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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Home Government Rye City Council on Commodes: Mr. Floatie, Chapter 2

Rye City Council on Commodes: Mr. Floatie, Chapter 2

Mr. Floatie creator and Hen Island agitator Ray Tartaglione is back to his old antics.

In the wake of a recent court decision, Targatlione is preparing a new "public awareness" campaign to "encourage" Rye city to address health situations on Hen Island. Tartaglione seems to be saving the come back of Mr. Floatie, an 8-foot turd, for a future occasion. But his new campaign will also carry a fetid stink.

"Our message will be viewable from a 20 foot long mobile rolling billboard pulled by the Floatie Mobile Van with its traditional toilet still mounted on the roof. Our first ad of the campaign will feature six members of the Rye City Council seated on commodes in front of the Rye City Hall," said Tartaglione in an email.

A seventh council member – Joe Sack – will not be featured in the billboard because Tartaglione says Sack is willing to have a public discussion about his group's complaints.

Tartaglione expects the new stinky billboard to be complete and swirling around town in the next 1-2 weeks.

  1. Jay,
    You have forgotten to tell everyone the name of our new campaign. “One of the first things we teach our children is where to put their effluents. Why has the Rye city council not learned this lesson?”

  2. Well no surprise Ray – Rye’s increasingly ossified political class believes the law is best left for interpretation by patronage appointees of Kevin Plunkett assigned to us to cover his prior “activities” while gearing up for future the Playland billing windfall.

    Is it any wonder local and national politicians increasingly receive ratings such as this –

    Just 28% Say Federal Government Has Consent of Governed…

    I think it’s probably time to start bringing previously “missing” city documents to council meetings for the members, the public and the press to contemplate. Then there might be questions about what the meaning of “can’t comment on matters involved in litigation” actually means. And what a turd that’ll be.

  3. Okay. Ray has a right to protest. But don’t I also have a right to not suffer through his visual pollution? Isn’t it reasonable to expect Ray to find an effective way to protest? His last round of public annoyances were so very effective, there’s really no reason to believe that driving a moving billboard is going to accomplish any more than creating air pollution and taking up space that could be more usefully deployed by people actually trying to get somewhere.

  4. Robert,

    I would much rather here your opinion on the Council than on Ray!!!

    What do you think of the Council ignoring their responsibilities to the Environment and the Rye Residents?

    Don’t blame Ray for his protest or his protest tactics….put the blame where it belongs….on the heads of those whom have decided to PROVOKE this protest!!!

    It is the former Otis Administration and now the French Era who has decided to take these routes, this all started 5 YEARS AGO and continues on with French and his staff (excluding Councilman Sack)…Mr.Schubert asked; “where did the water go”…Mr.Amico asked for; “a Stop Sign”…Mr.Tartaglione asked…”that Rye enforce it’s Environmental Laws”

    Where is all the Public Support for these subjects? All 3 are SOLID CONCRETE in B&W arguments of FACT!!!

    Oh, and BTW, Still NO WATER, NO STOP SIGN, NO ENFORCEMENT on Hen Island!!!

  5. Good Morning Robert,
    My last round of public annoyances was very effective. Please see article below;
    If you remember for two years the Otis administration tried to paint me as a kook. They said they inspected Hen Island they found “no problems.” They said, everything I complained of was imagined. But on April 8th of 2009 the Otis administration thought they had a good idea. They threw Paul Shew under the bus and said he lied to the City council about the inspections on Hen Island. They then issued two pages of violations that I had been complaining about for the past two years. At that time, hoping that I would go away, they took the position that the County was responsible for the potable water, sewage and mosquito infestations on the Island. (That idea was the brainchild of the then and now City attorney Christian Wilson.) I think she has been giving them bad advice all along but they keep listening.
    Violation letter link below;

    Unfortunately for them, I was not going away. As you can see from the recent Supreme Court decision, they do have the ability to enforce the issues but “only if they want to.” As far as I am concerned the law is the law and they don’t have to enforce it, if they don’t want to. However, if The Rye City council decides to allow polluters to pollute and allows Health and safety ordinances to be violated, the community should know of their action, so the community can decide if they want to re-elected them or not. It is really too bad we have to keep doing this bad dance over again.

