Letters (July 31-August 7)

Smith runs amok

The article by Jesse J. Smith comparing Eldridge and Gibson, both in the running to represent us in Congress, is biased, favoring Gibson. Smith emphasizes all of Eldridge’s shortcomings and minimizes Gibson’s. The article was supposed to be news, not an editorial, where Smith’s biases would be appropriate. If this is his/her introduction to journalism, a sound reprimand from the editor might do much to set him/her straight.

Harold Chorny


Riccardi for family court

I am so pleased that Gilda Riccardi, a resident of Saugerties, is a candidate for Family Court Judge. New York State recently authorized a third Family Court judge position in Ulster County due to that court’s tremendous caseload, and no one is better qualified than Gilda to get that new court up and running.

She has served for the past eight years as principal court attorney for the Ulster County Family Court as an appointee of Judge Anthony McGinty. She is a graduate of New York Law School and is the immediate past president of the Ulster County Bar Association. Her legal experience includes representing children and litigants in the Ulster County Family Court; prosecuting child abuse and felony narcotic cases in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office; serving as an administrative law judge for the Environmental Control Board in NYC, and special counsel to the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation where she coordinated criminal investigations of fraud and abuse in NYC public schools. In addition to her extensive legal background, Gilda has a degree in nursing and worked as an assistant director of nursing overseas, and as head nurse at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie before pursing her legal career.


As Gilda has said many times, Family Court is unlike any other court because it’s all about children and families in crisis. Gilda not only has the legal knowledge and experience, but also the understanding and compassion needed to make decisions in the best interest of child.

Let’s all rally around our hometown candidate in the Sept. 9 primaries for the Democratic and Independence parties.

Donn Avallone


The scenic route

The latest iteration in the Catskill Mountain Railroad’s (CMRR) clinging to its marginal Kingston operation is its stated “reinvention” of itself as a tourist railroad focusing on theme events, such as the Polar Express, which it insists can only be successfully implemented in Kingston.

The Shandaken section is already the site of CMRR’s most successful operations, with over two thirds of its ridership and nearly 90 percent of its revenue base currently located there. Shandaken is a uniquely scenic setting, offering some of the most dramatic vistas in the Catskills, which alone are an extremely attractive draw for tourists coming to train events. The Polar Express image, for example, is of a rustic mountain passage rather than an urban shopping-plaza, and making Phoenicia the site of the North Pole would provide an enormously charming setting. Kingston itself need not be disadvantaged. Packages can be offered including shops, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and hotels all along the corridor, including Kingston, creating economic benefit throughout.

The CMRR expects that the bulk of the ridership for its new events will be drawn from the NY/NJ metropolitan area and asserts those riders will be willing to come only to Kingston. But travelers already driving two or more hours could quite reasonably be expected to drive another 20 or 30 minutes to Boiceville or Phoenicia, as they routinely do now for skiing at Belleayre, Windham and Hunter.

William Sheldon


Light a fire

In poll after poll people gripe about Albany dysfunction and corruption, but continue to re-elect their undeserving, unresponsive incumbents no matter how tarnished they may have become. That inconsistent behavior dates to the days before gerrymandering when voters had only two choices — the bad incumbent or (God forbid!) the “other party” candidate.

But in these new “safe district” times, folks, if the incumbent is sitting on his rump, complacent in the big Albany bubble, then you can turf him out in a primary and still keep the seat for your party. Voting an incumbent out is not exactly tantamount to throwing Molotov cocktails at the pope; so get a grip.

Just because your legislator hasn’t been caught waving his johnson at nuns passing him in the Legislative Office Building doesn’t mean he’s good enough to re-elect. You are not required to carry the lazy scamp on your back for life.

Gerrymandered districts — drawn by the dysfunctional legislature to make the district safe for one party — have had the unintended consequence of making the incumbent much more vulnerable to a primary for his party’s nomination.

No longer should we tolerate corruption, lack of reform and less opportunity for our children while our lazy incumbents keep a low profile and a large office staff to run errands and keep track of campaign donations. And, remember, when they retire, it will be in a style to which you will never be accustomed.

Light a fire under all the do-nothings — Democrats or Republicans.

These are not your children; they are your hired help. We treat them well and should expect good work in return.

Gioia Shebar