Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: A Confidential Industry Document and What It Says About Obamacare (Good and Bad)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Saugerties Village held hostage by incompetent government

Except for Mayoral musings of random "dog poop" bag police checks, "executions" and "rapes",  last night's (11/16/09) Saugerties Village Board meeting was boilerplate. Oh wait, I forgot the bit about PBA demanding a SEQR.

The pledge of allegiance was followed with the standard mix of self-congratulations, quips and odd explanations of why the Village is in such financial straits. Analogies were abundant, with the mayor grasping for the right picture to illustrate his fiscal position. Like the one about "falling dominoes", which excused repeated bank loans (to make payroll) and the Village's burgeoning $6,000,000.00 debt. According to Mayor Yerick, it was all the Federal government's fault. He ended with, "We (the Village) don't have many products to sell" as the apparent reason why his government has had trouble (for the past several years) paying its workers.

Though all hope was not lost when trustee LeBlanc and Murphy announced that the board was going to vote "tonight" on the board's intention to seek Lead agency status for a SEQR (The New York State Environmental Quality Review Act) which the PBA is requesting. You may be asking yourself, what is "SEQR" and when did the Police Benevolent Association become environmentalists?. Well, the supposed answer to this perplexing question lies deep within the creative mind of the PBA's legal counsel. After the Saugerties Police Consolidation study was presented in August, the Saugerties Village PBA threatened to sue if the Village proceeded with a public referendum.  Now it appears that Village attorney Alex Betke agrees that [giving us a chance to vote] on a Town and Village police merger can not proceed without a NYDEC environmental impact assessment review.

But all was put into proper perspective, when the mayor explained that "we've been working on consolidation for the past fourteen (14) years". I couldn't help but think to myself how comically sad the Village's state of affairs has become and that we [tax payers] are forever being held hostage by a self-perpetuating local government machine. 14 years after the first attempt to consolidate and after a $35,000.00 study, Saugerties Village [New Vision Party] trustees still can't get the will to implement the only reasonable solution to our deepening debt; consolidation of services!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

FOIL Appeal Denied - Diamond Mills Paper Company / Dam on Partition Street, Saugerties, New York

FOIL Appeal Determination for 09-08-3A (David Radovanovic, February 13, 2009)

February 13, 2009

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Office of General Counsel, 14th Floor
625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-1500
PHONE: (518) 402-9522 FAX: (518) 402-9018 or (518) 402-9019


February 13, 2009

David Radovanovic
100 Dock Street
Saugerties, New York 12477

Re: Freedom of Information Law ("FOIL") Appeal No. 09-08-3A
FOIL Request No. 09-127 / 25-3/09
Partition Street Project / Partition Street, Saugerties, Ulster County (Diamond Mills Paper Company / Dam)

Dear Mr. Radovanovic:

This is in response to your appeal, pursuant to the New York State Freedom of Information Law ("FOIL", codified at §§ 84-90 of the Public Officers Law ["POL"]), from the denial of access to certain records pertaining to the Diamond Mills Paper Company / Dam on Partition Street, Saugerties, New York.

In accordance with the Department's FOIL appeal procedures, I requested copies of the records that were withheld from disclosure by the Department's Region 3 office. On this appeal, I conducted a de novo review of those records.

On January 14, 2009 you submitted a letter to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (hereinafter "DEC" or the "Department") FOIL e-mail address seeking certain records of the Department relating to the Partition Street Project / Partition Street, Village of Saugerties, New York. On January 16, 2009 DEC's Region 3 Records Access office acknowledged receipt of your request and assigned your request FOIL No. 25-3/09. By letter dated January 20, 2009, Region 3 Division of Environmental Permits responded to your request by releasing all responsive records that were in the custody of that division. On January 21, 2009, Region 3 Division of Water responded to your request and released responsive records, however withheld disclosure of six (6) records as they were exempt from disclosure pursuant to POL §87(2)(g), as they contain inter-agency or inter-agency deliberative communications. Finally, on January 27, 2009, Region 3 Division of Law Enforcement responded to your request by stating that after a diligent search, no records could be located that were responsive to your request. On February 5, 2009 you filed this appeal with my office regarding the six (6) records withheld from disclosure by Region 3 Division of Water.

