We are writing to let you know that we have enthusiastically endorsed Eric Schneiderman for New York State Attorney General. This was an easy decision for us to make because, as a lifelong progressive reformer, Eric has fought as an attorney, activist and lawmaker to deliver equal justice for all New Yorkers. Eric has the deepest, broadest and most diverse grassroots coalition in this race — it’s a coalition that only a candidate devoted to fighting for equality and justice can build. Eric has been a strong leader for the interests of New York’s hard working families from increasing the minimum wage, to championing the right to organize, to improving the worker’s compensation system, to bringing good-paying green jobs to our state.
Eric will fight against corporate corruption on behalf of New Yorkers who have been victimized by big corporations, big banks, insurance companies and other special interests that don’t play by the rules. He’s been a leader in fighting corruption and abuse in state government. He authored the most sweeping ethics reforms in decades and led the charge to expel corrupt Sen. Hiram Monserrate after he was convicted of a domestic violence crime.
Schneiderman lead the fight to end the draconian Rockefeller Drug laws that wasted taxpayer dollars and devastated NY communities for decades.
Named one of the greenest senators in the state by EPL/Environmental Advocates, Eric is an unwavering supporter of environmental justice. He believes that every New Yorker has the right to clean air, safe drinking water and healthy communities to raise their children. Eric also believes that environmental protection and job creation must go
hand in hand.
As The New York Times wrote in its endorsement, “We endorse Senator Schneiderman in the Democratic primary because of his sound judgment, legal expertise, political independence and long history of fighting for government reform.”
Guy Kempe, Jennifer Fuentes, Brian Shapiro, Jim Mays
Mid Hudson Valley Working Families Party
GETTING THINGS DONE
On your mark. Get ready. Get set. Go. Oh wait, this is Woodstock; it doesn’t quite work that way. It is more like we have a problem, let’s protest or figure out a solution other than the one that was proposed…form a committee…have a meeting, maybe another…let the public know what we are doing, or not and, more likely than not, we may or may not arrive at a solution.
TRUTH SETTING US FREE
There is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Israel denies this but the suffering has been documented by Amnesty International, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, UNRWA (UN Relief Works Agency), CARE, Save The Children (UK) and many others. Many Palestinians have no electricity, heat, medicine, food or water. The mass destruction, death and suffering being visited upon the captive population of Gaza would not be possible without U.S. weaponry and U.S. foreign aid (paid for by our tax dollars). Daily life in the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank is indeed “ugly” — the military check points, the separation wall, illegal house demolitions and evictions, land theft and attacks by Israeli settlers and grinding poverty are an ugly reality for Palestinians.
A group called Middle East Crisis Response (MECR) presented a vignette on the public sidewalk adjacent to the Green in Woodstock. The scene was a theatrical portrayal of life in Israel’s occupied territories. Perhaps some felt the scene was “ugly,” but compared to the reality of the ugliness of daily life in Gaza it was trivial.
MECR (mideastcrisis.org) and its affiliate hudsonvalleybds.org are dedicated to supporting human rights and to ending the oppression, suffering and exploitation of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation.
As a Jew I am ashamed and saddened by Israel’s ongoing brutality and lack of humanity. I am also deeply troubled by the abandonment and extraordinary perversion of such fundamental Jewish ideals as compassion and concern for the suffering of oppressed peoples in order to further Zionist aspirations. As an American taxpayer I share in the guilt for Israel’s behavior since it would not be possible without U.S. taxpayer dollars. I am grateful to groups like MECR who have the courage to speak out and educate Americans about the ugly, but true, realities of Israeli policies and actions. I am hopeful that the truth will set us all free (including Israelis, Palestinians, and us).
IT’S WDC ELECTION TIME It seems like only a few weeks ago that I was running for a place on the Woodstock Democratic Committee. So much has happened. I worked to make the committee responsive, open, and inclusive. Ralph Goneau (mostly) and I (a little bit) coordinated several yard sales with prices too good to be true. The committee members scheduled some Open Mic nights and backed some candidates (which we did a lot of research on in advance to make sure we were backing the right ones). And, we held open meetings. Now, it’s time for you to vote again…
I hope you will vote for me. I live in the district that I hope to continue representing: No. 4. I stand for continued open meetings and more community involvement, especially in the form of increased voter turnout because every vote counts in every election…not just the ones that we get upset about.
So, please get some friends together, go to your polling place and vote on September 14. And, please vote for me while you’re at it.
NO CELL ACTION OUT WEST
It was nice to read that for one hundred bucks or so I can install a gadget that, in conjunction with broadband service and a wireless router, might give me cell phone service in my home in Shady. What I really want to know is why it was so urgent to install cell service at the California Quarry site to the consternation of many opponents, while service to the western side of town is allowed languish for years. Why the big hurry then? Why has nothing happened since? I’m tired of house guests who feel like they’ve fallen into a black hole when they can’t retrieve messages or receive calls, and lost repairmen unable to call for directions when they’re almost here.
