Can someone explain the sudden disappearence of three East Greenbush Police? I understand one was fire, the second was given an opportunity to resign and the third? the story is still too fresh to have all the facts...
Today we continue to morn the passing of East Greenbush Police Officer Witko. Mr. Witko died doing what he apparently loved, riding motorcycles and helping raise funds for good causes. I did not know Officer Witko, but I am truly sorry for that and in his passing. What I have learned since his death is, he was a family man, married with children. I believe his son is the same grade as my daughter. He was a police officer both in East Greenbush and previously in Rensselaer. He was a Corrections Officer prior to that. He also served in Clinton Heights Fire epartment and at the time of his death, the East Greenbuhs Fire Department. As you ride home today and face the increased traffic and delays associated with his service, wake and funeral, take the time to reflect on what a loss this community has suffered. Officer Witko's family will be more inconvienced than an afternoon of increased traffic. Let us keep Officer Witko, his family, friends and coworkers in our prayers. Officer Witko put his life on the line everytime he put on a police uniform or a fire fighters turn out gear, Thank you Sir!
Rest in peace and my God's light shine upon you and your family.
Show me the money……. The Town of East Greenbush has multiple issues to resolve, this one is called SCRAPGATE. The Town Transfer Station accepts scrap metal for recycling. Here is how it works. Town residents can drop off any scrap metal they wish at the transfer station and the transfer station sells the scrap to a vendor. Sounds like a good plan but here is the reality. Most people who have valuable scrap metal, such as myself, will bring it to the scrap yard ourselves and collect the money paid for it. I have done this multiple times with metals such as copper and brass. The metal is weighed and you receive the money from the scrap yard. What I bring to the transfer station is the junk metal. The transfer station collects it in a dumpster and because it is a mixed load with the majority of the weight more of the less expensive metals, the price per pound is less than if the load was separated, or even if we the residents placed the more valuable metal in with the junk. I spoke to Joe, if you dump trash or anything else at the transfer station; you too have spoken to Joe. Joe and Reggie are the two guys who are usually there. These two guys are two of the nicest and honest people I have ever met. Joe and I discussed the metal recycling as it is a hot button issue in the Town. Joe showed me the log book in the transfer station office. This is the bound book that Joe writes every transaction in. Joe keeps meticulous records. Joe showed me the page where he tracks the dates when he calls the vendor to pick up the recyclable metal bins. Joe does this even though he has not been required to do so in the past. Joe would call the vendor and they would come and pick up the bin. The vendor would weigh it at his facility and calculate the price for the weight of the metal. Apparently under the current Town supervisor, that is where it all ended. Apparently, under the previous DPW Supervisor, Peter Partack, no records were kept on funds received from the vendor. Ann Taylor analyzed the financials for the transfer station and knew something was wrong. She brought it to the attention of Jim Breig, who looked into it and found we had not been paid since Oct. '08! Jim Breig brought it to the attention of the new DPW Commissioner (January 2010) Chris DeFrucio. Chris went to the vendor and claimed a small portion of the missing payments. The problem is there was never any checks and balances of when the bins were sent in, no one from the Town witnessed the weighing of the bins and no one noticed the lack of payments for two years. This is how Supervisor McCabe defines fiscal responsibility? Mr. McCabe, where are the monthly department reports? Where are the monthly budget reports? Where was the Comptroller who should have realized that an income line suddenly stopped receiving income? Mr. McCabe, you are the Town Supervisor and by law you are solely responsible fiscally for the Town to the residents. Why did it take over two years and someone from outside of the Town management team to discover this missing income? Thank goodness for honest employees who did more than required in book keeping at the transfer station and for the discovery by Ann Taylor and the efficient work of Jim Breig and Chris DeFrucio.
The fall elections are quickly coming upon us. For those of you who have followed the last years shenanigans, bear with my while I recap. Last year two board seats were filled through the constitutional process of voter preference. This gave the conservative/Republican group a majority for the first time in quite a while. In an effort to circumvent the voters wishes, the democratic party chair (Town) filed a lawsuit to disallow two people currently elected to the Board who also were elected to the County Legislature to hold both seats. The committee chair, rightly cited a law that didn't allow this practice, even though they allowed it in the past when it was a Democrat who held both seats. The lawsuit was upheld (by a Democratic judge) but the County legislature (Republican) quickly passed an amended law to make it legal to hold both positions. A Town Board member from North Greenbush was also caught up in this lawsuit, but when the County Legislature passed the bill and the County Executive signed it into law, the North Greenbush Town Board quickly reseated their Board Member. It was an outright political move to undo the voters wishes in East Greenbush and keep the Democratic stronghold on the Town Board. The current seated Democratic Board members, Supervisor McCabe and Ginny O'Brien refused to entertain (that is second) any attempt of the lone Republican, Rick Matters, to reseat the duly elected individuals. They instead chose to keep putting up Democrats for Board seats. Rick Matters stood his ground and kept them from being able to usurp the voters wishes. This stalemate kept the Town Board to a nonfunctioning 3 members instead of the five it should have had. If you need more information on these events, please refer to the Cristo/Taylor blog; the Story (blog); the Advertiser and the Town's website. The Democrats also launched a very nasty campaign against Ann Taylor, who was running for a seat last year. So much for history, and actually the present as the nastiness has started again!
