Tag: westchester

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.

Paul Ryan’s Close Ties with Westchester’s Hayworth & Carvin

— The National News Won’t Tell You About Ryan’s Foot Soldiers —
Some of them are right here in Westchester!
There is no question about it – Romney’s VP Pick Paul Ryan is an anti-choice extremist.
A Few Highlights:
â–º Ryan believes it should be illegal to end a pregnancy under any circumstance — even when it results from rape or incest, or endangers a woman’s health
â–ºRyan co-sponsored the Let Women Die bill that would permit hospitals to allow women to die if saving their lives meant performing an abortion.
â–ºRyan co-sponsored a federal bill defining fertilized eggs as human beings, which, if passed, would criminalize some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization.
(And that’s just for starters. If your stomach and heart can take it, check out Paul Ryan’s radical right voting record and positions at the end of this email.)
In keeping with this anti-woman stance, Paul Ryan also voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which helps women fight for equal pay for equal work.

The National Right to Life Committee scored Ryan’s voting record 100% [anti-woman] every year since he entered the House in 1999.

It is perfectly clear that Paul Ryan is bad for women and a woman’s right to Choose. That’s the national news.

Now let’s bring it back home to Westchester and talk about Ryan’s foot soldiers…
… the local candidates in Westchester who support Paul Ryan and will do whatever he says. 

And what pro-choice voters will only find in their Bright Yellow Pro-Choice Voting Guide – if there is one this year – because we cover the local candidates.  (Remember, we need your help to distribute the bright yellow ProChoice Voting Guide this election year!  Please, make a contribution today.  This election may very well define our future.) [Click Here to Contribute.]

Let’s start with good ol’ Nan Hayworth who claimed to be pro-choice when she ran in 2010 and now just two years in office has become the poster child for Ryan’s anti-choice extremist organization The National Right to Life Committee.

In her term in office, Hayworth has co-sponsored 2 of the anti-choice extremists’ bills, and voted in support of just about all of them. (She only voted against one, and ‘present’ for another.)

The anti-choice zealots at the National Right to Life love her so much that they gave her an 80% approval rating. That means Haworth VOTED AGAINST YOU AND ME 80% of the time.

Nan Hayworth calls extremist Paul Ryan “a friend”, “a teacher and mentor” and “a leader with a vision.” 

Hayworth has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Paul Ryan on just about every anti-choice vote including:
► Supporting the ‘Let Women Die Act’;
â–º Cutting of all funding to Planned Parenthood and Title X;
â–º Banning of abortion coverage in state health-insurance exchanges;
► Imposing of a tax on any business or individual who purchases private  health plans that include abortion coverage; and
â–º Permanently denying low-income women, civil servants, and military women access to abortion services, even in emergency situations.

In addition, Hayworth is on the record with Choice Matters as being totally in support of the horrific Stupack amendment which came up for a vote before she took office.

Nan Hayworth lied to New York’s residents to get elected in 2010 and she is doing it again.  Hayworth has made it perfectly clear that she will stand 100% with Paul Ryan—against women, against Choice, against seniors, against Medicare — and we must show her that we will NOT tolerate her lies and stand strong and 100% against Nan Hayworth come November!

Nan Hayworth is being challenged by a strong ally of all pro-choice groups and coalitions–our advocate Sean Patrick Maloney–in the 18 CD.

Another Anti-Woman/Anti-Choice Face in a local Congressional Race that has eluded the national radar is Joe Carvin who is running on the Republican and Conservative lines and challenging one of the greatest pro-choice advocates in the House of Representative – staunchly pro-choice Congresswoman Nita Lowey.

Carvin openly declared, “Paul is my hero. I’m running because Paul Ryan needs help. Paul Ryan is my hero.”

What’s that say about Carvin?
Joe Carvin tries to present a positive picture, but in reality he is an anti-choice conservative who will flip flop to gain extremist support.

