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#17296 - 11/21/05 02:54 PM Furtherance of the Ruse
Kent Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/21/00
Posts: 1038
Loc: The Bayards
Just an observation on the supposed "Shawangunk Biodiversity Partnership" referenced on the front page of gunks.com today. This is still really the Mohonk Preserve and the Nature Conservancy invoking the names of other organizations, supposed members of the "partnership", to lend credibility to all that the partnership does. But there is no partnership. There is no phone number or address listed for the partnership anywhere, including the New York Secretary of States Office. Contact links on gunksfireplan.org, the web site listed for the prescribed burns, are for Nature Conservancy and Mohonk Preserve employees. The brochure for the parthership is up on the Preserve's website. The domain name gunksfireplan.org is registered to The Nature Conservancy.

This is the building of an identity for an organization that doesn't exist, for the purpose of influencing the local political processes of master planning and zoning in favor of the Mohonk Preserve and the Nature Concervancy, and at the expense of smaller landowners on the ridge.

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#17297 - 11/21/05 03:25 PM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: Kent]
mworking Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 764
Kent,

When I climb I climb with a partner!
The fact that we don't have a partnership website or phone number does not mean we are not partners!
Today you sound as paranoid as I do sometimes.

If you have problem with the fires please tell us what it is.

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#17298 - 11/21/05 03:44 PM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: mworking]
Kent Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/21/00
Posts: 1038
Loc: The Bayards
In your hypothetical climbing partner scenario, were you to spend $50,000 the day after you were climbing and claim it was from your partnership, when all of the money came from you, it would be deceitful. So too, when the Mohonk Preserve gives Peter Fairweather $50,000 for work on the Green Assets Program of the partnership, it is deceitful. The money doesn't come from members of the partnership, it comes from the Mohonk Preserve.

I don't have any probem with the prescribed burns. I have a problem with the Mohonk Preserve giving money to Peter Fairweather, ostensibly for the Green Assets Program of the Shawangunk Biodiversity Partnership. Peter Fairweather is the same planner writing master plans for towns around the Preserve.




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#17299 - 11/21/05 04:37 PM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: Kent]
mworking Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 764
Ok, as you describe it , this sounds like a conflict of interest.
But, it also sounds like a a town planning problem not a Preserve problem.

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#17300 - 11/21/05 04:55 PM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: mworking]
Kent Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/21/00
Posts: 1038
Loc: The Bayards
Ok, as you describe it , this sounds like a conflict of interest.

This conflict of interest is the subject of an Article 78 challenge to the Town Of Gardiner's Master Plan.

But, it also sounds like a a town planning problem not a Preserve problem.

It's a problem for the Preserve in that some Preserve neighbors, myself included, regard the Preserve's payment to Peter Fairweather, under the guise of the Shawangunk Biodiversity "Partnership", as a betrayal of trust.


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#17301 - 11/22/05 07:33 PM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: Kent]
nerdom Offline
Pooh-Bah *

Registered: 09/07/01
Posts: 2483
Loc: Davis Sq., MA
What's that old adage about politics and sausage making?
_________________________
we're all living proof that nothing lasts

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#17302 - 11/22/05 08:08 PM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: nerdom]
Kent Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/21/00
Posts: 1038
Loc: The Bayards
Many have the luxury of not watching. Others among us are in the meat grinder.

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#17303 - 11/22/05 09:35 PM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: Kent]
pda Offline
addict

Registered: 08/30/01
Posts: 621
Loc: Bergen County NJ
I fail to see the devious nature of this. The organizations listed all favor preservation of the ridge for ecological and related purposes. There does not appear to be anything hidden or sinister about their motives. Of course the rich 'members' fund and direct the work of the partnership. In most organizations, 10% of the people do 99 % of the work.

From what you say, it sounds like the question of the planners conflict of interest will be resolved via due process.

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#17304 - 11/23/05 01:39 PM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: pda]
alicex4 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
"I fail to see the devious nature of this. The organizations listed all favor preservation of the ridge for ecological and related purposes. There does not appear to be anything hidden or sinister about their motives. Of course the rich 'members' fund and direct the work of the partnership. In most organizations, 10% of the people do 99 % of the work."


One example of the Nature Conservancy's skullduggery was the purchase of a farm and surrounding land in Martha's Vineyard (64 million for 215 acres of land). Part of the campaign to "Save the Earth's Last Great Places" . Supposed to preserve the space for the commoners and all that. Except that the NC allowed half of the land to be sold to David Latterman and several others (Goldman Sachs and Oracle developers) to purchase parcels for their private use and development. NC officials tout the move as a way to preserve 1/2 the parcel and limit development on the other.

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#17305 - 11/23/05 03:14 PM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: alicex4]
pda Offline
addict

Registered: 08/30/01
Posts: 621
Loc: Bergen County NJ
I found that distasteful as well. I guess all that money had to come from somewhere, though. If the alternative was 100% development, they may have had to make the devils bargain.

Do you have any word that is what is happening here on the ridge?

===========
Backgrounder on the MV deal:

The skirmishes regarding the fate of Edgartown’s Herring Creek Farm started more than a decade ago. Local furor greeted the initial proposal to transform a 215-acre cattle farm, owned by Neil and Monte Wallace, into buildable lots for 54 houses. Former MV Commission member Leonard Jason Jr. reportedly complained, “It’s another farm that’s getting whacked up into little pieces. The great Pond is there, the farmland is going to be gone - that’s not my idea of Martha’s Vineyard.”

