Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 02.03.22

Quadruple Murderer Might Do Some Time

Convicted killer James White was raging in Rensselaer County Court after his sentence of life, without parole (TU, January 13).  He apparently thinks he got a bad deal for butchering two women and two children during a robbery.  In fact, the sentence underscores the need for capital punishment in New York.  Something we’ll never see in a liberal state that elevates bad criminals beyond any constitutional obligation of fairness, often portraying them as “victims” of society.  

Soft trial and appellate courts minimize the rights of true victims in New York; and a weak-willed Parole board adds tragic insult to injury.  Anyone who thinks James White will assuredly serve more than a fraction of his sentence can buy my Mega Millions ticket from a couple of weeks ago.  

Frank Coppa, East Greenbush

PFOA Saga No. 8 – Source Searchers Still Stumped

What an absolute farce this is, people, and here I am talking about a NEWS 10 article entitled “Officials no closer to finding source of PFOA contamination in Poestenkill, says councilmember” by Richard Roman on Jan. 8, 2022, a CBS 6 article entitled “One year after PFOA/PFAS found in Poestenkill, town official calls for more to be done” by J.T. Fetch on Jan. 8, 2022, and a NEWS 10 article entitled “Source of PFOA in Poestenkill still unclear after 8th round of testing” by Sara Rizzo on Jan. 19, 2022 where we have Poestenkill deputy supervisor Eric Wohlleber up on his high horse crying out to the heavens “Today, right now, someone if not somebodies in Poestenkill are drinking contaminated water, right now we know that, based on all the tests they’ve done,” and “What are they going to do to find the source,” while Sean Mahar, an Executive Deputy Commissioner with NYSDEC countering the cries of Wohlleber, saying with a straight face “We’re letting science be our guide,” and “We have extensive investigative work underway in this community to evaluate any potential sources of groundwater contamination in the vicinity of the Middle School, and have already preliminarily ruled out several potential sources including the transfer station and Poestenkill landfill,” and “We look forward to continuing to keep residents and officials informed throughout the process,” all of which is absolute hogwash, because Eric Wohlleber, Sean Mahar, the NYSDEC, the NYSDOH, the RCHD and Mary Fran Wachunas, quoted as saying “Residents should know the county continues to work cooperatively with the state and the town to provide an effective response to this issue,” have known since 6 October 2021 that a test of the well at the transfer station, the highest property around, and thus hydraulically up-gradient from my well and the wellfield of the Algonquin school, showed a PFOS level of 6.8 ppt against a proposed raw water standard of 2.8 ppt.

So how is that not the source?

Any guesses?

Paul Plante, Poestenkill

Why did Rensselaer County not apply for BRIDGE NY Funds?

On December 15, 2021, Governor Hochul announced the award of $216.2 million in funding through the NY Bridge program for 88 local governments to rehabilitate and replace bridges and culverts throughout the state. That’s right, 88 local governments -counties, towns, and villages- received state money for projects in their communities to reduce the risk of flooding and improve the resiliency and reliability of infrastructure. Rensselaer County was not among those 88 municipal recipients, not because it lost out in the competitive process, but rather because the county didn’t even bother to submit an application! In a year when county residents suffered tremendous losses from flooding, Rensselaer county was apparently unable to identify even one bridge or culvert project in need of repair! I can only speculate on reasons why. Perhaps the county lacks qualified staff or staff who could submit grant applications are too busy doing “political” work as we saw in the last election? Or maybe the county leadership is too busy engaging in partisan political attacks instead of doing the painstaking work of researching and drafting applications for state funding. Going forward we residents of Rensselaer County must demand that our county executive and members of the county legislature do better and seek funding from programs such as Bridge NY programs to fix our infrastructure and make the county more resilient.

Mary Frances Sabo, North Greenbush

The Albany Loop Pipeline Proposal is Dead

In February, 2019, Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline learned that National Grid’s proposed to build a new Albany area fracked gas pipeline. We studied its proposal and attended Public Service Commission (PSC) public hearings on the proposal.

We met with local politicians and Albany area state legislators to garner their opposition to the pipeline. Several of them wrote anti-pipeline resolutions. We generated hundreds of public comments to the PSC’s webpage and spoke before the PSC. We formally opposed the application to build the pipeline. We made community presentations, visited potential pipeline route residents and handed out factual flyers. 

When National Grid began its next rate case we participated in the negotiations to argue against the pipeline. We argued that it was unneeded, environmentally dangerous and contrary to the NYS Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The end result: the Albany Loop Pipeline is dead (for now). All of this proves that environmental activism creates results!

Note rate case settlement excerpt: 

“The Joint Proposal provides that Niagara Mohawk will withdraw its pending Article VII petition for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the Albany Loop Project. Under the Joint Proposal, the Company will not refile such a petition during the terms of the rate plan “except for the limited circumstance where the Company determines the project is necessary to address exigent operating conditions that would impact safe and reliable service to the Company’s existing customers.” If the Company refiles an Article VII petition for the Albany Loop Project, it must include a detailed engineering assessment and other support for the asserted exigent operating conditions that allow it to refile the petition during the terms of the rate plan…”

Read full decision at: https://caseonline.org/final-decision-on-the-albany-loop/ 

Bob Connors , Canaan
New Poestenkill Town Attorney

To the Editor and the Residents of Poestenkill:

Every small town like Poestenkill hires a part time lawyer to take care of legal issues that come before the town government. In the case of Poestenkill, the same lawyer represents the town board and the zoning board – often dealing with issues related to sand and gravel – an active industry in the town.

There are many skilled lawyers in the Capital District. That is why it is so surprising that the Town recently appointed as town attorney, the very same attorney who represents Troy Sand and Gravel.

Was there no other lawyer in the entire region who could be hired? One of the many problems is that this attorney will have to recuse himself on any issues related to Troy Sand and Gravel, any issues dealing with other gravel companies, any issues related to truck traffic or groundwater protection. These will be many instances where he cannot be involved. 

Does the town intend to hire another attorney to take care of these matters? Will the cost to pay for another attorney come from the payments made to the Troy Sand and Gravel attorney, or will an additional amount of taxpayer dollars be needed to cover those additional costs?

This arrangement does not seem workable or in the best interest of the town and a potential waste of local taxpayer dollars. It should be revisited by the town supervisor and the town board. There must be other attorneys who do not walk in with such an obvious conflict of interest. We deserve better.

Sincerely, Bob Crowley, Chairman
Poestenkill Democratic Committee

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