Night At SPB
by Lynne Jackson
Candidates for Town Supervisor and Town Board members spoke at the October Save the Pine Bush dinner. Attending were Bill Aylward, Democratic candidate for Town Supervisor; David Bosworth and Cheryl Reul, Democratic candidates for Town Board; and Paul Caputo, Independence Party candidate for Town Board. Lauren Ayers had hoped to attend, but could not due to a family emergency. The other Independence Party candidates, Anne Rose and Tim Sheehan, and the other Republican candidates, Jerry Yerberry and Jim Downey did not make it.
All of the candidates spoke about how the Pine Bush should be preserved. They all discussed the need for planning in the Town of Guilderland.
Bill Aylward, current Town Supervisor, started off the evening by saying that he was the first Democratic town supervisor elected in the twentieth century and the first one since 1881. He was Mayor of Altamont for 10 years, and a Town Board member for two years before being elected Supervisor two years ago. He pointed out that of the 2300 acres of Pine Bush that is in Preserve, 700 acres are in the Town of Guilderland. He spoke about pressuring Crossgates for mitigation monies, and that Crossgates has given $430,000 to buy land in the Pine Bush. The Town has used $300,000 of the money so far to buy land east of Rapp Road and at Apollo Drive. Aylward said that acquisition is the most important issue.
Next, in alphabetical order, David Bosworth spoke. He has lived in Guilderland for 50 years. He used to live with his aunts, uncles and cousins on the site of what now is 20 Mall. He spoke about being able to ride a pony all the way from there to the Normanskill. He has lived most of his life within a softball throw of the Pine Bush. He is concerned on how to maintain the quality of life and balance property rights of owners. He would like to re-kindle citizen involvement. Speaking in favor of Aylward's plan, he said that Guilderland needs a vision, He feels that it is a good time for the YMCA project, a good time to look at alternatives, to see if the processes work and to see if the Zoning Board of Appeals was a good choice to oversee it.
Paul Caputo said that he was pleased to be invited, that he has been a member of Save the Pine Bush since I came to his door many years ago to raise money. He drives by the Pine Bush every day. He feels that the Pine Bush does not have to be desecrated to get a Y. There are alternatives. He sees tough financial years ahead for Guilderland and spoke about how he would not support a budget where funding for the Pine Bush is cut and elected officials received raises.
Cheryl Parsons-Reul began by talking about how once a natural treasure is gone, it is gone forever. She spoke very movingly about how her father had to sell the farm she grew up on in Sharon Springs to Wal-Mart in order to pay for care for her mother. She said, "When I look at the Pine Bush, I see how fragmented it is - pull it together as much as possible and buffer it." Government can't do it by itself, we need a public-private partnership in order to save land. She cited the example of the Saratoga Battlefield, and how the Land Trust saved the view of the Hudson River from the battlefield. She said that innovative ideas such as the land trust, transfer of development rights, and modernizing Guilderland's approach to land use are needed to preserve land.
After the formal presentations, the candidates were peppered with questions from the audience. Jamie Malcolm asked how could all of the candidates be both for the Pine Bush and for the YMCA? As the Y will remove land from the Pine Bush preserve, it seems that being for both was mutually exclusive, but none of the candidates saw it that way. Asked if the Democrats have a position, Bill Aylward said no.
Discussion about mass transportation, lack of sidewalks, and looking at the necessity of a Y, when there are two Y's fifteen minutes away were raised. The positions of the candidates were basically that Guilderland needs a plan, Pine Bush is good, the Y is good, and that all have the experience it takes to be a good public official.
Printed November, 1997