I have been reading the letters to the editor in this newspaper concerning the possible move of the Highland Public Library to better facilities located a few blocks away next to the Hudson Valley Rail Trail. What I’d like to add is to take a step back and consider the benefits of a public library in our lives and the lives of our children.
I know that a public library made a big difference in mine when I was growing up as a boy in Spanish Harlem. My father spoke and read only Spanish and my mother was illiterate except to sign her name; she did it as a drawing. We had no books at home except a collection of condensed books belonging to a sister. Our local library was the first place I saw bookshelves. There I began my adventure into reading that opened up a new world of discovery that continues yet. Without that early experience my life would have been quite different.
When my wife and I moved to Highland seven years ago, the first place we visited was the Highland Public Library to get our library cards. I was amazed then, as I am today, over the collection of books on the premises and the terrific, helpful staff. The place was clearly overcrowded and bursting at its seams. It reminded me of the image in the story of the woman who lived in a shoe with her large family. The staff made the best, triumphantly so, of the limited space available to it.
Wherever you walked you found yourself almost stepping on a child sitting on the floor with an open book in their lap. The library gets used to the hilt, believe me, with some imaginative shuffling around by the staff. Highland’s librarians offer all sorts of special programs for adults and kids alike. Last night we sat upstairs in a little alcove where young adult librarian Jennifer Lombardo was gamely showing a movie on some Hudson River themes. A table had been pushed aside and chairs rearranged for a handful of us senior citizens to view the film projected on a vacant wall.
As we drove home, my mind drifted to what the new location would offer, among other things: one floor almost totally devoted to a children’s library with special provisions aimed at them and their harried parents; another floor with books, reference materials and ample computers with a public meeting room where activities, such as that film, would have room for some 60 viewers with dedicated audio-visual equipment. Those plans were revealed in a public forum recently that showed a smart, well-designed facility that will accommodate the currently jammed library collection with room for expansion.
Highland is a great community that we feel fortunate to have found. It deserves a great library that is more up to the needs of its people; where children can embark on a journey of discovery, as I did once upon a time long ago.
Standing behind Paladino
Carl Paladino, Republican candidate for governor, visited Ulster County on Oct. 12, sparking a media frenzy and backlash from the gay and lesbian community. Selective reporting by the liberal-leaning media with no love for the GOP didn’t help, but I am proud of every Paladino supporter who attended the New Paltz and Kingston press events where Carl apologized for his previous comments. His explanation of his position on gay marriage — that he doesn’t believe in it because he is Catholic and the church defines marriage as between a man and a woman -- is viable. While he doesn’t support gay marriage, he supports civil unions and believes that all people deserve equal treatment and protection under the law. Carl and I are on the same page.
Following Carl’s visit, “leaders” of the gay community launched personal, slanderous attacks against me and my husband, the most non-political person in Ulster County. This behavior demonstrates their total lack of integrity and the losers in this scenario are the members of the gay community who unknowingly alienated one of their strongest allies for equality and rights — me. That’s right. The GOP chair supports equality and non-discrimination. Political lesson number one for the ring-leaders — don’t run your mouth and risk making enemies of people who really are your friends. And the leaders of the Ulster County Democrat Party should check the facts before sending a press release chastising the GOP leadership — they assumed my position without asking.
At the State GOP convention, when Carl Paladino discovered that he wouldn’t have the opportunity to speak after his nomination or before the vote, he nominated himself. He was straightforward, no-nonsense and funny. He promised he would petition his way onto the ballot and when he finished speaking, I believed he would. He needed 15,000 Republican signatures and collected 28,000. He secured the Taxpayers line with an additional 28,000 signatures. Carl was not only serious, he was determined. As I predicted, Paladino won the primary, becoming the Republican candidate for governor.
I am the County Republican chairwoman and Carl Paladino is the GOP gubernatorial candidate. He made some comments for which he apologized, and I accept that. There is no way I will support a career, multi-generational politician with ties to special interests and a campaign account funded with $26,000,000 of other people’s money. I am not trying to diminish the concerns of the gay community — I know their plight. I have written articles on estate planning and asset protection for non-traditional couples, where attacks and challenges come not from the general public, but from their own families.
If you think the majority of New Yorkers will cast a vote for governor based on Carl’s comments, think again. The problems facing New Yorkers are lack of jobs, high total taxes from a bloated government, high cost of living and outrageous property taxes. These are the issues the voters will vote against and precisely why they will vote for Carl Paladino. He has nothing to gain. His only motivation is to fix New York, a state he loves and a place he and his family call home. I believe he, without conflicts of interest, no owed favors or back room deals, will be able to do what is necessary to save this state and all of us. I stand firmly behind Carl Paladino for the next governor of New York.
