Debate Continues


The many comments posted to the local newspaper's website in response to a recent letter to the editor from George Peter clearly demonstrate the ongoing difference of local opinion over the future direction of Auorora. The comments ran 5-to-1 against Mr. Peter's unquestioning support of Pleasant Rowland's make-over of our village, and the opposition to his opinion was varied and well-reasoned. Also worthy of note is the new on-line discussion of Trustee Farenthold's latest plan to "benefit" the village -- or increase LLC intrusion and control in Aurora.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

To Ms. Pleasant Rowland.

This is to thank you for your great and generous contribution to Aurora. The village has been rejuvenated and re-invigorated by the many projects you have undertaken for the benefit of the village. You have made Aurora a model to emulate. It is especially important when we consider that most of upstate New York towns are a series of ghost towns on the verge of poverty. Most industries have moved to other states where a more favorable tax is imposed and there are less regulations and control.

It may seem to you that your efforts have not been recognized and appreciated. Be assured that the majority of Aurora citizens are very much aware of the difference you have made. Unfortunately, in any community, there are always a group of dissenters who make up for their lack of numbers by being the most vocal and negative. Many of them had their minds established long before you came on the scene.

There were those who had issues with the college and they decided to be antagonistic toward anything related to the institution. Their narrow world allowed them to develop more anger and louder dissent. Their antagonisms have fed upon each other's. Their common hatred continues to grow and fester.

Please know that none of this has anything to do with you or with the college. Angry people are loud and vicious. It's too bad that a tiny village can't agree to get along with different opinions. How can we expect the world at large to settle its ethnic and religious differences, if we can't settle our own issues in this small village?

Aurora is a very much better village because of Pleasant Rowland and what she has done to upgrade the facilities.

George Peter

Another Resident
wrote on June 27, 2006 3:26 PM:
"There are people in Aurora who object to Nancy Gil's assertion on the official village website that we are "undeserving" of Pleasant Rowland's so-called beneficence. We ARE deserving : Deserving of a community that is created by the people who live in it - instead of the dictates of a central authority located half the country away.... Deserving of an objective, respectful, uncompromised and unintimidated local government.... Deserving of local business establishments designed to meet the needs and wishes of the people who live here.... Deserving of privacy, and the right to dissent or disagree without fear of retribution - economic, social, or otherwise.... Deserving of a community that is not torn apart by the ego and demands of a person who has no use for the people who live in it (unless they serve her purpose).... To think that our taxes pay for a site that allows Nancy Gil to insult us as "undeserving." It sounds like Gil AND Peter have sold their souls for a couple of restaurants and a few hotel rooms."
Yet Another Local wrote on June 28, 2006 10:46 AM:
"We might settle our differences if the outcome weren't consistently one-sided! If there were some give-and-take instead of Pleasant Dictates. She got her foot in the door by doing something that LOOKS nice (on the outside) -- then she started dictating village life and weeding out anyone who doesn't fit her image of the picture-postcard perfect stereotypical American village. She's scary. That's just the start. I also wholeheartedly concur with "Another Resident" that it is outrageous the Mayor thinks it is perfectly OK to have our tax dollars spent on a website which explicitly insults residents of the community and focusses on tourists and commerce rather than on the needs of the residents. And none of the above has anything to do with Wells...."
(Anon) wrote on June 28, 2006 11:59 AM:
"Mr. Peter is right on all counts. The divisive nature of the nay-sayers has caused antipathy and fear of THEIR reprisal, no one else's. Aurora was a dying town, moribund and decaying. It is now a beautiful, lively attraction for all. "
SIA-in-Aurora wrote on June 28, 2006 12:01 PM:
"Mr. Peter needs to stop operating under the utterly false pretense that he speaks for Aurora. He doesn't. Nor does he deserve to pretend that he speaks for a majority of Aurorans in addressing Pleasant Rowland--or anyone else for that matter. I would urge him to curb an ego that only makes him appear absurd, not important---an importance which is obviously what he so deeply craves. You will not get it, Mr. Peter, by fawning over Pleasant Rowland. Of course, people often make the mistake of thinking that by being obsequious towards the ultra-rich, they are lent vitality, gravity, and respect. These are the snobs of the world, who believe that a person's net-worth defines their value to humanity. In falling over themselves to kiss up to wealth and bow to those who possess it, they make only a disgusting and ridiculous spectacle of themselves. Be assured, Mr. Peter, that not only do you NOT speak for Aurora, but also that you are deluded, to a laughable degree, if you think Pleasant Rowland is a benefactor or has done any of the things she's done to help Aurora.

