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Letters to the Editor - November 11, 2010
November 11, 2010 12:07 PM | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
VOTE, AND

It’s important to vote. But let’s keep in mind that women didn’t win the right to vote by voting. Please read Bill Moyer’s recent speech on commondreams.org.

Liam Watt

Saugerties


299,792,458 MILES PER SECOND VS. 340.29 MILES PER SECOND

“It is a scientific fact that light travels faster than sound. This is why sometimes people appear bright until you hear what they are saying.”

Howard Harris

Bearsville


YOU MIGHT BE LIVING IN A RED STATE IF

Keith Crass handily won the honor of representing Hot Springs in the State House. His Democratic opponent fell victim to the times. Keith’s only fault is that he had been dead for a week before the election. The dead are no strangers to the voting booth here in Arkansas but, to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time they have ever elected one of their own.

David Rose

Hot Springs, Arkansas


NO, IT’S HIGH TAX WOODSTOCK

There is good reason, aside from your tax bill, to doubt last week’s article in the Woodstock Times claiming low taxes in Woodstock. It’s simply not true. This article was an exercise in false equivalence. The assessor compared the average assessed value of Woodstock properties to equivalent market value in other towns. The correct comparison would have been to compare the averaged assessed values, not the market value, in the other towns.

The market value of homes is significantly higher in Woodstock then surrounding towns, therefore even with lower tax rates, the tax burden is much higher. The Tri-County Housing Assessment report documented the median home prices for every town in the tri-county area. The average of median home prices in Hurley, Town of Kingston, Olive, Saugerties, Shandakan, Rosendale and Ulster was $226,857. The median home price in Woodstock was $368,000, over 60 percent higher. That’s why your tax bills are much higher than surrounding towns.

Another deceptive statement is the claim the town board reduced the 38 percent tax increase in the general fund to 10 percent. Not true! After removing some of the more egregious budget items, the increase in the general fund is 20 percent.

I agree with Bill West, former town supervisor and chairman of the Ulster County Legislature, who wrote last week, “It is very apparent that the Woodstock Town Board does not fully understand the budgeting process.” Instead of exercising fiscal discipline, the town board is giving us flim-flam. Instead of a responsible budget, they want us to believe our taxes are low and a 20% increase in the general fund is acceptable.

Ken Panza

Woodstock

Editor’s note: We disagree about the relevant comparisons. We believe that the proper one is that of tax rate — comparing what a $300,000 property would pay in one town versus in another. We agree that properties in Woodstock may be worth more, but the fact remains that a property assessed at $300,000 in Woodstock will pay less town taxes than one in those towns with a higher tax rate, including Marlboro, New Paltz, Wawarsing, the city of Kingston, Saugerties, Rosendale, Hurley, Shandaken and ten others in the county. The only town that will pay less for that property is Olive, and the Woodstocker would pay less in school taxes than all except Shandaken and Olive.

Also, the story did not say, as Mr. Panza states, that the town board reduced the 38 percent tax increase in the general fund to 10 percent. What it said was “Following a round of cuts by the Town Board, the current spending plan, known as the tentative budget, calls for an increase of about ten percent in the so-called townwide levy — the tax paid by all property owners to finance the budget’s four major lines, which consist of the fire and library districts as well as the general and highway funds.”


KUDOS TO THE HALLOWEEN POLICE

Chilly none-the-less, Halloween was a true delight this year in good part due to the expert handling and care of the Woodstock police; kudos to our chief of police Clayton Keefe and his staff. Their vigilance and polite and caring attitude did not go unnoticed. The mass of wonderful creatively costumed adults and children were in good hands, the snowy mess of shaving cream was contained and fun, and within hours the town was clean and ready for the next day. Bravo.

Mitch and Bette Rapoport

Woodstock


GETTING ELECTED IS NOT ENOUGH

I am saddened that the fossil fuel Industry dollars have made a mockery of democracy in America, polluting not only our air, water and communities, but nearly every political campaign. I learned that the coal and oil industry barons, like the Koch brothers, spent millions of dollars this year to elect representatives who will support their destructive profit motives. So I wrote to Senator-elect Schumer to ask why he accepted over $200,000 from corporate polluters during this election cycle? and...will he represent the people in New YOrk State or the ‘dirty energy’ companies? The response letter was passivizing.

