OPEN MESSAGE TO TOWN BOARD

Amherst Town Board Councilmembers

By Judy Ferraro

To start…a few points

I firmly believe that everyone should have proper information and a voice in what should be built on Westwood and their Audubon Parkland. All will be varied, depending on where they live, priorities thereof, and recreational interests. That applies even among our own small group. exemplifying why it is so important for everyone to have the information and is able to partake in the development of these two prime beautiful examples of green space in Amherst.

There is no hard resolution deadline to proceed at warp speed as we are doing. It was changed once It can again. The resolution is non-binding.

Whatever was done before is irrelevant. It is the current plan that is being obfuscated and out of the public eye. This project having a document dump on July 2 and the SEQR submitted, today, the day of the vote, should never happen…All of you should know that.

Message:

I appreciate the efforts put forth to acquire Westwood and make it a beautiful, passive park with a touch of classic entertainment provided by Musical Fare. I appreciate the committees chosen to brainstorm as to how the transfer of Westwood would/could be achieved. I was on one of those committees. My understanding of committees, working with honorable people, on an honorable task, is that, in the end, the combined findings make their way to the owners…In this case, it is the PUBLIC. It is the TAXPAYERS. It is THEIR land, THEIR money and THEIR lives that will be affected by the consequences.. good or bad. THEY are the integral part of this transaction. And THEY have been excluded and their voices stifled. Is that/was that by design???

Deciding to move this latest rendition forward in a fog of no information or convoluted, confusing information while everyone is still in a Covid-19 stupor is disgusting, corrupt and evil. It is a breathtaking abuse of power…And a serious diversion of what you all ran on. Residents first. No, This is a blatant display of developers first, probably the worst that I have seen. And a wholesale sell-off of our parkland. The alienation of 93 acres was a huge mistake, in your hands! Any one who is complicit in this subterfuge, knowingly or not…would hopefully reexamine and/ or educate yourselves as to the underhandedness of what is going on here and deny the rezone, or any other action until such time as the public can be informed with all the details including financially and how their taxes will be affected. To do otherwise is an abdication of your duty to the electorate and betrays who you truly are.

Now, suddenly, we have to supercharge the charade to get it done? Still without people being fully informed and able to participate in decisions, while in a pandemic. Is it possible to be more out-of-touch, arrogant and corrupt??

Who knows, the community may like what you have created. But until they are told, no one knows. As it stands, the question now is, Westwood at what cost, the public must decide not selected people or group in CENTRAL PLANNING.

Never forget that you govern by the consent of the governed. They can’t be ignored. Deliberately circumventing them as you have been doing procedurally during the entire process is criminal. Subjugating yourselves to be in the service of developers to destroy central Amherst under the language of Amherst Central Park only underscores the web of deceit that you have employed to perpetrate one of the biggest con jobs on the people of Amherst.

Vote NO on any Comprehensive Plan amendment and/or rezoning of anything until the people are fully informed. This exchange of the people’s parkland is too important for the community to be excluded.

21 Responses to “OPEN MESSAGE TO TOWN BOARD”

  1. Richard says:

    Why would the Westwood project be any different than every other project this Town Board approves. The most secretive and “behind closed doors” Board ever.

  2. Leo says:

    Has anyone heard the sales pitch from Kulpa the developer AKA town supervisor. How he worked like a dog for two years to get this parkland giveaway to developers done. Talks about the taxpayer funded neighborhood meetings and special interest meetings he held. Wouldn’t it make sense to call them together to show them the results of all those efforts instead of hiding the final installment from them till days before the vote?

    It is the final product that was done in secret that is what is important.. Everything that went before has nothing to do with what is about to happen without public scrutiny.

    Agree with Ferraro looks like Kulpa and his henchman from central planning are about to pull off the biggest heist of public parkland in Amherst without knowledge or consent from the owners.

    It really is “Corrupt.” I’m in on a lawsuit. Doing it all during a world-wide pandemic makes it especially odious.

  3. Don Lukas says:

    Well Judy it looks like chickens have come home to roost. You were 100 percent behind kulpa when he was running for supervisor yet it seems like you never questioned his background as a planner. This is what he does, this board has lead the development surge in Amherst, leaving you and a lot of people upset.