I have received the records withheld by Region 3 Division of Water staff and I have conducted a de novo review. Following is my determination:

On this appeal, I have reviewed six (6) records, consisting of nine (9) pages, that were provided to me by Department staff. The records consist of four (4) e-mails between December 2005 and January 2008 and two (2) internal memoranda from 2008.

POL §87(2)(g): inter-agency or intra-agency deliberative communications
POL §87(2)(g), authorizes the denial of access to records or portions thereof that are intra-agency or inter-agency materials which are not: (i) statistical or factual tabulations or data; (ii) instructions to staff that affect the public; (iii) final agency policy or determinations; or (iv) external audits, including but not limited to audits performed by the comptroller and the federal government (see POL §87[2][g][i]-[iv]). Intra-agency and inter-agency materials that consist of opinions and recommendations of agency staff are exempted from FOIL "to protect the deliberative process of the government by ensuring that persons in an advisory role would be able to express their opinions freely to agency decision makers (citation omitted)" (Matter of Xerox Corp. v. Town of Webster, 65 N.Y.2d 131, 132 (1985); see also New York Times Co. v. City of New York Fire Department, 4 N.Y.3d 477, 488 (2005) ("The point of the intra-agency exception is to permit people within an agency to exchange opinions, advice and criticism freely and frankly")).

The e-mail before me on this appeal contain opinions, evaluations, requests and perceptions of Department staff. Furthermore, the internal memoranda consist of recommendations regarding a permit and opinions of staff regarding the same. Such internal deliberative communications, exempt from disclosure pursuant to POL §87(2)(g), will not be released through this appeal. Based on the above, your appeal is denied.

This letter is the final determination of the Department of Environmental Conservation with respect to your appeal. You have the right to seek review of this determination pursuant to Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules, and Public Officers Law §89(4)(b). In any further correspondence relating to this appeal, please refer to FOIL Appeal No. 09-08-3A.

Sincerely yours,


Dena N. Putnick, Esq.
FOIL Appeals Officer

cc: Robert Freeman, Executive Director
Committee on Open Government
Ruth Earl, Records Access Officer
Michael Knipfing, Region 3 Records Access
Beth Zicca, Region 3 Division of Water
For an DEC's online record visit

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saugerties Village Ignores New York State Coastal Management Program

Saugerties Village is designated in SASS documents as a Scenic Area of Statewide Significance. Saugerties Village completed its own Local Waterfront Revitalization Program which was approved in1985. The purpose of which was the future protection and restoration of the Village's natural, historic and scenic resources.

The Cantine Dam property (and future home of The Partition Street Project) falls within NYS DOS Division of Coastal Resources' definition of an abandoned site having natural, historic and scenic significance. However, the Partition Street Project developers have not been required to provide for public access to what is undeniably Saugerties Village's most important waterfront resource.

The owners [and developers] of this Village landmark are Tom Struzzieri (HITS), John Mullen and Congressman Maurice Hinchey. You would think, with a US Congressman as an owner, The Partition Street Project would  adhere to the requirements of Saugerties Village's own LWRP (Local Waterfront Revitalization Program).

However, to this point (11/07/09) in the Village Zoning Board approval and SEQRA process, the architects' plans are missing many of the mandated requirements for building along Saugerties' Esopus Creek banks.

In 2004, Ashokan Architects of Kingston New York designed the plans and provided the drawings for a beautiful project which resurfaced four years later (2008) as Tom Struzzieri announced plans (HITS boss plans hotel, catering hall, restaurant in Saugerties) for the catalyst which would be the Village's revitalization. But apparently after receiving $780,000 in EDC grants the original design was abandoned for the latest plans which restricts public access, obscures views of the dam and includes sprawling parking lots which will welcome visitors to the Village's Historic District.