  6. Ray:

    Kristen Wilson was mentored by Kevin Plunkett. He was getting paid to give the City of Rye legal advice. Sometimes that legal advice was to defend a lawsuit or initiate a lawsuit where he and his law firm would then become the “Outside” Attorneys making tons of money.

    Former Supreme Court Judge Carey and the only Attorney sitting on the current City Council Joe Sack, issued a report saying at the very least this is a very bad idea.

    Mayor French disregarded their report and signed up Kristen Wilson and her new law firm Harris Beach. The same exact circumstances exist today. Wilson gets paid $100,000+ to give the City Council legal advice and her firm Harris Beach gets throw much of the “Outside” legal work.

    Is this ethical and legal? Irregardless as to whether or not this is legal and ethical, the ever looming financial incentive that exists in giving legal advice has to end. Until it does, there really is no incentive for Wilson and Harris Beach to advise the City Council to address your issues.

    Does Wilson receive a bonus from Harris Beach based on how much legal work $$$ she brings into Harris Beach?

    Does Harris Beach get any legal work from Wilson’s former mentor who is now at the county?

  7. Ray,
    Quoting from one of your posts: “My last round of public annoyances was very effective.”

    If you meaure effectiveness in terms of media attention, aggrevation for the general public, etc., then you’re right.

    If you measure effectiveness based on getting change to Hen Island, than I stick with my original assertion; e.g., your efforts to date have had no effect.

    Far be it from me to say what your priorities are, but it would seem that your focus is on attention not results.

  8. Robert,

    How about an opinion on our Elected Officials whom have chosen to bring Ray’s efforts back???

    Not sure how you operate, but if I were you and I had a problem with how Ray is bringing attention to this problem (I DON’T) I sure as hell would be PISSED at the INDIVIDUALS RESPONSIBLE for bringing all this back into City Hall!!!

  9. Robert:

    In terms of getting rid of the political effluence in Rye, Ray has been very effective. Getting rid of Shew, Otis and Plunkett was a good start.

    Ray was instrumental in giving French an opportunity to put Rye on the right track towards honesty, integrity, responsiveness and accountability. Instead he chose to retain Pickup and Wilson who he knows have a vested interest in seeing that the coverups and malfeasance surrounding the Schubert and Heal the Harbor matters remain hidden from the public.

    I hope Ray continues his efforts to make Rye a more green and safer place for us all. Making sure Parker and Gamache don’t get elected in November would certainly help.

  10. Hey, if Ray’s outcomes are measured based on turnover in city hall, then maybe he was successful, but I thought his focus was on cleaning up Hen Island. Ray will have to confirm what his objective is. Or define what his roadmap to his objective is. But, short of a handful of citations written by the city, Ray himself continues to report problems which sound like a lack of success on cleaning up his island.

  11. Robert,

    Ray and his butt boys and girls are actually tactical thugs. Tactical in the sense that all they are trying to do is shake down the city for dough. Nice in these difficult times. Actually i applaud him for his tactics but unfortunately bad for taxpayers like yourself.

  12. Robert,
    I think I received a 50% return on the investment of my time and hope to receive the other 50% soon but I have been saying that for over a year now.

    In 2009 when the Otis administration wrote the building code violations, the City required the Island to remove thousands of pounds of illegally stored propane. Not to mention the many hundred pound propane tanks that still remain when they washed into Milton Harbor. That took place in the No Name storm of 1992. Some of those 100 pound propane tanks may still be at the bottom of the harbor, just waiting for some poor family’s prop to hit at low tide, while they are out boating on a Sunday afternoon. That is a little scary to me and not only did the Islanders not mention it to City officials but they asked everyone on the island not to speak of it.

    Just to give you an idea of how negligent the islanders were, I have supplied a link to a picture where home owners stored over 900 pounds of propane less than 10 feet away from a children’s swing set.


