The Simple Priest

John O’Brien was a priest of the Roman Church according to the ancient Order.  He had a marvelous gift and not since Monsignor Ed Connors have we had someone stand up in front of a Westchester congregation to preach about the Carpenter’s Son with as much grace and eloquence.

O’Brien, a gentle man, spoke with a raspy, gritty croak caused by the thousands of cigarettes that killed him.  But he reached into many hearts with that great gift of expression which accompanied him when he went to work in a church.

He was a Christian Brother for many years before entering the priesthood late in life.  And so, instead of standing in a classroom before 35 rowdy kids, John O’Brien, in recent years, did his teaching and his preaching too in front of many of all ages every Sunday and on the days of Obligation.

He didn’t speak with the brilliance of a Jesuit orator or the scruffy humanity and relentless compassion of the Franciscans.   There was only a stark honesty to O’Brien who spoke with some intimate knowledge of the long-remembered, timeless wisdom of the church fathers.  You could hear the cigarettes, the wheeze and the rattle in his soft voice as he whispered those ancient truths in stunningly simple homilies.

The old priest was uncomfortable presiding way up in the pulpit lording it over everyone.  He always did his best work at eye level on the floor up close to the people huddled in their pews.

I’ve seen the priest O’Brien in hospital rooms mumbling the rosary for comatose patients who couldn’t even hear him.  And I observed him consoling a family following the untimely death of a beautiful young man.  I also saw the Irishman with the Roman collar go after rich contractors and road builders  from Scarsdale to persuade them to help his parish.  He was something to behold when shaking the money tree.                                                

But being Irish, John O’Brien was at his best at funerals … praying and often shedding his own real tears over the deceased and dearly departed ranging in age from 84 to 22.  But he was gentle and kind and had a great way about him through it all in every season.

I remember one winter day, not unlike this one, when the priest stood in front of grieving relatives at a funeral Mass for that young man:

“Our lives teach us that courage is the opposite of fear.  But it’s not.  Faith is the opposite of fear.  Having that Faith is something that doesn’t come easily or automatically into our lives.  It comes by experience and by the awful grace of God.

You’re filled with sorrow now.  But Faith tells us, assures us, all is well … because … His name is Emmanuel … and I am with you always.  Even to the End of the world.  It was His name at the Beginning.  And it is His name at the End.

So, I come to do the Will of my Father.  And this is the Will of my Father … that I should lose … nothing.  That you should lose … nothing.”

He was not a high church kind of priest.  And you could not imagine O’Brien strolling in some Vatican garden taking his constitutional clad in a finely tailored cassock adorned with a purple sash or scarlet trim speaking in hushed diplomatic tones with hands clasped casually behind his back.

And yet, despite his aversion to pomp and pretension, it was announced that several bishops and elders of the Church will pray over the Reverend John P. O’Brien at St. Pius X Church in Scarsdale this weekend, including the new Archbishop Timothy Dolan who, one is sure, is O’Brien’s kind of guy.  Come to think of it, you couldn’t imagine Dolan strolling in that Vatican garden with the Canon lawyers and diplomats either.

As he lay dying this week at New York University Hospital in the great city, someone sent the priest a note:  “You are loved and respected.”  I hope he got it and understood it through all the tubes and painkillers.

And so Timothy Dolan himself will preside at Mass on Saturday.   The Archbishop brings a wonderful joy and dynamism to everything he does.  But who, I wonder, will reach out and grab people by the throat and tug at their hearts to tell those assembled once more in sadness and mourning just how very special the old priest with the gravelly voice really was …?

Before he left us last week, the pastor of St. Pius X Church in Scarsdale sat at his desk in the parish rectory to write a Christmas message.  It was to be his last homily.  The priest was wracked with pain.  But there were many things to do to get the parish ready for the holy season.  He knew he was dying and the very next day John O’Brien would check himself into a New York hospital.  So he worked quickly, but carefully.  This is what he wrote as he sat in loneliness and silence on that cold day last week in Scarsdale …

“Silent night, holy night

All is calm, all is bright.”

A holy night to be sure, but hardly silent and anything but calm.

The “silence” of that night was shattered by the blood curdling cries of wild animals roaming the hillsides.  In a cold, dark cave a young, frightened woman gave birth to her child while her husband, a carpenter by trade, stood by helplessly.    

