Sunday, August 5, 2007

Too Much Caffeine for Tea Party Activists Bob LaPietra and Mark Galasso

Local real estate speculator Bob LaPietra and Cobleskill Village Trustee Mark Galasso are both heavily active in a local Cobleskill political party they have created and dubbed the “Tea Party”. However, listening to their ranting and raving and their plans for the Village of Cobleskill, one thing is clear: the last thing they need is more caffeine.

At a luncheon held at LaPietra’s Colonial Diner last Spring, the two spoke to an enthralled audience where they laid out their vision (or lack thereof) for the Village of Cobleskill. Calling himself an “extreme conservative Republican that would make Rush Limbaugh look liberal”, Mark Galasso called Cobleskill an “automobile-centered community” that shouldn’t worry about Downtown redevelopment and urged building a road bypassing Downtown, apparently so people could drive straight to Wal-Mart and the future Lowe’s and not even have to look at our crumbling downtown. Mark Galasso is president of Lancaster Development, a highway construction company, so building useless roads and other infrastructure is his bread and butter. It’s no surprise that he would have an instinctive urge to support any project that increases the sprawl that is parasitically sucking the lifeblood out of our communities.

Meanwhile, Bob LaPietra, who ran for Mayor in 2005 levels a series of general complaints about local taxes and regulations. LaPietra owns numerous commercial properties in the greater Cobleskill area. It’s unclear if LaPietra is asking for relief from taxes or from his own bad investments.

However, the real focus of their talk and their efforts is the consolidation of the Town and Village of Cobleskill. But this is the right idea for the wrong reasons. Town officials (and village-based developers) are licking their lips at the thought of gaining access to the Village’s water and sewer systems so that they can build out the rest of State Route 7, Mineral Springs Rd. and State Route 145 to the south and east of the Village. Dissolving the Village or even making the Town and Village borders contiguous would likely mean the extension of water and sewer lines to areas where there is presently development pressure.

To LaPietra and Galasso, I say, calm down, there is no rush to turn Cobleskill into another Long Island or North Jersey. Do everybody in the county a favor and switch to decaf!

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