RESPIRATORY ACTIVITY SEEN STRETCHING TO MAY. MEASLES, RAW MILK. COVID HIGH ACROSS THE USA

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State of Affairs: Feb 22

Respiratory activity Stretching to May? and… measles? And… raw milk?

Slowly but surely we’re moving through the 2023-2024 respiratory season. I’m also adding a measles section to the State of Affairs because… well… here we are in the 21st century.

Let’s dig in.

Influenza-like illnesses: Moderately stubborn

The rate at which people are going to the doctor with a fever, cough, or sore throat is stubborn—stalling at a very inconvenient rate. But a two- or three-hump season is very normal (i.e., in pre-pandemic times). This could stretch out to April or May.

Outpatient Respiratory Illness Visits (Source: CDC; Annotated by YLE)

Increased activity is driven by our kiddos. Outpatient visits among 0-24 year olds continue to increase, while visits among other age groups are receding.

Percent of Outpatient Visits for Respiratory Illness by Age Group (Source: CDC; Annotated by YLE)

Covid-19: High

Covid-19 wastewater levels are high nationally. And, in fact, higher than they were this time last year. Although national rates are declining, the South has a very weird pattern. We don’t know why.

Wastewater Viral Activity Levels (Source: CDC; Annotated by YLE)

Covid-19 hospitalization admissions are stalling after a nice decline. We remain at fewer hospitalizations than last year.

(Source: CDC; Annotated by YLE)

CDC and WHO are paying attention to another highly mutated variant in South Africa. However, there have only been 9 cases, with no impact on wastewater or hospitalization trends. This seems like a dud, which is great news. No other huge variants are on the horizon; JN continues to be king.

Flu: Still high and stabilizing

The rate of hospitalizations due to flu remained stable compared to last week. Flu can stretch out, sometimes to even May, so this is unsurprising. It’s not too late to get your flu shot!

Weekly rate of laboratory-confirmed influenza hospitalizations among cases of all ages, 2014-15 to 2023-24, MMWR Week 6(Source: CDC; Annotated by YLE)

RSV: Plummeting

RSV continues to go down nationally. It’s clear we’ve hit our season’s peak.

Percent positive RSV tests in the United States, by week (Source: CDC)

More good news with RSV: many babies (40%) got monoclonal antibodies this winter. This could certainly be improved, but given the rough access issues, it is a decent start.

Measles: More outbreaks

This may be a bad year for measles (see why in my previous post), so many epidemiologists are carefully watching the data.

So far, in 2024, we’ve had 20 cases across 11 states. This is about twice as many cases as this time last year.

Data is delayed, so this doesn’t include a few recent cases making the news:

  • Ohio reported its second case of the year, which exposed a number of people at a grocery store.
  • Washington also reported a case, which is likely from international travel.
  • An elementary school outbreak in Florida has infected six so far. Florida allows non-medical vaccine exemptions, which has increased since 2021. And Florida is below the herd immunity threshold, with ~90% vaccination rate (we need 95%). The worst part is the Florida Surgeon General’s letter to parents ignoring standards of practice and suggesting schools and parents should “choose their own adventure” with measles containment. It is egregious. Expect a full YLE post on this soon, but here is my initial reaction. I wasn’t happy.

Other things I’m paying attention to:

  • E. coli outbreak linked to raw milk cheese.
    • At least 10 cases across 4 states, with 4 people hospitalized and one developing a serious kidney condition.
    • There is a reason we pasteurize dairy, people. This method was developed 160 years ago to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination and foodborne illnesses. Please don’t fall for wellness misinformation. Raw milk has zero additional health benefits.
  • Next week, ACIP—CDC’s external scientific advisory board—is meeting to discuss all vaccines. I will report back on Covid-19 and RSV. I have two big questions:
    • What is the spring plan for Covid-19 vaccines? U.K. (and local U.S. jurisdictions like Los Angeles) have announced that older people can get a spring Covid-19 vaccine. I assume this is coming for the U.S.
    • What does the safety profile look like for the older adult RSV vaccine? Some questions were brought up during clinical trials. We really need real-world data.

