IntermissionTime to catch our breath and get some popcorn before Act II.

According to the Ithaca Journal, Judge Phillip Rumsey found that a clause in the New York oil and gas law does not prohibit municipalities from banning gas drilling or using zoning laws to prohibit it.

Thomas West, attorney for Denver-based Anschutz Corp., which has sued the town over it's ban, said his client will decide on whether to appeal within 30 days.

"It's a legal decision that should be wide open in the appellate courts, and we still remain confident in our positions," West said in a phone interview. "We certainly believe that if this case goes up to the Appellate Division, that the appellate courts will, we think, find some of the legal arguments we've put forth to be persuasive."

I hope the line isn't too long at the concession stand.  Or at the exit.

Text of the decision (pdf)

Protect Me Not

More wisdom from the old dear....


“If allies are strong with power to protect me,
might they not protect me out of all I own.”  
The King of Siam, in The King and I
Having lived 88 years in the Town of Dryden and in Tompkins County, I’ve never before seen such an activist county and town board as we have now, nor do I ever want to.  My father, of sainted memory, taught me to stand on my own two feet and to make decisions for myself.  He was a very early male supporter of women’s rights and he taught me to cherish and love freedom.  I see it eroding around me.  Will our children live in freedom?  Will they have any personal or property rights against the state?  I doubt it.
A group of enviro-activists have decided that the residents of the Town of Dryden are in need of “protection” against big “evil” corporations and the development of our natural energy resources.  For most of my lifetime, without zoning beyond ensuring septic systems and wells are adequate, the character of our town has been preserved.  No need for lots of paid government workers.  Our town has historically changed only slowly.
I do not wish to be “protected,” I wish to be free.  I want to be left alone to make my own decisions as I have for the last six decades, including making my own choices about whether to lease my land.  The enviro-activists want to protect themselves against their fears and insecurities.  They see poisoners everywhere. What I see is a group of selfish people, hating change, who want to use fuel but don’t want to have anything to do with its production in their own backyards, yet who are perfectly willing to limit my freedom while protecting themselves and taking counsel of their own fears.  They have lied and bullied many people into believing they are right.  Fear is easily created and a strong motivator.
Several times in my lifetime I’ve seen Americans go off to war to defend our homeland and protect our rights to make our own choices and to live in freedom.  But, we are not free when power flows from the individual to government.  In a way, we are being reduced from being adults capable of making our own decisions to being children again, this time with local government playing the role of parent and making decisions for us.  Well, know this, Dryden town board, I’m a grown up and so are most of the residents of Dryden.  What we need is government off our backs, not taking our rights and choices away from us.
Dryden has come for our property rights.  The town board is proposing that two-thirds of our town be declared “critical” environmental areas.  What will be next?  Will they then tell us what color to paint our houses or how short our lawns must be kept?
I once felt that the acreage I inherited and have paid taxes on for decades belonged to me.  I no longer feel like a landowner in Dryden, but rather like a tenant.  I pay my taxes and in return, the town graciously allows me certain uses of my land for a year at a time.  But, bit by bit, ownership has become only “permitted use” as government moves toward controlling our community.  Worse, our local governments, town and county, have been essentially taken over by an activist majority meddling in national and even international issues well beyond their ken.  To counter hubris, like ancient Romans granted a triumph, they need someone to walk with them and whisper in their ear, “Remember, you are only one person, a local official with limited power.”
What disturbs me the most is that I’m seeing little outrage as the town chips away at our freedoms and choices.  If those who are happy with the content of today’s encroachments do not speak up against this erosion, who will speak for them when government comes to take what is dear to them?  It will be too late. If those who are unhappy remain silent, will they not deserve their fate?
Jefferson said that the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots.  If we forget that and fail to defend our personal, individual, and property rights, what will be left of our great American experiment?

February, 2012

Temperance movement

One of these old girls is Dryden's own Dora Dogood.  Can you guess which one?

