New WPCNR POLL: YOU Grade Saul Yanofsky

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In the last CitizeNetReporter Poll, 86 persons checked in, with 67% of them saying they felt the Board of Education was wrong in deciding to terminate Dr. Saul Yanofsky’s contract in June 2002. . Now our Poll gives you the opportunity to comment on whether the Board of Education was correct in its reasons for firing Yanofsky, as outlined in their Thursday letter to the District.

Here’s how to take the poll. Read the latest School Board letter reproduced by WPCNR in the article headlined, “Flash!Testing, Program Evaluation, P.R. Behind Yanofsky Termination.”
Then tell us in the poll whether you agree with the Board’s reasoning.

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FLASH! Delgado Strikes Back! Sues for District 18 Revote.

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The Board of Elections told WPCNR Friday that Councilman Larry Delgado has filed a law suit in State Supreme Court in White Plains, calling for a revote in District 18 where a mechanical malfunction of a voting machine reportedly cost Mr. Delgado 100 votes.

Republican Deputy Commissioner of the Board of Elections, Steve Levy, told WPCNR that Mr. Delgato filed his lawsuit Wednesday calling for a revote in District 18 in the North end of White Plains. Levy said the suit has been assigned to Judge Nicholas Colabella, and was scheduled to be heard next week (perhaps Wednesday). Asked when the Judge would rule, Levy said that was up to the judge.

Faulty Delgado Lever Allegedly Cost Delgado Winning Votes

Levy said the grounds for the suit was mechanical error. WPCNR has learned that the lever under Mr. Delgado’s name in the voting machine in that district, located in George Washington School, pulled down normally enough but sometime during the voting the mechanism triggering the vote malfunctioned and was not caught by election inspectors.

What tipped Republican District Runners to this anomaly were the vote tallies for Robert Tuck and Michael Amodio were running at approximately 155 votes each, and Mr. Delgado had been recorded for only approximately 55 votes. Republicans felt this was a call-in error, however during the recanvas Tuesday the machine reportedly was determined to have suffered a mechanical failure where votes could not be recorded.

Historic Action

To the recollection of persons WPCNR has contacted with long knowledge of elections in the city, this is the first time such an action has been taken. Mr. Levy was asked what were the options before Judge Colabella.

According to Levy, Colabella could dismiss the suit, or he could order a revote in District 18. WPCNR asked Levy whether the vote would only be among those voters actually shown in the register as voting November 6, or whether the vote would be open to all voters in the district. Levy said this was up to Judge Colabella to decide.

Colabella, could apparently simply throw out the District 18 vote altogether, dismiss the suit and allow the present count to stand, annointing Hockley, or perhaps even instate the 100 votes Delgado forces are claiming he deservedly should have gotten had the lever been functioning correctly.

Seasoned Obververs Speculate

Speculating at the City Limits Diner, Alex Philippidis and James Benerofe, two longtime observers of typical election suits, thought that Colabella might very well dismiss the suit, since Delgado’s reelection would have no effect on the council majority.

Hockley Reports 65-Vote Margin on Mr. Delgado Friday morning

Present Councilman-elect Glen Hockley, speaking as a guest on the Friday morning White Plains Week show, said as of Friday morning he had a 65-vote margin over Mr. Delgado, and expected the military ballots (the last deadline for receiving such military ballots is Monday) to have no effect. Mr. Delgado could not be contacted for comment.

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Jammed Voting Lever May Cost Delgado Reelection.

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Sources advise WPCNR that incumbent Larry Delgado trails challenger Glen Hockley by 60 votes after counting of absentee ballots Wednesday. A stuck voting machine lever cost Mr. Delgado perhaps 100 votes. He is now reported to be mulling whether to concede to Mr. Hockley or to mount a court suit calling for another election.

Paul Wood, of the Mayor’s office, and a close confidante of the candidate, both advised your reporter Thursday that after the recounting Tuesday and Wednesday, Larry Delgado is still behind his challenger, Glen Hockley for the third and last Common Council suit. Mr. Wood, and the second source report Delgado behind by 60 votes.

Oh those old, old voting machines

Unfortunately for Mr. Delgado, the voting machine he was counting on for at least 100 votes could not deliver that, because it was found to have a faulty Delgado lever at the recount conducted Tuesday at Fire House Number 2 in White Plains.

On election night, when returns came in at literally the eleventh hour, Republican leaders were confidant a voting machine in District 18, at George Washington High School, showed Mr. Tuck and Mr. Amodio, Mr. Delgado’s running mates for council receiving approximately 150 votes and Mr. Delgado 50, according to our source. Leaders at that time felt the obvious (to them) Delgado gap was a callout error on the part of their district runner, or perhaps a print error.

