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Who are the Thought Police in Your Community? Do you know?

“As members of a community, even as citizens of a nation, we are frequently exposed to and have to cope with what is known as groupthink, a phenomenon that may seriously compromise our image of ourselves, our relationships with family, friends, neighbors, community leaders, and may also compromise our moral rights of personal dignity and autonomy. And yet, groupthink is precisely what underlies much of our “training” in how to be good citizens and in the so-called education programs and our social organizations, and is pandemic in most of the institutions in which we work. Groupthink,  shamefully, has been a part of our religious institutions since time immemorial. Agendizing, brainwashing, programming.”

Anonymous Contributor.

We, as citizens, as members of our community, parents and educators, as human beings we are told that we have an inherent and guaranteed right to speak freely and openly about most subjects without the stigma that might apply to a person living and working in a different country. We would like to think that people, especially our elected leaders and our educators, tend to listen to us and give some weight and importance to what we have to say; consequently, we can and should play an important and proactive role in deciding how we live, work and are governed, and in order to do this, we must make our leaders aware that we are aware of the groupthink phenomenon, its dangers and risks, and implement ways of avoiding this insidious, infectious, and fatal phenomenon in our communities and in our lives. Once people are made aware of the groupthink phenomenon and ways to identify it and prevent it, we are on the path to reclaiming the efficacy and authenticity we once enjoyed but lost in the wake of the development of corporate control of our institutions and the chilling of interpersonal relations by online social media.

Groupthink.[1] It’s everywhere and it’s toxic! It’s dehumanizing. It perpetuates lies and factoids. Yet you love it! It makes things so much easier when you don’t have to use your own brain and you allow yourself to be programmed to think, speak, act, perform according to the in-group’s agenda.

Irving Janus mainstreamed the term in 1982. [2] According to Janis, groupthink

“[h]appens when in-group pressures lead to deterioration in mental efficiency, poor testing of reality, and lax moral judgment. It tends to occur in highly cohesive groups in which the group members’ desire for consensus becomes more important than evaluating problems and solutions realistically. An example would be the top executive cabinet (the president and vice presidents) of a firm, who have worked together for many years. They know each other well and think as a cohesive unit rather than as a collection of individuals.” [my italics]

We can find groupthink in our workplaces, churches, schools, social media, government, and Yes! even in our homes.

Janis identified eight symptoms of groupthink, which are noteworthy and which I will briefly describe below.[3] Persons affected by groupthink may exhibit any of these symptoms:

  1. An experience of the illusion of invulnerability. This illusion produces an unreal sense of optimism and the sense of empowerment to take risks, sometimes extreme, which the individual would not otherwise take.
  2. Acceptance of a collective rationalization. The individual ignores the red flags and warnings and refuse to reassess their biases, prejudices and assumptions regarding reality.
  3. Belief in the inherent morality of the group. The individual and members of the group are convinced of the righteousness of their beliefs and become indifferent to the ethical or moral effects and consequences of the group’s decisions and actions.
  4. Establishment and adoption of stereotypes of out-groups. Stereotypes are a facile way of dealing with the “others” and do not require thinking or decision-making. De rigueur negative presumptions and characterizations of the “enemy” render rational and effective responses to conflict unnecessary. Cookie-cutter responses are the result.
  5. The imposition of direct pressure on dissenters. Any deviation from the presumptions and dictates of the group results in sanctions. Individuals, group members are discouraged from expressing alternative views, or representing positions conflicting any of the group’s views.
  6. Requirement of self-censorship. The individual and members of the group are required to ensure that any questions, doubts and deviations from the group’s “consensus,” program, or agenda are not expressed. The individual must “watch his/her mouth” or be sanctioned.
  7. The illusion of unanimity. The views and judgments, decisions and actions of the “group” or of the group’s statutory and declared leader(s) and majority are assumed to be unanimous, justified and reliable.
  8. The presence of self-appointed ‘mindguards’. Certain members isolate and “protect” the group and its leader(s) from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions. These are the “thought police” who ensure that any information that can potentially threaten the group or its leaders is filtered out and neutralized.

In other words, the phenomenon of groupthink seems to have grown out of and fits perfectly into the framework of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, “Nineteen-Eighty-Four,” with its implications of superpower invulnerability, collective processing of carefully cooked data and information, a sense of moral superiority of the group’s decisions and actions, the facile handling of non-members by the application of stereotypes, direct suppression and sanctioning of any opposing thought or expression — the individual “watches his mouth” to avoid attracting attention to himself and possible sanctioning —, all communications and indicators seem to indicate that “everyone is on the same page” and “stands united.”  Finally, the self-appointed “mindguards,” the Orwellian “thought police,” ensure that everyone toes the mark, knows his place, and follows the “party line.” Sounds awfully much like PC, political correctness, doesn’t it?

The Thought Police or Mindguards ensure that you don’t think out of the box.

As I mentioned above, groupthink is easily observed in our schools, churches, public servants, social groups, the workplace, etc.

Here’s an example that comes from my college days when I worked as an encyclopedia salesperson. We were trained to ask potential purchasers questions that they could not disagree with, such as, for example: “You do care about your children’s education, don’t you?” or “You want your children to have the best available information for school, don’t you?” Once they answered in the affirmative, they were cooked. It was sort of like asking a veteran the question, “You do love your country, don’t you?” Or a clergyperson asking a dissenter, “You do believe in God, don’t you?” Ask those sorts of questions and you get a commitment to groupthink; the rest follows once the individual is on the slippery slope to group membership, willingly or not.

It’s certainly easy enough to self-test yourself by asking yourself if any of the above symptoms could possibly apply to you…but be aware of the sneaky symptom of “self-censorship” because you might actually be unaware that you are self-censoring; you may actually believe that what you say you believe is in fact what you believe. (Please go back and reread that last part. It’s important and you really didn’t understand it, did you?!)

Everyone connected to the same “brain”, the core-group’s!

Here’s a real example: I was at my fitness center and struck up a conversation with a guy who was working on a neighboring piece of equipment. The conversation started out on muscle groups and doping, use of anabolic steroids, doping scandals, and how natural fitness was desirable over and against taking performance enhancers. The conversation drifted to the inquiry, “What do you do?” The guy was intelligent, apparently well-read in the subject of performance enhancers in athletes, and was no dummy. He responded by telling me he was a “personal income tax auditor” for the state of New York. What followed was a textbook example of groupthink. He commenced by telling me how interesting his job was because he was making sure everyone stayed honest. Everyone should pay taxes. Not everyone was honest, some people were honest but ignorant. The tax department and auditors were there to protect the public. He was happy doing what he was doing, and he liked his work. He was protecting honest citizens from the crooks and the parasites. New York state took care of its people unlike those states with no personal income tax, states that provided sanctuary to people who want to keep their fortunes but not share by paying personal income taxes. Basically, you can’t argue with this guy because what he is saying is superficially true, ethical and moral. But, and there’s the clincher, his thinking from one subject to the other was schizoid! He was very individualized, independent, even liberal when discussing the social and personal impact of performance enhancers on non-professional vs. professional athletes, and the use of performance enhancers in the guy-next-door who works out to stay healthy or attractive. His lock-step “tax department” jargon and speech, almost soapbox preaching, was groupspeak, the product of groupthink. Can you identify the symptoms?

Here are two more examples I found on a professional networking site, LinkedIn, which is slowly morphing into a Facebook-type social media space. Whereas LinkedIn was originally intended to be a forum facilitating networking among professionals, the parasites slowly infiltrated and started their social justice preaching and religious proselytizing.

One characteristic of social justice and religion is that both are fertile ground for a bumper crop of groupthinkers. Example 1: Social Justice. This example is remarkable because it is so homogeneous in the majority responses and because of the sheer number of responses: 5,013 Likes, 321 comments! Synopsis: A young woman with Down’s syndrome appears in what is obviously a staged video, in which she receives a call from a fast-food chain, Chik-Fil-A, in which she is offered a job paying $11.50/h. It is her first real job and she is elated at the offer and accepts.

The groupthink: Actual comments: “Awesome!” “Wonderful!””Isn’t Chik-Fil-A a great company!””The story brought tears to my eyes!” “It made my day! We need more stories like this!” But many of the comments were condescending: They mentioned “learning disability” and how remarkable it was that this young woman had “won,” how employment “is a right,” and other misguided slogans associated with what we know as PC but was described by Janis as groupthink. The censorship/sanction/thought police action: A commenter posted some reasonable, dissenting, conflicting thoughts about the reality of the situation in terms of stereotyping highly functional Down’s syndrome  persons as having “learning disabilities,” a bucket term that stereotyped them unfairly. That she was hired on her merits and if she didn’t have what Chick-Fil-A needed and wanted, she would not have gotten the call. That Down’s syndrome persons are highly desirable in service jobs with customer contact because of their personality characteristics, as was pioneered by McDonald’s some time ago, and that these corporations are exploiting vulnerable persons with Down’s syndrome because they are perfect for these low-paying jobs, and it creates a very positive social image for the corporation, so-called “organizational health.” (See the McKinsey report below.)

Needless to say, the “mindguards” were quick to respond, and butchered the commentor for being “a Grinch,” for not “caring” and for his “dripping sarcasm.” Not a single comment out of more than 300 comments and replies accepted the truth of what the commenter wrote; almost all condemned him for not sharing the majority’s groupthink. (Click here to read the actual comments made by the commenter and some of the replies.)[4]

The value of hiring persons with Down syndrome is not lost on the corporations![5]

The economic benefits of hiring persons with intellectual challenges is not lost on the corporations, as is demonstrated by the McKinsey report[6], but we’re not supposed to talk about the dark side of Julia’s hiring because the group think won’t allow anyone to pop their bubble of denial or distract them from their happy, be nice, love fest by suggesting reality. That’s groupthink.

Here’s another from the same site, LinkedIn. This time it was a religious fanatic known popularly as a “Jesus-freak,” someone who posts an inflammatory statement about how Jesus is the truth and everything else is a lie. First of all, such posts are more Facebook quality and have nothing to do with professional networking, so it shouldn’t have been on LinkedIn in the first place. So the original post by one David Wood, who describes himself as the “Executive Producer Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Resurrection of Jesus Christ LLC, School Of Hard Knocks,” and his project as:

“The Resurrection Project unites the Body of Christ, to launch a global love movement, a feature length movie, and a video game, and tell the story of Jesus’ Christ resurrection and the 40 days that followed. “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ” is the greatest love story ever told.” www.theresurrectionofjesuschrist.com [Author’s note: My italics; I have not undertaken any editing of Mr. Wood’s English.]

His post was simply:

That was it. My first reaction was that Islam never claimed that Muhammad was God. Nor does Buddhism teach that Buddha was a god. The name applied to God in Arabic, and hence in Islam is Allah, which is merely an equivalent of the English, God, so that point is really moot. And the fact that Wood claims that his Jesus is the “only one God” reveals a bit of tunnel vision, even religious and theological ignorance. This is groupthink at one of its worst moments!

My point is this: Approach that post as I did, with the above reasoning, and you will obtain a clear lesson in groupthink.  The post received 51 Likes and 15 Comments but was seen be hundreds, perhaps thousands who didn’t want to “offend” by responding. (Or perhaps because religion is not as popular as Down’s syndrome? Or because the message was so bizarre? Who can say for sure?)

Those three examples should suffice to convince even the hardcore groupthinkers of their affliction.

The kinds of groups that are particularly at risk for the groupthink phenomenon are, of course, groups that we could characterize as cliques, whether consisting of 3 or 3000 persons. Cliques don’t need to be small and a whole company or department may become a clique. The group or clique should be cohesive for groupthink to develop; cohesive factors may include ethnicity, similar interest, and physical appearance. Members of a clique often isolate themselves as a group and tend to view the clique as superior to anyone outside the clique.

Cliques can form in any age group but they are most associated with groups whose members have gotten stuck in an adolescent or late childhood developmental stage, the stage when individuals normally form and become members of such groups. Accordingly, groupthink is characteristic of individuals who may have gotten stuck in a pre-adult developmental stage.

Facebook is a well known huge groupthink-collective in which groupthink can be diagnosed at various levels in the interactions from the very top, where the Facebook Standards and the thought police are active censoring deviant thinkers, that is, anyone who may not agree with Facebook or its policies, to the smaller yet equally repulsive “groups,” which may be “open,” “closed” or “secret”. The problem and real danger associated with Facebook and other social media that functions by exploiting the groupthink phenomenon is the sheer numbers of people who can be and actually are affected by the clique(s).

The proven disorder of Facebook Addiction or Internet Addiction Disorder make the problem even worse because once subscribers are addicted, they are captivated by the groupthink phenomenon and cannot escape.(See our article on Facebook Addiction Disorder on this blog.)

It’s the beginning of the end of open communication, autonomy, and due process.

Another problem is what I would call the “Room 101” factor[7]:  the fact that in terms of groupthink, when Facebook decides to deactivate an account for one reason or another, whether for a period of time certain (days, weeks, etc.) or permanently, this “punishment” practice has a psychospiritual effect on the affected individual, similar to being shunned or banned froma group or a clique. It is a powerful motivator to keep people under their thumb, a control strategy, that works extremely well once Facebook has hooked a person, and the person is sufficiently invested in Facebook in terms of time spent online and digital friends collected, such that the now addicted subscriber will feel the psychosocial pain of being “deactivated.,” in a sense placed in isolation by Facebook without the benefit of due process. Yes, it’s the beginning of the end of open communication, autonomy, and due process. Similar, in fact, to “vaporizing” a dissenter in Orwell’s “1984” where the dissenter is simply made to disappear, as if he never existed. [8]

The recent reports of Facebook’s cooperation with the US and Israeli governments to deactivate certain Facebook pages because their messages are “inconvenient” is a very disturbing step taken in the direction of thought control, Thought Police and Mindguards. That’s why we’ve been trying to get through to our readers to campaign against social media like Facebook! (See our articles on Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg‘s ambitious agenda to become God. Once he’s got a fifth of the world’s population addicted to Facebook and can control what they read, hear, see, and say, he’s well on his way to become the next Dictator in Heaven.)


The same “vaporizing” occurs when someone “unfriends” or “blocks” another subscriber who may have violated the group-leader’s or the group’s groupthink policies. Have you been Facebook vaporized recently? You wouldn’t know if you had been because Facebook strategically keeps it a secret; only the vaporizer and Facebook know it. Same applies when someone has a grudge against you on Facebook: they simply report you for such-and-such, and you find yourself deactivated. Groupthink à la Facebook!

