Recent comments

  • The New Rochelle Board of Education's Rather Special World -- The "List" of Who Got Private Meetings for the Superintendent Search   11 weeks 2 days ago

    This superintendent search process illustrates how comfortable the Board of Education members are when it comes to citizen objections. Only when the residents of New Rochelle become serious about school board elections will this disgraceful display or lack of concern for citizen input stop. All groups and individuals should take an active interest in the coming school board election.

  • EXCLUSIVE VIDEO 15 Left Homeless After Fire Rips Through Three Story Apartment Building on Drake Avenue in New Rochelle   11 weeks 2 days ago

    NYS Municipal Home Rule Law, Article 4, Part 2, §36 states the following:

    §36. Provisions for adoption of new or revised city charter proposed by a charter commission.

    1. A local law providing a new or revised city charter also may be adopted in any city pursuant to the provisions of this section.

    4. A charter commission to draft a new or revised city charter may also be created by the mayor of any city. Such commission shall consist of not less than nine nor more than fifteen members, all of whom shall be residents of the city. Original appointments to such a commission shall be made by the mayor by a certificate of appointment which shall specify the number of, and names of, the members to constitute the commission, which certificate shall be filed forthwith with the city clerk. The chairman, vice-chairman and secretary shall be appointed by the mayor from among the members of the commission. Any vacancy in the membership of such a commission or of its officers shall be filled by the mayor.

    http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/MHR/4/2/36

    Once again, Anthony Galletta is demonstrating how proud he is of his own ignorance, and how ignorant is he of others' knowledge.

    I will limit this specific posting to Mr. Galletta's ignorance of the powers of all Mayors in NY State, by documenting my accurate knowledge.

    The powers of all NY State public officials is defined, expanded or limited in various ways by Municipal Home Rule Law, as well as by other NYS statutes and codes, and by the NYS Constitution, the US Constitution and United States Code.

    The New Rochelle City Charter while defining some of the authority of our City Council Members, and of our Mayor and City Manager, is only one source of our local government's authority.

    Public Officers of our counties, cities, towns and villages, derive their authority from NYS Municipal Home Rule Law (MHR). I highly recommend anyone who seeks knowledge (rather than posting myth or ignorance), should read MHR, as it defines the parameters of the powers of our various municipal public officers.

    Under the NR City Charter, our Mayor is basically the single at-large legislative member of our City Council.

    But NYS Municipal Home Rule Law (and other NYS statutes such as Public Officers Law) supersedes City Charters, similarly to how the NYS Constitution supersedes all NYS statutes and charters, and how the US Constitution supersedes all federal laws, and supersedes all state constitutions and state laws.

    Municipal Home Rule Law provides ALL Mayors in NYS with the power to unilaterally appoint a City Charter Commissioner.

    Mayor Paduano used that law to create the Charter Commissioner that created City Council Districts in New Rochelle, and eliminated all City Council Members being elected at-large, except for the Mayor remaining on the City Council as its one at-large member

    It was the intention of Mayor Paduano's unilaterally appointed Charter Commission to remove the Mayor from the City Council, to eliminate the appointed City Manager office from existing, and to make the NR Mayor our sole chief executive.

    Unfortunately, the NR voters approved City Council Districting while disapproving eliminating the City Manager and removing the Mayor from the City Council, and making our Mayor the Chief Executive of the NR government. As such, we still have an at-large City Council Member, the Mayor, who has real powers as a legislator but is perceived as a ceremonial Mayor, despite special powers unique to all mayors in NY State.

    Regarding your misinformed statement, “Second, it was a lawsuit by the NAACP that resulted in the court ordered council district system”, you are confusing a second referendum that occurred after the voters approved Mayor Paduano’s Charter Referendum.

    Mayor Paduano’s successful Charter Referendum was in 1991, the same year Tim Idoni was elected Mayor along with the four other at-large members of the City Council who had been elected under the 1933 version of the City Charter that existed at the time of their election. Because the voters had chosen to replace four at-large Council Members with Council districting, but had voted against making the Mayor Chief Executive, new early elections were needed for Council Members to be elected by district.

