YONKERS WATCHDOG.

 

Ken Jenkins for County Legislator

 

untitledI hope the summer is treating you well.  It is hard to believe it is August!  It’s been a busy time both at the Board of Legislators and on the campaign trail, and I wanted to take a few minutes to update you on all that is going on.

The 2015 Election
I normally end these newsletters with some political reflection, but given that this is campaign season, I wanted to give you an update on my race for reelection to the 16th Legislative District.
Petitioning has finished and – thanks to the political machinations of Rob Astorino and his allies – I am facing a Primary this time around.  And while this may be political theater, I am nonetheless taking this race very seriously, as no one should ever take the privilege of elected office for granted.  During petitioning I was out knocking on doors, and in the coming days I will be reaching out to my constituents in person, and with ground and mail campaigns.
Thanks so much to those of you who attended and/or contributed to my reelection event in June, as your support is what will allow me to run an effective campaign for the Primary.  If you were not able to make the event but would be willing to support my campaign for reelection, I would be honored and grateful.  You can contribute by clicking here.
This year, Primary Day is Thursday, September 10th, making it that much more important for us to turn out the vote.  If you are interested in volunteering with the campaign, please email me or Jackie Mishler at jackie@jenkinsforwestchester.com, and we will put you to work!
And now, on to the issues…
Playland (Update)
In my previous newsletter, I discussed the latest proposal before the Board regarding Playland’s future.  I noted that while I believed we had found a solid partner in Standard Amusements, I had concerns over the proposal and felt we had been given an insufficient amount of time to review and address those concerns before the agreement would need to be voted on.
Despite those misgivings, I was pleased to join with my colleagues in unanimously approving the agreement, which will finally give the people of Westchester the Playland they deserve.
Standard Amusements has now begun doing an assessment of the park and the expectation is that they will take over sole management in October.  In the meantime, I look forward to working with their representatives to address my continued concerns, and to ensure that Playland remains the accessible wonderful institution it has been for nearly nine decades.
I’d also like to add that while this agreement may be far from perfect, it is still light years better than the one illegally entered into by the Astorino administration with Sustainable Playland Inc. (SPI), which would have been a disaster for the park’s future.  I am proud of the work my colleagues and I did to block and dismantle that proposal, leading us to where we are today.
I look forward to a bright future for Playland.
Invest in Kids (Update)
On a less cheery note, I also discussed in my last newsletter my co-sponsorship of the Invest In Kids Restoration Act, to restore the funding to 20 at-risk youth programs.  These programs, which have served this County effectively and cost-efficiently for decades, saw their funding cut this year by the Astorino administration, which illegally bypassed the existing ranking and rating process.  Instead, the administration unilaterally awarded $2 million in funding, much if it to newly-added, untested programs.
Meanwhile the existing programs were not told until January about the loss of funding and now many are at risk of shutting down.
My colleagues Alfreda Williams, Catherine Borgia and I introduced legislation to restore this funding, by allowing the Astorino administration to find the funds through savings or to use emergency funds to support the programs.
Sadly for our kids, the legislation failed to pass the Board.  And while I was not surprised that my Republican colleagues voted against it, I was incredibly disappointed that Board Chairman Mike Kaplowitz and my fellow Yonkers legislator Virginia Perez voted against restoring funding.  They did a great disservice to their constituents.  Our children deserve a lot better than that and I will continue to fight.
Family Court Needs to Remain Where it Is
I recently held a press conference where I discussed my opposition to the Astorino administration’s proposal to co-locate the Family Court with the Department of Social Services at 131 Warburton Avenue in Yonkers, where Social Services currently resides.  Although the Court’s current facility at 53 South Broadway is in desperate need of renovation – and has been for several years – the proposal to combine it into the Warburton Avenue location is a poor one for a number of reasons.
First of all, there is a reason why nowhere in New York State can you find a Court located in the same building as one providing the full range of Social Services.  These are two important government functions that serve children and families.  Locating the Court where people go for social services sends the chilling message to those applying for services: “don’t apply.”
Furthermore, the current Court facility is at the center of the County’s bus transportation hub, whereas relocating it to Warburton Avenue would find it served by only a single bus line.
This is too important and at the core of the function of County government. I have proposed instead that we purchase and renovate the 53 South Broadway location based on the plan proposed by the Office of Court Administration’s capital projects committee.
Electric Charging Stations
As I mentioned in an earlier newsletter, my colleague Catherine Parker and I were successful in introducing and passing legislation that strengthens the requirement that the County purchase high mileage and alternative fuel vehicles.
Wanting to continue moving the County down this eco-friendly path, I have proposed legislation that would add electric vehicle charging stations to any parking area owned by the County or that receives a reduction in County taxes.  These are the vehicles of the future, and the more Westchester residents invest in them, the less carbon emissions we as a County generate and the better the quality of our air.  We should be encouraging residents to consider these vehicles when making a new car purchase.  Providing easy and convenient locations to charge them is key to that goal.
The Supreme Court and the Continuing Fight Over Westchester’s Affordable Housing
This was an exciting term in the Supreme Court.  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was upheld and Same Sex Marriage became the law of the land.  #LoveWins and we are a better nation for it.
There was an additional decision that was handed down that, in a different term, likely would have garnered greater attention.  And it is one that directly relates to Westchester’s continued affordable housing issues.
In Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., the Supreme Court held that even unintentional “disparate impact” discrimination is illegal under the Fair Housing Act of 1968. This decision is significant because it directly undercuts County Executive Astorino’s continued argument that discrimination does not exist in Westchester because, as he stated at a press conference just last month, “Anyone can live anywhere they choose as long as they can afford it.”
The bottom line is that Rob Astorino just doesn’t get it.  And his constant unwillingness to act in good faith regarding the settlement Westchester made with the federal government has cost this County millions of dollars, and may cost the County more via a recommendation from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara that the County be fined for failing to have funding in place for enough affordable housing units by the 2014 deadline.
Whether you agree or disagree with the U.S. Attorney that the 28 Chappaqua Station homes should qualify because they were approved before the deadline, the bottom line is that under Rob Astorino’s leadership, the County has dragged its feet in complying with the settlement, which is the reason we are in this position to begin with.  He has placed his philosophical opposition above the best interests (and legal obligations) of the people of this County; and the results have been very costly for Westchester’s residents.
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As I read over this newsletter, I am reminded how much good we on the Board can do, but how much more needs to be done.
There is a lot that is right and wonderful with Westchester – a reflection of the special people who live here – but there is a lot of room for improvement, especially in making sure that Westchester’s government protects the needs and interests of all the residents of this County.
It is my honor to serve the people and having your support of my continued efforts means the world to me.  I hope you will continue to come to me with questions and suggestions.  And I hope to see you out on the campaign trail!
In the meantime, have wonderful rest of your summer.
All the best,

Ken

 

1357166389_GL_21357166691_Senate1357166691_Senategeorge latimerSource: New York State Senator George Latimer Office.

Senator Latimer Joins Governor Cuomo in Call for Federal NE Train Tunnel Funding
 
“The Northeast Corridor rail system benefits our nation from New England to Union Station in Washington DC, and beyond. Governor Cuomo is 100% correct when he seeks federal funding – not loans—to repair and improve the tunnels and tracks between New York and New Jersey,” said NYS Senator George Latimer (D-37th S.D.), whose Westchester district is a gateway for people traveling on Amtrak and Metro North throughout the region.
 
Latimer noted that in the last week, Governor Cuomo has been addressing the need for direct federal government assistance with the estimated $14 billion cost of remediating the rail system and tunnels in his discussions with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. The Governor has essentially rejected the idea of loans to the states, which would make them ultimately responsible for paying for the cost.
 
“This is a national priority. It should not fall to our state budgets to pay these costs,” Latimer said. “President Eisenhower reminded us that part of what makes our ‘United States’ is the connectivity of transportation, and the federal government should renew its commitment to that.”

The following statement is from Senator George Latimer and is for immediate release

July 27, 2015
STATEMENT FROM SENATOR GEORGE LATIMER (D-37 Westchester County)
“With the conviction this week of two sitting state senators, both who served in leadership positions, there have been 39 state level officials forced from office for arrests, convictions or ethical lapses since 2003.
We do need to fix certain aspects of our ethics laws, like closing the LLC Loophole, and pension forfeiture for elected officials who violate the public trust. There is no shortage of wrongdoers already getting caught, but we must make rules robust, oversight reliable, and punishment sure.
And it’s time for the people of the State of New York – we, the citizens – to hold lawmakers accountable at the ballot box. Four of the disgraced officials were re-elected by their district voters last November. Voters need to place ethical behavior above party affiliation if we are to truly right the ship.”

Summer Reading Program Keeps Kids and Learning Connected, Senator Latimer Says

 

Joining with the New York State Library and the libraries throughout the 37th Senate District, Senator George Latimer (D- 37th S.D.) announced the start of the 2015 “Summer Reading at New York Libraries” this week.

 

The program provides reading and educational opportunities at community libraries while school is not in session. Participating children receive reading lists and engage in educational activities at the libraries.

 

“During the summer months, we need to keep the love of learning alive in our children,” said Senator Latimer, who is the ranking member of the Senate Education Committee. “Linking them to our libraries during the summer months will keep them engaged, with the added benefit of children making libraries a part of their routine throughout the year,” he added.

 

A” Summer Reading at New York Libraries” website has been created for parents and children. The site contains links to information for kids of all ages, and a link to local libraries and their programs. It can be found at www.summerreadingnys.org

 

Subject: Breaking News: State Senate votes to expand term to 4 years

Monday, June 8 — 3:40 pmState Senate votes to expand term to 4 YearsThe State Senate has voted 46-14 for bill S894 which would set in motion a State Constitutional Convention to expand the terms of NY state legislators from 2 years to 4 years. Sponsored by Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens), a member of the Independent Democratic Conference, the bill goes to the State Assembly for consideration.

Local Senators from the Hudson Valley who voted YES include Republicans Terence Murphy, Sue Serino, and Bill Larkin and Democrats Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, David Carlucci, and Jeff Klein.

The only local Senator voting NO against the four year term proposal was Westchester Democratic Senator George Latimer.

Senate Passes Latimer Bill

 on Criminal Trespass

 

 

A shocking crime in the Armour Villa section of Yonkers has led to the passage in the New York State Senate of a bill that would establish felony-level penalties for the crime of lewd criminal trespass.

 

Steve Wagner, the President of the Armour Villa Neighborhood Association met with State Senator George Latimer (D-Westchester, 37th S.D.) to describe the crime that occurred to a female homeowner in the area. An intruder broke into the home, and performed a lewd act, observed by the homeowner. “The sense of intimidation and intrusion affected this woman greatly, in what should be the safety of her own home”, Senator Latimer stated. “But the police could only charge the intruder with simple trespass. That charge did nothing to stop the individual from continuing his stalking and harassment of the woman”.

 

Sen. Latimer and Wagner worked on language which became bill S.4166/A.2761, with the help of Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, the bill’s Assembly sponsor. “We lobbied in the Senate for its passage and my colleagues agreed, on a bi-partisan basis, to create a category of crime that would provide greater penalties for such behavior. We seek to punish the guilty and, if possible, deter the would-be criminal from this behavior in the first place”.

 

Latimer praised Wagner’s work on the bill. “Steve exemplifies what an active citizen can do. On his own time, he brought his neighbor’s story to our attention and helped us craft and vette the language. Today’s Senate vote (58-2 in favor) is a vote of justice for an innocent woman, and a vote of support for a neighborhood leader who cares”, Latimer concluded.

        

The bill is under review in the Assembly Codes Committee. To view the bill on-line, check www.nysenate.gov, and place the bill number, S.4166, in the “Legislation” icon box.

Here Comes the Sun (Act):

Latimer Pushes Senate on
Solar Energy Bill.

 

 

Senator George Latimer (D-Westchester, 37th S.D.), has introduced legislation in the State Senate intended to solidify New York’s reputation as a beacon of environmental sustainability. If implemented, The New York Sun Act of 2015 would establish far-reaching solar incentive programs for qualified businesses. In consultation with the New York State Energy and Research Authority, the Senate Energy Commission would, under this plan, allocate a minimum of $150 million toward the development of solar-energy grids. These grids, which would retain a steady-stream funding from 2016 through 2025, will be developed in areas of geographic and socio-economic diversity to ensure all consumers have equal access to affordable electricity. Participating businesses must undergo a competitive bidding process to receive the necessary funds; by establishing capacity and production incentives for energy companies to go green, the commission safeguards New York from further contributing to climate change.

 

Senator Latimer’s bill, sponsored in the Assembly (A.6776) by Assemblyman Steve Englebright of Long Island, has six Senate co-sponsors including Senators Avella, Hoylman, Krueger, Panepinto, Serrano, and Squadron, and has garnered significant support from environmental experts. The watchdog organization, Environmental Advocates of New York, gives the bill “three trees,” the group’s most favorable rating.

 

The New York Sun Act is consistent with Senator Latimer’s long time commitment to environmental issues in City and County government, and in the Assembly; his voting record has been rated at the top of the Senate lists on these issues. The Senator co-sponsors a number of bills highly regarded by Environmental Advocates, such as legislation to eliminate loopholes in environmental oversight laws and to curtail the presence of toxic chemicals in toys.

 

Senator Latimer emphasized that “we must have renewal energy sources that can play a larger role in our energy mix. Solar is an important renewable, and New York state must take the lead on this issue”.

           

The bill is under review in both the Senate and the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committees. To view the bill on-line, check www.nysenate.gov, and place the bill number, S.569, in the “Legislation” icon box.

The Sun Rises

Environmental Advocates Strongly Support this Bill

Explanation:

Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative is moving New York out of a fossil fuel past and down the path of a clean and healthy energy future. While good, the Governor’s program was done via regulation. To ensure that New York maintains its role as a national leader in the development and deployment of solar energy, a statute that extends the program through the next decade, modernizes our energy grid and protects ratepayers is needed.

A robust, long-term law provides market certainty to manufacturers, developers, and installers to invest in New York. The existence of a well-funded long-term program will allow employers in the solar industry to develop multi-year business plans making the state a more attractive place to operate and create jobs.

It is critical New York increase renewable energy production as consumer demand for electricity peaks during the hot summer months forcing the electric grid to rely on inefficient power plants to meet the state’s energy needs. This drives up the overall cost of electricity for consumers, stresses utility infrastructure, and increases the levels of pollution responsible for our changing climate and poor air quality.

New Yorkers are already experiencing the impacts of climate pollution on our economy, environment and public health. Increasing our reliance on solar power will relieve our dependence on damaging, climate-altering fossil-fuels, drive down electricity costs for all New Yorkers and improve air quality. Moreover, energy produced by solar systems can be consumed on-site, relieving the grid of congestion that can lead to expensive equipment failures.

Summary:

The bill establishes a $1.5 billion solar incentive program, thereby solidifying New York’s commitment to solar energy by establishing, in statute, a stable and predictable funding mechanism with the flexibility to encourage the development of residential, commercial, and industrial-sized photovoltaic systems through 2025.

Memo #:

15

http://www.twcnews.com/nys/capital-region/capital-tonight-interviews/2015/04/29/george-latimer-042915.html

Senator Latimer Celebrates April 22nd As Earth Day 2015

 

(Port Chester , NY) Senator George Latimer (D-Rye ) today reminded New Yorkers that April 22nd is Earth Day 2015 and encouraged New Yorkers to renew their commitment to protecting the environment and ensuring clean air and fresh water for generations to come.

 

“By protecting the environment we not only protect our state’s natural beauty and resources, but also the health of all New Yorkers,” Senator Latimer explained. “By working together we can protect our neighborhoods and communities, spur economic development opportunities in green technology and create countless jobs to propel our economy through the 21st Century while reducing our carbon footprint.”

 

In 1970, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin declared April 22nd as Earth Day. A promoter of environmental issues, Nelson struggled for years to thrust the evidence of environmental degradation into the political mainstream. He organized a nationwide grassroots demonstration to allow people throughout the country to speak and express their concern for the land, rivers, lakes and air. This event brought the nation together and led to the creation of Earth Day.

 

This year Senator Latimer is supporting several bills which will help protect the environment here in New York including; S.3932 by Senator Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flatts, which will outlaw the use of microbeads in household products that end up in our waterways, and S. 4102 by Senator Phil Boyle, R-Bay Shore, which will allow the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to remove toys from the shelves of stores if they contain toxic chemicals.

 

“Nothing is more important than protecting public health and the environment where New Yorkers work, play, and raise their families,” said Senator Latimer. “I urge everyone to join in a continuing effort to do their part this Earth Day, and every day, to create a cleaner and more sustainable New York.”

 

For more information on how to make a difference and live green, go to the Department of Environmental Conservation website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/public/8804.html.

 

Subject: Senator George Latimer on Education Budget.

New York State Senate
Tuesday, March 31, 2015Senator George Latimer
(Dem – Westchester, 37th S.D.)
on NYS Education Budget 2015-16Click on to view
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t63D21SWl2I&sns=emShare this with your friends

Senator Latimer Announces Collegiate Scholarships

(Albany, NY) Senator George Latimer (D-Westchester) announced today that the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators is now accepting applications for four $2,500 scholarships to be awarded June 8th at their Annual Legislative Conference Day. In previous years, scholarships have been awarded to students from Port Chester and Mamaroneck.

“Given the high costs of college, every opportunity must be made by local students and their working families to meet their required expenses with scholarships as well as with student loans, available financial aid, and personal contributions,” said Senator Latimer.  “I highly recommend that our area’s students apply to the Conference for these prestigious scholarships so that they may hopefully secure as much extra help with their expenses as possible.”

This year, the Italian-American State Legislators Conference will be awarding four $2,500 scholarships to four current or future college students from New York State.  Eligibility will be based upon the student’s grade point average, interest in pursuing a higher education, involvement in the local community as well as individual financial need.

The Conference is a bipartisan organization of New York State Assembly and Senate members who are actively involved in promoting and celebrating the state’s Italian-American community. The Conference mission is to work hard to elevate and highlight Italian-American contributions to the State of New York and beyond, in all aspects of society, including literature, the arts, architecture and politics. The conference also tries to dispel negative stereotypes of Italian-Americans.

“Our conference is very proud of our role in promoting higher education and assisting students in reaching their academic goals and full potential for future success in the global marketplace,” Latimer continued.  “This year’s recipients will be invited to Albany to receive their scholarship awards in June.”

Area students may request an application by contacting Senator Latimer’s Albany office at (518) 455-2031.  Applications must be submitted to Latimer’s Albany office by Friday, April 24th.

Senator Latimer’s session remarks on the passing of Cardinal Edward M. Egan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kh_gMVhBPKQ

Senator Latimer explains his vote at the Joint Session of the Senate and Assembly 3/10/15
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtRsVOXHms0

Latimer Joins Bi-Partisan Coalition in Support of Transformative Post-Traumatic Stress Therapy

(Albany, NY) Last week, Senator George Latimer joined a bi-partisan coalition in support of the $1.6 million dollar budget request for the Research and Recognition Project in the 2015-2016 New York State Budget. The Research and Recognition Project is a not for profit organization that has developed a breakthrough, non-invasive, neurological treatment for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress. Bonacic was joined by a bi-partisan group of Senators, members of the Research and Recognition’s executive leadership team, as well as veterans who were successfully treated using the treatment methods.
Senator Latimer stated, “Ensuring that the men and women that serve our country in the armed forces have the resources to live healthy and comfortable lives upon return from combat should always be a top priority.  The State has taken several actions over the last few years to improve the quality of life for returning soldiers and we should continue to build on that success for the 44,000 recent veterans that suffer from untreated symptoms of PTSD.  As a percentage of the overall state budget, this is a relatively minor investment that will have major impacts on thousands of New York families.”
Aside from Senator Latimer, the Senators who attended the press conference were, Senator John Bonacic, Senator Thomas O’Mara, Senator Rich Funke, Senator Terrence Murphy and Senator David Valesky. Currently, 28 Senators have signed on in support of funding for the Research and Recognition Project in the 2015-2016 Budget, and support is growing.  There is also support in the Assembly for this worthy cause.

“We must provide the adequate resources to our soldiers, not just in the form of guns, ammunition, and equipment while in the theater of war, but we must also provide for them when they come home,” Latimer concluded.
A copy of the letter signed by the 28 Senators, can be viewed by clicking here.

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Latimer Urges Funding for Improvements to Bridges Above Metro-North Tracks

(Westchester, NY) Senator George Latimer is urging New York State to urgently allocate funding in the 2015-16 State Budget for bridge repairs on a series of bridges in Westchester County that span the Metro-North New Haven line.

Latimer noted that tonnage limits have been dropped to as low as 3 tons on bridges that were otherwise designed for much heavier usage.  Latimer explained the request by saying, “The lower tonnage capacities make these bridges unusable for emergency responders, and there is always a jeopardy that a more circuitous route to an emergency could allow for a tragedy to occur.  Bridges that cannot sustain commercial truck traffic weight are not safe for fire vehicles, sanitation trucks, utility trucks from Con Ed and Verizon, and similar equipment.”

In a letter to DoT Officials, Latimer highlighted six (6) Sound Shore Bridges: Centre Avenue Bridge in New Rochelle, Chatsworth Avenue Bridge in the Town of Mamaroneck, Hillside Avenue Bridge in the Village of Mamaroneck, West Street and Broadway Bridges in Harrison and the Central Avenue Bridge in Rye.  Noting funding restrictions, Latimer said he believed that these projects i warranted priority attention due to greater deterioration of the structures.

“There is currently a major project underway on the North Barry Avenue Bridge in Mamaroneck that was prioritized based on the same needs that these other structures have.  I was glad to see that structure will be improved and hope to see a similar resolution for some of our other safety and infrastructure needs in the area.”

Latimer requested copies of the most recent bridge inspections performed by the DoT on these bridges to help determine which projects are in the greatest need of repairs.  “I expect that the DoT’s inspections have highlighted bridge deficiencies that require Metro-North capital improvements.  As we are now debating the 2015-16 State Budget this is the critical time to determine whether money should be urgently allocated by the State to bridge repairs,” concluded Latimer.

Latimer Calls for Shorter Legislative Session

(Westchester, NY) Senator George Latimer is proposing a reform to the operations of the State Legislature that would save taxpayer dollars; he wants the 2015 legislative session to end one month earlier and be structured in a way that eliminates several days of session, saving costs of travel reimbursements, per diems and other operating costs the legislature.

Latimer believes that the shortened legislative calendar will save taxpayers thousands of dollars.  “The problems that Albany faces are not going to be aggressively addressed until the legislature runs at its leanest form possible,” Latimer said.

The 2015 calendar was announced last week by the leadership of both the Senate and Assembly, scheduling sessions over a six month period ending in June. Latimer has proposed a five month schedule, ending in May. He explained, “Realistically, most of our work has been back-loaded: intense, round-the-clock negotiations to finalize agreements that track toward the last days of session. There is nothing intrinsically necessary requiring that this last week must occur in June; the last week of May can fit the bill equally well. And if a unique circumstance occurs, then continuing into June (with an end of session in May) is much more desirable than continuing into July (with the current end of session in June). Since 2015 is not a state or Federal election year, we run no conflict with the political calendar, giving us an ideal year to test the viability of a shorter legislative session.”

Recent practice has scheduled as few as 30 session days and as many as 34 days in the April – June timeframe (2010-2014 Session Calendars). The Latimer Plan proposal would schedule four-day weeks every week in April and May, rather than the combination of three- and four-day weeks currently used, for a total of 28 session days, post-budget. This proposal takes into account the Easter and Passover holiday seasons, which fall in early April, and allows for leadership to expand to one or more five-day weeks if needed in May.

Latimer continued: “As we know, many states schedule far shorter legislative sessions than New York; this attempt to slice one month off our calendar seems to me to be a modest effort at cost savings, greater efficiency, and allowing members to return to their districts in June, a busy month, before the summer vacation season arrives.”

Legislative leaders are empowered to change the schedule at any time, and could modify their plan to adopt Latimer’s plan as late as March of this year. Statement by Senator George Latimer on the passing of Governor Mario Cuomo.
>>
>> He gave voice to beliefs and ideas that many of us shared but could not articulate.
>>
>> He showed principled support for moral positions on public policy even when they were not popular.
>>
>> He faced discrimination and prejudice in his life and overcame it to achieve greatly.
>>
>> He was deemed the underdog in the toughest fight of his career and showed us how to win against the odds and confound the predictions.
>>
>> His legacy is not in the budgets or the bills passed. He was a great man who left his mark in the hearts of those who shared his belief that we could govern ourselves with our better angels rather than through divisiveness and rancor.
>>
>> He will be sorely missed.

ADVISORY: Senator Latimer Election Day Media Availabilities


(Westchester, NY) Senator George Latimer will be available for the media at the following times and locations:

  • 10:15 AM: Senator Latimer will be voting at the Damiano Recreation Center, 281 Midland Avenue, Rye, NY 10580
  • 10:15 PM: Senator Latimer will address supporters after polls have closed at Coliseum, 15 South Broadway, White Plains, NY 10601

LATIMER – DILLON DEBATES ON LINE

Westchester voters residing in the 37th Senate District can view recent debates between incumbent George Latimer (D-W) and challenger Joe Dillon (R-C-I) on line, as well on their local community access cable TV channels.
LWV Mamaroneck Debate (Wednesday, October 8)
LWV Rye Debate (Wednesday, October 15)

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Governor Andrew Cuomo Endorses George Latimer for Re-Election

(Westchester, NY) Yesterday during a campaign rally with over 250 supporters at the Port Chester Carver Center, Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed George Latimer in his campaign for re-election to the State Senate.

Governor Andrew Cuomo stated, “George Latimer has been a strong voice for Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley, and we need to make sure he is reelected this November. I look forward to continue working with George to lower taxes for our homeowners, bring new jobs to New York, and make our State a fairer, more equal place for all New Yorkers.”

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we have taken a multi-billion dollar budget deficit and turned it into a surplus, cut individual income tax rates to the lowest in 60 years and created jobs in the region by moving ahead with one of the largest infrastructure projects at the Tappan Zee Bridge that we have ever seen.  After a period of tremendous dysfunction we have accomplished a great deal by working in a bipartisan fashion.  I believe that Governor Cuomo will continue to lead with an agenda that is beneficial and inclusive for all New Yorkers and I look forward to being a partner with him,” stated Senator Latimer.

Cuomo and Latimer addressed the excited, crowded gym at the Port Chester Carver center in addition to Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Lieutenant Governor Candidate and former Buffalo-area Congresswoman, Kathy Hochul.

The two candidates have also debated at The Osborn in Rye, Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, and in White Plains; three more debates are planned as noted:
Mon., Oct. 27 – New Rochelle City Hall at 7 p.m.
Tues., Oct. 28 – On-air Live WVOX 1460-AM, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Thurs., Oct. 30 – On-air live WFAS 1230-AM, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Latimer Formally Launches Re-Election Campaign for 37th District

(Westchester, NY) Yesterday at an annual summer picnic in his home community of Rye, Senator George Latimer formally launched his re-election campaign for the 37th State Senate District.

“Over an extended period of time, I’ve put partisan politics aside in the interest of getting real results that our constituents demand of us and I’ve done that at every level of government that I’ve been privileged to serve at,” Latimer said.  “It’s important after two years in the Senate to continue those efforts and reach all of the people in all parts of this district.  This campaign will be about the people of this district and the State issues that face them, not the interests of political parties and cynical insiders.  We’ve made some significant progress over the last two years fighting to improve the economy, our classrooms, and our communities as a whole.  There are issues that remain incomplete; it’s important for the people of this district to elect the best advocate to fight for their needs.”

Latimer’s announcement comes on the conclusion of the formal party designating process where candidates collect signatures on a petition for their name to appear on the ballot.  Latimer will appear on the Democratic and Working Families Party ballot lines.  His campaign announced last week that they had completed the petition process with approximately 4,000 signatures, nearly 4 times the minimum amount required.

Latimer continued, “Our strength during the petition drive reaffirms that there is tremendous grassroots support for my candidacy and now, it has manifested in every corner of the district, from Bedford to Yonkers.”  Latimer served in the Rye City Council, County Legislature and State Assembly representing the Sound Shore communities only until he was elected to the Senate in 2012.  The 37th District encompasses East Yonkers, Bronxville, Tuckahoe, Eastchester, White Plains, Harrison, North Castle, Armonk, Bedford, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Port Chester, Rye Brook, Rye City and New Rochelle.

The Republicans announced their candidate on the last legal day to file a candidacy after struggling to find a viable option to challenge Latimer according several news accounts.  “I’ve worked hard over the last two years to develop relationships in the 15 communities,” Latimer explained.  “I’m fully prepared to go to every voter I can to ask them to put their faith in me again for another 2 years.  I plan on running a spirited campaign about the issues, and their impact on Westchester families, not a slash and burn campaign that focuses on who controls the institution.”

Senator George Latimer Files Nearly 4,000 Democratic Petitions


(Westchester, NY) Senator George Latimer has announced that his campaign has filed designating petitions with nearly 4,000 signatures from registered Democrats throughout the 37th District.  The signatures obtained by Latimer and local Democratic volunteers are nearly four times the amount required to qualify for the ballot in the fall.

“This is a great outpouring of real grassroots support in every part of the district,” said Senator George Latimer, who is running for his second term in the State Senate.  “As someone who spends a great amount of time in the communities I represent, I always enjoy working with local party leaders and activists to help gather signatures and have another opportunity to discuss important issues with people on a one by one basis.”

The petition gathering process is widely viewed as a “dry run” of the campaign’s operation and an early test of ability to reach large chunks of voters in a condensed period of time.  Latimer’s strength in this area was one of the significant factors in his decisive 2012 victory and will remain a priority in 2014.

“Even with no announced opponent, it is still important to me to get out and meet as many voters as I can.  I believe that over the last two years, New York has taken strides in the right direction and that gives me confidence that we will be able to tackle the next set of challenges head on.  I’m thankful to all of the people that carried petitions, both with and without me, for helping spread that message.”

In order to qualify for the ballot, candidates must submit a required amount of signatures that is determined by the amount of party registrants in a given area.  1,000 signatures are needed to qualify for the Democratic line in the 37th Senate District.

Latimer Sponsors Key Environmental Issues in State Senate
Shows Bi-Partisan skills in gaining
Senate support for legislation

(Albany, NY) Senator George Latimer has introduced two pieces of legislation that are of high priority to the environmental community, both highly rated by the Environmental Advocates of New York (EANY), and other important statewide environmental groups.  Latimer introduced S.7739, “The NY-Sun Act”, which would establish a $1.5 billion solar incentive program and solidify New York’s commitment to solar energy; the bill has passed the State Assembly under the sponsorship of Assemblyman Steve Englebright.  The other bill, S.7830, sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblyman Robert Sweeney, reforms and extends the state’s Brownfields Cleanup Program (BCP) and Brownfields tax credits for 10 years and authorizes over $1 billion in bonding to fund the State Superfund and Environmental Restoration Program.

Latimer emphasized that both of these bills demonstrate the opportunity for improvement in environmental policy in the state. “Our environmental future depends in part on making solar energy a viable source of renewable energy; that future also pivots on our ability to clean up polluted sites, and turn them back into economically viable sites for development and growth. That’s why these two bills are so important”.  Latimer explained, “We have nearly one-third of the Senate committed as co-sponsors of both bills, and I’m confident there will be more who agree”. Co-sponsors of the bills include Senators aligned with the mainline Democratic Conference, and those with the IDC. “Despite all the political chatter, we can forge agreement across conference lines with members in different conferences signing on board. That is the kind of multi-partisan, cooperative leadership we are showing on environmental issues. These bills deserve much greater attention by Senate leadership,” Latimer added.

In addition to these two prime sponsored measures, Latimer is co-sponsor of over 35 other bills highlighted by the environmental community as important legislation; topping the list are “super-bills” such as 1) establishing a 3-year moratorium on hydro-fracking to ensure an independent study of health impacts; 2) legislation to help make coastal communities more storm resilient and 3) creating The Child Safe Products Act that would firmly regulate the use of toxic chemicals in children’s products.  “Taken as a group, these bills represent a serious set of sound priorities for ensuring clean air, clean water and clean earth for us, our children, and generations to come”, Latimer stated.

Further, Senator Latimer noted that some bills hurt the environment, and deserve to be defeated. “I have voted NO on a number of proposals – oversized ATVs (bill number S.1946); policies toward rural farm dams (S.2621) – just to name two – that do not reflect sound policy, in my judgment. But if we can get past the rhetoric of political interest, and get to the heart of the public interest, I think Republicans and Democrats can find common ground on the environment, and help protect this fragile physical world that we all share”.

TO; The Yonkers Insider

Subject: Senator Latimer’s session remarks on Luigi DelBianco

Senator George Latimer spoke today on the New York Senate Floor, celebrating the life and accomplishments of Luigi Del Bianco, an Italian-American immigrant, resident of Port Chester who died in 1969, and was the Chief Carver for the Mt. Rushmore National Monument.

The life of Mr. DelBianco will be honored at a ceremony this Saturday, June 21 in Port Chester at 1 p.m. Sen. Latimer will present his grandson, Lou delBianco, a framed proclamation from New York State to honor his noted grandfather.

For Release: June 10, 2014

Italian American Legislators Conference Names Latimer “Distinguished Legislator of the Year”


(Albany, NY) State Senator George Latimer was recently honored as the New York State Conference of Italian American State Legislators “Distinguished Legislator of the Year” at the organization’s annual dinner in Albany.

Senator Latimer has been working to urge the US Interior Department to recognize the work of Luigi Del Bianco, a long time Port Chester resident and chief carver of Mt. Rushmore.  Unfortunately, Del Bianco was never recognized by the Interior Department for his work, likely due to his status as an immigrant from Italy.

“Luigi Del Bianco immigrated from Italy, as did my great-grandfather before him, to find a better life in America. Their values of hard work, faith and family were the bedrock that built not only Mt. Rushmore, but built this nation during the 20th Century,” Latimer stated. “That heritage is a part of me to this day, and honoring Luigi Del Bianco for his accomplishments is to honor the contributions made by all Italian American and immigrants from other lands to whom we owe a debt of gratitude.”

“The New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators is pleased to have recognized our colleague Senator George Latimer at our annual Festa celebration. George is an outstanding public servant and a proud Italian-American on his Mother’s side,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Conference President.

Latimer gets his Italian roots from his mother, Loretta’s side of the family.  She grew up in Harrison and was a parishioner of St. Gregory’s before moving to Mt. Vernon and raising two children.  Many of the values Latimer’s parents instilled in him are present in his work as a public official and were influential in the reasons the group honored him.

The New York Conference of Italian American State Legislators is a bipartisan group of members of the Senate and the Assembly who are of Italian descent.  Every year, the Conference honors 1 Senator and 1 Assembly Member.  This year Assemblyman Andy Raia of Long Island was honored with Latimer.

