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Category Archives: Concession Bidders

Ravena-Coeymans: The Land Of Goofy! Screwed Again by Coeymans Town Board!

It’s Unbelievable!

The Town of Coeymans Enters into a 15-Year Contract with the Backwoods Cable Service Provider, MidHudson Cable!

Which Morons on the Town Board Did This to Coeymans?

Which Morons on the Town Board Did This to Coeymans?
What was the Judas payoff to betray cable subscribers in Coeymans?

Do you feel like your cable bill is significantly higher than it used to be? That’s probably because it is. According to a recent article published by the Huffington Post, “The average cable TV subscriber pays nearly three times as much for cable now as they did in 2001, according to research by SNL Kagan cited by the Wall Street Journal. The jump in average prices — to about $128 per month from $48.” (Source: Jillian Berman, “Cable Television Bills Have Nearly Tripled In The Past 10 Years,” The Huffington Post, 12/30/11)

The Board of the Town of Coeymans Has Set Up a Ripoff Agenda!

The Board of the Town of Coeymans Has Set Up a Ripoff Agenda!

And there’s more cable good news for the consumer, thanks to our whore federal government: Under a recent Federal Communications Commission rule change effective Dec. 10, 2012,  millions of television owners who do not currently have a cable box will have to get one for every set, according to public service consumer resource guide Consumer World. Again, according to the Huffington Post:

“[F]or some consumers, that could mean an additional monthly rental fee to access cable down the road.

“The FCC has once again found a way to pick the pockets of cable customers,” Consumer World founder Edgar Dworsky said in a press release.

“Under the FCC’s new rule, local cable TV operators can now scramble their signals, which means a set-top box will be required on every TV to view programs. Those boxes cost around $10 each per month, according to Consumer World.”

(Source: Caroline Fairchild, “FCC Cable Rules Change Will Require Consumers To Pay More For Basic Cable,” The Huffington Post  12/04/2012.)

So, when I first started following this unheard of suggestion of a 15-year cable services contract for the Ravena-Coeymans area, I couldn’t believe that anyone could or would take such a proposal seriously without negotiating some pretty hefty advantages for the consumers in the Ravena-Coeymans area. Actually, I would even balk at a 5-year contract with the back-woods service provider MidHudson Cable. But a contract with that bunch for 15 years? That is downright stupid.

But then I read in a rather confusedly written item in the Ravena News Herald, “Coeymans renews cable contract,” by Byan Rowzee (February 7, 2013), that even the bleakest estimates of the stupidity of the Coeymans town board can be exceeded! And so it was exceeded when the board renewed a 15-year exclusive contract with MidHudson Cablevision. A sad day indeed for Coeymans residents (especially those wide-assed, potbellied sports fan nacho-gobbling couch potatoes! And the guys, too!)

You'd Better Enjoy It ...It's going to Cost You Plenty,

You’d Better Enjoy It …It’s going to Cost You Plenty!

I and my neighbors have direct personal experience with MidHudson’s disappointing and very expensive cable service, if you can call it service, we receive from MidHudson Cable. Let’s just discuss the notion of “service” in general.

Customer service is not 24/7. If you lose service for any reason, you’re out of luck until MidHudson goes back to work. But they’re ever-ready to sell you a new package of “services” at a price far above say Time Warner.

Their equipment is ancient and frequently failing but they want you to purchase cable television packages bundled with Internet telephone and other Internet services. But these are unreliable given the ancient infrastructure used by MidHudson cable.

Compared to other cable services and television/Internet/phone providers, even disregarding the ancient infrastructure used by MidHudson, their services in this area are shoddy and unreliable. They use above-ground lines and modems which means that you’re out of luck if the lines fail because of storms or icing.

Do you think you've caught on to something here?

Do you think you’ve caught on to something here?

Data transmission speeds and quality are average or below average compared to other providers. Here’s the clincher: if you want to transmit a larger file or transmit at higher speeds, you have to purchase a more expensive plan! Now I’m talking about such small files by today’s standards of say, 3 Mbytes! And if you want to send to more than say 5 e-mail addresses, you’ll have to upgrade! (That’s why we use free services like Google e-mail!).

And read your monthly bill VERY carefully. If you do that you’ll find that MidHudson Cable has the sneaky practice of adding small increases to your services and other fees!

Those are just a few of the reasons why MidHudson should be told either play fair and upgrade their equipment of get out of town! But does the Coeymans town board think that way? Hell NO!

The small minds in these small towns don’t have a clue. They’re too important to think. Besides, if they sell the communities down the river, they are probably getting a Judas payoff.

They're Ripoff Pigs!

They’re Ripoff Pigs!

