Tuesday, December 16, 2008

News That Matters - December 16, 2008

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."
- Robert Frost

Good Tuesday Morning,

Mother Nature had a little fun with us yesterday with temps reaching into the mid 60's downstate and hovering around 60 here until late last night. This morning the ground is covered with sleet. You've got to love December!

If you live in the Town of Kent or are just interested in Stormwater related issues, the town is holding a public information meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) evening at the town Center. The meeting will run for one short hour from 7:30 to 8:30 PM and culminate with coffee, sweets and casual conversation.

The meeting will include a short update from Bruce Barber, the Town's Stormwater inspector and Maureen Fleming, the Stormwater Committee's current Chair and a preview of four short Public Service Announcements (PSAs) the town created as an educational tool for the public. It's those PSAs you won't want to miss!

The weather is supposed to be crappy, but don't let that stop you! There's a lot going on in our effort to clean up our environment and you should be aware and take the time to participate. The Press Release for that meeting is here. (PDF file)

Just in case you haven't been to the blog lately, here's a short list of items there which are not here, all the more reason to check it out.

On December 3rd I ran a column about a proposed contract between the county and Geo. Whipple to run Tilly Foster Farms. That contract, the sweetheart deal of sweetheart deals, gives Mr. W a 40 year lock on the place with the county receiving $0 in leasing fees while paying all the bills for utilities, general maintenance and snow removal. It doesn't seem fair and it's not. It's a huge transfer of what should be public funds into the hands of a private entity, meaning, we really have no control.

Legislator Tamagna justifies the contract by saying that since we didn't want the farm in the first place, at least we've now got someone to keep it open and manage it. Ann Fanizzi also supports the deal and I have no idea why. Pretty much everyone I have spoken to and everyone that has commented on this is dead-set against it, as they should be. Well, everyone except the County Executive who supports it quite strongly.

The cost to taxpayers could be quite significant. For example, if Mr. W builds an indoor heated riding facility, do you have any idea how many thousands of dollars a year it could cost to heat with taxpayers footing that bill? Scuttlebutt has it Mr. W might build a full-scale restaurant. While that would be nice, why should you be forced to pay the utility bills while the profits go into Mr. W's not-for-profit account? If the contract in the form presented last week goes through, Tilly Foster could become the black hole which sucks your tax dollars out of your pockets like no other this county has seen. It is clearly a government sanctioned redistribution of wealth from the taxpayers to a private enterprise.

The Physical Services committee of the County Legislature will meet at Tilly Foster this coming Friday at 1:30 PM to hammer out the details and vote to pass the contract onto the full Legislature for approval at the December 29th meeting. That would be one hell of a messed up Hanukkah/Christmas present to taxpayers.

It's not often I ask you to go to a meeting, but this is one that should not be missed. Level, cooler heads must prevail and substantial changes need be made to the proposed contract before it can pass muster - or even be considered as legitimate. Right now it's almost criminal in its disregard for the public. Do I believe Mr. W can successfully manage the Farm? Yes. But certainly not under the terms provided.

If you'd like a review of the contract in the last incarnation I had seen, point your browsers here. For a draft copy of that contract dated November 2008, click here. (PDF file)

For those of you who are regular readers and have not yet supported us this year, yeah, you just crossed one of those hidden !guilt pangs! smartly encoded in these pages. Your donation makes them go away. For those who have donated to the cause, that feeling of warmth you just had? It's sweet, no? Thanks.

And now, the News:

  1. Neighbors fight Brewster Honda's rezoning proposal
  2. Demolition of Mahopac neighborhood pool postponed as residents try to save it
  3. Jumpstart the Economy by Protecting the Environment
  4. Shoe-Hurling Iraqi Becomes a Folk Hero
  5. Supreme Court rejects appeal questioning Obama's citizenship
  6. What was the Most Inane Punditry of the 2008 presidential campaign?
  7. Single Payer Doc Says Private Health Insurance Industry Must Go

Neighbors fight Brewster Honda's rezoning proposal

Marcela Rojas
The Journal News

Brewster Honda is not in need of a bailout - in fact, the opposite is true - but what it is short on is neighborhood support for a zoning change that would allow it to expand its business.

Brewster Honda, considered among the highest sales-tax generators in Putnam County, has filed a petition to rezone 2-4 Allview Ave. so that it could store its inventory and operate a "prep center" for new cars. It currently runs a new and used dealership, parts and service station where routes 6 and 22 converge, near the Allview site.

About a dozen residents, who have organized as the Meadow Lane-Allview Avenue Coalition, attended the Southeast Town Board work session Thursday night to express concerns about the idea of a storage and repair facility bordering their residential neighborhood.