COMMITTEE PRIMARY VOTING 101
There are nine “political” districts in Woodstock and every two years both the Democratic and Republican bonafide Committees must carry petitions from the Board of Election to continue to serve on these committees. If there are no challenges to sitting committee members, they are automatically elected for another two year term. If there are any challenges to sitting members, then their names will appear on the primary ballot and the voters in those districts will decide who will represent them. A voter must be registered as a Democrat to vote for a member to be on our local Woodstock Democratic Committee.
The Woodstock Democratic Committee is one of very few towns in Ulster County to have such a primary event this year. Out of the nine districts, only Districts 3 and 4 will be on the ballot. The other District members are unopposed and will automatically be re-elected.
District 3 votes at the Zena Firehouse and District 4 votes at the Community Center.
The polls open from noon to 9 p.m. and the new voting machines are the only machines that will be used at all nine primary sites.
I urge all Democrats in Districts 3 and 4 to take the time to vote for Tom Ocker and Mary Burke in District 3 and Thurman Greco and Steve Knight in District 4. They have the proven ability to serve our Woodstock Democratic Committee with compassion and good will.
Woodstock Democratic Committee Chair
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION... I am writing this letter as a two term member unopposed for this upcoming third term on the Woodstock Democratic Committee.
Actively serving on the committee has been fruitful. With one exception, the members of the committee, although often of different opinions, have always been able to listen to each other, abide by majority rule and work together without controversy or strife.
We’ve been able to move forward in productive directions during the past four years. Prior to that the meetings were closed to the public except for one meeting a year. Some of our residents are new to Woodstock and had not experienced the time when the committee was exclusively closed. Two of the three people that are challenging in Districts 3 and 4 were members of that old committee.
Most of us on the committee are the very people that opened the committee meetings to the public and have engaged the democratic community of our town to work with us on many levels.
There are challenges going on in voting districts 3 and 4 in the upcoming primary on September 14. The challengers in district 3 are: an existing member who rarely attends meetings and she does not actively engage in our activities and a second person who rarely has ever attended our meetings or engaged in our events and he was a member of the “keep the doors closed” previous committee. In District 4, a person who has attended some of our meetings, refused to help in our Democratic events but he has written untruthful things in letters to the editor and was a member of the previous closed committee. I don’t want the committee to regress and fall back into a pit of exclusivity and cliquishness.
It is because of this that I am asking the voters in District 3 to cast their vote for Tom Ocker and Mary Burke and those in District 4 to cast their vote for Thurman Greco and Steve Knight.
Your vote for Tom and Mary or Thurman and Steve will help all of us in the WDC keep the committee open, fair, objective and enable us to continue to successfully support the best Democratic candidates at all levels of government.
MORE LITTLE THINGS
Bob Berman’s column of September 2 makes very sound points about nonsensical journalistic coverage of astronomy, but I’m sure he meant to say in the fourth paragraph that “the universe contains more little things than big things.” First of all, this is the truth, and the opposite, as it appears in his column, doesn’t fit with his argument that there are more Earth-mass planets than Jupiter-mass planets.
Bob Berman replies: Exactly right. I said it backward. Thanks for the catch.
AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A PASTOR
In response to last week’s letter, “The Mosque is Too Close,” written by Pastor Donald Moore, the Senior Pastor of the Living Word Chapel here in West Hurley, perhaps the Pastor does not needs to be reminded of the literal definition of the word Pastor, which according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary is , “a spiritual overseer; especially: a clergyman serving a local church or parish,” but of the more accepted definition as one who not only teaches, guides individuals on a spiritual path, but also fosters the culture of peace both within the community and within ourselves.
Pastor Moore, how can a man, who claims to provide spiritual guidance and represent the teachings of Christ, be so lacking in tolerance by promoting the culture of hatred which is spreading like wildfire in this nation? What does one’s commitment to the Qur’an and the Hadith have to do with one’s commitment to this country? Is your definition of patriotism based on one’s religious or spiritual path? Even the founding of fathers of this nation set out to separate the Church and the State. What would they think of your definition of Patriotism?
What do you mean when you say “…we have seen the work of committed Muslims.” I assume you are not referring to the 9/11 terrorists as being committed Muslims. That would only serve to illustrate your lack of knowledge of the Islamic faith and what religious commitment truly means. After all, Pastor, as someone who would consider himself a committed Christian, and according to your definition of religious commitment, would that make you a terrorist as well? There is a big difference between being a person committed to his or her faith and a zealot. Calling the tragic events of 9/11 “their (Islam’s) bold declaration of victory” is ignorant, hateful and false.
Need I remind you that every organized religion has mandated forced submission by various means? Why single out Islam? During the Crusades wasn’t it Christians forcing other people’s to submit to their faith?
