WEALTH TAX, NOT AN INCOME TAX
I want to take this opportunity to urge our town board to protect the Comeau, not develop it. Why on earth is anyone talking about expanding the soccer field at the Comeau? What’s not big enough about the current field? What’s next…a domed stadium?
If the current buildings at the Comeau need to be renovated, fine. But please do not expand their size. Please leave the parking lot unpaved. Please do not expand the current parking lot. If too many soccer players show up, let them park in the lower lot and walk up, like the rest of us do. It would be a good warm up for the soccer game.
No swimming pool, ice-skating rink, tennis court or other recreational structures. That is not the purpose of the Comeau. If you want such things, put them at Andy Lee field or other such places. In short, construction no, preservation yes.
And now for something completely different...H. Clarke Bell cites some interesting statistics in this week’s issue: 41 percent of New York tax filers paid no federal taxes. If you raised the tax rate on people making over $250,000 to 100 percent there is no great increase in the amount of federal taxes paid into the system because there are so few so-called rich people.
Here are some statistics of my own (drawn from the Internet of course!): The top one percent of households own about one third of the wealth in the United States. The bottom 80 percent of households own about 15 percent of the wealth. In view of these compelling statistics, I’m sure M. Bell would agree that we need a wealth tax in
this country, not an income tax.
Finally, Bell’s proposal to vote every incumbent out regardless of party affiliation is ludicrous. I’ve got a better idea: vote every Republican out of office.
OLYMPIC SIZE? I enjoyed the informative article about the YMCA by Andrea Barrist Stern in the April 2010 he@lthy communities. However, I’d like to point out a mistake about the size of the swimming pool. The YMCA’s pool is not Olympic-size. It is 25 yards in length. To be Olympic-size it would have to be 50 meters (54 2/3 yards) in length. This is the length of the pool in the Olympic games. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen a 25-yard pool referred to as an Olympic-size pool, I’d be...What I mean is, this is a very common mistake.
BTW, the only Olympic-size pool that I’m aware of in Ulster County is the outdoor county pool on Libertyville Road in New Paltz.
NO ANTI OBAMA PROPAGANDA ALLOWED
There’s a rumor circulating in Olive that if anyone questions any of President Obama’s policies in the village of Woodstock he will be sent to Lubyanka Prison-On-the-Sawkill for violating Article 58, paragraph 10 of the limousine liberal code, to wit, violating provisions against “anti-Obama propaganda.” We here in the free world, where there is no pro-Obama censorship, aim to educate you as to what has happened.
In 1996 NBC, a General Electric subsidiary, and Microsoft, decided to form a cable television station, MSNBC. GE owns 82%. It so happens that GE, besides making dish washers and television shows, has a taste for badly run financial institutions closely linked to Wall Street.
In 2008, Wall Street, realizing that the massive, Democratic Party-installed subsidies that it receives from the Federal Reserve Bank each year would be insufficient for its extraordinary incompetence, decided that it needed a reliable lackey in the White House. The Street wanted bailout money; regulation to put smaller competitors at a disadvantage; and ever-increasing expansion of the monetary base.
It was determined that these objectives are best accomplished through a limousine liberal who claims to be helping the poor when in fact he is helping the rich, someone much like those who enforce Article 58, paragraph 10 of the limousine liberal code on Tinker Street. Someone acceptable to George Soros and Warren Buffett. So in 2008 both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs donated an unprecedented 2:1 in favor of the Obama campaign. And GE’s employees at MSNBC such as Chris Matthews told the limousine liberals of Woodstock, who quaintly believe themselves to be especially clever but can’t figure out that Matthews works for GE, to rally behind their new comrade, Barack Hussein Obama.
