Comments posted to the local newspaper's website in response to an article about fundraising for the Aurora Library and Opera House clearly demonstrate the ongoing local concern about Pleasant Rowland’s “transformation” of our village and control of its future. The heartfelt and often eloquent comments ran about 6-to-1 against her involvement our village.

Restoring Morgan Opera House a priority

By Jennifer Hogan / Special to The Citizen
Saturday, March 31, 2007

AURORA - During the early part of the 1980s, George Peter, along with a small group of Aurora citizens, knew that the building that housed the Aurora Free Library and the then-unused and neglected Morgan Opera House was a hidden gem of the community.

The group approached the library committee with the idea of remodeling the second floor of the opera house. The committee agreed, and the Aurora Free Library Preservation Committee was born. Now, more than 20 years later, the preservation committee is once again looking to delve into a remodeling project that is expected to cost more than $300,000.

The building's roof, front steps and second floor lighting are in dire need of repair. “The roof is original to the building,” said preservation committee president, Janet Heslop during a fundraising pork roast dinner held at the Aurora Fire Department Saturday afternoon. “There are spots that it leaks and pigeons have taken up residence in the roof.”

Heslop said that the roof has never been completely redone, but rather patched when needed since it was first constructed in the 1890s. The roof is clay tile that has a copper undercoating and will hopefully be replaced to its original structure, according to committee members. “No more Band-Aids,” said committee member Kelly Tehan.

The committee has been raising funds for the roof project for approximately a year now and said that construction on the roof is set to begin in June. “We have recently sent out bid proposals but have not hired a contractor yet,” Heslop said.

The front steps of the building is another large project that is in the works. “The problem with the front steps is that the foundation shakes and is loosening from the heavy truck traffic on Route 90,” Heslop said.

Peter said that the lighting on the second floor was already quite old when it was installed as part of the renovations of the Morgan Opera House. “The lighting was antiquated when it was installed,” Peter said. “It was donated to us by a theater located in Ithaca for the original project.”

For community members the library, as well as the Morgan Opera House, is the heart of the community. “My daughter Vienna always uses the library,” said community member Jacci Farlow. “The building is the heart of our community's artistic spirit. It has been a great benefit to the children who have grown up here.” Farlow said that it is time to “rally the troops” and restore the treasured building.

According to Heslop, the committee currently has enough funds to replace the roof and will need to do further fundraising to finish the projects that need to be completed.

Wonders wrote on March 31, 2007 11:51 PM:
"pleasant not coughing up the moolah 4 this? shame shame, that bldg almost as old as she is"
Support wrote on April 01, 2007 9:04 AM:
"Culture people! Culture & knowledge have been obsorbed from this structure. We have fun raisers for other projects. Let's get on the ball and have many such fund raisers for this project and you'll see how fast the bills get paid. $300,000.00? This can be done. The community needs to work together."
Theory or Truth wrote on April 01, 2007 12:15 PM:
"Is this a theory or is it a proven fact that the reason behind the stairs needing to be replaced is due to the heavy truck traffic. I had lived in Aurora all my life and once Pleasant came in and changed everything in the village my family and I moved out of town. Yes things may be different now but Aurora is not Skaneateles like people are trying to make it. The children of the town used to be able to go swimming and then go grab a ice cream at Macks Drugstore. Some of the families cant afford that now that prices have gone up at what is now called Dories. Its truly a shame this has to happen to better the community. The trucks that are going through Aurora seem to be making some deliveries in town. So do you suggest we cancel those? Then Aurora will be in great shape, right. Those stairs have been there for as long as I can remember. Maybe its not the trucks it is actually due to being old. "
"Rally the troops"??? wrote on April 01, 2007 2:43 PM:
"When Jackie Farlow - who does ***not*** live in Aurora - "rallies the troops", someone always gets hurt. Can't this project be promoted without including her?"
Propaganda!!!!!!!! wrote on April 01, 2007 2:45 PM:
"The only reason that the trucks are mentioned is to give Farenthold more ammunition. Yeah, lets ban all the trucks in Aurora. "
Reclaim Aurora wrote on April 01, 2007 3:53 PM:
"JACKY: *our community's artistic spirit* has been nearly destroyed by your hero Pleasant Stormtrooper Rowland, who has done her damnedest to stamp out every shred of authenticity, individuality, entrepreneurship, camaraderie, humor and creativity in my village in order to replace it with her twisted, dictatorial soul-less phony-quaint failure of a tourist trap promoted by robots like you. God help us if you and your ilk get hold of this building, too."
Sad Sad Sad wrote on April 01, 2007 5:17 PM:
"I believe we should think about repairing the community first before we get into repairing the library. The community needs to work together??? Ha ! That's not possible now, thanks to Pleasant Rowland. Love her or hate her, no one living in Aurora can deny the destructive impact she has had on its people. How many of your neighbors do YOU feel uncomfortable around now? But how do you have a fundraiser to repair that kind of damage? I don't think we could raise enough money to get Pleasant to give us our town back, and leave us the hell alone. "
Fed up with it all. wrote on April 01, 2007 6:15 PM:
"So true, especially about Dorie's. All gussied up for the tourists, to the exclusion of the local kids. Everyone should have seen that coming. Some did, and the others didn't listen to them. I am fed up with Pleasant's tourists. I am DONE being friendly or even polite to them. This summer, I declare, I will tell them what I think. "
Wake Up wrote on April 01, 2007 11:36 PM:
"You people have bigger problems than having a place for kids to hang out. Lets see, they go from hanging out @ Dories to the Fargo for social interaction. Thats healthy! The college owned buildings and these private properties granted to Plesant was a contractural agreement which I would think it would not be anyones business of what was to be done with these said properties. But instead you choose to show your ignorance by still living in the past, and by these actions having the beauty of this picturesque village fall slowly into another depressed area in NY. So, I guess by Plesant giving her time and money to rebuild your community for your childrens future was a huge mistake. To my knowledge I don't remember anyone else coming forth with the funds to do what needed to be done.

