Letters (Oct. 25 – Nov. 1)

How is this fair?

I am happy that Mr. [James] Bruno believes he has good legal advice, but that is not the problem. The problem is he has acted in favor of someone he used to be employed by.

If the lawyers have advised you legally, great, but what about morally? The message you are sending is that it is acceptable to act in favor of friends as long as it’s not illegal. These acts, including the appointment of a town board member’s relative as interim receiver of taxes, do not demonstrate “For all the people.”

These are only the visible events, what other deals are happening in the background that we are not aware of? I believe we should have stood our ground and not allowed some one already receiving discounted taxes to bully us into more relief. If any resident refuses to pay their taxes, their property will be foreclosed. Aaron deserves the same. Explain to us why a million-dollar-valued property that generates an estimate of $500,000 in revenue is paying the same taxes as a $250,000 private residence. So he can put more in his own pocket?


The message you have just sent to everyone is if you threaten our town with some legal expense they will cower and give you a tax reduction. Nice precedent for everyone else to follow!

It is not fair that we have to carry their tax burden. We elect our representatives to represent all of us, not friends, family or yourself.



A vast conspiracy

I attended Lynn Teger’s recent Agenda 21 meeting at the Saugerties Senior Center. I thought I understood the mechanisms of it, but Lynn proved me wrong. The increase in our taxes, and the precipitous drop in our home values was all premeditated and intentional to force us out of our homes, and into cluster and group housing.

From what I have seen, I would advise everyone to watch your county legislators! They are putting themselves in position to profit from this. They either own low-income and senior housing facilities, or have construction companies and contracts to profit from our hardship.

They are on board with governor [Andrew] Cuomo, and will do nothing to stop this. He has the Agenda 21 train loaded, fueled. It’s on the tracks, and it’s moving.

As evidence of this take a close look at Engage Mid Hudson, and Mid Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. Here are some additional items I encourage you to Google: Planet Main Street, American Planning Association, American Institute of Certified Planners, your town’s comprehensive plan, president [Barack] Obama’s Executive Order 13575, the Wildlands Biodiversity Map, and Megaregions2050.org. President Obama has the EPA, DOT, and HUD intertwined to expedite this lunacy; it’s real, and it’s happening.

Also check out the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). See if your town has or is willing to sign on to this agreement. Albany and New Paltz have, along with about 30 other towns and cities. After you Google some of these entities, ask your kids what they are being taught in school: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. (Yes, the Department of Education is part of the puzzle as well: Can you say indoctrination centers?)

This has nothing to do with the environment. This is all about behavior modification and governmental control.



He saw the bigger picture

The lovely, bustling Village of Saugerties lost a great man last week, a man whose tenacity and devotion to our community, in many ways both large and small, can be credited for the thriving village we have today. Former mayor Bob Yerick’s progressive vision for our community and his personal dedication to that vision brought about the beautification of the village, improvements in its infrastructure, and laid the groundwork for the current success of the business district. His bearing on the village will surely continue for years to come.

I’d like to specifically acknowledge mayor Yerick for  his generosity toward the renovation and expansion of the Saugerties Public Library. While Bob didn’t use the library much (he didn’t even have a library card despite several years of pestering him about it), he was well aware of the value of keeping the library in its original and central village location.

At the beginning of the renovation and expansion process, the original Carnegie building was owned by the village government. Transferring ownership to SPL was a critical first step in moving the project forward. While some saw the library building as simply a village asset, Bob saw the bigger picture. He knew transferring ownership meant bigger and better things for the library and, in turn, bigger and better things for the village. He was right.

Long before and long after the library project, however, Bob was a good friend and a mentor. I will remember him most fondly for his warm spirit, his feisty humor, and his simple and abundant human kindness.

Saugerties Public Library Board


Ken’s the preferred candidate

Sound integrity, stable character, fair, educated in law, and experienced in the courtroom are all vital characteristics of a solid justice candidate. A justice candidate not meeting these criteria would have to be deemed “underqualified” especially when it comes to lack of education and experience in the field of law. One candidate in this year’s race for Saugerties town justice offers voters the full package when it comes to the key attributes desired in a town justice: Republican candidate Ken Gilligan.

