Years ago, when the wind debacle began to emerge. Many people commented to me that they did not care or that they did not have an opinion because after all wind development did not affect them because they did not live in Cape Vincent. However, this attitude is representative of a very naive way of thinking. Because in reality this is not a wind issue at all this is an issue of human rights and freedom. freedoms that are protected by the constitution of the United states of America. freedoms that were earned through the lifeblood of the patriots that fought to establish this great nation.
In order to understand the depth of what is happening in Cape Vincent it is necessary to examine past events that may have been instrumental in shaping our future.
Cape Vincent has a history that is not widely understood this is a history that is supported by the archives of the Watertown Times and the minutes of Cape Vincent’s board meetings
A recent example of this history was the petition that was circulated in order to prevent a certain element of the community from voting. This petition was the basis for a resolution passed by Marty Mason, Donny Mason and Mickey Orvis . This resolution was an attempt to disenfranchise a segment of Cape Vincent's population by restricting voting
Not only did the Masons pass this illegal law but they refused to rescind this resolution as well.
Most recently there was the Democratic Caucus Circus or the non Caucus ,Caucus .
Apparently the proper paper work for the Caucus was not submitted in a timely fashion . However the political machine in Cape Vincent is experienced in such matters and it is highly unlikely that they actually forgot. This may have been a manipulative ploy to disenfranchise another segment of Cape Vincent’s voting population.
The problems in Cape Vincent began many years ago the with the growing animosity for the interfering “outsiders”. This animosity has driven the Good Ol' boys network to extreme lengths to achieve their goals.
Early lessons learned
The building of the prison in Cape Vincent.
The following about the prison has been excerpted from a letter written to the Watertown Times by Harold Wiley.
The next huge issue to come before the residents of Cape Vincent was the building of a prison in our town. This really aroused people the point of turning friends and neighbors against each other again. When it was first mentioned at a town board meeting the comment was “Do you want Cape Vincent Known as a prison town?”
Times passed and many public meetings overflowing with hands for and against. Finally, with a strong town board, a decision was reached. Property was purchased and the prison was built. It has provided many jobs for local men and women (good paying jobs). It has also brought other people to move here, rent homes, built homes and helped boost our economy. What other business was about to come to Cape Vincent with a 12 to 13 million dollar pay roll. It has helped keep Cape Vincent alive and well and provided many jobs.
Enter Richard Edsall.
Around the time the first prison was developed, a Community advisory Board or (C.A.B.) was established as a liaison between the prison and the community. In the beginning, Richard Edsall was the vice chair.
Nov 30, 1989 the C.A.B. unanimously passed a resolution that Cape Vincent be placed on a list of communities to be considered for a second correctional facility. Cape Vincent town and Village Boards follow suit and both passing resolutions in support of this request. A letter was then sent by the C.A.B. to the department of corrections requesting consideration for a second correctional facility. The commissioner of corrections Thomas A. Coughlin wrote back explaining that in order to be considered that they must have approved sites. Property owners must be willing to sell their land to the state. This is not an unattractive proposition considering that the 127.00 acres that the prison now stands on cost the State a hefty 300,000. The advisory board was asking landowners to show their support by offering property.
Reportedly ~ Richard J. Edsall said that “The coffee shop consensus from people is yes go for it,”
And Edsall did in a big way by offering land he had purchased on Stony Point Road in September of 1987, as well as other property he owns on Swamp Road, as did Edsalls in Laws who owned property on Burnt Rock road. Would that be a conflict?
When the community at large became aware of the plan for this second prison, they galvanized and fought the Community Advisory Board’s plan and they fought hard.
The Community of Cape Vincent did not want a second prison and a citizens group was formed between summer residents and year round residents.
A letter and survey were sent out to the community addressing three concerns.
1.) Quality of life – The construction of an enlarged or additional facility may forever change the town’s character from that of a resort to one of “Potentially reduced revenue and increased pollution,”
2.) Property Value- current and future homes may experience “reduced value and/ or liquidity because of an eroded tourist image and an increased level of resident anxiety.”
3.) The Unknown- There has been a local “ground swell of uncertainty” within the past few months.
The letter also notes the lack of an environmental impact study and the Chamber of Commerce’s refusal to endorse the proposal as two important issues concerning the proposed prison development.
April 7th 1990 as a result of the opposition to a second prison a lengthy public meeting ensued, most of the 400 resident’s attending spent four hours expressing their opposition to the plan to build a new prison and offering suggestions that would boost Cape Vincent’s economy ,they offered their time, talent and even financial support to spur economic growth.
Consequently, the village of Cape Vincent rescinded the resolution it passed in support of a second prison. The newly formed Cape Citizens Association asked that the Town Board rescind its resolution the Town Board did not rescind its resolution supporting a second state prison . Instead, it promised no further action on the proposal until the new citizens' group could provide alternative ways to promote economic growth.
Additionally, the board passed a resolution promising that "no further action or correspondence" will take place with the state Department of Correctional Services without notifying the taxpayers of the town in ample time for any input they may have.
Almost a year had passed and the idea of a second prison in Cape Vincent was just a memory until February of 1991 when Richard J. Edsall now Chairman of the Cape Advisory Board decided to resurrect the idea once again.
Richard J. Edsall, board chair, said nothing has been finalized and at this point, it is only under consideration.
"Right now we are just discussing the possibility of recruiting a second prison," he said. "At the present time, we are just discussing it among ourselves."
The state did not peruse the project.
Moving along to 1996 ~ Enter Darrel Aubertine.
Jefferson County Legislator Darrel J. Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent, said in a Watertown Times article that he had the support of the Clayton and Cape Vincent Chambers of commerce to lobby the state officials for a prison . This was a crucial endorsement because previously the lack of the chambers support had been primary in killing the efforts to build a second prison in Cape Vincent.
Aubertine and the Legislature's Finance and Rules Committee even passed a resolution "supporting the efforts of interested towns" Aubertine said that people in District 1 have been gathering support for the last six weeks but did not go public . Additionally, Aubertine stated that unnamed officials that were experienced in the siting process already had three or four sites in mind
apparently this pursuit for a second prison was built on one of Darrel Aubertine’s "misunderstandings", as it was revealed that he did not have any endorsement for the prison from the Cape Vincent or Clayton chamber of commerce.
The opposition to a second prison in Cape Vincent set the stage for the Wind development deception. The power base in Cape Vincent decided that in order to make their dreams of becoming wealthy at the expense of our community would only become a reality if it were behind the scenes.
And so it began …
Link here to read the history of Wind in Cape Vincent -- where Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River meet Wind Corruption and Greed