The groupthink phenomenon can be avoided but only if the clique or the group is willing to acknowledge the phenomenon, to recognize it in their group, and sees the benefits of avoiding the phenomenon.

Fred Lunenburg (2012) proposes a number of possible ways to avoid groupthink in a group, including[9]:

  • Encouraging group members to state and air objections, doubts, and questions,
  • Promoting impartiality rather than stating preferences and expectations of the group at the outset,
  • The group leaders should periodically discuss the group’s policies and practices and report their transactions back to the group, inviting feedback,
  • Members should be invited to challenge the views of core members (and leaders),
  • At least one member should play the role of devil’s advocate, expressing objections or critiquing group policies and practices, and beliefs,
  • Where there is devil’s advocacy, members should spend time and effort evaluating the warning signals of developing groupthink inherent in adverse responses,
  • Alternative scenarios should be constructed by group leaders in evaluating any rivaling intentions,
  • In the case of a member who appears to consistently rival the group’s polices or practices (Red flag! Think groupthink!), the member should be asked to express as vividly as he can all his residual doubts,
  • Group leaders or core members should present the entire issue to the group to elicit feedback and insights before making any definitive choices or decisions.

Group coherence and decision making has clear benefits over individual decision making. This is especially true when a decision must be made under conditions of uncertainty.[10] Some of the benefits described by Bonito (2011) include[11]:

  • Improved decision quality
  • Higher level of creativity and creative thinking
  • Improved decision acceptance and organizational learning
  • Increased decision understanding
  • Enhanced effectiveness in establishing objectives, identifying alternatives
  • Greater decision accuracy and avoidance of errors and glitches

Admittedly, these benefits may be less related to the actual outcomes of decisions than they are to group morale and satisfaction; we can agree that groups should and probably do perform better when

  • Group members present a variety of relevant skills that differ sufficiently but do not create constraints or conflicts;
  • There is a division of labor or effort, input;
  • Individual inputs can be “averaged” in such a way as to arrive at a group “position.”

Are you controlled by the Thought Police, the Mindguards from the cradle to the grave?

By now you might be asking yourself the question: “That having been said, and while applicable to business decisions or to Facebook and other moderated social media, how does that apply to spiritual care or to our lives in our communities and the nation at large?” Well, in order to answer that question, I have to ask you to step out of your stall in the sheeple box, and think about the environment in which you live. Ask yourselves if you can identify groupthink in these situations:

  • In your church or faith community. (Hint: How do you talk about other faith or belief groups)?
  • In the Sports Association or Social Club. Do you have to toe the mark in what you talk about?
  • In your political or social club (Hint: When at a Republican Club or Democratic Club or American Legion occasion, are you careful what you say?)
  • In your children’s schools (Hint: Do you speak your mind at a Board of Education meeting or just sit simmering? At a PTA meeting what do you feel you can discuss? Do you even attend any of these?)
  • At town board or village board meetings (Hint: Do you speak your mind at a board meetings or just sit simmering? Do you even attend any of these?)
  • Have you ever avoided going somewhere or doing something because you were concerned what “they” would say?
  • Are there subjects or topics or language that you avoid specifically to avoid being stereotyped or labeled? Do you choose political correctness over truth and honesty? Do you do that out of fear of the Mindguards?

Are you being stalked by the community or social media Thought Police, the Mindguards?

At home do you have open discussions with family members or are some subjects simply avoided or off-topic? Are the Thought Police at work in your home? Or are you letting the Facebook and social media thought police do their work for you? Have you seen your kids today?

When is the last time you looked at what your schools are teaching to your children? Have you ever openly questioned what they are being taught? Or are you letting the Mindguards manage your kids’ minds?

At work do you challenge social injustice or do you simply turn your back hoping it won’t hit you next? Are you open in discussing what you feel needs to be considered for change? Do you suggest improvements? Or are you living in constant fear of being “vaporized,” “unfriended,” “blocked” by your employer or even your workmates and coworkers?

Have you been castrated by the Thought Police, the Mindguards?

Most of us will find ourselves interacting throughout our entire lives with employers, educators, community members, governing bodies, committees, or just with our families. We take these interactions for granted; that’s a big mistake..Each of these environments is at high risk of the groupthink phenomenon, and we need to start thinking about the nature and quality of those interactions. Can you identify the symptoms of groupthink in any of your relationships or interations?

We frequently say that “emotions are contagious,” but we don’t frequently admit that not only emotions but the environment created by the attitudes and thinking of leaders and core members in a group are just as contagious in the form of groupthink.

Organizations like schools, religious institutions, government, social organizations are hotbeds for the groupthink

Those of us who are aware of our lives will admit that each group or community has its own culture, and if we are to work effectively with the members and effetively serve the ourselves and our community, we have to be aware of the groupthink phenomenon as it most certainly exists in that group or community. Ask yourself if you feel your teachers, your administrators, your elected officials, local law enforcement are listening to you and your concerns and their attitude towards the “necessary evil” of your opinion must be tolerated rather than facilitated. That attitude extends to all the members of the community, including educators, elected officials, law enforcement, etc.,  and the symptoms of groupthink can be quickly and easily identified if you care to look. How do we deal with that situation armed with the awareness of the probable existence of groupthink?

Organizations like schools, religious institutions, government, social organizations are hotbeds for the groupthink phenomenon because they are founded on very clear principles of operation and program; they have their” agendas.” The objectives and goals of the group are clearly defined and the members are controlled by the assignment of specific tasks and imposing protocols. The agenda is clearly defined. You simply don’t dissent or rock the hospice boat. Groupthink.

Institutional Agendas Define the Group.

 

As “tradition” the groupthink may have developed as a response to the local culture, whether it be socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, etc. In this case, it is a response to the exigencies of doing living and functioning with that demographic mix, and is almost a requirement for survival. Is this “positive” groupthink? Perhaps, but it goes without saying that unless the establishment leaves the door open to open discussion, sharing of insights, correct interpretations of warning signs and red flags, it can quickly transmute into “negative” groupthink.

As the organization leaves the traditional, local, “family” orientation or organization and moves towards the group or the corporate systems, groupthink becomes more of a high risk than a positive stabilizing factor. This is where the culture of the group or corporation overshadows the individuals that move it as well as those who consume its products and services. Rather than being an evolving, “living” organism, it is a monolith. Again,I can’t help but cite Facebook or the federal government as outstanding examples of such a negative development.

A number of large multinational corporations like IBM, 3M, Anheuser-Busch have recognized the threat posed by groupthink and have implemented and developed processes to prevent or at least to mitigate its deleterious and prejudicial effects within the components of the organization and on the organization as a whole. Lunenburg (2012) discusses some of the ways they have approached prevention of groupthink by way of methods like devil’s advocacy and dialectical inquiry. McDougel and Baum (1997) discuss the application of devil’s advocacy to stimulate discussion and avoid groupthink in focus groups.[12] McAvoy et al. discuss how devil’s advocacy and the principles of sensemaking can be used in a method they call the “agitation workshop” as a method of challenging the false consensus created by the groupthink phenomenon.[13]

Do frequent meetings and evaluations work to avoid groupthink? More likely than not, they may actually promote groupthink when leadership reiterate at each meeting the same expectations at the outset, setting the stage for a more limited and controlled conversation that does not allow for alternative discussion. But such meetings and evaluations and be highly productive if, at the outset, the leaders or facilitators are aware of the symptoms of groupthink and some of the methods to directly avoid it, as well as the quasi-paedagogical methods of enhancing creative thinking, even improving performance by institutionalizing dissent!

We can and should play an important and proactive role in making the organizations and leaders with whom we work aware of the groupthink phenomenon, its dangers and risks, and ways of avoiding the phenomenon in our environments. Once people are made aware of the phenomenon and ways to identify it and prevent it, we are on the path to reclaiming the efficacy and authenticity we once enjoyed but lost in the wake of the development of corporate control of our institutions and the chilling of interpersonal relations by online social media.

By using your brain you can avoid the dangers of groupthink!
The Editor


Notes

[1] Irving Janis originally coined the term groupthink in 1972. (Janis, Irving L.  (1972).  Victims of Groupthink.  New York: Houghton Mifflin.)

[2] Janis, I. L. (1982). Groupthink: Psychological studies of policy decisions and fiascos (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin.

[3] For a more comprehensive discussion of the eight symptoms please refer to Janis’ Groupthink, Psychological Studies, above. A brief and very helpful overview of groupthink is provided in What is Groupthink? (http://www.psysr.org/about/pubs_resources/groupthink%20overview.htm, last accessed on January 8, 2018, 2018).

[4] The “Julia got a job!” obviously scripted video is synopsized on YouTube in the following words: “A heartwarming video shows the moment a teenage girl with Down syndrome receives her first job offer. A girl named Julia gets a phone call from a Chick-fil-A employee in Rancho Murieta, California. ‘I was just calling to offer you a position here,’ the woman says on speaker phone. ‘Your pay rate would be 11.50 per hour, would you like to accept?’ ‘I do,’ Julia says, her face overcome with emotion. As the woman tells her that she will start in December, Julia breaks down in tears of happiness. ‘Oh my gosh,’ she can be heard saying as she thanks the woman profusely. Julia’s family then encircles her and gives her a massive hug while chanting ‘Chick-Fil-A’. “ (AutoNews- Source:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5101331/Teen-girl-syndrome-cries-s-given-job.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490)

[5] According to McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm that serves private, public and social sector institutions, in a report entitled, “The value that employees with Down syndrome can add to organizations,” we read “[H]owever, some companies have chosen to tackle the far more complex challenge of hiring people with intellectual disabilities. Those that have done so have found that these people can add value to organizational health (an organization’s ability to align, execute, and renew itself faster than competitors so that it can sustain exceptional performance over time). Employees with Down syndrome are a particularly interesting topic of research, as they have a number of characteristics that both increase the challenges associated with inclusion and bring added benefits.” [my italics] (McKinsey & Company (2014) “The value that employees with Down Syndrome can add to organizations” (Vicente Assis, Marcus Frank, Guilherme Bcheche, and Bruno Kuboiama), last accessed on January 9, 2018.)

[6] Ibid.

[7] I’m referring to the notorious Room 101 described in Orwell’s novel “Nineteen-Eighty-Four,” the room in the Ministry of Truth (MiniTru in Newspeak), where dissenters were taken for “processing,” most never to be heard from again. “You asked me once,” said O’Brien, “what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.”  (“1984” Part 3, Ch. 5)  In “1984” the Inner Party persecutes individualism and independent thinking known as “thoughtcrimes” and is enforced by the “Thought Police.” The Ministry of Love (Miniluv), the ministry in charge of torturing dissidents.  The protagonist Smith is subjected to many forms of torture and is forced into the horror chamber known only as Room 101.

[8] Mind Control – George Orwell BBC 101 Documentary last accessed on January 9, 2018.

[9] Lunenburg, F. (2012).” Devil’s Advocacy and Dialectical Inquiry: Antidote to Groupthink”. International Journal of

Scholarly and Academic Intellectual Diversity, Vol 14, No. 1, pp 1-9.

[10] Nikolaidis (2012) defines uncertainty as “the condition under which an individual [or group] does not have the necessary information to assign probabilities to the outcomes of alternative solutions. (Nikolaidis, E. (2012).  Design decisions under uncertainty with limited information. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.)

[11] Bonito, J. (2011). Interaction and influence in small group decision making. New York, NY: Routledge.

[12] McDougal, C., F. Baum, (1997) “The Devil’s Advocate: A Strategy to Avoid Groupthink and Stimulate Discussion in Focus Groups,” Qualitative Health Research, Volume 7, Number 4, pp 532-541.

[13] John McAvoy, Tadhg Nagle and David Sammon, (2013) “A novel approach to challenging consensus in evaluations: The Agitation Workshop,” The Electronic Journal Information Systems Evaluation, Volume 16 Issue 1,  pp 45-55.

 
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Why You Should Avoid Ravena-Coeymans and New Baltimore, New York

Among so many other scandals and secrets, we now learn thru the media that the depressed village Ravena in the depraved Town of Coeymans (New York) may be getting garbage from Connecticut. Long-time polluter and environmental disaster LaFarge cement may be accepting tons of Connecticut garbage for burning in Ravena! According to an article in Hudson Valley 360, the online version of the Register Start and the Daily Mail, “A proposal is under consideration in the state of Connecticut that if enacted, could bring 116,000 tons of trash to the LafargeHolcim cement plant for burning each year.” Of course, everyone from the Lafarge spokesperson to corrupt Coeymans Town Supervisor Phil Crandall and his lackey, town board member Tom Dolan, plead ignorant, “We are not informed.” But the plan, according to the media, means that the Ravena plant could be burning 116,000 tons of solid waste every year in the near future. But local officials know nothing about this, of course. Aren’t they supposed to be aware of what’s going on in the town? (When the construction of the new kilns was announced nothing was said about burning garbage!)

[Read more at: Connecticut’s trash may be headed to Lafarge (Hudson Valley 360), and at Proposed solid waste removal plan could mean Conn. waste comes to Ravena (News 10 online)]


Infrastructure is crumbling. Real estate is plummeting and deteriorating. Tax base is dwindling. The ignorant still elect the ignorant…

Coeymans has a disgraced former town justice (Phil Crandall (D), Coeymans Town Supervisor), at least two former prison guards (guess what their attitude is to dissent or opinions), and a known bully used car salesman (Jim Youmans (D)), plus their cronies and friends (Cindy Rowzee (D), Crandall’s former “confidential secretary,” as Town Clerk, in key town government positions. Coeymans Town Hall has become the backwater, hill town version of corrupt Tamany Hall.

 New Baltimore has an illiterate, barely high-school educated, but highly paid dolt, Denis Jordan (D), with no formal training training  and no continuing education course, serving as Town Superintendent of Highways (Denis Jordan). Jordan ignores the New Baltimore Town Board and the New Baltimore Town Board — even though they have a Repubican majority on the board –— takes it up the bottom and does nothing to discipline Jordan or to protect residents and their property from Jordan’s incompetence.

When the New Baltimore Town Supervisor complained of anal irritation, this x-ray showed what appears to be Denis Jordan’s foot.

