In 2018: 1.1 Million Pages Viewed. 117,063 Unique Visitors Make 29,700 Visits a Month. 321 Visits a Day. 2,028,191 Hits NoBots, The White Plains Daily News Service Since 2000 A.D. John F. Bailey, Editor (914) 997-1607 firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 914-673-4054. News Politics Personalities Neighborhoods Schools Finance Real Estate Commentary Reviews Policy Correspondence Poetry Philosophy Photojournalism Arts. TV: White Plains Week 7:30 FRI, 7 MON & People to Be Heard 8PM THURS, 7 PM SAT on FIOS CH 45, ALTICE CH 76 "Fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way. EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!
Frank Soults, spokesperson for the SEIU comment on the effect Teamsters’ refusal to serve buildings where SEIU will picket will have : “They (the buildings) are severely affected, in various ways. It’s been a remarkably strong combination when the Teamsters and janitors strike together.”
Soults confirmed remarks made during the demonstrtation by a speaker the Cleaning Company Contractors have not discussed wages, but have demanded the union agree to lower number of sick days and the contractors wanted to make members pay for damaged equipment or property in any mishap.
Soults released a statement Friday from Tom Carey, President of the Westchester-Putnam Labor Central Labor Body, “We will walk the picket lines with you and we will ask our member unions to honor your picket lines.” Their website is here https://www.wpclb.org/
“We want the contractors and building owners to know that cleaners will not be shut out of the economic success we helped build!” said Lenore Friedlaender, Assistant to the President of 32BJ and the head of the union in the Hudson Valley. “With your authorization tonight, you demonstrate your willingness to walk off the job after December 31, to ensure that your families can continue to thrive.”
“Your fight is our fight!” said Louis Picani, President of Teamsters Local 456. “Every day you go to work, breaking your backs, but your bosses do not appreciate your efforts! Let’s let them know you cannot be broken! Let’s win a good contract now, and never give up the fight!”
White Plains Mayor Tom Roach reiterated the message. “I’m here to let you know I’m standing with you in your fight for a fair contract. I know about and am very grateful for the important work you do for everyone here in White Plains. Businesses depend on you to be viable.”
The 3,000 janitors covered under the contract clean some 250 properties across the Hudson Valley and Fairfield County, Connecticut. That amounts to over 85% of the large commercial buildings in the area, from suburban corporate headquarters to downtown office towers, from small universities to sprawling shopping malls.
“This is a simple issue,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “Do we want to live in a country of the haves and have-nots, or do we want to build prosperity together? The policemen, the public employees who work in the County Building, the Teamsters, all deserve a fair contract, and so do the building cleaners of the Hudson Valley…. We call on your employers to negotiate a fair contract you can live with!”
At the height of the gathering, 32BJ Secretary Treasurer Larry Engelstein boarded the flatbed to ask, “Are you ready to tell the bosses that if we don’t get a satisfactory offer from them, we are ready to strike?”
With that, 500 hands lifted cards reading YES in bold letters — unanimously authorizing a potential strike — and the workers began a march through downtown White Plains that passed major buildings that the union members clean every day and night.
“It can be difficult, being in negotiations, but we stand firm together” 32BJ cleaner and bargaining committee member Claudia Rodriguez said from the flatbed before the vote and march. “And what helps us most is the bigger unity behind us. Our great strength is that 3,000 of our brothers and sisters are also united. It’s what you and I do together here, in the streets, and if necessary, in the strike we will take after December 31, that will ensure we get a good contract.”
WPCNR COUNTY CLARION LEDGER.By John F. Bailey. December 10, 2019:,UPDATED 10:20 PM EST UPDATED DECEMBER 12, 2019. 12:30 PM:
The county sewage treatment system has problems that need to be fixed.
Wednesday afternoon, County Executive George Latimer appointed Mike Kaplowitz the outgoing County Legislator, (who chose not to run for reelection), Deputy Commissioner of Environmental Facilities, and charged him with the specific task to study the County’s 7 Sewer facilities in 13 different communities and find possible cost savings and the facility fixes that are needed. Mr. Kaplowitz will be paid $107,690 in the position.
