Tag: election

Hate Right Here in Westchester

– What we feared is indeed the new reality –
This White House is in the hands of
anti-Semitic misogynistic white supremacists.

Dear Pro-Choice Voters,

Donald Trump and his closest advisers have turned the clock back to a time where discrimination and hate were an accepted, common trait of American life. They began before the General Election with hate mongering intended to stir the base and intimidate everyone else. Beginning with the Muslim ban to reinstating and expanding the Mexico City Policy* to trampling on LGBT rights**, Trump was laying the groundwork for the resurgence of the KKK and Nazi demonstrations and violence we saw this weekend.

But make no mistake, this ideology of hate and the intimidation tactics the Trump administration employs are not limited to Charlottesville or the South. It is right here in Westchester County and being spirited forward by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

On August 17th,  Astorino vetoed the Immigration Protection Acta bill that was in total compliance with federal law and that had passed the Board of Legislators 10-5.  The goal of the bill was to stop local law enforcement from acting as federal immigration officials, thereby protecting county resources and building trust in our communities. 

Why did Astorino do this?

You need look no further than the praise Astorino’s veto received from Trump’s AG Jeff Sessions.

Remember this is THE Jeff Sessions who said the KKK is “OK”*** and used a Supreme Court case permitting the racial segregation of swimming pools to justify the Muslim ban.

This was not Astorino’s first attempt to please Trump. Back in the fall, when swastikas and racist graffiti started appeared around Westchester, Astorino blamed Obama and Clinton supporters, telling both leaders to calm their supporters – just as Trump blamed those who were demonstrating peacefully against the Nazis and KKK in Charlottesville.

Only you can put an end to this hate mongering by our elected officials here in Westchester.
And that is by VOTING – And if you are not registered, do so: Register Here


*Here’s What Donald Trump Did  Trump’s Mexico City Policy **Trump Tramples on LGBT Rights

***Jeff Session: Comments on Race

Trump Administration Cites Segregation

 

 

A Few Salient Points for the Election

Be kind to your neighbor.
Many people can’t get to the polls. Age, weather, physical impairments or simply no transportation can stop a person from voting. Don’t let that happen. Lend a hand and a ride. You can also call: 914-946-5363 and we’ll find you transportation. We all need to vote.

This year’s election is more than the presidential race alone.
Voting all the way down the ballot matters! REMEMBER: Determining who is in the White House, and who controls Congress, the New York State Senate and the Assembly will decide what laws protecting women’s rights do or don’t get passed. Who is elected Westchester District Attorney will determine whether those laws are enforced.

When Roe v. Wade became the law of the land in 1973, other pro-choice advocacy organizations across the country packed up, believing the war was won. We did not. We recognized that women’s reproductive rights would always be under attack and that protecting our rights would require constant vigilance. We were right! We see that again today in New York State, even though our state – even now – does not guarantee women the full protection of Roe v. Wade; abortion remains in NYS’s penal code; and NY women are denied 21st century medical care. Some groups like NARAL ProChoice NY which closed in January and Empire Pride which closed last December, are gone. But we are here. The fight is hard but definitely worth waging. WCLA – Choice Matters has been here for pro-choice voters for more than 43 years. WE DELIVER and we will continue to do so! In the Special Election in April, WCLA PAC went to Nassau County and made the difference in NYS Senate District #9 – winning by getting pro-choice voters to the polls. 780 votes put that seat in the Pro-Choice column! Our work requires your support. We don’t need massive SUPER PAC money to succeed, but we do need your contributions. As we’ve clearly demonstrated, we spend our funds wisely. The more you invest in us, the greater our impact will be on New York State and federal politics. It starts with a donation from you. Please make a contribution today.

Noam Bramson vs. Rob Astorino – The Facts

The lines have been drawn for this November’s elections and everything is at stake. Every seat in Westchester County government is up for grabs — including that of the County Executive. One can honestly say that November will determine the fate of  our County for years to come. This year’s election will be about values and a vision for the future and it will determine whether we recognize the rights of all people or only those of a select few.
The candidates in the County Executive’s race are set. It will be a matchup between Democratic nominee New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson and Tea Party favorite incumbent Rob Astorino.
Westchester voters have a clear choice between a social progressive, Noam Bramson, and a far right extremist, Rob Astorino, who is way outside the mainstream.Bramson supports a woman’s right to choose and marriage equality.
Astorino adamantly opposes both. Astorino also opposes abortion in cases of incest, rape or to save the life of the woman. He has even gone so far as to deny women the most basic of rights – safe access to reproductive health centers – for which he received accolades from the NYS Right to Life Committee. (Read it here!)

