Brother Ligouri Retired 5/31/11 A year in review Editorial

Written By: Deprecated User

Now that it is June 1, 2011 Br. Ligouri is now officially retired from Iona College. Below you will see a copy of a Letter to the Editor that was sent to The Journal News. It appears they are keeping people that speak out against Iona College off their pages. Since Iona College went to New Rochelle City Council regarding the 10 Story Dorm Proposal, the neighbors have had to fight for any coverage we can get. We realize not everything is printed timely or even at all.

“Perception is Everything”. And it seems that someone is pulling their strings about what to print and what not to print. We once again had to write to the Editors looking for coverage. Could it be because Iona College runs several advertisements a year? Yesterday I opened my morning paper to see yet another advertisement for Iona College on the front page of The Journal News. The third since I wrote my original letter on May 11, 2011. What happened to the local paper they once were? It seems to be the Editorials have become self- serving political fluff. If they need more space, maybe they should consider a few less advertisements for all of the car dealers in Upper Westchester and Rockland County. The Journal News is not a fair and equal forum for the people unless they have some influence, be it political or monetary. We will still write editorials but must now go to other media outlets for fair and just treatment. Their subscription circulation in this area will continue to shrink.

Letter to the Editor:

In response to the Journal News article from Saturday April 30th. “Catholic order says it’s broke”.

This is just another on the list problem for Iona College and Br Liguori. It has been a year since Br Liguori dropped the bomb shell that Iona College has gone to The City Council for another zoning change. Time and again Iona College returns to The New Rochelle City Council asking for more changes to an area zoned specific to their needs. There has been a lot going on during Br Ligouri’s final year as President of Iona College. Since May 2010, The request for zoning change, Letter to the Mayor Bramson during election for District#3, The missing $850K and now the Christian Brothers declaring bankruptcy needing to sell off property. As of now the DEIS Process seems to be stalled. What a legacy to leave.

He is looking at the bottom line of housing another 400 students. 400 students X $13,650 for room and board = $5,460,000 in to the Iona College bank accounts. Now we can see why they want the dorm. They can use these funds to help with the bankruptcy filing. If Iona College truly wants to help The City of New Rochelle, then talk to the neighborhoods and The City of New Rochelle. Use this opportunity to better the community and North Avenue as he suggested.

Use “Common Sense for the Common Good”.

Thank you,
Bob McCaffrey President
The Mount Joy Place
Neighborhood Association

14 thoughts on “Brother Ligouri Retired 5/31/11 A year in review Editorial”

  1. Honesty in assessing the proposed dorm is a necessity
    Mr. McCaffrey:
    Bringing out the facts are the only way to assess the impact of another dorm on the neighborhood and city. Keep letting the people know all the environmental concerns. In my view there are many aspects of this dorm that will effect the neighborhood and the city.

    1. 1 issue is that the building
      1 issue is that the building will be tax exepmt yet will require city services like fire and police.

      If we keep letting tax exempt properties to be built, how’s the city going to keep up with the demand for services? I don’t think it can (without raising everyone elses taxes) so therefore it shouldn’t be built.

      Until Iona starts paying property taxes, it shouldn’t be allowed to expand any further.

  2. Letter to the Editor
    Bob,

    Your letter to the editor is truly horrible! If someone wants their letter printed, shouldn’t he or she at least have some facts in what they write? As you and your readers are probably aware, Iona College is a seperately incorporated institution in the State of New York, the Christian Brothers do not own, nor do they profit from Iona College. Iona has been governed since 1940 by a seperate Board of Trustees, and to my knowledge there are only 4 members of the congregation of Christian Brothers on a 20+ person board.

    Also, like many other news agencies you are misrepresenting the situation of the Christian Brothers. A Chapter 11 filing is not the same as a Chapter 7 filing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapter_11,_Title_11,_United_States_Code).

    I am sure that members of the Mount Joy Place Neighborhood Association have had there fair share of negative interactions with Iona College, but what would the neighborhood (and New Rochelle) be without some stable corporation like Iona? Thousands of jobs ahve been provided, millions of dollars are spent in local resturants, movie theatres, and other venues in New Rochelle. I think Iona has had an overall positive impact on the New Rochelle community and Westchester County as a whole. But does this mean you should slander such an institution, just because you don’t like them? Freedom of speech only goes so far!