For Immediate Release:
John Drago, Sr. Prominent Yonkers Veterans Advocate Inducted into Veteran’s Hall of Fame

(Albany, NY) Earlier today, Senator George Latimer posthumously inducted lifelong Yonkers resident and prominent Veterans advocate John ‘Jack’ F. Drago, Sr. into the NYS Senate Veteran’s Hall of Fame.
Drago was a football standout at Roosevelt High school before volunatirly enlisting in the Army and serving from 1950 to 1953 during the Korean conflict.  Upon completion of his service, Drago was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant First Class and returned to his hometown of Yonkers.
Many of the people that knew John Drago would say that his most important work came when he returned home.  Drago served in numerous leadership roles with the Yonkers Central War Veterans Committee, several times as Commander of the VFW Empire Post #375 and the County VFW Commander.
While balancing his work as Vice President of a local realty company, Drago was instrumental in coordinating many Veterans and Memorial Day Parades, advocated for more military monuments to be displayed and was committed to helping homeless and sick Veterans in Yonkers get shelter, treatment and better understanding of the benefits they may have been entitled.
Dan Drago was on hand in Albany to recognize his late father who passed away in 2010.  ‘John F. Drago Sr. ‘Jack’ as he was known, was a veteran’s veteran.  After proudly serving his country during the Korean War, he continued to serve by working tirelessly for the veterans of Westchester County for close to forty years.  The Hall of Fame induction is a great honor to his life and his accomplishments,’ stated Dan Drago.
Latimer explained the selection, ‘The level of John Drago’s dedication to the Yonkers community has inspired so many other people in the City.  It was abundantly clear that the work John did on behalf of the local Veterans community had a real impact that manifested itself in an outpouring of support for his induction into the Senate’s Veteran’s Hall of Fame.  I am grateful that his family has honored his legacy and is committed to pursuing the same goals that John was.’
The New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame was created to honor and recognize outstanding veterans from the Empire State who have distinguished themselves both in military and civilian life. Their meritorious service to our nation deserves the special recognition that only a Hall of Fame can provide, as a fitting expression of our gratitude and admiration.                                                                                                                                              ###
A high-resolution photo of Latimer and Dan Drago can be downloaded here

For Immediate Release:Assemblywoman Lupardo & Senator Latimer Push Cost Cutting Measure to Administer Tax Rebate Distribution.

 

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator George Latimer are proposing a significant cost cutting measure as the State starts planning how to administer a new tax rebate program through the Department of Taxation and Finance, their offices announced today.  The recently enacted State budget provides middle class families with children who have incomes between $40,000 and $300,000 with a $350 ‘family tax relief credit’ per year for three years, beginning in October of 2014. The measure being proposed by Lupardo and Latimer would stop the State from issuing the credits in the form of hard rebate checks, cutting down on expenses such as printing, postage and the cost of administering the program similar to the STAR program. Latimer and Lupardo are urging the Tax and Finance Department to make the credit available for claim at tax time instead of incurring the costs associated with mailing a check.’The goal of providing a family tax relief credit is to reduce the tax burden on middle class New Yorkers. Mailing a check would seem to be the least efficient way of delivering a tax credit to over one million taxpayers, as opposed to simply allowing them to claim it at tax time. Our legislation ensures that taxpayers will get the full benefit of the tax credit, while removing the perception that it exists purely for political gain at election time,’ said Lupardo.’We have taken successful steps over the last few years to reduce the tax burden on New Yorkers and this additional middle class tax rebate is certainly helpful to those families,’ Senator Latimer stated.  ‘To continue those efforts and make government run as efficiently as possible, we are proposing a cost effective way to administer the distribution of tax rebates while still achieving the same result: lowering taxes for middle class families.’Latimer and Lupardo have filed legislation (S4745/A6926) that will require the Tax and Finance Department to make the tax credit available when a taxpayer files his or her return for the taxable year.  Lupardo and Latimer also sent a letter to Tax and Finance Commissioner Thomas Mattox asking for an estimate of the costs associated with mailing the checks.A copy of the letter that was sent to Commissioner Mattox can be downloaded by linking to:http://www.scribd.com/doc/138495494/Latimer-Lupardo-Tax-Credit-Letter

For Immediate Release: Larchmont Resident, Kate Bialo, Executive Director of Furniture Sharehouse Selected as Woman of Distinction.

(Albany, NY) State Senator George Latimer has selected Larchmont resident Kate Bialo, Executive Director of Furniture Sharehouse as a 2013 NYS Senate Woman of Distinction.  Furniture Sharehouse provides free furniture to economically disadvantaged individuals and families living in Westchester County, giving them the basic household furnishings that enable them to rebuild their lives and live with dignity.

Furniture Sharehouse was founded through the efforts of Kate Bialo and The Junior League of Westchester on the Sound (JLWOS). Through her work as Past President and Community Grants Coordinator for JLWOS, Kate learned of the social service community’s frustration at having furniture that their clients desperately needed slip through their fingers because no one had space to store it temporarily. So she conceived the idea of setting up a “shared warehouse” where donations could be collected and redistributed to agency clients as needed.

Furniture Sharehouse was incorporated in 2006, and, with seed money from JLWOS and a matching HUD grant from Westchester County, warehouse space was secured at the Westchester County Airport in White Plains and operations commenced in April 2007.

In accepting the award, Kate Bialo said, ‘I am honored to have been nominated by Senator Latimer as a NYS Woman of Distinction, and very pleased to have the opportunity to highlight Furniture Sharehouse, Westchester’s Furniture Bank, and its mission of providing free furniture to families in need.  We are the only furniture bank in New York, and since opening in 2007, we have distributed over 32,000 items of free furniture to more than 6,200 individuals, giving them a bed to sleep on and a table to share a family meal, and other basic furniture to help them create a comfortable and stable home and rebuild their lives.  Senator Latimer has been a friend of Furniture Sharehouse since the beginning and we appreciate his continued support and this recognition.’

Latimer praised Bialo’s work, ‘Lots of people come up with good ideas but the ones that have the drive and perseverance to turn those ideas into reality are the truly distinct members of our community and Kate certainly fits that description.  I find it fitting that we are honoring her right around Mother’s Day when we salute many of our mothers for providing their families with better lives.  Kate and the team of volunteers at Furniture Sharehouse have done the same thing for thousands families throughout Westchester.’

Bialo was honored in Albany on May 7th with women from the 62 other Senate districts.  During her day in Albany, she was a guest on Senator Latimer’s Public Access TV program, which can be viewed by Larchmont Residents Tuesday and Thursdays at 6 PM on Channel 77 for Cablevision subscribers and 34 for Verizon subscribers.

The Women of Distinction Event is sponsored by the NYS Senate and showcases outstanding women living and working in New York State whose contributions have greatly enriched the quality of life in their communities and beyond.
                                                     

A high-resolution photo of Latimer and Bialo can be downloaded here.

Senator George Latimer announced today that the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators is now accepting applications for four $1,500 scholarships to be awarded June 10th  at their Annual Legislative Conference Day.  Scholarship winners must be present to receive their awards.

“Given the high costs of college, every opportunity must be made by local students and their working families to meet their required expenses with scholarships as well as with student loans, available financial aid, and personal contributions,” said Senator Latimer  “I highly recommend that our area’s students apply to the Conference for these prestigious scholarships so that they may hopefully secure as much extra help with their expenses as possible.”

This year, the Italian-American State Legislators Conference will be awarding four $1,500 scholarships to four current or future college students from New York State.  Eligibility will be based upon the student’s grade point average, interest in pursuing a higher education, involvement in the local community as well as individual financial need.

The Conference is bipartisan organization of New York State Assembly and Senate members who are actively involved in promoting and celebrating the state’s Italian-American community. The Conference mission is to work hard to elevate and highlight Italian-American contributions to the State of New York and beyond, in all aspects of society, including literature, the arts, architecture and politics. The conference also tries to dispel negative stereotypes of Italian-Americans.

“Our conference is very proud of our role in promoting higher education and assisting students in reaching their academic goals and full potential for future success in the global marketplace,” Latimer continued.  “This year’s recipients will be invited to Albany to receive their scholarship awards in June.

Eligible applicants must reside in the 37th Senate District which includes all of the Westchester communities of Armonk, Banksville, Bedford, Bedford Hills, Bronxville, Eastchester, Harrison, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, North White Plains, Port Chester, Rye Brook, Rye City, and Tuclkahoe and parts of Katonah, New Rochelle, White Plains and Yonkers.  Area students may request an application by contacting Latimer’s office at (914) 934-5250 and return it by May 8th.

For Immediate Release:Senator Latimer Re-Affirms Opposition to Wakefield Homeless SheltersShare Tweet
Last week, New York State Senator George Latimer was the guest speaker at the Hyatt Association meeting, where he took questions on state and local issues.  During his remarks, the Senator reaffirmed his opposition to a New York City proposal to add homeless shelters in the North Bronx’s Wakefield neighborhood, adjacent to Yonkers.The plan has previously been opposed by Bronx elected officials such as Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz.’The concentration of homeless individuals proposed in this plan by the City administration will place an undue burden on the neighborhood, particularly in the adjacent sections of Yonkers known as the 9th Ward,’ Latimer stated. ‘The issues of transportation, police, fire and sanitation services will have a spillover effect on the homeowners and taxpayers in Yonkers as well as in the North Bronx.’Latimer grew up on the Southside of Mt. Vernon, also near the affected area, and has a lifetime knowledge of the section where Yonkers, Mt. Vernon and the Bronx meet,’I look forward to helping the Hyatt Association and other interested stakeholders address this problem in a coordinated, strategic effort.  It is our job as elected representatives to advocate for the desires of our constituents and the opposition to these homeless shelters is fair and reasonable but most importantly, shared by a clear majority of people in the community.’

Media Advisory:Senator George Latimer & Assemblymember Shelley Mayer

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Press Conference to Announce Introduction of Flood Mitigation Bills
WHO:         
State Senator George Latimer,
Assemblymember Shelley Mayer,
Residents Affected by flooding in East YonkersWHAT:
With resident victims of east Yonkers flooding in attendance, State Senator George Latimer and Assemblymember Shelley Mayer will present a legislative package they have introduced to support local flood mitigation efforts.  Residents will also share their stories.WHEN:       
April 21, 2013; 12 PMWHERE:
Parking Lot of Grinton I. Will Library; 1500 Central Park Avenue, YonkersWHY:
Latimer & Mayer have been working closely with various neighborhood associations and other governmental entities to identify and respond to flooding issues in East Yonkers.  To that end, they have introduced legislation that will: a) require the State DoT to assess and respond to any flood related impacts of barrier walls b) create a $10 million grant to aid municipalities in implementing flood mitigation plans c) create a flood mitigation council in the Department of Environmental Conservation and enhance inter-municipal and inter-agency coordination.

For Immediate Release:

Latimer Calls for Bipartisan Passage of Bills to Deter Public Corruption.

On the first legislative session day since the arrests of several New York lawmakers, Senator George Latimer (D-Rye) began pushing a package of new ethics legislation designed to reform state government and combat the ongoing corruption issues facing New York.  Among the bills included in the legislative package are measures to strip pension benefits, both retroactively and moving forward, from any state or local elected offocial and convicted of a felony involving a breach of the public trust.

‘I am angered by the actions of a few public officials. Not every politician is stupid, venal and corrupt and the ones that are make it difficult for the ones that aren’t to effectively do their jobs.  If we don’t respond to this crisis, every elected official at every level is going to be labeled the same way,’ stated Senator Latimer.

Latimer also signaled his support for legislation that would eliminate the use of campaign funds for criminal defense.  Latimer explained, ‘When you are elected to office at any level, you owe it to the public to conduct the public’s business at the highest ethical level of conduct.’

The new legislative package also makes reforms to the campaign finance rules related to running for office in New York.

‘By retroactively stripping pension benefits from any state or local official who breaches the public trust and tightening the way campaign funds are spent, we will add additional deterrents to those seeking to betray the trust of their constituents.  Many of these proposals enjoy bipartisan support and demonstrate a clear desire on our part, as public officials, to clean up this mess,’ Latimer concluded.
A photo from the press conference in Albany can be downloaded –

http://securenetgate9.com/Uploads/1841/1366058806_(04-15-13)650-28-0099.jpg

Statement from Senator George Latimer re: Governor Cuomo’s Proposals on Public Corruption Crimes.
“Governor Cuomo is to be highly commended for his package of proposals that would increase penalties for those elected officials who would participate in any corrupt scheme to defraud the public, to use public assets for corrupt purposes, and who, in general, violate the public trust. Increasing penalties are meant not merely to provide draconian punishment to the guilty, but to deter such behavior by offering a severe set of consequences for corrupt behavior.

“I intend to support these proposals as an important step in restoring some faith in our public institutions and officials. As an official myself for over two decades, I am deeply tired of watching colleagues disgrace the profession – I’m perhaps more angry than the everyday citizens who are outraged – because these illegal actions cast a dark cloud on the ethics of the rest of us.”

George Latimer
NYS Senator – 37th S.D.

For Immediate Release:Senator Latimer: Corruption Arrests Make Perfect Case for Campaign Finance Reform Share TweetSeveral days after suggesting that Senator Malcolm Smith resign in a radio interview, Senator George Latimer today made a case for campaign finance reform citing this weeks events.’I am saddened and angry by what I have read about these recent scandals.  Not every politician is stupid, venal and corrupt and the ones that are make it difficult for the ones that aren’t to effectively do their jobs,’ stated Senator George Latimer.During a press conference this week, the US Attorney in charge of these investigations stated that the ‘show-me-the-money’ culture is pervasive and certainly alive and well.  In order to combat that, Senator Latimer is joining a chorus of good government advocates that are fighting for campaign finance reform to end the ‘pay to play’ mindset of politics.Latimer stated, ‘If we don’t respond to this crisis, every elected official, at every level is going to be labled the same way.  We need to come up with some way to remove the incentives to behave in corrupt way that way we can all focus on the issues and have our constituents trust that we are fighting for them.  I believe campaign finance reform would accomplish that goal.’With the completion of the state budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, it is likely that campaign finance reform will be discussed in the remaining portion of the legislative session.  Latimer specifically supports a system of matching small donations with public funding.’By passing a fair elections proposal, we will put every day New Yorkers at the center of financing campaigns.  Under a public matching system, elected officials will be more accountable to more people, not big developers and political bosses,’ concluded Senator Latimer.

For Immediate Release:

NYS Senate Passes Bipartisan Budget Bills 
Latimer works across the aisle as parts of state budget advance to next steps

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During a Sunday work session, the NYS Senate approved the next pieces of the 2013-14 State budget in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion. The Senate approved three separate budget bills, the first for public protection and general government, the second to fund transportation, economic development and environmental conservation activities and the last to fund capital improvements throughout New York.  The Senate passed a bill regarding the State’s debt service on Wednesday of last week.’We have to show in Albany what Washington DC seems incapable of–working across the aisle in a bipartisan fashion,’ stated Senator George Latimer. ‘I voted for these budget bills because they presented real solutions that address the needs of the people I represent.’The Public Protection and General Government budget bill contains measures to help make government run more efficiently, encouraging shared services among local governments by funding local government efficiency grants and the Capital Improvement plan allocates $790,000 to Westchester County for various projects.In the Transportation, Economic Development, and Environmental Conservation bill, funding for the consolidated local street and highway improvement program dedicated to local bridge and highway projects was increased by $75 million. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Fund was increased by $19 million in the current fiscal year and $15 million annually will be added to the EPF; in addition to funds received through enforcement actions by redirecting unclaimed bottle deposits and by strengthening enforcement of the ‘Bottle Bill’ to prevent fraud.Latimer continued, ‘This portion of the budget accurately addresses both the need for efficincies in government as well as the responsibility to fund programs that will help grow the economy.  Investing in our infrastrucuture and capital improvements will help create jobs in the near future.As a member of the Assembly, Latimer was the sponsor of legislation that would have increased the funding for the EPF through bottle deposits and was recognized last year by Environmental Advocates for that work.’I have been advocating for an increase in funding for the Environmental Protection Fund for several years and this budget makes it a reality.  By adding money to this fund, we will protect our environment, create green jobs and help produce energy efficient technology to make businesses and homes run safer and more efficiently,’ stated the Senator.Latimer went on to caution that some of the more controversial sections of the budget are still to be dealt with before the deadline.’I’m deeply concerned about the level of education funding for Yonkers, and other high needs school districts in Westchester.  We must also carefully analyze if enough funding is given to local governments to help them provide services that local residents rely on.  Finally, I believe that senior citizens, in addition to many residents, need greater tax relief in order to stay in our communities.  These issues will be debated in the next few days,’ Latimer concluded.

PRESS RELEASE – Free Online Tax Service — Special to Yonkers Insider.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Senator Latimer Urges Constituents to Take Advantage of Free Online Tax Services Provided by IRS & Free File Alliance.

Taxpayers Making $57,000 or Less Can Visit IRS.gov/efile to Access Free Tax Preparation Software through Partnership between IRS & Tax Software Industry.

Senator George Latimer (D-Westchester, 37th S.D.)  today encouraged constituents to take advantage of free tax preparation and e-filing services available through the IRS Free File program. Since its inception in 2003, Free File has offered 70 percent of taxpayers free access to leading commercial tax preparation software.

This year, every taxpayer with a 2012 Adjusted Gross Income of $57,000 or less may visit www.IRS.gov/freefile to prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns at absolutely no cost.

This service is made possible through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance – http://www.freefilealliance.org/, a non-profit coalition of industry-leading tax software companies.

“This tax season, I encourage constituents to take advantage of free tax help available through the IRS Free File program,” said Senator Latimer.

“Free File provides access to online tax software that helps you prepare and e-file you federal tax returns – at absolutely no cost. The service is available to everyone who made $57,000 or less last year. Just visit www.IRS.gov/freefile to get started.” To begin, taxpayers should visit the IRS website – www.IRS.gov/freefile. Users will find a list of Free File Alliance member companies and may either choose one that fits their needs or utilize the “Help Me Find a Company” tool.

After selecting a tax software company, users will be transferred to the company’s website to prepare, complete and electronically file their federal income tax returns.

The service is also available in Spanish. “Free File is the one-stop shop for 70 percent of taxpayers to prepare and e-file their federal tax returns,” said Tim Hugo, executive director of the Free File Alliance.

“The service is unique because it gives taxpayers access to 15 different tax software offerings so they can choose the one that works best for their tax situation.

With Free File, the industry’s top software is all in one place, and it’s all free.” The Free File Alliance is also partnered with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) – a walk-in service for low-to-moderate income taxpayers – which offers Free File software on self-assist kiosks at VITA sites in 29 states.

Through its partnership with VITA, the Free File Alliance will be able to provide e-filing services for taxpayers who do not have Internet access at home, as well as those who want to e-file, but need additional help.

Free File Alliance member companies have worked closely with the IRS to strengthen the Free File program, and taxpayers have consistently reported the program as being user-friendly and efficient.

Responding to a 2009 IRS survey, 96 percent of users said they found Free File easy to use, while 98 percent said they would recommend the program to others.

About the Free File Alliance.

The Free File Alliance, a nonprofit coalition of 15 industry-leading tax software companies, has partnered with the IRS since 2003 to help low- and middle-income Americans prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns online.

The Free File Alliance is committed to giving 70 percent of Americans free access to the industry’s top online tax preparation software.

More than 36 million returns have been filed through IRS Free File since its inception. For more information, visit www.freefilealliance.org.

For Immediate Release:

Senator Latimer & Assemblymember Mayer Host Community Budget Forum in Yonkers

On Thursday, February 21st at the Grinton I Will Library, State Senator George Latimer (37th SD) and Assemblymember Shelley Mayer (90th AD) hosted a community budget forum to provide residents an opportunity to share their budgetary concerns and priorities with their representatives.

The three-hour forum provided community groups, non-profits, local elected representatives, and residents an opportunity to speak for up to four minutes and submit written testimony concerning the 2013-14 Executive Budget.  Approximately 50 people, in individual capacities and as representatives of numerous organizations, attended the meeting to express their views on issues ranging from flood mitigation and mandate relief to funding for public schools and other initiatives.

“This budget continues our commitment to tax reduction and responsible, intelligent spending,” stated Senator Latimer. “The budget contains no new taxes and funds critical programs that benefit the lives of all New Yorkers.  I’m glad that a wide array of groups and individuals had the chance to share their opinions directly with us in an open forum so that we can go back to Albany and advocate on their behalf.”

‘It is extremely important that as elected officials we hear directly from our constituents about the state budget and how it will affect them.  This forum provides us with the information we need to fight for our constituents while we push for a budget that is responsible, timely, and fair,’ said Assemblymember Shelley Mayer.

Latimer and Mayer both reiterated their optimism that the budget will be done prior to the April 1 deadline.
For Immediate Release:

Statement from Senator George Latimer
Honoring Mayor Ed Koch.

At a time in the late 70’s, when people lost faith in New York City, it’s economy, it’s safety, Ed Koch came to personify the tough spirit of New Yorkers.  He helped the City rebound. In his last years he personified the desire to reform Albany…and I am honored to have supported his efforts and to have received his support. May he rest in peace after his long, well-lived life of public service.

Media Advisory: State Senator George Latimer.

For Immediate Release:

Senator George Latimer’s Office Announces Income Tax Preparation Assistance;

Office will make IT-201 and other related NYS forms available at office and by delivery for seniors

State Senator George Latimer has announced that beginning immediately, NYS income tax forms, including the IT-201, will be available for pickup at the Senator’s office or via delivery for senior citizens who request them.

‘Offering this service is just another way of being helpful to the community,’ stated Senator Latimer.  ‘Every year we all fill out these forms and many of us have the same questions year after year but have to pay an expert to get the right answers.

As a Senator, my job is to advocate on behalf of the people who elected me and try to improve their lives.

By performing this service, we are anticipating the needs of the community and taking proactive steps to make certain critical functions easier than they ordinarily would be.’

Up until a few years ago, New York State used to send forms out by mail.

With that service no longer available, Latimer’s office has taken the initiative to perform this function for local taxpayers.  Forms are also available online at www.tax.ny.gov/forms.

The Senator’s office reminds constituents that this is a State office and therefore, can only furnish forms for New York State.  Additionally, the Senator has asked that all requests be placed by March 31st, 2013.

Senator Latimer’s District Office is located at 222 Grace Church Street, Room 305 in Port Chester and can be reached by phone at (914) 934-5250 or by email at Latimer@nysenate.gov.  Requests for tax related material can be placed through any of those avenues.

Latimer To Testify at Attorney General’s Public Hearing On Charity Disclosure Regulations.

WHO:          State Senator George Latimer and the Office of NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

WHAT:         State Senator George Latimer will testify at Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Albany hearing on charity disclosure regulations.

WHEN:        January 29, 2013 at 11 AM

WHERE:      Legislative Office Building, Roosevelt Hearing Room C, 2nd Floor, Albany, NY

WHY:           The Attorney General’s Office will take testimony at a public hearing regarding the need reform financial disclosure requirements for 501 (c) (4) organizations.

Latimer will lend first hand experience on the impact of ‘dark money’ in elections and the need to close loopholes that allow for the average citizen’s voice to be drowned out by special interests.

For Immediate Release:

Statement from Senator George Latimer
Regarding Governor Cuomo’s 2013-14 Budget Proposal.

‘Today, Governor Cuomo put forward his third executive budget proposal that is consistent with the needs of the economy; a budget with no new taxes and a spending increase that is less than 2% above the previous year’s budget.

Over the last three years, the budget gap has dwindled, consumer confidence throughout New York has gone up and we have shown that our state provides a ripe climate to conduct business.

We have demonstrated to the taxpayers that we understand their needs and are doing what we need to in order to take the next steps toward a full economic recovery.

I believe that investing in a quality education that prepares our children for the future should go hand in hand with the economic recovery.

In this budget, Governor Cuomo has shown that he understands what that investment would yield and has taken bold steps towards reforming an education system and preparing for a changing economy.

I look forward to reviewing the allocations for each individual district upon their availability.

I join Governor Cuomo in his commitment to holding the line on taxes, maintaining fiscal integrity and implementing an innovative and intelligent budget.’

Latimer Named Ranking Member of Education Committee.

For Immediate Release: Senator George Latimer Named Ranking Member of Education Committee;
Receives 5 Additional Committee Assignments.

State Senator George Latimer has been named the Ranking Minority Member on the State Senate’s Education Committee, his office announced today.

Latimer will now be the leading advocate for the Democrats on educational issues in the New York State Senate.  Senator John Flanagan of Long Island is currently the Chairman of the Education Committee.

“All of the school districts in Westchester accurately represent a cross section of the rest of New York in my opinion.

Every school district has unique needs and deserves an advocate that will keep the best interests of our children in mind and I am confident that my background, experience and knowledge of the needs of Westchester students has appropriately prepared me for this assignment.

I am very grateful to our Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for giving me this appointment and I look forward to working with Senator Flanagan, school districts and other education advocates as we fight for the true next generation of our State,” stated Senator George Latimer.

Latimer also received assignments to other committees including Environmental Conservation and Local Government.

During Latimer’s time in the Assembly he served on both committees and has extensive background and familiarity with the subject matter involved with these committees and intends to help shape those public policy areas.

Latimer was also assigned to the Consumer Protection, Mental Health and Racing, Gaming and Wagering committees, the latter of which will be critical as the State is in the process of legalizing full-fledged casino gambling.

Latimer stated, “Serving at different levels of government has given me unique opportunities to advocate for my constituents on a wide range of issues and individual concerns.

Moving from the Assembly to the Senate, gives me an opportunity to continue working on some issues and also gives me a chance to grow as a public official expand my own base of knowledge to be the best supporter for my constituents that I could possibly be.”

News From State Senator
George Latimer.

George Latimer will be Guest Speaker at East Yonkers Kiwanis Club Meeting.
WHO:          State Senator George Latimer, Members of East Yonkers Kiwanis ClubWHAT:         State Senator George Latimer will be the Guest Speaker at the
monthly meeting for the East Yonkers Kiwanis Club.WHEN:        January 16, 2013 at 7:30 PMWHERE:      Luciano’s Italian Restaurant 2192 Central Park Avenue, YonkersWHY:           Senator Latimer will provide members of the East Yonkers Kiwanis Club
with an update of pressing issues in Albany, a recap of Governor Cuomo’s
State of the State address and will take any questions on the minds of local residents. Senator George Latimer Opens Temporary Senate Offices.
Today, newly minted State Senator George Latimer opened temporary offices in Port Chester and in Albany ensuring that constituents will continue to have points of access for their local representative during the ongoing transition period.  Latimer’s temporary office in Port Chester is located on the third floor of Port Chester Village Hall at 222 Grace Church Street and is reachable by phone at 914-934-5250. The Senator’s temporary office in Albany is Room 615 of the Legislative Office Building and can be contacted at (518) 455-2031.  Latimer’s new Senate website was launched today and can be found at http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/george-s-latimer.“During this transition period, I am happy to give constituents somewhere to turn should they need assistance,” stated Senator George Latimer.  “Transitions are always complicated, but when we are working for the people, it is imperative that we give them as many points of access to their government as possible so we can seamlessly advocate for all of their needs. ”Latimer is the Senate representative for the Towns of Bedford, North Castle, Harrison, Rye, Mamaroneck and Eastchester; the City of Rye; the Villages of Bronxville, Tuckahoe, Larchmont, Armonk, Port Chester and Rye Brook.  He also represents part of the Cities of New Rochelle, White Plains and Yonkers.  Latimer recently completed 4 terms as a NYS Assemblyman for the 91st District.Latimer will take a formal oath of office in the Senate Chamber on January 9th, 2013.

Yonkers Watchdog news team,

 

My name is Zane Schwarzlose and I’m the community liaison for a national home security company, Protect America. We have an annual program that recognizes the safest cities in America called the “Top 10 National Burglary Safezones“.

 

It’s my pleasure to inform you that Yonkers has been named #8 on our Top 10 List for small cities. I think this would be a great story for your readers.

 

What does this mean?

 

To give you a little background on how we rank the list–our research team divides all US cities into categories based on size (small, medium, large) Yonkers falls into the “small cities edition”, which covers cities with populations between 100,000 and 500,000 people. We then analyze burglary statistics provided by the FBI to determine what cities have the lowest burglary rates.

 

Available for Comment

 

Our hope in creating these Top 10 lists is to raise burglary awareness and recognize communities that do an outstanding job of keeping it at bay. If you have any questions about the program, we have a corporate communications manager available for comment. He frequently offers burglary tips and advice to national media outlets. Please see his contact information below.

Yonkers Watchdog Editorial: Will someone step up and challenge Mayor Spano?

As we write this editorial, we ask the question will someone step up and challenge Mayor Spano in this year’s election for Yonkers Mayor. We feel it would be good for a contest and not a non aggression pact. Competition will make us a better City, so we can hear the views of the candidates.

This Editorial is the sole opinion and view of The Yonkers Watchdog.

Yonkers Watchdog

Note from The Yonkers Watchdog: I posted this on my facebook wall: My friend Dhyalma Vazquez is running for Yonkers Mayor, I support her 1000% In her effort to bring competition and accountability to this race for Yonkers Mayor. She has my support and help in any way that she wants it. It is important that the Yonkers Mayor has opposition. Competition is at the heart of our democracy and that is the only way to keep our government strong and open and that is to have choices in our elections.

Delfim Heusler – “The Yonkers Watchdog

Note from The Yonkers Watchdog: The Yonkers Watchdog returned to City of Yonkers Media List.

After not receiving press advisories and releases from the City of Yonkers recently, Today I started receiving press advisories and releases from the City of Yonkers again. I want to thank the City of Yonkers for putting me back on the City’s media list.

This note is the view and opinion of The Yonkers Watchdog.

The Yonkers Watchdog

The children of New York need your help.

As they prepare to go back to school, we all must suit up for yet another fight to protect their right to a “sound basic education.”

As you know, Gov. Cuomo and his big campaign donors are itching to siphon more funds away from public education. Why? So the available public dollars can be spent on more tax breaks for hedge fund financiers.

Join the urgent fight today with a donation, small or large, to protect public education. Your contribution now $5, $10, $50, $250 or more does make the difference.

Stealing resources from public schools only hurts children. Cuts have already stripped schools of essential programs to educate children. In the years since Gov. Cuomo took office, art, music, advanced placement classes, special education, Career and Tech Ed programs and more have sadly shrunk.

But Gov. Cuomo and Albany are willing to divert more money from schools, simply to satisfy his big dollar donors’ desire for more tax breaks. Needless to say, this is pay-to-play politics at its worst.

Won’t you join right now in the battle against Gov. Cuomo and his hedge fund buddies with a contribution of $5, $10, $15 or $25? The hedge funders have already ruined the economy. Let’s stop them from destroying our schools.

We can’t wait, in these next few weeks leading to the start of school, we have to hit the ground running with our campaign to support and improve New York’s public schools.

There is no time to waste. Act now. Please make a contribution today.

In solidarity,
Billy Easton
Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality EducationPublic schools had some big victories in 2015.
We won $1.6 billion in school funding, including $1.3 in direct aid to schools. We fought for $75 million to improve struggling schools and got our message regarding receivership through to the Board of Regents that our schools need to be set up for success, not failure. Another $30 million was added to Pre-Kindergarten across the state.

We defeated the education tax credit, which would have reimbursed millionaires and billionaires for their donations to private schools. We defeated the proposed massive increase in charter schools, with only a minimal increase in the cap.  And perhaps most importantly we exposed the hedge fund billionaires who are putting profit before justice in trying to seize control of our public schools.

For more information on budget, click here, or on the end of session deals on education, click here.

Of course, there is more work to be done, especially when it comes to fighting off the billionaires who want to privatize our schools, securing the funding our schools are owed from the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and reversing the destructive misuse of high stakes standardized testing.

Nothing could be accomplished without your financial contribution. And for that, we thank you.

Here’s what’s new at AQE.


AQE Report: Buffalo Schools’ Code of Conduct Results in Fewer Suspensions, More School Days

The Advancement Project, the Alliance for Quality Education, Citizen Action of New York and the Public Policy and Education Fund released a new report that tracks the progress made by Buffalo City Schools as a result of its newly adopted code of conduct that encouraged restorative justice over excessive suspensions.

The report, Restoring Justice In Buffalo Public Schools: Safe And Supportive Quality Education For All, showed that long- and short-term suspension for non-violent offenses are down, which has resulted in more days in school for students. However, the report also revealed that racial disparities in suspensions are still a problem at Buffalo City Schools. The majority of students suspended are black or Latino, and many of these students are suspended for vague behaviors.

The report goes on to make recommendations to remedy the problem, including addressing racial disparities, which would include training for teachers and administrators; and investing in community schools, which would provide safe, welcoming environments for all students and their families.

Read more, click here.


AQE Makes Plans for 2016 at Annual Summer Retreatat Carey Institute for Global Good

Though we had many successes in 2015, we are not resting on our laurels.

At AQE’s annual summer retreat at the end of June, the staff met for three days to discuss plans for 2016.

We are committed to fight for equity, adequacy and excellence for every student, regardless of zip code, socioeconomic status or race. Wouldn’t you join us in our journey?


27,000 Say ‘No’ to Raising Charter School Cap

This past spring, thousands of parents, educators and taxpayers across the state told Gov. Cuomo and the Republican-led Senate to put a  halt on raising the charter cap.

More than 27,000 signed a petition, sponsored by AQE, New York State United Teachers and the United Federation of Teachers, the demanding the charter cap remain flat and that regional limits be kept.

The petition, that stretched 160-feet and was unfurled on the second floor of the Capitol, also demanded that the Legislature enact laws to require charter schools to educate all children, including high need students.

To read more, click here.


Parents Rally at Regents Meeting on Receivership

Our works goes beyond the halls of the Capitol.

Case in point was last June when AQE and parents from New York City to Buffalo gathered on the steps of the New York State Education Building to ask the New York State Board of Regents to take input from parents when deciding on the fate of struggling schools that could be placed under receivership.

Moving inside to the Regents meeting room, the parents sought to ensure the schools will be set up for success, not failure, and that they, the parents, will have a real voice in the schools under receivership.

The Regents voted on emergency regulations for receivership, but will vote on final recommendations in the fall. Meanwhile, AQE will continue to fight to ensure the regulations include the thoughts and concerns of parents across the state.

To read more, click here.


Donate to AQE

Like us on Facebook

Working Families Party Recognizes Jasmine Gripper

Jasmine Gripper, the Legislative Coordinator and Statewide Education Advocate of the Alliance for Quality Education, was honored at the Working Families Party’s 17th annual Gala on June 25th in Brooklyn.

Gripper was among four young honorees who were noted for their strong activism in such movements as environmental, racial, education and workers rights.

Gripper, who is a well-known face at the New York State Capitol, advocates for educational quality and equity. A native of Queens and a graduate of Hunter College, Gripper started her career teaching throughout the world including South Korea, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. In 2010, she returned to New York to work as a first grade teacher in Brooklyn.

