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Category Archives: Hudson Valley

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

 

Campaign to Remove Denis Jordan from Public Office

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Campaign to Remove from Public Office
Town of New Baltimore Highway Superintendent
Denis Jordan
and to prevent his running for public office in future

We have been informed that there is a campaign being organized by residents and taxpayers of the Town of New Baltimore, County of Greene, New York, to collect and organize information and evidence to be used in support of an action to remove New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, Denis Jordan.

For some time now Jordan has been the subject of numerous complaints and claims by residents of New Baltimore submitted to the Town Board of the Town of New Baltimore, but to date those complaints and claims have not been organized. This has all changed with some recent developments in the town, where Denis Jordan has finally crossed the line.

 

Taxpayers and Residents of the Town of New Baltimore are up in arms and claiming that Jordan:

  • Has abused and abuses his office and authority

  • Is unqualified and incompetent to hold the office of Town Highway Superintendent

  • Has abused his discretionary authorities as Town Highway Superintendent

  • Has shown special favoritism to select residents while abusing other residents in the context of his public office

  • As the result of the above has wasted public resources and obstructed the operation of good stewardship in New Baltimore Town government

  • Has abused employees of the New Baltimore Highways Department

  • Has exposed the Town of New Baltimore and its residents and taxpayers to unnecessary and burdensome legal actions and lawsuits

  • Causing damage to private property with a wanton indifference, and failure to respond to notifications of dangerous situations

  • Jordan has an established pattern of intimidation and bullying among Highway Department employees

  • Because of all of the above, Mr Jordan has placed the Town of New Baltimore at risk of losing its insurance coverage or being placed in a higher risk classification, which will result in additional expense and even reduced coverage of the Town of New Baltimore.

This list is not complete or exhaustive, since we are now on the track of investigating Mr Jordan and his dealings with local contracting companies, including Callanan Industries, Peckham Materials Corp. companies that have already been associated with Jordan’s questionable practices,  and others, in the public bidding processes, the planning and execution of roadwork, and the estimation of materials used in those projects. The picture is very grim from what we have been able to glean even at short notice. (Editor’s Note:  We’ve requested the bids and the background facts as well as the estimates of materials and the actual materials used by Callanan. We expect to prove serious criminal activity.)

According to informed and reliable sources,  Mr Jordan’s recent escapades and incompetence in conjunction with Callanan Industries’  “successful” but totally botched bid to execute repaving of streets in the Hamlet of New Baltimore, the Highway Department has been deluged with complaints from irate and angry residents complaining of the poor quality or disastrous effects of the work done by Callanan under Mr Jordan’s supervision.

In fact, on Monday, June 26, 2017, when Callanan crews were paving New Street and Madison Avenue, while New Baltimore crews were standing around counting farts on the corner of Madison Avenue and Rt 144, Mr Jordan left early, at around 3:00 p.m., to attend a wake. The wake was for a local but not a relative or close friend of Jordan, which raises the important question of: Couldn’t Jordan have stayed to supervise his contractors work on an important repaving project and stil paid his respects to the family of the deceased? After all, he could have left when the crews left at around 4:30, and had plenty of time to prepare for the wake, which certainly ran until at least 7 p.m. Shows where his priorities are. 

Suspicion was cast on Jordan’s re-election and his win over his former deputy highway superintendent Alan vanWormer; vanWormer lost the election by 1 (ONE!) vote. The election was not contested, which raised suspicions in the New Baltimore community.

We support the residents and taxpayers of New Baltimore in their efforts to clean up local government and to remove corruption, incompetence and crookedness. We urge all of our readers to support those courageous residents and taxpayers seeking to remove Jordan from office and to better local government and quality of life.

I you have any information or a complaint or know of anyone who has information about Jordan or wishes to file a complaint, we are here to assist you. Please contact us directly at rcs.confidential@gmail.com or write to us c/o P.O. Box 422, New Baltimore, New York 12124. All contacts will be strictly confidential and no information identifying you will be shared or published without your express written permission. We also encourage you to leave a comment telling all of our readers about any of your experiences with the New Baltimore Highway Department or Mr Jordan.

Recent roadwork done by Callanan Industries done under t he direct authority and supervision by Mr Jordan has generated a deluge of complaints and general dissatisfaction. According to a well informed and reliable source, the New Baltimore Highway Department has received numerous telephone complaints about the shoddy work done. Rather than call the Highway Department, where it is almost certain that your complaint will be lost in the dust, we recommend you make your complaint known via this blog, and then to write directly to the New Baltimore Town Board. That way you’ll be heard.