Robin Vaccai Yess, Chairwoman
Ulster County Republican Committee
I saw it coming
I read with some surprise of the resignation of the Town of Lloyd Supervisor from some local organizations and committees, related to criticism of him from the chair of the town’s Ethics Board. This was especially surprising considering his recent accomplishments related to the Rail Trail extension and connection to the Walkway and development of the town’s waterfront, among other feats. This result or something like it is not, however, entirely unexpected.
At the beginning of the supervisor’s term, I cautioned him about the ethical challenges that at least some of the Ethics Board’s members presented. He did not feel the need to take my advise at the time and this seems to have come back to bite him.
“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly...
John R Steele Jr.
A vote for Frank Skartados
Marlborough is fortunate to have a town resident who is so dedicated he has chosen to run for re-election for the office of State Assembly, Frank Skartados. A successful businessman, he knows how to build, grow and protect investments that provide jobs, services and healthy tax bases. I know him to be a man of principle and honesty. His willingness to invest his time and talents to build a stronger Hudson Valley is already reaping many financial and social rewards for all of our residents.
This Marlborough citizen deserves your vote on Election Day. He can be thanked for answering the urgent call from Marlborough taxpayers for school tax relief. He sponsored and won approval for legislation for additional aid to the Marlborough Central School District that represented $54,000 savings to the taxpayer. He worked for the $8,000,000 in funding that opened the Walkway Over the Hudson, which is attracting tourists to our Hudson Valley businesses, boosting our local economy. He supports green initiatives and the growth of Stewart. He opposes the MTA tax and will work to end it. He has initiated a partnership with the DEC to investigate regional approaches to safeguard our water supplies. His door is always open to his constituents as he hears our views and needs. His follow through on requests for assistance could be attested to by hundreds of his constituents.
Join me on Election Day, Nov. 2, and vote for Frank Skartados.
Vote to return Kevin Cahill to the Assembly
I want to express my wholehearted support for Assemblyman Kevin Cahill. Kevin has been able to bring much-needed jobs to Ulster County through his tireless support for the solar industry. As chairman of the Energy Committee, he has been in a position to help land Solartech Renewables at Tech City where good, hi-tech jobs are being filled and added everyday. He did this during the worst recession in our lifetime. In a time when we have been bleeding jobs, he has helped put our area on the world map in regard to solar energy. This is beginning to pay off and will only get better with Kevin as chairman of the Energy Committee. It is more important than ever that Kevin returns to the Assembly.
Former chairman of the Ulster County Legislature
and present legislator representing
the City of Kingston
We need to elect George Phillips
The government announced this week that the national debt has increased $3 trillion in the two years that the Democrats have controlled both the presidency and Congress. Last year, $.43 out of every dollar the government spent was borrowed; this year it is $.48. President Obama and the Democratic Congress gave us a $800 billion stimulus bill that was supposed to stimulate the economy and create jobs. All it has stimulated is massive debt and the creation of the Tea Parties. We also have Obamacare, which will add trillions to the debt. New York State, already drowning in debt, will be further burdened by massive increase in Medicaid due to Obamacare. We need a congressman to represent Ulster County; we need to elect George Phillips.
Elect Fawn Tantillo
Fawn Tantillo is a proven thrifty problem solver. She learned these skills from her military family where: we used it up, wore it out, made it do, or did without. Just a few examples: she brought jobs into the county from Canada. She met with businesses planning to leave Ulster County and kept them here. She did this at no cost to the taxpayers.
She spearheaded the first 911 system in the Hudson Valley. She helped establish the first SANE Unit (Sexually Assault Nurse Examiner) in New York -- a program where specially trained nurses provide immediate medical care to sexually abused persons, provides counseling and collects evidence of the crime. Fawn gives credit to generous volunteers for making these programs a reality, but she worked tirelessly behind the scene to make it happen.
Fawn saved tax dollars by uncovering waste and consolidating services.
For a commitment of an honest, watchful eye on County audits, elect Fawn Tantillo.
Democrats need to care enough to vote
On behalf of Gary Kitzmann and myself, thank you to all the Democrats in District 7 who came out to vote for us in the primary. The District 7 turnout was 23%, while the average for the other nine districts was 9.5% (about 2½ to 1). This shows that people really do care about doing the right thing, and when they care, they come out to vote.
