Trangucci: Leaf Bagging Not a 'Green Project'

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Trangucci: Leaf Bagging Not a 'Green Project'

May 31, 2014 - 01:30

In the May 30, 2014 issue of Soundview Rising

The leaf bagging saga in New Rochelle continues as at the last City Council meeting the representatives hired by the City Council to conduct an informational campaign were presented with a series of challenging questions.

The educational campaign was financed by the council which voted to amend this year's budget to include the needed $100,000; $75,000 was set aside for The Harlequin Creative Group for project design and management along with "messaging" and deliverables (signs, mailings etc.) and $10,000 for the Greenburgh Nature Center for education and mulch mowing outreach. This left $15,000 for contingencies

This City Council motion authorized this expenditure from the 2014 budget with an offset to save the city $100,000 in leaf collection costs since residents would be forced to either bag or mulch their leaves.

New Rochelle's Communication and Marketing Manager Kathy Gilwit said the campaign process for this legislation. First there would be a post card announcement; second, a substantive mailing; and lastly, a reminder; lawn signs could be included. She advocated a creative, innovative approach, adding an "a la carte" menu could be used and the campaign could be "creative and innovative."

Fred and Sherry Bruck of Harlequin Creative Group answered an assortment of questions by council members. Likewise, Virginia Picciotta explained the leaf mulching process which will be an the outreach program to residents if they have questions about mulching.

Councilwoman Shari Rackman brought up the first difficulty with this new "bagging leaves' law." Her district is mostly in the 10583 zip code group, and she noted, many houses in her zip code are in Scarsdale proper and those residents would not want this mail. She also felt the letter carrier may deliver this mail when he "feels like" doing it.

Councilman Lou Trangucci was the only one to oppose this budget allocation for the educational campaign legislation because he said residents' concerns had not been addressed. Suggestions were made that residents should take advantage of the demonstrations on mulching in September and October. The information and complaint line are also planned to be responsive to residents' needs and problems.

Trangucci persisted saying that there are going to be many angry people. He was told 15-20 minutes were being set aside for each call when residents called with complaints. Since it had been suggested that violators would not be punished until next year, Trangucci wanted to know if residents would be told about this enforcement difference. City Manager Chuck Strome said violators would be given two or three warnings, for example, to remove piles of leaves (in the street). Giving only warnings this year in his view would create difficulties next year.

Although the City Council has hired a firm to conduct a public information campaign, residents may feel confused by the budget projections. Initially savings of $250,000 were suggested. This amount was attributed to the present costs of curb pick-up of leaves. When Councilman Al Tarantino and Trangucci asked if this money could be used to reduce the refuse fee, the answer was it only came out to $15 a resident.

Trangucci, the only Councilman to oppose this budget legislation, told the Rising Media group that he is in favor "green" improvements, but not when there is going to be a cost to the taxpayers and mulching of leaves would have to be l00% to be considered a "green project."

Under this City Council plan the residents will probably mulch about 20% of their leaves.

There are 6 Comments

No New Rochelle Councilperson has any constituents in Scarsdale proper or in Eastchester proper, except for those few constituents whose property exists both in New Rochelle while also in another municipality. As it is, Scarsdale PO in Golden Horseshoe, is itself in New Rochelle proper. The 10583 zip code is for those addresses north of Stratton Road.

USPS letter carriers deliver this mail when he "feels like" doing it, on Huguenot St too, including certified mail and notices thereof. Local USPS service has greatly deteriorated over the last decade.

I don’t understand why Councilman Trangucci said that there are going to be many angry people. Does he think people are angry about having to bag their leaves? Well that’s too bad, as they should do it even if not required by law. Or does Trangucci think people would be angry because those people are basically anti-environmental, in which case what is needed is better education.

Alternatively, is Councilman Trangucci’s problem, that as a ‘Green Improvement’, this plan simply does not go far enough. If so, I applaud his efforts to make New Rochelle’s policies more environmental.

Robert Cox's picture


I think you could start most of your comments with "I don’t understand why..." because you seem incapable of accepting the notion that someone would could have a different point of view on an issue and not be some evil Republican working for Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.

At the hearing, I spoke in favor of Mayor Bramson's idea of bagging leaves for pick up. Like everything, however, there are legitimate arguments on the other side of the issue which, as is often the case, you tend to dismiss as one-dimensional.

Last I recall you live in an apartment and so are not impacted by the cost to bag leaves so you might want to make disclosure that you have no skin in this particular game and can afford to be dismissive of the financial impact on homeowners.

I heard three main arguments at the hearing:

1. That this is another example of the City seeking to balance its books by transferring costs to taxpayers with the one hand and using the "savings" to spend money elsewhere. In other words, the City will not spend less, they will spend the same AND taxpayers will have new costs.

2. The City's curbside loose-leaf pick up is more efficient and cost-effective than lots of little pickups at each property PLUS picking up the bags themselves.

3. The costs will be absorbed by landscapers whose customers will not pay extra to have their leaves bags but this will take time and cost money for the landscapers.

You say you do not know WHO Lou thinks will be angry about the leaf-bagging then say "those people are basically anti-environmental".

So, do you know who these people are or not. If you do not know WHO the people are who are angry about the leaf-bagging how can you claim to know ANYTHING about them and then go so far as to make a broad sweeping statement like 'those people are basically anti-environmental".

You need to stop living in a cartoon world where anyone who does not agree with you, basically a liberal ideologue, is characterized.

I would suggest to you that many people who are unhappy about the leaf-bagging, as they are homeowners, do a lot more in a given month to take steps to protect the environment then you do in a year of living in an apartment.