Telling Muslims that they “need to become committed Americans,” rallying people to reclaim Dearborn, Michigan just because it is the city in America with the largest Muslim population, citing the rise in Muslim Prison converts only serves to incite and contribute to America’s shameful culture of hate. What would your “Prince of Peace — Jesus” say about this type of preaching? A man of peace would certainly want the entire world to live in harmony, despite any differences. Wouldn’t he? Shouldn’t you?
FOR DEM COMMITTEE
Hello voters! My name is Mary Burke. I live in District 3 and am running for a seat on the Woodstock Democratic Committee. I have lived in Woodstock for 54 years and been a volunteer on many committees throughout those years, including several years in the Ladies Auxiliary of our volunteer Fire Co. I have been an active member of the Woodstock Environmental Commission for 13 years, eight of them as Chair. I was on the Carbon Neutral Initiative Task Force, support the Food Pantry weekly and frequently serve on the Daily Bread & Soup Kitchen staff. I have attended most TB meetings for the past 11 years and am keenly interested in goals which will best serve the community.
I have known most of the members of the WDC for many years and would appreciate the opportunity to work with them, as a member of the Democratic Committee. I have attended WDC meetings as part of the public, am up to date and willing to work diligently with the other members to help bring their myriad endeavors to fruition. If you live in District 3 and vote at the Zena Firehouse, please consider casting your vote for me on September 14, between noon and 9 p.m. Thank you!
Last week the Library Budget for 2011 was approved at our annual budget vote and trustee election. Thank you to the voters of Woodstock, the Library Board and the Friends of the Library for your support and commitment to the Library!
The budget process begins in late June. Like all other board meetings, budget meetings are open to the public and “public be heard” is included on all board meeting agendas. Board meeting announcements are listed in this paper, on the library website (www.woodstock.org), on the town website (www.woodstockny.org), and on the library bulletin board. The library board meets the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. The library is in the information business so, please feel free to contact me (679-2213 or firstname.lastname@example.org) with your questions about the process, the budget, or the functioning of the library.
The Woodstock Library is “an open door to knowledge and enjoyment for the whole community.” We look forward to seeing you!
Amy B. Raff, Library Director
AMERICA TO ME
One of the most endearing things I ever saw Sinatra do was in a short clip from the 40’s where young Frank sings to a group of mixed-ethnicity kids. He’s setting them straight about tolerance and respect for diversity in our country. ‘That’s America to Me’ was the name of the song. You couldn’t ask for a better civics lesson. That song, however, didn’t prevent the internment of Japanese-Americans during the same decade. Their crime? Just being who they were in a time of fear. Collective guilt and collective shame are inherently un-American concepts, so the general consensus now is that it was wrong to do that. The McCarthy era was fevered and unjust, but America eventually threw it off. German-Americans were persecuted during WWI, Japanese-Americans were interned during WWII and Communist witch-hunts were held in the 50’s. In 1960, JFK had to deal with fears he would have greater allegiance to the Pope than to his own country and now Muslims are the new boogyman that threatens the home of the brave. There’s nothing new under the sun. Maybe Justin Timberlake can do a remake of that old Sinatra tune.
About the proposed community center/mosque near the former World Trade Center site. An abandoned Burlington Coat Factory building two blocks away from ‘Ground Zero’ is to be torn down and replaced with a 13 story community center, patterned after the YMCA. It would be open to all — like the Y — and would include a prayer room. Two blocks in the city can put you in a whole different neighborhood. The former Twin Towers site isn’t even visible from the planned community center, let alone being in its supposed triumphant shadow. There is already a mosque in the same area that has existed quietly until now. Media pundits who last year said the proposed community center was a good idea have done a shameless about-face and joined the shrill chorus of exclusion. Certain so-called news programs spew relentless falsehoods and stoke fears to create a desirable social tension which can be exploited politically as an election nears. (Remember the scary gay marriage threat?) Some craven politicians have played into this shameful episode, but the city’s mayor has had his finest hour as a stalwart defender of freedom of religion as enshrined in the First Amendment of our Bill of Rights. Kudos to Bloomberg!
Also noteworthy is that the Pentagon has a non-denominational chapel within its walls. It was built in 2002 at the site of the attack there and is open to all faiths including Muslims, who conduct prayer services there. I repeat: Muslims are conducting organized, sanctioned prayer services at the exact site of the Pentagon attack. Those who foster division and spread fear of the alleged deadly threat of encroaching Islam have had no comment on the interfaith tolerance displayed by the U.S. Military. This is also hallowed ground as well as strategic, but it’s apparently not a problem for the mosque protestors out there. Maybe it doesn’t fit the narrative.
Our soldiers (some of whom are Muslim) are fighting side by side with Iraqi and Afghani Muslim soldiers to achieve our objectives in those countries. Muslims were also murdered in the terrible attacks of September 11, 2001. There were 19 fanatical attackers — there are some 1.5 billion Muslims of differing sects and life-styles all over the world, of which the vast majority just want a better future for their children. The small minority of extremists among them resemble extremists of all faiths in their grim intolerance of any path but their own. Collective guilt is as wrong now as it ever was.
