Letters to the Editor – 1/12 to 1/18

One Love

Free Spirit of Woodstock 69 Tinker St. is closing its doors on January 30. The first original Reggae center and “more than a shop” will resurface somewhere again. Please keep in touch. The Spirit lives on!

To all the beautiful people who have loved and supported Free Spirit throughout the years, thank you and I hope to see you at the Upstate Reggae events. Like Bob Marley sang, “when one door is closed, another is open.”

Lea Boss



The Old Con Game

In an extraordinary example of newspeak, the governor gave a speech that claimed credit for accomplishments that hadn’t been accomplished, proposed spending taxpayer money on projects that were of dubious value and ignored middle-class distress, while claiming that he had united everyone including “millionaires and the middle class.”


What wealth gap? The Governor doesn’t see one in New York State, which happens to be one of the “gappiest” among all the states. Who needs a reality check when we can have Albany-style bread and circuses, which means without the bread? Cuomo crowed about property tax relief. How does he square that claim with your new and much higher property tax bills? He doesn’t.

How can that 40 bucks a year income tax reduction be touted as a real break for the middle class? Are we supposed to be really thrilled about the gambling stunt and a new and useless — except to the real estate industry — convention center?

We also wonder how a guy whose policies caused so many people to be fired can talk about job creation. There’s a big disconnect here, fellow citizens.

And did the Governor mumble something, anything, about the important fracking menace facing us? Not so you’d notice. Maybe soto voce?

He did propose another commission, this one on school reform.

That’s what we really need Governor, another “show trial” type expensive commission to justify less money for schools cloaked in the mantle of reform so the property tax bills — which really weren’t capped — can escalate to make up the shortfall left by the state stiffing education in order to give the corporations more tax breaks even though they outsource and don’t create jobs. Follow the political trail to the Albany hot air factory. Pick a shell, sucker-the pea’s got to be under one of them. No?

And let us not forget to be grateful to the Emperor of Ego for gifting those making a million and more a year with a big tax break amounting to about $22,000 per annum. And who else but this brazen politico could say he had raised taxes on the super wealthy when they have actually been lowered from the previous year?

In the spirit of “let’s just declare victory and go home”…Cuomo has painted a glorious picture of his magnificent — if he does say so himself — first year in office. The only problem is that except for marriage equality, none of the other stuff really went down the way the state politicos are saying. We know there isn’t a pea under any of the shells. I’m insulted that Albany thought reformers — especially battle hardened property tax reformers — would fall for that old con game. Again.

Gioia Shebar



Sprawl Or Rejuvenation

I am in almost total agreement with Lorin Rose regarding his letter in last week’s paper. (Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Jay Wenk voted against the tax increase.) I’m sure there were a lot of Woodstockers falling out of their chairs when they opened their tax bills to find an 11.3% tax jump. It is truly amazing to see so many elected (and now unelected) officials calling the hard won 2% tax cap a gimmick, political trick or worse. Clearly, they still don’t get it and continue to exist in some kind of fairy tale land where the only solution to their self inflicted budget problems is to raise taxes again. I think those days may be coming to an end as there is only so much blood left in the stone, so to speak. Luring a big crass hotel to town as Cathy Magarelli wants to do is not the answer. Increasing bike and other tourism, exploring public/private solar farming, investing in a new arts based economy, preserving the last remaining open spaces, planting more shade trees, performing energy audits of all our public buildings. These are only a few ideas from a long list of initiatives available for making the town more vibrant, saving money and for reducing taxes. I see the town at a crossroads — it can either become the next version of sprawl, or it can become a model for small town rejuvenation, preservation, arts economy growth and energy independence. I vote for the latter.

Michael Veitch

Munich, Germany


Support Bookend Plan For Onteora

My name is Anna Millenson. I have a daughter in the 1st grade at Phoenicia Elementary and a three year old who will attend Onteora’s pre-K program in the fall. First, I want to thank the Board for its dedication, countless hours of time spent away from your families, and hard work put into considering the best educational plan for our children. And, thank you Dr. McGill for applying your educational expertise to devise a plan that addresses both the educational and financial needs of our district. I am grateful that the Board and Dr. McGill’s have listened and responded to the many valid concerns of parents in the district. I know this is not an easy job, and I truly appreciate all that they are trying to accomplish for our school community.

I support model 3, also known as the bookend plan. Unfortunately, this would mean my children would be in school together for only one year. I was at initially upset by this idea; however, after hearing about the educational benefits of model 3, along with the poor ELA test scores of our students, I began to change my mind. Recent ELA test scores at a 55% and 42% passing rate for our seventh and eighth graders respectively, show we need to better prepare our children at the elementary level for middle school. I am excited about the diverse educational benefits of reconfiguring our schools into two K-3 schools and one 4-6 school. The bookend plan enhances socioeconomic diversity and fosters collaboration between teachers, by increasing the number of classes per grade level; teachers can share ideas and curriculum. For the 4-6 grades, the Bennett campus is better equipped to provide an enriched experience in music, arts and athletics. I believe it is the best option, not for one school, but for the entire school community.

We are all one school district and our children will end up in the same school eventually. So, let us bring our children together when they are in 4th grade, a time when they are socially and emotionally more open to making new friends, rather than in 7th grade, when they are experiencing the social and emotional angst of adolescents desperate to fit in with a whole new set of peers.

Lastly, I am saddened and angered by the recent petition circulated to close Phoenicia by the Bennett PTA. We are your friends and neighbors, your children’s playmates and soccer/little league teammates. Pitting one school against another is a divisive action and it’s not in the best interest of our kids or district.

Our district can, and must do better for our children so they can be more successful now and in the future. Let’s take this opportunity to improve our school district.

Anna Millenson



For more letters, see print edition