White Plains, NY — Legislator Kitley S. Covill (D- Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers) denounces hateful speech and divisive signage that has surfaced in schools and many communities in Westchester County, and has now been reported in downtown Katonah.


Flyers and stickers advertising a white supremacist organization were reported to have been found Tuesday on Katonah’s Community Bulletin Board, along the Katonah Metro North station platform, and on the backs of Katonah road signs. 


These flyers and stickers were placed in high traffic locations where they were visible to commuters, students travelling to and from school, and families. Legislator Covill has reported this event to Westchester County’s Human Rights Commission, the Bedford Police Department and the Town of Bedford. She has been in contact with the MTA, which has been very responsive and will be removing any materials found at this and other MTA stations.


The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reports that members of the group being advertised helped to plan the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Community members from Bedford came together to protest the Charlottesville Rally in 2017.  Legislator Covill stands, as she did then, in protest against the presence of such an organization, and the hate they represent, in our community.


As reported on this organization’s website, they believe that “identity matters, inequality is a fact of life, and ethnic diversity, as demonstrated by substantial historical and sociological evidence, is an impediment to societal harmony.” They “categorically reject this ‘progressive’ morality and instead demand that...people of European heritage, retain demographic supermajorities in our homelands.” This organization is listed as a Hate Group by both the SPLC and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Group materials have appeared on college and high school campuses around the county, and parents, other individuals, and schools are urged to be alert and report any hateful materials found to the appropriate police department and the Westchester County Human Rights Commission: 914-995-7710.  Reports should include a picture of any materials found, or the materials themselves.

 

White Plains, NY — Westchester County Legislator Virginia Perez (D – Yonkers) has announced she will not seek re-election this year. Leg. Perez, who represents the County’s 17th Legislative District, is in her fourth term.


“I have always devoted my full-time energies to the best interests of my constituents and I am proud of the work I have done for them and with them,” said Perez.  “I am also proud to have served with all my colleagues.  Together we have done some really positive things for the residents of Westchester, such as making significant improvements to Yonkers Joint Wastewater Treatment Plant and passing the Immigration Protection Act.”


Perez, who chaired the Legislation Committee for the past five years, noted that her committee also helped pass measures that raises the age requirement to purchase tobacco in Westchester to 21; prohibit wage history discrimination; and mandate paid sick leave for workers at companies that have five employees or more.  


“I have concluded that given my increasing business commitments with my new startup business venture, I no longer am in a position to dedicate the time and commitment that the residents of the 17th District need and deserve,” Perez said.


Legislator Perez, who first took office in 2012, previously also served as Chair of the Public Safety Committee.


“This was not a decision I came to lightly, but I feel it is the right decision.  I want to thank my colleagues and all the residents of District 17 for their continued support over the years,” Perez concluded.


Board Chairman Ben Boykin (D – White Plains, Scarsdale, Harrison) said, “I would like to thank Legislator Perez for her years of service to the people of Westchester County and for chairing the Committee on Legislation for five years. I wish her the best of success in her business endeavors.”

 

Vote

White Plains, NY — In response to voting reform legislation passed by the New York State legislature and expected to be signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ben Boykin (D - White Plains, Scarsdale, Harrison) has established a Voting Reform Working Group at the County Board of Legislators.

Michael B. Kaplowitz(White Plains, NY) - After representing the residents of the 4th Legislative District for over two decades, Westchester County Legislator Michael Kaplowitz (D, Somers) announced today that he will not seek re-election this November.


The 4th County Legislative District consists of Yorktown (part), Somers (part) and New Castle.


Kaplowitz, the second longest serving legislator in the County Board’s history, was sworn in on January 1, 1998.


Kaplowitz served in many capacities along the way – most notably as Chairman of the Board for four years. He also served as Vice-chair of the Board as well as Chair of numerous committees including the Budget & Appropriations Committee.


“It was a difficult decision - a decision that is bitter sweet,” said Kaplowitz. “I’ve enjoyed every moment of my public service and hope that I am leaving Westchester a little bit better than when I started.”


