Confessions of a Fool

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I am a fool, pure and simple, a somewhat trusting soul who thought that New Rochelle was led by a brilliant young man whose vision and sense of love of community would reach out and fulfill the euphoria we all felt when times were better and our nation was on an economic and emotional high.

I saw this blog, the skeptics and critics, simply as people who didn't get the obvious. There would be hope, change, and people of all spectra in the demographic family of New Rochelle would have equal access to government; be they black, white, brown, yellow, jew, catholic, protestant, muslim, uptown, downtown, somewhere in between.

So, I reached out, touched base, supported as best I could people inside and outside, of New Rochelle, expecting that my serendipity would be realized and that we would be one community, united in the common cause of a better world for all of us..... then.

Things went south but not geographically in New Rochelle. The economy soured and with it, the failure of our leaders to lead, to prioritize, to understand even the most rudimentary and fundamental needs brought about by economic and yes, social upheaval, went to hell in a handbasket.

It finally occurred to me that I was a tranparent fool; actually an arrogrant idiot. I actually thought that despite my shortcomings of personality, location and distaste for the political process, my intelligence, my will would carry the day. It did not and has not.

Noam Bramson has become one of the single biggest disappointments in my life; somewhat below my own self assessment and overevaluation of my own emotional and naive content, but nonetheless, a young man of enormous potential who has sold out to ambition and the need for self aggrandized power. Of course he is not alone; almost everyone on this site and elsewhere in this City is guilty to some degree of this failure. I am one of those. But, the difference is that he has assumed power of leadership, not power ascribed to him by the way via the City Code, but by following the example of predecessors and assuming it. I suppose nature abhors a vacuum and he senses tha, but Noam has become a total political animal and his ambition to rule, yes literally rule and not serve, is supported by a number of models in society.... Barack Obama comes quickly to mind and yes, Nita Lowey.

The Journal News printed her Commentary Sunday on Obama's position on birth control, etal. This is particularly difficult for me to comment on as I agree with the substance of the debate.Woman of all faiths and political persuasions should have that right. My problem is that she expresses it contrary to how that right should be exercised and as we see in Noam, Barack and other entrenched liberals, they see this right as an entitlement to impose, not critically examine in a broader context of, in this case, the Constitution, in other cases, some rationalization that Nita, Barack, Noam know best. It took Obama less than 24 hours to come up with a knee-jerk response that, in itself, does not address the issue in the context of a legitimate Catholic or even Fundamentalist viewpoint, of government interference with Constitutional language.

All Obama had to do is act on a simple fact that both he and the Catholic hierarchy already know; that is a signficant percentage of Catholics practice birth control. But, from a theological viewpoint, you stay away and don't rub their noses into your sense of what is right or wrong. It would have been simple to arrange and announce that free birth control would be made available at facilities such as non-denominational hosptiatls and other non-profit facilities. But like Noam, simple, focused and workable solutions, prioritized to deal with the current state, as opposed to some personally desired outcome, could and should be found.

But, Nita Lowey inserts herself into the debate and chooses sides. Maybe this is not class warfare, but it sure smells of theological warfare. Why isn't she vocal about the Rockland County Hasidic practice of having the woman of that group forced to sit in the back of the bus. This is 2012 damn it and not a word from her on this and other issues. And, don't even show any sympathy for Palestinians and utter the word, "zionist." That would make you an Anti-Semite even though the Palestinians themselves are by definition, semites.

So, politics rears its ugly head and I return to my moments of self loathing. I put my faith in abilities I have not in shortcomings I also have. Take the current Citizens Panel underway. Here is some loathsome self-aggrandizement for you. I am most likely the most qualified person in New Rochelle to serve on such a panel. My credentials ar unequaled and there are some in office who can testify to that. But, no call to serve and I am sure my name came up in the closed door meetings and was quickly dismissed by someone. It had to come up but that is the price I paid for demonstrating oppositiion and for not having the emotional strength to have ..... what is the use!

Then there is the certainty of the power of the political process. I hoped that one or more Council members might have put me in the loop seeing that they had such power. They did not and I can only assume it was political by nature. But, the "minority" or opposition is little better than the majority.

why? They know the major issues but will not effectively confront. They fail to recognize or are too frightened to recognize that they are the supreme power in the City according to the City Code. We have 7 Council Members; 6 per district, 1 at large. Noam is not, repeat not a strong mayor by referendum or Code, yet I defy anyone to make a point that he acts in accordance to the responsibilities and relationships allotted to him by Code. It has not happened and it will not likely because the "minority" does not want to jeopardize their acting out in a similar fashion if by some miracle, they win the City election.

