Thursday, August 28, 2008
In Our Opinion...
An Act Of Wisdom And Courage
We have no problem with Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton Young’s appointment of his sister, Mary Young, to the post of Commissioner of Management Services, coordinating communications between City departments and dealing with vital data. In fact, we applaud his decision to do so, and view the appointment as a very positive and promising development. It is not about nepotism.
Historically, in national politics, one example of the wisdom and the courage needed to make such an appointment that comes immediately to mind was the appointment by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy of his brother, Robert, to the position of Attorney General.
As in the case of Mayor Young’s sister Mary, Bobby Kennedy had run his brother’s remarkably successful campaign; electing John as the first Roman Catholic President of the United States, against the odds, in 1960.
Assuming the appointee possesses the skills, experience, and motivation needed to successfully perform the day-to-day functions of the position; and, there is no doubt of that in Mary’s case, there is much to be said for the appointment of a sibling by a chief executive officer, whether in government or in business. Clearly, from the perspective of management and operations, it is difficult to distinguish a significant difference; as more and more today we find ourselves speaking of the “Business Of Government,” and rightly so.
Without waxing unnecessarily sentimental, for those having lived through the Kennedy campaign and the three remarkable years of Camelot that followed, as adults, it is not a stretch to recognize the fundamental similarities in the challenges faced by that groundbreaking administration, and those confronting Mayor Young. For, as we all too painfully came to discover as a nation, then, there were powerful, covert forces heavily dependent upon the corrupt Industrial/Military Machine, deeply invested in the operation to bring down the efforts of the Kennedy Administration, by whatever means, even as there are those who, for years, have depended upon the now increasingly evident corrupt Davis Machine.
For those who grew fat off Ernie’s willingness to “look the other way,” and, perhaps, as may be revealed in due time, play a more affirmative role; for those operatives the new Administration in City Hall remains a bitter pill to swallow. The now-dismissed, frivolous, $600
million federal lawsuit notwithstanding, there continues both an overt and a covert action intent on sabotaging and embarrassing Mount Vernon’s new City Administration. That having been said, all other credentials having been satisfied, the single-most significant quality Mary Young brings to her position is her unquestionable loyalty to her brother, the Mayor of Mount Vernon, and his 24/7 mission to turn that city around.
The tasks that lay ahead are daunting, to say the least. Not only must the new Administration bring new business and financial vitality to strengthen the tax base in a municipality with limited available space and incredible numbers of existing tax-exempt properties, but it must also repay $1.7 million to the federal government that the previous administration misappropriated from HUD.
The People of Mount Vernon have twice made their position very clear at the ballot box. On the one hand, they expressed their disappointment and dissatisfaction with the plight and the direction of their City under Ernie Davis, while, at the same time, placing their
faith and their trust in Clinton Young; in part based upon his own good record, and in part based upon his family’s history of public service to their community. On the other hand, those same people twice made a strong statement, also at the ballot box, each time rejecting the proposed school budget. They were telling those in control, “Look, we’re giving all that we can in taxes and we’ve got no more to give.”
In light of all of the above, we recognize the Herculean task, and the kind of dedication and loyalty that will be required to turn, not only the financial circumstances, but the spirit and the day-to-day lives of so many individuals, young and old, around. With that compelling
mandate in mind, we endorse the Mayor’s appointment of his sister Mary to the Office of Commissioner of Management Services, and wish her, and all of the Administration’s appointees great success in their efforts.
Our Reader's Respond...
Reader Complains Of Toxic Mold Cover-Up
I live at Pinecrest Manor in Mt. Kisco NY. I am writing to inform the public that there is toxic mold in most of the townhouse apartments due to past flood cover-ups and improper remediation of the mold.
We know “mold is everywhere” and there are “hundreds of types of mold” in the environment and according to Google searches there are 40 or so types that could be in your home and not cause a health risk. Our problem is: aspergillus, penicillin and Stachybotrys, the latter being the deadliest. My apartment was originally tested by Lighthouse Environmental Consultants of Patterson, New York. They found reason to do an air quality test, finding mold on my stair landing baseboard, and high moisture reading levels in my living room.