The news release detailed Mr. Kaplowitz’s qualifications this way:
Kaplowitz has represented the 4th District (Yorktown, New Castle and Somers) since 1998 and has previously served as Vice-Chairman of the Board. On January 6th, 2014, he was elected as Chairman of the Board.
Further, Kaplowitz’s education and expertise as an attorney and certified financial planner led to his appointment as Chair of the Budget & Appropriations Committee in 2003. Kaplowitz is a long-time environmentalist and is also a past Chair of the Westchester County Legislature’s Environment & Energy Committee.
WPCNR COUNTY CLARIONLEDGER. From the Westchester County Board of Legislators , December 9, 2019:
This morning, the Board of Legislators voted 15-1 to pass the county’s 2020 operating, capital and special districts budgets.
The $2.1 billion operating budget, which includes a $1 million cut to the county property tax levy, continues work begun last year to strengthen the county’s finances.
The 2020 budget uses no on one-shot revenues and contains no borrowing to fund operating expenses. It also adds $10 million to the county’s fund balance. 2020 will be the second year in a row that the county has added to its rainy day funds, after years of declines under the prior administration. Rebuilding the county’s fund balance is essential to protecting the county for the future and improving the county’s credit rating, which keeps County borrowing costs low.
The budget strengthens crucial services for Westchester families, especially in the area of child care, including increased support for the county’s Invest in Kids programs. There’s also more funding for nonprofit organizations which provide early childhood support programs. The budget also includes an increase in the reimbursement rate paid to child care providers, to make it easier for parents to find affordable, high quality child care and easier for providers to recruit and retain qualified workers who are being lost to higher paying jobs in other areas, like New York City.
The 2020 operating budget also increases money available for eviction prevention programs, expanding legal help for those facing eviction in Yonkers, and extending that support to Mount Vernon, Ossining and Peekskill. The programs help people remain in their homes, saving the county millions of dollars annually by keeping families out of the shelter system.
There’s also additional help for legal services for domestic violence survivors and for community health centers and criminal justice reform.
The capital budget commits $20 million to County funds that support the creation of new units of affordable housing. It also continues efforts begun last year to accelerate long-lingering projects needed to repair and improve County roads, bridges, parks, and refuse and wastewater treatment facilities. Among other efforts, these include commitments to renovate Memorial Field in Mount Vernon and reconstruct the South County Trailway.
WPCNR QUILL & EYESHADE. From the NYS Department of Taxation & Finance. December 9, 2019:
Westchester County sales tax dollars, if last year’s 2018 figures are met, will generate $593,369,046 when the county fiscal year ends, an annual increase of 7.7% over 2018 when the county received $550,562,481 in sales tax receipts.
The White Plains sales tax dollar handle in October was $4,009,241
down about 1% compared to October 2018, when $4,044,424 was generated.
After 4 months of the White Plains fiscal year which started
in July, the city is 5.4% ahead of the 2017-18 pace generating $17,150,917 in
sales tax dollars , up $892,624 from the $16,258,293 taken in
July-through-October in 2018.
The Arizona engulfed December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor
Out of the sun on the quiet Sunday they came
Birds of death blazened with red suns raining fiery havoc on Battleship Row.
One by one, ruthless planes dove, destroyed to their nation’s shame.
Thunderous explosions scattered fiery death on Sunday dawn’s glow.
Flames belched from bowels of stricken Arizona, America’s pride,
On Hicham Field pilots raced to planes to defend
As their birds were crippled on ground by Zeros’ glide
Gunners in turrets on ships floundering filled skies with flack’s din.
In search of carriers, marauders could not find
Ruthlessly strafed and bombed leaving Pearl
In smoking ruin. Ships sunk, burning as raiders flew into the Sun
The day of infamy had been ignited in the Zeros’ swirl.