Please share this information with your family, friends and neighbors. It’s our duty and obligation to ensure that our New Baltimore community is a model of good government, honest and competent elected officials and public employees, and that our sense of community stands as an example for our surrounding communities. Your contribution to this effort will put all questionable and corrupt elected officials and public employees on notice that we will not tolerate ignorance, indifference, incompetence or dishonesty being paid for with our tax dollars.

Do your part and share what you know!

The Editor

 

 

Is Church Playing the New Lowest Common Denominator; Sending Mixed Messages

Is Church Playing the New Lowest Common Denominator; Sending Mixed Messages? Or no real message at all?

Is the Church missing the bus? Sending the wrong messages?

Passing through some of our local communities, I frequently notice churches, that is, the physical building, the places of worship, and what characterizes them. The structure, the upkeep, the appearances, the messages posted outside; these say a lot about the people these brick and mortar structure, symbolic representatives of the beliefs and communities they claim they serve. I often see the trite clichés like “God is home, come on in!” or “Be yourself; everyone else is taken” and similar trite slogans. Apparently the Roman Catholic Churches in this area, Ravena and Coxsackie, NY, have given up on being taken seriously so now these parish leaders, the pastors, have to play cool cutsie, mimicking their Protestant and Reformist cohorts. Such silliness simply degrades the sacred space and makes idiots of those few who still frequent them.

This is particularly the case when a new pastor tries to become too popular too fast for too many of the wrong reasons. He starts to get sloppy in his role as spiritual leader and too cozy with the local in-crowds. A leader doesn’t have to be a friend and he doesn’t have to entertain. He has to lead. So, as I drive through the aging, geriatric, brown collar community of Ravena, New York, the local Roman Catholic Church, St Patrick’s, catches my attention. How?

Well, some time ago I was surprised to see a folding sign board placed in front of St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Ravena, on Main Street. It was last Fall and said something like “Leaves fall but Christ doesn’t”. My first thought was that it was rather silly, rather odd. Something I’d expect from some failing Protestant denomination, or some storefront church whose pastor has no other training than what he received in jail, where he got his certificate in Bible Studies from Dumbass Bible Institute or wherever. I knew the pastor at St Pats was one of the young bloods recently ordained, Scott Vandermeer, in his thirties, a journalism degree, able to move around without a walker, he was somewhat more promising than his predecessors, all aging or decrepit, failing, burnt out or uninterested, all cut from the Hubbard School of Ultraliberal Hacks. Careerists. Our hope never failing and our realism always on the watch, we even wrote to Vandermeer offering him help and support. It soon proved that he was going to be just another narcissist; he never responded to our letter. Here we go again!

Soon the signs started going up and were getting weirder and weirder, perhaps because they were cleverly done so as to appeal to the intellectual depths of darkness of the local community. One that appeared:

The sign above is stupid because St Pats does not have a soup kitchen or a food pantry. So not only is the sign a bit idiotic, to anyone not familiar with the local intelligence level, it’s misleading. [Editor’s note: Vanderveer is “out of the country” at the time of this writing and apparently will not be back for another 2-3 weeks, so we could not reach him for comment.  Nor did we receive a response from his office staff.] That really doesn’t matter because it does get worse. Some local in a feeble attempt to put some meaning in his or her life, and for a minute of local fame, placed the “?” on the sign making it even more ridiculous. No one in the parish, not even the absent pastor, seems to have noticed…or cared.

More recently, that is, several weeks ago we again drove by and saw that the sign had been changed to something quite new:

 Is a feeble-minded, scandal-plagued Church is going to make the nation strong again?

