Feb. 13, 2008: Get the facts
To The Editor:
It has started early.‚ÄÇ The new Shandaken Town Board has‚ÄÇbeen in office barely a month and the over-blown attacks are already flying.‚ÄÇ The level of hostility at the February town board meeting was‚ÄÇreminiscent of another time in our not-too-distant past.‚ÄÇ Some of the faces are the same as before,‚ÄÇsome are new.‚ÄÇ‚ÄÇAt issue was the town board hiring a consultant to write ‚Äòscoping‚Äô comments for the town to submit to DEC by the January 14 deadline, relating to‚ÄÇthe environmental review of the Belleayre Resort and‚ÄÇthe expansion of the ski center.‚ÄÇ (The resort and Ski Center expansion must be‚ÄÇreviewed together.)‚ÄÇ‚ÄÇOne part of‚ÄÇthe issue was that the new town board‚ÄÇhad been in office for only days before the deadline for submission of‚ÄÇcomments.‚ÄÇ The new supervisor, and seemingly none of the board members,‚ÄÇrealized that they could call a last-minute‚ÄÇmeeting to pass a resolution to move on hiring the consultant‚ÄÇand authorizing payment.‚ÄÇ Instead, Supervisor DiSclafani contacted‚ÄÇeach board member individually and asked if they wanted to go forward with this.‚ÄÇ‚ÄÇFour said yes,‚ÄÇone said no.‚ÄÇ Four‚ÄÇagreed to the cost, one did not.‚ÄÇ All saw the submission before it was sent.‚ÄÇ The board‚ÄÇpassed a resolution at the February meeting formalizing this by a margin of 4-1.‚ÄÇ
Supervisor DiSclafani publicly took responsibility for not realizing in time that he could have‚ÄÇcalled‚ÄÇa meeting on‚ÄÇsuch short notice.‚ÄÇ Now he knows.‚ÄÇ He said he would have paid for it himself if the resolution authorizing payment had not passed.‚ÄÇ‚ÄÇWhat was amazing was that some present treated the‚ÄÇsupervisor‚ÄÇand some of the‚ÄÇboard members‚ÄÇas if they had committed the crime of the century.‚ÄÇ I would call it a blatant attempt‚ÄÇto‚ÄÇintimidate the board and drum up animosity toward them.‚ÄÇ Crossroads consultant Gary Gailes threw the word ‚Äòlawsuit‚Äô around and Jack Jordan kept saying that this may have been an ‚Äòillegal‚Äô act. It was not just the words they used, but the tones of‚ÄÇvoice‚ÄÇand accusatory‚ÄÇgestures.‚ÄÇ‚ÄÇSupervisor DiSclafani apologized, took responsibility, would have been willing to pay if need be, but that wasn‚Äôt enough.
So what‚Äôs the‚ÄÇreal issue here?‚ÄÇ‚ÄÇThe real issue is/was that the pro-Crossroads contingent seems unhappy that the town submitted scoping comments at all.‚ÄÇ Apparently they want the town to sit on its hands,‚ÄÇnot participate in the review, and ignore the fact that‚ÄÇ85 percent of‚ÄÇthis‚ÄÇmajor development is in Shandaken.‚ÄÇ It also happens to be‚ÄÇthe largest project ever proposed for the entire region.‚ÄÇWhat‚Äôs more, the attackers‚ÄÇblamed the town because‚ÄÇthe scoping submission included comments on the‚ÄÇBelleayre Ski Center expansion, which by law has to be reviewed with the resort since both impact the same area.‚ÄÇ‚ÄÇThey‚ÄÇacted as if it was the town board‚Äôs scoping submission‚ÄÇthat caused the‚ÄÇresort and ski center to have to be reviewed together, which is ridiculous.
In addition,‚ÄÇcombining‚ÄÇthe review of the ski center expansion and the resort‚ÄÇis‚ÄÇa stipulation stated in‚ÄÇthe infamous Agreement in Principle, signed by‚ÄÇthe governor,‚ÄÇthe developers, and several other groups and individuals.‚ÄÇ‚ÄÇ
A good motto for future town board meetings‚ÄÇmight be,‚ÄÇ‚ÄúGet the facts before you attack.‚Äù‚ÄÇ