Why is it that people that should have or could have taken stock in solving a problem, just talk about it?
LET’S HEAR ABOUT SCHOOL CLOSING ISSUE
Let me get this straight...the BOE wants to hear “what the public is capable or willing to bear at this point.” Well, maybe the public would like to hear why the BOE has averted discussion of closing an elementary school. Nowhere in any of the reports has there been even the slightest mention of what would be saved. Nothing. They are purposefully avoiding this and it’s shady to say the least. Politics as usual. Not what’s best for the whole community, but what’s best for one community or another. Do they work hard? Sure. Do they care? Sure. Do they want to preserve their community schools? Sure. But we can’t afford this and it’s just plain stupid or so it seems, but who would know since no one who would know makes any comments. The only comments about the facilities that are publicly reported of late are those that have to do with taking more kids out of elementary schools and putting them at the middle school, which of course, will need renovations.
With single sections of grades in the elementary schools, I don’t understand why more people don’t speak out. I am speaking out. Isn’t this some type of public forum? And yet, not a word from the BOE regarding the issue I raise which isn’t new. Typical. Typical of a BOE elected on a platform of “we won’t close the school” and typical of a small [but large in area, let’s not forget] town public that would rather yelp about it on the bleachers, talk about how much teachers make and how they don’t deserve it, while they watch their kids in shabby pinnies play basketball.
Come on people, start yelping where it counts. This avoidance thing is pathetic, but if I’m the only one making noise, the BOE can just ride away into the austerity sunset while our taxes will continue to rise with nothing to show for it and the kids will continue to get the bare minimum of offerings, not to mention shabby pinnies.
GOOD NEIGHBOR FOOD PANTRY NEEDS SOME FOOD ITEMS
When you are food shopping, if you would like to include a few items for the food pantry in your cart, we are in need of the following items: sardines, individual size containers of milk or juice, protein bars, small cans of milk, fruit, or vegetables, and also individual servings of crackers, pudding, or peanut butter.
Thank you very much for giving to the Good Neighbor Food Pantry this week. Your donation of food can be dropped off anytime at 31 Tannery Brook. It can also be dropped off on Thursday mornings at the Woodstock Reformed Church.
If you want to make a donation of money for the food, you are invited to send a check to the Good Neighbor Food Pantry, c/o Woodstock Reformed Church, 16 Tinker St., Woodstock, NY 12498. Thank you.
It’s snowing, cold and windy, a long time from the spinning of the planet into the coming fall, the season of vibrant colors and election campaigns. I’ve been looking forward to working again on the Town Board, ‘tho I hadn’t figured on announcing during this tough winter. However, when George Pattison called to ask me about any plans I had, I told him I will run again. It isn’t my style not to answer questions directly. I will continue to be independent of pressures from the Board and sectors of the public, and I will always listen to and consider everyone. Transparency and accountability are my goals.
HUMILIATING THE ‘COCKROACHES’
Warren Boroson couldn’t find anything wrong with his blog of February 26, 2010 entitled “Neo-Nazis in Woodstock.” Does he really not get it?
The point is although he recently argued that he would never scrawl swastikas on a flyer posted at the library for an event criticizing the policies of Israel — because the symbol is so abhorrent to everything he believes in — he has no reservations about using the word “Nazi” to smear those with whom he disagrees. Why the two minds?
Does he really believe there are “Neo-Nazis in Woodstock”, or what he said in a Woodstock Times letter to the editor, that, “Jews, Campion, do not use the blood of Christian children to make matzoh,” that I believe such a thing? He even said he doesn’t believe so in his last letter. In fact, I don’t think he actually believes much of anything he says in his letters.
So why does he write such things? The answer to this lies in his blog of April 25, 2010 where he talks about his “duty” to publicly humiliate the “cockroaches” who criticize Israel. In other words, I think his real motive is to squash critics of Israel into silence by using intimidation tactics such as malicious smear campaigns and reckless personal attacks which he knows to be untrue to do it.
I don’t think those are angels you hear singing, Warren.
But this is not about Boroson. It is about justice for the Palestinians and an end to the largest internment camp the world has ever seen, supported with American aid, the Gaza Strip. It is about restoring the credibility of the United States as defenders of freedom in the world, especially in light of what is happening in the Middle East. It is also in Israel’s best interests.
A good first step in this direction is the recent declaration by the U.S. State Dept. that Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory are “illegitimate.”
