Thursday, March 19, 2009

NtM - March 19, 2009

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

“I am all for the AIG bonuses” - Rush Limbaugh

Good Thursday Morning,

The village of Cold Spring is going to have a new mayor. Current mayor Anthony Phillips lost a close race to Seth Gallagher, ending 16 years of service to that village. In the Trustees race, current Trustee Edward Mancari lost to newcomer John Ralph Falloon by just 31 votes and returning Trustee Bruce Campbell was comfortably reelected. In Nelsonville, Thomas Corless was elected to the mayor's spot and Trustee Anthony Merente was reelected to his third term - both in unopposed races. We wish them all good luck.

The other day I asked folks to let me know when CSA Farms in the area were ready to sell shares for this season's crops. Thanks to Judy Allen and Margaret Wilder I now have some of that information for you and if there are other CSA farms servicing our county please let me know about them. Here's two, long standing CSA operations to get you started:

Ryder Farm on Starr Ridge Road in Brewster can be reached at 845-279-4161, by email to or at their website, Summer shares start at $450 for a full share which is $28 for 16 weeks of fresh, organic produce. Betsey Ryder, the farm's owner and manager, expresses a sentiment that holds true not just for her farm but for any CSA operation. She says:

At Ryder Farm Cottage Industries, there is no work commitment but you are free to join us in the hands on joy of harmonizing with the growing cycles. Subscribers are encouraged to stroll the gardens as if they are your own. Enjoy the ambiance and have a first hand look at all crops under production. Your support as a CSA member directly contributes to the preservation of This slice of local history that is Ryder Farm and we are so very grateful.

In Patterson, Cascade Farms is back for another season. Cascade's shares are $525 for 20 weeks or $26.50 a week. You can find Cascade farm on Harmony Road just north of Route 292 west of Patterson Village. You can reach them at 845-878-3258, by email to or at their website,

If you're around this weekend you can sample Cascade's wares at a Farm Breakfast this Saturday morning from 8:30 until 11am. The cost is $7 for adults, $5 for members and seniors and $3 for children under 12. While there you can learn more about their CSA program, tour the facility and meet some nice people. If you're lucky, Dave W. will be cooking.

Regardless of which one you end up with, tell them PlanPutnam sent you!

How does a CSA Farm work? (From Cascade Farm, though general in content.)

Members are entitled to a weekly portion of the farm’s bounty throughout the growing season. We currently have a twenty week season which runs from June to mid-October. During the season our members receive a portion of the weekly harvest. For instance, if we harvest 150 pounds of string beans for 75 member shares, each share will receive 2 pounds of beans for the week. Crop conditions may vary and so will the variety and amount of produce. For example, when tomatoes ripen you may receive a large share during the prime weeks but the weeks preceding and following may include smaller amounts or none at all.

In a February 23rd Community View piece in the NYJN, Kent resident Vic Tiship called for a return to a progressive income tax as a way of funding education and more fairly distributing the tax burden across the state. Vic's position on this issue closely matches mine and he and I have been successful at convincing the County Legislature and the Town of Kent to pass non-binding resolutions in favor of both and it was easy since most are in favor of fairness in our tax system. If you're a long-time reader of this column and the blog it's no secret that we've both been quite active and vocal on this issue and that people are listening...

This morning, Montebello resident and business executive Allan Jason writes in a piece called, "Class warfare isn't the way to solve economic crisis" that he disagrees with Vic's letter and uses semantic gymnastics to make his point. But his arguments are weak and if he were to compare apples to apples he'd have none. But in the usual way that the super-wealthy attempt to protect what's theirs and to continue surfing the wave of "privilage" they believe they're entitled to, he intentionally misses the point and bolsters his argument with comparisons that are meaningless. In the last paragraph Mr. Jason writes, "Mistakes have been made that have damaged our economy. Compounding those mistakes is not the answer." Yes, mistakes have been made with the number one mistake being that the super-rich have been able to get away with financial murder for all these years while you and I pay the bills.

At the end of the day, those living in this state who are making a great deal of money are not paying their fair-share of the taxes, especially to our school districts, with the result being that the vast majoirty of us are living hand-to-mouth in order to pay our property taxes. While Mr. Jason believes Vic and those who seek a progressive, graduated income tax are engaging in class warfare, well, he can call it anything he wants but we call it fairness. Kudos to Vic for his letter.

