Sunday, January 20, 2008

WHEN PEOPLE RESPOND, GOVERNMENT TAKES NOTICE

Dear Readers:

In the Town Of Yorktown(proposed bank at Mohegan Ave. Rt. 6 intersection), the City Of Peekskill(the Cove), and Putnam Valley(the comprehensive plan committee) the same question echo's. Should an appointed board have more say than an elected board? In times past the elected representative bodies had final say in writing and enacting laws. That changes when elected officials who did not want to be held accountable to the electorate started giving final say to appointed boards. This was one of those "incumbency protection" actions. Those gutless politicians wanted to hide behind some bureaucracy. They could then say when controversy erupted that it was not them but this un-elected bureaucracy, and they had no power in the matter.

Times they are a changing. In Yorktown Councilman Nick Bianco wants to enact a law that would give the town board final say over projects in a high impact zone, such as the Rt.6 corridor in Mohegan. Councilmen Campasi and Metz would rather hide behind these un-elected committees and boards. Councilmen Bianco and Martorano would rather not. The question is where does newly elected Supervisor Peters stand? Yet this question should not stop this measure from being proposed. It is important for the voters to see on the record which Councilman has courage to be the final say and be willing to take the grief of taking a stand or who is gutless and would rather hide being boards and committees unaccountable to the electorate.

In Putnam Valley, Supervisor Tendy wants the final say. The opposition does not trust him. The topic in question is whether to disband the comprehensive plan committee. Members of the committee and their supporters want and believe the charter gives them the power to create and enact the recommendations of the comprehensive plan. They believe theirs is the only interpretation and they have the support of the majority of the people. They also do not trust Supervisor Tendy to act on this plan in anyway other than to shelve it. Supervisor Tendy that in the unanimous approval of the plan that the committee's work is finished and it should be up to the elected government to create and enact the plans recommendations. At this time he has the votes to prevail. This vote will be held on February 20. There is one other sector that believes all this is moot without enforcement and believes past actions by the town show that enforcement is selective at best. I think the town board should address this concern.

In Peekskill this is not even up for discussion. More the pity.
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THIS WAS IN THE JOURNAL NEWS: PHIL REISMAN...YOU MUST READ THIS!!

Reforming Westchester government should be priority
Phil Reisman • Journal News columnist • January 20, 2008


Westchester County's $1.77 billion budget is so big, it looks positively glacial to angry property taxpayers who would like to melt it with a nuclear-powered blowtorch.
Only a decade ago, the budget was $950 million.
Take heed, ye who rule in the eighth- and ninth-floor fiefdoms of the Michaelian Office Building. The anger is real - and the sentiment is only going to get louder as the economy worsens.
I hear the frustration every day from regular, hardworking citizens. They are fed up with the county's ruling oligarchy, which increasingly seems to consist mainly of self-serving political careerists and their cronies.
They see a system that's rigged. They see a government that is bloated, superfluous and corrupt. They wonder how it is that the elected officials and bureaucratic hacks have such a sweet setup with heftier salaries, health plans and pension benefits than those afforded most people who slug it out every day in the private sector.
It is astonishing to realize how fast things have changed - and not necessarily for the better. We're well past the point when county government somehow became a more generous employer than IBM.
Heck, I hear that in France people want to work for the state because it's the best deal going. Sacre bleu! We're becoming like France.
A lot of people want to do away with county government altogether. Connecticut, which has no such layer between its town and state levels, is held up as an example of efficiency.
It be would be a Herculean task to muster the strength to eliminate the entrenched county government system. New York state has 62 counties, and that means 62 different sets of opinions on the matter. For all I know, they love county government in the precincts of Herkimer or Onondaga.
In any case, it couldn't happen overnight.
But there are things that can happen quickly to win back some of the hearts and minds in Westchester. The glacier-sized budget can at least be attacked with an ice pick, if not totally obliterated.
Based on some conversations I've had with current and past officials, I would bet that 15 percent of that spending plan directly under the county's control could be cut right off the top. Hard choices would have to be made. Reforms would have to be put in place.
In terms of services rendered, the county government would have to be radically redefined in order to be reined in. There would be pain. But I suspect most of that pain would be borne by special interest types who have inside connections, and who represent the few and not the many.
Here's a few ideas to consider.
First, Westchester should have its own Boston Tea Party. What better way to do that than to eliminate the county Tax Commission? That entity costs $376,693. Local municipalities have their own assessors and they have to collect the taxes levied by the county.
I have yet to hear one persuasive reason to keep the Tax Commission. Junking it would be a symbolic way of saying that the old way of doing business by nickel and diming the taxpayers to death is at an end.
Second, look closely at other agencies and departments that may exist mainly to please local advocacy groups but whose services might already be provided on the local or state level. Formed with the best of intentions, for example, was the county's Human Rights Commission, which costs about $700,000 to run. The commission was created a few years ago because, among other reasons, there was a backlog of cases in the state. Unfortunately, that implies that the best way to solve government sloth and inefficiency is to create more government.
Third, examine what's going on with Playland Amusement Park. Not including the beach and pool and Ice Casino, which also lost money, the amusement park hemorrhaged $3.5 million last year.
Politicians love to talk about how they would run government like a business. But if that were really so, anybody claiming to run Playland would have been fired long ago.
Some people contend that Playland ought to be scaled back to a passive recreation park, while others say it should be sold. Many cite the three accidental deaths that have occurred at Playland in recent years - tragedies which not only tarnished its reputation as a safe and carefree place but raised serious concerns about its liabilities.
Playland opened in 1928 - a simpler age, to be sure. Perhaps it has outlived its time. On the other hand, it is still loved by many and remains an important part of the county's history.
So what to do?
At a minimum, Playland's management should be overhauled. As it stands, the amusement park has three bosses - the county parks department, the Board of Legislators and the county executive. That's too many bosses, and none of them are doing a good enough job.
Milt Hoffman, a former senior editor at The Journal News and my old boss, has urged in print and in testimony that the county put Playland under the control of a single entity, a commission made up of volunteers from the business community. Without bureaucratic interference, they alone would control the park's finances, maintenance and hiring.
A Playland Commission existed with good results in the past, but was done away with for reasons that would take up too much space to explain. What's a mystery, however, is that in 1993 an advisory committee recommended that a "new, stronger" commission be formed - and nothing happened. It's high time that idea was dusted off and put into action.
Finally, changes should be made in the way that lucrative contracts are handed out by the Board of Acquisition & Contract, an agency that for too long has operated in the shadows.
The Republican minority caucus on the Board of Legislators has called for a number of reforms. One of them would prevent the awarding of contracts to relatives of any voting member of the three-person board, which includes County Executive Andy Spano and County Board Chairman Bill "Boss" Ryan.
Another requirement would force Spano and Ryan to disclose campaign contributions they've received from any corporation or person getting a contract.
That alone would put a stop to a lot of the monkey business. Let's see if any of the Democratic legislators have the guts to push this reform past Boss Ryan.

