Town shares documents only with select residents opposed to incorporation.
Two weeks ago, a portion of an email was posted by an anti-incorporation resident, perhaps inadvertently, between the Town and the State Department of Health. Curiously, this email had not appeared in any of our Freedom of Information requests which cover all communications on incorporation, including those made to opponents of incorporation. (See here for original post: http://bit.ly/Post_of_Tardy_Email .)
This particular email from the State advised that the Town did not have to provide ambulance services to a future Village of Edgemont. We were surprised at the email on several fronts, and had numerous questions. What was the basis for the advice? Why was it necessary? How much background did the Town provide the State in its request? Why had we not seen the full context in the post or received it in connection with the FOIL request? (See here for our request to the Town for the full email, an understanding of the advice, and the original email posted by the resident: http://bit.ly/Request_For_Full_Email .)
The Town responded by denying that it had provided the document to a resident, an assertion that directly contradicts the content of the resident’s post. Nonetheless, the Town ultimately did furnish more of the exchange, which included false assumptions and the omission of key facts relating to the advice the Town sought. (See here for the larger context: http://bit.ly/Chiefs_Email_with_DOH and here for our questioning of the assumptions and omissions: http://bit.ly/Towns_claims_checked .)
We find it troubling both that opponents of incorporation had exclusive possession of correspondence between the Town and outside agencies, and that the correspondence was based on faulty assumptions. This demonstrates how easy it is for false information to enter the public realm—in this case, with the apparent seal of approval from New York State.
We hope this is an isolated incident. Nonetheless, residents should demand full context, rigorous fact-checking, and the full backup for any new documents posted from the Town or outside authorities regarding Edgemont’s incorporation. Only then can we determine whether the advice is reliable, or designed to create a negative view of incorporation as we approach a vote.