What are you so afraid of losing with this transition?. I'm not finding any creative humor in you speaking of people with such negitive and nasty comments, The same people you pass everyday on the street. Did you not learn lessons from people we have lost in our community? Take your anger and turn this into something positive. Show your children that this is a senseless battle for showing hate. Take a vacation, see how the rest of the world functions. Agree to disagree. You are becoming prisoners in your small world. Come together. Step up to Morgan and become one under one roof. "
Aurora life member wrote on April 01, 2007 11:43 PM:
"awful strange that the only people that want change are those that have lived here a short period of time and think they own it, u want history? talk to some older people, u got lots of money? chip in and u all and pleasant go build ur own country, you can call it the pleasant state of the rich and fake wannabes, o my my my, im so important, i have all the answers, , go back where u came from, aurora used to be full of real and friendly people, now it full of snots that can afford to buy or are stupid enough to pay 3 dollars for a pbj at the pleasantville drugstore, when u all die, are u gonna leave your house to the college rowland foundation so some one who is real cant move in?"
Question wrote on April 01, 2007 11:46 PM:
"did wells pay for pleasants education and this is how she repays it? maybe she will build a university in aurora and name it the al gore global warming building, studying the impact on our envuirnment from all the hot air that has blown around aurora the last few years"
To Foolish Wake Up wrote on April 02, 2007 7:47 AM:
"In a town this small, decisions about what to do with businesses affect nearly everyone, and many quite directly. What an ignorant thing to say. If they were building a landfill next door to you, would you say that it was a business decision and none of your business? If someone came and built an amusement park with loud music and bright lights across the street from the house you bought for your quiet retirement, would that also be none of your business?

Get a grip. Pleasant is rebuilding OUR town to suit her liking, to purposely drive out people she doesn't think fit her vision of what we should be, including mostly lots of people who have lived here for generations, and she has polarized a town of people who USED to be able to agree to disagree when it came to it. Now, instead, thanks to her interference and agitation, neighbors aren't even comfortable running into each other on the street or in the post office. And when there are only 300 or so of you all living in, what, 2-3 miles square? -- you're bound to run into people. Her brain-washed Hoffman-Institute-processed control freaks are scary, and their infiltration of our lives is taking a firm hold already. Aurora was fine as it was before."
Everyone knows wrote on April 02, 2007 8:59 AM:
"that "Wake Up" is the woman quoted in the article. Gone from rallying the troops for the library to criticizing the way people lived here in less than a few hours. "
I AM wide awake wrote on April 02, 2007 10:18 AM:
"Sorry Jacci, I mean Wake Up, it isn't as simple as you try to make it. Sure,Wells/Pleasant/LLC or whoever today's owner claims to be , holds the deed to those properties and in theory, it IS no one's business what they choose to do with them But as a practical matter in the real world, what they have decided to do with them has justifiably ENRAGED a sizable portion of the community, and instead of falling in blind lockstep with Pleasant's wishes (as you have), they have decided to make their anger known. And that anger will affect everything for everyone in town, from a walk down the sidewalk to a library fundraiser. There really is no middle ground in this matter- either you want Pleasant here, or you want her gone.

