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Journal News: "Mobile app contest open to students"

11/17/2016

Journal News: "Mobile app contest open to students"

WHITE PLAINS - The third annual #WestchesterSmart Mobile App Development Bowl is open for registration. High school or college teams with an idea for a mobile app can register to compete by visiting bit.ly/appbowl2017. The contest is a joint initiative of Westchester County's Office of Economic Development and Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. The purpose is to challenge students to put themselves on the “MAAP” by creating “Mobile Apps for Aging Populations.” Specifically, apps are being sought that improve an aspect of daily life for people ages 65 and older.  Last year, more than 250 students from the tri-state region participated in the contest.  There is no entry fee to compete. To learn more about the contest, sponsorship opportunities or how to be a judge, please email MobileAppContest@pace.edu.

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Westchester County Business Journal: "Business leaders try to gauge what Trump presidency means for Westchester economy"

11/17/2016

Westchester County Business Journal: "Business leaders try to gauge what Trump presidency means for Westchester economy"

Energy

While New York has moved ahead with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard, which mandates the state receive 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, Trump has pushed for a different type of energy revolution. Trump said he wants to make the U.S. completely energy-independent by removing regulations and increasing the production of natural gas and coal. 

Cuomo has pushed his renewable energy policy as the state’s part in a global fight against climate change, while Trump has called climate change a “hoax” and vowed to pull the U.S. out of the United Nation’s climate change programs.

How those two conflicting mindsets will coexist remains to be seen, said Karl Rabago, executive director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center. But Rabago said he views it as unlikely that decisions made by Trump and a Republican Congress could impact New York’s state-level energy programs.

“The climate don’t care what you believe,” he said. “That’s kind of the terror and the beauty of science. The data is rock solid. And New York is committed to dealing with this on a data basis and that’s why the governor has stood up so prominently with the Clean Energy Standard. I think our state policy is on firm footing for being right, and if you honor the right of states to address the issues that are important to its voters, then you see no reason for the federal government to interfere in any material way with what our state wants to do.”

But renewable energies do rely in part on federal subsidies for financing, which Rabago said could impact the development of solar and other renewable systems. 

If there is resistance to efforts to combat climate change on the federal level, Rabago said, it’s important for states such as New York to show leadership in developing renewable energy and other efforts to counter global warming.

“This is a moment for that good old-fashioned word ‘leadership,’” he said. “Convening people around a common agenda. And polls consistently show that the American people do expect climate-responsible regulation and leadership.”

Politics

Cuomo’s relationship with a Trump administration might prove interesting, according to Larry Bridwell, a professor of international business at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. 

He said Trump overall could be a positive for the state’s economy, since it has a hometown advantage, and New York could have help from the White House in pushing along needed rail tunnel and airport projects. But how Cuomo and Trump get along will be worth watching, Bridwell said.

“It is good for New York if they work well together, but Gov. Cuomo may be interested in running against President Trump in 2020,” Bridwell said. “Will this affect New York? It remains to be seen.”

Read more here.

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Law360: "$683M Pipeline KO'd With 'Rope-A-Dope' Move, 2nd Circ. Told"

11/17/2016

Law360: "$683M Pipeline KO'd With 'Rope-A-Dope' Move, 2nd Circ. Told"

Constitution Pipeline Co. told the Second Circuit during arguments Wednesday that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation blocked its 124-mile, $683 million natural gas pipeline project with a "rope-a-dope" denial of its permit application.

John F. Stoviak of Saul Ewing LLP, arguing for Constitution, said that the DEC had twice acknowledged the company had submitted a complete application, but after nine months without a word, denied it as being incomplete. He said the DEC obviously felt the application was adequate because the agency circulated the paperwork to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and put the plan up for public comment.

"It’s a rope-a-dope denial — ‘We don’t have enough information’ — which we think is untrue," Stoviak said.

The company is appealing to the Second Circuit directly from the agency's denial.

New York Assistant Attorney General Brian Lusignan, representing the DEC, said the agency had the authority to establish conditions for construction of the pipeline or deny the permit under its power to protect water quality under the Clean Water Act. He said the DEC wanted a feasibility assessment for trenchless crossings of all 250 streams the pipeline was to intersect, but Constitution "categorically eliminated 90 percent" of crossings from any consideration and supplied no information on how to bore under those streams to avoid impacting them.

"In this case, the DEC was attempting to create conditions," Lusignan told the three-judge panel. "What the DEC determined is that it did not have enough information to make that determination."

He said the "vast majority of the denial" was based on the effects the pipeline and its construction would have on the water.

Pace University Law School student Kara E. Paulsen, arguing on behalf of the group Stop the Pipeline, told the panel Constitution never met its burden of proof to supply information that it will comply with water quality standards.

