Saturday, May 05, 2007


THIS JUST IN!!!!!!!!:

Dear Readers:

I am pleased to announce that I will NOW be a bona-fide regular contributor to the North County News.
I will be writing an EXCLUSIVE to the NCN opinion piece on the local political scene. This opinion piece will NOT appear in my blog first as past pieces have been. My first piece will be in next weeks issue. I wish to thank Publisher-in-chief and Editor Bruce Apar for believing I can add something to the debate.

Real killer sentenced in Peekskill wrongful-imprisonment case

(Original publication: May 2, 2007)

WHITE PLAINS - Two-time murderer Steven Cunningham got an extra 20 years added to his prison term this afternoon for killing a Peekskill teenager in 1989, a crime for which her high school classmate, Jeffrey Deskovic, was wrongly imprisoned for more than 15 years.
Cunningham offered no words to the victim's mother or to Deskovic as they watched him get sentenced for the slaying of 15-year-old Angela Correa, who was raped and strangled Nov. 15, 1989, in the woods behind Hillcrest Elementary School. He never even looked at them and stared straight ahead as prosecutor Patricia Murphy read a victim impact statement from Correa's mother and sister.
"Because of his own inadequacy and failure at life, a man who amounts to nothing took the life of a daughter who meant everything to me," the mother, Angela Vasquez, wrote in the statement.
In the corridor afterwards, Deskovic and Vasquez shared a long embrace, the first time they had spoken since the days after the killing, when Deskovic visited her home to offer his condolences. Outside the Westchester County Courthouse, Deskovic said he was thankful for the empathy she showed him. He said he could not waste time feeling anger towards Cunningham because it would detract from his effort to educate the public about wrongful convictions and the danger of capital punishment.
Cunningham was linked to the crime in September - and Deskovic exonerated - when new testing matched the convict's DNA to semen found on Correa's body. Deskovic was sent to prison for 15 years to life in 1991 after a jury convicted him of second-degree murder on the basis of a false confession he gave Peekskill detectives.
Murphy called the killing a "horrific crime", a tragedy compounded by the conviction of the wrong man. "Fortunately, although very belatedly, science...placed the blame where it always belonged," she said.
Cunningham, 47, never intended to go to trial in Correa's killing and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in March.
He is already serving 20 years to life for the 1993 slaying of his girlfriend's sister, Patricia Morrison, at her Peekskill home. The sentence imposed today by Westchester County Judge Susan Cacace will not start until 2013, when he would have become eligible for parole in Morrison's killing.


Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 8:24 am Post subject: Deskovic

Look closely at the story about Cunningham, the real killer of the Peekskill girl, getting sentenced yesterday. Walking alongside, now free Jeffrey Deskovic, in support of him is - Leesther Brown. Walking quietly, with dignity in support of a young man she has befriended and helped. Where were all the Peekskill loudmouths? Has any one of them stepped forward as Ms. Brown has to help Mr. Deskovic? Are any of them giving Mr. Deskovic any help in pulling a life that was very sadly detoured back together? Of course not - they are only good to complain. Good for you Ms. Brown- you keep on doing the right thing - you may not get your reward in Peekskill but there is a star up above with your name on it.


Dear Readers:

I have up to this point refrained from the back and forth vitriol regarding the Peekskill Housing Authority other than a post that wished to educate you on "predatory politics" . The reason that I have posted the above, is because it gives me a chance to show a side of the argument you have not gotten from the main stream media. I am sorry I cannot re-print the picture mentioned, but it was with the original article.

I you have been following the " Housing Authority" saga, you would be lead to believe that Leester Brown was some sort of wild woman. Loose cannon, maybe? Being a loose cannon myself, I think you need one once and a while, instead of people who act like robots who make namby-pamby responses, instead of talking point-blank. FYI: even in the Fox News hit piece, the person being berated by Leester was not a resident of Bolhmann Towers nor a resident of Peekskill.

