Monday, January 11, 2010

Friends in High Places or Simply Wrong Side of the Tracks?

From an email I received this weekend:

If the people of Rockland & Westchester really wanted to stop massive tree removals from our communities by Con Edison and its O&R division… apparently all we needed to do was get high-ranking jobs with the PSC and its operational arm, the Department of Public Service!

As you’ll learn from the email below and attached document that I sent to Kate Glazer of Senator Stewart-Cousin’s office, the PSC’s rules don’t seem to apply to the PSC Chairman, Garry Brown, nor the guy who actually wrote the rules, David Morrell, mandating tree removal throughout the State.

Please feel free to share this email with others, so that everyone will know about the hypocrisy of the PSC/DPS officials who visited Westchester on Saturday to excuse/justify the disastrous situation they just caused to your communities in the past few weeks.


Marvin Baum

From: Marvin S. Baum
Sent: Saturday, January 09, 2010 10:50 PM
To: Kate Glazer (
Subject: Unbelievable News About the PSC's Garry A. Brown & David Morrell...

Dear Ms. Glazer:

My parents and I visited the Albany area on Thursday to once again examine the neighborhoods of PSC Chairman Garry A. Brown and David Morrell, author of PSC’s tree removal regulations, both of whom live just yards away from major transmission lines.

After discovering (via, Googlemaps and GoogleEarth) in August 2008 that Mr. Morrell’s home on Boylston Drive in Delmar was screened from the transmission lines by tall-growing trees, we immediately took a ride up to Albany to photograph the evidence.

Later that year, we also discovered that Mr. Brown was “similarly situated,” although in his case, the transmission lines appeared to be even higher-powered. Because his home in on a peninsula surrounded by water, Mr. Brown has to pass these transmission lines each and every time he enters or leaves his driveway.

On December 2, 2008, my parents and I went to see Mr. Brown’s neighborhood firsthand and photograph the evidence. After our trip to Burden Lake (Averill Park, NY), we went back to Boylston Drive and took more pictures there, especially since nothing had changed.

What we didn’t know until last Wednesday is that the property that the Burden Lake transmission lines are on (or the immediately adjoining property) appears to be that of a “Helen M. Brown.” While Brown is not an uncommon name, it is quite likely that Helen Brown, just one home away from Garry Brown on West Shore Drive, and just a few more homes away from Barbara M. Brown,” who lives on Burden Lake Road, is related to Garry Brown and, possibly, to Barbara Brown, as well.

A few days after our December 2008 visit, I let the PSC (first Jim Austin, then David Morrell and Mike Corso, too) know that we knew about the hypocritical “situation” of David Morrell and Garry Brown. Mr. Austin arrogantly told me that it didn’t matter that Mr. Brown and Mr. Morrell both had tall-growing trees under and around their transmission lines… it was my parents’ trees that had to be removed.

On one hand, Mr. Brown and Mr. Morrell were insisting that trees in Rockland, Westchester and elsewhere were automatically dangerous anywhere in a transmission line right-of-way (regardless if the trees could ever pose an actual danger). On the other hand, they themselves were benefitting from tall trees near transmission lines. This hypocrisy didn’t matter to them or Mr. Austin.

Nevertheless, given how bad this hypocrisy looked, my parents and I fully expected Mr. Brown and Mr. Morrell’s trees would all have been fully removed to the ground by now, over one year later.

As indicated above, my parents and I re-visited the Brown and Morrell neighborhoods this past Thursday. To our great surprise, the tall-growing trees that screen Mr. Brown’s home (and that of his neighbors/relatives) have only been trimmed, including those directly under the transmission lines. Worse yet, the trees that screen Mr. Morrell’s home and that of his neighbors from the transmission lines crossing Boylston Drive have not even been touched, despite the fact that branches from tall-growing trees are directly underneath and adjoining the transmission lines.

I ask that you review the attached document and then bring it to the attention of the Senator to show her how citizens in her district are being treated “differently” the people in Delmar and Burden Lake – especially when they are the ones that make the regulations for the rest of us.

This whole issue goes back to my point to you last week about DPS staff members intentionally violating SEQRA with the use of the Short EAF and knowingly falsifying information in this document. It is clear that the Public Service Commission and DPS staff believe they are “above the law.” These people are “out-of-control” and only are doing what the utility companies want them to do.

I hope that Senator Stewart-Cousins, together with other State representatives, can begin forcing the PSC/DPS to comply with the law (Article 8 and SEQRA) and to change the underlying regulations (04-E-0822) that have caused so many problems for her constituents and others throughout the State.

As you look at the attached document with its updated photos from the Brown and Morrell neighborhoods, please keep in mind the photos that I previously sent you from your district, which I am now again providing below. I’m sure that you’ll agree… the differences are truly stark.


Marvin Baum

Photos from Line Clearing in Yonkers, Scarsdale and Hartsdale along Catskill Aqueduct & Sprain Parkway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable, yet somehow not surprising. I hope this isn't what it seems to be; it makes me so incredibly sad.