Reach Phil Reisman at preisman@lohud.com or 914-694-5008. Check out more stuff at lohud.com/reisman.
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A MESSAGE FROM WESTCHESTER COUNTY LEGISLATOR OROS:

George Oros
Legislator, 1st District

January 16, 2008 Contact: George Oros
Tel: (914) 995-2828or 522-6774
Goo6@westchestergov.com

Open, honest and ethical government needed
Minority Conference renews call for reform of county’s Board of Acquisition & Contract

Citing recent abuses that appear to provide payback for campaign contributions, once more the Republican Conference of the Board of Legislators is proposing reforms to the way the county’s Board of Acquisition & Contract operates.

Minority Leader George Oros (R-C/Cortlandt), along with legislators Jim Maisano (R/New Rochelle) and Gordon Burrows (R/Bronxville), 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.

“It is clear from recent media reports there is a need for more open, honest and ethical government,” Oros said. “We need to implement stronger checks and balances within the county to protect taxpayers.”

Oros specially cited the recent award of a $55,000 contract to a lobbyist firm that made a $1,000 contribution last fall to the Democratic Majority Campaign Committee and a $250.00 contribution to Legislative Chair William Ryan who is one of three voting members on the Board of Acquisition and Contract.

“This contract epitomizes why this Board needs reform”, added James Maisano. “It was approved without placing the contract out to competitive bidding. There was no public notice that a lobbyist was being hired. Only one company was considered. This contract was never even discussed at a public meeting at the Board of Legislators, and then it was railroaded through the A&C Board. Moreover, the County Executive already engages a lobbyist to do the very same job for half the price. Obviously, this contract should never have been approved, and it is a blatant ripoff to the taxpayers. We must reform the A&C Board to stop this abuse of taxpayer dollars in the future.”

Under the Republican proposal any statutory member of the Board of Acquisition and Contract (i.e. County Executive and Board of Legislators Chairman) must disclose prior to awarding any contract any political contribution made by the proposed vendor to the member. The reform would also prohibit the awarding of a contract to a corporation, firm, person or entity that employs or independently contracts with a spouse, child, parent or sibling of a member of the Board of Acquisition & Contract.


Under the current system, millions of dollars of lengthy contracts are approved without any debate, discussion or a vote of the Board of Legislators. 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.

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 this November.

The republican conference introduced similar reform twice before in 2002 and 2007. Both times the democrat majority refused to approve the measure and put it before the voters.
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WESTCHEST GOVERNMENT TO SOLVE GLOBAL WARMING:

Dear Readers;

To catch you up. Legislature leader Bill Ryan, hiding behind the Board Of acquisitions (this is when an elected official does not have the nerve to do the dirty work themselves), a Board that consists of The County Executive, the Legislature's Leader and Public Works Commissioner (answerable to the County Executive) has okayed the increasing of the fee to a New Jersey based outfit to recommend ways Westchester all by itself can defeat global warming. This out fit happens to be a contributor to the Westchester Democratic Committee(whose job it is to get Democrats elected). The original contract was for twenty-thousand dollars. They are now to get eighty-thousand more. There job is to recommend ways the County can dig deeper into our pockets and remove more of our choices in life in order to halt global warming. I can see the headlines in the next County elections "WESTCHESTER SAVES THE WORLD BY SINGLE HANDILY SOLVING GLOBAL WARMING". My God, we will elect these saviors for life. Our lawmakers feel this is a wise expenditure of our tax dollars. It just kills them that we might want to keep our money.

