YONKERS WATCHDOG.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Bee Line Bus

Every February, there are adjustments in Bee-Line bus service throughout Westchester County.  Frequently, they involve the addition or subtraction of a bus on a particular route.  Sometimes, however, entire routes are eliminated.

Unfortunately, the Board of Legislators rarely, if ever, receives advance warning about service cutbacks.  Generally, we find out when citizens like yourselves complain to a legislator’s office.

So far, I’ve received word from the public about two possible bus cutbacks affecting the residents in the communities I represent.  The first was the elimination of one bus on the route from Ardsley to the Hartsdale Train Station.  The second is the elimination of all service on High Street and Farragut Parkway/Farragut Avenue (all the way to Mount Hope Boulevard) in Hastings-on-Hudson.  These service cutbacks are likely to begin on or about March 7.

If you have received word of any other cutbacks, please inform my office (the contact information is below).

Any elimination of bus service imposes inconvenience, if not hardship, to someone.  In a time of scarce resources, Peter sometimes has to be robbed to pay Paul; but the Board of Legislators, and the public, are entitled to see the statistics justifying changes in service.  At our Infrastructure Committee meeting yesterday, I asked representatives from the County Department of Public Works and Transportation for those statistics.  If you are interested in receiving the information when I receive it, let me know and we’ll put you on a notification list.

For those of you who will suffer inconvenience or hardship as a result of changes in bus service, please let me know.  I also strongly recommend that you inform the County Executive as well.  His office can be reached at 995-2900 or RAstorino@westchestergov.com.

And certainly, pass this information on to friends, neighbors or employees who may be affected.

Sincerely,

MaryJane Shimsky

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I want to assure you that the drinking water in Water District 1 is of the same high quality that it has been for decades and is safe to drink.

Several years ago, the County of Westchester (the County) was required by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide ultraviolet treatment to the water. The County negotiated a consent decree in early 2015 with the EPA to bring the County in compliance with the Federal Clean Drinking Water Act. The County is meeting the benchmarks required by the consent decree.

You recently received the required quarterly correspondence regarding the ultraviolent treatment for Water District 1. Water District 1, managed by the County, includes White Plains, Scarsdale, Mount Vernon and Yonkers.

Again, the drinking water in Water District 1 is safe to drink.

I have included the write-up from my Summer 2015 Newsletter regarding our drinking water for your review.

http://www.westchesterlegislators.com/enewsletter/2016/20160209_SafeDrinkingWater.jpg

Please forward this information to your family and friends.

Sincerely,

Ben Boykin

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As your new County Legislator, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and let you know what I will be working on during the 2016-2017 legislative term.

I am honored to have been appointed Chairwoman of the Appointments Committee.  All the Board of Legislators meetings are streamed live and on demand on the Board of Legislators web site at www.westchesterlegislators.com.

In addition to my work on the Appointments Committee, I will also be serving on two other committees, Budget and Appropriations (B&A) as well as Labor, Parks, Planning and Housing (LPPH).

I have also been meeting with local government officials within my district to hear the needs of their communities.  This will enable us to work together and move our county and communities forward.

Mock Legislature

I am also working with the local school districts to facilitate mock legislative sessions with 5th graders within District 3.  I have been able to work with students from Byram Hills and I am looking forward to having more students visit the Board of Legislators and experience what it is like to be a “Legislator for a day”.

My job is to provide you, my constituents, with accessible and responsive representation in County government.

Please feel free to email me at Cunzio@westchesterlegislators.com or call my office at 914-995-2847.

I am looking forward to serving you as your County Legislator and I hope we can work together to help make our county and communities the best they can be.

Sincerely,

Margaret A. Cunzio

___________________________________________________________

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Metrocard Van

I’m happy to let you know that Westchester County’s full-service MetroCard Mobile Van, provided by the County’s Department of Transportation in conjunction with the MTA New York City Transit Authority, will be making rounds throughout Westchester, including Yonkers, to assist riders interested in purchasing MetroCards.

MetroCards can be used on the county’s Bee-Line bus system as well as New York City’s transit system. The MetroCard Mobile Van provides transit riders with a “one-stop shop” for all MetroCard services. In addition, staff will be available to explain rates, discounts and answer any questions.

Regular MetroCards will be available for purchase and existing cards may be refilled.

Riders will also be able to apply for reduced rates if they are 65 and older or have qualifying disabilities.

For your convenience, a list of Yonkers dates are listed below.  For other cities, dates and times or if you have any questions regarding the MetroCard Mobile Van and other MetroCard locations, call the Bee-Line Hotline at (914) 813-7777.

MetroCard is the automated regional fare collection system managed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Sincerely,

Metrocard Van Schedule
Monday, Feb. 15 Location
10 a.m. – noon New Rochelle Huguenot St./North Ave.
1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Mount Vernon August Petrillo Plaza
(Across from Food Town Supermarket near
Mount Vernon East Train Station)
Tuesday, Feb. 16
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m Peekskill at Peekskill Library
1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. Tarrytown Wildey and Cortlandt Sts. (By McDonalds)
Wednesday, Feb. 17
10 a.m. – noon Yonkers City Hall/MCU Building, 36-40 South
Broadway
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. White Plains Trans-Center Water Street and N.
Lexington Ave.
Thursday, Feb. 18
10 a.m. – noon Yonkers City Hall/MCU Building, 36-40 South Broadway
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. White Plains Galleria Mall Main St./MLK Blvd.
Friday, Feb. 19
9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Yonkers Will Library 1500 Central Park Ave./Tuckahoe Rd.
Saturday, Feb. 20
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Yonkers City Hall/MCU Building, 36-40 South Broadway
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. White Plains Galleria Mall/Forever 21, Main Street/MLK Blvd.,

Estimados Amigos y Vecinos,

Estoy contenta de avisarles que la Van Móvil de servicios completo de MetroCard en el Condado de Westchester, estará proveída por el Departamento de Transportación del Condado en conjunto a la Autoridad de Transito MTA New York City, y estará viajando a través del Condado, incluyendo a Yonkers, para asistir a pasajeros interesados en comprar las MetroCards.

MetroCards pueden ser usadas en el los autobuses Bee-Line del Condado igual que en la Ciudad de Nueva York. La Van Móvil de MetroCard proveerá a los pasajeros “compras de una-parada” para todos los servicios de MetroCard. Adicionalmente, empleados estarán disponibles para explicar los precios, descuentos y cualquier otra pregunta que tengan.

MetroCards regulares estarán disponibles para comprar y tarjetas actualmente en existencia podrán ser rellenadas.

Pasajeros también podrán aplicar para tarifas reducidas si son mayores de 65 años de edad o con discapacidades calificantes.

Para su conveniencia, abajo encontrara una lista de fechas que la van estará en Yonkers. Para otras ciudades, fechas y horas y preguntas sobre la Van Móvil de MetroCard u otros lugares de MetroCard, llamen la Línea Telefónica de Bee-Line (914) 813-7777.

MetroCard es el sistema automatizado de tarifas regionales manejadas por la Autoridad de Transportación Metropolitana (MTA).

Sinceramente,

Horario de la Van Metrocard
Lunes, 15 de Feb. Lugar
10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. New Rochelle Huguenot St./North Ave.
1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Mount Vernon August Petrillo Plaza
(Across from Food Town Supermarket near
Mount Vernon East Train Station)
Martes, 16 de Feb.
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m Peekskill at Peekskill Library
1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. Tarrytown Wildey and Cortlandt Sts. (By McDonalds)
Miércoles 17 de Feb.
10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Yonkers City Hall/MCU Building, 36-40 South
Broadway
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. White Plains Trans-Center Water Street and N.
Lexington Ave.
Jueves, 18 de Feb.
10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Yonkers City Hall/MCU Building, 36-40 South Broadway
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. White Plains Galleria Mall Main St./MLK Blvd.
Viernes, 19 de Feb.
9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Yonkers Will Library 1500 Central Park Ave./Tuckahoe Rd.
Sábado, 20 de Feb.
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Yonkers City Hall/MCU Building, 36-40 South Broadway
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. White Plains Galleria Mall/Forever 21, Main Street/MLK Blvd.

 

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The City of White Plains is preparing an action plan for the Downtown White Plains Transit District. It is focused on redefining the area ​immediately surrounding the White Plains Metro North and Bee-Line Bus ​Stations and beyond​​ ​toward the downtown core.

Join us to share your unique perspectives and ideas for a more active, sustainable, walkable, and better organized area at the Imagine Downtown White Plains Transit District’s Public Open House and Idea Sharing meeting hosted by Mayor Roach.

There will be presentations about the project and opportunities for the public to share their ideas for the future of the Downtown White Plains Transit District.

Where:
White Plains Public Library, 2nd Floor
100 Martine Ave, White Plains, NY 10601

When:
Thursday, February 11, 2016

6:30-8:30 PM

The invitation is attached below.  The Library is fully accessible.

Please forward this e-news to family and friends who may be interested in this information.

Sincerely,

Ben Boykin

Public Safety Committee to Hold Emergency Preparedness Session with Israeli Expert

WHO: – Legislator Ben Boykin, Chairman of the Committee on Public Safety & Social Services
– Yoni Yagadovsky, Director of International Relations for Magen David Adom
– Other Legislators and members of the Committee
WHAT: Magen David Adom (MDA) is Israel’s ambulance, blood-services, and disaster-relief organization, serving as emergency medical first responders for the state’s more than 8 million people. MDA is the only organization mandated by the Israeli  government to serve in this role.

Yoni Yagadovsky is the Director of International Relations for Magen David Adom.  He has been involved in the response to almost every mass casualty incident that’s taken place in the last 25 years in the Jerusalem region.  He also runs training drills and maintains relationships with all MDA friends’ societies around the world.  He began his tenure at MDA as a youth volunteer in 1975, became an EMT in 1981, got his paramedic certification in 1990, and has held his current position since 2004.  He previously served as the director of MDA’s Jerusalem region.

WHEN: Monday, February 8 at 12:00 Noon

RSVP: Melanie Montalto, (914) 995-8620 by February 5

WHERE: Westchester County Board of Legislators
148 Martine Avenue, 8th Floor
White Plains, NY

Please forward this e-news to family and friends who may be interested in this information.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

BHM Invite

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Residents who suffered losses during Superstorm Sandy may have a second chance to obtain federal assistance.  My office received the following email about Small Business Administration aid.  We hope that this information will help those still trying to get back on their feet.

Sincerely,

MaryJane Shimsky


News Release

SBA Encourages Superstorm Sandy Survivors to
Apply for Disaster Assistance

NEW YORK – Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and member of President Obama’s Cabinet, was in New York City today to promote disaster assistance for survivors of Superstorm Sandy. She joined Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (NY-7), Ranking Member of the Small Business Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, to announce that the SBA has reopened the filing period for survivors in all states affected by Superstorm Sandy to apply for low-interest disaster loans. The new filing deadline for physical damage and economic injury losses is December 1, 2016.

Administrator Contreras-Sweet stated, “The additional time for businesses, homeowners and renters to request federal disaster loans will go a long way in continuing to support the rebuilding efforts of the communities affected by Superstorm Sandy. I want to thank the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Small Business Committees for their leadership on this issue. I was pleased to join Rep. Velazquez in her district today to make sure those impacted by this disaster take advantage of this expanded opportunity.  To date, the agency has received more than 1,000 applications.  We have improved processing time on applications and, on average, provide a disaster loan decision in eight days and cash disbursement on average five days after receipt of loan closing documents.  To date, we have approved $2.5 billion dollars in loan assistance to more than 37,000 individuals and businesses affected by Sandy.”

In December, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Recovery Improvements for Small Entities (RISE) After Disaster Act of 2015, which gives the SBA Administrator the authority to make disaster loans for Superstorm Sandy for a period of one year. The bill authorizes SBA to revise the disaster deadline for major Presidential declarations for Superstorm Sandy in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.  Additionally, SBA will be accepting applications under its related agency declarations for North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Virginia, West Virginia and certain counties in Maryland.

SBA has opened disaster centers across select counties in the affected areas and reviews activity levels on a continuous basis. SBA has made more than 370,000 phone calls and sent 286,000 emails to inform people that it is accepting disaster loan applications again.

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private non-profit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate.  Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates are as low as 1.688 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years.  Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Survivors may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Additional details on the locations of recovery centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is December 1, 2016. The deadline to return economic injury applications is December 1, 2016.

For more information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program, visit our website at www.sba.gov/disaster.

 

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The new year has brought new incentives for Con Edison customers who purchase eligible energy-efficient appliances for their homes.

The company will give customers $75 for buying eligible high-efficiency refrigerators, $50 for dishwashers, $35 for clothes washers and $20 for dehumidifiers.

And though air conditioning may not be first on New Yorkers’ minds during winter, customers will need to cool off a few months from now. Con Edison will help residential customers with $30 rebates for eligible room ACs.

Customers can get information about Con Edison’s incentives for residential appliances by going to http://www.coned.com/energyefficiency/energystar.asp

Owners of multi-family buildings with at least five residential units can qualify for incentives as well.

The multifamily program provides incentives for upgrades to gas and electric equipment. Eligible projects include LED light fixtures, high efficiency boilers, pipe insulation, roof insulation, and energy management systems. Customers can get information on the projects in common areas and individual units that qualify here http://coned.com/energyefficiency/multifamily-rebates.asp

Con Edison is also taking applications from residential customers with central air conditioning (cooling) for a free smart thermostat, app and installation ($400 value), and a $25 check. Customers with central air can also buy an Internet-connected thermostat from a Con Edison-approved service provider, and receive $85.

Find information about all of Con Edison’s energy efficiency programs here http://www.coned.com/energyefficiency/

Sincerely,

Gordon A. Burrows

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

On Monday, the Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously approved funding in the amount $103,507 to finance the installation of three roof mounted solar arrays and for improvements to the underlying roof structure at St. Christopher’s Church in Buchanan.  The funds are reserved for the financing, acquisition, construction and installation of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements that will yield significant cost savings over time.  The church was eligible for the bond because it is a non-profit entity and Buchanan is a participant in the Energy Improvement Corporation, a consortium of municipalities that is dedicated to facilitating the financing of renewable energy projects.

St. Christopher’s Church will repay the bond with average annual energy savings expected to be $14,582.  After the debt service on the bonds this will yield an annual savings of $3,525 per year.

I’m glad to see a prominent member of our community take advantage of a program like this.  This success can serve as an example of the savings our government could find if we invest in these same technologies ourselves.

If you or someone you know in our community is interested in more information about these funding opportunities, you can click here.

Sincerely,

Catherine

Park Ranger

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Ashford Avenue Bridge

As you all know, the Ashford Avenue Bridge rehabilitation project is about to cause significant changes in the way we travel through our communities.  We now have some tentative information about when we can expect lane and ramp closures.  Since the information is only tentative, it is subject to change; but having a general  idea of what will happen, and when, will help all of us to prepare, logistically and psychologically, for what is coming.

First, I would like to emphasize that, with the many traffic adjustments that will occur over the next few years, knowledge will definitely be power. Westchester County has created the Ashford Avenue Bridge E-Mail Newsletter as part of the County’s Quick News service; I would strongly recommend that all of you who use the bridge to sign up.  The listing is at www.westchestergov.com/subscribe  I also urge you to pass on this email to friends, neighbors and loved ones who drive in our area, so they can sign up for Quick News updates and/or my newsletters.  Information will also be available at the project webpage, www.westchestergov.com/ashfordavenuebridge.

Here is what we know about scheduling so far.  Occasional lane closures may begin as early as February 1.  Two weeks after those closures begin – as early as February 15, based on the tentative information we have received —  the ramp to and from the Northbound Saw Mill River Parkway will be closed for demolition and replacement. Those who depend on that ramp to get on or off of the Parkway should begin thinking now about alternative routes, and the prospect of allowing more travel time to and from their destinations.  After the southern half of the bridge is replaced, the exit portion of the ramp will be reopened; but the entrance will remain closed until both halves of the bridge are reconstructed.

It  now appears that access to the Southbound Saw Mill River Parkway will not be directly affected by the project.

Several months after the ramp closure – the information we now have suggests that this will happen in June – the bridge will be reduced to two lanes of traffic from the current four.  This will undoubtedly result in longer travel times for people crossing the bridge, or traveling to points nearby.  The lane reduction will last for the bulk of the approximately three-year project.

Once the project begins in earnest, the construction period will definitely cause inconvenience to motorists in our area.  The bridge handles over 20,000 vehicles a day, and those vehicles will have to cue up, or go elsewhere.  I anticipate that these closures will send substantially more traffic to Lawrence St. and to Route 119; it appears that Route 9 and Ravensdale Road/Jackson Avenue will be affected as well.

Living with this project will not be easy, but it is absolutely necessary to protect everyone who goes over or under the structure. Many of you have expressed concern, and in some cases anxiety, about the bridge’s current condition; and rightly so.  Even with the millions of dollars spent on emergency repairs the last few years, the bridge is still the worst County-owned bridge in Westchester, with a State DOT score well below any reasonable person’s comfort level.  Once the work is done, we should have a safe bridge for decades to come.

The only thing worse than living with this project, would be attempting to live with the bridge as it continued to deteriorate.  With good information and planning, we’ll get through this.  Please contact me with any information, questions or concerns that you may have along the way.

Sincerely,

MaryJane Shimsky

__________________________________________________________Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Ashford Avenue Bridge

As you all know, the Ashford Avenue Bridge rehabilitation project is about to cause significant changes in the way we travel through our communities.  We now have some tentative information about when we can expect lane and ramp closures.  Since the information is only tentative, it is subject to change; but having a general  idea of what will happen, and when, will help all of us to prepare, logistically and psychologically, for what is coming.

First, I would like to emphasize that, with the many traffic adjustments that will occur over the next few years, knowledge will definitely be power. Westchester County has created the Ashford Avenue Bridge E-Mail Newsletter as part of the County’s Quick News service; I would strongly recommend that all of you who use the bridge to sign up.  The listing is at www.westchestergov.com/subscribe  I also urge you to pass on this email to friends, neighbors and loved ones who drive in our area, so they can sign up for Quick News updates and/or my newsletters.  Information will also be available at the project webpage, www.westchestergov.com/ashfordavenuebridge.

Here is what we know about scheduling so far.  Occasional lane closures may begin as early as February 1.  Two weeks after those closures begin – as early as February 15, based on the tentative information we have received —  the ramp to and from the Northbound Saw Mill River Parkway will be closed for demolition and replacement. Those who depend on that ramp to get on or off of the Parkway should begin thinking now about alternative routes, and the prospect of allowing more travel time to and from their destinations.  After the southern half of the bridge is replaced, the exit portion of the ramp will be reopened; but the entrance will remain closed until both halves of the bridge are reconstructed.

It  now appears that access to the Southbound Saw Mill River Parkway will not be directly affected by the project.

Several months after the ramp closure – the information we now have suggests that this will happen in June – the bridge will be reduced to two lanes of traffic from the current four.  This will undoubtedly result in longer travel times for people crossing the bridge, or traveling to points nearby.  The lane reduction will last for the bulk of the approximately three-year project.

Once the project begins in earnest, the construction period will definitely cause inconvenience to motorists in our area.  The bridge handles over 20,000 vehicles a day, and those vehicles will have to cue up, or go elsewhere.  I anticipate that these closures will send substantially more traffic to Lawrence St. and to Route 119; it appears that Route 9 and Ravensdale Road/Jackson Avenue will be affected as well.

Living with this project will not be easy, but it is absolutely necessary to protect everyone who goes over or under the structure. Many of you have expressed concern, and in some cases anxiety, about the bridge’s current condition; and rightly so.  Even with the millions of dollars spent on emergency repairs the last few years, the bridge is still the worst County-owned bridge in Westchester, with a State DOT score well below any reasonable person’s comfort level.  Once the work is done, we should have a safe bridge for decades to come.

The only thing worse than living with this project, would be attempting to live with the bridge as it continued to deteriorate.  With good information and planning, we’ll get through this.  Please contact me with any information, questions or concerns that you may have along the way.

Sincerely,

MaryJane Shimsky

__________________________________________________________

Dear Neighbor,

If you take the Saw Mill River Parkway, you should know there will be some ramps closures Friday, Jan. 22.

The state Department of Transportation said crews will be performing maintenance activities, weather permitting, at the northbound and southbound Exit 13 (Farragut Avenue) ramps from the parkway.

Motorists will be advised to follow the posted detour. There will be signs and flaggers.

The DOT said drivers should use caution traveling through a work zone. Fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone.

For up-to-date travel information, call 511 or visit www.511NY.org.

Sincerely,

MaryJane ShimskyDear Friends and Neighbors,

ConEd Video

Con Edison is closely monitoring the winter storm that is expected to hit our region this weekend and preparing to respond to any service problems that occur.

Customers can report downed power lines,outages and check service restoration status at www.conEd.com or by calling 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633)When reporting an outage, customers should have their Con Edison account number available, if possible, and report whether their neighbors also have lost power.

Customers who report outages will be called by Con Edison with their estimated restoration times as they become available.

The combination of the snow and gusting winds could bring down power lines, causing customers to lose power and creating a safety hazard. In addition, road salt will mix with melting snow and could damage underground electrical wiring, possibly leading to outages.

Crews will give priority to restoring service lines that will provide power to the most customers as quickly as possible, then move on to restore smaller groups and individual customers who are without power.

Con Edison offers a number of mobile solutions so you can manage your accounts, report and check the status of an outage, learn energy-saving tips, and more. Text REG to OUTAGE (688243) to sign up for text notifications, and follow the prompts.

You will need to enter your Con Edison account number to complete the registration process. Once you’ve registered, you will not need your account number to report or check the status of a power problem. For more information, go to: http://www.coned.com/mobileapp/

Con Edison offers the following storm tips to customers to help weather the possible effects of a storm:

  • If you see downed electrical wires, do not go near them. Treat all downed wires as if they are live. Never attempt to move them or touch them with any object.Be mindful that downed wires can be hidden from view by snow, tree limbs, leaves or water.
  • Report all downed wires to Con Edison and your local police department immediately. If a power line falls on your car while you’re in it, stay inside the vehicle and wait for emergency personnel.
  • If your power goes out, disconnect or turn off appliances that would otherwise turn on automatically when service is restored.  If several appliances start up at once, the electric circuits may overload.
  • Check to make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios or televisions are in working order. Make sure you have a supply of extra batteries. Weather updates and news on restorations of electrical service can be heard on most local radio and television stations.
  • For more storm tips and preparation, go to www.conEd.com

In addition, the company is in close contact with the New York City Office of Emergency Management and the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services to coordinate storm-response if needed.

Sincerely,

Catherine

 

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As your new County Legislator, I would like to take this opportunity to let you know what I’ll be working on your behalf during the 2016-2017 Legislative term and how to reach me if there is anything you need from Westchester County Government.

I am honored to have been appointed Chairman of the Environment and Health Committee.  The Committee will meet each Monday at 3pm.  All BOL Committee meetings are streamed live and are available on-demand on the BOL website at www.westchesterlegislators.com.  I also plan to restart the Septic Sub-Committee which help us take the lead on septic management.

In addition to my work as Environment and Health Committee Chair, I will also be serving on several other committees;

Budget and Appropriations Committee – Because I was elected to fill an open seat, I was sworn in as Legislator immediately upon my election.  Normally Legislators are sworn in after January 1st.  That means that I was part of the review and negotiations for the 2016 budget.  I am proud to say that working with a bipartisan coalition, we were able to reach a deal with the County Executive that delivered no tax increase to the County tax levy for the sixth consecutive year.  This budget also preserved the social safety net and added back important positions at County parks like Muscoot Farm and Ward Pound Ridge.

Labor, Parks, Planning and Housing Committee – We will address important issues facing Westchester County like the completion of the Fair and Affordable Housing Settlement and finalizing a public private partnership to operate Playland Amusement Park.

Energy and Regional Efficiencies Committee – We will look to achieve energy savings throughout County operations and also identify opportunities for shared services and consolidation for our municipal government partners.

Public Safety and Social Services – I view the role of County Government as providing an effective array of essential social services balanced against protecting the already overburdened taxpayers in Westchester County.  In this committee we will provide oversight for the non-profit partners who work with the county to deliver social services as well as our County Police and Emergency Services.

Infrastructure Committee – The proper maintenance of county roads, bridges and other facilities is critical to both public safety and economic growth in our region.  We will review proposed capital projects and monitor ongoing public works.

As you can see, I have taken on a big work load and lot of responsibility for my first term.  My biggest job is and will always be providing you, my constituents, with a responsive and accessible representative in County Government.

You can email me at Corcoran@westchesterlegislators.com or call my office at 914-995-2883.  I promise that your email or calls will always be returned promptly.

I plan to host casual opportunities to chat with residents over a cup of coffee and I will send out a list of dates and places shortly.

I look forward to serving you as your County Legislator and I hope I can count on you to help make our county and communities, the best they can be.

Sincerely,

Francis T. CorcoranDear Friends and Neighbors,

As your new County Legislator, I would like to take this opportunity to let you know what I’ll be working on your behalf during the 2016-2017 Legislative term and how to reach me if there is anything you need from Westchester County Government.

I am honored to have been appointed Chairman of the Environment and Health Committee.  The Committee will meet each Monday at 3pm.  All BOL Committee meetings are streamed live and are available on-demand on the BOL website at www.westchesterlegislators.com.  I also plan to restart the Septic Sub-Committee which help us take the lead on septic management.

In addition to my work as Environment and Health Committee Chair, I will also be serving on several other committees;

Budget and Appropriations Committee – Because I was elected to fill an open seat, I was sworn in as Legislator immediately upon my election.  Normally Legislators are sworn in after January 1st.  That means that I was part of the review and negotiations for the 2016 budget.  I am proud to say that working with a bipartisan coalition, we were able to reach a deal with the County Executive that delivered no tax increase to the County tax levy for the sixth consecutive year.  This budget also preserved the social safety net and added back important positions at County parks like Muscoot Farm and Ward Pound Ridge.

Labor, Parks, Planning and Housing Committee – We will address important issues facing Westchester County like the completion of the Fair and Affordable Housing Settlement and finalizing a public private partnership to operate Playland Amusement Park.

Energy and Regional Efficiencies Committee – We will look to achieve energy savings throughout County operations and also identify opportunities for shared services and consolidation for our municipal government partners.

Public Safety and Social Services – I view the role of County Government as providing an effective array of essential social services balanced against protecting the already overburdened taxpayers in Westchester County.  In this committee we will provide oversight for the non-profit partners who work with the county to deliver social services as well as our County Police and Emergency Services.

Infrastructure Committee – The proper maintenance of county roads, bridges and other facilities is critical to both public safety and economic growth in our region.  We will review proposed capital projects and monitor ongoing public works.

As you can see, I have taken on a big work load and lot of responsibility for my first term.  My biggest job is and will always be providing you, my constituents, with a responsive and accessible representative in County Government.

You can email me at Corcoran@westchesterlegislators.com or call my office at 914-995-2883.  I promise that your email or calls will always be returned promptly.

I plan to host casual opportunities to chat with residents over a cup of coffee and I will send out a list of dates and places shortly.

I look forward to serving you as your County Legislator and I hope I can count on you to help make our county and communities, the best they can be.

Sincerely,

Francis T. CorcoranDear Friends and Neighbors,

As your new County Legislator, I would like to take this opportunity to let you know what I’ll be working on your behalf during the 2016-2017 Legislative term and how to reach me if there is anything you need from Westchester County Government.

I am honored to have been appointed Chairman of the Environment and Health Committee.  The Committee will meet each Monday at 3pm.  All BOL Committee meetings are streamed live and are available on-demand on the BOL website at www.westchesterlegislators.com.  I also plan to restart the Septic Sub-Committee which help us take the lead on septic management.

In addition to my work as Environment and Health Committee Chair, I will also be serving on several other committees;

Budget and Appropriations Committee – Because I was elected to fill an open seat, I was sworn in as Legislator immediately upon my election.  Normally Legislators are sworn in after January 1st.  That means that I was part of the review and negotiations for the 2016 budget.  I am proud to say that working with a bipartisan coalition, we were able to reach a deal with the County Executive that delivered no tax increase to the County tax levy for the sixth consecutive year.  This budget also preserved the social safety net and added back important positions at County parks like Muscoot Farm and Ward Pound Ridge.

Labor, Parks, Planning and Housing Committee – We will address important issues facing Westchester County like the completion of the Fair and Affordable Housing Settlement and finalizing a public private partnership to operate Playland Amusement Park.

Energy and Regional Efficiencies Committee – We will look to achieve energy savings throughout County operations and also identify opportunities for shared services and consolidation for our municipal government partners.

Public Safety and Social Services – I view the role of County Government as providing an effective array of essential social services balanced against protecting the already overburdened taxpayers in Westchester County.  In this committee we will provide oversight for the non-profit partners who work with the county to deliver social services as well as our County Police and Emergency Services.

Infrastructure Committee – The proper maintenance of county roads, bridges and other facilities is critical to both public safety and economic growth in our region.  We will review proposed capital projects and monitor ongoing public works.

As you can see, I have taken on a big work load and lot of responsibility for my first term.  My biggest job is and will always be providing you, my constituents, with a responsive and accessible representative in County Government.

You can email me at Corcoran@westchesterlegislators.com or call my office at 914-995-2883.  I promise that your email or calls will always be returned promptly.

I plan to host casual opportunities to chat with residents over a cup of coffee and I will send out a list of dates and places shortly.

I look forward to serving you as your County Legislator and I hope I can count on you to help make our county and communities, the best they can be.

Sincerely,

Francis T. Corcoran

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Metrocard Van

I’m happy to let you know that Westchester County’s full-service MetroCard Mobile Van, provided by the County’s Department of Transportation in conjunction with the MTA New York City Transit Authority, will be making rounds throughout Westchester, including Yonkers, to assist riders interested in purchasing MetroCards.

MetroCards can be used on the county’s Bee-Line bus system as well as New York City’s transit system. The MetroCard Mobile Van provides transit riders with a “one-stop shop” for all MetroCard services. In addition, staff will be available to explain rates, discounts and answer any questions.

Regular MetroCards will be available for purchase and existing cards may be refilled.

Riders will also be able to apply for reduced rates if they are 65 and older or have qualifying disabilities.

For your convenience, a list of Yonkers dates are listed below.  For other cities, dates and times or if you have any questions regarding the MetroCard Mobile Van and other MetroCard locations, call the Bee-Line Hotline at (914) 813-7777.

MetroCard is the automated regional fare collection system managed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Sincerely,

Estimados Amigos y Vecinos,

Estoy contenta de avisarles que la Van Móvil de servicios completo de MetroCard en el Condado de Westchester, estará proveída por el Departamento de Transportación del Condado en conjunto a la Autoridad de Transito MTA New York City, y estará viajando a través del Condado, incluyendo a Yonkers, para asistir a pasajeros interesados en comprar las MetroCards.

MetroCards pueden ser usadas en el los autobuses Bee-Line del Condado igual que en la Ciudad de Nueva York. La Van Móvil de MetroCard proveerá a los pasajeros “compras de una-parada” para todos los servicios de MetroCard. Adicionalmente, empleados estarán disponibles para explicar los precios, descuentos y cualquier otra pregunta que tengan.

MetroCards regulares estarán disponibles para comprar y tarjetas actualmente en existencia podrán ser rellenadas.

Pasajeros también podrán aplicar para tarifas reducidas si son mayores de 65 años de edad o con discapacidades calificantes.

Para su conveniencia, abajo encontrara una lista de fechas que la van estará en Yonkers. Para otras ciudades, fechas y horas y preguntas sobre la Van Móvil de MetroCard u otros lugares de MetroCard, llamen la Línea Telefónica de Bee-Line (914) 813-7777.

MetroCard es el sistema automatizado de tarifas regionales manejadas por la Autoridad de Transportación Metropolitana (MTA).

Sinceramente,

 

 


Metrocard Van Schedule

Monday, Jan. 18 Location
10 a.m. – noon New Rochelle Huguenot St./North Ave.
1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Mount Vernon August Petrillo Plaza
(Across from Food Town Supermarket near
Mount Vernon East Train Station)
Tuesday, Jan. 19
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m Peekskill at Peekskill Library
1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. Tarrytown Wildey and Cortlandt Sts. (By McDonalds)
Wednesday, Jan. 20
10 a.m. – noon Yonkers City Hall/MCU Building, 36-40 South
Broadway
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. White Plains Trans-Center Water Street and N.
Lexington Ave.
Thursday, Jan. 21
10 a.m. – noon Yonkers City Hall/MCU Building, 36-40 South Broadway
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. White Plains Galleria Mall Main St./MLK Blvd.
Friday, Jan. 22
9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Yonkers Will Library 1500 Central Park Ave./Tuckahoe Rd.
Saturday, Jan. 23
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Yonkers City Hall/MCU Building, 36-40 South Broadway
2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. White Plains Galleria Mall/Forever 21, Main St./MLK Blvd.

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The Westchester County Department of Public Safety is accepting applications for seasonal park rangers to patrol county parks this summer. Applications are due by Feb. 19 and are available online at  http://publicsafety.westchestergov.com/.

Uniformed park rangers work under the supervision of county police officers to maintain a safe and enjoyable atmosphere in the county’s parks. They assist park users, provide information on park rules and procedures, help in searches for lost children, perform basic first aid on occasion and make regular security checks of buildings and facilities.

First-time park rangers are paid $14 hourly. Salaries are higher for those who have worked as a ranger for the county before.

To qualify, applicants must be a high school graduate, at least 19 years of age, a U.S. citizen, a resident of Westchester County and possess a valid New York State driver’s license by the time of appointment.

Accepted candidates must attend a three-week training program at the Westchester County Police Academy.

Sincerely,

Virginia Perez


Estimados Amigos y Vecinos,

El Departamento de Seguridad Publica del Condado de Westchester esta aceptando aplicaciones para patrullar en los parques del condado como guardaparques temporales este verano. El último día para aplicar es el 19 de febrero y las aplicaciones están disponibles en la siguiente página  http://publicsafety.westchestergov.com/.

Guardaparques uniformados estarán trabajando bajo la supervisión de los policías del condado para mantener una atmósfera sana y salva en los parques. Ellos asistirán a los usuarios de los parques, proveerán información de las reglas y procedimientos, ayudaran en la búsqueda de niños perdidos, harán los primeros auxilios básicos si es necesario y harán reviso de seguridad regularmente en los edificios y facilidades.

Guardaparques primerizos serán pagados $14 por hora. Los salarios son aumentados para los guardaparques que han trabajado para el condado anteriormente.

Para calificar, los aplicantes deben de haberse graduado de escuela secundaria, tener mínimo de 19 años de edad, ser ciudadano de los Estados Unidos, ser residente del Condado de Westchester y tener una licencia valida del Estado de Nueva York a la hora de la cita.

Candidatos aceptados tendrán que atender a un programa de entrenamiento de tres semanas en la Academia de Policías del Condado de Westchester.

Sinceramente,
Virginia Perez

Sheila M. Marcotte Reports

Volunteer New York

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Volunteer New York! calls on those who live and work in Westchester to use volunteer service as a way to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Saturday, January 16th, people from all walks of life will gather to do good together. Join hundreds of volunteers, inspired by a message of hope and equality, to help address local needs related to hunger, poverty, disaster preparedness, homelessness, and more.

With over 19 different local projects to choose from, most are family-friendly and a great way to introduce the value of service to everyone.

To learn more and sign up, please visit www.volunteernewyork.org/MLK or call 914.948.4452.

Please help spread the word.

Sincerely,

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Sheila M. Marcotte Reports

Volunteer New York

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Volunteer New York! calls on those who live and work in Westchester to use volunteer service as a way to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Saturday, January 16th, people from all walks of life will gather to do good together. Join hundreds of volunteers, inspired by a message of hope and equality, to help address local needs related to hunger, poverty, disaster preparedness, homelessness, and more.

With over 19 different local projects to choose from, most are family-friendly and a great way to introduce the value of service to everyone.

To learn more and sign up, please visit www.volunteernewyork.org/MLK or call 914.948.4452.

Please help spread the word.

Sincerely,

____________________________________________________________________

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The day is finally here! The Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation has advised us that January 4, 2016 is the start date for the Ashford Avenue Bridge rehabilitation project.

September 20, 2018 is the scheduled completion date.

While the start date for the project is January 4th, County DPW does not anticipate any significant traffic impacts in the immediate future.  Initially, construction equipment will be staged and utilities will be moved.

Once the project begins in earnest (I have not yet received a specific date), the construction period will definitely cause inconvenience to motorists in our area.  The bridge, which handles over 20,000 vehicles a day, will be down to two lanes for the bulk of the project.  For the initial half of that time period, the entrance ramp to the northbound Saw Mill River Parkway will also be closed.  I anticipate that that closure will send substantially more traffic to Lawrence St. and to Route 119.

Living with this project will not be easy, but it is absolutely necessary to protect everyone who goes over or under the structure.  Many of you have expressed concern, and in some cases anxiety, about the bridge’s current condition; and rightly so.  Even with the millions of dollars spent on emergency repairs the last few years, the bridge is still the worst County-owned bridge in Westchester, with a State DOT score well below any reasonable person’s comfort level.  Once the work is done, we should have a safe bridge for decades to come.

With the many traffic adjustments that will occur over the next few years, knowledge will definitely be power. Westchester County has created the Ashford Avenue Bridge E-Mail Newsletter as part of the County’s Quick News service; I would strongly recommend that folks who use the bridge sign up. Anyone can sign up for these e-mail newsletters at www.westchestergov.com/subscribe

The only thing worse than living with this project, would be attempting to live with the bridge as it continued to deteriorate.  With good information and planning, we’ll get through this.  Please contact me with any information, questions or concerns that you may have along the way.

Sincerely,

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The day is finally here! The Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation has advised us that January 4, 2016 is the start date for the Ashford Avenue Bridge rehabilitation project.

September 20, 2018 is the scheduled completion date.

While the start date for the project is January 4th, County DPW does not anticipate any significant traffic impacts in the immediate future.  Initially, construction equipment will be staged and utilities will be moved.

Once the project begins in earnest (I have not yet received a specific date), the construction period will definitely cause inconvenience to motorists in our area.  The bridge, which handles over 20,000 vehicles a day, will be down to two lanes for the bulk of the project.  For the initial half of that time period, the entrance ramp to the northbound Saw Mill River Parkway will also be closed.  I anticipate that that closure will send substantially more traffic to Lawrence St. and to Route 119.

Living with this project will not be easy, but it is absolutely necessary to protect everyone who goes over or under the structure.  Many of you have expressed concern, and in some cases anxiety, about the bridge’s current condition; and rightly so.  Even with the millions of dollars spent on emergency repairs the last few years, the bridge is still the worst County-owned bridge in Westchester, with a State DOT score well below any reasonable person’s comfort level.  Once the work is done, we should have a safe bridge for decades to come.

With the many traffic adjustments that will occur over the next few years, knowledge will definitely be power. Westchester County has created the Ashford Avenue Bridge E-Mail Newsletter as part of the County’s Quick News service; I would strongly recommend that folks who use the bridge sign up. Anyone can sign up for these e-mail newsletters at www.westchestergov.com/subscribe

The only thing worse than living with this project, would be attempting to live with the bridge as it continued to deteriorate.  With good information and planning, we’ll get through this.  Please contact me with any information, questions or concerns that you may have along the way.

Sincerely,

___________________________________________________________

Dear Neighbor,

2016 budget signing

Over the past four years, it has been my distinct honor and pleasure to serve as your representative on the Westchester County Board of Legislators. As I look back on my time at the Board, I am grateful to have had the pleasure of meeting so many of you at events across our community. You only reaffirm my belief in the bright future of Westchester County.

Since I took office in 2012, I pledged to you that I would not increase the county tax levy. Westchester has the highest property taxes in the entire United States. I’m proud to have partnered with County Executive Rob Astorino as we supported a more affordable Westchester County for our children and grandchildren by adopting four budgets with 0% increases.
I am also pleased to have stood against the federal government’s blatant overreach with regard to our property rights and the problematic 2009 Affordable Housing Settlement. I still believe that the zoning in our communities is not discriminatory. This fight, however, is not yet over. The next two years will be critical in completing the terms of the settlement, and I’m confident that my successor, Legislator Margaret Cunzio, will defend our community from unelected bureaucrats in Washington D.C. seeking to usurp local control of zoning.
As Westchester’s economy is slowly improving, the Committee on Economic Development and Capital Projects, which I chaired for the past two years, has been successful in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and putting our neighbors in the construction trades back to work. Hundreds of millions of dollars in capital projects have been approved in this regard and we must continually build upon this effort in the years to come.
Ultimately, these past four years have been an extraordinary experience. While I know that we may not have always agreed on particular issues, I truly appreciated your feedback. Dialogue is one of the most important aspects of public service. As Pope Francis reminds us: Dialogue isn’t easy; it isn’t theater. You have to be honest and open.
I urge you to continue to stay involved, especially in local government affairs. Our community deserves representatives who will faithfully represent you and your neighbors, and not their own self interests. As a taxpayer, you should expect nothing less.
From my family to yours, wishing you a happy and healthy 2016.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  December 10, 2015

BRONX RIVER PARKWAY NORTHBOUND WEEKEND CLOSURES START FRIDAY NIGHT FROM YONKERS TO WHITE PLAINS

Work is part of the Crane Road Bridge Replacement Project

 

Motorists are advised that portions of the northbound Bronx River Parkway will be closed this weekend between the Sprain Brook Parkway and the Westchester County Center starting on Friday night, December 11, at 10 p.m. and continuing until Sunday, December 13, when the northbound parkway is scheduled to re-open at 4 p.m. This weekend night closure is necessary to continue to enhance the drainage system as part of the Crane Road Bridge Replacement Project.

Northbound closures start Friday, December 11, at 10 p.m. and continue to Sunday, December 13, at 4 p.m.:

  • There will be no access from the six lane portion of the northbound Bronx River Parkway to the four lane portion of the northbound Bronx River Parkway at the Sprain Brook Parkway. All traffic will be diverted onto the Sprain Brook Parkway and then Central Park Avenue (NY 100) to White Plains.
  • The northbound Bronx River Parkway will be accessible to local traffic at all times at the following locations (between the Sprain Brook Parkway and Harney Road):

o   Entrances from Paxton Ave, Elm Street, Scarsdale Road, Thompson Street and Leewood Drive will be open.

o   All northbound traffic will be diverted at Harney Road to Scarsdale Avenue and East Parkway, re-entering the northbound parkway at Crane Road.

  • The northbound Bronx River Parkway will be open to traffic at Crane Road and all points north.

Motorists are advised to seek alternate routes.  Numerous variable message signs will be used to alert motorists of the upcoming closures.

For additional information, contact Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation at 995-2555. Full details on this project are available at www.westchestergov.com/craneroadbridge. Sign up for special email alerts on this project at www.westchestergov.com/subscribe.

Dear Neighbor,

I am forwarding a link to a Daily Voice article about possible fire safety problems with hoverboards, so that you can keep your family safe this holiday season.


Westchester Hoverboard Fire One Of Several Reported Across Country

by Tom Auchterlonie 12/10/2015

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. — A hoverboard toy fire at a Chappaqua home earlier this week has garnered attention and is the latest of several simila…
Read More >

 

A recent uptick in reports of telephone scammers posing as the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State Attorney General’s Office has prompted New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman to issue a consumer alert Monday.

New York residents are warned to watch for these common telephone scams:

IRS/Tax Collection Scam: The caller will claim to be an agent or police officer from the Internal Revenue Service or Attorney General’s Office calling about a past due tax balance that is owed.

Grandparent Scam: Typically, this scam comes in the form of an urgent phone call whereby the caller claims to be “your favorite grandson” or just says “It’s me” prompting the grandparent to supply the needed name. The scenario is usually something like this: The “grandson” is out of town and needs money fast, or to make bail, or to pay for automobile repairs or medical expenses. The caller begs the grandparent not to tell his parents, just wire the money immediately

Jury Duty Scam: The caller will claim to be an officer of the court and say there’s a warrant for the arrest of the victim for failing to report for jury duty. The scammer will also claim that there is a fine for failing to show up for jury duty, and that unless the fine is paid immediately, the police will be sent to the victim’s home to make an arrest.

Lottery Scam: The caller says you’ve won a foreign lottery and requests that you, as the “winner,” send a check or to wire money to cover taxes and fees.

Utility Scam: The caller claims to be a representative of a local utility provider. In some cases, the scammer has the victim’s correct account number and advises the resident that their utility bill is past due and must be paid immediately to avoid termination of service.For more information on ways to protect yourself, visit http://www.ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/pdfs/publications/Identity_Theft_Tips_for_Protecting_Your_Privacy_2011.pdf.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

ROADWAY CLOSURE
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY NORTHBOUND
INSTALLATION OF CONCRETE BARRIER

VILLAGE OF SCARSDALE, TOWNS OF GREENBURGH & EASTCHESTER

ROADWAY: Bronx River Parkway Northbound.

LIMITS: Between Sprain Brook Parkway and Westchester County Center (Exit 22).

WHAT: Installation of concrete barrier.

IMPACTS:

  • There will be no access from the 6 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway to the 4 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway at the Sprain Brook Parkway.
  • All Traffic will be diverted onto the Sprain Brook Parkway and then Central Park Avenue (NY 100) all the way to White Plains.
  • NB BRP will be accessible to local traffic at the following locations (between the Sprain Brook Parkway and Harney Road) at all times.
  • Entrances from Paxton Ave, Elm Street, Scarsdale Road, Thompson Street and Leewood Drive will be open.
  • All NB traffic will be diverted at Harney Road to Scarsdale Avenue and East Parkway, reentering the NB BRP at Crane Road.
  • The NB BRP will be open to traffic at Crane Road and all points north.

WHEN: Wednesday, December 9 and Thursday, December 10, 2015 between the hours of 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM.

Additional information please contact Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at (914) 995-2555.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Neighbor,Jandon Scholars ProgramThe Westchester County Board of Legislators work in collaboration with the Jandon Foundation to award college scholarships to academic achievers whose families are on public assistance or living below the poverty level. Jandon Scholars receive $12,000 over their four years in college. The program is unique in that it follows the students throughout their college career.

Click here for the 2016 Application. The Application Deadline is February 26, 2016.

For further information, please visit www.jandonscholars.org.

Sincerely,

Gordon A. Burrows

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

ROADWAY CLOSURE
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY NORTHBOUND
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY-CRANE ROAD BRIDGE REPLACEMENT

VILLAGE OF SCARSDALE, TOWNS OF GREENBURGH & EASTCHESTER

 

ROADWAY: Bronx River Parkway Northbound.

LIMITS: Between Sprain Brook Parkway and Westchester County Center (Exit 22).

WHAT: Bronx River Parkway Crane Road Bridge Replacement Project.

IMPACTS:

  • There will be no access from the 6 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway to the 4 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway at the Sprain Brook Parkway.
  • All Traffic will be diverted onto the Sprain Brook Parkway and then Central Park Avenue (NY 100) all the way to White Plains.
  • NB BRP will be accessible to local traffic at the following locations (between the Sprain Brook Parkway and Harney Road) at all times.
  • Entrances from Paxton Ave, Elm Street, Scarsdale Road, Thompson Street and Leewood Drive will be open.
  • All NB traffic will be diverted at Harney Road to Scarsdale Avenue and East Parkway, reentering the NB BRP at Crane Road.
  • The NB BRP will be open to traffic at Crane Road and all points north.

WHEN: Beginning Friday, December 4 at 10:00PM, until 4:00 PM Sunday, December 6, 2015.

Additional information please contact Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at (914) 995-2555.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

ROADWAY CLOSURE
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY NORTHBOUND
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY-CRANE ROAD BRIDGE REPLACEMENT

VILLAGE OF SCARSDALE, TOWNS OF GREENBURGH & EASTCHESTER

 

ROADWAY: Bronx River Parkway Northbound.

LIMITS: Between Sprain Brook Parkway and Westchester County Center (Exit 22).

WHAT: Bronx River Parkway Crane Road Bridge Replacement Project.

IMPACTS:

  • There will be no access from the 6 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway to the 4 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway at the Sprain Brook Parkway.
  • All Traffic will be diverted onto the Sprain Brook Parkway and then Central Park Avenue (NY 100) all the way to White Plains.
  • NB BRP will be accessible to local traffic at the following locations (between the Sprain Brook Parkway and Harney Road) at all times.
  • Entrances from Paxton Ave, Elm Street, Scarsdale Road, Thompson Street and Leewood Drive will be open.
  • All NB traffic will be diverted at Harney Road to Scarsdale Avenue and East Parkway, reentering the NB BRP at Crane Road.
  • The NB BRP will be open to traffic at Crane Road and all points north.

WHEN: Beginning Friday, December 4 at 10:00PM, until 4:00 PM Sunday, December 6, 2015.

Additional information please contact Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at (914) 995-2555.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Neighbor,

It’s been slightly over 2 weeks since the County Executive has proposed his budget plan for 2016 and we’ve heard lots of compelling testimony around many related topics.

As part of the ongoing efforts to engage community members like yourself in our dialogue, I’d like to share a few more thoughts with you on the budget plan based on the presentations we’ve been given by various stakeholders.

This week we are hearing from several more departments including those involved with delivering capital projects, who are all critical to ensuring the quality of life that we are used to in Westchester County.

I will continue to be in touch with you as this process moves forward.

Sincerely,


PUBLIC HEARING SCHEDULE

12/09 – BOL Chamber, 148 Martine Avenue, 8th Floor, White Plains, NY

Note: Public Hearings are scheduled for 7pm. Doors open at 6:00pm. Numbered speaker cards will be given out at 6:15pm. Only one speaker card per person shall be given out. Speakers shall be limited to three minutes. Anyone may submit a written statement in advance which will be included in the record.

Dear Neighbor,

It’s been a little over a week since the County Executive has proposed his budget plan for 2016 and we’ve heard lots of compelling testimony around many related topics.

As part of the ongoing efforts to engage folks like yourself in our dialogue, I’d like to share a few more thoughts with you on the budget plan based on the presentations we’ve been given by various stakeholders.

  • In our district we have important cultural institutions including Katonah Museum of Art, Caramoor, John Jay Homestead and the Hammond Museum, all of which have education outreach programs serving our local residents and schools throughout the county. All would be hurt by the proposed 20% cut in arts funding.
  • Last week we heard from the Department of Social Services, whose contracted agencies and non-profit partners are slated to receive cuts that will certainly disrupt essential services.  Nonprofit partners such as Hopes Door and My Sisters’ Place serve victims of domestic violence who can reside anywhere and can be our neighbors.

Read the Journal News’ recap of our first budget hearing in Yonkers

  • Concerns were raised about public safety and security as a result of proposed cuts.
  • The diminishing Planning Department will not be able to handle the needs of the homeowners that have been impacted by the “hundred-year” floods that happen every 5 years now.  And the majority of our district is within the New York City Watershed, with most homeowners on septic systems, and we benefit from initiatives to protect our water supply, and assistance from County Planning aids us in this goal.

This week we are hearing from several more departments including the District Attorney, Consumer Protection and Corrections, who are all critical to ensuring the quality of life that we are used to in Westchester County.

The Board of Legislators has 2 more hearings scheduled (one this evening) and I am working with other legislators to schedule another one to make sure we hear about the impacts from as many Westchester residents as we can.  If you are unable to attend any of these hearings I urge you to email any comments or concerns to me. I will continue to be in touch with you as this process moves forward.

Sincerely,

Alan Cole


PUBLIC HEARING SCHEDULE

11/24 – Horace Greeley High School, 70 Roaring Brook Road, Chappaqua, NY

12/09 – BOL Chamber, 148 Martine Avenue, 8th Floor, White Plains, NY

Note:Public Hearings are scheduled for 7pm. Doors open at 6:00pm. Numbered speaker cards will be given out at 6:15pm. Only one speaker card per person shall be given out. Speakers shall be limited to three minutes. Anyone may submit a written statement in advance which will be included in the record.

Holiday
Volunteer

Opportunities

November  –  December
see them all at www.volunteernewyork.org/holiday

 

Deliver Thanksgiving Food Baskets
with Family Service Society of Yonkers
On Nov. 25th from 9am – 4pm
Yonkers or Mount Vernon

Volunteer to Help on Thanksgiving Morning
with United Hebrew of New Rochelle
On Nov. 26th
New Rochelle

Be A Driver or Runner During the Holidays
with Meals on Wheels of New Rochelle
Ongoing  / Call to schedule for a specific date
New Rochelle

Be Part of the Meals that Heal Program
(For Groups of 10 or More)
with Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley
Ongoing / Call to schedule for a specific date
Valhalla

Packing Day for Operation Defend the Holidays
with United for the Troops
On Nov. 28th from 9am – 12pm
Yorktown Heights

Help with Christmas Tree Sales
with Green Chimneys
From Nov. 28th – Dec. 20th
Brewster

    

December

Holiday Gift Wrapping Days
with Open Door Family Medical Center
From Dec. 5th – 16th (times vary)
Ossining

Giving Tuesday Volunteer
with Volunteer New York!
On Dec. 1st (times vary)
Tarrytown

Charity Warehouse Sale Volunteers
with Volunteer New York! and SPCA of Westchester
From Dec. 4th – 7th
Elmsford

Support Kids’ Kloset
with WJCS Kids’ Kloset
On Dec. 1st from 10:30am-12:30pm
White Plains

Toy Drive Pick Ups
with Open Door Family Medical Center
From Dec. 1 – Jan. 1st  2016 (times vary)
Throughout Westchester

Give Thanks Wrap-A-Thon
with Open Door Family Medical Center
From Dec. 1 – Jan. 1st 2016 (times vary)
Ossining

Santa Day Helpers
with Open Door Family Medical Center
From Dec. 1 – Jan. 1st 2016 (times vary)
Ossining 

Food Pantry Food Preparation
with Tarrytown & Sleepy Hollow Community Food Pantry
On Dec. 9th from 7-9pm
Tarrytown

Food Pantry Food Distribution
with Tarrytown & Sleepy Hollow Community Food Pantry
On Dec. 10th from 9-10:30am or 7-8pm
Tarrytown

Holiday Gift Wrapping at Barnes & Noble
with JCY Westchester Community Partners
On Dec. 12th and Dec. 13th
Yonkers

Jingle Bell Run / Walk for Arthritis
with The Arthritis Foundation
On Dec. 12th from 8:30am – 12pm
Purchase

Westchester’s Christmas Dinner 2015
with Westchester’s Christmas Dinner
From Dec. 23 – Dec. 26th
Katonah

Dear Neighbor,

The Westchester County Clerk will bring its community outreach mobile office to The College of New Rochelle (29 Castle Place, New Rochelle, NY) to process passport applications on Friday, November 20, 2015 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Community outreach staffers will be on hand to assist residents with applying for United States passports, including having a photo taken.

To make the process move faster, applicants can fill out Application for Passport, Form DS-11 (downloadable at http://www.westchesterclerk.com/) that must be signed in front of a staff member. Bring along a Certified Transcript of Birth with raised seal (commonly referred to as long form Birth Certificate that includes parents’ names), valid state or government issued identification such as a valid driver’s license, government identification card or military identification card and a passport photo if you have one.

It will cost $135 for adult applicants (16 and over) and $105 for child applicants (under 16) and can be paid by check, money order or credit card. This amount includes a $25 processing fee.

Please Note: You will need to have a passport to enter the United States by air, land or by sea unless you are a child under the age of 16 entering by land or sea with proof of U.S. citizenship or an adult with another travel document approved by the Department of Homeland Security. All children, including newborn infants, appear with the parent when applying for a passport. Parents of children under age 16 must provide consent of both parents in order for a passport to be issued if one parent makes the application.

Applicants age 16 through 17 must sign their name on the application. Minors involved in custody disputes may not apply for passports if a child’s name has been entered in The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert.

For more information contact the Westchester County Clerk at 914.995.3086 or visit them on the web at http://www.westchesterclerk.com/.

Sincerely,

Catherine Parker

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season approach us, Westchester County’s fiscal year is also coming to an end.  The new fiscal year for the County leaves me with less optimism than ever before.

Last week, the County Executive proposed a $1.8 billion budget for Westchester that is a product of past failures and continues to fall short on the results that we need for the Sound Shore.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be providing many updates on the budget process.  I hope that will draw you into the conversation with us.  Here are my first thoughts:

  • The budget proposal continues to rely heavily on borrowing to pay for operating expenses.  This is akin to paying rent on your credit card.
  • The diminishing planning department will not be able to handle the needs of the homeowners that have been impacted by the “hundred-year” floods that happen every 5 years now.

There are several chances to have your voice heard during this budget process and I urge you to join in and stand up for the quality of life that helped your family choose Westchester once upon a time.

Best wishes,

Catherine Parker


PUBLIC HEARING SCHEDULE

11/19 – Yonkers Public School 30, 30 Nevada Place, Yonkers, NY

11/24 – Horace Greeley High School, 70 Roaring Brook Road, Chappaqua, NY

12/09 – BOL Chamber, 148 Martine Avenue, 8th Floor, White Plains, NY

Note: Public Hearings are scheduled for 7pm. Doors open at 6:00pm. Numbered speaker cards will be given out at 6:15pm. Only one speaker card per person shall be given out. Speakers shall be limited to three minutes. Anyone may submit a written statement in advance which will be included in the record.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

WARBURTON AVENUE C.R. 75I
VILLAGE OF HASTINGS ON HUDSON

BRIDGE CLOSURE
BRIDGE REHABILIATATION

ROADWAY: Warburton Avenue.

LIMITS: Washington Avenue and Main Street.

WHAT: Concrete barrier removal.

IMPACTS: The southbound direction of Warburton Avenue Bridge over Cropsey Lane will be closed to motorists. A detour will be posted using Main Street to Broadway (US9) to Washington Avenue. The northbound lane of Warburton Avenue Bridge over Cropsey Lane is currently closed to motorists. The northbound closure will continue until December 1, 2015.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm (weather permitting).

WHO: Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation Contract # 11-504.

For additional information please contact Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at (914) 995-2555.

Portions of the Bronx River Parkway northbound will be closed for road paving tomorrow, Nov. 17, and Wednesday in Eastchester, Greenburgh, Scarsdale and White Plains, according to the Westchester County Department of Transportation.

The closures are scheduled for between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., and will stretch along the Bronx River Parkway from the Sprain Brook Parkway and the Westchester County Center in White Plains, weather permitting. Motorists are urged to seek alternative routes if possible.

As a result, there will be no access from the six lane portion of the northbound Bronx River Parkway to the four lane portion of the northbound Bronx River Parkway at the Sprain Brook Parkway.

All traffic will be diverted onto the Sprain Brook Parkway and then Central Park Avenue (NY 100) to White Plains.

Local traffic will be accessible between the Sprain Brook Parkway and Harney Road at all times:

  • Entrances from Paxton Ave, Elm Street, Scarsdale Road, Thompson Street and Leewood Drive will be open.
  • All northbound traffic will be diverted at Harney Road to Scarsdale Avenue and East Parkway, re-entering the northbound parkway at Crane Road.

The northbound Bronx River Parkway will be open to traffic at Crane Road and all points north.

Numerous message signs will be used to alert motorists of the upcoming closures.

For additional information, contact Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation at (914) 995-2555.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORIES


SINGLE LANE CLOSURE
BRIDGE INSPECTION
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY
TOWN OF GREENBURGH

ROADWAY: Bronx River Parkway Northbound.

LIMITS: At the I287 Bridge.

WHAT: Bridge Inspection.

IMPACTS: Single right lane of the Northbound Bronx River Parkway will be closed to motorists on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 between the hours of 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM within the above limits. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes to avoid delays during this work.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 between the hours of 9:30AM and 3:30 PM.

WHO: NYSDOT contract # D031078.


ROADWAY CLOSURE
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY NORTHBOUND
PAVING OPERATIONS
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY
VILLAGE OF SCARSDALE, TOWNS OF GREENBURGH & EASTCHESTER

ROADWAY: Bronx River Parkway Northbound.

LIMITS: Between Sprain Brook Parkway and Westchester County Center (Exit 22).