I urge all Democrats to continue caring in the upcoming elections. I know many Democrats are disappointed that Obama hasn’t made our country perfect in his first two years in office. It would be impossible for anyone to undo the damage that Bush and his Republican cohorts did in the previous eight years.
I ask you to remember some of what Obama and the Democrats have accomplished in the last two years, despite the Republican (party of no) filibustering of everything that the Democrats put forward. Reform has occurred in the following areas:
1. Healthcare -- Most democrats don’t feel it went far enough, but it’s a start and is providing better access for children and young adults. Healthcare for veterans has also been improved.
2. Tax breaks for small business and mainstream America instead of big business.
3. Credit card bill to protect consumers.
4. Comprehensive Wall Street reform (though not nearly enough).
5. Lowering drug costs to seniors.
6. Increased education funding and overhaul of student loan program.
7. Fair pay act.
8. Hate crime prevention act.
9. FDA -- regulating tobacco
10. Pursuing green energy technology and Jobs ($5 million for SUNY New Paltz Solar Initiative, secured by Congressman Maurice Hinchey, a New Paltz alumnus).
We must unite as a nation! Don’t allow corporations and foreign interests to control our elections through such fronts as the “U.S. Chamber of Commerce.” This group is infusing $75 million (without ever disclosing any of its donors, thanks to a law put in during the Bush administration) into this election against Democrats (like Maurice Hinchey) who would pass laws to protect us against the large corporations.
Is there really a choice for Democrats this year?
Republicans are always willing to add billions of dollars to the deficit on wars overseas, but are not interested in spending much on fixing the domestic problems here. These issues desperately need our attention.
Democrats must get out and vote to move forward and build upon what’s been accomplished in the last two years. If Democrats choose not to vote in this election, it will send us back to the failed policies of the last administration. That’s what got us here in the first place and would continue to tilt the world in favor of big business. Let’s really get back to government by the people and for the people, as it was intended to be, before it was hijacked by the corporations and political fringe groups.
Josh Honig, Vice Chair
New Paltz Democratic Party
We deserve and need Elliott Auerbach as Comptroller
This election cycle with its toxic talk, lack of facts and manipulation of truths leaves one feeling disenfranchised. Where can a voter turn in the search for honesty and a high level of public service? Fortunately, in Ulster County, we voters have an option. And that option is to re-elect Elliott Auerbach to serve another term as our County Comptroller.
Elliott, and his small staff, in a mere 23 months in office, have produced significant detailed research into the financial operations of county government. Elliott pulled back the curtain and cast a bright light on misdeeds in the County Health Department and financial mismanagement at the Resource Recovery agency. Elliott has made politicians on both sides of the aisle unhappy as a result of his non-partisan research. He is watching our tax dollars, which is just what the County Comptroller is charged with doing.
Ulster County taxpayers deserve and need Elliott Auerbach as Comptroller.
Vote in the A team
There are many candidates who deserve your vote on Election Day. I urge you to vote for these men who have proven that they can get the job done in representing our local issues -- the men on the A team: Maurice Hinchey for Congress, Frank Skartados for the State Assembly, Elliott Auerbach for County Comptroller and Paul van Blarcum for County Sheriff. You could also add a new voice to represent us in Albany, and vote for Harley Doles for State Senator. In this difficult time, we need representatives who will work to not only save our tax money, but also make sure it is used efficiently. Make sure you vote in the A team! Yes, you will find them on the ballot on Row A!
Something to gain or something to hide
It is that time of year when the Gardiner Town Board puts on a great show that involves the 2011 budget. Come the beginning of November, they will have a public hearing on the 2011 budget, which, in my opinion, is a waste of time and effort. The three senior members of the Gardiner Town Board already have made up their minds how they are going to divide the spoils no matter what the Gardiner town residents want. The Gardiner town supervisor has made it known that they intend to spend $100,000 more in 2011 than they did in 2010. He seems to be worried about how he is going to pay for it. He also said, indirectly, that he will raise taxes. There is no way he can avoid that. To me, that is a lot of bull. He seems to forget that he wants to give away Gardiner property that was valued at $140,000, if he hasn’t done it already. Also, all the property that Gardiner seems to be hoarding that is off the tax roles. These big organizations, which are exempt from paying taxes but are making a fortune from commercial enterprises, and the Gardiner taxpayers have to make up the difference in tax revenues.