Mr. Obama was elected. Monetary reserves having been tripled in 2008 by Wall Street’s previous lackey, George W. Bush, have been maintained and reinforced. The Iraqi and Afghanistan wars that motivate monetary expansion that contributes to the stock market’s health have been steadfastly maintained. As well, Mr. Obama and the Democrats put forward a regulation plan that Morgan and Goldman absolutely love. The chief effect of Mr. Obama’s health bill was to tax lower income Americans who are not covered and previously got emergency room care for free. The stock market went up for four straight days following the health care law’s passage. Indeed, the market has been having a great ride as a result of all the new Obama money rolling out of the Democratic Party-installed printing presses. Chris Mathews’s supervisor s at GE are especially happy because of the bailout. Both George Soros and Henry Paulson are investing in gold. And President Obama’s supervisors at Goldman are rolling in dough, having earned over $3 billion in the last quarter.
POLICE AT THE END OF THE ROAD? Why does it make sense to build a new police station at the end of a narrow road with a 15 MPH speed limit? The proposal for a town office campus on the upper Comeau includes a new building for police and dispatch, but is this a good location for a police station? The police need to respond rapidly to emergencies — auto accidents, crimes in progress, etc. — where any delay can endanger life and property. The existing town hall location gives direct access to Route 212 for high speed responses.
Comeau Drive is a narrow winding road used by dog walkers, bicyclists, and hikers. Periodically, Comeau Drive is congested with parents taking their children to soccer practice or crowds attending Bird on a Cliff productions, town meetings, and other events. Forcing the police to launch a high speed response under these conditions will pose serious danger to others using Comeau Drive and will certainly delay their arrival at the scene.
The town’s engineers and architects presented the proposal for moving the police without explanation at the March 23 special meeting of the town board. The town board members didn’t question the move, and a question from the audience about traffic congestion was met with benign indifference. To me, moving the police to upper Comeau doesn’t make any sense at all, and I would like to hear an explanation and justification from those advocating this move.
The town board has not allowed any questions about the upper Comeau campus proposal. The special meeting that introduced the plan was constrained to two hours, cutting off the opportunity for questions, and questions about the proposed town campus are not allowed at town board meetings. Obviously, when the town board refuses to take questions, there will be a lot of unanswered questions.
THANK YOU EDGAR
I wish to express my condolences for the passing of Edgar Rosenblum. I have a lot of thanks for this great man because he inspired me to be who I am today. Edgar brought me to Woodstock in 1970 to work as his assistant at the Woodstock Playhouse. Then he brought me to the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven the following season. This was the very first time I had any exposure to theatre technology.
These experiences helped launch my company today — Markertek, which now employs 130 people both here in Saugerties and in London.
Edgar was an amazing man who blended passion with a powerful drive that created an awesome live theatre experience. He also always said what was on his mind. I will miss this great man.
WHERE’S MY WHISTLE? Well, here we go again. My four good friends on the Town Board have called me a liar. I plead guilty that we interviewed five candidates for Police Chief, not the four that I had written. Mea Culpa, and I congratulate my colleagues for poring over the documents to find this glaring error of mine.
Now, a point by point reply to their 4/22 attack on me. “We” did not agree to the process I condemn. I was not informed prior to the first meeting. The spin doctors must have had an illegal meeting to make that agreement. I wonder if they’ve bothered to make up a ‘cover story’ to ‘cover’ their backsides. The Supervisor never asked me, in advance, to submit my questions. Indeed, he asked his secretary, who I encountered, by chance, who told me of this change in policy. By chance! No one had the courtesy (something they complain about with me) or the interest to notify me. I e-mailed Jeff that I would bring my questions with me. He e-mailed back that I must submit them to be “folded into his list.” When I arrived, I complained about this change in policy, but I held my tongue in public until after we made our choice for Chief.
Next, the author, authoress, (?) of this latest attack letter contend that my questions were dealt with honestly by Jeff, that all my questions were included. Moving right along, their mis-informative letter states that my submissions were not edited, as I have stated, and that each member had “an advance copy” of the list. I guess they must have run out of paper because I didn’t get one, nor did I see one at the table except for Jeff’s. Maybe the others left theirs’ back when that possible “illegal” meeting was held. When Jeff did get to what I had submitted, he asked, “how would you (the candidate) ‘prioritize’ “ the several of mine that he chose to read. If anyone thinks that is not editing, then perhaps Chicken Little is correct.
