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Thursday, December 11, 2008

12/11/08 Greenwich Time News Links - Top Story Judge Taggart Adams Screws Up

Blind Justice?

Or is she peeking?

The Crippled Of Greenwich Are Denied Justice

By Judge Taggart And The YMCA

A state Superior Court judge Wednesday denied a Greenwich man's request for an injunction to force the Greenwich Family YMCA to build a temporary ramp for wheelchair access.

Judge Taggert Adams ruled that the Y had met the standard established under the Americans with Disabilities Act and reasonably showed that it was trying to eliminate barriers to access with its $40 million renovation and expansion project.

......Frank Peluso, attorney for plaintiff Luis Gonzalez-Bunster, said he was surprised by the verdict and is unsure whether they will appeal.

"The real loser here today is the town of Greenwich," he said, "Now, nobody in a wheelchair can have access to that facility and that's too bad." .....

.....The suit stated that denying access to individuals with disabilities is discriminatory and in violation of town and state building codes.

The Town of Greenwich also is named in the suit, because it issued the temporary certificate of occupancy to allow the facility to open without being wheelchair-accessible. Gonzalez-Bunster sought to have the town revoke that certificate because the Y was not ADA-compliant......

.....Peluso said that, according to his expert Jerry Sarnelli, owner of Sarnelli Construction in Stamford, the cost would be approximately $20,000.

"We're not talking about a lot of money here," he said.

Under the ADA, there is a 20 percent rule, which holds that if the cost to provide access to a handicapped person is less than 20 percent of the overall cost of the renovation, then it must be implemented, said Peluso. The renovation costs $40 million.

Taggert said that the Y is meeting the 20 percent standard. The Y said that it would likely have to build two ramps, install a security system and put in a new door - all of which were not included in Sarnelli's cost analysis......

....Gonzalez-Bunster said he was disappointed by the outcome.

"I felt our position was the correct position. I was trying to help everyone else that is in a wheelchair gain access," he said.


Boneheaded Jurist Helps The Greenwich YMCA
Discriminate Against The Handicapped

Shame, Shame, Shame On
Judge Taggert Adams
Who Turns His Back On The Crippled Of Greenwich
At Stamford Superior Court

Judge Taggert Is Going To Look Like Even More Of A Fool When The Perpetually Mismanaged YMCA Building Project Fails To Complete The Ramp In June Of 2009

Breaking News

By Meredith Blake/Staff Writer
Posted: 12/10/2008 12:28:34 PM EST

A State Superior Court Judge today denied a Greenwich man's request for an injunction to force the Greenwich Family YMCA to put in a temporary ramp to provide wheelchair access.....

.....Luis Gonzalez-Bunster, who is in a wheelchair, filed a request on Nov. 13 for an immediate injunction ordering the Y to provide temporary access to the new addition that includes a new aquatics center with an Olympic-size pool. The new addition is just one part of renovation and expansion of the 96-year-old building, which has never been wheelchair accessible.....


.....I won't even get into he YMCA's failure to provide a ramp. Again, the BUILDING INSPECTORS could have nipped it by not issuing an occupancy permit for ANYONE.. End of story. I know 2 judges who wouldn't have ruled in favor of the YMCA. I spoke to them. This judge who defended the YMCA is a well-known joke, and probably a resident of Greenwich.....

Talk about missing the boat.
To take a ride on a town ferry next summer, nonresidents would first be required to visit one of three locations - the closest being half-a-mile inland from the Arch Street dock - to buy a ticket under a proposal that is gaining favor with and is scheduled to be discussed this morning by the Board of Selectmen.
They could no longer buy tickets at the dock itself, a source of major discontent among locals this past summer when out-of-towners were allowed to ride the ferries for the first time without the company of a resident to Island Beach and Great Captains Island.

Both islands are about two miles off the shore of Greenwich and are owned by the town.
First Selectman Peter Tesei called the proposal, which will be taken up by the selectmen at 10 a.m. in the Town Hall Meeting Room, equitable and balanced......
.....Vincent Mingalone, a Stamford resident who rode the ferries several times this past summer with his family, griped about the potential changes to the policy.

