YONKERS WATCHDOG.

Update on the scoop: Sources reveal that The Yonkers Democratic City Committee will have a placeholder carry a petition for the 15th County Legislative District seat and then decline the nomination. The seat is currently held by Westchester County Legislator Gordon Burrows. We will keep everyone updated on the 2015 elections in Yonkers and In Westchester County.

The Yonkers Democratic City Committee had interviewed two candidates, one for MIke Breen’s seat and one for Gordon Burrows seat.

We have been informed by sources that the Yonkers Democratic City Committee has interviewed two candidates one for the Mike Breen 5th Yonkers City Council District seat and another for Gordon Burrows 15th District seat on the Westchester County Board of Legislators. We will keep our readers posted on the names of the candidates, once they are divulged to us by our sources and we will continue to keep our readers posted on the 2015 elections.

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

Yonkers Watchdog

Show from Tuesday Night: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2015/05/12/yonkers-watchdog-3

Show from Monday Night: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2015/05/11/yonkers-watchdog-3

Show from Saturday Night: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2015/05/09/yonkers-watchdog-9

Time: 6:30 PM of show on Blog Talk Radio on everyday except for Friday and Sunday.

Show on Friday is at 11:00 PM.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2014/11/20/yonkers-insider-online-radio-show

Barry McGoey was my guest on November 20, 2014.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2014/11/24/yonkers-insider-online-radio-show

Jeffrey Deskovic, Criminal Justice Advocate; Exoneree and also head of the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice was my guest on December 8, 2014.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yonkers-insider/2014/12/08/yonkers-insider-online-radio-show

 

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN OP-ED: END CORRPUTION NOW.

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman published an op-ed in the Albany Times Union on his proposed “End New York Corruption Now Act,” which would implement fundamental ethics reform to end the culture of corruption across New York State. The following are excerpts from the op-ed:

ON NEW YORK’S CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Corruption in New York State government is hardly new.  The infamous William M. “Boss” Tweed was a State Senator during the worst of his crimes.  More recently, at least 30 statewide elected officials and legislators have left office because of criminal or ethical problems since 2000. But the charges against the leaders of both houses of the State Legislature in a single session have made this year truly stand out – even in New York’s long and inglorious history of public corruption.

ON THE LACK OF MEANINGFUL ETHICS REFORM: Remarkably, after the Governor and the new leaders of the legislature met on May 13, it became clear that ethics and campaign finance reform are not even on the agenda as the legislative session draws to a close.   This glaring omission – if not corrected – would do a disservice to the lion’s share of elected officials who are honorable public servants, tainted by the misconduct of the few.

ON STOPPING THE PARADE OF ARRESTS: In the last four years, Comptroller DiNapoli and I have partnered to prosecute more than 60 officials and their cronies all across the state, at every level of government, who have abused the public trust.  But the parade of arrests will not stop until our leaders take bold steps toward comprehensive reforms. 

ON TAKING A REAL STEP TOWARD FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE: The reform blueprint I am proposing – the End New York Corruption Now Act – dramatically lowers contribution limits (currently some of the highest in the nation), sharply restricts contributions by lobbyists, closes donation loopholes so big you can drive a Mack truck through them, and provides matching funds for small contributions to offset the power of mega-donors. It expands the tools available to state prosecutors to investigate and prosecute public corruption. It ends a system that allows outside employment income for legislators, who should have no “clients” other than the people of New York. In turn, they would be paid like the full time professionals they are and get a salary increase.  I have also proposed a constitutional amendment to change the period between legislative elections from two to four years, to create at least some time for members of the Assembly and Senate to focus on governing, first, and politics, second.

ON CHANNELING FRUSTRATION INTO BOLD REFORM: These proposals won’t make for exciting headlines or stir great passions, but they attack a system that cries out for change every time the public interest is ignored in Albany.  For every voter who is angry about loopholes and exemptions that make New York tax code look like Swiss cheese; or the inability to pass legislation to prevent irretrievable damage to our environment; or the countless New Yorkers who are working full time jobs but still living in poverty – the time has come to channel that anger into bold reform.

ON THE NEED TO ACT NOW: No one can claim the ideas in this bill are radical or partisan, or that they require exploration and inquiry that exceeds the time remaining before legislators leave Albany for the year. We know what needs to change. There are three weeks left in this session. Put simply, there are no more legitimate excuses not to act.

The full op-ed can be read here

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN PROPOSES SWEEPING LEGISLATION TO REFORM NEW YORK STATE GOVERNMENT

“End New York Corruption Now Act” Would Strengthen Hands Of Local And State Prosecutors, Professionalize Legislature, And Reform Campaign Finance System

Schneiderman: Parade of Arrests Will Not Stop Until Leaders Take Bold Steps Toward Comprehensive Reforms

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today that he would send a comprehensive ethics bill to the legislature in order to reform New York State government before the end of this year’s legislative session—a session in which the two highest-ranking leaders of the legislature were arrested on federal corruption charges. Attorney General Schneiderman’s bill includes the boldest systemic reforms backed by leading good government groups; measures to strengthen the hands of prosecutors, as proposed by the State’s District Attorneys; and new ideas on how to depoliticize and professionalize the legislature.

Among more than a dozen other changes to State law, the omnibus legislation would give the attorney general’s office permanent jurisdiction to investigate and criminally prosecute public corruption—an authority that consecutive attorneys general have asked to be granted by the governor. The bill would also ban legislators from earning outside income; ban per diem payments for lawmakers for days they spend in Albany, while increasing legislative salaries; and extend legislators’ terms from two years to four. In the area of campaign finance, the Attorney General’s bill would lower contribution limits, close the LLC loophole, restrict contributions by lobbyists, and create a public financing system with a 6:1 match ratio.

“The corruption we’re seeing in New York State government takes power from the hands of regular New Yorkers and taints the honorable work being done by the lion’s share of public officials. New Yorkers have had enough of so-called ethics reform that tinkers around the edges—what we need now is bold reform that gets to the root of corruption, equips law enforcement with the tools needed to fight it, and professionalizes our state legislature,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “It’s time to end the parade of prosecutions and restore people’s faith in their government.”

“New Yorkers can no longer afford a state government that is being bought by billionaires and their campaign cash,” said Karen Scharff, executive director of Citizen Action of New York. “We applaud Attorney General Schneiderman’s far-reaching proposals for campaign finance reforms, including public matching funds. By providing an alternative to pay to play politics, the AG’s plan will restore control of state government to voters not donors. AG Schneiderman is providing the kind of statewide leadership New York State needs.” 

“New Yorkers are sick and tired of half measures – the public has lost patience with Albany’s inability to address New York’s continuing crisis of corruption,” said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/New York. “We are grateful that Attorney General Schneiderman has stepped forward to introduce this comprehensive package of needed ethics and campaign finance reforms, fleshing out the significant proposals he outlined in March. Common Cause/New York looks forward to working for the passage of these common sense and long-overdue measures to achieve meaningful and effective ethics oversight and enforcement.”

“Today, with the introduction of The End New York Corruption Now Act, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman introduces a bold piece of legislation to address ethical misconduct and abuse of power by public officials in our state. New Yorkers deserve the enactment of additional ethics reform, and this comprehensive legislative package embodies exactly what New York needs to effectively root out the corrosive culture of corruption in Albany,” said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union. “The large scale problem of corruption in this state can no longer be addressed adequately through a piecemeal approach which is why Citizens Union welcomes this extensive anti-corruption legislation package.”

Ian Vandewalker, Counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, said: “Like many New Yorkers, Attorney General Schneiderman recognizes that piecemeal reform is not enough. The tidal wave of scandals in recent months is further proof that we need comprehensive reform to our campaign finance system built around a statewide public financing system, to empower average voters and reduce incentives for corruption. Only fundamental, far-reaching reform can change the culture of corruption in Albany.”

Sally Robinson, President of the New York State League of Women Voters, said: “The League of Women Voters of NYS applauds the Attorney General for his robust proposals on campaign finance reform. It advances critical reform measures that should have been passed decades ago. The pervasive influence of money in politics is evidence enough that the time for action is long overdue.”

“We applaud Attorney General Schneiderman’s blue print for a massive overhaul of the state’s campaign finance system, and for ending the legal and illegal bribery that have given New York a national reputation for corrupt government,” said Dominic Mauro, an attorney with the watchdog group  Reinvent Albany.

“We applaud the AG’s leadership on this important issue. New Yorkers deserve a working government that is responsive to their needs,” said Heather McGhee, President of Demos. “The only way Albany will regain the trust of New Yorkers is through meaningful reform, if officials are serious about turning the page they will enact the AG’s proposal, including public financing of elections.” 

Attorney General Schneiderman has brought more than seventy cases against state and local officials and their cronies, including the conviction of a sitting State Senator and indictments against members of the State Assembly and the New York City Council. Many of these cases resulted from a partnership that Attorney General Schneiderman formed with State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli in 2011. “Operation Integrity,” a first-of-its-kind joint task force, uses the State Comptroller’s power to refer cases involving the abuse of public funds to the Attorney General’s office for prosecution. But despite the efforts of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau and those of U.S. Attorneys across the State, the cycle of corruption persists, in part due to the negligible impact of marginal reforms previously enacted in the wake of public corruption scandals.

The new omnibus legislation would enact major changes in three broad areas: Reforms to the Legislature, Criminal Law Reforms, and Campaign Finance Reforms. They include the following provisions:

Reforms to the Legislature

Bans outside income for State legislators 

  • Prohibit legislators from earning income from outside employment, apart from exceptions such as payment for military service; book or artistic royalties; and pensions from prior employment.

Bans Per Diem Payments

  • The new law would allow compensation only for documented travel expenses, and ban per diem payments—which provide a daily allowance for legislators while they are in the Capitol. 

Increases Legislative Salaries 

  • Require that the newly constituted Commission on Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Compensation recommend a legislative salary of no less than $112,500, and no more than $174,000:

Amends the Constitution to Create Four-Year Legislative Term 

  • Initiate a process to amend the state constitution to increase the length of legislative terms from two to four years, to help shift legislators’ focus from politics to governing.

Criminal Law Reforms

Establishes Criminal Jurisdiction for Attorney General’s Office to Prosecute Public Corruption

  • Amend Executive Law 63(3) to authorize the AG’s office to investigate and criminally prosecute public corruption.
  • Such authority has already been granted to the attorney general by the governor’s office with respect to Medicaid Fraud, Auto Insurance, and Money Laundering; in the absence of such action on public corruption, this bill offers a legislative solution. 

Creates New Crime for Undisclosed Self-Dealing

  • Creates new felonies for public servants who intentionally abuse their official position to confer an undisclosed financial benefit on themselves, their family members, or their business associates.

Expands Criminal Liability for Bribery

  • Replaces the requirement of an agreement or understanding as an element of the crime of giving a bribe. Instead, a person is guilty of giving a bribe when he or she confers a benefit on a public servant “with intent to influence” his or her official conduct.                          

Strengthens Pension Forfeiture Provision 

  • Repeals language enacted earlier this year establishing an exception for a spouse who benefits from a legislator’s pension. This provision currently protects a portion of a public servant’s otherwise forfeited pension for the use of an “innocent spouse” and his or her dependent children.
  • Repeals language enacted earlier this year that could potentially soften pension forfeiture determinations.

Campaign Finance Reforms

Creates A New Public Financing System Administered By The Board Of Elections

  • A 6:1 match ratio for contributions of between $10 and $175 in each of primary and general. 
  • A cap on total matching funds that each candidate may receive in the primary and general elections, varying for each office.

Lowers Campaign Contribution Limits, Which Are Among Highest In The Nation

  • Lower contribution limits for candidates participating both in and outside the public finance scheme:
  • Assembly: $2,000 primary and $2,000 general ($4,000 total)
  • Senate: $3,000 primary and $3,000 general ($6,000 total)
  • Statewide: $5,000 primary and $5,000 general ($10,000 total)
  • Lowers annual contribution limit to party committees from $62,500 to $25,000.

Eliminates the LLC Loophole

  • The loophole that allows limited liability corporations (LLC’s) to funnel virtually limitless amounts of cash to campaigns would be closed.
  • Bill would amend Election Law to treat campaign contributions from LLCs the same as contributions from partnerships. This would attribute all LLC contributions over $2,500 to its individual members based on their percentage of ownership.

Eliminates Party Housekeeping Accounts

  • Housekeeping committees now operate as barely regulated slush funds for political parties and legislative campaign committees, and would be eliminated.
  • Bill will repeal language allowing separate housekeeping accounts to receive unrestricted contributions.

Sharply Limits Campaign Contributions from Individuals Doing Business with the State

  • Persons with business relationships with the state – i.e. contracts for goods, service, or construction – would be restricted to giving campaign contributions of no more than $400.
  • This would restrict not only the relevant entity, but also the CEO, CFO, COO, an equivalent officer, senior managers, or owners of more than 10% of the entity.

Sharply Limits Contributions and Fundraising by Lobbyists for Public Officials

  • Bars lobbyists from soliciting contributions that benefit a public official or party committee. 
  • Lowers the cap on the personal contributions from lobbyists to a public official or party committee to no more than $250 per election.
  • Apart from the $250 contribution, prohibits public officials from knowingly accepting or soliciting a contribution from a lobbyist.

Bans the Use of Campaign Funds for Personal Clothing or Tuition

  • Amends recently enacted budget language restricting personal use of campaign funds to prohibit their use for: Clothing for the use of the candidate or the candidate’s family; or tuition Payments.

 

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN OP-ED: WORKERS HAVE EARNED PAYROLL CARD PROTECTIONS.

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman wrote an op-ed in amNewYork calling on the state Department of Labor to protect workers who use payroll cards should the legislature fail to act. Highlights from the op-ed are below.

ON THE NEED FOR PAYROLL CARD PROTECTIONS: Imagine you are 17 and on your first job, or that you don’t speak English, or don’t know how to use a computer. On payday, your employer hands you something that looks like a credit card and tells you it’s your pay. When you use it, you’re surprised by fees for withdrawals, purchases and even checking your balance, as my office reported last year. In some programs, the average per-employee fees ran as high as $20 per month

ON CURRENT PENDING LEGISLATION: My Payroll Card Act, which has bipartisan support and is sponsored by Republican Sen. Patrick Gallivan and Democratic Assemb. Joe Morelle, would ensure workers are clearly informed about card fees, require informed consent to use the cards, prevent excessive fees and allow workers to withdraw wages free of charge.

ON THE NEED FOR ACTION TO PROTECT WORKERS NOW: While some companies have improved the way they use payroll cards, the legislature should protect workers by passing the bill before this session ends next month. If it fails to act, the Department of Labor can require full disclosure of payroll card terms, informed consent on the part of workers before payroll cards are used, limitations on fees for common transactions, and cost-free access to wages via a network of ATMs.

The full op-ed can be read here

THIS WEEK IN THE NEWS

May 18 to May 22, 2015

TOP HEADLINES

Providing Affordable Housing To New York’s Homeless Families

The Attorney General announced a new and innovative affordable housing program in conjunction with the Robin Hood Foundation and Enterprise Community Partners. The Come Home NYC program will match 300 homeless families in NYC with apartments they can afford. The Attorney General’s office has committed $1.2 million to this program, with the money coming from settlements reached with banks that engaged in misconduct in the mortgage market. This program will not require any ongoing public subsidy, making it a truly one of a kind initiative. Every family deserves a home, and Come Home NYC is an important and innovative step toward achieving that goal.

Taking Action Against Bogus Charities

The Attorney General’s office joined the Federal Trade Commission and all 49 other states in filing a lawsuit against four allegedly phony cancer charities. The suit alleges that the organizations scammed more than $187 million from unsuspecting donors across the country—including nearly $3 million from New York State since 2008. These charities portrayed themselves as legitimate charities with substantial programs that directly supported cancer patients in the United States, yet none of these services are believed to have actually been provided. Instead, almost 85% of donations allegedly went to professional fundraisers, while the operators paid themselves and spent donations on a Caribbean cruise, trips to Disney World, jet ski outings, concert tickets and dating site memberships.

Educating Consumers About The Dangers Of Microbeads

Want an easy way to protect the environment? Then check out the pamphlet the Attorney General’s office released on avoiding products that contain harmful microbeads. A study by the Attorney General’s office found that these beads are polluting and contaminating New York’s water supply as they slip through our wastewater treatment plants. The Attorney General has called on Albany to pass legislation to ban the beads in order to further protect our environment and drinking water.

Doubling Down On Stopping Identity Theft

Tyrone Lee and Nadia Figueroa have been re-arrested after they were charged with allegedly running a second identity theft ring. Figueroa and Lee allegedly stole bank account numbers and personal identification information from more than 200 victims from a Wachovia Bank branch located in Newburgh. This comes after these two individuals had already been arrested and sentenced to prison for a similar scheme that stole over $457,000 from customers in Westchester County. Today’s re-arrests show that identity theft remains a growing problem and that the Attorney General is committed to redoubling his efforts to ensure our personal data is safe and secure.

Ensuring The Safety Of Nursing Homes

This week, the Attorney General arrested two nurses in separate incidents, both of whom are accused of stealing prescription pills and narcotics intended for nursing home residents.  In Elmira, Lisa Rumsmoke Clark is accused of diverting nearly 200 narcotic pills from elderly patients for personal use. In one instance alone, she is accused of stealing 46 Percocet pills while falsifying documents indicating she had administrated the drugs to the patient.

In Medford, a nurse was accused of lying about administering Percocet pills, while instead keeping them for herself. She later allegedly admitted to falsifying records to cover up her theft and illegal possession of the drugs. Both of these arrests make one thing clear: the falsification of medical records and theft of drugs – especially dangerous and addictive prescription narcotics – will not be tolerated.

Punishing Those Who Rip Off Taxpayers

Two convenience store owners were arrested this week for stealing $1.6 million from the food stamp program. Sajjad Rashid and Ravinder Parkash both engaged in fraud known as “SNAP Trafficking.” In a SNAP Trafficking scheme, the vendor conspires with individual SNAP recipients to ring up purported grocery sales, but no goods are actually sold. Instead, the shop owner or employee gives 50% of the sales price to the SNAP recipients in cash and keeps the other 50% for themselves. The USDA is then charged the full value of these phony transactions. Even more disturbing is that many of those using their SNAP benefits were victims of Hurricane Sandy, as the SNAP program provided additional benefits to those affected by the storm.

Protecting Consumers’ Personal Data

The Attorney General announced a multi-state settlement with RadioShack which represents a huge victory for New York consumers. The overwhelming bulk of RadioShack consumer data will be destroyed, and the new owner of RadioShack will not gain access to any sensitive personally identifiable information, including credit or debit card information, social security numbers, telephone numbers or dates of birth. Earlier this year, the Attorney General had joined with thirty-seven other states to oppose the sale of consumer data. This settlement is a victory for consumers’ privacy nationwide, and it is critically important that we continue to safeguard sensitive personal information moving into the future.

Holding Fraudsters Accountable

Scott Romero, a notorious Buffalo and Rochester snow removal scammer, was sentenced to six months in jail after admitting to fix violations to a court order that was obtained against him in 2011. Back in 2011, Romero scammed consumers in Rochester by failing to provide promised snow removal services after accepting up-front payments. Despite being ordered to stop, Romero continued scamming consumers, operating his snow removal business under a false name. Middle class families across Western New York depend on snow removal services to get to work and to keep their families safe. Contractors who rip off families who are paying hard-earned money for these services must be held accountable.

