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Speaking Out

All content posted on the Pro-Brockport site is for informational purposes only. Posts by individuals are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the organization of Pro-Brockport. We value input, from various sources, that have researched facts and have an understanding of issues concerning the greater Brockport area. All posts from sources outside the Pro-Brockport Organization are noted and authors are credited for their contributions. 

posted April 3, 2016 Suburban News 

posted 1/27/15

Dear Neighbors,
I am concerned about this proposal and hope that it is not accepted by the zoning or planning boards. This is a tremendous and major change of use which is down played in the application.

I have been a big supporter of the Bkpt Ambulance Corp; spoken in their support at town and village meetings, walked neighborhoods in Brockport and Clarkson getting petitions signed in support of the towns using BAC as the primary responder, written letters to the editor and been involved with Pro-Brockport's support of the BAC. I continue to support and encourage the BAC but 52 State St is not an appropriate location for this service.

* Running engines - sound and fumes
* Noise - sirens, beeping, people coming and going, cleaning up after a call any time of the day or night.
* Traffic - blasting out of the parking lot and driveway at any time would have a major impact on pedestrian, biking and also car traffic.
* Lights - building, worker's cars, flashing ambulance lights
* Disruption of a quiet, dense, village residential area - except for the village hall, town hall and the Presbyterian Church (all quiet involvements), the use of State St. is a dense residential area. This proposed change will negatively affect the quiet use and enjoyment of residents, make the area less popular and down grade values and quality of living.
* Reduced property values - many residents in the State St and Park Ave neighborhood have spent long hours and considerable amounts of money to take care of and restore/revitalize their property. Even many rental property owners have put huge time, pride and dollars into making this area an inviting place to put down roots and enjoy village living. Running the BAC in this neighborhood would reduce the appeal and values.

Other locations that could be more successful, with less negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood, might be; a section of the old Ryan's Big M, the old Island Tanning building on Main St, the old veterinarian office on East Ave., Carl Schleede's old service station location on Main, etc.

Please write to the zoning board to voice your opinion and / or come to the zoning board meeting on Thurs, 2/5/15 at 7pm at the Brockport Village Hall at 49 State St. It is important to let the board know that we do not want this disruption and reduction of value in our neighborhood.
Thanks for your time and consideration.
Best regards,

posted 8/3/14

Remarks for Sweden Town Board Members   July 22, 2014

When I became the director of the Sweden Senior Center, I was 42 years old & now am a hearty 74. There was a different focus then across the country, the state, the county and here regarding services & programming for senior citizens. Yes, our beautiful center then and even more now, needs to reflect the changes in our society.
You know…You might say all these rumors about the status of the Sweden Senior Center are premature and that you aren’t making lasting decisions, BUT it certainly APPEARS that the changes-especially in staffing (is there even a director?) programs, and summer hours points to downsizing at the Center. Even the thought of you working on the 2015 budget, makes me wonder what your intentions are. 

Has the Sweden Town Board made a continuous financial investment? Sure, but so have the seniors (as Lori said) for example, the current senior organization SSAI has about $20,000 in their treasury which they have raised.

Before any further changes are made at the Center, I strongly urge you to convene a community committee to be charged with the viability of the Center. Let these representatives of Sweden investigate successful senior center models, perhaps do a survey (newsletter, or use a college intern—find out what today’s seniors in Sweden want that the Center can provide in services and programs. Frankly, I would love a senior travel club. Give this committee a deadline and have them bring back their findings and proposals to the Town Board.

I know you have done your fiscal homework, but now I challenge you. Get involved…invest in the seniors. Those supportive town boards before you and the thousands of senior participants over the decades-- a true legacy, to be sure, deserve that you not only do your financial homework, but more!

In about 1980, Sweden seniors were having a Christmas party in this very town hall and it was too noisy for the court officials next door so they were asked to move. Supervisor John Sodoma was embarrassed and “stuck his neck out” and promised to find a suitable meeting place for them. And he did. The building at 133 State Street with the original chimney of the soda pop factory in place was the answer. And it still is.

I know you know the saying “Give Peace a Chance. All I ask is that you Give the Senior Center a chance—“stick your neck out”…don’t give up on it. It can once again be the great place that it has always been--with changes that reflect the modern day needs of our times.

P.S. If you form that committee, I would be happy to serve on it.

Hanny Heyen, 142 Frazier Street

posted 7/27/14

Sweden Senior Center is a valuable asset for our community.
Jo Matela of 76 Adams St shared the following statement at the Sweden Town Board Meeting on July 22, 2014. 

Because of the "age wave," and unless you are living under a rock, 10,000 people a WEEK are turning 65. This means that more people are using senior sites, health care facilities, "gyms," alternative living styles including all kinds of assisted/not assisted living, buying smaller homes and more. Those who market to seniors recognize that the population is increasing and are adjusting their marketing plans and choices that are available to seniors.

Seniors are the fastest growing segment of our society and have more disposable income than anyone other group at this time. Look at the newspapers and see the new housing opportunities and other choices available
to this segment that was not available in previous times.

As someone who has been in marketing and sales for many years I cannot fathom that this facility is failing for any other reason other than the Town refuses or is incapable of recognizing the value of the Senior Center.
If attendance is falling then they need to do more to attract more participants. The closing of the kitchen and not making food on site was a big mistake. The noon meal was not just a meal it was a coming together and
sharing for those who were alone, or it was the main meal of the day for many. I used to take my mother in law, Anne there quite frequently. She also took painting classes there for many years.

I do not know as I am sure that many of you do not know, what the cost is to operate the center. I also do not know, as many of you may not know, what it costs to operate the Rec Center. One would have to ask the question.

I for one certainly hope that the town recognizes what a valuable asset the Senior Center is and has a plan to continue it for the good of all the community. My recent experience with this board lends me to believe that
their mind is made up.

posted 7/23/14

Is the Town of Sweden considering changes at the Senior Center?


My name is Lori Skoog and I live at 6142 Lake Road South in the Town of Sweden. As a past co-president of the Sweden Senior Association, Inc., a member of the Sweden Senior Singers, and a soon to be 71 year old senior citizen, I am here to voice my concerns. There are rumors about the Town of Sweden considering changes at the Senior Center. One being that Lifetime Assistance or another agency is in the process of purchasing the building. Even the thought of such an action has many residents concerned.

The Senior Center, named as one of the top 100 in the country, has been nationally recognized and award winning. That says something about how our community values its seniors. Why would we ever consider downsizing or closing it? If anything, we should be enhancing and promoting a 21st century program. Seniors make up a very strong segment within our community. They have been a critical part of the history and success of the village and the town, as workers, developers and business owners who are now, in many cases, retired and still participating in our community. I am convinced that you would find them among our most active volunteers, in church activities, community leadership roles, cultural activities, fundraising, historical initiatives and they are loyal patrons to local business establishments. Our community would not be as successful without seniors carrying all of these roles.

Who is serving on the various Sweden boards and committees? Who is giving lectures? Who is planting trees and flowers? What group visits nursing homes, Senior Living Facilities, Veterans Homes and works with students in the Brockport School District as well as the Hochstein School? Who is volunteering at the Welcome Center? Who donates food, clothing and dollars and time in support of those in need? Who are many of the members of our service organizations?…I could go on and on.

Not long after the Senior Center was built, seniors came together and launched a fundraising campaign for center improvements. An article came out in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle on September 24, 2005, just before the 25 year celebration. “Do-it-yourself seniors to celebrate in Sweden; Super fundraisers ($100,000 since ’85) keep center humming.” “The 500 members of the Sweden Senior Center have become a fundraising factory, collecting $100,000 in the past 20 years. The center used the funds to upgrade its kitchen and landscape and build an expansion in the 1990’s.” This achievement demonstrates the deep commitment Sweden seniors have to keeping this Center open ( I’d say that we have invested, and how much more, since 1985?).

