GreeNR

CLARIFICATION: New Rochelle Mayor Says Never Planned to Attend United Nations Conference in Brazil

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Talk of the Sound has previously reported that Mayor Noam Bramson was planning on attending the United Nations Rio + 20 Conference in June. Our reporting was based on an initial source and then confirmed by multiple sources. The information has been published at least four times on Talk of the Sound since March. Given this, we were surprised to learn that in response to an article in another publication for which Talk of the Sound was a source, City Spokesperson Kathy Gilwit requested a correction of that publication. As we were the source for a story in the Westchester Guardian we will certainly take the hit if our reporting was wrong. If there is a correction it should come from Talk of the Sound.

Our original source still stands by the original information so our reporting remains correct, sources did tell Talk of the Sound the Mayor was going to Brazil in June for the Rio + 20 conference. The Mayor has emphatically denied that report. Readers will have to draw their own conclusions.

GreeNR Plan Creates Serious Issues for New Rochelle Residents

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In the May 3 issue of the Westchester Guardian

*Update: Mayor Bramson says he will not attend Conference in Rio.

Will the 43 initiatives of the GreeNR plan ever be implemented? According to Debra Newborn, New Rochelle's Sustainability Coordinator, the City of New Rochelle has received several awards for their plans for environmental sustainability. The present Sustainability Plan includes job creation and addresses the quality of life according to Newborn at the New Rochelle League of Women Voters Coffee and Conversation meeting on April 20 led by Susan Fleming.
A projection has been made that the population of the City will increase by 5,000 in the near future and the "challenge" was where will these new residents of the City live. The Smart Growth answer was to place these people in new buildings within one-half mile of the train station and stores (in the southern part of the City).

Sustainability/GreeNR; Curative; or Kabuki Theater?

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Green New Rochelle, ICLEI, Agenda 21 etc. are nothing more than local organizing angles torn from the pages of Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals." This is the textbook of New Age societal re-organization for the hordes and multitudes of the disaffected and self-classified 99 percenters poised and ready to inflict a second Great Recession on our nation with a second Obama term of office.

They are ideological crowbars; extraordinary tools for forcing open the ordinary mechanisms of local governance and political reform in our municipality and injecting into them some very serious, long-term revisions and reversals of accustomed democratic practices in our system of representative government.

As a general matter, no one is his or her right mind can be against serious recycling; reductions in packaging and energy utilization, re-use of carbon-based materials like PVC and PET, composting of appropriate materials etc. The point is only that we do not need a "multi-inch" bundle of mundane platitudes and intrusive prescriptions and proscriptions to achieve it.

My Objection is Sustained, Move On

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I have been subjected to granola overload on Sustainability recently over the airways. The more I hear, the more I am convinced that few people have any perspective, or much knowledge on the subject. This is fine as an excuse to smack the kitchen table and scream out dumkopf or muttonhead, but it is serious business when it could well represent reduction in property owner equity or even political persperation. We are going through very, very difficult times and all we need are other reasons to shock the system and step all over any sense or sensibility that exists in governance.

Let's get a grip on Sustainability/GreeNR. Other communities are beginning to see the light and it is our turn.

There have been many other times during the evolution of civilization when we had to change based on natural causes (climate) or technological change (bronze age, iron age). It takes place as a natural process of evolution, of survival of the species. Recently, we have experienced these types of changes we can more readily identify with and these can be correctly define Sustainability and for our community GreeN.

Despite Bramson Claims, New Rochelle Mayor Prepares for UN Conference in Rio Co-Organized by ICLEI

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The United Nations has released its preliminary report in preparation for Rio + 20. New Rochelle will be represented at the conference by Mayor Noam Bramson.

Bramson has denied a relationship (video from April 10, 2012 City Council meeting above) between New Rochelle and the United Nations even as he prepares to go to Rio de Janeiro for the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development known as "Rio + 20". The major UN Conference, scheduled to be convened in Brazil from June 20 to 23, is organized by members of the UN system.

