Recent comments

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   25 weeks 6 days ago

    OMG, Bob. Do you dare suggest a dome in the north end? Barry would plotz! He complained about the horrible sight there would be driving down Albert Leonard Drive and seeing a 'dome' over the tennis courts..............can u imagine his reaction to a salt dome????

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   25 weeks 6 days ago

    Sounds like there are a few other things we need -- liquified rock salt and sprayers to coat the roads.

    If we do not have a decent salt and we do not have a salt dome I cannot imagine New Rochelle getting these "luxury" items.

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   25 weeks 6 days ago

    I agree with you, Laraine. It's time we stop making the DPW Commissioner the scapegoat. Also....I can't believe we store salt out in the open. What does it take to get a dome? C'mon, City Council......I'm sure you can find the money for that one important item; cut down on the consultants' fees and order a dome.

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   25 weeks 6 days ago


    Perhaps someone can check me on this but I seem to recall that someone (maybe Lou ) told me that 40% of the salt is lost each year for lack of a salt dome.

    BTW, I will add to the article something I had intended to highlight from the chart.

    All of the other municipalities in the study have a salt dome. New Rochelle is the only one that does not.

    At the last COW meeting, Tergis told the Council that when they were attempting to lend or trade salt to other municipalities it was REJECTED due to the low quality of the salt.

    I have made my own recommendation to the City -- make a deal with Larchmont to trade a tax abatement for the Sheldrake Environmental Center which is situated, in part, on New Rochelle property. Here is that article from 2012.

    Could a Tax Exemption for Sheldrake Nature Preserve Become Part of a Deal to Add a Leaf Transfer Station and Salt Dome in the North End of New Rochelle?

    My idea is that the strip of land on Pinebrook near Stratton could house a satellite DPW site to be a leaf transfer station in the fall and a salt storage facility in the winter. I have to find anyone who can make a cogent argument against this idea except the NIMBY crowd who want fast/better service from DPW but also insist on being services from the entirely opposite end of town.

    That attitude impacts all of us because sending trucks back and forth to the far North End to service a very small percentage of New Rochelle residents takes those trucks, effectively, "out of service" for long stretches of time as they spend 20 minutes each way going up and down to New Rochelle.

    For people like Noam and Barry, who profess to be "Green" the benefits of reducing the CO2 emissions alone ought to be enough to justify a satellite DPW facility at that location or some similar location (Ward Acres comes to mind)

    Of course, Noam and Barry are the same two guys who allow their constituents to shove all their leaves and branches and lawn clippings (along with various fertilizers and chemicals) into the Pinebrook median and thus into the the Pine Brook that runs into Beechmont Lake and then act surprised when the lake is covered in algae each summer.

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   26 weeks 1 hour ago

    The mayor admitted that the city yard has been neglected for 10 years in anticipation of development on that property. The same is true for the Armory. What city would do that? Now it seems Alex Tergis is their scapegoat. Well we are wise to the ways of this mayor and city manager. Commissioner Tergis is doing the best with what he has been given and that is not much. It is time city council demand that the basic city services be delivered before we lose another good commissioner.

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   26 weeks 1 hour ago

    Similar to what Bob McCaffrey commented, I agree that residents who are more inclined to learn about the workings of their City are also more likely to do their part for their property. There were so few people out shoveling their sidewalks on Thursday that I had no choice but to walk my dog in the middle of the street. Considering that the streets were slush and some only given a one-time pass with the plow, this was a potentially dangerous proposition.

    In light of your reporting, Bob, I want to thank Commissioner Tergis and his staff for the work that they did during/after the storm. Did I enjoy sliding (driving) down Union Avenue? No, absolutely not. But this isn't anything new since I moved here a few years back, and now (at least) I have some context as to why that is the case.

    What a shame that we are paying for salt that goes bad because we don't have the space or facility to properly house it (enter anything to do with city-owned properties here -- which isn't unique to NR). As Council Member Lou continues to push for a salt dome, I am wondering, does DPW keep the salt covered with a tarp so that the salt doesn't have direct contact with precipitation? I hope the runoff is minimal, because it wouldn't be good for that brine to make its way to our waterways and vegetation.

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   26 weeks 3 hours ago

    Mamaroneck, Larchmont, and Scarsdale Highway Departments all "brine" primary and many secondary roads with liquified rock salt the day before a major storm.

    Driving around, you see what look like stripes on the roadways long before a snowfall begins.

    Using a liquid ice-melter jumpstarts the melting process because salt needs moisture to be effective. Brine doesn’t bounce or blow off the road surface so material is used more efficiently. If the storm is delayed salt residue remains on the road ready to begin work when precipitation begins.

    The results are exactly the opposite of New Rochelle, blacktop the day the storm ends, instead of using Quaker Ridge Road as an Olympic bobsled venue.

  • New Rochelle DPW Tackles Large Snow Storms...and Critics   26 weeks 4 hours ago

    Good work Bob,

    Alex is doing good work with the deck he was dealt! I am glad Alex Tergis the DPW Commissioner gave you the time and openly discussed what he has to face; I believe Alex is doing good work. He came into a DPW Department that was a disaster of miss-management, poor planning and dysfunctional, like many parts of New Rochelle and City Hall.

