Apparently unsatisfied with bludgeoning the discussion of wind power into non-existence, Bob Neid and Don Airey, co-founders of Schoharie Valley Watch, have been on the look-out for ways to keep the controversy and friction levels high in Richmondville. Rather than slink back into relative obscurity, the ringleaders of this increasingly laughable circus, have sought to stretch out their fifteen minutes of limelight, inasmuch as weekly coverage in Cobleskill’s Times-Journal affords such limelight of course.
The actions of Bob Neid, Don Airey and other members of Schoharie Valley Watch have exemplified all of the worst aspects of small town political conflict, running the gamet from NIMBYism to divisive name-calling to proposing outlandish conspiracy theories. The result is a bitterly divided community, with a downgraded capacity to work together to find worthwhile solutions.
At meeting after meeting, windmill opponents thuggishly bullied anyone with opposing points of view, until those wanting to contribute constructively to the process were simply overwhelmed and turned off.
Rather than work with the Town Board and Planning Board to insure an equitable implementation of a viable green energy solution, Robert Neid, an individual with a respectable environmental record, chose to take the low road, sabotaging Democratic Supervisor Betsy Bernocco in his own quixotic write-in race for Supervisor. Neid’s major accomplishment? The Town of Richmondville lost a hardworking and experienced advocate in exchange for a Republican who never even claimed to take a different position than Bernocco on the wind turbine issue.
The latest controversy concerning the firing of a part-time Richmondville clerk for supposedly political motives, is a continuation of this tradition.
Neid, Airey and SVW would have you believe that Kathleen Johnson, a part-time Richmondville Clerk was the victim of some heinous attempt to silence critics of the Town’s allegedly pro-windmill policy. This would be laughable if it were not such a travesty, and if the Times-Journal didn’t pick up on it and blow wind in the story’s sails.
I’m not going to say whether this person was fired for a good reason or not. However, if we’re going to start believing in outlandish conspiracy theories, we might as well put it out there that Kathleen Johnson may have deliberately sabotaged her own employment in order to smear the Town of Richmondville.
More likely however, is the possibility that this is one more delusion of grandeur on the part of Neid and Airey, fancying themselves the targets of some corrupt conspiratorial plot.
The most laughable element of this, is the idea that there is some “cabal” or group of insiders in Richmondville capable of performing such feats of political intimidation. Consider: there have been few more vocal critics of the wind policy change than Richmondville Village mayor Kevin Neary, a Democrat.
Why doesn’t SVW ask Neary if the firing of Kathleen Johnson has caused him to fear retribution from the evil conspirators?
Is there really a conspiracy in Richmondville? No, just a bunch of loudmouths with WAY too much time on their hands. I won’t deny them their fun and games, let them have it. I just felt like it was time for a reality check.