My so-called flip-flop

Some of my friends in the group I founded, Please Don’t Destroy Geneseo (PDDG), tell me that they are surprised by the positions I have taken lately as a candidate for Town Supervisor. Although I have been careful to say that these positions are my own, and I am not speaking for PDDG, they don’t seem to want to grant me that right.

Perhaps they wouldn’t have been so surprised by my statement that a compromise on Lowe’s may be possible if they had been paying a little more attention earlier in the campaign. I actually first made that statement in print back on July 12 in a political ad before the Republican caucus that I ran in the LC News.

That ad, which was Part I of a three-part series of ads on economic development in Geneseo, has also been available on my campaign web site for the past three months. Despite my private opinions, however, I have continued to help organize the opposition to the Lowe’s project, raise money, consult on strategy and design ads for PDDG.

Are these two positions of political candidate and PDDG organizer contradictory? Not necessarily. Throughout this long ordeal I have always had my own private opinions that at various times might not have totally coincided with the public posture of the organization.

Nevertheless, I thought it was important to build a coalition that attracted the largest possible number of anti-Lowe’s citizens to slow the project down so that better planning decisions could be made. For the most part that “Big Tent” strategy has been successful.

We have succeeded in forcing the developer to undergo a full SEQR review of the project and we have succeeded in bringing the issue before the people in an election. As a candidate, however, I have to succeed or fail on my own ideas, nobody else’s.

If I succeed in being elected, I will obviously have to resign from PDDG. Some want me to do so now, but I don’t plan to–although, as always, I welcome your comments.


9 responses to “My so-called flip-flop

  1. Corrin,

    In your most recent campaign blog you write:

    “Throughout this long ordeal I have always had my own private opinions that at various times might not have totally coincided with the public posture of the organization.

    Nevertheless, I thought it was important to build a coalition that attracted the largest possible number of anti-Lowe’s citizens to slow the project down so that better planning decisions could be made. For the most part that “Big Tent” strategy has been successful.”

    Thank you for using US to advance your private agenda. I am sure the members of the Smart Growth community are thrilled to be used as pawns in your political strategy to slow down the process to bring anti-smart growth policies to our community on your terms!

    Living in a National Historic Landmark District it is comforting to know that we have an Aristocratic Political Machine that can manipulate us to make the decisions that are best for us.

    Noblesse Oblige!

    Kurt Cylke

  2. Kurt,

    It must be a Big Tent if we let you under it! 🙂

    I wish I had a political machine of any kind, but the last time I checked it was your Democratic Party that was cracking the whip on party loyalty.

  3. Corrin,

    I stand corrected. You don’t have an Aristocratic Political Machine. Indeed you are out there on your own.

    What I should have said was, “it is comforting to know that Geneseo still has at least one citizen willing to continue the tradition of Noblesse Oblige.”

    Thank you for letting us know what is good for us and thanks for using some of us as pawns in your quest for office.

    Oh and many thanks for letting me into the tent. The show under the big top has been well worth the price of admission.

    One question, do ringmasters always play the role of clowns? 



  4. Corrin…….you wanted comments, so here goes. I have no idea if you would have been elected otherwise, but in my opinion your affiliation with the PDDG will definitely cost you the election. When the people in the group in which you founded start to turn against you, that should give you some idea of “it’s our way or the highway” attitude of the PDDG members. As you are seeing, if you don’t agree with them, they will hound you and attempt to make you look foolish because you have a differing opinion. Those are the basic reasons that the PDDG is looked down upon by so many. They are not comprised of reasonable people. You can’t reason with unreasonable people and I am amazed that you can’t see that. Next thing you know, they will be suing you for something. Might as well, they have sued or will sue about everone else before this is all over.

  5. Actually, I find many of the members of PDDG to be very reasonable people and if you lived here you might even call some of them your friends. Politics, however, does have a way of bringing out the worst in some people. I don’t believe PDDG is lawsuit-happy. We’ve only brought one suit and that was on very ample provocation!

  6. Greg,

    We won’t hound him or sue him. We will hunt him down like a dog, as you know we are wont to do.