    Yes, if you are from the south or west side of New Rochelle things can be a little/very difficult. You have gotten the short end of the stick for years. We have had several early storms to deal with, subzero temperatures, holidays and I believe we lost a few vehicles due to breakdowns and the fire. Sometimes you have to decide which are more important, Xmas trees, snow, garbage, recycling and or the leaves all at the same time. I fully support the DPW Commissioner because this is something he is working out currently. He can’t make up for the years of prior screw ups over night!

    I am not making excuses for the DPW Commissioner, just being realistic. Having an operational background and being active and involved with some people from the city, I am familiar with the obstacles they face. With all the RFP’s that went out from the DPW Department last year, you can see he has a work in progress and that is more than we have had for a very long time, someone who knows what he is doing and likes what he is doing. The monsters of poor management and planning of City Hall can’t be taken apart and repaired overnight.

    I would urge residents to give him a call, talk to him yourself and have conversation rather than complaining. Do some of the little things like clean a storm drain, clear out a fire hydrant, and pick up the garbage you walk past rather than leaving it for someone else to pick up. Go back to doing the little things so Alex can work on the bigger problems that he faces. Also attend some Council Meetings get involved urge your friends and neighbors to do the same. While we need to get rid of some/a lot of dead weight in this city, some of the people do a good job and do care.

    Good Luck!

    More snow on the way!

  • BOARD GAMES: Our Schools are Stressed and You Should Be Too   26 weeks 2 days ago


    It has been TWO budget cycles ago that the board accepted the report from THEIR committee. We published all that. The CAC was my idea so I am very familiar with it.

    New Rochelle Board of Education Citizen Budget Committee Recommends Millions in Cost Savings Measures and Presentation Improvements

    Those involved have been asking for an accounting from the District of which elements of this report has been adopted (hint: none).

    The 2013 "Community" Advisory Committee (they changed the name I gave it in 2012 when I brought this idea forward -- yes, this was my idea).

    Community Advisory Committee Report for the 2013-2014 Budget

    The 2013 CAC made a number of excellent recommendations but did not feel the need to add anything to the 2012 CAC report beyond calling on the board to adopt all of the recommendations from the preceding report.

    In 2013-2014, the board, under the leadership of David Lacher, has chosen to pretend there was never any such thing as Advisory committees on the budget and so there is NO CAC for 2014.

    It is a shame because after efforts under Sara Richmond and Chrisanne Petrone to open up the board and get more community involvement, the troglodytes have regained mastery over the board and are dragging it back to the Soviet-style of leadership that has served the district so poorly. I do not have a lot of good things to say about the board but this is one area that I regularly praised Chrisanne and Sara publicly.

    Lacher made it clear to me when he was elected as Board President (not a common thing for a board member to have a second go in that position) that he had a MANDATE from the board to end the "transparency", to wit, to stop answering questions from people like me, Amy Ecker, Anna Giordano -- people who regularly come to board meetings to ask questions. To ignore us, to "push back". In other words to shut us up.

    What we now see is the fruits of Lacher's "MANDATE" in their refusal to adopt policies from their own budget advisory committee, the shutting down and shutting up any critics of the board, the despicable efforts by Lacher to cover up the Asbestos Exposure Incident at Davis School and so on.

    For those who were still not convinced (or even aware) the Lianne Merchant retribution against UCBNR should make clear that the board is a dysfunctional, corrupt group of hacks from the Democratic Party of New Rochelle whose main goal is to flow resources into North End schools, keep those schools as "white" as possible and benefit their property values at the expense of the other 56,000 residents in New Rochelle (there are about 14,000 residents in Districts 5 and 6). The board will tell you that they have a "diverse board".

    No. They have token board members to fill THEIR quotas.

    There are currently no members of the hispanic community on the board (Chrisanne claims to be hispanic but cannot even speak Spanish and is certainly not "of" the hispanic community).

    There are three African-American board members but anyone with eyes can see that they brought on one African-American board member last year (Pam Davis) with an eye towards getting rid of another African-American board member this year (Jeffrey Hastie) so by July they will be back to 2 African-American board members.

    In short, there is always 1/3 minority and 2/3 white. This has been the case for decades (and this is actually an improvement when the board what almost entirely white).

    But the lack of diversity exists at many levels.

    There have been no more than 2 board members at any one time that did not live in residences that were not in the ALMS district (my definition of what really constitutes being "North End"). Up until recently there was just one.

    There are 2 men and 7 women.

    There are 8 Democrats, 1 independent, and (surprise) no Republicans.

    I'm not sure about religion (4 Jews, 3 Catholics, 2 Protestants?)

    In any case, what you can see is that although the board does not reflect the demographics of the City of New Rochelle is does reflect the demographics of the North End. It reminds me of New Yorkers view of the rest of the country in that old New York magazine cover.

    And this is by CHOICE of the board which has effective control of itself, of who gets on the board, and has for decades.