Bottom line

This respiratory season continues to march on with few surprises. Unfortunately, it’s happening amidst a backdrop of misinformation, which will increasingly cause a mess, like measles and e-coli outbreaks.

Vaccines. Masks. Ventilation. Tests. Treatment. Isolation. We can do things to keep ourselves healthy. For high-risk folks, this may also mean changing Spring Break plans to avoid a measles outbreak or two.

Love, YLE


“Your Local Epidemiologist (YLE)” is written by Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, M.P.H. Ph.D.—an epidemiologist, wife. During the day, she is a senior scientific consultant to several organizations, including CDC. At night, she writes this newsletter. Her main goal is to “translate” the ever-evolving public health world so that people will be well-equipped to make evidence-based decisions. This newsletter is free, thanks to the generous support of fellow YLE community members. To support this effort, subscribe below:

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BREADLINES IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY NY USA: HOW THE OTHER HALF EATS.

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WPCNR OBSERVATIONS & COMMENT. By John F. Bailey. February 22, 2024:

I could not figure out what persons were lined up for at this location Wednesday morning.

Over 100 persons were lined up on the sidewalk  on this boulevard waiting for something.

When I left my appointment, I saw this scene was still there.

A truck from Feeding Westchester was unloading pallets of foodstuffs, one after the other, and persons were coming in to pick up bags of needed food.

With horror I realized this was a breadline.

At this time, 9:45 in the morning,  I counted 75 people: men, women, children in that line.

The temperature was 35 hard edge cold degrees.

UP CLOSE AND VERY PERSONAL HOW OFTEN DO THE POOR AND HUNGRY HAVE TO DO THIS? THEY ARE THE REFUGEES OF WESTCHESTER, CITIZENS NOT IMMIGRANTS BUT RESIDENTS OF THE COUNTY FOR THE MOST PART. 

You didn’t want to be out there for a short walk let alone 2 hours.

The only thing missing was trashcans with fires lit to warm hands.

If you are comfortable and have food and a home, you are not afflicted by the cold. If you have a job you probably are not afflicted by the cold

This breadline, and I imagine there are others like them at Feeding Westchester pickups all over the county are a disgrace.

They are a Westchester tragedy.

The county and county businesses have to look hard and do better.

I have never seen this before in my adult living in this county.

The non-profits of Westchester, most notably, Feeding Westchester are doing their best, but this scene should not be.

Those 100 people or who knows how many could get frostbite in this weather.

Hunger, breadlines in the open, lack of childcare, it is all being compounded in exponential misery in persons who are laid off, sick, and hungry all the time, and no matter they are not eating right, and they are tired all the time. Discipline slowly disappears daily, as hunger does not go away and despair intensifies, just deteriorating their lives.

If this is prevalent all over the county, the county must pay more attention to it. These people can’t pay for the high cost of food.

This was commented on just yesterday in an article in The New York Times business section about how food companies like Walmart, Pepsi, Coca Cola, Shake Shack are seeing less business in their snack products and burger businesses. The article says that overall inflation peaked at 9.1% and now is  3.1% the first of January.

The companies the article asked about pricing only included one grocery, Walmart. The others were softdrink and snack companies. Does this mean the poor subsist on soft drinks, sugar shakes and burgers? Those companies the article said are planning to raise prices this year 2.5% for Shake Shack,  and Walmart a $100 Billion dollar company increased sales 4.3%.

This tells me that the people on the county breadlines cannot afford supermarket prices.

Does this mean that Coke, Pepsi and the restaurant chains make up the diet of the poor?

What is missing from this report on food inflation, which in itself is quite revealing about the insatiable and downright cruel greed of big food, (raising food prices to make up their costs even though it is hurting people to do so), is surveys of supermarket chains, supply chains.

