The Bully Pulpit

Oregon Corners – April Fools


It was Patty’s line.  She told Bob that just because he has a bully pulpit doesn’t mean he has to bully everyone.

Patty V. did an effective job in her ”Shootout” post of presenting the meeting.  In an attempt to keep some of us from speaking, or at least delay the inevitable, Mr. Tendy started on the other side of the room.  But then, he saw that Patty was not sitting with the rest of the people he wanted to avoid, so he had to make up a new rule that he was calling on business owners first.  I hope that he will not succeed in making this a community vs. business issue.  It is not.

The business owners did a wonderful job of sticking up for themselves, and I believe that means standing up for the community too.  It’s a shame that business owners have to waste an evening of their precious time, in a very uncertain economic climate, telling the town board what they should already be able to figure out.  You do not design a business district without talking to the people who have businesses there.  You do not make decisions about private property without bothering to talk to the property owners.  We need a democratic process that fosters public engagement.  Instead, there was anger, tension, fear.  That is the Town Board’s fault.  They allow Mr. Robert Tendy to bully them, and then to bully the public. While Mr. Keating was rightfully angered that he did not have any input into this plan, and first heard of it when it was televised, it is my understanding that the Town Board members did not have any input into this plan, and first saw it when the presentation was being taped.

As I understand it, $5000 has been wasted on this debacle. 

The Comprehensive Plan recommended a Master Plan for Oregon Corners with a planner, with the business owners, and with Cortlandt.  Instead, we get this silly picture of trees, and parallel parking, and denuded streams.

This misstep cannot be excused.  The Comprehensive Plan process taught us all about a successful planning process.  Every one of the current Board members has placed politics and their own advancement over the needs of the community.  We need the Comprehensive Plan committee.  We need a democratic process.  We do not need edicts from above. 

I would like to see ABACA involved, and any other local architects who are willing.  We also have a local arborist, with expertise in native planting.  It would be nice to see him involved.  I bet we could have a real community project, if Mr. Tendy would just get his politics out of the way. 

We would like the problems addressed, without Mr. Tendy’s endless quest to feel that he has left his mark on the town.  He told us that he had talked to Mr. Santucci about the clothing drop boxes behind the deli.  Oops – it’s not Mr. Santucci’s property.

Mr. Tendy wants us to know that he didn’t just put up that wall to be beautiful!!!!   There’s another mess to clean up. That will be a tough one.

Regarding rumble strips – when we have asked for these or speed bumps on roads in Lake Peekskill, we have been repeatedly told that they are strongly discouraged by emergency services. 

The property owner objects to Bob’s little pedestrian bridges over the stream.

Our streamside buffers are supposed to be protected.  Mr. Tendy does not seem to care about the health of the streams, the ecology of the area, the quality of the drinking, the stormwater runoff.  Since the DEC won’t stop him, he will continue to “clean out” the stream.

He also prefers a piecemeal approach to signage, and will change the law to accommodate what he wants.  I think we already have a piecemeal approach to signage, with a lot of people doing whatever they want.     

Mr. Zarcone recommended putting the stream into a culvert to create more parking.

Mr. Tendy’s treatment of Ms. Villanova was inexcusable. 

And regarding that “grant, “ for  Oscawana  Lake Road, it is not a grant.  It is an Act of Congress   (SAFETEA-LU) passed during Sue Kelly’s  tenure.

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday,

the fourth day of January, two thousand and five

An Act

To authorize funds for Federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit

programs, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of

the United States of America in Congress assembled,


(a) SHORT TITLE.—This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Safe, Accountable,

Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for

Users’’ or ‘‘SAFETEA–LU’’

1361 NY Construct sidewalks and roadway improvements

on Oscawana Lake Road in the Town

of Putnam Valley ……………………………………… $480,000

This is on page 166 of the legislation.  Mr. Tendy repeatedly talks about the spread of misinformation.  It appears that he is the one doing it.  It is $480,000.  Where did the $600,000 figure come from?

I would think that this is the money to be used on the Oscawana Lake Road component of the Peekskill Hollow Road project.  It doesn’t seem like enough money for the county’s proposal.

The public should not be left out of the loop on any of these projects.  We now have this county Oregon Corners plan, a Putnam County Savings Bank project that may or may not be happening, a Peekskill Hollow Road project, and hostilities between the town and the property owner next to the wall. Piecemeal does not work.  We already have ample evidence of that. 

Reinstate the CP committee now, and let’s get this done.  Two women and one man of courage and foresight are all that we need.

Mr. Tendy not only tried to belittle the public, he stood not far from the podium, so that his presence was even more intimidating to the speakers.   It was Bob’s show;  it just wasn’t a very good one.  Mr. Tendy accused John of trying to make this into a circus.  Bob did a good job of that all by himself.   John Cohen has tried to incorporate the folk tradition into a great many of our planning projects.  He has a long tradition with country music, Appalachian music, the New Lost City Ramblers, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan.  He is one of the treasures of Putnam Valley and part of its flavor.