This same Board of Acquisitions has okayed the expenditure of fifty-five thousand dollars for the Legislature's own lobbying firm. By the way the County executive hires their own lobbying firm for twenty-five thousand dollars, but I digress. This new lobbying firm's job is to convince the State Legislature that our inane requests are for real and should be compensated. Mind you we have gone from eleven Legislative aids in 1990 to forty-three today, yet we need an outside firm to lobby Albany. You see those Legislative aids are busy helping our lawmakers interfere in our lives and getting their bosses re-elected. To think in the last budget discussions all the Budget Committee could do was reduce our tax increase .7%. They do not see the waste of our tax dollars in the above. As I have said before, in their mind they are not public servants, we are the servant public.
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A LETTER FROM PATTY VILLANOVA:

Putnam Valley--

Much has been written on this site and elsewhere about the plan to retire the Comprehensive Plan Committee. As with most of what has been put forth by our newly elected town board, this is basically a non issue, designed to distract the populace from what is really going on in our once fair Valley. First of all, the entire process of setting up this committee and having it go through the motions of putting together yet another master plan for PV was never anything more than an exercise in futility. As soon as it began its task, the CP Committee was rendered obsolete by virtue of the fact that no matter how many iterations of laws and codes they were reworking, the powers that be had no intention of enforcing them. The entire committee should have made it a point before starting their Herculean labors, to demand that the current and future Town Boards actually agree to ENFORCE whatever they decided was the best scheme for development of our town. There was ample evidence at the time to indicate that it was never anyone's intention to do so and that this whole charade was nothing more than another Dog & Pony Show to appease the masses who were demanding a halt to the rapacious doings of the Drive-by Developers who are quickly destroying what's left of Put Valley. Even before the Comp Plan Comm. began there were enough laws on the books to ensure that our fragile environment could be protected. Unfortunately, one has only to look at the recent Santucci/ Emerald Ridge debacle to see how badly these laws were perverted in their execution. I for one couldn't care less if they dissolve the committee or they keep it, as long as it doesn't cost the taxpayers any more money. The truth is that everyone in town knows what the problems are, especially the town board. They just don't have the will or the cojones to do anything about it.

Patty Villanova
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WHAT'S GOING ON AT RUBEN'S RESAURANT N. DIVISON STREET PEEKSKILL:


Hello!
Featuring the cool school, hot jazz, instrumentals, and lyrics, "from Bossa to Broadway", The Swinging Set Jazz Collaborative will be live at Ruben's in Peekskill.
We'll be there on Thursday, January 24th at 7:00PM, and for those of you who have been waiting for a weekend show (buzz roll please) .... come join us on Saturday, January 26th at 9:00PM, as we help Ruben celebrate his 3rd anniversary!
The food is great and so is the atmosphere as we love to see and entertain both new and old friends. We hope to see you as you walk in the door and look forward to chatting as we visit in between sets. Great jazz without the trip ... so come on out! Reservations always suggested.

Thanks,
Andy Polay
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FYI: BOOK SIGNING:
RE: DAVID ADLEMAN EDITOR FORBE'S ONLINE

A Shattered Peace:Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay

TodayGreetings and Happy New Year!

It's been two months now (a month if you're in the UK) since my new book, A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today has hit the stores. And it's starting to get some real traction."Sales did start slowly, but it's picked up amazingly in the past few weeks," said a manager of the huge Barnes & Noble store at 86th Street and Lexington Avenue in New York where a stack is featured on the front table.An audio edition is also just around the corner (I'm in a studio now recording). Keep an eye on iTunes!Leonard Lopate told me after his show on New York NPR affiliate WNYC that it was the most compelling book interview he'd done in ages.ASP has also had some great reviews, and I've made some other landmark appearances [see below!]. Many of you have contacted me to say that you were unable to make previous events, but would like to know if there's something in the future. Well there is.On January 15, I will be featured at a joint "evening" in Manhattan sponsored by the Overseas Press Club and the World Policy Institute where Craig Whitney, the assistant managing editor of The New York Times will engage me in a dialogue on some of the themes of A Shattered Peace. If you'd like to attend, call Sonya Fry at 212-626-9220.On February 17, I will be delivering the President's Day speech at the Newington Cropsey Foundation in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY -- (914) 478-7990.And in March, I will be in London for two presentations. I'll send details a bit later.But above all, I am still anxious that the messages of a A Shattered Peace get as wide a distribution as possible. So, here's yet another appeal. If you've bought the book, THANK YOU.Now, please keep spreading the word. Give it as a gift (after all Valentine's Day is just around the corner!), then there are always birthdays and other occasions. Buy it at Amazon.com or at your local book store and if they've sold out, have them re-order! Tell political candidates about it (some have noticed it already). I do want it to become a part of this year's national dialogue.If you are in a position to review it, get it reviewed, or book me for an interview (on-air or on-line!), please do so. (I'm a great interview, as those to whom I've linked below can attest!) And if you can get the book into the curriculum at any college or university, high school or prep school, you will not be disappointed. Moreover, given the proper incentive, I'd even come and speak there, as I've done at several venues already. Remember what Harvard Professor Ernest May says: "The failed peace settlement following the Great War of 1914-1918 had been the subject of many fine books. In many respects, David Andelman's A Shattered Peace is the best of these. It is compact and compellingly written. Moreover, it explains more clearly t han any other work how the failure of peacemaking in 1919 shaped later history and, indeed, shapes our own era."Thanks in advance for having a look at ASP. Just read the first three pages. You'll be hooked! That's my promise.All the best,DavidNow, here are links to some of the early reviews and appearances:OpenDemocracy.net WCBS-TVNYTimes.com Freakonomics Jim Zirin, Digital AgeLeonard Lopate / WNYC ************************************************************************************
THIS WEEKS "IN MY OPINION COLUMN" IN THE NCN:
Dear Readers:

This week I discuss the first actions by the newly elected governments in Peekskill and Putnam Valley. You can read this on-line now or 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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FYI:ATOM TAXI INC. AIRPORT SERVICE:
Dear Readers:
This gives me a chance to plug my business ATOM TAXI INC. As you are planning your holiday or business or vacation travel? Instead of the headache of trying to find Airport parking, we do Airport Service to The Westchester County Airport(and ALL other airports) 24/7. Just call 1(914)879-6121 and my partner Tommy, will be glad to take you in our Airport Taxi. You will also be provided with a free copy of your local paper of record The North County News. If this is a business trip we also provide a professional receipt, just tell Tommy at the time of booking. The cost of a one-way trip to the Westchester County Airport is seventy dollars. To LaGuardia Airport the cost is Ninety-four dollars which includes all tolls. The cost to JFK and Newark Airports is one hundred-twenty-five dollars which also includes all tolls. We do not take credit cards, sorry. ***********************************************************************************
E-MAIL ME WITH YOUR COMMENTS:
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.
LINKS: atom_taxi@yahoo.com(as this a yahoo address make sure you put an underscore (-) between atom and taxi)
For immediate reply: atomtaxi@aol.com
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SITES TO LINK TO:

YORKTOWN COUNCILMAN NICK BIANCO: http://www.electbianco.com/
PLAN PUTNAM: planputnam@googlegroups.com/
PEEKSKILL GUARDIAN: http://peekskillguardian.blogspot.com/
NORTH COUNTY NEWS: http://northcountynews.com/
THE JOURNAL NEWS: http://thejournalnews.com/
PEEKSKILL DEMOCRATS: http://www.peekskilldems.com/
PEEKSKILLREPUBLICANS:http://peekskillgop.com/
YORKTOWN SUPERVISOR DON PETERS: http://www.donpetersforyorktown.com/
PUTNAM VALLEY SUPERVISOR BOB TENDY:http://www.bobtendyforsupervisor.com/
PEEKSKILL FIRST: http://www.peekskillfirst.net/
THE PEEKSILL NEWS: http://thepeekskillnews.blogspot.com/
PEEKSKILL NEWS (COPYCAT): http://peekskillnews.blogspot.com/
PEEKSILL ONION: http://peekskillonion.blogspot.com/
THE PEEKSKILL GUARDIAN (COPYCAT) http://thepeekskillguardian.blogspot.com/
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CABLE SHOWS TO WATCH

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

DON PETERS AND YORKTOWN: Every Tuesday at 10PM channel 74
Hosted by: DON PETERS

YORKTOWN WATCHDOG: Every Friday at 9:30 PM on channel 74
Hosted By: ED CHIFFON

LEGISLATORS REPORT: Saturday and Sunday at various times on chanel 20
Hosted By: COUNCILMEN NICK BIANCO AND LOU CAMPISI
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EDITOR'S NOTE: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 01/20/08

Sunday, January 06, 2008

RESOLUTION FOR THE NEW YEAR: ...TO BE INFORMED

For comments: Mary Foster 914-720-4644
Don Bennett 914-438-5451
Drew Claxton 914-736-0270
Patricia Riley 914-736-1347
Joe Schuder 914-739-5585

DEMOCRATS PREPARE TO TAKE REINS AT CITY HALL

- Dems meet with advisors to prepare for smooth transition –
- Provide greater public access to decision-making –
- In departure from previous administration, public process for Common Council vacancy and board appointments established –

As Peekskill’s newly elected Democratic majority prepares for a January 1 transfer of control, they are hard at work preparing for the first Democratic administration in almost 30 years. Over the past several weeks Democrats have been meeting with key advisors as they begin the transition process. In a departure from previous administrations, the Democrats are soliciting resumes from the public for both the common council vacancy and city boards.