    And here is another example of how they stored propane on Hen Island


    Bob, I know you are a big supporter of child safety, so let me ask you if you would allow your kids to play on that swing set? I always say that self praise stinks but those tanks have now been removed thanks to my efforts.

    Here is a picture of the Rye Fire Department after putting out a fire from two of those tanks on Hen Island that exploded in 2007. The fire was caused by the carelessness of a homeowner. The flames were so high during this fire that the New York City marine fire boat responded to Hen Island. The gentleman in the picture on the right is lucky to be alive today.


    In 2009 the City also required every home that installed electrical systems to have those systems inspected and approved. Most of those systems were moments away from creating fires. Below is a picture from one of the electrical systems installed without permits. Bob, please note the heat marks on the batteries in the left side of the picture. The two pipes on the right side of the picture are where this homeowner connected his propane tanks. You don’t have to be a building inspector to realize something is wrong in these pictures.


    In closing Mr. Zahm, if you think my “efforts to date have had no effect” you really need to look at the pictures again especially the one with the swing set.

  13. Ray – if you’ve accomplished removal of propane tanks, than good for you. Your efforts have made a difference. From the energy and focus you apply, it would seem that you’re not satisifed. Hence my original query as to whether or not anything about your stated objective had been achieved beyond the issuance of a handful of citations.

    I guess the appropriate follow-up question has to do with cause and effect; e.g., do you believe that your publicity stunts resulted in the citations being written or was it the care and attention paid by a single city employee who attempted to concretely address a real issue? If the latter, one might assume that such good will has been or will be destroyed by further publicity stunts.

    In the interest of open cards, I must confess to have used the polite, direct approach for the last few years (5?) when seeking redress of missing crosswalk at Playland Access on Old Post Road and regular publication of enforcement statistics. Alas, I have achieved ZERO with my approach other than hearing plenty of “Good idea”, “We should do that”, “Why haven’t we done that yet”, and “When are we going to do that” type comments from council members. As they are effectively all my neighbors, I choose to take what I view as constructive approach to engagement. That is not how I would classify your campaign.

  14. Very nice summary of Rye’s compromised legal condition below “”LegalFees.” Here’s a little more on Schubert –

    Both Plunkett and Wilson “advised” former Rye City Manager O Paul Shew and Mayor Otis when Bob Schubert’s repeated visits to city hall caused the administration to realize he would not back down in his assertions that the wetland laws of Rye had been undercut and ignored resulting in a significant devaluation of his property.

    Schubert is a licensed NYS engineer with an impressive high level professional history at IBM and as such is well versed in both engineering science and institutional politics. Given the way he went about documenting the incidents leading up to the destruction of his wetlands he was and is a very real threat to the political and commercial careers of many. Thus having him potentially labeled “crazy” by a government mental health agency was an obvious benefit to those needing to discredit and silence him.

    Unfortunately the gambit blew up in their Machiavellian faces when he consented to the official examination and was found to be of very sound mind indeed.

    Fellow residents – ask yourself – what if you had done nothing more than ask that the existing laws of Rye be obeyed – and this was what happened to you?

  15. Robert,
    You are right, I am not satisfied yet but I am not far away. For a few years the Otis administration and the Hen Island Board of Directors wanted the citizens of Rye to believe I was just a “disgruntle ex-board president” (because I was not re-elected) and there were no health, safety and sewage issues on Hen Island.

    The reality is I was not re-elected because I wanted to start addressing all of the issues on the Island. Sewage, potable water, homes and buildings that were never inspected or approved by the City, and the worst mosquito infestation in Westchester County. Most (not all) of the other board members were afraid if the City or the County really found out what was going on out there, they would shut down the Island till the problems were fixed. Once the City and the County agreed there were violations on the Island, we were half way to getting them fixed. The issue now is, not if there are any problems but when and who is going to be responsible for the enforcement and monitoring of the issues.

