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Home Government Carey, Salt, Meters, Playland -- Rye City Council Minutes from January 28,...

Carey, Salt, Meters, Playland — Rye City Council Minutes from January 28, 2009

Rye city council minutes, penned by City Clerk Dawn Nodarse, have been published for the January 28, 2009 meeting. Here are the highlights. Mayor Otis and all the council members except George Pratt were in attendance.

  • 37 Secret Minutes. Council met in exec session from 7:35pm – 8:12pm to discuss "real estate matters. No decisions were made."
  • A salute to those who have left us. Mayor Otis recognized the passing of Ted Downing, a former member of the Finance Committee and husband of former City Council Member Bonnie Downing; Chet Coddington, who had been very active with the Rye Nature Center and environmental causes; and John McGillicuddy, a giant in the banking industry who ran the venerable "Manny – Hanny".
  • Schubert Pre-Shewgate. From the minutes: "The Mayor reiterated that responses to Mr. Schubert have been given in the past and the facts do not change; the City is not the forum for his remedy, it is with his neighbor. Councilman Ball said that in the past Mr. Schubert has referenced his attorney and asked what his attorney had recommended he do? Mr. Schubert said the attorney told him it would be easy to sue his neighbor but he wants to go after the City."
  • Carey: I Want the Password Too. City Manager Shew was authorized to spend $1,200 for access to the Westchester County Clerk’s Public Viewer for Land and Legal Records. Former Mayor and Judge John Carey said he believes that since the service is available to the City free of charge it should also be available to residents of the City by the City putting a link on the website. Shew reported he asked the county and they said no way no how.
  • 50Gs for Salt. The council transferred $50,000 from contingency to Public Works to purchase salt for storm coverage for the remainder of the winter season: "Councilwoman Gamache asked how many inches of snow the $50,000 would cover. Assistant City Manager Pickup said the amount of salt used depends on the type of storm. Storms where the snow thaws and then freezes utilize more salt." Nice volley with the snow talk Mr. Pickup!
  • Recession Task Force. The task force, since it will be made up of city department heads, will meet during the workday. City Manager Shew concurred with others that receiving written suggestions from council members in advance is helpful. Councilman Cunningham asked for a report by March 31st regarding suggestions.
  • More Metering. Councilman Sack asked about the status of the idea of extending the parking meter hours to increase revenue. He proposed setting an agenda item for the next meeting to allow merchants to come in and talk about the idea. Councilwoman Parker said she met with the Merchants Association and they will create a letter from their Board that will go to the restaurants in order to get their feedback. Councilman Ball said that if the Council is considering going forward with this idea it would be helpful if they could receive another copy of Commissioner Connors memorandum on the subject, which gave his perspective on the economics. Maybe we can securitize future meter revenue for eternity, sell these securities to the Chinese government and pay for anything we want. Wait, er, that does not seem to work so well.
  • Playland Party Pooper? Councilwoman Parker said that the County has decided to change the Playland admission policy to “pay one price” and she had concerns on how that would affect Rye residents who enjoy walking through the park. The City Manager has scheduled a meeting with Dan McBride of the County regarding this topic.


  1. When elected officials fail to implement environmental laws there must be a reason.

    Occasionally the reason is that these officials will not (or cannot) defy the vested interests of influential individuals. Often, politicians make human mistakes but are afraid to face the political and economic consequences of redressing those mistakes. And sometimes the truth lies somewhere in between.

    Despite the clear fact that the city of Rye failed to follow through on appropriate wetlands permitting with regards to Mr. Schubert’s garden — a simple error which should have been speedily rectified — the Rye City Council has drawn out this process for more than three years. Why?

    The question is why?

    Are legitimate environmental issues too unimportant for Rye government to address? They shouldn’t be. That’s what more and more people concerned about protecting the environment for future generations want their cities and towns to do. So the question remains: why do environmental codes get short shrift?

    Similar questions hover with respect to Rye’s Hen Island. This 25-acre, privately owned island in Milton Harbor has been the subject of scrutiny by concerned locals, government officials and environmental groups such as Long Island Soundkeeper headed by Terry Backer. Few, if any, safety, sanitary or building codes are enforced on Hen Island. The question is why?

