Martha Robertson

Utopia

You do know why Thomas More made up the word utopia, don't you?

If not, all will become clear.

As a native New Yorker (as in New Yawker), I never could understand the appeal of the place.  Well, it's about to become a lot less appealing—even, I suspect, to the most rabid devotees of the cult of "the city."

From a piece entitled "The Coming Detroitification of New York":

The high cost of all things New York has reached such an extreme that it now costs a truck $102 just to cross the George Washington Bridge. No worries; after Bill de Blasio has been the mayor for a few years, no one will want to come into the city anyway.


De Blasio’s election was the ultimate triumph for the lunatic Left:

Headlining a Brooklyn fund-raiser for the group New York Communities for Change, Mr. de Blasio was hailed as a progressive hero and the fruit of a more than decade-long battle by labor groups, grassroots organizations and the Working Families Party to crown one of their own. …

Definitely read the whole thing.

You see, de Blasio is opposed to having welfare recipients look for a job—I know, I know, that's a really harsh requirement—but is in favor of essentially forcing individuals to pick taxpayer pockets take government handouts. So why is his party called the Working Families Party?  Doesn't sound like a whole lotta work will be getting done on his watch.

Other, more local, politicians are proudly endorsed by the so-called Working Families Party, too...Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton for one and Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson for another. Why is this important?  Because many state "Democrats" run under both banners—the Democrat Party and the Working Families Party (WFP). Why? One reason is that then they can suck in the uninformed voters who still believe that there is such a thing as centrist Democrats.

But for the most part, there isn't.  In NYS, there's the WFP, and the WFP has rather close ties to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) .

And none of those groups—the Democrat Party, the WFP, the DSA, the CPUSA— has the best interests of upstaters at heart.  Assemblyman Bill Nojay today described a conversation in an Albany elevator with a fellow legislator, a Democrat, in which Nojay remarked that Democrat policies were having an adverse effect on upstate jobs.  The Dem's response? "Why would we want upstate jobs?"

They have no intention of creating upstate jobs. They would much rather that all of us who resist their statist, collectivist ideas would simply leave, as many already have. Then, like de Blasio in NYC, they could establish their utopia in NYS and eventually throughout the country. Panem.

Which brings us back to More. He needed a word for a place that didn't, and couldn't, exist. Utopia means both "good place"—the meaning that probably comes to mind first—and "no place."

There's a reason why the term "Left" is often prefaced with "lunatic."

Unbecoming conduct...

...in Tompkins County, NY. Are you tired of this yet?

PATTERN OF MISCONDUCT
                                
     On October 19, the Dryden Town Board admitted that a fraudulent document was submitted to the Town Clerk in July 2013.  The document, created by the Town planner, was approved and co-signed by Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner (D-Dryden).  It was discovered because the Town Clerk’s office spotted its unusual character; there was no Board vote approving it and it was pre-dated 2012.  The Town Planner’s employment was ended, the Board voting in public session, 4-1 (Supervisor Sumner alone voting no, against termination).  No action was taken regarding Supervisor Sumner’s own involvement in the fraud.  At an October 17 public meeting, questioned about this, Sumner dismissed her role as minor.  She never explained why she signed a pre-dated document that did not show Board approval.  Sumner refuses to take responsibility for the fraudulent document she approved and co-signed and now seeks another term.
 
     During 2011, the Town Board of Newfield, discovered that Newfield’s employee withholding taxes had not been paid for months; $30,000 was missing; workers’ compensation premiums were double paid, costing Newfield about $12,000; and Supervisor Richard Driscoll (D-Newfield) by his own admission received unemployment benefits, while drawing a Town salary (legally disqualifying).  The Board requested a New York State audit with both Democrat board members voting against seeking the audit.  Driscoll took no responsibility, claiming that the problems were due to bookkeeping.  The $30,000 was never found.  For Driscoll’s failure to timely pay IRS and NY employees’ withholding taxes, the Town was subjected to $14,867 in interest and penalties.  Driscoll also used Town credit cards for personal bills, repaying the Town only when caught.  Yet, the Democrats re-nominated Driscoll for another term.
 
      In 2012, Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson (D-Dryden) was not elected to the position of Legislative Chair until January 17.  But, Robertson accepted Chairperson’s pay from January 1 to January 17, a period when another legislator performed Chairperson duties.  Only when confronted did Robertson consider repayment.  Even if repaid, this would not excuse taking pay not earned.  In 2012, Robertson redirected $17,000 taxpayer dollars to paint the shoulders of Ellis Hollow Road green to calm traffic (ineffectively) in front of her own home.  In 2013, Robertson, without evidence, falsely accused Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning) of having Republican operatives hack her website, to induce campaign contributions, raising a federal wire fraud issue.  Robertson, running for another four year legislative term in 2013, has already begun campaigning for Reed’s seat in Congress in 2014.
 
