Letters (May 31-June 7)

Marijuana pipe ban

Commentary on laws by the town and village banning the sale of pipes sold for tobacco use but commonly used to smoke marijuana was entirely negative.

“How do they know the pipes are used mainly for marijuana? There are plenty of cigarette smokers who will use a water pipe to smoke the tobacco grown in their back yard during these hard economic times. It is safer with no added chemicals and dangerous filter with formaldehyde in it, not to mention cheaper.” writes Jose on Saugertiesx.com.

David Radovanovic was also critical. “At best, the recent lawmaking by Saugerties’ town and village boards are a distraction and at worst a violation of civil rights. Why would trustees waste time on bongs and paraphernalia? My guess is that it’s a distraction from the difficult problems that Saugertiesians face from within their own local government. Greedy politicians jockeying for power along with their spiteful players seem to set the agenda regardless of negative consequences, i.e. phallic-shaped pipes, whose name gets engraved on government buildings, excessive fines for paraphernalia, etc. All of which does nothing to help pay the rent. Stop harassing your constituents with burdensome fines and fulfill campaign promises to improve our local economy.”

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Town hall naming

Bob Chappelle shared his thoughts on the town hall name issue on Saugertiesx.com. The article reported that the majority of the town board wished to name the Town Hall after former supervisor Greg Helsmoortel rather than Medal of Honor winner Roger Donlon. A previous board had named it after Donlon, but the town attorney says the resolution was not binding. Those for Helsmoortel say they honor Donlon, but he already has a park and a portion of the Village Hall named in his honor.

“My thoughts… ‘It took someone with the strength of character to stand up and serve this community, to locate the Town Hall there and to make the tough de Marijuana pipe ban

Commentary on laws by the town and village banning the sale of pipes sold for tobacco use but commonly used to smoke marijuana was entirely negative.

“How do they know the pipes are used mainly for marijuana? There are plenty of cigarette smokers who will use a water pipe to smoke the tobacco grown in their back yard during these hard economic times. It is safer with no added chemicals and dangerous filter with formaldehyde in it, not to mention cheaper.” writes Jose on Saugertiesx.com.

David Radovanovic was also critical. “At best, the recent lawmaking by Saugerties’ town and village boards are a distraction and at worst a violation of civil rights. Why would trustees waste time on bongs and paraphernalia? My guess is that it’s a distraction from the difficult problems that Saugertiesians face from within their own local government. Greedy politicians jockeying for power along with their spiteful players seem to set the agenda regardless of negative consequences, i.e. phallic-shaped pipes, whose name gets engraved on government buildings, excessive fines for paraphernalia, etc. All of which does nothing to help pay the rent. Stop harassing your constituents with burdensome fines and fulfill campaign promises to improve our local economy.”

 

Town hall naming

Bob Chappelle shared his thoughts on the town hall name issue on Saugertiesx.com. The article reported that the majority of the town board wished to name the Town Hall after former supervisor Greg Helsmoortel rather than Medal of Honor winner Roger Donlon. A previous board had named it after Donlon, but the town attorney says the resolution was not binding. Those for Helsmoortel say they honor Donlon, but he already has a park and a portion of the Village Hall named in his honor.

“My thoughts… ‘It took someone with the strength of character to stand up and serve this community, to locate the Town Hall there and to make the tough decision,” said Councilman Fred Costello.’ I should, but I do not follow Town government activities & I do not know Greg Helsmoortel, but having said that, There is no comparison when strength of character to stand up to anything, to make tough decisions, to serve his town, state & nation when he is compared to Roger Donlon. I am in no way minimizing Greg’s accomplishments, his character or anything else about the man. I am not one of his political opponents but he like most of us are just not in the same league as Col. Donlon.

Fred Costello said meeting Col. Donlon was an extraordinary experience, and he could understand his heroism. ‘One thing that strikes me is that his work didn’t end after he did what he did. He has been working hard ever since, and he was very proud when he talked about his work with a group of veterans opening libraries in Southeast Asia.’ I can agree with some of what Fred has to say here, Roger Donlon’s service to his country was beyond any that most of us will ever be able to give before & after the actions of the Green Beret who won the first Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War. But Fred, there are very few of us that could understand his heroism. That ability is only in the hands & hearts of a very few heroic veterans that have experienced hand to hand or at least direct fire combat, most of which gave their lives to gain that knowledge. The rest of us can’t even guess what that’s like.