This time Mr VanDerveer is apparently making a statement that the Church has something to do with the characteristics of the nation, presumably the nation known as the United States, since we are not aware of any Scriptural or Doctrinal references that would support such a statement. It used to be that strong men made strong nations, then strong families but with the castration of the American male and the virilization of the American female, together with the decline and demise of the American family, it seems that a feeble-minded, scandal-plagued Church is going to make the nation strong again. If this notion was part of the preaching series offered by Vanderveer, we are really sorry we missed his performance. But by any standard, given the Separation Clause and the hesitance of government generally or any of its branches specifically to enter into any discussion of a collaboration between Church and state, this statement seems to indicate that Mr VanDerveer is either ignorant or has a boundaries problem. While the Church and churches, that is, the Roman Catholic and Christian tradition — by division and internecine conflict —  has been losing ground since the 16th century, it would seem that Mr VanDerveer and his keepers would be better advised to concentrate on good preaching and catechesis, fostering interdenominational dialogue and collaboration,  reaching out to local opinion leaders rather than making an untenable and unsubstantiated statement like “A strong church [=] a strong nation.” No matter how you analyze such a statement, logically, theologically, socially, or politically it fails. The Church would be well advised to steer clear of politics — and fallacious logic —; a mere parish priest has no business making such statements and should be reprimanded for having done so. It’s irresponsible, insupportable, fallacious, and is simply not official Church teaching. Politics should be kept out of the pulpit and away from the front of the church — or it should be left to the bishops who are the sole church officials authorized by Rome to make asses of themselves.. Mr VanDerveer should be spending more time preaching that strong family values and morality make for a strong nation; sharing Sunday family dinner together without smartphones might be a start. Getting rid of fidget spinners and Facebook, replacing them with a print book, perhaps St Augustine’s Confessions,  in the schools would be a great move, too.  But the Church has failed in that teaching, too, and in getting that message across to the community.

An half hour for God and 3 hours for the ball game seems like a fair deal for most Catholics.

Instead, the Church and its agents, VanDerveer’s colleagues, superiors, and minions, have prostituted the Church, mistaught and continue to pervert doctrine, dogma, and promote error, and have reduced preaching to a 5 minute commentary so that the so-called “faithful” can get there and out the door with 30-45 minutes at most. After all, a half hour for God and 3 hours for the ball game seems like a fair deal for most Catholics.

Get the ^%$# out of the way! I’ll be late for worship…and the game!

The latest stupidity to be posted in front of St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church apparently has to do with the Biblical myth of Noah and the Deluge found in Genesis, or we may be wrong and VanDerveer’s referring more likely to the bizarre interpretation of the myth provided in the movie, Noah (2014) but here’s the official Biblical version:

“The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” (Gen 7:2-4)

Actually, someone should have whacked the one who thought these signs were appropriate! Never mind the mosquitoes. We don’t recall any specific reference to mosquitoes in Genesis (nor in any part of the Bible) nor any cameo appearance of mosquitoes in the film Noah. Perhaps Vanderveer can help us with that one. We do tend to have our facts straight on this blog so we’re reasonably certain that there were no mosquitoes involved. The only other possibility we can think of is that one of Vanderveer’s Scriptural Studies instructors at seminary came upon some previously unknown Biblical text that tells the story of Noah and the mosquitoes. Whatever the story behind it, Vanderveer appears to believe the story. Why else would he publicly post something like that in front of his church? It seems the “unclean animals” were  sent either to Roman Catholic seminary or to Ravena-Coeymans after leaving the Ark. We have no record of where the “two mosquitoes” went after having escaped being swatted.


A Pleasant Anecdote

While I photographing one of the signs, a St Patrick’s parishioner was approaching the church to attend a meeting, and stopped to chat when she observed me taking the photographs. She commented how interesting the signs were and how they got your attention. I responded very bluntly that they were not interesting; they were a disgrace and were demeaning to the sacred place they were disgracing. I did agree that they got your attention but for the wrong reasons. I admitted to her that I was taking the photo not because I found them attractive, funny or pithy but because they got my interest, and that was not good.

The parishioner was very interested in what we had to say and very gracious, too. We discussed a number problems with the Church, the parish, and local politics. All in all, it was a positive exchange that started on a negative footing.

Shows you that there are still some good, sensible people in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk community; all too few, though.


Contrary to what you have been told or led to believe, dear readers, churches are not where God lives [Thank God!], that is, churches are not God’s personal primary residence, they are sacred spaces where we can find safe, quiet space to reflect, meditate, be still, or engage in a conversation with the Divine, a practice what we call prayer, but have forgotten – or never knew how to do. Nowadays most conversations with God turn out to be like conversations with those twits exercising their thumbs on an electronic device; a meeting where God’s trying to reveal himself to the twit who’s functioning with half a hemisphere, wondering whose reflection it is in the smartphone screen.

