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Category Archives: Greene County News

Our 2018 Election Picks for the Town of New Baltimore and Greene County

Let’s be clear: You don’t “elect” an unopposed candidate! “Elect” in the campaign sign is a LIE!

When you see a campaign sign that asks you to “elect” an unopposed candidate in an uncontested election, think

The legal definition of election is a selection process: In an election voters are presented with at least 2 candidates and choose one of them. Candidates may be “endorsed” by one or more parties but for an election or a selection process to take place, you need at least two candidates. One candidate is not a choice and is not an “election.”

It is the duty of the so-called political parties to present voters with a choice. There has been a disturbing recent trend in our so-called American democratic process — a trend that is becoming very conspicuous in Greene County and the Town of New Baltimore — of presenting voters with a single, unopposed candidate in uncontested “elections.” This is not a new trend and has been concealed from voters in at least 38 states for decades and has been permitted by state election laws, laws that deprive voters of their right to choose who governs them.

As many of our readers know, each election year we study the candidates and make our picks. We share them with you because we have done the research and have asked the questions. When, IF the candidates respond, we let you know what they had to say. Here are our picks and recommendations for November 6, 2018:

First of all, we’d like to start our election choices with a positive:
Peter J. Markou
for
Greene County Treasurer.

Peter Markou is a Five-Star Choice for Greene County Treasurer.
Experience, Integrity, Committed

Peter Markou is a five-star candidate.

Mr Markou is intelligent, a gentleman, honest, and so different from the bottom-feeders that are left on the ballot. Mr Markou has been Greene County Treasurer for several terms and there’s no one who can say anything negative about the man. Vote for Peter Markou for Greene County Treasurer; he’s honest, competent and has proved he can do the job like a real professional, not like a politician.


Greene County Coroners

Bob Gaus (D) and Joshua Lipsman (D)

(Democrats endorsed by the Independence Party)
opposing
Richard Vigilio (R) and Paul Seney (R)

Gaus and Lipsman have kept their Democrat affiliation a bit under wraps, and have touted their endorsement by the Independence Party. That’s a bit sneaky in our opinion but HEY! we are reporting about much, much worse in this article.

Not many voters really understand what a county coroner does but many may at some time in their lives have to deal with one, so we’d like to make certain it’s the right one.

We have written several pieces on coroners in the past and our basic opinion is that it is an outdated office, political, and really should be made obsolete in favor of the medical examiner’s office. That having been said, and already having raised important questions about the ethics of funeral directors or physicians being involved with the politics of death investigations,we object only to the general ethics and the history of the office of coroner, and why it should be done away with and replaced by a competent, qualified and non-political medical examiner.

There are already two incumbent Greene County Coroners: Richard Vigilio has been Greene County Coroner for 24 years and a funeral director (Richards Funeral Home) for 63 years. We think it’s time for Vigilio to retire before he becomes a coroner’s case himself. Paul Seney is the second Greene County Coroner, and is a funeral director at Richards Funeral Home and Brady Funeral home.

As for the two individuals running for Greene County Coroner: Bob Gaus, a funeral director, and Joshua Lipsman, a physician/healthcare policy promoter, we can say but little about them in terms of competence or character. We’d lean more towards Gaus, given the necessary skills of a funeral director and his experience with death and deathcare on a daily basis. Lipsman? Well, he’s more qualified in the politics of healthcare and probably has much less experience with death and deathcare than Gaus. Could they do the job? Our bets would be on Gaus in terms of effectiveness. Given Lipsman’s history and training, we don’t think he’d be the best choice. Death is something physicians try to avoid (unless you’re a pathologist, which Lipsman is not)and you’ll have a tough time changing a physician’s attitude towards death and with it his attitude towards the survivors. Go with Gaus.

 

As for the second candidate, we’d go with Seney for a couple of reasons: First, he’s experienced and has had the benefit of Richard Vigilio, with whom he’s worked for several years. Second, he’s a funeral diretor and, although we still object to the ethics of a funeral director in the coroner’s position, if we must have a coroner, then the funeral director is intimately familiar not only with death but the paperwork and laws concerning death, and how to best deal compassionately with survivors. So, while we wish Richard Vigilio all the best in his retirement after this election, we think that Paul Seney would be a good man to partner up with Bob Gaus.

Gaus and Lipsman are both 61 years old; Lipsman is from downstate. Both are Democrats. It may seem odd putting a Democrat (Gaus) in office and running the risk of adding more corpses to the list of voters registered Democrat but dead, but Hey! Vigilio is getting close to being a corpse and is Republican; Gaus may have a few years of life left in him, and may be able to complete at least one term of office. What about Lipsman? Too political, too full of himself (he’s a Democrat, a doctor, into public health policy, etc. We all know what happens when a Democrat gets involved in health policy; even if only the dead are affected!) Let’s leave him to his interests in public health policy and his overly liberal politics; he’d be too much of a political prima donna in the coroner’s office. Head’s too big. Lipsman’s from downstate and doesn’t know local culture or people. Not a good choice.


Now we’d like to handle the
Real Scoundrels List

We’ll have to wait til next year to go after New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso, but we’ve got enough on him already to put someone else in the Supervisor’s office. He won’t be able to save himself with anything worth mentioning in the coming year. He’s dead in the water already.

But we’d like to concentrate on this year’s failures:

Alan VanWormer

Running UNOPPOSED (Denying Your Voice and Wasting Your Vote)

So Why?!?! did the Republicans spend so much money on so many campaign signs for a guy who is running unopposed. In an uncontested election ONE campaign sign and NO votes would hand the election over to him since he’s already legally considered “elected.” Seems that wasting taxpayers’ money is still the way to go in New Baltimore!

This time he’s running on the Republican ticket, Unqualified, Gutless, No Training, No Education. We’ve already published an article dedicated to the problems we have with Alan VanWormer and you can read that article at The Problem with Alan VanWormer. We also are solidly against giving away a vote to any unopposed candidate and not having a voice in who gets into office. We have written a very well-researched article on the problems of unopposed candidates and uncontested elections and Why! they are a violation of our rights. You can read the article at Unopposed Candidates: The Denial of Your Vote!

Alan VanWormer just stood by and kept his mouth shut while Denis Jordan did his tricks in the New Baltimore Highway Department. Alan VanWormer was part of the corruption and didn’t do a thing to stop it. No Integrity! Alan VanWormer’s brother, Scott VanWormer, was hand-picked by Denis Jordan to be his Deputy Superintendent. No one lifted a finger. Dellisanti, Ruso, vanEtten, no one said a word. But New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso, the chief financial officer of the Town, and the New Baltimore Town Board approved sending Scott VanWormer to Ithaca, New York, for a three-day meeting — the Cornell Local Roads Program — all expenses paid plus his salary. The money and the time was wasted since Scott VanWormer doesn’t have the background or education to have understood what was going on. Furthermore, Alan VanWormer (Scott’s brother!!! And also employed by the New Baltimore Highway Department) is the one who is running unopposed for New Baltimore Highway Superintendent. Unopposed means he’s already got the job, so Why? didn’t they send Alan VanWormer to the Highway Meeting, if anyone? That’s the way Jeff Ruso and the New Baltimore Town Board thinks: They DON’T!!!

Question: Why are we still electing unqualified, dumbasses, with no training to the position of Town Superintendent of Highways. Most of them can’t even read!!! Yet New Baltimore still keeps them in a job and hands them hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, perhaps even millions of taxpayer dollars to play with and squander and no one seems to care. The job should not be up for election in the first place. The position of Town Superintendent of Highways should be a non-political, professional position filled on a competitiive application basis, with the successful hiree having the right qualifications and subject to discipline and even termination! Putting a professional in the position would more than pay for itself because of proper fiscal and human resources management and administration. That’s the Town Board’s job that they’re not doing. They’re a bunch of dumbasses sitting there thinking of ways to keep our Town Hall packed with political dumbasses and friends.

The Alternative: You don’t have one!

Let’s move on…


Patrick “Pat” Linger (R)

Out of Touch (except in an election year), Doesn’t Care, a Political Fixture/Tool, No Accomplishments, a Wasted Vote.

We have already published an earlier article to Pat Linger and Greene County DA, Joe Stanzione. You can read what we had to say to them at Open Letter to County Legislator Patrick Linger and Greene County DA Joseph Stanzione.

Linger just didn’t think it important enough to tell voters what his accomplishments were during his last term — obviously he had none — but now he’s begging New Baltimore voters for another term. Take a hike, Patty! You ran and hid when residents needed you. You refused to respond to questions regarding your performance in office this past term. You handed New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, and Jordan pissed them away, doing more damage than he was worth. Now the balless Republicans on the New Baltimore Town Board and New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso is following in the shite tracks of his mentor and now Deputy Supervisor Nick Dellisanti. We’re sick of the same old-same old and the dog and pony acts in Town Hall and in the County Legislature. Take a walk Patty. Your double-talking friends in Town Hall will be following you out the door!

The Alternative: Jim Eckl


Joseph “Joe” Stanzione (R)

Running for re-election to the Office of the Greene County District Attorney

Joseph “Joe” Stanzione.
Pantywaist or Panty-waste?

