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March 2009

OPEN THREAD - Bramson Delivers State of the City Address

March 20, 2009 - 15:29
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mayor of new rochelle state of the city by jot2147 on CBS EyeMobile

Noam Bramson delivered his State of the City message, saying the state of the City was strong and will be even stronger. Christine Pizzuti has a write up over at LoHud. According to Pizzuti, Bramson talked about the federal stimulus package, a partial hiring freeze, deferring capital expenditures, garbage pickup, a new hotel occupancy tax, LeCount Square, Garden Street corridor, and North Avenue corridor. The article does not mention Echo Bay Project, the Armory, Target or Kohl's coming to New Roc City. Any other dogs not barking?

I've asked the City to provide a copy of the speech, audio or video. I suppose it will air on cable access at some point. For those who were there, please add more information about the speech in the comments section.

New Rochelle City Council Discusses Stimulus Process

March 20, 2009 - 10:09

On March 10th, New Rochelle City Councilman Richard St. Paul asks for an explanation of how the City requested stimulus funds from New York State. City Manager Chuck Strome and Mayor Noam Bramson answer. The full time line detailed in the video is provided below the fold.

NOTE: the audio from NRTV is poor (the room is not mic'd correctly and there is no audio boost). The discussion meandered a bit so you will see plenty of jump edits where I chopped out sidebar discussions.

ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE - NEW ROCHELLE TIMELINE

December 8, 2008 – In anticipation of the adoption of a stimulus package, City staff meet to develop list of potential projects.

December 29, 2008 – Staff submits memorandum with draft list of potential projects to City Council.

January 13, 2009 – Economic Stimulus Package is discussed as a discussion item at the City Council’s Committee of the Whole Session.

The Hardest Times This School Board Has Faced

March 20, 2009 - 00:01
Characterizing the New Rochelle School District budget as "relatively" conservative, New Rochelle Superintendent of Schools, Richard Organisciak, answered questions of residents.  At the March l0 meeting of the New Rochelle Board of Education one issue brought up was that the proposed budget for the next year had to conform to a tax cap mandated by the state.  According to John Quinn, Assistant Superintendent, staff cuts were made.  As an example he explained a reevaluation of a position resulted in a lower salary.  The final budget will be available on April 1 and the Public Hearing will be on May 5.  At the end of August the tax rate will be set.

Responding to the concerns of residents who spoke at the meeting,  Mary Jane Reddington claimed she was aware of the difficult economic times and in her 26 years on the Board of Education these are the "hardest times she has faced."   Quay Watkins added these were unprecedented times and that the principals had come back with "cost savings measures."  She added, "We can not fail our children; we will not fail our children."

With IDAs the Issue is Accountability

March 19, 2009 - 17:39
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During these trying times it was disheartening to read the second annual report on Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) released by Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.  He has promised to increase oversight of IDAs and suspended nine in 2008.  He now feels, "more needs to be done to increase transparency and accountability and to measure the value of IDAs."

The total amount of projects, tax exemptions and average cost per job "have all increased, while the estimated number of jobs created has declined by approximately 2000 jobs" according to the report.  Yonkers has had a significant increase in IDA activities amounting to over two billion dollars with a cost per job of $12,290.  With nearly $57 million in projects, New Rochelle's rank in cost per job was virtually unchanged, third highest in the state at $26,077 for an estimated 310 job gain.  This cost per job is about six times higher than the state average of $4,527 and many more times the median cost per job in the state of $1,288.

Noam Bramson Chides City Council Members for "Unhealthy" Dialog with Constituents

March 18, 2009 - 19:05
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Noam Bramson likes to talk about being a product of the New Rochelle public school system which makes sense when you consider the Stalinist mentality among school district educrats and Bramson's rather twisted notions about representative government.

Mayor Noam Bramson, reacting to our reporting on the City's stimulus funding requests, chided council members last week for expressing their concerns publicly. Bramson does not want City Council members to relate any concerns they might have about how the government is being run "second or third hand through the media or some other avenue". Our Mayor find this to be "unhealthy" and not the sort of dialog which "ought to exist between individuals and groups that really have to be working in partnership."

Apologies in advance for the lousy audio.

School Board Erupts When Questioned About MacMenamin's Deal

March 18, 2009 - 17:46
2 comments
Hey! Where'd the Money Go?



Last night at the school board meeting I pointed out a line item in the school budget -- $40,000 for culinary arts program -- and attempted to confirm that this line item referred to the MacMenamin's Grill deal we have written about in the past.

I wished to ask the board whether spending $40,000 next year, for a total of $175,000 since 2006 on gourmet cooking classes for students at MacMenamin's Grill was the most cost efficient way to offer such a program as taxpayers already fund BOCES which offers vocational training in the culinary arts.

City of New Rochelle Violates Age Discrimination & Employment Act

March 18, 2009 - 14:49
8 comments

New Rochelle Department of Civil Service and the New Rochelle Police Department are in violation of the Age Discrimination & Employment Act of 1967!

NRPD Current Practice: An individual CANNOT apply for the position of Police Officer in the City of New Rochelle if that individual is 35 years of age or older. This current practice is in direct violation of the Age Discrimination & Employment Act of 1967. The New Rochelle Civil Service Department COULD NOT logically explain why a person 35 years of age could not apply for a Police Officer position. They responded that a 35+ year old person couldn’t handle the requirement of the position and asked why someone would want to be a police officer at that age in the first place. It was nice to hear the so-called “quality” response that was given to a serious question. I guess the requirement to work in the Civil Service Department is that you have to have a pulse, because anyone with a mind wouldn’t have answered this question in this manner.

The New Rochelle Civil Service Department and the New Rochelle Police Department should lift the age restriction so that people over 35+ years of age who are more than capable of performing the duties of a police officer can be given the opportunity to apply without discrimination.

State of the City Address this Thursday (March 19th) at the Davenport Club

March 18, 2009 - 10:34
4 comments

On March 19th, Bramson will deliver his fourth State of the City Address. The speech itself begins at 7:45pm and is free. A dinner, sponsored by the "So Called Pathetic" Chamber of Commerce, precedes the speech at 6:00pm. The cost for dinner is an outrageous $30 per person. (You can come just for the speech, if you like.)

This is the perfect opportunity to express your opinions on what a disastrous job Bramson and the City Council are doing to the city as well as its hard working taxpayers. I hope you will attend. To make a reservation, please contact the Chamber of Commerce at 914-632-5700. The details again:

State of the City Address
Thursday, March 19th
Dinner at 6:00pm
Speech at 8:00pm (Arrive by 7:45pm)

Davenport Club
400 Davenport Avenue
New Rochelle, NY 10805

New Rochelle IDA must make info public

March 18, 2009 - 07:56
3 comments

Talk of the Sound contributor Peggy Godfrey has a piece up on the lohud site:

The second annual report on industrial development agencies by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli promises greater "transparency and accountability to measure the value of IDAs." The report states that New Rochelle had nearly $57 million in projects, and its rank in cost per job is the third-highest in the state at $26,077 per job created for an estimated 310 jobs. This cost per job is about six times higher than the state average of $4,527 and many more times the state median cost per job of $1,288.

read the whole thing here

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