The other obvious but very often overlooked inflation analyses by inflation commentators is the compounding effect of price increases. Admittedly, I am no economist, but every price increase is cumulative.  Economists in rose-colored glasses and financial commentators, report gleefully inflation is down to 3% a year.

Please, the consumer is no fool.

We know the food is costing more and is not going down.

Nine percent inflation last year, now down to 3% a month. That means the cumulative inflation is 12% in 13 months. Three  percent increases a month just keep making things worse at the supermarket. Thee percent increases a month is 36% compounded in a year. All you need to know about economy measure is who is making money and who is not

This “Huzzah”  that the food companies are not going to raise prices as much by the business press as being a wonderful thing food companies are doing is simply business cheerleading.

The people on that breadline are not making money enough to go to the supermarket. Instead the softdrinks, the snacks,the shakes, the Big Macs are making the poor unhealthy.

Meantime, the root cause of hunger is not having jobs. Not having hiring months. Refusing to hire minorities, or letting immigrants take jobs while awaiting asylum judgments.

I also think that food distributions have to make distribution points inside.

Westchester winter has been a cruel cold in the 20s and mid-30s during the day. In summer the poor, the hungry, the sweating masses will be faced with sweltering, dehydrating heat.

Distribution points should be located at places to shelter the 100 or so coming for the Feeding Westchester distributions: The County Center, Urgent Care centers (which can check the waiters for symptoms and overall health), Gymnasiums in schools, warehouses.

Breadlines.

They remind me of just how close you and I can be to being just like those poor souls, if we have an accident, get fired, or companies keep making money at our expense and make it impossible to eat.

There are several women who come to my neighborhood on recycling days to collect discarded deposit return cans, that is how poor they are.

Breadlines..

In 2024.

This is America in the 1930s, not the 2020s.

The press should be asking those who would be leaders, how can we deal with poverty, hunger, killer drugs, medicare looting hospitals, usurus  banks, and robber barons

 

 

 

 

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THE ROLANDI FORECAST: THE SOUTH CAROLINA PRIMARY

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WPCNR CAMPAIGN 2024.  By Dr. Stephen Rolandi . February 22, 2024:

This Saturday, it is South Carolina’s turn in the pre-Presidential convention season. In the Republican Primary, it is basically Donald Trump vs. former Governor/Ambassador Nikki Haley, plus a number of minor candidates who have either since ended their campaigns or are relative unknowns.

This primary permits Democrats to cross over, where Ms. Haley has gained significant support.. She has hit her stride and I expect that she will exceed expectations. Enthusiasm for the former President seems to have ebbed somewhat, in what is expected to be a relatively low turnout.

My call is: TRUMP 58%/HALEY 42%/Others 2%

It’s on to Super Tuesday! It should be noted that both Ronald Reagan (1976) and Joe Biden (2020) lost several primaries before winning primary contests.

What will be Ms. Haley’s off-ramp?

I would not be surprised if she seeks an independent candidacy under the banner of the No-Labels/Forward Party, who as yet do not have a Presidential candidate for the fall. Time will tell.

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THE NEXT GENERATION LIFTS LIFTING UP WESTCHESTER 2024

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PROTECT, NOT DAMAGE WP RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS

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WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. February 21, 2024:

Dear Common Council and Planning Board members,

For the past 45 years we have enjoyed living and raising our family in White Plains.  And are delighted that our 3 daughters also currently live in different WP Residential Neighborhoods.  At one time White Plains was referred to as the “City of Neighborhoods” because of the success and strength of our Residential Neighborhoods. . .where few of our houses look the same and individual home owners beautifully maintain and invest in their own properties.

In our view the successes of the City’s Downtown area have been more spotty and less permanent.

And we always wondered with all the large building projects completed over the years and for those still in progress. . .  why more affordable housing near public transportation was never developed, particularly for City workers including police, fire and school employees?