Lever on Delgado Line, Goes Down But Disconnects

What was discovered on recanvas Tuesday this week, was the Delgado lever was broken and the condition undetectable at the time of the vote. Apparently, voters would depress the Delgado lever, it would go down normally, and they had no idea their vote was not counted. Unbeknownst to the district inspectors on the scene the lever mechanism had defaulted and according to our source the count rolled back to zero when it reached 100.

The Board of Elections reported to WPCNR Thursday that they expected to upgrade their site with the final totals of the recount possibly on Monday. They would not comment further.

2 Options for Mr. Delgado: Concede or Court

The sources close to Mr. Delgado, who did not return calls for comment on this matter, advise WPCNR that Mr. Delgado is contemplating whether to sue for another election, or concede. The Board of Elections, being Democratic Party-controlled, is expected not to concede Mr. Delgado 100 votes “on spec.”

White Plains old voting machines to blame?

The public should know that part of this problem may be due to the sheer age of the White Plains voting machines. Each machine is mechanically operated. They are not electric. Votes are entered by a “Rube Goldberg” contraption of pulleys and links and stamping devices. A man with personal experience with the condition of White Plains voting machines, told us last week that the machines are at least thirty years old, and that the company that manufactured them is out of business.

He said the machines require a lot of maintenance, and are very delicate. He advised us that the act of transporting machines to the locations of the polling places is rough on the machines, saying rolling the machines over thresholds can throw them out of alignment, or cause a number to “roll down.” Perhaps a bump in transit caused a break in the Delgado lever mechanism, and the doom of the Republican Party as we know it in White Plains.

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FLASH! Testing, Program Evaluation,P.R. Behind Yanofsky Termination

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In a letter released to parents of the White Plains City School District today, the White Plains Board of Education spells out the three areas of disagreement between Dr. Yanofsky and the 7-member citizen School Board leading to Dr. Yanofsky’s departure. Here is the text of that letter: (To read the letter in Spanish, French, or choice of language, go to the Translation Block on the left and select your choice of translation.)

The next Board of Education public meeting scheduled for Monday, November 19 has changed location. It will be at the high school All-Purpose Room B-1. At that time the Board expects to announce the selection of a search firm for a Superintendent.

Herewith,WPNCR reprints the text of the letter released today from Donna McLoughlin, President of the School Board to the parents of the school district, elaborating on Dr. Yanofsky’s termination.

November 14, 2001

Dear Parents and Staff:

We fully understand that the community was surprised by the Board of Education’s decision not to extend Superintendent Saul Yanofsky’s contract beyond its current expiration date of June 30, 2002. We also recognize that the brief announcement letter was inadequate, both in expressing our gratitude for Dr. Yanofsky’s outstanding service to the school district as well as in explaining the factors leading to the decision. As much as we understand and appreciate many of your questions and con-cerns regarding our decision, we will not be renewing Dr. Yanofsky’s contract. The purpose of this letter, is to provide additional background and perspective on the Board’s decision. Dr. Yanofsky has reviewed this letter and many of his
suggestions and viewpoints have been incorporated.

Dr. Yanofsky suggested that we hold off any announcement regarding his departure until the beginning of the school year. The Board agreed. We also agreed that we would not discuss the reasons for our decision. We both felt that a prolonged public discussion would only hurt the District. In retrospect, we now see that earlier disclosure of the reasons would have
been helpful.

First, let us be clear that the transition to a new Superintendent does not signal any change in the direction of the White Plains Public Schools. The primary role of the Board of Education is to plan for and provide the resources and leadership the District needs to reach higher levels of academic achievement. We have consistently worked with, encouraged and supported the Superintendent in our efforts to achieve this objective. We remain committed to the mission and vision statements and the district priorities developed by the Board, in conjunction with the community and the Superintendent. These are printed each year in the district’s Calendar/Directory.

We recognize Dr. Yanofsky’s many fine qualities as an educator and administrator and his dedication to the district. We have extended his contract on three occasions since he was chosen as Superintendent in 1990. We are proud of and support the many innovative programs that have been initiated by Dr. Yanofsky, including the Controlled Parents’ Choice Program,
the multi-year technology plan, the Newcomer Center and our many enrichment programs.

We also want to make it perfectly clear that there have been no improprieties — of a financial, ethical or any other type — on Dr. Yanofsky’s part, nor any single event, that precipitated this decision.

Two major factors were involved in the decision not to renew Dr. Yanofsky’s contract. One had to do with timing; the other, with differences in emphasis and focus, not direction, between the Board and the Superintendent.