Sentencing Those Who Prey On First Time Home Buyers

The leader of a Syracuse area mortgage fraud ring has been brought to justice. Theresa Sanders has been sentenced to up to seven years in prison, must pay over $500,000 in restitution and surrender her law license for her role in a fraud ring that preyed on first-time home buyers and institutional lenders. This complex fraud ring operated for years and netted more than $1 million. Today’s sentencing sends a strong message: anyone who seeks to exploit New York families for their own benefit and profit will be punished.

Taking “The Prime Minister” Out Of Office

“The Prime Minister” is no longer in office. Brian Bacon, the ringleader of a major heroin trafficking ring who called himself “The Prime Minister,” has been sentenced to serve twelve years in prison. Jerome Turnbough – who also pleaded guilty today – and 11 other defendants busted in ‪the operation uised Metro-North Trains and Greyhound buses to distribute heroin across New York State in a network that stretched all the way to Pittsburgh. The Attorney General’s office will continue to root out anyone who seeks to pollute our streets with dangerous drugs.

Standing Up For The Safety Of Alzheimer’s Patients

On Friday, a federal appeals court ruled that Actavis could not remove an older Alzheimer’s drug from shelves in favor a newer, more expensive one. This decision upheld an injunction that the Attorney General’s office issued earlier this year against Actavis. Today’s appeals court decision is a sweeping victory for consumers and Alzheimer’s patients, and will prevent Actavis from coercing Alzheimer’s patients into taking drugs they do not want in order to charge them monopoly prices. The litigation sends a clear message: Drug companies cannot illegally prioritize profits over patients.  My office will continue to protect New Yorkers from anticompetitive practices by drug manufacturers.

STATEMENT FROM A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ON APPEALS COURT DECISION UPHOLDING NEW YORK’S INJUNCTION PROTECTING ALZHEIMER’S PATIENTS.

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman released the following statement on today’s decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which affirmed the federal district court decision granting New York’s motion for a preliminary injunction against defendants Actavis plc and Forest Laboratories LLC.  

“Today’s appeals court decision is a sweeping victory for consumers and Alzheimer’s patients. Our lawsuit and the court’s injunction protect competition and prevent Actavis from coercing Alzheimer’s patients into taking drugs they do not want in order to charge them monopoly prices.  The litigation brought by my office sends a clear message: Drug companies cannot illegally prioritize profits over patients.  My office will continue to protect New Yorkers from anticompetitive practices by drug manufacturers.”

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES CONVICTION OF KINGPIN AND RESELLER IN HEROIN DISTRIBUTION NETWORK THAT STRETCHED FROM NYC TO HUDSON VALLEY, LONG ISLAND, AND PENNSYLVANIABrian Bacon, Kingpin Who Called Himself “The Prime Minister,” Will Serve 12 Years In Prison; Jermone Turnbough Will Serve 6 Years In Prison 

Joint Investigation, Code-Named “Operation Iron Horse,” Uncovered Network That Allegedly Moved Illegal Drugs And Money On Metro-North Trains And Greyhound Buses 

Schneiderman: In The Midst Of A Heroin Epidemic, We Will Continue To Root Out Anyone Who Seeks To Pollute Our Streets With Dangerous Drugs

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the guilty pleas of two members of a major heroin distribution ring based in New York State. Bacon, who called himself “The Prime Minster,” and Jerome Turnbough were indicted earlier this year following “Operation Iron Horse,” a joint investigation with the New York State Police that identified this network as using Metro North trains and Greyhound buses to distribute heroin from New York City across state and county lines into Orange, Sullivan, and Nassau Counties, as well as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Eleven more individuals were indicted as part of this investigation.

“These defendants led a major heroin ring in not only transporting drugs across our state on public transportation, but also in bringing drugs into New York from other states,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “As we continue root out heroin abuse plaguing communities nationwide, we must send a clear message that those who fuel this epidemic will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We will continue to root out anyone who seeks to pollute our streets with these dangerous drugs.”

Bacon, 52, of the Bronx, pleaded guilty today to Operating as a Major Trafficker, a class A felony, and will be sentenced to 12 years in prison. Jermone Turnbough, 55, of Newburgh, N.Y. pleaded guilty to Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A felony, and will be sentenced to six years in prison. Both defendants pleaded guilty in Orange County Court before Judge Jeffrey G. Berry, and both will be sentenced on July 6.

As outlined in Attorney General’s indictment, evidence gathered by state investigators showed that Bacon, was the alleged kingpin behind a major heroin distribution network based in New York State. This network allegedly stretched from Harlem and the Bronx, where Bacon lived and worked, to Nassau, Orange, and Sullivan Counties in New York and Allegheny County in Pennsylvania.

As detailed in the indictment, Bacon had two suppliers: an as-yet unidentified male and Raymos Bertrand. Jerome Turnbough was one of the main resellers supplied by Bacon, allegedly along with Roderick Copeland, from upper Manhattan; Jamaul Aziz, who currently resides in Sullivan County, New York; and Kenneth Parris, from Uniondale.

Bacon sold up to a kilogram of heroin per month with alleged assistance from his son, Tamar Dillard, and his girlfriend, Donna Marie Haggans, who were integral to the packaging and delivery of the heroin to customers and resellers, as well as the handling of money. Bacon was also allegedly assisted by Wallace Walker – the self-styled “quality control officer” – who distributed heroin to third parties, who would test and then rate the quality, thereby permitting Bacon to gauge how much he could “cut” the heroin and the price he should charge.

As alleged, Bacon regularly sent his son, Dillard, to take the Metro-North train from the 125th Street station in Harlem to deliver drugs to Turnbough in Newburgh. Turnbough also allegedly traveled by train to New York City, where he would buy heroin to take back up to Newburgh.

Another one of the main resellers, Roderick Copeland, allegedly acquired heroin from Bacon every two weeks and gave it to a co-conspirator, William Thomas, who regularly traveled by bus between the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan and Pittsburgh, where the heroin was then distributed.

Eleven more defendants were charged with Bacon and Turnbough as part of “Operation Iron Horse.” The other defendants are:

DEVONNA BARRERAS, a.k.a. Creechbarreras, 22, Newburgh, NY
TAMAR DILLARD, a.k.a. Young Buck, 38, Bronx, NY

KENNETH PARRIS, 42, Uniondale, NY
JAMAUL AZIZ, 35, Monticello, NY
RODERICK COPELAND, 51, Manhattan, NY
DONNA MARIE HAGGANS, 49, Bronx, NY
WALLACE WALKER, 51, Bronx, NY
WILLIAM THOMAS, JR., Pittsburgh, PA
EDDIE L. CULLINS, 44, Newburgh, NY
GILBERT MAXI, 22, Monticello, NY
RAYMOS BERTRAND, 43, Bronx, NY

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

The investigation was conducted by NYSP-CNET as well as NYAG-OCTF Investigators Brad Farrell and Edwin Margenat, Supervising Investigator Kevin McCann, and Deputy Chief Christopher Vasta.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Cristina A. Villani. The Organized Crime Task Force is led by Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff. The Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Prosecutions is Kelly Donovan.

OFFICE OF THE NEW YORK STATE A.G. ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF REPORT ON 1971 ATTICA UPRISING

Release Of Report Follows A.G.’s Request To Court To Unseal Meyer Report On The Uprising 

Attorney General To Turn Over Attica Related Documents To State Archive 

NEW YORK –  The Office of the New York State Attorney General today released Volumes Two and Three of the Meyer Report on the 1971 uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility and announced that it would turn over documents related to the uprising that were not part of grand jury proceedings to the New York State Archive. 

While Volume One of the Meyer report was made public in December 1975, Volumes Two and Three were only released following a request by the Attorney General’s Office to the New York State Supreme Court in 2013 to unseal the report. The Court agreed to the Attorney General’s request to unseal the report, but directed the Attorney General to redact all references in Volumes Two and Three of the report that relate to evidence, testimony, or witnesses or matters related to or derived from grand jury proceedings.

“Today, we are shining new light on one of the darkest chapters of our history,” said Marty Mack, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs. “We hope that, with the release of the Meyer Report, we can bring the families of Attica uprising victims closer to closure and help future generations of Americans learn from this tragic event.”

The Meyer Report was presented to former New York State Governor Hugh L. Carey and former New York State Attorney General Louis J. Lefkowitz in October 1975 by Special Deputy Attorney General Bernard S. Meyer. Governor Carey appointed Meyer Special Deputy Attorney General in April 1975 “to inquire into and evaluate charges related to the conduct of the investigation into the retaking of the Attica Correctional Facility and related events subsequent thereto.” The Meyer Report is a report on Meyer’s inquiry and evaluation.

Volume One of the Meyer Report was released to the public in full in December 1975. A copy of Volume One is available here.

The second and third volumes of the report were kept under seal for decades. In September 2013, the Office of Attorney General filed a motion in Erie County Supreme Court seeking permission to unseal Volumes Two and  Three of the Report. In 2014, Supreme Court Judge Patrick A. NeMoyer approved their release, but ordered material derived from Grand Jury proceedings to be redacted.  The newly released redacted version of Volumes Two and Three of the Meyer Report are available to the public here.

The Attorney General’s Office will also be sending files related to the Attica uprising that were not part of the grand jury proceeding to the New York State Archives, with the direction that they be permanently preserved.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT TO PROTECT CONSUMER DATA IN RADIOSHACK BANKRUPTCY

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with RadioShack over the sale of its customers’ personally identifiable information. New York, along with thirty-seven other states, joined together to oppose the sale of consumer data earlier this year.

“This settlement is a victory for consumers’ privacy nationwide, and could serve as a model for future bankruptcies,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “It’s critically important to safeguard sensitive, personally identifiable information, and we are pleased that the new operators of RadioShack will abide by the privacy pledge they promised to millions of customers. ”

General Wireless obtained bankruptcy court approval today to purchase RadioShack’s entire e-commerce business, intellectual property and remaining assets, including certain customer data limited by this settlement. The electronic retailer will continue to employ approximately 10,000 former RadioShack employees.

Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement approved on May 20 by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brendan Shannon, the overwhelming bulk of RadioShack consumer data will be destroyed, and the new owner of RadioShack will not gain access to any sensitive personally identifiable information, including credit or debit card information, social security numbers, telephone numbers or dates of birth.

General Wireless will be permitted to retain only the email addresses previously given by RadioShack customers requesting product information, and those customers will be provided an express ability to opt out before their email addresses are transferred to the new owner. Any customer who receives a postal mailing from the successor business will also have an express opportunity to opt out of future communications from the company. The agreement will limit the number of email addresses available for transfer to only those obtained during the past two years.

Out of the 117 million customer files, no more than 67 million will be transferred and the rest will be destroyed, and General Wireless will be prohibited from selling or sharing any of this customer information in the future with any other entity, including its new co-branded business partner Sprint Communications.

The mediation was led by the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

New York was represented by the Deputy Bureau Chief of the Internet Bureau Clark Russell. The Internet Bureau Chief is Kathleen McGee; the Internet Bureau is part of the Division of Economic Justice, which is led by Karla Sanchez.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES NOTORIOUS BUFFALO & ROCHESTER SNOW REMOVAL SCAMMER SENTENCED TO SIX MONTHS IN JAIL

Scott Romero Admitted To Repeatedly Violating Court Order Barring Him From Engaging In Snow Removal Work

Romero Sentenced To 30 Days In Jail On Each Of Six Violations

BUFFALO – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that serial snow removal scammer Scott Romero has admitted to six violations of a court order that was obtained against him in 2011. The violations were admitted this morning before Justice Catherine Nugent Panepinto of the Erie County Supreme Court and Mr. Romero was sentenced to a total of six months in jail – 30 days on each of 6 violations.

The original 2011 court order, obtained by the Attorney General’s Office, was based on allegations that Mr. Romero scammed consumers in the Rochester area by failing to provide promised snow removal services after accepting up-front payments. Earlier this year, contempt of court charges were filed against Romero after he was accused of scamming additional consumers in the Buffalo area. Mr. Romero has admitted that he was in violation of the previous court order when he resumed his snow removal business under a false name and scammed additional victims in Rochester in 2013 and 2014, he is required to refund over $50,000 to these consumers.

“My office will not hesitate to take action against those who defraud New York consumers, including seeking jail time for the worst offenders” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Middle class families across Western New York depend on snow removal services to get to work and to keep their families safe. Contractors who rip off families who are paying hard-earned money for these services must be held accountable.”

When Mr. Romero was first accused of wrongdoing in 2011, a court order obtained by Attorney General Schneiderman’s Office required Romero to pay $50,000 in restitution to victims and to put up a $150,000 bond before he could accept any advance payments from consumers for snow removal work. Attorney General Schneiderman’s Office alleged in a January court filing that Romero failed to put up a $150,000 bond, and scammed additional customers via the very same scheme of accepting advance payment and then failing to provide promised services. Today’s sentencing resolves the state’s contempt of court charges against Romero.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General James M. Morrissey in the Buffalo Regional Office, Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Bruce in the Rochester Regional Office, and Senior Consumer Frauds Representative Emily Brightman in the Rochester Regional Office. The Buffalo Regional Office is led by Assistant Attorney General In Charge Michael Russo and the Rochester Regional Office is led by Acting Assistant Attorney General In Charge Gary M. Levine. The Division of Regional Offices is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Marty Mack.

MV PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Brian Johnson, Esq

President
Oscar Davis, Jr., MS
Vice President
Linda R. Bryant
Secretary
Darren M. Morton, Ed. D.
Na’im R. Tyson, Ph. D.
DIRECTOR
Carolyn Karwoski
Library Board Schedule

5/20/15 – Wednesday    
                       6:30 PM Board Meeting – Trustees Conference Room – A Resolution to hire the library’s new Assistant Director

5/21/2015 – Thursday
6:00PM Proposed 2015-16 Budget Hearing & Library Trustee Candidates Forum in the Grace Greene Baker Community Room
Candidates: Linda Bryant, Sean McIntyre, and Tamara Stewart

6/2/2015 – Tuesday
7:00AM-9:00PM MV PUBLIC LIBRARY – ELECTION DAY

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES RE-ARREST OF RINGLEADER AND FORMER BANK TELLER IN ORANGE COUNTY BANK FRAUD AND IDENTITY-THEFT SCHEME.

Ringleader Tyrone Lee And Bank Teller Nadia Figueroa, Recently Sentenced To State Prison For A Similar Scheme, Charged On 50-Count Indictment.

Defendants Stole Over $457,000 From Bank Customers In Orange County, Nassau County, New York City, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Florida & Virginia.

Schneiderman: We All Must Redouble Efforts To Ensure Our Personal Data Is Safe And Secure From Identity Theft.

GOSHEN – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the re-arrest of ringleader Tyrone “Reece” Lee and former bank teller Nadia Figueroa on a 50-count indictment in Orange County Supreme Court. The defendants, who are charged with running an identity-theft ring that stole over $457,000 from customers of Wachovia Bank (now Wells Fargo), both pleaded guilty earlier this year to operating a similar identity-theft scheme in Westchester County.

“Today’s re-arrests show that identity theft remains a growing problem and that we all must redouble efforts to ensure our personal data is safe and secure,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will continue to take action against anyone who jeopardizes the financial security of New Yorkers – including bank tellers who do so by taking advantage of customers’ trust. And we will continue to work to protect all of us, from large corporations, to small business and families, from this threat.”

The Attorney General’s current indictment, unsealed today in Orange County Supreme Court, charges Lee, 28, and Figueroa, 24, both of the Bronx, with the crimes of Grand Larceny in Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Identity Theft in the First Degree, and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, for conduct between July 2010 and August 2011. If convicted of the top count, both defendants face up to 15 years in prison.

The Attorney General’s indictment alleges that Figueroa, while employed as a teller at a Wachovia Bank branch, located at 41 North Plank Road in Newburgh, N.Y., unlawfully accessed and stole the bank account numbers and personal identification information of more than 200 victims from a branch located in Newburgh. According to statements made by prosecutors at arraignment, many of the accounts victimized were selected by a practice known as “name surfing,” wherein Figueroa illegally searched Wachovia’s customer database for common names, states of residence, and high account balances. Lee then allegedly used the stolen information to withdraw funds from 77 customer accounts at branches located Orange County, Nassau County, New York City, as well as in Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia. 

Among the 123 different Wachovia branches whose customers were victims of identity theft are:

  • 3584 Long Beach Road, Oceanside, N.Y.
  • 3709 Riverdale Avenue, Bronx, N.Y.
  • 1076 Yonkers Avenue, Yonkers, N.Y.
  • 339 Hemingway Avenue, East Haven, C.T.
  • 150 Elm Street, Westfield, N.J.
  • 13140 U.S. Highway 301, Riverview, F.L.

In September 2014, Lee and Figueroa were arrested and charged by the Attorney General’s Office, along with three other individuals, for operating a similar identity-theft ring in Westchester County from July 2012 to June 2014. As in Orange County, Lee orchestrated the hiring of corrupt bank tellers and also directed them to target customers with common names and over $50,000 in their accounts.  These bank tellers, including Figueroa, fraudulently accessed and stole personal information, including account numbers and Social Security numbers, from hundreds of customers at Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and TD Bank. The customer information was later smuggled to Lee, who conspired to create fraudulent checks and identification documents using the stolen customer information. Lee arranged for other ring members to impersonate bank account holders, using these fake documents, in order to withdraw money at bank branches in Westchester County, New York City and Long Island, as well as Connecticut and Massachusetts. 

Earlier this year, Lee pleaded guilty to the entire 37-count Westchester County indictment against him, including multiple counts of Grand Larceny in the Second and Third Degrees and Identity Theft in the First Degree, and was sentenced to 4 ½ to 9 years in state prison. Figueroa pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in prison in Westchester County Supreme Court on May 14. Their three charged co-conspirators in the Westchester scheme also pleaded guilty.

Both defendants were arraigned today on the new indictment before Judge Jeffrey G. Berry in Orange County Supreme Court.

The charges against the defendants are allegations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

These prosecutions were the culmination of a long-term investigation by the Attorney General’s Crime Proceeds Strike Force, including court-authorized wiretaps and search warrants.

Attorney General Schneiderman thanks the New York State Department of Financial Services, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, and New York State Police and for their valuable assistance in this case.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Rhonda Greenstein and Tyler Reynolds of the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary T. Fishman and Deputy Bureau Chiefs Meryl Lutsky and Stephanie Swenton. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.

The investigation was conducted by Legal Support Analyst Theo Davidson, Investigators Steve Pratt, Vincent Gisonti, Sylvia Rivera, Ismael Hernandez, Ryan Fannon and Dave Negron and Larry Riccio, Senior Investigator Dennis Maddalone, Supervising Investigator John Sullivan, and Deputy Chief Investigators John McManus and Greg Stasiuk. The Investigations Division is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES LAWSUIT FILED BY 50 STATES & FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION AGAINST FOUR RELATED CANCER CHARITIES FOR ALLEGEDLY BILKING $187 MILLION FROM DONORS NATIONWIDE.

An Estimated 3% Of Funds Raised Allegedly Went To Charitable Purpose; Some Funds Used To Pay For Dating Site Subscriptions And Vacations For Charities’ Operators; Settlements With Two Of The Four Cancer Charities Also Announced.