Today, there are four people who are running to fill the two "vacant" seats on the Town Board and to fill the remaining time of those two seats. The two from the right, (Conservative. Republican,etc.) are Mike Cristo and Ann Taylor. Both have been very vocal in the recent eight months about the issues facing this Town. They are, a $2.6 million debt; gas-gate missing records of who got gas from the Town pumps and for what vehicles, scrap-gate, the missing checks for scrap collected at the Transfer station and carted off to a vendor, stipend-gate where certain individuals in Town, both elected and appointed, received stipends in addition to their salaries for what would appear to be their regularly assigned task. We really will never know in that there isn't any job descriptions written for these positions. Ann and Mike have been very open in discussing what they would do to get East Greenbush back from the junk bond status we current have, how to get a balanced budget and an open and accountable government. Many citizens have also been asking very hard questions (simple ones really) but have not been given satisfactory or even consistent answers from supervisor McCabe.
The other two candidates are Rick Hendricks and Phil Malone. Both are Democratic candidates sponsored by the Democratic party that has given us the junk bond status, unanswered questions and all the other issues I will lump into McCabe-gate for brevity. Well, I am curious as to where exactly Rick Hedricks and Phil Malone stand on the issues? Neither have broken their silence except a small article in the Advertiser where Rick Hendricks clarified a reporting error from the Democratic party that stated he is a life long resident of East Greenbush. Congratulations Mr. Hendricks, I applaud your honesty. In full disclosure, I have know Rick Hendricks for many years. We were both employed by the City of Albany at roughly the same time, he as a police officer, me as as a firefighter. I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Hendricks and always found him to be forthright and honest. I have no disillusion that he still holds these qualities dearly to his heart. With that in mind, I ask you Rich, where do you stand on the pressing issues facing this Town? (I also lump Phil Malone in these questions as well). Are you McCabe-lite, wishing to practice the same old policies, regardless of their legalities and/or perception of wrong doing? Mr. McCabe has had a full seven months to present his financial plan to the public about balancing the budget and digging our way out of junk bond status and $2.6 million in debt. but hasn't said anything specific. All he stated was he has a seven step plan and the first five have been implemented. Really? what are they? Do you, Rich and Phil, have a financial plan? Mr. McCabe has not been forthright in answering questions from citizens about the stipends, salary increases (without benefit of a Board vote) or whatever you want to call the $60,000 that appeared in select Town officials, elected and appointed, bi-monthly checks and reported as pension counting income. Do you have answers as to why this practice was abruptly stopped after being brought to light or are you going to continue the same old policy, McCabe-lite? What about all the other issues facing this Town? Why haven't we heard anything from you, Rich and Phil? Please get your plan out to the public and discuss what you intend to do about these pressing issues, or are we going to be left in the dark and get more McCabe-gate from the two of you? You have an active and inquisitive voter public that wants to know where you stand on these issues and more. Without you addressing them, our only choice is to vote for what appears to be very sound, businesslike financial planning or more of the same old McCabe-lite. What will it be? Rich? Phil? hello? anyone there? hello......
I'm 63. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I've worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven't called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there's no retirement in sight, and I'm tired. Very tired.
I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who don't have my work ethic. I'm tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.
I'm tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to "keep people in their homes." Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I'm willing to help. But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the left-wing Congress-critters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them with their own money.
I'm tired of being told how bad America is by left-wing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood Entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the economy of Zimbabwe, the freedom of the press of China, the crime and violence of Mexico, the tolerance for Christian people of Iran, and the freedom of speech of Venezuela.
I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honor"; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't "believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and Shari'a law tells them to.
I'm tired of being told that "race doesn't matter" in the post-racial world of Obama, when it's all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of U.S. Senators from Illinois.
I think it's very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less arrogantly of an all-knowing government.
I'm tired of a news media that thinks Bush's fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but that think Obama's, at triple the cost, were wonderful; that thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress; that picked over every line of Bush's military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his; that slammed Palin, with two years as governor, for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever. Wonder why people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News? Get a clue. I didn't vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004.
I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America, while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.
I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gore's, and if you're greener than Gore, you're green enough.
I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? I don't think Gay people choose to be Gay, but I damn sure think druggies chose to take drugs. And I'm tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana.
I'm tired of illegal aliens being called "undocumented workers," especially the ones who aren't working, but are living on welfare or crime. What's next? Calling drug dealers, "Undocumented Pharmacists"? And, no, I'm not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic, and it's been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion I'm willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person, who can speak English, doesn't have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military.... Those are the citizens we need.
I'm tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people than themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years and still are? Not even close. So here's the deal. I'll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims, who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls were Christian. Then we'll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear.
I'm tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers; bums are bipartisan. And I'm tired of people telling me we need bipartisanship I live in Illinois , where the "Illinois Combine" of Democrats has worked to loot the public for years. Not to mention the tax cheats in Obama's cabinet.
I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.
Speaking of poor, I'm tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn't have that in 1970, but we didn't know we were "poor." The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.
I'm real tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions. I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.
