"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)