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MEET THE HOST
Tai Aguirre was born and raised in Far Rockaway, New York. He began his career as a musician, vocalist and composer, appearing in numerous dinner clubs and theaters throughout New York City and across the country. His recent collaborative effort on the Off-Broadway Musical Cabaret and CD Production of the Broadway Moon Song Shoppe has won him critical acclaim. As an entrepreneur, Tai has successfully developed numerous business enterprises including a Marketing Company called IncentiWeb®. IncentiWeb® was one of the first in the incentive industry to create corporate promotional and incentive programs on-line. Winner of the Website of the Year from Incentive Magazine, Tai’s on-line creation is a leader in recognition and performance tracking for incentive programs.

Four years ago, Tai moved from New York City to rural upstate New York. After receiving approvals from the local zoning board, health department and building department he began to renovate his home. He suddenly found himself in a three year nightmare jurisdictional battle between regulatory agencies which threatened his home and livelihood. Tai realized then that the only way to win this kind of battle was to let the public know what was going on and alert them to the injustices being done to ordinary citizens by regulatory agencies. His story became the subject of several newspaper articles, television and radio shows including WABC Radio and FOX TV news. The media exposure helped in his victory. Similar nightmare stories of other families fighting battles with regulatory and other bureaucratic agencies poured in from all over the country. Tai became an advocate and created a news/talk magazine radio show called Could YOU Be Next™ (formerly Scams-n-Scandals™)….the stories the mainstream media won’t dare talk about!
Could YOU Be Next™ can be heard Saturdays 12:30 pm eastern time over ABC affiliate WTBQ1110AM New York radio and over the world wide web at www.couldyoubenext.com
Tai can be reached at 914 422 1990 and at tai@couldyoubenext.com
 

 

As told by

PRIVATE IMPROPERTY

Radio show features victims of government
Couple's fight with NYC spawns forum for citizens to tell stories