Like it or not Jacci, this animosity will affect your life, and your hopes for the community too. The anger is NOT going away. Indeed, it is getting more intense as Pleasant tightens her noose around the people of Aurora. And you want people to "become one" ? That is laughable. That can't happen until Rowland backs off, and gets out of Aurora for good - along with her fawning handmaiden, Ryerson. Those two have done enough damage for 3 lifetimes."
Anger Management wrote on April 02, 2007 11:57 AM:
"While those who are against Pleasant's schemes in Aurora have justifiable anger which we try to direct in legal and productive channels, there are individuals among those who support Pleasant whose anger at the thwarting of Her Will takes juvenile and destructive bents -- like the person who keyed the entire length of my car because it has an anti-Pleasant bumper sticker, or like the woman who has been known to drive around Aurora screaming and harassing people who don't support Pleasant as they try to go about their daily business. Let's make it clear that some anger is reasonable -- and some is not -- and that "some people" could use some assistance with their mental health."
Community Theater by and for the Community wrote on April 02, 2007 2:46 PM:"
Yes, people who support Pleasant Rowland/Aurora Foundation LLC often behave very badly in public. Meanwhile, it is sad that they are dipping their oars into a good project like the repair of the MOH roof. I hope they don't get control of the project, but let the MOH be the same wonderful, locally-operated, independent organization it has been for some while now. We like the slate of performers they bring us -- the board knows us, knows our community, are a part of us, don't try to turn us into something we aren't, don't kowtow to upscale snobby tourists. Let our Community Theater remain truly that -- a theater of OUR community -- leave those aggressive, controlling, manipulative outsiders out of it -- don't let them spoil one of the few things left to us. We don't want your stinkin' money when it comes with your strings attached. Leave us alone to pull together amongst ourselves -- leave us this last shred of independence from The Machine of Pleasant/Wells/Aurora Foundation."
Long-time Coalition Supporter wrote on April 02, 2007 4:45 PM:
"Do you think they are just dipping their oars? Look at who is speaking for the project now, and check out their board members: some are people who applaud wildly for every single step Rowland takes in this village. I gave $1,000 to this project, sincerely hoping for the best in terms of community preservation on all levels, and got a barely civil thank you. I'm now beginning to think they'd be happier with a hand-out from Rowland than my money or yours, though I'd like to be proven wrong. "
Scott Heinekamp wrote on April 02, 2007 9:23 PM:
"Good Lord people, I certainly enjoyed the dinner. Pleasant Rowland has NOTHING to do with the roof renovation. I thank the good people who have donated to this important project. If your thank you was insufficient I apologize but we are all volunteers. We are still accepting donations to the Aurora Free Library Preservation Committee to repair the roof, the lighting system in the theater, and the front steps. Thanks again -- Scott Heinekamp 315-364-7676 home 315-246-7151 cell"
Thank you, Scott wrote on April 03, 2007 8:00 AM:
"Thank you for assuring us that Pleasant is NOT involved in the Opera House. We all most sincerely hope it can remain that way, because we love the MOH as it is (except for needing repairs, of course!) Don't mind us airing our worries. We've seen before how if Pleasant decides she wants something, she gets it, one way or another. Given the people talking to the paper about the project (her avid supporters -- Jacci, George, Kelly), we were afraid she was turning her sites your way. Let's hope she never does, and more power to you!"
From the outside looking in: wrote on April 03, 2007 10:56 AM:
"I’m sadden by the anger that is projected in this town. You say that it is justified, but are these types of comments both here and on the coalition website are ever justified? I do not live in Aurora, but please do not immediately call me an outsider or tourist as I am neither. I have loved your town for several years; have friends who live here and have come to appreciate the history and spirit that is Aurora. You are correct that the renovations that have taken place since Pleasant has come back to town are significant. There has been a change in character and change is difficult but it doesn't mean that it's bad.

Why are you battling each other? Imagine for a moment that you are Pleasant, take a breath and truly put yourself in her shoes. You have fond memories of your college days and the fun you had. You've been successful in business and want to give back. You've given back to your home town of Madison and have been approached by your alma mater to help. The town is struggling, Mackenzie Childs is going bankrupt, buildings are in disrepair and they've asked for your help. So you give. You give an incredible amount of time and money to bring back a town that you love. After initial renovations are complete you stay and continue to pay the expenses to support the businesses that you one day hope can support themselves. Yet many residents fight at every turn. What would you do if you were her? What can you do to help? No one can do this alone. Start again, believe she has good intentions. Love one another. You have been given a gift, start from there and figure out how to embrace it so that your town flourishes the way you want it to. What would the past residents of Aurora do if this happened during their lifetime? The families that have been in the town for centuries: Avery, Leffingwell, Morgan, and Zabriskie. Would they behave the same as you, or would they embrace and work together with the benefactor to grow the town? It’s really up to you…."
Jacci Farlow wrote on April 03, 2007 1:45 PM:
"What are you all are going on about? This was a simple and successful event for the community and a supportive article. If I write anything anywhere I sign my name to it. This "wake up" person is not me. I did not ask to be interviewed. These kinds of comments are what is polluting our town. Aurora was and is a very nice place to live - full of good and supportive people. There are a handful of people here who seem to multiply themselves with aliases and feel the need to attack and belittle. For the world at large - the vast majority of us here love our town, our neighbors, our library and the good Pleasant has done for us. Next time, come to a fundraising event, and cast your dollars, not your aspersions. And if you are not ashamed of what you are saying, sign your real name. "
Holy cow, people. wrote on April 03, 2007 3:37 PM:
"For all of the divisiveness and negativity you people accuse Rowland's camp of fostering, it would appear that 95% of this sort of ugly, disgraceful behavior originates from your own group. What in God's name does Pleasant Rowland have to do with this library fundraiser? Was she hidden in the corner, nibbling on pork roast? Is she planning to convert the MOH into the American Girl Doll Museum? Am I missing something here? And the "fed up" person who plans on telling the tourists exactly what he/she thinks -- that's just absurd.