Getting elected is not enough! If the newly elected are truly committed to fiscal responsibility, they should slash the billions of taxpayer dollars wasted every year in handouts for wealthy coal and oil companies. Here in Ulster County it is not common knowledge that we the tax payers are actually subsidizing this industry by the millions to lobby and subvert our democracy.

No matter where it comes from, we need leadership to defend our environment from what are sure to be vicious industry attacks in the coming years

This election doesn’t change the fact that we all depend on clean air and water, and that our leaders should side with the people they represent, not corporate polluters. I will personally opt to buy renewable energy, not to spite the old industry but because it’s integral to having a clean air and water future.

Stephen Johnson

Woodstock


THANK YOU AGAIN WOODSTOCK! LET’S CELEBRATE

Once again Woodstock voters came to the polls. All the news about voters not turning out somehow missed us. The turnout this week was fabulous. To celebrate this event, the Woodstock Democratic Committee is planning a yearend yard sale at the Community Center on Saturday, December 18.

There are two things you can do to participate: you can donate items and you can come to the sale. To donate items, please drop them off at 31 Tannery Brook at your convenience or call 845-399-3967 for more information. To come to the sale, just mark your calendar and then bring your friends and come to the community center on December 18.

Items will be marked so that everyone gets things at the very best price. In addition, we know that this sale is going to be special because Ralph Goneau is managing it. And, we all know that he puts on the best sales.

We look forward to hearing from you with donations and we look forward to seeing you at the last sale of the year. Let’s make it a good one!

Thurman Greco

Woodstock


RUPCO, THE TRUTH AND THE LAW

From the moment Kevin O’Connor addressed the first “public hearing’s” audience with, “How many of you want to go to heaven?” RUPCO has bullied Woodstockers, including the planning board, to accept its proposed Woodstock Commons development. Now they are trying to bully the Town Board with the water/sewer hookup issue, when they are clearly not in the district, as seen on parcel lists and maps delineating the boundaries of properties included.

RUPCO is saying that it hasn’t broken the Davis-Bacon Act by not paying the prevailing wages on previous projects. On one hand, they deny it in the Woodstock Times and at the same time, Guy Kempe sent the Workers Rights of Ulster County an article about why paying prevailing wages for affordable housing projects is not a good idea.

The Davis-Bacon Act requires workers on federally funded projects to be paid the union or prevailing wages. If they don’t, my understanding is that RUPCO will have to return monies for future projects that were granted with the understanding that they will pay and have paid the construction workers the prevailing wages for government funded projects.

RUPCO received, I believe, more than two million dollars of federal money for the proposed Woodstock Commons development. That money will have to be returned. “This is a question of an organization that has received federal money, not adhering to federal rules for receiving that money.” This is in addition to receiving state monies as well and not keeping to its guidelines.

RUPCO may make excuses and write untruths, even in their applications. The fact is that they did not pay the correct wages on many of their projects. This is documented many times in the Daily Freeman newspaper. Go to its website (DailyFreeman.com) and type in RUPCO and Kirkland Hotel. Numerous articles that were in the Freeman will appear about RUPCO not paying the prevailing wages to their workers over the years.

There are also about 36 liens on file in the record room in Kingston against RUPCO. Some were eventually paid and others are still outstanding, like the mechanics lien.

Let the AFL-CIO make the decisions. It’s in their hands now.

Harvey Brody

Woodstock

Editor’s note: RUPCO asserts in a Point of View piece in this issue that it has followed all state and federal rules on wages and will continue to do so on the Woodstock Commons project. See Page 24.


POWER, LUST, RACISM

It’s often said, and I feel correctly so, that America’s efforts at foreign nation-building (many times used as an excuse for going to war), should take a back seat to our country’s necessities and priorities. After all, there is plenty to do and improve upon in our homeland. Last week’s election results are indicative of this point of view.

