My Memorial Day Remarks

I was greatly honored that New Rochelle’s Veterans Advisory Committee invited me to give the keynote address at our community’s Memorial Day observance this morning, and I took the opportunity to offer remarks that are among the more personal and heartfelt I have delivered in my time as mayor.  Sacrifice is ennobled by the justice of its cause, and it is for all us to uphold that cause.  Please read.

What’s Next for Me

Thrilled to share some good news about my professional plans: starting January 1, I will join Sustainable Westchester as its new Executive Director.

I could not be more excited.  Sustainable Westchester is among the most impactful public interest organizations in our region, with a dedicated, highly-capable staff, a record of meaningful accomplishment, and a vital, growing role in helping localities, the County, and all of New York achieve ambitious climate and environmental goals.  It will be a privilege to advance such an important mission, while working alongside colleagues, both in and out of government, whom I respect deeply.

In addition to thanking Sustainable Westchester’s Board of Directors for their confidence, let me also express special appreciation to Interim Executive Director Jim Kuster, whose willingness to remain in his post through the end of this year permits me to complete my full mayoral term. This is no small matter.  Having served New Rochelle for nearly three decades, I feel duty-bound to provide for an orderly succession at City Hall, and I intend to “run through the tape,” applying myself to the fullest during my remaining months in office, even as I transition to new responsibilities.

A final word of heartfelt gratitude for the sage advice of the many friends who helped me think through the next chapter of professional life.  It has been quite a process to consider post-mayoral careers — more interesting than I had hoped, less terrifying than I had feared — and now concluding on the happiest possible note, with a rewarding opportunity well-matched to my skills, interests, and values.

More in this press release.  Onward.


Talking Housing at the WCA

I was honored to join New York Housing Conference Executive Director Rachel Fee, North Castle Supervisor Mike Schilliro, and former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy for an excellent conversation about housing.  The Governor’s Housing Compact was not included in this year’s State budget, but there is broad agreement that a comprehensive, effective strategy is needed to address a serious regional housing shortage.  Thank you Michael Romita and the Westchester County Association for organizing an important discussion.

New Rochelle in Crain’s

New Rochelle features prominently in this article from Crain’s New York Business, which considers the obstacles and opportunities surrounding housing growth.  Although the Governor’s proposed Housing Compact was not included in the recently approved State budget, the initiative did successfully stimulate a long overdue conversation, and I am hopeful that elements of the plan will find their way into future State policy.  The Crain’s article is behind a paywall, so if you can’t read it in its entirely, my contribution follows below.

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson described the initiative as “very positive,” with growth targets that were “reasonable and achievable.” He was disappointed but not shocked that such a big potential change to the suburbs didn’t make it over the finish line on its first attempt.

New Rochelle is generally seen as one of the more pro-development areas of Westchester County. The city has already welcomed at least two new apartment buildings with more than 100 units this year alone . . . Bramson took issue with the general perception of adding housing to an area as a necessary hardship for communities to endure, instead framing it as a positive move with far-reaching advantages.

“I do not regard well-planned growth as a burden. I regard it as a benefit,” he said. “If it’s done properly, it breathes new life into downtown areas. It creates new job opportunities. It moderates the upward pressure on housing costs and makes our region far more accessible.”

Advocating for Action on Gun Violence

In the wake of yet another wave of mass shootings, I have joined more than 160 mayors across the country in calling on Congress to take action on gun safety.  There is little reason for optimism, given nearly uniform opposition from one side of the aisle in Washington, but it is still important for leaders nationwide to maintain our advocacy.  Here’s the letter.

Ben Ferencz, Rest in Peace

Ben Ferencz, the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor and a long-time resident of New Rochelle, has passed away at the age of 103.  Ben was a remarkable human being and a source of enormous inspiration to admirers throughout the world, including his neighbors close to home.  The New York Times ran a beautiful obituary over the weekend.  And I offered my own comments about Ben last year, when we named Bayberry Lane in his honor.  May Ben Ferencz rest in peace.