While you're thinking about that, here's another little essay from Dora:

I am an old lady, having lived in the Town of Dryden now for 88 years.  I’ve watched our town board members and members of our legislature including an energy activist from the eastern part of Dryden take the lead in banning drilling in our areas.  Surely their actions will extend to the next vital step, ending energy use in the area.
So, naturally, I assumed that none of these activists would accept power from the electric grid or heat their own homes with fossil fuels.  Imagine then my surprise when I learned that all members of the legislature who advocate against drilling are on the grid and that all use fossil fuels or sources that impact our environment, either directly or at least at times from the power grid!  Not one has disconnected from the grid.
Why won’t these activists be true to their own principles?  My suggestion is they take a pledge, “I, _____, advocating against drilling in Tompkins and New York State do solemnly swear, or affirm, that I will live my own life off the power grid and without use of fossil or earth impacting fuels, no matter whose back yard they are developed in.  If fossil fuel production is not suitable for Tompkins, Tompkins residents must not use fossil fuels.  Therefore, I will introduce or support legislation that no person in Tompkins, regardless of pre-existing uses, may use any fossil fuel or any fuel that endangers our water, our air, the quiet in our neighborhoods, and, such as solar panels, the beauty of our neighborhoods, or puts combustion products in the air, destroys natural resources, or produces radioactivity or nuclear waste.  Residents who don’t accept this life style should leave the area.”
The pledge and the suggested legislation is necessary if our legislators are truly committed to saving our planet.  To do less than that is to be hypocritical.  Our activist legislators must lead by example, renouncing all personal use of fossil or polluting fuels, whether they pollute now or might pollute in the future.  Otherwise, these legislators condemn the people of other lands or other places in the U.S. to producing energy for our local use while not caring enough about the people whose own backyards are being impacted by the very problems they don’t want here.

Bet you didn't know...

...that the great-great-great....-great granddaughter-in-law of Silence Dogood is an elderly resident of Dryden named Dora Dogood. No, really. That's Dora's picture over there on your right.

Anyway, Dora has done some exploring and discovered One of Nine.  We have a feeling that Dora's going to be a regular correspondent.

And since energy development (or the lack of it) is such a hot topic in Dryden, here's some historical perspective as well as some random musings from the old girl: 

It does my heart good to see the fine work being performed by our Dryden Town Board in returning our town to its bucolic past.  Having come to Dryden 88 years ago, I have seen much change, little of it for the better.  We need to protect Dryden and the current Board and such wonderful community groups as DRAC are fulfilling my dreams, no growth, no change.  But, why stop there, why not roll back the clock and restore our wonderful past?

As a child, I remember heating our homes with fireplaces, burning local wood and occasionally using coal stoves.  Oh, the crackling fire!  There was no need for heating oil, natural gas, or electricity.  Chopping wood was good exercise.  People rose with the Sun and went to bed at a decent hour.  People knew their places.  Prohibition kept our men sober.  Our roads were unpaved and should be again for traffic calming.  People did healthy exercise walking miles.  I remember the quiet winter period, when snow closed in and we enjoyed quiet periods in our homes. For really long distance travel, we could restore the Lehigh Valley Railroad and bring back the Black Diamond.

I’m grieved by the noise and fumes of traffic as people go about their business.  Horses are a far better source of motive power and do not use fossil fuels.  They also reproduce.  And there is the fun of grooming them and taking care of these most loyal friends. Simple narrow trails would be less costly for the State and our towns to maintain that roads. And, sleighs in the winter are great fun for those semi-annual trips to the grocery!

It is not enough to simply ban gas drilling in Dryden.  Moving beyond that, let’s move into environmental harmony with the planet by banning automobiles, pulling down the power grid, and legislating the removal of furnaces and air conditioning units throughout the Town.  We can become a model of conservation, living the simple basic and healthy lifestyle of our ancestors.  Those who do not want to protect our planet are free to move elsewhere.

In my day, I attended school at the Octagon on Hanshaw Road.  The one room school house was far better than today’s school “campuses.”  We children helped each other and the younger children.  We learned or we paid the price.  Teachers were allowed to impose proper discipline.  And, by returning to the one room school with children walking there, think what we could save on school buses and energy.

