Freedom For All Americans

I am proud that New Rochelle has joined scores of cities across the nation in filing a Supreme Court brief in defense of the rights of LGBTQ people, so that public accommodations are #OpenToAll.  In the words of the brief:

“Local non-discrimination protections embody our commitment to pluralism and tolerance in the public sphere, helping to ensure that members of our communities are able to live and work together despite differences in how they look, what they believe, or whom they love. The cohesiveness and inclusiveness of our communities depend on our ability to insist that everyone – whatever their beliefs and values and however they conduct their private affairs – treat one another equally and with respect in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other areas of public life.”

Here’s the entire brief, or you can read this summary from Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination.


New Artists Housing Coming to New Ro

Rendering of NewRo Studios

The New Rochelle Planning Board has approved a new six-story 73-unit apartment building, “NewRo Studios,” that will be designed for and marketed to artists.  Featuring relatively affordable studio apartments, coupled with performance, display, and work space, this development is consistent with and supports the City’s vision for a downtown that is both economically and culturally vibrant.

“NewRo Studios,” will be located near the train station along Burling Lane, which is already home to two new buildings, with a third under construction.  This will be number four and is expected to break ground in late 2018.

Here’s more from the Journal-News (also featuring a video clip of an interview with me.)



The State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT) saves New Yorkers more than $70 billion a year.  Here in Westchester, the average SALT deduction is about $34,000.

Make no mistake, the elimination of SALT, now under active consideration by Republicans in Congress and the Trump Administration, would devastate household budgets in our community and in other high-cost regions throughout the nation.  That’s not my idea of “tax reform” or a “tax cut.”

Fortunately, many leaders in Congress, including our federal representatives, Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Eliot Engel, are fighting this outrageous proposal and standing up for middle-class taxpayers.  Let’s hope they prevail.

Here’s more from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.


Jeff Flake’s Must-Read Speech

I probably disagree with Senator Jeff Flake on about 90% of the public policy questions facing our country, but his remarkable speech this afternoon speaks powerfully to values that exist outside and above our normal political debates.

The two paragraphs below stood out most for me, but the speech is worth watching or reading in full.

“When a leader correctly identifies real hurt and insecurity in our country and instead of addressing it goes looking for somebody to blame, there is perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society. Leadership knows that most often a good place to start in assigning blame is to first look somewhat closer to home. Leadership knows where the buck stops. Humility helps. Character counts. Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly and debased appetites in us.”

“We were not made great as a country by indulging or even exalting our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorying in the things which divide us, and calling fake things true and true things fake. And we did not become the beacon of freedom in the darkest corners of the world by flouting our institutions and failing to understand just how hard-won and vulnerable they are.”

It is dispiriting, but not surprising, that in her daily press briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Flake’s speech “petty.”  Hard to imagine a more dramatic example of projection.


New Rochelle Bids for Amazon HQ2

New Rochelle has thrown its hat in the Amazon HQ2 ring, making the case that our city is the right place for Amazon’s new headquarters.  Here’s more from the Journal News.

Let’s face it: every community, including ours, is a long-shot in the nation-wide competition to land Amazon,  but ya gotta be in it to win it, and New Rochelle has a genuinely competitive proposal, based on our:

•  central location;

•  outstanding transit access and options;

•  talented and diverse population;

•  ambitious and innovative downtown development plan;

•  capable master development partners;

•  livability and affordability.

We’re also working through the State to join in a regional submission, which includes sites in New Rochelle.

Winning would be a little like hitting the mega millions jackpot — a complete game changer (and maybe with similar odds.)  But the process of competing has its own value, and helps to raise New Rochelle’s profile as we aim to attract business investment across the board and implement our development goals.

I would share a link to our full submission, but Amazon’s rules for the competition require these documents to be confidential, so let me just say we tried to put our best foot forward.