As you may have heard, PDDG has sued the Town of Geneseo to recover ten documents the Town identifies as missing and probably destroyed but that should exist and may exist.
Though Supervisor Kennison is interested in portraying this action as “bizarre,” as intended to disturb the tranquility of our fair village in this time of peace and celebration, and as a reckless expenditure of the public’s money, it is nothing of the kind.
There is no agenda behind this suit other than to receive what is due to the public: an accounting of the actions that our elected officials have taken in our names. This is the everyday stuff of democracy. That accounting will make it clear enough how we ought to evaluate the circumstances that led to Newman Development Group’s Gateway Town Center proposal.
If the documents are nothing other than ordinary communications of schedules, requirements, and other administrative matters, then we will happily turn away from our investigation of the origins of this proposal and focus instead on its impacts. There is enough to be concerned about in the traffic and community character effects of this proposal to keep us busy.
There is no agenda behind the timing of this suit. We sued now because this is when the law required us to sue. Had we waited even a day longer, our right to sue would have ended. The clock was set in motion on December 1, when the Town denied my Freedom of Information Law request. We had four months. We waited every possible day of those four months for the Town to provide the documents we requested. When it failed to do so, we sued. The alternative was to give up our quest for these documents. We didn’t think that course of action served the public interest very well.
The planned “peace banquet” and the 175th anniversary of the Village have nothing to do with the suit. We are in no way trying to interfere with these occasions. Neither do we feel that either of these occasions somehow obligates us to pretend that all is well or to surrender our position. Real peace will only come with the justice of accountability. Until then, I am happy to sit down at the banquet table to good food and good intentions.
There is, or at least should be, no necessary expense to the Town. Had these documents been retained as they should have been, providing them would have been no more difficult or expensive then retrieving them from a computer and printing them out. I do this every day. The only other cost would have been borne by me: it costs 25 cents a page to obtain documents via FOIL.
Any expense beyond these routine costs is on them, not us. We take no satisfaction in the cost of this suit to Town taxpayers, but neither do we take any responsibility.
All we want is the documents. They were created in our names by our elected officials and their representatives. In the eyes of the law, they are our documents. If the Town doesn’t have them, don’t blame me and don’t lash out. Just explain why and please ask Newman to share its copies.