There also have been differences regarding style and problems of communication that have complicated the relationship between Dr. Yanofsky and the Board.

With regard to timing, Dr. Yanofsky indicated to the Board early last spring that he was not interested in the customary three year contract extension, but wanted a shorter contract since he was looking to move on to the next stage of his career. Thus, the Board and the Superintendent knew that the transition of leadership from Dr. Yanofsky to a successor would take place
in the near future. It was not a question of if, just when.

Secondly, for the past few years the Board and Superintendent have had differences in emphasis and focus in a number of important areas. We summarize three of these.

1. Student Achievement — While the Board recognizes the effort by teachers and administrators and sees overall improvement across the District in achievement, our rate of growth is slow and many students are not yet performing at acceptable levels on state tests. We have asked the Superintendent to develop a comprehensive districtwide
student achievement plan — a plan that would clearly convey to parents and staff the range of and relationships between the many programs we have in place. Although the Board has engaged in many discussions with the Superintendent about improving student achievement, no comprehensive plan, with clearly defined and specific progress goals for grades and schools, has been presented. The Superintendent felt that establishing specific quantitative goals oversimplified the process of academic improvement and did not take into account the extraordinary amount of effort that teachers and administrators were already investing in the improvement of test scores.

The Board feels that specific quantitative targets should underpin the planning process.

2. Program Evaluation — While the Board supports our many enrichment initiatives to raise the achievement of students at all performance levels and appreciates the efforts teachers, staff and administrators are making, we have also sought evaluation of these programs to measure their effectiveness. Although the Superintendent shares the Board’s view of the importance of evaluation, he felt that there were insufficient resources to conduct rigorous, helpful and technically sound evaluations for all the programs that the district supports. As a result, the Superintendent has provided very few formal program evaluations, nor
have we had a discussion to examine resources to address this issue.

3. Communications with the Public — A third area in which the Board and the Superin-tendent differed related to examining new ways to communicate with the public. We have continually asked the Superintendent for an overall examination of our commu-nications and outreach programs. We want to ensure that the District is sensitive to the community’s concerns and that parents are fully aware of the district’s available resources and our commitment to the needs of their children. While the Board is proud of the district’s communications program via our newsletter, TV, the Internet and frequent meetings in the
community, we believe we must continually reassess our efforts in light of a shifting population base and changing communication needs. While agreeing with the importance of public communication, the Superintendent has been
reluctant to consider new communication activities because he has been concerned that they might require additional resources.

In light of Dr. Yanofsky’s stated desire to leave the District in the near future and continuing differ-ences in emphasis and focus on some areas of high priority, the Board determined that it would be in the best interest of the District not to extend Dr. Yanofsky’s contract beyond its current term.

This decision was discussed with Dr. Yanofsky and conveyed to him, as required by contract, last April. At that time, and throughout the summer, the Board vigorously encouraged Dr. Yanofsky to retire or resign so that he could leave the District with the honor and dignity he deserves. Dr. Yanofsky refused to do so because he felt it would be irresponsible of him to leave at this time. He felt that, given the number of new administrators and other possible administrative changes this year, this was not the right time to change superintendents. The Board recognizes that in a large and dynamic district like White Plains, there are always important personnel and administrative matters to deal with. We are confident that, with Dr. Yanofsky continuing as Superintendent until next June, all decisions requiring action will be properly made by the end of the school year.

It is clear that although there may be differences about specific aspects of our decision relating to Dr. Yanofsky’s departure, the Board and community share a common commitment to the success of our outstanding public school system. We have every reason to expect that the District will continue to run smoothly and efficiently, with all programs continuing as planned. Dr. Yanofsky remains our Superintendent until June 30, 2002, with the full scope
and authority of that position.

The Board has initiated interviews with experienced consulting firms who will assist us throughout the broad-based search process. We will discuss the search at our regular monthly meeting on Monday, November 19th at 8:00
p.m. in the B-1 All-Purpose Room at White Plains High School.

Yours truly,

Donna O. McLaughlin, President

White Plains Board of Education

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Bland Hits 2 Towering Homeruns. City Wins! Towers Have Power, Prestige, Panache

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Frederick Bland’s little sketch grew up Wednesday.

Updated! The Super Architect from Beyer Blinder Belle presented meticulous developed designs for the Louis Cappelli City Center to the Mayor and Common Council that took the Common Council’s breath away. In a presentation every bit worthy of the Cappelli style, he delivered the Beyer, Blinder Belle touch.

Louis Cappelli agreed to pay the city $900,000 for the subterranean and air rights, under and over the new parking structure, for one year, and an option on a second year for another $500,000, protecting his investment.