Carvin is on the record — Carvin wants to place a lot of restrictions on a woman’s right to obtain a safe and legal abortion.  Yet, he claims to be ‘pro-choice’ because he knows that in Westchester we vote this issue.

But Carvin isn’t quite sure on where he stands on funding for Planned Parenthood (even though all funding goes to preventative care like contraception and cancer screening) given his hero, Paul Ryan, voted to cut all federal funding to Planned Parenthood and the Title X family planning program.  And Carvin refused to stand up for women seeking safe access to reproductive health care right here in Westchester!

Carvin said that social issues [like abortion and contraception] are distraction from fundamental ones. (Again, it boils down to the idea that women and our “social issues” are just a distraction to the right wing!)

If elected, there is no doubt that Carvin will do exactly what Paul Ryan asks him to, just like Nan Hayworth has already done.

Remember: There will be no bright yellow ProChoice voting guide in your mailbox this election year unless we can raise $33,000 by September 30th.

________________________________________________________________
Paul Ryan is staunchly anti-choice. Ryan on Ryan: “I’m as pro-life as a person gets.”
â–ºRyan voted 59 times against abortion and other reproductive rights issues which was as often as he could while in the House.
â–ºRyan opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest.
â–ºRyan co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act and the Right to Life Act, both of which claim that life begins at the moment of fertilization.
►Ryan co-sponsored the Federal Abortion Ban, which would effectively overturn Roe v. Wade and make performing an abortion a criminal offense for physicians, punishable by two years in prison.
►Ryan co-sponsored the so-called ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,’ a bill that would ban abortion coverage in state health-insurance exchanges, impose a tax on any business or individual who purchases private health plans that include abortion coverage, and permanently deny low-income women, civil servants, and military women access to abortion services, even in emergency situations.
►Ryan co-sponsored and voted for the ‘Let Women Die Act’ that would allow hospitals to let women to die even in emergency circumstances if saving her life meant allowing her to have an abortion. This bill would have also used supposed “conscience” clauses to deny women access to other preventative health care services such as contraception.
►Ryan co-sponsored several fetal “personhood” bills, that if passed would not only outlaw all abortions, but ban use of various methods of contraception as well as in-vitro fertilization and stem cell research.
â–ºRyan voted to defund Planned Parenthood and eliminate the Title X family planning program; this funding cannot be used for abortion but for preventative reproductive health services and screenings which saving taxpayer dollars, prevent unintended pregnancies, and abortions.
►Ryan voted for the infamous Stupak amendment, the proposal to deny abortion coverage to women in state health-insurance exchanges, even if women purchased insurance with exclusively their own money.
►Ryan co-sponsored a bill requiring women to submit to a forced ultrasound before receiving an abortion, even if it is against both her will and her physician’s professional recommendation.
►Ryan repeatedly voted to make it a criminal offense for anyone other than a parent – including a grandparent, adult sibling or even religious counselor – to accompany a young woman across state lines for abortion care, when home state parental notification mandates could not be met.
â–ºRyan repeatedly voted to deny women in the military the ability to use their own funds to pay for an abortion at a military hospital, whether at home or while fighting abroad– where abortion is less likely to be safe or accessible.
â–ºRyan repeatedly voted against international family planning programs.
â–ºRyan repeatedly voted to deny federal employees the right to choose health insurance that includes abortion coverage.
►Ryan voted against contraceptive equity for federal employees – a law that would require birth control to be treated like every other prescription medication.**
And the list goes on
(**Special thanks to Republican Majority for Choice for help compiling this list.)

Astorino Supports Terrorizing Women – Vetoes Clinic Access Bill

Last Friday, just minutes after the conclusion of a press conference calling on the County Executive to support safe access of reproductive health care centers, Astorino vetoed  the bill. (Watch the Press Conference.)

He cited a litany of trumped up arguments that he rehearsed on Channel 12 the weekend before. These manufactured arguments have all been proven groundless by some of the greatest legal minds in New York and by New York law itself. Astorino’s veto was dripping with untruths intended to disguise his real motivating force.