Unaccomplished, Avoids Commitment, Violates his Oath of Office

Just like Pat Linger, Joe Stanzione is a dud, a panty waist.  We have enough duds and panty-waists in Greene County and in New Baltimore. Stanzione goes into hiding when the real issues come up. Did he defend New Baltimore taxpayers and residents when they asked for his help to get compensated for damage done to property by former Highway Superintendent Jordan and his gaggle of monkeys? NOT! Did he go after the New Baltimore Town Supervisor Dellisanti or after Jeff Ruso and the Town Board when they ignored residents’ and taxpayers pleas for relief, compensation for damage to their property? NOT! Does Greene County need a panty-waist District Attorney like Stanzione? NOT! 

Back in we published an open letter to Joe Stanzione. It’s worth a read at Open Letter to Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione. Since then he’s done zilch but now wants to continue doing zilch. No way, José Stanzione! It’s the highway for you, dude!

The county district attorney is the county’s chief law enforcement officer. So Why? is Greene County nicknamed “Cold Case?” Because so little is being done by the Greene County District Attorney in terms of keeping local government honest and criminals prosecuted. That’s Why!

The Alternative: ??? We had a tough time finding out who is opposing Stanzione. We’re waiting for a reply from the Greene County BOE.


George Amedore

Republican, Irresponsible, Indifferent, Bullshitter.
You know it’s an election year when you see or hear him.

A pink-eared jackass!

George Amedore shows up every election year to beg for the NYS Senate seat, 46th District, and to appear with his Republican cronies at the New Baltimore Republican Club rally to tell everyone fairy tales of what he’s done for New Baltimore and his district. Of course, the gullible back-woods politicians, committee people, and some misguided voters show up to listen to the mealy-mouthed promises never to be kept. In fact, Amedore was complacent and irresponsible when he was handing out state highway monies to Denis Jordan to burn up. We published an article about his legendary generosity with taxpayer dollars and his total lack of accountability. Denis Jordan is under investigation and had to resign; we think Amedore should do the same. He has some nerve asking for New Baltimore’s votes!

Read our article George Amedore, NY State Senator for 46th District, Needs to do Some Homework to learn more about what we told Amedore about New Baltimore and the New Baltimore Highway Department.

The Alternative: ??? Pat Courtney Strong, another woman-wanting-to-be-a-man from Kingston. OMG! That’s a choice??? (Note: Strong is from Kingston, like Amedore, a businesswoman. Problem: Strong knows about as much as Amedore about what New Baltimore and Greene County needs: both know nothing!)


Antonio Delgado

Democrat, Racist, ex-Rapper, Anti-American.

The Racist Rapper and the Democrat Candidate.
The same face, different outfit.

Is that the best the Democrats can do for Upstate voters? 

Delgado is filth, a racist, ex-rapper whose rapping celebrated sex with porn stars and anti-American, racist lyrics. He might be the hero of give-it-all-away Liberal Democrats. And he might be able to attract votes in mostly minority New York City, but he’s a big dirty ball of crappola to Central and Upstate NY. He might be popular with low-class, inner-city minorities and illegal immigrants with a name like Antonio Delgado, but he’s a clear reject when it comes to people with values and morals. His skin color would get him the downstate minority vote but among people who look deeper than skin color when we vote, he’s a total reject.

We’ve already wasted too many words on a loser like Antonio Delgado. If that’s the best the Democrats can offer New Yorkers, we don’t wonder that they are going to hell in barf bag.

You’ll need this when going to the polls and seeing what the Dems have picked for you.

The Alternative: John Faso


James “Jim” Eckl

A multiple-loser but our only alternative to Patrick “Pat” Linger, a loser and a scoundrel.

Well, the New Baltimore Democratic Committee made up of Janet KashEileen VosburghDoreen DavisBeth Schneck. and district committee members Janet Foley,  Richard GuthrieJudith FelstenAnne Walsh MitchellLee Davis (Yes. That’s the former loser town justice! Another Democrat loser scraped up by the New Baltimore and Greene County Dems!), Jim Eckl (Yes. That’s the same Jim Eckl the Dems are running against Patrick Linger). New Baltimore and Greene County Democrats have not only failed to give voters candidates, they can’t even get people to serve on their district committees! So they have to keep running losers from past elections.

James “Jim” Eckl, Democrat, Recycled Goods, Democrats’ Last Resort. Give him a chance to fly or fail. Anything’s better than Linger!

His party handlers, the New Baltimore Democratic Committee, Janet KashEileen VosburghDoreen DavisBeth Schneck., couldn’t tell us why he should get your vote. We found that a bit odd because normally the political party committee members would be over the moon to tell us why their candidate should be elected. Not the New Baltimore Democraps! They didn’t want to say a word about Jim Eckl. Well, there’s not much to say about Jim Eckl, we guess.

The Alternative: Voters in New Baltimore are in a real predicament. You can chose between the Louse (Linger) and the Loser (Eckl).


In the Town of New Baltimore and in Greene County, we don’t have much to work with. We residents, taxpayers and voters have so much garbage being handed to us You’d think we had a recycling plant or a transfer facility in the neighborhood; we get the dregs from the Republicans and the Democrats can’t even dig up a candidate from the many cemeteries in the area.

New Baltimore & Greene County Elections.
What we have to choose from.
Recycled Garbage.

None of the majority of candidates running are really worth a vote but where there’s at least a choice, that is, when the candidate on the ballot isn’t running unopposed, it would pay to cast a vote for either candidate. They’re garbage but at least you have a choice of which garbage.

When a candidate is running unopposed or in an uncontested race, New York Election Law has already “declared him elected,” and your vote is wasted; you have no voice in who gets the position. As in past elections we say don’t give them the numbers. Don’t cast a vote for that candidate (in New Baltimore, for example, that would be Alan VanWormer) because if you don’t cast a vote, you send the political party and the candidate an important message: You are offended by the fact that you were denied a voice in who to put in that office. If you vote for an unopposed candidate, you are wasting your vote; if you refuse to vote for that candidate, he’s already elected but at least he won’t get the numbers and you will have sent an important message to the parties.

DON’T WASTE YOUR VOTE ON AN UNOPPOSED CANDIDATE!


If you’re trying to figure out who is running for what office, and you’re having a hard time getting the information, you’re not alone.

We are pretty good at getting information but when it comes to our fine Board of Elections and our Political Party Committees, you just can’t get anyone to say anything or cough up some names or information. If you are having the same problem, you might want to give your Greene County Board of Elections a call or send them an email. If you’re really lucky and they’re having a good day, you might actually get a response. Here’s the contact information:

Greene County Board of Elections

411 Main Street, Catskill NY, 12414
Telephone: 518-719-3550
Republican Commissioner: Brent Bogardus, bbogardus@discovergreene.com
Democrat Commissioner: Marie Metzler, mmetzler@discovergreene.com

The Golden Turd Award
For Political Excellence

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2018 Elections, 46th District, Accountability, Alan van Wormer, Alan VanWormer, Antonio Delgado, Beth Schneck, Bob Gaus, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, CHIPS, Civil Rights, Columbia-Greene Media, Democracy is Dead, Democrap, Democrats, Denied Your Vote, Denis Jordan, Donna Degnen, Doreen Davis, Doreen Davis, Eileen Vosburgh, Eileen Vosburgh, Elected Official, George Amedore, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County Coroner, Greene County Coroner, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Independence Party, Greene County Legislature, Greene County News, Hudson Valley, Independence Party, Irene Beede, James Eckl, Janet Foley, Janet Kash, Janet Kash, Jean Horne, Jeff Ruso, Jeff Ruso, Jim Eckl, Joe Stanzione, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, John Faso, John Faso, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Josh Lipsman, Joshua Lipsman, Lee Davis, Linda LeClair, Lynn Taylor, Mark Vinciguerra, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Conservancy, New Baltimore Democratic Committee, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New York, New York State, New York State Election Law, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, Nick Dellisanti, Pat Linger, Pat Linger, Patrick Linger, Patrick Linger, Protected Rights, Ravena News Herald, RegisterStar, Robert Gaus, Ronna Smith, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Tal Rappelea, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Town of New Baltimore, Uncontested Election, Unopposed Candidate

 

We Are Re-Opening the Case: Riley Kern, Young Man Killed in Coeymans Hollow, Sycamore Golf Course

Just when they thought they got away with it!

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The Facts are Pointing to a
COVER UP!!!

As you may recall, we wrote in a July article, “Three Articles on New Baltimore Scandals: Pick One or Read All,”, asking “Did you know?” about the case of a young man who was involved in a fatal motorcycle-pickup truck accident in Coeymans Hollow. We wrote:

Editor’s Sidebar: Town of Coeymans. We’ve received reports of a fatal pick-up truck — motorcycle accident that occurred during the evening hours of Saturday, July 28, 2018, on Route 143 in the Town of Coeymans. The operator of the motorcycle, a 20-year old man was killed; the operator of the pick-up truck was allegedly Ravena resident Travis Hagen. Strangely nothing has appeared in the local media about the accident. We have contacted the Coeymans Police for confirmation facts but have not received a response. A reader has informed us that he, too contacted the Coeymans Police acting chief, Daniel Contento, and was told only that there was an accident and the police investigated and reported it to the DMV. Is this a cover up to protect a prominent Ravena family? Doesn’t the young man’s life mean anything or do we just sweep the whole thing under the carpet? We need to start asking questions. The 20-year old man is not just another raccoon, Mr Contento!

This is Riley and a Companion.

Read more about Riley at
Ryan Parker Kern  August 4, 1998 – July 27, 2018 
and leave a note of support and condolence for his family and friends.

At the time, we were suspicious that the accident didn’t get a single word of coverage on any media, and we asked Why?