Pinecrest followed up, after I insisted, with LEW Corporation, out of Mountainside, New Jersey, and they also found mold and high levels,
but Mr. Krueger refused to give me the details, because Pinecrest told him not to talk to tenants about their levels/report. I showed the report to another agency and to my allergist, who told me to leave the apartment immediately! I wish I would have listened then, now my lungs are in danger of being scarred. When in the apartment I feel in danger, breathing is almost impossible. I have had other people come in and
say they can’t breathe, the air is bad. Because of this my 11-year-old suffers with severe headaches and asthma, I have been sleeping in my
car! I will only enter if I can’t find a place to shower!
More than half of the tenants and their children are sick with seizures, intestinal disease, IBS, yeast infections, asthma, thyroid disease, bromyalgia, respiratory related illness, headaches, memory loss. It is no coincidence that approx. 75 families and about 60 senior apartments, most of us in the townhouses are sick, in fact most of us believe it is Interstate Realty’s/Foresight Affordable is making the mold issue look less severe than it is. In fact they have been “ fixing” some mold-infested apartments, (and we have photos), with paint cover-ups and they are not doing what was suggested in the reports which is to hire mold professional remediators, not poor maintenance, who has no idea how toxic this mold is!
Why would we allege such allegations? Management, Mr. Schindig, particularly, has known about this problem for years and continues to this day to get back lab reports stating an apartment has extremely high levels of mold that is toxic. He continues to withhold the reports from tenants, (so there is no “proof ”), accept him putting tenants in hotels while work was done, and then sending his maintenance men in to “redo” the area that is in question.
I witnessed a few “cleanups” and they are not being done properly, nor are the workers protecting their families by not wearing proper clean-up gear. They have no clue as to how “airborne” these stachybotrys spores can be!
I recently had a victim of this type of mold contact me. She had a problem with mold at work; in fact she sued and won her case in court. She was gracious enough to place my daughter and me in a hotel for a few days so that we would not have to sleep in the car. She informed me that I should desert all of my belongings: clothes, shoes, bags, computers, EVERYTHING IN YOUR HOME, because they carry the spores and you may keep getting sick even in the new environment, if you carried something with you.
I was also told I will have to detox the body and hope it is not too late. Most people are naive to this type of mold and the health issues it can cause. I used to do stand-up comedy but because my memory has diminished in the last few years, I passed up gigs at top clubs. I am not a smoker; eat organic when I can, try to walk everyday to build my lungs back up. I was very healthy, until a few years ago. I kept having severe allergic reactions and allergies, finally the emergency room insisted I follow-up with testing.
You can imagine my shock when the allergist informed me I had asthma most likely due to mold! I just want to live in a place that has good air quality. Is this to much to ask?
We live in “Sub wedged” housing which was build with substandard materials and it is believed that because no moisture proofing was done when this place was built nor when it was sold, or repaired, we are reaping the unhealthy effects from the mold caused by previous and current flooding. We would like to know how these buildings passed inspection.
To my knowledge, there has been only one apartment that had men in white suits do “cleanup”, and that apartment has since had other issues (sewer backup in the kitchen sink). Management will fool you by telling you they have “another” apartment available until they do cleanup, in reality, you are moved to a place that was improperly cleaned and begin to have the same illness the last tenant had! A few of the tenants who had this issue showed me their “new” place, which had severe mold!
One apartment was condemned by the Board of Health because of past flooding, sewage and mold. The apartment was so bad there were maggots under the carpet! Tenants are dealing with severe headaches and asthma; we are now trying to prove that the other illnesses are related to this mold and we will hold all responsible accountable!
I allege a cover up by management! Currently, I and others are taking legal action. How do you tell an 11-year-old basketball player, sorry you have asthma and headaches due to mold?
Some families in the complex have Section 8/ HUD and they should be held accountable because they knew of the problem for over 9 years! If you check town records, complaints of floods were put in years ago, and these apartments still passed inspection. One family case is in the Supreme Court. Unfortunately no matter how much money they “win” or “settle” for, they could never get back their children’s health or new lungs!
Some websites to look at and see for yourself: www.doctorfungus.org.
Alicia Torres, Mount Kisco
Unattended Dangerous Yonkers Intersection
I have a complaint to make about the pedestrian crossing lights at the intersection of Kimball Avenue and Yonkers Avenue. This is a very dangerous intersection that lacks functional pedestrian crossing lights.
