Wednesday, December 28, 2011

12-28-11: manuscript in philmont, the price of bad governance

I'm in the paper.  I blogged the story yesterday.

Copying the bible by hand in Philmont.

Bad water in Stockport.

Darrow School in New Lebanon showed up in Google Alert.

This piece got me thinking, that post and the Stuyvesant Town meeting last night.

At the town meeting, various people praised the departing supervisor. I don't begrudge someone a good bye ceremony I guess...

But the town of Stuyvesant is totally mismanaged. We have tribal elections that lead to tribal government. There are more Kikuyu than Luo, so every president of Kenya has been Kikuyu and none Luo.

But we don't have tribes? How about factions? That's what James Madison wrote about in the 10th Federalist paper. One small town, but the dynamics are not that dissimilar nationally in some ways.

The result? The government can't actually respond to real problems and change. Then, when you add in endemic corruption, I don't think the future looks good for America.

Why do we fund our public schools with local property taxes and have school districts with elected school boards with no oversight beyond the local beauty contest? And no other school choice? Is this working?

No. American public education is largely not working. Are we changing it? No.

Look at health care. We spend tons on health care but our people are not healthy. We spend on education but our people are not well educated.

Compare the US to Sweden. Now, Sweden is a small country, but we can also compare Sweden to some state in America or a city if we wanted to. In Sweden, they have socialized medicine and free market education. They addressed these issues. When Sweden had a banking crisis, the government took control of the banks, then sold them off. The free market is alive and well in Sweden.

Sweden is a leftist country? Even as they have put into effect the Republican think-tank education solution?

Sweden is a well run country. You can actually talk about changing things and actually make it happen.

Not that Sweden is paradise: the principle holds even with the imperfections in Sweden and occasional good idea in America, a good idea that actually made it into law, which almost never happens.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

12-17-11: sec. state in cc, the abode at harvard

The Secretary of State of New York will hold a second event in Columbia County on Wednesday December 21st to announce the upstate recipients of the CSBG Workforce Development grants.

This picture was taken in Columbia County, New York, not that you can tell.

The Abode in Harvard Magazine.

Funny business in the town court in New Lebanon?

A town here getting rid of some equipment.

Want to invest in a local bank?

County budget. Hold you nose and read about it?

Nice pool, good swimmers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

12-5-11: art and development, study, other news

Here is an article on the relationship between art and development. If this is true, Hudson may be in better shape than we might otherwise suspect.

Here at the survivalist website we see that some people in our area are turning to subsistence?

Open space preserved. Good.

Election results, if you want the gory details.

Update on murder investigation. Annoying ad on that page.

Local business mentioned in the Daily News. Far Fetched Acres.

Cool house. Tagkanic.

1933 house. This kind of picture seems rare to me: in 1933 people did not take pictures like this too often and you can learn quite a bit from something like this.

Public notice. Chatham.

Occupy LA and the LAPD has a local link. Tyson's sister lives in Chatham.

In advance of someone saying Tyson should have done this or done that to avoid this outcome, I would like to offer an analogy.

You are walking down the street somewhere in Los Angeles (imagine that you are actually walking in Los Angeles). There you are on Rodeo Drive and you meet a tiger. You climb a tree (palm tree). This was stupid: tigers can climb trees and so, you get eaten. You should have found a door with a doorknob and ran behind it. Tigers cannot turn doorknobs. So you see, you brought this on yourself.

Why was the tiger wandering around? That's just the way it is in Los Angeles.

Now, of course, we're not talking about tigers. We're talking about the police. So, since that's the way it is, visitors to Los Angeles should get a pamphlet when they land at the airport.

Welcome to Los Angeles. In order to make your stay as injury-free as possible, the city has prepared this manual on how to avoid getting your ass kicked and getting locked up on false charges by our police.

If you see a police man, avoid looking in his eyes. If you have a smart phone, be sure to familiarize yourself with both the video and audio record functions. Practice turning the audio record on without removing the phone from your pocket. If you find this difficult, you might want to invest in a separate audio recorder with a one touch record feature.