The nation revealed an electorate that embodies a center-right mentality that holds its personal economic priorities (often striving for unquenchably increasing standards of living) as virtually their only priority. Along with this is a political system that gave rise to a powerlust by a major political party that precluded any cooperative efforts with the other political party that might have been good for the country. Also present was our beneath-the-surface racism which can come to the fore when well organized and fueled by fear.

Juxtapose this with a near complete silence from our leaders who have managed to engage the United States in three simultaneous wars (almost not a word of debate during the election cycle), each war disastrous in its continuous bloodletting. Iraq continues to have horrendous spasmodic violence that has been engendered by our invasion and occupation; in Afghanistan there are continuing troop increases in a war that has gone on almost ten years; and, with our involvement in Pakistan, missiles and bombs sent by remote-control may be contributing to the destabilizing of an already unstable area.

Is it unjustified to suppose that along with our proclamations of exportable democratic values could be included a mature discussion about the direction of our country as well as some mention of the necessity and morality of our unrelenting war-making apparatus?

Steve Josephs

Glenford


FOX-Y COINCIDENCE

Is it mere coincidence that Fox was, for the first time, the top-rated television network during the same week as the elections occurred?

Curious minds are, well, interested...

Chip Brill

Bearsville


WE CAN CHANGE

The stories we hear in the news present a troubling view of the state of our town, county, state and country. We wonder “What can I do to make a positive difference?” The answer lies in changing how talk to and about one another.

We dehumanize those around us by shaming, labeling, ignoring, yelling, overprotecting, excuse making, sarcasm, hitting, and failing to provide consistent boundaries. The way we react produces behaviors that include people pleasing, guilt, manipulation and rebellion.

We have the power to do things differently. We can learn to incorporate specific language into our vocabulary that honors the essence of who we really are: people born with gifts of character. Using specific virtues-based language to acknowledge right behavior when it is exhibited connects the individual to themselves in an authentic way: “You were patient during class today, Tommy” honors a usually squirmy child for paying attention. Just watch his eyes light up with recognition.

Another way we can make a difference is when discipline is needed. We can choose to see the person as separate from their behavior and without their label. We can see something positive and ask for the specific virtue needed at that moment. Try asking: “What would help you to be peaceful or patient now” and “What have learned from this?” and see the difference!

These techniques work all over the world: in prisons, schools (to prevent bullying and internalize character), government agencies, place of business and at home. To learn more visit: www.communitycharacter.com or www.virtuesproject.com

Melinda McKnight

Community Character Consulting

West Hurley


NUKE SUBPRIME ROUT

As an answer to Bob Berman’s wrongheaded poo-pooing of nuclear dangers and risk, let me quote at length (with permission) from a just released article by Andrew McKillop. He is a writer and consultant on oil and energy economics.

The Coming Nuclear Subprime Rout

With asset leverage able to surpass 200 times the nominal value of an underlying security, the ballooning of paper assets due to the Nuclear Renaissance can quite quickly make the US subprime asset balloon seem rather small beer.

“...Nuclear power will continue to be sold to governments and public opinion as a form of energy security, protecting them from oil price inflation, as a helping hand in the heroic struggle against climate change, and of course a supplier of clean, cheap and safe electric power.

Cost inflation in the nuclear industry is now running at about 25 percent a year, and the explanation offered for this by the nuclear industry is “rising raw material costs”, and sometimes “more sophisticated designs”, for example safety features, ability to resist wide-body airplane crashes (in the case of French EPRs), more efficient utilisation of uranium, reduced cooling water needs, and so on.

This can be contrasted with industry marketing claims of falling unit costs due to bigger reactors, so-called modular design, industry standardized components - and enthusiastic support from the financial industry supposedly driving down the price of loans for nuclear power projects.

We are therefore at the stage of the asset ballooning process where we have had a first doubling or tripling of in-sector inflation rates (doubling or tripling of reactor construction costs 2007-2010), but it is almost certain this crisis will attain very large nominal values, before it implodes.

By “very large” we could suggest as much as 200 times the value of the underlying assets - notably reactors, fuels, services - generated by the Nuclear Renaissance through 2010-2020, if it lasts that long.

