FARENTHOLD'S LATEST SCEHEMES: one thing after another...
Sissy Farenthold's brief and controversial tenure as President of Wells
College (1976-80) resulted in an unexpected legacy when her son George
returned to Aurora more than twenty years later. Nominated by a
democratic party caucus consisting of three people, he got elected to
the Village Board in March 2004. At that time, many in Aurora were
unaware of his relationship with current Wells President Lisa Ryerson,
whom he married 4 months later. Because his wife serves on the board of
Pleasant Rowland's Aurora Foundation LLC and as President of Wells
College (Rowland's partner in Aurora development), Trustee Farenthold
has had a conflict of interest in the many of the LLC proposals brought
before the Village Board during his tenure as Trustee. Farenthold On-Line, Tagged.com
The secret life of Me-Too Georgie: scroll down and a look at the October 17-18 2008 love-exchange
bewteen our notorious Village Trustee and "Kelly," and feel free to share it with the voters of Aurora.
Village Board Minutes, Citizen - October 15, 2008
The Post Office roof got
fixed for a fraction of Farenthold's wildly exaggerated alarmist
estimate! Instead of apologizing to the community, he comes up
with a new crack-pot scheme: housing Aurora's historic archives in the
home of a new resident in no way connected to village government.
Then, in a blatant attempted abuse of power, he throws a tantrum to
advocate passing a law for the sole purpose of silencing the legal free
speech of a political opponent. Read these minutes!
Why I resigned from the Aurora Village Board, Citizen -
September 20, 2008
Former Trustee Ken Zabriskie explains how the ongoing
promoted by Farenthold and Wells College in village politics prompted
Aurora Board Member Quits, Citizen - September 19, 2008
underhanded dealings with Wells College intentionally kept village
officials in the dark, cut out of decisions impacting the future of our
village. Read this account of the 9/17/08 meeting of the
Village Board of Trustees, in which Ken Zabriskie asks, "The
village board should have had the opportunity to
determine if it [a sheriff substation] was needed, necessary, or
welcome. ...Why even have a village board?"
Aurora Deputy Mayor Quits in Protest, Post-Standard - September 19, 2008
"Ken Zabriskie, Aurora's
three-term deputy mayor and
village trustee, abruptly resigned Wednesday night in a flap
over the opening of a Cayuga County Sheriff's Office
substation in the village. The resignation was not over the
said, but the way the matter was handled. Representatives of
Wells College and the Aurora Inn offered the Sheriff's
Office free space in Aurora Place, which is owned by the
college and is next to the post office.... The seeds of the dispute
six months ago. Sheriff
David S. Gould said the college and the inn contacted him
complaining about vandalism and offering to provide office
space, a computer, phone service and all utilities for a
substation... Zabriskie said he
did not like the village board being cut
out of the planning. To protest, he resigned. "I just thought
that if private entities can pull
these sort of deals and bring these other governmental
agencies in without the local government having any
knowledge, then why do you need a local government?"
from County Sheriff Gould, Citizen -
dated August 22, 2008
Farenthold deceived the
village in his bogus "survey" of its residents, and this letter proves
it. His September 2008 survey asked Aurorans if they wanted a sheriff
substation in the village, when he knew full well that a secret deal
had already been reached -- without the review and approval of the full
Aurora PO: Fix big or fix little?,
Post-Standard - June 1, 2008
Still more posturing for the press, as though anyone on
the Village Board listens to him! What alternate reality does
Farenthold inhabit, that he thinks a Village Center -- with offices for
our Clerk, Treasurer, and Historian, plus a Cayuga County Sheriff
substation -- can fit into the existing 1,400 square foot Post Office?
Governor: Trucks to stay on highways,
Citizen - May 13, 2008
Watch this astonishing video of Farenthold slithering
into action during press conference by NYS officials. He sneaks in
behind the Governor after the speeches begin, positions himself
uninvited in speakers line-up, grabs at Senator Schummer and Governor
Paterson repeatedly, shouts chat-back to draw attention to himself,
then wangles the microphone after the "last" speaker finished.
