Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thursday, May 8, 2008

In Our Opinion...

Persistence Overcomes Resistance

If Larry Schwartz, Andy Spano, Bill Ryan, or any of their cadre of political appointees, have even the slightest notion that the petition drive launched last week by Paul Feiner, Joan Gronowski, and some 200 Westchester taxpayers was simply a momentary blip, a temporary
response to a tightened economy, that will quickly be abandoned when things loosen up, they are sadly mistaken.

Those who came out to the Will Library in Yonkers, from all over the County, were merely a vanguard, a fractional representation of those who will soon be joining the ranks of volunteers and demonstrators. The County Executive’s Office, and the Board of Legislators, haven’t a clue between them regarding the level of resentment and disgust homeowners, hard-working tax-paying families, have come to feel for them and their selfish antics.

After all, Westchester residents have known, for some time, that they are the most heavily taxed property owners in the nation. Given that fact, one wonders what characters, like Bill Ryan and Larry Schwartz, were thinking about. A County budget approaching $2 billion - $2,000 for every man, woman and child in Westchester - and a 40 percent pay hike wasn’t exactly throwing salt on taxpayers’ wounds, more like sulfuric acid. Trouble is, these greedy, money-driven politicos are too self-absorbed to give a moment’s thought to anyone else’s needs, anyone else’s feelings. They just don’t get it.

It’s one thing to abuse your constituency, but quite another to be in their face, especially when they are struggling just to make ends meet. Of course, Schwartz really has no concern about ordinary, hard-working people. He knows he’s “The Most Powerful Person In The County,” and he makes sure anyone, who may get in his way, even momentarily, even elderly, slower-moving gentlemen discover that fact. In simple language, he could care less how the People, who are footing the bill, might feel about $28,000 raises to part-time election commissioners
if it means he can keep those hacks loyal enough to him to fix still another election outcome when called upon.

No, those in County government did not anticipate the present uprising, the present “taxpayer revolt.” And, even now, they do not realize that there will be no turning back. Neither Paul Feiner, nor Joan Gronowski, are the least bit worried about Larry, or Andy, or any of their mob. And, those who have begun to enlist in the effort want nothing so much as to “throw the bums out.”

Guardian Publisher Sam Zherka hit the nail on the head when he told those gathered at the Will Library last week, “Power comes in numbers.” His prediction, that with each succeeding meeting, the petition drive will grow in number and influence, reflects his own success, less than two years ago, in dealing with Mayor Noam Bramson and the City Council of New Rochelle, who foolishly thought they would seize his commercial downtown property and turn it over to developer Louis Cappelli. Two hundred supporters, and 2,311 petition signatures delivered at the Council’s public hearing, together with firm assurances that the numbers would be more than doubled at the next hearing, turned the Mayor and the Council around 180 degrees, and Mr. Cappelli came to the table and paid a fair price for value received.

The families of Westchester must remain resolute, unwilling to be driven from their homes by the thoughtlessness and greed of self-serving politicians. The People must take back control by coming out in ever-increasing numbers, bringing friends and relatives with them, not
merely to carry petitions, but to vote the present crew right out of office; the Andy Spanos, the Bill Ryans, the Ken Jenkinses, the Jose Alvarados, and every other self-servant, replacing them with public servants.

With persistance, over time, positive results will be achieved and, Runaway County Government, which has become an unbearable financial burden, as well as an intrusive interfering force, will either be significantly brought under control or abolished altogether.

Our Readers Respond...

A Note Of Hope And Thanks

Dear Editor:

I just wanted to thank you for running the two articles written by me in last month’s editions of your paper. As you know, what I experienced from the system here in Westchester was a trauma, to say the least. No one is perfect, and I am no exception. However, what I
experienced was completely uncalled for.

The Department of Social Services here in Westchester County disrupted my life unnecessarily and forever damaged my family. The Northern Westchester Domestic Violence Shelter functions as a State-supported radical feminist vigilante squad. Those that support these institutions should be ashamed of themselves. They are organizations within a system that has lost its integrity. Once again, thank you for running the piece; hopefully it will help bring about social change.

Matthew Kletter, Esq.

Reader Says ‘Charity Begins At Home’

Dear Editor:

Why is it the immigrants get everything for free and the American-born people don’t or can’t? This subject or topic, whichever you want to call it, goes on and on. There are plenty of American children and senior citizens who are starving and can use some help. Some of them can’t afford food, pay medical bills or other bills, but the immigrants get it free, free, free. They all sneak into our country and they still get
away with things that they shouldn’t be getting away with.

Our government should be looking into some of our states to see what is going on. They have homes, cars, cell phones, and are in their own businesses. If they can’t speak or understand English, how can they be in business, or get their licenses? Their children get lunches for 25 cents a day. Some of the children ask their teachers or the cafeteria cashiers to change a $50 bill to buy junk food. Can you believe that this does happen?

If there are some immigrants that are so down and out, then why is it possible for so many of them to go to the store and buy
Scratch Off tickets that costs them between $15-$20 at a time and call themselves homeless?

My parents, grandparents, along with others, came into this country and became citizens, worked just as hard, or even harder, in their day, but never could get any help. I do feel sorry for the ones in need of help but, believe me, I also feel for our American people who need help.
My mother, who passed away years ago, always said “Charity starts at home first, then you help others.”