Read More

Demolition of Mahopac neighborhood pool postponed as residents try to save it

Barbara Livingston Nackman
The Journal News

MAHOPAC - Residents living near Teakettle Spout Lake have persuaded Putnam County officials to temporarily hold off on plans to demolish a crumbling community swimming pool and clubhouse.

But it is an uphill battle as some other residents have lined up against restoring the site.

The county has given supporters three months, until March, to try to gain support for resurrecting the aging recreational facility near Teakettle Spout Lake.

"What I am trying to do is solicit interest in revitalizing the clubhouse and pool or let the county do what it feels is necessary," said Dan Pearsall of Northview Drive, who has spearheaded a campaign to survey owners of 531 homes in the southern Mahopac neighborhood.

Read More

Jumpstart the Economy by Protecting the Environment

Thursday, December 11, 2008
By: American Rivers

National environmental groups propose jobs in clean energy and green infrastructure

Contact: Amy Kober, American Rivers, 206-898-3864 (cell)

Washington, DC -- Environmental and conservation organizations today released a green stimulus proposal that would create as many as 3.6 million jobs, reduce pollution, save energy, protect public health and safety, and restore the environment. The groups delivered their proposal for funding energy efficiency, renewable energy, public transportation, water infrastructure, national parks and public lands, education, and other environmental programs to the Obama transition team over the weekend and unveiled them on Capitol Hill today.

Shortly after the November election, President-elect Obama called for an economic recovery program “building wind farms and solar panels, fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead.” All 16 groups endorsing the proposal agree with the president-elect that our economic recovery hinges on making smart investments today that will protect our environment, restore our valuable natural resources, and set us on the path to a clean energy economy.

Read More

Shoe-Hurling Iraqi Becomes a Folk Hero


BAGHDAD — An Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at President Bush and called him a dog became a huge celebrity in the Arab world and beyond on Monday, with many supporters exalting him for what they called a courageous act in the face of American arrogance about the war.

Barely 24 hours after the journalist, Muntader al-Zaidi, was tackled and arrested for his actions at a Baghdad news conference, the shoe-throwing incident was generating front-page headlines and continuing television news coverage. A thinly veiled glee could be discerned in much of the reporting, especially in the places where anti-American sentiment runs deepest.

In Sadr City, the sprawling Baghdad suburb that has seen some of the most intense fighting between insurgents and American soldiers since the 2003 invasion, thousands of people marched in his defense. In Syria, he was hailed as a hero. In Libya, he was given an award for courage.

Read More

Supreme Court rejects appeal questioning Obama's citizenship

From CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Supreme Court has dismissed a second emergency appeal questioning Barack Obama's eligibility to be president because he had dual British-American citizenship at birth.

The justices without comment on Monday refused to intervene in the November 4 presidential election, dismissing the claims of Cort Wrotnowski, a resident of Greenwich, Connecticut.

In his appeal, Wrotnowski claimed that because Obama's father was a Kenyan-born British subject, the president-elect does meet the Constitution's requirement that the president be a "natural born citizen" of the United States. Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. His mother was a U.S. citizen, born in the United States.

Read More

What was the Most Inane Punditry of the 2008 presidential campaign?

The 2008 election made history, but the long campaign leading up to it included plenty of servings of half-baked commentary. Media Matters for America has nominated 10 particularly inane pieces of punditry and invites you to vote for the Most Inane Punditry of the 2008 presidential campaign. Choose one from this list of ridiculous remarks:

Read More

Single Payer Doc Says Private Health Insurance Industry Must Go

22 Corporate Crime Reporter 46, November 26, 2008

The health insurance industry is like a vicious sleeping dog.
President Barack Obama, with his health care reform plan, would kick the dog.
Better to eliminate the dog altogether by enacting a single payer plan.
That’s the take of Dr. Johnathon Ross.

Ross is a medical doctor based in Toledo, Ohio.

He also leads Single Payer Action Network Ohio – an advocacy group that is pushing for legislation that would make the Buckeye State the first in the nation to pass single payer into law.

“The insurance industry is a sleeping, but very vicious dog,” Ross told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last week. “You have a decision to make. You can either put a bullet in the back of its head. Or you can kick it. And Obama is going to kick that dog. And that dog is going to wake up and kill his plan.”

“If he just kicks it with Obama regulation, and regulates it in an extreme way – force them to take all comers, regulate their profits, which he has talked about – they are going to fight you tooth and nail. We are better off to just get rid of the industry.”

Ross says that by eliminating the private health insurance companies, you save $300 billion in administrative costs. Currently, administrative costs are 30 percent ($600 billion) of a $2 trillion system.

Read More

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