The Attack Begins 8 AM December 7, 1941
As America listened a world away, somber FDR
Spoke of this day that will live in infamy.
America must never forget its Pearl Harbor Scar
When an unsuspecting America slept in complacency.
To the 2,403 perishing that day under merciless bombs
Hails of bullets, terror of torpedos out of nowhere
America must remember forces against our freedoms
Relentlessly work always to surprise with deadly bombs’ glare.
Vigilence is the price of freedom always to be defended
By dark forces in far off places we have offended.
Against those who would destroy our republic from within
The answer is not curtailing freedom at home rather it to champion.
The USS Arizona lies in Pearl’s waters, bleeding the lives
Of her men through the eerie eternal slick marking the rusting hulk.
Beneath Pearl’s waters, the blood of free people oozes from the shadowy bulk,
Bleeding forever, freedom’s spirit living forever in lost lives remembered.
She never rests.
Note:The Pearl Harbor attack which took place 78 years ago today 2 PM Eastern Standard Time, and its aftermath is dramatically depicted at http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/pearlhbr/pearlhbr.htm
WPCNR DOWNTOWN LOWDOWN. December 4, 2019 UPDATED 10 PM EST UPDATED 11:30 AM DECEMBER 5 UPDATED WITH LIVE VIDEO, DECEMBER 6, 2019 8:55 AM:
The White Plains Urban Renewal Agency voted unanimously this morning in city hall to consider eminent domain being used to acquire the 13 following properties on the North side of East Post Road from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to South Lexington Avenue for future unspecified projects yet to be determined.
Counsel Shawn Griffin of Harris Beach told the Urban Renewal Board that by voting for the resolutions before them, they were not making any firm commitment to eminent domain of the properties and in future months the pros and cons of possible uses of the properties would be brought to the board. Griffin said that should the eminent domain process be deemed advantageous then the city would make an offer to the property owners. The city would then, if the owner(s) did not agree it was acceptable, the city would take the eminent domain requests to the court and a judge would rule on eminent domain. Griffin in addition pointed out that the owner(s) could then sue for a higher offer.
Gabriel Arrango, owner of EZHousing, 149 Grand Street told the CitizeNetReporter he would be meeting with his tenants tomorrow to discuss the situation Arrango told WPCNR he had told the city “Let’s make a deal.” He was concerned about appropriate alternative housing for the residential tenants of his buildings, as well as the investments his commercial tenants have made in their space, and compensation for them.
Arrango told WPCNR, he could not decide how to proceed without an offer from the city, and how the city would also reimburse commercial tenants and relocation of his apartment residents. He said he would consider contesting the city judgment that the areas targeted were a detriment to the neighborhood and should be replaced with new structures.
After the meeting adjourned at 9:55 A.M. Commissioner of Planning Christopher Gomez said the Urban Renewal Board may meet again in about 90 days on the matter.
The properties under consideration for eminent domain acquisition by the city are
WPCNR MEDIA-GO-ROUND. From River Towns Media. December 5, 2019:
Westchester-based River Towns Media LLC, publisher of the River Journal, today announced plans to launch River Journal North, a new monthly publication which will be delivered to every household and business in Peekskill, Cortlandt, and Croton-on-Hudson.
The monthly circulation will be more than 28,000, and when added to the River Journal’s circulation of 20,850, River Towns Media will reach nearly 50,000 households and 107,000 readers in the River Towns from Irvington to Peekskill. The first issue of River Journal North will be published in March 2020.
Alain Begun, Owner and Publisher of River Towns Media LLC, acquired the River Journal and www.riverjournalonline.com in October 2018.
The River Journal has served the Westchester County, NY, river towns of Briarcliff Manor, Irvington, Pocantico Hills, Sleepy Hollow, and Tarrytown for over 21 years. Bucking the national trend of an overall decline in the print media industry, River Towns Media has grown their print advertising 40% in the year since taking over the publication.