Finally, amid the bleating of sheep and the braying of animals, the newborn’s first cry broke the stillness.  This “silent night” was filled with terror, pain and the bone-numbing exhaustion that sleep alone cannot relieve.

There was no “silence” that night so long ago in crowded, chaotic Bethlehem, bursting with visitors who had come for the great census.  In fact, there was no “calm” in all of Israel – only tension and conflict between the Jewish people and their Roman occupiers.  Ancient Palestine was hardly a place of “heavenly peace.”  It was a land torn by oppression, persecution and terror.  Madness reigned.

And yet … on this noisy, chaotic, anxious night, our Savior, the Light of the World was born.  Amid the pain and anguish of a devastated people, new hope was born.  The Messiah came at last with transforming joy.                                                        

Even though our world today may once more seem far from “silent,” our Church far from “holy,” our personal lives far from “calm,” the Prince of Peace has blessed our flawed and fractured world by walking upon it, by loving those in it relentlessly and unconditionally, and by laying down his life for all who pass through it. 

For he would rather die than to live in eternity without us.

Emmanuel!  God is with us!  Let earth receive her King!

He retired with the gift.

 

                                             

FINAL UPDATE: 105 Reasons – Why Clinton Lost, Why Trump Won

 

  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz
  • Barack Obama’s much too hip “street-rap” campaign rhetoric
  • Barbara Boxer
  • Anthony Weiner
  • Elizabeth Warren!
  • One-sided punditry from the Commentariat and Media
  • Rachel Maddow
  • Joe Biden didn’t run
  • Chuck Schumer
  • Rahm Emanuel
  • Valerie Jarrett
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Eric Holder
  • Melania Trump
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation doing its job
  • FOX News
  • Abortion!
  • Bernie Sanders
  • The ubiquitous Donald Trump hat
  • Middle East Policy (or lack thereof)
  • Obamacare!
  • An over-reaching Federal government
  • The New York Times
  • Brexit
  • Amy Schumer
  • Urban chaos and rioting
  • Colin Kaepernick
  • Bill Clinton, Inc.
  • The Clinton Foundation
  • Mark Simone
  • Open borders
  • Carl Paladino
  • David Corn of Mother Jones and MSNBC
  • Sidney Blumenthal
  • Know-it-all Pollsters and Pundits
  • Harry Reid
  • Joe Conason
  • Mr. & Mrs. Khan
  • Nancy Pelosi
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • The battle cry: “Make America Great Again
  • Tomi Lahren
  • Reasons for a private e-mail server
  • N.Y. State Senator Jeff Klein
  • Jennifer Granholm
  • The Clinton lifestyle, surrounded by Secret Service (for life!)
  • The VA
  • Sarah Silverman
  • Too many on the public tit!
  • Donna Brazile
  • Government waste and fraud
  • Jared Kushner
  • Bureaucrats: Local, State and Federal
  • Cher
  • A weak and uncertain Foreign Policy!
  • Joe Scarborough
  • The Supreme Court … going forward
  • Wobbly support of Israel
  • Gary Johnson
  • The New York Post
  • Steve Bannon
  • Disrespect of Netanyahu
  • Ann Coulter
  • Martha’s Vineyard vacations
  • Lack of support for Law Enforcement.
  • Huma Abedin
  • ISIS!
  • Common Core!
  • Kellyanne Conway
  • The political andcultural Establishment
  • Miley Cyrus
  • Deteriorating downtowns
  • An impressive Mike Pence!
  • Anti-Catholic mindset
  • The thought of Bill Clinton careening around the  White  House  again
  • Joy Behar
  • The one-sided and vitriolic coverage by the Daily News and many other papers
  • A deteriorating infrastructure!
  • Al Sharpton
  • Political “Correctness”
  • Ivanka Trump
  • The arrogance of the Elite and the “educated”
  • Lawrence O’Donnell
  • Deep concern over Nino Scalia’s successor(s)
  • The plight of the Poor
  • NEWSMAX
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Incarceration rates for African-American males
  • Terry McAuliffe
  • The “Basket of Deplorables”
  • Chelsea’s salary and $10-million apartment
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Frank Bruni, a wonderful writer, who ran out of ways to tell us how evil Trump is
  • The Clinton Foundation’s foreign entanglements
  • Bill Weld
  • Every cop, fireman, tradesman, electrician, plumber, butcher, truck driver, landscaper, greengrocer, fishmonger, heavy-equipment operator, subway conductor, baker, sausage maker, school crossing guard, garage mechanic, bartender, taxi driver
  • Hillary and Bill’s speaking fees!
  • Donny Deutch
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton herself
  • Benghazi
  • Chelsea Handler
  • Mario Cuomo who wasn’t around to instruct, to inspire, to enlighten
  • The genius and political smarts of one Donald J. Trump, President-Elect!
  • The guy was very “real