    Over the past 5 years, we have already had a variety of independent sources express their views that there is something wrong in our schools system (arrests by the NRPD, arrests by the District Attorney, County Health finding NewRo cafeterias the dirtiest in Westchester, ongoing DOJ investigation, ongoing DOL investigation, etc.)

    Earlier this month, Moody’s put the district on negative credit watch from its current Aa rating.

    Now we have the NYS Comptroller finding that New Rochelle is on a very short of list of the least fiscally stable school districts in New York State AND the only District in Westchester County on the list of stressed schools.

    When you are the ONLY such district in the entire County you cannot blame that on GENERAL conditions. That says something about YOU not about everyone. Even Mount Vernon was not on the list! How far have things fallen when our financial situation is worse than Mount Vernon?

    And the district's response?

    Meaningless drivel, as Adam has amply demonstrated.

    The statement from the district ignores the FACT that the district has been in financial free fall for years. And they have been warned, so they either know and don't care or are too financially illiterate to understand.

    Seriously, when your CFO tells you all is well and the credit rating agencies and the state government are ringing the alarm bells, who do you believe? Does this even give board members pause?

    The community needs to understand that critics like myself do not WANT to see the school district become insolvent or taken over by the State of New York but that is the path we have been warning about for 5 years and which is so apparent that even Democrat Tom DiNapoli is ringing the alarm bells.

    If you are so dumb to believe the very people (board members) who are screwing up running the district when they say that they are doing a “good job” then I suppose you get what you deserve. But, the’s too simple. The people who are supporting the board (mostly affluent, North End Dems) are also those that have the most options (move away, private/parochial schools) and so are impacted least.

    These are the same people who rail against charter schools and their supposed love of diversity and public education and yet live in the 10804, 10538 and 10583 zip codes, among the whitest zip codes in Westchester.

    I will say it again, there are people living in a WHITE ENCLAVE who THINK they live in a diverse community. Don’t believe me? Google the 2010 U.S. Census and then call me a liar.

    They want to tell you how much they love living in a City with lots of black and hispanic residents but would not be caught dead in downtown New Rochelle. As a for instance, Alvin told me that the vast majority of his patrons at Alvin & Friends are from Larchmont. These are people who have little but rhetorical connection to the rest of the City. They even have their own Little League.

    You live in the North End, and think I’m wrong?

    Take this challenge.

    Ever shopped at the stores at Quaker Ridge Road or Golden Horseshoe?

    Next time you are there, stand at the door of the grocery store for 10 minutes and count how many people of color you see leaving the store with bags of groceries. If you see more than one person who is African-American or Hispanic call me so I can come to take a photo of this rare event.

    Why does this matter? Why do I care?

    After all, I am white, I live in the ALMS district, my kids have benefited from the AP, Honors and language programs. My oldest daughter ran the NRHS newspaper, my youngest son is on the Science Olympiad team, my youngest daughter is taking Latin, my oldest son was accepted at Notre Dame and did very well throughout college at a top 20 university. My wife works for the district.

    It matters for the same reason the destruction wrought on New York City by Robert Moses mattered. Anyone who has read the Power Broker knows how Moses was lauded as a hero during his lifetime until that book came out when he was in 90's and the author, Robert Caro, laid bare the myth and showed that Moses and spent decades hoarding public funds for his pet projects to the detriment of everything else to the point that New York City was driven into bankruptcy, social order disintegrated and the schools started to (literally) fall apart at the seams. The book also showed him to be a profound racist who designed his “public” amenities to exclude poor blacks and actually mocked them in some of the projects he built. Read the book if you don’t know what I am talking about.

    That is the course we have been on in New Rochelle for many years.

    We have a small segment of New Rochelle — largely affluent/white, sucking up and controlling ALL of the public money (by controlling the School Board and City Council) and then apportioning it out in an unbalanced way to the benefit of that same segment. The City Council to some extent but the Board of Ed to a large extent; the school taxes dwarf the city tax; schools are 66% of the tax bill but 80% of the money collected by New Rochelle taxing entities (I am excluding the County).

    You will hear board members and their apologists tell you that funds in New Rochelle are apportioned out equally across all schools.

    They are not.

    Yes, all the FUSE members are paid based on a contract that does not track to a particular school. There are other ways in which the money IS apportioned out regardless of school.

    Of course, that's the case. I am not saying that the South End schools get ZERO DOLLARS. This is red herring argument that is ALWAYS trotted out.

    My answer to that is this:

    Why is the Special Education budget reported at a lump sum, district level?

    Those dollars could just as easily be tracked to each school based on number of special education staff at each school and related support, services and outside providers, tracked by student. Right?

    Here is a highly simplistic accounting to make my point (I would LOVE to get real numbers but they are hidden in the budget!)

    About 10% of the students in New Rochelle are Special Ed (that is in line with national figure).

    So, on a budget of $250mm you could call that $25 mm for Special Ed on a cost accounting basis. Not really but stay with me.

    There are 11 school buildings in New Rochelle plus BOCES but let's simplify this for a moment.