  4. Recall Kulpa says:

    Well said Judy. Those are great questions which need answers.

    Kulpa, who almost bailed on Amherst a few months ago for Albany, wins the prize. He’s shown that he can play ball with Big Money and is willing to sell out his town for the right price.

    He’ll move on to Albany and maybe someday end up a successful lobbyist for some Development Firm – like Mensch. Somewhat like he is now….

    I wonder what was his incentive to dump all his campaign promises and sell out Amherst?

  5. Pete says:

    I’m in on a law suit. Westwood isn’t worth what this town is willing to sell for it. No wonder Kulpa and his puppets have tried to keep it a secret. Not being able to put the perfect plan out to the public, in an open and honest way, should tell anyone with a half brain they are cheating us and robbing our land.

    Westwood will be next. Greed and ego won’t allow it to stay green. All the provisions they claim to protect it are meaningless, no matter what lies they continue to tell. Audubon had the same protections and look what the wrong people in the right job have done to it.

    Didn’t these people have better things to do during a pandemic? We actually paid them to work on this in back rooms during it? Looks to me, though, they have been working on it a whole lot longer, possibly from the beginning and performing the vaudevillian smoke and mirrors show to arrive at the same conclusion.

    Ferraro is right. They are all corrupt and evil. They should not to be in positions of control over the people, in what they can know and what they can say.

  6. Marilyn says:

    Corrupt and evil is a good description. Kulpa’s village and his approved development in neighborhoods pitted one neighbor against the other. It was painful and still is. I live in the middle of it. Looks like the same is brewing for those around Westwood and those living on and around Maple, Maplemere, North Forest and beyond. It is just beginning because most are not paying attention. Just the way these, so called, public servants want it. No opposition, just pay taxes and shut up, we’re the smart ones, don’t you know. Even Bucki went along with leaving the public out of the discussion. Not even a peep on behalf of the people and their right to know and have a voice.

    I extend my sympathies. Get a lawyer or pick better when election time comes around again.

  7. Phineas says:

    Isn’t golf a dying sport? Isn’t that what paid consultants told theTown?
    More hotels? I thought paid consultants told the Town we don’t need any more.
    What’s wrong with the fields we have already? Our rec land is not coming back once it’s been sold off.
    Kulpa needs to rein in his spending.

  8. Democracy in Amherst? says:

    What is happening before our eyes is disappointing and is a dangerous precedent for Amherst. The whole Town Board has completely gone against their own campaign promises. Like: preserving green space, not only Westwood but throughout Amherst. “FOSTER OPENNESS AND TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT” and most flagrant of all “RESIDENTS FIRST.”

    Selling 93 acres of parkland belonging to the people, in exchange for Westwood WITHOUT the consent of people, the stakeholders, is appalling and heartbreaking. It is believed, in a democracy, public support and opinion would be sought, especially in a land sale of such importance. Who would ever imagine that steps were taken to suppress public opinions and that the horrors of COVID-19 would be used to provide cover for perverse actions?

    The “grueling work” over the past two years, to keep Westwood green, that Kulpa talks about, is nothing compared to the ten-plus years people in central Amherst have worked to preserve Westwood, the Audubon and surrounding neighborhoods.

    The rest of the Board is no less culpable. We are constantly warned about a one-party board. However, if they are all united in putting “residents first,” it would be a positive thing for Amherst. Alas, the power and privilege granted to this board is being used against the very people that trusted them and elected them.

    Shawn Lavin, the honor-integrity-service military man witnessed the COVID-19 nightmare first hand in New York City. Yet has nothing to say about what his comrades on the Town Board are doing to his constituents in Amherst, while they too are suffering the effects of the same pandemic..

    Debbie Bucki’s always “residents first” and yet was silent in demanding public participation before voting on anything of this magnitude. Instead chose to be on yet another feel-good task force.

    Jacqui Berger is clearly reveling in a new gig. Watching her suspend-in actions and behavior at meetings (Planning Board, May 21, the most egregious) is shocking. All pushing the developers’ agenda with no inclination to allow the public to participate before voting. During a pandemic.
    .
    Another Board member is a former IDA rubber stamper. Enough said.

