Visionary State of the State

Very strong State of the State from @GovKathyHochul, with ambitious proposals related to housing, economic development, climate action, and more. New Rochelle offers a compelling example of – and could benefit from – the Gov’s vision for sustainable growth.  #StateOfTheStateNY

Density + Transit = Climate Action

There are lots of obvious benefits that flow from downtown development — new housing and job opportunities, a stronger tax base, a more attractive and culturally vibrant city center, and better access to goods and services, to name just a few.  A key benefit that’s often overlooked, however, is that the right kind of development helps to confront the climate crisis.  It may seem counterintuitive to think of dense, high-rise construction as a form of environmental progress, but it is.  Transit-served downtowns like New Rochelle’s are less car-dependent and consume less energy per capita than other patterns of development.  And by densifying urban cores, we help to preserve natural open space elsewhere.  These facts are well illustrated in this really neat map from the New York Times which shows how land use patterns contribute to — and can help address — the climate emergency.  There are, of course, many other factors that affect climate change, but this may be the area in which local government can have the greatest impact.  So, in addition to being great for New Rochelle’s parochial interests, downtown development is among the best things we can do for the planet.

Penn Access Breaks Ground

Penn Station Access is the most significant enhancement to our region’s transportation infrastructure in a generation, with wide-ranging benefits to our economy, environment, and quality of life. For New Rochelle, the project holds special importance, giving us the Metro-North station closest to Manhattan with direct service to Grand Central and Penn — a major boost to our downtown’s unprecedented economic growth.  After years of planning, the project has finally broken ground.  Read all about it in this press release from the Governor.

Calcification. Parity. Cultural Backlash.

The best explanation I have seen of the current political era from the always excellent @ezraklein.  Summary: “The parties are so different that even seismic events don’t change many Americans minds. The parties are so closely matched that even minuscule shifts in the electoral winds can blow the country onto a wildly different course. And even in a time of profound economic dislocation, American politics has become . . . about whether the cultural changes of the past 50 years delight or dismay you.”

I am relieved by the outcome of the midterms, but the conditions Klein describes aren’t going to disappear any time soon.  Add three other factors — the anti-majoritarian flaws of our Constitution, the polarizing effects of social media, and the growing right-wing flirtation with authoritarianism — and you have a prescription for ongoing political turmoil, with enormous risks for liberal democracy, and no end in sight.

Bramson vs. Astorino (2022 Edition)

Nine years ago, Rob Astorino and I were locked in a heated contest for County Executive, during which we got along personally, but disagreed on pretty much everything.  Last week, Iona University hosted the two of us for a pre-election debate/conversation, and we picked up right where we left off.  The threats to our democracy are real and urgent . . . and need to be called out in the clearest, strongest terms.  Please watch, share, and VOTE.

Biden Rallies for Hochul in Westchester

A big, fired-up crowd welcomed President Biden to Westchester this evening as he rallied at Sarah Lawrence College for Governor Hochul and the Democratic ticket.  Two days left.  Make your plan to vote.