Monday, February 26, 2007



Dear Readers:

On Friday 03/02/07 Your humble writer had a two hour meeting with the Editor-in -Chief and Publisher of the North County News and he has given permission for this blog to re-print articles from that newspaper. I feel it is important to note that Mr. Apar had not seen my last posting reguarding the NCN, which made the meeting all that special to me. Your regular readers know that the primary mission of this blog is to bring to your attention articles and commentary to help you in this election cycle as your local representatives are up for election. I want to thank Mr. Apar for helping make this mission possible.



Transportation Train noise perturbs peekskill residents Peekskill residents rail against loud train horns

•Peekskill residents rail against loud train horns

(Original publication: February 26, 2007)

At least a dozen times a day, John Cosgrove is startled by the long-long-short-long horn blasts of a northbound Metro-North Railroad train as it passes his bedroom and living-room windows at the River Bend townhouse development.
As each northbound train goes by, it is required by federal law to sound its horn there, a quarter-mile south of the Hudson Avenue grade crossing in Peekskill. While no one disputes that the trains were there first, Cosgrove and some of his neighbors would like to silence them.
At the same time, the grade crossing is a popular one. Audible reminders that a train is approaching help keep residents safe. Many village residents and workers who want to enjoy the Hudson River views or concerts at the new Riverfront Green Park cross the tracks, as do boaters heading for the Peekskill Yacht Club and some commuters who park at the city's train station. Peekskill's waterfront is undergoing a revival, and no one wants a train tragedy to spoil that.
A longtime Peekskill resident and retired educator, Cosgrove chose his townhouse when it was just a hole in the ground. He toured the site on weekends, when there is just one northbound train an hour.
"That's really why I came here - for that view," he said, grinning and gesturing out past the railroad tracks to the Hudson and the slopes of the Palisades beyond. "That's a million-dollar view, or at least a half-million-dollar view. When the train on the other side of the river blows its horn, it's romantic. When it blows here, it startles me. Sometimes it's frightening."
Cosgrove did not find out until he moved in eight months ago that having a railroad for a neighbor meant living with 27 sets of horn blasts between 7:30 a.m. and 3:11 a.m.
"People love trains. Most people get very used to it," said railroad spokeswoman Marjorie Anders. "If you don't love trains, you probably shouldn't move next to one."
Moving out may be the path one of Cosgrove's neighbors takes. A few days after she moved in, Pat Attias packed her things and left.
"They drive me nuts," she said. "I put my house on the market the minute I moved in. I sleep in the living room because it's so noisy downstairs. At 2 and 3 o'clock in the morning, every time a train horn blows, it wakes me up. If you're listening to something on the television or the radio, you can't hear. I hope they can do something. I really would appreciate it. I do like my house."
Not one to give up, Cosgrove had already persuaded the developer, Martin Ginsberg, to remove a tree that blocked his view. He reached out again to him and city officials, but both responded politely that it was out of their hands. He also recently wrote to the new chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Lee Sander, but has not yet heard back from him. Then Cosgrove contacted Going Places.
"I know it's a safety feature," he said. "There are a lot of people living along the lines and more to come. I don't want a train to hit anybody. There has to be a solution. There are other solutions than blowing the horn in residential neighborhoods."
He's right. The Federal Rail Administration has recently amended guidelines by which a community or group of communities can establish a "quiet zone" where no train horns are sounded. The quiet zone must be at least a half-mile long, and any grade crossings in it must have flashing lights and gates and may require additional safety features.
These can include photo enforcement; four-way gates; automated, train-activated horns placed at crossings and stations; or medians down the center of the road to prevent drivers from trying to cross the tracks when a train approaches. Costs can range from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand dollars for each crossing.
The Federal Rail Administration provides technical assistance to communities interested in pursuing this, spokesman Warren Flatau said. Typically, a team is assembled that includes the FRA, state transportation officials, the railroad and county planners.
Since railroads aren't obligated to pay for the improvements needed to assure the public's safety without train horns, communities often secure congressional earmark funds from their representatives and state funding for the local match, he said.
Property owners can also be charged through a special assessment. A hotel developer interested in upholding his property's value paid for the upgrades in one instance, Flatau said. Once built, the grade-crossing improvements are maintained by the railroad.
"Government has to apply to us," Flatau said. "I've seen community groups push this right through. It is an important quality-of-life issue."
Rockland County is well into the process of creating a countywide quiet zone along the West Shore Line, sparked by the tripling of freight traffic in 1998. The county's efforts had to be put on hold while the federal government spent years changing quiet-zone rules.
Susan Myer, a spokeswoman for the county's Planning Department, said Rockland hopes to begin construction in 2008 and have all 15 public and eight private crossings upgraded within a year's time. The county has $3.68 million from a federal earmark set aside for this.
Daniel Fitzpatrick, the Peekskill city manager, wasn't familiar with quiet zones, but once they were briefly described to him, he said, "I'm going to put my city planner on it right away. If there is a way we can make the lives of our citizens better, I think we're obligated to look into it."
Anders said that even if Peekskill applied for a quiet zone and made all the needed upgrades, "trains would still have to blow their horns as they approach the station to warn people on or near the platform."
Flatau said there was still room for discussion: "There is a possibility that they'd work something out and use the bells instead of sounding the horn. From where I sit, that wouldn't necessarily be the end-all. It would have to be explored."
Cosgrove said he won't give up.
"One of the nice things about being retired," he said, "is you have all this time to devote to a cause."
Going Places runs Mondays. Please send your ideas and comments to Caren Halbfinger at or 914-694-5004.


Dear Readers:

The trouble with retired people is that they have tooooooooo much time on their hands. Not only has Mr. Cosgrove discovered that if you live near a train station they(the trains) actually blow their horns as they come upon a railroad crossing, I think he was also shocked to find out there was gambling in Casablanca. He thinks because he spent about a half-million dollars on his new home, they taxpayers should foot the bill for his comfort. I only have a high school education, yet I know that if I live near a railroad crossing, I am going to hear train horns. Being that he has been paid by the taxpayer all his life and now into retirement, it is no wonder he feels justified in thinking the taxpayers still owe him. To think that, he now has all that free time on his hands to continue to be annoying. Mr. Cosgrove, if you really don't like the horns, then do as your neighbor did, MOVE!!!!! It is not the taxpayer's responsibility to correct an error in YOUR judgement, nor to make your life more comfortable. I work every day at the train station and right now I find you more annoying then the horns.

George Oros
Legislator, 1st District


February 27, 2007 Contact: George Oros
Tel: (914) 995-2828
County continues to Invest-in-Kids
Funding secured to help City of Peekskill provide much needed programs for youth in community

County Legislator George Oros (R-C/Cortlandt) is pleased to announce $120,000 was recently approved by the Board of Legislators for the City of Peekskill Youth Bureau to continue providing after-school and summer programs for youth ages 11-18.

The funding is part of the county’s Urban Youth Initiative “Invest-in-Kids” program, which was established in 1993 to be a positive development model for at-risk youths in 11 urban communities.

Peekskill’s Youth Bureau, which started in 1994, has been part of the Invest-in-Kids program for the last 10 years.

“Invest-in-Kids is just what the name implies: an investment,” said Oros, whose district covers Peekskill, Cortlandt, Buchanan and parts of Yorktown. “It is much wiser to invest taxpayer funds to help our youth stay out of trouble than to incur the heavy cost of incarceration and other high costs to society for non-productive citizens.”

Under the direction of Valerie Swan and with the support of Mayor John Testa and the Common Council, Oros said the Peekskill Youth Bureau is “held up as a model for other municipalities in the county.”

Swan said more than 280 youth participate in various programs offered through Invest-in-Kids. She said about 80 of those youngsters between the ages of 11-13 will be part of a new initiative made possible by the funds approved by the county.

“The parents are ecstatic,” Swan said. “Those are kids too old to go to camp and too young to work. We definitely would not be able to have that program without the county’s help.”

George Oros
Legislator, 1st District



February 27, 2007 Contact: George Oros
Tel: (914) 995-2828
Secrecy surrounding federal probe at Medical Center disturbing

The Republican conference of the Westchester County Board of Legislators expressed deep concern with the lack of disclosure displayed by management at the Westchester Medical Center in regards to a federal investigation of the institution. The conference also questioned if the Spano administration withheld knowledge or information about the probe from members of the Board of Legislators.

While appreciating the gesture of Medical Center President Michael Israel to take full responsibility for the communication snafu when questioned by the Board of Legislators on Monday (February 26), Minority Leader George Oros said it was a mistake that has been repeated far too often in regards to activities and event at the Medical Center.

“For a serious matter such as this, where the taxpayer is the major financial stakeholder, it is totally inexcusable to blindside the Board of Legislators,” Oros remarked. “The minute the subpoena was served on the Medical Center on January 30, a call should have been made to the board chairman. For it to be revealed two weeks later in the media is embarrassing and demonstrates a crack in the armor somewhere.”

Thee republican conference also questioned whether the county executive’s office was aware of the investigation before it was made public and failed to inform the Board of Legislators.

“We’re all in this together,” Oros said. “There can’t be any secrets kept. The taxpayers are smarter than that and deserve better.”

The conference has renewed its call to Chairman William Ryan and the County Executive to immediately inform all members of the Board of Legislators or any relevant events or incidents that occur at or regarding the Westchester Medical Center and the Westchester County Health Care Corporation.