Why else would your elected officials sell out for 15 years, 15 YEARS to a small, inefficient, below-average provider of a vital service to most of the town of Coeymans residents? If the town of Coeymans has awarded an exclusive franchise to MidHudson Cable for 15 years, the board should be lynched! What that means to this community is that MidHudson has a literal strangle hold on the community in terms of what cable services you, the community will receive, and for how much! You will be at their mercy for 15 years!

An exclusive franchise is a goldmine for MidHudson, because if anyone else–that’s competition–tries to come into the area and provide a service option or alternative for cable users, they’ll either be told by MidHudson to get lost or they’ll have to pay MidHudson off to come in. The town board made a great thing better for MidHudson: they virtually sold Coeymans to MidHudson!

goofy surprisedBut I may be terribly wrong about all of this. You see, when you sign a contract for most services for an extended period of time, you usually get some added value, some extras, like added services for free or discounts. Maybe I should be asking Mr Thomas “Tom” Dolan, the one who spearheaded the move to accept the 15-year contract, Mr Peter Masti, Ms Dawn Rogers, Mr Thomas Boehm, and town supervisor Stephen Flach these questions:

  • Is the 15-year contract an exclusive franchise?
  • Which other cable services providers were asked to submit a proposal to provide cable services to at least to the town of Coeymans or to the village of Ravena and the hamlet of Coeymans.
  • What future benefits do they expect from MidHudson Cable for the town of Coeymans?
  • How does this deal impact on any other service providers who want to come in and provide competition to MidHudson, and perhaps improve services in the area?
  • What were the economic considerations discussed by the board for allowing MidHudson to have the town of Coeymans as their very own money purse?
  • Did the Coeymans town board negotiate any special discounts for services to residents in the town who now are forced to use MidHudson as their cable provider?
  • Did the Coeymans town board negotiate any special services for the residents in the town who are forced to use MidHudson Cable?
  • Did the Coeymans town board negotiate any rates caps or limitations as part of the contract to prevent MidHudson from continuing their sneaky practice of jacking up rates and adding fees and costs to monthly bills?
  • How much money was paid by MidHudson to the town of Coeymans for the privilege of serving the town of Coeymans?
  • Will the board members who pushed this goofy deal through be willing to make public their MidHudson cable bills for the last six months before the deal and for the next six months? Maybe the public would like to see what board members, especially Mr Tom Dolan, are paying for their cable services.

Wouldn’t you be interested in knowing some of the answers to these questions? I know I would.

We also expect that the Goofies on the New Baltimore Town Board will be next on MidHudson’s Hit List–That is, If New Baltimore’s Goofies Haven’t Been Sucker Punched Yet!

goofy writing

You’re All Goofy!
The Editor

Special Notice: We make every effort to be truthful, complete, fair, and balanced on this blog; therefore, if you see anything that you know to be false or incorrect, or if you have additional information to clarify any issue, please let us know by e-mailing your information or by leaving a comment. It’s very important to us that we don’t fall into the same category as those whom this blog is intended to expose. Thank you very much in advance for your cooperation and assistance!
 

The RCS District RFP Is an Embarassment and a Sham!

Warning: If you are a student or a minor, please leave this blog NOW!

When I See a Request for Proposals that is So Poorly Written or Fails To Attract Qualified Applicants Three Thoughts Come to Mind:

1) Either the writer has no idea what s/he’s doing and hasn’t a clue how to write an RFP.
(But what about the business manager the district is paying, shouldn’t she know how to write an effective RFP?)

Or
2) The writer has no intention of attracting qualified applicants and is simply complicating the application process to discourage qualified applicants.
or
3) Both 1) and 2).

Something I’d Expect to Find in the RCS Concessions RFP!

We’ve Received A Copy of A Reader’s Message to the entire RCS board of education and to both the RCS Superintendent of Schools Elizabeth “Betsy” Smith and the RCS CSD business manager, Ms Diane Malecki. Rather than discuss it, it’s actually worth publishing in its entirety. The reader says it all:

Ladies, Gentlemen:
 
 I am forwarding this message to all members of the board with the exception of Howard “Bray” Engel,Edward “Teddy” Reville, and Judy Sylvester, whose e-mail links do not work on the RCS CSD BoE webpage.
 
I have read through the RFP that is available from the RCS CSD website and find it to be a completely substandard document in terms of clarity, composition, wording, pitiful grammar, incorrect terms, vagueness and ambiguousness, and general content.
 
The author appears not to have any knowledge of the purpose and intent of an RFP nor the difference between an RFP and a contract.
 
The document is entirely an amateurish embarassment to the district and anyone who had a hand in its drawing!
 
