Posts Tagged ‘Sketchpad’
A three-and-a-half year legal case against Leroy Douglas of Black Brook has ended. According to the Post-Star, Douglas pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges—prohibited solid waste disposal and endangering the public health, safety or the environment—brought by the Clinton County District Attorney against Douglas and his corporation.
The charges date back to the August 2008 discovery by New York State DEC officials of open oil drums and illegally disposed solid waste at the Douglas Resort property on the shores of Silver Lake. The Blog Adirondack Base Camp summarized the original charges from Douglas’s arraignment earlier this year.
Douglas’s attorney sought successfully to have many of the original charges thrown out, owing to the time lapse since the state cleared the dump site three years ago. Attempts to have the single felony charge of endangering the public health, safety or the environment on similar grounds were denied earlier this week.
The felony charge, which carried a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a $15,000 fine, was lessened to a misdemeanor as part of the plea deal. In pleading guilty to the lesser charges, Douglas and his corporation must pay fines of $5,000 apiece to settle the case. Douglas also agreed to have his property inspected to make sure the dump site has been fully remediated.
The pollution case is the latest chapter in Douglas’s long history of run-ins with state officials at various levels. The Plattsburgh Press-Republican provides a round-up of the Douglas saga.
WAMC, the National Public Radio affiliate based in Albany, this week switched on a new broadcast translator in Lake Placid. On Tuesday, W204CJ (FM frequency 88.7) became the latest nodule in AMC’s spreading network of stations. The move into the resort community was first attempted in 2007 when WAMC’s President and CEO Alan Chartock tried to take over the FCC license for a frequency that was being renewed by NPR’s Canton, New York affiliate North Country Public Radio.
WAMC operates twenty-four broadcast and translator towers that send its programming to parts of over 40 counties in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The broadcaster’s expansive vision occasionally runs up against its original mission. Earlier this year on the final day of the legislative session in Albany, with votes on New York’s same sex marriage and budget bills still up for grabs, WAMC devoted both hours of its premier news analysis program, the Roundtable, to promoting a music festival in western Massachusetts.
This week, WAMC’s new Lake Placid listeners tuned in to Dr. Chartock’s signature frenetic exhortations during one of the station’s periodic fundraising membership drives. While they say there’s no second chance to make a first impression, public radio devotees in the Olympic Village might yet find some advantage to the timing of their new suitor’s arrival. North Country Public Radio holds its fall pledge campaign this coming week.
UPDATE:The trail was cleared for WAMC to operate the Lake Placid translator as part of an agreement reached in December 2007 when NCPR was seeking to upgrade to a full power signal from the weaker translator signal. WAMC sought a license to operate the same full power signal, but settled for the weaker translator in the wake of negative publicity. A third party broadcaster, Northeast Gospel Radio, Inc. from Rensselaer County also sought the full power license.
(Disclosure: Mark Wilson is a member of NCPR and contributes cartoons to the NCPR.org)
Village of Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau, fresh from Daffodil Festival, made a rare appearance in Lake Placid. The Governor notably referred to the Mayor as “my good friend.” Impressed by the abundance of meeting facilities available in the neighboring village, Mayor Rabideau returned home determined to bring the Olympics to Saranac Lake.
Mayor Rabideau handed off the introduction to “Lake Placid Supervisor Roby Politi.”
North Elba Supervisor Politi thanked Mayor Rabideau for “the sincere introduction,” receiving the biggest laugh of the afternoon.
The capacity crowd at the mint conference center gave Governor Cuomo a warm welcome. The governor’s PowerPoint presentation, refined over recent weeks at locations across the state, addressed the issues of a property tax cap (popular among realtors in the audience), government ethics reform, and gay marriage (popular among local event planners).
Isolation was a recurring theme in this quadricentennial year of Samuel de Champlain’s arrival in the valley that now bears his name. In October, in synchrony with the crumbling fortunes and impending collapse of the North Country GOP, the Crown Point Bridge spanning Lake Champlain was condemned by state inspectors. Before the year ended, the bridge was brought down by explosives, the direct descendant of the black powder Champlain first introduced to the Crown Point shore in 1609. » Continue Reading.
After eight years of wars, terror warnings, environmental destruction, corporate and political corruption, and general cultural excess ending in a systematic collapse of the country’s financial system, 2009 opened on more than a few notes of remorse, albeit with unmistakable chords of optimism and hope for new beginnings and a new president. His list was long. (click the cartoons for larger images.)
The first order of business for the Obama administration was to continue flooding the wrecked economy with massive stimulus programs courtesy of generations yet unborn.
Some of the stimulus money eventually trickled to the north country via Albany.
Politically, it was a year of cascading dominoes, initiated in Washington and winding up inside the blue line. After Hillary Clinton upgraded her senate seat for first class in the State Department, Governor Paterson chose Kirsten Gillibrand from the 20th congressional district as New York’s junior senator. That move set off a battle for the once-reliable GOP house seat in a race between a conservative Democrat from Glens Falls, New York’s Assembly Minority Leader (visiting from a neighboring district), and a third party candidate. On April Fools’ Day—the morning after the election—the narrowest of margins for Democrat Scott Murphy triggered a recount battle that carried through Tax Day, past Passover, beyond Easter to the end of April when Republican James Tedisco finally conceded.
