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What's Next for Citizen Advocate Robert Wintermeier?

September 24, 2006

Citizen participant and Croton Republican Committee affiliate Robert Wintermeier has an opinion about every issue in Croton. Not content to keep his ideas to himself, Mr. Wintermeier regularly stands up at the podium during every regularly scheduled village board meeting to share his wisdom.

His expertise in municipal matters ranges from the application of property and school taxes to the legalities commercial real estate law and most everything else in between.

During his most recent appearance on September 18, 2006 (see video clip below), Mr. Wintermeier started by calling for an unconditional surrender from the “trash terrorists” at 1A Croton Point Avenue (see: “Transparent Scare Tactics in Croton That Are Truly Scary—for Democracy”). Next, he proceeded to formally request an accounting of recent legal expenditures for “the fight” from Trustee Ann Gallelli, which have topped 1.2 million dollars. And finally Mr. Wintermeier, in defense of stalled legislation to close a Surface Transportation Board loophole put forth by Republican Congresswoman Sue Kelly (see: “On The House Subcommittee on Railroads…”), pondered out loud about taking his case to the White House at the suggestion of Trustee Leo Wiegman.

Over the years, Mr. Wintermeier has tirelessly presented himself to Croton residents as a sort of community advocate or local government watchdog. He’s made countless presentations to the board, conducted research on many community-related topics, written an untold number of letters to the editor at The Gazette, and aligned himself with Maria Cudequest’s citizen activist group that is famously known as the Concerned Citizens of Croton.

Indeed, Mr. Wintermeier is man fully engaged in local politics.

And as premature and speculative as it may be, residents of Croton might look forward the day in January of 2007 when Rob DiFrancesco and the Croton Republicans give Robert Wintermeier the official nod to seek an elected seat on the dais with both Trustees Ann Gallelli and Charlie Kane.

And then, finally, Mr. Wintermeier, instead of merely pointing out where change is needed, he can personally have a hand in applying it.

Video clip (14:10):

Download this video clip to your video iPod (how to guide).

On September 27, 2006 2:31 PM, dors said:

I certainly wouldn’t want to see the public’s right to address the board thwarted but a five minute limit seems appropriate. Attending a board meeting during a work week takes a real commitment and everyone should have a chance to air their grievances. Limiting the time at the mic would pressure people to get to their point succinctly while others would be spared “performances of the week”. The Elliot administration tried to limit mic-time but were chastised by ‘we all know who’ for having a closed government. Imagine if we could watch a videostream of a board meeting and not see the chosen few flipping through page after page while reprimanding the board. Oh for a perfect world.

On September 27, 2006 11:16 AM, waffels said:

This village needs to limit speaking time for public participation. Many communities around do this so as to move the meeting forward. Crotons band-of-few seem to love to hear their own voices and pander to the cameras wasting everyone’s time. If an individuale has lengthy information they want the board to hear make an appointement to sit and address it with them one on one or whatever. Board meetings have turned into freak shows where good hard working commited public officials as well as innocent citizen victims who may have other small issue they want to discuss, have to sit through the show. It doesn’t need to be. End open ended public participation, take the screaming away from the few who would lose their Monday night “session” and get on with the important issues the village needs to attend to.

On September 27, 2006 10:23 AM, weewill said:

It’s looking more and more like the small group of angry, self-anointed “community voices” are losing their audience. The majority of sophisticated, independent thinkers in this great little village see through the smoke and mirrors we’re bombarded with at every village board meeting.

The constant badgering and fear-mongering exaggeration presented by the same obsessed few becomes more far-fetched and ridiculous each week. They stretch the imagination far beyond any sane person’s ability to comprehend. This week’s mantra is that these out-of-state Ohio and/or Massachusetts landfills have identified “cockroaches….two to three inches long” that “came from Croton.” They are called “Croton bugs.” (How they know these bugs came from Croton is anybody’s guess!)

We have a smart, committed board that will do what we elected them to do. Speculation and unfounded rumors will have no place in the Board’s deliberations. They take their responsibility seriously as they listen to reason and the best professional advice they can get.

On September 26, 2006 4:36 PM, sdavidson said:

From what I have seen, a few vocal citizens who do not represent the community have essentially hijacked the political discourse in Croton for the past several years. This has resulted in over $1 million in legal fees, the possibility of a facility operating 24/7 with no oversight, and an enormous drain on thought and energy among politically active people in the village.

There is a similarly obnoxious group in Ossining, but at least they had the courage to run for office (and lose.)