Mr. Bland’s new schematics show two buildings that are more centered, not as low profile as Bland’s original sketch. The new towers recall echoes of art deco, the French Quarter, contemporary Manhattan, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

The new edifices assert identity and icon try with graduated power, build majestically to the sky, articulating in elegant setbacks, and supple curves of glass, “simplifying in features as they get to the top,” according to Bland. The Towers may be the best Bland has ever done. Speaking to WPCNR after the presentation, Bland was proud, saying he thought the buildings rivaled or surpassed any of the new residential construction being built now in Manhattan.

RECALLING A LUXURY OCEAN LINER, RISING OUT OF CITY CENTER, Frederick Bland’s enhanced twin Cappelli Towers, emerged after 50 sketch design treatments by Bland since September 17, (an average of 6 new treatments a week). The towers present as a slender column presence looking North to City Hall from Martine Avenue and a stately powerful elegant stairway to the sky when viewed from the West. The Martine Avenue Tower will house 293 units. The Main Street Tower, 307 units. This view shows the new parking structure to the right of the Martine Tower, the City Center to the left, with the Main Street Tower in background.WPCNR PHOTO

Mr. Bland said specific design treatment for the street level retail and entrances, and the material selections for the varying surfaces of the buildings, and the critical pinnacles are the next phase of design. He expects the final choices of facing materials, treatment of the street levels (“articulating of the exterior in an architectonic way,” as Bland put it), and the capping structure to be completed by the first of January or sooner.

He said the surface of the central double-window section rising to the penthouses at the top, will consist of white limestone, (the most beautiful building treatment being used today, in Bland’s opinion), with light tan brick being used for the narrower portions of the building.).

First view Council saw in September has grown up

He said he centered the double-floor window central portion of the building to a greater degree, so the two buildings “were not leaning so much into each other. Resorting to architect-talk, Bland said, “The lower base is starting to set an alignment. it is important to come down to the ground experience.”

CENTERING OF THE DOUBLE-WINDOW CENTRAL SECTION RELEASES MAJESTY AND POWER. This side view of the two new Bland Towers design shows the entry/street level retail will consist of two, broad full-length retail windows and curving glass around the corner of Martine and Conroy, and Conroy and Martine, “to bring people into the building,” Bland said. The central double-floor window section will consist of white limestone, the outer portions and north south sections will be single floor windows with light tan brick. (The old Macy’s store was built of white limestone brick.)WPCNR PHOTO

“The Mystery of Penthouse Living.” Five in Each Building

Bland said he became taken by the “Mystery of Penthouse Living,” and the possibilities at the pinnacle of the building. He has designed each tower to provide five penthouse apartments above the central limestone double-window anchoring section. Bland reports he is still working on the interior design of such apartments, allowing possibilities of duplexes and unspecified amenities.

MODEL OF CITY CENTER WITH NEW TOWERS IN PLACE viewed from the West, looking across Mamaroneck Avenue. The Greenpoint Bank building is at the lower left, the Westchester Arts Council building on the lower right. WPCNR PHOTO

The new model of the two towers in place in the City Center complex shows an interesting and striking similarity to the model originally presented by Mr. Cappelli with lower 25 story buildings with step backs rising out of the City Center. The new towers presented Wednesday enhance this original concept.

Cornices at the Pinnacles to “Establish a Wonderful Icon.”

Mr. Bland noted that the cornices capping the building were still in the design stage. He said he wants them “simple but elegant, light-colored with cantilevered “perforated metal” fins. The purpose is to establish wonderful icon and hide all the junk on the top of the building.” He reports they will “glow at night.”

Base very important

Bland is still concentrating on precise treatment of the retail base of each apartment tower. He said he does not believe the look of the apartment building base should duplicate the other three sides of the City Center. “Cities don’t work that way,” he said. The center portion of the first floor floors above the entry/retail-street level, is planned to have French balconies reminiscent of the French Quarter. Bland said the balconies are “a personalized way of making the area very friendly alive and well, (the building) participating in the urban scene.”

ENTRY INTO ELEGANT LIVING shows the evolution of an art deco wrap-around window treatment of the retail, which Bland says “invites” the pedestrian into Conroy Place. Balconies are envisioned above the retail overlooking the City Center Plaza, recalling the French Quarter in New Orleans.WPCNR PHOTO

The presentation ended with a flyby computerization, and a single picture view of the skyline of the city with the new towers computer-inserted looking from the West. To this reporter’s eye, the skyline view did not show the new buildings standing out starkly on the city horizon.

The Council reacts positively, again.

Robert Greer, William King, Benjamin Boykin, and Rita Malmud each commented favorably on the new look.

