LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
February 21, 2003
Ellenville, New York
To the Editor:
Stacking the deck (arranging playing cards so as to cheat).
In order to increase the village's income revenue at the rate exorbitant (exceeding the bounds of propriety or reason) enough to pay for the construction of the eight-million-dollar showcase architectured buildings planned for downtown Center Street (construction costs always at least double the original estimate to arrive upon a realistic new construction final figure), a number of unconscionable (excessive or unreasonable, not guided by conscience) maneuvers have recently been implemented by the elected as well as employed village administrators without ethically adequate referral to their constituency.
One example is the over 300% (!!!) increase in the fee to rental property owners for the required annual rental safety certificate.
Another ploy (a tricky action calculated to gain an advantage by outwitting another) so dubious and improperly administered as to very possibly identify it as a scam (a fraudulent scheme especially for making an illegal profit) is the abandoned vehicle notice: A policeman who happens also to be the son of an elected official occasionally and sporadically (his timing is often odd: for example, he's blitzed village residents with Notices to remove "abandoned" vehicles NOW in mid-winter January, when they're impacted inside the biggest and most implacable icy-hound snow banks ever in recent memory) selectively canvasses for autos exhibiting signs of having been unmoved or unused for a longer than "normal" period of rime.
A preprinted 5-day Notice is written out, dated the day it is written and mailed the next day. Because of the new "centralized" routing of our mail, the recipients won't receive it until the next day, at the earliest, more likely the day after. So by the time owners of`"abandoned junk cars" receive the Notice to have the car removed within 5 days, already at least 3-4 days have gone by making it virtually impossible to either reregister and plate the car or arrange to have it towed somewhere else or to get it running if indeed it was an abandoned vehicle. I would call this "stacking the deck" against citizens.
Sitting in Village Court on 28 January from 5:00 to approximately 8:00 p.m. I noticed approximately ten people called up and fined from $0 to $80 dependent upon their verbal adroitness and quick wittedness talking themselves out of it.
In the judge's favor he appeared to be aware of the questionable fairness of the procedure. There is no known stipulation of time requisite in addition to the 5 days that landlords must give tenants who may be the vehicle's owner. If this scenario is the case it is impossible to comply with a Notice giving only 5 days.
As the system stands now, because of the unconscionably short time element, the Notice is practically impossible to comply with; so any time the village impulsively feels like it needs another infusion of guaranteed big fine-funds it sends out P.O.P.C., preferably in the dead of winter adding, again, to the chance in favor of the impossibility of the auto's owner's ability to comply.
This once again points to the likelihood that our elected and employed village administrators' impulses and agendas are sadly not to represent (to serve, to stand for, to act in place of as an agent, to act for supportively in behalf of...) our citizenry but rather not only to exact (to demand and force payments) money from us but to do it in a hostile, sadistic fashion.
Maybe it's not intentional on their part but only a result of resentment to an uninspiring 40-hour work week.
Paul T. Johnson
New York City