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Legoland_Yonkers_Resolution

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Press advisory: YONKERS MINORITY LEADER LARKIN CALLS ON RIDGEHILL’​S LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER TO ACKNOWLEDG​E IT RESIDES IN YONKERS.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 11, 2013.

MINORITY LEADER LARKIN CALLS ON RIDGEHILL’S  LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT RESIDES IN YONKERS.

(YONKERS, NY … March 11, 2013…)  – Minority Leader Larkin has introduced a resolution calling upon Legoland Discovery Center to acknowledge that it resides in the City of Yonkers. 

This resolution is on the agenda for the Tuesday, March 12, 2013 council meeting.  The opening of Ridge Hill Shopping Center’s new Logoland Discovery Center is scheduled for Wednesday, March 27, 2013. 

“There are ten Logoland Discovery Centers located around the world and nine out of the ten are listed as residing within their host city”, Minority Leader Larkin said. 

“The only Legoland Discovery Center that does not list its host city is Yonkers, instead listing it as residing in Westchester”, Larkin stated.

The explanation provided by Legoland Discovery Center that they are serving not only Yonkers but the surrounding area would be acceptable if the same reasoning would be applied to the other nine locations around the world.

Yonkers is the fourth largest city in New York State and its residents are proud to call Yonkers their home. 

Minority Leader Larkin is calling upon Legoland Discovery Center to proudly list its location as Legoland Discovery Center – Yonkers and to update its website and advertising to acknowledge this fact.    

Editor’s note: attached, please find a copy of the proposed resolution.  

RepPlanFeb2013

Yonkers_Maps_Release

YonkersDemRepRPT_(2)

DemPlanFeb2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 19th, 2013.

‘FAIR REDISTRICTING’ PLAN FOR YONKERS RELEASED, IN KEEPING WITH ANTI-GERRYMANDERING PLEDGE.

(YONKERS, NY … January 31, 2013…) – As the battle over redistricting in Yonkers continues, City Councilmembers John Larkin, Dennis Shepherd and Mike Breen today released their own set of maps for proposed new council lines they say adhere to good government principles.

At Yonkers City Hall, the councilmembers unveiled their proposed lines, which follow an anti-gerrymandering resolution they introduced last month. Minority Leader Larkin said that the Republican’s maps and resolution will “reform the process while ensuring the voice of all citizens of Yonkers are heard while redistricting is considered.”

“Councilmembers Breen, Shepherd and I weighed the many concerns of the general public that arose as a result of the first set of maps that were politically gerrymandered to the benefit of certain councilmembers,” Larkin said. “After consulting with a veteran of the State’s Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment who is an expert on redistricting, who used our guidelines to insure compactness and the preservation of neighborhoods of interest, we are confident our proposed maps are in
compliance with the Voter Rights Act of 1965.”

The Democrats had several months to prepare their maps and yet released only a minimal amount of data and no equivalency files for average citizens to draw their own lines using open source mapping programs. The Republicans, who had only three weeks to try to tackle this complex process, have erred on the side of transparency, releasing all the data that went into devising their own plan.

“The original maps were obviously drawn with no public input, to the benefit of certain councilmembers and to the detriment of others and were admittedly politicized with the soul purpose of re-electing incumbents and disenfranchising challengers,” Shepherd said. “That is wholly undemocratic. Our maps, which reflect the input of the people of Yonkers, are politically blind and preserve communities of interest which have been splintered in the original set of maps.”

Shepherd pointed to the proposed fourth district in the Democrat’s plan, which he said resembled “Cape Cod.” The maps released today by the three councilmembers instead propose a compact, contiguous shape for the fourth district, as well as compacter shapes for the other five districts.

The Democrats had alleged their plan might “one day” create a minority opportunity district in the 3rd Council District. The Republicans contend that this can be accomplished now. Their plan actually creates a minority opportunity district, by creating a 50.5% Hispanic origin majority in the third district, as opposed to the Democrat’s 37.5% proposal for district 3.

“Our plan still maintains the minority opportunity districts in the first and second council districts at comparable population percentages to the Democrats plan and a less than three-percent deviation,” Breen said. “This is only the first step in the process. Tonight we will hear about both plans and I urge the citizens of Yonkers to come to the committee meeting to make their voices heard in the redistricting process.”

When taken side by side, the maps released today are obviously more compact to the naked eye. The dataset used by the law-makers counts prisoners at their home addresses, in compliance with changes to state law made last year pushed by State Senate and Assembly Democrats.

