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September 9, 2006


Email for For March to August, 2006

August 26 Great Sacandaga And Albany
August 11 The Thruway Is The Problem

August 5 Suburbia Commits Suicide

July 17 Triathletes In The Pine Bush
July 8 Suburbanizing Albany

June 8 Upscale In The South End

May 21 Albany’s Corrupt Planning Board
May14 The Human Dumping Issue
May 6 Buldozers Attack The Pine Bush Preserve

April 10 Showing The Kids Which Way To Go

March 26 Where The Dump Grows
March 5 An Unprovoked Attack By The Corporate Media

Previous Emails

August 26 Great Sacandaga And Albany

Mr. Van Riper --

Thanks for calling my attention to your excellent post on Great Sacandaga Lake. In a future BBAC Newsletter, I'll give our members a link to it. Do you receive copies of our newsletter? If not, I'd be happy to add you to our mailing list.

It's a disgrace that this beautiful lake is under the thumb of a bunch of political hacks. After stirring up a hornet's nest of angry property owners -- with an election only two months off -- they are now hunkering down and trying to maintain a low profile during the transition to a new governor. I hope he gives them the boot.

Mr. Spitzer and about 20 other elected officials and agency heads are on the mailing list for the BBAC Newsletter. He has ignored requests from our members that he 1) spell out how he would deal with the Regulating District, and 2) send someone from his staff as an observer at the District's rule-revision meetings.

Pete VanAvery
Batchellorville Bridge Action Committee (BBAC)

August 11 The Thruway Is The Problem

Hi Dan! :

Mucho thanx for those strong notes supporting my views on what the Thru-Way Authority and NYSDOT are doing wrong and what they can do to make amends and more.

It's extremely doubtful that they'll do anything unless a lot of people and groups get on their cases. They have all kinds of facts and statistics which they are all too glad to twist and pervert in favor of leading the lemming parade. You are absolutely right, even though they came across royally with the Hikers Underpass, this latest request is doubtless too much without a thorough staff turnover, especially in the upper descision and policy making echelons.

It's too bad. They never noticed that the church where they held their hearing ( I think it was, actually in 2005 ) is named " Hagia Sophia " which has long been wrongly Englished as "Saint Sophia.” It really means Holy Wisdom. Look it up in any lexicon or in any history of Byzantium/ Constantinople, or any account of Constantine and Theodora. Without wisdom, facts information and knowledge are subject to be twisted, perverted and misused. I had thought of noting this at the hearing, but I had spoken long enough already, and it probably would been just Greek to them anyway.

What I wrote in the Gazette article was actually about the same as my comments at that hearing. So I didn't get these notions from Al Gore's movie which I haven't seen yet, but certainly want to. By the way thanx for correcting carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide. I sent that correction in to the Gazette but don't know if they printed it yet.

John Wolcott


In case anybody is wondering, John is referring to the hiker’s underpass, which can be seen from a speeding vehicle on the Thruway. It is located under the north side of the Route 155 overpass, located west of Exit 24. The idea is to allow hikers to walk from Rensselaer Lake to the western part of the Pine Bush without crossing a major highway.

The hiker’s underpass is there solely because John did it. He bugged the right people at the right time and convinced them that it was in their best interests to provide this trail connection. John has done a lot of little things like that over the years 1) for which he receives no credit, 2) for which others take credit, and 3) for which he does not care to receive credit, only rejoicing in that the necessary things have gotten done.

August 5 Suburbia Commits Suicide

Hi Dan,

Your August 5th posting, "Suburbia Commits Suicide - Luther Forest will destroy Saratoga County" was interesting but - please don't take offense - it contains some very serious factual errors.

There are good reasons, though, for your making those errors. The folks behind the chip fab plant's development on this site with don't want the truth to come out and have been very careful to keep it hidden.