Here’s the thing — you can’t have a little religious freedom or a partial amount — it has to apply to all equally and absolutely or it’s just lip service. You can’t say, “Your religion matters less than mine and should have fewer rights,” because that’s not how it works in this country. You can’t say “Two blocks is too close but five blocks is ok”, because that’s not America. Even if it was a giant looming mosque right next to the WTC site, we are supposed to be big enough as a nation to allow that. We’re secure enough to allow that which we may personally find distasteful — assuming it’s legal. This is central to who we are as a people. If other countries favor some religions over others, that should not affect how we conduct ourselves as Americans. We should proudly hold our hard won and still evolving heritage of equality and diversity even higher, not drag it down to match less free nations.
The best way to protect the Constitution is not to dilute it, but to actually abide by it with unfailing vigilance. That’s America to me.
LIGHT YEARS BETWEEN US
Bob Berman, in last weeks “Night Sky” article wrote that “Something like ten billion Earth-mass planets inhabit our own galaxy alone. Ten billion.” He added “We already know there are a billion Earth-mass worlds with comfortable temperatures.” Wow! Who knew there were so many Earth-mass planets, and so many in the habitable zone!
Now the big question: Is there life on any of these planets? Wouldn’t it be really odd if none of these millions of worlds had life on them? Given the law of averages, shouldn’t there be about five hundred thousand planets with better conditions for life than Earth, and five hundred thousand with worse conditions? If so, this astoundingly large number of Earth-mass planets with equal or better environments for life suggests the odds are there are millions of worlds where life exists. Not only that, if living conditions are better than on Earth, couldn’t the life forms thrive and be far superior to us?
But, as Bob Berman points out, “There will be no way to send a space probe to any of them, or ever learn what (if anything) actually lives there.” That might be a good thing. What if even a small percentage of the five hundred thousand better suited Earth-mass planets have intelligent life with more advanced technology than we have? They could be out there looking for us. Even if they were benevolent, are we ready for contact with alien beings far more advanced than us? When you think about it that way, maybe it’s good thing there are so many light years between stars!
Tuesday, September 14 is Primary Day. Polls are open from noon-9 p.m. Democrats have a chance to vote for the Attorney General candidate they would like to see on the ballot in November. A strong Attorney General will support civil rights law, pursue environmental cases to protect our right to clean air and water, and will go after those who defraud the state. There are five Democrats running for AG : Richard L. Brodsky, State assemblyman; Eric T. Schneiderman, State Senator; Sean Coffey, a former Naval captain and former assistant U.S. Attorney; Eric R. Dinallo, a former N.Y. state Insurance Superintendent; and Kathleen M. Rice, the Nassau County District Attorney.
Ulster County Democratic Women has set up a web page with information about the AG race at http://ucdw.org/candidates/ag_primary.html. You’ll find a video link to the League of Women Voter’s AG Primary debate that aired on ABC, and a link to the recent WAMC Radio debate. There are links to each of the candidate’s websites and a place for you to share your personal endorsement.
Also facing a late primary challenge, is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. So get out and vote!
If you want to do more join Ulster County Democratic Women Monday night, September 13 at 7 p.m. as we begin phone calls to get out the vote for Primary Day. We’ll meet at the new Democratic campaign Headquarters at 32 John St. ( between Wall St. and Fair St.). Check our website for more Democratic meetings, events, and action alerts at www.UCDW.org.
Ulster County Democratic Women
ONE PERSON, NOT TWO
In an April 29 letter, Jim Charles Dougherty wrote that I am a self-appointed expert. Wrong. I’m an informed person who speaks up. He also accused me of trying to scare the people in Woodstock about “new” people coming to Woodstock to benefit from affordable housing. I never tried to scare anybody. I have however been and still am opposed to unsafe roads, and increasing the hamlet population by 18 percent with people of any income level.
Dougherty “imagined” that I wrote my letter two weeks ago in response to his letter of the previous week. Wrong. I wanted to write a letter of endorsement for Joe Nicholson. Joe and I are similar in our roles in town as dissenters, but not as negative people. I chose to defend myself and to promote Joe at the same time, within the same theme. I had never defended myself against Dougherty’s bigot accusation, and finally I chose to. There is no statute of limitations on self-defense.
Dougherty accused me of accusing him of criminal activity. Wrong. Here is what I wrote:
“Jim Ethics Board Dougherty, in his professional life, identifies ‘non-performing’ mortgages, meaning people whose properties are headed for foreclosure, and tips off banks and other potential ‘investors’ to these ‘opportunities.’ Pass the barf bag. Just because my position on RUPCO is a dissenting one does not mean that I prey on the poor and help the wealthy. That person is Jim Charles Dougherty.”
Dougherty has a company called Lender Asset Solutions. Quoting the top of the web page: “Our ever growing contact database includes over 3,500 real estate professionals including many investors who are available to purchase residential or commercial non-performing loans or lender owned properties.”