I, we, were not permitted to ask any follow up questions, always an important consideration. If my friends on the Board choose to give up their responsibility to speak for the public, that’s the choice they and the public have to live with. I certainly don’t agree. There is no ‘time out’ for representing the people who pay us. 24/7. This situation is what I called “dangerously un-democratic”.
They think that the “warfare” I’ve described is “only in his own mind.” As a combat veteran, I know when I’m being shot at, and where it’s coming from. Their letter ends with a wish that we all work together. I would like that, and I hope for complete transparency in the future, all the time.
Flash! this just in! During the 4/20 town board meeting, Terrie described the work involved in preparing the Stewardship Amendment, summing up with “there are legal issues.” Afterward, I pressed her, (not closely, through e-mail) to find out what she was referring to. After a lot of insistence on my part she finally wrote, “Jay, what I was referring to Tuesday was the process, nothing specific.” This is not an example of transparency or full disclosure. This is not an example of working for the benefit of our town’s citizens. I have no idea why she, or anyone, would not say exactly what was meant. “Legal issues” are not to be discussed in public, at this stage. “Process” is easily discussed, and should be, in public. Is there any wonder why so many citizens are suspicious of this town board’s activities? This is another example of why I have been a whistle-blower. Give me transparency or give me a whistle.
NO TEA PARTY COVERAGE
It is troubling that you give such lengthy, and unquestioningly positive, coverage to a tiny minority of right-wing extremists, the so-called tea party movement, even if they do deny the well-documented racist and homophobic attacks of their members, including the physical attacks on the offices of elected representatives of this country.
There was not one sentence about the videotaped and broadcast racist epithets against Representative John Lewis. Not one sentence regarding the homophobic diatribe against Rep. Barney Frank.
Oh no, but plenty of verbiage of some questionable person who claims to be a Confederate and for states’ rights? States rights were all about the rights of plantation owners to continue the institution of slavery, to continue what was before the Civil War the control of Washington, DC, by the plantation economy. The Civil War was necessary to break the control of this country’s resources by the plantation owners in order to build industrialization. Decentralization was fine for plantation owners.
Andrew Jackson? That was the president who is best known for initiating the Trail of Tears — the enforced removal of the Cherokee and other Native Nations, principally in the South, in order to steal all their lands for plantations. And you quote this person as saying Jackson was not racist? And your reporter Paul Smart did not even take the time to look up Jackson’s record or his positions?
There is a reason Maurice Hinchey is in office. The majority elected him. The majority of the voting populace identifies with his program more so than the Republican’s.
There have been several tea bag rallies around the U.S. that were countered by opposition from the communities where they were staged. Two weeks ago in Boston, community members there from the Steelworkers, Veterans for Peace, college students, and passersby who joined the counter-protest, challenged the Tea Party rally, at which the “tea party” racists engaged in the most vile attacks including spitting on Black people there.
But did Paul Smart ask anyone in Kingston from the Black and Latin communities what they think about this so-called movement? Did he ask any Jewish people in the area for their opinions? No.
Are you in such straits for news items that you honestly believe you require right-wing readership in what is clearly an area that does not support such a platform?
Are you now in competition with Fox News or the N.Y. Post?
Did you devote four pages in two issues to the annual Woodstock Martin Luther King, Jr. Day commemorative event, which is sponsored by the town government? Our town supervisor Jeff Moran was in attendance for hours and spoke eloquently along with many other local community members who are politically active in Ulster County on many issues.
I like to support our local weekly newspaper, but if this is a sign that your editorial policy is shifting to the far right, it will be time to quit buying it.
DEFEATED ARMY’S FLAGS DON’T FLY
It was an absolute outrage and irresponsible of Woodstock Times and Ulster Publishing Company to devote four pages over two issues devoted to the rantings and propaganda of this racist Tea Party supported by multi-million dollar companies.
