In Our Opinion...
So Long As Law-Abiding Yonkers Citizens Fear And Distrust Their Police
We believe that last Monday morning’s press conference in the Reception Room of Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone was little more than “window dressing” designed to give the impression that the Mayor’s Administration is really concerned about issues of public safety, even as the Federal Bureau of Investigation intensifies its more than year-long investigation into police brutality. Given the subject matter, Operation Speak-Up, “A Partnership Between The Yonkers Board of Education And The Yonkers Police Department,” the press conference seemed ill-timed and questionably motivated to several members of the media who attended.
The Guardian questioned Police Commissioner Hartnett, asking if perhaps the little palm cards which were distributed in the City’s schools, encouraging students to overcome the ‘Code Of Silence’, the admonition not to snitch, wouldn’t, in fact, end up in the hands of parents, and if it wouldn’t have been better to have incorporated Speak-Up into the more comprehensive Neighborhood Watch program as proposed by Virginia Perez many months ago.
Ms. Perez is the sister of Martin Perez, who was slain last December 17 in a failed robbery attempt as he delivered food from the Emerald Diner, opposite Yonkers City Hall, to a public housing project nearby. Although there was an early arrest in the killing, Yonkers Police, and the District Attorney’s Office, have failed, to date, to charge anyone as the shooter.
Commissioner Hartnett’s response to our question was that he expected that civic associations would organize and run Neighborhood Watch programs. We do not believe a network of Neighborhood Watch programs is likely to emerge in the City of Yonkers so long as residents, particularly in the Inner City, but elsewhere as well, continue to live in fear and distrust of their police.
Mayor Amicone and Commissioner Hartnett, standing before the cameras, with the Superintendent of Schools as well as Council President Lesnick and Majority Leader Annabi, will not convince very many city residents that they can trust the Yonkers Police Department so long as cases of police brutality against innocent individuals such as Rui Florim, Irma Marquez, and Tina and Mary Bostwick continue to go
unacknowledged and unprosecuted by the Westchester District Attorney, Janet Di-Fiore, and denied and swept under the rug by the Yonkers Police Department.
In point of fact, the details of what was done to the Bostwicks, 72 and 49 years of age, in 2005, if known, would discourage any citizen from participating in Neighborhood Watch. After all, it was the mere act of calling the police to report that a youth was severely injured by their neighbor, and was in need of emergency medical attention, that resulted in the physical brutalizing of Mary Bostwick, and the roughing up of her mother, three years ago. And, as if that weren’t outrageous enough, Mary was arrested, booked, and charged with several bogus offenses as is the standard policy and practice of the Yonkers Police Department in order to cover up their unjustifiable brutality.
We know for a fact that the FBI has actually conducted numerous lengthy interviews and investigations into any number of such instances of Yonkers Police brutality, and that there is more than ample evidence in a number of cases to bring charges against several rogue police officers. We are not talking about minor assaults here. Victims such as Florim and Marquez came very close to losing their lives.
Our Readers Respond...
Re: Initiative And Referendum Procedures
Earlier this year the New York State Commission on Ef-ficiency In Local Government recommended that local governments consolidate, share services, and look for ways to reduce property taxes. A suggestion that might enhance the chances of getting results quickly:
The New York State Legislature should provide voters in New York State with the ability to circulate petitions and to place consolidation/shared service proposals on the ballot. If elected officials are not responsive to efforts to make government more efficient – the voters (who will be impacted by proposed savings) should have the ability to vote on specific recommendations. Initiatives that address sharing, efficiency, making government more competitive, consolidation should be placed on the ballot, if voters collect a specific number of petition signatures.
Currently, in New York State, there are no initiative and referendum procedures. If elected officials are unresponsive, voters can’t take any action to overturn the decisions or non-decisions elected officials make. If the taxpayers have the ability to circulate petitions to get government efficiency measures on the ballot, I believe that the recommendations of the Commission will not gather dust.
I intend to urge the members of the New York State Legislature and the members of the Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness, to support state legislation to authorize voters to initiate government reforms and to get the voter reforms placed on the ballot.