If you are the victim of a crime, be sure to video and audio record all you interactions with the police as you attempt to report the crime.

If you want to exercise your constitutional rights, you should have the contact information for attorneys who specialize in federal and state law. One attorney is not going to be enough: Los Angeles has a two attorney minimum for those of you interested in exercising any rights.

We hope this brochure helps you to enjoy Los Angeles without getting your ass kicked by our corrupt and violent thuggish out of control lawless police. Like earthquakes, there is nothing we can do about that problem.

Sincerely, the mayor


Friday, December 2, 2011

glencadia Photojournalist Tyson Zoltan Heder beaten and detained by LAPD at Occupy Los Angeles…
less than a minute ago

Tyson Heder Tyson Heder: his sister lives in Chatham. Outrageous police abuse.

Monday, November 21, 2011

county wide development plan and the chatham price chopper

It looks like the new Price Chopper on 66 in Ghent is a done deal. It's a bad deal.

Instead of turning 66 into yet another American sprawl strips, just like all the others, that which makes Chatham special should have been nurtured and encouraged. This project is bad for Chatham, bad for the environment, bad for the entire county local economy.

While I think the planning board in Ghent should have said no, I understand why they said yes. I wish Price Chopper had a different plan but I understand why they did what they did.

I don't see a specific villan operating unethically or with nefarious motives.

Chatham was or still is to an extent the one place in Columbia County (or further) where someone who can't drive (blind, epileptic, under 16, etc.) can go for many days or even weeks without need assistance to get supplies. People who don't live in the village can park once, then go out to eat, pick up a few things in the store, not just tourist stuff but maybe shoes or a book or some health food at the Grainery or the food coop or go to the library, maybe play pool at the Morris Memorial community center, have lunch aat a restaurant, pick up some bread at the bakery, then get back into your car and drive home. If you live in the village you could do all this on a bike or by walking.

There is also a huge amount of space sitting unused in the grain elevator area behind Blue Seal.

If there were a supermarket in this space, walking distance to the main street, it would be a boon for the village. It would preserve the critical mass in the main street, since you could do every thing in one place, people will want to visit, and of course live near, the center of town for many different reasons.

That didn't happen. The space in the village is still just sitting there and Price Chopper is going to pave over open space and create sprawl instead.

Bad outcome. Not Ghent's fault. No Price Chopper's fault. But bad.

Here is what I think we need: A county-wide plan, endorsed by the state legislature, to do the following: 1) share the vast majority of sales tax revenue between all jurisdictions; 2) declare that agro-tourism is the main industry in the county; 3) agree that walkable, thriving village, town and city centers are important; 4) set up a county wide bike path and hiking trail plan; 5) note that light industry and green development that helps preserve open space is compatible with agro-tourism but that sprawl and heavy industry are not compatible.

Farms, yes, second home ownership, yes, open space, yes, trails and bike paths, yes, walkable villages, yes, old buildings, yes, heavy industry, no, sprawl, no.

That's a pretty simple winning plan for prosperity and aesthetic beauty, which in our case are the same thing. 

Who's in and when do we meet?

Monday, November 14, 2011

too much news in stuyvesant!

I can't keep up with the rest of the area... lately. I will be back with good lists of local stories soon! Thank you for stopping by...

In the meantime, I wrote this on the budget in Stuyvesant due to Woofergate.

I did see this and it's nice. I agree. Blog about Chatham. Nice.