WO

wo-and-trump

Updated: 84 Reasons – Why Clinton Lost, Why Trump Won

 

    • Debbie Wasserman Schultz
    • Barack Obama’s much too hip “street-rap” campaign rhetoric
    • Barbara Boxer
    • Anthony Weiner
    • Elizabeth Warren!
    • One-sided punditry from
      the Commentariat and Media
    • Rachel Maddow
    • Joe Biden didn’t run
    • Chuck Schumer
    • Rahm Emanuel
    • Valerie Jarrett
    • Planned Parenthood
    • Eric Holder
    • Melania Trump
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation doing its job
    • FOX News
    • Abortion!
    • Middle East Policy (or lack thereof)
    • Obamacare!
    • An over-reaching Federal government
    • The New York Times
    • Brexit
    • Urban chaos and rioting
    • Bill Clinton, Inc.
    • The Clinton Foundation
    • Mark Simone
    • Open borders
    • David Corn of Mother Jones
      and MSNBC
    • Sidney Blumenthal
    • Know-it-all Pollsters and Pundits
    • Harry Reid
    • Joe Conason
    • & Mrs. Khan
    • Nancy Pelosi
    • Reasons for a private e-mail server
    • Y. State Senator Jeff Klein
    • The Clinton lifestyle, surrounded by Secret Service (for life!)
    • The VA
    • Too many on the public tit!
    • Donna Brazile
    • Government waste and fraud
    • Jared Kushner
    • Bureaucrats: Local, State and Federal
    • A weak and uncertain Foreign Policy!
    • Joe Scarborough
    • The Supreme Court … going forward
    • Wobbly support of Israel
    • The New York Post
    • Steve Bannon
    • Disrespect of Netanyahu
    • Martha’s Vineyard vacations
    • Lack of support for Law Enforcement.
    • Huma Abedin
    • ISIS!
    • Common Core!
    • Kellyanne Conway
    • The political and
      cultural Establishment
    • Deteriorating downtowns
    • An impressive Mike Pence!
    • Anti-Catholic mindset
    • The thought of Bill Clinton careening around the  White  House  again
    • The one-sided and vitriolic coverage by the Daily News and many other papers
    • A deteriorating infrastructure!
    • Al Sharpton
    • Political “Correctness”
    • Ivanka Trump
    • The arrogance of the
      Elite and the “educated”
    • Deep concern over Nino
      Scalia’s successor(s)
    • The plight of the Poor
    • NEWSMAX
    • Incarceration rates for
      African-American males
    • Terry McAuliffe
    • The “Basket of Deplorables”
    • Chelsea’s salary and
      $10-million apartment
    • The Clinton Foundation’s
      foreign entanglements
    • Every cop, fireman, tradesman, electrician, plumber, butcher, truck driver, landscaper, greengrocer, fishmonger, heavy-equipment operator, subway conductor, baker, sausage maker, school crossing guard, garage mechanic, bartender, taxi driver
    • Hillary and Bill’s speaking fees!
    • Donny Deutch
    • Frank Bruni, a wonderful writer, who ran out of ways to tell us how evil Trump is
    • Hillary Rodham Clinton herself
    • Benghazi
    • Mario Cuomo who wasn’t around to instruct, to inspire, to enlighten
    • The genius and political smarts of one Donald J. Trump, President-Elect!
    • The guy was very “real

 

WO

wo-and-trump

 

Contact:

Cindy Gallagher
(914) 235-3279
cindy@wvox.com

They Know Not What They Do

Phil Reisman:
They Know Not What They Do
A WVOX Commentary
by William O’Shaughnessy
October 28, 2016

The sudden firing of Phil Reisman, the star feature columnist of the Journal News is like a death in the family for readers of our local Gannett daily newspaper.

Today we must tell you of this.  But first you should also be assured that for 56 years the Journal News – and its predecessors – have been very good to Bill O’Shaughnessy and our community radio stations WVOX and WVIP.