There’s little or no hope for justice in these backwater towns, either. It’s no wonder, though. The New York State Unified Court System (everything but unified) and New York state law requires a town justice to have only a high-school equivalency education and does not require legal training to be a town or village justice. The fact that town and village justices are elected locally, and because the standards for education and training of the judges are so abysmally low, the courts in the area are just as corrupt as the town boards, and local law enforcement. In the Greene County town of Cairo, one town justice, Leland Miller, takes his orders from the attorneys appearing in the court. So much for judicial impartiality. And New Baltimore has two incompetent town justices (Joseph A. Farrell Jr and Thomas J. Meacham, highly questionable ethics and courtroom conduct). Coeymans town supervisor Phillip Crandall, was removed from the bench and forced to resign from his elected position as a town justice and had to promise never to run for judicial office again! A judge disgraced for doing illegal favors for friends. But he then ran for the office of Coeymans town supervisor and was elected! And in 2017 re-elected by Coeymans voters!!! So Coeymans thinks that a dishonest town justice makes a great Town Supervisor? Apparently!

Incest may be illegal everywhere but in Ravena-Coeymans, shyster Michael Biscone can fix it for you.

Ravena doesn’t fare much better when it comes to a village court. Harold “Hal” Warner, a former Albany cop who was taken off the street because of civil rights abuses, and put behind a desk until he could collect his pension — That’s how they do it locally: We take our criminals out of the public’s eye, put them somewhere until they can collect their pensions! There’s a lot of local incest and Ravena, apart from its inbred native population, practices incest in public office, too. Old judge “civil rights abuser” Hal Warner’s wife, Nancy Warner, is a “village trustee” — we wouldn’t trust her with a bowl of cat food; she’d probably want to sell it — The village court is supervised by Mrs Hal, who, by the way would hyphenate her name as Biscone-Warner; she’s a member of a local incest tribe, the Biscones, who appear in public either as crooked real estate agents (Josephine Bruno) selling you local dump properties or as corrupt lawyers (Michael Biscone) who do your real estate work for you with their cousins, the real estate agents. Incest may be illegal everywhere but in Ravena-Coeymans, Michael Biscone can fix it for you. (Michael Biscone’s claim to partial masculinity, — he hasn’t seen that part of his anatomy in decades — is the fact that he claims to drive a “Bentley,” a fact he won’t let locals forget. He’s apparently on everyone’s payroll both over the table and under the table.)

When Coeymans Town Supervisor Phil Crandall complained of similar anal irritation, the x-ray showed his head inserted into his rectum!

Elected government? Forget about it. Where Coeymans has a pack of crooks on their board, New Baltimore has a one-party system for supervisor, and other elected offices: The No-Balls Party. Houses are going up for sale in unbelievable numbers in Ravena, Coeymans and New Baltimore. Property owners can’t get out of these backwater towns fast enough. What doesn’t sell gets either burned down or demolished. It’s a ghost town in the making.

Infrastructure is crumbling. Real estate is plummeting and deteriorating. Tax base is dwindling and the tax burden is falling on the few who are attempting to ride out the storm of mismanagement, corruption, and general incompetence in local government. And you wonder why?

Ravena’s mayor, William “Mouse” Misuraca, was elected by his bar room buddies and bar customers.

What can we say about the village of Ravena? Well, not much. What applies to the Town of New Baltimore and the Town of Coeymans applies equally well to the village of Ravena and the Hamlet of Coeymans. Incompetence, apathy, ignorance, anxiety, crumbling infrastructure, corruption, croneyism, empty storefronts, hemorrhaging businesses and population. Absolutely no vision in village hall. Ravena’s mayor, William “Mouse” Misuraca, was elected by his bar room buddies and customers — the mayor owns one of the local bars — and previously had tax problems so he qualified for local elected office. He’s done nothing for Ravena but plenty for his bar business: Everyone likes to have the mayor pouring his liquor, opening his bottle of beer. His honor William “Mouse” Misuraca! You can’t make this stuff up, people!

Vote for Mayor Mouse Misuraca (or buy 10 beers) and get a Mouse shirt!


Law enforcement in the Town of Coeymans and the Town of New Baltimore can easily be called “Cold Case Criminal Investigation” because you can hand the Coeymans Police Department and the Greene County Sheriff the hottest of evidence and they’ll let it chill until it goes cold. Chilling a case takes less effort and is less expensive than working it, maybe even prosecuting it. But then, the Albany County District Attorney, racist P. David Soares, and the Greene County District Attorney, Joe “Stagnant” Stanzione, as the chief law-enforcement officers in their counties, play the party game, they’re logrollers, country-club members in their respective parties. Don’t rock the boat! Don’t go after friends of “friends.” And you’ll likely be elected for life. Same thing for Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple and Green County Sheriff Greg Seeley, who both play by the party’s rules and stay in office. Corruption? Do ya think so?

Search this blog. For more than five (5) years we’ve been investigating and reporting on the craziness in Ravena, Coeymans, New Baltimore. We have hundreds of thousands of readers. State and local government officials, even the FBI, read this blog, yet the situation gets worse and worse with each election! Why is that we have to ask?

“I don’t get involved in local politics.”

The ignorance is staggering. When discussing — rather attempting to discuss — the local situation with a fairly evolved local (We know that because he was walking on his hind legs, upright!), he responded: “I don’t get involved in local politics.” Well that explains a lot!

It’s a pitiful situation but no one wants to admit the fact that we are in a crumbling, corrupt and indifferent vicious cycle of political parties, NO!, not parties, one political party the Self-Serving Party (or in the service of the Corporations, who then show their “appreciation”). Our politicians, or more accurately, our local wannabe politicians hold carrots on a stick dangling in front of the dumbass sheep (local residents, “potential” voters), and the dumbass sheep (We repeat: local residents, “potential” voters), follow the carrot wherever the lying sacks of dung (= our local wannabe politicians) want them to move. The fascist political party committees pick the candidates and the voters can make their choice between two or more evils, the final choice being evil by default. That’s what our democracy has become. And you sing your stupid carols and shout Happy Holidays, ringing in a New Year with depravity and debauchery, making resolutions you have no intention of keeping — and you try to deny that the coming year, the New Year, will be different from the Old Year. You’ve been deceived so often for so long that you’ve gotten to the point of deceiving yourself, and you don’t even know it. Business as usual in 2018. And Town Hall butters their bread while telling the starving masses, “Eat cake!”

Can you find yourself in this group photo?

The mob has control of the entire floor of Town Hall

When you look back on 2017, do I have to spell it out for you? What do you see? Well, in 2015 Coeymans elected a bunch of recycled losers to occupy Coeymans town hall. Phil Crandall and his mob of morons, Jim Youmans, Tom Dolan, all losers, made life miserable for the decent public servants, Coeymans Police Chief P.J. McKenna and Town Clerk Diane Millious. In 2017, Crandall was re-elected (or was he?) by the Coeymans villain voters. Crandall’s “confidential secretary,” Cindy Rowzee,  was elected by those same villainous voters to take over the Town Clerk’s office. Diane Millious after more than a quarter century serving the Coeymans community had had enough, had suffered enough abuse from Crandall and Youmans, two scurrilous bullies, and had shed enough tears.So they drove an honest town clerk out and installed a fixture from the corrupt supervisor’s office. Now the mob has control of the entire floor of Town Hall.

The Coeymanites handed their community over to the Coeymanazis!

The Hamlet of Coeymans is a social welfare slum. Run down buildings, abandoned buildings. Buildings being demolished at an alarming rate. Lost tax base; overtaxing those who are stupid enough to remain in what is a textbook example of the American third world in the making. Corrupt Town Hall, abuse of power, and a cowering community. Guess who’s to blame? The Coeymanites handed their community over to the Coeymanazis!

New Baltimore is just as bad. The Democrats served themselves and their friends for years. Now it’s the Republican’s turn. We say Democrats and Republicans but they are the same. For the past 4 years New Baltimore has been the Republican’s sandbox and they’ve done absolutely nothing to benefit taxpayers. The New Baltimore Town Board has proven that the fish stinks from the head down. New Baltimorons can pay their taxes to pay the freaks in the Highway Department to ruin their property, to devalue their real estate, even to create dangerous situations and then refuse to correct their defective work. The New Baltimore Town Board has the wherewithal to correct the situation — New York State Town Law actually gives the Board considerable power over the Highway Department — but when you got no balls and you have an incompetent town attorney advising you, the community suffers, that is, what’s left of the community.


Editor’s Note: In our article New Baltimore Elections: No Choice. The Sequel.(Nov. 4, 2017) We called on New Baltimore voters to protest all unopposed candidates by withholding their votes for unopposed candidates. Again on November 6, 2017, we repeated our call for New Baltimore voters to withhold their votes for unopposed candidates (Election Day Recommendations. This is the moment of Truth!); we advised New Baltimore voters simply not to give unopposed candidates the numbers. On November 7, 2017, we published the election results for New Baltimore (Congratulations, New Baltimore! You did good!). Those results showed more than one-third of ballots cast did not vote for an unopposed candidate. Those numbers sent a very strong protest message to those candidates. It was a great response to our call to withhold votes from unopposed candidates and not to give them the numbers! One third of New Baltimore residents who voted did not vote for an unopposed candidate! Bravo for those voters! Then, in our article, Complacency is a Bad Thing…Especially in Local Government, published on November 10, 2017, we put local, county, and state officials on notice that we would be watching and reporting, warning that complacency and indifference would not be accepted, warning them to be on their guard. This article is to show that we have not let our guard down; we still have your back, neighbors!


New Baltimore Town Board Meeting

New Baltimore would rather sit back and let their insurance company attorneys f**k with New Baltimore taxpayers

Even the higher state courts expect the Town Boards to take care of their own dirty laundry and to keep their incompetence out of the court system but New Baltimore would rather sit back and let their insurance company attorneys f**k with New Baltimore taxpayers — unless you’re a friend of New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan or, as the incumbent Republicans like to say, “Republicans take care of Republicans” — You pay your taxes and the town of New Baltimore uses the money to screw you, while taking their salaries, and padding their pensions. You get to pay attorneys until your money runs out and your home collapses around you. They’ll ruin your property but they’ll still send you a hefty tax bill. And you’ll still be liable for their debt service. Complain? Sure. They’ll send a letter telling you you have to appear before some board months later! But you’d better not be late paying your taxes! Or your dog license, they’ll hit you with a $5 surcharge or threaten you with court action. Small town government at its best!

Don’t give Coeymans Police trainee Amanda L. Mueller any attitude! Hooters in Coeymans PD!

A bunch of kids in uniform with too much power (little authority), and a bunch of bored, ignorant geezers “supervising” them…

Local Coeymans police department rookies go for the quick and the easy: traffic passing through their territories, while a blind eye is given to criminals and obstruction of justice within the department. Serious cases go cold because of indifference and incompetence in the police department. But seriously, can we expect more of boys and girls who are barely out of puberty, still have identity problems, have barely an education, no life experience, no real ability to make good decisions, and you put them in a uniform, pin a badge on them, give them a gun and IT’S PARTY TIME BACK IN HIGHSCHOOL BULLY LAND!!! That’s what we have in Coeymans right now: a bunch of kids in uniform with too much power (little authority), and a bunch of bored, ignorant geezers “supervising” them. Lord save us from ourselves…and our police!!! (See our article on Amanda L. Mueller, local rookie bully cop, at Coeymans Police Turning Into Coeymans Gestapo Again?)

Coeymans: Save money. Put children in uniform, turn them loose on the community.

The antiqaited, obsolete and incompetent town and village court system is a collection of ignorant, just barely high-school educated hicks in black robes, elected by their friends until they are sanctioned, censured, or removed by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Mayor “Mouse” Misuraca
Village of Ravene, NY

Ravena is run by a local bar tender/gin mill owner, so-called mayor Bill “Mouse” Misuraca. Coeymans is run by a disgraced town justice, Phil Crandall, and several recycled politicians. Crandall, Coeymans town supervisor, was removed from his elected judgeship for ethics violations and doing favors for his friends. New Baltimore is a shambles, run by a bunch of balless board members, who can’t even get the town highway superintendent to keep reasonable records. New Baltimore has become a one-party town, where several elected officials, including the town supervisor, were “voted” into office this past election; the problem is that they were unopposed! There was no other candidate to choose! Local democratic process at work. (BTW, it was the Democratic party that was unable to cough up an opponent to the Republican incumbents.) Misuraca’s campaign slogan was lifted directly from the GOP (Republican) National Committee’s slogan, “Committed to Community,” but his administration is more committed to Misuraca’s bar room ego than to any notion of “community.” His campaign couldn’t even come up with a decent campaign slogan.

In the meanwhile, the infrastructure is crumbling and corruption abounds. New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan is doing favors for his friends using town equipment, but refusing to correct deficient and defective sewers and roads in the National Historic District.

Local Town Justice Presiding in Coeymans.
(George Dardiani or Thomas Frese (Dem))

Roads are shit, transportation is shit, local elected officials are shitheads and dumbasses, law enforcement are bullies or worse, judges are ignorant and the courts run by the lawyers. Ravena, Coeymans, New Baltimore have descended to below third world quality of life.

Local Town Justice Presiding in New Baltimore.
(Joseph Farrell or Thomas Meacham)

What left of families and what’s not “brown trash” or “white trash” is quickly vanishing as the children grow up, go on to their fake higher education, go deeply into debt for a third-rate education but can’t find jobs, struggle to pay back their student loans accrued for their third-rate education (generally because the academic standards in the RCS Central School District are so low, and the RCS CD Board of Education know nothing about education but love to spend money). Once the kids experience what it’s like in the outside world, no one has any plans to go back to their backwater hill-town home towns. They go elsewhere.

Local Village Justice in Ravena deciding a case.
(The notorious former Albany cop taken off the street and assigned a desk job for civil rights abuses, Harold Warner.)

As the children leave the area, what’s left are the parents, aging, miserable, and heavily taxed. Property taxes are some of the highest in the state and with the wild spending practices in the RCS school system — plenty of money for AstroTurf and sports field renovations, seasonal refreshment stand construction, and tennis courts but none for books — aging parents question the value of paying school taxes in a community where there are no children and for the third-world education for “brown” and “white” trash, or for snooty, “me-first” part-time parents (parents who split their time between their personal interests and parenting). The obvious solution: people are selling their homes and moving to areas where, if they must pay high taxes or taxes at all, they will at least get a reasonable quality of life and some public services in return.

The situation in the village of Ravena-, and the towns of Coeymans and New Baltimore merely reflect the general decline and the depressed atmosphere of the New York Capital Region. The whole region is, and has been for generations, rife with thievery and corruption. The corruption starts in the state capital, Albany, and from that nest of depravity, extends its loathesome tentacles out to surrounding communities, even crossing county lines into Schenectady, Rensselaer, Greene counties. It’s a mess.

