Ball in town's court on tower
More than a year ago, the town of Walton officially told the village of Walton that the town cell tower to be placed in the middle of the village would be a flagpole. The town constructed a lattice tower, not a flagpole, in the middle of the village. The mayor immediately ordered that work on the tower stop and pointed out to the supervisor and town board that the tower construction violated New York's SEQR law and the village's flood prevention law.
Using Albany lawyers, beyond legal fees incurred for the regular town attorney, the town sued the village at three times the legal village expenses. Before and after the town's suit, the supervisor ignored the mayor's requests for the town to comply with law.
Bottom line on the town's suit was that the court ordered the town not to proceed with further cell tower work until the town complied with New York's SEQR law.
Here are direct quotes about Walton's cell tower authored Feb. 15, by the Regional Administrator of New York's Department of Environmental Conservation to the Walton town supervisor: "Local flood damage prevention laws require permits for development in the floodplain. ... Only at that time will the floodplain portion of SEQR be valid. Because the floodplain permit has already been filled out, it should only take a few moments of your time, on behalf of the town, to sign and obtain a valid permit. I look forward to your cooperation."
The supervisor's response to DEC's regional administrator ended with this comment: "I will discuss it with my Albany lawyer."
In consideration of the supervisor graciously gushing your reporter with a chair and a writing table at the new digs in Delhi, perhaps she could give the supervisor a pen to sign his name.
Terence P. O'Leary
Gillibrand good for our area
I share your editorial dismay at the disturbing role fundraising plays in the 20th Congressional District ("Big money in rural politics" published on Feb. 21).
But in our distaste for the cost of getting elected even in sparsely populated upstate New York, let us not lose sight of the bottom line. What finally counts is the kind of representation we get in Congress.
Kirsten Gillibrand is one of the most extraordinary young members of the U.S. House of Representatives. She has tirelessly promoted the interests of the nation and of her rural constituency. She sought membership on the Agriculture Committee and used it to help broaden the Farm Bill to include help for small farmers and to support the milk price paid our struggling dairy farms. She has helped secure millions of dollars in grants for local governments and organizations. She advocates tax cuts targeted at small business and the middle class.
What's more, Gillibrand has made herself accessible and available throughout her far-flung 10-county district. During the past 12 months in our neck of the woods, I know that she met with folks in a Delhi supermarket, conducted a forum at the Delaware County Fair, opened an office in Delhi and recently held a town hall meeting in Davenport Center.
What a contrast to her predecessor! Out here in the country, many of us didn't even know the name of our congressman, let alone what he looked like in person.
Like Gillibrand, I'm a Democrat, but I suspect a lot of my Republican friends and neighbors will be voting for her in November.
Ronald H. Bailey
Roseboom needs better equipment
This is in response to an article in The Daily Star on Feb. 8 concerning snow removal in the town of Roseboom.
I have lived in Pleasant Brook only a few years, but I call on the town regularly as part of my job. I've seen the condition of the equipment. I also know they have had trouble finding help in the past. No one wanted the highway superintendent's job, and I applaud Mr. Thompson for taking on this task. I also believe Mr. Stannard quit his post last fall, only to be appointed to the position after a technical problem over a conflict of interest.
I think Mr. Thompson has done a fairly good job, considering the strange weather we've had, and remember, he has only been there a few weeks with a new crew.
In the past, I had plowed for the town of Columbia in Herkimer County, and most plow drivers will tell you that it is totally different than driving a truck over the road.
The town of Roseboom should have a huge scrap drive and use the money to purchase a couple of real snow plows, not just a dump truck someone hung a one-way and wing on!
I made a couple of suggestions to Dave concerning safety. and he took right care of it. I know he is trying to do a good job with what he has.
Mr. Stannard, in my opinion, I think you and the rest of the town board should help Mr. Thompson do the job the way he so desperately wants to do, the right way.
Just maybe there is a need for a resignation or two, but it surely is not David Thompson who should resign.
McCain scored low by group
The League of Conservation Voters has awarded Sen. John McCain a score of zero when it released the 2007 National Environmental Scorecard. According to the scorecard, McCain was the only senator to skip all the 15 crucial votes scored by the LCV.
Two weeks ago, McCain was the only senator to miss a crucial vote on the future of clean energy in America. That doomed the success of the measure that would have helped make renewable energy more affordable and accessible.
It turns out that this missed vote is a part of a pattern. He has a lifetime score of 24 with the League of Conservation Voters.
That suggests a history of siding with polluters and special interests, and ducking important environmental votes. The Bush administration has no great support for environmental concerns, and while hoping for a change in this stance with the next administration, it's good to check this score and what it portends.