Right now, Americans for Prosperity (the backer of the right wing Tea Party) and other far right conservatives, are pushing a program to re-segregate schools in Raleigh, North Carolina. They are nothing more than racist thugs.
What is the position of the racist Tea Party on federally-funded veterans’ healthcare supported by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Viet Nam Veterans of America — fundamentally all veterans’ organizations? Their healthcare is in fact a form of “socialism” as is Social Security.
Are they for dismantling Social Security? What about libraries and ambulances and other public services fun by governments?
If the Tea Party held a rally in front in front of our Veterans Administration hospitals, what do you think the response of our veterans would be? It seems to me these individuals supported the grave cutbacks to veterans’ healthcare enacted by George W. Bush while in the White House, which have been mostly overturned by President Barack Obama.
And treason? The last time I checked the Confederates lost the Civil War. As any militarist will tell you, defeated army’s flags don’t fly. New York State was always a Union state. I feel bad for Missouri that their wages are so low, that their property values are so low, that unions are practically banned there, but if a person wants to live somewhere like that, they could move there.
These whining crybabies who cry about “libelous statements” can forget about it. Not a court in this country will accept your case. But I challenge you Tea Party racists to take me for court. I am calling your bluff, boy.
Let the record show that we the people — Black and white, women and men, gay and straight, veterans, and all progressive-minded human beings will defend ourselves against any racist aggression from your element.
Member, Paralyzed Veterans of America
TOWN FACILITY PLANNING
Establishing a plan and affordable solution for housing the Police, the Court and Dispatch is my prime objective and it should have first priority on the agenda of the Town Board.
I believe that the Police, the Court and Dispatch should occupy a building of approximately 5000 sq. ft on the Lower Comeau using the concepts in the Brinner and Larios drawings dated October 2009. The building should be constructed as was the Town Hall building for the Town of Kingston. The Town of Kingston Town Hall is 5400 square feet with a full basement for storage that has cost them under one million dollars ($200 per square foot).
After this Police/Justice facility is completed and occupied I would begin renovation of the Town Hall to make it suitable for the offices of the Assessor, the Building inspector and the Planning department. These Town services employ less than 10 people that deal with similar information and should be together because they need to work together on the same issues.
I went over the Town Hall renovation plans, (8/22/07), that were done by Bob Young. The building is approximately 110w X 102d with a couple of ins and outs. Subtracting the main hall area of approximately 1480 square feet, there is approximately 7309 square feet on the first level that could be used for office and meeting space. The plans of 2007 did not make use of two of the existing bays that account for 3621 square feet.
This space would certainly be adequate for the Assessor, the Planning Dept. and the Building Inspector and provide them lots of room for layout, meeting space and document storage. They would have ample personal and customer parking in the Lower Comeau lot and reserved or handicap parking where the Police park today. Obviously there is plenty of space for the humans. File space has always been a bone of contention and the empty bay space could be allocated to that purpose. By eliminating some of the features included in the 2007 estimate, a revised Town Hall plan should be managed to a number less than $1,500,000.
I would recommend on leaving the Supervisor and Town Clerk where they are and make the existing Planning space into a conference room for resident and employee use or move the Bookkeeper into the that space to clear the 2nd floor of the Comeau building. Having the financial person near the Supervisor might be a true advantage. The Maintenance facilities would be unchanged.
This all boils down to one new (small) building and the limited renovation of the Town Hall. Bonding for this plan should be handled as two separate events, one for the Lower Comeau building and one for the Town Hall renovation. The total cost objective for both projects should be targeted for less that $3,000,000.
At the end of this process, all the Town employees would have very adequate office and storage facilities, they would be with other departments that they need to have a frequent working relationship with, the Comeau property would not be abused and the property owners would not suffer a 16% increase in the General Tax levy.