In the next village election, my vote will go to whoever seems more likely to work out a deal and finally put this issue to rest.

On September 26, 2006 2:30 PM, Mrs. Smith said:

This has been the case for years - a small group of VERY vociferous people have spread misinformation, if not downright lies, about what happens at 1A Croton Point Avenue, usually as a result of their own “research” and without the benefit of the very expensive legal advice the trustees are privy to. They are loud enough and tenacious enough, showing up at every board meeting and harrassing the trustees with their accusations of corruption and malfeasance, that eventually, some people do listen. But - you notice that the Cudauqest’s, rooney’s, Minnett’s, Wintermeier’s, Pellici’s etc. never run for office - to do so would make them accountable and where would be the fun in that. It is very sad that such a small group can create such an atmosphere of distrust and incivility, especially over something that, as several people have pointed out, most village residents don’t even know what or where it is.

On September 25, 2006 3:41 PM, bojangles said:

I’ve been watching the Metro Enviro site for the past several years both in operation and now closed. I’ve never understood or seen any indication that it was the environmental hazard speakers claimed it to be at repeated board meetings. I work at home so have been able to watch pretty closely the activities at this location. Until it was such a focus at board meetings, I had assumed it was just part of the surrounding railroad yards.

I must say I’m concerned with the idea of a 24/7 unmonitored garbage transfer station at that same location. The C&D only Metro Enviro/Allied operation may not have been carefully or even adequately monitored. But to this observer, it was clean and dust and odor free. This would not be the case with an unregulated garbage packaging operation.

I support the Village Board’s interest in working with the owners within the law. Common efforts to protect Croton seem to be the only way we’ll get any control over what looks like a very real possibility.

This I think might be a case of “being careful what you wish for”. The result may be far worse than what has been going on at that site for the past 50 years or so.

On September 25, 2006 12:12 PM, weewill said: Events | Edit Monitors Find:
Monitor H.R. 4870

Some Explanation

This is a House bill, indicated by the “H.R.” before its number. A bill is a legislative proposal before Congress. A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate and then be signed by the President before it becomes law.

109th U.S. Congress (2005-2006)

H.R. 4870: To establish certain rules for Surface Transportation Board approval of waste management company…

Official Title: To establish certain rules for Surface Transportation Board approval of waste management company applications to become rail carriers.

Status: Introduced (By Rep. Sue Kelly [R-NY])

This bill is in the first step in the legislative process. Introduced House bills go first to House committees that consider whether the bill should be presented to the House as a whole. The majority of bills never make it out of committee.

Introduced: Mar 2, 2006 Last Action: Mar 3, 2006: Referred to the Subcommittee on Railroads. Sponsor

Rep. Sue Kelly [R-NY) Full Text: Text or PDF

This bill is in the first stage of the legislative process where the bill is considered in committee and may undergo significant changes in markup sessions. The bill has been referred to the following committees:

House Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Railroads

On September 25, 2006 9:51 AM, weewill said:

Hidden beneath the charges and counter-charges relative to 1A Croton Point Avenue lies an important lesson.

Reading from lengthy prepared statements about what has or has not been done or who has or has not acted responsibly is not productive. While perhaps well intentioned, the same few residents repeat their mantra month after month and year after year. It’s tedious, repetitive and often flawed information that takes valuable time away from important village business. Even more troubling is that incomplete or inaccurate information causes suspicion, hearsay and divisiveness. Unless one has attended official meetings (both here and out of state), has participated in the closed-door strategy discussions and/or (forgive me) “negotiations”, and has had the benefit of the excellent advice received from competent and knowledgeable professionals, he or she remains only partially informed.

While welcoming citizen input the board is the final “decider”. They alone have the tools and information to make educated and responsible decisions. Judgmental monologues before television cameras do little but to incite and divide. We elected our representatives trusting them to do what’s best for the whole village, not just for a vocal few.

By whom and how 1A Croton Point Avenue will finally be operated is at present uncertain. We have a smart dedicated board. They are good people with much more information and insight than any of us on the “outside” have.

Let them do their job. This is not meant as a criticism but a suggested best approach. If you’re not comfortable with the board’s activities, then perhaps you should run for office and become one of the legitimate deciders.

Georgianna Grant X Trustee

P.S. And as a point of fact for the reader’s information: Sue Kelley’s bill to which Mr. Wintermeier refers is #HR 4870. That # designation means that her bill is but one of 4,870 bills to possibly be “considered” by the full House this year.


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