Letters (12/6-12/13)

Architecture should show local influence

Well, it looks like Saugerties is doing it again…giving into a corporate template design for a new building that will most likely be the first thing visitors leaving Exit 20 on entering Saugerties will be greeted by.

The architectural rendering was in last week’s Saugerties Times of the proposed new structure being planned for Verizon. The wrangling so far is over the size and placement of the signage on the structure as well as the two sides matching since it seems they will have other tenants in part of the building.

My question is why does it seem that Saugerties is so complacent in giving corporations what they want and putting what is best for Saugerties on the back burner?


It seems ironic that in the same Nov 29 issue of the Times, three pages later, is an article by Susan Barnett about how important than ever tourism is for Ulster County and Saugerties. The title of the article is “Read all about it! Regional Identity!”

The article goes on to emphasis how important it is to keep and protect the look and feel of a region, so one has a “sense of place.”

We went through this with Pricechopper, which is an identical duplicate of the Catskill store as well as the nondescript CVS store. These building designs have nothing whatsoever to do with Saugerties….you could be anywhere.

It just seems to me that Saugerties can’t wait to look like Route 17 in New Jersey. The rendering of the proposed Verizon store is a ‘pseudo-modern’ structure that has some kind of a two-story glass tower (mirrored maybe?) which is so out of place here that visitors after driving 2 hours will think they haven’t left Paramus.

Some folks might counter with “it’s no worse than…bah blah blah” but we have to start somewhere to give Saugerties the sense of place we want it to be… after all, this out-of-place structure hasn’t been built…yet.

I’ve seen other towns do this….take a look at Hurley Ridge Market on Rt. 375 for an example of “sense of place” while developing new structures. Look at the CVS in Rhinebeck. But the town officials and planning board have to set a precedent of what is right for Saugerties.

Saugerties village is protected since it is one of the first business districts in the United States to be accepted on the National Historic Register in 1987. If the town is serious about tourism being important to our region which creates more jobs and more revenue, then we must guard the sense of place that is Saugerties…and it’s not by building structures like the Verizon building as it is proposed.

As the article by Susan Barnett states “they come here for a homegrown, country atmosphere that offers a real break from city living.”

Mark Smith


Math doesn’t lie: police merger saved money

While Joe Roberti is criticizing the merger of the police departments, the rest of the town is singing its praises! Joe continues to show his ignorance with budgeting and business sense. You can’t argue with the math Joe. The current police budget is $300,000 less than the combined budgets of the Saugerties Town/Village police department budgets of three years ago. In addition it is now shared equally with the whole town. We currently have state-of-the-art equipment, a great police chief and force that’s on i’s way to being fully accredited. What exactly is your solution Joe, going back to having two police departments? The village is in financial trouble and as time goes on we will see more and more consolidation of services. It’s inevitable and that is why the state is offering incentives for villages and towns to consolidate services. The facts show that it lowers the cost of government and that is exactly what we need to do. With you Joe it’s just about politics and not about the tax payer. You can spin it any way you want, but you offer nothing to the town of Saugerties, no ideas, no common sense, no business sense or a compass for the future, just dirty politics. I only wish that more Republicans would voice their opinion about your competence as their spokesman. And once again, Fred, Leeanne and I are registered members of the Independence Party. We take no directives from any one person or party! Get it through your head. If anyone shows that he’s unfit for office, it’s you as the town chair for the Republican Party.

Bruce Leighton
Saugerties Town Board


Holiday wishes and politics

For me it’s the time of the season for giving and preparing for Christmas. It’s a time to put things like politics, business ventures and other less important issues on the back burner. With the election just behind us and some still counting, anyone talking about taking my seat in 2113 is one fry short of a Happy Meal.

I am in my ninth term serving Saugerties in the Ulster County Legislature and last year, Walter Frey challenged me in a primary, mainly due to redistricting which put his home, which is in Bishop’s Gate from the Glasco district, to my district, District 2, so that Bishop’s Gate is part of Barclay Heights which is where I have lived, with my wife and our family for 36 years. While I wasn’t happy about that, I defeated Mr. Frey in the primary. Mr. Frey decided he would still run against me on only one line. On and into November, while he was still on the ballot I was also challenged by the democratic candidate. I beat them both.

During the campaign Mr. Frey told my constituents that I wasn’t running for office and that they should sign his petitions and put him on the ballot. In short, a lie. Perhaps Mr. Frey believes that a lie well stuck to is better than the truth. Well, Mr. Frey is all ready, going to CSEA Union members asking for support as he plans to run again against me. Rumor has it that he is seeking the Democratic endorsement which leads me to ask, “will the real Walter Frey please stand up?” How could a man that sold senior citizens in Saugerties down the drain when he constantly changed his position about selling Golden Hill nursing home expect to be a credible candidate? He partnered with the former — and I said former — county republican chair, and a well known Republican attorney and former Saugerties town chairman to go to the Supreme Court and petition the court to invalidate my petitions and try to remove my name from the ballot. Walter, I kept my word to the nursing home residents and over 300 employees who took care of the public’s families and others in Ulster County. You did not. Well, the court deal failed and Walter discovered that he’s really like fruit salad in that if you’re a peach, you’re a peach and you can’t become a banana. Walter, successful politics is partly performance and any winner will tell you that.

Mr. Frey and any other candidates need to understand that politics is like baseball. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. The only difference is that there’s no World Series and it’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere. The whole political arena is like two fleas arguing about who owns the dog.

I will challenge anyone for my seat but all I ask is that whoever the candidate, don’t distort the truth to the people you may eventually represent. Walter, they don’t like that. Have a Merry Christmas and above all, a healthy New Year.

Robert Aiello
Legislator, District II