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TORA! TORA! TORA!: Mayor Launches Pearl Harbor Style Sneak Attack on New Rochelle Armory with Midnight Legislation in Albany

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TORA! TORA! TORA!: Mayor Launches Pearl Harbor Style Sneak Attack on New Rochelle Armory with Midnight Legislation in Albany

June 27, 2010 - 04:08
15 comments

Mayor Bramson Rising Sun Flag.jpgWith the state government deadlocked in a budget battle as the legislative calendar draws to a close, Mayor Noam Bramson is working with the four state representatives of New Rochelle in Albany to sneak through last minute legislation authorizing the City of New Rochelle to tear down the Naval Armory in New Rochelle.

State Senator Jeff Klein and State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer have co-sponsored bill S8307 in the New York Senate. State Assembly Representative Amy Paulin and State Assembly Representative George Latimer sponsored bill A11554. The bills are identical and are summarized on the New York State Assembly web site as follows:

Authorizes the city of New Rochelle to sell, alienate and convey waterfront real property. [NOTE: The full bill is published below]

The Mayor plans to call a special meeting of the City Council this week to pass a resolution acting on the two bills, if passed, to immediately authorize the imminent destruction of the Armory, sources say.

The City acquired the property and building at the Armory site a decade ago with the condition that the facility would be used, in part, as a community center. Mayor Bramson has taken thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the family that owns Forest City and aggressively promoted their Echo Bay Development project which has been stalled for years. Representative of Forest City elsewhere in Westchester have been the subject of an ongoing Department of Justice investigation in which two Yonkers politicos have been indicting for accepting bribes related to vote-rigging in the Yonkers City Council on another Forest City project.

Residents who wish to have their views on this latest effort by Bramson to advance the Forest City project in New Rochelle may contact their representatives via email, phone, fax or regular mail:

George Latimer

Email: [email protected]

George Latimer District Office
933 Mamaroneck Avenue
Suite 102
Mamaroneck, NY 10543
914-777-3832

George Latimer Albany Office
LOB 656
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4897

Amy Paulin

Email address: [email protected]

Amy Paulin District Office
700 White Plains Road Suite 252
Scarsdale, New York 10583
Tel.: (914) 723-1115
Fax: (914) 723-2665

Amy Paulin Albany Office
LOB 327
Albany, New York 12248
Tel.: (518) 455-5585
Fax: (518) 455-5409

Jeff Klein

Email address: [email protected]

Jeff Klein Albany Office
Capitol Building
Room 427
Albany, New York 12247
518-455-3595

Jeff Klein District Office
New Office Address
3612 East Tremont Ave
Bronx, NY 10465
718-822-2049

Toll Free - (800) 718-2039
Fax: 718-822-2321

Suzi Oppenheimer

Email address: [email protected]

Albany Office
806 Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12247
518-455-2031
District Office
222 Grace Church Street, 3rd Floor
Port Chester, New York 10573
914-934-5250

RELATED:

ODD CHOICE: Mayor Excuses IDA Audit by Comparing New Rochelle to Yonkers Where DOJ Investigates Bramson-Linked Developer

TALK OF THE SOUND EXCLUSIVE: New York State Comptroller Rips New Rochelle IDA in Audit Due Out Next Month

UPDATE: Text of Full Bills Below

S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
11554
I N A S S E M B L Y

June 24, 2010

Introduced by COMMITTEE ON RULES -- (at request of M. of A. Latimer, Paulin) -- read once and referred to the Committee on Cities

AN ACT authorizing the city of New Rochelle to sell and convey certain lands in the city of New Rochelle

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. Notwithstanding subdivision 2 of section 20 of the general city law, the city of New Rochelle is hereby authorized, acting through its legislative body, to sell, alienate and convey the waterfront real property, described in section three of this act, and any personal property affixed thereto, in furtherance of an economic development interest of the state and/or city of New Rochelle, despite that fact that such real property may be waterfront property or land under water.

