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Latimer: Cup of Joe Report

New York State Senator George Latimer filed the following report
with MyRye.com after his Saturday "Cup of Joe" session with Rye

by New York State Senator George Latimer

A Cup of Joe Report – Saturday, April 6

Two dozens residents of Rye and environs spent roughly two hours together over coffee and conversation in the back area at Ruby's Oyster Bar and Bistro on Purchase Street in Rye – the latest round of the "cup of Joe" series with Judy, Steve and George – County Legislator Judy Myers, State Assemblyman Steve Otis and State Senator George Latimer. The topics ranged from the future of Playland, and the latest twists and turns in Westchester County's saga over a federal housing mandate, to the State's recent passage of gun control legislation. Along the winding conversation path were questions about the STAR program and Metro North clean up of the Rye RR station and area, among other matters.

Irwin Lefkowitz and John Parkinson raised the issue of Playland: both the status of the Sustainable Playland proposal, and the prospects for opening on schedule. Legislator Myers indicated that the County Administration is stating that the Park will open on May 11, but the reconstruction process for the area damaged by Hurricane Sandy does not appear to be on schedule. The Ice Casino seems to be likely to miss the target date; conflict exists between the Board of Legislators and the County Executive on the sharing of the precise information of the progress made. Regarding the SPI alternative, the contract is before the BOL; some legislators have opposed the proposal, but no firm decision has yet been made, pro- or con.

The debate over gun control and the interpretation of the Second Amendment took center stage as the most compelling State issue; resident Henry King shared his unhappiness with the legislation passed in January, at the urging of Governor Cuomo. Both Assemblyman Otis and Senator Latimer indicated their belief that the bill passed was not a step toward confiscation of firearms or needlessly restricting individual rights to bear arms; both supported the principle of the Second Amendment, but noted that like all rights, there were reasonable restrictions warranted…in this case, limiting for the future weapons that can cause multiple deaths in a very short timeframe.  The healthy exchange of views did not achieve agreement between the viewpoints, but did allow both sides to air their opinions.

Sis D'Angelo repeated her request that Metro North pay serious clean-up attention to Purchase Street under the train bridge, and elsewhere at the Rye RR station – follow up by both State legislators to follow. Bill Lawyer asked – and got – an update on the STAR program changes, most importantly, re-registration of all STAR beneficiaries, to root out any fraud or illegal deductions, which was passed in the recent State budget. Joe Murphy raised the issue of teacher evaluations, the new "APPR" performance review provisions and the cost of implementing the mandate. Bob Hiden, a new resident at The Osborn, engaged on the latest round in the battle between HUD and the County Administration over the housing settlement, which Myers addressed from her legislative vantage point; the main disagreement exists between the Executive Branch in the County and the Federal government.

Rye City Council members Catherine Parker, Joe Sack and Julie Killian attended as well, and participated in the give-and-take on issues affecting the City as well as the County or State.

Latimer and Myers began their joint coffee program 8 years ago, and Otis joined them in December after his election to the Assembly. The trio marched down to Mamaroneck, where another 25 residents awaited for the afternoon session at The Nautilus Diner. Otis and Latimer conducted a session in Port Chester two weeks ago, and they will be planning a future New Rochelle rendezvous as well.

A return to Ruby's is expected in early July, once the State legislative session is complete. All three legislators can be reached by phone at: 995-2802 (Legislator Myers); 777-3832 (Assemblyman Otis); 934-5250 (Senator Latimer).


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