My name is Carol W. LaGrasse. I reside in neighboring Stony Creek, and am the president of the Property Rights Foundation of America, a nationwide organization based in Stony Creek. The beginnings of the Property Rights Foundation of America can be traced to the injustices being inflicted on property owners by the Adirondack Park Agency and its infringements on the local culture and economy.
I am indebted to Ted Galusha for his generous display of the URL of our website, www.prfamerica.org, in clear letters on the popular outdoor wall design on the north side of his house up on Route 9. Our URL is part of Ted's design, which announces "NO APA."
The Threat of the Proposed Warrensburg Sign Law
The proposed Warrensburg sign law is offensive in several ways: its lack of clarity, its arbitrary limitation on sign size, its excessive restrictions against political speech, its arbitrary restrictions against signs for non-Warrensburg and off-premises associations, its arbitrary prohibition against traffic "distractions," its prohibition against "confusion," its prohibition against "false or deceptive impressions," its entrapping grandfather clause, and its ultimate delegation of discretion in repeated aspects of the regulations to the zoning administrator with no other recourse for interpretation. It appears that the proposed law is designed to make the display on Ted Galusha's house illegal by denoting the display as a sign and making it impossible for the display to conform. This is a classical instance of selective legislation and infringement on free speech.
The issue is more than Warrensburg. The town likes to call Warrensburg "The Gateway to the Adirondacks." Traveling people should be alerted that government may not be all goodness and light within the Adirondacks.
The inspiring display of a NO APA symbol emblazoned on the side of Ted Galusha's house gives comfort to many people. It helps restore hope that the day will come when the dreaded, hated Adirondack Park Agency will be no more.
When the APA Act was written, it was apparent to me that the system was designed parallelly to the structure of colonialism. The colonialists maintained their power by bestowing gifts and petty status on the local overlords. In the early 1970s, in the Adirondacks, the wealthy New York City elites, in establishing their tyrannical APA, envisioned that their lackeys, the local political hacks, would carry the gun for them, enforcing many new laws on the local people. As local so-called "leadership" sells out over the years, the people face their own neighbors enforcing APA-style laws.
As everyone knows, the U.S. Constitution is a seamless garment, with all the fundamental rights protected in its hallowed words working in an interrelated way to restrain the government within a philosophy that is based on God-given human dignity. So, to keep the local people in subjugation, just as the APA denies our property rights, it is also perversely logical to undercut our freedom of speech. Thus, a sign ordinance that stops protest about the APA. And, also perversely, this very meeting was called for a day during the week between Christmas and New Year's, the most difficult week of the year for the public to hear about it and attend. The obstruction of another First Amendment right: the freedom to assemble and petition the government.
I hope that from the shame of this proposed ordinance will
come change, and that the Warrensburg Town Board will throw aside
repressive schemes and adopt a vision centered around protecting
the rights of the people.