In Peter Bauer's Guest Commentary in the Daily Enterprise on Feb. 12, he wrote that Adirondack Club and Resort supporters tried to have the lawsuit Protect filed dismissed but that the courts "found that (it) had merit." Mr. Bauer's statement is untrue. No court has found that the lawsuit has merit.
In fact, because Protect did not file the papers required of it on time, we had two choices: Ask the court to force Protect to file, or allow Protect to stall while we (and the community) suffered. We chose the former option and filed a motion to dismiss the proceeding upon failure of prosecution. The court then issued an order that "the proceeding is dismissed, without costs, unless petitioners (Protect and the Sierra Club) shall file and serve a record on review and brief on or before September 9, 2013, in which event the motion to dismiss (for lack of prosecution) is denied." By no stretch of the imagination did that court or any other court find that Protect's lawsuit "had merit," and Mr. Bauer, as executive director of Protect, must know that.
Why did Mr. Bauer say otherwise? Because he thought he could get away with it. Why did he think that? Because he and the other preservationist groups have been misleading the public for years and getting away with it.
I was interested by the tone of Mr. Bauer's commentary. He appears to be trying to distinguish himself from the Peter Bauer who gestured at the community and disdainfully told it to "bring it on" when he was booed at an Adirondack Park Agency meeting held in Tupper Lake. His performance in Tupper Lake was broadcast nationally on PBS. I invite your readers to watch it.
What was even more interesting was Mr. Bauer's apparent desire for respectability. He wants his radical fringe organization to be thought of in the way most people think of civic groups that deal with the arts, economic development, health care and education. Is it possible that he does not understand that those groups are trying to help people and that his is trying to destroy the livelihoods, lives and families of more than 100,000 permanent Park residents? Does he not see a distinction between economic development and economic destruction? Does he really believe that whatever end he chooses justifies whatever means he elects to use?
What gives a Peter Bauer or any organization like his the right to ignore the needs and wishes of the community and its elected representatives, or to deny jobs to hundreds of people? The preservationist groups have opposed whatever the private sector or government has proposed for the region: e.g., a prison, a resort hotel, snowmobile trails, emergency cell towers, a tourist railroad, a freight railroad, logging, the use of small (and silent) electric outboard motors in the Essex Chain of Lakes, floatplanes, functional boathouses and access to the interior of the Park for older people and people with disabilities. The preservationists like to justify ignoring the needs and wishes of regional residents, almost all of whom favor the ACR, by saying the Park belongs to all New York residents, but everything they do is designed to keep almost all New York residents out of almost all of the Park. Their donors should ask themselves whether their money could be put to a better use. Legislators should ask themselves why donations to misanthropic, as opposed to philanthropic, organizations should be tax deductible.
The preservationist opposition to the ACR is not related to good government or transparency, as Mr. Bauer would have us believe. The preservation groups are, after all and above all, lobbyists. They want government agencies to which they can dictate and with which they can conspire. If government will not do what they want, they will sue the government and then abuse the legal system. Mr. Bauer seems to think that is acceptable and even that it justifies the existence of organizations like his. No one who cares about people or believes in our system of government should agree.
Michael D. Foxman lives in Elverson, Pa., and is the leader of Preserve Associates LLC, seeking to develop the Adirondack Club and Resort on and around Big Tupper Ski Area in Tupper Lake.