The question asked in the blog post deserves an answer. All those who wish to bemoan the plight of people who are victims of injustice, where the hell are you now? Where is your helping hand for Deskovic? I am sorry, good intentions do not replace actions. It seems the only one that actually walks the walk is the much maligned Leester Brown. This IS the Leester Brown that the Mayor sees and why she is on the board. The others talk, she walks. It is past time the main stream media pointed this out. Then again if they did, you would not need me.


2 Nelson Avenue
Peekskill, New York 10566

Tel: (914) 737-8000
Fax: (914) 737-1446
E-mail: ejohansen@peekskillpolice.comCity of Peekskill
Police Department

Detective Sergeant Eric Johansen
Investigative Division Commander

May 4, 2007

Two drug raids this morning at the Bohlman Towers Housing project in the City of Peekskill have lead to the arrest of three Peekskill residents who are being charged with various narcotics related offenses. Narcotics Investigators from the City of Peekskill and Village of Ossining Police Departments obtained search warrants for the two apartments after an investigation which lasted several months. The raids were carried out using Tactical Teams from both the City of Peekskill and Village of Ossining.

At approximately 9:00AM this morning, investigators and Tactical Teams raided apartments 7U and 8F in Bohlman Towers. Inside each apartment, officers located various items of evidence showing the respective residences were being utilized for the possession and sale of illegal narcotics. This confirmed the numerous complaints police had received from others living building.

Terrence Scott (30yoa), and Celestine Marsh (40yoa) of Apt 7U are both charged with Criminal Nuisance 1st (E/F), and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 7th (A/M) after a small quantity of crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia was located in their apartment.

Jerome Sullen (43yoa) of Apt 8F is being charged with Criminal Nuisance 1st (E/F), Tampering with Physical Evidence (E/F), and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 7th , after officers found both powder and crack cocaine in his apartment. The tampering charge was filed after Sullen flushed a quantity of crack cocaine down a toilet as officers entered his apartment.

The case was investigated by Sgt. Anthony Taccariello, and Detectives Anthony Malfitano and Todd Gallaher of the Peekskill Police Department; and Sgt. Rich Damiano and Officer Aaron Zimmerman of the Village of Ossining PD. The two agencies working together over the past several months has resulted in over 50 arrests for narcotics related offenses in their respective jurisdictions.

Chief Eugene Tumolo commended the narcotics investigators and tactical team members from both agencies and stated this case is part of a much larger and ongoing effort to rid the Peekskill and Ossining communities of drugs, particularly in Public Housing.

All three defendants are being held pending their arraignments later this afternoon in Peekskill City Court.


Dear Readers:

You will not find this in the papers. What you should also know, is that the above named Jerome Sullen is the same Jerome Reid that came to the podium at a recent council meeting to blast the Mayor and Leester Brown. This IS the other side of the story I keep telling you is not being printed in the main stream media. When the full story at the Housing Authority comes out, you will see the pure predatory politics of the issue at the expense of the safety of the residents.

To the editor:

Thank you for pointing out that I am ahead of Bob Tendy in a campaign focusing on the issues. I think it would be a great service to our community if you would write more about the issues and less about perceptions of behavior. When I ran for Supervisor, it was an issues oriented campaign. If I choose to run again, this campaign will be as well. After all, it is the issues which really affect the lives of our residents. I would be glad to sit down and discuss these with you at any time. The voters deserve a serious discussion.Sadly, to date, you have largely ignored the all important issue of school funding, including my recent testimony in Albany before the Property Tax committee of the Assembly. I believe nobody should ever lose their home or be forced to move because of run-away school taxes, and I have proposed a way to deal with that. You have also failed to cover my concerns about the effects on the community of development and specific proposals, such as the Emerald Ridge subdivision. My continuing efforts to develop a Comprehensive Plan, re-examining zoning laws, and other matters of real importance have also been overlooked. I urge you, for the sake of the voters, to start focusing on these matters, rather than on the sensational peripheral issues of little true substance or effect.