She left teaching to become a field organizer for President Obama’s Organizing for America in the battleground state of Ohio in 2012. For the past several years, she’s been an advocate at the Alliance for Quality Education, working in Albany to promote equitable access to early education and full funding for New York public schools.

“The Working Families Party is a beacon of social and economic justice for all,” said Gripper. “Thank you to the WFP for standing with the Alliance for Quality Education in the fight for equity in public education. It is a thrill and a privilege to be recognized by the party for the work I do. However, there is much more to be done. But, when WFP and labor and community groups come together we can win.  I look forward to returning to Albany to continue the fight for funding equity for the students of New York.


Tax Credit Fails

One of AQE’s toughest battles centered around the education tax credit, the sweetheart deal that Gov. Cuomo wanted for his hedge fund billionaire backers.

The tax credit, that Cuomo deceitfully dubbed the Parental Choice in Education Act, would have reimbursed wealthy donors 75 percent of their contributions to private
and parochial schools. For example, if one of the Governor’s friends contributed $1.3 million to a school like Fieldston, that friend would receive a $1 million back from the state. In the first year alone, credit was estimated to cost the state taxpayers $150 million.

Early on AQE and more than three dozen good government group, civic organizations and unions opposed the tax credit in a memo. AQE then hosted three press conferences on the tax credit: one with clergy, one with the AQE’s many allies that opposed the credit and one with attorneys who questioned the credits constitutionality.

The relentless pressure on lawmakers worked. The tax credit was killed in the final
days of the legislative session.

PRESS RELEASE

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan Flips His Stance on Charter Schools, Contributing to Gridlock in Albany
New Social Media Campaign Targets Him as Flip Flop Flanagan

NEW YORK (June 18, 2015) – Senator Flanagan has proposed a bill that contradicts his previous statements regarding charter schools and whether or not state legislators should be concerned with them at all.

“Why don’t we go to the root of the problem and fix traditional public education?” Senator Flanagan told Capital Pro in November. “That’s where our energy should go, not in an ever-increasing number of charters.”

AQE is launching a twitter and social media campaign targeting Senator Flanagan using the following meme:

However, in a dramatic flip-flop Senator Flanagan’s newest bill would result in 160 new charter schools by merging the New York City cap and the statewide caps into one.  In addition he would allow the charters for failed charter schools to be reissued to create more new charter schools—currently the charters for failed charter schools expire. Flanagan’s bill also proposes that any public school that becomes a charter will not be counted under the cap. Flanagan’s demand for more charter schools is one of the major issues gridlocking Albany right now.

“It’s stunning that Senator Flanagan would flip flop from saying he wants to champion public schools to trying to dramatically increase the number of charters. In the process he is adding to the gridlock in Albany that is endangering the housing of over 2 million New Yorkers,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director for the Alliance for Quality Education. “By his own admission an ever increasing number of charter schools means that the state is neglecting its responsibility to focus on fixing traditional public schools. He should stand by his principles not by the hedge fund billionaires who are pushing a privatization agenda.”

“Senator Flanagan is shifting his focus from the most pressing issue of repairing our existing public education system towards charters that do not serve the neediest students and do they perform better. That is a classic flip flop,” said Zakiyah Ansari, Advocacy Director for the Alliance for Quality Education. “It’s a shame that Flanagan has reneged on what he knows is right, and that is focusing on the majority of our students.”

The question of the day is: Where were these billionaires when AQE and the #WeCantWait Coalition were out on the streets fighting for equitable funding for all? No where. These billionaites have never fought for equity. But now they are claiming that they are fighting for education with the education tax credit, dubbed Parental Choice in Education Act (PCIE). With misleading and misinformed mailers they claim that the Assembly is standing in the way of educational progress. The reality is the education tax credit gives a huge tax break to these millionaires and little support for parents and schools.Call your Assembly Member today and ask them to stand strong against the education tax credit for billionaires.
The false flyers and robo calls are blaming the Assembly for all sorts of educational sins, none of them are true. Here’s the rundown of the facts:

Claim #1:  Your assembly member is standing in the way of sending our schools help.

  • This bill would do little or nothing to help public schools. The main thing it does is send our tax dollars to private schools and their donors.
  • Thanks to the Assembly, Education received the largest increase in funding in recent years.
    Publically funded religious instruction is not permissible under the Constitution of the United States of America nor the Constitution of the State of New York either directly or indirectly.

o   As a matter of fact, New York Civil Liberties Union stated that this law is unconstitutional because New York’s Constitution prohibits indirect funding of religious education, and that is exactly what this is.

o   The New York Civil Liberties Union has committed in a press conference last week that this law, if passed, will be challenged in court.

#2: The PCIE would encourage donations to critical school programs such as pre-k and afterschool programs like art, music and tutoring.

  • Only a small fraction of this funding would go to public schools, the vast majority would go to private schools and their donors. In fact if someone makes a $1.3 million donation to benefit a private school, New York taxpayers would have to reimburse them $1 million.
  • Donations will not be made to every school.  In fact donations are mostly likely to go to schools that need the funding the least.

Call your Assembly Member today and ask them to stand strong against the education tax credit for billionaires.

Claim #3: The PCIE is opposed only by “special interests.”

  • The special interests are the millionaires and billionaires who stand to benefit from this boondoggle. New York taxpayers would be on the hook to reimburse 75% of their donation—up to $1 million per donation.
  • A very large coalition of 49 education, community, political, and good government groups have opposed this proposal, and the list grows every day.

Click here to read the opposition memo from nearly 50 groups. 
Claim #4:  Assembly members gave themselves a raise. 

  • This is untrue.  The last raise that was passed into law was in 1999 according to the New York Times.
  • The mailer cites A.6721 as proof that legislators increased their pay without a vote.  This is untrue as well.  This measure in the budget establishes a commission on legislative, judicial and executive compensation.  Nowhere in the language does it enact or guarantee a pay raise.

Claim #5:  Right now the State Assembly is considering a bill (the Parental Choice in Education Act) that would help give every child, regardless of income or zip code, the opportunity to accomplish whatever they dream – without raising taxes.

  • As of this minute, the PCIE has not been introduced in the Assembly.  There have been no hearings, and no committees have discussed the governor’s program bill in its current form.  Therefore, there has not been any formal consideration of this bill by the lower house of the legislature.
  • This proposal would cost the state $150 million a year out of the current money that the state has.

o   This money would be better served if sent to underfunded public schools in high needs school districts.

  • There is no proof that this proposal would help kids in all zip codes.  What if your local district does not have a wealthy donor?  This proposal is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt at public funding of private schools with a significant tax break to the wealthy.

Call your Assembly Member today and ask them to stand strong against the education tax credit for billionaires. 

Claim #6: More schools like Blessed Sacrament are in danger of closing – hurting our kids.

  • Catholic Schools have closed due to the growth in charter schools. A recent study published in the Albany Government Law Review found that in New York State one Catholic School closed for every charter school that opened.
  • Unfortunately instead of fighting the expansion of charter schools, the Cardinal has joined a campaign financed by charter school investors who right now are seeking even more charter schools. Sadly this coalition could actually lead to further closings of Catholic schools.
  • Instead of fighting the privately run charter schools, this bill would take tax money that could go to our public schools.

Claim #7: If the New York Assembly Refuses to Act, Afterschool programs music and art could suffer – And shut down…  Afterschool programs could be forced to shut down while our Assembly Member sits by.

  • In many high needs districts, afterschool programs have been cut since 2010.  This includes athletics, music programs, tutoring programs, art programs, student enrichment programs and more. The money that this bill would send to private schools and their donors could instead go to after school programs in our public schools.
  • By not considering this legislation the Assembly is protecting taxpayers and opposing a sweetheart deal for the hedge funders and other billionaires that want to take our tax dollars.

      Call your Assembly Member today and ask them to stand strong against the education tax credit for billionaires.

Claim #8:  Hardworking teachers will not be reimbursed for the purchase of school supplies for their classrooms.

  • The benefit that would be extended to the teachers would be $200.  This is hardly a benefit to stop the presses for when wealthy Hedge Fund Billionaires would be getting 75% of their donation back as a tax credit.
  • Teachers in high need schools spend between $700-$1000 per teacher on school supplies, instructional aids, and decorations for their classroom. If we fully fund schools, according to the state constitution, teachers would not have to buy supplies.

Claim # 9:  There will be less funding for Pre-K and afterschool programs like art and music classes.

  • When the governor proposed his state-wide pre-K plan, he promised a blank check to our schools to open new, full-day pre-K programs.

o   The governor did fund pre-K for NYC, but lags far behind of his blank check promise upstate.

o   The governor did not significantly expand his pre-K program in its second year, he only added $30million.

Call your Assembly Member today and ask them to stand strong against the education tax credit for billionaires. 

It looks like Gov. Cuomo and his campaign contributors might win their heart’s desire, yet another tax break for billionaires in the form of the education tax credit that uses your tax dollars to subsidize private schools.Under the Cuomo plan our tax dollars will reimburse big money donors for 75% of their private school donation—we would be on the hook to refund them $1 million of out of $1.3 million donation.  It adds up to $150 million a year that should be going to our public schools. And we need you to get involved today.

Please join our fight by making a donation right now. Your support is vital to our campaign to get the State Assembly to stand tall and stop the giveaway of our tax dollars to private schools and their billionaire donors.

Your contribution of $5, $10, $50 or $250 could make the difference in the final days of this fight.

It’s seems like a no-brainer. Students are more important that billionaires and our public money should go to our public schools.

But these big donors are pouring millions in. They are providing the cash to bombard the public with misleading mailers, TV ads and robo calls. Their campaign is full of misleading falsehoods about this billionaire boondoggle.

Together we have to fight back. Together we can win.

But there is no time to waste. Act now. Make a contribution today.

Not only is Cuomo’s tax credit plan a giveaway to his wealthy campaign contributors, it hurts our public schools. The state should be fairly funding our public schools, not finding ways to subsidize private schools and their donors. Since many of these schools are religious schools the Cuomo plan starts us down the slippery of ending the separation of church and state by providing state taxpayer dollars to support religious education.

Please join us to stop Cuomo’s private school tax credit. Your donation could be the difference between success and failure. Any size contribution will help. Please act right now. We only have days to win this battle and we need you with us.

Thank you,

Billy Easton,
Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality EducationPRESS RELEASE

AQE, NYS PTA and Assembly Members Call for Regents to Give as Much Attention to Rules for Struggling Schools as to Teacher Evaluations.
Parent & Community Engagement Key to Success.
ALBANY (June 1, 2015) — The Alliance for Quality Education and the New York State Parent Teacher Association along with members of the NYS Assembly called on the NYS Board of Regents to pay as much attention to the regulations they must enact regarding struggling schools as they have to teacher and principal evaluations.

The Regents are expected to enact regulations at the June 15 meeting of the Board even though the future of these schools has not received much public debate since being included in the state budget at the end of March.  There are approximately 170 schools that will be immediately affected by the Regents regulations that will govern the implementation of the new law. About 25 of these schools are eligible for $75 million in new funding as a result of being classified in the law as “persistently failing.” The remaining schools are labeled by the state as “failing” and it is unclear at this time what funding will be available for them in the future. If the schools do not show adequate improvement then they can be taken over by the appointment of an independent receiver with the power to override decisions of the school board, prior to that time the local superintendent would have the same powers as the receiver.

Both AQE and NYS PTA are calling on the Regents to avoid publicly using the word “failing” when referring to these schools because it stigmatizes schools, students and families, and undermines school improvement. The press conference identified key priorities for the Regents to include in their regulations:

·       Require robust parent and community engagement in the process of creating a turnaround plan and in implementing school reforms;
·       Require an adequate planning process that includes comprehensive student and community needs assessment, particularly for schools that are eligible for funding, in order to ensure these schools have high quality plans;
·       Clarify that the superintendent has both the obligations and the powers of the receiver in including the requirement to turn schools into community schools so long as funding for these programs is available;
·       Require that the standard of improvement recognize the different starting points of each school and is based upon the school plan’s strategies to serve the social, emotional, health and family engagement needs of students as their academic needs.
·       Require that the superintendent and receiver cannot use the powers of mass removal of current staff in these schools without first meeting clearly defined criteria, removal of staff should be seen as a last resort.

“Addressing the needs of our struggling schools will require careful planning, resources, time and above all meaningful collaboration between communities, families and their schools beginning with establishment of relationships that will endure and that at least initially define success in a variety of ways unique to each school community,” said Rick Longhurst, Executive Administrator of the New York State Parent Teacher Association.

“The Board of Regents must give as much attention to these struggling schools as they are to the teacher evaluations,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director of the Alliance of Quality Education. “They need to pass regulations that set these schools up for success, not for failure. Parents must have a strong voice in determining the future of their children’s schools and the schools must have high quality plans before any funding is awarded. The measure of progress in these schools must look at the whole needs of the students including their social, emotional and health needs, as well as the need for academic progress. All of this will be governed by Regents regulations and to date, these schools have not received the attention from the Regents that is needed.”

“The Assembly Majority conference was successful in allocating $75 million in this year’s state budget to invest in 27 struggling schools,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan and Chair of the Assembly Education Committee.  “Our state must lead on this issue and I will continue to advocate for additional funds to ensure that every child receives a fair, basic education regardless of where they reside.  I would urge the Board of Regents and the State Education Department to create and implement a viable plan for our struggling schools that all of our educational stakeholders including school districts, administrators, teachers, parents, students and residents can work with.”

“We have to prioritize our struggling schools,”  said Assemblywoman Latrice Walker. “It is essential for the Board of Regents to develop a process to ensure that these students and schools are set up to succeed. It is essential to the health of our community that they get this right.”

“Children are our future and it’s essential that we invest in growing the future and ensuring our economic viability. Part of growing the future includes providing a quality education regardless of zip code and to help do that we need to build community schools engaging families and the surrounding communities,” said Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy. “I look forward to hearing more from the Board of Regents for Priority Schools to make sure a framework is created to give these schools the opportunity for turnaround and success.”

“The education of our children is one of my top priorities as a member of the Assembly,” said Assemblyman Harry Bronson.  “Every year I fight for the funding needed so our children will have the resources they need to succeed, including a substantial increase this school year.  I have met with and urged the Regents to ensure these funds are used for their intended purpose: to educate our children.  It is my hope that Regents remember our children, their parents and the educators when drafting these new regulations for school improvement.”

“Local control of our public schools is critical to the success of our communities. Each community is different and each student has different needs and local input from our parents, teachers and students is key to improving and strengthening our schools,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. “I’m so proud of the strong partnerships with the schools in my district, which was built with personal visits, participation at student events and interaction with our educators. The fight for public education is not over and I remain committed to building stronger communities with our local schools.”

Gov. Cuomo is once again trying to trick the public into supporting yet another tax break for his billionaire campaign contributors.He is pushing the deceitfully-dubbed Parental Choice in Education Act, his latest scheme disguised as a way to provide needy children with a private school education. But in reality, the act is designed to reimburse wealthy donors who contribute large sums of money to private schools. Under the act, state taxpayers will reimburse 75 percent of the donors’ contributions.

The New York Times Editorial Board criticized the Governor for promoting this bill. “This energetic effort for an expensive and possibly unconstitutional bill that Mr. Cuomo has named the Parental Choice in Education Act could cost the state more than $150 million a year. That money should be used to help almost 2.7 million public school students in the state, not given to wealthy donors subsidizing mainly private or religious schools.”

Here’s a 60 second video that explains how this tax credit would work and why it’s bad public policy.

Please stand with us and more than 30 other organizations that are united against the Parental Choice in Education Act.

New York State continues to fail to provide a sound basic education to all of its children. During a time in which state leaders have abandoned their legal commitment to adequately fund public education, we must not open the door to another attempt to chip away at the public education infrastructure. This proposal would make a bad situation worse.

The state has limited resources, and now is not the time to divert hundreds of millions of dollars of public funds to parochial and other private schools. Please stand against the Parental Choice in Education Act.

Sincerely,

Billy Easton,
Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education

This year’s fight for public education was fierce.But with the help of New Yorkers like you, the Alliance for Quality Education won $1.6 billion in funding for public schools and another $75 million for struggling schools. These funds will make an immediate difference in the education of 2.7 million New York school children. 

Join us with a donation of any size, as AQE continues to fight for New York’s public schools. Every dollar makes a difference in the lives of our school children.

We also obtained $30 million for pre-K for New York’s young children in a budget that initially did not include an expansion of the state’s pre-k programs.

None of this could have been achieved without your time and treasure. For that, we thank you.

However, the battle is not over.  The private school tax credit could divert hundreds of million away from public schools into the pockets of billionaire campaign contributors.

We need your help right now to stop this!

If Governor Cuomo gets his way then everyday taxpayers like you and I will be on the hook to for $150 million in a program to benefit private schools. The largest share of this will be a direct taxpayer subsidy to wealthy donors to private schools. If these donors want to fund private schools, that is their choice, but you and I should not be required to repay them for their donation. But is exactly what Governor Cuomo wants. Our public dollars should go to our public schools, not for private schools and their donors.

Winning this fight depends on your involvement. Please donate today to further AQE’s efforts to right these potentially damaging policies before they become a reality for millions of New York’s school children.

Thank you.

Billy Easton,
Executive Director for the Alliance for Quality Education

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PRESS RELEASE

Parent, Religious, Labor Groups and Education Advocates Fight to Block Gov. Cuomo’s Flawed Tax Break for Wealthy

ALBANY (May, 18, 2015) – Education advocates, religious and labor organizations and parent groups have joined forces to block Gov. Cuomo’s education tax credit proposal that he has deceitfully dubbed Parental Choice in Education Act.

Disguised as a way to provide needy children with a private school education, the act is a tax credit designed to reimburse wealthy donors who want to contribute large sums of money to private schools. Under the act, state taxpayers will reimburse 75 percent of the donor’s contributions.  In the first year alone, the act will cost the state $150 million.

The three dozen organizations decry the tax break as one that siphons taxpayer money from public schools and funnels it into the pockets of millionaires and billionaires. As part of the effort to block the act, the groups will launch a social media campaign and will release more information on the tax break in the forthcoming weeks.

The groups have also released a video that underscores how the act will further burden taxpayers and debilitate public schools.

The long list of opponents to the act are: A. Philip Randolph Institute, AFSCME, Advocates for Children of New York, Alliance for Quality Education, Balcony, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Citizen Action of New York, Citizen Budget Commission, CSEA, DC 37-AFSCME, La Fuente, League of Women Voters of New York State, Long Island Jobs with Justice, Long Island Progressive Coalition, Make the Road, NAACP-New York State Chapter, New York City Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, New York Civil Liberties Union, New York State AFL-CIO, New York State Association of School Business Officials, New York State Federation of School Administrators, New York State Parent Teacher Association, New York State School Boards Association, New York State United Teachers, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, Public Employees Federation, Reform Jewish Voice of New York State, Rochester – Finger Lakes Pride @ Work , Rural Schools Association of New York State, School Administrators Association of New York State,  Strong Economy for All, The Black Institute, The Council of School Superintendents, United Federation of Teachers, and Working Families Party.

“New York cannot afford another poorly targeted tax break,” said Carol Kellermann, President of the Citizen Budget Commission. “The Education Tax Credit would be a costly subsidy for private education.”

“We are concerned that the proposed education tax credit will allow individuals to divert money from the tax stream and send it to favored schools, scholarships and other programs, including religious programming, with no public oversight,” said Robb Smith, Executive Director of Interfaith Impact of New York State. “This bill is designed to permit wealthy donors to make an end run around the New York constitution, which prohibits taxpayer funding of religious education. In the end, the taxpayers will have to make up for the money that is being diverted. We believe in the wisdom of the separation of church and state. We want to see New York fully fund its public school system, not take even more money away from our schools through this misguided legislation.”

“The Reform Jewish Movement affirms the deep commitment of the Reform Movement to the principle of separation of religion and the state which has safeguarded religious liberty for all in this country,” said Barbara Zaron, co-chair of Reform Jewish Voice of New York State (RJV). “This commitment and an equally deep commitment to public education as the cornerstone of the American democratic process drives us to affirm our opposition to any form of governmental aid to elementary and secondary schools under the supervision or control of any religious denomination. Consistent with this traditional opposition of Reform Judaism, we oppose the proposals to allow tax credits for tuition paid and/or scholarships awarded to students of non-public schools.”

“We have yet to see any proof that the education tax credit would address the fiscal issues that face religious schools,” said Barbara Bartoletti, Legislative Director for the League of Women Voters in New York State. “Public schools students should not have to pay the price. We cannot drain public dollars to benefit privately operated schools.”

“Our public schools are called upon to fulfill our state constitution’s promise of a sound basic education for all children, whatever their circumstances, wherever they come from, whenever they arrive,”said Robert Reidy, Executive Director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents. “State government’s first obligation needs to be to honor its promises to public schools, by ending the Gap Elimination Adjustment and rebuilding the Foundation Aid formula – not to launch an expansive new commitment to private schools serving only some students.”

“Providing wealthy campaign contributors tax breaks while public school students are deprived of education resources is outrageous,” said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York. “This plan is nothing but another million-dollar giveaway of public money to super wealthy donors who fund political campaigns.”

“The Governor’s new Parental Choice in Education Act is a veiled attempt to give away our tax dollars to his campaign donors,” said Jasmine Gripper, Legislative Coordinator for the Alliance for Quality Education. “Why should New Yorkers pay for wealthy donors contributions to private schools? This is a multi-million dollar expense for the state and will divert more money away from already struggling public schools. School funding policies should not be made on the whim to a handful of wealthy individuals and corporations. Instead of prioritizing his campaign donors, the Governor should be focused on supporting our public schools, which serve all kids.”

“The private school tax credit scheme Governor Cuomo is pushing is really just more Albany business as usual:  the seven billionaires behind the ‘Educational Fund’ gave $4.6 million dollars in campaign cash to get themselves a big tax break,” said Michael Kink, Executive Director of Strong Economy for All Coalition. “Their ‘educational fund’ seems to have done more educating of influential politicians — particularly Dean Skelos and the Senate Republicans — than of students.

“New York needs to drop the reverse Robin Hood shenanigans and stop trying to fund private and religious schools at the expense of public schools,” said New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “Education is the foundation for future success for both New York’s children and the state’s financial well-being. Transferring public money to private schools undermines both. It also violates the foundational principle that bars the government from endorsing religion.”

“People make a conscious decision to pay for a private school education instead of using public schools, just like they make a decision to use a private golf course over a public one, or a private beach club over a public swimming pool, are we to subsidize every person’s decision to use a private facility over a public one, where would it end,” said Michael Borges, Executive Director of the New York State Association of School Business Officials.

“Despite its new name, the governor’s education tax credit scheme is essentially a voucher program designed to reward the hedge fund billionaires who contribute to his campaign,” said New York State United Teachers President Karen E. Magee. “The fact is, the governor’s misguided plan would only aggravate the challenges that confront our poorest districts by siphoning critical funding away from students and schools that are most in need.”

“The state’s priority should not be giving tax breaks to the wealthy, but rather investing in its public schools to ensure all students have the resources needed to succeed,” said New York State United Teachers Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta. “Given that one-third of our school districts in 2015-2016 will be operating with less aid than six years ago, our focus must be on adequately funding public education — not rewarding wealthy campaign contributors at the expense of children in need.”

“This tax credit is just another scheme to reward billionaires. It gives them the power to send money to their favorite private schools, and takes a big chunk out of their tax bill,” said Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers. “At the same time, it drains money from public schools. Supporters can use all the smoke and mirrors that they want, but in the end this is scam that will hurt public school students.”

“New York’s first obligation is to use tax dollars to adequately fund public education. Yet, there are great disparities in school district financial resources throughout the state. Lawmakers must remedy that situation before they provide tax incentives that would benefit non-public schools,” said Timothy G. Kremer, Executive director of the New York State School Boards Association.

“For New York State to consider diverting available funds away from public education while it has a law that unconstitutionally withholds funds from school districts is unconscionable,”said David A. Little, Executive Director of the Rural Schools Association of New York State. “If that the state cannot afford its public educational system, it certainly can’t afford a second one.”

“Our first priority must be to fully fund our public schools,” New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said. “We need a financial commitment to provide our public education system with the necessary resources needed to ensure all children get the educational opportunities they deserve. An investment in our public schools is an investment in our future.”

 

Express Yourself in the AQE Art ContestPlease have your young artists create either a painting or a drawing that illustrates his or her vision of a perfect education or school!The winners will receive a $100 gift card and will have their artwork awarded to AQE’s honorees at the Champions of Education celebration in New York City! Winners will be honored at the event too.

The contest is open to all students in grades K-12. Each submission must be no larger than 11×17, two-dimensional (painting or drawing), and must include on the back the student’s name, age, and school along with the signed permission form.

The artwork must be sent to:
Alliance for Quality Education
94 Central Avenue
Albany, New York 12206.

The deadline is Friday, June 26. Artworks will not be returned.

We are anxiously awaiting the creative pieces from your students!

Click here for a flyer.
Click here for a permission slip.
Check out last year’s winners and submissions.

Have a question? Contact Jasmine Gripper at 518-432-5315, ext 105 or at jasmine@aqeny.org

Parade for Education in March gathered AQE and its supporters at the New York State Capitol.A Thank You from AQE’s

Executive Director Billy Easton

If you were one of the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who engaged in a fierce battle against Governor Cuomo’s outright attack on public education, I’d like to personally thank you.

Cuomo was backed in his efforts by a handful of billionaire hedge fund managers who are promoting a privatization and test and punish agenda for our schools. On some important issues, with the support of the State Assembly Majority, our students and communities won, on others we suffered significant setbacks for students, teachers, and schools.

Please take the time to read our evaluation of the 2015-16 New York State budget.

 

The fight for our public schools continues. It will include appealing to the State Board of Regents on important issues like receivership or state takeover of public schools dubbed as ”failing” as well as plans for a new teacher evaluation system that the Governor would like to link to more high-stakes tests.


Rally and Parade Draws Thousands

Last month, nearly 2,000 parents, teachers, students and community members marched the streets of Albany to demand that the Governor and the Legislature fund New York public schools fairly and equitably and to oppose the destructive policies that weaken public schools.

Former New York City Councilman Robert Jackson, who was the original plaintiff in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, led the AQE parade as grand marshal. The long line of supporters, including two marching bands,  marched from the Albany Armory to the New York State Capitol.

Once inside, the throng of marchers unfurled three 50-foot  banners that listed how much money Gov. Cuomo and the state owes every public school in New York State.

Read more or watch a video in which Ellenville students talk about how the parade affected them.


Rev. Barber, center, was the keynote speaker on Moral Monday at the Capitol in January. He was joined by students and education advocates at the podium on the center landing of the Million Dollar Staircase.

Rev. Dr. Barber Inspires at Rally on

Million Dollar Staircase in Capitol

Rev. Dr. William Barber, the founder of the Moral Monday movement of social justice and the president of the North Carolina NAACP, was inspired activitists and education advocates to demand that Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers do what is morally right – fund schools equitably.

Standing with him at the podium was the President of the New York State NAACP conference Dr. Hazel Dukes, President of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten, the President of the United Federation of Teachers Michael Mulgrew, the Executive Vice-President of the New York State United Teachers Andy Pallotta as well as AQE’s Executive Director Billy Easton and Advocacy Director Zakiyah Ansari.

Click to read more or watch a video of the day’s events.


Hedge Clippers Reveals Billionaires’

Influence on Albany and Governor

Since 2000, 570 hedge fund managers and top executives have contributed $39.6 billion to Albany candidates and select committees.

Topping the list of  beneficiaries is Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He pocketed $4.8 million from hedge fund billionaires; and his education policies reflect this influence. He,  with his hedge fund croonies, are promoting school privatization, state takeover of public schools and high-stakes test that punish schools and teachers. And that’s just for starters.

Read all the Hedge Clippers reports here.


Update on Small Cities Case

Maisto vs. the State of New York, the case involoving parents of eight small New York State cities who sued the state for fair and adequate funding for their schools, wrapped up in March. A verdict from Albany Court Supreme Court Justice Kimberly O’Connor is expected within months.

The case’s outcome will affect 55,000 students from Mount Vernon, Port Jervis, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Utica, Jamestown and Niagara Falls. The team of lawyers argued that the students are owed at $11 billion in foundation aid, which has stripped from the schools since 2008. The attorneys showed the devastating consequences that resulted in the loss the funding.

Regardless of the ruling, the lawyers expect the state will appeal, thus potentially holding back the necessary state aid from these schools for years.


Read more.

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers engaged in a fierce battle against Governor Cuomo’s outright attack on public education. Cuomo was backed in his efforts by a handful of billionaire hedge fund managers who are promoting a privatization and test and punish agenda for our schools. On some important issues, with the support of the State Assembly Majority, our students and communities won, on others we suffered significant setbacks for students, teachers, and schools.The State Senate Majority, backed by the same hedge fund cabal, was closely aligned with Governor Cuomo on many of his efforts.  In January Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said he saw “giving the governor more control of education as appropriate.” When talking specifically about teacher evaluations, Skelos made it very clear that the Senate was standing with the Governor: “We want to make sure it’s strong and it means something. The Assembly is, unfortunately, trying to water it down.” The Senate also stood with the Governor on diverting money from public schools to private schools through an education tax credit, on more funding for privately run charter schools and on increasing the number of these publicly funded, privately run schools in New York State.

This year’s budget fight is not the end of the road, the well-financed attacks on public education will continue and our demand for high-quality education for all students without regard to race, income and zip code is far from over. AQE has been at the forefront of the fight for educational quality and opportunity for all students for a long time. Please take the time to read our evaluation of the 2015-16 New York State budget.

Strong Grass Roots Movement

•    We saw a strong grass roots movement explode across New York State. It unified parents who have been organizing for racial and economic justice in school funding with the rapidly growing parent-led opt out movement, and teachers and their unions focused on protecting the integrity of their profession and educating our children. This may be the most important outcome of this budget fight.

Fair and Adequate Funding
•    $1.6 Billion in school funding, including $1.3 billion in direct formula aid to schools is significant. The amount of the school funding is a major victory and substantially more than Governor Cuomo proposed although it does not meet the standards necessary to make real progress on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.
•    Preliminary analysis shows that funding prioritized high need schools. Stay tuned for more detail.

$75 Million to Improve Struggling Schools

•    Tremendous opportunity to win lasting improvements without state takeover. We won $75 million for local school districts to invest in 27 struggling schools. These funds will convert these schools into community schools with health and social services, improve curricula, provide a longer school day or school year, keep students in school through reduced suspensions and increased attendance, and more. We must organize in these schools and make sure these plans work.
•    Partial victory on state takeover. The Governor proposed a state takeover for 178 struggling schools and for entire school districts without proposing any resources for improvement. The State Assembly fought back on this issue. Provisions for state takeover of districts were defeated. Options for state takeover of schools were delayed for one or two years depending on the school during which time local districts will have the opportunity to make needed improvements. After one or two years there is a provision for appointment of a receiver to run the school, but this appointment is made by the school district, rather than being made by the state. It is troubling that the Governor succeeded in labeling these schools as “failing,” which undermines schools and students and that the receiver, if appointed, will have too many powers.  The Board of Regents has considerable power over what happens to these schools and we must organize to make sure this program works to benefit students, schools and communities.

Teacher Evaluations
•    The teacher evaluation system is the most troubling part of the reforms that were enacted. While the Governor did not get exactly what he wanted, the role of standardized testing in evaluations is given equal weight to the role of observations. This will mean more teaching to the test and more stress for students, teachers and schools, which will have damaging consequences for students. The law is very prescriptive, but the Regents have some say over the implementation of the evaluations. AQE is going to stay on top of these issues and work to get both the Regents and the legislature to take the action needed to get a fair teacher evaluation system.

Pre-Kindergarten
•    A small but important victory. We won $30 million for pre-K for upstate and suburban New York. We have a long way to go to get to universal pre-K, but our work led to a step in the right direction.

Private School Tax Credit
•    A Major Victory. The proposal by the Governor and the State Senate Majority to divert $100 million to $300 million away from public schools and into the pockets of private school donors was defeated thanks to the State Assembly Majority. We need to stay vigilant on this issue.

Privately-run Charter Schools
•    Public Funding for Charters. While regularly starving our public schools, Governor Cuomo and the Senate Majority sought to increase tuition payments for privately run charter schools. This was defeated in this budget.
•    However, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos announced that the Senate Majority had secured $25 million in bullet aid for charter schools. This is one time, not ongoing, funding. But it raises a serious concern about why the Republican Senators would prioritize privately run charter schools, primarily in New York City, over public schools in their own district. This bullet aid still needs to be distributed and people in these Senate districts should advocate with their Senator that the money goes to local public schools, not privately run New York City charter schools.

Charter Cap Fight Delayed

•    Governor Cuomo tried to force through a major growth in the number of charter schools. The fight over raising the cap on privately run charter schools was delayed and will be part of the legislative debate between now and June.

DREAM Act

•    Senate Republicans and their Hedge Fund Allies Block Educational Justice. The Senate Republicans were put in power by the same billionaires who are promoting Governor Cuomo’s anti-public education agenda. These Senators ran for office on an immigrant bashing agenda and they stood as a blockade to winning the DREAM Act which is a vital civil rights and educational opportunity issue for immigrant students.

What needs to happen next

•    We need to continue building the movement. As our movement grapples with working across issue areas – from fair funding to testing – we must grapple with working effectively together across the lines of race, class and geography.  For too long, too many students in high-poverty communities, many of which are communities of color, have been in schools that are under resourced. While high stakes testing is an assault on these communities and their schools, there are many other issues that are also priorities for parents and students in these communities.
•    We need to hold all our elected officials accountable and we need to recognize that many fought side by side with us. Without the support of the Assembly Majority we would have seen major giveaway of tax dollars to private schools and privately run charter schools. We would have seen an instant state takeover of struggling schools with little or no investment in those schools. And we would have seen a wholly inadequate investment in school funding with no emphasis on equity. We need to work with the Assembly to hold the Regents accountable on struggling schools and we need to demand that the entire legislature changes the teacher evaluation system to a system that makes sense for students, teachers and schools.
•    This budget fight was politically damaging to the Governor. His education proposals were wildly unpopular and the public strongly rejected them by a 63% to 28% margin. His overall popularity dropped as a result. We need to keep the spotlight on him and make sure that all politicians understand that standing up for the Governor’s agenda is not only bad policy, it is bad politics.
•    AQE played a major role in the Hedge Clippers Campaign that raised public awareness that a small cabal of super wealthy billionaires are behind the attacks on public education championed by Governor Cuomo. We have to continue to put the pressure on these hedge fund billionaires who have spent $39.6 million in New York on lobbying and campaign donations to push their anti-equity, anti-public school, pro-testing agenda.

Thank you for all you have done to fight for our students, our schools and our communities. Keep fighting!