Repurposing Our Churches

When I hear of closure of churches, merging of congregations, sale of church property, conversions of churches to art galleries, restaurants, even private residences, I feel a cold shudder. These churches have become like dinosaurs; they were once living, awesome organisms, and they thrived and nurtured similar life but at some time long ago they became sick, languished and died. Now all we have left of them are lumps of rock we gawk at in museums or use as paperweights in our studies. So, too, many of our former sacred spaces are now secular spaces where the inhabiting materialist-consumerists worship their new idols: mega-flat screens, surround sound, a nymph, and a bottle. Happy worshipping!

We’ve replaced God there too with some idol like money, sex, a car, or a pop star

So where has God gone once evicted? God’s where he’s always been: in the dark silent depths of our hearts, unless we’ve replaced God there too with some idol like money, sex, a car, a political figure or a pop star. Yes, Idolaters of Ubiquitous White Noise and Distractions, the Ultimate Truth still lies hidden in that wet, fertile, darkness deep within a human being (No, not a vagina!) but nowadays who among you Vessels of Clay with your stymied white-cane spirituality would dare explore the silence within, when there’s so much to do in the world? Why would anyone want to become acquainted with their true self when they can invent another, more pleasant, acceptable self and one that you can transform it at any time using a convenient app? Who will know? You will. But you don’t care because you’ve been diving down that slippery slope for so long you wouldn’t know your true self if you tripped over it!

In my meanderings I spend time in churches, at meetings and conferences, on Internet forums, at monasteries, interacting with others in a variety of settings. I note the anxiety and the vulnerability that cripples so many people; I note their white-cane spirituality, blindly pursuing some sort of agenda-seeking-to-become-a-religion, a tool for a virtual life; they have no real life. I listen to and become offended by the ignorance and narcissism of those claiming to be called to a vocation, as clergy, as lay religious, as lay ministers in churches, congregations, parishes; I frequently observe the infantile fascination of the unwashed when, in a strange ecstasy of voyeurism, they rub shoulders with monks, priests, nuns, or spiritual leaders, and they grin idiotically as if caught in an act of masturbation. “Hee, hee! Look at me!” Narcissism, too, is a form of idolatry. I have to wonder whether the gawkers or the gawkees actually realize the pitiable dynamic going on. It’s rather like the voyeurism of social media but worse. Worse because the so-called spiritual leaders are actually enjoying the worship, and the egos soar – and the wound deepens and festers, poisoning the entire mystical body.

Starving?
Tail’s great!

And like starving rats will go for anything that smacks of survival…

If churches and faith communities are hemorrhaging members, the religious vocations are dwindling into membership cachexia. And like starving rats will go for anything that smacks of survival. For several decades now, the materialist consumerism and the dumbing down of society has left the message of higher truths and spirituality to languish in the shadow of anti-human propaganda, corporate greed, political narcissism, social confusion, despair and anxiety. Fear of loss is the underlying message everywhere we look. That fear is nourished by the messages we receive of time running out for something, anything, everything; fear the terror threat, fear the coming rain or snow showers, fear the threat represented by the guy next door, fear the North Koreans, fear the Russians, fear the illegals. What we need to fear is the false teaching in the poor preaching, we need to fear the pulpit politics, we need to fear the bigoted perp patrols.

Stuck somewhere in a learning curve…

The only religion that’s growing these days is Islam and our response is to demonize it

We are stuck somewhere in a learning curve. But where? We need to learn to fear our own demise and ignorance thanks to the conflicting and contradicting messages we receive from the media, the poor performance of our education institutions, and the dishonesty and corruption of our political system. Add to that the failure of our Judeo-Christian religious institutions to teach correct doctrine and dogma, and to provide effective preaching in support of implementing doctrine and dogma into our day-to-day lives in furtherance of “happiness” and a “good end.” And it’s no wonder people are despairing and anxious. The only religion that’s growing these days is Islam and our response is to demonize it as a bunch of whacko terrorists. Doesn’t anyone see where this is leading? Why can’t religious institutions join together to combat the capitalist propaganda drowning us in a sea of lies and hate? But then, when I was a kid it was the Roman Catholics and Protestants killing each other. Only the bigotry and creeds have remained the same; only the faces have changed.

Cultural and political institutions our religious and faith institutions are appealing to the lowest common denominator

Failing religious institutions and religious organizations and institutions are desperately prostituting themselves in a vain attempt simply to survive. And like our cultural and political institutions our religious and faith institutions are appealing to the lowest common denominator in the attempt to get what they can and run with it. It’s not working, people, that’s why you see so many storefront and strip mall micro-churches flooding into the vacuum left by mainstream institutions. Problem is this: the storefront and strip mall micros are just as bad as the movie-theatre or stadium megachurches, because they create their own ideologies, agendas, idolatries and there are plenty of sheeple to participate because they don’t know anything better. Thanks Vatican II and interfaith dialogue, ecumenism. Lights, cameras, action! Worship!

