Show Who and What We Are on September 20

Written By: Warren Gross

You may know that September 20 is a special, albeit, not widely known day in the life of New Rochelle. During the morning and early afternoon, members of the real estate, investment community, potential commercial developers and others are scheduled to tour the City along with officials of the Westchester County Association and I would imagine, others on the City’s Advisory Board and Council.

I have expressed concerns over the agenda as well as issues around communication, but frankly, I am a little tired of “expressing concern” and seeing it reinforced in comparable areas and venues on the national and state level.

So, let me be as open, optimistic, and hopeful as I can be that the experience is carefully developed to be honest, descriptive, and open to a strong partnership with the County, State and moreover, members of this community.

A major point is to show our visual strengths; cleerly that includes our transportation center, the surrounding areas that would support commercia growth and mostly, our largely fragmentally defined waterfront assets.

I am hoping that Noam and his fellow Council members realize the value of this asset, see the critical need to develop and overall comprehensive plan embracing all of its components, simplify access to all community members, and above all simplify regulation, zoing requirements, and work out any and all issues between utility by those we lease or provide commercial space to and, unlike what we have accomplished midtown, work like Murphy’s mule to make it work.

The Echo Bay waterfront space is hardly that, a mere sliver of space in terms of community access. Yet, it is important and its uniqueness lies in how that uniqueness is expressed from a developmental perspective.

Five Island Park is a wonderful potential area for some serious developement work especially around recreational areas; tennis, horseshoes, bocce ball, children’s safe recreation and public picnicing come to mind.

But the jewel in the crown is Hudson Park and the immaculate view and the great and diverse acceptance of the Beach Bar by so many members of the community. It is,though, beset with issues that require the best and most collaborative thinking of the City planners and development folks as well as community residents.

We see where some residents have expressed concerns over the noise factor. I went to the Beach Bar Friday night last to visit and see all this for myself.

I saw something of an engineering nightmare; meaning the establishment of engineering approaches to mitigate any noise appreciably would not be either practical or cost effective. As a long time resident of New Rochelle, the noise generated is no more than what residents on Pelham Road and Davenport get during the summer from the various beach and clubs.

I spoke to a friend who runs the club; a friend, a fine citizen, who has invested in New Rochelle and is a fine citizen. He speaks highly of the help he has received from Chuck Strome and others and I know he must receive some consideration to establish the right to hold daytime event so that his business can be profitable.

Yet, there are good people who live in homes who feel that the Club infringes on their habilitatiion rights. Net, net, we have a classic problem in a beach resort area of good residents, honest businessmen, both with needs, both who would, I think, be amenable to compromise.

From a business planning standpoint, linking Hudson Park with our other beachfront, residential waterfront spaces, suggest a positive merger of inter and inrra community needs.

Simply put… I am suggesting that this be placed on the front burner in City Planning and it begins with a business manager for the entire waterfront development issue. It then would prosper by having this manager call both sides together to discuss issues, problems and concerns and some short term remedy can be worked out subject to final planning.

I think that a blue ribbon action team must be formed and the manager of the Beach Club (Carello), a member of the residences involved, and Al Tarantino, who I believe is the Council Representative, should be part of this team. I would like it headed up by the business manager. It would be a good expenditure of city assets to appoint a per diem consultant as well to facilitate the process.

What do we gain? We have a process story to tell the Westchester County people, direct participation of all concerned parties, a proper priority based on its value as a city land use priority, a commitment to the recreationial community base, a proper differentiation among all waterfront properties and a working together spirit that we do not have enough of in New Rochelle.

I like this because I find too many moments when I dislike myself for constant criticism. I like this because there are too many people in our nation who are ideologically constipated, unheathily committed to concepts that are unknown to the proponents…. for example what in blazes is large vs small government. I am also weary of the barrage of racism, sexism, ageism, etc…. that divides without offering anything in return.

Also, and finally, I am kind of a symbolic creature so let me say that September 20th is, if I remember correctly POW/MIA day. What a fitting tribute to our lost ones if the City can take a breath and put something on the board that we all understand and benefit from.

