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Mayor Bramson's New "Back of the Bus" Policy for New Rochelle City Council's Citizens to be Heard Must be Reversed

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Mayor Bramson's New "Back of the Bus" Policy for New Rochelle City Council's Citizens to be Heard Must be Reversed

March 19, 2012 - 17:38
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NoamBramson.jpgUPDATE: Victory! Citizens to be Heard Will Remain First Come, First Serve". Stand Down, New Rochelle. You have been heard! Mayor Noam Bramson just disclosed that he is withdrawing his proposed change to CBTH during a discussion item brought forward by Council Member Lou Trangucci at the very end of the City Council C.O.W. Meeting. "It's not worth the hassle," said Bramson in admitting defeat. That "hassle" is you! Thank you for your support in convincing the Mayor to drop his absurd and illegal proposed change to CBTH.

Mayor Noam Bramson recently announced a new policy regarding Citizens to be Heard. More on that below.

Before responding the Mayor's declaration of a new policy, I wanted to first run it by Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the New York State Committee on Open Government and get his thoughts. He has provided them today. My exchange with Freeman is published below along with a 2001 advisory opinion that addresses, in part, the questions I raised to him.

In short, Freeman says that the law is silent on public participation during a meeting of a public body but the Committee on Open Government, part of the New York Department of State, has advised that any rules adopted by a public body governing public participation at their meetings treat members of the public equally. Freeman states that he believes the policy would be found to be valid but adds "if properly adopted by the City Council".

Therein lies the rub.

The Mayor claims to have "discussed" the change with the City Council. Council Member Louis Trangucci says no one discussed it with him. Trangucci and Council Members Al Tarantino and Jared Rice have all confirmed that there was never any discussion item on a change of policy. All three have confirmed there was never any vote.

I have been unable to find anyone who recalls any prior public discussion at City Council and there is no evidence of a vote or passing of a resolution or even a show of hands on this issue.

Even if there had been a discussion or vote, where is the public outcry that would have justified the recent change?

Now, let me explain why I oppose the Mayor on this point.

[more after the jump; join us at 4 pm today on Talk of the Sound Radio to discuss]

I would say to all New Rochelleans that there is no more serious issue than attempts of ANY kind by ANY government official to hinder in ANY way our right to free speech. It is the bedrock upon which our nation is founded and without which all our other rights have no meaning. What value is there in freedom of assembly if we may not speak while assembled? What value is their in freedom of religion if we may not pray as we see fit? What value is there in freedom of the press if the words on the page have no meaning? What is the value of the freedom to petition our government if the pages are blank?

Is there any doubt that this recent change at Citizens to be Heard -- to require speakers to indicate whether they spoke at a City Council meeting within the last two months and then de-priortize those who answer in the affirmative - is anything less than an attempt by the Mayor to punish his critics, the most regular speakers at Citizens to be Heard?

It has become abundantly clear, through his abuse of executive session, his organizing secret 2x2 meetings with developers to circumvent OML, his belligerently uninformed CIty Clerk and the repeated constructive denials of FOIL requests, his replacing his only vocal opponent on the IDA with a woman with no experience in real estate, development, finance or city government, and now this transparent attempt to discourage his critics from speaking at public meetings, that our Mayor has interpreted his re-election and 5-2 majority on City Council as a mandate to silence all opposition and hide from the public matters of tremendous public interest such as private real estate development using public land and so-called "public-private" partnerships in which public money is used to finance otherwise unprofitable business proposals from companies like Cappelli, Forest City and, most recently, Albanese, that specialize in pitting communities against each other and exploiting their municipal resources.

Recall that this is the same Mayor who opposed recording and broadcasting IDA, Planning and Zoning meetings, enumerating all sorts of excuses including claims about logistics and costs and a supposed lack of public interest. It turned out that recording and broadcasting EVERY single meeting of these three committees costs $8,000 a year and required the installation of two low cost video cameras and some wires in a room in Beaufort. The logistics was a triviality. Having attended quite a few of these meetings over the years when they were entirely empty, I would venture to say the number of people viewing these proceedings is many times higher now because they can be viewed from home and/or time-shifted, especially important because the IDA meetings start at 5:30 pm when few are able to attend and others can run very late. The Mayor opposed all of this.

I would remind you that the Declaration of Independence specifically lists among the grievances against King George III the inaccessibility of pubic records. Our Constitution enumerates a Bill of Rights. The First Amendment spells out Five Freedoms including the right to free speech, freedom of the press, the right of assembly, freedom of religion and the right of petition. The two major differences between the British government and the American government established by our Constitution is to directly watch our representatives conduct public business and our right to have direct access to the product of their labors (i.e. documents).

Many Americans have fought and died to defend these rights.