COMMUNITY GARDEN THRIVES
The community garden behind Andy Lee Field has functioned successfully for many years. It has brought great pleasure to many people who do not have ‘land’ on which to plant vegetables. It does not infringe on the ball field nor tennis courts and is easily accessible and is wonderful to view in its growing season. Why would anyone want to move it to the Comeau property? It would provide great meals for the local deer there unless an eight foot metal fence enclosed the planted area. This would certainly create a major detriment to the view shed. Incidentally, the Conservation Easement does allow for a Community Garden on that land.
ONE OF US NOW
After appreciating the Swami’s homey cartoon humor in last week’s Woodstock Times, I turned to the extended letters page section, Point of View, for additional amusement. I was not disappointed. I’m glad that Ms. Segal got to ask herself the tough questions about the proposed affordable housing units. I was worried there for a bit. Some of the questions had her reeling in the ropes, but the Woodstock newcomer not only held her ground admirably, she also gave herself what for! Segal v. Segal. One for the ages. I think she’s one of us now.
Getting older brings with it that punch in the gut feeling that comes with unexpected news of an old friend’s passing. Edgar Rosenblum was indirectly responsible for my introduction to Woodstock in the summer of ‘64. It’s hard to forget his barrel chested dynamism as impresario of the Woodstock Playhouse. A kid of 17, I met Edgar while helping to shuttle summer stock productions between the Hyde Park Playhouse and the Woodstock Playhouse, an experience that lives in a golden haze of adolescent adventure for me. Amid the long hours and cheerful chaos of producing summer theater, Edgar stands out sharply in memory, mustache bristling, attacking the myriad details of production with wry wit, sheer energy and muscle. I didn’t know at the time that Edgar would move on in life to a formidable career in the Theater, but my memories of that summer eventually brought me back to live in Woodstock, where I would have the good fortune to experience the warmth and hospitality of the Rosenblum household once again. I will remember Edgar Rosenblum with fondness and respect, as will many others, I’m sure, whose lives he touched.
OVERSTEPPING THE BOUNDS
At the last town board meeting Jay Wenk inquired why the board did not vote to engage Brinner and Larios to do the survey on the upper Comeau. Moran’s answer was B&L is the town’s consultant and it did not need to vote on it. He is often reckless with misinformation. So apparently he (Moran) directed them to do the work. Councilman Wenk was correct in questioning the process. There was no resolution by the town board to give him that authority. Moran has over-reached his authority many times. To quote several passages from the Local Government Handbook issued by the NYS Department of State, “One of the distinguishing features of town government organization is the lack of a strong executive branch. Virtually all of a town’s discretionary authority rests with the town board. What little executive power the supervisor has is granted by specific statute or by the town board. The town board, therefore, exercises both legislative and executive functions.” And again, “many people think the supervisor’s position is the executive position of town government. But the supervisor is also part of the legislative branch as a member and presiding officer of the town board. He or she acts as a full member of the board, voting on all questions and having no additional tie-breaking or veto power.” Once more “The supervisor is more of an administrator than an executive. The supervisor’s duties under law are to: act as treasurer and have care and custody of monies belonging to the town; disburse monies; keep an accurate and complete account of all monies; make reports as required; pay fixed salaries and other claims; and lease, sell, and convey properties of the town, when so directed by the town board.” Once again Supervisor Moran has over-stepped his authority. If councilpersons McKenna and Magarelli want to relinquish their authority and accountability as members of Executive branch (town board) and let Moran and Rosenblum lead them around by the nose and have no interest in performing their due-diligence, maybe they should resign. By appointing Rosenblum Deputy Supervisor for the year and not including the other members of the Executive branch in the rotation as Deputy Supervisor, as has been done in the past, speaks volumes of how he views the other member of the Executive branch. At the town board organizational meeting, several resolutions were passed that were designed to marginalize councilman Wenk’s participation. But, they also had the effect of limiting the independent action of the other members of the Executive branch. My advice to Councilman Wenk is to file an article 78 and let the courts reign in Supervisor Moran’s unrelenting quest for power.