Our community is made up of children, youth, a working class, and senior citizens. I keep using the word community because that is what all of this is about, isn’t it? A fiscally responsible budget (including recreation) put forth by this Board must be fair. It is not a competition, but instead an acknowledgement that all age-groups, all taxpayers, are important and the budget should proportionately reflect funding services that are paid for by the taxpayers of our town.

Is the Town Board considering cutting program dollars to any of these constituencies?
According to the 2000 Census: 
The Town of Sweden total population was 13,716
Under 18 total – 2713
55 and over - 1983 (60+1416 - 62+1255=9.1%)
Households 65 and older 339 (7.4%)

According to the 2010 Census: Sweden total population was 14,175
Under 18 total -2149
55 and over – 2769 (60+1968 - 62+1684 11.9%)
Households 65 and older 980 (19.9%)

This implies to me that although the population increased by 459 people, the 18 and under group decreased by 564 and the 55 and older group increased by 786. Households 65 and older increased from 339 (7.4%) to 980 (19.9%) for a total of 641 more households. There is an obvious trend here.

Based on your vision for maintaining a high quality of life for our senior citizens and other community members, and your upcoming development of the 2015-2016 budget:

1. What is the current financial status of the Senior Center, including staffing, programming, and etc.?

2. How much does it cost to keep the Senior Center open annually? What percentage of your total budget does that represent? What about the Recreation Center percentage of the budget?

3.What are your plans for the continuance and building of programs and services for seniors?

4. How is the Senior Center and the Recreation Center referenced in Sweden’s comprehensive plan ?

5. If dramatic changes are forthcoming, will you get input beforehand from the Sweden Senior Association, who is actively involved at the Senior Center and who has supported the Town financially through programming?

6. Do you have an outreach/marketing plan to boost attendance? Have surveys of town seniors as to needs and wants been explored?

In the Suburban News, the Town Supervisor recently implied that the attendance at the Center has been decreasing (which is not totally accurate based on activity attendance sheets. Participation has increased and so has the nutrition program).

Does this Town Board have the will to keep 133 State Street as a vital and up to date Senior Center?

Should alternative or creative funding sources be considered in order to maintain and potentially add to what we have? For example, has the Town Board looked into grants?

Many seniors and I would like to squelch the rumors regarding the possible sale of the Senior Center or significant changes to senior programming.

I would like to suggest an open meeting with the Sweden Senior Association to be held at the Senior Center as soon as possible, at which time questions would be answered. The purpose of the meeting would be to discuss the future, and how we can work together to continue having the best senior center that it has always been. A HUD Grant was used to build it. The vision at that time was to provide a facility that would add to the quality of life for people who have given so much. What has happened to that vision?

Again, does this town board have the will to keep 133 State Street as a vital and up to date Senior Center, meeting the needs and wants of the many Seniors in the Town of Sweden?

Respectfully Submitted,
Lori Skoog
6142 Lake Road S.
Brockport, NY 14420

posted 3/30/14

Suburban News article from 3/23/14 

Suburban News article from 3/23/14 

posted 03/16/13

Public Comment at the Village Board Meeting on March 12, 2013

Linda Ketchum
Erie Street, Brockport NY 

Dear Board Members:

I am very pleased with the money saving efforts of the Brockport Police Department in the past two years. The hiring of new recruits is a reason for celebration. Not only is this community receiving top-notch protection, we are seeing a great savings in overtime wages.

Trustee, Carol Hannan, suggested that Pro-Brockport help with a reception prior to the swearing in at the March 26, 2013 Village Board meeting. Clerk, Leslie Morelli, normally handles all the details and has graciously accepted Pro-Brockport’s offer of providing the snacks. With clerk Morelli’s help there will be a reception from 6:15-6:45pm, provided we have the board’s approval.

We will be proud to welcome all 4 new police officers as members of the community. The police union, The Stetson Club, along with many community service groups, provides much needed volunteer services with very positive results. Brockport is enriched by this and will remain a progressive community because of this.

posted 02/13/13

Are you waiting too? 

Susan Smith
26 Main Street

After watching the video of the Brockport Village Board Meeting from Feb. 12th, I felt it was important to put Trustee Blackman's comment concerning the lack of appointments by the mayor in a statement that we can read. It is appalling that she is allowed to withhold assets from the village and claim that she wants "to find ways to achieve savings and improve village efficiencies, reduce government costs and save the tax payers money. Reducing the tax burden for our village families and business while maintaining the quality of services must be our top priority" (Video time 22:10) 

I ask you, isn't that what volunteers do for the tax payers? Isn't money saved and the village maintained efficiently when a volunteer is appointed? The tree board has planted countless trees in the village, with free volunteer labor instead of DPW labor costs - saving us countless dollars. 

Here are Trustee Blackman's comments (Video time 33:22) 

A comment about Village Boards and Committees – Trustee Blackman

More than three months have passed since the deadline for individuals to file applications for vacancies on village boards and committees. More than three months since four individuals wishing to serve on committees that need and want them have been waiting for word to see if they can do so. The matter was on the agenda for the last meeting but the mayor did not bring it up.

It was not even on the agenda for tonight’s meeting. When the village board voted to accept the code revisions to chapter 46, the tree ordinance, one of those revisions expanded the membership of that board. Two of the current four applicants are for the tree board. It is the mayor who has the sole right and responsibility to bring names forward for appointment to village committees and boards. The trustees can only vote to approve or disapprove the mayor’s appointments. It is a sad commentary that capable people eager to serve this village are turned away or ignored and that they and the boards who want them have been made to wait more than three months for a decision that still has not been made.

posted 12/12/12

e-code 360: Two Village Residents share their concerns at the 12/11/12 Village Board Meeting

Pam Ketchum
91 Park Ave

Today, I had the opportunity to do some accounting of my involvement with community service in the village parks this year. In November, 500 daffodil bulbs were planted at the Welcome Center and Harvester Park. And since mid-April 2012, I have had the privilege of working in our parks with one college service group and 13 individuals required by our court system to complete community service. Individuals worked a range of 3 to 50 hours for a total of 291 hrs. That multiplied by $8/hr. comes to about $2,300. I worked along with these individuals and am typically paid $25/hr. for gardening in private gardens. So my financial contribution to the village was approximately $7,200. Together those figures add to about $9,500. This is a very enjoyable experience for me and I look forward to continuing to promote good living in our village. Part of the beauty of the parks project is that there is little or no cost to the village and taxpayers.

There are hundreds of people in Brockport who generously give time and effort day in and day out because they care so much about the village.

Tonight, I understand that there may be a vote on whether to purchase e-code 360, paying approx. $10,000 this budget year and $10,000 next year. I would request that the board wait on this project until it is in the 2013 budget for the following reasons:
· This is not an emergency situation. Contingency funds are to be used for emergencies.
· It is important for the Brockport public to understand that the village and it’s governing body is living within its means and has gained financial health and stability because of careful planning.
· We don’t want Brockport voters to think that now that we have fairly good financial standing, that the board is ready to jump into spending money right and left especially when it is not immediately necessary.
· The state comptroller advises not to spend money unless it is planned and budgeted.
· The village has time in the proposed e-code 360 contract to put the expense in the budget with no additional costs. It won’t hurt to wait.
· We don’t want to fuel the fire, especially of village dissolutionists; that there is wasteful, unplanned, non-emergency spending by the mayor and board.

Don’t get me wrong, the e-code 360 program may eventually be an excellent investment but let’s not take a chance and give the wrong message to the public. Who knows; heaven forbid, a true emergency comes up and then we are quickly trying to bail a sinking ship. The mayor and board should carefully budget both tax dollars and the “donated dollars of volunteer effort” that have been provided to this creative and hard-working village.

Linda Ketchum 
87 Erie Street 

Dear Board Members: 

Thank you for all your efforts in the past year resulting in our Village’s very good financial standing. It has come to my attention that a vote to approve spending for e-code 360 software is on the agenda tonight. While the revitalization of Village code is very important, I believe that it is more important to budget the spending for the software portion. If the same price is available in six months when the next budget is in place, it would be more appropriate to include it then. 