The Democratic party is full of old politicians, most have never met a payroll and many are hostile to the lumpenproletariat as they likely think of those outside of their privileged status. This is the sort of attitude that defined the Op Ed piece written by Dr. Lipow recently. It is lamentable, but frankly there are a lot of people who are intimate with this blog who are equally opposed to a community of mutual interest. But, at least they can be given some slack for this based on years of deprivation.

Our elected officials in County and State are not much different. They are driven to be re-elected and share the disease of being overly politicized. No supporters of termm limits here. If you want an exercise in frustration, check into the quality or substance of legislation each has passed. You will find that few of these are substantive; in fact, a number are smoke and mirrors... meaning not even enforceable.

So, Anthony, Old Timer and others who have said it, I am "naive". My only defense is that I am not intellectually naive, but I am a hopeless trusting soul who can be easily wooed by the hope of being part of something larger than himself Even that comes with a fair share of bullspit as it is its own source of power.

Noam, I do not share the view that you have materially enriched yourself; but you have depleted the City and have placed personal ambition over public trust. City Council, you have not realized or cared enough about what the City has empowered you to do nor have demonstrated the spine to stand up for the right things.

I am through with politics and my concentration will be pretty much restricted to the following.

1. work toward managing New Rochelle via the direction of its constitution, the City Code, or have the Code changed to conform with how it is managed.

2. stop all projects that materially contribute to the expense base of the City without adding immediate value to the revenue base.

3. Distinguish between short term and longer term needs starting with the recognition that the downtown business district must be meaningfully changed in terms of zoning, attraction of revenue businesses, empowering owners, changing BID in substantive ways, decentralizing City Hall departments by bringing several to Main Street along with a School District Office, and most important, placing a police office facility in a central Main Stree location.

4. getting citizens to understand that a full complement of first providers is necessary, supporting police and fire department members fully and getting them to understand the need to assist in expense management via contractual arrangemens.

5. having citizens understand that the City must play a formal role in the School District or else we face considerable hurdles in attracting new businesses and residents. As it is now, the City Council is totally ignorant of the importance or relationship of a thriving and effective school system and a business plan.

6. support any community, community leader, council person, in building a community that is vital, demonstrates "a sense of oneness" and is courageous enough to challenge the status quo.

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

John D'Alois on Wed, 02/15/2012 - 06:09

Don't be so hard on yourself brother. The hope and faith you carried for so long are exactly the kind of positive attitude needed to improve the condition. I've read your posts for years and have been enlightened, informed, and encouraged by your ability to think your way through issues. As an activist, you pose the questions that need to be asked not because they align with any agenda, but because they are fundamental in getting to the heart of an issue. We don't all have to agree, however, the critical thinking is fundamental to flushing out the truth. The very qualities you bring to the table are the sole reason for your being shut out. You don't fit the "profile" needed to accommodate the self serving agenda that's in place. That's a good thing believe it or not. Your worth trancends these temporary roadblocks placed in your path and they underscore the importance of your continued efforts.

I've been reading your posts since the early days of TOTS ( seems like ages ago) and whether I agree or no, you have always wanted what's best for this city and its residents, without fail. (If I were mayor, I'd be running your ass ragged from one committee to another just to pry your 2 cents on the issues.)

You've now come to realize what many have already known. It's very tough to hold on to a belief only to have it crumble in spite of all the potential you saw in it. For me, I knew better than to try to assuage your belief. Part of me wanted to see your faith pan out in spite of my predisposition. It was only a matter of time and it certainly was no fault of yours.It's sort of like a scam artist playing a mark. People are always dumbfounded when the realization sets in. They just can't believe the swindle. It happens a lot, not because the mark is naive, but because the con man is just that good. They play the part perfectly. Just look at the aftermath of a guy like Bernie Madeoff.

Don't let this setback break your stride. Remember that even though somebody let you down, there are still thousands of people following your posts. (that's pretty cool in and of itself). Battles are won and lost, but in the end what's right will win the war.

Dubitando quippe ad inquisitionem venimus; inquirendo veritatem percipimus.

So, sit back, relax, pour yourself a pint and click on the link below as we lament about our mayor. Kind of dated, but you'll see the more things change the more they stay the same.

http://youtu.be/XsKwqr2SKwo

Stay strong, stay involved and thank you.

Warren Gross on Wed, 02/15/2012 - 15:40

I am both moved and uplifted by your words. My Latin is rusty, but I sense an Augustinian colloquoy on doubt. We know much of his greatness comes from his struggles.

I am blessed to have people speak to me here from both the intellect and the spirit. Again, part of the pain felt is the knowledge that such quality is set apart from the dialogue almost as if they are seen to be anathema to both the regeneration and the healing of the City.