It's clear to anyone who can see that rather, she's done what she's done to help HERSELF and no one else; her activities and behavior have not been those of an altruist or a philanthropist (neither label applies to her) but rather that of a rapacious developer. She has done nothing to truly help Wells College (since you seem to erroneously believe that our antagonism towards her stems from some antagonism towards the college--speaking for myself, it does not) such as donating funds for needed equipment, or for the recruitment of new faculty; neither has she done anything to help the people of Aurora--her businesses employ few local people, (most are outsiders) and in fact the revamped Inn, for example, has been operating under a business strategy which in essence is this: that locals are not wanted there, that the Management isn't interested in catering to locals and is in fact hostile to them.

Stop the platitudinous nonsense, Mr. Peter. ("Their antagonisms have fed upon each other's" --what does that even MEAN?-- "Their common hatred continues to grow and fester." Get off your soapbox, sir... you're so far over the top that you must be in a spin). And I'd suggest, also, that you listen to yourself: "Unfortunately, in any community, there are always a group of dissenters..." ---which sounds suspiciously, Mr. Peter, like you don't believe in democracy. YES, there are dissenters. They deserve to be heard and NO, you can't pretend to be the spokesman for our village so that you can blithely dismiss dissent and make it go away. Moreover sir, you say that "angry people are loud and vicious" eh? Well I've witnessed you ranting and raving at village meetings, making threats, making a spectacle of yourself. Check the beam in your own eye, Mr. Peter, before you go after the mote in mine. "
SIA wrote on June 28, 2006 12:51 PM:
"To anon: What is this nonsense that we "nay-sayers" are the ones causing antipathy and fear? Why? Because we disagree with what's been done? Oh, god forbid anyone disagree! What a lovely world it would be if we could all only agree with every petty dictator who decides to run our lives the way THEY see fit. Wouldn't we all be happier? Yes, let's let Pleasant Rowland dictate to us the way our village should look, the way we should live our lives. What bliss that would be! I've never heard such patently ridiculous crap in my life, and yet this is PRECISELY how people like you would have us behave... i.e., that we should be happy about what P.R. has done, and happily bend over to take some more. And why? Out of some sick hatred that people like you seem to be afflicted with for Aurora as it was---Aurora is now "beautiful" and "a lively attraction for all" you say---well excuse me, but I grew up here and have never thought Aurora was ugly. Rather I was proud of it.