HAPPY EARTH DAY: Side by Side Comparison of Original Local Agenda 21 Plan for New Rochelle (GreeNR) to Final Version

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GreeNR SidebySideJust in time for Earth Day, Talk of the Sound has reviewed the Local Agenda 21 plan for New Rochelle, NY created under an ICLEI program first announced in 2009 and analyzed changes to the document made after the New Rochelle City Council voted to adopt the plan in 2011. Earth Day falls each year on April 22nd. It is the two-year anniversary of the release of the original GreeNR plan.

GreeNR Side by Side Analysis (39 MB PDF)

Talk of the Sound conducted a similar analysis when GreeNR was released in 2010 and many of the concerns we raised were raised at Council. In some cases, items we identified -- requiring homeowners to pay to upgrade the lateral lines from their house to the City sewer system when selling their home, displaying private information from Con Edison on electricity usage -- were removed from the revised GreeNR plan. Others however, such as the GreeNR Seal and the "Green Lien" programs, remain.

The linked document provides a side by side analysis of the document as presented to the City Council in April 2010 and the document created on March 17, 2012. The two documents contain insertions and deletions of images, section dividers and other cosmetic changes that make a side by side comparison difficult. Talk of the Sound inserted blank pages or removed cosmetic pages so that the content pages matched up and could be run through the software to identify changes. The mark up key uses yellow highlights, red rectangles and red ovals: sections, sentences or words "of interest" are highlighted in yellow; changes between the two documents are marked with a red rectangle; sections, sentences or words that suggest mandates are marked with a red oval.

Although certain sections have been updated to reflect data from 2010 to 2009 or 2011 to 2010, the title is not updated. The title is "New Rochelle Sustainability Plan 2010 - 2030" but the plan was not adopted until 2011. Title should read "New Rochelle Sustainability Plan 2011 - 2031". Which data was updated in the document is inconsistent and appears to be random.

During the Public Hearing on GreeNR in 2010, New Rochelle Sustainability Coordinator Deborah Newborn stated that GreeNR contained recommendations for mandates. When she was asked about mandates during City Council meetings she said there were no recommendations for mandates. In fact, there are recommendations for mandates and, in one case, according to the updated GreeNR document, Residential Recycling the City has already moved on from voluntarily recycling to mandatory recycling; the plan states that the City may now issue summonses. In another example, there is now a mandate on idling and summonses can be issued. There are other mandates regarding building codes. According to Newborn, the overall intent of GreeNR is to try the voluntary compliance route first and then move to mandatory mandatory if the voluntary route fails which is another way of saying the plan contains "mandates" even though she and the Mayor later claimed there were no mandates in the plan.

County Executive Rob Astorino Terminates Westchester's Membership in ICLEI

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Rob AstorinoWestchester County is no longer a member of ICLEI.

County Executive Rob Astorino made the decision shortly after taking office to terminate Westchester's membership in ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability which came to an end effective December 31, 2011. Membership dues for Westchester County amounted to $20,000 annually.

“When we came into office we reviewed all of the associations to which the County belonged," said Ned McCormack, chief spokesman for Astorino. "We determined that ICLEI was not an essential service and we dropped the membership".

This is a striking turnaround for a county that just four years ago released an ICLEI-inspired Climate Action Plan calling on all municipalities to join ICLEI.

The difference has been Astorino, a no-nonsense fiscal conservative whose stunning upset victory in 2009 over long-time incumbent, Democrat Andy Spano. Under Spano, Westchester County became the highest-taxed county in the nation. Astorino was elected with a 16-point margin largely on his promise to reign in spending and get control of property taxes.

Local Governments That Have Left ICLEI

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Local Governments That Have Left ICLEI (ICLEI Membership Page)

Last updated April 13, 2012
If you have a link to a recent announcement of a local government terminating their membership in ICLEI please contact us.

California

Colfax
Amador County

Florida

Pinellas County
Plantation
Sarasota County

Maryland

Carroll County

Massachusetts

Carver

New Jersey

Monmouth County
Somerset County

New Mexico

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