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

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

Anonymous Contributor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His post was simply:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Institutional Agendas Define the Group.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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


Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

[6] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
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Complacency is a Bad Thing…Especially in Local Government

Many of our local politicians may feel a bit self-satisfied, relaxed and complacent now that the elections are behind them and  history but that would be a very big mistake. At the Smalbany Blog Ops Center we’ve been very busy over the past couple of weeks sorting through information, investigations, reports, and it may have seemed to the foolish observer that we were forgetting ongoing investigations and reports. But don’t make that mistake! The watchdog never sleeps!

We’re Back on Track. Investigations and Reporting Normal

All systems Normal. Ready to Launch!

OK, you clowns, we’re ready to drop some bombs!

Make no mistake about it, dear readers, we haven’t forgotten a thing. You can expect us to pick up right where we left off before the elections. We may have some new focuses like Cindy Rowzee in Coeymans and the other newly elected Democrat tools, Daniel Baker, and Tom Frese. Rowzee, in particular, is going to have a hard time licking Phil Crandall’s boots while complying with the law — but having been Crandall’s “confidential secretary” she probably doesn’t have a clue what law is. Just wait until she has to produce minutes of town board meetings — both the original sound recordings and her transcripts for comparison —, and what she comes up with in response to demands for documents and information under the New York State Freedom of Information Laws.

Most of the Town of Coeymans is Social Services or Plain Jail Bait

That’s how the Democraps get elected or stay in office. Benefits buy votes!
Right Tom Dolan, Choices Program Director?

The BIG IF.

The good news is that Phil Crandall may not be in office much longer; that is, IF the Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares does his job and prosecutes him for violations of election law by allegedly forging signatures on his petitions or having the signatures falsely certified by his son-in-law, and for leaking confidential police investigation information to parties under investigation. Criminal activities? YES! But most of the Town of Coeymans is social services or plain  jail bait so they don’t mind scoff-laws in critical public offices.

In New Baltimore, Jeff Ruso finally got into the Supervisor’s office but through the back door — sometimes that’s the only way in. Since he wanted the job so badly, he’s going to be under special scrutiny starting now. Kellie Downes, newly elected to a seat on the New Baltimore Town Council, had better show some spunk right off the starting line and give us the impression she has the right stuff. Plumbing in politics may get you into office but it won’t keep you there.

The fallout is likely to affect the Town, Mitchell & Sterling, Trident, Greene County Elected Officials, State Officials. It’s BIG!
The only ones likely to escape are the shyster attorneys, Rapplea, Peck, Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C.

Ruso is inheriting the dirty end of the stick from Nick Dellisanti in the ongoing crisis in the New Baltimore Highway Department and Denis Jordan. We say “inheriting” and that may be the wrong term. You see, Jeff Ruso, was and still is in the thick of the scandal involving the Highway Department and Denis Jordan, as is Shelly van Etten, who was re-elected to her seat on the Town Council. Nick Dellisanti may have gotten out the back door by deciding not to run again, but he’s not off the hook, not by a long shot. So, let the fun begin! Round two is likely to be a knock-out round with the Town of New Baltimore and the New Baltimore Highway Department and its Superintendent Denis Jordan, and very likely his Deputy Superintendent Scott van Wormer flat on their backs.

What was Kellie Downes thinking when she decided to run for New Baltimore Town Council? She must have been on another planet to have run fully aware of what’s going on in the Town of New Baltimore and the New Baltimore Highway Department.

After all is said and done, where is New Baltimore’s county legislator Mr Patrick “Pat” Linger on all of this? And Mr George Amadore, NYS Senator for the 46th Senatorial District, New Baltimore’s reps, both of whom seem to indiscriminately be passing big taxpayer buck on to Mr Jordan and his center for misuse, abuse and waste.

We hope that Jeff Ruso gets together with his town attorney Tal Rappelea and realizes that the Town of New Baltimore is in violation of Town Law and Public Officers Law, as well as other statutes. They’d better have a very close look at the decisions of the New York State Office of the Comptroller over the past several years on the subject of maladministration and misadministration of Highway Departments and the Town Board’s duties and responsibilities.

The New York State Office of the Comptroller, in virtue of their own legal opinions over the past several years, must inaugurate investigations of the Town of New Baltimore and the New Baltimore Highway Department for misadministration, maladministration, corruption, negligence, incompetence and dereliction of duties and responsibilities. You can be sure we’ve done our homework and are ready to drop a test bomb.

Then there’s the question of the Town of New Baltimore Town Board’s dereliction of their duties and responsibilities to ensure fair play and justice to Town residents, and to respect their fiduciary (trust) duties to residents, not to mention their duty to comply with the law and precedent. This involves their insurance company’s lawyers, Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., and whether or not they are unethically and even illegally obstructing fair play and justice by not advising the insurance companies to settle or to at least tell the Town they don’t have a case, and to ensure the best interests of the Town by minimizing risk and settling fairly with the residents concerned.

