At a Political Friday breakfast today, sponsored by the Westchester County Association, Noam Bramson outlined his vision for Westchester County...
|(L-R): Robert P. Weisz, Mayor Noam Bramson, and Al DelBello|
Bramson and two others are contending for the Democratic nomination to unseat County Executive Rob Astorino next fall. Bramson says that his great advantage is his executive experience, and that he brings a fresh perspective and vision to county government. A convention this spring will determine the Democratic candidate for County Executive. All three of those running pledged not to run primaries against each other because of the expense.
Commenting on Astorino, Bramson said: "We look at issues in a very different light. The current administration has not employed a business- smart strategy... Our job in government is to create the architecture of a major economy, and for the private sector to carry it out."
He criticized Astorino for the County Executive's focus on not raising taxes. "When the tax levy overall is really quite small, to focus on that in isolation is narrow. You have to look at the whole picture." He agrees that the cost of government is too great, but Bramson contends that savings can be achieved in many ways, one of which is economies of scale.
"The public service cost burden has significantly increased in the past three years, but there are economies of scale that could benefit the county if more communities shared services."
Acknowledging that Westchester's budget is largely devoted to the delivery of social services, Bramson pointed out that "many of our neighbors benefit from those services. What we need are cost benefit analyses so we can save money in the long run, but be sensitive to the fact that there is a moral calculus as well."
He said he is working with the Coalition of Mayors to advocate for mandate relief. "We have to work on a non-partisan basis to convince the state that we must have mandate relief. Our communities are suffering."
He cautioned against focusing economic development only on the central part of the county, and that we have to improve the quality of our planning for environmental change and for a stronger economy. "What actions we take today will position us for the future. I will focus on more practical outcomes for the long run."
Taking the long view of economic development, Bramson said the big mistake is to assume that future growth lies in the south and west. "Those areas do not have enough water nor the infrastructure. Here in the northeast and especially Westchester, we have abundant water, infrastructure, transportation, and the proximity to university research."
Summing up, Bramson explained that he views public service as an honor.
"I don't regard politics as a superficial exercise. There are big consequential choices to be made and we have to think seriously how we will build our future together. My parents taught me to revere living in a democracy, and that whatever the problems, you should not be critical of the process but you should apply yourself [to solve the problems] every day."
Other candidates for Westchester County Executive will appear at future WCA Political Friday events.