Peekskill Fire Department looks at consolidating companies

(Original publication: February 25, 2007)

PEEKSKILL - The city's Fire Department has been grappling with deteriorating firehouses for years and is now pushing to consolidate three - and perhaps four - of its six companies around town.
The two buildings that house Columbian Engine, Washington Engine and Peekskill Fire Patrol are suffering from substandard conditions, including water leaks, roof damage and antiquated staff quarters, said Fire Chief John Pappas. But rather than rehabilitating the dilapidated structures, the department wants to bring them under one new roof.
"We'd like to build a central station that would accommodate our needs," Pappas said. "The buildings are just not energy efficient. Columbian (Engine) and Washington have 25-foot ceilings. We're heating dead space. These buildings have served out their use."
The structures were built in the early- to mid-1900s, Pappas said.
The Fire Department is eyeing a park-like parcel off Academy and Broad streets, adjacent to where Columbian and Washington engines are already located. That building would likely be demolished, officials said. Peekskill Fire Patrol is quartered off Highland Avenue and, while it was an engine company, it will become exclusively a rescue company starting this weekend.
The engine there now would move to the new headquarters.
The size of the proposed building has not been determined, but ideally it would have at least six bays for firefighting rigs, along with training, office and storage space, the chief said.
Mayor John Testa said he is on board with the merger and expects to have a meeting with fire officials and the Common Council early next month.
"This would be more economically suitable for the city, and more efficient to have half the city services out of one location," Testa said.
Centennial Hose Company on Washington Street, on the south end of Peekskill, would stay where it is, Pappas said, and there are no plans to move Columbian Hose Company, in northeast Peekskill behind the Beach Shopping Center. The fire company owns that building and the city pays it rent to store its apparatus, Pappas said. Peekskill is in the process of buying the Cortlandt Hook & Ladder firehouse on Main Street, which may eventually move to the central facility, Pappas said.
Consolidation would have a number of benefits, the chief said. They include lower utility costs and cutting response time by having a central station. A training center would mean better firefighters, he said.
The Peekskill Fire Department has 185 volunteer and 24 career firefighters who respond to more than 900 fire calls and 2,000 medical calls a year, Pappas said. The department has a $2.8 million annual budget, he said. The company would not lose any paid members under the consolidation plan.
Once fire officials have met with the City Council, the next step would be to hire an architect. A bond would likely be needed, Testa said.
"We would be eliminating quite a bit of cost in the long run," the mayor said.

Hold on a moment

(Original Publication: February 26, 2007)

Thrilling news that a new vaccine prevents infection from four common strains of the virus that causes cervical cancer has been subsequently undercut by in-your-face pressure - and resulting public unease - from vaccine-maker Merck & Co. to make the inoculations mandatory. Driving the angst in part is the fact the vaccine is ideally recommended for girls at ages 11 or 12. That fans the flames for fire-breathers who don't want to think about girls' sexuality, let alone take affirmative steps to account for it.
Government health officials haven't done a good job informing people about the virus. The public has hardly had time to weigh the implications of the vaccine. Parents need to make informed judgements about what it means for their daughters. And the vaccine's expense, and questions about its availability, make its prospective mandate all the more worrisome. Worse, at a time when drug makers' influence on lawmaking seems to far outweigh the public's, Merck has been relentless about pushing its cause. Merck backed off last week, announcing it was suspending lobbying efforts aimed at getting states to require the vaccine. Nonetheless, unease remains.
And that is regrettable. The human papillomavirus, commonly referred to as HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted disease, infecting an estimated 20 million Americans. About 50 percent of all U.S. adults have the virus and most don't know it, experts say. Merck's new vaccine, Gardasil, prevents infection from four common strains of the virus. Its use would be a major step in eliminating a potentially lethal cancer that affects nearly 10,000 Americans and kills an estimated 4,000 women a year. Men can't get cervical cancer, but millions of them get HPV, which they can pass to partners.
With lightning speedThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil in June. Within a few weeks, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended its use for girls and women ages 9 to 26; more specifically, that all girls be inoculated at ages 11 or 12 or before they become sexually active. Since then, at least 18 state legislatures are considering requiring the vaccine for school attendance, similar to inoculations against other communicable diseases.
New York Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, is introducing a bill in the Legislature to require inoculation for HPV with this "amazing vaccine,'' she told the Editorial Board Wednesday. Paulin said she was an early supporter of mandatory inoculation because of the obvious public-health benefits and had not been swayed by Merck lobbying. "Merck was never really a factor for me,'' Paulin said. This month, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas issued an executive order making Texas the first state to require that school girls get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus. Texas allows parents to opt out by filing affidavits objecting on religious or philosophical grounds. Health officials were directed to make the vaccine free to uninsured girls ages 9 to 18 and for those whose policies don't cover it. Perry, a Republican, ordered that Medicaid offer Gardasil to eligible women ages 19 to 21.
Critics in Texas note that Perry and many of his top staffers have ties to Merck, a New Jersey-based company that stands to make billions of dollars from Gardasil. The three-shot regimen costs around $375. The Associated Press reported that Perry received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his re-election campaign. Paulin said she had received a $500 donation from Merck well after she began researching Gardasil and drawing up her bill.
Girls overshadowed?Paulin worries that because the vaccine currently is "only'' for girls and tied to sexuality, its cervical cancer prevention attributes will get lost in bias and knee-jerk rejection. Many social conservatives contend that receiving the shots could encourage premarital sex. A spokesman for New York's Catholic Conference told The Journal News earlier this month that it would "have to read the bill before we respond to it.''
But Paulin notes that children and teens in New York already must be inoculated against the Hepatitis B infection, which is passed either directly from those who are infected or indirectly from their bodily fluids. Physicians say human papillomavirus can cause diseases that affect men, too, including genital, mouth and throat cancers. A vaccine for boys is in research. Gov. Eliot Spitzer has indicated his support of the new HPV vaccine, including $1.5 million in his proposed $120.6 billion budget to provide the shots for low-income women and those without insurance. But there's no reason to rush making such inoculations mandatory - notwithstanding Merck's haste.
Before Gardasil is widely mandated, Albany and New York families are owed a sober discussion about the HPV virus, the vaccine and Merck's conduct. That means making more information - not just lobbying spin - available to medical professionals, parents, lawmakers and others. In the final analysis, we hope the drug maker's public relations do not obscure what truly has been a medical breakthrough.


Dear Readers:

If this proposed new law is not the epitome of state sanctioned nannyism nothing is. The main argument by the proponents of this law is that we already inoculate against polio, chicken pox and tuberculosis. What they fail to mention is that those communicable diseases can be acquired by casual contact. Human pappillomavirus is caused by ELECTIVE behavior. What the state is telling you is that you are incapable of controlling your 11 to 16 year old so we, THE STATE are going to interfere. I must ask again, how long are you going to sit still and be quiet while the state continues to invade your home "for your own good". By the way this vaccine cost about $300.00, and you pay for it. That my dear readers is called an unfunded mandate. God, it is "laws" like these that make me want to throw-up. I happen to believe you as a parent are more that capable of controlling YOUR child.

Legislators like Playland ride-purchase plan


(Original publication: February 28, 2007)

A Westchester County legislative committee quickly gave its blessing yesterday to a proposal to spend $6 million to buy eight rides at the county-run Playland Amusement Park in Rye.
"I think this is exciting, and we're positive it will be a good thing," Legislator Jose Alvarado, D-Yonkers, chairman of the board's Public Works, Labor, Transportation and Parks Committee, told Parks Commissioner Joseph Stout.
The rides under consideration for purchase are Crazy Mouse, Super Flight, Kite Flyer, the Playland Plunge, Catch a Wave, Double Shot, Fun Slide and Kiddyland's Jungle Jammin'. They have been in place from one to eight seasons, but are run by the county under leases or revenue-sharing agreements with outside owners.
County Executive Andrew Spano is asking the Board of Legislators to approve the purchase as an amendment to the current-year capital budget.
Stout said the county was "at a historic point" in making the park more profitable.
The commissioner said the eight rides, taken together, earned $1.75 million last season; of that, $1.16 million went to the owners. The county, which operates and maintains the rides, was left with only $593,000 to spend on its direct and indirect operating expenses, he said.
In the next 15 years, however, the county is estimating the rides will average $2 million in revenue. After spending an estimated $524,000 annually to pay off the necessary bonds, and about $725,000 in operating expenses, the county could net an additional $752,000 per year in revenue, Stout said.
That would cut the amount of tax revenue needed to balance the amusement park's books by one-fifth, Stout said.
"As far as I'm concerned, these numbers are conservative," he said.
Right now, Stout said, "we're splitting the money with partners."
"That's the bottom line," he said. "This is a refinancing deal."
Legislators were amenable to Stout's sales pitch, but at least one raised questions about how the county got to this position in the first place.
"Boy, you did a bad deal - who did that contract?" asked Suzanne Swanson, C-Mount Pleasant.
Stout blamed legislators' resistance to buying rides in the past.
"We've had to make revenue-share deals in order to get rides into the park," he said. "You can't have holes in the park."
Swanson also asked whether the county was assuming more liability by buying the rides, but Stout said the county already holds that liability now.
"Another bad deal," Swanson shot back.
Stout and Andrew Neuman, senior assistant to Spano, told the committee they hoped to get a board vote quickly to wrap up the purchases before Playland opens in May.
The proposal is also before the board's budget committee, which is expected to review it March 12. It could come up for a vote by the full board as soon as that night.


Dear Readers:

I guess that the County Legislators have figured that we are not paying enough taxes for them to squander. You show me one thing that the County Government gets its hands on that makes money!!!! It eventually costs the taxpayer. My God, look at the County Medical Center.
Like Thomas Jefferson once wrote "if we lookto the government to tell us when to sow the wheat and when to reap the wheat, we will soon starve to death."

