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Out of Control at Town Hall

June 7, 2015

Dear Gardiner Citizens (and other interested parties)

Ok, so I have not been doing my civic duty by regularly attending town board meetings in Gardiner as I should. For the most part, they are mind numbingly boring at best. However, John Habersberger does, and sends me detailed notes for each meeting which I try to pass along to you. I must say that this week’s meeting notes (May 12, 2015)  are stunning in what they suggest is going on at Town Hall. If I put the pieces together from the attached, it appears that:

1) There was an effort by some town board members to refer Czar Zatz to the Ethics committee for some unstated reason.

2) Town board members are overstepping their official powers and abusing their office by acting in some way(s) without full board approval

3) Town board member(s) are making “intimidating or threatening phone calls” and are making contact with a citizens’ employer, because that citizen had spoken out at a town board meeting.

4) Citizen(s) who have spoken out at town board meetings are receiving “threatening or intimidating actions” against them by town board member(s).

So, exactly what is going on here? Who is being threatened by whom and why?

Without knowing the answers to these questions, I feel I can share some of my past experiences with Czar Zatz with you. In the past, I witnessed Zatz push his finger at Marion Kells’ face and threaten her to “not use sarcasm in MY town hall”. I was the only witness, and alas, Marion is no longer here to confirm it. I’ve also been told by an older citizen, who regularly attends town meetings and speaks out against actions of Zatz and the board, that Czar Zatz has had the State Police go to his house on several occastions, with the accusation that he is “threatening”. I’ve been at many town board meetings where this person has spoken out, and while he can be strident and loud, I’ve NEVER seen him physically threatening. There are other instances that I’m unable to verify, so won’t mention here.

It appears that Czar Zatz has a pattern of trying to chill speech he doesn’t like with threats, intimidation and retaliation, especially with women and the elderly, his choice targets.

At the following June 2nd Town Board meeting, Carl Zatz took the word “inappropriate” to a new level.  During discussion about the above altercation and harassment of a town employee, I understand that Carl directly asked one town board member if he was having an affair with said town employee!  Then, looked out to the audience and smiled.  He then repeated his question/muse/accusation, and smiled to the audience again. When the town board member replied back that he was married, Carl then said something about that having nothing do to with having an affair.  This is the most disgusting, inappropriate and low accusation uttered in a public meeting from a supposed town representative of the people!

Well, it’s time for you and me to put our eyes back on the ball in Town Hall and start paying attention to what is going on. Czar Zatz and some town board members may think they are a law unto themselves, but they are not and need to be reminded of it.

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…by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate…..

March 8, 2015

By any definition, a treaty is a formal agreement between sovereign foreign nations.  Any agreement being negotiated between the US Department of State and the leaders of Iran is by definition considered a treaty.  I may not be a consitutional expert, but Article 2, Section 2, clause 2 states:

He (the President) shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur; …..

This was one of the “checks” on the executive that was deliberated and included in the Constitution, with much discussion and thought at the convention.  While in the early years of the country there was some debate as to exactly at what point – during or after – negotiations and deliberations and “advice and consent” were to be provided, there was never any doubt about the clarity that the Senate needed to have input, be able to make changes to, and ultimately approve any treaty between a foreign power and our government.  You only need to look to Federalist 75 by Hamilton written under the name Publius, or any of the written debates during the constitutional convention and many of the documented ratification debates among the several states.  (See the Founders Constitution, Volume 2, page 29).

Justice Joseph Story, in his 1833 “Commentaries on the Constitution” said:

§ 1517. Some doubts appear to have been entertained in the early stages of the government, as to the correct exposition of the constitution in regard to the agency of the senate in the formation of treaties. The question was, whether the agency of the senate was admissible previous to the negotiation, so as to advise on the instructions to be given to the ministers; or was limited to the exercise of the power of advice and consent, after the treaty was formed; or whether the president possessed an option to adopt one mode, or the other, as his judgment might direct. The practical exposition assumed on the first occasion, which seems to have occurred in President Washington’s administration, was, that the option belonged to the executive to adopt either mode, and the senate might advise before, as well as after, the formation of a treaty.3 Since that period, the senate have been rarely, if ever, consulted, until after a treaty has been completed, and laid before them for ratification. When so laid before the senate, that body is in the habit of deliberating upon it, as, indeed, it does on all executive business, in secret,and with closed doors. The senate may wholly reject the treaty, or advise and consent to a ratification of part of the articles, rejecting others, or recommend additional or explanatory articles. In the event of a partial ratification, the treaty does not become the law of the land, until the president and the foreign sovereign have each assented to the modifications proposed by the senate. But, although the president may ask the advice and consent of the senate to a treaty, he is not absolutely bound by it; for he may, after it is given,still constitutionally refuse to ratify it. Such an occurrence will probably be rare, because the president will scarcely incline to lay a treaty before the senate, which he is not disposed to ratify.