S 2. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the land which is the subject of this act is known as Section 1, Block 84, Lot 22 on the tax assessment maps of the City of New Rochelle, more particularly bounded and described in section three of this act, conveyed to the City of New Rochelle by letters patent dated July 24, 1997, from the People of the State of New York to the City of New Rochelle, recorded in the Westchester County Clerk's Office at Liber 11802, Page 272 on September 3, 1997; and such letters patent shall continue in full force and effect subject to the provisions of this act.

S 3. The land described in section one of this act is more particular ly described as follows:

ALL THAT CERTAIN PIECE OR PARCEL OF LAND situate in the City of New Rochelle, County of Westchester, and State of New York, being further described as follows:

BEGINNING at a point on the southerly side of East Main Street at its intersection with the division line between the lands of the People of the State of New York, on the east, and lands now or formerly of Anthony Petro, on the west, said point being distant S. 29 51' W., 304.28 feet from New Rochelle City Monument No. 4 which is located at the northwesterly corner of the intersection of Pratt and Huguenot Streets; thence N. 52 02' 34 E., along the southerly bounds of East Main Street, 200 feet to a point in the westerly bounds of lands, now or formerly, owned by the City of New Rochelle, said point being distance S. 02 32' 30" E., 141.02 feet from the aforesaid Monument No. 4; thence S. 43 23' 32" E., along the westerly bounds of said lands of the City of New Rochelle, 635 feet to a point in the original high water line of New Rochelle Harbor (formerly called Snuff Mill Pond); thence S 52 02' 34" W., generally along said high water line, 200 feet to a point at the southeast corner of lands, now or formerly, of the Colonial Sand and Stone Company, Inc.; thence N. 43 23' 32" W., along the easterly bounds of said lands of the Colonial Sand and Stone Company, Inc., 327.55 feet to a point; thence N. 52 28' 17" W., continuing along the easterly bounds of said lands of Colonial Sand and Stone Company, Inc., 57.92 feet to a point in the southerly bounds of lands, now or formerly, of Harvey A. Turnure (designated as Lot 45); thence N. 52 02' 34" E., along the southerly bounds of said lands of Turnure, 9.18 feet to a point; thence N. 43 23' 32" W., along the easterly bounds of lands of said Turnure and then continuing along the easterly bounds of the aforesaid lands of Anthony Petro, 251.12 feet to the point and place of beginning, contain ing 2.908 acres of land, more or less.

S 4. Notwithstanding any other special or general law including, but not limited to sections 33 and 34 of the public lands law, the commissioner of general services is hereby authorized and directed to take such action as is necessary to release, extinguish and relinquish to the city of New Rochelle, its successors and assigns, any and all conditionsand/or reservations of the state that limit the use of the real property more particularly described in section three of this act for park, recreation, street and highway purposes, including incidental, necessary municipal business in conjunction therewith, and to release, and convey to the city of New Rochelle any and all rights of reverter and/or of reversion that the state may have in and to such real property, such that such limits of use and/or the rights of reverter and/or reversion, shall be permanently released, extinguished and relinquished forever. The consideration therefor shall be one dollar to be paid to the state, it being recognized that such real property includes lands previously conveyed by the city of New Rochelle to the state of New York for one dollar each by deeds dated September 4, 1930 and January 31, 1933, as authorized in chapter 429 of the laws of 1929 and chapter 411 of the laws of 1933, respectively.

S 5. This act shall take effect immediately.

There are 15 Comments

As co-chairperson of the Save Our Armory Committee I and our secretary Lorraine Pierce sat in Senator Klein’s office to garner his support to save the New Rochelle Armory. Without hesitation or a second thought, Senator Klein pledged his wholehearted support and a few days later memorialized his support in a letter dated October 25, 2006. Senator Klein states; “I am writing this letter in support of your group’s effort to save the New Rochelle Armory. The Armory is a site of significant historical importance to the City of New Rochelle and should be preserved”. Now, less than four years later, Senator Klein has stabbed his New Rochelle constituents in the back by co-sponsoring a bill with Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (S08307) which would allow Mayor Bramson “to sell, alienate and convey waterfront real property”. The Armory is not mentioned by name but if you read the entire bill the coordinates include the Armory. This legislation comes on the same day (6/22) of the special election where Sheila Marcotte, a republican, decisively defeated Greg Varian, a democrat, for Vito Pinto’s vacant county legislator seat. It would appear Bramson went into a rage after the loss and pressured our democratic legislators to slip this bill in in the dead of night and in the waning days of the session reminiscent of Assemblyman Latimer’s lifting of New Rochelle's Tax-Cap. The democrats are so fearful of losing control of both houses that they are trying to ram through legislation prior to the November elections. Klein goes on to say; “In addition to simply saving the Armory from destruction, we must also refurbish the Armory to maximize its public utility. There are multiple ways to transform the current Armory space. It is a prime candidate for a museum or possibly a community center to bring together all of New Rochelle’s citizens”. It would appear that since Senator Klein has been appointed to a position of power in the senate he must now tow the party line. The worm may have turned for Senator Klein but the citizens of New Rochelle will get the last laugh at the voting booth.