    One thing I do know is that Iona is not looking at building new residence halls to add a quick, easy buck to their pocket. Operating housing is a costly venture. As an institution Iona must increase many forms of insurance that they pay, they must hire additional staff members, as well as a host of other incidental but vital expenditures. Almost all colleges and university would agree that students achieve to their fullest potention when the are engaged in the community they are learning in, therefore residential students do better than communter students. It is also important to the reputation of the college if they can show that they have attracted and retained a high number of students from different states and countries.

    As you suggest I think Iona could, and should do a more inclusive “conversation” with the surrounding neighborhoods. But in my experience the different neighborhood associations (Beechmont, Mt. Jot, etc.) have simply rejected any signs of growth by Iona College unless it was the removal of “eyesores” and lower income situations. I just hope both sides practice more compassion and understanding when they speak to each other and about one-an-other.

    Just a few thought from a simple man.

    1. You take my editorial about Iona College out of context
      Dear JM,
      Sorry I didn’t get back to you. You missed my whole point. First, the problem is that I was referring to an article in The Journal News from over a month ago. It took so long to run my Editorial, it was now taken totally out of context. It is the Journal News that printed all of the information about the Chapter 11. Not me. No slander intended. I made a reference to the article because it was just one more thing in a list of many that were tied to Iona College in the last year of Br. Ligouri’s tenor. You say that Iona College is a separately incorporated institution in the State of New York, the Christian Brothers do not own it. I do know that. Therefore they should not benefit from the Tax Exempt status anymore.
      Thousands of jobs, millions of dollars are spent in local restaurants, movie theatres, and other venues in New Rochelle. That is what they want everyone to believe. Iona has bragged that it has put $1.5m on the “street”. Meaning that since about 12 vendors participate in the Iona College “meal plan” that revenue helps New Rochelle coffers! This is not true. Iona is charging these vendors 19%. The City of New Rochelle only gets 2.5% sales tax. So who is really gaining? Most students are on the meal plan and Iona College makes more than we would on any taxes collected for a piece of pizza or a beer bought when school is in session. There is now less business on North Ave then there were before the dorms. With all of the student cars in the parking spots, you can’t even go to the stores if you want. Try eating at any of the business on North Ave and Eastchester Road today. It is very easy. When school is in there is no chance to find a parking spot.
      I do like Iona College. I am a graduate, Class of 1983. Many of my neighbors are also Iona College Alumni. I have never stated that Iona College has no positive impact on New Rochelle. I have said that it is not what they, Br Ligouri want everyone to believe. My main point is that Iona College, Brother Ligouri has not met with the neighbors to discuss the proposal or other options. We did get a lecture from him last June on how the dorm would be built no matter what “As of Right”. Iona College is the only private property owner with its own zoning, the College Related zone (CR-I). Our issues are not just about parking and noise. It has to do more with, the overwhelming size of the proposal for that site, taxes, property values and the costs involved in running the city of New Rochelle that the city and its taxpaying residents can no longer afford. Br. Ligouri could have met with the neighbors at any time prior to submitting the proposal and had some type of communication about the proposal with the neighbors seeking their input rather than dumping it in our laps and running ads after the fact. New Rochelle and Iona College should use their need for housing as an opportunity. Work with the community as they say they do. Use there need for student housing as a catalyst to improve North Avenue and the surrounding area.

      Thanks for your time,
      Bob McCaffrey President
      The Mount Joy Place
      Neighborhood Association

      1. Come on…
        Mr. McCaffrey,

        Wow! I cannot believe you do not understand why your editorial was not printed. Clearly, you have too much time on your hands. It offends my sensibilities that you would continue your one man show against a college president without understanding any of the facts. When you make statements that disparage so many it is irresponsilbe.

        Please, for the sake of our community, start to work to resolve the real issue instead of just throughing misinformation around.