And this is big news, identity theft. Another arrest in Copake. Sports news.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

8-12 percent tax increase in Stuyvesant


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a public hearing will be held before the Town Board for the Town of Stuyvesant at the Stuyvesant Town Hall on the 19th day of November 2011, at 10:00 a.m., regarding the adoption of a Local Law to Override the Tax Levy Limit established in General Municipal Law §3-c. This law is being proposed to comply with subdivision 5 of the General Municipal Law §3-c which expressly authorizes the Town Board to override the tax levy limit by the adoption of a local law approved by vote of at least sixty percent (60%) of the Town Board. At such time and place all persons interested in the subject matter thereof will be heard concerning the same.
Copies of the proposed law shall be available at the time of the hearing and shall be available at times prior to and after the hearing at the Town Clerk’s Office during normal business hours for the purpo! se of inspection or procurement by interested persons.
The proposed Local Law to Override the Tax Levy Limit Established in General Municipal Law §3-c establishes the Stuyvesant Town Board’s intent to override the limit on the amount of real property taxes that may be levied by the Town of Stuyvesant.
Melissa Naegeli, Town Clerk
Town of Stuyvesant
Dated: November 11, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

election day

Keep your eye on Hudson. Nice editorial here. Here is my piece on my town.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

teachers: over paid?

I read this about teacher pay. I thought this was interesting:
"Although teachers as a group score above the national average on intelligence tests, their scores fall below the average for other college graduates," the pair write. Teachers, they find, also score lower on their SAT and ACT.
Many teachers have little or nothing to offer to students. Some have a tremendous amount to offer. When you pay them the same and give them the same conditions regardless of what they have to offer, it is unlikely to promote excellence, in my opinion.

I know that the public schools are not good enough for my kids. I know that most of what goes on in classrooms is the opposite of what I want for my kids. I have no doubt about that.

The rest of the issues, like why things are they way they are, I'm open to all points of view.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

register star does a good story

This is real journalism. Nice. Now, forget the paper. Let's look at Ron Knot, candidate for supervisor.

I proposed with mediation (and wrote to Common Ground and asked them to come speak), compromise (my application to the Planning Board to add voluntary conditions to my permit), and concern for other (the more than $5000 I spent on sound proofing) before my permit was revoked.

I have now filed two lawsuits. They are only asking for fairness that could have been achieved here in town. They certainly can be settled with little fuss and expense.

Election in 7 days. It's not to late to change course and be reasonable.

Here is a quote from the paper:

According to Knott, “Mr. Pflaum preaches that he likes mediation but his actions don’t follow that. I support the idea of his business,” Knott said, and explained that as Pflaum’s business grew and “neighbors complained, we as a Town Board had to respond. All we’ve been asking is for him to comply with zoning,” Knott said.

Bull. Here are the "findings" the town spent $80,000 to produce. Does this sound like they are giving me a fair chance to run my business without a ridiculous amount of interference? Does this sound like David Everett of Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna was fair?

Read it for yourself.

Did I work for mediation or not? Yes, I did. I wanted a town-wide policy of professional mediation services through Common Ground services for all neighbor-to-neighbor complaints. I was not against participating in such a process myself but I wanted it to be a town policy first.

Here is Ron Knot at the February town board meeting. Here Ron thinks zoning and planning board hearings ARE mediation. They are not. They are enforcement, which won't work. I called for a different process.

Here is my letter read by Valerie Bertram. Audio.

Here is the letter I wrote that Ron was responding to.

Here is the blog entry I wrote at the time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the dog ate my budget! really!

Stuyvesant Voter, will you be spun?

The coming dog tax is not my fault. The dog tax, and it will be big, will be Ron Knott's fault.

You will pay the dog tax. Ron won't tell you how much until after the election. 

There is nothing inevitable about the dog tax. It could have been and still could be avoided through compromise and mediation.

If Ron Knot is elected, the dog tax is a sure thing. If not, you might avoid an increase.

Ron Knott's town board spent $100,000 on Whiteman Osterman and Hanna to hammer me in planning zoning and criminal court. 

The firm was hired on March 10, 2011. The money was paid from March to October.

My federal lawsuit was filed on March 23, 2011. The attorney for the suit is Burke, Scolamiero, Mortati & Hurd. Their fees are covered by town insurance.

Ron Knott's town board has paid Burke, Scolamiero, Mortati & Hurd zero dollars.

Ron Knott's town board has no out of pocket or un-budgeted expenses because I sued the town in federal court for violating my civil rights. 

I filed a suit in state court on October 26, 2011. 

