Upstate New York Landowner Shale Gas Activist at NYRAD-R
Binghamton fractivist Mayor Matt Ryan decided he liked Planet Ithaca better than Binghamton the minute he left office, but was back in the area the other night allegedly harassing frequent guest blogger Vic Furman. Here’s Vic’s story.
I had just dropped of my brother off at the Broome County Airport and on the way home decided to stop in for a quick beer at my favorite watering hole, “Davy’s Last Chance Saloon.” The tavern is just a couple of miles down the mountain from my home. For over 30 years I have been enjoying the company of good neighbors and friends at this establishment. Davy, the establishment’s namesake, is a pillar of the community in the small farming town of Chenango Forks, 16 miles from Binghamton. Over the years he has shown support for the community by spearheading fund raisers and other events.
People gather at Davy’s to share laughs and troubles and there is almost never a raised voice except to celebrate something. But not this night, for there was a man there who I have only seen once before at this establishment, where I am a regular. It was the former Mayor Matt Ryan of Binghamton, now living 40 miles away as a resident of Ithaca, New York.
“Vic from the Forks”
I never would have known Matt Ryan was there this night, as he was sitting halfway down the bar with his back to me. I was in a discussion with a patron working in the gas Industry and was finishing up my first beer when Matt spoke out. “Well if it isn’t Vic From The Forks,” he said loudly, “I guess it’s true; he really does live here!”
For those of you who don’t know me, I have made several appearances on the Bob Joseph talk radio show and that is how Bob Joseph would introduce me; as “Vic from The Forks.” It was on this radio show that I had one of many heated debates with ex-Mayor Matt Ryan as we argued the facts of natural gas drilling, and his lack of them.
The very first interaction I had with Mayor Matt Ryan was in 2009 or 2010 when I was challenging his misinformed comments on the Binghamton PressConnects site, which I did with comments of my own. Because I was using my real name to make comments, it was easy for Ryan to look up my phone number and he did. It was my first inclination this man was not a normal politician. Here he was as the Mayor of the City of Binghamton and he’s calling me up at home at night to debate gas drilling, which wasn’t about to occur anywhere inside his city. I had company and, immediately recognizing his voice, I put him on speaker phone and the conversation went like this:
MMR > Is this Victor Furman?
VF > Yes, it is…
MMR > The same Victor Furman who’s been commenting on my posts on PressConnects?
VF > Yes, it is…
MMR > Why are you picking on me?
VF > I am not picking on you. I am debating your postings. They’re falsehoods….
I couldn’t believe the Mayor of Binghamton was calling me at my home to ask me this very obtuse question, even getting upset as the discussion moved forward. We finally reached a point where we agreed to disagree and I hung up. Later on as my pro-gas activism and knowledge of gas drilling grew, so did my understanding of the fractivist misinformation campaign. It is designed to win the public over with fear mongering. This drove Matt Ryan and me even further part and, apparently, just my voice on the radio was enough to bring out anger in him. Truth hurts, of course.
Matt Ryan Loses It
Let’s now fast forward to what happened on the 20th of August, 2014. Matt and I had started debating on the subject of his recent appearance on Capitol Tonight. I told him I agreed with him about the corruption of politicians in Albany. I also told him I agreed Zephyr Teachout was a better choice then Cuomo, but that I thought she revealed herself to be a socialist when she made her statements recently about breaking up big corporations into more competitive smaller branches.
I asked him what would Binghamton and the Triple Cities would have been without big corporations like IBM, GE, Singer Link, EJ’s and others that defined us as the Valley of Opportunity. His response was “Quit living in the past.” At that point I asked him what was in the future for our children and grandchildren, if they don’t have the same opportunities we had before the recession and high taxes drove these businesses out of the state. I told him ditch digging and burger flipping were no future and corporations represented opportunity and growth for motivated individuals.
It was at this point where the bartender hinted she wanted us to end this discussion. She walked over to the volume control and turned up the music making it hard for us to hear each other. I felt, however, we were having a civil discussion and I walked over to Matt and offered to buy him a beer and take the conversation outside to the patio but he said no. So, we continued.
