Saturday, June 30, 2007



Dear Readers:

At a recent fund raiser for Incumbent candidate for Yorktown Council James Martorano, I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Ryan, head of our County Legislator. I brought up the topic of NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg's proposed tax on (in this case) Westchester residents who commute to NYC, the infamous congestion pricing fee. This will on average cost the Westchester commuter about $40.00 per week. This fee is NOT in spite of what the Mayor says a way of reducing traffic(people have to get to work), but a way to raise money to create a new bureaucracy.

I asked him why our County Representatives have not spoken out on this assault on our wallets. After all it is our County Representatives job to assault our wallets. He told me NONE of our representatives had this on their radar, that their plates were already full. I find this totally unacceptable. Their job is first and foremost to fight for us. They are not suppose to be so parochial as to believe this is not part of their job. Who but they can put pressure on Assemblywoman Galef, Assemblyman Ball, and State Senator Leibel to stop this dead in it's tracks. Our County Representatives, speaking for us will be heard a lot louder than we would individually.

As our County Representatives are up for election this year, it would behoove them to speak up now on our behalf. It would be wise for Legislator's Kaplowitz and Oro's not only to make their feeling known to our State Representatives, the head of our County Representatives but also to us via the NCN, The Journal News and this blog and you over five hundred and fifty readers. It would also be a good thing for their challengers, Murphy and Volpe to weigh in on this issue. With all the taxes this County collects(the highest in the nation), we have a right to be fought for and they have a duty to fight for us.

Dear Readers:

One of the complaints about the NCN was their lack of investigative journalism. I will concede in the past this was valid. However under Publisher and Editor in Chief Apar this has been changing. To date there have been two articles relating to the Peekskill School District. Both articles should have given you the tax payer pause for concern. Both articles should have had you demanding more stories and more information. Yet there is silence. This is why school systems operate like fiefdoms, lack of tax payer involvement.

The last line in the first article(posted in my last update) stated that school employees' jobs were threatened should they speak out. How the hell could you still be silent after reading this. People's lively hoods threatened if they exercise their right of speech, outrageous!!!!!! Yet you are not outraged.

The Peekskill Guardian(linked below) has been following this story. However a news paper can not print without proof for they can be sued without it. With out proof of the truth or falsehood of what the Peekskill Guardian is saying, this story can not go forward. If there is truth to these posts, then your silence is only helping those who are hurting your system. Do you who pay those high school taxes want the truth one way or another? Only the light of day can give you the satisfaction you deserve. You must demand that satisfaction.

Peekskill Community Wide Tag Sale Tremendous Success.
Dozens of Homeowners Make Hundreds of Dollars Each; Visitors Explore Downtown and Grab Bargains.
Two More Tag Sales Scheduled for Later in Summer July 25 and August 28th.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Contact: Mayor John Testa

