Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Register Star article today

Here it is. Couple of points missing: 1) Everett told me to merge the lots; 2) when does Everett go away?

He did threaten to sue Holly Tanner. If he is not going to sue Holly Tanner, then he can't sue anyone, certainly not me. Of course they back tracked and denied they did so threaten. That's to be expected. But why did he send Holly Tanner the letter saying he "reserves all rights"? What did he mean by that? Who merged the lots? No me. The County Clerk did that.

If we look at his huffy puffy letter as an empty threat, then, no, he did not threaten to sue Holly Tanner. I guess that is what Dave Everett meant: you are not supposed to take my letters so seriously.

If you actually take his letter seriously, that the town wants to preserve their rights in terms of Planning Board, the only one they can sue is Holly Tanner. She merged the lots.

So if we recognize that Everett was bluffing, then no, he didn't threaten to sue Holly Tanner. If we take him at face value, then yes he was threatening to sue Holly Tanner.

What kind of suit would it be to sue me for filing some paperwork? Without naming the clerk who accepted and processed the form, in agreement with me?

He's have to sue the county clerk if he sued me.

Everett bluffed again. Called him on it. He sent out a huffy, puffy bluffing lawyer letter and thought everyone would cower in the corner in fear of his suits... but didn't work out that way.

David R. Everett of Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna asked me to merge the lots back together!!! When I did what he said, he threw a hissy fit!!!! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Special Prosecutor Looking for Something to Prosecute

Special Prosecutor David R. Everett of Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna Threatens to Sue Holly Tanner. 

1) What is the public interest in whether my barn and house are on two or one lots? Why is Stuyvesant still spending money on something this unimportant? In other words, big deal. The town paid Everett probably $1000 to write that crazy letter. A thousand bucks is a big deal in a small town. And that $1000 is on top of $100,000 spent on Everett in 2011. 

2) When does Mr. Everett stop being Special Prosecutor? Does he get to go out looking for things to prosecute in order to keep the gravy train rolling? Accusing me of stuff I didn't do has been pretty profitably for Everett to date. Why should he stop?

3) Divide means to cut up. If you mash two together, you are not dividing, you are merging. Read the Stuyvesant Zoning Ordinance or the application for a subdivision online: do you see anything about putting two parcels together to make one lot? Divide: read town law. It means to make more. I made fewer.

4) How can Everett sue me for filing paperwork? Why did he send the letter to Holly Tanner? I don't see a suit against me here. For what? I didn't merge two lots together: I can't. Everett must want to sue Holly Tanner.

I've dealt with Everett for 9 months now as Special Prosecutor and I don't wish that on Holly Tanner. She doesn't deserve it.

Everett asked me to put the lots back together. Here is the letter (page 4).

David R. Everett of Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna asked me to merge the lots back together!!! When I did what he said, he threw a hissy fit!!!! 

Here is my review of what happened:

On September 6, 2011 Holly Tanner's professional, well run County Clerk's office received a routine application to unify two lots. The application asked to put a house and a barn on the same deed into a single listing for tax purposes. The man filing the paperwork was me. The barn and the house were on the same lot a few years ago.

Now, more than two months later, Dave Everett, working as the Special Prosecutor for the town of Stuyvesant, has written a letter threatening to sue Holly Tanner (I guess) for accepting paperwork and filing it according to the law. 

Why? Everett says that you need Planning Board approval to put lots together. My attorney thinks that you do not need Planning Board approval to put lots together when they are on the same deed. According to my attorney and our title company, you only need approval by the town Planning Board to split lots apart. 

In passing, Everett accuses me and my attorney of some kind of crime, as if it were obvious that you need Planning Board approval and that we knowingly lied when, in fact, it's not even true and certainly not obvious. It's hardly a crime... What a crazy thing to say. 

We didn't lie. I would file the same form again right now. I'm right. Even if I were wrong, it wouldn't be a crime, but even less so when I'm right. 

Stuyvesant's Special Mr. Wrong

We did not and do not need Planning Board approval to merge two lots on the same deed back into one listing. Everett is wrong again.

Being wrong is nothing new to Dave Everett.

Everett sent me a bill to pay for the town engineer to review my sound study. I didn't pay it. I didn't have to. If he wasn't wrong about that, why did he drop it and stop sending me invoices?

Everett was wrong on invoices.

Everett was the attorney when the Planning Board issued a positive declaration on SEQR (environmental review) of the lot merger. Even he had to admit the declaration was deficient. The declaration was withdrawn.

Everettt was wrong on SEQR.

The town board hired Everett and Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna in executive session. That was against the law and WOH and Everett didn't notice that the town broke the law. They do not deny they broke the law in their motions to dismissed filed in state court. 

Everett was wrong on Public Officers Law.

Three times wrong. Now the lots issue: number four for Everett. Stuyvesant has paid him $100,000 to be wrong, wrong, wrong and now wrong again.

Subdividing means making one lot into two (division). Making two lots into one lot is not dividing but unifying or merging. You need approval to subdivide. You don't need Planning Board approval to unify, especially when the two lots are on the same deed.

"I subdivided two lots and now I have one." Doesn't even make sense. That's not what dividing means. 

In Everett's letter, he cites a portion of Town Law Section 276 (4) (a) to support his claim. Interestingly, he left out the first sentence of Town Law Section 276 (4) (a), which provides: " 'Subdivision' means the division of any parcel of land into a number of lots, blocks or sites as specified in a local ordinance, law, rule or regulation, with or without streets or highways, for the purpose of sale, transfer of ownership, or development."

1) The word "division" is defined as "act or process of dividing" (see Websters Dictionary). Subdivision also contemplates the creation of lots (i.e. in the plural) not merger into a single lot. Clearly, the instant merger deed does not constitute a "subdivision" within the meaning of Town Law Section 276 (4) (a).

2) Also, look at  Town Law Section 276 (4) (a): "...for the purpose of sale, transfer of ownership, or development..."

Putting two back into one does not lead to sale, transfer or development but precludes those options on each parcel without the other, making all of those things harder. And I did not do any of those things: no sale, no transfer, no development.

3) And then there is "as specified in a local ordinance, law, rule or regulation" -- and the laws in the town of Stuyvesant are silent on the issue of putting lots back together.

So there are three legal flaws in Everett's crazy argument.

Everett is Threatening Holly Tanner

Everett's letter, cc-ed to Holly Tanner, dated December 20, 2011, reads, "I am writing to advise you that the merger of the two lots without Planning Board approval violates the Town's Subdivision Regulations and the Town reserves all of its rights to enforce the Subdivision Regulations." As Everett's letter notes, Holly Tanner's office merged the lots in question. There is no way to read this other than as a threat to sue Holly Tanner.

If the threatened suit is against me, why did Everett send it to Holly Tanner?

Of course, Everett was the guy who told me to put the lots back together. Then, when I did exactly what he asked, he threatens to sue the county?

Everett blew a hole in the budget of Stuyvesant, causing an 18.8% tax increase through his endless persecution of a small, family business. Everett has already duped the town board of Stuyvesant out $100,000. Now he wants to drag the county into his absurd vendetta and suck yet more money out of the taxpayers. 

Here are additional points:

No elected official in Columbia County is more highly regarded by Democrats and Republicans than Holly Tanner. If Holly Tanner isn't above Everett's threats, no one is safe from this Special Prosecutor out to generate more work for himself. 

Holly Tanner is a professional. Dave Everett comes along and says she screwed up? Nonsense. Holly Tanner, my attorney, the title company and I all agree: Everett is wrong. 