Therefore, I’m mystified by this push in Congress to pass a bill (law) requiring that the President put any agreement before them before it can be considered adopted.  Would not the current Constitution allow for the Senate to have this power now?

The Founders were so leery of a strong executive having overreaching powers similar to a monarchy, that they built-in checks and balances to curb this possibility.  Whenever we see the President acting unilaterally, the first place to seek recourse is in the Constitution, where generally you can find a direct check against such actions by one or more of the co-equal branches.

Where art thou NYS AG when you need him?

February 1, 2015

Maybe it’s me, but I just got a newsy email from our NYS AG Schneiderman with many choice bits about how he’s looking after New Yorkers, fighting crime, tracking down scammers, ferreting out phony contractors, etc., etc.  Maybe it’s me, but there’s something missing here.  That’s right, not ONE WORD about the arrest of Shelly Silver, and possible investigation of other so-called legislative leaders in Albany.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t keeping New York citizens safe from graft, corruption and amoral behavior be one of the top responsibilities of our AG?  So, I guess in his extreme on-the-lookout zeal in uprooting scammers and crooks, the biggest and most obvious in the room weren’t on his radar?  And, not even a comment from his office that I can find.

Maybe all of this was not news to the AG, but he felt it would be better handled by the Feds, so that he could keep his hands clean?  So, exactly where was the AG when all of this corruption was happening right under his nose?  Anyone?  Buehler?  Buehler?

So, in this newsletter, he took time to warn us of Lottery scammers, and even to wish Lorretta Lynch good luck in her upcoming congressional hearing.  He mentions those nasty banks, who try to keep low-income New Yorkers from opening bank accounts, but not a peep about the “three men in a room”, one of whom is looking at a hundred years jail time.  He’s right on top of warning banks, mortgage providers and utilities to not hand out late fees for customers on LI after mails delivery was shut down due to last week’s storm, but eerily silent on open corruption in the capitol building.

But no need to push TORT reform in Albany, so that all of those nice lawyers can assist mesothelioma victims in getting their share of loot from companies forced to pay up or else.  Sometime silence speaks loudly and in this case, it screams that very possibly, at best Mr. Schneiderman is not doing his job, and I’ll leave the other ramifications to your imagination.

Giving a hand…..

December 15, 2014

I recently received a piece of mail that astonished me. First, it was from new Senate elect Tom Cotton from Alabama, who isn’t even my Senator!  More astonishing, it was a letter simply thanking me for my past support of Heritage Foundation where Sen. Cotton had once interned, and that he continues to use as a valuable source for research. The most astounding thing…there was no additional request for funds…simply a sincere thank you!

That got me thinking that I should pass this idea forward.  If you’re like me, I have enough “stuff” in this world, and really don’t need any more.  If you can give up one gizmo or gadget this Christmas, ask the gift giver to make a year-end donation to one of your favorite charities in your name, and the gift will mean so much more.  Here are some of the charities that I support year round with as much as I can afford:

  • Heritage Foundation
  • Salvation Army (money goes to local chapters in your county)
  • USO (they do more than entertain – they provide free phone and video’s to servicemen at airports)
  • Wounded Warriors
  • Robert Morris Foundation (Monticello College)
  • Property Rights Foundation of America
  • Hillsdale College
  • Hannaford “Helping Hands” food pantry donations
  • My two local fire companies – Gardiner and Shawangunk Valley

As you think about where you can give and make a difference, remember that de Tocqueville found all of the the “associations” and groups in America that were not funded by the government, but privately, to be one of the most unique things about us as a people.  He was astonished at the hundreds, no thousands, of private groups, clubs, associations, guilds and foundations that served as the life line and support for so many Americans, shaping our culture and way of life. When you think of this endless list (Boy and Girl Scouts, Y’s, Welcome Wagon, Elks, Lions etc.) remember that they take the place of what the “government” does to support us physically, financially and emotional, and be sure to give them your support in return.  It’s what makes us uniquely American.

No need to tell the truth….

September 6, 2014

Here are some bullet points from the Gardiner Democrat supported candidates website, promises that they made when last campaigning:

  • Limit town tax burden on Gardiner property owners.
  • Develop responsible budgets based on the real needs of the community.

lies1

Just when you are getting over the shock of opening your school tax bill, you still have the town fiscal budget to look forward to.  Government agencies are mandated to keep yearly budget increases to a maximum of 2%.  At this past Gardiner Town Board meeting, Democrat highway superintendent Brian Sticia (yes, one of the ones that made the above promises) reviewed his preliminary highway department budget for fiscal 2015.  The department purchased three new big trucks last year adding massively to the towns growing debt. Brian’s want list this year includes replacing a 2002 truck with a newer, bigger one plus plow for $35,000.   He also mentioned replacing the truck he is currently driving.  He also mentioned the need for some piece of new equipment that could be used to clean off the sidewalks….