Astorino also opposes comprehensive sex education, cutting all funding in the County budget to Planned Parenthood’s educational programs. This past fall Astorino was honored for his anti-Choice extremist positions by a Bronx-based organization, Program Reach, that developed an abstinence-only sex education program and councils pregnant youth from an anti-abortion rights perspective. (Read it here!)

Bramson supports NY SAFE, the legislation passed by Governor Cuomo and state legislators that is aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill while respecting the rights of legal gun owners.
By contrast, Astorino refuses to say whether he supports or opposed common sense gun safety laws. We do know, however, that Astorino believes that County property should be used for hosting gun shows. As soon as he took office four years ago, Astorino revoked a ban on gun/sniper shows that had been in effect since shortly after the shootings at Columbine.
To get a clear picture of the economic difference, click here.
You can also check out Astorino’s Numbers Game.
Bramson supports the Women’s Equality Agenda (WEA) proposed by Governor Cuomo. The Agenda is a 10-point proposal that will “break down barriers that perpetuate discrimination and inequality based on gender” and ensure that all of New York’s 10 million women, including Westchester’s 496,016, get a fair deal.
Click here to read more about the Agenda.
By contrast, Astorino refuses to mention the Agenda – as though if he ignores it, maybe all of us women will go just go away…?

It is time for the Women of Westchester to join the Women for Westchester forces and demand that Astorino make his position on the WEA clear.

To join Women for Westchester (W4W) write to: Catherine@WomenforWestchester.com

Seemingly Insurmountable Challenges, Our Unprecedented Victories & the On-going War on Women

Why, after electing a pro-choice president to a second term, increasing the number of pro-choice elected officials in Congress and in Albany, and electing an historic number of pro-choice women to office in Washington, does it still feel like 1965?

Despite predictions to the contrary, the economy was not the only issue considered by voters on Election Day. Women’s rights were front and center in our minds. For the past decade, the electorate has been confronted by a real war on women, one that has truly impacted our economic independence and our rights. Unbelievably, we are once again negotiating the terms by which women are allowed access to contraceptives, not to mention abortion. Not since the Griswold v. Connecticut decision (1965), in which the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot deny married couples* access to contraception, have we been subject to such an invasion of our “right to privacy”, a right the High Court found within the U.S. Constitution. This was the first presidential election in U.S. history that determined whether access to contraception would be significantly increased or dramatically decreased. On Tuesday, November 6th, we used our ballots to respond.

Our support for pro-choice candidates resulted in unprecedented victories. We elected our endorsed candidates at all levels of government, sending a record number of pro-choice women to Washington. Ninety-one percent of the candidates WCLA – Choice Matters endorsed, won!

Choice Matters is particularly proud of our victories in two races: the 37th NYS Senate District where George Latimer was victorious, despite being outspent by historic proportions in a state senate race; and in the 93rd NYS Assembly District where David Buchwald defeated an anti-choice incumbent. We were told we didn’t stand a chance, but guess what – we won! As Latimer’s campaign manager told me, “We couldn’t have done it without you!”

But, despite our wins, the majority of the representatives in the United States Congress and in the New York State Senate are anti-choice. And dozens of statehouses across the country remain poised to pass anti-woman legislation. The election may be over but the battle is not. Choice Matters needs you to help us keep New York moving in the right direction.

Right here in New York, Assemblyman Katz, 94 A.D., promises the first bill introduced in Albany this legislative session will be one to defund Planned Parenthood. New York’s anti-choice Senate refuses to even bring the Reproductive Health Act up for a vote. In Congress, the big budget fight is being led by former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, famous for his view that “rape is just another method of conception”, who believes this is their best chance to cut the federal family-planning program and take away cancer screenings, maternity care, and affordable birth control from millions of women and families.