Since we published that very small bit of information, we’ve received contacts from people who have read the inconspicuous item and have contacted us with a huge amount of information and many, many questions.

In the meantime, we have received some information on Travis Hagen that points to a cover-up in the case of the young man’s death. At the very minimum, a number of people involved in the investigation of the accident and reporting the so-called “facts” are going to have to answer a lot of very unpleasant questions very soon!

Travis Hagen, 48, of Coxsackie. Driver of the pick-up truck.

There are still people in this community who think they are above the law

We are now re-opening the case and will be publishing the information as it’s verified for you, our reading public, to be sickened and outraged by what’s going on in the RCS community and what’s going on in the Coeymans Police Department. There are still people in this community who think they are above the law and can get away with trying to hide a crime. We’re here to make certain the truth gets out and they are brought to justice.

Click this link to read Riley’s mom’s response to detractors of SmalbanyRiley’s Mom Responds: A Mother’s Perspective.

Unconfirmed witness reports indicate that there are inconsistencies in the Police Incident Report. Is there a possibility that the driver of the pick-up truck was … !

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Accident, Acting Police Chief, Albany County Coroner, Albany County Coroners Office, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County EMT, Albany County Sheriff Department, Albany Medical Center, Barbara Underwood, Capital District, Chaplain Services, Civil Right Violation, Civil Rights, Civil Rights, Coeymans, Coeymans Acting Police Chief, Coeymans Police Department, Collusion, Columbia-Greene Media, Conspiracy, Corrupt Police, Corruption, D. W. Contento, Daily Mail, Daniel Contento, David Soares, Death, Death Certificate, Death Investigation, Department of Motor Vehicles, DOT, DOT, Driving under the Influence, Electronic Death Registration System, Ellis Hospital, Emily Kern, Evil, Geico Insurance, Greene County News, Hearst Corporation, Ian Foard, Immorality, Investigation, John B. Johnson, Johnson Newspaper Group, Law Enforcement, Lawsuit, Mark Vinciguerra, Misconduct, Monitoring, Morality, Motor Vehicle Accident, Motorcycle, New York, New York State, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Police, New York State Police, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, Notice of Claim, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Comptroller, Paul Gumpher, Perp Patrol, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Police Incompetence, Professional Ethics, Professional Misconduct, Public Corruption, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District, Ravena News Herald, Riley Kern, Riley P. Kern, Rye, Stephen Prokrym, Steve Prokrym, Suffering, Sycamore Country Club, Thanatology Café, The Daily Mail, Thomas Marra, Times Union, Times Union Blogs, Town of Coeymans, Travis Hagen, Uncategorized

 

Board of Education Member James “Hadji” Latter: Is he paying his fair share of property taxes?

In the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District, the name James “Hadji“* Latter has a murky history. He’s been able to stay on the RCS-CD Board of Education for a number of years now, not because of his tidy background and performance record, but because the RCS-CD is just a corrupt and manipulated as any other “elected” body in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk/Albany County region, including New Baltimore and Greene County. But New Baltimore, although in Greene County, pays a portion of their property taxes to support the bloated budget of the RCS-CD and the idiotic programs approved by a board of back-scratchers and cronies.

* “Hadji” is our nickname for James Latter II because of his close associations with the Saudi Arabian company SABIC.

We have reported in the past about Latter’s questionable conduct on the board but when you are dealing with a group who love their power to spend public money, and then ask for more and then make decisions that affect the school age young people in the district and their futures. It’s hard for them to let go and share the responsibility or even to acknowledge and consult the public. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the RCS Central School District Board of Education is no exception. Least of all Mr James Latter II.

That’s why, when a local resident drew our attention to the parking and traffic situation in the Village of Ravena in connection with our recent investigation of Village of Ravena Code Enforcement and, while guiding us around on the grand tour of the many Village of Ravena parking opportunities — in no less than six public parking areas less than one block from the commercial district of Village Center —, and that resident pointed out and commented on a particularly ostentatious eyesore of recent construction on a large lot on Aluise Drive, just in back of the huge lot owned by the Roman Catholic Church of St Patrick, we got curious.

That’s when sitting RCS Central School District Board of Education member James J. “Hadji” Latter II again waddled into the spotlight in his usual murky and questionable style.

You see, Latter and wifey, Amanda C. ( Mrs Hadji) purchased two large adjacent lots (total acreage 6.5 acres, cost $101,000) on Aluise Drive in the Village. The lots were previously owned by the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Patrick (Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany) but were sold off and Latter was in the pews ready to close the deal. Was that because former BoE member and crooked cop Gerald “Dirty Hands Jery” Deluca was high up in the Church’s lay administration and an insider? Probably. Latter and “Dirty Hands” Jerry were thick as flies on fresh summer sh*t. So here we have another questionable business deal in Ravena, Home of the Incest Club, and the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Patrick, an Incest Club meeting place, probably brokered by “Dirty Hands Jerry” Deluca before he was forced out (“resigned”) of the Coeymans Police Department with former dunce Coeymans Police Chief Gregory “Dumplin” Darlington was canned (“retired”), and disgraced town/village justice Phil Crandall was elected to be Coeymans Town Supervisor. You really can’t make this stuff up!!!

Our investigations to date have revealed the following interesting and questionable situations. But please note: This information is preliminary and is based on our research in the Village of Ravena and the Town of Coeymans using immediately available information, that is, information we could get on the spot without the formal F.O.I.L procedure (demanding production of public access documents and information under the provisions of the New York State Public Officers Law), and our vetting of that information on official New York state tax online sites. We have demanded the production of documents that will provide finer details of the transactions and Mr Latter’s operations but that may take some time, given Mr Latter’s position and his “friends” in Village and Town offices.

The properties are listed in the official property tax documents as belonging to James and Amanda Latter of 13 Laura Drive, Ravena, New York. Note that address because we’ll be returning to that information shortly.

James “Hadji” and Amanda Latter posing with Hillary Clinton.
Birds of a feather…!

New York State Law Requires the Assessor to Assess Property Under Construction

In some states a new construction is not subject to assessment for tax purposes until it is completed and a certificate of occupancy is issued. The situation in New York State is different, however, here in New York state there is the so-called partial assessment.

Sitting Board of Education Member James Latter’s new house he will be sharing with teacher wife Amanda Latter.
It’s at 9 Aluise Drive in Ravena, in back of St Patrick’s Church.

New construction assessments are placed on the assessment roll based on the partial market value if the construction is in process or the market value of the completed construction as of March 1st, and that assessment is used to compute the school tax bill issued in September and the county, town, and special district tax bill issued the following January.

9 Aluise Drive. Behind St Patricks RC Church and next to the P.B. Coeymans Elementary School.

In the case of a partial assessment, the market value of the home is determined by using the completion percentage of the construction as of March 1st. If the construction is partially complete as of March 1st, the assessment will represent only a percentage of the total property tax assessment when the construction is completed.  A partial assessment will be place on the tax roll as a “partial”, and increased each year until the construction is 100% complete.

In New York State, the assessor is required to value the property exactly as he or she finds it on taxable status date, that is on March 1st. The Assessor is required by New York State law to value property in its condition on that date. A partially completed building will receive a partial assessment based on its estimated percentage of completion as of March 1st. If your house is under construction on March 1, its estimated percentage of completion on that date will be the basis for the assessment

The property was assessed at a time when the progress of the entire construction project was measured and recorded as a partial assessment. An assessment calendar requires that a property review be based on where the progress of the construction is at the time, and the assessment be based on the progress at the cut-off date on the calendar year. The property has to appear on the tax roll for taxes to be paid in the following year.

The law would require that the Latter construction be assessed in it’s state of construction on March 1st. It was not. This partial assessment procedure was not followed in Latter’s case and Latter’s property was not assessed in part while under construction and, though completed, the Town of Coeymans Assessor was unaware of the construction and the property has not yet been assessed! Mr Latter is not paying his fair share of property taxes. Mr Latter is not paying his fair share of his school taxes to the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District. Mr Latter should be required to resign from his position on the Board of Education for such malconduct.


We did some research and found that the latest tax information on the property at 9 Aluise Drive in Ravena doesn’t show a thing about any new construction and lists it as vacant land. But there’s a house on it that looks as if it’s market value would be at least $200,000!!! What is the deal here? We all have to pay our property taxes and a big part of those taxes go to the schools. Latter is on the Board of Education and decides on the school budget and how much we have to pay but it looks like he’s scamming the Town of Coeymans, whose Assessor wasn’t even aware the house was there — even though you can almost see it from Coeymans Town Hall!!!

Extract of New York State Real Property Report for one of the Latter Lots (where the house is standing).

New York State real property tax assessment law requires that a new construction be assessed as a partial assessment if it’s not completed by the date of March 1st of any year. That means that whatever part of Latter’s house that was completed by March 1, 2018, should have been assessed at that percentage of the total value of the house. But it wasn’t and we all want to know Why?

Another inconsistency is this: James Latter and Amanda Latter list their address of record as being 13 Laura Lane in the Village of Ravena. A bit more research shows that 13 Laura Lane in the Village of Ravena is owned by Anthony and Ann Carrk, not by the Latters. True, the Latters could be renting from Amanda’s parents all these years but isn’t that a stretch? Could be true, though. Maybe Jimmy “Hadji” or Amanda could shed some light on this question. Or maybe Anthony or Ann Carrk can explain the living conditions and how so many could be living in that tiny hovel on Laura Lane.