Farenthold, with a year or two on this project, desperatly scrambled to
snatch the spotlight away from those grass-roots organizers who gave
15-20 years in this effort and deserve all the credit.
Contested races get good turnouts,
Citizen - March 19, 2008
But not quite good enough! Farenthold won another term
on the Village Board by just four votes, after spending three days
standing in front of the Aurora Post Office harassing everyone who
walked by, pleading for votes.
Candidates Readying for Elections,
Citizen - March 3, 2008
Village Board Candidate George Farenthold proposes a
complete make-over of Aurora's Village center, with no input whatsoever
from the community stake holders. Sound familiar? His seat is being
challenged - get out and vote!
Another Attempt to Force Adoption of the Pleasant
P.O. Plan Citizen - June / July, 2007
In May 2007, Wells College and Pleasant Rowland pulled out of their
project to move our Post Office, before entering the USPS design
negotiation process or the required reviews for handicapped access and
historic preservation. Farenthold staged
a scene at the June Village Board meeting, apparently trying to
blame the USPS and thwart any resonable
resolution to the problem. Fortunately, he was absent from the July
Village Board meeting, so sensible
steps were taken. Readers' comments on Farenthold's behavior from
the Citizen website include:
on Jun 21, 2007 11:46 AM: "more empty hot air from the self-serving
Farenthold. The recent Citizen online poll showed a 3 to 1 preference
for keeping the Aurora PO as is. Rowland imposed an ego-driven, asinine
deadline on this deal,not the USPS. Rowland also was loath to
accommodate USPS requirements. George and his community-wrecking wife
want THEIR way only. They don't care one bit about the wishes of anyone
else. Many in Aurora eagerly look forward to the day they depart. "
enters P.O. Controversy, - March 16, 2007
Writing to USPS Real Estate Manager Paul Senk, our new
Congressman Michael Arcuri demonstrates a total misunderstanding of the
situation and puts his foot far into his mouth -- all, it seems, thanks
to wildly inaccurate information provided to him by George Farenthold.
Read his letter and see for yourself. (And be sure to scroll down to
see Arcrui's change of heart once he gets information from other Aurora
Fearon returns as chairman, Citizen -
January 3, 2007
Among the many comments on this article the is the one
copied below, responding to George Farenthold attempt (defeated 11-2)
to get himself appointed as Chair of the Cayuga County Legislature:
Not Surprised by a Snake wrote on January 03, 2007 3:38 PM:
"Mr Fearon may have issues of his own to answer for, but look who tried
to slither into his seat in a blatant back-door manuver. Given the
smarmy Mr. Farenthold's naked ambition and thirst for political
influence, it should come as no surprise. Still, I am bemused by this
need in someone so unqualifed to be dealt into the game. But Mr
Farnenthold lacks both the appeal and the smarts to get himself elected
to such a postion (he does, howeve, suffer from no shortage of
chutzpah) so he tried to seize the seat in whatever underhanded manner
that he could. Deplorable."
of the Year, The Citizen - December 5, 2006
The previous spring, residents contacted the Auburn
service agency "Options for Independence" pleading for help in
confronting the handicapped unfriendly plans for the proposed new
parking lot and post office. Well, the folks from "Options" called the
Village Office offering their help, and Trustee Farenthold stepped in
and turned their offer of assistance away from community concerns about
the Post Office, and to his own personal p.r. advantage. Comments from
our Guest Book include:
"Diverted the attention of
Options for Independence quite handily, didnt he?Tickled to see people
(need to) use handicap spots: sicko. Marking spaces more clearly doesnt
shorten distance they have to go once out of their vehicles.
Sleight-of-hands magicians (tricksters) call that redirection."
"George is a consummate politician. He has turned our allies into his
and against us with his slick presentation of skewed half-truths and
bs. If we complain, we now will look bad. God, he makes me sick."