These tourists are not exactly stepping off the bus fresh from the brainwashing procedure at the Hoffman Institute as some of you would have us think. I would venture that the vast majority of our visitors probably don't even know who Pleasant Rowland *is* and are more likely coming to see the Inn or the MacKenzie-Childs studio. But I'm sure you're right -- the Inn was better in its dusty, paint-peeling state of decrepitude. Wells should stayed single-sex and limped along to its eventual doom. Dorie's should still be selling ice cream cones at 1968 prices. In fact, nobody should ever bother to change, improve, or fix anything because narrow-minded, aggressive jerks like yourselves never miss a chance to point out how bad a job the rest of us are doing. Keep living in the past, friends, because if you have your way, pretty soon that's all Aurora is going to have left."
Another poster from Aurora who wants to see this printed wrote on April 04, 2007 8:10 AM:
"Wrote this in response to "Outside Looking In" in that sizzling thread of responses to the Morgan Opera House article in the Citizen. For some reason, the Citizen refused to include this in the responses to the article. Don't know why - but here it is anyway.

Your opinions are invalid because they arise from an incomplete base of knowledge of the situation. Who are you to pass any kind of judgment on the anger that is so pervasive throughout Aurora? Your assertions to the contrary aside, you cannot grasp what is taking place. You don’t live here. But can you not comprehend what you read? To repost something from above: "
" our community's 'artistic spirit' has been nearly destroyed by your hero Pleasant Stormtrooper Rowland, who has done her d*mnedest to stamp out every shred of authenticity, individuality, entrepreneurship, camaraderie, humor and creativity in my village in order to replace it with her twisted, dictatorial soul-less phony-quaint failure of a tourist trap promoted by robots like you. God help us if you and your ilk get hold of this building, too."
That description of Pleasant’s impact on Aurora could not be more accurate. And yes, “change” of that nature is indeed “bad”. I don’t know how you can read that post, and then ask why we are “battling each other”. How can the divide be made any clearer than by what that person wrote? There is a real conflict of human values taking place in Aurora now, touched off by Pleasant Rowland. Some people are willing to accept phoniness, sterility, uniformity, and thralldom, and others are not. It’s that simple. Unfortunately, because of Pleasant’s monopoly on employment in Aurora, many residents are forced to accept what they don't want. Rowland has proven herself to be an arrogant, callous dictator whose unbending ego is suffocating the life out of Aurora. The “spirit” of Aurora you wrote about has already been destroyed by that overbearing woman. Please don’t insult us by touting her so-called generosity. For all the money she has spent, she has not spent one dime to please anyone but herself. She does only what she wants to do, and has turned her back on the concerns of many of the people who live in Aurora. So please, rethink your Pollyanna opinions when it comes to Pleasant Rowland. "
Aurora Local wrote on April 04, 2007 11:14 AM:
"Just as at Wells, where Pleasant has given lots of money for cosmetic things, but flatly refuses to help with programs or anything to improve education at Wells, or to keep the place afloat. Her approach to "giving" makes a person wonder if she doesn't have other plans for the restored and beautified physical spaces if the costs of going co-ed (which still far exceed very modest increase in students who attend) sink the place."
Outside looking in: wrote on April 04, 2007 2:03 PM:
"Wow, the anger is incredible. To say that someone’s opinions are invalid is pretty unfair. If you are truly interested in communicating with others then all opinions are valid. They may not be the same as your opinions but valid none the less. It seems that you are only interested in blasting your insults and not in engaging a discussion. I don’t believe that the root of the problem is a “conflict of human values” but rather a lack of communication and respect for one another.

Calling Pleasant a dictator is completely out of line. No one deserves that kind of maliciousness. I challenge you to have discussions without insults and slurs. I challenge you to listen to others opinions, find consensus and compromises. Be a community for crying out loud. That’s what you say you want, start acting like it yourself. Start listening and respecting, then others just may start listening to your opinions as well. You said “she has not spent one dime to please anyone but herself”. I would have to respectfully disagree with you. 200 people are employed at Mackenzie Childs because she brought it out of bankruptcy. The Leffingwell House and French House both have been restored. The Inn, Fargo and Dories provide valuable services to locals and visitors. And the tax roles have received a boost as well. Other businesses have profited like Jane Morgan’s and the Grove and I’m sure more will follow all lending to a more prosperous village. I understand that you do not like how the village is currently structured. Ok, I value that opinion. What would help is for you to come up with a plan of how you would like to see the village grow and thrive, then COMMUNICATE with others to build consensus and compromise. Create a positive situation for everyone. All is not lost……."
Reply to Outside Looking wrote on April 04, 2007 2:56 PM:
" The use of the word "dictator" to describe Pleasant is not an exercise in mindless name-calling, and it is most certainly not "out-of-line". She has earned it. It is a description of her, based upon years of dictator-like behavior. If my time was permitting to relating them all, and typing them out, I could give you instance after instance of her arbitrarily imposing her will, refusing to listen to anyone else, and intimidating others. In my book, that is acting like a dictator. And if it talks like a dictator, and acts like a dictator, it must be a dictator. But that is old news for the people living in Aurora.