Apparently the people of New Rochelle have the right to know the position of every council member on how may chickens can be raised on an acre of land or how late a nightclub can stay open but they may not know that some Democrats on City Council have expressed grave doubts about the Albanese project or that one Democrat has repeatedly raised concerns about Forest City's habit of ending up named as "Developer #1" in various DOJ Indictments. These sorts of disagreements among members of his own party are confined by the Mayor to patently illegal executive sessions.

People of goodwill in New Rochelle do not need to agree on every issue to agree that we all have a right to disagree and to exercise that right without a government official arbitrarily deciding that there is a limit to how many times a citizen may avail themselves of the few opportunities we have each year to express our views directly and publicly to our elected representatives before that citizen is relegated to the back of the bus.

The Mayor's action is an outrage and should be treated as such. That he would simply assert his right to change City Council policy without discussion and without a vote, more so.

If we as New Rochelleans were to sit back and do nothing when the Mayor, actively and openly seeking to suppress speech he does not like, moves to raise ANY barriers to that speech or limit that speech or the audience for that speech in ANY way the Mayor will interpret them as acquiescence and only embolden him to continue down a path so well articulated by Martin Niemöller which I borrow here:

First he came for the regular speakers at Citizens to be Heard
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a regular speaker

Then he came for the all of the speakers at Citizens to be Heard
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a speaker at Citizens to be Heard

Then he came for those who watched Citizens to be Heard
and I didn't speak out because I did not watch Citizens to be Heard

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

It is precisely those people, a relative handful in a City of 77,000, that keep our government officials honest. If all of us do not come together to defend those CTBH Regulars today, the day will soon come that there is no CBTH at all. As noted by Freeman, there is no requirement that the City Council allow public participation.

It seems to me that for $90,000 a year working a part-time job, lifetime medical benefits and a free car, it's not too much to ask that the Mayor learn how to live with Ward Henderson calling him a "jackass" every now and then.

RESPONSE FROM FREEMAN AND MY EMAIL TO HIM FOLLOWS...

Robert Freeman of the New York State Committee on Open Government Response

Attached is an opinion that deals in part with the issue that you raised. In brief, the Open Meetings Law is silent with respect to public participation. Consequently, if a public body does not want to permit the public to speak during its meetings, that is its choice. Most public bodies permit limited public participation, and in those instances, it has been advised that they adopt rules authorizing the public do so, and that any such rules should treat members of the public equally. I would conjecture that the rule at issue, if properly adopted by the City Council, would be found to be valid.

Robert J. Freeman
Executive Director
Committee on Open Government
Department of State

April 16, 2001
Hon. Tracy Jong
Administrator/Clerk Treasurer
Village of Bergen
11 Buffalo Street
P.O. Box 100
Bergen, NY 14416

The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the facts presented in your correspondence.

Dear Ms. Jong:

I have received your letter of March 6 and the materials attached to it. You referred to a letter of March 1 addressed to the Bergen Village Board of Trustees in which Patricia and Thomas Pawlaczyk criticized the Board relating to their ability to speak at meetings of the Board.

In this regard, by way of background, the Open Meetings Law clearly provides the public with the right "to observe the performance of public officials and attend and listen to the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy" (see Open Meetings Law, 100). However, the Law is silent with respect to the issue of public participation.

Consequently, by means of example, if a public body does not want to answer questions or permit the public to speak or otherwise participate at its meetings, I do not believe that it would be obliged to do so. On the other hand, a public body may choose to answer questions and permit public participation, and many do so.

When a public body does permit the public to speak, I believe that it should do so based upon reasonable rules that treat members of the public equally.

From my perspective, any such rules could serve as a basis for preventing verbal interruptions, shouting or other outbursts, as well as slanderous or obscene language or signs; similarly, I believe that the Board could regulate movement on the part of those carrying signs or posters so as not to interfere with meetings or prevent those in attendance from observing or hearing the deliberative process.

A public body’s rules pertaining to public participation typically indicate when, during a meeting (i.e., at the beginning or end of a meeting, for a limited period of time before or after an agenda item or other matter is discussed by a public body, etc.). Most rules also limit the amount of time during which a member of the body may speak (i.e., no more than three minutes).

If you choose to adopt the kinds of rules described above, it is suggested that they be read or distributed to those in attendance at meeting. If the rules are not heeded, it is suggested that you contact a local law enforcement agency. Often the presence or possibility of the presence of an officer will encourage decorum. If a person continues to interrupt, I believe that you could ask the officer to remove the person or persons from the meeting.

Second, while public bodies have the right to adopt rules to govern their own proceedings [see e.g., Education Law, 1709(1)], the courts have found in a variety of contexts that such rules must be reasonable. For example, although a board of education may "adopt by laws and rules for its government and operations", in a case in which a board's rules prohibited the use of tape recorders at its meetings, the Appellate Division found that the rule was unreasonable, stating that the authority to adopt rules "is not unbridled" and that "unreasonable rules will not be sanctioned" [see Mitchell v. Garden City Union Free School District, 113 AD 2d 924, 925 (1985)]. Similarly, if by rule, a public body chose to permit certain citizens to address it for ten minutes while permitting others to address it for three, or not at all, such a rule, in my view, would be unreasonable.