The group is also calling for public hearings which will thoroughly vet both sets of maps and produce a product that is best for the diverse Yonkers community.

Editor’s note: attached, please find a copy of the proposed district maps, demographic data and census block equivalency files.

 

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19th.

 

“GOOD GOVERNMENT” REDISTRICTING PLAN UNVEILED BY YONKERS COUNCILMEN.

 As the battle over redistricting in Yonkers continues, City Councilmembers John Larkin, Dennis Shepherd and Mike Breen are releasing a set of maps for proposed new council lines they say adhere to good government principles.

On Tuesday, the council members will unveil their maps, which follow an anti-gerrymandering resolution they introduced last month. In contrast with the maps drawn by some Democratic members of the council, which were admittedly gerrymandered for political benefit, the Republicans say their maps are comprised of districts which are compact, contiguous, create new minority representation on the Council and have not been devised to the advantage or disadvantage of any incumbent Councilmember, potential challenger or political party.

The maps are in compliance with the Voter Rights Act of 1965. The group is calling for public hearings which will thoroughly vet both sets of maps and produce a product that is best for the diverse Yonkers community.

The details for TUESDAY’s event are as follows:

WHO: Yonkers Councilman Minority Leader John Larkin, Yonkers Councilman Dennis Shepherd and Yonkers Councilman Mike Breen. 

WHEN: : Tuesday, February 19th11:00 a.m.

WHERE: Yonkers City Hall Room 407, 40 South Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10701.

WHAT: Introduction of good government district maps.

Press Release: Councilmem​ber’s Call For An End To Gerrymande​ring.

PR_End__to_Gerrymandering_in_Yonkers

For Immediate Release:    January 31st, 2013.

COUNCILMEMBERS CALL FOR AN END TO GERRYMANDERING.

(YONKERS, NY … January 31, 2013…) – As a potential battle over the mandated decennial redistricting looms in Yonkers, three members of the City Council are proposing a resolution they say will take partisan politics out of the process.

Last week, preliminary maps were published which these Councilmembers say amount to little more than partisan gerrymandering.

“We are here today to introduce this legislation because the citizens of Yonkers deserve a real choice,” Minority Leader John Larkin said. “This is an intensive process that requires transparency and public deliberation. When politicians pick their voters, the voters lose. We need reform that will put the voters back in charge.”

The councilmembers have levied criticism at the first maps which were released because they do not adhere to good government principles and potentially dilute minority representation.

“The first proposal splits communities between districts designed to make them uncompetitive,” Councilman Dennis Shepherd said. “Passing these reforms will ensure that communities of interest are kept together so that everyone will have a voice on the City Council.”

The three councilmembers are calling for passage of a resolution they have introduced which would ensure that:

the Council reaffirms its commitment to fair, nonpartisan redistricting;

along with passage of any maps, the Council adopt an anti-gerrymandering provision, prohibiting the favoring or disfavoring of incumbents, challengers or political parties;

the Council prohibit a map that would split census blocks and communities of interest;

A requirement that any deviation from the mean population in districts be explained;

The creation of minority opportunity districts, where practicable, and the protection of minority voting rights mirroring the current federal law;

Consensus decision-making, ensuring minority party participation;

Better criteria for drawing district lines including, but not limited to, increased transparency, with public hearings in each city council district at least thirty days prior to the adoption of any maps; and Every aspect of the process open to scrutiny by the public and the press.

We are in the process of reaching out to good government groups to advise with drafting our own set of maps, which would be in compliance with the new resolution as well as the Voter Rights Act of 1965, said the group. “We are calling for public hearings which will thoroughly vet both sets of maps and produce a product that is best for the diverse Yonkers communities.”

“In most cases, public hearings come first, then maps,” Councilman Mike Breen said. “We should be doing the same here. Let’s take the time to improve the democratic process in the city by ensuring that redistricting be constitutional and fair and reform the system for future generations so that the redistricting process is open so it cannot be controlled by whichever party is in power.”

In redistricting at the state and county levels, many good government groups and editorial boards have been critical of the way lines have been drawn. That is not a process the council should be looking to repeat, Breen said.

The resolution notes that “under current law, Councilmembers draw the districts for themselves; allowing politicians to draw these districts, to make them safe for incumbents, or to tailor the districts for the election of themselves or their friends, or to bar the districts to the election of their opponents, is a serious abuse that harms voters.”

