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November 27, 2014
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Voter manipulation: not the first time

With regard to last week’s editorial, a number of readers called or emailed to remind us that this is not the first instance in which questionable tactics have been used in Tusten elections. One incident that still raises eyebrows for many is the election in 2007 in which absentee votes, most of which were from the Narrowsburg Adult Home, flipped the election—and showed a radically different percentage of votes for each candidate from the machine votes cast the night of the election.  Read more

Manipulating the vote in Tusten

Shortly before Tusten’s recent referendum on who should appoint the town bookkeeper, a number of town residents received a hard-copy letter telling them they should vote “no.” We do not say mailed, because even though the letters had stamps on them, the stamps were apparently not cancelled, or not on the letters we were able to track down.  Read more

Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’

The ethics controversy that has erupted recently in the Sullivan County Legislature centers around the concepts of conflict of interest and appearance of impropriety, and an unusual county ethics rule that requires that an abstention on the basis of apparent improprieties that do not meet the technical standard of “conflict of interest” be recorded as a “yes” vote.  Read more

The beginning of the conversation

There is no question that job creation must take a prominent place in any discussion of what businesses or industries it might make sense to promote in our area—or indeed any area. But there are other factors that must be weighed as well, and it seems to us that, all too often, the “jobs” card is played as a kind of trump designed to shut down discussion of the pros and cons of any particular business development.  Read more

Why ‘wrongful taking’ does not apply

One of the biggest bugbears that has haunted the efforts of local towns to craft ordinances restricting high-impact industrial uses within their borders is the threat of lawsuits. Specifically, opponents of such ordinances maintain that if a town zones some property owners’ land so that industrial operations like hydro-fracking are not permitted, it amounts to a “wrongful taking:” that is, a government action has deprived property owners of the value of their land, and they must be compensated accordingly.  Read more

The issue at hand

At a public hearing on June 30, the draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (dGEIS) for the Sullivan County Multi-Municipal Task Force’s (MMTF) proposed road use and preservation program (RUP) came under heavy attack. While some important and legitimate points were raised, much of the discussion got diverted into a question that is beside the point: the question as to the potential impact of natural gas drilling on our area.  Read more

We don’t need no stinkin’ badges

Wayne Holbert has come back to the Town of Lackawaxen with his third application for an expansion of his quarry. The first occurred in 2005, when Holbert had been receiving notices of violation from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for expanding his operation beyond the five acres that is the state limit for “minor” non-coal mining operations. The same five acres is a legal limit under the town zoning ordinance and the River Management Plan (RMP) for the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.  Read more

An unacceptable precedent

The Town of Cochecton is coming to the end of its comprehensive plan and zoning rewrite process. As noted in our March 3 editorial “Needed: a policy,” it has elected to handle the issue of gas drilling by ignoring it. Unfortunately, for at least one part of the town—the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River corridor—that’s just not good enough.

And there is an alternative.  Read more

Grassroots or Astroturf?

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently held a hearing in Pittsburgh to hear testimony from citizens “interested in the safety and environmental performance of hydraulic fracturing.” It gave short notice due to “programmatic issues,” but Energy in Depth (EID), an organization representing the independent oil and gas producers, was quick to respond.  Read more

Let’s talk

The pending sale of the Narrowsburg school property is happening at a time when the citizens of Tusten are intimately engaged with the question of their vision for their town. A comprehensive plan was completed in 2007, and this year a committee is engaged in a zoning rewrite. For this reason, even though the proposed plan for the property recently submitted by developer Ilwon Kang to the Town of Tusten Planning Board is highly preliminary, we don’t think it’s too soon to bring the townspeople into the conversation about it.  Read more