Wake UP,People !!                                                        3-28-2018

              I used to love this town. Notice I did not say, " I used to love MY town".  That's because I was recently corrected for saying "MY" instead of "OUR". I never intended the word MY to insinuate control or ownership because I don't feel that way, it's just a figure of speech. Some people are just too touchy and literal for their own good.

              It's okay,  it's not like I don't get verbally slapped by people on a regular basis, I'm very accustomed to it. LOL!! The people that bite me the most are the ones I call out for political misbehavior, so I don't really care what they think. 

               Over the many years that I have been Politician-Watching, I have seen some abominable actions taken by people at every level of government. All of it is shameful, but for some reason, it is more painful when it is local, town governments. The first corrupt local official I met here was Norman Thomas Sr. when he was ZEO. I won't even go into the devastating things he did to me and my family, and numerous others in town, it no longer matters.  Next was Bruce Baldwin when he was Town Supervisor and I was Animal Control Officer. I've told THAT horror story and the facts about how HE treated pets in need. 

                The next deplorable town official I had dealings with was Stanley Koloski, former ZEO.  He was followed by Doug Clark and Baldwin again. Of all of them, Stan Koloski is the one you can blame for my getting involved in local politics and citizen advocacy. He was the Number One reason that I began attending every board meeting and writing this blog. 

                 ALL of the aforementioned men were corrupt, dishonest, abusive, and just plain mean-spirited. The only one of the five that ever did anything positive for this town was Baldwin, and the good things he did were far outnumbered by the bad.  NONE of these men ever  faced a single consequence for the rules and LAWS they violated, and Baldwin even has a commemorative bench outside the Town Hall ! 

                  We can't forget Mike Benson, Mr. Sleaze himself. His blatant lies, sneakiness, and corrupt actions while in office were unprecedented by any former Supervisor.  It seems to me that when someone takes a political office, part of the swearing-in process must be a dip in a vat of Teflon.

                   Of course we have no one to blame for the political corruption but ourselves. WE are all that stands between a fair and transparent government and a bias, tyrannical one. ONLY the PEOPLE can demand better, and hold them accountable, but in recent years, the voices of GOOD people have fallen silent. Not people on the Left, but on the Right. The Left is NEVER silent, EVERYBODY hears their venomous accusations and immature demands. God Save Us. 

                    Since the unceremonious exit of Mike Benson following his failure to even complete his final term, things have vastly improved in New Lebanon. We have been enjoying some excellent boards and board members, and a Supervisor who actually has lived here forever and genuinely cares about the town and it's future. Same is true of Mark Baumli and Kevin Smith. Our new Councilman Jesse Newton is also an asset and is doing a great job in his first time in government.

                     Kevin Smith is very active and dedicated, so much so that he has overcome some major, personal trials and completely changed his life! All because he wants to do the best job he possibly can for New Lebanon, and he IS. These representatives of  "our" town and the people are genuinely GOOD folks, and after seeing some of the frightening issues I have in the past, it is a breath of fresh air.  Still, nothing is perfect, no ONE is perfect, and as we watch the population of New Lebanon become more City Transplant and less Rural Local, the imperfections are mounting up and becoming clearer.

                     I put most of the blame for this at the feet of Mike Benson for the vast number of dangerous projects and the culture shift we are seeing here today. Once he was gone, the push for more Liberal programs and policies and the resulting intervention of state and federal agencies, slowed down to a great degree. 4 or 5 years ago, I tried to warn the transplants that Benson would drop them like a hot potato once he no longer had use for their financial donations and their votes. That's exactly what he DID. Their Hero used them up and spit them out.

                      So along comes Colleen and she thrashes Benson in the election. For the next two years, New Lebanon settles in to a fairly peaceful routine again, an almost Libertarian atmosphere. Attention was now paid to the needs, wants, and visions of ALL residents, Left AND Right. As it should be.   BUT.........

                       Something is happening, and another shift is taking place. Once again, I am beginning to see some covert and biased behaviors, and a good dose of favoritism for Left-Wing Transplants and  a willingness to invite more upper-government interference into our lives. I am seeing manipulation and dishonesty, and believe me, I am FAR from the only one who sees it and is concerned.

                        There are some things going on that do not need to be aired to the public quite yet, too touchy, but there is discord afoot and those who are objecting to the Benson-Like actions are well justified in their objections. WHY is this happening? Mostly due to pressure that borders on bullying, and a handful of other things, including some folks wearing more hats than they need to or have the RIGHT to.

                          I know that most of you are aware of the issues surrounding the former George Miller property. If you are not aware, go to my Town Board post of 3-13-2018 and read up on it. That meeting revolved almost entirely around this matter and the room was "stacked" with Liberal Transplants who had organized well in advance. Yet it was NOT an official, Public Hearing. We did NOT have a full board and too few residents were even aware that this was going on or what was at stake. (By Design?)

                            A board vote was taken anyway and resulted in a tie. The "No" voters made numerous attempts to extend the issue until a full board was present and more residents could be heard. The "Yes" voters, knowing that if that happened they would lose, decided between themselves to go THEIR way and send the results in to the county as-is !! (With much LOUD, RUDE heckling from the transplant crowd). 

                            As a result of this biased and unfair PLOT, our County Supervisors have voted to "GIVE" the Miller property to the Rail Trail project and take it OFF our tax rolls. County was told that the donation had "Overwhelming Support" of the town's residents, and that is a LIE. The decision was supported by the transplants ONLY. So why was the voice of the locals not heard? Well, they didn't have a phone or email chain burning up cyber-space for days ahead of time, because the majority didn't KNOW, and the locals, WORK.  There WAS no Public Hearing. 

                              The objectors to this shameful move were then deliberately misled into believing that the County Vote would not be held until the end of this week. That would give them time to reach out to more residents, but the vote was held LAST NIGHT! Too late to get a fair assessment of how others felt about the donation. This is most concerning. It is unethical, unprofessional, and profoundly SAD.

                              How can we as a town, afford to Give Away taxable property after so many hundreds of acres have been put into Conservancy over the past 5 or 6 years?! (By Guess WHO?) We have many residents that are struggling to make ends meet and hang onto their homes as it is. Is the rural, working-class family being forgotten in New Lebanon? Not by everyone, but definitely by a few. 

                               Remember this; we can NOT place all the blame for this loss of tax income on the transplants and a couple of complicit officials. A good measure of that blame belongs to local folks who don't PAY ATTENTION, who don't come to a board meeting, who don't bother to make a call or visit the Town Hall and be heard. Wake UP folks, it's YOUR money, and this is YOUR town,too!