Shepherd hopes that by conducting public hearings and passing an anti-gerrymandering resolution, council races will ultimately become more competitive. “Let’s put the voters back in charge and make sure that districts are compact, contiguous, and preserve communities of interest,” he said.

“At the end of the day, whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, liberal, conservative, or independent, we all want to see our city prosper and improve the way local government works,” Larkin said. “Our reforms can achieve that by ensuring the redistricting process will be debated in an open, fair and transparent manner.”

State and federal law mandate redistricting every ten years after tabulation of census data.

Editor’s note: attached, please find a copy of the proposed resolution.

Resolution_in_Support_of_Ending_Gerrymandering

Media Advisory COUNCILMEM​BERS TO CALL FOR END TO GERRYMANDE​RING IN YONKERS.

FOR THURSDAY, JANUARY 31st.

COUNCILMEMBERS TO CALL FOR END TO GERRYMANDERING IN YONKERS.

As a potential battle over the mandated decennial redistricting looms in Yonkers, Yonkers City Councilmembers John Larkin, Dennis Shepherd and Mike Breen are proposing a resolution they say will take partisan politics out of the process.  

This Thursday, the councilmembers will call for passage of an anti-gerrymandering resolution in response to preliminary maps that have been released which they say do not adhere to good government principles and potentially dilute minority representation.

State and federal law mandate redistricting every ten years after tabulation of census data.   

The councilman are in the process of reaching out to good government groups to assist with drafting their own set of maps, which would be in compliance with the new resolution as well as the Voter Rights Act of 1965.

They are calling for public hearings which will thoroughly vet both sets of maps and produce a product that is best for the diverse Yonkers communities.  

The details for this THURSDAY’s event are as follows:  

WHO: Yonkers Minority Leader John Larkin, Yonkers Councilman Mike Breen and Yonkers Councilman Dennis Shepherd.

WHEN: Thursday, January 31st  - 11:00 a.m.  

WHERE: Yonkers City Hall – 4th Floor, Room 407 - 40 South Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10701                  

WHAT: Introduction of anti-gerrymandering resolution.

Update on chicken and bees in your backyard.

I would like to update you on chicken and bees and what occurred at the last council meeting (Tuesday, January 22, 2013).

There was a ground swell of speakers that came out in freezing 5 degree weather,  representing either themselves or neighborhood groups, who spoke vehemently against both proposals and a few who spoke in favor.  

After every resident spoke, a five minute recess was suggested by the Council President to discuss the matter with his caucus.  Upon returning over 30 minutes later a motion was made by the Council President to place both proposals back into committee for further discussion. 

I objected to the motion as I felt residents have been called out numerous times to speak on these proposals and that the council should have the courage and conviction to vote on each proposal that night.  

It seems some on the council said that they heard some recommended suggestions and changes that were put forth by the speakers that evening—I heard no suggestions that evening only those vehemently opposed and those residents who spoke in favor.

Both motions were placed back into committee to possibly come back before the council at a later time.   

Thank you to all who expressed your opinion as I know it had an effect on these proposals being pulled from the agenda. 

Let’s hope this is not entertained again. In my opinion we have far more important issues to address in our City.

Best regards and stay warm.

Minority Leader John J. Larkin

Councilman – District 6

Bee_Resolution_Jan._22,_2013

Chicken_Resolution_Jan._22,_2013

Chicken and Bees In Your Backyards.

Below please find an important message from Councilmember John Larkin. 

Dear Residents, I am writing to advise you of an issue that I believe you should be aware of and ask you to weigh in with your opinions and voices.

This coming Tuesday evening, January 22, 2013 the Yonkers City Council agenda will include two ordinances that if passed will permit residents of Yonkers to raise chickens and bees within their backyards. 

That’s right – chicken and bees in your neighbors backyards.  A vote will take place the evening of Tuesday, January 22, 2013. 

Your voice — whether you support this or not is critical.     

I must tell you I do not support this and would hope that other council people will come to the same conclusion. While some may say it is great to have home grown eggs and honey I look at this on a much broader scale. 

There are too many concerns in an urban city setting (like Yonkers) where homes, in many instances, are right next to one another.   There is a multitude of issues and concerns that come to my mind for permitting chicken and bees.  

With regard to chickens some of the issues are: 

Maintenance of the chicken coop.