    Why, for instance, was Ron Gatto, the eminent lead investigator of the Westchester County Environmental Enforcement Unit, removed from the Hen Island case after he reported environmental, safety and health issues serious enough to close the island? Or should we ask “who” removed him?

    Why did Gatto’s successor to the Hen Island case, Westchester County Deputy Health Commissioner Len Meyerson, find no such health issues even though some open, untreated sewage pits exist less than 10 feet from the shoreline? According to Meyerson, two inspections determined no sewage was leaking into Long Island Sound. When queried by a local reporter he glossed over the issue thusly: “…Mother Earth is the best way of making sure that the pollutants are removed from human waste — from sanitary waste water.” In other words, once sewage effluents are diluted by the Sound, there’s no problem. Is this an appropriate attitude for a public health official in one of the most affluent counties in the U.S.?

    At the moment questions outnumber answers. To get answers, more concerned citizens need to bring pressure to bear on public officials. Insist on candor
    and transparency. Refuse to be brushed aside with platitudes and double-talk.

    Keep asking them “Why?” environmental laws and health codes are being ignored …

  2. Here’s another WHY to add to your list Ray,..err Healtheharbor …
    Why would a specific summer resident of Hen Island (you) go to such lengths to denegrate the fellow summer residents and the Hen Island enviornment ?….After all, YOU knew all about Hen Island, when you purchased your site there years ago…You knew how things worked..You knew how water was gathered…you knew everything…You were elected President of the corporation, for crying out loud….WHY didn’t you begin your crusade way back then??..Why did you wait ’til you were ousted from the Presidency as well as the Board to “disclose” your enviornmental concerns?…The answer is quite obvious…enviornment has nothing to do with it…it’s all about vengence, isn’t it?…
    WHY NOT ?

  3. Ray –

    Another question for you to ponder… Why don’t you just shut up and give it a rest?
    You are not a full time resident of Rye. You live in Purchase. You own a seasonal shack on Hen Island, and are crassly attempting to browbeat our elected officials into pursuing your agenda of having the local government force your neighbors to do your bidding. Thankfully the council members aren’t falling for this blatant trap (though I don’t know why they don’t tell you off at these meetings).
    Rye residents have other issues and concerns as a community that need more urgent attention than your little issue, and frankly, the vast majority of taxpaying residents in Rye couldn’t give a damn about Hen Island. Most probably don’t even know it exists, and they certainly wouldn’t want to spend one thin dime on improving your real estate.
    Such funds would be more wisely spent on repairing the Central Avenue Bridge, the Elm Street bridge or installing some sort of flood control. THAT would be most beneficial to all residents of Rye, not some turd clean-up on a little known spit of land that resembles a trailer park.

  4. Thank You for this EXTREMELY valuable summary of what our local government is doing at public meetings . Those of us too busy struggling to make a living and pay Rye’s outrageous taxes to make these meetings often times have no clue what these people are discussing until the end results become visible . Kudos to MyRye !

  5. Scooter,
    Thanks for letting us know how the City Council views Hen Island. That gives us more insight as to why the city is avoiding code compliance. I guess Hen Island should just keep paying $130,000.00 per year in taxes to a city that is not willing to enforce its own laws or supply any services. FYI That is why they had the Boston Tea party in 1773. “Taxation without representation.” I guess history does have a way of repeating itself. Maybe I will setup a tea party of our own in Milton Harbor this summer. We can do it right after the toilet bowl race down Purchase Street.


    If the city had enforced its laws and codes Hen Island in the past it would not be where it is today. The “shacks” would be safe and non-polluting.

    Dear Why Not,
    I will answer all your concerns once again later this evening; I am a little busy right now scrubbing down Mr. Floatie after last night’s meeting. You will find my answers in the morning on MYRYE.com for your reading pleasure during breakfast. I am sure it will ruin your meal.

