TheBreez #5

☀ Enjoy a Baker’s Dozen this Fri-yay!

t’s also Homemade Bread Day!  ☀

Quote of the Day

“This disastrous spill from the first Keystone Pipeline makes clear why Keystone XL should never be built.” — Jared Margolis, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity in response to a leak of 210,000 gallons of oil Thursday morning.

— What a Zimbabwe to Go -—————————————

The Story

Were President Donald Trump to meet with Zimbabwe leaders right now, there would be more than one elephant in the room .

The Elephant in The Room (also a great book)

The first elephant is one that is receiving global outcry. The Trump Administration just reversed a 2015 Fish and Wildlife, Endangered Species Act addition that had banned elephant trophies out of African nations, such as Zimbabwe. The country’s focus however, is not on elephants, as it’s elsewhere.

Where else are Zimbabwe leaders focused?

Well, perhaps on what was being called a coup! After a trip to China, head of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), Gen. Constantino Guveya Chiwenga, isn’t making this look any less like a coup. The details certainly spell it out as such.  

Who did the military oust?

The 93-year-old incumbent President of Zimbabwe (since 1987!), Robert Mugabe, was placed under house arrest in Harare, Wednesday. China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, claimed Chiwenga’s visit had been part of “a normal military exchange.” Mugabe is currently resisting military pressure to quit from his position and is in continued talks.

Strongman President to Tyrant President?

While the world’s oldest ruling head of state, Mugabe, has been described as a strongman president, the man that may be the next president of Zimbabwe is already being called a tyrant. After Mugabe fired his powerful vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, clearing the way for his wife, Grace, to succeed him as leader of Zimbabwe. Grace had accused 75-year-old Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former chief of intelligence, of being the “root cause of factionalism” in the ruling Zanu-PF party in the country, after which Mnangagwa reportedly fled to South Africa, when Chiwenga demanded the end to the clearing out of the party, which quickly became military intervention, or coup.  

theBreez

It’s probably not a good time to go collect that ivory trophy you’ve been drooling about, but things aren’t looking good for Zimbabwe as political transition is stalled at the point of discussion between Mugabe and the military. This not only means travel to Zimbabwe shouldn’t be on your holiday itinerary but because of the snowball effect the country has, the southern part of the continent is not expected to see improvement until things settle in Zimbabwe.

— Caught in TheBreez ——————————————————————

Democrats and Republicans can finally agree on something…

Senators from both sides of the aisle came together yesterday, the wake of the recent Texas church shootings, and were able to write a bipartisan gun control bill. The legislation aims to improve pre-screening background check for gun sales. Thanks to the bill, gun stocks are starting to soar.

But wait, there’s Moore…

By now, you’ve likely heard of the avalanche of accusations that have been flying after the initial snowdrop of #MeToo, during the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Now the snowfall thickens, as allegations come out against comedian-turned-Minnesota-Senator, Al Franken. But none of this type of thing is new to us, remember Bill Clinton?

Moore to love….

This one isn’t about the Former Alabama Chief Justice, Roy Moore. Let’s look at some good here. Earlier this week, Gal Gadot made an ultimatum, that Wonder Woman fans were losing their s#%$ over. We can all exhale now; the Justice League star, will be returning to the DC legend role as Brett Ratner will not be. Also, I guess that’s their “Wonder Woman 2” announcement.

Oops, almost Spacey’d out there…

Not only is Kevin Spacey also facing his own sexual misconduct allegations, and won’t be returning to Netflix’s House of Cards, but the actor faces 20 charges of inappropriate behavior!

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The Breez #3

TheBreez

🌤 Happy Windsday! 🌤

Quote of the Day

“The hardworking Mexican.” — An original White Card from Cards Against Humanity. “The party game for horrible people” is buying a piece of the US Border as part of this year’s Holiday Promotion.

— Don’t Be Russian Passed This One ————————

The Story

I’ll take my coffee just like  Donald Trump, Jr.: Black Rifle.

The Russian Breez…

Whether you think the son of President Donald Trump is the “dumbest” or indeed was doing the right thing, we can all agree that the timing for the press release of Trump Jr.’s communications with the transparency organization, Wikileaks, couldn’t be worse. While Don’s lawyer has told the NY Daily News that they aren’t concerned that this may give to the public, the appearance of Russian collusion, Wikileaks, has had that finger pointed at them too, during the 2016 Presidential Election. But it gets worse!

The Four Breezes…

The Trumps, Wikileaks, Papadopoulos and other campaigners, who else could possibly get involved? Well, while Trump Jr. was busy soaking up some media spotlight, Attorney General, Jeff Sessions testified before the House Judiciary Committee in regards to the Russia question.  Sessions, displayed what The New York Times called “unsteady recall” (the prequel to Total Recall?) of the events of, and around,  the Mar. 31, 2016 meeting.

What about the Clinton-Russia Investigation?

After last year’s election, many people have been chanting “Lock Her Up!” The concept called for most by Republicans in Congress, and those that voted for Trump, earlier agreed upon by the AG, was recalled Monday, as a tumultuous action, not to be taken lightly. Sessions backed this lackluster levying of the law Tuesday, as well.

theBreez

While we’re still not sure if the Trump Administration is tight like a Wedgie with Russia, we do think Washington, and the White House especially, is getting really messy with all of this Russian around. Critics still agree, D.C. can learn a thing or two from Hillary Clinton and the 2010 Obama Administration: though they were always Russian, they were never in a hurry.

— Caught in TheBreez ——————————————————————

In case you missed yesterday’s newsletter, TheBreez is reiterating some points, today only…
“Amazon Prime heads to Middle Earth”

That was the Twitter announcement made by Amazon.com CEO, Jeff Bezos, on Monday regarding the company’s sweet deal on an upcoming television series. Both the release date and the cast have yet to be released., however we do know that the multi-season show was purchased for $250 million, exactly 1,000 times what author J.R.R. Tolkien had originally got for the celebrated title. We also know that the series will follow original storylines preceding, “The Fellowship of the Ring.”

Shaking Things Up….