People such as you, however, obviously believe it was a wreck and hideous. Then I suggest you move and find some community better to your liking, where the phony gentry lords it over the poor, backward yokel... or better yet where the yokels aren't allowed--I'm sure that's what you'd prefer. Finally, to say that it's WE (who are against P.R.) that are the ones who stir up fears of reprisal is offensive in the extreme; I could name you person after person in this village who is afraid to speak out with their true feelings (against Pleasant) because they fear losing their jobs or in some other way being punished by the college and/or the Foundation. I myself have to speak under the cover of an alias for this very reason. So don't tell me for a moment that there is some "fear of reprisal" that Pleasant-boosters, such as yourself, have. It's absurd, and a sickening lie. "
Auroran wrote on June 28, 2006 1:23 PM:
"Aurora was NOT moribund and dying before Pleasant. (Now Auburn -- there's a dying town). But Aurora before Pleasant was a special little enclave, hidden away from masses of obnoxious tourists, a lovely little treasure off the beaten path full of real people living real lives, not a dollhouse all gussied up for show -- all a false facade. The worst thing is the way the LLC has worked so hard to remove anyone who doesn't fit this phoney perfect image -- the way they have made non-wealthy locals unwelcome at the Inn (and a few wealthy dissenting locals as well), the way they tried to doll up the Fargo which was a rough and tumble workingman's bar where real farmers, laborers, craftspeople, etc came in with manure on their boots and grease on their hands and could relax and feel comfortable among friends, the way they changed Mack's from a quiet, safe, friendly place for kids and teens to hang out into a brightly lit non-parent's fantasy of what a child would like (misses by a mile) -- the sort of place you never see kids without parents for fear they might break something in the picture-perfect stage set, where it's too fancy to be a comfortable hang-out. Kids, local working people, people without enough money to fit Pleasant's nouveau riche standards are all being displaced and disenfranchised -- and we don't like it. We have a right to not like it and to speak out -- as loudly as we can -- as to WHY we don't like it, and to do what we can to take control of our own town back into our own hands. "
I Think wrote on June 28, 2006 4:31 PM:
"the bumper sticker says it all: Aurora Was Pleasant, Before. "
Yes ! And - wrote on June 28, 2006 4:31 PM:
"Pleasant Rowland, More Trouble Than She's Worth."
Who is George Peter wrote on June 28, 2006 5:25 PM:
"Who is George Peter? I have lived in Aurora for 27 years and I don't know who he is and I never care to find out. I have heard of his son, the ex-con. I read about him in the paper just recently. Nancy Gil is a hero in Aurora, ever since she resigned! "
My Bumper Sticker wrote on June 28, 2006 5:29 PM:
"Aurora, NY -- It's our home, it's Pleasant's hobby. And honestly, I think that is being kind...."
I Am Curious wrote on June 28, 2006 11:35 PM:
"How is Aurora a "model to emulate"? How can the freaky story here be emulated anywhere else? If Genoa wanted to "emulate" Aurora, how would they/could they do that? Pleasant Rowland can pump all the money she's got into Aurora but that does not change the fact that New York is not one of the "states where a more favorable tax is imposed and there are less regulations and control." This is a woman on a spending spree. Nice for those who profit from it, but nothing aspire to or emulate. "
To Curious wrote on June 29, 2006 9:28 AM:
"Actually, Pleasant's spending spree ISN'T very nice for a lot of people in Aurora. Few locals actually benefit. Mostly her activities have been geared towards wealthy outsiders coming into town, causing traffic and parking problems and bringing revenue only to Wells/Pleasant's businesses, not to the residents of Aurora, very few of whom work in any of her businesses. Her arrogance and contempt have alienated people; her dictatorial style has swept away people's right to self-determination; her deliberate efforts to drive out anyone who doesn't look the part for a walk-on in her dollhouse show has disenfranchised many locals who have lived here for generations; and her activities have polarized villager against villager making this once friendly town a miserable place to live. Hardly something to emulate even if it were possible."
HA!!HA!HA!HAHA! wrote on June 30, 2006 7:42 AM:
"These negative responses to George's letter only prove that what he was saying is correct. The nasty, angry, back-biting, personal attacks against George show that these people are intolerant of any opinion other than their own. They are so predictable in their response that it makes one laugh. "
SIA wrote on June 30, 2006 11:49 AM:
"To "HA HA HA...": I don't even know where to begin, in pointing out how utterly illogical your statement is. But just for starters, your assertion that the negative comments here "prove" what George Peter said is ludicrous in the extreme. What YOUR statement in fact *proves* is how irrational and illogical the pro-Foundation side is, and how unwilling any of them (including yourself, apparently) are to listen to reason, or listen to the objections of people who don't agree.

Moreover, to accuse the ANTI-Foundation "camp" of intolerance is not only incredibly ignorant, but offends me personally to the core, as I know MANY people--including MYSELF--who are seriously afraid to voice their opinions for fear of retribution from Wells College and/or the Foundation. Get off it. Your lies and diversions aren't fooling anybody. And as for personal attacks, back-biting, and so on---the absurdity of THAT accusation makes me shake my head in disbelief.

