LWV logo

League of Women Voters of Somers, NY

PO Box 371, Somers, New York 10589



September 8 Meeting

Human Rights

On Monday, September 8th, at 10:30am, Mark C. Fang, Execu- tive Director of the Westchester County Human Rights Commis- sion, will address the Somers League of Women Voters at the Somers Library. The morning will start at 10:00am with our monthly meeting.

Fang is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Tufts University and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He was appoint- ed as Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission by Astorino on May 28,

Prior to his appointment, Mark was an Assistant District Attorney with the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and an assistant attorney general with the Criminal Division of the Office of the New York State Attorney General. He is also a commissioned officer with the rank of Major in the Judge Advocate Gen- eral Corps of the United States Army.
The Westchester County Human Rights Law, one of the most advanced and progressive laws in New York State, is focused on civil and human rights. The Hu- man rights Commission administers the law which is designed to protect the resi- dents of Westchester County from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation and credit.

This subject is at the heart of the League’s mission and is such an important issue for all citizens. Mark your calendars and spread the word to be at the Somers Library on September 8th.

Aug. 11 Meeting

Is Probation Effective?

Rocco Pozzi, Commissioner of Probation for Westchester County, came to the Somers League on August 11th to present a comprehensive overview of the Department of Probation. The Department is a law enforcement agency that annually handles cases involving more than 2,000 youths in the Family Court system and more than 11,000 adults in the criminal
courts. The goal is to promote public safety and at the same time hold offenders accountable for their actions. The department works closely with numerous criminal justice agencies, in- cluding the District Attorney’s Office, and many social services agencies.
Mr. Pozzi underlined the difference between probation and parole. Probation is a sen- tence imposed by a judge, while parole is granted by the State Parole Board to an imprisoned felon. Both are supervised in the community. Over 80% of dispositions are for probation. De- spite these figures, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
The Department of Probation routinely does a pre-dispositional investigation and a risk/ needs assessment and makes recommendations accordingly. In 2013, 7,000 people were placed on probation through the Criminal Court. The largest group were DWIs, 958 cases, fol- lowed by domestic violence, 405 cases, young offenders, 384 cases, mental health issues, 359 cases and sex offenders, 174 cases.
Family Court cases, on the recommendation of the Probation Department, can be sent directly to Probation without a court decision. Out of 1,000 cases of PINS, only 75 youngsters were placed. The Department’s focus is on keeping these youngsters in the community.
Mr. Pozzi is an excellent speaker with a vast store of knowledge about probation and re- habilitation. It was a stimulating and informative discussion.

Co-President's Message September 2014

“Naturalization is the manner in which a person not born in the US voluntarily becomes a US Citizen”.

On Wednesday September 3, and Wednes- day December 17, at 1pm, in the Supreme Court Building, in White Plains the Naturalization Court will hold a cer- emony to welcome new American Citizens. The Somers League is asked to participate twice a year in this worthwhile and re- warding function along with are other civic groups including the DAR, and the Jewish War Veterans. We, as a League, have the
privilege of being witness to this ceremony.

Myra Linker, representing the LWV of Somers, attended the ceremony last year and wrote: A Wonderful Experience – One gentlemen brought tears to my eyes when I congratulated him and he said: This is my wonderful day... I am so happy and proud. It is an educational and heart-warming experience as over one hundred new citizens are sworn in one by one, with their families often present. Each new citizen is welcomed and congratulated by the members of the civic groups.
Many years ago, I also attended the Court, having gone through the naturalization process in Manhattan. It was indeed very moving. We must have been 500 new citizens in the cere- mony! Although, we all felt a great deal of emotion, there was not much ceremony: no American flags, no welcoming civic groups, no picture taking allowed! The naturalization has eligi- bility requirements, a process with interviews, speaking, reading and writing tests. A civic test with 100 facts to study, such as: How many amendments does the Constitution have? Or, What is the Supreme Law of the Land?

A booklet, “Welcome New Citizens,” gives information not only on how to register to vote, but also answers the ques- tionWhydoIVote? Or,AsanewcitizenoftheUSA,youhavea say in your own government and therefore have privileges and responsibilities.