Spending money from the general fund or the contingency fund at this time is unnecessary. It’s not an emergency. It took a lot of work to build the funds up to this point. I am a volunteer, along with my husband Mark, working to make the Village a better place while helping to keep spending low. Please think about this a little more before voting tonight.

posted 11/01/12

Community replies to "Response to Code of Conduct Violation" document.

“This is great news. 2 more pieces of information should be gathered and then distributed, though. How to submit complaints and what burden of proof (if any) is needed for the College to take action. (i.e. is just calling them and saying something happened sufficient?)

“Good to know. Who should residents call if they witness this behavior? The police? Or is there someone at Brockport they should notify? 

“Pro Brockport and Carol Hannan,
I have been sadly thinking that the college housing problem had slipped to the sidelines. Am so encouraged at this excellent description of the problem and the fact that the college is cooperating with a solution. Have spoken recently to a person living next door to college housing, telling that if they reported a problem, the police would arrive, the students would spend the necessary time being quiet, and then resume their previous activity. 
"---if there is negative student behavior, there will be a negative consequence for that student and their pursuit of an education" 
I sincerely thank Carol Hannon and her housing committee for obtaining and proceeding with this excellent, fair and effective solution.

“I have some concerns re: this Response Model for Code of Conduct Violations that has been shared with the Housing Committee. It appears to be written with only on-campus students in mind. Do parts of it apply also to off-campus students and does the college really take action against them when they commit a violation? Certainly "removal from campus" doesn't apply to those already living off campus. This brings me to something that really bothers me about on-campus students being punished by being kicked out of on-campus housing. They have to live somewhere if they are still allowed to be enrolled at The College at Brockport, right?

We can only surmise that these students very likely move into village rentals and, guess what - the college is then free of their destructive, obnoxious behavior. They are now the village's problem. So, does the college take complaints regarding their students who live off-campus? I assume that they do, in light of the fact that they shared the Code of Conduct document with the village Housing Committee. If so, how do their punishments for off-campus students differ from those given to on-campus students? Obviously, they can't tell landlords to kick students out of their rentals. Another concern I have about the effective-ness of village residents reporting unruly students to the college judicial office is, I for one, normally can't identify the transient offenders who are walking down village streets screaming, swearing, destroying property, fighting, urinating, defecating, stealing, pukeing, etc., etc. I couldn't even identify by name the students living across the street from me. Would I really have any credibility without being able to unequivocally identify the student(s)? Yes, I could make a complaint about an unruly house, but how could I prove who was and wasn't there on the date of the complaint?

Just saying.... I am very interested in knowing more about how this will work, re: college judicial and off-campus students who live in the village.

posted 10/08/12

Justice in Brockport ?
See this week's (Oct. 7- link below) Suburban News Gabalski story on Giancursio cleared of all charges. The story gave generous ink to his diatribe against Chief Varrenti. Not only did he get off scott free, he got a free forum to rant and rave.

Can we expect the same thing to come for the mayor? Where is the justice?”


Brockport landlord cleared of charges in Ogden Court
by Kristina Gabalski

posted 10/08/12

I have not seen the article yet but had heard the news last Friday. It is very discouraging. From now on, when there is smoke in a structure, I guess we should figure out if it is “dangerous smoke” before thinking of leaving a structure. That is plain old ridiculous but that seems to be the way the legal system works for Norm. I wonder if the fire dept. would recommend waiting to classify smoke as dangerous or not before 
vacating a smoke filled structure?

I hope we can expect justice for our village when Connie’s case comes to trial. If she gets off, it will be open season for rental start-ups in the village. Welcome to the Wild West. Hmm.

posted 9/12/12

Now that the Mayor is supervising: 
Has or Is our Code Officer getting the support he needs? 

There has 
been an assistant code enforcement position on the books since the budget was approved in April 2012. However the position remains unfilled for reasons not explained to village residents. 

The mayor wanted to retain control of code enforcement yet she does nothing to support it. She's done nothing to move this position forward. In an average world people should be addressing her at board meetings asking why the position hasn't been filled, what is she doing to address vacant property issues in the village, etc.

Attacking good board members who are doing the best they can is just playing into the dissolution hand. The mayor is the CEO as she regularly reminds everyone. She is the one truly responsible for the village.

Frankly, if I were Scott Zarnstorff, who remember is the Zoning Officer, Code Enforcement Officer, Building Inspector and the Fire Marshall ….I'd throw my arms up and say how much can one person do? One person being responsible for everything I just listed in a college village is counterproductive, not responsive to the needs of the community and frankly an accident waiting to happen.
On Tuesday, 9/11, Judge Connors threw out the case against Rowell and Trullson the two previous owners of the Kleen Brite property located at 100 Fair St. What a poor display of justice or should I say injustice? Trustee Carol Hannan and Trustee Margay Blackman were in court to support Scott Zarnstorff. Also in court were the Hamlins, Borrayos, Norm Giancursio, a Webster, and Town of Sweden’s attorney, Jim Bell.
In order for things to change, it is essential that residents attend board meetings. It is necessary for voters to participate during public comment to petition the mayor to hire an assistant code enforcement officer. Failure to do so will continue to deteriorate the village beyond repair.


posted 9/12/12

Code Violations at 23 Park Ave?
Regarding the pictures; I think the parking "lot" is really supposed to be a driveway but true to the Webster Legacy, they made it into a full-fledged lot with no green space / grass in back of the house. That would be a waste of econom
ic opportunity. These photos were taken on Sun, 9/9/12. The wood burner should not be allowed on the porch - at least not when in use. And there are mattresses stacked in the back of the parking lot.

Hold on to your hat this weekend when home coming is occurring September 10-16! 

posted 9/12/12

Code Violations on Coleman Creek? 

These photos were taken of the house at 16 Coleman Creek. The resident, the grown son of the owner (owner lives in Sweden Village), seems to be running a metal reclamation business. The neighbors have called Scott Zarnstorff. If any one of us had such a metal reclamation business occurring next to our properties we would be extremely up

Another neighbor had an incident with another brother whose pit bull bit her on the butt a few years ago. Needless to say it is a difficult and intimidating situation to the homeowners in the neighborhood.

More questions:
  • Is the reputed rental property at 22 Coleman Creek been registered as a rental yet? It has been a reputed rental for many years.
  •  Also the house at 23 Evergreen Rd. is a long time reputed rental. Is it registered as a rental yet? 
  • The reputed rental at 63 Park? 
  • The reputed rental at 54 Park? 
If the village code requires registration of rental properties, why aren’t these landlords being held accountable?

posted 9/12/12

Brock-the-port Reenactment?

This past weekend was a reenactment of Brock-the-Port. Wild, out of control partying from 8pm to 4pm, Friday

September 8, 2012 ‎‎‎{2 broken trees on Park Ave}‎‎‎

through Monday. There is ZERO quality of life west of Main St. If everyone else in Brockport had to put up with the reckless, bad behavior, they would call in the National Guard. Students have the attitude that they are entitled to have a wild and wonderful college experience at the expense of almost any entity their lives cross while in Brockport. If they have been able to save, borrow or have a parent paid college experience, that is all that is required to earn them the right to out of control neighborhood bashing, drunken behavior.

In Brockport, real estate values, housing condition and "curb appeal", safety concerns, overuse of public resources and quiet enjoyment of property are sliding into the abyss.

Some landlords just shrug it off and say that if you live in a college town this is what you get and if you don't like it, move away. All standards are thrown out the window and each year it seems there is a new goal to reduce the standards of civil living even further. Kids use the excuse that this negative behavior is just part of their right to crossing over into "adulthood" just like getting your period, learning how to drive, taking your SAT's and heading off to college. If you can cough up the money, you are entitled to make the most of the "resort living" in Brockport.

Responsible landlords and single-family homeowners who take pride in their property feel helpless and almost ready to give up. How can the weekly trip to anarchy be redirected?