I’ve known Ken and his family for 24 years and can attest that Ken’s background, legal experience and personality make him the perfect fit for Saugerties justice.  Ken Gilligan has been practicing law in Ulster County and NYS for 35 years and offers Saugerties voters the opportunity to snatch up a knowledgeable and experienced town justice, one who will be effective and respected by all in the community and in the court system.

Having surprisingly shunned attorney Lanny Walter, the Saugerties Democratic Party has nominated Claudia Andreassen (a non-attorney) as their candidate for Saugerties justice. As a voter, ask yourself, “If I or a member of my family were a victim of crime or accused of a crime would I want to stand before a judge who has no education in law, is not an attorney, and has no extensive courtroom experience?”

A non-attorney judge “training on the job” and trying to figure things out on the fly results in lawyers taking the lead in court cases and potentially putting defendants (and victims) civil rights at risk.


The NYS Civil Liberties Union recently proposed reform to the state justice court system citing that a major problem in town and village courts was the use of non-attorneys as justices and in their presentation to the Assembly, referenced examples of numerous constitutional infringements due to the lack of knowledge inherent with non-attorney justices.

NYCLU told the NYS Assembly: “Town and village court justices receive only twelve hours of training before they are entrusted with the power of the state to imprison and fine offenders. One justice has described the challenge of learning relevant case law and legal procedures under such circumstances as “an impossible task.” Although the concept of non-lawyer judges may have made sense in another time when lawyers were more scarce, modern law — and particularly criminal law and procedure – is a complex body of rules and getting those rules wrong can mean the difference between freedom and incarceration for people brought before a town and village court.”

With an abundance of qualified and experienced attorneys available, use of a non-attorney as town justice in Saugerties is an antiquated, unnecessary and risky practice. Ken Gilligan’s character and knowledge of the law would be an invaluable asset to Saugerties residents ensuring us that things are done correctly in our courtroom as well as in the best interest of our community. I urge Saugerties voters. Elect attorney Ken Gilligan as our next town justice.



A non-partisan position

I recently attended the Saugerties League of Women Voters candidate forum. I was astounded when the Republican candidate for receiver of taxes responded to an obviously planted question from the audience relating to the candidates’ allegiances to their political parties. Reading from her note cards, she connected her Republican political values to the job of receiver of taxes. Unbelievable!

In responding to the question, current receiver of taxes Suzi Filak said, “I’m not going to get into politics.” She indicated that the receiver of taxes should be non-partisan. While she appreciated the endorsements of the Democratic and Conservative parties she noted that politics has no place within this very sensitive position. It is my belief that taxpayers regardless of their political preferences agree with her.

Suzi has worked in the office of receiver of taxes for five years under the expert tutelage of Peg Nau. When Peg retired, the town board unanimously appointed Suzi to fill the vacancy. Suzi knows every aspect of the job and along with her non-partisan approach you can be confident that she will continue the excellent service of the office that you expect and deserve. Please vote for Suzi on November 6.

Saugerties Democratic Committee


A great art show

The GFWC Woman’s Club of Saugerties wishes to thank all those whose combined efforts made the 2012 Mum Festival Art Show a success.

Area artists created a colorful and varied display. Co-chairman Lucy Kunst and Mary Finger wish to especially express their appreciation to the artists, club members, Saugerties village parks department and judges Ellen Perantoni and Ana Bergen.

The judging was a challenge due to the many fine entries. Ribbons were awarded for first, second, third and honorable mention in the various categories.

Winners in Pastel/Charcoal/Ink Category were: first prize: Regine Petrosky, second prize: Erica Pagerey, third prize: Nancy Lazinsky.

In Watercolor Category: first prize: Walter Dugan, second prize: Regine Petrosky, and third prize: Norma Kaminski.

In the Oil/Acrylic Category: first prize: Norma Kaminski, second place: John Van Ness, third prize: Aubrey Weeks.

In the Photography Category: first prize: Cindy Ortlieb, second prize: Keith Kopycinski, third prize: Peter Ressa, honorable mention: Melinda Kimble.

The long running Woman’s Club art show had its colorful art work displayed among the brilliance of the floral display in Seamon Park. All who attended remember a day that turned out to be a beautiful and sunny afternoon at the Mum Festival in Seamon Park, 2012.

Women’s Club of Saugerties