Yorktown supervisor won't seek re-election

By Brian J. HowardThe Journal News(Original Publication: March 1, 2007)

YORKTOWN - The fall race for town supervisor is wide open after Republican incumbent Linda Cooper announced yesterday that she would not seek re-election.
The news signals the end of a 12-year tenure for one of Westchester County's better-known public figures.
Saying she was comfortable that the town was on solid financial footing and that it was time to pursue new challenges, Cooper, surrounded by family, friends and town employees, made the announcement at a Town Hall news conference.
"For more than 35 years I have been involved in what might be characterized as a love affair with this town," said Cooper, 54. "This is by no means a farewell."
Cooper will serve the rest of her term, which expires Dec. 31, but offered no clue about her plans. She wouldn't rule out a bid for another elected office. She said her decision had nothing to do with increasingly close races, including her 94-vote win over Democrat Don Peters in 2005.
"I do strongly believe, had I chosen to run, I would have prevailed," Cooper said. "I have strong support from both Democrats and Republicans."
Peters said he had been gearing up for a rematch in the fall. "I really wanted to run against her again," he said. "I was really looking forward to the fight. You lose to somebody, you want to try harder."
Cooper said she timed her announcement - eight months before Election Day - to allow other candidates to step forward.
Officials from both parties, including two potential successors, called her impending departure a loss for the town.
"This is a sad day for Yorktown and a sad day for me," said Democratic Councilman James Martorano, Cooper's deputy supervisor.
Councilman Nicholas Bianco, a Conservative who ran three times on the same ticket as Cooper, admitted the two often clashed over land use and development in the town's north end.
Still, he said, her impact on the town was positive.
"I think she's a good supervisor," Bianco said. "I think we had our ups and downs. A lot of things we do see eye to eye and some things we don't."
The composition of the Town Board has evolved during her tenure from a 4-1 Republican majority to the current 3-2 Democratic edge.
Town Democratic Committee Chairman Joseph Apicella, whose 1995 defeat first put Cooper in office, said he thought that change factored into her decision.
"Her diminishing margins of victory over the last two election cycles, I think, point out her diminishing popularity in the town," Apicella said. "It gets to the point where even someone who's a good supervisor or a good elected official, if you're in an administrative capacity, you begin to make enemies."
Cooper cited achievements she's proud of, from expanding the library and bringing sewers to homes to 2005's Comprehensive Plan and the construction of two pool complexes.
The former chairwoman of the town's Conservation Board made environmental protection and acquisition of open space a priority in Yorktown, environmental inspector Bruce Barber said.
Cooper's husband, Peter, said it was a bittersweet day, but he stopped short of saying he was relieved his wife would be spared the scrutiny and criticism that comes with being supervisor.
"It's been a tremendous learning curve for all of our family," he said. "And to tell the truth, we all knew what she was getting into."


Dear Readers:

I will leave it to the historians to debate how good a Supervisor Linda Cooper is. Suffice it to say that being elected six times says a lot. Looking forward though, what does it mean for the voters of Yorktown. For Don Peters(Democrat), if he was going to run a campaign against Linda Cooper, it means he has got to put together a new game plan and cannot till he knows who will be the Republican candidate. How ever if he was going to run for Yorktown Supervisor (there is a difference between the two options), then it matters very little who will be the Republican nominee, for this would be a campaign based on ideas and vision on how HE would lead Yorktown into the future and hope he can convince enough voters that his vision is the way to go.
As for his challenger, it would be up to Don to point out their differences in vision, but that is a minor point, for running for Supervisor, it is what HE will do, and who HE is that really matters.

The only serious threat to Don Peters being the next Supervisor would come from Councilman Nick Bianco(Conservative-Republican) Councilman Bianco has a track record being a sitting Councilman. It will be tough to discredit that record. Not impossible, but tough. Nick has been an effective advocate for the people of Yorktown and the people of Yorktown would be well served if he were Supervisor. This would truly be a race based on ideas and vision should this be the match-up. Should Councilman Bianco run for Supervisor, it would be a referendum on his service to the town just as if he were running for re-election to the Council. This would be a race to close to call.

If the Republican nominate anyone else, then I believe Don Peters will be the next Supervisor. I do not see the Republicans fielding a stronger candidate. Councilman Bianco is the only candidate the Republicans can field that has the best chance for keeping the Supervisor's seat Republican. It would not surprise me if the Republicans and Councilman Bainco knew that too.

Results of lobbying Albany on School funding reform:

Since taking office, I have been very involved in lobbying the state for school funding reform. Below is a summary of our views and efforts, and Wednesday's meeting with state legislators and their representatives in Albany.

This is the most important issue affecting our communities now. I urge all to get involved in our efforts. The more people working toward this, the sooner it will become a reality.

Sam Davis
Putnam Valley Supervisor

The Coalition for Education Funding Reform went to Albany on Feb. 28th for appointments with key legislators whom we expect to spearhead the reform movement.

The coalition groups that met with the legislators are:

The Task force
Wawarsing Reform group
Patchogue Area Civic Tax Watch Org.
N. Country Alliance for School Funding Reform
Putnam Valley Group

The leaders of the education funding reform groups in attendance at this session were:
Lydia Afia, Yvonne Allenson, Bernetta Calderone, Sam Davis, Tony Gajate, Carole Kraus, Marlis Momber, Bob Newman, Bruce Pileggi, Gioia Shebar, Joe Trapani, John Whitely.

The group met with Sen. Bonacic, Assemblyman Cahill, and key representatives of Sen. Bruno, Sen. LaValle, Assemblywoman Galef, and Sen. Trunzo.

Our coalition is supporting sweeping education funding reform.

The present system of funding education is destructive to communities and families who are burdened with regressive, confiscatory school taxes. The present system of taxation mitigates against school stability in budgeting, works against diversity, and causes conflicts about funding among different groups. It calls into question assessment methods and leads to inequality in taxation. It shortchanges education....and it is wasteful.

We are in a crisis and the coalition is looking for action NOW.

We made clear our unanimous objection to any form of STAR, enhanced STAR, Frankenstar. We asked the legislators not to consider STAR rebates in any form or amount as a solution. They have been proven to be counter productive ... a band-aid.

We asked that the Senate and Assembly work together to reconcile bills presently in both houses that would mandate a state takeover of education funding to be paid for from general revenue just like any other essential service .

We rejected any funding that could lead to the taking of people's homes to pay school taxes. This is occurring because school property taxes have risen 42%-60% in the last five years independent of income or ability to pay.
All segments of the community, renters, homeowners, city and suburb, and rural area dwellers would benefit from the ideas in the bills we are supporting.

They are A 4746 (Cahill) and S 2070 (LaValle)......

We are happy to report that every meeting produced complete agreement on the crisis in education funding.

Every meeting produced complete agreement on the wasteful and useless STAR rebate system in any form. We reject it.

Every meeting produced accord on the need to have sweeping education funding reform..not a band-aid.

We assured every legislator we were non-partisan and would not hesitate to support any candidate from any party who worked for reform.
We also would not hesitate to reject any candidate from any party who said"No" to reform or suggested reform could wait for some time in the future.

Our members want commitment to extensive reform in this legislative session.

We compliment the key "players" we met with who were extremely supportive and promised to work to bring about sweeping reform of education sooner rather than later.

We assured the legislators we would continue to tell Gov. Spitzer that STAR in any form is just an expensive, wasteful band-aid and we want his budget to reflect a substantial commitment to real funding reform.

We applaud the legislators and staff with whom we met who were forthcoming, supportive, and on the side of change.

This state-wide crisis demands a state-wide solution.
Our Coalition for Education Funding Reform is large, statewide, growing in adherents and groups .... and
we vote.

We will continue speaking with legislators and the administration.

We found out in Albany today that agreement on the funding crisis is not a problem...we all agree....action is what we want....this legislative this budget.

PLAN PUTNAM: PUTNAM BLOG: GUARDIAN: COUNTY NEWS: JOURNAL NEWS: DEMOCRATS: REPUBLICANS: PEEKSKILL MAYOR JOHN TESTA'S STATE OF THE CITY ADRESS: For further information about the City's progress in economic development, neighborhood revitalization, downtown revitalization, waterfront redevelopment, code enforcement and quality of life initiatives, infrastructure improvements, business growth, historic preservation, and open government, read Mayor Testa's complete State of the City Address, which is available by clicking this link.
*************************************************************************************CABLE SHOWS TO WATCH:

ON POINT ON PEEKSKILL: Every Tuesday at 8PM chanel 15 (Peekskill only)Hosted by: DARREN RIGGER

DON PETERS AND YORKTOWN: Every Tuesday at 10PM chanel 22
Hosted by: DON PETERS

All articles re-printed in this blog from the North County News are with the permission of Bruce Apar Publisher and Editor-in-Chief.

BAZZO 03/03/07

Saturday, February 24, 2007



For those of my readers who get the local Peekskill Government chanel 15, Your humble writer will be a guest on Darren Riggers new show ON POINT, ON PEEKSKILL, shown every Tuesday night at 8pm. I will be taping on March 8 for airing at a later date which I will notify you ASAP.
The topic for that taping will be "Local Blogs and there effect on local elections". In the mean time I hope you will continue to watch Darren's show every Tuesday.


For those of my readers who reside in the town of Yorktown DON PETERS has a show on cable chanel 22 Tuesday nighs at 10 pm. It is called DON PETERS AND YORKTOWN. I have seen it and I urge you to see it also. You may be watching the next Yorktown Supervisor. Then you we be able to say "I remember Don when........."

