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Think Progress: "We are the minority and society doesn’t care’: The marriage between toxic waste and prisons"

11/17/2017

‘We are the minority and society doesn’t care’: The marriage between toxic waste and prisons (Think Progress)

“… [F]or years, we’ve been collecting letters from prisoners from all over the country about water systems, waste management,” Tolkas said. “EJSCREEN is a helpful tool in that this information is not only coming from us now, but the EPA.”

Michael Mushlin, a professor of law at Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law, told ThinkProgress that the root of the problem is society’s larger attitude towards prisoners.

“If we had a different attitude towards prisoners and saw them as not throwaways, but as human beings that need to be assisted, and in our interest to be treated humanely, things would improve,” Mushlin says.

One of Mushlin’s students has studied the relationship between ecology and prisons. While much attention of the prison ecology movement is focused on carcinogens and pollution, Brenna Fitzpatrick has researched how prisons are poorly equipped to handle natural disasters, like hurricanes and flooding.

“Incarcerated people are totally ignored,” Fitzpatrick told ThinkProgress, pointing to Hurricane Sandy, which struck the Caribbean and parts of the East Coast in 2012. When Sandy plowed into Rikers Island, New York City’s main prison complex, there were no evacuations of the inmates there.

“During Katrina, jails were flooded with absolutely horrific conditions like sewage; people were up to their knees and chest in sewage water and were trapped in the jail for days,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick sees the prison ecology movement as just one component of an overall movement by activists to transform the way the penal system in the United States is viewed.

“I think prison ecology fits perfectly within the environmental justice framework, which has always looked at how environmental problems affect the most marginalized,” Fitzpatrick said. “And incarcerated people are among the most marginalized.”

Meanwhile, back in Letcher County, PEP will be ready to mobilize and organize if the Record of Decision is issued for construction. Lill Prosperino is part of a local organization called the Letcher Governance Project that opposes the prison.

“As far as prison ecology goes it highlights intersections of problems that have existed for a long time. Prisons have been used as an economic tool in Appalachia and I think that is disgusting,” Prosperino told ThinkProgress. And even if the prison is ultimately built, Prosperino and PEP will continue to highlight the ecological injustices.

“I I think there are a lot of things we can do even if the prison does come here, it will be the beginning of a long road,” Prosperino said.

Read the full article.

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CBS News: "Amazon sales taxes: South Carolina says pay up"

11/17/2017

Amazon sales taxes: South Carolina says pay up (CBS News)

A high-stakes legal battle is heating up over whether Amazon (AMZN) is shirking its legal obligations to collect sale taxes on merchandise sold by independent sellers on its site.

Earlier this month, the South Carolina Department of Revenue asked an administrative law judge to force the Seattle-based e-commerce giant to begin collecting sales tax on merchandise sold by outside sellers by Nov. 18. Failing to act "poses an immediate threat to the state's fiscal health and economic well-being," according to a Nov. 8 court filing. 

The state estimates it could lose out on $500 million in sales tax revenue over the next five years if Amazon isn't compelled to act. The company's national tax liability could top $10 billion by 2022, according to South Carolina.

"The implications are enormous," said Chris McCabe, a former Amazon executive who now advises third-party merchants. "I don't know exactly what Amazon legal is pursuing behind the scenes here, but I'm sure they are discussing what their batting average will be on some of these decisions and what will happen in other states."

South Carolina filed suit against Amazon in June for failing to collect sales tax on products sold by independent merchants, which paid the company $8 billion in fees during the most recent quarter. At the time, Amazon argued the case was without merit and vowed to fight it "vigorously." After conducting an audit, South Carolina estimates Amazon's sales tax tab from 2016 at $57 million.

A spokesperson for Amazon didn't respond to a request for comment.   

Meanwhile, Amazon recently announced that it would begin collecting sales tax from third-party sellers in Washington state. A law mandating that operators of online marketplaces like Amazon's are required to collect the levy goes into effect in January. Minnesota passed a similar law earlier this year.

According to tax attorney Paul Rafelson, Amazon is getting a sweet deal from officials in its home state of Washington, the first where it has agreed to collect tax for independent sellers.

"This perpetuates a fiction that because Amazon only becomes responsible for the tax on Jan. 1, it must have been the sellers' [responsibility] beforehand," wrote Rafelson, also an adjunct professor at the Pace University School of Law, in an email. "This makes it really hard for Washington state to now pivot and pursue the back taxes from Amazon because Amazon can now argue that the law was ambiguous."