She said STP pointed out the lack of information and there is nothing in the record to fill in the gaps.

"Instead the company tries to resolve these issues with private conversations and assurances with DEC," Paulsen said. "However these conversations and assurances are not within the record and this court cannot rely on that information to overturn DEC’s denial."

Read more here.

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Westchester County Business Journal: "Pace Law launches clinic to help food and beverage entrepreneurs past legal hurdles"

11/17/2016

Westchester County Business Journal: "Pace Law launches clinic to help food and beverage entrepreneurs past legal hurdles"

A new program from Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law, scheduled to launch in the spring, will address legal problems for a growing class of entrepreneurs in the Hudson Valley food and beverage industry.

The law clinic can serve a dual purpose, according to Jonathan Brown, a former Yale Law School lecturer who was hired by Pace last month to direct the program. The clinic helps students gain valuable experience working in a growing area of law, while helping to nurture sustainable food efforts regionally.

Read more here.

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CFO: "The Deficit Matters, but Don’t Lose Sight of Other Priorities"

11/15/2016

CFO: "The Deficit Matters, but Don’t Lose Sight of Other Priorities"

. . . What should the Trump administration and Congress be doing? writes Philip G. Cohen, a retired vice president for tax and general tax Counsel for Unilever United States who is currently an associate professor of taxation at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. There are, among other priorities, a need to focus on rebuilding our military and infrastructure, as well as creating good employment opportunities for the American people. Medicare and Social Security fiscal issues both need to be dealt with. These all require funding, and the deficit problem can’t simply be ignored long-term — even if it is politically expedient to do so. Politicians never want to tell us to drink the awful tasting medicine even if it will make the country better.

The Trump administration and Congress should be giving serious consideration to things like eliminating the wage cap on old age, survivors, and disability insurance. It should take a close look at notions that Social Security be fully taxed to wealthy recipients; that earnings of American companies outside the United States be taxed immediately, but at a somewhat lower rate than domestic source income; that all business income, not just C corporations, be subject to tax at the entity and owner level, but with some integration offset; that the loopholes in the anti-inversion rules be closed.

They also need to consider a value-added tax.  This does not mean that I’m espousing not cutting the corporate tax rate. I believe the corporate tax rate should be reduced — but responsibly, with offsetting revenue.

The foregoing ideas will be unpopular with many influential constituents, as will other revenue generators.  Are we, however, better off as a country if our political leaders use tricks like sequestration to ignore vital national priorities, play ostrich with respect to the national deficit, or promise voodoo economics that will allow everyone to enjoy tax cuts and at the same time all our problems will be magically solved? I don’t think so. The Trump administration and Congress must give serious attention to the issues we face, including the deficit. Taking the bad- tasting medicine will be good for the country in the long run.

Read more here.

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Pace University Scholars: the “Environmental Voice of Youth” will Save NY Harbor

11/14/2016

Pace University Scholars: the “Environmental Voice of Youth” will Save NY Harbor

From Digital Platforms to Mock Hearings, University-Level Education Comes to New York City Schools

NEW YORK CITY — Environmental abuse long ago obscured New York Harbor’s bragging rights as the world’s oyster capital, but middle and high school students are the force that can return that ecological luster back to New York City, according to scholars at Pace University in Manhattan.

With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Pace University has launched the next phase of its Smart and Connected Communities program where “university faculty will bring to underserved city schools the research tools and field training to design a new future for New York Harbor,” according to Dr. Lauren Birney, a professor in the Pace School of Education, and principal investigator under the NSF grant.

“Our goal for city students is an educational experience usually confined to universities,” Birney said. “If the future of the harbor and the national urban environment are in the hands of the experts and decision makers of tomorrow, that means the environmental voice of youth today is essential. The time to begin their training is now.”

The new Pace initiative uses STEM-C – a cutting-edge curriculum of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math combined with Computing – as the organizing principle for a program of citizen science, ecological restoration and civic engagement. “New York Harbor is an excellent living classroom, but not accessible to every student,” said Birney. “With our online tools and our CCERS Digital Platform, students will conduct field monitoring expeditions, gather data using analog and digital instruments, develop independent research proposals, and broadcast and share their results in real-time – not only with other city students, but with students anywhere in the world.”

Transforming this technical information into a policy model for restoring the Harbor is another hallmark of the Pace program. “Students will also receive training at the hands of our best legal and policy experts,” said John Cronin, Pace’s senior fellow for environmental affairs in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. “And through innovative techniques such as virtual town halls and mock public hearings they will develop and present a student-generated vision and plan for restoring the Harbor.”