Yes, I'm damn tired. But I'm also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I'm not going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for my granddaughter.
Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate.
There is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on!
As you get older and have even older friends and acquaintances, one of the sections of the newspaper you turn to is the obituary section. As my parents were well known in the Albany Jewish Community, I see many names that I recognize. Friends of theirs, former customers and distant relatives. I have seen many friends of mine in there as well because there are old fire fighters and bold fire fighters, but no old, bold fire fighters. A lot of the people I have worked with have died far too young. Most of them from some form of cancer or another. After all, back in the 1970's and 1980's it wasn't cool to wear those new fangled air packs. Today we know much different and these younger fire fighters seem to be just a little smarter about their health then we were at the time. After all, if you don't think you are invincible, why would you go running into a building when everyone else is running out?
This is not a blog about cancer or old age. This is about opening the paper today and reading the obituary of a former colleague and friend. Jerry died at the age of 44. He leaves a wife of twenty some odd years and young (teenage) children. Jerry worked for me at Engine 11 for several years and we, along with the rest of my crew, worked day and night and lived together for 24 hours at a time. You get to know someone when living and "putting your life on the line" with them. Or at least you thought you did. Since retiring from Albany in 1999, I have seen Jerry on and off when I stopped by the station for a cup of coffee and catch up on department news. From the time I met Jerry, he always had a smile on his face, always a joke (Usually at my expense) and always, always someone you could count on. If I was too deep into a building or somehow in harms way, Jerry was right there behind me or there to lend a very welcome hand. Jerry pulled his own weight. He was not the kind of guy, as a supervisor, you needed to keep on to get the work done.
When I read his name in the paper, I first thought, ok an older relative, but his picture was there as well and of course he was smiling. I was shocked. Jerry was always in good shape, fit and trim. He didn't drink, didn't smoke. My emotions were shock, disbelief and sadness. I couldn't believe it, Jerry is dead. The wake and the funeral will be held Monday and Tuesday respectively and I have to be out of town for business. Do I call his brother, stop over to see him? I also worked with his brother and cousins on the job. In fact his brother-in-law is also on the job. Know them all well. It is a family business.
I received a phone call from a colleague later in the day. Wanting to know if I had heard that Jerry had died. That's the way the fire service is, we are all family. He told me how Jerry died. That was when my emotions took a very unexpected turn, anger! Jerry died by his own hand, he hung himself in his garage and left a note for his wife and children telling them to call the police and not go in the garage. Of course, the story goes, they immediately went into the garage, who wouldn't. How could he do that to them. What evils were in his soul, torturing him to set his family up with a sight they will never forget? I am back to sorrow, but not for Jerry, but for his family. Not only have they lost a husband, father, brother, etc, but knowing that it might have been different. I morn for Jerry, but pray for his family. You think you know a guy.
As a place to start this discussion Hal mentioned last night that I would try to work with the group to help us get better organized. I have always told Hal, and others, that I am willing to do that. But here’s what everyone needs to know… (1) I have no experience with local government and politics. While I am more than willing to help I see the overall effort as a group effort. I will need a LOT of help, ideas, suggestions, comments and criticisms from everyone. (2) I want to be a facilitator not a leader. I think the group functions best by going in whatever direction the group sees itself going. I think this point has been true from the very first meeting and I do not want that to ever change. As a practical matter what I think this means is the group exists to foster open communication and information sharing. Suggestions/Recommendations/Thoughts/Comments and Discussion Points for Our Next Meeting: 1.) Rename the group. We started as Hal’s vision for taking action. In the best traditions of American town hall meetings we shared our thoughts and desires around the group. The Tea Party label means different things to different people and does not best represent how the group has evolved. The suggestion is to re-name the group CARE (Citizens in Action for a Responsible East Greenbush) or something along these lines. 2.) I think the overall flavor, tone and content of the meetings is comfortable for everyone and should continue. It is essentially an open forum for discussion and that should continue. I think our plans and actions should be decided either by general consensus or by decisions individuals decide to pursue on their own. 3.) We need to identify an alternative meeting place as quickly as possible. All ideas and suggestions are welcome and appreciated. 4.) In the past we discussed having someone attend the various EG meetings. That idea has not really grown “legs” and I, for one, am not sure we need to extend ourselves that far. I think for the foreseeable future we should limit our focus to the Town Board meetings and perhaps the School Board budgeting process. I am just not sure how much value we would get from participating and attending Planning Board and other meetings except on an exception basis when we define a specific reason to. None of that should discourage anyone who wants to attend any other meetings from doing so but I think we can and should focus the group’s work where it most needs to be - and for the moment that is with the Town Council. 5.) I, personally, am okay, as we discussed at our May 3 meeting, with a group generated petition type letter to the State Attorney General’s office and the Office of the State Controller. My only caveat is that we need to be as specifically factual as possible. Making public accusations needs the care that such a step requires. 