PEEKSKILL, NY— Participants on all sides report Peekskill’s community-wide tag sale was a roaring success and say they can’t wait to take part in the two other sales scheduled for this summer on July 25 and August 28th.
Participants reported that the sale succeeded at generating spare cash for salespeople, giving visitors a chance to scoop up some bargains and showcasing areas of Peekskill the surrounding communities rarely see.
Goods were on sale at close to three dozen registered sites, and many homeowners participated without registering.
“I definitely loved the tag sale,” says Jennifer von Molnar, a Peekskill resident who lives in a condo in the historic Beecher House who shopped at many different sites during the day. Molnar doesn’t come downtown that often, and she was impressed with what she saw.
“Everything was beautiful. The neighborhoods seem to be improving and people seem to be working on their houses,” Molnar says. She also succeeded at her shopping goal—finding a bunch of fireplace equipment that perfectly suited her needs.
For many, the feeling of being part of a positive community was as important as the sale itself. “I've never had a tag sale before and I enjoyed the people coming by; there's just a neat feeling to it when you feel your whole city is involved,” says Kim Grethen, another Peekskill resident. In the last five years, the city has come alive with vivid events and other positive activities, Grethen says. The Halloween event and parade her son participated was another positive Peekskill event, she says.
Showing off Peekskill was one of the primary goals of the tag sale. Another was to give homeowners a chance to earn some extra cash and shoppers and dealers opportunities to see what treasures might be lurking in the attics of one of the region’s oldest and most historic places. Founded more than 350 years ago, Peekskill has entire neighborhoods made up of historic homes.
Despite an official start time of 10:00, dealers started showing up at 7:30 a.m. and action was brisk throughout the day, with those selling said they had seen half their wares sold by mid-morning. Takes for the day of $200-$300 or more were reported.
Even those who hadn’t taken part in the official sale and just set up tables in their front yards did well because of all the dealers and visitors who came into town to scope out the sales. “If you’re having just one sale, it’s not worth it to make the effort to come by. But when you have three dozen, they show up,” says Peter Buchanan, a Peekskill resident and antiques dealer himself. Buchanan registered with the city and did well during the sale, he says.
Those who didn’t participate on Saturday will get two more chances to take part in community wide markets. Other sales are set for July 25 and August 28th. The impetus for the tag sales came from City Manager Daniel Fitzpatrick. The program is a sign of how energetic Peekskill’s city government is, Mayor John Testa says. “Getting a lot done with a little is a key strategy of Peekskill’s right now. It’s impressive to see how our staffers have taken the challenges we’ve given them and run with them,” he says.
Two more tag sales are scheduled over the course of the summer. Participation is easy. All anyone who wants to be involved has to do is to call 734-7275 and register. Their tag sale will then be placed on a master list that will be available at such locations as City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Field Library. Maps with the locations of each sale pinpointed will also be provided.
Advertising in The Pennysaver and The North County news worked, participants say. Numerous customers mentioned the ads as they traveled from sale to sale. Ads will be placed again for the sales that occur later this summer, officials say.

For more information, contact Mayor John Testa at 914-734-4105.

Putnam Valley officials consider solar energy
(Original publication: June 25, 2007)

PUTNAM VALLEY - The town supervisor wants to put solar panels on a nearby roof and harvest the sun's energy for cheaper electricity at Town Hall.
For the second time, Supervisor Sam Davis is bringing the $70,000 photovoltaic technology proposal to the Town Board's attention and is hoping to get its approval.
"If there is technology that will help us save energy, we should be exploring it," he said after a board meeting last week. "We could be saving money, resources and setting a good example in the town."
Davis, a high school science teacher on leave while serving as supervisor, ran two years ago on a platform of environmental friendliness and is seeking a second term. He drives a hybrid car.
The plan calls for a system of roof-mounted panels angled to the south. They are expected to produce an estimated 70,000 kilowatt hours a year.
Putnam Valley's Town Hall uses slightly more power - 70,258 kilowatt hours a year - based on statistics collected for a state grant application. The town has approval for $44,000 in aid from the state Energy Resources Development Agency and, though it would have to fund the remaining costs, it could seek grants from other sources.
Davis said the town could save $3,000 to $4,000 on its $10,000 annual utility bill.
Russ Pessina, a Putnam Valley resident since 1979, cautioned officials to consider how long it would take to recoup the investment of roughly $25,000.
"These things are fine, but taxes are going up every year," he reminded the board Wednesday.
He said he was concerned about the financial impact on residents and whether the cost would justify the savings.
The panels would have to go on the firehouse roof. Town Hall's roof and structure are unsuitable for the equipment, engineers said. The adjacent firehouse has an unshaded, flat roof.
Fire Chief Bruce Johnson said that department officials have agreed to cooperate on the project and that an engineer has deemed the 1973-built structure a reasonable site for the technology.
Town Board members plan to discuss the topic further at a 7 p.m. meeting July 11 at Town Hall, Oscawana Lake Road.
The proposal should be considered in conjunction with a review of a state-conducted energy audit of Town Hall, which considered a variety of energy-saving initiatives, including using fluorescent-type light bulbs, Councilwoman Wendy Whetsel said.
"We want to make sure we don't lose the grant money and that we would see a cost savings from this and other alternatives," she said, adding that, as time goes on, the technology might get cheaper just as prices for computers and cell phones went down with greater consumer demand.
Councilwoman Priscilla Keresey agreed that solar panels were worth strong consideration from an energy-savings standpoint as well as affordability for the town.
"We may need to wait and consider when is the best time," she said.
While it would be one of the first municipal buildings in Putnam County to use the technology, a smattering of municipalities in Westchester have embraced the energy alternative.
Greenburgh installed solar panels at its Town Hall last year, and Cortlandt is planning to use a $75,000 New York Power Authority grant to furnish and install them on a youth center this year.
Reach Barbara Livingston Nackman at or 845-228-2272.