I don't see what the big deal is. I filed some papers to put my barn and my house back on to one lot or parcel. Why should any one care? Why would the town of Stuyvesant sue the county to stop that? It's nuts.

Everett has already taken a wrecking ball to Stuyvesant, now left with almost no reserve fund, in the middle of two lawsuits, increasing taxes by 18.8% this year and the bleeding of funds has not stopped. Indeed, if Everett has his way, the bleeding will never stop. 

Will the taxpayers of Stuyvesant ever wake up? Do the rest of the taxpayers in Columbia County want to be dragged into Everett's dog fight and see their budgets blow up too?

When does Everett's term as Special Prosecutor expire?

Background links:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

status update

In the federal case, Pflaum (me) v. Stuyvesant (town), we have a 50-e deposition in Albany on Monday. If you sue a municipality, they get to depose you twice, plus some other advantages for the town. They write the laws, so...

In the state suit, the town, through Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna, submitted motions to dismiss. They did not use the word "loud." They did not deny they broke Public Officer's law. They did not cite any cases where a ZBA overruled a Planning Board. They did not refer to the clear language of the Zoning Ordinance which says auto services facilities are illegal in agricultural districts. So, they conceded a lot, while giving the motions the old college try, see what happens.

Supervisor Valerie Bertram signed an affidavit that the minutes of the February 10, 2011 executive session were released to the public on March 19, 2011.

Other than these two suits, nothing political to report as of now. More to come.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

corruption scheme

register star article on the stuyvesant budget

2012 Amount To Be Raised By Taxes: $376,953    

That will pay for a lot of lawyers. 

Is it 3% or 8%? I heard 8.5% at the meeting. Martin, do we have audio or was I hearing things?

Dog park? Yes, $72,000 could have paid for a dog park. I think the paper meant dog bark, not park. Funny that a bark costs more than a park, I could see how you might get that wrong.

What does the budget look like with all the numbers in there? The public will never see that budget? That's how I understand the quote below. Or are the figures in the budget now and that budget is available somewhere? Anyone seen it? Or will the public comments be closed with the numbers still not in there? 

If I were on the board, I would make sure this was all clear before I voted, if only to protect my own reputation. 

Jamison brought up the $72,491.59 payable to outside attorney, Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna, LLP...

Bertram responded by saying that although the cost, “is a reality,” the Board decided “not to put it in there (the 2012 budget.)”

According to Bertram, “on the date agreed upon to finish the public hearing, all the numbers will be plugged in,” for a finalized budget. Bertram added that the town will vote on the finalized budget after the allotted time for the public hearing has been closed.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What's up with the attorney line in the budget?

There are a lot of questions about the 2011/2012 Stuyvesant budget.

Here is one question about the 2011 figures: Why the games with attorney fees?

Before we start, I have to make this clear: all expenses to deal with me up to now, the money spent by the town to date, in 2011, have been related entirely to their campaign against me in town court, at the town zoning board and at the town planning board.

NONE of the actions in the budget now and NONE of the money spent prior to October 26, 2011 were spent on actions which I initiated. THEY initiated all the actions and spent $100,000 based on their choice to hire a special prosecutor. The federal lawsuit has been covered by insurance up to now.

Now, I have sued the town, naturally. My article 78 is unlikely to be covered by insurance, unlike my federal civil right suit filed in March. Anyone in my shoes would have to sue them. They forced me to sue them.

In 2012, yes, they will have a lot of legal expenses based on suits that I filed against them. So, there will be legal expenses in 2012, just like in 2011. The 2011 expenses are from them hitting me and the 2012 expenses are from me hitting back.

Clear? 2011: them hitting me, 2012: me hitting them. Now, on to the budget... Note, they hit first. I'm exercising my right to self defense.

The town spent $90,000-100,000 on a special prosecutor for me in 2011, David R. Everett of Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna. Those funds are mostly not in the 2011 budget.

The year is almost over. The money has already been spent. About half of the fees paid are actually in the budget, about $50,000 of the $100,00 spent.

Half the funds are not in the budget. The budget shows $95,000 in the bank. Does that mean the town really has $45,000 in the bank? Or where is the other $50,000 coming from? Or does the town owe David R. Everett and Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna another $50,000 and will pay out of the $95,000 that's still in the bank?

When the fees to the special prosecutor are in the budget, the funds are listed under the zoning and planning, not in the "town attorney" line. When David R. Everett of Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna works on my case, his fees are applied to zoning and planning.

Here are the potential problems with the way the money is listed: 1) some of the money was spent in criminal court, not zoning or planning; 2) when Tal Rappleyea worked on the same issues, his fees were applied to the town attorney line.

In short, the listing of the expenses as entirely in zoning and planning, pretending that criminal court never happened, is a flat out lie. Listing these expenses as zoning and planning is not how the town usually handles the same kinds of bills in the past.

Why would the town do this? Here I have to speculate: 1) not to raise any red flags at the comptroller's office (a 450% increase in actual expenses in November 2011 over projected budget in January 2011 in the attorney line might trigger an automatic audit); 2) the town attorney's fee was set at $125 an hour in January at the organizational meeting, but David R. Everett of Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna was paid at a much higher rate and the town never amended the pay schedule set at the beginning of the year.

Now, let's take a look at the 2012 figures, again concentrating on the attorney line. The proposed 2012 budget does not include any increase in town attorney expenses over the anticipated expenses of January 2011. Say what? Do they plan to fight at least 2 lawsuits with the same $30,000 they budgeted in 2011?

No. They will have $100,000 or more in additional legal expenses in 2012. As noted, it isn't clear how much carry over there is to handle these additional fees. They have $95,000 in the bank? Or $45,000? How can you cover perhaps $150,000 in fees with $45,000?

Why not raise the attorney line and put in the actual fees? Well, next year, they can legitimately claim to have been sued. When the comptroller comes and says, "Why so much increase?" they can say, "We were sued!" But that won't explain 1) why the expenses in 2011 before the suit and 2) why they didn't increase the budget in 2012 when the first suit (and there will be many) was already filed in October before the budget was made?

So, how much did the town spend on David R. Everett and Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna in 2011? Can't tell by looking at the budget. How much does the town expect to spend defending suits as a result of the stupid decision to hire David R. Everett of Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna? Can't tell by looking at the budget.

Is this even a budget? Looks like an exercise in creative accounting to me. If I was on the board, I would in no way vote for this possibly fraudulent document.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

at least 8% increase


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a public hearing will be held before the Town Board for the Town of Stuyvesant at the Stuyvesant Town Hall on the 19th day of November 2011, at 10:00 a.m., regarding the adoption of a Local Law to Override the Tax Levy Limit established in General Municipal Law §3-c. This law is being proposed to comply with subdivision 5 of the General Municipal Law §3-c which expressly authorizes the Town Board to override the tax levy limit by the adoption of a local law approved by vote of at least sixty percent (60%) of the Town Board. At such time and place all persons interested in the subject matter thereof will be heard concerning the same.
Copies of the proposed law shall be available at the time of the hearing and shall be available at times prior to and after the hearing at the Town Clerk’s Office during normal business hours for the purpo! se of inspection or procurement by interested persons.
The proposed Local Law to Override the Tax Levy Limit Established in General Municipal Law §3-c establishes the Stuyvesant Town Board’s intent to override the limit on the amount of real property taxes that may be levied by the Town of Stuyvesant.
Melissa Naegeli, Town Clerk
Town of Stuyvesant
Dated: November 11, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011


Dear Town Board, 

At last night at the meeting, public comments were not closed on the budget hearing. Here are my comments.