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office, along with all 49 other states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, has filed a lawsuit against four allegedly phony cancer charities — the Cancer Fund of America, Children’s Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, and The Breast Cancer Society. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona, alleges that the organizations and their operators scammed more than $187 million from unsuspecting donors across the country – including nearly $3 million in New York State since 2008. Of the defendants named in the lawsuit, two organizations – Children’s Cancer Fund of America and The Breast Cancer Society – and three individuals, have entered into settlement agreements. Litigation is proceeding against the remaining defendants — Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, and James Reynolds Sr. The proposed settlement agreements include judgments of $137 million and require that those two charities be shuttered and their leaders prohibited from working in the not-for-profit industry.

“Bogus charitable fundraising in the name of helping cancer patients is as immoral as it is illegal,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Today, we join with our law enforcement colleagues from across the nation to combat charity fraud of the most cynical kind. These organizations claimed to be helping children with cancer and breast cancer patients, while they were instead allegedly raising funds for their own enrichment – including in one case to fund a family trip to Disney World. We will continue to protect the great work our honest charities perform, and stop those who seek to cheat the system.”

The joint complaint is an unprecedented 50 state and federal effort. It alleges that the defendants – based in Arizona and Tennessee – portrayed themselves as legitimate charities with substantial programs that directly supported cancer patients in the United States. Among other things, the charities or their telemarketers allegedly falsely told donors that their contributions would be used to provide pain medication to children suffering from cancer, to transport patients to chemotherapy appointments, and to pay for hospice care for dying patients. None of these services are believed to have actually been provided.

“Cancer is a debilitating disease that impacts millions of Americans and their families every year,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The defendants’ egregious scheme effectively deprived legitimate cancer charities and cancer patients of much-needed funds and support. The defendants took in millions of dollars in donations meant to help cancer patients, but spent it on themselves and their fundraisers. I’m pleased that the FTC and our state partners are acting to end this appalling scheme.”

In fact, between 2008 and 2012, of the more than $187 million raised, the lawsuit alleges that approximately 85% went to professional fundraisers. From the little remaining funds, the charities’ operators paid themselves, hired their friends and family to help run their sham operations, and spent charitable donations on a Caribbean cruise, trips to Disney World, jet ski outings, concert tickets, and dating site memberships.

In fact, between 2008 and 2012, of the more than $187 million raised, approximately 85% went to professional fundraisers, the lawsuit alleges. From the little remaining funds, the charities’ operators paid themselves, hired their friends and family to help run their sham operations, and spent charitable donations on a Caribbean cruise, trips to Disney World, jet ski outings, concert tickets, and dating site memberships. The complaint alleges that the defendants directed only 3% of the funds they raised to the charitable purposes donors intended them for.

The Cancer Fund of America is accused of claiming to provide “life-saving items” to cancer patients while actually providing items such as instant breakfast drinks, DVDs, sample size toiletries, and snack cakes. The organization also claimed to provide medical equipment and supplies while apparently only providing a small number of latex gloves and bed pads.

The complaint alleges that the defendants violated the Federal Trade Commission Act, the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, and each of the states’ laws on charitable solicitation and reporting, including the laws of New York State.

The court filings also allege that Cancer Fund, Children’s Cancer Fund, and Breast Cancer Society each participated in a deceptive “gifts-in-kind” accounting scheme to make their organizations appear larger and more efficient than they actually were. In this scheme, the organizations functioned as middlemen for shipments of pharmaceuticals and other goods (known as “gifts-in-kind”) to developing countries. Even though the organizations were just pass-throughs, and the drugs had nothing to do with their missions of helping cancer patients in the U.S., the organizations booked the supposed value of the drugs in their financial reports. Through this scheme, collectively from 2008 through 2012, Defendants improperly reported over $223 million in revenue and program spending.

Michael Clark, president of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, Inc., said, “Charitable organizations must not serve as personal piggy banks for the individuals who run them. The New York State Legislature recently passed a law tightening rules against self-dealing, and the allegations in this case appear to be an important example of why the law is so critically important.”

TIPS FOR CHARITABLE GIVING

  1. Confirm That the Charity is Registered With the Attorney General’s Office. Search the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau Registry at charitiesnys.com to see if the charity is registered and has filed its financial reports with the Attorney General.
  1. Know Where Your Money Will Go. Research the charity – go to its website, check on Facebook and other social media, and do a search.  Find out from the charity what it will do with your money. Review the charity’s financial reports for information about how it spends donations. If you have been contacted by a telemarketer, review Pennies for Charity, the New York Attorney General’s annual report of telemarketing campaigns in New York, to see how much is spent on fundraising costs and how much has been kept by the charity. Pennies for Charity is available at  www.charitiesnys.com.
  1. Don’t Be Pressured by Telemarketers. If you receive a telephone call asking you to contribute to a charity, you have the right to hang up. Often the caller is a professional fundraiser who is being paid to call you. If you choose not to end the call, ask how much of your donation will go to charity and how much the telemarketer is being paid. Many telemarketers receive most of the money they raise. Be wary of claims such as “all proceeds will go to charity.” Telemarketers are required to respond truthfully to your questions. Don’t fall for pressure tactics such as repeated phone calls, or threats. These are signs that the organization may not be legitimate.
  1. Ask for Written Materials. Always ask for information in writing – be wary if an organization will not provide information about charitable programs and finances upon request. Any legitimate organization will be happy to send you information.
  1. Be Wary of Deceptive Tactics and Emotional Appeals. Watch out for charities with names that resemble those of prominent or established organizations. Some charities use names similar to well known charities in order to confuse donors. Be wary of emotional appeals that talk about
    problems but are vague on how donations will be spent. Also be careful about charities that are created immediately following a natural disaster or other current event.
  1. Never Give Cash. Give your contribution by check made payable to the charity.
  1. Watch Out for Fake Invoices. If you receive a document resembling an invoice or “overdue” statement for a pledge, read the information carefully and confirm that you’ve actually made the pledge to the organization.  This could be a scam.
  1. Don’t Disclose Personal Information. Never give your social security number or other personal information in response to a charitable solicitation. Never give out credit card information over the phone or to an organization you are not familiar with.

  2. You Have the Right to Say “No.” Remember you always have the right to say no to any charitable request.

The case is being handled by in Attorney General Schneiderman’s Office by Assistant Attorney General Yael Fuchs, of the Charities Bureau and Charities Bureau Enforcement Section Chief Sean Courtney. Senior Enforcement Counsel David E. Nachman also worked on the case. James Sheehan is the Charities Bureau Chief and Alvin Bragg is the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN & THE ROBIN HOOD FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE PROGRAM TO HELP HOMELESS FAMILIES OBTAIN PERMANENT AFFORDABLE HOUSING

“Come Home NYC” – Created by Enterprise Community Partners – Connects Homeless Families With Incomes To Affordable Apartments; First-Of-Its-Kind Program Requires No Ongoing Public Subsidy 

A.G. & Robin Hood Will Enable Come Home NYC To Lift 300 Families Out Of Homelessness 

Schneiderman: Every Family Deserves A Home, And This Innovative Public Private Partnership Is An Important Step Toward Achieving That Goal

NEW YORK—Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and David Saltzman, Executive Director of Robin Hood—New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization— today announced the Come Home NYC program, a public-private partnership that will match 300 homeless families with apartments they can afford. Come Home NYC is led by  Enterprise Community partners, a national affordable housing and community development organization, in cooperation with New York City’s Department of Homeless Services, Single Stop, and more than 25 private and non-profit affordable housing landlords. With commitments of $1.2 million from Attorney General Schneiderman’s office and $300,000 from the Robin Hood Housing Advisory Board, Come Home NYC will place 300 homeless families in permanent housing over the next two years. Come Home NYC, which began as a pilot program last fall, matches homeless families who earn 30-60% of the area median income with quality homes they can afford. The program requires no ongoing subsidy from taxpayers and is the only program in New York City that matches homeless families living in the shelter system with unsubsidized affordable housing.  

According to a recent analysis, roughly 2,000 families entering the shelter system each year have sufficient income to pay rent for affordable housing, and 28% of all families in shelters have an adult that is currently employed. Studies show that the vast majority of homeless families who receive affordable housing are never homeless again. Attorney General Schneiderman made the announcement today at Two Bridges Towers on the Lower East Side.  Two Bridges Tower is a project of Settlement Housing Fund that participates in the Come Home NYC program. Attorney General Schneiderman and Mr. Saltzman were joined for the announcement by Judi Kende, Vice President and New York Market Leader for Enterprise Community Partners; Alexa Sewell, the President of Settlement Housing Fund; and Ayra Garcia, a formerly homeless New Yorker who moved with her young niece from a shelter into a permanent apartment with help from Come Home NYC.

“Every family deserves a home, and Come Home NYC is an important and innovative step toward achieving that goal,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “This innovative public-private partnership places homeless families into permanent housing without the need for ongoing taxpayer subsidies. More New York families than ever before are living in shelters, including families who lost their homes to foreclosure and are working full-time. I am proud to join with Robin Hood and Enterprise Community Partners to help hundreds of New York families find a place they can call home.”

“Public-private initiatives like Come Home are extremely helpful as the City prioritizes efforts to help families in shelters transition back to permanent housing,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New York City needs all hands on deck in combating our homelessness problem – I thank Attorney General Schneiderman, Enterprise, the Robin Hood Foundation, and participating landlords for their vision and commitment to help homeless families access affordable housing.

“Since 1987, Robin Hood has been focused on fighting poverty in New York City, and we are fully committed to addressing the needs NYC’s homeless families and individuals, said David Saltzman, Executive Director of Robin Hood.  ““Come Home NYC” is an exemplary partnership that leverages resources from the public, private, not-for-profit, and philanthropic sectors so that working together, we can have a greater impact than working alone.  We are grateful to Attorney General Schneiderman, the City of New York, and Enterprise for making it possible for hundreds of working families to move from shelters into safe and stable housing.

Enterprise Community Partners initially launched Come Home NYC in the fall of 2014, in partnership with Robin Hood Housing Advisory Board and the New York City Department of Homeless Services, more than 25 private and non-profit affordable housing landlords, and Single Stop an award winning multi-service organization that harnesses anti-poverty tools to create economic opportunity for low income families and individuals. The Department of Homeless Services identifies families in the New York City homeless shelters who qualify for Come Home NYC. These families earn an average of $35,000 annually, which qualifies them for affordable housing, but often makes them ineligible for many other programs. Also, because they are working it can be difficult for these families to search for apartments on their own in New York’s tight rental market. Enterprise works closely with shelter case workers to help the families navigate the application and leasing process and has recruited a pool of reputable landlords who have agreed to designate vacant apartments for Come Home NYC. The program provides landlords a guarantee fund of up to $3,000 per lease to off-set approved costs that landlords may incur during the tenants’ first 18 months of occupancy, including missed rent, legal fees and other approved expenses. Single Stop, which has 65 locations around the city, provides families with financial services, benefits screening, tax filing and connects them to services in their new neighborhoods to help establish long term financial stability. At the end of the 18-month period, if a tenant is in compliance with all of their lease terms, any unused guarantee funds are recycled back in to the program to help other families.

More than 11,000 families with children—including more than 23,000 children—were sleeping in New York City’s homeless shelters in May 2015. This is near an all-time high. Numerous academic studies have documented that homelessness has devastating effects on children, making them less likely to perform well in school, more likely to have a physical or mental health issue, and more likely to experience developmental delays or behavioral problems. Also, being homeless as a child makes someone much more likely to be homeless as an adult, perpetuating a vicious cycle. The costs of homelessness to taxpayers are tremendous as well: according to DHS data, the average length of stay in shelter for a family is over 400 days, at a public cost of approximately $40,000 per family.

The funds that Office of the Attorney General is directing to Come Home NYC were obtained through settlements with banks that engaged in misconduct in the mortgage market that contributed to the housing market crash and the foreclosure crisis that followed. In a survey by the National Coalition for the Homeless of direct service providers who work with homeless populations, 79% of respondents reported that at least some of their clients were homeless as a result of foreclosure.

Attorney General Schneiderman has played a leading role in the national effort to hold financial institutions accountable for their role in causing the crash of the housing market. He helped to negotiate a $25 billion multi-state settlement with the five largest mortgage servicing banks resolving allegations of misconduct in mortgage servicing. He was also appointed by President Barack Obama to co-chair a federal and state task force to investigate misconduct in the residential mortgage backed securities market prior to the 2008 financial crisis. Together these efforts have secured more than $60 billion in penalties and direct relief for homeowners and communities across the country.

Attorney General Schneiderman directed $100 million from these settlements to create the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP), which funds a network of approximately 90 housing counseling and legal services agencies across the state to help New York families avoid foreclosure.  HOPP providers have provided free, high quality housing counseling and legal services to more than 40,000 families across New York State. Attorney General Schneiderman has also directed $33 million to fund land banks across the state—nonprofits that help local governments buy up vacant and abandoned properties and either renovate them or demolish them so that the land can be returned to productive use. Ten land banks across the state have received funding to revitalize communities plagued by vacant and abandoned properties that are left over from the foreclosure crisis.

By funding Come Home NYC, Attorney General Schneiderman is continuing his commitment to use funds from the institutions that created the foreclosure crisis to help New Yorkers who were harmed by it.

“Enterprise developed Come Home NYC to respond to the dire need to lift families out of the shelter system who have income.  These families slip through the cracks because they don’t qualify for other programs, yet lack sufficient income to find homes they can afford without a helping hand.  Come Home NYC is a common-sense program that provides hands-on assistance, guarantee funds for landlords, and access to supportive services to help families with income find stable, affordable housing,” said Judi Kende, Vice President and New York Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. “The $1.5 million from the Attorney General’s Office and Robin Hood, combined with the continued support from the City, participating landlords, and Single Stop, will ensure that Come Home NYC reaches many more deserving New York families.”

Stable and affordable housing is a critical to a family’s financial security and economic mobility. Single Stop is excited to pilot this program to connect families in need with supports and services in their new community in addition to providing financial counseling, tax preparation, and legal assistance to ensure that families in New York have the resources they need to thrive,” said Sophia Heller, Managing Director for New York at Single Stop

“Settlement Housing Fund and Two Bridges Neighborhood Council are proud to participate in the Come Home NYC program,” said Alexa Sewell, Executive Director of Settlement Housing Fund. “The investment by Attorney General Schneiderman and the Robin Hood Foundation will go a long way to helping affordable housing providers successfully place homeless families in apartments.  Affordable housing is the critical resource in solving homelessness, and the Come Home NYC program cuts through the red tape that too often prevents families from quickly moving out of shelter and back into permanent housing.”

About The Robin Hood Housing Advisory Board

For more than 25 years, Robin Hood has fought poverty in New York City. It finds, funds and partners with programs that have proven to be an effective remedy to poverty and is a consistent force for good in the lives of New Yorkers in need. Robin Hood created the Housing Advisory Board in 2014 to find solutions to NYC’s ongoing homeless crisis and the need for affordable housing.  The Robin Hood Housing Advisory Board’s mission is to increase the quantity and quality of affordable housing in New York City.

About Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

Enterprise works with partners nationwide to build opportunity. We create and advocate for affordable homes in thriving communities linked to jobs, good schools, health care and transportation. We lend funds, finance development and manage and build affordable housing, while shaping new strategies, solutions and policy. Over more than 30 years, Enterprise has created nearly 320,000 homes, invested $16 billion and touched millions of lives. Join us at www.EnterpriseCommunity.org.

About Single Stop

Single Stop harnesses America’s most effective anti-poverty tools to create economic mobility for low-income families and individuals. Through a unique one-stop shop, Single Stop provides coordinated access to a safety net worth $750 billion and services provided by 1.5 million nonprofits—connecting people to the resources they need to attain higher education, obtain good jobs, and achieve financial self-sufficiency. Since spinning off from The Robin Hood Foundation in 2007, Single Stop’s outreach and capacity has grown dramatically. By the end of 2014, Single Stop is on track to connect one million households in eight states to nearly $3 billion of resources and services. To achieve this, Single Stop provides community-based organizations (CBOs) and community colleges with training, evaluation, program support, change management consulting, and proprietary technology. These tools empower sites to provide low-income families with wraparound services that include benefits screening, application assistance, case management, tax preparation, and legal and financial counseling. Learn more at singlestop.org.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN OFFERS CONSUMER TIPS ON HOW TO AVOID PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS CONTAINING PLASTIC MICROBEADS 

Consumers Can Protect New York’s Waters From Plastic Pollution By Refusing To Buy Toothpastes, Scrubs and Shampoos Containing Microbeads; Pamphlet Lists Tips To Identify Products With Microbeads 

A.G. Schneidermerman: While We Seek To Ban The Bead Via Legislation, Consumers Can Take Action

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a new pamphlet released by his office aimed at helping consumers choose personal care products that do not contain microbeads, a known form of plastic pollution. Titled “Microbeads Megaproblem: Keep Your Home Free of Plastic Microbeads,” the pamphlet offers information for New York consumers on how to identify and avoid personal care products that contain microbeads that are less than five millimeters in size and commonly slip through water treatment plants, entering New York’s waterways.

The pamphlet is being issued as a guide to consumers while the Attorney General’s Microbead-Free Waters Act (S3932-2015) awaits passage by the New York State Legislature. If passed and signed into law, the legislation would prohibit the distribution and sale of personal cosmetic products containing microbeads in New York. The state Assembly passed the bill in April, and the bill is currently co-sponsored by 34 State Senators, which is more than the number of votes needed for passage.

“From the Great Lakes to the Long Island Sound, New York’s waterways are invaluable resources that must be protected from avoidable forms of plastic pollution like microbeads,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We need legislation to ban the bead in New York State, but in the meantime, these tips will help consumers fight to protect our natural resources, our wildlife, and our outdoor economy – preserving them for generations of New Yorkers to come.”

Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic that are added to over one hundred personal care products sold in the United States, including face scrubs and toothpastes. The Attorney General’s pamphlet offers three easy steps to help fight microbead pollution by choosing not to wash your face and brush your teeth with plastic.

  • Check the ingredient list of person care products you have at home or plan to buy. The most common type of plastic microbead will listed on the ingredient list as “polyethylene.” Other products may include “polypropylene.” 
  • Check your product against a list of products containing microbeads: The Beat the Microbead campaign has developed lists of products that contain microbeads.
  • Download the Beat the Microbead App: You can download an App to scan the barcode of any personal care product with your smartphone camera and check to see if it contains microbeads before purchase.

Beat the Microbead consumer tools, including the list and the App, can be found at: www.beatthemicrobead.org.

Two reports issued by Attorney General Schneiderman’s Office in the last year detail pollution caused by microbeads in New York, including the fact that nearly 19 tons of these plastic bits are washed down New York drains each year, and that most wastewater treatment plants in New York are not designed to stop the tiny beads from flowing into our waters, including the Long Island Sound, the Great Lakes, the Hudson River, and the Finger Lakes. Once in the environment, microbeads persist for decades. They accumulate toxic chemical pollutants, including PCBs, on their surface and, when consumed by fish and wildlife, serve as a pathway for pollutants to enter the food chain.