If you recall, a few years ago they first tried to get Semitech to locate here. Being unsuccessful in that effort, it now seems they've had better luck in luring AMD to Malta. Perhaps the inviting bait, dangling a billion tax payers' dollars before AMD's execs, is what sealed the deal this time around.

I am familiar with this site. My sister lives nearby and a friend's back yard borders the subject land. In fact, it was from this friend that I first learned about the problems of the proposed site.

"Why, you might ask, are they not building their plant on vacant General Electric land in Schenectady, or some other burnt out industrial landscape? Why on pristine land?"

Although the land may appear to be 'pristine' as you state in your article, it is far from being that.

It is in fact a known Superfund site.

It is well known to immediate area residents as being polluted with dangerous toxins. It is cordoned off and posted, warning all not to enter.

This land, at least part of it, was an old military research facility complex where NASA, GE, and others over the years tested rocket fuel, among other things, and carelessly disposed waste chemicals. GE always "brings good things to life" before their chemicals kill sundry lifeforms.

Please see:

Another omission from your article and from almost all press related to the chip fab plant is the enormous quantity of water a chip fab plant requires.

Millions of gallons of water is needed daily to quench the chip plant's thirst.

I only heard one brief mention of the plant's water demands by WTEN's John McLoughlin perhaps a month or so ago. There was also this August 5, 2006 TU article, too: "County leader douses pipe plan" by Brian Nearing. I've pasted it below, as it is no longer available free online.

Here's the TU article:

The next link is to a toxics release inventory map of the area. Malta is Exit 12 on the Northway. Please note that this map does not list all of the area's known "Hot spots". The second link below will reveal one of the sites to be a Lockheed Martin Defense Systems site and the other the Rocket fuel site.
This is an enlarged map of the area. If you have a problem with this link, please try this, its start page:

The next link is to Saratoga Economic Development Corporation's site plan for the proposed technology park:

Here's a link to an artist's rendering pdf map of the site:

Lastly, I thought I'd mention the natural gas demands of the plant. It will require an unending 10,500 cfh. 10,500 cubic feet of gas per hour. I don't suppose that this will impact us though. (sarcasm inferred) A quarter million cubic feet of natural gas daily certainly won't cut into the supply and cause residential consumers price to increase, will it? (nearly 100 million cubic feet of gas a year diverted to supply this one manufacturer.)

So, a few questions remain to be answered.

Where will the enormous quantity of water necessary come from? The Hudson? Nearby Saratoga or Round lakes?

Will the water be treated and cleansed of the toxins it acquires from the chip manufacturing process, before being returned to the underlying aquifer or river?

So, while the politicos all rave about the many jobs AMD's plant will create, their real gift to Saratoga County will be a certain increase in residents taxes for many years to come and an increase in their water and natural gas costs.

I have no idea what the electrical demands of this plant will be, but I'm sure they too, will be enormous.

Perhaps you'll remember the problems the developer of Luther Forest had providing water to homeowners several years ago - their wells ran dry continually.

Jim Travers

Well, Jim, now that you have demonstrated that the site is a toxic waste dump, it should be interesting to see if they are still eligible for 485B tax subsidies.

It was only much later after posting the article that I realized that I had not mentioned that the subsidies for AMD without 485B amounted to 1.2 BILLION DOLLARS. And AMD has no responsibilities, no financial or legal penalties if they fail to keep their promises.

If that doesn’t prove that our corporate socialist elected officials are hopelessly corrupt and ought to all be thrown in prison for the rest of their lives, then nothing will.

July 17 Triathletes In The Pine Bush

Congrats to TW... She is indeed a role model for the Slow Fat Unathletes of Albany. Hope she feels better soon -- there's nothing quite like suffering from a sinus infection during a 90-degree heat wave.

Catherine E. Kirkland


Catherine was one of the participants, also inspired by Jayne Williams. I made sure that TW (The Wife, in case folks were wondering) got your message and she returns the compliment.


