County Executive Rob Astorino Terminates Westchester's Membership in ICLEI

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Rob AstorinoWestchester County is no longer a member of ICLEI.

County Executive Rob Astorino made the decision shortly after taking office to terminate Westchester's membership in ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability which came to an end effective December 31, 2011. Membership dues for Westchester County amounted to $20,000 annually.

“When we came into office we reviewed all of the associations to which the County belonged," said Ned McCormack, chief spokesman for Astorino. "We determined that ICLEI was not an essential service and we dropped the membership".

This is a striking turnaround for a county that just four years ago released an ICLEI-inspired Climate Action Plan calling on all municipalities to join ICLEI.

The difference has been Astorino, a no-nonsense fiscal conservative whose stunning upset victory in 2009 over long-time incumbent, Democrat Andy Spano. Under Spano, Westchester County became the highest-taxed county in the nation. Astorino was elected with a 16-point margin largely on his promise to reign in spending and get control of property taxes.

Astorino continues to support "sustainability" initiatives but reached the same conclusion many County Executives, Mayors and City Councils have reached all across the United State. It is possible to work to protect the environment and make wise development decisions without the participation the UN Non-Governmental Organization ("NGO").

New Rochelle Council Member Louis Trangucci (R-District 1), arguably the highest elected official in Westchester County who has openly opposed ICLEI, shares Astorino's belief that Westchester can protect the environment and plan sensibly without outside influences.

"I am all for the environment," said Trangucci. "I support 'green' but we don't need people outside this country trying to dictate policy or mandate or control our way of life in New Rochelle, in Westchester or anywhere else in our country."

Trangucci has taken heat from New Rochelle Mayor Noam Branson over the past year on ICLEI. Trangucci was the sole dissenting vote for the Mayor's Local Agenda 21 called GreeNR. After a lengthy debate, Trangucci voted against the plan after calling Bramson out by offering to change his vote in favor of the plan if the Mayor would agree to vote in favor of getting rid of ICLEI. When, as expected, the Mayor refused Trangucci voted "no".

"I took an oath to the New York State Constitution and the United States Constitution not some unaccountable outside organization," added Trangucci. "It's not something my constituents want and not something I want."

The circumstances under which Astorino's decision became public is a story unto itself. "Mitch", a member of the South End Civic Club, called a talk radio show on WVOX 1460 AM on Tuesday after hearing Robert Cox give a presentation to her group on the subject of ICLEI, Agenda 21 and New Rochelle's Local Agenda 21 plan known as GreeNR. Mitch asked the show's host, Sheila Marcotte of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, why the county was a member of ICLEI. Marcotte was not aware that Westchester County was a member of ICLEI and so told the caller that the county was not a member. After the show she checked the ICLEI web site and saw that Westchester County was listed a member. She tried to contact Mitch to correct the record, also writing to ICLEI to get details on Westchester's membership in ICLEI. Later that day, Marcotte learned that while Westchester had been a member and was still listed on the ICLEI site as a member, the County had allowed their membership to lapse as of December 31, 2011. It was through this series of events that Talk of the Sound was able to determine that Westchester County was no longer a member of ICLEI.

In terminating their membership, Westchester County joins over 50 local and county governments that have terminated their membership in ICLEI since 2009 when the organization announced Oklahoma City, OK as its 600th member. Oklahoma City has since terminated its membership in ICLEI. Today, ICLEI is down to less even than the 550 U.S. members claimed. A number of localities on the list are no longer members including Plantation, FL; Irving, TX; Westchester County, NY; Sequim, WA; Las Cruces, NM to name a few.

Westchester County used ICLEI software in 2005 to conduct a study of greenhouse gases ("GHG"), joined ICLEI in 2007 and produced an ICLEI-inspired Climate Action Plan in 2008 which, not surprisingly, recommended that all municipalities in Westchester County join ICLEI.

One of the primary reasons given in the Climate Action Plan for recommending that municipalities join ICLEI is to conduct a GHG inventory.