Here in Westchester, anti-choice extremist County Executive Astorino who opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save a woman’s life, vetoed a law which would have provided women the most basic of rights – safe access to reproductive health facilities. Surrounding himself with seven anti-choice legislators, all of whom voted against safe clinic access, Rob Astorino has brought the War on Women and our Families home to Westchester–and his seven allies are helping him target the most vulnerable. They have cut funding for childcare and afterschool programs that would have enabled women to work; and four of them even voted to cut transportation for seniors. Astorino’s 2013 budget cuts $3 million in county funding to three neighborhood health centers. (For more, read our Westchester County Board Passes Paul Ryan’s Budget.)

Choice Matters is calling on you to help us with our next big challenge. We need to educate Westchester voters about this County Executive and his own personal war on women. Westchester deserves a pro-choice leader who will work to build up our county and its infrastructure, not one who puts politics before the welfare of the county, incorporating his extreme ideology into all of his governmental policies. The battle begins now.

I think you agree with me when I say politics has no place in our fundamental reproductive rights. Make a gift to Choice Matters to support our work.

Choice Matters has been standing strong since 1972! That’s 40 years! Using Choice Matters’ ProChoice IDEA – Identification, Education and Activation, we have interviewed hundreds of thousands of female voters, identified those who are pro-choice, and added them to our database. We do this every single week in each and every year. It is this amazing database that made us victorious in the 37th NYS Senatorial District and the 93rd NYS Assembly District this year!

Your support makes it possible for us to send everyone in our database our ProChoice voting guide newsletter which informs the public about Choice, elected officials’ reproductive rights actions, challengers’ positions, and our critical endorsements. This voting guide newsletter scares some candidates and elected officials and rewards others because it holds them accountable for their actions.

Your generous contribution of $25, $100, $250 or more will help Choice Matters’ ProChoice IDEA campaign continue to identify and educate households across the county and state.

Choice Matters is a mighty pro-choice organization with a proven strategy. That’s because you, our donors, have given us extraordinary support for 40 years. We hope you will continue to do so. Your contribution — for as much as you can afford — will help make a difference. No contribution is too small, or too large as every dollar truly counts. Please email or mail your contribution today. (Click here!)

Supporting Choice Matters is the most valuable action an advocate for Choice can take. Thank you!

* (Eisenstadt v. Baird, 1972, extended the right to single people.)

Westchester County Board Passes Paul Ryan’s Budget

Westchester County Board Passes Paul Ryan’s Budget
–Line items may be different but the effect is the same—

Protect the top 2% while trampling on the middle class and working poor, with a bull’s eye being placed squarely on the foreheads of working women.

One week ago, anti-choice County Executive Astorino with the support of nine minions passed a 2013 County budget.

This budget illustrates yet again the true meaning of the right-to-life agenda: care about the fetus when it’s in the womb, and the minute it’s born, it’s on its own. The cuts to Westchester’s public health care and childcare systems are of historic proportion, targeting the most vulnerable and least able to fight back among us.

Four of Choice Matters’ previously endorsed legislators voted with Astorino in support of his anti-woman anti-family budget. By supporting this horrific budget, these four legislators – Virginia Perez (17 CLD), Mike Kaplowitz (4 CLD), Jim Maisano (11 CLD), and Bernice Spreckman (14 CLD) – have publically declared their support for the County Executive’s priorities and his War on Women and our Families.

This is not hyperbole. Their votes to pass the budget rather than to fight for their constituents will have devastating affects on working women and their families.

– Astorino’s Priorities, and those of his minions who voted in support of the budget –

►Astorino clearly thinks protecting your friends and fans’ employment is more important than the good of the County.
Astorino has preserved 56 patronage jobs, at a cost of $5.4 million dollars to tax payers; and he is holding 44 positions vacant should he wish to fill them within the coming year,

while at the same time:
â–ºHe has cut 100 important jobs that serve the residents of Westchester.
Over half of these jobs are in social services, such as social workers and eligibility examiners who help those applying for assistance. The result is that the time between applying, receiving approval, and then actually getting the services, such as food stamps, aid to dependent children, public assistance, etc., will grow exponentially. And, as we all know after the past 5 years, the number of people needing help just simply to feed their families has grown at an unimaginable rate.

