October 23, 2005

$50,000 for firefighters; working for better math scores

This week's Dryden Courier leads with a picture of last week's press conference at which County Legislator Mike Lane and Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton announced $50,000 in funding for firefighting equipment at Dryden's Neptune Hose Company and Freeville's W.B. Strong. $35,000 at Dryden will pay for an emergency generator to let the fire hall operate as an communications center in case of emergency, while $15,000 in Freeville will purchase imaging cameras, gas meters, and other firefighting devices.

There's also an article on the Dryden Central School District's efforts to improve their math curriculum, "aligning the entire math curriculum within the district." There's also mention of the possible formation of a chapter of the Points of Light Foundation's Kids Care Clubs, recognition of the girls soccer team's 14-0 record (now 17-0), and reports on Hurricane Katrina relief and concessions.

The Courier has an article and an editorial on the Town of Dryden's passing the Comprehensive Plan. The editorial takes up the question of eminent domain:

Town board members were put between a rock and a hard place. They said over and over again that they would never use eminent domain for recreational use, yet they were bombarded with residents voicing complaints at town meetings. So the board made a change in good faith, to ease concerns of the residents.

And while the board should be lauded for listening and acting on residents' concerns, it's somewhat troubling that residents were unable to see things from the point of view of the board. Many residents seemed relatively uninformed about the issue or the process, relying on partial information and second-hand knowledge...

It's the people, not the plan. Plans are needed to ensure the character of the town; to ensure Main Street in Groton doesn't become a strip mall and that rural sections of Lansing remain separated from the commercial district. They offer guidance, but provide flexibility for changes and revisions as the town grows and the needs change.

But the people who run the town are where the power lies. They make the decisions that are going to affect the property owners. They are there to serve the people, and it's the people's responsibility to ensure the right representatives are chosen.

Also on the opinion page are three letters supporting County Legislator Martha Robertson's re-election, from Linda Wagenet, Jason Leifer, and Florence and Henry Riccuiti. Martha Ferger writes a letter supporting Mike Lane, saying that:

My enthusiastic support for Michael Lane for reelection to the County Board from District 14, stems from my admiration for the steady good sense he has demonstrated over many years of untiring public service to the Village of Dryden as mayor and to the County in its legislature.

The Police section lists a Dryden man's DWI and an assault in Dryden. There's also an article on the challenges Tompkins County's Department of Social Services will face in the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) - the rules for qualifying for the program were eased, but fuel costs have increased while the budget remained stagnant.

Update: I missed an easy target in the Courier as well. District Attorney George Dentes ran a "Requiem for Rocky" ad in which he starts from a premise that just plain isn't true:

As I campaign around the County, I find that many people are unaware that the Rockefeller drug laws are dead. Even my opponent was unaware of this. She started campaigning hard against those laws, until she heard me say they were repealed last year.

I knew the laws had been reformed - slightly - last year, but George Dentes is the only person I've ever heard claim that they've been repealed. There are lots of headlines about people who want to repeal them, but no headlines about anything more than reform on the edges being accomplished. Yesterday I told my brother - a public defender in Manhattan - that Dentes was claiming they'd been repealed, and he laughed. New York did, after years of negotiation, revise the laws slightly (80KB PDF), reducing the highest mandatory sentences, but they maintained their general form and their mandatory imprisonment clauses:

The Rockefeller Drug Law reform bill signed by Governor Pataki on December 14 ... does not fundamentally change the State's approach to drug addiction and drug crime. First-time offenders convicted of Class B street-level sales still face mandatory imprisonment, and those with a prior felony conviction will still only manage to escape prison with the consent of a prosecutor. (From summary (114KB PDF) by New York State Defenders Association.

George Dentes frequently seems to be the last person in New York State still supporting the Rockefeller drug laws, whatever their cost to taxpayers may be. There's good reason "many people are unaware that the Rockefeller drug laws are dead" - they aren't. Perhaps from his extreme position even modification looks like repeal? Or maybe it's just convenient to push that unique perspective during election season.

Posted by simon at October 23, 2005 8:55 PM in , , , ,
Note on photos