Quite frankly, the fact that it was released on or about August 9, 2012, and requires receipt of proposals by an express deadline of August 16, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. is absoulutely unrealistic by any standard! Notwithstanding the delays in mailing and returning the proposal by the bidder, the materials could not possibly be properly read and digested, not to mention discussed and questions formulated, in that time. It is ridiculous to expect that all of the required documentation could be assembled and submitted in that short period.
 
The general impression made by the document is that it was ostensibly drawn in haste, and with an with an express purpose of discouraging or rendering impossible any good faith response by any conscientious bidder. I also question whether this was in fact the sole intention of this RFP in order to satisfy one sector of the community while favoring another. This question will likely be brought up at the next BoE meeting.
 
Another troubling aspect of the release of this RFP document is the obvious fact that it was not written by a competent writer and quite clearly was not reviewed by a competent reviewer, much less by a competent business administrator or legal professional or paraprofessional. That fact notwithstanding, it is a gross violation of protocol and of the prerogatives of the board of edcuation that the document was written and released without apparently consulting the BoE. It is my understanding that the BoE should have reviewed the document before its release to the public and, further, that the BoE had final approval or rejection authority over the document. It seems that that protocol was egregiously and perhaps speciously abused and violated. That is another question that will likely be addressed to Mme Superintendent at the next BoE meeting.
Under no circumstances should this call for public bids be considered licit or even legal under the circumstances, and the entire process should be declared null and void, and the RFP recalled until it can be properly done.
 
I am attaching a copy of the RFP that I reviewed. I have included comments in the first 6 pages of the document but the overall quality of the writing and of the document content was so abominable that a thorough or complete commentary on it would have been prohibitive in terms of time and effort. The comments I have made in the first 6 pages are generally characteristic for the rest of the document, however.
 
Should you have any questions regarding this communication, I shall be more than happy to address them on request.
 
One final note: I have communicated on at least two occasions with Mme Superintendant Elizabeth Smith with specific requests and questions. The lead time for her responses is unacceptable. I have not received a single response yet to two previous inquiries.
Sincerely,
[Name Withheld by Request]
 
[Click here to read the Marked Up RFP]
 
So what’s the reason you put out such a piece of garbage, Ms Betsy Smith. Is it that you cant write an effective Request for Proposals, or is it more accurate that you intentionally made the process so unwieldy, so complicated, and so burdensome specifically to discourage local businesses from applying. That sounds more like an RCS tactic, doesn’t it. Make it so complicated and burdensome or expensive an no outside buinesses will apply. Then you won’t get any flack whey you simply say no one applied and so now we have to give the concessions to the “new” RCS Athletic Association. Right? Is that it, Betsy?
 
Another reader raises the interesting question of why it would be necessary for a local business to surrender anything to the District. After all, the local business is paying considerable amounts of tax to the benefit of the District and town, is providing a needed and desirable service for the spectators of sports (note: not “sporting”) and athletics events, in virtue of the bidding process are the best value for the money, and in contrast with the RCS Sports Association, are legal and authentic. And on top of that the District wants a cut of the gross proceeds from the concession. Give us all a break and dispense with the greed, Missy!
 
And are we correct in assuming that the “new” RCS Sports/Athletics Association will be held to the same standards as any other bidder? One would reasonably expect so, of course. And that their documents will be available for public inspection.
 
Note also, that this doesn’t let the “old” RCS Sports/Athletics Association off the hook, does it? Or does it, Mme Superintendant? That investigation should be and is ongoing, we would reasonably expect.
 
 
Well, we’ve seen through the trickery and it wasn’t hard at all to do. Are we paying more than $140,000 a year for an amateur? No, two amateurs: the Superintendant and the RCS district school business manager (Diane Malecki)! How much taxpayer money does that add up to?
 

We agree with the recommendation made by the reader: The present RPF is a sham and must be recalled without prejudice, and be reviewed by competent individuals, submitted to the board of education for review, comment, and ultimate approval, and then, ONLY then, be released to the public in a form that is clear, unambiguous, correct, and which makes it possible to respond professionally and in good faith.

Cup Seen on
Superintendent Smith’s Desk.

Ms Smith, Ms Malecki: You both should be embarassed, chagrined and personally shamed for allowing such a piece of rubbish to have gone out to the public in the first place. We shall discuss the technical apects in an upcoming article which we recommend you read and study for your own benefit. We shall be examining the possible motivations and purposes in sending out the RFP in it’s shameful form in yet another article. 

Is this in the budget?
The Editor

Special Notice: We make every effort to be truthful, complete, fair, and balanced on this blog; therefore, if you see anything that you know to be false or incorrect, or if you have additional information to clarify any issue, please let us know by e-mailing your information or by leaving a comment. It’s very important to us that we don’t fall into the same category as those whom this blog is intended to expose. Thank you very much in advance for your cooperation and assistance!