February 2012

The City Yard is Coming to The West End - Done Deal!!

February 21, 2012 - 12:15

Despite many efforts in discussing the awful impact the City Yard will have on the West End Community, the Mayor and City Manager will proceed to push for a vote tonight to have city tax payers issue a bond for $600,000 to finance the design and planning costs of the City Yard off Beechwood Avenue in the West End. So, the Mayor never answered my letter. He never held a meeting in the West End. He thumbed his nose at the diverse community that is the West End. It is a done deal! Do you think there is a conspiracy to revive the auction block? Do City Council members believe this to be an issue of environmental racism that they wish to keep silent because of warp political fidelity? Sad development indeed. The season for non-violent civil disobedience is here.

Martin Sanchez

New Rochelle National Guardsman Preparing to Deploy to Kuwait

February 20, 2012 - 23:02

Jabari SkeeneNew Rochelle resident Jabari Skeene is in Camp Shelby, Mississippi preparing to deploy to Kuwait in April.

Skeene's unit, New York City's 69th Infantry Regiment, is one of several New York State Army National Guard soldiers who are heading to the Middle East. Also mobilizing are the New York National Guard's 108th Infantry Regiment (Utica, NY) and 27th Brigade Combat Team (Syracuse).

Jabari Skeene lives on Lincoln Avenue in New Rochelle. On December 9th, the New Rochelle Fire Department responded to a "Christmas Tree" fire at his family's house at 147 Lincoln Avenue.

The 69th Infantry Regiment is known as the "Fighting Sixty-Ninth", a name said to have been given to it by Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. This unit is also the original owner of "Fighting Irish" nickname, which the University of Notre Dame inherited via chaplains who served with the unit during the Civil War.

How Can Education in the United States Be Improved?

February 20, 2012 - 21:11

The United States ranking on international testing of high school students dropped in 2010. New York State recently won a $700 million Race to the Top grant which required school systems to include a significant percent of teacher evaluation on their student test scores. Governor Andrew Cuomo has threatened to withhold state aid from districts that do not reach agreements on a teacher evaluation process. Comments by school personnel in Westchester highlight why teacher evaluation is such an elusive goal. Teacher unions are opposed. Administrators have been quoted in the press as saying the money they are allotted to receive will be insufficient to allow the schools to reach the required standards.To illustrate, in Westchester and Rockland 31 districts will get less than $50,000 and 8 will get nothing. School board members lament they will have to deal with collective bargaining issues. In the meantime President Barack Obama has given l0 states (not New York) a waiver from the No Child Left Behind's demanding requirements.

Journal News Offers Primer on School Budgets Under Cuomo Tax-Levy Cap

February 20, 2012 - 13:43

Gary Stern has a good primer on how local school districts are dealing with Cuomo's tax levy cap: School districts struggle to explain tax cap.

The first thing that school districts want their communities to understand about the state’s new tax cap is that it isn’t really a tax cap. What it does is limit how much a district’s tax levy can go up. That’s the total amount a district raises in taxes. But the cap does not limit how much property-tax bills — what you pay — may go up.

Exempt from the tax-levy cap are expenses such as pension costs and voter-approved capital costs.

NR Democrats a Disgrace

February 20, 2012 - 13:38

Tomorrow night the NR Democrats will continue their steamrolling of the dejected duo (Trangucci & Tarantino). Tomorrow night the NR Democrats will vote to bond $600,000 for the design phase of moving the city yard to Beechwood Avenue. What’s curious is that a mere three years ago the same design phase was proposed with a $2,500,000 price tag. I would like City Manager Strome & Mayor Bramson to explain the math process used to derive this. There is no logical reason for this except that Strome & Bramson were trying to pull a fast one three years ago. This time Bramson will railroad this bond issue through and shortly thereafter-another $13,000,000 bond to construct the new city yard on Beechwood Avenue. Bramson is fast tracking the city yard because he can. Once the New Rochelle Democrats, led by Bramson, achieved a super-majority on council there will be no way of stopping their out-of-control spending. Bramson has created new positions like a sustainability coordinator and focused on bike paths while two of the last three proposed budgets included termination of first responders, New Rochelle Firefighters.

Engineering Study Supports New Rochelle City Yard Relocation

February 19, 2012 - 23:17

Move would save taxpayer dollars, release waterfront property for adaptive reuse

A detailed study of the options for the location and modernization of the municipal Public Works Yard has concluded that relocation is the best option.

The DPW Relocation Study, conducted by Dolph Rotfeld Engineering, was commissioned by the City government in early 2011 to compare the costs and benefits of modernizing the current East Main Street operations center versus constructing a new DPW facility at City-owned property on Beechwood Avenue . The study was presented to the City Council on Tuesday.

In comparing the two options, the study found:

• Constructing a new Public Works Yard on Beechwood Avenue would save taxpayers more than $3 million when compared to the estimated cost of modernizing the Public Works Yard at its present location. The estimated cost of the Beechwood site is approximately $13 million as compared to $16 million for the East Main Street site- which has the additional expense of developing and operating a temporary facility during the construction period.

Port Chester Leap Frogs New Rochelle (Again) with New Whole Foods

February 19, 2012 - 00:46

Logo Retail copy
The old adage in real estate is location, location, location. Well, for the purposes of future development in New Rochelle, it should be parking, parking, parking.

The parking situation in downtown New Rochelle is woeful. Since 1995 we have lost about half of our on street parking inventory and consolidated into the New Roc lot which is difficult to access and not centrally located. Recently my wife and I went out to eat at Alvin & Friends. It was fantastic but we had to park at the HSBC lot next door and risk having our car towed. A few weeks later we went to Bar Taco in Port Chester and had no trouble at all parking in their enormous and free parking lot that parallels the main strip downtown.

Iona College Now LIVE on ESPN2 v. Nevada-Reno

February 18, 2012 - 21:41

Iona v NevadaThe Iona Gaels are playing University of Nevade-Reno live on ESPN2 as part of the ESPN Bracket Busters Games.

The game is being broadcast from the Hynes Center at Iona College in New Rochelle.

UPDATE: I went over there to watch the second half live. It was packed. I noticed all the coaches were wearing bow ties and I was like "what is up with the bow ties?" When I got back I saw a tweet from ICGaels which explained the whole bow tie thing. Hint, it's about prostate cancer.

Democrats on Westchester Board of Legislators Reject Citizen Volunteers, Embrace Partisan Politics

February 18, 2012 - 20:38

In a continuation of the practice of unprecedented partisan-politics that began when Board of Legislators Chairman, Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) denied his Republican colleagues on the Board of Legislators any committee chairmanships, and even took away the committee chairmanship that one Republican Legislator had held for fifteen years, nine members of the Democratic caucus have voted down the appointments of seven appointees to various citizen-advisory boards and commissions. The votes took place at the Board of Legislators regular meeting on Monday February 13th. The citizen appointments were made by County Executive Rob Astorino. The citizen committee members are volunteers who would have served on the Housing Opportunity Commission, the Human Rights Commission and the Planning Board among others. The citizen committee members receive no material compensation for their service. The lone Democrat to vote with the Republicans for the appointments was Legislator Michael Kaplowitz (D-Somers).