I note that 103 of the Open Meetings Law provides that meetings of public bodies are open to the "general public." As such, any member of the public, whether a resident of the District or of another jurisdiction, would have the same right to attend. That being so, I do not believe that a member of the public can be required to identify himself or herself by name or by residence in order to attend a meeting of a public body. Further, since any person can attend, I do not believe that a public body could by rule limit the ability to speak to residents only. There are many instances in which people other than residents, such as those who may own commercial property or conduct business and who pay taxes within a given community attend meetings and have a significant interest in the operation of a municipality or school district.

In sum, based on the foregoing, I believe that the Board may establish rules concerning the conduct of those who attend its meetings, including the privilege of those in attendance to speak or participate to certain times, topics and duration.

I hope that I have been of assistance.

Sincerely,

Robert J. Freeman
Executive Director
RJF:tt
cc: Patricia and Thomas Pawlaczyk

My recent letter to Robert Freeman of the New York State Committee on Open Government

Dear Bob, et al.

On Tuesday, without any prior announcement or public discussion, there was a change to long-standing policy in New Rochelle.

For many years, the New Rochelle City Council has held a monthly Citizens to be Heard period. There are also monthly public hearings on specific resolutions from time to time. Whether for public hearing of the Citizens to be Heard, there is an opportunity once a month for anyone to get up for 3 minutes to address council. There are perhaps a dozen people who are what might be called "regulars". They don't all speak every month but some of them always speak at every meeting. People are asked to fill out a card (one color for Citizens to be Heard and another color for Public Hearings). The card is a form for name, address, phone number and, if for a public hearing, which resolution. Speakers are then selected on a first come/first serve basis.

In the last few months, regular speakers noticed that the Mayor was not longer calling people up in the usual first come/first serve basis. Last month there was a reaction from one regular speaker who said he was the fifth sign up but after about 15 people had called up to speak still had not been called. He began grumbling loudly and then stood up, made a complaint about being passed over and stormed out of the room. A few minutes after he left the Mayor called his name, observed he was no longer there, and went to the next person at which point the Mayor said he had not intentionally skipped the person. Several people in the audience made derisive remarks (the person in question is a former supporter of the Mayor who has come to oppose him and done so publicly).

Whatever the motivations, at the next meeting there was a formal change in policy.

On Tuesday, there were new cards. These cards had check boxes asking "Have you spoken in the last two months at a Citizens to be Heard or Public Hearing YES/NO?

When one of the regular speakers got this turn, the Mayor was asked about the new card and the reason for asking the new question.

The Mayor stated that it had been discussed with Council. That the purpose of the change was to give "new" people an opportunity to be heard first, that people who checked YES would be set aside and only allowed to speak after all the "new" people had spoken. This has caused a good deal of outrage among the regulars who feel they, as frequent critics of the Mayor, the Council and the City Manager, are being singled out. Some feel the purpose is to discourage them by making them wait longer. Some people feel it is a form of punishment for falling into disfavor with the Mayor. Some feel it is an attempt to suppress critical speech. Some feel the purpose is to clear the room as much as possible so that there are fewer people in the room when the regulars speak.

I can see two sides to this issue and was hoping to get your view and any support for that view.

On the one hand, it is my understanding that city council is not required to hold a public comment period at all, that if they do they can make rules so long as those rules apply to every speaker equally. In this case the new policy applies equally to every speaker -- if you spoke recently you go to the back of the line regardless of when you filled out the card that night.

On the other hand, the new policy appears designed to single out a specific group of individuals who are known to be vocal critics of the local government. To that extent the Mayor's new policy (I have not gone through the video but no one I spoke to recalls any public discussion or vote by council about this new policy so it is HIS policy) appears to have the intent of being discriminatory.

I suspect the Mayor is operating within the law because his motives for the policy have no bearing on determining whether the policy is lawful.

You're the expert. Your thoughts on this are greatly appreciated. If you could REPLY ALL even better. I also intend to publish parts of this email and your reply to it on Talk of the Sound.

Robert Cox
Managing Editor
Talk of the Sound

There are 19 Comments

It is time to contact our council members and tell them how you feel. It could be put on the agenda and have them vote. Remember the next time New Rochelle votes for a mayor or council ask them about freedom of speech and citizens to be heard. The "regulars" that appear every month should be thanked. They are trying to keep this city government honest. Remember some people cannot speak for themselves and it is up to the few to speak out. It is no wonder why the mayor will not have a town hall meeting. He is a desperate man and his true colors have come to light. Thanks Talk of the Sound.

Went back to no preference. He'll announce tonight. good job by all concerned

used before by corporate management and politicians everywhere. Three card monty, you've seen it played on the streets of NYC.