“Our goal is to deliver on our campaign goals, be transparent in our decision making activities, and engage the community in our planning,” said Mayor-elect Foster, a retired partner from Deloitte & Touche. “We have gotten right to work by meeting with specialists and leaders in our neighboring communities to share ideas and transition strategies. As we take office, Peekskill faces some serious development and fiscal issues. We are in a major lawsuit with the developer who was awarded a contract to revitalize the downtown, we have a stalled riverfront development project, the depressed housing market has dramatically impacted sales in Peekskill, and city assessments are down significantly over last year. However, I remain confident we will accomplish the things we set out to do. It’s going to require the staff, the council and the community to work together.”

Over the last six weeks Mayor-elect Foster and the incoming majority have been meeting with business leaders and a range of expert professionals with backgrounds in development, finance, business, city management, arts and culture as they begin the process of planning for the enactment of their campaign platform. One of the most important elements of a smooth transition is establishing areas of common concern and joint goals with the business and arts community. A few highlights of those meetings included:

· Meeting with expert advisors on good government practices, specifically Greg Arcaro of the American Institute of Certified Planners; Enid Carruth, planner and environmental and public health professional; Charles Jennings, planning consultant, Bernis Shapiro, municipal corporation counsel; Deborah Post, planner; and John Nolan, Pace Law Institute
· Meeting with experts in the field of adaptive reuse of buildings and urban design/fa├žade improvements
· Briefing from the congressional delegation about the state of affairs of the Peekskill Housing Authority
· Meeting with owners of the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Arts to determine how to broaden the city’s support for the arts and integrate an artist exchange program
· Meeting with Ron Forehan, Executive Director of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, to assess how to broaden the city’s outreach to the business community and potential investors and developers
· Meeting with the president of New York Waterways Leisure Division to discuss putting Peekskill on the ferry route from spring through fall
· Meeting with elected officials from neighboring municipalities of Cortlandt and Yorktown
· Attending a working lunch with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other area officials to discuss policies and strategies that have worked for New York City and also to discuss the challenges city’s, both large and small face

“The meetings have been fruitful” continued Foster. “We have already established some goals and next steps to bring business to the downtown and better showcase arts and culture in Peekskill. The next step is to meet with our major development partners to assess where each project stands in the current economic and housing environment.”

At the same time, the incoming council majority has been meeting with city staff to lay out their priorities for the coming year. Specifically they have:

· Advised the current corporation counsel that they plan to restructure the city attorney’s office so that there is a fulltime lead corporation counsel. A search has begun for that position.
· Advised the Planning and Finance Departments that an Economic Development Specialist position will be filled and job descriptions are currently being developed.
· Planned for programming on Government Channel 78 to be expanded to include a potential schedule of 15 different shows that feature all common council members, regardless of party affiliation. Additionally, all city meetings, including Planning Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Historic and Landmarks Board, and Industrial Development Agency will be video streamed and aired on television. Common Council meetings will also be broadcast live on channel 78.

“We will hit the ground running on January 1 by resolving long-term issues that have plagued the city and been left unsolved,” said Councilman Don Bennett. “Specifically we plan to resolve the ongoing issues related to White Plains Linen and we expect to structure a budget compromise that restore public safety positions, while guaranteeing the city’s fiscal health.”

Dems reach out to public to fill council vacancy
Fulfilling a campaign pledge to open the political process in Peekskill, council Democrats have established a process for all interested parties to submit a resume and letter of interest to fill the common council vacancy that emerged with Mary Foster’s election to mayor. Additionally, they are soliciting resumes to fill existing and future vacancies on all city boards.

“Our goal is to establish an open process that allows anyone to offer their services to the city,” said the senior Democrat on the council, Drew Claxton. “We want to avoid the controversy that emerged when the previous administration appointed a member to the common council without prior public notice.”

Anyone interested in filling the council vacancy or serving on a city board can submit a letter of interest and resume to Marina Ciotti at: marinavb17@hotmail.com or by contacting her at 914-739-6625. Letters and resumes for the Common Council vacancy must be received by January 9, 2008.


MY COMMENTS ON THIS:

Dear Readers:

While you were busy living your lives during the holiday season, a couple of new blogs dealing with thegoings on in Peekskill have sprung up. 1) The Peekskill News(http://thepeekskillnews.blogspot.com/), 2) Peeksill News (http://peekskillnews.blogspot.com/). You also have Peekskill Guardian(http://peekskillguardian.blogspot.com/) and The Peekskill Guardian(http://thepeekskillguardian.blogspot.com/). The Peekskill News and Peekskill Guardian are basically pro- Republican and Peekskill News and The Peekskill Guardian are pro-Democrat. I like to read them all.

The above has been discussed in the blogasphere. It is a waste of time. A Democrat will be nominated. The nominee will be one who has worked and supported the party and has a chance to win election on their own in November. To the victor goes the spoils. Were the Republicans in control, they would nominate a Republican. How this is accomplished is unimportant, for who ever fills the above qualifications will get the nod. Where they send the resumes is just for show. The party apparatus knows who qualifies already. To think that a political appointee will not reek of politics is just plain foolish.

The more important thing to focus on is the latest entry in Peekskill Guardian on the new middle school. It is one of the most informative entries on this link in a long time. No over the top invective, just food for thought and investigation. It makes one ask, who are you going to believe, the school board or your own lying eyes.

