BP's Tatics in Cape Vincent Ny

Monday, February 2, 2015

MALICIOUS POISON PEN LETTER DEPLOYS

ARTISTIC LICENSE TO KILL

THE SASS INITIATIVE


I am writing you this letter because you’re on the TIRAP Advisory Board. I believe that you know me well enough to understand that I am a reasonable person, with a sincere interest in the protection and welfare of the River and Island communities. That said I see some serious issues that need to be looked at here.

The Thousand Islands Regional Assessment Project (TIRAP) was a grant, initiated nearly two years ago and (as you know) is overseen by the TIRAP steering committee.

Having been on many committees, I know how easily it is for good intentions to get subtly undermined in the process. I also know that no one on any committee I have ever been on wants to take a negative view on issues — particularly those that have some genuine merit. In my experience, committee work is usually controlled by just a few people, and everyone else wants to be cooperative and agreeable.  

I (and everyone I know) genuinely support the idea that Thousand Islands’ river communities are truly unique and should be promoted and protected. However, from what I’ve pick up on, the New York’s Department of State’s push to designate our river communities as “Scenic Areas of Statewide Significance” (SASS) has some real potential problems.
The most disconcerting aspect of this effort has been the SASS approval process. From what I have heard, this process has not been an open, objective, comprehensive evaluation of this important decision. Instead, biased consultants were hired, closed meetings took place, and conflicting information was provided to the involved communities. There are still many unanswered questions to this day. This is a flawed undemocratic process, where the claimed benefits are unproven (and questionable), and serious potential downsides are likely. A good idea appears to have gone off the track.

We are particularly concerned that additional levels of government review and scrutiny on land use and development decisions will be given to state agencies by means of the SASS designation.  We support the concept of Home Rule, and believe that any new levels of governmental oversight, reviews and regulations should remain at the local level. New York State should not be invited into our decision making process when it will significantly impact our way of life, or our communities’ tax-base and economic future. Don’t we have enough government intervention already?

It wasn’t that long ago that the State was telling us their one-sided story about how great industrial wind energy was for NNY — yet at the same time they passed a law taking away our Home Rule Rights to determine this matter locally (Article X). This SASS initiative and the way it is being done is disturbingly similar.

Unfortunately I am out of the state and will not be able to attend the important Hammond meeting this coming Tuesday evening — and speak out against this flawed process. If I could be there I would request that the SASS application be immediately terminated. It would be a good thing if you would do that though. My view is that any further proposals generated by the TIRAP steering committee should be vetted in a thorough, objective, open, and democratic manner.

Alternatively, if you are unable to attend that meeting, please send an email to Ron Bertram  the person leading this effort. 

Thank you for your efforts here, and let me know any questions.

Thank you.
Mike (Ringer)

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who set Ringer up?

Ringer maligns the committee based on his previous experience with other committees, but not the SASS committee.

Ringer tells us SASS is a dept of state initiative when Ron Bertram the supervisor from Hammond tells us he and others made the initial contact.

Ringer tells us, FROM WHAT HE HAS HEARD, that the SASS process is flawed, but Ringer knows nothing from his own personal experience.

Ringer then tells us that SASS and Article X are similar examples of the loss of home rule when he obviously knows nothing about the local wind and Article X fight. If he was engaged in the wind controversy he would no comparing the two is outrageous and foolish.

Given his second-hand, out-of-touch diatribe Ringer then has the nerve to state, "If I could be there I would request that the SASS application be immediately terminated."

The anti-Sassers still don't get it that the responsible approach is to wait for the draft final report, read it, digest it, attend the public hearing and then decide if will benefit the Thousand Islands region. Mr. Ringer and your anti-Sass letter writer, what is so wrong with making an informed decision?

Writing a letter with so much hearsay, misinformation and innuendo makes me wonder if Ringer has even seen some of the places he paints.



Anonymous said...

Mr. Ringer is a longtime defender of the Thousands Islands region — so his allegiance is beyond question.

As such he has every right to ask that such a major decision as SASS be done in an open, objective and transparent way.

The fact that his asking for such a process is characterized as "malicious poison pen" is an unfortunate and inaccurate portrayal.

BTW I'm not going to be anonymous.

john droz, jr
Brantingham Lake
Frequent TI region visitor

K. Muschell said...

Mr. Droz,

I stand by my opinion that this is a malicious letter.