6.) I think every meeting needs to have the following: a. A report about the Finance Committee. b. A planning discussion for what we will question or discuss at the upcoming Town Board meeting. c. I would like to see us collect the various Department Head reports in advance of the Town Hall meetings and be able to share those so that people who attend do not have to put up with the “Nothing additional to report” verbal comments at each Town Hall meeting. I think if we do that we can lead the Supervisor to taking this step on his own. Is that possible or realistic? d. I would like Ann to express herself on how viable an idea it is to get a monthly budget report through the Finance Committee if we are not able to influence the Supervisor to include a budget report on the agenda. Is that possible or realistic? e. A report on the status of any Freedom of Information Act requests we have filed and a discussion of the next Freedom of Information Act requests we plan to file. f. A report from the pre Board and most recent Town Board meetings. 7.) Every meeting needs to have a report posted to the group so that people who could not attend can stay in touch. I will do that to start but I would really like to see this responsibility shared. 8.) I think we need to think about, discuss and decide how to fund our work. I think the people who are making Freedom of Information Act requests on behalf of our group should not fund those out of their own pockets. I think, if the group grows and expands, that we will have additional future expenses for copies and things like that. There are different options around funding and I think we need to discuss those at our next meeting. 9.) I think we need a web site. I think a web site has distinct advantages over blogs. Can someone with any experience in putting a web site up share at our next meeting what is involved and what the expense might be? 10.) In terms of longer term planning and activities: a. I like the idea of an alternative Town Hall meeting. If the group supports the idea we need to figure out: (1) How to do that? (2) Where? (3) How to announce and advertise it? (4) An agenda? (5) Media coverage? (5) What other Freedom of Information Act requests do we need/want to file and by when? b. I like the idea of sponsoring or supporting candidate debates as November approaches. Assuming the group supports the idea we need to decide when we need to start planning. November will get here quickly so whoever wants to be the leader on this needs to get us organized fairly quickly.
As many of you know. I have two children, Mark (20) and Katie (16). Both are incredibly smart and have great integrity. Anything other than that is just frosting on the cake. They are both very special people (o.k. I am sounding like Rose just a little here)But this installment is about my son.
Mark is currently attending Norwich University on a full NROTC scholarship (Marine option). He is currently finishing his Sophomore year. He has just successfully completed the competency testing and has been award his "rams head" as a member of the elite rescue team of the Mountain Cold Weather Rescue Company at Norwich. This is an active duty Army unit that performs helicopter rescues for lost and injured hikers and skiers through the New England area. He is the 181st cadet to meet the grueling challenges of physical training, rescue education and other competencies in order to wear the rams head.
On another note, he will be serving as the Gunnery Sergeant of the Marine corps. NROTC this coming academic year. This is the 3rd highest ranked Marine Cadet at the school.
Mark also has been accepted for an aviation slot with the Marine Corps upon graduation in December 2011. He will be getting married to Christina Lennon in January 2012, then off to Quantico VA for The Basic School (TBS) and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the USMC. His first duty station will be at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida for three years of flight school.
Mark just received the TAWANI Foundation award of Military Excellence, awarded "for exemplifying the ideal of the "Citizen Soldier" through outstanding military knowledge, academic achievement, physical fitness, military bearing and community service. Cadet Siegel's determination to preserve our fundamental liberties through individual responsibility is demonstrated in his zeal to strive for personal excellence, maximum performance and dedication to exceeding all expectations. Cadet Siegel's "can-do" attitude is an inspiration to others and epitomizes the core values that form the bedrock of our nation's heritage." This award is traditionally given to graduating seniors, Mark is a Sophomore.
Mark currently holds a GPA of 3.85 and is majoring in Criminal Justice. Norwich University is the oldest private military college in the United States and is located in Northfield VT.
The federal government has accumulated huge deficits – in the trillions of dollars. So, too, has New York State – into the billions of dollars. You may well and truly feel powerless to do much about those.
Our town, East Greenbush, has also accumulated a mountain of debt – into the millions of dollars. Hard to believe – but true. Years of too much spending have caught up with up with our town. If you read the Times-Union, the Advertiser or follow any of the four blogs devoted to our town you probably have a sense of the wide array of other issues facing our town and our leaders.
However hopeless you might feel about events at the federal and state level you should not, and hopefully do not, feel powerless about events in our town. You can, and should realize you can influence things.
What does it take to influence what goes on here in our town?
• First off – please attend the May 12 meeting of the Town Board at City Hall at 7:00 P.M. You will meet a number of friends and neighbors who are interested and committed to working to address our town’s problems. You do not need to speak out – just listen. You can decide later to what extent you want or need to get further involved.
• Next – read everything in the Advertiser, everything available on the town’s web site and everything on the four blogs devoted to our town. As just one simple example – on the town’s web site you will find under documents available for downloading the recent financial consultant’s report on the state of our town’s finances. Well worth reading if you care about your tax dollars at work – past, present and especially future.
• You can interact, in today’s day and time, with your elected officials. Letter writing campaigns are no longer the “in” thing. E-mail is faster and easier. Some of our elected officials are gracious enough to respond.
• You can vote – every time. The future votes that will take place here in our town are probably the most important town event that there will be in our lifetimes.
Your political affiliation or political party interest does not matter – your involvement most certainly does.
Please attend the May 12 Town Board meeting. Your very presence will provide support to the people that care deeply about what is happening now and will happen in the near future here in our town.
