Letters (10/3-10/10)

Murphy on Murphy

In reference to Mr. Ellsworth’s letter of last week, he doesn’t know me, so his characterization of me is a little skewed.

Yes, I’m retired from IBM and yes I was in marketing, primarily doing market research for the government and education industries. This research included identifying new markets for IBM to enter, evaluating competition, sizing the market, understanding customer’s wants and needs, among other things.

What he doesn’t mention is that I was also a member of the Saugerties Economic Development committee for over four years, two of them as its chair. Working with Greg Helsmoortel, Nancy Campbell, Barbara Budik and others, we accomplished the following:


–Conducted the first business survey in Saugerties to identify who was here, what they needed from the town, what they liked and didn’t like about doing business here. From the survey, we were able to identify business characteristics to attract like-businesses to our area (for example, businesses involved in distribution or green energy). From this work, we then developed an overall Economic Development Plan for Saugerties, which is still in use today.

–Created and published the first Discover Saugerties guide, to attract both businesses as well as tourists to our area. While some folks look down upon tourism, quite a few local business owners came here first as tourists, then decided they wanted to work and live here.

–Created and managed the first public art display, Hors’n Around Saugerties, raising over $55,000 for local charities.

–Worked on the team that created the first “Workforce Summit” – a meeting held at the high school for students and their parents to understand the local jobs that are available and the skills needed for them. The panel discussion included the heads of local businesses, educators from SUNY New Paltz, our Congressman and others.

I attend the Town Board meetings and record them as a volunteer for TV23. I’ve also recorded other town events, such as the barn raising and last year’s public art auction.

I have never “tweeted” in my life, but it’s a skill I’d like to learn to be able to communicate with young people.

I’ve also been going door-to-door throughout my legislative district listening to people talk about what they want from government and their concerns. If elected, I plan to address as many of these concerns as possible.

I may not have five kids, or have been lucky enough to be born here. But yes, I think I do have the qualifications to represent the citizens of this district. And I’ll vote for what is best for Saugerties, not for a political party’s agenda.

Beth Murphy

The writer is a candidate for Ulster County Legislature, District 1


From green to gadgets

Not too many years ago, the then Town Board and other pols were going gaga over the “green” building and low cost of recycled and natural materials in the town hall expansion. What happened?

Now the political types can’t wait to get “high tech” and/or “smart” gadgets– at whatever cost, health-wise or cost-wise. Is this a mid-life crisis response to show how hip they are?

Our electronic voting machines have given us, the great unwashed, neither enough better candidates or better government.

Comparing an electronic gadget to a cell phone is a “phoney” analogy. The federal government forbids the issue of human health to be discussed regarding cell towers! And the phones themselves are still being “studied.” Since the decision makers in Saugerties won’t or can’t talk human health, maybe they can explain why they are replacing the present water meters and how long are the new “smart” meters (at $800,000) going to work till they need replacement, who pays for that, and who pays for the malfunctions?

Whatever the answers to these questions, the rights of the individual property owner to refuse installation must be honored!

A.E. Wasserbach


Bought and sold

In your “Around the County” column on Sept. 25, Congressman Gibson’s spokesperson, Stephanie Valle, when referring to Sean Eldridge’s ability to raise funds, said “One thing is clear— this race will test the hypothesis of whether congressional seats can be bought.” If she had bothered to check, she would have seen that Congressman Gibson’s largest donors are the Washington pacs representing big oil and the big banks. His votes reflect their influence. Her hypothesis has already been tested. Gibson’s seat has already been bought to use her language.

Donn Avallone


Exclusionary card game at Senior Center

I would like to comment on the recent painful experience of my handicapped sister-in-law, a paid member of the Senior Citizen’s organization at the Frank Greco Senior Center here in Saugerties.

Twice a week, a card game, open to all, is advertised as one of the activities at the center. It appears, however, that contrary to the Senior Newsletter, a small group of individuals has established what amounts to a private card club within the confines of this public facility.

My family discovered, through the actions of the members of this card playing group, that the card game is only open to the non-handicapped who are skillful at the game played and need no assistance or reminders during play.

While wheelchair bound, the person with whom the ladies of the card game refused to play, is able to communicate, play cards and manage all personal care on her own.

Due to alleged dissatisfaction with her level of skill in the ongoing game, this senior was told after a few weeks, that the card game, underwritten in part by those of us who support the center with our taxes, was not for “therapy.” When I objected to my sister-in-law’s exclusion and the remarks which sent her home in tears, I was told that there are “places for people like her.” Her friend, who drives her to and from the game and plays as well was told that, at two weeks short of age 60, she was ineligible to be at this senior function and that since she is really an “aide” and a “caregiver” she and my sister-in-law should find someplace to play cards alone.