Ron Knott's town board has fees for the town yet for the state suit to date. It was only filed last week for violating public officers law and zoning law.

I offered to institute mediation in neighbor to neighbor disputes in January 2011. Ron Knott's town board was against it. 

I offered to settle with a compromise in December 2010. The planning board rejected the offer.

In the town has spent $100,000 to date on planning, zoning and criminal court. The town has spent $0 defending lawsuits to now.

The town WILL INCREASE YOUR TAXES if Ron Knott continues the campaign against me. 

Ron Knott will refuse to settle and be done. You will pay for lawyers if you elect Ron Knott. 

Ron Knott = Lawyers

Ron Knott = Loses

Ron Knott = Spin (i.e. Lies)

Ron Knott = Injustice

Ron Knott will increase your taxes to pay for lawyers. It won't help. The town will loose and pay legal fees.

I am innocent of all wrong doing. This is unAmerican. I will have my day in court. And then another day. And then another until justice is done.
You will pay for the lawyers fighting for injustice.

I have not asked for punitive damages to date. Lord knows, I have them coming.

Compromise and settlement and mediation would have avoided all of this.

It is not too late to avoid MASSIVE TAX increases. Settlement and compromise mean good government. 

Your choice, voter. Tax increases for lawyers and damages of settlement and getting back to the business of governing. 

The Register Star is all spin all the time. Check out other media. More stories will follow.

Vote for sanity.

The town has broken public officers law. I said so in a suit in court and I intend to prove it.
The town has broken zoning law. See my suit.
The town has violated the constitution. I intend to prove it.
Fraud, embezzlement and abuse are endemic in town government. I intend to go to court and show evidence.

You won't be able to say you didn't know.

front page story on me on register star totally wrong

Here is the Register Star piece on my conflict with the town.

You know how in China after they execute you they send a bill to your family for the bullet? That's what the Register Star is doing in today's article.

The town spent $100K to harass me and now they are blaming me for the expense. Outrageous.

My fault the town spent the money? Only if you are retarded.

Wow, it's the worst article they could have written. This is so stupid its hard to know where to begin. The legal fees TO DATE are for process in TOWN HALL that the government had complete control over.

The money was paid to Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna, not to Burke, Scolamiero, Mortati & Hurd. Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna has not responded to ANY LAWSUIT.

 Burke, Scolamiero, Mortati & Hurd has responded to a lawsuit but they ARE PAID BY THE INSURANCE POLICY.

 Is the Register Star awake?

To what law firm and in what venue? How can you screw something that fundamental up accidentally?

The fees below are only for municipal actions, within Stuyvesant jurisdiction. These numbers do not include fees for representation in courts outside of the Town of Stuyvesant (State and Federal).

Tal Rappleyea for work on Glencadia matter:
August 2010 = 1562.50
September 2010 = 437.50
October 2010 = 937.50
 November 2010 = 1406.25
 December 2010 = 875
January 2011 = 593.75
February 2011 = 375
March 2011 = 1125
April 2011 = 250
May 2011 = 312.50
June 2011 = 250
Total for Tal for 2010 and 2011: $8115

 Whiteman Osterman and Hanna:
 March 2011: $11,811.53
April 2011: $7,141.56
May 2011: $6,694.17

Total legal expenses as of May 1: $57,761

 Missing: WOH for June, July, August, September and October. At $8,000 per month, an average of the three available months, WOH would have been paid another $40,000 making the grand total to date approximately: $97,761 WOH and Stuyvesant signed a contract on March 10, 2011.

 Burke, Scolamiero, Mortati & Hurd, the town's lawyer in Federal court, is paid by insurance.

Expenses to town: $0

Saturday, October 29, 2011

10-29-11: shady clients, shady firm, fire, clock, farms

Stuyvesant has an $80,000 budget short fall because they paid Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna to go after me. Special prosecutor, special tax. This relates to the story about the Ponzi scheme in that we have two examples of Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna accepting shady clients: the Town of Stuyvesant and Christopher Bass.