We go all the way back to when the fabled trio of Bill Fanning, Ed Hughes and George Helm ran the powerful Macy-Westchester Group of newspapers. The three of them really controlled Westchester in those days when the calendar in the newsroom read 1960 to about 1975. Then along came the Al Neuharth swashbucklers – Tom Dolan and Louis “Chip” Weil, scion of a powerful Midwestern newspaper family. They were great fun and operated out of the Winged Foot Golf Club locker room and knew the haze of an evening in local watering holes.

Dolan and Chip Weil were followed by a long line of journeymen “front office types:” Gary Sherlock, Shelly Lyons, Henry Freeman, Mark Arnold, Larry Beaupre, Joe Ungaro and Janet Hasson who nonetheless presided over some superb local journalists. Speaking of which, my mind drifts back to Milt Hoffman, Elmer Miller, Joe Shannon, Matt Davies, Guido Cribari, Dave Hartley, Barney Waters, Jacques LeSourd, Jim O’Toole, June Shetterer, Frank Becerra and the great Nancy Q. Keefe.

The Neuharth crowd would run the managers in and out of our home heath every few years. But in every season, it was a given that I loved newspapers of every stripe, the smell of them, even the smudge of newsprint that comes off on your hands, I still read five or six every morning. And all during my 78 years, I have been entertained, enlightened and instructed by practitioners of the “wretched ink-stained” tribe. The greatest stars of the profession in my time were Jimmy Breslin, Pete Hamill, Jimmy Cannon, Richard Neal Travis, Liz Smith, Red Smith, Jack O’Brian, David Hinckley, John J. O’Connor, Jack Gould, Donald V. West, Harry Jessell, Sol Taishoff, Tim Russert, Jim O’Toole, Douglas Martin, Lynne Ames, Gay Talese, Corey Kilgannon, Joe Mahoney, Alan Chartock, Peggy Noonan, Jack Germond, Ken Auletta, Mary McGrory, Emily Smith, Richard Johnson, Terry Golway, the aforementioned Nancy Keefe, Billy Cunningham, David Patrick Columbia, R.W. “Johnny” Apple, Fred Dicker and a young man who wrote for the St. John’s student paper named Mario Cuomo.

I’ve sat at table and stood at bars of an evening with Neal Travis, Jimmy Breslin, Pete Hamill, Gay Talese, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Bob Considine and John Hay “Jock” Whitney. And I was there in 1966 when Mr. Whitney and Walter Thayer came down a west side street to go up in a creaky elevator to sound the death knell for the Herald Tribune of sainted memory.  It had been founded by Horace Greeley and I can still see Breslin with his butt parked on a desk in the city room as Jock Whitney, who received the largest inheritance ever probated in this country, stood next to Walter Thayer, who had himself been designated “the toughest son of a bitch in this country” by no one less than Richard M. Nixon. It was the ultimate compliment from Mr. Nixon’s lips. I know all this because I was Thayer’s son-in-law. And then on that sad day as Jimmy Breslin sat cursing in front of the cleaning ladies and Walter “Red” Smith stood with trembling hand trying to light a cigarette, John Hay Whitney, who during the War jumped from a moving train to escape his German captors … and tough, brilliant Walter Nelson Thayer … had tears running down their tanned cheeks onto bespoke suits from Davies & Co. of Savile Row.

So the death of a newspaper is a very bad story.

Which memory snaps me right back to the present and the gunning down by corporate fiat of Phil Reisman, the star feature columnist of our local Westchester daily newspaper The Journal News.  It too is a bad story that has shocked this area of America known as “The Golden Apple” in which resides a good chunk of the Eastern Establishment. I can report that most of the landed gentry as well as those without standing or high estate around here are in shock about this Reisman matter.

By excising Reisman, the corporate elders of the Gannett empire have attacked not only the sinew … they went right to the very heart of our regional paper as part of an effort to clean up their balance sheet and raise some $800-million dollars to acquire the remnants of the Chicago Tribune including the LA Times and Baltimore Sun.  (As we were going into the studio to record this piece, Bloomberg says the money people behind the deal have bailed and both stocks have fallen off.  Gannett is down 17% in the quarter.  We take no pleasure in this). So they went ahead and knocked off 2% of their employees nationwide. It doesn’t sound like much. But that 2% translates to 400 souls who go to work each day as working journalists at the people’s business. 