HON. MICHAEL B. KAPLOWITZ – LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
(JANUARY 1, 1998 – PRESENT)

Legislative –

  • Second longest serving legislator in the County Board’s history
  • Very first vote was voting for first Democratic Chair of the BOL in 95 years – George Latimer
  • Key role in establishing Human Rights Commission
  • Key Role in passing Safe Gun Storage Law
  • Co-authored Smoke Free Workplace Law and supported Hands Free Cell Phone Law
  • Supported Housing Settlement that provided fair and affordable housing and prevented further penalties and litigation
  • Led BOL in exercising due diligence and passage of the ‘North 60’ project (just signed by the County Executive)
  • As Chairman of the Board, rejected Bee-line Bus contract extension resulting in $20 million in renegotiated contractual savings
  • Fostered bi-partisanship as Chairman of the BOL, reducing political gridlock and effectuating transactional, cooperative accomplishments
  • As BOL Chair, made sure every legislator had ‘skin in the game’ – either a leadership role or chair of a committee

Budget/Fiscal –

  • Worked to keep tax increases as low as fiscally possible – an average increase over 21 years of 2.15% - a self-imposed ‘tax kap’ before the tax cap law existed
  • Tobacco Securitization financing of $150 million to invest in and save Westchester Medical Center
  • Key legislative negotiator of the County’s Local Development Corporation – (since 2012, LDC has secured over $400 mil in tax-exempt bonds for nonprofit organizations)

Environment –

  • Conceived Office of Energy and Sustainability
  • Helped preserved thousands of acres of open space
  • Co-created County’s Legacy Program, providing numerous ballfields throughout the County including a $7 million ball park in Yorktown and a skate park in Yorktown
  • Legislated first County Agricultural District
  • Tireless advocate for East of Hudson strategy to invest in failing septic systems and protect Croton System drinking water
  • Removed thousands of homes from paying sewer taxes when they did not have sewers
  • Purchased Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown and 652-acre Angle Fly Preserve in Somers
  • Actively supported a reasonable balance between Airport operations and environmental concerns

Consumer –

  • Accountable and always responsive to constituents when they needed assistance
  • Conceived signage for Gas Station Law mandating cash/credit pricing signs
  • Fought Zone Pricing and MTBE usage
  • Mandated safety devices in electric garage doors
  • Established Home Heating Oil Price Tracker on BOL website
  • Held NYSEG and Con Ed responsible and successfully encouraged them to invest in electricity delivery improvements
  • Attended almost every Boy Scout & Girl Scout event invited to over 21 years
  • Attended town board meetings (Yorktown, Somers, New Castle) to provide status reports
  • Presented over 3,000 Proclamations to County residents over 21 years

 

Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) Minority Leader John G. Testa (R) Peekskill, was joined by his colleagues in passing legislation that authorized the County to enter into Inter-municipal agreements (IMA) with three Westchester cities for a total of $376,924 under the county’s “Invest in Kids” program. Under the agreement, the City of Peekskill will receive $69,231 of funding for its “Advancing Leadership Initiatives for Teens Program” (LIFT). The vote took place at the regular meeting of the BOL.  The IMA terms provide for $245,000 to come from Westchester County and the remainder to be contributed by the municipalities.


The Legislation states that the various programs that will be funded throughout Westchester County, “…use positive youth development models to focus on providing opportunities for to actively acquire the skills and abilities needed to grow up to be competent, caring and healthy adult”


Legislator John Testa retired in 2013 after a 33 year career as a Peekskill High School teacher.  As a former teacher, Legislator Testa understands the importance of youth programs that give kids, especially at-risk kids healthy and constructive options for their time after school.  “I was very happy to work with my legislative colleagues to secure these funds for Peekskill.  I am very familiar with the LIFT Program and the excellent work that they do.”  Legislator Testa said.  “When I was a teacher, I saw first-hand how programs like LIFT improved the lives of many of my students.  Summers and the after school hours are particularly dangerous times for kids who are unsupervised or who don’t have a strong family support system at home.  The LIFT Program operates year round which means that kids can build permanent and lasting relationships within our community even when school is not in session. This is an excellent investment in our youth and their future.”