My Thoughts on Noam’s State of the City Address

Written By: Robert Cox

I have been present at most of Noam Bramson’s State of the City addresses. I believe I have been at the last 10 in a row. Tonight was a very good speech throughout. It is the only speech I can recall that was consistently strong, beat after beat.

Full text of New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson 2019 State of the City Address

I had an advanced copy so had a chance to watch Noam deliver the speech know what was coming and where he was going.

Setting aside Noam’s typical stylized narrative — this one pegged to Noam’s family having moved to New Rochelle 50 years ago — you would have to really want New Rochelle to fail to not have thought there is a lot right with the State of the City in 2019.

There was something that was less grasping, more genuine about tonight’s speech. That had a lot to do with their being actual successes to talk about unlike many past speeches where it was all about what might be or what might have been.

Noam thankfully bypassed the State of the School District (i.e., train wreck) and focused instead on some genuine New Rochelle success stories.

In the past, he tended to dwell on people who were successful and happened to reside in New Rochelle. Tonight there were more people who had success in New Rochelle or were even New Rochelleans who had success in New Rochelle.

The speech was about an hour but tightly written and delivered rapidly without a lot of pandering applause lines.

The most notable feature of the speech was it was filled with examples of very good things that have happened or are in the midst of happening not things that might happen.

Noam said tonight the state of the city is not just strong but the strongest its ever been. He’s right.

What do you think?

9 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Noam’s State of the City Address”

  1. I think you are in bed with Noam. These “successes” are actually corporatism at its finest. They have yet to produce any noticeable increase in tax revenue as to benefit the lower middle class property owners, they resulted in two murders committed by illegal immigrants, and they have rolled the dice at taxpayer expense in the hopes that thousands of high priced apartments will result in cleaner air, less automobile traffic, and a significant increase tax revenue to justify the overcrowding in the downtown. And let’s not forget this is only phase one. Who knows how many apartments are going to be squeezed into the downtown?

    Of course, “success” might mean that NR is one step closer to regional governance and the voices of city residents will be weakened further. What goes on in the city is determined by the needs of NYC, ICLEI, the Urban Land Institute, RXR, appointed members of the IDA, and the Obama holdovers in the Federal government.

    Yep, there has been so much “success” that the city hasn’t been able to generate enough revenue to maintain the armory, the city yard, or Wild Cliff. Nor has it been able to repeal the garbage tax or put the library back in the budget. How many millions did the city waste on the Beechwood Avenue property that was to be the city yard? Fortunately, Noam found enough money floating around to give himself a pay raise. Fortunately we have enough to pay council people nearly $40k a year a d give them life long health benefits for 10 days of service a year. But who’s counting?

    1. EXCELLENT REPLY. COULD NOT OF SAID IT BETTER. SO WHEN DO WE TURN INTO A SANCTUARY CITY? ANOTHER DEMOCRAT PLOY COMING SOON PERHAPS TO FILL THE LOT OF THE NEW VACANT APT. BUILDING? AS STATED ABOVE…THEY THE D’S ARE SHOOTING FOR 100,000 POPULATION FOR MORE STATE AND FEDERAL DOLLAR$$$ I SENT MY RESUME TO THE CITY A LIFETIME REAL ESTATE BROKER AND CONSULTANT ABOUT JOINING THE WILD CLIFF BOARD—A DEGREE IN REAL ESTATE AND MARKETING PACE UNIVERSITY 1975 – 46 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN THE INDUSTRY. REJECTED-BUT THE OWNER OF THE MANSION NEXT TO IT IS ON IT—HUM

  2. John

    When you say “They have yet to produce any noticeable increase in tax revenue as to benefit the lower middle class property owners” it is unclear what this supposed to mean.

    WHAT is “they”?

    How do you define an “increase in tax revenue”? Relative to what Over what period of time?

    What sort of tax revenue is a “benefit the lower middle class property owners”? Is that different from regular old tax revenue? Is the increased tax revenue going to others beside lower middle class property owners? Is it going to upper middle class property owners instead of going to lower middle class property owners? Is it going to those who do not own property? Is it going to upper class property owners? How does tax revenue benefit work? How is it apportioned out to the various classes of property owners? Are their residents who have high income but less valuable properties than people with lower incomes but more valuable properties?

    Looking forward to your clarification on this.

