August 2009

Open Letter to Mayor Bramson: $2 Million Surplus? Back It Up!

August 05, 2009 - 12:26

Mayor Bramson,

Yesterday, on WVOX Radio, you asserted as fact that downtown development in New Rochelle has produced a $2 million surplus in school revenue when compared to the costs associated with the children's education from these developments. When I called into WVOX radio to challenge this assertion you cut me off. Is this your idea of public service? You make unsubstantiated claims and then suppress those among the public who dare question your claims?

As you chose to cut me off yesterday, refusing to respect honest disagreement, I call on you today to release the study or analysis which supports your claim of a $2 million surplus.

Such a study would list individual projects -- by full legal name & address -- whether each project was a private deal or a partnership with the City of New Rochelle and what size and type of tax abatements they received (IDA, PILOT, mortgage recording, sales tax on building materials, purchase of land from the IDA for $1 etc.). Most importantly, the study would show what the taxes would be for each project at 100% valuation.

On the revenue side, the study would include a detailed breakdown of precisely what revenue you are attributing to these projects -- property tax, sales tax and so on.

North Avenue and Fifth Avenue Resurfacing Scheduled This week

August 04, 2009 - 22:12

The New Rochelle Department of Public Works is notifying motorists of two roadway resurfacing scheduled for this week.

Beginning at 8 PM on Wednesday and ending Thursday morning, North Avenue will be resurfaced between Wykagyl Drive and Lovell Road; and Fifth Avenue will be resurfaced between Lorenz Avenue and Hunter Avenue. This work will continue on Thursday night. Both sections will be subject to periodic short-term closures during that time.

To avoid delays, motorists are advised to seek alternate routes during this work. We request your patience with both the noise and traffic conditions.


You can listen here.

Report from the Board of Education Meeting on July 27, 2009

August 04, 2009 - 21:59

The primary purpose of the meeting was for the audit committee to hear from the internal auditors from Tobin & Company. That report was made in executive session so there is not much to report. John Quinn spoke about the internal auditors report in the opening meeting but without the context of the report it was difficult to evaluate them significance of what he had to say.

The main two news items coming out of the meeting were, (1) the Aramark settlement; and (2) the approval of the contract for school principals. There is more on the Aramark settlement here.

This was also the first meeting of the board since the coup which deposed Quay Watkins. It is worth noting that Watkins remained in the clerk's office, by herself, during the executive session (even though she is on the Audit Committee). During the public meeting, Watkins sat about as "apart" as you can get at the conference table in the Carew room -- she sat at the farthest end of the table, away from Richmond and Petrone, and across from Jeff Hastie. She did not say a word to anyone as she entered the room, did not speak during the meeting and as I left the room had no spoken a word to anyone.

New Rochelle Police Department to Photograph Tattoos -- on Fellow Police Officers

August 04, 2009 - 19:37

tattoo.tiffA campaign by the brass at the New Rochelle Police Department to increase the number of tickets issued for driving while talking on a cell phone has led to a a rift within the department that has now morphed into a new policy to prohibit tattoos on police officers setting off widespread dissension among the rank-and-file within the department.

Recently, an internal review within New Rochelle Police Department concluded that the department was not writing enough tickets for driving while talking one a cell phone. During roll call, police officers were put on notice that they needed to step up enforcement of the law against driving while talking on a cell phone (note to teens: presumably that also includes driving while text thing). While many drivers will no doubt applaud a crackdown on reckless behavior while driving, the rank-and-file within the department were unhappy with the way in which the decision was communicated. Things came to ahead after the girlfriend of a son of New Rochelle’s Deputy Police Commissioner, Anthony D. Murphy, was issued a ticket for driving while talking on her cell phone.

Special Treatment for "McKnight Kids"

August 04, 2009 - 19:02

Last week we told you about a new development in the McKnight case when we reported that the sister of Demetrius Hazelton told police that she had made up a story about her boyfriend threatening her after which police considered filing charges against her for filing a false police report. This week, Talk of the Sound has learned the identity of the New Rochelle Police Captain who received and the highly unusual phone call that evening from Sergeant Reynolds, the sergeant on duty at the police station at night.