On another note, the State Comptroller’s Office recently completed what I guess is called a “Red Flag” audit and issued a report. Moran mentioned it as one of the reasons for disallowing Wenk’s buyout from the town’s health plan. I wonder if Moran has shared that report with the rest of the Executive branch as they are as equally entitled to see it as he is.
UNBEARABLE EXCUSES The Comeau Stewardship Plan is in trouble and behind schedule because Terrie Rosenblum has the responsibility to get it done. Rosenblum is lost in her new role, without a clue, as she misleads the public with false statements and excuses. As admitted by Rosenblum, in response to my recent FOIL request, there is absolutely nothing that has been documented for a Stewardship Plan. After nearly 6 months, there is nothing that can be shared with the public, other than excuses for delay. Rosenblum is the wrong person to lead a Stewardship Plan. She has never been an advocate of the easement but instead a voice against it.
Currently there is no list of work items to complete the Stewardship Plan, no timeline documenting a schedule of activities, no meeting minutes, no notes, no documented process or protocol with the WLC, no teams established, no documented research, no sizing of the work efforts, no committees, and most damaging, no public consensus. Nothing is documented in the first one-third of the 18-month time limit allotted by the WLC. At this rate, expect garbage at the end of the next 12 months. Expect incomplete garbage disguised as a Stewardship Plan.
Rosenblum leading the effort is like giving the foxes the authority to design the chicken coop. Rather, this complex effort needs someone who is an advocate for the easement with an authentic passion to get the job done efficiently and effectively, involving the community in the spirit of the easement and referendum, without undue delays.
We need someone with a sense of urgency to complete this effort. We have had enough excuses from Rosenblum. Re-assign the responsibility to someone who cares about the easement, not to someone who fought against it!
HAS SOCCER OUTGROWN COMEAU? The Woodstock Soccer Program is one of the great benefits for Woodstockers who love to play! Even a retired codger like me gets a thrill standing on the Great Lawn at dusk hearing excited yells from kids or adults whose bodies and minds are sychronized in healthy play. Soccer is not to blame for the slimy green swamp in the Comeau South Woods with hundreds of uprooted pines lying around like dead elephants. Ecologically uninformed drainage solutions, arguably innocent in 1985, are to blame. There was no Conservation Easement then. No total Comeau Management Plan which would have flagged those costly mistakes.
Expanding the Soccer fields into an eastern wet meadow today without any drainage plan, while pretending it is not a wet meadow because someone walked it after a dry spell, is not innocent. It is an example of the need for a Comeau Management Plan which would analyze the needs of each area of the conserved property throughout the year. Moreover, expanding into a woods to the west as also requested will mean violating the Easement’s prohibition on cutting timber. And the large pavilion, proposed and sent to
the WLC for their scrutiny, violates several of the Easement’s terms including a prohibition on cutting timber.
Do their expansion plans mean the soccer users group has outgrown a Comeau under Conservation Easement? Let’s face it. This is not our original local soccer users group which was given the privilege in 2003 to play on a Comeau legally protected by an Easement. Woodstock’s Comeau soccer field, in the middle of a Conservation Easement, cannot serve as the only groomed soccer pitch in all of the surrounding towns. Is not that the reality now?
Joan E. Lemaire Walker Wasylyk
KEEPING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
Woodstock is a great place to live.
We are blessed with one of the nicest towns with a flavor that possesses an art culture and an abundant wealth of natural beauty in our precious mountain setting. We are blessed with people who work and volunteer for our town that help to preserve the quality of life we’ve grown to expect. We are blessed with neighbors who own and rent property who appreciate what we have.
For the most part, the town has a natural harmony. Unfortunately, there are significant issues that have been persistent in showing a side of Woodstock that disturb the natural harmony.
