The citizens of Philpstown are to be commended for their activism in local governmnent. I am jealous when I read the local papers that describe the many contentious board meetings that bring out residents on both sides of the isssues. These meetings show a community that is involved and engaged in the life of their town. Not so in Put Valley where the regime of Chairman Tendy has brought the town back to the Dark Ages, when people were afraid to speak their minds for fear of reprisal. That, combined with apathy and resignation has created a perfect storm of non-public participation in which elected and non-elected bureaucrats get to have their way with impunity. Sadly, there is no one in town hall, elected or otherwise, with the courage to stand up to the Bully in Chief.
I’ve been politically active since the 1980s and I’ve never seen it this bad. All of my inquiries are now monitored by Mr. Tendy who decides what information is to be revealed. Case in point — an email I received from Mr. Tendy on July 19th, which he had sent to “All Employees” regarding my recent requests for information from the building department. Tendy wrote “Patty Villanova has made phone calls and sent emails to employees that could be viewed as harassment…John Landi (building inspector) recently received an insulting electronic transmission from Patty… I am asking all employees to keep track of times and dates she calls or send emails….and to document any other behavior that could be viewed as harassment……If it continues, I will ask the District Attorney to consider filing charges against her.” The “insulting email” was one of those electronic gaffes most of us have committed in the age of instant communication. I jokingly wrote to a friend that a 5th grade reading comp exam should be mandatory for all elected & appointed officials; somehow it ended up in Landi’s mailbox where it became the basis for Tendy’s fatwah. One wonders how badly the DA’s office must be compromised if a town supervisor feels he can file a criminal complaint against a citizen who is seeking basic information about town services.
Such secrecy is especially troublesome in view of our dismal economic circumstances which should provoke a heightened scrutiny of public spending. Instead, we have a board that is quietly expanding the size and scope of government at every opportunity. Town hall is being enlarged courtesy of former Sen. Leibell who gave money from the Dormitory slush fund to his loyal supporters. Fire Department spending for a new station that has yet to be approved continues unabated. There is no sign that anyone realizes the plight of the taxpayers or cares. As long as there is no reward for excellence or penalty for failure, nothing will change in Happy Valley. Ignorance has always been the weapon of tyrants; enlightenment the salvation of the free. Wake up, Putnam Valley!