  6. My god Ray
    Not only are you a Jackass, but a disengenous Pompus and vindictive ass…

    New Latin Name for poor Ray
    Equius maximus glutimus

  7. Ray –

    Stop accusing me of being on the city council. I am not. I am merely a resident of Rye who is sick and tired of certain individuals who are constantly whining about their lot in life and looking for someone else to clean up their mess. Life isn’t perfect – deal with it. If you don’t like what’s happening on Hen Island, SELL YOUR PROPERTY! Stop asking the city to take action to cover your losses for your stupid real estate investments. The city has listened to your request and rejected it. We all understand you don’t like the answer, but it doesn’t mean the decision is flawed.
    Why should anyone take you seriously, when you dress up as a giant turd and spew forth venomous accusations while hinting darkly at mysterious conspiracies that only exist in your mind?
    And if you’re going to give me a weak threat, why don’t you do it to my face? I’ll be at the Rye Bar and Grill drinking a bottle of Night Train at the next City Council meeting.

  8. Actually I believe it was Andy Ball that was called pompous last night by a very well known and respected Rye resident, Mrs. Sinnott.

  9. Mr T:
    Your strategy of using HealtheHarbor,a farm animal,Mr Toostie-Roll and jumping on the pond band wagon have failed to sway environmentalists,media,educators,elected officials,county health dept or concerned citizens. Hen Island is no different hundreds of seasonal island commmunities such as the Thimble Islands which have septic systems and propone tanks. You should just shut down the circus and move on.

  10. GG:

    He won’t….He’d have nothing to do…No one to “talk” to…His neighbors on Hen Island won’t talk to him…And, I suspect, if he’s treated his Purchase neighbors in a similar fashion, they won’t talk with him….So, we here at MyRye are stuck with him….
    Oh, and Ray…you don’t need to answer my questions….I already know the answer(s)….Tell whomever is reading these posts for you the questions are rhetorical; A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question posed for its persuasive effect without the expectation of a reply…
    WHY NOT..

  11. Bottom is a fool who wakes up with a donkey head (Mid-Summer
    night’s dream) Only difference betwixt Poor Raymond and Bottom is that bottom is socially acceptable

  12. Why Not,
    The only neighbors on Hen Island that don’t talk to Ray are the ones that want to continue to pollute. The ones that don’t really care about how they live and the ones that are willing to subject their children and families to dangerous living conditions.


    The others are very happy with the exposure and steps he is taking to correct years of neglect.


    Jack A (Mr. Floatie’s Ass-istant)

  13. Good Morning Why Not,
    Happy Friday the 13th. My response as promised. Here was your question;
    Why would a specific summer resident of Hen Island (you) go to such lengths to denegrate the fellow summer residents and the Hen Island enviornment ?….After all, YOU knew all about Hen Island, when you purchased your site there years ago…You knew how things worked..You knew how water was gathered…you knew everything…

    And here is my answer;
    When I purchased my home on Hen Island, I asked about the water systems and the sewage systems and the answers given from the board of directors was “Our systems are legal and we have been operating with them for years without any problems. If we were not legal or in violation we would have been summoned and fined by the city of Rye and the County of Westchester.”

    Who would have ever thought that an entire community existed in Rye NY without any health or building codes being enforced in this day and age?

    After I realized the truth, I tried to educate and encourage compliance on Hen Island. It was only met with resistance from many of the long time residents. If you remember I was not reelected because most were outraged that I brought local, county, and state officials in to make safety recommendations for the Island.


    Many thought I was bringing to much attention to the island and were fearful that their dirty little secrets would be discovered.

    After all else failed I decided to bring legal action. After meeting with some of my neighbors that also wanted to join in on the legal proceedings. I decided to pay for the action alone, only because there was too many conflict as to what attorneys would be used, what financial limits would be set, and what causes of actions would be taken.

    It doesn’t really make a difference what it’s all about or what caused my actions. What is paramount is that Hen Island is polluting the waters of the Long Island sound and has never been required to meet any of the health, safety and building codes put in place to protect the people and the environment. Very similar to what was happening to Mr. Schubert.(Environmental code avoidance) Mayor Carey read chapter 195 to the council and the mayor at the last meeting. Do you think they got the hint?

    You, Mayor Otis and the city council that refuses to enforce the laws are condoning the pollution and code avoidance on Hen Island today. The exposure for the City of Rye, should someone get sick or hurt on Hen Island is enormous. They have been officially put on notice many times. I have no idea why the city would allow such a threat, other than the fact that if someone does get hurt, the city will spends millions defending and paying the lawsuits. In that case Mr. Plunkett wins again and the citizens of Rye loose again. Trust me my friends there are many watching closely and the remedy is not far away.