Palm Coast, Florida
TAKE THE SURVEY
With an eye to the future, the Woodstock Economic Task Force has begun the first of two surveys to determine how businesses and residents envision the economic direction and the future of our community. We have formulated a survey to analyze local conditions, identify problems, highlight opportunities, hear about what has worked and what hasn’t and to define the vision and the goals of our town. By taking part in this short survey, you will have a voice in the town’s direction and we will be able to get an accurate view of the state of Woodstock’s economy.
This first survey is for Woodstock business owners only, all business owners; be you a shop keeper, building contractor, restaurant owner, small manufacturer, internet business, a cottage industry, and everything else in between. A residential survey will follow shortly. We ask that everyone participate, this is your opportunity to be heard and to contribute.
For more information and a link to the survey please contact Jeff and Jenn Harrigfeld at the Woodstock Music shop, 845-679-3224 or email@example.com
MORE CRITICISMS OF COUNCILWOMAN ROSENBLUM
A frank letter by WLC Executives, published in Woodstock Times last week, adds another testimonial to the list of criticisms of Councilwoman Terri Rosenblum. According to both Kevin Smith, president of the Woodstock Land Conservancy and John Winter, Executive Director, “Rosenblum’s statements run counter to the facts.” Both WLC Executives, caring stakeholders of the Comeau easement, are rightfully challenging Rosenblum’s credibility. And they do not stand-alone. The good people of Woodstock, who are closely following the Comeau Stewardship Plan, have routinely given evidence of Rosenblum’s tainted credibility and poor judgment. Now her careless behavior is not only alienating citizens who fought for the easement but also alienating the WLC.
It appears that Rosenblum, with the support of Supervisor Jeff Moran, is intentionally making misleading statements, causing delay and serious breakdowns in communications. For example, at the December 21, January 11, and February 8 Town Board meetings, Rosenblum has asserted, “that WLC has not submitted ” an essential, document that she claims is “out of compliance with the easement” and is therefore the “primary cause for delays.” Rosenblum’s statements are in direct conflict with the published chronology that is a “matter of the record” according to the WLC’s Executive Director.
Rosenblum is making an unbecoming attempt to avoid accountability by blaming others for her failures. By Rosenblum’s own account, “the stewardship plan was a solitary effort”; a single-minded 14-month effort resulting in a 500 word amateurish “document.” Her continued excuses will not stand.
It’s time Rosenblum was replaced with someone who genuinely cares about the easement and honors their own credibility. Otherwise, one can easily conclude that the Town Board’s acceptance of failure, unnecessary delays and breakdown in communications are deliberate resulting from back room collusion to undermine the easement. This will also help to explain, on November 16, 2009, Moran’s public tribute and embrace to the man who sued the town in attempts to block the Comeau easement.
Thank you to all the agents at Westwood Metes & Bounds who voted to help Phoenicia become one of the coolest towns in America! Several emails went around reminding agents to vote. I’m sure their votes helped propel us into 6th place.
SO SIMPLE, SO VIOLENT, SO COMPLICATED
A woman in a violent relationship has only two choices, and both of them are bad.
She can leave the batterer, thereby losing economic security for herself and her children, her position in her community, and the partner whom she loves despite his cruel behavior. She may also lose the support of traditional-minded family and church members, who believe she should endure all things in order to keep her family together. And since battered women are in the greatest danger when they leave their batterer, she may be stalked, threatened, attacked, and even murdered.
If she stays with her partner, she risks losing her children, who can be taken from her by well-meaning relatives or by the courts because she supposedly cannot or will not protect them; she risks losing even more of her self esteem; she risks painful, terrifying, and humiliating abuse; and, ultimately, she risks losing her life.
And regardless of her choice, when she later tells her story, she will be met with the incredulous, contemptuous demand: “Why didn’t you just leave the first time he hit you?”
It all seems so simple, from the outside. He hits you, you leave. But battering doesn’t begin with a blow to the head, out of the blue. Battering begins with a look, an attitude, an inflection.
Would you leave your partner if he looked at you “funny?”
If he seemed angry for some unknown reason?
If he took control of the checkbook because “you just don’t do it right?”
Neither would a battered woman. And because his behavior is so calculated to keep her off balance, she treads more carefully, tries harder to abide by his wishes and to please him. By the time the batterer actually strikes her, she may already believe that she provoked the assault because she wasn’t good enough.
A battered woman leaves her partner an average of seven times before she breaks with him permanently. She doesn’t return because she is stupid or gullible or a masochist. She returns because she doesn’t want to just give up on someone she loves and has planned a future with. She returns because her children miss their daddy. She returns because she hopes that the future will be better. She returns because she hopes that she will be better.
