Wednesday, June 8, 2011

letter to Ron Knott, candidate for supervisor in Stuyvesant


Congratulations on your nomination to the Independence Party line.

We're still 5 months away from the election so I'm surprised at all this activity. But since we're kicking this off so early, let me ask you a 10 questions. Elected officials are supposed to answer questions. Here are some:

1. Will you invite Common Ground Services to speak about mediation in neighbor to neighbor disputes? Why not? It's free and would help prevent more chaos.

2. Do you think there should be any limit on the number of relatives employed by the supervisor or town board member? If you don't think there is a problem with your relatives working for the town, explain why not.

3. Do you think the billing problems I uncovered with the missing $10,000 in the attorney line in 2009 are or are not okay? Will you do anything to assure the taxpayer that the "help yourself" policy is over? Whether or not the actions were criminal, the invoices clearly stunk and the way the problem was handled stunk worse. You can't let $10,000 fly out the door with no paperwork. What are you going to do about it?

4. Does the boat club assessment make sense to you? Does it bother you that it was listed as a state park for tax purposes? When mistakes happen, if it was a mistake, will you do anything about it? Or will you continue the "see no evil" policies? Does it make sense that the listing was a mistake, yet when the mistake was corrected, the assessment did not go up? Explain. Would you fire Howard Gleason if you knew it wasn't a mistake? Would you ask him some tough questions about it?

5. Is Gerry Ennis qualified to hold his position given that he stalked my house before dawn 25 times? Would you ask him some questions about it? Do you expect him to enter honest, unbiased information into the public record or are false statements clearly meant to harm okay with you?

6. Will you allow citizens to see bank deposits and bank records and other financial instruments in such as way that these citizens can determine: 1) how many bank accounts the town has; 2) who checks are made out to; 3) how transfers are processed between accounts? Yes or no. If no, explain why this stuff is secret.

7. Will you consider consolidating assessment, highway and justice departments with other towns to save money? Do you think there are no savings to be had by getting rid of some positions and departments and equipment that we could likely share in a consortium?

8. Will you find ways to make town hall open to the people, with college credit classes and mentoring and tutoring programs for kids or something just as good? Right now, town hall is mostly for you folks and the rest of us don't really get to use it. It's way too big for such a small town. We could do something good with it, like foster education. Turn it into a satellite college and move all town functions to one room and share the meeting room with the college. I bet it wouldn't cost the taxpayer a dime and would increase the appeal of the town to get more people excited about Stuyvesant. While you're at it, can you make this town into an agro-tourism destination by assuring Hudson access, a network of trails and bike paths? (Okay, this question is more than one question...)

9. Will you guarantee no more tax increases? Can you cut the town budget by at least 25%? It wouldn't be hard and no one out here would notice if most of the town government ceased to exist. We waste A LOT of money. Can you cut the budget? Is there no waste?

10. Do you believe in the rule of law and science or do you think vigilante justice and voodoo are just as good? This is a serious question. The charge against me is more silly than a witchcraft charge and it hasn't seemed to bother you a bit until now. You did see that video of Ed Scott right? You think that's fine, threatening to do something illegal to someone for conducting a mandated sound test? You read Steve Montie's post that I should get out of town? No action necessary? All fine? Will you just pretend this stuff didn't happen and let everyone cash their checks with no questions asked?

In short, to sum all questions into one, is a supervisor supposed to supervise people or let them do whatever?

So far, I see no evidence that you understand the constitution. If you did, you wouldn't have let this dog barking thing escalate like it did. You happily joined in on that stuff.

I do not see evidence you care about the public good. If you did, you would want to know how $10,000 went from the town account to Tal Rappleyea's pocket with no paperwork.

I see no evidence you have a vision for the economic future of this town. This place has many assets: good soil, Hudson river access, close to New York City, a lot of protected land, views, Kinderhook creek. So why are so many farms struggling and there is no evidence of a policy to leverage our assets into prosperity?

Take a stand in favor of the rule of law, financial integrity, and equal protection. Thrown in no more voodoo. Convince me your heart is not in your pocket by opening up and sharing the financial information and taking some stands that are not pro-cronyism.

Surprise me by responding fully, honestly and with some understanding of why these questions matter. Or think about it and decide it's time for new leadership in this town and change your mind and don't run.

If you do run, good luck. I hope to hear a good discussion of real issues that will assure that if you win, we don't see money flying out the door, breakdown in the rule of law, taxes spiraling out of control and our town wasting our assets, as is happening now.



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