At this location, one side of Yonkers Avenue has three lanes, and the other side two lanes. When the light turns red on the Kimball Avenue side, the crossing lights stay red; as a matter of fact they always stay red. Only recently I found out that one has to press the button to activate them, meaning that the lights are not programmed to change automatically like in other cities.
When crossing the street from the side of the Shell gas station towards Wachovia Bank, which is directly opposite the gas station side, there are no lights in place for the pedestrians to cross. Cars that turn do not yield to pedestrians; instead they will try to cut you off. This danger is compounded with cars that also turn on the opposite side. At the beginning of December 2007, I called the Mayor’s Office and registered a complaint; this office does not give complaint numbers for accountability.
Today, this problem still exists; like many other problems in Yonkers, it shows a systemic and gross inefficiency from the city’s leadership and its infrastructures. Two weeks ago another problem surfaced. The diner that is adjacent to the Wachovia Bank installed an entry sign and an exit sign for access to its parking lot. The problem is that cars drive through the sidewalk from Yonkers Avenue at very high speeds, without regard for pedestrians. Two weeks ago my wife and I were almost hit by a speeding car that made a sharp turn on Yonkers Avenue
into the diner’s parking lot.
Before someone gets seriously hurt, can you kindly look into this matter, because the City of Yonkers can’t.
Anthony Ferreira, Sunnyside, NY
A Mother Cries Out For Justice
Dear Judge Klein, Judge Nicolai and Judge Davidson: The Family Court has a pattern of being the culprit in denying visitation to me, which
is only hurting my son Corey. When Judge Devlin was the Judge at the time he permitted the Law Guardian, Terry Daniele, to make a circus of his Court. Whenever a trial was scheduled in 2007 Judge Devlin allowed postponement after postponement.
As of December 2006 visitation was decent, not great, but at least I had periodic time with Corey which we both enjoyed. Then that Sunday in December (12/17/06) when Joel(Corey’s father) became real angry that I wanted to take Corey to a NFL (Giants game) and returned Corey home about two hours later than normal, the entire Family Court system caved in upon me.
After the “football game” incident Joel (Rist), Cory’s father, went to Court. He was upset that Corey wanted to go to this football game. Mr. Rist thought he looked like the “bad” guy because Corey was upset that his dad would not let him go to the NFL game. So, Ms. Daniele allowed the Court to immediately stop normal visitation because of this dispute.
Ms. Daniele has done everything in her power to delay and deny visitation to me. And, of course, Judge Devlin allowed Ms. Daniele to “run circles around him” and Judge Devlin just kept permitting delays in the visitation trial. Does the fact that Ms. Daniele was listed as the largest contributor to Judge Devlin’s (unsuccessful) 2007 election campaign have anything to do with the control she had over Judge Devlin?
Who knows, but the results speak for themselves. From January 2007 through December 2007, when Judge Devlin finally had to leave his position as Judge, any attempt at a trial had been delayed for various reasons, none of which were the fault of me, Corey’s mom. Yet these
delays led the new judge, Judge Klein, to be concerned about how Corey may act in my presence because he was not having normal visitation with me.
Even as late as October 2007 I still had some visitation with Corey. Then, because of miscommunication I was not aware that Corey was permitted to visit with me in early November 2007. Again Mr. Rist runs to the Court and he and Terry Daniele stop all visitation.
Now it is July 2008. It has been nine months without visitation, except for the supervised visits at the YWCA, and I was forced by the Family Court to pay $5 for each visit. And the first meeting at the YWCA was actually fine. Corey and I spoke a lot and laughed together. Then the second meeting at the YWCA and all the meetings after that Corey was withdrawn. There is influence only by one person who could have changed Corey’s mood of this whole situation, and that is Corey’s father (and also probably Terry Daniele).
In 2008 Judge Klein has taken over with a fresh start, or at least that was his intent. The trial began on May 27, 2008. Judge Klein asked all parties on May 27, 2008 when setting dates for the rest of the trial if everyone can make the dates of July 30, 2008 and August 22, 2008 so the trial could be complete and normal visitation could then resume after trial with Corey and me. All attorneys and parties agreed that 7/30 and 8/22 were fine. Now Terry Daniele or Mr. Rist’s attorneys cannot make either of those dates. So three more months of no trial. This is disgusting.