    We all have pride in this community and the proposed Lowe’s project will cause us to lose a great deal of the feel and ambiance of the Geneseo that is recognized as a National Historic Landmark Community by the Department of the Interior. I don’t know if you have ever lived here so that you can understand. The sheer scope of the proposed Lowe’s (larger than your Lowe’s in a community 2 to 3 times the size of our village, and a county that is about 5 times the size of Livingston County) will downgrade what made many of us settle here.

    You have to understand that the zoning was in place to allow the Super Wal-mart (the largest in the North-East US, I’ve heard), the three stores locating in the old Wal-mart, the Applebees, and a number of new proposed strip malls near the new Wal-Mart. In all those cases we have had no choice but to devote our time and energy to aesthetics.

    If we had tried to stop any of those developments we would have been sued as a community and lost the case based on case law that says we would have been discriminating against them when the zoning clearly allowed their existence. In the case of the Lowe’s, however, the zoning was not there, so the Town Board behind the scenes worked with the developer to bypass the existing zoning by establishing a PDD. A PDD allows flexibility, but the wording of the law does not alter the underlying zoning which stated light industry, offices, and commercial development. Commercial development and retail are quite different. Offices and light industrial are more accurately commercial development as opposed to a huge retail development.

    I stated in a public meeting way back at the beginning of this mess that secrecy breeds mistrust. The secrecy of the whole process involving a developer that is based more than 100 miles from here, combined with the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of the current Town Board, has caused great mistrust. In addition the developer was involved in personal communication with a member of the Planning Board who approved of the project for whatever reason. This member did not share these communications with the entire Board, but limited the sharing to selected members of the Board whom he knew to agree with him.

    Combine all this with the Supervisor’s replacing of the Board Chairman who had serious questions involving the proposed project. He was replaced by the Board member who was in personal contact with the developer which, although apparently legal, I consider to be unethical, and you may be able to start sensing some of our frustration. All we really asked was that the whole process proceed slowly and with honest and open deliberation. A referendum would have been the right first step.

  7. Please save PDDG! We need to stick to our knitting and remember our focus – the hearing in which we still must present our case for not approving Lowe’s for this community. We are running out of time to get out the most important message as we near the denouement: It is not a done deal! We are not fighting a losing cause.

    Let’s not get sidetracked responding to non-member comments about our mentality and spirit. And let’s not waste our energies on creating an organizational schism at this critical time. Corrin is just one member of the group that includes members of multiple PDDG stripe – including party membership, sex, financial and social background. But we are all a group of intelligent people with passion for this community.

    Remember, we are in the final stages of the battle with this beast. It is a more formidable beast than Wal-Mart. When pushed back, it is known for returning to fight another day. We can focus on strategies for a post-Lowe’s vote later. Right now we ALL have to fight on – not with each other and not with our neighbors but with Lowe’s.

  8. Please be assured that despite a little political bickering and posturing, which is inevitable two weeks before an election, PDDG remains united on the main issue of making the strongest possible case about the possible adverse impacts of this proposal at the public hearing. In that regard, Kurt and I participated in a cordial meeting yesterday to plan PDDG’s Town Meeting scheduled for this coming Monday at St. Mary;s Parish Center.

    I would also like to thank our Florida correspondent Greg Lamb for blasting the meeting in a letter to the editor this week. In such a situation there really is no such thing as bad publicity! I hope he will finally introduce himself on his next visit to the valley, and my vision is that someday I will be able to sit with him and Bill in the new Applebees and gaze over the Frew Research Park.

  9. I stand corrected and I stand correct. Phil Bracchi made the most reasonable comments I believe I have ever read in support of your cause. For that I stand corrected. I don’t necessarily agree but at least the argument is civil, mature and reasonable. But, I also stand correct as Jean Lindsay states what I consider to be the normal response from a PDDG member……”let’s not get sidetracked responding to non-member comments……….. ” In other words, he does not agree with us so let us not waste our time on him and let us not respond to his comments as he knows not what he speaks. That’s the attitude I gnerally see in written PDDG comments.

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