Thursday, February 26, 2009

Westchester Guardian/Janet Difiore/In Our Opinio/Our Reader Respond.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

In Our Opinion...

Perhaps Paterson Would Really Rather Not Be Governor

We have had the distinct impression, for some time, that David Paterson never wanted to be Governor of New York; that he was quite content to be Lieutenant Governor; an award of sorts bestowed by Eliot Spitzer for his years of congeniality as the State Senate’s Minority Leader. For the most part, his effectiveness lay in his ability to achieve in the background, out of the limelight, together with his abundant good sense of humor.

David could be disarming at times, not merely with sharp, almost abrasive, one-line quips, but with major operations such as his all too-detailed revelation of his and his lovely spouse’s extra-marital dalliances within hours of assuming Eliot’s throne. It was all too obvious that he was largely unprepared, staff-wise, to take on either the responsibility, or the character, of his new assignment.

Paterson has come off more disoriented and confused than most New Yorkers are willing to accept nearly a year after becoming governor. It is
as though the decline of Eliot Spitzer, as well as that of Joe Bruno, may have traumatized a man who never really had had to engage in open
political warfare; a man whose physical disability, and, to some extent, his familial and racial identities had sheltered and perpetuated, virtually
taking his constituency, and his position, for granted for many years.

David Paterson would clearly have been contented to serve out eight years under Eliot Spitzer, going about the state cutting ribbons, making
high-minded speeches, and basically doing nothing that could subject him to much scrutiny or criticism. Clearly, he was a man who needed guidance, good advice, someone to watch over him and to protect his flank day and night. Some say Charles O’Byrne, his embattled former Chief of Staff, was that person, the one individual who could keep Paterson focused and on course. With O’Byrne’s departure, even the most obvious decisions, the Caroline Kennedy Affair, the granting of huge raises to top aides while calling for union givebacks, have turned into nails in his political coffin.

With respect to Andrew Cuomo, Paterson couldn’t be more helpful to that camp’s gubernatorial ambitions if he were Andrew’s campaign director. David missed the perfect opportunity if he was serious about remaining governor, to knock his chief rival, politely, but affirmatively, out of the running. We have little doubt that Cuomo would have gladly accepted Paterson’s appointment to the United States Senate in a heartbeat.

Perhaps Chuck Schumer influenced that decision, not wishing someone as politically powerful and ambitious as Andrew on board. In any event, whatever advice David Paterson was listening to was bad advice, unless, of course, in his heart of hearts, he would like nothing better than to get off the gubernatorial hot seat.

Our Readers Respond ...

Eyewitness To Ridley Killing Says “Parents Deserve The Truth, Not Lies, From A Corrupt DA”

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to your Advocate article of February 12th. I cannot understand how you can excuse the District Attorney’s regular violations of the United States and New York State Constitutions, even if it was tongue-in-cheek. As a witness to the tragic events of the death of young Officer Ridley, Janet DiFiore’s actions are inexcusable! Yes, I was a witness and did testify to the grand jury. Even if the actions of the County Police are excusable as “ordinary people in an extraordinary circumstance,” the actions taken after are not.

When we were all in the basement of 148 Martine, one witness kept saying, “They shot another cop!” This witness didn’t want to make a statement. After seeing the lies and cruelty of the DA’s Office, we can understand why.

Christopher Ridley was apparently left-handed. He held his gun in his left hand, in his right hand, to my belief and knowledge, his badge. The young officer had just been in a fight for his life. The suspect he was arresting had caused his gun to fall to the ground, under them, as they fought. He retrieved it in his left hand. In his right hand he picked up his badge to show. Out of breath, he seemed to not be able to speak. The responding officers did not see this. They apparently panicked. How much training can really prepare you for an actual moment of someone holding a gun at you? However, a few minutes after the shooting, when we were able to approach the body, before the White Plains Police Department got there, the badge was nowhere to be seen.

At least 10 people saw it, but not after the shooting. This fact can easily be clarified with the tapes taken from 148 Martine Avenue. It is my understanding witnesses were both identified and subpoenaed from this tape at a later date. If the tapes were that clear, why have they not been shown; shown to the grand jury, the witnesses, or anyone else in authority that would need to see them? I understand that they are quite clear.

Also, if the person Officer Ridley was arresting assaulted an older man around the corner, the start of all of this, why hasn’t that tape been seen? Surely if witnesses can be identi-fied from them, the alleged girlfriend could be seen. The truth behind that is that the suspect had no girlfriend.

He asked for a cigarette, and was told no. That prompted the initial assault. Truth is, he should not have been in the city at all that day. It is my understanding, from residents at the Volunteers Of America’s shelter at Grasslands that that morning he was threatening to, “kill someone today.”

This seems familiar, yes, Philip Grant, another resident of a VOA shelter in Westchester. He, too, was reported to have made threats, then been brought promptly to White Plains, with similar results. The truth is, Janet DiFiore is not covering up a tragic mistake of any officer. She is covering up for an inept contractor (the VOA) and a gross misappropriation of federal funds. The New York State Constitution, Article 18, states that these funds are to be used for the building and maintenance of “low-income housing,” not for the building of medium-security pris
ons to warehouse the homeless. After all, it seems Westchester County, without a legislative act, has decided homelessness is a crime. This may be
unknown to your readers, but a bed at the VOA’s shelter costs taxpayers @ $4,000 per month. There are 140 beds at the Grasslands Shelter. There
is an average of four beds per room at a cost of @ $16,000 a month, per room. These are rooms, no private bathroom, and no cooking facility.

This is opposed to low-income rentals that are never built by the builders who are supposed to build so many units. Where is all this money going?
The homeless get $45 per month, $1.50 per day.

