Bramson Requires City Judge Nominees to Take Unusual Pledge — No Primary Challenge or Alternative Nominiations

Written By: Robert Cox

Mayor.gifNoam Bramson, concerned that a Democratic candidate for City Judge might create problems for the chosen candidate successfully sought to require each candidate to take a pledge before any decision was made that they would not mount a Democratic primary challenge and would decline the nomination of any other political party in the November general election. In effect, Bramson sought to curtail the candidates rights under election law and to dictate a position to the Democratic Committee while claiming the opposite.

It is generally frowned upon by New York State’s judicial ethics board for judicial candidates to take any sort of “pledge” and certain types of pledges are specifically banned. The Judicial Campaign Ethics Handbook does not speak directly to the issue in New Rochelle but does offer numerous rulings which stress the requirement for judges and judicial candidates to avoid making pledges.

Bramson rounded up support for his pledge from Westchester County Clerk Timothy Idoni and City Council Members James Stowe, Barry Fertel, and Marianne Sussman. It is common for major party candidates to seek nominations from other parties. Bramson has run on other party lines in the past.

Dear Fellow District Leaders:

New Rochelle Democrats are very fortunate to have such outstanding choices for City Court Judge. Whatever the outcome of the convention on May 24th, we can be certain that Democrats will be represented effectively in the November election and, more importantly, that our city will be well-served by its next Judge.

None of us has made an endorsement in this contest, nor has Chairman Klugman. It is likely that we will cast our own ballots differently on May 24th and, of course, no one can predict with certainty which candidate will emerge on top.

Whatever our personal preferences, however, we are firmly united in pledging our full support to whomever the Committee designates and in expressing our hope that all candidates will respect the outcome of the convention.

In recent months, District Leaders have had multiple opportunities to speak with the candidates in both small and large settings. The process of discussion and dialogue has been thoughtful, respectful and unprecedented in its deliberative nature. It is important that this process count.

Further, it is likely that the November general election will be very competitive. Democrats must work together as a team, and we cannot afford to expend energy and resources on divisions that pit Democrats against each other.

We request that Chairman Klugman pose two straightforward questions to the candidates at the beginning of our meeting on May 24th and that each of the candidates be given an opportunity to reply:

If you do not receive the Committee’s designation, will you pledge to refrain from mounting a Democratic primary?

If you do not receive the Committee’s designation, will you also pledge to decline the nomination of any other political party in the November general election?

District leaders deserve to know the candidates’ positions on these subjects before selecting a designee.

It is not our place or intent to curtail anyone’s rights under election law, nor to dictate a position to the Democratic Committee – every District Leader and every candidate is entitled to make his or her own judgment. As elected officials, however, we feel a special responsibility to make our own views and intentions clear.

We look forward to working with the entire Democratic Committee – as well as Democrats, Republicans and Independents throughout New Rochelle – to ensure that our local judiciary demonstrates the highest standards of ethics, competence, intelligence and commitment to justice.


Timothy Idoni, County Clerk

Noam Bramson, Mayor

James Stowe, Council Member

Barry Fertel, Council Member

Marianne Sussman, Council Member

8 thoughts on “Bramson Requires City Judge Nominees to Take Unusual Pledge — No Primary Challenge or Alternative Nominiations”

  1. Vote for Sheila Marcotte June 22nd!
    Greg Varian isn’t going to do anything to decrease spending or taxes plus he has NO experience running anything. He’s part of the machine and will work to keep the status quo.

    Sheila Marcotte on the other hand has a lot of experience as a current Eastchester Town Board Member. She’ll work hard to limit the size of government and reduce our taxes!

    Rob Astorino needs help on the Westchester County Board of Legislature so lets give it to him by electing Sheila Marcotte on June 22nd!

  2. Boss Tweed
    Boss Tweed had this kind of grip on the City of New York. I wonder if enough dots ever get connected to get the guy some jail time? Nah the Attorney General Cuomo and all the rest are in the same democratic Genetic Swimming Pool.