Fact: Astorino vetoed the bill because his right-to-life anti-choice extremist constituents asked him to do so. (See the promise made in an email from zealot John Mark-click here.)

Astorino knew he could get away with this because he made sure that there was no super majority to override  his veto. His little puppets, led by opportunists Jim Maisano and Bernice Spreckman who have become traitors to Choice, don’t care what happens to women who use clinics and centers for access to health care.

Unlike these Astorino puppets, many women of  Westchester face financial constraints that do not allow them to visit a private doctor so as to avoid harassing and terrorizing demonstrators.

Mr. Astorino and his allies in the Republican delegation are waging a silent war against Westchester’s women and our families.

Despite what Astorino and his minions would have you think, the Clinic Access Bill is not about providers. It is about women: your mother, your sister, your daughter, your aunt.

It is about women accessing safe, good, affordable health care.

It is about health care for senior women who need breast exams, pap smears, and more.

It is about younger women who need cancer screenings and comprehensive reproductive health care.

This is not about County tax dollars. It is about women and health care.

This veto stands with other attacks by this administration and its allies in the Republican delegation.

Astorino’s handpicked candidate Sheila Marcotte–along with Mike Smith, Gordon Burrows, and David Gelfarb–led the way in voting NO to funding senior transportation-just $15,000 in the County budget.

This money was allocated to transportation ONLY for seniors, most of whom are women–some widowed or divorced  and statistically one of the least financially stable groups in our society. And Astorino’s puppets wants to deny them transportation!

Astorino has made it increasingly expensive for the working poor to qualify for childcare. The result is that far fewer are qualifying, and then must choose between quitting their jobs or placing their kids in unlicensed and potentially unsafe facilities-something you can bet Astorino would never do to his own kids.

Astorino has cut four after school programs that were receiving partial funding from the federal government. Why? Because he can.  Who in a community hanging on just simply to survive has the time or the ability to fight back?

The list of his actions is much longer, and simple to understand.

Rob Astorino has brought the War on Women and our Families to Westchester–and his allies like Sheila Marcotte, are helping him target the most vulnerable.

Clinic Access Bill Passes, But For How Long?

The Good News:
The Clinic Access Bill Passed

The Bad News:
Two Legislators Betrayed Us!

Let me start by saying thank you to those who came out. Because you were there, you gave force and conviction to our words.
The great news is that we won. The vote by our legislators on the Reproductive Health Care Access Bill, which came one week after the Public Hearing, was 10-7 our way.

Ten legislators voted to pass our bill which guarantees safe access for women to enter and exit reproductive health clinics while protecting First Amendment Rights to free speech.  This was a great victory. It has taken us more than 14 years to get this far.

Unfortunately, the bad news is that  our success will be short lived because the County Executive who is an anti-choice extremist will veto this bill.

-And because last November two pro-choice elected officials were replaced by anti-choice right-to-life zealots, we lost two important override votes.

-And, most importantly, because we have two turncoats in our midst, we will not be able to override the anti-woman County Executive’s veto.

Most disturbing to me in this is that these two turncoat opportunists –Jim Maisano and Bernice Spreckman — who would have given us our super-majority override against the County Executive’s veto, voted against protecting the women of Westchester.

Instead, turncoats Maisano and Spreckman decided to launch their own personal war on women in order to further their own political and personal agendas.

Maisano stated to pro-choice advocates that he had to choose between the women of Westchester and the Conservative Party endorsement.

Maisano chose the Conservative Party.

(Conservative Party Chairman Fox, who also works for County Excutive Rob Astorino on tax payer dollars, sat right in front of Maisano to cement the deal.)

To Maisano, the Conservative party is more important than the health care of, according to the census, 51.6% of Westchester’s population.

More precisely, Maisano does not care about the health care of young women and those who cannot afford a private doctor.

Maisano only cares about his own political career, and has concocted a list of fabricated arguments to explain why he did not vote for the bill. All of his arguments have been refuted by great legal minds who do not have a political agenda.