‘Roger Donlon’s response, according to Costello: “I’ve been honored enough.” A park behind the American Legion on John Street is named for Donlon, as is the auditorium above the Village Hall. That again is his showing his strength of character and service to this community.’

I have to disagree with Col. Donlon here & say that there is no way that we can honor him enough, there is no way that we can repay him or all the veterans that came before or after him, it is just not possible. There are not enough buildings or monuments that exist or could be built to do that.

‘Jimmy Bruno said an attorney with the Association of Towns said the motion of 2001 was legal. “How can we just ignore a vote that was taken 10 years ago?” said Bruno. “I’m sure if Greg was here, I like to think he would agree and say ‘you have to do what’s right and you have to go with the original vote.’”’

I, of course agree, that Greg from what I hear would do just that. I do have to wonder why the 2001 resolution wasn’t carried out, why Roger Donlon was not informed of it. It does seem out of character for the Town Board of that time to have let that all fall through the cracks.

I could go on but will end here with this, let the Town Hall remain named as it was/is in 2001. Find another way to honor Greg Helsmoortel for his service & accomplishments. Do not even consider the removal of the 2001 resolution from the books as I & I believe most veterans would agree as well, would consider that a slap in the face & a dishonor to the Medal of Honor, Col. Donlon & all veterans & their families past, present & future. It would speak very poorly of the Town board & surely be a black eye for Saugerties.”

 

Aiello told us so

I have found out that another location in New York State has embellished its economic development plan. A collaboration between Cornell NYC Tech and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is to “create an applied science university where engineers are also trained as entrepreneurs……etc.” NYC mayor Bloomberg proudly says “today we’re second only to Silicon Valley as a tech center and we don’t like to be second to anybody.” NYC expects to yield considerable tax revenue from its efforts in this area and also generate many high tech and construction jobs.

Where have I heard this same economic development theme before?? The answer is….right here in Ulster County way back in 1999 by Bob Aiello, county legislator from Saugerties. As a legislator, Bob wrote an unsolicited paper and submitted it to the leaders of the County Legislature and other state and federal officials stating that Ulster County should do the same thing that New York City is so proudly saying now. However, none of the leaders were willing to take up the charge back then, or even more recently. Instead they wrote back to Bob essentially saying “attaboy…good idea.” That was all that Bob could muster from them. I have personally read the document and it shows creativity and foresight that still has value.

Think of where Ulster County would be now if Bob’s idea had been implemented back then. We would be very economically prosperous with good jobs and our young people would not have to move out of the area to find professional opportunities. Other counties like Duchess County have maintained the high tech theme that Bob recommended. Instead we find Ulster County with issues like the possible loss of one our hospitals, the difficulty of maintaining a viable solution to our county-owned nursing home, some companies leaving Ulster County, a population with a high percentage of senior citizens on Medicaid, etc. I ask you…..where is this leading us to in the future? How can we continue this way with a relatively high tax base getting worse?

When Bob harps on this subject and other ideas he promotes, some of his critics in local papers label him as a complainer, but he sticks to his guns, and continues to offer his insights regardless of party affiliation or whom it may offend. He does what is right in a constructive way without malice. In other words ……“Mama always said you’d be judged not by the things you do that you have to do, but by the things you do because it’s the right thing.” That’s Bob Aiello’s mantra.

Anthony Nardo
Saugerties

 

Think for yourself

I recently discovered that the Saugerties Democratic Committee (generally about 20 people) has jumped into lock step with the Ulster County Democratic Party and endorsed a local attorney from Stone Ridge for the new NY 19th Congressional District. The Woodstock Committee may have followed suit which surprises me as Woodstockers generally prefer to think for themselves rather than go along to get along. As usual the party machinery is marching forward with the elite banging on the drums. And of course the chosen one is doing his best not to state a clear position on all the issues that matter most to working people. He does not respond well when he is asked about his answer to Alan Chartock that he generally is in agreement with Barack Obama’s position that there is still evidence to be examined before fracking can be outlawed. The endorsed candidate stated during the same interview regarding fracking, and I quote, “In terms of the impact the jury is still out.”