The SASS initiative has been open, democratic and transparent; if Mr. Ringer had bothered to participate in the process, he would know that. He is entitled to his opinion as am I but he takes it farther than just an innocuous opinion when he calls for others to terminate the SASS application on his behalf.

"If I could be there I would request that the SASS application be immediately terminated. It would be a good thing if you would do that though."

Calling for someone to terminate the SASS Application before the process is complete is malicious and irresponsible. This action would deny citizens the opportunity to participate in the process and does a disservice to the citizens in the Thousand Islands region.

Additionally, my opinion is based on the letter that Mr. Ringer submitted under his name.I have no idea how he formulated this opinion without participating in the process.

Furthermore Mr. Droz I have the right to question anyone’s allegiance including yours!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Droz, no one's allegiance to the Thousand Islands region is beyond question.

If you had been informed about the process you would know it has been an open process with ample opportunity for the public to be informed and ask questions. What you fail to mention in your defense of Ringer's letter, however, is the call from Ringer to terminate the process immediately. I can't believe you of all people would approve of making incomplete, ill-informed decisions.

A call for an early termination is to kill due process and to kill due diligence by local governance.

Mr. Droz, it is unfortunate that you and Mr. Ringer have been dragged into a junior high food fight. It has less to do with Sass and more to do with personal pissing contests in Hammond, the SAFE Act, and our overbearing governor.

One final point, you could help Mr. Ringer by reviewing with him the Q&A from Dept of State regarding the DESIGNATION Sass (available on this blog) and comparing it with New York's Article X ELECTRIC GENERATION SITING LAW and its accompanying rules. The contrast is like night and day. Only someone completely ill-informed would compare a scenic designation with New York's Article X law and suggest both are examples of the heavy hands of central state government. Nonsense!

Anonymous said...

Why are some so intent on stopping sass? It makes sense to go through with it and then make a decsion. It doesn't to quit now before you get all the information. Why quit now. Can someone explain?

Anonymous said...

I'd be glad to respond to any non-anyonmous posters.

The issue here is whether to continue on or not? Since the evidence seems to indicate that the process to date has not been comprehensive, objective, or transparent, there is good reason to stop and regroup.

For those who think otherwise, they can answer the key question: where is the thorough, objective study that has concluded that SASS participation will be a NET benefit for NNY communities?

If such a study exists, I'd ask why it is not prominently posted on the TIRAP site.

John Droz, jr

Anonymous said...

Droz said, "Since the evidence seems to indicate that the process to date has not been comprehensive, objective or transparent..."

Balderdash! Read Supervisor Bertram's post. There is no evidence for shoddy, biased, and a secretive process.

Droz stated "The issue here is whether to continue on or not." However, Ringer/Droz and others are asking municipalities to abort the process now before the final Sass report is delivered and considered. They are urging a select group of Sass advisers to kill the process before the report is delivered and before a scheduled public hearing in April.

Officials in the Towns of Cape Vincent, Clayton, Orleans and Alexandria decided to wait for the final report and public hearing and then decide whether Sass is right for their communities. They understand there is no cost or reason to terminate the process now. The Town's positions are reasonable, responsible and good governance.

For those who need a report before they will consider having the Thousand Islands deemed a beautiful, special spot, we should read the draft report that will be available this month. To opt out before the report is delivered and studied is foolhardy and there is no reasonable argument to kill it before reading it.

Nope, the guy still doesn't understand why Ringer/Droz wants to quit now.

Anonymous said...

From what I understand SASS is a special designation that would help protect the beautiful Thousand Islands region from ugly, ill-conceived development. I would think all artists along the river would support such an effort. I bought two prints this winter at Ringer's shop in Clayton and never saw a single print of the Wolfe Island wind farm. I think Ringer's art speaks better than his support of local political causes.

Anonymous said...

This process has been ongoing for over two years. Never have I seen Ringer at any SASS meeting or heard that he contacted Bertram with an issue or question. Where did he get his information in order to write such a letter? Shame on whoever actually wrote this letter and put it under this person's hand to sign for him to be their patsy. My advice to Mr. Ringer, do more due diligence before agreeing to do someone a favor who is irresponsible and arrogant. You are better than that.

Anonymous said...

I see that no one has yet shown where there is a comprehensive, objective study concluding that SASS will be a NET benefit to NNY communities.

This matter seems eerily like the wind energy issue — where promoters repeatedly pushed a narrative that there were only benefits for NNY to take on industrial turbines. (BTW, NY State was such a key evangelist.)

