April 2011

New Rochelle City Council Hears from Citizens on Three Redistricting Plans

April 21, 2011 - 13:39

3NRPlans RedistrictingThe New Rochelle City Council held a public hearing last night on plans to redraw the lines which carve up the City into six council districts. The event, which became contentious at times, was largely a matter of political theater with the various sides jockeying for position in a redistricting battle which is all but certain to end up in the Federal courts as happened previously in the wake of the 2000 census. The City was required at that time to create a "black opportunity district" to give African-American residents of New Rochelle an edge in determining the outcome of the election in what is now District 3. The large growth in the Latino population in New Rochelle since 2000 has led to calls for a similar district for Latino voters in what may become District 1 or District 4 depending on where the lines are drawn.

New Rochelle Republicans Release Redistricting Plan on Eve of Public Hearing

April 20, 2011 - 22:28

NR GOP RedistricitngPlanOn the eve of the City Council Public Hearing on Redistricting in the wake of the 2010 census, the New Rochelle Republican Party has released its plan. Earlier in the day the New Rochelle Citizens Committee released its own Redistricting plan. The Democrats released their plan on April 8th.

District 1 13,099 31% Hispanic, 27% Hispanic 18+
District 2 12,878
District 3 12, 530 >50% NH Blk, >50% 18+ NH Blk
District 4 13,670 56% Hispanic, 52% Hispanic 18+
District 5 12, 414
District 6 12, 471

For the uninitiated, the Democrats and Republicans will all talk about their desire to be "fair" and follow Federal guidelines for redistricting but the real goal is achieve a political advantage within Federal guidelines. The Democrats (the majority) will say their plan is fair and offer to make minor (i.e. meaningless) concessions. The Republicans (the minority) will say that plan is unfair. In the end the GOP will try to avoid running on lines drawn by Democrats by seeking to have a Federal judge to intervene and the Democrats will try to run on the lines they have drawn by pushing through their plan on a party line vote and using City resources to defend the adopted (i.e. Bramson) plan by keeping it out of court. The key players will be minority groups in New Rochelle (i.e. Latinos, African-Americans) who will be most likely to have legal standing to file a lawsuit. Of course, it is always possible that all sides will come to some sort of compromise but that seems unlikely given the extreme nature of the Democrats plan which radically alters District's 1, 2 and 4 and impacts Latino and African-American voting blocks.

New Rochelle Citizens Committee Releases Independent Redistricting Map

April 20, 2011 - 17:18

CitizenCommNRRedistrictignMap 455(New Rochelle, NY) -- An independently researched redistricting map for the election of New Rochelle's six council members is to be unveiled at a special session at City Hall, 515 North Avenue, New Rochelle, NY tomorrow night (Wednesday night) at 7:30 pm.

"We promised the citizens of New Rochelle a fair, non-partisan map and redistricting plan and we have got it!" claimed Mark McLean, chairman of the ad hoc/bi-partisan group, Concerned New Rochelle Citizens' Redistricting Committee (CNRCRC) after their Tuesday meeting. "It is logical, fair, balanced and partial to no single political faction." Referring to a plan issued 10 days ago by the City Council that expressed the will of its Democratic majority, he continued, "Our CNRCRC plan is better; it has geometric conciseness and demographic precision and respects the 1973 Voting Rights Act and the 2003 U.S. District Court consent decree signed by parties to the previous New Rochelle case."

The chairman was confident that his rendering will help the City Council review its own previously-issued plan and help "correct several flaws." Chief among them: a) insufficient provision of a mandated African-American opportunity district, b) "disregard for the rights of African-Americans and Spanish-speaking Americans generally in the growing precincts of New Rochelle's central core and points south," he continued. McLean said he was eager to discuss the map with everyone involved including office holders, city hall staff, and any demographic consultants specified by council. "Nobody wants the process to fail or to be lost in frivolous bickering. We just want it to be fair and transparent to everyone."

Iona College Marriage and Family Therapy Department to Present Gottman Institute Method Couples Workshop

April 20, 2011 - 17:02

JeffWhiteNew Rochelle, NY (April 2011) Iona College’s accredited Marriage and Family Therapy Department (MFT) will present a two-day workshop, “Professional Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy,” May 5 and 6 at the college’s Faculty Reception Room, Spellman Hall, 715 North Avenue, New Rochelle, NY.

Presented by Jeffrey B. White, PhD (candidate), a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified Gottman Method Couples Therapist, the workshop training covers three decades of research on what makes marriages succeed or fail and teaches a therapy that helps relationships to thrive.

Participants will be trained in couple dynamics, marital assessment, couple exercises and therapeutic interventions. All workshop materials may be used in private practice settings.

The workshop is designed for mental health providers, allied professionals and clergy, family clinic staff, professors/teachers of couples therapy, researchers in social sciences, graduate students and interns (discount for registration fees available with proof of status).

ShopRite and Union Baptist Church in New Rochelle Unveil Fundraising Plans to Rebuild from Fire

April 20, 2011 - 16:26

Shopriteandunionbaptistchurchinnewrochelleunveilfun2FLORIDA, NY (April 19, 2011) – ShopRite Supermarkets Inc., which operates stores throughout Westchester, Orange, Ulster, Sullivan, Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam, Middlesex, Sussex and Union counties, and members of Union Baptist Church, today announced a series of fundraising initiatives to assist in the rebuilding of the 100-year old Union Baptist Church in New Rochelle, which was tragically destroyed in a fire on Valentine’s Day.

New Rochelle Council Member Barry Fertel Supports Freespeech

April 20, 2011 - 14:07

FreeSpeech2New Rochelle Council Member Barry Fertel is expressing his support for Freespeech.

Not "Free Speech", the First Amendment right to talk your head off. No. Fertel is supporting Freespeech, an iPhone app developed by Jason Fetrel, the Council Member's son. The app was recently features in the Unofficial SXSW AppShowcase. SXSW is short-hand for the famed South by SouthWest conference in Austin, Texas. Freespeech bills itself as "the perfect combinations of group messaging, text messaging and real-time message acknowledgements". As the name suggests, the app is free.

Fertel gave his son's app five stars and adds "Outstanding, smooth and simple. Love it!"

Jason Fertel is an accomplished software engineer who previously worked on Wall Street.

New Rochelle High School Football Coach Embraces Social Media with New Twitter Account

April 20, 2011 - 13:53


New Rochelle High School Football Coach Lou DiRienzo has launched a Twitter account to provide news and information about the New Rochelle Huguenots Varsity Football team. Twitter is a popular social media service which can be access for free at

NY-CT Mayors, County Execs, Planning Orgs Launch Unprecedented Bi-State Sustainability Collaboration

April 20, 2011 - 13:06


(New York, NY) – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Administrator Adolfo Carrion today formally presided over the kickoff event for the New York-Connecticut Sustainable Communities initiative, an unprecedented bi-state collaboration that is the recipient of a $3.5 million HUD Sustainable Communities Initiative Grant. He was joined by representatives from five New York and four Connecticut cities, the Nassau County and Suffolk County Executives, the New York City Planning Commissioner, and the heads of six regional planning organizations, who collectively comprise the consortium.