Saugerties Times letters (11/24-30)

Prevent increased oil barges on the Hudson

The commercial maritime industry has requested the Coast Guard to approve 43 new anchorages at 10 locations along the Hudson River. Right now there are two legitimate anchorages. The new sites would be from the Kingston Flats south to Yonkers. The Coast Guard has indicated that it will consider comments on additional sites where anchorage may be helpful, and alterations to proposed sites. While Saugerties is currently not one of the planned sites, things can change.

An anchorage site off of the banks of Saugerties would be detrimental in many ways. First and foremost, would be the threat to public health and safety from potential oil spills and explosions. There would be a negative impact on both waterfront and town wide tourism, economic development and revitalization along the Hudson, and the Lower Esopus Creek. There is also an obvious effect on residents living in the area.

Saugerties is fortunate to have a wonderful lighthouse B & B, waterfront parks in Malden and Glasco and the Falling Waters and Esopus Bend Nature Preserves. In addition there is an exciting project in the works to develop Bristol Beach which lies between Malden and Eve’s Point. All of these sites would be effected by an anchorage in Saugerties. Even if Saugerties is not a proposed site, the increase in vessels carrying crude oil on the river would bring additional risks.

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The Coast Guard is giving the public an opportunity to comment on these additional anchorages. The deadline is December 6, 2016. It is imperative that our Town government, residents and businesses be on record regarding this proposal. Additional information is available at Riverkeeper and Catskill Mountain Keeper websites.

Please tell the Coast Guard why these anchorages present unacceptable risk and why they should reject the proposal. Your comment can be made at https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=USCG-2016-0132-0001.

Mike Harkavy
Saugerties

 

Need less expensive town government

There’s an old saying which describes my problem with this year’s tax cap-piercing budget process in Saugerties: “integrity is doing the right thing even when no one’s looking.”

It was assumed that because people weren’t complaining, the Town Board was absolved from reducing spending. It’s not that people don’t care — they’re stressed out working multiple jobs to pay their bills and they don’t have the time to comprehend a 175-page budget document!

I’ve heard the increase “isn’t a big deal” because most will pay just “a little more” in taxes — but these increases add up over time. My property taxes for Town Board controlled spending will have increased by about $400 over the past decade with an average annual increase higher than the rate of inflation, higher than the growth in salaries and higher than the growth in local property values. Given the amount of property taxes we all pay, we’re at the point where every increase hurts!

I follow the Town Board closely and have been critical its spending decisions (www.saugertiesgoogoo.blogspot.com). Excuse after excuse is offered to explain away increase after increase. However, Saugerties is at a crossroads. Town Board spending can’t continue at its current pace without adding even more to our already crushing property tax burden. The status quo is unacceptable. We need leaders willing to think differently!

I urge the Board to seek a grant to examine restructuring our town government to make it cheaper and more efficient while protecting vital services. Saugerties is a wonderful community, but without serious change, our future is at risk.

Joe Roberti, Jr.
Saugerties

 

Decency and American values

Having read the article in last week’s Saugerties Times about the harassment of Hispanic students in the Saugerties Central School District, I want to call on all Republicans who voted for Donald Trump to explain to their children why they did so, and that they did not do it to encourage their children to abuse other children.
I ask them to remind their children that they are the descendants of immigrants. Remind them that the only original, native Americans were brown-skinned people who trekked here from Asia. All the rest of us are the descendants of immigrants, either voluntary or enslaved, and many of our ancestors were greeted with distrust and insult when they first arrived. No single immigrant group can claim America. None of us is a realer American than any other.
I applaud District Superintendent Seth Turner for saying his district will not tolerate bullying, on any basis. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his strong statement of support for immigrants and other minorities under attack.
Now it is time for our Republican leaders, who gained the trust of so many millions of voters, to make clear that they know they represent all the people of this State. With their renewed majority status comes a major new responsibility to talk up for decency and basic American values.

Naomi Rothberg
Saugerties

 

Wear a pin

It’s our “first 100 days” also, and we make the rules for our town and schools.

Here’s what nobody voted for, and nobody will give a chance or wait to see: fear, intolerance or exclusion of our neighbors and their children.

Folks have started wearing safety pins, a symbol of personal responsibility. A little pin

cannot stop bigotry but it can stop the silence.

I wear a safety pin to say “I’m sticking around and I will speak up, I’m a witness and not just a bystander.”

Joan Reinmuth
Saugerties

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