Hey, that's awesome! I assume that The Wife was Lynne... I'm sorry her sinuses acted up again but I was glad to see her at the race. Good job supporting her!

-jw, sft

(Jayne Williams, Slow Fat Triathlete)

July 8 Suburbanizing Albany

Hey Dan,

Another great post on your blog!

I have a bit of an off topic question for you. You mentioned that you get your health care cheaper and with more benefits than what the chamber offers. I’m actually shopping around for insurance and was wondering what you’re using?

Take care,
Perry Woodin

Sheesh. The things people pick up on. You really want to know? I sent away for this home surgery kit and I’ve been practicing on the cats. We’ve pretty much run out of housepets, but I think I’m ready the next time The Wife gets a sinus infection.


I just wanted to privately and confidentially take issue with your "romanticizing" Eva Joseph.

She was the instructional "leader" for seven years before she became the superintendent and she is responsible for the lack of educational responsiveness and effectiveness in our public schools. She held the school board "hostage" to get the job and this fear based decision resulted in a betrayal of public trust by abandoning a public commitment to a national search. The fraudulent school violence incidents report coupled with the misrepresentation of high school regents results should be enough to see that there is a serious integrity issue with her administration.

Our son is a junior at Albany High and when the high achieving kids (mostly White) are expected to take the regents in January and then again in June (we refused to participate in the fraud.) It becomes transparent. to some of us that under her "leadership" there has been an undermining of what little confidence is left in our school district.

Even though she has brought the National Urban School Alliance in as a resource, it is window dressing because she fundamentally refuses to see and alter a de facto segregated school system that is inherently racist and elitist. Eva Joseph certainly is within the comfort zone of most White folks for whom the schools may be working because many of their honors' kids get a private education in the public schools. But in a school district where approximately 70% of its students are Black, this is a travesty and educational tragedy for far too many young people.

Her proposal to close Livingston Middle School with no thought to the possibilities of reopening it as a newly designed school that is committed to making education work for the community who sends there children there, is just another example of "not getting it."

The persistent use of charter schools as her "whipping board" for school budget problems without acknowledging why nearly 1,200 Black families are choosing them is another example. Granted there should be funding relief for public schools impacted by charter schools but at what point do White folks begin to realize the exodus of Black children to charter schools is a quest that represents a refusal to no longer "defer the dream."

I could go on but as someone who has worked in the Albany Public Schools, lived in Albany since 1987 and whose son has attended the public schools since kindergarten, I am in hopes that what I have shared, at the very least, gives you pause to see that the Eva Joseph picture has a history, and from my perspective is intricately woven into why the schools are failing our young people. The Class of 2006 had 334 graduates from Albany High in June from a class that was nearly 900 when it started!

No coincidence that I can hear Aretha Franklin's "Think" playing from my son's room. "Think about it!" Thanks for your web blog, postings and the opportunity for exchange it presents.

Name Witheld By Request

I’ll have to say that your letter has made me do a lot of thinking about our public schools and about Eva Joseph. To tell you the truth I’ve been stunned to learn how deeply resented she is by the Black community. I confess that I don’t really understand it. At some point in the future I’ll be writing about her and the public schools... when I get a handle on it.

Meanwhile, it is clear as crystal water that so-called “charter” schools are not the answer. Study after study has shown that “charter” schools perform consistently worse than even the lousiest public schools. The reason is not hard to see. All public schools, even the most dysfunctional, are accountable to the public. “Charter” schools are accountable to nothing except the bottom line. The kids attend these scam operations to funnel tax dollars into dirty pockets, and for no other reason.

But your point is that folks are so fed up that they are allowing themselves to fall for the false promises of “charter” schools. This is sort of like curing pnuemonia by jumping in front of a train, but desperation will make you do that.

June 8 Upscale In The South End


You blast the suburbs in no uncertain terms.

Gregg Bell


Who, me?

