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FORCE Fights Pyramid

Guilderland Citizens Organize

By Daniel Van Riper

Citizens and taxpayers of Guilderland, courageously opposed to the rape and ruination of their town by the vicious and sleazy Pyramid Corporation, have chosen a name for themselves and gotten down to the task of organizing. Friends Organized to Reject Crossgates Expansion (FORCE) has chosen officers and appointed committees, and is ready for a long war. "We have the force of will to achieve our goal", said Donald Csaposs, a principal organizer, to the Altamont Enterprise.

In a stunning display of democracy over corporate stalinism, more than 200 Guilderland citizens stopped an attempt on August 31st by the town's Zoning Board of Appeals to protect Pyramid from any legislation designed to curtail the expansion of the Maul. The Zoning Board of Appeals, which clearly bows to Pyramid, allowed Pyramid employees to make the only record of minutes of their last meeting, at which the Maul expansion plan was heavily presented. Carl Letson, chairman of FORCE, has called for Zoning Board of Appeals chairman William Coons to resign. "We need a ZBA the community can feel comfortable is not showing favoritism," Mr. Letson told the Enterprise. "They haven't warranted the trust we put into them."

The evil Pyramid Corporation wants to double the size of Crossgates Maul, making it the second largest Maul in the U.S. Although Pyramid has presented a plan that supposedly does not build outside the Crossgates parking lot, they have already begun to illegally expand their parking lot, paving over two and one half acres of land inside the City of Albany without approval. Like the pseudopod of an ameoba, the parking lot now surrounds and appears ready to devour the Butterfly Hill, which is the isolated piece of Pine Bush that contains the largest population of Karner Blue Butterflies in the endangered ecosystem.

As reported in the last newsletter, the Pyramid Corporation, hiding like filthy wretches behind a pair of dummy holding companies, has signed contracts to purchase at least $3.2 million of surrounding community, clearly indicating that they plan to continue expanding indefinately. We have since learned that Pyramid has not closed on any of the contracts, leaving homeowners dangling until if and when Pyramid sees fit to actually buy the land for the agreed upon prices.

Moratorium Proposed

Guilderland town board members, facing an unrelentingly angry citizenry, have dropped their thinly veiled attitude of the Crossgates expansion as a done deal, and agreed to consider a moratorium on all new commercial developments. Also, Altamont Mayor Kenneth Runion, a former town official, has proposed a measure which prohibits multi-level parking garages and limits the height of new structures. "I support any proposal that will, once and for all, stop the further expansion of Crossgates Maul," Mr. Runion told the town board. In reaction to Runion's proposal, Town Supervisor Jerry Yerbury hurriedly proposed a milder measure that would merely limit the size of mauls to 1 million square feet.

Crossgates Crime

Guilderland Police Chief James Murley told the Enterprise that the Crossgates expansion will bring a substantial increase in crime. He said that the police department "would have to do something totally different in its coverage," and that officers would have to be assigned solely to the Maul. As part of their 1994 expansion Pyramid was supposed to pay a paltry $25,000 a year for police expenses, but didn't bother to pay up any of it until they submitted this year's expansion plan.

Here's some fascinating statistics on crime:

92.6% of shoplifting calls in Guilderland were at Crossgates.

42% of Guilderland arrests overall for the first eight months of this year were at the Maul, up from 38% from last year. This includes lesser matters such as missing property, and more serious calls such as bomb threats and robberies.

21% of automobile accidents reported in the town are at Crossgates.

10% of emergency medical service calls are at Crossgates.

On The Media Front

Fred LeBrun, collumnist for the Hearst Corporation-owned Times Union, has been sent by his bosses on a long leave of absence from his job immediately after his highly visible criticisms of the Crossgates expansion. He's travelling up and down the Hudson sending back feel-good reports on what a fine river it is, and not a word about PCBs. We'll still be watching to see if he keeps his job, and we'll also be watching to see if he's allowed to criticise Pyramid anymore.

Join FORCE and fight Crossgates! Call Carl Letson at 869-6817 or e-mail him at livingint@juno.com and find out meeting times and places.


A Proposal for Guilderland Officials


published Oct/Nov 98 Newsletter


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