13 Laura Lane and 9 Aluise Drive. Where do the Latters live?

If you ask the Village of Ravena Building Department Joe Burns, he willl tell you that they issue the building permit for new constructions, do the code enforcement inspections, and when the construction is done, they issue the certificate of occupancy. The Town of Coeymans Sole Assessor Dawn DeRose will tell you that they are notified by the Village of Ravena when the construction is finished. But that’s doesn’t explain why a partial assessment of the Latters’ property wasn’t done by the Town of Coeymans according the New York State Real Property Law. You’d think Town of Coeymans Sole Assessor Dawn DeRose would know better.

This just in: According to a very simple document provided to the Town of Coeymans by the Village of Ravena entitled “Village of Ravena, Building Projects Completed in July 2018” the Village of Ravena provides a one-liner notification of Latter’s construction project. That’s all. The document provides only the following information:

The Bare Bones Provided to the Town of Coeymans Assessor.

The above document provided by the Town of Coeymans in response to a F.O.I.L. demand clearly shows that Latter’s new construction was likely completed by March 2018 and is valued at $300,000. Even if it were not completed it would have been substantially completed and should have been assessed and on the tax rolls!!! It is not. A 1728 square foot two-story home with attached garage can represent a pretty fair amount of tax revenue, even if only subject to a partial assessment. Our question is: Why wasn’t the information provided to the Town of Coeymans Assessor when the building permit was issued? Why was it provided only after a Certificate of Occupancy was issued on July 3, 2018!!! Latter saved a pretty penny thanks to the Village of Ravena’s substandard reporting procedures. We’re certain the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance will be very interested in this case and will likely want to investigate how many other similar cases have gotten past the Assessor and the Tax Department.

Ravena will tell you it’s not their problem because they don’t have an assessor; the assessments are done by the Town of Coeymans Assessor. Coeymans will tell you that they don’t police the Village of Ravena and the Village of Ravena has to tell Coeymans what’s going on so that the assessor can do his assessments. Latter will likely tell us that he doesn’t know anything about all this. Sounds like a really shady case of finger-pointing or passing the buck here, now that the cat’s hit the fan and yet another problem in Village of Ravena-Town of Coeymans communications is revealed. Don’t you think it’s high time the Village and the Town started communicating? Now the community is losing property tax money from a select few that managed to drop below the assessment radar. That’s just not fair and it’s not legal. Someone has to answer for this illegal conduct and investigate how many other similar cases have cheated the Town out of tax dollars.

This is another case for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Real Property Division, and the Office of the New York State Comptroller. Rest assured they’ll be informed of all relevant details.

Do the Village or Ravena and the Town of Coeymans need a Special Audit?

But isn’t Latter a Board of Education member elected by the deaf-dumb-and-blind voters of the Town of Coeymans? Doesn’t he put together the school budget that gets funded in major part by our property taxes as assessed by the Office of the Assessor. And isn’t Latter a so-called “financial analyst” at SABIC? Wouldn’t you expect him to know about property taxes, assessments, etc.?

Ignorance is no excuse
Village and Town are Accessories.


Editor’s Aside: Diverting a bit from Mr James “Hadji” Latter’s past malconduct while a Board of Education member and later as president of the Board of Education that ranged from violations of confidentiality to a laundry list of questionable conduct and associations, he seems to have allied himself with a clique that manages to get elected no matter what. Probably by friends and family and a bit of influence peddling. But Latter is a decision maker on the Board of Education that hires the Superintendent of Schools for the RCS Central School District who runs the schools and manages the teachers. Latter’s Board hired a former principal/teacher from the RCS high-school as Superintendent at an astronomical salary, and others in turn to other posts.

“Hadji” Latter and his cronies have considerable influence on what gets taught by whom in our schools but he is obviously a supporter of Hillary Clinton. What’s worse still, is the fact that he is employed as a financial analyst at the Saudi Arabian company SABIC!!!

The SABIC flag flying near one of the company’s cogeneration towers in Feura Bush.

SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation) is a Saudi diversified manufacturing company, active in petrochemicals, chemicals, industrial polymers, fertilizers, and metals. It is the largest public company in Saudi Arabia, as listed in Tadawul, but the Saudi government still owns 70% of its shares. SABIC is also the largest listed company in the Middle East. Private shareholders are from Saudi Arabia and other countries of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Saudi SABIC

While Saudi Arabia is often a secondary source of funds and support for terror movements who can find more motivated and ideologically invested benefactors (e.g. Qatar), Saudi Arabia arguably remains the most prolific sponsor of international Islamist terrorism, allegedly supporting groups as disparate as the Afghanistan Taliban, Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Al-Nusra Front. Saudi Arabia is said to be the world’s largest source of funds and promoter of Salafist jihadism, which forms the ideological basis of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Taliban, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan) and others.

This is one of the guys you elected to run your school system!!!


We’re staying on top of this one and will publish the information provided by the Village of Ravena and the Town of Coeymans in response to our F.O.I.L demands as it becomes available.

Yes. We know.
But let’s see what you say when the cat hits the fan.
JUST PAY YOUR TAXES!!!
The Editor

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Accountability, Albany, Amanda Latter, Ann Carrk, Anthony Carrk, Assessment, Bill Bailey, Board of Education Member, Brian Bailey, Capital District, Church of St Patrick, Code Enforcement Officer, Code Violation, Coeymans, Coeymans Assessor, Coeymans Code Enforcement, Columbia-Greene Media, Daily Mail, Donna Degnen, Fair Play, Gerald Deluca, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County News, Henry Traver, Incompetence, James Latter, James Latter II, Jason Hyslop, Jeff Ruso, Jerry "Dirty-Hands" Deluca, Joe Burns, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, Joseph Burns, Joseph Tanner, Mark Vinciguerra, Mayor "Mouse", Mayor "Mouse" Misuraca, Michael J. Biscone, Moose Misuraca, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, Nancy Warner, New Baltimore Assessor, New York, New York State, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, News Herald, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Office of the Comptroller, Official Misconduct, Partial Assessment, Phil Crandall, Property Taxes, Public Corruption, Public Office, Public Safety, Ravena, Ravena Building Inspector, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District, Ravena News Herald, RCS Board of Education, RCS Central School District, RCS School Superintendant, RCS Superintendent of Schools, Real Property Tax Law, Sabic, Sante Debacco, Selkirk Cogen, Shame On You, Smalbany, Tax Avoidance, Tax Evasion, Tax Evasion, Taxation, Thomas E. Dolan, Tom Dolan, Village of Ravena, Village of Ravena Building Department, William Bailey, William Bailey, William Misuraca, William Misuraca, Zoning Enforcement Officer

 

Town of New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan Forced to Resign

We pay these pompous, arrogant dumbasses’ paychecks with our tax dollars! But they sit there all in a row, staring into the papers in front of them, better than those who pay them and who put them where they are, and gaze out, through the citizens and residents sitting in front of them as if they weren’t there. Stuffed shirts, empty heads, and ignorance all in a row, deciding on your lives. And do they stick together?  like fleas on a dog’s back. Nice picture, isn’t it?


New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan has been forced to resign amid several pending investigations of Jordan’s activities as Town Superintendent of Highways and the operations of the New Baltimore Highway Department under his direct supervision. Jordan’s resignation became effective May 30, 2018.

We have reported numerous instances that point to unlawful and unethical practices by Jordan which have been known for years but only after we brought the issues into the open and public view did the Town of New Baltimore and law enforcement finally wake up and start taking action.

Jordan is not the only New Baltimore public official who should be investigated. We demanded also that former Town Supervisors and Town Board Members who were directly informed of Jordan’s operations should also be brought to justice! For the past several years we have been hounding former Town Supervisor Nick Dellisanti and his deputy, Jeff Ruso, now Town Supervisor, and others to be responsible and honor their oaths of office! They failed this community and violated their oaths of office!

We have also contacted and informed Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione of Jordan’s activities and the Town’s indifference to the illegal and criminal activity going on in the New Baltimore Highway Department. Last year Stanzione refused to answer our inquiries saying only that he could not make a statement because of pending investigations. We want to see and hear what he has done to investigate the other employees and elected officials, past and present, who knew about what was going on and DID NOTHING!!!

We want to know why employees in the New Baltimore Highway Department, in particular Jordan’s deputy superintendent Scott VanWormer kept their mouths shut when Jordan was using his elected office, public property, public moneys to do favors for special parties and totally ignored other residents and taxpayers whose property was destroyed by Jordan’s indifference and negligence.

We want to know who is going to reimburse the public treasury for the money that was misspent, squandered and wasted during Jordan’s years of mismanagement, particularly in the past 2 years, when the Town Board was most intensely aware of Jordan’s operations.

We want to know who is going to answer for Jordan’s abuse of residents and taxpayers, and who is going to foot the bill for compensating the property losses and damage caused by Jordan’s negligence and incompetence.

We want answers from the Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione, former New Baltimore Town Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso, Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott vanWormer, Town Attorney Tal Rappelea, and others yet to be named!

Local government is a failure…

And now on the Town of New Baltimore Office of the Assessor and the Board of Assessment Review: Grievance Day is a Sham!

We  have been looking closely at the Town of New Baltimore’s weird property tax situation and have come to the conclusion that the operation of the Assessor’s Office under Gordon Bennett and the five member Board of Assessment Review (BAR), consisting of Donna Degnan (chairperson), Lynn Taylor, Bernie Jones, Ronna Smith, and Linda LeClair. Linda LeClair appears to be the only functioning brain in the lot!

