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Letters to the editor (6/15/22)


The views and opinions expressed in our letters section are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Hudson Valley One. You can submit a letter to the editor here.

A tribute on the lawn of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in New Paltz.

Gun violence

Stop and consider the costs of gun violence with a tribute on the lawn of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in New Paltz:

• Ten Tops bags for the ten people shot for shopping while Black in Buffalo, New York

• Twenty-one bouquets for the 19 children and two teachers shot while in school in Uvalde, Texas

• The 18,122 people killed by guns in the US between January 1 and June 7, 2022

• 247 shootings of four or more people so far in 2022.

Pray and grieve with us, that we all may make the changes we need to make to reduce gun violence in this nation.

Rev. Allison Moore
New Paltz

An explanation and apology to the NPHS Valedictorian

After submitting my parody “The POTUS Man” the thought occurred to me that someone might mistakenly think that I was being critical of the NPHS Valedictorian, Lora Johnson, rather than HV1‘s staff writer — who made what I came to realize while reading — were deliberate grammatical errors without informing readers of the reason for doing so. At first, as I read the article, I thought that either the staff writer made a grammatical or typo error in misusing a pronoun, or I had misunderstood what I had previously read. However, I soon realized that the pronoun use was deliberate and must have been done at the request of Lora. For this reason, I added a final stanza to “The POTUS Man,” in haste, to offer an opinion.  To clarify: My concern — as noted in the lyrics — was this: to avoid confusion, the staff writer should have informed readers that the student had requested pronoun preferences and this request would be reflected in the article. Had this occurred, I would not have commented on the article. I also should have presented a separate letter regarding the article that could not have, potentially, been misinterpreted by readers.  I want to both tell Lora that I applaud the amazing accomplishment of becoming the NPHS Valedictorian and respect the right of individuals to choose personal pronoun preferences and also inform readers that my criticism was meant only for HV1’s staff writer.

George Civile
Gardiner

Celebrate our graduates

I’m both saddened and angered by the letter in the June 8 issue mocking our high school’s valedictorian. Graduation is meant to be a joyous time when we come together to celebrate the young people in our community during this important life milestone. Kudos to our valedictorian and their family. They’re owed an apology for a letter that would demean them.

Kathy Simpson
New Paltz

Gender harassment of a minor

Under the umbrella of Ulster Publishing, Hudson Valley One, both in print and online, made an egregious and inexcusable choice this past week.  This choice was to include a letter written by a Gardiner resident in which an easily identifiable individual — both by their school, NPHS and by their title, Valedictorian — was  subject to gender harassment.  This individual is of course a student, but at the age of 17 they are also a minor. Had this decision to publish been made at a much lesser circulated paper, specifically a school newspaper, New York State Law under Chapter 16, Title 1, Article 2,  Dignity for All Students Act would have been invoked.

Ulster Publisher’s unethical and potentially damaging decision should invoke more than community outrage — more than a loss of subscribers.  Your decision should trigger the same anti-bullying discrimination laws applied within the school system and any school newspaper.   As Ulster Publishing is now liable for the propagation of gender harassment of a minor, it is in your best interest to address this situation through a publicly reported ethics and policy review.  It is also the interest of the county and state to review the laws and consequences for publishers willingly propagating the harassment of minors within their publications.

Patricia Culp
Gardiner

This worries me

I heard that the Saugerties gun show at the ice arena was canceled due to the recent mass shootings. Now I’m worried the car show in July will be canceled if there’s a big accident on the Thruway.

Greg Kleen
Saugerties

Reduce this footprint to a more sustainable level

Last Tuesday, June 7, the undersigned citizens met informally with two representatives from the KOA/Terramor Corporation regarding their proposed development of 75 luxury “glamping” sites, each with its own private bathroom, shower and fire pit, along with a Terramor community lodge, bar, dormitory and pool to accommodate all, just off Route 212 in Saugerties by South Peak Veterinary Hospital.  Our group were keenly disappointed to learn, despite Terramor’s stated fealty to environmental friendliness and desire to work harmoniously with local citizens, that the corporation actually proposed to INCREASE their footprint by 50% since their last public meeting with the group, despite the group’s feedback at that time that 50 units were excessive and not in keeping with the safety and character of our local community.

We deeply regret Terramor’s obvious intention to jam as many units as they can (they were happy with 50 just a few weeks ago) into an otherwise peaceful neighborhood. One can’t help but note the irony that the name Terramor, which means “love of the earth”, is in direct contradiction to their proclaimed “love thy neighbor” attitude.  And maximizing corporate profits in the face of decreased local traffic safety and environmental stress is pure hypocrisy.  Is it really responsible to cram as many as 375 campers at one time in a residential-adjacent area and 1,500-2,000 cars (whose drivers don’t know the area) into a 1-2 mile stretch of busy highway during the tourist-swollen summer season?  Indeed, the notorious Shultis Corners intersection at 212 and Glasco Turnpike, which witnessed yet another near fatal car accident just months ago (in the middle of winter), is less than a mile away.

Lest we forget, this project also risks the unintended but very real consequence of driving down property values that will cause residents to seek lower property valuations from their local assessor.  As such, this project also places Woodstock property values at significant risk while increasing Saugerties tax revenues, despite the fact that the latter town is over ten miles away from the proposed site.  (While this proposed project is technically located in the Town of Saugerties, geographically and practically this is a local Woodstock matter.)