Nominal values could likely attain US$ 200 000 billion ($ 200 trillion), equal to more than 3 years of world total GDP using IMF estimates for world GDP.

Implosion of this asset bubble will therefore be a lot more menacing for national finances of all player governments than the implosion of the US subprime asset bubble — which itself radically increased the national public or sovereign debts of nearly all OECD countries, and has led to “currency wars” of competitive currency devaluation ever since.

For these reasons, over and above the environmental, industrial and technology issues, radiation pollution, weapons proliferation (including DU weapons and Dirty Bombs), and so on, the true size of the risks of nuclear financial disaster should be taken seriously, discussed, and acted on.”


Read the entire article located online at: www.raisethehammer.org/article/1227/the_coming_nuclear_subprime_rout

It’s another economic nail in the nuclear coffin, that unfortunately may drag us all into the economic grave with it.

Like all the authors and scientists I quote from, Andrew McKillop is a serious person dealing with a serious subject rather than putting his head in a nuclear hole. Here’s Andrew McKillop’s CV attached to the article: Since 1975 he has worked in energy, economic and scientific organizations in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America. These include the Canada Science Council, the ILO, European Commission, Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and South Pacific, and the World Bank. He is a founding member of the Asian chapter of the International Association of Energy Economics. He is also the editor, with Sheila Newman, of The Final Energy Crisis (Pluto Press, 2005).

To keep up on the daily fuss and foibles of the nuclear industry, bookmark this web site: nukefree.org/

Tobe Carey

Glenford

Bob Berman replies:

I’m glad Tobe is dealing with more serious and realistic aspects of this issue, here. But anyone who goes on his suggested anti-nuke website should also google: TheBenefitsOfNuclearPower, and see what “the other side” says. An interesting if definitely pro-nuke argument is found at: www.aboutnuclear.org/view.cgi?fC=Electricity,Benefits_%5E_Effects — and then you’ll see all sides.

Deciding how we should cut carbon while generating power and yet keep costs reasonable is a big issue that deserves a bit of everyone’s time. It’s complex — there are pros and cons all around. The New York Times and President Obama both think the new-design nuclear plants should play a role in easing us toward our future where hopefully solar, wind and geothermal can take over, truly reduce carbon, and not break the bank.


JOIN CHAMBER BOARD

My name is Virginia Barthel and I am a Board Member of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Arts. I have been working with the Chamber for two years and much has been accomplished to get the Chamber more organized and more professional, with added benefits for all of its members as well as the town of Woodstock as a whole.

In order to continue the work that was initiated in the past two years, the Chamber needs to fill some Board positions that are being vacated due to term limits. We currently have nine (9) Board positions to be filled.

The WCOCA Board meets once a month for approximately two hours. Board Members are responsible for establishing procedure and formulating policy of the organization. They may also create committees to handle the business of the Chamber and whatever events are sponsored by the Chamber. They shall annually review and approve all activities and proposed programs of the Chamber.

If you are a Chamber member and are interested in serving a three year term starting in January of 2011, or have questions about becoming a Board member, please contact Weston Blelock at 679-8111 by November 18 to be put on the slate of nominees to be presented to the Board at the December 2 meeting.

Virginia Barthel

Woodstock


FARM FEST THANKS

The last Woodstock Farm Festival was only a few Wednesdays ago, but with November’s winds and dropping temperatures, it seems like a sweet distant memory. As we at the Farm Festival Committee wrap up last season and begin early prep for 2011, we want to recognize all those whose generosity and efforts make our wonderful celebration of community a reality.

Our deepest thanks go to our sponsors, whose support makes the Farm Festival possible. Very special thanks go to Ned and Shelby Houst and John and Janine Mower, who give the Farm Festival its home right in the center of town. Thanks to all the gifted musicians who perform in the Field and the Market, creating such a vibrantly Woodstock atmosphere; to all the community groups and speakers who came to share their mission and expertise; and to the storytellers, puppeteers and activity experts who delight the kids. A new feature this year was the recipe contest: Thanks to the talented cooks who entered and the brilliant local chefs who judged and donated prizes.