Begun attributes the success of the publication to major changes implemented over the course of 2019, including:
Increasing the circulation to include 3,100 homes and 590 businesses in Ossining
Hiring a new editorial, creative, and ad sales team
“In the year since acquiring the River Journal, we’ve made the investment in the resources we needed to improve and grow the product,” said Begun.
“That investment has paid off with an increase of 40% in advertising revenue in the past year. And that ad increase has allowed us to provide even more local editorial coverage than ever before. In fact, we’ve grown the River Journal from an average of 20 pages per issue when we took over to an average of 32 pages per issue for the 2nd half of 2019. We currently have over 150 adverting partners many of who run in six or more issues. We know those small businesses wouldn’t keep spending money with us if their ads didn’t work.”
According to Begun, the northern-most Westchester River Towns have long-been underserved by local media without having a single publication delivered to homes in those communities.
“River Journal North will be unique in that it will be delivered by USPS free-of-charge to every home and business in Croton-on-Hudson, Peekskill, and all the villages that make up the town of Cortlandt,” said Begun. “We plan to deliver local coverage of the schools, the businesses, the people and personalities, the events, and local politics that make those communities so unique. And we plan to fill key advertising sales and editorial positions with local residents.”
When the River Journal North launches, River Towns Media will reach nearly as many households on a monthly basis as Westchester Magazine The weekly Enterprise prints 25,000 copies per week of their four editions, but those are not delivered to homes but are available at coffee shops, restaurants, and in newspaper vending machines.
“We look forward to serving all the residents and businesses of these thriving communities for many years to come,” said Begun.
PROPOSED 2020 COUNTY BUDGET BANKS ON WESTCHESTER SALES TRIPLING IN ONE YEAR
BALANCES BUDGET PREDICTING 27.9% INCREASE IN SALES TAX DOLLARS on a 1% SALES TAX INCREASE.
WPCNR QUILL & EYESHADE. NEWS & COMMENT By John F. Bailey. December 1, 2019 UPDATED 3:45 PM EST:
Barns, the Foreign Correspondent in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, has the
perfect analysis of the 2020 Westchester County Budget they take up this month.
Ashley, the woman Jake loves, tells him in a taxi on the way to the airport in
Madrid at the close of the book,
“We could have had a damn good time together.”
policeman holds a baton ahead forcing the taxi to swerve, throwing Brett
against him, reviving a dream that might have been.
staring at the beautiful Brett answers with one of the great last lines of all
“Isn’t it pretty to think so?”
up, Board of Legislators.
have in your hands a PROPOSED 2020 Westchester County budget touted as a plan
that lowers county property taxes, rebuilds the fund balance, has settled labor
peace, raises your salaries by 50%, and establishes plans to build affordable
housing. It is a wonderful thing.
The new budget is a pipe dream built on a revenue structure based on the prediction that the Westchester sales tax revenue and economy will grow by 27.9% in 12 months.
The greatest economy in the world, the U.S. GNP only grows 4 to 5% in its best years. So Westchester’s economy is growing 28%? I think the legislators taking up this budget have to demand how this happens? What are the trends saying this will happen?
another way, how can you predict a 27.9% increase where the county has ONLY HAD
ONE SUCH phenominal increase in Sales Tax Dollars year to year– 33% in 1992—and that was 26
largest increase since 1992 was 16% in 2004 ($398.1 MILLION COMPARED TO $342
MILLION in 2003)
Sales Tax Revenues Performance of Westchester County 2008-2019
2008 $462,898,900, 0%
2009 $415,113,254 -10%
2011 $450,885,825 +2%
2012 $459,596,102 +2%
2013 $488,045,564 +6.2%
2014 $503,802,272 +3.2%
2015 $499,527,981 -1%
2016 $505,878,099 +1.2%
2019—through 3 Quarters–$438,405,917
Projected in 2019 4th Quarter, based on meeting 2018 4th Quarter
TOTAL 2019 $581,819,193 UP 5.7% (includes 1% sales tax increase)
If the county exceeds last year’s October, November, Dec. sales tax receipts, the increase in 2020 in sales tax revenues could be more. But it is hard to see where the 27.9% increase in sales tax receipts is achievable based on the past results the last 10 years, or the last 26 years results.
made two requests to the Westchester County Department of Communications last
Monday for an official explanation of why the county expects a 27.9% in sales
tax revenues in 2020. To date there has been no response.
of $582 Million is $157.1 MILLION. Add that to 582 Million and you get $739
million the projected figure of sales tax revenues in the County’s 2020 budget.
