Thursday, November 27, 2008

Westchester Guardian/Janet Difiore/In Our Opinion/Our Readers Respond.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

In Our Opinion...

What Makes Janet DiFiore A Democrat?

After twice running for County Court, once running for State Supreme Court, and then, in 2005, for Westchester District Attorney, as a Republican, with the full support and hard work of Westchester Republicans, Janet DiFiore suddenly announced she was really a Democrat. When asked by a reporter what it was that prompted her to abandon not only the Republican Party, but all of those who had been so loyal and giving to her over many years, she could not articulate a response.

Surely the switch couldn’t have been occasioned by the fact that enrolled Democrats now outnumber enrolled Republican registered voters in Westchester County by more than 100,000. That would be too crass, to cynical, too downright dishonest for someone whose mandated
job description is rst and foremost to search for the Truth in the pursuit of Justice.

Then, again, she was the candidate whose spouse, Dennis Glazer, as reported in the New York Times, attempted to bribe the Right-To-Life candidate, Anthony DiCintio, off the ballot with the offer of a job in the DA’s Office; something about “a free hand” if Janet became DA. Of course, when Attorney DiCintio refused to participate in such an unprincipled scheme, Janet attempted to get the entire Right-To-Life ticket pushed off the ballot. But, we digress.

More to the point, what makes Janet DiFiore a Democrat? Better yet, who says she’s a Democrat? One would think that rank and file party members, at the very least the 990 committee members and active Democrats at the 2005 Party Convention at the County Center who rose to their feet and nominated Tony Castro for District Attorney by acclimation ought to have some say in the matter.

If anything, Janet’s antics, her dirty campaign, that not only involved attempted bribery, but ethnic slurring, outright misrepresentation, and the wholesale destruction of the political signs of Mr. Castro, the Democratic candidate, should have turned loyal, principled Democrats against her.

Truth be told, Janet DiFiore is no Democrat. In four separate elections she ran against loyal, lifelong Democrats. When she ran for County Court Judge against Les Adler, she lied to the Journal News, telling them that she had “prosecuted two thousand cases.” Research by that newspaper quickly revealed she had prosecuted a total of 12 cases as an Assistant DA, all misdemeanors.

Janet DiFiore clearly has a problem with the truth. She has no problem withholding exculpatory information from innocent, incarcerated individuals; no problem sending her assistants into federal courts to deliberately lie to federal Judges. She had no problem lying about the circumstances of an heroic young police officer’s death, Christopher Ridley; going so far as refusing to give his parents the clothing he was wearing, and the personal effects he was carrying, at the time of his death, because they might contradict her version of how their son died.

We are not the least bit convinced that decent, hard-working Democrats across Westchester are prepared to accept a district attorney who continues to prosecute and punish innocent victims of Yonkers police brutality; Irma Marquez, Rui Florim, and many others not so well known; a
district attorney who maintains an incestuous relationship with that violent police department, and the Republican mayor who categorically refuses to put an end to the brutality.

We witnessed the re-count in Yonkers in the election of 2005 with its 23 machines with broken seals, and bizarre voter patterns that explain why Janet was in need of an impound order fully three days before the election. Nick Spano, his henchmen and operatives, not to mention the Yonkers Police Department and 330 impounded machines kept everything under wraps.

The fact is, the individuals who are anxious for Janet DiFiore to be accepted as a Democrat are Andy Spano, Larry Schwartz, Reggie Lafayette and Company; those who have a vested interest in keeping one of their co-horts, someone who will keep the lid on their criminal conduct and election fraud, just as Jeanine Pirro did, in the DA’s Office.

Janet would like to have it both ways; run for DA as a Republican, use Nick Spano and Boys for dirty tricks, Mike Edelman for the ethnic smears, and Rudy Giuliani for his endorsement, not to mention all the decent rank and file Republicans who did their best for her. And then, flush them all down the toilet and declare that she’s a Democrat. We are con dent that when, and if, it comes down to it, rank and file Democrats will recognize her for the counterfeit she is, and reject the lies and the fraud she is truly all about.