    As Paduano’s Charter Referendum assumed that the Mayor would no longer be on the City Council, the number of proposed Council Districts had to be determined by still another credendum which occurred during Mayor Idoni’s first term. As such there was another, later issue regarding the number of Council Districts there would be, and that was the basis of the NAACP’s court action which I believe occurred in 1992, resulting in the creation of six rather than five Council Districts.

  • GETTING RESULTS: Historical Day for Transparency in New Rochelle as Civil Service Commission Meetings now on Video along with MAC and HRLB Meetings   11 weeks 2 days ago

    The flipside of the abuse of residency requirements is approving candidates who NEVER lived in New Rochelle and provided phony addresses that were never checked.

  • The New Rochelle Board of Education's Rather Special World -- The "List" of Who Got Private Meetings for the Superintendent Search   11 weeks 2 days ago

    I would address one point when you wrote:

    "We cannot continue in the same direction under the same leadership that we have seen over the last few years"

    The leadership style you reference has existed for decades on the Board of Education -- paternalism (or maternalism).

    There have been incremental improvements over the past few years -- Sara Richmond putting the meetings on TV, live broadcasts of budget meeting, Chrisanne convening two CACs.

    As I said the other night, David Lacher has claimed that he was elected Board President with a MANDATE from the board that amounts to a giant step backwards for board transparency. That he cancelled last weeks' budget input session rather than reschedule, that he is not convening a CAC, that the board has all but ignored the CAC recommendations, that he is holding illegal executive sessions and board votes, that he refuses to disclose the list of who got private input sessions and so forth is a conscious and deliberate effort by David Lacher who had made clear that he believes that his predecessors were allowing the "inmates" run the asylum (where you, and I, are the inmates).

    He said as much Tuesday, after I pointed some of this out. He said that if by mandate I meant that the board authorized him to prevent people from coming to meetings and asking questions and thus "hijacking" the meeting agenda then yes he has a mandate to do that.

    That is a curious idea.

    I have attended almost every board meeting for about 6 years (as of this June). I often sit quietly for 2 or 3 hours so I can speak for 3 to 5 minutes. Occasionally I ask a question, sometimes a few questions. Once I submitted a longer list of questions but did not read them aloud.

    How would it be "hijacking" a meeting agenda if I use the public comment period to ask a few questions and await an email reply from the board president?

  • EXCLUSIVE VIDEO 15 Left Homeless After Fire Rips Through Three Story Apartment Building on Drake Avenue in New Rochelle   11 weeks 2 days ago

    Prior to 2012, the position of mayor was a ceremonial part-time position. The part-time designation changed for the current term, 1/1/2012 - 12/31/2015 in that there is no part or full time designation. All members of city council are now classified as "elected" with council members receiving $33,968 and mayor receiving $88,971.

  • The New Rochelle Board of Education's Rather Special World -- The "List" of Who Got Private Meetings for the Superintendent Search   11 weeks 2 days ago

    New Rochelle School Board, responses never answers!

    It still amazes me the responses we get from anyone from The New Rochelle School Board or The City of New Rochelle. That’s just it, responses not answers to the questions asked. I have made a point to ask the same questions of the board for over a year and have not gotten one answer to my questions, let alone a response.

    I still love what Phil Reisman said in March 19, 2012, “Official is fluent in bureaucrat-ese”. We see this play out all the time. We get responses to questions at length and with gravitas, but also in such a way as to say absolutely nothing.

    At last night’s form I asked, what groups met with the search committee? I was given the same answer as Bob. They gave the list of fourteen groups to receive private meetings the same as was listed here. I asked who decided which groups were invited or given a chance to meet with the committee. We were told, the committee did not decide this, and it was the decision of the Board of Education who would get to meet with them. First on the list was Neighborhood Associations.