I asked Ryan about Vietnam and whether he went to Europe to evade the draft. He got a little upset with that question and said he did not evade the draft, but was a conscientious objector. I said I thought I heard him say on the Bob Josephs show that he went to Europe to evade the draft at which point he called me a *@#^*#% liar, saying he never said that. I told him that was the way it came across to me and others, at which point he asked “So going to Vietnam makes you a hero? I asked Matt to describe a hero because I wasn’t one and wanted to know what one was, and if he understood the Conscientious Objector clause and refusal to go meant someone else had to go in one’s place. He said it really didn’t matter because his draft number was in the high 300’s. That’s how the conversation about Vietnam ended.
I then asked Ryan if he thought throwing a jar of blood in a recruiting station to protest the Iraq war, an incident where his former Deputy Mayor Tarik Abdelazim (appointed by Ryan when he was embroiled in some other harassment cases) acted as spokesman, was just. That’s when he lost it. “You @#^*#% idiot.” he hollered, “they (referring to Abdelazim and another individual I mentioned) never had anything to do with that.” I said I thought I had read it somewhere. He screamed some obscenities at me and said “I’ll give you a million dollars if you can show me that article, you give me a million if you can’t…” Then, realizing the ridiculous of his offer, he said “No, I bet you a thousand dollars – we can both afford that – that you can’t produce it, because your a @#^*#% liar.
By now, a few patrons in the bar had turned because Matt Ryan, the former Mayor of Binghamton, was calling me all these vulgar names. I was getting upset myself and yelled back that if I was wrong I would apologize, but would not have said it had I not believed I read it. it was then he stood up behind me and started shouting further obscenities. I too stood up and we both exchanged heated words, but what happened next caught me completely off guard.
“I have a black belt in karate and I will kill you!”
Words are words and, despite a very clever Geico commercial, do not inflict bodily harm. No one, however, has the right to do what Matt Ryan did next. He used both hands and all his might, hitting me in the chest and knocking me over three bar stools and into the bar. I stood back up, looked him in the eye and told him he had no right to put his hands on me. His response was to make a fist, yelling he was going to punch my teeth out, at which point I put my hands in my pocket and stated “Do what you have to” and turned my cheek. The bartender, a school teacher, tried to intervene and other customers surrounded Ryan, escorting him to the door. They told me he made a fist and raised it to the bartender telling her to stay out of it.
I followed the people escorting Matt Ryan out the door and, once again, confronted Matt asking him who he thought he was pushing me over and putting his hands on me. His response to me was “I have a black belt in karate and I will kill you!” I then took down his license plate and called the state police, informing them I had just been assaulted and that the man who did it was, in my opinion, drunk and a danger on the highway, as he fled the bar in his blue Jeep-like SUV.
The state police came, they took my statement, and the statement of the bartender, and two eyewitnesses. It was while they were interviewing the bartender that Matt Ryan called the bar and, I am told, apologized to the bartender for raising his fist and then quizzed her on whether or not I had called the police. That call seemed to confirm the man did raise his fist at the female bartender. I swore out a complaint with the state police. I called the state police headquarters after leaving the hospital with a neck injury from the push.
The papers went to the court and Matt Ryan will be getting a summons to appear to answer to the charges I brought against him for his fit of rage. He can than tell his side of the story. I’ve told mine. We will have to wait and see what comes of this act of aggression by one of the biggest of fractivists. Let’s not think for one minute this is the first such incident as we have seen the video of the threats against local officials over a propane storage facility in Watkins Glen.
One wonders how far these radicals are willing to go. They seek to take away our deeded rights and are now using and inducing physical violence to get their way. They believe they are above the law, apparently. You either agree with them or you’re evil in their eyes. They don’t seem to have a clue that civil disobedience is, first of all, civil and, secondly, it requires a willingness to accept the consequences of your actions. Somehow, Matt Ryan, the former of Binghamton, an environmental lawyer and fractivist hero, doesn’t seem to get it.