In solidarity,

Billy Easton
Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education

Chad Radock, AQE’s Statewide Campaign Coordinator leads a rally cry at the Capitol during the 2015 budget battle.Check it Out
Our Website
Take Action
Donate
Interesting news
Our photosFollow @AQE_NY on TwitterLike us on FacebookDonate to AQE
Tens of thousands of New Yorkers engaged in a fierce battle against Governor Cuomo’s outright attack on public education. Cuomo was backed in his efforts by a handful of billionaire hedge fund managers who are promoting a privatization and test and punish agenda for our schools. On some important issues, with the support of the State Assembly Majority, our students and communities won, on others we suffered significant setbacks for students, teachers, and schools.The State Senate Majority, backed by the same hedge fund cabal, was closely aligned with Governor Cuomo on many of his efforts.  In January Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said he saw “giving the governor more control of education as appropriate.” When talking specifically about teacher evaluations, Skelos made it very clear that the Senate was standing with the Governor: “We want to make sure it’s strong and it means something. The Assembly is, unfortunately, trying to water it down.” The Senate also stood with the Governor on diverting money from public schools to private schools through an education tax credit, on more funding for privately run charter schools and on increasing the number of these publicly funded, privately run schools in New York State.This year’s budget fight is not the end of the road, the well-financed attacks on public education will continue and our demand for high-quality education for all students without regard to race, income and zip code is far from over. AQE has been at the forefront of the fight for educational quality and opportunity for all students for a long time. Please take the time to read our evaluation of the 2015-16 New York State budget.

Strong Grass Roots Movement

•    We saw a strong grass roots movement explode across New York State. It unified parents who have been organizing for racial and economic justice in school funding with the rapidly growing parent-led opt out movement, and teachers and their unions focused on protecting the integrity of their profession and educating our children. This may be the most important outcome of this budget fight.Fair and Adequate Funding
•    $1.6 Billion in school funding, including $1.3 billion in direct formula aid to schools is significant. The amount of the school funding is a major victory and substantially more than Governor Cuomo proposed although it does not meet the standards necessary to make real progress on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.
•    Preliminary analysis shows that funding prioritized high need schools. Stay tuned for more detail.

$75 Million to Improve Struggling Schools

•    Tremendous opportunity to win lasting improvements without state takeover. We won $75 million for local school districts to invest in 27 struggling schools. These funds will convert these schools into community schools with health and social services, improve curricula, provide a longer school day or school year, keep students in school through reduced suspensions and increased attendance, and more. We must organize in these schools and make sure these plans work.
•    Partial victory on state takeover. The Governor proposed a state takeover for 178 struggling schools and for entire school districts without proposing any resources for improvement. The State Assembly fought back on this issue. Provisions for state takeover of districts were defeated. Options for state takeover of schools were delayed for one or two years depending on the school during which time local districts will have the opportunity to make needed improvements. After one or two years there is a provision for appointment of a receiver to run the school, but this appointment is made by the school district, rather than being made by the state. It is troubling that the Governor succeeded in labeling these schools as “failing,” which undermines schools and students and that the receiver, if appointed, will have too many powers.  The Board of Regents has considerable power over what happens to these schools and we must organize to make sure this program works to benefit students, schools and communities.Teacher Evaluations
•    The teacher evaluation system is the most troubling part of the reforms that were enacted. While the Governor did not get exactly what he wanted, the role of standardized testing in evaluations is given equal weight to the role of observations. This will mean more teaching to the test and more stress for students, teachers and schools, which will have damaging consequences for students. The law is very prescriptive, but the Regents have some say over the implementation of the evaluations. AQE is going to stay on top of these issues and work to get both the Regents and the legislature to take the action needed to get a fair teacher evaluation system.Pre-Kindergarten
•    A small but important victory. We won $30 million for pre-K for upstate and suburban New York. We have a long way to go to get to universal pre-K, but our work led to a step in the right direction.Private School Tax Credit
•    A Major Victory. The proposal by the Governor and the State Senate Majority to divert $100 million to $300 million away from public schools and into the pockets of private school donors was defeated thanks to the State Assembly Majority. We need to stay vigilant on this issue.Privately-run Charter Schools
•    Public Funding for Charters. While regularly starving our public schools, Governor Cuomo and the Senate Majority sought to increase tuition payments for privately run charter schools. This was defeated in this budget.
•    However, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos announced that the Senate Majority had secured $25 million in bullet aid for charter schools. This is one time, not ongoing, funding. But it raises a serious concern about why the Republican Senators would prioritize privately run charter schools, primarily in New York City, over public schools in their own district. This bullet aid still needs to be distributed and people in these Senate districts should advocate with their Senator that the money goes to local public schools, not privately run New York City charter schools.

Charter Cap Fight Delayed

•    Governor Cuomo tried to force through a major growth in the number of charter schools. The fight over raising the cap on privately run charter schools was delayed and will be part of the legislative debate between now and June.

DREAM Act

•    Senate Republicans and their Hedge Fund Allies Block Educational Justice. The Senate Republicans were put in power by the same billionaires who are promoting Governor Cuomo’s anti-public education agenda. These Senators ran for office on an immigrant bashing agenda and they stood as a blockade to winning the DREAM Act which is a vital civil rights and educational opportunity issue for immigrant students.

What needs to happen next

•    We need to continue building the movement. As our movement grapples with working across issue areas – from fair funding to testing – we must grapple with working effectively together across the lines of race, class and geography.  For too long, too many students in high-poverty communities, many of which are communities of color, have been in schools that are under resourced. While high stakes testing is an assault on these communities and their schools, there are many other issues that are also priorities for parents and students in these communities.
•    We need to hold all our elected officials accountable and we need to recognize that many fought side by side with us. Without the support of the Assembly Majority we would have seen major giveaway of tax dollars to private schools and privately run charter schools. We would have seen an instant state takeover of struggling schools with little or no investment in those schools. And we would have seen a wholly inadequate investment in school funding with no emphasis on equity. We need to work with the Assembly to hold the Regents accountable on struggling schools and we need to demand that the entire legislature changes the teacher evaluation system to a system that makes sense for students, teachers and schools.
•    This budget fight was politically damaging to the Governor. His education proposals were wildly unpopular and the public strongly rejected them by a 63% to 28% margin. His overall popularity dropped as a result. We need to keep the spotlight on him and make sure that all politicians understand that standing up for the Governor’s agenda is not only bad policy, it is bad politics.
•    AQE played a major role in the Hedge Clippers Campaign that raised public awareness that a small cabal of super wealthy billionaires are behind the attacks on public education championed by Governor Cuomo. We have to continue to put the pressure on these hedge fund billionaires who have spent $39.6 million in New York on lobbying and campaign donations to push their anti-equity, anti-public school, pro-testing agenda.Thank you for all you have done to fight for our students, our schools and our communities. Keep fighting!In solidarity,Billy Easton
Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education
Chad Radock, AQE’s Statewide Campaign Coordinator leads a rally cry at the Capitol during the 2015 budget battle.Check it Out
Our Website
Take Action
Donate
Interesting news
Our photosFollow @AQE_NY on TwitterLike us on FacebookDonate to AQE

Despite media reports of a deal on the state budget, important unresolved issues like what to do about “struggling schools,” are still being negotiated. Gov. Cuomo is labeling our struggling schools as “failing.”  The Assembly is fighting back, but the Senate Majority appears to be sitting on the sidelines.Everyone agrees that these schools need funding to become community schools and they are making $75 million available for these schools. But when will the money be made available? The Assembly wants to make the money available immediately so that schools can improve under local control. The Governor may want to wait a year when the schools could come under state control. Again the Senate Majority appears to be missing in action despite the fact that 12 Republican Senators represent schools on the Governor’s “failing” list.

Call these Senators and tell them not to set up struggling schools for failure. Tell them to release the $75 million immediately so these schools can move forward and succeed. Tell these senators to oppose labeling these schools as failing and to give them access to the funding now.

The Governor seems to be standing in the way of releasing this money that is vital for their improvement. And the Senate Republicans, who represent these schools, aren’t doing enough to fight for them.

Here is the list of Senators who represent these struggling schools. Call them today and tell them set up their schools for success, not failure. Tell them to release the money to the local districts not wait for a state takeover.

George Amedore at 518-455-2350
Kemp Hannon at 518-455-2200
Susan Serino at 518-455-2945
William J. Larkin at 518-455-2770
Joseph E. Robach at 518-455-2909
Hugh Farley at 518-455-2181
David J. Valesky at 518-455-2838
Joseph Griffo at 518-455-3334
Philip Boyle at 518-455-3411
Thomas Croci at 518-455-3570
Michael Venditto at 518-455-3341
Kathleen Marchione at 518-455-2381

 

It is unfair to make the students wait for a state takeover to get the educational resources they need.

The Governor is pushing on the wrong side on these issues, the Assembly is pushing back, but the Senate Majority is not doing enough.

What can you do?

Call these Senators’ offices now. Insist that they oppose any budget which labels the schools as “failing” and any budget which makes these schools wait for extra funding for improvements.

 

In solidarity,

Billy Easton,
Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education

Gov. Cuomo still doesn’t get it.

An overwhelming majority of New Yorkers oppose his damaging education agenda, but he’s still pushing it with Senate Republicans.

Senate Republicans say they are with voters and will oppose his policies, but here in Albany they are silent. But you know that more high-stakes testing to evaluate teachers, starving our schools of funding, and state takeover of struggling local public schools are bad ideas.

Tell your Senator to reject all of Gov. Cuomo’s harmful education schemes.

Here’s why.

More testing will only create more stress on students and more teaching to the test, not teaching and learning.

A proposal of $1.4 billion in more school aid is not enough to even the playing field for many struggling schools that have been chronically underfunded for decades. Schools need at least the $1.8 billion in new school aid.

Finally, state takeovers of schools only wrenches away local control over our precious institutions. It does nothing to improve public schools.

So tell your Senator to stand with our students and oppose Gov. Cuomo’s plans for more tests, less funding and state takeover of schools.

In solidarity,

Billy Easton,
Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education

Today, Gov. Cuomo received his mid-term report card. And not surprisingly, he is failing.

We need our state representatives to oppose Governor Cuomo’s chronic starvation of our public schools and his wrong-headed policies including more high-stakes testing and state takeover of schools. Tell your state representatives in Albany that Gov. Cuomo’s education agenda is wrong and must be reversed.

Right now, the Governor and the Legislative leaders agreed that school aid will increase by at least $1.4 billion in this year’s budget. This is substantially less than the $2 billion recommended by 87 legislators and the New York State Board of Regents.

This is unacceptable.

Tell them to reject ANY increase in reliance on standardized testing to evaluate teachers. That will only force more teaching to the test and less student learning.

Tell your legislators that our students need a budget with adequate funding, fairly distributed. Tell then they must reject the Governor’s agenda that calls for more tests and starvation funding so that every student can finally receive a “sound, basic education.”

In solidarity,

Billy Easton, Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education

Governor Cuomo wants to run our schools as test prep factories and he has the support of your Republican Senator.   Tell your Senator their vote for heaping more teaching to the test on our kids is unacceptable. Tell them to stop supporting the testing mania in this budget. Tell them our schools need to be fully and fairly funded with a $2 billion increase and to say no to Governor Cuomo’s attacks on public education. Governor Cuomo wants to double the role of standardized testing in our public schools. He wants 50% of teacher evaluations based on state tests and he wants the state to close or take over local schools based on test scores. This will mean more teaching to the test, more stressed out students and less focus on art, music and other subjects that cannot be tested. The Senate Majority gives lip service to opposing over testing, but they supported the Governor’s proposal on testing with unspecified “modifications.”
When it comes to funding our schools, the Senate Majority did not do enough. The proposed an appropriation that is only $250 million more than the Govenor’s unacceptable budget and $400 million less than the Assembly proposal.
Tell your Senator to stop supporting Gov. Cuomo’s harmful agenda including an overload of high-stakes testing. And tell them to fully fund our schools. Give our students a fighting chance against Gov. Cuomo and his cronies in the state Senate.In solidarity,Billy Easton, Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education

Governor Cuomo says he has an Opportunity Agenda, but his education agenda is slamming the door shut on opportunity for hundreds of thousands of students in every corner of the state. Governor Cuomo has failed to address the educational crisis of our day which is the dramatic inequality for students based on the wealth or poverty of their zip code.
Sign our petition to Gov. Cuomo because every student needs an opportunity to succeed.There is no denying the numbers–the Cuomo policies have increased educational inequality to record setting levels and this budget fails to address inequality. The $1.1 billion proposed increase is half of what the Board of Regents and 83 state legislators have identified as what is needed.
Governor Cuomo is pushing an agenda of good sound bites and bad education policy. Takeover of public schools by the state and by private entities has no track record of success.

In what has become all too typical for Andrew Cuomo, his actions are motivated by personal politics, not public education policy.

Petition the Governor to do the right thing for education.

In solidarity,

Billy Easton, Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education

On Sunday, the New York Times’ editorial board zeroed in on the flaws in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s misguided education policies.Essentially, the Times editorial board called Cuomo’s policies as “political score-settling” and indicted him for ignoring the real problem in our schools – inequity. The Times described our schools as racially and economically segregated, which “prevents many poor districts from lifting their children up to state standards.”

Please urge Gov. Cuomo to revise his destructive education policies and increase school funding by $2.2 billion, comply with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court ruling and support universal Pre-K.

This important editorial echoes everything that the Alliance for Quality Education has been maintaining for years. Gov. Cuomo’s continual attack on teachers and call for excessive testing of students; along with his continual push to bust up public schools in favor of privately run charter schools is a distraction from the real issue – unfair funding of our schools.

Tell Gov. Cuomo to refocus his education policy and fund our schools fairly.

Please join us on Moral Monday, Jan. 12, in the State Capitol to demand fairness in education funding.

In solidarity,

Billy Easton,
Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education

Upcoming Events

Moral Monday — Jan. 12

Early Childhood Education Advocacy Day – Feb. 3

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Tell Gov. Cuomo: It’s Time to Fully and Fairly Fund Our Schools!

Graduation rates went up slightly… by an unacceptable 1%!

Governor Cuomo has failed to address inequality in our schools across the state, and the latest graduation rates prove that we are far from closing the opportunity gap.

Click Here to Send the Governor a Message!


New York’s highest court ordered our state government to fairly fund our schools—it’s called the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. Instead Governor Cuomo has been starving our schools. Vital educational program have been cut, class sizes have gone up and students have lost thousands of teachers. Governor Cuomo simply has been ignoring our public schools. As a result the gap in graduation rates between wealthy and poor communities is a whopping 30%! 

One of the most shocking statistics in the new report is that while 43 percent of white students received an advanced Regents diploma, only 12 and 9 percent of Latino and black students respectively got the same. This represents a massive failure to address the racial inequalities in educational opportunity.


CLICK HERE
(It takes 30 seconds)

Tell Gov. Cuomo that a measly 1% increase in graduation rates shows that his underfunding of public schools has serious consequences. Tell him to fully and fairly fund all public schools, so that every student gets the opportunity to a high-quality education no matter where they live.

Click Here to Act Now!

In solidarity,

Billy Easton,
Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education

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Schumer Playing Game on Iran Nuke Deal

Dear Friends,

 

Will you sign the petition to demand Senator Chuck Schumer do more than just vote “no” on the Iran deal. He needs to stop it. Sign the petition online here.

 

On the same night that the entire political world was focused on the first presidential debate, both Sen. Chuck Schumer and his protégé Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand, quietly, as if they didn’t want anyone to notice it, came out with their positions on the Iran nuke deal. Gillibrand supports it and Schumer opposes.

 

It is not enough for Schumer to vote against it. As anyone who follows politics or watches House of Cards knows, Schumer could get permission from the Administration to cover himself with a “no” vote if they have enough votes and don’t need his.

 

New Yorkers must demand that Schumer use his status as Vice Chair of the Democratic Conference and the likely Chair of the Caucus after Senator Reid retires next year, to stop the deal the Administration has negotiated with the Mullahs in Iran.

 

That Schumer hasn’t even swayed the Junior Senator from his own state tells me that he is playing a dangerous political game on this grave matter.

 

There are no shortages of reasons to oppose this deal that have been expressed by prominent Republicans and Democrats. American prisoners are still being held in Iran.  The deal starts an arms race in the most volatile region of the world. We are trusting the number one state sponsor of terror in the world.  The agreement strengthens Iran’s economy and as a result its ability to export terrorism. And the Administration is abandoning our Israeli allies and the Senate’s Constitutional advise and consent role.

 

But the fact that Iran killed at least 500 American servicemen in recent years is reason enough not to lift sanctions and allow them to become an economic and military power.

 

Lalor, the only Iraq or Afghanistan veteran in the Assembly said, “Just last month at a confirmation hearing for Obama’s nominee for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff we learned that at least 500 American servicemen were killed in action by Iranian efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

 

That number doesn’t take into account American servicemen wounded by Iranian explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs in Iraq and Afghanistan. EFPs were manufactured in Iran and given to Shiite militias in Iraq. According to a Military Times article, “EFPs were powerful enough to destroy U.S. Humvees and breach tank hulls.” It stands to reason that Iranian EFPs wounded many more Americans.

 

This is a bad deal, Senator Schumer has the power to stop it. All Americans, but especially New Yorkers because we are the number one terror target in the world, should call on Schumer to make sure that the Senate has the votes to stop the nuke deal with world’s largest state sponsor of terror.

 

Please sign the petition today to send a loud message to Sen. Schumer. It’s not enough for him to just say he’s against the deal, he needs to help stop it.

 ###

Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

 

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Examining Market Trends and the Evolving Economic and Political Climate

Silver, Gold, Oil and S&P Moves

Real Estate HOT again!

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The 3 Keys To Really Know Yourself

by Dr. Robert J. Flower

Published by Blogger 

www.pickthebrain.com

“One of the critical keys to innovation

and development is to understand one’s self, their environment and those who surround them. The greater one’s ability to achieve this, the more successful, efficient and effective they become. One will never be led astray from their objective.”

Read more and share: 

http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/3-keys-really-know/

Walden Alumni Magazine

APPLYING MY RESEARCH: Connecting the Dots

by Christine Van Dusenr, Published by

www.waldenu.edu

“My knowledge from Walden helped me succeed, so now I can help others succeed.” –Dr. Robert Flower

Walden’s doctoral program helped Dr. Robert Flower develop a new way of thinking about the world-and share it with others.

Read more and share: 

Article- www.waldenu.edu/about/newsroom/publications/articles

Whole Magazine- www.waldenu.edu/publications/magazine.pdf

2 New York Yankees World Series Champions at “The Dutch”

A Political Fundraiser Unlike Any Other

Dear Friends,

 

Meet former New York Yankees Outfielder Mickey Rivers, a 2× World Series Champion (1977, 1978) & Former New York Yankees Second Basemen Homer Bush, a 1x World Series Champion (1998).

Both players will be available for photos and autographs.

Sunday August 9th 2015 – 5:05 PM
Hudson Valley Renegades vs. Aberdeen Ironbirds
Dutchess Stadium – 1500 Route 9D, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590

$250 / watch the game in a Skybox Luxury Suite with Mickey & Homer includes (food and drink included)
$125 / watch game in reserved seats and get photos and autographs Mickey & Homer (food and drink included)

 

20 Free Tix:  We have set aside 20 free tix to watch the game and to meet Mickey and Homer for the children (under 18) of anyone who buys a ticket to this event. These free tix for children will be distributed on a first come first serve basis.

Tickets are extremely limited and will go fast.

Purchase your ticket today.

Tix must be purchased in advance.

 

Sponsorship Opportunities

World Series Sponsor $4100 (Includes Up to 12 Spots in a Skybox Luxury Suite)

Hall of Fame Sponsor $2000 (Includes Up to 6 Spots in a Skybox Luxury Suite)

All-Star Sponsor $1000 (Includes Up to 3 Spots in a Skybox Luxury Suite)

Grand Slam Sponsor $600 (Includes Up to 2 Spots in a Skybox Luxury Suite)

Mickey Rivers
mickey rivers.jpg

Mickey Rivers was a career .295 hitter in a long career from 1970 to 1984. He played for the California Angels, New York Yankees, and Texas Rangers. He was known as a speedy leadoff hitter who made contact and was an excellent in center fielder. Along with Pitcher Ed Figueroa, Rivers was dealt to the Yankees in the 1975-76 off-season for Bobby Bonds, a trade which immediately paid dividends for the Yankees. Figueroa won 19 games and Rivers enjoyed a career year. Rivers was named to the All-Star team, batted .312, stole 43 bases and posted then-career highs in home runs (8) and runs batted in (67). Rivers placed third in the Most Valuable Player voting behind teammate Thurman Munson and George Brett and was named an outfielder on The Sporting News AL All-Star team. Rivers posted good numbers in his two other full seasons as a part of the “Bronx Zoo”, including a .326 batting average in 1977. With Rivers patrolling Centerfield and leading off, the Yankees won the World Series in 1977 and 1978. They also won the 1976 pennant, but lost in the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Rivers posted a .308 average in his 29 postseason games.

 

 

 


Homer Bush
homer bush.jpg

Bush made the major league roster with the New York Yankees in 1998, and was part of the team’s 1998 World Series championship. During the regular season, he batted .380 and stole six bases in 45 games. After the 1998 season, Bush was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, along with pitchers Graeme Lloyd and David Wells, for pitcher Roger Clemens. Bush played in Toronto from 1999 until 2002. His standout season was in 1999, when he batted .320 and stole 32 bases. He finished up his career with the Yankees in 2004. Despite his relative youth, Homer has become a regular at Yankees Old Timer’s Day.

 ###

Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN STATEMENT ON ANNOUNCEMENT BY WAGE BOARD TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE FOR FAST-FOOD WORKERS

Schneiderman: Wage Board Decision Is A Step Toward Raising Wages For All Low-Wage Workers In New York State

NEW YORK–Attorney General Eric. T. Schneiderman issued the following statement today on the decision by the New York State wage board to raise the minimum wage of fast-food workers to $15.00 per hour:

“New York’s current minimum wage is nowhere near high enough for workers to be able to take care of themselves and their families. When I first called for a wage board back in April, I said it would be a critical first step toward raising wages for low-wage workers all across the state. Today’s announcement is a long-overdue step forward for thousands of fast food workers in New York, but we cannot stop here. We must keep working for a real, living wage for all New York workers, many of whom work full-time and still live in poverty. That is unconscionable. Today’s announcement will build the momentum we need to finally extend a living wage to all hard-working New Yorkers, which is why I will fight anyone who seeks to challenge this in court and do everything in my power as Attorney General to protect New York’s workers and their families.”

Attorney General Schneiderman first laid out the legal case for a wage board in an April 16, 2015 op-ed in the New York Daily News. Two weeks later, Governor Cuomo announced he would be establishing the wage board.

Since 2011, Schneiderman’s office has successfully secured more than $20 million in restitution for more than 17,000 workers who have been the victims of wage theft, including thousands of fast-food workers, car wash workers, and construction workers.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN STATEMENT ON ANNOUNCEMENT BY WAGE BOARD TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE FOR FAST-FOOD WORKERS

Schneiderman: Wage Board Decision Is A Step Toward Raising Wages For All Low-Wage Workers In New York State

NEW YORK–Attorney General Eric. T. Schneiderman issued the following statement today on the decision by the New York State wage board to raise the minimum wage of fast-food workers to $15.00 per hour:

“New York’s current minimum wage is nowhere near high enough for workers to be able to take care of themselves and their families. When I first called for a wage board back in April, I said it would be a critical first step toward raising wages for low-wage workers all across the state. Today’s announcement is a long-overdue step forward for thousands of fast food workers in New York, but we cannot stop here. We must keep working for a real, living wage for all New York workers, many of whom work full-time and still live in poverty. That is unconscionable. Today’s announcement will build the momentum we need to finally extend a living wage to all hard-working New Yorkers, which is why I will fight anyone who seeks to challenge this in court and do everything in my power as Attorney General to protect New York’s workers and their families.”

Attorney General Schneiderman first laid out the legal case for a wage board in an April 16, 2015 op-ed in the New York Daily News. Two weeks later, Governor Cuomo announced he would be establishing the wage board.

Since 2011, Schneiderman’s office has successfully secured more than $20 million in restitution for more than 17,000 workers who have been the victims of wage theft, including thousands of fast-food workers, car wash workers, and construction workers.

2 New York Yankees World Series Champions at the Dutch 

A Political Fundraiser Unlike Any Other

Dear Friends,

 

Meet former New York Yankees Outfielder Mickey Rivers, a 2× World Series Champion (1977, 1978) & Former New York Yankees Second Basemen Homer Bush, a 1x World Series Champion (2008)

Both players will be available for photos and autographs.

Sunday August 9th 2015 – 5:05 PM
Hudson Valley Renegades vs. Aberdeen Ironbirds
Dutchess Stadium – 1500 Route 9D, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590

$250 / watch the game in a Skybox Luxury Suite with Mickey & Homer includes (food and drink included)
$125 / watch game in reserved seats and get photos and autographs Mickey & Homer (food and drink included)

 

20 Free Tix:  We have set aside 20 free tix to watch the game and to meet Mickey and Homer for the children (under 18) of anyone who buys a ticket to this event. These free tix for children will be distributed on a first come first serve basis.

Tickets are extremely limited and will go fast.

Purchase your ticket today.

Tix must be purchased in advance.

 

Sponsorship Opportunities

World Series Sponsor $4100 (Includes Up to 12 Spots in a Skybox Luxury Suite)

Hall of Fame Sponsor $2000 (Includes Up to 6 Spots in a Skybox Luxury Suite)

All-Star Sponsor $1000 (Includes Up to 3 Spots in a Skybox Luxury Suite)

Grand Slam Sponsor $600 (Includes Up to 2 Spots in a Skybox Luxury Suite)

Mickey Rivers
mickey rivers.jpg

Mickey Rivers was a career .295 hitter in a long career from 1970 to 1984. He played for the California Angels, New York Yankees, and Texas Rangers. He was known as a speedy leadoff hitter who made contact and was an excellent in center fielder. Along with Pitcher Ed Figueroa, Rivers was dealt to the Yankees in the 1975-76 off-season for Bobby Bonds, a trade which immediately paid dividends for the Yankees. Figueroa won 19 games and Rivers enjoyed a career year. Rivers was named to the All-Star team, batted .312, stole 43 bases and posted then-career highs in home runs (8) and runs batted in (67). Rivers placed third in the Most Valuable Player voting behind teammate Thurman Munson and George Brett and was named an outfielder on The Sporting News AL All-Star team. Rivers posted good numbers in his two other full seasons as a part of the “Bronx Zoo”, including a .326 batting average in 1977. With Rivers patrolling Centerfield and leading off, the Yankees won the World Series in 1977 and 1978. They also won the 1976 pennant, but lost in the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Rivers posted a .308 average in his 29 postseason games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homer Bush
homer bush.jpg

Bush made the major league roster with the New York Yankees in 1998, and was part of the team’s 1998 World Series championship. During the regular season, he batted .380 and stole six bases in 45 games. After the 1998 season, Bush was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, along with pitchers Graeme Lloyd and David Wells, for pitcher Roger Clemens. Bush played in Toronto from 1999 until 2002. His standout season was in 1999, when he batted .320 and stole 32 bases. He finished up his career with the Yankees in 2004. Despite his relative youth, Homer has become a regular at Yankees Old Timer’s Day.

###

Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

 
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The 3 Keys To Really Know Yourself
by Dr. Robert J. Flower

Published by Blogger 

 
“One of the critical keys to innovation
and development is to understand one’s self, their environment and those who surround them. The greater one’s ability to achieve this, the more successful, efficient and effective they become. One will never be led astray from their objective.”
Read more and share: 

Walden Alumni Magazine
APPLYING MY RESEARCH: Connecting the Dots
by Christine Van Dusenr             

Published by

 
“My knowledge from Walden helped me succeed, so now I can help others succeed.” –Dr. Robert Flower
Walden’s doctoral program helped Dr. Robert Flower develop a new way of thinking about the world-and share it with others.
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YONKERS CITY COUNCIL RACE HEATS UP AS CANDIDATE
MICHAEL MEYER RECEIVES GRONOWSKI’S BACKING
 

On July 1st, art dealer Michael Meyer launches a bid for the Yonkers City Council’s 3rd district, outside his home in northwest Yonkers.

 

YONKERS, NY – Despite a four to one enrollment disadvantage, in 2011, Michael Meyer came within two hundred votes of joining the Yonkers City Council. This time around, Meyer, who is challenging incumbent Minority Leader Michael Sabatino in the 3rd District, has even more grassroots and institutional support, including Sabatino’s Democratic predecessor, who stepped across the aisle  to offer her support for Meyer at his official campaign kick-off on Wednesday.Meyer, 48 is a local businessman, art dealer longtime youth sports coach, husband and father of three, and lifelong Yonkers resident seeking his first elective office. Running on a platform of getting back to basics when it comes to providing services for Yonkers residents, he says holding the line on property taxes, fighting crime, improving the quality of education are his key priorities.”My principles are simple, friendship, Unity, Charity and a Community-First Attitude,” Meyer said. “I am doing this not only for the people of this district, but for my wife and young family. I want to watch my grandkids grow and prosper in the community I love. The third district needs a council member who represents your interests, not the special interests.”Along with neighborhood residents, current and former elected officials from both parties were be on hand to show their support for Meyer’s candidacy. Sabatino’s predecessor, popular former Democratic Councilwoman Joan Gronowski, was hand at Meyer’s announcement, and announced she was crossing party lines to endorse the Republican challenger in the race.
“I have known Michael and his family for many years, and besides Mike’s concerns about the education of Yonkers’ students, he has contributed many hours of his time coaching young people in many and varied sports activities, which are even more important given the loss of so many programs in the Yonkers Public Schools,” Gronowski said. “He is a person of honor, integrity and, most important to me, he would conduct his activities on the city council and vote on issues based on their merits, not as how it might affect future elections.”Insiders say Gronowski’s endorsement could be crucial in the race. Meyer says the contest will be about improving the quality of life along with the improving quality of education in Yonkers, including the curriculum.

“Albany has underfunded Yonkers for years and Council member Sabatino has a spouse who works for the State Assembly member in the Yonkers Delegation,” Meyer said. “In my opinion, this conflict has impeded his efforts to challenge Albany for more education funding. We need a councilman who will fight for our education system, not just monetarily, but for better results, and the chance to give each of our children the opportunity to succeed.”

 

He continued, “I want to work with the city council as a true checks and balances in the Legislative Branch of government, prepared to work hard to ensure fiscal responsibility for the Third District.”
Members of the City Council can serve up to two four-year terms.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN STANDS WITH CITI AND BANK OF AMERICA TO ANNOUNCE COMMITMENT BY BOTH INSTITUTIONS TO CREATE AND PRESERVE NEARLY 4,000 UNITS OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING ACROSS THE STATE.

Investment By Banks Part Of Consumer Relief Settlements Struck Between AG Schneiderman And Banks Last Summer

Schneiderman: Today’s Announcement Is A Major Step Forward In Helping New Yorkers Hurt By The Housing Crisis Recover 

BROOKLYN, NY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today joined representatives from Bank of America and Citi to announce commitments by both companies to finance the construction or rehabilitation of more than 2,300 affordable housing rental units in New York City. The financial commitments, which arise out of the multi-million dollar settlements the Attorney General announced last summer, are aimed at helping New Yorkers that were hardest hit by the 2008 housing crash. Statewide, low-interest lending by the two institutions will create or preserve 3,780 affordable housing rental units.

“The construction of new, affordable homes will help entire communities rebuild, by putting more New York families into sustainable, long-term housing,” said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “My office has been creative in finding new ways to help New Yorkers recover, from today’s announcement of more affordable rental housing, to connecting at-risk homeowners with free legal advice, to giving homeowners the tools they need to avoid scammers. These affordable homes will help thousands of New Yorkers finally get past the housing crisis.”

“For thousands of families that were forced into insecure or unaffordable housing during the recession, the housing crisis isn’t over,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are making unprecedented efforts to build and preserve more affordable housing than any time in our history, and today’s announcement by Attorney General Schneiderman means relief and security for thousands of New Yorkers. We are deeply appreciative of Attorney General Schneiderman for his work to bring new resources to bear on our affordable housing crisis, and for his ongoing partnership protecting tenants.”

“Expanding the supply of affordable housing is crucial to keeping New York’s communities vibrant and accessible to working and middle class families,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “This announcement is another major step forward for our state, and along with efforts like our administration’s $1 billion House NY program, I am confident that we will continue to make New York even more affordable for hard-working people across the state.”

NYC Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, NYS Department of Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner James Rubin, and many other state and city officials also joined in today’s announcement.

Together, Bank of America and Citi are providing nearly $75 million in investment by providing low-interest loans for 32 affordable housing projects. In New York City, 19 projects will result in 2,360 new or rehabilitated affordable housing units. In the Lower Hudson and Capital regions, six projects will result in 490 new or rehabbed units. In Long Island, three projects will result in 252 new or rehabbed units. The remaining units are spread throughout the Rochester area, the North Country, and central and western New York.

In the aftermath of the housing crisis, affordable rental units are a particularly urgent need. Many foreclosed former homeowners are moving into rental housing and many current renters are being shut out of homeownership by tighter mortgage credit rules. Since 2006, the New York City rental population rose from 61% to 64%, according to a report by NYU’s Furman Center.

More than half of all New York City renters (54%) are rent-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent. Nearly one in three (30%) spend more than half their income on rent, according to the Furman Center.

The problem is even worse for poor New Yorkers. Nearly three-quarters of low-income renters (71%) spend at least half of their income on rent, according to the Furman report.

The announcement was made in front of the Sunset Park Library in Brooklyn. Thanks in part to low-interest loans from Citi, funding from New York City, the Brooklyn Borough President’s office, and a recent Low Income Housing Tax Credit allocation from New York State, the library site will soon be transformed into an eight-story, mixed-use building, developed by the Brooklyn Public Library and the Fifth Avenue Committee, a nonprofit developer. A dramatically expanded library will occupy part of the second floor, the first floor and basement. The remainder of the building will feature 49 affordable units.

The bulk of the apartments will be affordable for extremely low-income to moderate-income New Yorkers.

Today’s announcement is one of many ways the Attorney General’s office has been helping New Yorkers recover from the housing crisis. Funded with $100 million from the National Mortgage Settlement, the office has sponsored the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP), which funds a network of more than 85 trusted partners dedicated to providing homeowners with free, qualified mortgage assistance relief services across New York.

Schneiderman’s office also created the Mortgage Assistance Program (NYS MAP), which brings tangible relief to New York homeowners at immediate risk of losing their homes. NYS MAP provides loans of up to $40,000 for families who are struggling to avoid foreclosure by offering them a way, for example, to pay off back property taxes or a second mortgage – debts that have kept them from receiving a mortgage modification.  The program has already helped dozens of homeowners stay in their homes.

For more information on programs to help residents hurt by the housing crisis, please visit AGHomeHelp.com.

“We are committed to do everything we can to help expand and preserve the supply of high-quality, safe, affordable housing in communities throughout the City and State,” said Richard Gerwitz, Co-Head of Citi Community Capital. “As a leading provider of affordable housing financing, we will continue to leverage our resources to help build the infrastructure that creates economic growth and opportunities for a broad spectrum of the population.”

