Huntington’s Abuse Of Power Problem
By Sara Nobel
One courageous couple, Jennifer and John LaVertu fought the Town officials over a land development project – the Avalon Bay development. They put their personal well-being and professional livelihood on the line as they fought improper zoning changes and exposed suspect land dealings. They are taking the Town to court for trying to silence them in what can only be described as an abuse of power.
The LaVertus went so far as to produce a well-documented video on YouTube to show their community members the damage that ‘revitalization’ projects are doing to their Town. It had an audience of a few hundred people.
The Town retaliated with a rebuttal video on YouTube defending their ‘revitalization’ projects before an audience of thousands. The Town released the family’s tax records in the video. That doesn’t sound legal, certainly isn’t an ethical practice.
The Town then promoted their point of view on their website and on Facebook before an audience of over 6,000 people which had the effect of encouraging negative comments on the issue, with many personal attacks lodged against Mrs. LaVertu.
Negative anonymous posts harming the LaVertu’s reputations have been traced back to the Town. Inappropriately, Town Supervisor Frank Petrone’s Assistant, Joan Cergol, commented on the site.
The Town then issued a press release about the video, reviving the attack comments.
Institutionalized verbal abuse?
One way to keep people quiet and compliant is to limit their free speech and then allow free rigorous debate within a narrow spectrum of speech.
You can’t take free speech from even one person and expect to keep it for yourself.
The Town video was released without following the normal protocol.
It seems that if one tries to exercise one’s rights in Huntington, all the force of government will come to bear If it’s not what they want to hear.
The Town went after the Plaintiff’s home with ‘baseless complaints and summonses.’ For example, they were ticketed for a stone retaining wall that belonged to their neighbor and their neighbor wasn’t ticketed! That’s only one example among several.
A housing inspector told the LaVertus they were the subjects of a ‘witch hunt.’ He was himself written up for not going after them. He told the LaVertus that he had never seen the Town go after anyone like they’ve gone after them. A Town official said much the same to Mrs. LaVertu.
The Town tried to take Mr. LaVertus plumbing license by falsely claiming he did not secure the proper permits on two jobs, according to the lawsuit. There were several other instances of abuse by government officials cited in the lawsuit.
The Town consultant, Bob Fonti, was caught on tape stating they were going to go after the Plaintiffs and ‘start neutralizing it before it becomes an issue.’ He also said that ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’
Check out the tale of one tape on this link. The devious wheeling and dealing is stunning.
Mrs. LaVertu is now suffering physically from the stress, but as Fonti said, ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’
All Mrs. LaVertu did was exercise her free speech rights and act as a good citizen. One doesn’t have to agree with the LaVertu family but one has to look askance at any infringement of their rights.
The LaVertus filed a lawsuit in Federal Court to fight the Town officials who are trying to shut down their free speech with bullying and retaliatory tactics.
The project exposed by the LaVertus is the beginning of the urbanization of Huntington in accordance with the goals of ICLEI.
Huntington is on the brink of becoming a city hub whether the community wants it or not and anyone who opposes the goals of the Town officials puts their well-being and their livelihood in the crosshairs. The Avalon Bay development itself and the treatment of community residents who opposed it supports that contention.
Huntington is a member of ICLEI and the Town Supervisor, Frank Petrone, is an avid supporter of the ICLEI agenda.
ICLEI – the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives – is a global network of local, state, and federal governments engaged in sustainability, clean energy, climate protection initiatives according to the ICLEI USA website.
ICELI originated in the United Nations. It’s ultimate goal is voluntary or involuntary urbanization, including stack ‘em and pack ‘em houses built around railroad stations, bus stops, and places of employment. The idea is that people will no longer need cars or spacious homes on large lots.
The ideology behind this is complex but the stated belief is that pushing the populace into cities and leaving rural areas for farming and nature are necessary steps we need to take in order to save the planet from ourselves. It’s social engineering.
To realize the ICLEI dream, the government buys up land or takes it over via Eminent Domain or Transfer Development Rights. The government then gives the land near public transportation to developers who build high-density housing. Developers often give more attractive, rural parcels to the government in payment, taking it off the tax rolls.
It’s very lucrative for the developers and it sets up a cozy relationship between government and private business. Another name for it is cronyism.
Opponents to the ICLEI agenda cross party lines, with both right and left voicing concerns about infringements on civil liberties. Anyone unfamiliar with ICLEI can check out Rose Koire’s website for more information. It’s information you need to know.
Petrone wants to urbanize Huntington. It requires zoning changes that convert property into mixed-use zones. Mixed-use properties are usually converted from private property to government-owned at some point, often taking them off the tax rolls.
Petrone is selling mixed-use zoning to the community by declaring that it will lure young workers to Huntington once they have walkable communities near their places of employment. There is some question as to how much employment can be found in Huntington or nearby.
One of his mixed-use projects of ‘affordable’ housing was the Avalon Bay development. Most residents didn’t want it but the politicians are building it anyway.
In the end, residents lost their bid to stop it and the Greater Huntington Civic Group was forced to abandon their opposition. The LaVertus are forced to go to court to stop the harassment.
It’s hard to challenge the government and wealthy land developers.
Petrone portrays projects like Avalon Bay as necessary.
William Pitt once said, ‘Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.’
Vertical housing greatly increases population density, puts a strain on transportation, schools, safety, sewage, often increases crime, among other things, but mostly it changes the character of a town.
The goal of ICLEI communities is to get people out of their cars and onto buses and into high density housing.
Proponents will say it is progress.
You can read more by Sara Nobel at The Independent Sentinel.