This morning on WVOX I was debating the Echo Bay project and the
possibility of Monroe college students residing there. Councilwoman
Shari Rackman called to dispute my claim stating the she and councilmen Jared Rice are negotiating with Forest City Ratner. Rackman stated that she was negotiating a stipulation that would prohibit a rental agreement between Monroe College and Forest City Ratner. All well and good BUT can Ms. Rackman or anyone prevent Monroe students from renting apartments individually? Can Forest City Ratner be sued for such a stipulation over claims of discrimination? Can Monroe students use housing vouchers and or stipends to lease Echo Bay apartments? Then there is always the question as to how many students you can pack into a waterfront studio apartment?
Ms. Rackman is touting her negotiation skills in a feeble attempt to
find a way to support the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA), which is the binding contractual document. There is no way to prevent Monroe
students from leasing Echo Bay apartments and Ms. Rackman knows this, just ask the residents of the Avalons about Iona students. There is another question I have for the administration; why are part-time council representatives negotiating with developers when New Rochelle has a department of development headed by a commissioner making in excess of $150,000?
Monroe College and Forest City Ratner are for profit entities and their
bottom line is the almighty dollar. The Echo Bay project has been
portrayed as a panacea for New Rochelle by the Bramson administration that has intentionally ignored the reality of existing mud flats, the ten-story county sewage plant and PCB contamination at the former Con Ed site. The scaled down, diminutive Echo Bay project will be the latest project in a long line of corporate welfare projects dolled out to wealthy developers on the backs of New Rochelle taxpayers.
In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that Ms. Rackman
is the second highest recipient of campaign contributions from Monroe
executives, second to Mayor Noam Bramson. Additionally, Ms. Rackman's
mother works for Monroe College as a vice president. Stephen Jerome is the president of Monroe College and Marc Jerome (Stephen’s son), better known to New Rochelle residents, is Monroe’s executive vice-president.
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