Wednesday, February 23, 2011

News That Matters - February 23, 2011

News That Matters

News That Matters
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Telling it like it is for 10 years and counting...

Good Wednesday Morning,

A short one today!

Putnam County lost one of its sons earlier in the week. Peter Rossi, famous for the Night Kitchen in Putnam Valley, the now-burnt gazebo atop Candelwood Mountain and most recently of Kent, left us quietly surrounded by friends and family. A memorial service will be held later in the week.

Above is a photo of the members of the Putnam County IDA who decided it was worth their time to entertain the public during their public hearing for the corporate welfare program they are engaging in for Paul Camarda. There were about a dozen people in the audience with 11 speaking against it and 1 wasn't sure. At Kent, an hour later, only Kevin Bailey made it with a recording secretary again to about a dozen people all of whom spoke against it as well.

But Mr. Bailey assured me that not everyone is against this deal, that there are people out there who have bought the line about how shopping malls lower taxes. We have to find that guy, sit him down and have a loooong talk. I could write hundreds of words about what happened at the meeting but suffice to say that the only thing the IDA was willing to bend on was the amount of time they would wait for written comments (one week) before they schedule a meeting at which they will approve the deal.

In case you'd like to engage in an effort of futility, here's the contact information. Due to demand from the public the IDA will accept written comments for about a week but will not - or had not decided to at either Southeast, Patterson or Kent, to reschedule these hearings at a time when more people might actually be able to attend.

34 Gleneida Avenue
Carmel, NY 10512
Phone: (845) 228-8066
Fax: (845) 225-0311

And now, The News:
  1. Pledge? What Pledge?
  2. NYC's future well-being requires that mammoth water filtering plant in Bronx be only one of its kind
  3. A new attack against a looming green menace?
  4. El Salvador's environmental crisis

Pledge? What Pledge?

A NY Times Editorial

Before last year’s elections, when New York’s legislators were terrified of losing their jobs, a majority signed a pledge to pass a set of much-needed reforms, starting with a plan to end the gerrymandering of political districts. Now all 32 Republicans in the State Senate and a few Democrats in the Assembly have decided that they have more important things to do. That sort of cynical postelection amnesia is an insult to voters.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t forgotten his reform pledge. Last week, he introduced a bill that should make elections in New York more competitive. It would set up an independent commission to draw political districts based on nationally established criteria — such as near-equal numbers of people per district, contiguous county or community lines and minority rights — all without regard to the party registration of voters.

The Legislature would have a chance to vote on the new maps, up or down. After two rejections, legislators could offer limited amendments on a third effort. If an agreement still had not been reached, the issue would go to the courts.

Every 10 years, after the national census, Albany’s legislators have drawn districts with one main goal: to get themselves re-elected. It has worked far too well. A recent report from Citizens Union Foundation noted that over the last 12 years, 96 percent of the state legislators who stood for re-election won. The new census numbers are in. That means the process of map-drawing has to begin this summer to be ready for the 2012 election. If lawmakers keep their promises, this legislation should easily pass both houses.

Speaker Sheldon Silver of the Assembly (who was conveniently silent on last year’s pledge) should endorse the Cuomo bill and schedule a vote this month. In the Senate, the Republican leader, Dean Skelos, did sign on, with much fanfare, but now says he is too focused on the state budget to follow through. He is stalling.

It takes 32 Senate votes to approve the governor’s bill, and Democrats say that they could muster 25, maybe more. The list of Senate Republicans who are forgetting their pledge is long. But here are six who might be more attuned to their voters, if pressed: Martin Golden of Brooklyn and Andrew Lanza of Staten Island; Lee Zeldin and Jack Martins of Long Island; Greg Ball of Brewster; and Mark Grisanti of Buffalo. Call them and all the legislators who vowed to change Albany’s cynical business as usual. It is time to deliver.

Read More

NYC's future well-being requires that mammoth water filtering plant in Bronx be only one of its kind

A NY Daily News Editorial

With a feat of engineering that must never need repeating, New York reaches a critical milestone this week in the never-ending effort to maintain the city's very viability.

This has to do with that wondrous substance without which there is nothing.

"The water that flows through these tunnels will come from the Croton Watershed in Westchester and Putnam counties.

Because those reservoirs' pristine quality has been threatened by encroaching development, the federal government ordered the city to, for the first time, filter the water."
Deep under the northern Bronx, the Department of Environmental Protection will complete construction of three tunnels that will one day transport water out of a 120-year-old aqueduct from upstate, through a monstrous filtration plant and back into the supply.

Since we tend to care about the ready availability of clean water, the Daily News Editorial Board made an inspection tour of the new tunnels last week, descending 90 feet below a corner of Van Cortlandt Park into concrete tubes that are 9 and 12 feet in diameter and more than 1-1/2 miles long.

They were a marvel to walk. So, too, was a century-old conduit that was drained of water for the first time since it was built the hard way - out of five layers of brick and mortar. Wonder of wonders, it appeared as good as new.

Congratulations on a job well done to all the sandhogs who blasted the bedrock and built the new shafts. (To see a video of an excavating explosion, go to A tip of the hat, as well, to the team led by engineer Bernard Daly, executive construction manager.

Applause finished, we repeat: Never again.

Read More

A new attack against a looming green menace?

This article was first posted at Watershed Post - News, arts, environment and culture from around the Catskills.
By Julia Reischel.

A truck injection. Photo from the Arborjet website.

The insatiable emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that is death to ash trees, has already been spotted in parts of the Catskills, including Kingston, Saugerties, and locations in Greene County. While some have suggested harvesting all the ash trees in the state before they are destroyed, a story in the Berkshire Eagle describes another, slightly less destructive solution: something called “trunk injection.”

I have been in contact with representatives of Arborjet, a company that has developed a trunk injection system to fight EAB. With this system small doses of pesticides are injected directly into the tree’s transport tissues, thus enabling distribution within the tree while limiting the impact to the environment … They claim that it can stop damage even if the tree is under attack without harming the surrounding environment. However, it may be too late if more than 50 percent of the canopy is dead. The cost of tree injection for homeowners can range from $70-150, depending on several variables, including tree size and how many trees a homeowner is treating at once. This is considerably less than removing and replacing the same trees.

Read More

El Salvador's environmental crisis


Boanerge Lovo lives in a subsistence community on Isla de Monte Cristo near the central coast of El Salvador. His community is self-sustaining and relies on fish, crab, and growing cashews for its survival.

Lovo is president of his community development association, a position that carries the responsibility of watching out for the wellbeing of the 27 families in this community.

Along with weather events like floods and hurricanes of increasing extremes that are attributed to climate change, he and two resource rangers in his community do what they can to stop poverty-stricken residents from nearby communities from cutting down trees in their nearby mangrove forest, poaching iguanas and parrots from the same area (which is a UN protected Biosphere), and try to prevent overfishing.

"We’re trying to change their habits and ideas," Lovo told Al Jazeera, "We are working to find what we want to leave for future generations."

Read More

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