Lester Hendrix, the founder of Dam Concerned Citizens, a watchdog group focused on the safety of the Gilboa Dam had no desire to hold back criticism for the current membership and leadership of that group recently. He charged them with failing to push for necessary protections (liability for damage in the event of an accident, accountability to local governments effected, and more aggressive inspections). Instead, Hendrix accuses the group’s current leadership of preferring to “play cozy with political bigwigs and parade themselves in front of TV cameras every month in Schoharie”.
Hendrix’s basic complaint is that the group has lost its edge, been tamed and bought off by State and City officials. Now, as someone who does not live near the projected flood zone in the event of a dam failure, I really don’t care much about what goes on between the DCC, the State and the City of New York.
However, as someone interested in community organizing and activism in general, it seems like Hendrix is probably right. The DCC seem to have been de-fanged by the powers that be. This is a shame because a more confrontational approach would be good for the local communities. A good fight can unite people around a common cause and build community capacity, as opposed to typical NIMBY fights which revolve around smaller self-interested groups (see Richmondville posts).
If more people would rise up and increase their demands, they would learn that doing so can have substantial benefits. The more they speak out, the more money the State and City will be willing to send up here to shut them up.
So I join with Lester Hendrix in lamenting the fact that Dam Concerned Citizens has lost its way.