The Town of New Baltimore is paying Marshall & Sterling Insurance (Leeds, NY), Trident insurance brokers, and Argo Group (Bermuda!) to cover the Town in its liabilities. Those insurance crooks are hiring attorneys to attempt to screw Town residents, and the Town Board stands by and lets this happen. In the meantime, the New Baltimore Town Board has their heads up their butts, along with town attorney Tal Rappelea, and the insurance company attorneys, Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., and is doing nothing to manage or to control the risks and liabilities that caused the problems in the first place: incompetence and abuses in the New Baltimore Highway Department under the direct supervision and authority of Denis Jordan. No problem, though, because we’re back on the case, locked and loaded, ready for the knock-out round. Are you ready for this, New Baltimore?

That’s the bottom line, the crappy truth, Town of New Baltimore!

Gregory “Cold-case” Seeley, Greene County Sheriff, is in the spotlight, too. Too many cases go cold in Greene County, despite the fact that the Sheriff’s Department has some pretty hard evidence to bring in the perps. But then, we have to consider that if the Greene County District Attorney, Joseph Stanzione, tells Seeley he won’t prosecute, Seeley has no choice but to chill the case. The fact of the matter is that both Seeley and Stanzione are Republicans and will be up for re-election soon; that’s when the cat hits the fan. Our advice to both Seeley and to Stanzione: produce something convincing or get off the pot!

Do something or get off the pot, dudes!

Stanzione is well informed about the New Baltimore Highway Department and Denis Jordan’s abuse of office and violations of law. Stanzione and the New York State Office of the Comptroller, too. So we have a Republican DA and a Democrap-run state office both tasked with investigating a Democrap elected official, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan. This is going to be a great show. Tune in with us.

We know all of the parties have been kept informed of what’s going on from Greene County DA Joe Stanzione, to the Office of the Comptroller, to the Town of New Baltimore insurance companies, and the attorneys, Tal Rappelea and Bailey. Everybody is now on the same page, or rather sheet, so to speak. Let’s see what they do with it. Not much left for them to use.

Sorry, New Baltimore, Not Much Left for You!
The Editor

Other matters in upcoming articles will be the Town and Village Courts, particularly Cairo Town Court and its dumbass justice, Leland Miller, the lawyers’ puppet judge, and New Baltimore Town Court, Thomas J. “Tom” Meacham, who has a long list of violations of judicial ethics hovering over him. We’re ready to literally flood the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct with formal complaints!

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2017 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2017 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Albany, Albany County Board of Elections, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Elections, Amedore Homes, Argo Group, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Cairo Justice Court, Charles H. Stahlman, Charles Stahlman, Chuck Irving, Cindy Rowzee, Coeymanazis, Coeymans, Coeymans Elections, Coeymans Town Board, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Corruption, Crystal R. Peck Esq., Daily Mail, Darrell Puritan, Darryl L. Purinton, David Soares, DEC, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Department of Environmental Conservation, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, DOT, Drive-by Shooting, Elected Official, Eric T. Schneiderman, False Instrument, Fraud, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Investigation, Jean Valk, Joe Stanzione, John Faso, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Joshua Bouchez, Judicial Misconduct, Ken Grey, Kirsten Gillibrand, Lawsuit, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore town council, New York, New York State, New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Comptroller, P. David Soares, Pat Linger, Patricia Hildebrandt, Patrick Linger, Patty Hildebrandt, Phil Crandall, Public Corruption, Public Office, Public Safety, Ravena, RegisterStar, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Senate District 46, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Stahlman, Susan K. O'Rorke, Tal Rappelea, Thomas Rickert, Tom Meacham, Town of Coeymans, Transparency, Trident, Trident Insurance, VanEtten, Zach Stahlman, Zachary C. Stahlman, Zachary Stahlman

 

Is the Town’s Plan to Exhaust Residents Seeking Justice?

New Baltimore Resident’s Message to Joe Stanzione, Greene County District Attorney:
“We, the public, pay the bills but we’re not getting delivery. As an attorney, you should recognize that this is unlawful.”

Taxpayers and Property Owners are not Means to Their End!
Tax Dollars Pay Public Employees’ and Elected Officials’ Salaries, and Provide Money for Reasonably Expectable Competent Services.
Not to damage our property and then ignore us!!!

New Baltimore insurers Marshall & Sterling (Leeds, NY), Trident Brokerage, and Argo Group (Bermuda) are being paid to work against New Baltimore Residents and Property Owners with good faith claims for damages. The Albany law firm of Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C. have been hired by New Baltimore’s insurers and New Baltimore to make sure New Baltimore residents, property owners and tax payers don’t get justice and fair play! Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? Don’t WE pay the bills in this town? If we as private citizens damage town property our sorry asses are in jail! Maybe that’s where our Town Board, our Town Sole Assessor, Gordon Bennett, and definitely our Town Superintendent of Highways, Denis Jordan, should be!

This is what our government has become!

When a government uses a taxpayer’s own dollars to screw the taxpayer, that’s downright immoral. The Town of New Baltimore pays for insurance to cover liabilities but when a liability occurs, the insurance coverage we pay for is used against us, and the town hides behind the insurance company’s lawyers. You want rights? Find another lawyer, pay him, spend years paying him or her, and when the money runs out, forget about it. You’re still paying. Why doesn’t the Town of New Baltimore wake up, accept the evidence, and stop playing games with residents. That’s not how it’s supposed to work guys and gals!