    My response was that I was President of my Neighborhood Association and we received no such information or invitations. Nor had any of the associations I am familiar with. The response I got was that they had no list of contacts to reach out to the associations, but they were all welcome to the open forums. That to me is a cop out or excuse, all that they needed to do was ask The City Council or City Clerk for the Neighborhood Association List on file to send a group mailing to the associations as the city does when they send out certain notices. I am sure there would have been no objection to this being done in the interest of an open process that would benefit the resident of New Rochelle and the association members.

    By not reaching out to all the associations this in turn then becomes a selective process controlled for the self-interests of those selecting the groups that can meet with the committee. What validity would the process have and what validity can we expect from the online surveys that were done taking this into account.

    I said last night, what we need in a New Superintendent, someone that will not put up with the past follies of the school district and school board. We need someone with a pair that is willing to take us in a new and better direction.

    No more of tactics that are used in the school district and on The New Rochelle’s School Board. We have all seen the games, bullying, favoritism, cronyism and back peddling politics that has played out over the years.

    Then later on in the evening former school board candidate Vince Malfetano said one thing that we all probably forget that concerns me and should concern everyone. In the end, The New Rochelle School Board hires the New Superintendent and he or she works at the pleasure of The New Rochelle School Board.

    This is the reason we need to make sure this process is open and transparent. We cannot continue in the same direction under the same leadership that we have seen over the last few years. No more of tactics that are used in the school district and on The New Rochelle School Board. We have all seen the games, bullying, favoritism, cronyism and back peddling politics that has played out over the years. This is why they won’t speak to certain groups as they are afraid of the truth. It was said, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So let’s open up the process and our minds and do what is right for our children and their futures, not self-interest and big egos.

  • EXCLUSIVE VIDEO 15 Left Homeless After Fire Rips Through Three Story Apartment Building on Drake Avenue in New Rochelle   11 weeks 2 days ago

    Once again your “facts” are not accurate. First, please quote, from the NR charter, where the mayor has the “unilateral power to create a city charter commission” since I could not find it. Second, it was a lawsuit by the NAACP that resulted in the court ordered council district system.

    Anyone who follows TOTS knows how and why Mr. Sanchez developed his opinion concerning Mayor Bramson. Bramson attempted to browbeat Sanchez when Sanchez was a BOE trustee, similar to Bramson’s shameless attack of council representative Rackman. Then you question whether Mr. Sanchez is “accusing the NR Fire Department of some impropriety?” It is your partisan sarcasm that prompted my response.

    You leave the impression that you know me when you predict what I would have accused the mayor of had he been at the fire. If you had any knowledge of me or took the time to read my many letters to the editor and TOTS posts you would realize that I have always emphatically supported a strong mayor. I believe NR voters should be able to elect the person responsible for running every aspect of the City.

    As to the Drake Ave. fire; the NRFD performed at their typical proficient level to limit damage to property and protect the public. Kudos to Chief DiMeglio and the firefighters in the trenches!

  • GETTING RESULTS: Historical Day for Transparency in New Rochelle as Civil Service Commission Meetings now on Video along with MAC and HRLB Meetings   11 weeks 2 days ago

    For the record, for many years, the NR Civil Service Commission was not only operating behind closed doors, but they were changing the residency requirement for city positions at their whim without following state and local law. The CSC used to deny people jobs because they moved out of the city after taking a civil service exam. This violated local law which only required candidates to be residents of the city for four months prior to, and at the time of an exam. Hence, there is no telling how many qualified candidates were erroneously denied city positions because they no longer held city residency after an exam.

    When I brought the matter to the attention of Chuck Strome and Noam Bramson, I was blacklisted and treated like it was inappropriate for me to voice my concerns. Indeed, Strome told me now that I raised the issue, "wouldn't it be funny if the Civil Service Commission ruled in my favor but then another candidate was selected?" No it wasn't funny, but it clearly showed me what kind of individuals were running this city. Just like in
    the Fevang case, the one to be punished was the one who brought Fevang's crimes to the attention of the administration. Their attitude is always "How dare you accuse us on any wrongdoing."