    Do you really believe that for 10 schools that $25 mm is apportioned out evenly at $2.5 mm per school?

    Now, if we ever did get real numbers we COULD run these numbers. I am highly confident that the North End schools get far more Special Education money than South End schools and that matters not only in cash terms but in student performance and changing lives (children who are not diagnosed or who are not supported are often really robbed of achieving in their lifetime).

    I can cite other examples but the net effect is that a disproportionate amount of funds flow to the North End.

    Compounding this (and I'm not sure what you do about this one) is that the North End PTAs and other ad hoc parent groups, far more involved in their kids schools, raise money for all manner of enrichment programs, trips, equipment and so forth. Over time, all of this parent fundraising creates even wider discrepancies between the educational opportunities in New Rochelle.

    This is a point at which you would find the greatest hypocrisy -- many of the same people who tell you they oppose charter schools, cherish diversity and are the champions of public education -- would scream bloody murder if the board adopted a policy that any funds raised by one PTA would be put into a common pool of money and apportioned out evenly to all of the PTAs.

    At the recent ALMS Superintendent Search Input Session a number of North End parents made my point for me in their remarks.

    One woman talked about how her child went to Ward and that he did not get busing services, he walked to school - information that was apropos to nothing — and ended by saying “We have Diversity in the North End”.

    By her description she lives in the 10804. Her zip code is 82% white! And she thinks she lives in a Diverse area? Yikes!

    If such a PTA common fund was brought to be, you would certainly find that all those notions of "equity" would be tossed aside in a heartbeat. It is so unthinkable you will never even hear a board member mention it.

    I am not blaming parents for placing their own children ahead of everyone else's children but don't drop the "it takes a village line" one minute and roar like a Mama or Papa bear protecting a young cub.

    So there is my rant for the day.

    Back to shoveling snow!

  • United Citizens for a Better New Rochelle Responds to Talk of the Sound Report on Board of Ed VP Lianne Merchant   26 weeks 2 days ago

    BOE, Typical knee jerk responses with more back peddling and supposed misunderstandings!

    AS I stated in my other post, some of The Board of Education members are afraid to see what happened with The Mayor and Forest City Ratner’s Echo Bay Development Project. Protect yourself at all costs, that is what desperate people do when they feel entitled and are losing their hold. They don’t want to see the same thing happen to the inner circle of the Board of Education. They fear the community gaining strength and a voice; they continue to use the exact tactics that brought down the Forest City Project.

    Because United Citizens for a Better New Rochelle is a non-partisan advocacy group with members who represent a diverse cross-section of concerned New Rochelle residents, they/ we will prevail where they fail. For a group centered on education, they are afraid of education considering UCBNR's mission is to inform and engage the community in fostering economic growth and prosperity. The public is learning more and more about the ways of these people. Now that we see more people from the north end of New Rochelle fighting this fight, there is no longer a divide by demographics. There is strength in unity and that is what has begun to happen in New Rochelle for the first time, UNITY! It is just a matter of time before the walls of their little kingdom supported by taxpayer money will come tumbling down.

    Unity for the Community!

    Why do we get called at 11:30 AM for a 12:00 PM early dismissal? Why do we get a call at 9:30AM for a reminder to parents that there is no bus service for the late start? Why wasn’t this message left at 5:30AM when we received the reminder for the late start? Not everyone knows the plan because we have never really had many late starts before.

  • BOARD GAMES: Our Schools are Stressed and You Should Be Too   26 weeks 2 days ago

    Adam -

    I am concerned about the solvency of the New Rochelle Board of Education, and about the maintaining and improving the quality of public education.

    What are the recommendations that could have saved the School District tens of millions of dollars in recent years, that you state were made by which two advisory committees to the Board of Education?

    How would those recommendations affect maintaining and improving the quality of public education in NR?

  • New Rochelle School Board Veep Lianne Merchant Retaliates Against UCBNR For "Single-Handedly Bringing Down" Noam Bramson and "Killing Echo Bay"   26 weeks 3 days ago

    New Rochelle’s networks of elite are starting to sweat!

    Did you think the reactions would be any different from the inside elite and the old boys network? This is 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.

    They are afraid to see what happened with The Mayor and Forest City Ratner’s Echo Bay Development Project. They fear a community pulled together and the weaknesses and poor planning that finally brought the project down. Sorry, but we have not killed off any possibility for any meaningful waterfront development from any bona-fide developer for the next 10 years. That time has already been wasted on a failed project. With the changes we have seen because of the rallying of the residents and the people of UCBNR, we can now open the process up and grow as a community for a better New Rochelle. The same community and processes that UCBNR and the other residents are looking to protect during the New Superintendent search.