Mr. Greer said, “I really like it. It makes a great statement for the center of our city.” Greer noted that from the Western view the buildings look almost like one building.

William King, a keen observer of New York architecture, was the most observant critic, positive, but noting that the slender North and South sides should be broken up with limestone treatment, and he wished that double-floor window treatment might be integrated onto the slim profile sides, too. King liked the idea of a step back on the Main Street Tower side, too. Bland said that was under consideration.

MR. BLAND TAKES A BOW. With the look of a slugger who has connected big time, Fred Bland was all smiles at the conclusion of his presentation.WPCNR PHOTO

Rita Malmud expressed great appreciation for the French Balcony effect added to the first four residential floors. She said she did not like “the toothpicks” at the tops of the buildings. Bland said they were working on different ways to hide the antennas. Those were Ms. Malmud’s sole observations.

Ben Boykin observed, “The message I’m getting is (the building) is user-friendly, people-friendly, people-inviting. We’re really getting to that point. The Buildings really do that.”

Subterranean Homesick Blues for Cappelli

During the last two weeks, the city raised an issue with Cappelli brought about by Frederick Bland’s design change of the buildings. Because Bland feels that parking for the Martine Avenue southern tower should be housed in the new parking structure being built for the city center, (using about 200 feet of space on an added lower floor), instead of under the apartment building itself, this requires building another level below the 7-story garage being planned.

THE MAN IN BLACK explains the concept of subterranean and air rights. Louis Cappelli protested that the rights were “worthless,” and wryly complimented the city for finding a way to charge him $2.4 million for them.WPCNR PHOTO

The city told Cappelli that they felt building an extra floor on the garage violated their subterranean rights and air rights above the garage, according to Susan Habel. Deputy Commissioner of Planning Habel reported that Mr. Cappelli who bought into the Bland design had agreed to pay the city $400,000 outright for the subterranean rights to build another floor of the parking garage to house cars of tenants in the Martine Avenue Tower.

Habel added that Mr. Cappelli also agreed to pay the city $500,000 for one year of air rights over the garage to protect his City Center development from the city or another developer building another structure over the garage. Cappelli also has an option to pay $500,000 for a second year in 2003.

At the end of year two,(2003) he may purchase air rights in perpetuity for another $1 million.

Cappelli quietly said that this is a moot point since any building over the garage had to be done in January when he is scheduled to begin the garage. Nevertheless, he has quietly agreed to pay the city $900,000 for the subterranean and air rights for 2002.

Ms. Habel said the Common Council would consider passing the actual legislation articulating this agreement on November 20.

Mr. Cappelli Is Eyeballing the Future with New “Rights.”

The payment for the subterranean rights and air rights, gives Cappelli a unique position should another developer acquire the remaining Main Street property adjacent to the City Center. If Mr. Cappelli wished to acquire the property himself, purchasing the air rights over the garage would free Mr. Cappelli should he want to develop the adjacent Main Street East to North Broadway property himself.

A group headed by A. J. Rotundi and a Palm Beach firm had expressed interest in making a presentation to the Council in September. Ms. Habel advised WPCNR that the group had not gotten their financing and the Planning Department had not heard from them for two months. This can be traced back to when Mr. Cappelli received his approval for the City Center.

Leonard Nadel’s Dream Park Once Upon a Garage Is Discarded

In discussions of the air rights, it was quietly revealed, (virtually by accident in response to a council question), that Mr. Cappelli never seriously considered Leonard Nadel’s suggestion of a green park with fields on the top floor of the parking garage. Cappelli said, “It just doesn’t work, and it would add $4 million to the project.”

This announcement was greeted by quiet puzzlement on the part of the Council.

Cappelli: “I gave him a free hand.”

After the meeting broke up, WPCNR asked Mr. Cappelli how closely he had supervised Mr. Bland’s design development. Cappelli said, “I gave him a free hand.”

Bland himself said when asked if he liked the “Cappelli Speed” style of developing, said “I like to build things” and added he was not happy working on projects which dragged on. Usually, he said an organization that does that does not have an efficient process of decision-making.

Mr. Cappelli’s staff architect, Kathleen Hennesy, said Mr. Bland met with the Cappelli staff at least once a week in the design development process.

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Hockley Ahead in Recount. No word When Board of Elections Will Announce Winner

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The first election recount in White Plains history began Tuesday behind schedule at 4 PM. There is timetable as to when the Board of Elections will announce the winner.

Glen Hockley, “Councilman in Waiting,” reported to WPCNR Tuesday evening that the voting machine canvassing had been completed by Board of Elections officials. He said the Board of Elections was going to count absentee ballots and affidavits next. He was reluctant to comment on the situation, but revealed he was ahead.