Under Gordon Bennett’s oversight and Donna Degnen’s chairmanship, the BAR is an incompetent drain on the public treasury. Bennett is not an elected official, he’s a hired fixture. Degnan, too, is not elected but an appointee and the sockpuppets on the Board of Assessment Review, lard asses that they are, handed the chairmanship of the Board over to Degnan, who is a dithering wing nut!

We have examined the NY Real Property Tax Law and its provisions relating to the Assessor’s Office but more precisely those provisions that relate to the Board of Assessment Review and have found that currently too many mistakes are being made and they are not complying with the law. We have an ignorant board with very little training and they’re making a mess of assessments, especially assessments grieved by taxpayers who are not being treated as the law requires.

We intend to notify the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance of New Baltimore’s non-compliance and we intend to notify the Office of the New York State Comptroller of these deficiencies so that they can be targeted at the time of the next audit.

And the New Baltimore Town Court and Justices are soon to be pilloried by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York state committee that oversees the operation of the courts and judges and, upon complaint, reviews the court or the judge and has the power to discipline them for acting in bad faith, unethically, with malice, or in ignorance or abuse of the law. New Baltimore town justice Tom Meacham is at the top of our list.

And the incompetence and ignorance doesn’t stop at the Highway Department! The Assessor’s Office, run by Gordon Bennett, is just as bad and the Board of Assessment Review is a gang of d-bags if we ever met one. Donna Degnan chairs the Board of Assessment Review but is more of a dithering crone than a competent chairperson. Can’t even figure out what property is being discussed and then gets stuck on a thought and you can’t get her off of it. No one listens and no one hears. Read the submissions? Hell NO! Follow the discussion? Hell NO! Four morons in a row! Local government is a failure and we expect state and federal government to be any better? Wake up people!!! No one cares and the apathy is killing us! All we can get is criminals and dumbasses to run for office and, worse still, the dumbasses appoint dumber dumbasses to the local government boards and committees! 

We can agree that the whole system needs overhauling but unless people, voters, taxpayers, residents stand up and work together, we’re going to be stuck with these dumbasses, crooks, liars, and criminals, and we can only blame ourselves. We can’t do it alone. We need to join hands and stop the corruption!

Would you have the balls and the integrity to do that? Not very likely, from what we’ve observed in this cowardly community of weasels….

Of course they’re going to stick together like fleas on a dog’s back. They work in Town Hall where nobody is more than 20 feet away from anyone else. Nothing’s private. They all kiss each other’s asses and make nice-nice in the great love fest at Town Hall, while waiting for the next opportunity to stick in a knife. Most of them hate each other’s guts but they have to stick together or they’ll all end up jobless and in jail. So don’t think for a moment that you have such a great case that they won’t all get in a circle (called a circle-jerk) and make sure no one makes a peep that could incriminate anyone else. They may be incompetent, ignorant, arrogant but they are making the decisions and if you don’t like it, well, you’ll have to hire a lawyer. Would you have the balls and the integrity to do that? Not very likely, from what we’ve observed in this cowardly community of weasels. Well, that’s where the Jordan case is going to get real interesting because now we have not only a weak link but an actual break in the love chain in Town Hall. Things are a happening…let’s keep the momentum and see what’s going to happen next!

We want to see as many residents and taxpayers of the Town of New Baltimore as possible at the next (July) public meeting of the New Baltimore Town Board, and we want everyone to make a public statement about this development and what the Town of New Baltimore is going to do to make things right!

Next Regular Town Board Meeting is on July 9, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

 

 

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Posted by on June 11, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 2Luck.com, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Alan van Wormer, Assessment Review, Bernie Jones, Board of Assessment Review, Bob Ross, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, Columbia-Greene Media, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Crystal R. Peck Esq., Daily Mail, David Lewis, David Louis, David Louis, Democratic Caucus, Democratic Party Committee, Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, Diane Jordan, Donna Degnen, Eleanor Luckacovic, Eleanor Oldham, Elections and Voting, FBI, FBI Criminal Information System, FBI Public Corruption Squad, George Amedore, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Court, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Greene County News, Grievance Day, Hudson Valley, Investigation, Jeff Ruso, Joan Ross, John B. Johnson, John Luckacovic, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph A. Farrell Jr, Joseph Farrell, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Linda LeClair, Lynn Taylor, Mark Vinciguerra, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Misconduct, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Democratic Committee, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New York, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Highway Law, New York State Police, New York State Town Law, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, Notice of Claim, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Assessor, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Comptroller, Official Misconduct, Peckham Materials, Peckham Materials Corp., Peckham Road Corporation, Precision Roads and Driveways, Professional Misconduct, Ravena News Herald, Real Property Tax Law, RegisterStar, Republican Caucus, Republican Party Committee, Resignation, Ronna Smith, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Town Board Meeting, Town Supervisor

 

Dumbass Team: Coeymans Police and Albany DA Soares!

We’ve reported on the May 12 Raccoon incident in several articles, and in each of those articles where we have published new information, the Coeymans Police Department, the Albany County DA David Soares and his corrupt office, and others have confirmed everything we reported. As our readers are aware, we rely on information either from verifiable witnesses, published sources, or information provided by the public offices on our demand under the provisions of the NYS Freedom of Information Law. We frequently have to fight to get the information but we do get it. Here we are reporting on information we forced the Coeymans Police Department to give up, and they don’t look good. Here’s why:

We forced the Coeymans Police Department to cough up the Incident Reports completed by the two Coeymans Police Department personnel who put on the circus act that went international on May 12, 2018, when they used their patrol cars to harass, abuse, run over and kill a wild raccoon in full view of shoppers at Faith Plaza in Ravena, New York. The whole sickening display by the two perverts was recorded on video by a witness and it went viral on YouTube and other social media. The incident was covered by the international press and sent the world to cry outrage. The Coeymans PD and the Coeymans Town Board had very little to say — what could they say, the video told the entire story.

The Faith Plaza Raccoon Iincident Raises Important Questions about the Morality of Our Pubic Servants.

In fact, this embarrassing scandal looms far larger than the simple-minded antics of two small-town police officers and their sikeningly clownish performance while on duty. The incident raises important questions about the morality of our pubic servants, their ethics, their characters, value for taxpayer dollars, the quality of the people and the work done by them in public service, the negligence of our elected officials and their support even of the Constitution per their oaths of office. Yes, the incident even touches upon whether we can trust them and whether they are truthful. It’s ironic that the death of a wild animal should raise such questions in human affairs but it does and we can’t continue to ignore those questions.They’re right in our faces.

The Coeymans Police Totally Ignored their Own Procedures and Instructions

If you’ve been following this incident, you’ll know that the Coeymans PD wouldn’t identify the two officers involved. That was wrong. When we demanded the standard procedures for responding to animal control incidents, we found that they dated back to 1998 and had never been revised. That was wrong. The instructions used by the Coeymans Police when responding to animal control calls instructs them to contact the Coeymans Animal Control Officer, but Coeymans doesn’t have one (they eliminated the position several years ago). But the procedure also instructs officers to contact the Animal Control Officers in neighboring communities if the local ACO is not available. They never did any of that. They even deny any sort of animal control equipment in the Coeymans PD. We don’t believe that for a minute! What happened to the former ACO’s equipment? And Why? don’t they have even a net or a catchpole?

Our investigations show Albany DA Davis Soares’ report to be a load of steaming bullshit.

Albany County DA P. David Soares in Native Albany Costume.

You’ll also know that Albany County DA P. David Soares’ Animal Abuse Division was “investigating” the incident” but that his office found no reason to prosecute the officers because there was “no malice or contempt.” Really?!? Secondly, the DA’s office mentions that the officers performed correctly because there would have been a 2-hour wait for a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation person to respond (There are “only” 300 such state employees in New York). But our investigations show this to be a load of steaming bullshit.

We have the names of the two officers involved: Stephen PROKRYM and Jeff IOVINELLI.

We have obtained the “official” incident reports prepared by one of the two Coeymans Police personnel involved in the incident. We already identified Coeymans Police Department investigator Stephen PROKRYM as one of the pervs operating one of the two Coeymans Police vehicles involved in the scandal. We now have the name of the second officer involved,Jeff IOVINELLI.

IOVINELLI prepared both of the Coeymans Police Department Incident reports Nos. 24647 and 24648. Note the consecutive numbering but note also that the Incident Reports are written the day after the incident, that is, the IRs are written on May 13, a full day after the incident which occurred on May 12. We find these IRs to be suspect for two reasons:

  • They were written fully a day after the incident, after the Coeymans PD had made their “official statement” and after the NYS Department of Health had issued their report on the animal. The IRs, therefore, are written to fit the facts rather than to report the incident. That’s dishonest and should be considered misconduct and disciplined. But then the Coeymans PD and the Coeymans Town Board would look really stupid — the IRs now prove they are realy stupid.
  • The information in the IRs written by IOVINELLI is full of contraditions and mistakes as we describe below. The Coeymans Police Department, acting chief Contento, Iovinelli and Prokrym, in particular, can’t even get their lies straight!

In the first IR No. 24647, Iovinelli states that the incident occurred on “MONDAY 03/12/18” between 8:46 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and describes the “Incident Type” as “Animal, Animal acting rabid.”  All other details in the general information appear normal.