I would recommend that Peekskill News refrain for bashing Cathy Pisani....she has deep roots in the city.....you insult at you own peril and credibility. This was one instance when politics should have taken a back seat.....the Democrats should have risen above their partisanship. If that turns out to be their Achilles Heel.....they will be in for a rough two years.
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THIS WAS IN THE JOURNAL NEWS COMMUNITY VIEWS:

Westchester must resume participation in Indian Point drills

By ROBERT P. ASTORINO(Original Publication: January 5, 2008)

There is a clear and present danger involving the Indian Point nuclear power plant, and it needs to get addressed fast. It is not from terrorists, nor is it from neglect or incompetence. It is from Westchester County Executive Andy Spano, the greatest single impediment to our safety should an emergency occur at Indian Point. As harsh as it may sound, it is true.
Mr. Spano's announcement that he will no longer participate in any Indian Point drills and exercises - with his fellow three county executives from the region, the New York State Emergency Management Office, Federal Emergency Management Agency and all of the other first responders and emergency planning personnel involved in this process for over 30 years - is outrageous and clearly irresponsible.
Mr. Spano, who has been in public office since the first Reagan administration, is known to be set in his ways. But he is outdoing himself now with this irrational decision simply because he opposes nuclear energy. The 20 million people living within a 50-mile radius of Indian Point need to know when they go to bed at night that their local government officials are prepared to protect them.
If Mr. Spano wants to close Indian Point, he should suggest a real alternative. But in the meantime, he should do everything in his power to make 100 percent sure that evacuation scenarios are planned as well as possible. Personal politics have no place in the public's business when the public's business involves security. After all these years in office, Mr. Spano should know that.
The county executive's mission against Indian Point doesn't stop there though. It is costing Westchester taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in a steady stream of wasteful government reports and lawsuits that consistently result in the conclusion that Indian Point is the best choice for our area. The plant provides 2,000 megawatts of carbon-free electricity (up to 38 percent of the region's needs) with no viable replacement plan. If you closed Indian Point today, the New York metropolitan region would find itself in major trouble. Even if Indian Point were to unexpectedly shut down tomorrow, the spent nuclear fuel would remain at the site for decades, and would still require an up-to-date emergency plan with active participation from Westchester County.
The county executive's declaration that Indian Point's owner is not paying its "fair share" of emergency planning costs - Entergy paid $412,000 toward that cost, according to the county - is yet another inaccurate portrayal of the real situation. The county receives $412,000 from the state Disaster Preparedness Commission as part of fees paid by nuclear plant owners for emergency planning. Entergy, in fact, pays $1.1 million in fees to New York for Indian Point, but other surrounding counties receive part of the fee as well for their participation. That payment is just a portion of the millions of dollars that Entergy spends in Indian Point safety. Mr. Spano neglects to acknowledge money spent on emergency planning infrastructure and services, training, consultants and other investments made by the company into supporting a potential response for all manner of emergencies - not just a radiological response.
According to the county's own 2005 study on Indian Point (compiled by Levitan & Associates), the county budget for emergency services was approximately $5.36 million, $4.62 million of which the county states is directly attributable to Indian Point. Taking this logic to its full extent, without Indian Point ever in existence, Westchester would only be spending $740,000 on emergency services in a post-9/11 world.
As a past member of the Westchester County legislature, I am surprised my former fellow legislators would support Mr. Spano's ongoing breach of responsibility to the public. There seems to be a great discrepancy in accounting between Westchester County and Entergy, and this issue deserves an investigation. However, an immediate correction is warranted with a reinstatement of the county's full and unequivocal participation in Indian Point emergency planning exercises and drills.
The people of Westchester deserve better from their county executive, and he should reverse his decision before another day goes by.
The writer, a Mount Pleasant Republican, is a former member of the Westchester Board of Legislators and unsuccessful candidate for county executive.

MY COMMENTS ON THIS:

Dear Readers:
Any discussion of evacuation plans is a red herring. Have you ever driven home in a rain storm of snow storm. How about the black-out two years ago. What a mess. What makes anybody think a bunch of panicky drivers fleeing for their safety will obey any plan. You see those blue evacuation bus signs. That is where you will find the charred bodies of the gullible. Those bus drivers will be taking those busses home filling them up with family and belongings and be on their way to safety.....they will not be risking their safety for strangers. Where will the authorities be?....on the taconic going north ahead of the busses.

As for the tax money being wasted in the futile attempt to close Indian Point....this is one of many reasons why this County Government should be disbanded. The Legislature should be ashamed of allocating this money. This the kind of wasteful spending that should be used to lower our tax burden. Our wise fiscal managers should stop being toadies for the County Executive. Stop pandering with our money. This is the kind of spending that I will remind voters of when you next run for re-election.

On another point.....we did stop the stipend raise for now. Watch out for the Legislature's next gimmick. They will appoint a commission of friends and toadies to study the issue and recommend the raise. This commission will be a farce. They will not appoint anybody against the raise. They will then hide behind the commission and grant themselves the raise. You must stay vigilant, for in April just in time to make us April Fools this issue will come around again.