There are many stages of foreclosure, and part of Dougherty’s service is to pick up on them at certain points in the process, evaluate which are attractive, list them and circulate the list to subscribers. That is what I meant by identifying and tipping off. There is nothing illegal about what he does and I never said there was. I wrote that he preys on the poor and helps the wealthy. According to his website, he helps banks and investors, and does nothing to help the people who are in trouble and cannot pay their mortgages.
I think Jim Dougherty is still sore over being caught lying about his identity when he signed his accusatory letter “Jim Charles.”
Dougherty admits that “perhaps” using a pseudonym to label RUPCO’s opposition bigoted was in poor judgment. Perhaps? He’s still trying to explain how he was dissociating his personal comments from the Ethics Board, which he used to chair. Well guess what, Jim. Every person only gets to be one person, not two. I think it is pitiful that he is still trying to negotiate his inner conflict by blaming others, threatening to sue the newspaper editor or the TV host when they call him out.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Tuesday, September 14 is primary election day for Woodstock Democrats and Independents. District 3 Polling place is the Zena Firehouse and voting takes place from noon until 9 p.m. I am seeking reelection because I want to continue to serve my community via the Woodstock Democratic Committee (WDC). I have proudly served on the WDC for the past 6 years, 4 as Secretary. I am currently creating an archive of the history of the Woodstock Democratic Party. My dedicated years of service have successfully contributed to the election of many Democrats, on both local, county, state and national levels. I am asking for your vote so I may continue to serve.
I am a life-long resident of Ulster County and have lived in Woodstock for the last 16 years. I worked with others on the Town’s Draft Comprehensive Plan. I have served as a Board of Elections Custodian at both the Lake Hill and the Community Center polling locations on election days. The WDC appointed me time-keeper for their caucuses. I have participated with other WDC members in interviewing potential candidates and then campaigned, door-to-door as well as via phone, for those chosen to serve on the WDC. I also served on the committee that succeeded in changing the Ulster County Legislature by creating single member districts. I am an artist and have designed and executed several signs and brochures for the WDC. Your vote will allow me to continue my support of the WDC. Thank you very much for your consideration.
With all the talk about building a mosque at Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, you’ve got to wonder how many would be speaking in favor of the mosque, one day, one week, one month, or one year later.
We’re out here nine years later. We’ve watched the flag become tattered and disappear from the pole marker, “For Pam” at the Woodstock Garage at 39 Mill Hill Road. Pam was just one of 2,996 who lost their lives in the attack that day including the 19 hijackers. 411 emergency responders were in that number and lost their lives running in to help while everyone else was trying to get out.
On that morning, my wife Gail, a nurse, was working on the 6th Floor of New York Methodist Hospital, less than four miles away, and saw the 2nd plane hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center and eventually saw the buildings collapse. I was working out in Nassau County about 20 miles away and we could see the dark cloud of smoke fill the sky from our office. That smoke was visible for weeks later and lingered with the smell of smoke that covered the city. I will never forget the eerie sounds of air force fighter jets flying at low levels, vibrating the ground, along the route above the Long Island Expressway towards New York City breaking the silence in the streets where everything appeared to standstill.
New York City, a big city got smaller that day. So many people found that there was a common thread that they didn’t know about that ran thru their lives and connected them to a tragedy at one site in one moment in time. Ronnie, Tom, Joanne and Steve were part of my common thread.
Ronnie, a friend and coworker, sitting less than 10 feet away from me, was immobilized waiting to hear from her mother who worked on an upper floor of the towers. It would be months till she knew for sure, but her mother was lost on that day.
My former boss and a real great guy, Tom, the head of GreenPoint Mortgage, lost his young son, his pride and joy, who was at the early steps along a path of a promising career at Cantor Fitzgerald.
Joanne, a friend, who managed an insurance business, overslept on that day, and when she arrived at her office at the World Trade Center, the first plane had just struck as she was entering the building and immediately was forced to leave the area. Eleven of her co-workers all perished from her office. She was the only one who survived.
Steve, a friend and coworker, had an argument with his wife that morning because she felt that he was always traveling on business and never seemed to spend enough time at home. To calm things down, he agreed to take a plane later that day and spend some time with his wife. If not for the argument, he would have been on United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, PA.
For Pam and all of those who died, and for those of us who vividly remember that day that changed our lives, we should reflect on what that pole marker on Mill Hill Road says: “FOR PAM” “This flag was hung with PRIDE on 09/11/2001 in memory of our beloved Pam who was killed in the World Trade Center.
It still flies tattered and torn as a cry for justice.
This flag will be removed with HONOR on the day justice is served.
We are sorry if this flag’s condition offends you but it will fly until the battle is over.”
