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Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Home Government Residents Criticize Cuts at Latimer's Open Mic Night

Residents Criticize Cuts at Latimer’s Open Mic Night

State Assemblyman George Latimer held an open mic night at The Osborn recently on the proposed New York State budget. Latimer filed this report with MyRye.com:

Aside from Ed Fox, Mark Zwerger and Joe Murphy, Rye residents who spoke, other Rye residents in attendance were Linda and Irwin Lefkowitz, Tina Strobos, David Blank, Bill Krell, Jan Becker, Helen Roman, Barbara Francis and a few others I couldn't name.

Over 60 people were in attendance – with 25 speaking on the record – at the Public Hearing on Governor Paterson's proposed 2010-2011 State Budget, hosted by New York State Assemblyman George Latimer on Thursday, February 18. "Every year, I want to ensure that people have some input in the decisions of this state budget" Assemblyman Latimer stated.

The Auditorium at The Osborn in Rye was the venue for the 6th annual hearing hosted by Latimer, and speakers addressed concerns that ranged from cuts to education and health care, to the frustrations of a resident who had recently lost their job.

Speakers included Rye City School Board Trustee Ed Fox, who spoke about the loss in state aid to Rye schools, and the burdens of unfunded mandates including the MTA payroll tax and Pre-K special education increases; representatives from Sarah Neuman Center, Rita Morgan and The Osborn, Mark Zwerger, President and CEO, citing the draconian cuts to service expected from the Governor's proposed reductions in health care; Matt Wallach for Citizens Campaign for the Environment, who protested cuts in the state's EPF – Environmental Protection Fund.

Testimony was also received regarding: Neighborhood Preservation Corporations; SUNY tuition hikes; cuts to library funding; anti-tobacco education; mental health funding for Alzheimer victims; cuts to the TAP (Tuition Assistance Program);  and many other topics. A significant discussion was generated by a number of speakers disagreeing with the Governor's plan to allow wine sales in grocery stores, delis and gas station convenience stores; liquor store owners, distributors, and private citizens highlighted the likelihood of small stores going out of business to benefit the big box stores and super-sized supermarkets. Rye Brook resident Alan Vernon cited the greater ease for teenagers to have access alcohol – and the underage drinking that would follow – by this plan.

The hearing was taped by RCTV for broadcast in the Rye community; copies will be provided to Rye Brook, New Rochelle, Larchmont-Mamaroneck and Port Chester community cable outlets for their broadcast as well.

Written testimony was also received from a variety of individuals. For information on the proposed State Budget, please refer on-line to : www.budget.state.ny.us.

"Once again, I was encouraged by the strong turnout, and the depth of interest. This is a difficult time, and a difficult budget; it is the time we need citizen interest and involvement more than ever, to help us select from among a number of tough choices", Latimer concluded.This the sixth consecutive year that Latimer has hosted this hearing. Past events were held in Mamaroneck (2005), Port Chester (2006), New Rochelle (2007), Rye Brook (2008) and Larchmont (2009).

List of Speakers
1) Mark Zwerger, The Osborn Community, Rye
2) Tony Russo, Aries Wine & Spirits, White Plains
3) Susan Benton, Mamaroneck Public Library
4) Roger Maxon, Varmax Liquor Pantry, Port Chester
5) Edward Fox, Rye City School Board
6) Rita Morgan, Sarah Neuman Center
7) Dennis Hanratty, Mt. Vernon United Tenants
8) Mike Nolletti, wine distributor
9) Alan Vernon, Rye Brook resident
10) Kristen Welton, American Cancer Society
11) Taghira Herrar, Colleges for Change
12) Hon. Judy Myers, Westchester County Legislator
13) Mia Fienemann, Project Transition at Westchester Community College
14) Harry Grier, Alzheimers Association, Mamaroneck
15) Walt Mardis, Harrison resident
16) Esteban Valerio, NY Public Interest Research Group, SUNY Purchase student
17) Robin Levine, SUNY Purchase student
18) Vito Lepore, wine & liquor importer
19) Grace Beltran, Open Door, Port Chester
20) Pearl Hacker, Ludington Adult Day Care Center, New Rochelle
21) Matt Wallach, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, White Plains
22) Anna Kubelka, HDSW-HOPE House, Port Chester
23) Martha Guiterrez, New Rochelle resident
24) Joseph Murphy, Rye resident
25) Jeff Krause, Executive Director, New Rochelle YMCA


  1. Ed Fox reported that Judy Myers spoke in favor of a proposal from the Governor to shift the cost of pre-school special education from the county to local school districts. This change would not reduce costs by one cent and might actually increase them UNLESS the county were to reduce its spending by the amount shifted. But when has that ever happened?

    I would encourage all readers to let George and Judy know that this not a good idea and only serves to move the proverbial spaghetti around on the plate.

  2. Bob –

    This is the kind of games that are played at the county and state levels which sound great in theory but never work out. The county or state shifts responsibility to local governments, yet don’t provide the locality with any county or state revenues to offset the additional expenses thrust upon them. They also don’t reduce the county or state tax revenues by an equivalent amount.
    Unfortunately, most residents don’t cotton on to this game of financial chicanery. The only ones who win are the professional politicians. They can claim they’ve reduced the expenses of the county or state, and/or also claim they’ve held county/state taxes constant. Technically true, but it’s worse than moving the spaghetti around the plate, it’s essentially decieving the public into believing the situation is improving, when the exact opposite is happening.
    If Judy or George want to do their job by doing their constituents a favor, they’d introduce a bill that requires the county or state to either reduce the county or state budget by the amount transferred to the locality, or to provide 100% of the funding for the responsibility until the creation of the next budget (at which time the expense should be eliminated at the county or state level). This should be their primary focus in today’s world of disappearing jobs, vanishing opportunity and increasingly incompetent or corrupt high-level politicians. When are we going to get a county or state government that works for us?
    Unfortunately, it seems we have no one in county or state government who is willing to do what is right and proper for the taxpayers – they’re all too busy getting what they can for themselves while the getting is good. Is it any wonder that we live in the most heavily taxed area in the nation, and that our local economy continues to deteriorate?


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