If I understand Ms. Ciarlante correctly, she seems to be afraid that the Saugerties Comprehensive Plan under consideration would give control of our economic future to unelected and unaccountable outside forces without regard to the desires and benefit of the citizens of the town and village of Saugerties. Motivated by her remarks, I read all 60 some odd pages of the Plan, and have come to the exact opposite conclusion.
The Plan, which lays down the principles by which the regulatory agencies of the town and village should be guided, continually stresses and encourages innovative ways to obtain the ongoing participation of members of the community in establishing the rules and regulations that will enable our town and village to prosper. While giving full voice to the rights of business owners, land owners, farmers, and visitors, the Plan wisely considers all the factors necessary to maintaining and preserving the unique character of our region. And rather than laying down the law as to what must be done, the Plan provides reasonable and well-researched recommendations and implementation strategies, based on established best practices and previously accepted plans, to enable the Town Board to carry out its responsibilities with maximum foresight.
No, far more frightening is Ms. Ciarlante’s letter. It seems she does not understand the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy. The freedom to do as one wishes without regard to its effect on others is not the liberty on which our country was founded. The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States – the law of the land – states: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” What makes us a country at all, is that we agree to limit our individual freedoms for the common good (the “general Welfare”). How can we “insure domestic Tranquility” or “establish Justice” if we do not agree to be law-abiding citizens? Planning is essential if we want to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to … our Posterity.”
Those who through ignorance, fear, or selfishness deny the founding principles of our democracy are profoundly un-American, and had they held sway at the founding of our country, we would still be a British colony.