Last Sunday, Iran and Iraq experienced a 7.3-magnitude earthquake which left over 400 deceased in the region. It was the deadliest this year. Iran, second only to Russia, holds the world’s largest shale deposits. Shale is extracted using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and fracking causes earthquakes, studies show, such as the one that happened in Oklahoma this time last year, or the one that happened earlier this year in Pennsylvania.

And in local news….

The U.S. Labor Department initiative, Jobs Waiting has expanded to train hundreds in the Hudson Valley (Orange, Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties). SUNY Orange is one of the administering colleges through a partnership which includes the Orange County Workforce Development Board. 400 residents, especially those facing long-term employment barriers due to lack of education will be trained for in-demand jobs in the advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, and information technology industries.

Trumped Up Health…

You now have high blood pressure. The pills you take can track you sooner than you had hoped. Everyone’s learning what Kratom is. And now most of us are too busy learning about all these new (and frankly ridiculous) developments to even remember the name of Trump’s choice for Health and Human Services Secretary! Here’s a simple hint: Alex Azar.

Also in local news….

A 46 year old Port Jervis man was sentenced to 16 years in prison, Monday. Robert Burbridge faced five indictments including four counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, two of which for cocaine, as well as, a second-degree criminal possession of a weapon charge, both felonies. The latter, was for a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol found at his Coleman Street home on April 1, 2016.

Fun Fact! — SADFISH

The science is in, you can tell how animals feel! Unless of course you’re a sociopath and lack empathy. If you are, that’s okay too, because perhaps you, like many others, are interested in becoming more familiar with emotional expressions  in humans and animals.

The title isn’t referencing your depressed pet, but the seven emotions that can be recognized on the human face cross-culturally — Surprise, Anger, Disgust, Fear, Interest, Sadness, and Happiness! One of the leading nonverbal communication researchers, Paul Ekman, his daughter, Eve, and the Dalai Lama, got together to actually help people not only recognize these feelings, but their triggers and subsequent actions: The Atlas of Emotions!

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— Breez Be Advised —————————————————————————————

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TheBreez #1: Monday Fun-day

TheBreez

😃 First Issue! Yay! 😁

🌦 Monday Fun-day 🌥

Quote of the Day

“I don’t care who did what, let’s get to the bottom of this…” 😠— Chuck Rocha on the Russia-Election investigations. Talk about blowing a weathervane!

— “O – H – A[?] – O” ———-————————————————

The Story

Ohio State  students trolled Apple this Veterans’ Day.

Wait, why?

While Apple has been busy focusing on other things like oh I don’t know, a TV show with Reese Witherspoon[!] or a lawsuit win against Samsung, it’s new iPhone X is bugging out. Try to type an “i”. Go ahead. We’ll wait…. Yeah. Annoying right? Well, college students always love a good joke on a pervasive issue, so they went for it at the Michigan vs. Ohio game.   

I have an Android, what’s the deal?

Well, you picked a great time to switch to Galaxy. The (second-to-) most recent update for iPhone is frustrating as all hell for those that decided on an A[?]phone. Yeah.. that’s weird right?  This means a growing number of 2011’s 73% of American adults  who use the text feature for text messaging alone, are freaking out. That’s nearly one-hundred million people!

When did this start happening? AND WHEN WILL IT END!?

Ever since the A[?]phone X came out, it’s been acting buggy, but there really hasn’t been any long-term fix to this issue yet. So if you are the proud owner of the iCoaster X (or even an earlier version that happened to get the buggy update) you’re being driven to the brink of self-destruction, realizing how often you use the letter “i”. But hey. There’s always that new patch with iOS 11.1.1! Good luck!

theBreez

Hey, how hard could A[?]t really be, A[?]n realA[?]ty, to use the new emojA[?]  added by developers to skA[?]rt the A[?]ssue, rA[?]ght? Glad you have an AndroA[?]d yet? The bug will probably get worked out sooner or later, but how difficult could it really be? 😜

— Caught in theBreez —————————————————————————

Just shootin’ theBreez I’m sure…

President Donald Trump met with Asian leaders (Putin included) theis past week and most recently those of Japan and Australia. After a display of what the president will do to the “Little Rocket Man”,  the three leaders, Trump, Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe and Malcolm Turnbull, respectively,  brainstormed how they were going to handle the growing crabbiness between the three countries, China and North Korea. Of course they discussed one other thing, because you know the President is “big on trade.”

Is he done yet?

Today, President Trump wraps up this 12-day tour of Asia in the Philippines While relations with some leaders on the continent have been “sincere” and fair, even with his rebuttal to the “short and fat,” Kim Jong Un, this last leg will prove most challenging to the diplomat. Ever since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte and his slaughterous crackdown on the drug trade in the country, US-Philippine relations have been caught in a cold wind.

In West Virginian news, oh wait, that’s Poland…

Poland celebrated it’s version of Independence Day (no, not the film), Fourth of July, this weekend. It looked something like Charlottesville.  It nearly was! Similar events fueled by white nationalist rage against the migrant and refugee crises have been taking off in the winds across Europe.

Can we get a comedian in here to lighten the mood? Oh wait…

We can’t get Louis C.K. to blow his breeze on this hot topic, he’s a part of the problem, and the worst part is: this isn’t the first time! Hollywood (and Congress) is catching a harsh wind lately as even actresses Gal Gadot and Ellen Page step forward with claims of sexual misconduct by coworkers in the industry.  Yeah, you read that right, Wonder Woman too! So let’s hope for the best for our favorite actors as we rewatch the powerful SNL monologue of Tiffiany Haddish.

And in local news….

Port Jervis residents celebrated their veterans in a spirited parade against cold winds a-blowin’ Saturday morning. VFW Post #161 1st Vice Commander Henry Dunn, a Vietnam Veteran, and the event’s Master of Ceremonies,  expressed his gratitude to those that courageously embraced the cold in the name of their national heroes. The day before, several of those service members also celebrated the unopposed election victory of new First Ward Common Councilperson,  Dominick Santini IV.