In the so-called “Narrative” or description of the facts part of IR 24647, however, it appears that there was a first call put in to the Coeymans PD (through the Albany County 911 dispatch) to investigation “a raccoon acting sick,” and IOVINELLI writes that they found a raccoon “curled up in a ball under the area of some metal steps.” At that time IOVINELLI writes that he left the animal where it was and that individuals were advised not to bother the animal and to contact the CPD if there were any further issues. Now we remind you that that was at about 9:00 a.m.

In an UPDATE to IR 24647, IOVINELLI writes that when checking on “routine patrol [the] animal had left the area.” So, three hours had passed, IOVINELLI just left the animal where it was, did not call for any animal control assistance but, as you can read yourself, writes that the animal was behaving sick. In fact, in the general information part of this IR, you will recall, IOVINELLI writes “ANIMAL ACTING RABID.” Furthermore, we read that “individuals” were advised to leave the animal alone, so someone at Faith Plaza was aware of the animal. Our question is Who?

So, between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on May 12, 2018, IOVINELLI (1) responds to an animal control call, (2) determines that the animal is not a threat, (3) advises “individuals” not to bother the animal, (3) leaves the scene and doesnt come back until (3) 1:00 pm, three hours later, to find the raccoon had gone. None of this follows the instructions of the Coeymans Police manual setting forth the procedures for handling an animal control issue.

We have a problem with a law enforcement officer describing in an Incident Report what he states to be an “Animal Acting Rabid,” simply advises “individuals” not to bother the animal, leaves the scene only to find the animal gone, and never takes any other steps!!! He says the “animal is acting rabid” for chrissake!!! He doesn’t follow procedure. He does NOTHING! Leaving the animal for three hours and then only on “routine patrol” returns to find the animal gone.

Furthermore, if we believe Albany District Attorney David Soare’s statement that the two officers had no choice but to dispatch the raccoon the way they did because they would have otherwise had to wait 2 hours for a Department of Environmental Conservation animal control person to arrive, makes no sense, because IOVINELLI, had he followed Coeymans Police Department procedure, could and should have contacted a local Animal Control Officer or the DEC; IOVINELLI had left the scene for a full 3 hours between 9 a.m. and 1:00 pm, plenty of time to get an animal control specialist on the scene. (A witness states that both cars were at the Cumberland Farms just minutes before the incident.)

Excerpt from Coeymans Police Incident Report 24647.

Let’s now move on to Coeymans Police Department Incident Report No. 24658, again written by CPD Officer IOVINELLI on May 23, 2018, a full day after the May 12, 2018 incident.

Something’s jerry-rigged in these reports.

In IR 24648 IOVINELLI states that the incident occurred between 12:54 a.m. and 1:18 pm. But in IR 24647, he states that he returns “on routine patrol” at 1 p.m., 6 minutes after the start of the incident he’s reporting on in IR 24648. How can that be? Something’s jerry-rigged in these reports. It gets better.

It was OK to allow a supposedly “rabid animal” to approach a “large group of citizens” some of whom potentially could contract deadly rabies

IOVINELLI writes that “[O]n the above date and time,” that is on May 12, 2018, at 12:54, he responded to a “second call in the area of the CVS in Faith Plaza.” When he arrived he saw a “large group of citizens in the area of CVS” and he also notices “a raccoon in front of the CVS.” (You can read other details in the extract below.)  IOVINELLI says nothing about controlling the “large group of citizens” and removing them to safety, but he does mention the behavior of the raccoon, even that the animal aproached a “nearby passerby.” Seems to us that if IOVINELLI, as he writes in his report, thought the raccoon was rabid, he was outrageously negligent in not ensuring the safety of the “large group of citizens” by clearing and securing the area!!! Did he think the raccoon was rabid on May 12 or did he write that the raccoon was rabid only on May 13, when he had the test results? And if he thought the raccoon was rabid on May 12, why didn’t he take steps to safeguard the public, which is the reason why he and PROKRYM gave for not using their service weapons and for using their vehicles to dispatch the animal. According to this report it was OK to allow a supposedly “rabid animal” to approach a “large group of citizens” some of whom potentially could contract deadly rabies for sure but they were concerned about something potentially happening if they used their service weapon. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

In his report IOVINELLI doesn’t mention calling in for support but we gather from the report that he did, which is when Stephen Prokrym would have arrived. IOVINELLI writes that the “[R]esponding officers attempted to shout and scare the officer away, throwing snow at it several times.” At the “officer“?  Why did IOVINELLI want to “scare the officer away”? Anyway, moving along. Dr IOVINELLI, a renowned expert in disease of wildlife and raccoon behavior, makes the diagnosis that “the raccoon appeared to be exibiting the signs of rabies” and that the “animal needed to be dispatched.” For those of you who are not familiar with Coeymans police jargon, “dispatched” means to be “harassed, abused, and run over;” in other words, killed.

IOVINELLI again confirms that neither he nor PROKRYM had done any crowd control and that they had not secured the area “in the interest of public safety,”  nor were they concerned for the public’s safety when they observed that the animal was beginning to “approach stores and make entry into several of the buildings,” and they were not concerned about the crowds when they were attempting to “scare away the officer” or “throwing snow” at the animal to “get it to change direction away from members of the general public, even as IOVINELLI writes in the report the animal “appeared to be exhibiting the signs of rabies.

Normally, if the general public is too stupid to avoid danger wouldn’t it be the police who would take charge of the situation and do crowd control, securing the area “in the interest of public safety”? Well, YES, in any other place but Coeymans. In Coeymans they “attempt to scare the officer away,” they “throw snow” and make “loud noises.” But crowd control or secure the area? Nope!

It is PROKRYM who advises IOVINELLI that they shouldn’t discharge a firearm and that the animal had to be dispatched “using the patrol vehicle.” Now that’s a senior law enforcement person telling the patrol officer that somewhere in the Coeymans manuals, the procedure is to use a patrol vehicle to kill an animal when it’s unsafe to use a firearm. We never were able to find that section when we examined the procedures. Maybe Mr PROKRYM can point it out to us sometime.

According to the report, IOVINELLI and PROKRYM attempted to move the area to a more open location in the parking lot.” What area? Why more the area? Doesn’t make sense but that’s what he writes. Sort of when he writes that they “attempted to scare the officer away.”

What is concerning here in this report is that the first mention of contacting any outside animal control assistance was only after the animal was “dispatched”. This is completely contrary to what is in the Coeymans Police Department manual concerning animal control calls.

Now, if Albany County DA P. David Soares, democrappy fool of an attorney that he is, made his statements after his office had concluded their imaginary investigation into the incident, he would have clearly seen that there was gross misconduct and that procedure was not followed at all. Clearly such misconduct by law enforcement is subject to disciplinary action. If Soares were worth anything as an attorney, which he’s not, he would have noted with some suspicion the many contradictions, questionable statements, and errors in these two official police documents, which would be admissible in court as true. But Soares and his teams of overpaid dumbasses probably never even saw these reports, never even asked for them. If they had, even Soares could not have missed the glaring, conspicuous errors.

But it doesn’t say much for the Town of Coeymans or the Coeymans Police Department, either. You’d think that acting police chief F/Sgt Danel Contento, investigator Stephen Prokrym, or patrolman Jeff Iovinelli would have checked the report and caught the stupid errors and maybe have corrected them before finalizing the report. And why isn’t Prokrym’s signature on the report? He’s the senior officer involved. Didn’t anyone in the Town of Coeymans or the Coeymans Police Department check these two reports? Probably NOT because they thought they were immune to attack, above discipline. 

Well, maybe acting police chief Contento, officer Iovinelli, investigator Prokrym, DA Soares and his team don’t read these things but WE DO, and now YOU DO, citizens. Now there should be some questions, some very burning questions asked not only about this incident but about the overall operations and quality of the Coeymans Police Department and its employees. Here’s one for you:

Our reps will be at the next Coeymans Town Board meeting to ask those questions.

Excerpt from Coeymans Police Incident Report 24648.

The Incident Report (IR) is the Police Department’s Official Documentation of the Facts of an Incident for Legal Purposes.

If the Town of Coeymans, the acting police chief, the two officers involved could not do a more professional job of reviewing and quality controlling an important document like the Incident Report, especially this incident report which is the Department’s official documentation of the incident for legal purposes, in this incident which got international attention and widespread national media coverage, then how accurate are the documents they prepare when reporting on an incident in which you are involved. These documents can make or break a case and they are pitifully carelessly prepared, even when they are meant to cover cops’ asses. Go figure!

We are still waiting for responses from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Albany County Sheriff’s Department, and the Albany County District Attorney regarding our demands for documents, including but not limited to the Investigation Reports prepared by their departments. We expect either that no investigations were done or they were done just as carelessly as the reporting by the Coeymans Police Department’s Jeff IOVINELLI.

We have contacted all local communities who have Animal Control Officers (ACOs) and they confirm that they did not receive a call for assistance from the Coeymans Police Department in this incident.

The Adopted Town of Coeymans Budget allows almost $800,000 for the Coeymans Police Department.

The Adopted Town of Coeymans Budget allows almost $800,000, that’s almost a million dollars of taxpayer money, for the Coeymans Police Department, and yet they don’t even have a net or a catchpole to capture a raccoon, and they can’t write a coherent Incident Report to save their own asses. Coeymans taxpayers pay more than $500,000 a year in employee salaries for the Coeymans PD. Most of the arguments made in favor of keeping the Coeymans PD are being made by the elderly who think the Coeymans PD is in the rescue business!!! Don’t they realize they have a Coeymans Fire and Rescue company and a Ravena Fire and Rescue facility with blocks of each other, and both are funded by taxpayer dollars. Wake up stupids! Do you really think that money is money allocated by the Coeymans Town Board with any notion of fiscal responsibility? We don’t.