WHAT: Paving operations

IMPACTS:

  • There will be no access from the 6 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway to the 4 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway at the Sprain Brook Parkway.
  • All Traffic will be diverted onto the Sprain Brook Parkway and then Central Park
  • Avenue (NY 100) all the way to White Plains.
  • NB BRP will be accessible to local traffic at the following locations (between the Sprain Brook Parkway and Harney Road) at all times.
  • Entrances from Paxton Ave, Elm Street, Scarsdale Road, Thompson Street and Leewood Drive will be open.
  • All NB traffic will be diverted at Harney Road to Scarsdale Avenue and East Parkway, reentering the NB BRP at Crane Road.
  • The NB BRP will be open to traffic at Crane Road and all points north.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 17, and Wednesday, November 18, 2015 between the hours of 9:30 AM and
3:30 PM.

WHO: Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation Contract # 15-207

For additional information please contact Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at (914) 995-2555.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Neighbor,

Golf

Current E-Z Reserve golfers can now pre-register for the 2016 Golf Westchester E-Z Reserve program between Saturday, Nov. 7 and Monday, Nov. 30, at the six county-owned golf courses.

The E-Z Reserve program enables golfers with a valid Westchester County Park Pass to book a starting tee time for a series of weeks.

During the November sale period, E-Z Reserve holders from 2015 can reserve the same tee time/day for the 2016 season. If the holder does not reserve during this pre-registration period, the tee time will be made available for reservations starting Tuesday, Dec. 1, when all remaining E-Z Reserve tee times will be made available to all golfers wishing to join the program. These E-Z Reserve times will be available on a first-come, first-served basis through March 1 and are limited to one tee time per weekend day.

Golfers reserve the specific time, but the specific slot in the sequence of reservations is not guaranteed.

A non-refundable fee of $350 per player is due at pre-registration and payable by cash, check or Visa, MasterCard or American Express. As a bonus for pre-registering, the 2016 E-Z Reserve season is increased from 25 to 30 weeks, beginning the weekend of April 2 and ending the weekend of Oct. 22.

After this registration period, any remaining E-Z Reserve tee times will be available at golf courses beginning the first day of play in 2016. These tee times will be sold for a fee of $300 per player for 25 weeks.  The date of golf course opening for the 2016 season will be announced.

The 25-week program starts the weekend of April 9 and ends the weekend of Oct. 1. E-Z Reserve applications will be available at all courses.

For more information, visit http://golf.westchestergov.com/ez-reserve-program.

Sincerely,

Gordon A. Burrows

 

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

HALL PLACE RAMP, C.R. 47I
LANE CLOSURES
MILLING AND PAVING
CITY OF YONKERS

ROADWAY: Hall Place Ramps.

LIMITS: Hall Place Ramp between Central Park Avenue and Hall Place/ Hillview Avenue.

WHAT: Milling and paving operations.

IMPACTS: Hall Place On/Off Ramps will be subject to lane closures of traffic controlled by police/ flag persons between the above limits.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 between the hours of 9:00 AM and 3:30 PM.

WHO: Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation Contract # 15-207.

For additional information please contact the Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation at (914) 995-2555.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This coming Tuesday, November 3, 2015 is Election Day.  On the ballot will be a referendum that, if approved by the voters, will give the Board of Legislators (BOL) and the public more time to review the County budgets before they are voted on.  The referendum would change the date that the County Executive is required to submit the Capital Budget to the BOL from November 15th to October 15th each year.  The deadline to submit the annual Operating Budget would be moved up from November 15th to November 10th.

The proposed changes are based on one of the recommendations from the Charter Revision Commission and are a perfect example of the fine work that comes from citizen involvement in local government.

To demonstrate the importance of this measure, I thought you should understand that these are not decisions we take lightly.  This is the first Westchester County-wide referendum to be voted on by the general electorate since Election Day 2000.

Below is the language of the referendum that will be on the November 3rd ballot.  Please take a moment to read the referendum so that you can make an informed decision when you cast your vote on November 3rd. Please note that this referendum is printed on the back of your ballot.


PROPOSAL NUMBER ONE,
COUNTY PROPOSITION NUMBER ONE

AMENDMENT OF WESTCHESTER COUNTY CHARTER §167.61(1)
Local Law Intro. No. 7343-2014, adopted by the County on December 8, 2014, amends County Charter §167.61(1) by changing the date of submission of the County Executive’s proposed County budgets for capital and current purposes from November 15th to October 15th for capital purposes and from November 15th to November 10th for current purposes.
1.  Under the current provisions of §167.61(1), the latest date for submission of the County Executive’s proposed budget to the County Board for the ensuing fiscal year for both capital and current purposes is November 15th.  The proposed amendment would provide that the County Executive submit to the County Board proposed County budgets for the ensuing fiscal year not later than October 15th for capital purposes and not later than November 10th for current purposes.
2. The purpose of this proposal is to increase the time within which the County Board can evaluate the County Executive’s proposed budgets.

Shall the proposed amendment be approved?

Yes (  )        No (  )


Please forward this e-news to family and friends who may be interested in this information.

Sincerely,

Ben Boykin

Dear Neighbor,

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. In Mount Vernon there is a high percentage of our residents that have this condition. If you are one of these persons or know of anyone who is suffering from this condition, please  pass this information along.

I urge you to take advantage of this program below.


Montefiore | Mount Vernon

Diabestes Awareness Month

November is Diabetes
Awareness Month

The Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital, in conjunction with Montefiore Mount Vernon Family Health and Wellness Center invites you and your guests to get physically fit at:

Let’s Move it in Mount Vernon!

Get Moving with Zumba, hula hoops, cardio, healthy snacks, give–aways and MORE!!

Thursday, November 5th

3:30 – 5:30pm

Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital

Belsky Auditorium

53 Valentine Street

Mount Vernon

For additional information call: 914.361.6195

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The Westchester County Health Department will give free flu shots to residents by appointment at vaccine clinics in White Plains and Yonkers this month and next month.

Choose among these three locations and schedule a visit:

  • Nov. 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the County Center, 198 Central Avenue (Side Rooms A – D), White Plains, NY 10606: Go to http://health.ny.gov/Go2Clinic and click on Westchester or call 995-7425.
  • 1st and 3rd Fridays at the White Plains Health Department Clinic, 134 Court Street, White Plains, New York 10601, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., call 995-5800.
  • 2nd and 4th Fridays at the Yonkers Health Department Clinic, 20 South Broadway, 2nd Fl., Yonkers, New York 10701, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., call 231-2500.

Flu shots are recommended for everyone over six months of age, with rare exceptions. People most at risk for complications from the flu include pregnant women, adults age 65 and older, children under the age of five, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and anyone who has certain underlying medical conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes.

To avoid spreading the flu, cough or sneeze into your elbow and wash your hands frequently with soap and water frequently. If you do get a respiratory infection, stay home until 24 hours after your fever subsides to avoid spreading your germs. Clean surfaces you touch often, such as doorknobs, water faucets, refrigerator handles and telephones.  Get plenty of rest, exercise and eat healthy food.

For more information about the flu, contact the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000 or go to www.westchestergov.com/health.

Please forward this e-news to family and friends who may be interested in this information.

Sincerely,

Ben Boykin

Dear Neighbor,

I will be the guest speaker at the Fleetwood Neighborhood Association Fall Event. Please see the date and time below.

I hope that you will attend.

Community Fleetwood Neighborhood Association
Community Meeting
Thursday, October 22nd
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location:
11 East Broad Street
Fleetwood Synagogue

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Neighbor,

Free rabies vaccines are available for dogs, cats and ferrets owned by Westchester County residents on Sunday, Oct. 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New Rochelle Humane Society, 70 Portman Road in New Rochelle. No appointment is needed. For more information, call the Humane Society at 914-632-2925.

Cats and ferrets must be in carriers and dogs must be on a leash. Aggressive dogs must be muzzled. No examinations will be given.

Under New York State law, dogs and cats must receive their first rabies vaccine no later than four months after birth. A second rabies shot must be given within one year of the first vaccine, with additional booster shots given every one or three years after that, depending on the vaccine used.  Owners who fail to get their pets vaccinated and keep the vaccinations up-to-date may be fined up to $2,000.

Rabies is a fatal disease that is spread through the bite or saliva of infected animals.  Those animals most commonly infected are raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.  However, domestic animals such as cats and dogs are also at risk because they can easily contract rabies from wild or stray animals.

A pet that is up-to-date with its rabies vaccinations would only need to get a booster dose of vaccine within five days of the pet’s exposure to a known or suspect rabid animal.  Animals not up-to-date with rabies vaccinations would need to be quarantined or potentially euthanized following contact with a rabid or suspect-rabid animal.

A change in an animal’s behavior is often the first sign of rabies.  A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame.  It may lose fear of people and become docile or it may become particularly excited and irritable.  Staggering, spitting and frothing at the mouth are sometimes noted in infected animals.  Adults should encourage children to avoid touching unfamiliar animals and to immediately tell an adult if they have been bitten or scratched by an animal.

All animal bites or contacts with animals suspected of having rabies must be reported to the Westchester County Health Department at (914) 813-5000.  After hours, callers should follow instructions in the recorded message for reporting public health emergencies 24 hours a day.

To learn more about preventing rabies, go to www.westchestergov.com/health.

Sincerely,

Dear Neighbors and Friends,

The Westchester County Health Department will give free flu shots to residents by appointment at vaccine clinics in White Plains and Yonkers this month and next month.

Choose among these three locations and schedule a visit:

  • Nov. 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the County Center in White Plains: Go to http://health.ny.gov/Go2Clinic and click on Westchester or call 995-7425.
  • 1st and 3rd Fridays at the health department clinic in White Plains, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., call 995-5800.
  • 2nd and 4th Fridays at the health department clinic in Yonkers: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., call 231-2500.

Flu shots are recommended for everyone over six months of age, with rare exceptions. People most at risk for complications from the flu include pregnant women, adults age 65 and older, children under the age of five, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and anyone who has certain underlying medical conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes.

To avoid spreading the flu, cough or sneeze into your elbow and wash your hands frequently with soap and water frequently. If you do get a respiratory infection, stay home until 24 hours after your fever subsides to avoid spreading your germs. Clean surfaces you touch often, such as doorknobs, water faucets, refrigerator handles and telephones.  Get plenty of rest, exercise and eat healthy food.

For more information about the flu, contact the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000 or go to www.westchestergov.com/health.

Sincerely,

Volunteer at the Healing Half & 10K!

Westchester Medical Center
http://www.westchestermedicalcenter.com/

VOLUNTEERS are needed now for the 12th Annual Westchester Running Festival event on Sunday, October 11th, 2015

Whether you are available Pre-Race day to help with Packet-Pickup or you have a group of people interested in being a CHEERING stations – Come and join in the excitement of the event! If you have a group that is interested in volunteering (water stations, etc. or providing entertainment (band, boy/girl scouts, cheerleaders, etc.) along the course, contact info@genesisadventures.com .

For more information, click here.


Volunteer and Celebrate Fall at
Sheldrake Environmental Center’s Festival!

Sheldrake Environmental Center
http://www.sheldrakecenter.org

Come out and help! You’re guaranteed a great time for a great community cause! Volunteers are needed in these areas: Setting up, Food distribution, Arts & Crafts, Raffle table, Cleaning up, Face Painting…and more. The event is Sunday, October 18, 2015 from 1 to 4 pm. volunteers are needed any time between 11 am and 4:30 pm, but especially from 1 to 4 pm. Contact Amy at 914-834-1443 or at scheduling@sheldrakecenter.org.

Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

With heavy rain and windy conditions expected over the next several days, and the impact of Hurricane Joaquin to our area still uncertain, Con Edison reminds customers to prepare for the potential of power outages and to stay safe. Utility crews will be ready throughout the coming weekend to respond to any service problems that occur.

The combination of heavy rain and high winds in parts of the region could cause trees and branches to hit overhead lines, bringing wires down and knocking customers out of power. Multiple days of rain can soften the ground, making it more likely that some trees may fall.

Anyone who sees downed wires should stay away from them, as they may be live. Do not touch downed wires with your hands or any object. Be aware that downed wires can be hidden from view by leaves, tree limbs or water.

ConEd Video

Customers can report service problems and restoration status at www.conEd.com or by calling 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633)When reporting an outage, customers should have their Con Edison account number available, if possible, and report whether their neighbors also have lost power.

Click here to see a video on the restoration process. Depending on the severity of storm damage, crews will give priority to restoring service lines that will provide power to the most customers as quickly as possible, then move on to restore smaller groups and individual customers who are without power.

Customers who report outages will be called by Con Edison with their estimated restoration times as they become available.

Con Edison offers a number of mobile solutions so you can manage your accounts, report and check the status of an outage, learn energy-saving tips, and more. Text REG to OUTAGE (688243) to sign up for text notifications, and follow the prompts.

Customers can also download Con Edison’s free iPhone and Android app, My conEdison, to report and check the status of a power problem, and view the company’s interactive online outage map.

Con Edison offers the following tips to customers to help weather the possible effects of a hurricane:

  • Report all downed wires to Con Edison and your local police department immediately.
  • If a power line falls on your car while you’re in it, stay inside the vehicle and wait for emergency personnel.
  • If your power goes out, disconnect or turn off appliances that would otherwise turn on automatically when service is restored. If several appliances start up at once, the electric circuits may overload.
  • Check to make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios or televisions are in working order. Make sure you have a supply of extra batteries.
  • For more storm tips and preparation, go to www.conEd.com

Please forward this e-news to family and friends who may be interested in this information.

Sincerely,

Ben Boykin

____________________________________________________________Dear Neighbor,

Westchester County’s full-service MetroCard Mobile Van, provided by the county’s Department of Transportation in conjunction with the MTA New York City Transit Authority, will be making rounds throughout the county to assist riders interested in purchasing MetroCards. See below for schedule.
MetroCards can be used on the county’s Bee-Line bus system as well as New York City’s transit system. The MetroCard Mobile Van provides transit riders with a “one-stop shop” for all MetroCard services. In addition, staff will be available to explain rates, discounts and answer any questions.
Regular MetroCards will be available for purchase and existing cards may be refilled. Riders will also be able to apply for reduced rates if they are 65 and older or have qualifying disabilities.
MetroCard is the automated regional fare collection system managed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. For more information on the MetroCard Mobile Van and other MetroCard locations, call the Bee-Line Hotline at (914) 813-7777
WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY
October 21
City Hall/MCU Bldg.
36-40 South Broadway
10 a.m. – 12 noon
October 22 
City Hall/MCU Bldg.
36-40 South Broadway
10 a.m. – 12 noon
October 23
Will Library
1500 Central Park Ave/Tuckahoe Rd.
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
October 24
City Hall/MCU Bldg.
36-40 South Broadway
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
November 18
City Hall/MCU Bldg.
36-40 South Broadway
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
November 19
City Hall/MCU Bldg.
36-40 South Broadway
10 a.m. – 12 noon
November 20  
Will Library
1500 Central Park Ave /Tuckahoe Rd.
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
November 21
City Hall/MCU Bldg.
36-40 South Broadway
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
December 16
City Hall/MCU Bldg.
36-40 South Broadway
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
December 17
City Hall/MCU Bldg.
36-40 South Broadway
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
December 18
Yonkers Will Library
1500 Central Park Ave/Tuckahoe Rd.
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
December 19
City Hall/MCU Bldg.
36-40 South Broadway
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
December 16
White Plains
Trans-Center
Water St. & N. Lexington Ave
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Sincerely,

Gordon A. BurrowsDear Neighbor,

New York State Senator Terrence Murphy recently announced his “Hudson Valley Thank a Veteran Tour.” The first event is a free pancake breakfast in our area on Saturday, October 10 from 9-11 AM at the Mt. Pleasant Community Center (125 Lozza Drive, Valhalla).

Due to limited seating, Senator Murphy’s office is asking that veterans or their family members RSVP online or call (914) 962-2624. Volunteer opportunities are also available for those interested.
This event is a great way to honor the men and women who have fought to defend our country and freedoms. We will never be able to fully repay these individuals for their service and sacrifice.
Please feel free to pass this email along to any veteran you may know in our community.
Sincerely,

Dear Neighbor,

County Executive Robert P. Astorino has announced that a “bonus” Bicycle Sunday has been added to the program’s autumn schedule on Sunday, October 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bicycle Sundays, the popular, long-running Westchester County Parks program, sponsored by Con Edison and New York Presbyterian Hospital, is held on the Bronx River Parkway in May, June and September each year. The bonus event, which comes one week after the final regularly scheduled Bicycle Sunday of the year on Sept. 27, is being added to the calendar as a “makeup” for a pair of rain cancellations this past spring.
“As dry as it has been this summer and fall, we did actually have a couple of rainy Sundays this past spring,” Astorino said. “I hope that everyone takes advantage of what we expect will be a beautiful autumn day and join us on October 4.”
During Bicycle Sundays, a portion of the Bronx River Parkway is closed to cars for the exclusive use of bicyclists, joggers, walkers, scooters and strollers. The course runs from Exit 22 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, south to Exit 4/Scarsdale Road in Yonkers, a round-trip of 13.1 miles. There are many points of entry and exit along the way. The program runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each week.
Parking is available at the County Center lot in White Plains for a fee of $7.
Bicycle Sundays is presented by Westchester County Parks, with additional support provided by Friends of Westchester County Parks, Inc. and 100.7 WHUD radio.
In the event of rain, the program is cancelled. Call the County Center for information at
(914) 995-4050 or visit parks.westchesterov.com.
Sincerely,

Gordon A. Burrows

Dear Neighbor,

As part of Preparedness Month across New York, NYSEG and RG&E, subsidiaries of Iberdrola USA, today encouraged customers to create an emergency plan and prepare a portable emergency supply kit with enough food, water, medications and other consumables to last seven to 10 days.
In the event of a power interruption, NYSEG and RG&E urge customers to:
• Stay away from downed power lines – even lines that appear dead can be deadly. NYSEG customers should call 1.800.572.1131 to report downed power lines or other hazardous situations; RG&E customers should call 1.800.743.1701.
• Carefully read, understand and follow manufacturer’s instructions when operating an emergency generator. Never run emergency generators indoors; operate them only outdoors in well-ventilated areas and away from windows and doors.
• Stay out of flooded basements because energized wiring or outlets below the water line may pose a hazard. Natural gas service in a flooded basement may also pose a danger. If a basement or home is in danger of flooding, customers should contact their utilities to turn off electricity and/or natural gas service.
Before a Storm Strikes
– Anyone who uses life-sustaining equipment that operates on electricity should contact NYSEG right away (NYSEG: 1.800.572.1111; RG&E: 1.800.743.2110). Customers may be enrolled in a critical customer program or provided specific advice on how to prepare for power interruptions.
– Keep flashlights, a battery-powered radio or TV and fresh batteries handy.
– Have at least one telephone that is not dependent on electricity. (Cordless phones won’t work during a power interruption.)
– Keep a supply of non-perishable food and bottled water on hand.
– Make sure cell phone batteries are fully charged.
During a Power Interruption
– Contact neighbors to see if their power is off. A loss of power may be the result of a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker.
– To report a power interruption, contact NYSEG at 1.800.572.1131; RG&E at 1.800.743.1701. Our telephone systems let callers report the problem, help our crews respond quickly and efficiently, and provide customers with power interruption updates. Because many people may be trying to reach us during a power interruption, phone lines may be busy. Anyone who has access to a working computer or mobile device during a power interruption can also report the interruption online at nyseg.com and rge.com.
– Listen to a battery-powered radio for weather and power restoration updates.
– Turn off major appliances (electric water heaters, refrigerators and freezers) and sensitive electronic equipment (TVs, VCRs, DVD players, computers, audio equipment) to prevent overloading and possible damage when power is restored. Turning off this equipment may mean unplugging it, turning off a circuit breaker or removing a fuse for the circuit that provides power to this equipment. Leave one light switch “on” to know when power has been restored.
– Don’t use a natural gas or propane range to heat your home.
– Never use outdoor grills or stoves inside.
– Keep refrigerators and freezers closed as much as possible. Most food will last 24 hours if you minimize the opening of refrigerator and freezer doors.
After Power Is Restored
– If a basement or home was flooded, customers should have an electrician check the home and have a plumbing and heating contractor check natural gas appliances before contacting NYSEG to have services turned on.
– Turn on appliances and sensitive electronic equipment one at a time to avoid overloading circuits.
– Replenish emergency supplies used during the storm.
Preparedness Month is a national effort sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The 2015 National Preparedness Month theme is “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” FEMA encourages Americans to create a family emergency communications plan that includes up-to-date contact information for individuals that may need to be reached during a disaster.
Sincerely,
Alan Cole
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

On Monday evening, September 21st,  I, along with my legislative colleagues, approved the plan for a new Family Court facility in the City of Yonkers.  The new facility which will be located at 131 Warburton Avenue is half a mile from the current facility at 53 South Broadway.  The existing facility dates back to 1979.  The new Family Court will be located within the same building as the Yonkers branch of the County’s Department of Social Services.  The relocation to this site and the design plan have been applauded by Family Court Administrators, Family Court Attorneys and Social Services Advocates because it provides easy and convenient access to services and additional oversight and security for families all within one location.

The plan to move the Family Court has been in the works for nearly five years.  In a 2010 report the Office of Court Facilities and planning said,  “One of the fundamental safety and security problems at the Yonkers facility is the absence of three separate and secure patterns of circulation: one for the public, one for the judges, and one for prisoners. The result is the commingling of these groups in an emotionally charged Family Court environment, which poses serious challenges for the Court’s security staff.”  the report goes on to state, “There are also a variety of security concerns with respect to the hearing rooms, primarily as a result of their limited size and locations. For example, the hearing room used for Permanency Planning proceedings is undersized and inadequate. These proceedings typically involve many participants and the lack of sufficient space results in extreme congestion. There is also little separation between the parties and the referee, which adds to security concerns. In addition, the lack of secondary exits from hearing rooms creates security issues since the referee lacks an exit near the bench. Any security-related situation occurring in the hearing room could result in the referee being trapped, without a secure route to evacuate the hearing room.”  A very careful design plan has been created for the new facility which mitigates these problems and also creates private conference rooms where parties can meet.

In addition to vastly improving the safety and efficiency of the Yonkers Family Court, the move will save County taxpayers $14 million in operating costs compared to the existing facility over the course 20 years.

I not only represent Yonkers but am a practicing attorney who appears frequently in Family Court. The folks who are appearing in family court are our neighbors and our friends.  Most of them are living through the scariest and most stressful time of their lives.  It is our responsibility to make sure that the services and facilities that we provide to them, including our Judges, Court officers and personnel are the best they can be.

Sincerely,

Gordon A. Burrows

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

A new private park for public use in downtown White Plains opened in early July.  It’s a peaceful spot right in the middle of the City where you can go and enjoy.

This is the first privately-owned park with public access in Westchester County. The park, which was built by the Cappelli Organization, is part of the redevelopment of downtown White Plains which began with City Center and concluded with Renaissance Square.

While I was a member of the White Plains Common Council, I fought for the creation of this passive open space at this location.  The park was a requirement for the approval of the Renaissance Square development.   As County Legislator, I have continued to work for its completion.

The 11,000-square-foot park is located at Mamaroneck Avenue and Main Street between Grace Church and Cappelli’s Renaissance Square development which includes The Ritz-Carlton Hotel and The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester.

Boykin talking to constituents at park

The Cappelli Organization, the City of White Plains officials and Grace Church worked together on the park’s design for over a year, resulting in a modern park that complements the popular plaza and fountain across Main Street. The park includes plantings and trees highlighted by stone pavers, benches and a waterfall illuminated at night.

The park opens as Grace Church celebrates their 150th anniversary at their present building and lends a sense of openness and welcome in the heart of White Plains.

Please share with your friends and family and come and enjoy!

Ben Boykin

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FREE MOVIE – Strange Magic
Wednesday, July 29th • Kinsley Park
Rated PG • Movie starts at dusk
For rain contingency plan, call 377-6450 • Bring your own seating and blankets



FREE CONCERT – McLean Avenue Band
Thursday, July 30th • Coyne Park

Music starts at 7PM
For rain contingency plan, call 377-6450 • Bring your own seating and blankets



YONKERS ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
Sunday, August 2nd • Empire City Casino

Hundreds of local residents will join in on the track for a simultaneous Ice Bucket
Challenge to help reignite the movement and benefit ALS research.
For more information or to register, visit YonkersNY.gov/IBC



FREE SOCCER CLINIC (For Yonkers Kids Ages 6 to 9)
Wednesday, August 269:00 am – 11:00 am
Fleming Field, 140 Fillmore Street
Hosted by Sarah Lawrence College soccer coaches and players
Registration is required. Register at yonkersny.gov/soccer
For more information, contact the Parks Department at (914) 377-6450Yonkers Office for the Aging will distribute farmers market coupons to qualified Yonkers seniors. The coupons will be available at the Office for the Aging on Monday, July 27 & Tuesday, July 28 at the Peter Chema Community Center (435 Riverdale Avenue) from 9:00am- 12:00pm and 1:00pm – 4:00pm. 

The coupons are available to qualified applicants 60 years or older and who are currently receiving or eligible to receive SSI, public assistance, food stamps, Section 8 housing subsidy or have a monthly income of $1,815.00 per month or less for a one person household; $ 2,456.00 per month or less for a two person household and $ 3,098.00 per month or less for a three person household.
Photo ID and proof of age and Yonkers residency are required. No appointments are needed; only one booklet per household; limited quantity. Yonkers seniors are able to use the coupons at the farmers markets located throughout the area.
Yonkers-own St. John’s Church, located at South Broadway and Hudson Street in Getty Square, hosts its own farmers market. Additionally, the Saw Mill River Youth Market located at Van der Donck Park in Larkin Plaza is open on Fridays from 3:00pm to 7:00pm until October 24.
The farmers market hours and locations are as follows:
St. John’s Church
One Hudson St.
July 9 – Nov 19/Thursdays 7:00am to 5:00pm
Saw Mill River Youth Market
Van Der Donck Park
June 5 – October 30/Fridays 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Every Thursday from 8:00am to 4:00pm until November 15
The Senior Farmers Market Program is funded through the Food and Nutrition Service division of the United States Department of Agriculture and Markets in cooperation with the NY State Office for the Aging, NY State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services.

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Dear Neighbor,

Enjoy the culture, music and food of Italy at the Italian Heritage Celebration, Sunday, July 26, from noon to 7 p.m., at the Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla. The event is part of a series of cultural heritage festivals held in the parks on weekends during the summer.

Vendors will offer arts and crafts, jewelry, clothing, ceramics, souvenirs and more. Food purveyors will offer a wide selection of Italian dishes.

Admission and parking are free. The event will be held rain or shine. Bring blankets or chairs for informal seating on the lawn.

Kensico Dam Plaza is located at the northern end of the Bronx River Parkway in Valhalla.

For more information, visit http://parks.westchestergov.com/ or call (914) 864-PARK.

Sincerely,

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Celebrate our country’s Independence Day with live music and one of the area’s most stunning fireworks shows at the annual Music Fest & Fireworks on Friday, July 3, at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla.

Pre-concert entertainment begins at 6 p.m. and the Gerard Carelli Orchestra takes the stage at 8 p.m.; fireworks will follow at approximately 9:15 p.m.

Admission and parking are free. Carpooling is suggested. Concert-goers should bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating as well as a picnic supper.

Event will be held rain or shine.

The Music Fest is presented by Westchester County Parks and sponsored by First Niagara Foundation with support from radio station 100.7 WHUD and the Friends of Westchester County Parks, Inc.

The Kensico Dam Plaza is located at the north end of the Bronx River Parkway in Valhalla.

For more info, go to westchestergov.com/parks or call (914) 864-PARK.

Sincerely,

Gordon A. Burrows

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Dear Neighbor,

I recently had the privilege bestowed upon me to serve as the County Legislator for the communities of Mt. Kisco, Bedford, Lewisboro, Pound Ridge and part of Somers after Peter Harckham stepped down earlier this month.

Peter was an outstanding representative who went out of his way to make sure that you knew he was fighting for the right things in White Plains.  I will work hard every day to make you feel as secure in that as you did when Mr. Harckham was the Legislator.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I may be of any assistance to you on any issue related to Westchester County.  I can be reached by phone at (914) 995-2810 or by e-mail at Cole@westchesterlegislators.com.

I have been active in government and politics for more than twenty five years and filling this seat is an honor that tops all of those activities.  I am grateful for this opportunity and am confident that I will hit the ground running to give the residents of northern Westchester a place to go to voice their concerns and have an avenue of advocacy at the county level.

Sincerely,

Alan Cole

Dear Neighbor,

Since taking office, County Executive Rob Astorino has made revitalizing Playland Park in Rye a priority of his administration. It has also been a priority of mine since I began my tenure at the Board of Legislators. The park has lost approximately $3-5 million of taxpayer money per year for many years now. Playland is a tremendous asset given its history and location on the Long Island Sound. Unfortunately, it has also been a drain on the hard-earned tax dollars of Westchester County taxpayers. My belief, as well as the belief of many hard-working taxpayers, is that county government should not be in the amusement park business. Playland is the only government-run amusement park in the entire United States. While our Playland management and workforce has done their best trying to maintain the park, there is little that will substitute for professional management from a team of individuals that has been successful in managing amusement parks throughout the United States.

Over the years, Playland has run into numerous setbacks and issues, including natural disasters and simply the cost of maintaining an aging facility in addition to meeting current safety standards and expectations. The park requires a significant financial investment in order to restore its original character and the County can only do so much on its own without placing an unreasonable tax burden on its citizens.

On Monday, June 15, the Board of Legislators passed legislation, with my support, to sign a 15-year agreement with Standard Amusements to operate the facility after several months of a comprehensive vetting process in the committee that I chair,  Budget and Appropriations, and the committee on Labor/Parks/Planning/Housing.

The public/private partnership includes the following terms:

  • Standard Amusements will pay the county $2.25 million up-front and then invest at least another $22 million in the first five years of a 15-year agreement.
  • Standard Amusements will also make annual escalating payments to Westchester County starting at $300,000 and rising approximately 2% each year.
  • Westchester County will receive 7.5% of the profits once Standard recoups its initial investment.
  • The County will continue to undertake several capital improvement projects at the park.
  • There was also an agreement reached to protect County employees who currently work at Playland from losing their employment as a result of the partnership.
  • Standard Amusements will co-manage the park with the County for the remainder of the 2015 season and look to take over control of operations by November 1, 2015.

Rye Playland LogoFor more information, please visit: http://www3.westchestergov.com/latest-news/230-top-3/4912-astorino-wins-bol-approval-for-revitalization-of-playland.
Given the multiple instances over the past years of some members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators inappropriately delaying necessary investments in the County’s infrastructure, this represents a good instance of working together in the best interests of our taxpayers. I am very excited for the future of Playland.

Sincerely,

Dear Neighbor,

We are very fortunate to have a wonderful facility like the Westchester County Center, which local high schools and colleges often use for commencement exercises.  But for those of you who may be traveling in the area of Tarrytown Road/Route 119 and Central Avenue during those times, there can be serious traffic delays.  Below is a schedule of remaining graduation ceremonies so you can plan accordingly.

Congratulations to all of our graduates this year!

Sincerely,

Schedule of Upcoming Graduations at the County Center
198 Central Avenue, White Plains, NY 10606

6/25
White Plains Middle School / High School Graduation

Thursday, Middle School 3pm & High School 7:30pm

 ________________________________________________________

6/26
Greenburgh Central Schools Woodlands High School Graduation

Friday, 7:30pm

 ________________________________________________________

6/27
Lakeland / Walter Panas High School Graduations

Saturday, 10am & 2pm

Dear Neighbor,

During the Board of Legislators June 15th meeting, the much-anticipated vote to approve the management agreement between the County and Standard Amusements took place and passed unanimously.

After being instrumental in dismantling the Sustainable Playland proposal, Democrats on the Board of Legislators felt that the public-private partnership needed to include commitments to undertake certain capital projects and protect employees to avoid layoffs as a result of this deal and they were successful in those efforts.

I’m proud that we were able to accomplish our goals to improve such a valuable asset right in our community and do it in a way that makes this gem primed for success for generations to come.  Here are some of the highlights of the new Playland Management agreement:

  • Standard Amusements will pay the county $2.25 million upfront, and then invest at least another $22 million in the first five years of a 15-year agreement. It will also pay annual escalating payments starting at $300,000 and cut the county in on 7.5 percent of the profits once it recoups its initial investment.
  • Westchester County will commit to the following capital improvements:
    • North Boardwalk (currently in design)
    • Colonnades
    • Lights on Playland Parkway
    • Playland Structural system
    • Fire Suppression System
    • Playland Pathway

The County Executive’s initial proposal to turn the park over to Sustainable Playland raised significant concerns for local residents and ultimately did not hold up to scrutiny from the Board of Legislators.  When the County Executive entered into the agreement with Standard Amusements, the Board of Legislators began their due diligence again and has significantly improved it from its original form by securing commitments about capital projects, size and scope of the park and employee protections.

Playland belongs to the people of Westchester.  Working together to infuse the park with needed capital we can restore this beautiful, iconic place to its historic glory and successful future.

Sincerely,

Dear Neighbor,

Living in the immediate area around Playland has given me a unique perspective on how to approach the revitalization of Playland Park.  It truly is the crown jewel of the county Park system and is deserving of a better treatment than it has received in the last several decades.

This conclusion is a no-brainer as both a resident of the Playland neighborhood and a Westchester County taxpayer.  Understanding the impact Playland has in our neighborhood and the value that significant improvements would bring, I fought to make sure that the park got much of what it has deserved while it has decayed over the years.

The result is the largest investment in Playland since it was built. 

I’m proud that we were able to accomplish our goals to improve such a valuable asset right in our neighborhood and do it in a way that makes this gem primed for success for generations to come.  Here are some of the highlights of the new Playland Management agreement:

  • Standard Amusements will pay the county $2.25 million upfront, and then invest at least another $22 million in the first five years of a 15-year agreement. It will also pay annual escalating payments starting at $300,000 and cut the county in on 7.5 percent of the profits once it recoups its initial investment.
  • Westchester County will commit to the following capital improvements:
    • North Boardwalk (currently in design)
    • Colonnades
    • Lights on Playland Parkway
    • Playland Structural system
    • Fire Suppression System
    • Playland Pathway

The County Executive’s initial proposal raised significant concerns for local residents and ultimately did not hold up to scrutiny from the Board of Legislators.  When the County Executive entered into the agreement with Standard Amusements, the Board of Legislators began their due diligence again and has significantly improved it from its original form by securing commitments about capital projects, size and scope of the park and employee protections.

It was also important that the neighbors of Playland have a seat at the table to advise Standard Amusements and the County about what the community priorities are as Playland’s changes begin to take place.  Thanks to the collaboration with Friends of Edith Read Sanctuary, Westchester Children’s Museum, Save the Sound and the Westchester Historical Society, this advisory board will be able to protect the cultural and historic value of Playland.

This was not a perfect process by any stretch but I believe that the taxpayers will benefit from the increased value of Playland as a result of the capital infusion it will receive.

Sincerely,

Catherine Parker

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Toxic Toys

Something that is meant to bring joy to our kids on a daily basis should not contain dangerous toxins that could imperil the health and safety of those we love.

That’s why I sponsored the “Children’s Product Safety Act, which recently passed the Board of Legislators unanimously.  The Children’s Product Safety Act will prevent the sale of infant and children’s products that include harmful toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, lead, mercury, antimony, arsenic, cadium and cobalt within the County of Westchester.

The toxic chemicals in children’s products have been linked to a host of serious medical problems including learning and developmental disabilities, asthma, pediatric and other cancer, infertility, obesity and more.

Many children’s products including toys and clothing contain these eight toxic chemicals and known carcinogens.  This bill enables Westchester’s consumers of infant and children’s products to assure the health and welfare of infants, children and the environment.

Once enacted, the Children’s Product Safety Act would be enforced by the County Department of Consumer Protection.  The department would undertake a 12 month public education campaign to alert retailers of which chemicals are harmful and then with random spot checks of products already on shelves.

Similar pieces of legislation have already passed the Albany County Legislature and are being considered in Suffolk, Duchess and Onondaga counties. The State Assembly has passed similar legislation in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion while the State Senate is still yet to take action despite having bipartisan support in that chamber as well.

Our families deserve the comfort of knowing that the toys their children play with will not have harmful impacts on their health and I’m proud that we have given that to them.

Please forward this e-news to family and friends who may be interested in this information.

Sincerely,

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It is rare that a detached single family home is offered for sale as an affordable unit.  This 3 bedroom home with garage within walking distance of the Croton Falls shopping and train station is a rare opportunity.  Interested homebuyers must apply by Monday, June 15.   Eligible applicants include 3+person households with a maximum household income of $76,050 for a 3 person household, $84,550 for a 4 person household, $91,300 for a 5 person household and $98,050 for a six person household.   Do not hesitate to call Rose Noonan of the Housing Action Council at (914) 332-4144 if you have questions.

Please share with family and friends who might be interested in this opportunity.

Sincerely,
Ben Boykin

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

ROADWAY CLOSURE

BRONX RIVER PARKWAY NORTHBOUND
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY-CRANE ROAD BRIDGE REPLACEMENT

VILLAGE OF SCARSDALE, TOWNS OF GREENBURGH & EASTCHESTER

 

ROADWAY: Bronx River Parkway Northbound.

LIMITS: Between Sprain Brook Parkway and Westchester County Center (Exit 22).

WHAT: Bronx River Parkway Crane Road Bridge Replacement.

IMPACTS:

  • There will be no access from the 6 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway to the 4 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway at the Sprain Brook Parkway.
  • All Traffic will be diverted onto the Sprain Brook Parkway and then Central Park Avenue (NY 100) all the way to White Plains.
  • NB BRP will be accessible to local traffic at the following locations (between the Sprain Brook Parkway and Harney Road) at all times.
  • Entrances from Paxton Ave, Elm Street, Scarsdale Road, Thompson Street and Leewood Drive will be open.
  • All NB traffic will be diverted at Harney Road to Scarsdale Avenue and East Parkway, reentering the NB BRP at Crane Road.
  • The NB BRP will be open to traffic at Crane Road and all points north.

WHEN: Thursday, June 11, 2015 between the hours of 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM.

Additional information please contact Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at (914) 995-2555

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SAVING YOUR GRANDKIDS WITHOUT LOSING YOURSELF:
An Interactive Workshop for Grandparents and Relatives Raising Children and Teens

The Westchester County Board of Legislators,
The Family Society of Yonkers Kinship Support Program
and The Westchester Grandparents Coalition
invite you toA forum for grandparents and relative caregiversMonday, June 15, 2015
9:30 am to 12 pm
Yonkers Riverfront Library
1 Larkin Center, 2nd FloorKeynote Speaker:
Deborah Langosch, PhD, LCSW
Project Director, Kinship Care
Program and Clinical Coordinator,
Loss and Bereavement Program
Jewish Board of Family and
Children’s Services, NYCLight refreshments will be served.Park at the Buena Vista Garage,
2 blocks south of the library on 8 Buena Vista AvenueRSVP by June 11, 2015
Bettye Malone or Carolyn Fluckinger
914-963-5118, bmalone@fssy.org, cfluckinger@fssy.org
 

The Daughters of Liberty’s Legacy
Westchester County, NY
Respectfully request your presence at a

Medal of Honor Remembrance Ceremony
Honoring
Robert C. Murray (Vietnam 1970)

Sunday, June 7, 2015 at 2:00 PM
Gate of Heaven Cemetery
10 West Stevens Ave., Hawthorne, NY

(Sect. 43, enter through gate off the Taconic Parkway) gateofheavenny.com for map

Please RSVP to
Debra Palazzo, Vietnam Commemorative Chair
debra@daughtersoflibertyslegacy.com
PH (914) 495-3631

Staff Sgt. Murray’s squad was searching for an enemy mortar that had been threatening friendly positions when a member of the squad tripped an enemy grenade rigged as a booby trap. Instantly assessing the danger to the men of his squad, S/Sgt. Murray unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own safety, threw himself on the grenade absorbing the full and fatal impact of the explosion. By his gallant action and self sacrifice, he prevented the death of the other members of his squad. S/Sgt. Murray’s extraordinary courage and gallantry, at the cost of his life above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

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Dear Neighbor,

Security World Inc., of Valhalla, is proud to sponsor and host “Drive and Dine III” on Sunday,  June 7. The event starts at 10:00 a.m. with registration for a 28-mile police escorted drive throughout Westchester. Antique cars, sports cars, motorcycles, and emergency service vehicles will depart Mt. Pleasant Town Hall (1 Town Hall Plaza, Valhalla) at 11:00 a.m. for the ride, passing through a dozen Westchester towns and seeing roughly 10 static displays by Fire Departments. For route details, visit: www.securityworldinc.com/map.

Around 12:30 p.m., all of the vehicles will return to Mt. Pleasant Town Hall for a community car show, raffles, auctions, music, and food to continue in honoring and remembering our servicemen and servicewomen past and present. 100% of the proceeds raised through registration, raffles, auctions, and donations goes to support Wounded Warrior Project(www.woundedwarriorproject.org). For more information, visit:www.securityworldinc.com/wwp.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Dear Neighbor,

A boil water advisory has been issued by the Westchester County Department of Health for Wednesday, 5/27 from 10 a.m. through midnight for the following municipalities served by the United Water Rate District No. 1.

Approximately 150,000 people are in the affected areas of New Rochelle, Bronxville, Eastchester, Tuckahoe and the Pelhams (town and village of Pelham and the Village of Pelham Manor).

The advisory is being issued as a precautionary measure while New York City Department of Environmental Protection performs scheduled maintenance of its chlorination system resulting in inadequate disinfection of water.

A boil water advisory means that residents in the affected area must boil all tap water at a rolling boil for a minimum of one minute prior to drinking it or using it to prepare food, wash dishes by hand or brush teeth. Restaurants, delis, bodegas and all food service establishments in the affected area also must boil water before serving it or using it to prepare food. Residents also can use bottled water as an alternative to boiling.

The advisory does not extend to bathing, clothes washing or the use of a dishwasher.

For more information, residents should contact United Water Rate District No. 1 at 914-632-6900 or visit their website at www.unitedwater.com/westchester.

Sincerely,

Gordon A. Burrows

Dear Friends,

It is with mixed emotions that I write to you today. I am honored to inform you that Governor Andrew Cuomo has appointed me to a position in the New York State Office of Community Renewal and that I have accepted. Therefore, I am sad to report to you that I will be stepping down from my position on the Westchester County Board of Legislators after the June 1st meeting.

This new chapter in my public service will allow me to return my roots in housing and community renewal, and to work with communities and organizations throughout the Hudson Valley.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to have served you for the past eight years as your Legislator and for the trust that you have vested in me. Serving you in the Westchester County Legislature has been by far the most rewarding experience in my professional life. I look forward to continuing to serve you and the people of Westchester in my new capacity.

I will be in communication before I leave. Thank you for your support and consideration.

Sincerely,

 

Peter Harckham

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Mock LegislatureSamuel J. Preston Elementary School 5th Grade Class

We have completed another successful year of the Student Legislature Program.  Run by the Westchester County Board of Legislators, this program is offered to fifth grade students and complements the fifth grade study of government.  Held in the Board’s Legislative Chambers at the Michaelian Office Building in White Plains, the program gives students a chance to participate in a “Mock Legislature”.  The student “Legislators” are assigned to “committees” to discuss issues and then serve as legislators to debate and vote on these issues.

Nearly all the elementary schools in the White Plains Public School District, as well as all the public elementary schools in Scarsdale and in West Harrison participate in the program each year, along with the Solomon Schechter School in White Plains.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the dedicated teachers who, despite their ever increasing responsibilities, take time to bring their students to the Board of Legislators to have them learn how their county government works.  I also thank the teacher assistants and parents who came with the students.  And of course, thanks to all the students who participated in the program.  Keep up the good work!

Sincerely,

Ben Boykin

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The  Annual Budget Vote and School Board Election will take place on Tuesday, May 19th, 2015.

Voting times and locations are as follow:

In Scarsdale, polling hours are between 7:00am to 9:00pm at the Scarsdale Middle School Gym, (134 Mamaroneck Road, Scarsdale).Voting Map

In Harrison, polls are open 7:00am to 9:00pm in your neighborhood elementary school.

In White Plains, polling hours are Noon to 9:00pm, at six voting districts (see map for your voting district). If you have any questions about your location in White Plains, you can call the main number at 422-2000.

Please forward this e-news to family and friends who may be interested in this information.

Sincerely,

Ben Boykin

Dear Neighbor,

As many of you may know, Playland recently opened for another season and is poised for another strong year just like the last one.

There has been a lot in the news about the future of Playland and I wanted to inform you of two important opportunities to have your voice heard as a part of the process.

The Board of Legislators will be holding two public hearings in the next few weeks with the hope that we can attract as many sound shore residents to voice their opinions as possible.

Please forward this to anyone that you think may also be concerned about Playland’s future.

Public Hearing 1:
Wednesday, May 20th at 7 PM
Westchester County Board of Legislators Chamber
148 Martine Avenue, 8th Floor
White Plains, NY
Public Hearing 2:
Tuesday, June 2nd at 7 PM
Rye City Hall
1051 Boston Post Road
Rye, NY

We also welcome written testimony for either of these public forums.  If you would like to submit comments in writing, please e-mail them to Parker@westchesterlegislators.com.  If you have any questions about either of these events, please don’t hesitate to call my office at (914) 995-2802

Best wishes,

Catherine Parker

Dear Neighbor,

The Westchester County Clerk will bring its community outreach mobile office to Pound Ridge’s Scotts Corners Market on Monday, May 18th from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.. Community outreach staffers will be on hand to assist residents with applying for United States passports, including having a photo taken.

What do you need to apply?

  • Proof that you are a United States citizen such as a previous U.S. Passport or an original or certified copy of your birth certificate.
  • A valid driver’s license or a government issued identification card.
  • The total fee is $135 for adult applicants (16 and over) and $105 for child applicants (under 16). The $25 processing portion of the fee can be paid by check, money order or credit card. The remainder of the fee, $110 for adults and $80 for children must be paid by check or money order made out to the U.S. Department of State. We cannot accept cash on the Mobile Office. Applications will also be accepted for the U.S. Passport Card for land and sea border travel, only. The fee for adults is $55.00 and for children, the fee is $40.00.
  • Staff can take your passport photo for an additional $10.00 fee.
  • If you need your passport in about 2-3 weeks, expedited service costs an additional $60.00 for each passport application which must be expedited.

Questions? Do not hesitate to call (914) 995-3082 weekdays or visit www.WestchesterClerk.com.

Why apply now?
Routine passport applications are now taking approximately 4-6 weeks. For an additional charge, expedited service will result in your obtaining your passport in about 2-3 weeks. But only in emergency circumstances can a passport application be processed more quickly, so do not delay.

Please Note: You will need a passport to enter the United States by air, by land or by sea unless you are a child under the age of 16 entering by land or sea with proof of U.S. citizenship or an adult with another travel document approved by the Department of Homeland Security.

Sincerely,

Peter Harckham

Dear Neighbor,

Something that is meant to bring joy to our kids on a daily basis should not contain dangerous toxins that could imperil the health and safety of those we love.

That’s why I sponsored the “Children’s Product Safety Act, which recently passed the Board of Legislators unanimously.  The Children’s Product Safety Act will prevent the sale of infant and children’s products that include harmful toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, lead, mercury, antimony, arsenic, cadium and cobalt within the County of Westchester.

The toxic chemicals in children’s products have been linked to a host of serious medical problems including learning and developmental disabilities, asthma, pediatric and other cancer, infertility, obesity and more.

Many children’s products including toys and clothing contain these eight toxic chemicals and known carcinogens.  This bill enables Westchester’s consumers of infant and children’s products to assure the health and welfare of infants, children and the environment.

I want to specifically thank the Rye YMCA for sending written support with other sound shore residents from my district.

Once enacted, the Children’s Product Safety Act would be enforced by the County Department of Consumer Protection.  The department would undertake a 12 month public education campaign to alert retailers of which chemicals are harmful and then with random spot checks of products already on shelves.

Similar pieces of legislation have already passed the Albany County Legislature and are being considered in Suffolk, Duchess and Onondaga counties. The State Assembly has passed similar legislation in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion while the State Senate is still yet to take action despite having bipartisan support in that chamber as well.

Our families deserve the comfort of knowing that the toys their children play with will not have harmful impacts on their health and I’m proud that we have given that to them.

Sincerely,

Catherine Parker

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Toxic Toys

Something that is meant to bring joy to our kids on a daily basis should not contain dangerous toxins that could imperil the health and safety of those we love.

That’s why I sponsored the “Children’s Product Safety Act, which recently passed the Board of Legislators unanimously.  The Children’s Product Safety Act will prevent the sale of infant and children’s products that include harmful toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, lead, mercury, antimony, arsenic, cadium and cobalt within the County of Westchester.

The toxic chemicals in children’s products have been linked to a host of serious medical problems including learning and developmental disabilities, asthma, pediatric and other cancer, infertility, obesity and more.

Many children’s products including toys and clothing contain these eight toxic chemicals and known carcinogens.  This bill enables Westchester’s consumers of infant and children’s products to assure the health and welfare of infants, children and the environment.

Once enacted, the Children’s Product Safety Act would be enforced by the County Department of Consumer Protection.  The department would undertake a 12 month public education campaign to alert retailers of which chemicals are harmful and then with random spot checks of products already on shelves.

Similar pieces of legislation have already passed the Albany County Legislature and are being considered in Suffolk, Duchess and Onondaga counties. The State Assembly has passed similar legislation in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion while the State Senate is still yet to take action despite having bipartisan support in that chamber as well.

Our families deserve the comfort of knowing that the toys their children play with will not have harmful impacts on their health and I’m proud that we have given that to them.

Please forward this e-news to family and friends who may be interested in this information.

Sincerely,

Ben Boykin

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Some of you may remember the Waterwheel Restaurant in Ardsley.  The site has now been transformed into Fair and Affordable Condos. This Thursday, May 14 an information session on the Waterwheel Condominium will be held at the White Plains Library at 6:30 p.m. 

This could be a great opportunity for income qualifying families to own there own home.  There are 22  two and three bedroom condominiums in this development which is located at 867 Saw Mill River Road.  The condos have open living areas for kitchen, living and dining areas.  Each condo has a separate HVAC forced air, gas fired system. Retail shopping is nearby.  The Bee-Line Bus offers regular services between Yonkers, White Plains and Harrison and between the Bronx and the Westchester Community College in Valhalla.  A bus stop is within walking distance. There is on-site parking.

Applications are due by June 1, 2015.  Applications and brochures – in English and Spanish – can be downloaded from Housing Action Council’s website at www.housingactioncouncil.org.

Click here for an informational flyer.

Please forward this e-news to family and friends who may be interested in this information.

Sincerely,

Ben Boykin

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Dear Friends & Neighbors,

Below is a press release from White Plains Mayor Tom Roach regarding the Park WhitePlains parking app that was launched on Monday, May 4, 2015.

Please share this information with you family and friends.

Sincerely,

Ben Boykin


City of White Plains Letterhead

For Immediate Release:
Contact:
Karen Pasquale, Office of the Mayor
Tel:  (914) 422-1411
kpasquale@whiteplainsny.gov

John Larson, Commissioner of Parking
Tel: (914) 422-1232
jlarson@whiteplainsny.gov

White Plains Launches ParkWhitePlains, Mobile Parking App
1st Municipal Mobile Parking App in Westchester

WHITE PLAINS, NY – May 4, 2015Parking in White Plains is getting a whole new look. Mayor Tom Roach today introduced ParkWhitePlains, a new mobile parking payment technology designed for the City. This new application is replacing the current mobile payment system, Pay-by-Phone. The ParkWhitePlains app will bring increased convenience and ease of use along with custom features developed for White Plains.

The app builds on the City’s efforts over the past several years to utilize technology to make parking easier and help parkers avoid getting tickets. The number of parking tickets issued in the City has been steadily decreasing over the past five years. It is expected that this app will further contribute to that trend.

“This is the type of technology our residents, businesses, shoppers and work force can embrace and get excited about. No other municipality in Westchester has a parking infrastructure like White Plains,” said Mayor Roach. “We’re leveraging our network of municipally-owned garages and lots to make parking easier, faster, more convenient, and less stressful.”

When the app launches on May 4, parkers will be able to utilize it for parking in most of the City’s off-street meters. The service will expand to the on-street meters later this year. Parkers can easily download ParkWhitePlains through the App Store for iPhone and Google Play Store for Android. Parkers can also manage their parking through the ParkWhitePlains mobile web application, which is accessible on any device with an internet connection at ParkWhitePlains.com.

The ParkWhite Plains app is free and offers a quick registration process. It allows parkers to easily and quickly pay for parking without utilizing a meter, manage their parking, and extend their parking time remotely. The app offers a visual countdown timer to help parkers keep track of the time left in their parking session.

And there’s more. ParkWhitePlains will also display public parking locations in the City to help parkers find the public garages and lots most convenient to where they want to go. Another exciting feature of ParkWhitePlains is its merchant validation option. This gives city merchants the opportunity to pay for all or part of a customer’s parking session. From the merchant perspective, the validation system is easy to use and can be customized to best meet the needs of individual businesses. It’s also a great way for city merchants to promote their business. As parkers enter a particular garage or lot, information about merchants located nearby who are also participating in the merchant validation system will pop up, including business name, address, and the specific parking discount offered. Such information will be readily available for parkers to see.

Passport, the industry leader in mobile payments, was selected to provide a private label application for the City of White Plains following successful private-label launches in numerous cities nationwide as well as internationally. Recent launches include the cities of Boston, Toronto, and Chicago.

“We’re thrilled to provide the White Plains community with the most advanced mobile payment technology in the industry”, said John Larson, Commissioner of Parking at the City of White Plains. “We continuously strive to improve the parking experience for our community, and we believe that the solution Passport offers will allow us to do so for years to come.”

About Passport

Passport is the industry-leading mobile payments company specializing in integrated urban mobility solutions. The company provides feature rich software platforms that offer parking and transit agencies a more effective and efficient way to manage their operations and serve their customers.Passport’s mobile payment systems are deployed in over 1,000 locations in 43 states and provinces across the US and Canada, with clients such as Chicago, Toronto and Boston.

Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Passport is backed by a highly respected group of investors, including Grotech Ventures and Relevance Capital. For more information, please visit www.gopassport.com.

The ParkWhitePlains app can be used at the following City-owned parking structures and lots:

Chester-Maple Garage
Hamilton-Main Garage
Library Garage
Lexington-Grove West Garage (Galleria)
Lexington-Grove East Garage (Galleria)
TransCenter Garage
Longview-Cromwell Garage
Lyon Place Garage
White Plains Center Garage (City Center)
Waller-Maple Lot
Court Street Lot
Quarropas Lot
Mamaroneck Avenue Lot
Shapham Place Lot

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Spring has finally arrived and Bicycle Sundays are underway!

During Bicycle Sundays, a portion of the Bronx River Parkway is closed to cars for the exclusive use of bicyclists, joggers, walkers, scooters and strollers. The Bronx River Parkway will be closed between the Westchester County Center and the Sprain Brook Parkway.

I hope you can get out and enjoy the weather and get some exercise.  Please share this email with your friends and family!

Ben Boykin


WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

ROADWAY CLOSURE
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY

CITY OF WHITE PLAINS & YONKERS, TOWNS OF
EASTCHESTER & GREENBURGH AND VILLAGES OF
BRONXVILLE, SCARSDALE & TUCKAHOE


ROADWAY: Northbound and Southbound Bronx River Parkway.

LIMITS: Bronx River Parkway between the Westchester County Center and the Sprain Brook Parkway.

WHAT: Bike & Skate Sunday’s.

IMPACTS: All lanes of the Bronx River Parkway will closed to traffic within the above limits. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes such as the Sprain Brook Parkway, Route 100, and Route 22 to avoid delays during this event.

WHEN: Sunday’s May 3, 10, 17 and 31; June 7, 14, 21 and 28; September 13, 20, and 27, 2015 between the hours 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. (Weather Permitting)

WHO: Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation & Conservation.

NOTE: For additional information please contact Westchester County Parks at (914) 864-PARK or the Westchester County Center at (914) 995-4050.

Dear Neighbor,

One of the main reasons that I wanted to serve as your County Legislator was the fact that many years have gone by since Westchester County had a strong enough commitment to environmental protections and energy efficiencies.

I’m very happy to let you know that the Board of Legislators recently made huge strides towards making Westchester County more environmentally sustainable than it has been in years.

On Monday night, one of my top priority pieces of legislation passed the Board of Legislators to create an Energy Director for Westchester.

The new office of the Energy Director would be charged with finding opportunities for grants and funding for energy efficient upgrades to infrastructure and net significant savings in energy costs to the county incorporating technologies that would reduce dependence on carbon and in turn reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This legislation followed similar models of Energy Director Positions in the region including Yonkers, New York City and Philadelphia.  These individuals in other places have already saved taxpayers significant amounts of money by implementing cost-saving measures that are environmentally-focused.

Families all over the county have taken steps to become more energy efficient and realize real savings every month as a result.  It is long overdue that this county takes steps in the same direction by creating a Westchester County Energy Director.

I’m proud to have been a part of this effort on your behalf.

Sincerely,

Catherine Parker

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

ROADWAY CLOSURE
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY

CITY OF WHITE PLAINS & YONKERS, TOWNS OF
EASTCHESTER & GREENBURGH AND VILLAGES OF
BRONXVILLE, SCARSDALE & TUCKAHOE


ROADWAY: Northbound and Southbound Bronx River Parkway.

LIMITS: Bronx River Parkway between the Westchester County Center and the Sprain Brook Parkway.

WHAT: Bike & Skate Sunday’s.

IMPACTS: All lanes of the Bronx River Parkway will closed to traffic within the above limits. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes such as the Sprain Brook Parkway, Route 100, and Route 22 to avoid delays during this event.

WHEN: Sunday’s May 3, 10, 17 and 31; June 7, 14, 21 and 28; September 13, 20, and 27, 2015 between the hours 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. (Weather Permitting)

WHO: Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation & Conservation.

NOTE: For additional information please contact Westchester County Parks at (914) 864-PARK or the Westchester County Center at (914) 995-4050.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

ROADWAY CLOSURE

BRONX RIVER PARKWAY NORTHBOUND

PAVING OPERATIONS

BRONX RIVER PARKWAY
VILLAGE OF SCARSDALE, TOWNS OF GREENBURGH & EASTCHESTER


ROADWAY: Bronx River Parkway Northbound.

LIMITS: Between Sprain Brook Parkway and Westchester County Center (Exit 22).

WHAT: Paving operations

IMPACTS: The Northbound Bronx River Parkway will be closed:

  • Northbound Closure Wednesday, April 29, 2015.
    There will be no access from the 6 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway to the 4 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway at the Sprain Brook Parkway.
  • All Traffic will be diverted onto the Sprain Brook Parkway and then Central Park Avenue (NY 100) all the way to White Plains.

NB BRP will be accessible to local traffic at the following locations (between the Sprain Brook Parkway and Harney Road) at all times:

  • Entrances from Paxton Ave, Elm Street, Scarsdale Road, Thompson Street and Leewood Drive will be open.
  • All NB traffic will be diverted at Harney Road to Scarsdale Avenue and East Parkway, reentering the NB BRP at Crane Road.
  • The NB BRP will be open to traffic at Crane Road and all points north.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 between the hours of 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM.

Additional information please contact Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at (914) 995-2555

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

What we send down our drains and toilets can hurt our environment, as well as cost millions of dollars of wastewater treatment equipment.  If you are wondering what is and what is not safe to pour or flush down your drains, the following information may be useful.

Please forward this e-news to family and friends who may be interested in this information.

Sincerely,

Ben Boykin

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

ROADWAY CLOSURE
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY NORTHBOUND
PAVING OPERATIONS
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY

VILLAGE OF SCARSDALE, TOWNS OF GREENBURGH & EASTCHESTER


ROADWAY: Bronx River Parkway Northbound.