    It was not only UCBNR that single handedly brought down The Mayor and Forest City Ratner’s Echo Bay Development Project. UCBNR is not a single group, they are a gathering of many different groups of people with expertise, a variety of experience, with many different backgrounds and they are backed by many Neighborhood Associations from all areas of The City of New Rochelle. That is why UCBNR and the many others were so successful. Also New Rochelle Board of Education Vice President Lianne Merchant must credit the strength of the members of The New Rochelle City Council that finally stood up to Forest City Ratner and The Mayors bullying tactics, The same bullying tactics that are used in the school district and on The New Rochelle’s School Board. We have all seen the same games of bullying, favoritism, cronyism and back peddling politics played out over the years, more so now that Talk of the Sound avails the people an eye and a voice.

    Lianne Merchant and the others that except and continue to use the same tactics are afraid they are losing hold of their control of their little club. They will no longer have their perceived strength in the community that helps to foster their personal and business lives. The Ego of status and self-importance is a strange thing and has begun to bring down even the strongest of politicians and political insiders. Just open a newspaper and read the conspiracy of the day. Look at all the problems that have been exposed right here in New Rochelle and in The New Rochelle school system. These are facts, not accusations. We need a new sheriff in town to clean up the mess of the past.

    To show support for the children, neighbors and especially UCBNR it should be on everyone’s calendars to attend the last meeting at The Whitney Auditorium of the New Rochelle High School, 265 Clove Road, New Rochelle, New York, on Wednesday January 22, 2014, at 7:00 pm.

    “Common Sense for the Common Good”.

  • Talk of the Sound's 10,000th Tweet! And the Winner Is...   26 weeks 3 days ago

    In fact, 4 years ago TOS was celebrating the milestone of 100,000 visitors. I know this for a fact cause it was me. Click HERE for a look back at the future. The same as it ever was, TOS is still the go to site for NR and it just keeps getting better. Good job everybody! Now get back to work.

    (if it turns out that I'm the 2 millionth visit will I get one of those Talk of the Sound coffee mugs?)

  • 02/02 Norman Rockwell To Be Subject Of Author Talk At Library   26 weeks 4 days ago

    Norman Rockwell is one of the USA's most important artists and he is very associated with New Rochelle. His first wife was from NR, and his in-laws, the O'Connors, still lived in New Rochelle in the late 1970's. I met them about a year before Norman Rockwell died, and they told me that he was blind and infirm.

    Rockwell's studio was in the artist building located on the corner of Division & Main, one block from the library.

    The main New Rochelle Library's Children's Room has a large, original painting specifically created for it by Norman Rockwell.

  • City of New Rochelle Narrowly Misses Classification as "Susceptible to Fiscal Stress" in New York State Comptroller Fiscal Stress Monitoring System   26 weeks 6 days ago

    "Sustainable development, Smart Growth, and Transit Oriented Development," will lead the city out of financial trouble. At least, that is what Bramson would like you to think. In fact, sustainable development has been draining municipal budgets since its onset, and it has not made a dent in the protection of the environment. It is costing billions to implement nationally supposedly to reduce CO2 emissions which are being blamed for global warming. In fact, if we were to cease using all fossil fuels and return to the stone age, we would be lucky to cut the earth's temperature by 1 degree. If Bramson weren't so consumed by this costly notion of sustainable development and instead focus his attention on bringing industry and retail to NR, the city would be doing a lot better financially.

  • Support The New Rochelle Lightning Youth Hockey Organization!   27 weeks 15 min ago

    Bob, thanks for posting this. It should be a great event. If you have children looking to experience ice hockey for free make sure to sign up.

    Afterwards, The New Rochelle Lightning Youth Hockey Coaches will be skating against NY Ranger Alumni. Sort of reminds me of the days of Donkey Basketball at NRHS.

    Seriously, this is a great way to support youth hockey while enjoying a fun hockey game. Having coached with the NR Lightning Hockey Club for numerous years they were kind enough to extend me an invite to play in this. I will be packing up the car to make the trek back to New Ro from DC area. I am looking forward to it as well. We all hope to see you there.

    New Rochelle Lightning (Youth)Hockey Club

  • City of New Rochelle Narrowly Misses Classification as "Susceptible to Fiscal Stress" in New York State Comptroller Fiscal Stress Monitoring System   27 weeks 19 hours ago


    Take a breath! Now read the article again…slowly.

    Neither the article nor the headline says that the City of New Rochelle was classified as "financially stressed".

    Therefore, I am not sure why you would be taking issue with something that was NOT said AS IF it had been said.

    What the article DOES NOTE is that at 44.2%, the City BARELY MISSED the cut-off for the "Susceptible to Stress" category.

    All of this is entirely accurate.

    As for the City doing WELL…being just a few tenths of a point from making ANY of these three categories is not an indication that New Rochelle’s current financial situation is in “remarkably good health”.

    I have been communicating with DiNapoli and his staff about all of this. I can tell you that the Comptroller’s office does not think New Rochelle’s score indicates “remarkably good health” or anything close to it.

    It is misleading to say that “the city government of New Rochelle clearly was NOT designated as financially stressed at all” because (a) I did not say this; (b) the score the City got, according to the Comptroller, IS something to be concerned about.

    City Council members, the City Manager, the Mayor and the Rating Agencies are ALL concerned about it — especially as the major indicator tracked is Fund Balance and that has been a source of concern for all of them as has been discussed over the past few budget cycles. As Chuck noted, it has been part of his annual budget message for the past several years.