With the proposed Comprehensive Plan changes, when you take away all the bells, whistles and wishful ideas, we hope there will be specific and long-lasting Affordable Housing for the Downtown area close to transportation and other appropriate services.

We have a couple of suggestions for the revised Comprehensive Plan that relate to Residential areas:

1.  Do review the proposed Comprehensive Plan with “each” Residential Neighborhood Association and incorporate their ideas and suggestions.

2.  Do include in the updated Comprehensive Plan the requirement that for all large developments in Residential areas that the impacted Neighborhood Associations must be included from day one on all discussions and plans.

We include this because NYS Land Use Regulations require all major projects to fit into the “Character of the Neighborhood” and no one knows the Character of their own neighborhood better than the people who reside there day in and day out.  And keep in mind that the main reason the prior FASNY Development failed was because the City excluded local Gedney Residents from all of the detailed plans and discussions.

 3.  Don’t make any zoning changes for the Residential areas unless it is requested by a specific Neighborhood Association for their own area.

  We believe Residential Zoning protects the value of individual properties.  And if the City weakens Zoning it will result in lower property valuations and tax revenues for the City, County and School District recipients as well as harm individual homeowners who spent years building valuable equity.

So, we ask our City Leaders to protect Residential Zoning and involve Residents early in large developments planned for their own Neighborhoods.  For the City it’s the right thing to do.

Thanks for your consideration,

Marie and Ron Rhodes

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SETBACK FOR DEMOCRACY OBSERVATION BY PAUL FEINER. SAVE THE PRESS.

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WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. February 19, 2024:

 

The loss of three local weekly newspapers (the Scarsdale Inquirer, Rivertowns Enterprise and Bedford Review Record) is a setback for democracy.
These  local publication provided area residents with important information about the community.  The  election coverage they provided made it easier for non incumbent candidates to get known and for their concerns  to be taken seriously.  They sent reporters to meetings of school, town and village Boards -giving residents information about controversial issues.
The scrutiny and investigative reporting of all government entities helps keep government more honest.  The letters to the editor sections offered readers the opportunity to air their commentaries about topics of interest to the community. And they covered sports, entertainment, the arts and profiled interesting residents.
I am very appreciative of the efforts of a former opponent of mine, Lucas Cioffi, who is leading the effort to find a way to either save these publications or to encourage the start up of new weekly print newspapers. Mr. Cioffi- along with Sandra Nam, Quiqo Chat Inc and the Westchester Youth Congress organized a very impressive virtual community meeting on February 1st that was attended by over three hundred residents..
The virtual meeting encouraged the community to think of creative initiatives that could help a new local weekly publication survive. The meeting was democracy at its best –informative with  excellent ideas presented. Everyone who wanted to speak had an opportunity to express themselves.  And -after the meeting detailed minutes were sent to participants.  Finally, follow up  progress report  e mails have been sent to participants.  I’m optimistic and hopeful that independent local journalism will continue to be an important part of our community in the future.
If a new weekly newspaper gets off the ground – Lucas Cioffi deserves lots of credit for leading the way. I’d also thank Lucas Cioffi for his efforts in recent years advocating for pedestrian safety improvements in the town and for organizing the Westchester Youth Congress—involving students in our democracy.  Democracy depends on oversight, citizen participation and respect for different ideas. Lucas Cioffi is making a positive difference in our community.
PAUL FEINER
Greenburgh Town Supervisor
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FLU RATE OF HOSPITALIZATIONS RISE IN NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, PENNSYLVANIA. COVID IN SLOW DECLINE IN NY

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Force of Infection

NORTHEAST
Outbreak Outlook – Northeast – February 19
FEB 19, 2024

BY DR. CAITLIN RIVERS

(REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION)

Welcome to the Northeastern edition of Outbreak Outlook! It is only available to paid subscribers. If you wish to become a paid subscriber and access region-specific information, please click the Subscribe now button below. Thanks for reading! -Caitlin

Subscribed

Respiratory Diseases

ILI

Flu season is not over quite yet for the Northeast. Outpatient visits for influenza-like illnesses held roughly steady, instead of declining as hoped, and influenza hospitalization rates are on an upward climb in about half the states in the region.

