Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Bazzomanifesto Update 03/04/15: 8 Topics In Today's blog


1) Ed Ciffone on the Watchdog Report and Bryan Fumagalli

2)  Democratic Westchester Legislators Demand Answers from Administration on Invest in Kids Funding Debacle

3) NEWS: Maloney Announces 2015 Congressional Art Competition

4) Andrew Cuomo, Bill de Blasio and the Delete Key

5) Town Of Ossining: Town Board Work Session- WEDNESDAY, March 4th, 2015

6) Town of Ossining Board Decides to Table Homestead Option

7) Astorino: Leader Term Limit Bill Not Enough

8) Lalor Asks Skelos to Stop Costly Subsidy for Billionaire

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Ed Ciffone on the Watchdog Report and Bryan Fumagalli
Press release from Legislators Alfreda Williams, Catherine Borgia, MaryJane Shimsky, Ken Jenkins, Catherine Parker and Pete Harckham

Contact: Tom Staudter | | 914-995-2819 (office) | 914-419-5221 (cell)
Democratic Legislators Demand Answers from Administration on Invest-in-Kids Funding Debacle

Proven programs cancelled, good jobs lost—and kids are hurt and lost in the shuffle

White Plains, NY – Democratic caucus members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) demanded again today that the Astorino Administration turn over documents and information spelling out how proven providers participating in the County’s Invest-in-Kids (IIK) program were denied funding for 2015 (the first year in a 3-year funding cycle), and instead were replaced by other, new providers. Also troubling is the fact that the providers denied 2015 funding in the 3-year contracts were not informed of the Administration’s decision to strip their funding until the end of January 2015.

The Democratic legislators made their concerns strongly heard at a joint meeting of the BOL Budget & Appropriations and BOL Community Services Committees, where Dr. Iris Pagan, executive director of the Westchester County Youth Bureau, was requested to answer questions regarding proposed BOL legislation to restore 2015 grant funding—about $45,000 per program— to the proven providers of twenty programs inexplicably shut out this year.

 “Without a doubt, the Administration has created a real mess by summarily cutting proven Invest-in-Kids programs out of this year’s funding,” said Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh), chair of the BOL Community Services Committee. “These program providers are valuable community partners who have shown exemplary service to our residents for many years, and they deserve better treatment than this and proper respect for their work. We need to examine whether the evaluative process in regard to this year’s grant funding is at issue here or not.”

 Exactly a month ago, the legislators met with Pagan and heard how the 2015 grant funding process for IIK went awry. Contrary to a law passed in 2011 that guaranteed funding for current IIK programs as part of the County Budget, the Astorino Administration instead issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for IIK youth services due in October 2014 and asked current program providers to apply as well.

 To date, the BOL has not been privy to the 133 RFPs received by the Administration, the criteria for evaluating the RFPs, or the scores put on the RFPs—all of which Williams asked Pagan to provide to the BOL on February 2.

“The Administration’s stonewalling of information about the Invest-in-Kids proposals suggests a less than objective review was undertaken,” said Legislator Parker (D-Rye). “Because of this, funding the cut programs with the promise of a better proposal process in the future makes sense.”

 Added Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson): “The whole Invest-in-Kids process this year has the appearance of impropriety.  It is time for the Administration to come clean and give us complete answers,  including all relevant documents, on how programs were selected or not.  The children whose futures depend on these important programs deserve no less.”

 Dr. Pagan told legislators in early February 2015 that instead of the usual evaluative process for the RFPs, which involves “readers” and adjudicators from outside the Administration—namely, members of the County’s Youth Council and Westchester Campaign for Kids Coalition (in order to ensure objectivity and reduce political bias)—she was instructed this year to keep the process “in house.” Meanwhile, the 2011 BOL legislation regarding IIK notes, “No changes to contracts between the County and agencies providing Invest in Kids Fund programs are permitted without the prior approval of the Board of Legislators.”

Amazingly, Dr. Pagan admitted to not knowing anything about the 2011 County law governing the Youth Bureau and IIK funding for agencies currently providing programs for children at risk.

 “It is unconscionable to cut from Westchester County funding—for no identifiable reasons whatsoever—successful programs that have served Westchester youth for dozens of years,” said Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers). “The Board of Legislators should vote immediately for funding these essential agencies and their Invest-in-Kids programs.”