4 thoughts on “Show Who and What We Are on September 20”

  1. New Rochelle summer is over, Time to Get to Work!

    I hope everyone had an enjoyable summer. Labor Day Weekend has come and gone. It is time for The Citizens of New Rochelle and The City Council to think about the future of New Rochelle once again. During the last City Council Meeting from Tuesday July 10 2012, I discussed the tour by the Westchester County Association. I had read about it back in April and spoke to City Council back then as well. I spoke about the need to work with the community and business members from Downtown to make the tour successful and take advantage of the opportunity. I said to The City Council, “Be creative and reach out to bring new ideas to the table. New Rochelle has done similar tours in the past, but it always seems to be the same developers and interests involved. We cannot continue with the same people and the same ideas and be successful. There must be change. Radical change if we are going to improve Downtown New Rochelle”.

    In the past I recommended speaking with the other city and town planners and get some fresh ideas from people that have made a change in their cities. Peekskill, Port Chester, Pelham, Pelham Manor to mention a few. These communities are seeing change and growth. The word I use is community. I feel that is something that is lost here in New Rochelle. We are not a village or a town, we are a city. That creates an even more challenging task. We have issues reflective of New York City now with crime and poverty, racial and financial splits. With diversity comes a separate set of problems. The cities and towns I mentioned have similar demographics so it can be done if looked at correctly. It can be done, Bob Dylan Headlines First Show at New Capitol Theater Port Chester’s latest addition: A gorgeously restored 1,800 seat theater.

    The New Rochelle City Council needs to take this opportunity to think creatively and with a vision for not only Downtown New Rochelle, but the entire City of New Rochelle and the citizen taxpayers, the true members of our community. Not only will we celebrate the 325th anniversary of New Rochelle, but a new life and beginning of a changed leadership and direction for the city.

    I encourage everyone to do three things this month:

    1) Meet with Warren Wednesday or Thursday at the Patisserie at 302 Huguenot Street between 8AM and 9AM on September 5 and 6.

    2) Go to the next Citizens To Be Heard. Be careful and check your calendar. This month’s meeting is on a Wednesday for some reason. I don’t know why.

    September 12, 2012(Wednesday)
    Time: 3:45 PM - 9:00 PM
    Time Details: City Council Meeting begins at 3:45 PM with any Public Hearing starting at 7:30 PM and Citizens To Be Heard immediately following. There are no details available at this time. In September go to the city web site for an update.

    3) Show Who and What We Are on September 20th.

    It is up to the Citizens and Taxpayers of New Rochelle to start speaking up. All of these people work for us and for no one else. Hold them accountable and start the movement towards change for a better New Rochelle.

    “Common sense for the Common Good”

    1. There is No Place to Start But at Home
      Thank you Bob and you are correct. New Rochelle is a microcosm of our federal government. The idea is win at all costs and damn it, what a cost.

      The New York Times has an excellent columnist, David Brooks, who I would describe as a Progressive Conservative. His column on today’s editorial page is priceless. It is called the Elevator Speech and I want to excerpt out his third remedy, or rather, the third option he suggests to Obama when he stands up to give his “elevator speech.”

      This is a dismal election; to me clearly positioned as a form of class warfare, divisive, non-responsive, and produced for the benefit of special interests whose agenda is not difficult to figure out. In Obama’s case, we can see extraordinary parallels to local elections; in Romney’s the appeal to a group of people, a large group of people, who are more than dienchanted, they feel powerless and angry. We have a war between white vs non-white, old white males vs. women, federalists vs state rightists…. the real problem is that both parties have totally forgotten the lessons of history as well as the consequences of class or social warfare.

      Brooks comes up with three ideas; the second mirrors clearly a view I have held for a few years that we live in a “broken capitlism… it should by no means be abandoned, but it must be modified to reflect the realities of 2012 and beyond.

      The third I will given to you word for word. It is the need to embrace Simpson-Bowles and here is why.