  14. “The exposure for the City of Rye, should someone get sick or hurt on Hen Island is enormous. They have been officially put on notice many times. I have no idea why the city would allow such a threat, other than the fact that if someone does get hurt, the city will spends millions defending and paying the lawsuits.”

    My interpretation of this quote is “Unless certain demands are met, lawsuits will follow to wrest money from the city for their negligence”

    Does Mr. Joe Sack agree with this interpretation?

    Are Jay Sears, Joe Sack and Mr. Flotie Rye’s Axis of Evil?

  15. What Ray is proposing is that the city address this problem before an accident or an illness happens.
    If a homeowner is so stupid as to drink from his cesspool, or not address a clear and present danger such as stagnant water co-locating a possible contaminant next to drinking water or a potential source of a spark next to a highly flammable fuel, then government is somehow to blame, not the moron who did not take responsibility to address these risks facing him.
    It’s the same old story – “everybody is responsible for me except myself”. Ray and his ilk expect government to address all these issues so they no longer have any responsibilities and are no longer required to protect themselves from their own stupid actions.
    I was always taught that along with certain inalienable rights, I also had certain responsibilities – responsibilities to myself, responsibilities to my family, responsibilities to my God, responsibilities to my neighbors, friends and community.
    Ray obviously went to a different school, one that taught him that government will absolve him of all responsibilities, and will take care of his every problem. This is the fundamental difference, and this is why he will continue to spend time, energy and money petitioning elected officials to make an exception for him alone, instead of using his resources to do what an adult would do – address the problem directly.

  16. Scooter,
    When citizens fail to abide by the law it is the government’s responsibility to enforce it. That is why we have police agencies, building departments, ect….In this case the city has failed to enforce the laws for years and Hen Island is a perfect example of what happens to communities when people are not required to obey the law. The city wants the $130,000.00 a year in tax revenue but doesn’t want to supply any services, not even code compliance. I smell “Hen Island tea party”!!!!!


    Don’t worry Scooter if this administration doesn’t admit the wrongs of the past, the new one will. The cards are all on the table, and face up at that.

  17. I hope Ray is right about a new administration. Otis, Shew, Plunkett and Connors have all done irreparable harm and they all need to be replaced by honest, accountable, trustworthy individuals who are not vindictive double dippers.

    Rye taxpayers have had enough of these clowns and their four ring circus.

    The message that needs to be sent for future leaders of Rye is carpetbaggers like Shew, Plunkett and Connors, along with the many perks, waivers and other benefits Otis gave them, are no longer welcome here.

  18. Before I nod off like Linus, let me state the obvious to Ray and Fire. Every attempt by Ray to find a legal ground to stand on has failed – every single one. The city council, county executive and state – as well as the courts – have all told Ray there’s nothing wrong, no laws broken. So his entire premise that some on Hen Island are “breaking the law” is flawed.
    Also, Ray’s assertion that the voters are going to make their decision to support him come November is laughable. 99.9% of Rye residents don’t give a Mr. Floatie about Hen Island. The other 15 people are employed by Ray to dress up in silly costumes and drive a graffitti’d piece of junk, so they pay lip service to his goals. If Ray were to stop the paychecks, they’d stop their whining.

  19. “When I purchased my home on Hen Island, I asked about the water systems and the sewage systems and the answers given from the board of directors was “Our systems are legal and we have been operating with them for years without any problems. If we were not legal or in violation we would have been summoned and fined by the city of Rye and the County of Westchester.”

    Who would have ever thought that an entire community existed in Rye NY without any health or building codes being enforced in this day and age?

    After I realized the truth, I tried to educate and encourage compliance on Hen Island.”
    Mr. Floatie

    You honestly expect us to believe that your past inaction was a byproduct of your stupidity?

    You post endlessly about “obvious violations”.

    Were you blind as well as stupid when you bought your house and acted as president of shantytown?

  20. This Notice of Special Meeting was posted today at 5:18 p.m.

    Another secret meeting by Otis, Shew, Plunkett and our Rye City Council. Why is so much of Rye’s public business done in secret?