ELIMINATE THE COEYMANS POLICE DEPARTMENT AND WITH IT THE IRRESPONSIBLE COEYMANS TOWN BOARD.

WHILE YOU’RE AT IT, GET RID OF THAT DEMOCRAPPY RACIST FOOL OF A DISTRICT ATTORNEY, P. DAVID SOARES.

Click Coeymans Police Incident Reports

to see the complete original Coeymans PD Incident Reports.

Our Previous Articles Covering this Incident

Albany County DA Soares Affirms Double Standard Again: Coeymans Clown Cops OK (April 4, 2018)

Officer Identified!!! Coeymans PD Steve Prokrym Involved in Raccoon Scandal!!! (March 26, 2018)

Truth be Told: On the Heels of the Coeymans Town Board Meeting (March 23, 2018)

More on the Coeymans Police Department. Our Recent Investigations. (March 21, 2018)

Follow-up Report: Coeymans Raccoon Incident. We still have our doubts! (March 19, 2018)

We are speechless! OMG! Coeymans Police Caught on Video Again! (March 12, 2018)

DUMBASS BOARD
(Coeymans Town Board)
(Baker, Yeomans, Crandall, Dolan, Burns)

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 4-H, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Aaron Flach, Abuse of Police Power, Abuse of Power, Acting Police Chief, Albany, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Sheriff Department, Animal Control Officer, Animal cruelty, ASPCA, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Capital District, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, Coeymans Acting Police Chief, Coeymans Police Department, Coeymans Town Board, Columbia-Greene Media, Corruption, Craig D. Apple Sr., Criminal Mischief, Cruelty to animals, Daily Mail, Daniel Contento, David Soares, Dead Raccoon, DEC, Demand for Termination, Department of Environmental Conservation, Dick Touchette, Eliminate Coeymans Police Department, FaceBook, Faith Plaza, Government, Greene County News, Hannaford, Hannaford Supermarkets, Hudson Valley, Humane Society of the United States, Investigation, James Youmans, Jeff Iovinelli, Jim Youmans, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, Joseph Tanner, Ken Burns, Kenneth Burns, Law Enforcement, Mark Vinciguerra, Mayor "Mouse", Mayor "Mouse" Misuraca, Misconduct, Moose Misuraca, Moose Misuraca, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, Nancy Warner, New Baltimore, New York, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State, New York State Department of Health, News and Information Media, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, Office of the Attorney General, P. David Soares, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Peter J. McKenna, Peter Mckenna, Peter McKenna, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Police Incompetence, Police Investigator, Public Safety, Public Safety, Raccoons, Ravena, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena News Herald, RegisterStar, Richard Mednick, Rick Touchette, Selkirk, Shop'n Save, Stephen Prokrym, Steve Prokrym, Thomas E. Dolan, Times Union, Tom Dolan, Tom Dolan, Town of Coeymans, Town of New Baltimore, William Misuraca, William Misuraca

 

Follow-up Report: Coeymans Raccoon Incident. We still have our doubts!

Please Note: On Thursday, March 22, 2018, at 7 p.m. the Town of Coeymans will hold it’s Town Board Meeting. We have information that residents, citizens and animal organizations will address the board about the conduct of the Coeymans Police and what the Town of Coeymans is going to do about it. Be there. Make your voice heard! Or at least just show up to learn what the community has to say!


The Town of Coeymans Police Department continues to be the subject of widespread interest following the ugly display of unprofessional conduct and stupidity last Monday, March 12, when Coeymans Police responded to an animal control call and proceeded to provide a sickening circus freak show performance as they pursued a raccoon in their patrol cars (one marked, another unmarked), finally running down the terrified animal and running over it. All of this happened in the pothole-rich parking lot of the Ravena Shop’n Save (Village of Ravena, Town of Coeymans), after a call from the CVS Pharmacy that a raccoon had “tried to enter the building.”

After one courageous residents, Ms Bryana Catucci, and several other witnesses videoed the Coeymans Police yahoos and the termination of the terrified animal, those videos went viral on several Internet sites, including Facebook and YouTube, and the Smalbany blog published a detailed and informative article on the incident. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society voiced their outrage and condemnation of the Coeymans Police actions.

To give you an idea of how outraged people are about this incident, just one site, Care2 Petitions, has more than 76,000 signatures, more than 8,500 signers in NY state alone, condemning the Coeymans Police! To give you an idea of how many people 76,000+ is, it’s more than 9x the entire population of the Township of Coeymans!!! What does that tell you, dear readers?


The Coeymans Police have no up-to-date procedure for dealing with animal control issues. The town of Coeymans has no Animal Control Officer. The New York State Department of Health report on tests done on the animal sounds bogus!

I can’t believe my eyes!!! I can’t believe their horrible conduct!!! I can’t believe the lies!!!


Almost immediately following the incident, Smalbany blog contibutors filed a demand under the provisions of the New York state Public Officers Law, Article 6 Sections 84-90 Freedom of Information Law (N.Y. Pub. Off. Law Sees. 84 to 99) for the production of documents with the Coeymans Town Clerk and the Coeymans Police Department, demanding information related to the March 12, 2018, incident in which the Coeymans Police Department used police vehicles to harrass, terrorize and kill a raccoon in front of dozens of witnesses at Faith Plaza in Ravena, New York (Town of Coeymans, in the jurisdiction of the Albany County District Attorney, P. David Soares).

Initial Information Provided by the Coeymans Police Department (“acting” police chief Daniel Contento (SGT)) and the news media were contradictory and confused. We decided to get the facts.

One glaring fact is that the Coeymans Police protect their own. They delete any references to the officer’s involved or anyone involved. Do you think that’s fair play? If you were picked up by the police, your face and name would be plastered all over the police blotter and the local news media. Why are the police and their cronies so protective? Aren’t they public servants, paid by us? Don’t we have a right to know which ones are bonkers and which ones are not?

The Town of Coeymans responded with the usual halfwit evasive answers but provided two important documents: the Testing Report No. RAB18ANI01172-SR-1 from the NYS Department of Health, Wadsworth Center, and an extract from what appears to be an ancient “Coeymans Police and Ravena Police Law Enforcement Manual, Administration (in the following called the PLEM/A),” Section 46.0, Subject: Animal Control/Rabies.” the Coeymans Police Department. We say “ancient” because this section dates back to October 15, 1998 — it’s almost 20 years old and hasn’t been revised, updated, or replaced — and refers to “Village of Ravena Police,” which hasn’t existed for years, and is signed by former Police Chief Scott Geroux!

Furthermore, the Law Enforcement procedure repeatedly refers to the Animal Control Officer and how the police have to notify the Animal Control Officer for assistance when dealing with an animal control issue.  According to the Law Enforcement Manual:

“46.2.1 The Animal Control Officer (ACO) is a civilian employee of the Police Department. The ACO is responsible for responding to and mitigating incidents and complaints relating to domestic and wild animal”

If the local Animal Control Officer is unavailable, the procedure requires the Coeymans Police to notify an animal control officer from a nearby jurisdiction. Again, according to the Law Enforcement Manual:

“(46.3.2.2) Request the response of the ACO to the scene whenever available.
“(46.3.2.2.1) If the case requires the immediate attention of the ACO, that information shall be relayed to the ACO. If he is still unavailable to respond an ACO from another jurisdiction shall be requested.”

Town of Coeymans PD: “The Town of Coeymans does not have an Animal Control Officer.”

Coeymans Police Department Procedures date back almost 20 years without revision!!!

The problem that we have identified in this entire Keystone Cops episode is that the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department are about 20 years behind. You see, according to a certified statement provided by the Town of Coeymans, “The Town of Coeymans does not have an animal control officer.”

Well if the Town of Coeymans has no animal control officer, then the entire 1998 procedure allegedly followed by the Coeymans Police Department is absolutely useless, out of date, and a sham!!! In other words, the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department have no up-to-date guidelines for handling this type of situation.

The Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department have no up-to-date guidelines

[Editor’s Note: We have considerable information that shows that the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department Law Enforcement Manual is out-of-date and obsolete in several other areas, including How to handle a traffic stop!!!]

The basic issue is leadership and how law enforcement functions or does not function in the Town of Coeymans

 

Coeymans Police on Pussy Patrol.
Did you know that cats are the domestic animals most at risk for rabies?

But this whole hullabaloo is NOT about whether an animal was sick or not. The basic issue is leadership and how law enforcement functions or does not function in the Town of Coeymans. There is no leadership in the Town of Coeymans or the Town of Coeymans PD.. The Coeymans Police Department is dysfunctional. That’s the question that is driving most people crazy right about now. Then there’s the question of how the Coeymans Police abused and tortured a defenseless animal using their patrol cars. Anyone with half a brain would have been able to figure a reasonable and safe procedure for dealing with an animal threat, if there was one, and there was none.  Just view the videos and all you’ll see is a normal appearing raccoon, terrified, running for its life and two Coeymans cop cars racing back and forth. Any sane person would, as most of the witnesses did, that the cops were a greater threat to the public’s safety than a terrified animal trying to escape them!!!