The theme of this criticism, my opinion as a taxpayer, of the 2012 budget is lack of consideration of cuts and savings through consolidation and too much reliance on tax increases. The proposed 8% increase is likely to only be the first of many increases on an already ridiculous amount of property taxes we pay. The supervisor herself said that if all the costs that really exist, and if the town were not draining the reserves, the increase would be much higher. 

The justice department costs the town about $30,000. This could be outsourced to another town. This might save as much as $20,000.

We have lighting districts. There is no evidence that street lights improve safety on rural roads. Turn the lights off would save $18,000.

The assessors office could be outsourced or consolidated with other towns, as has been recommended by study after study for decades. Not only would this save money, it would likely produce better and fairer assessment. Savings: at least $20,000 after the first year.

Part of all of the highway department could be outsourced. A town of 2000 people with 25 miles of roads should not have a highway department. It’s inefficient. Savings? Who knows? Many a hundred thousand, maybe more, per year.

In the short term, the problem are lawsuits and legal expenses. I am the guy suing the town. If you have mediation, as I proposed a year ago, you might have avoided all these fees. 

Next, instead of the town getting involved in neighbor to neighbor disputes, the town should tell people who complain about their neighbors to sue their neighbors in court and leave the town out of it. It's called a Nuisance Use lawsuit. Make it policy to recommend it to people who complain.

Zoning Control Officer/Building Code Enforcement: again, outsource. The few building inspections could be covered on a fee per inspection or fee per enforcement action that would likely save the town $15,000 in expenses (salary and benefits) and hundreds of thousands in legal costs due to liability because the current town employee has a habit of stirring up trouble. 

After the town gets rid of all these inefficient functions, what would be left for the town to do? Stuff that is not happening now: grow small business with services and support, support agriculture with services and support, improve the agro-tourism infrastructure with trails and services, improve education with tutoring and classes for adults and kids. Most of this would be paid for by grants, small fees (sliding scale/voluntary) and fundraising. All of these things would be investments that would increase the tax base and property values and essentially be revenue neutral.

The cuts proposed here would be from 150,000 to 400,000, as much as 33% of the current budget, allowing for a cross the board tax cut of 25% over two years while simultaneous increasing the tax base, improving services to residents, protecting open space and creating a better place to live, raise a family and invest.

Thank you for consideration of this statement on the budget.

Will Pflaum
Stuyvesant Falls, NY 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

the sheep ratted me out

I think this cartoon explains it. 

But my own dog did not rat me out. It was a sheep. 

The man came over telling the sheep, "Imagine a world with no dog... now sign here."

Dave Everett saw the affidavit, got all sheepish, "No good. What about Will's donkey, was it braying?"

"Why, Dave, does Suyvesant's annoying noise law apply to jackasses?"

"Yes, but you'll need a special prosecutor who specializes in ass."

"You're hired! Break out the executive session."

audio from tonight's meeting

About transcribing tapes and audio.

And here is the budget hearing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Woofergate update: missing paperwork

I filed a lawsuit on the 26th. They wrote me a ticket on the 30th which could lead to 15 days in jail. False charge.

My lawyer wrote to the special prosecutor on November 1. On November 9, tonight, I show up in court and no paperwork seems to exist. No explanation. No one from the town showed up at all. No Tal, no special prosecutor, no officer.

Lawsuit filed, retaliation with ticket, tapes destroyed, paperwork missing in court, $80,000 budget hole, two news stories about the same thing, an election-- all in one week.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Ron Knott and company won... congrats.

In the meantime, other breaking news in Stuyvesant: the Town Clerk, Melissa Naegeli reported that the town destroyed evidence that pertains to two lawsuits.

As you can read in that email exchange (linked above), I don't think the town routinely makes transcripts of tapes and then destroys the tapes. I believe that the tapes existed as late as last month. They tapes were destroyed to conceal the truth.

There is nothing routine about this.

I want the tapes to exist and be public. Why? I have nothing to hide and I'm not lying.

Tal Rappleyea, Ron Knott, David R. Everett of Whiteman Osterman and Hanna, Gerry Ennis and the rest want the tapes to cease to exist. Why? They are afraid of the truth.

Tal Rappleyea is guilty of various crimes that have to do with the tapes. He lied about what happened in that Planning Board meeting in this letter. Very convenient for Tal that the tapes ceased to exist, don't you think?

Convenient, but dangerous.

You will note that Rappleyea threatens to sue me if I say he is guilty of crimes. Well, I say he is guilty. My defense? It's true. Let's settle this by listening to the tape... oh, they got destroyed.

Criminal violations:

What is Tal Rappleyea guilty of? He submitted a request for payment when I was an applicant before the Planning Board, claiming to have preformed services that were not in fact preformed and coercing payment.

By demanding payment as a public official for services, fees which applicant was in no way obligated to pay even if the services had in fact been rendered, Rappleyea engaged in official misconduct.

Rappleyea received $10,000 in 2009 and other additional funds in 2010 with no paperwork, invoices, vouchers, or contracts to justify these appropriations of funds. Rappleyea and Bertram have noted different explanations for these discrepancies at different times, none of which are consistent with the invoices themselves.

That's what the missing tapes are about.

Other matters relating to these tapes:

Gerry Ennis, Tal Rappleyea and David Everett all claim that I made some sort of misleading statements about by business when I was explaining what I did at that hearing. I deny it.

Election Day in Stuyvesant

When your position is indefensible, you don't defend it. That has been the Republican strategy in this election. Ron Knott and the Republicans refused to debate. They sent out fliers full of nonsense. Ron Knott lied to the Register Star.

The town, under Ron Knott's leadership, spent probably $100,000 to prosecute and close down a small business because they didn't like the guy who owned it. Now they have two lawsuits are are $100,000 in the red.

The town has spent $100,000 and will certainly spend much more over the next year. Nothing will change about how I run my business. I never stopped criticizing or, now, suing this town. The campaign achieved nothing. The business is still open and they still don't like that guy, me.

How do you defend what they did? You don't. You run a whisper campaign. You lie. You gin up "us versus them" sentiment.

The Republican strategy may work: this is a very Republican town. Oh well.

If the harassment and unconstitutional abuse of power continue, the suits will keep coming, the blog will keep coming, the dog signs will go back up.

Luckily, the founding fathers of this country, like James Madision, understood factional rule.

James Madison in Federalist Paper 10 wrote, “a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction.”

“By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”

To allow the Town to act as it has done and continues to do would suggest that populism outweighs fundamental law in the United States.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

castro figured it out... now, hello, Stuyvesant?

“The state has no business getting involved in a matter between two individuals.” — Raul Castro

Well, the communist party of Cuba figured that out. Now, just waiting for the government of the town of Stuyvesant to figure it out.

Figure this out: butt out. When people start yelling across a fence, don't take sides.

Instead of wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on special prosecutors, why not  tell anyone complaining about their neighbor to do one of these:

Note: "Odor and noise from a dog kennel"
There is precedent for this kind of suit. 

Someone complains? Tell them to go to mediation.

They refuse? Tell them to file a nuisance law suit.

Let the neighbor deal with it themselves. Let them pay for it if they think they have a good case.

Have the town butt the hell out.

That's what Communists do these days. But here in Stuyvesant, the wall is still up. Big Brother meddling in private matters between neighbors.

Big Brother is too expensive for a Small Town. 

on loud

Here is an essay on what loud means.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

radio interview

Thanks, WGXC.

more than the figures in the paper

By the way, in addition to the numbers in the paper, the town spent on Tal Rappleyea about another $10,000 to harass me and the numbers for Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna do not include October or their response to my article 78.

that's better, a good article

This is real journalism. Nice. The article is simple neutral and accurate.  That's all I want.