Our Readers Respond....

Get Rid Of The Rumble Strips

Dear Editor:

When rumble strips appeared along the shoulder of Route 100 in Yorktown and Somers this spring, Westchester Cycle Club leaders warned that the ill-conceived highway “safety” project would make the road more dangerous.

Six months later, their warnings have proved true. At least four cyclists have gone down hard on the pavement, and one cyclist who was seriously injured has since sued the state. There is something that stinks about this travesty of a public-works project, conceived with scant planning, poor professional judgment and in violation of state highway policy.

The policy states the rumble strips, which are intended to awaken drowsy drivers and prevent what’s called drift-off-road accidents, should be installed on limited-access highways. The policy warns of the dangers of installing the strips on two-lane roads frequented by cyclists. It states the DOT could consider rumble strips on “limited stretches of highway or specific locations with a proven history of drift -off-road accidents, in advance of bridges where the shoulder substantially narrows, at gore areas (triangular intersections), and as short warning strips on the outside of curves that follow long tangents.”

Accident data shows there were just seven such accidents caused by fatigued or drowsy drivers in six years. That’s not the kind of “proven history” to justify the extraordinary measure of installing rumble strips on a two-lane road. The accident data provided by DOT showed that this four-mile
stretch of Route 100 in Yorktown and Somers is safe, and getting considerably safer. From 2001 to 2004, there were 1.02 accidents per million
miles traveled. From 2004 to 2007, there were 0.6 accidents per million miles traveled, a 42 percent drop. The statewide average on two-lane
roads is 1.45 accidents per million miles traveled.

So the most recent data available to the state DOT show that this stretch of Route 100 is more than twice as safe as the average road in New York. The data here should not have driven the state DOT officials to install rumble strips on Route 100.

When I shared these facts with DOT Regional Director Joan Dupont, and her assistant, Mike Cotton, Cotton said the DOT didn’t base its decision upon accident data but on a sense that there was a conflict between motorists, cyclists, and the fishermen who have shared the road quite well for years. - ere is no evidence of any such conflict. Over six years, there was one collision between a cyclists and a motorist. Heavily redacted emails from DOT Regional Engineer Michael J. McBride revealed that the strips were installed after McBride, and two of his employees, were rear-ended on Route 100 as they turned into the DOT regional facility. The emails were only released after I was forced to appeal to the DOT’s general counsel in Albany under the state Freedom of Information Law.

What did the regional office want to keep secret? The emails show that McBride ordered 700 feet of rumble strips around the DOT facility entrance. But Paleen Construction Corp., located on Route 100 a few miles north of the site, installed 43,000 feet of rumble strips, and was paid about $41,723 for the no-bid job. That included $24,579 to run the rumble-strip gouging machine for a day.

If these accidents had happened at a private residence or a private business, the state might have put up a No Left Turn sign there because
turning left at the DOT facility was dangerous. Or they might have figured out how to squeeze in a left turn lane if they were insistent on turning
left there. But they wouldn’t have installed rumble strips. Now cyclists are getting injured. New York City police officer Richard Wilt, who lives in Boone Road in Yorktown, went down on June
26 when he lost control, bashing in his two front teeth and slicing his lip. Christine Dasa of Mount Kisco went down on Aug. 12 when she rode over the rumble strips to avoid a car legally parked on the shoulder.

She lost control of her bike and went down in the travel lane, where cars and trucks speed by at 55 miles an hour. Dasa was lucky that she wasn’t knocked out and ended up laying there in the travel lane. But I guarantee you that someone will suffer a serious injury if something isn’t done soon.

The breaks in the rumble strips, which were a concession to cyclists, aren’t much help. They were installed every tenth-of a-mile to give cyclists a rumble-free way to avoid parked cars. But using the breaks with traffic is very dangerous. They are short, so you have to make a turn into the traffic lane to use them. Creating a situation in which you have cyclists turning into the travel lane, with cars and trucks traveling 55 miles an hour, creates a dangerous situation.