Dear Readers:

You should remember that when the Supervisor first proposed applying for a grant for this, Councilwoman Whetsel voted yes. Then last November, after the Town been awarded the grant, Whetsel voted to remove the item from the budget. That meant that the money paid to a grant writing fund to prepare the grant application was wasted. Whetsel, at that time, maintained that she was looking after the tax payers, even though the photovoltaics would save the taxpayers money. She also has claimed that she is concerned about the environment which would be protected by the photovoltaics. Now that she is gearing up to primary Supervisor Davis she once again seems to believe this a good idea. However, since it was removed from the budget, it is now more difficult to come up with the funds for it. Perhaps, for primary purposes she thinks just talking about this is good enough. She talks, the Supervisor acts; who should lead Putnam Valley?

Yeshiva expansion proposal draws fire in Cortlandt
(Original publication: June 27, 2007)

CORTLANDT - Community opposition is mounting against a yeshiva aiming to upgrade and modernize its operation at 141 Furnace Woods Road.
A large crowd turned out at Town Hall last week, a petition with 300 names has been circulating and dozens of letters have been generated by opponents of a plan by Yeshiva Ohr Hameir to rehabilitate its operation and build housing to accommodate about 50 more students.
Neighbors of the secondary school have said it has been a bad neighbor through the years, citing substandard maintenance and traffic problems associated with Ohr Hameir, and they say the proposed construction is likely to cause more problems for the community at large.
Representatives of the school, meanwhile, say they are looking to improve local relations and fix the site to make it more appealing to the community. They note the law is on their side.
The school, originally founded in New Rochelle, took over an old dude ranch in the 1980s but has done little to modernize the old ranch buildings, which have fallen into disrepair. The school is looking to create a new facility on the footprint of an old building, and once completed, the school's enrollment would go from 210 to 250, a number it had reached in the past.
A local resident who has been following the case, Greg Gale, questioned whether the school even had legal permission to board students.
"The basic problem is it's in a residential area. It's not a good fit for the neighborhood, and they want to make it bigger. It doesn't appear they should have live-in students at all. And the safety violations are ludicrous. The town should step back and say they've made a mistake in the past, and they need to take it seriously," Gale said.
Neighbors have complained that students walk on the narrow road in front of the school in complete disregard for traffic, and local residents have bristled over what they called visual blight at school grounds.
Building inspectors uncovered many violations at the school this year, including fire-code violations and significant structural problems.
Neighbors also cited numerous false-alarm calls and service calls to the Fire Department. There are also concerns that a new sewage system, as part of the construction plan, could cause problems to the community.
A neighborhood resident, Phillip Tumbarello, told the town administration: "The more I learn, the more concerns I have. There are real and legitimate safety and environmental issues."
The Zoning Board of Appeals is considering the case, delving into the legal issues and deciding whether the school needs a special permit for the dormitories on campus.
"The zoning board has to adjudicate it, whether it falls under a special permit," said Ed Vergano, the town's engineer. "It's not a simple application."
If the zoning board gives its authorization, the Planning Board would examine the proposal for traffic and environmental issues.
A legal dispute as to how and when the yeshiva allowed students to board there, and whether that practice was officially authorized, is central to the case. Yeshiva Ohr Hameir representatives insist the town had authorized the dormitories and cite a record of building permits that have been issued.
Dan Richmond, a lawyer representing Ohr Hameir, said it was their contention that the school did not need any special approvals for the continued use of the campus or new construction.
"It's been there for 25 years," he said. "We're saying it's a permitted use, as of right, as a religious use and an educational use."
The school is going through the zoning board process, but it is keeping all of its legal options open. The law makes it clear that religious schools have wide latitude when it comes to land-use issues, he said.
Richmond noted that the school was looking to work with a community liaison, and it was seeking to be a better operation, both environmentally and visually.
"The yeshiva is trying to be a good neighbor," he said. "The goal is to modernize and improve existing conditions."

Reach Robert Marchant at or 914-666-6578.