************************************************************************************* THIS WAS IN THE JOURNAL NEWS

Big battle looms in proposed bottle bill expansion

By Yancey RoyAlbany Bureau(Original Publication: February 24, 2007)

Redeeming wanesALBANY -
Are New Yorkers losing interest in recycling, when it comes to beer cans and soda battles?Maybe. But they are still much better at it than most Americans. According to the latest state report, the recycling rate for beer, soda and other beverages that carry a 5-cent deposit is at its lowest level since New York enacted the so-called "Bottle Bill" in 1982: 66 percent.Jenny Gitletz of the Container Recycling Institute cites two reasons: "The nickel is just not as valuable as it was" in 1982, she says. Second, not as much money is being spent promoting recycling.

ALBANY - Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposal to expand the state's bottle deposit law to juices, water and other beverages could turn out to be one of his toughest fights this year.
About 50 groups are lined up to lobby for or against it, with opponents claiming the plan amounts to a $200 million tax hike. Not only does the Democratic governor want to change what containers carry the nickel deposit but also who gets the nickel when customers don't return them.
Supermarkets, drug stores, beer makers and beer wholesalers, bar owners and 7-Elevens are just some of the groups lining up in opposition. They've successfully blocked previous attempts to expand the so-called "bottle bill." But with a new governor now fighting for expansion and including it as a key part of his budget, opponents know the political climate is different - and they know where they have to go for help.
"There will be an all-out push in the Senate, as well as Assembly," said Jim Rogers, president of the Food Industry Alliance of New York, a lobby group for grocers. "We understand what the political realities are, but we feel we are making inroads."
On the other side are environmental groups who see their best chance to expand the bottle bill since it was enacted in 1982. They are joined by a cast of others, such as the New York Farm Bureau and the League of Women Voters, who view the nickel-deposit proposal as an anti-littering measure, as well as some beverage distributors and Tomra, the company that makes the glass, aluminum and plastic recycling machines that dot grocery stores.
They say the momentum is on their side. Besides the governor, the Democratic-led Assembly has historically backed a bottle-bill expansion. Republicans have traditionally blocked it - Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno once called it "nonsense." But their advantage in the Senate has dipped to 33-29 and a number of veteran GOP senators support expansion.
"The politics have definitely changed in favor of changing the law," said Sierra Club lobbyist John Stouffer.
Currently, the law applies to beer and soda containers. About 66 percent of those were redeemed in 2004, according to the most recent Department of Environmental Conservation statistics. Roughly 3.6 billion out of 5.4 billion nickel-deposit containers were returned.
That rate is an all-time low since the law was passed. The rate of returns has been on a steady decline since 1994, when it was 78 percent. The single-year best was 80 percent in 1984.
Despite the dip, supporters call the bottle bill the most successful recycling measure New York ever enacted. They say the reason bottled water and juices weren't originally included is simple: those products weren't sold in any great volume 25 years ago.
About 3.1 billion noncarbonated containers are sold annually in New York, said Judith Enck, Spitzer's environmental policy director.
Essentially, here's how the system works now: A company, say Coca-Cola, charges a grocery store a nickel for every bottle it stacks on the shelf. The grocery then charges the customer an EXTRA nickel for every Coke purchased. If the customer tosses the bottle in the trash rather than return it to the store, Coke effectively gets the nickel. Estimates of the value of so-called unclaimed deposits range widely, from $100 million annually to nearly $200 million.
Coke also pays the grocery a 2-cents-per-bottle handling fee to cover costs associated with recycling. Typically, the grocery passes this on to Tomra or another recycling company.
Besides expanding coverage, Spitzer proposes two other big changes: bump the handling fee to 3.5 cents per bottle and let the state - rather than Coke - keep the nickel for unreturned bottles. Coca-Cola and other manufacturers would have to make quarterly payments to the state Taxation and Finance Department based on statewide sales. Spitzer would direct the money to the Environmental Protection Fund, which allocates money for preservation of open space and some landfill cleanups.
Enck said opponents are employing many of the same tactics as in 1982 - "using lots of Chicken Little arguments and trotting out a shadow bill."
The latter is a recycling bill introduced last legislative session that would end the nickel deposit and replace it with a broad-based tax on most packaging, from cereal to baby food to beer cans. Rather than return bottles to the store, New Yorkers would place them in curbside recycling containers. The packaging tax would go to expand local curbside programs.
Another bill, sponsored by Assemblyman David Gantt, D-Rochester, would prohibit bottled water from being subject to any container-deposit tax.
Recycling machines in stores produce "clean and separated" containers whereas curbside programs can't make that guarantee, Enck said. She said the push for a radically different recycling bill demonstrates where the momentum is going.
"You feel like you're getting close when opponents hire p.r. firms to come up with misleading alternative bills," Enck said.
Bruno so far has said the bottle bill has to be considered in the context of the state budget, which lawmakers are supposed to adopt by April 1.
Lobbyists for Coca-Cola have been circulating fliers around the Capitol headlined: "Reject the Bottle Tax." Among other things, it claims prices per container will jump 15 cents not just five, to help stores and bottlers pay for added costs. It also makes the argument that New Yorkers "will be forced to contribute their hard-earned money to the state" (as opposed to the bottlers) if they don't redeem their bottles.
Bodegas and convenience stores say they don't have the space to accommodate recycling needs.
Further, Rogers, of the Food Industry Alliance, says grocery stores could lose out because they "overredeem" - that is, get back more containers than they sell because people bring all their bottles to the grocery rather than the point of purchase. The increased handling fees won't cover all their costs, he said.
Plus, they don't want the mess.
"We're in the business of handling food," Rogers said. "We're not recycling centers."


Dear Readers:

First let me say there has been nothing said since my post on Feb. 18, 2007 to change my position. These businesses pay taxes on those uncollected deposits. I have found nowhere in our state constitution that allows the government to confiscate the after taxes profit. Make no mistake about it, what the Governor and other supporters of this bill are advocating is the confiscation of profit for the public good. As noble of an idea that may be, it flies in the face of capitalism, which is what our economy is based. This belief that the government can better spend the money than the private sector insults the intelligence. There is nothing in the recent history of our state government that would lead me to believe that this dysfunctional government of ours would be better equipped to spend the money. To believe that this government would actually choose our interest over their self interest is to ignore the history of this government. To funnel more money from the citizens of this state into this behemoth of corruption is beyond comprehension. In an ideal world or a less dysfunctional government I might be more inclined to give it a go, but not now as this government of ours currently operates. By the way the advocates of this bill always ignore the fact that many people recycle thier bottles in the local recycling weekly pick-ups provided by the towns and/or cities in which they live.

Dear Readers:

I write this knowing full well that I probably will never get another letter to the editor published in the North County News again. In this weeks edition there is a front page article about blogs. As I still cannot re-print this article because I still have not received permission I will state that their mention of me and my blog was not negative, in fact it was an accurate description. The same held true for the quotes of mine in the two previous articles where my thoughts were sought, they were accurate and not taken out of context.

So, stating the above, you have the right to ask "what is my axe to grind?" The answer is three-fold. The first part deals with my trying to get permission. I have tried showing up at the office. I have played phone tag., though it was one way as my calls were not returned. I have tried e-mailing the publisher, and the ONLY response I got was his dispute of something I wrote in a previous blog which I did correct at THE TOP of my next entry. However I have received NO response to my inquiries regarding either my re-printing of their articles after that issue is no longer on sale and my request to have my blog listed on their web page blog site as there is no alternative views expressed in the hard copy (though they may say that the letters to the editor express those alternative views, which in my opinion is not the same). I have been told by the nice person who answers the phone that the publisher is a busy man. Well damn it, SO AM I. However I always make time to reply to my e-mails and other inquiries. Courtesy and respect require no less.

The second part deals with the article on blogs negative slant on anonymous blogs. I myself, have no problem signing my name to my opinions, because I believe in the old adage "no fear, no favor". That does not mean every blog has to do the same, nor does it diminish the message those blogs wish to impart. I am an avid reader of the "Peekskill Guardian" blog and always list their link(as they do mine) at the bottom of my entries. I DON'T BLAME THEM FOR THEIR ANONYMITY. Look how they are treated in their anonymity, can you imagine if their identities were known? To emphasize their anonymity is to diminish their message, and that my dear readers is no accident. In fact that is the purpose, to throw sand in your eyes so as you will ignore (they hope) what they are writing about and/or think less of it. What they are writing about in their last few entries is of importance and the local media does a disservice to the taxpayer by not doing a full investigation into the truth of the matter instead of dismissing it out of hand. Something may or may not have happened, but if what has been written about is true(and I suspect it is), then the local paper of record I would think would be duty bound to find out the truth. Now here comes a "history doesn't start when you wake up" moment. Recently the North County News decided a political cartoon on a local Peekskill Republican political wed site was front page news. They screamed sexism. My God it was only CARTOON damn it! However when a blogger produces an e-mail that encourages the recipients to read the "Peekskill Guardian" blog before they vote on a recent bond issue sent by a taxpayer who was against the bond in question that is intercepted by the Superintendent of Schools of Peekskill (she was not an intended recipient), replies to that e-mail(which is also produced) by saying the sender is hiding behind an "electronic white hood", inferring he is against the bond because he is a racist(a typical ploy devised to stifle debate), this is not news because the blogger is anonymous. HOGWASH! If a political cartoon is front page news, then a public servant calling a taxpaying citizen a racist because the taxpayer disagrees with a measure about to be voted upon has to qualify as news also. It would behoove the local paper of record to either prove or discredit but not dismiss. They are a NEWSPAPER, damn it, and this is one way or another NEWS!!!! Bias in media is not restricted to what is printed, it is also what is chosen to be ignored.

