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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s more of the gibberish in the report:

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

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

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

After all is said and done, the report reads:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor’s Notes

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

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

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

Furthermore,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

 

We are speechless! OMG! Coeymans Police Caught on Video Again!

Well, the Coeymans Police are back in the News!
And — AGAIN, rather STILL — It Ain’t Pretty!

Coeymans Police ALWAYS Get Their Coon! 

Here’s the video that has gone viral showing the Coeymans Police heroes as they run down a defenseless animal!!!

You never thought this would happen but we are SPEECHLESS! There’s a video that’s gone viral showing a Coeymans Police Car making several attempts to run over a raccoon at Faith Plaza in Ravena. The video is on every news channel online clearly showing the Coeymans Police making several attempts to run over a raccoon!!!

The irony of the entire situation is that Faith Plaza is owned by a holy-roller fundamentalist Christian group under the local Flack family banner. This is real Christian behavior, isn’t it? But Ravena is noted for it’s off-the-wall Christian wierdos like the Roman Catholic Church of St Patrick and it’s nest of hypocrites calling themselves Catholics. Business as usual, it seems. Christians for Cash! (That’s how they spell God now in Ravena.)

Bryanna Catucci, the Facebook user who posted the videos, wrote online that she was leaving a grocery store when she saw the officers charging the raccoon with their cars. It took 15 minutes for the animal to die, she said. “You would think if it had rabies they would shoot him instead of torturing. Sad day,” the woman wrote. We agree with Ms Catucci! Thank you Ms Catucci for having the courage to go public with this and to have been decent enough to stand up for what’s right!

According to the Albany County Sheriff, Craig Apple, who doesn’t seem all too pleased with how Coeymans handled the situation, “[p]erception drives reality — and this is not perceived very well.” He went on to say that “in similar situations [law enforcement] have called in local animal control officers or local trappers to contain the animal.” Apple said, adding that “officers also need to know someone is always watching and will likely report any inhumane treatment of an animal.” Even the Albany County Sheriff seems to feel the Coeymans dumbasses mishandled the situation. DUH!

According to WRGB Channel 6 News in Albany, New York:

“RAVENA, NY (WRGB) A video going viral shows Coeymans Police running over a raccoon at Faith Plaza in Ravena in Albany County.

“Police officers made several attempts at the raccoon.

“In a statement, Coeymans Acting Police Chief D.W. Contento said, “On March 12 we received numerous calls about a rabid raccoon in faith plaza. The raccoon had attempted to get into the establishment at one point. Our officer’s did find the raccoon, but it was not in an area that was safe to discharge a firearm due to the proximity of pedestrians and residences. They dispatched the raccoon as quickly and humanely as possible.”

[Editor’s Note: For those of our readers who are not familiar with the backwater, hilltown Village of Ravena or the Town of Coeymans, Faith Plaza is a trashy strip mall in the village of Ravena that includes a supermarket, a chain drug store, a Chinese take-away restaurant, a bank and several offices. It’s parking lot hasn’t been maintained in years and is pockmarked with huge, deep potholes. We wonder that the police vehicle that harassed and killed the raccoon didn’t lose an axle in the process. But then, what do the police care about damaging their vehicle, it’s public property and maintained by the Town.]

In a statement published by acting Coeymans Police Chief D.W. Contento (Sgt.), who apparently has a degree in veterinary medcine:or animal pathology — or thinks he does — since he was able to diagnose the animal’s condition without even being at the scene!!! According to our local genius Contento:

Statement on the Incident Made by Coeymans Police Department

The above statement was made by acting Coeymans Police Chief Daniel W. Contento in a feeble attempt to save face and defuse the public outcry in reaction to the disgraceful and idiotic conduct of the Coeymans Police in the verified harassment and killing of a raccoon.

Acting Coeymans Police Chief Daniel Contento makes feeble atempt to save face.

