Geddy Sveikauskas, publisher of New Paltz Times, you have got to be kidding. “Chin up, Don, the forces of the universe put you on my front pages in a negative light; I’d have been a poor newsman and a poor father if I’d interfered with those forces; but hang in there, pal, I’m with ya.” I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or spit with rage. Since I read your cowardly, clueless rationalization of yourself, I’ve done all three.
This horrifying situation, which you freely admit is gossip and not actually newsworthy beyond your (grossly inaccurate) assessment of the pervasiveness of the gossip, is entirely of your doing. It was you and your editor who took a very routine matter -- the annual internal school-board election -- that was worthy of a paragraph of text at most, and turned it into multiple pages of “School Board Elects President With Pending Drug Charges.” It’s not like you’d been covering developments in the case for two years, or had run stories in the spring of 2009 headlined “Board Replaces Walls with Kerr Despite Pending Charges” or “Public Re-elects Kerr Despite Pending Charges,” or a follow-up in July 2009 on “Board Re-elects Vice President...,” making your recent editorial choice a natural extension of the paper’s ongoing attention to the case.
You didn’t even take enough interest as a news agency in how the case was unfolding to learn from the DA and the judge that they were within 24 hours of formally abandoning the attempt to prosecute Mr. Kerr when you went to press. You simply published extravagantly sensationalist drivel that, by nature of its creation through the outreach of two reporters (too big a story for just one!) to numerous prominent community members, had been driven by you -- nobody but you -- into the gossip mill even before publication. And now you claim the prevalence of the gossip as your excuse to treat it as continuing front-page news that is unrivaled in the amount of total pages it consumes -- rather than putting it inside on the gossip pages, if publishing about gossip is now your policy.
Underscoring the aggressive role of New Paltz Times in manufacturing this story is the decision to print a single letter (so much for the supposedly high level of community chatter on this) attacking Mr. Kerr and the entire school board that is well in excess of twice as long as your letter guidelines permit.
Do not insult this high-functioning community’s intelligence. You published a story that could be called “School Board Elects Witch as President” and now pretend you’re simply covering a popular witchhunt. You even wrote a headline that is unprecedented in journalism -- “...becomes public knowledge.” You’re actually disclaiming that you’re covering the main topic of your story, at the top of the story -- that then runs for three pages, an editorial sidebar, and a 1200-word letter from someone who’d already been extensively quoted in the article.
You are not only a falsifying your role, but doing so in cowardly manner. You own a newspaper. You’re publishing articles. Take ownership of your actions, Mr. Role Model.
And how clueless is your belief that you can assuage your conscience -- and perhaps your sales -- by giving a swell “chin up” to Mr. Kerr. What about all the others you’ve harmed? What about a wife, and a teenaged son who has to go to school and try to learn in the fishbowl you built around him? No need to reach out to them? Collateral damage from the greater good you’re serving?
What about the other six school board members and the superintendent, who have been trying to transact school business amid the chaos you’ve unleashed at our meetings and on our prep time in between -- and over a matter upon which the board is powerless to act; distracting us and taking precious time away from deliberating on matters of grave import that are actually in our purview? You don’t care. I hope the public does. There is nothing actionable. Please let us do the jobs to which you elected us.
Shame on everyone at New Paltz Times for the part they played in unleashing this ugliness upon this community. Special shame on Geddy for trying to weasel his way out of responsibility for his deliberate professional choices.
Y’all came to Gardiner
Y’all came to the Majestic Park on August 28 to support the Gardiner Library at the fourth annual southern BBQ and dessert auction, and for that we would like to say thank you! Special thanks to our hosts, the Sycoffs, and their extended family and friends that made the trip to Gardiner all the way from South Carolina to cook the scrumptious pulled pork smothered in granddaddy’s BBQ sauce and local free-range chickens and all the fixin’s. And, thank you to the Shoe String Band for adding the traditional Appalachian and American folk music to our dining experience.
Many thanks to those of you who baked and donated the delectable desserts that were featured in the auction, as well as to those who purchased the desserts. Thanks to amateur auctioneer Fred Mayo for auctioning off these goodies for a great cause. All told, the BBQ and auction raised over $6000 for the Gardiner Library. Additional thanks to our many volunteers who helped set up, serve, and clean up, including Walden Savings Bank’s Gardiner branch and Alyse Peterle.