Note: I am no longer co-chairman of the SOA. Peter Parente & Ron Tocci are now co-chairs leading the fight to save the New Rochelle Armory

Comparing these pieces of legislation (which you may be correct about suddenly being pushed too quickly) to an attack that took the lives of over 2,000 of this country's bravest is not okay. And overlaying the mayor's face on the flag of the Empire of Japan is crossing the line. I think this article is strong enough on the concerns it raises; the imagery and title just serve to polarize it.

I disagree, the comparison is too subtle. The enemy from within is 10X's worse than the enemy we know.

Robert Cox's picture

The actions of Mayor Bramson and his co-conspirators in this matter are a sneak attack on a (former) Naval installation. The allusion to Emperor Hirohito and the Empire of Japan is apt. This IS a day that will live in infamy.

The Mayor who has orchestrated a back room deal in a cowardly attempt to secretly slip through a bill that is a slap in the face at New Rochelle residents who have fought openly and honorably to preserve and restore the Armory.

Having spoken to some this morning, I can tell you that for many New Rochelle Veterans the imagery in the photo accurately evokes the sense of betrayal that all Americans felt on December 7, 1941.

I can equally assure you that they are never going to forget the actions of the "Pearl Harbor Four" -- Latimer, Klein, Paulin and Oppenheimer. I expect it will be a long, long time before any of them are welcome at another Veterans event in New Rochelle.

Especially when you look at the look of disdain Emperor Hirohito has as he looks down at the Mayor. As if he's saying "wow dude, even I wouldn't do THAT".

Clearly when you read the text of both bills you can see why the sneak attack reference. These cowards our 2 Senators and 2 assembly members did not even mention the building known as " The Armory".
They are cleansing the bill and cleansing the process.
For the record Paulin and Latimer, Klein and Oppenheimer certainly are trying to pull the wool over constituents eyes and fellow Assembly and Senate members eyes by never mentioning the word Armory.
I would imagine if the Armory word was used in the bills that their fellow assembly members and senatorial members might ask some question and so might the citizens of New Rochelle.
A few facts to be redundant.
The Armory was convey to the City of New Rochelle by the State of NY for $1 with a deed restriction that clearly called out for recreational use by the Citizens of New Rochelle. The Deed restriction has cause Mayor Bramson much angst because the land and the building legally was not his to convey to Forest City.
In the end the Commisioner of the New York State Department of General Services could not amend the sale or the deed. The document also contained a Reverter Clause which gave NY State the option to step in an take back over the property/Armory and give it to another entity for recreational use. This is why Armory's all over the UNITED STATES are used and cared for....Just Google Armory's and see how many wonderful examples of vision on the part of much smarter politicians as the buidling are used for some really great uses as intended by their deeds.
The State did not want to own the land again nor did they want to be embroiled in the process of taking back the property. They pointed Bramson towards the Assembly and towards the NY State Senate. Thus the 4 cowards maybe more because you must consider the Commisioner of DGS as also acting in concert by not reverting the property back to NY State. The point of all of this is that nobody has had the guts to admit what they are doing. They have condemed a set of Meets and Bounds not the building. Could Paulin, Latimer, Klein and Oppenheimer some day actually try and say we did not know our bills were refering to the Armory. The lack of vision on the Part of the Democrats in our area is scarey and void of any ethics or morals. You have used your power to convey the destruction of a building owned by the Citizens of New Rochelle which has been abused by the City of New Rochelle in a blind manner. If they put the word Armory in the bills and if they did not try to hide this then I suggest they would be declaring war on the Armory rather than just bomb it into rubble without declaration of what they intend to do. Thus I say although maybe a bit strong clearly thay have not Bombed Pear Harbor but that Have Bombed the Citizens of New Rochelle while we were all asleep. I suggest we wake up in November and every November till these slugs have been removed.
Amy Paulin,George Latimer,Suzy Oppenheimer, Jeff Klein shame of you all for not have the guts and decency to at least be above board by clearly conveying what your bill has intended to do. Too bad you wear your Democratic Good Old Boys network badge instead of having the courage to admit what you are doing to your fellow legislators and constituents.