Be careful.

Ask BrammyBaby to REVITALIZE downtown New Rochelle and THEN see what reaction you get.

Go ahead. I dare you all.

Hope you are wrong. I don't know but I do know you and I share the exact view of what must come first. Let's try to make it happen.

Used, read how Bob Cox carefully framed his argumnts make his points. Impessive knwing that he was dealing with a non-enforceable legislation.

That being the case, notice that he was advised to find out or learn whether full council was apprised on the situation and voted to go along with this.

I really have trouble thinking (1) he would have a happy council if he lied about this (meaning they denied voting on this; or at least being briefed on this)and (2) risk the community learning about his.

You sound like you been burned in the past. I have a story myself... one involving council r4ceiving material I prepared on a matter and being told that they had.

It doesn't matter now. The City matters and I still think we have reached a milesonte yesterda and still HOPE that someone I had a citizen to government relationship with, will change.

The jury is out, hope is not the last retreat of the naive, We all hope, trust, work towards improving.

I don't know you but again, I hope things turn around for you in whatever way it can to help you past this point. If it doesn't we still have a city to resurrect and it can be done.

so many are afraid in New Rochelle and stoop to calling it New Roc.I will never call it New Roc.
I hope I am wrong too. I am a very old person and grew up in New Rochelle and saw what Idoni did to it before getting rewarded with his post in White Plains, and appointing BrammyBoy in his own image.
I loved New Rochelle and remember, as my name says, when it USED to be great. I imagine you do too.I very much admire Robert Cox and his truth telling. I am not optimistic, sad to say. I hope you are right, that downtown New Rochelle can be revitalized. Only when BrammyBoy is out, imo. Yours?

keep punching friend. i am an old guy myself (75) and you are feeling honest, correct feelings. I also shae your view on Bob Coz and have not always felt this way.

Bob has not lowered his standards or probably changed core beliefs, but he has changed in terms of his participation and broadened his editiorial content. This is just an opinion.

But it is relevant. He became the voice of the people throughout the City. If bob can adjust, surrender but not give himself away as the song goes, so can NOam Bramson.

I know how tough this is especially today when you cannot utter a way wtthout stepping on toes, sensitive words begin with a letter as if God would strike you dead if you uttered them, it is a pretty insane place to be.

Yet without hope we are simply waiting to be planted in the ground.

Keep punching

It is simply wrong at every level and demonstrates a need to continue the practice of practicing control politics.

Knitter is correct and I am pleased to see that she understands the need for City Council interaction on this point.

The City Charter would support her view and I would add again that the Council is the "strong political base" of the City per Charter, per voter rerendum, but geographical represenation.

They are starting to exercise their wings a bit and deserve slack and support. This is the only way the old guard, the enablers who have run the City with an iron hand, often under the subterfuge of diversity, doing the right thing for all people, etc... this is code for social engineering and in some quarters, outright discriminatory behavior.

It explains why I nag the blog on certain core issues and concepts. Martin Sanchez gave us a profile in courage by labeling the DPW migration as "environmental racism." It was less the selection of the site, more of how the site was selected and presented to the public. If you live up North, think about a substantial loss of value of your equity. Then, even more important, potential risk factors.

Of course Bob Cox has dug out a reference of importance about the infamy of the Kristellnacht and more. I don't think Noam is close to that, but the point is failry made in terms of being silent in the face ot power and privlege. He also knew the existence of the Pastor who perished for his beliefs. These things cross all party and ethic lines.. wrong is wrong.

Council needs to think practically as well. There are people who get there early to sign in and speak early. I would be one of things. I have problems with vision and nights make it worse.

Let me end on the point that cannot be overlooked. Several councilmembers claim no knowledge this was going to take place. It sounds like the State of the City Address where the Charter says the "ceremonial" mayor gives the talk. It doesn't indicate he develops it; and it seems beyond doubt that all voices should be heard and have a hand in this.

Change the system by adhering to the Charter. It is our Constitution. So says Secretary of State Pareles. I am not anti-Noam, he is of high intelligence and has and can make strong contributions to the City.

I am against "enablers" .. those hypocrites in the shadows, who marginalize and disenfranchise, who couldn't critically think if their lives depended on it, sipping cocktails, looking down and not up, and allowing other species of power brokers; campaign donors, realtors or educator with private agendas, outright organizations without any moral imperative, to thrive here. I would oppose with equal vigor any community group representing a special or single interesst who felt "entitled" to rule or have an advantage,

Two people made the news yesterday that we all know. The "honored one" with 13 MOUS to his record, is facing internecine lawsuits up in the Catskills. An enabler! A different man, a citizen who builds houses for the needy, visits the sick, teaches and sets examples for our youth who volunteer in droves to help his organization; Jim Killoran by name, a favored whipping boy of Chuck Strome on the radio, was honored by Mamoroneck by leading their St Patricks Day parade.