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Election 2017: Letter from the Editor’s Desk

ue to a crunch on time, this reporter’s personal life crises, and the topical nature of the usual fourth question, a questionnaire for the Second Ward’s candidates could not be completed. However, I hope citizens, in order to inform their own opinions, take a page from my book, and ask the difficult hot-button questions that are most pressing for them of their candidates. As for the First Ward, there really is no contest there.

As I have made clear in pieces for YourPortJervisIsShowing.com, for the Fourth and Third Wards, “participation trophies” (as some residents call them) will not be handed out. I, as a dutiful independent journalist, sworn to the truth and all that democracy requires of it cannot justify that ward’s candidates with a questionnaire or article. \

Two seats, two candidates; that is not choice, that is not democracy, and were I not an independent observer, I would still cast no vote for either.

Moving On: There is more than political candidates on the ballot this year, so please be informed, they are as follows:

  1. A Question: Shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same?
  2. An Amendment: Allowing the complete or partial forfeiture of a public officer’s pension if he or she is convicted of a certain type of felony.
  3. An Amendment: Authorizing the Use of Forest Preserve Land for Specified Purposes.

The first amendment here elaborates as follows:

The proposed amendment to section 7 of Article 2 of the State Constitution would allow a court to reduce or revoke the public pension of a public officer who is convicted of a felony that has a direct and actual relationship to the performance of the public officer’s existing duties.

The second amendment:

The proposed amendment will create a land account with up to 250 acres of forest preserve land eligible for use by towns, villages, and counties that have no viable alternative to using forest preserve land to address specific public health and safety concerns; as a substitute for the land removed from the forest preserve, another 250 acres of land, will be added to the forest preserve, subject to legislative approval. The proposed amendment also will allow bicycle trails and certain public utility lines to be located within the width of specified highways that cross the forest preserve while minimizing removal of trees and vegetation.

Again, due to unforeseen personal tragedy, I have failed you, the Great American Public in this final task, and hope that one has found the information needed to form a strong opinion on the matter, elsewhere. As we move passed this election, I pray that you continue reading and supporting the work I do, and we do.

BriennaParsons.com

Election 2017: Who’s Running for Third Ward

Originally written for YourPortJervisIsShowing.com.

PORT JERVIS, N.Y. — Polls open in little more than two weeks in Port Jervis, and around the state. Find your polling location before Tuesday, November 7, on the Port Jervis city website.

Not sure which Ward in Port Jervis you live in? Find yourself on the Ward Map.

This is a sister article to this one regarding the Fourth Ward. As there are more than two candidates for the Ward’s two seats, no candidate runs unopposed. Therefore , the Third Ward needs the public’s help in selecting the Ward’s next pair of representatives.

“No policy that does not rest upon some philosophical public opinion can be permanently maintained.” — Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

“There is a power in public opinion in this country – and I thank God for it. For it is the most honest and best of all powers –  which will not tolerate an incompetent or unworthy man to hold in his weak or wicked hands the lives and fortunes of his fellow-citizens.” — Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the United States

The Third Ward in Port Jervis, which spans from Reservoir Number One to the Port Jervis High School, and covers that corner of the city, has three candidatesrunning for the two seats open to the ward, as there are again for each ward this election.

Residents of the Third Ward, as citizens with the inalienable right to vote, now have a selection to gather information on and form an opinion of, as they are undeniably free to do, before choosing one, if any, that best represents them. Engaged residents in this respect came up with a list of questions for the Ward’s candidates regarding it’s hot-button issues.

All three of the Ward’s candidates answered in each interview in their own words and are unaltered, exclusively here. Commonly used abbreviations found herein are listed at the end of the article for reference:

Gina Fitzpatrick

“Hi, I’m Gina Fitzpatrick and as a resident & council member who just paid over $13,000 in school taxes on my properties, I do not want to see taxes go up any further. Working 3 jobs myself and being a mom to four children, I know how expensive it is to live. Our seniors and low income/fixed income residents really suffer when taxes are raised. The school taxes are what’s really gone way too high here. City taxes in Port are not too bad compared to surrounding towns. We have an excellent DPW and Police Dept that goes above and beyond to make this town clean & safe and making cuts to those departments will be detrimental.

As a resident of my ward for 38 years, I know almost all who live here. Most homes in my ward are well kept and maintained and I have not run into many problems with unkept properties. If there’s a problem, my fellow 3rd ward councilwoman Kristin and I address it. We work well together.

As when a councilman/councilwoman passes away or quits, I do agree that the seat should go to public vote in a special election. There are laws to follow in that regard as well.

I myself use a hashtag for my DJ business (#DJG) and sometimes for health and fitness etc. I have used #Portpride several times too. I only use it in a positive way. Other than that I am not bothered by seeing them and think it’s ok if done tastefully and doesn’t cause hate. I’m all about peace and getting along with others. When it comes to politics, it can sometimes be very dirty and hateful. I will remain calm and not be drawn into any drama that others have or create. I will do my best to represent my fellow neighbors and help anyway I can. As a volunteer & resident in my community, I see what Port has to offer. They are endless. Gina Fitzpatrick”

Niki Jones

Question 1.
“The tax increases we have seen over the last couple of years are a result of three components; first no cost of living tax increases for many years, second borrowing from the fund balance to run the City, and third no or little economic development in the City of Port Jervis.
Each budget cycle the mayor presents a budget to the Council through the finance chair. The finance chair then holds meetings with each department head. Once the budget process is completed the budget is presented to the council. Last year the finance chair voted against the very budget she proposed. Last year we had approximately a 9% tax increase, with 2018’s rumored to be the same.

Many line items make up the budget; payroll and benefits being two of the largest. But how do you run a City without the people; Police, DPW? So when asked if I would support a tax increase to support moving the City forward, protecting the people, and providing a better community, I would! The tax percentage can be negotiated but not based on not cutting City resources.

To even out our tax base, we need to increase economic development, get buildings sold, both single family homes and commercial buildings. We need to create a healthy economic environment where people want to come to the City, and invest their money.”