Unfortunately, I never met Pam and I don’t know who hung the flag and made the pole marker. However, it may be a good time on September 11, 2010 between 8:46 a.m. the time the North Tower was struck and 9:03 a.m., the time the South Tower was struck for us all to share a quiet moment and reflect on that day for Pam and all those who were lost. Since the flag is gone, perhaps a flower, a candle or a note left at the site would help to have the memories live on.
THURMAN, STEVE, MARY AND TOM
If you are a registered Democrat, who lives in Election Districts 3 or 4 in Woodstock, you will have a chance to vote for your representative to the Woodstock Democratic Committee (WDC) in the primary on September 14, next Tuesday. I have had the honor to serve on the WDC for the last two years and am asking you to vote for people who will serve the WDC, so it can continue the important work is has done in the last few years.
In Election District 4, please vote for Thurman Greco and Steve Knight. Both are current District 4 representatives on the WDC. Steve served on the Woodstock Town Board for eight years and he has lovingly shared his music with all of Woodstock from his stint at the original Woodstock Festival to today. His involvement with the Woodstock Democratic Party goes back many years and to this day his love of Woodstock and his kind soul help sustain the rest of us. He is currently experiencing some medical problems and cannot campaign for himself.
Thurman is very involved in the food bank and her volunteerism for those less fortunate is amazing! You may have seen her on Access TV explaining what the food Pantry needs and why it’s so important. She was the leader in campaigning for Woodstock people to get on the Onteora School Board, and thanks to her efforts, they did! Please cast your vote for Steve and Thurman to re-elect them because they are productive, kind, especially caring and highly respected.
If you live in Election District 3, please vote for Mary Burke and Tom Ocker. Mary Burke has lived in Woodstock for the past 54 years. She still marvels at how special the “spirit” of Woodstock is. Imbedded in her core is the importance of being a contributing member of our neighborhoods and our town. She truly is a person who lives by the premise that it is better to give than receive, and in that spirit, she has been supportive of many local endeavors, including working with the Scouts, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Woodstock Fire Co. No. 1 as well as being the Director of the not-for-profit daycare center at Overlook UMC for many years. She continues to volunteer for the Daily Bread & Soup Kitchen and makes weekly contributions to the Food Closet. Mary has nearly 13 Years of serving on the Woodstock Environmental Commission and is currently the Chair of the WEC. Mary wants to expand her efforts to include working with the WDC because, in her words, “The importance of seeking only those with sincere and deep-seated concerns for Woodstock to fill these positions has become extremely important to me.”
Tom Ocker is a native of Ulster County. He is an artist and he has worked as a staff artist for the Ulster County Clarion Democratic Newspaper. He has been a political activist for over 40 years and he has served 3 terms on the Woodstock Democratic Committee. Tom currently serves as the WDC Secretary and Historian. Tom is a sincere and nice person who cares and is always willing to help others. He is an active participant in WDC Activities. Tom has an outstanding meeting attendance record.
THE MOB MENTALITY RULES
In a widely distributed email dated September 2, Barry Miller proclaims that he is “the longest sitting member on the library board of Trustees.” Miller goes on to criticize Joseph Nicholson on the premise that “I’ve met the other guy Joe Nicholson and he is not the ‘razor sharp’, intelligent person his friends write about in the newspaper. He knows nothing about the library, how we function or what resources are available. He has no clue! I encourage you not to vote for him for a trustee.” Rather, these words better describe the library trustees themselves after proposing a $5 Million dollar library expansion on Miller’s watch; a “clueless” out of touch proposal far from “razor sharp” especially from “the longest sitting Trustee.”
Miller’s email is untrue and damaging. In an attempt to add credibility to his harsh criticisms he falsely claims to have “met Nicholson” and implies that he personally knows him well enough to challenge his intelligence, abilities and skills. Yet, I spoke to Nicholson who confirms that he has never met Miller. Miller’s premise of knowing Nicholson is completely false, making a “mistrusting trustee” a modern-day oxymoron. Further to advance this new oxymoron, there are several witnesses who observed incumbent candidate Stuart Auchincloss, (sitting Vice President of the Library’s Board of Trustees and allegedly a community minded individual) violate the most basic election law by promoting himself at the library’s entrance on Election Day. He was campaigning where campaigning is prohibited.
Both trustees Auchincloss and Miller did wrong. Most concerning is that their behavior in not unusual within Woodstock’s politics. Too many honorable individuals, who volunteer their time in community services, willingly choose dirty politics while oblivious to the harm they do, both to themselves and to the public institutions they are elected to serve. They seem to be transformed by a self-righteous mob-mentality based on fear that “the other guy” (Miller’s words) might play in their sandbox.
Hence, during election time, these Woodstock “do-gooders” are always first to attack, as clearly evident with Nicholson as the victim. Yet, they are always first to hypocritically complain when criticisms are aimed at them. They quickly forget that they were first to pass false critical judgments, as with Miller. Ironically, they become what they despise and, unsurprisingly, they will not tolerate for themselves what they do to others.
