WPCNR CAMPAIGN 2013 News and Comment By John F. Bailey. October 20, 2013:
It’s a match made for success.
Tonight at the Rye Town Hilton, Bill Clinton is being brought in to pass a collection plate for thousands more in donations from star-struck Democrats asked to write $100 to $2,500 checks to bask in Clintonesque charisma and fund a two week medis blitz to return the Democratic Party to power in Westchester County and bring back “values” to governing to Westchester County.
Having Mr. Clinton raise funds for a candidate that is campaigning on “Westchester Values,” which include according to Mr. Bramson’s literature: standing up for a woman’s right to abortion, and protecting women from harassment at birth control clinics in the county, replenishing cuts to day care, eliminating gun shows, environmental compliance, attracting business is very ironic to say the least.
If you recall this is the President who lied about an affair in The White House oval office with a young lady his daughter’s age. He is the President whose ego-driven, legacy-building, self-centered Quixotic pipedream: wanting to be remembered as the man who brought about an Israeli-Palestinian settlement failed to protect American women and men effectively from terrorism. His watch either eased pressure on Al Queda, if not outright ignored their growing threat. It could be argued his failure to follow up tightly on al Queda surveillance after the 1993 World Trade Center attack, resulted ultimately in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attack. Bill Clinton, a man of values?
Whether Americans and any politician really cares about values any more is the real question. Bramson talks about it.
Tonight it is fitting that Clinton, a man who has mastered the ability to smooth out and rationalize his record because of an American public’s ability to forgive, now idolize him as much as they idolize the Kennedys, is raising funds for another smoothie, The Scarecrow.
I call Mr. Bramson The Scarecrow because he is a straw man..
With his Robert Kennedy bangs, earnest, practical rhetoric he convinces men and women old and young that his heart is with them and he will do the right thing. He has glib ability to paint a rosy picture in flowery reasonable-sounding words of how good it is going to be when Westchester replaces Robert Astorino with him. He is a charmer. He’s got the ladies’ vote. He may get people like me who still dream of America getting a real leader. But I am troubled by his placing himself above the issues.
He doesn’t want you to stop thinking about tomorrow.
He doesn’t want you to think about yesterday.
But it could be argued, he ignores today.
He and Clinton are attempting to turn back the clock to when people loved the Democratic Party unconditionally. When standing for the good was what Democrats were known for
In 2016, Hillary Clinton will campaign on the same Promise Train, and a train it is.
Since we Democrats are for the good, and there never was a bad Democrat, we will govern better and take care of the weak, and distribute the wealth. You should know instinctively we will be better because we are so good. As long as we are wringing our hands for you in office and in power you will be o.k., because we are so good.
Like a scarecrow in an Iowa cornfield, who stands watch without effort or action, Noam Bramson delivers a message to voters that he will make things right by looking out for their values that he believes Westchester believes in. That is his message.
But as with any Scarecrow, you have to hope he has a plan, and not just form a lot of task forces. Jawbone, and raise taxes because it is the right thing to do. (Remember you heard this first.)
I have news for you. I loved the fact my County Tax went down $358, because my county tax did not go up. I liked that. I could get used to it.
Bramson is so well off he does not realize that $358 means a lot to people.
Bramson promises to cut taxes by the magic of “consolidating services.”
I hope he has a lot of top hats with rabbits in them.
Consolidating services does not save a lot of money fast. Because it is a slow process.
Yet Mr. Bramson has not pointed to any consolidations of services he made in New Rochelle (where he has been in government since 1995) that have made substantial savings for that city. There must be some.
Please tell us, Noam. Share those money-saving ideas to consolidate. We in the communities in cities and towns across the county await your charismatic inspiration on this.
If he has consolidated services,it certainly has not saved enough to prevent his community from raising taxes well above inflation each year. But “consolidating services” sounds so good. Every politician uses it.
In White Plains, pioneer city of the county, development leader, we have seen just how much consolidation of services can save.
City councilpersons tout how they and the school district have managed after a year of discussion to save the school district $75,000 to $100,000 this year. They think this is good. This is the salary of one new teacher with benefits. What do you think?
That is ½ % of the White Plains $193.4 Million school budget after a year of talking about it. Bramson says he’s going to bring communities together to consolidate services. Well I hope the communities are more cooperative than city government and the school district were here in White Plains. Noam: turf is power. When you give up something you lose control. That is your problem in relying on “consolidation.”
Bramson says he wants to spur economic growth by smart rezoning of areas to develop for business, and assure there are young workers with the educational skills businesses want. He says he doesn’t like doing individual firm deals.