Cost to City of Yonkers to monitor – especially since application fee is only $10.00.

Code enforcement to insure no more than six chickens are permitted in a backyard.

Smell –especially in the hot summer months.

Concern over disease.Quality of life of neighbors.

Attraction of mice, rats, coyotes, squirrels, possums, skunks, and raccoons.

Disposal of the chicken waste – concern for public safety. 

Concern over property values – if you were selling your property would you want a chicken coop in the backyard next door? 

With regard to bees some of the issues are: Concerns over allergic reactions of people to bee stings.

Liability to the City of Yonkers.

Neighbors or visitors to areas where beehives are located.Possibility of swarming of bees.

Containment of the bees.

Cost to the City of Yonkers to monitor – especially since application fee is only $25.

Code enforcement to insure compliance.Concern over property values – if you were selling your property would you want beehives in the backyard next door?  

If you are concerned and want to express your opinion, please reach out and ask to speak to Council members or the Council President by calling 914-377-6000. 

You will be connected to their office.   

You may also sign up to speak in person at the Committee of the Whole (which precedes the Council meeting at 7:30pm – City Hall 4th floor) by calling the City Clerk’s office at 914-377-6020 on Tuesday, January 22, 2013.

Attached are the 2 resolutions for your review.

John Larkin

Yonkers City Council Minority Leader, 6th District.

Please be advised that a Real Estate Committee Meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, June 7th at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers, Yonkers City Hall, 4th Floor.

Please Note: Additional Item added to Agenda

Resolution – approving an amendment to the agreement between the City of Yonkers and the County of Westchester for improvements to be made at JFK Marina, Trevor Park, JFK Memorial Drive and Warburton Avenue.

The following items will be on the Agenda:

Special Ordinance – $4000 – increase of revenue and appropriations and authorization for Mayor to execute agreement – Preservation League of New York State – to assist in the citywide historic building inventory survey – Planning and Development.

Resolution – approving an amendment to the agreement between the City of Yonkers and the County of Westchester for improvements to be made at JFK Marina, Trevor Park, JFK Memorial Drive and Warburton Avenue.

Resolution – approving amendment to site designation area for the Nodine Hill Urban Renewal Area in accordance with Section 504 of Article 15 of the General Municipal Law.

Resolution – declaring Lead Agency status for the Nodine Hill Urban Renewal Plan and Master Plan.

Resolution – authorizing the issuance of a determination of significance pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) relating to the Nodine Hill Urban Renewal Plan of the City of Yonkers.

Resolution – authorizing the issuance of a determination of significance pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) relating to the Nodine Hill Master Plan of the City of Yonkers.

Resolution – approving the Nodine Hill Urban Renewal Plan.

Resolution – approving the Nodine Hill Master Plan.

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 so they can address issues relating to their respective departments.

Thank you,

Patricia D. McDow
Real Estate Committee Chair
Majority Leader, Councilmember
District 1

Please be advised there will be a meeting of the Legislation, Codes & Intergovernmental Committee on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 5:30 to approx. 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 4th Floor, City Hall.

Items on the Agenda include:

To amend COY Local Law No. 2-2010, Chapter 109 entitled “Vehicles and Traffic” requiring advance warning signage notifying motorists that traffic control violation-monitoring devices are in active use within the City of Yonkers.

A General Ordinance amending the COY Code, Chapter 68, Smoking, Part VII entitled “Nuisances, Public Welfare and Criminal by creating a “New Article IV entitled “Smoking in Parks.”

All other business properly coming before this committee.

We respectfully request the Mayor to direct the appropriate Commissioners/Department Heads/staff to attend stated meeting and address the Council on the above issue as it pertains to their respective departments.

Thank you,

Committee Chair, Councilmember John Larkin

Please be advised there will be a meeting of the Legislation, Codes and Intergovernmental Relations Committee Meeting on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 from 5:30 to 6:30pm in the City Council Conference Room #406.

General Ordinance Chapter 110 COY Code aka “Taxicabs” regarding license fees.

General Ordinance Chapter 111 COY Code aka “Tow Trucks & Immobilization Devices” regarding license fees.

Resolution to amend the Ethics Code to include a new section w/regards to the registration of lobbyist and lobbying activity.

Continued discussion to create a new general ordinance regarding the containment of bedbugs in the proper disposal of mattresses.

Any additional items that may properly come before this Committee.

