Any first-year law student could spot the fatal flaw in the Schmidt-Brennan position on 1A Croton Point Avenue. It can be summed up with the “P word”—Prejudice, spelled with a capital P and illuminated by flashing red lights. Simply stated, both incumbent candidates have violated the precept that public officials must remain impartial and free of prejudice in all matters they rule on.
One monumental problem evolving from Schmidt and Brennan’s hardnosed position was hinted at in the recent Journal News article on the Village’s appeal of Judge Nicolai’s ruling in state supreme court. In that article, datelined Feb. 25 and titled “Croton appeals transfer station ruling,” Mayor Schmidt is quoted as saying he was awaiting a favorable ruling in federal court that would tell Regus that they must apply for a special permit. Left unstated was the obvious inference that such an application would summarily be denied by Croton.
Unfortunately for the citizens of Village of Croton-on-Hudson, from the get-go Mayor Gregory Schmidt and the Deputy Mayor he appointed, Tom Brennan, have been both loud and intemperate in their condemnation of Regus Industries. Given the years of outspoken prejudice by Schmidt and Brennan against the site and against Regus, the likelihood that Regus would receive a fair and impartial hearing under a Republican majority range from zero to none.
If Mayor Schmidt and Deputy Mayor Brennan should be re-elected and should Susan Konig ride in on their coat tails, the resulting Republican majority would reject a permit application by Regus. Regus most certainly would then sue the village, citing overt prejudice. Regus could place into evidence Republican campaign promises and abundant film clips clearly demonstrating the Mayor’s and Deputy Mayor’s prejudgment of a Regus permit application.
Paradoxically, the only way Croton can now forestall a continuation of the never-ending parade of onerous, expensive lawsuits would be for the Village to grant Regus a special permit. If Messrs Schmidt and Brennan were honest with voters, they would acknowledge their prejudicial actions and admit that the Village now faces a classic case of what has been called “Hobson’s choice,” which is no choice at all. Thomas Hobson (1544-1631) of Cambridge, England, rented horses and gave his customers only one choice: “Take the horse nearest the stable door.”
In the face of such easily demonstrable partiality and prejudice on the part of Messrs. Schmidt and Brennan, the village would likely lose any suit and consequent appeal. In fact, the court itself would probably impose a special permit allowing waste transfer activities at 1A Croton Point Avenue, in effect holding a legal gun to the Village’s head and telling it, “Grant the permit now, or else!” A clear case of shooting yourself in the foot.
Listen carefully, voters! Every time Messrs. Schmidt and Brennan speak out publicly against this enterprise in a cheap ploy to win votes, they add fuel to the forthcoming legal conflagration, consigning the village to future lawsuits. At the very least, their behavior leaves the village wide open to an Article 78 lawsuit for having made arbitrary and capricious decisions. Thanks to Messrs. Schmidt’s and Brennan’s propensity for shooting off their mouths, Croton’s depleted coffers will continue to be drained by the mounting expenses of defending itself against needless, self-inflicted legal actions.
As for the implications for voters in this election, Crotonblog would call to mind the sage proverb attributed to Ben Franklin: “He who lies down with dogs should not complain if he rises up with fleas.”