    Assemblywoman Karen McMahon, the one that started this alienation misadventure is MIA.

    The grand plan may actually be the best use of land on Westwood and the Audubon. But, without the public, the stakeholders, the taxpayers knowing and weighing in, it is a blatant affront to them. It resembles more of a dictatorship than a democracy. A fact that should ring loudly in our heads this November, and next.

  9. Janice says:

    I have said before and will say again, I am grateful for Jim Tricoli’s Amherst Times. I have been sidetracked by the corona virus like I thought everyone was, in one way or another. Taking care of children and devastated by my parents isolation, in a nursing home, seeing them through windows only, has taken its toll.

    To learn that the people representing me and my family have been working, on my dollar, during the pandemic, orchestrating the destruction of an entire area by contriving to hide information from the public that translates to no participation, leaves me revolted. I went to neighborhood meetings. Don’t remember seeing or hearing anything of what was revealed earlier this month.

    Common sense tells me, all was done purposefully to deceive, as Ferraro said. Democracy is dead in Amherst. Animal Farm at its worst…

  10. Ted says:

    The Buffalo News golf story in yesterday’s paper, seems to indicate that the golfers are not so impressed with Kulpa’s “pie-in-the-sky” golfing vision. Buying another course that involves another large expenditure with high maintenance instead of improving what we have is stupid and wasteful. Who in God’s name is going to pay for all Kulpa’s ego enhancing trips? When will the taxpayers be brought in to decide about the expenditures and who really benefits? So far, it is a secret, like everything else.

    Another Kulpa fail was the cemetery garden that was promoted because of bones buried in one section of the golf course and how that offended his sensibilities.
    The golfers found that those bones, are under Maple Rd. Begs the question, which one of his well-paid esteemed experts told him that, that caused him to go before the public and make a fool of himself?

  11. Don Lukas says:

    This really needs to be investigated…imagine if a republican board was pulling this scam!!! Where is the buffalo news?? I forgot Steve Watson is kulpa’s lap dog

  12. Phil says:

    Don Lukas,

    I don’t know anything about Steve Watson but last Sunday’s story reporting Kulpa’s speculation on golf courses was straight out of Trump’s textbook: drop a bomb and soon after create a diversion to distract people’s attention from how you screwed them.

    This story on golf courses options, right after last week’s vote, was a real waltz through The Land of Make Believe. And aside from all the meaningless hoopla of this story if I were a golfer I’d be more angry after reading it than before.

  13. According to the interview the Supervisor laments that he is working 72 hours a week. We don’t doubt he is working hard, but his definition of “work” needs to be more fully explained by filling out an official timesheet that tracks with his estimate.

    Possibly by “work” he really means a large amount of selling his Audubon/Westwood development plan to the Buffalo News, WBEN radio, and WIVB-TV. That appears to be his way of communicating to (not with) the public!

    When he starts to really listen and value the opinions of the public again, that’s when he will start to really earn their trust again. Public apathy or lack of knowledge is not same as real trust because it’s neither enduring nor deep.

  14. Charles says:

    Has anyone done a reality check? A “golfing mecca?” The Wizard of Amherst is promising every special interest group a piece of his pie-in-the-sky. We still do not know the extent of Hamister’s commercial development on 52 acres. Only Ciminelli’s 15 acre commercial office space and parking for 1000 cars. Westwood is a crap shoot with Hamister holding the right to still build on it. Good luck with that, Westwood folks.

    Who ends up paying for the Kulpa Utopia? Why that would be the taxpayers, the ones Kulpa contrived to shut out. Must be a swindle, if it has to be kept a secret. Give us back our parkland. The Mensch Cartel can keep their contaminated land and rotting club house.

  15. Sandra says:

    My favorite “promise” is the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the in demand cricket pitch(s).

    But Charles missed the hotel and the field house (6 stories] probably another 20 acres. There is something for everybody but mostly a big bill for taxpayers and cheap land and tax credits for developers.

  16. Vickie says:

    I read Ferraro’s letters in the Bee and Buffalo News a couple weeks ago. Found it disturbing but unable to grasp the gravity of the situation, using available sources. I discovered Amherst Times where Ferraro has exposed what Kulpa, his boards and many sycophants have been doing during the Wuhan Virus and blindsiding the public.