In the background, making the entire endeavor run smoothly each week is a cadre of loyal and hardworking volunteers — we thank them and, of course, the local restaurateurs and especially the local farmers: Your efforts sustain our community and are the centerpiece of the Woodstock Farm Festival.

Finally, a great big thank you to everyone who comes out to enjoy the Farm Festival experience and support local agriculture in the Hudson Valley. Please visit our blog at woodstockfarmfestival.blogspot.com for photos and highlights of the 2010 season, and hit the subscribe button for winter news and info, and to be in the loop for next season.

See you in the spring!

Joan Reynolds, The Woodstock Farm Festival Committee

Bearsville


GASLAND SHOWING A SUCCESS

I would like to publicly thank the many incredible people and establishments that helped make our November 6 showing of Gasland such a success. Joshua’s Restaurant, Oriole 9, Garden Café, and Chef Kevin Archer of Compassionate Cuisine through the Catskill Animal Sanctuary all donated wonderful food platters for attendees. Catskill Mountain Pizza Company, Sunfrost Farms and Sunflower Natural Foods all donated a bevy of beverages. The Emerson Resort and Spa and the Woodstock Inn on the Millstream donated luxury accommodations for our out of town panelists.

Our little band of organizers is growing! Pia Davis, Laurie Osmond, Dan Hoffman, Kevin Archer, Kevin Millar and Dorothea Marcus all lent enthusiasm, labor and in some cases, personal funds to make the event happen. We were supported on every level by Nadia Steinzor of Earthworks. We voted to call ourselves the Ulster Clean Water Coalition and will be using this event as a starting point for future educational events in Ulster County.

Lastly, I would like to thank the 150 people who turned out on a cold Saturday night for the event. We hope you came away with some increased knowledge.

Deb Weir

Boiceville


EROI

When Bob Berman strays from Astronomy to nuclear power, he’s in the wrong galaxy.

Tobe Carey’s letter provided many references showing that there were serious health effects and a cover-up on Three Mile Island. Berman provided only unsubstantiated nuclear industry talking points. Trashing opposing perspectives as belief in “space aliens” is not good form for a “scientist.”

Bob is very wrong when he states long lived radionucleides are “not the waste generated.” Nuclear fuel is about 90 percent Uranium 238 (half life 4.5 billion years), and 10 percent U235. Some of the U238 is converted to Plutonium 239 (half life 24,065 years), and the deadliest stuff on earth.

Nothing is more misleading than pretending nuclear power is carbon neutral. All energy sources must be evaluated on “energy return on investment” (EROI). PV solar panels need 1-3 years to recoup embodied energy, but last decades. Solar thermal, especially passive, has a much higher EROI. The substantial fossil inputs to the nuclear fuel cycle give nuclear a low EROI, and make it a major greenhouse contributor. 2/3 of the energy is waste heat. Brush up on your second law of Thermodynamics and the Carnot cycle, Bob! Just how do “4th gen” nukes get around that? Factoring in the energy to rocket millions of tons of waste into the sun, given Earth’s 7.1 mile/second escape velocity, and we’re talking real kerosene!

The Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS.org) estimates that 1500-2000 nukes ($6 - $10 billion a pop) replacing coal plants could theoretically cut carbon 20 percent, but by precluding renewables, would increase carbon. Easily extractable uranium would soon be depleted, forcing mining of lower grade ore, and even higher emissions. If one reactor were built bi-weekly (they currently take six to ten years) it would take 60 years to build 1500 reactors. So much for “near term”! The waste would require many huge waste dumps, to be guarded in virtual perpetuity. By contrast, Con-Ed (!) just broke ground on a 20 Megawatt solar farm in New Jersey that will be on line by Spring. (Daily Freeman 10/21).

It is disingenuous to pit nuclear against coal, (or shale gas hydrofracking). All these obsolete technologies are polluting, deadly, greed driven, and limited by the same thermodynamic restraints.

Scientific American (Jan. 2008 cover article) showed our energy economy could become largely solar by 2050. Obstacles are political, not technological. Enough solar hits the U.S. in one half hour to meet our energy needs for a year. Any civilization that squanders savings while discarding income, is doomed to extinction.

