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A Voice of Sanity

by on March 13, 2012

I have been given permission to share an email sent to the Recreation Commission:

Members of the New Hartford Recreation Commission,

I just watched a video of your March 2012 meeting.  From minute 46 to minute 55 you discuss the 25 year old Brodie Park Regulations.  It took you all of 9 minutes to come to the unanimous decision that not only should you reaffirm the rules, but that they should be extended to Brown’s Corner, and Chapin Park.  There was no discussion of any of the changes in town over the last 25 years that might cause a need for a change in the regulations.  I’ll go over some of my concerns (bold text) with the regulations; perhaps some of the board will have the same concerns.

1.  Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
In 1987 fall sports in town were limited.  There may have been fall soccer, but there was no baseball, or football.  Sunset on October 1, 2012 will be at 6:32pm; November 1 at 5:45pm.  Space for practice is limited.  There is no way all teams could practice prior to 6:30, never mind 5:45.  You would essentially shut down the sports programs.  I’m sure that is not your intent.

2.  Only residents and/or property owners of New Hartford may purchase a park sticker.  A sticker and/or walk-in card is required….Group rental regs apply.
Other than for access to the beach, does anybody have one of these cards?  Does it even exist?  Will the resident state trooper be enforcing stickers?

5.  Children’s Summer Program, Mon – Thur, 9am – noon, programs area is off limits.

Since the program is active Mon – Fri, 8:00 – 5:00, why are the program areas only off limits M-Th, 9-noon?  If my child is at Multi-Sports Camp at 1pm
on Friday afternoon are others not involved in the program allowed to use those same fields? 

10.  No dogs, pets, or other animals shall be allowed.

The trails at Brodie South seem like a great place to walk a dog, while the beach at Brodie North doesn’t seem the appropriate place.  Shouldn’t some
common sense be exercised?

11.  No vehicles will be allowed to drive on the grounds.  Parking on town roads adjacent to the park is prohibited.

The grounds are used for parking for special events such as the Race Around the Lake, and Big Wheels at Brodie, as well as, other events.  

Will enforcement of this rule eliminate beloved events?      

Does the Rec Commission even have jurisdiction over the town roads adjacent to the parks?  Will Chapin Park be unusable unless residents live within walking distance?     There is a church across the street from Chapin Park.  Those attending church park on the street.  Is all parking banned on a street adjacent to a park, or just banned for users of the park? 
12.  Use of radios, cassette players, etc, must be maintained at levels that do not interfere with other users of the park and neighbors.

Does this apply to summer concerts at Brodie?  The concerts are fun for all who attend, but far louder than any radio or cassette player. 

17.  Residents and/or property owners wishing to have group activities must notify and receive approval from the town and/or Recreation Director.

Regulation for group activities will be determined by the Recreation Commission.

This regulation appears to allow the Selectman’s Office or the Rec Director/Commission to approve exceptions to the above rules.  Since many of the regulations are currently waived to allow New Hartford Days, Big Wheels, and Race Around The Lake, why would they not be waived for organized youth sports?  Why the discrimination against the children?

20.  Open fires are prohibited.  Grill cooking is permitted in designated picnic areas only.     Does the presence of a picnic table designate a picnic area?  I don’t know of any signs posted by the Rec Commission that designate a specific area.

Does the absence of a sign mean no grills?  There are picnic tables inside the playground, does that mean grills are allowed?  It doesn’t seem to be
the appropriate place for a grill.

If some of my concerns appear absurd or beyond common sense, that was my intent.  I find it absurd and beyond common sense that you would take a total of 9 minutes to consider 25 years worth of changes in the town, and not only reaffirm the regulations, but extend them to additional locations.

The Friends of Brodie Park South (FoBPS) is an extremely vocal group.  I understand that it is putting pressure on the Rec Commission, as well as, the First Selectman Jerram to enforce rules that it likes, such as, the parks close as at sunset, but to allow other rules to go without enforcement, such as, walking dogs in Brodie Park South.  I am unaware of the membership of FoBPS, but if Maria Moore (reporter/editor of NewHartfordPlus is not a member, she is a strong supporter of the group.  Here is an excerpt from her September 1, 2011 post regarding BPS:

[From the Editor:  This portion of Mike’s post is being temporarily taken down while counsel reviews an email from Maria Moore claiming that her blog cannot be quoted. This portion of the post discussed an exchange where Ms. Moore was talking about walking her dog at BPS.]