Proposal, Village Board Meeting - October 18, 2006
Posted to our guestbook: "Farenthold tried to get a
Resolution of Thanks from the People of Aurora passed at the Village
Board meeting to be given to Rowland at Zabriskies party next night.
Some VB members objected! So Mayor Tom proposed one just from VB, not
*entire* village. More objections; the resolution was not signed."
Additional details on this failed resolution will be posted as they
Paves the Way to Wireless, Citizen - September 7, 2006
In an editorial essay, Village Trustee George Farenthold
sets forth his priorities for Aurora. First, we must have wireless
high-speed internet access throughout the village at whatever cost.
Then, and only then, he will consider "classic government chores" such
as taking care of sidewalks, trash, community safety, public
facilities, etc. Bizarre! See the comments after the article.
May Go Wireless, Citizen - August 17, 2006
Farenthold pursues his vision for a high-tech binge in
spite of resistance from the rest of the Aurora Village Board. Will he
find a way to spend taxpayer money for services they don't want
provided (or administered) by the village government? Be sure to read
the comments below the article.
Considers Villagewide Internet, Citizen - June 20, 2006
In his latest public relations gambit, George Farenthold
apparently called in the press for his announcement that the village
government should provide community wireless internet access; some
comments excerpted from the newspaper's website:
"...Do not get wireless is my vote. but then LETS SPENT
$$$$ in Aurora and screw over the taxpayer. The village does not need
to get in to this now. I would never trust it. Sad to say. -
Rowland/village and the internet forget it. You 2 George. Or will this
push you harder? "
"...even if it were partially funded by the Feds (which is still
taxpayer money), I don't like the idea of the people behind this move
pulling the strings of such a critically important communications
channel -- I would not feel comfortable with Village-run wireless and
will stick with my dial-up."
"What if, by chance, this 'idea' actually went through? Would those of
us who don't want this 'utility' still have to pay for it? If it's as
reliabile a service as the other village services, forget it."
"... it would be nothing for an unethical sys admin to get into
people's mail. I know I have had to talk to the sys admin at my
Internet Service Provider and that they know my password without my
telling it to them -- we've worked together to solve problems that way
a few times. But I TRUST them not to look at my mail -- in that case,
the volume is so much I am sure they don't have time -- or interest --
to be reading everyone's mail. But, in Aurora, with its limited user
base and with certain parties I most definitely would NOT trust not to
read the mail, particularly of certain individuals..."
"If wireless was put in Aurora. And I say if. Would they whoever ran it
(the village/or even PR). Could they not look at every email, internet
site anyone that uses it has been to? But it would be the reading of
emails on the server that would not sit right with me. (sounds like
"Careful what you wish for (when you say "Let Rowland buy the internet
service, George, just like she has bought you.") -- you might just get
it. Then Pleasant would control one of people's more critical
communication channels in addition to nearly all the businesses in
town. Bad enough she is getting to control the Post Office space and
the Village Offices. (But, heck, why not -- she already controls most
of the Village OfficeRs!)"
"Let Rowland buy the internet service, George, just like she has bought
"...Really, this has all the earmarks of election-year pie-in-the-sky
naivite -- a boondoggle just waiting to inflict itself on this small
village. If you had anyone who REALLY knew about technology advising
you, you'd be putting on the brakes and taking a step back to consider
all the ramifications..."
"Municipal internet access as a 'an added incentive for people to visit
Aurora and its businesses' and enjoy free wireless service? Should
residents pay for this service through their taxes in order to enhance
Rowland's floundering tourist traps? I think not. "
The New "Official"
Aurora Web Site, Spring 2006
Without prior Board
approval, George Farenthold hired Pleasant acolyte and employee Jacci Farlow for an
$885 start-up fee to design an official municipal website for the
village, expcept -- surprise! -- it turned out to be one big
advertisement for Rowland's commercial development. The site was up and
running, and even announced
in the press before the other Trustees, Mayor, or Village Clerk even
saw it! A few comments from our Guest Book and Feedback Forum:
In response to the taxpayers complaint regarding jackie's
commercialism on the towns official website I have one question. Is
anyone surprised? This town has more collusion than the teamsters
unions of the 50s.