The real reason Officer Ridley may have been characterized as reckless may be to keep people from asking, at that much money, when the shelter was opened to prevent another Philip Grant-type incident, how did it happen again? This time, a young hero lost his life. At least, in fairness to Mr. and Mrs. Ridley, the truth needs to come out.

Their son was not reckless, he was brave. Our DA, and the County’s leadership, are the cowards. There is no greater loss than when a child dies before a parent. We all must know someone who lost a child by illness, accident, or some other way. These parents deserve the truth, not lies from a corrupt DA. Where are those videotapes? When will the truth come to light?

David Boudreau

Pisani Article Grabs Attention Of A National Organization

Dear Editor:

Your Court-Appointed Convicted Embezzler Handling Disabled Child’s Funds article was forwarded to me and, in turn, I wish to introduce you to NASGA (National Association to STOP Guardian Abuse), an organization of victims and families working to expose and end unlawful and abusive
guardianship/conservatorships of the elderly and/or vulnerable. We have members who are parents of disabled adults. Guardianship abuse targets any vulnerable person with assets.

Please visit our website at, and our blog at Thanks for your article and your advocacy. Stay healthy and strong!

Elaine Renoir, NASGA

Down With County Government

Dear Editor:

From its inception the move to rethink Westchester Government was long overdue. The wellresearched articles by Westchester Guardian bureau
chief Catherine Wilson (Nov. 20, 2008 thru Jan. 8, 2009) undoubtedly give the most thorough accounting as to why this wasteful, redundant burden has to go, a must-read for the increasingly outraged residents.

Rob Astorino’s involvements with the “rethinking” movement raises some questions. Could it be that this was true bi-partisanship, Republicans, Democrats, Independents working together for a common goal? Or was this a “foot-in-the-door” thing, another attempt by Mr. Astorino for County Executive?

Apparently someone is not getting the message – WE DON’T WANT COUNTY GOVERNMENT! During Mr. Astorino’s previous effort, party lines became blurred, so eager were residents to be rid of Andy Spano & Crew. Damning evidence was presented to Mr. Astorino’s campaign staff, documentation of the highly questionable practices of County Government, genuine expos√© material, to no avail. Even a cleverly designed Spano
bumper sticker, while displayed at campaign headquarters, was rejected.

David Simpson and staff weren’t touching it. Missed opportunities. It makes one wonder; was that first attempt by Mr. Astorino a real one or was it another “arrangement” √° la Larry Horowitz? Read our lips, Rob, NO MORE COUNTY GOVERNMENT!

A Knowledgeable Reader

Re: Paul Cote

Dear Editor:

I am writing to you in response to your article of January 8, 2009, First Amendment Retaliation That Contaminated State And Federal Prosecutions.

I picked up your paper and was quite taken with the article. I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that this country has a new president and everyone seems alive with hope and a new future and Mr. Cote seems to be waiting for an unfair prison sentence.

Is there something I am missing? This is not a story I was following, but I think it touches and affects each and every one of us. The only thing this man seems guilty of is doing his job. How can this man be a menace to society, when he served society in one of the most thankless positions as a corrections officer?

How, in this day and age, are people sitting back and letting this happen? Isn’t this America? It saddens me that there is no end in sight, regarding this tragedy, for Mr. Cote and his family. Kudos to you and the Westchester Guardian for your courage and integrity.

P. Mack

Re: Paul Cote

Dear Editor:

Some thoughts on Ugly Retaliatory Injustice.

After reading and digesting the facts presented in your January 8th feature story about former Corrections Officer Paul Cote, I couldn’t help but put the bare facts of the incident which occurred in the Valhalla Facility on Oct. 10, 2000 in an inequality format. It appears evident that a judicial error and personal agendas prompted the outcome which former officer Cote is experiencing presently.

Clearly, there were three active participants in the incident, one of them being the belligerent inmate, and two others who were correction officers, Reimer and Cote. Surely, one correction officer is carrying the burden of the outcome, demonstrating an inequality, and travesty of justice. What prompted one correction officer, Reimer, to be granted “immunity” while the second officer, Cote, carries the ball? Was it political motivation and/or personal protection from being brought to task? I think so.

The article brings out the fact that Officer Cote was already indicted, tried, convicted, and incarcerated on the state level. So why did the federal government continue to pursue after 59 months, to reindict, to bring to trial and convict Officer Cote when, in point of fact, he already was punished for coming to the aid of Officer Reimer, immuned from the onset?

In these days of a downward spiral of the economy, doesn’t the federal government have anything better to do with taxpayers’ money than to
continue to retry, and reconvict, one who has already “paid his dues”? Let’s be fair, and examine, and reexamine, the reason and/or reasons behind a reconviction and a current incarceration.

A Concerned Reader And Taxpayer

Once Again, A Voice From The Right

Dear Editor:

What Price Comity is the title of Fred Polvere’s February 5th column. And, in his usual mantra, the Republicans are the cause of all the ills of society. Now they are to blame for the economic crisis we find ourselves in. No mention is made of the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac fiasco, who many believe was the genesis of our current problems, brought about mainly by the continued support of Democrats and their liberal agenda.

We can all agree that fiscal irresponsibility, out-of-control spending, regulations, de-regulations, etc., over the last eight years did nothing to assuage the mess we find ourselves in. And I believe both parties, and the American people, should share equally in the blame. What I find ironic, however, is the last sentence in the column, “This is not the time for a Kumbaya Presidency.”

Well, what has been going on for the last two years, I wonder. The euphoria and ill-conceived expectations; it was Obamamania, a reckless abandon
of common sense and maturity. It was let’s all hold hands and sway to and fro, sing of hope and change, and give thanks, for the chosen one has arrived. It has been Kumbaya unrestrained, and now you want it to stop?

Bob Pascarella, Bronx

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