“We recognize the need for affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization in New York, and nationally,” said Todd Gomez, community development banking market executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The soft pay loan program will help create over 1,700 affordable rental units for New Yorkers and allows housing agencies to stretch critical subsidies that will deliver even more affordable family housing across the state.”

“The housing crash that devastated our nation in 2008 and the years that followed wrought havoc on thousands of hard-working Brooklynites,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Thanks to the steadfast determination of Attorney General Schneiderman, our borough will see justice from the actions that led to this crisis, resulting in meaningful financing to build and preserve affordable housing in Brooklyn. Projects like the expansion of the Sunset Park Library, which I am proud to help fund with my capital budget, are being made possible by this unprecedented commitment.”

“New Yorkers were hit hard by the 2008 housing crash.  While large financial institutions received assistance, many working families lost their home and were thrust into a difficult housing market,” said Representative Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY).  “This innovative plan will create badly needed affordable housing options for working families.”

“Fifth Avenue Committee and the low and moderate income families we serve are grateful for the Attorney General’s leadership in working with Citi, Bank of America and other financial institutions to ensure that families, of all incomes, can obtain and remain in housing that they can afford.  Sunset Park’s families are in desperate need for truly affordable housing and a modern, expanded public library space. FAC is excited that our model project with BPL is one of the beneficiaries of this creative settlement that will help meet New York City’s critical need for affordable housing,” said Michelle de la Uz, Executive Director of Fifth Avenue Committee.

“Developing affordable housing requires strong partners and a tremendous amount of resources,” said NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner/CEO James S. Rubin. “Statewide, there is a great need for this housing: we have no shortage of willing partners and thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we are engaged in the most ambitious affordable housing plan the state has seen for decades, but our financial resources are finite. In providing these settlement funds, Citi and Bank of America are making good on their promise and playing a role in helping us finance the creation or preservation of thousands of affordable apartments and homes.”

“We are pleased that the settlement agreement puts these funds to work addressing the crisis of affordability that is gripping so many hardworking New York families. These funds will assist in financing the preservation and creation of more than 2,300 affordable homes in neighborhoods throughout our city, helping us to meet the goals of Housing New York while also stretching the City’s precious subsidy dollars further,” said NYC Housing Development Corporation President Gary Rodney. “I thank the Attorney General, Bank of America, and Citi for their continued partnership and focus on the issues related to the affordable housing needs of our city and the protection of its tenants.”

“I applaud the combined efforts of the Fifth Avenue Committee and Brooklyn Public library to create truly affordable housing and a beautiful new library facility in Sunset Park,” said Councilmember Carlos Menchaca. “I hope this project serves as a model for other mixed use development in our community. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s efforts and those of the participating financial institutions will benefit the families of Sunset Park and throughout the city at a time when mitigating rising rents, gentrification and a lack of affordable units are all urgent priorities.”

“Sunset Park will benefit in many ways from the commitment  announced today.  New residents and  future generations will be able to live in affordable housing and enjoy the mixed use residential buildings that the  Bank of America and Citibank are  helping make possible,” said Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz

STATEMENT BY AG SCHNEIDERMAN ON PAYPAL’S ROBOCALLING COMMITMENTS.

NEW YORK—Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman released the following statement on PayPal’s new robocalling commitments: 

“Again and again, Americans have demanded that companies stop invasive robocalling to promote their products. Today, PayPal, which immediately cooperated with my office’s inquiry, announced that unless a consumer explicitly consents, it will not robocall for marketing purposes. We commend the company for doing the right thing and ensuring consumers’ rights are protected.”

In response to a letter from the Attorney General’s Internet Bureau PayPal will only robocall consumers in instances of fraud, debt collection or in relation to account activity. In the long term, PayPal has committed to providing additional opt-out features to consumers for even these calls at the point when a consumer discloses her phone number. In the meantime, consumers should contact PayPal directly to express their opt-out preferences.

A copy of the letter can be viewed here

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT WITH JP MORGAN CHASE BANK TO PROVIDE MORE CUSTOMERS WITH ACCESS TO MAINSTREAM FINANCIAL SERVICES

Policy Changes Will Help Address the Needs of Unbanked and Underbanked Communities

Schneiderman: New Yorkers Should Not Be Forced to Rely on High-Cost Financial Services

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. has committed to modifying its policies to permit consumers greater access to mainstream financial services. Chase has modified the procedures it uses to screen consumers who apply for checking accounts, thereby permitting more consumers to open accounts. Chase, which offers the option of a prepaid debit card, known as the Liquid Card, to consumers who do not qualify for a checking account, will also allow those consumers to pay bills online or have Chase mail checks for them at no additional charge. These changes will enable card users to pay their rent, utilities, and other bills without having to resort to high-cost alternative financial services like check-cashing outlets and money transmitters.

“It is critical that low-income Americans—and New Yorkers in particular—have access to mainstream banking services,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “These new actions on the part of Chase Bank will help expand access to low-cost financial services for consumers across the state. I look forward to working with additional banks to help consumers avoid financial services laden with fees and other penalties.”

The commitment by Chase comes as part of an initiative launched by the Attorney General in 2013 to expand access to mainstream banking for unbanked and underbanked communities. In earlier agreements with the Attorney General, three major banks—Citibank, Capital One, and Santander—agreed to overhaul their use of ChexSystems, a consumer-reporting agency that screens people seeking to open checking or savings accounts. Such databases disproportionately affect lower-income Americans, often punishing them for relatively small financial errors. As a result, many consumers must resort to alternative banking services to carry out basic financial transactions like cashing payroll checks and paying bills—services that cost them hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each year in extra fees. Those agreements, like today’s commitment by Chase, expanded the array of mainstream financial services available to consumers.

Studies show that more than 3 million New York households are either “unbanked,” meaning that no family member has a bank account, or are “underbanked,” meaning that they have a bank account but also rely on high-cost alternative financial services.

Chase uses a consumer-reporting agency called Early Warning Systems to screen consumers who apply for checking accounts. Pursuant to the Attorney General’s initiative, Chase has modified its screening procedures to further expand access to checking accounts for certain consumers who have resolved or paid off prior accounts that were overdrawn or who were unable to pay back their prior accounts because of a previous bankruptcy. Consumers who do not qualify for a checking account are generally not rejected outright but instead are offered the option of opening a Liquid Card account. Customers who maintain their Liquid Card accounts in good standing for six months are then permitted to open a conventional checking account.

Chase has committed to making changes to the Liquid Card by the fourth quarter of 2015. Those changes will permit consumers to pay bills and mail checks at no additional cost.

This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Melvin Goldberg of the Consumer Frauds Bureau and Special Counsel Jessica Attie of the Civil Rights Bureau. The Civil Rights Bureau, led by Chief Kristen Clarke, is part of the Division of Social Justice, which is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Alvin Bragg. The Consumer Frauds Bureau, led by Chief Jane M. Azia, is part of the Division of Economic Justice headed by Executive Deputy Attorney General Karla G. Sanchez

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN STATEMENT ON THE SECOND CIRCUIT’S DECISION AFFIRMING LIABILITY AGAINST APPLE IN E-BOOK PRICE-FIXING CASE

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued the following statement on the Second Circuit’s decision affirming United States District Judge Denise Cote’s finding that Apple orchestrated a conspiracy among publishers to raise the price of E-books:

“The Court’s decision shows that even the biggest, most powerful companies in the world must play by the same rules as everyone else. This victory takes us a major step toward recovering $400 million that Apple illegally overcharged E-book readers. We will continue to work with our colleagues in other states to ensure that all companies compete fairly with the knowledge that no one is above the law.”

The E-book antitrust cases involved lawsuits brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, 33 states and territories, as well as a related class action. New York, together with Texas and Connecticut, played a leading role in the state A.G. cases during the damages phase of the litigation.

In the damages phase of the case, 33 states and territories, plus private counsel in a related class action, had negotiated a settlement under which the amount that Apple must pay E-book consumers was contingent on what happened in Apple’s appeal of Judge Cote’s finding of liability. If this affirmance becomes final, consumers nationwide will receive $400 million restitution. New York consumers are expected to receive approximately seven percent, or about $28 million, of that amount.

Any amount received by consumers pursuant to the settlement with Apple will be in addition to those amounts already recovered from several E-book publishers. E-book purchasers nationwide have already received compensation from $166 million in settlement funds paid by the five publishers involved in the conspiracy – Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (now part of Penguin Random House); Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan; Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC, and Simon & Schuster Inc. Many E-book consumers received these funds through automatic credits sent by Amazon and other E-book retailers.

For New York, this matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Bob Hubbard and Linda Gargiulo; Antitrust Bureau Chief Eric Stock, and Executive Deputy Attorney General Karla G. Sanchez; as well as Andrew Amend, Steven Wu, and New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood.

THIS WEEK IN THE NEWS

June 22 to June 26, 2015

TOP HEADLINES

Cracking Down On The E-Cigarette Industry

In response to a rise of child-poisoning cases involving liquid-nicotine, the Attorney General announced agreements with four liquid nicotine companies requiring that this form of nicotine be sold in child-resistant packaging in compliance with New York law. Liquid nicotine, used in e-cigarettes, is highly toxic and a lack of regulation within the e-cigarette industry has led to a spike in usage among minors and of potentially fatal liquid nicotine exposure to children. With this agreement, the four companies will be required to remove all liquid nicotine not sold in child-resistant packaging to be removed from their distributors and retail purchasers. The Attorney General sends a warning to other companies out there: those who do not comply with the law and continue to sell liquid nicotine in anything but child-resistant packaging will be pursued.

Tackling the New Frontier of Illegal Arms Trafficking

A joint investigation entitled “Operation Ghostbusters” between the Attorney General and the New York State Police revealed that three Long Island defendants concocted an alleged scheme to manufacture and sell untraceable guns, also known as “ghost guns”, which are made with an incomplete lower receiver. It is alleged that two of the defendants  were in prison at the time when they began devising to assemble and sell these illegal firearms. The defendants took advantage of a loophole to order unfinished gun parts from different manufacturers and assemble them into fully-functional ghost guns. The Attorney General will continue to crack down on this dangerous frontier of illegal firearm trafficking.

Helping New Yorkers Avoid Foreclosure Rescue Scams

This week Attorney General Schneiderman announced a new statewide advertising campaign and consumer education initiative to help New York homeowners spot, avoid, and report mortgage rescue scams. The advertisements will run on buses in Nassau Counties, community papers and ZIP codes on social media in areas of the state hardest-hit by these scams.  The ads will refer New Yorkers to our Homeowner Protection Program and our AGScamHelp app, all which provides tools to families to deal with forcesloure and avoid scams. The most powerful way to stop mortgage rescue scams are educated, vigilant homeowners. The Attorney General’s office will do all it can to ensure homeowners have the tools they need to protect themselves, and it will continue to vigorously pursue scammers who target vulnerable homeowners.

A Victory for Justice

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman praised the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that ensures equal protection under the law for all Americans by guaranteeing that same-sex couples have the right to marry across the nation. He is proud to have joined every individual who fought to secure equal rights and equal protection for all couples. His office celebrates this victory for justice. In March, the Attorney General joined a coalition of states in filing a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court, arguing that the U.S. Constitution’s promise of equal protection demands that same-sex couples have the right to marry across the country. In 2013, Attorney General Schneiderman led a 16-state coalition in the filing of an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor, arguing against a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Celebrating A Victory For All Americans

The Attorney General expressed his support of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the subsidies in the Affordable Care Act’s insurance subsidies. Last fall, Attorney General Schneiderman joined 21 other states and the District of Columbia in filing an amicus brief that argued that Congress intended the ACA to operate as a comprehensive nationwide program and never intended the statute to deprive millions of low- and moderate- income Americans of the tax subsidies needed to buy health insurance.

Targeting Companies That Exploit Customers

In an agreement with the Attorney General, Staten Island based travel agency Cuka Tours and its owners will pay $25,000 in restitution and penalties for violating New York’s consumer laws. In a deceptive scheme, Cuka Tours accepted full payment for round-trip airfares from its customers, but arranged payment for only one-way tickets, duping customers of thousands of dollars and leaving them stranded abroad. The Attorney General has no tolerance for those that manipulate and take advantage of vulnerable New Yorkers for profit.

Rooting Out Wage Theft  

The Attorney General arrested Richard Orvieto, owner and operator of a Suffolk County landscaping company for failing to pay employees their full wages. Double “O” Landscaping allegedly kept $13,000 in wages from three former employees who had worked unpaid overtime, and even failed to pay any wages to some for their last week of work. The company additionally defrauded the state of unemployment insurance of nearly $12,000 by paying wages off-the-books in cash. Protecting the livelihood of hardworking New Yorkers is a priority for the office of the Attorney General, and aggressive action will be taken against wage theft.

Securing the Retirement System From Fraud

Through the Operation Integrity partnership, Comptroller DiNapoli and the Attorney General indicted Georgia resident Richard L. Cook III for allegedly stealing over $200,000 in New York State pension benefits. These benefits were paid to Cook’s deceased mother, a New York State pensioner, as Cook failed to notify the Retirement System of her death and accessed her funds from 2009 to 2013. Theft from the state’s pension system is detrimental to all New York taxpayers, and the Attorney General, along with the Comptroller DiNapoli, will continue to protect taxpayer dollars.

Fighting Misconduct of Nurses and Aides

Taking action against irresponsible conduct of nurses and aides, the Attorney General’s office arrested Certified Nurse Aide Ekua Hakikson for allegedly dropping an 85-year-old patient from a mechanical lift and causing injury. Though it was mandatory that two people perform any transfer, Hakikson attempted to move the patient without any assistance, despite having training warning against it. The Attorney General continues to send a clear message that nurses and aides who put aside the safety of those they care for, especially our most vulnerable citizens, will be prosecuted and held accountable.

 

Defending the Legacy of Alexander Hamilton

In an op-ed in the New York Daily News, the Attorney General argued against the U.S. Treasury Department’s announcement to replace or diminish Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. Citing Alexander Hamilton’s entrepreneurship, commitment to the collective good and lasting impact on the American economy and government, the Attorney General suggested that Andrew Jackson on the $20 be replaced instead. Jackson, not exactly the best exemplar of the best ideals of the U.S., could be replaced with New York’s choice of Eleanor Roosevelt or Frances Perkins.

Going After Violence in Nursing Homes

With no tolerance for elderly abuse, the Attorney General arrested two nurses and one nurse’s aide at Peninsula Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Far Rockaway for allegedly endangering and neglecting a disabled patient. It is alleged that two nurses failed to treat the disabled patient as he lay on the floor bleeding from his head and neck for over twenty minutes. Additionally, the nurse’s aide allegedly dragged the injured resident across the hallway not once, but two times. Nurses who callously fail to treat patients under their care will be vigorously prosecuted for endangering our most vulnerable citizens—New Yorkers deserve much better than this.

Prosecuting Against Sales Tax Theft

This week Attorney General Schneiderman announced the indictment of a Nassau County collision center owner for allegedly collecting but failing to remit over $570,000 in sales taxes to New York State. The owner and his business also allegedly filed false quarterly sales tax returns which grossly underreported the millions of dollars in taxable sales at the collision center, and the sales tax collected during the time period. When a business pockets sales tax revenue, it unfairly shifts the burden onto other hard-working New Yorkers. The attorney general’s office will continue to fight to protect those paying their fair share of taxes from having to pick up the tab for those who skip out on their bill.

 

Enforcing Punishment Against Deceptive Business

This week, the Attorney General announced that Legal Docs by Me and owner Derek Distenfield have been ordered to pay full restitution to consumers victimized by the company’s illegal and deceptive business practices after failing to comply with an order to do so last October. Legal Docs By Me allegedly deceived consumers by regularly misrepresenting its pricing, its expertise in the preparation of legal documents, and the nature of the services it provided. The Attorney General is committed to ensuring that New Yorkers who have been scammed by this business will be fully refunded and compensated for their losses.

Bringing Tax Evaders To Justice

In conjunction with Tax Commissioner Boone, the Attorney General announced the guilty plea of a Syracuse businessman for failing to file sales tax returns and remit collected sales tax. Investigations revealed that Dino Caloia collected more than $128,000 in sales tax from consumers, retaining the money for his own personal use. Caloia repaid $128,000 to the Tax Department and will pay over $300,000 in additional penalties and interest. This settlement sends a clear message that those who skirt the law for personal gain will be held accountable.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES $2.5 MILLION SETTLEMENT WITH NYC PHARMACY FOR IMPROPER MEDICAID BILLINGS.

AG Investigation Resolves Allegations Related To Walgreen-Owned Trinity HomeCare LLC; Pharmacy Lacked Proof It Delivered Expensive Infusion Drugs, Primarily For Hemophilia Patients, To Their Homes.

Schneiderman: Overbilling By Pharmacies And Improper Drug Delivery Practices To Increase Medicaid Billings Will Not Be Tolerated.

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement that returns $2.5 million to the state’s Medicaid program. The agreement reached with Trinity Homecare LLC, a pharmacy primarily owned by Walgreen Co., began with a whistleblower claim of improper conduct and false Medicaid billings related to drugs mainly prescribed for hemophilia patients. The court approved settlement resolves claims of undocumented delivery by the pharmacy of infusion drugs. In at least one instance, these expensive drugs were allegedly left outside a patient’s home without signature by the patient. The drugs can cost tens of thousands of dollars per delivery. Located in College Point, Queens, Trinity also allegedly submitted claims to Medicaid for a greater amount of drugs than it could document were actually delivered.

“The rules are plain: Pharmacies that deliver drugs to Medicaid patients must document that the patient received that medication – and in the right amount,”  Attorney General Schneiderman said. “The hemophilia drugs dispensed and sent to patients in this case, per delivery, can cost as much as a new car. Overbilling that drains dollars from our important Medicaid program harms the most vulnerable New Yorkers. We cannot allow it.”

The Attorney General’s investigation and audit of Trinity’s Medicaid billings found improper conduct and false billings from 2007 to September 2011, totaling $2.5 million for eight patients in New York City and one on Long Island.  

Trinity HomeCare LLC is a  pharmacy that dispenses and delivers expensive prescription drugs to patient homes. During the relevant period, Trinity was acquired by Option Care, Inc. and OptionCare of New York. In August 2007, Walgreen Co. acquired Option Care, Inc., later known as Walgreens Infusion Services, Inc. The investigation found that Option Care and Walgreen, which are both parties to the settlement, failed to ensure that Trinity complied with federal and state laws and Medicaid rules and regulations.

The whistleblower in this case, a former employee of the pharmacy, filed a lawsuit in 2009 alleging that Trinity pushed infusion drugs, which are prescribed to manage symptoms, to hemophilia patients and presented claims to Medicaid for unneeded or excessive quantity of these drugs. The whistleblower alleged improper billing for drug deliveries, including ones that patients refused to accept and excess shipments. The Attorney General found that, at times, patients did not receive infusion drugs and, in at least one case, a delivery was simply left in an apartment complex hallway. In other cases, the pharmacy lacked documentation that it had delivered the drugs.

The drugs are Advate, Alphanate, Benefix, Carimune-NF, Cerezyme, Feiba-VH, Flebogamma, Flebogamma-DIF, Gammagard, Gammagard-S/D, Gamunex 10%, Gamunex-C, Helixate-FS, Humate-P, Koate-DVI, Kogenate-FS, Mononine, Nabi-HB, Novoseven, Novoseven RT, Octagam 5%, Panglobulin, Polygam S/D, Privigen 10%, Recombinate, Refacto and Xyntha.

The Attorney General’s investigation and settlement relates to the whistleblower lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court alleging violations of the federal and state False Claims Acts. The total amount of the settlement is $2,551,062.32. After reimbursement of the federal contribution to Medicaid, New York’s Medicaid program will receive $1,484,766.84 for the infusion drug case.  Under the False Claim Acts, whistleblowers also receive a share of the settlement. Special Assistant Attorney General Sherrie Brown of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit led the investigation, assisted by Special Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Silverman; Medical Analyst Catherine Mosher, RN; Principal Special Auditor Investigator Jean Moss, Associate Special Auditor Investigator Gina Poletto; Senior Investigator Wayne Rivers, Supervising Investigator Edward Keegan; Electronic Investigative Support Group Deputy Director Carolyn Hart; Information Technology Specialist 3 Gail Lysiak; and Legal Assistants Mohamad Zakaria, Geoffrey Gund and Amy Vastola. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is led by Acting Director Amy Held. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES ARREST AND INDICTMENT OF NEW YORK CITY MAN IN MULTI-VICTIM IDENTITY THEFT SCHEME.

Sharif King Allegedly Lured Music Industry Hopefuls To New York City With Promises Of Record Label Employment, Only To Steal Their Identities.

NEW YORK- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest of Sharif King, 29, of Manhattan, for allegedly perpetrating an identity theft scheme in which he held himself out as a record company executive, hired employees and then stole their identities in order to open credit cards, apply for a loan, steal a vehicle and collect on an insurance claim. King is charged on a 15-count indictment with Identity Theft, Scheme to Defraud, Forgery, and Grand Larceny, among other charges, and if convicted he faces up to 20 years in prison.

“Identity theft is a complex and growing problem, and the allegations in this case show that scammers are getting more and more creative with the ways they target victims,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “All New Yorkers should exercise great caution when disclosing sensitive personal information and report when they have been targeted identity thieves.”

According to the indictment and statements made by prosecutors at arraignment, King’s alleged scheme began in the summer of 2013, when King posted job opportunities online for his purported record label “Dower Music Entertainment, LLC.” The posting attracted numerous applicants from across the country who aspired to work in the music industry. King allegedly invited the applicants to a group interview in Manhattan, where King introduced himself as the Executive Vice President of Dower Music. King then hired the applicants for unpaid internship positions where they would work from home and be reimbursed for expenses, with the promise of future full-time, paid employment.

Also according to statements by prosecutors, under the pretext of reimbursing their expenses and putting them on the payroll, King allegedly requested personal identifying information from employees, including their date of birth, address, and social security number. King allegedly then used the stolen personal information to open a credit card in the name of one employee and charge $2,384.75 in expenses, and to apply for a $29,000 loan and attempt to open a credit card in the name of a second employee.

Prosecutors further allege that in addition to using stolen identities to apply for credit cards and a loan, King directed one of his employees to purchase a 2007 Lexus for work purposes, claiming that the employee would need a fancy car to keep up appearances. The Lexus was registered, financed, and insured in the employee’s name, but days later and without the employee’s knowledge, King added his name to the policy. King allegedly then told the employee he was fired and stole the Lexus. Prosecutors further allege that when King subsequently got into an accident with the Lexus, he pretended to be the employee when he reported the accident to both the police and GEICO. King then allegedly changed the address on the insurance policy to his own so that the insurance claim check would be mailed to his residence. After King received the $8,886.32 check from GEICO, he allegedly altered it, making it payable to himself, and deposited it into his own checking account.

King was arrested today by investigators from the Attorney General’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit and arraigned before the Honorable Neil Ross in New York County Supreme Court. The 15-count indictment charges King with three counts of Identity Theft in the First Degree (a class D felony), one count of Identity Theft in the Second Degree (a class E felony), four counts of Forgery in the Second Degree (a class D felony), one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a class D felony), one count of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a class E felony), one count of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (a class E felony), one count of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (a class A misdemeanor), one count of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree (a class D felony), one count of Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree (a class D felony), and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (a class E felony). The Attorney General’s investigation remains ongoing. King pleaded not guilty before The Honortable Neil Ross in New York County Supreme Court. Bail was set at $250,000 and the defendant was remanded into custody. The defendant’s next court appearance has been scheduled for July 20, 2015.

If convicted of all charges, King faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The charges against King are allegations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The Attorney General thanks the United States Probation Office, Southern District of New York for their assistance in apprehending the defendant, and also thanks GEICO Insurance Company, Capital One Bank, N.A., Lending Club and the New York City Police Department Major Case Squad for their assistance in investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Michael Hendrick and Senior Investigative Counsel Nina Sas with the assistance of Legal Analyst Jonathan Hofman of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary T. Fishman and Deputy Bureau Chiefs Stephanie Swenton and Meryl Lutsky. The Attorney General’s Criminal Justice Division is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.

The investigation was handled by Investigators Brian Maher, Adrian Klapper, and Severino Concordia, Supervising Investigators Natalie Shifrin and Edward Keegan, and Deputy Chief of Investigations Leonard D’Alessandro of the Auto Insurance Fraud Unit. The Investigations Division is led by Bureau Chief Dominick Zarrella.

 

STATEMENT FROM A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ON U.S. SUPREME COURT DECISION ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE CASES.

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman praised today’s decision by U.S. Supreme Court that ensures equal protection under the law for all Americans by guaranteeing that same-sex couples have the right to marry across the nation.

“Today’s historic ruling has finally recognized the rights of same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states and stands on the side of dignity for all Americans. I am proud to have joined every individual who fought to secure equal rights and equal protection for all couples. Today, we celebrate a victory for justice.”

In March, the Attorney General joined a coalition of states in filing a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court, arguing that the U.S. Constitution’s promise of equal protection demands that same-sex couples have the right to marry across the country. In 2013, Attorney General Schneiderman led a 16-state coalition in the filing of an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor, arguing against a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. In that case, the Supreme Court ultimately struck down that statute’s federal definition of “marriage” as being between one man and one woman.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN AND STATE POLICE SUPERINTENDENT D’AMICO ANNOUNCE ARREST OF THREE DEFENDANTS CHARGED WITH ILLEGALLY TRAFFICKING UNTRACEABLE ‘GHOST GUNS’.

Joint OAG-NYSP “Operation Ghostbusters” Leads To Charges Against Three Defendants For Allegedly Selling A Dozen Ghost Guns, Including AR-15s; Defendants Could Face 25 Years In Prison 

Ghost Guns Are Manufactured Cheaply Without The Serial Numbers That Help Law Enforcement Trace Crime Guns; Key Defendant, While Imprisoned, Allegedly Collaborated With Wife To Order Gun Parts 

Schneiderman: Ghost Guns Are The New Frontier Of Illegal Firearms Trafficking 

NEW YORK—Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico today announced the arrests of Thomas Weber, Antonio Himonitis, and Diana Collins on charges that the trio fabricated and sold untraceable guns—known as “ghost guns”—in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the New York State Police (NYSP), “Operation Ghostbusters” uncovered this alleged scheme to sell ghost guns over the course of two months. As alleged in the complaint, Defendants Himonitis and Collins ordered unfinished gun parts from different manufacturers across the country and assembled them into at least a dozen fully-functional ghost guns, which they then sold to undercover investigators posing as gun trafficking gang members.  As alleged in the complaint, Himonitis and Weber were in prison at the time they first devised a plan to assemble and sell the illegal weapons.

Weber, Himonitis, and Collins were arrested yesterday in Long Island. These arrests mark the first time a state law enforcement agency has arrested individuals on charges of assembling and selling ghost guns. All three defendants are charged with Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree, Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree, and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree. Himonitis and Collins are also charged with charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child, who was in their home while they were allegedly fabricating ghost guns.  If convicted, Weber, Collins and Himonitis face up to 25 years in prison.

“Ghost guns are the next frontier of illegal firearm trafficking. The allegations against these defendants show just how easy it is for criminals to make completely untraceable, military-grade firearms,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Working with our partners in law enforcement, we will continue to crack down on these dangerous schemes. It does not matter if you build it yourself or buy it off the street corner—an illegal gun is an illegal gun, and we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said, “These individuals have no regard for the damage these weapons could do to a community – if put in the wrong hands. By getting these weapons off our streets and stopping this business – we are preventing crimes, and perhaps even saving lives. I want to thank the Attorney General and Organized Crime Task Force for their efforts in another successful case. The State Police will continue to do all we can to keep illegal guns out of our communities.”

The assemblage of every ghost gun relies upon the purchase and simple modification of a firearm’s key component—the lower receiver. Composed of either metal or plastic, the lower receiver holds the upper, lower, and rear portions of the firearm together and is responsible for the actual “firing” of the bullet. Aside from a fully assembled firearm, the lower receiver is the only piece that is independently considered a firearm and is thus subject to firearms regulation under Federal law.

However, an incomplete lower receiver—lacking certain holes, slots, or cavities—is not considered a firearm, but instead regulated as if it were just a piece of metal. As alleged in the complaint, the defendants exploited this “unfinished receiver” loophole to purchase the receivers without undergoing a background check. Upon receiving the unfinished lower receiver, the defendants then needed to make only simple modifications to the part to transform it into a fully functional lower receiver.  

As investigators found—and as many in law enforcement have long recognized—purchasers must make only a few small changes with a common drill press to transform any unfinished receiver into a fully-operational lower receiver. There are numerous online tutorials and instructional videos on how to properly mill a lower receiver, as well as precision tools such as a “jig kit” – a stencil-like tool – sold commercially to help guide an individual through the process. Once milled, the firearm typically remains unregistered and the lower receiver is not branded with a serial number. It is untraceable—a “ghost gun.”

“Operation Ghostbusters” was initiated in response to this growing trend. Back in April, an undercover investigator met with Defendant Thomas Weber in Nassau County Correction Facility East. As alleged in the criminal complaint, Weber stated that his associate, Defendant Antonio Himonitis, could acquire AR-10 rifles that would sell at $5,000 apiece. A day later, Himonitis allegedly called his wife, Defendant Diana Collins, from Nassau County Jail and instructed Collins to do an Internet search for “AR-15 Easy Jig,” a tool that is used to machine unfinished lower receivers.

In May, an undercover investigator met directly with Himonitis the day he was released from Nassau County Jail at a hotel in Uniondale, NY to allegedly discuss Himonitis’ method for constructing firearms with lower receivers. Over a period of several weeks, an undercover investigator allegedly purchased twelve fully-functional assault weapons from Himonitis at a motel in Nassau County.  As alleged in the complaint, these assault weapons did not have serial numbers or contain any other identifying markers.

A review of UPS records from May and June 2015 showed that nineteen packages from various gun manufacturers across the United States were allegedly delivered to the Suffolk County home of Himonitis and Collins, which they shared with a young child.

Defendants Weber, Himonitis, and Collins are charged with Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree (Count 1), Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree (Counts 2-13), and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (Count 14). Himonitis and Collins are also charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Count 15).

The charges against the defendants are accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Since 2011, OCTF has seized 274 firearms from gun traffickers. During the same time period, OCTF has also busted 24 large narcotics trafficking gangs in more than 560 felony narcotics arrests, and seized from them more than $1.5 million and more than 2,000 pounds of illegal drugs.

The investigation was conducted by OCTF Special Investigator George Gundlach, Supervising Investigator Kevin McCann and Deputy Chief Investigator Chris Vasta, with the assistance of OCTF Analyst Nicole Accurso.  The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarella.  New York State Police Investigator Edward Franke and Joseph Demaria of the New York State Police Gun Investigation Unit, under the supervision of New York State Police Major Joseph Tripodo, and Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Howard Feldberg. Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff runs the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force. The Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice is Kelly Donovan.

It’s Called the “Big Ugly” for a Reason.

Statement on End-of-Session Deal from Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill).

“Albany is squeezing as many unrelated bad ideas as possible into this last-minute deal. Albany’s big deals tend to be bad for taxpayers. Instead of carefully debating the merits of each issue, we get an unwieldy monstrosity that is the product of horse-trading, special-interest pressure and arm-twisting. Hence, the bill is known colloquially as the ‘Big Ugly.'”

Message of Necessity
“There is a reason why New York’s constitution delays the vote on legislation for three days after it has been submitted. Legislators, and the public, need the opportunity to review and debate legislation. But, Governor Cuomo and our legislative leaders have abused the message of necessity provision again and again to circumvent the constitution. There is no emergency that requires an immediate, late-night vote a few hours after the bill was made available to lawmakers and the public. The only emergency for Cuomo, new Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Democrat Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is the possibility that the public might get a good look at this bad bill. Even if the bill was the greatest piece of legislation in the history of New York, a no vote is still appropriate because the requisite three-day aging period has been bypassed, preventing legislators from doing their due diligence and getting input from constituents and experts.”

Rent control and the SAFE Act
“Rent control has always been a bad policy. It ultimately drives up housing prices for the non-rent-controlled housing in New York City. But, if New York City politicians insisted on its renewal, there was an opportunity for compromise. Rent control renewal should have been tied to repeal or at least significant overhaul of the SAFE Act. Voters across upstate New York were calling for this compromise. It didn’t happen. So, upstate is left in the cold again, while liberal New York City advances its agenda with no concessions. Senator Flanagan didn’t even get income verification requirements for tenants of rent-controlled apartments. Tenants can continue to abuse the system and get a well-below market-rate apartment despite making big salaries because we don’t bother to verify their incomes.”

Tax Rebate Gimmicks
“Short-term rebates don’t stimulate economic growth, permanent tax cuts do. But, Albany is using the short-term rebate gimmick again. Permanent tax cuts generate investment and growth. We’ve tried short-term rebates before and they haven’t kick-started the economy. Taxes are high because our state spends too much. What is being called tax relief in this bill is really a tax shift from one group of New Yorkers to another. Without meaningful spending reductions, tax bills will continue to go up and the rebate will only serve to mildly dull the pain of the next increase.”

Tax Cap Weakened and No Mandate Relief
“The ‘Big Ugly’ weakens the tax cap, a move that is bad for taxpayers. New exemptions to the cap will allow more spending and higher taxes, against the intent of the cap. The tax cap needs to be permanent in order give stability to taxpayers and to at least slow the exodus of New Yorkers leaving the state due to crushing property taxes. Unfunded mandates on school districts and local governments are one of the driving forces behind high property taxes. Yet this bill does nothing to address them.”

The Education Investment Tax Credit (EITC)
“The EITC was dropped, again. The alternative $250 million for private schools to reimburse them for state-imposed costs, doesn’t achieve the same effect. The EITC would have directly empowered working-class parents with choices in their children’s education. The adopted plan doesn’t give parents that help. There’s no guarantee that schools will pass the savings on to the families that need tuition help.”

421-a Tax Abatement
“This is just corporate welfare and it’s been at the center of the Silver and Skelos corruption cases. Corporate welfare tends to invite corruption. It’s also profoundly unfair for New Yorkers to subsidize multi-million dollar luxury condos. And the required affordable housing attached to the tax abatement has not made New York City any more affordable. Instead, it’s created perverse incentives for developers that drive away the middle class that doesn’t qualify for affordable housing and can’t come close to affording the luxury homes supported by 421-a. The fact that New York City real estate interests are among the biggest donors to both Republicans and Democrats tells you everything you need to know about how this giveaway continues despite all of the corruption surrounding it.”

Upstate Left Out in the Cold Again
“This deal had plenty for liberal New York City, with rent control and the 421-a extension, but upstate New Yorkers didn’t receive any economic benefits or a compromise on the SAFE Act. Albany is led by New York City and the rest of the state suffers for it.”