Some people have decided that her way is OK by them, and others have decided that it isn't. And since her way is the only way available to the people of Aurora, that's how the lines have been drawn.

In regard to your suggestion of reaching some kind of "compromise", I'm afraid that is out of the question - because Pleasant does not do compromise, she does not know the meaning of the word. That has been the problem all along. She wants things and does things her way, and her way only, and she has shown no interest at all in the interests, wishes, or opinions of other people, the people who actually live in the town she in reshaping. How can anyone compromise with someone with an attitude like that? One cannot. But oops,there it is again, making her sound like a dictator. And I guess we mustn't use that kind of "insult" or "slur" toward her. It would take some kind of dramatic conciliatory gesture from Pleasant Rowland to start easing the divisions in Aurora . And if you believe that is going to happen anytime soon, I have some oceanfront property in North Dakota I might be able to interest you in. "
Outside looking in: wrote on April 04, 2007 3:52 PM:
"I was actually thinking the "dramatic conciliatory gesture" as you put it needs to come from you, the ones who are initiating these attacks, not Pleasant. But the more I hear from you, the more I am convinced you just want a fight. And I'm not interested in a fight....just interested in trying help you realize that there may be a better way. Hoping you will see the light and find peace with your neighbors again. Best of luck."
SIA wrote on April 04, 2007 6:00 PM:
"This is the kind of typically mealy-mouthed talk one hears during these exchanges, and it only serves to send the debate spinning into circles. You say it’s unfair to call someone else’s opinions invalid, and that ALL opinions must be considered valid. This is Pollyanna-ish nonsense and is absurdly naïve. There is in fact no valid reason why I or anyone else should have to grant equal weight to all opinions. There are informed opinions and uninformed opinions, and there are people with an axe to grind--people with agendas--and sometimes they hide their agenda and sometimes put it out there for all to see. It happens that we who are opposed to Pleasant Rowland base our opinions on the behavior we have seen her exhibit, and have formulated those opinions also through a process of clearly reasoned critical thinking… by way of which we have examined the facts and the evidence, and have come to the conclusion that Rowland’s activities in Aurora have never been carried out for the purpose of serving our community but rather simply to serve her own desires and wishes. We do not have an agenda; none of us that I know of have any personal issue with Rowland (though some who have met her have come away disliking her, it’s true) and we certainly have no contrary business interests to hers. We simply see not only a lack of benefit to having her meddling with Aurora, but in fact see her as doing great harm. And we want this harm to cease.

We ARE “being a community” by opposing her. We’re standing up for our community rather than caving in to a selfish, nit-picking, egotistical—and yes, dictatorial---woman whose interest is clearly not in helping our community but in getting her own way at all times. “No one deserves that kind of maliciousness” you say. I beg to differ. I’ll call a dictator a dictator when I see one. I believe it’s right to stand up against those that I feel are doing me and my neighbors harm. If you want to feel sorry for Pleasant Rowland, go ahead, it’s your prerogative. But to me it pegs your character clearly if you choose to stand up so openly for such a controversial figure. Even if you’re entirely happy with what she’s done, you’d think you’d stop long enough in your pussyfooting tracks to realize that perhaps we on the other side of the argument have legitimate grievances and concerns, and that we aren’t simply “bad people” who go around battling over this for the fun of it. But I ask you---what would you have us “listen to” from the other side? What do they offer? What do YOU offer? I respectfully differ with you---Rowland’s “rescue” of Mackenzie-Childs may have saved some jobs temporarily, but at the same time there’s evidence that she hardly did it in order to be anyone’s savior. But more to the point---what has her “restoration” of any of the buildings in the village done for the community? The Inn was gutted and ruined forever, and it was utterly unnecessary. It could have been restored properly without turning it into a fake shell of itself. Moreover, these businesses, especially the Inn, no longer cater to the community whatsoever, and in fact have been openly hostile to locals. The Fargo, I need remind you, was a thriving business before Rowland ever took it over.

But all this misses the point. It isn’t the idea of a developer coming in to Aurora to bring business back to life, to re-open a defunct inn, etc., that I oppose. It’s the pretense that Pleasant Rowland is some kind of great benefactor to us all because she did these things, as though she’s some kind of philanthropist. She is not. I’m not opposed to development---but NEITHER do I open my arms to it no matter what the cost. The cost for Rowland’s kind of development is too high. Given the choice between Rowland’s phony dollifying of our village, and her high-handedness---and continuing to have lived on with Aurora as it was before she came here---even with a closed (but still original) Inn…. Yes, I would have preferred the latter. Because Aurora WAS still a community then.
RA wrote on April 05, 2007 7:24 AM:
"Change will happen. Change is necessary. Change can be for the greater good. Yet significant change which irrevocably impacts communal life should not be unilateral. Change which irreversibly alters a community’s future should not be be engineered in secret. Change which requires community support for success should be achieved by consensus, not through intimidation and threats. Proposed change should be presented in an honest and forthright manner to allow for open discussion and evaluation. At all times, change should adhere to the laws which have been enacted to protect the public interest. In truth, we have documented many, many instances in which Rowland’s efforts to change our community have been dictatorial (does unilateral sound better to you?), clandestine, coercive, duplicitous, and decidedly in the gray area of legality.