Dear Neighbor,

The Westchester County Clerk will bring its community outreach mobile office to Mount Kisco Village Hall tomorrow, May 12th and Bedford Town Hall, on Thursday, May 14th from 11 a.m.to 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

YONKERS COUNCIL PASSES MEMORIAL DAY LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE: BILLS TO HIRE VETS, PREVENT DISCRIMINATION 

YONKERS, NY – In honor of Memorial Day, the Council passed three initiatives on Tuesday, the “Hire a Veteran Act,” the “Service Disabled Veterans Jobs Act” and a measure to prohibit discrimination against veterans.

“We cannot fully repay our veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice, especially those who gave their last full measure of devotion, but we must do everything within our power to reward their service,” Council President Liam McLaughlin said. “Many gave their lives for the freedoms we often take for granted. I’m proud Yonkers is already a leader in veterans’ issues, last year we were the first big city to exempt veterans from school taxes, and now we are the first to give preference to vets when it comes to hiring and procurement from city government.”

The three bills were passed unanimously. They include:

  • The ‘Hire a Veteran Act’, authored by McLaughlin, which requires the City Civil Service Commission to consider hiring veterans for temporary positions whenever one is available and the veteran is qualified;
  • The ‘Service Disabled Veterans Jobs Act,’ also written by McLaughlin, which creates a six goal procurement goal for awarding City Contracts to certified service-disabled owned veteran businesses; and
  • A law authored by Council member Mike Breen, which prohibits discrimination against veterans by expanding the jurisdiction of the Office of Human Rights to include military, veteran or disabled veteran status within the list of protected classes.

“We know in this day and age that unfortunately, veterans still suffer from discrimination in housing, labor and hiring practices, and it is time to put a stop to it,” Breen said. “It is long since time that the City recognize that discrimination in any form is not permissible.”

McLaughlin said that there is no better way to reward a reintegrating soldier who has come home from the battlefield then with a job.

“The city has temporary positions which veterans may be qualified for, and we spend millions on purchasing goods and services,” he said. “By expanding our procurement goals to include veteran businesses, we will not only honor our veterans for their service and sacrifice, we will also encourage new businesses to come to Yonkers, grow, and flourish.”

Dear Friend,

Yonkers has made it to the “final four” of the Journal News competition for the hippest town in the Hudson Valley. You can vote for our hometown here and please ask your friends and family to do so as well! We’re facing off against Nyack, who has been the top vote-getter in all previous rounds, so we really need your support.
#yonkerskidsmatter
Hundreds of parents, students and teachers filed into buses this week and rallied in Albany to support our schools. I was proud to join them, as we continue to work with our state delegation on ways we can plug the $28 million dollar gap our schools our facing and create a sustainable revenue source to fill the overall $89 million deficit that has been created by the systematic under-funding of our schools.
It was a moving experience to join the sea of blue “Save Our Schools” shirted individuals whose calls for fair funding echoed throughout the halls of the State Capitol. I want to personally thank all of the parents, teachers and students who took time out of their day to ride up to Albany and make Yonkers voice heard.
The City is doing its part. Thanks to the City Council Majority, we have initiated the lawsuit to overturn the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) which has stolen $110 million of our school aid. This case is the first Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit ever successfully joined by a municipality.
Even if the City maxed out our constitutional tax limit, it would not come close to closing the hole. I want to say that after this week’s trip, I think we are making real progress with our state leaders. The new Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, the former chairman of the education committee, seems ready to step up to the plate and help where others have not. “I believe in Yonkers,” he told the Journal News. “We need to properly fund our schools, that is our commitment, that is our responsibility.”
I believe in Yonkers as well, and will continue to fight for the $89 million our students are entitled to, and more.
First Public Budget Hearing
The City Council met at Saunders High School to hold our first public hearing on the 2015-6 proposed City budget. The next hearing will be held this Tuesday, May 26th, in the Council chambers.
As always you can watch the proceedings live by visiting the City website and clicking on City Hall TV on demand. You can also watch a replay of the Saunders budget hearing.
Memorial Day 2015
Monday is Memorial Day, a day of solemn remembrance where we pay tribute to those who gave everything in the defense of our great nation. I’m proud to say that on Tuesday night we will be voting on several pieces of legislation that I have sponsored which will benefit our veterans, which you will hear more about in next week’s edition. I hope to see you one of the many ceremonies around the City that commemorate the service and sacrifice of our veterans.
Event Location Date
Westchester County Veterans & Service Members Appreciation Day Rye PlaylandWestchester County VSA(914) 995-2145 May 24, 201512:00PM- 4:00PM
City of YonkersMemorial Day Ceremony At the Veterans MemorialContact: Dept. of Veterans Services (914) 377-6700 May 25, 20159:00 AM 
Crestwood Memorial Day Parade Starting at Schultze ParkContact: Glen Sadowski(212) 415-4480 May 25, 201510:00 AM
Catholic Slovak ClubMemorial Day Ceremony Victory Park
50 Lockwood Ave.Contact: (914) 969-1404
May 25, 201512:00 Noon 
Empire VFW Post 375Memorial Day Service Empire VFW Post 37510 Huber Pl.Contact: (914) 403-5725 May 25, 20152:00 PM
City of YonkersMemorial Day Parade Charles Bajart AL Post 1122840 McLean Ave.Contact: (917) 734-6648 & (914) 377-6700 May 30, 20151:00 PM
Matthew Wallace Memorial Walk
Many of you may remember that last year, the City Council passed several pieces of legislation including the Taxicab Bill of Rights and the liquor store surveillance camera law as a result of the tragic death of Matthew Wallace. Please help keep Matthew’s memory alive by supporting the scholarship foundation established in his honor at their second annual memorial walk event.
If you have community events you would like to see highlighted in a future edition of the newsletter, please contact my office. As always, if you need anything, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 914-377-6060. I remain,
Yours truly,

Liam J. McLaughlin

Attached is a copy of the City Council Agenda for this coming Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

05-26-2015 Agenda Without Backup

 

Regards,

 

Vincent E. Spano

City Clerk

Dear Friend,

The City of Yonkers is now in the “elite eight” of the Journal News competition for the hippest town in the Hudson Valley. You can vote for our hometown here and please ask your friends and family to do so as well! Right now, we are up against White Plains, and the voting is close.
With so many great historic, cultural and art attractions in our City, we are becoming a destination. The business-friendly climate established by the Council Majority is also leading to numerous grand openings of exciting high-tech businesses, restaurants, and hotels.
iFly Groundbreaking
 
One such businss is iFly, the exciting indoor skydiving experience coming to Ridge Hill in early 2016. It will also be used as the training facility for West Point Cadets who are preparing for Airborne operations. It was exciting to be able to break ground on this new family-friendly sports attraction, one of only 37 locations worldwide.
2015 Yonkers Idol 
Congratulations to the newly-minted Yonkers Idol winner, Sydney Harris. She is an eighteen year old singer. She is currently homeschooled by her father, baritone Lawrence Harris and bel canto specialist Carmela Altamura. This outstanding young woman also received a scholarship for studying Italian and opera at the Bel Canto Institute of Florence, Italy.
On June 19th, she will be performing the role of Cunegonde in Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” at St. John’s Church in Getty Square.
We look forward to seeing her represent our great City at many upcoming events throughout the year. Congratulations, Sydney!
 
 
 
Upcoming Attractions at the Hudson River Museum
There are many wonderful exhibits on display at the Hudson River Museum and I encourage you to visit them with your family. Check out what’s on display now and what is coming to the Museum later this year by visiting their website.
City Council Recognition
 
This week the Council had the opportunity to recognize the Saunders High School Blue Devils basketball team for their great run in the 2015 playoffs, their first appearance since 1997. Congratulations to Coach Anthony Nicodemo and all the players. You have made us all very proud. It underscores the need to continue fighting to properly fund our schools so we can keep vital programs like arts, music and sports in our schools.
We also welcomed Boy Scout Troop 1 of Crestwood to the Council Chambers on Tuesday night. We were honored to have the scouts lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance and each received a certificate of appreciation that will help them in the pursuit of the Citizenship in Our Community Merit Badge.
If you know any worthy youth group, be it scouts or some other organization, or an outstanding young person who is deserving of recognition by the Council and would enjoy leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance at a future Council meeting, please contact my office. As always, if you need anything, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 914-377-6060. I remain,
Yours truly,

Liam J. McLaughlin

Dear Friend,

As Thursday was the National Day of Prayer and next week kicks off National Police Week, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much the brave men and women who put on the uniform each day sacrifice on our behalf. Recent tragedies like the murders of officers Brian Moore, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos are indicative of what a difficult year its been for law enforcement. We want Yonkers’ finest to know how much we support and honor them.
Yesterday, officers from the YPD began a 300-mile bike ride from the World Trade Center to Washington D.C. as part of the Police Unity Tour, which will raise awareness of Law Enforcement Officers who have died in the line of duty as well as to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum.
Please join me in wishing good luck to Police Officers Dennine Smiddy, Steve Schlusberg and Angela Vignogna  who will be making Yonkers proud as they represent us.
Happy Mother’s Day!
From my family to yours, Happy Mother’s Day!
And a Happy Mother’s Day to the two greatest women I know!
2015 Yonkers Visionary Awards
 
Congratulations to The Morris Companies, Dion Drew, Barbara Segal, Ned Sullivan and posthumous recipient Jimmy Hill on receiving the Westfair’s 2015 Yonkers Visionary Awards.
Trip to Albany
 
Several organizations in Yonkers are banding together to demand our fair share of school funding from Albany. They will be organizing a bus trip to the Capitol where we plan on lobbying Governor Cuomo and our State Delegation for the $28 million that was cut from our schools in this years budget. The flyer below has more details on how you can get involved and contact information if you would like to go on the trip.
Congratulations Bob Walters
 
This week the Friends of Philipse Manor held their first ever Patron Saint of Yonkers Award dinner. The nomination went to my friend Bob Walters. Bob enriches the lives of Yonkers’ residents through his involvement in a wide variety of organizations.
He is dedicated to environmental causes and was a founding member of the Groundwork Trust in Yonkers. He now serves as Director of the Science Barge and serves on the boards of the Center for the Urban River at Beczak, and the Yonkers Green City Advisory Committee. Congratulations, Bob!
Ana Charle Fundraiser
 
The McLean Avenue Merchants Association is putting together a fundraiser to benefit the family of Ana Charle, the director of the Wakefield Homeless Shelter who was senselessly murdered last week. They are looking for volunteers and donations, and you can get involved by visiting them on Facebook.
The event will be held on June 25th at Rory Dolan’s. Stay tuned to this newsletter for further details. As always, if you need anything, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 914-377-6060. I remain,
Yours truly,

Liam J. McLaughlin

BUDGET HEARING FY 2015 16untitled

Please be advised that the City Council of the City of Yonkers has called two Public Hearings to be held on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 & Tuesday, May 26, 2015 in regards to the FY2015/16 operating and Capital Budget.

 

The Legal Notice is attached.

 

 

Vincent E. Spano

City Clerk

Budget Hearing Schedule 2015_16

CITY OF YONKERS

BUDGET HEARING SCHEDULE

As of May 4, 2015- Changes appear in Red

All hearings will be held in the City Council Chambers unless otherwise noted

Thursday, May 7th

3:00pm-4:00pm Parks Department

4:00pm-5:00pm DPW

5:00pm-5:30pm Planning & Development

Monday, May 11th

4:00pm-4:45pm Housing & Building

4:45pm-5:30pm Department of Information Technology

5:30pm-6:30pm Finance Department/Special Items, Grant Budget

6:30pm-7:30pm Engineering/CIP

7:30pm-9:00pm Board of Education

Tuesday, May 12th

4:00pm-5:15pm Police Department

5:30pm-7:00pm Fire Department

7:30pm-8:00pm Committee of the Whole

8:00pm-9:00pm City Council Meeting

Tuesday, May 19th

5:00pm-5:30pm Hudson River Museum (Saunders High School)

5:30pm-6:00pm Library (Saunders High School)

6:00pm-6:30pm Corporation Counsel/Litigation (Saunders High School)

6:30pm-7:00pm Rules Committee Meeting (Saunders High School)

7:00pm-8:00pm Public Hearing (Saunders High School)

Thursday, May 21st

4:30pm-5:30pm Presentation of Report from O’Connor Davies

Tuesday, May 26th

6:30pm-7:30pm Public Hearing

7:30pm-8:00pm Committee of the Whole

8:00pm-9:00pm City Council Meeting

Please be advised that a Legislation and Codes Committee Meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 7:15pm in the City Council Chambers, Yonkers City Hall, 4th floor.

 

 

The following Items will be on the Agenda:

 

  1. AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 13 OF THE CODE OF THE CITY OF YONKERS IN RELATION TO PARTICIPATION BY SERVICE-DISABLED VETERANS WITH RESPECT TO CONTRACTS.
  2. A LOCAL LAW AMENDING ARTICLE XXIV OF THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF YONKERS IN RELATION TO HIRING VETERANS.

 

  1. Any additional items that may properly come before this Committee.

 

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 Peña

Second Deputy City Clerk

City of Yonkers

Date: May 6, 2015

RE: Budget Committee Meeting May 12, 2015

 

 

Please be advised that a Budget Committee Meeting has been scheduled ‎for Tuesday, May 12th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, Yonkers‎ ‎City Hall, 4th floor.‎

 

Agenda:

 

1)       Resolution—Authorizing the settlement of a claim relating to water with the Willows Condominium, 125 Fort Hill Avenue, Yonkers, New York in the amount of $38,753.01.

 

2)      Special Ordinance – authorizing acceptance of a grant issued by Empire State Development in the amount of $1,500,000 and amending the City of Yonkers Grant Budget for fiscal year 2014/15. (Positive Fiscal Impact.)

 

3)      Any additional items that may properly come before this Committee.

 

 

 

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 the meeting be televised.**

 

 

Nerissa Peña

Second Deputy City Clerk

City of Yonkers

Upcoming Yonkers City Council Meeting: 05-12-2015 Agenda Without Backup

Dear Friend,
The City Council will begin conducting its annual review of the Mayor’s proposed budget next week. As chairman of the Budget Committee, I will be reviewing each and every line item of the budget as we execute our fiduciary charge to ensure we protect taxpayers and that every dollar is spent wisely.The schedule for the budget hearings is below. You can watch the hearings online or on Cablevision Channel 78.
2015 Budget Hearing Schedule

 

Thursday, May 7th

3:00pm-4:00pm     Parks Department

4:00pm-5:00pm     DPW

5:00pm-5:30pm     Planning & Development

Monday, May 11th

4:00pm-5:15pm    Board of Education

5:15pm-6:15pm    Finance Department/Special Items, Grant Budget

6:15pm-7:00pm    Engineering/CIP

7:00pm-7:45pm    Housing & Buildings

7:45pm-8:30pm    Department of Information Technology

Tuesday, May 12th

4:00pm-5:15pm    Police Department

5:30pm-7:00pm    Fire Department

7:30pm-8:00pm    Committee of the Whole

8:00pm-9:00pm    City Council Meeting

Tuesday, May 19th

5:00pm-5:30pm   Hudson River Museum

5:30pm-6:00pm   Library

6:00pm-6:30pm   Corporation Counsel/Litigation (Saunders High School)

6:30pm-7:00pm   Rules Committee Meeting (Saunders High School)

7:00pm-8:00pm   Public Hearing (Saunders High School)

Thursday, May 21st

4:30pm-5:30pm   Presentation of Report from O’Connor Davies

Tuesday, May 26th

6:30pm-7:30pm   Public Hearing

7:30pm-8:00pm   Committee of the Whole

8:00pm-9:00pm   City Council Meeting

 

Funding Our Schools
This week I traveled to Albany to meet with the state delegation to advocate for additional money that rightfully belongs to our schools. As long as the State Legislature is in session, we will continue traveling to Albany to fight for these funds. Now you can help.

The Yonkers Council of PTA/PTSA is coordinating a letter writing campaign targeted at Governor Cuomo and our state delegation, demanding that Albany fully fund our schools and reinstate the $28 million that was cut in the 2015 State Budget. You can view a draft letter below and click to download a copy of it which you can edit and send to the Governor yourself.

 

Little League Opening Day Weekend
There were several more little league opening day ceremonies and parades around Yonkers that were held this past weekend. You can enjoy some shots from the events below and see more pictures from these great events by clicking the photos.
I was honored to throw out the first pitch at opening day.
I’ll always be a Yankees fan at heart, but I’m proud to represent the Dunwoodie Youth Association not only as a member of the City Council, but also as a Coach for my son Ryan’s Orioles.
Another beatuiful day for a ballgame at the Hillcrest Lakers Community Club.
The little league opening day cermonies continued at the North Yonkers Boys & Girls Club opening day ceremony and parade.
Spring is finally here in Yonkers and we celebrated with the Colts Youth Club at their parade and opening day event.
Close the Project Renewal Shelter
As many of you know, a horrible tragedy occurred on the outskirts of our City in the Wakefield section of the Bronx this week. Ana Charle, the director of the Project Renewal Homeless Shelter, was murdered in cold blood by a convicted felon and former resident.
I condemn the actions of this animal for murdering and attempting to rape this poor innocent woman. We are outraged by his conduct and would like to see this center closed.
Neighborhoods directly across our borders are already over-saturated with these kinds of facilities, and are in the process of opening more. Action should be taken to ensure a better, fairer and more even distribution of these centers which does not disproportionately affect Yonkers by hiding them just across our border.
Ana Charle, who ran a homeless shelter, was murdered by former resident and convicted felon West Spruill.
Why is New York City opening a new facility when they cannot even protect their existing shelters? It is even more clear that action must be taken to protect the lives of innocent heroes like Ana Charle who wake-up and go to work every day to help the disadvantaged. Helping the downtrodden is not supposed to be an occupation where you put your life on the line.
We need to see better security protocols in place to protect shelter employees and the surrounding neighborhoods in our community from these kind of heinous crimes. In the meantime, this new shelter must not open only yards from three vulnerable schools.
Yonkers DMV Closure
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles website, the Yonkers branch of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles will be closed starting this week for renovations. The office is expected to re-open at some point in June.
The nearest office is located at 696 East Fordham Road in the Bronx which is approximately five miles away. There is also an office located at 200 Hamilton Avenue in White Plains. Many DMV transactions are also available to be performed online by visiting their website.
As always, if you need anything, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 914-377-6060. I remain,
Yours truly,

Liam J. McLaughlin

Like us on Facebook

STATEMENT FROM YONKERS CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT LIAM J. McLaughlin ON THE NEW PROJECT RENEWAL HOMELESS SHELTER.

YONKERS, NY -Yonkers City Council President Liam J. McLaughlin issued a statement on the murder of the Wakefield Homeless Shelter:“I condemn the actions of this animal for murdering and attempting to rape this poor innocent woman. We are outraged by his conduct and would like to see this center closed.” “Our neighborhoods are already over-saturated with these kinds of facilities. Action should be taken to ensure a better, fairer and more even distribution of these centers which does not disproportionately affect Yonkers by hiding them just across our border.  “Why is New York City opening a new facility when they cannot even protect the existing shelters? It is even more clear that action must be taken to protect the lives of innocent heroes like Ana Charle who wake-up and go to work every day to help the disadvantaged. Helping the downtrodden is not supposed to be an occupation where you put your life on the line.  “We need to see better security protocols in place to protect shelter employees and the surrounding neighborhoods in our community from these kind of heinous crimes. In the meantime, this shelter must not open only yards from three vulnerable schools.”