My third issue is their new policy of editing letters to the editor. This was never their policy before. In my last published letter they edited (you readers of my blog are already aware of the "Pelosi exemption") out a very important fact in the new minimum wage bill that our new Congressman voted for. The publisher castigated blogs for taking "intellectual property" without consent, yet deems it can edit the intellectual property of the letter writer. While it is true the writer knows this going in, and there is no right to be heard, it is also true that this policy leaves in the hands of people with an agenda the power to alter the thrust of the letter to mean NOT what the writer intended. They would never do this to an elected official, why then should a regular citizen be treat differently?

I have by writing this probably lost all possibility of my letters ever to be printed again. As my phone calls are not returned now, I probably lost any ability to get permission to re-print their articles. As a said earlier though, "no fear, no favor". They are entitled to their opinion and print it in their medium, and so am I, through my medium.

Dear Readers:

In the movie "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance", the tag line was "when legend becomes fact, print the legend". The same can be said of politics. In both occasions this occurs because those reporting find the legends (or myths) easier to print then doing the necessary homework to find the facts. This is also true when the legend(or myths) fit the agenda of those spreading them. Since 2006 I have seen so many myths spread about Supervisor Sam Davis taken as fact that it is time to print the facts. As this year the Putnam Valley Supervisor is up for re-election I hope you will take a few minutes to learn a few facts.

MYTH: The Supervisor improperly hired his live-in (or domestic partner) Dawn Powell as his Aide To TheSupervisor and set her salary at a higher wage then her predecessor.


According to New York State law (GML800(3), Town law 29(15) orPutnam ValleTown Code(17-13) (, NOTHING prohibited this hiring.
This was not enough for the town board, they sought a ruling from the Ethics Committee. That committee also found that the Supervisor did nothing illegal, it just did not look good. In stead of letting the matter drop, the town board went a final step a censured the Supervisor and cut
the salary for his aide Dawn Powell(more on this later), which resulted in a lawsuit against the town. This lawsuit would not have occurred had the town board not gone that extra step, which after the ethics review was unnecessary. If there is any blame, it falls on the town board, not Supervisor Davis or his aide Dawn Powell.

The salary for the Aide To The Supervisor for 2006 was set in the budget that was passed in 2005, BEFORE Supervisor Davis was elected. In 2007 the town board voted to reduce the budget line for the Aide To The Supervisor. Question?, If the town board was not responsible for setting the original salary, how could they reduce it?

Besides wasting time misleading the public about the Supervisor, this is also what the town board has done. They voted to raise the salary of the town's videographer 91%., the Supervisor voted against it. The town board voted in the absence of the Supervisor, an across the board raise of 4% for management, . On the issue of the photovoltaic panels the town board voted against accepting the grant money. Supervisor Davis strongly supported the grant! The town board voted to slash the budgets for the fire department, highway department and the animal shelter. The Supervisor disagreed.

Supervisor Davis has tried to enact the agenda he ran on, with NO help from the town board. If the voters wish to take out their anger, it would be misdirected if it were taken out on the Supervisor. The voters anger should rightly be focused on the town board. I hope you the voters will take time to think about this. IT IS NOT THAT COMPLICATED!


ON POINT ON PEEKSKILL: Every Tuesday at 8PM chanel 15 (Peekskill only)

DON PETERS AND YORKTOWN: Every Tuesday at 10PM chanel 22
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BAZZO 02/24/07

Sunday, February 11, 2007



3 trees in Shrub Oak at center of dispute

By Robert MarchantThe Journal News(Original Publication: February 11, 2007) YORKTOWN

- A stand of old oak trees has turned into a long-running and acrimonious dispute between the town and a local homeowner.
It may not reach Dickensian proportions, but Attila Papp's campaign against Yorktown's Public Works Department has all the elements of a long-running suburban feud, with narratives and counter-narratives piling up like autumn leaves.
Papp says the trees in front of his home on Crestward Avenue in Shrub Oak, which occasionally drop branches, belong to the town. He says a car parked near them was damaged when a branch fell on it last year and says the town is being negligent for not taking responsibility for them.
"It damaged my car, and a huge branch came down on Thanksgiving. If it hit me, I wouldn't be here," said Papp, who was working as a sanitation worker until he was sidelined last year from his job by a hand injury.
Papp maintains that the trees, standing between 10 and 20 feet from Crestward Avenue, lie within the town's jurisdiction.
"I want the town to take responsibility for them, so I'm not liable if something bad happens," he said.
He points to a survey from the town's Water Department, indicating the trees lie within the town's right-of-way on Crestward.
But the town's public works superintendent, Eric DiBartolo, disputes Papp's claims and insists the trees are on Papp's property. He says the town's right of way extends only 3 feet from the edge of the road, and he called Papp's assertions baseless.
"It's not on town property, and the trees are not dead," said DiBartolo, who described himself as exasperated by the homeowner's campaign over the past few years to have them removed. DiBartolo said he had doubts that a branch damaged a car parked in Papp's driveway and added that he looked at a police report indicating the car was damaged by someone's fist, not a branch.
DiBartolo said three arborists, two on staff, one a private contractor, had inspected the trees and found them to be in no danger of falling down or posing any danger to the public. If they posed any public threat, he said, they would be removed quickly - whether they were on public or private property.
"I've been there a hundred times," DiBartolo said, and his staff had determined the trees were not on town land.
The three trees have been spray-painted, as if marked for removal. Papp said the paint was put on by town workers last year after they indicated they would, in fact, come down.
But DiBartolo says the homeowner put the paint on, not his staff.
DiBartolo said he thinks Papp wants the trees removed to add more parking to his property and doesn't want to spend the roughly $5,000 that a tree company would charge to do it.
"I'm not going to have a crew working all day to take his trees down," he said, "This municipality is not in the business of being a tree company."
Papp said he had all the driveway he needed and insisted the town was ignoring a safety hazard.
The three oaks may have a long life ahead of them. The feud between Papp and the town is also likely to thrive.

Dear Readers:

I put this article in this blog entry for only one reason, that is found in the portion of this article dealing with the boundary dispute. The town's public works superintendent says that being that the trees are THREE FEET onto the owners property they belong to the property owner, they are not on the towns right of way. This is where the "life is not a Vacuum" part comes in. During last years election cycle and the year before local election cycle the town said the police had the right to come TEN FEET on to your property to remove political advocacy signs, as that is the towns right of way. One of the reasons given in an article last year was for snow removal, the town was given that right of way. I found that strange for having lived in this town for fifty-two years I don't remember it snowing in August or September and only once the last week of October we got a dusting of snow. So, it seems if you have a tree, the towns right of way is tree feet, but if you advocate for a person running for office not an incumbent, the town's right of way is ten feet.

What is really interesting is that last November this issue of eminent domain was brought before the town board and by January we had a new law regarding eminent domain(thanks to Councilman Nick Bianco). This issue of the police coming on private property to remove political advocacy signs is going on three years and they are still studying it!!!!!
The issue of free political speech is just as important and constitutionally protected as eminent domain and deserves the same attention!!!! As this year the local town officials are up for re-election, I believe it is high time to resolve this issue of the police coming on private property to silence free political speech and stop this practice.

Governor proposes DEC office on climate

By Greg BrunoTimes Herald-Record February 13, 2007

Albany - A plan by Gov. Eliot Spitzer to create a new Climate Change Office would put New York on the leading edge of national efforts to curb global warming, environmental advocates said.
Tucked in the governor's inaugural $120.6 billion budget is a proposal to add 12 climate experts to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Currently, there are two — one works full time and one part time.
Jeffrey Gordon, a spokesman for the state's Office of Budget, said it would cost taxpayers $776,000 to hire two economists, one climatologist and nine environmental program specialists.
If approved by the Legislature, the office would become only the second state-level climate change bureau in the nation, behind California.
The office's new employees would initially focus on implementing and expanding the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a seven-state initiative to reduce carbon-dioxide releases from power plants and other sources by 2009.
Environmental experts said the move would redefine New York as one of the nation's leaders in addressing climate change.
"Having this institutional capability could position us to become a leader again on global warming," said Dave Gahl, air and energy program director for Environmental Advocates of New York. "California has jumped ahead of us, but New York needs to step up. Now we've got a proposal."
It wouldn't be the first time New York acted to reduce the emission of heat-trapping gasses. The state pushed the greenhouse gas initiative during the Pataki administration, and adopted California's tough vehicle emission standards more than a decade ago.
But Spitzer has vowed to do more. During the campaign, he called climate change the most important environmental issue facing his generation.
"Gov. Spitzer is not twiddling his thumbs, and neither will New York on the issue of climate change, climate change policy and effective steps to deal with climate change," said Marc Violette, a spokesman for the governor.


Dear Readers:

What I am about to write may read like political heresy, but here goes anyway. I will sate first that I do believe the Earth is warming up. I also side with the scientists that say this is a natural development in the scheme of the universe, in other words WE are NOT the major cause of this. In high school science we were taught what was called the "scientific method". That first you define the phenomenon, then you form your hypothesis to explain it, finally you perform tests to prove or disprove your theory. At this point in time, Global warming theory stops at step two and instead of step three a consensus is inserted. CONSENUS is NOT science! Their supposed step three is based on computer generated equations fed to the computers by people with an agenda.

It has been said that the scientists who do not subscribe to the "selfishness of man(particularly the United States)cause of this warming are funded by private groups(read big oil) with an agenda and thus should be ignored. However those scientists who do subscribe to the "selfishness of man(particularly the United States) cause funded by Government and benefactors(like the Heinz group) of like minded people are noble and above reproach. Hogwash!!!! When Senator Jay Rockefeller sends on Senate stationary a letter threatening "big oil" executives regulation retaliation should they continue to fund a study that says man is not the primary cause, then I have to pause and think that this smacks more of a political movement then science. I also conclude this because every solution devised is one that is designed to separate us from our money(via taxes and fees and surcharges), control our lifestyles(though not theirs) and use "environmental" concerns to usurp the "takings" clause in our constitution, by not actually taking your property but by limiting your use of it without compensation(you get to pay full taxes, but not full use). If this does not smell of politics by a bunch of frustrated socialists , nothing does. It is certainly not science.

