I Have a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Written By: Laraine Karl

This phrase is one any number of New Rochelle citizens can relate to when looking at our city. The book, The Wizard of Oz, is the story of New Rochelle in its present day.

For many people who have lived in New Rochelle for a number of years, this city was beautiful, enchanted and a great place to raise a family, shop in fine stores and an easy commute to Manhattan.

Did a tornado travel through our city? Did this cause the political upheaval we have today? Our taxes are growing each and every year and we receive less and less services.

Like many politicians, our mayor (the Wizard) is unwilling to help without a quid pro quo: “I never grant favors without some return.” Noam is simply a manipulative politician who appears to people in one form, but works behind the scenes to achieve his true ends. Such figures are terrified at being exposed.

Like the Emerald City, everyone is required to wear green glasses with golden bands, so that nearly everything appears in a resplendent green.

We can all name the Tin Woodman, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion on city council. But I keep looking for Dorothy Gale, the person who represents an individualized ideal. She is each of us at our best. Where is Toto? He barks at the little man behind the curtain and it is he who realizes the Wizard is a fraud. The winged monkeys are apparently intelligent enough to obey commands, but do not speak. Will their spell be broken or will they keep repeating what they are told by the Wicked Witch?

In the mayor’s eyes, the citizens of New Rochelle are similar to the Munchkins because we represent the little people who work for a living. We keep the economy going and the businesses running. We were manipulated by leaders for our votes and workability. We are not super powerful or super wealthy.

How will the story end? Does Noam take off in a hot air balloon leaving New Rochelle. Will downtown New Rochelle have a yellow brick road? The silver slippers (changed to red in the movie) represents the power to vote, but will we exercise that power.

Does New Rochelle only have to click its heels together three times to return to a city that is successful, flourishing and thriving. No, it will take hard work and coming together as one city and then we will be able to say “there’s no place like New Rochelle.”

2 thoughts on “I Have a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore”

    1. Loraine,I really think the

      I really think the problem in our society is not so much that the cost of things are rising, but rather that our incomes have not kept up with inflation. The reason places like NR are dying is because the overwhelming majority of middle class people no longer have “disposable” income to spend on goods and services. This is due to a variety factors, many of which, were created by government policies.

      The solution to problem has varied from politician to politician. Bill Clinton, for instance, did away with banking regulations that made it easy for people to borrow money they couldn’t afford to pay back. That led to the current recession

      Obama’s solution is, among other things, to create “green” jobs. But these jobs are few and far between and salaries and benefits don’t compare to ones we lost in this country.

      Closer to home, Bramson’s agenda is to bring new people into the downtown that have the “disposable” income the middle class once had. With this, he hopes to entice retailers to set up shop in NR so the downtown becomes a “sustainable, walkable” community.

      The problem with his philosophy is that it will take many years and lots of taxpayer dollars to bring to fruition. He plans on getting this money through grants, fees, tax increases, and cost cutting measures. Basically, the middle class population who have lived in Westchester for many years, will be bled dry to make way for a new class of “young professionals” with “disposable income.”

      He also believes he will deal with the middle class and minorities by getting into bed with HUD and building “integrated” communities throughout Westchester. In other words, housing projects where the bankrupt middle class can mingle with the poor and we all can get government assistance to
      up with the high cost of living. In short, people like Bramson can no longer deal with the middle class or create jobs that pay a living wage, so they want to stuff us into small, cramped apartments, take away our cars, and end the concept of single family home ownership.

      Bramson’s agenda, and I hope people wake up to this, is far broader than just building Echo Bay and stealing the Armory. It is about redefining how we “live, work, and play.” It is like Bob Cox has been trying to get across. He is pushing for more centralized control of our communities as outlined in Agenda 21, which he is implementing with the help and guidance of ICLEI. Our freedon of speech, and our freedom to shape our communities, is being stripped away to clear the path for “socially integrated, sustainable. transit-oriented” communities. Ones where the government can keep close tabs on us.

      Bramson is not a Wizard. He is a liar who is trying to seize control of all the power he can so he can reshape our “environment.” He is doing right under our noses and I think the vast majority of Westchester residents don’t have a clue.

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