Why does this man escape our notice so readily in City Hall?

There is no greater trick, no greater feat of achievement than to convince a slave that he is free. There is no greater illusion, no greater act of political magic or intellectual manipulation and no more effective of a blindfold that you can put on a slave than that which will make him thank you for his subservience.

ARE YOU BEGINNING TO SEE THE NATURE OF YOUR CAGE?

What if the government has made us want its chains?

What if we voluntarily sacrifice ourselves on their altar, for the sake of fulfilling their needs at the expense of fulfilling our own?

What if we hope that they really want to help us but they’re actually enslaving us?

What if we embrace being enslaved?

What if enslavement rids us from the responsibility of taking care of ourselves?

What if being a slave is better than being an independent and self-reliant individual who works to satisfy his own needs?

What if we thank our masters and we don’t mind being enslaved?

What if we don’t mind living under their rule?

What if we think it’s better to be enslaved than put in the effort to live free?

What if some of us are willing to live free or die?

What if the voices of the founders echoed from centuries past and resonated in the hearts of only the few of us who actually believe in liberty?

What if the silent minority is willing to give up their lives in a battle against the majority?

What if a few of us are not willing to live as sacrificial animals to those who want to enslave us to live under their rule?

What if you stood up and fought for your liberty even if it meant death? Patrick Henry asked the question "is peace and security so sweet that it can be purchased at the price of chains”?

What if this is liberty’s last stand?

What if this is the final chapter of a free and independent people who are willing to check out and call it quits because they would rather sacrifice temporary security for the sake of their priceless liberty?

What if this is the height of our freedom? What if we will never regain the sacred natural rights that were granted to us at birth?

What if we were not important to government?

What if we were just slaves on a modern-day plantation that sacrificed the priceless minutes of our lives for the daily whims of those in power who seek to rule over us for their own benefit?

What if our votes simply represented dollar signs?

What if our votes represented the chains that enslaved the productive for the benefit of the weak?

What if of the best among us have been reduced to the level of the weakest among us for the benefit of the most wicked among us?

What if I’m right? What if you’re wrong?

What if in this political chess game, the game was fixed, were all outcomes were predetermined and all we can do is play the game?

What if we lose no matter what?

What if we don’t care because we know there’s nothing we can do and we lose no matter what we do?

Is this why the silent majority remains indifferent?

What if you’re willing to stand up and fight and die for the things you believe in?

What if the person standing next to you was willing to lay down his life so you can live free?

What if you’re ready to go to war with your government?

What if you’re ready to go to war with your neighbor who used your government to steal from you?

What if you were willing to die for your liberty?

What if what I’m saying is true?

What if you have the courage inside you to stand up in defiance against those who seek to exercise dominion over you?

What if you were free as long as were willing to stand up and fight for your freedom?

What if you were willing to CHALLENGE the OPRESSORS of your INDIVIDUAL iberty?

But hey, then again, why bother when you lose either way?

-KC

"The story of your enslavement –

This is the story of your enslavement. How it came to be, and how you can finally be free. Like all animals human beings want to dominate and exploit the resources around them. At first we mostly hunted and fished and hunted off the land but then something magical and terrible happened to our minds. We became alone among the animals – afraid of death and of future loss. And this was the start of a great tragedy and an even greater possibility. You see when we become afraid of death, of injury and imprisonment we become controllable and so valuable in a way that no other resource could ever be.

The greatest resource for any human being to control is not natural resources or tools or animals or land – but other human beings. You can frighten an animal because animals are afraid of pain in the moment. But, you cannot frighten an animal with a loss of liberty with torture or imprisonment in the future because animals have very little sense of tomorrow.

You cannot threaten a cow with torture or a sheep with death. You cannot swing a sword and a tree and demanded to produce more fruit or hold a burning torch to a field and demand more wheat. You cannot get more eggs by threaten a hen, but you can’t get a man to give you his eggs by threatening him. This human farming has been the most profitable and destructive occupation throughout history and it is now reaching its destructive climax. Human society cannot be rationally understood until it is seen for what it is – a series of farms where human farmers own human livestock. Some people get confused because governments provide healthcare and education and water and roads – and thus imagine that there are some benevolence at work – nothing can be more further from the reality. Farmers provide healthcare and irrigation and training to their livestock.

Some people get confused because we are allowed certain liberties and thus imagine that our governments protect our freedoms but farmers plant their crops a certain distance apart to increase their yields and will allow certain animals larger stores or fields if it means they will produce more meat and milk. In your country - your tax farm, your farmer grants you certain freedoms – not because he cares about your liberties, but because he wants to increase his profits.

Are you beginning to see the nature of the cage you were born into?