LIMITS: Between Sprain Brook Parkway and Westchester County Center (Exit 22).

WHAT: Paving operations

IMPACTS: The Northbound Bronx River Parkway will be closed:

Northbound Closure (Thursday, April 23,and Friday, April 24, 2015)
• There will be no access from the 6 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway to the 4 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway at the Sprain Brook Parkway.
• All Traffic will be diverted onto the Sprain Brook Parkway and then Central Park Avenue (NY 100) all the way to White Plains.

NB BRP will be accessible to local traffic at the following locations (between the Sprain Brook Parkway and Harney Road) at all times:
• Entrances from Paxton Ave, Elm Street, Scarsdale Road, Thompson Street and Leewood Drive will be open.
• All NB traffic will be diverted at Harney Road to Scarsdale Avenue and East Parkway, reentering the NB BRP at Crane Road.
• The NB BRP will be open to traffic at Crane Road and all points north.

WHEN: Thursday, April 23, and Friday, April 24, 2015 between the hours of 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM.

Additional information please contact Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at (914) 995-2555.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Dear Neighbor,

Westchester County Park Passes are now available at many parks and golf courses throughout the county.

Passes are available to any county resident age 12 and older who has either a driver’s license or photo identification with proof of Westchester residency.

The Park Pass is a photo identification card that provides you with admission to all county-owned parks, pools and beaches, along with discounts on parking and golf when applicable. One park pass holder can bring two adults and children under age 12 into all county swimming facilities. Regular admission fees apply to each guest.

An individual pass costs $75 and is valid for three years from date of issue. It must be obtained in person. It is non-transferable and can only be used by its owner.

AFamily Park Pass is available for families who need to purchase two or more park passes for their household. The pass is $150, which covers two adult passes plus passes for any children ages 12 through 18 living at home. The Family Park Pass is valid for three years from month of purchase. All family members must be present at the time of purchase.

Senior Citizen Park Passes for adults age 60 and older are available for a fee of $75 and are valid for six years from date of issue. Park Passes for disabled residents are also available for $75 and are also valid for six years. An eligibility form must first be obtained from the county’s Office for the Disabled by calling (914) 995-2957. A Medicare is also acceptable proof of disability.

Passes are available seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at all six county-owned golf courses: Dunwoodie and Sprain Lake in Yonkers, Hudson Hills in Ossining, Maple Moor in White Plains, Mohansic in Yorktown Heights, and Saxon Woods in Scarsdale; and at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River.

Passes are also issued weekdays (Monday through Friday only) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Westchester County Center in White Plains and at the parks department’s administrative offices at 450 Saw Mill River Road in Ardsley.

At Croton Point Park, passes are issued year-round, seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

At Playland Park in Rye, passes are issued from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, when the amusement park is closed. When the park is open, passes are available from 11 a.m. until one hour before the park closes. For park hours go to RyePlayland.org or call (914) 813-7000.

Beginning Saturday, May 2, passes will be available daily through Labor Day, at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Beginning Saturday, June 13, passes will be available daily at Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers, Saxon Woods Pool in White Plains and Willson’s Waves parks in Mount Vernon. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, call (914) 864-PARK or go to http://parks.westchestergov.com/.

Sincerely,

Bernice Spreckman

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Today is Earth Day, and with that in mind I thought I would send a message out that would have one simple step that we can all take. What we send down our drains and toilets can hurt our environment, as well as cost millions of dollars of wastewater treatment equipment.  If you are wondering what is and what is not safe to pour or flush down your drains, the following information may be useful.

Sincerely,

Catherine Parker

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

BRONX RIVER PARKWAY, CR 9992
NORTHBOUND MAIN STREET EXIT 21
SOUTHBOUND CHATTERTON AVENUE EXIT 21

ROAD CLOSURE
BRIDGE REPAIRS

CITY OF WHITE PLAINS


ROADWAY: Bronx River Parkway.

LIMITS: Main Street (Northbound)/Chatterton Avenue (Southbound) Exits 21.

WHAT: Bridge repairs.

IMPACTS: Bronx River Parkway northbound at Main Street (Exit 21) will be closed to motorists within the above limits. Motorists will be diverted to re-enter the northbound Bronx River Parkway at the Westchester County Center (Exit 22). Bronx River Parkway southbound at Chatterton Avenue (Exit 21) will be closed to motorists within the above limits. Motorists will be diverted to re-enter the southbound Bronx River Parkway at Main Street.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 21 & Wednesday, April 22, 2015 between the hours of 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.

WHO: Westchester County Department of Public Works & Transportation.

For additional information please contact Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at (914) 995-2555.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Last month, I proposed a plan to allow Westchester residents to more easily access two county databases that monitor home improvement contractors.  The proposal would allow consumers the ability to easily check both a contractor’s licensing status as well as if the contractor has any liens and or judgements against them, all on one webpage.  The linking of the Consumer Protection Department to the Westchester County Clerks Judgments and Liens page is now online and it has never been easier to check out a home improvement contractor.

Below are some tips and suggestions for anyone considering a home improvement project.

Sincerely,

Coffee and Conversation
With Your Local Officials

County Legislator Catherine Parker
Senator George Latimer
Assemblyman Steve Otis

Coffees with Catherine Borgia

Stop by for a cup of coffee and
discuss State and County issues.

Saturday April 25, 2015
Ruby’s Oyster Bar and Bistro
45 Purchase Street, Rye, NY
9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Beginning at 11AM, we will discuss any topics related to the newly announced plan for Playland.

Save the Date

Forum on Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Ribbon Thursday, April 23rd,
6p.m. – 8 p.m.

Belsky Auditorium, 53 Valentine Street,
Mount Vernon, NYHosted by Montefiore Mount Vernon

Contact Geneva Jermin, Program Director,
Community Health & Education 914-361-6195Love is not abuse

Montefiore Mount Vernon

EVENT:                     Bicycle Sundays

SPONSORS:              Con Edison and Friends of Westchester County Parks

Bicycle Sundays

WHERE:                    Bronx River Parkway from Westchester County Center in White Plains, south to Scarsdale Road in Yonkers.

WHEN:                      Sundays in May, June and September

SCHEDULE:             May 3, 10, 17 and 31
June 7, 14, 21 and 28
September 13, 20 and 27

TIMES:                      10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

ADMISSION:            FREE

PARKING:                 Parking is available at the County Center lot in White Plains for a fee of $7. You can alternatively bike/jog/walk from the Kensico Dam in Valhalla along the trail to the County Center.

PRESENTED BY:      Westchester County Parks

SPONSORS:               Con Edison and Friends of Westchester County Parks, with support from radio station WHUD 100.7

MORE INFO:             parks.westchestergov.com/ or call County Parks at (914) 864-PARK

Dear Neighbor,

Nothing is more important than ensuring that residents of Westchester County have clean air and water.

Westchester County recently received the approval of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to move forward with a $10 million water treatment plan that will bring the County into compliance with the Federal Clean Drinking Water Act. This is welcomed news for Westchester taxpayers who live in Water District 1 (Mount Vernon, Scarsdale, White Plains and Yonkers).

Although the outcome of this process is satisfactory, it did not come easy. The County was engaged in protracted litigation that potentially could have resulted in fines of $37,500 per day beginning in 2012 until the final court proceedings ended. If the case ended in 2016, the penalties could have mounted to $82 million. In addition, if the county lost the court battle, it would still have to build a water filtration plant which was estimated to cost $100 million.

The Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) stepped in and requested that the County Attorney commence negotiations with the U.S. Justice Department and the EPA to settle the lawsuit rather than exposing county taxpayers to substantial financial risks of continued litigation.

The County had conducted studies and started design of two ultraviolet facilities to bring the Water District into compliance. However, the EPA had not reviewed or signed off on this solution. The BOL’s Law Committee solicited the input of the four affected municipalities, all of whom agreed that the County should pursue a negotiated settlement of the dispute. The Law Committee decided that the County should obtain the approval of the Federal Government by entering into a Consent Decree before moving forward. As the result of this decision, the County Attorney commenced negotiations and reached tentative agreement in a Consent Decree that is presently before the BOL for its approval.

The consent decree requires the County to pay a civil penalty of $1.1 million. There is still work to do in mitigating this penalty but the substantial financial risks faced by County are now behind us.

We believe it is important for the County to build a cooperative working relationship with the Federal Government to amicably resolve disputes rather than contentious litigation. The resolution of this dispute proves such a relationship is possible while providing county residents safe drinking water and saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

Having this consent decree, in advance of construction, provides assurance that the County can build the water treatment facility within the specified time-frame without the uncertainty of whether the facility is in compliance with Federal Law and still save taxpayers money.

Sincerely,

Lyndon D. Williams, Chairman of the Law Committee

Dear Friends,
LPPH Meeting video
Watch Video

I had hoped that the County Executive’s administration had learned from the SPI debacle, that communication is paramount to a successful process. Communication is paramount to legislators who must perform due diligence, to local officials who must be allowed to voice concern, and to the taxpayers of Westchester County who have a diversity of opinion on Playland, and who should be heard.

This issue of communication would also foster the sense that we are all on the same team, we all want to see a better arrangement for Playland, and we are all eager to see success. Unfortunately, the lack of information, including that contained in the County Executive’s unnecessary $100,000 report, does nothing to quell the sense that there may be those in the administration that are continuing to hamper Playland’s future.  It saddens me to see the jewel of the Westchester County Park system in effect, held for ransom by those individuals.

At the Board of Legislators, we’re going to keep up the pressure on the administration to get the answers that you deserve about one of the County’s most valuable assets.

As always, I welcome your feedback.

Sincerely,

Catherine Parker

Dear Friends and Neighbors,Bicycle Sundays are here again.  Come out and get some exercise and enjoy the warm weather!Please forward this e-news to family and friends who may be interested in this information.Ben Boykin

EVENT: Bicycle Sundays
SPONSORS: Con Edison and Friends of Westchester County Parks
WHERE: Bronx River Parkway from Westchester County Center in White Plains, south to Scarsdale Road in Yonkers.
WHEN: Sundays in May, June and September
SCHEDULE: May 3, 10, 17 and 31
June 7, 14, 21 and 28
September 13, 20 and 27
TIMES: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
ADMISSION: FREE
PARKING: $7 parking at the County Center lot in White Plains
PRESENTED BY: Westchester County Parks
SPONSORS: Con Edison and Friends of Westchester County Parks, with support from radio station WHUD 100.7
MORE INFO: westchestergov.com/parks or call County Parks at (914) 864-PARK

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I would like to invite you to participate in a Public Forum on Family Issues which is being held by The Westchester County Families Task Force.  This Task Force is a consortium of representatives from the County Board of Legislators and various not-for-profit organizations from around the County, working together with the goal of improving the lives of Westchester Families.

The forum is taking place on April 9th beginning at 6:30 at the White Plains Public Library and is the first of several forums being held around the County.  Your Legislators will be able to hear directly from you about the  issues your family is facing and what could make life a little easier for Westchester families.  The Task Force will provide information on available programs and resources and ways to get involved in improving the community. The Task Force will be creating a legislative agenda based on the feedback they receive from the public forums.

Come and make your voices heard.  Please be sure to forward this e-news to your family and friends who may be interested in participating.

Sincerely,

Ben Boykin

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

LANE CLOSURES
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY
NORTHBOUND/SOUTHBOUND
BRIDGE INSPECTION
CITY OF YONKERS

ROADWAY: Northbound/Southbound Bronx River Parkway.

LIMITS: Bronx River Parkway between the Cross County Parkway and the Sprain Brook Parkway.

WHAT: Midland Avenue Bridge Inspection.

IMPACTS: There will be single northbound lane closures within the above limits on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 between the hours of 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

There will be single southbound lane closures within the above limits on Thursday, April 2, 2015 between the hours of 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

There will be single northbound lane closures within the above limits on Friday, April 3, 2015 between the hours of 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

Two travel lanes of will be maintained at all times in each direction during this work.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 1, thru Friday, April 3, 2015 daily between the hours of 9:30 AM and 2:30 PM.

WHO: Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation Contract # 14-931.

For additional information please contact Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at (914) 995-2555.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

LANE CLOSURES
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY
NORTHBOUND/SOUTHBOUND
BRIDGE INSPECTION
CITY OF YONKERS

ROADWAY: Northbound/Southbound Bronx River Parkway.

LIMITS: Bronx River Parkway between the Cross County Parkway and the Sprain Brook Parkway.

WHAT: Midland Avenue Bridge Inspection.

IMPACTS: There will be single northbound lane closures within the above limits on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 between the hours of 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

There will be single southbound lane closures within the above limits on Thursday, April 2, 2015 between the hours of 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

There will be single northbound lane closures within the above limits on Friday, April 3, 2015 between the hours of 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

Two travel lanes of will be maintained at all times in each direction during this work.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 1, thru Friday, April 3, 2015 daily between the hours of 9:30 AM and 2:30 PM.

WHO: Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation Contract # 14-931.

For additional information please contact Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at (914) 995-2555.

Dear friends,One of the best things about living on the Sound Shore is our proximity to Playland. Often on summer weekends,  my family and I ride our bikes to Playland after dinner. We ride a few of the rides, have some cotton candy, stroll along the boardwalk, and maybe catch some fireworks. This is summer at its best!Season passes for Westchester County residents makes these visits one of the best bargains around – $80! Now, through April 30th, save 10% when you purchase four or more.Lastly, Whether you celebrate Easter, Passover, or just the arrival of Spring, I hope that it’s a happy occasion.See you at Playland!Catherine Parker2015 Playland Spring Offer

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Ambassador Rendering

I wanted to let you know of an opportunity that exists right here in our district for residents in need of assisted living.

The newly built Ambassador in Scarsdale is offering  suites at affordable prices to individuals with incomes at or less than $43,560.  Located at 9 Saxon Wood Road off of Mamaroneck Avenue, the Ambassador is an assisted living and memory care community offering a suite (shared by two individuals) with all utilities included, three meals a day, weekly housekeeping, transportation, recreation activities, and wellness programs. The monthly cost for the housing and the services per resident is $2,372.50.  This is a market rate development with two affordable suites available to four income qualified individuals.  Applications are due by April 15, 2015.  A lottery will be conducted shortly on April 20. An information sheet and an application (also available in Spanish) are available on the Housing Action Council website:  www.housingactioncouncil.org

Sincerely,

Ben Boykin

Electricians Recruit Apprentices

The Westchester-Fairfield Joint Electrical Apprenticeship Committee, Local Union #3, will conduct a recruitment from April 6, 2015 through April 17, 2015 for 50 electrician apprentices.

Applications can be obtained by sending a registered letter to: Westchester-Fairfield Joint Electrical Apprenticeship Committee, P. 0. Box 509, White Plains, NY 10602. The registered letter must contain the applicant’s name and address including zip code (please print). The request letters will be accepted for 10 business days or until 1,000 registered letters have been received, whichever occurs first. Please do not include any documents or money with your registered letter. It is the responsibility of the applicant to retain the post office receipt for the registered letter. Applications will be accepted by REGISTERED MAIL ONLY. Applications received by any other means, including any other mail classifications, will not be accepted. Registered letters requesting an application must not be postmarked earlier than April 6, 2015, but no later than April 17, 2015. All registered letters postmarked April 6, 2015 will be honored with an application even if the number of letters received exceeds the 1,000 limit.

If you receive an application, there is a non-refundable application fee of $25. Please note, you may request that this fee be waived. Fee waivers will be approved upon showing verifiable proof of financial need. Completed applications must be mailed to Westchester-Fairfield Joint Electrical Apprenticeship Committee, P.O. Box 509, White Plains, NY 10602 and postmarked no later than May 15, 2015.

The Committee requires that applicants:

  • Must be at least 18 years old as of December 31, 2015.
  • Must have a high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma (such as GED or TASC) including a passing grade for one year of Algebra or High School Regents Math. An official transcript will be required after acceptance into the program.
  • Must be physically able to perform the work required as determined by a complete physical examination by a physician, at the committee’s expense, after selection and prior to indenture.
  • Must be a resident, of at least two years, within the Greater New York Metropolitan area (within a 60 mile radius of White Plains, NY).
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license and have reliable means of transportation to job sites and related instruction classes. Apprentices may be required to drive company-owned vehicles.
  • Must report for the electrical trades’ aptitude test when scheduled.

For further information, applicants should contact their nearest New York State Department of Labor office or Local Union #3 at (914) 946-0472. Apprentice programs registered with the Department of Labor must meet standards established by the Commissioner. Under state law, sponsors of programs cannot discriminate against applicants because of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, disability, or marital status. Women and minorities are encouraged to submit applications for apprenticeship programs. Sponsors of programs are required to adopt affirmative action plans for the recruitment of women and minorities.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

BRONX RIVER PARKWAY, CR 9992

SINGLE LANE CLOSURE
TRAFFIC SENSOR RESTORATION
VILLAGE OF SCARSDALE

 

ROADWAY:  Bronx River Parkway Northbound
LIMITS: At the Greenacres Bridge
WHAT: Traffic sensor restoration.
IMPACTS: The Bronx River Parkway will have single lane closures within the above limits.
WHEN: Thursday, January 15, 2015 between the hours of 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM.
WHO: Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation Contract # 14-534.

For additional information please contact Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at (914) 995-2555.

Dear Neighbor,
The Westchester County Department of Public Safety is accepting applications for seasonal park rangers to patrol county parks this summer. Applications are due by Feb. 20 and are available online at the Department of Public Safety’s web pages: http://www.westchestergov.com/ps.
Uniformed park rangers work under the supervision of county police officers to maintain a safe and enjoyable atmosphere in the county’s parks. They assist park users, provide information on park rules and procedures, help in searches for lost children, perform basic first aid on occasion and make regular security checks of buildings and facilities.
First-time park rangers are paid $14 hourly. Salaries are higher for those who have worked as a ranger for the county before.
To qualify, applicants must be a high school graduate, at least 19 years of age, a U.S. citizen, a resident of Westchester County and possess a valid New York State driver’s license by the time of appointment.
Accepted candidates must attend a three-week training program at the Westchester County Police Academy.
Public Safety Commissioner George Longworth said that many police officers in Westchester, including himself, had their first exposure to a law enforcement career by working as a park ranger. “By receiving Police Academy training and working under the supervision of county police officers, park rangers get a unique view into law enforcement and the career opportunities that exist,” he said.
For more information, please visit www.westchestergov.com/ps.
Sincerely,

 

 

 

WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

ROADWAY CLOSURE
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY NORTHBOUND
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY-CRANE ROAD BRIDGE REPLACEMENT

VILLAGE OF SCARSDALE, TOWNS OF GREENBURGH & EASTCHESTER

 

ROADWAY: Bronx River Parkway Northbound.

LIMITS: Between Sprain Brook Parkway and Westchester County Center (Exit 22).

WHAT: Bronx River Parkway Crane Road Bridge Replacement Project.

IMPACTS:

  • There will be no access from the 6 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway to the 4 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway at the Sprain Brook Parkway.
  • All Traffic will be diverted onto the Sprain Brook Parkway and then Central Park Avenue (NY 100) all the way to White Plains.
  • NB BRP will be accessible to local traffic at the following locations (between the Sprain Brook Parkway and Harney Road) at all times.
  • Entrances from Paxton Ave, Elm Street, Scarsdale Road, Thompson Street and Leewood Drive will be open.
  • All NB traffic will be diverted at Harney Road to Scarsdale Avenue and East Parkway, reentering the NB BRP at Crane Road.
  • The NB BRP will be open to traffic at Crane Road and all points north.

WHEN: Beginning Friday, December 11 at 10:00PM, until 4:00 PM Sunday, December 13, 2015.

Additional information please contact Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at (914) 995-2555.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
TRAFFIC ADVISORY

ROADWAY CLOSURE
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY NORTHBOUND
BRONX RIVER PARKWAY-CRANE ROAD BRIDGE REPLACEMENT

VILLAGE OF SCARSDALE, TOWNS OF GREENBURGH & EASTCHESTER

 

ROADWAY: Bronx River Parkway Northbound.

LIMITS: Between Sprain Brook Parkway and Westchester County Center (Exit 22).

WHAT: Bronx River Parkway Crane Road Bridge Replacement Project.

IMPACTS:

  • There will be no access from the 6 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway to the 4 lane portion of the NB Bronx River Parkway at the Sprain Brook Parkway.
  • All Traffic will be diverted onto the Sprain Brook Parkway and then Central Park Avenue (NY 100) all the way to White Plains.
  • NB BRP will be accessible to local traffic at the following locations (between the Sprain Brook Parkway and Harney Road) at all times.
  • Entrances from Paxton Ave, Elm Street, Scarsdale Road, Thompson Street and Leewood Drive will be open.
  • All NB traffic will be diverted at Harney Road to Scarsdale Avenue and East Parkway, reentering the NB BRP at Crane Road.
  • The NB BRP will be open to traffic at Crane Road and all points north.

WHEN: Beginning Friday, December 11 at 10:00PM, until 4:00 PM Sunday, December 13, 2015.

Additional information please contact Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at (914) 995-2555.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear neighbors and friends:

Please join us for our monthly meeting tonight, Feb. 10, 7:30pm-9:00pm, Nepperhan Community Center, 342 Warburton Avenue.

It will be an open forum for you to express your concerns and suggestions.

Speakers
Captain Emil Cavorti, Commanding Officer, Fourth Precinct
Councilman Christopher Johnson, 1st District

Special Events in Downtown Yonkers: February 2016
Visit website for more information:
http://yonkersdowntown.com/feb2016/

Fun Activities, Movies, Art, & More
Feb. 01: Girls Who Code Info Session – YPIE
Feb. 03: Riverfront Book Club: Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou
Feb. 04: World Interfaith Harmony
Feb. 04: New Year, New You: African Dance
Feb. 04: If the Creek Don’t Rise: Opening Reception at HRM
Feb. 04: RiverTalks – The Little Things
Feb. 06: Mardi Gras Party @ Yonkers Brewing Co
Feb. 06: Urban Studio Unbound: Winter 2016 Exhibition Opening!
Feb. 08: Industry Night at Yonkers Brewing Co.
Feb. 09: Arty Gras at Yonkers Brewing
Feb. 10: Up Up Farm Film Series: Greenhorns
Feb. 11: RiverTalks – Past, Present & Future of the Hudson River
Feb. 13: Second Saturday Art Program
Feb. 13: “Future/Canvas The Emerging Digital Arts” – Opening
Feb. 13: Frozen Dress-Up and Sing-Along
Feb. 16: Sciencetellers to Present “Dragons & Dreams”
Feb. 16: Movies Akeelah and the Bee
Feb. 18: Movie: The Wiz Live
Feb. 18: Black History Month Celebration
Feb. 19: Crafts for a Cause with Joan Lloyd
Feb. 20: W.E.B. DuBois, A Man For All Times (One Man Show)
Feb. 23: Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson
Feb. 25: Celebrate Black History Month with jewelry making
Feb. 25: Live Music Thursday- Stella Blue’s Band @ Yonkers Brewing
Feb. 26: Annual Black History Month Gospel Concert
Feb. 27: Oral History Memory Circles

Community Meetings
Feb. 09: Yonkers City Council Meeting
Feb. 10: Hudson River Community Association Monthly Meeting
Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day
Feb. 15-19: Yonkers Schools Closed – Winter Recess
Feb. 15: President’s Day
Feb. 18: 4th Precinct Community Council Meeting
Feb. 23: Chamber of Commerce Networking Breakfast
Feb. 23: Town Hall Meeting – Yonkers Public Library Strategic Plan
Feb. 23: Yonkers City Council Meeting

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Black History Month Celebration

See Yonkers Downtown Bid Calendar for details
http://yonkersdowntown.com/feb2016/
Feb. 03: Book Club: Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou
Feb. 04: New Year, New You: African Dance
Feb. 04: If the Creek Don’t Rise: Opening Reception at HRM

February 8: 5:30pm to 8:00pm Yonkers Riverfront Library
The FOCUS Group “Black on Black Love” Contact: 914-329-7944

February 9: 7:00pm: Hon. Christopher A. Johnson and Members of the Yonkers City Council, Yonkers City Hall, 4th Floor

See Yonkers Downtown Bid Calendar for details:
http://yonkersdowntown.com/feb2016/
Feb. 18: City of Yonkers Black History Month Celebration
Feb. 20: W.E.B. DuBois, A Man For All Times
Feb. 25: Celebrate Black History Month with jewelry making
Feb. 26: Annual Black History Month Gospel Concert

February 29: 5:30pm – 8:00pm Yonkers Riverfront Library
The FOCUS Group “Uncle Tom vs. Sambo” Contact: 914-329-7044

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Please be advised that a Real Estate Committee Meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 at 6:00pm, in the Council Chambers, 40 South Broadway, Room 407, Yonkers City Hall, 4th Floor.

 

Agenda Item/s:

 

 

  1. Resolution approving the recommendation of the Landmarks Preservation Board and designating an area of the City of Yonkers ‘The Richard HAAS Mural Historical District’  pursuant to section 45-5(J) of the code of the City of Yonkers.

 

We respectfully request that the Administration direct the appropriate Commissioners/Department Heads or their representatives to attend the meeting to address issues on the agenda relating to their respective departments.

 

**In addition, we are also requesting that this meeting be televised**

 

Nerissa D. Peña

Second Deputy City Clerk

City of Yonkers

City of Yonkers – City Hall | 40 So. Broadway, Rm 107 | Yonkers, NY 10701

Dear Neighbors and Friends:

Please join us for our first meeting of 2016, Wednesday, January 13, 7:30pm-9:00pm. Guest speaker Nadine Burns-Lyons, Executive Director of the Sharing Community.

Fourth Community Precinct Update


DATE THE DATE:
Nepperhan Community Center 30th Annual Celebration
of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Monday, January 18, 2016, 6:00pm
Castle Royale, 92 Waverly Street, Yonkers, NY 10701
Tickets: $50.00 in advance 914-965-0203

Sister to Sister International Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
American Women of African Heritage’s Literary Celebration Featuring African American Authors”

Monday, January 18, 2016 2pm-5pm
Jay Heritage Center, 210 Boston Post Road, Rye, N.Y. 10580
$65.00 (914-206-0368)

Focus Group Celebrates Black History Month
“Black on Black Love” –

Monday, February 8, 5:30 pm to 8:00 Pm
Yonkers Riverfront Library

ALSO CHECK OUT WEBSITE
Blue Door Art Gallery, Yonkers
www.bluedoorartcenter.org/gallery

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©2016 Hudson River Community Association of Northwest Yonkers, Inc., A Not for Profit Organization, Founded 1978 | P.O. Box 866, Yonkers, NY 10702-0866

Dear Neighbors and Friends:
Please join us for our first meeting of 2016, Wednesday, January 13, 7:30pm-9:00pm. Guest speaker Nadine Burns-Lyons, Executive Director of the Sharing Community.
Fourth Community Precinct Update
*****************************************************
DATE THE DATE:
Nepperhan Community Center 30th Annual Celebration 
of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
Monday, January 18, 2016, 6:00pm
Castle Royale, 92 Waverly Street, Yonkers, NY 10701
Tickets: $50.00 in advance 914-965-0203
Sister to Sister International Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
American Women of African Heritage’s Literary Celebration Featuring African American Authors”
Monday, January 18, 2016 2pm-5pm
Jay Heritage Center, 210 Boston Post Road, Rye, N.Y. 10580
$65.00 (914-206-0368)
Sincerely,
Aurelia G. Perkins
Corresponding Secretary
Hudson River Community Association of Northwest Yonkers, Inc.
P.O. Box 866, Yonkers, New York 10702-0866

mail@hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org

Dear Neighbors and Friends:
Please join us for our first meeting of 2016, Wednesday, January 13, 7:30pm-9:00pm. Guest speaker Nadine Burns-Lyons, Executive Director of the Sharing Community.
Fourth Community Precinct Update
*****************************************************
DATE THE DATE:
Nepperhan Community Center 30th Annual Celebration 
of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
Monday, January 18, 2016, 6:00pm
Castle Royale, 92 Waverly Street, Yonkers, NY 10701
Tickets: $50.00 in advance 914-965-0203
Sister to Sister International Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
American Women of African Heritage’s Literary Celebration Featuring African American Authors”
Monday, January 18, 2016 2pm-5pm
Jay Heritage Center, 210 Boston Post Road, Rye, N.Y. 10580
$65.00 (914-206-0368)
Sincerely,
Aurelia G. Perkins
Corresponding Secretary
Hudson River Community Association of Northwest Yonkers, Inc.
P.O. Box 866, Yonkers, New York 10702-0866

Dear neighbors and friends.

Please come and join us for our first meeting of the New Year.
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm Nepperhan Community Center, 341 Warburton Ave., Yonkers
Sincerely,
Aurelia G. Perkins
Corresponding Secretary
Hudson River Community Association of Northwest Yonkers, Inc.
P.O. Box 866, Yonkers, New York 10702-0866

HRCA HOLIDAY PARTY Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 7:30pm-9:00pm Nepperhan Community Center, 342 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, NY. Come and meet your friends and neighbors and enjoy a lovely Dinner, drinks, music and a lot of fun! For more information contact: mail@hudsonrivercommunityassociation

SAVE THE DATE Thursday, Dec. 17 6:30 – 8:30 pm,

▪ What do you need as an artist, art organization or supporter of the arts?

▪ How can we advocate for you?

▪ How can we provide more arts to the community?

▪ What art activities or venues would you like to see more of in Yonkers?

▪ Learn how you can be involved to shape the future of arts in Yonkers

DINNER IS PROVIDED SO PLEASE BRING YOUR IDEAS AND YOUR VOICE!,

66 Main Street, Yonkers, 9th Floor. RSVP Haifa Biknt-Kadi: 914-375-2151
Haifa@groundworkhv.org

HRCA HOLIDAY PARTY Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 7:30pm-9:00pm Nepperhan Community Center, 342 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, NY. Come and meet your friends and neighbors and enjoy a lovely Dinner, drinks, music and a lot of fun! For more information contact: mail@hudsonrivercommunityassociation

SAVE THE DATE Thursday, Dec. 17 6:30 – 8:30 pm,

▪ What do you need as an artist, art organization or supporter of the arts?

▪ How can we advocate for you?

▪ How can we provide more arts to the community?

▪ What art activities or venues would you like to see more of in Yonkers?

▪ Learn how you can be involved to shape the future of arts in Yonkers

DINNER IS PROVIDED SO PLEASE BRING YOUR IDEAS AND YOUR VOICE!,

66 Main Street, Yonkers, 9th Floor. RSVP Haifa Biknt-Kai: 914-375-2151
Haifa@groundworkhv.org

 v

True faces of homelessness
What America needs to know and why
November 23, 2015
5:30pm to 8:00pm
Yonkers riverfront library
1 Larkin plaza

Chronic Homelessness is often the public face of homelessness. “chronic” has a specific definition, involving either long term and /or mental). People experiencing chronic illness often end up living in shelters and consumed a plurality of homelessness assistance system’s resources. Homeless families, youth, and veterans all need to feel safe, have a place to shower, wash their clothes, receive counseling, medical care and assistance.

For more information contact Ivy Reeves of FOCUS
914-329-7044

HRCA HOLIDAY PARTY Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 7:30pm-9:00pm Nepperhan Community Center, 342 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, NY. For more information contact: mail@hudsonrivercommunityassociation

SAVE THE DATE Thursday, Dec. 17 6:30 – 8:30 pm,

▪ What do you need as an artist, art organization or supporter of the arts?

▪ How can we advocate for you?

▪ How can we provide more arts to the community?

▪ What art activities or venues would you like to see more of in Yonkers?

▪ Learn how you can be involved to shape the future of arts in Yonkers

DINNER IS PROVIDED SO PLEASE BRING YOUR IDEAS AND YOUR VOICE!,

66 Main Street, Yonkers, 9th Floor. RSVP Haifa Biknt-Kai: 914-375-2151
Haifa@groundworkhv.org

RivertalksFall2015

ArtsWestchester has asked me to reach out to my Yonkers network regarding the Westchester County Public Hearing on the upcoming county budget, scheduled for this Thursday, November 19 at 6:15 pm at Yonkers School 30 at 30 Nevada Place. 

The most draconian cuts in the proposed budget are directed at the arts. These cuts will have a severe impact on ArtsW’s granting and funding programs in the arts. Yonkers students are already missing arts in their curricula; your appearance at this budget hearing is vital in the ArtsW effort to redress these cuts.

The more visible response to the proposed budget, the better! Our children will be the beneficiaries.

2015 historic tour interiors – RSVP to Eventbrite

 IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM COUNCILMEMBER JOHN LARKIN

WE NEED A SUPERMARKET IN NORTHWEST YONKERS!

The US Bankruptcy Court hearing on the A&P at Nepperhan Ave. will be
on Tuesday, October 27, 2015.

I am planning a Rally on Sunday, October 25th at 2PM at the A&P on
Nepperhan Ave.
If you are as upset as I am with the possibility of losing a
supermarket in our area you will take the time to attend this rally.
Now is the time to have your voice heard!
Please share this post with your friends and neighbors via email and facebook.
See attached flyer.
We need a large show of support on Sunday, October 25 at 2pm.

Thanks
John

Dear Neighbors and friends:

We hope you are enjoying the cool, brilliant weather we are having.

Our next monthly meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 14, 7:30pm – 9:00pm, Nepperhan Community Center, 342 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, NY.

Agenda:

Councilman Christopher Johnson will give an update on issues he discussed at a previous meeting.

Fourth Precinct Police Captain Emil Cavorti, Commanding Officer

Robert Hothan, Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club, will give update on JFK Marina

See below for more events.

Hope to see you there!

Board of Directors
Hudson River Community Association of Northwest Yonkers, Inc.
P.O. Box 866, Yonkers, New York 10702-0866
www.hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org
mail@hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org


Thursday, October 15
The historic Sherwood House,
The 275th Anniversary Gala at Zuppa Restaurant, 59 Main Street, Yonkers, NY from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $125 per person. Journal advertising opportunities are available.
Press Contacts – Yonkers Historical Society Gala Co-Chairperson :

Beth Fitzgerald
Telephone: (914) 804 0175
E-mail: bethfitzgerald@optonline.net>

________________________________________________________________

You or someone you know might be interested in learning about Westchester County Civil Service job opportunities and how to prepare for its entry-level exams, please read and/or share the attached flyer. Ready, Set, TEST! is offering full-day exam prep workshops to help people interested in clerical jobs in Westchester County. We will be offering workshops several times per month over the coming months, and our next workshops will take place on Saturday, October 10th and Sunday, October 25th, November 7th & 22nd, and December 12th & 20th.

Tamara and Hafeezah are the principals of Ready, Set, TEST!, and we are excited about offering our expertise to help people get jobs. For most of the entry-level clerical titles covered by the exams addressed in the workshop, only a high-school diploma or its equivalency is required. The hiring municipalities are located throughout the County, and many of the positions are full-time jobs with good pay and benefits. While the workshops are being held in Mt. Vernon, job seekers from New York City and other parts of Westchester County are eligible for these exams and are encouraged to participate in our workshops.

An article about the Westchester County buyout and Ready, Set, TEST! appears in the September issue of The Mount Vernon Inquirer on page 12:

http://www.mvinquirer.com/august-19-2015-22-mt-vernon-ny.html

We also have an ad in the October issue.

For more information, please contact us:

Hafeezah hafeezah@hotmail.com 914.262.0103
Tamara tjs215@psualum.com 914.699.4998

Thanks in advance, and we look forward to hearing from you!

Warmly,
Tamara & Hafeezah

Sage-July23-Flyer

You are invited to attend a Special RiverTalks Lecture

Free and Open to the Public

A Tribute to Joseph C. Beczak

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of The Beczak Center 

When:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

5:00 – 6:30pm – Free Hudson River Paddle

6:30 – 7:00 Networking and Refreshments

7:00 – 9:00 RiverTalks Program

Where:

Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak

35 Alexander St.

Yonkers, NY 10701

Learn about the history of the “The Beczak” and the man who started it all.

Program includes a personal video and accounts from Joe B’s son and granddaughter, tales from paddler friends about the early days, a historical slideshow about the Beczak Center led by Bob Walters and John Klonowski and a special dedication ceremony.

PLEASE RSVP by June 24:

Email rpalmer@sarahlawrence.edu

(914) 377-1900 x 15

Hi Neighbors and Friends.

Thanks so much for those who attended our meeting on June 10. Although we did not get to many subjects on the agenda, we appreciate your feedback and ideas on issues affecting our community and Yonkers.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, September 9, 7:30pm-9:00pm, Nepperhan Community Center.

Please visit our News and Events Page on our website to see what is happening.

Enjoy your Summer and keep Cool!

www.hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org
mail@hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org

Dear neighbors and friends

Please see the information below for a very special volunteer opportunity that Clearwater has created for HRCA members.

About the Clearwater

Pete Seeger launched the sloop Clearwater in 1969 to clean up the Hudson River. Join us as we help create the next generation of environmental leaders to preserve and protect our earth!

Clearwater’s longtime strategy of inspiring, educating and activating people is still a powerful formula for success. Utilizing the greatest natural resource in the region–the Hudson River–Clearwater has become the grassroots model for producing changes to protect our planet.

For those who would like more details on the organization, please check out their website at http://www.clearwater.org/

The Clearwater Festival

Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival is produced by the nonprofit, member-supported, environmental organization Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. All proceeds go directly to support Clearwater’s environmental research, education and advocacy efforts to help preserve and protect the Hudson River and its tributaries, as well as communities in the river valley.  For more details check out their festival website at http://www.clearwaterfestival.org

Clearwater Volunteer Opportunity

For those who are not aware, members of the Clearwater organization came down to support HRCA during our annual community cleanup.  When we reached out to support Clearwater, they created a very special opportunity for HRCA Members at an upcoming event that runs on June 20th and 21st in Croton on Hudson, which is as follows:

  • Volunteers must become Clearwater members and purchase a volunteer T-shirt.  Clearwater membership is $40 for individuals and $55 for families.  The cost of the T-shirt is $12.  Please note that this money goes to support the organization and support their activities
  • The shift is one day as opposed to the normal two day term when volunteers literally stay camped out in Croton for the entire festival
  • This special shift is five hours as opposed to 9 to 9.5
  • Volunteers will be Peacekeepers at the festival, which is stated as follows:
    • Tasks and responsibilities include but are not limited to: traffic & parking management, information dissemination to audience members and other volunteers, safety and emergency assistance and coordination, festival security.
  • Volunteers get a wristband to enjoy concerts and attractions during the festival for the remainder of the day after their shift with performers such as  Angelique Kidjo, Bettye LaVette, David Crosby, .J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Bela Fleck and too many others to list.  You can check out that list of performers at http://www.clearwaterfestival.org/2015-performers/

The deadline to sign up online is 6/16, which would give Clearwater organizers time to get our volunteers in the system.  This would allow our HRCA volunteers easy access but volunteers can also sign up at the festival.  This would simply add time to Clearwater’s intake process.

Finally, please note, the membership costs for the first five people to volunteer will be covered by a very generous friend of HRCA and so these costs will be covered if you act fast so please reach out to us for details If you have any questions, please contact Karen asap at world.traveler101@gmail.com

Come out and join us.  It is a wonderful cause.

Hudson River Community Association of Northwest Yonkers, Inc.

P.O. Box 866

Yonkers, New York 10702-0866

www.hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org

mail@hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org

Dear Neighbors and Friends:

Please join us for our June 10 meeting, which will be held from 7:30 pm
to 9:00 pm, at the Nepperhan Community Center, 342 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, NY. It will be our last meeting until September.

This meeting will be an open forum to discuss the issues presented by Justin Garrett Moore at our May 13 meeting (please go to our website and see the Minutes of this meeting, which contains his website and video). We would like your input in developing a plan and strategy for presenting our vision of long-term sustainable neighborhoods dealing with issues of

▪ Vacant and abandoned buildings

▪ Neighborhood beautification

▪ Environmental racism

▪ Crime and crime prevention

▪ Attainable housing for the working and middle classes

▪ Economic development

There will also be a report on the status of the JFK Marina.

We hope to see you there.

The Hudson River Community Association of Northwest Yonkers, Inc.
www.hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org
mail@hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org

Juneteenth Flyer 2015

rededication_flyer2015 (1)

Dear Neighbors and Friends:

Please join us for our June 10 meeting, which will be held from 7:30 pm
to 9:00 pm, at the Nepperhan Community Center, 342 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, NY. It will be our last meeting until September.

This meeting will be an open forum to discuss the issues presented by Justin Garrett Moore at our May 13 meeting (please go to our website and see the Minutes of this meeting, which contains his website and video). We would like your input in developing a plan and strategy for presenting our vision of long-term sustainable neighborhoods dealing with issues of

▪ Vacant and abandoned buildings

▪ Neighborhood beautification

▪ Environmental racism

▪ Crime and crime prevention

▪ Attainable housing for the working and middle classes

▪ Economic development

We hope to see you there.

The Hudson River Community Association of Northwest Yonkers, Inc.
www.hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org
mail@hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org

Please the attached flyers.
African American Heritage Weekend
Friday Night Jazz at Waterfront 6:30pm-8:00pm
Philipse Manor Re-dedication Ceremony 9am-12pm
Yonkers Farmers Market 12:00pm-5:00pm
For further information go to the News and Events page of our website.
Hudson River Community Association of Northwest Yonkers, Inc.
P.O. Box 866, Yonkers, New York 10702-0866

Please see the attached schedule concerning county-wide meetings on the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA).  We encourage you to attend these meetings.  People who are in rent stabilized units are in danger of paying higher rents.

We have to make our voices heard.
Yonkers Meeting:  Monday June 01, 2015, 7:00pm, Riverfront Library
Hudson River Community Association of Northwest Yonkers, Inc.
P.O. Box 866, Yonkers, New York 10702-0866

Dear Members and Friends:

See the latest updates on what’s happening in the community. Visit our News and Events Page to see information on

May 16 Sister to Sister International Line Dance

May 16, 19, 26 #YonkersKidsMatter Events In Support of our Students against budget cuts

Wednesday, May 20 Westchester Educational Opportunity Center Open House (job placement, training)

Saturday, May 30 Memorial Day Ceremony 150th Anniversary of Civil War honoring local soldiers At St. John’s Episcopal Church Cemetery

Friday, June 5 Groundwork Hudson Valley Yonkers Farmers’ Market Kick-Off

Friday- Sunday: June 5 – June 7 African American Heritage Committee, City-wide Juneteenth Heritage, Festival and Parade, Yonkers

Wednesday, June 10 HRCA Monthly Meeting

June 29 – July 10 Sister to Sister STEM CAMP

http://hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org/News_and_Events.html

The Hudson River Community Association

Please join us as we welcome the following guests at the May HRCA meeting.

Justin Garrett Moore, of Urban Patch, a family-owned social enterprise committed to inner cities everywhere. Urban Patch promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and commitment to community in an effort to gain success and long-term sustainability. In addition, Mr. Moore brings his experience as a Senior Urban Designer and City Planner for the City of N.Y. Department of City Planning where he has for over a decade been responsible for conducting complex urban design plans and studies of the physical design and utilization of sites including infrastructure, public spaces, land use patterns and neighborhood character

Mr. Moore will be addressing areas such as:
•Vacant and abandon buildings •Neighborhood beautification •Environmental racism
•Crime and crime prevention •Economic development

Although he will speak generally about strategies to inspire us to change our own community, it is up to us to develop specifics for Yonkers.

Tim Denmark is the Deputy Inspector of the MTA Police and his area of responsibility includes the Glenwood Train Station

In addition, come out and hear the monthly report on crime and quality of life issues affecting our precinct.

When: May 13, 2015
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Where: Nepperhan Community Center 342 Warburton Ave
Yonkers, NY 10701

We are sorry for the late notice.  Please see the attached event:  Senior Day at the Hudson River Museum, 1:30pm May 13, 2015.

Please contact (phone/email today if possible) Kelly Chiarella of Yonkers Office for Aging if you would like to attend.

 

Kelly Chiarella

Office for the Aging

435 Riverdale Ave

(914) 377-6826 office

(914)377-6821 fax

kelly.chiarella@yonkersny.gov

May 2015 HRCA Meeting

Dear Members and Friends:

Please join us for our monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 13, 7:30pm to 9:30pm, Nepperhan Community Center, 342 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers.

Our guest speaker will be Justin Garrett Moore, AICP, LEED AP, a Senior Urban Designer for the NYC Department of City Planning where he is responsible for conducting complex urban design plans and studies of the physical design and utilization. Mr. Moore will present a presentation, followed by a question and answer period.

Our second speaker is Tim Demark, Deputy Inspector, MTA Police. At one of our meetings some of you had expressed concerns about safety issues at the Yonkers and Glenwood Metro North train stations.

The Fourth Precinct will present an update.

We hope to see you there!

We Welcome you to
learn what’s new in your community.

HRCA MEETING SCHEDULE 2015
January 14, February 11, March 11, April 8, May 13, June 10, Sepember 9, October 14, *November 11 (no meeting Veterans’ Day), December 9 (Holiday Dinner)

7:30pm – 9:00pm
NEPPERHAN COMMUNITY CENTER
342 WARBURTON AVENUE
YONKERS, NY 10701

TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

www.hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org
mail@hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org

It’s that time again.Come out with your friends and neighbors and make some new ones.

Roll up your sleeves and help make OUR neighborhood a Cleaner and Greener place!

 

The volunteers will meet at the Charter School of Educational Excellence at 260 Warburton Avenue and return their for the BBQ as well

 

For more information contact HRCA at mail@hudsonrivercommunityassociation.org

or call 914.963.2393

 

Hudson River Community Association

 

Neighborhood Cleanup Day  &

Free Barbecue for the Crew

 

Ravine

 

Woodworth

 

Warburton

 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

10:00 a.m.  –  2:00 p.m.

 

Rain Date Saturday, May 2, 2015

 

If Possible, Please RSVP by sending an email to the address below

 

Troop 1755

 

Congressman Eliot L. Engel

Representing the 16th District

Hello all:
Please join us on Saturday, April 25, 2015 for our Annual Clean-up Day and barbecue for the crew (10:00am-2:00pm, Volunteers meet 10:00am at The Charter School of Educational Excellence, 260 Warburton Ave) . There is also a Clearwater Concert , “Earth Grooves” at 7:00pm, St. John’s Church, 1 Hudson Street, Yonkers NY.
Please see attached flyers for more information.
We hope to see you there!
Board of Directors
Hudson River Community Association of Northwest Yonkers, Inc.
P.O. Box 866, Yonkers, New York 10702-0866

Dear neighbors and friends:

We support this petition to save the Richard Hass murals located in downtown Yonkers .  We hope that you will go the link below to voice your support of these beautiful works of art.
The Board of Directors
Hudson River Community Association of Northwest Yonkers, Inc.
P.O. Box 866, Yonkers, New York 10702-0866

VOTE, NOV. 2, 2010

 HAPPY FALL!  JOIN US AT OUR CANDIDATES’ NIGHT, WED, OCT. 13, 7:30 PM, Nepperhan Community Center, 342 Warburton Ave., Yonkers
Check out our website for other events in the community
Hudson River Community Association of Northwest Yonkers, Inc.
P.O. Box 866, Yonkers, New York 10702-0866

 

Or should I say, you did it!

Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire tonight. And that win was made in part by your support.

For weeks, Working Families Party activists across the country have been contributing their hard-earned dollars, making phone calls and even traveling hours to New Hampshire to knock on doors and get out the vote for Bernie.

But let’s be honest: there’s a lot more work ahead of us. With this victory, the attacks on Bernie are only going to increase. We need to be talking to as many voters as possible in Nevada and South Carolina NOW.

Can you help WFP and Bernie reach out to more voters in South Carolina and Nevada? Click here to pitch in $3.

There’s two more primary dates on the horizon: the February 20th Caucus in Nevada and the February 27th Primary in South Carolina. Both states are going to be tight races. Races where every single vote counts and where it’s likely that just a few precincts will end up deciding the outcome.

We already have several talented WFP staffers running campaign offices in Charleston, SC and Reno, NV. They’ve been on the ground for the last week, recruiting volunteers and mobilizing them for one-on-one conversations with voters.

We’re also mobilizing volunteers to go to primary states. Just yesterday, we sent 75 volunteers to knock on doors in New Hampshire. We’re driving down volunteers from Oregon to Nevada every weekend. And now we’re figuring out how to get even more volunteers to South Carolina.

These next few weeks will be Bernie’s biggest challenge yet. That’s why we need you! Can you help us turn out the vote for Bernie in South Carolina and Nevada? Click here to pitch in $3.

Thanks for all you do,

Amanda Johnson
Working Families Party

Donate to Bernie & WFP

Facebook      Twitter      Instagram

Six years ago, I remember waiting for the Citizens United ruling to come down and opening it up on my computer. When I finally read it, I didn’t want to believe that the Court had gone as far as it had and been so careless with our democracy.

Citizens United was bad history, bad logic, and bad law. It allowed special interests and few extremely wealthy people — mostly men — to spend limitless amounts in elections through Super PACs that provide little or no disclosure of their funding sources.

But just because this “dark money” spending is now legal doesn’t mean voters in the 19th District need to accept it this year.

This morning, I sent a letter to my fellow candidates challenging them to join me in a “People’s Pledge.” If all candidates agree to it, voters in New York’s 19th Congressional District will have an election free from the influence of Super PACs.

Can you co-sign my letter to my fellow candidates?

Add your name and urge every candidate running for Congress in NY-19 to join me in a “People’s Pledge” that rejects Super PAC spending.

When Elizabeth Warren first decided to run for Senate in 2012 — the first Congressional election of the Citizens United era — she and her opponent Scott Brown publicly agreed to the first “People’s Pledge.” The idea was that while candidates can’t control outside spending, they can agree to disavow it by pledging to pay 50% of the cost of any outside expenditures on their behalf to a charity of the other candidate’s choice.

When all candidates come together to take the Pledge, it works. In the 2012 race between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown, it succeeded in reducing outside spending by 93 percent.

There is no space for Super PACs in the 19th. Will you join me in urging every candidate in this race to sign on?

Add your name here: Co-sign my call for a “People’s Pledge” that rejects Super PAC spending in this race.

Let’s make sure voters in New York’s 19th District have the type of robust, respectful campaign they deserve.

Thank you,

Zephyr
Six years ago, I remember waiting for the Citizens United ruling to come down and opening it up on my computer. When I finally read it, I didn’t want to believe that the Court had gone as far as it had and been so careless with our democracy.

Citizens United was bad history, bad logic, and bad law. It allowed special interests and few extremely wealthy people — mostly men — to spend limitless amounts in elections through Super PACs that provide little or no disclosure of their funding sources.

But just because this “dark money” spending is now legal doesn’t mean voters in the 19th District need to accept it this year.

This morning, I sent a letter to my fellow candidates challenging them to join me in a “People’s Pledge.” If all candidates agree to it, voters in New York’s 19th Congressional District will have an election free from the influence of Super PACs.

Can you co-sign my letter to my fellow candidates?

Add your name and urge every candidate running for Congress in NY-19 to join me in a “People’s Pledge” that rejects Super PAC spending.

When Elizabeth Warren first decided to run for Senate in 2012 — the first Congressional election of the Citizens United era — she and her opponent Scott Brown publicly agreed to the first “People’s Pledge.” The idea was that while candidates can’t control outside spending, they can agree to disavow it by pledging to pay 50% of the cost of any outside expenditures on their behalf to a charity of the other candidate’s choice.

When all candidates come together to take the Pledge, it works. In the 2012 race between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown, it succeeded in reducing outside spending by 93 percent.

There is no space for Super PACs in the 19th. Will you join me in urging every candidate in this race to sign on?

Add your name here: Co-sign my call for a “People’s Pledge” that rejects Super PAC spending in this race.

Let’s make sure voters in New York’s 19th District have the type of robust, respectful campaign they deserve.

Thank you,

Zephyr
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are basically tied in Iowa and will likely get the same number of delegates!

Now is the time to floor it.​ The New Hampshire primary is 7 days away. Can you chip in $3 to help Bernie Sanders and the WFP win New Hampshire — and then Nevada, South Carolina, and Super Tuesday?

Three months ago, Bernie was ​a distant second to Hillary ​Clinton. Today, he got close to complete victory in Iowa. It’s because of the energy, passion, and work of Bernie supporters all over the country. People who ​want a future that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected.

We’re prepared to put all the energy of Working Families Party behind Bernie. And we’ve already heard from the Bernie campaign that our Iowa staff have done us proud!

Here’s just the start of what #WFP4Bernie has planned for this month:

  • Deploying experienced WFP field organizers to Nevada and South Carolina to train volunteers​ to knock on doors and have quality conversations with voters. ​We’ve learned ​that voters actually agree with us — if we take the time to have real conversations with them.
  • Rallying #WFP4Bernie volunteers to call voters from home, organizing house parties all over the country, and joining rallies like the #NotMeUs march last weekend in NYC. We are mobilizing volunteers to bus up to New Hampshire this weekend to knock on doors.

Can you pitch in $3 to help the WFP and Bernie Sanders win in New Hampshire? Click here.

Almost two months ago, WFP members like you endorsed Bernie ​by​ an overwhelming 87% ​majority. He is ​that rare candidate who shares our vision ​for the future. A future in which ​all work has the dignity of a living wage. A future ​in which no parent worries about a police officer acting with impunity. A future in which the climate crisis is top of mind every day.

Yes, these goals are hard. But they are not impossible.

We need to keep ​working and believing and ​supporting candidates who will work ​for a future ​of decency and equality. That’s why we endorsed Bernie Sanders for President, and why we’re doing all we can to make sure he wins in New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and beyond — all the way to the White House.

It’s a lot of work. And we need your support.

Can you contribute $3 to help Bernie Sanders and the WFP win New Hampshire?

Donate

Thanks for all you do,

Dan Cantor
National Director
Working Families Party

Tonight we accomplished what the corporate media and political establishment once believed was impossible: after trailing Hillary Clinton in Iowa throughout this entire campaign, it looks as if we will leave the state with roughly the same number of delegates.

I want to be clear with you about what this really means. Tonight’s result is a victory for our political revolution. We have proved that when people come together, anything is possible.

New Hampshire votes next, where we have a slight lead in the polls. If we win there, we’ll have all the momentum. What counts now is how we respond in this moment:

Make a $3 contribution to MoveOn and our campaign, to ensure our campaign wins the New Hampshire primary one week from Tuesday.

When we started this campaign, almost everyone wrote us off. We were down 41 percent in the polls… and those were some of the good ones. They said our ideas were radical and that we could never compete with our opponent.

Well, you showed them tonight.

Victory is within our reach. But winning will require the active participation of millions of Americans in every community across the country—nothing less than a political revolution.

Please make a contribution to our campaign tonight:

https://act.moveon.org/donate/lets-go-bernie?t=3&akid=161626.24481313.deGjLl

On to New Hampshire.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders


PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, http://pol.moveon.org/. Authorized by BERNIE 2016.

Tonight we accomplished what the corporate media and political establishment once believed was impossible: after trailing Hillary Clinton in Iowa throughout this entire campaign, it looks as if we will leave the state with roughly the same number of delegates.

I want to be clear with you about what this really means. Tonight’s result is a victory for our political revolution. We have proved that when people come together, anything is possible.

New Hampshire votes next, where we have a slight lead in the polls. If we win there, we’ll have all the momentum. What counts now is how we respond in this moment:

Make a $3 contribution to MoveOn and our campaign, to ensure our campaign wins the New Hampshire primary one week from Tuesday.

When we started this campaign, almost everyone wrote us off. We were down 41 percent in the polls… and those were some of the good ones. They said our ideas were radical and that we could never compete with our opponent.

Well, you showed them tonight.

Victory is within our reach. But winning will require the active participation of millions of Americans in every community across the country—nothing less than a political revolution.

Please make a contribution to our campaign tonight:

https://act.moveon.org/donate/lets-go-bernie?t=3&akid=161626.24481313.deGjLl

On to New Hampshire.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders


PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, http://pol.moveon.org/. Authorized by BERNIE 2016.

Tonight we accomplished what the corporate media and political establishment once believed was impossible: after trailing Hillary Clinton in Iowa throughout this entire campaign, it looks as if we will leave the state with roughly the same number of delegates.

I want to be clear with you about what this really means. Tonight’s result is a victory for our political revolution. We have proved that when people come together, anything is possible.

New Hampshire votes next, where we have a slight lead in the polls. If we win there, we’ll have all the momentum. What counts now is how we respond in this moment:

Make a $3 contribution to MoveOn and our campaign, to ensure our campaign wins the New Hampshire primary one week from Tuesday.

When we started this campaign, almost everyone wrote us off. We were down 41 percent in the polls… and those were some of the good ones. They said our ideas were radical and that we could never compete with our opponent.

Well, you showed them tonight.

Victory is within our reach. But winning will require the active participation of millions of Americans in every community across the country—nothing less than a political revolution.

Please make a contribution to our campaign tonight:

https://act.moveon.org/donate/lets-go-bernie?t=3&akid=161626.24481313.deGjLl

On to New Hampshire.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders


PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, http://pol.moveon.org/. Authorized by BERNIE 2016.

Zephyr Teachout is considering running for Congress in New York’s 19th Congressional District!

Zephyr told reporters last week that she is seriously considering running, and expects to make a decision in a matter of days.1

Hundreds of Working Families Party members in the 19th District have already signed a petition urging her to get into the race. Can you add your name?

Join WFP members in the 19th Congressional District and urge Zephyr Teachout to run for Congress!

WFP members across the district — which spans the Hudson Valley, Catskills, Mohawk Valley and Southern Tier — are getting excited. Here’s Sandy Oxford, a WFP State Committee Member, on why she is urging Zephyr to get in the race:

I know a little about the communities that make up the 19th District. I live in Hurleyville in Sullivan County, and I’ve been an activist, a union member, and raised my family here for the past 28 years.

Zephyr lives in Dutchess County, and would be a great match for the district: she’s a fearless, reform-minded leader who has stood up to both Republicans and Democrats to challenge the status quo. She is a passionate believer in government by and for the people, not just the powerful.

We have an extraordinary opportunity here in the 19th District this year. The incumbent, Republican Rep. Chris Gibson, is retiring, and it will be very competitive seat. We have the chance this November in our area not only to turn this seat blue, but to elect a real Working Families Democrat to Congress.

The idea of Zephyr running is gaining more and more steam. Just in the last few days, county Democratic chairs have started voicing their support.

We all know Zephyr has never backed down from a fight. Let’s show her that WFP members across the state would have her back in this one.

Add your name if you want to see Zephyr Teachout run for Congress!

Zephyr could make a decision in a matter of days — so please add your name ASAP.

Thanks,

Phillip Leber
Hudson Region Political Director
Working Families Party
Source:

1. Poughkeepsie Journal: “Zephyr Teachout may run for Rep. Chris Gibson’s seat”

For many months, I have been traveling from coast to coast across our country, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet with thousands of good, hard-working, and remarkable people. Like you and me, they are deeply concerned about the future of our country.

They wonder why they are working longer hours for lower wages. They worry about whether their kids will be able to afford college or get decent jobs. They fear that they may not have the savings to retire with dignity and security.

The challenges facing our country are enormous. That’s why I decided to run for president—and why I am so humbled to have earned the overwhelming endorsement of MoveOn’s members for our campaign.

I want to be clear about something: This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It’s about a grassroots movement of Americans standing up and saying: “Enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.”

So I want to welcome you to our political revolution, because our movement needs people like you involved to help it succeed. Can you contribute to support the critical work of MoveOn.org and our campaign?

Chip in $3 now to help our campaign and MoveOn.org work to win the Democratic nomination, win the White House, and take back our country from the billionaire class.

For 17 years, MoveOn and its members like you have brought together people to fight for progressive change and stand up against big money interests.

Like me, you opposed the Iraq War from the beginning. We have fought together to protect Social Security and Medicare from the hands of the billionaire class. You and I have both worked hard to protect women’s access to abortion and reproductive health care in the face of Republican attacks. We have stood side by side against the Koch Brothers and worked to overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.