In support of its Climate Action Plan, the Task Force has developed an inventory of its greenhouse gases for the year 2005. For this purpose, the Clean Air and Climate Protection Software provided by ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability was used. Through ICLEI, there is an opportunity for each municipality in Westchester to do its own GHG inventory. It is therefore recommended that municipalities join ICLEI and conduct their own inventory to establish their GHG emissions baseline. [emphasis added]

This is the same logic recently employed in the New Rochelle, NY where the city's Sustainability Coordinator cited access to the ICLEI GHG Inventory software as a benefit of membership in ICLEI.

Yet, Westchester County and New Rochelle both used the ICLEI GHG Inventory software before joining ICLEI.

ICLEI has been reeling from defections over the past three years, in part as a function of belt-tightening measures in a down economy but largely due to a nationwide backlash against what many critics see as an attempt by the United Nations and its "UN System" of Agencies and UN-certified NGOs to influence local land-use laws to limit development of unimproved property and shift the population away from low-density residential areas into high-density urban areas. Critics have raised concerns about many other aspects of the Agenda 21 plan which many see as an attempt to advance controversial policies such as zero-population growth, large scale wealth and technology transfers from developed to underdeveloped countries and limits on consumption and production in developed countries.

For its part, ICLEI has sought to dispel what it labels "conspiracy theories circulated about ICLEI and Agenda 21". Yet, in a recently published FAQ on its web site, ICLEI describes its role as part of the UN system to advance Agenda 21 in the same terms used by critics.

FAQ: ICLEI, the United Nations, and Agenda 21

  • ICLEI is one of many NGOs recognized by the U.N. to provide input into these processes.
  • ICLEI is the "Local Authority Major Group Co-Organizing Partner" for Rio+20 and the "Local Government and Municipal Authority Focal Point" for UNFCCC climate change negotiations.
  • ICLEI acts as a bridge between local governments and UN processes.

In describing its role in authoring Chapter 28 of Agenda 21, known as "Local Agenda 21" ILCEI says it "served the role of technical representative for a range of local government organizations, including the International Union of Local Authorities, the United Towns Organization, Metropolis, and others. ICLEI took input from these organizations regarding their key positions in areas pertinent to local government, such as urban development, water resources, and waste management, and presented these positions to UN representatives and national government representatives, who included them into the final text."

ICLEI proponents often attempt to present ICLEI as a benign, non-profit membership organization staffed by eager young do-gooders who distribute pamphlets on the environment, host webinars on various green initiatives and provide software for cataloguing the level of carbon emissions in a local area. Connections to the United Nations and Agenda 21 are dismissed as "conspiracy theories".

It is a fact, however, that ICLEI was founded in 1990 at its inaugural conference, the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future, which was convened at the United Nations in New York in September 1990. ICLEI wrote what became Chapter 28: Local Agenda 21 of Agenda 21. Agenda 21, also known as the Rio Accords, is a "comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups" which was adopted by 180 nations at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). UNCED, also known as the Rio Summit, Rio Conference, or Earth Summit, was a major United Nations conference held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created in 1992, based on Chapter 38 of Agenda 21, to serve as a high level forum on sustainable development and has acted as the preparatory committee for summits and sessions on the implementation of Agenda 21. The United Nations will convene, Rio + 20, the next UNCSD summit, in June of this year, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of UNCED. Rio+20 is "a joint endeavour of the entire UN System" including ICLEI,a UN-certified NGO as part of that UN System.

ICLEI's web site states:

The year 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit, the birthplace of the Local Agenda 21 movement. Initiated by ICLEI, it has inspired thousands of local governments and communities worldwide to put in place local strategies and actions for sustainable development. [emphasis added]

The organization was originally called "International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives" then changed its name to "ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability" and then, more recently to, ICLEI-USA. Critics have long contended that simply adding "USA" to its name is not going to change the fact that ICLEI is an international organization created under the auspices of the UN as the local implementation arm of Agenda 21.