The recount, scheduled to begin at noon Tuesday did not begin until 4 PM because the Board of Elections officials scheduled to count had a traffic accident. When the recanvas got underway at Fire House No. 2 on Ferris Avenue, it was late afternoon. Observing were the heads of the two city parties, Frank Cantatore and Adam Bradley, Mr. Hockley, Larry Delgado, the “Incumbent in Jeopardy,” and, observers on the scene said there were legal representatives for each candidate.

James Benerofe, observing the action reported the process “hard to take,” saying the officials would call out numbers line by line for each machine in droning fashion. Rita Malmud, City Council President also observing told this Reporter, that it was a process of just listening to numbers read out loud.

Hockley, contacted by WPCNR at 8:30 PM Tuesday evening said counting had been suspended for the evening, and that counting the paper ballots was next. He said the Board of Elections had given no indication when a winner would be officially declared.

Going into the recount, Hockley held a 159-vote lead over Larry Delgado, having obtained the lead through absentee ballots, according to a Board of Elections observer.

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100 Absentee Ballots Put Hockley on Council–Maybe–canvas today.

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A strong effort to garner absentee ballots gave Glen Hockley the lead in the race for the third Common Council seat. The Board of Elections will recanvas the White Plains voting machines Tuesday at noon, and the Delgado-Hockley battle will be decided. Delays in Board of Elections reporting discovered.
WPCNR has learned a lot about how ballots are counted at the Board of Elections: slowly and by hand, by word of mouth, and with an eye for accuracy, with urgency downplayed.

WPCNR first became aware of the lag between Board of Elections official counting procedures and city hall counts Wednesday morning when advised by cable tv in White Plains that the Board of Elections website did not have results up on their website as of 9:30 PM Tuesday evening.

Board of Elections website not ready at the bell.

Officials at cable television in White Plains advised WPCNR that the cable station had been assured by the Board of Elections that the Board would have results up on their site by 9:30 so the local cable channel could post them for the television audience on the city cable channel 72. The head of White Plains Cable, Fred Strauss, said he had been assured by Board of Elections officials their site would be ready. He found that was not the case an hour before the polls closed.

Stauss told WPCNR that as of approximately 8:00 PM Tuesday, his producer, Gary Stukes reported that the Board of Elections site had no format on their screens. Strauss said that Mr. Stukes was assured results would be up as the polls closed at 9. When Stukes checked the Board of elections site at approximately 9 PM, no results were up. He scrambled to get results. He contacted the White Plains City Clerk’s office, and used their figures to post results on Cable 72.

No White Plains results until 10:30-11 PM.

Strauss said the Board of Elections began posting results on their site by 11:00 PM. That was the time when Democratic and Republican District leaders had basically completed their raw count of votes for all the districts. This is odd because voice reports are the way the Board of Elections gets their figures, too, according to a spokesperson for the Board of Election office. Strauss said Board of Elections updates on White Plains races were “infrequent, at best,” after 10:30 PM.

Phone-in results to random tallyers

WPCNR learned from the Board of Elections Friday that their official “unofficial” counts are phoned in by their own election inspectors at each polling place in White Plains at the conclusion of voting. According to the spokesperson for the Board of Election Commissioner’s office, “the sheets are bagged and delivered to us, and we count them by hand.”

The spokesperson said the counts appearing on the Board of Elections White Plains races page are based on the paper sheets pulled from the voting machines at the conclusion of voting, and phoned in to the Board of Elections.

A longtime observer of canvases on election night told WPCNR Tuesday that totals are read off the sheets across each line. He says there is wide margin for error given the fact that the results are read off quickly and often the tally takers are behind in writing down the results as they are called out.

Sometimes counts are misheard

“We take voice reports from our election inspectors, and sometimes the totals can be misunderstood,” the spokesperson (contacted at 9:30 last Wednesday morning said), by way of explanation as to why some candidates’ totals dropped Wednesday from what party district leaders reported. “We then recanvas the machine sheets by hand. How did you think it was done? We’re entering results into the terminals now (9:30 AM Thursday morning).”

No results as of 8 AM Wednesday morning

WPCNR first noted the lag in reporting, when we accessed the Board of Elections site at 8 AM Wednesday morning. We anticipated that all Election District results would be completed so we could give Board of Elections unofficial tallies on our Wednesday morning White Plains Week Election Edition show.

We were surprised. The Board of Elections site had not been updated for 6 hours and 40 minutes. The last update time on their site was listed as 1:20 AM Wednesday morning with only 39 of 46 districts reporting.