And now we will stand together as the first voters help choose our next president starting in just a few weeks. I am so glad to have MoveOn members by our side once more.

I run not to oppose any man or woman, but to propose new and far-reaching policies to deal with the crises of our times. And I run because I know we must change course now, or risk losing the future for so many to the interests of so few.

For forty years, the middle class has been disappearing. Most of all new income is going to the top 1%, and the grotesque level of wealth and income inequality today is worse than at any time since the late 1920s. Women earn only 79 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as a man. The people at the top are grabbing all the new wealth and income for themselves, and the rest of America is being squeezed and left behind. The billionaire class has rigged the system by using their super PACs to buy politicians and elections.

A successful national campaign is a massive undertaking, especially when we will be heavily outspent. It will require the active participation of millions of Americans in every community in our country. In fact, it will require nothing less than a political revolution which combats the demoralization and alienation of so many of our people from the political process.

We are at a moment of truth. We need to face up to the reality of where we are as a nation, and we need a mass movement of people to fight for change.

Democrats will win the 2016 presidential election if massive numbers of voters turn out, including voters who too often sit out on Election Day. Our campaign, backed by millions of active supporters, is the best chance for winning the White House.

If we all chip in, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish together. Click here to contribute $3 to support the work of MoveOn and our campaign as we elect our next president.

Once again, thank you for your endorsement. Let’s get to work for our country.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

Governor Cuomo will give his annual State of the State and budget address. We’ll be watching closely.

The New Year is a time for all of us to set priorities and map out goals. In the wake of corruption scandals that ravaged state politics last year, Albany needs to focus in 2016 on their most important job: delivering for New York’s working families.

Actions always matter more than words. But in his State of the State address tomorrow afternoon, the Governor has a chance to strike a fresh tone and bring New Yorkers together behind the goal of building a state that works for all of us, not only the wealthy and well-connected.

Here are some of the things we’ll be looking for tomorrow. I hope you’ll take a moment to read through — then reply and let us know what’s at the top of your agenda for New York in 2016.

The Fight for $15. The Fight for $15 started right here in New York three years ago when fast-food workers walked off the job in NYC. Last year, Gov. Cuomo’s wage board raised wages for fast-food workers to $15. This year, the Governor has been leading again, calling for $15 to be extended statewide. No New Yorker should be forced to work full time yet still live in poverty. For the more than 3 million New Yorkers who stand to benefit from a $15 minimum wage, the Fight for $15 is one we need to win this year. We look forward to the Governor’s continued leadership on this.

Clean Energy and Good Jobs. When our children and grandchildren look back, they will judge us by how we responded to the climate change crisis. The Governor has taken some important steps on climate, including banning fracking and outlining ambitious goals. But there is more to do. We’re joining with community organizations, environmental justice groups, labor unions and others in a new coalition called NY Renews to call for legislation this session to make New York’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 legally enforceable, create tens of thousands of good jobs, and ensure environmental justice. The Governor should also take executive action on off-shore wind and electric vehicles, and continue to halt the expansion of damaging fossil fuel infrastructure. And he should build on the trailblazing Green Jobs, Green New York legislation that allows homeowners to retrofit their homes and invest in renewables. Gov. Cuomo has the chance to make New York a national leader on climate — he should take it.

Criminal Justice Reform. Black and Latino working families across our state continue to be treated like second-class citizens by our criminal justice system. The result has been an enormous human and financial toll. New York needs to be a leader in moving away from a mass-incarceration society. We must act to finally end New York’s shame at being one of only two states which has set the age of criminal responsibility at age 16. And we must adopt smart, fair ways to reduce incarceration such as reforming our unjust bail system, strengthening “speedy trial” rules, and addressing sentencing disparities.

Paid Family Leave. Every New Yorker should be able to take the time we need to care for a new baby or sick parent. But one in five women in New York are part of low-income households where even one week without a paycheck could wipe out their entire savings. We are proud of our work with the New York Family Leave coalition to make paid family leave a priority in 2016. With presidential candidates raising the issue, and with Mayor de Blasio’s recent executive action to extend paid leave for NYC workers, now is the time for Gov. Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Flanagan to get it done and ensure New York does not fall behind further.

Education and Fair Taxation. We need a new social contract on education that puts working families first. That means rethinking our tax system to turn it right-side up, making our income tax system more progressive, and abolishing the “carried interest” tax loophole used by hedge funders to avoid paying their fair share. We should use those resources to invest in statewide universal pre-K, fully fund our public schools, and stop disinvesting in CUNY and SUNY, which have opened doors of opportunity for generations of New Yorkers.

Real Reform of Our Political System. Following a year in which both legislative leaders were convicted of corruption, and five years into the age of Citizens United, we must finally act to restore trust and integrity to our political system. That means enacting all of the key recommendations of the Moreland Commission, the first of which is public financing of elections. This is not about a few bad apples. This is about a system of financing elections through wealthy donors that breeds corruption. A small donor matching system costs a bit of money, but it saves so much more. Most importantly: it will restore trust and integrity to our political system.

We’ll also be looking for the Governor to lead on other important issues, like moving away from a corporate welfare model of economic development with no strings attached to one of investing in mass transit, broadband, and other critical infrastructure. And we’ll be looking for a commitment to affordability across the state, through reducing the property taxes paid by working families by passing “circuit-breaker” legislation as well as strengthening rent laws.

The rub, of course, is this: Success won’t be judged by the content of speeches, but by what ultimately gets done for New York’s working families. And for that, we’ll need our Governor to fulfill his own goal of making New York the “progressive capital of the nation” on the campaign trail this year as well.

The Republican State Senate has shown themselves to be dramatically out of step with mainstream New Yorkers with their rejection of the science of climate change and their opposition to higher wages, paid family leave, basic criminal justice reform, and campaign finance reform. It’s time for them to go — and it’s time for the Governor to help usher them out.

That’s just some of what we’ll be looking for tomorrow, and as 2016 moves forward. What about you?

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Reply to this email and let us know what’s at the top of your list for Albany in 2016.

(I’m heading to Albany tonight, but I promise to read every response on the train ride back home.)

Best,

Bill

Bill Lipton
State Director
NY Working FamiliesTomorrow, Governor Cuomo will give his annual State of the State and budget address. We’ll be watching closely.

The New Year is a time for all of us to set priorities and map out goals. In the wake of corruption scandals that ravaged state politics last year, Albany needs to focus in 2016 on their most important job: delivering for New York’s working families.

Actions always matter more than words. But in his State of the State address tomorrow afternoon, the Governor has a chance to strike a fresh tone and bring New Yorkers together behind the goal of building a state that works for all of us, not only the wealthy and well-connected.

Here are some of the things we’ll be looking for tomorrow. I hope you’ll take a moment to read through — then reply and let us know what’s at the top of your agenda for New York in 2016.

The Fight for $15. The Fight for $15 started right here in New York three years ago when fast-food workers walked off the job in NYC. Last year, Gov. Cuomo’s wage board raised wages for fast-food workers to $15. This year, the Governor has been leading again, calling for $15 to be extended statewide. No New Yorker should be forced to work full time yet still live in poverty. For the more than 3 million New Yorkers who stand to benefit from a $15 minimum wage, the Fight for $15 is one we need to win this year. We look forward to the Governor’s continued leadership on this.

Clean Energy and Good Jobs. When our children and grandchildren look back, they will judge us by how we responded to the climate change crisis. The Governor has taken some important steps on climate, including banning fracking and outlining ambitious goals. But there is more to do. We’re joining with community organizations, environmental justice groups, labor unions and others in a new coalition called NY Renews to call for legislation this session to make New York’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 legally enforceable, create tens of thousands of good jobs, and ensure environmental justice. The Governor should also take executive action on off-shore wind and electric vehicles, and continue to halt the expansion of damaging fossil fuel infrastructure. And he should build on the trailblazing Green Jobs, Green New York legislation that allows homeowners to retrofit their homes and invest in renewables. Gov. Cuomo has the chance to make New York a national leader on climate — he should take it.

Criminal Justice Reform. Black and Latino working families across our state continue to be treated like second-class citizens by our criminal justice system. The result has been an enormous human and financial toll. New York needs to be a leader in moving away from a mass-incarceration society. We must act to finally end New York’s shame at being one of only two states which has set the age of criminal responsibility at age 16. And we must adopt smart, fair ways to reduce incarceration such as reforming our unjust bail system, strengthening “speedy trial” rules, and addressing sentencing disparities.

Paid Family Leave. Every New Yorker should be able to take the time we need to care for a new baby or sick parent. But one in five women in New York are part of low-income households where even one week without a paycheck could wipe out their entire savings. We are proud of our work with the New York Family Leave coalition to make paid family leave a priority in 2016. With presidential candidates raising the issue, and with Mayor de Blasio’s recent executive action to extend paid leave for NYC workers, now is the time for Gov. Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Flanagan to get it done and ensure New York does not fall behind further.

Education and Fair Taxation. We need a new social contract on education that puts working families first. That means rethinking our tax system to turn it right-side up, making our income tax system more progressive, and abolishing the “carried interest” tax loophole used by hedge funders to avoid paying their fair share. We should use those resources to invest in statewide universal pre-K, fully fund our public schools, and stop disinvesting in CUNY and SUNY, which have opened doors of opportunity for generations of New Yorkers.

Real Reform of Our Political System. Following a year in which both legislative leaders were convicted of corruption, and five years into the age of Citizens United, we must finally act to restore trust and integrity to our political system. That means enacting all of the key recommendations of the Moreland Commission, the first of which is public financing of elections. This is not about a few bad apples. This is about a system of financing elections through wealthy donors that breeds corruption. A small donor matching system costs a bit of money, but it saves so much more. Most importantly: it will restore trust and integrity to our political system.

We’ll also be looking for the Governor to lead on other important issues, like moving away from a corporate welfare model of economic development with no strings attached to one of investing in mass transit, broadband, and other critical infrastructure. And we’ll be looking for a commitment to affordability across the state, through reducing the property taxes paid by working families by passing “circuit-breaker” legislation as well as strengthening rent laws.

The rub, of course, is this: Success won’t be judged by the content of speeches, but by what ultimately gets done for New York’s working families. And for that, we’ll need our Governor to fulfill his own goal of making New York the “progressive capital of the nation” on the campaign trail this year as well.

The Republican State Senate has shown themselves to be dramatically out of step with mainstream New Yorkers with their rejection of the science of climate change and their opposition to higher wages, paid family leave, basic criminal justice reform, and campaign finance reform. It’s time for them to go — and it’s time for the Governor to help usher them out.

That’s just some of what we’ll be looking for tomorrow, and as 2016 moves forward. What about you?

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Reply to this email and let us know what’s at the top of your list for Albany in 2016.

(I’m heading to Albany tonight, but I promise to read every response on the train ride back home.)

Best,

Bill

Bill Lipton
State Director
NY Working Families

Friends,

2015 was our biggest year yet. But by the looks of it, 2016 is going to be even bigger. From what The Atlantic says, 2016 could be the year of the Working Families Party revolution!

Over the past few months, Atlantic reporter Molly Ball has been following the Working Families Party. She’s seen us in action, come to WFP events in several states, and talked in depth to our staff, leaders, and allies.

Yesterday, The Atlantic published her piece, and it’s probably one of the most in-depth profiles about the WFP ever.

Suffice it to say, I’m very proud of this article and very excited to share it with you. Read an excerpt from the article below. Then, please let us know what you think by answering our quick 2-question survey.

The Pugnacious, Relentless Progressive Party That Wants to Remake America
The Working Families Party has pushed the political debate to the left in the states where it’s already active. Now—in the era of Occupy and Bernie Sanders—it’s ready to take that fight nationwide.
by Molly Ball…The Working Families Party’s agenda—frankly redistributionist and devoted to social equality—targets a class of Democratic elected officials who, in the view of many liberals, seem to listen more to their moneyed donors than to the left-wing rank and file. Aggressive, tactical, and dedicated to winning, the WFP would like to force Democrats—and the country—to become more liberal by mobilizing the party base, changing the terms of the debate, and taking out centrist incumbents in primaries.If there’s ever been a moment for this, it is now. Four years after Occupy Wall Street, with the socialist Bernie Sanders pushing Hillary Clinton leftward in the Democratic presidential primaries, liberal frustration with national politics has reached a boiling point. Enter the WFP: Since its founding nearly two decades ago, it’s become an influential fixture of Democratic politics in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Now, the party is going national. By mid-2016, the WFP plans to be in 11 states, with more on the horizon. Last month, the WFP endorsed Sanders after an online vote of its national membership. They may not yet be a household name, but a few years from now, they aim to be a national force….Without the WFP, de Blasio, who may be the most powerful progressive in the country, would not likely be mayor. The party’s Chicago partner helped to force Mayor Rahm Emanuel into Chicago’s first-ever mayoral runoff as he sought reelection last year. It played a key role in increasing the number of blacks on the six-member Ferguson, Missouri, city council from one to three in the wake of that city’s police-brutality protests. WFP-supported candidates have defeated incumbent Democrats in legislative primaries in Connecticut, New York, and Oregon, and party-supported candidates serve on city councils from Hartford to Chicago. The party has been instrumental in pushing issues such as government-mandated paid sick leave and a $15 minimum wage to the forefront of the national Democratic agenda.As dinner wound down, the group traded war stories about disloyal Democrats and local fights. Charly Carter, the director of Maryland Working Families, complained that some elected officials seemed to lose the fire in the belly once they took office.“It can be a real letdown,” Carter said. “We are at war. And when you’re at war, you don’t need statesmen—you need gladiators. We elect them to be gladiators, and once they get there they want to be statesmen.” Her tablemates nodded in sympathy. The implication was clear: Their mission was to ensure that Democrats couldn’t get away with selling out their base.

Want to read more? You can read the full Atlantic article here. Then, please let us know what you thought by taking our short 2-question survey.

And be sure to share the article on social media, or by forwarding this email.

Post to Facebook ► Share on Twitter ►

Thanks for reading,Joe Dinkin

WFP National Communications Director
A lot happened in the 2015, but you don’t need to read it in yet another email — you were there! We made a video wrap-up to get you up to speed. Can you take a few minutes to watch our New Year’s video?

Watch WFP's End of the Year Video

We need nothing less than a political revolution. In 2016 and beyond, we need to elect thousands of candidates up and down the ballot — progressive leaders who will fight for a society of decency and justice.

If you think this is a vision worth believing in, we’re asking for your help. Click here to watch the video and chip in $3 to help build the political revolution in 2016.
Thanks!

Amanda Johnson
National Digital Director
Working Families Party

A lot happened in the 2015, but you don’t need to read it in yet another email — you were there! We made a video wrap-up to get you up to speed. Can you take a few minutes to watch our New Year’s video?Watch WFP's End of the Year Video

We need nothing less than a political revolution. In 2016 and beyond, we need to elect thousands of candidates up and down the ballot — progressive leaders who will fight for a society of decency and justice.

If you think this is a vision worth believing in, we’re asking for your help. Click here to watch the video and chip in $3 to help build the political revolution in 2016.
Thanks!

Amanda Johnson
National Digital Director
Working Families Party

Dear Friend -- Whether you joined the WFP recently of have been with us for years -- you're a part of a growing political family. We've got a lot of work ahead of us in the new year, but this is a moment to take a deep breath and be grateful for each other. We're committed to the real American Dream. A country where decency and freedom and equality are everyone's birth-right. A country where honest work lets you build a life for your family regardless of race, gender, national origin, orientation or education. It's hard work, but I know you're not afraid of doing your share! Still, for right now and as the holidays are approaching, all of us at the Working Families Party want to wish you and your family a happy, peaceful and more democratic New Year. In solidarity and gratitude, Dan Cantor


For more than 24 hours, the Democratic National Committee cut off the Bernie Sanders campaign’s access to its voter database, just weeks ahead of the crucial make-or-break contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.1 It was a massive overreach in response to a data breach the Sanders campaign discovered and reported, and it made some question whether the DNC was playing fair.

Without its data, the campaign was flying blind. It crippled their ability to mobilize volunteers, talk with voters, and strategically fundraise.

The Sanders team got their data back, after people spoke out about it. The campaign sued the DNC, the grassroots erupted on social media, and the Working Families Party and Democracy for America condemned the DNC’s actions in the CNN, NBC, Time and other media outlets.

Here’s what’s obvious — Bernie Sanders can’t count on support from the Democratic Party establishment, and he can’t count on the support of the corporate-owned media. All he can count on is grassroots support from people like you and me.

Now, we need to use that strength to help Sanders win in the upcoming primaries. Can you donate $3 to help Bernie Sanders and the WFP get out the vote?

The DNC cut off access after a Sanders staffer found a security error caused by a third-party vendor and improperly accessed campaign data. The Sanders campaign fired the staffer and reported the technical problem immediately.

Instead of making sure the problem was fixed and communicating internally, the DNC blocked access and attacked the campaign in the press.
2 In the data-driven world of elections, having access to a good voter file means life or death for a campaign. And pulling the plug on someone’s data just a few weeks before important primaries looks like sabotage.

Bernie Sanders needs our help more than ever to get out the vote on the ground. And he’s not going to get it from the Democratic party infrastructure.

Can you donate $3 to help Bernie get out the vote in the upcoming primaries?

Thanks for standing up for Bernie.

Amanda Johnson
National Digital Director
Working Families Party

P.S. Don’t forget the last Democratic debate is tonight! Watch it on ABC News at 8pm ET or online, and share your favorite Bernie quotes with the hashtag #WFP4Bernie.

Sources:
1. http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/12/18/sanders-campaign-disciplined-for-breaching-clinton-data/
2. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/18/politics/sanders-dnc-data-breach-josh-uretsky/index.html

 

            


Become a Working Families Party Sustainer! Other groups have corporate donors. We have you. Just $5 a month supports our fight.


Let me tell you about my co-worker, Reuben Hayslett. You may know him as the guy who signs off on emails about Netflix or paid family leave, but to me, he’s famous for his bold, thought-provoking shirts.

No budget cuts. Hands up, Don’t shoot. Nobody is illegal. Bill O’Reilly is full of sh*t. Those are just a few of the shirts I’ve seen him wear.

One thing is for sure, Reuben knows how to make a statement about where he stands on important issues.

Reuben’s t-shirt fabulousness might seem unattainable to mere mortals like you and me, but we’re in luck. Working Families Party has partnered with the Creative Action Network to create a series of designs celebrating WFP’s core issues for shirts, sweatshirts, posters, and bags.

Check out the designs and buy your favorite one! Order before tomorrow, December 14, and you’ll have them in time for the holidays.

Enable images to see all the wonderful designs.

As WFP grows state by state, becoming a leading national player in the fights that matter to working families, artists around the country are helping visualize WFP’s core causes to mobilize communities nationwide.

Not just that, you’ll also make sure that everyone knows where you stand on issues that matter to working people. Even Reuben will be impressed by your t-shirt prowess.

Check out the Working Families P(ART)Y designs and become as fabulous as Reuben today!

Thanks,

Rafael Shimunov
National Creative Director
Working Families Party

PS. If you’re an artist, you can submit designs and ideas here.

I wrote a few days ago that I was on my way to meet with Bernie Sanders as part of a small delegation of Working Families Party staff and leaders. Here’s a quick report from the meeting.

My biggest take away was that it really, really, didn’t feel like a meeting with someone who is running for President of the United States — and I mean that in a good way.

For starters, the Sanders campaign office in Washington, DC is in a cramped and unadorned two-story row house in a mostly residential neighborhood. Staffers squeezed around desks and tables, computer wires flying in different directions, post-it notes on the walls, you get the picture. When they say Bernie’s campaign is grassroots, that ain’t no joke.

Speaking of unembellished, let me tell you about Bernie Sanders. He was completely direct, candid, even humble. He listened a lot. And when he spoke it was like he was speaking with friends, colleagues, collaborators. Over the twenty or so years I’ve been doing this work, I’ve spent a lot of time with politicians, and I think I’ve developed a pretty good bullshit detector. Most of the politicians I’ve met — including most of the ones I actually like and respect — are always putting on a bit of an act. It’s just the nature of the business.

Every once in a while, you meet a politician who just doesn’t do that. They might not be the most polished or eloquent, but they speak from the heart and they mean what they say. That’s the kind of person Bernie Sanders is. Our conversation was like a conversation among a group of people who share the same goals: college education that doesn’t leave you saddled with debt, living wages for all who are willing to work, investments in public education not prisons, a sane and humane immigration system, and a political system that is responsive to the concerns of people, not the highest bidder.

Most of what we talked about is something that Bernie has been talking about for years — building the kind of political revolution that this country needs to ensure that all people can live with dignity and respect — at work and in their communities.

We’ve got a lot of work to do. Can we count on you to help? Click here to join the #WFP4Bernie team and let us know how you want to get involved.

Thanks for your support.

Jon Green
Deputy National Director
Working Families Party

P.S. I also could not have been more proud to be among this team from the Working Families Party. I was joined by (from left to right) Rafael Navar; Political Director for the Communications Workers of America; Katelyn Johnson, Executive Board member of United Working Families and the Executive Director of Action Now in Chicago, IL; Bob Master, Co-Chair of the New York Working Families Party and a long-time labor leader; Analilia Mejia, Director of New Jersey Working Families Alliance; Bishop Dwayne Royster, Co-Chair of Pennsylvania Working Families and the Executive Director of POWER based in Philadelphia, PA; myself, of course; and Amanda Johnson, the fantastic National Digital Director for Working Families. Each of them was also inspiring — and I’d gladly vote for any of them for President too!

 

I’ve never met a Presidential candidate before.

I just got off an early morning flight to Washington, D.C. to meet with Senator Bernie Sanders and some of his campaign team, along with a few other staff and WFP leaders from around the country.

We just endorsed Bernie Sanders on Tuesday with the support of an astonishing 87% of our membership vote. And we’re not wasting any time getting to work.

I would love to walk into this meeting and know that WFP supporters are dedicated to expanding the revolution that Bernie Sanders has inspired. And lets be honest — we all know WFP and Senator Sanders have one important thing in common: we can’t depend on wealthy backers or big corporations to help us out.

Can you stand with me in helping to build the political revolution by chipping in $3 to Bernie Sanders’ campaign for President and the Working Families Party right now?

Thanks for your support. I’ll let you know how the meeting goes.

Jon Green
Deputy National Director
Working Families Party

The votes are in. With the support of 87% of WFP members, the Working Families Party is officially endorsing Bernie Sanders for President in the Democratic Party Primary.

We’re proud to stand with Senator Sanders. Our members overwhelmingly see him as a progressive who understands the problems our country faces. Who understands that it will take a “political revolution” to challenge the power of the big money crowd that puts greed above all other values.

Working Families Party is for Bernie because Bernie is for working families. The rich may not worry much about the cost of college or their hourly wage, but nearly everyone else does. We need a President who knows what he believes, a President who is not afraid to tell the truth about our country.

Today, WFPers are celebrating. Tomorrow, we’ll get to work mobilizing the energy of supporters like you and the talents of WFP staff to grow the #WFP4Bernie revolution!

It’s a big challenge. The WFP has never endorsed on a national level before. But with your help, we can get the job done.

Join the #WFP4Bernie revolution! Click here to become a member of the Working Families Party. (You don’t have to change your voter registration to join.)

In the 17 years since the birth of the Working Families Party, we’ve never done anything like this. When our leadership decided to make a national endorsement in the Democratic Primary, we knew we had to hear what on-the-ground supporters and activists like you had to say.

Here are a few of the reasons why Working Families Party members in all 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands voted for Bernie:

Patricia in WV: I voted for Bernie because I don’t want to see my mother working two jobs until she’s 65 only to retire in poverty.

Tracey in WI: We need to move the Democrats back to being true progressives and not corporate Democrats. That is the basic of the Working Families Party- a party that works for the people… not Wall Street.

Dan in NY: In casting my vote for Bernie Sanders, I was expressing my deepest hopes for racial, social and economic justice and environmental stewardship, not exploitation.

Wayne in VA: The WFP is the only organization on the scene capable of advancing his agenda after the 2016 election.

Together with WFP supporters and citizens who we haven’t even met yet, we’ll work hard for Bernie Sanders and the political revolution that the whole country needs. The next few months may make history, not just for the Working Families Party, or the Democrats, but for you, and me, and all of us. 

This is going to take time, effort and resources. So we’re asking: are you with us? Click here to join the Working Families Party and jumpstart organizing #WFP4Bernie.

In solidarity,

Dan Cantor
National Director
Working Families Party

PS. Check out this map of all the WFP members who voted. WFP is all over the country!

 

The polls are open!

Today is the first day of our national membership vote to help decide: Who should the Working Families Party endorse in the Democratic Presidential Primary?

Who gets your vote? Click on your candidate below.

Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton Martin O'Malley

Think of this as the WFP Primary! All members of the Working Families Party can vote in our primary, and you can become an official member and vote even if you are also a registered Democrat, Republican, or Independent. The only requirement is that you share the belief that we can and should do better as a country, and that you favor a more democratic and egalitarian society.

If you stand with us, join today as an official member of the Working Families Party. Each member gets only one vote. Voting ends Sunday at midnight, so make sure to cast your vote soon!

Thank you,

Dan Cantor
National Director
Working Families Party

 

            


Become a Working Families Party Sustainer! Other groups have corporate donors. We have you. Just $5 a month supports our fight.

The Working Families Party is deciding who to endorse in the Democratic Presidential Primary — and all WFP members get a vote.

This Thanksgiving, we actually want you to talk politics at the dinner table. ​​​Then, Monday morning, we want you to join WFP members to make your voice heard: who should the Working Families Party endorse for President?

Click here to become a member of the Working Families Party to get your official ballot on Monday, so you can cast your vote.

Being an official member of the Working Families Party means you believe that our nation can do better. We can make our nation one in which opportunities are not determined at birth, in which all Americans have a decent, secure life. It means you believe we deserve a government that listens to all of us — not just the wealthy and powerful.​

Other parties ask you to open your wallet. We want you to play an even bigger role. This Monday, November 30​​​th​, we want you to be a part of a national vote to help decide which Democratic candidate ​merits the support of WFP voters.

Become a Working Families Party member, and receive your ballot on Monday.

​There’s a lot to be thankful for as Americans. We live in a democracy where ordinary citizens get to choose our leaders. There’s also a lot to improve in this nation, and when we are organized, we can move mountains. Your participation in this national membership vote is a small but important way to help us do precisely that.

Join as a member, and make your vote count. Voting starts Monday and will last one week.

Thank you,

Dan Cantor
National Director
Working Families Party

P.S. If you think you’re already a WFP member, and you’re getting this email, we apologize. We may have your membership connected to another supporter record in our database. Just click here to join and make sure you get your official WFP ballot on Monday.

 

            


Become a Working Families Party Sustainer! Other groups have corporate donors. We have you. Just $5 a month supports our fight.

I’m fuming. Livid. Bellicose. This thesaurus doesn’t have enough words for how angry I am.

Today, thirteen Democratic Senators turned their back on working families, linked arms with Republicans, and passed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Fast Track bill — sending the bill right to President Obama’s desk.

These Democrats don’t even fully know what’s in this deal written in secret by corporations.

But here’s what we do know they voted for, thanks to leaked drafts: outsourcing jobs, weakening environmental and human right protections, and allowing corporations to sue countries for domestic laws that hurt their bottom line — all at the expense of working families.

This is backstabbing at its finest.

Tell these Democrats: You just traded working families for a corporate power grab on our economy. Shame on you.

We’ll deliver your signature this week and make sure these Trans-Pacific sell-outs feel the backlash from their vote.

As disappointed as I am at these Democrats, I’m proud of what we accomplished. When the campaign against the TPP first got started, it was unthinkable that Fast Track could even be stopped.

Together, we threw every roadblock we could to stop Fast Track from passing:

  • In New York, supporters joined rallies and attended town halls asking Rep. Gregory Meeks and Rep. Joseph Crowley, to vote the right way. When Fast Track came up in the House, Rep. Crowley voted against it.
  • When Fast Track was going through the House, activists like you sent 43,000 emails to Minority House Leader Nancy Pelosi and convinced her to take the lead in rallying Democrats against the bill.
  • Working Families supporters made 3,000 calls to the House and Senate at crucial moments and helped to stop Fast Track temporarily in the House.
  • Oregon Working Families Party threatened to run a challenger against Sen. Ron Wyden if he voted for Fast Track — and now all bets are off.

Even though Congress gave away its authority to make changes to the TPP, that doesn’t mean they need to approve a bad deal. When the TPP agreement comes up for a vote, we’ll call on members of Congress to defeat any deal that puts the demands of multinational corporations over the needs of working families.

And we won’t forget who chooses the wrong side.

But right now, we have 13 Democrats who have already crossed the line. Tell these Democrats: You just traded working families for a corporate power grab on our economy. Shame on you.

Thank you, for all you’ve done throughout this campaign.

Amanda Johnson


The Senate is scheduled to vote on fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership tomorrow. Dial 855-712-8441 to be connected to your Senator and tell them to vote NO on Fast Track.If Fast Track passes the Senate, it goes straight to President Obama’s desk. And he will sign it the first chance he gets.

Senate Democrats have every reason to vote against Fast Tracking the TPP. The new Fast Track language:

  • bans negotiations on climate change and immigration reform
  • weakens our ability to protect human rights in trade deals with the worst human trafficking nations

All of that is on top of shipping US jobs overseas and giving multinational corporations more power and influence over US legislation. Tell your Senator to vote NO on Fast Track — Dial 855-712-8441 now to be connected to their office! Then reply back and let us know how your call went.

Fast-tracking means the Congress won’t be able to make any changes or amendments to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an international trade deal that will gut US jobs and give corporations even more power over our economy.

Fast Track was supposed to sail through the Senate and the House. But thousands of activists just like you made calls, sent emails and signed petitions to our Congress members to send a clear message — hardworking families say NO to Fast Track and the TPP.

Keep up the pressure — Dial 855-712-8441 to be connected to your Senator and tell them to vote NO on Fast Track. Then, reply to this email with the response.

Thanks for all you do,

Amanda Johnson
Working Families

P.S. Then, share this image on Facebook and on Twitter. These 14 Democrats voted for Fast Track the first time around – but now are on the fence. We need their constituents to call them and say vote NO on Fast Track!


I’m in shock. Yesterday, Fast Track and the TPP hit a major and unexpected ​​speed bump​ that had your name on it. YOU, and hundreds of thousands of progressives like you​, are the reason we are winning (at the moment)​. 

The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal was expected to sail through Congress​. But ​I suppose we didn’t all get the memo from the corporate PR flacks about keeping quiet, and ​​we collectively made thousands of phone calls, sent emails and set Twitter on fire to block the TPP. As a result, the House voted down a crucial component of the trade package, halting its progress.


Here’s what one Working Families activist reported:
“[My Congresswoman is] getting so inundated with calls re: TPP that her office assistant answers the phone by saying ‘The Representative is voting NO on Fast Track.'”

​As usual, it ain’t over till it’s over. Like a villain in a bad horror movie, trade deals like this ​have a way of reviving. House Speaker John Boehner is already saying ​that ​he’s going to bring ​it back up next week. 


​We have momentum. But need consistent, committed grassroots pressure​ to make it stick​. In blue states, red states and every shade in between.


Let’s keep up the fight. Click here to pitch in $3 to keep the grassroots fight against the TPP. 


The Trans Pacific Partnership often gets described as “NAFTA on steroids” — because it’s not really just about trade. The TPP is a massive power grab by the biggest multinational corporations and Wall Street banks to rewrite the rules of the economy to put even more power in their hands. Under one provision that Senator Elizabeth Warren has highlighted, corporations would be able to sue governments to overturn laws (like environmental or workplace safety regulations) that hampered their profits. 


​It’s no surprise that the multinational corporations​ fighting for TPP aren’t about to just give up. They have allies in the Democratic Party as well as in the Republican Party. President Obama was lobbying members of Congress personally to pass the deal. 


I ​only ​wish President Obama had spent ​as much energy fighting for Wall Street reform, a public option for healthcare or the Buffett rule to ensure the rich pay their fair share in taxes.

​We can’t just rely on Democrats to fight for us. We also need to invest in independent political power that will stand up for working people and fight for all of us. No matter what. 


It feels great to know that Working Families activists ​and our allies ​can help stop a massive trade deal like this. And I know we can do it again.


Click here to pitch in $3 to help build our movement and block the TPP once and for all.


Thank you for all you do, 


​Dan Cantor

Working Families

The fast-food Wage Board is holding hearings across NY to decide whether to raise pay for 180,000 fast-food workers in New York — and if so, by how much.

The restaurant lobby is mobilizing all of its influence right now to kill this wage increase. We need to show the Wage Board that an overwhelming number of New Yorkers want them to resist this pressure and support the workers fighting for $15.
Can you join Working Families supporters and show your support for the courageous fast-food workers leading this fight?

Click here to sign the petition to the Wage Board calling for $15 for NY fast-food workers!We need to raise the minimum wage across New York state. But Senate Republicans have been blocking any increase in the state legislature.A Wage Board has the power to investigate a specific industry and then recommend a new minimum wage — one that does not require legislative approval. And for fast-food workers, the case for an increase to $15 couldn’t be stronger.

Companies like McDonalds make billions of dollars in profits — yet full-time workers at their restaurants are living in poverty, with some forced to rely on public assistance. That’s not right. And that’s exactly the message the Wage Board heard a week ago as they listened to the stories of dozens of low-wage workers and allies who came out for their first hearing in Buffalo.But the restaurant industry is coming out in full force, too. We need to counter them and show the Wage Board that there is broad public support for $15.Click here to sign the petition for $15 so we can deliver as many signatures as possible to the Wage Board!This could be a huge victory — and your voice can help make it happen.Thanks,Janel Quarless
Working Families
The Hill
 reports “lawmakers in both parties say the outcome is in doubt” on whether the House will pass Fast Track for the TPP. 
This vote might come down to the wire. That’s why we need you.There’s just a few hours left. Dial 855-790-8815 to connect to your representative’s office and tell them to vote NO on fast-tracking the TPP.And if you’ve already called, thank you!Amanda Johnson
Working Families
big vote on fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (the international trade agreement written in secret by corporate lobbyists) could happen in just a few days. And Elizabeth Warren wants to give you the inside scoop on how to stop it tomorrow evening!Click here to RSVP to a special call with Senator Warren and Working Families, MoveOn, and DFA members tomorrow evening, Wednesday June 10, at 9pm ET/6pm PT.

Senator Warren will also look forward to some other big fights coming down the road, from tackling the student debt crisis, to breaking up the big banks, to other ways we can work together to challenge a system that we all know is rigged for corporations and the wealthy.
With the presidential campaign season almost in full swing, we’re entering a big moment in national politics. Even though Senator Warren has decided not to enter the race, she has energized progressives and elevated our issues. Tomorrow, you’ll have a chance to hear directly from Senator Warren and Working Families National Director Dan Cantor about how progressives can stop the TPP and continue to work together to fight for our priorities in the days, months, and years ahead.Can you join Working Famlies, MoveOn, and DFA members on tomorrow evening’s call with Senator Warren? Click here to RSVP now.

Call With Senator Elizabeth Warren
Wednesday, June 10th
9pm ET / 8pm CT / 7pm MT / 6pm PT
Hope you can join us tomorrow!Amanda Johnson
Working FamiliesSometimes, I’m the only nurse in the room.Ever since the hospital where I work in the Bronx reduced staffing levels, I’m often the only one available to respond to the needs of a patient — and that’s simply not safe for patients, especially when they become sicker.My name is Karine Raymond, and I’ve been a Registered Nurse (RN) at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx for more than 15 years, caring for patients with heart problems.

At a hospital, emergencies happen all the time. But now, I have serious concerns that not enough RNs are available at all times. If a patient has a reaction to a medicine or needs life-saving measures, nurses need to be there.Agree? Then sign here and tell New York hospitals to put patient care before profits!This crisis goes beyond my hospital. Current staffing levels at many New York hospitals are just plain unsafe, falling well below the minimum thresholds called for in scientific studies. Meanwhile, some of these same hospitals are spending millions on CEO salaries and advertising. That’s unacceptable.When I went to my hospital’s management with research from the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) showing how understaffing endangers patients, they refused to listen to my concerns. That’s why I am asking you to help put pressure on hospitals that are denying patients the care they need.Can you sign this petition? Tell New York hospitals to put patient care before profits and implement safe staffing levels!

Safe staffing is a win-win for both patients and nurses.If we were no longer so overstretched, RNs would be able to give the type of personal attention to each patient that we were taught to provide. Patients would benefit from reduced waiting times, and we wouldn’t have to discharge patients without the level of education they need and deserve.Our patients deserve better than the bare minimum. They all deserve the type of individual attention and excellent care that we are trained and prepared to give — if only we had enough nurses to do the job.I went into nursing to care for patients. That’s all I want to do. But we need your help if we’re going to get New York hospitals to address this crisis and implement safe staffing levels.Tell New York hospitals to put patient care before profits! Click here to add your name to our petition.

In solidarity,Karine Raymond
Registered Nurse
Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY
As if things weren’t bad enough already, the bill to “fast-track” the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement comes bundled with a sneak attack on Medicare.In order to win over the support of just enough Democrats to pass the Senate, Republicans added some funding for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a program which provides training for workers whose jobs are outsourced because of the TPP.That might sound like putting a band-aid on a gaping wound, but it’s even more cutthroat than that: Republicans want to pay for the program by cutting $700 million from Medicare.This bill just gets worse and worse. Democrats in the House can stop this bill, but we need a leader with the experience and position to organize a united opposition — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.Tell House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: Stand up against the TPP Fast Track and stop the sneak attack on Medicare.The TAA was started in the 1970s to provide training, benefits, and job-placement assistance to American workers whose jobs were off-shored or eliminated by import competition.We’re all for helping American workers, but we don’t have to do it on the backs of seniors. The $700 million cut comes on top of existing sequestration spending cuts implemented in 2012.

As the American Medical Association explained in a letter to Congress, these cuts would “impede improvements to our health care system” and “could lead to serious access to care issues for Medicare patients.”1

The TPP was bad enough before — it could mean massive job loss. But now they want us to swallow Medicare cuts too? No way, no how.

Tell Nancy Pelosi: Stop the sneak attack on Medicare.

Thanks!

Amanda Johnson
Working Families

[1] The Hill — Healthcare groups object to Medicare cuts in trade bill

Flavia Cabral is a 53-year-old mother of two who works at McDonald’s. She earns $8.75 an hour and has to work two full-time jobs to provide for her daughters.

Rebecca Cornick is a 60-year-old single mother and grandmother of five. She works at Wendy’s – earning barely enough to make ends meet.

Working moms like Flavia and Rebecca are the real face of the fast-food workforce in New York. This summer, we have a real opportunity to make sure they get a raise they can actually live on.

Join me and tell the NY Wage Board it’s time for $15 for working moms and all fast-food workers!

Gov. Cuomo has taken the historic action of empaneling a wage board to raise wages for fast-food workers. The members of that board are about to conduct a series of hearings across the state, and we want them to hear from you.

When they do, they’ll hear how the vast majority of fast-food workers in New York aren’t teenagers trying to make a few extra bucks after school. They’re adults, mostly women, and many with children.

One-third of all fast food workers over the age of 20 are raising at least one child. Over two-thirds are the main wage earners for their families. But because their wages are so low, 60% are in families receiving public assistance, at an annual cost to New York taxpayers of $700 million.1

It is past time that Flavia, Rebecca, and working moms like them got paid the wages they need to support their families. They could win $15 by the end of the summer — along with hundreds of thousands of fast-food workers — if the wage board hears us and makes the right call.

Can you make sure the wage board hears from you before they decide? Add your name to the petition and tell them it’s time for $15!

Thanks for standing with us,

Letitia James
New York City Public Advocate

1) “Fast Food Workers: Not Just Kids Flipping Burgers,” City & State

Join us for our 17th Annual Gala Celebration at BRIC Arts Media House — a vibrant community space and arts center in the heart of Brooklyn’s cultural district — and help us honor outstanding young leaders in the progressive movement! 

 
 
WFP 17th Annual Gala Celebration
Thursday, June 25th 6:00pm-10:00pm
at BRIC Arts Media House, 647 Fulton St. (at Rockwell Place), Brooklyn, NY
 
 
 
Directions to BRIC Arts Media House:
 
 
Please contact Kat Purcell at kpurcell@workingfamilies.org with any questions.

The fact that the TPP Fast Track bill made it through the Senate is bad news for working families, but there’s still hope of defeating it. CNN reports:

Even though Senate passage is ultimately now much more likely, the House could be tougher. There, tea party conservatives are linking up with liberals to form a broader populist opposition than what existed in the Senate.1

As the House prepares to work on this bill in June, it’s more urgent than ever that we push House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to be a strong leader against this bad trade agreement.

Click here to send a message to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and tell her to take the lead against the TPP in the House.

Thanks!

Joe Dinkin Working Families

Sources:

  1. CNN – Trade bill clears Senate hurdle

 

Join us as we honor outstanding young leaders in the progressive movement!
 
 
For questions, please contact: Kat Purcell, kpurcell@workingfamilies.org
 

The TPP Fast Track bill was supposed to sail through the Senate. But that’s not what happened.

Last week, Senate Democrats blocked fast-tracking — and sent corporate lobbyists, Senate Republicans and President Obama into a tailspin. Then President Obama pressured enough Senate Democrats to broker a deal and vote to bring the Fast Track bill to a full floor debate.

There’ll be at least a week of debate before the vote in the Senate — and the bad news is, it’s expected to pass. But the good news is, that’s when the real fight will begin — in the House. And that’s a fight we can win.

In the House, most Democrats are already against TPP. But there’s another piece of good news: unlike in the Senate, there is a some opposition among Republicans too. What we need now is a strong leader in the House to rally together the votes needed to stop the TPP in its tracks.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi can be that leader. She has voiced skepticism of the TPP so far — but we need more than that. We need her to lead. So it’s up to us to nudge her in the right direction, and step up to and hold the Democrats together and lead the fight the TPP in the House.

 

BREAKING: Senate Democrats have blocked a vote on “fast tracking” the Trans-Pacific Partnership!

The White House is calling it a “procedural snafu.” don’t believe a word of it. This is a strategic victory. 

Activists like you have made calls, wrote emails, went to rallies and more to tell Democrats to STOP this bad deal — and today’s vote showed they heard us loud and clear. 

The TPP is not dead yet. We need to keep the pressure on the Senate and the House with local events and intense public pressure. 


Can you donate $5 to fund our campaign to take down the TPP? Click here.

Even top TPP advocates like Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) voted against the fast-track authority today. 


This is in no small part due to Working Families activism around the country. We’ve been pushing Sen. Wyden through local events and in the press to stand against the TPP for months. Just a few weeks ago,  New York Rep. Joseph Crowley came out against the new NAFTA after we held events and made calls urging him to stand with working families. 


We won’t stop putting the pressure on our representatives — and clearly it’s working! Now we need to bring it to the finish line.

Contribute $5 to fund our campaign to protect workers and defeat the TPP!

We can win!

Amanda Johnson
Working Families

Friend,

Women make up half the population — but only 24% of our state legislature. At all levels of government, women are underrepresented as elected officials. 

If you think that’s a problem, then there is a conversation you won’t want to miss in Albany on Monday, April 20th. Women across the area will be coming together for a discussion with special guest Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins about the challenges we face in politics and the importance of tackling those challenges head on — and you’re invited:

Why She Ran: A Conversation with Women in Politics

Moderator: Juanita Lewis – Westchester County Lead Organizer, Community Voices Heard Power
Panelists: State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
State Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer
Westchester County Legislature Majority Leader Catherine Borgia
Yonkers City Councilwoman Corazon Pineda

When: Monday, April 20th, 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Where: Yonkers Riverfront Public Library, 1 Larkin Center,Yonkers, NY

The event is being co-sponsored by CWA Local 1103, 1199 SEIU, Community Voices Heard Power, NYSUT, Westchester Young Dems, Yonkers Federation of Teachers (YFT). It is free to attend but RSVPs are required. 

Click here to RSVP to join us on Monday, April 20th!

Hope to see you there,

Juanita O. Lewis
Community Voices Heard Power

 

 

Funding for Stormwater Study Receives Bipartisan Support.

 

 

On Monday, the Westchester County board of Legislators (BOL) voted unanimously to release $325,000 from the East of Hudson Water Quality Investment Program Fund for the purpose of conducting a study to identify opportunities for stormwater retrofit projects.  The funds will be provided to the Town of Somers as part of an Inter Municipal Agreement with Westchester County.    Somers will coordinate the study on behalf of all 12 communities in the Watershed. The entire cost of the study will be $620,000.  The balance of the cost will be provided by Putnam and Dutchess Counties through their East of Hudson Watershed Funds.

 

The study is mandated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as described in a Memorandum of Agreement signed by the counties, municipalities and New York City in 1997.  The study will focus on practices like the creation of low-land swales, and the use of porous paving materials.

 

The East of Hudson Watershed Corporation is a local development corporation established by the municipalities in Northern Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties in the New York City Watershed to install stormwater retrofit projects to meet the requirements for phosphorus reduction defined by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

 

Legislator Francis Corcoran (R) Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers is the Chairman of the BOL’s Environment and Health Committee.  “Protecting our drinking water is one of the most basic responsibilities of regional governments.  The East of Hudson Watershed exists to ensure that we are using the best practices and latest technology to provide clean, healthy drinking water to the New York

Metro area, one of the most populous regions in the world.” Legislator Corcoran said.  “As Chair of the Environment and Health Committee and a long-time environmental advocate, I look forward to seeing the initiatives that are proposed as a result of this study.”

 

BOL Chairman Mike Kaplowitz (D) New Castle, Somers, Yorktown applauded the cooperative efforts that have made the East of Hudson Watershed program a success.  “When it comes to long-term environmental planning and conservation, it is necessary that government leaders from every branch, jurisdiction and political party coordinate their efforts.”  Kaplowitz added, “I would like to thank my colleagues on the Board of Legislators for their bipartisan support of this funding.”

 

President of the East of Hudson Watershed Corporation Peter Parsons who also serves as the Supervisor for the Town of  Lewisboro  said, “This is an example of the County and municipalities in the watershed working together so the cost of meeting New York City’s requirements is minimized.”

 

***Media Advisory for Monday, February 8***

Public Safety Committee to Hold Emergency Preparedness Session with Israeli Expert.

 

WHO:             Legislator Ben Boykin, Chairman of the Committee on Public Safety & Social Services

                        Yoni Yagadovsky, Director of International Relations for Magen David Adom

Other Legislators and members of the Committee

WHAT:          Magen David Adom is Israel’s ambulance, blood-services, and disaster-relief organization, serving as emergency medical first responders for the state’s more than 8 million people. MDA is the only organization mandated by the Israeli government to serve in this role.

                        Yoni Yagadovsky is the Director of International Relations for Magen David Adom.  He has been involved in the response to almost every mass casualty incident that’s taken place in the last 25 years in the Jerusalem region.  He also runs training drills and maintains relationships with all MDA friends’ societies around the world.  He began his tenure at MDA as a youth volunteer in 1975, became an EMT in 1981, got his paramedic certification in 1990, and has held his current position since 2004.  He previously served as the director of MDA’s Jerusalem region.

                        RSVP: Melanie Montalto, (914) 995-8620 by February 5

WHEN:          Monday, February 8 at 12:00 PM

WHERE:       Westchester County Board of Legislators

148 Martine Avenue, 8th Floor

White Plains, NY

Legislator John Testa Helps Secure Low Interest Loan for Church Solar Installation in Buchanan.

 

On Monday, the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) unanimously approved funding in the amount $103,507 to finance the installation of three roof mounted solar arrays and for improvements to the underlying roof structure at St. Christopher’s Church in Buchanan.  The funds originated from the County’s allocation of Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) which are reserved for the financing, acquisition, construction and installation of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements.  The church was eligible for the bond because it is a non-profit entity and Buchanan is a participant in the Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC), a consortium of municipalities that use the EIC to finance renewable energy projects.

 

St. Christopher’s Church will repay the bond.  Average annual energy savings are expected to be $14,582.  After the debt service on the bonds this will yield an annual savings of $3,525 per year.

 

Legislator John G. Testa (R) Cortlandt, Peekskill, Yorktown, Minority Leader represents Buchanan where St. Christopher’s is located.  “I appreciate the unanimous support this bonding received from my colleagues.  St. Christopher’s is an important part of the Buchanan Community.  This investment in the physical structure of the church will be a significant cost savings which will allow St. Christopher’s to use better pursue their mission of community support and charity.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Westchester Board of Legislators Creates Tool to Help Families Save on Heating Oil.

 

One of the biggest seasonal expenses that Westchester families are confronted with is the cost of heating their homes in the winter time. The Westchester Board of Legislators has come up with a tool to help Westchester families get the best price available.

 

Check out this video from Board of Legislators Chairman Mike Kaplowitz showing you how to navigate to the New BOL Home Heating Oil Tracker.

 

The webpage is a survey of home heating oil companies’ price per gallon. The page will be updated weekly and includes a link to each heating oil providers’ website.

Westchester County Finishes 2015 with $29 Million Deficit

 

(WHITE PLAINS, NY) Westchester County has officially closed its books on the 2015 fiscal year with the reporting of the December sales tax figures.  As expected, the County fell well short of anticipated revenue goals and will finish the 2015 year with an operating deficit of $29 million that will be filled by raiding county savings.

 

In December of 2015, the county reported $48,551,543 in sales tax revenue, down from $50,281,246 the prior year.  The drop is $1,729,703 and represents a 3.4% drop from 2014.  In order to meet the goal for the 2015 budget, December sales tax would have to have an 8.5% increase from the prior December.

 

“At this alarming pace, Westchester County taxpayers will have no safety net left if the administration continues to balance the books by raiding our savings account,” Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) said.

 

In order to avoid this problem for the coming year, the County would need to have an unprecedented 5.25% growth from this year to meet the projections in the recently enacted 2016 County budget.  This year’s year-over-year change showed a 1% drop from the prior year, indicating that another increase next year is again unlikely.

 

“When Hurricanes Sandy and Irene hit, we used our savings account to pay for emergency repairs; when we had winters that caused excessive damage to our roads and bridges, we had the ability to afford our repairs.  These expenses all have a direct benefit to the people we serve and those are good uses of earned savings; filling a budget gap because of bad accounting doesn’t get any value for taxpayers.” Jenkins concluded.

 

This news comes only weeks after several independent entities cautioned against the overly aggressive revenue assumptions in the 2016 budget, Westchester County released the results from November of 2015.  Sales tax revenues from November 2015, which include those generated by Black Friday and the start of the holiday shopping season, are down 2% from the same point in 2014.

Governor Cuomo’s Ambitious 2016 Agenda Will Benefit Westchester

 

(WHITE PLAINS, NY) A day after Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered the 2016 State of the State and Budget address several Westchester Legislators have come out in support of specific proposals that they believe will directly benefit the Westchester economy.  Among others, the Governor proposed an increase in the minimum wage and investments to regional infrastructure and affordable housing in New York City.

 

Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson), who chairs the Board’s Infrastructure committee, praised the Governor’s initiatives. “The Governor showed that he has a deep understanding of the challenges that our infrastructure faces and what the costs are if we don’t act now to modernize it.  Westchester County has some of the oldest sewer systems in the State that could be greatly benefitted by the funding that the Governor plans to set aside for sewer system improvements.  I look forward to working with my colleagues at the Board of Legislators to put together a competitive plan to get our share of that funding.”

 

“Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour for all industries will directly benefit a quarter of the total workforce,” Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) added.  Critics see this as teenagers earning pocket money but more than half of these workers are 35 or older.  More than 40 percent are married, parents or both and many provide the main source of their family’s income.  A full time job at today’s minimum wage still put so many families below the poverty line, setting them up to fail.  I believe we can do better and Westchester is a perfect community to realize that potential.”

 

Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh) stated, “The Governor’s investment in affordable housing is an example that government is still in the business of helping people first.  Westchester County’s leadership has failed to address this issue in our backyard for some time now and the problem has worsened as a result.  As a neighbor to New York City, I hope Westchester County can mirror the efforts that have gone on to tackle an issue that impacts many more of us than we realize.”

 

“Governor Cuomo outlined an ambitious agenda that will undoubtedly benefit Westchester residents,” said Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), who is the Board’s Majority Leader. “From incentives to streamline local services and reduce the property tax levy to the package of small business tax cuts and increase to the environmental protection fund, this speech had a lot that can make Westchester residents proud.  Our caucus looks forward to playing a role in helping New York take leadership again on many progressive issues.”

Funding for Critical Bridge Repair Receives Bipartisan Support.

The Westchester County Board of Legislators approved funding through Bond Acts in the amount of $2.85 million for continued repairs to the Fulton Avenue Drawbridge which connects Mount Vernon and Pelham at the site of a major retail and industrial district.  This funding is in addition to $9.37 million which has been invested in the bridge since 2012.

The Bond Acts will finance replacement of steel members and piers, rehabilitation of wearing surfaces, painting, rebalancing of bascule spans, rehabilitation of mechanical and electrical components and renovation and/or replacement of metal bulkheads for riverbank protection.

The Fulton Avenue Bridge was originally built in 1974.  The New York State Department of Transportation closed the bridge following an inspection which determined the steel piers had deteriorated to a point that was unsafe.  The bridge has since been re-opened.  Approximately 12,000 cars traverse the span every day.

Legislator Lyndon Williams (D) Mount Vernon said the closure significantly impacted residents and businesses.  “It is imperative that Westchester County finish the rehabilitation of Fulton Ave. Bridge.  This bridge is a critical piece of infrastructure traversed by  area residents to access Boston Post Road and the corridor to Interstate 95 coming into and leaving lower Westchester County. ”

“Major retail development in Mount Vernon and Pelham as well as small merchants and restaurants benefit from the free flow of traffic and commerce over the Fulton Avenue Bridge each day.”  Williams said, “Therefore, area businesses and residents are naturally concerned about any lengthy closure that disrupts residential and commercial activities. I’ve also heard from merchants who saw a sharp decline in business while the bridge was closed.  I urge the Department of Public Works to put an outreach plan in place to inform residents and business owners when the bridge will be closed and to map out an efficient and well-marked detour to minimize the impact of the work”.

Legislator Jim Maisano (R, New Rochelle, Pelham, Pelham Manor) added that his office received numerous complaints about the bridge closing in the past.  “This is a short bridge but it is very important for commuters and local businesses.” Maisano said, “I’m glad that we have funded the rehabilitation of this crucial bridge, and I will expect that our Department of Public Works will ensure that the work is done efficiently and with minimal impact to local businesses. We need this bridge fully fixed and to have this traffic corridor back to normal as soon as possible.”

Funding for Critical Bridge Repair Receives

Bipartisan Support

The Westchester County Board of Legislators approved funding through Bond Acts in the amount of $2.85 million for continued repairs to the Fulton Avenue Drawbridge which connects Mount Vernon and Pelham at the site of a major retail and industrial district.  This funding is in addition to $9.37 million which has been invested in the bridge since 2012.

The Bond Acts will finance replacement of steel members and piers, rehabilitation of wearing surfaces, painting, rebalancing of bascule spans, rehabilitation of mechanical and electrical components and renovation and/or replacement of metal bulkheads for riverbank protection.

The Fulton Avenue Bridge was originally built in 1974.  The New York State Department of Transportation closed the bridge following an inspection which determined the steel piers had deteriorated to a point that was unsafe.  The bridge has since been re-opened.  Approximately 12,000 cars traverse the span every day.

Legislator Lyndon Williams (D) Mount Vernon said the closure significantly impacted residents and businesses.  “It is imperative that Westchester County finish the rehabilitation of Fulton Ave. Bridge.  This bridge is a critical piece of infrastructure traversed by  area residents to access Boston Post Road and the corridor to Interstate 95 coming into and leaving lower Westchester County. ”

“Major retail development in Mount Vernon and Pelham as well as small merchants and restaurants benefit from the free flow of traffic and commerce over the Fulton Avenue Bridge each day.”  Williams said, “Therefore, area businesses and residents are naturally concerned about any lengthy closure that disrupts residential and commercial activities. I’ve also heard from merchants who saw a sharp decline in business while the bridge was closed.  I urge the Department of Public Works to put an outreach plan in place to inform residents and business owners when the bridge will be closed and to map out an efficient and well-marked detour to minimize the impact of the work”.

Legislator Jim Maisano (R, New Rochelle, Pelham, Pelham Manor) added that his office received numerous complaints about the bridge closing in the past.  “This is a short bridge but it is very important for commuters and local businesses.” Maisano said, “I’m glad that we have funded the rehabilitation of this crucial bridge, and I will expect that our Department of Public Works will ensure that the work is done efficiently and with minimal impact to local businesses. We need this bridge fully fixed and to have this traffic corridor back to normal as soon as possible.”

Astorino’s Ethics “Lecture” to Albany is Height of Hypocrisy;

Gives lucrative County legal contracts to campaign donors.

 

(WHITE PLAINS, NY) Just a few days after the US Attorney for the Southern District absolved Governor Cuomo of any wrong-doing resulting from the Moreland Commission shutdown, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino steered thousands of dollars in lucrative legal contracts to many of his campaign donors.  Astorino continued to criticize Governor Cuomo despite the fact that he has doled out millions of dollars to outside legal firms, many of which donated to his various campaigns.  Astorino will once again lock into these agreements on Thursday at the Board of Acquisition and Contract, which is controlled by the County Executive.

 

“Rob Astorino is so desperate to get to Albany that he has even begun to imitate its pay-to-play culture right here in Westchester County.  This administration has proposed cuts to funding for human services, starved our infrastructure of the resources it needs and paid millions of dollars in fines for being unable to provide clean drinking water but can spend several million dollars taking care of the law firms that employ his campaign donors,” said Brian Hegt, spokesman for the BoL Democratic Caucus.

 

Nearly $36,000 was donated by various law firms that are set to receive contracts from the County on Thursday. Here is the list:

  • Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker LLP
  • Pannone Lopes Deveraux & West LLC
  • Harriton & Furrer LLP
  • Biaggi & Biaggi
  • Canter Law Firm PC
  • Harris Beach PLLC
  • Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry LLP
  • Lyons McGovern LLP
  • Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti LLP
  • Bank, Sheer, Seymour & Hashmall
  • Joan Marshall Cresap Law Office

Hegt continued, “As Rob Astorino continues to put his political ambitions over the Westchester taxpayers, members of the Board of Legislators will continue to push for ethics and campaign finance reform so that the ethical cesspool of Albany doesn’t make its way to Westchester.”

 

Board of Legislators Chairman Kaplowitz, Vice-Chair Maisano Continue Policy of Inclusion in Committee Assignments for New Term.

 

Two years ago, the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) underwent a radical change. Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, a Democrat, and Vice-Chairman James Maisano, a Republican, came together to form a bipartisan coalition government to lead the BOL.  For the past two years, the BOL has abandoned gridlock and lawsuits in favor of conciliation and negotiation.

 

One of the new policies that Chairman Kaplowitz established in his first term was that every Legislator would have a leadership position within their caucus or Chair a legislative committee or task force.  This approach has benefited Westchester County residents tremendously and will be continued in the 2016-2017 term.

 

The bipartisan model that was used for committee assignments in the previous term contributed to a number of important accomplishments over the last two years, including;

 

  • A continuation of 6 straight years of no tax-increase budgets.
  • Improved essential services like public safety, subsidized child care, services for domestic violence and child sex-assault victims, legal services for veterans  and seniors, eviction prevention services and restored funding for parks.
  • Compliance, not capitulation, while working diligently with all parties to meet the terms of the 2009 Affordable Housing Settlement and restoration of funds withheld by the Federal Government.
  • Approval of a public/private partnership to operate Playland Amusement Park, alleviating costs to taxpayers while guaranteeing the future of Playland.
  • Approval of $200 million for infrastructure improvements that create jobs and grow our economy.
  • Establishment of an Office of Energy Efficiency and Sustainability to save on operational costs.
  • Reforms and increased transparency in the county budget process.
  • Participation in the Local Development Corporation that has led to over half a billion dollars of economic activity allowing non-profits like hospitals and colleges to finance projects tax-free and at very low interest rates.