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

Brian Sussman on Wed, 04/18/2012 - 17:29

I will have to read this article again, as I don't understand Astorino's gripe with ICLEI, nor am I sure I understand ICLEI itself. But I will post some comments here and now.

As far as I can tell from reading this article, Astorino dropped ICLEI because membership dues for Westchester County amounted to $20,000 annually.

I'm all for cutting unnecessary, expensive government expenses, but considering Westchester's budget, $20,000 is not expensive. So if dropping ICLEI occurred to cut costs, little was accomplished financially. If cutting costs was Astorino's purpose, his action was ineffective.

So this leaves the question, is ICLEI either frivolous or harmful?

The answer to the question of frivolous is two-part.

The primary question is, is global warming occurring? Of course there are people who dispute the existence of global warming, or dispute that the earth is round, or dispute that the universe is billions of years in age, or that evolution created the wide variety of life that has existed on Earth, but such people should be disregarded as ignorant and naïve. So anyone who is against ICLEI because they deny the existence of global warming, has no scientific basis to rail against ICLEI.

The secondary question is, can ICLEI help slow global warming? Considering global warming is harmful to society, the effectiveness of ICLEI is the only question that should be considered. There is nothing in this article or in anything else I have read at TOTS indicating that ICLEI would not slow global warming. I presume Bob Cox is concerned about global warming, and ask why he thinks participating in ICLEI is ineffective against global warming?

In itself, ICLEI is certainly not harmful. What harm can come of ICLEI? Those who rant against ICLEI because it is associated with the UN, probably are more upset about the existence of the UN, than about ICLEI itself, or at least this is the impression they give me. However, most Americans, and in particular most people in Westchester do believe in the necessity of the UN, and do believe in the UN’s efforts to slow global warming. So ranting against the ICLEI because it is associated with the UN, is a counter-productive argument for those dislike ICLEI.

Urban development, water resources, and waste management, are all important issues humanity, and by their nature are to some extent, necessarily international in effect, but tend to be acted upon selfishly, locally, in a manner counter-productive to humanity. Therefore an international effort to stymie global warming is necessary, beyond a reasonable doubt.

Most people in Westchester believe in zero-population growth, large scale wealth and technology transfers from developed to underdeveloped countries and limits on consumption and production in developed countries. All of that is necessary for the preservation of humanity, and for the preservation and enhancement of democracy world-wide, and to deter cruel wars of desperation that would result otherwise. There might be a lot of critics of such things in Mississippi or Alabama, but very few in Westchester.

I must correct an error in an assumption I read here. Astorino, strikes me as advocating much nonsense. His stunning upset victory in 2009 over long-time incumbent, Democrat Andy Spano, was precisely because Spano was too old, had been in office too long, and needed to replaced by someone younger. Spano’s loss had nothing to do with high taxes or unpopularity with his policies, just his lengthy time in county office.

Astorino was not elected his promise to reign in spending and get control of property taxes. Most Westchester voters do not vote against candidates because of high taxes, because most people in Westchester realize we get what we pay for, and that we live in one of the most affluent, friendliest, best-educated, liberal counties in the USA.

In fact, throughout the USA, the people who complain most about high taxes, tend to be those who pay the least taxes. That’s why in New Rochelle, it is the poorer South End, not the wealthier North End where the tax complaints are the loudest, and why Republican complaints against high taxes get no traction.

Bob, I know you and others replied to my questions regarding GreeNR, but I have not had a chance to read or respond to those Postings. I was looking for such Postings today, but was unable to find the links to them. Can you provide me with the link(s), and I will read what you and others wrote, and will respond.

Bob McCaffrey on Thu, 04/19/2012 - 13:16

Is global warming occurring? There are plenty of scientists from many countries working on this theory. We don’t need another political agenda that is local, national or global to figure this out. If the leaders of the free world want to create an independent nonpolitical group then let them do so. ICLEI has become a political tool. Our tax dollars finance research, why should we foot the bill for yet another program.

