Letters (October 9-16)

mailA vote for equality

I am voting for Sean Eldridge for Congress in the 19th District.

Since Reagan’s nonexistent “Welfare Queen” in the 1980s and Romney’s “47 percent” comments in the last presidential election the Republican Party has sought to unfairly demonize poor people, the unemployed, and the foreign-born despite record levels of income inequality. In my view it has lost its moral compass and its intellectual core. That trend, supported by Chris Gibson, continues today. A majority of House and Senate Republicans (including Gibson) have rejected an increase in the minimum wage, the Equal Pay Act which would help women achieve parity in the work place, and comprehensive immigration reform. They continue attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. These policies are designed to reduce the gross inequities in income distribution which exist today. They would also be good for the economy helping to raise people out of poverty and creating jobs. The House passed Farm Bill which Gibson supported and was rejected by the Senate would have cut four million people from the Food Stamp (SNAP) program including some of the nation’s most destitute according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

I’m tired of the less fortunate being scapegoated by the Republican Party, which is why I’m voting for Sean Eldridge for Congress.


Al Ragucci


Eldridge and the crazies

I just attended the Congressional debate between Congressman Chris Gibson and his challenger, Sean Eldridge and found the lack of decorum in the Miller School auditorium disgraceful. Superintendent Dr. Paladino introduced the event, noting that it would be a “great civics lesson” for those students (and there were quite a few) in attendance. Sadly, it was anything but an example of civics because although the moderator laid down the rules in the very beginning, the Eldridge supporters started out breaking them with applause and cheers and of course, were then followed by the Gibson supporters and were allowed to do so throughout the evening without any strong control from the moderator.

It got to the point where very loud Eldridge supporters began shouting down our Congressman (who is a retired decorated Army colonel) each time he began to speak. It was unwarranted, uncalled for, disgraceful and downright un-American! They should have been removed! Sean Eldridge would have shown years of maturity beyond his young age of 28 if he had silenced his unruly supporters and asked them to stop, just as the Congressman did when his supporters shouted back in frustration.

But therein lies the difference between a tried and true statesman and a young upstart with a group of liberal followers who are ill-mannered and shout down anyone who don’t believe as they do. That is exactly what we do not need in Washington, D.C. Gibson is an honest man of the people who has sponsored bipartisan legislation including “No Labels” which was supported across both sides of the aisle. This decorated Army colonel who served seven tours in Iraq, deserved far more respect than given to him by the unruly crowd who support Eldridge. The fact that this inexperienced contender sat on the stage and smirked during these exchanges and did nothing to silence it, proves that he would only add more partisan fighting in Congress that Gibson has so faithfully worked to change in his short tenure in Washington. Please re-elect this true American who respects civil discourse and American ideals.

Jolie Dunham
Lake Katrine


Who is the hypocrite?

I just attended a debate sponsored by the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce between Sean Eldridge and Chris Gibson who are running for Congress in the 19th congressional district.

In the debate, Gibson crowed that he had offered Eldridge an opportunity to agree to a spending limit for each of their campaigns. He then spouted that Eldridge had not agreed to this deal, and therefore was hypocritical in his fight for campaign finance reform.

Well let’s look at the facts. Eldridge’s campaign contributions are from donors who are subject to complete financial disclosure. He has does not receive any money from Political Action Committees (PACs) who are not subject to financial disclosure. Gibson has not renounced PACs who support him. So in effect, Gibson would show equal spending by reportable donations as Eldridge, but would be gaining the benefit of millions of dollars from PACs supported by the likes of the Koch Brothers.

Is it any wonder that Eldridge declined this disingenuous deal? It would be as if Gibson asked the Defense Department to agree to disarm themselves before entering a conflict. This is the height of hypocrisy.

I encourage you to vote for Sean Eldridge for Congress on Nov. 4. He will work to disarm these secret PACs.

Mike Harkavy


Become the enemy

We are a predictable people living in a predictable country. Our predictability is our weakness and makes us vulnerable.

In order to win a war with ISIS or organizations like them, we need to think like them, act like them and remove our souls from our bodies and mentally become them. A mercenary army is needed to fight a mercenary type war. Dropping bombs on empty buildings is fruitless. They move before we bomb. They are organized around the world while we sit home and argue who should be our next governor or next president. Does it really matter when compared to the organization they have? We are repeating the same mistakes we made in Vietnam. We need to become them in order to defeat them.

Robert Aiello


We need to do more

In last week’s edition of Saugerties Times, Geddy Sveikauskas made some salient points on the shortcomings associated with the planning processes that are used to facilitate economic development in Ulster County and the Hudson Valley. In the essay, Sveikauskas illuminated how fewer high-tech and skill-oriented jobs were created in the region relative to the number of residents who received college-level educations in these fields. Some good progress is being made in the area of 3D printing-based education facilities like the one affiliated with SUNY New Paltz’s business department. But without the commercial development of similar 3D-based centers throughout the region which would create jobs for these college graduates, theses newly trained students will have to leave the region in order to find employment.

Sveikauskas also pointed out how recent attempts at strategic planning for economic development have not generated a plethora of results throughout the region. I would have to agree with his assessment of the correlation between planning and economic development. At a speech I made last year to the Kiwanis Club, a member expressed the sentiment that government does not do enough to generate economic development within Ulster County and Saugerties. I told her that I agreed with her assessment.

Several months ago, I attended and participated in a symposium and presentation on bringing broadband technology to Kingston and Ulster County which was coordinated by Kingston mayor Shayne Gallo and the Working Families Party at the city hall in Kingston.  Since then, a comprehensive resolution was unanimously passed through the Ulster County Legislature on a comprehensive broadband policy for the development of broadband internet throughout UlsterCounty. This was researched and put forth by one single legislator who receives part-time compensation for services to Ulster County. More work like this needs to be accomplished by our local, county, state and federal-based officials, and there should be better efforts expressed towards coordinating ideas among these officials in order to make economic development a reality in Ulster County and elsewhere throughout the region.

A recent appointment to the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency who owns a business on Kings Highway in Saugerties always brings up the fact that natural gas and broadband are not available on the Kings Highway corridor even though the Ulster County Legislature put forth a bonding measure for a million dollars in order to bring water and sewage to the area. At the time, “shovel-ready jobs” were promised to be generated from these improvements. The Saugerties area is still waiting for such economic development and jobs to come to the area!

Obviously, some measures need to be taken in order to bring natural gas, electric and broadband to the Kings Highway corridor in order for the area to be desirable for new businesses to develop in Saugerties. As a member of the Economic Development Committee, I will put forth efforts to work with other government officials in order to make these things happen here in Saugerties and throughout Ulster County.

Chris Allen
Ulster County Legislature


Woman needed

There has not been a woman elected to the trial level for Supreme Court judge in the Third Judicial District in over 14 years! This November Lisa Fisher is trying to change that. She is running for Supreme Court judge. Lisa is the most qualified candidate with over 20 years experience in all levels of the courts in New York. She has served as assistant public defender in Ulster County, a staff attorney for Ulster County Department of Social Services, a court attorney for the Kingston City Court. She has maintained her own general practice for over 17 years and she was assigned counsel to Spanish speaking litigants, as she is fluent in Spanish. All of this and she and her husband have adopted three beautiful children.

Lisa is trying to make people understand that this is no longer about party lines but about having a much-needed woman Supreme Court Judge in our district.

When a woman, young person, or a person of a minority group stand trial they must go in front of a male Judge! Lisa Fisher is trying to add the diversity of having a woman.

Jackie Ryan