Week of April 22

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Week of April 22, 2001

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2001


Try to fill out the Freeman online survey regarding Indian mascots. The question is "Should the controversy over Indian mascots be decided by the federal or state goverments?" We are losing big time, 80% say no!

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2001

Badly written poll question -- I don't think the higher ups should have to decide, since it should be a no-brainer to begin with.

Tom gets lead paragraph in Washington Post article. I really liked the idea in the closing paragraph. I found it interesting that this was placed on a page that has a Catholic University banner ad that toggles to a phrase "the power of a name."

Just so you know, Ted is spitting fire this morning about the signs, since they seem to have mucked with his typography somewhere along the line. To us normal people they look fine, but to someone who is so sensitive to good typography they scream out wrongness. I think I'll get out of town for the day...

-- Anonymous, April 23, 2001

April 25 Daily Freeman article on the petitioning of Mills to disallow the referendum. As usual, check in later today to see the online responses. The Coxsackie- Athens board has had to reschedule its public discussion of their mascot issue.

"Onteora Duo wants 'Indian' off May Ballot" by William Kemble.

Two Onteora school trustees have petitioned the state education commissioner to remove a referendum on the Indian mascot from the May 15 ballot, and annul a Board of Education decision authorizing the vote. Trustee Marino D'Orazio Tuesday released the 14-page petition seeking to overturn the Board of Education's approval of a non-binding referendum asking residents if the Onteora Indian should "remain the title of all sports teams, and all other student athletic activities." The petition was also signed by Trustee Meg Carey, who, with D'Orazio, was part of the 4-2 school board minority that opposed the referendum.

"We feel that the resolution is illegal ... (and) calculated to leave the voters to believe that board trustees will abide by their decision regarding the Indian mascot," D'Orazio said. "The law is pretty clear that voter referendums are only allowed in certain limited circumstances, and this is not one of them."

The petition seeks an emergency decision from state Education Commissioner Mills. According to the state Education Department, there is a May 8 deadline for the district to issue absentee ballots.

"There is not a lot of time to get this done," D'Orazio said. "We're asking that (a ruling) be issued immediately because the ballots have to go out and they are either going to be containing this resolution or not."

In papers filed with the state, D'Orazio pointed out that Trustee Frederick Perry has already used a reelection campaign poster stating he is among the "Guardians of the Onteora Indian Heritage."

"It is clear then that the ... proposed referendum for the public to vote on whether or not the Indian remains ... is again a promise that the board will be bound by the results of the proposed referendum," he wrote.

Perry could not be reached for comment, but board President Martin Millman argued that the decision was legal.

"To stifle or subdue the voice of the people ... sounds like a very undemocratic process," Millman said.

While the proposition was apparently reviewed by district legal counsel, Millman said board members had been advised that it could create problems.

"Their opinions were clear that Richard Mills frowns on this because it might be divisive and cause controversy in the district, and I said to (attorney David Shaw) that we have enough controversy in the district right now, I don't think it's going to cause any more," Millman said.

Education Department spokeswoman Mary Ellen Clark has said the standards for school district ballot propositions are similar to those under municipal law. Mills has ruled in other cases "that things that a board is responsible for, such as conduct, are not appropriate for a ballot. Items that are appropriate on a ballot are those things that under law, such as the budget and the purchase of buses, are to be determined by the voters and not the board," she said.

-- Anonymous, April 25, 2001

Another online poll regarding a mascot name change.

Vote early and often. ;)

-- Anonymous, April 26, 2001

Perry's against Curry

"Trustee sues letter-writer, claiming libel" by William Kemble Dail Freeman April 27Onteora school board Trustee Frederick Perry is suing district resident Curry Rinzler for $550,000 for claiming in a letter to the editor of a weekly newspaper that Perry had lied under oath in court testimony. Perry filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court on March 22, about two months after an Olive town justice agreed the trustee had been angrily grabbed the night of the school district election by Onaje Benjamin over remarks Perry allegedly made to Benjamin's girlfriend, board candidate Donna Boundy, about where Boundy could "shove the Indian mascot." In a letter published by the Ulster County Townsman, Rinzler contended that "Perry ... lied under oath" during the trial when he denied making the comments.

Town Justice Vincent Barringer, who ruled that any comments on election night would have been protected under law, did not conclude whether Perry had made the comment in question.

"This court concludes that if Mr. Perry did in fact make this comment, it was in very poor taste and shouldn't have been said," Barringer wrote. "But that did not constitute a crime; we do have freedom of speech."

No perjury charges were filed against Perry.

The damages sought from Rinzler in the libel suit include $50,000 for "pain and mental anguish" and $500,000 in punitive damages.

In court papers, Perry contends Rinzler's statements were "motivated by and made with actual malice, were made wrongfully and willfully and with intent to injure and damage ... business, professional and community standing."

Information about the lawsuit was released Wednesday, when Rinzler announced that a video documentary is being made involving the court case and Perry's involvement in the election night incident last May.

In a press release, Rinzler said the documentary is going to air at 5 p.m. May 5 at Woodstock Town Hall, but was still being edited to include eyewitness accounts and video where Perry can be heard making election night comments.

Perry referred questions on the video and lawsuit to his attorney, saying: "I can't answer that. That has nothing to do with the school district."

Rinzler said the lawsuit clearly involves the district because the letter had suggested that Perry be removed from office.

"I would like to emphasize that I never would have made this documentary except for the lawsuit," Rinzler said. "But since the timing coincides with the upcoming election, I hope the voters of the Onteora school district have a chance to see it and make up their own minds whether Perry is qualified to serve on the Board of Education."

On the defamation front elsewhere, some progress. Brewery makes amends to Crazy Horse family.

-- Anonymous, April 27, 2001

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