Supervisor Chipman's impassioned plea for peace - BlueStone Press
June 17, 2018

Supervisor Chipman's impassioned plea for peace

From the April 21 BSP edition


At the Rochester Town Board meeting on April 6, Supervisor Carl Chipman had something to say, there were some decisions made, and a surprise item was on the agenda.

Chipman said, “Last fall, we had a member of our community have her Trump signs stolen, a bench wrecked and a lot of damage done. There were some Hillary Clinton signs stolen, too. Very recently in Accord, on Scenic Road, we had some more damage: We had some Black Lives Matter signs destroyed, and some peace signs were destroyed. I don’t know why anyone would destroy a peace sign …

“This is very disturbing to me,” said Chipman. “It’s got to end, and I want it to end now. I know 99 percent of us would never steal someone’s sign. But we have to teach that 1 percent that it is not a good thing to do. The first thing we must to is catch the people.” 

Chipman said that the town also has a terrible problem with people dumping refuse in deserted spots and along back roads. “The Girl Scouts fixed up an area seven years ago by the rail trail up on Berme Road, putting a beautiful picnic table and wonderful flowers. Someone went in there and destroyed it.” Chipman said that the Girl Scouts went back and repaired the site again, and they put up a camera, “and this time they went and stole the cameras too.”

“When someone attacks one of us, they attack all of us,” said Chipman, “and we need to learn to stand together. We can't let ourselves fall apart. We have too much crap going on in Washington, and they can’t do a budget up in Albany -- we don’t need to let it carry through down here. We are all neighbors; we live in this town, we work in this town, we worship in this town, we have kids that go to school here. We are all neighbors. Nobody should have their First Amendment rights stamped upon. I don’t care if you love Trump or you want Black Lives Matter, or whatever. I don’t care -- you have a right to your opinion, and I will go to my grave fighting for that right. I think we should all stand together.” Chipman then invited Rochester residents to join him at Town Hall on April 23, bring all their signs of whatever persuasion, and “go through town together.”

“This is our town and we stand together here, and look out for each other’s rights. You beat hatred with caring for each other. Gandhi did it, Martin Luther King did it, we can do it. … That’s it, I am getting off the pedestal, but I am asking you to join me,” he said.

The board then voted to purchase five cameras that are durable and movable, chosen by Chief Constable Richard Miller and paid for out of the supervisor’s budget. The cameras are motion activated and will be randomly moved around town as needed.

Larry Dewitt and Alex Farkas were present to answer questions about the plan to have a solar farm on town transfer station land. Chipman said, “Over a year ago the RFP [request for proposal] went out [for bids by solar companies; six proposals were received]. We finally whittled it down to two qualified candidates, and decided that Borrego Solar would be best. This evening we will be asking the board to sign a form that basically states that we will be working with Borrego. We are still working on the contract.”

“We had two excellent competitors, we interviewed them and did reference checks,” said Dewitt. “Borrego was most likely to get the project approved and get it done despite confusing and regulatory claptrap and constantly changing state regulations. We are basically putting together a two-part deal. We are trying to get the best deals for residents and the underprivileged.” The motion was passed.

The idea to upgrade the town website to be more interactive came from Tony Spano, highway superintendent. “People will be able to go to our website to report potholes or a tree in the road,” Chipman said.  “On the highway page, there will be a link to a form that will pop up for people to fill out reports,” Spano said.

A surprise topic came from Councilwoman Bea Haugen-Depuy. “In the courthouse there is no space for lawyer-client consultations, only a room full of files,” she said. “It has been brought to my attention that a mobile building is available that could be attached to the courthouse. It would probably be more cost efficient in terms of fuel and heat and possibly provide offices for town employees to do their work. I don’t know much more about it, but Chief Constable Miller does.”

“A while back we had Washington Central School district offer us buildings which were problematic because we needed cranes to move them,” Miller said. “So while I was making my rounds for surplus, FEMA in Massachusetts offered us a free double-wide office trailer they had just re-done. It has full electric, full heat, no bathrooms but full plumbing, new roof, new cladding. They took out all interior walls and used it for Hurricane Sandy. It is completely high energy-efficient certified, has built-in wheels and fold-down axles. The idea is not to use the courthouse every day as an office. The courthouse is a very inefficient building. You can actually see the shades move when the wind blows. As far as the cost goes, I spoke to the highway superintendent who did a cost estimate for us. Pickup cost is $1,900,” said Chief Constable Miller. Councilman Brian Drabkin put forth the motion to move forward with the project. Acquiring the trailer was approved by the board after discussion of various factors to consider before going to pick it up.


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