The entire area has turned into a hippo farm

The unfortunate fact that the Ravenese, the Coeymanites, and the New Baltimorons (a term coined to describe their neighbors by Ghoul’s Gulch denizen, Joan Ross a.k.a. “Cut-and-Paste” Joan and her partner in vileness, “Bitter Bob” Ross, imports from depraved Albany) have to admit is that they owe all their problems and misfortunes to their ignorance and apathy. They could have it much better if they’d simply take an interest in their community instead of complaining and turning into ugly hippos. Yes, dear readers, The entire area has turned into a hippo farm. Depression leads to many things and one of them is a lousy diet, lack of ambition, and obesity.

Two locals having a chat

Ravena and Coeymans is a veritable hippo farm, a breeding ground for every ailment, mental and physical, that accompanies a depressed and apathetic community. And Albany Medical Center is right there to open up yet another EmUrgent Care location, the Walmart of the American healthcare system, where you can go and sit and wait to be seen by an incompetent physician’s assistant who will give you what you are looking for, a fake diagnosis and a prescription, you’ll pay and be on your way. Everyone’s happy: you got your fake diagnosis and prescription, the EmUrgent Care staff got their numbers and are rid of you until your condition worsens and you return for the ambulance ride to the Albany Medical Center emergency department where you will wait 14-20 hours to get a bed and, if you don’t die there, you’ll be dumped out on the street in a couple of days with another fake diagnosis and another useless prescription. Best healthcare system in the world — or so they tell us.


The Bigger Picture

How we got here; where we’re going from here.

Life in the United States has become highly confused and superficial. Confused because the population is bombarded with conflicting and contradicting information from all sides, particularly the media. A general atmosphere of fear and anxiety is foisted upon the American people by everyone from the POTUS on down. Fear of North Korea. Fear of guns. Fear of shooters. Fear of aging. Fear of the cold and flu season. Fear of this or that product. Fear of the weather. Fear of fear.

The anxiety actually starts with fear of failure. Parents and the education system has failed to teach the value of failure as a learning tool. The result has been a downward spiral of expectations and standards to the extent that the education lie has become a reality. The young people graduating from our schools are dirt dumb. But they do know how to thumb-type and how to conceal a weapon so they can shake things up at school.

Albany High School. Once a place of learning the largely minority high school has become a place of violence, criminality, and police presence!

Take as an example the recent student fight phenomenon (See: Update: Albany High will close Friday after fights spilled into street) or weapons in school (See: Student with gun is arrested), as happened recently in Albany High School (Albany,, New York), a huge collection of kids of color (a fancy term for blacks and mixed-race youth) coming from disordered and angry homes, mostly single parent households, if that, who bring their anger and loneliness to school and start shooting or brutalizing each other. Once the shooting starts, the stampedes start. It was all caught on film and broadcast for all to see a week ago. The new entertainment, it seems. The new United States it is. Soon, the government’s first phase of destroying American values will have been concluded: those poorly educated, angry, young people will be churned out into a world that disparages them, a jobless world, a world full of the wrong passions and addictions, and they will likely perpetuate their anger and misery. They will all be churned out not with competencies and confidence but a sense of arrogance and entitlement; self-destructive and depleting.

George Orwell painted a very accurate picture of the world back in 1948, when he penned his prophetic novel, “1984.” It’s all coming true. Then there was Aldous Huxley’s novel “Brave New World,” and  the film “Soylent Green.”


Editor’s Note: Since our schools do not teach literature any longer, and people don’t read real books, being too wrapped up with Facebook and Twitter, truncated, abbreviated virtuality, I’m going to proved a brief synopsis of these novels for our readers:

Brave New World (Aldous Huxley, 1932). The author describes a world, in which citizens are engineered through artificial wombs and childhood indoctrination programs into predetermined classes (or castes) based on intelligence and labor. Lenina Crowne, a hatchery worker, is popular and sexually desirable, but Bernard Marx, a psychologist, is not. He is shorter in stature than the average member of his high caste, which gives him an inferiority complex. His work with sleep-learning allows him to understand, and disapprove of, his society’s methods of keeping its citizens peaceful, which includes their constant consumption of a soothing drug called soma. Courting disaster, Bernard is vocal and arrogant about his criticisms, and his boss contemplates exiling him to Iceland because of his nonconformity. His only friend is Helmholtz Watson, a gifted writer who finds it difficult to use his talents creatively in their pain-free society.

Nineteen-Eighty-Four (“1984”) (George Orwell, 1948).  As literary political fiction and dystopian science-fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel in content, plot, and style. Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101, telescreen, 2 + 2 = 5, and memory hole, have entered into common use since its publication in 1949 (A complete glossary of “Newspeak“can be found at Newspeak. Nineteen Eighty-Four popularized the adjective Orwellian, which describes official deception, secret surveillance, brazenly misleading terminology, and manipulation of recorded history by a totalitarian or authoritarian state. There’s a great online study guide for “1984” but we think it might be interesting for our readers to first check out the Themes page. It’s an interesting read.

Soylent Green (Film directed by Richard Fleischer, 1973). The 20th century’s industrialization led to overcrowding, pollution and global warming due to the greenhouse effect. In 2022, 40 million people live in New York City; housing is dilapidated; homeless people fill the streets; many are unemployed; those few with jobs are only barely scraping by and food and working technology are scarce with most of the population surviving on rations produced by the Soylent Corporation. Their latest product is Soylent Green, a green wafer advertised to contain “high-energy plankton” from the World Ocean, more nutritious and palatable than its predecessors “Red” and “Yellow” but in short supply. The main characters are New York City Police Department detective Frank Thorn, who lives with his aged friend and police analyst, Solomon “Sol” Roth. Fast foward to the end: Roth is so disgusted with his degraded life in a degraded world that he seeks assisted suicide at a government clinic. Thorn rushes to stop him, but arrives too late. Roth is mesmerized by the euthanasia process’ visual and musical montage – extinct forests, wild animals, rivers and ocean life. Before dying, he tells Thorn his discovery (that Soylent Green is made from human beings) and begs him to expose the truth. Thorn boards a human disposal truck to the disposal center, where he sees the human corpses converted into Soylent Green, but is spotted and has to flee. Returning to make his report, he is ambushed by Fielding and others. In the ensuing firefight, Thorn kills his attackers but is himself wounded. When Hatcher (Thorn’s supervisor) arrives, Thorn tells him what he has discovered and urges him to tell the researchers so that they can make a case against Soylent and to spread the truth about Soylent Green. Hatcher promises that he will. Thorn is taken away by paramedics, shouting out: “Soylent Green is people!”


The apathy and anxiety are fatal to the community. The root cause is that people see so much wrong and wrong-doing, and our elected officials and office holders don’t seem to care, they are indifferent and for the most part incompetent due to inexperience or lack of education and training. Elected office has become an ego enhancement or a way to acquire power and influence and is even used against the voters, taxpayers and property owners. It seem that our elected officials quickly become the enemy and the oppressors, not the promised benefactors we speak to when they’re campaigning.

You’re drowning and you don’t get out of the water? That’s malfunction!

Over the passage of time, just as any disease process, the sufferer becomes tolerant of the pain and discomfort and learns to live with it for better or for worse. That’s what’s happened in our communities and that’s what’s happening across the nation.

You allow your kids to play violent games and shed virtual blood, they become tolerant and insensitive to violence. You allow yourself to spend hours a day on Facebook while you avoid doing more worthwhile things or even necessary things, and you become tolerant to being irresponsible and inefficient; in fact, you become addicted. You allow your elected officials to take you, the voter for granted, you allow them to do as they please while in office with no accountability or transparency, you allow them to treat you with disrespect, you soon become tolerant of it and you get more of the same. Business as usual. But the effect on you is fatal: you lose your dignity, you become apathetic, and your self-esteem plummets. Same things happen to entire communities, to entire nations. It’s happening right now.

The women’s answer to being unable to cope in a “men’s world:” sexual harassment.

The confusion is infiltrating every space in our lives. One example is the confusion we now face regarding the once clearly defined question of gender, and the acceptable behavior between the genders. When the male-female roles were clearer, that is, in the generations where men were men and women were women, there was respect and certainty. The man was the provider and protector, the woman was the nurturer and the educator. Now men are still expected to be men, but women have insisted on invading the previously men’s world, but the women don’t want a level playing field. They want the rules changed: they want to assume male roles but want to keep the advantages associated with being a woman. They want to enter the male world but can’t play the game by the same rules. We now have the women’s answer to being unable to cope in a men’s world: sexual harassment. Whenever a woman feels inadequate or unable to cope, she bounces back with a claim of sexual harassment. If you can’t cope or play by the rules, then just be a victim. Victim is in. But this scenario causes a great deal of confusion because no one feels trusted or safe any more; the result is anxiety everywhere. And that’s just one example of the myriad confusion and anxiety situations. The mistrust of women and the feminist agenda has even affected some men’s desire to even get involved with women, who are now perceived as adversaries, unnatural, predators, opportunists, freaks. Those men might very well be right in their diagnosis of such confused gender benders as many women have become. The Orwellian stigma attached to any charge of “sexual harassment” by any psycho no matter when the alleged event may have occurred, has reached a troubling peak at this writing. A defense is nearly impossible; the merest allegation is politically annihilating. It’s just one of the many diseases of our current culture.

So now you know the facts. What are you going to do about it? How are you going to improve your life, your community, the nation in 2018?

 

Got any Answers?
The Editor

 

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2017 in 2017 Elections, 2018 Elections, 46th District, 46th Senate District, A.L. Mueller Badge 149, Abuse of Police Power, Abuse of Power, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Albany, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Elections, Albany County Sheriff Department, Amanda L. Mueller, Amanda Mueller, Amedore Homes, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Bitter Bob (Ross), Bob Ross, Bryan Rowzee, Bully biatch cop, Bully Cop, Cairo Justice Court, Capital District, Carver Companies, Carver Companies, Carver Construction, Catherine M. Deluca, Cathy Deluca, Cindy Rowzee, Civil Right Violation, Coeymanazis, Coeymans, Coeymans Elections, Coeymans Police Department, Coeymans Town Board, Coeymans Town Justice, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Craig D. Apple Sr., Crystal R. Peck Esq., Daily Mail, David Soares, Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, Elected Official, Elections and Voting, Facebook, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Greene County Sheriff, Gregory R. Seeley, Guns at School, Hal Warner, Harold Warner, Hudson Valley, James Youmans, Jason Albert, Jeff Ruso, Jim Youmans, Joan Ross, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, Joseph Farrell, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Josephine P. Dority née Biscone, Josie Biscone-Bruno, Kerry Thompson, Kirsten Gillibrand, Lafarge, Lafarge-Holcim, LafargeHolcim, Law Enforcement, Leland Miller, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misuse of Public Office, Moose Misuraca, Mueller Automotive, Mueller's Automotive, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Town Board, New York, New York State, New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, New York State Police, New York State Unified Court System, News Channel 10, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, Notice of Claim, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, P. David Soares, Peter J. McKenna, Peter Mckenna, Peter McKenna, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Port of Coeymans, Property Taxes, Public Corruption, Ravena, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District, Ravena Elections, RCS Board of Education, Sabic, Selkirk Cogen, Senate District 46, Shelly van Etten, Tal Rappelea, Terrorism at Home, The Daily Mail, Tom Dolan, Tom Dolan, Town Justice, Town of Coeymans, Town of New Baltimore, Town Supervisor, Transparency, William Misuraca

 

A Moving Message from Diane Millious, Coeymans Town Clerk

A Tragic Story that Marks the Decline of a Community

Phil Crandall has been out campaigning with his pet confidential secretary Cindy Rowzee and misinforming voters! Crandall and Rowzee have been saying how lovely their relationship has been with veteran Town Clerk Diane Millious. Ms Millious denies that statement and says that Crandall and Rowzee are lying, misinforming potential voters! That certainly doesn’t surprise us!

“C” is also for Crandall

Phil Crandall may be facing charges for forging signatures on his ballot petitions, which were falsely witnessed by his son-in-law! People have come forward saying they never signed the petition. Very serious allegations and we’re waiting to see what Mr David Soares does with the case. And that leaves the question why Phil Crandall used the Town Attorney for a private matter when he didn’t want to show up for the court appearance. A violation by Crandall using the Town Attorney for a private defense AND an ethical violation by Town Attorney Pastore!

Phil Crandall my be up on serious charges of obstruction of justice by leaking a confidential police investigation memo to the perps.

Crandall was forced to resign from his position as Coeymans Town justice because of corruption; Coeymans voted him in along with a couple of other recycled failed politicians in 2015. We have to ask what dishonesty and corruption got them into office after they were either disgraced or lost previous elections.

And Why? was Phil Crandall too busy to show up for the Meet the Candidates event at the school? Coward that he is, he didn’t want to face voters with tough questions.

Although we reported extensively on their corrupt histories, Comanches preferred to make fools of themselves. Here are some of the previous articles we published in 2015, as background:

Diane Millious, Coeymans Town Clerk for more than a quarter of a century, opens up Why? she’s leaving public service. Her statement , original made privately to friends on Facebook, is being reprinted below with permission. We’ve inserted the names, where necessary, so that everyone is clear about whom she is talking.

Ms Millious’ statement should make some important voting decisions for you on November 6, 2017, election day.

Election Day is almost here and this is the first time in 16 years that I won’t be on the ballot. The decision not to run was not an easy one. It was made partly because of a desire to pack up and move south but mostly because of what I have had to endure over the past two years. I have worked with several Supervisors and Town Boards over the years, some easier to work with than others, I stress the words work with.

The current Town Board with the exception of two members has been impossible to work with. This Town, your Town is currently being run by three people [Phil Crandall, Jim Youmans, Tom Dolan], three people are making all the decisions, don’t be fooled by it being a five member board. Many of the decisions have been made behind closed doors without discussion with the whole Board, the remaining two have been blindsided several times.

There were many occasions when I asked to be placed on the agenda only to find out on the night of a meeting that I was not on the agenda. After this happening several times I found that in order to be heard I had to speak during Public Comment. I have been met with resistance and denial for my needs in staffing my office. The workload requires myself, my Deputy and two part-time clerks alternating days. That has been my staff for 16 years, this Board decided that my office was overstaffed, mind you the Supervisor [Phil Crandall] and one on the Board members [Jim Youmans] are hardly ever in Town Hall to see what my office or any other office does. However the Supervisor’s Office [under Phil Crandall]  is currently staffed by the Supervisor [Phil Crandall], his full-time secretary [Cindy Rowzee, now running for Town Clerk], his full time clerk [Nita Chmielewski, former disgraced Town Supervisor], a part-time human resource/payroll clerk [Linda Ziegler], and an Internal Control Officer & accountant [Sarah Morrison, Darryl Puritan at about $100/hour] who frequently work on weekends. I might add that most of these positions are paid twenty plus dollars an hour with increased hours and pay rate in next year’s budget.