Please be advised that a Budget Committee Meeting has been scheduled ‎for Tuesday, April 28th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, Yonkers‎ ‎City Hall, 4th floor.‎

 

Agenda Items:

 

1)     Resolution – authorizing the City of Yonkers to participate in the HUD Public Offering as part of the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Assistance Program to refinance the existing notes in the original principal amounts of $1,670,000 and $1,850,000 for the N-Valley Technology Center and the HFAH Station Plaza, Inc. projects, respectively. (Positive Fiscal Impact.)

 

2)     Any additional items that may properly come before this Committee.

 

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 the meeting be televised.‎**

 

Regards,

Nerissa Peña

Second Deputy City Clerk

City of Yonkers

04-28-2015 Agenda Without Backup

Dear Friend,
This week we had a meeting of the City Council’s Budget Committee, which I chair, where we discussed legislation to refinance bonds the City had previously issued. By taking advantage of low interest rates, the new issuance will save taxpayers approximately $12 million in interest payments. Of course, we moved the proposal to the full Council, where I am happy to report it was passed unanimously.
2016 City Budget
On Wednesday, the Mayor unveiled his proposed 2016 City of Yonkers budget. As council members, we will strive to pass another on-time, bipartisan budget that confronts challenging fiscal realities yet does not put any further burdens on taxpayers.
As of today, we still have not received the $28 million from Albany that was contained in the State budget last year. Without that $28 million, which we are still seeking, our schools could face drastic layoffs.
We will continue working to secure additional funding from Albany and plan on traveling to the Capitol to meet with our State lawmakers. In addition, as the chair of the Budget Committee, I will be conducting departmental hearings in the coming weeks, which will be televised. We will be publishing a schedule in the next edition of this newsletter.
Yonkers Earth Week 2015
This weekend kicks off Yonkers Earth Week. As chairman of the Environmental Protection & Policy Committee here on the City Council, I’m proud that Yonkers is becoming a leader in sustainability in our region.
We are also very excited that as part of Earth Week, the Clearwater Sloop will be coming to Yonkers. On Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, the ship will be docked in Yonkers from 2:00-6:00 PM, offering free deck tours and some live music.
According to Clearwater, a dockside concert featuring traditional Irish tunes, blues and other genres in a jam session will take place at the end of the busy day of volunteerism. Details are in the flyer above.
 
Science Barge 2015 Grand Opening
My son Ryan and I crossed the gangplank this past weekend for the grand opening of the Science Barge, our very own sustainable urban farm and environmental education center on the Hudson River in Yonkers. The Science Barge is now open for its 2015 season.
 If you would like to visit the Science Barge with your family (and I highly recommend you do), please visit Groundwork Hudson Valley’s website here. As always, if you need anything, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 914-377-6060. I remain,
Yours truly,

Liam J. McLaughlin

Like us on Facebook

press release Education budget response final draft. 2

Dear Friend,
The 2015 New York State budget has been passed by our representatives in Albany. While we are still analyzing what it means for the City of Yonkers, it is already clear that our City faces a huge deficit.

The absence of these funds was referenced by Yonkers Federation of Teachers President Pat Puelo as starving “our public schools at a moment when schools are at their neediest.” While her criticism was mainly directed at the Governor for “withholding the $28 million to our schools for this upcoming school year, leaving a gaping hole into which our students must fall once again,” according to a press release, there is clearly blame enough to go around.

 

2015 State Budget

Once again Yonkers has been sold a bad bill of goods, and by cutting $28 million from our funding, our Albany delegation has all but put the nail in the school budget’s coffin for 2015. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the alleged Democratic leader of the Senate, George Latimer and our delegation have failed to deliver for the City of Yonkers. Forget pre-K, forget sports, librarians, guidance counselors, arts and music. According to our state delegation, in Yonkers, everything must go.

Last year, the state provided $28 million on the condition that the City assume the non-academic functions of the school district through an inter-municipal agreement, or IMA. The City has taken over these functions at great expense, in what amounts to another tremendous unfunded mandate by Albany.

This year’s State budget, adopted late and after the April 1st deadline, did not re-appropriate the $28 million, which  is a failure on the part of Yonkers’ state legislative delegation.

 

The Superintendent had requested an additional $89 million from Albany this year, and the State has fallen far short of that in a year when they have money for just this type of thing. Our State failed to deliver on the Superintendent’s request and adding insult to injury, failed to get the $28 million that had been provided the year before as recurring revenue.
The City must now figure out how to close the remaining gap in the 2015 school budget. Albany mandated we take over the school district, but yet they didn’t pay for it, and now Yonkers taxpayers will pay the price for the incompetence and indifference of our state delegation. Rest assured, as Council President, I will fight to see this injustice corrected.


Annual YPD vs YFD hockey game
 

On Saturday, April 18 at 4:30 p.m., the annual YPD vs YFD Hockey game will be held at EJ Murrays Ice Rink on Tuckahoe Road in Yonkers. This is the 19th Annual Yonkers Police vs Yonkers Fire Charity Hockey Game. The admission fee is only $10 and all proceeds to go the Make a Wish Foundation.

You can RSVP online via Facebook or show up and pay at the door.

Who will be this year’s champion?

Science Barge Grand Opening 

 

The season opening of Yonkers own Science Barge will be held on Saturday, April 11. The Science Barge, a sustainable urban farm and environmental education center, is celebrating its seventh year on the waterfront in downtown Yonkers.

The fun starts at noon, with the official ribbon cutting set for 2:00. Festivities starting at 12:00 include:

  • Super-high kite-flying with kite-expert and nationally recognized boomeranger, Flyin’ Brian Cavallaro
  • Live music-with InteROBbang Productions’ Jahni Rae and friends
  • Giant, wearable puppets courtesy of Puppeteers’ Cooperative
  • Free basil or parsley plants for the first 100 visitors
  • Hunting for glass eels
  • Legos on the Hudson!
  • Artsy crafts & potting activity
  • LL Bean- outdoor games for kids
  • Hands-on science stuff
  • ConEdison Energy bike challenge
  • Light refreshments
  • Walk-on tours from 2 PM to 6 PM
  • Local farmers and vendors
Science Barge provides educational programs for young people of all ages and hosts more than 8,000 visitors annually. The Science Barge is funded by grants from the City of Yonkers, ConEdison, Domino Sugar, the New York State DEC, and the Hudson River Improvement Fund. The Science Barge is located at 99 Dock Street, Yonkers, NY 10701. For more information on these events visit: groundworkhv.org.
Little League Opening Day
Lets get ready to play ball! The Parks Department has released the most current version of little league baseball and soft ball opening days for your information and scheduling.  The current schedule is as follows:
SUNDAY, APRIL 12, 2015
Club: Bryn Mawr Boys and Girls Club
 Parade: 9:00 AM
Start at P.S.5,  East on Lockwood Ave. to Mile Square Road,  South on Mile Square Road to Barton Road, East on Barton Road to Welty Field
Ceremony: 9:15 am – Welty Park
Games: 10:00 am – Welty 1-2-3
 SATURDAY, APRIL 18, 2015
Club: Pelton Boys and Girls Club
Ceremony: 12:00 PM – Pelton Field
 SATURDAY, April 18, 2015
Club: Woodlean
Parade: 11:00 AM
 Location: Coyne Park to Woodlean
SUNDAY, APRIL 19, 2015
Club: PACOY
Parade: 1:00 PM – War Memorial Field
Ceremony: 1:00 PM
Games: 1:30 PM
 SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 2015
Club: All Yonkers Youth Association
Parade: 8:30 AM
Ceremony: 9:00 AM – Andrus Field
Games: 9:30 AM
 SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 2015
Club: McLean Heights Ceremony: 1:00 PM- Coyne Park
Game: 2:30 PM
 SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 2015
Club: North Yonkers Boys & Girls Club
Parade: 10:00 AM Ceremony: 10:30 AM – Lennon Park
Games: 12:00 Noon
 SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 2015
Club: Dunwoodie Youth Association
Walking Parade: 9:00 AM,   Start at Park on Little John Place, To Mile Square Road, To Cook Ave., To Field
Ceremony: 9:25 AM – Redmond
Games: 11:00 AM
 SATURDAY, April 25, 2015
 Club: Colts Youth Club
 Parade: 10:00AM, Start Crosshill Middle School Field, rear parking lot, East on O’Dell Ave to Nepperhan Ave, North on Nepperhan to Richter Field
Ceremony: 11:00 AM
Games: Richter 12 pm
 SUNDAY, APRIL 26, 2015
Club: Hillcrest
Parade: 11:30 AM
Ceremony: 12:00 Noon-Shultz Field
Games: 2:00 PM
 SATURDAY, MAY 2, 2015
Club: East Yonkers Youth Association
Ceremony: 10:00 AM- Coyne Park
Games: 11:00 AM
 SATURDAY, MAY 2, 2015
Club: Lud Dale Parade: 9:15 AM
Ceremony: 10:00 AM- Faye Park

Bicycle Sundays

Bicycle Sundays are back! The Friends of Westchester County Parks and Con Edison are pleased to announce the return of this event that can help you keep in shape and enjoy our beautiful scenery here in Westchester.

The events are held on the Bronx River Parkway from Scarsdale Road in Yonkers to the Westchester County Center in White Plains, Sundays in May, June and September. The full schedule is May 3, 10, 17 and 31 June 7, 14, 21 and 28, September 13, 20 and 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., so mark your calendars.

Admission is free. Visit westchestergov.com/parks for more info or call County Parks at (914) 864-PARK. I look forward to seeing you there. As always, if you need anything, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 914-377-6060. I remain,

Yours truly,

Liam J. McLaughlin

04-14-2015 Agenda Without Backup

ALBANY CUTS $28 MILLION IN IMA MONEY
FROM YONKERS SCHOOLS FACING $89 MILLION HOLE
YONKERS, NY – The State budget process has drawn to a close, and members of the Yonkers City Council are fuming over what they say is a failure by Albany representatives to properly fund City schools. Local lawmakers castigated their State counterparts for failing to deliver $28 million in funding they say is owed to Yonkers.

“Once again Yonkers has been sold a false bill of goods, and by cutting $28 million from our funding, our Albany delegation has all but put the nail in the school budget’s coffin for 2015,” Council President Liam McLaughlin said. “Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the alleged Democratic leader of the Senate, George Latimer and our delegation have failed to deliver for the City of Yonkers. Forget pre-K, forget sports, librarians, guidance counselors, arts and music. According to our own duly elected state delegation, in Yonkers, everything must go.”

Last year, the Yonkers Public Schools were faced with a budget crisis following a $45 million accounting error by the district. Albany lawmakers offered $28 million to help close the shortfall, on the condition that the City assume the non-academic functions of the school district through an inter-municipal agreement, or IMA.

The City Council adopted the IMA, which cost City taxpayers over $9 million, in May of 2014, after which it received its $28 million from the State. Members of the Council Majority also increased education funding locally in the 2014 City budget.

Other conditions of the agreement added a new layer of oversight to the City budget whereby the State Comptroller and Commissioner of Education can mandate changes to the City budget that the Council must then adopt.

Earlier this year, it was announced that City schools faced a shortfall of over $89 million, according to school Superintendent Dr. Michael Yarzulo. Unlike most school districts, the City of Yonkers collects taxes and directly provides funding for City schools.

The Governor’s proposed budget for this year did not contain any language to address this massive hole in the budget, even though the State Constitution mandates Albany must provide each child with a sound basic education. The final State budget, adopted late and after the April 1st deadline, did not re-appropriate the $28 million, which Council members say is a failure on the part of Yonkers’ state legislative delegation.

Majority Leader John Larkin said, “Once again it becomes a smoke and mirrors act by our state delegation who on the one hand will state they have increased school funding while on the other hand failed miserably to totally address the needs of Yonkers students. Andrea Stewart Cousins, who holds the position as the Democratic Senate Minority Conference Leader stated she did not have a seat at the table. We would have expected that as the Senate Minority Leader she would have addressed the needs of Yonkers schools directly to Governor Andrew Cuomo. How unbelievable that a State spokesperson for the Governor would say that they cannot be expected to financially bail out Yonkers each year. We are not asking for a bail out. We are asking for what is rightfully ours as taxpayers. Our State delegation, both Senate and Assembly members, along with the Governor, should provide what is our constitutional right – a fair and equitable education for all our students. Anything less is not acceptable.”

Thanks to Senate Republicans, Yonkers did receive a base $13 million increase in foundation aid, plus $6 million restored through a partial restoration of the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA, a 5-percent take back of school funding implemented by Stewart-Cousins and the Senate Democrats when that party had full control of all three houses in 2010. But without the $28 million from last year, this means school funding has been cut in Yonkers by $8.4 million this year.

Council member Mike Breen said, “Last year, our Albany representatives failed to close the gap, while putting our budget in the hands of unelected bureaucrats, and we heard we should be ‘thankful’ for the great job they did. Yet this time around, again, they couldn’t deliver. They left us holding a $28 million dollar bill and it is our children who will suffer.”

Council member Dennis Shepherd said, “The abject failure by Senator George Latimer, Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, and our fearless leader Senator Stewart-Cousins would almost be comical, were it not that the blood of Yonkers Public Schools is on their hands. When will we learn our lesson that we can’t expect a different result if we keep sending the same people to Albany?”

The City must now figure out how to close the remaining gap in the 2015 school budget, without the $28 million in revenue. “Albany mandated we take over the school district, but yet they didn’t pay for it, and now Yonkers taxpayers will pay the price for the incompetence and indifference of our state delegation,” Council President McLaughlin added.

The City Council Majority has also voted to commence litigation against the State by joining a Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, New Yorkers for Students Education Rights v. State of New York, which seeks to overturn the Gap Elimination Adjustment and restore $110 million in GEA monies cut from Yonkers Public Schools. Recently, a Judge issued a ruling allowing Yonkers to join the lawsuit, making the City the first municipality to successfully join a CFE case.

Please be advised that a Real Estate Committee Meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, April 14, 2015 from 5:00pm to 6pm, in the Council Chambers, Yonkers City Hall, 4th Floor.

 

Agenda Items:

 

  1. Local Law – authorizing the conveyance of City property at 470 Nepperhan Ave. to Lewis Ghelaj for the redevelopment of said property.

 

  1. Resolution – to issue a determination of significance pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) relating to the proposed sale of city owned property located at 470 Nepperhan Avenue.
  2. Resolution – recommending the acquisition through eminent domain of the property knows as 59 Babcock Place, Block 2620, Lot 5.
  3. A RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE INTRODUCTION OF CERTAIN LEGISLATION AUTHORIZING THE SALE AND

CONVEYANCE OF CERTAIN PARKLAND AND DEDICATION OF VACANT LAND AS REPLACEMENT PARKLAND in the

vicinity of Balint Drive.

 

  1.  Any additional items that may properly come before this committee.

 

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**

 

Thank you,

 

Connie Braun

Chief of Staff

On behalf of John J. Larkin

Real Estate Committee Chair

Majority Leader, Councilmember, District 6

04-14-2015 Public Hearing Esther Bera

Please be advised that the City Council has called a Public Hearing to be held on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 8:00pm in the City Council Chambers for the attached resolution Re:

 

A PROPOSED RESOLUTION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF YONKERS TO RENAME FRANKLIN AVENUE, BETWEEN RIVERDALE AVENUE AND HAWTHORNE AVENUE, IN THE CITY OF YONKERS AS ESTHER C. BERA BLVD.

 

 

Nerissa Peña

Second Deputy City Clerk

City of Yonkers

Dear Friend,

It’s Easter week and the beginning of Passover. For those of you that celebrate Passover, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, I want to wish you and your family a blessed and enjoyable Holiday.
Vietnam Veterans Day
This past Sunday we celebrated Vietnam Veterans Day. It was a day to say to our veterans, thank you for your service, and welcome home. I was also pleased to be on hand during Saturday’s dedication of Vietnam Veterans Way, a subdesignation of the New York State Pulaski Crossway that runs along Yonkers Avenue.
The new Vietnam Veterans Way segment is a City designation that runs from the intersection of Yonkers Avenue and Midland Avenue to the City of Mount Vernon Border. Each of the streets along the route will be further sub-designated in honor of the 31 servicemen and women who were killed during the Vietnam War.
We can never fully repay our veterans for what they have sacrificed on our behalf, but we can do our best to honor and thank them. For our Vietnam veterans, this certainly came far later than it should have, but I am proud to be able to help recognize them on behalf of our great City.
2015 Easter Egg Hunt
 

 
Camp Rays Registration Open
 
Registration for Camp Rays is open! Camp Rays summer day camp for children has been one of the Parks Department’s most popular seasonal programs for more than 15 years, according to our Parks Department.
Camp Rays begins June 29 and continues through August 7. Six one-week sessions will be offered at four sites throughout the City and open to children ages 5 through 14. Campers will participate in a variety of activities including basketball, softball, soccer, arts & crafts, music, dance and water activities.
Additionally, several day trips are being offered as part of the camp this year, including trips to a New York Mets game, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City and other amusement parks. Registration is available on-line here or in person at the Department of Parks, Recreation & Conservation (285 Nepperhan Ave) from 9:00am to 4:00pm. Registration will continue until all spaces are filled.
 
Yonkers Clean-Up Day: Mark Your Calendars
 

 
Last year volunteers from across our great City helped the Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park. We would like to repeat last years success so if you have time to volunteer, please join us on April 18th to help continue our efforts to beautify this great city.  This year’s initiative will take place  from 9:30am-2:00pm.
We need volunteers to help with essential tasks such as: raking leaves, picking-up trash, clearing debris, and cutting away old vines. We will be meeting at War Memorial Field (off Nepperhan Avenue) and bussing volunteers to the site of this year’s clean-up which will target the area between Walnut Street and Yonkers Avenue.
The City of Yonkers will provide all clean-up supplies and essential materials. To register, please visit http://www.yonkersny.gov/cleanupday to register or contact our volunteer coordinator Laura Boatswain by email laura.boatswain@YonkersNY.gov or by phone 914-377-6429 for more information.
I look forward to seeing you there. As always, if you need anything, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 914-377-6060. I remain,
Yours truly,

Liam J. McLaughlin

Like us on Facebook

03-24-2015 SPECIAL MEETING CALL

Please be advised that the City Council has called a Special Meeting for Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 8:15PM to consider:

“A RESOLUTION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF URGING GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO, THE NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY AND THE NEW YORK STATE SENATE TO SUPPORT YONKERS SCHOOL CHILDREN”

The call for this Special Meeting is attached.

Vincent E. Spano

City Clerk

03-24-2015 Agenda Without Backup

Attached is the City Council Agenda for tonight’s Special City Council Meeting.

Regards,

Vincent E. Spano

City Clerk

Please be advised that the City Council has called a Public Hearing to be held on Tuesday, March 24, 2016 at 7:30pm in the City Council Chambers for the attached Resolution Re:

 

A Resolution that all the portion of the city road system, beginning at the intersection of Yonkers Avenue and Midland Avenue, and continuing in a generally easterly direction on Yonkers Avenue and terminating at the City of Mount Vernon border shall be designated and known as the “Vietnam Veterans Way”; and

 

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, THAT the director of veterans affairs shall transmit a list, annexed herein, to the Council of the City of Yonkers, the commissioner of parks and the commissioner of public works, containing the names of those individuals killed in action during the Vietnam War; those names shall further be subdesignated as honorary streets along the intersections of the “Vietnam Veterans Way” upon the route designated by this resolution;

Public Notice Res 19-2015

03-24-2014 Agenda without backup

03-18-2015 SPECIAL COUNCIL MTG CALL

Please note that the time of the Special Council Meeting to be held on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 will begin at 7:00PM and not 8:00PM which will previously posted.