Thus I’m going to presume to tell Mr. Robert Dickey, CEO of Gannett and his associates Joanne Lipman, Kate Marymont, George Troyano, John Zidich, Alison Engel and Traci Bauer about just one of those journalists among the unfortunate 400. 

His name is Phil Reisman. He gave you beautiful, vivid first-hand accounts of life around here. His writings and columns were accessible and written with a rich admixture of balance, shrewdness, understanding and wit.  The termination of Phil Reisman felt like a death in the family.

Let me tell you a bit more of this Phil Reisman that may have eluded your bean-counters and HR geniuses.

Phil Reisman, one of those 400 targeted for dismissal was/is one of the very best of your damn tribe. And in a very real sense, he was Westchester’s most gifted diarist in the tradition of the Englishman Samuel Pepys. One day someone will retrieve and publish those valuable feature columns he wrote over the last 18 years which are an accurate reflection of Westchester life.  Reisman, you should also be informed, brought erudition, lineage, continuity, intelligence and a graceful, compassionate eye to his commentaries, reporting, essays and those wonderful feature columns.

He is a handsome man, if always a bit disheveled, who resembles a kind of scruffy, skinny Sam Shepard.  Reisman goes about his business shod in tight jeans and cowboy boots, one pair of which always appears to have a little daylight coming through the sole. 

Mr. Reisman’s shirts seem to have never known an ironing board and his cheeks are not often subjected to the buzz and hum of an electric razor. But he was, until this week when he was cut down by the hand of Gannett bean-counters … the best damn newspaperman in the New York suburbs.

His beautifully crafted writings kept politicians honest and instructed them to remember the oaths they once took. And Reisman’s commentaries brought meaning to the most significant and turbulent events of our lives in the Golden Apple. He covered it all and wrote of it beautifully for 36 years. And the sad part is that he was – until earlier this week – doing some of the best writing of his life at the young age of 62.

Reisman gave us – and his readers – a sense of community and a connection and direct line to a time when giants walked the land.  I dare say he’s the only one in the local newsroom who knows of Bill Butcher, Fred Sunderman, Jim Hand, Arthur Geoghegan, Edwin Gilbert Michaelian, Bob Greene, Joe Pisani, Jeanine Pirro, Frederic Powers, Malcolm Wilson, Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, Herman Geist, Alvin Ruskin, Sam Fredman, Hubert Horan, Bill Olson, Jack Dowling, Ogden Reid, Richard Ottinger, Herb Gerlack, Joe Vacarella, Augie Petrillo, Irving Kendall, John Fosina, Brother John Driscoll, Andy O’Rourke, Marty Rochelle, Dick Crabtree, Owen Mandeville, Ed Brady, Andy Albanese, Stanley W. Church, Max Berking, William F. Luddy, Anthony B. Gioffre and my main man Rocco Bellantoni, Jr.

He’s also a multi-media phenom who promotes The Journal News weekly on his “High Noon with Phil Reisman” radio program on our WVOX.

Reisman gave the absentee owners of The Journal News cover, legitimacy and provided a conduit to those of influence, standing and stature – as well as the “townies” whose bard and champion he was.  These are the same folks without high estate who in recent days, have bombarded Facebook and the internet with dismay, disappointment and, in many cases, outrage at the treatment visited on Phil Reisman.

A common theme runs through all their pleadings.  Many/most said:  “Phil Reisman was the one thing I read in the paper.” They expressed it in different ways. But the message is the same.  All the pushback, chatter and “noise” about this on social media seems to be saying – and I don’t know any other way to put it – that the bean-counters and elders in Virginia, perhaps with the acquiescence and approval of some regional editors, have, with Reisman’s dismissal, taken the very essence and heart and certainly the most important element – the local touch – out of the paper.  Our paper!

While we’re at it … permit me a personal and “strategic” note.  Now that WFAS has given up the ghost as a truly local station and abandoned all pretense as a Westchester station … while our beloved New York Times has eliminated their suburban regional sections … there is a great temptation for WVOX to represent itself as the last remaining locally-owned, locally-based and locally-operated independent forum and voice in Westchester … especially since the new French masters of Cablevision have also just announced that much of News 12 programs will now emanate from Long Island (I still don’t know how the hell they’ll pull that off!) But tempting as it is to blow our own horn in the face of all this and The Journal News’s unwise and ill-conceived decision re:  Reisman … Westchester County will still need – and deserves – a healthy, strong local daily newspaper.

