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League of Women Voters of Somers, NY

PO Box 371, Somers, New York 10589



October 30 Meeting

Northern Westchester Hospital

Joel Seligman is the President and CEO of Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH). He has dedicated his career to the healthcare industry, serving in numerous roles at The Mount Sinai Hospital and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center before assuming the leadership of NWH in 2001. He received his Bachelor of Science degree at Boston Uni-versity and his Masters degrees in Business Administration and Public Health from Co-lumbia University.

During his tenure at Northern Westchester Hospital, Joel’s focus has been on clinical excellence, ser-vice quality and community outreach. One of his first initiatives was a series of meetings with community leaders and organizations that resulted in a new vision for the hospital and a strategic plan to achieve that vision.

Under Joel’s leadership NWH has operated with a surplus in eleven of the last 12 years. During this period, NWH has opened a new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, an Interventional Radiology Suite, two new operating rooms, a Breast Institute and a Women’s Imaging Center. The Hospital also opened a new Can-cer Treatment and Wellness Center in 2005, and a new, state-of-the-art Emergency Department in 2011.

NWH was selected as one of the first 5 Planetree Designated hospitals in the country and in 2010, NWH was awarded recognition as a Planetree Re-Designated Hospital with Distinction. Northern Westchester Hospital recently received Magnet Designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Cen-ter which makes NWH the only Magnet Designated and Planetree Designated with Distinction Hospital in the country.

Joel has been a residency preceptor for the Columbia University and Baruch College (CUNY) Gradu-ate Programs in Health Care Administration, and is on the faculty of the School of Public Health of New York Medical College. He has served as state delegate of the Regional Policy Board 2 of the AHA, Chairman of the Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association, and is the Treasurer of the Board of Governors of the Hospital Association of New York State (HANYS). Joel also serves on the Planetree Board of Directors and the Advisory Board of Hope’s Door, an organization that seeks to end domestic abuse. Joel was recently selected to serve as a Board of Director for Non Profit Westchester (NPW), an organization whose mission is to strengthen the capacity, impact and visibility of the nonprofit sector in Westchester County. He is the 2004 recipient of Visiting Nurse Association of Hudson Valley’s Ellen Wood Health Care Award, the 2005 Mt Kisco Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, and the 2007 American Diabetes Association’s Father of the Year.

Joel and his wife Joyce, an occupational therapist, live in Pound Ridge their two grown children, - Amy and David.

President's Message

“Do you wonder how the LWVUS uses the $32.00 we send then annually for each of our members?

The LWVUS takes positions on state, local and regional issues. On voting rights they protect and encourage the right of all citizens to vote. On campaign finance they work to improve methods of financing political campaigns in order to insure the public’s right to know, combat corruption and undue influence and enable candidates to com-pete more equitably for public office. They promote citizen participation in the political process.

The League supports the election of the Presi-dent and Vice-President by direct popular vote. They also support uniform national voting qualifications and procedures for presidential elections and provide suffi-cient information about candidates.

On natural resources, they promote resource conservation and long range planning. They support measures to reduce pollution in order to protect sur-face water, ground water and drinking water. The LWVUS has made its position known on immigration, health care, housing supply, gun control and the death penalty. The league supports abolition of the death penalty.

We can all be proud of the positive impact the LWVUS has on community, state and national issues.

Annual League Day at the United Nations Nov. 13

On Tuesday, November 13th, the United Nations will present a program on how water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation impact food security, livelihood choices, and educational opportunities for families across the world. (for more information, contact Francoise).

Briefing Program…$50.00

Optional tour of the UN….$15.00

Lunch in Delegates Dining Room….$50.00

All 3 activities .$110.00

Water is essential for life. No living being on planet Earth can survive without it. It is a prerequisite for human health and well-being as well as for the preservation of the environment. However, four of every ten people in the world do not have access to even a simple pit latrine; and nearly two in ten have no source of safe drinking water. Every year millions of peo- ple, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene. According to the World Health Organization, each and every day some 3,900 chil- dren die because of dirty water or poor hygiene; diseases transmitted through water or human ex- crement are the second-leading cause of death among children worldwide, after respiratory dis- eases. Water scarcity, poor water quality, and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood choices, and educational opportunities for poor families across the world. Water- related natural disasters such as floods, tropical storms and tsunamis exert a heavy toll in human life and suffering. And all too regularly, drought afflicts some of the world's poorest countries, exacerbating hunger and malnutrition.

The Human Rights Commission

Mark C. Fang, Executive Director of Westchester County’s Human Rights Divi-sion, was the guest speaker at our September meeting, Using a power point presenta-tion, Mr. Fang outlined the commission’s aims and duties. He stressed the diversity ex-isting in the county and how issues differ greatly between the big cities like New Ro-chelle and Yonkers and the smaller towns and villages like Somers and Hastings.

The County’s Human Rights Commission was established in 2000 to help relieve the backlog of cases at the state level. It has a permanent staff of seven, a budget of $1,000.000, and is in-dependent of the state’s commission. Its history is:

March 14, 2000: Founded and definition of gender changed to include transgender
October 6, 2005: Victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and stalking become a protected class.
June 4, 2007: Amended human rights law to allow punitive awards. Its mission is to enforce Human Rights Law and Fair Housing.
December 11, 2007: Given countywide jurisdiction.
March 18, 2008: Westchester County Fair Housing Law enacted.
To be a center for local dialogue and debate on current policy and thought on issues relating to civil rights, race relations and Identity.