President, Gardiner Library Board of Trustees
Count your blessings
May I respectfully suggest that Americans who do not wish to pay taxes, which also means not to experience the wondrous benefits we are so very fortunate to enjoy as Americans, to consider a move to some country where there are no taxes. A good example is Somalia, where there are no taxes because there is no government. Of course, people in Somalia are ruled by constantly warring warlords, but from the screaming we hear about opposition to the existence of government, this might be an ideal solution.
And for those who want their cake and to eat it too, that is, who want the benefits the rest of us are thrilled to have -- and are happy to pay our taxes responsibly as there IS a connection between taxes and benefits -- please keep your hypocrisy to yourselves. It is always amusing, for example, to listen to those super-wealthy who are opposed to government and taxes who also own oceanfront properties, and who are the first to scream for the government to come in and help them when Mother Nature sends a hurricane that rearranges the shoreline. This is but one example, there are countless others....
How blessed we are to live in America!
A word of caution
A recent review of Mohonk Preserve’s governing documents reminded me of an adage I was raised with: “It’s up to you to read the fine print.” I wonder how many people are under the impression that real property acquired by the preserve must remain undeveloped? I found that’s just not true.
According to its certificate of incorporation the preserve may acquire real property “and use such property and the net earnings thereof, including the proceeds of the sale thereof in such manner as the trustees of the corporation shall deem appropriate to carry out one or more of their purposes except that the trustees shall not sell real property where the donor shall have provided by appropriate deed or other recordable restriction that the same shall not be sold.” So if you intend to gift or sell land to the preserve and don’t want it developed or sold, you must carefully spell that out in the documents of transfer, and just to be on the safe side have Mohonk Preserve representatives sign them, too.
Susan Boice Wick
Support for Tantillo
Fawn Tantillo is uniquely qualified to be the next Ulster County comptroller. As a county legislator, Tantillo earned a reputation for doing her homework. Fawn repeatedly stood up to leadership when she thought they were wrong, yet she could create partnership and support for important issues she believed it.
When the planners of a wildlife festival asked the legislature for thousands of taxpayers’ dollars, Fawn was the only legislator to vote no. When Fawn discovered New York City’s DEP was storing barrels of dangerous dioxin in a shed on the banks of a fragile watershed stream claiming it was “too expensive to remove,” she met with DEP lawyers and convinced them to properly dispose of it. Fawn was a key workforce leader in the application for a $1.1-million healthcare grant that resulted in more training for nurses.
Fawn faced threats and political retribution to expose the illegal transfer of county funds by Rick Fritschler to the Lower Esopus River Watch. Fawn uncovered Fritschler’s past criminal convictions and kept up the pressure at her own peril because “it was the right thing to do.”
Fawn pulled together experts from the public and private sector to create a team of people that successfully attracted international businesses like Delux Paper, in Saugerties. This team also kept other business and jobs from leaving Ulster County.
Fawn served on the committees that created Ulster County E911, the Ulster County Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) Unit, the Ulster County Family Violence Investigative Unit, and the Victims Information Notification Program (VINE). These were the first programs of their kind in the region.
Fawn Tantillo has proven herself as an independent leader we can trust to be our next Ulster County comptroller.
Playing with fire protection
In the public hearing held this past Monday regarding the proposal to establish a fire district, a number of people who spoke expressed concern regarding the fire department’s restricted spending. At the very end of the hearing town board member Kitty Brown summed these concerns up well when she asked, ”If the money is sitting in an account, why can’t they spend it?”
The fact is that money which was allocated for fire department operating expenses is sitting inaccessibly in a municipal account and is being denied to the fire department. It is being held back by the town.
For decades, the town and village have effectively split the cost of fire protection roughly 50/50, give or take about 5%. Recognizing the importance of reliable fire protection and in respect for the work of our volunteers, previous supervisors were prompt in taking care of their responsibility for the financial needs of the fire department.
Supervisor [Toni] Hokanson changed that. For example, in FY 2004-05 supervisor [Don] Wilen paid the town’s share on May 27, 2004. In FY 2005-06 he paid the town’s share on June 16, 2005. In FY 2006-07, her first year in office, supervisor Hokanson paid the town’s share on June 1, 2006.
That was the last on-time payment. In FY 2007-08 supervisor Hokanson paid the town’s share on March 3, 2008. In FY 2008-09 the supervisor paid the town’s share on Feb. 24, 2009 27. In FY 2009-10 she paid the town’s share on Feb. 11, 2010. And now, almost four months into FY2010-11, the supervisor has not made the town’s payment yet.
