Kelly Myers said she saw TV23 volunteer and Democratic candidate for District I of the County Legislature Beth Murphy videotaped the Oct. 2 pre-board meeting that included an exchange with a councilman, and believes it was edited out because it would be embarrassing to her opposition. Murphy says the supervisor is delusional and she never records the pre-board meetings.
The pre-board meeting included discussions of the tentative 2014 budget, which includes a tax cut, and membership in a coalition of Lower Esopsus communities to deal with releases from the Ashokan Reservoir. She believes that showed an “inconvenient truth” that Costello opposes tax cuts and measures that would protect the environment. (Costello says he opposes neither, only the process by which the supervisor operates.)
The row began, as so many do these days, on Facebook. In the post, Myers wrote:
Beth Murphy ( candidate for Ulster County Legislature) filmed the Town Board & pre-board meeting last week as a volunteer for Saugerties Public Access channel TV 23, Beth is refusing to turn over the recording she made of our Town of Saugerties Pre-Board meeting for public viewing on TV 23. What about Open Government???!!! What about transparency?? This tape includes a discussion of the tax cuts I proposed for the Tentative budget and also a discussion of the resolution I moved forward to create a Coalition of Lower Esopus Communities to clean up the Esopus Creek, protect our residents from flooding, and advocate collectively with other towns against DEP’s destruction of our environment. The video shows Councilman Costello challenging the resolution as well as the proposed tax cut.
I believe in open government. I believe we can cut taxes, and I believe we need to protect our natural resources from destruction and exploitation.
Murphy confronted Myers about the situation at the Oct. 16 Town Board meeting. Here’s a video posted to dropbox by Conservative Chair George Heidcamp. In it, Murphy demands proof, to which Myers says she said Murphy did a mic check at the start of pre-board meeting and was panning from candidate to candidate during the meeting.
And here is the exchange in this week’s paper, beginning with Beth Murphy’s letter:
I am a volunteer for TV23 and filmed the Town Board meeting of Oct. 2. Kelly Myers has accused me of filming the pre-board meeting on that date and editing it out. She is also accusing me of editing other Town Board meetings and is asking if I’ll do the same of the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum film. She is accusing me of all of this on social media (Facebook) and hasn’t talked to me.
I have never filmed a pre-board meeting. All the official Town Board meetings are filmed and shown unedited. I pick up the camera from TV23, film the meeting on a digital camera and return the camera to TV23 immediately after the meeting. I do not edit the Town Board films. The same is true of the League of Women Voters films– they are filmed and shown unedited.
If you don’t want to take my word for it, the security system at Town Hall will have me entering the building to pick up the camera before the meeting, and entering again after the meeting to drop off the camera. If the security system records people leaving the building, it will show that, too. It takes time to edit and I was in and out of Town Hall quickly.
No one else volunteered to film the Town Board meetings or the League debates. I think they are important meetings and volunteered to film them. Because I’m politically active, I go out of my way to make sure the filming is not biased and always give permission for anyone to get a copy of a DVD. The meetings are also available on: https://vp.telvue.com/player?s=lighthousetv. You’ll see that each meeting I’ve filmed starts with the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.
I could say Kelly is misinformed, doesn’t know what she’s talking about, etc. That’s not the case. Kelly knows the films are not edited, shown in full and she also knows the pre-board meetings aren’t filmed at all. Kelly is being deceitful, plain and simple.
Kelly Myers responds:
When all else fails – manipulate the data!
When the town pre-board meeting ran overtime, (TV 23 volunteer) Beth Murphy announced she was turning on the video camera. She asked us to turn on microphones so that sound could be properly recorded. Pre-board typically isn’t filmed, but on this occasion it was. Beth stood behind the camera, actively maneuvering the lens, and focusing on speakers. Others in the room including Deputy Supervisor Bruno also saw her standing behind the camera and focusing the camera on speakers during pre-board.
Heated discussion about the proposed tax cut in the tentative budget and about the resolution I proposed to join four other towns in forming the Coalition of Lower Esopus Communities was filmed; with Mr. Costello challenging both the tax cut proposal as well as the proposal to join with other towns to protect the Esopus Creek. In hindsight, Ms. Murphy probably realized she filmed “an inconvenient truth.” I’m sure it would be damaging and unpopular for Mr. Costello to be recorded as opposing a tax cut and opposing action to protect our environment. Ms. Murphy edited out the pre-board segment she filmed before she turned in the tape to TV23 for public airing on TV23, so that the public could not see Mr. Costello’s behavior.
This is the third time I have reported to the TV23 Board that Ms. Murphy has filmed public meetings and either edited or refused to turn in tape for public viewing. Political candidates should not be allowed to withhold content, manipulate content or edit public meetings filmed for TV23.
After I reported this to the TV23 Board and exposed what happened, she and Mr. Harkavy retaliated by calling me names and made remarks about my character. Political tensions are high right now and this behavior is truly unfortunate.
I believe in open government. I believe we need to cut taxes. I believe we need to protect our environment.
And to this, Beth Murphy responds:
Ms. Myers mistakes her fertile imagination with reality. The pre-board meeting was not filmed, plain and simple. I did check the camera to make sure it was in focus and ready to go and then waited over 50 minutes for the meeting to start. The “record” button was never pushed until the actual Town Board meeting started. Editing film takes hours. I delivered the camera back to Town Hall after the meeting and left. The person at TV23 loaded the film from the digital camera into the PC to make the DVD. I did not do anything to the recording in the camera on Oct. 2, 2013 or to any other recording of a Town Board meeting.
I have never recorded a pre-board meeting. What’s amazing to me is that Kelly continues to tell non-truths and as a citizen and volunteer I have no way to defend my name and reputation. If she’s so concerned about the way Town Board meetings are filmed, she should hire someone to do it at her own expense.