I have been disrespected, scolded and downright bullied by the current Town Board [Phil Crandall, Jim Youmans, Tom Dolan]. Up until the last two years I have run my office as I saw fit to suit the needs of the public, these past two years have been difficult on me and my staff.

My former Deputy was going to finish out my term with me, she chose to retire at the end of May because of the turmoil.

Having said all this, it has been a privilege and an honor serving the Town of Coeymans. I took great pride in helping to meet your needs. Make sure you vote on Election Day and make informed decisions.

Since Phil Crandall and his Democrap croneys Jim Youmans and Tom Dolan were elected in 2015, Coeymans Town Hall has become a cesspool of disrespect, lies, corruption, and incompetence. Coeymans doesn’t need this sort of garbage running things, going on spending sprees to pad the pockets of Mr Crandall’s little harem in his office, while cutting staff and salaries in other departments to the point of abuse!

On November 7, 2017, election day:

Vote Row “B” all the way! “B” is for Better.

Coeymans deserves better than Crandall, Rowzee and DeLuke!

VOTE STRAIGHT ROW “B”
VOTE FOR A BETTER COEYMANS
The Editor

 

Democracy is Dead!

This article will set you straight on the fact that democracy even at the local level is dead! We are told by political committees who will be our choices in the voting booth. That’s not democracy. We are not provided with the least bit of information on the candidates’ education, training, experience, qualifications for the job until the very last minute, if at all. That’s not democracy. Locally, and it seems nationally we have become a one-party system in a one-horse town. That’s not democracy. How has the term “public servant” taken on new meaning and how has it been re-coined “self-servant” by our so-called “elected officials? How is it that we taxpayers, voters, citizens are abused and insulted by the egomaniacs we elect based on their lies and misrepresentations. How they, once in office, ignore us until next election year. We see that locally, at the state level, and nationally. We can and much change the situation where we can: LOCALLY.


Democracy is DEAD in New Baltimore, Coeymans, Ravena, New York, the U.S.A.!!!

Do we really want schizophrenics running our towns, cities, the nation?

We still call them public servants but they have other ideas. They have their mega-egos and their personal agendas. They’re all warm and cuddly Dr Jeckyl when they knock on the door asking for your support and vote; they are voted in and they immediately turn into Mr Hyde. They no longer know us! Do we really want schizophrenics running our towns, cities?

Why is it that we continue to elect people we totally don’t know? Why is it we don’t demand a résumé or a public town hall meeting to ask these people questions? Why is it we let political party committees and political party-run election boards to tell us who we have to vote for? That’s why we get crooks, rejects, scoundrels, and ding-a-lings running for office and then you elect them to spend your tax money, judge you and sentence you, to control your lives. Now does that make any sense to you? You are always bitching and moaning but won’t lift a finger to help yourself. Now does that make any sense? You are constantly bitching and moaning that nobody listens, and then you elect people who don’t give a damn! Now does that make any sense? Keep staring into your smartphone and make some more virtual friends on Facebook. That really solves our problems!

Let’s face it, government, especially local government, the government that most directly affects our day-to-day lives, is an abysmal failure.

They don’t seem to be able to understand that public service is not self-service…

First, it appears that only egomaniacs want to run for public office these days. Hardly any of them have a clue about the job they say they want to do for us. Most aren’t even schooled in government and most come from blue-collar jobs. Some are absolute rejects. If they do come from a business background they don’t seem to be able to understand that public service is not self-service, and that the taxpayer is not the same as a retail customer. If our local elected officials and our local public employees don’t look at us as if we’re the enemy, they look at us as if we are an ignorant consumer. The end result is that we lose all respect for them and they for us; instead of public servants we face public enemies—until election day rolls around again.. Nothing gets done but they get paid. Can you see what’s wrong with this picture?

Here are some local examples:

We have a very unpopular Superintendent of Highways, Denis Jordan, in the Town of New Baltimore. The word on the street is that he’s incompetent, ignorant, and a crook. He has a history of using public employees and town equipment for private favors. We’ve reported on that several times already, and we’ve provided details and evidence. He has no clue as to road planning, design or construction. Yet, he’s been re-elected at least 3 times; the last time he won by a mere 1 vote. The town residents are basically to blame for this deplorable situation because they have become apathetic and don’t come out to vote; they’d rather stay home, complain, and start another rumor. That always works in the American democratic system.

Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan literally intimidates and ignores the Town Board, and frequently brings in his own people to confront the Board, including his own attorneys (paid by the taxpayers of New Baltimore. Who else?).

When the Highway Superintendent Mr Jordan isn’t tinkering with the town equipment, which he apparently does for a great deal of the time he is at the Town Garage, he’s using Town equipment for questionable local projects, while ignoring work necessary to avoid accidents, injury, and Town liability. He’s caused damage to private property that goes ignored by the Town Board, and he’s created numerous roadway hazards in the Hamlet that no one, including the Highway Department, want’s to even mark off for the public’s safety.  The New Baltimore Town Board ignores that too. Mr Jordan is receiving more than $53,000 a year in salary, plus benefits (many of us don’t have), and apparently plans to collect a pension. He’s just barely graduated high school, has no job-specific training, doesn’t attend any continuing education courses, conferences, workshops, and is generally a non-achiever. Chances are he’ll collect a fat pension if he’s not investigated and criminally charged, and his pension either revoked or reduced to cover the damage he’s done in the Town.

That’s one example. Let’s move on to the New Baltimore Town Board, currently comprised of a Town Supervisor Mr Nick Dellisanti, a boardmember and Deputy Supervisor Mr Jeff Ruso, and three boardmembers Shelli vanEtton, Scott Brody, and Chuck Irving. Actually, the names are not really important but most Town residents don’t know who is on the board so we’d like to refresh their memories.

New Baltimore is a one-party town; Democrats in New Baltimore can’t even cough up a candidate to run against Ruso.

Dellisanti, originally from downstate, was a newcomer to local government 4 years ago, ran for the 2-year supervisor position and won a second term. Barely got his feet wet in the 4 years on the job, and now has decided he does not want to run again. Deputy Jeff Ruso, who ran for supervisor once and lost, ran for town board member along with his sidekick Dellisanti, and won a seat on the board. Ruso is now running for town supervisor again but here’s the tickler: Ruso, a one-time loser, a Republican, is running unopposed for the office of New Baltimore town supervisor. The Democrats and other political parties in New Baltimore can’t even cough up a candidate to run against Ruso. So, you see, the situation is just as we’ve been describing it all along: Democracy is Dead, for at least for sale in local and national politics. Voter apathy has led to a one-party town; no choice. And you think this is getting better?

The New Baltimore Town Board has no balls; they are derelict in their duties and obligations to the residents of the Town.

We mentioned that New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan has been getting away with murder in the town, and the Town Board does nothing, despite the fact that they have certain options under New York State Law. Another option would be for the Greene County District Attorney, Joseph Stanzione (R), to get involved and do an investigation of the operations of the Town Highway Department. Another would be to call in the New York State Comptroller for a special audit. Of course, these are all options that depend on honesty, integrity, and good practices, none of which are to be found in the Highway Department. And the New Baltimore Town Board has no balls; they are derelict in their duties and obligations to the residents of the Town by ignoring the wrongs done to taxpaying residents! All the Town Board has to do is ask for help in dealing with Jordan…what are they afraid of?

New Baltimore taxpayers have to pay the bills but are getting nothing in return except abuse, excuses, indifference, and ding-a-lings.

Here’s an example of ding-a-ling local government: In June 2017 we sent an email to Mayor William “Mouse” Misuraca of Ravena, Supervisor Phillip Crandall of Coeymans, and Supervisor Nick Dellisanti of New Baltimore. The request read:

Good morning, Town and Village executives:

It’s an election year again and we’d like to follow up with you to ask you to please provide your self-assessment of what you’ve accomplished during the past 1-2 years of your term in office.

Would you please provide us with a short list of the top ten items you feel are your most significant accomplishments during your most recent 1-2 years in office. A short description of how the most important of these items and how the item benefits your constituents, your residents and the taxpayers of your town or village would be very helpful.

Please limit your list for up to 10 items. If you list less than ten that’s fine too.

Please be advised that these items will be published. If you choose not to reply we will note that fact too. Please reply before Friday, July 14, 2017.

Thank you for your attention.

The Editor

We followed a month or two later asking again for their list of accomplishments, hoping to be able to publish them prior to the November elections. The only response we got was from New Baltimore Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, to his credit, but what he included in the list was a bit surprising (See the actual list here.)

One item was “change the wording from ‘mandatory’ to ‘voluntary'” in the Comprehensive Plan, changing the number of zones on Route 9W from six to four. Big news, right? A word change! Now that’s an accomplishment!

A couple of years ago, the Town handed over one of the town parks, the Cecil B. Hallock town park, to a Greene County travel baseball team, the Outlaws, who, for their own purposes “overhauled the park.” Mr Dellisanti thinks that handing over a town park to an outside baseball team is an accomplishment. We differ in that opinion.

Mr Dellisanti states that his administration lowered taxes three years in a row but is not specific on that one. More on taxes and assessments below. But lowering taxes in view of the disadvantages caused to taxpayers living in New Baltimore is only fair. But Mr Dellisanti thinks this is an accomplishment worth noting.

Another item listed by Dellisanti is the creation of the “Friends of New Baltimore Recreation Committee,” whose purpose is to raise funds for park improvements. Like handing them over to outside baseball teams and cricket associations? Parks are a nice, not a necessary. Well-planned, designed, executed roadwork is a necessary. We don’t have that in New Baltimore. Effective drainage to prevent property damage is a necessity. We don’t have that either in New Baltimore.

Speaking of parks, Dellisanti mentions a $50,000 grant from our dunce friend George Amadore, to provide “handicapped-accessible playground equipment” for the District 2 park. WTF!!! “Handicapped-accessible playground equipment”? What the F**K is that??? $50,000!!!! What in hell are handicapped persons doing on playground equipment, anyway??? Will someone cue us in on this one, please!!! (Editor’s Note: New Baltimore population, especially youth, has been dropping for years! Who is using this playground equipment? Is this one of the town’s top priorities?) Now that we have physically challenged individuals frolicking in our New Baltimore parks along with the out-of-town baseball and cricket teams, who’s insuring these handicapped people using the “handicapped accessible playground equipment?” Mr Amadore? Mr Dellisanti? Mr Ruso?

Yeah! For rubber cells for the New Baltimore Town Board, and spendthrift NY Senator George Amadore (R)!

The fact that the town obtained “0% financing of a $2.6 million project for a new wastewater treatment plant” sounds really great but where is all that wastewater coming from? All $2.6 million dollars of it that needs treatment. Only a portion of the Hamlet has a sewerage system but no water to speak of. The wells are iffy and most go dry during the summer. The town failed several years ago in its attempt to bring a public water system to the Hamlet. 0% financing or not, this is a loan that has to be paid back by taxpayers.But let’s ask again, whose wastewater is being treated? Interest-free or not, someone’s going to have to pay back the loan.

Dellisanti lists “anticipate grant of $650,000 to reduce the cost of the new wastewater treatment plant.” Sorry, but “anticipate” doesn’t cut it, Nick; neither does the $2.6 million loan for the same plant. Give us public water and we might be able to swallow this when we don’t have to spend $30/week for bottled water to drink and cook with! Waste water treatment plant? There’s no water to flush with!

This one, Number 8 in the List of 10 accomplishments, really got us shaking our heads: “Brought Capital District Cricket Association to District 3 Park.” Yes! You read “cricket association.” And No. 9, “New Baltimore will receive $25/day for weekend games” thanks to the Capital District Cricket Association. Wow! $25/day!!! That will just about cover opening and closing the park gates! (By the way, that’s what a resident would pay to use the park facilities for a private function. The New Baltimore resident would also have to leave a $25 deposit, too..) New Baltimore is quickly running out of parks to give away.

The Town of New Baltimore now has a so-called “Veterans Committee” that hosts an annual — that’s once a year, friends — luncheon for town veterans. The town has installed a veterans memorial at the Town Hall. While we have every respect for veterans, several of us being veterans ourselves, we do question the expense of a veterans memorial at our quaint, miniscule, but cute Town Hall. We’ve been to the veterans luncheon and must say that the organizers work hard to put on a nice event for many of our veterans, almost to the man over 70 years old now! But, really, is this a town government accomplishment?

We asked for 10 items but Mr Dellisanti, apparently anxious to get the politician’s last extra in, gave us 11. No. 11 reads in part, “received grants for AgFest, Veterans, and our Summer Recreation Program” through county legislator Pat Liner and the Bank of Greene County. Really, how much? Wouldn’t this be county and private enterprise, a bank putting back into the community it’s already gouged bloody? And where’s Pat Linger getting the money? From taxpayer dollars! He’s not digging into his pockets to pull out the moula! Is this an accomplishment? We’re not quite sure what this does for the Town of New Baltimore, a town teetering on the edge of implosion and hemorrhaging residents.

Sorry, but all things considered and while we are grateful to Mr Dellisanti for at least taking the time to respond to our request, we have to admit that none of the above really addresses the real problems in the Town of New Baltimore. In fact, most of it is pretty useless: handing over parks to out-of-town baseball teams, cricket associations, getting loans, and useless memorials and programs. Come on, with our problems?!?! Is that REALLY all the New Baltimore town board can accomplish?

The Mayor of Ravena and the Town Supervisor of Coeymans could not provide us with any accomplishments during their current term of office. NONE. Because they have NONE.

The fact is that Mr William “Mouse” Misuraca, mayor of the hovel village Ravena, and disgraced-judge-now-supervisor of Coeymans Phillip Crandall, who has the nerve to run again in November, did not respond to our request for accomplishments. We assume that their refusal to respond was that they don’t have the brains to make up any accomplishments or they actually can’t think of any. Regardless, the bottom line is that the Mayor of Ravena and the Town Supervisor of Coeymans could not provide us with any accomplishments during their current term of office. That’s pretty sorry stuff. But it’s local politics and elected officials working for us — so they’d like us to believe.

NONE!

Actually, if the observable facts can be relied on, Mr Misuraca and Mr Crandall are, for once in their corrupt lives, being truthful: They have not provided a list of accomplishments because they have NONE!

We have nothing further to say about Mr Misuraca’s and Mr Crandall’s failures as leaders; their non-existent accomplishments speak volumes about their failure.