 

The Westchester County Charter requires the establishment of a Budget and Appropriations Committee and Legislation Committee for each term.  Any other Committees are created at the discretion of the BOL chairman.  The Committee assignments for the 2016-2017 term are;

 

  • Appointments Committee- Chaired by Legislator Margaret Cunzio (C) Mount Pleasant, North Castle, Pleasantville
  • Budget and Appropriations Committee- Chaired by Legislator Sheila Marcotte (R) Eastchester, New Rochelle, Tuckahoe
  • Public Safety and Social Services Committee- Chaired by Legislator Ben Boykin (D) White Plains, Scarsdale
  • Energy and Regional Efficiencies Committee- Chaired by Legislator Catherine Parker (D) Harrison, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye
  • Environment and Health Committee- Chaired by Legislator Francis Corcoran (R) Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers
  • Infrastructure Committee- Chaired by Legislator Mary Jane Shimsky  (D) Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Edgemont, Hartsdale, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington
  • Labor/Parks/Planning/Housing Committee- Chaired by Legislator David Gelfarb (R) Harrison, Port Chester, Rye Brook
  • Litigation Committee- Chaired by Legislator Lyndon Williams (D) Mount Vernon
  • Legislation Committee- Chaired by Legislator Virginia Perez (D) Yonkers
  • Seniors and Constituencies Committee- Chaired by Legislator Bernice Spreckman (R) Yonkers, Mount Vernon
  • Rules Committee- Co-Chaired by Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D) Briarcliff Manor, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Peekskill and Minority Leader John Testa (R) Cortlandt, Peekskill, Yorktown

 

The following Task Forces have been assigned for the 2016-2017 term;

 

  • Charter Commission Review Task Force- Co-Chaired by Legislator Gordon Burrows (R) Bronxville, Yonkers and former Legislator Richard Wishnie
  • Families Task Force- Chaired by Majority Leader Catherine Borgia
  • Hispanic Affairs Task Force- Co-chaired by Legislator Virginia Perez and Vice-Chairman Jim Maisano
  • Minority Affairs Task Force- Co-Chaired by Legislator Virginia Perez and Legislator Ben Boykin
  • Federal and State Affairs Task Force- Chaired by Legislator Ken Jenkins (D) Yonkers

 

Chairman Kaplowitz said, “I thank my colleagues for accepting the responsibility of these important Committee and Task Force positions.  The 2016-2017 legislative term promises many possibilities and challenges.  Legislators who are willing to put people over partisanship will be a part of the continued success in making Westchester County an extraordinary example of what we can accomplish when we work together.”

 

Vice Chairman Jim Maisano echoed Kaplowitz’ optimism, saying, “Viewed against the backdrop of dysfunction in Washington and corruption in Albany, Westchester County is a rare, shining example of how Democrats and Republicans can work together for the benefit of the people they represent.”

Kaplowitz, Maisano Elected to Lead Board of Legislators.

 

On Monday the Westchester County board of Legislators (BOL) elected it’s leadership team for the 2016-2017 legislative term.  Legislator Michael Kaplowitz (D) Somers was re-elected Chairman and Legislator Jim Maisano (R) New Rochelle was re-elected Vice-Chair.  Sunday Vanderberg was elected Clerk of the Board.

 

Following the vote, Chairman Kaplowitz said, “I am honored to receive the support of my colleagues to Chair the Board of Legislators for the coming term.  Working together we have proved that bipartisanship works.  We have established a track record of tackling tough issues and facing challenges with pragmatism and professionalism.” Kaplowitz added, “In the coming days, I will be presenting a new committee structure that will best equip the Board of Legislators to handle the many important issues before us in the next two years.”

 

Vice Chairman Jim Maisano echoed Kaplowitz’ commitment to bipartisan cooperation saying, “The Westchester County Board of Legislators has distinguished itself as a thoughtful, professional, collaborative regional government where compromise is valued.  As Vice Chairman, I look forward to another productive term working with my colleagues on the BOL and with the County Executive.”

 

Sunday Vanderberg, the newly elected Clerk of the Board has worked at the BOL since 1999, serving as Deputy Clerk for the past six years.  Vanderberg said, “I am honored to have received the support of the Legislators and I look forward to continuing the high standards of professionalism in administering the business of the BOL that has been established by my predecessors.”

 

Chairman Kaplowitz is expected to announce Committee and Task Force assignments in the next week.

Kaplowitz, Maisano Elected to Lead Board of Legislators

 

On Monday the Westchester County board of Legislators (BOL) elected it’s leadership team for the 2016-2017 legislative term.  Legislator Michael Kaplowitz (D) Somers was re-elected Chairman and Legislator Jim Maisano (R) New Rochelle was re-elected Vice-Chair.  Sunday Vanderberg was elected Clerk of the Board.

 

Following the vote, Chairman Kaplowitz said, “I am honored to receive the support of my colleagues to Chair the Board of Legislators for the coming term.  Working together we have proved that bipartisanship works.  We have established a track record of tackling tough issues and facing challenges with pragmatism and professionalism.” Kaplowitz added, “In the coming days, I will be presenting a new committee structure that will best equip the Board of Legislators to handle the many important issues before us in the next two years.”

 

Vice Chairman Jim Maisano echoed Kaplowitz’ commitment to bipartisan cooperation saying, “The Westchester County Board of Legislators has distinguished itself as a thoughtful, professional, collaborative regional government where compromise is valued.  As Vice Chairman, I look forward to another productive term working with my colleagues on the BOL and with the County Executive.”

 

Sunday Vanderberg, the newly elected Clerk of the Board has worked at the BOL since 1999, serving as Deputy Clerk for the past six years.  Vanderberg said, “I am honored to have received the support of the Legislators and I look forward to continuing the high standards of professionalism in administering the business of the BOL that has been established by my predecessors.”

 

Chairman Kaplowitz is expected to announce Committee and Task Force assignments in the next week.

 

Westchester Legislators Select Leadership for 2016-2017 Term.

Board of Legislators Chairman Mike Kaplowitz a Democrat and Vice-chairman Jim Maisano, a Republican have announced that they have the support of a majority of their colleagues on the Board of Legislators to continue in their leadership positions for the 2016-2017 legislative session.  The bipartisan power-sharing arrangement that has been in place for the past two years led to the most productive legislative term in many years.  Chairman Kaplowitz and Vice-Chairman Maisano began serving on the Board of Legislators together in 1998.

Chairman Mike Kaplowitz who represents New Castle, Somers and Yorktown said, “I am happy to continue in my leadership position as Chairman of the Board of Legislators.  I think the confidence that my colleagues have demonstrated in Vice-Chairman Maisano and myself is a direct result of the inclusive, collaborative, professional and fair manner in which we have administered the work of the Board of Legislators for the past two years.”  Kaplowitz added, “We have many important issues to address in the next two years like continued compliance with the fair and affordable housing settlement, important capital projects and the transition to a private-public partnership to manage Playland.”

Vice Chairman Maisano represents New Rochelle, Pelham and Pelham Manor.  “I am very happy to continue serving in leadership at the Board of Legislators with Chairman Kaplowitz.  Over the last two years, Mike and I have worked hard to maintain an atmosphere of professionalism and collegiality in the way we operate at the BOL.” said Maisano, “I believe that the Westchester Board of Legislators stands as an example to lawmakers from local municipalities to Washington DC that disagreements are very much a part of the political process but they don’t have to be personal and they don’t have to stand in the way of governing responsibly.”

The Democratic and Republican caucuses also reaffirmed their respective leaders for the 2016-2017.  Legislator Catherine Borgia (D) Ossining will be the Majority Leader and Legislator John Testa (R), Peekskill will be the Minority Leader.  Legislator Alfreda Williams (D) Greenburgh, will be the Majority Whip and Legislator Gordon Burrows (R) Bronxville, Yonkers will be the Minority Whip.

Majority Leader Borgia said, “I am honored to serve my colleagues and my constituent as Majority Leader of the Board of Legislators for another two year term.  The Democratic caucus will continue to fight for those residents who most need our support and services, as we did in pushing for restoration of service cuts in the recent budget.  We look forward to a busy and productive legislative term.”

Minority Leader Testa said, “I believe the bipartisan coalition that has controlled the BOL for the last two years has led to a more collaborative and effective Legislature.  We have made a more efficient  county organization, increased the funding for those most vulnerable, and at the same time looked out for the county’s taxpayers. I am honored to continue to serve the Republican caucus as Leader and stand with our like minded-colleagues and County Executive Rob Astorino as we look forward to the new term.”

BoL Task Force Announces Creation of Westchester Families Bill of Rights to Guide Priorities for 2016.

(WHITE PLAINS, NY) At a press conference at the Board of Legislators, members of the Board’s Families Task Force announced the creation of a Families Bill of Rights and will use it as a guide for 2016 priorities.  The BoL Families Task Force has concluded a series of public meetings in various parts of the county where they received input on what families in Westchester need to stay, grow and thrive here.

The result of that work is this Bill of Rights which comes at a very important time at the beginning of the County’s new fiscal year.  This bill of rights will outline the basic needs demonstrated by many families across the County and will serve as a tool to make sure that County provides the services it pledged to in the recently enacted 2016 budget.

Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), who serves as the Co-chair of the task force said, “This Bill of Rights will give us a very good framework to guide everything we do in order to help Westchester families thrive.  Every member of the Board of Legislators has agreed that the budget we just passed leaves no margin of error in the coming fiscal year.  Every decision we make as a result of that will be geared towards making sure every family can have the Westchester life they envisioned for themselves.”

“Similar to the hearings during the recently completed budget process, we received lots of compelling testimony about specific needs that families want to see our elected leaders prioritize,” added Kathy Halas, Executive Director of Child Care Westchester, Inc., who also serves as a Co-chair of the task force. “We’re certain that nobody is against providing for the families of our county and the priorities outlined by this task force are very helpful for our elected leaders to be proactive in their solutions to the challenges we face.”

Julia Solow, who was in charge of the policy group of the Task Force to produce the Families Bill of Rights added, “The Families Task Force was created to look at what the needs of Westchester families are, how they are changing, and what we want the county legislature and other elected officials to know about Westchester families in order to have some influence on ways to improve family life.  I’m confident that we can do that if we adhere to the principles in the document this task force created.”

The Families Bill of Rights will be recommended to the BoL for passage when the new term begins in January.

 

Attachment: Draft resolution of the Families Bill of Rights

Family Bill of Rights 2a

The full press conference can be viewed here (9 min 40 sec)

November 2015 Sales Tax Revenues Drop from Prior Year.

 

(WHITE PLAINS, NY) Only weeks after several independent entities cautioned against the overly aggressive revenue assumptions in the 2016 budget, Westchester County released the results from November of 2015.  Sales tax revenues from November 2015, which include those generated by Black Friday and the start of the holiday shopping season, are down 2% from the same point in 2014.

 

In November of 2015, the county reported $38,825,843 in sales tax revenue, down from $39,649,702 the prior year.  The drop is $823,859 and leaves the County’s 2015 11-month total over $2.5 million short of the budgeted revenue figure for the year.  In order to meet the goal for the 2015 budget, December sales tax would have to have an 8.5% increase from the prior December.

 

“While the weather has been extremely conducive to shopping throughout the County, expecting to inject $16 million into the local economy in one month with one shopping season is a bit too large of a gamble for my comfort,” Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) said.

 

The County would need to pull in $54,570,562 in sales tax revenues in order to make budget for the 2015 or else it will have to rely on funds from the County’s reserve to close the several million dollar operating deficit for the year.

 

“We’ve been cautioned against these practices for exactly this reason and with the growth in ease of online shopping, this trend is only going to continue.  The last time our area saw a winter miracle like this was when Joe Namath guaranteed the Jets would win the Super Bowl; I don’t think we’re on the cusp of anything great with this administration,” Jenkins concluded.

Jenkins-November sales tax

***Media Advisory for Tuesday, December 22***

BoL Task Force Announces Creation of Westchester Families Bill of Rights

WHO:             Legislator Catherine Borgia, Co-Chair of the Families Task Force

                        Kathy Halas, Executive Director of Child Care Westchester, Inc. & Co-Chair of the Families Task Force

Julia Solow, Community Voices Heard, Head of FTF Policy Group

Other Legislators and members of the task force

WHAT:          The BoL Families Task Force has concluded a series of public meetings in various parts of the county where they received input on what families in Westchester need to stay, grow and thrive here.  The result of that work is this Bill of Rights which comes at a very important time at the beginning of the County’s new fiscal year.  The Families Bill of Rights will be recommended to the BoL for passage in January.  This bill of rights will outline the basic needs demonstrated by many families across the County and will serve as a tool to make sure that County provides the services it pledged to in the recently enacted 2016 budget.

WHEN:          Tuesday, December 22 at 10:30 AM

WHERE:       Board of Legislators Rotunda

8th Floor, Michaelian Office Building

148 Martine Avenue, White Plains

 

 

 

Background on the Families Task Force:

The Families Task Force was created to look at what the needs of Westchester families are, how they are changing, and what we want the county legislature and the state delegation to know about Westchester families and have some influence on ways to improve family life. The Task Force is broken up into 3 sub-groups:

  1. The Policy Group (creating a Families Bill of Rights)
  2. The Education Group
  3. The Programming group

Bipartisan Coalition Passes ‘No Tax Increase’ 2016 Budget.

Funds Restored to Non-Profits, Social Safety Net Protected.

On Monday, the bipartisan coalition that controls the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) passed a budget for 2016 that does not raise taxes and restores cuts to non-profits, parks and public safety.  This is the sixth consecutive year with no tax increase to the County tax levy.

Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz (D) Somers, praised the bipartisan coalition for their hard work and cooperation while offering the warning that the budget offered no margin for error.  “My colleagues and I have worked very hard to produce a sound budget that protects those who rely on county services while delivering no tax increase for the sixth consecutive year.  The budget we passed was a vast improvement over the budget that the County Executive proposed however there are some elements of the budget that will require close supervision throughout the year.  We saw diminished sales tax revenue this year because of plummeting fuels costs which will leave us short of what we anticipated.  As a result we will likely have to use dollars from our fund balance to make up that shortfall.  I am afraid that we may find ourselves in a similar position next year.”  Kaplowitz added, “A continued draw down of our reserve fund will lead to the loss of Westchester’s AAA bond rating.  My colleagues and I are going to be watching revenues and spending very closely throughout this fiscal year.”

Minority Leader, Legislator John Testa (R) Peekskill, said that a tax increase should be the last option in developing a budget.  “My colleagues and I approached these negotiations with the attitude that collaboration and compromise were needed to make this the best budget possible.  We added back as many of the jobs and service programs that we could but our colleagues in the Democratic Caucus ultimately voted against the budget which restored funding for the social safety net but did not offer any realistic alternatives.” Testa said. “While collaborating on the budget with County Executive Rob Astorino he assured us that he can manage Westchester County on the budget that we passed today and I believe him.  Westchester families can be sure that we remain committed to holding the line on taxes while maintaining the quality of life we all enjoy in Westchester County.”

Legislator Sheila Marcotte (R) Tuckahoe, Eastchester, New Rochelle, is Chair of the BOL’s Budget and Appropriations Committee.  “I’d like to thank the many Commissioners and Department heads throughout Westchester County who participated in the Budget Committee review process.  Between committee meetings and public hearings we spent many hours and days listening to hundreds of people about county operations and the needs of our non-profit partners.  I am happy that to a large extent we were able to restore many programs and positions.  I am most happy that for the sixth straight year, we stood with taxpayers with a no tax increase budget.  An accomplishment that is, frankly, unheard of in these economic times.”

2016 County Budget is Structurally Unbalanced.

 

(WHITE PLAINS, NY) The Westchester County Board of Legislators adopted the 2016 budget today stretches Westchester County’s operations to the thinnest of all time and remains structurally unbalanced according to numerous independent opinions as a result of accounting gimmicks, one shot revenues and suspect revenue projections.  The budget most significantly relies on an aggressive assumption for sales tax revenues with a 4% growth rate. The Citizens Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC) and the County’s independent auditors stated that the sales tax revenues are too aggressive and cited that Nassau and Suffolk Counties and many of our local municipalities budget for roughly 1 – 2 % growth in sales tax revenues. CBAC recommends that the 2016 budget for sales tax be reduced by $10 to $15 million.  The Democratic Caucus had proposed an alternative that involved the proceeds from the sale of the Austin Avenue building and over $4 million in energy efficiencies that are still available.

 

“While I’m happy to see that there were some service restorations, I cannot endorse a budget that spends money based on fictitious revenues,” said Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining).  “I believe that we are going to have to revisit this budget in the coming months because of the indefensible budget practices of this administration.”

 

Legislator Lyndon Williams (D-Mount Vernon) stated, “By setting this budget in motion without a plan for sustainable revenues, we are placing the county in a tenuous fiscal position if unforeseen circumstances to occur in 2016.”

 

“This budget fails every metric of good accounting,” stated Legislator Ben Boykin (D-White Plains), MBA/CPA. “While we have the appearance of a balanced operating budget with no tax increase, the 2016 budget is structurally imbalanced and will create significant financial challenges for the County and taxpayers in the future.”

 

Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) warned that this budget proposal could trigger another credit rating downgrade that would cost taxpayers more as it attempts to catch up on $1.3 billion backlog of capital projects.  “The Astorino administration has done nothing to address the downward spiral for Westchester’s credit rating, costing taxpayers more for essential services like roads and bridge repairs.  This budget compounds those failures by relying on accounting gimmicks to fill the humongous budget deficit we are really facing.”

 

Legislator Catherine Parker (D-Rye) said, “Approving this budget is akin to doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.  When every independent opinion says that these budgeting practices are suspect, it is time to try a different strategy.  The budget continues to rely on revenues that we have been cautioned against using to balance the budget and yet we still continue to ignore that advice.”

 

Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson) explained, “This year’s budget takes back cost saving measures approved by the Board of Legislators, on a bipartisan basis, in last year’s budget—measures needed to keep our infrastructure in working order.  Of most concern to me is the large scale borrowing to fund routine, short term costs like patching our roads; and the deterioration of our infrastructure due to having insufficient engineers to advance our $1.3 billion capital project backlog.  Such moves will cost taxpayers many times more money in future years.”

 

Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh) stated, “I am concerned that many of our non-profits who provide critical, often mandated human services in an efficient and cost saving manner for the present and future, are not going to be funded at sustainable levels.  We have been facing this problem for several years and failed to adopt efficiencies that would help pay for these things in a responsible manner.”

 

***Press Advisory***

Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman, Vice-Chairman to Make Announcement Regarding 2016 Budget.

Who:  Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, Vice-Chairman Jim Maisano

What:  Announcement regarding 2016 County Budget

When: 3:45, Friday December 11th

Where: 148 Martine Ave., White Plains, 8th floor, BOL Rotunda

Democratic Caucus Releases Plan to Provide Services and Energy Savings without Raising Taxes.

 

(WHITE PLAINS, NY) As the Board of Legislators goes through the additions and deletions phase of the budget process, several members of the Board have released a plan to restore services provided by many non-profit agencies, realize millions in energy and electricity savings and continue to operate without raising any taxes.  The estimated restorations totaled slightly over $6 million and were offset by nearly $17 million in additional non-tax-hike revenues.  The $17 million of revenue was comprised of $12.5 million from the sale of a property in Yonkers and over $4 million in savings that can be achieved through energy efficiencies.  Many of these suggestions were voted down during a recent meeting of the Budget Committee.

 

Legislator Catherine Borgia, (D-Ossining, Majority Leader) said, “There are more efficiencies within the County Budget that have not been explored or executed prior to calling for a tax increase.  The Democratic Caucus will continue to find those revenues and bring them to fruition in order to pay for the valuable services that were slated to be cut by the County Executive.  The taxpayers of Westchester deserve a responsible and strategic budget that preserves our safety, security and quality of life.”

 

The sale of a site on Austin Avenue in Yonkers is near completion and would generate substantial revenue for the County.  The City of Yonkers and Westchester are currently in dispute over how to split the proceeds of the sale.  The Board of Legislators “coalition-caucus” voted against incorporating this revenue into the budget.

 

Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) added, “To not include this revenue in the budget, especially after the County Executive mentioned it during his initial budget presentation, is only going to further tie our hands as we attempt to preserve vital services.  This budget includes revenue projections from other real property sales (375 Executive Blvd in Yonkers) that have not been completed yet as well as money from the stalled Playland deal.  The resulting revenues from the Austin Avenue sale would be no different.  This is a conservative estimate of what the County’s prospective share and would go a long way to preserving services and restoring fund balance.”

 

As a member of the Budget Committee, Catherine Parker (D-Rye) asked to consider a high level energy audit conducted by Westchester County in 2012, which recommended a list of energy efficiencies that are available to existing county infrastructure.  In several dozen recommendations, this audit found that there are approximately $3.4 million in energy efficiencies that the county can realize.

 

On top of the recommendations contained in that report, Westchester County oversees several buildings and nearly 160 miles of roadways including the Bronx River Parkway that could be lit with cost-efficient LED lighting, something Legislator Borgia included as a capital project in the 2015 budget and reintroduced it in the 2016 capital budget.  Many municipalities have gone to this lighting technology and have found savings instantly.  Several municipalities including the Cities of New Rochelle and Yonkers and Town of Eastchester (home of BoL Budget Chair Sheila Marcotte) have already switched to these energy efficient lights and seen cost reductions.  New Rochelle and Yonkers have found between $90 and $100 in savings per light fixture since they have begun utilizing energy efficient lighting.  It is ideal that there be approximately 53 streetlights to every mile of road by New York recommendations.  With a conservative calculation of $90 in savings per streetlight, Westchester will save an addition $763,200.

 

“It is budgeted that we are going to spend nearly $24 million on various utility costs this year and following some of the recommendations outlined in this audit would reduce that number significantly,” stated Legislator Mary Jane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson), who chairs the Board’s Infrastructure Committee.  “Our capital plan for the next few years is anemic and undertaking any number of these projects would yield significant returns on the taxpayer’s investment.”

Legislator Catherine Parker (D-Rye), the Chair of the Board’s Energy and Environment Committee said, “We created a position for an Energy Director who is supposed to help us find these savings.  Once again the administration has failed to direct him to do that.  At this rate, without finding these very easy savings, the position is just another patronage job that falls within Rob Astorino’s already bloated staff.”

Caucus-CBAC Release

For Second Straight Year, Citizens Budget Advisory Committee Re-Affirms Budget Criticisms.

 

(WHITE PLAINS, NY)—As part of the detailed overview of the County Executive’s 2016 budget proposal, the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC) appeared before the Board of Legislators to issue their feedback on the proposal.  CBAC is a non-partisan group of 10 members tasked with seeking regular input on fiscal matters from the public through public hearings and through monthly meetings of CBAC.  For the second straight year, CBAC expressed significant reservations about numerous practices and proposals within the 2016 budget proposal.  On behalf of the Democratic caucus, Legislator Ben Boykin, MBA/CPA, reacted with the following statement:

 

“Many of us voted against last year’s budget for the reasons spelled out by CBAC and unfortunately this proposal from the County Executive compounds those problems.  As a result, I believe the overall mismanagement of our County’s finances have become clear and are starting to have real impacts across many services the county has provided in the past.  The budget proposal continues to rely heavily on borrowing to pay for operating expenses; this will result in higher taxes for all taxpayers in the future as we repay principal and interest on these borrowings.  Additionally, sales and use taxes appear to once again be over-estimated.   Lastly, the proposed cuts to support organizations such as Legal Aid, Arts, Cornell Cooperative and other non-profits will in all likelihood impact services that are provided to County residents.  These programs must be evaluated on a much more rigid and objective cost-benefit analysis.”

 

Below are some excerpts of CBAC’s Report on the Westchester County 2016 Operating and Capital Budgets.

 

Revenues: “CBAC is concerned that the projected sales tax revenue is too aggressive. The 2015 Budgeted amount of $528M will not be met and has now been lowered to $506 million which is flat over the 2014 sales tax revenue.  The 2016 Budgeted revenue of $526 million is a 4% growth over $506 million. We recommend the 2016 Sales Tax revenue be reduced by $10 million to $15 million to $516 million to $511 million. This represents a 1% to 2% growth over 2015 Projection. We believe that 2016 Sales Tax revenue will be impacted by the continuing slow growth in retail sales and the increased saving rates in the economy. Fuel prices may start to show an increase but will not return to the early 2014 levels. Review of other counties projections show projections in the 1%-2% range.   The view of the CBAC is the County should work to insure ensure a more reliable income stream from Sales Tax as well as a more prudent approach to the forecasting a revenue this essential to the County operations.”

 

Expenditures:

  • Pension Payments: “The County continues to borrow from the NYS Pension Stabilization Program to fund the required pension contribution. The 2016 proposed borrowing is projected to add another $2.7 million to a total $108 million borrowed over the past four years. This strategy will result in a roughly $21 million additional cost to the County in interest over the next 10 years or roughly $2 million in increase expenses over the next 10 years.  We view this as borrowing to fund what is a current operating expense. Further, while this is off the books borrowing it should still be considered in looking at debt ratio.”
  • Certioraris: “The 2016 Budget includes an $11 million for Certioraris expenses [Certioraris are repayments of property tax challenges that have been settled]. The 2016 Revenue Budget contains bonding revenue of $11.5 million for the Certs. We view this as borrowing to fund what is a current operating expense.  This $11 million represents 2% of the Proposed Tax Levy of $548 million. We recommend that the County consider establishing a reserve fund certs.   It should also be noted that the Sewer Districts are expected to have certs totaling $2.8 million or 2.2% of the Proposed Expenditures of $127 million. The Sewer certs are not offset by borrowing.”
  • Workforce Productivity and Service Levels: “The County has kept the tax levy is flat over 6 budgets, federal and state aid have been reduced, sales tax has been increasing but at a much lower rate than anticipated.  In order to meet revenue restraints the County has mainly relied on reducing the County workforce. Services are stated to be maintained.  How has this been achieved over all County Operations? What productivity metrics are available to demonstrate that the reductions in headcount have been offset increased productivity so service levels are maintained?  How is the increased productivity being achieved? What metrics will be in place to measure progress? In order to assure that service levels are maintained the B&A should review these metrics on a bi-monthly basis.”

 

Other Items of Concern:

 

  • DPW: “The open engineering positions continue to be a concern to the CBAC. Because of the backlog of current projects plus the required ongoing workloads and the higher cost of out sourcing this work County needs to assess how to solve this issue. We understand that part of the problem has been finding engineers with the proper training willing to work for the salaries offered by the county. Perhaps the County should consider revising the salary scale for the Engineering positions.”
  • Labor Costs: “The County continues to have labor contracts that have not been resolved. While we understand that the County may not wish to flag amounts held in contingency for contract settlements and increases we wish to highlight our concern that given the leanness of this budget that this item be addressed in your discussions. If these contracts were to be settled is the budget protected or would the County need to dip into the Fund Balance? Additionally, we are concerned that the continued failure reach a contract with CSEA is a lost opportunity for a reduction in net medical expenses? CSEA has reached contracts with other municipalities that include health insurance contributions.  As some point, the failure to reach a contract becomes more expensive than not.”
  • Maintaining the County’s Bond Rating: “The CBAC is concerned by the weaknesses noted in the Moody’s rating and believe that concerns expressed should be kept in mind as you work through the Budget for 2016 and working to close the gap in 2015 and how the County will address the use of fund balance.”

###

The full CBAC report is attached

 


FTCBriefBio2015

Francis Corcoran Sworn in as Westchester County Legislator.

 

On Monday, Francis Corcoran was sworn in as the newest Westchester County Legislator.  Legislator Corcoran, a Republican, will represent Legislative District 2 comprised of Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge and part of Somers.

 

Normally new Legislators are sworn in on or around the first day of the new term but because Legislator Corcoran’s election was to fill an open seat, the County Charter directs that he be sworn in following the certification of his election.  This means he will participate in the review and negotiations for the 2016 budget.

 

Legislator Corcoran has been attending Board of Legislator meetings and Budget Committee meetings since his election in November.  “I am honored to represent the residents of District 2 and I thank them for the confidence they’ve shown in me by electing me as their County Legislator.  I am committed to representing every resident of my District through hard work, bipartisan cooperation and responsiveness to their needs.”  Said Corcoran, “I would like to thank my Legislative colleagues and the Board staff for welcoming me warmly and for helping me get up to speed on the issues we are confronting, especially the 2016 County Budget.”

 

BOL Chairman Mike Kaplowitz congratulated Legislature Corcoran saying, “Francis has already demonstrated that he is engaged, smart and ready to work with his colleagues.  Francis’ experience in finance and capital markets will be a great asset as we work our way through this difficult 2016 budget and beyond.  I look forward to a productive term working with Francis and all of our colleagues over the next two years.”

 

Legislator Corcoran grew up in Lewisboro and has served for the last 13 years as a Town Councilman in Bedford.  In his professional life, Mr. Corcoran has worked in the financial/capital markets arena for 30 years.   His full bio is attached.

 

Photo Caption;  Francis Corcoran is sworn in as Westchester County Legislator by County Clerk Timothy Idoni

News from the Democratic Caucus: Statement from Majority Leader Catherine Borgia on the Nomination of Westchester DA Janet DiFiore as Chief Judge of NYS Court of Appeals.

(WHITE PLAINS, NY) Westchester County Board of Legislators Majority Leader Catherine Borgia released the following statement upon the news that Westchester County DA Janet DiFiore is expected to be nominated as the Chief Judge of the NYS Court of Appeals by Governor Cuomo:

“Janet DiFiore has always been a fair and prudent adjudicator of justice throughout her career and has been instrumental in making the residents of Westchester feel that they have safe communities to live in.  During her tenure, she has handled several high profile cases and always demonstrated a professionalism that emanated through her entire office.  Westchester’s loss will be the gain of the entire state as she hopefully takes her public service to the Court of Appeals.  I urge all of Westchester’s Senators to vote in favor of her confirmation when the Senate returns in January.”

 

County Takeover of Tibbetts Brook Park is a Hidden Tax Increase.

 

(White Plains, NY) – As the second week of budget presentations draws to its conclusion, Legislator Ken Jenkins is continuing to point out the adverse impacts the County Executive’s budget proposal will have on Yonkers.  The most recent in that chain is the proposal to have the County take over Tibbetts Brook Park as a way to generate additional revenues for the County.  This would be on top of reduced funding for the Hudson River Museum and the cuts that have resulted from the structurally imbalanced budget.

 

Legislator Ken Jenkins reacted to the proposal by calling it a hidden tax increase as a result of the additional fees that will be added to the County’s coffers. “The County Executive clearly has an agenda towards damaging the City of Yonkers.  This proposal makes me think that he is either unaware or just doesn’t care that there is a cost to taking over a park that we hadn’t run in the past.”

 

Tibbetts Brook Park received a large infusion in capital several years ago that has turned it into one of the most successful parks in the county’s park system but a portion of it is still run and managed by the City of Yonkers.

 

“There are a very few simple realities that make this proposal completely unworkable,” Jenkins stated. “Westchester doesn’t have the money to take this burden on and even if we did, this administration’s track record on managing parks like Sprain Ridge and Playland, would suggest that it wouldn’t be managed well anyway.”

 

County Budget Needs an Additional Public Hearing

 

(WHITE PLAINS, NY) After a hearing that lasted over four hours and included hundreds of testimonials in favor of restoring critical services, Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson) is calling for an additional hearing to be held as the Board of Legislators examines the County Executive’s proposed 2016 budget.  Unfortunately, the location was not prepared to hold the amount of people that came to testify and forced some to leave without sharing their stories. 

 

“We heard hours of compelling testimony about how these services save taxpayers money and simultaneously improve the lives of many Westchester residents,” Legislator Shimsky said. “I believe the turnout and interest in the budget hearing in Yonkers was indicative of the problems the county is facing; lots of people will be adversely impacted by these cuts, including every single Westchester taxpayer.”

 

The Board of Legislators is scheduled to conduct two more hearings in different parts of the county, but Shimsky held that the controversial nature of this budget and a site that proved inadequate for the first hearing, requires Legislators to do more than they have in the past.  Shimsky continued, “It can sometimes be difficult to find a large venue, but in that case, an extra hearing to accommodate all of the Westchester residents who want their say may be advisable, especially in a year when we are facing such difficult choices.”

 

Shimsky pointed out that providing services for homelessness prevention, domestic violence and elder abuse services, and pretrial diversion for young people can save taxpayers many times more than the services cost.  In addition, funding to ArtsWestchester creates vibrant downtowns and results in increased business for restaurants, with increases in sales tax revenue.  And the cuts to flood mitigation work in the Planning Department will leave the County defenseless against rising waters as climate change intensifies.

 

“The proposed 2016 budget is penny-wise and pound-foolish in many respects, including in its treatment of the important work we heard about last night,” said Shimsky.  “It really is hard to turn our backs on these stories and the individuals who tell them when the financial and anecdotal evidence is so clear.”

 

**Media Advisory**

The Westchester County Board of Legislators will hold a public hearing on the 2016 county budget at Yonkers Public School 30 on Thursday, November 19th at 7PM.

Residents can sign up to speak beginning at 6:15PM.

You can see the proposed 2016 budget at;

http://westchesterlegislators.com/fy-2016-budget-dashboard.html

2016-17 Westchester County Budget is a Product of Past Failures

 

(WHITE PLAINS, NY) On Friday November 13th, County Executive Rob Astorino released his proposed 2016-17 Westchester County Budget.  The budget proposal was released amid third-quarter projections that show the county has a $24.7 million operating shortfall.  Members of the Democratic Caucus believe that this budget is a product of past failures that they’ve opposed in previous years and compounds the problems of the past.

 

“County government is supposed to offer efficiencies that save taxpayer dollars by providing regional services and allowing local governments to reduce costs and reliance on property taxes.  Continuing cuts for public safety, healthcare and community services is only going to put additional burdens on the local governments to raise taxes and that’s not something that I can support,” said Legislator Catherine Borgia.

 

Lyndon Williams stated, “The Board must now exercise its legislative oversight by thoroughly reviewing this budget, assessing its impact on residents particularly the most vulnerable, and listen to residents during budget hearings.  We must make responsible decisions on the budget.”

 

Legislator Ben Boykin (D-White Plains) said, “The budgeting tactics of excessive borrowing to pay for operating expenses are unsustainable and bad for the people of Westchester County. This practice will surely lead to big tax hikes, which will be paid with interest, in the years to come. Borrowing for operating expenses is like using your credit cards to pay your rent.”

 

Legislator Alan Cole (D-Lewisboro) stated, “This budget proposal clearly needs deeper examination.  There has got to be a better way to balance the needs of the taxpayer with the need for essential services.  Our recent police merger in Mt. Kisco is a good working model of how the county can do more to save money for taxpayers.”

 

Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) warned that this budget proposal could trigger another credit rating downgrade that would cost taxpayers $1.3 billion of capital projects.  “The Astorino administration has done nothing to address the downward spiral for Westchester’s credit rating, costing taxpayers more for essential services like roads and bridges.  County Executive Astorino’s budget proposal is fiscally irresponsible.”

 

Legislator Catherine Parker (D-Rye) said, “Providing support for victims of child abuse and domestic violence should be above economic concerns.  The mentality that nobody in Westchester utilizes these services is a terribly ignorant attitude.  This budget reflects that point of view by slashing these services, negatively impacting so many people.”

 

Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings) explained, “You cannot have a modern economy or society without safe roads and bridges.  Over time, reductions of key personnel in the Department of Public Works have resulted in massive backlogs of capital projects.  This budget proposal compounds those issues as Westchester’s roads and bridges continue to crumble every day.”

 

Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh) stated, “The Astorino administration’s record on child care and other human service issues is abysmal.  By failing to fund proven successful programs, we are inviting bad results and setting up taxpayers to foot the bill in years to come.  The Board of Legislators has put forward reasonable solutions multiple times to fund these programs in a cost-efficient way.”

 

Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz Statement on Proposed 2016 Budget:

 

“Today the Board of Legislators (BOL) received the County Executive’s 2016 Capital and Operating Budget.  I thank County Executive Astorino and his staff for the hard work they’ve put into the budget.

 

”Between now and December 27th, the Board of Legislators will undertake an exhaustive review of the proposed budget.  This review will begin on Monday, November 16th and will be coordinated by Legislator Sheila Marcotte, the BOL Budget and Appropriations Committee Chair.  I am confident that as with previous years, the BOL will adjust, amend and ultimately produce and improved budget at the end of our review.

 

”Based on County Executive Astorino’s budget presentation this morning, it would appear that there will be some difficult decisions to be made regarding funding for our non-profit social service providers who are facing an approximate 20% reduction in funding.  Another issue that the Legislators will have to contemplate is the degree to which we are willing to borrow for tax certioraries (money refunded to taxpayers who challenge their assessment).  The County Executive’s proposed budget plans to borrow $11 million to pay for tax challenges.  That cost in an ideal world should be included in our operational expenses.

 

”The County Executive has for the sixth consecutive year vowed to veto any tax increase in the budget.  At the Legislative branch we share his concern for the taxpayers and will balance that concern against the need of all Westchester residents.  Striking the right balance is what this budget will ultimately achieve.

 

”I encourage all Westchester residents to participate in the budget process.  our budget meetings will be streamed live on the BOL website.  Residents can also come out to three public hearings on the budget to make their voices heard.”

 

Budget and Appropriations Committee Meeting Schedule, Statement from Committee Chairwoman Sheila Marcotte:

 

“I believe that the vetting and approval of the annual Westchester County budget is the most important job we do as Legislators.  Beginning this Monday, November 16th, the Budget and Appropriations Committee will begin a thorough and transparent review process of every line in this $1.8 billion dollar proposed budget.  We will hear from every Department Head and Commissioner as well as our non-profit partners and the public.

 

“Early indications suggest that we will have some very tough decisions to make in order to provide a budget that balances the needs of those residents who rely on the social safety net with taxpayers who already pay the highest taxes in the country.  I encourage residents to avail themselves of our many budget meetings and the three public hearings.  A schedule for those meetings is attached.”

 

All Budget Committee hearings will be streamed live and can be seen at;

 

http://westchestercountyny.iqm2.com/Citizens/default.aspx

 

 

 

Budget and Appropriations Committee meeting schedule for 2016 budget

 

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 9th

 

11/9 Monday               7:00 p.m.        Board of Legislators Meeting

 

                                               

                                                WEEK OF NOVEMBER 16th

 

 

11/16 Monday                        10:00 a.m.       Public Safety

                                                11:00 a.m.       Community Mental Health

                                                11:30 a.m.       Budget Department

                                                                        3rd Quarter Forecast – including Districts &

                                                                                                                Airport

 

                                                            Agenda Items

 

11/17 Tuesday                        10:00 a.m.       Law Department/Risk Management

                                                11:00 a.m.       Public Works

                                                12:00 noon     Transportation/Westchester County Airport

 

                                                                        Agenda Items

 

11/18 Wednesday                  10:00 a.m.       Finance Department, Debt Service,

Fringe Benefits, Miscellaneous Budget,

6N & 6J

                                                                11:00 a.m.       County Clerk

                                                12:00 noon     Board of Elections

 

                                                                        Agenda Items

 

11/19 Thursday                     9:00 a.m.         Youth Bureau

10:00 a.m.       Parks

11:00 a.m.       Emergency Services

                                               

Agenda Items

 

 

11/19 Thursday                     7:00 p.m.        Mini Public Hearing –

Yonkers Public School 30

30 Nevada Place

Yonkers, NY  

 

11/20 Friday                           10:00 a.m.       Solid Waste Commission

10:30 a.m.       Office for People with Disabilities

11:00 a.m.       Social Services

                                               

                                                                        Agenda Items

 

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 23rd

 

 

11/23 Monday                        10:00 a.m.       Consumer Protection

10:30 a.m.       Information Technology

11:30 a.m.       Human Resources

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Agenda Items

 

  7:00 p.m.      Board of Legislators Meeting

 

11/24Tuesday             10:00 a.m.       District Attorney

10:30 a.m.       Labs & Research

                                                11:00 a.m.       Correction

                       

Agenda Items

 

 

7:00 p.m.        Mini Public Hearing –

Horace Greeley High School

70 Roaring Brook Road

Chappaqua, NY

 

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 30th

 

11/30 Monday                        10:00 a.m.       Capital Projects

                                                11:00 a.m.       Senior Programs & Services

                                                11:30 a.m.       DEF

 

Agenda Items

 

12/01 Tuesday                        10:00 a.m.       Capital Projects

11:00 a.m.       Office for Women

11:30 a.m.       Probation

 

Agenda Items

 

12/02   Wednesday                10:00 a.m.       Planning

                                    11:00 a.m.       CBAC

11:30 a.m.       Health

 

Agenda Items

 

 

WEEK OF DECEMBER 7th

 

12/07 Monday                        10:00 a.m.       Board of Legislators Meeting

                                                11:00 a.m.       O’Connor Davies Oral Report

2016 Budget

12:30 p.m.      Additions Report Day to the 2016

                                                                        Operating, Capital Budget & Special

                                                                        Districts

                                                Need to sign out B&A Budget Act and County & Special                                           District Taxes

 

12/09 Wednesday                    7:00 p.m.      Public Hearing

                                                                        Board of Legislators Chamber

                                                                        148 Martine Avenue – 8th floor

                                                                        White Plains, NY

 

12/11 Friday                           10:00 a.m.       O’Connor Davies Final Report –

                                                                        2016 Budget   

                                                12:00 noon.    B&A Final Report Day to 2016 Budget

 

 

WEEK OF DECEMBER 14th

 

12/14 Monday                        10:00 a.m.       Special Meeting to approve 2016 Budget

(Capital, Special & Operating Districts)

 

 

WEEK OF DECEMBER 27th

 

12/27 Sunday             The County Budget shall be finally adopted

                                                not later than December 27th (Sec. 167.101

                                                Paragraph 3)

 

 

 

Westchester County Takes Steps to Create Dedicated Veteran’s Treatment Court

 

(WHITE PLAINS, NY) On Monday November 9th, just two days before Veteran’s Day 2015, Legislator Catherine Borgia held a press event at the American Legion Post in Ossining to announce that the County will be pursuing the creation of a Veteran’s Treatment Court.  Borgia was joined by local officials and Veterans.

 

The new Veteran’s Treatment Court would direct veterans with combat experience towards treatment for PTSD and other traumatic brain injuries as opposed to merely the standard corrections process that may push them towards incarceration, without giving them the specific services they really need and to which they are entitled.

 

The City of Buffalo was the first to create a dedicated Veteran’s Treatment Court in 2008 and was followed in 2013 by the Bronx, who also created and Veteran’s mentor program in addition to the court to address the special needs of men and women who served in combat.

 

“Our current culture often speaks of supporting our armed services while they are fighting overseas, but the services available to our veterans often neglect to address the issues many of these Veterans will face when they return home,” explained Legislator Borgia (D-Ossining).  “Creating this entity to show our Veterans there is somewhere to turn for help will greatly improve the channel for recovery for our veterans who are suffering.”

 

Patrizia Hodge, the Veterans Justice Outreach Coodinator at the Montrose VA said, “There are approximately 700,000 veterans in the United States criminal justice system with charges directly related their Mental Health Conditions, Addiction and Trauma.  In Westchester County there are  approximately  30-35 veterans incarcerated at the Westchester County Department of Corrections however that number does not include the veterans who have not self-identified as veterans when incarcerated nor does it include the veterans that still have open criminal cases and are out on bail or ROR’d from court.

 

Having a Veterans Treatment Court here in Westchester County would provide an alternative to incarceration and the veterans would be given the opportunity to receive treatment for Substance/Alcohol Abuse, PTSD, TBI and other Mental Health Conditions that maybe related to their service.   VA Hudson Valley HCS  has both Residential and Outpatient  Programs where these veteran can get the specialized treatment they need.

 

As of today, there are over 200 Veterans Treatment Courts across the United States including Veteran Treatment Courts in NYC, Nassau County, Suffolk County and Veterans Tracks in Orange County, Rockland County , and Sullivan County.  We need to give the Veterans of Westchester County the opportunity to put their lives back together so they can have a chance to break free of the vicious cycle of untreated addiction, untreated mental health conditions and incarceration”.

 

The Board of Legislators will vote on a resolution, sponsored by Legislator Borgia, in support of creating the Veteran’s Treatment Court.  The final decision for creating the Veteran’s treatment court will be made in conjunction with Judge Alan Sheinkman, the Administrative Justice for the Ninth Judicial District.

***Media Advisory for Thursday, November 12***

Legislator Jenkins Will Convene Public Hearing on Safety Conditions at County Correctional Facility

WHO:             Legislator Ken Jenkins, Chair, Federal and State Affairs Committee

                        Jared Rice, Attorney for Rashad McNulty

WHAT:          Resulting from the New York State Commission on Correction’s annual report, the Federal and State Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on the condition of the County Correctional Facility.

WHEN:          Thursday, November 12 at 7:00 PM

WHERE:       Westchester County Board of Legislators Chamber

148 Martine Avenue, 8th Floor

White Plains

Correction annualreport_2014

 

CorcoranBio

 

CunzioBio

RepubsElexReax

Republican Legislative Caucus Grows as Result of Elections.

 

Republicans on the Westchester County Board of Legislators expanded their caucus by one seat after two key victories on Election Day.  The Republicans added to their ranks with the election of Francis Corcoran to the open seat in District 2 which was previously held by Democrat, Peter Harckham.  In another race for an open seat in District 3, Republican Margaret Cunzio won to keep that District in Republican hands.

 

The Election Day victories give the Republicans 8 seats on the 17 member board, the highest number since 1999.  Republicans have shared power in a bipartisan coalition with two Democrats, BOL Chairman Michael Kaplowitz (D) Somers and Legislator Virginia Perez (D) Yonkers for the last two years.  This arrangement has led to the most successful and productive legislative terms in recent memory.

 

Legislator John Testa (R) Peekskill, who leads the Republican caucus as Minority Leader said, “It is wonderful that voters have chosen to continue the cooperative, bipartisan manner of governance that we have established over the last two years.”

 

Legislator-Elect Margaret Cunzio mounted her first run for public office this year. She is a professor at Iona College and Western Connecticut State University. Ms. Cunzio replaces Legislator Michael Smith, who was recently named President of Berkeley College. The district is comprised of Mount Pleasant, North Castle and Pleasantville.  “I am thrilled to represent the constituents of District 3 and look forward to keeping spending and taxes down while protecting our municipalities from the federal government’s attempts to expand Westchester County’s obligations under the 2009 Affordable Housing Settlement,”  said Cunzio. “I am eager to work with all of my colleagues and County Executive Rob Astorino on the many issues facing Westchester. As a political outsider, I am committed to approaching my work at the Board of Legislators from a citizen’s perspective rather than that of a career politician.”

 

Legislator-Elect Francis Corcoran grew up in Lewisboro and has served for the last 12 years as a Town Councilman in Bedford.  In his professional life, Mr. Corcoran has worked in the financial/capital markets arena for 30 years.  Because the previous District 2 Legislator did not complete his term, in accordance with the Westchester County Charter, Mr. Corcoran will be sworn into office immediately upon his election certification.  This means he will participate in the review and negotiations for the 2016 budget.  “I am thrilled to have been elected to serve the people of District 2 and I am committed to serving them in a collaborative and bipartisan manner.  I look forward to getting to work on the upcoming budget, a task that my professional skill set is perfectly suited for.”  Corcoran added, “I am committed to protecting taxpayers and also homeowners.  As a Councilman in Bedford, I have closely watched as the County Executive and BOL Chairman Kaplowitz have worked to satisfy the terms of the 2009 affordable housing settlement and I intend to look out for not just the municipalities in my district but all the towns and villages in Westchester County which are imperilled by the federal government’s infringement on our local zoning rights.”

 

Legislator-Elect Cunzio and Corcoran’s photos and bios are attached.

Voters Affirm Bipartisan Approach for Westchester County Board of Legislators.

 

 

Westchester County Voters returned to office the Legislators who comprise the bipartisan coalition that has led the BOL for the last two years.  With the election of Francis Corcoran (R) Bedford, the bipartisan coalition has even expanded by one legislative seat.

 

Chairman Mike Kaplowitz (D) Somers and Vice-Chair Jim Maisano (R) New Rochelle have established an atmosphere of cooperation and compromise that has allowed the BOL to have one of its most productive and successful terms in memory.  Among the BOL’s many accomplishments during this term are $200 million dollars in infrastructure bond acts passed, a public-private partnership to operate Playland, reforms to the budget process, an end to practice of litigating against the County Executive, the establishment of an energy department, facilitating compliance with the County’s obligations under the fair and affordable housing settlement and many more.

 

Following the election, Chairman Kaplowitz said, “I am happy that voters all across Westchester rejected partisan bickering and personal attacks in favor of a more respectful, fair and results oriented type of governance.  Westchester County Government has an opportunity to distinguish itself from the pettiness and dysfunction we see in Washington DC.  We can help restore public faith in government starting right here at the Board of Legislators. If I continue as Chairman I will make sure that this legislative body continues to operate in an efficient, professional and respectful manner.”

 

Vice-Chairman Jim Maisano who began serving on the BOL in 1998, the same year as Chairman Kaplowitz echoed Kaplowitz’ sentiments, “My vision for the BOL is that we stand as an example for other governments.  We can tackle the tough issues and we can have fierce debates but I reject those who think that personal attacks and animosity are a necessary part of this process.”

 

 

WESTCHESTER COUNTY BOARD OF LEGISLATORS
NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: December 31, 2008

What’s Happening at the County Board : Week of January 5, 2009

Board & Committee Meeting Preview: Items for Discussion

(Please note: Full agenda for Board and Committee meetings, as well as complete text of proposed legislation, can be found online at www.westchesterlegislators.com, under the calendar tab. For additional information on a committee discussion item, please contact the coordinator of the specific committee.)

*Regular Meeting of the County Board of Legislators—Monday, January 5, 2009 at 7:00 PM

Monday, January 5, 2009

1:30 PM

Legislation—Hon. William Burton, Chair;

· Discussion of the 2009 Joint State Legislative Package

——————————————————————–

3:30 PM

Environment & Energy—Hon. Tom Abinanti, Chair;

· Organizational Meeting

——————————————————————–

7:00 PM

Regular Meeting of the County Board of Legislators

See full agenda and agenda documents online at www.westchesterlegislators.com (click on the blue box on the right)

NB – The following committee(s) will not meet next week:

Community Services, Public Safety & Security, Budget & Appropriations, Government Operations, Generational, Cultural & Ethnic Diversity

  

 
Andrea Stewart-Cousins Special Message
 
FirstDaySenate

 

Pre-Natal to Pre-K: Supporting New York’s Families

Senate Democrats Push for Stronger Paid Family Leave and Unveil Initiatives to Help Families During Critical Early Childhood Period

 

Proposals Draw Praise and Support from Advocate Organizations

 

Plan Would Save NY Taxpayers $2 Billion Annually

 

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today unveiled a set of policy initiatives spearheaded by the Senate Democratic Policy Group to help New York families during the critical early childhood period. These initiatives include a strong paid family leave program, increased access to childcare, assistance for New York’s working parents and caregivers, and support for the growth and development of all New York children. Multiple organizations that provide support and advocacy for new parents, young children and working class New Yorkers have already offered praise and support for the Senate Democratic proposals. When enacted, these initiatives would result in over $2 billion annually in savings and financial returns for New York State as well as additional economic activity.

 

The Senate Democratic plan focuses on the critical early years of a child’s life – from the prenatal period until the beginning of pre-kindergarten. Ideas advanced by the Senate Democrats in a report released today by the Senate Democratic Policy Group include a robust paid family leave program that will provide employees with two-thirds of their salaries during the time they care for infants and loved ones in need. Additionally, the “Childcare Advance” program would allow families to defer up to $2,000 of their state taxes each year while young children are in childcare. The Senate Democrats are also calling for additional subsidies to help pay for childcare for working families. Another Senate Democratic policy initiative would increase treatment resources to expand support for women facing maternal depression.

 

“Investing in our state’s children is not only the right thing to do, it makes smart economic sense as well,” Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “State government has a responsibility to provide New York families with more support services and assistance during the critical early childhood years. The Senate Democrats will continue to fight to improve the lives of all New Yorkers and it is my hope that the Senate Republican Majority will join us to pass these common sense initiatives.”

 

Senate Democratic Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said, “Families across New York continue to struggle during the most vulnerable time in a child’s life. Through family-friendly workplace policies, child care subsidies, providing parents with tax relief and creating an Office of Early Childcare Services we can build a more affordable and stronger New York. Now is the time for the Senate Republicans to stop playing politics and join with us to help improve the lives of millions of New York families.”

 

Bill Sponsor and Democratic Policy Group Chair, Senator Daniel Squadron said, “The first few years are some of the toughest for parents and most important for kids. New York can do more to provide support and services in these early years to help New York families, and also create real savings for the state. The Policy Group has identified key ideas to expand maternal home visiting, support children and families, and establish family friendly workplace policies, as well as my Childcare Advance proposal, which helps more families afford childcare. Thank you to Leader Stewart-Cousins, Policy Group members Senators Latimer, Montgomery, and Serrano, and the Democratic Conference for their work on these ideas.”

 

Bill Sponsor, Senator Addabbo said, “No New Yorker should be forced to choose between caring for a newborn or sick relative and potentially losing their jobs and being able to support themselves. Enacting paid family leave would ensure that our state’s residents no longer have to make this difficult choice. This common sense legislation is good for our state’s employers and employees and it is the right thing to do. I urge the Senate Republicans to join us and working families across the state to pass Paid Family Leave.”

 

Bill Sponsor, Senator Brad Hoylman said, “Many working families are forced to navigate multiple jobs and conflicting schedules to ensure their children get the care they need. Too often this responsibility is made impossible by employer-mandated “call-in shifts” that require workers to find out at the last minute whether they have to report to work on a given day. Such policies exploit workers, disrupt families, and rob parents of their full earning potential. That is why the Senate Democratic Conference is including initiatives — led by Conference Leader Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and sponsored by Senator Joseph Addabbo — to limit these unfair workplace practices and provide paid family leave and childcare subsidies to New York’s working families.”

 

Bill Sponsor and Democratic Policy Group Member, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, said, “The first few years of a child’s life are critical to development and future potential. Unfortunately, parents receive the least support during those same years for childcare, education, health of mother and child and are often forced to sacrifice or delay their careers for the well-being of their children. This puts additional financial strain on families that reverberate through New York’s economy for a generation. Providing more help for families of young children is not only the right thing to do for New York’s childhood development, but the right thing to do for New York’s economic development.”

 

Bill Sponsor, Senator Kevin Parker said, “Proper early childhood development and education are critical to public health and a bright economic future for New York State. The developmental progress made in the first five years of a child’s life lay the foundation for the trajectory of the next sixty, but state government does not adequately provide for the comprehensive services and resources that would ensure opportunities for every child of New York to thrive. Included among the initiatives described in ‘Prenatal to Pre-K: Supporting New York’s Families’ is a provision to establish a New York State Office of Early Childhood to maximize benefits for families with young children and oversee early childhood programs and funding streams.”

 

Bill Sponsor, Senator Jose Peralta said, “Unpredictable work schedules and a lack of paid family leave disadvantages employees who must often juggle their work lives, along with their responsibilities to their children and families. Providing employees with adequate notice of their work schedules, as well as notice of the minimum hours they can expect to work each month will not only help hard-working families meet their needs, but also help employers retain their most productive staff members. When low-wage employees earn less than anticipated, it hampers their ability to properly provide for their families. Successfully raising and caring for family members is difficult enough in New York in light of the State’s cost of living, and we will continue to remove roadblocks to this success wherever and whenever possible.”

 

Bill Sponsor, Senator Roxanne Persaud said, “The child bearing process can be a very stressful time for women. The stigma associated with the term depression often discourages mothers and pregnant women from talking about their feelings and symptoms of depression. It is time to require physicians and other healthcare professionals to screen for pregnancy related mental illnesses to help new mothers better care for themselves and their families. This is a common sense way to ensure families receive the mental health services they may require and help remove any lingering stigmas for these new mothers.”

 

These policy initiatives are discussed in a report by the Senate Democratic Policy Group released today: “Pre-Natal to Pre-K: Supporting New York’s Young Families.” Policy initiatives outlined in the Senate Democratic Policy Group’s report include:

 

Establish Family Friendly Workplace Practices.

  • Implement a 12-week paid family leave program utilizing the existing Temporary Disability Insurance system for implementation, as three other states have already done.
  • Support employee requests for flexible schedules and protect employees from retaliation for making such requests.
  • Enhance protection for employees for split or cancelled shifts.
  • Improve notice provided to employees for schedules and schedule changes.

 

Eric Williams, Campaign Director for the Paid Family Leave Campaign, said, “The New York State Senate Democratic Conference’s white paper is clear: to build strong, family friendly workplaces, New York needs paid family leave. A strong paid family leave program will mean that families are no longer forced to choose between caring for their loved ones and their financial security. Paid family leave must ensure 12 weeks of job-protected leave for all private sector workers, at 2/3rds of their weekly wage and increase the rate of Temporary Disability Insurance so that the program works for all New Yorkers. We commend the Senate Democratic Conference for continuing to prioritize the passage of paid family leave in 2016.”

 

Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, UFCW, said, “New Yorkers understand that workers shouldn’t be forced to choose between their jobs and taking care of their loved ones when there is a health issue. Paid family leave would provide New York workers with peace of mind, and prevent the financial nightmare of losing income when there is a medical situation in their family.”

 

Sherry Leiwant, Co-President and Co-Founder, A Better Balance, said, “As an organization working for policies to enable women – and men — to care for their families without risking their economic security we have been appalled at the growing problem of unstable work schedules in many industries as well as workers’ fear of retaliation for even requesting a schedule that will suit their family needs. When a worker has no advance notice of his or her schedule, arranging child care or family time becomes impossible. Enacting policies that will require some advance notice of schedules and will prohibit retaliation for asking for a schedule change would be a great step forward for New York’s families. We applaud publication of this white paper calling for policies to address abusive scheduling practices that hurt New York families.”

 

 

Increase Access to Childcare Through the “Childcare Advance” and Childcare Subsidies.

  • Average annual childcare costs in New York State are $10,140 to $14,144 per year for an infant and $9,776 to $11,700 for a four-year-old.
  • Establish the “Childcare Advance,” a deferral of state taxes to help 134,000 families afford the cost of early childcare and generate over $80 million in savings and financial returns to the state per year plus economic activity.
  • Increase support for childcare subsidies with $190 million of increased funding to expand the number of eligible families receiving subsidies.

 

Susan Antos, Senior Staff Attorney at the Empire Justice Center, said, “The Empire Justice Center is thrilled that the Senate Democratic conference has prioritized investing in paid family, leave home visiting, and investing in child care subsidies. Investment in child care subsidies is important because it will cost New York State $190 million to is comply with the new eligibility and health and safety requirements of reauthorized federal child care block grant. We look forward to working with conference leader Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic conference in the legislature as a whole to advance these initiatives which are so important to supporting New York’s working families.”

 

 

Treat Maternal Depression

  • Make available a central, accessible list of providers offering treatment for maternal depression.
  • Invest in treatment resources, including referral networks, peer support, and a strengthened and expanded hotline.
  • Develop – in coordination with experts – a state best practice protocol for the treatment of maternal depression, including consideration of telemedicine to make treatment options more widely available.

 

Leah Kaufman, MD, FACOG, Vice Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at SUNY Upstate University Hospital, said, “ACOG District II is committed to working with state policy makers to emphasize the importance of treatment for maternal depression. Depression in the prenatal period can have detrimental effects on women and their families, and timely identification of at-risk women coupled with accessible and quality treatment options are vital to improving clinical outcomes. We are dedicated to collaborating with the state to ensure that comprehensive treatment and referral processes are put in place to support women and families suffering from maternal depression.”