Referring to enforcement of the Villages' Historic Review laws, Mayor Yerick passionately proclaimed [in a 2002 Daily Freeman article] that he would be "... hell-bent ... to get the thing implemented and executed so we can get some people to consider other people, their neighbors..." Apparently the laws he was referring to, only apply to the less favored because this past April (09) Mayor Yerick unilaterally dissolved the entire Historic Review board (Replacement of board draws fire in Saugerties) because the board wrote a letter to the Village Zoning Board stating their concern about the huge parking lots which are included in the newly revised Partition Street Project.

To date, the necessary drawings that would clarify the contour and accurate view of what Villagers could anticipate from the construction of The Partition Street has yet to be made public. The fact remains that this project, whether you support it as is, or with changes, represents a significant change to Saugerties Village's  quality of life.

Please contact the Division of Coastal Resources (Hudson Valley Division)
or Director George Stafford to express your concern about Saugerties Village's refusal to require any meaningful public access and protection of our Esopus Creek waterfront at the proposed Partition Street Project.


If you have problems using the above form, please go to and select "Coastal Resources", fill the form with your comments and submit.


Albany Office
Division of Coastal Resources
NYS Department of State
99 Washington Avenue, Suite 1010
Albany, NY 12231-0001
Telephone Number: 518-474-6000
Fax Number: 518-473-2464

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

View of Original Partition Street Project - Saugerties

This was the originally proposed Partition Street Project ViewClick link above for more detail

This was the original site drawing (created in 2004) of The Partition Street Project in Saugerties Village before it was abandoned by Leading Edge Developers for a less desirable design.

The attached artwork depicts the preferred design which incorporates many new green and community-centered design aspects which the latest design does not.

Several perspectives of Partition Street Project

Partition St Project Saugerties PerspectivesClick link above for more detail

Partition Street Project (Saugerties, New York) various perspectives which were used to represent the original design prepared for Tom Struzieri of Lead Edge Developers by Ashokan Architects, though Mr. Struzieri later abandoned for a far less preferable design.

Saugerties Partition Street Site Sections

Partition Street Project Site SectionsClick link above for more detail

The drawing shown here is part of the original Partition Street Project design which was promoted by Tom Struzieri of Leading Edge Developers and designed by Ashokan Architects of Kingston New York. This design, which has since been replaced, employs several smart techniques which hides the hundreds of parking spaces (which would otherwise obscure the sites' views) and offers a visitors, guests and the public a preferable view of the historical dam and the magnificent Esopus Creek.

Unfortunately, this plan was abandoned in exchange for the current design which presents a massive area of parking spots which obscures any view of the Esopus and Cantine Dam. The current design welcomes visitors to Saugerties historic village with two sprawling parking lots.

Saugerties Partition Street Parking Garage revisited

Partition Street Project GarageClick link above for more detail

The Partition Street Project garage plan proposed for originally proposed design efficiently and effectively uses underground parking, making parking more convenient for customers and invisible to the public.

In Saugerties Village (New York) parking has always been an issue especially since its' history dates back hundreds of years before the automobile. This original design created by Ashokan Architects addresses this dilemma with a sensible solution.

Original Saugerties Partition Street Project

Original Partition Street Project Site Plan
which was initially promoted by Lead Edge Developers , a.k.a Tom Struzieri (Horses in The Sun), Maurice Hinchey (US Congressman) and John Mullen (Mullen Construction. However, the present site plan is much less user-friendly and doesn't seem to take into consideration good design practices.

The original site plan depicts three buildings that total 73,000 s.f., surface parking for 95 behind the street front buildings, and underground parking for 155. The garage is entered from Dock Street and exits onto Partition Street.

Notice the integration of the facility into the waterfront. In the new design any access to the waterfront  is nonexistent.