And then this weekend, while researching real estate values, I stumbled upon 15 Erie St. It's the house right next door to the Brockport Diner owned by Robert Webster. Webster purchased that reputedly 4 unit "apartment" house in 2007 for $63,000. There are 8 bedrooms (according to the rental registration list from the codes office in 10/2010) and at a standard "average" rent of $300/month/bedroom, the rental income is $28,800/year. Can you guess what the assessed value is? $63,000.

I have a 4 family house at 87 Park Ave, right next to where I live, that has 6-7 bedrooms (2 studio apts, a 2 bdrm and a 2-3 bdrm apt). We have owned the house since approx 1990 and the assessed value is $128,000. Yes, I have fewer bedrooms, less income and more than double the assessed value and TAXES. Maybe I should have the attitude that we should "wreck" the neighborhood, allow any sort of behavior and conditions, all in an effort to reduce our assessed value/taxes and "go with the flow" of this being a college town.

As a landlord and real estate agent it is very discouraging that there is such disconnect and discrepancy but I'm an optimist and I work for the greater good. I just hope my husband and I don't go down the drain while striving for better housing and quality of life in the Village of Brockport. 

Best regards,
Pam Ketchum 91 Park Ave, Brockport, NY 14420 585-305-4656

posted 8/1/12

It would seem that before everyone gets going down this road.... 

Does anyone have ANY idea as to what the plan is for this site?
Has anyone talked to the owner and asked him?
Has any paperwork been submitted to the Village for any use of this site?
Has anyone called the DEC? They were very interested in the site previously.
Has anyone called the EPA? They were also very interested in this site previously.
Has anyone vetted the Village Code to see if this is truly a permitted use?
Has anyone contact the Zoning Board to see what is the meeting about?

I personally do not see any junkyard, recycling or whatever you want to call it a village asset. When you think of Riga you think dump. Except that the people in the town of Riga do not pay any town taxes or garbage pickup because they have the dubious stigma of having a dump in their town. There is no advantage in having this in our village. I do not care how you dress it up or how much you clean it up. It will have a negative effect on the assessments of village homes.

Brockport needs positive press, positive growth and positive economic development. Getting a dump in the village is a far cry from economic development and if this is the best we can do then there are some people who should just quit now.
Anonymous said on July 21, 2012

posted 07/17/12
How? What? Can it? ALPCO recycling on Fair Street, Brockport?
"How and when did this even get started.  First I have heard of it.  What approvals does it need?  Have they bought the property? Can village trustees "can it" ?  The zoning people should be able to do something, but they often fold under threat of suit."

posted 07/16/12
ALPCO recycling on Fair Street, Brockport?
"It's a lot more than just a recycling plant. We're not talking newspapers
and cardboard boxes. This is heavy metal -- cars, old metal parts, all
kinds of scrap. Have you ever been to Metalico?  I have.  It has huge
piles of rusting scrap everywhere, large construction vehicles beep,
beep, beeping as they back up, trucks loading & unloading, cranes
lifting, moving & dropping metal non-stop. It's loud. It's dusty. It's
busy. That's 7 days a week of loud, dusty, dirty & busy and you can't
hide these large piles of scrap -- we'll get to see them, too. It's just
NOT a business to put next to residential neighborhoods and inside a
small village. This proposal is a HOSTILE ACT against Brockport and its
residents. Sweden Republicans wouldn't DARE propose such a business right
next to their residential sections."


posted 07/16/12
recycling plant in the village??? I hope not

I'm into recycling, but a recycling plant in the Village of Brockport?

This is a totally unacceptable idea. If Kleen Brite was bad, this is 100 times worse. The Macedon Alpco plant is open 7 days a week. The Brockport Fair St. location, site, buildings, neighborhood needs to be cleaned up not made worse. The blight of Fair St and High St does not need to be added to. The recycling business is a great idea but not in a small residential village location.

We should all drive to the Macedon plant and take pictures and recordings, interview neighbors, creditors, businesses who do business with Alpco. I have heard from a business person who does business with Alpco and it sounds like Alpco owes a huge amount of money.

Once again, who will be doing the over sight – Scott Z? The mayor? It doesn't look good. 
From what I heard, Connie and Norm gave a tour of the facility to the Alpco representative. This is Connie's idea of economic development.  We need to inform ourselves and speak out at Village Board meetings and in letters to the media.  We need to find out exactly what the plans are for this site in our small village. 

Pam Ketchum

posted 07/16/12

"Alpco could use the old Star Market location that has been vacant for years or how about
the old Walmart location that looks like a ghost town? There is lots of room to spread out in the Town of Sweden."

posted 06/13/12

A letter written to the Suburban News 

I get the impression that many of the letter writers in the previous issue of the Suburban News either don't understand the proposal for code enforcement that has been made, or are deliberately choosing to misunderstand. The police won't be able to enter your home willy nilly. Laws against unreasonable searches still apply; inspecting a home you offer up for rental (or a home you "accidentally" neglected to mention is for rental, when people come to the police with sworn testimony that you are renting it to them and the police then get a warrant) is not unreasonable. The police won't be entering your or my home.

The goal of code enforcement is not to educate, and the goal of the police is not to punish. It is, for both of them, to enforce the law. Both have educational aspects - helping you understand the law; and both have punitive aspects - starting the process to punish you when you violate the law. But ultimately, they are there to enforce the law that your elected officials have passed, for the good of the entire community.

Lastly, the search of the mayor's home was neither unconscionable nor forcible. They police had a signed warrant from the DA's office to investigate the home. This has been legal from time immemorial. They did not break down the doors to enter. They did what they are supposed to do in optimal situations - politely inform the suspect that they are subject to this investigation; then investigate.

Landlords in Brockport have been saying for years to "just enforce the code". This proposed change makes sure the code will always be enforced, which is what they have said they want. Let's give it to them. Despite the attempts to muddy the issue, the proposed changes to the law are to make sure that code enforcement never serves as a political tool nor to intimidate those who are not in favor by those in power, and to allow the
department to operate freely in any political environment.

Vote YES on the proposed change to code enforcement.

John Cohen
Brockport, NY

posted 06/13/12

Top Ten Reasons to Vote YES For the Referendum for Code Enforcement
10. The mayor says that if Chief Varrenti retires soon, that transferring power to the police chief when he may only be here for another year or two is short-sighted. Not so! Certainly, the next police chief would be perfectly capable of supervising code enforcement! Current command officers have been prepared to step into a top supervisory position. 
9. Chief Varrenti ended the expensive and time wasting policy of having Code Enforcement have to get all actions approved by the Village Attorney, beforehand. This is one of many positive changes the Chief of Police has made to improve code enforcement. Let’s keep the ball rolling on these very important improvements.
8. The Brockport Police Department, under the direction of Chief Varrenti, is now accredited by New York State. Doesn't that show that they are an experienced and very capable police department? What experience does this current mayor have to supervise the p.d.? Who knows what supervisory experience future mayors may have?
7. Politics should be removed from Code Enforcement. The mayor claims that other villages and towns do not have code enforcem
ent under the supervision of their police departments. This is another untruth. In fact, approximately 89,583 communities nationwide use the police department to enforce the codes. 
6. The mayor claims that the police will be able to enter your home at any time – THIS IS NOT TRUE! They must be invited in, be authorized to do so by court-issued search warrant, or have probable cause as defined in many Supreme Court cases. They currently (and will continue to) refer suspected violations of building code to the code enforcement officer.
5. Why should people who do not have any problem rentals in their neighborhood care? Because run down rental properties get lower assessment
s and well-kept proper-ties get higher assessments. Therefore, those who take care of their properties are taking on more of the tax burden than they would have to if everyone kept their properties up to code. 
4. Positive things happen when owners take pride in their properties. It becomes an expectation that all will do their best to help their village or town be a pleasant, attractive place to live.
3. All businesses have to meet requirements put in place by our laws. The rental business is not exempt from this. Would you frequent a restaurant that breaks the laws levied to make sure that it is a safe place for you to eat? Why look the other way when properties are littered with garbage, have falling down sheds, porches, deteriorating roofs and siding, etc., and just plain are unkempt and hard to look at?
2. Do you want to be able to exist, in and around your home, in a peaceful way? Then, choose better code enforcement to make sure that you get that peace and the respect of yourself and your property that you deserve.
1. Do people (students and others) who rent in this village deserve to live in a safe environment? You bet they do! Vote for better code enforcement so no one has to hide where they are living because the rental is not up to code and the landlord wants to keep this fact a secret. Please, make sure that no one else becomes permanently disabled, or even loses their life, because a house (rental or otherwise) is unsafe.

