Save the Pine Bush, You can fight City Hall and win!

 

Gotta Watch'em Like Hawks

Can't Trust Nobody

By Daniel W. Van Riper

Y Is This Happening One of the selling points for the ongoing YMCA project that is destroying eight acres of Pine Bush off Western Avenue in Guilderland was that it would cost the taxpayers nothing. Suprise! What a crock! Back in May the town board voted three to two to subsidize the developers with $33,000 for "road improvements." Now, the town Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is handing them $5 to $7 million dollars to build the thing. Supposedly, the YMCA corporation has to pay the money back at the ridiculously low rate of 6%, but if they default there is really nothing anybody can do about it. Watch for more backdoor subsidies for this piece of sprawl accessible only by car. Last year, after Save the Pine Bush forced a nearby speculator to pull waterlines out of the State-owned Pine Bush Preserve, the YMCA people suddenly backtracked on their two and a half year old plan to build in the Preserve, and confined themselves to despoiling privately owned Pine Bush.

Abuse Of Power In 1996 Save the Pine Bush board member John Wolcott wrote a muckraking exposé on the then not yet passed Clean Water/Clean Air Environmental Bond Act, which was published in this newsletter and in the regretfully now-defunct internet magazine Eye On New York. John discovered that in Rensselaer County municipalities were being encouraged by state politicians to apply for Bond Act money to expand water and sewer lines. In other words, instead of using Bond Act money to help the environment without using tax dollars, the Bond Act money would be misused to promote sprawl which would destroy the environment and raise taxes. Environmental activists statewide were alerted, so the politicos had to turn to public relations to justify their flim-flammery. Overly powerful senator Joseph Bruno announced in June his "Pipeline for Jobs" scheme, using Bond Act money to finance sprawl in Rensselaer, and was immediately thrown on the defensive. "We are fully confident that what we're doing is within the spirit and letter of the law," said a Bruno spokesman. Daniel Mackay of the League of Conservation Voters told the Daily Gazette that Bruno's scheme "does serious damage to the integrity of the Bond Act." Jeff Jones of Environmental Advocates agreed, saying, "This is economic development, so that should come out of economic development budget, not the environmental protection budget."

published July/August 1999 Newsletter
Last Updated 7/18/99


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