The voters of Woodstock have elected a Town Board to manage the affairs of our Woodstock. These elected officials are mandated to serve us and address the needs of the community. These elected officials, acting as a unified body, have a duty to serve the public interest and for the most part, with the exception of one member of the Town Board, they have been attempting to do so. These elected officials have been thwarted by one member of the Town Board and a handful of miscreants who do everything possible to divert the Town Board from their elected duty and responsibility.
These miscreants do not represent a majority opinion of the town. These miscreants malign the officials that we have elected. These miscreants misrepresent and distort facts at meetings, in print media, and on public access television. These miscreants do not respect the process of our government and act in a manner that is to disrespect and be discourteous whenever possible.
On the issue of the RUPCO housing development that has been many years in process. A self appointed “expert” has proffered as a scare tactic that the affordable housing project will not serve the needs of Woodstock people. This self appointed “expert” hasn’t been a Woodstock person for long having purchased in Woodstock only about two years ago. Being a relatively “new person” in town who is trying to scare us about “new people” who may benefit from finding affordable housing in our town is ironic. The persistence in the objection to the RUPCO development appears to be stemmed in bigotry, either economic or racial, which I find hard from being consistent with the good natured and caring people of Woodstock who I am fortunate to know.
It is unfortunate that the minority voices of miscreants can appear to be louder than the majority of the Woodstock townspeople. Maintaining the focus on providing a place for all people to live and work in a safe environment and to have the ability to raise children in a community that embraces them are the critical needs along with preserving the local economy on which we all depend.
RUPCO’S ECOLOGICAL STUDIES DEFICIENT According to SEQRA, an applicant must take a ‘hard look’ at potentially significant environmental impacts. RUPCO’s studies for their proposed housing project do not support a “hard look” analysis of the impacts to wetland species.
The record demonstrates that the ecological surveys conducted for the project site have been superficial and inadequate. Moreover, the failure to perform these surveys is inexplicable. The FEIS’s responses would lead the Planning Board to believe that an extensive survey of the site’s ecology was conducted by RUPCO’s consultant, North Country Ecological Services, Inc. (NCES). On page 71, NCES states: “During the numerous property reviews held at various times within the past three years (which include the wetland delineation, endangered species surveys and various other technical reviews of the site)....” and “Additionally, based upon the ecological surveys that have been conducted over a three-year, multi-season review period at the site...”
However, only one comprehensive survey was conducted for “all species” on the project site and on one day only. Here are the facts as represented in the SEQRA record:
1. Appendix C-8 of the DEIS presents the Woodstock Commons Endangered/Threatened Species Evaluation prepared by NCES and dated September 8, 2005. Page 1 states: “Compiled a comprehensive species inventory of the flora and fauna that was identified on the site during the June 2, 2005 site visit....”
2. Appendix C-8 also provides evidence that the endangered and threatened species site visit was also conducted on the same day: “NCES also actively reviewed the property for the presence of habitat suitable for these two [Bog Turtle and Indiana Bat] species, during the June 2, 2005 site review.
3. The Flora and Fauna Inventory in C-8 states that species were observed/identified on June 2, 2005.
A single day in June does not constitute a “three-year multi-season” review of the site conducted by RUPCO’s ecological consultant.
In the Matter of Save the Pine Bush v Common Council of the City of Albany, petitioners brought an action under SEQRA alleging that the City failed to take a hard look at the potential impacts on species other than the Karner Blue butterfly. Both the Supreme Court and Appellate Division found the petitioners had standing and that the City had failed to take a “hard look” at the potential impacts.
Besides the fact that RUPCO did not take a substantially “hard look,” the Planning Board and its consultants didn’t even notice.
More next week. For more information, please visit woodstocksage.com.
