Friday, June 25, 2010

Life's Leaks


I spent last evening with several dozen residents who have been plagued by the continual leaking NYC tunnel that runs near their homes. My heart goes out to all of them who are faced dealing with “life’s leaks” on top of raising families, running households and making a living.

Here are my thoughts in a “nutshell:

It is nice that the DEP Commissioner finally and publicly admitted the culpability of his agency but that still does not resolve the problems that the home owners are faced with. I feel the frustration of those folks in Wawarsing who return home to deal daily with flooded homes, mold infested basements and swamped properties. Let's put their needs first and address the tunnel repairs once we have helped the homeowners.


Anonymous said...

What do you propose? Relocation? The repair could cause them to lose their homes. Perhaps you could do what you've always done and falsify their records to show they owe less taxes or somehow qualify for some tax exemption. It worked for your dad's crew. Everybody kept quiet until the statute of limitations expired, so no jail time. You can't tell now which records are real and which are phony. It's become a big joke amongst the banks and their lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Seriously Elliot, the houses affected need to be bought,razed, and permanently set aside as open space. Even if the aqueduct was successfully shut off and repaired, the damaging seepage would just return again. As for your following in your father's footsteps, the voters expect much more from you. Do what's right by everybody and forget about these whining malcontents you grew up with. A little short term pain for a lot of long term gain is a superior policy. Cut a deal with NYC and cover the rest with local taxes. Fix the problem.

Elliott Auerbach said...

I think that you clearly defined the solution for all of those homeowners who are facing this issue each and every day. There is $4million in a state flood relief fund and NYC should put up the rest since it truly is a problem that they created. My office's has already collaborated on flood buyouts in the Town of Ulster and it should be no different in Wawarsing.
I am just a little confused about the comment about following in "my father's footsteps". Feel free to email me at

Anonymous said...

Confused? A little amnesia perhaps? Wawarsing is sick of it's servants' insubordinate criminal conduct. You're well aware of the organized crime that grips the town. The manner in which our public servants abuse their positions and obstruct progress at every turn. The division of our local society into those who pay for influence and those who either don't pay and don't flourish or those that flourish by threat of law. Some in town have assumed that you are the heir apparent to this little racketeering operation due to your actions politically. I have hope in you to overcome this "cosa nostra" paradigm that has turned Wawarsing into a depressed area. People are talking freely now about the past generation and your family name comes up quite frequently. You picked the wrong path a few years ago and were admonished publicly by two Senators and a Governor. Like Kingston, the jig is up. Are you going to be the "Watchdog of the People" or the guard-dog of the junkyard? A leader or just another follower, jockeying pointlessly for little more power to abuse?

Anonymous said...

Elliot, I have heard from a what I think is a very reliable source that Kevin Cahill is working behind the scenes to get that money to Warwarsing. Despite what Bonicac infers, it is not a done deal by any means. Apparently the committee that distributes those funds was not going to give it to Warwarsing so Cahill got the vote postponed until he could get enough support and hopefully more money to us. In short, Cahill has been preventing a no vote until he can convince them to send enough money to Warwarsing. Is this true or just more rumors?

I would rather wait and get the money than have to start from scratch with the DEP.

Anonymous said...

Ever so slowly, New York City is approaching the moment that many homeowners in Wawarsing have been waiting for — the settlement that will allow them to move, if that's what they want to do, or the money and the engineering help that will allow them to keep on living above the leaky Rondout-West Branch Tunnel.

Following an apology a few weeks ago for not paying attention to complaints from the residents, the new development last week was the most promising yet. Cas Holloway, the commissioner of the city Department of Environmental Protection, admitted what others have long known, that the tunnel and its leaks are the cause of the soggy basements and sinkholes. He went so far as to say that some people could expect action even before next year, when the final word is expected from the U.S. Geological Survey and its study of the leaks.

Still, you can't blame the homeowners from wondering if this is just another attempt at good public relations, a cheap way to buy time. Even though Holloway knew he was meeting with people who live with these problems every day, he had no details on what the city is willing to do or when. Even his admission was full of loopholes — "when we are able to see a connection ... we are going to try to reach an agreement ..."

As one homeowner said, the longer they wait, the larger the problem gets. The homeowners want action. The next time anybody from the DEP comes to town, it wouldn't hurt to bring a checkbook and start backing up all those welcome words with some more welcome payments.

Next time bring the cash |

Anonymous said...

It's an election year and its about the only time things get done. Politicians need the votes so they are willing to do anything to appease the voters possibly lie and string them along with false hope. If that tunnel is leaking isn't anybody concerned with wasting a precious resource? I am surprised that environmentalists haven't raised holy hell.