Long lagtime in reporting results

Now, had the Board of Elections and the County Executive’s office not ballyhooed the availability of these returns on the Board of Elections website prior to the election, we would not be surprised. The Board of Elections website, in fact did not update their site with results until approximately 3:00 PM Wednesday afternoon, fourteen hours after their last update in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

No one knows about 13,000 votes cast in White Plains for 18 hours after polls close.

As of Wednesday at 1 PM, Public Access television was being told by the Board of Elections that seven of the 46 Election Districts in White Plains had not reported. Asked about this, the spokesman said that not all the bags containing the machine count sheets had been delivered by Wednesday morning.

Hockley surge attributed to absentee ballots

The spokesperson at the Board of Elections, WPCNR contacted said that the surge of Glen Hockley was due to approximately 100 absentee ballots making the difference. When asked why the results favoring Hockley were not posted for 14 hours, they referred us to a person in the computer department who told us that the computer program the Board of Elections used “refreshed” every three minutes, and that the results posted depended on how fast they were inputted at the computer terminals of the Board of Elections officials taking the results over the phones.

Only 60 phones to take 2,000 District Results

The computer department spokesperson reported that the Board of Elections only had 60 telephones and operators/inputters to take election results from all the election districts in every town and city in Westchester County.

She added, when asked, that the operators taking the phone-ins of results were not covering specific locations, and therefore not keeping continuing tallies. She said they took results at random from whatever district inspecto called in whether from White Plains, Scarsdale, Yonkers or Ossining. WPCNR estimates there are approximately 2,000 election Districts in Westchester County. (There are over 100 in Yonkers, and 46 in White Plains, alone.)

Republican sources rue fact that they did not go after absentee ballots

Beginning Tuesday at twelve noon, the recanvas of the White Plains voting machines will begin. Privately Republicans were grudgingly praising the Democratic Party pursuit of absentee ballots before the election. “We messed up there,” one Republican source, “We should have done more on absentees.”

Another source, familiar with insiders in the city Democratic party said they knew the Democrats had been relentless in pursuing absentee ballots and making sure they were sent in.

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Residents Affected by WTC Attack Lag in Applying for Aid. Here’s How:

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From Westchester County Department of Communications:County Executive Andy Spano is concerned that not enough people know about federal aid if they are victims of the WTC attack. As of last Friday, only 206 county residents had called the FEMA registration line to ask for help.
Spano urges residents affected by the World Trade Center disaster to take advantage of federal aid available to help them rebuild their lives.

Residents and small business owners affected by the Sept. 11 attack can get unemployment insurance, help with housing costs and other aid by calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) toll-free registration line at 1-800-462-9029.

“The effects of this cowardly act continue to spread. People have lost loved ones. Now some are losing their jobs. Others are in danger of losing their homes because they can’t pay the mortgage or rent,” said Spano. “I’m concerned that many people haven’t asked for the help that is being offered.”

Among the key programs available are:

Disaster Unemployment Assistance: This is financial assistance for up to 26 weeks eligibility for the self-employed, business owners or workers who lost their job because of the attack, and to those who are otherwise not eligible for New York State unemployment program benefits. Small business owners are also eligible for this program.

Mortgage and Rental Assistance: These are grants for up to 18 months for those threatened with eviction or foreclosure due to the loss of income due to the World Trade Center attack.

Crisis Counseling: This provides assistance to help victims deal with the trauma brought on by the attacks.

“These are just a few of the programs that are available to help people start rebuilding their lives and livelihoods,” said Spano. “I urge them to call. The help is there.”

The FEMA toll-free registration line -1-800-462-9029 – is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. People who are speech- or hearing-impaired should call TTY 1-800-462-7585.

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Water Supply Low. County Urges Voluntary Conservation.

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From Westchester County’s Department of Communications and WPCNR:Faced with lower reservoir levels, Westchester County is asking its residents to help with conservation efforts and use water sparingly. The request comes on the heels of a drought watch issued earlier this week by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Voluntary conservation is urged. Tips on saving water appear in this article.
The DEC’s declaration – which applied to 13 southeastern counties – doesn’t include mandatory restrictions but public water suppliers are urged to promote voluntary conservation.

Latest national map radars examined by WPCNR indicate that there will be no precipitation for the next 10 days. Temperatures are expected to be warm in the 50s and 60s, which may aggravate the shortage.

“This doesn’t indicate any kind of emergency – just that reservoir levels are lower than we would like,” said John D’Aquino, first deputy commissioner of the Department of Environmental Facilities. “However, it does mean that we should all practice conservation to keep the situation from getting any worse.”