But that contains the assumption the county economy or sales tax activity will triple next year.
It has only tripled once in a year in 26 years. Unless of course the state has guaranteed the county this money out of next year’s sales tax receipts.
Editor’s Note: The 1992 sales tax revenues increased 33%. It was inflated by County Executive Andrew P. O’Rourke transferring $14.2 Million of the January 1993 sales tax receipts into the 1992 budget, to avoid a deficit that would have caused a 4.3% property tax increase. You can read about this at
With the transfer of the January sales tax dollars of January 1993 into the 1992 budget the increase in sales taxes would only be a 24% increase in 1992, so technically the 27.9% increase contemplated in the 2020 budget is the largest increase in sales tax dollars projected in 26 years.
When the Astorino administration predicted a 15% sales tax receipts increase in 2016 in crafting the 2017 budget , they only got a 4% increase. Democrats approved that budget for 2017, then criticized Astorino for creating deficits. You read about the 2017 budget here at
2017, the same thing happened. Astorino attempted to balance the budget in 2018
with leasing the airport. The Democrats
refused to do that, because County Executive Elect George Latimer was not in
favor of leasing the airport, one of the ways Astorino wanted to balance the
casually flicking up the labyrinth of the 2020 budget on the county website
when my eye by serendipity what the
anticipated the 2020 sales tax with a full year of the recent 1% increase and I
saw the comparative figure for sales tax
revenues with the 1% compared 2019 with just 6 months of 1%.
$740,718,401 Sales Tax Expected for
2020, compared to 2019’s $578,717,000
The sales tax increase in effect
for a full year is not going to net out an additional $161,683,845 based on
previous sales tax receipts over the years. Westchester would have to be
packing the malls and restaurants to do that.
$161.7 million is the difference between projected 2019 sales
tax receipts ($578 Million) at the current Westchester Economy’s pace and
2020 projected sales tax receipts at this time will hit $590 million, not $740
The October sales tax receipts
are not in yet. They are usually furnished by the state on the 19th
of each month. They are late.
The Westchester County 2020 budget
is betting sales tax receipts will increase to $740 million.
That is optimistic.
The county sales tax handle
increased 33% in1992; 12% in 2000; 16% IN 2004.
But, the 1% sales tax is not going
TRIPLE tax receipts by itself.
The pace of purchases of sales
taxable items has to pick up beyond belief to hit $740 Million in sales tax
receipts in 2020.
Of course the Westchester
economy could go through the roof. People could max out their credit cards;
Amazon could move here; billionaires could snap up every million dollar home
and furnish them; the minimum wage could go up to $20 an hour; car sales could
double. The Democrats could win the election and every one would have one big
The county in their extensive
explanation of the budget has not explained their rational for a 27.9% increase
in sales tax receipts.
If the county got 1% more in sales taxes for the full year of 2019,
the county will receive an additional $5,787,177
Add that to a full year of 2020
at 12 months of 1% increased sales tax
that means you would only receive $11.6
Million in additional sales taxes, at the present rate of sales tax receipts
That would mean the sales tax
receipts would only hit approximately $591.6 Million ($580 Million plus $11.6
Million , not $740 Million)
A Possible Deficit of $150
This means the county is perhaps, knowingly creating a deficit of
$150 Million dollars with this pie in the sky budget; MILLIONS more in possible
deficit than the Astorino administration ever did in 2016 and 2017.