We respectfully request the Mayor to direct the appropriate Commissioners/Department Heads/staff to attend this Meeting and address the Council on the above issue as it pertains to their respective departments.

John Larkin, Committee Chair

Committee Members:

John Murtagh
Dennis Shepherd
Joan Gronowski
Chuck Lesnick

Please be advised there will be a meeting of the Legislation, Codes and Intergovernmental Relations Committee Meeting on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 from 5 to 6:30pm in the City Council Conference Room #406.

Agenda items: Nov. 23, 2010)

Local Law to amend Chapter 7, Article V to create sub-section “F” entitled “Notice to the City Council Post Adoption”.

Local Law amending Section 47 “Outdoor signs” to include sign ordinances for mobile billboards trucks as a proactive measure to insure quality of life for Yonkers residents and visitors.

General Ordinance Chapter 110 COY Code aka as “Taxicabs “regarding license fees.

General Ordinance Chapter 111 COY Code aka as “Tow Trucks & Immobilization Devices” regarding license fees.

General Ordinance Chapter 112 COY Code aka as “School Buses & Drivers licensing fees.

Any additional items that may properly come before this Committee.

We respectfully request the Mayor to direct the appropriate Commissioners/Department Heads/staff to attend this Meeting and address the Council on the above issue as it pertains to their respective departments.

John Larkin, Committee Chair

Committee Members:

John Murtagh
Dennis Shepherd
Joan Gronowski
Chuck Lesnick

Budget Committee Meeting

Please be advised that a Budget and Finance Committee Meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 7:30 PM in Yonkers City Hall Council Chambers, 4th Floor.

The following items will be on the Agenda:

Continuation of status report on the release of funds from the Restore NY grant for the Philipse Manor Historic District from Planning Department Commissioner (as Finance Commissioner understandably did not have enough information or knowledge to answer adequately at the November 9th meeting) and an update on Restore NY grant for the old Library building on Main Street.

Continuation of review of First Quarter Overtime as it pertains to Police, Fire and DPW. (While the Finance Commissioner addressed the Council and presented his budgetary analysis at the November 9th meeting, none of the Commissioners were present to answer specific questions about their departments.)

Continuation of the discussion on the retirement incentive and how many COY positions were refilled.

Update by Commissioners/Department Heads on exactly what monies came to the City from the Stimulus Package and where funds have been allocated.

Any additional items that may properly come before this Committee.

We respectfully request that the Mayor direct the appropriate Commissioners/Department Heads/staff to attend this Budget & Finance Meeting and properly address the Council on issues pertaining to their respective departments.

We also request that this Budget and Finance Meeting be televised.

Thank you.

Chuck Lesnick

Council President/Chair, Budget & Finance Committee

As per the below call, the following items will be on the Agenda for the Tuesday, November 16th Environmental, Sustainable Growth & Green Policy Committee Meeting:

AGENDA

Enforcement Strategies and Fine Collection for Air Quality Ordinances.

Any additional items that may properly come before this Committee.

We respectfully request the Mayor to direct the appropriate Commissioners/Department Heads/staff to attend this Meeting and address the Council on the above issue as it pertains to their respective departments.

Thank you.

John Murtagh
Chairman

Environmental, Sustainable Growth & Green Policy Committee Meeting

Yonkers City Council, District 5
Minority Leader

Please be advised there will be a meeting of the Municipal Operations and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, November 16th at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 4th floor, City Hall.

The following items will be on the Agenda:

Status of the Inspector General’s review of the finances of the Yonkers Public Schools.

Any additional items that may properly come before this Committee.

We request a representative from the Administration, the Inspector General, as well as a representative of the YFT Welfare Fund to have the appropriate personnel in attendance to address said items on the Agenda.

We also request this Municipal Operations and Public Safety Committee Meeting to be televised.

Thank you.

John Murtagh
Chairman, Municipal Operations and Public Safety Committee

Yonkers City Council, District 5
Minority Leader

Please be advised that a Budget and Finance Committee meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 6:00 PM, in the Council Chambers, Yonkers City Hall, 4th Floor.

The following items will be on the Agenda:

Continuation of the Library Budget Hearing for the 2010-2011 Budget.

Any additional items that may properly come before this Committee.

We ask the Administration to please have the appropriate Commissioners/Departments Heads/Directors or their representatives attend the meeting so they can address issues relating to their departments.

Thank you,

Chuck Lesnick
Council President, Chair


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