    It is encouraging that my fellow Amherst residents are being watchdogs, in these troubling times, and are speaking out about such tyranny that forces the transformation of an entire area without the people having the final say.

    Kulpa is an incompetent “gambler.” He’s selling off town resources for what? Westwood? It is not worth losing the Audubon. Spot zoning for a strip mall, medical offices, retail on parkland is wrong on every level. Kulpa a “smart planner?” Where is the evidence? Kulpa, of the I’m-planting-a-million-trees-in-a-box to make up for past development that destroyed green space and trees. Not seeing that he is doing exactly what he is criticizing others for by bull dozing 1,000’s of mature trees and acres of natural green, on parkland for more development of what no one wants or asked for.

    The gambler should tell the mensches to keep their contaminated land, keep the spite fence up and let it all rot along with their club house and used car lot.

    I have a dream also-Next November we find another that is a true mensch who works with real mensches for the betterment of the community. And the community gets to decide what that is, not the fake “mensches.”

  17. Martin says:

    The best Ferraro statement addressed to the Town Board ((Kulpa, Bucki, Berger, Lavin and Zukala) is the following. My question is what would anyone expect from a team of con people led by the con master?

    “Subjugating yourselves to be in the service of developers to destroy central Amherst under the language of Amherst Central Park only underscores the web of deceit that you have employed to perpetrate one of the biggest con jobs on the people of Amherst.”

  18. Me too Donna says:

    Me too. I am another who was duped by the con artists. They all sounded convincing that they were resolute in preserving green space (what’s left), protecting established neighborhoods and the environment.. They have demonstrated that they aren’t even interested in the people. They are willing to sell parkland in the midst of a pandemic when people are reeling from losing jobs, livelihoods and loved ones. When it is over, our parkland will be gone. Westwood will be next. Don’t anyone be fooled again by their words. They have used the language to deceive. They are all proven frauds.

    The gambler is out of his league and should never been entrusted with our land and tax dollars. We are getting robbed of both by self-interested amateurs and their cronies.

  19. Thomas says:

    Everyone should be taking a lead from Ferraro in crying foul on this one. These people are morally bankrupt and deserve any and all shaming. Selling off our resources for more Mensch and Kulpa ego tripping is beyond shameful. Selling Audubon for commercial anything is a crime against a God-given resource that belongs to the people. This clash of vision for our future is doomed to failure. Not surprising Kulpa is trying to keep all details away from the hearts and minds of the public.
    Be careful what you wish for, all agents of greed. God will have the final say.

    Westwood people need to ask themselves, if they trust any of the principals involved in destroying what is green any place in Amherst? Westwood will not be spared, as long as these people are in power.

  20. COVID-19 Abuse says:

    It is amazing that the Amherst Times is the only media that is allowing questions and comments of logical thought. The others are parroting Kulpa and his carefully controlled message by his carefully picked and controlled task forces and boards.

    I would like to know, if it is 53 acres for the Westwood swap, why the remaining 40 acres of the 93 alienated was not reverted back to parkland, as per their resolution on June 17, 2019? That should have happened as of July 3, 2020, if they were honest. How does the Ciminelli (aka Mensch) 15-acre supersized UBMD and parking ramp on N. Maplemere fit into the whole scenario. At one time, that alone would have been an even swap.

    How about our politicians tell the truth about what is going where on Westwood and Audubon? How large a footprint? How much will it cost the taxpayers, the ones who are studiously being kept in “darkness,” during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

    The Mensch Partners, plus Kulpa, are not in the business of preserving green space. They eat it. Actions speak louder than words,. I venture that will also include
    Westwood, no matter what the propaganda machine is churning out, today.

    As far as working for the people and being mindful and respectful of them, we are witnessing, in real time, who and what they represent. Taxpayers are not to be included in decision making, only paying for what they have determined is right for us, and shove it down our throats. Something akin to a dictatorship.

    Additionally, we learned that Szukala (another illustrious town board member) is ripping off taxpayers from an another angle, using COVID-19 to line his own pockets, further.

    Thank you, Amherst Times. Too bad we don’t have a Stefan Mychajliw type to investigate the underhandedness that Ferraro references in the “open message.”