  • GETTING RESULTS: Historical Day for Transparency in New Rochelle as Civil Service Commission Meetings now on Video along with MAC and HRLB Meetings   11 weeks 2 days ago

    Bob,

    I never thought I'd say this, but you're being too kind.

  • EXCLUSIVE VIDEO 15 Left Homeless After Fire Rips Through Three Story Apartment Building on Drake Avenue in New Rochelle   11 weeks 3 days ago

    Actually, the Mayor does have the unilateral power to create a city charter commission that can create city charter referendums. Leonard Paduano had done that, resulting in our current system of city council districts replacing our previous at-large city council system.

    And the Mayor appoints two of our three City Judges, and members of various boards.

    Until less than 20 years ago, the Mayor appointed the the members of the Board of Education, but that was replaced by public elections.

    Anthony, the issue here is the Drake Ave fire and whether the Mayor had any obligation to be there. And the clear and accurate answer is that the Mayor had no obligation to be there.

    Judging from your very partisan statement, no doubt if the Mayor had been at the fire, you would have accused him of doing so to advance his political career.

    I am interested in issues more than in personalities. An executive mayor would have a reason to be at a major fire.

    Anthony, do you agree with me, that our city charter should be amended so the Mayor would be New Rochelle's chief executive, with the Mayor no longer on the City Council, and eliminating the position of City Manager?

  • EXCLUSIVE VIDEO 15 Left Homeless After Fire Rips Through Three Story Apartment Building on Drake Avenue in New Rochelle   11 weeks 3 days ago

    Thanks Brian for revealing the fact that under the NR City Charter, "the mayor has no executive power". The mayor has two defined duties; preside over city council meetings & present an annual State of the City address. The mayor is also recognized as the head of the City government for CEREMONIAL purposes.

    Not a bad gig for $90,000 plus a 24-7 SUV, lifetime health and pension benefits after only five years of service!

    Then there is the necessity of a $70,000 personal assistant to the mayor with health and pension benefits who is charged with managing the Mayor’s very busy CEREMONIAL calendar.

    I wonder if the mayor used the City’s vehicle and the personal assistant to campaign during his botched county executive crusade?

  • EXCLUSIVE VIDEO 15 Left Homeless After Fire Rips Through Three Story Apartment Building on Drake Avenue in New Rochelle   11 weeks 3 days ago

    Wouldn't it be nice, though, for the mayor of the city to make an appearance at a tragedy that has just taken place and to comfort the now-homeless citizens of New Rochelle. He doesn't need on-the-scene authority to show a softer, caring side.

    I dare to believe that everything in New Rochelle is not political.

  • EXCLUSIVE VIDEO 15 Left Homeless After Fire Rips Through Three Story Apartment Building on Drake Avenue in New Rochelle   11 weeks 3 days ago

    Under New Rochelle's City Charter, the Mayor has no executive power, as the Mayor is a legislator like the other members of the City Council. If the Mayor was present at the Fire, he'd only be an observer, as he'd have no on-the-scene authority.

    The City Manager is the chief executive of the City of New Rochelle. Working for the City Manager, are the Fire and Police Commissioners.

    So there is no meaningful issue regarding the Mayor being present at a fire.

    A better question is, was the City Manager or Fire Commissioner or Police Commissioner present at the fire? And that is only meaningful, if it is thought that the fire was improperly handled by the NR Fire Department.

    Which brings up the main question, Martin, are you accusing the NR Fire Department of some impropriety?

    Or are you simply trying to manufacture an issue, where there is none? That's what it appears like.

  • EXCLUSIVE VIDEO 15 Left Homeless After Fire Rips Through Three Story Apartment Building on Drake Avenue in New Rochelle   11 weeks 3 days ago

    Since the mayor is a part-time ceremonial mayor, I guess the fires occur when he's off duty.

