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A Dissection of the Cudequest \ Croton GOP Misinformation Campaign

March 9, 2009

To the editor:

Voters should be aware of how the Cudequest \ Croton GOP Misinformation Campaign works. Maria Cudequest and a band of anonymous posters on the North County News Forum have used the formula outlined below to disseminate misinformation about the HEDC recommendations and Democratic candidates for over a year now. These tactics in past years have enabled this small group of malcontents to completely control village politics. Mayor Schmidt railed against Crotonblog, but says NOTHING about Maria and her band of anonymous fact spinners because it serves his agenda. Let’s work with Maria’s latest example:

Maria Cudequest Quote:

“I have watched the Kieran Murray presentation/forum recently held at the Library. There is a significant error at the end of the tape. I have confirmed that this is an error with both town and school officials. It is not open to dispute and has been confirmed with your town officials and school district officials. I urge you to do the same.

Should the town somehow develop all the land in the Croton school district (that is not in the village of Croton itself), it is the Croton school district that receives those taxes generated from those businesses and residents as is the case currently. However, contrary to Mr. Murray’s assertions, Croton village residents would NOT be “footing the bill” for those areas outside of the village of Croton. And for example, people who live near Amberlands (that area is in the village of Croton) pay school taxes—which the town collects—but those taxes go to the HENDRICK HUDSON SCHOOL DISTRICT, NOT THE CROTON HARMON SCHOOL DISTRICT.

Mr. Murray also claims that a large development is possible in that area of the town mentioned in his presentation; that area could never have that kind of large scale development because once again:

a) in some cases, the zoning in that area is one acre b) in some cases, the zoning in that area is two acres c) a portion of that area is wetland and wetland buffers, owned and or controlled by the county and/or state d) and finally, a good portion of the area Mr. Murray refers to is COMMERCIAL, not residential.”

This is how the spread they package and spread misinformation:

Step 1: Take statements out of context. In this case she takes my statement “footing the bill,” which represents 3 words of a 2 hour presentation

Step 2: State your erroneous interpretation of the out of context statement is FACT. Let me point out in this case that Maria did not even attend the Forum at the library.

Step 3: Claim that phantom, anonymous, unidentified “Town and School Officials” have verified her alleged statement of fact.

Let me point out that there are no numbers, calculations, analysis, etc. backing up her statement whatsoever.

My Response to Maria’s Misinformation:

Lets take a 1 acre parcel in the Town of Cortlandt, but within the Croton Harmon School District. Lets assume a four bedroom house is built on it and that house is valued at $1,000,000.

Looking at similar houses in the area, the total tax bill on such a house would be approximately $30,000. The school tax makes up 60% of your total tax bill; so in this example that would be $18,000.

This $18,000 WOULD go to the Croton Harmon School District, I never said it wouldn’t as Maria claims. But now lets prove out how the rest of us “foot the bill” for this new home in the form of higher school taxes.

The HEDC used $14,522.50 which represents the blended out of district tuition rate. Using the same number and assuming 3 children (1 per bedroom) the total cost of educating these additional students is $43,567.50.

Additional cost to Croton Taxpayers = $43,567.50 (cost for three students) - $18,000 (School tax generated from 4 bedroom house) = $25,567.50 additional school tax burden on taxpayers

And this is ONLY ONE HOUSE! If a conservative twenty were built, a $511,350 deficit in school tax NET revenue would be created and the rest of us would have to “foot the bill” as I said at the Forum.

We need to return to FACT BASED POLITICS in Croton. Maria and her crew employ this sort of deception constantly! We must put an end to it on March 18th. Our future is being hijacked by this constant stream of deceptive misinformation, and it is condoned by the Croton Republican Party.

Please get involved, and question what you hear with facts.

— Kieran Murray

On March 15, 2009 9:05 PM, Mrs Smith said:

Take a look at ncn blog now - desperation is palpable. Postings repeated five and six times in one forum. There in nothing to say in support of the Schmidt team, so they take one post and repeat and repeat it - mostly the flawed endorsement of the Journal News, since that is the only “positive” thing they have to promote. Quite frankly, if I am in the upper village and see Maria Cudequest in a store, I will not shop there as I have no desire to be subjected to the hectoring rhetoric to anyone who is unfortunate enough to be around her.

On March 10, 2009 8:21 AM, Anonymous said:

Isn’t Maria a convicted vandal too? Didn’t she also get busted for posting under several aliases right here on this blog?

How pathetic and self serving. This is what the GOP condones.

The NCN Forum: So few people, so many aliases.



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