    I communicated with the City Manager on this and quoted him in the article. His statement speaks for itself.

    I am not sure why you think the “graph shows the city government of New Rochelle was more financially solvent than the average NYS large downstate city”. The only graph I see is one that indicates to my eyes that New Rochelle’s score is almost exactly the same as the average for “NYS large downstate city” and higher than “Cities” and “Mid-Hudson Regional Cities”.

    Finally, if you look through the three categories or use the drop down database linked in the articles, you will see that New Rochelle has one of the worst scores in Westchester so while there have been global, national and regional economic issues, the data indicates that New Rochelle is faring worse that municipalities in our area.

    I am hoping to interview the Comptroller about all of this soon and we can see what he has to say.

    I do not understand why the school district and municipal/county categories are different but I would note that for SCHOOLS, the cut-off for "Susceptible to Stress" is 25% and “Moderately Stressed” is 45%. Again, I do not yet know why the ranges are different but it does indicate to me that a score above 25% is a cause for some concern.

  • City of New Rochelle Narrowly Misses Classification as "Susceptible to Fiscal Stress" in New York State Comptroller Fiscal Stress Monitoring System   27 weeks 20 hours ago

    According to the NYS comptroller's graph and report, the city government of New Rochelle clearly was NOT designated as financially stressed at all, and the graph shows the city government of New Rochelle was more financially solvent than the average NYS large downstate city.

    As New Rochelle is NYS's 7th largest city, and Westchester's 2nd largest, and considering that the American economy, since 2008 has been worse than at any time the 1930's Great Depression, New Rochelle current financial situation is in remarkably good health.

    However, the New Rochelle Board of Education's financial health, evidently is not in the good shape our city government is in. I believe this is due to too many tax reductions for so-called 'development'. So although our city government is financially healthy, it appears that our city government's policies have led to our Board of Education being slightly financially stressed.

    Of course, much of our financial problems are mostly due to poorly regulated Wall Street's greed and incompetence leading to national and international economic problems from the bursting of the Internet Bubble in 2000-2001 and the of the real Estate Bubble in 2007-2008.

    There is no one under the age of 74, who has lived through an American economy as stressed as the period beginning in 2008. All things considered, the City of New Rochelle is remarkably solvent.

    However, due to stressed national and world economies, our taxpayers are financially stressed, and therefore the NR government must cease providing tax reductions for new 'developments', and must focus on building up revenues from sales taxes.

    In particular, NR should cease advocating increasing its residential population, and instead focus on expanding its commercial base and increasing culture and night life in its downtown area South from North Ave Sickles Aves to Clinton St, and on US Rt 1 from Weyman Ave east to the Larchmont Border.

    Increasing our population only further stresses our Board of Education budget and quality of public education. In comparison, increasing our commerce leads to greater municipal and Board of Education solvency.

  • Public Hearing Tonight on Motor Vehicle Dealership Zoning Changes: Time To Rid New Rochelle of Parasitic Car Dealers   27 weeks 1 day ago

    Status quo must change before it is too late!

    New Rochelle must act to bring these car dealerships under control. The problems with local car dealerships are nothing new, just no one ever paid attention to them or cared enough to work on behalf of the residents of the area and New Rochelle taxpayers. They were seen as an economic driver for the city along with the other developers in New Rochelle, but at what cost to residents of the area and New Rochelle taxpayers? We saw this during the building of Pepe Mercedes Benz. At times The New Rochelle Planning Board raised questions and concerns but somehow thing get through any way?

    Despite local laws and years of complaints, car dealers in New Rochelle have violated existing zoning laws without fear of enforcement. Anyone who lives in New Rochelle can tell you this, but for some reason it continues unabated. There is always some reason excuse or loophole that allows them to take over the neighborhoods around them.

    As with much of the development in New Rochelle, The process is flawed. Just another example where the result of all these developments continues to be confrontation, debate, petitions, hearings and a lack of true input by the community. The community should be put first at all times. It is time The New Rochelle City Council as a whole to listen to the people they serve.

    New Rochelle has had a detailed Comprehensive Plan since 1996; we never hear any references to that plan. The only visions and ideas we have seen over the last several years are those of others and not The Citizens of New Rochelle.

    I am hoping that the changes we have begun to see on The New Rochelle City Council lately will begin to correct the course of business for New Rochelle and signal a new beginning for all of New Rochelle. With the New Year comes a chance for a new direction towards a better brighter future for all of New Rochelle.

    “Common Sense for the Common Good”.

  • Public Hearing Tonight on Motor Vehicle Dealership Zoning Changes: Time To Rid New Rochelle of Parasitic Car Dealers   27 weeks 2 days ago

    A.G. Schneiderman Announces $135k Settlement With Westchester Auto Dealer Over Bogus Fee To Customers

    New Rochelle Toyota Charged Purchasers Of Pre-Owned Vehicles A $499 “Administrative Fee” In Addition To The Purchase Price Of The Vehicle Without Providing Extra Services Or Benefits

    Schneiderman: My Office Is Committed To Stopping Deceptive Auto Dealer Practices

    NEW YORK - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today that his office has reached a settlement with Westchester auto dealer N.R. Automotive, Inc., d/b/a New Rochelle Toyota, which was adding a bogus $499 “administrative fee” to the purchase price of used vehicles. No extra services or benefits were provided to customers in return for payment of the fee.

