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Let Us Speak Plainly

July 29, 2005

To the editor:

In January of 2003, Croton's board of trustees voted not to renew Metro Enviro's permit. Since that time, much has happened, most of it eloquently expressed in David Goldman's letter to the editor in this week's Gazette and in the lead story of that same paper.

Despite this and our recent court victory as well, a handful of former officials and their supporters continue to claim that a deal with Metro Enviro is in the village's best interest. It has always been disturbing and even more so now with the publication of an editorial on this blog advocating yet another deal.

One which has the fingerprints of Metro Enviro's few supporters, former board members, and we can only imagine who else, tap-danced all over it.

Let us speak plainly. In the last several days, a massive investigation centering around organized crime's involvement in the waste industry has been initiated by both New York and Connecticut authorities. It promises to be the most sweeping investigation since the mid-1990's. The press reports that among the 60 companies named in the federal warrants, authorities recently visited the Allied facilities in Mount Kisco and Mamaroneck as well.

Allied will say, as they have said before, that this investigation has nothing to do with them. The fact is, however, that these latest events are just another chapter in an unhappy book filled with one problem after another---all of which have placed this village, its children and the environment in a position of risk.

Yet even with the latter undeniably substantiated by the highest court in the state, there are still a few people who want the rest of us to believe that if we just take Allied's money, that risk will instantly disappear.

The same old tired line from last September has been recycled--that in cutting a deal, Croton will somehow be able to control the activities of an industry that even the federal authorities CAN'T CONTROL for more than a few years at a time.

It just doesn't make any sense. It never will.

Few residents know about this but in January of 2003, a number of haulers were present at the village meeting I referred to above. Let me start by saying that there are some good, decent, hard-working people in the waste business. They were not, however, in attendance that night.

Residents were so intimidated by the threats of these individuals, some of which were made publicly, that the police were summoned and remained for the duration. Dozens of letters were sent to the board, the federal monitor, and/or the county expressing the fear that many felt that night and in subsequent meetings.

Only two trustees bothered to answer those emails: now Mayor Schmidt and former trustee McCarthy. Ms. McCarthy even went so far as to contact the county licensing commission directly. The rest of the board said nothing.

It has never looked right. It never will.

And that has been the story with Metro Enviro from day one. When our officials were not defending the operation no matter what it did, they chose to say or do nothing at all. When they did break their silence, it was to advocate what essentially amounts to the enslavement of an entire community, our "village in park", to an industry that has historically proven it cannot be trusted.

It has never looked right. It never will. And they are STILL trying to do it now.

No one understands this. In fact, there is seldom a day that goes by in Croton that I am not approached by someone who asks: "What were they thinking?" or "What really happened here?"

Some years ago, Mount Kisco opted for a settlement with their Allied Waste facility, just as the Blog's editorial advocates now. Residents there begged officials not to do so and were ignored instead.

Today those same residents report that the money is long gone and that the facility continues to violate its agreement. They are left to wonder what it was the feds were looking for last week, and if they too are at risk.

This latest proposed "deal", even if well-intentioned, will mean nothing more than an endless circle of violations, threats of more litigation, actual litigation, and so forth. Because trash is a bad business. It always has been. It always will be.

That fact will not change simply because there are mercifully--a few people in Croton who want you to believe that it's okay to sell yourself... as long as you can get some cash up-front.

In the words of Richard Pellicci--which were met with thunderous applause last September--No Deals with Metro Enviro. Not now. Not ever.

Croton must stay the course. Its future depends on it.

-- Maria Cudequest

Please also note that although the editorial indicates that Metro Enviro is in compliance with our permit, that is incorrect. Metro Enviro has been receiving waste from a non-NYSDEC permitted facility.

That is a violation of our permit for which a notice of violation was issued approximately two weeks ago. Metro was to appear before the zoning board at that time. That appearance was postponed.


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