We want to emphasize that this group’s position is NOT to block this project entirely.  Despite our concerns, we’re open to responsible development that would benefit our entire community.  However, safety and environmental concerns overwhelmingly call for a considerably reduced site plan that would ameliorate the overwhelming density this project would have on the immediate and adjacent neighborhoods.  A much more manageable 25 tents would still generate considerable revenues and profitability for Terramor. It would allow them a reasonable return on their investment while ensuring (a) the public safety, (b) a greatly reduced environmental impact that would otherwise fell hundreds of trees, stress our water and drainage resources and (c) a peaceful and harmonious relationship with local residents whose adjacent property values will otherwise be considerably diminished and (d) responsible and sustainable development that’s consistent with the values of the greater Woodstock/Saugerties community.

We therefore call upon the Saugerties Planning Board, and welcome all concerned citizens to join us, to take ALL aspects of Terramor’s proposal into very serious consideration, including the severe impact that Terramor’s proposal would have on the environment and the public safety, and take all steps necessary to reduce this footprint to a more sustainable level.”

Richard Buck
Woodstock

Matthew Cohen
Woodstock

Alan Gould
Woodstock

Michael Kolber
Woodstock

Camillia Lee
Woodstock

Bob Miller
Woodstock

Bonnie Monchik
Woodstock

Susan Paynter
Woodstock

Renee Rotkopk
Woodstock

Alvin Sasaki
Woodstock

Alan Seager
Woodstock

Cory Smith
Woodstock

Wendy Weitz
Woodstock

Mark Pisani
Saugerties

Multifaceted green infrastructure project underway

We just opened submissions here at Village Hall from four contractors who were bidding on our project to expand the southwest corner of Hasbrouck Park (where Elting and Mohonk Avenues meet). We are excited to share that the work is planned to start and be completed in July.

Municipal Water: This intersection project is being done in conjunction with the two groundwater wells that will be connected to the Village of New Paltz’s water system in an effort to reduce dependence on water from the New York City Water Department of Environmental Protection’s Catskill Aqueduct. The wells that have been tested for yield and quality are located on the northern edge of the Moriello Pool property, in an area that wasn’t especially useful for recreation.

In accordance with State and federal regulations, because the Moriello Pool property is classified as parkland, the Village had to acquire or create additional parkland of equal or greater value within the Village to substitute for that portion of the Moriello Pool property being utilized for the construction of the well facilities.

In April 2021, the Village of New Paltz Board of Trustees adopted a resolution determining that it is in the best interests of the Village and the public to utilize approximately .25 acres at the Moriello Pool property in order to construct, install and maintain municipal drinking water wells and related facilities.

Recreation: The Board of Trustees determined that it was feasible to accomplish this substitution of parkland by enlarging the southwest corner of Hasbrouck Park by reducing the road width of the intersection at Mohonk and Elting Avenues. By undertaking this work at Hasbrouck Park, at least 1,000 square feet of asphalt pavement from existing Village streets will be replaced and become dedicated parkland to enlarge the publicly usable area within Hasbrouck Park.

The assessor of the Town of New Paltz determined that the value of the Moriello Pool property would decrease by $600 ($2,400 per acre) after the well facilities were constructed and alienated from the Moriello Pool property. However, the contemplated expansion of the southwest corner of Hasbrouck Park will increase its value by a rate of $37,200 per acre, per the assessor (15.5 times the value of the area for well facilities at the Moriello Pool property).

Safety: The intersection felt poorly designed and seemed to encourage cars to go too fast. Studies have shown that narrowing roadways encourages drivers to slow down. It did not feel like it fit on a Village street, especially near a busy park. Pushing the park out into that space will create a 90-degree turn, forcing drivers to slow down. This is similar to what happened when the Village reconfigured another vehiclecentric turn at the corner of Mohonk and South Chestnut in 2017. That change helped with vehicle and pedestrian safety, pervious surface and stormwater drainage where there had been a problem with water pooling on South Chestnut.

Stormwater and Environmental Health: Like the 2017 project, improvements at Elting and Mohonk will reduce the volume of stormwater discharged into the Wallkill River and improve stormwater quality. The Wallkill has experienced harmful algal blooms resulting from increased nutrient levels of untreated stormwater runoff. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation identified the Wallkill and several of its tributaries as “impaired” under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act in 2018. Impairment relates to pollutants like phosphorus or fecal bacteria.

We originally submitted a grant application to the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation’s Green Innovation Grant Program for assistance with this project in 2019 but did not receive a grant award. Subsequently, then-senator Jen Metzger secured $50,000 towards this project, when she was still serving as our State senator later that year.

No on-street parking spaces at the corner would be lost, even though approximately 1,000 square feet of existing street pavement will be removed. Removing pavement also means we will have less pavement repair work in the future, which also reduces pressures on our climate crisis challenges and saves taxpayers money.

Mayor Tim Rogers
New Paltz

Facebook exposed!

Last week I wrote a letter entitled “The Addiction,” which focused on what I see as the core problem in America: out-of-control capitalism. I shared my grief and anger about the school shooting in Texas. I talked about how those who were accepting money from the gun lobby were putting the value of money and political power over the value of human life. This is what I see and this is what I believe.

If you have a business account with Facebook, you can increase your circulation by “boosting” an ad or an article by paying extra for the boost. I attempted to boost my “Addiction” article, but I was rejected. Here’s what Facebook wrote to me: “Your ad was rejected because it doesn’t comply with our ads about social issues, elections or politics policies.”

