Sunday, May 3, 2015


Due to a blog glitch, the original posting was lost. The Gazette letter from Mr. Powers is re-printed here.

To the Editor:

The most recent Village newsletter contained yet another insertion of an advertisement from Sunrise Solar Solutions touting that “Now is the time to go solar”.

I was troubled by this and made inquiry to Village Manager Zambrano about the advertisement.  I asked (1) whether Solar Solutions paid the Village to include this advertisement in the recent newsletters, (2) whether anyone paid the Village to include this advertisement in the recent newsletters, and (3) who physically inserted this advertisement in the Village’s newsletter such as a Village employee, someone from Solar Solutions, or anyone else.

Mr. Zambrano responded to my first question as follows:  “The added flyer from Solarize Cortlandt Croton is a joint venture between the Town of Cortlandt and the Village of Croton and the program is being funded by NYSERDA. The flyer is not an advertisement for Sunrise Solar Solutions. As just stated, the program is funded by NYSERDA for the benefit of the community.”  As to my second question, Mr. Zambrano responded that “Any expenses related to the flyer are being paid directly to the printer by the consortium from the proceeds of the grant.  I do not know what those costs are since the Village is not paying the bill.”  And as to my last question, Mr. Zambrano responded that “The flyer is being inserted by the printer.  No Village employee performed the work.”

Approximately two hours after receiving Mr. Zambrano’s response, I received the following response from Mayor Wiegman which stated:  “I'll offer one slight point of clarification.  The Village incurs no extra expense for this flyer about the Solarize Corltand (sic)-Croton program that is piggybacking onto the VIllage's (sic) monthly newsletter. The work is being done by the printer that prepares the Viilage's (sic) monthly newsletter.  The entity paying for 100% of the printing and related costs of the Solarize flyer is Sunrise Solar Solutions Inc,. The Solarize Program that is funded by the state grant is NOT paying for this flyer. The same is true for the road banner on Croton Point Avenue. Sunrise Solar  also paid for 100% of the expense of preparing the banner to the village's specification in terms of size and location of grommets.”

The Mayor’s “clarification” concerning Sunrise Solar Solutions Inc. advertisement makes it clear that such inclusion is wrong.  Moreover, it is clear that the Mayor's clarification contradicts the facts set forth in the Village Manager's response.

The inclusion of this private advertisement with the Village’s newsletter is improper.  While a village may provide by local law for the publication and distribution of a newsletter for its residents, the New York State Comptroller has opined that such newsletter “must be intended to inform or educate residents as to the official affairs of village government, and not relate to matters which promote primarily private, partisan or political purposes or undertakings”, making reference to Article VIII, §1 of the New York State Constitution.  See 1992 N.Y. St. Comp. 78.   Further, that cited section of our State Constitution prohibits a municipality, including a village, from giving or loaning money of the Village in aid of any private corporation.

That this Village-aided advertisement involves the “consortium” called “Solarize Westchester”, which is touted on-line as a “partnership of the Energy Improvement Corporation, Abundant Efficiency, Croton Energy Group, Pace University Land Use Center, SmartPower and Sustainable Westchester” (go to, is all the more disconcerting since one of those mentioned entities, Croton Energy Group, Inc., is the Mayor’s own company!  To use the Village’s newsletter as an avenue to advance these non-Village entities is simply wrong and possibly illegal.

Unfortunately, this is just the latest example of a Village matter not passing the proverbial scratch and sniff test.  I call upon our Village officials stop including this and any other private advertising in all future Village newsletters.

Brian Powers


  1. Thank you for reposting it. All I got was gobbleygook on the screen.

  2. Depressing isn't it. I am reminded of this quote

    One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
    ― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

  3. I don't know where you people get your info from.

    1. Uh...I assume you are referring to Mr. Powers letter? Mr. Powers makes the source of his information very clear. Perhaps you need to read the comments from the mayor and the village manager again.

  4. Sharing this with folks in Ossining, where the Town and Village Board are in discussion with Sustainable Westchester about Community Choice program. Thank you.