        Disappointed,

        NR Forever

      2. Enough Said
        I don’t have too much time on my hands. But I do feel strongly enough about this to say my piece and put my real name on it. Not any type of handle or moniker to be left unknown. I also don’t write anything that I don’t know as being the truth. It has also started many conversations throughout the city and opened some eyes as you can see from some of the other letters. When you are David, sometimes you have to make a little noise to wake up others up to fight Goliath. I am also not in this alone as you believe. We have the following of several neighborhood associations and civic groups. Twenty people I don’t even know spoke at the Citizens to be Heard on May 10, 2011.
        Let me put it to you this way. What would you do If your next door neighbor every few years built an addition to his house that was too large and out of character for his property? You would be upset. He also never informs you he was doing it because “AS of Right” he can do whatever he wants. He has his own special zoning. Go tell someone who cares. After all, it has been done before. After reading about it in the newspaper you asked to speak with him, he told you and the city to go fly a kite to put it nicely since he is a Christian Brother, how would you feel then. I have done nothing that others wouldn’t do in our position. As residents of New Rochelle we all need to step-up and get involved in our city to hold everyone accountable and make sure we are going in the right direction. Not just with the dorm but all the issues here in New Rochelle. As I said, Perception is everything. There is more going on than people realize. Bare facts, it breaks down to Tax dollars and doing the right thing.
        Br. Ligouri has retired. There is new leadership coming in on July 1, 2011. Many things have changed over the past few weeks. Now, Dr. Joseph Nyre is the incoming President of Iona College and we will see what his tenor at the college will bring for both Iona College and the City of New Rochelle.

        We wish Dr. Joseph Nyre the best at Iona College and welcome him to the neighborhood.

  3. The Journal News Stinks
    Bob you are right this local (HA HA) paper is a media outlet for those big advertisers in there paper.Hardly any New Rochelle stories make it to this paper.The New Rochelle parade this past monday nothing. It’s a shame. They don’t even print the paper in New York anymore it’s done in New Jersey. So to everyone reading this tell to the journal news to shove it.Bob keep up the good fight and tell Iona to build on there own property.

    1. Journal News and Br Ligouri
      Eye on new roc,
      I bought my first bike with my paper route money from the Standard Star. So did my brothers before me. It is no longer a local paper. Even their World News comes out of their USA Today headlines. But as I said, perception is everything and it only seems like issues with their slant,some ones money or influence on it get run. Even the people I get replies from change every time.I count eight at this point. More to follow on both fronts, Iona and Journal News.

      1. IONA
        I see that Bob McCaffrey is being attacked for not “knowing the real issues” and not being able to differentiate between Chapter 7 and Chapter 11, etc. I do not share these views; he, his Association and many citizens throughout the City recognize that Iona has been less than an ideal community citizen on both denovo and organic expansion. Without getting pedantic over the advantages of Chapter 7 viz Chapter 11 or vice versa, the clear issue to me is that the DEIS is seriously flawed. There are many other possible places where Iona could have provided additional dormitory space foremost being somewhere within their current boundaries. More importantly, the entire city should and could have been identified as having growth potential and we have a number of commercial/residential bases especially further south that could have been considered. I do not hear the people arguing against McCaffrey saying much about the value of neighborhoods, property values or the high-handed treatment given Mt Joy when Brother Ligouri turned his back on the many requests to negotiate or at least ventilate. A search into best practices of urban based universities will show that many are more compliant and sensitive and will locate a dormitory at some distance in a less populated, commercial area and arrange for transportation.

        New Rochellle frankly, has been overly generous to Iona and other non-profits. Yes, the college brings in revenue but consumes considerable resources and I suspect more will follow when the new AD puts his prgrams forward.

        NIMBY is a classic response when situations arise similar to what Mt Joy has experienced. Maybe those who are the severest crtics should look out their windows and doors and show a little empathy and it would have been decent, proper and good citizenship to have had inclusivity discussions with the City and the neighborhood much earlier.

        Given the financial status at this point is not the major issue, but it is contributory. The worse is the notion that McCaffrey and his neighbors, friends and supporters are somehow doing something wrong by challenging Iona in this case. I am a Catholic, non-resident who urges the Councl to turn this down and begin to look at this and other situations with a more practiced eye and ensure that the basic enabling documents such as the DEIS properly addresses potential as well as prefernce. Stay the course Bob you have an awful lot of support in the City and, you have to hope that Iona spending money on Journal News ads is the only indiscretion for a college under some financial pressure. I, for one, would love to see who they have on legal retainer past or present.

      2. Really
        Thank you for your comment; however, it seems like a non-resident in support of Mr. McCaffrey and the “not in my backyard syndrome.” Just take a look down North Avenue and you will see what our community is battling. The lack of foresight by our leaders has made development on North Avenue unavailable. This makes any expansion difficult for developers that want to do the right thing and build affordable housing in current rundown places.

        How can people continue to say there are other alternatives for the college? People will push back no matter what the plan is on the table. You can’t say that students are a problem in the neighborhood and then not want a residence hall.