Another reason why this government should be disbanded....while you were busy during the holidays, our County Government has authorized sicking the new trans-fat police on private business, seeking out culprits that might kill you if you live long enough.....the calorie police on private business seeking out stupid people who cannot control what they eat that also if you live long enough may kill you. Memo to the Legislature, no matter what, you will not get out of this life alive. They will also be sicking the helmet police on you adults if you have the temerity to ride a bicycle without a helmet. Finally your tax dollars besides being spent controlling the previously mentioned behavioral choices will now be spent on the garbage police to make sure whether you have public or private pickup, you can only dispose of government sanctioned garbage. How long are we going to remain silent while this governing body thinks it has the right to control our lives. When the doctor fill out the cause of death of freedom on its death certificate it will list voter apathy as the main cause. Stop being lemmings.
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ON CRONGRESSMAN JOHN HALL:

Dear Readers:

You can judge the mind set of an elected official by their votes. In the recently passed omnibus bill and energy bill you can see the mind set of our Congressman, who it turns out is up for re-election. This omnibus bill has nine thousand earmarks, costing eleven billion of our tax dollars(he ran against the Republicans for doing the same thing, do I hear the word hypocrite?). One of these ear-marks is for one-hundred million dollars to pay lawyers so illegal immigrants can sue us. That's right, Rep. Hall thinks it is a wise expenditure of our tax dollars to let people not here legally to sue us. I had a friend when I was growing up whose father would say go out and get me something to beat you with. The dutiful son would then go out a get a tree branch for the whopping. This is the same thing, we are going out and spending tax dollars to let someone beat us with.

In the energy bill he has voted to ban the incandescent light bulb by the year 2011. This is in the name of the global warming hoax. Our Rep. who thinks a woman should have the right to choose an abortion, does not think we should have the right to choose how we light our house. There is that word hypocrite again. In my last column for the NCN (www.ncnlocal.com ) I advocate for County Legislator George Oros to challenge Rep. Hall. I state that I would match his voting record against the Congressman's any day. This makes my case. We need a Congressman with a different mind set.
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FYI: BOOK SIGNING AND BOOK TO BUY:

A Shattered Peace:Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today

Greetings and Happy New Year!
It's been two months now (a month if you're in the UK) since my new book, A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today has hit the stores. And it's starting to get some real traction."Sales did start slowly, but it's picked up amazingly in the past few weeks," said a manager of the huge Barnes & Noble store at 86th Street and Lexington Avenue in New York where a stack is featured on the front table.An audio edition is also just around the corner (I'm in a studio now recording). Keep an eye on iTunes!Leonard Lopate told me after his show on New York NPR affiliate WNYC that it was the most compelling book interview he'd done in ages.ASP has also had some great reviews, and I've made some other landmark appearances [see below!]. Many of you have contacted me to say that you were unable to make previous events, but would like to know if there's something in the future. Well there is.

On January 15, I will be featured at a joint "evening" in Manhattan sponsored by the Overseas Press Club and the World Policy Institute where Craig Whitney, the assistant managing editor of The New York Times will engage me in a dialogue on some of the themes of A Shattered Peace. If you'd like to attend, call Sonya Fry at 212-626-9220.

On February 17, I will be delivering the President's Day speech at the Newington Cropsey Foundation in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY -- (914) 478-7990.And in March, I will be in London for two presentations. I'll send details a bit later.But above all, I am still anxious that the messages of a A Shattered Peace get as wide a distribution as possible. So, here's yet another appeal. If you've bought the book, THANK YOU.

Now, please keep spreading the word. Give it as a gift (after all Valentine's Day is just around the corner!), then there are always birthdays and other occasions. Buy it at Amazon.com or at your local book store and if they've sold out, have them re-order! Tell political candidates about it (some have noticed it already). I do want it to become a part of this year's national dialogue.If you are in a position to review it, get it reviewed, or book me for an interview (on-air or on-line!), please do so. (I'm a great interview, as those to whom I've linked below can attest!) And if you can get the book into the curriculum at any college or university, high school or prep school, you will not be disappointed. Moreover, given the proper incentive, I'd even come and speak there, as I've done at several venues already. Remember what Harvard Professor Ernest May says: "The failed peace settlement following the Great War of 1914-1918 had been the subject of many fine books. In many respects, David Andelman's A Shattered Peace is the best of these. It is compact and compellingly written. Moreover, it explains more clearly t han any other work how the failure of peacemaking in 1919 shaped later history and, indeed, shapes our own era."Thanks in advance for having a look at ASP. Just read the first three pages. You'll be hooked! That's my promise.

All the best,David

Now, here are links to some of the early reviews and appearances:
OpenDemocracy.net
WCBS-TVNYTimes.com Freakonomics
Jim Zirin, Digital AgeLeonard Lopate / WNYC The New York Sun: "We Are Children of Versailles"
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A MESSAGE FROM FORMER PUTNAM VALLEY SUPERVISOR SAM DAVIS:

Putnam Valley reorganization meeting.