Well, we also have a copy of the Department of Health (DoH) test report done on what was left of the raccoon after the Coeymans Police had their perverse jollies. The DoH report is apparently written by a halfwit chimp. Here’s why:

First of all the report does indicate that the raccoon showed evidence of rabies infection. The report did not say that the animal was capable of infecting another animal or harming a human being. Information obtained by us from the CDC clearly states that the animal is infectious only in the very late stages of the disease, shortly before the disease kills the animal. At that late stage the animal’s brain is so far gone that the animal’s behavior is obvious: it acts like it’s drunk, it loses its balance, it staggers, it is confused. Again, the videos show none of this; in fact, the animal looks pretty coordinated as it’s running across the Faith Plaza parking lot!

Some sections of the report make it look like it’s been jerry rigged to provide the Coeymans Police with an alibi. Here are just a couple of examples taken directly from the DoH report:

“Signs of rabies: NEUROLOGICAL DISORDER; Other signs: MOVING ABNORMALLY, SHAKING.”

Who made these observations? Do the Coeymans Police have veterinary neurological training that made it possible for them to have decided that the unfortunate animal had a “neurological disorder?” They also note in the report that the animal was “moving abnormally, shaking.” Well, first of all, the DoH was unable to make those determinations because the animal was d-e-a-d, pancaked by the Coeymans Cops. So where did this information come from? Hearsay? The Coeymans PD?

Here’s more of the gibberish in the report:

“Comments: Observed acting sick at the CVS in Ravena. Killed by running over with car by Officer [Redacted] of the Coeymans Police Department (…No reported contact. Rabies test need before further testing.”

The only animals acting sick were the Coeymans cops who tortured the animal and killed it!

Again, we have the DoH sockpuppets repeating what the Coeymans PD was insisting but didn’t have a factual basis to make the statements. The raccoon was “observed acting sick at the CVS in Ravena.” Sick? Curious? Hungry? If an 8th grade science student made these statements, we’d send him or her for remedial help! But that’s in an official report. Hearsay! Not facts! The only animals acting sick were the Coeymans cops who tortured the animal and killed it by “running over [it] with car by Officer [his name is deleted from the report!].” What’s disturbing is not only the unsubstantiated statements but the fact that there was  “no contact reported.” According to the report, the animal made no contact with anyone!!!

After all is said and done, the report reads:

“Rabies testing: Evidence of Rabies was found by the fluorescent antibody test.”

The report is again incomplete because it doesn’t state which fluorescent antibody test was used. That information is very important in terms of whether the test is accurate. Furthermore, for scientific and epidemiological reasons the information provided is incomplete and practically useless! Again, whether this is the truth or not, the test results came fully 24 hours after the incident, and cannot provide any justification or support for the Coeymans Police stupidity.

Just by way of comment, the report concludes with the statement:

“Notes: [1] Submitting county was phoned with positive results. Reported to Marsha at 10:32 a.m. by JJ.”

What in hell does that mean? Who in hell is Marsha? Who in hell is JJ? But that’s supposed to be an official report from the NYS DoH in response to a serious incident. Don’t we have any standards at all in this community, in this state? Or are all of our public servants halfwits and dumbasses? We think you know the answer to that question already.

So, dear readers, you have the state of affairs in the Town of Coeymans: Useless and outdated procedures no one has had any interest in updating or revising, a team of goons who have no leadership or guidance, disgraceful and despicable conduct by local law enforcement, a very questionable report from a New York State department tasked with ensuring the public’s health, and another negative report gone viral about the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department. But you must admit, they are consistent, even in making complete asses of themselves.

We are making the documents provided by the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department available for your entertainment. Please note that the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department refused to provide some documents, including the names of the Coeymans PD employees involved in the incident. They also have no records about callers reporting the animal, although acting Coeymans police chief, Daniel Contento (SGT), made public statements that “numerous calls” were received (but not by the Coeymans PD, since their listed number goes to Albany County 911). We verified only one 911 call about the raccoon. That call was allegedly from someone at or in the CVS pharmacy at Faith Plaza. We do know of numerous calls received by the Albany County 911 Center complaining about the conduct of the Coeymans Police. Maybe those are the calls Contento is referring to.

If you are interested in viewing/downloading the Coeymans Police 1998 procedure and the NYS DoH Test Report we refer to above, here are the links:

  • You can view the Town of Coeymans and Ravena Police Department Law Enforcement Manual dated October 15, 2018 here.
  • You can view the New York State Department of Health Report here.

Editor’s Notes

As we mentioned above and as we published in our initial article on this incident, “We are speechless! OMG! Coeymans Police Caught on Video Again!” we obtained our information on rabies from several official sources. One of them was the Centers for Disease Control, the federal government’s department for disease control, prevention, and reporting. Here’s some additional information of interest:

According to the CDC, in the period of 2008-2017, a total of 23 human rabies cases were reported in the United States; most of the infections were acquired outside of the United States, most from animal bites in such places as Afghanistan, India, Mexico, etc. On average there are 1-3 cases/year of human rabies reported in the United States . (Source, CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/location/usa/surveillance/human_rabies.html) Compare that with 90 motor vehicle caused deaths each day in the United States (CDC statistics are always 3 yeas behind; in 2015 there were a total of 37,757 deaths in motor vehicle accidents (11.7/100,000 population) Source, CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/accidental-injury.htm).

Given those statistics, where to you suppose our law enforcement efforts should be concentrated? On a raccoon or on motor vehicles?

Furthermore,

  • Transmission of rabies virus usually begins when infected saliva of a rabid animal is passed to an uninfected animal. The most common mode of rabies virus transmission is through the bite and virus-containing saliva of an infected host. ( Source, CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/transmission/index.html)
  • Other contact, such as petting a rabid animal or contact with the blood, urine or feces of a rabid animal, does not constitute an exposure. (Source, CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/transmission/exposure.html)
  • From numerous studies conducted on rabid dogs, cats, and ferrets, we know that when the rabies virus is introduced into a muscle through a bite from another animal, it travels from the site of the bite to the brain by moving within nerves. The animal does not appear ill during this time.
  • The time between the bite and the appearance of symptoms is called the incubation period and it may last for weeks to months. A bite by the animal during the incubation period does not carry a risk of rabies because the virus has not yet made it to the saliva.

According to the CDC, the Infectious Path of the Rabies Virus can be outlined as follows:

  • An animal is bitten by a rabid animal.
  • Rabies virus from the infected saliva enters the wound.
  • Rabies virus travels through the nerves to the spinal cord and brain. This process can last approximately 3 to 12 weeks. The animal has no signs of illness during this time.

A diagnosis of rabies can be made after detection of rabies virus from any part of the affected brain, but in order to rule out rabies, the test must include tissue from at least two locations in the brain, preferably the brain stem and cerebellum. [Editor’s Note: The NYS DoH report is incomplete in this respect because it does not state what parts of the animal’s brain were tested!!!]

The test requires that the animal be euthanized. The test itself takes about 2 hours, but it takes time to remove the brain samples from an animal suspected of having rabies and to ship these samples to a state public health or veterinary diagnostic laboratory for diagnosis. [Editor’s Note:  the test requires that the animal be euthanized, killed humanely and mercifully, not terrorized and run over!!!]

In the United States, the results of a rabies test are typically available within 24 to 72 hours after an animal is collected and euthanized. (Source, CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/diagnosis/animals-humans.html)

When it reaches the brain, the virus multiplies rapidly and passes to the salivary glands. The animal begins to show signs of the disease. The infected animal usually dies within 7 days of becoming sick. (Source, CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/transmission/body.html)

(Please check out the references on our original article for more information on rabies.)


 

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Abuse of Power, Accountability, Acting Police Chief, Albany, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Sheriff Department, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Anger, Animal Abuse, Animal Cruelty, Animal cruelty, Animal Rights, ASPCA, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Blog, Blogger, Bob Freeman, Bryana Catucci, Bully Cops, Capital District, Coeymanazis, Coeymans, Coeymans Acting Police Chief, Coeymans Police Department, Coeymans Town Attorney, Coeymans Town Board, Coeymans Town Board Meeting, Coeymans Town Clerk, Columbia-Greene Media, Committee on Open Government, Craig D. Apple Sr., Cruelty to animals, Daily Mail, Daniel Contento, Daniel Contento, Dawn LaMountain, Dawn LaMountain, DEC, Demand for Resignation, Demand for Termination, Department of Environmental Conservation, Dick Touchette, Eliminate Coeymans Police Department, FaceBook, Facebook, Faith Plaza, Freedom of Information Law, Friendship Animal Protective League, George Amedore, George Dardiani, Greene County News, Hal Warner, Harold Warner, Humane Society of the United States, Incompetence, James Youmans, Jim Youmans, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, John Faso, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Kerry Thompson, Law Enforcement, Mark Vinciguerra, Mercy for Animals, Misconduct, Moose Misuraca, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, New York, New York State, New York State Department of Health, News and Information Media, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, North Shore Animal League America, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, NYSDOH, Office of the Attorney General, Official Misconduct, P. David Soares, Paul Courcelle, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Pete Lopez, Peter J. McKenna, Peter Mckenna, Police Incompetence, Police Thugs, Public Safety, Ravena Shop'n Save, Richard Touchette, Rick Touchette, Robert J. Freeman, Robert J. Freeman, Ryan Johnson, Scott Giroux, Steve Prokrym, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Times Union Blogs, Todd Polverelli, Tom Dolan, Town Clerk, Town of Coeymans, Town of New Baltimore, Wadsworth Center, William Bailey, William Misuraca

 

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

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

Anonymous Contributor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His post was simply:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Institutional Agendas Define the Group.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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


Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

[6] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
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