of their biomedical research/proton accelerator center.

Hospital Changes Tone.

Gretsas said the parties had agreed to keep the details of what was discussed confidential. He said he was able to reveal that in Thursday’s “New York Summit,” the hospital team clarified its position of last week, reporting that what came out of Thursday’s meeting was “They are not asking the city for anything more than what was approved by the Common Council on August 5, 2002.”

That approval sets conditions on the hospital ability to conduct certain types of biomedical research; required the city monitor hospital safety procedures; and restricted research to nonprofit use in a very exacting 80-page Special Permit Findings Statement..

Not asking for clarification.

Gretsas also reports the hospital fully understands the terms of the agreement, saying “They are not asking for clarification (of the approval).”

Backing off V.P. of Real Estate’s Position?

WPCNR was told by a hospital spokesperson last week, that the Vice President for Real Estate for New York Presbyterian Hospital, Robert Volland had objected to the Journal News report the hospital was looking to change the terms of the approval.

The source said that Volland had said the hospital was looking for “clarification,” not loosening up the reins of control, contrary to what was reported in the Gannett outlet.

Hospital Willing to Address “city issues

The Mayor’s Executive Officer said the continuing discussions would be over “community issues only,” but said he could not say more.

Suit Threat Over? Not Really.

Gretsas, weighing his words carefully said, when asked if the hospital offered to withdraw the unusual threat of an Article 78 action on an approval, neither party “waived any rights.”

When Hospital Complained.

These talks came out of concerns the hospital first voiced to the city in early November, Gretsas reported to WPCNR last week. He had reported that New York Presbyterian Hospital had not indicated any problems with the approval to the city within the first two months after the approval, even though the city had liaisoned extensively with the hospital to be of service to them in going forward.

A hospital source told WPCNR last week the hospital had had discussions with the city before last week about the terms of the agreement. Gretsas said last week that the Notice of Claim the hospital filed last Thursday was a complete surprise to the city. He said that the hospital had talked with the city in November saying they wanted “clarification,” of the terms of the August approval. Gretsas said the city position was that what the hospital classified as “clarification,” was not a clarification at all, but a liberalization of the terms of the approval.

City Monitoring Process Not in Place.

WPCNR asked Gretsas Tuesday if the city had begun putting in place a system to monitor hospital safety procedures and review of the kinds of research the hospital might propose in attracting partners to the newly approved project. Gretsas said “It’s premature.”

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7 Swank Street Level Restaurants Planned for Galleria. New Floor Theatre On Top

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WPCNR MAIN STREET JOURNAL. By John F. Bailey. December 12:Mills Corporation, projected new owners of White Plains landmark mall, The Galleria, has detailed preliminary plans for the property. They call for transforming the first street level of the Galleria, now occupied by the Bunny’s children’s store and Emmigrant Bank, into a culinary palette of seven sit-down restaurants. Preliminary plans call for new construction of a fifth Galleria floor which will include a “Cinema.” A PBS Kids facility will be located on the third level.

MILLS VISION FOR THE GALLERIA: Preliminary plans released to Wall Street analysts during conference call with the Mills Corporation Tuesday, detailing their first take on how they hope to transform the image of The Galleria.
Photo by WPCNR News

Dynamic Siegel signals approach to The Galleria and new properties.

Laurence Siegel, Chairman of Mills Corporation, said he would have respect for the roles his new acquisitions have in the community, and said the Mills Corporation would take a pragmatic approach in reinventing the malls:

“We understand that retail relationships are important assets, and we recognize the relationships between the retailer and consumer is unique in each property we own. We will maintain the integrity of each mall’s brand while carefully examining how to enhance the customer experience with the Mills Touch.”

Siegel sent a signal to the new Mills properties to fasten their seatbelts: “At this time, with retail formats emerging, we think there are positive returns for innovative creative thinking. These acquisitions provide opportunities for us to work our magic to the benefit of consumers, retailers and entertainment partners…”

Making Over the West Side, Balancing The Westchester and the City Center

The Mills leader then introduced to the analysts, his preliminary site plans for each of his six acquisitions. For The Galleria, he was particular excited: “We are planning a number of expansions and enhancements to the acquired properties…At the 4-level Galleria in White Plains, New York, we are repositioning this asset to complement The Westchester. With an already top-performing Macy’s, a full-line Sears Department store will be a perfect addition to the merchandise mix. Popular priced retail with stores like H & M, is currently performing extremely well. We’re also adding a movie theatre, top flight restaurants, and a PBS Kid Zone that will also feature a cluster of children’s retail.”