Supervisor Tendy set the tone for his administration. I was grateful to see that he kept the engineer, the planner, the wetlands inspector, and the new planning board member, who is an architect. I advocated for them because these people were all good for the town, and residents can count on them to do their jobs well and responsibly. And although I knew that the change was coming, it was a shame that Mr. Tendy was not able to rethink his position on having an environmental attorney available for the Town. Mr. Zutt has represented Mr. Santucci, and not all residents feel comfortable with that association. During my administration, there was an alternative for issues with which Mr. Zutt is unfamiliar.

There were several serious problems highlighted by the reorganization meeting. Council members seemed to be briefed on their responses and were reading very rapidly to avoid having the public understand what was going on. Decision making is supposed to be a public process, and although it can be messy, the public deserves to know that decisions have not been made behind closed doors. After a lengthy public process, budget decisions were changed secretly, and without subsequent discussion before the public.

The salary for the attorney for the Town was set at $5,000 more than was budgeted.
The salary for the Town custodian was set at $5,000 more than was budgeted.
An agenda item was added in a manner contradictory to Town Board rules:
a. An addition to the posted agenda may only be made by majority vote of the Town Board. There was no such vote on the agenda item to dissolve the Comprehensive Plan Committee.
b. Additionally, the addition was not made with the knowledge of the two Democratic council members.

Mr. Tendy said that he would allow public comment at the end of the meeting if people wanted it.
a. No public comment was allowed even though it was made clear that there were those who wanted it.
b. Even if public comment was allowed at the end of the meeting, it would have been after the votes had been taken. By this method, the Board will not even be allowed the benefit of public
input.
c. This is not an example of friendly, open government, but rather closed, non democratic government. This is behavior demonstrative of a dictatorship, not a democracy.

One of the very important jobs of the Comprehensive Plan Committee is the implementation of the Plan. Implementation is the process of taking the concepts and putting them into law, followed by enforcement, so that the concepts become reality. The Comprehensive Plan is not a hollow document meant to sit on a shelf. I believe Mr. Tendy knows that. It is unclear what his intentions are, but dissolution of the Committee will obstruct the Plan's implementation. This is disrespectful to the residents of the Town who have made it clear that they want the Plan reflected in our laws. Additionally, there are areas that have not been completed in the document, such as the Oregon Corners Plan, the open space plan, etc. And if there are any changes needed in the plan, the Comprehensive Plan committee is needed for that process. This has been a highly successful committee, completing the work in record time. Ms. Greenfield-Sanders won an award for her remarkable work with this committee. It's place in our community should not be jeopardized for petty politics.

Sam Davis
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*THIS WEEKS "IN MY OPINION COLUMN" IN THE NCN:
Dear Readers:
This week I discuss the politicla races for 2008. You can read my column on this topic exclusively on line(see link below)or 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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FYI:ATOM TAXI INC. AIRPORT SERVICE:
Dear Readers:
This gives me a chance to plug my business ATOM TAXI INC. As you are planning your holiday or business or vacation travel? Instead of the headache of trying to find Airport parking, we do Airport Service to The Westchester County Airport(and ALL other airports) 24/7. Just call 1(914)879-6121 and my partner Tommy, will be glad to take you in our Airport Taxi. You will also be provided with a free copy of your local paper of record The North County News. If this is a business trip we also provide a professional receipt, just tell Tommy at the time of booking. The cost of a one-way trip to the Westchester County Airport is seventy dollars. To LaGuardia Airport the cost is Ninety-four dollars which includes all tolls. The cost to JFK and Newark Airports is one hundred-twenty-five dollars which also includes all tolls. We do not take credit cards, sorry.
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E-MAIL ME WITH YOUR COMMENTS:
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.
LINKS: atom_taxi@yahoo.com(as this a yahoo address make sure you put an underscore (-) between atom and taxi)
For immediate reply: atomtaxi@aol.com
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SITES TO LINK TO:
YORKTOWN COUNCILMAN NICK BIANCO: http://www.electbianco.com/
PLAN PUTNAM: planputnam@googlegroups.com/
PEEKSKILL GUARDIAN: http://peekskillguardian.blogspot.com/
NORTH COUNTY NEWS: http://northcountynews.com/
THE JOURNAL NEWS: http://thejournalnews.com/
PEEKSKILL DEMOCRATS: http://www.peekskilldems.com/
PEEKSKILLREPUBLICANS:http://peekskillgop.com/YORKTOWN SUPERVISOR DON PETERS: http://www.donpetersforyorktown.com/
PUTNAM VALLEY SUPERVISOR BOB TENDY:http://www.bobtendyforsupervisor.com/
PEEKSKILL FIRST: http://www.peekskillfirst.net/
THE PEEKSILL NEWS: http://thepeekskillnews.blogspot.com/
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CABLE SHOWS TO WATCH

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

DON PETERS AND YORKTOWN: Every Tuesday at 10PM channel 74
Hosted by: DON PETERS

YORKTOWN WATCHDOG: Every Friday at 9:30 PM on channel 74

Hosted By: ED CHIFFON

LEGISLATORS REPORT: Saturday and Sunday at various times on chanel 20
Hosted By: COUNCILMEN NICK BIANCO AND LOU CAMPISI
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EDITOR'S NOTE:
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 01/06/08