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Hidden Government

New information added on March 31, 2005

News Brief

"State Comptroller Investigates New York's 640 Public Authorities" - News Brief, March 25, 2005
Comptroller Alan Hevesi likened public authorities to a "secret government," as he tried to ferret out the state's full number of quasi-government agencies, after public outcry about corruption in the Thruway Authority's Canal Corporation and the Hudson River Black River Regulating District.

"Ellenville Thumbs Its Nose at Freedom of Information Law; Activist Landlord Dies"
- Reprinted from N.Y. Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 8, No. 4 (PRFA, Fall 2004)

"Assemblyman Prentiss Introduces Bill to Protect Property Owners from Stealth Rules" - PRFA, Summer 2004
A bill called "The Homeowner's Detrimental Reliance Act" (A. 10445) introduced into the New York State Legislature would protect building permit applicants from being hit with citations from state and federal agencies that they never heard about after they complied with a local building permit.

 See Also
See Also

Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites

National Park Service - National

Heritage Rivers and Areas - National

Land Trusts

Additional Resources
Additional Resources

"The Freedom of Information Request" (With Sample Letter) - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA Background Brief, December 2004)
Knowledge is the first key to success in defending private property rights. Although based on New York and federal freedom of information law, this article has important information applicable anywhere in the United States.

"A Property Rights Primer — How to Educate Yourself"— By Susan Allen, Keene Valley, N.Y. (PRFA, December 10, 2002)
Don't rely on others. If you have been hit with a property rights issue, "you need to become very knowledgeable in a very great hurry." This primer by an expert tells you how to gather information about government programs and land ownership without any prior background.


New York State Committee on Open Government
The Committee on Open Government is responsible for overseeing and advising with regard to the Freedom of Information, Open Meetings and Personal Privacy Protection Laws.


In-Depth Information

  • "Committee on Open Government Assists LaGrasse FOIL Request" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, Dec. 29, 2003)
    Records of citations of rental properties were sought after small landlords in Ellenville complained to PRFA about numerous petty citations. The Village of Ellenville imposed a $300 "administrative fee" in addition to the statutory 25 cents per copy charge.
  • "Landowner Access to Great Sacandaga Lake is Squeezed"
    - By Carol W. LaGrasse (Reprinted from NY Property Rights Clearinghouse, Property Rights Foundation of America, Fall 2003)
    Conflicts raged over the Hudson River - Black River Regulating District. The District tried to raise access permit fees over 300%. Access permit holder John Barber's Hunt Lake Holding Company sued to keep his lake access location, which the District changed without notice.
  • Joseph Havranek"The Proposed Rondout Creek Canalway Trail-Defending Property Owners" - By Joseph Havranek, Rondout Landowners Alliance, Seventh Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, October 18, 2003)
    A classic of successful activism. FOIL Requests revealed that the true intent of the local project in Rosendale and Marbletown was a 108-mile trail linking the Hudson and Delaware Rivers. The Rondout Landowners Alliance got the information to the people and went on the offensive.
  • "The Canal Trailway - A Threat to Private Property Owners"
    - By Carol W. LaGrasse, Speech hosted by the Rondout Landowners Alliance, Rosendale, N.Y., September 18, 2003
    In addition to danger of eminent domain and liability concerns, canal trails such as the Delaware and Hudson demonstrate the power of the National Park Service, other federal and state government agencies, and wealthy non-profit organizations to institute greenways and landscape preservation on a national scale. Rural communities are threatened.
    Photo Gallery
  • "Overlapping Jurisdictions Requiring Permits in New York State" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, June 4, 2003
    When applying for a local building permit, property owners are unaware of the multiplicity of local, state, and federal agencies potentially having jurisdiction. The tentative list of over 30 agencies in "Overlapping Jurisdictions" shows the urgent need for a State clearinghouse to provide applicants with an official list of potentially jurisdictional agencies.
  • "Saratoga County Canalway Trail Shrouded in Secrecy—Trail Planned along Champlain Canal Route through Saratoga and Washington Counties"
    - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, October 22, 2002)
    The New York State Canal Corporation, National Park Service, and the New York Parks and Conservation are very quietly garnering support for an elaborately planned proposal with federal funding to build an uninterrupted 26-mile trail along the active and abandoned Champlain Canal route from Waterford through Saratoga County, to be followed by another 22 miles through Washington County to Whitehall. The abandoned and active sections of the canal pass through or are adjacent to private houses and backyards, businesses, farms, and other private property, but the property owners are not being given information.

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