April 2010

The City Council Will Be Meeting on April 20, Downtown Parking Vote Tonight

April 20, 2010 - 21:41

Great Seal of City of New Rochelle.jpgThe City Council will meet this evening at 7 PM.

The agenda for the meeting can be found here


1. Vote on 2.1.1 Amendment for parking changes recommended by the BID Parking Task Force for parking lots in downtown.

2. Vote on War Veterans Property Tax Exemption.

3. Discussion Item from Howard Rattner, Commissioner of Finance; duties and responsibilities of the members of the Board of Assessment.

NOTE: if you would like to join me in covering the City Council meeting each month please contact me at mmgodfrey AT att DOT net.

Varian Announces Candidacy for County Legislature

April 20, 2010 - 21:34

n1630954720_7777.jpgCommunity Leader and Advocate Pledges “Solutions, Not Slogans”

Varian's campaign released the following press release:

New Rochelle community leader and advocate Greg Varian will seek the Democratic nomination for the County Legislative seat recently vacated by Vito Pinto. Varian, an elected Trustee of the New Rochelle Public Library, former President of the New Rochelle Bar Association and former President of the Halcyon Park Neighborhood Association, said he was determined to bring positive and urgently-needed change to Westchester County government.

“With the County facing so many challenges, we need leadership fully in touch with the concerns of our communities,” said Varian. “Throughout my life, I have represented homeowners, small businesses and neighborhoods, and I want to bring those experiences to the County Legislature as a strong advocate for the people of New Rochelle, Eastchester and Tuckahoe. I’m not interested in slogans, I am interested in solutions, and I am ready to get to work.”

Greg Varian was born in New Rochelle. After a brief career in radio, he attended Pace Law School and then returned to New Rochelle to practice law and raise a family.

liveblogging police press conference

April 20, 2010 - 19:24

Strome, Carroll, Schaller and Hearle on hand

police now saying explosion caused by fumes from open container of gasoline inside vehicle.

no known prior threats

victim was 70 years old, at social club at 111 union ave for three hours, car was locked, passersby pulled victim from vehicle.

victim is not providing information to investigators

police operating basis that this was accidental spontaneous combustion. Schaller says this has happened before . Carroll says gasoline has a low combustion point.

container recovered a melted glob of plastic, smelled like gasoline but awaiting chemical analysis.

You Cannot Get There Unless You Know Where You Are Going, Comments on City Council Discussion of Downtown Parking Issue

April 20, 2010 - 14:28

City Council Downtown Parking.jpgLast night I looked at the footage of the April 13th City Council meeting hoping to understand more about the issues surrounding parking in downtown. I was looking for some coherency, some sense of relationship between the larger issue of revitalizing (I hate sustainability for there is nothing of note to sustain at this time) and the parking “issue” which has engage so many people, but unfortunately, not so much the people who are directly impacted or involved as best I can make it out at this point.

I have heard the critics, the supporters, and yes, the “blowing in the wind” crown. The council rhetoric was, frankly, not helpful for the most part, but that could be due to the nature of coming in during a specific point in time and not hearing or seeing context, purpose or for that matter, a sense of plan.

Tentative List of Location of Surveillance Cameras in New Rochelle Breaks 19 to 1, South v. North

April 20, 2010 - 11:22

Surveillance Camera Locations in New Rochelle.jpg

The New Rochelle Police Department has prepared a tentative list of 20 initial locations for surveillance cameras to be placed throughout New Rochelle after receiving approval for $200,000 grant from the State of New York Dormitory Authority. The BID has pledged an additional $15,000 and the owners of the Bloomingdales Condo development have pledged to pay for 2 camera at the Prospect Lot, estimated to cost $5-6,000.

All but one of the cameras would be located in the South End of New Rochelle with most along Main Street between Exit 15 and North Avenue and along North Avenue between Pelham Road and Eastchester Road. The one camera in the North End would be located at the Hutchinson River Parkway ramp on North Avenue near the Ursuline School.

