Mega-corporations Win Again
President Obama’s State of the Union speech was beyond disappointing. When he said that keeping the so-called ‘American dream’ of home ownership and making a living alive were the highest priority, sure, that’s a crowd-pleaser, but it defies the reality with which we have stuck ourselves over the past several decades.
The seemingly endless craving for things material — whether they are needed or even beneficial — and many people’s refusal to accept the scientific fact of a dangerously degraded environment, have doomed all species to disaster, including the culpable one (homo not-so-sapiens).
The speech’s usual pointless rhetoric, which caused tediously repetitious bursts of disingenuous applause, could almost be forgiven if it did not mean the President never got around to saying anything really useful. Worst of all, he revealed that he is continuing along the same insane path to doom that Bush/Cheney trod: he plans to encourage more fossil fuel production, despite promises four years ago to pursue alternative energy vigorously. He paid the slightest of lip service at the end to wind and solar power, but it is clear they will be given short shrift. Mega-corporations win again, to the detriment of all.
The President showed that he learned nothing from the 2010 BP calamity and countless other tragedies for wildlife just like it that occur around the globe daily. And the notion of real, coordinated conservation was left out completely. No president since the under-appreciated-but-forward-looking Carter has asked Americans en masse to make serious strides regarding conservation. Instead, all of them prefer to keep the wool pulled firmly over the (willingly ignorant) public’s eyes, and let them go on thinking that unrelenting consumerism will fix it all. We might as well have Bush/Cheney back in power, with their conservation-is-for-wimps attitude.
Last but not least, President Obama’s pro-fossil fuel stance makes it more likely that Andrew Cuomo will continue down that reckless path here in New York. It is all so tragic. Our leaders refuse to tell the citizenry the truth and refuse to ask them to sacrifice so much as one massive plasma TV. Not that the bulk of the populace would accept sacrifice graciously, but it would be nice if the people in power at least made the effort.
Do you ever think that you could have done a hell of a lot worse but not much better? I do.
Good Neighbor Food Pantry Hosts “Mass”
Last Thursday morning the pantry hosted Woodstock’s very own mass distribution of food in the parking lot on Rock City Road. Mass food distributions sponsored by Food Banks are held throughout the state. Ulster County communities regularly hosting a “mass” include Kingston, Lake Katrine, Gardiner, Plattekill, and Wallkill. This one was sponsored by the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.
A large truck rolled into the parking lot precisely at 9 a.m. and offloaded 12 pallets of food: mustard greens, sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, cookies, lemonade, etc.
Volunteers from the Good Neighbor Food Pantry helped offload the food, supervised the event, and then cleaned up the area afterwards. On hand to receive food were volunteers from food pantries and soup kitchens from Phoenicia, Shandaken, Kingston, Hurley, and Saugerties. Individuals came by automobile as well as on foot to select food.
A mass food distribution is a community event in which many people benefit and which costs our community absolutely nothing: no charge for the food or for transporting it from the food bank to Woodstock. All this event required was an openness on the part of our community to allow everyone to have the space to make the food available. Possibly this mass distribution will become a regular event for Woodstock. Mass food distributions certainly help feed hungry people.
Amidst all the possibilities of the future lies one certainty. Jeremy Wilber and our town board members acted quickly and decisively when they learned that the opportunity for a mass distribution existed. Within 48 hours they were able to decide to allow the event and find the space to conduct it.
So…thank you to all those who came to the mass distribution to give and receive the food. Thank you to the members of our town government who supported the event by voting for it. Thank you to everyone who spread the word on the day before the event. Thank you to everyone who worked hard to assure that the results would be positive, the people would be cordial, the event itself would run smoothly, and the most people possible would be fed. Finally, thank you to the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley for thinking of Woodstock. Peace and food for all
Warming Bits Of Information
There are two bits of good news, one for the water district and the other for the whole town. After extensive interviews with Moody’s, including acknowledgement of past performance and assurances for the future, the Town will maintain its double A bond rating with only a slight correction from Aa2 to Aa3 (“An obligor has very strong capacity to meet its financial commitments. It differs from the highest rated obligors only in small degree.”) I have no idea what experience neighboring townships have had with their credit rating, but this is good news for us, especially as it will affect (positively) the interest rate charged to finance the proposed renovation of the Town Hall.
With regard to the water district, several years ago the District entered into a prolonged testing protocol to determine if our municipal wells were influenced by surface water. If it were proven so, then the District would be required to either drill wells in locations farther from the Sawkill Stream, or implement (enormously expensive) filtration. The Ulster County Board of Health has determined that our wells are not influenced by surface water, and that the quality of the water remains good.
I thought the above information would help us through the winter doldrums.
Jeremy Wilber, Supervisor
For more letters, see print edition.