I will be mercifully brief. You brought the equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge and it is getting harder and harder to divest. While you are at it, look at your property and other taxes, school district issues, and other serious urban indicators of decline or decay.
You earned it! You enabled it! You rationalized that everything was fine, the principle cause of below New Rochelle griping and whining was either because they were untermenchen or that's just the way "people are." And, frankly, "those people" deserve it because of their inability to focus beyond the isolated indicators such as traffic and parking, or the alleged crooked, manipulative, and patronizing ways of Bramson and before him, Idoni.
Let me tell you that things are not that simple. The old maxim of "keeping your friends close and your enemies closer" comes into play.
Let me begin with headlines -- the City is undergoing massive disruption not always evident by the indicators you see and rarely by the explanations given. Look at your quality of life, your safety and security, your asset value, your school system drift.
The City is not in its death throes and our governance is not as dire as this appears. The Council is refreshed and I, for one, have higher expectations. The mayor, Noam Bramson, is an extremely intelligent and gifted man and has the potential to make a mark that will hold here for generations.
But, there are systemic issues, matters that range from fundamental, the City Charter, to the more veiled. It is one of the latter that I will briefly mention now.
The Comprehensive Plan developed in 1996 is a keen reflection of substance and I understand from our friend, Brian Sussman that there are other earlier versions that merit examination. Bob Cox is trying to see what he can unnearth on these versions.
Let me PLEAD with each of you to follow the prompt provided by Bob on the posting on the Comprehensive Plan. Read it and download it.
Now, I have already cited some issues and I am going to focus in on Section III-1 once again. I speak specifically of the downtown area. You can read all of my earlier comments on other blog entries on Talk of the Sound posted in the last week or so.
Today I want to comment on Mark Jerome, Monroe and on BID. None of these get much mention from TOTS, any newspaper source --- they fly under the radar and that makes them something or someones you may wish to bring closer. They are not enemies, might be the best people you have met. Certainly, for one, Jerome is very accomplished as a businessman and likely as a philantrophist. I certainly prefer him to the Ratner clan.
But, if you read the 1996 Comprehensive Plan, examine the decline and decay in our business district, further examine the priorities set by Noam with support from some Council Members, you will discover one matter beyond question..... that by no stretch of the imagination has the City developed anything approaching a coherent and consistent Operations Plan to address the language implict in the 1996 Comprehensie Plan and I will be curious to learn what the previous plans contain.
Developmental priorites were largely limited to Albemarle, a totally unacceptable plan to add more residential units with little return to the taxpayer and Echo Bay, another largely residential proposal which is outside of the business district and, fortunately, through decisive Council action, is being re-examined.
I am not going to post on the campaign contributions given to the majority party, Noam Bramson, and the democratic council members. Others can do that if they choose. I am not going to post on rumors concerning further acquisition of valuable tax payer property on the former Cappelli plots midtown. Others can mention these.
What I am going to cover is, from a strategic planning, business management and community stewardship posture, the unchecked acquisition of downtown property by Monroe is an affront to our 1996 Comrehensive Plan. You do not need a degree in
Urban Planning or Business Management to see that.
What is worse is that Jerome heads up the BID which is an affront to common sense. He is an educator with collateral but related business interests in storefront shops for books, etc. but this organization, supposedly set up to represent business interests, is not up to snuff. Read its honme page to see exactly how it is deficient. De Bart is a nice man, but not accessible enought, but we know where he is accountable.
If your political or social bias is progressive, you should weigh Monroe's business plan and stategy. It is plain to see that he chooses to build toward an athletic powerhouse; that is okay on its face, but its implementation will have to involve property. You must know that. If you are a social engineer, you must question whether his student population is being well served in terms of debt accrued, academic standards, post graduation job rates. Fortunately for me, I am not an social engineer and take a pass on this, but if your heart bleeds on such matters, look into this.
I will not, I will point out that Monroe becomes a realistic business plan problem as Iona is one in the North Avenue corridor. If your plan is to make the Queen City a largely non-profit, high property tax and overburdened resource base City, we are well on our way.
That is the problem of driving with blindfolds, you miss every landmark and hit every roadblock. You deserve it because you do not or will not take the blindfold off and see where the hell we are going.
Again, a focus Noam Bramson and City Council would knuckle down to reality. These are not bad people, trust me, if you can't or won't trust me, go for beavior change and not attitude change.
Steve Mayo, are you out there? If so, help this lone ranger of the City Charter with your view on Charter Amendment. Brian Sussman, still tuned in, if so, give me or us the highlights on the business district from pre-1996 plans.
Council, help Jerome and the Iona management out by adjusting your thinking and give them a clear direction as to what is and what is not possible for their growth and expansion in New Rochelle. Collect yourselves around the business district... do you really need this old man to tell you what any developer or realtor with no special interest could tell you about the criticality of a vibrant business district and school district for relocation of new taxpayers and commercial interest.
I want the best for those who want the best for New Rochelle. No more time for posturing, sophistry, or indecisiveness. Don't pull an Idoni on me and bail out of a done deal. Be decisively correct!
If you don't Andrew Cuomo will do it for you. He really will. And the County is going to become very interested in city-wide reassessment which you cannot avoid much longer.
Thank you and like it or not, you will continue to get this kind of pedantic message from me as we proceed.
Lets make this a proper 325 anniversary for the City.