Unlike every supervisor before her, supervisor Hokanson has made the decision to use the fire department, an essential public-safety organization, as a political football, with devastating results for department morale. When the town arbitrarily withholds half of the department’s operating funds, with no reasonable expectation of when payment will be made, the village is left in the position of having to restrict the department’s spending so that they don’t run out of money mid-year. We cannot tax village residents extra to cover a temporary budget deficit created by the town’s arbitrary decision to delay paying their share for this service. We can not expect village residents to underwrite the town’s fire protection in order to compensate for the town’s capricious financial irresponsibility.
The supervisor may say that since there is not a signed contract the town doesn’t have to pay. The fact is that even without a current contract, the town is still currently receiving village fire protection. It is fundamental ethics that if you use a service your should pay for it, especially when you are talking about funding of an essential emergency service. Fire protection is too important to be played with this way.
So why does supervisor Hokanson play politics with the fire department and arbitrarily refuse to pay for a service that the town is currently receiving and benefiting from? You may as well also ask why supervisor Hokanson, the highest-paid supervisor in Ulster County, is the only supervisor who regularly submits an illegal town budget in violation of NYS Town Law §198. Why does our town government have such a paucity of ethical understanding? How is it that the supervisor never learned two of life’s very important lessons: do the right thing, and be nice?
Mayor, Village of New Paltz
The Huguenot Street CSA land is for sale for $1.5 million. What can we learn from this?
What business is that of anyone else, you might ask? Surely the farmers who own it are entitled to make as much hay as they can out of their private land, right? Well, it is probably a little more complicated than that.
That land has a conservation easement on it, purchased by the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, with private-donor dollars and taxpayer dollars. This makes the future of that farmland a topic of public conversation. How well our public policy and dollars protect farmland as working farms (or just as “open space”) is a matter of public interest, and matters to more than just the buyers and sellers of a protected property. $1.5 million is way beyond that land’s “agricultural carrying capacity,” so it is unlikely that working farmers could ever pay for that and make a living.
So the likely buyer is an estate owner, who may or may not hobby-farm. Who does this benefit the most? Does it benefit the community of eaters in New Paltz that thought they were protecting a CSA for their families’ future food-security when they wrote checks to WVLT to preserve that land?
If we carefully access the work of large and small non-profit conservation-land-trust organizations like WVLT in the downstate region, they have had limited success in creating opportunities for new farmers. While they have been effective at working with estate buyers to preserve open space, they have been much less effective working with farmers who usually cannot benefit from the large income-tax deductions that is the heart of their conservation strategy. In this regard, unfortunately, the work of these organizations has only exacerbated the land rush on Hudson Valley farmland by estate buyers, who typically do not grow food, and have further driven the price of farmland out of reach of new farmers.
While this may not be a direct subsidy from the state government budget, it is a subsidy from taxpayers nonetheless, and taxpayers have a stake in the public benefit these subsidy dollars achieve. Open space is a public benefit, but open space that provides food is a greater and more equitable public benefit!
Massachusetts, Vermont, and most recently Connecticut all have statewide programs that preserve farmland from development and ensure that it remain affordable to new farmers and actually remain in productive farming. New York’s PDR (Purchase of Development Rights) program was specifically designed to exclude and any such restrictions that ensure the protected farmland transition to a new farmer. This means that state taxpayers are not getting their dollars worth if they want to protect their foodshed as much as their viewshed.
We can do better. Hopefully this will be an opportunity for the people of New Paltz, and the supporters of Wallkill Valley Land Trust to educate themselves on these issues and make the appropriate changes to their practices to assure protected farms stay farms!
Hudson Valley Community and Agricultural Land Trust
The sources of prejudice
I am a volunteer member of the One Book One New Paltz Committee. The committee believes that good things result from a community-wide reading program. For each of the last six years, with community input, we have selected and encouraged everyone to read the One Book.
We then have planned and organized various activities focused on that book. The success of our efforts to foster community through this shared reading and conversation experience has encouraged us to continue the One Book One New Paltz program.
In Zeitoun, this year’s One Book, author Dave Eggers gives voice to the first-hand account of one man’s experience in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005. Syrian-born Abdulrahman Zeitoun decides to stay in his home city while his wife Kathy and their children flee the approaching storm. Zeitoun wants to protect the life that he and his family have built for themselves.