 

Sonia Murdock, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Postpartum Resource Center of New York, said, “This legislation is an important investment by New York State to save lives by combating the number one medical complication related to childbearing – maternal depression – and related perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. We fully support these legislative efforts that address this major public health concern that will increase moms, dads, and families getting the critical help and support they need for the prevention and treatment of maternal depression. All New York State babies and families deserve being made a priority and having our support right from the start.”

 

 

Offer Evidence-Based Maternal Home Visiting Universally to Eligible Families

  • Provide universal access for eligible families to evidence-based maternal home visiting programs to serve an additional 27,000 families and generate over $678 million in long-term savings

 

Winning Beginning NY Coalition, said, “With New York State’s emphasis on poverty, we are pleased to see a plan that employs two strategies– home visiting and child care– as strategies to combat this plight by strengthening both families and the workforce. We look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature to prioritize early learning.”

 

 

Create a New York State Office of Early Childhood

  • Create an Office of Early Childhood to ensure the state is using all available early childhood resources to maximize benefits for young children and families.
  • The new office would ensure coordination of early childhood programs including oversight of programs and funding streams

 

Kate Breslin, President and CEO of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, says, “The Senate Democratic Policy Group’s recommendations are right on target and aligned with those of economists and medical professionals alike – invest early in children and their families for the best return on investment. An opportunity gap can begin to develop at or even before birth and can be especially acute for the nearly one in four (24.4%) New York State children under age five who live in poverty. Since seventy-five percent of brain growth and 85% of intellect, personality and social skills develop before age five, it is imperative that we invest in our youngest children and their families – with affordable and high quality child care; workplace policies that support caregiving; screening and treatment for maternal depression; and maternal, infant and early childhood home visiting — long before children enter school.”

 

Recent studies have demonstrated both the enormous impact of the prenatal and early childhood period on a child’s development as well as the substantial benefits of state investment in these critical early years. Unfortunately, families across New York State continue to struggle to make ends meet and are often unable to provide vital developmental support to their children as a result. That is why the Senate Democrats have sponsored legislation to address the findings of the white paper and help New York children receive the support and services they deserve.

 

Senator George Latimer, Democratic Policy Group Member, said, “Too many hardworking New York families are being crushed by the financial burden of child care and go without the post-natal follow-up care that can improve outcomes for mother and child. By increasing the affordability of child care state government can help parents succeed and prevent serious and costly health and developmental concerns. We cannot afford to pass up opportunities to help families raise healthy, productive New Yorkers.”

 

Democratic Policy Group Member, Senator Jose Serrano, said, “When New Yorkers grow up healthy, productive and successful, New York thrives. That is why the Senate Democratic Policy Group has put forth initiatives that would improve health and child care and reduce the financial burden a family faces during the first few critical years of their child’s life. Analysis of these initiatives shows a significant return on investment and yearly savings and financial benefits for New York State. Bottom line, implementing these initiatives is the right thing to do for the state and for New York’s families.”

 

Senator Neil Breslin said, “Providing young families and new parents with extra support during their children’s formative years should be a top priority for state government. We have an obligation to address the concerns raised by these New Yorkers and the advocate organizations who fight to protect their interests. That is exactly what my colleagues and I in the Senate Democratic Conference have done and I hope the Senate Republicans will work with us to pass these bills into law.”

 

Senator Martin Malavé Dilan said, “The proposals we put forth today give New York families the ability to grow and thrive. It’s a comprehensive package of support services and progressive policies that seeks to nurture the family through generation to generation.”

 

Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “‘Pre-Natal to Pre-K’ presents an acutely necessary package of measures, steps designed to support New York’s families through a crucial stage that has repercussions for decades to come. From supporting maternal health and affordable childcare, to establishing 12-week family leave across workplaces, households will have an easier time getting the work-life balance right due to these actions. As Ranking Member of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, I emphasize the need for the additional investments in combating maternal depression contained in ‘Pre-Natal to Pre-K.’ Mental health problems are public health problems in need of just as much attention, awareness, and action as other major public health challenges. New York will be a healthier, more family friendly state once we have adopted these important measures. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in advocating for giving every family in New York critical tools to meet the challenges they face.”

 

Senator Tim Kennedy said, “As a legislator and as a father of three young children, I’m proud to stand with the Senate Democratic Conference to unveil these policy initiatives aimed at helping New York State’s families at a time when they need it most. Not only will these proposals increase opportunities, access and vital support for working parents, but they will generate millions in annual savings.”

 

Senator Liz Krueger said, “Looking after the health and development of our youngest citizens is not just a moral imperative, it’s smart policy. Investment in early childhood leads to better futures and lower long term health and social costs, as well as fuller and more productive lives for our children and families. It’s a clear win for all New Yorkers, and deserves bipartisan support.”

 

Senator Marc Panepinto said, “From prenatal to pre-k, the fundamental focus of these common sense initiatives are meant to offer vital support to New York State’s youngest residents and their families in their most formative years. To deny them of these basic rights would be criminal. The time for talk and political posturing is over. From Paid Family Leave to early childhood support, it is time the Senate Republican Majority work with the Senate Democrats and take realistic steps to provide the support all residents deserve.”

 

Senator James Sanders Jr. said, “With thousands of working-class families and single parents residing in my district, I know firsthand how important it is to ensure that these residents have paid family leave and increased access to childcare. All of the initiatives being put forth today have the potential to make a significant, positive difference for caregivers, allowing them to access resources that will enrich the quality and amount of time they can spend with their children. Creating a nurturing environment, particularly during the critical early years of a child’s life, can make all the difference as they grow and develop.”

 

For a full copy of the Senate Democratic Conference Policy Group’s white paper, Pre-Natal to Pre-K: Supporting New York’s Young Families, please visit: http://www.scribd.com/doc/298706186/White-Paper-Pre-Natal-to-Pre-K-Supporting-New-York-s-Young-Families

 

Pre-Natal to Pre-K: Supporting New York’s Families

Senate Democrats Push for Stronger Paid Family Leave and Unveil Initiatives to Help Families During Critical Early Childhood Period

 

Proposals Draw Praise and Support from Advocate Organizations

 

Plan Would Save NY Taxpayers $2 Billion Annually

 

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today unveiled a set of policy initiatives spearheaded by the Senate Democratic Policy Group to help New York families during the critical early childhood period. These initiatives include a strong paid family leave program, increased access to childcare, assistance for New York’s working parents and caregivers, and support for the growth and development of all New York children. Multiple organizations that provide support and advocacy for new parents, young children and working class New Yorkers have already offered praise and support for the Senate Democratic proposals. When enacted, these initiatives would result in over $2 billion annually in savings and financial returns for New York State as well as additional economic activity.

 

The Senate Democratic plan focuses on the critical early years of a child’s life – from the prenatal period until the beginning of pre-kindergarten. Ideas advanced by the Senate Democrats in a report released today by the Senate Democratic Policy Group include a robust paid family leave program that will provide employees with two-thirds of their salaries during the time they care for infants and loved ones in need. Additionally, the “Childcare Advance” program would allow families to defer up to $2,000 of their state taxes each year while young children are in childcare. The Senate Democrats are also calling for additional subsidies to help pay for childcare for working families. Another Senate Democratic policy initiative would increase treatment resources to expand support for women facing maternal depression.

 

“Investing in our state’s children is not only the right thing to do, it makes smart economic sense as well,” Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “State government has a responsibility to provide New York families with more support services and assistance during the critical early childhood years. The Senate Democrats will continue to fight to improve the lives of all New Yorkers and it is my hope that the Senate Republican Majority will join us to pass these common sense initiatives.”

 

Senate Democratic Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said, “Families across New York continue to struggle during the most vulnerable time in a child’s life. Through family-friendly workplace policies, child care subsidies, providing parents with tax relief and creating an Office of Early Childcare Services we can build a more affordable and stronger New York. Now is the time for the Senate Republicans to stop playing politics and join with us to help improve the lives of millions of New York families.”

 

Bill Sponsor and Democratic Policy Group Chair, Senator Daniel Squadron said, “The first few years are some of the toughest for parents and most important for kids. New York can do more to provide support and services in these early years to help New York families, and also create real savings for the state. The Policy Group has identified key ideas to expand maternal home visiting, support children and families, and establish family friendly workplace policies, as well as my Childcare Advance proposal, which helps more families afford childcare. Thank you to Leader Stewart-Cousins, Policy Group members Senators Latimer, Montgomery, and Serrano, and the Democratic Conference for their work on these ideas.”

 

Bill Sponsor, Senator Addabbo said, “No New Yorker should be forced to choose between caring for a newborn or sick relative and potentially losing their jobs and being able to support themselves. Enacting paid family leave would ensure that our state’s residents no longer have to make this difficult choice. This common sense legislation is good for our state’s employers and employees and it is the right thing to do. I urge the Senate Republicans to join us and working families across the state to pass Paid Family Leave.”

 

Bill Sponsor, Senator Brad Hoylman said, “Many working families are forced to navigate multiple jobs and conflicting schedules to ensure their children get the care they need. Too often this responsibility is made impossible by employer-mandated “call-in shifts” that require workers to find out at the last minute whether they have to report to work on a given day. Such policies exploit workers, disrupt families, and rob parents of their full earning potential. That is why the Senate Democratic Conference is including initiatives — led by Conference Leader Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and sponsored by Senator Joseph Addabbo — to limit these unfair workplace practices and provide paid family leave and childcare subsidies to New York’s working families.”

 

Bill Sponsor and Democratic Policy Group Member, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, said, “The first few years of a child’s life are critical to development and future potential. Unfortunately, parents receive the least support during those same years for childcare, education, health of mother and child and are often forced to sacrifice or delay their careers for the well-being of their children. This puts additional financial strain on families that reverberate through New York’s economy for a generation. Providing more help for families of young children is not only the right thing to do for New York’s childhood development, but the right thing to do for New York’s economic development.”

 

Bill Sponsor, Senator Kevin Parker said, “Proper early childhood development and education are critical to public health and a bright economic future for New York State. The developmental progress made in the first five years of a child’s life lay the foundation for the trajectory of the next sixty, but state government does not adequately provide for the comprehensive services and resources that would ensure opportunities for every child of New York to thrive. Included among the initiatives described in ‘Prenatal to Pre-K: Supporting New York’s Families’ is a provision to establish a New York State Office of Early Childhood to maximize benefits for families with young children and oversee early childhood programs and funding streams.”

 

Bill Sponsor, Senator Jose Peralta said, “Unpredictable work schedules and a lack of paid family leave disadvantages employees who must often juggle their work lives, along with their responsibilities to their children and families. Providing employees with adequate notice of their work schedules, as well as notice of the minimum hours they can expect to work each month will not only help hard-working families meet their needs, but also help employers retain their most productive staff members. When low-wage employees earn less than anticipated, it hampers their ability to properly provide for their families. Successfully raising and caring for family members is difficult enough in New York in light of the State’s cost of living, and we will continue to remove roadblocks to this success wherever and whenever possible.”

 

Bill Sponsor, Senator Roxanne Persaud said, “The child bearing process can be a very stressful time for women. The stigma associated with the term depression often discourages mothers and pregnant women from talking about their feelings and symptoms of depression. It is time to require physicians and other healthcare professionals to screen for pregnancy related mental illnesses to help new mothers better care for themselves and their families. This is a common sense way to ensure families receive the mental health services they may require and help remove any lingering stigmas for these new mothers.”

 

These policy initiatives are discussed in a report by the Senate Democratic Policy Group released today: “Pre-Natal to Pre-K: Supporting New York’s Young Families.” Policy initiatives outlined in the Senate Democratic Policy Group’s report include:

 

Establish Family Friendly Workplace Practices.

  • Implement a 12-week paid family leave program utilizing the existing Temporary Disability Insurance system for implementation, as three other states have already done.
  • Support employee requests for flexible schedules and protect employees from retaliation for making such requests.
  • Enhance protection for employees for split or cancelled shifts.
  • Improve notice provided to employees for schedules and schedule changes.

 

Eric Williams, Campaign Director for the Paid Family Leave Campaign, said, “The New York State Senate Democratic Conference’s white paper is clear: to build strong, family friendly workplaces, New York needs paid family leave. A strong paid family leave program will mean that families are no longer forced to choose between caring for their loved ones and their financial security. Paid family leave must ensure 12 weeks of job-protected leave for all private sector workers, at 2/3rds of their weekly wage and increase the rate of Temporary Disability Insurance so that the program works for all New Yorkers. We commend the Senate Democratic Conference for continuing to prioritize the passage of paid family leave in 2016.”

 

Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, UFCW, said, “New Yorkers understand that workers shouldn’t be forced to choose between their jobs and taking care of their loved ones when there is a health issue. Paid family leave would provide New York workers with peace of mind, and prevent the financial nightmare of losing income when there is a medical situation in their family.”

 

Sherry Leiwant, Co-President and Co-Founder, A Better Balance, said, “As an organization working for policies to enable women – and men — to care for their families without risking their economic security we have been appalled at the growing problem of unstable work schedules in many industries as well as workers’ fear of retaliation for even requesting a schedule that will suit their family needs. When a worker has no advance notice of his or her schedule, arranging child care or family time becomes impossible. Enacting policies that will require some advance notice of schedules and will prohibit retaliation for asking for a schedule change would be a great step forward for New York’s families. We applaud publication of this white paper calling for policies to address abusive scheduling practices that hurt New York families.”

 

 

Increase Access to Childcare Through the “Childcare Advance” and Childcare Subsidies.

  • Average annual childcare costs in New York State are $10,140 to $14,144 per year for an infant and $9,776 to $11,700 for a four-year-old.
  • Establish the “Childcare Advance,” a deferral of state taxes to help 134,000 families afford the cost of early childcare and generate over $80 million in savings and financial returns to the state per year plus economic activity.
  • Increase support for childcare subsidies with $190 million of increased funding to expand the number of eligible families receiving subsidies.

 

Susan Antos, Senior Staff Attorney at the Empire Justice Center, said, “The Empire Justice Center is thrilled that the Senate Democratic conference has prioritized investing in paid family, leave home visiting, and investing in child care subsidies. Investment in child care subsidies is important because it will cost New York State $190 million to is comply with the new eligibility and health and safety requirements of reauthorized federal child care block grant. We look forward to working with conference leader Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic conference in the legislature as a whole to advance these initiatives which are so important to supporting New York’s working families.”

 

 

Treat Maternal Depression

  • Make available a central, accessible list of providers offering treatment for maternal depression.
  • Invest in treatment resources, including referral networks, peer support, and a strengthened and expanded hotline.
  • Develop – in coordination with experts – a state best practice protocol for the treatment of maternal depression, including consideration of telemedicine to make treatment options more widely available.

 

Leah Kaufman, MD, FACOG, Vice Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at SUNY Upstate University Hospital, said, “ACOG District II is committed to working with state policy makers to emphasize the importance of treatment for maternal depression. Depression in the prenatal period can have detrimental effects on women and their families, and timely identification of at-risk women coupled with accessible and quality treatment options are vital to improving clinical outcomes. We are dedicated to collaborating with the state to ensure that comprehensive treatment and referral processes are put in place to support women and families suffering from maternal depression.”

 

Sonia Murdock, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Postpartum Resource Center of New York, said, “This legislation is an important investment by New York State to save lives by combating the number one medical complication related to childbearing – maternal depression – and related perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. We fully support these legislative efforts that address this major public health concern that will increase moms, dads, and families getting the critical help and support they need for the prevention and treatment of maternal depression. All New York State babies and families deserve being made a priority and having our support right from the start.”

 

 

Offer Evidence-Based Maternal Home Visiting Universally to Eligible Families

  • Provide universal access for eligible families to evidence-based maternal home visiting programs to serve an additional 27,000 families and generate over $678 million in long-term savings

 

Winning Beginning NY Coalition, said, “With New York State’s emphasis on poverty, we are pleased to see a plan that employs two strategies– home visiting and child care– as strategies to combat this plight by strengthening both families and the workforce. We look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature to prioritize early learning.”

 

 

Create a New York State Office of Early Childhood

  • Create an Office of Early Childhood to ensure the state is using all available early childhood resources to maximize benefits for young children and families.
  • The new office would ensure coordination of early childhood programs including oversight of programs and funding streams

 

Kate Breslin, President and CEO of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, says, “The Senate Democratic Policy Group’s recommendations are right on target and aligned with those of economists and medical professionals alike – invest early in children and their families for the best return on investment. An opportunity gap can begin to develop at or even before birth and can be especially acute for the nearly one in four (24.4%) New York State children under age five who live in poverty. Since seventy-five percent of brain growth and 85% of intellect, personality and social skills develop before age five, it is imperative that we invest in our youngest children and their families – with affordable and high quality child care; workplace policies that support caregiving; screening and treatment for maternal depression; and maternal, infant and early childhood home visiting — long before children enter school.”

 

Recent studies have demonstrated both the enormous impact of the prenatal and early childhood period on a child’s development as well as the substantial benefits of state investment in these critical early years. Unfortunately, families across New York State continue to struggle to make ends meet and are often unable to provide vital developmental support to their children as a result. That is why the Senate Democrats have sponsored legislation to address the findings of the white paper and help New York children receive the support and services they deserve.

 

Senator George Latimer, Democratic Policy Group Member, said, “Too many hardworking New York families are being crushed by the financial burden of child care and go without the post-natal follow-up care that can improve outcomes for mother and child. By increasing the affordability of child care state government can help parents succeed and prevent serious and costly health and developmental concerns. We cannot afford to pass up opportunities to help families raise healthy, productive New Yorkers.”

 

Democratic Policy Group Member, Senator Jose Serrano, said, “When New Yorkers grow up healthy, productive and successful, New York thrives. That is why the Senate Democratic Policy Group has put forth initiatives that would improve health and child care and reduce the financial burden a family faces during the first few critical years of their child’s life. Analysis of these initiatives shows a significant return on investment and yearly savings and financial benefits for New York State. Bottom line, implementing these initiatives is the right thing to do for the state and for New York’s families.”

 

Senator Neil Breslin said, “Providing young families and new parents with extra support during their children’s formative years should be a top priority for state government. We have an obligation to address the concerns raised by these New Yorkers and the advocate organizations who fight to protect their interests. That is exactly what my colleagues and I in the Senate Democratic Conference have done and I hope the Senate Republicans will work with us to pass these bills into law.”

 

Senator Martin Malavé Dilan said, “The proposals we put forth today give New York families the ability to grow and thrive. It’s a comprehensive package of support services and progressive policies that seeks to nurture the family through generation to generation.”

 

Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “‘Pre-Natal to Pre-K’ presents an acutely necessary package of measures, steps designed to support New York’s families through a crucial stage that has repercussions for decades to come. From supporting maternal health and affordable childcare, to establishing 12-week family leave across workplaces, households will have an easier time getting the work-life balance right due to these actions. As Ranking Member of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, I emphasize the need for the additional investments in combating maternal depression contained in ‘Pre-Natal to Pre-K.’ Mental health problems are public health problems in need of just as much attention, awareness, and action as other major public health challenges. New York will be a healthier, more family friendly state once we have adopted these important measures. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in advocating for giving every family in New York critical tools to meet the challenges they face.”

 

Senator Tim Kennedy said, “As a legislator and as a father of three young children, I’m proud to stand with the Senate Democratic Conference to unveil these policy initiatives aimed at helping New York State’s families at a time when they need it most. Not only will these proposals increase opportunities, access and vital support for working parents, but they will generate millions in annual savings.”

 

Senator Liz Krueger said, “Looking after the health and development of our youngest citizens is not just a moral imperative, it’s smart policy. Investment in early childhood leads to better futures and lower long term health and social costs, as well as fuller and more productive lives for our children and families. It’s a clear win for all New Yorkers, and deserves bipartisan support.”

 

Senator Marc Panepinto said, “From prenatal to pre-k, the fundamental focus of these common sense initiatives are meant to offer vital support to New York State’s youngest residents and their families in their most formative years. To deny them of these basic rights would be criminal. The time for talk and political posturing is over. From Paid Family Leave to early childhood support, it is time the Senate Republican Majority work with the Senate Democrats and take realistic steps to provide the support all residents deserve.”

 

Senator James Sanders Jr. said, “With thousands of working-class families and single parents residing in my district, I know firsthand how important it is to ensure that these residents have paid family leave and increased access to childcare. All of the initiatives being put forth today have the potential to make a significant, positive difference for caregivers, allowing them to access resources that will enrich the quality and amount of time they can spend with their children. Creating a nurturing environment, particularly during the critical early years of a child’s life, can make all the difference as they grow and develop.”

 

For a full copy of the Senate Democratic Conference Policy Group’s white paper, Pre-Natal to Pre-K: Supporting New York’s Young Families, please visit: http://www.scribd.com/doc/298706186/White-Paper-Pre-Natal-to-Pre-K-Supporting-New-York-s-Young-Families

 

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS CALLS FOR SENATE ACTION ON PRIMARY ELECTIONS CONSOLIDATION BILL

 

Legislation Currently Held up by Senate Republican Majority would Save Taxpayers $50 Million

 

(Albany – February 3, 2016) Following Assembly passage of legislation that would consolidate New York’s primary elections, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Leader, has called for the Senate Republican Majority to bring this bill to the floor for a vote. Currently, New York holds multiple primary elections for federal, state and local candidates and this unfunded mandate costs county governments millions of dollars as a result. Under Senator Stewart-Cousins’ legislation, which is co-sponsored by Senator George Latimer, all non-Presidential primary elections would be held in June and the resulting savings to county governments and property taxpayers would be $50 million over a two-year campaign cycle.

 

“Merging primary dates is a common sense way to increase participation in the electoral process and save New York taxpayers millions of dollars,” Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “I applaud my colleagues in the State Assembly, especially bill sponsor Michael Cusick, for passing this common sense legislation. Now is the time for the Senate Republican Majority to follow the Assembly’s lead and finally end this unfunded mandate.”

 

The legislation advanced by Senator Stewart-Cousins and Assemblyman Cusick would bring New York into compliance with the federal MOVE Act, which requires states to provide absentee ballots to military and non-military citizens living overseas no later than 45 days before a federal election. The current September primary date is too close to the November Election Day to meet that mandate, which means New York State must act to ensure these citizens are able to exercise their right to vote.

 

Bill Co-Sponsor, Senator George Latimer said, “It is wrong for Albany to maintain an unfunded mandate on local governments by requiring multiple primary elections due to legislative inaction. I applaud Senate Democratic Leader Stewart-Cousins for sponsoring this bill and prodding the Senate Republican Majority to take action.  It’s now time for the Senate Republicans to join us in making this simple but important change for the sake of democracy and fiscal responsibility.”

 

 

 

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email: scousins@nysenate.gov

Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Paid Family Leave

 

“No New Yorker should be forced to choose between caring for a loved one in need and potentially losing their job or ability to support themselves. That is why passing a real paid family leave program is a top priority for the Senate Democrats. I am glad that the Assembly Majority stands united with us in pursuing a meaningful paid family leave system that will provide essential support for New York employees, especially low-wage workers. As a national leader, we have a responsibility to serve as an example and finally pass this paid family leave proposal, and I urge the Senate Republicans to drop their opposition to this essential program.”

Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Paid Family Leave.

 

“No New Yorker should be forced to choose between caring for a loved one in need and potentially losing their job or ability to support themselves. That is why passing a real paid family leave program is a top priority for the Senate Democrats. I am glad that the Assembly Majority stands united with us in pursuing a meaningful paid family leave system that will provide essential support for New York employees, especially low-wage workers. As a national leader, we have a responsibility to serve as an example and finally pass this paid family leave proposal, and I urge the Senate Republicans to drop their opposition to this essential program.”

Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins On Anti Planned Parenthood Legislation.

 

“We have been told repeatedly that there are no threats to reproductive rights here in New York State, yet legislation and efforts to de-legitimize women’s health organizations prove that our rights are very much under attack. This bill caters to the fearmongers and anti-choice extremists who refuse to acknowledge the facts about Planned Parenthood. This essential organization provides vital, life-saving screenings and support to millions of women throughout New York State, and for New York Republicans to ignore this fact demonstrates just how out of touch they truly are. I hope that people understand these facts and finally join with the Senate Democrats to pass the Reproductive Health Act.”

With a new year comes a new state Legislative Session – which is a fresh opportunity to build on the successes of the past and move our communities, and all of New York State, forward.

My top priority remains making New York a better, more affordable place to live, work and raise a family. To further that goal we must grow our economy, raise the minimum wage and pass paid family leave, lower taxes and reduce unfunded mandates, improve the quality of education New York students have access to, and ensure that government protects the rights and health of all state residents.

We also have a responsibility to rebuild the trust in state government that has been so badly shaken during the past few years. With scandal after scandal rocking New York government, we cannot bury our heads in the sand any longer. That is why the Senate Democrats that I lead have introduced stricter ethics reforms including: limiting legislator’s outside income; ending the practice of politicians using campaign accounts as personal ATM’s; stopping taxpayer reimbursement for legal fees; stripping pensions from legislators convicted of corruption; and closing the LLC loophole that enables huge sums of money to be spent in political contests.

Governor Cuomo declared his support for many of the Senate Democratic Conference’s priorities in his 2016 State of the State Address and I am very pleased that we share so many mutual goals including our ethics and economic initiatives. However, all too often Albany is a place where good ideas and lofty rhetoric do not translate into actual results, and that is unacceptable. That is why I will continue to fight for common sense solutions to the issues facing our communities, our region and our state.

  • We must make sure every child has access to the quality public education they deserve and that we make higher education more affordable.
  • We must undo the flawed education policies that unduly burden our students with more testing and rate our teachers based on test scores without fully considering overall student performance.
  • We must continue to invest in education in our local districts by finally closing the Gap Elimination Adjustment.
  • We must lower our tax burden, our mandates on local governments and help our small businesses thrive by cutting the bureaucratic red tape they already face.
  • We must continue to build our economy and create more jobs.
  • We must combat the growing income inequality by raising the minimum wage with indexing to lift over 1 million New Yorkers out of poverty.
  • We must pass paid family leave so no New Yorker must choose between caring for a loved one or losing their job.
  • We must stand up for the health and equality of the women of New York by passing a strong – not watered down – Women’s Equality Act.
  • We can do more to help those struggling with addiction including heroin and prescription drug abuse that is devastating communities across our state.
  • We must make sure that everyone has a roof over their head and a place to call home.
  • Let’s invest in our crumbling infrastructure by rebuilding our roads, bridges and schools across New York and truly make New York the Empire State.

Click here to watch my opening remarks at the start of the Legislative Session.

You can follow issues of interest to you by registering at the now mobile-friendly State Senate website, www.NYSenate.gov. You can reach me via email and follow me on Facebook or Twitter to keep up on the latest developments. Please know that I have a terrific staff in my District Office that are able to assist you with your questions and concerns.

I sincerely wish you and your family a happy and healthy New Year! Sincerely,

Andrea Stewart-Cousins
New York State Senator, 35th District
Senate Democratic Leader

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Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins On Governor Cuomo’s State Of The State and Budget Presentation.

 

“Unfortunately, in the past, good ideas have been met with resistance and ultimately blocked in the Republican controlled Senate. While lofty and ambitious goals are welcome, Albany must become a place of action and not just political posturing. The speech had some good ideas including our mutual goals of passing meaningful ethics reforms including restricting outside income, raising the minimum wage, providing paid family leave, lowering the tax burden on families and businesses, protecting our most vulnerable, fully funding our public education system, and moving our economy forward. Now it is up to the Senate Republicans to stop blocking these proposals and instead work with us, the Governor and the Assembly Majority to move New York State forward.”

In Session Opening Remarks, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Urges Meaningful Ethics Reforms

 

Prepared Remarks of Senate Democratic Leader Stewart-Cousins for the 2016 Session Opening Address:

 

“Thank you Mr. President and thank you to all my colleagues.

 

I want to take a moment and welcome the newest Democratic member Roxanne Persaud! I would also like to recognize Senator Ashkar and welcome him to this fine institution. Also I would like to congratulate Senator DeFransisco on his elevation to Deputy Leader. And to Governor Cuomo we look forward to working with him and look forward to his address next week.

 

Senator Flanagan and Senator Klein, the Democratic Conference stands ready to work with you. Now is the time for us to come together.

 

A New Year and a new session should serve as a restart button and a time to refresh our commitment to this great state.

 

Last year was certainly an interesting year. A year that unfortunately was once again filled with scandal. A year that should make all honest elected officials angry!

 

The people of the state are looking at us to take some concrete action. Let’s not bury our heads in the sand and act like nothing is wrong.

 

Now is a time for us to get serious. Now is the time for a major re-haul of our outdated ethics laws. Let’s finally make Albany an example of good government.

  • Let’s restrict outside income-we are here to serve the public! Let’s do that!
  • Let’s stop campaigns funds from being used on lawyers and as personal ATM’s.
  • Lets strip pensions from corrupt officials.
  • Let’s close the outrageous LLC loophole.
  • Let’s change our campaign finance system.

 

Let’s move on ethics right away and show the people of New York we are about doing their business and deserving of their trust.

 

And Of course there are other issues the people of New York demand that we address.

  • We must continue to build our economy and create more jobs.
  • We must combat the growing income inequality and one way to do that is enact a real raise to the minimum wage with indexing and help lift over 1 million New Yorkers out of bone crushing poverty. I am glad that the Governor has joined this fight!
  • We must lower our tax burden, our mandates on local governments and help our small businesses thrive by cutting the bureaucratic red tape they already face.
  • We must stand up for the health and equality of the women of New York. Let’s pass a real- not watered down-Women’s Equality Act.
  • We have to help those struggling with addiction including the horrible heroin scourge that is devastating communities across this state.
  • We must make sure all New York children have access to the quality education they deserve and that all our children have access to affordable quality higher education.
  • We must make sure that everyone has a roof over their head and place to call home.
  • Let’s invest in our crumbling infrastructure by rebuilding our roads, bridges and schools across New York and truly make New York the Empire State.

 

Senator Flanagan, the Democratic Conference stands ready to work with you on all these issues. Together we must will give all New Yorkers the responsible and productive government they deserve. The Democratic Conference stands ready to work with all Senators, regardless of party affiliation, so let’s get to work.

 

Thank you.”

In Session Opening Remarks, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Urges Meaningful Ethics Reforms

 

Prepared Remarks of Senate Democratic Leader Stewart-Cousins for the 2016 Session Opening Address:

 

“Thank you Mr. President and thank you to all my colleagues.

 

I want to take a moment and welcome the newest Democratic member Roxanne Persaud! I would also like to recognize Senator Ashkar and welcome him to this fine institution. Also I would like to congratulate Senator DeFransisco on his elevation to Deputy Leader. And to Governor Cuomo we look forward to working with him and look forward to his address next week.

 

Senator Flanagan and Senator Klein, the Democratic Conference stands ready to work with you. Now is the time for us to come together.

 

A New Year and a new session should serve as a restart button and a time to refresh our commitment to this great state.

 

Last year was certainly an interesting year. A year that unfortunately was once again filled with scandal. A year that should make all honest elected officials angry!

 

The people of the state are looking at us to take some concrete action. Let’s not bury our heads in the sand and act like nothing is wrong.

 

Now is a time for us to get serious. Now is the time for a major re-haul of our outdated ethics laws. Let’s finally make Albany an example of good government.

  • Let’s restrict outside income-we are here to serve the public! Let’s do that!
  • Let’s stop campaigns funds from being used on lawyers and as personal ATM’s.
  • Lets strip pensions from corrupt officials.
  • Let’s close the outrageous LLC loophole.
  • Let’s change our campaign finance system.

 

Let’s move on ethics right away and show the people of New York we are about doing their business and deserving of their trust.

 

And Of course there are other issues the people of New York demand that we address.

  • We must continue to build our economy and create more jobs.
  • We must combat the growing income inequality and one way to do that is enact a real raise to the minimum wage with indexing and help lift over 1 million New Yorkers out of bone crushing poverty. I am glad that the Governor has joined this fight!
  • We must lower our tax burden, our mandates on local governments and help our small businesses thrive by cutting the bureaucratic red tape they already face.
  • We must stand up for the health and equality of the women of New York. Let’s pass a real- not watered down-Women’s Equality Act.
  • We have to help those struggling with addiction including the horrible heroin scourge that is devastating communities across this state.
  • We must make sure all New York children have access to the quality education they deserve and that all our children have access to affordable quality higher education.
  • We must make sure that everyone has a roof over their head and place to call home.
  • Let’s invest in our crumbling infrastructure by rebuilding our roads, bridges and schools across New York and truly make New York the Empire State.

 

Senator Flanagan, the Democratic Conference stands ready to work with you on all these issues. Together we must will give all New Yorkers the responsible and productive government they deserve. The Democratic Conference stands ready to work with all Senators, regardless of party affiliation, so let’s get to work.

 

Thank you.”

 
Andrea Stewart-Cousins Special Message
 
Peace On Earth

As we join together with family and friends in this joyous season of hope, I wish those who celebrate, a very Merry Christmas.

It is my deepest wish that the goodwill and spirit of the season will carry you through the new year.

Happy New Year !

Senate Seal
Visit Senate Website
District Office:
28 Wells Avenue, Bldg#3
Yonkers, NY 10701
Phone: (914) 423-4031
Fax: (914) 423-0979
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Albany Office:
188 State Street, 907 LOB
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2585
Fax: (518) 426-6811
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Andrea Stewart-Cousins Special Message
 
Peace On Earth

As we join together with family and friends in this joyous season of hope, I wish those who celebrate, a very Merry Christmas.

It is my deepest wish that the goodwill and spirit of the season will carry you through the new year.

Happy New Year !

Senate Seal
Visit Senate Website
District Office:
28 Wells Avenue, Bldg#3
Yonkers, NY 10701
Phone: (914) 423-4031
Fax: (914) 423-0979
Facebook
Connect on Facebook
Albany Office:
188 State Street, 907 LOB
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2585
Fax: (518) 426-6811
Twitter
Follow on Twitter

Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

 

“I am very pleased that the Zadroga Act has been renewed for 75 years and I congratulate lead sponsor Senator Gillibrand, Senator Schumer, and all the members of the New York State Congressional Delegation who fought hard to achieve this success. There should be no question that all those who selflessly gave their service in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks are deserving of our support and assistance. Under the leadership of Senators Gillibrand and Schumer as well as the tireless work of both Democratic and Republican Congressional representatives, we have finally ensured that our first responders will receive the care they deserve.”

 

Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins On The Conviction Of Dean Skelos

 

“If this doesn’t signal to all of us that we need to fundamentally reform how Albany functions then I’m not sure what will. The time has come for the Republican Majority to finally join with the Senate Democrats and pass the ethics bills we have introduced and supported for years. We need to implement a full-time Legislature and restrict legislators’ outside income; we need to close the LLC loophole; we need to prohibit taxpayer reimbursement of campaign and legal defense funds and strip pensions from public officials convicted of corruption. We need to restore the public’s trust in state government and that will only happen when the Senate Republicans agree to listen to the voters and take meaningful steps to clean up Albany. The Senate Democrats stand ready to reform state government, and I hope the Senate Republicans will finally join us.”

 

###

 

BACKGROUND

 

 

 

 

 

Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins On Common Core Task Force.

 

“We look forward to working through these recommendations. We were adamant that the state not rush to link teacher evaluations with the acknowledged flawed roll out of the Common Core.  Our priority has always been to provide New York’s students and educators with the resources, support and guidance they require to ensure the next generation of New Yorkers are prepared for the challenges of the future.”

 

 

 

BACKGROUND

  • Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins spoke out against the rushed-through education system changes that were included in the 2015-2016 State Budget. Floor remarks on the education section of the 2015-2016 State Budget:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA5DqgI7nso

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Thursday, millions of New Yorkers will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday around dining room tables filled with delicious food and surrounded by family and friends. Unfortunately, too many of our neighbors will be left wanting this Thanksgiving holiday and we have a responsibility to help those in need. During this festive season, we should donate our time, money and food items to organizations that help those New Yorkers who are less fortunate. The best way to show that we are thankful and appreciative for all of our blessings is to assist those who need a helping hand.

For more information about how you can support local Thanksgiving projects in your community, please visit the Food Bank Association of NYS and Meals on Wheels Association of America.

Sincerely,

Andrea Stewart-Cousins
New York State Senator, 35th District
Senate Democratic Leader

Senate Seal
Visit Senate Website
District Office:
28 Wells Avenue, Bldg#3
Yonkers, NY 10701
Phone: (914) 423-4031
Fax: (914) 423-0979
Facebook
Connect on Facebook
Albany Office:
188 State Street, 907 LOB
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2585
Fax: (518) 426-6811
Twitter
Follow on Twitter
 

Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

 

“While it is disappointing that New York was given a ‘D-minus’ ranking for state government ethics, it is not surprising. Scandal after scandal has rocked New Yorkers’ faith in their elected representatives and no meaningful ethics reforms have been passed due to Senate Republican obstructionism. The Senate Democrats have advocated for cleaning up Albany and restoring the public’s trust in our state government but have been repeatedly stymied by the Senate Republican Majority. Maybe now Senate Republicans will be convinced that New Yorkers and the nation expect and deserve more and they will finally work with us to enact real ethics reforms.”

 

 

BACKGROUND:

 

  • 2015 Senate Democratic Conference Ethics Reforms Release:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/255205271/Senate-Democratic-Conference-Introduce-The-Clean-Up-Albany-Legislative-Package

 

 

 

Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

 

“Following yesterday’s elections, I would like to welcome newly elected Senator Roxanne Persaud to the Senate Democrats and Senator Fred Akshar to the State Senate. There are many issues that the residents of New York want their State Legislature to address in the months ahead and I look forward to working with all Senators, regardless of party affiliation, to achieve the results New Yorkers demand and deserve. Election Day should serve as a reminder to all public servants of the enormous trust New Yorkers have put in us and all of us in elected office have a responsibility to earn that trust and restore the public’s confidence in our state government.”

STATE COMPTROLLER TOM DiNAPOLI AND SENATOR ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS ENCOURAGE NEW YORKERS TO SEARCH FOR UNCLAIMED FUNDS

More than $100 million in lost money is waiting to be claimed in the 35th Senate District

Nearly $400,000 returned to constituents in past seven weeks

 

(Yonkers – October 27, 2015) New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and New York State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins today encouraged local residents to search for unclaimed funds, also known as lost and forgotten money, during a news conference at the Riverfront Library in Yonkers. DiNapoli’s office oversees 198,834 accounts valued at nearly $107 million that is owed to local residents who live in the 35th State Senate District, which includes part of Yonkers, White Plains, New Rochelle, Greenburgh and Scarsdale. There is a total of $225 million in unclaimed funds in Westchester County.

 

“There is more than $100 million waiting to be reconnected with local residents,” said Comptroller DiNapoli. “This money has been turned over to my office for temporary safe-keeping, and we want to return it as soon as possible. Today’s event with Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and her outreach in her district, increases awareness about unclaimed funds and helps us to get even more

checks out in the mail to the rightful owners.”

 

DiNapoli joined Leader Stewart-Cousins to reveal the results of more than 12,000 notification letters she sent to her constituents who were owed money. The Comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds returned nearly $400,000 to 1,514 claimants in the last seven weeks.

 

“This initiative is an example of good government working for the people,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “I wanted to make sure that my constituents, whose names or companies were on the Comptroller’s unclaimed funds list, personally knew it. My office sent out more than 12,000 letters in September, and as a result, the Comptroller has returned $387,303 to constituents in my district.”

 

Yvette Littles of Yonkers came to the event at the library, learned she had money waiting for her, and thanked the Senator and the State Comptroller for letting her know. (She is pictured with the Senator and State Comptroller below)

 

Carol Richards of New Rochelle received a notification letter from Senator Stewart-Cousins. “On a whim, I decided to check the website for unclaimed funds, and discovered, I was on it. I filled out the form, and was thrilled to receive a check in the mail a short time later.”

 

For a breakdown of Unclaimed Funds in the Senator’s District, click here: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/press/releases/oct15/ouf_westchester.pdf

 

Representatives from Comptroller DiNapoli’s office were on site as well to help local residents check to see if their name is on the list of Unclaimed Funds.

 

Statewide, there are 33 million unclaimed funds accounts statewide valued at $14 billion. Unclaimed funds is money owed to New Yorkers dating back to the 1940s. The accounts are overseen by DiNapoli’s office until the funds can be reconnected with their rightful owners. The money comes from old bank accounts, utility deposits, uncashed checks, insurance claims, stocks and other sources that have been

dormant for a number of years.

 

“I urge everyone to take a moment and check to see if they are owed any money that is being held by the state,” added Senator Stewart-Cousins.

 

Constituents who live in the 35th State Senate District can contact Senator Stewart-Cousins District Office at 914-423-4031 for assistance. Or visit her Senate page at www.nysenate.gov for more information.

Senate Democratic Leader Stewart-Cousins Announces Democratic Policy Group And Names Senator Squadron Chair

 

Will Focus on Affordability Across the State Job Creation Meaningful Tax and Mandate Relief, and Closing the Upstate/Downstate Economic Divide

 

Goal is to Support New York’s Working and Middle Class Families That Are Too Often Left Behind

 

(Albany, NY) Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins today unveiled a policy committee that brings together a diverse group of Senators to develop initiatives to better serve all New Yorkers, especially those who have continued to suffer following the economic downturn. The Democratic Policy Group is headed by Senator Daniel Squadron and is made of up Senator George Latimer, Senator Velmanette Montgomery and Senator Jose Serrano. This policy group has the full support of the entire Democratic Conference. Members of the group have already begun meeting with Democratic Conference Members to begin identifying legislative policy and initiatives to further explore and advance.

 

Over the next several months, members of the Democratic Policy Group will conduct hearings, produce research, and will unveil detailed initiatives and legislative packages. These include ways to improve the overall economy and close the economic divide that too often excludes suburban and upstate communities from the benefit of new jobs. The policy group’s focus is to make New York a more affordable state to live, work and raise a family though providing meaningful tax reform, increasing child care options, supplying mandate relief for local governments, reforming the criminal justice system, protecting the environment, increasing the number of green jobs, and many more proposals aimed at supporting New York’s struggling working and middle class families.

 

“The Senate Democrats are committed to improving the lives of all New Yorkers and providing common sense, progressive leadership, and that is exactly what the Democratic Policy Group is intended to do,” Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “I commend Senator Squadron for his leadership on this effort and thank Senators Latimer, Montgomery and Serrano for their participation in the policy group. The innovative policies, bold initiatives and common sense solutions that will be offered by the Democratic Policy Group in the next few months will help our state prosper and better serve the needs of our constituents.”

 

Senator Daniel Squadron, Democratic Policy Group Chair, said, “For too long, Albany has failed to make a real difference in the lives of those who need it most — working and middle-class New Yorkers across the state. The Policy Group will propose innovative solutions to expand opportunity, create jobs and make government more efficient and effective in every corner of the state. I thank Leader Stewart-Cousins for her vision and the entire Democratic Conference, especially Senators Latimer, Montgomery, and Serrano, for their great work on this initiative.”

 

Senate Democratic Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said, “For our state to prosper we need all regions of our state to succeed. We must help New Yorkers find good jobs and provide them with real tax relief so they can ensure a good future for their families. This is the Senate Democratic Policy Group’s focus and I applaud Leader Stewart-Cousins for establishing this group and Senator Squadron for chairing it.”

 

The core mission of the Democratic Policy Group is to improve the quality of life for all state residents through common sense proposals that respond to the needs of New York’s diverse communities. By taking regional needs into account, the Democratic Policy Group will ensure that the diverse communities throughout the state all benefit from the initiatives that will be unveiled in the months ahead.

 

Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Democratic Policy Group Member, said, “I am looking forward to developing opportunities for young people across the state.”

 

Senator Jose Serrano, Democratic Policy Group Member, said, “The Senate Democratic Policy Group is a common sense way to ensure that representatives from New York’s diverse communities are able to discuss issues impacting their constituents and generate proposals to address those concerns. For our entire state to move forward, we need to provide real leadership in Albany and implement bold initiatives to grow the economy, better utilize our natural resources and ensure that the next generation of New Yorkers have a stronger, safer and more prosperous state to call home.”

 

Senator George Latimer, Democratic Policy Group Member, said, “Our constituents and all the people of our state deserve a well thought out plan from their government. By working together to establish policy goals and set a direction for our efforts, we will give New Yorkers a more transparent, more effective government.”

 

Attached is a letter sent earlier today from Senate Democratic Leader Stewart-Cousins to State Department of Education Commissioner Elia on community schools. The Leader urged for greater state investment in this successful education program.  

10.20.15 Community Schools Letter to Commissioner Elia

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Regarding Governor Cuomo’s Climate Change Announcement

 

“The Senate Democrats stand ready to fight climate change and help lead the nation in this fight. I hope our Senate Republican colleagues will stop their climate change denier attitude and pass real legislation to put our state on the right path.”

 

 

Background on Senate Republican History of Denying Climate Change

 

 

 

As Part Of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Senate Democrats Highlight Efforts To Combat The Disease

 

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today reminded New York women to get checked for breast cancer as early detection can help save lives. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to learn more about this disease, especially how to detect it and what resources are available for New Yorkers combating breast cancer, survivors and their loved ones. The Senate Democrats have been outspoken supporters of women’s health organizations and efforts to increase funding and services to combat breast cancer.

 

“Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in women and more must be done to educate New Yorkers about the need for early detection and treatment,” Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “Greater awareness about breast cancer and the treatment services available are the best ways to combat this disease. The Senate Democrats have helped lead the fight to ensure our state provides services and support to New Yorkers struggling with breast cancer and its aftermath.”

 

Senate Health Committee Ranker, Senator Gustavo Rivera, said, “Thousands of New Yorkers, both women and men, are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Breast Cancer Awareness Month gives us the opportunity to highlight the importance of taking preventive measures. The reality is that screenings can be the difference between life and death, making early detection our greatest tool in the fight against breast cancer. I am proud to join my colleagues in the New York State Senate Democratic Conference in spreading awareness and working to secure additional resources to combat breast cancer in New York State.”

 

The Senate Democrats have helped lead the fight to increase state aid for cancer screenings, treatment programs and support services. That is why the Senate Democrats have been outspoken on the need to raise awareness about breast cancer and support organizations like Planned Parenthood which provide women with health care services, cancer screenings and referral services. Senate Democrats have also advanced legislation that will require insurance companies to cover the cost for follow-up ultrasounds; increase the annual leave time for state employees for cancer screenings and create a “pink ribbon” license plate with which could raise almost $1 million annually to aid in breast cancer education and research.

 

In New York State, there are approximately 14,000 new breast cancer cases each year and 2,800 women die from this disease annually. While breast cancer survival rates have increased in past decades, this is largely due to greater emphasis placed on early detection and treatment. To find more information about support programs and free cancer screening in your community, please visit:www.health.ny.gov/cancerservicesprogram or call the New York State Department of Health Cancer Services Program at 1-866-422-CANCER (2262).

 

SENATOR STEWART-COUSINS THANKS CAREGIVERS 

AND HONORS LOCAL AGENCIES DURING KINSHIP CARE MONTH

SEPTEMBER IS KINSHIP CARE MONTH IN NEW YORK

 

(September 24, 2015) During a kinship care forum held in Yonkers, State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins thanked grandparents and relative caregivers, and honored two local organizations with Senate Proclamations for Kinship Care Month in New York State. Senator Stewart-Cousins presented Senate Proclamations to the Family Service Society of Yonkers and Family Ties of Westchester, Inc., for the strong foundation of support they provide to these extended families.

Kinship care is an option for children in foster care and others who cannot live safely with their parents; a grandparent or relative accepts the care and responsibility of the child. More than 200,000 children in New York State are living with grandparents or relative caregivers, and nationwide, that figure is 2.7 million children.

 

“The care of a family member can make all of the difference in a child’s life,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “These grandparents and relative caregivers have taken on the awesome responsibility of raising a grandchild or child they are related to, and we owe them a debt of gratitude. I remain committed to providing the advocacy, legislation and funding necessary to maintain kinship care services including family placement, counseling, tutoring, parenting skills and health education for the children and caregivers who need it most.”

 

Senator Stewart-Cousins began her advocacy for kinship care as a Westchester County Legislator (1996 to 2006). During the forum, she announced one million dollars in funding for Kinship Care was included in the 2015-16 State Budget, and Family Service Society of Yonkers will receive an allocation of $102,980 this year.

 

For more information about Kinship Care in New York State, visit the Senator’s website at http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/andrea-stewart-cousins or contact the District Office at (914) 423-4031.

 

  

September 2015
News
 Latest News
Senator Stewart-Cousins Saves Jobs at the Malotz Nursing Home in Yonkers, Paving the Way for Sale
1199 SEIU
Members of 1199 SEIU celebrate a new contract at the Malotz Nursing Home with Senator Stewart-Cousins, Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer and Yonkers City Councilman Chris Johnson following successful negotiations.(Yonkers – August 21st) Senator Stewart-Cousins’ strong leadership skills and her ability to bring people together resulted in an agreement involving the Michael Malotz Skilled Nursing Pavilion in Yonkers. A dispute over wages and benefits for healthcare workers who are members of SEIU 1199 threatened the pending sale of the facility from St. John’s Hospital to Adira Rehabilitation. Senator Stewart-Cousins understands how important it is for workers to be paid good wages, and to have skilled, professional care available to the most vulnerable among us. As a result of the Senator’s intervention and three weeks of tough negotiations, St. John’s was able to move forward with the sale to Adira, and the union announced a contract settlement on August 21, 2015.“From my perspective, there were too many lives hanging in the balance: the residents who depend on quality nursing home care; workers facing a diminished standard of living; and a hospital straining under the weight of a nursing home it could no longer afford. That’s why I felt it extremely important to bring the parties back to the table and help them stay there, until a deal was reached. Now, Adira will provide excellent nursing home care in partnership with 1199 workers, who will maintain their wages and benefits, so St. John’s can continue to focus on what they do best, providing great hospital care.”Maria Kercado, 1199 SEIU Executive Vice President, thanked Senator Stewart-Cousins for her help. “Fortunately, the settlement indicates that St. John’s and Adira understand what 1199 and our elected officials have been saying all along–quality patient care and good jobs are the key to the health and prosperity of our region.”Ari Stein, the CEO of Adira Rehabilitation said, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Her tireless efforts, concern and support were essential in the negotiation process which brought 1199 SEIU healthcare workers, St. John’s Riverside Hospital and Adira at Riverside Rehabilitation to a mutual agreement. Senator Stewart-Cousins has made it possible for Adira at Riverside to pursue its mission to bring a premier rehabilitation center to the members of this wonderful community, while at the same time, giving the members of 1199 the peace of mind and security they deserve.” More..
September is Kinship Care MonthKinship Care

(Yonkers – September 24th) During a kinship care forum held in Yonkers, State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins thanked grandparents and relative caregivers, and honored two local organizations with Senate Proclamations for Kinship Care Month in New York State. Senator Stewart-Cousins presented Senate Proclamations to the Family Service Society of Yonkers and Family Ties of Westchester, Inc., for the strong foundation of support they provide to these extended families.

Kinship care is an option for children in foster care and others who cannot live safely with their parents; a grandparent or relative accepts the care and responsibility of the child. More than 200,000 children in New York State are living with grandparents or relative caregivers, and nationwide, that figure is 2.7 million children.

“The care of a family member can make all of the difference in a child’s life,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “These grandparents and relative caregivers have taken on the awesome responsibility of raising a grandchild or child they are related to, and we owe them a debt of gratitude. I remain committed to providing the advocacy, legislation and funding necessary to maintain kinship care services including family placement, counseling, tutoring, parenting skills and health education for the children and caregivers who need it most.”

Senator Stewart-Cousins began her advocacy for kinship care as a Westchester County Legislator (1996 to 2006). During the forum, she announced one million dollars in funding for Kinship Care Services was included in the 2015-16 State Budget, and Family Service Society of Yonkers will receive an allocation of $102,980 this year. More..

On A Personal Note: Remembering Winston A. Ross, Former Yonkers NAACP Leader and WestCOP Executive Director“Winston was a friend, mentor and unwavering champion of civil and human rights. There was no cause too great or too small for him. He gave his full measure in every undertaking and with his calm attitude, stayed in the fight until it was won. He will be sorely missed,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins on the passing on Winston Ross on September 6, 2015.

This month I wanted to make sure you were aware of the passing of local civil rights hero Winston A. Ross because of the extraordinary yet often quiet work he did fighting for equal justice and opportunities. A humble man who did not seek the spotlight, he was instrumental in laying the important groundwork that led parents and the Yonkers NAACP to file a federal lawsuit regarding the racial segregation in Yonkers housing and its public schools. He wrote the first letter of complaint and distinguished himself, through leadership and perseverance, to make the Yonkers NAACP a strong and active participant in the community from 1971 to 1978. He was also involved with the NAACP in Westchester County.

Winston’s strong interest in communities of color led him to become Executive Director of Westchester Community Opportunity Program, Inc. from 1974 until he retired in 2013. WestCOP provides programs in low-income communities to help families and individuals achieve self-sufficiency and economic security. Winston also supported my efforts as a Westchester County Legislator in the late 1990s to create and pass an anti-discrimination law, which became the county’s Human Rights Law in the year 2000. His passing and his contribution to creating, promoting, providing and fighting for equal opportunities should not go without mention.

Have You Checked To See If the State Has Money Waiting For You?

This month, Senator Stewart-Cousins wrote to 12,000 constituents to inform them of money they may be owed by the state. The New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, let the Senator know that there is $12 million in unclaimed funds in her district. Together, they want to make sure you get your money back. These funds can come from various sources including banks, insurance companies, corporations, and even a court-related matter, and are turned over to the Comptroller’s Office when attempts to reach the recipient are unsuccessful. Click here to find out if you have unclaimed funds.

Have unclaimed funds? Claim it by completing this form.

 In The Community
ASC_MarshaGordon  (White Plains – September 25th) Senator Stewart-Cousins attended the Business Council of Westchester’s breakfast featuring Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and greeted Dr. Marsha Gordon, President/CEO of the Business Council of Westchester. View..
Pope Francis (New York City – September 25th) Senator Stewart-Cousins attended Pope Francis’ Mass for Peace & Justice at Madison Square Garden. View..
Scarsdale Senior Day (Scarsdale – September 3rd) Senator Stewart-Cousins talked with constituents at the Scarsdale Senior Day at the village’s pool complex. Among other concerns, the Senator discussed healthcare and reminded the seniors that the state’s prescription drug coverage plan, EPIC, can help them with the cost of medications, depending on their income. For more information on EPIC, please contact the Senator’s District Office at (914) 423-4031. View..
Westchester Foodbank (Elmsford – September 1st) Senator Stewart-Cousins joined with her partners in government to support #‎FB4W Food Bank for Westchester’s “Go Orange” initiative this month to help fight hunger. The Senator is pictured with Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, along with Food Bank for Westchester President & CEO Ellen Lynch and other members of the Board of Directors. The Food Bank for Westchester is based in Elmsford, and provides food assistance throughout the county. View..
Immigration Coalition  (Valhalla – September 3rd) Senator Stewart-Cousins spoke at the Westchester Working With Immigrants 2015 Summit on September 3rd at the Gateway Center at Westchester Community College. Organized by the New York Immigration Coalition, the Summit was a good opportunity for providers and immigrants to discuss the needs and services available in our county. View..
Greenburgh Police Academy (Greenburgh – August 22nd) On August 22nd, Senator Stewart-Cousins addressed the 28 graduates of the Greenburgh Police Department’s Summer Youth Program. She congratulated the teenagers on all they’ve accomplished during the training session and commended Greenburgh Police Chief Chris McNerney for continuing the tradition – now in its 17th year – of this seven week program. Campers forge new relationships with police officers in the community as they learn more about law enforcement and important life skills including CPR and First Aid. They met physical challenges and gained self-esteem as a result. Two of the camp’s former graduates are now police officers in Greenburgh. Congratulations to all! View..


Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

 

“One of the many issues left unaccomplished from this past Legislative Session is the need to raise the state’s minimum wage. For too long, over 1.1 million New Yorkers have been unable to adequately provide for themselves and their families because they do not receive fair compensation for their hard work. Today’s recommendations from the Wage Board are a good first step, but we need to ensure the wages are increased for all New Yorkers. The time is past due for New York State to raise the minimum wage and my colleagues and I in the Senate Democratic Conference will keep up the fight to help lift all New Yorkers out of poverty.”

THE STATE DELIVERS FOR YONKERS

$25 MILLION TO FILL YONKERS’ SCHOOL BUDGET GAP

A HALF-PERCENT SALES TAX INCREASE

AND A 3% HOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX

 

(June 29, 2015) Yonkers will be receiving an additional $25 million to fill the school district’s projected budget gap this year thanks to legislation passed by the Yonkers State Delegation, including State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic Leader, Senator George Latimer, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow and Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer. In addition, the state delegation passed two other bills requested by the city; one will allow Yonkers to increase its sales tax by a half-percent, to create an additional $15 million in funding for the school district; and another creates a hotel occupancy tax of  3%. The legislation now goes to Governor Cuomo for his signature to become law.  

 

On June 14, Governor Cuomo promised additional funding in response to requests made by the delegation, the city, the school district, parents and students to help avoid devastating staff and program cuts.The Governor kept his promise by including the money in the omnibus bill the legislature approved last week.

 

Senator Stewart-Cousins said, “I’m happy Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the State Legislature recognized the extraordinary financial circumstances the district faced this year. Going forward, the sales tax increase will provide recurring revenue which is so important for the school district to have as a reliable funding resource.”

 

Senator Latimer said, “I would say that the big winners in the 2015 State legislative session were the children of Yonkers and the schools they attend. By appropriately increasing funding now, and making a structural plan to go forward, my colleagues in the legislature, our hardworking Senate Democratic Leader, and the governor made a huge stride toward a successful future for our children.”.

 

“I’m very pleased the State has stepped up to prevent yet another crisis in the Yonkers schools. After intense advocacy from the school community, the State delegation and I worked closely with the Governor, Mayor, Superintendent and our colleagues in the legislature to avert massive layoffs and devastating cuts to programs. The additional $25 million to Yonkers will plug this year’s gap in the education budget. Moreover, the sales tax will provide a reliable stream of revenue for the school district for years to come. This is all on top of the $19 million increase in school aid, $20 million grant for capital projects and $2 million in bullet aid that the school district received in this year’s State budget. It’s clear that the State of New York is providing significant support to the Yonkers Schools to ensure all of the City’s 27,000 students receive a quality education,” said Assemblyman Pretlow.

 

Assemblywoman Mayer said, “Working with my colleagues in government in Albany and in Yonkers, our parents, school staff and the community, we were able to avoid a short-term crisis and plan for the future for the Yonkers Public Schools. We are thankful that the Governor stepped up to ensure that we could move forward and avert devastating cuts this year, and that my legislative colleagues enacted a modest tax increase dedicated to education funding for the future.  I want to give special thanks to Speaker Carl Heastie, who made funding for Yonkers central to the final negotiations and was deeply committed to the students of Yonkers.”

 

Yonkers currently imposes a sales tax of 8.375% which is shared by New York State, Westchester County and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The legislation allows for a half-percent increase to 8.875%.  The Yonkers portion of that tax has been the same rate of 2.5% for nearly thirty years. Yonkers also asked for the authority to collect a 3% daily room tax on any hotel or motel room. Revenues from the additional tax will assist the city in providing essential services, while maintaining a balanced budget. Similar hotel taxes already exist in the neighboring cities of New Rochelle, White Plains and Rye.

 

This additional revenue follows a $19 million increase in Yonkers school aid from the state, for a total allocation in the State Budget of $262 million. The Democrat-led Assembly then added on another $20 million in building aid and $2 million in bullet aid. Despite the increases, the district was still struggling to recover from a $55 million accounting error that was discovered in 2014. The delegation worked with the Governor, the Mayor and the City Council to come up with a solution that provided $28 million in 2014. This year the district projected a $26 million shortfall.  

For immediate release

            

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic Conference Leader, delivered her closing remarks on the Senate floor Thursday. While irritant legislation was passed, she also touched on the missed opportunities to create more affordable housing, tax relief for working families, mandate relief for local government and increasing the minimum wage to life more people out of poverty.

 

Link to full remarks below.