Finally, their is the hypocrisy of the pre-eminent advocates. They wish us to use mass transit, or drive cars that you have to peddle to get anywhere, yet they get to fly charter and drive suburban's or SUV'S.
Alas we are the peons and they are the ruling elite. When they start flying coach and drive hybrids then maybe I might take them more seriously. Until I start seeing actual step three of the scientific method, less political blackmail, and less hypocrisy, I will not drink the kool-ade. Until I see solutions that are not designed to solely punish the United States while leaving the rest of the industrialized nations alone, then I say it's spinach and to hell with it.

Mayor Testa Delivers 2007 State of the City AddressNotable Accomplishments of 2006:

Revitalization Efforts Have Generated Millions in New Revenue, Eight New Police Officers are Helping Reduce Crime, and Code Enforcement Efforts Have Closed 47 Illegal Rooming Houses

Things to Look Forward to in 2007: Mayor Proposes Consolidation of Fire Companies to Enhance Efficiency, Strengthen Response, and Reduce Costs; City's Website Will Enable Residents to Pay Tax and Water Bills Online by end of year
PEEKSKILL, NY -- On Tuesday, February 13, 2007, Mayor John G. Testa presented his sixth State of the City Address in the Common Council Chambers at City Hall."2006 marked the first year that my vision for revitalizing Peekskill began to pay a handsome dividend," Mayor John G. Testa addressed the chamber audience. Since he was elected to our City's highest office in 2002, Testa has sponsored a number of measures to grow the tax base by more than $3 million; one third of that growth was achieved in 2006 alone. As a result, over $2 million in additional tax revenue was generated in 2006. This dividend from redevelopment enabled the City to deliver back-to-back 0% tax increases for 2006 and 2007. Equally important, $1.5 million of that additional annual revenue goes to the Peekskill School District. "Every time we act to increase our tax base," Mayor Testa explained, "this means more money for our schools. And this is good for our children." Testa also noted that pending plans for future redevelopment in the downtown and waterfront will generate millions more in annual revenue for Peekskill's schools, provided opponents of these measures do not succeed in derailing his revitalization plan.Efforts to reduce crime have also been paying off, Mayor Testa noted. Peekskill added 8 new police officers in 2006. Two have been assigned to a 6:00pm - 2:00am shift, focusing on quality-of-life issues. They have had a pronounced effect in making our streets safer. In fact, since 2000, total crime in Peekskill has decreased by 41%, according to the New York State Department of Criminal Justice. Most dramatic has been the decrease in violent crime. From 2003 to 2005, violent crime in Peekskill has been reduced by more than 30%, while violent crime in Westchester County as a whole has seen a slight increase during that same period.But Mayor Testa and Police Chief Eugene Tumolo have not rested on their laurels. Instead, they are working to reduce crime even further. Recently, they established the Northern County Narcotics/Anti-Crime Task Force, a coalition with neighboring law enforcement agencies, which has already netted more than three major drug arrests.2006 was also the year that Peekskill became the leader in emergency preparedness in Northern Westchester, Mayor Testa proudly remarked. The City's Emergency Operations Center received significant new equipment the past year, and formulated sheltering plans with the Red Cross, should the need arise. In addition, the Tactical Response Unit received new equipment and specialized training so they are prepared for any emergency or dangerous situation that might beset the City.Another significant accomplishment in 2006 was on the front of code enforcement. The Task Force conducted over 6,000 inspections last year, and uncovered 27 illegal apartments, 47 rooming houses, and 52 illegal construction activities. Follow-up inspections generated $400,000 in fines from property owners who did not comply with the law within the specified time frame. Tough enforcement actions are beginning to have the desired deterrent effect.Among the things Peekskill has to look forward to in 2007, Mayor Testa noted that the City should officially receive 40 acres of property previously designated for development. The land will be used to create Fort Hill Park, provided opponents do not get their way. Democratic Party Common Council members are still trying to derail the Waterfront Project, which could have the effect of robbing the citizens of Peekskill of this precious new park, as well as opening up the 40 acres of natural beauty to development.2007 will also bring improvements to the Government Channel, as well as to the City's website. Before the end of the year, residents will be able to pay water and tax bills online.Finally, Mayor Testa outlined a bold plan to consolidate the Fire Department. No less than half of the current 6 fire companies will be joined into a single, centralized house. This will improve the efficiency of responses, as well as deliver a huge cost savings to Peekskill taxpayers.

For further information about the City's progress in economic development, neighborhood revitalization, downtown revitalization, waterfront redevelopment, code enforcement and quality of life initiatives, infrastructure improvements, business growth, historic preservation, and open government, read Mayor Testa's complete State of the City Address, which is available by clicking this link.

Westchester County wants to spend money to make money at Playland

By Liz AndersonThe Journal News(Original Publication: February 15, 2007)

Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano is proposing to spend $6 million to buy eight rides at the county's Playland Amusement Park in Rye that are owned by outside vendors.
Spano called the plan, just submitted to the county Board of Legislators, "the initial and crucial step in turning negative flow of tax levy dollars into revenue-generating operations at the park."
The change was recommended by a study released in July that looked at ways to improve Playland's financial picture and move closer to a day when the park pays for itself. Previous studies have made similar suggestions.
The county staffs and maintains the rides in question, but in seven of the eight cases, shares revenue with the owners. The other ride is leased outright, Parks Commissioner Joseph Stout said.
According to figures supplied by Spano, the county would earn $4.3 million from the rides over the next 15 years if the terms of the current arrangements are carried forward, but $15.6 million if the county buys them. That is an average of more than $750,000 in additional revenue for the park yearly, cutting the county's tax support by one-fifth, he said.
Stout said the figure includes the cost of the bond payments, which would total $7.8 million including interest and debt service.
The rides include Crazy Mouse, Super Flight and Kite Flyer, which are under a revenue-sharing agreement with Fitraco, a Dutch bank. Another, the Playland Plunge, is leased from that company. Four others - Catch a Wave, Double Shot, Fun Slide and Kiddyland's Jungle Jammin' - are run under a revenue-sharing agreement with the company Rides Plus, which Stout said was in the amusement park ride-leasing business.
All of the rides were added in the past five years as the county sought to change its offerings. One agreement, for Kite Flyer, just expired; the others vary, running from two to eight more summer seasons, Stout said.
The park went without a fatal accident on its rides last summer after back-to-back years of child fatalities. Stout said owning the eight attractions - which were not involved in those incidents - would not increase the county's legal exposure because it already assumes the liability for them.
Stout said the county executive would introduce two other bills in the coming weeks pegged to the findings of the consultant involved in the study. One calls for installing the technology to let park patrons buy food with the prepaid "Fun Card" system, now limited to rides. Another would be a bond to rehabilitate the property's decaying bathhouses, which might be converted into a children's museum.
Legislator Michael Kaplowitz, D-Somers, chairman of the board's budget committee, said he expected to schedule a hearing after all of the bills are in. He said he is receptive to the ride purchase because of its potential to save money.
"If the benefit beats the cost, unless there's something we're missing, it usually makes sense to do it," he said.
Board Minority Leader George Oros, R-Cortlandt, however, said he remained skeptical.
"I think at a time we're constantly hitting the taxpayers with tax increases and have so many other problems in the county, for us to spend $6 million for amusement rides just doesn't sit well with me," he said. Oros said he thought the board needed to dig further into the consultant's proposed "master plan" for the park and examine other options, such as running a scaled-back amusement area.
Another nine major rides are owned and operated by outside concessionaires. The county is weighing whether to buy those, but would need to add staff and take on other costs to run those rides, Stout said.
A 10th, a swing ride called the Dream Machine, is being discontinued, he said.


Dear Readers:

As both our County Legislators have made their views know in this article, I will leave it up to you to decide what is best. Questions about is this the best way to spend tax dollars and can government run a profitable business are a good starting point. I think you have read me enough to know where I would stand on this.
Dear Readers:

If you link to the Plan-Putnam site at the bottom of this page and archive February 2007, you will find my comments on where our rights come from (February 7 "The great Kent Manor Bait and Switch") and Rep. John Hall's speech on the house floor on the topic of Iraq and my comments on his speech(February 14).
Dear Readers:

Until I get approval from the editor of the North County News I cannot re-print an article dealing with the possible candidacy of Don Peters for Yorktown Supervisor. Without the reference point, my comments would not make sense.