The rate of both new hospitalizations for influenza and proportion of outpatient visits for ILI held roughly steady in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and New Jersey.

 

Spotlight on New York: In New York City, the percentage of visits to the doctor for fever and cough or sore throat is still very high at 8%. It is declining, but very slowly. It’s been a very long flu season in NYC. Other parts of the New York State are struggling more. Confirmed influenza cases have increased in recent weeks in the Central, Capital, and Western parts of the state, and hospitalizations are rising too. The season is not over yet, so continued caution is warranted.

Massachusetts held roughly steady for outpatient visits, and saw a decrease of 0.6 points to 5.5 per 100,000 population for influenza-related hospitalizations.

Rhode Island and Vermont are mixed: they had moderate decreases in the proportion of outpatient visits for ILI but also saw moderate increases in new hospital admissions for influenza.

Maine saw a slight increase of 0.4 points to 3.2% of all outpatient visits for ILI, and continued the upward trajectory in hospital admissions that it has been on for a few weeks, increasing by 0.9 points to 5.7 admissions per 100,000 population.

New Hampshire (+0.5 to 3.2), and Connecticut (+0.9 to 4.0) also reported moderate increases in new hospital admissions for influenza.

COVID-19

The number of new weekly hospitalizations for Covid-19 has improved steadily since the holiday season, though current levels remain elevated. Wastewater concentration of SARS-CoV-2 has dropped considerably in the Northeast, too.

More recently, in the past week wastewater concentrations remained relatively stable in the region, though the Northeast continues to have the highest wastewater concentration in the country.

At the state level, Vermont stands out in a good way this week: it had a 31% drop in new hospitalizations in the past week, and now has the lowest regional rate of hospitalizations as well: at 4.7 per 100,000. (Caveat: States with smaller population appear to have larger fluctuations due to the smaller number of individuals involved.)

New Jersey (-13% to 7.5 per 100,000) and Connecticut (-5% to 7.0) also logged notable improvements in hospitalization rates in the past week.

Rates remained roughly stable over the past week in New York (8.6 per 100,000 population), Massachusetts (7.8), and Pennsylvania (6.3).

RSV

PCR test positivity for RSV continues to improve. After a peak in December, positivity has now decreased to below 4%.

 

Stomach Bugs

Norovirus activity remains elevated, with test positivity over 15%. The Northeast has the highest test positivity in the country. The next month or two is peak norovirus season, so be cautious. Norovirus spreads very easily from person to person, causing vomiting and diarrhea. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water to prevent transmission.

Food recalls
The following foods are being recalled because they are contaminated. Please check your cupboards and throw out any of these items:

New

Raw Cheddar Cheese (more info)

Multiple other product recalls associated with the queso fresco and Cotija cheese recall from last week, including taco kids. See the full list here.

Ready to eat meat products from Don Novo, including chorizo and smoked pork ribs (more info)

Previously reported:

A big recall of Queso Fresco and Cotija Cheese is affecting numerous consumer products: (more info)

Trader Joe’s Chicken Enchiladas Verde, Cilantro Salad Dressing, Elote Chopped Salad Kit, Trader Joe’s Southwest Salad (more info)

Cilantro Lime Crema, Everything Sauce Fiesta, Cilantro Cotija dressing, Poblano Caesar dressing, Cilantro Dressing, Street Taco Express Meal Kit sold at Trader Joes, Don Pancho and HEB (more info)

Rojo’s Black Bean 6 Layer Dip (more info)

Cheese, Yogurt, Sour cream by Rizo Brothers California Creamery (more info)

Robitussin Honey CF Max cough syrup products (more info)

Charcuterie meats sold by Fratelli Beretta and, newly, Busseto (more info)

Tons of different granola and oatmeal products from Quaker (more info).

