The day after the Saranac Lake Village Board voted to approve a crucial zoning change for a proposed 90-room luxury hotel on Lake Flower, I filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request for all correspondence between Mayor Clyde Rabideau and Chris LaBarge, the developer behind the project. I wanted to know more about the decision-making process that led to the mayor’s enthusiastic support of the hotel as well as any correspondence that might be of interest to the public. (The approval of the Planned Unit Development District or PUDD brings the project one step closer to reality, but it still awaits reviews by the village Planning Board and Adirondack Park Agency.)
The mayor provided me with all of the emails he had on file, which amounted to 11 pages of correspondence dating back to July 2013. They show a relatively friendly relationship between Rabideau and LaBarge. » Continue Reading.
The NYSDEC Should Embrace Openness And Transparency
Last week, we saw news that Governor Kathy Hochul instructed state agencies to develop and submit plans for greater transparency. This is good news and welcome news. I’ve watched over the decades as state agencies have restricted more and more of what was once basic and easily accessible public information.
The administration of former Governor Andrew Cuomo was the worst from a public information standpoint, and state agencies, which were often managed by his political appointees in the image and temperament of the former Governor, shared the former Governor’s desire to control all public information. Under Cuomo, state agencies required Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests for just about everything, and then they dragged out the response time for these requests like no other.
» Continue Reading.