Simply said, I am toxic, and a mere glance at the newspapers, blogs, or lending an ear to the cable news indicates I suffer from a malady shared by most of world. It is rampant, a disease of the soul and spirit and it must stop NOW! Rationalizations about "critique", will of the Founding Fathers, ideology is no longer helpful. the patient is sick, very very sick and we have not diagnosed the cause of this illness.
I mention this in the context of New Rochelle allocating $100,000 for a development consultant. I think this is essential, absolutely required if this City is going to be healed. But, and this is a big but, the consultant cannot represent or approach the task in ways Peggy Godfrey indicates were placed on the table during the City Council meeting when the 2012 budget was voted upon. It is axiomatic in both business planning and development as well as medical diagnosis that you must describe before you prescribe. It is that simple; yet it appears as if remedies were discussed rather than a process for articulating what the descriptors of the problems are. It would be like failing to take a full blood scan, xrays, cat scans, and other medical tests and couple these with other key factors that might account for the presenting symptoms of a patient's distress. The nation, the City are toxic and we appear for the worst of reasons, to ignore applying the research necessary to define the problem, its parameters, the situatonal variants, and to get a buy-in, a willingness on the part of every elected official to work together for the common good which in this case is the survival of this City.
Freimuth seems to be the most skilled individual in New Rochelle to manage this effort. He seems to have a grasp on situational variants based on his remark in Council that "things are different now" (in New Rochelle, than in Stamford and Bridgeport where he made a positive impact). Indeed they are as are the people in all the aforementioned communities who have suffered the effects of a damaged economy with its corresponding impact on our deteriorating social and economic climate. We are largely a community of critics; many of us lacking both good will, energy, and ideas.
Godfrey points out that essentially meaningless conversations took place around what value this development individual would bring. Would he be a marketing person? How about a real estate broker? What about Echo Bay? Frankly, I think Freimuth knows that there are many issues facing New Rochelle at present that require the discipline of a joint descriptive analysis and that this must precede any effort to come up with "solutions". These seem to be slap dash at best in the past and this is not an indictment directed at this current administration per se but at the inability or unwilllingness of leaders and yes the community, to work to define (1) where we are, (2) where we want to be, and (3) how we are going to get there.
Noam, I call on you as a learned man who I believe loves this City and is open to entrusting its future to the disciplined process of a proper City organization assessment, to lead the Council in giving Michael Freimuth that charge and give him free rein in coming up with an individual who can essentially vigorously and openly define and describe what the Strengths and Weaknesses of our City are, the ruling City Code, the Organizational Structure, policies, and procedures that govern our operations and the conditional consequences that follow any deceptive, or manipulated description of what we are and what we have. In addition, this individual can lay out the variables and the conditional consequences of these variables in terms of the Opportunities and Threats New Rochelle faces in both the near term and the long term. That would include concrete descriptive statements on the economy, community, business, our zoning, our ratio of tax vs non-tax paying entities, our methods of arriving at decisions, and so forth
Michael Freimuth knows all this. He has to based on his background. Give him the ball. Ask him to head up an off site with all Council Members, key senior direct reports, community leaders, others and make one of the hiring criteria for this consultant be the ability to produce an offsite agenda as well as a final report. This should be a dynamic action document that leads to a viable short and longer term strategic plan.
I have heard lately that Mo's is abandoning the City. There is talk that the North Avenue/Lecount area will be turned over to Monroe. A few businesses on Division Street are imperiled by rapacious landlord(s). There is more, but this is enough.
I say based on my experience that the City's first priority needs to be a proper diagnosis of where it is with no punches pulled. It needs to commit to fixing what must be fixed first while putting attractive potential projects, such as Echo Bay, on a back burner.
Please look at your business district and see why it is not attracting or attractive. It is not "just the economy stupid." That is overly simplistic. It is so much more.
I am submitting some information I have developed, used or otherwise know to one or two members of this Council and another one or two to members of the community who want to see change. It will prove helpful, but only if it is the will of the leaders to want to change those matters that impede our growth and prosperity. Politics should mean nothing at this point. The survival of New Rochelle should be our number one project and concern.
Finally, I am toxic and suggest you are as well. I have been spouting off on what should be done, what is wrong, who, what, where, etc.
It ends for me pretty much now. I will give views, but not condemnation and fewer views at that. Rather I will work with the Killoran's of the community to build, protect, change what can be changed.
Noam, I believe in you and you do not read this but many of your people do. Please know I will support every honest effort to bring people together. I believe in the body politic of the Council although it must learn to bury its personal idelogical animosities and work together for the greater good.
We have surmountable issues, painful realities, and those who offer nothing but negativity will have to reap what they sow. I am reaping what I have sown. It ends today.