Posted by: Dawn Powell | September 14, 2011

August Town Board – SHOWTIME

This week I was threatened, my home and more.  It certainly has chilled my first amendment rights.  In Putnam Valley, you can lose your home or worse if you have an opinion.  Is free speech worth losing your life?  I really don’t want to die for the right to blog.

Town Board – August 17, 2011

Putnam Valley

 George Kipp, Chair of the fire department board died on Wednesday morning.  He has been quite a presence in our community, and I will miss him.

 On August 22 or 23, the DEC and the Hudson Valley Estuaries will be walking the Peekskill Hollow Creek.  Perhaps if you call Wendy, you can pin down which day  (845) 284 -2230.  Apparently the public can participate.

 On September 14, the DEC will be at the Town work session to talk about flood zones.  Unfortunately work sessions start at 6PM, a tough hour for many working people, but it’s a problem that may people are having  At least Wendy is trying to solve some problems in the community.

 For the most part, this meeting was hopeless, relentless politics.  It was what is wrong, and why it never gets any better.

 Greg Ball has a good spiel.  Unlike Vinnie Leibell and Sandy Galef, he travels with an entourage, including someone to change his placards, and a photographer.  He hits hot button issues – taxes, 9-11, veterans, and dogs.  He brought up marriage equality and said “regardless of whether you are for that or against it,….”  He took a long time during the debate deciding whether it would be a political advantage to support it or oppose it.  He voted against.  He’s quite an impressive politician, so only time will tell whether he picked the winning side.  So far, it looks like he was wrong.

 The MTA tax is a high priority for him, but a recent poll showed that the public doesn’t care all that much about this.  Somehow, the politicians don’t understand that the train does run through Putnam County, and we do use its services.  There would be valuable ways to increase that use, if they could work on that, instead of this repeal.

 He brought up the veterans’ cemetery.  There is no question that the 2 New York State national cemeteries are too far away.  In a communication that Senator Ball sent out, he talked about the maintenance costs to be borne by county taxpayers.  The reimbursement for the plot is $700 to be paid by the federal government for the veteran, and the family member for a second plot.  Between the environmental considerations and the cost that we will be paying forever, this isn’t a win for the taxpayers.  It makes a good sound bite, but perhaps the reimbursement could be improved, and sections of existing cemeteries can be used.  That might be a win-win.

 Senator Ball seems to be well informed on hydrofracking, and opposes Cuomo’s pro-industry stand, but he equivocated on Indian Point, and got some of it wrong.  Mike Kaplowitz knows this issue much, much better.  Greg brought up France’s energy policy.  I prefer Germany’s.  What does it take for us to get it? Fukishima wasn’t enough? 

 On hydrofracking, Greg says that the DEP is complicit and the EPA is good, and that state enforcement is a problem.  He mentioned the Halliburton loophole. Dick Cheney’s Halliburton loophole stripped the EPA of the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing.  It’s amazing how blatant corruption can be.  The public is completely left without protection.

 When taking questions, Greg said to Bob, “You’re in charge.”  Bob, referring to Marie Zarcone, said, “Not when she’s here.”  Marie will now be on Greg’s unfunded mandate advisory council.

 So it appears that the Leibell/Ball factions are merging into one happy family, and we are supposed to forget.

 Remember when Greg Ball was outside of entrenched politics?

 He does put on a good show.

 That was an hour into the meeting.  And as noted anonymously on the blog, he kissed Jackie Annabi on the cheek as he was leaving.

 There was a presentation on Lake Peekskill – internal phosphorus loading, coliform, and E.coli contamination, laminar aeration, weekly turnover of the lake water, instead of the natural twice a year cycle.  They use enzymes and bacteria to control contaminants and weeds, all food grade.

 Bob said he was willing to put a presentation on for a quarterly district meeting, which means that he doesn’t want to do anything about anything.  Well, he hasn’t so far.  Why would that change?  This could have been presented at the last quarterly meeting, but the meeting next Saturday is for the budget.  The next one won’t be until December or January, and then, this won’t be budgeted.  How can we budget it, when we don’t have enough information?  So that means another year.  I have been accused of “venomous hatred” of Bob.  It is one of those recurring phrases as in Rovian politics.  He actually is not that important in my life, but I do abhor the incompetence that rules our community, wastes our taxes, and damages the quality of our lakes. 

 With the lake quality continuing downward, and the neglected community center roof falling off, Bob invited non-taxpayers to his party.  Some people have complained about that unfairness.  Our facilities are neglected but Bob has a good time.  He says that the people he invited paid for food, so “We made money off of that.”  Who is “we?”  It is not the district taxpayers.  They are the ones who foot the bills for all these parties for everyone else.  I don’t think that Lake Peekskill taxpayers can afford it, but if I say that, then I am just characterized as a mean person who doesn’t want anyone to have fun.  The taxpayers are on the hook for a $16,000 roof.  The partiers will contribute nothing. 