The traumatic social issue about mass killings is a top issue in our nation. But it appears that Facebook does not want us to take either side. What? Unbelievable! In addition, Facebook does not want anybody to take either side with regards to politics as well. But if Facebook was honest, they would have acknowledged that I did not point the finger at any political party. I just pointed out that it appears that some in politics may be choosing money and political power over the value of human life. And that it is not just a political issue, but a cultural issue for all of us in our capitalist society.

Is there something incendiary about taking a look at where our nation has gone wrong? Where are we if a caring citizen can’t be published widely, in spite of the sensitivity in the article, not wanting to blame any individual or party?

Yes, Facebook has a very influential platform. And yes, their leaders have the power to choose what will be widely published and what will be rejected for publication. But I’d like to know what is really at the core of how Facebook makes those decisions. If they are choosing to reject the article I wrote, and other similar articles written by other writers, then maybe their policy may be focused, first and foremost, on anything that may threaten their bottom line. Could it be that they make policy decisions not necessarily on what might be stimulating and concerning to their audience, but how certain articles, if published, could possibly jeopardize some of their cherished big-money advertising accounts?

So, it appears to this writer that Facebook may unfortunately be accidentally proving my point. It sure appears that Facebook is being exposed as a business that is acting on out-of-control capitalism! What do you think?

Marty Klein
Kingston

A vote for Sarahana Shrestha

I have voted for Kevin Cahill for the NY State Assembly at least ten times in the past two decades, but I’m not going to vote for him again in the upcoming Democratic Party primary on June 28. Instead, I’m going to vote for his opponent, a very dynamic young woman named Sarahana Shrestha.  Her lack of legislative experience, particularly the wheeling and dealing that goes on in Albany, would be more than matched by her energy, intelligence and commitment. 

My current problem with Cahill is that as a member of the Assembly Health Committee, he as for years refused to even allow a bill out of that committee to be debated on the floor of the Assembly. That bill is New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act (A4321a/S6471.) This act would simply provide an option for terminally ill men and women who have reached the end of their lives and are suffering greatly and needlessly in their final days. Nine states, including our neighbor New Jersey, now have medical aid in dying laws that have improved end-of-life care. There have not been any substantiated cases of abuse or coercion related to medical aid in dying. Most people in the states where it is legal don’t even use this option, but are greatly relieved by the fact that is there.

Cahill says he wants to do a “study.” The “study” has been in effect for years as medical aid-in-dying laws have proven not only to protect patient autonomy but also to improve care across the end-of-life spectrum. 

I am 87. I would love to live another decade. But I want to know that I have a choice, that in the event that my final days involve intolerable suffering, I could legally and under a doctor’s supervision, have a dignified death. Cahill’s stand makes this impossible.  Sarahana has committed herself to support this bill. This, along with her record of strong commitment to environmental protection, is why I plan to vote for her on June 28.

Judy Mage
New Paltz

Big two-hearted river

So very few of us use the mighty and beautiful Hudson. Viking Cruise Lines could do successful overnighters on this high-walled 1,000-mile-long river harbor that can take you from Albany to anywhere on the coast of all seven continents, plus all the big and small islands, fjords and every other mighty river.

But our Hudson is different: It flows both north and south, changing direction four times every day with the tides. Weigh anchor (salty for raise it) under the Poughkeepsie/Highland railroad bridge and you will move, quite quickly, away from the trestle, north on an incoming tide. You could ride that current with a heavy load, effortlessly, to Kingston. Big loads without engines or sails could float from New York City harbor to Catskill in a couple of days, just laying (salt again) at anchor when the tide reversed.

And to think, it used to be clean! The Lenape ate from it!

Paul Nathe
New Paltz

Cowardice, hypocrisy, ignorance, insanity

Begin with the first 13 words of the Second Amendment: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state.” Those who treat that amendment of the US Constitution as holy and inviolable should read those words again and again. None of the mass murderers in our history was a member of a well-regulated militia, and not one of our founders could have conceived of an AR-15 or treating the words of 1789 as unchangeable for all time. That is insane and profoundly anti-democratic.

Toward the end of his life, Thomas Jefferson suggested in a letter to John Adams that the Constitution be rewritten every 19 years, because so much had changed! Those politicians who continue to support the status quo regarding weapons of war are not conservative constitutional originalists. They are quite simply cowards.

Incredibly, the majority of support for unregulated weapons of war comes from those who also name themselves as Christian. The irony of that chilling hypocrisy is only outweighed by the depth and breadth of its evil.

Don Badgley
New Paltz

To the rest of the world

What the USA looks like to the rest of the world:

“It’s okay. Nothing to see here. No emergency or changes needed.” After all, no children of a Republican representative were harmed. Until such time, you may resume life as usual. Of course, God is on “our” side; he personally has referenced this as a “given right.”

“Your concern at this point is enough.” Hmm, we might just create the echo chamber we’ve been after all along; we have identified a problem, but have not provided a solution, and this is an exercise in futility, so far. And please don’t touch that dial.

Oh, one more thing: “Just more yakety-yak complaining and jealousy from the left. Ha, this never gets old.”

And still the Republicans will do nothing to end gun violence. It’s a pity because their “thoughts and prayers” don’t seem to be slowing down the killings. Gun rights drive the GOP more than ever, and they will do nothing relevant to stop school killings of our children or massacres with assault-type weapons in other public places. Yes, they choose guns over kids, all for 30 pieces of silver.