Residents and property owners in the Town of New Baltimore have been complaining to and suing the Town for years for damage by or abuse or corruption at the hands of the New Baltimore Highway Department under Superintendent Denis Jordan. We won’t go into details here because we’ve been reporting on the scandals for some time now. Just search the articles on this blog.

One example of the absolute depravity of the dysfunction in the New Baltimore Town Hall is clearly visible in the New Baltimore National Historic District, on New Street. The street and surrounding areas were neglected by the Highway Department for years. Drainage ditches were filled with debris and overgrown with weeds, culverts rotting in the ground, rutted road surfaces working like canals for runoff water, storm drains lying buried, and dead-end culverts, “Where’s this go? I dunno!” If you take a short drive to the National Historic District and down New Street, at the end you’ll see the result of one property owner’s tax dollars at work: negligence and lack of maintenance of the road owned by the Town of New Baltimore and the responsibility of the New Baltimore Highway Department has destroyed a private residential property. The negligence caused runoff water not to go to the unmaintained ditches or to the buried storm drains into the dead-end culverts. No! All of the above conducted the water into the foundations of the building and the building is now collapsing, totally useless! And the owner’s investment? That too, is zilch.

But for almost ten years the Town and the Highway Department were being informed of drainage problems and poor maintenance. Over a year ago the owner of the property demanded that the Town Board and Highway Department inspect the area and the damaged building. They inspected. They did nothing.

True, the Highway Department came down and dug things up, put in a new culvert, installed two culverts under private driveways, but the bottom line is that they didn’t fix the original problem; they even made it worse, and created new dangerous conditions. The Town board regularly informed. Nothing done.

New Street was paved under contract to Callanan Industries under the supervision of Superintendent Jordan. It cost almost $200,000 to pave several Hamlet streets. It was a nightmare, a terrible mess! A number of dangerous conditions were actually created by the paving and Mr Jordan’s “supervision” (when, if he was present). The Town and Highway Department notified. Nothing. Remember the drainage into the foundations of the residential property? Well, the paving work actually created new conduits for water flowing into the foundation.

The Town Board and the Highway Department were made fully aware of the damage and the problems over a year ago; they actually came down to New Street and were given a grand tour of the defects and deficiencies. In fact, it was Deputy Supervisor Ruso who found the dead end culvert and couldn’t find where it led, and Deputy Highways Superintendent Scott vanWormer who dug up the storm drain buried under 3 inches of soil, remarking “In 17 years on the job I never knew that was there!” Former building inspector and code enforcement officer Steve Mantor addressed a letter to the owner noting “community concerns” as to the safety of the building. But the fact that the Town’s negligence has destroyed the building and made it useless, condemnable, hasn’t stopped them from assessing normal taxes on it, and the owner has had to pay more than $1000 in property taxes alone for a building that is dangerous and unusable. Your government at work! Your government working for you and in your interest. NOT!

Now Mr Jordan’s involvement in covering up a Highway Department employee’s drug use has been exposed. Let’s see what happens now. We’re watching the New Baltimore Town Board closely, and Mr Jordan still has 2 years to go.

The owner wrote to the Town Assessor, Mr Gordon Bennett, asking for a reassessment of the building and an adjustment of the tax bill. Mr Bennett, rather than acknowledging the situation and the Town’s complicity in the damages and losses to the resident, responded in a letter, “the grievance board would be the venue for such a complaint … {I]f you would like us to mail a grievance form to you, we would be happy to do so.” Your government at work! Your government working for you and in your interest. NOT!

The bottom line: Pay your taxes. We’ll provide you with insensitive, non-responsive, incompetent government. We’ll damage your property, cost you thousands, pee down your leg, and spit in your eye. Sucker! Now, pay your taxes like a good citizen, or else!
If New Baltimore had the public’s interests and safety in mind, they’d condemn the building but that would be an admission of the facts; they won’t dare condemn the building because they’d have to have a reason and reasons have causes, and we, they know the Why’s and the How’s of the situation. They have for years and have let it go on and on and on.

In this article we’ve used New Baltimore as an example of what’s going on generally in our local communities. You’ll find similar situations in Ravena, Coeymans and elsewhere in this area. It seems to be a pattern, almost like a disease that just crosses from one community to infect the other and then, mutated, crosses back into another community. Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk-New Baltimore, plague central.

The problem is that we deny the reality that we don’t have a clue what government is or how it should be functioning. As a result, as the result of your denial and continuing ignorance and apathy, it gets only worse. In fact, New Baltimore, while horribly corrupt and incompetent, is probably the least afflicted of the three communities. Just ask residents of Ravena or Coeymans about their water system, their sewer system, how they are billed for water and sewer services, property taxation practices, building code enforcement, law enforcement, etc. Ravena and Coeymans property owners can tell you some stories to set your hair on end.

In New Baltimore the problem seems to be a core group who control the elections and their outcomes. The situation is like a mini-New York state where the entire state might vote, New York City does the choosing. In Ravena and Coeymans, the lower classes, social services recipients, the porch monkeys outnumber the property owner taxpayers. Promise the have-nots extra benefits and free schooling for their offspring and you own them. Mr Tom Dolan and his cronies have proved this in Coeymans. Ravena elected a local bartender and bar owner, William “Mouse” Misuraca, to be their mayor. Pays to have a gin mill in Ravena if you have political ambitions.

But all of these communities are misgoverned, depressed, losing population, and have terrible real estate values. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that there are more For Sale signs going up than there are new businesses coming in, most businesses are moving or dying. New Baltimore has only the 9W corridor as any potential business and you can count them on two hands. Downstaters and outside developers are buying up the legacy properties and the old farms, intending to subdivide and “develop.” Coeymans has prostituted its unique historic Hudson River scenic opportunities to court industry, heavy truck traffic, dust and noise instead of artists, shoppers and tourists. Porch-monkeys, deserted buildings, ramshackle housing, crime, drugs, and more porch-monkeys are the pride of Coeymans. Ravena is the empty storefront capital of the area, cleverly leaving the former business’s signs up to make the impression that the properties aren’t “really” empty. It’s all smoke and mirrors, friends!

The bottom line as we see it is that local government, the government closest to us, the government that affects us most directly, the government we should be able to trust has turned rabid on us. The very people we elected to take care of our community, to serve and to protect us and our families, the very people to lied when they said they’d bring us a better life if we elect them, have stabbed us repeatedly in the back. Why? How? Well, because you put them where they are. Because you allow them to do that. You let a small minority of outspoken patriots stand up and tell them like it is. If they succeed you’re right behind them, if they happen to be shut down, you run and hide. That’s how we got where we are as community and as a nation. You hide. You don’t open your mouths. You don’t take action. You don’t vote. Your don’t demand transparency, responsibility, accountability. You want to play nice. You want to kiss ass. You teach your kids to do the same. You are terrible role models. And you wonder why you’re surrounded by skanks and non-achievers? Look in the mirror, friends. You’ll find the answers there.

When you go to the polls this November and you look at the rotten selection of recycled goods you have to choose from, a selection that even makes dumpster diving at PriceChopper produce look fresh and appetizing, you can thank yourselves. Our hometown political process has turned into dumpster-diving democracy. Thanks so much for participating!

 

I know there’s a candidate in here somewhere!
(The new American polling place.)

The Editor

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2017 in 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Public Office, Accomplishments, Barbara Finke, Chuck Irving, Coeymans, Coeymans Town Board, Corruption, David Lewis, David Louis, David Wukitsch, Deceit, Democracy is Dead, Democrap, Democrats, Denis Jordan, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, Elected Official, Elections and Voting, George Amadore, Greed, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Independence Party, Greene County News, Greene County Sheriff, Gregory R. Seeley, Hudson Valley, Indifference, Jeff Ruso, Joe Stanzione, John B. Johnson, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Keith Mahler, Lies, Marjorie Loux, Mark Vinciguerra, Mayor Bruno, Meave Tooher, Meprision of Felony, Misconduct, Misinformation, Mismanagement, Moose Misuraca, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board Member, New York, New York State, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Department of Transportation, News Herald, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, Notice of Claim, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, Pat Linger, Patricia Hildebrandt, Patrick Linger, Patty Hildebrandt, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Public Corruption, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena News Herald, RegisterStar, Scott Brody, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Selkirk, Sewer and Water, Shelly van Etten, Susan K. O'Rorke, Tal Rappelea, The Daily Mail, Tom Meacham, Tooher & Barone, Town of Coeymans, Town of New Baltimore, Town Supervisor, VanEtten, William "Bill" Bruno, William Misuraca

 

A Response to Lorin Marra. re: Office of the Albany County Coroners

We published an article “Politics, Power, Patronage and Conflicts of Interest: The Albany County Coroners Office” on September 13, 2017, about the office of the Albany County Coroners, and how the office is obsolete, tainted, and chock full of local funeral directors. The politics of the coroners’ office is as corrupt as it can get, and is a product of the nepotism and favoritism that has plagued Albany politics from within the mayor’s office to the police department to the office of the county coroner.


In the preparation phase of the article, we did extensive research both on the history of the office of coroner in general, including scholarly articles discussing the office of the coroner, and published professional journal articles comparing and critiquing the office of the coroner and the office of medical director. In addition to our research of public information and education material and the scholarly and professional journals, we also filed demands for the production of documents and information with Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer and Green Counties for information on their respective coroners or medical examiners.

Seal of the County of Albany, NY

Overall, personal contacts with the Albany County Office of the Coroner were very open and informative. The demands served on the counties of Schenectady (medical examiner), Rensselaer (medical examiner), and Greene (coroners) under the NYS Freedom of Information Law were less than open and honest. Rensselaer is in violation of the law by not having responded at all; Schenectady and Greene county, while responding, were evasive and off base. Why all the defensiveness? They’re not so defensive when asking for funding but then, in our culture of death denial, who really keeps tabs on them anyway? WE DO!

We received an interesting comment from Lorin Marra, who is somehow associated with the Marra Funeral Home and with Paul Marra, the “owner/operator” of Mara Funeral home in Cohoes and an Albany County Coroner. When we received Lorin’s comment we were a bit taken by its defensiveness and it only later occurred to us that it’s an election year and Paul Marra is running for re-election as an Albany County Coroner. Having made that connection, it was not surprising that a Marra family member would come out and defend Paul Marra, the candidate.

But wasn’t it a bit cowardly, a clear lack of integrity for someone running for public office not to personally respond in a comment and have his daughter respond for him. Maybe Paul left his cojones in the autopsy room, at one of the allegedly “1000” autopsies he claims to have attended (but no one in official circles knows about). Did anyone see that pig flying by just now? Wanna buy a bridge?

According to Lorin Marra, pigs really do have wings!

.It should be noted that Ms Lorin Marra doesn’t comment on any of the many facts and figures given in the “Politics, Power, Patronage and Conflicts of Interest” article but hones in only on the name “Marra,” which is mentioned in only the most neutral of terms: strictly factually. But, as we state in our response, “Where there’s smoke (or “defensiveness”) there’s gotta be fire.” What do you think?

Marra’s Campaign Sign
flanking those of opponents Simmons and Lockridge.

For those of you who have read our article “Politics, Power, Patronage and Conflicts of Interest: The Albany County Coroners Office,” you’ll certainly have to ask yourself Why? is Lorin Marra so upset. Have we touched a nerve? The fact is, Paul Marra is barely mentioned in the article, and not negatively in any sense of the word. Maybe one of our readers can help us out with this one. We’re republishing Lorin Marra’s confused comment together with our responses. [In the following text “Ed.”: is a note inserted by the Editor]


In reply to Lorin Marra:

We have approved your rant only to illustrate the fact that where a commenter becomes as defensive as you have, there must be something going on that needs further attention. As the saying goes: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

We’d like to make it quite clear from the outset that the article is not about Paul Marra nor about the Marra Funeral Home operation; the article is about the office of the coroner both in Albany County and in general. Mr Marra is mentioned, along with others, in the article because he has voluntarily stepped forward and has received the approval and support of the Albany county Democrats and their political machine to have been elected to be an Albany County Coroner. Mr Marra, his office, his associations, and his keepers, therefore, have made Mr Marra a public figure and that visibility is open to comment. Mr Marra, his interests, his associations, his performance and all other aspects of Mr Marra are subject to comment because of his status as a public figure. Period.

Lorin Marra writes:

This article is completely false…

We Responded:

That having been said, we can respond to your diatribe by saying that the information we provided in the article came either from official sources and based on what those sources, that is, the Office of the Albany County Coroner, provided in response to our demand for documents and information under the NY Public Officers Law. If any of our information were incorrect, it is because it was provided by the custodians of that information as public officers and public employees. So let’s put that part of your comment to rest and redirect your misdirected hissy fit to the proper target: the County of Albany.

You are terribly clouded in your perspective of reality if you represent, as you in fact write in your comment, which, as written is a bit unclear, “[M]ost coroners are in fact funeral directors nor [sic] for a political agenda but…” (the rest of that sentence does not contribute to a better understanding of your rather strained thought process). We do not propose in any way that funeral directors are funeral directors for a political agenda. Where you pulled that one out of is beyond us but if you take the time to actually read the article with your eyes open, you’ll actually see what we’ve written. To deny, particularly in Albany County, that the office of the County Coroner is politically tainted is tantamount to claiming that a 3-dollar bank note is legal currency in the US. How naïve? can you possibly be or How devious? might be a better question.

Lorin Marra writes:

…a coroner does not get paid enough by the state [Ed.: Paul L Marra is an Albany County official but is civil service, and gets his check from NY state. Currently he gets $$20,836 a year.] to actually make a living off of just being a coroner. Most coroners are in fact funeral directors not for a political agenda but because they have the knowledge and experience dealing with the deceased. Marra funeral home is in fact OWNED by Paul Marra.

We Responded:

We don’t give a whit whether Paul Marra “OWNS” (your caps!) Marra Funeral Home. But that confirmation by you certainly bolsters our statements about conflicts of interest.

Lorin Marra writes:

Coroners are NOT allowed to use their position to gain business in their personal funeral homes [Ed.: “Not allowed…” is true; what you seem to glance over is that they DO abuse their positions! It’s a human weakness.] Do you realize how many calls a coroner must go on during their respective shift? If they actually claimed all those funerals [Ed.: They don’t have to claim “all” the funerals, just some.] they would be a multi-millionaire which is not the case for any coroners [Ed.: But may be true for some funeral directors.]. The funeral home business tends to be a hereditary business, most people do not wake up in the morning and decide HEY I’M GOING TO WORK WITH DEAD PEOPLE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, they [Who do?] tend to go into the business because a previous family member has and so on.