Greenburgh, NY Town Supervisor
Reader Reminds Us Of Historical Roots Of Our Freedoms
June 30, 2008 may be remembered in history as the day Americans began, in earnest, the moral and solemn process of holding their (servant) Government accountable to the Constitution, under threat of withdrawal of allegiance, support and tax money.
To secure this end, the People have begun to claim and exercise a little-known, but unalienable, “Right of Redress,” rather than depending upon the will of the majority as de-fined by precinct voters, those who cast votes on Capitol Hill, and those that vote from the inner sanctums of our Courthouses.
Most do not know that this profound natural Right, first articulated 800 years ago in the Magna Carta, is embodied and protected by the Petition clause of the First Amendment, the same Amendment which protects your voice in the defense of Freedom. Very importantly, academic research since 1986 makes clear the Right to Petition for Redress is NOT a redundant statement of the Right of Speech. It is, in fact, the individual exercise of Popular Sovereignty.
To be sure, the widespread exercise of this Right holds significant implications for our nation and are most worthy of your interest. Here’s what the Founders sitting as the first Congress had to say: “If money is wanted by Rulers who have in any manner oppressed the People, they may retain it until their grievances are redressed, and thus peaceably procure relief, without trusting to despised petitions or disturbing the public tranquility.”
On June 30, 2008, approximately 1200 American citizens will begin the process of exercising the Right by formally serving a Legal Notice
and Demand for Redress upon the President, the Attorney General and every member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate at their local district offices. Demanding an official response within forty (40) days, the Notice includes seven (7) Petitions for Redress of Grievances regarding substantial violations of the Constitution:
• The Iraq invasion, in violation of the war powers clauses;
• The Federal Reserve System’s violation of the money clauses;
• The USA Patriot Act’s violation of the privacy clauses;
• The direct, un-apportioned taxes on labor in violation of the tax clauses;
• The federal gun control laws in violation of the Second Amendment;
• The failure to enforce immigration laws in violation of the “faithfully execute” clause;
• The construction, by stealth, of a “North American Union” without Constitutional authority.
We, the People, cannot elect our way out of tyranny. Any assertion that by electing either McCain or Obama we can cure the ills that now plague America is simply naïve or based on a lack of information regarding the corrupting forces that truly influence and control our government and political process.
We urge you, the media, to learn about this profound Right and to cover this event. Our Republic faces a watershed moment no less historically compelling or newsworthy than, e.g., the emergence of the Civil Rights movement. If Liberty is to survive through peaceful means, you must embrace your obligation, both moral and Constitutional, to bring this critical information to your readers, viewers and listeners. For details about the Plan to Restore Constitutional Order, visit www.givemeliberty.org/revolution.
Anthony Futia, N. White Plains
Tired Of Being Ignored Like I Was Dead
If you read the Legal Notice on page 6E of the 6/19/08 Journal News I believe one must ask if the council approved $5,167,556.14 for fiscal
year 2008/2009 in court ordered certiorari cases, was also signed off by the Board of Assessment Review.
In all my experience as a member of the Board I know that generally neither body knew what they were signing. The only councilmember
who ever questioned a settlement, was Dee Barbato because the party appeared on the settlement listing with no dollar amount and she
would not accept that.
What are “compromised claims” and “settled claims”? What do they have to do with 2008/2009 fiscal year court ordered property settlements? To me this appears to be a back door means of getting more funds to spread around for God knows what, and impose more debt on the poor totally unaware taxpayers, at a time when Yonkers taxpayers have all the debt they can handle.
I think the public is due an explanation and I am sick and tired of writing FOI requests and being ignored like I was dead. When over $8 million dollars is to be bonded for unspeci-fied “claims” this is something that should be looked into by someone.
For the past decade the occupants of the 2nd floor of City Hall cannot comprehend that whatever they spend is TAXPAYER MONEY.
Try as you may it can not be honestly spun any other way.
Who gets the Valet money from the island in the middle of the street occupied by Xaviers and the resturant blocking the parking meters?
Is that piece of land private property or did Cappelli take over that also?