After the levees break, he uses a small, second-hand canoe to explore the surrounding damage. He quickly begins helping trapped people and caring for abandoned pets. However, before long, Zeitoun finds himself a victim of injustices fueled by the fear, confusion and chaos that often characterize national crises. Eggers relies on the personal narrative to address human-rights concerns; this book is one in the Voice of Witness series.
Zeitoun raises many questions for discussion, including: What are some sources of prejudice and discrimination? Why do crises repeatedly lead to restrictions of civil liberties and rights? Why do some groups frequently suffer such injustices more than others? What role did ethnicity and class play in the political response to the Katrina disaster? What is the role and responsibility of the federal government when such disasters occur? Are there drawbacks to relying on personal narratives as a source of information? What is the value of giving voice to those who have experienced such injustices? What can be done to prevent similar violations of human rights in the future?
The questions are intriguing and endless.
We invite you to read the book and take advantage of the opportunities to share your thoughts and learn those of your neighbors during One Book week, November 12 through November 20. Book discussions, panel presentations and a film showing are among the many events being planned by the committee. Please mark your calendar.
Enrich the life of our community by participating in One Book One New Paltz 2010. Borrow the book from Elting Library or purchase it at a bookstore on campus or in the community. Visit http://onebookonenewpaltz.org for additional information.
Biggest hole in the universe
I fear there is a rift in our universe. Alternate universes are seeping in, and that’s why everything is so screwy in New York State.
Why are people on Medicare jumping up and down screaming for an end to “federal interference” and “socialism” which if they won their point would mean they’d have to forego their hip replacements?
I get it! It’s not politics at all.
They need a good excuse to get out of their yearly colonoscopy. Protesting against “socialism” sounds so much more dignified than, “You’re putting that thing with the little light bulb where!?”
Why, asks a farmer I know, do some farmers in religious communities have religious tax-exempt farms and cows that compete with his beef in the marketplace so he who takes up their share of property taxes can’t make a profit?. Does that mean there really is such a thing as a holy cow? Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.
Why do politicians tout something called tax-levy caps which in practice don’t reduce individual taxes by a penny, don’t prevent waste, and don’t make the state government accountable for what it spends? Does anyone in Albany remember that caps largely created so much trouble in California that it’s now worse off than New York State? Really!
Oh, right. Albany is the location of the biggest hole in the universe.
Don’t tell me at least half the state assembly and two-thirds of the state senate aren’t planetary aliens concealing forked tails in their boxers and panties.
Oh lord, spare me the visual!
Arizona doesn’t have the biggest concentration of aliens crossing its border, Albany does, coming across a galactic rift which gets bigger under cover of elections.
These aliens just won’t learn English. They talk politico-speak, a dialect of Klingon in which every word is a lie, including “and” and “the.”
They don’t even pick crops and pay their way. They’re from another universe and got kicked out because there were too many idlers with too few morals and even fewer skills. They have colonized the legislative office building and the capitol building.
To hell with elections! Maybe we can just extradite them to a planet far, far away.
On behalf of HudsonValleyParents.com, we would like to thank the many individuals, families, and local businesses who contributed their time, talents and gifts to our recent HVP Fall Fest. Proceeds from this event supported A Horse Connection, an equine assisted-therapy organization based in Rhinebeck (AHorseConnection.com). They serve pediatric, adult and elderly populations with a variety of diagnoses and special needs.
Thank you to the following volunteers and donors who made our gathering such a success: Abby’s Pet Service; Acupuncture and Natural Medicine of Rosendale; Barefoot Dance Center; Be Your Best Mom; Body Mind Massage Therapy; Brave Harvest Holistic Healing Arts; Brigid’s Well; Callie’s Dog Treats; CD Doula Services; Circle of Friends; Donna Bruschi; Luca Catalano; D’s Tees; Danielle Pecoraro Photography; Dog On Fleas; Dragonfly Holistic; Enchanted Toys; EveL’s Sweets; Farmlot Design; Dr. Lisa Fields-Jacobson; Frayda Kafka Hypnosis; The FUN-E Farm; Fuzzy Lollipop; Mavis Gewant; Gnorasaurus; Gustafer Yellowgold; Half Moon Books; HiHo Home Market; Jai Ma Yoga; Jennyfleur; Jeune Girl Crafts; Johanna Herget Acupuncture; Karma Road; Betsy Kraat; Liberty View Farm; Life In The Sass Lane; The Little Gym of Kingston; Little Ones; Little Explorers; The Living Seed; Lowe’s; Lyla’s Lovelies; Mohonk Preserve; Music Together; Natural Eye Care; Pilates of New Paltz; Rosendale Theatre; Olga & Sal Salerno; Scotch Hands Butter Co.; Ruby Sgueglia; Shawangunk Ridge Farm; The Nora & Rob Snyder Family; Surprise Photography; Katrina Thies; A Thousand Words; Ultimate Gymnastics; The Village Tearoom; Waddle n Swaddle; Whole Family Medicine; and Wyld Acres.