I can speak from personal experience, scholarship, and professional activity with various faith traditions and communities, religious organizations and institutions, and educational institutions. As a writer, editor, researcher, and educator I vet my facts.

So where does an institution in decline turn in the desperate attempt to survive a couple of more years? St Patricks is prepping, even in the absence of its pastor for several weeks, for the celebration of the church’s centennial. 100 years is not a very long time in Church terms but it’s a start. The nagging question is how long does it still have before it’s converted into another empty building on Ravena-Coeymans’ growing list of vacancies. [Editor’s note: St Patricks have already sold off a number of real estate parcels, some of which were sold to RCS school board president, James Latter, the same James Latter who works for the Saudi Arabian-owned Sabic corporation, the same corporation who got recommendations for tax breaks from the RCS school district.] Maybe Mr VanDerveer’s off attending job interviews, since the parishioners in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany are usually the last to know when their church is closing.

When you can’t attract young men to the priesthood you have to attract old men to the diaconate

Like the consumer society they operate in, churches like St Patrick’s are compelled to sacrifice quality for quantity. For example, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany reports in a recent issue of Sheaf, the official gazette of St Bernard’s School of Ministry and Theology, the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese reports “200 deacons and growing.” When you can’t attract young men to the priesthood you have to attract old men to the diaconate. Numbers not quality count; that’s why the permanent diaconate was revived by the Roman Catholic Church in the 60s to stem the decline in seminary admissions; in many dioceses the diaconate has become a boy’s club, a church country club, an organization of narcisistic logrollers. “My dad the deacon.” “My son the deacon.” “My wife, Mrs Deacon!”

Deacon Chic Coming Soon to Your Parish!
You have your church band, liturgical dancing, now you can have liturgical strippers!
Don’t miss the Trinitarian Trio of Trollops!

The Episcopal church has been ordaining “women” for decades; many (mostly gender ambiguous specimens) in the RC church are advocating ordaining women deacons and the reasonable expected consequence of this slippery slope is women priests! When does this comedy of errors, this farce stop? [Editor’s note: For those of our readers with limited vocabularies, a “slippery slope” is a comedy of errors is a related series of amusing or farcical events involving a series of awkward missteps or other mistakes.]

Clergy or Special Ed Class or LGBT Rejects?

There is a big problem with erroneous teaching and that leads to gross stupidity and poor public image. Take for instance the Church’s stand on abortion and other issues. The corrupt and long discredited practice of prayer and what the faithful could expect from prayer as espoused by a greedy medieval Church led not only to Martin Luther’s confrontation and the ultimate schism but also to the Counter-Reformation, and later to many, many scandals. They still haven’t learned.

Erroneous teaching and that leads to gross stupidity and poor public image

OK. But can someone tell me how this works? How about you, Father?

Let’s face the facts: The Church may be facing annihilation over the longer term if it doesn’t (1) come up with some sort of recruitment scheme for the long-term future of the priesthood, and (2) come up with some sort of outside “support for its mission,” which translates into people who are able and willing to give in support of the Church in general and of their local faith community before it has to selling off more acreage. The old priests and nuns committed their lives and fortunes to the faith community; they’re gone now and so are their legacies. A liberal, liberation theology (= socialist)  tainted Jesuit pope is not going to solve the problem; in fact, he stands to worsen it. Jesuits don’t have a very good record in Rome; Jesuit popes have an even worse record..

And this is how it’s gonna be!

One of the real problems being faced by the Church and by the faithful is that they are learning impaired. Change is not measured in years in the Church but in centuries. While the men in the Vatican are swilling good wine and dining in gardens al fresco, the American Church is making its own rules. Everyone seems to be caught up in a dead man spiral, stuck somewhere in an ecclesiological learning curve. But no one seems to be certain where they’re stuck.

Still in the learning curve. But where?

So that’s where we stand locally, and regionally. Ravena is just an example, a stereotype, and not the main culprit; Ravena is a symptom, we have to look for the ecclesiological pathology elsewhere. Meanwhile, the stupid signs aren’t helping.

The Church at Work.
Did you find the problem yet?