As things heat up in Town politics and things seem to be heading to something decisive finally happening, please be sure to attend the next Town Board meeting on May 12th at 7:00 pm. It is our hope to pack the meeting with so many concerned citizens, regardless of political party, beliefs or affiliation, that the Board members have to take notice.SO tell all your friends and educate those who are not aware of the disarray the Town is currently in. WE ALL NEED TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT OUR COLLECTIVE FUTURE AS A TOWN OF FINE AND DIVERSE PEOPLE!!!!
As things heat up in Town politics and things seem to be heading to something decisive finally happening, please be sure to attend the next Town Board meeting on May 12th at 7:00 pm. It is our hope to pack the meeting with so many concerned citizens, regardless of political party, beliefs or affiliation, that the Board members have to take notice.SO tell all your friends and educate those who are not aware of the disarray the Town is currently in. WE ALL NEED TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT OUR COLLECTIVE FUTURE AS A TOWN OF FINE AND DIVERSE PEOPLE!!!!
I don't particularly care about what party someone belongs to or if they switch mid stream or anything else. I have been educating myself, with the help of many people, to what is supposed to be happening in town government. It is nearly impossible to attend every board meeting for every department to stay informed with what is happening in this town and to have any kind of personal life. Some of the Towns concerned residents have formed a group currently called the East_Greenbush_Tea_Party. This was originally my idea and I wanted to have a protest in front of town hall to show that citizens do care about what is happening. That first meeting, it became very clear that most in attendance wanted an education and a place to discuss issues within the town. We meet every other Monday at the East Greenbush Library at 7:00 pm and generally go until 9:00 pm (closing time for the library). The next meeting is April 19th. THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL PARTY SPONSORED OR AFFILIATED GROUP. We have and want more people from all parties, philosophies and ideals to come together and discuss what is happening in our town and how we can make changes.
I personally don't want politicians there. Currently Mike Christo comes and so does Ann Taylor. Neither of them are currently town elected officals, if that status changes, they will be asked to no longer attend.
I have also asked people who are diabolically opposed to my conservative leanings to come and be members. I am pleased to say, some come and have brought a valid different view of how things should be. We need to have open discussions with all point of views to move forward. This one particular gentleman, has brought his ideas, been given time to express them and has taught me much. I don't understand his reasoning for wanting bigger government, but that is something I hope to try to understand through discussion at a different forum. What he has stated and I agree with totally is we have to move the governing of East Greenbush forward. Name calling and witch hunts will not let this happen. We need civil dialog and honesty and integrity from all our elected and appointed people. I have expressed ideas I have had and vetted them in front of this group. After listening to their feedback, I have changed tactics in order to make my points more appropriately. Our group is a great place to spend a couple hours every two weeks to get educated and meet fine individuals from different political perspectives.
Please join us, come and say or don't say anything. I am not the leader of the group. I am the "facilitator". We are a group of adults who can manage to fill two hours with information from those who attended meetings and those who have particular expertise in areas of concern.
That is the sign that should appear over our Town Board meeting hall if the County votes to amend the law regarding the holding of multiple elected positions simultaneously. I have said in the past, I do not condone the practice, but this should have been resolved prior to the elections. The voters of East Greenbush and the legislative district, have decided to allow two individuals to hold dual offices. Whether the voters ASSUMED those elected to the legislature would give up their local seat or not should have been asked prior to voting. Once again, as voters, we have shown our lack of understanding of the issues. We MUST educate ourselves and become and educated voting group. What law specifically grants the town board, or anyone else to choose people to complete terms on the board? I know it has always been done that way, but is it legal? If the court system removed the two individuals, once the reason no longer exists, simply retake your seats gentlemen. It is what the voters wanted. scuss things and learn.
The use of the "Irish Mafia" may or may not be insensitive. I for one, don't give a dam about political correctness. I think it is a concept that is way out of control. However, I don't think name calling is going to solve anything. I, am an American. I have german, russian, polish and a few other heritages thrown in, but I call myself an American. My father escaped Nazi Germany and I have no ties to the dominant pedigree that runs through my veins. We all come from different countries, even the native Americans migrated from other continents, so give it a rest. We are mutts, end of story. There is no reason you can't be proud of your heritage and celebrate your family, but be an American!
If you speak about national, state or local politics, the two major parties have been so bastardized that it really doesn't matter what the affiliation is. I am living in the present and in this day, we have a Town Supervisor who appears to me to be inept and has no idea what his responsibilities are or what the requirements of the job is. He continually shrugs off questions regarding the financial matters of the town and relies on the "we have always done it that way" form of leadership and governance. Well there is a growing group of concerned residents in this town and we come from all nationalities (heritage), political parties and as discussed Monday night at the East Greenbush Tea meeting, most of us are new to politics and really are getting concerned about our town, our taxes and the values of our homes. If you are concerned, please join us every other Monday (next meeting is April 19th) at 7:00 pm at the East Greenbush Library. We discuss what is happening in town, get reports from people who attend various meetings held in the town so we each don't have to go to every meeting, and hopefully a getting educated on how a Town in the State of New York is supposed to be run. We, as a group, are NOT backing specific candidates, but from the discussion will support a candidate independently from any party who runs on principal, integrity and fiscal responsibility.