"It seems to me just another tactic or attempt to discourage out-of-towners. You can't just show up on the weekend and say, 'Hey, we're here,' " said Mingalone, who is hoping to attend today's selectmen meeting......
.....Under the proposal, ferry tickets would be sold from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at Town Hall, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week at the Greenwich Civic Center in Old Greenwich and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends and holidays at the Bendheim Western Greenwich Civic Center in Glenville.

Mingalone, the Stamford resident, said he enjoyed his experience going out to the islands so much that he is willing to plan ahead to ride the ferries if the plan is adopted.

"It's not going to stop me," Mingalone said. "Honestly, I have such a passion and great love for those two gems, the islands. I guess I'll just have to stock up on my day passes." .....
We Hate To Say We Told You So,
But We Told Yo So .....

Posted by Greenwich Roundup at 12/08/2008 01:44:00 AM

Town Hall Insider Tom Greco Reports That Town Reserves Have All Been Spent Over The Last Year Or So. There Is No More Rainy Day Fund In Greenwich.


"The town has just realized that it is not going to meet next years budget."

"The mill rate will probably be held under 3% next year, because it is an election year. But who knows how high it will go after that if things don't improve."

- Thomas J. Greco (Greenwich Town Management Employee and RTM Member)
......There will be an increase in fees at Parks and recreation.

Parking will be charged at Tod's point.There will be a new process for the town ferry and beaches.No more day passes are going to be sold at the town dock. Parking Meters are going up at Horseneck lane. Plus two new parking enforcement officers will be hired on the weekend.

Greco also says the December First Selectman's meeting Will have even more draconian changes, because building permits have dried up as well as other sources of revenue......

Actually, Mr. Greco gave us this story eight days ago, but we were almost as inefficient as Ex-Greenwich Time Editor Joe Pisani, who was known for sitting on news stories for years. It took us 5 days to confirm and post Mr. Greco's claims.

But with in 25 hours of our post about what Mr. Greco knew. Greenwich Time reporter Niel Vidgor is interviewing First Selectman Peter Tesei and getting copies of the the town memos that were the basis of Mr. Greco's claims......

WOW, Way to go Niel. Greenwich Roundup tosses up a breaking news story and three days later you hit the ball out of the park with a front page Greenwich Time news story.
Hey Maybe, the corporate suits at Hearst Newspapers should have us team up to cover Greenwich Town Hall like it has never been covered before.

What do you think Neil ?

Or Maybe Neil Should Just Go Directly To The Horses Mouth And Speak Thomas Greco Directly:

Work: 622-6480
Home: 531-8201

Or Neil Could Send Mr. Greco An Email at tjgreco@optonline.net

Because Tom Greco is ready to spill the beans about what is going wrong in the Town in general and at the Parks and Recreation Department in particular.

For Example:

Mr. Greco was disgusted that an Old United States flag that was in shreds was being taken down and disrepectfully put up everyday at Byram Shore.

Further, Mr. Greco is an RTM member who go to the local district meeting at the Byram Library. But for nearly two years he has had to leave his district to go to a middle school to have his meeting. Since early summer he has been asking Greenwich Library borad members when will the Byram Library be finished so that his meeting can return where it belongs.

Right now, he says he can't get a straight answer on if next months district RTM meeting will be at the Byram Library or not !!!!!! It's Time For The Greenwich Library Board Of Directors To Stop Pussy Footing Around And Get The Byram Library Built And Open Already !!!!!!
Otherwise, Mr. Greco will spill the beans on all of the screw ups at the Byram Library Building Project. Including the second floor window fiasco.

Moreover, Mr. Greco is upset that Town positions will not be filled, because the Park's Department Director Joe Silisano wont charge the correct about to ride the Town ferry.

Mr. Greco says that it costs well over $32.00 per person to take a person back and forth on the ferry. Plus, Mr. Greco says that 8,000 - 10,000 person's ride the ferry a year and at $32.00 that would be more than enough to save 5 Town positions that are slated to be eliminated.

A plan that Greco has is to charge $25.00 for each Greenwich resident to use the ferry and $40.00 for each out of towner to use the ferry. This would greatly cut back on out of town usage, while saving 5 town hall jobs.

Court battle resolved as elderly woman returns home
After a hard fought probate court battle that fractured a family, 85-year-old Marilyn Plank returned home to Michigan last weekend where her former conservator said she is happy to be. Full Story

New kiosks let Greenwich parkers use credit cards.

