Wow. I don’t read the Watertown Daily Times every day so I’m only hearing about this now, but apparently some misinformed, tea-party affiliated politician from the 115th District named Karen M. Bisso (pictured below) is under fire for attacking land trusts. This attack oddly included TILT, despite not being in (or anywhere near) her district. I’d like to think that she just pulled our name out of the air because we’ve been doing such a good job of getting our name out there! Luckily, the staff at the Times (strong TILT supporters) essentially spanked Bisso in both Thursday’s article below and an editorial that ran on Saturday. Unfortunately, once untrue information like this gets out to the public, even if it’s immediately disproved, the integrity of an organization is already damaged. Time for some positive PR!
Bisso’s Claims on Land Trusts Come Under Fire
THURSDAY, AUGUST 16, 2012
The campaign manager for an Assembly candidate who compared land trusts to Ponzi schemes said the claim was “factually based but off the wall.”
115th Assembly District candidate Karen M. Bisso’s political opponents, the state, the land trusts and an Adirondack Park newspaper say that campaign manager Russell Finley’s explanation for the accusation of widespread municipal scam artistry is half right.
“I think it’s safe to say that she does not understand the way the Nature Conservancy works,” said Connie Trickett, a spokeswoman for the Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy.
Mrs. Bisso faces off in a Sept. 13 GOP primary against Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey, R-Peru, and David J. Kimmel, a Clinton County resident. The winner will face Plattsburgh City Councilman Timothy R. Carpenter in the Nov. 6 general election. Mrs. Bisso will be on the ballot in the general election regardless of the Sept. 13 outcome, by virtue of her appearance on the Conservative Party ticket. The district spans into the four easternmost St. Lawrence County towns.
Earlier this month, Mrs. Bisso’s campaign sent out a news release that claimed land trusts use state money to buy land, and then sell the rights for the land back to the state at a profit. Land trusts are nonprofit organizations that work to place conservation restrictions on parcels of land — for example, restrictions that say subdivisions can’t be created on the land.
Mrs. Bisso’s release specifically said the Thousand Islands Land Trust, based in Clayton, and the Nature Conservancy, which is involved in more than 100,000 acres of land deals in the Adirondack Park, are participants in the “scam” that represents the “biggest Ponzi scheme in history.” The campaign also claimed that once acquired by the state, the land is taken off the tax rolls.
Neither of the claims checks out.