May 21 Albany's Corrupt Planning Board

-I only received a couple of emails on this article. However, it has had quite an impact. I’ve had dozens of people come up to me and express amazement at how the Planning Board operates. Hopefully this will result in some much needed reform.



Shawn [Albany Common Council President Shawn Morris] and I are looking into developing some legislation that will change the way the Planning Board operates.

Funny, I haven't gotten a call back from the Planning Dept. yet with a list of the conditions on the site plan for 41 Holland Avenue. I will have to stop by there, maybe tomorrow.

Cathy Fahey
Albany Common Council
7th Ward


Thanks for your work, Cathy. It’s good to know that some of our elected officials in Albany are working for the citizens and taxpayers, and not spending their time making sleazy suburbanites rich.



I think we have met on the Internet, I am Len Morgenbesser PhD, from Ward 14, good friend of Hon Dominick Calsolaro.

A friend of mine is having problems accessing your site. I want to share with him your insightful perspective on the Albany Planning Board, the experience of "The Wife" etc.

Are you able to send me via email this piece on the Planning Board.

Thanks, Dan



Thanks for passing along the article to others. Actually, Lenny, we’ve known each other for years in person. I hope that someday soon you get a chance to connect the real world me with the virtual me.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Lenny is trying singlehandedly to end gun violence in Albany. he refuses to give up, and every public official, neighborhood activist and purveyors of information in the City are familiar with him. I expect to be writing about him and the gun issue some time soon.


May14 The Human Dumping Issue


Thank you for publishing my reply. I think.

Tom McPheeters


Unfortunately, Dan, things in e-mails are probably misunderstood far more than telephone conversation, let alone face-to-face. I think someone has done studies to that effect. I believe that's why they invented the smileyface and other symbols- to suggest the nuance that the medium otherwise lacks.

I know your heart, and I know what you meant.

Roger Owen


Well, that’s why I write this blog, so that I can be understood. If you can catch a glimpse of my heart, then so much the better.


Dear Mr. Van Riper,

My name is Kimberly Wingfield, and I'm a fairly recent addition to Albany (moved here last summer,) and I thoroughly enjoy your blog, which I stumbled upon a few months ago. Your most recent post about the "human dumping problem" in the South End, however, was one that really got me thinking, and prompted me to do a little research as well.

You see, when I was growing up, I had nearly no experience w/homeless people. As an adult, I moved to a borderline-shady area of Utica where homeless people were fairly common. It was pretty common knowledge in Utica that almost all of their homeless population was either foreign-born, from NYC, or had been released during a purge of local mental institutions. (Brilliant urban planning, that!) I knew that shipping homeless people to Upstate cities was something that NYC was wont to do, but the problem of the suburbs shipping their indigents off to the nearest urban center never really occurred to me, and your article was definitely an eye-opener!

I got around to thinking about that particular point, and looked up the NYS sex offender registry, as it seemed to be the most reliable sample of a criminal population that I could readily get my hands on. (I realize that this doesn't necessarily directly address the issue of homelessness, but it does address the issue of human exiles to Albany and other places.) If you'll pull up almost any ZIP code in Albany, (or for that matter, other Upstate NY cities,) you'll notice that a huge chunk of the offenders were arrested in either the suburbs or the exurban areas of Albany, and unsurprisingly, another huge chunk were arrested and charged in NYC courts. In addition, a fairly large handful of others have out-of-state convictions.

Just thought I'd pass along some potentially useful information, and a bit of encouragement to keep fighting the good fight!

Kim Wingfield


Thanks, Kim. I know a fellow who is a long time mental health professional, a guy who deals with schizophrenics. A few years ago he transferred to downtown Schenectady from CDPC in Albany. During a visit to his home, he stunned me by saying, “Schenectady is a terrible place, full of mentally ill people and criminals. There must be something about the place that attracts these people. No wonder no one wants to live there.”