I'm all for cutting unnecessary government expenses regardless of their size. With Westchester's budget, $20,000 is not expensive. An expense is an expense. It doesn’t matter why Astorino dropped ICLEI . The ICLEI $20,000 is an expense regardless. It is an expense deemed unnecessary. Every dollar counts. Pennies grow into nickels then dimes and quarters. Eventually you have realized dollars. If every legislator were to cut $20,000 from their spending, we would be in much better shape.

There is enough local and national knowledge that we don’t need to go global for Westchester or New Rochelle. If anything the legislators should fight to get back the energy tax credits for home owners. That is a local benefit that cuts energy bills, save individuals money, helps the economy and save the environment as well. By using the NYSERDA program I installed blown in insulation and some windows. With the tax credits I finished the windows for the entire house. I cut my energy usage by 25% or better the first year. It will have paid for itself in four years and added value to my home. I used all local companies and therefore also helped the local economy and the environment at the same time. These are the type of programs we need. Not a global pyramid scheme. We need to look local then local becomes global. This has already been going on. Once you pull in other groups, agendas and governments it becomes political and the true focus is lost. You can already see how this point has been polarized and politicized right here. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Even our school kids get that one. I can use my saying globally now.

“Common Sense for the Common Good”.

NRinfo on Thu, 04/19/2012 - 00:07

This is the problem with liberals. They believe they know everything, and try to prove it through hypotheticals and generalities (most people), completely VOID OF FACT. Then they label those who are not of the same mindset with disparaging names (stupid, ignorant, Naïve, CAVE people).

As far as Astorino’s victory occurring because Spano was in office too long and too old, you should attend the next State Democratic Convention to deliver your insight to state officials. By your standard Lowey, Engel and Schumer are toast so maybe you should nominate Noam who only has one foot in the political grave as he has been in office too long but does have age in his favor.

Your wisdom on high taxes is perplexing in that we reside in the highest taxed county in New York. The only thing that would explain your mindset on taxes is that you are not a property owner and receive some sort of pubic assistance like Section 8 or reside in a rent controlled building.

When all is said and done the liberal motto is; FACT is a four-letter word that will be uttered and referred to as little as possible in the furtherance of our cause.

Robert Cox's picture
Robert Cox on Wed, 04/18/2012 - 22:30

Brian,

This comment is chock full of quite a few unsubstantiated claims along the lines of "everyone thinks this or that", or the converse, "anyone who thinks x or y" is stupid. Can I suggest that it would be more productive to discuss a topic if we deal in "facts" that are agreed to be "facts" and separate out opinion?

Whether global warming is occurring is hardly the "primary question" with regard to ICLEI but the issue is not "global warming" but "climate change". Didn't you get the memo? The preferred term among the ICLEI crowd is no longer global warming because the data now shows that the earth's temperatures, after rising for about 25 years, are now declining. Climate change is preferred because it is no longer that temperatures are rising but that the overall climate is changing. As proof, there was an above average number of hurricanes in 2005 including Katrina. And there are were a flurry of tornadoes last week. And we had a lot of snow last year. That there were far few hurricanes in 2006, or that there were less tornadoes the month before or that there was very little snow this year does not disprove the theory but supports it because it is offered as further "proof" of climate change because the climate has changed.

I believe, however, that you will find that the climate has always been changing. If not, how would Al Roker have a job?

Even if global warming was occurring the question is not whether it is occurring but whether it is man made. I believe you are referring to anthropomorphic global warming.

In any case, I do not believe there is any connection between the FACT that the Earth is round and the THEORY of "global warming". I am not aware of anyone who believes the earth is flat.

Now, if you start from the position that anyone who disagrees with your premise is "ignorant and naïve" then its going to be easy, at least in your mind, to "win" the debate. I would rather see you prove that the theory of anthropomorphic global warming is a fact not just a theory. If you can do that it can serve as a building block then we can proceed for the rest of your argument.

Since global "warming" is no longer occurring it cannot be the case that the "secondary question" is whether ICLEI help slow global warming but let's just posit for a moment that you have valid point.