More than 311,000 students have experienced gun violence at a school since Columbine 1999. Listen, folks: All we need to do at these elementary schools, plus at other schools of higher education, is set up tripwires, mines, pressure-triggered spearguns, howitzers, surveillance drones, roof-mounted crossbows, poison gas traps, volunteer retired former law enforcement with shotguns, and arm teachers/janitorial/administration with Glock pistols; then this will all go away. Get to work, America! Oh, and anthrax-tipped blowgun darts. Those would be very cool also.

 Republicans have lost their humanity. Again I reiterate, their thoughts and prayers are meaningless. They are thugs seeking to own women’s bodies without providing care for pregnant women or their children. Once a child is born, Republicans ignore their needs of health care, food, shelter and safe schools. Republicans have lost their souls! Child survivors of school gun violence face a lifetime of psychological trauma, but these selfish politicians and their voters don’t care!

Republicans today? Let’s see: The Orange One promised to march to the Capitol Building with a bunch of thugs, but then bailed, returning to the cushy safety of the White House (where he watched his failed coup on TV). Mr. (the Macho) Governor of Texas is hiding in the governor’s mansion rather than appear at the NRA convention. The lieutenant governor of Texas, too, is a no-show. So brave!

No wonder these guys want to have lots of guns. They clearly need “something” to prove how tough they are, right?

We need to vote against every Republican – particularly in the Senate – and anyone who says the only answer is “hardening” schools (a gaslight distraction word from the Republican playbook – notice how they all sound the same, days after the Texas tragedy – from passing any gun reforms).

Something in America has changed, and it is awful. These elected Republicans are not here for us. Do they not have hearts? Time after time they refuse to honor their oath, refusing to do the basic things that are required.

Whether it’s the propaganda of gun rights organizations or manipulating GOP campaign rhetoric, they depend on one thing for their success: the ignorance, paranoia and gullibility of their base. We have become a nation that is governed by the lowest common denominator. How bad will the damage be when the tide finally changes?

Enough already!

Neil Jarmel
West Hurley

What?

Let me get this straight.

Democrats try to protect the health of our children and their teachers by requiring masks in school during a pandemic and voters elect. Republicans stand in the way of ANY measures to try to prevent maniacal teenagers from slaughtering our children and their teachers in school and voters elect … Republicans!?!

Phil Bishop
New Paltz

Lucky charms

“Beginner’s luck” also works with prayer.

Sparrow
Phoenicia

McKenna at it again?

A “special event,” as defined in Woodstock’s Zoning Law, is a temporary, organized, outdoor program of entertainment or exhibition. The law states that the Town Board may, from time to time, authorize such special events on public property. It further states that the Town Board shall establish by resolution, among other terms, the duration and location of the “special event.”

 How is it, then, that our supervisor took it upon himself to sign an approval form to allow a “special event” to take place on private property? The next special event could be on your neighbor’s property. Should it be allowed based upon the opinion of one individual, or should it have to go through the proper protocols?

Howard Harris
Woodstock

Hypocrisy is clear

An interesting contrast in Gardiner these days regarding the public response to a couple of applications before the Planning Board.

First, we have John Alexander, proposing to build one home on 108 acres of property. Included in his proposal is a Conservation Easement on over 80 percent of the parcel, which restricts any further development. The response to this application was/is as if the entire ridgeline of the Gunks would be permanently ruined. There were numerous letters to the Planning Board, objections stated at meetings and the public bashing of Mr. Alexander’s intentions and professional credentials.

Contrast this with the application of the Gunks Climbers’ Coalition to construct a driveway and eight parking spaces to create access to the Ridge for their members. Where is the public concern about this uncontrolled activity? Where will members of this group access bathroom facilities? Who will monitor this? Where are the voices who claim to be the Defenders of the Ridge regarding this project?

The silence is deafening. The hypocrisy is clear.

Glenn Gidaly
New Paltz

By any other name

​Eric Glass responded to my claim that he failed to mention the reason for abortion being illegal (it was the deliberate killing of living, developing human life in the womb) prior to the Roe-Wade decision by admitting my claim was true. He then justified this failure by stating he had also not mentioned that interracial marriage, women voting and other things were illegal.

However, Mr. Glass’ list was misleading because its items, unlike abortion, never should have been illegal, since such illegality clearly violated the Declaration of Independence’s principle of “All men are created equal.” This equality guaranteed “certain” rights to all humans that were considered to be inalienable because they came from the endower of rights, the Creator. These inalienable rights did not include destroying innocent human life or unrestrained human liberty. In fact, the commandment given to Noah after the flood – before Abraham and Moses – recorded in Genesis 9:6, is the foundation upon which modern prohibitions of murder are built: “If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands.”

The reason the penalty for murder was severe and unequivocal came from the view that humans were unique beings because they were created in the image and likeness of the author of life, and murder was, in effect, a strike at life’s very source. In contrast, societies guided by atheistic philosophies have often been led by regimes whose philosophical underpinnings justify even murder as a legitimate means to accomplish their goals. The Hebrew Scriptures’ high view of humanity, spread through Christianity, and the internalizing of this view by societies and nations developed the moral views of what would become Western civilization. Consequently, murder came to be considered a great evil and abortion, the deliberate, calculated destruction of human life, viewed as violation of the Declaration of Independence’s enumerated “right to life.”