    "By charging a bogus, illusory administrative fee, New Rochelle Toyota was deceiving its customers and creating an unfair marketplace," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "My office will continue to monitor this company's business practices, as well as those of other auto dealers, to ensure that they are fair and honest."

    Pursuant to the settlement, New Rochelle Toyota will repay a total of $86,826 to 174 customers who were charged the bogus administrative fee. The dealership has also agreed to reform its advertising practices and to pay $50,000 in costs and penalties to the state.

    Between January 1, 2012, and July 31, 2012, New Rochelle Toyota, located at 47 Cedar Street, added a $499 “administrative fee” to the purchase price of used vehicles. The fee was pre-printed on the sales agreement used by the dealership and was located in the price column, near other pre-printed fees and taxes that consumers are required to pay when purchasing a vehicle. Thus, it appeared to consumers that the “administrative fee” was mandatory and non-negotiable.

    However, the “administrative fee” was not a mandatory charge and was simply tacked onto the negotiated purchase price of the vehicle.

    The Attorney General’s investigation also revealed that New Rochelle Toyota repeatedly engaged in false and deceptive advertising, such as fine print and footnotes that contradicted the principal message of the advertisements; advertised sales without specifying the vehicles which were being offered at reduced prices, and advertising leased vehicles for “$0 Down” without disclosing that payments were actually due at the inception of the lease. New Rochelle Toyota also falsely claimed that is has an “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau, when its rating is actually an “F.”

  • Public Hearing Tonight on Motor Vehicle Dealership Zoning Changes: Time To Rid New Rochelle of Parasitic Car Dealers   27 weeks 2 days ago

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Bob. Every word of your article is absolutely to the point. We in the East End (particularly the Sunhaven area) are fed up with the dealers (particularly Pepe, Honda and Hyundai) riding roughshod over us. We've had it with the blatant violations of conditions by Sal Pepe and his gang. And to think that he was honored by the Police we know why he gets away with what he does.

    Apparently he's never been challenged before and it's clear that he doesn't like it. I guess that's true with his employees too, considering he's already fired 3 general managers in less than 2 years!

    Honda's no better.............does not respect 'no parking' signs; hires live, LOUD entertainment to perform outside the dealership (without a permit), along with a mobile searchlight in the sky.

    Hyundai parks wherever there's an inch of space -- on the sidewalks, on the grass, in the middle of the street, etc. Is there no end to this insanity!

    Please support this amended zoning change!

  • Public Hearing Tonight on Motor Vehicle Dealership Zoning Changes: Time To Rid New Rochelle of Parasitic Car Dealers   27 weeks 2 days ago


    Thank you very much for the article. I only hope citizens realize that this issue has been a long time in coming before council. Noam and Barry were our council reps and did nothing. Thank you to Albert Tarantino for taking on these problems.

  • Second New Rochelle Superintendent Search Input Session Takes Place at ALMS   28 weeks 5 hours ago
  • Superintendent Search Input Sessions Get Off to Rocky Start at Isaac Young   28 weeks 16 hours ago

    So the robo call reached the Spanish-speaking parents around 610pm for the 700pm mtg. Is there an apology in order Mr Lacher?

  • Iona College Announces North Avenue Development Initiatives - Acquisition of Mirage Diner, Cannone's Pizza   28 weeks 17 hours ago

    New Rochelle Wings It While Iona College Plots and Plans the future of North Avenue Corridor!

    Demonstrating support for North Avenue development, Iona College announced several North Avenue initiatives including land acquisitions, roadway improvements and a storefront enhancement program. Where is the Demonstration for support from The City of New Rochelle or are we relying on the Iona Plan?

    With the recent activity of Iona College acquiring North Avenue properties it looks like Iona College has set their New Master Plan into action. I think done right this can be a big step towards cleaning up and changing the dynamic of the North Avenue Corridor. However, this vision for the North Avenue Corridor must be a vision agreed upon by The City of New Rochelle, residents, neighbors, taxpayers and then Iona College. Not the other way around. There must be true input and communication not a perceived notion of the same. We saw what happened with Forest City Ratner’s Echo Bay Project. We cannot repeat the secrecy of the past Joint Community-College Planning Commission which was formed back in September 2011.

    What is prompting the development? The press release has stated, since President Nyre's arrival, the College has engaged in a series of community meetings with neighbors and elected officials resulting in renewed support from the College and City of New Rochelle to develop North Avenue.