Dear Readers:

I believe the only issues before this board should be will the proposed building be up to codes of safety(ie: sewars, electricla, structure and plumbing). If they comply then the building should be allowed to move forward. The school is here and getting rid of it is not an option. They should be allowed to improve the quality of their property.

Yorktown officials unable to decide perk’s future
Board stalls on car policy
By Adriane Tillman

The Yorktown Town Board stalled on making a decision this week to revise a policy governing which town employees can take home town cars.A proposal initiated by Councilman Louis Campisi to reduce the number of employees who drive to and from work with town vehicles bogged down Tuesday night when discussion centered on Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jennifer Fava’s use of a municipal car.Any chance of an agreement also dissipated when it became unclear how to issue cars to Water Department foremen while insuring broken water pipes are switched off in the shortest time possible. “There’s no way to come up with a policy to cover everything,” said Assistant Water Superintendent Bradley Lewis. Campisi’s proposal, based on recommendations from the Fleet Committee, would cut the number of workers with town vehicles from 30 to 19.According to the proposal, only employees who live within 10 miles of the town’s borders would be allowed to take a car home.Town Supervisor Linda Cooper and Councilman James Martorano expressed reservations about snatching town vehicles from employees who were hired with the understanding they would be able to commute in the vehicles. “Like my mother always said: ‘To bite your nose is to bite your face,’” Martorano said. “You’re creating a lot of ill will among [town employees] who desperately need to roll up their sleeves and work hard.”Discussion centered on Fava who commutes from her Connecticut residence every work day in a 2006 Chevy Blazer that gets about 18 miles to the gallon. Assessor Robert Killeen also has had a car to travel and from work for the past 30 years. The Town Board made individual agreements with department heads about town car usage, but nothing exists in writing, according to Cooper. “This is part of the compensation package,” Cooper said, suggesting Fava be put into a more fuel-efficient car next year that at least gets 35 miles to the gallon. Killeen said he drives just nine miles from home in the town vehicle, and that he does much more than his job requires. He’s taken no personal days and works evenings and weekends. After his long career, Killeen will retire at the end of the year.“My only perk is the nine miles out and back; everything else comes back to the town,” he said.Councilman Nicholas Bianco sympathized with the assessor who was told 30 years ago he could drive a town car to work. Bianco, who favors the 10-mile rule, said he would support permitting Killeen continue his use of the town vehicle until his retirement at the end of the year.The next assessor would then have to use his or her own car starting in 2008, Bianco suggested.If Campisi’s proposal passed, the site manager for the Nutrition Center, meter reader, auto mechanic and tree trimmer would have to drive personal cars to work and pick up town vehicles for municipal business at their departments. It’s not so clear cut, pointed out Cooper. While Nutrition Center Site Manager Mary DeSilva may not need to drive to work in a town car, she picks up seniors along the way and brings them to town, she said.“If you take that away, she [the director] won’t do that,” Cooper said. “You lose a major driver for senior citizens.”The town spends $600 to $700 per employee each year on gas. Plus the wear and tear and maintenance on the vehicle, Bianco pointed out.In the long run the expense is comparatively minimal.“It’s never been an economic problem for the town,” said Comptroller Joan Goldberg. Bianco said appealed to the board to review the matter on a case-by-case basis. Even though he has just six months left in Town Hall, Killeen said he doesn’t want special treatment.“If you don’t believe department heads should have cars, I will give the car back,” Killeen said.


Dear Readers:

Look for my comments on this issue in the new issue of the North County News. It is the topic of my IN MY OPINION column on sale Thursday 07/05/07



Dear Readers:

This week I discus the reality regarding Indian Point. You can read my column on this topic exclusively in this weeks NORTH COUNTY NEWS on sale now. I am worth the seventy-five cents. Look for my column IN MY OPINION(page 10) in the editorial section. Better yet as this column is exclusive to the North County News on a regular basis and will be covering the local political scene, take out a subscription. Click on the North County News link below and go to Subscribe. Between this blog and The North County News you will have all the information to make a vote based on substance.
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Dear Readers:

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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 communicate with me, please make your wishes known in the e-mail.

(as this a yahoo address make sure you put an underscore (-) between atom and taxi)

For immediate reply:


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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 07/01/07

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