There have been four major phases of human farming. The first phase in ancient Egypt was direct and brutal human compulsion. human bodies were controlled but the creative productivity of the human mind remained beyond reach of the whip and the brand and the shackles. Slaves remained woefully underproductive and required enormous resources to control. The second phase was the Roman model wherein slaves were granted some capacity for freedom, ingenuity and creativity – which raised their productivity. This increased the wealth of Rome and thus the tax income of the Roman government and with this additional wealth Rome became an empire – destroying the economic freedom that said its power and collapsed. I’m sure that this does not seem entirely unfamiliar. After the collapse of Rome the feudal model introduced the concept of livestock ownership and taxation . Instead of being directly owned, peasants and farm the land that they could retain as long as they paid off the local warlords. This model eventually broke down because of the continual subdivision of productive land and was destroyed during the enclosure movement when land was consolidated and hundreds of thousands of peasants were kicked off their ancestral lands because new farming techniques made larger farms more productive with fewer people. The increased productivity of the later Middle Ages created the excess food required for the expansion of towns and cities – which in turn give rise to the modern democratic model of human ownership. As displaced peasants flooded into the cities, a huge stock of cheap human capital became available to the industrialists and the ruling class of human farmers quickly realized that they could make more money by letting their livestock choose their own occupations. Under the democratic model direct slave ownership has been replaced by the Mafia model. The Mafia really owns businesses directly, but rather sends thugs around once a month to steal from the business owners.

You are now allowed to choose your own occupation which raises your productivity and thus the taxes you can take your masters. Your few freedoms are preserved because they are profitable to your owners. The great challenge of the democratic model is that increases of wealth and freedom threatened farmers. The ruling class initially profit from a free market of capital and labor. But as their livestock become more used to their freedom and growing wealth they begin to question why they need rulers at all. Oh well, nobody ever said that human farming was easy.

Keeping the tax livestock securely in the compounds of the ruling classes as a three-phase process. The first is to indoctrinate the young through government “education”. As the wealth of democratic countries grew, government schools were universally inflicted in order to control the thoughts and souls of the livestock. The second phase is to turn citizens against each other through the creation of dependent livestock. It is very difficult to rule human beings directly through force and where it can be achieved; it remains cripplingly underproductive as can be seen in North Korea. Human beings do not read well or produced efficiently in direct captivity. Ahh, but if human beings believe that they are free then they will produce much more for their farmers. The best way to maintain this illusion of freedom is to put some of the livestock on the payroll of the farmer.

Those cows that become dependent on the existing hierarchy will then attack any other cows who point out the violence, hypocrisy and immorality of human ownership. “Freedom is slavery and slavery is freedom”. If you can get the cows to attack each other whenever anybody brings up the reality of their situation, then you don’t have to spend nearly as much controlling them directly.

Those cows who become dependent on the stolen largess of the farmer will violently oppose any questioning of the virtue of human ownership and the intellectual and artistic classes who are always and forever dependent on the human farmers will say to anyone who demands freedom from ownership – you will harm your fellow cows. The livestock are thus kept enclosed by shifting the moral responsibility of the destructiveness of the violent system to those who demand real freedom. The third phase is to develop continual external threats so that the frighten livestock cling to the “protection” of the farmers. This system of human farming is now nearing its end. The terrible tragedies of modern Western economic systems has occurred not in spite of, but because of past economic freedoms.

The massive increases in western wealth throughout the 19th century resulted from economic freedoms. And, it was this very freedom and wealth that said the size and power of the state.

Whenever the livestock become exponentially more productive, you get a corresponding increase in the number of farmers and their dependents. The growth of the state is always proportional to the preceding economic freedoms. Economic freedoms create wealth and the wealth attracts more thieves and political parasites whose greed then destroys the economic freedoms.

In other words, freedom metastasizes the cancer of the state. The government that starts off the smallest will always end up the largest.

This is why there can be no viable and sustainable alternative to a truly free and peaceful society- a society without political rulers, without human ownership, without the violence of taxation and Statism.

To be truly free is both very easy and very hard.

We avoid the horror of our enslavement because it is so painful to see it directly. We dance around the endless violence of our dying system because we feel the attacks of our fellow livestock -but, we can only be kept in the cages we refuse to see. Wake up!! ----To see the farm is to leave it!!

[email protected]" $#@!$%

Bob,
You, Kurt, Warren, Knitter and many others are so correct in what has been said. Different voices different views. Voices and views just the same from people who are willing to speak up for what is right. Everyone knows that I was that one person that was skipped.

I was raised to have the courage to stand up for and do what is right. I live with the freedom of knowing, “Do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets”. That Mathew guy was one smart cookie. I treat people as I want to be treated, with respect and courtesy. In today’s world and especially in politics that doesn’t always hold true. Speak the truth from your heart; you will never have to think twice about what you say. Eventually the truth comes out. Bob and the many people on this site have shown that is true. Much has been uncovered and much will be uncovered.