The other half of the jobs cut include probation personnel, paralegals, and over 80% of the engineering and architectural staff who are essential to overseeing infrastructure improvements—that means bridges, roadways, waterways, parks, anything and everything.

►Astorino, with the support of Perez, Kaplowitz, Maisano and Speckman, cut $3 million dollars in County funding to three neighborhood health centers. Let’s remember who uses the health centers. It is not Astorino and his cronies. It is the ever-growing number of working poor who cannot, just because funding is cut, go somewhere else. Many women rely on these clinics for contraceptives, pap smears, and cancer screenings, among other things. Their children go for check-ups, immunizations, and so much more.

This cut to neighborhood health centers is clearly a politically motivated action by a man who has done nothing to prepare the County for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act which starts to take effect here in Westchester in 2013.

Astorino’s attack on our health care is driven by ideology. Astorino opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save a woman’s life, and vetoed a law which would have provided women the most basic of rights – safe access to reproductive health facilities.

He opposes the Affordable Care Act and is against recognizing contraceptives as part of preventative care.

By supporting this Paul Ryan-like budget, Virginia Perez and Mike Kaplowitz, as well as Jim Maisano and Bernice Spreckman, have aligned themselves with Astorino’s ideological war on women and our families.

â–ºAstorino, with their support, cut funding for childcare programs that would have enabled women to work. The budget raised the family share for subsidized childcare to unaffordable levels.

The Astorino budget caps the number of Westchester kids ever to be allowed to be served by the Title XX program at a level reached last spring. Title XX is program that helps people earning less than the poverty level to have access to childcare funding. (As I said, Astorino is anti-abortion and anti-child, especially if they are the children of the working poor!)

This nightmarish budget also cut all funding to a program that has provided technical assistance to childcare providers and visits to legally exempt providers so there would be some reliable quality of services. Basically, this program has made facilities safer, and because of this administration, it can’t anymore!

â–ºAstorino, with the support of Perez, Kaplowitz, Maisano and Spreckman, cut all the funding to the Food Patch ($72,000) and to the Food Pantry ($72,000).

Women now won’t be able to work because of having no childcare; we won’t be able to access health care in real time; and we won’t be able to feed our families with the help from the pantries which we will now need more than ever because we can’t work without childcare.

This is the ideological agenda that Virginia Perez, Mike Kaplowitz, Jim Maisano and Bernice Spreckman support.

It is time to hold our legislators accountable. All of the County legislators and the County Executive are up for election in 2013. Let’s remind Perez, Kaplowitz, Maisano, and Spreckman that we do not vote for traitors!

George Latimer vs. Bob Cohen – The Facts

David vs. Goliath
George Latimer vs. Bob Cohen
– The Facts –

George Latimer (D, WF) and Bob Cohen (R, C, I) are running for the open seat being vacated by retiring pro-choice Senator Suzie Oppenheimer.

Choice Matters’ endorsements are made solely on the issue of Choice. We have, however, received a significant number of inquiries regarding the State Senate race in the 37th district. Therefore, we are sharing additional information.

On the issue of Women’s Reproductive Rights:
George Latimer is 100% pro-choice.
George Latimer has worked to advance a reproductive rights and health agenda in the Assembly since 2004, including sponsoring the Reproductive Health Act and voting to ensure women have access to emergency contraception.

As an Assemblyman and former Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, Latimer has been an outspoken advocate for legislation that ensures access to vital health care services for women.
Bob Cohen is anti-choice.
Bob Cohen refused to stand up for even the most basic of needs, safe access to reproductive health clinics – despite repeated requests addressed to Cohen and to his campaign.
Cohen also refuses to tell the public his position on the Reproductive Health Act – a bill New York desperately needs to pass.
To get the facts, click here and read our piece titled “Bob Cohen is anti-choice!  NO if’s and’s or but’s about it
On the issue of New York State’s Fair Pay Act – Equal Pay for Equal Work legislation:
George Latimer is a supporter and voted in favor of its passage in 2011 and 2012. (www.assembly.state.ny.us Bill Search: A.06130).