We Responded:

We agree, though, that ethically “Coroners are NOT [again your caps!] allowed to use their position to gain business in their personal funeral homes.” What we don’t quite get is your point. Whether they are “allowed” has no practical or real effect on whether they do misuse their positions. One point you seem to have missed [again!] is that they can garner political and professional capital even if they don’s use their own “personal” funeral home. Think about that for a minute and if you don’t get it, please let us know and we’ll walk you through it.

Again, we agree with you that many funeral homes may be what we properly call “family funeral homes,” or funeral homes that stay in a single family’s hands for a couple of generations. That is changing and, if you read our articles with the intent to understand what is actually written rather than what the voices in your head are telling you to see, you will find that we are ardent champions of the family-owned, local funeral home as opposed to the multi-state factory funeral service corporations. But you likely would have missed that point. [Ed.: You may want to see our articles: “Birds of a Feather? Lying down with dogs? The Politics of Funeral Corporations….” and “Bring Out Your Dead! A Monty Python Prophesy“.]

Lorin Marra writes:

The fact that coroners can’t make a living off of just being a coroner (less than $30,000 a year) should prove that this article was a waste of time.

We Responded:

You have failed to disguise your arrogance, though, when you state that “coroners can’t make a living off of just being a coroner” [Oh! Your grammar is painful!] No, I wouldn’t think that they’d be able to do anything by just “being a coronoer,” I’d expect they’d have to actually do something besides just being an anything. But the City of Albany and the County of Albany have literally dozens of “employees” and “appointees” who make good money by just “being” a something and not necessarily doing anything. Besides, many people, perhaps not in your privileged group, have to make a living and even support a family on “less than $30,000 a year”. Get a grip, Lorin, and join the real world. (Your Mercedes is showing!).

Lorin Marra writes:

Also, Paul Marra has been a coroner for 29 years and has been a board cerified medi legal death investigator for over 15 tears. He has take n charge of over 5000 death investigations and attended well over 1000 autopsies. He also has trained for over 600 hours with the State association of County Coroners. [Ed.: Lorin Marra seems to keep better records and statistics than the County of Albany. Wonder where she got her figures?]

We Responded:

Has Paul Marra actually seen what’s behind this door?

The fact that “Paul Marra has been a coroner for 29 years and has been a board-certified medi [sic] legal death investicator for over 15 years” again supports everything we have written in the article you appear to be disputing. While we are struggling to identify what a “board[-]certified medi legal [Ed.: The word Lorin is struggling to get right twice (!) is “medicolegal.” Is she really a Siena graduate?] death investigator” might be, we would like to ask the glaring question that emerges from your statement: If he has been a coroner for 29 years but certified to investigate deaths for only 15 of those 29 years, how many mistakes did he make in the 14 years when he was not “certified?” The fact that he has been a coroner for 29 years, elected every 4 years, simply proves that too little scrutiny goes into the office of coroner and further supports the fact that in Albany County, once you’re in you’re in for life.

You state that Paul Marra has “trained for over 600 with the State [A]ssociation of County Coroners.” We’re not in the least impressed by that statement. Here’s an example: In one summer, a contributor of ours trained in a major hospital for over 500 hours to earn just one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education credit towards his qualifications. I repeat, that was 500 hours in one summer for one credit! We assume that you’re referring to 600 hours for Mr Marra’s training over a number of years. That’s not impressive in the least, especially when you consider the years of training that a real medicolegal death investigator must do to qualify and then the continuing education required just to keep the pathologist’s licence! Please, don’t talk to us about Mr Marra’s paltry training record!

Lorin Marra writes:

Please do your research next time.

We Responded:

The article, dear Lorin, clearly states the facts as provided by official sources, in particular the Albany County Coroner’s Office, and information from public access sources and published articles. Our facts are true, complete and correct, which is more than we can say about your subjective and clearly biased remarks about your relative, Paul Marra.

Furthermore, the professional and scientific literature abounds with one single conspicuous observation: The office of the coroner is obsolete and, since its very beginning in the 12th century, has been political and corrupt. Nothing has changed since then. Furthermore, until very recently, with the deployment of the Electronic Death Registry system in New York State, recordkeeping documenting coroners’ activities and cases was deplorable.

Lorin Marra writes:

Also legislation has just passed that requires coroners to have more training.

We Responded:

The only legislation that we are interested in is legislation to eliminate the office of the coroner and replace it with a competitive system that would employ specially trained medicolegal personnel for death investigations. Those professional death investigators may be assisted by a subordinate assistant with appropriate training. The current coroner system is inadequate, unqualified, ignorant, and obsolete. If that’s not enough reason to eliminate it, please add to that list the fact that it is politically tainted and corrupt.

Lorin Marra writes:

Please do your research next time.

We Responded:

We did extensive research for the article and stand by our facts as written and represented. We do suggest, however, that you be tested for dyslexia as soon as possible by a qualified professional. Your reading comprehension or your cognitive processing appears to be severely impaired.


Coroner’s Office Just as Dead

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a bit of humor and entertainment. Here’s one of our favorite scenes from Monty Python’s In Search of the Holy Grail. Enjoy!

Obviously, Ms Marra was not interested in the facts and figures we very conscientiously researched and published in our article; instead, she was more interested in demonstrating her inability to read the English language. If her dyslexia is shared by Paul Marra, Albany County Coroner, it’s no wonder that their records and available information is so scanty and incomplete. The fact that Ms Marra came up with figures that the Albany County Coroner’s Office couldn’t produce does shed some light on the fact that either Ms Marra’s figures are phoney or the Albany County Coroner’s Office doesn’t want to share some embarrassing information with the public, or the information is simply unavailable because of the Albany County coroners’ poor record keeping practices. Maybe the answer is “all of the above.”

The fact is, our information is good as 24 karat gold. All of it comes from reliable sources. The fact that Albany County has poor record keeping practices and the County doesn’t consider it important enough to update their software is a problem voters might want to address. The fact that Schenectady County (medical examiner’s office) and Greene County (coroners) dragged their feet for months and only produced a fistful of information or no information at all, or just excuses made by the county attorney, is at the very least a black eye for those counties. The Rensselaer county attorney should be brought up on charges for refusing to provide any information on the Rensselaer County Medical Examiner’s office. If that’s democracy at work and freedom of information…

Make Your Vote Count!
Big Choice! They’re All Dems!!!
Be Informed!

Demand Accountability

P.s. If you’re interested in the current candidates for coroner this time around, don’t be surprised that they’re all Democrats, you can go to the Vote411 site. Click here.

Here’s some additional information on medicolegal death investigators. According to the ABMDI, The American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, FAQs page, the medicolegal death investigator doesn’t need any special training or education.

  1. What is a Medicolegal Death Investigator?
    The role of the medicolegal death investigator is to investigate any death that falls under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner or coroner, including all suspicious, violent, unexplained and unexpected deaths. The medicolegal death investigator is responsible for the dead person, whereas the local law enforcement jurisdiction is responsible for the scene. The medicolegal death investigator performs scene investigations emphasizing information developed from the decedent and determines the extent to which further investigation is necessary. Medicolegal death investigators should have a combination of education and skills encompassing areas of medicine and law.
  2. Who can become a Medicolegal Death Investigator?
    There are no formal requirements to become a medicolegal death investigator. Each coroner and medical examiner office has different hiring practices. A medicolegal death investigator must be knowledgeable of local, state and federal laws. In addition, a medicolegal death investigator must be the most medically knowledgeable person at the scene of the crime to determine if further investigation is necessary.
  3. Do I have to have a degree?
    There are no formal educational requirements specifically for medicolegal death investigation. Any degree program dealing with Forensic Science, Natural science, Anthropology, Nursing, or any other medically related field would be useful. There are several established training courses available throughout the country that teach the basic information needed in order to perform a thorough, competent medicolegal death investigation.
  4. How much money will I make as a Medicolegal Death Investigator?
    An investigator’s salary will be determined by the jurisdiction and amount of experience the medicolegal death investigator has. Salaries and benefits vary throughout the United States.

[Source ABMDI FAQ page, http://www.abmdi.org/faq, last accessed on October 9, 2017]

Bottom Line: There are no special education requirements or degree requirements to be a so-called “medicolegal death investigator.” But the fact that “a medicolegal death investigator must be the most medically knowledgeable person at the scene of the crime” is very disturbing because most funeral directors have only a two-year degree in mortuary science, and that degree has very little to do with any “medical knowledge.” Furthermore, a degree in mortuary science or, more accurately, in funeral home operations, is not generally considered a medically related field.

Now doesn’t that information make you feel more comfortable about who is making decisions about a human being’s death at a possible crime scene?

 

Hello. County Coroner? We’ve got a body here.
[Ha, ha, ha!]

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2017 in Abuse of Public Office, Albany, Albany County Coroner, Albany County Coroners Office, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Executive, Albany County Supervisor, Albany Mayor, Arthur Fitch, Babcock Funeral Home, Benjamin Sturges, Bill Loetterle, Bob Freeman, Bring out your dead, Bureau of Funeral Directing, Capital District, Charles Smoot, Conflict of Interest, County & Municipal Employees, County Legislator, Dan McCoy, Daniel McCoy, Death, Death Awareness, Death care, Death Certificate, Death Education, Death Investigation, Deathcare, Democrap, Democrats, Dick Touchette, Dignity Memorial, Elected Official, Elections and Voting, F.O.I.L., Favoritism, Francis Simmons, Frank Commisso, Frank Simmons, Freedom of Information Law, Funeral, Funeral Home, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Coroner, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Sheriff, Hudson Valley, Human Service, Hypocrisy, Investigation, Jack Flynn, James Cavanaugh, Joe Stanzione, Joseph Stanzione, Kristin Gillibrand, Lorin Marra, Magin & Keegan Funeral Home, Marra Funeral Home, McLoughlin & Mason Funeral Home, Monitoring, Nepotism, New York State Funeral Directors Association, Newcomer Funeral Home, Newcomer Funeral Services Group, Newcomer Funerals and Cremations, Nicholas J. Facci, Nick Facci, Nick Facci Facebook, NYSDOH, NYSFDA, Office of the Professions, Paul Marra, Professional Ethics, Public Office, Rahmar Lockeridge, Ren Newcomer, Rennselaer County Attorney, Rensselaer County, Rensselaer County Medical Examiner, Richard Touchette, Rick Touchette, Robert J. Freeman, Schenectady County, Schenectady County Medical Examiner, Service Corporation International, Shame On You, Transparency, William Loetterle

 

New Baltimore Town Highway Superintendent Harasses Local Woman; Demands Removal of Fence

For some time now we have been investigating the operations of the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department and New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan. We have requested confirming documents and information from the Town of New Baltimore on several key issues. We are reporting on one of those issues in this article. The second issue, that of Mr Denis Jordan’s use of Town of New Baltimore equipment and employees to do work on private property is also included in the following article (Denis Jordan Avoids Duties to Serve Special Friends: The Case of the Disappearing Creek).

Normally, in a small town you expect cliques to develop around political issues and local interests. At the same time, you’d expect that there’d be a certain neighborliness and concern for the community; after all, we are a community. Right? And we’re all neighbors. Right? 

Fence seen from Corner of County Rt 54 and High Mount Road.

Well, things are a bit different in the Town of New Baltimore. You see, you may be a property owner and taxpayer, but the fascists in the New Baltimore Town Administration don’t give a shite about you or your property. They’re too busy promoting their own interests, pushing outsiders to use our town facilities, doing favors for friends and supporters while the rest of the community watches as their property is damaged and the town purse is plundered. What are we getting for some of the highest taxes in the state? Abuse, Abuse, and more Abuse! And for taking care of your property? More abuse, More Abuse, and More Abuse! You might as well move to Coeymans!

Denis Jordan, the illiterate bully Superintendent of Highways in the Town of New Baltimore, can’t seem to find the time to supervise his contractors or to learn how to maintain town drainage but has plenty of time for private projects and harassing local property owners. His recent harassment of Ms Patty Hildebrandt and his defiance of the Town Board and NYS law is sending a very disturbing message out to all residents and property owners in the Town of New Baltimore.You may be next!

The backstabbing in New Baltimore is not limited to town officials and employees cutting residents’ throats, the blood flows in rivulets in Town Hall and between Town Hall and the New Baltimore Highway Department.

New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways Denis Jordan has lost a lot of political capital and credibility in the past couple of years. During that time we have investigated and reported on a number of unethical and unlawful activities that have been going on in the Jordan Highway Department. Those abuses range from retaliation and punishing of Highway Department personnel to misuse of town employees and equipment, and noncompliance with the laws regarding proper record-keeping and contract operations.

The first item in this report concerns a local property owner, Ms Patricia “Patty” Hidebrandt, who has been selected by Denis Jordan and harassed because of a so-called privacy fence she put up. This is no ordinary property owner but one who is highly visible on Route 51, a county road, and High Mount Road, a roadway owned by the Town of New Baltimore. Ms Hildebrandt has been a New Baltimroe resident for more than 40 years and takes immaculate care of her property; she lives in a cute little house in a highly visible spot on the corner of the two roadways. Her home is picture-perfect and the grounds are always manicured and planted with seasonal flowers. The property is an example of how we’d like to see all property in New Baltimore kept.

But Denis Jordan, a Neanderthal, has some vendetta or an ax to grind with this poor woman. You see, he’s hand-picked Patty Hidebrandt out of the hundreds of other properties in New Baltimore, and has been persecuting her for months because, as Jordan alleges, she put up a fence on town property. Jordan wants her to take the fence down and has been harassing her for months.

But there’s no reason for Jordan to make such a demand. The New Baltimore Town Board even agreed that it was not a problem,and  even if the fence is on Town property it’s not in any way posing a nuisance or obstructing any Highway Department operations or plans. Jordan just wants to throw his weight around and it’s easier to bully a woman rather than go after someone else. Bully!

Denis Jordan Spells BULLY

Jordan got former code enforcement officer S. Mantor to send the property owner a letter informing her of Jordan’s claimsand telling her the fence has to be removed “from the town’s right-of-way.” Mantor never went after Ms Hildebrandt because no one really cared; only Denis Jordan cares.