Sam Davis
Putnam Valley Supervisor

YORKTOWN: Panio ponders top spot
Two GOP supervisor hopefuls bow out
By Adriane Tillman

Yorktown Councilman Nick Bianco, often mentioned as a strong contender, confirmed he willnot run this year for Supervisor.
Yorktown Republicans haven’t declared who they will nominate to succeed Supervisor Linda Cooper but two potential candidates are out of the running.Councilman Nick Bianco, a conservative, and Yorktown Board of Education Trustee Anthony D’Alessandro opted out after initial considerations, stating family and business commitments, respectively, as their reasons. The town Republican Committee continues to interview candidates, with four vying for supervisor and 10 for the two council seats. The eventual nominee will face Democrat Don Peters who was tabbed by his party in March. Peters narrowly lost an election to Cooper in 2005.Cooper, a six-term incumbent, decided to bow out in February after leading Yorktown for the past 12 years. Seats are also up for Councilman Jim Martorano, a four-term Democrat, and Bianco. Republican Chairwoman RoseMarie Panio said she is also considering taking a shot at supervisor herself. “I’m thinking about it. I still have a few things to iron out,” she said. Panio said the interview process for supervisor is rigorous and the committee is looking for a candidate who best demonstrates the necessary qualifications, including volunteer experience and knowledge navigating Town Hall.“We’re very concerned about that,” she said. “You don’t have two or three years to do on-job learning.” The Republican nominating committee will choose its slate on May 23.
No-goBianco resolved not to run for supervisor because he felt commitments to his family could interfere with the supervisor’s duties. The councilman said he travels to Germany three to five times each year to visit his daughter and grandchildren. A popular councilman for 12 years, the Republican Party asked Bianco months ago to consider running. Two years ago, Bianco had also toyed with the idea of running for supervisor but quickly scuttled the idea from lack of funds. “I think he could have made a good supervisor,” Panio said.D’Alessandro said the Republican Party didn’t even call him for an interview, but had decided against it anyway since he recently started a business and couldn’t dedicate the time needed to perform the functions of supervisor.


Dear Readers:

I must have a political death wish to go anywhere near this article. I think though it is necessary for me to take this on as a way of pointing out how a political party can go from a 3-2 majority to a 4-1 minority. It also points out what I have been trying to make The Yorktown Republican party see, how they have lost their base support.

The emphasis on process ie.: volunteerism and navigating town hall over substance ie.: giving the voters an actual reason to vote for you. The slogan "vote for me, I coached softball and sat on the make the town beautiful board" is not going to do it. I don't think in my life time, that any prospective Supervisor did not do some on the job learning. If true that this emphasis on process is paramount, then rest assured all you Yorktown Democrats, a sweeping victory this November will be yours.

Am I the only one who recognizes the need for an actual platform of ideas complete with solutions should be the primary qualification for a candidate? Are the party leaders so immersed as to think minutia is a primary qualification? How in heaven do the party leaders think the can revive and retrieve their base on minutia? I know as an outsider I will be ignored, again. It is my hope that someone on the inside will speak up. This is ONE debate I hope to influence.

Peekskill homeless shelter hopes city approves new location

(Original publication: May 6, 2007)