    The City Council has called a Special Meeting for Saturday, March 14, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. in the Mayor’s Conference Room.

    It is expected that the Council will adjourn into Executive Session at 11:01 a.m. to discuss personnel matters and meet with special Counsel.


    1. The City Council will convene into Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter and meet with special Counsel.

  21. Ray, Mr. Floatie, Heal the Harbor and Jack A

    1 Do you have proof that the waters around Hen Island are polluted ? If so, we would like to see the test results.

    2 Can you prove that Hen Island is the cause ? If so, could we see the test results ?
    I think not as there is no proof that I have been able to find.
    Instead of bashing everyone in sight and making accusations that are, at least to this writers knowledge, unfounded you should probably have the testing done yourself by an independent source.
    Please don’t use the excuse that the waters surrounding Hen Island are owned by Kuder Island. That one won’t fly. My first ever post on this board was back in the beginning of August, ’08. At that time I called for the condemnation of the island by eminent domain. At that time I was roundly criticized yet I see that a number of writers have been posting a similar idea.

    To all on this board:
    Ray et al are Internet trolls. They hijack threads and are looking for fights. I would make the suggestion that the aforementioned entities that post on this board be TOTALLY IGNORED. This is the standard method to rid the board of trolls.

  22. Hey, Fire –

    If you carefully read the PUBLIC memo and apply some basic logic, you should be able to figure out why the city council is meeting in executive session tomorrow.
    It’s because they are going to talk about PERSONNEL ISSUES. Think about it – they can’t talk about this kind of stuff in public. To do so would embarrass and humiliate the individual(s) involved, and would raise the possibility of a lawsuit for invasion of privacy.

    And I don’t want to tax your brain cells too much, but consider this… (and I hope it doesn’t give you a headache):
    If they were really going to have a secret meeting, don’t you think they would simply get together IN SECRET – without telling anyone where and when they were meeting ? Without posting a public notice of the meeting?
    And let’s suppose, just for the sake of argument, they did agree to meet in secret, complete with secret handshakes, passwords and counter-signs. What specific issue do you think would be discussed that would require such a meeting? Top-secret plans for an invasion of Port Chester? A Coup d’Etat? Perhaps you think they’re finalizing their blacklists? Please, let us know what you’re thinking- your naivete is most entertaining!

  23. Scooter:

    I won’t bore you with all the facts because I am certain you probably know this already, but the City of Rye and the Rye City Council are violating the NYS Open Meetings Law by not publicly detailing what kind of personnel matter they will be discussing. They can only discuss the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation.

    The Rye City Council HAS to publicly indicate prior to going into Executive Session which of these they are going to discuss with regard to ALL personnel matters discussed in secret. They have not done so.

    Keep in mind this is the same Rye City Council that until they were exposed for improperly doing it, were cloaking all their secret meetings under the guise of “Attorney/Client privilege. They have never been above board.

    This is from the NYS Committee on Open Government website:

    Even when §105(1)(f) may be validly asserted, it has been advised that a motion describing the subject to be discussed as “personnel” or “personnel issues” is inadequate, and that the motion should be based upon the specific language of §105(1)(f). For instance, a proper motion might be: “I move to enter into an executive session to discuss the employment history of a particular person (or persons)”. Such a motion would not in my opinion have to identify the person or persons who may be the subject of a discussion. By means of the kind of motion suggested above, members of a public body and others in attendance would have the ability to know that there is a proper basis for entry into an executive session. Absent such detail, neither the members nor others may be able to determine whether the subject may properly be considered behind closed doors.

    It is noted that the Appellate Division has confirmed the advice rendered by this office. In discussing §105(1)(f) in relation to a matter involving the establishment and functions of a position, the Court stated that:

    “…the public body must identify the subject matter to be discussed (See, Public Officers Law § 105 [1]), and it is apparent that this must be accomplished with some degree of particularity, i.e., merely reciting the statutory language is insufficient (see, Daily Gazette Co. v Town Bd., Town of Cobleskill, 111 Misc 2d 303, 304-305). Additionally, the topics discussed during the executive session must remain within the exceptions enumerated in the statute (see generally, Matter of Plattsburgh Publ. Co., Div. of Ottaway Newspapers v City of Plattsburgh, 185 AD2d §18), and these exceptions, in turn, ‘must be narrowly scrutinized, lest the article’s clear mandate be thwarted by thinly veiled references to the areas delineated thereunder’ (Weatherwax v Town of Stony Point, 97 AD2d 840, 841, quoting Daily Gazette Co. v Town Bd., Town of Cobleskill, supra, at 304; see, Matter of Orange County Publs., Div. of Ottaway Newspapers v County of Orange, 120 AD2d 596, lv dismissed 68 NY 2d 807).