    1. Elimating the garbage fee, working towards controlling already high civil service salaries, eliminating the hydrant fee, putting the library back in the budget, maintaining city properties like wildcliff, the city yard, and the armory. If these things occurred AND tax increases still stayed within the cap, then the cap would be benecial to lower middle-class property owners. I consider the lower middle class those people who are earning around $40k to $80k a year. Those people are seeing their lifestyles crumble while the wealthy are advancing. Very little, if anything, is being done to help the lower middle class.

      Part of the reason for building all these apartments was to integrate people of different socioeconomic backgrounds. But the developers and city skirted that by putting up separate buildings to house the “riff-raff” rather than putting affordable units in the “classy” portion of the city. The jobs being created by these buildings are temporary jobs and low paid trades people are being used, in some cases, instead of union labor to increase profits. None of the jobs offer the lower middle class the chance to achieve the financial security that comes from single family home ownership in the area. And where’s the revenue to improve the school district? Who is really “winning” from all these apartments? The people who live on streets like Franklin and Locust Avenue, or the Mayor and the developers?

      And where is the reduction in traffic going to come from? If you increase the population and that increase doesn’t increase the traffic significantly, does that equate to a traffic decrease? Seems like numbers are being fudged here to label ICLEI’s plan, I mean Noam’s plan, a “success.” A “success” would be if traffic and carbon emissions decreased without tearing down half the city and constructing thousands of new apartments, using fossil fuels mind you. More smoke and mirrors.

      Was moving the city towards regional governance and building thousands of apartments mainly for the rich the only way the city could generate enough tax revenue to sustain services and maintain the infrastructure? Could the “net” gain from all these apartments been achieved by some other, simpler and quicker way? Perhaps, but no other alternatives were perused because the current plan aids the Mayor in his quest to please outside parties and strengthen the “region’s” Democrat voting base. There are many subtle items contained within the current plan that actually increase costs for the city while at the same time eliminating the voices of those who oppose it. I think my questions and points are valid and worth exploring before labeling the Mayor’s”plan” a “success.”

      1. John,

        That is a lot of verbiage that does not address the basic question: “How do you define an “increase in tax revenue”? Relative to what? Over what period of time?

        The answer involves a dollar figure and some percentages.

        What are the numbers?

        1. “They” is the Mayor since everyone who is working on developing downtown NR is trying to implement the Mayor’s vision.

          As far as tax revenue, how much revenue did the City need to cover costs before all the development started? When you subtract the tax breaks to developers, added government employees, added equipment, upgrades to infrastructure, etc., what is the net gain in revenue to the city and will that revenue ever be used to lower the taxes on property owners? The elimination of the garbage fee, for example.

          How many more buildings have to go up before the city reaches the break even point?

          How does the city plan on staying within the state mandated tax cap over the next 30 years if it has yet to generate enough revenue to do things like eliminating the garbage fee? Maintaining city owned properties like wildcliff and the armory? The city yard? etc.

          It certainly doesn’t seem like the middle class property owners surrounding the TOD zone, like the east end residents, are seeing an improvement in their quality of life.

          For 30 years, this City’s leaders have complained about never ending revenue shortfalls. They have blamed them on the state imposed tax cap, decline in sales tax revenue, economic downturns, and the lack of accessibility to the city via major highways. When does the complaining end? When will city officials claim we have reached a turning point and claim they are able to work within the cap without imposing any new fees? Just curious, because it seems like we never get to that point regardless of all the development.

          1. Please do not delete your comments. I think your points are valid. I feel the same way. City Hall has never given the public a projection (in dollar amounts) as to the future economic benefits the downtown developments are going to bring, if any. All I see are handouts to developers who are smiling all the way to the bank. After all is said and done, are these developments going to lower the property taxes to home owners? if so, when? Every year like clockwork property taxes increase at a rate that outpace my salary increase. Over the years I have seen no quality of life improvements for citizens of NR. Yet, taxes increase like clockwork. These developments are increasing the population which is going to over burden the already over burdened school district who already waste enough of our tax dollars. I wish City Hall could provide us with some sort of projection as the an end game plan, for example, “in 5 years, when these developments are completed, each home owner will see a reduction in property taxes of 10% or $xxx amount per house hold” or “in 5 years there will be no pot holes in NR”, or, “in 5 years we will accomplish …… which will benefit every citizen in the following ways ….”. Only ones benefiting right now are developers!!!!!

            Off tangent question for Robert Cox, have the school district figured out how many illegal students have been attending the school district over the years. Also since we are now a full fledged sanctuary city how many illegal immigrant students do you think are in the school district, that property owners pay for?

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