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OMC1Va8M2ZE&feature=youtu.be

 

In these remarks, she thanks Governor Cuomo for keeping his promise in regard to Yonkers Public Schools. The Governor announced late Thursday afternoon that the district would get $25 million to fill a budget gap, preventing more than 100 layoffs and programs cuts including sports.

This additional aid also follows last year’s discovery of a $55 million accounting error in the district. The Governor and the Yonkers state delegation worked diligently with the Mayor to deliver $28 million in 2014 also.

 

Senator Stewart-Cousins issued the following statement Thursday.

 

“The City of Yonkers schools were in need of state assistance and I am very pleased that we were able to deliver the necessary funds to avoid deep program and staffing cuts. Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the State Legislature understood that we have a responsibility to aid Yonkers and provide the school district with essential resources. The $25 million in state assistance will help the Yonkers public schools move past this recent budgetary crisis and continue their work improving the quality of education our kids receive.”

It is outrageous that we do not have an agreement to strengthen and extend rent control and tenant protections in our state. This impacts millions of families who rely on affordable housing to stay in the community they call home, including the 26,000 units located in Westchester County. In my district, 16,000 of those units are located in Yonkers, with others in New Rochelle and White Plains, Greenburgh and Tarrytown, Ardsley, Hastings, Dobbs Ferry and Irvington.

If you live in a rent-regulated apartment you have probably been closely following proposals in the State Legislature to extend and strengthen our rent laws, which expired Monday night at midnight, June 15th. You may even have received a post card from me asking you to support extending and strengthening rent control. 

My office has received calls from residents who are concerned that they could face large rent increases or be evicted from their homes if the rent regulations are not extended.

Rest assured, that is not the case. Tenants under a current lease will retain their protections. A landlord has no legal right to move you out. Even if your lease is up for renewal, you still have certain legal safeguards to protect you.

Despite the laws expiring without being extended, landlords have been warned by State and City officials not to attempt to make any changes until new legislation protecting rent stabilization is passed.

There have been reports of landlords telling tenants they are going to have to move when the rent laws expire. That is blatantly false, and tenants are being advised not to leave their apartments.

Tenants are urged to report any harassment immediately by contacting the New York State Homes and Community Renewal office in Yonkers at 75 South Broadway, (914) 948-4434 or by contacting Legal Services of the Hudson Valley at 1 (877) 574-8529.

This scenario has happened in the past with no consequence. The rent laws expired for two days when they last came up for renewal in 2011. Soon after, the Legislature passed new regulations that retroactively covered any apartments that might have gone to market rate in the interim period. It is my hope that we will be able to do so once again in order to protect tenants and to keep affordable units, affordable.

For more information about the rent laws, please visit my website.

Sincerely,

Andrea Stewart-Cousins
New York State Senator, 35th District
Senate Democratic Leader

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

 

“The Senate Republicans’ unrealistic rent control proposals are endangering housing for millions of New Yorkers. We need to stop wasting time and take real action. New York has always been a State where people from all walks of life can set down roots and build strong, stable, and diverse communities and that fact has helped make New York into the Empire State. The clock is running out and we need to pass strong rent control laws now.”

Senate Republicans Vote Against Legislation To Improve Public Education System

 

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today forced a vote on legislation to decouple school district resources from the implementation of the controversial teacher evaluation system and provide increased funding for community schools.

 

Following unanimous opposition from the Senate Republicans, Senator George Latimer, ranking member of the Senate Education Committee, released the following statements:

 

“It is simply wrong for the Senate Republicans to reject this reasonable amendment; we cannot use our children’s education as a pawn to advance a political agenda. Our education system needs real reforms that are worked out on a bipartisan basis with input from parents, educators and stakeholders, rather than political mandates that only serve to demonize teachers and hold public school resources hostage.Linking essential state funds with teacher evaluations jeopardizes struggling school districts throughout New York State. The Senate Republicans put partisan politics ahead of New York students, instead of joining with Democrats to establish necessary reform.”

 

 

SENATOR ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS HONORS TRAILBLAZING CHEMIST 

EDITH FLANIGEN OF WHITE PLAINS

        ONE OF EIGHT NATIONAL MEDAL OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY RECIPIENTS IN 2014

(Albany – June 9, 2015) With a Senate Resolution, State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Leader, honored Edith Flanigen today, recognizing the White Plains resident as one of eight recipients of the nation’s highest honor in science, the National Medal of Science and Technology. The medal was awarded during a White House ceremony in November of last year, and is the latest accolade during her outstanding career. The now retired 86-year-old commercial chemist developed a way to refine petroleum that has made gasoline production more efficient, cleaner and safer worldwide. She also invented synthetic emeralds that were used in early laser technology and later as jewelry. Her work also led to advancements in water purification and environmental remediation, with President Obama citing her for her role in helping decontaminate radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan after the 2011 earthquake. She also holds 109 U.S. Patents and invented more than 200 different synthetic materials.

Born in Buffalo in 1929, Ms. Flanigen credits a nun at her Catholic high school with encouraging her to study chemistry at a time when most girls did not. She graduated from D’Youville College then pursued her Master’s Degree which she received from Syracuse University. In 1952, she began her 42 year long career at Union Carbide in Buffalo, moving on to Universal Oil Products, now known as Honeywell, located in Tarrytown. She retired in 2004 but continued as a consultant.

“I am proud to honor a trailblazer in her field of chemistry and a native New Yorker who is deserving of this recognition in our state,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “Her aptitude for science was recognized early on and encouraged, so that today, her scientific discoveries have made our world a better place.”

“I was truly honored to be recognized by Senator Stewart-Cousins and others who spoke on the resolution, and all those who stood and applauded – I was overwhelmed by the response in the Senate Chamber. It was a joyful experience,” said Edith Flanigen following the Senate session.

Ms. Flanigen has also received numerous prestigious awards including the Perkin Medal, becoming the first female recipient of what is considered to be the highest honor in commercial chemistry. In 1993, she received the Garvan Medal, and in 2002, became a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2004, she was recognized with the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award.  

A formal copy of the Senate Resolution in her honor will be given to her.

Senator Stewart-Cousins Remarks on the Senate Floor:  https://youtu.be/IHrTqd_cGB8

STATE LEGISLATORS, TENANTS AND TENANT ADVOCATES CALL FOR RENEWAL AND

STRENGTHENING OF THE EXPIRING RENT REGULATIONS

For Immediate Release: June 4, 2015

150604 Rent Control 009

150604 Rent Control 014

Yonkers, NY – Senate Democratic Leader, State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assemblymembers Shelley Mayer and J. Gary Pretlow were joined by tenants and tenant advocates today in calling on Governor Cuomo and the Republican Senate to renew and strengthen rent regulations that are set to expire on June 15, 2015.  With more than 25,000 rent stabilized units in Westchester, with 16,000 of those in Yonkers. That number has been reduced from almost 32,000 in 1997, elected leaders, tenants and tenant advocates gathered to press for stronger laws to protect tenants and prevent further loss of affordable housing. Strengthening and renewing tenant protections will help keep thousands of families in affordable homes in their own communities.

Senate Democratic Conference Leader, State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, said, “New York has always been a state where people from all walks of life can set down roots and build strong, stable and diverse communities including here in Yonkers. We need to pass the Tenant Protection Act of 2015, to protect middle class and low wage New Yorkers who risk being pushed out of their affordable homes by rent deregulation and expiring protections.”

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, leader of the Westchester state delegation, said, “I am pleased to join my legislative colleagues, advocates and tenants in calling for renewal and strengthening of the laws governing rent controlled and stabilized units.  We must do more to ensure residents in Mt. Vernon, Yonkers, and across New York have a safe affordable place to call home.”

Assemblymember Mayer said, “Too many Yonkers residents spend far too much of their income on housing.  I am pleased the Assembly passed and Senate Democratic Conference introduced strong packages to ensure residents in Yonkers and across New York State have safe affordable housing.  The continued economic struggles of so many tenants require that we do more to strengthen the laws to ensure we grow the number of affordable housing units.”

Assemblyman Steve Otis said, “It is vitally important that we strengthen our laws that protect tenants and the security of their homes.  We have already passed legislation in the Assembly to accomplish this. Today, I join with my colleagues in calling for an immediate renewal and strengthening of our state’s tenant protection laws.”

The Democratic-led Assembly has passed an omnibus bill A7576.  Among other things, this bill strengthens protections for suburban counties by repealing vacancy deregulation and reforming provisions surrounding Major Capital Improvements (MCI) by making the MCI rent increase surcharge temporary, disappearing once the landlord has recovered the cost of the improvement, and capping the annual collectability at 6 percent, similar to New York City, rather than the current 15 percent cap.

The Republican-led Senate has yet to act. Last month, the Senate Democratic Conference, led by Senator Stewart-Cousins, introduced a package of bills that if passed would: repeal vacancy decontrol, which removes apartments from rent regulations once the unit is vacant and the legal rent for the next tenant would be $2,500 or more; repeal provisions permitting rent increases of 20% or more upon vacancy of a rent stabilized dwelling unit; and reform provisions surrounding Major Capital Improvements (MCIs) to ensure they do not become part of the tenants’ rent in perpetuity.

Dennis Hanratty, Executive Director Mount Vernon United Tenants, said, “The State’s Rent and Eviction Laws (Rent Control & ETPA) provide the most cost-effective system of affordable housing for Westchester’s communities.  They provide tens of thousands of families with the security of knowing that their rents will not be arbitrarily raised to levels that will  force them into homelessness.  This is a huge benefit, not only to the families who are protected, but to the larger Westchester community that is not ultimately burdened by having to assume the emergency shelter costs that housing the homeless requires.  These laws help provide stability to families, to buildings and to whole neighborhoods.  To keep these laws functioning as per their initial legislative intent, it is imperative that they be strengthened to undo some of the most egregious weakening amendments from prior renewals, most especially by eliminating ‘vacancy decontrol.’”

Joe Mayhew, Secretary/Treasurer, Communications Workers of America Local 1103, said, “The Communications Workers of America is very concerned with the shortage of affordable housing in downstate NY due to the so-called ‘vacancy decontrol’ provisions that were inserted into state law by the legislature and Governor in 1993 and 1997.  Low- and middle- income families, as well as retirees, are being squeezed out of the cities, towns and neighborhoods where they work and have made their homes.   Today, the pace of decontrol has accelerated in some cases by unscrupulous landlords who harass tenants in order to create vacancies and then use vacancy decontrol provision to deregulate apartments.  CWA urges the Senate, Assembly and Governor to strengthen rent regulation and protect hard working and retired families.”

“It is important that Governor Cuomo make strengthening the rent laws a priority for New York State. Housing is a right and it should be treated as such. We need to save every affordable unit in the state, not take it away and then force people into an unknown future,” said Gloria Jordan, Community Voices Heard leader and Grandparent Advocate.

Ellie Treistman, a Yonkers tenant in a rent stabilized apartment, explained, “It is absolutely imperative that we reexamine and a rebalance the rent stabilization laws.  Landlords are provided perpetual incremental rental increases of a minimum of 2 – 3%, plus additional reimbursement from MCIs, which further push rent-stabilized rents to market rate level and above.  In many instances, the apartments have not received any form of improvement in over 25 or 30 years – but rent is MCI-increased to reflect a long overdue boiler repair, roof or window replacement, blacktopping, etc.  After satisfaction of these debts, the tenants are shackled with them forever, while the landlords just pocket the money and receive annual increases to boot.  The 2008 economic upheaval caused catastrophic loss of businesses and unemployment of the middle class; permanently altering the lives of masses of unemployed tenants to date.  A $50,000 salary in 2008 can no longer be obtained by the same qualified worker, who now has to settle for a $15 an hour job, if one can be had at all.  But the MCI increases remain in effect ad infinitum, making the base rent higher and inflating the annual percentage increase as well.  If there is no employment and a halving of the salaries for jobs in many industries, why should housing rental costs continue to escalate against an economy which cannot support it?”

 

The legislative session is scheduled to conclude June 17th.

As a former public school teacher who attended public schools, sent her children to public schools, and has grandchildren in public schools, I am invested in our public schools.

Every child in New York State has the right to a quality education, and our State has a moral and Constitutional obligation to protect that right. Unfortunately, education has become a battleground issue in the State Legislature, and all too often the casualties are our students and teachers.

This year’s State budget included changes to education policy, which I did not support, that will overburden our kids with standardized tests and force schools district to choose between unreasonable evaluation requirements and state financial support.

To address the legitimate concerns raised by parents, educators and students, my colleagues in the Senate Democratic Conference and I introduced a legislative package of bills that, if passed, will implement reasonable evaluation systems, ensure our schools are appropriately funded, and truly improve the educational outcomes of our students.

Most importantly, this package of bills will ensure every New York student has access to a high quality education. We must all remember that our schools are the foundation for our state’s future economic stability and prosperity.

Included in the education package are bills that will:

  • Implement an advisory council involving all stakeholders to review “Annual Professional Performance Review Plans” and determine best practices.
  • Improve teacher evaluations and make them more fair by restoring use of the locally negotiated “student achievement metric,” which more fairly assesses children who are above grade-level as well as students with special needs.
  • Repeal a provision that allows the State to withhold additional school aid from districts should they not have their “Annual Professional Performance Review Plans” approved by the Commissioner of Education by November 15, 2015.
  • Create an Education Infrastructure Bank to rebuild crumbling public schools across New York State (and help create good local jobs) by investing $682 million from bank settlement funds paid to the State for needs associated with health and safety, accessibility, physical capacity and school construction projects. This essential investment was left out of the enacted 2015 State Budget.
  • Remove an unfunded mandate on our schools by making the use of independent, outside evaluators optional instead of required.
  • Establish the “Community Schools Grant Program” to fund community schools that offer wraparound social services to create high quality, culturally relevant curriculum, health, social and emotional services in high needs communities, and then share the best practices across the state and nation.
  • Analyze the distribution and use of taxpayer funds associated with educational testing, curriculum building, graduation requirements and other essential components to developing effective education policy.

We have an opportunity before this legislative session ends to make these important changes.

As we saw with the Common Core, rushed implementation of any program or policy is not an effective means of achieving the overall goal: to provide all students, regardless of their zip code, the same educational opportunity.

For more information on these bills and other measures, please visit my website.

Sincerely,

Andrea Stewart-Cousins
New York State Senator, 35th District

Senate Democratic Leader

SENATOR ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS HONORS 13-YEAR-OLD JAKE GALLIN OF NEW ROCHELLE, NAMED AS ONE OF AMERICA’S TOP YOUTH VOLUNTEERS

(Albany – June 2, 2015) With a Resolution in the State Senate, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Leader, recognized 13 year old Jake Gallin of New Rochelle for being named as one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards* for his volunteer work on behalf of military families. Jake was nominated by Volunteer New York and selected by the Prudential Foundation as a National Honoree from a field of more than 33,000 youth volunteers from across the country.

“Jake Gallin’s efforts to recognize the sacrifices made by military families, whether they have a loved one serving in the military currently, or have lost a family member who made the ultimate sacrifice, is exemplary” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “He continues to volunteer his time, to raise money and awareness with his ‘Stars for Cars’ initiative, and as a result, he has received well-deserved national, and now state recognition.”

The seventh grader at the Albert Leonard Middle School in New Rochelle created “Stars for Cars,” a fundraising and outreach initiative for military families. Jake has raised more than $19,000 for the USO (United Service Organization) by selling star-shaped magnets for cars that honor military families. The magnets are sold online at www.starsforcars.org.

Jake thanked Senator Stewart-Cousins for the honor. “It was great – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was so glad to be there, to take part in it. I’m so grateful.”

Jake’s parents, Ally and Tom, accompanied him. Jake’s father said, “It’s another milestone for Jake and another platform for Jake to get his message out. For the Senator to take her time to do such a thing is phenomenal.”

Jake’s inspiration for the initiative occurred in 2011, when he was 8 years old. He was watching a tv talk show, and heard the First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, the Vice-President’s wife, talking about the needs of military families. Teresa Arciola of Elmsford, a Gold Star mother who lost her son Michael in Iraq in 2005, was also on the program. Jake will tell you that Mrs. Obama reminded the audience that 1 percent of our country is protecting the other 99 percent. Jake took it to heart. He started “Stars for Cars” to raise awareness of the sacrifices military families make here at home while a loved one is serving in the military (a Blue Star family) or is lost while serving in the military (a Gold Star family).

Jake has also reached out to schools across New York State to make the “3 Holidays Announcements,” on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Patriot Day (9/11). The message is, “We take this time to remember our ‘Blue and Gold Star’ military families and thank them for their sacrifice, generosity, and we want them to know that we are part of their community.” Over 100 schools and districts in New York State have signed on to make these public announcements. Senator Stewart-Cousins delivered the Veteran’s Day announcement with Jake at his school last November.

Jake was nominated by Volunteer New York for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. He plans to donate the personal award of $5,000 to Volunteer New York and another $5,000 grant he also got from the Prudential Foundation to the USO.

View Senator Stewart-Cousins Remarks: https://youtu.be/V_1rGNqKUOE

Photo of Jake with Senator Stewart-Cousins is attached

*The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is a national youth recognition program sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

        

State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-I-WF) of Yonkers was elected by her colleagues to serve as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in December 2012 and re-elected in 2014, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State. First elected in 2006, she represents part of Yonkers, White Plains and New Rochelle,  and Greenburgh and Scarsdale.


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Please make checks payable to:
Friends of Andrea Stewart-Cousins
1461 First Avenue #302
New York, NY 10075

Credit card contributions, please go to:
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Individual, Partnership, PAC, LLC and LLP contributions are limited to $10,300. Corporations may give up to $5,000 annually to races in New York State. Political contributions are not tax-deductible.

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS AND SENATE DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE ANNOUNCE AFFORDABLE HOUSING LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE

Renews & Strengthens Rent Control Legislation

(Yonkers, NY) Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Conference Leader,  joined members of the Senate Democratic Conference to unveil an affordable housing package to better ensure fair housing practices throughout New York State.


“The Democratic Conference has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure all New Yorkers are able to have access to affordable housing options in the communities they call home,” Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “New York has always been a State where people from all walks of life can set down roots and build strong, stable, and diverse communities and that fact has helped make New York the Empire State. My Senate Democratic colleagues and I will keep up the fight to renew and strengthen rent control protections and increase affordable housing options for all New Yorkers.”


The Senate Democratic Conference proposals include renewing and strengthening rent control legislation for another two years through the Tenant Protection Act of 2015, as well as repealing initiatives that harm tenants such as vacancy decontrol and the vacancy bonus. The Senate Democrats also called for caps on rent increases allowed for individual and multi-apartment capital improvements.  


The package of affordable housing legislation includes bills that will:


  • Repeal provisions of State and City statutes that remove apartments from rent stabilization when they are vacated and could be rented for monthly rents of $2,500 or more. The bill also re-regulates units deregulated due to vacancy since 1993 to their December 31, 2014 rates.

     

  • Repeal provisions permitting rent increases of 20% or more upon vacancy of a rent stabilized dwelling unit.


  • Standardize the rental adjustment a landlord may impose for the total cost of an individual apartment improvement, reduce the increase allowed to 1/84th of the costs and require DHCR to issue a schedule of reasonable costs for repairs so that landlords can’t fraudulently attempt to deregulate an apartment through improvements that may not have been made or for inflated claims of costs incurred.

     

  • Provide that major capital improvements (MCI) be calculated as a rent surcharge and will not become part of the base legal regulated rent by which rent increases are calculated; requires the amount be separately designated and billed as such; prevents landlords from receiving a financial windfall from MCI funded by the New York State Energy and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Rent-controlled apartments are located within the following communities in the 35th State Senate District represented by Senator Stewart-Cousins:

  • Ardsley

  • Dobbs Ferry

  • Greenburgh

  • Hastings

  • Irvington

  • New Rochelle

  • Tarrytown

  • White Plains

  • Yonkers

Senator Stewart-Cousins concluded, “Now is the time to stand up for middle class and low wage New Yorkers who risk being pushed out of their homes by rent deregulation and expiring protections. I urge my colleagues in State government to stand with the Senate Democratic Conference to ensure fair housing for every New Yorker.”


###


State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-I-WF) of Yonkers was elected by her colleagues to serve as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in December 2012 and re-elected in 2014, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State. First elected in 2006, she represents part of Yonkers, White Plains and New Rochelle,  Greenburgh and Scarsdale.

 

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS AND SENATE DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE ANNOUNCE AFFORDABLE HOUSING LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE

Renews & Strengthens Rent Control Legislation

(Yonkers, NY) Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Conference Leader,  joined members of the Senate Democratic Conference to unveil an affordable housing package to better ensure fair housing practices throughout New York State.


“The Democratic Conference has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure all New Yorkers are able to have access to affordable housing options in the communities they call home,” Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “New York has always been a State where people from all walks of life can set down roots and build strong, stable, and diverse communities and that fact has helped make New York the Empire State. My Senate Democratic colleagues and I will keep up the fight to renew and strengthen rent control protections and increase affordable housing options for all New Yorkers.”


The Senate Democratic Conference proposals include renewing and strengthening rent control legislation for another two years through the Tenant Protection Act of 2015, as well as repealing initiatives that harm tenants such as vacancy decontrol and the vacancy bonus. The Senate Democrats also called for caps on rent increases allowed for individual and multi-apartment capital improvements.  


The package of affordable housing legislation includes bills that will:


  • Repeal provisions of State and City statutes that remove apartments from rent stabilization when they are vacated and could be rented for monthly rents of $2,500 or more. The bill also re-regulates units deregulated due to vacancy since 1993 to their December 31, 2014 rates.

     

  • Repeal provisions permitting rent increases of 20% or more upon vacancy of a rent stabilized dwelling unit.


  • Standardize the rental adjustment a landlord may impose for the total cost of an individual apartment improvement, reduce the increase allowed to 1/84th of the costs and require DHCR to issue a schedule of reasonable costs for repairs so that landlords can’t fraudulently attempt to deregulate an apartment through improvements that may not have been made or for inflated claims of costs incurred.

     

  • Provide that major capital improvements (MCI) be calculated as a rent surcharge and will not become part of the base legal regulated rent by which rent increases are calculated; requires the amount be separately designated and billed as such; prevents landlords from receiving a financial windfall from MCI funded by the New York State Energy and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Rent-controlled apartments are located within the following communities in the 35th State Senate District represented by Senator Stewart-Cousins:

  • Ardsley

  • Dobbs Ferry

  • Greenburgh

  • Hastings

  • Irvington

  • New Rochelle

  • Tarrytown

  • White Plains

  • Yonkers

Senator Stewart-Cousins concluded, “Now is the time to stand up for middle class and low wage New Yorkers who risk being pushed out of their homes by rent deregulation and expiring protections. I urge my colleagues in State government to stand with the Senate Democratic Conference to ensure fair housing for every New Yorker.”

State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-I-WF) of Yonkers was elected by her colleagues to serve as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in December 2012 and re-elected in 2014, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State. First elected in 2006, she represents part of Yonkers, White Plains and New Rochelle,  Greenburgh and Scarsdale.

150527 Aff Housing Leg Pkg Presser

 

Senate Democratic Conference Announces Affordable Housing Legislative Package 

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today unveiled a legislative package to help ensure fair housing practices throughout New York State. The Senate Democratic Conference proposals include renewing and strengthening rent control legislation for another 2 years, as well as repealing initiatives that harm tenants such as vacancy decontrol and the vacancy bonus. The Senate Democrats also called for caps on rent increases allowed for individual and multi-apartment capital improvements.

 

“The Democratic Conference has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure all New Yorkers are able to have access to affordable housing options in the communities they call home,” Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “New York has always been a State where people from all walks of life can set down roots and build strong, stable, and diverse communities and that fact has helped make New York into the Empire State. My Senate Democratic colleagues and I will keep up the fight to renew and strengthen rent control protections and increase affordable housing options for all New Yorkers.”

 

Senator Adriano Espaillat, Ranker of the Senate’s Housing Committee, said, “In the last four years 35,000 rent regulated units have become market rate apartments and thousands of families were displaced as a result. More than 200,000 units have been lost since the early 90’s. We cannot hope to end the housing crisis in New York City if we continue to lose affordable housing at this horrendous rate. I have introduced legislation (S.3364-B/ The Tenant Protection Act of 2015) which would protect tenants from unfair rent increases and ensure regulated units remain affordable. Ending session with no rent laws or the same set of weak rent laws would put hundreds of thousands of families at risk of losing their homes.”

 

As Ranking Member on the Senate Housing Committee, Senator Adriano Espaillat will continue to spearhead the Senate Democratic Conference’s fight for affordable housing and common sense rent control laws during the reminder of session. The centerpiece of the Democratic Conference’s legislative efforts is the “Tenant Protection Act of 2015” introduced by Senator Espaillat. This omnibus legislation would reform New York’s rent laws to expand tenant protections against dishonest landlord practices and fairly limit and stabilize rent increases in affordable housing units. The legislation would also extend the rent regulation laws and the laws regulating conversions of apartments to cooperative or condominium status applicable to New York City and upstate areas until June 15, 2017.

 

Also introduced in the Senate Democratic Conference housing package are bills that will:

 

  • Repeals provisions of State and City statutes that remove apartments from rent stabilization when such apartments are vacated and could be rented for monthly rents of $2,500 or more. The bill also re-regulates at December 31, 2014 rents most apartments previously deregulated due to vacancy since 1993. (Leader Stewart-Cousins)
  • Repeals provisions permitting rent increases of 20% or more on vacancy of a rent stabilized dwelling unit. (Senator Serrano)

 

Senator Jose Serrano said, “I am proud to stand here with my colleagues in the Democratic Conference and announce a package of bills aimed at protecting tenants in New York. The package includes my bill, S.951, which would finally repeal the often-exploited ‘statutory vacancy bonus’ and stop landlords from increasing the rental cost of a vacant affordable unit and potentially phasing that unit out of rent regulation entirely. I would like to thank my colleagues in the Democratic Conference for standing up for hard-working New Yorkers and as we fight to ensure that affordable housing remains affordable.”

 

  • Makes consistent the rental adjustment a landlord may charge a tenant for the total cost incurred for an individual apartment improvement, reduces the increase allowed to 1/84th of the costs and requires DHCR to issue a schedule of reasonable costs for repairs, based on regional costs, so that landlords don’t fraudulently try to deregulate an apartment through improvements that may not have been made or for inflated claims of costs incurred. (Senator Squadron)

Senator Daniel Squadron said, “Strengthening rent laws for over 1 million New Yorkers is too important for political gamesmanship. For years, Senate Republicans have opposed our efforts to fix rent regulation laws, as apartments continue to be destabilized. For many members of the Majority, the main interest in rent laws is financial — but this year, the interests of communities and individuals must come before those of campaign contributors. I’m pleased that today’s package includes my bill to prevent bad landlords from fraudulently deregulating apartments (S.3285-B). I look forward to pushing these bills with Leader Stewart-Cousins, Senator Espaillat, and my colleagues to repeal vacancy decontrol, strengthen rent laws that protect tenants, and keep New York affordable.”

 

  • Establishes a methodology for determining major capital improvements (MCI) rent surcharges and provides that such MCI shall be calculated as a rent surcharge and shall not become part of the base legal regulated rent by which rent increases are calculated, and requires the amount be separately designated and billed as such. Italso prevents landlords from receiving a financial windfall from MCI funded by the New York State Energy and Development Authority (NYSERDA) (Senator Krueger)

 

Senator Liz Krueger said, “New York State’s rent regulation laws enable more than two million people, the vast majority of whom are moderate or low-income, to remain in safe and affordable housing. Due to vacancy decontrol and other landlord-friendly loopholes added to the laws over the last two decades, hundreds of thousands of desperately needed affordable apartments have been lost. Abuse of major capital improvement rent increases causes unjustified hardship for tenants, and the threat of losing affordable preferential rents hangs over more than a quarter of rent regulated tenants, especially those in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods in New York City. It is critical that we act now to stem the loss of affordable housing, and I am proud to stand with my Senate Democratic colleagues to strengthen the system and ensure that New York City is a place where regular working people can afford to live.”

 

Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “These measures steer a course out of our affordable housing crisis. Across New York State, too many tenants face the challenge of paying more than a third of their income in rent – putting a brake on our economy, crowding out other spending, and harming the quality of life of our communities. Unaffordable rents also harm businesses’ ability to attract workers to our region, entrepreneurs trying to get a new enterprise going, and young people planning to start families. The affordable housing crisis is particularly tough on Central Brooklyn, where tenants face being pushed to the margins in neighborhoods they have called home for decades and even face harassment from unscrupulous landlords trying to make a quick buck. That is why it is critical to pass the Tenant Protection Act of 2015 – bolstering the protections for affordable housing. These challenges are why I launched the ‘Know Your Rights Housing Forum’ series to educate tenants and established a Housing Advisory Committee to help connect the community to policy making. I am committed to working with my community and my colleagues to deliver the protections all New Yorkers need.”

 

Senator Brad Hoylman said: “I’m grateful to Democratic Conference Leader Stewart-Cousins and Senator Espaillat for their leadership on this package of bills that will help keep housing affordable for the millions of New Yorkers who live in rent regulated apartments. There is no more important issue this legislative session than renewing and strengthening the rent laws by passing this legislation. We must act now for the benefit of NYC’s next generation.”

 

Senator Jose Peralta said, “The clock is ticking. The rent regulation laws that protect over one million New Yorkers are set to expire in less than three weeks. We are in the midst of a housing crisis because living in New York is becoming less and less affordable. We must not just renew these protections, but strengthen them, by ending, among other things, vacancy decontrol and the ‘vacancy bonus.’ I want to thank our leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senator Adriano Espaillat for taking the lead and introducing this housing legislative package.”

 

Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “Lax rent laws have reduced our City’s affordable housing stock and left too many New Yorkers struggling to afford their monthly rent and at risk of losing their homes. This year, we have a responsibility to protect the housing security of over a million families by extending and strengthening our rent-regulation laws. The fair housing package introduced today by the Senate Democratic Conference and Senator Espaillat’s omnibus housing bill will go a long way in preserving the rent stabilized units so many New Yorkers depend on. I remain committed to fighting for housing policies that not only ensure working New Yorkers are able to continue to afford to keep a roof over their heads, but also prioritize the development of more affordable housing units.”

 

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “As a lifelong New Yorker who grew up in a rent-controlled apartment on the West Side of Manhattan, I recognize the importance of rent regulations. Today, rent-controlled apartments are the last bastions of affordable housing for our most vulnerable citizens. Thousands of working men and women, senior citizens and disabled New Yorkers living on fixed incomes depend on rent control to stay in their homes. We must extend rent control protections and reform the current system so that everyone has access to affordable housing.”

 

Senate Democratic Conference To Unveil Major Housing Reform Initiatives 

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference will announce the introduction of major housing reform legislation on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 11:45 AM.

 

 

WHO:                         Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Housing Committee Ranker, Senator Adriano Espaillat

Senator Liz Krueger

Senator Jose Serrano

Senator Daniel Squadron

Members of the New York State Senate Democratic Conference

 

 

WHEN:                      Wednesday, May 27 at 11:45 AM

 

 

WHERE:                   Senate Democratic Conference Room

Room 315, State Capitol, Albany

 

 

 

Senate Democratic Conference Unveils Legislation To Improve Education System 

Package addresses failures in this year’s budget and the Common Core rollout

 

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today announced the introduction of bills to reform the state’s public school system and address the concerns raised by education stakeholders due to the proposed changes made in the 2015 State Budget. The legislative package will implement reforms to teacher evaluation system, increase fairness for student assessments and provide support for community schools that offer wraparound social services.

 

“Each member of the State Legislature has a constitutional and moral responsibility to ensure that every child in New York State has access to a quality education,” Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “The bills introduced by the Senate Democratic Conference will help undo the damage caused by the rushed-through education changes resulting from this year’s State Budget. The stakeholders in our state’s education system have been clear, we need to stop over-testing students and demonizing teachers for the failings in the public education system and finally address the root problems. The Senate Democratic Conference will keep up the fight to improve our public education system and it is my hope that under its new leadership, the Senate Republican Majority will join with us to make these necessary reforms.”

 

Senator George Latimer, Ranking Member on the Senate Education Committee, said,

“Students, parents and educators across New York State have loudly voiced their concerns over recent misguided education policies. The recent state budget and the Common Core rollout has demonized hard working teachers, continues to overburden our kids with standardized tests and has failed to adequately fund public schools in struggling communities. It’s now time for the State Senate Republicans to hear their voices and join with the Democratic Conference to pass these needed bills to fulfill our Constitutional responsibilities and put our public education system back on the right track.”

 

Senator Marc Panepinto said, “This is about fundamental fairness for our students and flexibility for our teachers. It is a two-pronged step in the right direction. By more fairly assessing students, we not only give them a fighting chance at a quality education, but provide a more realistic determination of our teacher’s performance. The restoration of the locally negotiated “student achievement metric” will reestablish equity in school districts across New York State. Our diverse student population is part of what sets New York State apart – our teachers recognize that best. Let’s even the playing field for all.”

 

Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “Doubling down on standardized testing to determine the success of both students and teachers, as well as the financial health of a school, is simply irresponsible and ineffective. The education package being proposed today aims to reverse a number of the changes made to our education system during this year’s budget in order to implement a lasting and reasonable evaluations system, ensures our schools are appropriately funded and truly improve the educational outcomes of our students.”

 

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “I am proud to join my Democratic colleagues to introduce this package of commonsense education bills. By evaluating our teachers on clear, rational metrics and providing our students with the resources they need to succeed through the Community Schools Grant Program and additional infrastructure funding, we will move our education system forward in a sensible manner that serves teachers and students alike. Each of these bills, including legislation to make the unfunded mandate of independent, outside teacher evaluators optional instead of required, which I am pleased to sponsor, are critical improvements we must make to our education system so that every child has access to an excellent education.”

 

Introduced in the Senate Democratic Conference education package are bills that will:

 

  • Repeal a provision implemented in the 2015 State Budget that allows New York State to withhold additional school aid from districts should they not have their “Annual Professional Performance Review Plans” approved by the Commissioner of Education by November 15, 2015.

o   School districts will no longer be forced to choose between unreasonable evaluation requirements and sufficient financial support from the state.

 

  • Implement an advisory council to review “Annual Professional Performance Review Plans”

 

  • Restore use of the locally negotiated “student achievement metric” for teacher evaluations and make it available to school districts as part of the optional supplemental assessment subcomponent of the student performance category.

o   The “student achievement metric” more fairly assesses children who are above grade-level as well as students with special needs.

o   Restoring this metric will make assessments more realistic and useful for school districts to determine teachers’ performances.

 

  • Study the costs associated with statewide assessments of students in school districts throughout New York State.

o   This would provide an important analysis of how public resources are spent for educational testing, curriculum building, graduation requirements and other essential components to developing effective education policy.

o   The information collected will help start a statewide conversation on how taxpayer funds are distributed and utilized.

 

  • Establish the “Community Schools Grant Program” to fund community schools that offer wraparound social services.

o   This program would create high quality, culturally relevant curriculum, health, social and emotional services in high needs communities, and then share the best practices across the state and nation.

o   The State Education Commissioner would be directed to award competitive grants to eligible school districts to use existing school buildings as community hubs.

o   Establish the “Community Schools Grant Program” to fund community schools that offer wraparound social services.

 

  • Make the use of independent, outside evaluators optional instead of required

o   The enacted 2015 State Budget imposed an unfunded mandate by requiring school districts to utilize outside evaluators to observe and assess teachers.

o   This legislation would reform that practice by making the use of outside evaluators optional and not required.

 

The Senate Democratic Conference also called for $682 million in new settlement funds to be invested in an education infrastructure bank. These funds will be utilized to pay for needs associated with health and safety, accessibility, physical capacity and school construction projects. This essential investment, which was left out of the enacted 2015 State Budget, will help rebuild crumbling public schools across New York State and help create good local jobs. Funds for this program will come from the state’s projected surplus and are separate from the Smart Schools Bond Act.

 

Senator Neil Breslin said, “There are only four weeks life to ensure New York’s students receive the quality education they deserve. Time is running out and we must act quickly. I urge all of my colleagues to stand with us to pass these common sense education policies so students, schools, teachers, and parents have the tools they need to succeed.”

 

Senator Martin Malavé Dilan said, “The education reforms to come out of this year’s budget were vague at best. Virtually every question worth asking went unanswered and the concerns from parents and educators throughout the state were given little or no consideration. In the best interests of enacting result-driven, goal-oriented education reforms we need to revisit much of these proposals.”

 

Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “We need steps that treat teachers like the learned professionals they are. Not as test proctors. Not as targets. And not as scapegoats. We need steps that lift up community schools – getting services to families so that every student begins the day prepared to learn. Not hungry. Not worried about troubles at home. These steps represent the holistic vision of education that New Yorkers deserve. A vision that takes into account parents working multiple jobs, safety in the community, and the many factors beyond the schoolhouse doors that impact student success. These measures get us the information we need to make informed policy decisions, help students and families in need of support, and set up the systems to secure success in our schools.”

 

Senator Jose Peralta said, “This year’s budget package included a series of rushed education policies that did not address much needed policy reforms across the State. Plain and simple, we should not be playing politics with our children’s education. The series of bills being introduced today by the Senate Democratic Conference provide for meaningful measurements of success for both educators and students. I extend my thanks to Leader Stewart-Cousins and all of my Democratic colleagues for their leadership on this issue.”

 

Jasmine Gripper, Legislative Coordinator for the Alliance for Quality Education, said, “Teachers, parents and students are tired of being used as political pawns. It’s time to get back to focusing on students and their learning. These bills are a step in the right direction for New York’s children and schools. Thanks to the leadership of the Senate Democrats for prioritizing students, families and communities.”

 

Ivette Alfonso, President of Citizen Action of New York, said, “Students’ learning must be the first priority in our schools. We thank the Senate Democrats for fighting against high-stakes testing and in support of expanding community schools.”

 

Peter McNally, Executive Director of the NYS Federation of School Administrators (NYSFSA), said: “These bills address many of the concerns on provisions of the SFY 2015-2016 State Budget and the APPR system. NYSFSA believes policymakers must embrace what is right with education and move the accountability discussion beyond how heavily student testing is tied to teacher and principal evaluations toward research based reforms that support student achievement.”

 

Andy Pallotta, Executive Vice President of New York State United Teachers, said, “This package of bills will provide welcome remedy for some of the serious flaws in state testing and evaluation policy. It is a necessary step toward helping parents, educators and students reclaim the joy of teaching and learning. We look forward to working with the Legislature to see that these common sense, research-supported changes are enacted.”

 

Kevin Casey, Executive Director of School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS), said, “SAANYS and the educational leaders we represent applaud any careful and thoughtful analysis of student testing, professional evaluations, and the myriad of current education policies that do not necessarily enhance student achievement. The decoupling of state aid from APPR plans is critical and we encourage immediate action to get our schools the support they need now.”

 

Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers, said, “This package of legislation corrects many of Gov. Cuomo’s misguided budget ideas. It gives communities more time to come up with a new evaluation plan, guarantees them extra state aid without strings attached and brings some degree of sanity to the mess that is New York’s standardized testing program. It also enables schools to provide more services to children in school.”

 

SENATOR STEWART-COUSINS VISITS LOCAL SCHOOLS, READS TO STUDENTS AND DISCUSSES PUBLIC SERVICE

(May 14, 2015) There were so many classes to read to on Read Aloud Day in March at Paideia School 15 in Yonkers that State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins returned today at the student’s request to visit a class she had missed. Senator Stewart-Cousins, who is also the Democratic Leader in the New York State Senate, read “Wolf !” by Becky Bloom to the first grade students and discussed some of her responsibilities as an elected official and representative in Albany.


“I always enjoy visiting schools in my district,” said Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who represents the 35th State Senate District. “These children are the future of New York State and we have a responsibility to ensure they receive the high quality education they deserve. As a former teacher, I understand the struggles our state’s educators and students face each and every day, and that is why I will keep up the fight to fund and improve education.”


As a former teacher who attended public school, sent her children to public schools and whose grandchildren attend public schools, Senator Stewart-Cousins understands the vitally important role public schools play in educating New York State children.


Today’s visit is the latest one made to a local school as part of the Senator’s continuing commitment to education. Last week, Senator Stewart-Cousins was at the Albert Leonard Middle School in New Rochelle and spoke to students as part of their Career Day event. She also attended a citizenship and scholarship award ceremony by the Yonkers Council of PTA’s. Last month, she spoke at a school district and parent forum in New Rochelle, attended a Scarsdale Forum discussion on the new teacher evaluations, and spoke to students at Yonkers Middle High School. She also toured White Plains High School, stopping in several classrooms to observe and greet students. Also in April, the Senator supported the Woodlands Falcons Nest Booster Club and Middle and High School PTSA’s at their Taste Off to help raise money for sports programs in Greenburgh. In February, she was a guest speaker in two classes at Lincoln High School during Black History Month.


###


State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-I-WF) of Yonkers was elected by her colleagues to serve as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in December 2012 and re-elected in 2014, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State history. First elected in 2006, she represents part of Yonkers, White Plains, and New Rochelle, Greenburgh and Scarsdale.



SENATOR STEWART-COUSINS VISITS LOCAL SCHOOLS, READS TO STUDENTS AND DISCUSSES PUBLIC SERVICE

(May 14, 2015) There were so many classes to read to on Read Aloud Day in March at Paideia School 15 in Yonkers that State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins returned today at the student’s request to visit a class she had missed. Senator Stewart-Cousins, who is also the Democratic Leader in the New York State Senate, read “Wolf !” by Becky Bloom to the first grade students and discussed some of her responsibilities as an elected official and representative in Albany.


“I always enjoy visiting schools in my district,” said Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who represents the 35th State Senate District. “These children are the future of New York State and we have a responsibility to ensure they receive the high quality education they deserve. As a former teacher, I understand the struggles our state’s educators and students face each and every day, and that is why I will keep up the fight to fund and improve education.”


As a former teacher who attended public school, sent her children to public schools and whose grandchildren attend public schools, Senator Stewart-Cousins understands the vitally important role public schools play in educating New York State children.


Today’s visit is the latest one made to a local school as part of the Senator’s continuing commitment to education. Last week, Senator Stewart-Cousins was at the Albert Leonard Middle School in New Rochelle and spoke to students as part of their Career Day event. She also attended a citizenship and scholarship award ceremony by the Yonkers Council of PTA’s. Last month, she spoke at a school district and parent forum in New Rochelle, attended a Scarsdale Forum discussion on the new teacher evaluations, and spoke to students at Yonkers Middle High School. She also toured White Plains High School, stopping in several classrooms to observe and greet students. Also in April, the Senator supported the Woodlands Falcons Nest Booster Club and Middle and High School PTSA’s at their Taste Off to help raise money for sports programs in Greenburgh. In February, she was a guest speaker in two classes at Lincoln High School during Black History Month.

State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-I-WF) of Yonkers was elected by her colleagues to serve as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in December 2012 and re-elected in 2014, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State history. First elected in 2006, she represents part of Yonkers, White Plains, and New Rochelle, Greenburgh and Scarsdale.

150514 Read to Kids Yonkers 1



A Newsletter Update from Andrea Stewart-Cousins – April/May 2015

The latest corruption scandal to hit the State Senate is deeply disturbing. My Senate Democratic colleagues and I attempted to remove the Senate Majority Leader from his leadership post after his arrest on May 4th on federal corruption charges, but the Republicans would not let our motion nor resolution be heard. Our motion to remove the leader was resubmitted but before it was heard on May 11th, the Republicans chose a new leader. We understood that there is too much important business that remains to be done during this legislative session to be bogged down in distractions surrounding this latest corruption case. This is not about guilt or innocence – this is about the trust you, the public, have in your government. A trust that my Democratic colleagues and I continue to work diligently at restoring so we can do the people’s business on behalf of our constituents.
We began the state’s new fiscal year with the 2015-16 State Budget in place. It’s the fifth year in a row we’ve been able to accomplish this – an important step in restoring the public’s faith in government to function properly. While I voted for a majority of the spending bills, I disagree and voted against some of the policies that were also included, such as a new teacher evaluation system that is more closely tied to test scores. I support a delayed implementation of this new system – we saw what happened with the rushed implementation of the Common Core. Overall, I believe we need a better solution to improve our public schools, involving all stakeholders and not demonizing teachers whose students may show up for class with a host of socio-economic challenges that impact on their ability to learn.
We were able to increase school aid substantially, by $1.3 billion. Unfortunately, districts like Yonkers are still struggling following last year’s discovery of a $55 million accounting error. Because we fought hard to aid the school district, Yonkers will get $262 million dollars this year, an increase of $19 million, and the Democrat-led Assembly added on another $20 million in capital funds and $2 million in bullet aid. The Governor, working with the Yonkers state delegation and the city, was able to find a solution to fill half of the $55 million gap. This year, we are discussing options once again.
Finally, as the leader of the Senate Democratic Conference, we are always interested in creating jobs and new economic opportunities for New York. That’s why I joined Governor Cuomo for a trade mission to Cuba on April 20th and 21st, following President Obama’s lifting of travel restrictions. We met our Cuban counterparts and came home with several agreements. Just recently, JetBlue announced it would start flying directly from New York to Havana.
I look forward to seeing you in the district this spring.Best,Andrea Stewart-Cousins New York State Senator, 35th District Senate Democratic LeaderSenate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Selects Jane Aoyama-Martin, Executive Director of the Pace Women’s Justice Center, as Senate Women of Distinction 2015 Nominee(Albany – May 5th) Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins selected Jane Aoyama-Martin, the Executive Director of the Pace Women’s Justice Center, as her nominee for the Women of Distinction Award in 2015. The recognition is given to outstanding women living and working in New York State, whose contributions have greatly enriched the quality of life in their communities and beyond. The award, sponsored by the New York State Senate, was bestowed during a ceremony in Albany on Tuesday.
“Victims of domestic violence and elder abuse know they can rely on Jane Aoyama-Martin and the Pace Women’s Justice Center to provide assistance and support at one of the most difficult and stressful times in their lives,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “Jane is a kind, calm, even-keeled woman whose knowledge and passion for her work is clearly evident. The work she does provides the support and assistance that helps victims continue their lives with dignity and strength.” More..Senator Stewart-Cousins on the New Teacher Evaluation System(Albany – April 23rd) Senator Stewart-Cousins, who did not vote for the new teacher evaluation system policy included in the state budget, supports a delay in its implementation. “Rushing to implement a new teacher evaluation system would be misguided,” she said in a statement released April 23rd. “We’ve been down this road before and we’ve seen where faulty and fast implementation of poorly conceived education changes leads. Demonizing teachers, over-testing students and rushing major reforms will not improve our education system, it will only cause more problems. Delaying the implementation of this new teacher evaluation system is the minimum step that should be taken.” The Enacted Budget directs the State Education Department Commissioner to implement a statewide annual teacher and principal evaluation system by June 30, 2015. School districts must approve their plans and submit them to SED by November 15, 2015 in order to comply. Click here to listen to the Senator’s remarks on education before the budget vote.Click here to learn more about what the 2015-16 State Budget means for the 35th District.Click here to listen to the Senator’s final remarks on the State Budget.

Senate Democratic Conference Calls for Passage of Critical Ethics Reform to Close the “LLC Loophole” Press Conference

(Albany – April 27th) Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senator Daniel Squadron, sponsor of the bill, held a news conference to push for legislation to tighten campaign finance regulations and close the LLC donation gap. Representatives from organizations such as the Brennan Center and Citizens Action, Citizen Union, Common Cause, League of Women Voters, and NYPIRG also support the bill. Senator Stewart-Cousins said almost every day new allegations of abuse and corruption are leveled at state government. She applauded Senator Squadron for his leadership in filing a motion for the Elections Committee to consider bringing the bill to a vote on the Senate floor because “the Senate has a responsibility to combat the corruption crisis that is impacting state government,” adding, “The only way we can begin to restore the public trust in state government is with action.” Click here to listen to the news conference.

New York State Trade Mission to Cuba

(Cuba – April 20th & 21st) Senator Stewart-Cousins’ recent trip to Cuba as a member of Governor Cuomo’s trade mission on April 20th and 21st provided a unique opportunity to build new relationships and economic partnerships designed to benefit the people of New York and Cuba. President Obama opened the door by lifting travel restrictions to the Communist island nation located 90 miles from U.S. shores. She was proud to represent New York as the Senate Democratic Leader and the 35th District representative.
A group of business leaders traveled with them including the CEO of Tarrytown-based Regeneron, Leonard Schleifer. During the trade mission, they were able to meet with their Cuban counterparts to explore future opportunities. Two agreements were reached. The Roswell Park Cancer Center will work with Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology on a lung cancer vaccine and Infor Global Studies will sell healthcare management software in Cuba. Other new ventures are under review.
During the whirlwind trip, the group toured Old Havana, and were taken back in time 50 years by the old American cars on the streets and toured the port where goods arrive. They also met with a group of SUNY students and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher who discussed the exchange program. As the Governor said, “New York looks forward to the day when we welcome all Cubans with open arms. Muchas Gracias.”

Catch a quick glimpse of the trip by viewing this video including meeting with the Cardinal, a tour of old Havana, and catching up with SUNY students and Chancellor Zimpher.

(White Plains – April 26th) Stepping off at the March of Dimes Walk for Babies in White Plains, Senator Stewart-Cousins and her grandson Kyle joined hundreds of others including White Plains Mayor Tom Roach for the annual event. The March of Dimes is celebrating 75 years of research, breakthroughs and vaccines. Still, nearly half a billion babies are born too soon each year. The event raises money for the organization’s efforts to prevent premature births. View..(Tarrytown – April 25th) The Tarrytown YMCA hosted Healthy Kids Day as part of YMCA’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of children during the summer months. The annual event features fun activities for the whole family, informational booths about fitness and healthy living, as well as live music by local kids bands. A member of one of the bands, Second Son (pictured above with the Senator), met the Senator a few years back when he was just starting to learn how to play the trumpet. He was playing in public for donation, and the Senator witnessed kids poking fun of the amateur way he sounded, so she approached him, put $5 in a hat, and encouraged him to keep playing. He told the Senator that it was a moment in his life he will always remember, and now is the band’s leader. View..(Albany – April 29th) An unveiling of a new glass sculpture titled “Seeds of Enlightenment” took place on Wednesday morning at the Empire State Plaza as part of the Martin Luther King, Jr.Memorial Re-dedication Ceremony. The original sculpture designed by artist Eric Hilton was dedicated in 2000 but badly damaged in July 2014. Corning Inc. and The Corning Museum of Glass decided to replace the memorial sculpture with a new one that bears the same title as the original. The Senator took part in the unveiling and said in a press release about the event, “I’m honored to join the Office of General Services, Corning Inc., and The Corning Museum of Glass for the re-dedication of this beautiful memorial honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This memorial will serve as a constant reminder to the countless New Yorkers who pass through this plaza each day of Dr. King’s commitment to justice and equality.” View.. (White Plains – April 7th) New York’s first Fathering Conference was held in White Plains on April 7th. Tony Porter, co-founder of A Call to Men, was the keynote speaker. Frank Williams of the White Plains Youth Bureau was the master of ceremonies and Bob Stien helped coordinate the event at the County Center. Some 300 participants spent time in various workshops and the Senator had the opportunity to address the group before a roundtable discussion on education. View..

(White Plains – April 7th)
Senator Stewart-Cousins toured White Plains High School with School Superintendent Timothy Connors, Principal Ellen Doherty and White Plains Teacher’s Association President Kerry Broderick, a biology teacher here. She had a chance to see a science lab, an art class and digital art display, and a workout room with donated equipment. An impressive school with 2,100 students! View..
(New Rochelle – March 26th) The New Rochelle YMCA’s Lifesaver campaign continues as they seek to raise funds to make necessary repairs to the facility’s pool. You can learn more about the campaign by clicking here. Pictured with YMCA Executive Director Julie Gallanty, Bob Marrone of the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce and morning personality on WVOX-AM, and other supporters. View..
(New Rochelle – March 26th) Senator Stewart-Cousins celebrated the 100th birthday of Bill Moye of New Rochelle. He’s a World War II veteran that the Senator inducted into the State Senate’s Veteran’s Hall of Fame in 2014. The New Rochelle Housing Authority held a celebration. View..
(Albany – March 23rd) Leader Stewart-Cousins met with 5th graders from St. Anthony School in Yonkers who are studying government. The students were touring the State Capitol to learn more about how New York State government operates. View.. District Office: 28 Wells Avenue, Building #3 Yonkers, NY 10701 Phone: (914) 423-4031 Fax: (914) 423-0979
Albany Office: 188 State Street, 907 LOB Albany, NY 12247 Phone: (518) 455-2585 Fax: (518) 426-6811 Email: scousins@nysenate.gov
Connect: Visit the Senator’s website “Like” the Senator on Facebook Follow the Senator on Twitter

Photo

Holiday Open House

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins On The Election Of Majority Leader John Flanagan.

“I want to offer my congratulations to Senator John Flanagan on his election to the post of Majority Leader and Temporary President of the State Senate. Unfortunately, today is not a day for celebrations, it is simply another reminder of the culture of corruption that has plagued Albany for too long and must be addressed. I urge the Senate Republican Majority to join with the Senate Democrats to clean up Albany and truly reform how state government operates. We have a lot of work to do during the remainder of the 2015 Legislative Session.”

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Communications Director Mike Murphy.

“The Senate Republicans failed the people of New York by allowing scandal-plagued Dean Skelos to hold on to power. Since they are unable to perform their duties, the Senate Democrats have filed a motion to force the removal of Dean Skelos as Senate leader. Even though advance filing is not required, today’s filing eliminates the Republicans false argument that they didn’t have adequate notice. The Democratic Conference has been at the forefront of efforts to reform state government and it will not sit idly by as the State Senate, under the Republican Majority, descends into chaos and dysfunction.”

BACKGROUND:

Motion Attached

Written Notice of Motion to Suspend the Rules – Received

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Senate Democratic Conference Announce Plans to Force Removal of Dean Skelos from Leadership

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference will renew calls for the Senate Majority Leader Deak Skelos to step down amid his ongoing legal and ethics problems. A short time ago during a news conference in Albany, the Senate Democratic Conference announced plans to force a leadership vote on the Senate floor.

Today’s Senate Session is scheduled to begin at 11:00 am. You can watch the session here:

http://www.nysenate.gov/live

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

“The reported charges against the Senate Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos are deeply disturbing. I cannot imagine him continuing to serve as leader as he deals with the cloud of corruption now effecting the top two Senate Republican leaders. There are many pressing issues that must be addressed during the remainder of the legislative session and the Senate Republican Majority must ensure that this body is not bogged down in scandal.”

Senate Democratic Conference Calls For Passage Of Critical Ethics Reform To Close The “LLC Loophole”

 

Democratic Senator Daniel Squadron will Today Force a Committee Vote to Close the LLC Loophole and Reform How Campaigns are Funded

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today called on the Senate Republicans in the Elections Committee to pass legislation that will close the LLC loophole and help clean up Albany. Due to Republican refusal to even consider this critical legislation, Democratic Senator Daniel Squadron filed a motion for committee consideration to simply have this ethics reform initiative discussed by the Senate Elections Committee. Today’s vote on the legislation in the Senate Elections Committee follows decisions in recent weeks by Republicans in both the State Legislature and the Board of Elections to keep the loophole open.

“The public’s faith in elected officials continues to be shaken due to scandal after scandal that has impacted New York State government,” Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “The Senate Democratic Conference has repeatedly called for passage of common sense measures, including closing the LLC loophole, that will restore the people’s faith in state government by cleaning up Albany. I urge my colleagues in the Senate Republican Majority to join with the Senate Democrats to restore the public’s trust and pass meaningful ethics reforms.”

Senate Bill S.60 would close a loophole which currently allows limited liability companies (LLCs) to contribute vast sums of money to candidates for state office. Due to this loophole in state election law, between 2005 and 2013, LLCs contributed over $40 million to New York State candidates, parties and political action committees. This legislation would close that loophole and reduce the contribution limit for both LLCs and corporations to $1,000 annually.

Bill Sponsor, Senator Daniel Squadron said, “As the focus continues on this critical ethics reform, it will be disappointing if the Elections Committee vote breaks down along the same partisan lines that the recent budget and Board of Elections votes did. In light of the BOE’s professed arguments, I’m hopeful that the Elections Committee will take a serious look at this issue to prevent unlimited sums of anonymous dollars from perverting our state government and the entire political process.”

Assembly Bill Sponsor, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, said, “The LLC loophole is a boon to those who want to buy influence wholesale, an egregious open invitation to corrupt the democratic process with enormous, often hidden payments made directly to politicians’ campaigns. With the support my colleagues have already demonstrated, I am confident the Assembly will vote soon for our bill to shut it down. That leaves it to the Senate to do the same, and I applaud Senator Squadron for his unrelenting advocacy and for insisting on a vote, in committee today and before the full Senate as soon as possible.”

Assembly Bill Sponsor, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, said, “Recently the Board of Elections declined to close the LLC loophole administratively. The legislature must now act. I thank Senators Stewart-Cousins and Squadron for their leadership. I am pleased to co-sponsor a bill in the Assembly with Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh. Closing the LLC loophole would prohibit individuals or small groups of individuals who control large numbers of Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) from making virtually unlimited contributions by contributing from each LLC as if they were truly separate contributors. Closing the LLC loophole will blunt the outsized influence of those who control LLCs and enable the voices of average New Yorkers to be heard.”

This vote follows the Board of Elections’ decision last week to keep the LLC loophole open. The board had a chance to make this fix by rescinding their 1996 opinion to treat LLCs as individuals — as advocated by two of the Commissioners — by ruling that LLCs should be treated as corporations or partnerships, and by clarifying that a person may not use multiple LLCs to evade contribution limits. The measure failed, as the two Democratic Commissioners voted to close the loophole and the two Republicans voted to keep it open – insisting it should be handled in the Legislature, even though it was the board’s 1996 decision that created it. This decision came despite letters from bill sponsors, Senator Squadron and Assemblymember Kavanagh, the Attorney General, the Brennan Center, and editorial board statements from across the state supporting this needed change. In addition, Senate Republicans excluded the LLC loophole measure in their one-house budget resolution, and it was not included in the final budget, despite the provision’s inclusion in the Governor’s original executive budget, and the ethics packages of the Senate Democrats and the Assembly majority.

In New York elections, LLCs are currently not treated as corporations, but as people, with the ability to donate up to $60,800 to a statewide candidate per election cycle. LLC ownership is not disclosed under the current system, making it nearly impossible to track down contributions to the source of their funding. Thus, an individual can contribute unlimited sums to the political system through multiple LLCs without transparency or accountability. Of all the money raised by state-level candidates and party committees in New York, 14% is given by LLCs, three times the amount of small-level individual donors.

Senator Leroy Comrie said, “Given the seriousness of recent ethics allegations against this body, we have a responsibility to restore public faith in the legislature and safeguard against further abuse. As the ranking member of the Senate Election’s Committee, I am committed to creating a level playing field where all New Yorkers have the opportunity to impact who their elected representatives are.”

Senator Brad Hoylman said, “You can drive truckloads of cash through the LLC loophole. Thanks to this loophole, corporations are treated as people and allowed to contribute essentially unlimited amounts of money to candidates for state office. We need to close the LLC loophole now because nothing less than the integrity of our elections is at stake.”

Senator Liz Krueger said, “New Yorkers are fed up with stories of corruption coming out of Albany, and more and more people are simply giving up on the political process. We need to take serious action to reduce the inherently corrupting influence of large donations, close the LLC loophole, and begin to throw the money-changers out of the temple of our politics. Anything less than real reform is a dereliction of our responsibilities to the people we represent.”

Senator Bill Perkins said, “I am a proud Co-Sponsor of Senator Squadron’s essential “LLC Loophole” closure legislation; a measure that is equal parts about common sense and fundamental fairness. This legislation will effectively curtail one of the most egregious examples of the pervasive and unseemly influence of money in our political and governmental processes. I urge my colleagues on the Elections Committee to pass this measure, posthaste.”