Ms Hildebrandt appeared before the New Baltimore Town Board and the Board approved a temporary “license” allowing the an exception to keep the fence where it was. Jordan brought in his lacky, former New Baltimore code enforcement officer, John Cashin, live-in partner of former corrupt New Baltimore Town Supervisor Susan O’Rorke (D). Cashin decided to hit the road after his live-in partner, Susan O’Rorke, lost re-election for supervisor to Nick Dellisanti. Our guess is that Cashin couldn’t handle the honesty and integrity Dellisanti brought to New Baltimore, and so Cashin decided to join disgraced ex-judge Phil Crandall’s mob in Coeymans, where hiypocrisy and corruption still have a home and are thriving. Cashin appeared with Jordan at a Town Board meeting and spouted some unsubstantiated garbage about the Town Board not having the authority to allow the property owner to keep the fence. The Town Board responded that the matter was researched by the Town Attorney, Tal Rappelea, who wrote up the resolution. This was not good enough for Jordan, so he got his own attorney to critique Rappelea’s findings and the Board’s action.

At the June 26, 2017, public meeting of the New Baltimore Town Board, a vote was taken after Mr. Jordan brought in his own scheister attorney Meave Tooher of the Albany law firm of Tooher and Barone, who read his opinion to the Board. Jordan also told the Board he’d be having the property surveyed. Nice neighbor our Superintendent of Highways, Mr. Jordan, isn’t he? Nice guy to have to work with, too. Just ask the Town Board.

Well, at the June 26, 2017, Town Board public meeting, the Town Board carried the motion by a unanimous approval by full board, to allow the property owner, Ms Hildebrandt,  to keep the fence, saying:

“the Town Board has determined that the location of such privacy fence, notwithstanding having been constructed on town-owned land does not imperil the motoring or pedestrian traffic nor des it impede or interfere with the maintenance of said High Mount Road and…the Town Board has determined that the cost for Ms [name redacted] to remove such fence would create an unnecessary hardship on her.”

The license is temporary and the resolution states explicitly that if, in future, the town needs to use the area, Ms H. would remove the fence at her own expense. The resolution further states that Ms H. would insure the property and hold the town harmless for any claims involving the fence. Sounds pretty fair to us. But That was not enough for Jordan.

The Fence from Directly Across High Mount Road.

Denis Jordan continued his harassment and is continuing it as we write. The result: The Town Board was forced to withdraw its resolution. When the vote had to be taken but before the vote Town Board Member vanEtten stated, “I feel terrible doing this…” Deputy Supervisor Ruso abstained from the vote saying, “I’d prefer more time to consider this so in the meantime I’m going to abstain.”

Several neighbors and friends of Ms H. appeared before the Town Board at the public meeting to express their support and opposition to Mr. Jordan’s harassment, and Town Board members and town attorney Rappelea even pointed out significant errors in Jordan’s attorney’s letter, but Jordan was out for blood and wasn’t going to stop.

Jordan’s Attorney Meave Tooher of the Albany Law Firm Tooher & Barone LLP Can’t Tell A Drainage District from a Right-of-Way!

Meave Tooher, Jordan’s Attorney. Hey, girl! Who doesn’t your hair?

Nevertheless, Mr Jordan dragged his buddy ex-code officer defector John Cashin to another meeting as “concerned resident.” If Cashin had an ounce of integrity and real concern for the town or even the law, he’d find another low-life to hang out with but that’s Cashin, bald, aging, unwanted, and hooked up with another loser, Sue-Sue. Actually, two losers: Sue-Sue O’Rorke and Sue-sue! Tooher. Bla-bla-bla gibberish Cashin and Duh-duh-duh Neanderthal Jordan, so they bring in Crazy-Hair Meave Tooher, the third member of the New Baltimore Stooges. Now they have three. Put them all together, shake them up, add water and you come up with a little less than half a brain. Not bad for three shit-for-brains.

Back to being serious…. A number of residents and neighbors have appeared on Ms Hildebrandt ‘s behalf and addressed the Town Board. One resident, Ms D. Davis, who spoke from experience with Denis Jordan. Ms Davis tells the Board, “I think he’s a bully. If he doesn’t like you, he’ll make your life hell. I personally witnessed him doing favors for private residents using Town equipment…I also witnessed him…” At this point Mr Dellisanti interrupted Ms Davis with, “Dot, we’re not going to listen to this.” Normally, persons making comments during the public comment period have three (3) minutes for commenting. Ms Davis — regardless of what they’re commenting on as long as they’re orderly and civil; it’s part of the democratic process, Mr Dellisanti —  had not used her three minutes before being interrupted by Mr Dellisanti, in fact abusing her rights of free speech in public session. That was wrong. It was wrong because Ms Davis was commenting on personal experience as a witness of Mr Jordan’s unlawful conduct; her comment was not hearsay. (Editor’s Note: In fact, we are reporting on Denis Jordan’s misuse of Town equipment to make improvements on private property in our article, Denis Jordan Avoids Duties to Serve Special Friends.)

Interrupting and muzzling Ms Davis was doubly wrong because Mr Bla-bla Cashin was allowed multiple opportunities to comment, and was speculating, inaccurate, repetitive, and obviously had an agenda. We would question Mr Dellisanti on this unfair conduct in public session.

When asked directly by the Board why Mr Jordan wanted the privacy fence down, Jordan waffled. Apparently he was unable to come up with a good lie right away. First it was because he claimed it caused a problem with plowing but soon realized that that wasn’t going to hold any water; it was a bare faced lie, in fact. Just looking at the fence in the photos proves that. Jordan then decided again to lie to the Board by saying he has received complaints. When asked what kind of complaints and from whom, Jordan answered, “I’m not going to speak. I’ll have my attorney. Councilmember vanEtten persisted, “So you’re not going to tell us anything about the complaints?” and Jordan answers, “No.”


Jordan to Board

Editor’s Note: New York State Consolidated Laws, Town Law does give the Town Board certain investigational powers including subpoena power, examination of witnesses, etc. We expect that if the Town Board were to have the Town Attorney research this, Mr Jordan could be forced to keep the Town Board properly informed. Letting Jordan get away with his criminality only aggravates an already unbearable situation, undermines the Town Board’s ability to govern, and erodes trust in local government. We would recommend subpoenaing Mr Jordan to provide the information demanded by the Town Board.

Besides, since when does a Highway Superintendent defy the Town Board and bring in his own attorney to mislead the Town Board. Who’s paying for this scheister from Albany? Are we taxpayers and residents paying for Jordan’s fun and games. We’re pretty certain he’s taking the money from the public purse. Attorneys don’t work for nothing unless there’s something in it for them.


As we reported above, Jordan has been the subject of a number of investigations that adversely affect his credibility and his fitness for office. In fact, the public has shown that they don’t trust him as evidenced by the fact that he was re-elected in 2015 by a margin of only one (1) vote! There is reason to believe that his opponent would have won if there weren’t some irregularities in not counting absentee ballots. We’re also investigating that possibility.

Jordan Has a History of Abuse of Public Office…and a Shithouse Lawyer…

Nothing to worry about! Meave Tooher’s on the case…hmmm…Yup, she is. I heard a flush.

Commenting on Meave Tooher’s, Jordan’s hired-gun attorney’s, letter, Town Attorney Rappelea noted in the minutes:

“I took a look at the letter that was provided [by Jordan] and it was off baseThe case law that was cited didn’t have anything to do with fences or right-of-ways or anything of that nature. And the section of law, Section 198 of the [New York State] Town Law has to do with the creation of a special drainage district. That’s nothing to do with fencing or right-of-way licenses. But the point is that we have have this one line, one sentence in our zoning law, and we have to abide by it.”

One sentence in the 119-pages of town zoning law. Get a grip people! Rappelea caved and admitted he made a mistake. The Town Board repealed its decision granting Ms Hildebrandt the temporary “license” to keep the fence. The Board with No Balls!

So dear readers and neighbors, we have Mr. Jordan harassing a local property owner for no reason at all. But this doesn’t affect just one property owner, it affects anyone with a fence, a stone wall, anything that Mr. Jordan thinks is in his definition of right-of-way. You’re all at his mercy now!

Even if Mr. Jordan’s attorney’s are better at bullshit than law, and even if Mr Jordan’s engineering consultants hired with your tax dollars report that in New Baltimore water runs uphill! And even if Mr. Jordan’s attorney Meave Tooher of the Albany law firm of Tooher and Barone, can’t tell the difference between a fence or right-of-way and a special drainage district, Mr. Jordan does have a special talent for avoiding his duties and obligations in favor of, well, doing favors for friends. That’s the subject of the following article. Click here to read about it.


Editor’s Notes: The source of the information above is from the official minutes of the New Baltimore Town Board in public session. Other information includes documents produced by the Town of New Baltimore in response to our demand for the production of documents under the provisions of the New York Freedom of Information Law.

Denis Jordan’s wife, Diane Jordan, is currently working in the New Baltimore Town Administration as Town Tax Collector, and is running for re-election this November. Diane Jordan is also a deputy town clerk in the Town of New Baltimore town hall.

We are currently investigating Denis Jordan’s relationship with Callanan Industries,  Inc., the company who provided the paving materials for the recent paving of Hamlet streets. The were supposed to lay two (2) inches of blacktop but raised the road surface 4-8 inches, in some spots up to 12-18 inches, creating safety hazards and nuisances, reducing the road width by about 18-24 inches, and causing problems with snow removal operations, according to a New Baltimore Highway Department plow driver. That’s really magic: quote to provide 2 inches of surface and raise the road bed by 8 inches! Wow! That’s fine, though, Denis Jordan has a close relationship with his suppliers. This time to the tune of more than $180,000. And George Amadore, our NYS Senator for the 46th Senate District hands over more than $142,000 from the NYS Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) to waste on truckloads of unnecessary blacktop!!! Somebody’s making money on this deal and it isn’t the taxpayer or property owner!


 

Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Board of Education Disses 911 Remembrance!!!

All over the United States, in schools, churches, government offices, courtrooms the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, were being remembered by observing a moment of silence.

The Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Board of Education Disses 911 Remembrance

It’s all over the place in the RCS school district: The schools of the RCS Central School District refused to remember the victims of the 911 terror attacks with a moment of silence. Even the students are outraged as we receive reports of Facebook posts posted by RCS students and expressing their outrage that there was no moment of silence on Monday, September 11, 2017. We find this disgraceful but are very impressed that kids who weren’t even born yet or were infants at the time of the attacks express such compassion and sensitivity to be outraged by their adult handlers’ lack of compassion and sensitivity to a national tragedy that resulted in multiple wars that are still causing misery and suffering at home and abroad.

What’s next?
Will RCS start flying the Saudi flag?

What’s next parents, residents, taxpayers? Do we start pledging allegiance to the flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? Will we next see the Saudi flag raised at the high school?

Most of us will remember 911 with a certain disbelief even today, years after the attack. We all know that the terrorists who planned and executed the attacks were from Saudi Arabia, a country with a long record of anti-West sentiments and whose human rights crimes are legendary. That’s Osama bin Laden’s home country and his family are affluent citizens of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia where Sharia or Islamic law requires women to be completely covered and still features public beheadings as their preferred capital punishment.

SABIC’s Flag Flies in Selkirk!

Right in our midst we have SABIC is a global leader in diversified chemicals and whose headquarters are in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian government owns 70 percent of SABIC shares, with the remainder held by private investors in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.Check out their website and tell us it’s not scary! SABIC is located in Selkiirk/Feura Bush and has recently been granted substantial school tax incentives locally. The plot thickens!

According to a 2014 Times Union report by Brian Nearing, “Selkirk plastics plant hit with third environmental fine in three years,” the Saudi company was fined $16,000 for those violations but in 2011 and 2013 paid $241,000.00 in fines for environmental violations. But then that’s mere pocket change to the Saudis. More improtantly, apparently the Saudis are not happy just killing Americans and destroying American property, they aim to destroy American environment, too, starting right in our own backyards. The plot thickens even more!

So why are we so concerned about a Saudi chemicals company in Selkirk who, like so many American companies, is intent on destroying our environment and our health? After all, it’s just a country several thousands of miles away with terrorist ties and human rights violations. Not much unlike so many of America’s “friends”. So what you might be thinking.

So what? Here’s why:

The property owners in the RCS Central School District pay millions in taxes to support the now more than $46 million school budget for the district, while local towns are giving companies like Sabic and Selkirk Cogen tax breaks. The residents of the RCS Central School District vote for the members of the RCS Central School District Board of Education. According to the RCS CD Board of Education website, the board is:

“A local board of education is an agency of New York State that is governed by state law and the regulations of the commissioner of education.”

The BoE website also states the five main responsibilities of the RCS BoE to be:

  • to establish all school district policies;
  • to develop an annual budget for public approval;
  • to approve or disapprove the superintendent’s recommendations regarding personnel matters and the many contracts the district must enter;
  • to review courses of study and textbooks;
  • to act as a two-way communications link between residents and the superintendent

The site also states that: “The decisions of your elected board of education affect your child, your child’s future, your tax rate, and the well-being of your community.

RCS BoE President James Latter is a SABIC Employee; Jason Hyslop, a BoE member is a SABIC Employee!!!

In 2013, we published two articles on this blog with very serious warnings: James Latter: Why He’s A Bad Choice and Latter-Hyslop-Brown: The VERY WRONG Choice! but somehow Latter and Hyslop got elected to the board, and it’s been downhill ever since. You see, both James Latter, RCS BoE president, and Jason Hyslop are employees of SABIC. Where do you think their loyalties lie? In their paychecks or in the interests of the school district?

So now you have two RCS Central School District Board of Education members, its president, James Latter, and a sitting board member, Jason Hyslop, both employees of Saudi-owned SABIC, “establishing school district polices” and to “review courses of study and textbooks“, and keep in mind that, according to the Board’s own statement, “the decisions of your elected board of education affect your child, your child’s future, your tax rate, and the well-being of your community.

So now that we have informed you AGAIN that you have two SABIC lackies on your board of education and you put them there, we hope that at the next meeting you will propose that courses for conversational Arabic be offered the elementary, middle and high school curriculums, because you’re going to need it to pledge allegiance to the Saudi flag. After all, the RCS CD Board of Education does establish all school district policies and their decisions affect your children, your child’s future, and the well-being of your community.

So why do you think there was no moment of silence in RCS schools on September 11, 2017? Do we really have to answer that question?

Here you go, we’ll get you stared. Repeat after Mr Latter:

لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله
lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muhammadun rasūlu-llāh
“There is no god but God: Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”


Get the Saudi Companies off our Board of Education!!!

The Editor


Let your RCS Central School District Board of Ed members know what you think!
James Latter, President of the RCS-CD BoE and SABIC Employee
Teddy Reville
Bray Engel
Tina Furst-Hotaling
Kristin Hill-Burns
Jason Hyslop, BoE member and SABIC Employee
William McFerran
William McFerran
Peter Ross

Email all board members