  • EXCLUSIVE VIDEO 15 Left Homeless After Fire Rips Through Three Story Apartment Building on Drake Avenue in New Rochelle   11 weeks 3 days ago

    Martin,

    I was there covering the fire at 52 Drake Avenue.

    The Mayor was not there.

    We try to cover as many fires as we can. I have never seen the Mayor at any fire scenes. I have not seen him at any police scenes.

    In addition to your concerns, we can only wonder why he needs a taxpayer funded SUV. It's not as if he is responding to emergencies.

    Given this rhetoric, maybe we can have him trade in his SUV for an Emergency Bicycle.

  • EXCLUSIVE VIDEO 15 Left Homeless After Fire Rips Through Three Story Apartment Building on Drake Avenue in New Rochelle   11 weeks 3 days ago

    Just curious if Mayor Bramson was present at the fire to provide support to those who were displaced by the fire? Anyone know? Mr. Mayor?

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   11 weeks 4 days ago

    Brian,

    The whole point of a North End DPW satellite facility is so that DPW workers do not have to drive up and down the full length of the City to service the far reaches of the North End.

    If Davis School is the highest point in the area and you want to rule out any location that is on a hillside or the "watershed" that flows into streams then you have effectively ruled out most of the North End. When you layer on your other disqualifies such as "a place where DPW trucks park" and describing parcels zoned commercial or industrial (as private property the Quaker Ridge Shopping Center is not an option) you have made that about 99.9%.

    Given your concern for "leaching" and "hillsides" and protecting water I'm unclear why you think the current site of the DPW yard is preferable as the salt is currently piled on old, cracked asphalt and a yard that slopes into the Sound.

    What you are missing is that storing salt properly in a covered structure situated on a concrete pad will not leach nor will high wind disperse the salt -- that is the entire point.

    So, if you have a large salt dome at the main DPW Yard and a smaller one at a North End satellite facility then concerns about runoff and leaching go away. If you have a proper home for the salt you can put it anywhere a salt done would fit. That can on top of a stream or in Ward Acres or at Firehouse Station 5.

    One style of salt dome is essentially a concrete bunker.

    To me, your concerns appear to me to be justifications for an ideological point of view not based on reason or logic but a sort of zealotry that is immune to reason.

    The starting point for a discussion is not every objection, real or imagined, that any person might raise but the fundamental question of whether a North End DPW Satellite would be a benefit and if so how and how much value would that bring.

    If a determination is made that such a facility would have little or no benefit then it would not be worth doing regardless of the cost side of the equation.

    With a clear understanding of costs and benefits a sound, dispassionate, decision could be presented to City Council and the public.

    What you are doing here -- and those like Barry Fertel have done in the past -- is to begin the discussion with an "over my dead body" speech.

    I do not accept that there can not even be consideration given to a North End satellite DPW facility.

    That anyone would seek to cut off any consideration tells me they know or believe that the benefits will far outweigh the costs and their fear-mongering is a projection of their own fear that the merits of this idea are so blindingly obvious that their wi be widespread support among taxpayers who save money and North End residents who get better service from a team dedicated to supporting their own neighborhoods during winter storms.

    If we can spend $100,000 on a fire department study then surely we can take some time to do an internal cost/benefit analysis.

    Noam does not want this idea. How do we know? Because if he did he would have made sure it was incorporated in the citizen budget committee (an idea he lifted from me) which he controlled and manipulated to give him political cover for advancing his own agenda.

    So Barry and Noam are Nay votes. I want to hear from the other 5.

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   11 weeks 5 days ago

    I'm open to other areas for storing salt.

    I was trying to figure out what areas to risk polluting, yet would be convenient to the Public Works vehicles in bad weather.

    Obviously, anywhere the PW vehicles are stored, would be a convenient location for storing salt.

    The industrial area between Potter and Fifth Aves, is more central to NR. Being an old industrial area, it probably is already a bit polluted.

    Pinebrook Blvd would be amongst the least suitable areas, for the reasons I stated.

    I think other areas might be suitable for storing salt.