After I got through sputtering all over his living room, I explained to him as gently as I could manage that maybe just maybe “these people” had “taken over” downtown Schenectady because of public policy. He was bemused by the notion, but then he started to realize that there really wasn’t any other rational reason for this situation. “Hmm,” he said, “I’ll give that some thought.” Thank goodness.



“It is unfortunate that Lucille Mcknight, who served for many years as chair of the Albany County Legislature's Social Services Committee, continues to focus on this issue rather than the causes of homelessness.” (Tom McPheeters, from his letter to albanyweblog.)

Well, I am shocked to read what Tom has stated about my non-focus on root causes of homelessness in Albany County. I am a former employee of the Albany County Mobile Crisis Unit and worked at the Travelers Aid Office when it was located at Albany Housing Authority, 200 Green Street, this was before Tom McPheeters moved to Albany City/County.

I worked as A Mental Health Case Manager, assigned to stabilize the lives of homeless mentally ill people. My unit was created after the Albany Police Officers shot Jessie Davis, a Black MH Client who lived on Clinton Ave. in 1984. I stayed in this job with Albany County Mental Health until I ran for Office in 1991. I worked very hard in my position and still have a lot of empathy for the homeless population.

I feel that everyone deserves a decent living environment and each county in New York State must provide for the indigent, sick, frail and the most needy of our society. As the Albany County Commissioner of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission, I recently voted to support and participate in the Albany County Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. I recommended Citizens like Tom, the Markovics, John Miller and numerous others to serve on this first of a kind, homeless initiative in this region.

A few years back I met with the folks in the Lutheran Focus Church group about this issue and I made it crystal clear that homelessness is a regional problem and this is why CDRPC is involved. Now, Rensselaer County has started a plan similar to Albany's. I am hopeful that we all can get a better understanding of this very complex issue.

It is so true that I have openly stated "that the South-End is oversaturated with homelessness and social service agencies". While working with the Centralized Emergency Shelter Intake System (CESIS) in the early 90's, it was common knowledge that many surrounding areas would purchase a Greyhound ticket and send their homeless to the South-End. This certainly places a heavy economical burden not only on the South-End Community but on all the tax payers in Albany County.

I recall expanding the shelter system to open a large Marillac facility on Washington Ave. Extension just for families while I was Chair,of DSS. Tom should study some of my great work as Legislator for the Second District before he speak ill of my performance. I invite him to visit my Legislative Chambers in Albany County Courthouse and make a statement like this in the presence of my colleagues. They all hold me in high regard and truly respect my leadership.

Respectfully submitted
Lucille M. McKnight
Albany County Legislator

May 6 Buldozers Attack The Pine Bush Preserve

For the record, it took me 20 minutes to get from downtown back to the Discovery Center.

Chris Hawver
Executive Director
Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission


Hey Dan...great story! congrats to Lynne! I am in Florida for a few days, back tonight, I am visiting with my folks. I told my mom a little history on our dump issues...she's ready to come up and help protest....I told her not to get arrested though, she thinks her AARP card gives her super-human powers! haha...

Sandey LeVan


You are a very FUNNY guy--a little rude maybe-- but very FUNNY. And, of course, you have the right politics as far as I am concerned. But you better lay off the comments about the wife's posterior. I would not stand for it and I hope she doesn't either! Your articles are "must reads" for my 17 and 20 year old kids.

Cathy Fahey
Albany Common Council
7th Ward



Perhaps I should have noted that it was The Wife herself that was going around making comments about her rump appearing on the front page of the Hearst Rag. That same weekend her butt also appeared on page 10 of the Sunday Gazette, this time on a bicycle. “Someday, I hope they show my face,” said she.

Also, note these emails that I received:

I saw Lynne's now-famous behind early this morning. Looked really good! -Barbara Quint

I saw that heroic butt and was horrified... not by the butt of course, but
by the destruction. -Louise McNeilly


So Cathy, I’m sorry to hear that your 17 and 20 year old sons were so overwhelmed by the mention of The Wife’s butt that they both ran away to Clifton Park and are now smoking crack . I take full responsibility for ruining their lives. No one should end up in Clifton Park.

