Thursday, August 2, 2007

Our Readers Respond...

Reader Gives Patient Litigants A Heads Up


Dear Editor:

In reply to “A Concerned State Worker” Our Readers Respond... July 19, 2007:

The mystery writer makes statements about Republican Minority Leader Westchester County Legislator
George Oros and his wife Marianne Oros of the New York State Health Department. The past-tense reference regarding a hospital Mrs. Oros “oversaw” is confusing. Does the writer have proof that Marianne Oros is no longer the director of the hospital program? She was the director in March of 2006.

Why doesn’t the writer indicate that the hospital in question is Hudson Valley Hospital? Is that some sort of secret? The people that should be concerned the most about this Oros situation are the patients of Hudson Valley Hospital who filed complaints about their care to the New York State Health Department and received the standard “your concerns could not be substantiated” letter. In my opinion, those patients should seek
legal advice regarding the Oros conflict of interest and how it may have impacted the results of their complaint.


Jennifer Forte, Millwood

Everyone’s Entitled To Their Opinion


Dear Editor:

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”. Sir Walter Scott wrote these timeless and prophetic words, and they are as profound today as they were back in the eighteenth century. And there is enough deceit to go around, especially among those in the fourth estate.

In the July 19th edition of The Westchester Guardian, both Fred Polvere and Richard Blassberg offer the reader the same distorted liberal rhetoric. This unnatural hatred and contempt for George W. Bush is beyond ideological differences. Blassberg accuses the Bush administration of treason, while Polvere in another distraught and anguish-filled tirade concludes his column with these words, “he (Bush) has sealed his legacy as a President who
stands for Unequal Justice Under the Law”. In a previous column, Polvere accused Mr. Bush of being, “the most incompetent and immoral president in the history of the United States”. One can only imagine what is yet to come: George Bush is a maniac, killer, genocidal dictator. He’s inhuman!

Both of the columns are replete with the same usual platitudes and inaccuracies: misled Congress and the American People into war, enormous financial profits collected by Halliburton which Dick Cheney is intimately connected, obstruction of justice, misguided claims of “Executive Privilege”. But what is most egregious
– and liberals are noted for this kind of gutter politics – is when it gets personal. Blassberg writes that, “Bush is both stupid and stubborn.” And Polvere refers to the President’s alcoholism, which he has overcome, and “probable substance abuse.” That’s right, probable substance abuse. It has never been proven, so I guess Mr.
Polvere probably believes it. It is Bush Derangement Syndrome, and it is out of control.

I have come to the conclusion that most diehard liberals would show more compassion and understanding toward terrorists than they would this President, any in his administration, Republicans, and most certain Lewis Libby. And, in conclusion, I’d like to offer some advice to The Westchester Guardian. You might want to
consider changing the name to The Westchester Liberal Guard-ian, and instead of what appears to be the effigy of a colonial militiaman, you show a facsimile of George Bush encircled with a line through it.

Bob Pascarella,
The Bronx


“One Man’s Encounter With A CORRUPT D.S.S. and County Executive Office That Put Me Here”

Dear Editor:


I saw your latest edition today; “$25,000 For Corruption. As you know from earlier contacts, I’m not after the
money. The best way to to entitle this is, “One man’s encounter with a CORRUPT Department of Social Services, and the County Executive Office that put me here.”

In 2001 I was sent to work for Galante Contracting in various Westchester County offices. Mr. Galante had
already been found guilty for not paying prevailing wages at least one time prior to my hire. He should have been
barred from future contracts but, because of his friendships with members of the County Government, he was
able to be caught four more times. Four more, before he was unable to get no more work (at times without bid), and before I learned I was ill, and he had never paid my insurance. This, however, was in 2001, and is just background to today’s reason I write you.

I have congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and now, due to D.S.S., kidney disease. In July of 2005 I became homeless. I went to 85 Court Street, White Plains to apply for benefits. My intake was handled
by a Ms. Cooley. She was efficient and fair.

When she was finished, I was given to a Ms. (Jackie) Brutto. Her first contact with me was by phone, and she said, “I’ve called your Union, I’ve pulled your photo and I know who you are. I’m going to deny you.”
She would later admit to an Administrative Judge she had called my Union before ever talking with me. This was at a fair hearing in December 2005. Ms. Brutto further, opened my mail, canceled my Medicaid and stopped all
benefits with FORGED documents and lies. The latest of these incidents happened shortly before the death of my father, in March of this year. I had stayed with him for over three months when he was ill. After he went into the hospital, my sisters and their friend illegally locked me out of the apartment. This happened in Greenburgh and, of course, those Courts or Police were of NO and LITTLE help, respectively. The P.D.’s hands were effectively tied by the Court, and I returned to D.S.S., 85 Court Street, and was assisted by two people who helped me get back into housing and on Medicaid. Then it was back to Ms. Brutto. I was placed in Valhalla, and waited for assessment. During that time I had my “F.E.D.S.” hearing. This is where they tell you what to get to
show eligibility. One thing I needed was a letter from my Union, and the other a letter from my Doctor. I mmediately faxed my Union, and set up an appointment with my Doctor for the following Monday.

I went to D.S.S. and let Ms. Brutto know I would need help with the Union, and would have the Doctor’s letter the following Monday.

To my surprise, the NEXT DAY I was on the list for the three-day assessment. NO prior notice, which is normal, and when I tried to postpone the assessment, I was sanctioned. I immediately filed for a Fair Hearing. Due to my illness, I was granted an Emergency Hearing, however, benefits were CUT. Until its outcome, I now had to stay at the “DROP-IN” shelter at 85 Court Street. Located in the basement, totally below ground with NO WINDOWS, NO SHOWERS, and only three toilets for forty three “CLIENTS”, and staff. While I was waiting for this hearing my father passed. I postponed the hearing, and then had it. At the hearing, someone
named “Tommy” from the Assessment Center was interviewed by phone.