    Any area for storing salt should be central to NR, be easily accessible to Public Works vehicles in poor weather and be an area where stored salt would be unlikely to leech into our streams and lakes. It should not be in a valley between ridges, such as Pinebrook Blvd, nor should it be on a hillside. The salt needs to be stored at a relatively flat area.

    Perhaps City Hall's parking lot should have the salt dome, as it is on our main, wide, north-south road, central and easily convenient for dispersal throughout New Rochelle. It’s already public property and available, so no additional real estate needs to be bought.

    A more northerly location with good access, but more expensive and perhaps unavailable, would be to store salt at the A&P parking lot at Quaker Ridge Rd. But I'm unsure of health issues if it is near food markets and restaurants.

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   11 weeks 5 days ago

    Brian,

    If you want salt to be stored at City Yard then just say so instead of going through an elaborate explanation of why a particular location that is not City Yard is not suitable in your mind.

    If you start with your conclusion -- that salt should be stored at the current City Yard location -- as a premise then you will always end up at the same place.

    Circular reasoning is the comfort food of logic.

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   11 weeks 5 days ago

    For decades, the area of Pinebrook Blvd from the Hutch overpass and continuing south on Stratton for about a half block (opposite the firehouse), used to flood, until NR did some major drainage work there in the mid-late 1960's. At the time I lived on Rutledge Rd.

    There probably are still enough drainage problems to make that a bad place for salt storage.

    Davis School, about 8 blocks away, sits on a hill that is the highest point in New Rochelle, and one of the highest points in southern Westchester. Water draining down Harvard, Stratton, Rutledge, Daisy Farms, Rogers, Waverly, etc, find its lowest point at the corner of Stratton and Pinebrook.

    This is also true of drainage from the altitude of Weaver St down Stratton to the low point at Pinebrook.

    And Carpenters Pond, the catch basin for much drainage, itself drains in the low area parallel to Waverly, directly towards the junction of Pinebrook Blvd and Stratton, and towards two other lakes.

    Salt should definitely not be stored near Pinebrook Blvd, which tends to be the lowest point along its entire length.

    Salt should be stored in City Yard. City Yard should remain where it is, or be moved to the industrial area between Potter and Fifth Aves. City Yard should definitely NOT be moved to Beechwood, which has its own issues of drainage and access.

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   11 weeks 5 days ago

    Dennis,

    You know more about that then I do. What do you know?

    As for "run off" if the salt is housed correctly, run off is not an issue. That's the whole point!

    I have not heard of "leaf" run-off. What is that?

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   11 weeks 5 days ago

    I spoke to Lou. The number is 10% of the salt runs off.

    On about $400,000 to $500,000 a year spent on salt that comes out to be about $45,000 a year that disappears for lack of a salt dome.

    Lou says a salt dome might cost $250,000.

    A straight line payback on a salt dome is about 5-6 years.

    The RFP for Echo Bay went out 8 years ago.

    Do the math!

    PS, this says nothing about the other costs of not protecting the salt. More on that in a future article.

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   11 weeks 6 days ago

    Isn't that strip of land along Pinebrook, which you identified in a prior article, just a few feet of grass and trees with a stream running through it for the entire length. Does that stream feed Sheldrake Lake? Would it present a problem in regards to salt and other run-off from leaf piles? There must also be a reason why ownership by Larchmont seems to supersede the State of New York in the southernmost portion.

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   12 weeks 1 day ago

    Last time I checked, the City Council all says they make decisions based on what is best for the City as a whole not just for their district.

    Here is a chance for Barry and Noam to put that to the test.

    I am unaware of any argument against a North End Satellite DPW site.

    North End residents get better service.

    Costs are lower to provide the service so they and everyone else benefits from less spending.

    Eliminates waste -- how many miles do these trucks log each year?

    Better for the environment -- obviously.

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   12 weeks 1 day ago

    Should New Rochelle Have a Salt Dome? A Few Words With the Salt Guru
    http://bit.ly/1cc0J8s