      Do these problems go beyond these Democrat office holders? Are these incidents a pattern of incompetence, untrustworthiness, and disdain for the voters by Democrat officeholders throughout Tompkins County?  In the November 5 election, voters should turn out of office people who have been shown untrustworthy, incompetent and who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions.  As President Harry Truman (D) said, “the buck stops here”.  It is time to end whitewashes and cover ups and to elect competent people who will honor the people with honesty in office, providing open and transparent government.
 
                                        James Drader
                                        Chairman, Tompkins County Republican Committee

Hammer

Martha Robertson’s column in this morning’s Ithaca Journal sets up a bunch of straw men.  Let’s just knock them all down.

Fracking doesn’t threaten the property values in Dryden.  Natural gas is a resource to harvest and use, one which will enrich the entire town.

Could accidents happen?  Sure, but have some perspective.  A gasoline station is surely more threatening to the environment than a gas well.  Even Love Canal, walking distance from where I went to high school, didn’t affect the property values elsewhere in Niagara Falls.   The so-called “Urban Renewal” (rhymes with nodal development) and decades of progressive government sure did a number on the Falls, however.

The thing that threatens Dryden isn’t fracking, it’s the education bubble.  Rural central New York is having some hard times. Dryden is propped up by Cornell and Ithaca College.  They aren’t likely to go away anytime soon, but we can easily see serious contraction.   They need families who will spend tens of thousands of dollars a year more than they might spend elsewhere.  They need the government to continue to fund research and “social education.”  And they need to keep attracting foreign students who are filling an increasing number of classroom seats.

Gas drilling isn’t the only way Dryden can hedge against a bubble meltdown -- a pro-business climate would also work wonders.

Will fracking completely clog the roads in Dryden?  Not so much.

The numbers seem large, but think about  how many school buses and TCAT buses ply our roads,  mostly at rush hour.  Add garbage and recycling trucks.  The semi-tractors that run through the town, 24/7.  We have moving companies, utilities, towing services, on the road all the time.  Will we notice the increase?  Sure, like we notice traffic changes on the first day of school.  Is it immense?  No.

Is everyone wringing their hands because the damn school buses go by 180 days a year?  Because the TCAT bus comes by every hour, changing gears on the hills?

Now, consider that drilling is not a forever thing...each well is drilled in less than 70 days and all of the equipment moves on.  It takes that long to build most of our houses.

Robertson wails about how “dangerous” drilling is, citing a list of insurance risks on mandated disclosures: fires, explosions, blowouts...  Have you ever listened to the litany of risks for prescription drugs on TV?  How is it that with the risk of dizziness, hives, hair falling out, suicide, hangnails, blue tongue spots,  complete bone loss or spontaneous human combustion, people still line up for those sleeping pills or cholesterol reducers?  Because the risks, while possible, are small and it is very likely that their lives will be better.

Our Martha says that the town’s only option is a fracking ban.  This is sort of like a hammer in search of something that looks like a nail.  It isn’t necessary for government to fix or control everything, and like that hammer, sometimes wielding power only creates problems. 

Dryden followed 14 other towns in  jumping off a cliff, and happened to be the one tagged with a lawsuit.  Martha says the town’s risk is in losing the Anschutz lawsuit -- as Henry Kramer’s companion article points out, the town would really lose if they won the lawsuit, since we would then be open to a truly expensive taking lawsuit.

So, will the fate of the ban, and the fate of fracking in Dryden be settled by the November 8 elections?  No -- that was always going to be settled by New York State, in the DEC and the courts. 

However, the fate of that hammer -- the inappropriate wielding of government power, and the entanglement of lobbying interests like the Park Foundation, and Agenda 21 in local government, and a war on private property... maybe.  Maybe.

After all, the science is settled in Dryden--according to the chair of the county legislature

I don't usually post a column from another blog in its entirety, but I made an exception in this instance.  Perhaps Martha would like to respond to Jazz Shaw's piece over at Hot Air:

*** 

From: Martha Robertson

Sent: Monday, February 28, 2011 1:02 AM

Subject: NYTimes article on gas drilling + online petition for Dryden residents

Dear friends (sorry for any cross-postings!),

If you haven't already read the NY Times expose on gas drilling, focusing on wastewater, take time to do so: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/us/27gas.html?hp

Here's just one of the shocking statements that should wake up the public:

"The Times also found never-reported studies by the E.P.A.<http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/02/27/us/natural-gas-documents-1.html#document/p533/a9948> and a confidential study<http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/02/27/us/natural-gas-documents-1.html#document/p417/a9945> by the drilling industry that all concluded that radioactivity in drilling waste cannot be fully diluted in rivers and other waterways.