And that is what is so hurtful about domestic violence. It could happen to any of us, under the wrong conditions, with the wrong partner. Women are so well-programmed to believe that our successes are due to luck and our failures are due to laziness or a lack of character. Add a violent, angry, manipulative man into the variables that determine self-esteem, and few of us would be able to emerge from such a relationship with our self-esteem intact. Even fewer of us would be able to just cut our losses and walk away.
Instead of asking “Why don’t you just leave,” ask “Why doesn’t he stop beating her?” Instead of vilifying a welfare mother, condemn the violent man who made her choose poverty for herself and her children over a painful, dangerous lifestyle. Instead of saying, “it’s none of my business,” call the police, and then be a support person for a woman who faces a terrifying future, either with or without the batterer.
A battered woman has only two choices. You have several. What will they be?
Family Domestic Violence Services
IN DEFENSE OF BRADLEY MANNING
In 1970, Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers, documenting official government deceptions about the war in Viet Nam from successive Republican and Democratic administrations. For his troubles, Ellsberg received death threats and the prospect of life in prison. In later years, Ellsberg voiced regret that he had not acted sooner, potentially saving American and Vietnamese lives.
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Ellsberg had implored government insiders to “go public” with information about US war plans based on similar official deceptions. In 2008, Ellsberg contributed the preface to “Dissent: Voices of Conscience” by U.S. Army Col. (ret.) Ann Wright with Susan Dixon, documenting the dissenting voices of government insiders who faced threats and retaliation for exposing the official deceptions which led to the invasion of Iraq.
In April, 2010, US Army Pvt. Bradley Manning was arrested under allegations that he released official government secrets documenting U.S. war crimes and embarrassing State Department memos. Since his arrest, Manning has been moved to the U.S. Marine Brig in Quantico, Virginia, where he is being held in solitary confinement in a small cell with no windows, and subject to brutal, pre-trial punishment.
Daniel Ellsberg writes: “There has been a concerted effort to paint Bradley Manning as a terrorist and traitor. He is neither. He is a patriotic American.”
On March 19, in Washington DC at the White House, there will be a veteran-led rally and civil resistance to demand the end of an ongoing state of permanent war and a call to free Bradley Manning. Then, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 20, in Triangle, Virgina, there will be a march on Quantico in defense of Bradley Manning.
Jay Wenk, myself and others from the Woodstock area will be there as we were in December. Please join us!
For more information, see www.couragetoresist.org/x and/or www.stopthesewars.org or pick up a copy of Woodstock International.
P.S. On a different issue I just received some good news: Folk music legend, Pete Seeger has endorsed the boycott of Israel. Seeger said, “I support the BDS movement as much as I can.” Seeger now joins a growing roster of international performers who have declined to whitewash, greenwash, or in any way enable Israel’s colonial project, including Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Roger Waters, Devendra Banhart, and the Pixies.
CAN’T FIX WHAT’S BROKEN
In response to Mayor Bloomberg’s editorial in The New York Times, to “change” union incentives and benefits, we could start today by improving this lot:
1. Reduce the amount of “union job categories,” for each industry, significantly, in order to standardize wages and benefits. Wilbur Ross did it with great success and saved two steel companies which now produce steel, domestically, more competitively than the Chinese.
2. Index wage-increases to inflation, not wage-indexation, as was the case for years.
3. Scrap the U.S. Tax Code, go to a flat 15 percent Federal Tax (no deductions) so wage-earners aren’t double and triple taxed to patch up degenerate fiscal behavior down in Washington and in the State Capitols.
This could all be legislated today, implemented tomorrow, and the benefits begin to “trickle down” in the immediate future. Stop trying to fix a broken fiscal-system…!
Keep up the good work, from a NYC Tax Refugee.
John P. Crowley
RON RUBIO THANKS WOODSTOCK COMMUNITY
Last year on December 29, 2010, my wife, Dr. Irene Bell Brody, died of cancer.
Living in the Woodstock/Shokan area 20 + years, and developing great personal friendships I would like to say, its been an honor being here and consider this great community my family.
Irene lived here for 19 years, giving her love and devotion to helping the autism population within the entire Hudson Valley. She loved this area and seemingly without effort was always surrounded by very dear and sweet people.
We counted ourselves very blessed to have such wonderful friends.