Although some might argue that this “right to life” refers only to life that has left the womb, they do so without the benefit of historical, moral or legal precedent. They also do so in violation of science, which demonstrates that human life’s development begins at the moment the male (sperm) and female (egg) gametes are joined and form a zygote. Through mitosis the zygote becomes a blastocyst on the fifth day. Within eight weeks the embryo is formed, which eventually develops into a human fetus.

Although Mr. Glass used the British form “foetus” in his letter, apparently in an effort to indicate that the fetus is less than developing human life, the word fetus is a Middle English word derived from the Latin word fetus “which means offspring.” Historically, those who have desired to defend the destruction of human life have often defined the lives they wanted to destroy by using words that would dehumanize their victims. In the Rwandan genocide the Tutsis were called “cockroaches” and the Hutus were encouraged by their leaders to treat them as such. Similarly, the Nazis referred to Jews as rats, and as someone once wrote: “When the Nazis referred to Jews as ‘Untermenschen,’ they meant they were literally subhuman.”

With this in mind, the word fetus and phrase “clump of cells” are often used by supporters of abortion to minimize the value of the human life growing in the womb. Of course, this use, as previously noted, denies the meaning of the word fetus and the science of human development. For this reason, just as an infant, toddler, child, adolescent and adult are in different stages of human development, a life in the womb, by any other name, is also a developing human being and should be treated as such, at least according to the Declaration of Independence’s moral world view.

Although Mr. Glass thinks those who are pro-life should be doing things other than voting for pro-life or anti-abortion candidates and writing letters that describe what actually occurs during an abortion to qualify as being called pro-life, such thinking is specious and is used to deflect from the truth about what actually occurs during an abortion. And while I may or may not meet Eric’s requirements to qualify as being pro-life, I’ll accept his designation of me as “just” anti-abortion (that is, one who is against abortion, the killing of living, developing human life in the womb) if he’ll accept my designation of him as “just” pro-abortion: one who is for the killing of living, developing human life in the womb.

George Civile
Gardiner

Thank you for coverage

Many thanks for your timely, interesting and informative May 11 article highlighting NAMI Mid-Hudson, the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and our May Ribbon Campaign bringing awareness of mental health and wellness to Hudson Valley One’s readership. In case you missed Frances Marion Platt’s fine coverage, here’s a snapshot: If you have a mental illness or someone you love does, please visit our website at namimidhudson.org to learn about our free support groups, educational programs and activities. Our website also educates the public about community resources and provides printable guides and information to help you help a loved one navigate private, local and state mental health and criminal justice systems.

Thank you Hudson Valley One for introducing Ulster and Dutchess County readers to NAMI Mid-Hudson! Please e-mail now to find out about registering for new classes and waiting lists: contact@namimidhudson.org.

Find help and hope.

Andrea Raphael-Paskey, LCSW-R
NAMI Mid-Hudson Board of Directors
Poughkeepsie

Water rates unchanged for ten years

The Village of New Paltz last increased water rates nearly ten years ago, in 2012. During the last few years, we have been investing millions of dollars to improve our collectively owned municipal system, while simultaneously not raising rates. We did this primarily by chasing down and repairing leaks. We also worked with SUNY New Paltz to install master meters for campus to improve reporting, instead of using numerous individual building meters. Both initiatives can be credited for improving our water fund’s fiscal health.

It also helped some when we received American Rescue Plan assistance from the federal government to help with COVID impacts. These one-time proceeds were used to offset the lost revenue in our water fund while SUNY’s dorms were only partially occupied. Expenses related to our new $5.5 million filtration system, which was designed to accommodate dorms with students, still needed to be paid.

For many years now, we have also been working to source more water locally using groundwater wells instead of purchasing water from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s Catskill Aqueduct. NYC Water (DEP) has been a supportive partner, helping fund a large portion of both the master meter project with SUNY as well as four wells we are trying to connect to our system that are next to our water plant on Mountain Rest Road and two wells next to Moriello Pool Park.

We currently buy about 60 percent of the water we use from the DEP, and source the difference using four surface-water reservoirs next to our water plant on Mountain Rest Road. This ratio varies depending on precipitation. Our goal has been to buy less of the DEP’s relatively expensive water, because it has risen in price by 323 percent, or 8.3 percent annualized over the last 18 years, through 2021.

We had hoped by now to get these six local groundwater wells online to start saving, but this large, complicated project involving engineers, legislators in Albany and various New York State regulatory agencies has proven to be more time-consuming and expensive than originally anticipated. Our fingers are crossed and we hope to bring these wells online this year, or in 2023 at the latest.

We provide this background to illustrate how careful we try to be managing your water system. We take this fiduciary responsibility seriously.

This year, we will finally raise rates for the first time since 2012. Our rates are set to encourage conservation among the highest-volume users, rather than providing volume discounts. Our higher-volume users have the greatest impact on our infrastructure, and therefore the greatest ability to implement efficiencies to conserve and lessen overall system degradation.

Examples of how pricing works:

• A base rate of $7.67 per month will be charged at properties using up to 44 gallons per day. This will be an increase of $1.42 per month (five cents more per day).

• Properties using between 44 and 556 gallons per day are charged the $7.67 per month base rate plus $0.00575 per gallon for each gallon between 44 and 556 gallons per day. In the Village, households use approximately 50 gallons of water per day per person. Therefore, properties using 556 gallons per day have about 11 people. A property with this level of consumption will see a monthly increase of $17.70 per month (59 cents more per day). Eleven people sharing a 59-cent daily increase works out to a hair more than five cents per person per day.