We are grateful for your generosity.
Erica & Michael Chase-Salerno
No clear direction
The Gardiner Town Board has twice opted to ignore public sentiment about serious matters.
The community voted to issue bonds to match funds for preservation of open space such as the Kiernan farm. Councilwoman Nadine Lemmon recognized that the wording of the board resolution contained no commitment to fund the project. Thank you, Nadine, for catching the omission and keeping the board honest.
The town board neglected to have a public hearing on how to dispose of the old library building. They were moving to donate the building to the fire department for a fire museum. Everyone appreciates the work of the firemen. Making the derelict building into a fire museum to honor them deprives the town of revenue from the sale of the building, takes the property off the tax rolls, and presumes that the operation of the museum will be at no cost to the taxpayers.
Again, Nadine came to the rescue by bringing the matter to public view. According to the Gardiner Gazette survey, the majority of responders did not want the old library building converted into a fire museum. The omission of a public hearing on so serious a matter is a slight of hand which needed to be uncovered.
We should consider the two events together. On the one hand the board claims no money in these hard times to match a huge grant to preserve open space. On the other hand, there is money enough to give away a building valued at $140,000, thereby removing it from the tax rolls. This looks like a board without clear direction and a preference for governing outside public scrutiny.
Whose side are you on? A national “Fight Washington Corruption” campaign has garnered the support of almost 200 candidates and members of Congress. Thank you to senator [Kristen] Gillibrand and representative [Maurice] Hinchey for being among the first to sign the MoveOn pledge that has three planks to restore democracy to the people.
The planks are: 1. Overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that will allow corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to defeat or elect candidates of their choosing. 2. Pass the Fair Elections Now Act so that candidates will be answerable to the people instead of big corporate interests. 3. Pass lobbying reform so that Congress works for us, the other 98%” not represented by lobbyists!
Now it is time to ask senator [Charles] Schumer whose side is he on, the corporate and moneyed elite or hard-working American families? Call his office 202-224- 6542 and ask him to sign the MoveOn pledge today.
New Paltz Women in Black
Learn more about Mormons
I wanted to comment on the letter published last week where the author criticized Glenn Beck and his recently organized rally in Washington, DC.
Firstly, I would like to agree with the author’s premise that the Constitution was designed to limit the government’s ability to establish a government-sponsored religion. Secondly, I would agree that it may have been poor judgment to have the rally where and when Mr Beck did, but I do defend his right to do so as the Constitution allows for the freedom of speech and assembly.
Where I disagreed with the author is how she presented the beliefs of Glenn Beck and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [LDS]. I found it amazing that a person who was pushing a United We Stand message would so scoffingly and inadequately present the beliefs of millions of LDS Americans.
The author also appeared to put forward a message that perhaps Mr. Beck was part of a plot to infuse Mormonism into the government. While this was probably the writer using pure rhetoric to sensationalize the message, this rhetoric is very far from the truth. LDS members are not so monolithic as one may think. For example, Mitt Romney, Harry Reid and the aforementioned Glenn Beck, to name a few Mormons on the political scene, all have varying political views.
The other message that seemed to be promulgated was the idea that perhaps Mr. Beck’s religious beliefs made his ideas and message without merit. Very little was put forth in the critique of what he actually said. Ideas should be debated on their merit not discounted because of the presenter’s religious beliefs. For those Mormons who serve in our communities, serve our country and for those who have lost their lives defending this great country, does their religious beliefs diminish their contributions or any ideas they may have?