Please see the revised attached Call for the meeting.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE WILL BEGIN AT 6:30PM

Vincent E. Spano

City Clerk

Please be advised that an Education Committee Meeting has been scheduled for Thursday Feb 26th, 6 pm, in the Council Chambers, Yonkers City Hall, 4th Floor.

 

 

Agenda Items:

 

  1. RESOLUTION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF YONKERS CALLING FOR GOVERNOR COUMO, THE NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY AND THE NEW YORK STATE SENATE TO      PASS THE EDUCATION INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT

 

  1. Any other issues that might come before the committee.

 

 

 

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**

Please be advised that a Budget Committee Meeting has been scheduled ‎for Thursday, February 26th at 5:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Yonkers‎ ‎City Hall, 4th floor.

Agenda Items:

 

1)     Resolution accepting the annual independent audit

 

2)     Any additional items that may properly come before this Committee.

 

Any appropriate Commissioners/Department Heads or their representatives are directed to attend the meeting to address issues on the agenda relating to their respective departments. This meeting will be televised.

DUE TO THE IMPENDING STORM, PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE STATED CITY COUNCIL MEETING FOR TUESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2015 HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY, JANUARY 29, 2015 AT 7:30PM.

 

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT 7:00PM.

 

REGARDS,

Vincent E. Spano

City Clerk

1-27-2015 City Council Agenda

Please be advised that a Real Estate Committee Meeting has been scheduled for

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 at 7:00 to 8pm, in the Council Chambers, Yonkers City Hall, 4th Floor.

 

Agenda Items:

 

 

  1. Power Point presentation by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery concerning mitigation proposals from the State for the COY concerning “flooding”.
  1. Any additional items that may properly come before this committee.

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**

 

Thank you,

 

Please be advised that a Budget Committee Meeting has been scheduled ‎for Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 6pm. in the Council Chambers, Yonkers‎ ‎City Hall, 4th floor.‎

Agenda Items:

1)     Discussion of the SEIU contract

2)     Discussion of SCRIE

3)     Any additional items that may properly come before this Committee.

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 the meeting be televised.‎**

Please be advised that a Legislation and Codes Committee Meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, Yonkers City Hall, 4th floor.

The following Items will be on the Agenda:

A GENERAL ORDINANCE GENERALLY AMENDING CHAPTER 20 OF THE YONKERS CITY CODE IN REGARD TO TRANSIENT BUSINESSES.

Any additional items that may properly come before this committee.

12-09-2014 CITY COUNCIL AGENDA

Please be advised there will be a meeting of the Inter-Governmental Affairs Committee at 7:00 p.m.  on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 in the Council Chambers of Yonkers City Hall, 40 S. Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10701.

Items on the Agenda include:

  1. Resolution – approving four (4) Inter-Municipal Agreements by and between the City of Yonkers and each of the following: The County of Westchester; the Villages of Ardsley, Elmsford and Dobbs Ferry regarding acceptance of Organic Waste.
  1. Any other items that properly come before this committee.

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**

11-12-2014 Agenda No Backup

The following are the agenda items for the Real Estate Committee Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014 —5:00 to 6:30 pm, in the Council Chambers, Yonkers City Hall, 4th Floor.

 

Agenda Items :

 

  1. Continued discussion concerning the application for a Site Plan Review and a Special Use Permit for the operation of a Wendy’s Restaurant, open to the public from before midnight and until 2:00 a.m. by Wendy’s Restaurant.
  1. Presentation of a proposed project located at 1086 North Broadway, current site of Boyce Thompson.
  1. Presentation of a proposed “FedEx” project located at 323 Tuckahoe Road.
  1. Any additional items that may properly come before this committee.

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**

 

Thank you,

 

Connie Braun

Chief of Staff

On behalf of John J. Larkin

Real Estate Committee Chair

Majority Leader, Councilmember, District 6

Please be advised that a Budget Committee Meeting has been scheduled ‎for Tuesday, June 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, Yonkers‎ ‎City Hall, 4th floor.‎
Agenda Items:

  1. By the administration – A resolution urging the release of Yonkers Board of Education agendas at least three (3) business days prior to a regular public meeting
  1. By the administration –A State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) resolution of the City of Yonkers, in the County of Westchester, New York, related to collective bargaining activities
  1. By the administration – Resolution continuing the collective bargaining agreement in effect between the City of Yonkers and the Captains, Lieutenants and Sergeants Association of the City of Yonkers that expired on June 30, 2009 for the period of July 1, 2009 through and including June 30, 2019, except as modified by the terms of the attached Stipulation and related documents
  1. Any additional items that may properly come before this Committee

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 the meeting be televised.‎*

Please be advised that a Municipal Operations Committee meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 at 5pm in the Council Chambers.

The following items will be on the Agenda:

  1. A General Ordinance readopting the codification of an existing general ordinance of the City of Yonkers relating to the John F. Kennedy Marina Park.
  2. Any additional items that may properly come before this committee.

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 the meeting be televised.‎**

Please be advised that a Legislation and Codes Committee Meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, June 17 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council Conference Room, Yonkers City Hall, 4th floor.

 

The following Items will be on the Agenda:

  1. A GENERAL ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING AN ENCROACHMENT EXTENDING APPROXIMATELY ONE FOOT INTO THE AIRSPACE RIGHT-OF-WAY AND APPROXIMATELY TWENTY SIX FEET ABOVE THE SIDEWALK IN FRONT OF 570 YONKERS AVENUE, SUBJECT TO CERTAIN TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
  1. A LOCAL LAW AMENDING THE CODE OF THE CITY OF YONKERS BY ADDING A NEW CHAPTER TO READ AS “CARNIVALS, CIRCUSES AND FAIRS”.
  1. GENERAL ORDINANCE ADDING CHAPTER 82 TO THE YONKERS CITY CODE ENTITLED “BAMBOO”.
  1. Any additional items that may properly come before this committee.

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.

Please be advised that a Real Estate Committee Meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 at 8pm in the Council Chambers, Yonkers City Hall, 4th Floor.

1. RESOLUTION TO ISSUE A DETERMINATION OF SIGNIFICANCE PURSUANT TO THE STATE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY REVIEW ACT (“SEQRA”) RELATING TO THE AMENDMENT OF SECTION 43-74 OF THE ZONING CODE REGARDING SPECIAL USE PERMITS AND PLANNED EXECUTIVE PARKS.

2. GENERAL ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 43-74 OF THE ZONING CODE OF THE CITY OF YONKERS IN REGARD TO SPECIAL USE PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR CERTAIN BUSINESS, COMMERCIAL AND OFFICE USES.

3. RESOLUTION TO ISSUE A DETERMINATION OF SIGNIFICANCE PURSUANT TO THE STATE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY REVIEW ACT. (“SEQRA”) RELATING TO DISCONTINUING A PORTION OF FALCON ROAD AS A PUBLIC STREET PURSUANT TO SECTION 29 OF THE GENERAL CITY LAW.

4. GENERAL ORDINANCE AMENDING GENERAL ORDINANCE NO. 4-2000, ALSO KNOWN AS CHAPTER 43 OF THE CODE OF THE CITY OF YONKERS, COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE ZONING ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF YONKERS, AND THE ACCOMPANYING ZONING MAP BY AMENDING SAID MAP TO CHANGE THE ZONE CLASSIFICATION OF BLOCK 2299, LOTS 7 AND 50; BLOCK 5485, LOT 1; BLOCK 5488, LOTS 30, 32, 34, 36, 38 AND 40 FROM ITS RESPECTIVE PRESENT “CM” ZONE DISTRICT CLASSIFICATION INTO AN “S-50” ZONE DISTRICT CLASSIFICATION.

5. A SPECIAL ORDINANCE DISCONTINUING FALCON ROAD AS A PUBLIC STREET PURSUANT TO SECTION 29 OF THE GENERAL CITY LAW.

6. RESOLUTION TO ISSUE A DETERMINATION OF SIGNIFICANCE PURSUANT 6 NYCRR PART 617 the statewide implementing regulations pertaining TO THE STATE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY REVIEW ACT (“SEQRA”) RELATING TO THE PROPOSED USE OF PROPERTY LOCATED AT BLOCK 2299, LOTS 7 AND 50; BLOCK 5485, LOT 1; BLOCK 5488, LOTS 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, AND 40.

7. RESOLUTION TO ISSUE A “SPECIAL USE PERMIT’ FOR THE OPERATION OF A RESTURANT THAT SHALL BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC FROM BEFORE MIDNIGHT AND UNTIL 2:00 a.m. BY WENDY’S RESTAURANT AT BLOCK 4445, LOT 75 ON THE TAX ASSESSMENT MAP OF THE CITY OF YONKERS, NY.

8. ANY Additional items that may properly come before this Committee

**Additionally, we will be requesting that this meeting be televised**

yonkers public schools

MEDIA ADVISORY

 

 

WHO:             Cedar Place School Students Junior Achievement – Hudson Valley Volunteers from Pepsico and

Citrin Cooperman Accounting

 

WHAT:          Junior Achievement (JA) Day at Cedar Place School

 

WHEN:          Monday, June 1, 2015

9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

WHERE:       Cedar Place School

20 Cedar Place, Yonkers NY 10705

                       

 

WHY:             Junior Achievement – Hudson Valley volunteers from PepsiCo and Citrin Cooperman Accounting leave the office for the classroom. JA volunteers will visit Cedar Place School to teach students in grades one through eight about the principles of market based economics and entrepreneurship.  The JA Promise taught by local volunteer business people inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy.   JA’s worldwide program turning students of today into entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Using curriculum provided by Junior Achievement (JA), the volunteers lead age-appropriate business activities and connect classroom studies to real-world situations. The goal is to introduce pupils to the concepts of financial stability and career success.

 

MEDIA ADVISORY

 

WHO:             Pathways to Success Adult Education Students and Staff

 

WHAT:          Yonkers Pathways to Success End of the Year Awards Ceremony

 

WHEN:          Wednesday, June 10, 2015

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. WHERE:       Saunders High School Auditorium

WHY:             Awards Ceremony to recognize the achievements of Yonkers adult learners

and highlight the adult education program. Adult learners will receive National External Diplomas as well as other types of high school equivalency diplomas.  Certificates will also be presented to students who completed Vocational Training Programs and students who made academic gains in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Programs.

 

Jerry Galella, Manager, ShopRite of Greenway Plaza, will be honored as

“Business Partner of the Year” for the store’s active support of Pathways to Success’ employment initiatives.

 

Guest speaker will be Kevin Smith, New York State Deputy Commissioner of Adult Education.

 

Current and former adult education students will speak about their experiences and accomplishments at Pathways to Success.

 

Scheduled Participants:

New York State Deputy Commissioner of Adult Education Kevin Smith

Mayor Michael Spano

Dr. Nader J. Sayegh, President, Trustees of the Board of Education

Steve Lopez, Vice President, Trustees of the Board of Education

Dr. Michael Yazurlo, Superintendent of Schools

Susan Naber, Principal, Adult/Career & Technical Education

MEDIA ADVISORY

 

 

WHO:             Vive School Yonkers Pathways to Success

All ESOL Teachers and Counselors

Adult ESOL Students WHAT:          Vive School ESOL Celebration

WHEN:          Thursday, May 28, 2015

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

 

WHERE:       Vive School Cafeteria

75 Riverdale Avenue

Yonkers 10701

 

WHY:             Vive School Yonkers Pathways to Success adult ESOL (English to

speakers of other languages) students will perform a musical and dramatic presentation to celebrate their multicultural heritage and assimilation into American culture.  The ESOL program assists foreign born students who have difficulty speaking, reading, writing or understanding the English Language.  In addition to family and community living, there is an emphasis on incorporating contextualizing workplace and vocational English.  Many of the students are parents/guardians of children in the Yonkers Public School system. Staff and counselors will enjoy songs, dances and performances by our adult learners, sharing their rich culture.  The performance gives our staff a chance to understand and celebrate the student’s culture and heritage.

 

May 15, 2015

Layoffs and Punishing Program Cuts Reluctantly Approved
Community urged to “Get on the Bus” and join the Yonkers Council of PTAs Rally in Albany on May 19th to advocate for the funding our students deserve.

Faced with the mandate to provide the City of Yonkers with a balanced budget for the 2015-2016 school years by May 26th, the Trustees of the Yonkers Board of Education took action with harsh consequences to every school, every grade and every student.

During the Audit, Budget and Finance Committee meeting Tuesday, May 12th, Trustees reluctantly approved $25.9 million in staff and program cuts for the next school year that will be voted on at the May 20th Stated Meeting.

The Trustees and the Superintendent of Schools were clear that Yonkers Students need the services and staff outlined in their original $585 million budget proposal, and that a status quo budget of $551 would have been a patch for a short-term solution. Tuesday’s resolution aligns staff and program cuts to the currently available revenues of only $525 million.

For details about the cuts, and video of Wednesday’s Audit, Budget and Finance Committee meeting, please link to yonkerspublicschools.org.

Stay Connected
We welcome your participation in the Yonkers Public Schools community on Facebook and Twitter, and enjoy the District’s boards on Pinterest. Please regularly check the District website for news and updates. For questions about information in this Email, please contact the Public Information Office.

PRESS RELEASE Layoffs and Punishing Program Cuts Reluctantly Approved for Yonkers Public Schools

Layoffs and Punishing Program Cuts Reluctantly Approved for Yonkers Public Schools.

 

(Yonkers, New York)  Faced with the mandate to provide the City of Yonkers with a balanced budget for the 2015-2016 school years by May 26th, the Trustees of the Yonkers Board of Education took action with harsh consequences to every school, every grade and every student.  The Trustees reluctantly approved $25.9 million in staff and program cuts for the next school year that will be voted on at the May 20th Stated Meeting.  The Board Room was filled with high school athletes, coaches and parents as the Trustees repeatedly noted that the task before them is not what they believe is good for Yonkers Students or good for the community. The action was taken as their fiduciary responsibility to provide a balanced budget.

 

The Trustees and the Superintendent of Schools were clear that Yonkers Students need the services and staff outlined in their original $585 million budget proposal, and that a status quo budget of $551 would have been a patch for a short-term solution.  Tuesday’s resolution aligns staff and program cuts to the currently available revenues of only $525 million.

 

Dr. Nader J. Sayegh, President of the Yonkers Board of Education noted, “The fight for funding is not over.  The Trustees will not give up.  Our job is to restore critical programs and services that were depleted over the years.  And, we will continue to lobby federal, state and local officials to accomplish this.  We encourage the community to join the Yonkers Council of PTAs Rally in Albany “Get on the Bus” on May 19th to advocate for the funding our students deserve.  Together the Trustees and Superintendent with Mayor Spano, the City Council, parents, students and unions will urge State Leaders to do the right thing for Yonkers children.”

 

Programs and Staff reductions approved are as follows:

Program and staff reductions approved:

60 Teachers20 Art Teachers20 Music Teachers10 Physical Education Teachers

10 High School Teachers

Other Than Personnel ServicesEliminate All SportsReduce Transportation CostsEliminate Sports and Charter Trips not funded by grants

Add 4 Early Start Schools

DiChiaro School    Pulaski School

Family School 32

Gibran School

Reduce Bus Monitors

50% Reduction in Supplies and Materials

50% Reduction in Travel

Reduce Certified Overtime

Reduce Non-Certified Overtime

Eliminate Student Interns

Reduce Utilities Expenses

Reduce Building Repairs

Reduce Contractual Expenses

Reduce Tuition for Out of District Placements

Reduce Special Education

Reduce 90 day Substitutes

 

6 Administrators5 School Administrators1 Sports – Assistant Director
35 Civil Service13 Clerical Staff15 Custodial Staff2 Retirements

3 Infrastructure Support

2 Sports – Secretaries

BARNES & NOBLE YONKERS, MY FAVORITE TEACHER AWARD CEREMONY.

 

Lincoln High School teacher, Helena Osinloye has been named the winning teacher in the Barnes & Noble “My Favorite Teacher” contest. She was honored at a celebration at Barnes & Noble in Yonkers on April 15.  The recognition is the result of the efforts of one of Ms. Osinloye’s students, Chelsea Reynolds, who acted on her own initiative and submitted a winning essay in the Barnes & Noble’s national “My Favorite Teacher” contest.  She named Ms. Osinloye as her favorite teacher, explaining her reasons in eloquent detail.

 

Ms. Osinloye received a $500 Barnes & Noble gift card and plaque. Chelsea was recognized for her work and read her essay to the audience.  Her essay will be submitted to the national contest where both she and Ms. Osinloye stand to achieve even greater recognition, as well as $5,000 for Ms. Osinloye and $5,000 for Lincoln.

 

See numbered photo (attached) to match names of those who appear in photo #1. Helena Osinloye, the teacher who was recognized is in Photo #3.

 

  1. Danielle Ellis, Teacher
  2. William Sweeney, Teacher
  3. Blair Minyard, Teacher
  4. Sandy Hattar, Assistant Principal
  5. Kerri Madigan, Teacher
  6. Philip David, Teacher
  7. Dr. Angela Arias
  8. Marisol Santiago, Teacher
  9. Helena Osinloye (teacher being honored)
  10. Kelly Schulze, Barnes and Noble Coordinator
  11. Ian Sherman, Lincoln Principal
  12. Janette Swanson, Assistant Principal
  13. Raquel Suarez, mother of student who wrote letter
  14. Chelsea Reynolds, student who wrote letter
  15. Sister of Chelsea Reynolds

 

Download all photos on Google Drive

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BzSCAbpUs-gUfjN3eFppd3ZhVmpqSC1DajV0ellrcVNYUllmeVpydmNwc1ZjV252NnhlQnM&usp=sharing

Barnes & Noble Yonkers My Favorite Teacher Award Ceremony - photo 1

 

 

MEDIA ADVISORY

 

WHO:             School 22 Students, Staff, Administration and Family

WHAT:          School 22 100th Year Anniversary Celebration

WHEN:          Saturday, May 30, 2015                         12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

                        12:00 p.m. – Opening Ceremony

WHERE:       School 22                         1408 Nepperhan Avenue, Yonkers 10703

 

WHY:             School 22 opened its doors 100 years ago as a small school with a tiny staff

and student population.  Over the last 100 years it has evolved, now instructing more than 500 students who are taught through a comprehensive, inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning using research and best practices.  Students pursue self-reliance, active scholarly success and responsible citizenship through academic and multicultural studies; Global perspectives are explored in thematic units of study. Parental involvement, school volunteers and community partnerships are an integral part of the school’s culture and have molded School 22 for the past 100 years.

 

In celebration School 22 will be concluding their 100th year anniversary with a family carnival, slide show, museum and tours of the school.  There will be food, music, games and raffles. It will be a fun and educational filled day for family, friends and the entire School 22 community.