You write "There is nothing in this article or in anything else I have read at TOTS indicating that ICLEI would not slow global warming."

I don't think it is up to critics of ICLEI to prove that ICLEI would NOT slow global warming. If you are argument had any logic to it (and so far it does not) then it would up to proponents of ICLEI to prove it WOULD slow global warming, right? In this scenario, everyone agrees that there is a problem and everyone agrees that ICLEI is a solution to the problem. The problem is that I do not agree that there is a problem and even if I did I would not agree that ICLEI is the solution.

I, for one, am not "ranting" about ICLEI. I am stating my concerns in a straight-forward, documented, fact-based manner with lots of links to ICLEI and UN web sites that clearly support the claims I am making.

My concern with ICLEI and the United Nations is, first and foremost, that the Mayor, really the only proponent of ICLEI in our local government will not admit the obvious, that ICLEI is part of the UN system. It is a UN NGO. It is the local implementation arm of Agenda 21 for the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. ICLEI's role with the UNCSD system is to implement Agenda 21 at the local level and the GreeNR plan is a "local Agenda 21" plan. This is an easily demonstrated fact (just google for ICLEI and local Agenda 21 and read the UN web site). If the Mayor were so confident that this was not a big deal then why continue to lie about it. But as YOU are not disputing this point let's leave that as a settled matter: we agree that ICLEI is a part of the UN system on Sustainability.

Now we can get into a better discussion , if you want: is it necessarily a bad thing that ICLEI is part of the UN system?

But back to your point. You next ask "What harm can come of ICLEI?" but then answer your own question "ICLEI is certainly not harmful."

You then add, without any empirical support, that "Most Americans, and in particular most people in Westchester do believe in the necessity of the UN, and do believe in the UN’s efforts to slow global warming. So ranting against the ICLEI because it is associated with the UN, is a counter-productive argument for those dislike ICLEI."

I am not aware of ANY polling data on the views of Westchester residents about the "necessity of the UN" or believe in their efforts to slow global warming or anything else. I do see that Gallup has been polling Americans on the UN since 1953.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/126134/americans-rating-united-nations-improv...

"Thirty-one percent of Americans say the United Nations is doing a good job of solving the problems it has had to face, according to the Feb. 1-3 Gallup World Affairs poll. While still a negative review, the current U.N. rating is a significant improvement over last year's 26% and the best since 2005."

Along political lines, no political subgroup has majority support for the UN.

"The new Gallup poll finds Democrats (45%) are twice as likely as Republicans (22%) to evaluate the United Nations positively. At 25%, independents' views are nearly the same as those of Republicans."

Given these figures, I seriously doubt that "most" Americans or Westchester residents have a favorable view of the UN but perhaps you have some other data we can review. In fact, quite the opposite. Most Americans including most Democrats have a negative view of the UN.

I am likewise curious as to the basis for your confident assertion that "most people in Westchester believe in zero-population growth, large scale wealth and technology transfers from developed to underdeveloped countries and limits on consumption and production in developed countries." Do you have any survey data or polling or any empirical information to support this rather fantastical claim?

To be polite, I believe you are talking out of your hat. If, however, you have some data to support these claims please provide it.

I do think we can agree that "urban development, water resources, and waste management, are all important issues humanity" and I do not have a problem with an ""international effort" to address them. But "international" is not the same as "global" and you are using the two terms interchangeably as if they mean the same thing. International is inter-national, between nations. An international system recognizes the sovereignty of individual nations. Global is a unified whole. A global system does not recognize the sovereignty of individual nations. I do not have a problem with the United States participating in an international system where our government represents our interests just as other governments represent their people's interests.

I do not know what you have against people in Mississippi or Alabama but if less than one-third of Americans have an unfavorable view of the UN then it is not just because people in Mississippi or Alabama don't like the UN.