And like I said at the get-go … I love newspapers.

But, again, somebody sure made one hell of a big mistake by targeting Reisman.

Thank you for letting me rattle on this morning. I know we’ve ranged too far and wide … but I hope all those money people assembled in Virginia and White Plains will take these comments as coming from a reader, a media colleague and from someone who has been the beneficiary of a wonderful relationship with a newspaper which now resides in the care and keeping of folks who, in their best moments, are only scrambling to save The Journal News from a fate like that which befell the Herald Tribune!

There has been a firestorm of criticism here in Westchester County and I don’t wish to pile on … but I hope they won’t mind some well-meaning “suggestions” from a colleague who is, admittedly and proudly, an admirer both of The Journal Newsand Reisman.

Perhaps … just perhaps … the corporate chieftains will come to realize what the hell they did in this sad case. 

Perhaps …

P.S.  Some of those they let go merely covered games … the one they play in the world of Sport … a category once called by the great Jimmy Cannon “the toys of a nation.” 

The sports section is of little interest to us.  But we weep for them anyway … and for their families.

 

 

William O’Shaughnessy, a former president of the New York State Broadcasters Association, was chairman of Public Affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington.  He has been a point man and advocate for the broadcasters of America on First Amendment and Free Speech issues, and is presently chairman of the Guardian Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, the national charitable organization.  He is also a longtime director and member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation. He has operated WVOX and WVIP, two of the last independent stations in the New York area, for 56 years as president and editorial director.

He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … and “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files,” released in January, 2011. He has also written “Mario Cuomo:  Remembrances of a Remarkable Man,” a tribute to his late friend Governor Mario M. Cuomo which has just been published.  He is currently working on his fifth book for Fordham University Press, another anthology.

 

Contact:

Cindy Gallagher
914-235-3279
cindy@wvox.com

Cindy Hall Gallagher Wins “Women of Excellence” Award

Remarks

of

William O’Shaughnessy

“Women of Excellence”

AWARD 

to

CINDY HALL GALLAGHER

New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce
Beckwith Pointe Club
New Rochelle, N.Y.
September 29, 2016

 

Congratulations to all the honorees tonight … all the extraordinary individuals you’ve designated as “Women of Excellence.”

Professor Jeanne Zaino of Iona College.

Tara Rosenblum and her shy, modest, retiring coach, mentor … and husband (I forget his name) Joe Apicella!

Catherine Francese for her wonderful work with children.

These proceedings are greatly enhanced by the presence of Father Martin Biglin.

The word “beloved” is overused but not for this marvelous priest and shepherd.

Thanks also to Bob Marrone, our host … and Chamber president Frank Miceli.  You and the elders will confirm Cindy’s greatness!

Incidentally I don’t know how to tell you this, Bob Marrone. But you’re in big trouble – very big trouble – with Cindy for this however gracious gesture. 

Bob cobbled together this impressive list of honorees … while Cindy was on vacation!  Or we would have never talked her into it!

Many of us make our living with words.  In my case they usually occur awkwardly, imprecisely … and inartfully.

How then do I find the proper ones to describe this honoree.

I’ve known her for only more than 40 years.

Speaking of which I want tonight to publicly thank Kevin Gallagher for sharing Cindy with me and mine for all these many years.

I should also thank Kevin Jr., Joseph and Alicia for sharing their spectacular Mother at all hours.

And as we honor Cindy we also send our wishes to Stella Vinci Hall for a full and complete and speedy recovery!

Cindy calls to mind the word “Amanuensis.”

It’s an elegant word from the Latin: “one who assists in literary or artistic endeavor.”

But an amanuensis does a lot more than run an office and type and take dictation and answer the phone.

And speaking of answering the phone … all my friends are keenly disappointed when I pick up the damn phone … governors included! … because they really wanted to talk to Cindy!

So … “Amanuensis.”  A great word!  It’s what she is.  And a lot more.

I recall that’s what the late Nelson Rockefeller called a woman named Ann Whitman …

She really was quite a woman with Cindy’s qualities who ran the White House for President Dwight Eisenhower!  In those days the Office of the President was Mrs. Whitman and four typists.  Today it’s 1200 guys!