Sid Sloves, Yonkers
More Misery In Harrison
I wanted to thank you for trying to clean up the corruption in Harrison. I have a story to tell; nobody wants to hear me. On the night of November 12, 2004, I was crossing the street (First St.) going to move my car. As I went to cross the street, I tripped over something and found myself lying in the street. As I fell I also slid back into something. My leg was in so much pain. I looked down to see my leg was
in the sewer and caught on something.
The street was very dark because the street light was out also. Here I was crying because of the pain and yelling out for somebody to help me. I was right on the corner of First Street and Franklin. A man did see me only because I had on a white jacket. He called the police and everything came into play. The officer was also a friend of mine who covered me with a blanket from my house. The officer tried to get
my leg out from the sewer but couldn’t.
The ambulance came and they finally set my leg free. I was put in the ambulance, in pain, cold and soaking wet from the rain. They had to cut off my clothes to take my vital signs and to cover me with blankets to warm me up. The officer who helped me was also the officer who put a barricade up near the sewer (years prior) because so many people got flat tires from this very chopped up sewer. I spent two years with a cast on my leg from a broken ankle and many (16) cortisone shots. I had two ankle surgeries with hardware put in. The Town sees nothing wrong with this sewer and says nobody reported anything wrong with it.
I have pictures of this sewer and it shows how bad it is. Also, the officer (retired) stated when he first got on the job he did put the barricades up. The Town denies everything! They did fix the street light.
I have a daughter who has Cerebral Palsy (mild) who I take care of. I do have a lawyer, Mr. Peck, and he doesn’t mind me telling my story. The lawyers for the Town act like this is a joke. The Town is covering up about this sewer. Can you help me?
Karen DiLeo, Harrison
Bemoaning Oil Company Skewing
Oil companies can raise and lower prices while still making huge profits. Furthermore, they have interlocking directorates with other multinational corporations. They manipulate consumer prices not only for their own profit but also for the other corporations’ profit and to encourage socioeconomic and political developments that corporate top leaders and other powerful people want.
True, one reason for today’s high gas prices is demand. Often that demand has been forced. Over the past 30 years, people have lost alternates to lower-fuel-per-passenger transportation. Rail systems have shut down around the world (often despite high patronage), and bicycles have been banned from many Asian streets. Another reason is to channel people, through costs and pricing, into making choices the corporations want. An example of a “success” is a recent letter to the Journal News where the writer announced that high gas prices left him no choice but to buy food from supermarkets rather than smaller enterprises.
More immediate reasons include to get rid of the gas tax (forever), to impose fluorescent lights and nuclear power, and to start oil drilling in
more places. And another seems to be to encourage discontent so that Americans vote for “change”. Corporate leaders and powerful people,
secure that fiscal “conservative” (ie, anti-environmental) and hawkish politicians are firmly in place (no matter who’s president), now want
to “move ahead” with the “cultural liberal” aspects of their agenda.
When these goals are achieved, by a Democratic president and/or judicial rulings, gas prices still probably go down, at least somewhat.
In the early 1970s gas prices were raised to make Alaska an oil field. In the late 1970s they were raised to create discontent, in order to choreograph Americans into submitting to a planned-for-years authoritarian “savior”. In the late 1980s they were lowered, as choreographed, in order to create contentment, to celebrate the American authoritarian, and to get the rest of the world committed to a high-oil-consumption lifestyle. The way to avoid manipulation by oil companies is to develop habits of using less petroleum even when prices are low.
Jeanette Wolfberg, Mount Kisco
Calls Guardian “Pushover”
When does the Westchester Guardian start acting like a newspaper and not as a billboard for politicians to promote themselves? The worst offender is Timothy Idoni, the County Clerk, who sends press releases and photos to all the free newspapers to promote himself as
he tries to be Andy Spano’s successor.
This is outrageous! He makes $158,000 a year but does nothing but promote himself via pushover editions like you. It’s time to call a halt to this self-promotion. Start acting like a newspaper or your paper will end up in the trash bin as soon as it comes out.
A Fed-Up Reader
Dear Reader: We are sorry if we have been soft on self-promotion and spineless in the name of public information. We promise to toughen up and will try to expose corruption, powerlust and greed wherever it rears its ugly head. Thank you so much for setting us back on track. -Ed.
P.S. We’re taking the gloves off.