Yet the morning of 7/30/08 Law Guardian Daniele informs everyone that something (again) has come up. Whether it is true or not, this is a pattern of intentional delay by Terry Daniele. She apparently is doing everything in her power to “delay”, “delay”, “delay”. The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” is what is really happening in this case and Ms. Daniele knows the longer Corey goes without seeing me the easier it
will be to convince Corey he does not need to see me. He is an 11-year-old child. Impressions mean a lot. I’m sure his dad is not telling Corey anything nice about me these last two years. There is no encouragement to Corey by the Law Guardian or father to see his mom. They both blame Corey that Corey does not want to see me. All I can say is that any time when Corey was over the house he was always having fun.
We would play ball together or watch Yankee games together, etc. These are things that Corey likes to do. He does not like being at the YWCA with a stranger looking at us.
Judge Klein wanted to restore visitation knowing that the best interest of any child is to be with both parents. Yet Judge Klein realized the delays caused by Judge Devlin and Terry Daniele could certainly have impacted the way Corey thought about this whole situation. All this time passing and Mr. Rist is still being vindictive. He never encouraged Corey to call me even though I called Corey many times. Mr. Rist would have Corey’s personal phone set to not allow any messages. So any time I called to speak to Corey I could not even leave a message.
Mr. Rist’s hatred for me is so obvious that even on Corey’s fifth grade graduation, in June 2007, Mr. Rist had Corey play hooky from graduation solely to deny Corey to see me, because Mr. Rist knew I’d be at the graduation. Also, Mr. Rist has refused to put me down as an Emergency Contact person on Corey’s school records. I hope Judge Klein can see this pattern. Mr. Rist does everything he can to keep Corey away from me. And if the Law Guardian really cared about the best interest of Corey she, too, would want an immediate trial. What is she afraid of? She is afraid that Corey will eventually be able to have an involved life with two parents that love him. But, Ms. Daniele does
not want happiness for Corey so she uses the Court system of delaying tactics. Judge Klein, you need to remove Terry Daniele as Corey’s Law Guardian. She is the Cancer of this case.
I am ready for trial. But, Judge Klein, every time you allow a delay it delays Corey and me the chance to being together, in a normal setting. Meeting for an hour at the YWCA is certainly not something any child would look forward to. You even said it, Judge Klein, you were concerned that Corey has been kept away for so long you were afraid of how he would act when he and I did get together.
So, as Judge Klein now permits delays, who is the loser, Corey. But does anyone really care? No, because the delays accomplish the goals of Mr. Rist and Terry Daniele. Do I have to wait until Corey is graduating Middle School before I can see him, that is, if Mr. Rist doesn’t keep Corey away from that graduation, too?
Aren’t we all eager to see how long the Westchester Family Court can delay and deny me “My Day In Court” so that I am continuously denied my parental right to be with my son, Corey?
I am requesting that the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigate the Westchester Family Court system. It seems that everyone involved is simply trying to deny me “my day in court.” This leaves Mr. Rist and Law Guardian Daniele doing all the child upbringing of Corey and gives me no say at all. Everyone should know that Mr. Rist has either sold or closed his local business and this is probably all an attempt by him to leave the New York area and fully deprive me of being able to act as a parent to Corey.
Now the Family Court is asking me to go to therapy with Corey and make me pay $50 a week to the therapist. The Family Court knows I cannot afford this and I have been required to spend money on other items. Terry Daniele insisted on a hair follicle test back in January 2007. It cost $400. Obviously the test was negative but the Family Court wants to keep me away from Corey by trying to make me spend money
I do not have. I love Corey and want to get this trial done so I can be with Corey.
Dawn Schroeder, Montrose
Editor’s Note: While it must be recognized that the account of this reader is but one side of the story, nevertheless, the experiences that she relates are all too familiar to far too many residents of Westchester County who have had the grueling misfortune of having to deal with the Family Courts and the Matrimonial Part of Supreme Court. Where there is so much smoke, there is obviously fire. It would seem the spouse with the money and/or political connections always rules the day.