Question 2.
“The quality of life issues occurring in the third ward surround; drug houses, bank owned houses, waste water runoff/flooding and landlords that rent to tenants that are just not good neighbors. Smaller day to day quality of life issues can be solved with council representatives that are actively engaged in their community, and are willing to work seamlessly with the City departments to proactively seek change for their constituents. Recently work began on the drainage channel after it was compromised by hurricane Irene, and water flooded many yards. It took time, but the City was able to secure funding to repair the drainage channel. I will actively seek solutions and work tirelessly to resolve any problems that occur in the third ward.”

Question 3.
“If possible the council should wait until the nearest election; however political reality being what it is, the lack of a member or members could lead to tied votes and gridlock. Councilmembers would then be inclined to appoint someone, but always the electoral process should be followed. Special elections might be possible but it is an expensive process.”

Question 4.
“Given my business background I realize the value all kinds of social media and their success at arriving at consensus on various issues. Council members can express opposition on social media but they should not disparage the process.”

Kristin Trovei

1. Where do you stand on the property tax increases we have seen in the past few years and will you support them in the future if elected?

“I do not support the recent property tax increases, as evident in my no vote to the budget last year. This is not simply because I think taxes are bad. I understand that as a city resident we expect, and have become used to, certain services provided to us. Those services cost money and costs of services rise each year. We have an amazing group of hardworking and dedicated employees that help keep our city safe, clean and operating and we appreciate them immensely.  However, I don’t think enough has been done to thoroughly look through the city expenses and revenues, as well as implement changes that could have put the City on a better path, which is why I voted no.  I do not want to point fingers, but there have been decisions that have been made in the past by previous councils, for whatever their reasons may have been, that have contributed to the difficult financial issues that we face today. This current council has to follow through on decisions that have been previously made, such as contracts until they are up for renegotiation – a sure to be difficult process. However, we cannot keep kicking the can down the road. I cannot change or dwell on those past decisions. This is where we are at, so let’s move on from here.

I believe that the city needs to develop a reasonable financial plan. It can be difficult to enact and follow through on as the administrations change and emotions can get in the way of reason, but the basic concepts should be followed to ensure that the City can sustain. It is possible to maintain the level of employees, pay those employees well, provide good benefits to those employees, maintain services, and reduce costs. While every situation is different, tactics to achieve those goals have been utilized in other communities and I believe that if people are willing to work together, we can come up with plans and contracts that will reduce the ever-increasing burden on the tax payers while maintaining, if not enhancing, the services the City provides to its current residents and businesses as well as attract new ones. In addition, the City needs to develop a plan to properly market and promote the City to draw more residents in and increase the tax base that has been relatively stagnant for far too long as well as draw in new economic opportunities.

I see positive changes in Port Jervis that has happened over the past 2 years. Many of the old buildings in the down town area have been purchased and renovated and we are trying to utilize our natural resources and history as tourist attractions. New businesses will come in, bringing new jobs, new visitors and maybe new residents, and we need to support that as much as we can. However, we also need to make sure we support the businesses and residents that are already here so that they can remain and thrive here.

Ultimately, we all need to work together to do what’s best for the hardworking tax payers of this city. That’s the responsible thing to do.”

2. What are your thoughts and plans for improving the living conditions in our ward?
“Quality of life issues affect every ward. I think in order to combat them we need to be proactive as well as develop better communication with the police department, the code enforcement office, neighborhood watch groups and residents. If people do not communicate the problems, they cannot be fixed. Communication and the sharing of information is something I push for, which is one of the reasons why for the past year I have posted weekly ‘cliff notes’ of meetings that I have attended on my Facebook page so people who cannot attend meetings can have a glimpse of what was discussed.

The PJPD and Code Enforcement officers work very hard and spend much of their time in areas with a record of higher reported problems, which unfortunately leaves the rest of the city being monitored less often. However, if we were to hire additional resources, the budget would increase, which is often not an enjoyable prospect.

I believe we need to provide as many resources as we can reasonably afford to our city departments as well as continue to look at regulations and procedures to see what can be changed to allow the City to more easily and effectively stop some of the problems. We recently hired two part-time seasonal code enforcement officers to assist with the demand placed on our Code Enforcement office, with the expectation that their salaries would essentially be paid with the fines that will be accrued. But we also need the residents to assist. There are things that the citizens can do to help that the City cannot do while the city council and officials deal with the legalities and obstacles that stand in our way. I cannot attend neighborhood watch meetings in the 3rd ward due to the fact that I have a CDA meeting on the same day and time as those meeting are supposed to occur, but I have requested that meeting notes be forwarded to myself and Ms. Fitzpatrick so we can be apprised of issues raised and we can follow up with proper departments. Other wards have active neighborhood watch groups and I hope that these meetings occur more regularly, more residents attend and help be a part of the solution. Pride and respect of your property and community cannot be legislated, but we can lead by example and work with each other to help solve some of the issues that we face.”

3. What is your position on installing council members without a public vote in the circumstance a member quits or dies?

“Losing a member of the council is never easy and the prospect of replacement is never taken lightly. The process to fill that vacated seat is outlined by the Board of Elections and enacted by the remaining council members. I believe in the continuity of government and that part of the responsibility of the council is to make decisions to ensure that residents are being fully represented. Leaving a seat vacant for an extended period of time would not allow for full representation. I can understand the concerns of this process, but I believe in the ability for the remaining council members to agree on an appointment of a person they believe to be qualified and dedicated to the task until an election can occur and the residents of that ward can vote on the next council member.”

4. Where do you stand on sitting council members denigrating the use of hashtags, the public search engine tool for building community and organized information?