Like I said, an amazing a woman. I knew Mrs. Whitman, of sainted memory.

And I also knew every one of the 3 women who ran Mario Cuomo’s staff over the years.

I mention all this … only because not one of these famous women could hold a candle to our Cindy Hall Gallagher!

She runs two radio stations!

She assembles and publishes books!  Six of them so far!

She runs the Guardian Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America!

She runs the New York State Broadcasters Association!

She runs my house, my kids, my family, my divorces! And like I said in my perhaps too candid ad in tonight’s journal: “My life would resemble a 7-car pile-up without … Cindy Hall Gallagher!”

One final thought, ladies and gentlemen.  I’m grateful for her loyalty, her love, her dedication, her strength, her … goodness!

Father Biglin described her: patient, kind, understanding.  Perfect, Father!

All these qualities of Cindy … proceed … they all occur because of her feeling and absolute sureness and conviction that our work at the station, our Mission, what we do everyday … really benefits so many people all over N.Y. State in so many ways…

We don’t just provides information or robust discussion or entertainment or the weather and traffic or a unique opportunity for expression. That goes with the territory. But it’s the work Cindy does OFF the air that commends her to all of us.

Getting people out of trouble, getting kids into college … listening to people, encouraging them, taking time with them … and just keeping us all going each day as community broadcasters at The People’s Business.

And, as her family and her staff will confirm she does it 24/7 … year in and year out!

So if WVOX is indeed a local station with a national reputation … Cindy gets most of the credit.  All of the credit!

Ladies and gentlemen I bless the day I met … your Woman of Excellence. 

Cindy Hall Gallagher, our “Amanuesis!”

Our indispensable Everything!

And, one more thing … I love her.

Remarks 

of

Cindy Hall Gallagher

Accepting

“Woman of Excellence” Award

New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce

Beckwith Pointe Club
New Rochelle, N.Y
September 29, 2016

Thank you Bill … and thank you to Bob Marrone.  Congratulations to my fellow honorees as well.

I want to begin by thanking Bill O’Shaughnessy.  I was given the opportunity as a teenager to meet countless politicians – governors, senators, business and religious leaders – who come in and out of the radio stations, each one leaving their mark and teaching me something.

Bill has shown me, and everyone who has worked with us, perseverance.  We call him the “energizer bunny.”  He doesn’t ever let up or settle.  He has managed to keep our little radio stations vital, and has kept New Rochelle’s community radio stations front and center for almost 60 years. 

He was way ahead of his time – before IBM or other companies allowed women to bring their children to the office, he encouraged it. (He was often the baby-sitter!)  We’ve had playpens and strollers all over the offices.  Thank you for taking a chance on me and showing me the ropes.

I also want to thank my father.  The day after I graduated from Katherine Gibbs, my father heard a commercial on WVOX.  He told me the station was advertising for office help.  I, of course, wanted to go to Jones Beach instead!  But he told me, “You’re calling Mr. O’Shaughnessy right now”… I went for the interview, and started the next day.  I’ve been going every morning since, for the last 39 years. 

It was my father, a small New Rochelle business owner himself, who taught me and my siblings the meaning of a work ethic.

There is someone else I need to thank – someone who, my brother and sisters will agree, has instilled in us the true meaning of this Award.  My Mom taught us professionalism.  While raising five kids and helping my Dad run the business, she taught us to go to work and to shine.  Maybe not necessarily in an office, but to shine in everyday life.  She always did it with a smile on her face, never asking for help, rather, asking, what else can she do?  This Award is for you Mommy.

Finally, I want to thank my husband, Kevin, and our three kids, Kevin Jr., Joseph, and Alicia, for coming with your own “Mommy” before ‘Bring Your Kids to Work Day’ was popular.  They said, “We’ve been doing that for years.”

So thank you all, I’m truly honored.  This means the world to this little New Rochelle girl.

Now please enjoy our mid-day engineer, Jerryl, serving as tonight’s deejay!

The RDRXR “Stealth” Campaign To Take Over The City

A WVOX Editorial of the Air
by William O’Shaughnessy, President
Broadcast June 17, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen, we’d like to beg a moment to share a few thoughts with you about downtown development. 

We’ve remained silent on the issue for six months … all the while our press colleague – and weekly star talk show host – Phil Reisman, the highly admired feature columnist of The Journal News, has been reminding us of his “unease” about the way the master developer RDRXR is going about communicating with you and your neighbors in our city. 