He does not say what areas to rezone; how this will be done; he does not say how he will equip/re-educate/upgrade our workforce. He does not yet say how he will attract young people by providing more affordable housing and again working with communities, talking with the Hud-targeted communities to end peacefully the “scare tactics” of the Astorino administration. Mr. Bramson is never asked about the needs of infrastructure in the 7 HUD target communities to execute affordable housing developments. (Only White Plains Benjamin Boykin candidate for the Distict 5 seat has raised this infrastructure issue.)
This is how the Scarecrow candidate operates. He gets you to think he cares and has grandiose plans that fit our hopes and dreams. But like scarecrows the plans cannot move ahead, because scarecrows can’t move. They are not strong. Remember how Clinton’s health care plan worked out? Clinton was not a strong leader. He just seemed like one when testifying.
Perhaps what is most disturbing about The Scarecrow is his campaign’s numbing inability to justify his New Rochelle tax record and diffuse criticism of that record. Maybe they think he is going to win, and apparently do not need to justify what he did. Charisma, the “good,” the values will save him. So much bad leadership has been elected to power because they say all the right things, like John Lindsay for example.
The Bramson campaign has been given a free ride by the media, which has not asked why New Ro taxes had to be raised at such a steady rate. What circumstances forced the 109% in tax increases. The campaign denying that this is not true or was justified because all other communities were raising taxes is sophistry. (Using flowery speeches, rhetoric without facts to make a point and achieve power.
Bramson twice in debates said this 109% is not true and cited the Westchester Fair Campaign Practices Committee (stacked with 9 Democrats in an 11-member committee) as saying Robert Astorino’s criticisms of his tax record were unfair. But does Mr. Bramson defend his tax decisions? No.
Here in White Plains, there was much hand-wringing over raising taxes every year, for thirteen years I have covered the city. They never passed a budget that did not go up. They never cut “essential” services. “Essential” is a big tent.
Bramson does not even bang off the following facts to bolster the reason for New Rochelle tax increases: The increase in pension contributions to the state, the drop in assessments due to tax refunds, the drop in mortgage taxes, the MTA tax, overtime costs during hurricanes, the increase in salary payrolls.
You can’t let someone take you apart on taxes without saying how with your “expertise” you limited the tax increases.
The White Plains City Government and the Common Council and the Board of Education are expert at talking about their being “mindful” of tax impact on taxpayers and the White Plainsians buy it every year.
They are mindful all right. They think about it. That’s what they mean by being “mindful.” Then they dismiss it. Noam might borrow that word “mindful.” White Plainsians swallow it every year.It is an expensive medicine, “mindful.”
The Scarecrow Candidate exaggerates to make a point. A very bad habit. Exaggeration is fair right?
He is fond of saying that New Rochelle has the lowest tax rate among cities in Westchester.
How does he explain that White Plains for example has a tax rate for 2013 of $191.74 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation. The New Rochelle 2013 tax rate is $198.50. Not even close.
Mr. Bramson’s campaign could have simply fixed this by saying New Rochelle has the 2nd lowest tax rate among all cities of Westchester. But, no! They know reporters and editorial boards are too lazy and too politically correct to ask him about this statement. When a reporter does, they ignore it. Because I asked them. If there is some byzantine formula the Bramson Campaign uses to justify this lowest tax rate claim, please explain?
Mr. Bramson wants to restore child day care lost funds. Yet he does not explain what funds he will restore them with. Because this is a moral issue. I guess it does not need exploring. He’ll do it when he gets the job. Money is no object, even if it is yours, if it is the right thing to do.
Mr. Bramson accuses the present administration of borrowing to balance the budget. He does not say where he will get the revenue to balance the budget without borrowing or without taking from fund balance. He is lucky he is heading for a $10 Million surplus in sales tax receipts. Will that cover the restorations and the borrowing? A little enlightenment please? No member of the media has asked that.
Mr. Bramson says he will keep taxes in check and abide by the state tax cut, but does not say he will keep the budget where it is. No one asks him.
Mr. Astorino, the incumbent County Executive in last week’s debate said if Bramson is going to observe the 2% levy cap imposes by Governor Cuomo, that means Bramson is considering a 2% tax increase. Well is he or isn’t he? No one seems to want to make him squirm on that question.
Politicians want you to ignore the past, saying, “It is not what I did, but what I am going to do.”
Politicians like Mr.Bramson do not realize that it is not what you say you will do.
It is what you do.
So tonight when you movers and shakers write out the checks take a good listen and a hard look at Noam when you shake his hand and ask him.
The event is closed to the press. So what is said in the Hilton stays in the Hilton.
That’s what they want.
Anonymous tips accepted.