“All the marine waters of the city are held in a public trust belonging to the people, and that includes students,” said Jason Czarnezki, Associate Dean of Environmental Law Programs at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. “This well-founded, ancient principle of law is the centerpiece of a legal education that will empower students to claim the ecological inheritance that is the birthright of their community. This principle, combined with scientific, technical and computing skills, will make our students a potent force for the future of the urban environment.”

BACKGROUND

“A networked city is not just a grid of communications and sensors. It is a vision of city governments “engaging with citizens in acts of co-creation.” –Peter Hirshberg (Bollier, 2016 from the Aspen Institute, 2016).

This thought and overall vision continues to serve as our motto in creating opportunities for underserved students that may have never existed. We look to engage our youth in environmentally meaningful activities that are pertinent to their education. New York City middle school students are in desperate need of exposure to STEM industry fields, research and data collection at the Harbor’s edge and training on the use various technological innovations. This grant will create these opportunities for students, citizen scientists, STEM Industry professionals, research faculty and community members to work in unison on achieving a “smarter and more connected community”!

“Expanding Access and Deepening Engagement: Building an Open Source Digital Platform for Restoration-Based STEM Education in the Largest Public School System in the United States” NSF DRL 1643016/PI Lauren Birney, Director of the STEM Collaboratory NYC, Pace University

Principals

The CCERS leadership team consists of Samuel Janis, Program Manager Billion Oyster Project Schools and Citizen Science, Jonathan Hill, Dean of Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, Robert Newton, Research Scientist at Columbia Lamont Doherty Observatory, Meghan Groome, Senior Vice President of Education at the New York Academy of Sciences, Nancy Woods, Director of Technology and Engineering at the NYCDOE, Peter Malinowski, President Billion Oyster Project and Murray Fisher, President of the New York Harbor Foundation and is led by Principal Investigator Dr. Lauren Birney, Assistant Professor and Director of the STEM Collaboratory NYC Pace University.

Project Goal

The foundational goal of the Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Science (CCERS) model is to build a “Smart and Connected Community” of students, educators, scientists, and engaged community members all working to restore New York Harbor and improve the quality of STEM-C education and long-term outcomes in low-income urban public schools. To do this, we are building an open source educational-scientific web platform which can be replicated anywhere. The connectivity provided by this technology allows communication, education, business, STEM industry professional to work seamlessly together while expanding their research on a global scale.

The CCERS Digital Platform

The CCERS Digital Platform, co-developed with Fearless Solutions, is more than just a website for student-led citizen science, citizen policymaking, and teacher-to-teacher curriculum sharing. The CCERS supported Billion Oyster Project schools web platform is a digital space for students to conduct field monitoring expeditions, gather data using both analog and digital instruments, analyze results using multivariate statistics and GIS, develop independent research proposals, broadcast, and share results in real-time with the broader NY Harbor/CCERS community of scientists, STEM professionals, and volunteers. The digital platform is also a replicable model of restoration based science education for other settings and other species, with its underlying technology and source code freely available through standard open source licensing agreements.https://platform.bop.nyc/

CCERS – Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Science

This proposal focuses upon the expansion of the existing “Curriculum and Community Enterprise for the Restoration of New York Harbor in New York City Public Schools” NSF DRL 1440869. This project is recognized locally as “Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Science,” or CCERS. CCERS is a comprehensive model of ecological restoration based STEM education for urban public school students. Following an accelerated rollout, CCERS is now being implemented in 23 Title 1 funded NYC Department of Education middle schools, led by two cohorts of 33 teachers, serving more than 3000 students in total. Initial results and baseline data suggest that the CCERS model, with the Billion Oyster Project (BOP) as its local restoration ecology-based STEM curriculum, is having profound impacts on students, teachers, school leaders, and the broader community of CCERS participants and stakeholders. Students and teachers report being receptive to the CCERS model and deeply engaged in the initial phase of curriculum development, citizen science data collection, and student-centered STEM learning.

References:

http://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/documents/CityAsPlatform.pdf

Funding for these Projects has been provided by the National Science Foundation Education and Human Resources (EHR) DRL 1440869 and DRL 1643016.

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U.S. News: "Law Schools Experiment With Partially Online Learning"

11/14/2016

U.S. News: "Law Schools Experiment With Partially Online Learning"

. . . Some programs also have courses taught primarily online. Jason Czarnezki, associate dean and executive director of environmental law programs at Pace University's law school, plans to co-teach one next semester with Michael Pappas, a University of Maryland law professor, bringing renowned environmental law experts from around the world to students' computer screens to discuss climate change.

Read more here.

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Houston Chronicle: "Coal, renewables and the election"

11/14/2016

Houston Chronicle: "Coal, renewables and the election"

It might be safe to assume that Donald Trump's core voter base - older white men - are not fans of renewable energy or the initiatives that local, state and federal governments have launched to support it.