Nancy Bronzino, Mount Kisco

Corrupt Village Of Mamaroneck Injustice System

Dear Editor:

For seven years, until I moved in Dec 2007, I resided at 1421 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck with my family. The supers who managed our
building complex, were two criminals by the names, Sandy and Peter Stam. These individuals were extremely racist and would maliciously harass tenants based on racial profiling. From 2000-2003 they would periodically send letters to the landlord which contained frivolous and unsubstantiated accusations of lease violations. The supers were determined to force us to voluntarily leave; however, we were equally
determined to stay. We wrote letters back to the building management complaining about the supers and refused to let Peter and Sandy Stam into our apartment. At this point, the Stams decided to change their malicious tactics and began to tamper with my car and smashed the windshield of a Hispanic family who lived in the building at that time who were also brave enough to stand up to them. Peter Stam would
often get into the face of the Hispanic father and curse racial remarks Assistant DA Smith also lived in our building complex. On numerous occasions, my family had talked with him about the Stams’ behavior. He professed his friendship with them and doubted our story.

Additionally, he claimed not to work out of the Mamaroneck Village Court.Things came to a boil in Jan 2004. Mr. Peter Stam approached me and got into my face. I was unaware he possessed a weapon in his right hand considering it was concealed in his pocket. Without provocation, he sprayed me in the eyes with mace. My eyes were burning and I took further action by calling the police. Three police offi-
cers responded, Sergeant James Gaff-ney was one of them. If I could have only imagined what was going to happen next. These officers began to continuously ask me if I was on drugs or psychological prescription drugs, I responded honestly and said no. After Sergeant Gaffney spoke with Mr. and Mrs. Stam, he informed me I was going to be arrested for harassment, based on Mrs. Stams testimony that I pushed Mr. Stam. However, I had the right to counter charge the Stams for assault. I was in a state of disbelief as to why the officers believed the perpetrators’ side of the story. Later that same day I was taken to the emergency room, the Mamaroneck officers who accompanied me there were actually laughing about the incident. I thought this was extremely unprofessional and disrespectful to me as an assault victim.

On my first court date, Asst. DA Ross Smith, was the prosecuting DA. After being assigned my legal counsel I was taken into the back of the police station for arraignment. At this point I overheard Ross Smith discussing the case with some police officers. He discussed Peter Stams suspension from his teaching job in the NYC school system pending the outcome of the case. He also thought his GOOD FRIEND had received the raw end of the deal. The officers were describing my reaction to attack and again seemed to be amused over the incident.

They also discussed Sergeant Gaffney’s reason for arresting me based on my irrational reaction to the mace attack in my eyes and Stam telling them he was incapable of violence because he suffered from heart conditions. Never did the police even question why a building super possessed a can of mace, right, every building super carries one around as part of the basic clearing equipment. The next two court appearances, Ross Smith was again in court, however, he was directing a female Asst. DA who was handling the paperwork for him. The case ended up being dismissed based on the fact Stam and I could not testify against each other because we were both defendants.

Mrs. Stam could testify against me if it went to trial, so I was forced by my lawyer and Ross Smith to drop the case that Sergeant Gaffney wrote to favor Mr. Stam who was the perpetrator. Additionally, Sergeant Gaffney lied regarding a discrepency in the incident report. He stated Mr. Stam used mace and not pepper spray, however, in the report, it said Mr. Stam used pepper spray.After the case ended, I decided to file a complaint with the public (lack of integrity office of the DA) against Ross Smith and Sergeant Gaffney. I later learned from a Gannett newspaper writer, that Sergeant Gaffney was involved in a considerable number of corruption scandals the village police were facing at that time. These included, involvement in the cover up of Jeannie Pirro and her husband on a drunk driving case, and a drunk driving false arrest case of a young female motorist who was subsequently acquitted after trial of all charges and later sued the village with her attorney John
Lovett. Assistant DA Citerella handeled my case, informing me I should file my complaint with the internal affairs in the police dept. I was very skeptical of an internal investigation amounting to anything positive and as I suspected the case went nowhere. Detective Mc-
Nally was the police officer who took my complaint and I could tell based on his demeanor and comments he disapproved of me going against his drinking buddy, Sergeant Gaffney (now Lieutenant Gaffney). A month later, Chief Flynn sent a letter in the mail stating the officer acted correctly. A week after filing the case against Sergeant Gaffney, my car, which was registered in my name, was impounded twice
under the scoff law for unpaid parking tickets. The first time it seemed to be legit based on 4 or more outstanding parking violations, but the second time it occurred, I only had one. It seems rather evident all I accomplished with the complaint against the officer was to make him vengeful and angry.

Eugene Pastore

End Violations Of The Americans With Disabilities Act

Dear Editor:

We need help! is is a handicapped person’s fight against those who violate and abuse the Americans With Disabilities Act of the USA. “We” refers to the thousands of surviving World War II vets, the millions of veterans from the Korean, Vietnam and Iraqi Wars, and the multimillions who are likewise physically or mentally handicapped. We deserve better!

Since 2005, I have made urgent appeals on several occasions to various elected officials and candidates for public office by telephone calls, fax
transmissions and by certified mail urging them to commit to putting teeth into existing laws or creating stronger measures to create a true Open Door Policy for the 21st century. All such pleas for a commitment have borne no response whatsoever, except for State of New York Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, who co-sponsored two bills which were introduced that would add Title II (A6328) and Title III (A7294)
to ADA Human Rights Law, the latter, dealing with discrimination in business and commercial facilities, was passed by both Houses, and was delivered to Governor Pataki, who vetoed the bill on August 16, 2006. Otherwise the silence has been deafening.

When President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Act into law in 1990, he declared that our nation “will not accept, we will not excuse, we will not tolerate discrimination in America.” Eighteen years later, individuals with disabilities and our supporters know that “tolerance” is still being defined.

Howard Wm. Rasher, Esq.
Briarcliff Manor

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