By Sarah Foster
© 2002 WorldNetDaily.com
If it hadn't been for a perfectly working septic tank, Tai Aguirre would never have been inspired to create a new kind of radio talk show – one where the guests are real people whose lives have been shattered by the actions of government agents.
But emboldened by his personal victory in a three-year battle with a New York City environmental agency, Aguirre has created a program where innocent individuals who find themselves at the mercy of government officials are given a platform where they can tell their story to folks around the world, not only on radio but also on the Internet.
"We present true-life, nightmare stories the mainstream media doesn't want to talk about," says Aguirre, the show's creator and host. "We are dealing with a regulatory and bureaucratic apparatus that's abusive and out of our control; people are being hurt, but they aren't being heard. I want to give them that opportunity."
The hour-long program, Could YOU Be Next™ (formerly "Scams-n-Scandals,") airs Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. Eastern on station WTBQ 1110 AM and over the Internet at Aguirre's website.
Last week, the program's guest was former technical sergeant William Mangieri, who refused the anthrax vaccine on grounds that it was unsafe and ineffective – and lost his career post because of his stance. The week before that, it was Ann Broach, a "sister of the river" who is leading a group of neighbors in a fight to stop their property along the New River in West Virginia from being taken by the National Park Service for a parkway.
Aguirre didn't start out to be a radio or Internet crusader. A musician and an entrepreneur with a background in marketing, he and his wife work at home. In 1994, they decided to move from Queens to rural Putnam County in upstate New York. To them this was like moving from night to day. It was a beautiful area with little crime and congestion, clean air. The small house they bought in Kent Lakes, with the addition of a second story, would be perfect for their needs.
They followed all the rules: obtained permits from the local zoning board, the Putnam County Department of Health and the building department. The county health department and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection examined their septic tank several times and found it was working fine with no signs of leaks.
The renovations took over a year and cost about $80,000. Still, the couple figured it was worth the time and money. But as their work was nearing completion, the city's Environmental Protection Department suddenly decided the Aguirre's 500-gallon septic tank was too small and had the county health department ask them to submit plans for a new septic system.
When the Aguirres refused, the city filed a 10-page lawsuit in the state Supreme Court in Carmel asking the court to force the couple to submit plans for a new septic system and to comply with any requirements the city imposed. It also sought penalties, costs and "other relief."
"The septic system was examined by them and found to be working perfectly," Aguirre recalled. "They said we were being sued because someday in the future a septic tank could break. But what they really wanted was to intimidate us and establish a legal precedent. We refused to back down."
Indeed, the suit was unusual. New York City rarely sues homeowners, especially when they live miles away and outside its normal jurisdiction. But the city was under federal orders to install a huge filtration plant for its water supply, which would cost billions of dollars. To avoid these costs, the city had managed to have land-use regulations imposed on seven counties, including Putnam and Westchester.
Geoff Hyan, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, denied the allegation, saying the purpose of the suit was to eliminate a threat to the city's water. Drinking water for 9 million New Yorkers comes from reservoirs and lakes in the watershed, which includes Westchester and a third of Putnam County.
"This isn't a matter of the 'big city' taking on an individual homeowner," Hyan told the Journal News, the local daily newspaper. "This is a matter of the public health, the public health law."
Because of its broad policy implications, the Atlantic Legal Foundation, a Manhattan-based public-interest law firm, on learning about the case agreed to take it on. The foundation maintained the lawsuit was an attempt to set a precedent in the state Supreme Court to allow a city agency 100 miles away to regulate land use and development outside New York City on the basis of potential – not actual – harm.
"The city is looking for a cost-free way to comply with federal standards – and they're doing it at the expense of people upstate," said Martin Kaufman, the foundation's vice president and general counsel.
With Atlantic Legal Foundation on their side, the Aguirres used their marketing background and skills to rally public opinion.
"Here we were in a big-time fight with a government that was attempting to take our home by using a watershed issue," said Aguirre. "But we got Fox TV to come out here and ABC News. We got the story out on radio programs. Then Atlantic Legal became interested and took it on. We were able to create such a stink that the city backed down."
In April 1998, the city DEP settled with the Aguirres. The threat of fines was dropped, and they were allowed to continue living in their home and using their septic tank – the only requirement being that they must have it pumped out every three years.
"What's ironic is that we pump it out every two years," said Aguirre. "They wanted us to be less strict than we are already."
In the course of his fight with the city, Aguirre began attending conferences organized by property-rights groups where he met "dozens of people" who, like himself, were victims of some government agency's abuse of power. Then, having won his battle, he began to think about ways to help some of them and quickly realized that the one big advantage he had that other victims lacked was marketing experience.
"Talking with them I discovered that most had no idea how to market their stories," said Aguirre. "They didn't really know how to use the media. Bringing the news media down here made all the difference in our case. So I came up with the idea of a radio show where people like myself could at least tell their stories. I give them a chance to tell others what it's like to come face-to-face with your worst nightmare."
Aguirre said his story "pales in comparison with what some of these people have gone through."
"I know a man and his son who went to jail for putting dirt on their property because the Army Corps of Engineers said it was a wetlands," he recalled.
The man – Ocie Mills – was Aguirre's guest on Saturday. The Millses have been fighting for over 10 years to clear their names and regain their civil rights. Their case is well-known to property rights advocates. Indeed, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., and Joseph Farah, CEO of WorldNetDaily.com, considered it such an egregious miscarriage of justice they profiled it in their 1996 book, "This Land is Our Land."
A federal district judge has twice exonerated the father-son team and declared them eligible for a new trial, but the U.S Department of Justice has successfully blocked this from happening.
Next Saturday, the spotlight will be on Bob MacElvain, an inventor whose story was publicized by WorldNetDaily in an article titled "7 years of hell at hands of IRS." In this instance, MacElvain is unable to be on the show personally, but standing in for him will be Vicki Osborn, the forensic accountant who worked on his case and uncovered "massive fraud" by the Internal Revenue Service against him and several others.
Generally, however, Aguirre talks with the victims themselves.
"If people are willing to come forward and don't care about possible retribution, I tell them, 'come on and talk on the air. We'll put you on. It's your show. You're the star.' If they do, maybe someone is out there will call in and be able to help them. It's a chance for David to strike back at Goliath," he said.