Bob Cohen is silent on the issue. There is nothing on his website concerning the Fair Pay Act – Equal Pay for Equal Work legislation

On the issue of Cancer and Cancer Research:
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is the nation’s leading cancer advocacy organization. Its Cancer Votes initiative has produced a questionnaire to establish the candidates’ position on cancer. They distributed questionnaires but are not endorsing. (Click here to see the questionnaire.)
14 people are diagnosed with cancer each and every day right here in Westchester.

George Latimer returned his questionnaire promptly.

Bob Cohen was silent on the issue, refusing to answer the questionnaire despite repeated requests.

On the issue of Taxes:
George Latimer has
: 1. Voted to cut State Income Tax rates to the lowest levels in 58 years (www.assembly.state.ny.us Bill Search: A.40001); 2. Voted to eliminate the MTA Payroll Tax for over 25,000 small businesses, and all public and private schools (www.assembly.state.ny.us Bill Search: A.40002); 3. Sponsored legislation to eliminate the 1989 tax surcharge on home sales (www.assembly.state.ny.us Bill Search: A.307); 4. Sponsored bi-partisan legislation for full elimination of the MTA Payroll Tax (www.assembly.state.ny.us Bill Search: A.5616 and A.8193); 5. Cut taxes for 3 straight years (1998-2001) as Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (Westchester County Board of Legislators, 914-995-2800).

Bob Cohen has no voting record.
Click here for more information on the race and particularly tax issues,  The Hottest Race for the NYS Senate: George Latimer vs. Bob Cohen, by David Singer, 10/18/2012.
N.Y. Board: “Slumlord” ad against GOPer is accurate, Salon, by Jillian Rayfield. 10/19/2012.

Anti-Choice Castelli Puts Religion above Women’s Health

Every year Choice Matters sends all candidates a questionnaire to establish her/his position on women’s reproductive rights.

This year Robert Castelli–the assemblyman for the 93rd district—used the New York State Catholic Conference’s language on his questionnaire to argue against the Reproductive Health Act.

Castelli claimed that “it [the Reproductive Health Act] would close Catholic hospitals.”

That’s patently false and Castelli knows it. Ask him to show you where in the bill it says anything about requiring hospitals to provide specific services. He can’t because it doesn’t exist.

The Reproductive Health Act has nothing to do with hospitals. It is a bill, that if passed, would bring New York’s reproductive rights legislation in line with 21st century medical practices and the protection of women’s health.
In fact, the bill specifically references existing state and federal law that allows hospitals to NOT provide reproductive services if it is against its religious or moral principles.

Many reproductive rights advocates have met with Castelli to educate him about the Reproductive Health Act. I have also spent a lot of time speaking with him about the issues raised in our questionnaire.

It should be noted, Castelli did not say, “it will close religious hospitals.” He said, “Catholic hospitals.”  Why? Maybe because that’s the argument with which he was provided.

On October 28, 2010, in a speech to the Bishops of Brazil, the Pope declared, “Bishops have the right to tell their citizens how to use their vote to promote the common good.”

And that is exactly what the public policy voice for New York Bishops, the New York State Catholic Conference, does.  Members meet with elected legislators, lay out the bills to which they object and provide the arguments legislators can use. (That is not separation of church and state!)

Castelli could have used other language like, “I oppose abortion” or “I oppose contraception.” But he didn’t because he wants to claim he is pro-choice. Castelli knows that if Westchester voters knew the truth, that Castelli is anti-choice, he never would have been elected.

“Pro-choice” has become a marketing term in Westchester because Westchester voters vote Choice. Candidates who don’t support women’s reproductive rights can be found announcing to a group of women, “I am pro-choice.”– even if they only believe in abortion in cases of rape and incest— and that we know is definitively anti-choice

Nan Hayworth claimed to be pro-choice. But once elected, Hayworth became a favorite of anti-choice groups.  Hayworth currently boasts an 80% approval rating from the National Right to Life Organization; she has co-sponsored two of their bills and voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood.  That sure doesn’t sound like someone who is pro-choice to us.  Does it to you?

Castelli has turned his back on Rockefeller Republicans and, instead, aligned himself with the far right agenda coming out of Washington.