We've seen village meetings where Mr. Peter has stood up and ranted and raved, making irrational threats... and we've also seen village meetings where the pro-Foundation camp has made rude and childish outbursts, clapping and booing, etc.---behavior which is totally inappropriate. NOT ONCE have I ever seen ANYONE from the other side behave this way. Enough with the lies and distortions---this is, as said earlier, exactly the kind of talk, from someone like you, who knows that they don't have the truth on their side, but simply wants their way and will do or say anything to get it, whether it's to lie, distort, or intimidate.

I will point out to you a VERY simple truth which even YOU should be able to understand: simply because someone disagrees with you, that doesn't make them intolerant, nor does their disagreement qualify as "back-biting" nor can it be described as "angry" or "nasty" simply because their opinion is contrary to your own. We are not in favor of what Pleasant Rowland has done to Aurora because we believe it's causing the ruin of this village, and we believe she's done what she's done for reasons of self-aggrandizement, rather than "philanthropy". No, we don't agree with you. That doesn't make us evil or intolerant, it simply means we have an opinion that doesn't align with yours. "
Anon - Again wrote on June 30, 2006 3:58 PM:
"I was here before Pleasant. And Aurora was dying, if not dead. And I am moving away. And it is because of the aforementioned nay-sayers. And your responses are exactly what I expected - hateful, venomnous, and frightening. Farewell, and good luck keeping the town alive without someone who , for whatever reason, spent her money bringing Aurora back from the brink of extinction. "
One Local Wants More wrote on June 30, 2006 4:09 PM:
"I have lived in Aurora a good share of my life. I've tried to stay out of the controvery about Pleasant Rowland's improvements because of fear of reprisal of the people in town who are against Pleasant. I did vote in the mayor's and village board's election. Tom Gunderson, Ken Zabriske and Jim Chase all won re-election by wide margins after approving most of the Foundations projects. That must mean that a majority of the locals approve of the improvements. If it wasn't for all the bad feelings I would like Pleasnat to do more. "
Concerned for SIA wrote on June 30, 2006 6:15 PM:
"I sincerely think the physical health of this woman is in jeopardy. Does she know she is raising her blood pressure with every angry thought? And probably working toward developing severe acidic stomach conditions. It is so not good to live in any kind of fear. Perhaps, as painful as it may seem, this woman should leave Aurora if it upsets her so much. "
SIA wrote on July 01, 2006 12:09 PM:
"To "Local" and "anon": This is just patently ridiculous. What "reprisals" do you or anyone else fear from the anti-Pleasant people? Name something. Tell me anything they've done or can do. Whereas I can name you instance after instance where people who are against the Foundation have had cause to fear for their jobs, and have had old friendships ended summarily, and so on.

Moreover there's been the outrageously rude conduct of the Pro-Pleasant people at village meetings. NOT ONCE ON ANY OCCASION has anyone from the anti-Foundation side made such a scene at a village meeting. NOT ONCE, to my knowledge, has anyone who is anti-Foundation threatened or intimidated ANYONE from the pro-Foundation side. And what would they threaten or intimidate with? Wells College employs a great many people in this town, and it's obvious that the administration of the college is in alignment with the Foundation.

It ought to be clear even to someone of dim intelligence then, that people who are against Pleasant Rowland, if they work for the college, fear for their jobs. And they do. Other people in this village--though not many--work for the Foundation and have even greater reason to fear. What should you or anyone else fear from those who are against Pleasant Rowland, however? What business in town is left that's not run by Rowland or the college? A hardware store and a funeral parlor! Certainly none of you have to fear losing your jobs if you speak out in favor of Rowland. So enough is enough of this nonsense about your side feeling "intimidated". It's absolutely and disgustingly absurd.

And as for your announcement, Anon, that you are "leaving the village"... out of fear or because you don't like the atmosphere here... such melodramatics fall utterly flat in a public forum and belong on the stage or screen where you probably cadged them from. But perhaps we should expect such a thing from someone who employ such ridiculous hyperbole as describing Aurora as having been on "the brink of extinction." But if true, and you feel the necessity to move, then all power to you--go and find the kind of Stepford community that you'd obviously prefer to live in.