The rumble strips have already begun to deteriorate, and potholes are developing among the rumble strips, even before the winter freeze-thaw cycle opened up more craters on the once-smoothly paved road. The DOT has yet to attend to the potholes. I know it will be expensive to pave over the rumble strips. It will cost more than the $41,000 already wasted by the state on the hastily conceived plan this spring. But the alternative promises to be even costlier for the state’s taxpayers when they have to pay on a lawsuit, like the one Yorktown resident Wilt has filed. Attorney Michael Allen, of Shapiro Forman Allen & Sava of Manhattan, put the state on notice on June 25 that the DOT has created an “extremely hazardous situation” along Route 100 in Yorktown and Somers.

“The cost of restoring the road surface is minor compared to the danger that the DOT has created, not to mention the cost of potential lawsuits should someone be seriously hurt as a result of the DOT’s actions,” warned Allen, a Westchester Cycle Club member, in a June 25 letter to DOT
Region 8 Regional Director Joan DuPont. “The potential cost to the DOT could increase exponentially if it is in fact the case that the installation of the rumble strips was done in violations of the DOT’s own rules and regulations.”

This spring, DOT Regional Director Dupont promised to review the project, with a decision made by Sept. 1. By mid-November, the state was still studying the issue. It’s time for the state to acknowledge its dangerous blunder. It’s time to pave over the rumble strips and restore Route 100 for
safe cycling.

David McKay Wilson

Concerned Citizens Of Mt. Vernon

Dear Editor:

We the Concerned Citizens of Mount Vernon Action Group present this list of much needed remedies for our ailing school districts to the Mount Vernon Board of Education Trustees. Upon the Trustees receiving and reviewing this document, we the undersign request, within thirty business
days of receipt, a written plan of action as a public notice to be printed in the local newspapers, and as written handouts, available to the public in all municipal buildings in the City of Mount Vernon by December 5, 2008.

1. Fiscal Accountability: Fiscal accountability means that citizens can follow where the money is going in a line for line budget. This would allow the public to compare and contrast money allotted and spent for each school, show where bond money has been spent and why it did not cover
the items that were suppose to be covered. New budgets must show specifically what proposed bond is to be used for and who is accountable for meeting the terms.

2. Term Limits: BOE Trustees can only run for election for 2, three year terms.

3. Open forums about issues that concern the public. This allows Trustees to explain, explore, and exchange ideas, concepts, and concerns about the direction of public education in our city. As concerned citizens, we recognize there are legal and confidential issues that cannot be open for
public discussion, but there are issues and trends that the BOE is not responding to the public’s concern. The purpose is to gain the public trust and understanding instead of their scorn.

4. CSEA members get livable and fair contracts.

5. Mandatory Volunteer hours: 100 volunteer hours must be worked before high school students can graduate.

6. A varied curriculum: Students from K to 12th grade can be employable upon graduation from High School.

7. Superintendents, deputies and principals must have community roots.

8. Monthly discussion and exchanges with trustee members, i.e., mandatory visitation and rotation with all schools in the Mount Vernon School District. We expect the Trustees to visit all of the schools without warning several times during the year and not just a select few for photo ops or
special events.

9. Mandatory multi-cultural educational experiences. With the order of exploring the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Library and Harlem’s’ History, in addition to other multicultural educational experiences

10. Instructions in daily living skills. is should begin in the 4th grade and continue through 12th. An example of topics can include but be limited to: students should know how to find community information, learn about credit and credit cards, register to vote, and apply for state ID cards. Many of these topics used to be included in Family Life discussions.

11. Board-friendly public meetings.

On October 15, 2008 the Concerned Citizens of Mount Vernon Action Group (CCMTVAC) met to discuss the problems and how to address them with the Mount Vernon Board of Education (BOE) Trustees and New York State Department of Education. In addition to circulating the petition, have the trustees replace the list of demands created.The meeting was attended by Wilma O Reid, Vicki Camacho, Abdul Oadoare, Glen Herious and Elijah Bryant. All agreed to the list of demands listed below.