If you have food allergies, you may wish to review these FDA safety alerts and USDA alerts for foods with undeclared allergens.

In other news
A measles case was reported in a child with a recent history of international travel in Toronto, Canada. While not technically in the Northeastern census region, I couldn’t find much else to share this week.

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PRESIDENTS DAY AND WEEK: GEORGE WASHINGTON THE FIRST AND THE BEST.

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WPCNR MILESTONES. Reprinted from the WPCNR ARCHIVES. February 18, 2022: Thursday, February 22 is George Washington’s Birthday. The time when we remember the first leader and the best. It is instructive to look at our first leader, George Washington, the father of our nation — America — that used to be. One cannot help be reminded of the snowy winter at Valley Forge, when the bedraggled, poorly equipped rebel army suffered but held together, and attacked the German troops in Trenton on Christmas Eve, 1776, crossing the Delaware River at night. What kind of man was he that George Washington could inspire his troops against all odds? What kind of men were they who would risk certain death if wounded (no med-evacs in 1776) for an idea: rights and freedom? Washington was a man of tremendous character. Of principle. Where did he get this character? He specialized in self-control at an early age. That congressmen, lobbyists, and pundits and yes, Presidents,  means mind-control, reason and responsibility, and humanity. According to  the book, The American President, Washington, at sixteen, had formed a code of conduct. He had written a book of etiquette with 110 “maxims” to guide his conduct in matters. In this etiquette book he had written: Every action done in company ought to be done with a sign of respect to those who are not present. Sleep not when others speak; sit not when others stand; speak not when you should hold your peace; walk not when others stop;…Let your countenance be pleasant but in serious matters somewhat grave…Undertake not what you cannot perform but be careful to keep your promise. The character sketch provided by the authors of The American President, indicates this personal “rulebook” was a book that Washington wrote over the years and referred to it often, for, they write, for the following reasons: “for self-control, to avoid temptation, to elude greed, to control his temper. Reputation was everything to him. It had to do with his strength, his size, his courage, his horsemanship, his precise dress, his thorough mind, his manners, his compassion. He protected that reputation at any cost.” Earning respect by example. Quelling rebellion with a few words. He sets an example today for those who would take advantage of America’s weakness and seize power by opportunism. Washington inspired by example.
John Vorperian with “George Washington” at Purdy House where General Washington stayed during the Battle of White Plains.
He lived with his troops. He shared hardships with them, and there was so much respect for him that he was able to talk them out of armed rebellion at the end of the American Revolution. Washington had been asked by the army to join them to overthrow the Continental Congress, and make himself King. Washington had been asked by one of the officers of the rebels to join them, and he wrote them, You could not have found a person to whom your schemes are more disagreeable. Banish these thoughts from your mind. Hearing that the rebels who were planning insurrection (back in 1783, they knew what insurrection was) against the new country due to paid  withheld by the Continental Congress, Washington rode to Newburgh, New York, (not far from White Plains, NY,USA) on March 15, 1783, to meet with the dissident insurgents. Washington spoke to the rebellious group, saying, “Gentlemen, as I was among the first who embarked in the cause of our common Country; as I never left your side one moment, but when called from you on public duty; as I have been the constant companion and witness of your Distresses…it can scarcely be supposed …that I am indifferent to your interests. But…this dreadful alternative, of either deserting our Country in the extremest hour of her distress, or turning our Arms against it…has something so shocking in it that humanity revolts from the idea…I spurn it, as every Man who regards liberty…undoubtedly must.” The would-be rebels fell silent, digesting what he had said. Then Washington withdrew a letter from Congress, but could not read the text, withdrawing some eyeglasses from his tunic, remarking, “Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country.” The men present were reported to have tears in their eyes at this gesture of Washington’s and abandoned their plot out of respect for their leader. Washington retired from the military, surprising the entire new country. His action surprised King George III of England, who was astonished that Washington had refused to hold on to his military authority and use it for political or financial gain. The defeated King of England, remarked, “If true, then he is the greatest man in the world.” Washington was. Seeker of Diverse Views. How to pick a cabinet. As President, George Washington invented the Presidential Cabinet, whom he referred to as “the first Characters,” persons who possessed the best reputations in fields and areas of the jobs he was filling. Washington said on political appointments: “My political conduct and nominations must be exceedingly circumspect. No slip into partiality will pass unnoticed…” Washington tolerated the relentless clashes between Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State, and Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, but lectured them on the necessity for tolerance and moving beyond partisanship: “I believe the view of both of you are pure, and well meant. Why then, when some of the best Citizens in the United States, Men…who have no sinister view to promote, are to be found, some on one side, some on the other…should either of you be so tenacious of your opinions as to make no allowances for those of the other? I have great esteem for you both, and ardently wish that some line could be marked out by which both of you could walk.” The Constitution Should be Protected When George Washington left office after two terms, he made a farewell address which warned future generations of Americans about foreign entanglements and partisanship in the republic: I shall carry to my grave the hope that your Union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the Constitution may be sacredly maintained; and that free government…the ever favorite object of my heart…will be the happy reward of our mutual cares, labors and dangers.” Washington died in 1800, three years after leaving office in 1797. He was saluted on the floor of congress as being First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.” He was the first and best. The ultimate role model for any leader, February 22, 2024 is a day that tries Americans’ souls. It is hoped that some of our “leaders” in Westchester, in Albany, in Washington might read the words I have quoted above and take them to heart in future deliberations. Work a little. It’s not all about you. It’s about doing what is best for us all. George Washington’s vision of his country is being challenged by those who know not what they do. Or want to do to voices that disagree with them But we who remember, and read these words must refocus. I hear you, Mr. Washington, and we heed, so help us God.
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REDRAWN CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS DO NOT CHANGE MUCH VOTING ORGANIZATIONS SAY. NY INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMISSION PRESERVES PRESENT DISTRICTS, IGNORES MINORITY EMPOWERMENT PRESERVES STATUS QUO