He listed the commission’s aims as follows:
1. Be recognized as a fair, transparent and efficient forum
2. Educate public on rights and obligations
3. Help promote good racial and ethnic relations
4. Identify and analyze trends
5. Promote and assure equal access and integrated opportunities for individuals with disabilities
6. Affirmatively further fair housing and work closely with HUD
7. Be a center for local dialogue and debate on current policy and thought on issues relating to civil rights and racial relations and identity.

The county has a wider range of identity than the state as it includes transgender persons. The com-mission handles cases involving employment, public accommodation, disability, major and easy credit card availability, and fair housing. There is a strict protocol that is followed before a case is accepted. The flow of a case involves intake and ability to articulate, notifying respondent, requesting a position statement, allow-ing 20 days for pre-settlement before filing a complaint.

In addition to the commission, residents of the county may seek help from the US Dept. of Justice. They are protected by Westchester County Law, N.Y. State Law, Civil Rights Act, and rhe Americans with Dis-abilities Act.

Mr. Fang graciously answered questions from the audience before closing a most interesting and informative meeting.


A number of positions were endorsed at the 2014 National Convention. Among the most important are:

A call for strong advocacy for passage of legislation that restores voting rights in federal elections to citizens with felony convictions who have been released from prison or who have been paroled or placed on probation. The resources of the LWVUS will provide support to Leagues who are working to re-peal state felon disenfranchisement laws.

A comprehensive three-part program that combines study and review of key specific struc-tures of American democracy, consisting of: Study of the process of amending the U.S. Constitution; Review and update of the League position on campaign finance in light of forty years of change, and a review of the redistricting process for the U.S. Congress.

A resolution committing LWVUS to support a price on carbon emissions that will increase in stages, as part of an overall program to improve energy efficiency and to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, fast enough to avoid serious damage to the climate system.

of Events

Tues. Oct. 7 Candidates Night. Meet the candidates; be an informed voter. 7:00pm, Somers Town Hall, Route 202

Wed. Oct. 8 New Member Tea. 2pm, contact Vivian at vivid20@aol.com

Oct. 30 Annual Luncheon, speaker Joel Seligman, President & CEO Northern Westchester Hospital. 12:30pm, La Fontaine Ristorante, Route 100, Katonah

Tues. Nov. 4 Election Day 6am-9pm. Activity Center (Heritage). Middle School, check for other town locations

Mon. Nov. 10
10am Monthly Meeting
10:30am Dr. Christopher Malone, Pace University, Analysis of Election Results.
Somers Library, Reis Park

Tues. Nov. 11 Veterans Day Parade (Somers). 10am. Bailey Square, adjacent to St. Luke's

Thurs. Nov. 13 United Nations Briefing: Water for Life. 1:30-3:30pm United Nations Headquarters, NYC see below for details

A View of Naturalization

Twice a month Westchester County Clerk, Timothy C. Idoni, administers the Oath of Citizenship to new citizens at the Richard J. Daronco Courthouse in White Plains. The requirements include a period of residency within the U.S., the ability to read, write and speak English, and an understanding of U.S. history among other things.

On September 3, 2014 Francoise and I attended the naturalization hearing. Presiding was Supreme
Court Judge, Hon. James W. Hubert, who recognized Executive Deputy County Clerk Susan Kiernan who then introduced the 121 new citizens. County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni administered the Oath of Allegiance and led the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

Each of the new citizens was then asked to step forward to have a picture taken with Judge Hubert and County Clerk Idoni. They were dressed in their Sunday best with some of the men wearing patriotic ties. Some had tears in their eyes but all were clearly moved.

Francoise shook the hand of all 121 participants and congratulated them while I handed them a copy of First Vote. The D.A.R. handed out flags and literature. The Jewish War Veterans were also represented.

It is a very moving experience.

Alerting Students

The Education Committee of the Somers League met to discuss the development of a pro-gram for High School Seniors. They are, clockwise, Ann Harper, Lucille Kennedy, Harriet Leib and Carol Sturtz. Francoise was the photographer.

The Committee contacted Dave Laino who teaches an elective course in government at the High School. Mr. Laino is an Adjunct faculty member of the Public Affairs Program at Syracuse University and believes that our focus is a helpful addition for the students.

Working with Mr. Laino and his class, we are planning to involve students in the registration process, invite them to League meetings and provide opportunities for them to be involved with town and county government. Some students will have an opportunity to participate in a mentoring program which will pro-vide a more intensive experience.

The School Administration has been very supportive of the program and provided helpful assistance to the Committee.

Election Information You Need

This web site, developed by the League, provides complete election infor-mation, including profiles of the candi-dates running for office in your district, summaries of any propositions on the bal-lot and much more. Be sure to consult the site so that you have an in depth under-standing of your ballot.


Benefactors help to support our League with their tax deductible donation of $25.00 (+) to the Somers LWV Educational Fund.

For those of you who have generously supported us in the past, it is time to renew your donation. For others, we ask you to join in this effort and send your check to the Somers Educational Fund, Box371, Somers NY 10589.


Updated by Valerie Castleman Oct.3, 2014