Parking Tickets in Downtown New Rochelle "Will Drive People Away"

April 20, 2010 - 02:34

City Council - BID Parking.jpg
Brian Sussman's remarks captured the feelings of many New Rochelle residents about the proposed downtown parking meter changes saying, the City has always suffered for "lack of parking in the downtown." In his 31 years in the downtown business district he has found the "road to New Rochelle paved with good intentions and bad results." He cited the "failed experiment" a few years ago when the City Council had changed the parking regulations and added, "each City Council has compounded the problem." He spoke at the New Rochelle City Council Citizens to Be Heard on April 13th. Avalon has caused parking areas to disappear citing the example of the Library Green park. He echoed the sentiments of many residents who felt that charging for parking overnight in the various downtown lots,'"won't change a thing."

Proposed School And Library Budgets to be Presented, April 28, Also School Board Candidates

April 20, 2010 - 02:08

The New Rochelle Citizens Reform Club and the Confederation of Neighborhood Associations will co-sponsor a meeting on Wednesday, April 28 at 7:30 PM at the American Legion Post 8 Hall, 112 North Ave., New Rochelle, in the 2nd floor meeting room.

The special guest speakers will be New Rochelle School District Asst. Superintendent John B. Quinn who will discuss the proposed School Budget for 2010 - 2011. Candidates for seats in this year's School Board election have also been invited to give a brief statement on their candidacy.

Also on the agenda as guest speakers are N. R. Public Library Director Tom Geoffino and Library Board Trustee Greg Varian who will both discuss the proposed Library Budget for 2010 - 2011. A question-and-answer period will follow each speaker. The meeting is open to the public and there is free parking on site or in the Mormon Church lot across the street.

Flurry of Coverage for Proposed Security Cameras in New Rochelle

April 19, 2010 - 12:09

It has been in the work and openly discussed for months but the proposal to install security cameras got a sudden flurry of coverage of the past few days:

Journal News: New Rochelle to add surveillance cameras to its streets

Feel like you're being watched? That could be the case soon in New Rochelle, where the city is preparing to install up to 20 surveillance cameras on its public streets. The cameras will be used downtown, at highway ramps and near schools to monitor traffic, promote public safety, and investigate past crimes, city officials.

1010 Wins: Surveillance Cameras Set to Debut on New Rochelle Streets

ABC News: New Rochelle plans surveillance cameras

WCBS TV: NYC Suburb Plans 20 Surveillance Cameras For Cops

In fact, this is really one story, re-written and put out on the Northeast AP Wire. You may see the story picked up in other newspapers in Connecticut, Long Island, New York City and New Jersey as well as the Lower Hudson Valley. This is how the wire services work.

A Barometer of New Rochelle Schools: Plan for Addressing Graduation Rate Crisis in Our Schools on May 4th

April 18, 2010 - 21:54

org-liar.jpgOn May 4th, the New Rochelle School Board will present to the community a plan for action on how to deal with our school crisis of low performance when it comes to low high school graduation. As you know, our schools are failing our children of color. Their four-year graduation rates are incompatible to our claimed success or diversity so often quoted by our community leaders. When you have 2,000 children or rather 2/3's of children expecting NOT to graduate in four years it becomes a testament to lack of vision, leadership and desire to come up with a better solution. To deny that this is a problem, which our school leaders have, is also a defining moment of who they are.
Come on May 4th and ask questions. See if they roll out the same answers as before.
We just received results of our 2009 Regents exams - check these numbers out. Do you feel good about these numbers?NY State Dept of Education Regents Test results for 2009

Albert Leonard Middle School
Living Environment 151 Students Tested - 84% received a score over 85%
Algebra 154 Students Tested - 66% received a score over 85%

Isaac Young Middle School
Living Environment 87 Students Tested - 53% received a score of over 85%