Vicki Camacho, Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon Reader Writes To Expose Unlawful Housing

Dear Editor:

On or about October 6th 2008 I had a below-the-knee amputation, and on or about October 18th I was admitted to the Mosholu Parkway Nursing Home for care and treatment and infection control.

On or about November 20th I signed out of the Mosholu Parkway Nursing Home against medical advice because I did not like the smell of human waste or the food and the care I was receiving. Around last April 15th, Mrs. Sheri Marhi Goueia (Brokers License # 37go731107 ) informed me that she owned a nice legal rooming house and also informed me that it would be easy access for me since I could no longer gain access to my 3rd oor apartment in the Bronx because of my recent amputation.

Ms. Marhi also informed me that 66 West 2nd Street was one of the few legal licensed rooming homes here in Mount Vernon. On or about November 5th I was informed by members of the Mount Vernon Building Department, that 66 West 2nd Street was NOT A LEGAL ROOMING

I also heard Ms. Kelly, an employee of AEF Realty, bragging about how she gets extra money for keeping two sets of books for AEF Realty regarding their taxes. I was then taken to see this room by one of AEF Realty’s employees by slowly walking with my wheel chair in front of me
and following the employee to 66 West 2nd Street.

Ms. Marhi then gave me Security deposit forms and Brokers fee forms for me to take to the Mount Vernon local Welfare Office, located at 100 East First Street, Mt Vernon. The Case worker informed me that AEF would be a bad move for me because they have had problems with them in the past, and DSS would not be paying any Brokers fee.

I informed the case worker that I would pay the brokers fee from my Disability check on the 3rd of the month. The case worker approved the security deposit check and signed the paper work from AEF Realty. When I first moved in I noticed that the front door to my room was not secure when I tried to lock the door. I informed Mrs.Marhi and AEF Realty about this issue. Mrs. Marhi promised me that the door and lock would be fixed.

During the next few months I was harassed by AEF Realty’s cleaning personnel, Ms. Rhonda White, would enter my room illegally and without my permission and go into my personal belongings and food. I also caught Ms. White illegally using my phone when I returned from one of my Doctor’s appointments. Ms. Rhonda White was fired and was removed from the illegal rooming house.

My little niece, age 7 years old, was castigated by an employee, Mr. Moe, and called a “BITCH” who had blocked entrance in the community bathroom and was sticking a needle into his body. I came out and tried to enter and confronted him about yelling foul words to my family, but could not gain access into the bathroom. Mr. Moe began castigating me and threw a syringe against the bathroom wall and kicked the bathroom
door so it closed all the way.

On or about October 10th Mr. Marhi and Mrs. Marhi, the Broker in this matter that is now before the court, knocked on my door at approximately 8:30 am. When I came to the door Mr. Marhi began yelling at me about some noodles being left in the community kitchen on the
first floor. I informed Mr. Marhi that I do not use the kitchen that much only to use the oven, since I have a two-burner gas hot plate in my room.

On or about November 13th the fire department and Inspector Dennis from the Building Department informed Mr. Marhi that all the gas burners
are illegal and must be removed Mr. Marhi then informed me that he was going to throw me out on my ears and/or words to that effect. Mr. Marhi began accusing me of so many things and yelling at me I could not even here myself think. After Mr. Marhi stopped yelling at me he told me that he wanted me out of his house and left my doorway.

I rethought this incident over the next few days and decided to file a Notice Of Intention with the Courts and contacted the Building Department etc. about these violations in my room that AEF Realty has not fixed in the 6 months that I have been here.

I have also been informed by the Commissioner that 66 West 2nd, Mount Vernon, has not been a Licensed Rooming House since 1996 and the old rooming license for 66 West 2nd Street as not been renewed since 1996.

There is also a complaint regarding Mrs. Marhi for violating disclosure laws and unethical practices. I have also informed the IRS regarding this urgent matter. I have also informed the Department of State concerning Mrs. Marhi’s illegal Brokers actions.

Thank you for your time in this above mentioned matter.

Napoleon Bonie, Mount Vernon

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