Letters (4/11-4/18)

GOP chair a double agent

OK! I finally get it! I’ve been wondering what Joe Roberti Jr., who I heard used to be a nice guy, is really up to. His screeds against Bruce Leighton and Fred Costello and Greg Helsmoortel, in particular, are so extreme that they are almost comical, inaccurate to the point of farce, over-the-top angry and bitter, and usually just warmed over repetitions of the same attacks at whatever the Town Board members do or say.

So now it all makes sense!

He’s on the same team!

He’s just acting as the public foil, even sacrificing his own credibility to allow Bruce and Fred and Greg to show how logical, intelligent, and thoughtful they truly are as they deign to answer his attacks with well thought out and hard hitting explanations of the truth that, in contrast to Joe’s craziness, seem so much more sane and sensible.

I was beginning to despair – wondering how any self respecting Republican could consider allowing, for even a brief moment, someone as almost silly as Joe in his hysteria, to speak for them. But now I think I spy the truth in all these seemingly low blow attacks!


The smart and sensible folks in town, whether they are Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives or Independents, want to give the best candidates the best chance to win by giving them the platform to explain how our government has operated in the past and how it should going forward, in sharp contrast to the paranoid, bitter, isolationist and ignorant forces of denial and deception.

So thank you Joe…you’re doing a great job! Keep up the good work!

Susan Weeks


Upping the ante

For 30 years our family ran a small hotel in Saugerties. Families came to swim, exercise in the country, relax, eat and dance. Relaxation did not include gambling except for an occasional bingo game where the house never won. The few dollars paid for the bingo cards was returned to the winners.

The expansion of gambling through video lottery at existing resorts or the creation of full-scale gaming casinos does not serve our society well. It encourages games of chance, and a get rich quick mentality. It encourages young people to think there is a short cut to economic self-sufficiency.

As stated by the New York State Council of Churches: “Hope’s main competitor is luck. A reliance on hope fosters a positive activity – hopeful is something we can ‘be,’ and hope is something we can live out and practice. By contrast, a reliance on luck fosters passivity-luck is something we simply ‘get,’ and luck is something that just happens to us, like the weather.” Do we want to promote a video culture?

We do not favor our county being a party to the expansion of gambling through video lottery, or amending our constitution to open seven full scale destination casinos. In those houses of “luck” the house always wins and the poor are taxed to feed the wealthy. The closer gambling venues come to our communities the greater the expansion of compulsive gamblers, crime and corruption. All that glitters is not golden, or good for us.

Lanny Walter
No Saugerties Casino, Inc.


Undue haste on town’s gun control resolution

Mr. Harkavy certainly puts a Democratic spin on the town board meeting events of March 6 and March 20 in regards to the resolution regarding the SAFE Act. I am a member of the Saugerties Fish and Game Club and I attended both Town Board meetings. Mr. Harkavy stated that the members of the club knew in advance that a resolution regarding the SAFE Act would be on the agenda March 6 and that this is the reason we attended. I can’t speak for all the members, but that was not the reason I came to the meeting. I knew that club member Bill Schirmer planned to address the Town Board on March 6 and I went to hear his presentation. There were additional club members who did decide to speak during the public comment portion of the March 6 meeting once they noticed a SAFE Act resolution was on the agenda. I think the Town Board made a wise decision on March 6 to table the discussion of the resolution so that all town citizens had until the March 20 meeting to review it in detail. After all, one of the major complaints expressed by numerous speakers was the “message of necessity” Gov. Cuomo used to ram the SAFE Act through Albany.

So in the intervening two weeks, Mr. Harkavy reaches out to Bill Schirmer to offer amendments to the resolution presented March 6. Why didn’t Mr. Harkavy reach out to Supervisor Myers or Deputy Supervisor Bruno to offer these amendments? Apparently only the Democratic Town Board members and Mr. Leighton saw the amended resolution before it was presented to the entire board on March 20. After the public comment period was over, I got to read the amended resolution during a short recess. Mr. Leighton asked my opinion of it when I returned his copy. I told him I did not like it at all and much preferred the original resolution presented by Supervisor Myers. Mr. Leighton’s amended resolution did not even mention the “message of necessity” and how upset people were with the whole process of how the SAFE Act was passed.

It became apparent that Councilmen Leighton, Costello, and Thornton were going to use their own “message of necessity” to ram the amended resolution through, ignoring Supervisor Myers’s and Councilman Bruno’s suggestion that it be tabled for further discussion and to work to see if some common ground could be reached. The overwhelming majority of people in the room were frustrated by watching the same process being used in our own Town Board meeting to get this amended resolution passed, as was used to get the SAFE Act passed in Albany. It was rushed through with no possibility for public comment. Mr. Harkavy goes on say that there were threats made against Councilman Leighton. The only comments I heard against Councilman Leighton were in regards to ensuring he would be defeated in the next election. If someone in politics takes those comments as a threat, then they are in the wrong line of work and should step aside. If anyone can take credit for making this a “wedge issue” in the coming elections, it would be Mr. Harkavy for orchestrating this fiasco. As far as the content of the amended resolution that was passed, I wouldn’t waste the money putting a stamp on it to mail to Albany.

Gregory Kleen


Don’t let corporations control the conversation

On March 20, the Saugerties Town Board debated a resolution calling for the repeal of the new NY State gun law called the SAFE Act. The hall was packed and I would estimate that some 75 people were gun owners who supported the resolution, and a lesser number opposed it. One of the gun owners told me that he feared that any law that regulates gun ownership is a step towards the goal of the complete banning of guns. This can be verified as the National Rifle Association (NRA) line, namely: Oppose all regulation of gun ownership, no matter how sensible it is.

A fundamental reality is being overlooked here, namely: Our federal government is controlled by the major corporations, such as banks, oil companies, pharmacological companies, insurance companies, agribusiness, and organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the NRA. They exercise control through their lobbyists who win the support of Congress-persons by donating to their campaigns.

The sale of guns does not enrich the people who attended our Town Board meeting, but the sale of guns does enrich the NRA and its executives.

All of us, whether for or against gun control, should not let our opinions be dictated by a major corporation. Corporations want to increase their profits regardless of the welfare of the people – and that includes the NRA.

Rev. Finley Schaef