“I do not use hashtags. I have ‘hashtagged’ appx 2 times in my entire life and don’t necessarily plan on utilizing hashtags in the future. It is just not something that I participate in.  I typically do not use them, share them, follow them, search with them, or comment on them.  I can see that if utilized properly, they can be a useful tool. I can also see how they can be over used and lose their effectiveness. However, recently a hashtag has been circulating in a negative manner toward a friend of mine and fellow candidate. I disagreed with the sentiment, however, since I respect people’s rights (even councilmember’s) to have opinions, I did not say anything about the hashtag nor did I say anything about specific person(s) or publications that may or may not have started it or been associated with it. Unfortunately, the hashtag was used in a manner which I believe to be improper. Hashtags belong on social media, not anonymously placed in a person’s personal belongings, which is something that recently occurred. Whether meant to be a joke or harassment/intimidation for the candidate, I believe it to be inappropriate. I believe that one can agree with the sentiment of the intended use of the hashtag while not agreeing with the actions that transpired.

Thank you for including me in your Election 2017 coverage. If anyone has any questions, comments, concerns, suggestions or need clarification on anything, please reach out to me and I will provide you with as much factual and honest information as I can provide.”

ABBREVIATIONS ABOVE:

  • appx – approximately
  • CDA – Community Development Agency
  • DPW – Port Jervis Department of Public Works
  • PJPD – Port Jervis Police Department

Election 2017: Who’s Running for Third Ward?

Originally written for YourPortJervisIsShowing.com.

PORT JERVIS — Polls open in little more than two weeks in Port Jervis, and around the state. Find your polling location before Tuesday, November 7, on the Port Jervis city website.

Not sure which Ward in Port Jervis you live in? Find yourself on the Ward Map.

This is a sister article to this one regarding the Fourth Ward. As there are more than two candidates for the Ward’s two seats, no candidate runs unopposed. Therefore , the Third Ward needs the public’s help in selecting the Ward’s next pair of representatives.

“No policy that does not rest upon some philosophical public opinion can be permanently maintained.” — Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

“There is a power in public opinion in this country – and I thank God for it. For it is the most honest and best of all powers –  which will not tolerate an incompetent or unworthy man to hold in his weak or wicked hands the lives and fortunes of his fellow-citizens.” — Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the United States

The Third Ward in Port Jervis, which spans from Reservoir Number One to the Port Jervis High School, and covers that corner of the city, has three candidates running for the two seats open to the ward, as there are again for each ward this election.

Residents of the Third Ward, as citizens with the inalienable right to vote, now have a selection to gather information on and form an opinion of, as they are undeniably free to do, before choosing one, if any, that best represents them. Engaged residents in this respect came up with a list of questions for the Ward’s candidates regarding it’s hot-button issues.

All three of the Ward’s candidates answered in each interview in their own words and are unaltered, exclusively here. Commonly used abbreviations found herein are listed at the end of the article for reference:

Gina Fitzpatrick

“Hi, I’m Gina Fitzpatrick and as a resident & council member who just paid over $13,000 in school taxes on my properties, I do not want to see taxes go up any further. Working 3 jobs myself and being a mom to four children, I know how expensive it is to live. Our seniors and low income/fixed income residents really suffer when taxes are raised. The school taxes are what’s really gone way too high here. City taxes in Port are not too bad compared to surrounding towns. We have an excellent DPW and Police Dept that goes above and beyond to make this town clean & safe and making cuts to those departments will be detrimental.

As a resident of my ward for 38 years, I know almost all who live here. Most homes in my ward are well kept and maintained and I have not run into many problems with unkept properties. If there’s a problem, my fellow 3rd ward councilwoman Kristin and I address it. We work well together.

As when a councilman/councilwoman passes away or quits, I do agree that the seat should go to public vote in a special election. There are laws to follow in that regard as well.

I myself use a hashtag for my DJ business (#DJG) and sometimes for health and fitness etc. I have used #Portpride several times too. I only use it in a positive way. Other than that I am not bothered by seeing them and think it’s ok if done tastefully and doesn’t cause hate. I’m all about peace and getting along with others. When it comes to politics, it can sometimes be very dirty and hateful. I will remain calm and not be drawn into any drama that others have or create. I will do my best to represent my fellow neighbors and help anyway I can. As a volunteer & resident in my community, I see what Port has to offer. They are endless. Gina Fitzpatrick”

Niki Jones

Question 1.
“The tax increases we have seen over the last couple of years are a result of three components; first no cost of living tax increases for many years, second borrowing from the fund balance to run the City, and third no or little economic development in the City of Port Jervis.
Each budget cycle the mayor presents a budget to the Council through the finance chair. The finance chair then holds meetings with each department head. Once the budget process is completed the budget is presented to the council. Last year the finance chair voted against the very budget she proposed. Last year we had approximately a 9% tax increase, with 2018’s rumored to be the same.

Many line items make up the budget; payroll and benefits being two of the largest. But how do you run a City without the people; Police, DPW? So when asked if I would support a tax increase to support moving the City forward, protecting the people, and providing a better community, I would! The tax percentage can be negotiated but not based on not cutting City resources.

To even out our tax base, we need to increase economic development, get buildings sold, both single family homes and commercial buildings. We need to create a healthy economic environment where people want to come to the City, and invest their money.”

Question 2.
“The quality of life issues occurring in the third ward surround; drug houses, bank owned houses, waste water runoff/flooding and landlords that rent to tenants that are just not good neighbors. Smaller day to day quality of life issues can be solved with council representatives that are actively engaged in their community, and are willing to work seamlessly with the City departments to proactively seek change for their constituents. Recently work began on the drainage channel after it was compromised by hurricane Irene, and water flooded many yards. It took time, but the City was able to secure funding to repair the drainage channel. I will actively seek solutions and work tirelessly to resolve any problems that occur in the third ward.”

Question 3.
“If possible the council should wait until the nearest election; however political reality being what it is, the lack of a member or members could lead to tied votes and gridlock. Councilmembers would then be inclined to appoint someone, but always the electoral process should be followed. Special elections might be possible but it is an expensive process.”

Question 4.
“Given my business background I realize the value all kinds of social media and their success at arriving at consensus on various issues. Council members can express opposition on social media but they should not disparage the process.”

Kristin Trovei

1. Where do you stand on the property tax increases we have seen in the past few years and will you support them in the future if elected?