We should not automatically be for, or against, any such proposals. These types of matters are complicated — and require a thorough, impartial, transparent analysis of the NET impact on NNY communities.

The wind proponents said there wouldn't be environmental liabilities — and hired a consultant who already held that view, to write up a report "confirming" it.

The SASS proponents say there will not be negative consequences — and hired a consultant who already held that view, to write up a report "confirming" it.

It's interesting how CROH people who so clearly saw the error in the wind energy situation, do not see the many parallels with the SASS matter.

If this pending report was an exhaustive assessment being done by an independent unbiased source, then it would be interest. Please correct me I'm mistaken, but that is not what this is going to be.

BTW, would we have said: "We'll make a decision on whether to have wind energy in the Thousand Islands based on the state's reports about the merits of wind energy"?

I think not. And I think we can tell with 100% accuracy ahead of time that the pending SASS report is NOT going to be an objective, comprehensive assessment of the situation.

SASS may very well be a good thing for the Thousand Island communities. We'll never know until an unbiased, thorough, transparent assessment is done.

john droz, jr.

Anonymous said...

I think you are right. Michael Ringer did not write that letter. A friend said he was not involved in SASS. He would know. Obviously someone asked him to use his name. They wanted people to trash SASS because Michael Ringer said so. Stupid play because people know better. Sometimes if you try to be nice it only backfires.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:19. Ringer wasn't the only one who knew nothing about SASS. Droz never attended any of the SASS meetings, yet he likes spouting off as an expert,
"This matter seems eerily like the wind energy issue — where promoters repeatedly pushed a narrative that there were only benefits for NNY to take on industrial turbines."

This is an absurd, ill-informed argument. Promoters of wind were reps from big corporations who were only interested in making a big buck while littering the land with worthless spinning machines. They operated under secrecy and paid local officials to help them move their projects forward. Their projects would have been eyesores and a blight for the Thousand Islands.

Compare that to a project (SASS) that wants the Thousand Islands region to be recognized as a beautiful, scenic wonderland. Compare that to an effort where money isn't changing hands or used to influence public policy. Compare that an effort that has been open and available to the public. Compare that to an effort whose proponents were local elected and appointed officials who were interested in a designation that would likely benefit their tourism-based economies.

No Mr. Droz, SASS is not eerily like wind. It is nothing like wind and it does not require a cost benefit analysis. It just requires a little effort to study the inventory report, the final draft report when it becomes available this month, and to ask questions, if you have any, at a public hearing in April. Then officials can make a decision whether it will benefit their communities. This is simple, it isn't rocket science or brain surgery.

Anonymous said...

I think Droz should go back to his wind business where he apprently knows something. Reading these comments I conclude that Droz wrote Ringers letter.

Anonymous said...

This quote came from the Scientific American article "The Man Who Makes Sea Level Rise Go Away" (September 30, 2013). "But what Droz is doing, say experts on public policy and climate science, is successfully sowing doubt in lawmakers and the public alike. He raises questions about the science behind complex policy issues mostly tied to global warming where, among scientists, the evidence is clear. " The article goes on to say, "The efforts of Droz – and those who present similar arguments in a similar fashion, notably Fox News and other conservative media – erode the public trust in scientists..."

Now fast forward to Ringer's letter and this morning at 7:56 on this blog where Droz states, "We should not automatically be for, or against, any such proposals. These types of matters are complicated — and require a thorough, impartial, transparent analysis of the NET impact on NNY communities." Droz continues, "And I think we can tell with 100% accuracy ahead of time that the pending SASS report is NOT going to be an objective, comprehensive assessment of the situation. SASS may very well be a good thing for the Thousand Island communities. We'll never know until an unbiased, thorough, transparent assessment is done."

Droz is trying to do what he has done for years in North Carolina - sow doubt and erode the confidence in everything that has been done here in the Thousand Islands while he was the King of Doubt in North Carolina. I am also left wondering if Droz has been advising the local anti-SASS movement, since they keep suggesting there are unanswered questions after their questions have been answered dozens of time.

So, what is going on here in the Thousand Islands is discredit the message along with messenger. No one has any credibility, no one can be trusted. Moreover, we can never move ahead with any human endeavor unless we have a detailed, comprehensive and unbiased report on the costs, benefits, risks blah, blah, blah! With this mentality we'd still be living in a cave putting the finishing touches on a comprehensive, unbiased report on the benefits of using fire!