And now, The News:

  1. State threatens to cut immunization funding to Putnam County
  2. The Growth of Community-supported Foodstuffs
  3. Theater sound company sees light with solar panels
  4. Sea Level Rise to Affect NYC, Northeast Most
  5. Rezoning Amounted to Illegal Spot Zoning for Failure to Comply with Master Plan
  6. PV Planning Board 3/9/09
  7. Is access to clean water a basic human right?
  8. Split Emerging Between Conservative Media And GOP Leadership On AIG Mess

State threatens to cut immunization funding to Putnam County

CARMEL – County officials are calling on every resident of Putnam to contact their state officials in Albany this week demanding that Governor Paterson reconsider a plan to cut funding for immunization programs statewide.

Under the proposal Putnam and Wyoming County in upstate New York will receive virtually no state aid for immunizations next year placing the burden on local government.

Deputy Health Commissioner Loretta Molinari told a meeting of the Putnam Legislature’s Health Committee Wednesday, “We all realize that cuts are being made on the state level because the economy is bad. The State Comptroller is urging that reductions be made yet Albany must prioritize. Perhaps injury prevention is less important than disease control. Government can’t treat all programs the same any more. Lawmakers must make painful decisions as to what is more important and what is less important even though it’s all important.”

Read More

The Growth of Community-supported Foodstuffs

Posted by: Morgan Clendaniel on March 18, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Most everyone living in a big city has heard of community-supported agriculture, or CSAs. A farm, or group of farms, delivers fresh food to a central drop-off point. You get whatever the freshest food the farms have, and they get to cut out the middleman, putting more money in the farmers’ pockets. But the CSA model has recently started expanding beyond fruit and vegetables. A great example of this is a story in the Boston Globe about community-supported fisheries on the North Shore of Massachusetts in Maine.

It works basically the same way. Sign up in advance, pick up fresh fish once a week. Sure, you’re getting a whole fish, but it’s cheaper than at the supermarket, and you’re drastically reducing the distance between your food and your plate. Besides, everyone should learn how to fillet a fish. For fishermen, they are no longer beholden to the demands of large fish buyers. And since they can sell each fish at a larger profit margin than when selling in bulk to a super market (”The percentage of income was way up, in some cases 300 percent for low-value species like pollock.”), they don’t have to fish as much. At a time when our fisheries are stretched to the limit, that’s a really big bonus. Plus, fish is really good for you.

Read More

Theater sound company sees light with solar panels

Ernie Garcia
The Journal News

YONKERS - A theatrical sound company is preparing a new rooftop solar-panel array that will supply as much as a quarter of its energy needs.

Sound Associates at 979 Saw Mill River Road is getting its final inspections for a 25,000-watt array of 150 photovoltaic panels. Richard Fitzgerald, the chief executive, said his company's decision to reduce energy consumption stemmed from an imperative in New York City's performing arts industry.

"We build systems for the Broadway community, and they have this very big impetus to go green, and they're working on theaters to make them more efficient," said Fitzgerald, a Tony Award-winning sound designer. "Since we're part of that community, it's time to look at other ways to generate electricity."

Read More

Sea Level Rise to Affect NYC, Northeast Most

Michael Reilly, Discovery News

March 16, 2009 -- Not far off the east coast of the United States, a mountain of water is lurking. If even a moderate amount of global warming takes place in the next century, a new study says it could slosh toward shore, doubling the rate of sea level rise in New York City.

Predictions on how much the oceans will rise by 2100 are highly uncertain; the latest estimates range from 50 centimeters to over a meter (1.6 to 3.3 feet). Melting glaciers play a large role in those estimates, as do rising temperatures, which cause ocean waters to swell as they trap heat.

The eastern seaboard of the United States is experiencing a bit of good sea level luck right now; waters in the area are around 0.6 meters (2 feet) lower than the global average. The trough is maintained by the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Current, two powerful mid-ocean rivers that pile water up offshore as they course north toward the chilly latitudes of the Arctic.

