Friday, March 31, 2006

Fact or Fiction

The Town of Gray doesn't need the bypass. Fact or Fiction?

Elvis Presley works at the 7-11 in Portland. Fact or Fiction?

We lost a good town manager when Mitch Berkowitz resigned. Fact or Fiction?

The fiscal policy presented by Andy Upham is simple and easily instituted. Fact or Fiction?

Dolphins are more intelligent than dogs. Fact or Fiction?

The Monument is an unbiased publication. Fact or Fiction?

Gary Foster is a good leader for the Town Council. Fact or Fiction?

Crop circles are a sign of visitors from another planet. Fact or Fiction?

The recall of Andy Upham can only serve to improve our town. Fact or Fiction?

My writing is witty and a positive influence on our readers. Fact.

Nathan Tsukroff

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Empire Strikes Back!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Upham gets defensive

I’m surprised nobody picked up on Andy’s lengthy self-defense on the op-ed pages of government media last week. Is it because it was virtually unreadable?

A summary: recall is an attempt by power-crazed library boosters to regain control of the Town of Gray. Yes, that’s really what Andy thinks, or at least that’s what he wants us to think. Unfortunately, his argument is positively Nixonian in its rambling incoherence and wandering paranoia. I wonder who wrote it?

On a positive note, the fact that Upham refuses to acknowledge the truth about why he’s in the hot seat is very encouraging. Denial will be his downfall.

A few examples of the awesome intellectual rigor our famously precise vice-chairman brings to his defense. Andy's claims in bold italics:
Control of Pennell was shifting from the town to the GPLA in January 2005 - GPLA did not exist until May 2005.

The town was recklessly “deeding” Pennell to GPLA in June 2005 - SAD15, not Gray, “owns” Pennell; and nobody was deeding anything to anybody in June – discussions had barely begun.

GPLA was to blame for the withdrawal of a $100,000 challenge grant - The anonymous donor explicitly blamed the town council.

GPLA prematurely withdrew from Pennell lease negotiations - GPLA withdrew only after Andy & Co. restarted the Pennell lawsuit. Tough to negotiate a lease if you don’t own the property, especially if your only prospective tenant is suing for ownership.

Title and ownership of Pennell is uncertain - Not according to real lawyers, which Andy isn’t. As far as the AG and the courts are concerned, SAD15 controls Pennell’s assets - period. It is the applicability of the Pennell Trust that is in dispute - something easily resolved if the Town had the will. Legal resolution was one of the main features of the GPLA plan.

The Pennell lawsuit is part of a strategic plan for both Pennell and the library. - There is no plan for Pennell, despite repeated requests from the public for even a hint. The strategic plan for the library consists of an incomplete basement renovation based on a fiscally dubious proposal personally developed by amateur architect Andy Upham and rejected by everyone else, including library staff.
As they say, if you can't make the story fit the facts, make the facts fit the story.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Erosion of democracy

I believe I'm seeing the erosion of democracy, both on a national level and locally.
Nationally, I'm concerned that President Bush is bypassing our established legal system to create military tribunals for the proclaimed prisoners of war presently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I think everyone agrees that we should review the actions of the captured prisoners. But for our president to claim special powers that allow him to step aside from our established and honored judicial process smacks of something that would be done by King George III. It was partially because of the abuses by King George that the colonies broke off from England so many years ago.
In our democracy we have the separation of powers. The president is not above the law, nor is he allowed to make his own laws.
Locally, I see a parallel in attempts to bypass the democratic process.
Time and again, our town council has ignored not only the wishes of the majority of voters, but also the rules spelled out in ordinance and state statute.
Andy Upham and Gary Foster chose to walk away from the (non-binding) referendum vote to move the library to Pennell. This was an action that flies in the face of our democratic expectation that elected officials will follow the will of the people.
Recently, the town council has found fault with the Planning Board for requiring subdivision builders to install cisterns for subdivisions. As I noted in a previous posting, the Planning Board is only allowed to make requirements as spelled out in local ordinance . . . and our ordinances allow the actions by the Planning Board. But that was essentially ignored by the council. This also smacks of a violation of our democratic process, and indeed gives the appearance of favoring the friends of town council members.
During the signature drive for the petition to recall Town Council Vice Chair Andy Upham, petitioners were told they could not collect signatures inside the library. The given reason was that political literature is not allowed inside town buildings. Once again, this flies in the face of our democratic process. The specific prohibition against campaign literature is an established council policy . . . under the heading of personnel policies.
To use a rule meant for town employees against our citizens is highly irregular, and has the appearance of royal edict.
Both our president and our present town council are well-meaning. But ignoring our democratic process under the guise of "doing what's right for our citizens" does not mean well for our future.
Nathan Tsukroff


Monday, March 27, 2006

Top 10 reasons to recall Andy Upham

I'll start -

- Failure to present the facts. For example, he said the Planning Board doesn't have the right to require cisterns and sprinklers in new subdivisions, when town ordinance and state statute clearly allow, if not require, the Planning Board's decisions.

- Rude behaviour. At the January 3, 2006, town council meeting, CEDC Chair Julie Sheets asked why Upham didn't contact the committee with his concerns about a committee document. Upham's seven-word reply was "I don’t want to talk to you.”

Nathan Tsukroff

Link to fiscal policy

Here's the link to Andy Upham's suggested fiscal policy. Remember - this is presented as a draft, which means Andy Upham and the other council members consider it a work in progress.

Nathan Tsukroff


Measuring fiscal responsibility

The more I look at Town Council Vice Chair Andy Upham's fiscal policy, the more I think he has the right concept, if not the right method.
When we have a business such as the Town of Gray we should be able to measure and track how that business is spending the money of it's investors - the taxpayers.
Upham's attempts to set goals and ways to measure achievement of those goals is a good step toward fiscal responsibility.
While his draft may present a cumbersome system for measurement, I look forward to a revamped policy that will be simpler and more easily followed.
Gray is growing by leaps and bounds, and the old ways of running the town should be changed to match and control that growth.
Do our readers agree? Or do our readers think Gray is fine without any fiscal policy whatsoever?
Nathan Tsukroff

Sunday, March 26, 2006


I must be suffering from "sometimers" disease.

I have this nagging feeling that somebody wants something from me, but I just can't remember what it is. I was so busy looking up quotes for the last posting that I lost track of what people have asked me.

If anyone out there remembers, let me know!


Nathan Tsukroff