He had sent an information “package” to the hearing. It contained an obviously FORGED list of names, mine included, of people who were to start their assessment on the 30th of March, 2007. Only one problem, it was dated April 29, 2007, one month later! How obvious can you get? Ms. Brutto was not available, and the
County “WITHDREW”, the action, after learning I am ill.

I again saw my Doctor, got a letter for housing, and went to D.S.S. giving the papers to Ms. Brutto. Over the phone she told me, “We still have other ‘ISSUES’, and the decision did not matter.” I then went to the Commissioner’s office at 112 East Post Road, White Plains, and saw a “Chris” (these people are not too
interested in giving their names). I asked for Ms. Brutto to at least be taken off my case, at most “FIRED” for refusing a direct order, or to be suspended. Mr. Chris laughed! This (none of these) could not be done. Now all I have is Medicaid. I have no housing or benefits. Ms. Brutto is still on my case, though I was told to go at a later date to D.S.S. Why, I will not be placed, and I was undergoing a series of tests to see how bad my kidneys are.
Now, as you know, the Drop-In Shelter is closing on August 6, 2007. I did VERY little research and found this is not “PROPER” under New York State, Department of Social Services laws (see Affirming the Right to Shelter, New York State Supreme Court, February, 2000). Yet Mr. Larry Schwartz, of the County Executive’s
office, with little warning, announced the closing. If I cannot be placed, and I now should lose my medical, what am I to do?

Since the announcement, acts of assault have taken place against the homeless by workers who are supposed to help. Others have had to leave shelters because the county requires more money than they earn at jobs (over 100 percent of the gross income) for “SHELTER EXPENSES”, and if you do not get “into” the system, you
will be on the street. No doubt to be arrested or otherwise harassed.

I have contacted the A.C.L.U. and Nita Lowey, along with the Coalition For The Homeless. One question comes to mind about Larry Schwartz. He has been a constant from Galante to now. In the Journal News (which should be printed about 5” wide, put on a cardboard roller, and perforated every 5”); about three weeks after the announcement of the shelter’s demise, the paper’s headline was about Mr. Capelli. He has, as rumor goes, wanted the shelter out of White Plains. The headline said he received an $110,000,000 tax cut on his new buildings on Main Street in White Plains. Since the County Executive’s of-fice closed the shelter, and there was
such a generous tax cut, how much went to the favorite charity (A POCKET?) of someone in the Executive’s office?

David Boudreau


Welcome, Pilgrim

Dear Editor:


I have just been informed about your newspaper. I have read a few of the articles about the political and judicial
corruption that we, in Westchester County, have been expected to tolerate for far too long. I am a protective mother who has witnessed this corruption in the White Plains, NY and Stamford, Ct family court system.

I am a domestic violence activist and have been very active politically in Westchester County. I have witnessed
the political and judicial corruption while trying to protect my children from child abuse, medical neglect and
continued coercive control.

Ann Coleman

In Our Opinion...

Nothing Quite Like Competition To Bring Out The Best


We realize that it doesn’t especially please Westchester’s political control freaks; guys like Larry Schwartz, Giulio Cavallo, and Zehy Jereis, who have been manipulating the outcome of elections in the County for years.

However, We are delighted that the political process is beginning to open up, and incumbents in places such as Yonkers and Mount Vernon will no longer be shoe-ins. Phil Amicone and Ernie Davis will now face serious and determined competition, and, most importantly, will be held to account for their conduct in office.

After all, isn’t it the American way? Aren’t we all for competition to bring out the best possible product, at the lowest possible cost? Why should we view the holding of public office and the running of government any differently? In short, the fixing of elections, yes, the fixing of elections, both before and after the fact, the like of which has been all too common in Westchester, is downright un-American.

We are really pleased that County Legislator Clinton Young will be running against Ernie Davis in the Democratic Primary. Of course, in a city as overwhelmingly Democratic as Mount Vernon, for the most part the primary is
the general election. Therefore it will be important for those who want to bring about meaningful change in their city to make sure that they bring people to the primary who ordinarily leave those contests to the party mucky-mucks.

And, let’s face it; everybody knows it’s time for a change in Mount Vernon. The same ol’, same ol’ just won’t cut it anymore.

In Yonkers, the fourth largest city in New York State, the incumbent is facing competition from within his own party, the Republican party, in the person of Vinny Restiano, not to mention Democratic candidate, and City Councilman Dennis Robertson, a strong vote-getter, as well as Independence, and Independent, candidate Nader Sayegh, an extremely popular educator, and public servant.

Unlike his first run for mayor, this time Phil Amicone will not have the ‘slingshot’ edge that John Spencer gave him last time. In fact, Amicone has been so desperate for endorsement that he has taken up with the likes of Giulio Cavallo, Zehy Jereis, and Nick Spano. What’s the old expression; something about “birds of a feather?”

Nevertheless, whether on good terms, or not, with his mentor John Spencer, Phil Amicone cannot deny that he has been right there at the heart of city government, pulling strings for nearly twelve years.

High taxes, coupled with poor schools, rest on his shoulders. Police brutality, coupled with increased street crime and violence, likewise rest with him. He will have to answer to the People of Yonkers, many of whom are considering moving back to The Bronx or to other communities less expensive and safer than Yonkers has become under his watch. All the expensive new high-rise construction and fancy shopping centers, catering to the wealthy, simply won’t make the lives of hardworking, ordinary, citizens struggling to raise their families,
in what has become of Yonkers any easier.

Once again, We are delighted that there will be serious competition in at least two major Westchester elections this year. Perhaps the crucible of meaningful opposition will produce outcomes that will actually be beneficial to constituents and their families.

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