Received from an Erie Street Resident

posted 06/13/12
The top ten reasons to discount the mayor’s message to village residents

10. With all her legal expenses, she could only afford Daffy Duck as her speech writer.
9. There isn’t enough money in the budget for ammo to execute anybody so the real plan is to force people to read Connie’s message until they die of laughter.
8. We all know Connie is against finding ANY revenue for Brockport to survive ­ so why blame everything on a village court?
7. The 
police army uniforms aren’t ready yet and the tanks are still in production.
6. Connie’s policy for a friendly Brockport is to suspend all the laws, rip up the stop signs, knock down the traffic lights and let everybody rent out their attics for extra cash.
5. What could the police possibly do to create an unsavory local government when we’ve already got Connie?
4. OMG, Connie wants the Building Inspector and Fire Marshall to be split and we think she has a chain saw.
3. The power struggle between Chief Varrenti and Connie is heating up and becoming a battle of wits versus nitwits.
2. Connie secretly wants a police state so she can raise an army of landlords, make Norm their general and give him a spiffy uniform to wear.
1. There’s medicine to help with paranoid delusions but Connie refuses to take it.

Received from a Main Street resident

05/09/09 Grassroots Response to Referendum on Code Enforcement - Anonymous
posted 05/10/12

How does code enforcement affect you?

Code enforcement in Brockport seems incomplete and uneven. I feel that I have to be vigilant to make sure that the behavior of tenants that live near my house on the east side of Main St. doesn't escalate in a negative direction. Also, I feel like I have to be on the alert to make sure that the rental condition doesn't get any closer. It feels like a creeping disease that spreads and causes a reduction of value for nearby properties. Houses that I admired for years while walking around my neighborhood are now suddenly, sadly lost; 23 Park Ave, Union St, Spring St, High St, Utica St. Houses that you knew who lived there, with owners who were there "forever" and brought positive personality, pride and permanence. Now that those houses are rental with tenants that change every 9 months, there is no consistency. The properties seem to get worn out quickly. There is no pride, just abuse and it starts to look trashy.

I look at the yellow house on the east side of Main St and see, week after week, the chairs and beer cans / bottles on the roof - it looks like animal house - not a welcoming sign to the beautiful Village of Brockport. All the houses on Erie, Utica, King, Monroe, Holley, College Streets which have humongous parking lots encircling the houses and dense sometimes 2 cars deep parking. Single family homes with prideful appearances are frequently overshadowed by the crumby transience of the house next door or across the street. And as one house falls to rental, it feels like the pace quickens and before you know it a whole block has gone to the dark side. Also, one rental property might jump all the hurdles being inspected, registered and paying fees and then there are 4 others that are operating under the radar with no registration and inspection at all.

Do you have quiet enjoyment of your home and neighborhood?

For the most part I feel I can enjoy my property. However, disturbed sleep is the norm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights there are usually kids talking loudly, screaming sometimes as they walk down Park Ave. and onto High St. and Spring St. Sometimes I hear the sound of a glass bottle breaking or a car racing down one of the streets. Loud music or the obnoxious base blaring from a passing car can wake you up in the early
morning hours. Partying all afternoon into the evening on a weekend creates a negative atmosphere after a while.

Do you have confidence that properties around you and in our village will be properly maintained and used in a safe fashion?

No, rental properties look worse than most non-rental properties. It used to be that college faculty people wanted to live in the village and be able to walk to work. Now, they seem to prefer the safer, more predictable
investment and behavioral environment of either Sweden Village or Brighton.

Do you have security that the value of your property won't be adversely affected by other properties and behavior in your neighborhood and the village?

No - not at all. Every year there are more rental properties and the rental properties look more and more worn out. The beautiful architectural details fall apart, are removed and replaced with cheap materials and poor workmanship. It is a rare occurrence that a rental property can maintain the glory of the home's original craftsmanship. But I am hopeful that things will turn around and we will enjoy the beauty, standards and positive behavior and pride that Brockport residents; property owners and tenants, exhibited in the past. Brockport is such a unique community. Hardly any place these days can you exist without a car. Brockport is a great walkable, self-sufficient place.

05/09/09 Grassroots Response to Referendum on Code Enforcement - Anonymous
posted 05/10/12

Do you have confidence that properties around you and in our village will be properly maintained and used in a safe fashion?

No, I do not have confidence that the properties in our village will be properly maintained and used in a safe fashion. I live in the home my parents built (1939). I grew up in this house, attended the Campus School
(grades K-8) and went to High School (now the middle school). I returned to this home when both of my parents died (1989). In the 40's and 50's there were no problem with rentals -- college and other. The Roxbury was beautiful and functioning. Most homes on Monroe Avenue and College Street were privately owned. Student and private rentals were not out of control. Now they are.

Fortunately Pro Brockport is a watchdog. They are on top of the rogue landlord problem and working toward a solution. I take pride in Brockport and would like to see codes, rules and regulations be effective and enforced
--- operating for the good of the village.

Thank you for your hard work!!"
-Sent from a Brockport resident 5/9/12

05/09/09 Grassroots Response to Referendum on Code Enforcement - Anonymous

Dear fellow resident,

Have you noticed? Brockport is NOT what it used to be … dilapidated properties are scattered around our village. Why should you care?
1. Run-down properties negatively affect neighboring house values and rob families of their home equity.
2. Run-down properties affect the tax base and shift a greater tax burden on to owners who maintain their properties – owners like you, no matter where you live.
3. Run-down properties discourage stable families from moving to the village – families who might want to buy your house.
4. Run-down properties take more code enforcement efforts, generate expensive court cases and police action – and that costs you more in tax dollars.
What can you do for positive change? Vote YES to place code enforcement under the supervision of the police department. Give code enforcement a full-time, professional supervisor. Remove politics and cronyism from code enforcement.


05/08/09 Grassroots Response to Referendum on Code Enforcement - Marcy Stickles


A little history on the reasons that I believe the Village of Brockport is where it is, at this point in time, follows. In the late 1960’s and into the 1970’s, the College at Brockport grew by leaps and bounds (under the leadership of Pres. Albert W. Brown). Building after building went up, in rapid succession. Soon, enrollments increased to match the new and improved programs and facilities. However, now there were not enough dorms on campus to accommodate the additional students. Before we knew it, people in the village and surrounding areas saw an opportunity – to buy up houses in the village and rent out rooms to students. Some landlords were responsible people and took care of their properties and set down rules for their tenants. Others became slum landlords and packed their rental properties with way too many students. They focused on becoming wealthy without putting much money back into the upkeep of their properties, nor did they feel any responsibility for overseeing these properties (setting up rules for their tenants). I have heard their sentiments expressed (at Village Board meetings), that it is not up to them to supervise their tenants, it is up to the Village Police Department. They obviously do not give a hoot about the neighbors who live next to, across from, and behind their dilapidated properties, nor their quality of life. They have washed their hands of any responsibility regarding their tenants’ behavior.