Trick or Treat in The Fields Sculpture Park Saturday, October 29 4:30 PM -6:30 PM Omi International Arts Center will host our second annual Trick or Treat in The Fields Sculpture Park. Please join us on Saturday October 29th, from 4:30-6:30 PM

Remember Scott Murphy?

Terrible fire in Ghent.

Copake Clock historic place officially.

Farm Bureau news.

 Kinderhook Farm 

Tatiana giving a demonstration about hay quality for sheep and goats at Cornell symposium this weekend. 

"unscrupulous attorneys" of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna

Di Febbo also told the judge he was disgusted that investors' money had been used to pay what he characterized as "unscrupulous attorneys" as he referenced attorney Leslie Apple of Albany, who had done work for Bass, and an attorney Di Febbo identified as Jacob S. Frenkel of Maryland.

Apple, of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, allegedly traveled to Europe to check out Bass' investment projects, records show. Apple did not respond to requests for comment. Some investors have said they were comforted by Apple's involvement with Bass, who had told them their investments had been vetted by lawyers. Frenkel could not be reached for comment.

 Read more:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

this crap happens every day

Did you read this?

This basic scheme is so simple, so corrupt, you have to wonder how it could happen. I'll you how: it's standard practice.

Open season on taxpayer money at the local level in New York State. That's why I had to file a Federal lawsuit.

Corruption is rampant and you better think that this IS in fact happening where you live.

Now, let me cross link my two blogs on I have a post about an unexplained spike in traffic.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

the anti-stimulus: taxpayer money spent to make the economy worse

Dialogue One: Family with Kids

"I know you don't want to move to suburbs but I just can't have two kids in this small apartment all the time."

"How about we get a weekend house in the country? It would be cheaper than selling our apartment and buying one with a third bedroom. Do you like the Catskills?"

"Too woodsy. I like open space, farms."

"Columbia County? I hear the government just spent 2.5 million to subsidize an A&W Root Beer Restaurant and is planning to move the county offices into an old Walmart now that the county has a brand new great big Walmart."

"Any other ideas?"

Dialogue Two: Farmer

"We are looking for 100+ flat acres and we need to be within 3 hours of the farmers market in Union Square, good schools, tractor parts in the area, and a somewhere to process frozen vegetables."

"Columbia County? I hear the government just spent 2.5 million to subsidize an A&W Root Beer Restaurant and is planning to move the county offices into an old Walmart."

"Any other ideas?"

Dialogue Three: Freelancer

"Now that I only have to come into the office once a week for scheduling and review, you mean I can live anywhere as long as I can get to Midtown once a week? Have any suggestions where I can go, somewhere rural, with good schools, an active cultural scene, maybe surrounded by farmland?"

"Columbia County? I hear the government just spent 2.5 million to subsidize an A&W Root Beer Restaurant and is planning to move the county offices into an old Walmart."

"Any other ideas?"

Dialogue Three: Empty Nesters

"Your retired already and I will in a few years. Why don't we get that place in the country we always wanted, sell our big house here in Westchester, get a little studio in Manhattan and some land upstate?"

"Good idea. Where would we go in the country?"

"Columbia County? I hear the government just spent 2.5 million to subsidize an A&W Root Beer Restaurant and is planning to move the county offices into an old Walmart now that the county has a brand new great big Walmart."

"Any other ideas?"

killing jobs in the name of creating jobs

How do I know that this 2.5 million dollar government investment in the economy is counter productive? Let's consider:
“This will definitely turn [Greenport and the county] into a destination market,” said Harbalwant Singh, developer and owner of the property. Greenport Crossings’ first phase got underway Monday; it includes the construction of a Mobil gas station, a convenience store and an A&W Root Beer Restaurant with its own small store. The cost of this phase is $2.5 million dollars, and is expected to create 15 full-time jobs as soon as it is completed in the spring. 
So, an A&W Root Beer Restaurant is what Columbia County needs? We need it so badly that the government has to help it exist?

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Will an A&W Root Beer Restaurant make the county more or less attractive to second home buyers from New York City?