Moreover, Washington is losing out on at least $100 million in revenue by allowing Amazon to start complying the law after the holiday season, its busiest time of year. That gives the e-commerce giant an unfair advantage over brick-and-mortar rivals such as Nordstrom (JWN), a struggling, family-owned chain that's also based  in Washington. Critics of Amazon, including President Donald Trump, have made similar claims for years.

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The Journal News: "The Spiel' panelists urge careful planning when it comes to changing careers"

11/17/2017

The Spiel' panelists urge careful planning when it comes to changing careers (The Journal News)

What are some things to consider if you are re-evaluating your career path?

Three people who have gone through the journey shared their stories at the second installment of The Spiel, a career-focused event series launched by The Journal News/lohud.

The after-hours mixer was held at The Journal News offices in White Plains and featured speakers Cleopatra “Cleo” Maack Scheublin, Micahel Zarrilli and Melissa Haber.

What are some things to consider if you are re-evaluating your career path?

Three people who have gone through the journey shared their stories at the second installment of The Spiel, a career-focused event series launched by The Journal News/lohud.

The after-hours mixer was held at The Journal News offices in White Plains and featured speakers Cleopatra “Cleo” Maack Scheublin, Micahel Zarrilli and Melissa Haber.

Read the full article.

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WAMC Northeast Public Radio: "USCG Holds Workshop On Safety After Shelving Anchorages Proposal In June"

11/16/2017

USCG Holds Workshop On Safety After Shelving Anchorages Proposal In June (WAMC Northeast Public Radio)

...Christina Thomas attended the first day of the workshop. She is a student at the Environmental Policy Clinic at Pace University.

“I’m not less concerned. I’m not necessarily more concerned,” Thomas says. “I am still skeptical, however.”

She adds:

“I did leave with a better understand of what the shipping industry need,” says Thomas. “However, I believe these long-term anchorages and the fact that there are so many of them are unnecessary, at this point. So more short-term, emergency use areas would be more acceptable.”

Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who spoke on WAMC’s Congressional Corner program, worked to kill the initial proposal.

“They’re running this PAWSA process, and we are watching it like a hawk,” says Maloney. “And we’re working with a lot of good groups, like Scenic Hudson, to make sure the interests of local communities and the river are front and center on this thing.”

A representative from his office attended the Poughkeepsie workshop. Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in October signed a bill from Senator Sue Serino and Assemblymember Didi Barrett to safeguard the Hudson River from proposed anchorage sites. The legislation also establishes minimum conditions under which petroleum-bearing vessels are authorized to navigate on the river.

Listen and Read.

 

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Westchester County Business Journal: "Krislov becomes Pace president"

11/15/2017

Krislov becomes Pace president (Westchester County Business Journal)

Marvin Krislov was inaugurated as the eighth president of Pace University during a ceremony held in the Goldstein Health and Fitness Center on Pace’s Pleasantville campus.

Representatives of more than 50 U.S. colleges and universities joined Pace faculty, students and alumni in representing the academic community.

In his speech, Krislov said, “We must embrace challenges while holding fast to our core values. We will change lives and educate our future leaders from every segment of our society. We will continue to make the American dream a reality for our students.”

Among the other speakers were state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins who is a Pace alumna and Johnnetta Cole, who had been the first African-American female president of Spelman College and was director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art.

Read the article.

To see the print version of  Westchester County Business Journal.

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Patch: "Pace Installs New President In Pleasantville Ceremony"

11/09/2017

Pace Installs New President In Pleasantville Ceremony (Patch)

The inauguration of Marvin Krislov capped off a week-long schedule of activities at the Pleasantville and New York City campuses.

Despite the heavy rains, hundreds came out to Pace University in Pleasantville on Sunday to witness the Inauguration of Marvin Krislov as the university's eighth president.

The ceremony, held in the Goldstein Health and Fitness Center on Pace's Pleasantville campus, was attended by faculty, students, alumni, dignitaries and delegates representing more than 50 colleges and universities from across the nation. The Inauguration capped off a week-long schedule of activities at the university's Pleasantville and New York City campuses, as well as at Pace's Elisabeth Haub School of Law in White Plains.

