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The Insidious Campaign to Spread Fear and Loathing in Croton

March 6, 2007

Beginning in 2001, a cabal of neoconservatives in a cleverly orchestrated campaign of fear and lies led the people of the United States to believe their safety was threatened by Iraq. The result was that this great nation engaged in a costly and disastrous war in the Middle East in which no national interest was at stake. Proof of this statement is abundantly available in your daily newspaper or on the evening TV news.

For several years, a cabal with hidden motives—but masquerading behind concern for public health and safety—has been conducting a similar campaign of fear and lies directed at the voters of Croton and intended to sow seeds of distrust in local government. They have even enlisted residents of faraway communities to participate in their cleverly orchestrated campaign by using their form letters created at 84 Grand Street.

Want proof of the second statement? Crotonblog has privately obtained copies of two letters intended for the editor of The Gazette that were widely circulated to voters in Croton by Croton Republican Committee Secretary and Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary School employee Joann Minett on Sunday, March 4. The reason advanced by Ms. Minett for the failure to publish them was that too many local letter writers had already flooded the paper’s pages with letters. Crotonblog would like to think that The Gazette did not publish them because the base motives of their writers were only too flagrantly obvious.

Crotonblog is not at liberty to disclose how we obtained copies of these letters. We are happy to publish them here, however. We ask readers to examine them carefully. The Russians have an expression, “Kak stranna” that fits this situation wonderfully. It means “How strange.” How strange that two persons in communities 600 miles apart should write letters virtually identical in structure and message.

How strange that two persons in communities 600 miles apart should write letters with identical salutations: “My name is Deb Roth…” and “My name is Linda Richmond…”

How strange that two persons in communities 600 miles apart should write letters concluding with instructions to Croton voters about how to vote, and with veiled threats to Croton officials. Ms. Roth: “I know that if I were a Croton resident I would support only those candidates who put their children’s health first over profit from trash. You know who you are.” Ms. Richmond: “We hope all of Croton officials will get on board or in the absence of that, that you will consider electing officials who have rejected negotiation.”

Conveniently omitted from each letter were some salient facts—namely that these communities and their problems do not remotely resemble Croton. Ms. Roth lives in a section of northeastern Ohio so heavily polluted that in 1969 the Cuyahoga River, which empties into Lake Erie, actually caught fire. Ms. Roth’s community, Leavittsburg, is on the Mahoning River, a river polluted by steel mills in the 19th and 20th centuries and also by human waste; Leavittsburg did not get a water treatment plant until the 1960s. Since 1988, the Ohio Department of Health has advised against swimming or even wading in the Mahoning River and against eating fish caught there. The pollutants in the Mahoning are trapped behind the ten dams used by mills to cool newly forged steel. As a result, its water was so perpetually warm it was known as “the river that never froze.” The Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that it would take 15 years to clean up the polluted Mahoning River.

Ms. Richmond lives in Woburn, Massachusetts, the town featured in the book titled A Civil Action, later made into a movie of that name starring John Travolta. Book and movie told the story of the families of eight leukemia victims who sued Beatrice Foods and W.R. Grace and Company in 1981. Their plants were accused of dumping industrial solvents and polluting wells used as sources of drinking water, thus causing cancer in the victims.

Readers will draw their own conclusions from the two letters, shown here as Exhibit A and Exhibit B. These may constitute the first known instance of carpetbagging by e-mail.

Exhibit A:

“BRING TO GAZETTE PLEASE

February 5, 2007

Dear Editor:

My name is Deb Roth, president of Our Lives Count in Ohio. I have previously written about our problems with the Warren Landfill and Regus. Despite this and the warnings of your local Drs. Cosentino, Kleinman and Kochanowitz, some Croton officials still continue negotiations for a deal. I believe it is time to repeat only some of my July 2006 Gazette letter. This information is also in Croton’s legal documents:

1) As a result of illegal dumping violations the Ohio EPA, entered into a negotiated consent agreement with Warren Recycling/Warren Hills signed by Gordon Reger of Regus Industries. Failure to comply resulted in a contempt charge with a large fine that is still not resolved in 2007. Another contempt charge is still in process.

2) Not only did Regus fail to meet the agreed upon negotiated consent order, they repeatedly violated state and federal environmental laws, including the discharge of surface runoff and leachate into the Mahoning River (under Regus Manager Barley). Our river is just as important as the Hudson. Their failure to comply resulted in action by USEPA (superfund) to remediate H2S health emergency issues and shut the site down.

I know that if I were a Croton resident, I would support only those candidates who put their children’s health first over profit from trash. You know who they are.

Sincerely
Dr6761@aol.com
Deb Roth
President, Our Lives Count
330/553-0045
P.O. Box 196
Leavittsburg, OH 44430”

Exhibit B:

“Feb. 24, 2007

Letter to the Editor

My name is Linda Raymond. In the past, I have written to you about our community, which is facing a similar unregulated rail situation as Croton. Indeed, despite repeated claims by some former village officials that Croton is all alone, nothing could be further from the truth. All over the country communities are facing similar potentially unregulated rail wastes operations by rail.

As I wrote previously in 2006, the Woburn Neighborhood Association, Inc. of Woburn, MA has been fighting for environmental justice in a similar unregulated regional waste facility here on the Woburn/Wilmington MA line. Once again, we applaud citizen’s efforts to do what is right for the community of Croton-on-the Hudson, NY—and those officials who choose not to negotiate at the same time they are allegedly fighting for their rights with the STB. By continuing to negotiate in 2007, some Croton officials are once again setting a dangerous example for the rest of the country.

It is most remarkable to see only some of the following states coming on board in commenting in rejection to the proposed rail facility New England Transrail similar to Croton: Maine, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Colorado, Massachusetts, etc. We hope all of Croton officials will get on board or in the absence of that, that you will consider electing officials who have rejected negotiation.

Not only for Croton, but for any other community facing similar issues

Linda Raymond, Chairwoman, Woburn Neighborhood Assoc., Inc.—Woburn, MA 01801”



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