Thank you for your efforts in conservation, which is financially important to each of us personally, but also environmentally vital for our community and the world as well. We hope these details help to shed light on how our water system works and is maintained, and why rates are increasing.

Mayor Tim Rogers
Deputy mayor Alexandria Wojcik
Trustee Michele Zipp
Trustee Stana Weisburd
Trustee William Wheeler Murray
New Paltz

Clarification on Hillary

In the paper dated June 8, 2022, I mentioned, and I quote, “After eight years of a Black POTUS, the Democratic Party saw fit to nominate Hillary Clinton for POTUS. For the Democratic Party to run a woman for POTUS, let alone Hillary Clinton, after Obama, it allowed the frustrations of the white supremacies to place in the Oval Office Donald Trump.”

 I was questioned about that by some close friends as for my rationale for such a statement. I liked Hillary. I voted for Hillary. I thought Hillary would make a good POTUS, as she had eight years in the White House with her husband, then-POTUS William Clinton. Before I address this concern, let’s step back in time a bit.

Ever since the liberals came to power under FDR, the GOP has been an ardent enemy of these programs. Since the decision of the Supreme Court in the landmark decision of 1886, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co., granting corporations “personhood” status, there have been 10 POTUS, from the reign of Grover Cleveland to FDR. Eight of these were Republican and two were Democratic (Woodrow Wilson and Grover Cleveland, elected to two non-consecutive terms).

These eight Republican POTUS were of the same mind: The federal government was “business and business only;” the states were no affair of theirs. This was the day of the marauding capitalist “dog eat dog,” “every man for himself.” This freewheeling capitalistic belief led directly to the Great Depression, particularly the banking operations. At the end of Hoover’s first term, the country was in the fourth year of this Depression. The Republicans had to elect FDR and support him or they would be voted out of office in the midterm elections.

With FDR’s Social Security Act of 1935, this was the beginning of 86 years of Democratic, liberal programs, interspaced with GOP presidents. This did not set well with the “good ol’ boys,” the capitalistic ruling whites. This was compounded further when the public voted in a Black man, Barack Obama, for eight years as POTUS; compounding this further was the nomination of Hillary Clinton as POTUS when Obama was finished. Enough was enough! Trump was elected.

Hillary Clinton carried a great deal of baggage with her, justifiable or not. She was a flashpoint for the good ol’ boys. This is where I felt, and still do, where the Democrats lost control of the government. This is why Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority leader, stymied every one of Obama’s Supreme Court picks and instead opted to place in conservative justices. It is also the rationale of the behavior of the prevailing GOP per se: stymieing Biden’s programs, all in the belief that Donald Trump will run again. Because if the midterm elections of 2022 witness both Chambers of Congress going Republican, Trump will run again. And if reelected, the benefit state of the federal government as we know it now will come to an end.

At my age of 83, I cannot sit back and watch this attack on my benefits, those benefits I have paid into since I was 16 years old. I urge all seniors receiving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to let your representatives, senators and congresspersons know in no uncertain terms: Leave our benefits alone.

 I also urge you to write or call the AAARP and the NCPSSM (National Committee for the Preservation of Social Security and Medicare). These are two large senior citizens’ organizations that have our interests at heart – more so than the political parties.

I thought Hillary Clinton would have made a good president if given the chance. Having said that, I see the Democratic Party making the same mistake again if Biden does not run and Kamala Harris is nominated and wins. There will be gridlock for another four years until the GOP starts to lose some of their ardent disciples. But even with the “gridlock,” Harris will not sign off on any bill that will greatly affect our benefits – at least, I hope.

The importance of the 2022 elections is very important, as the GOP is going all-out attempting to curtail the voting process, spending large sums of money to get their candidates into office.

I urge all seniors to join the AARP and NCPSSM, as they have bulletins on a regular basis informing all seniors as to what is happening on Capitol Hill.

Robert LaPolt
New Paltz

Voting

Of the 47 countries in Europe today, 46 of them currently require government-issued photo IDs to vote.  The British Parliament is considering a nationwide requirement for that also, so soon all 47 countries will likely have adopted this common-sense policy. 

Tom Losee
New Paltz

Think about the community

Many a Town Board and Zoning Boards of Appeal are required to make decisions for “the good of the community.” The Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Saugerties is considering such an appeal now which on the surface seems a small matter in comparison to others. A property owner wants to put a car wash on Route 32 near the Thruway exit/entrance. However, the land he owns for this project is part of a large aquifer, and the owner is also a part owner of the very large attached parcel (over 800 acres) that has the bulk of the aquifer. It, too, is a desired candidate for development. This creates complexity.

However, concentrating on the potential car wash site, the Zoning Board of Appeals members are required by N.Y. Law 267-B (Permitted Action by Board of Appeal) to take into consideration first “the health, safety and welfare” of the community (Para 3, Sec. B). To summarize the material that follows in that paragraph, the owner making the appeal has to prove that hardship rather than opportunity is the cause of his request. There is no hardship. The owner, assuming he did due diligence in purchasing the land, knew the current zoning. His request is simply opportunity, and so should be denied because clean water is a responsibility of the Town and essential to the community. Promises of technological fixes should not be considered; we have a multitude of technological failures as examples whose consequences have long lives. The owner is not denied use of the land, but is limited to uses that do not affect the aquifer.

New York State has a lot of leeway for local self rule, but our human desire to accommodate our neighbor can conflict with the good of the community, and none of us can afford to let that happen, especially in this century, in this place.