The Coeymans Police had no way of determining that the poor unfortunate creature was rabid, as acting police chief Daniel W. Contento alleges. According to the Cornell Wildlife Laboratory  there is no live animal test for a diagnosis of rabies. The laboratory uses antibody to detect virus in a sample of the brain. In other words, the only way to determine that would have been to have performed a veterinary post mortem on the animal. That could only have been done by a veterinary pathologist who then would submit the tissues for examination. Rabies can be diagnosed only by microscopic examination of the animal’s brain tissue, which would show characteristic signs called Negri bodies (dark spots in the tissue). (A rapid test called immunofluorescence can also be done on post-mortem brain tissue. See our comment below in regard to some Facebook comments made on the WTEN News Facebook page. Editor’s Note: We believe that if it was suspected of being rabid, New York State law would require that the dead animal be tested and, the results reported. We’ll follow up on this.)

Furthermore, when an animal is rabid, it’s disoriented and moves around clumsily, as if it’s drunk. According the the New York State Department of Health an animal with rabies will show “staggering, convulsions, choking, frothing at the mouth and paralysis…. Many animals will make very unusual sounds. Infected animals usually die within one week after showing signs of rabies.” The video clearly shows that this animal was NOT disoriented or clumsy, or acting like it was drunk; in fact, it was trying to run away!!! Of course, the fact that the poor animal did not exhibit signs of rabies does not rule out rabies but certainly does not provide grounds for a definitive diagnosis and statement that it was in fact rabid, as the acting chief of Coeymans police reports!!!! The chief’s statement was made only to remove some of the egg on his face and the embarrassment to the department and the Town of Coeymans!!! (NYDOH site last accessed on March 12, 2018.)

Coeymans cops in hot pursuit: “Get’em boys! He’s unlicensed!

What do the local FREAKS think the animal was doing there? There’s a Shop’n Save with all sorts of goodies in their dumpster garbage coons love right there. There’s also a Chinese restaurant right there! Think of what they have in their waste bins.  No doubt plenty of food goodies for a hungry coon. The coon was probably just foraging for food, you morons! Lord knows there’s enough garbage in the area to attract the whole countryside’s coon population!

We are curious as to how many calls are considered “numerous” by the Coeymans PD and why the animal control officer was not called to capture the animal. It appears no one on Faith Plaza was at risk and it was totally unnecessary to perform such a ghastly display of stupidity and inhumanity. We we sickened by the video and ashamed that we live in such an area where the local law enforcement are such immature, ignorant, dumbass thugs.

Please note: The telephone number listed on the Town of Coeymans website for the Coeymans Police Department does not go to the Coeymans Police Department but to the Albany County 911 center. This is a very misleading ploy by the Town of Coeymans and is causing problems at the 911 center, because a great many people are calling the number listed to complain about what the Coeymans Police did to that poor animal.If you want to make a complaint, please use the emails below or write a comment on this blog. We’ll post your comments.

And, excuse, us for asking, where are the local animal control officers for Ravena and the Town of Coeymans when all of this is going on? Or aren’t they in the budget either?

Interesting fact: Among domestic animals, cats are the most frequent carriers of rabies. So Why? are only dogs required to be licensed and proof of rabies immunization required only for dogs? Dogs are also required to be leashed and don’t run free like cats. Something’s wrong here, don’t you think?

Write in your complaint to the Coeymans Police Department and to the Town of Coeymans. Here are the emails (click on the links and your default email will open): (Click here Coeymans PD and Raccoon Protest Text for suggested text for your protest message.)

Coeymans Police Department
Coeymans Chief of Police, acting, SGT Daniel W. Contento
Town of Coeymans Supervisor, Phil Crandall
Town of Coeymans Town Clerk, Cindy Rowzee

But don’t expect a response; they’ll likely ignore you, cowards that they are. Maybe you should just send us a comment and we’ll take it from there. Or email us at Smalbany This blog is also published on a number of social media sites, so everyone will know what’s going on in Coeymans.

