March 27, 2007

Freeville house fire

An old house I'd always really liked burned yesteday in Freeville. The Freeville, Dryden, Varna, Etna, Groton, McLean and Cayuga Heights fire departments all responded, as did Dryden Ambulance, NYSEG, and the New York State Department of Transportation. There were no injuries, but three people were hurt, and it sounds like years of work on the house have been lost.

Today is the final day for vote-counting in the village elections, including Dryden's, where one vote separates a win from a loss and two ballots, which we held during the canvas, remain to be counted. I've asked the Democratic Election Commissioner to count those final two, despite their incomplete backs. I don't expect any change in the results - and as I said in the article, this has been excruciating.

Dryden High School will be fielding its first lacrosse team ever, having built from modified to junior varsity to varsity. It's an amazing game to watch, and hopefully it'll be here to stay.

On the opinion page today, the Journal looks at a subject that's caused major controversy in Dryden in the past, fire company audits. They're right that it would ease a lot of conversations if audits were ordinary, just a part of doing government business.

Apparently I'm not the only one who found Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton's reply on redistricting to be disappointing. Kahlil Williams of the Brennan Center for Justice uses a children's story to ilustrate his concerns with her piece:

Enter Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton. Her guest column on redistricting in The Journal... illustrates how Henny Penny and Turkey Lurkey are sometimes the same creature. The beginning of her piece is in the Henny Penny mold, presenting some important considerations and questions for redistricting reform, including compliance with the Voting Rights Act, respecting communities of interest, etc.

But these considerations begin to sound more like excuses that undermine reform as the article goes on. For instance, Lifton wonders aloud whether we could find non-partisans "who would be willing to take on the complex task" of redrawing the boundaries for New York's Congressional and state legislative districts, even though 2.3 million New Yorkers are not registered to any political party. And she struggles to understand how an independent commission might be structured (as if one must be adopted out of whole cloth) ignoring the fact that such commissions already exist elsewhere. In short, it's as if she's preemptively saying "Not I," a la Turkey Lurkey.

Laurie Snyder of Varna writes about the ups and downs of spring's arrival.

Posted by simon at March 27, 2007 8:38 AM in , , ,
Note on photos


Mary Ann said:

Interesting thoughts in the fire department audit editorial. The last serious conflict in the Town of Dryden culminated in the Town requiring and paying for audits of all four fire departments laying to rest the mistrust that arises from a lack of information. In three short years that mistrust took root again and is now being quieted by the extraordinary cooperation and openness of the fire departments in response to the Board's new Emergency Services Committee.

We don't need a county, state or federal law. We need town boards to step up with a reasonable level of common sense and help the fire departments do the work we expect them to. Town boards and fire deparments come to the table with varying degrees of managerial skill. In Dryden, the Town Board has had very little reason to question the departments' ability to respond to emergencies. Our main questions have been about response statistics and finance reports.

To avoid having to reinvent the wheel with each change in the Town Board, we're establishing a reporting and record keeping system that can continue as key players change and make comparisons over the years and across departments clearer. It's time consuming at the moment. But making this information available will increase understanding among the fire departments and the Board. And I'm confident that it will result in more sensible funding decisions.