There is so much wrong with this whole deal that one hardly knows where
to start. The outrage that the link from our municipal site directs
email not to the Clerk's Office, but to Farlow! The absurdity that our
very limited tax dollars are used here primarily to promote private
businesses, many of them not even in the village. (E.g., a whole page
of photos is devoted to Pleasant's MacKenzie Childs, Ltd, and venues in
Ithaca are listed as "local" entertainment.) The injustice of forcing
the "digital divide" upon Aurora, creating a Village site that can be
viewed only with pricey high-speed internet access. The fact that this
is a municipal web site, but it reads like very bad Chamber of Commerce
hype or illiterate Tourist Board prose. The stupidity of employing a
non-resident non-professional to create this mess, when we have
qualified professionals in the village...A simple set-up could have
been created to be maintained routinely by the Village Office; instead,
everything that goes up on this site will be filtered through Farlow
Aurora Village Trustee Outlines His Post Office Project Support August 11, 2005, Syracuse Post-Standard, Cayuga Neighbors, p. 26
By George Farenthold
[Commentary in italics. As a result of this article
by Farenthold, the Mayor had a letter sent by the village attorney to
all elected and appointed Aurora officials, telling them not to express
public opinions about issues coming before their boards.]
I, for one, still believe in the maxim that the first real business of
leadership is to be positive. As we say in my native Texas, �any old
jackass can kick down a barn, but it will always take a master, a
journeyman carpenter to build a great one.�
I have been a supporter of the new post office project since it was
introduced more than a year ago and I�m also on the public record (the
only trustee to date) as for the multifaceted project. Here is why I�m
still for the new post office project. [He is announcing his
position before the completion of governmental reviews required to
serve the public best interest.]
Firstly, our existing post office (our retrofitted 1950s two bay
firehouse) is a liability in several major respects. [The building
and the land on which it stands are valuable assets owned by the people
1. Aurora, as you probably know, is a village of some considerable
The whole village is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Unfortunately, except for its location (smack in the middle of our
commercial district), our present post office and old garage and fire
house has literally no historical value -- absolutely none. In my
opinion, calling it an eyesore is being kind. Especially because it
blocks the view to both our village park and our view of Cayuga Lake at
its widest point.
Its cinderblock construction, flat roof and a brick facade remind me of
only how underfunded and unappreciated the volunteer fire service once
was. Yet it sits strategically central, right in the middle of our
beautifully restored and reconstructed downtown commercial area. [Nothing
has been restored. Restoration means to put things back to a previous
historic condition. The historic center of Aurora has been destroyed
and replaced by a fantasy.]
2. The flat roof has already failed several times in several places,
and it has been conservatively estimated will likely cost more than
$30,000 to repair. This would be a waste of village funds when other
priorities go underfunded. [No bids have been submitted to the
Village; this figure is not verified.]
3. The existing rental contract (original 30 year, expiring in �07)
with our federal government / United States Postal Service at $7,600
per year [it's higher] won�t even cover the expense of
re-roofing this very tired old garage if and when it fails. Actually,
the only real questions left are when will it fail and then what will
we do about it. [He is the Trustee charged with building
maintenance; he has refused pursue repairs to protect public proerty
because he personally wants to see the building come down.]
In addition, because the facility is so woefully outdated -- no loading
dock, not Americans With Disabilities Act compliance [sic],
antiquated heating/cooling, a pedestrian and traffic hazard -- if this
weren�t reason enough there is no guarantee that the USPS will even
renew a lease given this two-door garage�s obvious inadequacy. [This
is total nonsense. See the facts here.]