This should be a reminder for all of us of the importance of voting! The general election will take place on Tuesday Novem- ber 4. If you need information or know someone who does, do not hesitate to contact me!

Lets keep marching!

County-Sponsored Workshop

The Westchester County League held a workshop for membership and leader- ship development (MLD) on August 2nd at the Tarrytown Senior Center. The event was sponsored by Carol Reimers (right) from LWVUS, Laura Ladd Bierman from LWVNYS and Dare Thompson (left) from Rockland. The purpose of the workshop was to explain what the MLD program is and how it works. Attendees were from Albany County, Mid-Hudson Region, Smithtown, Suffolk County, Westchester River Towns, Larchmont/Mamaroneck, Rockland County, Rye, Rye Brook, Port Chester, Scarsdale, Somers and White Plains. Francoise Bennett and Loretta Nelson represented Somers.

During the workshop, members shared some of their experiences. Francoise and I spoke of the June 29 celebration of our Nation’s birthday in Reiss Park with many of Somers Town Officials and various clubs.

The leaders stressed the importance of embracing change, focusing on long-term vision and in- creased visibility as well as the development of new management models recruitment strategies . If you find something that works, you can then change the by-laws. Statewide, we are down from 5,000 mem- bers to 3,655. We should welcome new members and have them join a committee. A League Book Club was also suggested.

Local Leagues need to set up standards for Board members. If they cannot attend, they must call. Use “The Little Green Book”. (it’s neither little nor green) for the nominating committee. Use personal stories to recruit new members. Follow up at an event. Take pictures.

Save the Date

Annual League Day at the United Nations Nov. 13

The annual League Day at the United Nations will be held on Thursday, No- vember 13. The day includes a tour of the UN building, lunch in the Delegates Dining Room and a briefing by key UN experts. The topic this year is “Water for Life,” the UN international Decade for Action 2005-2015.

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.


of Events

Wed. Sept 3
Naturalization Court, White Plains

Mon. Sept. 8
10:00 Monthly Meeting
10:30 Mark C. Fang, Esq., Executive Director, Human Rights Commission, Somers Library, Reis Park

Mon. Sept. 10 Redistricting, Sally Robinson, President,  NY State League, speaker, White Plains, 7 pmWhite Plains Public Library, 100 Martine Ave., White Plains

Sun. Sept. 14 Voter Registration during Family Fun Run, 8:00am, Reis Park

Tues. Oct. 7 Candidates Night, Somers Town Hall, Route 202

Oct. 16 Annual Luncheon, speaker TBA, La Fontaine Ristorante, Route 100, Katonah

Tues. Nov. 4 Election Day 6am-9pm

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

Special Request

The Westchester Leagues have been asked if any members are inter- ested in volunteering to report the results of the 9/9/14 primary to the United Press. Our League would receive $130.00 if any members participate. The job entails being at the Westchester Board of Elections in White Plains by 8:30pm on 9/9 and remaining there until the vote count is complete, possibly as late as 11:00pm, then calling the results in to the United Press. If interested, contact Francoise.

Animals were adorning maps for centu- ries. In the low countries, the carto- animal was Leo Belgicus, a lion; later, America was represented by an eagle. The award for the most influential animal on a
map goes to the salamander. Its tale begins in 1812 when the supporter of a man named Elbridge Gerry decided it might benefit his party to reconfigure the electoral boundaries in Boston. Soon Gerry’s oppo- nent became aware of the chicanery. The resem- blance of the reshaped district to a salamander be- came clear. And all declared “that is not a salaman- der, that is a gerrymander.

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

Prospective Building Sites in Somers

Three prospective building sites in Somers are currently being considered for approval. Somers Crossing on Routes 100/202 would include rental apartments and a grocery store. Plans also project the moving of the current entrance on Route 202 to the traffic light opposite Heritage Hills. Hidden Meadows and Avalon are on Route 6 and would include some units for purchase, some for rental and affordable rental units.


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 August 28, 2014