OOPS!

he didn’t mean to say that, it just slipped out.  And Supervisor Czar Zatz deftly and swiftly pointed out that Brian didn’t really mean “clean” the sidewalks, as that’s not the responsibility of the highway department.

Just the items he included came to an increase of about 28% in the highway budget.  It did not include an estimated $400,000 that must be spent to replace the little used Clove Road bridge.

A bit later in the meeting, there was a discussion on how to reduce the budget while keeping the increase limited to 2%.  Yes, correct that his conversation doesn’t seem to jive with the highway budget, but I guess Brian Sticia didn’t get the memo.  But, actually, since it’s already been explored among the 4 Democrat supported town board members, that they could form a super-majority 4-1, and over ride the 2% limit mandate anyway.  And basically make the increase whatever they wanted.  So, when you hear these four (Zatz, Wiegand, Reynolds and Dukler) speaking about the 2% limit, understand that is simply happy talk on their part, and they have no intention of actually keeping spending low.

 

A cell of our own in Gardiner

June 19, 2014

Gardiner is a curious little place. Nestled in the foothills of the Shawangunk mountains, the “mountain” roads are off the beaten path, so to speak, and not part of the weekend New Paltz tourist routes. However, for whatever reasons, this corner of town has long been a refuge for the, let us say, more leftist and radical among us. Or, why beat around the bush….communists. Junius Scales, a one-time leader of the Communist Party of the US, lived here until his death in 2002, on a small road to nowhere called “Peaceable Hill Road”. Junius Scales went to prison, but I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that his sentence was commuted by President John Kennedy. To this day, his daughter Barbara is listed in the Gardiner Tax roles, as the “estate” still owns the property on Peaceable Hill Road. A native of New York City, former Gardiner Town Board members and avowed leftist, also lives on the road, and I’m sure she just happened to live on the same road as Junius Scales by accident. Spitting distance away, we have another civic minded resident, served on the steering committee for the Union for Radical Economists, member of the Nicaraguan Solidarity Network, and was a speaker at the Socialist Scholars Conference, author of article “Teaching Nazi Culture” and another in the “Rethinking Marxism” Journal. Sprinkle in a few like-minded souls up and down the road, all native New York Cityites, who just happened on sleepy Gardiner to spend their retirement. We’ve got ourselves a regular little cell here.

Lawlessness in America

June 8, 2014

Liberty cryingThe Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and rule of law is one of the things that makes America shine above other nations.  However, everywhere you look, examples of corruption and lawlessness in our government abound.

There are many ways to encourage lawlessness.  One is to blatantly ignore or refuse to enforce existing laws that are on the books.  Take the episode of the New Black Panther who in Philadelphia was charged by the Department of Justice in the 2008 election for blatant voter intimidation, but then had all of the charges quietly dropped by Eric Holder and the White House.  Or, how about the ICE officials who were instructed NOT to enforce immigration laws by allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the the country without penalty.  Or Homeland Security simply freeing over 37,000 illegal aliens with serious criminal records.  Least we forget the “fast and furious” saga of incompetent and illegal actions and subsequent coverup  from our own DOJ again.

Ignoring the “supreme law of the land” is another Obama administration favorite.  The recent EPA release of “rules” around carbon emissions.  Call them what you want…but this is legislation that does an end run around the Congress, who according to Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution of the only government body allowed to legislate.  The EPA, nor any other of the myriad of alphabet soup groups have the delegated power to make law…period.    The swap of 5 high rank terrorists for a possible Army deserter this week, with a president who ignored by law by not notifying Congress should not shock anyone….it’s par for the course in this administration.

The greatest and most egregious violation of the rule of law by  President Obama and his administration is Obamacare.  When finally enacted, we were told it was the law of the land, so “just get over it.”  However since then, of the 41 or more significant changes to the law, 23 of them have been unilaterally by the president without approval or consultation from Congress….again a clear violation of the Constitution.

Even at a local level, we’ve seen firsthand the case of Paul Schwartzberg, Gardiner ZBA acting chair, who admitted to filing false information in a public document, which is a crime by the way, and then having the town board look the other way and do nothing.  Corruption happens at every level of government .

“…when the laws have ceased to be executed, as this can only come from the corruption of the republic, the state is already lost.”
― Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws

He also noted in the Spirit of the Laws that “when the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws to execute them in a tyrannical manner.

Think what evil creeps liberals would be if their plans to enfeeble the individual, exhaust the economy, impede the rule of law, and cripple national defense were guided by a coherent ideology instead of smug ignorance. -P. J. O’Rourke

Evil creeps indeed.  But evil creeps in power, God help us.