I am a person who believes that we have to fix the monstrous inequity between a very small percentage of wealthy individuals and the rest of America. That’s why I work for Occupy Wall Street which wants to remove money from controlling America’s elections. Not a perfect organization, but it is trying. Having been involved in Occupy since October of 2011 I long ago encountered a local politician who also believes that money has to come out of politics. He makes his living as a teacher, and he has been elected to the Dutchess County Legislature five times. He knows what it’s like to be in the trenches. He can’t afford, like his opponent, to pour $100,000 dollars of his own money into his campaign. He also stands 100 percent against Fracking.

So I guess we’ll see pretty soon whether it’s the appropriateness of the candidate or just the almighty buck and political machines that wins elections. I urge you to compare the two candidate’s websites and/or call them to see what they have to say, and how they say it, and then be sure to get to the polls on primary day, June 26 to vote for the candidate you have chosen. I hope that will be Joel Tyner.

Ralph Childers
Saugerties

 

Clear and present danger

Fracking for Natural Gas in New York poses a real threat to our beautiful land, creeks, rivers, to our drinking water, our air and to our communities.

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New Yorkers Against Fracking is a newly formed state wide coalition of over 100 groups from across the state which is determined to ban the process of hydraulic fracking for natural gas in NY State. The first campaign of this group is to get thousands of local businesses including farms, restaurants, real estate etc. as well as organizations (labor, business, student, faith-based groups) to sign an endorsement to urge Gov. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature to ban fracking in New York State.

Our time is limited. A decision about whether to begin to issue permits for drilling may come soon. NY Against Fracking is hoping to get 1000 endorsements by May 31 and 5000 or more by later this summer. As an individual or as a representative of an organization, you can add your voice by signing on as an endorser of this campaign. You can either go to New Yorkers Against Fracking web site or you can contact Frack Free Catskills.

NY Against Fracking has developed some helpful material for reaching out to businesses etc as well as an endorsement form. You can find them at this link-

https://nyagainstfracking.org/take-action/resources/ and clicking on toolkit and endorsement form. Or you can reach Sue Rosenberg at Frack Free Catskills at 914-466-0954 or info@frackfreecatskills.org for more information.

Sue Rosenberg
Saugerties

 

Take action against fracking

Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) seems to be poised to begin issuing permits to allow High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF) in New York State. It is crucial that efforts to demonstrate opposition to hydrofracking be intensified immediately. New Yorkers Against Fracking (nyagainstfracking.org), the statewide coalition of over 100 local anti-fracking groups, is beginning an effort to collect endorsements from businesses across New York State which oppose hydro-fracking. The dangers of hydro-fracking that threaten individual citizens and personal property have gotten a lot of attention. However, businesses and other enterprises should realize that they may also experience significantly damaging impact should a hydro-fracking operation begin near them. Consequences such as excess noise, increased truck traffic and potential toxicity would result in anything but “business as usual”. Hydro-fracking is bad for business, detrimental to tourism and hazardous to most human enterprises.

Our goal is to collect thousands of signed endorsements from businesses, non-profits, and faith-based organizations across New York State to demonstrate that the opposition to hydro-fracking is backed by a broad diversity of organizations. These endorsements will be presented to Gov. Cuomo and New York State legislators. Members of Frack-Free Catskills and other anti-fracking groups will be contacting businesses and other organizations in Ulster and Green counties over the next few weeks to present and collect these endorsements. Many high-profile businesses, neighborhood stores and non-profits have already signed on. Please join in this effort to make the strongest possible statement to Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature. If you have questions or would like to request an endorsement statement to sign, please go to nyagainstfracking.org and click on Take Action.

Joyce Hunt
Bearsville

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