 

Budget Cuts Anticipated 2015-16

Draconian Layoffs and Punishing Program Cuts Imminent for the Yonkers Public Schools.

(Yonkers, NY) The Yonkers Board of Education Trustees continue the arduous task to provide the City of Yonkers with a balanced budget for 2015-2016 by May 26, 2015.  At the special Audit, Budget and Finance Committee Meeting last night, the Trustees repeatedly noted that the task before them is not what they believe is good for Yonkers students or good for the community. The actions that they are required to take are forced upon the District due to the lack of adequate funding.

Dr. Nader J. Sayegh, President of the Yonkers Board of Education reminded the public that the budget process which began last fall with a request for a $584 million budget would have restored critical programs and services that were depleted over the years.  Dr. Sayegh noted, “It is a budget that is right for our students and would have required an additional $89 million to return a sound basic education to Yonkers children.”  When it became clear that budget request would not be funded, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Yazurlo presented a status quo budget of $551 million, no increases in services or programs over the current year.

At this point in time only $525 million is committed to the District for next year from the State and the City forcing the Trustees to cut $26 million in personnel and services.  By consensus last night, the Trustees agreed to bring to a vote next week the severe, detrimental and devastating cuts proposed below.

60 Teachers20 Art Teachers20 Music Teachers10 Physical Education Teachers10 High School Teachers Other Than Personnel ServicesEliminate All SportsReduce Transportation CostsEliminate Sports and Charter Trips not funded by grantsAdd 4 Early Start SchoolsDiChiaro School    Pulaski SchoolFamily School 32Gibran SchoolBus Monitors50% Reduction in Supplies and Materials

50% Reduction in Travel

Reduce Certified Overtime

Reduce Non-Certified Overtime

Reduce Student Interns

Reduce Utilities Expenses

Reduce Building Repairs

Reduce Contractual Expenses

Reduce Tuition for Out of District Placements

Reduce Special Education

6 Administrators5 School Administrators1 Sports – Assistant Director
35 Civil Service13 Clerical Staff15 Custodial Staff2 Retirements3 Infrastructure Support2 Sports – Secretaries

 

 

“These cuts are not healthy and not in the best interest of a learning atmosphere,” said President Sayegh.  “Our direction is clear, the Board and the Superintendent will continue to explore every avenue – local, state and federal – to seek additional funding. We will not give up our efforts.”  The Superintendent has directed the Central Office administrators and budget staff to continue to find efficiencies in the 2015-2016 proposal to potentially reduce the number of staff cuts.

The Trustees will vote on the cuts at the Audit, Budget and Finance Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the Board Room, One Larkin Center.

May 6, 2015

Good morning,

Please be reminded that there is no school for students grades PreK – 12 Friday, May 8, 2015.

Teachers are required to score the New York State English Language Arts Assessments. District scoring of State Exams is an unfunded State mandate.

Stay Connected


We welcome your participation in the Yonkers Public Schools community on Facebook and Twitter, and enjoy the District’s boards on Pinterest. Please regularly check the District website for news and updates. For questions about information in this Email, please contact the Public Information Office.

PEARLS Hawthorne School students participated

in the Tri-County Science Fair and came home with Honors.

 

(Yonkers, New York)  PEARLS Hawthorne School students participated in the Tri-County Science Fair on Saturday, April 26, 2015 at White Plains High School and brought home honors including for the first time, PEARLS elementary students.  Over 250 students displayed their projects at the annual event that was organized by Putnam Children’s Discovery Center.

 

Students must first win local science fair competitions to qualify.  Prizes are given in the categories of Biology, Chemistry, Earth/Space Science, Engineering/Technology, Environment, Health/Medicine, Math/Computers, Physics and Psychology. 

 

PEARLS winners:

 

8th grade student Rebecca Sam earned 1st place in Middle School Chemistry for her Crime Scene Chemistry project and received the Judge Edith Miller Excellence in Education Award for Top Middle School Award; she will advances to Broadcom Masters competition.  A PEARLS first.

 

7th grade partners Beatrice Maron-Schaeffer and Stephanie Li received 3rd place for their project The Stroop Effect in the Middle School Health and Medicine category.

 

6th grade student Swaneet Jha earned 2nd place Middle School Physics for Milk is Full of Energy.

 

5th grade student Sofia Maron-Schaeffer’s project,  Can an Egg Float in Salt Water earned 3rd place in Middle School Physics.

 

5th grade student Nicholas Sanchez took 1st place in Middle School Biology for his project Is Your Brain Playing Tricks on You.

 

Both Nicholas and Rebecca have also been asked to attend the prestigious Broadcom Masters Competition in Washington D.C. where they will have the opportunity to meet the President.

 

For the first time, PEARLS elementary students participated in the Tri-County Science Fair.  Keegan Hess’ project Bridge Building earned highest honors, excellent in the Elementary School Engineering and Technology category.  Fourth graders recognized for outstanding achievement were Theresa Li for her project Crystal Chemistry, Nathalia Evelyn for Alternative Power in the Engineering and Technology category, and in the Health and Medicine category Morgan Mask and Lyniah Gethers’ project The Effects of Liquids on Beaver and Nutria Teeth

VirginiaPerezReportsBannerImage
Friends and Neighbors,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 an important opportunity to have your voice heard as a part of the process.

The Board of Legislators’ Committee on Labor, Parks, Planning & Housing (LPPH) will be holding a public forum on June 2, 2015 with the hope that we can attract as many Westchester County residents to voice their opinions as possible.  People can begin to sign up to speak on a first come, first served basis beginning at 6:15pm.

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

Public Forum:
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 Perez@westchesterlegislators.com.  If you have any questions about either of these events, please don’t hesitate to call my office at (914) 995-2846.

Sincerely,

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

untitled

Legislator Perez’s Plan to Fight Back.

Source: Journal News Phil Reisman Column.

Reisman: Legislator Perez’s Plan to Fight Back

 Phil Reisman, preisman@lohud.com 6:50 p.m. EDT May 20, 2015

 

The Democrats are after Virginia Perez — again.

In a replay of 2013, the party leadership has endorsed someone other than Perez, the incumbent in Westchester County’s 17th Legislative District in southwest Yonkers.

The Yonkers party held a “mini-convention” at the Royal Palace Indian Restaurant on Monday night and selected Piedad Abreu, a tax preparer who happens to be the aunt of a primary candidate who unsuccessfully opposed Perez two years ago. Perez reacted with a tone of comic exasperation.

“I want to know who’s next,” she said. “The grandfather? The grandmother? Scooby Doo? Donald Duck?”

Believing the deck was heavily stacked against her, Perez did not attend the convention.

“I didn’t bother,” she said.

That may have been a strategic mistake, if only because it gave a free and clear path for the party to nominate somebody else. Symra Brandon, who chairs the Yonkers Democratic Party, said Perez had been notified of the event.

“I was surprised,” Brandon told me Wednesday. “I thought she was going to show. Why would she not come? She didn’t even participate in the process.”

Perez said everyone should be challenged, even her.

“That’s what democracy is for,” she said. “But these people who are challenging me, they’re not challenging me for any legitimate reason. They’re just challenging me because they have a personal hatred toward me. So they’re putting up anyone who will say yes to them.”

Perez has reason to feel paranoid. In a highly unusual maneuver, Catherine Borgia, an Ossining Democrat and the majority leader on the Board of Legislators, went directly to Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and expressly requested that he not endorse Perez.

Spano did not satisfy her demand.

“She needs to watch her district and stay out of mine,” Perez said.

She said she had a good working relationship with Spano and expected he would publicly endorse her “very soon.”

Christina Gilmartin, Spano’s spokeswoman, confirmed Wednesday that the mayor was planning to support Perez, but will not make a public announcement until “sometime before the primary,” in September.

Informed of this, Brandon said, “Then he’s going against party if he does that. He’s going against the party’s choice.”

All 17 legislative seats on the county board are open in the November election. Borgia seems to be spearheading an effort to get candidates to run against the incumbent Republicans. But in the heavily Democratic 17th District in Yonkers, the primary victor is all but assured of winning the general election.

Perez has been a party renegade since 2011, when she forced a primary challenge against an entrenched incumbent, Jose Alvarado. After winning, she declared in effect that she had defeated not only Alvarado, but “the party machine” as well.

A year later, as a freshman legislator, she broke with the party by joining the seven Republicans and fellow Democrat Mike Kaplowitz to form a bi-partisan coalition. With a 9-8 advantage, the coalition broke a bitter deadlock by passing the country budget. This was considered a political victory for County Executive Rob Astorino, a fiscally conservative Republican, and an embarrassing defeat for Astorino’s nemesis, Ken Jenkins, the Democratic board chairman who represents the 16th District in Yonkers.

Jenkins never forgave Perez. Out of revenge, he slashed her stipend as a committee chairwoman from $3,000 to $1,000. She learned of the cut after getting her W-2 tax form.

In 2013, two candidates were picked to oppose her in a primary. She won — and a few months later when the board reorganized, Jenkins was ousted as chairman. Kaplowitz replaced him.

Perez believes Jenkins wants to even the score by evicting her from her legislative seat once and for all.

She said she has created her own team of candidates, her “Women’s Ticket.” It includes Ivy Reeves and Natasha Freeman, who plan to primary against two Democratic City Council members — Christopher Johnson in District 1 and Michael Sabatino in District 3.

What’s more, Perez has handpicked a candidate to oppose — you guessed it — Jenkins.

The challenger is Nicole Benjamin, who has never run for public office but has an extensive professional and educational resume. Benjamin is a Yale graduate with master of social work degree from Fordham. She holds a juris doctor from City University of New York and a master of laws from Touro School of Law. She has worked as a social worker, a paralegal and as adjunct professor of sociology.

Perez said she will defend her record, but she’s also going on the offensive. She pledged, “Everybody and anyone who’s picking a fight with me, they found it.”

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 Neighbor,The Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club (YPRC), a 501c3 all volunteer run not-for-profit organization, is pleased to announce that it will again offer a FREE public kayaking program at JFK Marina in Yonkers this summer.

This year they have EXPANDED the program to include some weekends and an Environmental Awareness aspect.

In the summer of 2014 the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club put over 1,050 youth and adults on the water as part of this program, a threefold increase from the summer of 2013.

This program is a gift from their members and trained volunteers to communities of under-served youths who may have never had the chance to get on the water. It is their hope that by introducing youths and adults to the natural wonders that can be found in their backyard; they will begin to form a connection with the environment and become the stewards of the waterway.

For more details about the program, click the following link: http://www.yprc.org/uploads/1/3/9/6/13963161/kayakflyer2015.pdf

To volunteer your time or to make a donation to keep the program running, visit http://www.yprc.org/public-kayaking-sessions-at-jfk-marina.html

Sincerely,

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

GET READY FOR FUN – OPENING DAY FOR PLAYLAND IS THIS SATURDAY, MAY 9TH
***Special opening day admission is $15 including unlimited rides***
Rye PlaylandI just wanted to let you know that the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Grand Carousel will kick-off Playland Amusement Park’s 2015 season in Rye on Saturday, May 9, at 11 a.m.  (Rain date for opening day is Sunday, May 16.)An interesting fact: the grand carousel, which consists of 66 stunning, bejeweled horses and three chariots, was built in 1915!
Thanks to the investments and care that my colleagues and I give to this historic park, the carousel still shines bright today, even  after generations of use.

The fun gets underway this Saturday at 11:00am with a parade and entertainment.  The rides will open at 12 noon.

Special opening day admission is $15, which is good for unlimited rides until the park closes at 7 p.m.

Admissions go on sale at 11 a.m.   Playland is located at the end of Playland Parkway in Rye.

For public bus transportation, go to transportation.westchestergov.com/bee-line

The celebration begins with strolling entertainment at the Fountain Plaza at 11 a.m., followed by the traditional parade with the Port Chester High School Marching Band accompanied by County Executive Astorino and other local dignitaries, staff and Playland’s mascot “Coaster the Dragon”.

Grab a seat in front of the Music Tower Theater stage to hear the band Reunion perform hit sounds from the ‘50s,’60s and ‘70s at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and  5 p.m.

“Erik’s Reptile Edventures” will educate and entertain the crowd with animal ambassadors, featuring Wally the five-foot- long American alligator. Shows take place in Kiddyland and at the Music Tower Theater stage; show times will be posted in the park. Playland’s Kiddyland DJ will also entertain with the “Play it DJ” show in four performances at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Kids will move, groove and be smooth as our DJ plays their favorite dance tunes.  In addition, Bubbles, Magic and Science will amaze you with shows at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Admission prices:

  • $15 May Days: May 9, 10, 16, 17 and 22: $15 unlimited rides for everyone.
  • Starting Saturday, May 23: $30 unlimited rides; $20 Junior (under 48”) – Westchester residents with acceptable proof of residency are eligible for a $5 discount on these prices. Spectator admission (no rides) is free for Westchester County residents and $10 for non-residents.

Season Passes:

  • $95 for unlimited rides all season, with a $15 discount for Westchester residents. Purchase four or more and save 10%.
  • $35 for spectator admission all season (no rides), for non-residents of Westchester County.

Acceptable proof of Westchester residency is a Westchester County Park Pass; New York State driver’s license or non-driver I.D.; or a photo I.D. or report card from a Westchester County school.Playland’s pre-season schedule is noon to 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, until Memorial Day weekend, after which the spring schedule begins. For the season’s schedule go to RyePlayland.org or call the park at (914) 813-7000. Click here to join the Playland E-Club and receive valuable discounts all season long.

Become a Facebook fan at https://www.facebook.com/ryeplayland and follow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/rye_playland/ and on Instagram at https://instagram.com/RyePlaylandOfficialPage.

Parking is $5 weekdays, $7 weekends and $10 on holidays, special events and concert days.

The Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) unanimously approved a wide range of additions to the budget, including the restoration of all 126 job layoffs that were previously presented in the $1.7 billion Proposed 2013 Budget, as well as funding to keep the family share for subsidized child care at twenty percent (20%).

This is an important step toward reaching a final 2013 County Budget. The good news is that these bipartisan budget additions will be offset by corresponding budget deletions in order to result in a zero percent (0%) increase in the County tax levy.
These additions show that the Board of Legislators is dedicated to ensuring a healthy and prosperous future for the residents and business owners of Westchester. My colleagues on the Board and I have made decisions that focus on creating jobs, helping our taxpayers, protecting the people and safeguarding our environment, all within a financially responsible structure.
Westchester residents have come out in full force at two public hearings on the Proposed 2013 Budget, and their message has been clear: Do not cut back or compromise the level of services that are right for Westchester.
The experienced professionals that were put on the chopping block provide superb service to the people of Westchester, and when it comes to emergency services, public safety and social services in the County’s safety net, we need to maintain a level of protection and readiness that’s best for all of us.
Maintaining support for low-income working mothers and their children is a major priority for the Board of Legislators, which is why we also approved funding for child care subsidies at a lower rate than what the administration proposed.
The restoration of child care funding fulfills our moral and ethical obligation to protect young children while preserving jobs of working families and the day care industry in a struggling economy. It’s the socially and economically sensible thing to do.
Please contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or concerns.
Sincerely,
(03-31-15) 500-56-331
Press Release Header.png
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-Opening-Remarks

Link to video of remarks:

http://www.nysenate.gov/video/2015/jan/07/leader-stewart-cousins-opening-remarks-2015-2016-senate-session

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, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State history. Her colleagues re-elected her in 2014 and she serves as the first female Senate Minority Leader. First elected to the State Senate in 2006, she is serving her fifth term in office, representing Greenburgh and Scarsdale, and part of Yonkers, White Plains, and New Rochelle.


Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Made The Following Remarks At The Opening Of The 2015-2016 Senate Session (Albany, NY) — Thank you Mr. President and Thank you to all my colleagues.Thank you to the constituents of  my district for re-electing me.  And thank you  to my Conference for once again choosing me as your Leader. I am truly honored and humbled by your support.I want to welcome some new members to the Democratic Conference.

  • Senator Leroy Comrie from Queens. A former Deputy Borough President and  Councilmember and a real leader in his community.
  • Senator Jesse Hamilton an Attorney and MBA from Brooklyn.  He has been a community advocate for so long and has always made sure that those in his community have a voice.

And finally

  • Senator Marc Panepinto from the Buffalo area an attorney and a long time fighter and tireless advocate for Western New York.

I would also like to congratulate Senator Klein who has been re-elected as his conferences leader.

And of course I want to take a moment and congratulate Senator Skelos who has the awesome task of being the leader of this great house.  Senator Skelos and Senator Klein, the Democratic Conference  stands ready to work with you.   Now is the time for us to come together.

Elections are at times a restart button and allow us to refresh.

There are times we are going to agree and there are times we are going to vociferously disagree but let us remember that we are here to serve all the people of New York.

I would also like to congratulate the Governor on his re-election and let him know that we are looking forward to continuing to work with him as we move the state forward.

So many of us in this room were there yesterday in Manhattan when he gave such a moving tribute to his father. His words were truly inspiring and heartfelt.

On behalf of the  Senate Democratic Conference  I would like to once again pass condolences  to the Governor and his entire family for their loss. Mario Cuomo was a great man and a great Governor. His leadership, vision and ideals are what we all strive toward.  As we take a moment to embrace the memory of this iconic Governor let us do more than remember him but let us look towards his example as we move forward this legislative session.  Sadly, for too many fellow New Yorkers, the two cities that Governor Cuomo so eloquently spoke of in 1984 still exists 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 but you are given a shot at the American Dream.

I hope that this session will be about making that American Dream a reality for all New Yorkers.

We have a lot of work to do:

o    We must honor the memories of Officer Liu and Officer Ramos and ensure that we provide those protecting us the protections they deserve while at the same time making real reforms to our criminal justice system so everyone  feels they have equal access to that system.

o    We must combat income inequality and one way to do that is enact a real raise to the minimum wage and help lift  over 1 million New Yorkers out of bone crushing poverty.

o    Now is a time for a major re-haul of our outdated ethics laws including public financing of campaigns. Let’s finally make Albany an example of Good Government.

o    We must stand up for the health and equality of the women of New York.  Let’s pass the full Women’s Equality Act. To my Republican Colleagues remember that our reproductive rights were first addressed by this chamber, while it was under Republican leadership, in 1970 with 12 of your party members joining with Democrats to pass it.

o    We have to help those struggling with addiction including the horrible heroin scourge that is devastating communities across this state.

o    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.

o    We must make sure that everyone has a roof over their head and place to call home. We have to extend and strengthen our rent control laws.

o    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. Since so much of this money was from housing settlements  it is crucial we use it to create more 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.

Senator Skelos, the Democratic Conference stands ready to help you. As I said before we will support you when we agree, and we will challenge you when we disagree. 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.  The Democratic Conference stands ready to work with all Senators, regardless of party affiliation, so let’s get to work.

Thank you.

Follow on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/NYSenDems

New York State Senate | DemocraticConferenceNews@nysenate.gov518-455-2415

Happy Holidays!Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins would like to extend an invitation to you to her New Year’s Open House at her District Office in Yonkers. The details of the event are below.

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ New Year’s Open House
Saturday, January 10, 2015
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Senator Stewart-Cousins’ District Office
28 Wells Avenue, Building #3
Yonkers, NY 10701

A flier for the event is attached.