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“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” Marcel Proust

WPCNR CAMPAIGN 2024 ROUNDUP. By John F. Bailey February 17, 2023:

 

The New York State Independent Redistricting Commission has sent its redrawn congressional maps characterized as having been arrived at by a genuine effort of compromise to the state legislature for legislature approval.

All 26 District maps are on the NYIRC website: https://nyirc.gov/storage/plans/20240215/congressional_plan.pdf

(Simply scroll Down to District 16 and District 17.)

Leaks of how districts changed  found their way into the hands of some media outlets in time for stories to be published in major media as of Wednesday morning, when no maps were available. There were no explanations from the NYIRC  as to the effects of the redrawn maps and how many districts had changed, after the Commission voted 9 to 1 Abstention Tuesday afternoon to approve maps and then a second 9-1 vote to send the new maps on to Albany legislature for approval or denial.

The legislature in on vacation now and as of today Saturday State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins has not called the legislators back to Albany to consider a timely approval or more time to make changes before petition signature collections are scheduled to start.

The Congressional Districts of interest in the Westchester area are District 16 and 17. The District 16 map below shows no change from the previous district. The 17th district remains the same and incumbent Congressman Mike Lawler is very pleased at that.

NEW REDRAWN DISTRICT 16 IN GREENOVERLAY SHOWING NO CHANGE. (AND A CLOSER VIEW BELOW 🙂

THE NEW CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 16 HAS  519,751 REGISTERED VOTERS, 255,074 WHITE, 119,751 BLACK, 112,155 HISPANIC AND 30,355 ASIANS.

DISTRICT 17 NEWLY REDRAWN IS SHOWN BELOW IT TOO IS VIRTUALLY UNCHANGED

DISTRICT 17 HAS 533,808 REGISTERED VOTERS, 45,236 BLACK, 390,729 WHITE, 69,538 HISPANIC AND 26,093 ASIAN.