I don’t believe that FoBPS has any problem with Maria Moore’s statements that she is in violation of rule #10 (no dogs) and #11 (no parking on adjacent town roads).  FoBPS sole concern for the rules is to eliminate youth sports from Brodie Park South.  I hope that the Rec Commission, whose purpose should be to promote recreation on the town’s parks, realize the motives of FoBPS.  I think that Ms. Moore’s walking her dog in the park is a fine use.  There is plenty of open space and trails.  If the parking lot is full, what is the problem with parking on the side of the road.  In fact, there is ample room at BPS to pull completely off the road.

I ask you, the members of the Recreation Commission, to reconsider your reaffirmation and extension of the Brodie Park Regulations, and to amend these rules for the increased enjoyment of our wonderful parks.  I also thank you for the considerable time that you all willingly donate to keep those parks places that the families of New Hartford will treasure for years to come.

Sincerely,

Mike Maloney
239 Town Hill Road

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From → Youth Sports

8 Comments
  1. Neil permalink

    Good points, Mike.

    On the video, the spokesman for FoBPS was Maria Moore’s husband and NH+ business partner, Bob Moore. Part of what he said was about noise from the generator that powers the portable light unit used at BPS last fall. That was nothing but his personal opinion, he didn’t provide decibel figures or any facts.

    I heard that same complaint from another person last fall and went to BPS to see (hear) for myself. While I didn’t bring a DB meter, I listened carefully as I drove there on Niles (car windows open, heater fan off, radio off, engine at idle), plus I walked to the foot of the closest neighbor’s driveway to listen. The generator was barely audible. The loudest things I heard were the voices of children playing on their own…not even the voices of the football children practicing.

    Additionally, I have professional experience with various portable generators and know that some are noisy and some are not. The one on loan from O & G being used last fall at BPS is a quite one.

    • Mike permalink

      Thanksfor the support Neal.

      5pm this evening at the New Hartford Library, the Rec Commission will revisit it’s regulation decision. There will be no opportunity for public comment, but the meeting is open to the public. Hope you can make it.

  2. New Hartford Mama permalink

    I believe that the Rec. Commission has lost it’s way. This decision appears rushed, lazy, and lacking serious consideration. How do we entrust any Commission with the power to write rules and regulations, when they do so with such little respect or consideration for consequences. Mike is right. The rules are so outdated that they are absurd. I also believe that the time has come for the FoBPS to be exposed. I frequently sit on the sidelines watching our football teams practice and enjoying the beauty and peacefulness of our town. Yep. Peacefulness. Contrary to FoBPS’s assertion & volume enhanced recordings, it is peaceful. Ask the Mom’s & Dad’s who conduct business calls as they sit & support their children’s activities. Stop by, see for yourself. Bring your lawn chair or a blanket and picnic dinner. Enjoy the sunset and sounds of children engaging in an activity that teaches them work ethics & makes them proud. Many people do. It’s a community event, and one of the many reasons that I love New Hartford.

  3. Can Anyone Say Discrimination? permalink

    The Rec Commission was backed into a corner because of the perpetual complaining by the FoBPS. They were worried that legally they couldn’t say no to the boaters, no to the skaters and no to the basketball players, but allow youth football to use the park. So in order to get it “off the table”, i.e. to get FoBPS out of their hair, they reaffirm the rules. Oh, but they didn’t mean for all of the other events in town. Why can they logically reason from Point A to Point B, but not see Point B to Point C? Rules have to be followed, or not followed, or you have a discrimination case. You’re worried about what the boaters will say? Good luck dealing with the 300 football moms and dads.

  4. Mike permalink

    Ms. Moore is misinformed on United States copyright law. The fair use doctrine permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Commentary, criticism, & news reporting are examples of such use.

  5. stephaniegorman permalink

    Mike, you are right. That excerpt falls under “fair use”. The law is here: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

  6. Chris Valko permalink

    I was looking at some information about copyright law last night and found a website http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html from the U.S. copyright office that lists the “fair use” doctrine as an exception. It says in part, “Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

    1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
    2 The nature of the copyrighted work
    3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
    4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work.”

    The article also stated: “The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

    Hope this sheds some light, although I’m sure you’re counsel already knows this. I also read that bloggers are not covered under the same protections that real journalists are, and subsequently can be held legally responsible for libel and slander.

    Thank you to the authors of this blog for bringing some refreshing insight into the real truth behind the silly issues currently being dealt with in this quiet little town.

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