PEEKSKILL - The Jan Peek House homeless shelter has been in an industrial area of the Peekskill waterfront for 19 years, but as the city has planned a major redevelopment of its waterfront, the shelter and the surrounding businesses have been left searching for a place to move.
The shelter is in the unusual position of having a landlord so committed to keeping it alive that he bought another building on Corporate Drive, which he hopes to renovate as a new home for the shelter. But the new location, which must get approval from the Common Council through a zoning amendment, is raising concerns among residents of nearby Highland Park that the shelter would bring the problems of its residents to their neighborhood.
Philip Miller, Jan Peek's landlord, said the shelter has always gotten along well with its neighbors and been very little problem for the city.
"I truly like them," he said. "It's been a very symbiotic relationship for a number of years."
But Highland Park residents, such as Barbara Gazzigli, who has lived there since 1968, are worried about violent criminals or drug addicts who might use the shelter and walk through their neighborhood.
"You don't know who is going to be there," she said.
Gazzigli is also upset at the idea that Peekskill is a dumping ground for things such as methadone clinics and parole offices, and wonders if the shelter can be put in another community. The new location is next to a county sewage treatment plant and next to a storage building owned by Miller. Highland Park is about a quarter-mile away on the east side of Highland Avenue.
Miller said he thinks many city officials would rather see the shelter moved to another municipality. Ellen Buccellato, chairwoman of the board of Caring for the Homeless of Peekskill, which runs the shelter, said she is also skeptical the new location would get the support of the council's Republican majority.
Mayor John Testa, a Republican, said he told the shelter board to continue to look for other locations around northern Westchester while the city considers the zoning change.
"There is a lengthy and very public process ahead for Mr. Miller to have his location re-zoned to allow a shelter there," Testa said in an e-mail last week. "They would be safe to look at other locations and give themselves other options just in case the proposed location doesn't work out."
Jan Peek House is northern Westchester's only permanent homeless shelter, but Buccellato said it serves many people from Peekskill. She said that she understands the concerns that it could house sex offenders or other criminals, but that the shelter residents are busy getting their lives together by attending programs and looking for work and housing. The shelter houses 19 residents, and people from a White Plains drop-in shelter are sometimes bused in at night and bused back in the morning. It has a 10 p.m. curfew and allows no drinking or drug use.
Peekskill police Detective Sgt. Eric Johansen said the shelter isn't considered a police problem.
The shelter also has its supporters. The Peekskill Area Pastors Association, which includes 90 houses of worship in Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson and Peekskill, has been encouraging the city to help the shelter relocate in the area.
"It's like a home more than a shelter," said the Rev. Douglas Leonard of the Reformed Church of Cortlandtown, president of PAPA. "It's a place where people are really cared about."
Robert R., 46, who has lived at Jan Peek for about eight months, said his drinking made him homeless. He said he didn't want to give his full name because he is an alcoholic in recovery. He came to Jan Peek after being kicked out of the Montrose Veterans Affairs hospital alcohol rehab program and said that, without the shelter, people will end up sleeping in the cold. Robert said he expects to be gone by Christmas.
"One of the main things they have taught me is how to live on my own," he said.


Dear Readers:

This is one of those issues ripe for predatory politics. To remind you, predatory politics is when a group of people or a political party uses an issue to inflame the voting populace. Right, wrong, truth, be damned, the only thing is the advancement of a particular agenda. You will see dissenting speech attempted to be silenced by terms such as racist, bigots, anti-poor, and heartless. It is imperative that all sides on this refrain from this type of rhetoric. It is also imperative that you the reader and voter, should cast a wary eye on any group who stoops to this level of discourse, as the attempted silencing of debate should be viewed as abhorrent. This is an issue that CAN, SHOULD, and MUST be discussed solely on the merits. The lives of real people, those trying to get their lives back together and those who have genuine concerns about safety are at stake.

There are two salient points in this article that will be used as political tools instead of being treated as talking points worthy of discussion. One is the police saying that they do not consider the shelter a problem. This is a good thing on its face, and should elevate SOME concerns to the local residents, however it does NOT mean that there have been NO problems. Do not let others confuse the two. The issue of safety should be fully vented. The second is the Mayor's advise that the Shelter have other options. Already in the article you see the seeds being planted of a Republican conspiracy should the shelter not get the zoning variances needed. By the way, that was a sneaky way of the writer to editorialize in the article. In that line was the writers bias made clear. This is the type of politicizing of the issue I am warning you about. So as the issue moves forward, be careful of those trying to exploit it instead of explore it.

Dear Readers:

I will not comment till I see how this pans out.