The town laws of New York State are easily read online. Find them, read them and expect honest application in every town.

Mary Ann Mays
Saugerties

Enough

In regards to the allegations and accusations by Edgar Rodriguez against our school administrators, school boards and our community, I just have to say… enough already!

Many years ago I had the privilege of serving as a volunteer on the New Paltz Task Force For Change and Diversity after a poorly handled police incident at the high school.

We all worked hard with the school district to improve the systems in place relative to promoting the hiring of minority staff and establishing a real affirmative action plan. We also started a Diversity Day Parade and community festival that was initially very successful in promoting our communities diverse cultures.

FYI … New Paltz is not a racist community, we do not have a racist police force and we do not have a racist school board or racist system of hiring or firing school personnel!

I do not believe it to be true that, in the past “50 years” employees of the school district were fired, or quit, or retired because of racial mistreatment due to their skin color.

Yes, of course, racism exists in our country. Yes, there are still inequities needing to be addressed and yes we must maintain strict vigilance to ensure fair and equal treatment of those impacted by the gross abuses of the past and present, but enough with the “race card” and making blanket accusations based on feelings not facts!

Saying the above is not my “white fragility” speaking! I have no fragility in discussing racial issues. Any perceived defensiveness is in reaction to the offensiveness of the denigrating attack letter. Disagreeing with his statements does not mean I have a fragile sense of my white self or discomfort because of my white guilt or “white privilege”!

Accusing the school district of having a “revolving door” for people of color, claiming “institutional racism” and that black and brown employees are being forcefully “catapulted” out of employment is slanderous to us all, but especially to the School Board members and administrative staff who are smeared with these unjust and unsubstantiated accusations.

When pressure is put on by community activists to hire based on the color of one’s skin, sometimes you end up with a “low expectations” hire, as Edgar implies in his letter.

Stop yelling racism because the School Board is going to be “all white” or they did not appoint your person of color choice to a temp seat.

We want the best person for the job, the person best suited, no matter what.

We can point out low minority representation in many fields and affirmative action and equal opportunity are the valued bywords, but so are qualifications.

I do give Edgar credit for his longtime activism and dedication to trying to make “the system” better, but I disagree with his views in accusing the school district of blatant racism.

Ron Stonitsch
New Paltz

Alan’s pessimism

No one doubts that racism still exists despite the incredible progress in equality following the civil rights movements and ensuing civil rights laws of 1964/1965.  But, what does NOT exist, today, is “systemic racism” as Alan defines and describes in morose detail, in a very negative way throughout all institutions and aspects of life.

If “systemic racism” was as present and destructive as Alan says, there would be no success stories of amazing achievement and equality.  But in reality, many, many blacks have already been exceeding great numbers of whites and others in their accomplishments in every career profession imaginable.  This clearly refutes Alan’s claim that blacks have been and continue to be “systemically” denied opportunities for upward mobility and self respect, even as we acknowledge the nearly 1,500,000 black millionaires and 15 black billionaires.  How could this happen in the dismal “systemically racist” picture painted for blacks by Alan?  And, I’m sure these black people didn’t “wait for permission from white people”, as Alan asserts, before they set out to accomplish their goals and dreams.

My comments about BLM are factual, hardly “misrepresentations and slanders”, as Alan suggests.  BLM’s anti-capitalism and anti-nuclear family lynch pins are no secret as well as the fact that their “leaders” are self-proclaimed Marxists.  Millions of dollars have been discovered missing since Executive Director Patrisse Cullors left BLM.  And, not by coincidence, Cullors has so far purchased $3.2 million in real estate across the U.S.  BLM is currently under investigation for an accountability of the $90 million they took in via donations in 2020 as well as for tax irregularities.  No one from BLM will respond to any inquiries from journalists or several investigative entities.  All this financial shadiness and dangerous anti-social tenets hardly speak of an organization being “misrepresented or slandered.”  And we don’t even need to get into the BLM’s participation in “the 2020 summer of love” and much of their responsibility in the looting, arson, violence, assaults on police and governmental buildings, and even deaths.

Regarding the murders of unarmed black men by police, there have been an extremely small number of cold blooded, inexcusable instances like that; and lawsuits and indictments are reducing even the small number of these types of instances.  It is obvious that the vast majority of the killings of armed and unarmed black men by police, during traffic stops, have one cause in common:  the foolish, unprovoked, and aggressive physical challenges to police officers.  Instead of remaining calm, listening to the officer, answering questions and producing the requested identification like the vast majority of people do, the “victim” decides to attack the officer, reach for his/her taser or gun, or try to run over the officer(s) as they speed away in their car.  I think the term for the obvious outcome of these encounters is “suicide by cop.”

There is no doubt in my mind that Alan’s son is getting the education, empathy and support he deserves from Alan, something Alan’s son never got from his absentee biological father from an apparent non-nuclear family.

John N. Butz
Modena

Commentary on life

WOW!  I found my missing remote in a bowl of green jello.

Now I can freely watch our American TV of constant terror.

I am getting durable sleep ever since I moved my sleigh bed into my comfy patient portal.

If one is faced with a compound trauma or a plethora of hoaxes, reach for tissues, the Three Stooges, Seinfeld and your Buddy.

Just remember no one has ever lost their lease for laughing too loud.