Keep the change. Visitors to downtown Greenwich for the first time can use their Visa, MasterCard and Discover Card to buy parking minutes.

Fuel cell gets a test drive
If there is any promise for the future of the American auto industry, Greenwich mother Jeanine Getz believes she's driving it.

Greenwich girls basketball topples McMahon in opener
The smiling faces, high fives and hugs following Wednesday night's season-opener against Brien McMahon illustrated what the Greenwich High School girls basketball team has been feeling entering the new season.

All is not forgiven. But it is likely that when state Democrats meet Wednesday to debate whether to punish .....


Postal worker suspended after arrest
A Greenwich postal carrier has been suspended from his position after his arrest on a charge of driving under the influence, postal authorities said.

Greenwich investment firm moves to liquidate media company
A creditor owed $41.5 million by Equity Media Holdings Corp. says in bankruptcy court papers that it wants the Little Rock-based company liquidated.Equity Media has filed for Chapter 11 restructuring in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Silver Point Finance argues in a Wednesday filing that Equity Media can't administer its finances with its present management. Silver Point says that if there is a reorganization, a trustee should be appointed by the court.


10/10/08 The Raw Greenwich Business News Feed For Wednesday

UPDATED: Creditor Files to Liquidate Equity Media, Claims Company Cannot Meet Payroll Obligations


...repeatedly acted in their own self-interest rather than in the interest of creditors. Silver Point Finance LLC of Greenwich, Conn., filed the foreclosure suit and conversion motion, seeking to recoup about $41.5 million the private equity firm ...

Greenwich Time's "LOCAL" And "Hard Hitting" Editorial: "Stay committed to energy change"

The idea was an easy sell when gasoline was $4.50 a gallon: Things need to change, we all agreed, and responding to energy concerns must be high on the agenda.

Things have changed, but in a way most of us probably didn't expect. Gasoline prices have slipped back dramatically to levels not seen in years, even dropping below the $2 mark in many places. After growing accustomed to shelling out $50, $60 or more at every fill-up, drivers are instead wondering how far prices can sink.

It's a pleasing turn of events, especially in a troubled economy - though in truth it was the economy that in part caused it by discouraging demand. But it also raises the specter of backsliding on those consumption reductions achieved because of higher energy prices. As driving grew more expensive, people started doing less of it. Ridership on public transit shot up around the country, and people found ways to combine errands to reduce car trips or determined some errands were unnecessary.

At the peak of the price spike, talk was rampant about the need to diversify our energy sources. Wind, solar, geothermal, biomass ..... Blah .... Blah ..... Blah..... Blah ..... Blah ..... Blah ..... Blah ..... Blah ......

Holiday display lights up Belle Haven

Within the exclusive gated community of Belle Haven, billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones has once again outfitted his multimillion dollar mansion with an extravagant holiday lights display.

The display, designed by Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Eclectic Precision, was completed Saturday and will be open to the public from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Dec. 20, police said.

Cars lined up outside the waterfront home on Harbor Drive on Tuesday to catch a glimpse of the display, which is synchronized with holiday music that onlookers can hear by tuning into 90.5 FM.

The 15,000 lights change to the music, which is on a four-minute loop, according to Sepp Spenlinhauer of Eclectic Precision, who put up the display......


“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.”

-In 1987, when fictional corporate raider Gordon Gekko

First Paul Tudor Jones Stiffs His Investors....

Times Online, UK - Dec 1, 2008

Paul Tudor Jones, one of the world’s most successful hedge fund managers of the last two decades, has suspended withdrawals from his flagship fund. ...

Financial Times

New York Times Blogs

There Is Even A Rumor That He Stiffs His Managers Out Of Their Bonus And One Is Getting Ready To Take Him To Court.

But Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones Is A Survivor of 1980s Continues To Thrive In A Material World While Living Off Of Other People's Money.

Rookie Greenwich Reporter Meredith Blake Is Clueless About Recent News Concerning Paul Tudor Jones.

Paul Tudor Jones Wont Let Investors Withdraw Their Money, But He Has Once Again Outfitted His Multimillion Dollar Mansion With An Extravagant Holiday Lights Display Of 15,000 Bulbs.

The Big Show Off Paul Tudor Jones Will Send A Press Release And Arrange For Police Overtime, Just So He Can Show Off His Wealth.