Here’s the text of a local resident’s letter to the insurance companies covering the Town of New Baltimore’s liability risk. It seems that New Baltimore’s Town Board (Jeff Ruso, Shelli van Etten, Chuck Brody, Scott Brody), Supervisor Nick Dellisanti,  and other elected officials are really missing the bus when it comes to doing what’s right for residents and taxpayers. The problem is that we elected these people who are spending so much time screwing us than they are making life better for us. No exceptions! From the SupervisorDellisanti, Deputy Supervisor Ruso,  to the town board members (Shelli van Etten, Chuck Irving, Scott Brody), to the Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan, to Gordon Bennett, New Baltimore Tax Assessor, who, rather than look at a piece of damaged property for reassessment, tells the property owner to ask for a form!!!

Here’s the full text of the letter to the Town’s insurance company:

Dear Insurance Specialists:[1]

Mr Thomas Rickert, CPCU, ARM, ARM-P, ARM-E, ARC, ARe, VP, Head of Marketing, Trident, ArgoGroup[2]
Joshua Bouchez , Territory Marketing Manager, East Coast[3]
Claims Reporting, Trident[4]
Ashley Heline, Communications Coordinator, ArgoGroup[5]
ArgoGroup Underwriters[6]

It has always been my understanding, and I would reasonably presume that of the general public, that insurance was a science of risk management, control, mitigation but our understanding has changed radically over the past two years on the example of ArgoGroup’s, Trident’s and Marshall & Sterling’s “risk management” in the Town of New Baltimore.

It seems your operations are more attuned to “risk aggravation” or “risk perpetuation” than to “risk management,” and this fact is borne out by a brief review of some of the reports published on a local watchdog blog, Smalbany Blog, which has been covering the incompetence and the abuses operating in the Town of New Baltimore, most specifically in the New Baltimore Highway Department under the direct supervision and authority of its Superintendent, Mr Denis Jordan. For your convenience, several of those links are provided at the end of this communication. You are encouraged, in your own interests, to review the contents of those articles.

Our Town Government at Work for Us.

In terms of fair play, justice and fiduciary obligations, ArgoGroup, Trident, the agency Marshall & Sterling (Leeds, NY) in collusion with the law firm of Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C.(Crystall R. Peck, attorney of record in this matter) and the Town of New Baltimore, you all get failing grades in terms of ethics and fair play. Furthermore, on objective and subjective moral assessment, your conduct is immoral.

It is very much in your interests to review the links provided below which provide a very clear picture of the real risk situation in New Baltimore and how the rights and interests of taxpayers, residents and others, including your shareholders, are being misused and abused.

The facts are indisputable, the evidence clear and convincing, the wrongful acts ongoing, and the damage to the public and to private interests substantial. This is bad press for you and your collaborators indeed.

Poor stewardship of public treasure, abuse of office, and indifference and incompetence at the state level (Mr George Amadore, NYS Senator, 46th Senatorial District), the county level (Greene County, NY; Greene County District Attorney, Mr Joseph Stanzione), and at the local, town level (Town of New Baltimore Town Board; Town of New Baltimore Highway Department, Highway Superintendant Denis Jordan; Town Attorney Mr Tal Rappelea) with the self-interests of Trident/ArgoGroup’s legal prostitutes Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis, & Peck P.C., are jointly, severally and individually traumatizing every concept of justice, fair play, professional ethics, good government, and abusing the fiduciary obligations and duties of local, county, and state elected officials, whose obligations are to the public weal, and to the individual uniquely concerned.

It is our well-founded observation that none of the parties listed in the above paragraph are complying with the basic tenets of ethics and the standards we, the public, expect of regulated enterprise, licensed professionals, elected officials; in fact, it is our observation, not our opinion, that Marshall & SterlingTridentArgoGroup, state senator George AmadoreGreene County officialsTown of New Baltimore officials, and the law firm of Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis, & Peck P.C.are making a public mockery of public and professional ethics, good government, responsible stewardship in government, and the notions of justice, fair play and fiduciary obligation to the citizen, resident, and most of all to the taxpayers of these communities.

As it now stands, the taxpayer and property owner is exposed to tenfold jeopardy[7]:

  • Jeopardy situation No. 1: As a property owner, one is obliged to pay substantial taxes on one’s property to support government and education; accordingly, the property owner, by and through their taxes and assessments, pays for the services of government. Forsaking all else in order to ensure timely payment of assessed property taxes, the property owner remits.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 2: When the services of government, including the wages and salaries, the goods and services required for operation, etc. operate contrary to the interests of the taxpayer, the taxpayer is harmed. The taxpayer/property owner is deprived of his reasonable expectations issuing from the payment of assessed property taxes.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 3: Included in the allocations of taxpayer dollars, that is, the taxes paid by the property owner, are set aside for the purposes of payment of the salaries and wages of individuals who are either indifferent or incompetent, and those individuals in the course of their employment, harm the taxpayer, those tax dollars are used ostensibly to harm the taxpayer. This is an egregious abuse of the notion of trust and fair play.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 3: When the competent government offices are served with notice of the above situation, and those authorities do not exercise and implement every available option to cure the defects and deficiencies, those authorities are derelict and guilty of misprision.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 4: When the harm done to the taxpayer/property owner is ongoing and attributable to the constructive operations and knowledge of the local competent government offices, each of the instances constitutes a new claim and a new harm to the taxpayer/property owner. Given the fact that the local government and the competent offices are duly notified, each instance constitutes a separate act of negligence/dereliction.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 5: The taxpayer/property owner not only is being deprived of reasonably expected level of competent services for his tax dollars, he is being deprived of good ethical government services, both of which result in financial damage to the taxpayer/property owner in terms of his good faith investment in his community and his reasonable expectations of financial advantage resulting from his investment. This deprivation is tortious.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 6: When the beneficiary local government by its negligence, indifference or incompetence then ignores the taxpayer/property owner’s good faith notice and demands for cure of the defects and deficiencies, and for compensation of the harm done, the local government ignores the claimant and, instead of fair response, hands the matter over to an underwriter, who then hands it over to a hired-gun law firm.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 7: Given the situations above and given the fact of Jeopardy situation No. 7, the taxpayer/property owner is confronted by a situation comparable to Buridan’s ass[8]: The choices available to the taxpayer/property owner to obtain justice are: (1) rely on the good will of local government, (2) proceed at law. A third option is merely to throw one’s hand’s into the air in despair, and lapse into anger and apathy. Conspicuously, option (1) is absent and unavailable to the taxpayer/property owner, and option (3) is unacceptable by any standard of assessment. This leaves Jeopardy situation No. 8.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 8: The taxpayer/property owner, while still obliged to pay his property taxes and other assessments to the delinquent and derelict town government and town officials, is compelled to seek out and to pay for legal services necessary for obtaining justice. This may be a calculated strategy deployed by the delinquent and derelict town government in collusion with their insurance underwriters and their attorneys, clearly expecting that the matter will have to endure a protracted course in pretrial procedures and, if the victim is persistent, then to endure the trial procedure. This normally lasts for a decade or more and can cost the harmed property owner hundreds of thousands of dollars. Regardless of the endurance of the harmed property owner in terms of financial resources and tenacity, he is still in jeopardy situation No. 9.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 9: The clear strategy of the town is to hand over the matter to the underwriter, who has almost limitless resources, who hands it over to a local law firm, who is on retainer by the insurance company. The combination of very deep pockets and a law firm on retainer and obliged to represent the interests of the insurance company over and against the interests of the property owner, regardless of the factual situation, encourages the insurance company and the law firm to keep the matter in the courts for as long as possible, ostensibly in the expectation of exhausting the property owners will, energy, and resources, causing him to withdraw.
  • Jeopardy situation No. 10: The interests of justice and the public weal are defeated, as are the interests of the property owner. The entire community and society at large are damaged, injured.

Damned if I do. Damned if I don’t.
Why are they doing this to us?

As the situation enumerated above clearly shows, the current situation is immoral and represents an insult to the precepts of ethics in government and the professions. We are demanding investigation and prosecution of the particular matter and the general situation in New Baltimore.

I reasonably expect that as this situation develops there will be commensurate and appropriate public outrage, a justified outrage that will manifest itself in a multitude of ways.

This communication will be submitted to the Smalbany Blog for editing and publication.

I look forward to your response and comments.

First of all, given the performance of these elected officials, they don’t deserve to be in office and should be booted out next election. Secondly, these crooked insurance agents and brokers should be boycotted and investigated by the regulatory authorities. As for the shysters, the prostitute law firms like  Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis, & Peck P.C, they should be drummed out of the profession; they’re whores practicing law and abusing it.

Well, we’ve done our homework and have researched the law and other applicable court decisions as well as opinions on the subject matter handed down by the Office of the New York State Comptroller. Apparently, New Baltimore Town Attorney, Tal Rappelea, although he claims to specialize in municipal (town) law, hasn’t done his required reading for this course. We’ll be happy to provide him with our Memorandum of Law at the next New Baltimore Town Board public meeting. We’d like him, Mr Denis Jordan (New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways), Mr Scott van Wormer (the “new” — or he will be — New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways), Mr Joe Stanzione (Greene County District Attorney), Ms Crystall Peck (Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C.), and the Greene County Press (Johnson Newspaper Group, Mary Delaney), and Ken Gray or Jean Valk (Marshall & Sterling Insurance) to be there to hear what we have to say, and maybe to comment, too. Maybe Greene County Sheriff Gregory Seally (R), “Mr Cold Case” Seally, will bring a couple of deputies and cuffs for the Town Board and Mr Jordan. We”ll also publish the Memorandum before the meeting so that the whole community can see what can and should be done to correct the disgusting situation in New Baltimore, and other towns like it.

Speaking of lawyers, here’s a bit of humor to take the edge off:

Question: Why does New York have all the lawyers and New Jersey all the toxic waste?
Answer: New Jersey had first choice.

Sign on New Baltimore Town Hall front door.

Enjoy your day!

The Editor

If you enjoyed this article, please copy and paste this link https://wp.me/p2jPFe-31V and email it to your friends, family, and contacts. Keep everyone informed.


Notes

[1] This communication was also cc’ed to Nick Dellisanti, Supervisor, Town of New Baltimore; Jeff Ruso, Deputy Supervisor, Town of New Baltimrore; Barbara Finke, Town Clerk, Town of New Baltimore; Mr. Joseph Stanzione, District Attorney, Greene County; Tal Rappelea, Town Attorney, Town of New Baltimore; Crystall R. Peck, attorney representing Trident/ArgoGroup (Town of New Baltimore); Ken Gray, Marshall & Sterling (Leeds, NY);  Jean Valk, Marshall & Sterling (Leeds, NY).