For six years of the ongoing cell tower fiasco, tens of thousands of dollars have been flushed down the drain. For years, the Gardiner town supervisor has been warned about excessive spending and poor management of Gardiner taxes and refuses to do anything about it. He seems to have this high and mighty, don’t-give-a-darn attitude for the problems of the struggling Gardiner residents. A number of times he and his two partners, who have a majority vote on the Town Board, have been confronted about the things they are doing, but the town supervisor refuses to answer and won’t let any other Town Board member answer a simple question. It seems they either have something to gain or something to hide. I will never forget the statement one of the senior members made at town hall when they thought nobody was around: “It doesn’t matter what the people want, it is what we want and what we think they should have.” This is the kind of people who are running this town. There is only one way to get even. In November 2011 the three senior members are up for re-election. The only way to stop them is to vote them out of office. If not, you know what.
Henry V. Tortora
Tantillo has what it takes to be the next Comptroller
I am supporting Fawn Tantillo for Ulster County Comptroller. I know she is honest and no nonsense. She insists on this from others.
At a recent school board presentation where information was being discussed for a renovation of the New Paltz Middle School, she noted several “factual inaccuracies” being presented. When she questioned them, she was rudely admonished, but she didn’t get angry or give up. She gathered data from state and local experts that proved she was right. But then she did something amazing. Rather than taking the proof to the next meeting and calling the school board members “liars,” she sent them an e-mail with the proof. In it she suggested that they might have “misunderstood” her questions. She said she would ask them again at the next meeting and now they would have the “right” answer. By the next meeting, power-point slides had been replaced with the correct information. They knew if they had not corrected the information, Fawn Tantillo would.
Time and time again, when she found “misinformation,” she got the proof and presented it in a positive way. She showed great respect for people she disagreed with and gave them the opportunity to correct the problem first. She didn’t want to embarrass anyone, but she wouldn’t let them get away with anything. She respects the process and the demands of public service and sets the bar very high. Her goal was to get to the facts and let the voters decide.
While she had a patient insistence to get the facts in that case, she put personal interests and safety on the line to expose illegal activity elsewhere. If she sees someone breaking the law, she will expose them at once. These are traits we should demand of all our elected officials, but they are especially important in a Comptroller.
Join me on Nov. 2 to support Fawn Tantillo for Ulster County Comptroller.
A vote for George Phillips
It is time for the Hudson Valley and the rest of the 22nd Congressional district to put Maurice Hinchey to rest! George Phillips has the personal integrity and intelligence to represent our interests in Congress. George has worked in Congress as a congressional aide and knows how the system is supposed to work and where the improvements need to be instituted. He is also an expert on American history and has the intellectual overview of who we are, where we came from and where we should be going as a nation and has the intelligence, integrity and courage to lead us there.
Phillips is correct on national security, jobs, the economy and all the other issues that affect our lives and businesses here in Ulster County and beyond.
New York City Mayor Ed Koch and international business leader Ronald Lauder came to Kingston and Newburgh to endorse Phillips for many reasons. Both are international experts and leaders on the economy, national security and America’s national goals.
Vote like America’s security depends on it -- IT DOES!!
Return Hinchey to Congress
Congressman Maurice Hinchey has always been one of our strongest champions for the environment; including cleaning up the Hudson River and protecting open space. However, his strong initiatives to promote solar and renewable energy is now proving what so many of us have known for decades-- that economic development and environmental protection can go hand in hand if we make smart choices. Hinchey’s efforts to grow a solar industry here in Ulster County have already helped local companies expand and attracted new ones, creating hundreds of new well-paying jobs and making our region a new center of innovation and manufacturing. Hinchey has been tremendously effective and visionary, and we need to return him to Congress to continue his important work for our families and our communities.
You will not be sorry
Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, recently wrote: “I’m so proud of what the Democratic Party has done for the American people in such a short time. In the face of unbelievable obstacles, we have pulled our country back from the brink of depression, made education affordable for tens of thousands of students, ensured that millions of people will have access to affordable healthcare -- and so much more!”
Sure it is slow-going, that’s partly our governmental system and partly our political system. But there is so much to do yet, and quickly.
The current administration is working hard so get out and vote in its favor. You will not be sorry.
Wasting taxpayer’s money
In the Oct. 21 issue of the New Paltz Times, I see there is over a half-million dollars ($530,000) expenditure for recreation. Plus, Supervisor Hokanson stating that there will only be a 1.1 tax rate increase when it really is more than ten times that amount, according to board member Jeff Logan. Here we go again -- the politicians trying to pull the wool over our eyes for pet projects that can be supported by the folks that want to play ball, etc. Once again, our taxes are being wastefully used during these tight financial times. Shame on them for thinking they know best what is good for us.