Conservation, like the “Passiv Haus” (Habitat for Humanity is building such a house in Northern Vermont), eliminates seven times as much carbon per dollar as nuclear. Wind about twice as much. These are conservative estimates. Just one major accident or terrorist attack would dwarf any nuclear greenhouse mitigation.

As for the “NY Times” Editorial Board, Obama, and other high flying opinion shapers promoting nuclear, just follow the money. On what other boards do they sit? Who buys their advertising, funds their political campaigns? And is Berman’s axe to grind in this arena purely science based?

The energy elites who helped funded the Republican and teabag election victories are drooling over full on nuclear, “clean” coal, and hydrofracking. If you care about sustainability, just say “know”.

Edmund Haffmans

Accord

Bob Berman replies:

By questioning whether I have ulterior motives and am being secretly funded -- and this letter writer has suggested this in other venues too — he crosses the line to personal affront. By suggesting the same of our president and the New York Times, he’s essentially saying that no honest person could find benefit in a limited use of nuclear power. His case is biased and ignorant, and I have no interest in this sort of low-level name-calling. Let me repeat: Interested parties should look at all sides. Google: Benefits of Nuclear Power. Get all sides. Do your homework. I’m not asking anyone to believe me in any way. This is our planet, our future, and we all deserve real facts, not anyone’s paranoia. You decide. I’m finished with this guy.




OLIVE TAXES: TAKE IT TO THE SUPREME COURT

In reference to your October 21 front-page story about the tax increase in the Town of Olive, one reason there is going to be a 14 percent or 15 percent tax hike in Olive is because some people don’t pay their fair share of the tax burden. I expect that many Times readers know of one or more people who seem to get special deals. One of the privileged is my neighbor, David Jones, who pays taxes on his house, garage and raw land, but not for the construction business which Pete Estes has been operating for the past three years.

On a daily basis, Pete Estes operates a heavy equipment business. I have observed him running trucks and earth-moving equipment in and out, day and night, for years. He gets deliveries of tons of gravel and construction materials. Like so many other operating businesses, he even gets regular UPS deliveries to the site.

Yet Olive’s town fathers allow Estes’ business to operate on David Jones’ property even though Jones, who happens to be a member of the planning board, never filed a site plan nor received a permit to allow a heavy-duty construction business to operate on his property. Because the town’s elected and appointed officials turn a blind eye to this flagrant disregard for Olive’s zoning ordinances, the town treats that heavy-duty portion of David Jones’s property as a tax-free zone.

It’s not as if the town officials don’t know about this zoning violation and tax-avoidance situation. I have certainly documented this particular tax abuse numerous times. (If you are interested, I have all the documentation, photos and videos that I have provided to all the officials I’m about to mention. Give me a call, or email me if you would like to see them and I’ll put them up on my website and You Tube.)

So why does Jones continue to get a special dispensation? Is it because he’s on the planning board, or is it because he lunches with Berndt Leifeld, our too-long-entrenched town supervisor? Perhaps the special treatment is a gift from Jones’s best friend, Bruce LaMonda, who sits on the town board, or maybe John Ingram, the building inspector who doesn’t have the time or inclination to inspect and rectify this apparent oversight. Or maybe it’s that Drew Boggess, who chairs the planning board, is simply unconcerned about planning when it involves a planning-board member. Or could it be that he’s unfamiliar with the zoning ordinances?

Whatever the reason, David Jones is not asked (and certainly doesn’t volunteer) to pay his fair share of the town’s tax burden. I’ve been paying my fair share (or more) of Olive’s taxes since 1972. If you’re as tired of paying someone else’s share of property taxes as I am, please call or write our town officials and demand an answer as to why some people are more equal than others in the Town of Olive. Let’s put an end to unequal tax burdens and selective enforcement of the rules in our town.

Once in front of the planning board I questioned Mr. Jones’ situation. I was told (among other things) to take it to the Supreme Court!

Remember, this is about your taxes as well as mine, and we the taxpayers are Olive’s Supreme Court. If anyone wants to contact me about this, you can reach me, Alan Eisenson, D.B.A. Just Alan, at 845-657 9903, justalanmagic@verizon.net.