Defending the Indefensible
“Shortly after the budget deal on April 1, 2015, we learned that Start-Up NY spent tens of millions of tax dollars to create only 76 jobs. This end-of-session flurry of legislation was a great opportunity to cut our loses, end the program and commit the savings to permanent, across-the-board tax relief. Instead, the Cuomo administration is defending the program’s embarrassingly slow start and expensive advertising costs by claiming Start-Up NY is about changing the ‘perception’ of New York, though Cuomo initially pitched the program as a major job generator. The Cuomo administration claims they are changing the perception of New York, but the reality is still a state weighed down with high taxes and regulations. Start-Up NY doesn’t change that reality. So, now we’re told that Start-Up NY is about tricking companies into coming to New York and we’re spending tens of millions to do it.”

Executive Orders
“The governor couldn’t make a deal with the legislature to raise the age of criminal responsibility or on a special prosecutor for police-involved deaths. Now, he’s just going to change the rules by executive fiat. That’s not how our system is supposed to work. Checks and balances and the separation of powers are critical aspects of our system of government and protect our rights. These essential checks on power shouldn’t be bypassed when the chief executive can’t get his way.”

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Fishkill with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Lalor: Buyback Bill a Win for Vets.

East Fishkill, NY – (6/25/15) – New York State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) is calling yesterday’s passage of the veterans’ pension buyback legislation an important win for New York veterans. Lalor has been a vocal proponent of the bill (see here and here).

“This bill benefits the men and women who served in the military’s post-draft era, volunteering for our country,” said Lalor. “Those who would benefit from this bill served in the post-draft era of the all-volunteer military. They volunteered to serve on ships and in garrisons at home and abroad keeping the Soviet war machine in check, then maintained the peace after we won the Cold War. This bill does more than honor the service of veterans. It encourage the next generation to serve by reminding them that their state values and rewards service in defense of our nation.”

Lalor continued, “Shockingly, Afghanistan veterans are excluded from the current buyback program, while Iraq veterans are eligible. This bill fixes that and recognizes the service of Afghanistan vets.”

Lalor added, “Importantly, the bill is funded, unlike the bill that was vetoed last year, so there is no chance it will be a burden to localities. In fact, there is an opportunity for savings by speeding up the retirement of senior employees and replacing them with Tier 6 employees or not replacing them at all if a replacement is unnecessary. I hope Governor Cuomo will move fast to sign this legislation.”

The bill would allow veterans from any era to buy back up to three years of service credit in the public employee retirement systems for their military service. Currently, New York only allows veterans who served during specific conflicts to buy back service credit.

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES JOINT SETTLEMENT WITH LYFT.

Settlement Ensures Lyft’s Compliance With State And Municipal Laws, Requires Lyft Drivers To Have NY-Authorized Auto Insurance.

Schneiderman: Agreement Echoes My Commitment to Ensuring Fair Competition And Consumer Safety Statewide.

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office and the New York State Department of Financial Services have agreed to the terms of a consent order and judgment with Lyft, a company that provides for-hire livery services where the company, among other things, dispatches cars through a phone app. The consent order, which resolves an action filed against Lyft in July 2014, requires Lyft to pay $300,000 in penalties for alleged violations of New York state and municipal laws—one of the largest penalties enacted against a ‘sharing economy’ company to date. Lyft has agreed that it will comply with the relevant provisions of the New York Insurance Law. 

“I have always been committed to fostering an innovative and competitive environment in which both new and existing companies can flourish in our great state,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “However, it’s critical that the laws put in place to protect consumers and ensure fair competition are not violated in the process. Today’s agreement enables Lyft to grow and prosper within the bounds of state and local regulations, while the penalties imposed send the message that companies that attempt to skirt the law will be held accountable. I want to thank former Superintendent Lawsky and the Department of Financial Services for their continued partnership in making New York’s marketplace one where all entrepreneurs can thrive under the same set of rules.”

As part of the consent order, Lyft drivers will be required to have auto insurance issued by New York-authorized insurers. The insurance must cover drivers while they have the Lyft app turned on to receive requests to pick up passengers through the end of any rides they provide. Additionally, the consent order prohibits Lyft from offering, selling or providing insurance policies that do not comply with the New York Insurance Law. 

The consent order also requires Lyft to comply with all other state as well as municipal laws applicable to vehicles-for-hire. Lyft must also inform the Superintendent, the Attorney General, and the counsel of any municipality or other jurisdiction in the state where it intends to launch its service at least three weeks before such a launch. 

Last July, Attorney General Schneiderman and then-Superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky sued Lyft in New York State Supreme Court for running a for-hire livery service in alleged violation of New York state and municipal law. The complaint alleged that Lyft violated the law by failing to require its drivers to hold commercial licenses, carry adequate insurance, or comply with local for-hire licensing rules. 

Lyft began operating in Buffalo and Rochester in April 2014 without obtaining the necessary approvals or notifying those cities of their operation. The Attorney General and Superintendent learned that Lyft was about to launch its service in Brooklyn and Queens on July 11, 2014 a few days before the launch. When Lyft refused to delay its launch, the Attorney General and Superintendent filed a lawsuit against the company seeking to enjoin it from launching in New York City and from continuing to operate in Buffalo and Rochester in violation of the law. 

After several days of hearings before Judge Kathryn Freed of New York State Supreme Court, the parties agreed to stay the lawsuit in order to enable the parties to attempt to resolve it. Lyft agreed to suspend its operations in Buffalo and Rochester by August 1, 2014, and not to launch in New York City until it had the approval of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission and operated in accordance with the New York Insurance Law. 

This case is being handled for the Attorney General by Assistant Attorney General Melvin L. Goldberg, Special Counsel Carolyn Fast, and Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia, all of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau, Assistant Attorney General Simon Brandler of the Executive Staff, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Karla G. Sanchez. The case is being handled for the Department of Financial Services by Joy Feigenbaum, Executive Deputy Superintendent, Special Counsel Max Dubin, Supervising Counsel Brian Montgomery and Deputy Director Nancy Ruskin, all of the Financial Frauds and Consumer Protection Division. 

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT WITH ASPEN DENTAL MANAGEMENT THAT BARS COMPANY FROM MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT PATIENT CARE IN NEW YORK CLINICS.

Agreement Requires Aspen Dental Management To Pay $450,000 In Civil Penalties After AG Investigation Found The Dental Management Company Was Engaged In The Unauthorized Practice of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene

Agreement Stops Illegal Fee Splitting between Aspen Dental and Dental Practices; Requires Aspen Dental Management To Be Clear It Is Not A Provider Of Dental Care

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with Aspen Dental Management, Inc., an East Syracuse-based company that provides business support and administrative services to seven independently owned dental practices that maintain 40 offices in New York State. The settlement requires Aspen Dental Management, a company with a reported $645 million in annual revenue, which operates nationwide, to overhaul the way it does business in New York, so that it does not dictate the care provided by dentists and hygienists at dental practices, does not split patients’ fees with the clinics, which is illegal in New York, and makes clear to consumers that Aspen Dental Management is not a provider of dental services.

“Medical and dental decisions should be made by licensed providers using their best clinical judgment, and should not be influenced by management companies’ shared interest in potential profits,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “By enforcing New York’s laws banning the corporate practice of medicine and fee-splitting between medical practitioners and non-licensed individuals and entities, today’s agreement ensures that New Yorkers receive quality dental care.”

The affected dental practices are Aspen Dental Associates of Central New York, Aspen Dental of Rochester, Dental Services of Western New York, Dental Services of Dunkirk, Aspen Dental Associates of Hudson Valley, Dental Health Services, and Judge Dental.

After receiving over 300 complaints since 2005 concerning consumers’ experiences at Aspen Dental offices across New York State, the Attorney General’s Health Care Bureau launched an investigation into the company. Consumers lodged complaints against what they thought were particular office locations of the Aspen Dental chain regarding quality of care, billing practices, misleading advertising, upselling of medical services and products the consumers felt were unnecessary, and unclear or incomplete terms for the financing of dental care.

The investigation revealed that Aspen Dental did not merely provide arms-length, back-end business and administrative support to independent dental practices. Rather, Aspen Dental Management has developed what amounts to a chain of dental practices technically owned by individual dentists but which, in violation of New York law, were subject to extensive control by Aspen Dental Management. That control included sharing individual clinic profits with the management company and the marketing by the management company under the shared Aspen Dental trade name.  Through an array of business practices, Aspen Dental Management routinely makes business decisions for the clinics that directly impacted patient care. Those practices included incentivizing and otherwise pressuring staff to increase sales of dental services and products, implementing revenue-oriented patient scheduling systems, and hiring and oversight of clinical staff, including associate dentists and dental hygienists.

The Attorney General’s investigation showed that Aspen Dental Management dictated the dental practices’ care of patients, by, for example, sending “Hygiene Service Announcements” to dental hygienists, which directed the hygienists to sell more products and services to patients, and training office managers (non-licensed/non-clinical individuals responsible for managing an office’s overall operations) on how to talk to patients about their treatment plans and assist them in making decisions about treatment alternatives.

The investigation showed that Aspen Dental Management exercised undue control over the clinic’s finances by controlling substantially all of the dental practices’ bank accounts through a single consolidated account to which the clinic owners themselves did not have access. Aspen Dental Management took a pre-set percentage of each dental office’s monthly gross profit, an arrangement prohibited under New York law, and which created a financial incentive for Aspen Dental Management to pressure staff in the dental offices to generate revenue. Aspen Dental Management also subjected the dental practices to non-competition and non-solicitation agreements that effectively prevent the practices from competing with any other dental practice affiliated with Aspen Dental Management, regardless of location.

Under the agreement, Aspen Dental Management will cease to exercise any control over dental practices’ clinical decision-making and will not communicate directly with practices’ clinical staff concerning the provision of dental care, sales of services or products to patients, or the amount of revenue generated by services or products. The company will not be the employer of the practices’ clinical staff, and will not place limitations on dental practice owners’ practice of dentistry.

Aspen Dental Management has agreed not to share in the dental practices’ fees for professional services rendered, to keep the practices’ finances separate from its own, and to allow the practices to have full and complete control over their revenues, profits, incomes, disbursements, bank accounts, and other financial matters and decisions.

Aspen Dental Management will also reform its marketing practices, making clear to consumers on its website and elsewhere that Aspen Dental Management provides only administrative and business support services to dental practices that are independently owned and operated by licensed dentists. Aspen Dental Management will also take steps to ensure that the dental practices to which it provides services post their own legal name so it is easily visible by patients who enter those practices.

The agreement requires Aspen Dental Management to pay a $450,000 civil penalty, and to pay an independent monitor that will oversee the implementation of the settlement over a three-year period.

Consumers with questions or concerns about this settlement or other health care matters may call the Attorney General’s Health Care Bureau Helpline at 1-800-428-9071.

The investigation and resolution of this matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Elizabeth Chesler and Michael Reisman, both of the Attorney General’s Health Care Bureau, which is led by Bureau Chief Lisa Landau. The Health Care Bureau is a part of the Social Justice Division, led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Alvin Bragg.

A copy of the settlement can be read here.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN AND NYS TAX COMMISSIONER BOONE ANNOUNCE ARREST OF BUFFALO TOBACCO IMPORTER FOR $1.9 MILLION TAX FRAUD.

Anthony Mansour Allegedly Imported Over $2.5 Million in Tobacco Products Into NY Without Paying Required Tax 

Schneiderman: We Must Stop The Flow Of Illegal Cigarettes And Prosecute Those Who Attempt To Evade Tax Laws

BUFFALO – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Commssioner of Taxation and Finance Jerry Boone today announced the arrest of Buffalo tobacco importer Anthony Mansour, 28, for failing to pay over one million dollars in taxes. Mansour is charged with importing over $2.5 million dollars’ worth of tobacco products into the state of New York without paying the required excise taxes. If convicted, Mansour faces up to 25 years in prison. 

“Taxes on tobacco products are an important tool to lower smoking rates and limit healthcare costs. Untaxed cigarettes undercut both those efforts,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Smoking-related illnesses are the top preventable public health crisis. We must stop the flow of illegal cigarettes and take aggressive action against those who try to profit by evading tax laws.”

“Tax evasion is a serious crime, and we will continue to work with the Attorney General and all levels of law enforcement to root out those who would cheat New York State,” said Commissioner Boone.  

The Attorney General’s indictment, unsealed today in Erie County Supreme Court, charges Mansour with one count of Criminal Tax Fraud in the First Degree (a Class B felony), one count of Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax for possession of counterfeit New York cigarette tax stamps (a class E felony), and one count of Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax for possession of tobacco products without paying the required tax (a Class A misdemeanor). The case was initially investigated by the Department of Taxation and Finance’s Criminal Investigations Division, and then referred to the Attorney General’s office for further investigation and prosecution.

According to the indictment statements made by the prosecutor at arraignment, in the year 2013, Mansour imported into New York over $2.5 million dollars of tobacco products from Pennsylvania. This importation resulted in an approximate $1.9 million tax liability that he failed to pay to New York State.

Mansour was arraigned today before Justice Penny M. Wolfgang, and the court imposed bail of $20,000.

The charges against the defendant are allegations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The case was investigated by the Department of Taxation and Finance’s Criminal Investigations Division. 

Assisting in the investigation were Office of the Attorney General Investigator Christopher Bzduch, Supervising Investigator Richard Doyle and Deputy Bureau Chief Antoine Karam. The Investigations Division is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Cydney Kelly of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary Fishman and Deputy Chiefs Stephanie Swenton and Meryl Lutsky. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan. 

NEW YORK OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE FIRST ARREST OF NYC LANDLORD RESULTING FROM TENANT HARASSMENT PREVENTION TASK FORCE.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman Brings Indictment Against Landlord Daniel Melamed On Multiple Criminal Charges, Including Unlawful Eviction And Endangering The Welfare Of A Child 

Historic Task Force Led by A.G. Schneiderman, Mayor de Blasio, And Governor Cuomo Conducts Months Long Investigation Into Landlord Who Allegedly Defied Stop Work Orders And Exposed Rent Regulated Tenants To Dangerous Health And Safety Risks

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, joined by Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner James Rubin, today announced the arrest and indictment of landlord Daniel Melamed by the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force (“Task Force”), on charges that Melamed endangered the health and safety of rent regulated tenants, including a six year old child, during demolition and construction that began in February 2014 at his 14-unit building at 1578 Union Street in Brooklyn. Pirooz Soltanizadeh, an engineer hired by Melamed to oversee construction at the building, was also indicted. The arrests are the first to result from an investigation led by the multi-agency task force, which was announced by A.G. Schneiderman, Mayor de Blasio, and Governor Cuomo in February.

Prosecutors from the A.G.’s office allege that Melamed presided over a disturbing pattern of dangerous and unlawful construction that jeopardized the health and safety of building tenants and forced at least one rent regulated tenant to move out. Investigators allegedly found that Melamed (1) illegally shut off heat to rent regulated tenants, even when temperatures dropped below freezing, (2) repeatedly exposed tenants to lead dust that exceeded acceptable levels by as much as eighty-eight times the permissible threshold, and (3) unlawfully destroyed interior walls and common spaces. Melamed is also accused of filing a false document with the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB). In an apparent attempt to mislead city officials and avoid stricter oversight of the construction project and elude tenant protection measures, Melamed allegedly stated in DOB filings that his Crown Heights building was vacant, when in fact some of the units were occupied—many by rent regulated tenants.

“Today’s charges send a strong message to landlords across New York City: if you harass, intimidate, or jeopardize the health and safety of your tenants, we will come after you with the full force of the law,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Our task force is working hard to identify, investigate, and prosecute the worst landlords in this city. I look forward to continue working with Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and my many other colleagues in government to continue the task force’s work on behalf of all New York City residents.”

“Our Task Force is sending a loud message to predatory landlords: you will be caught, and the consequences will be severe. The alleged wrongdoing of this landlord put tenants’ health and safety at risk. We won’t let that stand in New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This new task force is part of a comprehensive agenda—along with fighting for stronger rent laws in Albany—to protect tenants and prevent harassment. We look forward to deepening this work with Attorney General Schneiderman and Governor Cuomo to hold bad actors accountable and keep New Yorkers in their homes.”

Governor Cuomo said, “We will not tolerate tenant harassment in the state of New York – plain and simple,” Governor Cuomo said. “When a landlord intentionally creates hazardous living conditions in order to make tenants’ lives unbearable and force them from their homes, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The Tenant Protection Unit was created to protect residents from landlords who try to defy the state’s rent laws, and my administration will continue investigating cases of possible abuse like this one to ensure that they are brought to justice.”

Melamed, age 37, of Great Neck, owns and manages six rental buildings in New York City, and purchased the Crown Heights building in November 2012. Soltanizadeh, age 39, of New Hyde Park, is a physical engineer licensed by New York State. Melamed was arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court today on three counts of unlawful eviction, one count of endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of offering a false instrument for filing. If convicted, Melamed and Soltanizadeh face up to 1 1/3 – 4 years in prison.

The arrests are the result of a joint investigation by the Task Force and a resulting referral of the criminal case to the Attorney General’s Office from the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal, via its Tenant Protection Unit (“TPU”). New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development identified the buildings as potential targets for the task force following a review of filings with the Department of Buildings, as well as an examination of active complaints by both current and former tenants. The Department of Buildings and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also participated in the inspections. The Task Force’s investigation into Melamed is ongoing.

Prosecutors allege that defendants filed false documents to circumvent the requirement that they submit what is known as a “tenant protection plan,” which ensures safety protocols are in place when occupied buildings are undergoing construction. Prosecutors allege that at the time defendants filed construction plans stating that the building was vacant, the building was in fact occupied, and the defendants thereby circumvented safety measures required by law.

Prosecutors also allege that the Task Force investigation revealed Melamed had repeatedly shut-off heat and hot-water to rent regulated tenants during winter construction in early and late 2014.

As part of the investigation by the joint task force, a DOB inspector gathered dust samples from the common areas on each floor of the building in December 2014. Prosecutors allege that laboratory results of the 19 samples taken show lead dust well beyond permissible levels, including a finding of approximately 22,000 micrograms of lead per square foot – or more than 88 times the threshold allowable under federal Environmental Protection Agency standards – on a common stairwell. According to court documents, tenants told Task Force investigators that the dust generated by building construction was so pervasive that tenants were forced to stuff wet towels under their doors to prevent the toxic dust from entering their homes.

The Governor’s TPU housing inspectors, forensic data and investigators, and attorneys worked in conjunction with HPD and the AG to uncover potential criminal acts perpetrated by the landlord.  The Unit made a formal criminal referral because of the extreme conditions in the building in early 2015.  TPU worked with the A.G.’s office throughout the investigation and provided testimony at the Grand Jury proceedings. Governor Cuomo created the TPU In 2011 to proactively enforce landlord obligations to tenants and impose strict penalties for failure to comply with HCR orders and New York’s rent laws. Since inception, the TPU has returned more than 40,000 apartments that had been illegally deregulated to rent regulation.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Counsel to the Criminal Justice Division, John Spagna and Assistant Attorney General Lee Bergstein of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau, with the assistance of Aislinn Appleby, Senior Legal Analyst. The case was investigated by Investigators Anna Ospanova, Michael Yun and Michael Ward under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigator John McManus and Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella.  Assisting in the investigation and providing forensic auditing analysis was Forensic Auditor Kristina Kojamanian and Associate Forensic Auditor Matthew Croghan under the supervision of Edward J. Keegan, Chief of the Forensic Audit Section.  Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan leads the Criminal Justice Division. 

The charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner/CEO James S. Rubin, whose agency oversees the Tenant Protection Unit, said, “The Governor’s Tenant Protection Unit was created to protect tenants by proactively investigating claims of harassment. We all know that tenants deserve to feel safe in their own homes – it’s the law. No one should have to worry that they are going to be forced out on a landlord’s whim. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the TPU will continue to show zero tolerance for abusive landlords who are trying to force tenants out of their homes. I thank our Task Force Partners – the Attorney General and the Mayor – for their continued work with the State to keep our communities strong.”

“The Attorney General’s indictment should serve as a sobering wakeup call to owners who think they can use dangerous tactics to harass tenants out of their homes and remove apartments from rent-stabilization,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “To those landlords considering sharp tactics to get rid of tenants: Don’t wait until you’re being arraigned to take tenants’ rights seriously. The Taskforce is committed to taking aggressive action to protect our city’s tenants, ensure that they have safe and decent homes, and hold owners accountable under the law. I thank the Mayor, Attorney General, and Governor for their leadership and commitment to ensuring that New York is a more equitable and affordable city for everybody.”

“I want to thank our task force partners, and within the Department the Office of the Buildings Marshal, for this collaboration that has not only made today’s arrest possible, but has prevented countless unnecessary vacates that would have displaced tenants as a result of the actions by a select few of unscrupulous landlords,” said DOB Commissioner Rick Chandler. “The Department will continue to aggressively pursue those that abuse the NYC Construction Codes in an attempt to destabilize affordable housing residents.”

Faced with a rising number of complaints from tenants, particularly in New York City’s fastest growing neighborhoods, the joint task force was created to investigate and bring enforcement actions – including criminal charges – against landlords who harass tenants. The task force is particularly aimed at confronting building owners who use a variety of tactics, including disruptive and dangerous renovation and construction projects, to force tenants into vacating rent-regulated apartments. More information about the task force is available here.

The task force is executing unannounced and joint inspections of buildings in New York City where landlords and management companies are suspected of using unsafe construction work as a means to harass tenants. Following multiple joint on-site property inspections, the task force agencies have already substantiated a number of tenant complaints and the task force has several on-going investigations. The member agencies will pursue evidence of illegal acts, and lodge enforcement actions. Incidents of harassment include:

  • Landlords operating without proper permits;
  • Construction projects operating in violation of stop work orders;
  • Landlords who openly ignore requirements for tenant protection plans in occupied buildings where renovations are taking place;
  • Flagrant disregard of safe work practices that are required by law in order to contain the spread of lead and/or asbestos that may be exposed during renovation;
  • Landlords removing essential systems, such as boilers and venting systems, in order make life unbearable for existing residents.

In recent months, enforcement agencies in New York, including the Attorney General’s office, TPU, HPD, and DOB have received a significant uptick in complaints regarding tenant harassment. The task force is primarily concerned with harassment claims that involve both permitted and non-permitted construction projects that endanger the health and safety of existing occupants. In response, the city and state and agencies, along with the Office of the Attorney General, came together to pool resources and crack down on the most dangerous and chronic violators.

Tenants should continue to report dangerous conditions, lack of services or harassment complaints to 311. They may also report complaints online at www.ag.ny.gov/complaint-forms.

STATEMENT FROM A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ON RENT LAWS. 

NEW YORK—Attorney General Eric. T Schneiderman released the following statement today on New York City’s expiring rent regulation laws:  

“Our current rent laws provide financial incentives for bad landlords to harass and drive out tenants from rent-stabilized apartments. I have long supported structural reforms to change this broken system, along the lines of what the State Assembly has proposed.

A straight extender of rent regulation would be a huge loss for the people of New York.  Everyone has known about this deadline for years – timing is not a credible excuse.  And I reject the notion that rent regulation must be linked to other, unrelated issues as the sort of Old Albany premise that people are tired of hearing.

The failure to enact measures to meaningfully strengthen our rent laws would be emblematic of an opaque, anti-democratic system that itself is badly in need of the kinds of reforms I have proposed in the ‘End New York Corruption Now Act.’ As I have said on several occasions, there are only two paths forward for New York State government: either enact comprehensive reform that changes the system, or we will face continued scandal and erosion of public confidence.”

Pass the Education Tax Credit and Empower Parents.

Statement on the Education Investment Tax Credit from Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill).

“Parents are in the position to make the best education decisions for their children. That’s why I support the Education Investment Tax Credit (EITC). It will empower parents to pick the right schools to fit their children’s needs. It will encourage private donations to support a wide range of school options from traditional public schools, to charter schools, to parochial schools and yeshivas. That’s a great thing for parents and kids. This bill is a boost to all schools.”

“It is unfortunate that special interest groups have mislead New Yorkers by claiming the EITC is a giveaway to the rich when in fact, it will help working-class children. Special interest groups that oppose this are rejecting additional support for public schools because they are reflexively against support for non-public schools. They are blatantly putting politics first and kids and families last. Some lawmakers are also putting politics before education. The EITC once had over 90 co-sponsors in the Assembly when only 76 votes are necessary to pass a bill. Shockingly, special interests have bullied lawmakers into dropping their sponsorship of the bill.”

“The EITC incentivizes private contributions to every school through a tax credit. Your neighborhood public school can raise funds to support extra-curricular activities that might have gone underserved otherwise. The charter schools that are giving kids new opportunities will have the chance to add to their programs. The EITC can and will help every school.”

“Giving parents more choices in education is the right policy. We all know families who, for example, started in Catholic school and found that public school was a better fit for their children. Likewise, some families start in public school and find the best option for their children is a parochial school. We all know private school teachers who send their kids to public school and public school teachers who send their kids to private school. Children are unique and one-size-fits-all does them a disservice.”

“The EITC provides increased funding for all schools. Diverse education options will provide our kids with the best chance to succeed.”

 

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Fishkill with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Lalor Asks DiNapoli: How Much Goes to Subsidize Temporary Foreign Workers?

East Fishkill, NY – (5/27/15) – New York State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) is asking New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to audit companies receiving economic development subsidies from New York State and local governments to determine how many jobs funded by these subsidies are filled by H1-B visa holders rather than American citizens or permanent resident immigrants. Lalor’s letter to DiNapoli can be read here.

“New York taxpayers deserve to know how much they are paying to subsidize corporations to hire temporary foreign workers rather than citizens or permanent resident immigrants,” said Lalor. “New York spends hundreds of millions of tax dollars on corporate welfare disguised as ‘economic development’ every year. Taxpayers are led to believe that the jobs created are going to New York residents, either citizens or permanent resident immigrants. We’re told this, despite the fact that many companies receiving the subsidies often hire H1-B visa holders. For example, it has been well-documented that IBM, a recipient of a wide range of generous taxpayer subsidies, employs H1-B visa holders across the state.”

Lalor added, “Because there is almost no transparency in these corporate welfare programs, New Yorkers don’t know how much of their money is going to fund jobs for temporary foreign workers. Comptroller DiNapoli’s office has done valuable work exposing the waste throughout New York’s ‘economic development’ spending. I’m asking his office to continue that work and determine how much American citizens and permanent resident immigrants are paying to subsidize H1-B temporary foreign labor.”

Lalor concluded, “H1-B workers do not have permanent visas and their visa is tied to their employment. While they are able to apply for permanent residence, the wait can take as long as ten years. If they switch employers, the waiting period starts again. To change jobs, an H1-B worker needs to find a new employer willing and able to sponsor the visa. These factors combine to make H1-B visas operate like indentured servitude. H1-B visa holders are limited in salary negotiations or the ability to seek a better-paying job. That’s what makes them valuable to companies. It also drives down wages for U.S. citizens and permanent resident immigrants. We cannot allow New York tax dollars to go to subsidies that support the employment of H1-B workers.”

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Help The American Cancer Society – Hudson Valley Region Win A $25,000 Grant.

Dear Friends,

You can help the American Cancer Society’s Hudson Valley Region compete for a $25,000 private grant by voting online here.

The grant would fund a Community Empowerment & Equity program. The CEE program would help increase breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening rates in our community.

Please take a minute to visit the site and cast your vote. You can vote up to ten times.

Kieran

Cuomo’s Advertising Smoke and Mirrors.

East Fishkill, NY – (5/11/15) – Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) responded to today’s state comptroller audit, showing the $200 million New York spent on advertising economic development programs has produced “no tangible results”, with criticism for Governor Cuomo wasting tax dollars on ads that amounted to little more than Cuomo campaign marketing.

“No amount of advertising is going to change the reality that New York’s high taxes drive businesses and jobs away,” said Lalor. “The $200 million spent on advertising New York’s economic development programs hasn’t produced tangible results because it’s just smoke and mirrors. Businesses know New York is still highly taxed and over-regulated. Advertising doesn’t change that. Empire State Development actually told the auditors that the advertising ‘wasn’t intended to directly produce positive economic benefits.’ Then what did New Yorkers get for all that advertising spending? It looks like it was just $200 million in Cuomo campaign ads.

Lalor continued, “We’re not going to succeed by tricking people into thinking New York is all of a sudden low-tax and business-friendly. It’s hard to believe that our governor is relying on smoke and mirrors. We need to actually cut the taxes and regulations that drive businesses and jobs out of New York.”

“Corporate welfare masquerading as economic development is costing New Yorkers billions,” Lalor added. “Empire State Development Corporation, which administers Start-Up NY, spends 37% of its budget on interest payments on debt. Albany is throwing good money after bad.”

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

Cuomo’s Undemocratic Minimum Wage Hike Will Kill Jobs.

East Fishkill, NY – (5/7/15) – Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) issued a statement today criticizing Governor Cuomo’s decision to unilaterally move to raise the minimum wage for some businesses without legislative approval.

“Dictating new regulations outside the legislative process is a recklessly undemocratic decision by Governor Cuomo,” said Lalor. “We have a process for passing new laws and the governor has chosen to bypass it because he was only able to get part of his job-killing minimum wage through the legislature. It seems he’s taking a page from President Obama’s playbook and simply dictating new laws when he can’t do what he wants through the legislature. Impaneling a wage board gives Cuomo’s action a veneer of unbiased approval, but is there any doubt that the board will simply follow Cuomo’s directions? We know how closely Cuomo has controlled previous ‘independent’ commissions.”

Lalor added, “This isn’t just undemocratic, it’s a job killer. San Francisco’s recent minimum wage hike is pushing small businesses to the brink of closure. This will hurt minimum-wage earners when businesses that can’t afford the increase start cutting jobs. Studies have shown entry-level job opportunities decline with minimum wage increases. The governor can’t simply mandate a better economy. Small businesses are struggling with New York’s high taxes and never-ending regulations. New York’s economy is struggling because of those taxes and regulations. The only way for government to increase wages and opportunities is to cut taxes and regulations across the board. We need to open up opportunities for businesses to thrive and create jobs in New York.”

“It’s also inappropriate for the governor to target just one industry,” Lalor added. “Governor Cuomo says he wants to raise fast food wages because fast food CEOs are millionaires. But, many fast food restaurants operate as franchises. They’re small businesses. This isn’t just hitting big corporations, Governor Cuomo, this is hitting small businesses. Cuomo’s dictate is so vague, we don’t even know how far this will go. It’s up to his wage board to decide what jobs will be defined as within the ‘fast food industry’. Pizzeria and deli owners, among other small businesses, don’t know if they’ll be included. They might not even know that this regulation could affect them until it’s already passed, missing the chance to voice their opposition.”

Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Spring is in full swing and the Yankees vs. Mets Subway Series is on Saturday, April 25th.  I hope you will join me to watch the game at Daddy O’s Bar & Grill located at 3 Turner St.,  Hopewell Jct., NY 12533.

Event Details
The game and our event start at 4:00pm. 
Buffet and Cash Bar
$20 in advance / $25 at the door


Sponsorship Opportunities For Met Fans

Amazin’s Sponsor – $500
Tom Terrific Sponsor – $250
Blue & Orange Sponsor –  $100

Sponsorship Opportunities for Yankee Fans
Bronx Bomber Sponsor – $500
Donny Baseball Sponsor – $250
Pinstripe Sponsor – $100

Sponsorships for Red Sox Fans
Bill Buckner Sponsor – $500
Bucky Dent Sponsor – $250
Bobby V Sponsor – $100

To purchase tickets in advance for the discounted price of $20 per person click here.  If you cannot attend but would like to help me build the campaign war chest, click here.

Buy your tickets today here or make an immediate contribution here.

Thanks for your support, I hope to see you there.

Kieran



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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Fishkill with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Poughkeepsie City Council’s Anti-Second Amendment Bill Would Limit Right to Self-Defense.

Poughkeepsie, NY – (4/16/15) – Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik (R), Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill), Poughkeepsie City Council Minority Leader Lee David Klein (R) and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association hosted a press conference exposing the Poughkeepsie City Council’s anti-Second Amendment proposal today. The City Council’s bill would create unnecessary and unconstitutional gun storage requirements that would significantly limit a homeowner’s ability to defend against a criminal intruder.

“This the is typical feel-good, anti-gun legislation that does nothing to stop crime or get illegal guns off the streets,” said Assemblyman Lalor. “This bill is driven by politics, not good policy. New York already has safe storage requirements and this bill goes further to require the gun be made inoperable. The Supreme Court, in Heller v. District of Columbia, has already ruled unconstitutional laws that require a firearm in a home be disassembled and unable to be used for self-defense. A New York court also declared this type of regulation unconstitutional in Colaiacovo v. Dormer. The City Council should drop it’s political theater show if it’s serious about stopping crime.”

“The City Council’s unconstitutional proposal isn’t about stopping crime, its political pandering to the anti-Second Amendment crowd,” said Mayor Tkazyik. “We have a Constitutional right to bear arms and that includes the defense of one’s home and family against an assailant. This ordinance makes self-defense impossible. It will increase crime as criminals learn that law-abiding homeowners are defenseless. The ordinance will also needlessly cost taxpayers when the city is forced to hire attorneys to defend a provision that the Supreme Court has already declared unconstitutional.”

“The City Council is going to prevent homeowners from defending themselves and their families with this bill,” said Jacob Reiper, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Vice President of Legislative Affairs. “A homeowner needs to quickly access his firearm to prevent a tragedy when an intruder breaks in. The law will prevent residents from defending themselves. This kind of law has already been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. It is an infringement on Poughkeepsie residents’ Second Amendment rights. Residents will be left less safe if this bill is passed.”

“The anti-Second Amendment majority on the City Council is advancing a political agenda that doesn’t make the City safer,” said Poughkeepsie City Council Minority Leader Lee David Klein. “They’re trying to score a few political points, while their policy makes families less safe and infringes on our Second Amendment rights. We should be pursuing policies that fight crime, not policies that leave residents vulnerable.

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Lalor Asks, “Where Are Cuomo’s Start-Up NY’s Jobs”, Reiterates Call to Shut Down Start-Up NY

East Fishkill, NY – (4/6/15) – After a report by Empire State Development revealed Governor Cuomo’s signature economic development program, Start-Up NY, has created just 76 jobs, Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) is asking Cuomo what happened to the expensive program’s promised jobs. Lalor also reiterated his call to shut down Start-Up NY and provide across-the-board tax relief.

“Governor Cuomo has spent $28 million advertising Start-Up NY and all we have is 76 jobs?” Lalor asked. “That’s over 368,000 tax dollars spent in advertising per job. There’s no way to justify that kind of waste. We already knew Start-Up NY would cost taxpayers, but now we aren’t even seeing any jobs. It was an expensive gimmick from the beginning. New York’s economy doesn’t need gimmicks. We need across-the-board tax relief for all New Yorkers. We need the kind of tax relief that doesn’t require the taxpayer to hire a lobbyist or submit an application.”

