Letters to the Editor – 10/27 to 11/2

Support United Way

The economy hasn’t rebounded as we hoped, but those of us with jobs, and health insurance, and a roof over our heads; those of us with kids in our families who are healthy and thriving; those of us with support systems we can count on — we are blessed.

There are many in our community who don’t have these things. They’ve recently lost a job, or foreclosed on a house. There are those who have no health insurance, or experienced a traumatic illness (or, in the worst case, both). There are children born into families that don’t nurture them, or care for them properly. And those challenged with serious disabilities continue to persevere in a world that is not always accommodating.

When considering these facts, our perspective changes, doesn’t it? We realize that we are, in fact, very lucky. We have the resources we need to live comfortably, and the ability to help others who don’t. This is a tremendous gift.


I’m hoping that all Ulster County residents will consider sharing their gift by contributing to the Ulster County United Way during our 2011 fund drive. Even $1 a week will make a difference. If every one in Ulster County gave $1/week we’d raise $7,500,000 to provide help to those in need. Every individual donation you make to the Ulster United Way stays in Ulster County. And with only three staff people, our administrative costs are minimal. People can donate on-line at our website, through payroll deduction at their place of work, or by sending a check.

We believe it is the right of every individual to ask for help, and to have it granted by compassionate, knowledgeable people. This mission is what drives us to ask those we know, and those we don’t to join us.

Please, do what you can. Thank you.

Stacey Rein, President, United Way of Ulster County



With a frown

The way justice is served in this town is like a waiter bringing you your dinner without any utensils.

Howard Harris



Olive Comp Plan Valuable And Sensible

In Mitchell Langbert’s letter in the October 13 Woodstock Times, I found a mixture of fact and fantasy and thought that I would add a different view point. In the first paragraph he made some good points in my opinion, but after that I believe that much of what he said is from a different universe than I live in. I have read the draft [i.e. not yet complete] comprehensive plan line by line and find it a valuable and sensible document that, while some errors need correcting and some sentences need a competent editor, makes a good basis for a long range plan.

Langbert is dead wrong that its development was ‘minimally’ advertised. Apparently he was asleep or otherwise occupied but it is good that he is now awake and speaking up.  He is also wrong that ‘conservation easements’ [CE’s] are ‘tax concessions.’ CE’s are voluntarily given by land holders for their own purposes and have no direct effect on taxation. As a matter of fact, land preserved in its rural state is often increased in its taxable value. I hope Langbert is not proposing that these land holders be prohibited from donating CE’s on their own property! Perhaps Langbert is confusing CE’s with the purchase of land by tax exempt organizations [which are not mentioned in the comp plan] which do receive ‘tax concessions,’ but which are granted by the state, not by local governments. He is wrong again about the plan ‘suppressing’ local home building. In fact it proposes ways to increase the possibility of work for local construction workers via the idea of cluster housing modifications to the zoning regulations which would have the effect of making housing more affordable for those who chose this course which is now not allowed.

While Langbert has an interesting point about the somewhat strange statement made by the board members that they are putting this plan together with little interest in actually implementing it, it does have a very good purpose for Olive’s finances which will be a great help to us as taxpayers, as the board clearly stated in the meetings Langbert attended. Perhaps he again went to sleep during the last half of their statement. And, while life does go through changes on a regular basis, I saw nothing in the plan that would be more of a financial burden on ‘the elderly’ (a group of which I am most definitely a member) than not having this plan in place which would allow Olive to apply for a host of grants and programs which would help to hold our tax increases within reasonable bounds.

Finally, Langbert’s choice of huffy and inflammatory language does nothing to assist in a thoughtful and respectful dialogue in Olive over our future. The draft comprehensive plan clearly states its over all purpose which is to keep Olive a primarily rural place with a quality of life which has attracted us all here. Please Mr. Langbert, help us all to have a focused and respectful community discussion.

Jac Conaway



Sell Golden Hill To Keep It Open

I applaud County Executive Mike Hein’s compassionate plan to keep Golden Hill open by selling it. Counties all over NYS have closed their nursing homes, because the truth is, counties can no longer afford to operate them. Dutchess County closed its years ago and Orange County is closing its nursing home this year. If Golden Hill closes, the residents will be displaced and the staff will be out of work. By selling Golden Hill, residents can stay in their home and Golden Hill’s employees can find jobs with the new owner.

Gil Lobell

New Paltz


For more letters, see print edition.

There are 2 comments

  1. Mitchell Langbert

    Jac Conaway, not I, distort facts about the unpopular Olive plan. The level of the plan’s initial publicity was discussed extensively at the August 8 meeting. Like Mr. Conaway, the Town Board claimed that it had publicized the initial planning meetings. At the meeting, a number of people in the audience argued vigorously that the plan’s publicity had been minimal. In fact, the house was packed on August 8 because several Democrats (the Republicans were remiss on this) had handed out a handbill telling people that the Town Board had executed the plan and hadn’t publicized the extreme proposals in the plan, such as new road construction, sidewalks, a new community center, and proposals that homeowners build riparian buggers that can cripple Olive economically given its small population and rural character.

    On August 8, like Mr. Conaway, the Town board claimed that it had publicized the plan. Someone stood up and asked the audience; “How many in this (standing-room only) audience knew about the plan when it was being discussed initially?” About eight or nine in the audience of 150 raised their hands. Then he asked, “How many didn’t know about it?” Virtually everyone raised his hand.

    Playing fast and loose with the truth is nothing new for this Town Board, which in a recent meeting did a 180 on its repeated claim that special reserve funds can’t be terminated. When presented with a few facts readily available on the Internet, Messrs. Lamonda, Leifeld, and Rank stated that they had claimed all along that the Special Reserve Funds could be terminated.

    Olive had double digit tax increases last year. This year, the Town Board wanted to annul Governor Cuomo’s tax cap. Again, a standing-rooom-only crowd came to say “No.” The Olive Town plan will exponentially increase tax levels in Olive.

  2. Luther Blissett

    Mr. Conaway says that Berndt Liefeld’s and Bruce Lamonda’s statements that they intend to use the plan to obtain funds but not to implement it is “a little strange.” Mr. Conaway has no trouble with Leifeld’s and Lamonda’s committing fraud; he just finds fraud a little strange. Perhaps Mr. Conaway needs to refurbish his moral compass. I guess hanging around Liefeld and Lamonda is enough to make anyone comfortable with fraud.

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