2. What is the number one industry in Columbia County?

3. What else could you have done with 2.5 million dollars?

4. At $166,000 per job, is this a good deal even in the limited frame of the development itself?

What about an frozen food processing plant that could help local agriculture? Agriculture, unlike an A&W Root Beer Restaurant, is compatible with our main industry, second home owning.

What about preserving open space and creating more Hudson River access? While not producing jobs directly, something like that would encourage more second home owners to believe in the county long term. The home owners would then invest more than 2.5 million in the economy and create more than 15 jobs.

What about, instead of making something new and ugly, we preserve something beautiful and old, like an old factory building in Hudson? People from the city would like to see old beautiful things, not an A&W Root Beer Restaurant.

How about instead of an A&W Root Beer Restaurant we invest in education, so people not only come on the weekend but stay all week and keep their kids here? Or art: would people from the city like the area better if there were another art institution to add to the list we already have?

Why is it that our own local politicians do not understand our own economy? We are an agricultural and tourism (including second home owners) economy. Those two industries go well together. An A&W Root Beer Restaurant contributes nothing to critical mass in agriculture or open space and second home owning destination purchasing.

In fact, by spending 2.5 million in this way the county is KILLING more than 15 jobs by driving some unknown number of second home owners to SOME OTHER PLACE like Berkshire Massachusetts.

This flawed vision is a boon for the county. Only thing is, its a boon for Berkshire Massachusetts which doesn't need more boon. It's a net loss in business activity for Columbia County.

You don't have to like that second home owners are the back bone of this economy. But they are. Does Michigan hurt the auto industry? Does Los Angeles drive film companies out of town? Does Bolivia try to irradiate cocaine?

No. Your industry is your industry. You know it and you protect it. Only Columbia County tries to destroy its own economy and calls it "Open for Business."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10-20-10: spending too much to create too few and the wrong kinds of jobs, more bad development, heroine, food coop, TARP theft, #occupyalbany, job in doing good

Heroine. Columbia County.

Last night:

The next Acres Co-op Market community meeting will be 6pm (not 6:30pm)
Wednesday, October 19th
at Christ Church Episcopal Parish Hall, 431 Union Street, Hudson, NY

So the government is spending 2.5 million to create 15 jobs? That is unsustainable and unnecesssary.

Politicians doing stuff

 Occupy Albany 

Tell us why you will be at Lafayette Park this Friday, we all are part of the 99% and we all have our own reasons why  

 WGXC: Hands-On Radio 

WGXC is live from the Catskill Community Center every Wednesday for WGXC Afternoon Show from 4-6 p.m.

 Nature Conservancy 

Cool Nature Conservancy Job: Director of Philanthropy-Mid Atlantic Market  

 Chronogram Magazine 

Current economic structures are arguably inadequate. Increasingly, communities are exploring alternatives. That's... 

 Times Union 

Photo: A sign warns passing motorists about exotic animals on the loose from a wildlife preserve October...

10-19-11: occupy albany:

Bullies? Youth forum to offer address on bullying: The third annual Dutchess County Youth Forum will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the Salt Point campus of the Dutchess County Board of Cooperative Educational Services. For more information, call Mary K. Fields at the Youth Bureau at 845-486-3660.

Egg swap.

Tumblr Columbia County. Rooster. "We had dinner at the Old Chatham Country Store on Saturday. It was an odd choice for me, because, honestly, I kind of hate the place... And the food? Delightful. Oddly enough, there is very little pretensions to the current locavore craze."

Occupy Albany. Good idea. Better write up. Ask them to pass ethics reform.  Nice photo.

 Occupy Albany 

Occupation date is set for October 21st in Lafayette Park. Starting at noon our first GA will be at 5pm!! RT please!  

Biography of Hon. Jacob W. Hoysradt, 1878. Elisha Bushnell.

Anyone in the board Albany Capital District area? Check this out:

I went here and learned: During his campaign, Old Kinderhook (OK) clubs from Van Buren hometown supported the President. The barnacle has the largest penis of any animal.

We're still at war.

Look, movement hijacking in progress.