Lalor continued, “Even worse, we’re learning that the Start-Up NY jobs aren’t coming to vast swathes of New York. In the area between Albany and Brooklyn just 2 companies have been approved for Start-Up NY, pledging to create only 44 jobs in five years.  That means in Greene, Columbia, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, Delaware, Rockland, Westchester, Bronx, New York, Richmond and Queens Counties, home to 8 million New Yorkers, best case scenario so far, 44 jobs will be created. For all of those tax dollars Cuomo spent on advertising, Start-Up NY is only promising 44 new jobs for 40% of the state. Even after Start-Up NY’s pathetic jobs report was revealed, Governor Cuomo is still adding to its advertising budget. That’s just wasting more money.”

“Start-Up NY was never about lifting New York’s economy, it was all gimmicky self-promotion for Cuomo. The ads are a cynical attempt to persuade New Yorkers that the state’s business climate isn’t among the worse in the nation.” Lalor added. “Cuomo scored some publicity points and a handful of people with the right connections in Albany get to benefit at the taxpayers’ expense.  We can’t keep throwing money at programs that don’t work. The results are in and Start-Up NY isn’t working. It doesn’t even offer much hope for a turnaround with the limited number of approved companies and low job promises. The legislature needs to take a second look at Start-Up NY and stop throwing good tax dollars after bad.”

Assemblyman Lalor’s bill to repeal Start-Up NY, which was originally introduced in 2013, can be found here.  He is asking his colleagues to co-sponsor the measure and make repeal of Start-Up -NY a priority in the post-budget portion of the session.

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in the NY Budget

Statement on 2015-16 Budget from Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill)

“In five years, Governor Cuomo has increased an already bloated budget by 10%. That’s $14 billion more this year than just five years ago. Florida has a larger population and half the state budget. How can we compete with that if we don’t get spending under control? This budget doesn’t do anything to make New York more job-friendly or stop the exodus of New Yorkers to other states. There are a few good things in this budget, many bad things and some downright ugly aspects. Consequently, I voted against the budget bills.”

“Those who vote “yes” on a budget are saying this is the best we can do. Voting against a budget is not voting against the positive aspects of the budget. Rather a “no” vote on a budget is a statement that we can do better. I have no doubt that we can do better.”

THE GOOD

Fixing Albany’s STAR Program Mistake
“In 2013, a number of people who bought homes between about July and November made an understandable and innocent mistake with their STAR applications and ended up without STAR for the next year. The mistake was caused by New York State not properly explaining to new homeowners new requirements. Earlier this year, I introduced a bill that would offer a rebate to these homeowners who lost their STAR exemption because of the State’s mistake. The budget includes that rebate.”

Pension Forfeiture for Crooked Politicians
“Finally, Albany is introducing a constitutional amendment that would forfeit state pensions for politicians convicted of corruption. But, we will need to pass the amendment again in 2017 and only then will it go to voters for their approval in 2018. In the meantime, I have introduced legislation that would require pension forfeiture as part of any plea deal offered to a politician charged with corruption. We don’t need a constitutional amendment to make that happen. We should move forward with this bill now.”

No “Green” Giveaway to Billionaire Donor
“We had a glimmer of hope on the crony capitalism front from the budget. The Senate dropped its attempted giveaway to billionaire donor John Catsimatidis. This would have cost New Yorkers tens of millions of dollars. Catsimatidis was lobbying for a regulation that would mandate a biofeul his company makes. He stood to reap a windfall through his new biofuel production plant. The plan would have added $150 million to the cost of heating oil across New York.”

THE BAD

Corporate Welfare and Pork
“Once again, the budget is laden with corporate welfare and pork barrel projects.   Cuomo’s own tax commission acknowledged that the Hollywood tax subsidies don’t work. Still we are giving millions to film production and have expanded it to the music and video game industries to the tune of $470 mil. per year. The Assembly sponsor admitted in debate that no cost-benefit analysis was done before we handed out another $50 million in tax credits to the music and video game industry.We already spend five times more on corporate welfare than any other state, still our unemployment rate is above the national average and our growth rate lags behind the rest of the country.  More corporate welfare isn’t going to get New York’s economy moving. Small businesses need relief, but Cuomo’s budget has them subsidizing his corporate cronies and glamorous industries.”

No Tax Relief
“There’s no sign of tax relief for ordinary New Yorkers. Yacht owners will get a hefty sales tax cut for their luxury purchases, but the rest of New York is still left with the huge tax bill. New Yorkers pay the highest taxes in the nation. Families are drowning in all of the taxes and fees. This budget doesn’t offer desperately needed tax relief.”

No Mandate Relief
“Four and a half months ago, just before Election Day, every politician in Albany was talking about mandate relief. Now, there’s no mandate relief in the budget. Once the election was over, it was back to business as usual for Albany. Unfunded mandates are the driving force behind high property taxes. We need to prove that mandate relief isn’t just election year talk.”

No Veterans Equality Act
“Governor Cuomo waited until after Election Day last year to veto the Veterans Equality Act. It had been passed with nearly unanimous support, but Cuomo claimed he vetoed the bill because it should have been in the budget. He wasn’t being straight with us. The governor didn’t include the Veterans Equality Act in his own budget proposal and it isn’t in the final budget. We should have honored our veterans with this bill.”

Weak Ethics Reform
“We heard a lot of big talk from Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders on ethics reform, but, once again, they didn’t deliver. We don’t have term limits, though a supermajority of New Yorkers want them. We didn’t even get term limits for legislative leaders. The LLC fundraising loophole remains in place. The per diem reform is tepid at best, with no requirement for receipts. Legislators can still exploit the system to pay their mortgages or pocket the balance of the $172 per day they don’t spend. In the wake of the indictment of former speaker Sheldon Silver, we missed an historic opportunity to fundamentally change Albany.”

No Fixes to Crushing Medicaid Spending
“Medicaid eats up a quarter of the budget. New York is one of the few states that gives Medicaid to non-citizens, which costs twice as much as providing Medicaid for citizens because the federal government doesn’t provide a dollar-for-dollar match for non-citizens. New York’s Medicaid program costs more than Florida and Texas combined. Meanwhile, when middle-class New Yorkers who have paid into the system their whole lives have major health issues, New York tells them to take a walk because they own a home or managed to save a few bucks over the years. A budget that doesn’t address Medicaid is, by definition, inadequate.”

Education
“The education budget bill is called the Education Transformation Act of 2015, but it transforms nothing. It is an abdication of responsibility by the Legislature. The budget empowers the unelected Board of Regents and the interim Education Commissioner to determine the controversial teacher’s evaluation system. The decision over whether so much emphasis should be put on standardized tests was also outsourced to the Board of Regents, rather than by elected representatives who, like me, overwhelmingly oppose the hyper-focus on standardized tests. While every institution in all fields should strive to improve, most schools in our state are performing. The teachers and public schools in my district are quite good. Still this budget’s one-size-fits-all approach holds up education funding increases for good schools until the districts jump through hoops because schools in other parts of the state have problems. This doesn’t make sense. This budget also misses the opportunity to incentivize, through a tax credit, charitable contributions of $50 million per year to public schools and $50 million per year to parochial schools and other non-public schools.”

“Finally, a quarter of the budget is dedicated to education. Education is possibly the most important aspect of the state budget. Yet the material education portions of the budget were released yesterday, debated and voted on last night with almost no opportunity for lawmakers to speak with education officials in our districts or consult with other experts. This is no way to make decisions and it is an affront to democracy.”

SAFE Act
“Again Albany is throwing good money at bad policies with funding for the SAFE Act, which punishes the law-abiding gun owner and does nothing to get guns out of the hands of criminals. I continue to support full repeal of the SAFE Act and oppose funding the instrumentalities of SAFE Act enforcement and registration.”

THE UGLY

Legislative Pay Raise Commission
“The budget authorizes a panel to give legislative pay raises so legislators won’t have to risk an ugly vote to give themselves more money. It takes away accountability and transparency and it’s constitutionally dubious.”

Deeply-Flawed Process
“A budget that is decided by four men behind closed doors is a disservice to the public. There is not one voice in the budget room from north of White Plains. How can this process possibly represent New York? At a minimum, the Senate and Assembly minority leaders should be included in the budget process to increase transparency.”

“Worse, Governor Cuomo used a message of necessity, overriding the state constitutional provision that requires three days for legislators to review bills. The budget rams through billions of dollars in spending without adequate time to review it, speak with constituents or get input from experts.”

 

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Fishkill with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Dear Friends,

Elections are won during the off year. That’s why we are already executing our plan for victory in 2016.

 

Some well-known local liberals are considering challenging me in 2016. They correctly believe that 2016, a presidential year, will be a good one for Democrats. In short, they think a Democrat wave might allow them to achieve victory here in the Fighting 105th Assembly District. We are already building a war chest to ensure we have the resources to get our message out and fight off the inevitable attacks.

 

Our goal is to raise $2016 by the midnight tomorrow, the end of the First Quarter of the year.

 

Your immediate contribution will help us achieve that goal.

 

We will keep fighting the good fight in Albany but we are starting early and we will be relentless. Whether it is $10, $25, $50, $100 or some other amount, every dollar will help us keep up with the latest campaign tactics and technologies so we can keep our edge. Contribute now and help us reach our goal of raising $2016 by midnight tomorrow.

 

Best,

Kieran

 

ICYMI:
The New York Post highlights one of my reform bills here.

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My Op-Ed in the Albany Times Union and Capital Tonight interview supporting the Veterans Equality Act here and here.

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Discussing political correctness run amok including the Cornell administrator who would welcome ISIS to campus, the public school in Orange County that said the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic and the school in Lexington, MA that initially cancelled an “American Pride” themed dance because it might be offensive.

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My New York Post op-ed laying out game-changing ethics reforms to clean up Albany.

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Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

 

Riverfront Art Gallery

Yonkers Riverfront Library (4th Floor)

1 Larkin Center

Yonkers, NY 10701

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

“In and Out of the Can” by artist Howard Better

Opening Reception and Artist Talk: April 9th 2015 at 5:30pm to 8pm

 

The Riverfront Art Gallery (located at the Yonkers Riverfront Library) presents for the month of April, Howard Better and his exhibit “In and Out of the Can” featuring thousands of 3-D can collage sculptures. Influenced by Better’s many years as a filmmaker and sourced from the artist’s collection of vintage comics, magazines, and newspapers; the exhibit evokes a contrast and conversation between mass-production and individuality. The series is hung from the ceiling with an accompanying pathway, creating an ethereal and film-like sequence of stories to view.

Second Saturday Arts

April 11th 2015 at 10:30am to 12:30am

 

Participants inspired by the exhibit will create their own 3-D can collage art based on personal stories and their place in the community using recycled cans and papers. To register, contact us at RiverfrontArtGallery@gmail.com with your name and number of participants.  There will be a $5 SUGGESTED donation for each participant.

 

STATEMENT FROM A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ON SALE OF PRIVATE CUSTOMER DATA BY RADIO SHACK.

Reports Suggest Company May Auction Private Customer Data As Part Of Bankruptcy Sale.

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today released the following statement in response to reports that Radio Shack may sell private customer data as part of its bankruptcy sale. The company’s privacy policy says that the company will not sell or rent personal information.

“When a company collects private customer data on the condition that it will not be resold, it is the company’s responsibility to uphold their end of the bargain,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will continue to monitor Radio Shack’s bankruptcy sale and whether it includes auctioning off private customer data. We are committed to taking appropriate action to protect New York consumers.”

As Radio Shack faces a bankruptcy sale, reports suggest the company may attempt to sell customer data. The company’s privacy policy currently states that:

•    “We will not sell or rent your personally identifiable information to anyone at any time.

•    We will not use any personal information beyond what is necessary to assist us in delivering to you the services you have requested.

•    We may send personally identifiable information about you to other organizations when: We have your consent to share the information (you will be provided the opportunity to opt-out if you desire).”  – RadioShack Privacy Policy, 3/25/2015

CHIAROSCURO GROUP TO STATE ASSEMBLY: PROVE YOU CARE ABOUT WOMEN’S HEALTH; PASS CLINIC INSPECTION BILL.

 

New York–March 26…New York State Assembly Members supporting a late term abortion expansion bill in the name of “women’s health,” should prove that they’re genuinely concerned about the health of women by passing legislation introduced by Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) that would require regular Health Department inspections of New York State abortion clinics.

 

The New York Post reported last year that many New York clinics haven’t been inspected in more than a dozen years. Those that were inspected had serious sanitary violations.

 

“The health of women is being put at unnecessary risk every day and we ask that State Assembly Members — pro-choice and pro-life — act to address the issue,” said Chiaroscuro Group spokesman Greg Pfundstein.  “Nail salons and restaurants are regularly inspected, but not women’s medical facilities?  How is that possible?”

 

Chiaroscuro unveiled user reviews from some of New York’s clinics in a radio campaign last month.  The spots can be heard here, here, and here.

 

“We have raised a red flag over New York State,” Mr. Pfundstein continued. “We are alerting state legislators that a serious health oversight is occurring.  But will the Assembly act on it?”

Lalor: Viacom Lays Off NY Employees While Taking Tax Dollars

East Fishkill, NY – (3/24/15) – Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) is again calling on the legislature and Governor Cuomo to end the $420 million in yearly tax subsidies for Hollywood after Viacom announced it is cutting 264 employees in New York. Viacom received about $340,000 in tax credits for TV production in the fourth quarter of 2014 alone. The state has yet to release full details on all of the tax credits issued. The limited information made available by the Cuomo administration does not include films produced by Viacom subsidiary Paramount Pictures that likely run the tax subsidy total well into the millions.

“Subsidizing Hollywood with tax dollars is bad policy,” said Lalor. “Sony cut 264 permanent well-paying jobs. The jobs ‘created’ with the Hollywood tax credit are often part-time jobs. Sometimes Governor Cuomo even touts the extras hired by films as jobs ‘created’. Even worse, Viacom buys influence and these subsidies through large campaign contributions. Viacom’s CEO is one of Governor Cuomo’s top donors. Cuomo’s corporate welfare for his friends isn’t creating jobs. We need across-the-board tax cuts for all New Yorkers, including the ones who aren’t at the top of Cuomo’s donor list.”

In 2013, Governor Cuomo’s own tax reform commission acknowledged that the Hollywood tax credits are not working. Cuomo’s commission reported, “The film production credit, now generally 30 percent of qualifying costs, is large relative to industry profits and tax liability. Because the credit exceeds tax liability many times over and is refundable, in effect it is a program of cash payments by the state to credit recipients… It is not clear from our analysis that there is sufficient justification for the size of the film credits. The state should consider scaling back the credits and monitoring the film industry closely to determine the impact on its activities of such a cutback.”

Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

Statement by Chiaroscuro Group Spokesman Greg Pfundstein

March 16, 2015

“Today’s Assembly vote is a major victory for moderation and common sense in New York, and I commend Speaker Heastie’s leadership in recognizing that an abortion expansion bill is the last thing New York needs. I also congratulate Senator Dean Skelos for his steadfast courage in opposing the late term abortion expansion provision of the Women’s Equality Act.  That bill would have set up two types of abortion services in New York: One with doctors for women of means and one with non-doctors for poor, mostly minority women.  It was a bad and dangerous bill, and we are relieved to learn that reason can prevail in Albany.”

Lalor Renews Call For Assembly to Pass Consecutive Sentencing Bill After Bard College Killer Sentencing

East Fishkill, NY – (2/25/15) – Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) is renewing his call for the Assembly to pass legislation that would toughen sentencing for multiple homicides after the driver who killed two Bard College students received a concurrent sentence for the two deaths Currently, the law does not allow judges the discretion to deliver consecutive sentencing for multiple homicides caused by one act. Lalor’s legislation passed the Senate last year, but died in the Assembly. It has been reintroduced in the new session.

“We need to give judges the flexibility to issue a punishment that fits the crime,” said Lalor. “This bill will help to ensure that the extent of a defendant’s sentence will directly and appropriately relate to the amount of suffering caused to victims, their families and society. When a killer takes two lives, the sentence should be greater. The law ties judges’ hands now. We need to give judges discretion to mete out the appropriate punishments.”

Lalor originally introduced the legislation in 2014 after being contacted by the families of Shawn and Patricia Wonderly. The Wonderly family, along with other members of the community, presented the idea for this legislation after a personal tragedy. On August 1, 2012, Ryan Floryan ran a red light at the Eastbound Arterial and Worrall Avenue in the City of Poughkeepsie and slammed into a car carrying Shawn and Patricia Wonderly of the City of Poughkeepsie, killing the couple.

In 2013, Floryan pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree manslaughter. He is serving six-and-a-half to thirteen years in prison.  Under current law, Dutchess County Court Judge Stephen Greller could not impose a stricter sentence, though he believed a much stricter sentence was appropriate, as the sentencing for the two separate manslaughter charges must run concurrently since they were caused by one act. During court proceedings, Floryan admitted that he was driving at an excessive speed to avoid City of Poughkeepsie police because he was on parole violation.

Yesterday, Carol Boeck pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide in the deaths of two Bard College students, Sarah McCausland and Evelina Brown. Boeck was drunk and three times over the legal limit when she struck and killed the students on Route 9 last year. The same law that gave Floryan a light sentence also prevented the Boeck judge from delivering consecutive sentences.

Lalor added, “Both killers acted with a shocking disregard for the lives around them. They each took two lives and tore holes into their victims’ families. Right now, the law isn’t delivering justice for those families. It needs to change and the Assembly needs to move to pass this bill.”

###

Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

Lalor Asks Attorney General to Investigate Road Salt Deliverers Defrauding Towns

East Fishkill, NY – (2/23/15) – Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) is asking New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate reports that municipalities are being defrauded on road salt deliveries by delivery trucks. Several constituents have expressed concern to Lalor that delivery trucks are shorting towns on road salt deliveries and selling the surplus to private users on the side. Morton Salt has the contract with the New York State Office of General Services to provide road salt to municipalities in parts of New York, including Dutchess County. Towns across New York have experienced significant road salt shortages this winter.

“Given the ongoing problems with municipal road salt deliveries and the public safety issues caused by unsafe roads without enough salt, this potential fraud needs to be addressed,” said Lalor. “I’m asking the attorney general for a public and well-publicized investigation to put potential fraudulent delivery drivers on notice that this cannot continue.”

Lalor’s letter to Attorney General Schneiderman is available here.

“There is no excuse for the long delays in delivering road salt to towns across Dutchess County and the rest of New York,” Lalor continued. “If Morton Salt wanted the contract with New York State, it should have been prepared to deliver, whatever the weather circumstances might be. It’s winter and they should have been prepared to make the deliveries. It’s a serious safety issue when these deliveries aren’t coming in. We need a plan from Morton Salt on how they’re going to catch up on deliveries. If they can’t deliver on this contract to keep our roads safe, New York needs to review the status of this contract for next year. I plan to work with local and state officials to review what happened this year and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Lalor added, “The Office of General Services needs to explore every possible solution to deliver the salt on time for the rest of the winter, whether that means bringing in the National Guard to make the deliveries or finding trucks across the country to do the job.”

###

Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..


www.KMLNY.com

Democrat Assemblyman Demands Silver Step Down. Call Assembly Democrats Still Supporting Silver, Find Out Why.

Dear Friends,

Finally, some Assembly Democrats are starting to call on Sheldon Silver to resign. Assemblyman Keith Wright, the former co-chair of the New York State Democratic Party, is demanding that Silver step down. But, the vast majority, including many of our Hudson Valley representatives, are sticking with Silver. Why are Assembly Democrats Didi Barrett, Kevin Cahill and James Skoufis standing by Silver?

It’s a good question. Give their offices a call and ask how they can still stand by their crooked leader.

Didi Barrett: 845-454-1703 or BarrettD@assembly.state.ny.us
Kevin Cahill: 845-338-9610 or CahillK@assembly.state.ny.us
James Skoufis: 845-469-6929 or SkoufisJ@assembly.state.ny.us

Call our Hudson Valley representatives and find out why they’re tolerating Silver’s corruption.

Kieran

###

Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..

Hello my friend, I hope the new year is treating you well.

Now that Congressman Charlie Rangel has begun his last term, it’s time to begin the journey to replace him.  The 13th Congressional District covers most of Northern Manhattan and parts of the Northwest Bronx.  It has been represented by two legendary figures:  my father, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (who created the seat and became the first African American Congressman from NY 1944-1970) and Charles B. Rangel (1970-Present).  We need a progressive voice to preserve the rich history of these last 70 years.  I intend to run for that seat.
This is not an exploratory committee;  I’ve been exploring this district for over 20 years.  It’s time to run.  I know this congressional district as well as anyone.  From El Barrio to Harlem to Washington Heights & Inwood to the Bronx, I’ve represented various parts of this district in the City Council and in the State Assembly.  Most of the leaders in these various neighborhoods are people I know and have worked with throughout the years.  I hope you pray for me and join me in this exciting journey.
All the best,
ADAM

Statement from Greg Pfundstein, President, Chiaroscuro Foundation. 

January 16, 2015
Manilla, Philippines
“I commend Senator Diane Savino for calling on the New York State Assembly to move past the stalemate on critical legislation protecting the rights of women in New York.
“I’ve just spent a week in the Philippines with the Blas Ople Policy Center, with which the Chiaroscuro Foundation has partnered to combat human trafficking in the Philippines. We met with Filipino victims of trafficking who were subject to human rights abuses throughout the Middle East and Africa.
“Where we all agree, let us act: human trafficking victims deserve protection and support in New York State and around the world. I couldn’t agree with Senator Savino more: they can wait no longer.”

RAG logo

ssarts new 2

August
    Blue Door 
    Art Center
Greetings!
Coming up this Thursday is an enjoyable way to polish your writing skills at ArtSpeak, a poetry writing workshop for all levels of skills.

Don’t be shy if you have never written poetry. ArtSpeak is an open door to those who want to begin as well as a coaching session for more experienced writers. Golda, BDAC
poet-in-residence, will facilitate writing inspired by the current exhibit, “Art of Healing”.
Bring family or friends to this motivating and educational workshop. Who knows, there may be a hidden poet in you after all.
Your friends at the Blue Door Art Center.

 
ArtSpeak
Thursday, August 13th
4-8:00 p.m.

Beginning, emerging, and seasoned writers are invited to join Blue Door Gallery’s poet-in-residence Golda Solomon for an afternoon of discovery, writing, and community. Take inspiration from Blue Door Gallery’s latest exhibit, “The Art of Healing.” The Jazz & Poetry Choir Collective creates a performance, engaging new writings with improvised jazz.
 
Rosi Hertlein will continue weaving her magic on the violin and Berta Moreno will share her talent on the tenor saxophone.
 
4-4:30: participants will preview the current Gallery exhibit and receive tips on ekphrastic writing
4:30-6:00: writing and sharing
6:30-7:30: FROM PAGE TO PERFORMANCE: reading of participants, community readers, and an open rehearsal of The Jazz & Poetry Choir Collective
7:30-8:00: mingle & chat with poets & musicians
$20 for BDAA Members; $25 for non-members; scholarships available;
Suggested donation for FROM PAGE TO PERFORMANCE: $5-$10
BDAC On-line Store
Kamal 1 – Luis Perelman
Don’t forget about BDAC’s online store, where BDAA membered artists of all mediums post their work. From photographs, to sculptures, to mixed media and more.
Artists in current exhibits have the privilege of posting their work as well.
Go to www.bluedoorartcenter.org, click on “Store” and select the category you would like to browse. We’re sure you will be able to find something in your price range, as there are choices that are quite affordable.

Life Map 
Arle’ Sklar-Weinstein
 
Whirlwind 
Patricia Santons
About Us

Blue Door Gallery presents widely attended and critically-acclaimed fine art exhibitions in a welcoming environment. BDG publishes books on many of its outstanding exhibitions and makes available the chap books of our poets.

 

Other community art programs at the gallery include monthly “Open Stage” performances, poetry writing workshops, art themed videos, art classes, performances and other special events.

The Blue Door Art Center initiates many public art projects including the installation of sculpture along the Yonkers Esplanade and in other locations. BDAC has been a fixture at Yonkers “Riverfest” for many years and conducts  workshops and events in locations throughout the city. BDAA is now in the process of installing artwork in vacant storefronts throughout Downtown Yonkers and partnering with Greyston Foundation to provide special art experiences for children in their Child Care Center.
SPECIAL THANKS to our Generous and Supportive Sponsors
July
    Blue Door 
    Art Center
Greetings!
What a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon, then supporting local artists in their creative endeavors and attending a celebration!You are invited to Blue Door Art Center’s inaugural  pop up exhibit, “Off the Page” consisting solely of local artists. The opening is this Saturday, July 11th from 2-6:00 and will run through August 1st.

There will be a treasure trove, from paintings, jewelry, painted furniture and sculptures made of beer cans, for you to explore, observe and purchase.  Bring your friends, family, and fellow artists and see what amazing creations artists in your neighborhood are producing.
Your friends at the Blue Door Art Center.

OFF THE PAGE: Popup Community Artists Showcase
July 11th-August 1st
Opening Reception Saturday, July 11th 2-6:00
                          Whirlwind-by Patricia Santos

Blue Door Gallery is pleased to present a pop up exhibit “OFF the PAGE”,

consisting solely of local artists in the Yonkers vicinity.

 

OFF the PAGE is an exhibit featuring the works of incredible local artists who use their craft to tell colorful and diverse stories about their walk in life. Nothing is more lively than life itself. Come be inspired and support local art by investing in affordable gems that will be on display. Enjoy a live musical performance by Jiidah, live art by Michael Cuomo and refreshments for the occasion. Complimentary beer for the reception is donated by Yonker’s brewery. A big acknowledgment goes to them for their donation!

 

During the exhibit film screenings on famous artists’ lives and an open mic. for poets and performers are planned to entertain you. A screening on Frida’s life will be on July 17th at 6:30 PM, July 24th a film on Basquiat at 6:30 PM, and an Open mic. on July 31st at 6:30 PM. On August 1st Renaissance Francis, an emerging film maker’s short film will be screened at 1 PM.
There will be workshops provided for artists by some of the artists. One workshop will entail the business side of art and one artist is willing to give a critique about the work in the exhibit.
Keep an eye on future email blasts for more details regarding the workshops.
About Us

Blue Door Gallery presents widely attended and critically-acclaimed fine art exhibitions in a welcoming environment. BDG publishes books on many of its outstanding exhibitions and makes available the chap books of our poets.

 

In the works: POP UP exhibitions by UP COMING Community Artists as special events at Blue Door Gallery. Stay tuned FMI.

 

Other community art programs at the gallery include monthly “Open Stage” performances, poetry writing workshops, art themed videos, art classes, performances and other special events.

The Blue Door Art Center initiates many public art projects including the installation of sculpture along the Yonkers Esplanade and in other locations. BDAC has been a fixture at Yonkers “Riverfest” for many years and conducts  workshops and events in locations throughout the city. BDAA is now in the process of installing artwork in vacant storefronts throughout Downtown Yonkers and partnering with Greyston Foundation to provide special art experiences for children in their Child Care Center.
SPECIAL THANKS to our Generous and Supportive Sponsors
 
 

sponsor logos 2015

Not an art-maker?  Be an art-lover and supporter  You may find something that 

catches your eye and feeds your soul.
If you or your creative friends have workshop ideas or would like to share your craft,

feel free to email the gallery at info@bluedoorartcenter.org and we will respond asap.

 

Arle´ Sklar-Weinstein, Gallery and Art Center Director

Luis Perelman, Art Association and Art Center Director

Robin Hutchinson, Gallery Manager

Naajidah Correll, Assistant Manager

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Riverfront Art Gallery presents:

 

CRASH & Friends: MadC, JPO (John Paul O’Grodnick), Steph Burr, and Br163

July 11th, 2015 through August 25th, 2015

Opening Reception and Artist Talk- Thursday, July 16th, 2015 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm

Open to the public for all ages

Curator, Haifa Bint-Kadi      Gallery Coordinator, Sara Fasano

 

Second Saturday Arts: July 11th 2015 from 12 pm to 1 pm

Open to the public for all ages

Curator, Haifa Bint-Kadi      Gallery Coordinator, Sara Fasano

 

‘CRASH & Friends’ exhibit will feature works by well-known street artists. John ‘CRASH’ Matos, a legendary Graffiti pioneer, used his passion project to create the contemporary art gallery WALLWORKS NEW YORK. He took the name “CRASH” after he accidentally crashed the computer in his school; his name began appearing on trains circulating all throughout New York City. MadC, JPO, Steph Burr, and Br163 all have worked alongside CRASH and have exhibited at WALLWORKS NYC. All have transitioned to painted canvases, which will be featured in our gallery, but still create art murals for all to see. All have also contributed to the revitalization of Downtown Yonkers, murals are located in various areas of Main Street near Getty square and Broadway.

The Riverfront Art Gallery also presents “Second Saturday Arts” programs on July 11th, 2015, where participants of all ages will create their own works of art based on the current exhibit.  This month we will feature the workshop “Street Art from Stencils to Spray”. All participants are welcome to use spray bottles filled with non-toxic paint to make a mock spray can painting work just like the ones in our featured art exhibit. To register, contact us at RiverfrontArtGallery@gmail.com with your name and number of participants.  There will be a $5 suggested donation for each participant.

Riverfront Library is handicapped-accessible. Parking is available at the nearby Buena Vista Parking Garage or the Warburton Parking Garage. The exhibition is free and open to the public during regular library hours.  For further information, please call 914-337-1500 ext. 432 or visit http://www.ypl.org/

Riverfront Art Gallery presents:

 

Urban Art Hits the Canvas: CRASH, Fumero and Friends

July 9th, 2015 through August 25th, 2015

Opening Reception and Artist Talk- Thursday, July 9th, 2015 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm

Open to the public for all ages

Curator, Haifa Bint-Kadi      Gallery Assistant, Sara Fasano

 

Second Saturday Arts: July 11th 2015 from 12 pm to 1 pm

Open to the public for all ages

Curator, Haifa Bint-Kadi      Gallery Coordinator, Sara Fasano

 

‘Urban Art Hits the Canvas’ exhibit will feature works by two well-known street arts, CRASH and Fumero, along with some of their street artist friends. Taking the name “CRASH” after he accidentally crashed the computer in his school, his name began appearing on trains circulating all throughout New York City. CRASH has been part of numerous museums and gallery shows around the world and has works in many permanent museum collections. To Fumero, graffiti was simply an added extension of cartooning and provided a means to explore lines, shapes, colors and letter design in a new and exciting way. Fumero combined the American pop culture of urban art with his caricature-like, figurative drawings. Both have transitioned to painted canvases, which will be featured in our gallery, but still create art murals for all to see. Both have also done art murals in the downtown Yonkers area, Fumero’s work is next to the DMV and CRASH’s work is near 48 Main Street.

The Riverfront Art Gallery also presents “Second Saturday Arts” programs on July 11th, 2015, where participants of all ages will create their own works of art based on the current exhibit.  This month we will feature the workshop “Street Art from Stencils to Spray”. All participants are welcome to use spray bottles filled with non-toxic paint to make a mock spray can painting work just like the ones in our featured art exhibit. To register, contact us at RiverfrontArtGallery@gmail.com with your name and number of participants.  There will be a $5 suggested donation for each participant.

Riverfront Library is handicapped-accessible. Parking is available at the nearby Buena Vista Parking Garage or the Warburton Parking Garage. The exhibition is free and open to the public during regular library hours.  For further information, please call 914-337-1500 ext. 432 or visit http://www.ypl.org/artgallery.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Riverfront Art Gallery presents

Second Saturday Arts Program

Second Saturday Arts: June 13th 2015 at 11 am to 12 pm

Curator, Haifa Bint-Kadi      Gallery Assistant, Sara Fasano

Open to the public for all ages

The Riverfront Art Gallery presents “Second Saturday Arts” program. Every second Saturday of the month, participants will create their own works of art based on the current exhibit. This month they are featuring the Seventh Annual Yonkers Artist Showcase by Yonkers Arts. This showcase displays 40 artists living and working in Yonkers that work with all types of mediums. Participants will create their own “Drawing Intuition” mixed media project that connects to the art works currently on exhibit. All ages are welcome, but registration is preferred. Registered participants will be guaranteed art supplies. To register, please email us your name and the number of participants at: RiverfrontArtGallery@gmail.com. There will be a $5 suggested donation for each participant for the purchase of art supplies.

The Riverfront Library is handicapped-accessible. Parking is available at the nearby Buena Vista Parking Garage or the Warburton Parking Garage. The exhibition is free and open to the public during regular library hours.  For further information, please call 914-337-1500 ext. 432 or visit http://www.ypl.org/artgallery.

VOTE “NO” TO MAYOR ERNIE DAVIS, JOHN BOYKIN, LISA COPELAND, AND ADRIAN ARMSTRONG ON THURSDAT, SEPTEMBER 10, 2015
TODAY’S NEWS
THE MOUNT VERNON DEMOCRATIC CITY COMMITTEE ENDORSES A SLATE OF CRIMINALS

 Article IV § 25 of the Mount Vernon     City Charter provides:

Penalty for violation of duty. Any officer or employee who willfully violates or evades any provision of law, or of this chapter, or by culpable neglect of duty allows any public property to be lost to the City, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, in addition to the penalties imposed by law, shall on conviction forfeit his office or employment.

Article IV § 28 of the Mount Vernon City Charter provides:

An elective officer who has been removed from office under by provision of this chapter shall not be eligible for election to fill the vacancy caused by his removal.

NYS Public Officer’s Law § 30 provides:

Every office shall be vacant upon the happening of one of the following events before the expiration of the term thereof:  ie. his conviction of a felony, or a crime involving the violation of his oath of office…

The Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee endorsed John Boykin for City Council despite the fact that Mr. Boykin has an open court case for D.W.I..  Mr. Boykin, former Mayoral Aide to former Mayor Clinton Young, was caught on tape threatening a community activist that refused to go along with the status quo. Mr. Boykin also crashed a city owned vehicle while he was intoxicated resulting in a lawsuit costing City of Mount Vernon taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. 

February 6, 2009

MOUNT VERNON – City officials have a potential lawsuit on their hands after an aide to the mayor got into an accident last month in a city-owned vehicle.

Lisa Copeland, former Mount Vernon City Clerk was also endorsed by the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee for Mount Vernon City Council.  While employed as a City Clerk, Lisa Copeland obstructed a federal investigation into City Hall by destroying thousands of documents, including financial disclosure forms of Mayor Davis.

THE MOUNT VERNON CITY CHARTER  MANDATED FORFEITURE OF PUBLIC OFFICE AFTER GUILY PLEA TO TAX EVASION CHARGES

On October 14, 2014, Mayor Ernie Davis plead guilty to two counts of  § 26 USC 7203 Willful failure to file U.S Individual and Corporate Tax Return.  Mayor Davis’ office was forfeited upon Mayor Davis’ guilty plea according to the Mount Vernon City Charter.  Article IV § 28 of the Mount Vernon City Charter, §30 of the Public Officers’ Law and New York case law all provide that Mayor Davis’ tax conviction on federal tax crimes renders him ineligible for election in the Democratic Primary election to be held on September 10, 2015.  Davis’ position as Mayor of the City of Mount Vernon was automatically vacated pursuant to the self-executing statutes of the City Charter and the Pubic Officers’ Law.  He was removed from office by operation of law.  The fact that Mayor Davis unlawfully refuses to resign, in contravention of these laws, or the State Attorney General has not yet removed him during the present term does not legitimatize the validity of him seeking election to a new term of office.