My stomping out was not a reaction specific to the error. It was my frustration knowing I had to leave after waiting for several others to speak before me. It was my need to get to my other destination which I was now late for due to the error. I actually waited patiently at first. I am always willing to yield the floor if needed and will wait my turn at any time. Due to issues related to my disability from cancer treatments and family commitments, I get there early. I did not want to disrupt the proceedings. I kept thinking I would be called next, I wasn't. So I had to rush to leave before I spoke. Sorry if it seemed like I was storming out. I meant no disrespect.

I don’t wish to go to CTBH every month. That is not my intent. The Mayor, The City Manager, The City Council and the problems of this city compel me to speak out. Each time I have spoken it was on different subjects. Be it The Garbage Fee, City taxes, Iona College, The Deli Mart, The City Yard, and don’t forget Open Government. I must speak; my family and my home depend on it. I love New Rochelle and want to continue to live here. It gets tougher and tougher every day.

We can’t sit back in the wings and hope things will change all by themselves. It is human nature. People dislike change. This is one case where change is good. We need to keep the press on and motivate change one person at a time, one group at a time. I am hopeful that some of the new members of council will see this as an opportunity and step forward and start this city in a new direction. That is what is right.

“Common Sense for the Common Good”.

The motto of the television show The Christophers -- "It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness" -- comes from an ancient Chinese proverb.

Just think what many candles would do. Thank you to the many who post here and have the courage to speak out and are trying to make a better New Rochelle and keep our government honest.

Strike ONE / Chicken Legislation DEFEATED
Strike TWO / CTBH Legislation WITHDRAWN
One more strike and he's OUT!!!!!!!!

"One more strike and he's OUT!!!!!!!!"

Like the chickens in every backyard, this was a boondoggle. He will never leave.

BrammyBaby can do whatever he likes for as long as he likes until Idoni promotes him.

The naive New Rochellians will vote him in again and again and again and again and again and again.

So sad.

And still downtown New Rochelle is a ghost town and an embarrassment to Westchester.

What would be the third strike?

With that third strike, how would he be out?

Noam is already out of your favor and probably always was, but how does your dislikes of a Mayor remove him from office?

Since you compare politics to a game, what would be the endgame? Unless he is elected to higher office or resigns, Noam is Mayor until 2016-01-01.

If Noam chooses to run for reelection in 2015, and is nominated by the vote of the NR Democratic Committee, he will probably be reelected. How is that three strikes-and-your out?

You are better off encouraging Noam to run for higher office, but for you that is a two-edged sword.

Personally, I think New Rochelle would be better off if the Mayor were the elected Chief Executive. This is preferable to our Mayor being the single (and higher-paid) At-Large Councilman on our City Council, as this messes up the representation by Council District. It also puts complete responsibility on the Mayor for his actions, rather than having a Ceremonial Mayor acting as if he actually had executive powers.

We need to change

The third strike will be the piggy backing of a Forest City MOU extension and bonding $20 MILLION for the city yard. This would wake up even the most shill of shills. Brian, as you judge others so too do others judge you and see you for what you are, a democratic underling running interference for Boy Blunder Bramson. It is no secret that Bramson and Arnie Klugman don’t see eye-to-eye. In fact, if not for Idoni, Bramson would have ousted Klugman long ago. Idoni ran a tight ship but Bramson has spent millions to gain a 5-2 super majority who have already disappointed him. The upcoming Forest City MOU extension will separate the shills from the independent. Rackman has thus far been unpredictable, Hyden seems levelheaded and Rice seems to have found some form of independence. Bramson must attain a 5-2 Forest City MOU extension vote to even consider bonding upwards of $20 million to move the city yard. The Tuesday city council meeting will reveal the true colors of the newest council members and decide the fate of New Rochelle for the next 50-years whether Bramson continues or not.

Bramson has worn out his welcome and failed to deliver anything positive regardless of his political spin. His shills, like you, continue his mantra and exploit the blue smoke and mirrors that have been perpetrated on his north-end sheep. Only now when the economy tanked and the sheep can no longer afford to just follow without question are they waking up to reality. The reality of 20-years of failed development and corporate welfare that even you have come to realize.

Strike three is six days away and New Rochelleans will realize that Bramson’s allegiances are to campaign donors and social engineers like Agenda 21, ICLEI and GreeNR at the local level who believe the government should own all property and decide where and how you should live your life. The only sustainability Bramson is truly interested in in his political sustainability.

That you think the majority of New Rochelle voters will suddenly abandon support for Noam in six days or six months amazes me. You are not being realistic and you need to avoid believing your own hyperbole.

I am a shill for no one, I have my own opinions and regularly state them.

I regularly have spoken up against Forest City, against moving City Yard, against destroying the Armory, against bonding, against increased taxing, against reassessment, at monthly NR Democratic Committee meetings, on this and other web sites, at City Hall, and on the streets of New Rochelle.