Now, forget the paper. Let's look at Ron Knot, candidate for supervisor.

I proposed with mediation (and wrote to Common Ground and asked them to come speak), compromise (my application to the Planning Board to add voluntary conditions to my permit), and concern for other (the more than $5000 I spent on sound proofing) before my permit was revoked.

I have now filed two lawsuits. They are only asking for fairness that could have been achieved here in town. They certainly can be settled with little fuss and expense.

Election in 7 days. It's not to late to change course and be reasonable.

Here is a quote from the paper:

Knott said, and explained that as Pflaum’s business grew (not true and how would he know?) and “neighbors complained (after the zoning officer went to them and asked them to complaint 4 months after he revoked the permit), we as a Town Board had to respond. All we’ve been asking is for him to comply with zoning,” Knott said. (although he didn't violate any provision of the zoning and the town board has no role in the process so this "we" is kind of illegal)

Total bull. Here are the "findings" the town spent $80,000 to produce. Does this sound like they are giving me a fair chance to run my business without a ridiculous amount of interference? Does this sound like David Everett of Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna was fair?

Read it for yourself.

Did I work for mediation or not? Yes, I did. I wanted a town-wide policy of professional mediation services through Common Ground services for all neighbor-to-neighbor complaints. I was not against participating in such a process myself but I wanted it to be a town policy first.

Here is Ron Knot at the February town board meeting. Here Ron thinks zoning and planning board hearings ARE mediation. They are not. They are enforcement, which won't work. I called for a different process.

Here is my letter read by Valerie Bertram. Audio.

Here is the letter I wrote that Ron was responding to.

Here is the blog entry I wrote at the time.

Ron Knott is lying. If not, refute any of these statements:

1) Ron says "the neighbors complained." That's not even true. No one submitted a complaint in writing prior to the revocation of the permit. The only people who complained prior to the revocation are Mary Kline and Patty Yerick. Kline lives 1700 feet away and the zoning officer solicited the complaint from her.

2) Ron says my business grew. How would he know? The complaining neighbors said the problem started in Fall 2009. That makes zero sense. In Summer 2009 when they wrote this letter, I had more dogs than in Fall 2009. I had more dogs in 2007 than in 2009. What a lot of horse rubbish.

3) Ron says I violated some kind of zoning ordinance. Which one? Specifically, what did I violate? The "findings" the town paid $80,000 to produce don't even allege that I violated any rule.

So, therefore, Ron is lying. Isn't he?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the dog ate my budget! then he went on my computer and pissed on my spreadsheets! then he logged into my email account and sent out this email asking to hire a special prosecutor in a dog barking complaint in secret executive session! honest teacher, it was the dog!

Here is the Register Star piece on my conflict with the town.

Here is more about the coming dog tax in Stuyvesant.

You know how in China after they execute you they send a bill to your family for the bullet? That's what the Register Star is doing in today's article.

The town spent $100K to harass me and now they are blaming me for the expense. Outrageous.

My fault the town spent the money? Only if you are retarded.

Wow, it's the worst article they could have written. This is so stupid its hard to know where to begin. The legal fees TO DATE are for process in TOWN HALL that the government had complete control over.

The money was paid to Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna, not to Burke, Scolamiero, Mortati & Hurd. Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna has not responded to ANY LAWSUIT.

 Burke, Scolamiero, Mortati & Hurd has responded to a lawsuit but they ARE PAID BY THE INSURANCE POLICY.

 Is the Register Star awake?

To what law firm and in what venue? How can you screw something that fundamental up accidentally?

The fees below are only for municipal actions, within Stuyvesant jurisdiction. These numbers do not include fees for representation in courts outside of the Town of Stuyvesant (State and Federal).

Tal Rappleyea for work on Glencadia matter:
August 2010 = 1562.50
September 2010 = 437.50
October 2010 = 937.50
 November 2010 = 1406.25
 December 2010 = 875
January 2011 = 593.75
February 2011 = 375
March 2011 = 1125
April 2011 = 250
May 2011 = 312.50
June 2011 = 250
Total for Tal for 2010 and 2011: $8115

 Whiteman Osterman and Hanna:
 March 2011: $11,811.53
April 2011: $7,141.56
May 2011: $6,694.17

Total legal expenses as of May 1: $57,761

 Missing: WOH for June, July, August, September and October. At $8,000 per month, an average of the three available months, WOH would have been paid another $40,000 making the grand total to date approximately: $97,761 WOH and Stuyvesant signed a contract on March 10, 2011.

 Burke, Scolamiero, Mortati & Hurd, the town's lawyer in Federal court, is paid by insurance.

Expenses to town: $0

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"unscrupulous attorneys" of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna

Di Febbo also told the judge he was disgusted that investors' money had been used to pay what he characterized as "unscrupulous attorneys" as he referenced attorney Leslie Apple of Albany, who had done work for Bass, and an attorney Di Febbo identified as Jacob S. Frenkel of Maryland.

Apple, of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, allegedly traveled to Europe to check out Bass' investment projects, records show. Apple did not respond to requests for comment. Some investors have said they were comforted by Apple's involvement with Bass, who had told them their investments had been vetted by lawyers. Frenkel could not be reached for comment.

 Read more:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Keep Stuyvesant, "Stuyvesant"

This post is about the coming election in the town of Stuyvesant, Columbia County and in other local towns.

1. These local elections should be on the EVEN years when turn out is greater. Skip the whole odd year election if you ask me.

2. There should be term limits in Columbia County.

3. Towns should not have the broad powers they have but function as community boards. A town of 2000 people should not have a 1.2 million dollar budget, 17 employees, a court, and millions in assets.

4. Services should be consolidated.

That said, we still have an election. The slogan for the Republicans and supervisor candidate Ron Knott is Keep Stuyvesant, "Stuyvesant" -- with the quote marks.

As opposed to what? Open to outsiders? Are you sure you don't want people to move in and invest in the town? Seems like you've made it pretty clear. Why not make it your slogan for the election?

Oh, you did.

Here were the options for an election slogan that the Stuyvesant Republican Party considered:

1. Keep Stuyvesant, "Stuyvesant" 
2. Keep out non-Stuyvesant, "from Stuyvesant" 
3. Stuyvesant means "Town of Stuyvesant" not "Stuyvesant Town" or "Bedford Stuyvesant"
4. Simple: Vote for the Right People not the Wrong People 
5. We only know Stuyvesant, not what it means.  
6. We love to run this town. Don't try to stop us from doing it. Vote right.
7. from elections to lawsuits, bring it on
8. We don't need no stinking badges
9. Vote for Us, or We'll send over Ennis to Knock over your Fence
10. Vote for us. But you'll need a permit first. 

I have no doubt that if elected Ron Knott will keep Stuyvesant "Stuyvesant" and no one will mistake the place for a well run town lead by honest officials who care about the taxpayer. Say "Stuyvesant" to someone from say, Ghent, and I'm sure they think, "Gee, I wish our town could have that type of leadership!" Keep Ghent, "Stuyvesant"?

great blog


Sunday, October 16, 2011

occupy wall street

Here is my story: I run a successful small business, paying taxes, and creating jobs. Despite local corruption and government incompetence I will work to get capital to expand existing and start new businesses. Due to local corruption and difficult access to capital this process will take 5 years instead of 1 year. In the intervening 4 years, 3 or 4 jobs won't exist and tax revenue will not be collected. I am the 99% # OWS

Friday, October 14, 2011

good dog

last night's executive session: Whiteman Osterman and Hanna suing the town? violating public officer's law again? speculation?