BAZZO 02/17/07

Sunday, February 04, 2007



Westchester legislators divided on proposal to change handgun-licensing process

By Liz AndersonThe Journal News(Original Publication: February 4, 2007)

Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano's proposal to take judges out of the handgun license process will face its first test this week when the plan comes up for a vote before a Westchester Board of Legislators committee.
The Committee on Legislation, which meets tomorrow afternoon, will consider including the bill in the county's "joint legislative package," an annual set of state priorities set by both Spano and county legislators. The final package - with or without the gun bill - is headed for a board vote Feb. 12.
The committee appears deeply divided about the measure, which calls for county police to take control of the entire pistol-licensing process, from background checks on applicants to a final ruling on the paperwork. Right now, an application starts with the county clerk, goes to police for a background investigation and then to a county judge for a decision.
Handgun owners would also have to reapply for permits every five years; current law calls on them to "recertify" their status.
Recent articles in The Journal News detailed problems the county and state have had tracking permit holders over time, including 13,000 who have failed to file the Westchester recertification paperwork six years after the law took effect.
Deputy County Executive Larry Schwartz argues the change would end the "aspects of cronyism and favoritism" that he alleges have riddled the existing system.
Schwartz argued the bill's merits to key Democrats at a Thursday caucus, noting it has the support of the district attorney, county clerk and police commissioner.
"This is not to take guns away from responsible, law-abiding citizens," he said. "This is about creating consistency in the decision-making process of who should be able to carry a concealed weapon in Westchester County, and that (decision) should be made by experienced, professional police officers."
Most of the committee members agree that the current permit process has not always worked well, and that the rules may need some amendments or clarification. But three of nine members flat-out oppose Spano's overhaul.
"I will not support any action that will diminish or exclude the involvement of the judiciary," said Clinton Young, D-Mount Vernon.
"I think the process they have in place is the best one, considering the other option is to place it under one person who would be tantamount to a czar," said Gordon Burrows, R-Yonkers.
And Minority Leader George Oros, R-Cortlandt, called it "a solution looking for a problem."
"I do question whether it's just wanting control or some sort of power here," he said.
Legislator James Maisano, R-New Rochelle, said he was open-minded. Maisano said he wanted to hear more about what kind of appeals process would be available, and more from the leaders of gun-rights organizations. But Maisano said that he had traditionally favored "the checks and balances between the county police doing the screening and having a judge look at the application."
Legislator Lois Bronz, D-Greenburgh, said she was "very cautious" about "taking the judicial system out of it entirely."
"We've all been told there were instances where the current system is not working well," she said before the meeting with Schwartz.
"If that can be verified, then perhaps we need to take another look at it. We need to be assured that this is the proper approach." Bronz could not be reached after the meeting with Schwartz.
Tom Abinanti, D-Greenburgh, and committee Chairman Vito Pinto, D-Tuckahoe, also expressed concerns.
Abinanti said the complexities of the permit process are "too big an issue to resolve in such a short period of time." While the county executive has identified problems with the process, "I suggest that sometimes when surgery is required, there are occasions where a scalpel, not a meat ax, is a more appropriate tool," he said.
Pinto said at midweek that he had not been convinced that legislators should shift the power equation.
"I was an officer in the Navy, and when I had to do the court-martial where I was the judge and jury, I didn't like that," he said.
After meeting with Schwartz, Pinto said some of his reservations had been allayed. But, he said, "I"m still toying with the idea of fixing the system as it stands without taking it out of the county clerk's and judges hands."
The strongest "yes" vote appears to be from Judy Myers, D-Mamaroneck, who said Friday, "The more I hear and the more I talk to public safety people, the more I'm being convinced it's in the best interest of public safety.
"For any law-abiding citizen with a gun permit who needs one, nothing will really change. But in terms of public safety, I think this tightens things up a bit and also makes it much more efficient, to keep the entire process with public safety, and then to take a look back every five years and make sure whoever has a gun permit really has a need for what they have, because needs do change."
Board Majority Leader Martin Rogowsky, D-Harrison, who was wary earlier, said he has "a much more open mind" after hearing Schwartz's arguments.
There is also a possible 10th vote, from Board Chairman William Ryan, D-White Plains, who can sit on any committee. Ryan said he supports Spano's bill and might join the committee if his vote is needed.


More weirdness from Spano and company

It appears that County Executive Andrew Spano and his Democratic liberal minions have come up with another hare-brained scheme to harass the public and create a larger bureaucracy. Closing Indian Point, publishing photos of deadbeat dads and spending millions of dollars to purchase Davids Island in New Rochelle are some of their weird projects.
Now they intend to replace elected judges and the county clerk from the pistol license process and invest all power in the non-elected commissioner of public safety. Applications will be in the exorbitant and prohibitive range of $300 to $400, and licensees will have to completely reapply every five years! Clearly Spano and his anti-gun lobby intend to emulate the New York City system where only the elite and gangsters can possess weapons. Why these liberals desire to harass probably the most law-abiding and responsible citizens in the county - those who register their guns - is not a mystery. Spano and his crew intend to make legal possession so onerous and expensive as to discourage the legitimate and constitutional rights of our citizens to possess firearms.

Arthur Praete
New Rochelle

Dear Readers:

Peekskill has a new political talk show on channel 15 every Tuesday night at 8P.M.
It is called ON POINT ON PEEKSKILL and is hosted by Peekskill Democrat Chiarman DARREN RIGGER.
He promises an issue oriented show and NO mud slinging. As this IS an election year for your local Peekskill offices, I would insist you watch this show. You can never have too much information and as you know I believe ALL sides should be heard.
************************************************************************************ THIS WAS A JOURNAL NEWS EDITORIAL

A stub public official rejects a government brush off over nukes
(Original Publication: February 5, 2007)

Have to hand it to Andrew Spano, the Westchester County executive. A lot of public officials talk tough about the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Indian Point nuclear plants and make noise about mothballing the edifices along the Hudson; Spano actually sends his whipping-boy lawyers to the courthouse.
Spanos' lawyers last week filed a petition with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals asking the panel to consider whether the always cozy NRC, in effect, has been drinking the coolant at the plants in Buchanan. Spano complains that the federal regulators have violated the Atomic Energy Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and abused their discretion in turning down to the county's request that the government make it harder for Indian Point to extend its operating permits for an additional 20 years. His contention: If starting from scratch, no government in its right mind would site a nuclear power plant in such an ultra-congested, terrorist-favored region.
In December, the NRC determined that the extra scrutiny sought by the county - pleas to factor in the area's population density, the potential risk of terrorism and the certain failure of evacuation plans - was unwarranted. "It was summarily rejected, basically because they said they changed the criteria in 2000, and nothing has happened since that would cause them to revisit the issue," said Spano. "Did they forget Sept. 11th ever happened?"
Not at all, NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan told staff writer Greg Clary: "We consider emergency planning and security to be issues of paramount importance, and that's why we think it makes more sense to address them on a continuous basis rather than during the snapshot period of time when a company is seeking a license extension. The NRC has aggressively sought improvements in those areas, especially since 9/11, and will continue to do so."
We don't know enough about the federal statutes referenced by Spano to conclude whether he is on to something; however, it should be plain to anyone who has been stuck in the traffic jam of the hour in this hopelessly congested region - or lived through 9/11 - that it makes sense to put all issues on the table when considering the future of Indian Point. A comprehensive review - something more than a paper-shuffling, summary denial - would go a long way toward airing Spano's and the public's honestly held concerns about the plants and our future in the Lower Hudson Valley. We hope, with or without the court's help, that such public discussion ensues.


Dear Readers:

I am sure that Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano and his supporters surely would have been on the side of the flat-earth people in the time of Columbus. Trying to shut down Indian Point with lawsuits born out of fear, shortsightedness and political pandering is truly reckless. Do we shut down all electrical grids because in times of blackouts traffic is a nightmare?. In times of inclement weather traffic is also a nightmare. We did not shut down all air travel out of Westchester County Airport forever because of 9/11, after all it was airplanes that were used in those attacks? Should we shut down Metro-north and the subways, close all the bridges, evacuate all the sky scrappers on Wall Street because they are all prime targets? Of course not, there is nothing to gain politically, nor are there reasonable alternatives to travel and work space should we. However Indian Point is the perfect storm for pandering. It encompasses both 9/11 fears and flat-earth ignorance to fool a gullible populace into thinking that by shutting down Indian Point, there safety will be assured. Never mind the spent fuel rods that will still be there for at least 25 years. Never mind that the site will be guarded by minimum wage rent-a-cops instead of the police and National Guard that now protect the site. What about the increased rates we will pay for electricity? What are the alternatives for that lost power supply? Certainly not wind mills, you can't even build a cell tower without years of obstructionism. Two people died over the weekend upstate because the tree-huggers would not allow those towers to be built. Yep, they saved a tree, hooray, but we lost two people, who cares? Certainly not natural gas, Spano and his shortsighted minions already stopped that pipeline from coming into Westchester. Certainly not new power lines. The Plan-Putnam site already posts a story of how the electrical companies are suing the state because the legislators passed a law limiting their use of eminent domain so the aquisition of the needed property will be impossible. So after cutting off all alternative energy sources, we are left with higher energy bills, and not one minute of extra safety(remember those spent rods). Who is to make up the lost property and school taxes paid? You know the answer as well as I, we will in OUR property and school taxes. The shutting down of Indian Point works well and good in a vacume. How ever we don't live in a vacume, and that is where the shutting down falls apart. Every day life is wrought with danger. Every time you get into a car, a train, an airplane, you put yourself in danger. Yet, you don't stop traveling. Every time you eat out or buy food you put yourself in danger. Yet, you don't stop eating. No, you learn to live with that danger as there are no good alternatives. The same goes with Indian Point, without any good alternatives, you live with the danger.
George Oros
Legislator, 1st District


February 6, 2007 Contact: George Oros
Tel: (914) 995-2828

Wanted: Open, honest and ethical government
Minority Conference calls for reform of county’s Board of Acquisition & Contract

In its continued quest to reform county government, the Republican Conference of the Board of Legislators is looking to change the way the county’s Board of Acquisition & Contract operates.

Minority Leader George Oros (R-C/Cortlandt) said for too long the three-member panel, which consists of the county executive, Public Works commissioner and Board of Legislators chairman, has acted outside its scope and function by circumventing public input and oversight from the Legislature as a whole.

“One of the things that was clear from the results of the last election in November is people are looking for more open, honest and ethical government,” Oros said. “We need to implement stronger checks and balances within the county that will protect our individuals, taxpayers, property owners and municipalities from the dominance and unbridled power that corrupts governments.”