Her memorial at the Mountain View Studios on the January 8, 2011, was filled with a large and loving community family. I wish to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support, and dear blessings of love offered to my daughters Annie, Josie and Zoe, and myself. We thank you so very much.
For now I convalesce in the West, where the sun and ocean begins its renewal and some comfort, to the chasm of loss. I look forward to returning someday.
With sincere love to you all with deep gratitude…
Ronaldo Vicente Rubio
JEWISH BOAT VETS TO SPEAK
The daring revolutionary spirit of people laying their lives on the line for justice and freedom in the Middle East is awe-inspiring: the recent uprisings of the Arab people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya...the continued resistance of Palestinians and many Jewish Israelis to the Occupation. Speaking tonight (Thursday, March 3) at 7 p.m. at the Woodstock Community Center will be Reuwan Moskovitz, a Romanian-born survivor of the Nazi occupation who fled to Palestine in 1947, and later founded the Jewish-Arab village of Neve Shalom-Wahat al Salam in Israel. With him will be Lillian Rosengarten, human rights activist, pacifist and writer, also a refugee from Nazi Germany; and Glyn Secker, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, in Britain. They’ll tell us about their most recent activities as Captain and passengers on the Jewish Boat to Gaza. I hope Woodstockers will take this unique opportunity to hear their voices and to dialogue with them in person.
Municipal Bonds, even for small towns like Woodstock, can be very dangerous to taxpayers in this era of unregulated derivatives called “swaps.” In the Feb 8, 2011 New York Times, stock expert Meridith Whitney, who made the front cover of Fortune Magazine for predicting the 2007 financial crisis, predicts a coming calamity in municipal bonds.
Past bonds Woodstock has taken on are not a model for 2011. For example, today a municipal loan with a variable or fixed interest rate of say 5 percent may be “swapped” (at the banker’s suggestion) for what is called an Interest Rate Swap with a lower rate. Trouble is the swaps are for 30 year loans, usually variable ones tied to the market. The banker (swap advisor) will note that the town can “unwind” from the loan later on, for a fee of course. State filings report that New York State issuers (towns, sewer districts) paid a $12,000,000 fee to get out of swaps with Lehman Brothers. Stuck with a swap, Jefferson County Alabama’s sewer system loan went from $250,000,000 to $3,000,000,000. J.P. Morgan made money in that case.
The “swap advisor” only gets paid if there is a transaction. Does he warn of the risks? Is our Town vulnerable? Nowadays Wall Street invades Main Street. Tinker Street must be off limits...
See “The Swaps That Swallowed Your Town” by Gretchen Morgenstern in March 7, New York Times archives or “Looting Main Street” by Matt Taibbi in April 2010 Rolling Stone Magazine.
GIVE THEM THE PINK SLIP
Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist did the right thing. She fired all 1,926 teachers to get rid of seniority and tenure. Now the new and young, fresh out of college, teachers have a chance of being hired. Ulster County Commissioner for Education must do same, not only to save money on paychecks but also to give young teachers a chance. For example, Woodstock Elementary School teachers get salaries in excess of $140,000 per year and they don’t allow anyone new in. They basically hold down tight to their milk jobs until they die.
The Onteora school system is so mismanaged that the Town of Woodstock should fight to get rid of it. Tens of millions of dollars are swallowed each year by this rusty giant and we, the tax payers, get the bill.
The school and property taxes are so high in this Woodstock that it discourages new home buyers for settling here. It is a vicious circle and only people who manage this town can change it.
Editor’s note: There is no Ulster County Commissioner for Education. Each school district is an independent entity. Second, the people who manage this town have no say over the amount of the school budget or tax levy.
MORAN AIN’T NO GANDHI
Gandhi said something like: “There go my people; I must run to catch up with them for I am their leader.” Indeed, the greatest leaders welcome input from the people, learn from the people’s wisdom, and guide the people’s will; they do not stamp out expression and operate in secrecy. They do not routinely violate the law. It is time for us to tell Jeff Moran that he may not continue to violate the law in his position as supervisor, nor lead the majority of the town board along in his transgressions. It is time to demonstrate to him that failure to work within the law does have legal consequences, sometimes ugly consequences, consequences with very sharp teeth. I believe sincerely in transparency and lawfulness. Where there is freedom of information and where the rules are clear for all involved, the democratic process works well.
