Dissatisfaction with many areas of new Rochelle City Government were expressed by the members of the New Rochelle Citizens Reform Club at their last meeting. Councilmen Ivar Hyden (Democrat) and Albert Tarantino (Republican), when asked, had serious reservations about proposed developments in the city.
Tarantino was skeptical about the up-coming vote on the Echo Bay proposal and also has serious concerns about the Albanese proposal. Neither project was voted on at the March 21 meeting. The hearing for a new cabaret licensing procedure which would allow the Council to grant the license rather than the police was supported and did pass at that Council meeting.
"I have found the enemy and he is us." Pogo is right; but to be fair, there are degrees of fault as their are degrees of sin. My purpose today is not to indict, but to state that things do not remotely work in New Rochelle because we act or do not act in ways that encourage and support these outcomes.
I don't see any real value, except to ventilate anger and frustration, to do little but excoriate office holders for acting the same as most office holders have learned to do over the past half century or so. Noam Bramson is mayor of New Rochelle, yet by the authority explicit in the New Rochelle Charter/Code, he as assumed power and responsibility that is not explicit in the Charter and has taken the lead set by his predecessor and to a degree, those who came before the predecessor. There is no value in labeling him as sinner, or for that matter, even saint. He is acting well outside of role; he has assumed power not granted to him, and you must conclude that the City Council has tacitly permitted this to occur and his community support base, has done this as well through apathy, ignorance, or tacit support.Read more
An important legal decision relating to the New York State Freedom of Information Law (“NYFOIL”) was released this past week in Westchester, which should place local governments on notice that they cannot pass local laws restricting the availability of documents and information to the public beyond the clear language of NYFOIL, even if the local government does it in the interest of protecting confidentiality.
This decision in the New York State Supreme Court, Westchester County by the Hon. James W. Hubert was filed and entered on March 20, 2012 in the case captioned The Journal News v. City of White Plains.
This litigation deals with an attempt by the newspaper The Journal News to acquire documents from the City of White Plains relating to the ethics investigation of former Mayor Adam Bradley.Read more
Three plans, Democratic, Republican and a Court Magistrate are waiting for a three judges panel decision for New York State's Congressional lines. The Judges' order is expected momentarily in Brooklyn federal court.
Because of the redistricting confusion, New Rochelle and other Westchester residents have no idea which United States Congressional district they are in or who their representatives will be in 2013.
In one district Congresswoman Nita Lowey represents New Rochelle but another could have Charles Rangel in that locale. The primary date is set for June, necessitating that the petition process start on March 20 and continue until April 10. This is a significantly shorter than usual time period to gather petitions. It is also possible all offices, including one for the United States Senate will have a June Primary.Read more
In only two months newly elected Democratic Councilman Ivar Hyden has been active, working on issues in the New Rochelle. As a long time business owner in downtown New Rochelle he has a strong awareness of issues that effect the City. He answered these questions for the Westchester Guardian.
1. Godfrey: You are a new, fresh presence on the New Rochelle City Council. Are there any areas of the Council's policies that you want to change or de-emphasize?
1: Hyden: After being in office for only the past two months, it is my feeling that the City Council should be more involved in policy making from the onset of a project and should be actively involved in long term planning for the city’s future.
2. Godfrey: Do you have any opinion on whether corruption exists anywhere in City Government?
2: Hyden: I know of no systemic corruption in New Rochelle city government and I firmly believe that none of our City Council members would tolerate corruption. Any public official who commits a corrupt act should be immediately removed and any person or business involved should be permanently barred from doing business with the city.\Read more
UPDATE: 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]Read more
My recent blog titled, The City Charter A Mystery Inside an Enigma -- You Decide?, takes you on a journey through both the New Rochelle City Charter and the NYS Guidelines on Charter Revision. Minimally, the New Rochelle City Charter/Code should be required reading for all citizen especially members of our municipal government.Read more
Yesterday I presented a blog that I wanted everyone to read. It is long, filled with information, and alas, error. Even the title, "The City Charter A Mystery Inside an Enigma -- You Decide was unspared.
I had to finish it despite vision issus and 2.5 hours of oral surgery that I just returned from an hour earlier.
I saw more pain at the Tuesday night meeting coupled with indignation and anger. Most of the pain was on the podium; the anger in the audience.
I take zero pleasure at this. While happy that the community found their voices, it also renews a respinsibility to heal.
I created my blog to present opinion, questions and yes, facts about how we became governed as we experience it today. In a better world we would all profit from this and move on and forward.Read more