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