Bob thanks for your vigilance on this issue and picking this up.

Reading the bill, are you sure that this means that they are planning to tear down the Armory? To me it seems that the language of the proposed Act is just as consistent with the idea of conveying the property to Monroe College for its use as an auditorium. That being said, it also gives them the power to convey the property to Forest City, who can then in turn do anything they want to it, including demolishing the Armory. Am I reading this wrong?

I think it is important to frame the issue correctly though because by doing so we maintain the maximum amount of credibility. They can't dismiss us by just saying we have it wrong.

Now I think it is safer to oppose the legislation at the outset because of the possibility of the transfer of the property to someone who will demolish the building. But we should be open to letting our legislators rebut that presumption. And then backing up their reassurances with something in writing, particularly, something memorialized as an amendment to the bill.

A Wasson if you read the deed to the Armory this is a blind side means of erasing the legal restrictions which keep Bramson from Conveyance of the Armory to Forest City.
If you look at the Bills wording it is a blind sided approach with carefuly crafted wording to erase the restrictions of the initial Deed between NY State and The City of New Rochelle. The Senators and Assembly persons should have included the wording Armory and the purposely avoided it as they are Cowards. This is a Political Favor to Noam Bramson to wipe out the Deed to the Armory. When you overlay the Bill next to the deed none of this is Gray. Its black and white. Dirty Politics.

Political Forechecker, I do not particularly disagree. I think I'm just saying we need to start with the wording of the proposed bills and then work our way outwards in order to mount the most credible and effective response. I'll see everyone at the meeting tomorrow.

I may be wrong, but it would seem if you need to propose legislation, city council would need to have a vote on the proposal, that in and of itself would have included a public hearing on the issue. Was there discussion with council members? Did I miss the public hearing? Can anyone clarify the process for us to consider? Or has somebody at city gone off half cocked? What would the reaction be if proper channels were bypassed to slip something, that isn't fully disclosed, that would affect the taxpayer" burden?

John D. as with the lifting of the tax-cap this was a backroom deal. The dems in NR headed by Noam Bramson twisted the arms of the dems in Albany. The dems in Albany itroduce legislation which they have done in the form of the two pending bills and it goes to committee. It will stay in committee unril they receive a home rule request to pass the bill from city council then it will come out of committee to the floor for a vote, the rest will be history. Oh what a tangled web we weave.

To AWasson301;

The Office of General Services (OGS) has the authority to approve any land use for the Armory site which upholds the deed restrictions. Any use outside of the deed restrictions, for instance high rise housing proposed by Forest City which would require Armory demolition, would require State Legislation. To Be Clear; There would be no legislation required if Monroe College and the Veterans came up with a plan to build a community center which would satisfy the deed requirements of public use. So the only "reason" for anyone to propose legislation would be to void the deed restrictions and demolish or use the Armory for private development and private profit.

"Historic rehabilitation is an important part of economic development. It has character, history and a sense of charm"
Councilman Noam Bramson/ Journal News 12/14/1998

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it"
- Adolph Hitler

We don't need to change the wording of the bill, the bill needs to be killed in its entirety.

Send your emails and keep sending them and maybe they'll get the picture. I knew we needed change, but I didn't think they'd stab us in the back like this and they can't even pass a budget.

Support Bob Cohen agains Suzi Oppenheimer in November! I'm sure Bob would stand up for the Armory.

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