Astorino for County Executive
A Whitney Media Editorial of the Air
by William O’Shaughnessy
broadcast October 29, 2013
Despite what you’ve heard … we are endorsing Noam Bramson … for Congress!
We’re sorry. But Noam Bramson has been running a “Congressional Campaign” from the get go. Young Mr. Bramson, I tell you, has all the Kennedy-esque moves. All the gestures. The pace. The cadence. The rhythm. All the Harvard elocution. He’s got the moves.
But. But downtown New Rochelle, with rare exception (a few good restaurants, an art gallery, a couple of jewelry stores) is essentially all “dollar” stores and a for-profit college owned by out-of-towners. For you see Mayor Bramson has practically turned over most of our faded and beleaguered downtown to Monroe College and the Jerome family’s for-profit empire. And he’s trying to jam that ill-conceived Echo Bay so-called “development” down everyone’s throat. But the concerned, sensible residents of his city are asking what the hell Forest City Ratner has ever done for New Rochelle! We can answer that: absolutely nothing!
We’ve been at the People’s Business for 50 years, ladies and gentlemen … covering politics and government here in Westchester … and we’ve had Mayor Bramson at this microphone often during his tenure as our part-time mayor. He’s articulate. He talks a very good game of policy-speak. But he’s gone missing during his recent bewildering “Congressional Campaign.”
Noam Bramson is precocious. He’s brilliant. And he lets everyone know it. He’s a policy wonk very much at ease with the jargon of governance and lingo of text book public policy.
But the Westchester county executive is supposed to run the damn county parks, the county parkways, the county police. And preside over the 1.7 billion dollar county budget. Mr. Astorino does that all with great skill and sound judgment.
Our friends at the Journal News have blessed Mr. Bramson’s lofty aspirations … saying he offers a “holistic” approach. With all due respect, I’m not sure what the hell that means (we’re sure our friend Phil Reisman, their star feature columnist, didn’t write that Holy Holistic headline!) Have it as you will, we believe Rob Astorino offers a sensible, prudent, common sense approach to regional, local government.
Mr. Bramson has shoveled hundreds of thousands of dollars down to Washington, DC consultants and political gurus in the state of Virginia. But he has almost completely ignored local media – the local newspapers, and indeed, our local radio stations. There’s no question he’s shooting for the big time. He’s really … running … for Congress. And it was ever thus.
Indeed, Mr. Bramson has even ignored the elders of his own Democratic Party in Westchester. No, like I said, I think our mayor is shooting for bigger fish. He wants to go National. We don’t think he’s at all interested in this job of Westchester County Executive.
We go all the way back in this county to Edwin Gilbert Michaelian, the legendary county executive of sainted memory. The county office building is named after Mr. Michaelian. He was a wonderful man. And a great county executive. So too was Andy O’Rourke who we lost just recently after a long, distinguished career in public service. Rob Astorino is cut from the same bi-partisan, sensible cloth as Michaelian and O’Rourke.
Astorino is also astute and smart enough to repair to the wise counsel of some very intelligent individuals who know Westchester well … such as his deputy Kevin Plunkett and Kevin’s estimable brother William Plunkett … as well as John Cahill, who, indeed, ran the State of New York at one time as chief of staff to a former governor … whereas Mr. Bramson seems to have wrapped himself in the bosom of those paid gun political strategists from Arlington, Virginia and Washington, D.C. who see big things for him. But the bottom line is: Noam Bramson is … not … a … good … fit … for this job.
We’re sorry but guns and abortion are national issues. And so is gay marriage. And while we’re at it, it’s one thing to say you’re Pro Choice. Everybody should be Pro Choice. A state can’t legislate where it has no power, that is, in a woman’s body. But, in the very next breath, we think you’ve got to say how horrible and vulgar and violent abortion is. We haven’t heard that from Noam Bramson.
On his record, on the issues that should count in this race, Mr. Astorino has been, in fact, a very brave and able executive. He’s taken bold and, at the same time, prudent, sensible steps to curb the excesses and sweep away the rubble of the Spano years. And he’s done it all thoughtfully and carefully and fairly.
The battered and discredited national GOP in Washington can certainly take a lesson from our enlightened Republican county executive. He’s reached across the aisle and actually cooperated with (God-forbid) Democrats.
Astorino has worked especially well with our Westchester neighbor Governor Andrew Cuomo in whom we are so well pleased. And, in case anyone failed to notice – the Governor, in what was supposed to be a huge, momentous endorsement of Mayor Bramson last weekend … opted instead to just do a perfunctory “shout-out” to Rockland and Westchester Democratic candidates in general.
And say what you will about wily Bill Clinton. He’s not stupid. And Bill Clinton’s so-called “endorsement” of Mr. Bramson was along the same lines. (Anyway, we think he endorsed Mr. Bramson. It’s “rumored” that he did anyway). But notice that no members of the press were allowed to witness the grand event. Not one. In fact, the media was summarily banned from the proceedings (something that was very pointedly noted by News 12′s great Janine Rose during the recent debate).
Now despite the outstanding job he’s been doing, Astorino has some formidable obstacles. He’s got registration numbers against him. Westchester, in case you haven’t noticed, is heavily Democratic. He’s most likely got my beloved New York Times against him. He’s certainly got our friends at “Mother Gannett” – the Journal News – against him. And to his great credit, he’s got shy, modest retiring Senator Chuck Schumer against him.
Rob Astorino has also had a lot of endorsements. But he’s going to have one more. Were very pleased to announce this morning that WVOX and WVIP are endorsing Mr. Astorino, the very able and dedicated … Republican and Conservative candidate for County Executive of Westchester.
We’re glad to stand with Mr. Astorino.
This is a WVOX and WVIP Editorial of the Air. This is William O’Shaughnessy.