Pencille has no apologies in fighting against new quarry by wildlife refuge
In her letter to the editor 11/3/17, Andina Barone is clearly trying to influence our local elections. She makes inflammatory statements, most of which cannot be verified because they have no substance, they are merely her opinions. The fact that Frontier Stone is paying a public relations firm to influence our elections should tell people everything they need to know. But there are some statements she makes that require further review.
Ms. Barone claims that she, and her firm Mindful Media Group (MMG), have no connection to the Town of Shelby. Her firm may not have a contract with the Town, but when town employees are having trouble with their website, they contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Until a few weeks ago, Ms. Barone’s mother had an office in the Town Hall with her name on the door. It would be best for the town to cut all ties with MMG. Even the appearance of conflict of interest is something they should avoid.
Ms. Barone misses the point regarding Frontier’s previous quarries. The point is, it doesn’t appear that Frontier wants to operate a quarry long-term. If they did, they would still be operating the quarries they previously owned. As Ms. Barone corrects me, they sold them, to Redlands, not LaFarge. However, what Ms. Barone doesn’t mention; Redland Quarries is a subsidiary of Lafarge North America. We can argue business structure semantics all day, but the bottom line is, all of Frontier’s previous quarries now belong to parent company, LaFarge, one of the largest aggregate companies in the world. Companies this large are capable of bankrupting a small town in litigation.
Ms. Barone continues to claim that Frontier coordinated with the USFWS. She repeatedly implies that the USFWS worked together with Frontier to further their project. I would, again, ask that she produce any letters or documents that show that the USFWS in any way endorsed the quarry project.
Ms. Barone claims that “Mr. Mahar’s express desire has always been to do no harm.” If that is the case then Mr. Mahar would not propose his quarry next to the most sensitive wildlife habitat in the State of New York. He would not propose running his trucks all day through a residential neighborhood. The Lockport Stone Formation that he plans to mine runs all the way from Michigan to Rome, NY. There are many miles of potential sites along that formation where a quarry would be less invasive to wildlife habitat and less disruptive of a residential neighborhood.
Ms. Barone claims that there is not enough high quality agricultural lime nor DOT approved material to satisfy future needs. The only way to prove that is to review the current quarries’ stone reserves and talk to the owners of those quarries about the ability for future expansion. Or, you can make it up, to suit the needs of your project. When the local quarries were polled, the answer was no. They have never run out of quality ag lime and there is no shortage of DOT rated stone in the area now or for the foreseeable future. They have many years’ worth of reserves. Future needs should also take into consideration that in the future there will be improvements to the way stone is recycled from current roadways.
Ms. Barone accuses me of “habitual misrepresentation” for calling myself President of Citizens for Shelby Preservation (CSP) because it is not a business or corporation. CSP is a grassroots organization, formed 11 years ago by concerned citizens in the Town of Shelby who wanted to protect their neighborhood and the wildlife refuge. It doesn’t need to be a corporation or a business for that.
You have met our members at every public hearing and information session regarding the quarry since it was first proposed. We have packed the Town Hall for years because our membership has steadily grown. By challenging CSP, Ms. Barone minimizes the impact of people in our town, from every political party, and every walk of life, who have met, and worked together, for over 11 years for a common goal, to protect what they value. I am proud to have been elected president of this organization 11 years ago, and to have worked beside all of them. They are some of the finest people I know. Their commitment and dedication to this cause is unimpeachable.
Ms. Barone really gets excited about her press release. It was sent to me several years ago by several sources. I didn’t request it. I didn’t even know it existed until I received it from people who wanted to verify statements made in it. I was happy to do it. Ms. Barone attempted to have it published without being fact checked, demonstrating her clear attempt to manipulate the press. Her press release had so many false statements and manipulations of truth that it was an honor to be able to present facts for the press to verify. When she found out the press had checked out her statements, Ms. Barone was furious. She threatened to sue one news source, for doing their job. I believe that lawsuit went nowhere.
People in our town can see through her attacks. You only need to consider who stands to gain from Ms. Barone’s letters, it is obvious where her paycheck comes from. Town residents gain nothing by fighting against this quarry other than to preserve the peaceful nature of their neighborhood, and their quality of life. Wildlife and the refuge cannot repay us for our time and effort fighting on their behalf. We have nothing to gain from this fight. Frontier Stone and Mr. Mahar have millions to gain. They are so concerned, that they are paying a public relations firm to influence our election. If her words weren’t so potentially harmful to our election process, I would be flattered.
I am not currently a public servant for the town so I am not required to keep my opinion about the quarry from the public. I don’t represent the town in any legal capacity. My opponent for Shelby Town Supervisor is not a public servant either. While he may have had a gag order over him when he served on the Town Board; that is no longer the case. Since he left the town board, he is no longer held under that rule. I’m not being critical, just honest. The voting public has the right to know where he stands on the most important issue to face the town in many years. They deserve to know, before they go to the polls, whether he will stand with them, to protect their neighborhoods and the refuge, or not.