Myrna S. Hilton
Ulster Park

Sarahana Shrestha has the skills to make a difference

Who should represent NY Assembly District 103: Kevin or Sarahana? The Democratic establishment has spoken: incumbent Cahill’s still their man. But NY Working Families Party, Citizen Action, For the Many and Food and Water Action, on the other hand, endorse challenger Sarahana Shrestha. Why? In this time of crisis on the social and climate fronts, what kind of leadership do we need? Same old, same old? Or somebody with some fresh ideas about our daunting problems. I believe Sarahana Shrestha has the spirit, energy, and leadership skills to make a difference, whereas Kevin Cahill has been in the Assembly for 22 years doing business as usual. I don’t think he’s a leader of the kind we need at this desperate point we’ve reached on all fronts.

Democratic supporters make the point that Cahill has sponsored or co-sponsored a bunch of progressive bills, but he himself says that co-sponsorship of bills doesn’t mean anything. (In fact the distinction he makes between public support for and co-sponsorship of a bill escapes me and others I’ve spoken with. I’m not quite ready to call it doubletalk, but I’m getting there.) And in fact, few if any of these critical bills ever came to a vote during this legislative session. What we need is an assembly member who is willing and able to push legislation that they support to the front of the line. As it’s a matter of record that he’s taken large donations from the private health insurance industry as a member of the Committee on Health, how hard can we expect him to push legislation for the New York Health Act, for example? 

I don’t think he’s a bad guy or even a bad Assembly member.  I’m happy that he voted, even worked, to codify Roe v Wade in New York. But this isn’t a big money issue and it is a core Democratic tenet, therefore not a position that could threaten campaign funding. And I believe the claim that he has worked to secure funding for Family, Battered Women’s/Homeless Shelters, and other organizations that help those in need. But to me, in a just society, these organizations shouldn’t be necessary in the first place. In the kind of world I want to live in; all these groups operating as the de facto social safety net wouldn’t have to exist. Only structural change will create the just society that will make them unnecessary. Only structural change will clear the way to legislation that will address the root causes of the social injustice and the climate crises. 

I just think we can do better and should have the courage to give a chance to someone with a new perspective on our problems.  If Sarahana’s inexperience would be a handicap in the arcane world of the NYS legislative process, then the process needs to be changed, not accommodated to. Sarahana may look like a wild card to the “play-it-safe” crowd but it seems to me it’s time to throw down a few.  She’s young, she’s aligned with the DSA and she’s a real progressive in the AOC style. She sees the world differently from establishment Dems because she’s a member of the generation (that includes my own daughter) that is living with the consequences of business as usual. She understands that things will only get worse without structural change, not greenwashing or window dressing, and she has the leadership skills to push for it. If she disappoints us, we can retreat to the illusory safety of the establishment next time around. But for now, I remind everyone that the emperor is scantily clad. And remember that the fable isn’t about him, it’s about us. 

And while you’re at it, make Sarahana’s job easier by voting for Jumaane Williams for governor and Ana Maria Archila for lieutenant governor! They’re not for business as usual either.

Janet Asiain
Saugerties

Why I am voting for Kevin Cahill

This weekend early voting starts for the Democratic Primary. One of the races that is being contested is for Assembly District 103 which includes parts of Ulster and Dutchess Counties.

Our Assemblymember, Kevin Cahill, is being challenged in the race by a member of the Democratic Socialists of America — the same organization that is blaming NATO for the Russia attack on Ukraine.
The campaign against Kevin has been dishonest and negative. Here are some facts: Kevin has received a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood for his support of women’s reproductive rights. He has been the recipient of the Environmental Legislator of the Year award. He has resolved hundreds of billing issues that his constituents have had with Central Hudson. He has received the unanimous Union endorsement including from the teachers, nurses, construction trades and civil servants.

As a Democrat, I believe that campaigns should be based on facts and the issues, not deception. Let’s leave the lies to the Republican Party!

Jeffery Collins
Woodstock

Kevin Cahill supports the environment

Assembly member Kevin Cahill has an outstanding and distinguished record on the environment. He is running for re-election this year and deserves the support of all Democrats who plan to vote in the June 28 primary.

Here is why:

  • Between 2015 and 2021 Assembly member Cahill had a clean record of 0 — zero — contributions from the fossil fuel industry.
  • His ratings from environmental advocates have never dipped below 92% and, from 2017-2020 he scored 100% approval on environmental issues during more than a dozen major votes in the Assembly.
  • In 2022 Kevin Cahill’s record includes support of the All-Electric Buildings Act, voting for a two-year moratorium on crypto mining, and fighting for local, constituent contributions to the Climate Justice Working Group draft.
  • He supports large-scale renewable energy projects in Upstate and Western New York. He authored the Climate and Community Investment act which brings $15 billion dollars in climate investments in New York.

Kevin Cahill’s socialist opponent, running as a Democrat, has claims, but no documented record on the environment. The opponent has never been elected to any public office, even at the local level. The opponent has never been accountable on any issue that is significant in every New York community this year.

Kevin Cahill is a hard-working, effective and right-thinking New York State Assembly member who must be re-elected if we want to reverse climate change, move to a green and renewable fuel economy, and return prosperity and equity to Assembly district 103 and the Hudson Valley.

Kevin Cahill has spent his entire career working for the good of the citizens of the Hudson Valley and our communities. Let’s send him back to Albany as an assembly member who will work hard for us.

Vote for Kevin Cahill early, between June 18-26 or on Tuesday June 28 to be sure the New York State Assembly heads in the right direction on the environment, a direction we can trust.

Lisa Montanus
Woodstock