As for Aurora having been "dying" in the past--first of all, I see no sign of "rejuvenation" at all right now. As far as anyone knows, the Inn and all other businesses run by the Foundation are still in the red. And if they should make a profit, that's all in the hands of the Foundation or Wells College. How does the average citizen benefit from that?

A point needs to be made here: I am not--and no one I know--is against development per se. It's the WAY that Pleasant Rowland has gone about it that we object to. Moreover we strongly object to this asinine attitude on the part of those who are smitten with her, whereby they insist upon referring to her as an altruist and a philanthropist. *She is a developer* and nothing more. We object to the fact that she has gutted historic old buildings, leaving only facades (and really even tampering unnecessarily with the facades) for no reason, and has refused to listen to opinions that contrast with her own. We object to this ridiculous "dollifying" of Aurora that Pleasant Rowland has undertaken or obviously wished to undertake, in some attempt to recreate a beautiful old village in her own image, an idea of what she apparently thought it "should" look and feel like rather than what it was.

Were she a true philanthropist, she would have GIVEN her money freely and not micromanaged it, and would have given it for things that matter to the health and economy of Aurora and Wells College. But not one *penny* has she donated to help the people of this village. She has only developed businesses, and, I argue, very poorly at that. As for the recent village election, your statement, "Local," implies that it was a mandate for Pleasant Rowland. Please. The only thing that election illustrated is that when it come to local politics people *everywhere* are largely apathetic and only really care when taxes are an issue--or other such things that directly impact upon their income, etc. It's not only common for incumbents in local politics to be re-elected time and again, it's the shocking exception when they aren't. To twist that around into some kind of mandate for Pleasant is just plain silly. "
Long-time Resident wrote on July 01, 2006 12:46 PM:
"Fully 30% of those voting in the last village election wanted to see a change on the Village Board. While not a majority, they represent a significant -- and growing -- portion of the community. The highly intolerant, totally black & white, strangely irrational mentality incapable of balanced discussion exhibited by Peter & Co. is characteristic of those treated or strongly influenced by the Hoffman Institute Quadrinity Process. We will be seeing more of it in the near future, unless the concerned members of this community can come together and defend the best interests of this village and ALL of its residents: young and old, rich and poor, newish and long-time. "
Fear of Hoffman wrote on July 01, 2006 8:02 PM:
"Long-Time Resident took the words from my mouth -- you can't argue LOGIC with people who have been "processed" through the Hoffman Quadrinty fleece-the-wealthy-pyramid-scheme-brainwashing-machine. They are taught to find it in their core that they are always right no matter how illogical. It's a waste of breath to even try to argue sense and reason with a Hoffmanized accolyte. And yes, she wants the campus and town for her Hoffman groupies -- why else has she poured money into the facilities only while flatly refusing to help her alma mater where they needed it -- programs, scholarships, salaries and materials for running an *educational* insitution? What's the difference in town? The goals are the same -- prepare the space for Hoffman Institute East with lots of Beds-n-Breakfasts and Hotel Rooms at $250 a night and so on. She wants the resisting villagers to leave so she can have the space for her sick brainwashed upscale processees. And people wonder why locals get so incensed -- I'd rather have Branch Dravidians move in...."
"Sigh" wrote on July 08, 2006 6:56 PM:
"Hope someone sends all this to George. He co-chaired today's phony Aurorafest -- forced out of our village park to suit Pleasant, stuck in at the fire house, all vendors approved by her LLC, parade participants censored on her behalf by our Mayor. So sad. Does anyone else remember that Aurorafest began as celebration of 200th year of US independece and the very rights of self-determination we've lost in this village? "
Noticing Irony wrote on July 09, 2006 10:23 AM:
"The whole business of Aurora Mayor Tom Gunderson censoring other village government officials is particularly ironic in view of Aurorafest co-chair George Peter's lifelong public support of the US Constitution. His wife even wrote a play to commemorate the writing of the Consitution (free showing at the Morgan Opera House in Aurora on September 10.) So -- where is George Peter now when the Mayor is cutting off the Constitutional Rights of his fellow members of local government? What gives him the right? And most importantly -- what is the Mayor so afraid they might say?"

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