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “It’s time to advance this bill and finally close the LLC loophole. We must stop the spigot of corporate money from flooding our elections. New Yorkers deserve an electoral process that is transparent, even-handed and fair. Democracy belongs to everyone.”

DeNora Getachew, Campaign Manager and Legislative Counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice, said, “The Board of Elections’ flawed interpretation of State Election Law created the LLC Loophole. This undermines a campaign finance regime built over decades to prevent special interests from corrupting the political process through exceptionally large donations. The loophole has allowed big donors to circumvent both contribution limits and disclosure requirements put in place to protect the integrity of New York’s elections and government. This month, the Board failed to correct its mistake and close the loophole, despite calls to do so from Gov. Cuomo, the Attorney General and New Yorkers across the state. We are gratified that Senator Squadron is continuing to push for legislation to replace the Board’s misreading of the law, and hope the state’s other leaders will join him in supporting this bill.”

Jessica Wisneski, Legislative and Campaigns Director for Citizen Action of New York, said, “Last year, $20 million was funneled through shadowy, unaccountable shell companies into the pockets of state and local candidates across the state. The loophole makes a mockery of even the most basic of campaign finance regulations. And when given the opportunity to take action to close the loophole once and for all, Sen. Skelos’ own appointee to the Board of Elections blocked it. Senate Republicans have another opportunity to slow the flood of big money in Albany. It’s time for Senate Republicans to show us where they stand.”

 

Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union, said, “Citizens Union commends Senator Squadron for championing S.60, as this bill requires limited liability companies to abide by the same limits on political spending as corporations. This fixes a long abused loophole that has rendered the state’s campaign contribution limits meaningless and allows millions of extra dollars in contributions into our election system, undermining public trust in our democratic institutions.”

 

Lauren George, Associate Director of Common Cause New York, said, “It’s time for New York to join the rest of the country on this and end this legalized bribery. LLCs are not people and should not be treated as such. As our reports have shown, follow the LLC money and you’ll find individuals and industries with no limits whatsoever on their use of campaign cash to influence our policy makers. This is a bipartisan issue—allowing this loophole to continue leads voters across the political spectrum to believe that their state government is up for sale.”

 

Barbara Bartoletti, LWVNYS Legislative Director, said, “The Legislature must seize this opportunity to fight corruption in Albany and reduce the influence of large donors. People, not money, should elect our legislators. Closing the LLC loophole must be enacted to help stop the flow of big money in politics.”

Russ Haven, NYPIRG Legislative Counsel, said, “LLCs could stand for ‘Loading up Lots of Cash,’ because too often they’re used to shovel campaign contributions at levels that should only apply to human donors. Senator Squadron and his conference are proposing common-sense approaches to the ‘LLC loophole’ and it’s way past time for this to get a floor vote.”

Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen, said, “There’s no point in having contribution limits if motivated super-rich people are easily able to circumvent them. That’s why it’s so imperative that New York close the LLC loophole. If we want a government that represents We the People, then we can’t tolerate a campaign finance system dominated by tiny numbers of the super-rich.”

 

Bill Lipton, Director of the Working Families Party Director, said, “The LLC loophole allows wealthy individuals to skirt already sky-high contribution limits and secretly funnel millions to their preferred candidates. Senator Squadron’s bill would begin to level the playing field in Albany, which has been rigged for the 1% and against working families for the past two decades.”

This legislation was part of a series of ethics reforms initiatives that the Senate Democratic Conference unveiled earlier this session called the “Clean Up Albany” legislative package. These initiatives would have helped restore the public’s trust in state government by restricting outside income, barring elected officials from using campaign funds for criminal defense and personal use and reforming how campaigns are funded and how campaign funds can be utilized.

For more information about the Clean Up Albany package, please visit: https://www.scribd.com/doc/255205271/Senate-Democratic-Conference-Introduce-The-Clean-Up-Albany-Legislative-Package.

Senate Democratic Conference Renews Push To Close The LLC Loophole

 

 

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference will announce a renewed effort to close the LLC Loophole.

 

 

WHO:                         Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

                                    Bill Sponsor, Senator Daniel Squadron

Members of the New York State Senate Democratic Conference

Assemblymembers Brian Kavanagh and Jo Anne Simon

DeNora Getachew, Brennan Center for Justice.

Jessica Wisneski, Citizen Action

Peggy Farber, Citizens Union

Lauren George, Common Cause

Laura Ladd Bierman, League of Women Voters

Russ Haven, NYPIRG

Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Public Citizen

 

WHEN:                      Monday, April 27, 2015, at 11:30 AM

 

WHERE:                   Senate Democratic Conference Room, Room 315 Capitol, Albany

 

 

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

“Rushing to implement a new teacher evaluation system would be misguided. We’ve been down this road before and we’ve seen where faulty and fast implementation of poorly conceived education changes leads. Demonizing teachers, over-testing students and rushing major reforms will not improve our education system, it will only cause more problems. Delaying the implementation of this new teacher evaluation system is the minimum step that should be taken.”

BACKGROUND

  • Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins spoke out against the rushed-through education system changes that were included in the 2015-2016 State Budget. Floor remarks on the education section of the 2015-2016 State Budget: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA5DqgI7nso

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

“By voting down legislation to create the Office of Special Investigation, the Senate Republicans demonstrated that they do not believe reforms are needed to ensure all New Yorkers, regardless of age, race or gender, are treated with respect and equality. The fight to reform the state criminal justice system is not over, and we will continue our efforts to ensure every New Yorker feels safe, secure and protected.”

BACKGROUND:

  • Senate Bill S.2180 would have created the Office of Special Investigation within the Attorney General’s Office. This office would have automatically reviewed any death of an unarmed civilian in a police interaction. Additionally, New Yorkers will be able to petition this office to take over investigations in special circumstances.
  • This initiative was announced in December 2014, as part of the Senate Democratic Conference’s push to reform the state’s criminal justice system.

o   12.09.14 Criminal Justice Reform Release

https://www.scribd.com/doc/249784842/12-09-14-Criminal-Justice-Reform-Legislation-Release

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

 

“It’s seems everyday a new Albany scandal rocks New Yorkers’ confidence in our state government. The Senate Democratic Conference has outlined a series of common sense measures, including closing the LLC loophole, that will restore the people’s faith in state government by cleaning up Albany.  I am disappointed that efforts to close the LLC loophole continue to be blocked  and I hope with the remaining time left in session we can finally close this glaring loophole and pass real ethics reforms.”

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

  • 03.31.15 – Senate Republican Majority Votes Against Meaningful Ethics Reforms Legislation: Democratic Conference Members Offered Initiative to Close LLC Loophole and Clean Up Albany

https://www.scribd.com/doc/260533980/Senate-Republican-Majority-Votes-Against-Meaningful-Ethics-Reforms-Legislation

 

  • 02.09.15 – Senate Democratic Conference Introduces The “Clean Up Albany” Legislative Package

https://www.scribd.com/doc/255205271/Senate-Democratic-Conference-Introduce-The-Clean-Up-Albany-Legislative-Package

  • 05.06.14 – Senate Democratic Conference Urges Immediate Action On Tough Ethics Package

https://www.scribd.com/doc/222382517/05-06-14-Ethics-Reform-Bill-Package-Release

(April 6, 2015)  New York State’s new fiscal year began April 1st with the 2015-2016 State budget in place. The $142 billion spending plan increases state spending by 2% over last year and includes $23.5 billion in education aid–an increase of $1.3 billion. The state also continues to make strides in reducing the Gap Elimination Adjustment. There are new initiatives, including $1.6 billion to provide basic health coverage for low-income New Yorkers, and important funding (detailed below) that will have a positive impact on constituents and municipalities in the 35th District.

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins voted for a majority of the budget bills but articulated her concerns about the education bill that also included legislative ethics reforms. In particular, Senator Stewart-Cousins questioned the rushed implementation of a new teacher evaluation policy that will increasingly rely on student test scores and will not include important factors such as overcrowded and underfunded classrooms in high-needs school districts like Yonkers.

We failed to address the inequality in how schools are funded; instead of using comprehensive, bottom-up approaches, the enacted state budget once again relies on the State Education Department and a quick testing fix,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins during remarks on the Senate floor.

(Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHg8nQOswYs)

In regard to legislative ethics reforms, the Senator said the final deal fell short. The Senate Democratic Conference put forth several proposals that would, among other things, restrict legislators’ outside income, end taxpayer-funded reimbursements for legal defense expenses, and close campaign finance loopholes and enact campaign finance reform.  The final budget agreement left those provisions out.

On a positive note, the enacted budget does include funding to help municipalities with infrastructure improvements, as well as $900 million for the new Tappan Zee Bridge project in Tarrytown and $400 million to keep the tolls on the Thruway and the new bridge as low as possible. There is money for affordable housing, economic development, nonprofits, and student loan relief. However, other items that were glaringly absent from the final budget include property tax relief, paid family leave, raising the age of criminal responsibility, the Dream Act and increasing the minimum wage indexed to inflation.

“Hard working New Yorkers should not be forced to struggle to support themselves and their families if they work one or more full-time jobs,” the Senator said. “Unfortunately, the state minimum wage remains too low to effectively lift the over one million struggling New Yorkers out of poverty,” she continued.

This year, Senator Stewart-Cousins called for more voices to be included in the budget negotiations– beyond the traditional ‘three men in room’. The Senate Democratic Conference consists of 25 members, including Leader Stewart-Cousins (the first female legislative conference leader in the state) and represents 8 million New Yorkers. In addition to opening up the process, she called for more transparency around the budget in general.

“We simply rushed bills to print and then to floor with little or no real public debate or input,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “In spite of all of the self-congratulations in this legislative chamber for passage of an on-time budget–which I know is important to accomplish–we also need to recognize there is still a lot of work to do.”

HERE ARE SOME OF THE 2015-16 ENACTED BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS:

2015-16  SCHOOL AID        TOTAL                INCREASE

YONKERS

  $262,028,665

$19.6 million

WHITE PLAINS

$22,618,997

$1.9 million

NEW ROCHELLE

$40,363,572

$3.9 million

SCARSDALE

$6,407,700

$477,721

In Greenburgh, there are eight school districts, with a combined school aid amount of $40,885,287 for Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Edgemont, Elmsford, Greenburgh Central, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington, and Tarrytown.

HIGHER EDUCATION

  • Student loan support for New York state residents with the “Get on your Feet” program to help supplement federal Pay as You Earn (PAYE)

SPECIAL ACT SCHOOLS

  • $25 million in a Capital Facilities Financing Reserve Fund for the State Dormitory Authority

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  • $150 million for the Regional Economic Development Councils for regional priority projects and $70 million in State tax credits for a fifth round of awards

  • $1 million for the MWBE Development and Lending Program

URBAN YOUTH JOBS PROGRAM (previously Youth Works)

  • $10 million addition, for total program support of $20 million statewide in tax credits for participating communities–including Yonkers, White Plains, New Rochelle–to support the hiring of at-risk youths in targeted areas of high youth unemployment

TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE/THRUWAY TOLLS FUNDING

  • $900 million in capital funds for the construction project on the new New York Bridge

  • $400 million to the Thruway Authority to stabilize tolls and prevent increase

EXTREME WEATHER RECOVERY

  • $50 million to help localities repair bridges and roads following the past extreme winter weather

ENVIRONMENT

  • $177 million to the Environmental Protection Fund

  • $200 million to Water Resources

HEALTH CARE

  • Basic Health Plan: $1.6 billion. This new initiative allows the state to offer public health insurance to people whose income is too high to qualify for Medicaid but below 200% of the federal poverty level

2-1-1 New York:  $1.25 million, including funding to qualified regional collaborators

New York State Alliance of YMCAs: $500,000

Jawonio, Inc.: $350,000 (includes a Yonkers location) for people with developmental disabilities

ALS Association–Greater New York Chapter: $250,000 for services and expenses

Legal Services of the Hudson Valley Veterans and Military Families Advocacy Project:  

$200,000 under the Division of Veterans’ Affairs Aid to Localities

SPECIAL INFRASTRUCTURE ACCOUNT

  • $150 million for municipal restructuring to consolidate services, with payments to local governments and school districts

  • $355 million for essential health care providers for debt retirement, capital projects and non-capital projects that facilitate transformation including mergers, consolidation, and restructuring

TRANSPORTATION:

  • $1 billion for significant repairs of the state’s roads and bridges

  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority: $750 million for the 2015-19 Capital Program. The Democratic Conference encourages the State to provide a mechanism to eliminate the MTA’s deficit, whether through increased aid or other means, in order to ensure the State’s prosperity.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

  • $477 million, includes the investment of $439 million in bank settlement funds to support various programs, including $50 million for new middle-income housing and renovation of existing Mitchell-Lama housing developments, and to support mortgage assistance and other programs targeted to the disabled, seniors, and veterans

NEW NONPROFIT CAPITAL INVESTMENT PROGRAM

  • This $50 million program will make targeted investments with nonprofit, human service organizations across the state on a competitive grant basis. These agencies provide direct services through state contracts, state authorized payments and/or state payment rates.

KINSHIP CARE:    $1 million

HEROIN ADDICTION & TREATMENT

  • $1 million in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services funding for heroin abuse treatment and prevention programs

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS DELIVERS FINAL 

REMARKS BEFORE SENATE PASSES 2015-16 STATE BUDGET

“What happened in this budget, and the story of this budget, is more of a story of who was included, who was left out, and its also more of a story of what didn’t happen as opposed to what did. We failed to raise the minimum wage that would’ve lifted thousands of New Yorkers out of poverty. We failed to provide desperately needed property tax relief for homeowners and business owners across New York State. Yet, we gave tax breaks to yacht owners and airplane owners. We failed to deliver relief for renters and provide adequate funding for affordable housing. We failed to address the inequality in how we fund our schools, and instead of using comprehensive, bottom-up approaches, we once again rely on SED (State Education Dept) and a quick testing fix (for new teacher evaluation policy). We haven’t gone far enough to ensure that every child has the opportunity to access quality, affordable higher education. We failed to pass the Dream Act. Scandal after scandal has rocked Albany, yet we failed to pass a meaningful ethics package that would’ve gotten to the heart of the problem.We didn’t include paid family leave or raise the age (of criminal responsibility) legislation. And we even failed to provide the transparency and openness that the public deserves when we deal with such a massive undertaking. We simply rushed bills to print and then to floor with little or no real public debate or input. While we pat ourselves on the back for an on-time budget, in this chamber at least – and I know its important – we also need to recognize there is still a lot of work to do.”

Listen and view full remarks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLmiTwEyhoQ&feature=youtu.be

Senate Republicans Vote To Hold School Aid Hostage.

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today brought legislation to the Senate floor that would have prevented the state’s school aid from being held hostage by decoupling it from teacher evaluation policy. The Senate Republican Majority voted down this measure.

“State government should never play politics with our students’ education and yet that is exactly what has been happening during state budget negotiations,” Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “Linking education spending with teacher evaluations is a cynical maneuver that jeopardizes struggling school districts throughout New York State. All New York students deserve a high quality education and I am disappointed that the Senate Republicans voted against this initiative.”

 

Legislation advanced by the Senate Democratic Conference would have blocked efforts to link state education aid disbursements with the implementation of a new teacher evaluation policy. This initiative would have ensured that New York public schools received the state funds they need without being required to implement a controversial, untested evaluation system.

Bill sponsor, Senator George Latimer, said, “It is simply wrong to use our children’s education and their future as a political bargaining chip. Our education system needs real reforms that are worked out with the inclusion and support of stakeholders, rather than political actions that only serve to demonize teachers and don’t improve the quality of our public schools. We need real cooperation across the aisle, not partisan gamesmanship.”

Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

“As more and more items are being removed from this year’s State Budget, I am especially concerned that efforts to increase the minimum wage seemed to have stalled. Now is the time to help the hard working men and women who are struggling because of our already inadequately low minimum wage. We cannot miss another opportunity to help lift over 1.1 million New Yorkers out of poverty, and finally pass a meaningful minimum wage increase with indexing.”

Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

“As more and more items are being removed from this year’s State Budget, I am especially concerned that efforts to increase the minimum wage seemed to have stalled. Now is the time to help the hard working men and women who are struggling because of our already inadequately low minimum wage. We cannot miss another opportunity to help lift over 1.1 million New Yorkers out of poverty, and finally pass a meaningful minimum wage increase with indexing.

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins On Education Funding.

“Funding for New York State schools should not be held hostage due to the ongoing debate over how best to reform our education system. Our state’s students need help and we have a responsibility to ensure their schools are provided necessary funding immediately. Any delays or excuses to avoid adequate funding will simply hurt our students and that is unacceptable.”

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins On Education.

“As discussions regarding a commission to reform New York’s education system continue and details begin emerge, it is becoming clear that this potential commission is unworkable. Any commission created to review and amend our education system must be balanced and include representation from all stakeholders, not simply a select few. The priorities of this commission should be to improve the quality of education our students receive, and not simply continue the demonization of teachers.”

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS RELEASES 2015-16 STATE BUDGET PRIORITIES.

requests $2 Billion Increase in Education Funding.

 

(March 18, 2015) Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and her Senate colleagues have released their 2015-16 State Budget priorities. The priorities include:  adding another $2 billion in funding for education;  increasing the minimum wage; creating more affordable housing and job opportunities through capital projects; increasing aid to local municipalities to help reduce property taxes; increased funding for EPIC, the prescription drug plan for seniors, and for kinship care. The list of priorities, in the form of a budget letter to the republican Senate Majority Leader, also includes provisions for the $5.1 billion in settlement funds available for one-time investments this year, including $75 million in zero interest loans for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project.

 

“The budget priorities outlined by the Senate Democrats reflect our view of our state’s most important needs, including adequately funding our education system and not linking policy reforms to critical funding,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “We have two weeks to put together a budget that works for all New Yorkers.”

 

Priorities that specifically relate to the 35th District include:

 

  • A $2 BILLION INCREASE IN EDUCATION FUNDING:

The Enacted Budget must address adequate funding from universal pre-k to college, with increases first targeting high-needs districts including Yonkers, which the Senator pointed out in her remarks on the Senate floor Thursday, has requested an additional $89 million to maintain the status quo.  

  • Increase funding by 4.8% for Special Act School Districts that instruct our most vulnerable students, include tuition indexing for Special Act Schools and 853 schools

  • fund Library Aid at the 2010 Census level and increase construction funds by $14 million

 

  • LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE INCLUDING TAX CAP EXEMPTIONS:

The Democratic Conference agrees with the Executive’s proposals to increase AIM funding by 10% for local governments with the greatest needs; and proposes:

  • Exempting capital equipment purchases and capital projects from the tax cap, giving local governments more flexibility to invest in local infrastructure;

  • Restore VLT Impact Aid (Video Lottery Terminals at Empire City at Yonkers Raceway);

  • Provide $50 million for Body Cameras program that would reimburse local and State law enforcement agencies for their purchase

 

  • TAX RELIEF:

  • amend the existing NYS Real Property Tax Law for school districts like Greenburgh Central that are experiencing issues of incongruent property valuations, to establish a special equalization rate for the purpose of determining its State operating and building aid

  • MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE:

    • including $900 million from $5.1 billion settlement funds for Low Wage Worker Stimulus as outlined in Senate Democrats’ Fair New York Plan

    • indexing increase to the Consumer Price Index

 

  • ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:

    • Provide $1.5 billion in new capital funding for infrastructure to promote jobs and economic development statewide without competitive strings attached

 

  • AFFORDABLE HOUSING:

    • Fully fund New York “Mixed Income” Housing Program – $400 million

    • Fully fund State Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Housing Trust Fund, Affordable Home Ownership Development, and Urban Initiatives Program –

$250 million

 

  • SENIORS:

  • Include $126.5 million for the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) Program

  • KINSHIP CARE:

    • Increase Kinship Caregiver/ Navigator program funding by $1 million

 

  • HIGHER EDUCATION:

    • Increase the maximum TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) award to $6,500, raise the income eligibility and reinstate Graduate TAP

    • Approve the DREAM ACT

  

  • TRANSPORTATION:

    • Increase funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program by using $200 million of bank settlement proceeds to make a significant impact on local road and bridge capital needs;

    • Provide funding for the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, as well as for the Tappan Zee Bridge’s Bus Rapid Transit service to provide the Lower Hudson Valley with affordable, environmentally-friendly transit opportunities;

 

  • VETERANS:

    • fund female veterans homelessness prevention, and employment assistance initiatives

    • Increase funding for Veterans’ Regional Advocacy centers by $1 million;

 

*Links to:

Senator Stewart-Cousins’ Budget Remarks: http://www.nysenate.gov/video/2015/mar/12/leader-stewart-cousins-remarks-2015-16-senate-budget-resolution

Senate Democratic Conference Budget Request Letter:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/258250919/Senate-Democratic-Conference-Budget-Request-Letter

 

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS RELEASES 2015-16 STATE BUDGET PRIORITIES

requests $2 Billion Increase in Education Funding

(March 18, 2015) Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and her Senate colleagues have released their 2015-16 State Budget priorities. The priorities include:  adding another $2 billion in funding for education;  increasing the minimum wage; creating more affordable housing and job opportunities through capital projects; increasing aid to local municipalities to help reduce property taxes; increased funding for EPIC, the prescription drug plan for seniors, and for kinship care. The list of priorities, in the form of a budget letter to the republican Senate Majority Leader, also includes provisions for the $5.1 billion in settlement funds available for one-time investments this year, including more than $1 billion for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project.

“The budget priorities outlined by the Senate Democrats reflect our view of our state’s most important needs, including adequately funding our education system and not linking policy reforms to critical funding,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “We have two weeks to put together a budget that works for all New Yorkers.”

Priorities that specifically relate to the 35th District include:

  • A $2 BILLION INCREASE IN EDUCATION FUNDING:

The Enacted Budget must address adequate funding from universal pre-k to college, with increases first targeting high-needs districts including Yonkers, which the Senator pointed out in her remarks on the Senate floor Thursday, has requested an additional $89 million to maintain the status quo.

  • Increase funding by 4.8% for Special Act School Districts that instruct our most vulnerable students, include tuition indexing for Special Act Schools and 853 schools
  • fund Library Aid at the 2010 Census level and increase construction funds by $14 million
  • LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE INCLUDING TAX CAP EXEMPTIONS:

The Democratic Conference agrees with the Executive’s proposals to increase AIM funding by 10% for local governments with the greatest needs; and proposes:

  • Exempting capital equipment purchases and capital projects from the tax cap, giving local governments more flexibility to invest in local infrastructure;
  • Restore VLT Impact Aid (Video Lottery Terminals at Empire City at Yonkers Raceway);
  • Provide $50 million for Body Cameras program that would reimburse local and State law enforcement agencies for their purchase
  • TAX RELIEF:
  • amend the existing NYS Real Property Tax Law for school districts like Greenburgh Central that are experiencing issues of incongruent property valuations, to establish a special equalization rate for the purpose of determining its State operating and building aid
  • MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE:
    • including $900 million from $5.1 billion settlement funds for Low Wage Worker Stimulus as outlined in Senate Democrats’ Fair New York Plan
    • indexing increase to the Consumer Price Index
  • ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:
  • Provide $1.5 billion in new capital funding for infrastructure to promote jobs and economic development statewide without competitive strings attached
  • AFFORDABLE HOUSING:
  • Fully fund New York “Mixed Income” Housing Program – $400 million
    • Fully fund State Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Housing Trust Fund, Affordable Home Ownership Development, and Urban Initiatives Program –

$250 million

  • SENIORS:
  • Include $126.5 million for the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) Program
  • KINSHIP CARE:
  • Increase Kinship Caregiver/ Navigator program funding by $1 million
  • HIGHER EDUCATION:
    • Increase the maximum TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) award to $6,500, raise the income eligibility and reinstate Graduate TAP
    • Approve the DREAM ACT

  

  • TRANSPORTATION:
  • Increase funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program by using $200 million of bank settlement proceeds to make a significant impact on local road and bridge capital needs;
  • Provide funding for the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, as well as for the Tappan Zee Bridge’s Bus Rapid Transit service to provide the Lower Hudson Valley with affordable, environmentally-friendly transit opportunities;
  • VETERANS:
  • fund female veterans homelessness prevention, and employment assistance initiatives
  • Increase funding for Veterans’ Regional Advocacy centers by $1 million;

*Links to:

Senator Stewart-Cousins’ Budget Remarks: http://www.nysenate.gov/video/2015/mar/12/leader-stewart-cousins-remarks-2015-16-senate-budget-resolution

Senate Democratic Conference Budget Request Letter:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/258250919/Senate-Democratic-Conference-Budget-Request-Letter

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Paid Family Leave

“I commend the Assembly for passing the Paid Family Leave Act. The Senate Democratic Conference has long supported this legislation that would provide the most help to New York Families. Those who provide care for a sick loved one or give a newborn baby the care, time and attention prescribed by doctors should never be punished for doing the right thing. The Senate Democratic Conference remains committed to building a stronger economy by helping our hardworking families and will continue to lead the way on paid family leave.”

Senate Democratic Conference Outlines Budget Requests

 

Question Governor’s budget approach while continuing to push for a more fair and economically prosperous New York-Including additional 2 billion in school aid and higher minimum wage indexed to inflation

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference have outlined their budget requests for the state’s 2015-2016 budget following analysis of the Governor’s Executive Budget and testimonies provided by various stakeholders during the Joint Legislative Budget Hearings. The outline highlights their strong concerns over the Governor’s attempt to force policies through an appropriation bill and reiterates that such policies, many of which are supported including their ethics reform measures, should be passed separately and immediately. The Democratic Conference’s requests focus on many important fiscal issues such as adequately funding public education, indexing the minimum wage to lift thousands of New Yorkers out of poverty, passing the Dream Act and providing localities funding for police body cameras.

The Senate Democratic Conference’s budget requests would create greater opportunities for all New Yorkers and move our state’s economy forward by addressing many critical areas that include:

Education: The Budget must recognize and adequately address issues regarding education funding, from universal pre-kindergarten through college. Early investment in our youngest New Yorkers pays dividends not just in the education realm, but also in concrete economic, social, and cultural terms. Teachers cannot be made scapegoats for the ills of our education system. The timely creation of an education redesign team comprised of all stakeholders is the best way to discuss and bring about real reforms to better all students. The overall State Aid proposal should provide an increase to Foundation Aid and address the harmful effects created by the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). The increases should first target high-need urban, suburban, and high-need rural school districts. Specific increases for the Big Five city school districts also are necessary this fiscal year. Our Conference recommends the following:

  • Include $2 billion in additional funding for the overall education budget;
    • Increase funding by 4.8% for Special Act School Districts that instruct our most vulnerable students, include tuition indexing for Special Act Schools and 853 schools;
    • Provide additional funds for school districts with an increasing number of unaccompanied minors and require the State Education Department to ensure that those students are receiving appropriate services;
    • Restore $40 million in funding for the Teacher Centers;
    • Increase Adult Literacy funds by $10 million.

Labor & Workforce:

It is critical for the Enacted Budget to address properly the needs of public and private sector employees. While the State’s unemployment rate has dropped, the State must pay additional attention to keeping and preserving good paying jobs, supporting critical workforce training, and promoting efficient public services that employ diligent public employees.

The Senate Democratic Conference has stood by the right for fair pay and understands the importance of raising the minimum wage for the lowest wage earners. We believe the proposed minimum wage increase is to be applauded but that the Executive Budget should go a step further by providing yearly increases indexed to inflation, as well as local control. Until the Governor’s minimum wage proposals are accepted and implemented, our Fair New York plan can serve as a bridge between the current minimum wage and the anticipated increase. These additional measures will ensure that the minimum wage truly meets the needs of New York’s wage earners. Our Conference rejects the continued efforts to undermine the competitive civil service system using temporary, non-competitive positions to handle critical state services. The Senate Democratic Conference recommends the following:

  • Add to the Governor’s minimum wage proposal a yearly increase, indexed to the Consumer Price Index; and allow for local control;
  • Until the implementation of an increased minimum wage occurs, include $900 million from the settlement monies to fund the Low Wage Worker Stimulus. This measure would provide tax relief to working New Yorkers;
  • Increase the Department of Labor’s budget by $20 million to address wage theft;
  • Restore $12.6 million in labor initiatives and training programs cut in the Executive Budget;
  • Eliminate the authority to hire provisional, non-competitive civil service employees in the Office of Information Technology Services and Department of Health;
  • Ensure that all current Management/Confidential titles are covered by the M/C pay parity proposal.

 

Ethics: It has become clear that now, more than ever, the State government must work towards restoring the public’s faith in its government. A system of full public financing of election campaigns would help to level the playing field for those who wish to run for public office, but otherwise could not afford it. The Senate Democratic Conference has always understood the importance of ethics reform, and in the past, has introduced some of the most aggressive policies to date . Enacting reforms appropriately to be considered in the budget process would have a tremendous impact in restoring the public’s trust in our state government.

Economic Development: Micro, small, and medium businesses are major components of the local, state, and national economy. As New York moves forward in its economic recovery, it is vital that we support those innovators and entrepreneurs. To help accomplish that objective, any budget proposal should:

  • Provide $1.5 billion in new capital funding for infrastructure to promote jobs and economic development statewide without competitive strings attached;
  • Support $110 million in capital funding for a new round of NYSUNY 2020 and NYCUNY 2020 grants, including $55 million for each university system;
  • Direct $50 million in new funding for the Small Business Revolving Loan Fund, targeted to businesses that have had difficulty accessing regular credit markets and offers regular and micro-loans pursuant to the need;
  • Increase funds by $5 million for the Minority- and Women-Owned Business Development and Lending Program, which is administered by Empire State Development;
  • Provide increased funding to promote the goal of ensuring that every New Yorker has access to high-speed broadband service, including underserved and unserved communities in both urban and rural areas; and
  • Provide $50 million for Community Development Financial Institutions program, to provide credit, banking services, and investment capital, that are vital to the revitalization of low and moderate income communities and neighborhoods throughout the state, while leveraging federal and other banking investments.

 

Health:

The 2015-16 Executive Budget provides $2.8 billion in capital funding for the Health Care Facility Transformation Program. Within this capital appropriation is $1.9 billion for the transformation of health delivery in Kings County, Oneida County, and essential health care providers in defined and isolated geographic regions of the state. Selection of the projects and distribution of these funds would be at the sole discretion of the Commissioner of Health.

The final budget should amend the Executive Budget language to ensure an allocation of $700 million in capital dollars for Kings County health care transformation. Furthermore the Enacted Budget must ensure the allocation of $1.2 billion in capital funding from the 2014-15 Enacted Budget to improve the financial viability and increased efficiency of healthcare institutions through infrastructure improvements in Brooklyn, and in communities throughout the State. The Senate Democratic Conference recommends the following:

  • The following proposals should be immediately rejected:

o   To consolidate 41 public health programs into 5 appropriation pools. In addition, the budget should restore all 41 programs to the 2014-15 Enacted levels and provide an additional $21.3 million in funding;

o   Article VII language that would eliminate the requirement for the Department of Health to conduct audits of hospital residents working hours;

o   To eliminate the physician profile website;

o   To reduce the Medicare Part B and Part C cost sharing amounts; and

o   Eliminate the spousal refusal Article VII language.

o   To make permanent the Medicaid Global cap, rather it should be extended for two years;

  • The Budget should reappropriate $1.2 billion for the Capital Restructuring Refinance Program;
  • The Budget should provide funding for programs including:

o   Community Health Advocates, $5 million;

o   Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program, $1.96 million;

o   American Red Cross, $3.3 million;

o   End of AIDS taskforce recommendations, $17 million for implementation;

o   Increase $2 million for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity; and

o   Increase $17 million for Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance.

 

Higher Education

New York’s public higher education institutions are increasingly dependent upon tuition revenue. The loss of state tax dollar support forces CUNY and SUNY to compete in an unfair environment for faculty, research dollars and other resources. It is unjustifiable to further burden vital state universities by instituting a program that would withhold 10% of base aid to force improvements already taking place. We should be investing in these valuable institutions. The Endowment Fund for Higher Education is an unprecedented investment in the future of the higher education sector, and could be used to address the needs of colleges and their students without harmful ramifications. We should take this opportunity to support our students and colleges to ensure the future of New York State. The Senate Democratic Conference recommends the following:

  • Create the Endowment Fund for Higher Education using $300 million of the settlement funds for student financial assistance, providing academic and financial advising, offering required courses, child care and elder care services, developing programs to address student loan debt, hiring full-time faculty, and various other uses;
  • Reject performance-based funding language from the CUNY and SUNY appropriations;
  • Approve the DREAM Act;
  • Increase College Base Aid by $250 per FTE for both CUNY and SUNY community colleges;
  • Increase the maximum TAP award to $6,500, and reinstate Graduate TAP;
  • Increase critical maintenance by $181 million for CUNY and $400 million for SUNY over the next five years;
  • Restore $18.6 million in legislative addition to SUNY hospital funding; and
  • Increase CUNY rental aid by $2.9 million.

 

Human Services: The human services budget should address the needs of New York’s most vulnerable citizens and reflect that reality. With that principle in mind, the Senate Democratic Conference would recommend the following:

Aging

  • Increase funding by $21 million for the Community Services for the Elderly Program that provides non-medical community-based services to frail, low-income seniors to help them remain in their homes. There are currently over 7,000 seniors awaiting services across the state;
  • Increase the New York State SSI rate by $5 per day and provide a commensurate increase in the Personal Needs Allowance for residents of Adult Care Facilities;
  • Restore $1.1 million for the following senior programs that have been eliminated:
  • Include:
    • $8.2 million for the NY Connects Program; and
    • $126.5 million for the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program.

Social Services

  • Include:
    • $17.3 million for the Advantage Afterschool Program;
    • $794 million for child care subsidies;
    • $30 million for the Summer Youth Employment Program;
      • an additional $19.3 million in funding to allow for an extra 10,000 program slots to meet demand;
    • A 2% cost of living adjustment increase for foster care and adoptive parents, direct care, direct care support workers, and clinical staff.
    • $635 million for Child Welfare Services;
    • $275,000 for employment training for the legally blind;
    • $20 million for the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies;
    • $12.1 million for Community Optional Prevention Services (COPS);
    • $27 million of the JP Morgan settlement funds to cover a portion of the costs for the cap on rent for individuals diagnosed with HIV or AIDS who are receiving housing assistance or emergency shelter aid, up to 30% of household income; and
    • $25 million for the New York State Office for New Americans
  • Increase:
    • $3 million for Settlement Houses;
    • Funding for Runaway and Homeless Youth Assistance (RHYA) by $2.4 million for use in providing additional shelter beds, long-term transitional living beds, and support services;
    • Funding by $3 million for the Nurse Family Partnership Program;
    • Funding by $14 million for the Pay for Success Program specific to the Nurse Family Partnership Initiative; and
    • Kinship Caregiver/ Navigator program funding by $1 million.
  • Restore
    • $28.2 million in funding for TANF Initiatives;
    • Funding of $1.3 million for the Youth Development Program; and
    • Funding for Safe Harbor Programs.
  • Fully reimburse federally funded Emergency Assistance for Families.

 

Mental Hygiene:

The Executive Budget continues to build on the transformation of service delivery that began as part of the 2014-15 Enacted Budget and proposes to reduce the number of beds in State operated facilities and transfer those savings into community based services throughout New York State. The 2015-16 Enacted Budget should ensure that all savings achieved through the reduction of beds at State operated facilities be reinvested into community based services for mental hygiene agencies. The Senate Democratic Conference recommends the following:

  • Include an additional $10 million for public education and awareness, treatment, prevention, and residential programs targeted at heroin or opiate abuse;
  • Include $5 million for comprehensive problem gambling prevention initiatives.; and
  • Extend for one year the Article VII language authorizing facility directors of State operated facilities to use patient funds to pay for treatment and care costs.

 

General Government & Local Assistance:

A strong and enduring partnership between cities, towns and state government is essential to a healthy and expanding economy. It gives local governments the ability to provide world-class education and municipal services, and ensures safe streets and neighborhoods. This type of partnership is extremely necessary to assist local governments in maintaining local roads and vital infrastructure fundamental to our state’s economic success and competitiveness.

The following budgetary considerations would provide cities and towns with much needed funds to deliver vital services that are critical to our overall economic growth, and would ensure that today’s municipal overreliance on the property tax will not deepen:

  • Increase AIM by 10% for local governments with the greatest needs;
  • Provide further AIM assistance to those localities that meet the challenge to consolidate costs and improve local efficiencies in the coming years;
  • Exempt capital equipment purchases and capital projects from the tax cap, giving local governments more flexibility to invest in local infrastructure;
  • Repurpose the $150 million appropriation (Special Infrastructure Account) for municipal restructuring for local government assistance statewide and reimbursing municipalities for prior year consolidation and or shared service agreements;
  • Restore VLT Impact Aid;
  • Restore $ 2 million to Community Dispute Resolution Centers;
  • Provide $50 million for Body Cameras program that would reimburse local and State law enforcement agencies for their purchase.
  • Provide $300 million for the Capital Infrastructure Bank program that would provide funding for major capital investments not otherwise covered by State programs.

 

Public Protection:

The Executive Budget proposes to raise the age of adult criminal responsibility to 18 years of age to provide appropriate treatment to minors charged with crimes.  The Enacted Budget must include language explaining how this provision will be efficiently implemented. The Office of Court Administration needs funding to implement the provisions of the “Raise the Age” campaign. Additionally, this Conference recommends the following:

  • Provide additional monies from the OILS Account to cover all counties for indigent counsel at arraignment and possibly fund the Defenders Association;
  • Increase funding by 5.5% for Domestic Violence Centers to cover increased costs;
  • Include funding to restore existing Alternative to Incarceration program cuts and increase funding for culturally sensitive community based and other youth engagement programs; and
  • Include additional monies Prisoners Legal Services.

 

 

Housing:

Access to supportive housing and Affordable Housing is the most successful and cost-effective solution to ending homelessness. At this time, the number of homeless families and single individuals has increased at an alarming rate in the city of New York. As primarily outlined in our surplus/ settlement fund proposal, the Senate Democratic Conference wants to take action on this issue and propose the following:

  • Increase funding for NY/NY IV by $540 million to build an additional 30,000 new housing units for low income New Yorkers, HIV/AIDS rent cap, substance abuse, and mental hygiene programs;
  • Fully fund New York “Mixed Income” Housing Program in the amount of $400 million for affordable housing for households;
  • Provide $100 million in additional funding to provide legal counsel for indigent New Yorkers in housing court;
  • Ensure that the Office of Rent Administration and the Tenant Protection Unit receives additional operating funding; $15 million to ORA with an understanding that $5 Million goes to TPU;
  • Provide additional state support in the amount of $400 million for New York City Housing Authority to make repairs;
  • Include $50 million for the Middle Income Repairs and Revitalization program in New York State; and
  • Fully fund State Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Housing Trust Fund, Affordable Home Ownership Development, and Urban Initiatives Program at $250 million to build, acquire/rehabilitate or improve homes for low and moderate income families and provide grants to construct or renovate low-income housing preservation and community renewal activities in distressed neighborhoods.

 

Agriculture & Environment:

Sewage and wastewater treatment facilities in New York State are deteriorating. Almost all of New York’s residents rely on these facilities to treat sewage and wastewater from their homes and businesses. Treating wastewater adequately is essential for public health and economic development. This issue is of extreme importance to the Senate Democratic Conference. Consistent with our surplus/settlement proposal, we would:

  • Fully support the addition of $800 million in capital funding for clean water and wastewater infrastructure projects;
  • Reject the proposed $36 million transfer of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative proceeds to the General Fund;
  • Utilize increased Real Estate Transfer Tax revenue to fully fund the Environmental Protection Fund;
  • Extend and reform the Brownfield program;
  • Fully restore funding for Centers of Excellence in Children’s Environmental Health;
  • Fully restore and adequately fund Aid to Localities agricultural programs;
  • Increase capital funding for farmland protection by $150 million; and
  • Fully fund Urban Parks and Park Improvements at $125 million to improve the quality of green spaces in densely populated neighborhoods where park access and safe, modern amenities are often sparse.

 

Taxes and Revenue: The US and New York State economies have continued to recover from the “Great Recession.” However, real wage growth still has been relatively weak both in the nation and the state. Furthermore, continuing long-term trends, fundamental components of maintaining an acceptable middle class standard of living such as quality health care and higher education are becoming increasingly unaffordable or unattainable. We strongly believe it is vital that working families across all regions of the state obtain concrete and immediate tax relief in the 2015-16 State Budget. Our recommendations regarding State taxes and revenue include:

  • Support reform of NYC corporate taxes in the Executive Revenue Bill (S.2009, Part QQ) as proposed by Mayor DeBlasio; Support inclusion of the Real Property Tax Relief Credit (“Circuit Breaker”) with the following modifications:
    •  Increase the maximum renter’s credit to $750 upstate and to $1000 for downstate regions;
  • Increase the rent equivalent tax percentage from 13.75% to 20%;
  • Review all existing State tax expenditures in order to determine if they are not economically efficient and directly promote job and wage growth; and
  • Amend the existing NYS Real Property Tax Law for school districts experiencing issues of incongruent property valuations to establish a special equalization rate for the purpose of determining its State operating and building aid.

 

Transportation:

Capital expenditures in transportation have a tremendous economic multiplier effect and the existence of adequate critical infrastructure serves as an economic driver. This year’s budget shows that significant investments are required to finance transportation agencies and infrastructure. In addition to supplementary funding for these Capital Plans, the Democratic Conference puts forth the following budgetary and legislative recommendations:

  • Increase funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program by using $200 million of bank settlement proceeds to make a significant impact on local road and bridge capital needs;
  • Provide $200 million for deficient bridge emergency repair to assist with remedying the many structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges;
  • Renew and increase the Extreme Weather Program, to $100 million for local government assistance;
  • Dedicate $20 million of federal highway funding for bike and pedestrian infrastructure, providing consistency for the Transportation Alternatives Program that DOT has in place;
  • Provide $175 million of the bank settlement proceeds to invest in non-MTA transit capital, addressing long-term needs. Permit non-MTA downstate operators to use their $17 million in “surplus” aid for a year-to-year increase in operating assistance to reflect inflationary growth;
  • Link upstate transit aid (PTOA) to a more reliable funding stream that adjusts to changing economic conditions;
  • Provide funding for the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, as well as for the Tappan Zee Bridge’s Bus Rapid Transit service to provide the Lower Hudson Valley with affordable, environmentally-friendly transit opportunities;
  • Oppose sweeps of the MMTOA fund, to increase MTA’s self-sufficiency and provide greater financing leverage, and reduce a portion of the state’s burden to assist in completing its five-year capital program;
  • Increase transparency in DOT Capital Plan and MOU process. The entire legislature should at the very least review the five-year capital plan and MOU before voting;
  • Restore the State’s historical contribution of $45 million for student fares; and
  • Fulfill the State’s promise to NYC to fund a 38% share of rehabilitation costs for roads and bridges and to fully reimburse $40 million for the costs of maintenance of State-owned arterial highways.

Veterans:

Providing service members and veterans of our armed forces with the services they need to live full and dignified lives is of the utmost importance. Ensuring that all of our veterans are housed, employed, and receiving the legal services they need should be top priorities. Therefore, our Conference recommends the following:

  • Fund female veterans homelessness prevention, and employment assistance initiatives;
  • Increase funding for Veterans’ Regional Advocacy centers by $1 million;
  • Fully fund the Defenders Association request for $3 million which includes $1 million for Defense of Veterans; and
  • Increase funding for the number of FTE Veteran Counselor positions to support returning veterans and ensuring benefit accessibility. The increased number of positions and new centers would ensure qualified veterans are able to receive appropriate documentation and referral services from Veteran Counselors which would include New York City in the program.

Senate Democratic Conference Budget Request Letter:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/258250919/Senate-Democratic-Conference-Budget-Request-Letter

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS ANNOUNCES ARTS GRANTS

 

(Yonkers- March 9, 2015) Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins announces that the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) through ArtsWestchester will distribute funding this month to local artists and organizations in the 35th State Senate District. The grant money was approved in the 2014 State Budget that Senator Stewart-Cousins voted for. ArtsWestchester accepted applications and will award 13 grants in the district, totalling $17,125,  for Arts Alive Projects and Individual Artists as well as Arts-in-Education programs.

 

“I remain a strong supporter of the arts, and these state grants are an important means of keeping and enabling vibrant culture at the grassroots level, whether its by displaying the work of local artists, providing cultural opportunities at festivals, or music at our libraries,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “ArtsWestchester vets local funding applications and is keeping the arts alive.”

 

Here are the projects in the 35th State Senate District that are receiving grants:

Town of Greenburgh Arts and Culture Committee                                      $1,000

Greenburgh Public Library, Cafe a las Siete/Coffee at Seven                        $1,500

Groundwork Hudson Valley, Yonkers, Street Art Youth Corp                                  $2,000

Hamm & Clov Stage Company, Inc., Yonkers, Hispanic Heritage Month Event      $2,625

Hudson Valley Singers, Ardsley, Outreach $1,000

Ukrainian Youth Center, Yonkers, Seniors Travel the World                         $2,000

New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence, Museum of Arts & Culture            $1,000

New Westchester Symphony Orchestra, Free Library Concert Series                    $1,000

OCA Westchester & Hudson Valley, Asian American Heritage Festival 2015         $1,000

Yonkers Downtown Business Improvement District, Outdoor Artists Showcase $1,000

Westchester Children’s Museum, White Plains, Museum without Walls $1,000

YOHO Artist Collective, Yonkers, 12th Annual YOHO Artists Open Studio             $1,000

Neighborhood House, Tarrytown,

Seniors Painting for Seniors, Strayhorn Centennial Project $1,000


Statement From Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

 

“As we discuss ways to clean up Albany and reform state government, a perfect ​place to start is the much maligned ​three/four men in a room​ budgetary​ ​process. ​In the past we had been led to believe that membership was based on constitutional roles and not simply the whims of the Governor​. Since​ membership​ has now been ​expanded I would hope all Legislative Conference Leaders will be ​included, ​giving all New Yorkers a voice in the budget. The more diversity and light we can shine on this process the better it is for everyone.”

Senate Democratic Conference Announces “Fair New York” Plan With Major Help For Minimum Wage Workers

 

Create Up to 20,000 Affordable Units of Housing, Over 150,000 Thousand Jobs and Rebuilds Crumbling Infrastructure

 

(Albany, NY) — Leading up to budget negotiations, the Senate Democratic Conference today urged the state to act on “Fair New York,” an investment plan for the state’s projected $5.1 billion surplus that focuses on stimulating future economic growth by creating good jobs and making New York State a more affordable place to live and do business.  The plan makes significant one-time investments across New York State in affordable housing, transportation and education infrastructure, environmental protections and improvements and significant tax relief rebates for low-wage individuals and families.

“The funds from our state’s current surplus must be directed towards spurring future economic growth across New York State while giving those who work hard a fair shot at improving their standing in life,” Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “Through smart investments in our hardworking families and local communities we can create greater opportunities for all New Yorkers and build a more enduring, thriving and fair economy. These surplus funds must be utilized to help low-wage workers, invest in affordable housing, rebuild our state’s infrastructure and prepare for the challenges of the future as these are all common sense ways to grow the economy and ensure New York State thrives in the years ahead. I encourage my colleagues in the Legislature to join with the Senate Democratic Conference to ensure these funds are utilized to lay the foundation for our state’s future economic prosperity.”

The Senate Democratic Conference’s proposal includes:

  • $900 million stimulus program to  provide low-wage workers with a one-time tax relief rebate of up to $2,800 per worker.

o   Stimulus program would provide the equivalent funds as if the state’s minimum wage were $10.10 an hour.

o   This action will be a bridge between the current minimum wage and the anticipated increase to $10.50 an hour announced by Governor Cuomo.

  • $50 million to reimburse local and State law enforcement agencies that purchase wearable body cameras to ensure these agencies do not bear the costs of these investments.
  • Since  much of these surplus funds  were from the housing market, we will invest a significant amount of money in housing capital. $1.2 billion that will help municipalities throughout New York State create nearly 20,000 affordable housing units and generate 34,000 jobs. Funds from this initiative include:

o   $400 million for a new statewide “mixed-income” housing initiative to invest in buildings inhabited by families with low to moderate  incomes.

o   $400 million for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) for dedicated programs addressing the maintenance backlog, including stairwell and hall lighting, roof repair, and addressing crumbling façades

o   $325 million in additional funding to affordable housing programs for the construction, improvement and weatherization of housing  units and surrounding neighborhoods.

o   $75 million in tax credits for the State Low Income Housing Tax Credit to enable New York State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR) to offer an additional credit above the current $56 million cap.

  • $1.1 billion in transportation capital that would create over 30,700 jobs includes:

o   $300 million in additional CHIPs and extreme weather funding for local infrastructure improvements.

o   $275 million in 0% interest loans for the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

o   $200 million for deficient bridge repair.

o   $175 million for non-MTA transit and $150 million for rail freight.

  • $500 million in environmental capital that will invest:

o   $150 million in farmland protection to provide relief to upstate farmers and $35 million to assist urban municipalities improve the quality of their green spaces.

o   Additional funding includes assisting communities in upgrading their wastewater infrastructure, Brownfield cleanup and park improvements.

  • $1 billion in education infrastructure capital that will provide payments for school district infrastructure needs associated with health and safety, accessibility, physical capacity or school construction projects and energy cost reduction projects.

o   Funds from this program are separate from the Smart Schools Bond Act.

o   This initiative would create 28,600 jobs.

  • $50 million to provide credit, banking services, and investment capital to Community Development Financial Institutions.

o   These institutions are essential for the revitalization of low and moderate income communities and neighborhoods throughout the state

o   This initiative would create over 1,400 jobs.

  • $300 million to create a Capital Infrastructure Bank that would see a return on revenue and be used for emergency infrastructure projects.

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

  

“This was a horrific tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones and those that have been injured. There will be a full investigation into this heartbreaking incident and over the next few days we will find out exactly what happened. Now is the time for all us to support those so deeply affected by this tragedy.”

Senate Democratic Conference Introduce The “Clean Up Albany” Legislative Package

 

Includes Legislation that Restricts Outside Income, Closes LLC Loophole, Ends State Reimbursements for Legal Defense and Strips Pensions from Corrupt Officials

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today unveiled a major legislative package to deal with the ongoing ethics crisis in State Government. This package of groundbreaking bills will cap legislators’ outside incomes, end the LLC loophole, bar elected officials from using campaign funds for criminal defense and personal use and end the practice of taxpayer funded reimbursements of legal fees. The Senate Democrats also introduced measures to strip corrupt officials of taxpayer funded pensions and reform how campaigns are funded. Unfortunately, the Senate Republican Majority has consistently blocked all meaningful ethics reforms initiatives.

“These scandals have become too common and are something that we must deal with immediately. We are facing a crisis of mistrust in Albany,” Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “The legislation offered by the Senate Democratic Conference will help rebuild the trust in our state government that has been rocked by repeated scandals. I urge the Senate Republicans to end their opposition to cleaning up Albany and finally join with the Senate Democratic Conference to pass these good government reforms.”

The Senate Democratic Conference ethics reforms initiatives are intended to return the public’s trust in state government by restricting outside income, closing loopholes and reforming how campaigns are funded and how campaign funds can be utilized. Bills introduced by the Senate Democratic Conference include legislation that will:

 

  • Restrict Legislators’ Outside Income (Senator Hoylman):

o   This initiative will restrict the type and nature of outside income to mirror U.S. Congress’ cap of 15% of gross legislative salary.

o   The bill will also establish the Commission on Legislative Compensation that will convene every four years to examine, evaluate, and make recommendations on adequate levels of compensation and non-salary benefits for state legislators.

  • Closing the LLC Loophole (Senator Squadron):

o   This initiative will close a loophole in current Election Law which does not adequately address the amount of political contributions that a limited liability company (LLC) may make to candidates, parties and political committees.

  • As a result, the State Board of Elections allows LLCs to be treated as individuals for purposes of a limit and, therefore, they can donate up to $150,000 in any one year.

o   This legislation would close that loophole and reduce the contribution limit for both LLCs and corporations to $1,000.

  • Require Additional Financial Disclosure (Senator Comrie):

o   This bill will require state elected officials to disclose the source and nature of all income and report all clients of, or referrals to, a firm or practice the elected officials works at.

o   Under this legislation, all reporting must include a clear and complete explanation of the services rendered in exchange for the income or fees earned by the reporting official, or by the firm or corporation with which the elected official practices.

  • Prohibit the Taxpayer Reimbursement of Campaign and Legal Defense Fund Accounts for legal fees in Criminal Cases (Democratic Conference Deputy Leader, Senator Gianaris):

o   This initiative will prohibit any state reimbursement to a campaign account or legal defense account for attorneys fees and litigation expenses to a public official after an acquittal or dismissal.

  • Retroactively Strip Pension Benefits from any State or Local Official Convicted of a Felony involving Breach of Public Trust (Senator Breslin):

o   The current law only regulates officials that joined the pension system after 2011 when the last ethics package passed. This legislation will affect all members of the pension system.

o   This resolution has been introduced as a constitutional amendment since it affects an official’s pension.

  • Strengthen Regulations regarding use of Campaign Funds (Senator Krueger):

o   This bill addresses a number of concerns with how campaign funds are raised and expended. Currently, New York’s election law, allowing candidates to spend campaign funds for “any lawful purpose,” is among the most lax in the nation

 

  • Bar the Use of Campaign Money for Criminal Defense (Senator Hoylman):

o   This bill will outlaw campaign funds from being used for attorneys fees or any costs for defending against criminal or civil prosecution for alleged violations of any state or federal law.

  • Lower Contribution Limits (Democratic Conference Deputy Leader, Senator Gianaris):

o   Current state campaign regulations allow donors to provide far greater amounts of contributions than are allowed in other states, or for federal candidates.

o   These high limits threaten the integrity of elections in New York State by allowing small numbers of wealthy contributors to disproportionately affect their outcomes. This initiative will drastically reduce the limits on contributions to safeguard the integrity of New York’s elections.

  • Cap Contributions to ‘Soft Money’ Accounts (Senator Krueger):

o   Currently, donors are able to provide unlimited contributions to soft money accounts. This legislation would reform the campaign finance system by capping donations to soft money accounts at $25,000.

  • Require the Disclosure of Bundles (Senator Rivera):

o   Under the current law, state campaigns are not required to disclose to the State Board of Election when “bundling” contributions are received. This bill would enhance state campaign finance disclosure reporting requirements by making it necessary for said reports to contain information about those who bundle contributions.

  • End Undisclosed Self-Dealing (Senator Hoylman):

o   This legislation will create a Class-C and Class-D felony for public servants who knowingly steer public contracts or grants to certain institutions or organizations in order to benefit themselves, their families or a person with whom a public servant has a business or other financial relationship with.

o   Self-dealing in the first degree triggers when public contracts have a value in excess of ten thousand dollars.

o   Self-dealing in the second degree triggers when public contracts have a value in excess of three thousand dollars.

  • Establish a Public Financing System for State Campaigns and Require Greater Disclosure of Campaign Donations (Senate Minority Leader, Senator Stewart-Cousins):

o   Under this legislation, eligible contributions to candidates for statewide office up to $250 would be matched at the rate of $6 for every $1.

o   Participating candidates could only receive donations of $2,000

o   Candidates who are unopposed in a general or special election may not receive public funds

o   All unspent public funds must be returned 30 days after the election.

MINORITY LEADER, SENATOR ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS STATEMENT ON FATAL TRAIN COLLISION IN VALHALLA.

“This was a horrific tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones and those that have been injured. There will be a full investigation into this heartbreaking incident and over the next few days we will find out exactly what happened. Now is the time for all us to support those so deeply affected by this tragedy.”

NEW FRAUD PROTECTIONS FOR IMMIGRANTS IN NEW YORK STATE
(Yonkers) State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Minority Leader, announced today that
enhanced fraud protections for immigrants seeking assistance in New York State became law
February 2, 2015.
“New York has a proud history of welcoming immigrants and embracing the contributions they make to
our communities,” Senator Stewart-Cousins said. “However, there are also some unscrupulous people
offering services to help them adjust to life in New York who take their money and provide little to no
assistance. My office has worked with constituents who have had this happen to them. This new law
ensures there are protections in place for the often vulnerable newcomers to our country and our
state.”
The law creates the crimes of felony and misdemeanor immigration assistance fraud in order to deter
service providers from taking advantage of immigrants that seek their help. It also includes provisions
to enhance translation requirements, increase civil penalties for violations, and prohibit the use of job
titles used to mislead immigrants to believe that a provider is a specialized professional or attorney,
when the provider is not certified.
The law also establishes the New York State Office for New Americans (NYSONA) as a permanent
executive office of State government. The Office for New Americans is the first state-level immigrant
office created by statute in the country according to the Governor’s Office. Additionally, the measure
includes an outreach campaign to raise fraud awareness and awards NYSONA permanent status.
NYSONA provides immigration assistance at community outreach centers, teaches new New Yorkers
English, aids in the naturalization process, and provides immigrants with free legal advice.
“When immigrants come to New York they need assurance that service providers are there to help
them on their path to citizenship and success, not take advantage of them,” Senator Stewart-Cousins
concluded. “I commend Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for taking action to ensure that
immigrants are welcomed with respect and get the valuable services they deserve as new New
Yorkers.”
Constituents are welcome to contact the Senator’s District Office at 914-423-4031 for assistance or to
call a toll-free multilingual hotline at 800-566-7636.

Statement From Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

“The Senate Democrats have been advocates for cleaning up Albany and restoring the public’s trust in our state government. I am pleased that Governor Cuomo is taking the ethics reforms initiatives we have championed for and will now ensure that the Senate Republicans finally have to address these common sense measures.”

BACKGROUND:

Minority Leader, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins Statement 

on the Election of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie

“Speaker Heastie is someone who will lead the Assembly with a steady hand and I congratulate him on his election. This is a historic moment for both the Assembly and State Government as a whole. As we begin Black History Month, it is uplifting that another barrier has finally been 

broken. I look forward to working with Speaker Heastie to ensure all our state’s residents receive the progressive representation they desire, and offer my full support to him as we all work together to restore the people’s trust in government. ”

 

January 8, 2015

SENATOR STEWART-COUSINS, THE DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE LEADER AND SENATE MINORITY LEADER, OUTLINES LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES IN HER 2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION OPENING REMARKS

(Albany, NY) State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins took the oath of office Wednesday with her children by her side, continuing her historic leadership role in New York, as the first female legislative conference leader (elected 2012, re-elected 2014), and the first female State Senate Minority Leader.

In her opening remarks delivered on the Senate floor, Senator Stewart-Cousins thanked her constituents for re-electing her and her Democratic colleagues for their continued support. She pledged to make Albany an example of good government. “We will not allow partisan bickering to obstruct our efforts to serve our constituents and together we will give all New Yorkers the responsible and productive government they deserve.”

Senator Stewart-Cousins outlined her legislative priorities in 2015, including: criminal justice reforms and police protections, increasing the minimum wage, and passing the Women’s Equality Act to provide women with equal pay and personal protections including reproductive health care.

“And finally let’s make sure we use the surplus settlement funds in a responsible manner that will help set New York on an even brighter path,” she added. “Since so much of this money was from housing settlements, it is crucial we use it to create affordable housing across the state. We also need to protect and expand our  infrastructure, including the Tappan Zee Bridge and others roads and bridges, and fix our crumbling schools. We can do all this while at the same time providing relief to local communities and creating jobs across the state.”

During her remarks, she also acknowledged the loss of former Governor Mario Cuomo, whose funeral she attended. “Sadly, for too many fellow New Yorkers, the two cities that Governor Cuomo so eloquently spoke of in 1984 still exist today, but we have an opportunity to finally unite them. We can work towards making a more just and fair society. A society that provides jobs and opportunities to all New Yorkers. A society that deals with crushing income inequality. Where everyone has a quality education. Where it doesn’t matter if you are from Elmira, or  New York City or even Yonkers because you are given a shot at the American dream.”

Link to full remarks:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/251964138/01-07-15-Leader-Stewart-Cousins-Open