They can’t write a ticket correctly and can’t collect evidence to solve any crimes but they sure can torture helpless animals.

Some real heroes, running down a helpless animal while in the safety of their patrol car. Real big tough law enforcement professionals, right? Big and brave enough to run down a defenseless animal and then make up some idiotic story about “rabies”! Dumbasses!

So, boys (and goofy girls), what’s next on your cop superhero agenda, the family of wild ducks that are running around Faith Plaza?

Run for your lives, ducklings! Head for the hills, guys, the Coeymans cops are on their way!
You don’t want them to make pâté out of you!

Editor’s Note:  Now that disgraced former village justice, now Coeymans town supervisor Phil Crandall has managed to drive out the only professional law enforcement officer, Chief Peter J. McKenna, from the department, after squeezing every dime out of the Chief’s budget to the point where Chief McKenna was spending his own money to purchase supplies, the Coeymans Police Department has slipped back into the cesspool where McKenna found it. McKenna gave 110% but who can blame him for refusing to take any more abuse at the hands of Crandall and his lackeys Tom Dolan and Jim Youmans? Before McKenna, we demanded that the Coeymans Police Department be eliminated, during McKenna’s tenure as Chief, the Department showed signs of being a real asset to the town. Now that McKenna is gone, the clowns are back in action. Time to start the Elimination Campaign again!

Here are just a few of the news publishers who have picked up and published this shameful story:

Albany Times Union “Coeymans police use cars to run down, kill rabid raccoon” (Editor’s Note: Typical Times Useless jumps the guns and prematurely report that the animal was rabid. There is absolutely no evidence at this time to support that report!)

ABC News 10  “Witnesses: Police try to run over raccoon” (Editor’s Note: This is inaccurate. They did finally run the animal down. The videos show this fact.”)

New York Upstate “WATCH: Upstate NY police try to run over rabid raccoon in disturbing video”

Miami Herald “Cops ran over a raccoon until they killed it, video shows. There’s a good reason, New York police say”

CBS Channel 6 News “Update: Video shows Coeymans Police running over raccoon”

WNYT Channel 13 News “Raccoon video has Coeymans police in hot water”

Just google “Ravena Coeymans Police Raccoon” and you’ll get literally hundreds of hits on this incident. It’s all over Facebook and it’s on Youtube, too. It’s really shameful!

Stay informed! Learn more about rabies in New York State on the Cornell Wildlife Laboratory and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sites. (Both sites last accessed on March 12, 2018.)

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2018 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, A.L. Mueller Badge 149, Abuse of Police Power, Accountability, Acting Police Chief, Albany, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Sheriff Department, Amanda L. Mueller, Amanda Mueller, Animal Control Officer, Animal cruelty, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Bryana Catucci, Capital District, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, Cindy Rowzee, Coeymans, Coeymans Acting Police Chief, Coeymans Police Department, Coeymans Town Board, Columbia-Greene Media, Cruelty to animals, D. W. Contento, Daily Mail, Daniel Contento, David Soares, Dead Raccoon, DEC, Democrats, Denis Jordan, Department of Environmental Conservation, Dick Touchette, Eliminate Coeymans Police Department, Facebook, Faith Plaza, Government, Greene County, Hudson Valley, Inhumanity, James Youmans, Jeff Ruso, Jim Youmans, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Law Enforcement, Mark Vinciguerra, Mayor "Mouse", Mayor "Mouse" Misuraca, Misconduct, Moose Misuraca, Mueller Automotive, Mueller's Automotive, Nancy Warner, New Baltimore, New York, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, Office of the Attorney General, P. David Soares, Patrick Linger, Peter J. McKenna, Peter Mckenna, Public Safety, Raccoons, Ravena, Times Union, William Misuraca

 

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

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

Anonymous Contributor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His post was simply:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Institutional Agendas Define the Group.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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


Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

[6] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
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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).