“I do not support the recent property tax increases, as evident in my no vote to the budget last year. This is not simply because I think taxes are bad. I understand that as a city resident we expect, and have become used to, certain services provided to us. Those services cost money and costs of services rise each year. We have an amazing group of hardworking and dedicated employees that help keep our city safe, clean and operating and we appreciate them immensely.  However, I don’t think enough has been done to thoroughly look through the city expenses and revenues, as well as implement changes that could have put the City on a better path, which is why I voted no.  I do not want to point fingers, but there have been decisions that have been made in the past by previous councils, for whatever their reasons may have been, that have contributed to the difficult financial issues that we face today. This current council has to follow through on decisions that have been previously made, such as contracts until they are up for renegotiation – a sure to be difficult process. However, we cannot keep kicking the can down the road. I cannot change or dwell on those past decisions. This is where we are at, so let’s move on from here.

I believe that the city needs to develop a reasonable financial plan. It can be difficult to enact and follow through on as the administrations change and emotions can get in the way of reason, but the basic concepts should be followed to ensure that the City can sustain. It is possible to maintain the level of employees, pay those employees well, provide good benefits to those employees, maintain services, and reduce costs. While every situation is different, tactics to achieve those goals have been utilized in other communities and I believe that if people are willing to work together, we can come up with plans and contracts that will reduce the ever-increasing burden on the tax payers while maintaining, if not enhancing, the services the City provides to its current residents and businesses as well as attract new ones. In addition, the City needs to develop a plan to properly market and promote the City to draw more residents in and increase the tax base that has been relatively stagnant for far too long as well as draw in new economic opportunities.

I see positive changes in Port Jervis that has happened over the past 2 years. Many of the old buildings in the down town area have been purchased and renovated and we are trying to utilize our natural resources and history as tourist attractions. New businesses will come in, bringing new jobs, new visitors and maybe new residents, and we need to support that as much as we can. However, we also need to make sure we support the businesses and residents that are already here so that they can remain and thrive here.

Ultimately, we all need to work together to do what’s best for the hardworking tax payers of this city. That’s the responsible thing to do.”

2. What are your thoughts and plans for improving the living conditions in our ward?
“Quality of life issues affect every ward. I think in order to combat them we need to be proactive as well as develop better communication with the police department, the code enforcement office, neighborhood watch groups and residents. If people do not communicate the problems, they cannot be fixed. Communication and the sharing of information is something I push for, which is one of the reasons why for the past year I have posted weekly ‘cliff notes’ of meetings that I have attended on my Facebook page so people who cannot attend meetings can have a glimpse of what was discussed.

The PJPD and Code Enforcement officers work very hard and spend much of their time in areas with a record of higher reported problems, which unfortunately leaves the rest of the city being monitored less often. However, if we were to hire additional resources, the budget would increase, which is often not an enjoyable prospect.

I believe we need to provide as many resources as we can reasonably afford to our city departments as well as continue to look at regulations and procedures to see what can be changed to allow the City to more easily and effectively stop some of the problems. We recently hired two part-time seasonal code enforcement officers to assist with the demand placed on our Code Enforcement office, with the expectation that their salaries would essentially be paid with the fines that will be accrued. But we also need the residents to assist. There are things that the citizens can do to help that the City cannot do while the city council and officials deal with the legalities and obstacles that stand in our way. I cannot attend neighborhood watch meetings in the 3rd ward due to the fact that I have a CDA meeting on the same day and time as those meeting are supposed to occur, but I have requested that meeting notes be forwarded to myself and Ms. Fitzpatrick so we can be apprised of issues raised and we can follow up with proper departments. Other wards have active neighborhood watch groups and I hope that these meetings occur more regularly, more residents attend and help be a part of the solution. Pride and respect of your property and community cannot be legislated, but we can lead by example and work with each other to help solve some of the issues that we face.”

3. What is your position on installing council members without a public vote in the circumstance a member quits or dies?

“Losing a member of the council is never easy and the prospect of replacement is never taken lightly. The process to fill that vacated seat is outlined by the Board of Elections and enacted by the remaining council members. I believe in the continuity of government and that part of the responsibility of the council is to make decisions to ensure that residents are being fully represented. Leaving a seat vacant for an extended period of time would not allow for full representation. I can understand the concerns of this process, but I believe in the ability for the remaining council members to agree on an appointment of a person they believe to be qualified and dedicated to the task until an election can occur and the residents of that ward can vote on the next council member.”

4. Where do you stand on sitting council members denigrating the use of hashtags, the public search engine tool for building community and organized information?

“I do not use hashtags. I have ‘hashtagged’ appx 2 times in my entire life and don’t necessarily plan on utilizing hashtags in the future. It is just not something that I participate in.  I typically do not use them, share them, follow them, search with them, or comment on them.  I can see that if utilized properly, they can be a useful tool. I can also see how they can be over used and lose their effectiveness. However, recently a hashtag has been circulating in a negative manner toward a friend of mine and fellow candidate. I disagreed with the sentiment, however, since I respect people’s rights (even councilmember’s) to have opinions, I did not say anything about the hashtag nor did I say anything about specific person(s) or publications that may or may not have started it or been associated with it. Unfortunately, the hashtag was used in a manner which I believe to be improper. Hashtags belong on social media, not anonymously placed in a person’s personal belongings, which is something that recently occurred. Whether meant to be a joke or harassment/intimidation for the candidate, I believe it to be inappropriate. I believe that one can agree with the sentiment of the intended use of the hashtag while not agreeing with the actions that transpired.

Thank you for including me in your Election 2017 coverage. If anyone has any questions, comments, concerns, suggestions or need clarification on anything, please reach out to me and I will provide you with as much factual and honest information as I can provide.”

Abbreviations above:

  • appx – approximately
  • CDA – Community Development Agency
  • DPW – Port Jervis Department of Public Works
  • PJPD – Port Jervis Police Department

Election 2017: Who’s running for Fourth Ward?

Republished from YourPortJervisIsShowing.com.

PORT JERVIS, N.Y. — With November 7, general elections happening around NYS, Port Jervis is no exception. Polling place information can be found on the city website.