But let’s not dredge up the past now. Rather, let’s look to the future. It certainly appears that Rowland will have her way eventually regarding the demolition and relocation of our postal facility. However, the USPS has review requirements for compliance with federal statutes protecting handicapped accessibility and historic preservation. (BTW, these reviews took over 6 years for the new P.O. in Skaneateles.) So why can’t Rowland wait for the review processes to accomplish their legitimate and laudable ends? Why is she unwilling to work through the compromises always necessary in such projects? Why does she continue to issue bribes, threats, and fabrications -- e.g., the M.O.U., her string of arbitrary deadlines, and the recent fantasy spun by Farenthold to Rep. Congressman Arcuri’s -- to try to force immediate resolution in absolute compliance with her her vision, her plan, her orders, her will? Inescapable conclusion: she is not acting in the best interests of the community. Enough is enough. "
C. Taylor wrote on April 06, 2007 11:05 AM:
"Since this fundraiser had absolutely nothing to do with the debate that the anti-Rowland faction has initiated on this page, I would recommend that you take it elsewhere. Someone please recommend a blog or site where it can continue and relieve us of the association you have formed with this rather harmless article about a community event which we should all support. Thank you."
Hold it right there wrote on April 06, 2007 11:20 PM:
"I recommend that we leave it RIGHT HERE and talk this out. And no one should try to stop us."
One of the few REAL locals left wrote on April 07, 2007 10:47 AM:
"It's almost time for the "Fest" again Did anyone else notice how Aurorafest judges stopped given out 1st 2nd 3rd place trophies after floats started picking on Pleasant ? Did that start after the mayor was asked to be a judge? Is it time for him to move on?"
E. Gerheart wrote on April 07, 2007 12:54 PM:
"Am I the only one to notice the irony? That those complaining that Aurora community has been ruined did not even attend a $6-12 dinner fund raiser to support the library. If they had been there, they would have seen the fire hall with every table filled: old and new Aurorans eating together, buying raffle tickets, having a good time, and building community support for the AFL/MOH. If they had attended, maybe their pictures and comments would have been in the paper--but then how could they rant? "
Taxpayer wrote on April 07, 2007 1:52 PM:
"Through strong community support and state funding, well over a quarter million dollars has been raised already. Hello?! The roof project is fully paid for, and without funds from Rowland. So why do the Rowland apologists now bring this hectoring tone to the process, lecturing us all on the need to rally, etc? (Face it: that's what provoked this online exchange.) How about congratulating the community on meeting the original goal and thanking all contributors before expanding the fundraising to cover other projects? I for one am glad the Citizen provides this open forum. In the midst of a free-wheeling discussion, some important questions are being raised and examined here, at a time when the atmosphere of factionalism (introduced by Rowland) discourages public discourse. "
MOH/AFL supporter wrote on April 07, 2007 5:35 PM:
"How do you know we weren't there? Do you even know who we all are? For many reasons, many people who have strong feelings against what Pleasant has done to our town are forced to remain anonymous for fear of losing our jobs or having other bad things happen to us. And many of us DO support the Morgan Opera House and the Aurora Free Library, so don't be so sure none of us were there, or that we don't give money through other fund raisers -- I'd wager a guess more of us do than don't."
Frequent visitor wrote on April 09, 2007 12:22 PM:
"As a frequent visitor to Aurora who encourages friends to visit as well, I have been delighted in the improvements made to the Village. It is sadly disappointing, however, to see such bickering about Pleasant Rowland's contributions to the beauty and economic growth of Aurora. Most other small towns in America would love to have Aurora's problems -- a generous benefactor with good taste! Have those of you who have such a problem with Pleasant taken a motor tour recently of small town America? Not pretty. And do you really want Aurora to be just one more depressed, dying community that eats its own young with boredom, meth labs, and teenage pregnancy? Please! Get over yourselves! "
About Frequent Visitor wrote on April 09, 2007 3:01 PM:
"...yet another dilettante weighs in. Aurora is your recreational area. For other people, it is their home. And their home has been wrecked by Ms. Pleasant, along with the inept Ms. Ryerson. The soured atmosphere, the hostility, the suspicion.....all as a result of them imposing her will on everyone living in town. It may not be a concern for a visitor who drops in for a short while, but it is for the residents. How many times do people have to point that out before the "visitors" get it? And although it also has been said many times before, stop with the fatalistic sensationalistic alternatives to Aurora's future without Pleasant. Do you honestly think that no Pleasant = "one more depressed, dying community that eats its own young with boredom, meth labs, and teenage pregnancy?" That's a pretty simplistic, black/white approach to all this. That's also an easy thing to write, and I am sure you may think it is effective for your propoganda purposes, but many in Aurora ain't buying it. What good are all these spiffed up buildings when the community neighborliness has given way to angry factions? But then again, that's nothing that visitors need concern themselves with, is it? Pleasant's superficiality will suffice nicely for them."
My opinion wrote on April 09, 2007 3:23 PM:
" is that " Frequent Visitor" has a pretty shallow understanding of the word "improvement". "
Outside Looking In wrote on April 09, 2007 7:20 PM:
"I was done, but then I read the recent comment by "Frequent Visitor" and your responses. ENOUGH!!!! Do you want your town to prosper or not? A community is not owned by anyone. Pleasant did not buy, steel or ruined it. I say she donated, you say she invested, whatever...we agree to disagree on that point and others. It's still the same lovely place. Take the things you do not like and suggest new opportunities in a positive manner. Ok, so you don't like Tango lessons at the Inn, suggest a turkey raffel, whatever...your complaining is not going to make anything any better. Being rude and insulting to your neighbors is not going to help bridge the divide. Positive energy people! You could start your new attitude by saying something nice and not insluting what I just wrote..."
Real Life wrote on April 10, 2007 7:53 AM:
"The reason why the place seems so nice to you, Frequent Visitor, is because our town has been made over to suit tourists like you -- not to meet OUR needs, the needs and desires of the people who LIVE here. It's been made over to LOOK like a perfect little dollhouse town, how whimsical and fun for paying tourists. No matter what the locals want for their own homes. But you should know it is all a facade and a false-front. Aurora is not the nice, real place it was before it was "gussied up" -- what you see is not real. Yes, I daresay there are lots of town which would jump at a chance of Pleasant's intervention -- and they would be just as big fools as many of us were at the beginning before we figured out her underlying agenda that has nothing to do with the good of the community. Good taste? That's a matter of opinion. And those other towns you've been through and didn't like -- guess what? They are REAL, not phoney. Real is not always doll-house pretty, but it is people's lives. Maybe wealthy folks on vacation have a psychological need to believe that there is some picture-perfect doll-house life to be lived out there, but that's just a fantasy. We live real lives here and would prefer to have our town grow up naturally and organically according to the tastes and desires of those of us who live here, not some rich woman's fantasy of what she thinks would be the image of a perfect life for the entertainment of wealthy visitors. In fact, that's just the sort of visitor we'd rather not have."
L Holland wrote on April 10, 2007 12:46 PM:
" "Outsider Looking In"! Wait!!! Don't go away just yet! I'd like to invite you and "Frequent VISITOR" to "visit" with me the next time you are in Aurora. I'd like to show you a different example of P. Rowland's "good taste" in Aurora - but no sane person would call it "beautification" - you won't have to walk far from the newly built Aurora Inn. I'll invite you in and you can sit at my desk or look out my kitchen window. You will look upon a mess of Rowland's making. For three and a half years we have been witnesses to, and endured as neighbors, a giant mess, a rotting, deteriorating, trashy mess, thanks to Rowland. And no, in a matter as important as this, I do NOT agree to disagree with you or Frequent VISITOR,or anyone. Gosh, how can you write that stuff and not realize that by being a "VISITOR" you really know nothing about living here? Rowland is not a benefactor, she is a business woman, and in my opinion she is a spiteful, sleazy, and dishonest business woman. If you take me up on my offer to see Rowland's contribution to my part of town, you may actually find yourself agreeing with me. "
To "Outside Looking In" wrote on April 10, 2007 12:58 PM:"
Define "prosper." To me, a town which some rich, arrogant outsider has turned against itself, neighbor against neighbor, is not "prospering," no matter how faux-attractive it looks to outsiders. No, Pleasant didn't "steel" our town (or even "steal" it), but she has wreaked a lot of unwanted havoc."
Weary insider... wrote on April 10, 2007 1:52 PM:
" "We live real lives here and would prefer to have our town grow up naturally and organically according to the tastes and desires of those of us who live here..." What doll house fantasy world do YOU live in? Reality check--this is America. Money equals power. People who own property get to do pretty much whatever they want with it. Wells College owns the Fargo, the Inn, etc. etc. They get to do what they want with those properties as long as they stay within the law. For many years things didn't change, and apparently, a lot of folks liked it that way. When Pleasant came along with her sacks full of money, change occurred rapidly. Her "agenda" was to help Wells College with its serious student retention problem. You either like what she did or you don't. But, what's the use in arguing about it? No one seems to be mad at Dorie or Tracy for selling their properties to Pleasant, but you're all mad as hell that Pleasant didn't remodel to suit you and consult with you every step of the way. In the end, your opinions just didn't matter much, did they? So...what are you going to do about it? 1) Continue in angry/victim mode until it kills you. 2) Leave town in a huff. 3) Surround your property with fences and hostile signs. 4) Leap out of your doll houses in Linda Blair fashion to sling curses and green vomit at unsuspecting tourists. 5) ...or maybe you could let the anger go, agree to disagree with your neighbors, rejoin the community and get on with life. It's the only power you really have. "
You know, Weary Insider, wrote on April 10, 2007 3:16 PM:"
You are certainly on target on one point..."Wells College (aka Pleasant Rowland) owns ..... and gets to do what they want with those properties as long as they stay within the law" .......... Couldn't agree more. But consider also that people have a right to publicly object, to show her that although our "opinions just didn't matter much", they are not going away - and that as long as these objections stay within the law as well, people have the right to have their voices heard in an attmept to effect change. Accordingly, we now have Pleasant doing what is within her rights, the protestors doing what is within their rights, and the result is the sorry situation of a community torn asunder....So in trying to determine blame here, the question comes up, as is often the case with fights - Who started it?? Well, Pleasant started it, and that is why I believe she should be held accountable for this ugly state of affairs. What Pleasant has in place in Aurora is a monopoly, and I grew up believing that a monopoly is not a desirable or ethical situation, hence the objections to it. Weren't you raised to think of "monopoly" as a dirty word - connoting greed, privilege, abuse, and corruption? Then how is it that Pleasant's supporters see her local monopoly as being fine with them? A lot of this could have been avoided with even a little accommodation being shown to the residents. Pleasant need not have been so insistent about owning the entire town. That attitude has ended up hurting everyone. "

