Mt. Vernon (NY) Street Tour : West to North

This is my third street tour video in three weeks, and my second one driving through Mt. Vernon, NY. I’m trying to get a style going here. Any feedback on this would be highly welcome. Here’s a playlist with all my street tours, so far.

Mueller Report: Read-A-Long

The only way to know what’s going on is to read it yourself. I couldn’t take in the whole entire thing, but I read about 80 pages, mostly word for word, and you can watch and listen as I do it in these 3 videos. Done is better than perfect.

What’s the bottom line? Trump and his people knew that the 2016 election was being cooked by multiple Russian interventions, and they benefited from it. Congress will have to decide whether to impeach. Either way, if I had reason to believe everything is going to be OK in the end, I would so say.

Street Tour: Minneapolis / Mall of America

This is a quick 7 mile street tour From St. Paul to Mall of America, in Minneapolis, MN, along Minnesota State Route 5 West. Check out the Mississippi River along the way. The drive begins in St. Paul, crosses the River, around the MSP Airport and over the giant mall. Fun ride.

Pelham Schools Survey: Somewhat Disagree

Join me as I take the Pelham Public Schools survey. Pelham, New York is a suburb just north of New York City. The Board of Education and the District Strategic Planning Committee would like input to inform a new strategic plan. The survey is wide open to all, and you can take it as many times as you would like.

The instructions say, “…please feel free to take as many of these surveys that apply to you or take them multiple times for each child. “

While the survey is a genuine gesture toward community engagement, the method and the questions themselves make me wonder if the results will be, well, worthless.

Clearly, some people worked very hard on this, and I’ll assume goodwill. What’s most troubling is the consumerization of a public resource. The questions are framed as if public school is a product, and the deliverable is customer satisfaction. As if a district strategic plan is like a software feature release.

Public education has many purposes – preparing people to participate in society, preserving class structure, and you can fill a library with more objectives. In any event, the verdict on whether it’s working is impossible to capture on a Likert scale, and the jury should not comprise all people with a keyboard, regardless.

For those of you in the “Well, what is your suggestion?” crowd, I have a few:
1/ A single survey, not 9 surveys.
2/ Require authentication, and select a random sample.
3/ Max 7 to 10 questions, not 58.

Podcast | Kamala Harris: President, Prosecutor, Progressive

Here’s the podcast link, in case the player doesn’t work right.
Also on YouTube, if you prefer.
Who is Senator Harris? Prosecutor, progressive or vapid ’90’s political hack? We’re about to find out.

US Senator Kamala Harris (D) of California announced this week she will run for President.  In this podcast I share a few clips and quotes to suggest this is a serious candidate, with experience and depth, worthy of public trust.  She will need to bridge her credentials as California’s top cop with her positioning as a political progressive. Harris has a controversial criminal justice record, but that will make perfect sense if she can avoid vapid campaign dribble.


VOX Article by German Lopez
Kamala Harris’s controversial record on criminal justice, explained

Senator Kamala Harris On Education, Criminal Justice Reform & Why Debating Is Important
Interview from The Breakfast Club, With DJ Envy, Angela Yee And Charlamagne Tha God!

Podcast | Citizen Journalism in a Small City

A’tif Khalil is a citizen journalist focused on Mount Vernon, New York.  In this episode we discuss the challenges of covering stories about City Hall when you know the people inside, personally.    We also discuss a recent incident involving Mount Vernon’s Mayor along with Internet celebrity Fatboy SSE.  The two visited the local high school on Friday, January 12, unannounced, resulting in a disruption of the school day and suspensions. Khalil publishes local news stories in Black Westchester Magazine and on WBAI radio.

Podcast | Geopolitics and the Suburban Housing Market 2018

So you’ve got the financial stuff to make it in New York’s expensive suburban housing market, but the loss of the SALT deduction, stock market volatility and possibly the end of the world have you thinking twice. If you are fearing more than fear itself, apparently you are not alone. One real estate broker published an annual survey for his territory, Pelham, New York, including this striking remark:

“People want to live below their means.”

PODCAST LINK (in case the embedded player is not working)

Licensed Real Estate Broker Maurice Owen-Michaane talks about his “Pelham 2018 Market Report“.  Michaane sees a trend in buyers seeking homes that are LESS costly than they can actually afford, even in New York’s affluent suburbs.  We discuss the market psychology and geo-politics driving this new trend.

Hit your favorite podcast app, and search for REDBLUETALK,
and I’d love it if you would review the show, too. – Charlie
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Mount Vernon: Comptroller v. Mayor, Recap

Twas the Sunday before Christmas…December 23, 2018. AJ Woodson, Producer and Host of Black Westchester / People Before Politics asked me to be a guest on his show. Why? He happened to notice that I attended an annual report conference held by the Comptroller of Mount Vernon, NY the prior Thursday, December 20, 2018 at Mount Vernon City Hall. Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas posted an excerpt of the meeting on Facebook, and there I was in the second row, seated next to A’tif Khalil, who reported on the session for Black Westchester. Small world.

The meeting was a public briefing by Deborah Reynolds, Comptroller for the City of Mount Vernon, to explain the status of the budget. Her remarks were centered on the draft 2019 fiscal budget, which at that point had not been presented to the Board of Estimate.

There were also charged political accusations against the Mayor, including allegations that she is unable to perform her duties because of an administrative lockout from the City’s general ledger software, MUNIS. Missed filings. Unauthorized purchases. More.

When I was asked to be a guest on BW, I dusted off my meeting notes, and then began to parse through several key documents that provide the backstory to this intriguing he-said-she-said matter. In September 2018, the Mayor filed an Article 78 lawsuit to compel the Comptroller to pay over $1 million dollars in unpaid bills, including $278,000 for the attorneys representing the City in the lawsuit itself. In October 2018, Mayor Thomas petitioned Governor Andrew Cuomo to remove Comptroller Reynolds from her position. There are more clues about the current state in Reynold’s response document.

In short, it’s a complicated mess, but in this episode of People Before Politics, I was given a generous amount of time to break it down, to the best of my ability, based on the publicly available reports and filings.

Many thanks to the Black Westchester team, for this opportunity to parse it out and try to make sense of the matter. People Before Politics is a great show. I look forward to it every Sunday at 6:00 PM at

I’d appreciate any feedback you may have to offer. @redbluetalk

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