I will tell you one reason that I don't like the UN. I do not agree with the premise that every country gets one vote at the General Assembly. I do not think the vote of North Korea or Myanmar or Cuba or Syria or any other country with an unelected leader should count the same as a vote from the United States or Brazil or Thailand or Denmark or a country with a freely elected leadership. I also do not agree with a system that allows a county like China to hold a veto over every other nation. I also find it absurd that tiny countries like Benin or Laos or Belize have a vote that cancels out the vote of countries like Japan, France, or Argentina. I also think there is a large element of anti-semitism within the UN an organization run for many years by a former Nazi SS officer.

I am going to set aside your explanation for Astorino's defeat of Andy Spano and on your theory that people like paying high taxes as they are beyond the scope of a discussion about ICLEI.

To circle back and close the loop on my reply to your remarks, you have posited the idea that ICLEI is certainly not harmful. Elsewhere you have written that you do not really know much about ICLEI. If you do not know much about ICLEI then on what basis can you assert that it is CERTAINLY not harmful. It would seem to me that you would have no way to make that judgement.

Let me just try this another way.

Would you agree that it is possible to develop policies that have genuine, broad support for protecting the earth's resources, establishing wise development plans and providing for equitable treatment of all residents without ICLEI?

hudson park on Tue, 04/17/2012 - 20:58

Now New Rochelle should do the same.OH that's right we are controlled by the Democratics.

Brian Sussman on Tue, 04/17/2012 - 21:43

The reason that New Rochelle is controlled by Democrats, is because most voters in New Rochelle are Democrats. You might as well complain that New Rochelle is controlled by Americans.

New Rochelle has 40,980 voters. Of these, 21,604 (53%) are Democrat, while 8,524 (21%) are Republican. In last years's election Noam Bramson was reelected Mayor by about 80% of the vote. NR's Republicans tend to vote more often than Democrats, so it is apparent that almost all the Democrats and Non-Republicans who voted, voted Democrat.

Complaining that City Hall is run by Democrats accomplishes nothing, except venting frustration. If you want to see City Hall policies change, you need to focus on helping determine which Democrat is elected, rather than in unsuccessfully trying to prevent Democrats from getting elected. However Democratic voters do not tend to vote against high taxes, and are almost universally concerned about global warming, over-population and depleted resources.

Republicans Maisano and Tarantino get elected each time, but the Democrats are giving those offices away by not running a candidate for those offices.

But given time, the local Republican Party will cease to have influence, as older Republicans die or move away, while younger people will register to vote, and vote Democrat.

Most New Rochelle voters cannot stand the national or state Republican Party, and so the New Rochelle Republican Party suffers by their association with the disreputable Republican Party outside of NR. How can you fail to realize that? If you want success in advocating policies, you need to abandon the Republicans, because few local voters are interested in that brandname, and find that party's policies old but not grand.

hudson park on Tue, 04/17/2012 - 22:08
Title: Your Right

Mr.Sussman,New Rochelle is the way it is because of the democratic control they have had in this city.The downtown is failing this Mayor and the people on council through the years have no vision.The avalon's are nothing more than dorms the library green is a tent city for bums and beggar's.The train station is a dump and the downtown is a ghost town.Every store and res't owner are complaining.Oh and what does council do to help raise fees on parking extend the hours of parking etc etc. Your BID is in shambles the director makes makes almost 175,000 to do what? Fix a few store fronts for people who are on the Bid.New Rochelle needs a change and it starts at city hall.We don't need some Harvard Grad.what we need is someone who lives and works downtown.

Brian Sussman on Wed, 04/18/2012 - 04:56

Most of New Rochelle's problems are a result of the mainly Republican administrations that were elected in the 1950's thru early 1990's.

To the extent that blame is laid on the Democrats who have run New Rochelle since the early 1990's, you must realize the Dems have been trying to clean up the mess they inherited from the Republicans. Therefore, both parties would seem to be equally to blame for New Rochelle's problems.

Actually, neither party is really to blame. If we are a democracy, the main blame for New Rochelle's continuing commercial problems over the last 50 years, can be laid on the Voters.