Those who are new to all this or an old-timer please join us. You are not asked what party you are with or even your name at the East Greenbush Tea group, in fact last night, as we were made aware, we didn't even acknowledge one great lady until she asked if we were going to continue to ignore her! We are interested in YOUR input, thoughts and questions to make the group stronger.
I am seeking an education and then plan to take that knowledge to my neighbors so we can have an informed electorate.
Last nights meeting was a general discussion, mainly about two topics. 1. finance; where a group member explained just how close the Town was to bankruptcy last month when only one bank bid on securing our bonds as the bid went out on the same day as the junk bond rating and no other bank dared to take our debt on. It was believed the one bank that bid was unaware of our bond status. Had that bank not picked up our debt, ALL of the debt would have been due right then and there. That means we would have to come up with 2.6 million dollars on the spot! Without being able to obtain a loan. Bingo! insolvency and the town goes away and the State runs it. The second topic was what happens now with the two board members who have been suspended. Suspended is my word as the court decision gave a clear and direct path to change the restriction of holding two positions at once. I have stated in the past and will state here again, I don't think a single person should hold more than one elected position at a time, however, the voters decided that it was ok for these two fine gentleman to do just that as we voted for them. Whether you thought they would give up one to accept the other or not, they won the popular vote. To quote Mr. McCabe, "it was always done that way for the last 20 or 30 years"". Even Mrs. O'Brien held both seats in the past. If the County changes to law with a resolution, law, amendment or whatever it is called, I believe the only prudent thing to do is to have Mr. Danaher and Mr. Christo retake their seats on Wednesday night. It was the courts who removed them, it is the courts who showed the legislature the "fix" to the problem and once the issue is removed, they should return to their elected positions. End of story. Neither the remaining town board members, nor the town supervisor removed them from their seats, so how can they keep them from returning to them once the issue is cleared up? If the county legislature approves the court suggestion, the issue is solved.
At last months meeting, I asked the three remaining board members if they would initiate or second a resolution to return these individuals to their seats, Mr McCabe said no. Mr. Matters said yes and Mrs. O'Brien scampered off the topic with, it is a pending court case and she couldn't comment. Well that points back to the courts decision and its remedy is the final say.
It is time to put all the shenanigans aside and let the elected officials serve their full remaining terms.
On another note, Mr. McCabe is the Town Supervisor, but he is part of the legislative branch of the Town government. He is NOT in the Executive Branch. The only difference between him and the other board members is he has the further responsibility to handle the day-to-day operation of the town. This is where I believe he is in way over his head. He does not report on the budget during the town board meeting, he allows the department heads to submit a written report prior to the meeting and state "they have nothing further". Well as a taxpayer and voter in this town, I am the boss and I want to hear their report. I don't think it should be required for me to go to the Town offices and ask (and probably need to foil) to see the department reports. Either the department heads should report the status of their budgets, or the supervisor should report on the budget, current spending and percentage of usage vs. amount of fiscal year that has passed and wether we are above, below or on budget and if above, what steps are going to be taken to get it back on budget, or cause the town comptroller to report this information. A simple one page report showing each budget line, current spending, budgeted amount and balance, period. The Supervisor should have this on his desk, updated almost on a daily basis or at the very least a weekly basis as our spending is far exceeding our income so it should be no big deal. If he doesn't have this document or refer to it on a VERY regular basis, he has failed to meet one of his major responsibilities of his position, fiscal manager. State law, allows him to delegate the work, but he is solely responsible for the fiscal health of this town under STATE LAW!
East Greenbush is Going Green! As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Town of East Greenbush has been awarded a grant in the amount of $275,000 for the purchase and installation of a 50 kW Photovoltaic System at the Department of Public Works garage. This system will produce approximately 67% of the annual energy required to run the facility and an estimated maximum annual cost savings of $14,783. The project will benefit the environment with annual emission reductions of:
CO2: 55,876 lbs SO2: 180 lbs N20: 62.74 lbs Upon completion, the performance and environmental impact of this project will be posted on the town’s website for the public to monitor.
Really? You state you will be saving money that totals $14,783 annually. Great put that money right to paying off the debt! Don't use it for anything else, it is like a $14,783 raise. PAY DOWN THE DEBT.
On a side note. We, the Town residents, are getting the system for free. Not really, just the rest of the nations overburdened tax payers are helping to pay for it. What is the cost of the system? If we paid for it, how long would it take to pay off the cost of the installation at $14,783 a year? Without inflation or anything else added in, 18 plus years just to break even. Watch how you complain when you see some "pork barrel" Project elsewhere from the stimulus package and complain about wasting taxpayer money. If the payback period is so long that the system would have outlived its working life, should we invest in it, regardless of who pays for it? Don't get me wrong, I am glad some are looking for ways to save money, but did we, the taxpayers, really save anything?
Has anyone else noticed that the DPW yard on Gilligan Road is being cleaned up? They are cleaning up the stored sewer grates, catch basins and all the other stock that has been sitting along the fence and catching trash that has been thrown from passing cars. It is starting to look like they care about the appearance and not looking like an abandoned piece of property.