"But the E.P.A. has not intervened. In fact, federal and state regulators are allowing most sewage treatment plants that accept drilling waste not to test for radioactivity. And most drinking-water intake plants downstream from those sewage treatment plants in Pennsylvania, with the blessing of regulators, have not tested for radioactivity since before 2006, even though the drilling boom began in 2008.

"In other words, there is no way of guaranteeing that the drinking water taken in by all these plants is safe.

If you've been on the fence about an outright ban in our town, I hope this article helps you decide!

ONLINE PETITION FOR DRYDEN RESIDENTS:

Earlier I urged residents of the Town of Dryden to sign an online petition asking the town to ban hydrofracking in Dryden. Many of you did; thank you! However, there has been confusion about this petition with another earlier effort. THESE ARE THE SAME PETITIONS. HOWEVER, if you signed earlier, you might still want to go to the site and check to see whether your name is included. The vagaries of this particular online site don't allow the authors to make any changes to the text (including the misspelling of "Tompkins"!), so they are unable to post a clarifying comment.

Please sign a petition to urge the Town Board of Dryden to enact a fracking ban, at www.petitiononline.com/nofrack<http://www.petitiononline.com/nofrack>.

Here's the text of the petition:

To:  Town Board of the Town of Dryden, Tompklins County, NY

We, the undersigned residents of the Town of Dryden, believe that high volume, slickwater hydrofracking for gas extraction threatens our water and our air.

Allowing this practice in our community will significantly endanger our health and well-being.

Hydrofracking is a heavily industrialized process that in surrounding states has snarled traffic and caused significant air, water and noise pollution, and severe damage to roads and other infrastructure. In many places it has had deleterious effects on tourism, hunting, fishing, agriculture and the local economy in general.

We urge the Town Board to ban slickwater hydrofracking in the Town of Dryden.

We need hundreds of Dryden residents to sign the petition! Go to: www.petitiononline.com/nofrack<http://www.petitiononline.com/nofrack>.  Please pass this on!

Interested in doing more? Join the Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition: http://draconline.wordpress.com/.

Thank you!

Martha

***

From Hot Air (do go there and read the comments as well).:

NY Times Blows Story on Drilling “Dangers”UPDATE: Another Fact Check Fail

POSTED AT 10:10 AM ON FEBRUARY 28, 2011 BY JAZZ SHAW

There seems to be little question remaining over whether or not there is a rather blatant agenda in some segments of the media when it comes to natural gas drilling in this country. For the latest example, one need look no further than Ian Urbina’s latest piece in the New York Times with the excitable title, Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers.

Never one to soft sell a good meme, the Times skips right past any of the normal environmental hazards associated with energy exploration and goes right for… radiation!

With hydrofracking, a well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, all of which can occur naturally thousands of feet underground. Other carcinogenic materials can be added to the wastewater by the chemicals used in the hydrofracking itself.

One of the dominant themes in the Times’ “analysis” is that drilling waste water – possibly containing radioactive particles (more on that below) – is being improperly dumped into waste water treatment plants by greedy energy companies. They do this, according to the author, because they are under-regulated and looking to save money. To back up the assertion, they quote former Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection secretary John Hanger.

There are business pressures” on companies to “cut corners,” John Hanger, who stepped down as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in January, has said. “It’s cheaper to dump wastewater than to treat it.”

Records back up that assertion.

Well, he should certainly be in a position to know, so that must be some damning testimony, eh? Well… it would be, had the author actually spoken to Mr. Hanger for the article or even had a clue what he was talking about. But he didn’t and John quicklytook to his blog to set the record straight and to point out that the quoted comments related to a different situation and that his actual position was almost precisely the opposite of that portrayed in the Times.

“[T]hough I am quoted in the piece, this reporter never interviewed me. … The words that I find myself saying in this piece were said by me somewhere at some time and in some context but they were not said in the context of an interview for this piece. The reporter never called me after January 18th for any purpose including to confirm the quotation that he put together for me. The reporter did not ask the new administration for my contact information after I left office.”