Howl alert: before anyone starts howling: 1) if you didn't go into executive session with little explanation, people would not have to speculate about what you are doing; 2) the conclusion that Whiteman Osterman and Hanna is suing the town is based on logical induction, not inside information.

So at the town board meeting (Stuyvesant) last night, the town transferred $14,000 to zoning and planning to pay for the special counsel and special prosecutors of Whiteman Osterman and Hanna. David R. Everett of Whiteman Osterman and Hanna was there. The board and David R. Everett, attorney and lawyer and partner at Albany's biggest law firm, the largest law firm in the capital district, went into executive session for 30 minutes. The reason was "Pending litigation regarding the Glencadia matter."

The only pending litigation right now is a Federal civil rights lawsuit and Everett would have no role in that case other than perhaps as a witness, so it can't be related to that case. There is no other pending litigation, so it's a bit of a mystery. Maybe Whiteman Osterman and Hanna is going to sue the Town of Stuyvesant for non-payment? That's the only case that would seem to be a legal reason for an executive session involving a lawyer unrelated to ongoing litigation.

So either  Whiteman Osterman and Hanna is suing the Town of Stuyvesant or the town board of Stuyvesant violated Public Officer's law again. Anyone see any other possibilities?

I mean maybe they talked about who would represent them in State Court - but that is not pending litigation. They might have said "potential pending litigation" in that case. But why talk about something that may or may not happen before it happens? And they didn't say "potential" litigation. The only actual pending litigation is in Federal Court. There is no activity in town bodies: the planning boards and zoning boards are done.

Wait: I got away out for them! I can save them! They can claim that the ... means that ... is pending... but ... so .... with case law showing... which must exist... Phew!

Or maybe they talked about the Federal lawsuit, but how can they talk to a lawyer about a case he is not handling? Can you talk about pending litigation with a lawyer unrelated to the case and call that conversation privileged? I would think not, but it's certainly a fine issue for judicial review.

Perhaps they went into the session to talk about the handwritten note inserted into the public record by someone in the town, a packet of materials relating to protected First Amendment speech which the town ZBA accepted as evidence, including an anonymous slanderous note, the author of which is known to the town clerk but is not the person who delivered the package of materials to the town.

This matter does relate to pending litigation, as it is a clear violation of civil rights. The attorney in question, David R. Everett, is involved in this incident since he accepted the same packet of protected speech, included anonymous libel, as evidence for ZBA action. The only comment he made about the packet was "excellent" in an email to the town clerk.

I think they could legally go into executive session to talk about this. But they would have to state the reason as "personnel" as the person who wrote the note and the clerk herself, who accepted the note, and the secretary of the zoning board, who passed the note to the members of the board, all work for the town. But they didn't say "personnel" and name the parties.

So, no, I don't think that cuts the mustard. They couldn't have talked about that, not legally.

I will now FOIL the minutes of the executive session and by law the minutes have to be released to the public in 7 days from yesterday. But they certainly have not written the minutes yet. So they have some time to think about what they did and adjust the minutes accordingly.

The minutes will probably be one sentence.

I mean, other than Everett suing Stuyvesant, they cannot go into executive session to discuss pending litigation, not legally, unless they claim that ... means ... which is a stretch.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

cut and paste from facebook

Columbia County Board of Supervisors: It's not if they're doing wrong, it's what and how:

 ·  ·  · 2 seconds ago

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

here is the resolution against me with comments

Here is the resolution.

 I can't believe the town board is passing resolutions against me and the zoning board is hiring lawyers to write 16 rambling lying "resolutions" about me. I was running a small business, minding my own business, doing nothing wrong, when all of a sudden I was attacked by a corrupt town. In the intervening almost 2 years I got a much thicker skin and got used to a lot of crap. But still, sometimes I stop and think about it and am just appalled.

This guy, the lawyer, Everett, he really should have known better. Just look at the resolution he wrote and told the board to pass, which they dutifully did. It's obviously dishonest and unfair. Just read it.

The lawyer in question is of course David R. Everett of Whiteman Osterman and Hanna. I know this PDF is long -- 33 pages -- but by reading what they said and my response you get a fairly interesting dialogue with two parties, one speaking the language called truth, where reality matters, and the other, Everett, speaking the language of malign and lie, manipulating every statement to make me look bad although he does not even allege that I actually violated any rule, then cite the rule.

Like I said at the hearing, can anyone tell me what I did wrong?

It's just an absurd hit job. Read it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

nice sign

This guy took the words right out of my mouth.

Yeah, they ignored. They laughed. Occupy Wall Street. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


"All I heard was 'whereas...whereas...75. whereas... and the next thing I know you were jumping up there Will and saying they screwed you. Which I think they did."

 Nice summary from someone who was there who I ran into today...

 Same law firm representing the town in this case as in my case in federal court.

This is a sample policy from another carrier... may or may not be similar to Stuyvesant's Public Officer Policy, since my FOIL of same was ignored, I'll just guess that they are similar. 


 2. Arising out of the deliberate violation of any federal, state, or local statute, ordinance, rule or regulation committed by or with the knowledge and consent of the insured;

 3. Brought about or contributed to by fraud, dishonesty, bad faith or malicious act(s) of an insured

17. For any damages arising out of land use planning or municipal zoning;

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

too big?

So, the basic argument is that 75 dogs is too many and I should be zoned commercial. My response: first of all, I only have that many maybe 10 days a year and don't really want that many. I offered to settle on  a lower number. The town attorney AGREED with my settlement offer. However, he did not agree because he accepted our offer but because he want to set a trap and get me before the planning board to ambush me.

In other words, bad faith negotiations. I offered to settle. The town attorney, Tal Rappleyea, engaged in bad faith negotiations and conspiracy to defraud. Now, the ZBA says I should go back to the planning board? Do you think I can realistically do that? If the planning board were a reasonable place, why did they not agree to my terms? Why didn't the planning board accept my settlement terms when their own attorney agreed to them?

To limit my operation to 1500 sf for no reason is tantamount to changing my business into a different business. If you told a restaurant that already was approved with a big kitchen that no, they have to be a lunch counter with only cold sandwiches, that would be to force them into a new business.

I already have a big space. My customers want a big space. That is the whole point of the operation. If you say I have to be in a small space, then you are taking away the kitchen of the restaurant after they already bought $25,000 in equipment, have been operating legally with no complaints for years, and have not violated any rules.

You're talking to a guy from Matamoros, Mexico and he says how terrible these drug gangs are, running the town. And then you say, why don't you file a complaint with the police? And he starts rolling on the floor laughing. File a complaint with the police! Ha! Ha!  Ha! Ha! They are the drug gang!

David R. Everett of Whiteman Osterman and Hanna is simply saying I should go back to the planning board and re-file my site plan review, everything will be fine. Back to the planning board! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! 

so here's what happen

Ambush. Here is the Register Star article. Not bad. But they missed a big point: reclassification to commercial is a death sentance.

Dog barking: that was what I was there to appeal: a dog bark charge. It wasn't true. Obviously: they didn't vote to sustain that charge.

How is that they re-zoned me for entirely different reasons without telling what the reasons are and letting me have a chance to answer the new charge?

In August 2010, I was charged with producing "unusual noise .... that exceeds that which is produced by a normal residence." I appealed to the ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS, ZBA. I proved I was totally innocent.

In July 2011, the board expanded the scope of the hearing beyond my appeal and issued a new list of charges. I was not guilt of any those charges either.