Well as many of you know, I am retired from over 25 years in the paid fire service. I left the service after 21 years with the Albany FD and 4 years with the Barnstable MA FD as Deputy chief and Chief. Since then I have worked conducting background investigations for national security clearances for OPM, DOD, DOE, Treasury and a few others. I left there to take a part time job at Federal Probation and after 10 short months, was invited into a consulting group to conduct management and operations studies for municipalities. That was wonderful until about 2.5 years ago when the economic world collapsed. I have not been "gainfully" employed since then and just began using the term "retired" as my official status. That all changed this morning at 0500. I reported for my new job and worked 12.5 hours the first day. 10.5 on my feet with a ten minute break. No I am not working for GM, Ford or Toyota! I have a wonderful job that is very dynamic and full of opportunity and it shall remain "classified" for the time being. I enjoyed those I worked with today and the work and don't even have to wait until morning to feel the agony of "de feet"!
What this means is I no longer have the time to cruise all the blogs and newspapers and comment on all the things going on. I will stay active in my commitments and today is not a typical day "at the office", more like boot camp or shock camp. I will stay tuned, but may not post quite as often. Viva la labor force!
The Green Tea Party is a community activism organization that brings in speakers, attends town meetings and brings information to the group and a learning center regarding town government. IT IS A NON-PARTISAN GROUP with two purposes. 1. bring accountability to our elected officials and 2. Become educated voters. All are welcome. We hold our meetings at the East Greenbush Community Library on Monday at 7:00 pm. The next meetings scheduled are:
I thought it was a fantastic meeting. We got focused and found common ground for all that attended. There was somewhere between 20-30 people in attendance.
As I stated from the beginning, this is not my tea party. I had envisioned a public demonstration on a Saturday in front of Town hall, fashioned after the tea parties that were held in Albany. We would have lots of ordinary citizens speaking out for what they were passionate about, some entertainment and lots of media coverage. After a pledge of allegiance to the flag I got right down to the agenda describing what was necessary to have a successful event.I had a very attentive audience, but very quiet. It became apparent that most (I dare say all) in attendance were under the impression and wanted to have a meeting of education and focus on Town issues. The group wants to discuss issues regarding the running of our town, how to stabilize the debt load, get out of debt and have responsible govern-ship. So this is where we are headed. We plan to have bi-weekly meetings and at some bring in speakers who are knowledgeable about issues facing our Town. We will split up the public meetings of the Town so not everyone needs to attend every meeting but can still get the information. Those who attend the meetings will bring back information to the group for dissemination and discussion. We will focus our combined efforts to hold those elected to serve us accountable.
Anyone who is interested in being involved in our Town and getting educated on how government is supposed to work is invited to attend our meetings. OUR MEETINGS ARE NOT ALIGNED WITH ANY POLITICAL PARTY, but just a group of concerned citizens from the left, right and in between. We discuss actions of individual elected officials from time to time, but are much more concerned about being educated so we can make appropriate decisions at election time.
I will formally announce the date and time when I confirm with the Library for availability.
So I spoke to a source who is knowledgeable on the subject. He told me that the fire district paid for half the sign, so I wasn't that far off base when I said it was tax dollars.
I also learned that it is a used sign. It once stood proudly in the formerly vacant building known as Grease Monkey. The install was free and the sign discounted so it only cost about $6,000. Still a lot of tax payer dollars when you look at the traffic count for that road. Putting it in front of the mostly abandoned former fire headquarters at Hays and Columbia Turnpike would have made more sense from a traffic volume standpoint.
Can the East Greenbush politics get any worse? The missing files and computer information that went missing when Mr. Partek left as DPW commissioner suddenly reappear after his visit to the DPW office and going into files without the current commissioner there!
People if you don't stand up now, when will you? The democrats think they can get get away with anything BECAUSE THE CURRENTLY ARE!!!!!! Stand up and help put a stop to this crap.
March 8th at 7:00 pm at the Town Library for an organizational meeting of the East Greenbush TEa Party BE THERE OR STOP COMPLAINING!
If you have tried to read/post or re-read any of Dwight Jenkins posts on the Times Union - East Greenbush blog, he has deleted all of his postings. he is upset with the politicizing and apparent hi-jacking of his by-line on posts. I don't have any other information, but it is truly a shame that Dwight can be frustrated enough to cease writing his blog posts. I have invited him to create a blog of his own on blogspot.com where there isn't any apparent control issues. Dwight, please don't give up the fight!
Here is his (final) post from the Times Union:
Like everything else in East Greenbush I have come to the conclusion that the blog has been politicized. I won’t have my name associated with it any longer. I won’t have my name used by people with their own agendas and political connections. Anything I need to say now will be in person or in the paper. Go make your own agendas. I’ve removed my posts. Your comments, I’m sure, are buried somewhere within the bowels of the T.U.’s mainframe and can be resurrected, but not under my name. Adios, amigos…
The voters of East Greenbush and Rensselaer County have lost in court. Let me state up front, I don't believe that a person should hold two offices. There will be a time when there will be a conflict and one cannot serve two masters. Having said that, the Democrats have used dirty tricks again to go against the voters wishes. The voters voted for Cristo and Danaher to represent them at the County Legislature knowing full well that they currently were serving on the Town Board. The Democratic party sued the winners to have them removed from the Town Board. Now we will end up with just three members serving the five positions. The Town law requires a simple majority for a resolution to pass. That means the only way something will pass is for all three survivors voting together to get anything done. that include the appointment of two replacements to the Town Board. The next election is in November so I again state that the voters of East Greenbush are being held hostage for the next 9 months! Mr. Matters, DON'T cave in, stand your ground and represent your constituents. You are our lone voice in this battle. Please do not go along to get along.