I would like to suggest that the writer employ a different strategy in trying to understand those of other faiths. First, dialogue with members of the faith you are researching. Who better to explain a faith than its adherents? Dialogue also increases understanding and helps surface religious commonalities and points to be clarified, uniting people. For example, one would find in researching the LDS Church, while there are naturally differences with other faiths, it does share many of the same beliefs as other Christian faiths, such as believing in the divinity of Christ. We are to follow his teachings, we are all children of God, and many others. I would encourage the writer to follow an example like that of the reverend Al Sharpton who a few years ago misspoke about the beliefs of the LDS church. After he misspoke, he was invited to visit LDS headquarters and meet members of the LDS faith. To his credit, he accepted the offer and I understand the experience was beneficial for both parties.
While a trip out West to LDS headquarters may not be reasonable, I would like to invite the author or anyone to attend the LDS Church in New Paltz. As the sign says out front, Visitors Welcome. We meet each Sunday at 10 a.m. off Route 32 just south of the college. One can also find out more about our beliefs on the Internet at www.lds.org or speaking to an LDS friend.
Better yet, perhaps one could do like Glenn Beck did over ten years ago before he joined the LDS Church, invite the young LDS missionaries over to challenge their beliefs. Just be aware of the possible outcome. It could be the same as Mr. Beck’s!
More good Tastes
The twentieth annual Taste of New Paltz, held on Sunday, September 12 at the Ulster County Fairgrounds, was once again a resounding success. The threat of rain turned out to be just that and the chilly weather was just right for tasting. Thousands of attendees from across the Hudson Valley and beyond joined scores of intrepid volunteers and more than 100 vendors to celebrate the Taste’s twentieth anniversary.
We are so proud that, for 20 years, the Taste of New Paltz has raised the visibility and improved the quality of life in our beautiful region. As our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Taste is vital to our mission to promote business, tourism, education and community projects in the Hudson Valley.
The Taste of New Paltz committee, made up of local business owners, community members and chamber staff, worked hard this year on each aspect of this historic 20th anniversary event: restaurants, farm markets and wineries, kids’ expo, antiques expo, the artistic taste, business expo, country store, wellness and recreation expo, and crafts expo. More than 150 community volunteers did all they could to make the Taste a lasting and enjoyable experience. There were exciting new restaurants to try alongside delicious old favorites, and fantastic live music to round out a full day of tasting, shopping and fun.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to all the participating businesses and volunteers who worked so hard to make this year’s Taste a success. We are also especially grateful to the proud sponsors of the 20th annual Taste of New Paltz: Kempner Corporation and Water Street Market, M&T Bank, Hampton Inn, Cumulus Broadcasting, Chronogram Magazine, Hudson Valley Magazine, Roll Magazine, Schein Media, Ulster Publishing, and CDPHP. Taste of New Paltz is sustained by volunteers and sponsors; if you would like to volunteer or for more information about sponsorship opportunities for next year’s Taste, please call 255-0243 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are deeply gratified by the outpouring of support from the community and all our visitors, and we look forward a successful 21st annual event, on Sunday, September 18, 2010!
Taste of New Paltz Chair
36 Main Restaurant and Wine Bar
Joyce M. Minard
New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce
Thanks for the help
I want to thank the emergency services from Gardiner who on September 11 came to the immediate rescue of my husband Joel, who had become dizzy and took a spill from a ladder while filming the wonderful horse show presented by Majestic View Farms. All present were so helpful and efficient. A rider of one of the horses vaulted the fence to come to his aid. Another EMS person drove me to the Vassar Brothers Medical Center to meet the ambulance at the emergency area.
There were many others who helped me pack our equipment up in our vehicle. I just want you to all know how very thankful we are to you.
Thank you for doing what you do. If we can help in any way, please just ask.
I support the firefighters
The public must be allowed to vote whether they want to create a fire district for the town and village of New Paltz. My fear is that those who are interested in seeing the creation of a fire district fail, will accomplish this simply by preventing it from going to a town- and village-wide vote. This is undemocratic, corrupt politics.
Whether people are for or against, they must be given a chance to vote on it directly. It is always in the public interest to vote directly on an important matter.
We are very lucky, in such a large municipality including a college, to have a volunteer fire department. Many municipalities half the size of New Paltz do not have volunteer fire departments.
If the fire department at any point had a serious lack of volunteers, like several other elements of our government, as has been expressed by current New Paltz elected officials, and our fire department had to be paid a fair salary plus benefits, we would seriously be in a dire financial situation. We should appreciate what we have and that the demands of our fire department and their requests for a fire district are fair and reasonable.