[2] Thom Rickert, CPCU, ARM, ARM-P, ARM-E, ARC, ARe VP, Head of Marketing, thom.rickert@tridentpublicrisk.com

[3] Joshua Bouchez, Territory Marketing Manager, East Coast, joshua.bouchez@tridentpublicrisk.com

[4] Trident Claims Reporting, claimsreporting@tridentpublicrisk.com

[5] Ashley Heline, Communications Coordinator, Argo Group US, ashley.heline@argogroupus.com

[6] The Argo Group is the parent of the Trident Insurance brokerage, and is located in Bermuda. Wonder Why? that is? Could it be for tax avoidance? (Argo Group, 110 Pitts Bay Road, Pembroke HM 08, Bermuda. info@argolimited.com

[7] Jeopardy is defined as being or being placed in a situation in which someone or something is exposed to possible injury, loss, or evil.

[8] Buridan’s ass is an illustration of a paradox in philosophy in the conception of free will. It refers to a hypothetical situation wherein a donkey that is equally hungry and thirsty is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. As used here, it represents a situation where the choices are equally good or equally bad; damned if you do and damned if you don’t. The donkey in the illustration is hungry but dies because it can make the choice of which bale to eat. The illustration relates to the situation in New Baltimore in that the options for the property owner are all going to cause more harm or more suffering no matter which choice he makes. The only good choice is for the Town of New Baltimore to choose to do what is fair and right. But they have chosen not to do so. Thus, the property owner is in the unfavorable situation he finds himself in.

 

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2017 in 19th Congressional District, 2018 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Alan van Wormer, Argo Group, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, Chuck Irving, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Conspiracy, Corruption, Crystal R. Peck Esq., Daily Mail, David Louis, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Diane Jordan, Diane Lewis, DOT, Elected Official, Elections and Voting, Eric T. Schneiderman, FaceBook, Fair Play, George Amadore, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Greene County News, Greene County Sheriff, Gregory R. Seeley, Hearst Corporation, Incompetence, Independence Party, Investigation, Irene Beede, Irresponsibility, Jean Horne, Jean Valk, Jeff Ruso, Joe Stanzione, John B. Johnson, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Ken Grey, Mark Vinciguerra, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Melanie Lekocevic, Misconduct, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Board Member, New Street, New York, New York State, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Highway Law, 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 Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Open Letter, Pat Linger, Patricia Hildebrandt, Patrick Linger, Patty Hildebrandt, Public Corruption, Public Safety, Ravena News Herald, RCS Community, RegisterStar, Retaliation, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Sole Assessor, Susan K. O'Rorke, Tal Rappelea, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Town of New Baltimore, Transparency, Trident, Trident Insurance, Uncategorized

 

Open Letter to Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione

Greene County District Attorney Joe Stanzione (R):
“I cannot comment on the matter at this time as it could compromise a pending investigation.”

If there is an investigation, pending or in progress, don’t you think that our elected officials owe it to us to tell us Who? is being investigated and What? It’s just days before elections for chrissake! Don’t you think we should be told these things?

IT’S OUTRAGEOUS

Greene County District Attorney Put on Notice to Take Action in New Baltimore

New Baltimore Resident Confronts the Greene County District Attorney asking WHY? is the Situation in New Baltimore Allowed to Go On. Demands Action, Investigation.

On October 31, 2017, after numerous attempts to get the New Baltimore Town Board to take responsible action and to do what’s right with regard to New Baltimore taxpayers, property owners, and residents, and faced with the refusal of the New Baltimore Highway Department to correct dangerous conditions created by it, one resident confronted the Greene County District Attorney, Joseph Stanzione, a Republican, and demanded that Stanzione do his job and take action, at least to launch an investigation as to Why? the New Baltimore Town Board has taken no action against the New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways Denis Jordan, and Why? instead of ensuring the rights of residents and property owners and ensuring fair play and justice, the Town Board hands matters over to its insurance company and its attorneys, forcing residents and property owners to spend thousands in court and attorney’s fees or simply to give up, when they should be getting help and relief, not to mention justice, from their elected officials. This is not democracy at work, it’s cowardice and dereliction of duty. It’s downright wrong.

The letter was cc’ed to New Baltimore Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, Deputy Supervisor Jeff Ruso, Town Clerk Barbara Finke (for recording), Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan, and to Town attorney Tal Rappelea and Town insurer’s attorney Crystall R. Peck, to ensure that all parties are fairly informed.

Here’s the full text of the e-mail communication to Mr Stanzione:

Dear Mr Stanzione:

I am writing to you in your official capacity as the chief law enforcement officer in the County of Greene.

It is inconceivable that you would be unaware of the situation in the Town of New Baltimore, and on that presumption, even more inconceivable that the Office of the District Attorney has not inaugurated some level of investigation into the dereliction and abuse of public office that is going on not only in the operations of the New Baltimore Town Board but most egregiously in the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department.