The date is set for the first meeting of those interested in having an East Greenbush Tea Party. The date is Monday March 8, 2010 at 7:00 pm. It will be held at the East Greenbush Library.
We will discuss what needs to be done, what the format of the tea party will be and when we will hold it. The Tea Party is open forum and citizens of the Town of East Greenbush can indicate that they wish to make a speech regarding issue related to the Town of East Greenbush such as, the fiasco of the pending legislation for two board members status; taxes; the possible criminal acts that occurred during the change of government; the audit or many others. Please let me know if you wish to attend this meeting by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone is welcome to attend this meeting as it is an open meeting. We need many people involved if we are going to pull this together.
I spoke to Chief Lavin of the East Greenbush Police this afternoon. He assured me that the East Greenbush Police adhere to The NYS and United State's Constitutions. We are free to assemble and express our constitutional right of free speach. Game on. TO the Tea Party.
We now have an electronic sign at Genet middle school on route 4 where they took down multiple maple trees to be able to view this sign. Tax dollars paid for this sign and the tree removal. Another blog said it was paid for by a grant so it didn't cost us anything. Last time I checked, it was my tax dollars that paid for grants! If it is a state grant as reported, where did the state get the money, we're broke? Oh yea, they borrowed it so it will cost even more with interest. What about the trees they cut down, there goes their carbon footprint, less trees equals more carbon dioxide! the other new electronic sign is at the East Greenbush Fire Department - Park Station. It apparently replaces the temporary lighted sign that kept getting blown over with the wind (more climate change?) I understand that they got one hell of a deal on the sign and the Michels (the company who put up the new power lines) installed the sign for free. Just how many cars pass that station that they need any kind of sign there? I mean seriously, how many cars go by, excluding the return trip of people going to the store or work? Again our tax dollars at work. Oh I know someone will say it was the fire company, not the district that paid for the sign. Yea, where do they get their money? From the district for rent to house the trucks (tax dollars) donations (taxpayers money) or from pizza and fish fry nights (more taxpayers donations). Same well different bucket.
I stopped at the Town Clerks office today to check to see if a permit was required to assemble outside of town hall for a Tea Party. I was informed that in the past, you could picket, but if you stopped you would be arrested for loitering. I have yet to check with the Police Chief, but what happened to our right to assemble? Apparently not applicable to the Town of East Greenbush.
The town of East Greenbush political scene is imploding...again. The Dems accuse the Reps of attempting to hold two positions, one town and one county at the same time. This is what exactly the Dems have done in the past. There apparently is a law that prohibits this practice now and regardless of who and how many have done in the past and in the present in other towns is just noise. If there is indeed a County law, then it must be upheld or repealed. I am not in favor of having one person in two positions because sometimes the county will need to do things that may not benefit our town. That puts the person in a compromised position, do I vote to protect the town or all my constituents in the county. Simply abstaining from the vote is not the answer because we the people would have no voice on the issue. Where are the political bosses of the political parties? Didn't they know this was illegal when they proposed the candidates?
There are enough good people, who when the time is right (and if not now, when????) will put their name on a ballot. If a special election is needed in this town, I hope Ann Taylor will put her battle scarred reputation back on the line. If she does, every citizen who is concerned about this town needs to get politically active and go door to door, make phone calls or contribute financially to her campaign. We need good people to correct the errors of the past, regardless of who did the damage, and get this town on an even financial keel.
I urge all to go to the Town Board meeting on Wed Feb 10th at 7:oo pm and during the open comment period, voice their concern and demand the town board start the process of a full and complete audit of the town. This is cheap money to get things straightened out.
My Pledge In full view of The Creator as my witness, I hereby pledge my signature, and vow to join with a goodly number of millions of Americans to hold our elected and appointed officials accountable for all of their violations, with a firm reminder that each one has sworn an Oath (or Affirmation), to Preserve, Protect and Defend the Constitution for the United States of America. In seeking to hold them accountable, I shall hold myself accountable to do the same.
We, the undersigned, renounce and condemn any and all INITIATION of violent force and will pursue all lawful and Constitutional means to fulfill our duty. I place my name here and shall participate as an Eternal Record of the Will of the People to be Free.
Nationwide Civic Action Delegates to Continental Congress 2009 and others from Each of the several States, shall serve this document titled, “Articles of Freedom,” with its Remedial Instructions, on each United States Senator and Representative in their offices located in their respective States, placing them on notice that We, the Free People of America, believe them to be in violation of their Oath of Office and the Constitution for the United States of America. When a goodly number of millions of American people agree, we will withdraw our financial support from the federal government, in a lawful and constitutional manner, and implement other responsible civic actions, until all violations of the Constitution for the United States of America CEASE.
http://www.cc2009.us/aof Please visit this website and sign the petition if you agree.