Mills Has Already Done Some Deep Thinking

The preliminary floor plans proposed by Mills Corporation, the self-styled “Chicago Bulls of the 90s” in mall development that specializes in creating “destination malls” across America, are in character with the organization’s strategy of creating malls which are not just to shop, but where entertainment, recreation, and good times are a la carte to the consumer experience.

The Mills Fast Break.

From the new Galleria site plan released to the Wall Street “clairvoyants,” in Mills sees The Galleria as becoming a place to meet, greet, and entertain, in addition to the shopping piece.

For starters, the plans call for turning the first floor Galleria street level into a restaurant wheel of tasty temptation to play to the upscale legal, financial, and business traffic that frequent White Plains during the day. On the drawing the restaurants are actually named, but are not visible, and the Mills Media Relations Department has advised WPCNR they will get back to us with details on how Mills plans to proceed after they close in January.

On the Food Court level 2, other restaurant innovations to the Food Court appear to be planned. On Level 3, there appear to be no major design changes, while Level 4, a children’s cluster of retail will be built around the “draw” of a PBS Kids Zone facility.

The plans call for the construction of a fifth floor including a Cinema with vast space not accounted for as to what would fill out the fifth floor on the plans.

Other questions to be asked in the coming months include the state of the leases for present tenants at The Galleria, who would be managing The Galleria for Mills, whether they would bring in their own supervisors, or absorb the present Galleria management into the Mills management team. Cadillac Fairview’s public relations agency in Toronto did not return WPCNR calls for comment on this matter.

The Chicago Bulls of Mall Management is Coming to Town.

The Tuesday Conference Call introduced the Mills management team, saying they had the “management strength and depth to get the job done,” likening his management team, to be “more like the 1990s Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls a dominant, seasoned, multi-disciplined team that knows how to win year after year.”

The man who handles construction for the Mills team is Jim Whitcomb, with the company since 1994. He was described by Jim Napoli, Vice President of Operations, as “the most seasoned and veteran mall construction man in history…no one is better.”

City contacted by Mills Wednesday afternoon.

Paul Wood, Economic Development specialist for the Mayor’s office said a spokesperson for the Mills Corporation contacted the Mayor’s office yesterday, apologizing for not informing the city of their impending acquisition. The rationale given was the sensitivity of the acquisition process.

Wood said the Mills representative assured the city, “The plans are still very preliminary.”

Wood reported to WPCNR, “We want to talk with them. They want to talk to us. They said plans were still undetermined. They basically want to familiarize themselves with The (Galleria) Mall.They won’t be delivering any detailed plans any time soon.”

City officials privately are annoyed with Cadillac Fairview for not informing the city that the mall was about to change hands, and understand the Mills Corporation position.

Siegel: Galleria will get more than the usual “Mills tweaking.”

Laurence Siegel, the Chairman of the Mills Corporation, spoke generally about the six malls his organization is purchasing, informing analysts the company was going to spend between $325 Million to $350 Million to renovate all six, which means that The Galleria may undergo approximately a $60 Million of improvements. They will be extensive, if you listen to Mr. Siegel’s comments in the Conference Call:

“The six mall properties (The Galleria is one), we are about to acquire, fall within the (Mills) Third Growth Strategy…which is 21st century traditional retail and entertainment. These projects…have income and our ability to create a unique brand of retail excitement and entertainment that can take a traditional mall format and make it an exceptional attraction will create from scratch an exciting new consumer venue.”

Siegel guaranteed a new direction: “We’re not buying these malls to content ourselves with the usual tweaking. Rather we bought them with a view to profitably enhance them by putting to work our proven ability to anticipate trends, engage consumers’ imagination and create exceptional retail and entertainment experiences.”

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