Life in the Land of Oz

Article by Gary Kent

Does the Great and Powerful Oz have a secret master plan for Orleans County? Why is he so unwilling to tell us what it is?

Under the Oz master plan, one asset after another is sold, folded into Genesee County, or allowed to founder, or wither. Among these are Medina Hospital, the former County Nursing Home, the Visiting Nurse Service certification, the Continuing Day Treatment Program, our historical institutions, and now, perhaps our environment itself.

The Great and Powerful Oz decided who our next Sheriff would be, by some accounts, 3, or 4, years ago. What would Oz do if he didn’t get his way and his choice came in second, or third? He really thinks he can get away with anything now that he emerged unscathed in 2013. Would The Omniscient Oz eliminate the Sheriff’s Department road patrol? It is one of our finer assets, and you may know how hard it is for the Omniscient Oz to recognize the things that really matter to his subjects.

The Wizard believes that we need to follow the lead of other counties, apparently because he believes Orleans County is no different than any other place. That may be one reason he decided to sell one of the finest long term care facilities in New York State. Though belated improvements have been made with walk in mental health services in the Land of Oz, he initially disregarded the advice of one in-house expert and decreased access to such services by shifting the Continuing Day Treatment Program to Genesee County. Fortunately, he was able to revisit that mistake. Occasionally that is possible.

Among the mistakes that cannot be undone is the loss of the County Nursing Home. Though Mr. Blajszczak, a Land of Oz court jester, thought of it as just an experiment, it is another asset that is gone forever. Of course, to P.B., it doesn’t matter. In fact the only thing that really matters in the Land of Oz are the whims of the Great and Powerful Oz. But, such losses show how pathetically out of touch he is with his subjects.

You see, when you are the Great and Powerful Oz, you do not need surveys. All you need to do is bemoan the lack of them when you need an excuse not to lead. Or perhaps you just need to delay until after an election. Or you may wish to avoid a decision that might reveal part of your master plan. Oz would have his loyal lemmings believe elections are equivalent to surveys. But personalities and the range of issues before voters make elections an unreliable barometer of what your subjects think.

A humble subject of the Great and Powerful Oz, and someone I consider a good friend, suggested something that never occurred to me. He said The Oz may have refused to take a position on wind turbines in northwestern Oz because he may have invited Apex into the Land of Oz in the first place. After all, lands beyond Oz had fallen for what was blowing in the wind. Perhaps I am still failing to comprehend how devious the Oz can be. Perhaps my friend hit on something.

One of Oz’s northwestern prefecture subjects, thinking globally, correctly noted we have only one planet. She failed to act in a locally appropriate way when she wrote that turbines only take up half an acre. Does the Great Oz even understand what a phenomenal asset the environment of his Land is? His subject might want to ‘research’ the wildlife habitat we have all around us in the Land of Oz and what an industrial wind farm would mean to it.

Wind turbines are seen as environment-friendly, and they are, in the right places. The Land of Oz isn’t one of those desolate places that are right for them. But others have made mistakes. Why can’t we? For The Great Oz, any howling from the turbines in Roscoe, Texas, or the barrens of North Dakota, may seem like beckoning from the Sirens of Greek mythology.

Last minute observations….

Article by Jeanne Crane

Once again the Republicans are jumping on the band wagon!!!! You know why??? It’s election time.
Gas prices…we’ve been complaining about that for over 4 years.
Wind turbines…SOS has been asking for the legislature to take a stand.
Welfare fraud…It’s been a problem for years.
Even the raid at the Murray Superette…15 ongoing months.
VOTERS BEWARE!!! These are last ditch efforts for their candidates. It happens during every election cycle in Orleans County.

James White

Article by Gary Kent

There are only two choices on the Legislature ballot this year. There could be seven, and there were five in 2013. Paul Lauricella is challenging Lynne Johnson for the District 2 seat. James White is challenging Donald Allport for the Legislator At-large central seat.

James is committed to good sense approaches such as a responsible phased elimination of the sales tax on home heating fuel. Properly funding Child Protective Services to protect our children is high on his agenda. He believes the Sheriff’s Department should be more involved in welfare fraud cases. Electing the Chief Administrative Officer is another of his initiatives. Right now, trying to determine who is responsible for things like selling the County Nursing Home is like the proverbial question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Additionally, the C.A.O., similarly to the District Attorney, should not become intimately involved in politics. Degrading the environment is not the way to bring economic progress to Orleans County, and James White is firmly opposed to industrial wind farms anywhere in Orleans County. He also backs Paul Lauricella for the District 2 position.