Bernice Spreckman’s reason for betraying the trust of Westchester’s women is different.
Spreckman’s son apparently now works for County Excutive Rob Astorino. This is Spreckman’s own form of job security. She knows that Astorino is an anti-choice extremist, so she decided to look out for her son and turn her back on the women of Westchester.
Some think that it is wrong that I tell you that – somehow family facts are to be kept private. I do not agree. When the facts affect an elected official’s abiltiy to make sound decisions that impact the of 51.6% of the population then I believe the public deserves to know.

Fact: Jim Maisano and Bernice Spreckman sought our endorsement for more than a dozen years, and received it.

Fact: They used our endorsement to get elected.

Fact: After all those endorsements, this was the first time that we sought their vote and their voice – as their two votes are critical.

Fact: NOW when their vote counts, they voted NO!

Fact: For political expediency, they  turned their backs on all of us who voted for them, slamming the clinic door in our faces.


At this juncture we must tell Jim Maisano and Bernice Spreckman we will not tolerate their empty words and empty promises.

Our endorsement and our votes do matter and we will not be used again.

It’s Now or Never for Westchester’s Women!

We Need You to Speak Out for Women’s Safety and Privacy!

The Clinic Access Bill is scheduled for a Public Hearing at 7 p.m., Monday, April 30, 2012
Westchester County Office Building
148 Martine Ave, 8th floor
White Plains, NY
Put This on Your Calendar & Show Up, Please!

They Need to Hear from YOU!

The Following Legislators will not promise to support it!!
(Either they voted against furthering the bill to bring it to the floor or failed to vote for it at.)

Call ALL of Them!

Demand that They Stand Up for Women!

We deserve safe access to reproductive health centers!

David Gelfarb            995-2834                                                                                 gelfarb@westchesterlegislators.com

Jim Maisano              995-2826    maisano@westchesterlegislators.com                                                                                                                                                                      Bernice Spreckman  995-2815    spreckman@westchesterlegislators.com                                                                                                                                                                       Sheila Marcotte         995-2817   marcotte@westchesterlegislators.com                                                                                                                                                                           John Testa                 995-2828   testa@westchesterlegislators.com                                                                                                                                                                              Gordon Burrows      995-2830                                                                                                                                                                                       burrows@westchesterlegislators.com

Michael Smith            995-2847                                                                                                                                                                                              smith@westchesterlegislators.com

They need to hear from you.  Last December no one turned out except for a room full of anti-choice extremists, and the bill was never brought up for a vote. We fought hard to bring it back. Now you need to fight.
___________________________________________________________________

More than a decade ago, Senator Andrea Stewart Counsins and Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, then County Legislators, fought to ensure that women had safe access to women’s reproductive health centers. Unfortunately, they were not successful.  It has taken us more ten years to get to this point. We had a shot at it again last December and came up short. Now, after months of discussion, review, and dissection, the Clinic Access Bill—that would ensure women safe access to reproductive health centers—was voted out of Committee and sent to the Westchester County Board of Legislators for a vote.

This bill protects First Amendment Rights and takes a big step toward protecting Westchester’s women.

Come out and show your support for this bill tonight!

We must excerise our right to speak up and be heard.
Please come and speak out.

For the record: 1. The Bill was carefully reviewed to make sure that it was 100% in compliance with First Amendment rights – for all parties involved; and, 2. There is no other law–not state or federal–that presently protects Westchester’s women’s safety as they enter and exit reproductive health centers.

Tell Them: We Elected Them to Protect Women!

Coming to a Town Near You –The Truth about Crisis Pregnancy Centers

RH Reality has done an excellent job pulling the curtain back on crisis pregnancy centers.
These are the centers that Westchester’s Right to Life County Executive, Rob Astorino, has welcomed into our County. He has stood at the ribbon cutting ceremonies, cheering as these organizations that are intentionally dishonesty, deceive the women of Westchester.