The fire department is operating under constraining conditions. The most obvious examples is their lack of a full-time staff person to support their efforts.
I do not believe that the added costs that would accompany the creation of a fire district are exponential. I make less than $15,000 a year, and with hefty student loans, rent, phone bill and living costs I am on a tight budget with no sign of the economy improving. I am not afraid of paying more. The benefits of having a fire district far outweigh the costs.
People who are truly concerned about the spending of the fire department spiraling out of control will come out and vote to ensure the election of responsible commissioners whose priorities would include safety issues and fiscal responsibility. I am confident that the firefighters, who have already on numerous occasions demonstrated community involvement, will engage the community and urge all residents of the town and village to come out and vote in December.
I think that a fire commission will more effectively and efficiently manage the fire department so it may meet the ever-growing needs of this constantly expanding community. Times have changed greatly since the fire department was established, and we must update the system under which it operates.
I have faith that the fire department will be reasonable in their requests, as they have always been. When they begin asking for diamond-studded fire hoses then we should become concerned about extravagant equipment. These are volunteers whose only benefit from their work is the satisfaction of a job well done and the appreciation of those that they have helped and kept safe. I don’t see people with this motivation making unreasonable demands and burdening the taxpayers unnecessarily.
The other emergency services in this community operate under commissions as well, and so should the fire department. Whenever the public at large has direct input on a matter as opposed to a small group of elected officials, it is a good thing.
I discourage the idea of putting this to a committee first. For some things that are not urgent, having a committee work on them first is appropriate. However, in this case it would only delay, perhaps indefinitely, important changes.
There is a growing demand on our fire department. Officers must focus energy on administrative issues instead of being able to concentrate on firemanic issues such as safety, equipment maintenance, training of volunteers etc. The poor village is not equipped with the training to properly manage the fire department. They should be able to focus their energies on other pressing village issues.
I believe that our town and village residents are perfectly capable of making this decision for themselves. Whether the majority are against it or for it, our community deserves the opportunity to decide for ourselves.
Change to believe in
The [Ulster County] charter is working! The change we voted for in Ulster County is occurring and I would encourage the county’s leadership to welcome it.
Did anyone really think that a comptroller of any stripe would audit county functions and simply write reports that glorify the status quo? In fact, comptroller Elliott Auerbach’s report on the UCRRA has already initiated change as documented in the legislative calls for (1) revising the contract between the county and the RRA and (2) moving the RRA toward self-sufficiency. Now that is change we can believe in, and it would not have happened but for comptroller Elliott Auerbach’s professional evaluation and report.
An issue with traction
I am horrified that my representatives in the Ulster County Legislature are hate-mongering bigots (I use worse and more descriptive language in private). They are introducing a resolution opposing the Ground Zero mosque (resolution 233). Legislators Roberts and co-sponsors Harris, Hayes, Ronk, Sweeney and Terrizzi, would you please look at the facts?
This is an Islamic community center, not a mosque. It is not at Ground Zero, but several blocks away in lower Manhattan.
Most religious leaders of all faiths supports it, and the imam who is building it is doing so to promote moderate Islam as a counterbalance to the radicalization in many places around the world.
Even if it were a mosque, have you ever heard of religious tolerance? That is what this country is supposed to have been founded on.
You Republicans are quick to call upon the founding fathers when it suits your needs. Thomas Jefferson owned a personal copy of the Koran.
In fact, Keith Ellison, a Muslim, was sworn in to Congress with his hand on that very Koran. Do you suggest we throw him out of Congress because he is not Christian?
How about Joseph Lieberman: Jewish, out! Mitt Romney, Mormon, forget it!
In 1960 JFK faced fierce resistance because he was Catholic. How soon we forget!
This county was founded on the very principles that your memorializing resolution would trample upon.
The real issue here is that after two decades of running this country into the ground you conservatives have nothing real of substance to talk about, so you think that you have found an issue that has traction with this “mosque.”
You should be ashamed of yourselves! You are taking your marching orders from the national Republican “leadership.” Spewing hate and fear, to distract attention from the real issues that can make a positive difference.
By the way, across the street a strip club and a porn shop has opened up. Are you in favor of them?
I see no resolution against them being too close to hallowed ground, so all I can only assume that you are in favor of pasties and pornography.
One thing I am sure of. Your resolution is most certainly obscene.