Letters to the editor (Dec. 15-22)

Facts about Glasco subsidized housing project

This letter is in response to “Promise Kept” submitted by Joe Roberti Jr. last week. Once again I am not surprised by the lack of knowledge regarding the housing project at Dickerson’s Keep. If the New York State approves the tax credits for this project and if the Planning Board approves the site plan, the project will move forward.

The town will have nothing to do with either decision.

If the project is approved, then the PILOT that was negotiated by Councilman Bruno and Councilman Costello would go into effect. Keep in mind that under this PILOT agreement, the town would receive more than double the tax revenue than the developer would be eligible for under the 581A State Law. That’s right. I said more than double, along with a 3 percent increase each and every year. Joe, you don’t seem to grasp this concept!

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Here’s another one. Seth Turner, our superintendent of schools told me that the children attending school as a result of this project could and he stressed could, meaning possibly assimilate into our school district and have a negligible effect on the budget. The idea of putting the fear of God in our senior population that they might lose their houses if this project goes through is just wrong and you know it. You were just handed a big political football and you ran with it.

I had a meeting with Kelly Myers this week, and the letter that she sent to the state was as a private citizen, mostly because she has not been sworn into office as of yet. She also realizes that once she is sworn in, trying to officially stand in the way of this project would expose the town to a very big lawsuit, just like the one from 13 years ago that we settled last year with Bonded Concrete. That was the $512,000 BAN that she was inferring we tried to sneak into the back of the budget for 2012. This law suit was a result of standing in the way of a project that the Supreme Court ruled followed our own zoning law. So Joe, whether you are for or against the Dickerson’s Keep project, it something that is going to have to work its way through two approval processes, one by the Planning Board, the other by New York State, neither of which the Town Board does have or should have any influence on.

Bruce Leighton

Saugerties Town Board
What Occupy Saugerties is about

Thank you for a truly great article covering the Inaugural Assembly of Occupy Saugerties. We have been organizing since early October when some of us visited Occupy Wall Street in NYC and participated in the Zombie March down Wall Street. Our first occupy action in Saugerties was a demonstration in front of Bank of America on Oct. 8 which the Times covered the following week.

We are proud to state that we are active in the infancy stages of the Occupy Movement. We have not yet thought it necessary to establish an encampment on any of Saugerties great parks, and quite frankly not enough Saugertiesians have joined our active ranks to make such an undertaking practical. We do support all the encampments across the world, including the one in Poughkeepsie, which helped to spawn this absolutely necessary and overdue movement. We currently work closely with Occupy Kingston and Occupy Woodstock.

But in regard to the article of two weeks ago in this paper, I would like to explain a couple of OCCUPY values that we support and follow based on the Zuccotti(Liberty) Park Assembly model. First of all we like to consider ourselves a leaderless movement. To explain I would ask you to reflect on recent actions of the “leaders” of our great country. Obviously we don’t trust “leaders” anymore. So we have organized without political affiliations and avoid giving anyone a leadership position. Instead we select facilitators for given assemblies. The facilitator’s job is to keep assemblies moving in a positive direction. As the assemblies are designed to give everyone an equal voice(real democracy), we have time constraints on subjects and speakers, stack takers who keep track of the order of speakers(you raise your hand to get on the stack) and methods to raise points of information, points of process violation and points of clarification. In retaliation for the way meetings typically work we ask the stack taker to give preference to minority speakers. All decisions are based on a modified consensus.

Of course we have not perfected all these techniques, but we are improving. So to set the record straight, I was just facilitating the Assembly on Nov. 28. I am not the “leader of the pack.” I also hope that I did not call the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq a “war.” If I did, I apologize. Since the first so called “shock and awe” bombing of Baghdad this terrible action should never be considered a war. We were sucked into it by lies from “the leaders of the pack.”

Ralph Childers

Saugerties

 

Occupy meetings are hopeful

I attended an Occupy New Paltz General Assembly meeting last night. I was very impressed, as I have been by all the “Occupy” events that I’ve attended, beginning with Occupy Wall Street in New York City. A lovely mix of awesome people show up. It’s better than a cocktail party because everyone is sober and inspired. At last night’s meeting in New Paltz, a short lesson on communication was given. Hand signals communicate agreement, disagreement, a need to speak. There is one person in charge of making sure that no one person dominates and that people with less power have an equal chance to speak. This person looks for timid hands, unseen hands, voices that have not been heard and points them out to the speaker. An extreme effort at democracy is ever present. Now, locally, there are general assemblies in Kingston, Saugerties and New Paltz. A Facebook page has been set up at Occupy Hudson Valley. Check us out. We are the 99 percent.

I also went to Noam Chomsky’s speech to honor historian Howard Zinn at SUNY, New Paltz last Sunday, Dec. 4. About 1500 others joined me, overflowing Lecture Center 100, then the crowd overflowing 14 additional rooms with a screen feed of the event to each room. No one that I asked could remember a larger audience at SUNY. The people are hungry for information that will help us to understand and to be a part of fixing our economy and our country.

Join the conversation and the action.

Karen Cathers

New Paltz

 

Drug war soldiers mutiny

I read the New York Times religiously five days a week when possible. I read everything, looking for a bright spot in the news to fortify my remaining faith in human progress. Border Patrol agents who have expressed doubt about the value of the War on Drugs have been interrogated and fired, the Times informs me (12/3 A12).