It makes simply makes no financial sense to me or I believe the
majority of its users, to try to update or somehow modernize and
retrofit this �old firehouse garage� for anything.
4. More serious than any of the above is that without adequate, or let
alone a superior facility, the USPS could easily decide to dump Aurora
as a site for a post office, a huge potential loss for all the
residents of our area. The Base Closing and Realignment Commissions
decision regarding Griffiss Air Force Base is a reminder to all of us
that dumping problem facilities is a very real possibility and without
some good reasons to stay the USPS could very well do the same to
Aurora. [This, too, is nonsense; see 8/15/05 letter from the USPS here.]
5. I believe the much better use of the property will be a trade with
Wells College (perhaps for even more park space or lake front or both)
for additional village green space, more direct access to our village
park as planned and opening up the socalled viewshed from Cherry Avenue
and Main Street with the added benefit of increased parking for all our
downtown patrons and visitors. [More nonsense; see the factshere.]
Including the market, postal, library, Fargo, Aurora Inn and Opera
House and other retail customers, this purpose serves all of our
residents and visitors.
6. The part that is really important to me, especially because of the
renewal and post office survival issues, is that the people who work at
the Aurora Post Office, the Aurora postal employees are all supportive
of the new plan and move to the renovated historic space next door.
I cite this fact because while I am obviously concerned with my own
residents and my own constituents needs, those postal customers
generally spend less than three minutes a day in our post office and so
while like all politicians I�d like to be re-elected , I�m at the same
time not oblivious to needs of the people who work eight hours a day in
that �tired old garage.�
They work for all of us and deserve a clean, modern, comfortable place
to work. They too deserve more consideration in this project. They too
are public servants and their five- to six- day-a-week work needs
should be weighed against the residents and postal patrons daily or
regular visits. [Even more nonsense. Rowland's proposed replacement
post office does not meet USPS reuirement; see the facts here.]
7. Finally, more private (non-Wells, or Aurora Foundation) retail space
will be coming available soon. Doug Wood�s renovation of the Warren
House (commercial) on the corner of Main Street and Cherry Avenue is
In addition, at least three private homes and several college
properties still are available for rent or purchase.
There also will be (regardless of what the USPS decides to do) more
retail rental space available in the newly renovated Heary (new post
office) building as well. Medical professionals are already leasing
there, others too likely will be able to soon once the final decision
by the USPS has been made.
As many know, there is a fairly well orchestrated, and (in my opinion)
mean spirited, disinformation campaign regarding the Aurora Foundation
and the good work done here in the village on behalf of Wells College.
At the core of this group is the old Aurora Coalition that tried to
block the rehabilitation of the Aurora Inn and lost.
Some of the newest mudslingers who have joined the above are simply
people who counted themselves as friends of the former leasee and
because they disagreed with the non-renewal of his seven-year lease
have now taken the position of anti-anything if it belongs to Wells
College and/or is being managed for the college by the Aurora
Foundation. [He is becoming incoherent now.]
Unfortunately, some of these people have resorted to acts of
obstruction of storefronts, vandalism, sign defacing and other illegal
acts to register their displeasure. That won�t intimidate me as a
public official any more than the disinformation campaign about �a
corporate takeover of Aurora.� That is simply ridiculous on its face.
[Now he's delusional: no point in commenting.]
Here are some facts: None of these �local citizens� stepped forward to
save 240 jobs when MacKenzie-Childs was in bankruptcy and was about to
be closed, sold, or moved overseas, but Pleasant Rowland did. [And
she's been firing emploees ever since.] None of these �locals� has
contributed much to either support financially, much less helped save
Wells College over the last 30 years. Frankly, none of these �locals�
have grown or met a payroll, contributed to an employees
health-insurance plan or done much of anything but throw slush and mud
at the three largest property taxpayers in our village -- Pleasant
Rowland, the Aurora Foundation and Wells College. [This is arrogant
beyond belief. Many residents angry about Rowland's LLC have given
their professional lives and personal fortunes to the support of Wells
It is my personal and public view, that the Aurora Foundation and Wells
College have done exactly what Pleasant Rowland and Lisa Ryerson said
they would do in March 2001: Renovate several Wells College properties.