HAMLET BEAUTIFICATION UPDATE
Over the past couple of months, a small group of dedicated volunteers has worked to identify projects that may make Woodstock a more beautiful place to live in and visit. We are completely apolitical and our only goal is to make a small contribution to beautifying the area. We have identified eight projects and have presented them to the Town Board, including: 1) Bridge work at 212 and Tannery Brook; 2)A waterfall viewing area between Sweetheart Gallery and BMG (on Tannery Brook); 3) A large peace sign comprised of flowers and shrubs at the entrance to town at 212 & 375; 4) Stone work near the Village Green (in front of Loominus); 5)Gardening (various plots on the Village Green); 6) New trash receptacles (various locations); 7) Posts and chain at the 212 and 375 triangle; 8) A new fence and clean up (just west of the Byrdcliffe Shop on Tinker St.)
Now we are ready to move forward, but we need help from the community. We need more volunteers and we need funds to make these a reality. We specifically need masons, steelworkers, carpenters, artists, and gardeners, but anyone with a desire to help is more than welcome. We also need donations. Any amount can help. Donations are tax deductible and checks can be made out to the “Town of Woodstock” (write “Hamlet Beautification Effort” in the memo) and sent to Town of Woodstock, 47 Comeau Drive, Woodstock NY 12498. Additionally, donations can be made online via PayPal at http://woodstockny.org/. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to reach out to us anytime at email@example.com
Town Beautification Task Force
MCKENZIES TO HELP WIRTZ
If you’ve ever floundered, as I have, trying to describe the rollicking-wry local band of yore, The Fighting McKenzies, to someone who’s never seen them, a rare window into the experience reopens at 7 p.m. this Sunday at the Rosendale Café as the group comes out of retirement with a benefit to aid ailing band member, John Wirtz.
Here’s a chance not only to contribute to our Area Musicians Emergency Health Care Program (which wouldn’t be a bad idea to organize) but to finally respond to that “You’re kidding, right?” look you get when you mention how much fun it was to watch this Acoustic-Beefheart-Meets-the-Romanian-Ozark-Asylum-Fuss-Band at work/play. Don’t miss it!
The Staying In Place organization may seem rather unnecessary to many a 60 to 80 year old person or couples who are doing eveything that needs doing except really major things. Hate to say so but things will change as those aging genes take over. The change is pretty subtle. And one of the couple may leave.
With the SIP program, whenever any need arises one does not need to face a Yellow pages quandry but will have a quick referral to a reliable agency or a volunteer.
It is amazing how much you can save by hiring a reputable company with a small discount to boot. There are many folks out there gladly volunteering services. This program has incredible possibilities.
This is a thank you to Harry Baldwin for being a great chief of police. For policing this town of ours, which is never easy; for never abusing his power for knowing when to be tough and when to have a sense of humor; and for really being there whenever I had a crisis and needed the police.
I have such respect and admiration for Harry. It’s been a pleasure watching him grow into the man he is today. You will be greatly missed.
I’ve never been more aware of how deeply I love Woodstock. Every inch is blessed and has been for a long, long time.
There was a dear man who had hit skid row in New York after a prosperous career on Madison Avenue. He had found himself here and was greatly loved back. He used to sit on the Green. I saw him mostly sitting under the tree outside Sunflower and found answers for many of us in his beloved I Ching, which he always had with him. One day he looked very seriously at me and said “You know these grounds have been blessed by Native Americans and then by generations after them. Promise me that you’ll never leave here.” Next day I found out it had been his last day on Earth. I promised him and I promised myself.
My next door neighbors filed for a permit to expand their house in the direction of the stream. I worried about my vista and my rights. I learned there were many restrictions and resistances to protect me. For instance, my view will not be disturbed, the stone wall cannot be touched. I’m sure there are many more laws to protect me. Thoughtful people have labored to adhere to these principles. I know many of them today, as we all do. I knew many of them, who are no longer with us.
The Easement regarding the Comeau is not yet tamper-proof. The Land Conservancy is yet to make it so. We are talking about our most precious inheritance. Let no man put asunder in a state of grandiosity; let no man put asunder the spirit that protects the rights of every man, woman and child — yes, and our dog population to enjoy, as Ed Sanders calls it, our jewel. It belongs to everyone.