GETTING IT RIGHT
Kudos to Larry Beinhart for his excellent work in delivering us the truth about the drug problems in our town, especially among our youth. We were also treated to an engaging piece of investigative reporting, full of hard facts drawn from reliable unbiased sources and actual on-the-ground interviews, of a kind too often missing from local newspapers. What a contrast to the fictionalized Woodstock portrayed just over two months ago by members of our Town Board, whose anecdotal accounts of gangs, drugs and violence in this paper and elsewhere seemed almost purposefully intended to drive away what few new businesses and tourists our town still manages to attract.
This isn’t to diminish concerns like those raised by Police Chief Keefe, Brian Shapiro, numerous shop owners and many others. These are real and legitimate problems which ought to be addressed in our community. But time and again, history has taught that certain failure awaits those who would try to legislate manners and common decency, elements of character best learned from proactive and engaged parents and, by their example, our community leaders.
The other day I happened upon a group of kids hanging out in the CVS parking lot, a few of them carelessly sitting on someone’s car. Admittedly I felt apprehensive, and was relieved when a patrol car pulled up to them. My tension turned to admiration when the officer skillfully adopted a tone which was at once authoritative and non-threatening. As he explained the nature of their infraction, I saw how quickly the kids gave him the respect he deserved and the cooperation he demanded. It would be nice if we lived in a Woodstock where miscreant behavior didn’t occur at all, but we don’t and perhaps never will. In the meantime, I am grateful at least to live in a Woodstock where the police and the youth can sit together in a room and discuss their points of view in an atmosphere of peace, and with a measure of mutual respect.
COMMUNITY GARDEN WATER FIASCO
The Community Garden consists of 31 plots that are each 15x15 feet square. They take up approximately 7000 square feet of the allotted space at Andy Lee Field.
4,360 gallons of water per week would have provided the Community Garden ample water for its 31 plots. The relative cost of this much water to a District subscriber is $13.50.
Last year, in 2009, the Woodstock District had an average leakage rate of 346,154 gallons per week, approximately 80 times the amount of water that was withheld from the Community Garden group. The relative value of the leaked water was $1073.07 per week.
The water restrictions were in effect for 6 weeks, July 13to August 24. While 26,000 gallons of water were withheld from the Community Garden project, the Town of Woodstock allowed approximately 2,000,000 gallons to be wasted because of leaks in the underground piping system. No one benefited from the 2 million gallons of treated water. It was wasted.
It would seem that the more appropriate option for the Supervisor was to fix the leaks rather than to declare a water emergency for the whole Town and not to target the Community Garden project by completely turning off their water.
THE LIBRARY IS FOR EVERYONE
Thank you for your vote of confidence on September 2, passing the Library budget by more than two to one. It is not an extravagant one, but it will allow the creative, competent librarians and staff to continue looking for more ways to offer something of interest to every resident of Woodstock.
Thank you also for re-electing us to the Board of Trustees. We are excited to continue working with such a dedicated, collegial group who love the library. The elected Board represents the community and we look forward to hearing from you. The Board meets on the third Thursday of every month in the Library starting at 7 p.m. All board meetings are open to the public and there is a standing item on the agenda for public input.
Stuart Auchincloss, Katryna Barber
Woodstock Library Trustees
This weekend gave me a chance to reflect on my home community. My journey began at the Community Center, where I sat, along with my thoughtful neighbors, Maurice Hinchey among them, as we listened to the threat of “Natural” Gas Drilling, (akin to “Beyond Petroleum”) in our area. The presentation showed clearly that the oil and gas industry was extracting every dollar out of the earth and the ocean that We, the People will allow, at the expense of our health as well as the earth’s. When Congressman Hinchey stood up to push his “Frac Act” bill, which has been pending in Congress for quite some time, I took some comfort in knowing that he continues to adamantly fight to protect our precious region, with much passion.
Two days later at the Town Hall, I was taken from my head to my heart as I watched yet another screening of Nathan and Shelly’s “Woodstock Museum” Film Festival. Once again, they donated their treasures with us as a gift to our community. Since the screenings were so long, Shelly was there to make sure that no-one would go hungry or thirsty, while Nathan ran up to introduce each film, and then back to run the projector — for three days straight. The program spanned from first time screenings of young film students, to works of lifetime film-maker’s like Tobe Carey. Then on to tributes to our recently deceased artists like Betty MacDonald and Bettye Cheyne, and included Native American’s historic respect for the land to today’s modern threats of that same land by structures such as “Indian Point.”
Although I wished I could have seen more of their three day compilation of what Woodstock is to the core, I did manage to see Tobe Carey’s Love Is the Reason, where some of our neighbors allowed Tobe to turn the camera on at their last paragraph of life. It was an amazing sharing of deep, brave, yet peaceful methods of facing the end of life — an enlightening teaching experience and I am grateful to Tobe for sharing it with us.
