Mayor Bramson for Mayor
A Whitney Global Media Editorial of the Air
broadcast October 30, 2019
by William O’Shaughnessy, President
We said it before.
Noam Bramson is a brilliant, precocious young man and a very gifted public servant. But as we approach our senior years, we also have to tell you of our regret that we’ve never been able to establish a mutually supportive relationship between Bramson’s City Hall and our nationally-known community radio stations.
He’s also not the kind of guy you’d want to ask a favor for your brother-in-law.
I mention this because we’re even now at work on yet another history of those marvelous, down-home “Townie” politicians of years gone by that you could petition for a “favor” to help someone. A few leap to my mind: Hugh A. Doyle, Alvin Richard Ruskin, Tony Colavita, Valerie Moore O’Keefe, Ed Michaelian, Andy Albanese, Herman Geist, Bert Campbell, Nita Lowey, Miriam Jackson, John Fosina, Jim Maisano, Len Paduano, Ron Tocci, Steve Tenore, Tony Gioffre, Vinnie Rippa, Louis Barone, Fred Powers, Rocco Bellantoni, Mario Biaggi, Tim Idoni and Joe Vacarella. And there were more … politicians the way the men of our fathers time imagined them to be. But Noam Bramson is just not “gaited” that way.
In the last several years, Mr. Bramson has fashioned himself as “Bramson the Builder” with many huge, sprawling buildings rising up where once there was urban chaos and decay. That is to his great credit.
We’re not crazy about some of the “developers” Mr. Bramson and his highly-regarded Commissioner of Development Luiz Aragon have charged with re-building our fading lorelei of a suburban city. With few exceptions, like Louis Cappelli and Joe Simone, many of the speculators now operating in our city have absolutely zero interest in Mario Cuomo’s admonition to “build up a community, make it stronger and – sweeter – than it was.”
These are hard, take-no-prisoners, no-nonsense, show-me-the-money guys we’ve fallen in with. And what Bramson and his cadre have done is accommodate them with huge, huge tax breaks spilling over many future decades.
The success or failure of all this will be determined well down the road. But questions have already emerged. Where the hell are these people going to shop? And probably the most pressing consideration of all: has Mr. Bramsom’s dynamic projectory taken the heart and soul out of the city?
With all the concrete being flung around, no one, it seems, has yet figured how to get people downtown.
Bramson’s dynamism is enhanced by the wonderful, intelligent, hands-on City Manager Charles Bowman Strome. Chuck Strome’s very existence reassures the “townies,” and those with roots in our community. He takes the edge off Mr. Bramson’s “dynamism” by providing a grounding and respect for the city’s history and lineage. Mr. Strome understands those townies with roots in the community to whom Mr. Bramson sometimes appears tone deaf.
These new developers have tried to dazzle the local gentry with incredible urban-speak concepts like “crowd-sourced placemaking” which made absolutely no sense to the locals. And what did it mean? Unfortunately it’s the kind of meaningless Harvard-esque phrase that Mr. Bramson is so comfortable with.
We’ve recently had three national writers call to ask us if his abilities and talents would fit a congressional seat. Our answer: He would make a hell of a congressman. But I did have to add that he’s not going to do any favors for the pro-life people.
But today he’s to be judged only on his stewardship as mayor of New Rochelle. And on that he is entitled to very high marks.
We genuinely regret that the Republican candidate Brendan Conroy is just not at all in the Democrat’s league. Mr. Conroy carries great lineage. We adored his grandfather of sainted memory Governor Malcolm Wilson, the greatest orator Fordham ever graduated. Mario Cuomo used to point out that in a political debate “Malcolm would beat you up in English … and finish you off in Latin!”
And lest we forget Mr. Conroy’s formidable mother is Katherine Wilson Conroy. So the Republican comes at us from good genes and is a very nice man. We look forward to seeing Brendan Conroy running for a seat on our Council one day.
But now in 2019 … for Mayor of New Rochelle WVOX and WVIP endorse the Democrat incumbent Noam Bramson.
He is who he is …
He has some wonderful qualities. But just don’t ask him for a favor for your brother-in-law … or your old maid aunt.
This is a Whitney Global Media Editorial of the Air. This is Bill O’Shaughnessy.