In his address, Krislov talked about the University's founding in 1906 by the Pace brothers as a small business school and how it has evolved into a well-respected university with some of the top programs in health, business, cybersecurity, arts, sciences and other areas of study. Elaborating on the school's motto of Opportunitas, Krislov said he was very proud of Pace's students, many of whom were the first in their families to attend college. He spoke about Pace's success in helping these students to reach top positions in their chosen fields.

Krislov concluded his speech with reflections on the future: "We must embrace challenges while holding fast to our core values. We will change lives and educate our future leaders from every segment of our society. We will continue to make the American dream a reality for our students. This is Pace, our promise and our future. I'm excited to be part of this great institution and to work with so many people who make a difference every day."

Speakers at the Inauguration included New York State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Pace alumna, and keynote speaker Johnnetta Cole, the first African-American, female president of Spelman College.

Read the full article.

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New York Law Journal: "Judges Ordered to Direct Prosecutors to Turn Over Information Favorable to Defense"

11/08/2017

Judges Ordered to Direct Prosecutors to Turn Over Information Favorable to Defense (New York Law Journal)

...Scheck said that New York state has one of the worst laws in the nation when it comes to requiring the disclosure of exculpatory information. He still thinks those laws must be reformed but said that the orders the judges will issue will be “a sea change.”

Bennett Gershman, a former prosecutor and a Pace University law school professor who writes and lectures on prosecutorial misconduct, welcomed the change.

“Doing it in this way can’t have any negative consequences. It can only produce a positive result. There’s no cost to this thing. There’s no downside,” he said. “They’re constitutionally, ethically and statutorially required to do this anyway. I think it’s a really big deal.”

The order requires prosecutors to turn over information that impeaches the credibility of witnesses, exculpates or reduces the degree of the offense or mitigates the degree of the defendant’s culpability or punishment. It does not matter whether the prosecutor believes the information is credible.

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The Journal News: "Making the Grade"

11/08/2017

Making the Grade (The Journal News)

Pace’s Learning Assistance Center was featured in Education Outlook, the education supplement of The Journal News. Brian Evans, Sue Maxam and Ross Christofferson were interviewed for the article which focuses on available services for students including tutoring, workshops and mentoring. 

Read the article here.

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The Journal News: "Career Change: Grill 3 pros who went back to school at 'The Spiel'"

11/07/2017

Career Change: Grill 3 pros who went back to school at 'The Spiel' (The Journal News)

Are you thinking about a career switch? Should you go back to school for it?

The next installment of The Spiel, an after-hours professional mixer, will be held at The Journal News office in White Plains on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m.

The mixer will be focused on how to change your career by going back to school.

Hear from three people who have been there and done that, and mingle over a glass of wine and nibbles.

Meet a former police officer who now works in business development at a college, a former event planner who is now a nurse and a fundraising expert who works as a health advocate at a hospital.

Who: Cleopatra “Cleo” Mack Scheublin

Before: Event manager, MS, Publishing

Back to School: Bachelor of Nursing, Pace University, pursuing MS, Nursing, Pace University 

Current Job Title: Unit Leader and staff nurse, White Plains Hospital Center

 

Read the article.

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News12: "NY voters to decide on constitutional convention"

11/07/2017

NY voters to decide on constitutional convention (News12)

One of the most important questions on the ballot this year will be about the constitutional convention, but many voters have no idea what the proposition is.

The proposition would give New York voters the right to start the process of rewriting the state constitution. It’s an opportunity that only comes around every 20 years.

Constitutional scholar and Pace Law School professor Bennett Gershman says this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that gives voters a permanent say in how their government works.

“There’s so much about the budget that needs to be reformed, taxation needs to be reformed, education can be improved,” he says.

If the proposition passes, it would begin a two-year process of picking the people who would help overhaul the existing structure of state government.

Democratic state Sen. David Carlucci believes it's a risk not worth taking.

“A convention is too drastic - that opens it all up. It’s like taking out a sledgehammer instead of using a scalpel. Our democracy is very fragile,” he says.

If it's approved, the actual vote to change the Constitution wouldn't take place until 2019. If it’s voted down, voters won’t have another chance until 2037.

The constitutional convention question is one of three on the statewide ballot. The others include authorizing judges to strip the pensions of corrupt officials and creating a 250-acre land bank.

Watch the video.

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