By rejecting effete development, we can encourage people to return to Jefferson’s dream of a farming nation.  Small rural farmers, that’s what this country needs.  No big corporations building jet airplanes or space vehicles.  My late husband, Benjamin Franklin Dogood, built buggies in our barn.  If we are to venture into space, why not return space ship building to small individual entrepreneurs?  Big corporations are evil. But, I’m so proud of foundations using hundreds of millions in inherited money to support those who, like me, would have us all remain of modest means, living the simple, plain, life as we know it and all must live it.

So, I urge the town board to honor the wishes of the community and to protect us from change, while mandating a return to simple earlier values.  We love our land, our air, and our water and only by dismantling the trappings of a technological and electronic society can we bring back the peace and tranquility of the past.  Those who do not wish to go along should be either compelled to do so, have their property confiscated, be forced to move elsewhere, or have their anti-social conduct criminalized.  A ban on all forms of economic development and a totally embracive zoning code reaching every use of land in the town is a good first step. I just know with officials like ours, there is no need to worry about “freedoms” getting in the way of the social good.

Dora Dogood
Town of Dryden

Related: : "We're not hobbits" at South of 5 and 20.

Alice in Zoningland

By Publius Ithacanus

Once upon a time, a young girl named Alice decided she was going to cut out paper dolls for herself and perhaps sell a few to classmates and friends.  She decided that she would create her paper dolls in her home’s kitchen.  Alice told a few adults about it and one of them told the town zoning department.  Alice received a notice that without a zoning variance, paper doll cutting was a prohibited use and would require a variance.
Alice’s next door neighbor, the White Rabbit, said he’d go with her to the Zoning Board.
Alice was puzzled.  “Why do I need a variance just to cut out some paper dolls in my own kitchen,” she asked the White Rabbit.  “It’s not really your kitchen,” the Rabbit sighed, “it belongs to the Town, they just let you use it for some things.  You need a variance because you are changing the nature of the community.”
Alice frowned.  “But my parents pay a lot of taxes for this house.  Surely we can cut paper dolls out if we want?”
“Poor Alice,” the Rabbit said, “it doesn’t work that way.  Think of it as renting, not owning.  Your parents paid taxes this year and the Town graciously let them live in the house.  Then next year your parents will have to pay taxes again.”
When Alice and the White Rabbit reached the Zoning Board, the members were sitting at the high table and they were allowed to kneel on the floor until the Board was ready for them.  The Queen called the meeting to order, shouting “off with their heads.”
“Wait,” said Alice, “aren’t we supposed to say the pledge to the flag before we start?  My father says that is what they are supposed to teach us in school.”
“Hush, child,” the Queen huffed, “it’s not patriotic to say the pledge and your father is a subversive who should be reported.  Instead we will sing the Obama hymn.”  And they did, the members of the Board enraptured.
“Now, it is time to cut off their heads,” stated the Queen.
“Not yet,” replied the Dormouse.  First we have Alice’s application for a H3-1-A-679 variance to cut out paper dolls in one or our kitchens.  Remember all uses are prohibited unless we permit them.”
“Cutting out paper dolls is subversive to good order,” Humpty Dumpty opined.  “Why there will be traffic in and out, tractor trailers, and some could deem it heavy industry.  Alice, what color are the walls in your kitchen?
“Light green,” Alice told Humpty Dumpty, hoping that was the right answer.
It wasn’t.  “Oh, Dear,” the large egg clucked, “that won’t do, won’t do at all.  According to the H3-1-A-679 standards, you can paint your walls any color you want from the approved color list.  Now, let me see.  Today’s only approved color is International Orange.”