At the last minute, the board voted to ruin me and close my business. The resolution they passed would force me to keep all my dogs inside at all times. That won't work. It's bull.

The board voted to ruin me on the basis of reasons that I NEVER SAW before the hearing last night. They claim the Planning Board screwed up in 2009 and never should have issued the permit I have in the first place.

To make that argument they cite a lot of stuff that happened after 2009. But how would the planning board have known what would happen in the future? And where does it say that the ZBA can overrule the planning board?

Also, shouldn't they have told me what the charge was before they voted on it? There is A LOT OF FALSE information in this resolution they just passed.

Also to come: Melissa Naegeli claims that Patty Yerrick submitted the packet of materials relating to protected free speech. That may be but there is no way that Patty Yerick wrote the handwritten note that accompanies the packet.

The handwriting doesn't match.

The more substantial issue is the note. Who wrote it? Melissa Naegeli says its not a member of the board. Or did she only mean the photocopies? Reliable sources close to Melisssa Naegeli, clerk for the town of Stuyvesant, claim she says she did not write the note herself.

I'm just confused. A legitimate question: who wrote it?

we lost

Basically, the ZBA ruled, following David R. Everett of Whiteman Osterman and Hanna, that the planning board screwed up in 2009 and gave me the wrong permit. So therefore they get to close my business down. Makes no sense.

It's a nonsense.

I have no idea what I'm accused of having done wrong. Yet I'm already convicted.

Thank you to the many people who came out. We are touched.

Monday, September 26, 2011

we're going to loose tomorrow but do come out

Here is the town clerk talking about who put that packet in the board materials about songs and books they don't like. She knows who did it but is protecting her identity. What is the public interest in allowing anonymous personal attacks into the public record, as facilitated and protected by the town clerk?

After a year and half struggle, the fix is in and we're going to likely loose tomorrow night.

We are fighting to keep our business open and pay our mortgage and payroll for our great employees. We run a great business, a country getaway for city dogs and there are no problems with our operation. The process couldn't be more unfair. 

We want people to come. We don't want this to happen quietly. It's an injustice.

Tuesday, September 27
7 PM Stuyvesant Town Hall
5 Sunset Drive Stuyvesant, NY 12173

Friday, September 23, 2011

does the town of stuyvesant understand the first amendment? how about capitalism?

Attorneys and Counselors at Law
September 23, 2011

Zoning Board of Appeals
Attn: William Vick, Chairperson
C/o Shirley Narzynski, Secretary to the Board
Stuyvesant Town Hall
5 Sunset Drive
Stuyvesant, New York 12173                  First Class and E-Mail

Re: Will Pflaum (Glencadia Dog Camp)
Zoning Board Meeting Date: September 27, 2011 @ 7:00 P.M.

Dear Chairperson Vick and Zoning Board Members:

     Please be advised that my client has received via FOIL, a copy of an undated handwritten memo, which evidences a personal attack on his character; a copy of the memo is attached hereto. Most troubling is the fact that my client has been advised that this Memo was written and circulated by a Board Member.  The memo evidences a state of mind that the author would not be able to make an impartial decision, free from bias; if issued by a Member, that Member must be recused (see New York Zoning Law and Practice, Salkin, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2, Ethical Considerations §31.09, p. 31-29, citing Op. (Inf.) Atty. Gen. 93-6 (1993)). I note that any personal objection to a different genre of music/poetry is irrelevant to the zoning issues at hand.  Moreover, my client’s music and poetry is simply free speech protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Kindly make this submission a part of the record of the within proceeding. I remain,    
                              Very Truly Yours                                      
                              LYNCH & HETMAN, PLLC

Cc  Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, LLP
    Attn: David R. Everett, Esq. via e-mail

    Will Pflaum via e-mail

Gerry Ennis Zoning Control Officer of the Town of Stuyvesant from glencadia on Vimeo.

Money = lie.
I thought I said enough about art here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hearing 15 next week


Next week we will have our 15th hearing in Stuyvesant Town Hall. This should really be the last one here in town. No matter what happens, this battle moves to state (and/or federal court) or stops.

Tuesday, September 27
 7 PM Stuyvesant Town Hall
5 Sunset Drive
Stuyvesant, NY 12173 

Outline of case here.

Thanks for coming out again and again to all the people who have. I think it makes a big difference to have people there in the room, to our family. You coming also makes a difference to the idea of the rule of law, importance of constitutional protection for all. That's why we're asking folks to come out one more time. (Federal Court might be the next time, but who know when or if that will happen.)

Crooked, absurd, and wacky in one place, a hearing in Stuyvesant, all for the reasonable price of zippo. Dog shirts on, if you'd like, like this.

Glencadia Dog Camp is a small family business offering country vacations for New York City dogs in an agricultural district of Columbia County New York, operating since 2005, with a unanimous permit from the town planning board and no trouble or complaint until weeks after the 2009 election.

For almost two years, town of Stuyvesant has been looking for ways to close the business and/or lock up the owner, me, Will Pflaum. The town has thrown everything they have at me: criminal court, zoning, planning, and hired the biggest law firm in Albany, spending well over $70,000 to find a way to close the business.


Dog barking bothering the neighbors? Nope. The charge of loud (or even sometimes audible) barking has been shown to be impossible in a study verified by the editor of the leading peer reviewed acoustics journal in the world and a whole posse of PhD scientists. Or, if you don't believe them, you can just look at the place. We're more than 1000 feet from any neighbors of the road. That can't be the problem. This charge is pure voodoo.

Too many jobs for zoning rules? No, contractors are not covered by the zoning rules. A technical issue, that the house and barn were on separate lots due to a planning board mistake? I fixed that at the county clerk. Fence not a structure? No, just read the zoning rules. Neighbors complaining? Nope: we submitted 47 letters of support and 100s of pro-dog petitions on signatures including from all the nearby neighbors and farmers who work the field around the dog camp.

The zoning officer for the town complains a lot, but mostly about my blog, reporting on criminal activity by his friends and himself. That is, he complains when he is not stalking my house at 5:30 in the morning or the middle of the night.

All the charges against me are trivial, impossible, false or just plain stupid, pursued at such great expense and involving the town board, planning board, zoning board, criminal court, zoning officer, and a big law firm all working together to reduce the county and town tax rolls and increase unemployment. There is no public interest in this matter. It's a witch-hunt. Imaginary charges, imaginary evidence and imaginary laws.

Why? After 15 hearings and $70,000 (on the town side: I spent more) if I did something wrong, it should fairly obvious what I did. So, what am I accused of? Anyone know? I don't.

The town is in open and clear violation of public officers law, hiring Whiteman Osterman and Hanna in an illegal executive session. Yet, I have to answer charge after charge, all false and malicious. In fact, officers in the town government are guilty of fraud, embezzlement, obstruction of justice, perjury and other crimes. I wrote all that up on my blog.

 Serious charged. Prove it? I would love to. Call the DA and tell her no one is above the law and she should give me appointment to hear me out, even if the accusations are against her friends and associates.

Do you think my reporting on the criminal activity of the town may be related to the absurdity of this process? That's what I will be arguing in Federal Court: my efforts to bring accountability in government provoked the corrupt town of Stuyvesant to lock arms and try to repress my rights to free speech, due process, equal protection, and confiscate my property.

And it didn't work.

The town of Stuyvesant is lawless. Don't take my word for it. Come to the hearing and see for yourself.

Stop corruption.