 “Last month, the Board of Legislators requested the RFPs for the Invest-in-Kids programs and the Youth Bureau’s scoring of them, yet we still have not received them,” said Legislator Pete Harckham (D-North Salem). “This imperils the Board’s ability to perform appropriate due diligence for the people of Westchester. It also causes suspicion as to why the Administration overruled some of the department’s requested program approvals.”

BOL Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining) noted that the legislators were told that Administration had spoken to defunded program providers but would not commit to finding money for programs that had been defunded.

“It is important that Westchester resources are used wisely,” added Borgia, who as a member of the Youth Bureau vetted IIK proposals. “It doesn’t make sense to defund proven programs in order to fund new programs.”

Additional news and photos available at

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March 2, 2015

CONTACT: Stephanie Formas, 202-225-0415

Maloney Announces 2015 Congressional Art Competition

Washington  – Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) announced that student submissions are now being accepted for the 2015 Congressional Art Competition.  The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Since then, over 650,000 high school students have been involved with the nationwide competition.

“From the Hudson River School to the Dia:Beacon, the Hudson Valley is home to innovative artists with work displayed in museums throughout the world. In the last two years, nearly 100 artists have participated, so I look forward to seeing the creative and original artwork from our talented students in the Hudson Valley,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

The submission period for artwork will be held from Monday, March 2rd to Friday, April 17th. Art work and the Student Information and Release Form should be dropped off to our Newburgh Office located at 123 Grand Street in Newburgh, NY by April 17th. Entries can also be accepted via email to Please include both a photo of the entry and the Student Information and Release Form.  

In order to choose the winning piece of artwork, Rep. Maloney will utilize both social media and the local Hudson Valley art community. Submissions will be posted on Rep. Maloney’s official Facebook fan page for a period of two weeks (April 20th to May 1st) where they will be voted on via the “like” button. In early May, all entries will be presented to a panel of local judges from the 18th district of New York at a reception for all participants, and they will determine a grand prize winner, winners for each medium and a Facebook Fan Favorite.

The grand prize winning artwork will be displayed in the Capitol for one year and the winning student plus one guest will receive complimentary airfare to Washington, DC for a reception in June.  You can view last year’s art competition entries here.

More information for teachers and students is available on our website at For any additional questions, please e-mail or call the Newburgh office at 845-561-1259.
March 3, 2015
Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo -- what's the nice way to put this? -- can't stand each other. But the dueling Democrats have one thing in common: an affinity for destroying public documents.  Andrew Cuomo's office has been destroying emails after 90 days, and the de Blasio administration will be destroying municipal ID records just before the next President takes office. One of his allies on the City Council even admitted that they were only doing so "in case a Tea Party Republican comes into office ."

Here are two pieces that hit late yesterday in the Daily Caller and The Daily Dot about the schemes:
New NYC Municipal ID Law Allows City to Destroy Documentation of All Applicants

by Kerry Picket
The Daily Caller 

WASHINGTON - The de Blasio administration made assurances that any records submitted by applicants who want to receive New York City's municipal ID will be destroyed on Dec. 31, 2016 - 20 days before a new president takes office.

New York Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis told The Daily Caller that the future destruction of records on applicants for the city's new municipal identification card is "irresponsible" and "sets a very dangerous precedent."

The ID gives the cardholder benefits, which include opening a bank or credit account at more than a dozen financial institutions across New York City and accessing prescription drug discounts. The card will be accepted by city agencies, the NYPD, gatekeepers at the entrances of public buildings and officials giving high school equivalency exams in New York City. The card is also available to all New York City residents, regardless of their past or present involvement with the criminal justice system.

According to the IDNYC website, the ID does not allow "cardholders to drive or provide proof of identity to obtain a driver's license." Additionally, "The card also does not authorize cardholders to purchase alcohol or tobacco products, receive public assistance benefits, or travel on an airplane."
The card also does not confer immigration status or provide work authorization, and requires different pieces of documentation in order to qualify for the ID.

"The City of New York is going to give half million individuals government issued identification cards and then they're going to destroy the records so we don't know who is holding these government ID cards. That could be a very dangerous precedent, I believe-especially in a post 9/11 world," Malliotakis said.