Frankly I think bagging leaves or mulching to be the responsibility of the Home Owner who has the property. I have about 10 huge oaks on my property and I am not opposed to mulching, composting and mulching on my property. However in the right of way there are a number of City owned Oaks that impact my life and I do want the city to be responsible for their trees in the right of way.
In many cases the City Trees have been neglected as the City as usual does not have the funds. There are thousands of City Owner trees that need pruning, removal and topping off to protect the homeowners.
My plan is to do an assessment of City own leaves and have the City come and pick up their leaves off my property. I should have a cold day in hell getting it done.

Bob, I say "I don’t understand why..." when something is stated that I don't understand; and that is because I am not ashamed to admit to those things I don't understand.

But I do understand that our planet is undergoing serious climate change and global warming, some of which is an ongoing natural process, and much of which is due to the self-destructive tendencies of modern civilization.

I think you agree with me on the dangers of climate change, and especially of the dangers of sea level rising to our city on the shore of the Long Island Sound.

Using your logic, I shouldn’t worry about this, as I live on the 4th floor of a building whose ground floor is 50 feet above current sea level, and because I am 63 and won’t live to see the worsening effects of climate change that will occur in the latter half of the 21st century.

But I am concerned, as our current civilization must protect future generations from our society’s current short-sighted excesses and selfish greed.

I am unsure whether bagging and mulching leaves is intended as an environmental or as a social concern. But if it benefits our society it’s probably a good idea.

I am always concerned about ever-increasing taxes of all kinds, even those taxes that do not directly affect me. Obviously, if all taxes continued increasing perpetually, eventually taxes would reach 100%, which of course will never actually happen.

Bob, you misquote me when you claim I wrote that Lou Trangucci thinks those who are angry about the leaf-bagging are “basically anti-environmental". I did not state that. Rather, I asked if anti-environmentalists are people Councilperson Trangucci thinks will be angry. It is because I don’t know the answer, that I ask that question.

Personally, I believe Lou’s concerns are financial, and that Mr Trangucci does have environmental concerns, especially as most of his constituents live near the shore.

But there are some persons who regularly post at TOTS, with comments that absurdly mock our City Council’s, the USA’s and UN’s efforts towards an environmentally-safe planet. And I do believe those persons are quite right-wing, anti-scientific and anti-environmental even at minimal cost.

As such, I would like to know for sure, whether the angry constituents Councilman Trangucci refers to, are only people who want to avoid tax increases, or also include anti-scientific / anti-environmental persons. I do believe Mr Trangucci’s concerns are mainly that of taxes, but I‘d like to know Lou’s perspective on those persons who are anti-scientific and anti-environmental.

I do not live in a cartoon world at all, but am quite realistic and pragmatic. The people who live in a cartoon world, are those people who post at TOTS ranting against the environmental concerns of the New Rochelle City Council’s, the USA’s and UN’s efforts towards an environmentally-safe planet.

Having stated that here, my initial reason for posting my comment was that Peggy Godfrey wrote that Shari Rackman stated that “her district is mostly in the 10583 zip code group, and she [Shari] noted, many houses in her zip code are in Scarsdale proper”.

I find it hard to believe Councilperson Rackman would have implied or stated that her constituents include persons actually living in Scarsdale but not in New Rochelle. Obviously, our City Council only represents those persons actually living in New Rochelle, no matter what their zip code. I myself grew up in the Scarsdale postal zone of New Rochelle, and did live in a house with a lawn and trees.

Robert Cox's picture


If you look at your comment and my comment, it is quite clear that I quoted EXACTLY WHAT YOUR WROTE. If you did not convey your meaning with the words you chose then re-phrase your remarks but please do not accuse me of "misquoting" you when I have quoted directly from what you published above.

I have expressed my concerns with Agenda 21 many times so I have no idea why you believe that I agree with you about global warming or climate change or that anyone that does not share your opinions on the topic are "anti-scientific". I am not interest in having that debate but focusing on the topic at hand -- leaf bagging.

I publicly stated my support for it at the hearing while recognizing that opponents have perfectly legitimate reasons for opposing it and well-founded reasons to be skeptical of assurances made by our local government.

My reason for supporting the leaf-bagging has a lot to do with the experience this winter where our streets were often impassable due to snow and that this was compounded by loose leafs piled up on the streets making snow removal difficult. To me it is a safety issue first.

There is an inconvenience and a cost and real questions of what the City will do with any money "saved". To dismiss those legitimate concerns is what I mean by you living in a cartoon world.

You might just once trying to understand that someone can have a different point of view and not seek to ascribe nefarious motives to them.

If anyone believes bagging leaves is about being “Green” or saving the planet, they are sadly naive. Taxpayers are angry because they are losing another paid city-service. Taxpayers will have to endure an increase from landscapers or bag leaves in addition to watching their property taxes increase regardless of any "savings" from bagging leaves. This is all about city council maneuvering in an effort to stay under Governor Cuomo’s tax-cap for the upcoming budget. Taxpayers lost backyard garbage pickup, had garbage collection extracted from the budget and changed to a “fee” and were blackmailed into accepting a new library tax because city council can’t live within the taxpayers means.

On another note, a member of the ruling class in New Rochelle telling taxpayers who are angry about bagging leaves that it’s “too bad, as they should do it even if not required by law” is a prime example of the elitist, do as I say, arrogant attitude that has divided New Rochelle.

Being Green and staying under the tax-cap should look good on the resume Mayor Bramson submitted to the committee assigned to search for the next President of Westchester Community College. It is apparent to all that the embarrassing loss to Astorino has left Bramson a two-time looser. Even he realizes it's time to move on; leaving behind a legacy of failed development.