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Monday, November 19, 2018

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Emergency Meetings

The Middlesex Community reacted quickly and decisively when the 6166 news broke, and commitment has remained strong.  See below for emergency meeting summaries.  “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist.  Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew.  Then they came for me  and there was no one left to speak for me.” Martin Niemöller. 
(Martin Niemöller was a Protestant Minister in Germany during the Nazi Regime.  He opposed the many abuses of power under Hitler, and spent 7 years in a concentration camp.  His words show the importance of uniting, while there is still time to unite, against abusive and arbitrary government power.)  The meetings are chronicled in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent:

Third meeting:  Saturday, February 18, 2012 was held at the Middlesex  Fire Hall.  Approximately 80 people  attended and heard Assemblyman Philip Palmesano read a disappointing email reply  he’d received the previous evening from Commissioner Burke in reply to the letter he had sent in conjunction with Senator O’Mara.    

The letter from Commissioner Courtney Burke, hardly addressed the  inquiries Assemblyman Palmesano made on our behalf.  That she “stonewalled” might be a better word than “answered”  or “addressed” our concerns.   The Burke to Palmesano response  was a Pollyanna laundry list of how happy all the people are who moved away and were relocated with strangers and are hardly settled-in.  Many, she claimed, they are now closer to home too.  That all remains to be seen.  Families or Guardians of the residents who were moved are asked to confirm how their loved ones are really doing, and whatever information they are willing to supply about when and how notice was given, if they believed  the move was permanent, and any promises they may have been made to them.  We cannot find out the truth without your help, because of the HIPPA laws.  An example was detailed of  NYS and FLDDSO bullying the most vulnerable in our midst.  More of “Putting People Last?”  It’s in direct contradiction to Burke’s Office of People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) which sloganeers “Putting People First.”

Attendees at the meeting frequently commented on not trusting NYS or FLDDSO or NYS-OPWDD individuals or organizations who seem to have their own agenda and are pushing it through, regardless of the impact on the disabled, their families, or on our community.  Comments were made again deploring the secrecy, and the opinion was expressed that Commissioner Burke’s promise to Assemblyman Palmesano to review the matters was empty, as her email came very quickly….too quickly some believe for her to have done any substantive investigation at all. 

Assemblyman Palmesano was commended for his prompt response, his seriously taking the state to task, and his willingness to continue to pursue these matters with us.  He is going to research several more points as well.   To clarify, we don’t object to “confidentiality,” which is necessary to protect the privacy of individuals; rather, we object to “secrecy,” doing things in a hidden way to prevent the population at large from exercising its rights, to facilitate bullying, and to “ram it down our throats” in the words of one attendee.

Tracy Dunton and  Skip Twitchell, who had heroically pursued these matters on behalf of her sister, informed us that although at the end of the prior meeting Director Michael Feeney “promised” her  that a room in Yates County was going to be available for her sister, and that she’d have another 30 days before having to move, the next day she was then told it wasn’t true and she had to move immediately, according to the summary given by Tracy.  Fearful that her sister would have no room available, she could not prevent the move, still at this writing unconfirmed by the necessary, mandated paperwork.  It is yet one more example, in the opinion of a number of residents, of NYS and FLDDSO bullying the most vulnerable in our midst. 

Above Picture:  Ron Papa Makes a Crucial Point

Other proposals were made, which will be explored in sub-committees among those willing to work on the issues.  Assemblyman Palmesano  is going to research several more points as well.  The frustrations expressed were toward the monolith of NYS policy, not toward our legislators’ good faith efforts. 

Families Express their Pain and Concerns

Pending the efforts of sub-committees regarding strategy, a three-pronged action seems to be emerging:  1) assess how the displaced occupants of 6166 South Vine Valley Rd. are faring, and attitudes toward wanting to return or not; 2) network with other areas for the purpose of filling the house with the developmentally disabled, not sex offenders or predators, as an alternative if all occupants don’t want to return, and 3) in spite of NYS denying that it has not made any decision, actively oppose and fight changing the use of the facility and the dangers of what we believe is from the targeted population.  If you are able to work on one of these three sub-projects, please contact us at info@sos-news.com

Also handed out at the meeting was a Letter to Commissioner Burke which was mailed Monday, February 20th with all the petitions.  View it under “Correspondence” tab.   Please keep the petitions coming.  Also, a sample letter for residents to send to Commissioner Burke, Governor Cuomo and others was passed out, and is posted on the Sample Letters tab to get folks started in their writing; please add whatever you want to change or you feel is appropriate; but, please do write.  As Assemblyman Palmesano said “It can’t hurt,” and we would add that it would be a terrible shame to not have written and to have lost without even trying.

Next meeting: date not set yet.  Volunteers are needed to distribute and collect petitions, write letters, contact residents who are away and may not be receiving emails, and to work on various sub-committee strategies.   

Pending the efforts of sub-committees regarding strategy, a three-pronged action seems to be emerging:  1) assess how the displaced occupants of 6166 South Vine Valley Rd. are faring, and attitudes toward wanting to return or not; 2) network with other areas for the purpose of filling the house with the developmentally disabled, not sex offenders or predators, as an alternative if all occupants don’t want to return, and 3) in spite of NYS denying that it has made a decision, actively oppose and fight changing the use of the facility and the dangers of what we believe is from the targeted population.  One has to understand NYS “Speak.”  When they say “We don’t know who is coming,” it seems to mean they don’t know which of a certain population is coming, but it seems very certain they intend for it to be sex offenders.

Update:  Since this meeting, Assemblyman Palmesano and Senator O’Mara have sent yet another letter to Ms. Burke, and also one to Cuomo

 

Second meeting: February 4, 2012:  The principal agenda was a presentation by Michael Feeney, Director of Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Services Office (FLDDSO in NYS-speak) and his response to extensive questions.   The session ran well over an hour.  Then Bob Multer, Middlesex Town Supervisor, read a statement opposing the plans to move the current residents out of the South Vine Valley Rd. facility, and opposing turning that building into a facility to house sex offenders.  See Mr. Multer’s full text.   A presentation was also made about using this new website. The revised petition was available for signature, and attendees offered their email addresses to receive further communications.

 

2nd meeting --2-04-12 Michael Feeney answering questions

 

 First meeting:  January 28, 2012:   Sixty one people attended the emergency meeting at the Middlesex Fire House on January 28, 2012.  (See minutes posted on this site.)  Concerns were expressed about the lack of information from NYS, and the group’s initial plans were developed.  A petition for more information was signed by 61, which included residents, owners of property in the area, and some town officials.  Three points of concern were unanimously accepted: 

1. Compassion for the members of the community who have resided at the IRA facility on South Vine Valley Rd., and for their family members, being abruptly torn apart, moved inconvenient distances, without adequate disclosure or consideration of the individuals, families or the community.

2. Objection to the lack of information supplied by NYS, and the need for much more information and detail, to which local residents believe they have a right.

3. Concern for safety of the community and for a compatibility to the character of the community of any future resident population.

Other related information: See right column for: 

  • Minutes of meetings (which are posted when available).   
  • News releases
  • Correspondence tab for currently available copies of letters, and
  • Newspaper  Articles for additional background information.

 

 


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