The Queen snapped, “I hate International Orange.  Let’s change it and make everyone repaint in some color I like.  I’m thinking Dark Purple.”
“I think my Dad will repaint any color if I ask him,” Alice assured them.
“Will you be drilling or using any energy?”  The Dormouse wanted to know.
“I’m planning to cut out paper dolls,” Alice responded, “I’ll just be using a scissors.  The only energy I’ll be using is my own.”
“Ah,” roared the Queen, “Do you have a permit for the use of human energy?  We’ll need an environmental impact statement before we can approve that, takes about six years.” 
“Then there is the matter of your widening the road out front to six lanes and we could use a salary increase ourselves you know.  It isn’t easy making zoning decisions.”
“All uses are prohibited that aren’t permitted,” intoned the Queen, then she muttered “off with their heads, is it time for the executions yet?”
Alice frowned.  “On what do you base zoning decisions anyway?”
The Mad Hatter scowled.  “Basis, basis, what is this basis thing?  We don’t have any basis, we just social plan and zone, whatever “the community” wants.  We have met the community and they are us.  You have to follow the plan.”
“But, just what is this plan?”  Alice persisted.
“Beats me,” laughed the Mad Hatter, but we, “the community,” will know the plan when we devise it.  I’d offer you some tea if we had any, but I think it all went into Boston harbor.  After all this is a tea party.”
“I thought it was a zoning meeting,” said an increasingly irritated Alice.  “Can I please just have my variance and go?
“A world without social zoning, why that would be a world without love,” said a reporter from the Llenroc Daily Sun and of course Alice knew from her dear Papa last Christmas that “if it said it in the Sun, it must be so.”
Alice looked blank, so the Mad Hatter explained “Social zoning is when you do only what your neighbors think you should do, not what you want to do but shouldn’t do because they might not like it and then it's prohibited unless WE permit it.  Your use of the kitchen to cut paper dolls might change the entire nature of the community.  Some of us moved here to keep it as it is.  What if someone is offended by paper dolls?”
 “Drink this,” the White Rabbit said, handing her a large bottle with a picture of the Town Supervisor on it and the words, “to get a variance, drink me.”  To Alice’s surprise the liquid inside, with its deep green color, the color of money, was rich and delicious. 
Alice found herself getting very sleepy.  Soon she was wandering through a vast array of zoning maps, showing cluster housing, special use districts, carve outs, conservation zones and rural residential plots.  Alice kept falling into the very deep potholes, the services local government and the Chair of the County Legislature called traffic calming devices, that were everywhere.  The voice of a big fat cat broke in, “now if you were to declare yourself a business, then we might look at some other variances.”
“But I’m not a business, Sir. I’m just Alice.”
“So, your business is known as Just Alice.  How nice.  And you being a human a newcomer to town, not having lived here for much more than one of your nine lives. And this paper doll industry you are seeking a variance for Just Alice, how many jobs will it create in the entertainment industry?”
Alice told the truth.  “It is just me.  I plan to cut them myself.”
“Ah, you are a contractor then and are building for someone’s dream.  Congratulations, this changes everything.  Alice, you qualify for a B-7-23V variance, but you must cut at least two thousand paper dolls a day and we get to keep one percent of your profits for ourselves.  Also your kitchen must be in a cluster of kitchens, not sprawled.”
“But, sprawl is good, space and air, or so it seems to me,” replied Alice confidently.
After a shocked silence at this utter heresy, “Off with her head,” the Queen ordered and Alice was led outside and swiftly and truly zoned away.  The character of the neighborhood was conserved.