And while we are still on the subject of Oregon Corners, the restaurant is for sale, the post office, the prior snips n’ tips building and the deli are for sale, the garage is in litigation, and the 2 buildings next to the hardware store have been vacated for possible construction.  Nice plan.

This meeting went on, even after the hostile confrontation.  Mr. Tendy does not hesitate to put town business onto the agenda, hoping to evade public participation.  None of this was on the agenda posted on the town calendar.

The urgent issues –

Another section of non-conforming lot law has been written.  I will be writing a post to explain the significance of non-conforming lots and the Byzantine journey on which the Town Board is taking the zoning code.  Setting this public hearing was apparently so urgent, it could not wait until a regular meeting.

The urgent appointment of a landscape architect to oversee the Kaspar mitigation plan.  This is someone recommended by Bill Zutt, who will be charging the taxpayers $105/hour, including one way travel time from Westport.  We do not have time to find someone or to evaluate credentials.  Despite years of litigation, the current administration did not plan ahead for this.  They also did not consider monetary reparations in the consent order in this case.  So the Town gets to continue to pay and pay and pay, and the County continues to put parcels into the ag district.  Town Board Member Priscilla Keresey did ask why the taxpayers were paying for this.  The problem is, she didn’t ask the question before authorizing the consent order.

And last, but not least, was the urgent appointment of an egg addler for Lake Peekskill.  The LP budget committee tried to introduce this concept at budget time, back in the fall, but Mr. Tendy is on ‘no’ mode, when any of us from Lake Peekskill ask for something.  Besides he preferred the BB method of goose control.  I’m glad it’s not going that way.

And Mr. Zarcone wanted to discuss ethics with Mr. Tendy, but Bob didn’t want anyone else to hear that conversation.




Oregon Corners meeting, and you missed it. – February 11, 2009

February – short month, but lots of meetings.  I’ll get caught up, but I’ll start with the Oregon Corners meeting, since it dovetails nicely with the North County News article about Peekskill Hollow Road.

I’ll bet you didn’t know there was an Oregon Corners meeting.  Hardly anyone did.  I looked at the website calendar yesterday, and saw a 5:30 meeting listed – pres/RBA Group– Oregon Corners.  Now I could guess what this meant, but if in the somewhat unlikely event that anyone else did happen to see it, it is somewhat less likely that they would understand it.

In case you don’t read the lohud – Putnam Valley blog (the late breaking news was there first), I won’t keep you in suspense.  There was a presentation from a New Jersey planner hired by Putnam County to create a plan for Oregon Corners. Very simple.  No pesky public to deal with, no irate business owners, no feedback at all.  They consulted the Putnam County Savings Bank, a corner property owner with an application pending before the Planning and Zoning boards, and the Putnam County Highway Department, who has their own plan for Oregon Corners, which they do not care to hear your comments on.

I know people who care about Oregon Corners.  I know people who would like their voices to be heard, who deserve that their voices be heard.  And if they had known about this meeting, they would have been there.

Since this meeting was a political photo op, I have to assume that the public wasn’t actually wanted.  Mr. Tendy talked to the camera, to the planner, and to the pols.  Ed Grieff and I were the only outsiders.  They talked about “getting the public on board.”  Hop to, you public!  Rah, rah – no opinions needed.

Ms. Michelle Powers and Ms. Liz Duffy-Rau from Putnam County Planning and Purchasing were present.  Someone said they wanted to make it more traffic friendly and pedestrian friendly.  A later comment was made that despite 20 years of working on Oregon Corners, she never realized that there was water back there.

Mr. Zutt mentioned that the Putnam County Savings Bank is nearing approval by the Zoning and Planning Boards.  I can’t recall a Planning Board public hearing.  I don’t know why our volunteer boards bother to show up. Clearly their opinions matter as little as the rest of ours.

So, “their “ plans:

Building out of curbs and sidewalks.  You will park in one place, and then walk around the corners to other stores.  There will be parallel parking on Oscawana Lake Road on the brook side (he said the creek, but then what does he know) and you can cross the extra lanes of traffic to go to the hardware store.  To get to Maria’s, you will be parking in the Big Blue parking lot and crossing a pedestrian bridge to a back entrance.  He acknowledged that they have sacrificed a little convenience.

They will be installing rumble strips, which are very noisy, on traffic lanes approaching the corner.  I thought we had been told, again, and again, that their use is discouraged.  The cut-through to Big Blue will be lined with trees and made to look more like a public road.

Ms. Powers said that communities were asked to participate, and by that I think she means the pols, since I don’t ever recall any of the rest of us being asked.

Now that they have held this great unveiling, this information will be available everywhere.  The tape of the performance will be shown, and the plans will be somewhere.  Mr. Tendy has vowed to continue destroying the riparian buffer as Spring approaches, ensuring increased runoff into the stream.  One need only look at his beautiful wall to understand his vision of the future.

The Super Station will remain with lovely plantings at the corner.  The four lanes for the bridge are on the plan.

It is a great and glorious thing, and they are all pleased as punch.

Read the North County News article on Peekskill Hollow Road, and watch this Oregon Corners segment on tv.



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