Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Leni Binder/Jodi Goodman Bethel Woods Ticket Scandal...Much Adieu About NOTHING

Was in Tony's over in Woodridge last night getting a bite to eat when I became aware of a supposed scandal involving local politician Leni Binder...she was born here in our small hamlet of Mountaindale, NY. After reading one article on the matter in the Riverkeeper, I am left shaking my head, wondering what the big deal is, why something that should not be an issue at all became news worthy.

Any one who has met me has little doubt where my own political leanings lay, and they are not beliefs that could ever see me residing in the Republican tent...that said, sometimes one should simply stand up for what is right, and this scandal seems to be the proverbial tempest in a teapot, certain people trying to cast suspicions where none reside, and as a person with left of center liberal leanings, feel compelled to speak up. I've met Leni Binder, she seems to be a very straight shooter, a commonsense, find compromise person...what she is not, is a woman, a politician who would accept a bribe, could be bought off at any price. Taking a tempest in a teapot and making it a front page news article is just wrong, and one has to wonder the political motivations driving it so close in on our own election season here in Sullivan County.

The gist of the scandal...Sullivan County Legislators Leni Binder and Jodi Goodman have been accused of sitting in box seats at certain concerts compliments of well known orchid dealer and philanthropist Stuart Salinger...the guy is LOADED. Some are claiming that sitting in those box seats compliments of Stuart Salinger could be portrayed as payback for previous support when he wanted some of his land included in Agricultural District No. 4 (see article). The vote to include those lands in District 4 was 7-2 in favor...even if Binder and Goodman had abstained from voting, the measure in question would have passed. Others are claiming the value of the gift exceeded the $75 gift limit...Do they?

If you visit the Bethel Woods website, those box seats start at $5000, and head north... if you look at the way things are set up, the price of box seats would seem to escalate based on the number of these special reserve seats you want...a block of two costing less than say a block of six or eight. Two box seats for $5,000 is for THE ENTIRE SEASON. Now, some might want to argue that certain events and the seats for them have more value, but the simple reality is, buying box seat tickets guarantees you tickets for EVERY EVENT/CONCERT held at Bethel Woods during the season...all FIFTY ONE OF THEM if you go too the Bethel Woods calender and count they up from May through to the end of the season. Doing some simple math, dividing the $5,000 by 2, then by 51 events quickly shows one that the value of these tickets based on a per event amount is about fifty bucks. Also sure we can all agree that most of us would not go see every event...IE, how many people holding say season tickets of any kind would want to go see all three nights of Phish?...well, how many people beside me would want to go see Phish all three nights? Point being, sure almost any one holding season tickets, from the lawn up through these supposed coveted box seats has tickets to give away, rather than seeing them wasted.

In addition to living in Mountaindale, I am a seasonal camper in the area. Many of the friends I camp with have seasonal tickets to Bethel Woods, some on the lawn, others under cover, and some may even have these box seat tickets similar to the ones purchased by Stuart Salinger. These friends of mine have on numerous occasions offered me FREE TICKETS, asked me if I wanted their seats for certain events...I doubt seriously they were offering me those tickets to curry favor, or to get preferential treatment at my campsite Tiki Bar, better placement around my campfire, and I doubt seriously that Stuart Salinger offered any one including Sullivan County Legislators Leni Binder and Jodi Goodman seats in the hopes of purchasing their votes, or currying favor.