 Thanks, Will Pflaum

too big, ugly, depressing and expensive

To the editor:

 The Board of Supervisors have balked at committing to a $16 million project to buy and renovate the abandoned Walmart on Fairview Ave in the Town of Greenport. As well they might! They have been struggling among a bunch of bad choices for years.

Now, the sweetheart lease ( $30,000 per month rent! ) at 25 Railroad Ave is finally ending and better choices could be made. Why should the County embark on a $16 million project at Walmart that provides not one dime of services to needy people in our County? They shouldn't.

This $16 million will go to a real estate deal and a renovation project of a too big, ugly, depressing and expensive building and it will still be a too big, ugly, depressing and expensive building, with, maybe, a 20 year shelf-life if the roof is replaced. In fact, Walmart is so big that it's actually too big for DSS! The next desperate proposal was to make use of ALL this space, under one leaky roof, and drain some 24 County programs from Hudson--- Aging to Vets--- out to Walmart. Ideas were invented for more storage, garages, lunchrooms, fitness areas and three additional not-for-profits to be named later (in their dreams).

This was not exactly a welcome idea to Hudson City leadership.

Next, the pricetag for all these moves starts nudging $24 million according to Hudson Supervisor Bill Hughes. We haven't even started to figure in ongoing yearly expenses for heat, utilities, etc. for all this unneeded space. We haven't even started figuring the economic toll of the abandoned office space in Hudson. Time to think outside the Big Box!

This is the 21st Century. This is the era of laptops, fax machines, cell-phones, smart-phones and iPads. If the issue is really only space for DSS, let's put service providers out in the community where people live. There are plenty of existing models for home delivered services. I worked in DSS's Teen Parent Program which was such a model. Once a month I handed in bills and reports and met with a supervisor. Otherwise, I was out in the field with moms and babies, connecting them with housing, health clinics, daycare, parenting education, GED, shopping and jobs. I wasn't stuck in a cubicle pushing paper while stressed people with cranky children waited in line in a big, ugly, depressing , expensive building. Paperwork can be digitized and done from home, clients without computers can access the web at their school or library, supervisors can meet with caseworkers in various community centers and Town Halls around the County, staff training can be held at Columbia Greene Community College or provider agencies, auditors and billing staff can be tucked in with other agency billing offices. Caseworkers can hit the street and become real community workers. Let's spend our dwindling tax dollars getting important services to the needy and creating jobs in our community not on another Big Box.

 Sincerely, Lee Jamison

Thursday, September 15, 2011

letter from an observer

Dear Ms. Yerick, the complaining neighbor.

I recently had the opportunity to watch the video of you accusing William Pflaum, owner of Glencadia Dog Camp of your being able to see his farm from the window in your home. However, when he asked you to provide a picture of that, you refused to do so. I know the reason you refused to do so. You would have incriminated yourself...

In other words you were lying. I have personally driven by your home and the Dog Camp and there is no way that with the trees where they are on your property and where any of those windows on the north side of your home are that you would be able to see the Dog Camp. In order to see his home with the kennels you would have had to have gone outside and used a pair of binoculars to see the intimate details of his business. Also, the long driveway leading to his residence is so far that it would be totally impossible for you to hear anything unless you were to hook up a system that would transmit the noise from his business to your house similar to a baby monitor....

…It is beyond me that a community would want to run out a business that will provide jobs for others in this horrendous economic condition the United States is in...

Thus, I agree with Mr. Pflaum, he should have every right to run a Dog Camp if he wishes. As previously stated, we are supposedly guaranteed the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Preamble specifically states that we have the right of free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, etc.


Marlin J. Spellman

Saturday, September 10, 2011

letter from the lawyer

Albany, New York 12207

September 7, 2011

Zoning Board of Appeals
Attn: William Vick, Chairperson
C/o Shirley Narzynski, Secretary to the Board
Stuyvesant Town Hall
5 Sunset Drive
Stuyvesant, New York 12173 First Class and E-Mail

Re: Will Pflaum (Glencadia Dog Camp)
Zoning Board Meeting Date: September 27, 2011 @ 7:00 P.M.

Dear Chairperson Vick and Zoning Board Members:

I write this letter to address several issues raised at the August 23, 2011 meeting, as ask that this submission be made a part of the record of this proceeding.

At the August 23, 2011 Meeting, Chairperson Vick questioned whether the barn could be used as a Home Occupation 2, due to the fact that the barn exists on a separate lot pursuant to a two-lot subdivision previously approved by the Board. As more fully appears in my letter of even date to the Planning Board, copy submitted herewith, my clients have filed a deed in the Columbia County Clerk’s Office to merge the two Lots that they own into a single Tax Map Lot. Thus, they have abandoned the prior two-Lot subdivision. Accordingly, the Barn and the House now exist on the same Lot as required by the Zoning Ordinance (see Ordinance page 27, Home-Occupation-Class 2, paragraph 1).

As you know, the Chairman raised an issue of whether allowing the dogs to go into the fenced area around the barn was an activity “within the…on-lot accessory structure” as required by the Ordinance (see Ordinance page 27, Home-Occupation-Class 2, paragraph 1). By Ordinance definition, “structures” include “fences over four (4) feet in height” (see Ordinance, page 12). Here, it is manifest that the fence creating the yard adjoining the barn exceeds four (4’) feet in height and constitutes part of the on-lot accessory structure that is used to house the dogs, all in accord with the requirements of a Home Occupation-Class 2.

I note that there are other Home Occupation 2 uses within the Town that use an accessory building, and the area around the building as part of the Home Occupation 2 business operation. By way of example, kindly consider the operation of the auto repair business of Dennis and Shirley Narzynski, 3741 Route 21, Schodack Landing, New York as a Home Occupation–Class 2. For your reference, I have enclosed an aerial photo of the repair business, depicting the on site garage and parking areas accessory to the garage, together with the Planning Board Minutes dated 10/17/02, in which the Board granted approval of the auto repair shop as a “Home Occupation-Class 2”. I have also attached the Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes dated 1/10/04, 4/27/04, 6/22/04, and 3/27/07, in which the Zoning Board ratified the use of the auto repair shop as a Home Occupation-Class 2, and granted a sign variance for the shop. Clearly, such precedent establishes that use of the immediate area around the accessory structure falls within the parameters of a Home Occupation- Class 2.

I note that Chairperson Vick also questioned whether the Glencadia Dog camp constituted a commercial business, which should limited to a commercial zone, and not allowed in the subject Zone as a Home Occupation 2. It is manifest that the Dog Camp is a far softer use of the premises than an auto repair shop. It would certainly be arbitrary and capricious to find that an auto repair shop exists as a Home Occupation-Class 2, and that a dog kennel is a commercial business that is not allowed as a Home Occupation-Class 2. Submitted please find an additional copy of the January 27, 2009 letter from the ZEO, stating, “The fact that the business [i.e. the kennel] is housed in your barn makes it become classified as a HOME OCCUPATION-CLASS 2”. I note that the Planning Board has already determined that the Dog Camp constitutes a Home Occupation – Class 2, and the Zoning Board does not have appellate jurisdiction over the Planning Board’s determination. Last, the premises is insured as a farm and I have enclosed the Insurance receipt for the Board’s information. I remain,

Very Truly Yours

Peter A. Lynch

Cc Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, LLP
Attn: David R. Everett, Esq. via e-mail

Will Pflaum via e-mail

Monday, September 5, 2011

points from the county fair

We, me and my volunteers, spent 6 days at the Columbia County Fair talking about accountability and fairness in government. Here are some lessons and updates from that experience:

1) I have written a few new pieces for the blog since breaking the anti-corruption booth down. Here is my article about how corruption could be addressed if the political will existed. Here is a list of things on the blog for people who have not been following my case up until now.