Please call Senator Stewart-Cousins’ office to RSVP. The number is 914- 423-4031

Open House Flier

Paid for by Friends of Andrea Stewart-Cousins

A Newsletter Update from Andrea Stewart-Cousins – December 2014

2014 Regional Economic Development Council Awards Announced(Yonkers – December 12th) State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Conference Leader, is pleased to announce that major funding for several key projects in her district were awarded December 12th by the Regional Economic Development Councils. The Saw Mill River Daylighting, Phase III in downtown Yonkers, a major art exhibition in White Plains, and a pedestrian/cycle bridge over Andre Brook in Tarrytown are among the numerous projects receiving state economic development dollars in the Mid-Hudson Region. This seven county region that includes Westchester is considered a “Top Performer,” and will receive $82.8 million this year.
“I’m thrilled that key projects I supported in my district will be getting the state economic development assistance they requested in this highly-competitive grant process,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. “The Regional Economic Development Council’s are making important, locally-targeted investments worth millions of dollars. As a result, we are creating jobs, supporting businesses, expanding housing opportunities and laying the groundwork for sustained economic growth throughout our region and our state.” More..Senate Democratic Conference Announces Reforms To Criminal Justice System(Albany, NY – December 10th) The Senate Democratic Conference announced the introduction of legislation to reform the state’s criminal justice system and address incidents of police-caused fatalities. This initiative was introduced following a grand jury’s decision not to bring charges against a police officer who caused the death of an unarmed civilian and will create a permanent Office of Special Investigation to review similar cases in the future. The Senate Democratic Conference also issued a call for funds to be provided in the 2015-2016 State Budget for law enforcement institutions to invest in wearable video cameras.
“The sad reality is many New Yorkers currently do not believe that all state residents are treated equally within our criminal justice system,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins said. “I urge my colleagues in state government to join with the Senate Democratic Conference is supporting this legislation.
The proposed legislation would create the Office of Special Investigation to automatically investigate the death of an unarmed civilian at the hands of a police officer. Additionally, New Yorkers will be able to petition this office to take over investigations in special circumstances.
The Senate Democratic Conference also announced that it will ask Governor Cuomo to provide approximately $75 million in the 2015-2016 Executive Budget for law enforcement agencies to purchase and utilize wearable video cameras, known as ‘body cams’. These state funds would be utilized to reimburse local and state law enforcement organizations who purchase and utilize these body cameras. More..Senator Stewart-Cousins Announces Scarsdale Reserve Fund Bill Now Law(Scarsdale – November 24th) State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic Conference Leader, announced that Governor Cuomo has signed into law bill (S7322-2013) that allows the Scarsdale Union Free School District to maintain a health insurance reserve fund, saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
Since 1989, the school district has had a separate reserve fund as part of a self-funded health insurance program for employees in the district, saving $5.6 million dollars by doing so. Several years ago, an external auditor told the district, and the New York State Comptroller confirmed, that they would have to dismantle the fund unless this legislation passed. The school district requested the Senator’s assistance when she became their representative after several prior attempts failed to win support for passage in the State Senate. This year, the legislation passed successfully and is now law.
“I’m pleased to finally be able to deliver the Scarsdale School District’s special request for legislation allowing them to continue self-insuring district employees. The taxpayers of Scarsdale should thank their district administrators for their diligence in continuing to pursue this request over the years, and now, its the law,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins. More..
(Yonkers – December 17th) Senator Stewart-Cousins joined her colleagues in government and members of the Jewish Community at Yonkers City Hall to light the menorah in celebration of Hanukkah. Rabbi Rigoberto Vinas of the Lincoln Jewish Park Center led the ceremony with Cantor Michael Kasper and cantorial students from the Academy for Jewish Religion as well as members of the Yonkers High School Woodwind Band who also performed. View..
(New Rochelle – December 13th) Senator Stewart-Cousins celebrating the holiday season with the seniors at the Hugh Doyle Center in New Rochelle and the high school volunteers who were the servers. View..
(Greenburgh – December 10th) State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins recognized the heroic efforts of Jenna Fanelli with a Senate Proclamation at the Greenburgh Town Board meeting. This summer, Jenna was in Yonkers at a riverfront park when she learned a six year old autistic boy had gone into the river. Another man, Boyce Coleman of Yonkers, had jumped in after the child and so did Jenna. The 23-year-old Elmsford resident was able to bring the child back to shore safely. View..
(Yonkers – December 2nd) Community Voices Heard honored Senator Stewart-Cousins with a Shirley Chisholm Lights of Freedom Award, named for the first African-American woman elected to Congress. CVH has a Westchester chapter in Yonkers that empowers low-income people, predominantly women with experience on welfare, to improve their lives, their family’s life and their communities. View..Come stop by Senator Stewart-Cousins District office on Saturday, January 10th in the new year from 1:00PM-3:00PM for an Open House Celebration. To RSVP, please call (914) 423-4031.Need assistance with keeping your home warm this winter? Click here to find out more about the Home Energy Assistance Program, if you are eligible and how you can apply.
Live in the 35th Senate District and need assistance? The Office of Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins is here to help you with the following:
*The Department of Motor Vehicles *Housing *Health Insurance *Medicare and Medicaid *EPIC *The Department of Social Services *Unemployment benefits *Workers Compensation *Mortgage foreclosure/ modifications *Consumer protection *Business licensing *Youth programs *And many others! Please stop by our District Office or call us during our office hours Monday thru Friday, from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. We may not have all the answers, but we will direct you to the appropriate people or agencies who will. If you’d like to send us an email, click here. 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
Visit the Senator’s website Follow the Senator’s on Facebook Follow the Senator on Twitter

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins On The Hydraulic Fracturing Decision.I applaud Governor Cuomo for allowing the science regarding hydraulic fracturing to determine if drilling should be allowed in New York and I commend the experts at the State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health for their diligent work on this matter. The Senate Democratic Conference has been a leader in the fight to protect our state’s natural resources and New Yorkers’ health and we are glad that Governor Cuomo’s administration stands united with us in this effort.

Follow on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/NYSenDems

New York State Senate | DemocraticConferenceNews@nysenate.gov

Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins On Need For Ethics Reforms In Special Session.The Senate Democratic Conference has consistently called for common sense ethics and campaign reforms and we agree with Governor Cuomo in his call for passing these initiatives immediately. As with all progressive legislation, including the NY-SAFE Act, the Compassionate Care Act, and Marriage Equality, the Senate Democratic Conference stands ready to provide the necessary support to ensure passage.  Ethics and campaign finance reforms should not be a partisan issue. We will continue our fight to clean up Albany and pass strong ethics reforms and we look forwarding to working with any state leader who will join us in these efforts.

Background Information:

05.06.14 Senate Democratic Conference Ethics Reform Bill Package Press Release: http://www.scribd.com/doc/222382517/05-06-14-Ethics-Reform-Bill-Package-Release

04.15.13 Senate Democratic Conference Ethics Reform Bill Package Press Release: http://www.scribd.com/doc/136063151/04-15-13-Ethics-Reform-Bill-Package-Release

Follow on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/NYSenDems

New York State Senate | DemocraticConferenceNews@nysenate.gov

As the celebration of Hanukkah begins this evening, I want to wish a very happy holiday to all those who will celebrate this Festival of Lights here in New York and throughout the world. Commemorating the victory of a small group of resilient and determined individuals over a seemingly unbeatable foe, the lessons of Hanukkah remain relevant to this day. Though we as a state have been tested over the past few weeks and years, we must stay dedicated to our core values and beliefs and together we will emerge stronger and more united.I wish all those celebrating Hanukkah, and all New Yorkers, a very joyous and safe holiday.Andrea Stewart-CousinsNew York State Senator, 35th DistrictDemocratic Conference Leader

STATE SENATOR ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS ANNOUNCES 2014 REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL AWARDS IN THE 35th STATE SENATE DISTRICT

(Yonkers, NY)  – State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Conference Leader, is pleased to announce that major funding for several key projects in the 35th District are part of the grant awards announced Thursday through the Regional Economic Development Councils. The Saw Mill River Daylighting, Phase III in downtown Yonkers, a major art exhibition in White Plains, and a pedestrian/cycle bridge over Andre Brook in Tarrytown are among the numerous projects receiving state economic development dollars in the Mid-Hudson Region. This seven county region that includes Westchester is considered a “Top Performer,” and will receive $82.8 million this year.

“I’m thrilled that key projects I supported in my district will be getting the state economic development assistance they requested in this highly-competitive grant process,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Democratic Conference Leader. “The Regional Economic Development Council’s are making important, locally-targeted investments worth millions of dollars. As a result, we are creating jobs, supporting businesses, expanding housing opportunities and laying the groundwork for sustained economic growth throughout our region and our state.”

2014 REDC Grants:

  • Saw Mill River Daylighting Phase 3 in Yonkers

    • $2.5 million to continue this project downtown, focusing on a river-themed park along New Main Street, from Ann St. to Nepperhan

Avenue

  • Ashburton Avenue Rehabilitation in Yonkers

    • $1.5 million to revitalize this area and roadway to improve travel flow into and out of downtown Yonkers

  • Hudson River Museum in Yonkers
  • $630,000 total, to expand exhibit space in the West Wing and to attract more visitors to the museum and the city
  • SoYo Exalta, LLC in Yonkers

    • $1 million to construct approximately 400 rental units, parking and retail near the newly daylighted Saw Mill River in downtown Yonkers

  • The City of Yonkers and the Yonkers Board of Education

    • $400,000 to consolidate the five business and non-academic functions of the city and the school district

  • The Village of Tarrytown

    • $47,300 to install a wider pedestrian/bicycle bridge over Andre Brook, to allow greater access to Pierson Park and the Riverwalk

  • The Westchester Arts Council Inc. Festival of New Work in White Plains

    • $76,000 for a major new exhibition in 2015 to highlight work by Westchester artists with roots in China, Nigeria, Iran and other countries

  • Shop-Rite Supermarkets

    • $100,000 to train 120 workers for food safety, customer service and management

  • Jawanio Inc. (which serves Westchester, Rockland and Putnam)

    • $2.5 million to expand Jawanio’s New City campus for an integrated health, wellness and work project

    • $86,400 for health and wellness training to train 240 workers in understanding the spectrum of disabilities and the services required by these individuals

  • Excelsior Jobs Credits

    • $3 million available in tax credits for the Mid-Hudson Region, reserved for future projects

  • Low-Cost Economic Development Financing

    • $35 million to be made available to state and local government issuers to sell tax-exempt bonds for economic development, infrastructure and community revitalization efforts

This year, Senator Stewart-Cousins voted for a $150 million increase in the 2014 State Budget for Regional Economic Development Council grants. The total funding allocation approved was $750 million.

The Regional Economic Development Councils were created in 2011 by Governor Cuomo. This was the fourth annual Regional Economic Development Council Awards. In the past three years, the Mid-Hudson Region received $219.4 million for 232 projects across the seven county region which includes Westchester. This year’s grant award announcement brings the total to just over $300 million.

          ###

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, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State history and was re-elected as Leader in 2014. Stewart-Cousins was first elected to the State Senate in 2006 and represents Greenburgh and Scarsdale, and part of Yonkers, White Plains, and New Rochelle in the 35th State Senate District.


For Immediate Release: June 20th 2014

 

 

Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins 2014 Session Closing Remarks

Thank you Mr. President. 

 

Thank You Senator Skelos and Senator Klein.

 

Thank you to Governor Cuomo for his vision and leadership in helping move this state forward. 

 

And thank you to our partners in the other Legislative House, especially Speaker Silver who has been a true friend and a real progressive leader.

 

I would also like to take a moment to thank staff on both sides of the aisle. The work you have put in over the last 2 years has been invaluable.  Thank you for all your hard work.

 

As we wrap up our 2 year term, I think about all we have experienced.

 

I think about the great history that was made when my wonderful colleagues in the Senate Democrats empowered me and allowed me become the first female legislative leader in state history.

 

But I also think about the unfortunate history that was created last year in this Chamber when two groups came together to disenfranchise the majority of elected Democrats, to seize power,  and  thwart the will of the electorate.  While we were not given our rightful place in the Majority, we understood that this is about serving the people of New York and providing leadership  so we put our disappointment aside, rolled up our sleeves and got to work. We  used the power of our votes and the power of our voices to help pass some wonderful achievements.

 

Right out of the gate we stood with our Governor to enact the  Safe Act. We provided the crucial number of votes for this important legislation.   We passed our 3rdand 4th consecutive on-time budgets.  We passed legislation  to grow our economy  and create jobs. We increased funding for our schools and funded statewide universal pre-k.  We created tools to combat the heroin scourge facing our state.  We provided  some tax relief,  although not enough in my opinion, to thousands of New Yorkers,  we revised our common core implementation and teacher evaluation system and we helped change the conversation away from a certain veto of the medical marijuana legislation to a compromise, allowing us to provide much needed pain relief to the people who need it the most.

 

These are some of the bipartisan victories that all of us accomplished together and we can all celebrate today.

 

But we also must talk about the failures that were a result of the unfortunate agreement  I mentioned earlier.

 

We failed  to help over 1 million hard working New Yorkers  rise out of bone crushing poverty by not raising the minimum wage  enough, and not giving our local governments the option to raise it on their own. 

 

We failed to stand up for women’s health and equality by not passing the entire women’s equality act.

 

We failed to provide enough real mandate relief to our local governments.

 

We failed to provide even stronger ethics and campaign finance reforms including public financing.

 

And we failed to  provide equal access to educational opportunities to all children by not passing the Dream Act

 

While of course these failure are disappointing that does not mean we stop fighting.  Sometimes, we learn our greatest lessons when we fail. 

 

So tonight as we leave here to enter the political season I want to wish everyone on both sides-Good Luck.

 

We may disagree on issues but I  know we all agree that our most important job is respecting and serving the people of New York.

 

Thank you!

###

Follow on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/NYSenDems

New York State Senate | DemocraticConferenceNews@nysenate.gov | 518-455-2415

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Democratic Conference Leader,  Announces Senate Approval for

New York State Medical Marijuana Program

(Yonkers, NY) Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic Conference Leader, today announced passage of legislation to establish a medical marijuana program in New York State.

 

Prior to voting for the bill, Senator Stewart-Cousins said, “I hope that everyone who has taken the time, pushed this rock up the hill, understands that we could never have done it without you. Our hats off, much gratitude. Let’s get this done.”

 

The legislation includes provisions to ensure medical marijuana is reserved only for patients with serious conditions and is dispensed and administered by the appropriate state agencies to ensure that the program cannot be abused.

 

Stewart-Cousins mentioned a Yonkers neighbor whose husband with cancer traveled to California for relief before he died.

 

“People suffering from serious diseases and illnesses should have access to the medically necessary treatments they need here in New York,” she added. “This legislation will help New Yorkers who currently experience debilitating illnesses and endure great pain and suffering by providing them with the ability to utilize medical marijuana as prescribed by authorized medical professionals. This bill also contains safeguards that will ensure that medical marijuana cannot be abused.”

 

The bill passed by the State Legislature and supported by Governor Cuomo will:

 

• Establish a certification and registry process for physicians to administer medical marijuana;

• Put in place a process for patients to obtain, and manufacturers to dispense, medical marijuana;

• Specify that the serious conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed are: cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication on intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies and Huntington’s Disease;

• Establish a Class-E felony for a practitioner that certifies an individual as eligible

if he or she knows or reasonably should know the person who is asking for it has no need for the medication;

• Establish a misdemeanor offense for recipients of medical marijuana that sell or trade the medication; and

• Create a 7% excise tax on every sale of medical marijuana by a registered organization to a certified patient or designated caregiver.

 

“I am proud to join my colleagues in the State Senate, as well as the State Assembly and Governor Cuomo, in taking steps to ensure that New Yorkers who require medical marijuana have access to the medication they need to address their conditions. This initiative will help New Yorkers in need and protect against abuse or unauthorized use of medical marijuana,” Senator Stewart-Cousins concluded.

 

Listen to remarks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hevYtTA5zZQ#t=14 …

STATEMENT ON HEROIN BILLS PACKAGE

Within the last decade opioid use, particularly among young adults, has risen at an alarming and unacceptable rate,” Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “We have a responsibility to combat this addictive and deadly substance and educate the public against its use. Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction and these laws will be an effective tool in fighting the heroin and opioid scourge that our state is facing. ”

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins Supports Legislation to Combat

the Rising Heroin and Opioid Abuse Crisis

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic Conference Leader, supports an agreement by Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders on a package of reforms to combat the growing heroin epidemic facing communities throughout New York State.​​

 

“Within the last decade opioid use, particularly among young adults, has risen at an alarming and unacceptable rate,” Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “We have a responsibility to combat this addictive and deadly substance and educate the public against its use. This package of bills is a step in the right direction. These laws will be an effective tool in fighting the heroin and opioid scourge that our state is facing. “

Heroin abuse has been increasing at dangerously high rates in recent years. In 2013, there were 89,269 cases of heroin and prescription opiate abuse treatment admissions in New York State, a substantial increase from 63,793 in 2004. During this same time period, opioid abuse rates among young New Yorkers, aged 18 to 24, disproportionately rose which clearly illustrates that this crisis is impacting children and young adults. Nationally, as many as 467,000 people were reportedly abusing heroin or suffering from heroin dependence in 2012.

 

Senator Stewart-Cousins noted that members of the Senate Democratic Conference have led the way on addressing this heroin crisis and have held forums, produced reports and introduced multiple pieces of legislation regarding the rising heroin and opioid crisis, many of which were included in the agreed upon heroin bill package.

The pieces of legislation agreed upon will:

 

·         Improve Measures to Support Addiction Treatment;

·         Create New Penalties to Help Crack Down on Illegal Drug Distribution;

·         Provide Informational Cards in Naloxone Anti-Overdose Kits to Help Save Lives;

·         Create a teen heroin abuse PSA campaign; and

·         Expand Public Education Campaigns to Prevent Opioid and Heroin Use.

Senator Stewart-Cousins concluded. “I commend our partners in government, the Governor and legislative leaders, for coming together to address this devastating heroin and opioid abuse crisis. I am proud of my efforts, and those of my Democratic Senate colleagues, and I look forward to passing these common sense bills immediately.”

###

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, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State history. She was first elected to the State Senate in 2006 and currently represents Greenburgh and Scarsdale, and part of Yonkers, White Plains, and New Rochelle.

Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to be Guest on MSNBC.

For Immediate Release:      January 18th 2013.

Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to be Guest on MSNBC.

(Albany, NY) Following the successful passage and signing into law of the comprehensive NY SAFE bill, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins will be joining Craig Melvin of MSNBC this weekend to discuss this groundbreaking legislation and what it means for the State of New York.

WHAT:                      Craig Melvin of MSNBC

WHO:                         Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

WHEN:                      Saturday at 4:00 PM

Follow on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/NYSenDems

New York State Senate | DemocraticConferenceNews@nysenate.gov518-455-2415

Yonkers Insider Online Show on Blog Talk Radio.

Listen to internet radio with yonkers insider on BlogTalkRadio

Richard Diguglielmo Clemency Petition.

Blog Stats

  • 307,568 hits

Top Clicks

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 29 other followers

StatCounter.

sc_project=3706065; sc_invisible=0; sc_partition=44; sc_security="9808bd77";
website statistics
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 29 other followers