Under the current system, the Minority Conference maintained hundreds of millions of dollars of lengthy contracts are approved without any debate, discussion or a vote of the Board of Legislators. In an attempt to curtail that, the Minority Conference is proposing any contracts or leases of five years or more, including renewals, must be approved by the full Legislature.

In addition, the Minority Conference is recommending the Public Works commissioner be replaced on the Board of Acquisition & Contract by the budget director; each meeting be electronically recorded; and no emergency contract can exceed three years.

If the proposed law is adopted by the Board of Legislators, it would be subject to a public referendum. The Minority Conference is calling for approval by the Legislature no later than the summer to get on the ballot this November.

MESSAGE TWO: News from Senator Vincent Leibell


Contact: Mr. George Oros (914) 995-2828

Senator Vincent Leibell (40th District) announces the appointment of Westchester County Legislator George Oros to the New York State Procurement Council. He will replace Mr. Joseph Girven who passed away in September of 2006.

The Council develops recommendations to improve state procurement practices, as well as guidelines to govern state agency procurement. Its membership consists of the State Comptroller, the Director of the Budget, the Commissioners of Economic Development and General Services, seven heads of state agencies appointed by the Governor, and eight at large members and two non voting members appointed by legislative leaders.

"I thank Senator Leibell for the opportunity to participate on this Council, and I look forward to working with the members," said George Oros.

Senator Leibell remarked, "I was pleased to support the appointment of George Oros to this important State Council. It is a job that requires great public service and integrity, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the operations and challenges of government."

Most lawmakers in area say DiNapoli was best choice for comptroller

By Glenn BlainThe Journal News(Original Publication: February 9, 2007)

State lawmakers from the region yesterday defended their votes making Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli the state's new comptroller, arguing that New York's constitution gave them - not Gov. Eliot Spitzer - the power to make such decisions.
Rejecting the criticism of Spitzer and others, local lawmakers who backed DiNapoli's election said he was clearly the best candidate to fill the vacant post and it was wrong for the governor to try to control the process.
"This was something the governor wanted," said Assemblyman Michael Spano, R-Yonkers. "He didn't get it, but it wasn't his pick. ... I very calmly made a decision based on the information presented to me. The people I have to answer to are the people of the 93rd (Assembly District) and I feel very comfortable with my decision."
Spano and other members of the region's delegation who supported DiNapoli said that once former Comptroller Alan Hevesi resigned, the power to replace him clearly rested with the Legislature.
They also downplayed the agreement that was reached between the governor and legislative leaders to abide by the recommendations of a special, three-member screening panel in selecting a new comptroller. Lawmakers ultimately ignored the panel's recommendations and selected DiNapoli.
"An agreement is only as good as the candidates they produce," said Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale. "I have an agreement with the people I represent to choose the best person for the job and that person was Tom DiNapoli."
Assemblyman James Gary Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon, agreed and described the screening panel as "three bumps on a log."
Pretlow, Paulin and Spano were among eight state lawmakers representing Westchester and Putnam counties to back DiNapoli, a Long Island Democrat. Of the area's Assembly delegation, only Greg Ball, R-Carmel, opposed DiNapoli's election.
In the GOP-controlled state Senate, most Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Vincent Leibell of Patterson, backed DiNapoli. The three Democratic senators who represent portions of Westchester all backed Martha Stark, a candidate recommended by the screening panel.
Some local lawmakers, including Pretlow and Spano, said their first choice for comptroller was Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, D-Greenburgh. Brodsky, though, withdrew his name from consideration before the final vote was taken.
Brodsky did not immediately respond to requests for comment yesterday.
Overall, lawmakers voted 150-56 to elect DiNapoli. The move infuriated Spitzer, who said lawmakers showed a "stunning lack of integrity" in not abiding by their agreement to follow the screening panel's recommendations.
Spitzer's position was supported yesterday by lawmakers who backed Stark's nomination.
"I think (Spitzer) feels sort of the same as I," said Assemblyman Jeff Klein, D-Bronx. "You don't understand why, if there was a process that was agreed upon, why you choose to circumvent that process. ... This is kind of the old way we did business."
Despite Spitzer's harsh words, Klein and other lawmakers from both sides of the issue expressed hope that the two branches of state government could repair the breach in their relationship.
"When you have a breach, you have a breach," said state Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer, D-Mamaroneck. "It stops you from doing things temporarily but not in the long rung. Because in the long run, you have to work together."


Dear Readers:

Let me open by first stating that this diatribe does not include Rep. Gregg Ball, for he is turning out to be that RARE politician that is actually doing what he campaigned on regardless of the consequences within the ranks of the assembly. He is actually putting people above politics. The people that elected him should be proud of their vote.

On Wednesday February 7, 2007 The state legislators gave the people of New York the finger. There leadership AGREED to abide by the nominations of an AGREED upon non-partisan panel for the position of State Comptroller. Rep. Di Napoli was not on that list of finalist, nor was any other member of the Assembly.
Shockingly this panel thought that experience in managing money funds was important. You would think so too. The legislators' thought differently, they thought that being a member of the Assembly(a crony) was important. In fact they thought so little of the importance of the ability to manage money funds they elected a man(Di Napoli) who has no, nada, zilch experience in managing money to the point that Di Napoli has never invested in the stock market, nor has ever done his own personal tax returns, to manage our State Portfolio. They then, after giving us the finger, Stand up and defend this vote and tell us to enjoy the finger. This IS why our State government rots, they and their leadership have no honor except unto themselves and the people be damned!!!!!

This action taken on Wednesday though was not surprising. Their contempt for the people did not come as a shock. They noted that the people of New York voted to the tune of fifty-nine percent to re-elect a known crook(now convicted felon) as their comptroller. The people of New York felt overwhelmingly that a crooked Democrat was more competent to manage their money then an honest(as there was no evidence he was not) Republican. It was more abhorrent to cross party lines then doing your duty at the voting booth and fire the crook. Those in Albany saw this and instead of rewarding you for your loyalty to party, all they saw was a constituency deserving of contempt, and they now insist you like it!! You truly as voters, have gotten the government you deserve. Maybe one day you the voter will wake up and realize that party loyalty takes a back seat to doing what is right. That character and integrity MEAN something. That it is up to us when we vote to choose a government that one can be proud of instead of one that is the most dysfunctional among the fifty states.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007 New York's bottle law merits expansion

Gov. Eliot Spitzer was elected with a strong voter mandate to bring about sweeping changes to Albany. But, in some ways, progress can be found one nickel at a time. In his recently released budget, Spitzer called for an expansion of the “bottle bill,” the highly successful initiative that requires 5-cent deposits on beer and soda containers, mainly to encourage recycling efforts. The bottle law has worked. The overwhelming majority of bottles are recycled, either by the people directly using the products or by the countless organizations and civic groups that take part in cleanups along New York’s roadsides and shorelines. In fact, more than 5 million tons of materials have been recycled, with consumers returning more than 90 billion beverage containers during the 25 years the law has been in existence.Nevertheless, the state is working with an outdated model. That’s because other forms of drinks — particularly bottled water, iced teas and high-energy beverages— have become more popular over time, but there are no deposits on these bottles. That means they end up in landfills, not recycling bins. These beverages now make up about 25 percent of the industry.The governor wants to expand the program to include these beverages and make other changes to raise state revenues. As is, grocers get a handling fee of 2 cents per container; bottling companies retain the unclaimed deposits on beer and soda and wine coolers. Under the proposal, retailers and redemption centers would keep 3.5 cents to help defray the costs of running recycling programs, but unclaimed nickel deposits would go to New York, which is how a number of states handle this issue. The money would go to help increase the Environmental Protection Fund which, in part, enables the state to save valuable farmland from development.The beverage industry, a powerful lobbying force in Albany, is against the changes, believing, unreasonably, it is entitled to the financial windfall from the unclaimed deposits, and state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno continues to oppose the idea as well. Spitzer, state Assembly leaders, environmental groups and the public at large should put the pressure on Bruno to make this important concession. The environmental benefits are worth it. The bottle law should be expanded.


The premise of this bill is that government or some group that purports to represent our social conscience can dictate how much profit is acceptable. This is hubris if not outright arrogance. The state government imposed this deposit and the mandatory collection of recyclables on private business. That the consumer for whatever reason did not bring back that container to reclaim their nickel does not mean the profits belong to the government. Here is a news flash PROFIT IS NOT A CRIME. In fact that is why people create businesses. They were not created for social engineering. This bill is a hidden tax on the consumer while also granting the government the power to confiscate, YES, I said CONFISCATE the profits.

There is a right to keep your profits from being confiscated by the government. We are a capitalist economy, not a Robin Hood economy. As I have stated before, the government imposed this tax (deposit) on the manufacturers of carbonated beverages and left it up to those manufactures to devise a means of collection. So those manufacturers invested in research how to make it easier for the consumer to reclaim those nickels with as little hardship as possible, and they did. Then they had to create those collection machines and update them as the problems in actual use occurred. Then they had to deliver them to as many locations as possible and hire people(that means more payroll taxes) to maintain them. ALL this cost money not given by the government to cover this process. This is called an unfunded mandate. In business this is called the cost of doing business, and as always that cost is born by the consumer. The money left over(uncollected deposits) is called in business a profit, which taxes are paid on. Now in groups of social conscience's zeal to save the planet, they believe the government has the right to confiscate those after tax profits. I, as a capitalist and believing in the system that rewards success, not punish it believe it is wrong for government of any other group of social conscience have the right to determine how much profit is acceptable. That is why on principal I oppose this bill.

BAZZO 02/09/07