Another aspect of this is that, along with the rapid growth of the college, the need for additional codes and beefed up code enforcement was sorely needed. In time, the codes have been updated, but ‘in time’ are the key words here. By the time the village caught up with the college, much damage and destruction had already been done to lots of beautiful houses in the village. From then on out, the problem became more one of enforcing the code (actually, the lack thereof) and trying to bring these slum houses back up to code. The current (and the most recent past) mayor of this village have not done this dilemma any favors. The code enforcement office was diminished, not expanded, and the one code enforcement officer has been at the mercy of politics. The current mayor wanted to dissolve the village; she doesn’t want code enforcement to interfere with her cronies, the slumlords. I have heard, that during most of her time in office, she has not even allowed the one lone code enforcement officer to do his job. She wouldn’t let him enforce the codes. Code enforcement should not be a political issue and the code enforcement officer should not be the puppet of whomever the mayor happens to be at any given time. Moving code enforcement to and under the supervision of the police department is the only smart thing to do. This way, codes can actually be allowed to be enforced and everything possible can be done to reclaim this village and make it the beautiful Victorian Village by the Canal that it was and still should be. The wonderful beautification of Main Street in Brockport has been an awesome start and is still ongoing. Let’s make the same thing happen to the remainder of the village. Things don’t have to continue on in a downward spiral, as they have over the past 30 years. We can make rejuvenation of our village happen. 

Please get out and vote ‘yes’ to the Referendum on Code Enforcement.

Thank you.
Marcy Stickles, Resident of the Village of Brockport

05/08/09 Grassroots Response to Referendum on Code Enforcement - Linda Ketchum

How does code enforcement affect you? 

· Do you have quiet enjoyment of your home and neighborhood? I expect to be woken up most every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night (and sometimes others) by loud drunks on the street. Sometimes I wake up to vandalism of my property. Brock-the-Port and the night before graduation are the worst, of course.

· Do you have confidence that properties around you and in our village will be properly maintained and used in a safe fashion? Most of the rental properties around my neighborhood are poorly maintained and some look to have dangerous conditions and dangerous behavior of occupants.

· Do you have security that the value of your property won’t be adversely affected by other properties and behavior in your neighborhood and the village? I believe that the value of my property is degraded by most of the rental properties around me. A few of them are acceptable, but, combined with rowdy behavior of so many large groups of students, it's all a bust. I can have the nicest house on the block and it won't matter when I try to sell it. That's not a trade-off to having a wonderful college campus nearby. It's just uncivilized behavior, pure and simple.

Code enforcement is simply making sure everyone follows the same rules for the good of all. Code is written to protect stakeholders weather they are tenants or property owners. Code is law. Code enforcement equals law enforcement. Laws need to be followed or enforced 24/7. Supervision needs to be 24/7 to be effective. The law is impartial. When you break the law, you must deal with the consequences. This is the basis of a civilized society. Let's be civilized about this. Align code enforcement with law enforcement. Vote yes on the referendum to move supervision of code enforcement to the law enforcement department. 
                                                                                                                                  05/08/09 Grassroots Response to Referendum on Code Enforcement - Pam Ketchum

Connie’s Conflict of interest regarding Code Enforcement - Or - maybe it should be Connie’s Conflicting Code of Ethics. Is it legal to be unethical?

Information received from the Brockport Code Enforcement Office indicates that 59 landlords who own a total of 133 village properties have not registered their properties and paid the $50 registration fee. The amount owed to the Brockport taxpayers is $6,650.

Some would argue that is a small amount of money. As a taxpayer, that amount is important to me. Our mayor has made it a point to argue about every penny that is spent on holiday lights, watering hanging flower baskets as well as other issues. Code enforcement addresses safety, quality of living and protection of real estate investment for village residents.

I have paid my rental registration fees and registered my 5 rental properties. Why do some landlords feel they are above the law and don’t have to follow the rules? This carries over to the issue of why the mayor was arrested. Excerpts from the Voluntary Statement of Fact presented to the police with regard to the arrests of March 9, 2012 include such statements as:

“Sometime in March of 2011 Connie approached me and my cousin Ron as we were coming home and said that the lady from the bed and breakfast across the street had told her that we were having a lot of people coming and going from our apartment. …. Connie then said we had to be discrete about who comes in and out because there is a limit as to how many people can live here and I only rent it out to you two. Sometime after this and while still in the month of March Connie also told me that if the police or anyone came to the house to not let them in and that if they asked who I or my cousin, Ron, were to say we were cousins of Connie’s and that we were just visiting her.”

Some landlords think they can operate a secret business under the radar. Or, maybe this is a blatant “screw you taxpayers”, we can do whatever we want and if you cross us, we will sue you and teach you a lesson – bully boy landlord intimidation at its best.

Certainly, we have seen the village master plan developed and orchestrated by outlaw landlords who have taken zoning into their own hands and converted, on the sly, houses and whole neighborhoods into rental slums. Look at College Street where 30 years ago there were 5 rentals and 13 owner-occupied. Now, it is just the reverse, and the lovely residence at 40 College St. sits in limbo waiting to find a family. It is easy to believe in the house’s fine historic architectural details but it is trickier to have confidence in the location, the rental abyss.

I recently heard a rumor that, allegedly, a special interest group, the Sweden Landlords Association, has communicated with the village suggesting that they are refusing to pay the registration fee. Perhaps, the “altruistic and civic minded” – NOT - landlords don’t believe that there is benefit to registering a rental property - at least no benefit to them. There would be a benefit to everyone else involved if the registration allows contact information for the landlord/manager, tenants and emergency providers. And the fee helps to offset the cost of running the code enforcement office which works to maintain consistent quality not subsistent squalor. But often times people don’t operate for the greater good and don’t feel compelled unless there is a carrot or a big stick. Forget about doing the right thing as a matter of conscience.

I wonder if Connie will find herself entering an executive session to discuss these issues. Because of her arrest and her involvement with rental property, I wonder if Connie will ask herself, “is this a conflict of interest?” It is a matter of conscience and ethics for Connie. And for all of us, including the mayor, it is a matter of the law and how the law can provide for the safe and uniform protection for all – not just landlords.

It is of major importance to vote YES for the referendum and allow law enforcement to oversee code enforcement. Otherwise, we will continue the Wild West good ole boy atmosphere and attitude that has prevailed in our village for the past 50 years.

Life in Brockport - the rule followers always scrambling to catch up with the rule breakers who hope to make money off of or at the expense of unsuspecting chumps like me.

Remember: Code Enforcement is Law Enforcement – Vote YES on the referendum

Pam Ketchum

05/01/12 SUNY Brockport President responds to Pam Ketchum's 4/27 letter

From: Pruss, Julie [mailto:jpruss@brockport.eduOn Behalf Of Staff, President's

Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2012 2:34 PM
To: Pam Ketchum
Cc: Chief Daniel Varrenti; Kehoe, Robert; Wilson, Kathryn
Subject: RE: Brock the Port

Dear Ms. Ketchum:

This is to personally acknowledge receipt of your April 26 email. In response, May 4 is the last day of classes at the end of the academic year. Past occurrences that may have had a negative effect on this campus and the Village have been halted. For example, the long-standing “Spring-In” that alumni and Village residents still talk about was replaced by Scholars Day back in 1984. More recently, we’ve instituted a number of annual late-spring events to present awards for academic achievements and leadership to our outstanding students.

With regard to “Brock-the-Port,” The College at Brockport in no way endorses or “glamorizes” what may occur in the Village following the end of classes that day. To the contrary, we’ve taken aggressive steps the past several years, with Brockport Student Government and our Division of Student Affairs collaborating, to present numerous, healthy alternative activities on campus.  We have consciously moved activities away from the Village and centralized them on campus in parking lots and in safe environments. I should point out that this has been—and will continue to be—a substantial investment (time, money, and manpower) on the part of both our responsible Student Government and the College. These contained events are all alcohol-free and the College in no way “commercializes” or condones illegal behavior or activities.

Our University Police will be in full-force May 4 as a precautionary measure and are highly visible across our campus. In response to your recommendation that I ride along that day, be assured that I have done my own riding (by car and bike) and walking tours in the past, making observations along with our campus police and student affairs staff. Enforcement of illegal activities in the Village, however, remains the sworn duty of the Village of Brockport police.

As I have also articulated to Chief Varrenti, Brock-the-Port is the ticketed, alcohol-free set of activities that we sponsor on-campus as an alternative to non-sanctioned activities and behaviors in private residences in the Village. I do thank you for sharing your concerns.