SIA wrote on April 11, 2007 11:38 PM:"To "Weary Insider":
Stop, for just a moment, and listen to yourself. *Really* listen to yourself. Read again what you wrote. NOW THINK. This is your community, for god's sake. YOUR town, and MY town. (If in fact you really are a citizen of Aurora--I'm forced to give you the benefit of the doubt on that one). It's no "fantasy" because some of us are still willing to defend it, and have the backbone to do so. Our sense of community demands that we do so, even if it's a losing battle. YOUR sense of community, on the other hand... well, I can only call it reprehensible. Your statements are the sort spouted by those who hide their cowardice and vapid indifference behind a convenient cynicism, and pretend it's a merely a sensible acceptance of reality. The things you say are those said by the person who looks away when a crime is being committed in front of them; who shuts his or her window when a neighbor is screaming for help; who pretends not to see when there is tragedy descending on fellow citizens. "We're powerless to change these things, so why don't we just give in and all get along? Why don't we just 'rejoin the community' since we can't make a difference anyway?" At the risk of employing hyperbole, (but it's not much of an exaggeration) I must point out that this attitude you take is precisely the same as that taken by those who collaborate with tyrants, who by their silence, acquiesce to crimes and injustice committed by the powerful and the despotic. I strongly suggest you go off somewhere and think about your character, and perhaps read up on things like civic pride and civic duty. Playing one's part in a community is not simply a matter of going along with the masses or bending to the will of the monied and the powerful. I pity you that you don't seem to grasp this simple truth.