If Paul Tudor Jones Wants To Really Do Something Nice For Greenwich He Should Give Some Tutoring To The Grenville And Hamilton Avenue School Children That Have No School To Go To.

Maybe Paul Could Call The Program "Tudor's Tutoring", Instead Of His "Watch Me Show Off By Wasting Mega Watts Of Energy" Extravaganza.

I Would Much Rather See A Press Release That Says Paul Tudor Jones Helps Disadvantaged Greenwich Children, Instead Of The Current Paul Tudor Jones Press Release That Says Billionaire Tries To Set A Conneticut Light And Pwer Usage Record For Greenwich - Greenwich Breaker Switchs Are Under Stress.

Please See:

How Do You Explain
Creative Accounting To
Ordinary People?


Hedge-fund managers' tax break should go to teachers


One of the bedrock principles of our free and open society is that all of us obey laws and follow rules as they are written. The more universally we as citizens voluntarily submit to the rule of law, the greater our security and the less costly the efforts to protect us from those who choose to ignore it.

One set of laws where voluntary compliance is critical involves the collection of taxes. Right now, we have the most efficient tax collection system in the world because most Americans scrupulously obey these laws. They do so even though:

Congress continues to pass laws that make taxes ever more complex while giving speeches about simplification.

An individual taxpayer's effective tax rate is often inversely proportional to his ability to hire tax lawyers.

An increasing number of Americans believe the tax laws are rigged against them.

Our political leaders, however, cannot expect such ready compliance to go on forever. And it is not an exaggeration to say that tax provisions that blatantly favor those with high incomes over the middle class now threaten to bring down the confidence needed to sustain our experiment of self-government.

One such provision that has garnered a lot of attention lately has to do with what is known as "carried interest." Highly paid tax lawyers discovered a provision in current law that allows the managers of special investment partnerships to pay a much lower rate of tax on the preponderance of their income than other type managers pay on all of theirs.

Much of the performance-based management income earned by these few thousand private equity and hedge fund managers -- which income is called "carried interest" -- is taxed as capital gains, when by form, substance and logic it should be taxed as ordinary in come, just like the management in come and bonuses of all other managers.

And because the 15 percent capital gains tax rate is less than half the 35 percent maximum ordinary income tax rate, the cost of this loophole to the Treasury is huge.

The annual loss of tax revenue from this unfair treatment of carried interest is about $12 billion a year, or $120 per American household per year. It really is as if Congress had decreed that each year $120 out of the income of every household is to be diverted to the bank accounts of some of the wealthiest Americans.

We believe this has to change, and we believe that it would be desirable to convert carried interest into public interest by redirecting this annual $12 billion tax break to people who actually need it, namely America's K-12 teachers.

That $12 billion is just about enough to waive all the income taxes on those who choose our most important profession, which is the teaching of our children.

And it would also allow us to give refundable tax credits to K-12 teachers based on their qualifications and teaching specialties, in order to increase the pool of teachers in critically important areas such as languages, math and sciences, and instructing students who are economically disadvantaged or have disabilities.

Our country has a long and successful record of using the tax code to reward what we as a society determine are desirable social actions. In the 1960s, for example, we gave income-tax relief to VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and Peace Corps volunteers be cause their work was deemed so important -- and today we give substantial relief to our courageous and patriotic active-duty military personnel.

But teachers are just as patriotic and important, their contributions to our nation's vibrancy and economic well-being are exceptional, and vis-à-vis all other municipal professions (police, fire, general services) they are far and away the most difficult public servants to recruit and retain.

All informed citizens, starting with teachers themselves, want high teaching standards and accountability. But when asked, they also want the needed fixes to our nation's education travails to start with easing the economic plight of our K-12 teachers. Federal income tax relief for teachers would be a powerful response to this demand, and a powerful step toward assur ing the long-term vibrancy of our society, the health of our national economy, and our global competitiveness.

So let's remove the huge tax break going to those who don't de serve it, and give it instead to those who need it.

We promise that kids everywhere will be the beneficiaries.

---- Leo Hindery Jr., is the managing partner of InterMedia Partners, a private equity firm, and a director and former chairman of Teach for America. Bob Kerrey, a former U.S. senator from Nebraska and earlier its governor, is president of New School University in New York City.


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