In doing so they have attempted to make Wells College more financially
fit, with all building and operational liabilities being Pleasant
Rowland�s and all possible future profits going to Wells College.
[Sounds like a money-laundering operation, doesn't it? ]
People can make up their own minds about whether they like how Aurora
looks or feels, but I know one thing for certain and for me it trumps
all the noise, hidden agendas, and disinformation.
For me it is very simple. It is about jobs.
Aurora is now a net importer of jobs and workers. [Not true: many
employees were fired this fall and winter.]We now have good jobs at
living wages, with real benefits including workers compensation, health
insurance and regardless of what has been written and read, we have
real local employment for real local people and even many of our
neighbors. Something very rare these days in Cayuga County, as George
Fearon, our Cayuga County legislator will certainly attest.
The upshot of it all for me is that both the residents of Aurora and
Cayuga County now have modern attractive facilities drawing boaters,
tourists, patrons of all kinds, and their economic resources to Aurora
and we now seem to have Wells College poised for long-term success.
We have even become a destination wedding location. [Is that what
Aurora aspires to become?]
Some folks may not appreciate it, but the single biggest reason for all
of this success is the unique partnership between Wells College and the
Aurora Foundation. Boil that down to the relationship between two busy,
smart and industrious Wells women. Lisa Marsh Ryerson, Class of �81,
and Pleasant Thiel Rowland, Class of �62. [He's talking about his
wife! Why doesn't he identify himself as the husband of Rowland's
Their partnership is reminiscent of two really important, (literally
legendary) historical friends from Central New York in the 19th
century, Henry Wells and Col. Edwin Morgan.
The Fargo bar
and restaurant has been run the past seven years by a man named Jim
Orman, who moved back to Aurora so he could own and operate the
business full-time. He thought his future retirement was secured after
signing a seven-year lease with Wells College, the owner of the
The Aurora Foundation is an investors group that has spent millions of
dollars renovating and helping Wells College purchase many properties
in the village. With Orman's approval, they invested in the renovation
of the Fargo, as well. Orman was happy with the changes that the
foundation made in his business. Some of his suggestions were also used
to improve the Fargo.
So when Orman heard the news that his lease would not be renewed, he
must of felt side-swiped. After he built the business, the college
plans to run the Fargo with all the same employees, while Orman is
muscled out. Makes you wonder how long these employees will really be
kept? Probably until the new business owners learn how to keep the
Then off the workers go to the unemployment office.
There have been petitions, as well as village board members, who have
protested to Wells College - and rightfully so. Some of these board
members chose to see past their own self interest and decided to do
what was right. They stuck their necks out for a citizen that they felt
There was only one, George Farenthold, who wouldn't sign the letter
addressing the foundation. It asked that the decision against Orman be
reassessed. I wonder why George wouldn't sign it?
Well, the foundation's leader stated that the decision was not made by
them but by Well's College.
Stay with me! Remember the guy who wouldn't sign the letter ... George
Farenthold? He's an Aurora village board member and is married to the
president of Wells College, Lisa Marsh Ryerson. George said he wouldn't
sign the letter because he doesn't think it's the village's place to
tell the college how to run it's properties.
I'm going to take a chance here. Do you think his wife, Lisa, would
listen to him anyway? Looks like it's the other way around.
Do you mean to tell me that academia has entered the hated and despised
world of business? Has the liberal champion of the little people, the
downtrodden and the disadvantaged, sold out its so-called high road
principles because there's a buck or two to be made? You bet!
This was a private business that leased a building from the college.
The same building has been leased for the past 45 years but because
this business was profitable, it's been sniffed out, targeted and taken
over. You don't have to be an academic scholar to figure this out.