The specious and spurious indifference of the Town Board with regard to the abuses and incompetence, even corruption in the New Baltimore Highway department is tantamount to criminal. The Town Board, very well informed by residents of the activities of the New Baltimore Highway Department and its Superintendent Denis Jordan, have done absolutely nothing by way of response, fair play, justice, or compliance with their fiduciary duties to the taxpayers and residents of this Town.

The situation is not one of demands for special treatment or for extraordinary service, it is a situation that affects residents’ investments in their property and community, responsible stewardship of public treasure, observance of oaths of office, questions of competence, and even abuse of public office and corruption.

Much of what has been reported — please review the links below — has been in the eye of the public and is common knowledge in the Town of New Baltimore, and totally ignored by our elected officials on the Town Board.

It’s no wonder that the claim “Democracy is Dead” has become a slogan; regrettably, Justice predeceased Democracy in this town and its environs.

The real tragedy in this tragicomedy is the fact that because the Town Board refuses to do what’s right, and the Town Highway Superintendent has his way no matter what, the taxpayers and residents pay to suffer. The fact that our elected officials refuse to do their jobs, refuse to take steps to avoid the doing of injustice, are indifferent to what is going on in this town, and the deleterious consequences create an environment of distrust, anxiety, apathy and misconduct verging on criminality. Those who find it necessary to defend their interests and right, far from getting the needed and reasonable support from those entrusted with the public weal, are forced either to go into debt to defend their rights at law with representation, or, as is the case in the majority of instances, simply throw their hands into the air in despair! This is an abuse! This is not what democratic government is about…or is it?

I am putting you and your office on notice of these facts and the current situation in anticipation of your taking an interest in this case and taking action to relieve us and to see that the law is enforced and justice is done.

Let’s see if you and your office are up to the challenge.

I would appreciate a response once you have reviewed the facts in the attached links.

Yours very truly,

[redacted]

Links of interest:

[For security reasons we are not publishing the author’s name and details.]

We are watching the developments very closely and are very interested in seeing what Mr Stanzione has to say; whether he has the balls to do his job.

If you enjoyed this article, please copy and paste this link https://wp.me/p2jPFe-31V and email it to your friends, family, and contacts. Keep everyone informed.


Editor’s Update: We have received information that Mr Stanzione, Greene County District Attorney, declined to comment on the resident’s letter saying “I cannot comment on the matter at this time as it could compromise a pending investigation.” Looks like something is brewing in New Baltimore. We’ll keep readers posted as things develop.


We also have a similar letter to the Insurance Agency who handles the Town of New Baltimore’s liability insurance,  Marshall & Sterling Upstate (Leeds, NY), and the insurance brokerage they use, Trident Insurance Brokerage, Stay tuned for further developments on this issue.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2017 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Power, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Alan van Wormer, Ashley Heline, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Callanan Industries, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Corruption, Daily Mail, Dangerous Conditions, Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Diane Jordan, DOT, Elected Official, Fraud, George Acker, George Amadore, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Greene County News, Greene County Sheriff, Harassment, Hazardous Conditions, Hypocrisy, Incompetence, Indifference, Intimidation, Irresponsibility, Jeff Ruso, Joe Stanzione, John B. Johnson, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Joshua Bouchez, Mark Vinciguerra, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Misconduct, Misdemeanor, Misdemeanor, Misinformation, Mismanagement, Misuse of Public Office, Nepotism, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New York, New York State, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, News Herald, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, Notice of Claim, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Official Misconduct, Pat Linger, Patricia Hildebrandt, Patrick Linger, Patty Hildebrandt, Peckham Materials, Peckham Materials Corp., Peckham Road Corporation, Precision Roads and Driveways, Professional Ethics, Professional Misconduct, Public Corruption, Public Office, Public Safety, Public Safety, Ravena News Herald, RegisterStar, Retaliation, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Tal Rappelea, Thomas Rickert, Town of New Baltimore, Transparency, Trident Insurance

 

URGENT Advisory to Trick-or-Treaters on New Street, New Baltimore

This is a Public Service Announcement in the Interest of Your Safety and the Safety of Trick-or-Treaters on October 31, 2017, who will be on New Street in the Town of New Baltimore.

Dangerous Conditions on New Street in the Hamlet of New Baltimore!!!

Parents, Accompanying Adults, Trick-or-Treaters along New Street in the Town of New Baltimore may be at serious risk due to dangerous situations caused by recent roadwork and paving done on by the Town of New Baltimore and the New Baltimore Highway Department on New Street and other streets in the National Historic District of New Baltimore.

Please be aware of the following serious hazards along New Street, which will be particularly dangerous after sundown.

At the corner of Madison Avenue East and New Street, there is a dangerous unmarked drop-off. The Town of New Baltimore Highway Department has been asked numerous times to mark this hazard but has refused to do so. Please, when making the turn onto New Street from Madison Avenue East, make the turn tight!

On the river-side (East) just past the end of the guardrails, there is a dangerous unmarked drop-off. The drop-off is about 18-24 inches and poses a real danger if someone steps off the street and falls; there is a steep slope after the street drop-off. The recent paving operations by the New Baltimore Highway Department supervised by Denis Jordan raised the old roadbed about 18-24 inches at this point, creating this hazard. The Town of New Baltimore and the New Baltimore Highway Department have been asked several times to mark the hazard or to correct the defects but they have refused. There is also the possibility of a vehicle’s wheels going over the edge and tipping over! Please be careful and watch children very carefully in this area.