    Two things you should be aware of:
    1.) Up until I stopped them in 2000, the Islanders use to burry their garbage in the center of the Island. Do you think this practice caused a rat infestation? It did, not only on the Island but also along the shores of Greenhaven?

    2.) During the height of the West-Nile virus epidemic, homeowners on Hen Island were instructed to burry dead birds rather than report and submit them for testing as required by the Westchester County Health Department. This Island still harbors the County’s worst mosquito infestation. Why? Because, every home stores over 1000 gallons of stagnant water for use. The mosquito problem today in much of Greenhaven is also complements of Hen Island due to the massive amounts of stored water and a lack of any effective mosquito control enforcement on the Island.

    The “handful of citations” you refer to are big. My “stated objective” will have been completed as soon as they issue another “handful of citations” for sewage, potable water, and mosquitoes.

    To answer your follow-up question, I do believe the Mr. Floatie Campaign was responsible not only for the citations being written but also for the wipe out of the entire Otis slate in November. In a Journal News interview after the past election Myles Lavelle (Steve Otis’s running mate) confirmed that fact.

    I know there were many Rye City employees that wanted to do the right thing but they were instructed otherwise.

    I respect and understand your “constructive approach” and your reasoning, due to your neighbors being on the Council.

    However we don’t think alike. Personally I don’t care what my neighbors think because of the way they act. Many of my neighbors endanger the lives of my family and friends that visit the Island. They are also people that have no respect for the environment. They have harassed me, threatened me, and tried to intimidate me. On one occasion they urinated in the water tanks that I use in my home for domestic water. On another occasion they threw all of my patio furniture into the Long Island Sound just to mention a few. I am not the type of person that bows down to intimidation. Their actions are criminal and mimic the actions of thugs. This all takes place today in 2011 not in the mountains down south but right here in our little community of Rye, New York.

    It amazes me to see that the City of Rye has never investigated one of my over 23 police reports of harassment. The only thing that my neighbors (on the Island) and your neighbors (The City Council) have in common is pollution. My neighbors pollute and your neighbors are the enablers.

    Good luck on your quest for pedestrian safety, Bob. I have seen you at the council meetings and commend your efforts to protect.

  16. apologies for being slow but is legalfeesaretoodarnhigh the guy who bilked the PBA out of dough. and he’s opining on the state of the rye legal department. you can’t make this stuff up. did i get this right?? if i’m wrong then never mind.

  17. Ok, here we go again.
    1) Mosquitoes DO NOT breed at the bottom of 1000 gal of water. They breed on the top surface area. Are you really trying to say that the combined surface area of all the water storage tanks plays a major role in mosquito infestation ? Please.
    2) I will agree that propane storage on Hen Island could be better. What is YOUR solution ? Do you have one or are you just bitching for something to do ?
    I’ve got the popcorn and sodas. This should prove interesting.

  18. Payton Place,
    Can you elaborate on how you think I am “shaking down the city for dough”? I just don’t get that one, seeing as any remedies on any of the issues I bring to light would be the responsibility of the stockholders and homeowners of Hen Island and BTW that would include me. I don’t see where the City of Rye or the County of Westchester would have any financial responsibility to make any corrections. Maybe you know something I don’t. Please help?

  19. VOR,
    One of the first requirements in any effective mosquito control program is to remove all standing water. Below are pictures from only seven homes that depict how water is stored on the Island. You tell me if they meet the first requirement? There are 26 other residents and most of them use the same methods. A few of us do have sealed tanks but even those; violate local, state and federal codes. Don’t choke on the pop corn. You don’t sound like the voice of reason to me.








  20. VOR,
    The propane issues along with all the illegal electrical issues are solved. In 2009 the City of Rye issued violations which required the Islanders to remove any unused or stored propane tanks. Almost 10,000 pounds of propane was removed after the city issued the violations. The only tanks allowed on the Island are now required to be connected and secured to the homes. Just like all the homes that never had electrical inspections, it was a very simple fix requiring minor repairs on some life threatening issues. It only took place because the city enforced their building and safety codes that were never before enforced on Hen Island.