GOP leaders, eager to avoid a repeat of mistakes which led to defeat in the 20th, opted against importing a high-profile male candidate from a neighboring district, in favor of a home-grown moderate female candidate. Conservatives in the party (and Glenn Beck) had other plans, ultimately replacing Republican Dede Scozzafava with a high-profile male candidate from a neighboring district. With predictable results.
Check back at 10:00 AM today for the second half of the 2009 Adirondack year in cartoons.
Doug Hoffman conceded at 12:10 a.m., thanking “every single person out there who joined my team and fought for America. This was the biggest hill I’ve ever faced, and I’m a 46er, so I’ve faced plenty of them.”
The crowd at the Hotel Saranac had thinned but was enthusiastic, especially when the Conservative talked about an unlikely campaign that grew into a phenomenon. They cheered lines like, “We have to remember that a government that serves us everything takes away our freedoms.”
“We gotta fight back!’” members of the audience yelled. And they might, in a year, but Hoffman did not get into that tonight.
Hoffman said he called to congratulate Congressman Elect Bill Owens, who will be the first non-Republican to represent the district since the 1850s, and offered to help him to bring jobs to the area. “Let’s work with him together, but let’s make sure we get the message out there: we can’t spend money we don’t have.”
He closed with, “You don’t have to be polished, you don’t have to be poised, you don’t have to be a rock star to be a politician, so let’s all step up to the plate.”
11:00. High hopes of Hoffman supporters have been eroding all evening. Campaign spokesman Rob Ryan has had to alter his vision from sprint to marathon, as the campaigns prepare to unleash the lawyers.
There is much talk about absentee ballots. Campaign staff say they might have to spend the night at Hotel Saranac and get results tomorrow, if then. Hangers on wait for an appearance by Doug Hoffman that they expect will be neither concession nor victory speech.
Hotel Saranac. Hoffman HQ. TV outlets have been jockeying for preferred tripod positions on the press platform all afternoon. By 7:30 all the good spots are claimed.
. . . At 10:19 p.m. all those here who had said the race would be declared by 10 watch the TV quietly as Owens leads slightly in early returns. The candidate made a brief appearance in the lobby at 9:35, after a live interview with Sean Hannity, then went back to a room upstairs.
Check in throughout the day for scenes from NY-23 in Saranac Lake.
On what was supposed to be a sleepy off-year election day, many counties across upstate New York’s 23rd congressional district rolled out new optical scan voting machines. A considerable departure from the old gray crank and ratchet machines that looked like something some glacier deposited in the town hall countless millennia ago, the new models are squat, lusterless black, cyclopsed affairs that look like the dog that ate your homework in second grade. Like that dog, these don’t appear to give receipts either, according to the poll watchers.
On Saturday, when Dede Scozzafava’s campaign bus turned into a pumpkin, it came as a shock but not a surprise to North Country political observers. The unpredictable five-month, three-party campaign to fill the vacated House seat of Army Secretary John McHugh was elevated in its early stages to a war of surrogates for political forces both at the state and national levels, according to a close observer of New York GOP politics.
The source—speaking on background—said Scozzafava’s attempts to court organized labor (specifically her support for the Employees’ Free Choice Act) was responsible more than any other issue for attracting the political action committee Club for Growth to the campaign of Conservative Party candidate Douglas Hoffman. The money and advertisements that followed “put Dede in a position where she never had a chance to define herself.”
Former Democratic Rural Conference Chairman Stuart Brody, who lost a bid to become his party’s nominee in this election, agrees that outside attention and campaign contributions had a distorting effect on the race: “Money often obscures the message.”
While the National Republican Congressional Committee (which took charge of the Scozzafava campaign in September) was framing the contest as a referendum on Democratic policies and leadership in Washington, and the conservative media were building the Hoffman campaign into a referendum on both Democrats and centrist Republicans, New York State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long was using the insurgent Hoffman campaign to bend the State GOP ideologically to the right. “Mike Long feels he has something to prove,” according to the Republican Party observer.
And if Thursday’s defection to Hoffman’s camp of former Governor George Pataki notched a victory for the Conservative Party leader, Stuart Brody believes that “what Mike Long thinks means nothing. . . . Ultimately, the North Country is moderate. Folks think for themselves.”
Asked how he sees Scozzafava’s withdrawal effecting Tuesday’s result, Brody departs from the conventional wisdom that Hoffman will benefit. In step with his faith in the independent mindset of the North Country electorate, he feels that a portion of Scozzafava supporters, particularly those driven by organized labor interests, will find their way to Democrat Bill Owens.
Our Republican Party observer points out that it may be too late for the move to produce a large-scale change, citing the layout of the ballots on which Bill Owens holds line A, followed by Scozzafava on lines B and C, followed by Doug Hoffman on line D.
As for Wednesday, the lack of a Republican candidate does not guarantee any less intense an effort to impound and count and recount the ballots. With so much at stake from every angle, a close outcome at the polls will assuredly give way to a recount phase as long as (and exceeding the cost of) the campaign itself. Ask any of your next door neighbors of NY-20.
And the day after a victor finally emerges? The seat will be up for grabs again in less than a year; a mid-term election is already well under way in most districts. Former candidate Stuart Brody anticipates that a Democratic winner will be immediately challenged by Republicans. In the event of a Hoffman victory, Brody expects that a number of Democrats will step forward to challenge the Conservative—a number which may include himself.