Captain Robert Gazola was the officer was was called at his home and asked to make a decision regarding whether or not to press charges for filing a false police report against the young woman. Sources tell Talk of the Sound this is "never, ever done" because a police captain at home is not in a position to make a a sound judgment based on all the facts regarding an incident in which he has no direct knowledge and worry is not on hand to speak directly with the principals.

Monroe College Sued by Unemployed Recent Grad

August 04, 2009 - 18:41

It is hard to imagine this is likely to help her find a job but Trina Thompson, a recent graduate of Monroe College, filed a lawsuit in Bronx Supreme Court last week claiming that Monroe's Office of Career Advancement has not fulfilled their promise to provide her with job leads and career advice. This story has been picked up "coast to coast" as a classic "stupid lawsuit" story. At the very least, this is a classic "self-fulfilling prophecy" as not to many employers will rush to hire someone who sues their alma mater a few months after graduation because they do not get a job in one of the worst economic conditions in decades.

Kathianne Boniello has more on the story over at The New York Post.

The Monroe College grad wants the $70,000 she spent on tuition because she hasn't found gainful employment since earning her bachelor's degree in April

I checked with the courts but was unable to find her case on line. I emailed Boniello to get the index number for the case. Once I get the filing I will link it here.

One thing I did find was that this was not Ms. Thompson's first trip to the court house. At least, there are quite a few cases involving someone names Trina Thompson in New York courts.

New Rochelle BoE Settles Aramark's Half-Million Dollar Lawsuit for Undisclosed Sum

August 04, 2009 - 15:02

9BEFE7D9-8763-4D2C-82C9-C226EA020A96.jpgThe New Rochelle Board of Education last week quietly settled the nearly half-million dollar lawsuit brought against the school district by Aramark Educational Services in which the food services giant alleged that district officials had engaged in fraud and negligent misrepresentations "designed to induce Aramark to enter into a contract and the district's failure to satisfy outstanding financial obligations owed to Aramark".

Fraud? Misrepresentations? By our New Rochelle school officials? Say it ain't so, Richard.

Aramark Educational Services accused New Rochelle officials of lying about the number of meals served in the public schools and sought a a judgment of $405,031.66 plus interest and attorney fees.

Here is the resolution they don't want you to see...



National Study Finds Gym Class Can Be Dangerous; They Should Come to New Rochelle!

August 04, 2009 - 13:52

04EE5CEB-359C-4329-A1EF-9BF5FADB7FFB.jpgThe Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio has published the results of a recent study which found that injuries related to Physical Education programs at elementary, middle and high school students in the United States increased 150 percent between 1997 and 2007. The study, led by Dr. Lara McKenzie (pictured here), shows that "the 150 percent increase in PE-related injuries presenting to emergency departments was consistent across gender and age groups" and was not likely "attributable to an increase in PE participation:

New York State of Affairs - George Latimer

August 03, 2009 - 21:20

An informal update on New York State issues from Assemblyman George Latimer August 2009

For most of us, August is a time of rest and vacation. While the Assembly is not expected to be in session in Albany this month, I have plenty to do to regarding local funding and legislative issues, to handle individual constituent issues and advocacy, to prepare new legislation and modify existing bills for our next legislative session, and to review in detail the status of state finances. I expect to be “around” the district in August, and this is a good month to meet in person as issues arise.

George Latimer
Assemblyman, 91st A.D.

Selecting a Lt. Governor
During the recent State Senate leadership standoff, Governor David Paterson announced that he had named Richard Ravitch to serve as Lt. Governor to fill his unexpired term in the position Paterson held before being elevated to Governor. The appointment is based on an interpretation of Public Officers Law Section 43 that allows a Governor to fill a vacancy in a public post when there is no other method provided to do so. The State Constitution specifies filling vacancies in other statewide elected posts such as Attorney General and Comptroller, but is ambiguous on the L.G.