This violation of First Amendment rights by the Obama administration is certainly not heartening but what does cheer me is the fact that there exists an organization called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), that some of these agents belong to, usually joining up after being fired or retired. This group has “an email list of 48,000…its members include 145 judges, prosecutors, police officers, prison guards, and other law enforcement officials, most of them retired…” These are people with first- hand knowledge of the enormous human cost of the futile drug war who are speaking out. Can this be an omen of the day when Americans decide the Drug Czar has no clothes?

Arnold Lieber

Saugerties

 

Why Occupy Wall Street

I was in New York City with a friend from overseas, and was asked why the Occupy Wall Street movement was taking place. Here is my answer.

In the last couple of months the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread to many of the major cities across the USA. People have come out because of frustration with the economic problems most of us face. People realize that the richest people in this country control the banks, Wall Street, big corporations and most important, our government. There is greater recognition that our leaders in Washington and most states govern based on the wishes and desires of relatively few people, the top 1%. In Congress and state legislatures, our elected officials put money ahead of people by shifting the tax burden to the non-rich, privatizing government services, attacking unions, rolling back environmental regulations and consumer protections, and deregulating businesses, banks, and financial institutions.

Personally, I am grateful that the Occupy Wall Street movement is bringing attention to what I consider the biggest problem facing America, and that is the “redistribution of wealth” from the poor and middle-class to the richest Americans. As an example, banks and big financial institutions are largely responsible for the current condition of the housing market. They are responsible for the biggest theft that has ever occurred in history of this country. The deregulation of the financial markets that eventually lead to millions purchasing homes they could not afford has broken the backs of thousands of families while simultaneously ensuring profits for the top 1 percent in this nation. The damage has been so bad that our economy is still struggling. How did our government react to the fraud that banks and financial institutions perpetrated? They gave banks and financial institutions billions of dollars of taxpayer money.

As citizens of this nation we have every reason to be angry and to protest actions by our government that have hurt and continue to hurt the poor and middle-class while favoring the rich. The foundation of our democratic society is jeopardized when we have a government for the few at the expense of the many. We should have a democratic and humane society, which includes minimum wages, child labor laws, workers’ safety and health standards, pure foods and safe drugs, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. All of these programs are threatened by a plutocracy where the rich use their money to control political power and protect their wealth. As they get richer, they have more and more money to give to politicians to make more and more laws to help them make more and more money. This cannot be sustained.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a patriotic and healthy sign of democracy and shows that our citizens still have a passion for freedom and justice.

Gary Bischoff

Saugerties 

 

Don’t despair, kindness abounds

It seems I am writing a letter to the newspapers every week. That’s because of the generosity being shown to the Town of Saugerties Animal Shelter by our local media and the receiving of gifts weekly from organizations,(more on these donors later in another letter), community residents in Saugerties and surrounding municipalities, donation containers; and most heartwarming of all, from school children, special ed students and church Sunday School classes. All the gifts are items that are needed and appreciated. All givers deserve to be recognized. Twice this month, two clients and their mentor from the Ulster-Greene ARC delivered to the shelter a large box of items they collected at the Shop Rite Store in Kingston.

These young people take great pride in taking on this project. Then we have our elementary school and Sunday School children. The students of the second and fifth grades at St Mary’s of the Snow School in Saugerties, under the guidance of their teachers, took up a collection of pennies at their church for the benefit of the shelter.

They arrived at the shelter with a generous amount of collected funds plus a huge Christmas Card bearing all their signatures. I recently received word from the Cahill Elementary School that the students will be conducting their annual Christmas drive for the shelter. At the Holiday In The Village event, the young people of the Atonement Lutheran Church sold pet toys and dog biscuits to raise money for the Animal Shelter. I was told that an eight-year-old student of their Sunday School remarked that day, “we raised money for the animals, now we have to find them good homes.” How can we despair when so much good is being done by our young people and their mentors? On behalf of the staff at the shelter and the animals in our care, I thank you all so very much. Have a blessed holiday celebration and a healthy, happy New Year.

Marie Post

Saugerties

 

Deal-breaker

So what just flew past our window from the three boys in Albany? What did they do to warrant all this back slapping, “bi-partisan” victory lap around the media boasting about changing life as we know it with a big deal tax package?

Okay, just think about that time at the beach when the big guy walked past your blanket looking like he had a really big package in that brief bathing suit. And it wasn’t until later — in the room — that you found out it was really a sock in his Speedo. Not that size is always the determinant, how you use what you have is always a factor. Well the “three boys in a room” have failed to provide a satisfactory climax yet again. Puny package and even lousier delivery.

The earth did not move, your life remains the same, your family finances are still in the toilet and the rich are still having multiple orgasms. The much-hyped Cuomo tax package gives you a couple of hundred – if you’re lucky– and won’t stop your property taxes from taking away a couple of thousand more. But I’ll give good odds that the increase from those making the biggest bucks will end up in corporate welfare and go to the CEO’s so they’ll get it all back again.

Like with the Godfather, if you want to know the supposed liberal pols and consultants who are bought and paid for by the mega rich, they’ll be the ones telling you they scored this deal for you.

Sure they did. And it sucks.

Gioia Shebar

Gardiner

 

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