Posted by: Dawn Powell | August 3, 2015

Deleted Post, Nasty comments, and the library

I took my post down, about suddenly appearing in the library comments, because Jackie says that she did not send the SPCA to my house on the day my father died as retribution, and I am taking her at her word. Sam had been told that the dog had been found a week before this incident occurred and there was no emergency involved. It should not have unfolded the way that it did. It would not have if Patty were still dog officer, but I don’t suppose we will ever get her back. She put in a lot of hours taking care of animals and animal calls. Jill probably does too, though only dogs. I saw Jill sending a foundling back home after the LPID meeting. But the difference between having a town employee for that job and not is huge.

The tone of the library comments on Putnam Daily Voice has been unnecessarily nasty. Some of the posters are clearly Jackie fans, but they are doing it by a circuitous route of mean posts about everyone who has ever known Sam O.
A commenter has said that most people in town do not want the library to be separate, but I have talked to and received emails from people who want it to be. I have no sense of the proportions, but I know that the nasty posters on the Putnam Daily Voice don’t either. I got the impression that Jackie would support the change in the library if it were presented to the public, even though her supporters are saying it isn’t so.

The nasty posters are presenting Jackie as a fiscal conservative. That has not been my observation. Ms. Annabi has been on the board for 5 ½ years. That is a long time to find ways to save money. She supported the Leibell wing. She supported giving the Parks and Rec building to the state police, while they were saying the town needed space. She supported sending Parks and Rec to the park for lots of money. She supported giving more than 2 % raises to employees who were retiring. Until this year, she has voted to override the tax cap in all of Bob-O’s budgets. She has not striven for consolidations that would have saved money. In Lake Peekskill, she voted and encouraged support for this lake plan that is an overpriced rehash of old ideas and old data. She took no steps to do anything positive about the lake until this campaign season.

One of the log posts was about SamO’s support of Vinnie Leibell. I disagreed with Sam about that and blogged about it, but at that time Leibell was not under investigation and had not yet been indicted. It is routine for elected officials to work with other elected officials and it was the voters who made Uncle Vinnie a fixture. When Bob-O wrote his now famous letter in support of Leibell, it was for the sentencing hearing after the plea deal, and it was on town stationery, with the names of entire Town Board and Supervisor employees listed on the letterhead. I didn’t hear the Board object. It gave the impression of an official communication.

Ms. Annabi seems to be distancing herself from Bob-O in this election cycle, a move that makes some sense, but she was appointed as his deputy supervisor from her first election to the board. Didn’t we all have the impression that they were supporting each other?

I understand the concerns about the library budget. Even though it would be put to a vote, a lot of residents feel that there is nothing they can do to change the budgets. They feel that there would be less accountability. The town budget process does not seem to have much accountability anyway. The district budget meeting is on Saturday and they will come into the meeting with certain ideas, gleaned from conversations outside of the public eye. Last year, they were supposedly looking into other possibilities for the garbage budget, enlarging the district for lower cost, eliminating the transfer station, etc. They said that they could not do anything in the last budget because it would take time. Now the time has passed, and it has not been discussed.

The other legitimate concern regarding the library budget is that the money accounted for in this budget will just be absorbed into a new town budget and the taxpayers will be hit with 3 times the cost. That is probably what will happen. When Lake Peekskill stopped paying the bond for the engineering costs incurred in studying the water system, there was no savings seen. And with an extra $278k to play with, it would be easier for the Board to stay within the tax cap while getting that tax money to throw around.

Open discourse has not been encouraged for a long time in Putnam Valley. While Jackie does not have the rude intimidating manner that Bob-O employs, the trend toward backroom discussion is alive and well. The whole process in Lake Peekskill has not been transparent or democratic. I know that democracy is messy and difficult. But the move toward closed facebook groups and hand-picked individuals to push questionable agenda and use resident facilities does not portend well for the community. Some people clearly feel that their opinions and wishes are more important than others.

Pay attention to whatever library information is put out there. You will be well informed by the time there is a vote. For the election itself, you have enough information on all the players.


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