This hump in the road at the top of the stairs can cause tripping and falling injuries. Please be careful and step carefully over it. Small children may be especially at risk.

At the front entrance of No. 18 New Street, there is a raised hump of blacktop above the top step. The Town of New Baltimore Highway Department placed a 7-inch high raised hump of blacktop at the top of the steps leading into the main entrance of No. 18 New Street. The hump was created when the Town paved New Street in June, and residents have asked that it be cut down level with the street to avoid accidents or injury. The Town Highway Department and the Town of New Baltimore have done noting to fix this defect and now it is dangerous to the children and adults trick or treating. Please also be aware that beyond the steps there is a 8-12 inch drop-off created by the Town’s paving operations. This can be dangerous and may cause falls and injuries if you are not careful. There is no really safe way to get to the entrances of No 18 New Street so PLEASE BE CAREFUL and watch children very carefully in this area.

Please be aware of this hole; avoid stepping into it or driving into it!

Farther down New Street, opposite the Green House at No. 11 New Street, there is a deep hole approximately 30 inches across, 30 inches long and 15 inches deep. There is also a sharp-edged vertical grate installed in the hole. This hole was created by the New Baltimore Highway Department for totally unknown reasons (all other drains in the area are horizontal). This large hole presents a serious hazard to pedestrians and to vehicles. A person can break a leg and a vehicle can lose a wheel in this hole. The sharp edges of the grate pose another serious danger. Residents have repeated asked that the drain be redone so that it is flat with the road or at least that it be marked so that it is clearly visible. The Town of New Baltimore and the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department have refused to mark the hole and so it continues to be a serious danger to persons and vehicles. Please be careful and watch children very carefully in this area.

When driving down New Street this ditch will suddenly appear. Your vehicle’s wheels can end up in it and your vehicle left hanging.

As you approach the end of New Street there is a deep unmarked ditch on the right side of the street. This ditch will come up on you suddenly if you are driving, and if you’re not real quick, your right wheels will be in the ditch and your vehicle hung up. On Halloween night after sundown, this ditch will be very difficult identify unless you know beforehand that it’s there. Again, the Town of New Baltimore and the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department created this hazard when paving the street in August 2016 and in June 2017. They have been asked a number of times to fix this defect or at least to mark it. They have ignored all requests. Please be careful and watch children very carefully in this area.

We are publishing this information at the request of residents who are seriously concerned about the safety of trick-or-treaters on New Street this Halloween. The Town of New Baltimore and the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department, Mr Denis Jordan, have been made aware of these hazards a number of times, and have been asked to correct the defects or at least to mark them to ensure safety and to protect the public. They have refused and so now it’s necessary to provide this WARNING to motorists and pedestrians.  Please make your children and other adults aware of these serious hazards along New Street, which will be particularly dangerous after sundown, and be alert for similar hazards in other areas of the Hamlet of New Baltimore, especially in the National Historic District!

[Editor’s Note: At about 10:30 a.m. on October 31, 2017, the Town of New Baltimore and the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department were notified of these hazards and dangerous conditions on New Street, and were provided with the link to this posting.]

Please Watch Your Step on New Street in New Baltimore!!!
Happy Halloween!
The Editor & Friends of the Smalbany Blog


Editor’s Update

At about 10:45 a.m. on October 31, 2017, the following message was sent to New Baltimore Town Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, New Baltimore Town Deputy Supervisor Jeff Ruso, Town Clerk Barbara Finke (for the purpose of records), and Town of New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan. Copies were sent also the Town Attorney Tal Rappela (Tal Rappelea Esq/RappeleaLaw) and to the attorney for the Town’s insurance company, Crystal R. Peck (Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Albany, New York) to ensure that their attorneys are fully informed in the event of accident or injury.

Dear Mr Dellisanti, Ruso, Jordan, Rappelea, Ms Peck:

The Town of New Baltimore and the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department have consistently and regularly been notified of the existing and continuing dangerous conditions created on New Street in the Town of New Baltimore, a roadway owned by the Town of New Baltimore. The Town of New Baltimore and the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department and its superintendent, Mr Denis Jordan, have ignored all notifications and have refused to respond to all requests to correct the existing defects created by the Town’s operations or at least to mark them in the interest of the public’s safety.
Given the above circumstances and the Town’s indifference to the safety of residents and visitors, especially in view of the Halloween season and the approaching snow season, the Smalbany Blog has been considerate enough to publish a Public Safety Warning for Halloween Trick-or-Treaters and their accompanying adults.
You may inform yourselves as to the content of said Public Safety Warning at the blog site, URGENT Advisory to Trick-or-Treaters on New Street, New Baltimore (the link to the site is provided for your convenience).
 

Democracy is Dead!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some local examples:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good morning, Town and Village executives:

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your attention.

The Editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NONE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

The Editor

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

 

Allegation that New Baltimore Highway Super Helps Employee Avoid Drug Test

Question: Did New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways Denis Jordan Turn a Blind Eye to Drug User Employee?

Time to Wake Up, New Baltimore!
Time to Investigate!