Hats Off to a Legend, Suzi Oppenheimer!

“Suzi Oppenheimer”
A Name Synonymous with Women’s Rights
New York State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer has announced that she will be retiring at the end of 2012.We—the women of this state—will miss her greatly!Suzi has been at the forefront fighting for the women of Westchester and New York State for almost three decades.Suzi has battled tirelessly against Senate anti-choice bills, making all women’s needs her concern. Her floor speeches in favor of Medicaid funding are legendary. She has fought annually for family planning and teen pregnancy prevention programs.

Choice Matters has been proud to endorse Senator Suzi Oppenheimer in every election since her initial run for the New York State Senate. In 1982, she came close, making Choice a focal point of her campaign; in 1984 she closed the deal with the voters.

In 1984, when she ran against anti-choice Perone, Suzi made her position on government’s proper role in abortion clear, saying, “Government has no more right to decide whether a woman may have an abortion than it has the right to tell us where we can’t live, whom we can’t marry, or what religion we can’t practice.”  She stressed the need not only to protect our freedom of choice, but to protect the safety of abortion as well. “Abortion has been with us for thousands of years, and no law will stop it now. Since the Supreme Court has already affirmed the right of a woman to choose abortion, it is now our duty not just to protect that right, but to protect the health and safety of all women who do decide they must have an abortion.”

Suzi, we hold our glasses high in a toast to you.

You have set the bar very high, and we thank you for that too!

 

Choice Matters’ 2011 Chicken of the Year Award

Choice Matters’ 2011 Chicken of the Year Award Goes to
The Gang of Six
—Democratic County Legislator John Nonna and five of his fellow Democratic Legislators—for sitting down when they should have stood up!

After months of discussion, review, and dissection, the Clinic Access Bill—that would ensure women safe access to reproductive health centers—was voted out of Committee and sent to the Westchester County Board of Legislators for a vote.

All that was expected of the legislators was a vote.  A simple up or down vote.  Vote “YES” and we know that you stand with the women of Westchester; vote “N0” and we know you are against us. Really, that simple.

The Gang of Six had the opportunity to join with other Democratic and Republican legislators to vote to protect the safety of women entering and exiting reproductive health centers.  But, they chickened out.

What did this Democratic Gang of Six do instead? After three long hours of a Public Hearing, primarily by people who believe the fetus is more important than the woman and who have clearly never heard of the separation of Church and State, John Nonna – with his gang’s support —recommitted the Bill. To recommit is basically a procedural move used to avoid a vote.  The Bill is sent back to Committee where it can easily be allowed to “die”, perhaps never seeing the light of day again.  It is “again” because the last time that happened was more than a decade ago!!!

Make no mistake about it—this move by The Gang of Six to avoid a public vote was as much an anti-choice vote as any taken in Congress. The Gang of Six denied Westchester’s women safe passage to accessing our constitutionally recognized rights to reproductive health care.

And the women of Westchester know The Gang of Six voted against women and are anti-choice. Since our last email we have received innumerable calls demanding to know when these Democrats became anti-choice–And by the way, that’s the way we see it too.

This Gang of Democrats has made a very poor calculation and unwise decision. This Gang thinks we will not broadcast their actions because they are Democrats.

WRONG!
Choice Matters is a non-partisan organization and very proud of that fact. We hold all candidates and elected officials accountable, regardless of party affiliation and will continue to do so.

When the Republican-led House of Representatives passed legislation to let women die on a hospital floor rather than perform an abortion procedure that would save her life, we told you how many Republicans and Democrats voted in support of this anti-woman legislation.

Choice Matters will not protect legislators who turn their back on a woman’s right to choose.

What you should know about The Gang of Six: 1). Each of these six legislators had previously committed to supporting clinic access legislation; 2). Each of these legislators is male and a Democrat; and 3). Three of these legislators were not re-elected.

We Challenge You,
Westchester County Board of Legislators!