Voting organizations across the state were not enthusiastic about the proposed redrawn districts.

The NY League of Women Voters rounded up statements from a number organizations on the execution of the new proposed redrawn maps:

In what feels like the never-ending story, we bring you more news on redistricting. On Thursday, the Independent Redistricting Commission met and announced a new set of Congressional maps. You can take a look at the maps here and compare them with the 2022 version. NYC and Long Island will remain mainly unchanged, aside from a few small sections in Brooklyn and Queens. Upstate NY (yes, I’m unfortunately referring to anything above the city as Upstate) will see more drastic changes if these maps pass in the Legislature. Legislators are in their home districts on break next week so we won’t see them re-convene until February 26th. 

 

In response, the following groups released these statements:

“The reconvened Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) owes New Yorkers an apology. From the start, thiscommission met behind closed doors, locking New Yorkers out of a process that directly impacts them. We have no idea how these maps were drawn, who influenced them, and why the districts are the way they are. Now, the Legislature must hold at least one public hearing – and allow written testimony – so New Yorkers can weigh in on the process before lawmakers vote on these maps. It’s the least they can do,” 

Susan Lerner, Executive Director
of Common Cause/NY.

“New Yorkers deserve a better redistricting process. The IRC should have held deliberations in public, and sought public input. Before voting on the maps, the legislature must hold at least one public hearing, and allow New Yorkersto comment on these lines. Going forward, we need a more independent process that reduces partisanship and outside influence over the commission, brings more diverse voices to the table, minimizes the potential for deadlock, and eliminates the Legislature’s authority to veto the final maps,”

Betsy Gotbaum, Executive Director of
Citizens Union.

“New York’s redistricting process has been plagued with multiple changes and convoluted decision making, ” said Cesar Ruiz, Associate Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

“It’s essential that the legislature hold a public hearing.We cannot allow the will of the voters to be undermined. A redistricting process only works where there is a processin place that is fair, transparent, and equitable.”

“The League of Women Voters of NYS is dismayed that the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) held no hearings during their consideration of new congressional maps. Public input is critical to ensuring that the voters are choosing their elected officials and not the reverse. Even though it was not required by the court decision, the IRCshould have realized the importance to all to solicit this public input in this redrawing of the maps. The League has advocated for public input throughout this multi-year redistricting process and will continue to support all efforts now and in the future to ensure the public’s voice is heard in determining district lines,”

said Laura Ladd Bierman,
Executive Director, League of Women Voters of NYS.

“Public input is essential to give legitimacy to the redistricting process. Eyes are on New York. Don’t shut the public out of the process for a second time.

We ask the legislature to prioritize democracy over expediency and hold a
public hearing before any map is finalized,”

said Elizabeth R. OuYang, Coordinator, APA VOICE Redistricting
Task Force.

“New Yorkers deserve a transparent, fair and inclusive process when it comes to redistricting.

Instead, constituents were handed a set of congressional maps developed by the Independent Redistricting Commission without community input and shrouded in secrecy until their release today. Now it’s up to the Legislature to correct this wrong, by seeking and incorporating public input from New Yorkers before voting on these new maps.

This is the only way to increase trust in the system and ensure that every New Yorker has a say in the process that will impact their lives foryears to come. Building a more open process is vital for fostering an inclusive democracy that represents and upliftsthe voices of immigrants and all New Yorkers,”

said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director of the New York
Immigration Coalition.

On Tuesday, these groups will host a virtual hearing on New York’s redistricting process. Attendees will hear from
members of the public and voting and civil rights groups about the current state of New York’s redistricting, why

 

 

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INSTANT SNOW REPLAY!

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WHITE PLAINS NEW YORK USA 7 A.M. SATURDAY MORNING 2 INCHES OF SNOW FELL OVERNIGHT CREATING THE SAME WET HEAVY FLUFF STUFF SO HARD TO SHOVEL LAST TUESDAY. BE CAREFUL OUT THERE, SHOVELING.

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