    “Applying these principles to the matter before us, it is apparent that the Board’s stated purpose for entering into executive session, to wit, the discussion of a ‘personnel issue’, does not satisfy the requirements of Public Officers Law § 105 (1) (f). The statute itself requires, with respect to personnel matters, that the discussion involve the ’employment history of a particular person” (id. [emphasis supplied]). Although this does not mandate that the individual in question be identified by name, it does require that any motion to enter into executive session describe with some detail the nature of the proposed discussion (see, State Comm on Open Govt Adv Opn dated Apr. 6, 1993), and we reject respondents’ assertion that the Board’s reference to a ‘personnel issue’ is the functional equivalent of identifying ‘a particular person'” [Gordon v. Village of Monticello, 620 NY 2d 573, 575; 209 AD 2d 55, 58 (1994)].

    In short, the characterization of an issue as a “personnel issue” is inadequate, for it fails to enable the public or even members of the Board to know whether subject at hand may properly be considered during an executive session.

  24. Voice of reason,
    Here is your proof. How about the sworn statement of a certified geologist.


    And here is the official report from the Westchester County Environmental enforcement unit that inspected Hen Island in July of 2007. This report was obtained thru a freedom of Information act request. Would you like anymore proof?


    I would say Mr. Shew and “environmentally conscious” mayor Otis is being deceptive once again.

  25. Environmentalism is never an end in itself, only a means to an end. Environmentalism is like every other “ism” , it has no boundaries and can be used as a tool of terrorism. An excuse to terrorize the general public.

    Are Jay Sears, Joe Sack and Mr. Flotie Rye’s Axis of evil?

  26. Today’s Journal News “Rye man billed for psych eval requested by city manager” by Theresa Juva: http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090314/NEWS02/903140364&s=d&page=3#pluckcomments “The bill for a psychiatric evaluation prompted by the city manager has landed in Bob Schubert’s mailbox.

    The $378 bill from Westchester Medical Center was sent to the 86-year-old resident after a psychiatrist and therapist were sent to his Forest Avenue home last month…”

    And so it goes, but where will it end?

  27. I would send the bill to Otis, Plunkett, Shew and one more, the one that gave her husband enough info to mastermind this sick move. Even though she is did it innocently, she is also guilty.

  28. Here is story about another of Rye’s former outstanding employees.

    Schembri illegally gave out Police I.D. cards to friends, illegally possessed (2) handguns with silencers, committed perjury in the biggest child sexual abuse case in Rye history, tried bribing one union official and slapped another.

    Guess what the City of Rye did to Schembri?


    Sound familiar??????

    March 13, 2009

    CITRUS COUNTY (Bay News 9) — Citrus County’s administrator may be fired after allegedly bringing a handgun to a homeowner’s association meeting.
    > Members of The Landings Home Owners Association say Anthony Schembri attended the Thursday morning meeting with a handgun holstered to his side.
    > Michael Lester, who hosted the meeting, said he asked Schembri several times to take the gun to his car.
    > “I politely asked him three times to remove the handgun and take it to his car,” Lester said. “He refused to do so. To me, that was intimidation.”
    > Lester says he wasn’t comfortable with a firearm at a meeting that was going to be contentious.
    > Schembri is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, but Lester says the gun was out in the open.
    > “I could see full well the gun,” Lester said.
    > Lester and Association treasurer Kathleen Burrows both filed a complaint with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office.
    > The sheriff’s office is investigating. Schembri could be charged with a second degree misdemeanor for carrying his weapon in plain sight.
    > County Commissioners will hold a special meeting Monday afternoon to discuss Schembri’s employment. County Commission Chairman John Thrumston says Schembri indicated he will resign before Monday’s meeting.
    > Schembri refused to comment for this story.


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