All this would be petty and ridiculous if it did not reflect a larger attitude of selfishness and the exclusion of those who have special needs in our larger culture and is totally at odds with the spirit of giving that permeates our town.


The Greco Center is a public building allegedly open for the benefit of all seniors in Saugerties. Unfortunately, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, that openness is limited to those who fit the criteria set by a small group of women who, like too many others in our society, put their own pleasure over human charity, and reject one who might require a helping hand from a peer.

At 72, I thought that age brought both wisdom and a compassionate heart. I regret to say that I still have much to learn about human nature.

Irene Rivera Hurst


UCCC prez a shill for would-be gaming industry

For shame! The president of UCCC is acting as a shill for the casino industry. President Kaat just announced that UCCC will be the site of a training program for hospitality- and gambling-oriented jobs that the Nevele investment group will finance.

However, the Nevele has made it clear that it will only finance this if voters approve a casino gambling referendum and the Nevele is chosen as one of the two gambling sites in the mid-Hudson region. This is a perfect example of the corruption of the entire Proposition One ballot referendum.

President Kaat has collaborated with the casino industry to help sell a product! Why wasn’t this announcement made after the Nov. 5 vote? Very simple, UCCC, an educational institution, has been “bought-off.” It has prostituted itself by its desire to have a free program. It is selling a harmful product that for many valid economic, educational and social reasons should not be allowed in New York State. Has President Kaat and UCCC no honor? Vote no to Proposition One.

Susan Puretz


With gambling comes corruption

If Gov. Cuomo were truly interested in preventing corruption in New York State’s government he would not have pushed legislation to amend the state constitution to allow up to seven new casinos across the state. Isn’t it enough that New York State had more than a dozen corruption-related convictions of state and New York City officials since 2009 and has several more cases pending indictments? If the 2013 Proposition One ballot measure passes in November we can expect corruption levels to continue to increase as the gambling industry gains influence in the state. The casino industry’s approach to working with state government is already evident by the $20 million in campaign contributions they gave to New York State politicians over the last two years and the $2.6 million contribution they gave to pro-Cuomo committees. And there is no reason for gambling industry to change their tactics because the provision which would have banned campaign contributions by casino operators was quietly dropped from Proposition One at the last minute.

My concern is for our local communities. I think we all need to think about how large casinos will impact areas in which they operate. Will our local legislators and town officials be targets of influence peddling by gambling industry? And how will our communities pay the costs for things like the increased police protection necessary due to the well-documented rise in crime (theft, drunk driving, domestic violence, youth drinking, etc.) which inevitably occurs in the areas surrounding casinos?

New York State already has plenty of racetracks and gambling venues available. It is unwise to allow large-scale casinos to get a foot-hold in our towns. Vote no on Proposition One and preserve New York State’s integrity and protect our communities.

Joyce Hunt


Vote no on gambling referendum

Gambling is gambling, not “gaming.” If they can’t even call it by its right name, how good can it be? Gambling will really end life in the mid-Hudson Valley as we know it. Just as everywhere else it comes, it brings an undeniable plague of prostitution, drunk drivers, down-on-their luck pensioners, and low-level crime. Not to mention all the sad gambling addicts. Not exactly the “family values” our business leaders and politicians talk about. But we can stop gambling from coming here! Vote no on the Nov. 5 referendum to stop more gambling from coming to our state!

Gambling will be the lowest and worst use of the former Catskill hotels now slated for gambling houses. We can do better, so vote no, and let the gamblers throw the dice where they came from!

Marjory Greenberg-Vaughn


A losing proposition

This Nov. 5 there is a referendum to vote for or against more gambling casinos from coming to New York State. I urge everyone to come out and vote no against gambling that day. Here’s why: although gambling casinos tout themselves as “engines of economic development” they are exactly the opposite. Oh yes, some tax money will flow into Albany, but billions will flow out of our state and into the pockets of international gambling interests, in Hong Kong, S. Korea, South Africa, The Arab Emirates, Russia and Japan. Locally, buses filled with senior citizens will clog Rte. 17 and Rte. 209, taking their small savings and spending it on gambling slots, black jack tables and racino, only to lose 95 percent of their money. Once inside, the money never gets out to the local businesses. Casinos typically have gas stations on their property, offer free meals in multiple restaurants and have mall-type retail stores to shop in. Casinos are a money pit and are not good neighbors, bringing property values down, bringing in immigrant labor for construction and daily operations, and stressing out local schools and public services such as the police, hospitals and mental health services. Gambling is not economic development. It’s the quickest way to win the race to the bottom. Vote no to Proposition One.

Steven London
Dix Hills