There is a majority of County Legislators who claim to be pro-choice. If they are truly pro-choice, they must bring this legislation to the floor for a vote immediately.

We will then see who stands with us, and who stands against us.

If they do not bring it to the floor, or they voted against it, we will find candidates to challenge these legislators. We have no use for empty suits!

More than a decade ago, Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins and Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, then County Legislators, fought to ensure that women had safe access to women’s reproductive health centers. Unfortunately, they were not successful.

It took us more than ten years to get to this point, and our “leaders” ignored us, turning back the clock.  No one can blame the Right-to-Life County Executive.  It didn’t even get to his desk!

For the record, 1. The Bill was carefully reviewed to make sure that it was 100% in compliance with First Amendment rights – for all parties involved; and, 2. There is no other law–not state or federal–that presently protects Westchester’s women’s safety as they enter health centers.

We are putting you on notice,
County Legislators:
Stand up for the women of Westchester, or get replaced!!

Westchester Residents Beware – Astorino’s Version of a Reformer

DISTRICT #3 has elected a truly ETHICALLY-CHALLENGED representative.
His name, and Astorino’s hand picked candidate who he labeled a reformer, is Michael Smith.
(Makes you question what kind of reform Astorino is looking for!!)

It is essential that as we move forward voters keep a very sharp eye on Smith.

Yes, Smith opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman.

In addition, Smith has a very questionable history at best. He seems willing to do anything to win. Nothing is off limits. 

To win this election, Smith ran ads about Legislator Nonna that were intentionally misleading–that’s not just our opinion but the findings of the non-partisan Fair Practices Campaign who found him guilty. Smith also apparently ran an equally offensive and untrue recorded phone call to voters on Election Day to scare them into voting for him. And that’s just the beginning.

Smith, as Board President of Valhalla School Board, actively supported and fought for a contract
the New York State Controller found to be illegal as did the New York State Supreme Court.

Printed on the Valhalla Voice website, November 2, 2011
“Mike Smith’s record speaks volumes”

“As a taxpayer in the Valhalla school district I am still amused that Mr Smith is running as a tax cutter. He is anything but. In his first 3 years on the Valhalla BOE spending rose 21%. The increase one year before had been 8.8% so where were the cuts?

He is now opposing the $1 a year county lease for the children’s museum, but never opposed Valhalla’s $1 a year Easter Seals lease, the district lost $2.4 million on that deal.

When state auditors shut down the illegal Westhelp scam, Mike Smith voted to sue his own town to restart the illegal payments. He had no problem spending school district money on:

  • Matching Grants to the Valhalla Schools Foundation even though it is illegal to fund private foundations with government money.
  • Two full time salaries for Kensico School Principal
  • Pay his own expense at a private school
  • Donations to Easter Seals, another private foundation.
  • Summer trips to the Grand Canyon
  • Trips to the opera
  • Dinners at trendy NYC restaurants
  • Adult Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center
  • Ocktoberfest at Bear Mountain
  • A moonlight booze cruise on the Hudson 

Despite Mr. Smith’s denials to the contrary, the Booze Cruise was on his watch, in August of 2006
Here are quotes from the 2008 NY State audit of Mike’s Smith’s Valhalla school district finances:

“District officials did not maintain complete and accurate accounting records to facilitate the proper and timely monitoring of the WestHELP Grant. As a result, of the approximately $1.7 million expended for the Grant, approximately $456,000 was not expended in accordance with the Grant agreement, proposals or applicable laws”

“The [Valhalla] Board did not provide sufficient oversight over District financial operations”

“The District overpaid for the Business Administrator’s life insurance premiums by $38,500”

“Internal controls over payroll were not adequate”

“The District did not have adequate controls over the payroll process”

‘District officials did not implement an effective system of internal controls to safeguard computerized data’”

Smith has proudly said that he stands by the contract. That illegal support will now cost Valhalla School District residents over a million dollars. Smith’s willingness to stand by a clearly illegal contract should worry Westchester residents.