Why Astorino’s “Noam Bramson 40% Pay Raise” Is My Favorite Campaign Ad of 2013

Written By: Robert Cox

Rob Astorino has a new campaign ad out today. I suspect it will be on TV soon enough but you can view it on YouTube above.

This is my favorite ad of the campaign, from either side.

Why you may ask?

Well first, Noam’s ads are terrible so that only leaves the Astorino ads.

Second, because the ad contains clips from one of my favorite City Council meetings of all time: Mayor Noam Bramson Boils Over at New Rochelle City Council Meeting

In the commercial, you see Noam moving his hands back and forth.

If you watch my video from February 2011 (above), you will see that moment occurs at the 1:00 mark and you can more clearly see he is mindlessly rolling his fingers around the inside of a rubber band, something Noam does when he gets impatient or bored or annoyed. He often fiddles endlessly with a pen when agitated but I’ll leave it up the Freudians to figure that one out.

In the meeting, Noam is reacting to Council Member Albert Tarantino chastising Bramson for behaving inappropriately and being disrespectful to fellow Council Member Richard St. Paul.

Noam is explaining is idea of “respect” — that he is only respectful towards those who demonstrate respect for him. He really means two different things with the word respect. In the first usage, he means he is not respectful towards people. In the second usage he means submitting to his will. In other words, if you agree with Noam, submit to him or otherwise acquiesce to him that he will be courteous in dealing with you. As many have learned over the years, Noam treats those who dare disagree with him nothing but a sneering contempt.

Noam goes on to say that he cannot be accused of a lack of patience or fairness. Tell that to the people opposing the Echo Bay Development who were told “heads don’t count” in a democracy or New Rochelle’s Veterans who had their flag confiscated by Noam and are now suing him in federal court or the President of the NAACP who had the temerity to endorse Noam’s opponent in the County Exec race and was summarily banned from a public park on the site of a landmark civil rights case.

Noam goes on to say that he “rarely” loses his temper and only then due to “an unusual set of circumstances”. Really? Tell that to Martin Sanchez, the former Latino school board member who was screamed at by Noam because he dared make a critical comment about the City of New Rochelle or Mark McLean, a New Rochelle firefighter, when Noam refused to shake his hand after a Council meeting, saying ““Don’t Piss On My Leg Then Try to Shake My Hand”.

Noam thinks of himself as a great poker player. He is not. One reason he is not is because he has too many “tells”. I already mentioned the pens and rubber bands (btw, another amusing “tell” to watch for at City Council is Chuck Strome rocking in his chair, the more upset he gets the more he rocks).

One of Noam’s political tells is that when when he is angry with someone who is talking to him he open’s up his mouth real wide and bears his teeth and gums in a contorted, forced smile. It’s what I have described as a “horse-face” grin.

Next time you seem Noam being challenged at a meeting or public event watch for the famous Bramson horse-face. You can’t miss it.

I love how the Astorino ad freezes on Noam’s face in full equine repose.

A little further into the video, Noam, in slow-motion, has furrowed his eyes and sort of lecturing someone. That someone is former New Rochelle Council Member Richard St. Paul. The clip is from the same November 2011 meeting.

The back story of that moment is, ironically, a discussion about Echo Bay and tax abatements from the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency. At the far end of the table, across from Noam are representatives from Forest City Ratner. They are seeking another extension of their Memorandum of Understanding or “MOU” so they can keep control of the project for another year (they have had control of New Rochelle property for about six years now despite never having put a single brick or dug a single hole on the property).

At about the 8:30 mark in my video Noam boils over in a discussion about parliamentary procedure on a vote on the Echo Bay MOU. At about the 8:53 mark the topic turns the NRIDA, which is the second worst Industrial Development Agency in New York State based on data on jobs created per amount of tax breaks from the New York State Comptroller.

The actual clip used in the Astorino commercial is at the 9:45 mark where Noam is “lecturing” Richard St. Paul about how St. Paul is being “disrespectful” and “abusing” St. Paul’s rights as council member. This as Noam repeatedly interrupts St. Paul who is simply seeking to express his concerns about the IDA and the Echo Bay deal. Noam then makes it personal, attacking St. Paul, a lawyer, for the conduct of one of St. Paul’s clients. In NoamWorld, people are not entitled to a legal defense and any lawyer that defends a a bad guy becomes a bad guy. An interesting concept coming from a person sworn to uphold the Constitution.

At the 11:50 mark, Noam declared that he is done and given his “final word”.

At the 12:25 mark, Noam interrupts again with yet another “final word” and keeps talking with more “final words” until finally threatening to limit the speech of Council Members became St. Paul (who can hardly get a word in edgewise) is talking too much.

About 5 minutes after he had give his “final word” Bramson finally stopped talking.

I also like that the ad cites Talk of the Sound as their source for information on Noam cutting the New Rochelle Fire Department!

Below a photo of a firefighter is the the line “ranks have been decimated 12/10/12”.

That is from this article where I am quoting the spokesperson of the New Rochelle Fire Fighters Local 273.

The 2013 budget proposes cutting back the fire department’s overtime budget by $300,000. Fire fighters point out the need for an overtime budget is a direct result of significant understaffing in the NRFD. Since 2008 the NRFD’s ranks have been decimated with a fifteen percent cut in the number of fire fighters, down from 168 to 143 with six cadets currently in training. Due to lack of hiring in recent years, 44 percent of the NRFD is currently eligible for retirement.

Now that you have some of the back story on the video clips in the ad, trying watching it again.