Westchester GOP aims to increase seats on county board
(Original publication: May 6, 2007)
Republicans, already the minority party on the 17-member Westchester County Board of Legislators, are looking a little anxious about this year's races.
GOP members of the board recently stood together on the steps of the county building to endorse Legislator Suzanne Swanson, the sixth member of the board's minority caucus.
Their show of unity was meant to boost the prospects of Swanson, C-Mount Pleasant, as she faces a possible challenge on the GOP side of the aisle from Rob Astorino, a Republican who held the seat for one term when Swanson took what she calls a "sabbatical" from 2004 to 2005. Democrats say they also have a candidate for the race.
Meanwhile, longtime Legislator Ursula LaMotte, a Bedford Republican, has announced she will not seek re-election, raising Democrats' hopes of picking up a seat there or elsewhere. LaMotte has served on the board since 1995.
A one-seat shift to the Democrats could have an effect on the board's operations, because it would hand them the 12-vote "supermajority" needed to pass bond acts, land sales, or override a veto by the county executive. In reality, the Republican caucus does not always vote as a bloc, and a maverick Democrat may buck party unity sometimes.
Nevertheless, County Republican Chairwoman RoseMarie Panio said retaining at least six seats on the board is "imperative." Board Minority Leader George Oros, R-Cortlandt, said the loss of a seat "absolutely leaves no leverage for the minority at all to do anything."
"If we had to, if things got really bad today, we might be able to get our six to stand together and hold up a few bond acts until something we want to get done gets done," he said. Oros also said without some balance of power, "you start to work a little less hard, you start to not build consensus because (you've) got the votes."
Board Majority Leader Martin Rogowsky, D-Harrison, doesn't see that downside.
"We like to think, in the majority, that all of the issues and all of the bond acts we put forward we have debated out," he said. "We're always open to good input from the Republicans if they choose to give it."
Whether there will be a Swanson-Astorino matchup remains to be seen in District 3, which includes North Castle, Pleasantville, and parts of Briarcliff Manor, Greenburgh, Mount Pleasant and Harrison. Astorino, a radio programming director from Mount Pleasant, said last week he was "not sure" if he would jump in, but would make a decision by the time his hometown Republican committee meets to make its endorsement tomorrow.
"Whatever I'm going to do I'll do regardless of what other candidates want to do," he said.
Asked if he was setting himself up for a repeat of his 2005 run for county executive, Astorino said:
"First things first. Do I have an interest? Yes. Will I? Not sure yet."
Swanson said she hoped "to solidify the Republican Party behind me," noting she had the party's backing in all but her first race. Swanson also is her caucus' only committee head. John Nonna, a former Pleasantville mayor who ran against Astorino in 2003, is reportedly considering a Democratic bid.
In District 2, in northeastern Westchester, Pete Harckham, a Bedford Democrat, was expected to make his official campaign announcement today for the seat now held by LaMotte. Harckham, a 46-year-old media consultant, said issues he wants to concentrate on include protecting the district's fragile aquifers from failing septic systems and getting county money to create local ball fields.
Republicans are expected to nominate Wendy Gerber Friedman, a 49-year-old free-lance journalist who lives in Lewisboro. She said she's seeking the Republican nomination because of rising county property taxes and because of the county government's "failure" to protect the environment."
Panio predicted Republicans are "going to be competitive in a lot of races." One they've mounted an early effort in is in District 4, where Yorktown chiropractor and restaurant owner Terrence Murphy declared his run against incumbent Michael Kaplowitz, D-Somers, more than a month ago. Panio said an Iraq war veteran, Shawn Tabankin, planned to challenge Rogowsky in the Port Chester, Harrison and Rye-area District 6.
One Democrat on the county board is not seeking re-election: Board Vice Chairman Clinton Young is running for mayor of Mount Vernon. County Democratic Party Chairman Reginald LaFayette said Serapher Conn-Halevin, head of the Mount Vernon Democratic Party, "appears to be the leading candidate" among Democrats for that seat.
Party officials also say Dominic Volpe may seek a rematch with Oros in Peekskill-based District 1.

Dear Readers:

It has come to my attention the difficulty in posting a comment on this blog. If you wish to comment, e-mail me at the link posted below, putting "Manifesto Reader" in the subject matter, and I will "cut and Paste" your comments myself. If you DO NOT wish your comments posted, but just wish to comminicate withm me, please make your wishes known in the e-mail.

LINKS: (as this a yahoo adress make sure you put an unerscore (-) between atom and taxi)

For immediate reply:


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BAZZO 05/05/07

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