News That Matters - July 20, 2013 - The "Really?" Edition

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Jeff Green

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Jul 29, 2013, 8:26:31 PM7/29/13
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Folks,

On Saturday, July 20, News That Matters released the following article:

Putnam County Executive Maryellen Odell, announced late yesterday afternoon that the county has arranged for a plan that will fully finance maintenance costs for the Putnam County Rail Trail. The trail has been the topic of intense debate when a private company, Bikepath Country, was given a contract to sell advertising space on signs along the trail. This new plan eliminates the complexity of a private corporation and the county will run the program on its own.

“This new partnership will be a milestone in public/private cooperation,” said Ms. Odell in a press release. “The partnering between Putnam County, Verizon Communications and Entergy will generate enough income and services that the taxpayers of the county will no longer be burdened with the cost of upkeep of the trail.”

(Read the rest here if you missed it or would like to refresh your memory)

Apparently that's as far as many in county government read or they were too many hours away from their last cup of coffee or they were, jeez... it's embarrassing to even go on.

Why? Because too many of our elected officials thought the article was legitimate. I'll only say this: At least two members of our county Legislature and one member of the executive branch had a shit-fit over it and it caused quite a fire-storm over there in that depression-era yellow office building we call the county seat.

And yes, I'm personally gratified.

You would have thought that the first intentional clue would have caught some but most (including most of you!) read right passed it:

Verizon will pay the county an annual fee of $56,000 for the ability to build monopole cell towers at 1/2 mile intervals along the length of the trail. As part of the agreement Verizon will also provide free WiFi access to trail users. Said Irene D’Bell, press secretary for Verizon New York, “We understand public safety is vitally important and our improved cell network will make it much easier for trail users to notify authorities if something untoward should happen along the trail.”

Irene D'Bell. Say it out loud. Come on, do it!

See? What a great name for a Verizon spokeperson!

Alright, that was a small word play but then there was this:

Entergy, owner of the nearby Indian Point nuclear power plant, will provide night lighting along the trail. The company will install radium markers at 25′ intervals so that the trail can be used during the evening and nighttime hours. Entergy will also provide funds for self-illuminated kiosks at trail intersections which will hold informational signs directing trail users to emergency services such as McDonalds and local convenience stores. The kiosks will be powered by spent fuel rods from the Indian Point plant and will generate enough electricity to keep the LED lighting system running for years to come. Each kiosk will also hold a USB smartphone charging station so that, combined with Verizon’s WiFi service, people can use the trail without missing Game of Thrones.

Hello? Is anyone home? Remember radium? It's three million more times radioactive than uranium! Apparently no one in county government does nor are they aware what a spent fuel rod is! And these people run our county. And yes, you should be afraid, you should be very afraid.

The third clue is here:

"County Highway Commissioner Pena added his support for the new arrangement. “With the joining together of two monopolies our residents can rest assured that the rail trail will be maintained to the highest standards possible,” said the Commissioner. He added, “We cannot, however, ban tractor trailers from the trail as it would be a violation of the Commerce clause of the US Constitution. But appropriate safety devices will be installed to lessen the danger of personal harm.”

By this time most of you were fully aware and going along for the ride. But too many of our elected officials had not yet caught on. And yes, you should be even more afraid now.

Then we have this:

While legislator Barbara Scuccimara, who hails from Philipstown said, “this is an expense we cannot afford even if someone else is paying the bill. None of that money will be coming to Philipstown where it’s most needed for road improvements so that our residents no longer get dings in their BMWs from rocks thrown up from the road.”

Dings in BMWs?

And finally, this:

But county legislator Ginny Nacerino was unhappy with the deal. “It’s important we focus on public safety issues and that is why I favor our initial arrangement with BikePath Country. I don’t care what the people say, I know that was the right way to go!”

Ginny complained that she was misquoted. But I'll defend the paraphrase in any case since that's pretty much what she said at the end of the July 2nd meeting.

On the other hand we have this:

From AS (yes, names have been changed to protect the intelligent)
You are my candidate to be hired as a master writer for the Onion.

I was multitasking as I read your full piece so it took me part way into the piece before your piece got my full attention. Masterfully crafted humor, and it didn't even require the F bomb! Thanks for taking the time to write this gem.
And from CB:
This is not for real, is it? The article about Verizon and cell towers etc. along the trail. Funny though.
From BB:
I'm glad you've found an outlet for your humor!
From CM:
Oh God - you got me for a moment...
From MS:
How awful that this could almost be taken for real!! This was really well done! Wish I had the 36K...I'd make you do it nationally!


How awful indeed that people who are running the show aren't really all that bright. And to think MEO loves Indian Point. No wonder she wasn't upset about the spent fuel rods!

JmG


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