Allport has been coy about blaming the State for everything. His recent stance on Article X may sound as though he is with the anti-wind farm, pro-environment and pro-Orleans County crowd, but he avoids actually taking a position, just as the remainder of his cronies do. James White may be 21, but he has far more vision and maturity and does not hide his opposition to the Apex industrial wind farm project. One has to wonder what the County’s $60,000 a year lobbyist is saying to Albany officialdom.

Allport opposes re-opening the landfill in Albion. He has been active in S.P.O.C. Whether this is out of conviction or political expediency is anyone’s guess. Two years ago, he was present at a public hearing on the proposed stone quarry in Shelby. Was he there to check the political wind direction? He has said, privately, years ago, that he opposes industrial wind turbines. Since then he has heard Mr. Callard’s spiel and may have come under Mr.Callard’s spell. At this point there is no telling where he stands.

In 2010, Allport voted to give the District Attorney a $10,000 raise and a new title to justify it. Well into the following year, the Sheriff and Undersheriff did not even know the position (Public Safety Director) existed! That is the inconvenient truth.

Legislator Allport was one of Chairman Callard’s chief allies in the campaign to strip Orleans County of assets such as the County Nursing Home. It seems that, in his mind, there is precious little that should not be privatized.

For Allport, the S.A.F.E. Act was like a gift from the heavens. He may still be attempting to convince people that it is going to be repealed well into the Apocalypse. He will tell you it is un-Constitutional, but he cannot tell you exactly why, except that it violates the Second Amendment.

It would be interesting to know whether he supports Drennan or Bower for Sheriff.

If you want to see Orleans County respected around the State, James White would be an excellent choice. His election would demonstrate that we are tired of being “played.” The fact that he is 21 would, incidentally, bring positive publicity to Orleans County.

Orleans County Sheriff

Article by Gary Kent

The candidates are endorsed Republican and Conservative, Randy Bower, Independence and Reform candidate, Tom Drennan, and endorsed Democrat, Don Organisciak. The story goes that the Republican committee chose Drennan in July, after many of them received phone calls on behalf of Tom from the District Attorney, but Bower upset their “apple cart” and took the line by winning the Republican primary in September. Some wondered why the Republican County committee would even name a candidate before primary day. But many believe the Republicans have been “grooming” Drennan to succeed retiring Sheriff Scott Hess for several years. Normally, whoever the County Republican committee chooses becomes the office-holder after an election rubber stamps their choice.

Drennan touts 23 years of experience in the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department and is currently the Sheriff’s Chief Deputy. Bower has a longer tenure in the Sheriff’s Department. He has worked in the control room of the County jail, but most of his experience is as a dispatcher. Organisciak worked in the Medina Police Department for 30 years, thirteen as its first full time Investigator. He spent two years in Lyndonville as the school resource officer.

Undersheriff choices:
Tom Drennan has tapped Brett Sobieraski , should Drennan be the victor on November 3rd. Sobieraski has considerable experience, as does Bower’s choice, Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Chris Bourke. Organisciak has asked another long-time law enforcement professional and former Holley Police Chief, Bill Murphy, to serve should Don be elected.

Positions, as indicated during the S.C.O.P.E. Candidate Forum in October:
On most issues there was little disagreement, though a wide variety of ideas were expressed.

Accreditation. Accreditation is favored by Drennan and Organisciak. Organisciak acted as though it was a no-brainer, saying it would lower insurance costs and improve access to grants. Drennan added that it would increase uniformity of service. Bower appeared to have little interest in accreditation.

Major Felony Crimes Task Force. Candidates Organisciak and Drennan favored allowing the District Attorney to continue to direct the “Drug Task Force,” as it is often called. Candidate Bower stated that this arm of law enforcement should be under the direction of the Sheriff.

S.A.F.E. Act. All suggested that no-one would have to be concerned about deputies coming to seize firearms without serious provocation, such as defiance of a court order. However, Randy Bower and Tom Drennan were in agreement that they would not enforce the S.A.F.E. Act. Organisciak stated clearly that it was the Sheriff’s job to uphold, teach respect for, and enforce laws regardless of one’s personal views. The S.A.F.E. Act authorizes court ordered mental health counseling in situations such as orders of protection cases. Organisciak would enforce such orders.