My heart overflows with the support I have received and it is such a sense of community I am feeling when I can unclench a fist and see or sense the dawn is breaking over this City. I sincerely pray that Noam and others place their trust and faith in all corners of our community, but unlike the past, I weigh hope and charity against accountability and shared sacrifice.

I note with joy the words the other day of Reverend Hudson who approaches rebuiling his church as a sacred trust and commits to providing a facility that will invest in the youth of the community to learn and try new ways.

John, we share a hope and dream for the Armory and I would like to invite the community to think of the possibilities this building holds for purposes that honor and ennoble the best of us (veterans) along with why we fight in the first place (community and family). Surely this is part of an emrging dawn.

My friends, along with Knitter, Old Timer and others unnamed, bless you for your words and your years of courage and may our City Council see such as you for what you really are and reach out to help rebuild and renew. God Bless You

NROld Timer on Tue, 02/14/2012 - 13:41

Warren, I’ll make this short and sweet. You’re no fool! You are hopelessly in love with hope. Noam has proven himself unworthy of your hope to the point of disappointment and tomorrow you will find out if Jared and Ivar are worthy. Don’t change for New Rochelle needs people who are not afraid to put a stake in the ground and go to the wall to defend that stake. The difference between you and the Bramsonite’s is that you are realistic, realizing you may not always be right. Even more important you have the balls to admit a mistake. This is part of human imperfection, a trait Noam will NEVER be capable of because of his elitist attitude, which allows no one to peek behind the curtain or under his skirt.

Warren Gross on Tue, 02/14/2012 - 22:27

You define a major problem in New Rochelle. You are one of the brightest, best minds I have had the pleasure of being associated with. Your comments are always instructive and I can say this as someone who has had differences of opinion with you on occasion. But, these differences were never a source of any animosity; always something of value.

That's what I mean by major problem. You are not brought into the debate in the City as far as I know on any issue. the same holds true for so many others on TOTS. It took me a long time to learn this, but learn it I did.

Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I will happily follow your advice.

And, for all readers out there. Of course viewpoints and ideas are important whether in harmony with our thinking or not. We owe Bob Cox a great vote of thanks. He has provided a forum for all people and he he stands with a growing readership, sponsorship and we have an alterntive to proprietary ownership, 140 words or less gamesmanship and true diversity... the exchange of views with no baggage of race, religion, sex, political persuasion. By baggage I simply mean a rite of passage.... be responsibile, reasonably respectful, and try your best to make sense.

I love this City and as I grow older, I find myself more accepting, compassionate, and unashameably loviing the broad spectrum of good, decent people out there and yes, many of these good souls are from the North End as well as down our parts.

My heart belongs here and as long as God gives me faculty and breath, Bob a forum, and people like Old Timer, Knitter, Bob McCaffrey, Martin, 5th Avenue Guy, and others, a place to share ideas and express in our own fashion, our love for this City, we will make out fine.

The value grows... I have recently met John Revenol a co-owner of Patisserie, a first rate Tea Shoppe on Huguenot. What an example of the sort of neighbor and business we need to attract here. I urge you visit. He is opposite the old landmark church and I think Reverend Hudson abides there temporarily until his Baptist Church is rebuilt. A man we can all love and respect.

I want this City for my younger wife. I want to breath in the spirit of Gehrig, Davis, Rockwell, Paine, and so many others.

God Bless all who read and post here.

Laraine Karl on Mon, 02/13/2012 - 20:35
Title: No Fool

Your post is right on the mark. I for one thought it was wonderful when Noam and Michael Boyle were elected and sat on the council. I saw a wonderful future for New Rochelle. Unfortunately, the future of this city went another way. I do believe the citizens of New Rochelle have to get off their couches and attend meetings and speak out. If they cannot they can send emails, write letters and contact their council members and voice their opinions. I also believe that neighborhood associations have to group together and share any and all resources. I do believe that Noam fears the thought that if the north and south ends of New Rochelle work together he will not have control. That is his weak point he needs control. I think he feels this is the only way that he will move on in his political career. Perhaps it is his youth or his fear. Just think if he did bring the city together in spite of our city's problems, I am sure Westchester county, Albany or even Washington would take notice and perhaps help him move on. I only hope that the individuals on the council always consider the districts they represent and not worry about what Noam wants and needs on his resume.

Warren Gross on Mon, 02/13/2012 - 22:44

your kind words and counsel always mean a lot to me. Actually my wife called me and said this piece was not shown on the index of articles. I said that is not likely as TOTS never makes an error on such things. I will check my computer when I arrive home.

But your kindness is evidence it was displayed and again, thanks so much and I hope to gtt comments from other readers as this one is really from my heart.

without TOTS, we have no voice.

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