Adirondack Esplanade Agency’s abutting baton could breach mold
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If Gov. Andrew Cuomo appoints retired advocate Karen Feldman as Adirondack Esplanade Bureau chair, he will accomplish some bodies blessed — abnormally Feldman herself.
“I don’t appetite to complete effusive, but I adore it,” she said a few canicule afterwards the November APA meeting, her third as acting chair. “We accept an befalling to accomplish a aberration to New Yorkers.”
Her broadly accepted arrangement would arresting an aperture to a beyond basin of approaching candidates for the job, as she would be the attenuate bureau baton alleged from alfresco the Adirondack Park. That’s a botheration for some esplanade association who adopt a full-time acquaintance as chair, admitting some who accept ahead lobbied adjoin alfresco candidates accept alone that activity in her case.
Feldman said she cannot say if or back she may be appointed full-fledged chair. But the 61-year-old outdoorswoman — who brand to ski, golf and angle — is active the bureau superbly, according to her predecessor, Sherman Craig.
“I accept been actual afflicted with her alertness to accept to all sides,” said Craig, of St. Lawrence County, who retired in July from the $30,000-per-year post. Among Feldman’s attributes, he said, “she is a lawyer, and one of the things about actuality armchair is afterward the aphorism of law.”
He added that her accepting an Adirondack additional home and acquaintance in the city arena gives her a across of acquaintance with the state. “I achievement the governor appoints her,” he said.
If he does, Cuomo will be breaking the accepted aphorism that the APA administrator charge alive aural the park. Feldman’s home in Hudson, Columbia County, is able-bodied south of the dejected line, a three-hour drive to the APA address in Ray Brook. Local government groups in accurate accept usually pushed for in-park chairs.
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Cuomo nominated her as an APA affiliate about 5 1/2 years ago. Active in Democratic backroom for years, Feldman has been a behind-the-scenes attack architect and acclamation adviser. She volunteered on campaigns for Hillary Clinton, above New York City Mayor David Dinkins and the backward U.S. Rep. Geraldine Ferarro, the closing two whom she considers abutting friends. (Ferraro died in 2011.) Added afresh she has been complex with the campaigns of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep.-elect Antonio Delgado. She has been a paid adviser for accompaniment aldermanic races, including those of Assembly associates Didi Barrett and Carrie Woerner.
One of Feldman’s paid political consulting assignments had a antecedent with Cuomo. She represented Denise O’Donnell in 2006, back O’Donnell competed with Cuomo for the Democratic Party band on the acclamation for advocate general. She additionally was paid to advice Susan Zimet in her bootless bid to become a accompaniment agent that year.
Feldman was a accumulated advocate until 1993, back she was assassin to arch the tennis alignment for changeable athletes. She served as controlling administrator of the WTA Tour Players Association through the mid-1990s. A captain of the women’s tennis aggregation at Yale University, she spent a few years as a pro.
“I was a acceptable doubles amateur — managed to bastard into the U.S. Open one year,” Feldman said. She said she brand to assignment as a partner, and it is with that spirit that she approaches APA affairs. She said she wants to apprehend from assorted interests and respects the assay of APA pros. “It’s absolutely a aggregation effort, not aloof with my board, but additionally our staff. Their ascribe is acutely important.”
Lawyer Fred Monroe, the above administrator of the Warren County lath of admiral and a longtime babysitter of the APA from his administering posts with the Adirondack Esplanade Local Government Review Lath and the Adirondack Association of Towns & Villages, said he has commonly argued adjoin a non-park citizen branch the APA. In fact, a few years ago he objected to then-APA affiliate Richard Booth’s proposed arrangement as administrator back the Spitzer administering was testing the waters.
“We consistently anticipation the armchair should alive in the Adirondacks,” Monroe said. “We did argue Dick Booth, alike admitting we apperceive he is a acute guy … . I alleged him and told him that he would be a acceptable member, but (we) adopt a administrator who lives in the Adirondacks and is accountable to the decisions of the APA.”
He said he would accomplish an barring with Feldman because she and her adept partner, Tom Williams, are Adirondack acreage owners.
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Feldman said Williams has endemic a acreage in Paradox for 22 years — 9 acreage with a farmhouse — that the brace uses frequently. A few years ago, they additionally acquired a 1,600-acre fishing, hunting and hiking affected at West Canada River.
“It sets a precedent,” Monroe said, “but at the aforementioned time she pays taxes here. She has a actual acceptable faculty of the issues, I think.”
Some aren’t as flexible. Town of Horicon Supervisor Matt Simpson said he has annihilation adjoin Feldman — “I anticipate she’s a fair broker,” he said — but he wants the armchair to be a esplanade resident. As admiral of the Adirondack Association of Towns & Villages, Simpson told Cuomo’s agent secretary for the environment, Venetia Lannon, that he thinks the administrator needs to be addition who understands the lives of those active in the esplanade by actuality there daily.
For abundant of the fall, Lannon, who larboard the Cuomo administering in November, had been campaigning absorbed parties, including ecology organizations, about Feldman.
Neil Woodworth, controlling administrator of the Adirondack Mountain Club, said he has formed with Feldman on a activity to acquisition a biocontrol adjustment for the hemlock bristling adelgid, a non-native timberline pest. He beneath to accord his assessment of her acceptable the arch of the APA.
John Sheehan, agent for the Adirondack Council, said the alignment doesn’t necessarily article to her as chair. The key, he said, is whether Cuomo appoints able environmentalists to accompany her on the board.
Protect the Adirondacks Controlling Administrator Peter Bauer said he was contacted by the governor’s appointment about Feldman’s candidacy, and responded by adage she would be a loyal soldier for Cuomo and accommodating to do as the governor directs whether it “was rational or acknowledged or not.”
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Feldman said Bauer is off-base. “I’m not an acclamation lawyer; I’m not an accessible of the governor,” she said. “I’m not bound to anyone.”
She knows she has supporters in the Capitol and she hopes she gets appointed, Feldman said, but the amount is in the governor’s hands. The Senate would accept to accept any new associates to the APA and there are two vacancies and four asleep terms, including Feldman’s. The governor gets to accredit the administrator after aldermanic action.
Still, he generally seeks ascribe from the accessible officials, decidedly from accompaniment Sen. Betty Little, the adept North County lawmaker. Feldman said she was beholden that Little, a Republican, and Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger from Manhattan wrote belletrist to Cuomo advising her for the APA. Cuomo accustomed a abstracted letter of advocacy for Feldman from Gillibrand.
Little has accepted Feldman for years, affair her through Williams, who was admiral of the Adirondack Landowners Association, Feldman said.
Recently, the Queensbury administrator said she told the governor’s appointment that she supports Feldman as chair, although she did say she maintains a alternative for in-park APA members. She said her endorsement comes because Feldman has credible a able assignment belief and compassionate of issues. She said it was credible back she was approached by a Cuomo abettor that the administering desires Feldman to arch the board.
Feldman said her APA column is her aftermost job. In the role, she hopes to focus on convalescent assortment in the esplanade — a Cuomo ambition — as able-bodied as angry invasive breed and award solutions to overuse of areas of the park.
This adventure originally appeared on AdirondackExplorer.org, the non-profit newsmagazine accoutrement the Adirondack Park. Read added at adirondackexplorer.org.
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