Christmas tree lighting in Dryden and other good stuff

From a great publication called "Mom's Guide to Christmas 2011" put out by the Dryden MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) Steering Team and one mom in particular—she knows who she is smiley :

Dryden Village Tree Lighting

Annual Christmas Tree Lighting at 5:00pm. Enjoy the ear pleasing sounds of Dryden School’s Band and Beyond Measure’s singing group on the Village Green. Santa arrives at 5:30pm to light the tree! Refreshments following at the Methodist Church. At the Dryden Café, enjoy $1 hot chocolate, free cookies, and wonderful local music.

Admission: Free

Where: Village Green, Dryden

When: Saturday, 12/03 at 5:00 p.m.


Breakfast with Santa at the Dryden Hotel

Kids east free at this special breakfast with Santa. Bring in a toy for Cops, Kids, & Toys and receive a $5 gift certificate.

Admission: Free for kids

Where: Dryden Hotel, West Main Street, Dryden

When: Saturday, 12/10 at 8:00 a.m. - Noon


Southworth Library Family Story Time: Holiday Tales

Enjoy exploring holiday tales with the whole family at this special story time.

Admission: Free

Where: Southworth Library, Dryden

When: Saturday, 12/17 at 12:30 p.m.


Those are just the Dryden-centric items.  There's much, much more in the "Mom's Guide"—and not just for moms or little ones. Enjoy!




As we say in American English: WTF?

Astonishing. From Dr. Britt Minshall, "...an author of several books and a speaker on societal behaviors impacting politics, religion and wealth....He is also a former Security Agency operator and INTERPOL Officer. His police career was compromised when he became a Freedom Rider in the mid- sixties," writing in the UK Progressive:

For God’s Sake – The Diner Wars
...the money-profit, bunch hangs out at the Queen’s Diner, where owner John Boulous pontificates against the “do gooders” claiming he and his land owner groupies are losing fortunes in gas revenue. The Community Cafe (ironic name) is loaded with town folk, supporting the ban in favor of the environment and the peaceful community of the small town....
....Framed in Red, Queen’s Diner and their customers see life as money, profit, self interest and the accumulation of wealth. Plated on blue, the Community Cafe and its customers see life as moderation in wants, good air and water, sharing with others in fellowship, peace of mind and love of place....
Read the whole thing.  You'll be amazed...not only because the place is the Queen Diner, but also because the Community Cafe is a progressive clubhouse subsidized with Dryden taxpayer money while the Queen Diner (along with other privately-owned eateries in town) has to stand on its own two feet and has for years, thank you very much. So the juxtaposition of the two was appropriate in ways that the author of this screed couldn't have imagined. 
The author, as you have no doubt surmised, is an American Tory; the online progressive publication is British.
To misquote a certain First Lady, for the first time in my adult life I fully understand why we fought a War of Independence. 
Pip, pip, cheerio and all that.


With apologies to The Looking Spoon:

Gipper v. Dipper


We're just about done with reserves to dip into:

Vote for Schickel, Shigley, & Drew on Tuesday, Nov. 8th.

Reasonable. Reliable. Responsible.


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.

Pastoral Poverty

A piece in the Times today illuminates the divide in Middlefield between farmers and people who have moved into the rural town.  It might reflect some on Dryden, too.

The dispute has pitted neighbor against neighbor, and has often set people who live in suburbs or villages against the farmers and landowners who live outside them. The discord is compounded by hard times on both sides and by communication online giving everyone instant access to limitless information confirming their point of view...

Like many farmers, [Jennifer Huntington] sees the drilling opponents as largely comfortable urbanites in an area increasingly home to retirees and second-home owners who know nothing about the economics of farming and little about the safety of drilling.
“This land and my family are my life,” Ms. Huntington said. “We probably use three to four million gallons of water to feed my cows. I’m not going to spoil something I need to make my living and for future generations to come.”

Proponents of fracking say that many farmers are on the verge of losing their property.

“The term we use is pastoral poverty,” she said. “You have farmers trying to hold on to land that’s been in their family for 100 to 200 years. People like the landscape, but it’s people living in poverty who are maintaining what they like to look at.” ...

Many drilling proponents, meanwhile, say the professionals and retirees drawn to the area have become antigrowth fanatics...

* * *

The crowd of about 120 was quiet and polite at the candidates’ debate at the Dryden Fire Hall last Wednesday.  I spent my time watching the body language in the crowd. The anti-fracking polemic of Linda Lavine got a chilly reception based on the crossed arms, shifting of positions and shaking heads.  Maybe it was the intensity that was off-putting, or maybe they’ve heard just about enough about drilling.

The strongest reaction I saw was in favor of attracting business and spreading out the tax base of the town.  While the town tax rate hasn’t gone up, assessments have and people see their tax escrow payments going up alarmingly every year.  A bunch of new businesses are going in just up the road in Cortlandville... but we won’t see any benefit from sales tax revenue across the county line.

The budget talk is complicated, and seems to disintegrate into a he-said, she-said battle of jargon.  A few things stood out... a lot of money spent on consultants for an unloved zoning proposal, a bunch more people working in the planning department, a move by the town board to bypass the tax cap passed by the state.   Recreation used to be done by volunteers.

The next candidate debate will be in Varna on Tuesday, closer to Cornell and the anti-fracking epicenter.  


Subscribe to Dryden