She explained, "The 9/11 commission reports examined that. Terrorists use fraudulent documents. This is a very dangerous situation where you're not only providing individuals with identification based on a foreign national card and a utility bill through a residence, which we al know can be faked...It's so irresponsible."

New York State Republican Chairman Ed Cox shared Malliotakis's concern, telling TheDC, "New Yorkers deserve a government that operates in the open: to threaten to destroy government records when a President from the other party takes office is to spit in the face of the principles upon which our Democracy was founded."

For the full article click here

Email Scandal Shows N.Y. Governor is Either Incompetent or Corrupt
by Patrick Howell O'Neill
The Daily Dot
Is it digital incompetence or real world corruption?
That's the fun game that critics of New York governor Andrew Cuomo are playing this month after he implemented a policy of automatically deleting employee emails after 90 days in an effort to use state resources more efficiently. It's conspicuous timing, given that federal prosecutors are investigating Cuomo's administration for possible corruption.
The Governor, who once promised his administration would be the state's "most transparent and accountable in history," has been accused of hypocrisy from both sides of the aisle. He's instead adopted "a policy designed to reduce transparency," said John Kaehny, the executive director of Reinvent Albany, a government transparency group.
On top of that, Cuomo's math just doesn't add up.
New York already pays for 50 gigabytes of email storage for every employee in Microsoft's cloud, according to Microsoft. That's at least 40 years of emails, Kaehny explained, or about 162 times the current automatic deletion time.
"I think the policy is a disaster waiting to happen. Albany has a terrible reputation for backroom wheeling and dealing, and a policy of automatic destruction of records simply doesn't match expectations for how organizations operate in 2015," Muckrock founder Michael Morisy told the Daily Dot.
"In fact, public companies on the New York Stock Exchange are required to hold on to many emails for 7 years, so that they may be audited-and they have been since 2002," Morisy added. "Thirteen years later, I think a seven-year retention policy is reasonable and affordable, just as its practiced at thousands of companies across America."
Take a look at your own email inbox and figure out what makes sense. I've been using my personal Gmail account for a full decade. I get a torrent of emails every day and don't delete much. To date, I've used 7 gigabytes of space.
It could be another 60 years before I use 50 gigabytes-and that's if I don't manually delete anything between now and the year 2075.
"Where there's smoke, there's fire, and this is a lot of smoke," David Laska, the New York Republican Party's communications director told the Daily Dot. "What is the Governor trying to hide?"
For the full article click here
On Tuesday, March 3, 2015 1:23 PM, Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly wrote:


    The Volunteer-Spirited Town


Due to the inclement weather expected for Tuesday evening, the Town Board will be holding a Work Session on Wednesday evening, March 4th, beginning at 5:30PM, in the Board Room at 16 Croton Avenue.


The Board will adjourn immediately into Executive Session for Legal Advice, and will leave Executive Session at 6:30PM.


At 6:30PM, the Town Board will return to Work Session for a public discussion of the Homestead Option. The meeting will be filmed and posted to the Town's YouTube channel/ shown on Public Access later in the week.


Feel free to join us for the public portion of the meeting at 6:30PM on Wednesday evening.


2015 Budget Resources
Line Item, Highlights, Facts & Figures
    Residents can also contact the Town Board by phone at 762-6001.
    Susanne Donnelly:
    Eric P. Blaha:
    Geoffrey Harter:
    Kim Jeffrey:
    Northern Wilcher:
    Town Board 
    Susanne Donnelly
    Eric P. Blaha
    Council Member 
    Geoffrey J. Harter
    Council Member 
    Kim Jeffrey
    Council Member 
    Northern Wilcher
    Council Member 

    Town Links
    On Tuesday, March 3, 2015 4:26 PM, Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly wrote:


        The Volunteer-Spirited Town


    After considerable review and analysis by this Board and in consultation with legal counsel and the Town Assessor, the Board has determined it is in the best interest of the entire community to table, or suspend pursuit of, the Homestead Option. 
    We want YOU, the community, to understand that we have given significant thought to this issue.  During the process of fully evaluating all the impacts that the Homestead Option may have on all of our taxing elements, we realize that we cannot tackle both the first revaluation in 40 years, and at the same time, tackle the additional complexities involved with adopting Homestead. 
    We realize there are numerous potential groups that could be significantly impacted by Homestead, including:
    ·         single family residential property owners
    ·         condo owners
    ·         co-op residential owners
    ·         business & commercial property owners
    In fairness to the community members, to the Assessor, and to this Board, we need to focus on the revaluation in its own right.  To reiterate, we are tabling the Homestead Option.
    It will be the prerogative of a future Town Board to reconsider the Homestead Option if the Town of Ossining undergoes a subsequent revaluation.
    Town Board 
    Susanne Donnelly
    Eric P. Blaha
    Council Member 
    Geoffrey J. Harter
    Council Member 
    Kim Jeffrey
    Council Member 
    Northern Wilcher
    Council Member 

    Town Links
    On Wednesday, March 4, 2015 8:44 AM, County Executive Rob Astorino wrote:

    Contact:  Bill O'Reilly, 212-396-9117 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    "Right direction, but ultimately a half measure."

    New York--March 4...The New York State Senate's bill to limit the terms of legislative and committee leaders to eight years is a welcome move, but only true term limits will clear out the culture of corruption in Albany, Westchester County Executive and 2014 Republican-Conservative candidate for governor today said.
    Mr. Astorino, who imposed term limits on himself as county executive, called on State Senate and Assembly leaders to put a bill on the floor limiting all state elected officials to eight years in office -- two four-year terms for statewide officials and four two-year terms for state senators and assembly members.
    "Senator Dean Skelos and his conference are to be commended for passing a term limit bill for legislative leaders," Mr. Astorino said. "It is a move in the right direction, but ultimately a half measure. The culture of corruption in Albany is seated in the coziness between elected officials and monied interests that longevity in office invariably brings. Term limits empower the little guy -- the voter -- by reducing the grip of special interests on legislators."   
    Mr. Astorino called for a simple up-or-down vote on term limits in both houses of the legislature to let New Yorkers know where their elected leaders stand on the issue.
    On Wednesday, March 4, 2015 12:15 PM, Chris Covucci wrote:

    Trouble viewing this email? Read it online
    Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor 
    For Immediate ReleaseMarch 4, 2015
    Contact: Chris Covucci - (845) 309-2654
    Lalor Asks Skelos to Stop Costly Subsidy for Billionaire
    East Fishkill, NY - (3/4/15) - Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I - East Fishkill) is calling on Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to drop the reported effort to include a giveaway to billionaire donor John Catsimatidis in the budget, which would cost New Yorkers tens of millions of dollars. The New York Post reported on the Senate Republican effort to include a costly biofuel mandate for heating oil in this year's budget. Catsimatidis is lobbying for the regulation and stands to reap a windfall through his new biofuel production plant. The plan would add $150 million to the cost of heating oil across New York.
    "This is the worst form of crony capitalism from Albany," said Lalor. "This would benefit Skelos' billionaire donor Catsimatidis by taking money from the pockets of regular New Yorkers. It's already expensive enough to live in New York. New Yorkers don't have any money to spare to subsidize Catsimatidis. Crony capitalism and out-of-control corporate welfare are killing this state. This giveaway to Catsimatidis can't go forward."
    Lalor added, "We're not going to fix New York with more handouts to Albany's cronies. I hope Senator Skelos will put a swift end to this effort by a billionaire and his friends in Albany to pickpocket New Yorkers. If Catsimatidis has a good product he should compete on the open market to sell it. He shouldn't be able to lobby and pay off his friends in Albany to mandate that New Yorkers buy his product. If Catsimatidis and Skelos have to force New Yorkers to buy something, they're probably selling snake oil. Crony capitalism is wrong, whether it's Republicans or Democrats practicing it. We can turn New York's economy around by using the billions we now spend on corporate welfare to instead fund across-the-board tax relief for all New Yorkers."

    Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel. Lalor is of counsel to the law firm Gaines, Novick, Ponzini, Cossu & Venditti. He is a graduate of John Jay High School, Providence College and Pace Law School and lives in Hopewell Jct. with his wife Mary Jo and their four young children Katie, Riley, Mikey and Kieran Jr..
    Bazzo 03/04/15 

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