    My seasonal neighbors, don’t give a hoot about the environment, The Long Island Sound or the health and safety of the community. They pollute Milton Harbor on the weekends and go to their homes elsewhere during the week. And the Rye City Council allows this to happen year after year. The Hen Island attitude is, “We have been doing this for 60 years why should we stop now. We have been using these systems and they are grandfathered in” What they don’t understand is you cannot grandfather in an “illegal use”.

    BTW, there is no current lawsuit. In the last recent lawsuit HEALtheHARBOR.com vs. The City of Rye, the Supreme Court ruled that the Rye City laws are valid and the City Council has the authority and discretion to enforce their sewage code below.

    Rye City code 161-1
    “Where a public sanitary sewer is not accessible, a building permit shall not be issued without submission of a copy of the written approval of the Westchester County Commissioner of Health, indicating that the premises may be adequately sewered by a separate sewage disposal system. The further approval of the Common Council of the City of Rye is required for such separate disposal systems. In addition thereto there shall be an annual inspection of all private sewage disposal systems by a contractor duly approved by the Westchester County Commissioner of Health on all properties bordering on all watercourses, including Long Island Sound, Milton Harbor and all tributaries thereto, and wherever else directed by the Sanitation Committee of the Common Council. A written certificate of such inspection shall be submitted to said Committee for such action thereon as it may direct.”

    Mayor French and the entire City Council prefer to allow an entire community in one of Rye’s most environmentally sensitive area’s to pollute the water with sewage. How would you feel if every municipality along the Sound did that?

    Yes I did. Now your next question might be why do I violate the law? It is very simple. I don’t violate the law, the corporation does and I am trying to stop it. I don’t own the property or the land. I don’t have the authority to drill a well. I only hold a license agreement which allows me to keep a house on the Island. These are permits and approvals that can only be applied for and issued to the corporate owners of the Island. I am only a stockholder but believe me if I could, I would and so would a few others responsible homeowners on the Island.

  21. Payton Place,
    Unfortunately the County has the same discretionary enforcement protection as the City of Rye. Basically that means if they don’t want to enforce the law (that means any law even murder) they don’t have to and there is nothing we can do about it. Our only recourse to these politicians that refuse to enforce the law is to expose their actions to the general public so they do not get re-elected. That is what our past (Mr. Floatie) campaign was all about. As you can see, it wiped out the entire Otis slate in the past election. People may not want to speak out about sewage and health issues in public due to the uncomfortable nature of the topic but they do speak when they are in the voting booth. We are hoping our second campaign (One of the first lessons we teach our children is where to put their effluents. Why has the Rye City council not learned that lesson?) will be more effective than the first one. Both campaigns create public awareness and they do it quick. Taking the County to court is not an option at this point. This problem is in Rye’s back yard and Rye should be the one to correct it if the County does not. I would assume that the entire council should be furious that this issue has been around so long. But then again, you know what happens when you assume.

  22. you dismiss dealing with the county in one sentence with no reasoning behind it. you need to go in that direction for a solution assuming there is an issue(s) to begin with. else ur going to go round and round and chew up resouces is my guess.

  23. If laws weren’t really laws they’d be, I guess, like laws in the City of Rye – which as Captain Jack Sparrow might tell you are less like laws and more like guidelines.

    Now our neighbor Harrison here has had its fair share of governmental “controversies” over the decades and some have involved patronage jobbery’s of the first order. But unlike with some of those prior bad acts, the current batch of Harrison elected officials apparently see’s their laws not in variegated shades of grey but in simple black and white.

    How refreshing this would be in our town – bad acts and actors get identified and addressed publically as and when they are discovered regardless of political connection or consequence.


    Investigation anyone?

  24. i’d read sack’s letter in rye review if i were you. seemed pretty balanced. including you getting a reasoned response on why rye not enforcing law. i still have no idea if any laws were broken to begin with. dude, i’d read the tea leaves if i were u. just sayin’

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