Presuming you are Republican, what Republican policies have you spoken up against and where? If you are not a shill, tell us about how you have criticized Republicans or their policies.

I try on the web to stick to criticizing policies rather than criticizing public officers' personalities.

I think Posters here, can advance their causes better, by avoiding personal attacks on City Council members of any party, but to stick to policy attacks. Even during elections, the NR voters dislike politics to get too personal.

When you Post using nasty nicknames for City Council members, you and some of your pals might enjoy yourselves, but you damage your own cause. Consider that Mayor Bramson just won 80% of the vote in his 2012 reelection. If he is that popular after all these years, how can your personal attacks be popular among the voters? Instead, you end up degrading whatever advantage your perspective would otherwise have. You end up destroying your own chances of success. That seems to be a theme, nationally, in the Republican Party this year.

Personally, I think Arnie Klugman and Noam Bramson do see eye-to-eye, and I get to see them eye-to-eye monthly. I have no idea why you think otherwise. I am critical of a number of their policies, in particular the ones I cited above, and they know it. But there are also policies of theirs, I do support and I still have no idea why Posters here are so critical of green initiatives.

If you think there are major differences between Arnie and Noam, please state what they are, as you will probably surprise most NR Democratic Committee Members with your declaration. On the other hand, the individual Democratic Committee Members, themselves are not a monolith, especially the activist ones that actually show up at NR Democratic Committee meetings. Everyone there has their own opinions.

Don't confuse the NR Democratic Committee with the policies of the individual policies and votes of the City Council members. They each vote according to their own conscience. I believe that is just as true with the Democrats and Republicans on the City Council.

I do believe the current City Council will prove to be much more flexible and creative than we have seen in a very long time. Of course I might be wrong. But I suggest you consider avoiding personal attacks, and instead focus on the policies you actually dispute.

For now, I think the main issues in NR are Forest City, Armory, City Yard, changing the City Charter to end City Manager government. If you focus on maintaining City Yard and the Armory, and succeed at that, you probably will also prevent Forest City.

While I agree 100% with what NRinfo wrote on next week's vote on Echo Bay, I think Bramson will win in 2015 but not because he's popular but because the Republican's aren't organized at all and Noam stacked the deck w/last year's redistricting.

You want criticism of the NR Republican Party? That's easy, its run by an idiot who I believe is Doug Colety. He's the one who didn't vet St. Paul and has done an otherwise abysmal job running the party so I don't think I would ever donate money to them.

Your points on alienating potential voters is right on though. The mayor's policies are easy enough to attack and there should be never a need to personally go after someone, especially in writing or pictures, that doesn't help in the long run.

BTW, Bramson's 80% win didn't impress me much; only 20% voted, meaning he got 16% of the registered voters, not very impressive.

Mr. Sussman, I hope you are a man of your word and chastise democrats like Noam and city manager Strome (unaffiliated) for labeling non-believers as CAVE Citizens Against Virtually Everything and Arnie for labeling detractors Naybobs of Negativity. And let’s not forget Noam’s personal attack mailer which was so wrong and embarrassing that he didn’t have the guts to identify his campaign paying for the disgusting mailer. A mailer so offending it was deemed an unfair campaign practice. Democrats shouldn’t throw stones while living in a glass house.

You are correct about Noam’s 80% victory over a non-candidate but the faithful are beginning to wake up because even they can no longer make ends meet with the current 14% tax increase including the onerous 230% increase in the refuse fee. I too believe in a strong mayor and am puzzled by your allegiance to the Democratic Party. All of the major issues/opinions you express; “I regularly have spoken up against Forest City, against moving City Yard, against destroying the Armory, against bonding, against increased taxing, against reassessment, at monthly NR Democratic Committee meetings, on this and other web sites, at City Hall, and on the streets of New Rochelle” are those of the Republican Party.

As an independent I will never know if you will balance the scales at the next democratic city committee meeting since your meetings are closed while the republican city committee meetings are open to the public.

I agree that a Forest City MOU extension and or bonding of $20 million for relocation of the city yard could be the straw that breaks the Camel’s back in terms of blind support for Noam from NR Democrats.

Shill; One who poses as a satisfied customer or an enthusiastic gambler to dupe bystanders into participating in a swindle, NR was swindled by the democratic development policies including, as many other bloggers noted, corporate welfare. So if the shoe fits…….

You don't think Bramson was clever enough to set this up as a 'project to fail' so he could get another one past the naive New Rochellians?

I do. Since BrammyBaby is a clone of the supreme master of duplicity, Idoni of course, I expect he'll pull a fast one some time in the future.

Then again, since he hasn't done a darned thing to bring downtown New Rochelle out of the slums of 1970, I give him no credit whatsoever for anything.

Let's see how long before you REVITALIZE (wasn't that word used during one of the campaigns of one of the MAY-YORS?) downtown New Rochelle, BrammyBaby.

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