News That Matters - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - The "Well, What Did You Expect?" Edition

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Jeff Green

Jun 29, 2013, 11:32:42 AM6/29/13
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Good Saturday Morning!

DOMA was struck down and 100 million marriages did not dissolve into a black pit of godless sin. So there.


Well, What Did You Expect?

It's all about Bikepath Country (BpC) and the contract to place advertising signs on the Rail Trail that County Executive Maryellen Odell admits she hasn't read but intends to sign off on anyway. She doesn't want to "micromanage". Her word.

And it's all about the legal battle between MEO and the county Legislature who says she doesn't have the authority to sign contracts like this in the first place.

So... in order to teach her a lesson the Legislature will vote this coming Tuesday evening to sign off on the contract with BpC all on their own.

Mewling spoiled brats... the whole bunch of them.

It's interesting to see them crawling all over each other trying to sign a contract with a company whose plans were rejected a couple years ago and whose current business plan changes almost every day and who is so politically connected that the doctor forgot to cut the umbilical cord attaching them to the Republican Committee at birth.
First it was "tastefully done" advertisements that would be limited to 10% of the total sign area on mile markers placed every half mile, we assume in each direction. (That's 44 signs). BpC said they'd sell these signs to local businesses at between $200-$400 each per month. But we never saw samples of those. Instead we were shown pictures of signs that were 50% or 30% covered in advertisements, Golden Arches, IHOP and all! Go figure.

Of late, however, that business plan has changed once again. They're not talking about 10% anymore, in fact they're not talking about anything relating to the size of their advertisements but they've lowered the price to $50 per sign per month and they've added directional and informational signs to the mix.
(See our last issue for the math breakdown on this and why it cannot possibly work as stated.)

And when community opposition became overwhelming MEO pulled the "Public Safety" card as all politicians do when their plans begin to go awry. As I wrote back on June 24th;
County Legislator Ginny Nacerino claims that mile markers are essential to safety on the trail and therefore supports Bikepath Country’s project but forty-four mile markers, using standard State DOT markers, at half mile intervals in both directions can be installed for $1500 in materials. If the county highway department cannot come up with $1500 out of $130,000,000 budget then we are truly sunk. And if we are, let’s get a collection started right here at News That Matters to buy the county their damned mile markers *without* advertising on them.
At least she didn't say it was to "protect the children!" That would have been low. But she didn't stop there! Buried under a sea of emails to her office in opposition to this plan she had her email address pulled from the county website. (I'll post it again at the bottom of this column.)

County Legislative chair Richie Othmer said that we should help BpC start their new business but damn, where was he when I was starting mine? Did he offer me a sweetheart contract with the county? No. How about you... when you started your business did the County Legislature help you out? Did Maryellen Odell put her name and county seal on your advertisements via endorsement? So why is BpC so important?

Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra said, “I’m on board with Richie (Othmer). I think it’s very unfair that a large percentage of people in the county who don’t use the bike path have to pay to maintain it. I really don’t care if you have a contract in Florida or not.”"

Well Babs, what you're saying is that you don't care that they lied about having a contract. Aren't you supposed to be protecting the other 99,993 people of this county? And by the way, does this pertain to the county park on Gipsy Trail as well? Since I don't use it should have not pay for it?

Eh! Enough of that. We know this is a sham and a bad deal - and not just for the county but for the Rail Trail. Let's get to the good stuff:

According a Tax Watch article on June 24th, BpC will "control" the type of advertising they permit on their signs. No sex, no drugs, no rock and roll, no alcohol and no Jesus Christ, either. But this opens up a First Amendment issue that could last years in the courts.
If the signs were on private property BpC could limit them to anything they wanted. But the signs will be placed on public property on which the Supreme Court has determined that a different set of rules apply. How this will be reconciled is easy: they'll ignore it and hope no one sues. But if someone comes along and decides to rent space on one of those signs that says, "God is Dead" and they're refused, let's just hope they have the resources to sue the county's yarbles off.
Still, with all that technical funny stuff, all the nepotism, favoritism and a few other 'isms involved here it all comes down to one thing: Posting advertising signs on the Rail Trail is a bad idea. Period.

If you agree, take 5 minutes out of your day to call Maryellen Odell’s office and say, “NO!” to this foolish enterprise and let’s keep for ourselves a place to escape commercialism. You can reach her at (845) 808-1000 (or 845) 808-1001... she keeps changing the number) or by email to Then call the county Legislature at (845) 808-1020 or email them at

If you're looking for yet another way to show your opposition there is an online petition begun by Deborah Ramsey you can find here: .

Whichever path you chose, chose one and follow it. Let's stop this silliness.


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