 

JOHN BOYKIN ARRESTED FOR D.W.I.
ARRESTED FOR ALCOHOL CONTENT OF .08% OR MORE
ARRESTED FOR UNLICENSED DRIVER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- BED BUG EPIDEMIC IN MOUNT VERNON POLICE DEPARTMENT

§ MEDIA ADVISORY §
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COMMUNITY ACTIVIST SAMUEL L. RIVERS CALLS ON MAYOR ERNEST D. DAVIS AND THE MOUNT VERNON POLICE DEPARTMENT TO ADDRESS GROWING BED BUG PROBLEM IN MOUNT VERNON POLICE DEPARTMENT AND IN SQUAD CARS

“Citizens and Police Officers are at high risk of exposure to nuisance creatures, ” says Rivers

MT. VERNON, NY (August 8, 2015) – Saturday, August 8, 2015, Community Activist Samuel L. Rivers calls on Mayor Ernest D. Davis and Police Commissioner Terrance Raynor to come clean with the public and let them know what exactly is being done to combat a growing bed bug epidemic in the Mount Vernon Police Department and in Mount Vernon Police Department Squad cars.

A reliable source has confirmed with Rivers that as many as six squad cars have been treated this week because of bed bug infestations.  Bed Bug are parasitic insects that feed exclusively on blood. Bed Bugs feed on their hosts without being noticed.  A number of adverse health effects may result from bed bug bites including, skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic reactions.  It is very difficult and time consuming process to get rid of bed bugs and usually takes several treatments.

“The silence from the Davis administration on the bed bug issue is of great concern because prisoners in custody of the Mount Vernon Police Department and Police Officers and other personnel are at risk of carrying and transporting these parasites home,” said Rivers.

Rivers is calling on Mayor Davis and Commissioner Raynor to release a plan of action to the public on what is being done about the bed bug epidemic in the Mount Vernon Police Department.  “If six police cars are out of service instead of the normal eight cars, public safety is severely impacted in the City of Mount Vernon,” said Rivers.

For questions, comment, or to schedule an interview please contact Samuel L. Rivers
directly at 914-760-8136

WESTCHESTER DEM CRIME BOSS REGGIE LAFAYETTE BUSY AT WORK ILLEGALLY TRYING TO KNOCK MORE OPPOSITION OFF OF BALLOT

WESTCHESTER DEM CRIME BOSS REGGIE LAFAYETTE BUSY AT WORK ILLEGALLY TRYING TO KNOCK MORE OPPOSITION OFF OF BALLOT

Mount Vernon Exposed has learned that Crime Dem Boss Reggie Lafayette is busy trying to knock off another candidate not endorsed by his the criminal regime; The Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee.

A political insider informed Mount Vernon Exposed that a secret meeting was held on Monday, July 27, 2015, the same day of Raynette Turner’s death, for the purpose of trying to eliminate Mount Vernon City Councilman Richard Thomas from the Mayoral race. Thomas is viewed as a threat to many of the “good ole’ boy network” status quo.  In attendance at this meeting were Senator Ruth Thompson, Clinton Young, Mayor Ernest Davis, Reggie Lafayette, and Serepher Conn-Halevi.

The meeting was called immediately after news broke of the Raynette Turner death.  According to the insider, it was discussed of everyone throwing his or her support behind embattled Senator Ruth Hassel Thompson.  Thompson has come under fire for still not paying building permit fees and obtaining Architectural Board of Review approval for illegally changing her roof from slate to asphalt.

Commissioner Lafayette and his underlings at the Westchester Board of Elections went through Councilman Thomas’ petitions before any objections were filed, a clear violation of New York State Election law.

Mary Young-Graves, sister of Mayoral candidate Clinton Young, and Lafayette’s former long-time girlfriend, supplied detailed specifications of objections to her husband Eric Graves, who was the objector to Councilman Thomas’ designating petition.  Senator Thompson’s camp was also an objector to Councilman Thomas’ petition.  Crime boss Reggie hired his former beau after Clinton Young lost the Democratic Primary to current convicted criminal Mayor Ernest D. Davis.  According to a reliable source, Mary was promised a job as Chief-of Staff in the Hassel administration if she was successful in eliminating Councilman Thomas from the race.

Critics have also called on Crime Boss Reggie to turn over Hassel-Thompson petitions to the United States attorney after Reggie was caught on tape admitting that Thompson’s petitions contained fraud.  Mount Vernon Exposed is in receipt of information that shows that several deceased persons signed Senator Hassell’s petitions.

The United Stated Department of Justice must investigate the serious allegations at once.  Faith in the electoral process with not be restored until Reggie is no longer at the helm of Corruption Express.

To be continued.

CLICK HERE TO HEAR CRIME BOSS REGGIE LAFAYETTE ADMIT TO PETITION FRAUD COMMITTED BY HIS OWN PARTY.  AS ELECTION COMMISSIONER, REGGIE HAS A FIDUCIARY DUTY TO TURN OVER FRAUD TO THE U.S. ATTORNEY AND/OR THE WESTCHESTER DISTRICT ATTORNEY.  PLEASE CALL THE U.S. ATTORNEY TODAY AND ASK THEM TO INVESTIGATE REGGIE LAFAYETTE AND THE ENTIRE WESTCHESTER COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS AND RESTORE INTEGRITY TO THE ELECTION PROCESS.

To Be Continued.

NEGLIGENCE AND CORRUPTION LED TO THE DEATH OF RAYNETTE TURNER

NEGLIGENCE AND CORRUPTION LED TO THE DEATH OF RAYNETTE TURNER
CLICK ON PHOTO TO READ LATEST UPDATE POSTED IN THE JOURNAL NEWSOngoing corruption and incompetence in the Davis administration ultimately led to the death of Raynette Turner.

Mount Vernon Police Officials refused to send Ms Turner back to the hospital after she threw up in the holding cell in the courthouse. Instead of sending her to the hospital, Mount Vernon Police officials sent her back to her cell where she died moments later.

Was Ms. Turner Poisoned by the sub par food served to inmates that isn’t fit for a rat to eat? The Bird’s Nest Restaurant on Third Street in Mount Vernon has the contract to provide food to inmates. According to a political insider, The owner of the Bird’s Nest is a mistress of Mayor Davis. The Insider also revealed the Deputy Commissioner Burke instructed the owner of the Bird’s Nest to make the food as nasty as possible or he would take the contract away.

The United States Justice Department must investigate the Mount Vernon Police Department at once.

WESTCHESTER ELECTION CHEIF REGGIE LAFAYETTE PROVIDES ENDORSED PARTY CANDIDATE LISA CROPLAND WITH OBJECTIONS NEEDED TO REMOVE OPPONENT FROM BALLOT

WESTCHESTER ELECTION CHEIF REGGIE LAFAYETTE PROVIDES ENDORSED PARTY CANDIDATE LISA CROPLAND WITH OBJECTIONS NEEDED TO REMOVE OPPONENT FROM BALLOT

A political insider has informed Mount Vernon Exposed that Crime Boss Reggie Lafayette has reared his conflict of interest head once again.  According to the insider, Crime Boss Reggie and Executive Assistant Tajian Jones had staff members at the Westchester County Board of Elections go through Mount Vernon City Council candidate Andre Wallace’s Designating Petitions.  Taxpayer dollars went to fund the manpower needed to provide Crime Boss Lafayette’s consigliore Lisa Copeland the specific objections needed to remove her opponent from the ballot for the upcoming Democratic Primary to be held on September 10, 2015.

Lisa Copeland, a protégé of Crime Boss Reggie, is the former City Clerk for the City of Mount Vernon.  Crime Boss Reggie was also a City Clerk in the City of Mount Vernon.  Copeland, who is struggling to raise funds for her City Council race, called on help from her former employer for help knocking Andre Wallace of the ballot.  Crime Boss Reggie came to the rescue and provided Lisa Copeland with the specifications of objections needed to knock Andre Wallace off the ballot.

On Monday, July 27, 2015, Lisa Copeland appeared Pro-Se with those objections prepared by Crime Boss Reggie and his staff at the Westchester County Board of Elections.  The case before Judge Emmett Murphy was adjourned until next week because the Westchester County Board of Elections has yet to make a determination.  It will be interesting to see how Crime Boss Reggie rules on this one.

CLICK HERE TO HEAR CRIME BOSS REGGIE LAFAYETTE ADMIT TO PETITION FRAUD COMMITTED BY HIS OWN PARTY.  AS ELECTION COMMISSIONER, REGGIE HAS A FIDUCIARY DUTY TO TURN OVER FRAUD TO THE U.S. ATTORNEY AND/OR THE WESTCHESTER DISTRICT ATTORNEY.  PLEASE CALL THE U.S. ATTORNEY TODAY AND ASK THEM TO INVESTIGATE REGGIE LAFAYETTE AND THE ENTIRE WESTCHESTER COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS AND RESTORE INTEGRITY TO THE ELECTION PROCESS.

To Be Continued.

IS BUILDING COMMISSIONER MARK WARREN THE “BAGMAN’ FOR CRIMINAL MAYOR ERNIE DAVIS?

It is no secret in the City of Mount that the administration’s of convicted criminal Mayor Ernie Davis and Clinton Young were the most corrupt in the history of Mount Vernon.  The Davis and Young regime’s was also the most corrupt in New York State for a city of its size.

In a corrupt regimes, their a facilitator that acts as an intermediary between the public and the regime that employs the facilitator.  The facilitator is also known as the “bagman”.

The “bagman” is responsible for delivery of cash that usually comes from nefarious activities such as racketeering, bribery and extortion to the leader of the regime.   The “bagman” is usually appointed to a position of power and has the authority to makes “things happen” without the consent of the leader of the regime.

During the first few terms of Mayor Davis, the “bagman” of choice was former Mount Vernon Building Commissioner and Treasurer of the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee Ralph Tedesco.

Tedesco was responsible for shaking down contractors looking to do business with the City of Mount Vernon.  These contractors would them make hefty donations and purchase tables at fundraisers thrown by the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee.  Donations would then be funneled to Mayor Davis campaign needs.

Tedesco also made life hard for architects, contractors, and others that didn’t fall in line with the program.  Architectural plans and permits filed with the Department of Buildings would be delayed, especially if you didn’t choose an architect of contractor that was “Mayor Davis” friendly.  In other words, if you didn’t use one of King Ernie’s people, you weren’t getting far.  If you did eventually get a permit without falling victim to Tedesco’s extortion tactics, chances are you have either out your property up for sale or file bankruptcy because of all the monies you expended behind petty plan examiner objections by Tedesco that cost you additional time and money.

 

Clinton Young had a chance to take over and do some real good for the City of Mount Vernon.  Instead, Young displayed his greed from the onset.  Young immediately created unnecessary positions at the taxpayer’s expense.  Young also recklessly gave his staffers raises before they even started in their positions.  Two of these controversial hires were Young’s sister Mary Graves and former corrupt DPW Commissioner Terrence Horton.  Former Clinton Young top aide John Boykin told us on the recording that Tedesco was in fact the “bagman” for Mayor Ernie Davis and Clinton Young.

Young also promised during his campaign for Mayor that he would clean up the Department of Buildings. Instead, Young retained the services of Tedesco and allowed the corruption to continue.  Tedesco’s corruption now knew no boundaries.  Profits were flourishing and Young was getting fatter by the day.  Tedesco became so comfortable with his capers that he started to get sloppy.  It was not until this very website exposed Tedesco for bid rigging that he eventually was forced to resign.
Clinton Young had gotten used to the profits funneled to him through DPW Commissioner Terrence Horton and Building Commissioner Ralph Tedesco and would not allow Tedesco’s departure to slow down the gravy train.  After all Clinton Young is a very lazy man that has depended on public service paychecks for most of his life.

Young would seek out a new “bagman”.  The new “bagman” must not give off the appearance that he is shady or up to no good.  The new “bagman” must give off the impression that he cares about the City of Mount Vernon when if fact the new “bagman” will not live anywhere near the City of Mount Vernon.  The new “bagman” must give off the appearance that reform of the building department is on the way, when in fact; this is just a smokescreen to hide the millions being pilfered from taxpayer coffers.  The new “bagman” must be willing to break the law and take the fall when things get hot; in other words the new “bagman” will be left holding the bag.

Mark Warren was eventually hired as Mayor Young’s “bagman”.  Warren came in appearing to be an upright and moral person that seemed to want to do the right thing for the City of Mount Vernon.

Every administration typically chooses their own Commissioners when they are sworn into office.  Clinton Young kept Ralph Tedesco and Ernie Davis kept Mark Warren.  One must conclude that illicit funds are funneled through the Department of Buildings and the Department of Public Works.

Commissioner Warren is still around doing King Ernie’s dirty work.  On King Ernie’s orders, Commissioner  Warren has issued dozens of illegal permits and allowed businesses to operate that do not have the required Certificates of Occupancy.  Commissioner Warren is the only holdover from the administration of Clinton Young.

Now, Clinton Young wants to come back and be Mayor again in the City of Mount Vernon.  If that happens, one can be assured that the corruption in the Department of Buildings will never end.

TO BE CONTINUED…

WESTCHESTER ELECTION COMMISSIONER REGGIE LAFAYETTE DELIVERS CASH PAYMENTS TO SUPREME COURT JUDGES TO HAVE ELECTION CASES FIXED

WESTCHESTER ELECTION COMMISSIONER REGGIE LAFAYETTE DELIVERS CASH PAYMENTS TO SUPREME COURT JUDGES TO HAVE ELECTION CASES FIXED


A political insider has informed Mount Vernon Exposed that Westchester Count Election Commissioner and Dem Crime Chairman Reginald Lafayette has reached out to all of the Judges in New York State Supreme Court and made deals to have the judge’s rule in his favor.  In return, according to the source, substantial cash payments have already been delivered to the judges and parties appearing before the judges on election matters are only doing so for formality purposes.
Crimes Boss Reggie also promised these Judges support for re-election and even promised two of the judges appointment to the Appellate Court if they do what they have been instructed to do and that is rule in Reggie’s favor involving any cases involving candidates for the City of Mount Vernon.
The U.S. Attorney must investigate Mr. Lafayette and his nefarious business dealings.
Stay tuned as Mount Vernon Exposed covers all of the Mount Vernon cases.
Next up- Crime Boss Reggie’s profitable relationship with Surrogate Court Judge Brandon Sall.

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WESTCHESTER DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN REGGIE LAFAYETTE CAUGHT ON TAPE CONFESSING TO PETITION FRAUD COMMITTED BY HIS OWN PARTY-!!! HEAR THE TAPE NOW !!!

WESTCHESTER DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN REGGIE LAFAYETTE CAUGHT ON TAPE CONFESSING TO PETITION FRAUD COMMITTED BY HIS OWN PARTY

Commissioner Reggie Lafayette week and he confirmed what has long been on the minds of many; that widespread petition fraud is rampant throughout Westchester County, and especially in Mount Vernon, Crime Boss Reggie Lafayette’s hometown.

Mount Vernon Exposed previously reported on the “Cosa Nostra” style of politics that currently takes place in the City of Mount Vernon.  If a candidate wants to run for office in Mount Vernon, a minimum of 1000 valid signatures is required to secure a spot on the ballot.  Candidates usually try to secure two to three times that amount so that they can withstand petition challenges.

Crime Boss Reggie Lafayette is the Westchester County Democratic Chairman, The Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee Chairman, and Westchester County Election Commissioner.  King Reggie has the final in any petition say along with his conflict of interest counterpart, Doug Colety.

Throughout the petition gathering process there were rumors daily of candidates have trouble getting valid signatures for their petitions, namely Ernest D. Davis and Ruth Hassell-Thompson.  Mount Vernon Exposed reviewed both candidates’ petitions on its face and it appeared that both camps had exceeded the required amount of signatures.  Ernie Davis appears on the petition with John Boykin, Adrian Armstrong, and Lisa Copeland.

Earlier today, Mount Vernon Exposed learned that petitions for Ernest D. Davis and Ruth Hassell Thompson, candidates for Mayor contain widespread fraud.  According to a source involved in challenging both candidates’ petitions, names were signed for people when in fact they didn’t sign.  One person told Mount Vernon Exposed that her mother’s name appeared on Senator Thompson’s petition even though her mother has moved away from Mount Vernon over six years ago.

Mount Vernon Exposed telephone Crime Boss Reggie and tape-recorded the conversation.  To listen to the call click HERE.

Mount Vernon Exposed asked Reggie if it was true that he was involved in organized crime and he responded” We can make a joint effort, I can turn all of these petitions over to the U.S. Attorney”.

Mount Vernon Exposed publisher Samuel L. Rivers explained to Reggie that he wasn’t a candidate nor did he carry petitions for anyone for this year’s election, so the issue of fraudulent petitions wouldn’t pertain to him.

Reggie then responded, “No, No, No, No, No, You want to open up something, I will withdraw myself and have the U.S. Attorney and the D.A. act as referee so they can look into fraud…and when they see the fraud on these peoples petitions, a lot of them are going to be in trouble.  Since you wrote that stuff in there I am going to see if Doug wants to do that”.

Rivers then responded ” I think that is a very good idea Reggie, I think you should do that right away…”

Rivers then asked Reggie why he called Rivers an “Uncle Tom” last week when he stopped by the Board of Elections to view petitions for Ernest Davis and Ruth Hassell Thompson.  Reggie responded, “All I really see you do is tear down black people”.

Reggie has a fiduciary duty to the voters of Mount Vernon and Westchester County to turn over all petitions he that knows are fraudulent.  The petitions must be turn over to the F.B.I. as this a systemic part of the process in Mount Vernon politics.  The integrity of the electoral process has been eroded due to Crime Boss Lafayette’s blatant conflicts of interest.

Crime Boss Reggie and Convict Ernie Davis are former business partners.  They owned a liquor store together in Mount Vernon.  There is nothing Reggie is not will to do, including cheating and altering election results, to help his long time friend hold onto power.

Crime Boss Reggie is the Chairman of the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee; the same organization that Reggie said had fraudulent petitions?   How can the Chairman of the Westchester Democratic and Westchester County Election Commissioner allowed to run rampant rigging elections without any checks and balances?

At once, Reggie must turn over Ernie Davis’ and Ruth Hassell-Thompsons’ fraudulent petitions to the F.B.I. for investigation.  The Westchester District Attorney in conflicted out because Westchester D.A. Janet DiFiore contributed $10,000 to Reggie’s campaign account.  If any candidate’s petitions contain fraud, they should be arrested and charged and their name shall not be placed on the ballot for the upcoming Democratic Primary on September 10, 2015

To be continued….

IS BUILDING COMMISSIONER MARK WARREN THE “BAGMAN’ FOR CRIMINAL MAYOR ERNIE DAVIS?

It is no secret in the City of Mount that the administration’s of convicted criminal Mayor Ernie Davis and Clinton Young were the most corrupt in the history of Mount Vernon.  The Davis and Young regime’s was also the most corrupt in New York State for a city of its size.

In a corrupt regimes, their a facilitator that acts as an intermediary between the public and the regime that employs the facilitator.  The facilitator is also known as the “bagman”.

The “bagman” is responsible for delivery of cash that usually comes from nefarious activities such as racketeering, bribery and extortion to the leader of the regime.   The “bagman” is usually appointed to a position of power and has the authority to makes “things happen” without the consent of the leader of the regime.

During the first few terms of Mayor Davis, the “bagman” of choice was former Mount Vernon Building Commissioner and Treasurer of the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee Ralph Tedesco.

Tedesco was responsible for shaking down contractors looking to do business with the City of Mount Vernon.  These contractors would them make hefty donations and purchase tables at fundraisers thrown by the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee.  Donations would then be funneled to Mayor Davis campaign needs.

Tedesco also made life hard for architects, contractors, and others that didn’t fall in line with the program.  Architectural plans and permits filed with the Department of Buildings would be delayed, especially if you didn’t choose an architect of contractor that was “Mayor Davis” friendly.  In other words, if you didn’t use one of King Ernie’s people, you weren’t getting far.  If you did eventually get a permit without falling victim to Tedesco’s extortion tactics, chances are you have either out your property up for sale or file bankruptcy because of all the monies you expended behind petty plan examiner objections by Tedesco that cost you additional time and money.

 

Clinton Young had a chance to take over and do some real good for the City of Mount Vernon.  Instead, Young displayed his greed from the onset.  Young immediately created unnecessary positions at the taxpayer’s expense.  Young also recklessly gave his staffers raises before they even started in their positions.  Two of these controversial hires were Young’s sister Mary Graves and former corrupt DPW Commissioner Terrence Horton.  Former Clinton Young top aide John Boykin told us on the recording that Tedesco was in fact the “bagman” for Mayor Ernie Davis and Clinton Young.

Young also promised during his campaign for Mayor that he would clean up the Department of Buildings. Instead, Young retained the services of Tedesco and allowed the corruption to continue.  Tedesco’s corruption now knew no boundaries.  Profits were flourishing and Young was getting fatter by the day.  Tedesco became so comfortable with his capers that he started to get sloppy.  It was not until this very website exposed Tedesco for bid rigging that he eventually was forced to resign.
Clinton Young had gotten used to the profits funneled to him through DPW Commissioner Terrence Horton and Building Commissioner Ralph Tedesco and would not allow Tedesco’s departure to slow down the gravy train.  After all Clinton Young is a very lazy man that has depended on public service paychecks for most of his life.

Young would seek out a new “bagman”.  The new “bagman” must not give off the appearance that he is shady or up to no good.  The new “bagman” must give off the impression that he cares about the City of Mount Vernon when if fact the new “bagman” will not live anywhere near the City of Mount Vernon.  The new “bagman” must give off the appearance that reform of the building department is on the way, when in fact; this is just a smokescreen to hide the millions being pilfered from taxpayer coffers.  The new “bagman” must be willing to break the law and take the fall when things get hot; in other words the new “bagman” will be left holding the bag.

Mark Warren was eventually hired as Mayor Young’s “bagman”.  Warren came in appearing to be an upright and moral person that seemed to want to do the right thing for the City of Mount Vernon.

Every administration typically chooses their own Commissioners when they are sworn into office.  Clinton Young kept Ralph Tedesco and Ernie Davis kept Mark Warren.  One must conclude that illicit funds are funneled through the Department of Buildings and the Department of Public Works.

Commissioner Warren is still around doing King Ernie’s dirty work.  On King Ernie’s orders, Commissioner  Warren has issued dozens of illegal permits and allowed businesses to operate that do not have the required Certificates of Occupancy.  Commissioner Warren is the only holdover from the administration of Clinton Young.

Now, Clinton Young wants to come back and be Mayor again in the City of Mount Vernon.  If that happens, one can be assured that the corruption in the Department of Buildings will never end.

TO BE CONTINUED…

EXCLUSIVE- USE OF N-WORD NEVER OCCURRED DURING CITY COUNCIL “TIFF”, CITY COUCIL PRESIDENT MARCUS GRIFFITH TELLS RESIDENT TO SELL HOME AND MOVE

EXCLUSIVE- USE OF N-WORD NEVER OCCURRED DURING CITY COUNCIL “TIFF”, CITY COUCIL PRESIDENT MARCUS GRIFFITH TELLS RESIDENT TO SELL HOME AND MOVE


Mount Vernon Exposed spoke with a Mount Vernon City Councilperson who said the use of the N-Word by Councilman Thomas never occurred and that the incident reported in the news was fabricated and exaggerated by City Council President Marcus Griffith on orders from convicted Criminal Mayor Ernie Davis and Westchester Dem Crime Boss Reggie Lafayette.

According to the Councilperson that was present during the “tiff” here is what went down:

During the City Council, Committee of the Whole Meeting, which occurs one day before the public City Council meeting, City Councilman Thomas was a little late, and rightfully so.  Councilman Thomas’ wife is six months pregnant with their second child.  Councilman Thomas’s wasn’t feeling well that evening is the reason that Thomas was late to the meeting.

When Thomas arrived to the meeting, it was obvious that he was fatigued and a little bothered.  Marcus Griffith immediately began to get under the skin of Councilman Thomas by stating “Nice of you to join us this evening Councilman”.  Councilman Thomas replied, ” My wife wasn’t feeling well”.  Council President Griffith then said, “Your fucking wife…” 

It was then that Council President Thomas got upset and stood up asking, “What is your f-ing problem”? Council President Griffith then stood up and said, “You are my f-ing problem, someone who wants to be Mayor can’t even make meetings on time”.  

At no point in time was anyone ever threatened and no one used the N-Word.  In fact when Griffith and Thomas started to argue, a third councilperson got in between them and told them to cool down and to knock it off. 

According to the City Councilperson that was present both men used profanity but said Griffith clearly provoked the incident but no racial slurs were ever used during the “tiff” and no threats of bodily harm were used”

According to a political insider, City Council President Marcus Griffith is on Mayor Ernie Davis’ payroll and is under orders to attack Councilman Thomas at every opportunity to try to discredit what he says so it can help Mayor Davis out during the campaign.

During Mayor Davis’ interview with Verizon Fios, which can be heard by clicking, herehere, and here (3 part interview), Davis called the Media lazy, and in this case Mount Vernon Exposed agrees with Davis’ remarks.

Instead of thoroughly investigating the story, News12 reported on an incident that happened over two weeks ago only because the Davis campaign kept pushing for coverage.  News12 provided lousy coverage and as usual, reported facts incorrectly and did not detect that they are being used in the smear campaign against Thomas.

With just a little more effort, and a simple Google search, News12 would have discovered that Marcus Griffith was recorded telling a Mount Vernon City taxpayers to sell his home and move out of Mount Vernon if he doesn’t like how things are running in Mount Vernon.  Griffith even told the resident he is an embarrassment to the City of Mount Vernon. Why wasn’t this reported in the News? Marcus Griffith’s comments can be heard here .

Further investigating by News12 would have also revealed that the Davis campaign, led by Griffith, stands also accused of copyright infringement for taking a fabricated letter to the editor and then, without knowledge of permission from the editor, distributed it around Mount Vernon to make it appear that the Mount Vernon Inquirer endorsed City Council Marcus Griffith’s version of the events.

The Author of the fabricated letter to the editor is Denise Cardozo Branch who is employed in the Davis Admonition.  Branch is a close family friend of Mayor Davis and is the Aunt of Deputy Corporation Counsel Brian Johnson.  Branch was not even in attendance the day of the meeting and had the wrong date in her letter to the editor. Branch’s son, Latt George is also employed in DPW, also hired by Davis.  A DPW spokesman, said Latt George is out on disability after faking an injury.  Taxpayers are picking up the tab for Latt’s corruption.


According to the Mount Vernon Inquirer website, which can be found here: an editorial was written about the letter to the editor debacle:

Editorial

Was I exploited for political reasons?

Some time ago I predicted that the current mayoral race was going to be one of the dirtiest in Mount Vernon’s history – and I was right. However,  I never thought that I would become an actual victim.

On Monday, July 13, I received a Letter to the Editor from a woman I happen to know, who works at the Armory as an assistant. In the letter she clearly implies that she attended and witnessed  a  volatile altercation ensue between City Council President Marcus Griffith and City Councilman Richard Thomas,“. . . at a regular scheduled City Council meeting on June 24.”  In fact, the incident occurred at a June 23rd council work session, open to the public but not recorded.  She also mentioned in the letter that Thomas used the “N” word and threatened to assault Griffith.   The date discrepancies alone raise critical “red flags” as to the authenticity of this letter.

I do not accept Letters to the Editor from anonymous individuals, but in this case I knew the lady and placed the letter on the Inquirer’s website, trusting that the information in the letter was accurate.

After consulting with my staff about the letter, I decided to make some telephone calls, and several individuals apprised me that the woman who sent me the letter never attended the meeting.  I immediately took the letter off the Inquirer’s website —less than two hours after I had posted it.  Needless to say, I felt that I had been duped.

On Tuesday, July 14, at 7 AM, I received an email with an attachment.  Guess what the attachment contained? It was an actual copy of the letter that I had posted and removed from my website.  Outrageously, the individuals behind this dirty campaign ploy had the nerve to use the Inquirer’s mast at the top of the letter illegally, giving the impression that my newspaper actually stands behind the letter. I also learned that thousands of these letters were printed up and are being distributed throughout Mount Vernon.  It is amazing how low people will stoop for political gain.

My newspaper has been in existence since 2004, and readers respect it because the content is based on truthful journalism, since I do not have ties to anybody in Mount Vernon.  Readers also know that I try to remain neutral and do not endorse politicians. I made the mistake of endorsing a mayoral candidate many years ago and I am still regretting it until this day.

Mount Vernon is a great city and I love the people, but the city is badly broken and divided as never before.  This current mayoral race is critically important and the voters must not be allowed to be misinformed by individuals that will lie, cheat, and stop at nothing to have their candidate elected.

So, let your voice be heard by going to the polls on Primary Day and Election Day. Don’t waste your vote by staying home, because every vote counts.

Joseph A. Parisi
Publisher/Editor 

City Council President Griffith even has had Mount Vernon Exposed publisher Samuel L. Rivers removed from City Council chambers when Rivers began questioning Griffith about the L.E.D. contract Griffith awarded to his buddy Terrence Horton.  As a scare tactics, Griffith in cahoots with Mount Vernon City Clerk George Brown, have as many as four (4) uniformed officers present during the City Council meeting to intimidate Rivers from speaking.  Mount Vernon has over 50 unsolved homicides over the past several years.  Perhaps these officers should be out trying to solve murders and real crimes and not harassing the citizens of Mount Vernon who challenge the corruption of the Davis regime.

To be continued: Marcus Griffith’s Rise to Power

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WESTCHESTER DEM BOSS REGGIE LAFAYETTE, MAYOR ERNIE DAVIS, AND MOUNT VERNON DEMS TIED TO ORGANIZED CRIME.

WESTCHESTER DEM BOSS REGGIE LAFAYETTE, MAYOR ERNIE DAVIS, AND MOUNT VERNON DEMS TIED TO ORGANIZED CRIME.


Many of us grew up on stories, movies and books of the Cosa Nostra, the criminal syndicate in SicilyItaly. It was a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct. Each group, known as a “family”, “clan”, or “cosca“, claims sovereignty over a territory, usually a town or village or a neighborhood (borgata) of a larger city, in which it operates it’s rackets. Its members call themselves “men of honor”, although the public often refers to them as “Mafiosi”. The Mafia’s core activities are protection racketeering, the arbitration of disputes between criminals, and the organizing and oversight of illegal agreements and transactions

Westchester Democrats have adopted this theme, creating a political landscape, which they control, with their own code of conduct. Anyone who is a threat to his or her way of life much like the criminal syndicate, the Cosa Nostra, either gets the choice to get down or get put down


The players on the Westchester Democrat syndicate are Reginald Lafayette, the Democratic Don of Don’s (Westchester County Democratic Chairman, Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee Chairman and Westchester County Board of Elections Commissioner), George Brown, Mount Vernon City Clerk, Marcus Griffith, President of the Mount Vernon City Council, and John Boykin City Council Candidate, and glorified henchman/bagman, who often carries out the dirty work so his superior’s hands stay clean and the Mount Vernon Capo, Mayor Ernie Davis are just a few of the key players who we publicly see, but there are many more behind the scenes (some outside of the City of Mount Vernon), those who are nameless or faceless hit man who do whatever the bosses’ need to be done.

The Mafia controlled everything from the street corner drug trade to the highest levels of government.  The Westchester Democratic Criminal Syndicate under Don Reggie Lafayette and the multiple hats he wears, control who runs for office and who makes the ballot.  If a rogue element surfaces that threatens business, they plot to take him down.  Many allegations of voter fraud and election rigging have never been able to stick because of Lafayette’s relationship with Westchester County District Attorney Janet Difiore.

It has been alleged that one such plot was overheard in Mount Vernon City Hall on Tuesday July 14th. The topic of discussion was the threat of the upcoming election and City Council candidate, Andre Wallace. Brown, Griffith, Boykin and Lafayette (who is was unclear if he was there in person or on speaker phone) planned a detailed plot to take out Wallace, who to date has been able to circumvent the current power structure, refusing to kiss the ring of Lafayette and has been gaining major momentum on his own.

A day after Wallace’s star-studded golf outing and fundraiser, these key players gathered in the City Clerk’s office to surgically take down, discredit and remove Wallace from the race. A meeting with a spokesperson of the Dems was set to get Wallace to drop out of the race, because the Mount Vernon Democratic powers that be saw him as a threat despite the fact he was only running for City Council. The henchman even offered Wallace a bride to drop out the race.

Wallace is a wildcard who they can’t control. He can outspend them and is garnering much support from the business leaders who are tired of the way things have been run so far. The dangerous thing is many of these business owners are the ones the Syndicate has been extorting to finance their way of life.

Westchester’s Democrat Syndicate has long built alliances with nontraditional organized groups in the county especially where the City of Mt. Vernon is concerned. Wallace is a danger because those who have been taking advantage of during Davis’ rule of Mount Vernon see Wallace as one of their own and they are ready to back him to get in City Hall and represent their interest, something that hasn’t been done in decades. What we are seeing is a systemic structure of corruption of the highest level.

When there is prolonged evidence of organized crime (and that is what we are talking about, what the Westchester Democrats are doing under Lafayette is no less that organized crime) the federal government steps in. On the FBI’s website, it states, “It’s not just the mafia anymore. Today, organized crime comes at us from every corner of the globe.”

We may need the FBI to come in and impose the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act which is effective tool in an effort to combat Mafia, ad we see a necessity for an independent federal election monitor to end the corruption being committed in Westchester County electoral process.

Although Lafayette’s dual roles and organized control of the electoral process may be worthy of a RICO Act violation, it is codified as Chapter 96 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, which deals with federal crimes and criminal procedure. Although it was intended to be used against the Mafia and others engaged in organized crime, the RICO Act has been used to prosecute all sorts of criminal activity. We may need to ask if Lafayette’s control in the Democratic Party of Westchester County qualifies.

While that maybe something the government looks at later if Lafayette remains in control of the party, at the very least we need to be demanding Election Monitoring under Section 8 of the Voting Rights Act. Federal Monitors come in when the Department of Justice learns of election-related problems that may appear to warrant the assignment of federal observers.

There is longtime history of questionable activity under Lafayette’s reign. The Westchester Guardian reported: “There have been Democratic candidates in Westchester who have definitely suffered under that circumstance, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, in the contest for the 35th District State Senate seat in 2004, most notable among them.”

To sum things up, this pattern of behavior has been going on in Westchester for far too long. Now is the time for federal observers to monitor he upcoming Mount Vernon Mayoral race, so we can have a fair election.

To be continued…

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