How Can We Help Longmore?
I’m happy to read the letters defending Dr. Longmore. I moved to Saugerties in 2008 and was desperately looking for a doctor who would administer my twice a month allergy shot. I checked all the doctors in the Woodstock area as well as my new home of Saugerties, and no doctor would consider giving me my shots unless I was a longtime patient. I walked into Dr. Wayne Longmore’s office and started to tell my story when he said, “I’ll do it.” He has been there for me ever since. While I wait for my shot, I see the way he is to his patients, and I think he’s great. He doesn’t see dollar signs, he sees a human being. If anyone knows how we can help him, please write in to the paper and let us know.
Stop The ZBA
The Planning board of Woodstock approved Cucina’s plans for its cultural and catering facility in the old barn next door. The building inspector issued Cucina a legal building permit. Cucina has spent an enormous amount of money renovating the old barn to make it a beautiful facility, inviting and warm. Now the ZBA has rescinded its permit and told Cucina it will not be able to open.
We all must band together and demand that the ZBA honor the legal permit issued to Cucina. They are trying to destroy Cucina and force the 30+ people who work there onto the unemployment roles. Is this really what our town stands for? Do we really want to drive such a great service business out of town? This is the 3rd time the ZBA has acted irresponsibly! It is time to stop this insanity once and for all. Call the town office and demand that the ZBA honor the building permit issued and allow Cucina to open is beautiful new facility! Call every town board member, call every member of the planning board and the ZBA. Call today 845-679-2113 now! Demand that the town release the cost tax payers are bearing for litigation over ZBA actions! So rather then spending our precious recourses to improve infrastructure, lower taxes, fix roads, and care for the elderly our town feels that preventing an existing restaurant from expanding to a run down barn that the town gave permission to renovate, thereby providing needed services to our community, is a far better use of your tax dollars! Am I the only one that thinks this is insane! For gods sake the town said yes, do it! How can they now say no after so much time and money has been invested to improve this beautiful old barn!
Democracy Is Priceless
If you are satisfied with the state of U.S. politics under the Citizens United decision read no further. If you see the need for change — for campaigns that reflect what is important to the 99%, for candidates and representatives who speak for us rather than for major corporate donors, then please read on.
As has become all too obvious, campaign finance is the glue that holds in place a system that favors 1% over 99%: “Them that pays the piper calls the tune.” All of our issues — fracking, corporate tax breaks, fair taxation, single payer health insurance, living wage, etc. — are affected by the money that is poured into campaigns by vested interests. One Senator likens the relationship between elected representatives and special interests to “the ancient art of whoring.” But there is a way out.
This year, in New York State, we have a chance to make a real change, to pass a bill for public financing of elections similar to the law that has already made a difference in New York City and elsewhere.
On Thursday, May 3, 7 p.m., at the Rosendale Recreation Center, Fair Elections for NY (fairelectionsny.org) will be showing an award winning documentary film, PRICELE$$. Please come to this free event to learn more about Fair Elections and the campaign for public financing in New York. To quote from the film “A citizen movement is afoot to mandate a new electoral system, road-tested in Arizona and Maine…Democracy, after all, is priceless.”
Judith Simon, Fair Elections for New York
If Their Lips Are Moving…
Under the heading of “Bad Ideas Whose Time Has not Come” are a few lulus I’ve gathered for you to read and get really pissed off about…like you really need something else to raise your blood pressure.
The first is a proposal by Romney and the Bowles-Simpson report — stupidity comes in bipartisan packages — to take away your right to deduct your property taxes from your federal income tax return. The politicos will say they’ll reduce the rate to make it flatter and easier. Of course, because your property taxes in New York State are so high, you are going to get the very short end of the stick and no small rate reduction will make up for the thousands in property taxes you now deduct. In addition, remember, if the pols’ lips are moving, they’re lying.
New York State already sends more of its federal tax money to states with lower property taxes (and whose mission seems to be fostering illiteracy) than we get back. This is another hit on your purse so Mississippi can keep its property taxes low and live off the federal dole.
Tell your senators Gillibrand and Schumer that first they’d better close all the big corporate loopholes and deductions before they lay a finger on your little tax savings if they want to get re-elected. Or you could always put your cash in an off-shore account. Oh right! Your cash all goes to food and property taxes.
Big, dumb idea number two is being floated by the Ulster County executive and legislature as a done deal. Now I haven’t seen these county guys and gals (with the notable exception of ZEE Zimet) battering down the doors in Albany fighting for property tax reform or taking a principled stand on refusing to watch families lose their homes. That would take spines stiffer and brains more agile than our county politicians have shown so far. No, they are proposing to help us by significantly reducing property taxes. No, not for longtime county residents about to lose their homes, but for first-time home buyers! WTF!
So you will subsidize some industry or other by paying the taxes of first-time home buyers who may have a helluva lot more money than you do. Don’t buy the “it’s only pennies” argument in support of this bizarro giveaway of your tax money. All those exemptions — some laudatory like for the low-income elderly and veterans, but most deadly like for religious gated communities and big industries lawyered up to get tax breaks — have added up to billions.
So while the Ulster government debates giving your tax dollars to newcomers even as foreclosures continue to rise precipitously, you should consider why exactly we need expensive county government. The answer more and more is “we don’t.” Now that would be a big property tax saving.