We Demand the Resignation of Skaneateles Mayor Martin Hubbard

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This summer, Skaneateles Lake suffered a toxic algal bloom.

This was heartbreaking news for the people of Skaneateles, because this lake is famous for its pristine waters. It’s a popular tourist destination. The waters are, or were, such a marvel, that President Bill Clinton vacationed here while in office.

Not only is it beautiful, the lake is also a water source for Skaneateles residents, and the city of Syracuse.

But now, the lake is polluted with a toxic bacteria that is both destroying the ecosystem of the lake, and capable of producing an array of neurotoxins.

The toxic algae feeds on nutrients, such as those found in chemical fertilizers and lawn treatments such as Roundup, which wash into the lake via runoff.

Now that the lake has been contaminated by this algae, there is no way to eradicate the algae completely – the water will always be seeded with it. Our only recourse, is to prevent the toxic algae from blooming. And the way to do that is to cut off the algae’s food supply, especially by stopping runoff from flowing into the lake.

This is not my opinion – this is scientific fact.

On October 4, the Skaneateles High School Environmental Club hosted a town meeting-style informational panel about the algal threat. Gregory Boyer, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Great Lakes Research Consortium, has studied toxic algal blooms internationally for 40 years. He confirmed that toxic algae blooms feed on nutrients found in runoff. Boyer explained that while there are many factors that contribute to algal blooms, such as global warming, temperature, and water turbulence, there are two preventive measures directly within our control.

The first is for both citizens and conventional farms to stop using lawn treatments and chemical fertilizers. The second is to prevent runoff from washing into the lake. As we know, our first algal bloom occurred after heavy rains had fallen.

On November 2, Syracuse.com reported that heavy rain had caused an embankment to collapse at a construction site on the property of Skaneateles Mayor Martin Hubbard. The event was disastrous enough to compel town officials to call an emergency meeting.

As reported by the paper, Hubbard’s project – the installation of a basketball court – was not supposed to disturb more that 8,900 square feet, but for some reason, three to four times that amount of land had been disturbed or cleared.

Interestingly, it was Hubbard’s own construction company that was doing the work.

As reported, Hubbard had at one point even installed a pipe that carried runoff from the construction site and into Skaneateles Lake. Silt fences failed, causing more runoff to leak into the lake.

Officials said the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the city of Syracuse are investigating the issue. The full story can be found here: http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/rain_causes_partial_collapse_at_skaneateles_work_site_dirt_runoff_into_lake_town.html

As Town Supervisor James Lanning said in the story, “The runoff is threatening the lake.”

It is a travesty that the mayor should be responsible for such a catastrophic runoff event, mere weeks after hundreds of residents of Skaneateles came together at the aforementioned panel to discuss how to prevent runoff.

And it would be an utter farce if Hubbard were to continue on as a leader in this community.

This is a crucial time for Skaneateles. Frankly, we are now determining whether future generations will be able to safely swim in and drink from these once-pure waters. We are determining our own economic future – pollution will take a toll on our economy.

Martin Hubbard, the mayor of Skaneateles, just did exactly what Boyer warned Skaneateles residents to not let happen, lest the toxic algae bloom become worse than it already is. That is as dangerous to the town and village of Skaneateles as it is insulting.

We demand leaders who take actions to ensure our safety, guard our precious waters, and protect our economy – and not do the exact opposite of that. We demand the immediate resignation of Skaneateles Mayor Martin Hubbard.

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