Normally we would not publish a mere allegation sent to one of our contributors but this one is very serious. It concerns the New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways and his poor judgment and misconduct in office. It concerns endangering the public. It concerns putting public property at risk. It concerns helping a drug user evade detection.

Normally we would not publish a handwritten note from an anonymous informer but this one is different. It reports a very serious incident. It reports very serious misconduct. It reports something that is very likely true.

Normally we would not publish something like this about an alleged instance of misconduct by a public employee, an elected official, someone to whom important public works are entrusted. But this time it’s different. It concerns a public employee, an elected official who, like so many in the Capital District of New York, but especially in the Ravena-Coeymans-New Baltimore area, is dishonest, incompetent, and corrupt.


Denis Jordan to employee: “Take two weeks and clean out.”

The allegation is that New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, Mr Denis Jordan, allowed a New Baltimore Highway Department employee to avoid taking a required drug test so that the employee, who admitted he was taking illicit, illegal drugs, could “clean up.” Jordan allegedly allowed the employee two weeks to clean up and then take the test. In the meantime, the employee was allegedly operating Highway Department trucks on public highways, putting everyone at risk. And Jordan knew this and allowed it. On retesting, the employee failed with high levels of cocaine; he was terminated. Jordan is still employed by the Town of New Baltimore.

What makes this information believable is the fact that the informant knew the contributor’s name and his address! This leads us to believe that the informant is local, and he or she may even be an employee of the Town! In fact, when we compared the postmarks on two pieces of mail, one from the Town of New Baltimore Assessor’s Office and the postmark on the anonymous note, the postmarks were almost identical, except for the dates! They apparently were mailed from the same place. Here’s the actual note our contributor received.


It might be a bit hard to read so we transcribed it for you. Here’s what the author has to say:

“Good day, [name redacted for security]:

“After reading your latest blogs regarding New Baltimore Hwy. Supt. Denis Jordan, I would like to give you some more information to look into.

“Recently a newly hired Town Highway Employee was scheduled to have a required drug test as part of his Employment. The morning of the test, said employee went to the Superintendent [Denis Jordan] and told him he could not be tested because he knew he would not pass. We are told that per the employee handbook, this is refusal to submit to a required [drug] test and the employment of said employee is to be immediately terminated. But instead, Supt. Jordan gave the employee 2 weeks to get clean, and told him he would be retested at the end of two weeks.

“At the end of the two weeks the employee went for testing [deletion] and tested positive for high levels of cocaine, and he was terminated.

“This employee [deletion] operated town equipment and drove town trucks up and down the Highway for 2 weeks under the influence of cocaine. Mr Jordan’s decision put not only the other town employees lives and safety at risk, but also each and every person he passed [deletion] on the highway for those two weeks.

“Had this employee been involved in an accident and injured [deletion] or killed an innocent person, and his blood was tested, it would have put the town of New Baltimore in deep trouble both legally and financially.

“Once again Mr Jordan has no regard for rules and regulations that are put into place.

“Rules are for everyone else but him!!”

Given the information being provided in this letter and the details, we have to admit it is pretty convincing. How would someone make this stuff up? But what is even more interesting is the depth of the details. This informant must be in a position to know these “facts” or someone close to this person is in such a position.

This is very serious, indeed. So serious that we felt we should publish it for the community to be informed of what’s going on in the Town of New Baltimore and its departments. In fact, this is so serious that we now demand an immediate investigation by the Town of New Baltimore Town Board. Furthermore, it is so serious, we demand that the New Baltimore Town Board request Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione to launch an investigation into these allegations of Mr Jordan’s latest misconduct.

“Where there’s so much smoke there has to be a wildfire!”

Two outcomes are possible: Once an investigation is launched and completed, Mr Jordan may be cleared of any wrongdoing. But that’s highly unlikely given his history. On the other hand, once the investigation is launched and completed, and Mr Jordan is found to be guilty of the alleged misconduct, we would then expect that he be immediately removed from office and charged. The list of misconduct is too long to allow Jordan to choose when he goes and then shoot the taxpayers of New Baltimore the ‘bird” as he cashes his unearned pension checks at our expense. We say: “Where there’s so much smoke there has to be a wildfire!”

We have covered a large number of cases where New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways has been shown to be incompetent, unfit for the position he holds, as well as instances of misuse of Town personnel and equipment, violations of the rules governing proper recordkeeping, continuing training, and the list goes on. The burning question is Why has he been allowed by the Town Board to continue his misconduct without having to answer to anyone?

Town of New Baltimore Town Board, Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione: It’s time to get off the pot and do something about this ongoing situation. It’s high time someone started doing their job and clean up the corruption!

If the New Baltimore Town Board doesn’t initiate some official action on this latest report, given the other information that the Town has been provided, we think a referendum should be held to remove all of the useless puppets from Town Hall. We’ll want a town hall meeting to discuss what’s been going on in the Town of New Baltimore and demand that all elected officials b be present to answer questions and to take responsibility. This includes Supervisors past and present, Highway Superintendent and Deputy, Entire Town Board, Town Justices, too! Enough already of the hanky-panky cronyism and the behind the scenes operations called “executive sessions.” We demand accountability and transparency!

Let’s Get Started, New Baltimore!

The Editor