There will be several initiatives to bring this town into legal compliance. This is a broad goal, but a worthy one. We can start by attending Joe Nicholson’s library forum, this Saturday at 5 p.m., (at, you guessed it, the Woodstock Library.) Joe will speak about the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) Act and how we can use it to ensure transparency in government. Transparency is one key element in watchdogging our government. I have seen the town refuse to comply with the FOIL process as prescribed by law.
A bit later, (watch out for announcements in this paper and on Channel 23,) we will meet to start working to ensure legal compliance of Woodstock’s already secret (equals illegal) attempted expansion of the water district to RUPCO. What is at stake here? Your water rates; availability of water to your house at all; the ability for the town to fight fires in the water district, which it is required to do. If you think this is not “your” issue because your house is not in the water district, think again. Violation of state laws, with criminal offenses attached, are not things any one of us should ignore.
Today it is RUPCO and the water district. Tomorrow it could be an issue with implications to your home, your wallet, and your safety. If you agree with my principles and are disgusted with Moran turning off water to the community gardens last summer (illegal, by the way) please participate with us. It does not matter if you think you have a low level of expertise. All kinds of help will be necessary, from mailing postcards to collecting signatures, to spreading the word by email. Let’s get organized.
To our wonderful new community: We are simply bowled over by the outpouring of welcoming support we received this past Saturday when we held our Woodstock open house here at The Kleinert/James Arts Center. We are thrilled that so many of you showed up to give us your best wishes, to reiterate your continued support for our work and to introduce yourselves and ask “how can I help?”
We are extremely grateful to those who nourished us with their donations for our opening: Bistro to Go, Cakes by Carrie, Cub Market, Cucina, photographer David Morris Cunningham, Garden Cafe, Hurley Ridge Wines, It’s All Good Again, Jarita’s Florist, Joshua’s, The Liquor Cabinet, Lucia Reale-Vogt, Lucky Chocolates, New World Home Cooking, Oriole9, Sunflower Natural Foods, Sunfrost, Taco Juan’s, Woodstock Meats and Woodstock Wine & Liquors.
And of course, thanks to our wonderful speakers and participants: Woodstock Guild’s Matt Leaycraft, Woodstock Film Festival’s Meira Blaustein, poet and author Will Nixon, producer Michael Lang, and local musicians Mike and Ruthy.
We are delighted to bring Catskill Mountainkeeper’s mission of preserving the long-term health of the Catskill Mountains to Woodstock, and we look forward to partnering with the people in Woodstock to find new paths for sustainable growth and protect our area from overreaching development and unsafe gas drilling.
Please visit us in our new office at 34 Tinker Street, 3rd floor. We look forward to getting to know you — our new neighbors — in this talented, beautiful and amazing town.
Kathy Nolan, Director, High Peaks Region
SNOWFLAKES AND SAND-DOLLARS
To my strange surprise, I recently discovered that a certain snowflake-configuration can look very similar to a sand-dollar — the kind I used to find on the eerie, morning sonorous, early-light enchanted beach in Amagansett...in the late 1960s, their lovely shapes and soft-white porous personalities imprinted on my brain or in my heart, via a woman who loved the sea, with all its wild wind and waves, unfathomable depths and meaning, tender beach grasses, haunting sand-dunes as compelling as the English moors in ‘Wuthering Heights’.
Yes, she loved the sea the way Rachael Carson did, or secret Neptune and all his beckoning nymphs. Thus, one forlorn soul still drowns in the ever-pounding surf on earth’s not yet understood shores.
REQUEST RESPONSIBLE REFORM
We hear it every day: Program cuts, school closings, higher school taxes, teacher layoffs, downsizing classrooms, redistricting, federal and state cutbacks! The sounds of the recession are here and now, but how do we, as taxpayers in Olive, address these issues? Folks cannot pay ther taxes and foreclosures are on the rise. We are spending more in the Onteora school district than any other districts in Ulster County on educating our children. Why is this so? How can we afford to keep this momentum as people are forced out of their homes and move to other districts where spending is more moderate? Doesn’t our school board and new superintendent see that we are a shrinking community and can no longer afford the luxury of keeping buildings open that are not used for educational purposes, or buildings that are underused due to low enrollment? People are struggling! The economy has not yet recovered. The country is still at a 9.5 percent unemployment rate and probably higher in the rural areas. Commercial growth has been frozen since the start of the recession and has not recovered. The cost of living and taxes continue to rise as salaries remain frozen. We need to make some fiscal decisions in the Onteora district that will benefit the entire community and not serve separate demographic areas. We cannot affort to live here without it. I urge all taxpayers in Olive to write to the school board and request responsible reform.