John R. Halstead, PhD
The College at Brockport
State University of New York

04/27/12 Letter to SUNY Brockport President

Dear President Halstead,

I would appreciate your active participation in the annual event that is coming up; Brock the Port. I would recommend that you ride along with the police to witness the bad drunken behavior and destruction of property that has occurred for many years in the village. It is an assault on our residents and property and is entirely unnecessary.

I also hope that you will end this tradition of anarchy day in Brockport before someone ends up dying. There is no need for commercialization and glamorization of bad, and in many cases, illegal behavior.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,
Pam Ketchum

04/27/12 Resident Responds to Pam's Letter to SUNY Brockport President 

Thank you, Pam, for writing this letter. Being that I live on Erie Street, I have witnessed this event up close. One year, I was attending a dinner at the college, honoring employees for years of service and also recent retiree's. The noise on the surrounding streets, during our event, was so loud that the president found it necessary to comment on/make a little joke explaining that the Brock the Port event was the source of the commotion. Not funny to me!

The thing about this event is - it is supposed to be something that students can go to and play games, do things like sumo wrestling and jump around on inflatables. In reality, the biggest percent of the students don't attend the event; they're all about hitting the parties that are held up and down the village streets simultaneously with this event. I had many 'good' kids work for me, on work-study while I was at the college and pretty much all of them went to the parties, not the event that was being held for them. I am very sure the college administration is aware that this is what happens, year after year.

One other thing that always astounded me is that students were always very excited (except for those who were participating in presentations) when Scholar's Day rolled around. Classes are cancelled for the day to allow students to attend the talks and presentations. The majority of students start partying in the a.m. and are wasted by the afternoon or early evening. How about the college require students to actually attend (sign in) events all day, unless they have a legitimate reason that they can't (such as, a job, or, they normally don't have classes that day of the week and don't come to campus)? Just saying. It is too bad that such a worthwhile event as Scholar's Day has become just another excuse to drink and party.

From a Brockport Resident

04/24/12 Village Board Meeting – Public Comment

Rules and Laws Exist for a Reason

If you'll bear with me for a moment, I need to give some background so you'll understand my conclusion. I moved to Brockport last March, so I've been here just over a year. Previously, I lived in Ithaca, NY. Some of you may know that area, some of you may not. I moved to Brockport due to its familiarity - smaller, certainly, but a scenic municipality where the economy and "feel" is heavily influenced by a nearby educational institution.

Brockport has the same types of divisions as Ithaca. Democrat and Republican, Town Gown, fiscal conservatism and fiscal progressivism, and perhaps most of all, residents and landlords. Believe me, Brockport has nothing on those conflicts compared to Ithaca. Still, there are some things that seem to make it work for Ithaca.

Firstly, an acknowledgment that both sides contribute to the local area. Residents own homes and work jobs and give the area a reason to exist. Landlords provide homes to the students that come in to town and those students contribute in a major way to our economy and our culture.

Secondly, but relatedly, an understanding that people on both sides of an issue have, at some level, a legitimate reason for their feelings and a reason to debate and discuss those points. People may disagree, they may disagree vehemently, but in the end, both sides are often a little bit right and a little bit wrong.

And lastly - and this is the important one right now - an understanding that rules and laws exist for a reason. You can dislike the law. You can think the law shouldn't be on the books. You can work to get the law changed. But until you succeed, the rules are the rules. Disobey them, and pay the consequences.

And that is why I speak tonight. That simple veneer of civilization is important. The mayor appears to have decided the rules don't apply to her. And by staying in office, she's setting that as an example. If the rules don't apply to the mayor, why do they apply to anyone? Why stop at traffic lights, why not smoke in a restaurant, and so on. Why not abandon civilized behavior in favor of anarchy?

Look, I have no axe to grind. I haven't been here long enough to be upset about something that happened in the past. I'm just someone who believes that the integrity of the system matters. That government can be good for the citizens if the government is made up of good citizens. By and large, the people of Brockport are good citizens, with… well, apparently, one notable exception.

If the mayor truly wanted Brockport to thrive, as I'm sure she would claim, she would step down from office. The fact that she has not tells you much about the true character of this woman, and why she is not worthy of your trust.

John Cohen

04/10/12 Village Board Meeting – Public Comment

Distractions and Facts

Distraction: the idea that citizens should not speak about the mayor's crimes because the mayor is innocent until proven guilty because this is America. 
Fact: Innocent until proven guilty is the right and just law of the land but it is only applied to legal proceedings. If you are a member of a jury, a lawyer on the case, or a judge of the case, you must proceed as if innocent until proven guilty. If you are a community member you are free to form your own opinion based on the facts presented and to put forth your opinion on the matter to your elected officials. It’s called Freedom of Speech, and is the most fundamental American right.

Distraction: the suggestion that the board fails to work with the mayor. 
Fact: The votes on this board are often four to one with the mayor being the dissenting vote. It is this mayor, elected by less than a majority of voters in this village, who doesn't work with the four trustees. The Trustees who, by sheer numbers if nothing else, represent the interest of the majority of those represented - it is the mayor who continues with her obstructionist ways. She is duly elected, that is her right, but let’s be clear - this is not some mere procedural matter, this is a mayor who routinely votes against the majority.

Distraction: the idea, presented by the mayor's lawyer and perpetuated by certain news channels that this is a political attack by the chief of police. 
Fact: Two sworn statements by former tenants of the mayor which indicate her casual disregard for the safety of college students when their living conditions are the mayor's responsibility. 
Side note: Opinion: such casual disregard for life and safety can only worsen town gown relations.

Distraction: the attempts by some to create a "counter story" that those who want to speak up for the mayor refuse to out of fear of reprisal. I would like to say that is a ridiculous claim and that local politics can't possibly get violent; I'd like to, except we all know that there's been at least once case of physical assault due to political disagreements in this town. Fear of reprisal? 
Fact: The person assaulted for political views stood against the mayor and her supporters, not for them.

Distraction: a speech given that the pendency of the charges do not impact the ability of the mayor to perform. 
Fact: the mayor has shown a blasé disregard for the law she has sworn to uphold and for residents of the village she has agreed to work for and has no business sitting in front of us.

The mayor must resign.
John Cohen

4/10/12 Village Board Meeting - Public Comment

Rental Registration Fees = Money for the Village and Savings for the Taxpayers
For every rental property in the Village of Brockport there is a $50 registration fee to be paid to the village to help offset the expenses of running the Code Enforcement Office. This fee is similar to the fee the farmers have to pay to participate in the Farmer’s Market each summer. It is a cost of doing business and helps the village to offset expenses that taxpayers pay to operate the code enforcement office.

If a landlord has 20 properties then that equals $1,000 that is to be paid to the village. If a family has 40 rental properties then that equals $2,000 that is owed to the village. At this time, my husband and I have paid the $250 that was due March 1st for the registration of our 5 rental properties. I have heard that there are some landlords who have not paid the registration fee yet. I would like to know who the offenders are and what is the penalty for not paying the registration fee on time or at all? I know that if I did not pay the fees associated with being a real estate agent, I wouldn’t get to practice my profession. So too, if I don’t pay the rental registration fee, I shouldn’t be allowed to rent my properties in the village. Fair is fair.

I understand that 1% of the tax levy is equivalent to approximately $24,000. Perhaps there are 80 to 100 rental registration fees that have not been paid as of this date, which amounts to $4,000 to $5,000 that is owed to the village AND the taxpayers. That “real money” will play a big role in the discussion of the budget tonight. It equates to possibly one quarter of one percent of the tax levy. All landlords, near and far, need to meet their responsibilities to the village and the taxpayers and pay the modest amount of $50 per building to participate in rental business in the Village of Brockport.

It’s all about being fair and honest. Brockport taxpayers need to say “NO WAY” to outlaw landlords.
Rental Registration Fees = Money for the Village and Savings for the Taxpayers.

Pam Ketchum

4/5/12 Zoning Board of Appeals: Public Comment 

There was a Public Hearing for the application of James Zisovski seeking a use variance to convert 19 Park Avenue, a single-family home, into an owner-occupied two family. Many residents and Pro-Brockport members attended the meeting to express their concerns of the uncontrolled growth of rental properties in the village that threaten the quality of life for our neighborhoods. 