But after Trump's stunning victory on Tuesday, energy policy analyst Karl Rabago unearthed data to back that up. In 2003, just after Texas implemented a deregulated energy market to create competition among electricity providers, a Colorado consulting firm surveyed Texas residents and their feelings about renewable energy. And there was one group that was staunchly against it: 55 to 65 year-old white men, the demographic that largely carried Trump to victory. While a future Trump administration can do a lot to dismantle clean energy initiatives, public support of renewables is likely to remain strong, added Rabago, executive director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center at Pace University in White Plains, N.Y.

Read more here.

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Daily News: "Trump supporters continue threatening opponents, after mogul presses for unity following divisive campaign"

11/10/2016

Daily News: "Trump supporters continue threatening opponents, after mogul presses for unity following divisive campaign"

President-elect Donald Trump may have used his victory speech early Wednesday to reassure a fragile, shocked and divided nation that he would unite it, but many of his key supporters appeared to have not received the memo.

... David Caputo, president emeritus and professor of Political Science at Pace University, added that historically, "individuals often behave differently after they assume the presidency," but that seems unlikely for Trump.

"His most partisan supporters will expect him to pursue his opponents. If he can resist that and not give in to his usual behavior, he could make some progress … but is he able to do that?"

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/trump-backers-threatening-foes-mogul-vows-unity-article-1.2866567

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Los Angeles Times: "Mergers create hotel giants, but few are complaining"

11/08/2016

Los Angeles Times: "Mergers create hotel giants, but few are complaining"

On Century Boulevard near Los Angeles International Airport, travelers can pick among 14 hotels, ranging from budget lodging to a stylish three-diamond inn.

In reality, the choices are more limited.

All the hotels clustered on the busy thoroughfare are owned, managed or licensed by just six companies, led by Marriott International Inc., the world’s largest hotel company after its recent $13-billion takeover of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Nationwide, nearly half of the 53,400 hotels are linked to the six hotel giants — Marriott, Hilton Worldwide, Intercontinental, Wyndham Worldwide, Choice Hotels and Best Western Hotels & Resorts.

Despite a few murmurs of concern in the corporate travel world, Marriott swallowed Starwood with no opposition from antitrust watchdogs around the world. And the dominance of a handful of hotel companies hasn’t sparked the kind of protest seen in the airline, telecom, bank and insurance industries.

“It hasn’t been a top concern until now,” said Diana Moss, president of the American Antitrust Institute, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit think tank that focuses on competition and consumer choice.

The institute, which has opposed several airline mergers on antitrust grounds, is looking more closely at the increasing merger activity in the hotel industry.

“Hotels tend to fly under the radar,” Moss said. “They don’t get a lot of attention.”

The merger of Marriott and Starwood — creating a hotel behemoth with 5,800 hotels in more than 100 countries — was just the latest hotel deal to concentrate the industry in the last few years.

In 2015 alone, France’s AccorHotels bought the Toronto-based parent company of the luxury Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel brands for $2.7 billion; Intercontinental Hotels Group acquired Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants for $430 million; Marriott acquired Delta Hotels & Resorts for $135 million; and a Wyndham Worldwide subsidiary acquired Dolce Hotels & Resorts for $57 million.

Before the Marriott and Starwood deal, the series of acquisitions did little to reduce competition in the hotel industry, but the latest transaction might be “a game changer,” according a report by CWT Solutions Group, a consultant to the travel industry.

“With daily room rates and occupancy levels at all-time highs in many major markets, basic economics dictate that less competition will only lead to even higher prices,” the report said.

In Los Angeles, Marriott and Starwood account for nearly half of corporate travel spending, among the highest percentages in major market where those companies operate, CWT said.

Marriott spokeswoman Felicia McLemore rejected suggestions that the company’s greater girth cuts into the choices available to travelers.

“The lodging industry continues to be very fragmented compared to other travel-related businesses, such as airlines, with robust competition from numerous lodging brand companies and independent operators,” she said.

Some hotel analysts predict little fallout from the increasing clout of the top six hotel companies. 

Among the reasons: A big share of those brand hotels are simply licensed to carry a franchise name but are owned or managed by local hoteliers, who can set the nightly rates based on local demands.

Also, most major hotel giants oversee a range of brands, from cut-rate to high-end, giving consumers more options.

“The industry is very segmented,” said Andrew Coggins, a management professor at New York’s Pace University. “If you look at any big hotel company, they manage different brands. The brands appeal to different segments of the market.”

For example, the New Yorker, a Wyndham hotel in Manhattan, offers rooms for more than $400 a night. Meanwhile, the Travelodge in Jersey City, N.J. — another Wyndham hotel — rents rooms for as little as $70 a night.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hotel-giants-20161105-story.html

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