Alan Eisenson

Shokan


RUPCO BAIT AND SWITCH

The Town Board’s determination of its authority over Woodstock Commons water and sewer hook up is currently with the town’s lawyers. Let us step back and read the section of the Woodstock Commons Findings Statement, originally written by RUPCO, and then officially “authored” by the Planning Board. Under the heading “Matters to Be Decided,” RUPCO writes, just before a list of permits still to be acquired, “this Findings Statement acknowledges these other permits, approvals, waivers and/or compliance determinations which will be either completed by the Town Planning Board or treated as conditions of approval by the Town Planning Board.”

Of course the water and sewer hook up question is a condition of approval, not completed by the Planning Board. RUPCO continues: “These permits, approvals, waivers and/or compliance determinations are in addition to heretofore issued interpretations by [list of agencies not including Town Board], and other non-permit determinations by agencies reviewing the project.” Since the Town Board, to date, has been just another “interested agency,” their opinions prior to adoption of the Findings Statement are separate from their current determination of water and sewer hook up.

The Findings Statement, originally written by RUPCO, and accepted unanimously by the Planning Board, is clear in the Town Board’s current independent right and obligation to determine the viability of water and sewer hook up. At the beginning of the “Matters to Be Decided” section, RUPCO writes: “The SEQRA Implementing Regulations require that each other involved agency makes its own SEQR Findings prior to granting the requested permit or authorization.” RUPCO cannot offer this interpretation to the town, then turn around and tell the Town Board that the Town Board has no discretion, and has but a ministerial duty to grant the water and sewer access.

At the end of the day, if the Town Board opts to cave in to RUPCO, citing some case law that supports its position, (and there is case law to support every decision) it will be easy to show that RUPCO misled Woodstock in the Findings Statement, that the Planning Board believed, and the Town Board believed, based on RUPCO’s draft Findings Statement, that it was the Town Board’s right to investigate the water and sewer hook up question upon completion of the original SEQR process, not during it.

It should also be noted that if the Town Board grants RUPCO the hook up, and the water district is unable to accommodate the added capacity or maintain minimum safe water pressure, neither of which have been settled conclusively by any interested party, the next Article 78 petition will not have my singular name on it, but likely a majority of the water district’s 700+ customers, who would be footing 100 percent of the bill for the necessary water district improvements to accommodate RUPCO’s demand.

Robin Segal

Woodstock


WORLD OF LIES

We are a world inundated with lies. They poison everyone they touch — unless you have a very developed intellectual immune-system, almost like a Geiger-counter. Who, except someone like Gandhi, or Oscar Wilde and Bertrand Russell, had one of these? Why are we so gullible, so prone to swallowing these flirtatious maggot-lies at every crevice and crack of the social hierarchy? Well, that’s almost obvious: the social ‘hierarchy’ itself is the Big Lie — both on the Left, on the Right, and in the over-weight Middle. The lies are so pervasive, so much a fabric of our daily existence, we dare not question them.

We should all be vomiting and hemorrhaging right in the street. Instead, we whisk ourselves away in invisible ambulances and limousines. The truth is, the lies thrill us —they give us secret erections, male and female, even though they are our great disease and lead directly to death; now, in our advanced stage of decrepitude and corruption, universal death. And we love it, we love this war against ourselves. It’s the self-destructive power of pride. But we can’t stop ourselves, we are completely blinded and deluded. The Taliban are not the only people who are infatuated with fatwas. We love our aztechnology. We are regressing much faster than we are progressing. That’s why I walk sideways or, often, not at all. I just stand and stare.

Question these implicit lies that saturate almost all our social activities, and you will be

ostracised or attacked — left, right and center. Better to play dumb, limp around, and drool.