 There actually are no Lake Peekskill events.  The only service provided to the community from their ownership of the community center is for the civic association meetings.  Otherwise, it is used for Parks and Rec and Bob’s political events.  So it ends up as a liability.  Bob says he will do it again. He has shown no concern for the Lake Peekskill district.

 A resident from elsewhere said that he was impressed that we had a roof to have our meetings under, but only barely, despite paying lots of taxes. 

 Roaring Brook had two beaches that didn’t meet DOH requirements.  That shows really poor management by the Town Board.  It’s too bad that districts are administered by the town. 

 I tried to talk to the presenter of the Lake Peekskill proposal, but we are apparently only allowed to talk about Lake Oscawana.

 I left during the East of Hudson discussion.  We only have a little piece of New York City watershed.  We received no money from the last round.  They told us this coalition was a good idea, then it was a bad idea, now it is a good idea.  It’s giving me whiplash.  These two resolutions he read in their entirety, but then they glossed over the Parks and Recreation hirings.

 The project that is affected by the East of Hudson agreement is Greenway Terrace, but I don’t remember anyone explaining what is going on there or what we are paying for.  It didn’t sound like the highway department was apprised of the agreement.  Bob mentioned $15 million, but our part of that is small.  And the concept of bubble compliance was mentioned again.  We get credit for what they do in Brewster without actually having to comply.  I hate this idea.  It seems to avoid the whole intent of stormwater management.

 Jackie says that Parks and Recreation has an abundance of funding in their capital fund.

 Why was there was no executive session.  You just come to count on some things.  What? – no new litigants, nobody’s property to take over?

 The driveway opening on Oscawana Lake Road – again they said it’s not the fire department or the ambulance corps, and the ambulance was fixing their septic.  No explanation of why the ambulance corps needed a major repair when the septic is new.  Wouldn’t that be useful information in evaluating the fire department?  And what about the site plans, and the environmental assessment?  Why aren’t there any more driveway opening permits on the agenda, when there seems to be a driveway opening?  So new houses?  That’s just what we need.

 And speaking of driveway openings, when an elected official resigns, what is the process for replacing him?

 There will be baby donkeys at Town Day.  Sounds lovely.

 Adopt cats.  Buy bagels.  Save sea turtles.

DP

   On Peekskill Hollow Road, there has been paving going on.  Residents have complained about increased flooding from the cemetery, and from that house that was built on the steep slope and then its septic failed when the house was brand new.  Sam O told us that this paving is part of the Peekskill Hollow Road project, but….

Let’s see.  Harold Gary told us that the road bed had to be rebuilt.  There have been no changes in the approved plan for the road.  This paving did not rebuild the road bed. 

The state has only obtained funding for the acquisition of right of way, the process of taking people’s property for the project.  Though the plan has numerous parcels identified, the county legislature has approved only two parcels, belonging to James Reitz and the Zarcones.  Part of the state funding process includes construction inspection, state oversight to ensure that the project is built as planned and according to state and federal rules, before reimbursement will be considered.  That oversight has not yet been funded.

The DEC walk may uncover some of what should have been considered in the inadequate SEQR that was done for this project, and some of the environmental problems that should be solved, for the sake of the property owners already there.

We’ll see.  Somehow we never get the full story on this project. 

For legislature, vote for the other guy.


Responses

  1. Despite all his pretense, Greg Ball (or Senator Photo-op as he is affectionately known) has turned out to be just another egomaniacal politician as I witnesses last night in Peekskill where he showed up to a special meeting with his complete rock star entourage, chief of staff and several photographers to record his every utterance. Although one would think he was there to support the GOP candidates, it turned out that the senator had much more to offer the Democrats whose Big Government philosophy he supposedly reviles. It looked like the Mayor was shocked to find out that Ball was partnering with one of the powerful African American reverends to set up a “one stop shop” for Latinos and other residents to find out about jobs and other entitlements that might be available. Not one word was said about the long suffering taxpayers of that City who are reeling under huge increases in taxes and fees. When I tried to bring up the fact that the cost of government has gotten unsustainable for most of us, Ball went into some song and dance about his mother, his grandmother, his impoverished childhood, etc. etc ad nauseum, even though I tried to tell him it wasn’t about his mommy. Before the meeting began, I approached him in the hallway (the photog never stopped taking pictures) to mention to him that perhaps he didn’t realize just who he was getting involved with here in PV. Wow, was that a mistake!! He really put me in my place, and fast. Telling me that people just attach themselves to him, but he’s “above” all that; basically that even though I’ve lived here for over 50 years, I don’t know what I’m talking about. Oh well, I suppose there are those out there who feel the same way. But really, I never expected Ball to turn into an uber Sam O. so quickly.


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