Lawsuits later, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission passed a revised plan for a 33-lot subdivision for houses. Meanwhile a small conglomerate, including late-night talk show host David Letterman, The Nature Conservancy, the three dreamers plus a business plan, arranged to purchase the land for $64 million to establish the F.A.R.M Institute and eight priceless house lots. To complete the transaction, a quick succession of sales rock practitioners of leisurely “Vineyard time” into a New York frenzy. While nervous neighbors still needed mollification, in the end the parties involved toasted the completion of this highly complex landmark deal.

“It was a long process, but certainly the results are truly remarkable,” admits John Curelli.

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#17306 - 11/23/05 03:28 PM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: pda]
alicex4 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
You would prefer a deliberate, organized pseudo development by an alleged conservation agency rather than private indiviual ownership? I'd rather take my chances with Kent and other owners than the Nature Conservancy and their ilk.

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#17307 - 11/23/05 03:41 PM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: alicex4]
pda Offline
addict

Registered: 08/30/01
Posts: 621
Loc: Bergen County NJ
What if you knew they were purchsing land simply to donate all of it to the state?

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#17308 - 11/23/05 08:23 PM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: pda]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
Personally, I think there was a second shooter on the grassy knoll.

RR

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#17309 - 11/23/05 09:12 PM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: RangerRob]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
dude, everyone knows there were 5 shooters, working for 5 independent shadowy conspiracies, none of which were actually aware of one another...

(oh, the confusion when the shots started ringing out...)

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#17310 - 11/23/05 09:54 PM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: pda]
tradjunkie Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 364
So if the NC only had half the money needed to buy all the land in MV they should have.....done what? Sat on their hands? If they convinced the owner to split the land and bought the half they could afford, would that have been any less nefarious?

A partnership doesn't 'half' to mean splitting costs 50-50, nor does it require formation of a legal entity. Webster's definition 3: A relationship between individuals or groups that is characterized by mutual cooperation and responsibility, as for the achievement of a specified goal. Heck, I form partnerships when playing bridge or Monopoly. Isn't there some partnership called 'Mohonk Neighbors' or some such thing?

My first boss taught me to by cynical and to look for conspiracies everywhere, because often you will find them. Here, I am still willing to be convinced, but I'm not convinced there's a shred of evidence of anything apart from the fact that at the end of the day it's a small town.

Kent, was anyone else available / qualified / willing to do the $50,000 of work on behalf of the Partnership? And was this work disclosed to the town at the time it was taken on?

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#17311 - 11/28/05 12:16 AM Re: Furtherance of the Ruse [Re: tradjunkie]
Kent Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/21/00
Posts: 1038
Loc: The Bayards
"I fail to see the devious nature of this. The organizations listed all favor preservation of the ridge for ecological and related purposes. There does not appear to be anything hidden or sinister about their motives. Of course the rich 'members' fund and direct the work of the partnership. In most organizations, 10% of the people do 99 % of the work".

Devious means not straight forward. The Preserve's quiet payment, under the guise of the Shawangunk Biodiversity Partnership, to Peter Fairweather, the consultant hired by the town of Gardiner to write it's Master Plan, via the Nature Conservancy, is not straight forward. If the MP wanted to be straight forward when making payments to Peter Fairweather they would have paid him directly on behalf of themselves. If they wanted to be straight forward now they would make public the dates and amounts of all their payments to Peter Fairweather, as they have been publicly called upon to do.

And the MP is hardly the rich one in the bunch. Five of the organizations listed as members of the partnership are state agencies and the state of New York has a lot of money, although I'm guessing none of it has been budgeted for the Shawangunk Biodiversity Partnership, much less for payments to a consultant who cranks out a town master plan heavily skewed in favor of the Mohonk Preserve and The Nature Conservancy. As for other "members", the Open Space Institute is extremely well funded as evidenced by some of the deals they close. The Nature Conservancy has assets estimated at 4 billion dollars.

"From what you say, it sounds like the question of the planners conflict of interest will be resolved via due process".

That is all too easy to say for those not in the meat grinder. Due process costs money. Lots of it.

"A partnership doesn't 'half' to mean splitting costs 50-50, nor does it require formation of a legal entity. Webster's definition 3: A relationship between individuals or groups that is characterized by mutual cooperation and responsibility, as for the achievement of a specified goal. Heck, I form partnerships when playing bridge or Monopoly".

We can debate the various meanings of partnership and what is and is not appropriate activity for the SBP. (In my view controlled burns and the like are appropriate, and payments by the MP/TNC to Peter Fairweather are not). But that misses my point. My point is, by making payments under the guise of the Shawangunk Biodoversity Partnership, the Mohonk Preserve and The Nature Conservancy are giving their payments the imprimatur of all of the Partnerships "members", including the listed member agencies of the State of New York. Indeed, if you click through to one of the "who we are" member links on the gunksfireplan.org website, to the New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation page, you get Governor Pataki's picture. I wonder if Governor Pataki knows that his name and image are being invoked in the support and legitimization of the Partnership and the Preserve/TNC payments to Peter Fairweather. Hopefully we will soon find out.

Prior to this weekend, I had no idea how much money The Nature Conservancy has. So now I'm wondering, "what on earth are they thinking"? They have identified the Shawangunk Ridge as one of their "Last Great Places". With 4 billion dollars in assets you'd think they would just make offers to buy what they can. Instead they are in cahoots with the preserve and the Town of Gardiner to take the development rights on 2600 acres of land from a very few landowners, via a regulatory taking. The passage of the proposed MP/TNC supported Gardiner zoning law, which seems likely now, will split the town in two and financially destroy some small landowners on the ridge. It will financially destroy retired cops and teachers and others who need the value tied up in their land for their retirement, and who don't have the legal resources to fight the town government that is taking that value away from them.

I propose a new slogan for the Shawangunk Biodiversity Partnership...

"Saving the Ridge, By Destroying the People Who Own It".


Edited by Kent (11/29/05 12:11 AM)

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