Ron Rybacki

Woodstock


NOTHING BUT LIES

The proposed 38 percent tax increase for the Town of Woodstock is to cover updating the water supply and septic needs for RUPCO residents. All along I was led to believe that RUPCO will be affordable housing for the selected low income tenants. Why in the world are Woodstock tax payers penalized by another 38 percent to facilitate RUPCO construction? We were lied to for years how great this project will be for Woodstock, how affordable it will be, etc. Nothing but lies! RUPCO should have never been approved. There are no houses being sold and no houses are being built in this town. We are deep inside economic recession with no light at the end of the tunnel. And yet we will spend millions of dollars to build such unaffordable and uneconomical housing. Who are you kidding?

Jan Halaska

Lake Hill

Editor’s note: None of the proposed 38 percent tax increase (since reduced) could possibly be used to update the water supply and septic needs for RUPCO residents. The proposal was for the general fund of the town budget only. Water and septic expenditures can only come from the special districts, Woodstock Water District, Hamlet Sewer and Eastern and Western Wastewater Districts, which have their own separate budgets.

As to Mr. Halaska’s claim that “there are no houses being sold…in this town,” statistics obtained from a realtor show that 23 homes have been sold in Woodstock since September, including, most recently, one for $1.1 million.


TOWN ATTORNEYS’ CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Right after the October 5 Town Board meeting where RUPCO was talking about water and sewer, I wrote a letter to the Town Board about the conflict of interest of Rod Futerfas, Town Attorney and how he should not be consulted on RUPCO matters. I reminded them of how Moriello, RUPCO’s lawyer, at that meeting, said he had spoken directly to Futerfas on numerous occasions prior to Town Board knowledge. It sounded a bit too chummy for me and the lines of protocol should have been through the Town Board, not around them. Who knows how many other times they have consulted with one another through all these years. I also mentioned that Futerfas’s partner was an open RUPCO supporter. My words were acknowledged but not heeded.

To add to the conflict, the Town Board then consulted with Drayton Grant who is defending the town, and therefore, upholding the Planning Board’s approval of the RUPCO project against Robin Segal’s lawsuit. Doesn’t this also present a problem? How can she be unbiased if her job is defend the town’s support of RUPCO? Incidentally, about three years ago, Drayton was at a Planning Board meeting discussing RUPCO and at the end of the meeting, someone came over to me to ask if she was RUPCO’s lawyer. What does that tell you?

I believe all opinions on RUPCO water and sewer asked for by Rod and Drayton should be ignored and an unbiased, objective opinion be sought from an attorney who has not been involved with RUPCO.

Iris York

Woodstock


HOLIDAY CELEBRATION TAKES SHAPE

We’re already off to a great start with the Annual Holiday Celebration at the Woodstock Community Center on Christmas Day.

Mike Ralff called to let us know that he would help to coordinate the event on the actual day of the party and he, and The Men from Rock Hard, will again be donating turkeys as well as helping with carving and serving.

Debb Sprenger has been knitting all year and has made dozens and dozens of her beautiful hats and acarfs, so you might be lucky enough to wear one home this Christmas.

Mike Platsky will continue to coordinate the music. Please contact him at 247-3145 if you would like to entertain at the party.

This year the emphasis is on food, food and more food. Las year, in spite of what looked to be a mountain of eatables, we didn’t really have enough and ran out early.

Although we especially need cooked vegetables as well as vegetarian dishes, whatever you choose to cook or buy will be greatly appreciated. Please contact me, Toni Weidenbacher, 679-7281 and let me know what you would like to volunteer.

Toni Weidenbacher

Woodstock


HIGHWAY GARAGE INSULATION IS OK

A Woodstock television host has repeatedly stated a falsehood with regard to construction of the Woodstock Highway Garage in Bearsville. The truth is that this building was designed in accordance with the New York State Building and Energy Codes and meets or exceeds these codes with regard to insulation requirements.

Rigid insulation with an R-10 value is provided on all foundation walls. The concrete block walls contain foamed-in-place insulation with an R-9.1 vlalue. The steel walls have four inches of blanket insulation with an R-13 value. The steel roof has two layers of batt insulation with a total R-28 value. The windows are double pane with an air space; exterior steel doors are insulated thermal rated and the large overhead doors have an R-16 value. The Woodstock Building Inspector’s office approved the building insulation plan prior to the issuance of the building permit.

Paul Van Wagenen

Woodstock

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