Zoning Laws for a Purpose

When my long time neighbors, Bob & Ginny Jubenville, died a few years ago, the house at 101 Park Ave. had to be sold. If Mr. Z had purchased that house and quickly applied to put an apartment in it, as he has done with 19 Park Ave, the character, stability, sense of neighborhood and quality of life at our end of Park Ave. would have changed vastly. Mr. Z could have said he would occupy the house and that might have endeared him to the zoning board. He could have “lived” there for a short while and then rented out the 2 apartments to possibly 6 unrelated people and it would have been the new party house right next door to us with possibly 6 or more cars parked in the driveway. This has happened all over Brockport. Residents who have lived and invested in their homes for many years may find that suddenly neighbors die and the house is sold to settle an estate. The lawyer for the estate may broker the transaction or an eager real estate agent who is like a kid in a candy shop may be ready to make money hand over fist selling single family houses to new or experienced investors. All of this, under the “guise” of economic development and prosperity. Certainly it does not provide economic prosperity for the neighbors who have to endure. All they want is to be proud of their home and neighborhood and be secure in their investment and secure in the traditions of close continued relationships with neighbors.

Mr. Z. knew 19 Park Ave. was a single family when he bought it. He most likely knows that the house next door and 2 cross the street are single family properties as well. His house is not unique and Mr. Z. has created his own hardship. He hopes no one is paying attention and he can slip this under the radar maybe in a similar fashion as when the Webster family illegally converted 23 Park Ave. to a 2 family years ago. The residents of Brockport are tired of the uncontrolled growth of rental property. What Mr. Z. CAN do is live in his single family house at 19 Park Ave. and rent to 2 unrelated people. He must however, register his property, have it inspected and pay the rental registration fee of a mere $50. Recently, we found out that our mayor has allegedly gone to great lengths to avoid participating in the rental business in a legal fashion.

If this conversion is allowed, it will be “open season” for converting any house in the village to a multi family. Turning calm, quiet single family homes into rentals frequently creates “animal houses” with uncontrolled behavior, poor maintenance and management. Yards are torn up giving way to driveways and backyard parking lots. Conversions create a tipping point and marketability for the single family owner occupied homes is diminished; there is less interest for young families to invest with a sense of security and trust that the neighborhood will stay in good condition and that civilized behavior will prevail at all hours of the day and night.

Years ago, prideful homeowners on State St. applied to put an apartment in their house for a family member. They were turned down. I can remember writing a letter at the time and saying that once that apartment is allowed, it will most likely remain for a long time, if not forever. Even though those home owners have been fastidious in the maintenance of their property, who knows what future owners would do. Owner occupied or not, ultimately, multi family houses create a different kind of demographic; more impersonal relationships, more transiency, more density, more cars, more wear and tear on a property, more garbage and more stress on public services like water, sewer, police and fire.

A real estate agent recently told me that the houses in Brockport are too big and they should be allowed to be divided up. I told him that if a house is too big, the homeowner should downsize, sell the big house and move to a smaller home, mobile home or apartment. Homeowners in Sweden Village, Talamora or even the Havenwood area are not proposing to divide up their big houses instead of downsizing to something more comfortable.

We have zoning laws for a purpose, to provide stability and security to a neighborhood. Let Mr. Z operate within the law which allows him plus 2 boarders. Just make sure that he registers with code enforcement, has an inspection and pays the rental registration fee.  This is the Village of Brockport – not the wild west; the law prevails not intimidation, deceit and contempt.

Pam Ketchum

03/27/12 Village Board Meeting - Public Comment

The mayor must resign from office!

I know she is claiming innocence and that this is political payback. But without regard to whether or not she is guilty, she can no longer effectively govern. Wiser people than I have said "an appearance of a conflict of interest IS a conflict of interest".

The mayor is the supervisor of the police department. How is that relationship supposed to function anymore? Issues facing the town, such as the ongoing discussions on code enforcement - whichever side the mayor chooses, her opponents will use this incident as a wedge - "Your arguments are invalid because we all know you will just do what you want."

Not just code enforcement, though. Every single issue. "It looks like you violated your oath of office once… why should we trust you not to do so again?" It’s all the media will ever say about our small town until the mayor leaves office. This is too public, too much, and the village should not bear the consequences of this incident. If the mayor doesn't do the right thing, I urge the citizens of the village to seek a solution with section 33.2 and / or section 36 of the NYS Public Officers Law by contacting the Governor and the Courts.

That said, I was prepared to give much the same speech 2 weeks ago at the cancelled meeting. I wanted to be fair at that time, but after the cancellation, I grew much more adamant about the mayoral problem. One of two things is true: either the rumors that she didn't want that meeting, so she stacked it with her supporters and asked them not to leave are true, in which case she is malicious, or the failed to anticipate that the meeting would be larger than usual after her arrest and therefore, didn't solicit and alternate site. If that's the case, that's gross incompetence. In either situation, the mayor punishes the people of Brockport by staying in office.

Thank you.
John Cohen

03/27/12 Village Board Meeting - Public Comment

Broken Window Theory

I would like to thank those on the board that voted to give the opportunity to let the residents decide who should supervise Code Enforcement at the February 27 board meeting. It’s always a good idea to listen to the voters.

The idea of having code enforcement under the supervision of the police department is not a new idea. In fact, that seems to be the direction of code enforcement throughout our country. By joining resources, these enforcement agencies have proven to enhance the quality of life for residents.

Handling code enforcement out of the police department is a logical step that follows the “Broken Window” theory. The central theme of the broken window theory holds that when neighborhoods appear to be broken down and disordered, they serve as a magnet to delinquent behavior and crime. A building with a broken window that remains un-repaired gives the image of disorder, then encourages further incivility. Like a neon sign, the broken window tells residents and other passersby that it doesn't matter and that no one cares. The “Broken Window” theory suggests that crime is not caused by broken down neighborhoods, but that they become magnets for crime and delinquent behavior.

A proactive approach is taken when Code Enforcement and Law Enforcement join forces to identify and meet the needs of the citizens and business owners in our neighborhoods. Together, Code Enforcement and Law Enforcement have the opportunity and the responsibility to enhance the quality of life for all those that live and work in the Village of Brockport.

This referendum is not about power. It is about serving the residents of the village resourcefully. If we are looking for “a firm, fair, and consistent manor” to oversee Code Enforcement, the Chief of Police is the only qualified supervisor. The Brockport Police Department has a full time Chief and officers are on duty 24/7 to provide support for Code Enforcement.

For the wellbeing of our community, I encourage the residents of the Village of Brockport to participate in the voting process on June 19, 2012. Vote YES to the Referendum regarding Chapter 59 Code Enforcement.

Susan Smith

3/27/2012 Village Board Meeting - Public Comment

Hypocrite in a Farce

The Village of Brockport is being trampled on by bullying, outlaw landlords and investors. 

The highest government official seems to be a hypocrite and the code enforcement and zoning system in Brockport is being made a farce.

In addition to the concern about recent events regarding the Mayor’s arrest, I would encourage the residents of Brockport to focus on the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on Thurs, April 5, 2012 at 7 PM. There is an application to convert yet another single family house to a two family.

The uncontrolled growth of rental property in the Village of Brockport needs to stop. We have more than enough rental units.

Pam Ketchum

3/27/12 Village Board Meeting - Public Comment

Mayor! Step Down.

All of us are for code enforcement. I want to thank the Village Board Trustees for getting the referendum
on the ballot for plaing the code enforcement under the  supervision of the law enforcement.  Brockport's population doubles when College is in session. We need extra eyes and feet to help keep this village safe and beautiful. I am a member of Pro-Brockport. This means I support all that keeps Brockport safe and beautiful. If anyone wants to join Pro-Brockport, let me know. The mayor is not fulfilling her responsibilities to the residents of Brockport. Mayor, you should step down.

Linda Ketchum