The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

Buchwald, Latimer support Governor Cuomo’s
gun-control measures


By ANTHONY R. MANCINI

Bedford’s state representatives reacted with praise to the governor’s stated goals for 2013 in his annual State of the State address on Jan. 9 and helped pass New York’s new gun-control legislation, which was signed into law on Jan. 15.

Both newly elected legislators, New York State Senator George S. Latimer, D-Rye, and Assemblyman David Buchwald, D-White Plains, predicted that there would be early action from the Legislature and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on stricter gun-control measures. Sure enough, a bill was passed by both the Senate and Assembly and signed by Mr. Cuomo in two days.

“Certainly working towards sensible gun-safety legislation to keep children and families safe is a priority,” said Mr. Buchwald. The assemblyman said he supports legislation such as what was passed to make “sure that our assault weapons ban in New York state is as comprehensive as any in the country.”

The law strengthens New York’s existing gun-control legislation, which in many ways mirrors the expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Originally, New York banned the sale of semi-automatic guns with at least two military characteristics, such as a folding stock or the ability to attach a suppressor. The new law now bans semi-automatic weapons with one characteristic. The original maximum capacity of 10 rounds per magazine is now restricted to seven rounds. The law requires background checks at licensed dealers and gun shows and restricts private sales. It also requires the state to keep a database of gun licenses and records and a database of individuals suspected by mental health professionals to be dangerous if equipped with a gun, to prevent sales to the mentally ill.

Mr. Latimer said the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 27 dead, including 20 children, heightened discussion about what types of weaponry are appropriate to own.

“My sense is — and I’m not a big gun enthusiast personally — but I do believe there is a Second Amendment right to own and have firearms that you would use to protect yourself in a reasonable manner and also for the legitimate reasons of hunting and target practice,” Mr. Latimer said. “The question here isn’t at the extreme level — confiscation of guns, that type of boogeyman that’s thrown out there. The real question is, ‘What is reasonable and what is unreasonable to expect to have in private hands?’”

In addition to gun measures, Mr. Buchwald says he supports other initiatives from the governor, such as raising the minimum wage and the proposed gender equality legislation.

“There’s no reason in my mind that women growing up shouldn’t have entirely the same opportunities a young man has, and New York should be doing everything to ensure that that is the case,” Mr. Buchwald said.

Mr. Latimer said he’s reserving support for many of Mr. Cuomo’s initiatives until the final details are revealed, especially after negotiations are carried out with the Senate’s leadership, but he said that the governor’s stated ideas sound adequate.

“Cuomo is a very powerful governor. He knows how to use the power of the governorship. He also knows how to use the bully pulpit. He makes a public case of support for the things he wants,” he said. “In board principle, the things that he talked about, for me, were almost universally very solid.”

Both legislators pledged to support measures to help support their constituent municipalities through mandate relief, which was touched upon by the governor in his speech. Mr. Cuomo proposed a finance-restructuring program to help local governments manage their budgets.

“Mandate relief is what I’m looking for,” Mr. Latimer said. “I think the state has put burdens on these local governments in pension costs, Medicaid mandate at the state level, MTA payroll tax, that a local government shouldn’t have to face because then you turn around and you re-tax it in the property taxes to the people who live in your community.”

Mr. Buchwald said that he has expressed interest in serving on the Assembly Local Governments Committee, while Mr. Latimer said he has applied to its Senate counterpart.

“Both Senator Latimer and I have pledged to be ambassadors for the towns we represent,” Mr. Buchwald said. “We have reached out to the town boards to request that any local legislation that they have, that they bring them to our attention so we can champion them in Albany.”

Mr. Latimer said serving on the local government committee could provide a big help to towns like Bedford.

“Local government is generally the committee that handles most of the home rule requests,” he said. “If Bedford has a home rule request and I’m on the committee, I’m in the room when we’re having the first discussion about it.”

The governor did not mention the state’s progress on whether to allow high-volume hydraulic fracturing in his address. Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping water, sand and solvents into a well bore deep underground to break up bedrock, which releases any natural gas or oil within it. High-volume fracturing uses much more water than other types of drilling that are allowed in certain locales across the state. Opponents of the process are concerned that it may contaminate surrounding groundwater. Mr. Buchwald said he expects lawmakers to continue to pursue legislation regulating the process despite the governor’s silence on the issue.

“I think that there’s likely to be a lot of push from the Legislature against hydrofracking,” Mr. Buchwald said. “There have already been chairmen of the assembly committees writing to the state to ask them to provide more time for a comprehensive health examination of the effects of hydrofracking.”

Mr. Latimer commented on the peculiar leadership position in the Senate, in which leadership power is shared between Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, and the chairman of the Independent Democratic Conference, Jeffrey D. Klein, D-Bronx. Due to a number of circumstances, both senators have agreed to switch off every two weeks as the temporary president of the Senate. Democrats outnumber Republicans by one seat, 32-31. Despite the slim Democratic majority, Mr. Klein’s five-member conference agreed to vote in Mr. Skelos as majority leader, and one senator elected as a Democrat, Simcha Felder, D-Brooklyn, has agreed to caucus with the Republicans.

“We’re in uncharted waters. This has never been done before in this fashion. The chances of it working or not working are unknown at this stage of the game,” Mr. Latimer said.

Mr. Latimer said critics of the Senate Democrats are quick to compare a potential Democratic majority to the Senate antics of 2009, when four Democrats broke away from the then-Democratic majority and showed support for the Republicans, resulting in a power struggle between the two parties and a period of time in which there was no clear majority leader. With the exception of 2009-10, the Senate has had solid Republican control since 1964. Mr. Latimer said that for 2012, a new crop of Democrats have been elected and should not be assumed unable to lead. He said that of the four dissenting Democrats in 2009, three of them, Pedro Espada Jr., Carl Kruger and Hiram Monserrate, are no longer senators and have been convicted of embezzlement, bribery and assault, respectively.

“It was triggered by members who saw the opportunity to do their own thing for their own benefit and they disrupted the whole process and they jumped parties. Three of those four guys are in jail right now. Espada is in or on the way into jail. Monserrate is in jail. Kruger is in jail,” Mr. Latimer said. “If I did something bad, it attaches to me. I’m not going to acknowledge that something that happened a couple of terms ago that other people are involved in means that I’m incompetent.”

Mr. Latimer said he hopes the Senate will be functional this term, but he remains skeptical of the power-sharing agreement.

“Every experience I have ever had in my life where two people have shared a job, it pretty much doesn’t work,” he said.



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January 18, 2013

‘Pops, Patriots and Fireworks’

Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    


Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    


Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


Katonah

  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road


Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    


Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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