But it isn't really the Voter's fault, as New Rochelle is not really a democracy, because our chief executive is not elected, but rather is an appointed bureaucrat. So the actual blame must be laid on our undemocratic, un-republican City Manager form of government. Much of the problem was created by 17 years of the very corrupt City Manager Sam Kissinger

The solution is to change the City Charter so we can elect the New Rochelle chief executive, so we have a three branch separation of power with checks and balances, as American governments are constitutionally obligated to do.

I agree with you that the Avalons are to some extent, over-sized, long-term motels that hardly benefit New Rochelle commercially. I have been stating that publically as long as the Avalons have existed. But their existence is due to the Republican-led City Council of the 1980's callously, foolishly destroying the viable commercial-residential buildings that had existed on Huguenot, Division and Lawton.

I condemned the City Council's stupid policies at the time the destruction of my neighborhood was destroyed. Most of NR ignored it, except for me and the owners of Mueller's Office Supply, who were among the few people speaking out against it. Did you speak out in the late 1980's against the destruction of Huguenot, Division and Lawton, or did you support that destruction, because the Republicans caused it?

I also agree the Train Station is a dump, and criticized the 'rebuilding' of it, and suggested at that time that the old Train Station should have been torn down and replaced. I think the Republicans were running the City Council at that time, and they are the ones who left us with what you now call a dump.

I agree downtown NR is a ghost town, and I regularly comment on it. City Hall, no matter who has been running it, doesn't have clue as to what has caused NR's commercial demise, which is why City Hall continues to compound the problems by repeating the same mistakes, while being oblivious to the solutions. Neither Party seems to have a clue, nor do most of our citizens, as to what is the solution. I will provide the solution to New Rochelle’s withered commerce in a Posting sometime in the future.

Until 2006, NR charged for its parking meters, 24 hours per day on the street and in the parking lots. In Sept 2006, I addressed the City Council at Citizen-to-be-Heard, and asked them to turn off all meters at 6 pm. A few weeks later, I addressed the Democratic City Council members on the same subject at a NR Democratic Committee meeting, and the next day, Councilman Roberto Lopez submitted legislation, which was immediately approved, to turn off all parking meters at 6 pm. I remain grateful to Roberto for that.

That change stayed in force until about a year ago, when the City Council foolishly extended parking meter hours on the street. I have repeatedly condemned the extension of parking meter hours, at the NR Dem Committee, and in private conversations with City Council members, and on the street. You can thank me, for the fact that even now, parking meters are not run 24 hours.

Regarding someone on the City Council who works downtown, we have the Democrat Ivar Hyden and the Republican Al Tarantino, I live a block from Al Tarantino's business and three blocks from Ivar Hyden's business. Obviously, I live downtown, but I am not on the City Council, yet I do talk with Council Members, and I am quite frank.

I must repeat to you, most of New Rochelle's voters can't stand the Republican Party because the Republicans in Washington and Albany are rightly perceived as ignorant, bigoted and destructive. The result is that the NR Republicans are branded as associated with the national and state Republican Party, and therefore are totally ignored by most of NR's voters, no matter what the NR Republicans advocate. I actually communicate with NR Republicans and try to understand their grievances. I am doing so in this Posting.

New Rochelle Republicans will NEVER control the NR City Council as long as they call themselves Republicans, because most NR Voters despise anything associated with the current national Republican Party. I am not mocking the NR GOP, but providing serious advice. I don't believe in one party rule but am sure NR will gravitate in that direction as long as one its two major parties are the Republicans. To be effective, the NR GOP has to change its name to something less self-damaging than Republican or Conservative. Perhaps calling itself the New Rochelle Party is the answer. The downside of changing the Party name, is NY Election Law despises petitioning for any Party that didn't get 50,000 votes in the last governor's election.

Good luck, no matter how you deal with your advocacy. The USA thrives on competing ideas, and I support your right to advocate, even when I disagree with your ideas. I agree with you to some extent that NR has long traveled a dysfunctional road, but I am certain both parties share the blame.

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