    Iona College and The City of New Rochelle keep saying that the “Neighborhood Associations and the College are meeting on these things. That is not correct. Does anyone know of any meetings that involved input and true conversation from the neighborhood associations and the neighbors? Iona College hosted an open forum on Monday night 10/7/13. Part of their Campus Master Planning meetings, everyone was invited to learn about the ideas and offer input. This was more about output. I have attended focus groups and planning meetings, I saw none of that during this gathering. No real exchange of ideas and conversation with follow up and dialogue, just we will take note of it comments.

    During the Neighborhood Forum (meeting), nothing was mentioned about any plans as we were told they were only working on the master plan. The elaborate plans, impression and renderings that were shown were only that, Images of ideas and not fact, so we were told. The neighbors questioned the fact that the renderings contained views of several parts of The North Avenue Corridor only to be told that did not mean anything, they were only thoughts and drawings of the way the area could look with Iona College’s input, Another example of being shown what will be done and not asked for an opinion that would be taken seriously.

    They speak of The Joint Planning Committee. The Committee members WERE “expected to refrain from talking to the other members of their neighborhood associations” It was part of the preconditions of the committee that was announced back in September 2011. They may have their own spin on it enough to say that, but it is not correct.

    I spoke about the this exact point to The City Council on 7/10/12 about the problem of representatives not being able to speak about the process to their association members. Council member Tarintino even spoke of the disconnect at the 7/17/12 Council Meeting questioning the issue.

    Iona College and City of New Rochelle on the Road Again!
    By Bob McCaffrey on Sun, 07/01/2012

    Panel member: Iona dorm is 'too much'
    Councilman disagrees, says proposal is 'a great outcome'
    12:09 AM, Nov. 26, 2012

    Iona says dorm planning process was not secretive
    27 November 2012

    The City Of New Rochelle and Iona College Get Poor Grades, Must Show More Effort and Results in Their Work! By Bob McCaffrey on Thu, 11/29/2012

    A Big Disconnect, I would be happier if I saw the finished Master Plan from Iona College and The City of New Rochelle’s input to those plans. There could/should be a presentation of the final Master Plan presented by the college and The City of New Rochelle together. As we saw that night, no members of council attended the Neighborhood Forum (meeting). We are facing the exact same planning issues raised in the 1996 Comprehensive Plan.

    Under Planning Issues section in the 1996 Comprehensive Plan:
    Over the past ten to 15 years, Iona College has expanded its student population and its physical campus into the adjacent residential neighborhoods east and west of North Avenue. It renovated a public school for college use, built a dormitory, improved its outdoor athletic field adding permanent seating and acquired properties in adjacent residential neighborhoods for college use. While its population has contracted and stabilized, neighboring communities are still impacted by competition for limited on-street parking spaces. Planned improvements to the campus identified several years ago, such as an expanded library, have the potential to create further tensions with the surrounding neighborhood.

    New Rochelle has had a detailed Comprehensive Plan since 1996 yet we never hear any references to that plan. The only visions and ideas we have seen over the last several years are those of Iona College, Monroe College, Forest City Ratner and the many other developers who have built in The City of New Rochelle on the backs of The New Rochelle Taxpayers. Most do not even come close to the 1996 Comprehensive Plan. We have also seen a major amount of time and money lost by the flawed processes used during the Forest City Echo Bay debacle and others. Something must change and New Rochelle must start to take control of the development and planning process. But first, you need a plan and follow it.

    The closest thing we had as a way of input was something called “EnvisioNR” (“Envision New Rochelle”); this Comprehensive Plan process was developed for the public to have an opportunity to weigh in on important issues. There was a series of meetings held city-wide in June 2012 and on October 3 2012. These meetings were very poorly facilitated at the time. Future meetings were to be planned. I have not seen or heard much about this project except for the few e-mails I got when someone suggested more bike lanes for the umpteenth time. As a matter of fact, Eleanor Sharpe Planning Director for The City of New Rochelle at the time who was the facilitator of EnvisioNR is no longer working for The City of New Rochelle.

    This is not just about Iona College and the dorms. It is about the processes the colleges and developers use along with The City of New Rochelle. The City of New Rochelle has a bad habit of spot zoning and not looking out for the interests of the citizens and neighbors of the many projects they approve. We need to get it right so that the changes benefit all. It can and should be done, but not under the same guidelines and practices. We currently have Luiz Aragon, The New Commissioner of Development for the City of New Rochelle. See what he has to offer. New Rochelle needs to create a neutral group of citizens from all the different Neighborhood Associations. Representation from each district with no ties to any of the past hand selected and biased committee’s with the same predictable outcomes.

    I agree with what Luiz Aragon Commissioner of Development for the City of New Rochelle who said that “adding residential facilities and commercial uses on North Avenue and supporting physical improvements to existing properties will be important initial steps in the revitalization of the North Avenue corridor.” But The City of New Rochelle must maintain control of this process and follow it carefully.

    New Rochelle we have an opportunity to do something good here with a collaborative effort from everyone that has a stake in the North Avenue Corridor, Iona College, Landlords, Store owners, the students, potential customers and most importantly the resident taxpayers of New Rochelle. Take the time to plan and get it right for the sake of the future of New Rochelle.

    “Common Sense for the Common Good”