In these troubled times, I wanted to point out how fortunate we are to live in an artists community, where nothing is too hard to face, because artists always open the doors to their hopes, fears and dreams, and they remind us that a community means that we share with each other. Let’s not let the music and arts fade away. Instead, let’s use it to fuel and inspire us to continue to protect was we hold dear.
SLAM JAM CONCERT Saugerties Saving Library, Arts and Music committee (SLAM) would like thank everyone involved in making Saugerties SLAM JAM Twilight Concert at Opus 40 on August 28 a huge success. We raised approximately $15,000 which is double the amount we were hoping for. We had over 500 people attend and we are grateful for those that support us and our efforts.
We are so blessed to have artists of such high caliber that came out and performed for us. In particular we would like to thank the following people who made this event so successful: John Medeski and Chris Wood with Ben Perowsky on drums; David Sancious and Joe Bonadio; Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams with Amy Helm and Byron Isaacs, and a special guest singer Connor Kennedy of Saugerties. They all played wonderfully and we were all captivated by their talents. It is so wonderful, and rare, to be living among such gifted people who are so generous with their time and talents. This event could not have taken place without them.
We were very pleased to have a prelude to the concert from M&M Rock-N-Jazz Ensemble directed by Bernhardt Spirig. The band included Noah Barbaro, Kaleb Friedman, Max Grandstaff, Lily Haig, Nicole Joers, Jacob Johansen, Ava Mateo, Alec Myer, Miles O’Brien, Madison Perri, Dan Sachar, Julian Spirig and Billy Voerg. They are a group of 5th and 6th grade instrumental students from Mt. Marion and Morse elementary schools. The instrumental program has been currently eliminated from our district. It is SLAM’s No. 1 priority to reinstate this program to our school district. These students are proving their dedication by continuing to practice and play at events during the summer.
We were delighted and honored to have Maurice Hinchey speak on behalf of Library, Arts and Music in our schools at our concert.
In June before we even had our first meeting as Saugerties SLAM, we spoke to Pat and Tad Richards the owners of Opus 40 about having a concert to try to raise money for the students of Saugerties and they offered this incredible venue to help our students. Over the years Pat and Tad have held numerous events for the students of Saugerties including art shows. Saugerties SLAM cannot thank you enough for all that you did in running this concert and opening your home so that the artists had a private green room before and during the concert.
We are very grateful to have had the generosity of our Sponsors to cover our costs for the concert and raise money for reinstatement of programs. They are: Opus 40, Radio Woodstock 100.1 WDST, Ins & Outs- Raymond Shillke, Blue Mountain Bistro- To-Go, Kiwanis Club of Saugerties, Music Works, Westwood Metes & Bounds Realty, the Humphrey Family, Ulster Publishing, the law office of John J. Greco, the Averill Family, the Bolitzer Family, Saugerties PBA, Saugerties Town police, Ulster County Sheriff’s Department, Smith’s Hardware, Kosco Oil, Saugerties Central Schools, Positive Feedback LCC., Saugerties Electric Inc., Saugerties Democratic Committee, George W. Redder attorney at Law, Bob Karcy — Arkadia Records, Carol Spirig, Realtor, Hudson Valley Prenatal, H. Renate Crisp, Betty Jorgensen, H.Haller Financial, Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Rag and Bone, Lucky Chocolates, Platte Clove Naturals Granola, Boice’s Farm Stand, Sauer Farm, Boices’s Dairy, Diaz Ambulance, John Keal Music Company, Greg Helsmoortal, Saugerties Inquiring Minds,and Catskill Art and Office Supply.
A special thanks to our 40+ volunteers which included students, parents, grandparents, community members, teachers, a school nurse and the Superintendent of Saugerties Central Schools who emceed the event, for volunteering for the day. You all worked very hard and pulled off a huge task.
The Concert committee worked diligently to create this premiere event for SLAM. It took two and a half months to organize and hours upon hours of work. We had early disappointments and delays and last minute cancellations yet everyone persevered and continued to pull off this day successfully. Our Concert committee included co-chairs Carl Mateo and Carol Spirig, organizers Pat and Tad Richards, Trish Agar, Rich and Diane Brandes, Charles Griffiths, Danette Kadlic, Bob Karcy, Jessica Riozzi, Victor Sachar, Heidi Sorenson, Bernhardt Spirig, Josh Tyler, Kelli Weber and myself. It was a real honor to have worked on this project with you.
Thank you all for helping keep library, arts and music alive in Saugerties Central Schools.
Saugerties SLAM Committee Chair
CAN I GET A WITNESS? To the witness to my car being hit: I parked my orange Honda fit in front of Castaways on Saturday, August 28. When I returned to my car, the sales women from Castaways came running out with a note from a male witness who had seen my front bumper being bashed in by the car parked front of me. Its license plate is STEMTECH.
In order to fix the dents and scratches and not pay for it myself, I need the witness to contact me and make a report on what they saw. The person who owns the other car denies having hit my car. Please email me: email@example.com or call me at work, 339-4673.