Read More

Rezoning Amounted to Illegal Spot Zoning for Failure to Comply with Master Plan

The developer, owner of a parcel of undeveloped land located in a C-1 Neighborhood Commercial Zone, filed a site plan application to construct a professional and two retail buildings on its site.  Although the application complied with the requirements of the C-1 Zone, residents asked the township council  to rezone the property to Office Professional arguing that since the surrounding area was already largely developed, the current designation would create additional traffic, noise, dust, and pollution.  The Council ultimately adopted an ordinance rezoning the parcel to Office Professional, although they recognized that their action was “inconsistent with the Master Plan,” they reasoned that the rezoning was appropriate because it would “prevent an intensification of traffic congestion” that could be created by the development of a commercial facility at the site.  The Council further explained that rezoning was appropriate because, among other things, in comparison to commercial facilities, professional offices tended to have less “noise, lights and odors” and less traffic.

The Supreme Court of New Jersey held that the Council’s action was (1) arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable; and (2) impermissible inverse spot zoning.  The court noted that the ordinance was inconsistent with the Master Plan, was not adequately explained and arbitrarily imposed a burden on the property owner. The court explained that the state’s Municipal Land Use Law (“MLUL”) requires a municipality to, in adopting a zoning ordinance, either: (1) adopt an ordinance that was “substantially consistent” with the municipality’s Master Plan; or (2) explain its reasons for adopting an ordinance that was inconsistent with the Master Plan.  That statutory directive, said the court, precluded a municipality from making its decision to adopt a zoning ordinance arbitrary.

Read More

PV Planning Board 3/9/09

March 16th, 2009 Posted in News
Putnam Valley Planning Board 3/9/09

From Dawn Powell
There was no quorum for an illegal backroom meeting until 5:44. The PB Attorney was not present in the backroom. It was announced back there that “Adorno” would be off the agenda. They discussed the Gair application and the apartment above the garage.

There were three public hearings. No one from the public spoke at any of them.

Masotti on Shopis Drive is building a 2 story addition, with an accessory apartment, on a 1.09 acre lot in an R1 lot. This is a zone that should no longer exist in the zoning code. This would properly have been a non-conforming lot if the code conformed to the Comprehensive Plan.

I would like to see the size of the existing structure on the agenda description. These descriptions have improved tremendously. I would also like to see a full presentation at the public hearing instead of the consultants just saying that their comments have been addressed. It is also my belief that SEQRA requires a real presentation of the consideration of the environmental concerns that are addressed before there is a negative declaration of environmental significance. And if we could just get those signs, marking parcels with planning or zoning considerations.

Read More

Is access to clean water a basic human right?

A growing movement thinks so, saying it will guarantee that the poor have water. But at a water conference in Turkey, officials voice concern about implementing such a right.

By Yigal Schleifer | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor from the March 19, 2009 edition

ISTANBUL, Turkey - With fresh water resources becoming scarcer worldwide due to population growth and climate change, a growing movement is working to make access to clean water a basic universal human right.

But it's a contentious issue, experts say. Especially difficult is how to safely mesh public-sector interests with public ownership of resources – and determine the legal and economic ramifications of enshrining the right to water by law.

"It's an issue that is snowballing," says Tobias Schmitz, a water-resources expert with Both Ends, a Dutch environmental and development organization. Some 30 countries have a constitutional or legal provision ensuring individuals' access to water, up from a handful a few years ago, he says.

"Everybody is grappling with the issue, knowing that we need to secure this right. But the question now is over the practical application of this right," Dr. Schmitz says.

Read More

Split Emerging Between Conservative Media And GOP Leadership On AIG Mess

Here’s an interesting subplot developing amid the AIG mess: The emerging split between leading conservative media figures and GOP leaders over how to respond.

GOP Congressional leaders have roundly condemned AIG and its executives, as part of a strategy to position themselves as heroic defenders of the taxpayers and to paint the Obama administration as weak and ineffectual. Mitch McConnell recently blasted AIG’s bonuses as an “outrage.” John Boehner said that the “American people are rightly outraged.” And Eric Cantor bemoaned the “stunning lack of accountability” on AIG’s part.

But increasingly, leading conservative media figures are moving in a different direction: Defending AIG.

Rush Limbaugh recently said: “I am all for the AIG bonuses” and attacked the Obama administration for trying to undo them. He also blasted Dem efforts to get the names of the AIG bonus recipients as “McCarthyism.”

Read More

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