      “Everybody pays lip service to the Bowles-Simpson plan to reduce the deficit, but neither campaign really embraces it.
      Obama could use his convention to throw himself wholeheartedly behind the general Bowles-Simpson approach (author: that knucklehead Ryan could have should have and did not citing some crap about Medicare). “He could argue that America is weighed down by rotting institutions and faces fiscal ruin. He could vow to push through tax reform that would lower rates and reduce loopholes. He could endorse a 22 percent cap on government spending. He could commit to limiting the growth of domestic and defense spending. He could double down on his health care cost containment ideas. He could restructure Social Security and make it more progressive.

      This too, is a big serious agenda, addressing a real national need. This too, is an agenda commensurate with the size of the problem that confront us.

      Personally, I wish Obama would use this convention to embrace Bowles-Simpson. That would lay the foundationi for decades of prosperity. It would galvanize a new center-left majority.

      But mostly, I wish he’d be for something. I wish he’d rise above the petty tactical considerations that have shrunk him over the past two years. I wish he’d finally define what he stands for. A liberal populist? A Clintonian moderate? At some point, you have to choose.

      Four years ago, Obama said we could no longer postpone tackling the big problems. But now he seems driven by a fear of defeat. His proposals seem bite-size. If Obama can’t tell us the big policy thing he wants to do, he doesn’t deserve a second term.”

      I agree, but Romney/Ryan do not deserve a first term. I will likely develop a case of “stay at home” or vote for Obama simply because the alternative, Grover Norquist dooms a hot air balloon like Ryan to bloviation beyond our countrys’ capacity to surive.

      Maybe tonight will provide an agenda somewhat parallel to the above. Maybe it will not be primarlly social and divisive agenda build around what we already have in settled law or what is in the realm of attitude, not behavior.

      Perhaps by some miracle, he will stand up for his family caregivers and announce proudly that he is a multi-racial president. That would get him my respect and I think, tens perhaps hundreds of thousands of votes.

      But “honor thy father and thy mother” is in the hands of a higher power, the other side, running a marathon in less than 3 hours or signing a pledge to someone called Grover is in mine and yours.

      I have much more hope for New Rochelle than I do for Washington D.C. these days.

      How do you work that…. Bob McCaffrey is always on the right side of common sense. Come on out and help turn things around. Better Noam than Barack or Mitt, Louis or Jared than Pelosi or Reid, Al or Ivar much preferred to the syncophants on both sides of the aisle.

      Who knows, maybe Barry and Shari (sounds like a do wop group) will reach up to Boehmer’s level. They are both sharper than McConnell is now.

  2. Who will be driving the bus?
    Warren- I always look forward to your posts and the insight you add to what is going on in New Rochelle. But are you just being optimistic and hopeful that Noam will see what should be done for the city many of us love and want to succeed. I have read and listened to you volunteer your time, knowledge and energy to work for this city and as of yet it has fallen upon deaf ears. I believe September 20 is Noam’s “Magical Mystery Tour” with all his followers on board.
    According to WCA blueprint city showcase the group will meet at 145 Huguenot Street, which is the home of Monroe’s king graduate school. Why is the tour starting at 145 Huguenot? I believe the Transportation Center (train station) would be a much better place. Who will be on the tour, with a little help from my friends, Cappelli Enterprises and Forest City Enterprises? Will Noam be able to convince the group (that money that’s what I want) will give them an opportunity to purchase property in New Rochelle.
    It seems that the premier sponsors, showcase sponsors and supporter are looking out for themselves and not New Rochelle.
    Unfortunately for New Rochelle, this has become about whether citizens of New Rochelle want our mayor to succeed and will this look good on his resume.
    You say you want a revolution. Well, you know we all want to change the world, so let’s start with New Rochelle. Perhaps we will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you will join us
    And the world will be as one

    1. Like all politicians…
      Idoni II will be kicking off the bus anyone not committed to making him look good.

      This isn’t Oz, you know. As in Wizard Of, not Australia.

      –Perhaps we will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

      No, you won’t.

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