“I was informed by agency radiation experts that the radiation levels were not a threat to truck drivers, workers at sewage treatment facilities or the public. … I believe the agency staff were handling this issue in a serious, careful manner. I still believe that to be the case.”

The beginning of the article is discussing “radioactive elements” found in waste water from drilling sites and makes quite a fuss over it. Can you find unstable particles in such water? Yes. They’re known as Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials, and in this part of the country you find them in minute quantities if you drill for oil and gas. Or if you dig for coal, or copper or gravel. And if you dig a well down to the aquifer to obtain drinking water for your home, you’ll find them there also. When you dig a basement / foundation for a new home you’ve got a fairly good chance of stirring a few up. They are in the ground all over the planet.

NORM deposits are obviously something to be aware of and sensible precautions are required. But the density of these materials is so low that it is diluted in any major water flow to levels which fall far below any environmental standards, as Hanger further notes.

Once the Times finishes with their headline grabbing lede about radiation (!) in the water, the article then seems to go on in a scatter-shot fashion to throw mud at any wall they can find to see if something will stick. Their second line of attack moves from Eastern PA and NY out to Western Pennsylvania, where evil energy companies made the water so unsafe that residents were advised to drink bottled water instead of the public drinking water supply.

And recent incidents underscore the dangers. In late 2008, drilling and coal-mine waste released during a drought so overwhelmed the Monongahela that local officials advised people in the Pittsburgh area to drink bottled water. E.P.A. officials described the incident in an internal memorandum as “one of the largest failures in U.S. history to supply clean drinking water to the public.”

It’s true that a 2008 recommendation was made favoring the use of bottled water in the Pittsburgh area. But one look at their water safety report for that year shows that the concerns over water quality cover a wide range of problems, including agricultural run-off and unrelated industrial activity, with drilling of any sort falling far down the list. Oh, and then there’s the little matter of faulty sewage treatment plants.

Pittsburgh’s waste treatment plant Alcosan (North Shore) dumps an estimated 21 billion gallons of raw sewage into the river every year… They were fined 1.6 million dollars for violating the clean water act.

The hit piece then leaves the Marcellus shale entirely and swings all the way out west to Texas, where families in “affected areas” are suffering troubling health problems. The quotes from this section immediately got one concerned citizen up in arms over yet another tragic “fracking victim.”

In Texas, which now has about 93,000 natural-gas wells, up from around 58,000 a dozen years ago, a hospital system in six counties with some of the heaviest drilling said in 2010 that it found a 25 percent asthma rate for young children, more than three times the state rate of about 7 percent.

It’s ruining us,” said Kelly Gant, whose 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son have experienced severe asthma attacks, dizzy spells and headaches since a compressor station and a gas well were set up about two years ago near her house in Bartonville, Tex.

Wait… what? I’ve seen a lot of ills laid at the doorstep of fracking in the past, but… asthma? Because of one well and a compressor station near your home? And this startling conclusion is drawn even though the very same paragraph in the article goes on to point out, “The industry and state regulators have said it is not clear what role the gas industry has played in causing such problems, since the area has had high air pollution for a while.

Gee. I wonder what might play a larger role in asthma rates? Nearly inert natural gas rigs or rampant air pollution combined with the usual particles found in an area with naturally high levels of dust, pollen, molds and other airborne irritants?

File this article under the heading of one more attempt to prevent the development of any domestic energy supplies unless they fit in with the green /renewable energy agenda. And that’s the same agenda which, while it may serve a great purpose in the future, still can’t finance itself without massive government subsidized support.

UPDATE: Further in the article, the Times uncovers what must certainly be some sort of conspiracy.

confidential industry study from 1990, conducted for the American Petroleum Institute, concluded that “using conservative assumptions,” radium in drilling wastewater dumped off the Louisiana coast posed “potentially significant risks” of cancer for people who eat fish from those waters regularly.

Ooooo… a confidential study. Sounded pretty shady to me, so I contacted a representative of the American Petroleum Institute to find out why they would be keeping such blockbuster information secret from the public. As it turns out, that study has been public for almost two decades and the results aren’t quite what the Times implies.

The API study mentioned in the NYT article was not confidential. In fact, it was turned into API Publication 4532 and published in 1991. Furthermore, it discusses the health risk associated with radium radiation and concludes, “The number of excess cancers predicted per year is comparable to the number expected to result from background concentrations of radium. Because of the many conservative assumptions incorporated into this screening-level analysis, it can be concluded that the risks associated with the discharge of produced water to coastal Louisiana is small.”

Was anything in this article fact checked before they ran it?

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