Castelli has a record of voting against women.  In each of the last three legislative sessions, Castelli opposed the Domestic Violence Escalation Prevention Act — a measure that would prevent domestic violence incidents from increasing in frequency and intensity by making it more difficult for perpetrators with a history of domestic violence to obtain guns.

Castelli also voted against the so-called microstamping bill in June that would have required all semi-automatic pistols manufactured or delivered to any licensed firearms dealer in the State of New York to be capable of micro-stamping ammunition resulting in a unique alpha-numeric or geometric code appear at least twice on each cartridge case. The code would make it easier for authorities to identify the make, model and serial number of the firearm. This bill was strongly supported by law enforcement agencies and opposed by gun manufacturers.

Candidate Bob Cohen is Anti-Choice!!

Bob Cohen is anti-choice!  NO if’s and’s or but’s about it.

This man will say anything to get elected and that makes him the most dangerous kind of candidate there is.

Bob Cohen already has a history of turning his back on the women of Westchester.

In the spring of 2012, Choice Matters tried to give Cohen the opportunity to stand up for the rights of women. After all, he’d been a NYS Senate candidate in 2010 and was already campaigning for the newly redrawn 37th Senate district seat.

Choice Matters asked Cohen to submit a letter in support of the most basic right—the right to access reproductive health clinics safely, right here in Westchester, without fear of being kicked, grabbed, hit, physically menaced or blocked from entry. Cohen was non-responsive.

As many of you may remember, that proposed law had been carefully reviewed by the New York Civil Liberties Union to make sure that all first amendment rights were protected, and they were. All aspects of speech were protected, including prayer.

The proposed law — simply put — made clear that women should be allowed to access reproductive health care safely.

Choice Matters contacted Cohen’s campaign manager Matt several times. Matt even gave Choice Matters Cohen’s email address so we could contact him directly. And we did.

(Click here to see Choice Matters’ email to Cohen, to the address provided by his campaign manager Matt.)

Cohen never responded. Despite more calls to campaign manager Matt, Cohen refused to stand up for Westchester women.

Why was such a simple and easily satisfied request rejected?  Probably because Cohen has taken the Conservative Party line and the Conservative Party has merged with the extremist anti-choice Right to Life Party.  (We noted that on the cover of the last bright yellow 2011 Voting Guide.)

Cohen does not want the right wing of the Conservative Party to know he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth, making contradictory promises to opposing groups.

For further proof that Bob Cohen is Anti-Choice, we just need to look at his Choice Matters questionnaire and his interview responses for this 2012 race.

The Choice Matters questionnaire asks whether a candidate would make his/her support of the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) a public part of his/her campaign.  (RHA is a bill that would bring New York’s abortion law into the 21st century.)  Cohen refused to answer the question!

When pushed in an interview to explain, Cohen said that he absolutely would not put anything about RHA on his literature, but if someone asked, he would tell them. Cohen is on the record in his questionnaire for not wanting to make reproductive rights part of his campaign.

Why? Simple. Because Cohen does not want to lose the votes of the extreme right, anti-choice voters of the Conservative Party.

Bob Cohen is Anti-Choice.

Imagine what Cohen has promised the Conservative Party — a party that has as key planks in its platform anti-choice and anti-gay  resolutions!! If Cohen cannot be public about his position on women’s rights, you can be certain that he will never stand up for us.

It is important to note that “Pro-choice” has become a marketing term in Westchester because Westchester voters vote Choice. And it is absolutely essential that Choice voters know who is telling the truth and can be trusted.

For example, Nan Hayworth ran in 2010 claiming she was “pro-choice.” But once elected, Hayworth became a favorite of anti-choice groups.  Hayworth currently boasts an 80% approval rating from the National Right to Life Organization; she has co-sponsored two of their bills, and, among other things, voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood.  That sure doesn’t sound like someone who is pro-choice to us.  Does it to you?

WCLA – Choice Matters’ mission is clear: “to keep abortion legal and to ensure that all women, regardless of age, race, class, status, geography or ability to pay, have full, unimpeded access to reproductive health care.”

We tell you the truth about the candidates because the women in our lives depend on us.