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.