Phil Reisman has made his concerns very clear about RDRXR’s relentless and bewildering use of “buzzwords” and social media to try to grease the skids for Scott Rechler and Donald Monti and the big money players from Long Island and Manhattan who are behind the ungainly and awkwardly named RDRXR. 

An easy target for the brilliant Mr. Reisman has been the blizzard of cyber-speak buzzwords being thrown around by the slick developer like “crowd-sourced placemaking.” That’s a real beauty.  Nobody, but nobody knows what the hell “crowd-sourced placemaking” means except as business-speak jargon of shrewd, really ambitious developers. 

Like I’ve said, we’ve stayed out of this because anything that’s good for New Rochelle enjoys our favor.  And it’s been ever thus for the 50-plus years of our stewardship.  But RDRXR is clearly running a “stealth” campaign with the eager acquiescence and encouragement of Mayor Bramson.  And, as a result, RDRXR and their representatives have refused to engage in a real back and forth Dialogue with the community.  We’ve offered them access to our microphones and thus to you and your neighbors on countless occasions.  

But City Hall, it seems, prefers to do this whole thing on the QT and “close to the vest.”  Fortunately, some civic activists like James O’Toole, who garnered surprising support during his shoestring run for mayor last year and fearless activist Denise Pagano Ward are sounding the alarm. 

We’re also concerned.  Among the questions not answered by the mayor, who will be known forevermore as “Brilliant Bramson,” is the exact role of Greg Merchant, the self-important commercial realtor who “thinks who he is” and represents himself as exclusive spokesman for Scott Rechler and Donald Monti.  And in that appellation he is dutifully backed up by Mayor “Brilliant” Bramson who says that anyone interested in downtown development, has got to go through Mr. Merchant

And it was apparently this Greg Merchant who hired a well-intentioned young woman named Ashley Aldrich to front for RDRXR under the banner of something called “New Rochelle Future.” Miss Aldrich says they want a conversation that constructively supports the future of downtown New Rochelle.  However, in the same breath, poor Miss Aldrich says they will remove posts that create an “unpleasant” or “hostile” environment and ban “uninvited” and “negative” verbal conduct (or some such non-sequitur sounding nonsense.) This in the city which reveres Thomas Paine. 

Ah-huh! … maybe that’s why they’re avoiding you and our listeners where they can’t control the Dialogue … and they can’t control what you say on our “Open Line” programs.  I think we’re starting to figure this out …

And we thank Mr. Reisman for sounding the alarm in yet another brilliant column which ran yesterday about RDRXR and their deputies who are discouraging anyone who would disagree with them.

Indeed there are lots of questions floating around the community.  Exactly what is Greg Merchant’s deal in all this?  Is he getting paid by Scott Rechler and Donald Monti as their front man?  Or is he merely running their stealth campaign to gain the inside track on big commissions and a leg up on future development.

That’s a fair question.  And we ask it now on your behalf. 

And we’re not alone in this.  Bob Marrone tells me several of our listeners and activists are keenly interested as well.  Lorraine Carl … Anthony Galletta … Vince Malfatano and our good callers Dave from Mamaroneck, Chris from Yonkers and Jim Killoran and others.  We’re not the only ones!

And while we’re on this subject, the citizens of New Rochelle deserve to know if there is anything behind those stories coming up from Long Island about Renaissance Downtown’s no-nonsense chief Donald Monti being pretty adept at playing “hardball” with some elected officials who may disagree with him in towns where they’ve been doing business in Long Island.

We’ve had one of Rechler’s corporate paid guns Seth Pinsky on the air and he did a good job of dancing around the issues.  But many questions remain and we’re not getting them from “Brilliant Bramson” who remains very protective and very defensive about Greg Merchant and this whole scheme to take over downtown New Rochelle. 

The mayor, being Brilliant, is very comfortable with their buzzwords and cyber-world, social media initiatives, which they can control and edit. Meanwhile, they’re not reaching our listeners or the people in the neighborhoods.

Sorry to run on so long, ladies and gentlemen.  But we’ve been saving this up for a good, long time.

This is a WVOX Commentary.  This is William O’Shaughnessy.

Contact:

Cindy Gallagher

914-235-3279 … cindy@wvox.com