The Fourth Ward in Port Jervis, which spans from Church Street in town to the edge of Deerpark and New York/New Jersey, has four candidates running for the two seats open to the ward, as there are for each ward, this election. This is a vast difference from past elections which had fewer or one single candidate — a common democratic issue in Port Jervis.

“Having an election with only one candidate running is impossible. This is not a democracy.” — Bhumibol Adulyadej, Former King of Thailand

“Elections are about choices.” — Ken Cuccinelli, Former Attorney General of Virginia

Residents of the Fourth Ward, as citizens with the inalienable right to vote, now have a selection to gather information on and form an opinion of, as they are undeniably free to do, before choosing one, if any, that best represents them. Engaged residents in this respect came up with a list of questions for the Ward’s candidates regarding it’s hot-button issues.

All four of the Ward’s candidates answered in each interview in their own words and are unaltered, exclusively here. Commonly used abbreviations found herein are listed at the end of the article for reference:

Jill Lindner

“This is my first time that I’m throwing my hat in the ring and I am talking with PJ citizens and really seeking out how Port Jervis works. This is the only way the council can be of service, by listening to the needs of the people. I’ve walked around and really observed the great potential this city has. The unique old houses can be renovated and uptown is being revitalized. My hopes are that it brings many jobs to PJ citizens and we get out of our slump of not having enough for all. I want to work as a community that really cares for others. I want to show its not about me, it’s about us. Our families are important and our aging population are a big part of PJ and we have to respond to all their needs.

My stand on raising taxes is very simple, I feel that’s a heavy burden on the taxpayers. I would like to see what else we could do instead of raising taxes and cutting monies from DPW and Police. I would be open to do a little more research instead of taking the easy way out. This is where the council has to do some creative footwork for the people, I’m willing to do that.

I think some of the housing problems come from the absentee landlords, I believe they should be held accountable for letting the properties get so run down and allowing the tenants to be disruptive to the neighborhood. It doesn’t make for good relations to neighbors nor do the houses on the street retain their value. Something has to change.

Installation of council members because of resignation or death, NYS law allows for those appointments by a majority on the council. If I were on the council and this occurred I may not agree with the legal process but I would be conscientious of what choice would best serve the people of Port Jervis.

The demolition of the fire house on Seward was very disturbing to me that for seven weeks it had unsealed asbestos left on the site while the families living and breathing within such a short distance of this, were exposed for so long. More should have been done to protect people. It was unacceptable.”


Lisa Randazzo

1. Where do you stand on the property tax increases we have seen in the past few years and will you support them in the future if elected?

“The budget process is no easy task, prior to even reviewing a wish list, the Mayor and Council are charged with maintaining the services we currently have, as well as making sure we follow and abide by contracts that have often been agreed upon by our prior elected officials.

Sometimes, it can take years before the current Council can even request a change to things such as labor contracts.  Even with that initiative, comes the cost of labor attorneys.  With that said, many things are set forth for us without any decisions on our behalf.  Contractual increases such as health insurance, just to name one this upcoming year, will place the city at a 4% increase to city taxes.  Then there are other things such as maintenance of our city vehicles, city reservoirs, culverts, streets and sewer lines just to name a handful.  These items are reviewed and considered based upon their priority and need then placed into the city bond.  This year happened to be when the city renews its five year bond and the cost increase for those items is approximately just shy of a 3% increase to the tax base.

So when asked if I will support tax increases, my answer is it depends on the items I directly have consideration and the power to make change with a vote.  If this year any sitting Council member voted not to pass a minimum of a 7% increase, we would have to consider the removal of some essential services.  No one wants to live without the things we are used to having such as garbage pickup.  We would also need to consider a decrease in the police force, which would then increase the issues present particularly in the fourth ward.  See lower taxes do not always work to the benefit of the wards in the most need of additional services.  I am not looking to make any unnecessary increases to the city budget.  However, I do believe that years of using the contingency to the point of depletion has placed our city in a poor financial position.  The only way to improve that is to implement a plan over the next several years to correct that issue while looking for additional revenue streams.  The city is a business and should be run as such.  I believe in fiscal responsibility and a solid strategic plan however, as elections come and go well so does leadership which then can cause a drastic shift in the way the business is operating.”

2. What are your thoughts and plans for improving the living conditions in our ward?

“The fourth ward requires several things to improve the living conditions.  First, we need to at least maintain and possibly increase the number of police officers on the city force.  The PJPD has made our ward a priority however there is an entire city that requires patrols.  With that said, additional resources cost additional money which has a direct impact on our budget.  If we do not employ additional officers then we are faced with overtime costs when there is a need.  See how desired improvements always impact the bottom line?  I am in support of additional officers for the PJPD which would allow for more attention to the 4th Ward issues.

Second, the city has employed a part-time seasonal position within the building official’s office to attend to building violations.  We all know that if our neighborhoods are kept clean and orderly that less crime will be attracted to areas of our city.  I think that we need to encourage more people to become an active part of their respective neighborhood watch groups.  This is essential as the Fourth Ward has an active committee but more people need to become a part of our neighborhoods.  This would make those that are causing disruption and performing illegal activities aware by their presence and to know that if ‘we see something we will say something.’

Lastly, I am confident that the downtown projects to include the Promenade and White Water Park will help to enhance the Fourth Ward over the next several years.  Both business owners and residents seem to be taking an initiative to enhance their properties and we can see that impact by the number of permits being issued thru the Building Officials office.”

3. What is your position on installing council members without a public vote in the circumstance a member quits or dies?

“The appointment process to the Council is outlined and set forth by the Orange County Board of Elections and carried out by the Mayor with the support of the respective Council members.  It is not a process that is taken lightly and I do not feel that leaving a seat vacant does any justice for the residents of a ward.  If the seat is left open, then there is no representation whatsoever for a period of time.  Council members serve their constituents whether appointed or elected. I do not feel that anyone goes into this job thinking otherwise.  In my particular situation, I was appointed for a period of six and a half months and had to run in a special election of which I worked to receive the support of the constituents through the voting process.  And here I am seeking re-election because I care for my community and am vested here.  I am an alum of Port Jervis High School, I own my home and am a city taxpayer, I have raised my four children here and put them all through public school all while taking the time to volunteer for my community through a long list of organizations. Ironically, I haven’t heard much scuttle over the other vacated Council seats or their respective appointments over the past year and I did support those appointments because I do not believe vacant Council seats in any way, shape or form help our residents.”

