Village elections! Read about it and vote! Today is the day.
You know I have to lead with a story about me. Not vanity, mind you, just human nature... and I think I need a blog to counter just this kind of thing.
My response to the article is longer than the article but I promise my little source criticism here will be more informative and entertaining too.
The story in the Register Star starts by saying that I "did not speak on topic." I think I did speak on the topic. I believe all county business should be tabled until we citizens can be sure that public officials operate in the public interest.
That is my theory: stop what you're doing and fix the hole in your roof before you go off and renovate your kitchen. That is what I said at the hearing
The hole in your roof argument is a damn good one liner to pass up for a newspaper article. And it explains my argument very succinctly.
There is no oversight of elected officials and the chair of the Ethics Board is guilty of punishing me for bringing her evidence of an ethics violation.
Next the article in the Register Star says, "asked for Stuyvesant supervisor Valerie Bertram (R) to resign as chair of the county ethics committee." I never asked her to resign. Roy Brown, chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, is the first person to suggest she resign in his letter to her in January. I called for a hearing to allow Valerie to have due process. I did not want to corner her and force her to resign without allowing her to have her chance to speak.
Valerie Bertram and her officials have repeatedly denied me due process and again. I would not try to do that to Ms. Bertram.
Next, the article says, " town officials have tried to shut him down through denying or redacting his Freedom of Information Law requests, revoking his permit and intimidating him through citations, visits to his home by the town’s building inspector, and more." That's a mouthful. And it's the tip of the iceberg for sure.
“This public hearing is for just this local law,” Supervisor Larry Andrews, R-Ghent, who presided over the hearing, said to Pflaum.
So that's who that guy was! Anyway, I was advancing an argument that you have to assure the public that supervisors are not allowed to run rough-shot over the public interest before you do anything else. You can disagree with me but it is relevant to the local law under consideration, whatever the law may be.
Now we get to the Valerie Bertram quote. "In previous interviews with the Register-Star, Bertram has said she and other officials haven’t retaliated against Pflaum or tried to shut his business down." Bullshit part one. Bullshit part two. They did try to shut me down.
Back to Valerie Bertram: "She says he violated zoning code because his dog-boarding business, Glencadia Dog Camp, is too noisy from barking dogs."
How would she know? Did she read this paper showing the charge is impossible? Did she talk to these 31 witnesses who report no problem including 100% of the near neighbors? Come to my open house? Come to my sound test?
Why bother to have a Zoning Board of Appeals if the supervisor can determine the matter without a hearing or reviewing the evidence... or ever visiting the site.
Back to Valerie Bertram: “This has to be resolved. He has a zoning violation, and it’s not being resolved because he won’t comply …"
I don't have a zoning violation. I live in a corrupt town. There has been no determination that I violated anything. The process by which I was charged is unconstitutional.
And by the way, I can't comply with a crazy law enforced in bizarre ways. I tried.
It can be resolved by Valerie Bertram stopping her harassment of me to try to silence me from exercising my constitutional rights. That will end the zoning farce. It will end the criminal charges farce. It won't help Ms. Bertram, who runs a corrupt government and must face the music.
Valerie Bertram is lying. Tal Rappleyea pocketed $10,000. Tal Rappleyea requested an illegal payment from me. Howard Gleason certified a fraudulent assessment, costing the tax payer $70,000 a year in lost revenue. Gerry Ennis harassed and stalked me.
But let's go back to Valerie Bertram in the Register Star: "certainly no one in my town has been doing anything malicious, illegal or unethical. It’s just that he doesn’t like that we’re making him go through this process.”
"Certaintly," she said. How can she be certain? Did she ask them to explain where the $10,000 went? Why there are four mistakes on the Boat Club Assessment and yet correcting those mistakes does not raise the assessment? Why Gerry Ennis walked around my house 25 times at 5:30 in the morning?
Did she ask them? The how the hell does she know they did nothing wrong?
Meanwhile, I'm before the planning board to answer false, politically motivated charge, then again in town court on April 6 to answer the same false charge, then the zoning board...
Where is Valerie Bertram's hearing? That's what I called for.
Columbia County is corrupt. If it werent' Valerie Bertram would not retain her chair of the Ethics Board without a hearing.
That's the story.
And I'm done for today.