State and county officials attribute the situation to below average rainfall, stream flow and groundwater levels. The reservoirs feeding New York City’s water supply are at 53 percent of capacity – significantly below the normal level of 69 percent.

Among the water-saving tips recommended by both the state and county:

Take shorter showers or fill the tub only halfway.

Don’t run the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth.

Fix leaking pipes, hoses and faucets. Leaky faucets can waste up to 1,000 gallons each week.

Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when full. Or use short cycles if available.

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

Install water-saving fixtures including toilets, showerheads and faucet aerators.

Sweep driveways and sidewalks clean rather than washing them down with a hose.

Don’t let the tap run for cold water. Keep a container in the refrigerator.
For more tips, contact the county’s Water Conservation Hotline at 813-5436.

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WPCNR Salutes Veterans on “Armistice Day”

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Eighty-three years ago today, representatives of the allied powers and the German allies met in a railroad coach outside Paris and agreed to an armistice, ending World War I, the so-called “War to end all wars,” a war in which 10 million persons died.

Since that day, November 11 has been set aside as first Armistice Day, later changed to Veterans Day. White Plains CitizeNetReporter salutes and remembers and thanks our veterans on this day which recognizes how special they are. Two events celebrated America’s first veterans last month.

On October 22 at “Washington’s Headquarters,” in White Plains, the Jacob Purdy House, the White Plains Historical Society recognized America’s first veterans. These were the men of White Plains who defended Chatterton Hill and Miller Hill from the advancing British army under General Howe.

GUNSMOKE REMEMBERS THE FIRST VETERANS. The militia men and volunteers who defended White Plains at the Battle of White Plains in 1776 were commemorated October 21, with a volley of remembrance at Jacob Purdy House.WPCNR PHOTO

An elite reenactment contingent of British troops gathered about the flagpole overlooking White Plains below. Old Glory was raised on the flagpole. A volley of gunfire from 18th Century muskets saluted the fallen from that long ago battle. The names of the residents of White Plains who died on those hills 225 years ago were solemnly read from a podium at the steps of the old red home.

The names of three White Plains citizens killed in the World Trade Center attack were added to this distinguished list of America’s first veterans, as Jack Harrington, President of the White Plains Historical Society oversaw the ceremonies.

It strikes WPCNR that these three 2001 citizens were much like those first veterans who defeneded White Plains in 1776. Those first veterans lay down their plows or crafts and took up arms when their town and country was threatened. Some citizens lost everything when British troops burned parts of White Plains after the battle.

We remember our fighting men and women on Veterans Day, because most of them were every day citizens called to duty who went out and did something they did not know they could do. Perform acts of heroism, bravery, losing their lives for the American way. Many were just kids themselves. For example, most B-17 pilots over Germany in World War II were in their early twenties.

NAMES OF AMERICA’S FIRST VETERANS ARE READ AT ENTRANCE TO JACOB PURDY HOUSE. Jack Harrington, President of White Plains Historical Society solemly conducts reading of the White Plains Honor Roll at Battle of White Plains ceremonies October 22.WPCNR PHOTO

We can in no way, or through no motion picture know what any veteran experienced. The veterans who still are with us do not like to talk about their combat experiences. And they do not. One veteran of D-Day, asked what he thought of Saving Private Ryan and the realism of it, said the real D-Day was worse. However, veterans we have interviewed remark that they think of their combat experience every day. It is always with them.

It is inconceivable to me that I could ever be able to do what these men and women did. I would like to hope I could. However, the veterans have. They left ordinary lives as office workers, factory workers, farmers, accountants, and what have you and were able to go to war and “rise to the occasion,” or as they say today, “step it up to the next level.” The highest level.

MAYOR DELFINO UNVEILS HISTORICAL SIGNAGE AT BATTLE HILL. In another effort to commemorate America’s veterans, Mayor Joseph Delfino, working with New York State and local groups unveiled a series of permanent historical signs in Battle Hill-Whitney Park October 28 detailing the Battle Hill and Miller Hill battle grounds of the Battle of White Plains. It is the first effort to produce a heritage trail in the City of White Plains. Other markers of historically significant areas of the city are planned in the near future.WPCNR PHOTO

How should Armistice Day be observed? Well, a thought about the sacrifice of these veterans and those who died perhaps brings new vibrancy and dedication to the ideals for which they fought. A thought to what they considered important enough to leave a safe existence to fight for valiantly at great risk and high valour reinforces those sacred American standards: freedom, the pursuit of happiness, free speech, the big little things.

We should value the sacrifice of our local public defenders, the police, the firefighters, the enforcement officials who routinely do this to keep the fabric of American society safe.
Thank you.

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