I take greatest umbrage with your final statement, "Weary." In fact we DO have the power to stand up for what's right. We have the power to say *this* I will not accept without a fight. It's THAT power that makes our life worth living. One other point---where do you find the authority to say that Rowland's agenda was to help Wells with its student retention problem? I never heard anything so laughable. How did any of Pleasant's dictatorial and petty meddling with our village help with this? If Pleasant's aim was to help Wells financially, then why didn't she donate money to the college to hire new and distinguished faculty? (As just one example of what she could have done). All that she has done for Wells has been of a shallow, cosmetic nature, clearly playing into her ego and her belief that she has some kind of innate sense of taste far superior to anyone else's. Wells' floundering financial status meant nothing to her, or else she would have offered real assistance. Instead she offered only a makeover.
Weary insider... wrote on April 12, 2007 2:08 PM:"
Dear, dear SIA...I am not quite so evil as you imagine me to be. I am not cynical or cowardly. I'm actually the kind and helpful sort. I simply disagree with you. Not everyone feels as you do--that a tragedy has occurred in our village. Do you think everyone who didn't oppose Pleasant is simply a coward? I,for one, am generally pleased with the changes to local businesses. I wish Pizzaurora could turn out a consistently good pie...but, perhaps they'll get it right, eventually. It just seems to me, weary as I am, that some of you folks are now flogging a dead horse. Someone wrote that Rowland should be held accountable, whatever that means. Are you planning to blog her to death? I think YOU need to re-read what you've written. THEN THINK. Your entire message was hyperbole--"I must point out that this attitude you take is precisely the same as that taken by those who collaborate with tyrants, who by their silence, acquiesce to crimes and injustice committed by the powerful and the despotic." Pretty big words for what you yourself characterized as a "makeover.""
To Weary insider.. wrote on April 12, 2007 4:00 PM:
"Standing ovation to you....well said! Thank you for your voice of reason!"
Yep, this is America wrote on April 12, 2007 5:54 PM:
"And to the contrary, folks: Rowland has not stayed within the law. Repeatedly, our local officials allowed her to ignore statues that exist to protect community interests, public safety, and the environment. Maybe they thought they were “helping” the village by making it “easy” for her because they believed her claims of altruism. But by failing treat her like any other individual wanting to develop property here and by failing to hold her to account for improper actions, they made a terrible mistake. And we ALL have paid the price.

Now more projects are underway, with the possibility of more to come. Do we want to see the mistake compounded? Some of us would prefer to see the process righted so that all applicable laws are followed in both letter and spirit. That requires calling community attention to the problems that have been created here, and working to promote consistent, fully reviewed development practices. This is not “angry / victim mode,” it is activist mode -- a basic American right -- the attempt to effect change, improve conditions, and prevent what we see as further harm to the community."
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