4. If you were a sitting council member now how would you handle the situation with the demolished firehouse on Seward? Not only the dealing with the actual debris but the information keeping the public informed?

“As a current sitting Council member in the Fourth Ward, our job was to convene at a special council meeting, listen to the information presented to us in regards to the danger that the building presented due to its physical structure.  The issue of permits, demolition and removal all fall under the preview of our City Building Official who I believe followed the same procedures and protocols he has with any other dangerous building demolition in the city.

By chance, I was on the only vacation I took all year and out of the city limits when the issue of a delay with the contractor arose.  Therefore, I did not have knowledge of any concerns by the residents for about one week. I had not been contacted by phone, email, text or any means of social media by any resident at that time.  Upon my return from vacation, I learned of the delay in demolition and the concerns posed by one resident.  I immediately contacted other city officials and we personally went to the 4th Ward to address that person as well as neighboring residents to the firehouse who were home.  I’m not sure how much more personal one can get then showing up when called upon.

In regards to the information shared with residents, I did speak to this regard at a Council meeting and I used my Facebook page to get the word out.  I also often attend the 4th Ward Neighborhood Watch meetings and share information of this nature with those in attendance.  In addition, I know that Councilman Siegel, Mr. Rivera as well as Mayor Decker all had conversations with neighbors on multiple occasions.

I don’t know that there is an exact means to the dissemination of information that will please the entire public but we do our very best.  I think perhaps this is something that we need to discuss with the residents and take into consideration the feedback we receive.  One way I am addressing this is by having a Fourth Ward meeting this Wednesday, September 20th at 7pm at Howard Wheat Firehouse.  While I realize this may be too late for this particular instance, in the future I think regularly scheduled ward meetings may help to communicate this information more quickly.”


Stanley Siegel

1. Where do you stand on the property tax increases we have seen in the past few years and will you support them in the future if elected?

“I have been on the City Council, as a Councilman at Large and 4th Ward Councilman for 12 years.  I have frequently voted against tax increases because I have felt that they were above an acceptable level, and above what many of my constituents can afford.  I have always stated however, that there is a need for a ‘modest’ increase every year to keep up with increased costs, mostly mandated.  If this was followed, it could help eliminate some of the drastic increases that our residents have seen.”

2. What are your thoughts and plans for improving the living conditions in our ward?

“One of the biggest causes of problems in our ward is Absentee Landlord’s.  Many, but not all absentee landlords, purchase houses, do little or nothing to them, rent them and then provide little or no oversight, and at some point, abandon them.  More has to be done to encourage rental property owners to be better neighbors.

Additionally, along with that, there are some tenants that have little regard for their neighbors or neighborhood. We have to work on developing respect for each other.

Another is the drug epidemic that has infiltrated the 4th Ward as well as the entire nation.  The Police are working hard to combat that but it still is a concern that needs continuous police attention.  I have asked for this and the police have responded with extra patrols.”

3. What is your position on installing council members without a public vote in the circumstance a member quits or dies?

“There are very specific state rules that regulate how a seat is filled depending on the amount of time to the next election.  If the vacancy falls within the period where a seat can be filled, I would prefer that it be filled by the candidate that received the 3rd highest number of votes, in that election, in that ward.  If there is no 3rd candidate, then we should have a special election.”

4. If you were a sitting council member now how would you handle the situation with the demolished firehouse on Seward? Not only the dealing with the actual debris but the information keeping the public informed?

“I typically make several tours of the ward on a daily basis.  I was informed by a resident that there seemed to be a structural concern on the north wall.  I immediately took photos and called the Building Official.  The Building Official met me at the site within ½ hour.  He saw what we saw and he opened the front door.  At that point, we noticed that the 2nd floor had fallen into the 1st floor.  The DPW was called immediately to put barricades around the “fall zone” of the site.  Then he and I visited residents around the site to notify them of the concern and potential danger.

At another occasion, I, along with other city officials visited the homes of the closest residents, to assure them that safety is of utmost concern. Additionally, I visited the site frequently, and spoke to residents on nearly a daily basis to keep them as informed as I was.  Monitoring equipment was placed around the site on a Friday and continued to test the air for asbestos.  We were informed throughout that process that there no asbestos contamination. I spoke to the Mayor and Building Official quite often to determine why there is a delay.  Not satisfied with the slow response, I called our state Assemblyman for help in getting a demolition permit from the state DOL, quickly.  The DOL called me back the next day with an offer to expedite the permit and waive a $5,000 fee since it is a city owned property.  I am told that there were delays outside the DOL process which I could do nothing about.

The site work was not completed by 9/15/17, so I put a call into the Buildings Department to try and determine the reason for the delay, but I am also aware that there is no health concern at that site.

I will continue to do all that is within my authority to push this along, as I have each day since becoming aware of this issue.

Thank you for reaching out for this information.  Anything else, just contact me.”


Zoe Valdez

“1. I’m a homeowner myself and increasing taxes is not something I will support.

2. As far as my plans to improve the quality of life in our ward, i can tell you right now that the only way we can achieve positive changes is by engaging our community, as the large majority of our residents feel alienated with no representation. And I will fight for every single one of them. So that we can rebuild our ward together!

3. I believe Council members must be elected by the people for the people.

4. That firehouse should have never been demolished. Period.
Let me know if you are available to meet and chat. I really love your passion and feel that we need to stick together! You clearly care about our community and I want you to know I’m on you side.”


Abbreviations above:

  • DOL – New York State Department of Labor
  • DPW – Port Jervis Department of Public Works
  • Mr. Rivera/Building Official – Port Jervis Building Official
  • NYS – New York State
  • PJ – Port Jervis
  • PJPD – Port Jervis Police Department