      3. But putting a 10 story,
        But putting a 10 story, tax-exempt building on that parking lot is crazy and shouldn’t be allowed.

        Also allowing a 10 story building in that area is going to set a precedent for other developers to want to build more 10 story buildings along that nearby strech of North Avenue and that shouldn’t ever be allowed.

      4. Iona
        yeah I know the area very well; i am a non-neighbor but a resident for over 40 years. you are correct in your assessment of North Avenue, but the solution is not adding a college dormitory. The solution is a much better, more focused job on city developmentl Planning is not the strong suit of the City up to this point. Iona has every right and expectation to build housing for students, but this is the wrong design in the wrong location. Sound planning should involve reality checking on the cityls part; perhaps a combinaton of affordable housing at non-intrusive levels to support residential and student influx, small business tailored to best serve these populations. Iona has many options not bordering on North Avenue that can be addressed via a rebuilt DEIS. You raise one of the most inefficienct aspects of city government; proper short to middle term planning to build a stronger tax base. It requires research, community planning, involvement of all parties, code changes, some deals with stubborn landlords who find it advantageous to lease then evict on renewal; so much more. I keep hearin about parking and congestion. You cannot easily legislate numbers of cars per family as China could mandate numbers of children per family. So you look for other solutions; more garage construction on available city lots although the development director doesn;t like the idea, it is a viable option for many cities with similar problems. You got to build shuttle services to shopping areas, live with congestion, look at the most modern parking meter facility so not as to punish local business by ticketing the 10 minute drop in customer. You sound like a good citizen and comunity member — this city has to build a skills base, work out roles, relationships, and responsibilities among city leaders, city council, school districts, neighborhood associations.

        My sense is you have good, honest people running the city who are deficient in hands on experience and skills in critical thinking and an unwillingness to invest the time in research and building a learning curve. They can get the job done if they broaden the skills base and there are folks like me who know a hell of a lot about such processes and there are more like me. So you find these folks, sharpen up the relationship between city council an administration — by what i see in he City Charter, the Council has more say and play, yet they don’ press the issue of managing the operating base.

        It will take time and prioritization, At this point Echo Bay is irrelevant and your North AVenue is not. Main Street and the midtown area are terribly unplanned and for some unknown reason the City an Councl will ot move some services from 515 North to show the colors. Pat Carroll cannot envision a police precinct midtown tells me that I dont see Pat Carroll as a commissioner. He is shortsighted — he may get patrol patterns but not resident and shopkeeper security.

        There is much more….. Mayor Bramson is a bright and honest young man who needs to get a different vision of time; take care of today before tomorrow, get all over the disaster that is the school district and their burdens to the taxpayer and Council members are bright and decent and if these people cannot get along; vote for people who will. The City is relocating south of New Rochelle Road.

        Work as a collectivity of neighborhoods to form a community, seek out the optomistic, positive voices, put in wake up calls to the somnabulistic north enders who look through a glass darkly and we will grow. I have much more faith in our City Fathers than most posters, but damn man, they are going to have to earn it.

        warren gross

      5. Really really
        NR Forever,
        Sorry, I was busy doing nothing.Just kidding.

        Please go back and read all of the postings. Not one of them speaks about the noise and parking issues. You will always have some issues when you have hundreds of kids away from home and looking for a good time. Sometimes they go a little too far. I myself don’t have any students living on my street. Yet we deal with the lack of parking and noise coming from the kids getting out of their cars, that they don’t have, at all hours drunk and rowdy to go partying at other places since they can’t do it in their dorms. The Iona College Task Force for Off Campus Housing and the neighborhood associations have been working together on these safety and quality of life issues. Yes we can play nice together. There is more to it than people realize since it doesn’t affect them. Out of sight, out of mind, it doesn’t bother me.

        As stated before by myself and many others, we all need to step-up and get involved in our city to hold everyone accountable and make sure we are going in the right direction. Not just with the dorm but all the issues here in New Rochelle. Work with some creative developers that might take a chance on working on North Avenue. Work with Iona College and the City of New Rochelle to bring life back to the North Avenue Corridor where the streets look nice but the buildings are falling down. Yes, we need leaders with some foresight to make this happen as well. Good thing this is an election year.

      6. Unfortunatley leadership is
        Unfortunatley leadership is something we’re missing down at city hall.

Comments are closed.