April 10 Showing The Kids Which Way To Go

The article was great and it's good to hear other peoples views on the show, clearly through all the mistakes and mess-ups, you got the message! and that's what I always hope for.


Latasha Mcbride

...And I got a kick out of your wife winning the raffle -
I thought it was cute.



Dan -

I thought you might like to know I linked to your entry on our new Albany PTA blog.

Mark Mishler
Albany PTA

Thanks Mark! That sure makes me feel legitimate.

March 26 Where The Dump Grows

“Indeed, there is a widespread perception that she has exchanged support for The Mayor and his projects for a visible central role in the South End Revitalization Plan".

I don't usually engage in this type of banter, but I must defend my honor and integrity. There has been no exchange of my soul and conscious for a position on the South End Action Committee. For those who have been hiding under a rock or in the Pine Bush, I have been intimately involved with the South End planning process for several years. Ask me and I will tell you my concerns and opinions. Don't assume you know what I am thiniking or how I will vote on any topic.

Carolyn McLaughlin
Albany Common Council, 2nd Ward


The key words in the quotation that you selected, Carolyn, are “widespread perception.” People talk, I report what they are saying.

I’ve been reluctant to agree with the widespread perception about how you align yourself with the Mayor. But lately, I have to admit that reluctance has been fading. How else to explain your senseless support for the unwanted Walgreens on HollandMorton Avenue, which will adversely affect nearby businesses which employ some of your constituents?

March 5 An Unprovoked Attack By The Corporate Media


This is the letter that I spoke to you about earlier this evening that I have been meaning to send you in reply to your 3-5-06 post 'An Unprovoked Attack ...'. It is from the blog site deconsumption and I've pasted below a bit from their's of March 7th, which I happened to read immediately after I read yours.

So there might be something to the saying 'there are no coincidences' after all.

Bill Herbst is an astrologer.

decomsumption's author was impressed after he found the following on Herbst's site and I it found especially interesting, having just finished reading what you had to say about your experience with Ch 13' blinding you, but reporting that you were 'hiding' from the camera.

I've included a link to decomsumption below. What Herbst has to about our near future is more frightening and can be found there. Whether or not one believes in astrology, I feel he's right on target.

Herbst's words:

"I have written before, in earlier essays and in different contexts, that the great triumph of 20th-century psychology occurred not in the therapeutic fields of mental health and individual well-being, but in the nitty-gritty industrial psychology of mass manipulation and group mind-control. For all its sophistication and theories, psychotherapy has been largely a failed experiment, whereas the more mundane and crude commercial inducements of marketing and advertising have been a phenomenal success—-not merely to sell products, but to sell ideas and shape opinion in the public mind. Psychology discovered that effectively manipulating individual human beings is difficult, but manipulating masses of human beings is easy, almost child’s play."

Jim Travers


Well, Jim, I think astrology is a bunch of horse diarhea. I acknowledge exactly three celestial bodies that have an effect on my life: the Earth, the Sun and the Moon. (Okay, there was that celestial body with the short tight skirt I saw walking down Lark Street the other night, make it four.)

My favorite way to demonstrate this is to compare the more familiar Babylonian astroloigy with Chinese astrology, both of which are based on approximately the same sky above us. For example, my own birth signs in the two systems describe completely opposite and incompatible people, one very dynamic and the other very static. But since I am neither Chinese nor Babylonian, it really doesn’t matter.

But I do know very well that people often take funny routes to arrive at reality. Indeed, it sometimes is necessary to take a wacky road to get to the truth when the usual methods aren’t adequate.

One thing is for sure. No one will ever learn the truth about the corporate media by watching TV. Or reading the daily papers. Or listening to NPR.


More Reader Responses, January-March, 2006

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