2) It was great to talk to people. Thank you to everyone who stopped to chat a bit. Thank you to the hundreds of you who stopped to sign a petition or leave your email for the mailing list. Thank you to the 800 of you who took a flyer. Thank you to the hundreds that came back to check out the blog. I guess more people know what that white dog on a red sign means now.

3) Thank you to all the volunteers who took a shift in the booth. No way I could have covered 6 days by myself. And you guys were more effective at getting signatures than me anyway. Kind of better to have someone else tell the story.

4) I met a lot of interesting people. For example, I found out about this case: Here is an article on a recent and somewhat similar case in the same federal court where I filed my suit.

This suit in Troy was much cleaner and simpler than mine. Similar in the free speech issues, the abuse of zoning authority to squelch speech. Dissimilar in that I argue that I was targeted for reporting criminal activity in town government, activity which is ongoing and unpunished. Mine is not simply a free speech issue. I also want the court to do something about the the underlying problem of illegal activity and make it possible for this stuff to be punished in the future.

Also, you will note, the art center won a judgement against the city even though the center DID IN FACT have the wrong doors, swinging in, not out. In my case, there is no similar problem.

Again, they did have a zoning problem. They still won. I have no zoning problem. I think I should win too, more clearly than in the case cited above.

5) We ran out of large and extra large shirts. I should have known!

6) I heard a lot of stories about corruption in the county. Not too many people were shocked to hear the county is not being run in the public interest.

7) I was right next to the Republican table and yet only one elected official stopped by to hear what I had to say. Hundreds of other people heard me out. One did listen: Holly Tanner. She's a professional. She listened. Thank you. And Eugene Keller, candidate for District Attorney, he's got my vote. I know one's a Republican and one's a Democrat but I like both of them and not too many others so far.

I'm non-partisan. I want good government and don't see either party doing much to stop corruption. Step up, folks.

That'll have to do it for now. Thank you again for stopping by to hear me out and read my blog. If India can have an anti-corruption movement, so can New York. Thanks again.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Good Government Booth at the County Fair

4h, hot dogs, rides, crafts and anti-corruption campaign: what could be more American? Want to know about the white dog on a red sign? Come to open government booth at the Columbia County county fair.

Want my story? Try this.

Want a complete rap sheet on the town, try this.

Will Pflaum
Small business owner:
American citizen

Live blogging from the county fair

The dog blog is at the county fair by the main entrance to the exhibit hall. Come on by. Also, we got a top level domain cooking ...

Come by and say hello.

Sign a petition. Thanks.

Friday, August 26, 2011

audio and video from Tuesday night

You can see video of the hearing below. Audio links at the top, video at the bottom.

Here is the audio about the fence as not being a structure. Here is my point that a fence is a structure under town law.

Here is the audio when they vote on the issue of noise. This was the resolution: Should they restore the permit because Gerry Ennis failed to prove that my facility produces noise that exceeds that produced by a normal residence?

Jeff Jensen has to acknowledge that there was no noise. Votes yes.

Kent Kneller votes yes very quietly.

Bill William Vick votes no. Hard to understand that.More people said they don't hear squat and no one consistently even complained about noise. They complained about other stuff, not noise. No complaints of loud noise. Go back and check it out. Who said "loud noise" and stuck to that story? No one.

Next is Margaret Pino. She says the noise must be annoying to someone. She acknowledges that it is not loud. If it is not loud, there is no law that can possibly apply.

I jump in and say "annoying" is not in the law. The law says, "Unusual noise that exceeds that produced my a normal residence." We don't know what an unusual noise is. We don't know what a normal residence is. We have no evidence at all that there was ever any loud noise because that defies the laws of physics.

Annoying noise ordinance? You can play that CD you like but you have to skip track 3, the song that has that bell in it, because I don't like track 3? And you can listen to Fox News because I like Fox but if you play Aljazeera or the BBC at the same volume, you are in violation of the ordinance?

Amy Abatti votes yes. The resolution gets a majority of those present, 3 out of 5, but fails to carry because the majority is 4, out of a number of possible seats of 7 on the board.

So, two people voted no. They knew for a fact it is not loud when they made those votes. Pino said that it is not loud. Vick was here at the site and cannot possibly argue that it could ever be loud. Yet they think that Gerry Ennis proved that it is loud.

Did Ennis prove something? You stood there, heard nothing, you know it's not true, yet you vote that an officer proved something that you know is not true? You vote on some standard other than the law, "annoying" or merely citing the existence of a complaint without noting the existence of more letters not complaining and stating something you experience first hand: not loud.

You did not allow me time to demonstrate that the complaints are malicious. Then you base your vote on the same complaints, assuming they are valid when I was not allowed to show that that are not valid, again, ignoring the more numerous letters supporting your own personal experience of not loud.

Those are really, really bad votes. David R. Everett of Whiteman Osterman and Hanna, an Albany law firm with 80 lawyers, attorneys, specializing in municipal law, did not bother to re-read the law to clarify what it was they were voting on and seemed to have to problem with the "annoying noise" vote or the "complaint" vote.

Bill William Vick of Stuyvesant heard nothing at all. He was right here. He knows. Margaret Pino admits that "volume is not the issue." But in the law, it is the issue.

Law. You are supposed to uphold the law. Not vote your prejudices. Jeff Jensen, Amy Abatti and Kent Keller knew that the truth matters. William Bill Vick and Margaret Pino should re-think the law and the evidence and give it another try.

Thank you.

And here is the magic window:

Patricia Yerick discussing her window from glencadia on Vimeo.

Now here are members of the board not caring particularly that the window and the noise don't exist... willful disregard of the truth.

William Bill Vick of Stuyvesant arguing in favor of the magic window from glencadia on Vimeo.

And below (video) David R. Everett tries to confuse everyone with mumbo rumbo about irrelevant hypothetical situations. The ZBA does not have the authority to enforce civil actions based on New York Town Law. The fact that the town could file a civil suit in state court based on state law is entirely irrelevant to this board, which is a town board ruling on town law. The town could file a case in federal court. The town could vote to paint town hall green. So what?

The ZBA is here to rule on town law. New York law is not the issue before the board. There is no civil suit in New York court. That is a hypothetical option the town did not take. The town chose to use town law to enforce town zoning violations only the town did it WRONG. State law does not come into this. The ZBA is here to rule on the town's zoning rules. Gerry Ennis, the town's zoning guy, did not follow the town law.

Civil suit in state court, please. They would need EVIDENCE there...

Amy is right about town law. Everett is wrong about town law. He just tried to throw legalistic smoke in everyone's eyes to ignore the clear language of the law that the ZBA is charged to enforce. Outrageous. What the hell is Everett thinking? Where is the public interest in paying taxpayer money illegally to David R. Everett to throw smoke in the board's eyes and prevent them from enforcing the law they are bound to enforce?

If I need legal advice in the future, I'm calling Amy. Any normal municipalities out there thinking of hiring David R. Everett or Whiteman Osterman and Hanna might consider that as a cheaper option as well. This is pretty shabby legal work. The law is not Mr. Everett's toy.

David R. Everett of Whiteman Osterman and Hanna from glencadia on Vimeo.

And speaking of law, here is Maraget Pino making up an annoying noise law... I mean, if you don't like the law you are sworn to enforce, why not just make up your own on the spot to fit your mood at the time? Isn't that what tyrants do?

here is margaret pino of stuyvesant legislating from glencadia on Vimeo.