  3. Noam is a control freak
    A couple of years ago, while I was a School Board member, I made public comments about the Beechwood area in New Rochelle and the impending environmental disaster that was forthcoming. I live in the West End; my children’s friends live here. Well, Noam didn’t like that a sitting school board member made public comments that ran against his desires. He called me on the phone and went into a tirade, full of expletives, and told me that elected officials should never make singular comments in public. He told me I should used more decorum. He used foul language and insulted me unlike anyone ever had. The point is that if you speak out and Noam doesn’t like it, he will try to stifle you, specially if you are an elected official. Try it sometime. I guess there are very few elected officials who have the cojones to do this. They feel the tiny shadow of Noam behind them tugging at them to shut up. Democracy is about transparency and having the courage to be honest and straight forward with the residents in your community. It is not about grandstanding or living a life of soundbites at the expense of morality and ethics.

  4. Not Surprised
    If this is a revelation to Talk of the Sound bloggers I have a bridge for sale. The democrats in New Rochelle have always been controlling and calculated. They are the “underground” which controls the school district, IDA, Planning & Zoning boards and the driving force behind GreeNR. The judge nomination was a train wreck originally for the NR Dems in that Susan Kettner and Greg Varian were set to square off and duke-it-out as the front runners. Add Lobo & Lacher to the mix and it was likely that the winner would not garnish 50% of the weighted vote. The county democrats were upset when legislator Pinto resigned his seat on the legislature to take a position in county executive Astorino’s republican administration but that was a godsend for the NR Dems because they control the district nomination and Varian was thrown a bone and taken out of the judge’s mix. Kettner became the heir apparent and the NR Dems by way of Bramson’s strong-arm tactics attempted to neutralize other well qualified candidates with this “pledge”.

    Whether you’re talking county legislator, county clerk, county executive or judge at any level these are the same people (Idoni, Bramson, Kettner & Varian) who were instrumental in removing the tax-cap in New Rochelle. The same people/party which instituted the refuse fee (GARBGE TAX). The same people/party who removed library funding from the New Rochelle City Charter, negating a history of library support and instituted a new LIBRARY TAX. The same people/party which gave-the-store-away through multi-decade tax abatements to wealthy developers who created the current downtown nightmare with traffic and parking. The same party/people, who accepted the New Rochelle Armory under false pretenses knowing they had no intention, will or the monetary wherewithal to maintain a historic building that many service men & women passed through never to return to their families in service to their country. The same party/people that made the part-time, ceremonial position of mayor a part-time position with full-time pay increasing the mayor’s salary from $30,000 to $60,000 under Idoni and from $60,000 to $90,000 under Bramson!

    I hope Ms. Lobo & Mr. Lacher were genuine in their candidacies and find the gumption to seek other political lines to allow the citizens of New Rochelle the most robust group of candidates from which to choose. The premise of Democracy is freedom of choice not backroom deals to gain or maintain power.

    1. You forgot to mention the sales tax!
      You forgot to mention the Sales Tax along with the Garbage and Library Taxes! Instead to trying to contain spending in any form or fashion, our leaders just keep coming back to the well for more. It just isn’t right.

  5. Happy with how the city is run? Then you know who to vote for!
    If you’re happy with how this city is run,
    If you can find a free parking space downtown,
    If you like being told how to spend money you may not have,
    If you do not value your civil liberties or care if elected officials plot to place liens on your property,
    If you do not care how high your taxes are,
    If you do not care that our school system is failing our children,
    If you look forward to paying sky high taxes,

    then you know who to vote for.

    If not….

  6. The Plot Thickens, No Republican Judge Candidates have Emerged
    It is really hard to understand why Mayor Bramson would write this letter and even more difficult to understand why the other Democrats signed the letter. Are they all so sure of the Democratic voters in New Rochelle? Perhaps he will tell us why he resorted to such a high handed method with his own party regulars. Residents do not even know who the Republican candidate will be. Does Mayor Bramson have some inside information on this candidate? Tell us.

  7. Is this why lobo and lacher
    Is this why lobo and lacher dropped out I wonder. Why would these democrats do this are they scared? Bramson and crew should know better. We should have gotton more info on the other canidates .

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