Letters: May 7-14

mailNote: School-election related letters were posted separately and can be read here.

The real Roberti

I was surprised by some recent letters by Town of Saugerties GOP Chairman Joe Roberti Jr. in which he seems to have taken a stance away from his usually critical and mean spirited style. Why he has even been nice to people and a Republican committeeman told me that Roberti is thinking about endorsing long-time enemy Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel in the upcoming election! If I didn’t know better I would say that he is planning another run for office and along with that comes another position to posture himself into. Joe, I never had a government job I didn’t like, is suddenly concerned with the “well being” of others. Too bad he didn’t show me that same concern when he sent me a blistering e-mail just nine days after I was discharged from St. Peter’s Hospital where I was bedridden for eighteen days and critically ill

Near the end of that letter Chairman Roberti Jr. can be quoted as writing, “the bottom line is this. If you, or any other Republican candidate gets out of line, they/you will be called on the carpet. This especially goes for you. I am writing to advise you that there better not be any disputes between you, the Saugerties GOP and Legislative candidates this year. It will not be tolerated-PERIOD.


Roberti goes on to say, “Please do not respond to this email or attempt any long-winded bull****-filled explanation of your past actions. It won’t fly. This is meant as a constructive assessment of your situation and to let you know that your re-election this year is not guaranteed unless you recognize your situation and change accordingly.”

His subject matter for this ego manic behavior is “Changes to Saugerties GOP Procedures.”

Robert Aiello


The writer is a former Republican county legislator.


Casting off conformity

The first decade and a half of this 21st century has seen much of our awareness made into laws that express Saugerties’ priorities. Still there has continued this assailing of the authentic character of Saugerties by those that prefer the dullness and sameness of Anytown, U.S.A. There seems to be a selection process in our government that prefers those that are indifferent to what is so obviously true about Saugerties. Few endorse this dullness; one reason few vote.

It should be cautioned, however, that if anyone seeks counsel from that level of authority and believes it represents the common will, a deeper look into the community’s past is in order to see where “site approval” really comes from in Saugerties and in all of New York state for that matter. Actually, this awareness will expedite the process whereas assumptions from “hunches” about Saugerties will result in just the opposite.

The dullness and blandness that remains from the compliant behavior of the IBM decades that still permeates our government’s attitudes and criteria when they communicate with developers is no longer appreciated by the community that is now here, and growing.

What has been implied in recent articles in this paper regarding projects planned that want exceptions granted in the restrictive laws that the whole community supports will not work here.

Michael Sullivan Smith



Preservation made Clovelea sale possible

The sale of Clovelea to a buyer with vision is wonderful news. We thank Mr. Moskowitz on behalf of all the residents of the village and the town and, for that matter, Ulster County and New York State. Everyone in Saugerties owes a great debt to the members of the Village Historic Review Board who upheld the State Law on Historic Preservation when other parties wanted it thrown out. A vital part in this satisfying outcome was played by the chairman of the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce. Three cheers and more to all!

Stephen and Lizbeth Shafer



Jaywalking defined

Last First Friday, May 1, I walked the streets of our village of Saugerties

to explain the new jaywalking law that will take place this summer.

Jaywalking (as the police department defines it) was misunderstood by most of the people I encountered.

Most everyone knew if you cross in a designated crosswalk on a green light you are not jaywalking and the driver is liable if you are injured.

But most didn’t know that if you cross the street anywhere at 90 degrees you are still not jaywalking. But you must make sure that the traffic is not moving, and you are liable if anything happens to you.

Only if you cross the street in a diagonal way, as if the road is yours, you are guilty of jaywalking.

Our village is part of Rt. 9w, which is a state road, and as a result huge trucks are passing by. In a village originally created for a horse and buggy we are at the mercy of that predicament

A good friend from the village told me that Saugerties is a measure for “truck drivers in training” and that if they pass Saugerties without scraping the sidewalk or injuring someone they will pass the test.

Also the fact that we have traffic lights making the drivers inpatient regarding pedestrians compared to villages that do not have traffic lights which forces the drivers to be naturally considerate as soon as you put your foot on the road.

See And Be Seen is the name of the game.

It is very important that the village remains a pedestrian-friendly place and a place that will not turn off visitors, which was the first thought in my head when I heard about this law.

It is up to us to clear this misconception about the law in our village, a village that has all this uniqueness about it starting from the history, to the magical streets, to stores, books, antiques, restaurants, farmers market, artist tour, car show, street art, horse event that attracts galloping people from everywhere. And no I’m not running for any office , just a caring citizen. We are the ones that make the village special. The officials are the caretakers only.

Willy Neumann



Watching the watchers

“Trust but verify.”-Ronald Reagan

Good to see the citizens of Saugerties are concerned with the activities of the police department as the letter I received on April 28,2014 states they are “backlogged” and “It may take some time before your FOIL request is processed and complete.”

Well hopefully “sometime” is sooner than later as I am turning another year older or should I say thank God 35 is the new 25 which should lend a few extra days to the conjunction.

Angie Minew



A thank you and an apology

I wanted to thank the community businesses who helped to fund the brochure celebrating the Friends of the Saugerties Library during this, the centennial year of the Carnegie library. They were Seamon-Wilsey Funeral Home, Sawyer Motors, Bishop’s Gate Realty, Helsmoortel Insurance Agency, Helsmoortel Realty Inc., Merritt Construction, Naccarato Insurance Agency Inc., Bob Cranston’s Saugerties Tax Service, Sue’s Restaurant, and Elda and Jen Zulick in memory of Thomas Zulick.


Two of them are not listed in the brochure. Sawyer Motors was approached when the printing was underway — and the contribution came immediately, no questions asked, just as another community service they way they always do it. Seamon-Wilsey was not listed due to my fault, however; and therein lies a fool’s tale.

I need to apologize profusely to Jack Wilsey and Peg Wilsey for their generous contribution to the brochure. Jack was among the first I pestered, and immediately agreed, as he always does for endeavors like this. I am particularly abashed at my omission of their business name, which is a great embarrassment to me. And, as everyone knows, Peg Wilsey’s dedication to the library over the years easily makes her the Andrew Carnegie of Saugerties.

We needed to act quickly to raise the funding for the printing of the brochure, so I went around and asked. Some declined, and some wanted to but could not contribute at that time. I want to thank them too because I know that all of those whom I contacted do things like this, and probably in much greater financial ways, for community causes.

Saugerties is known for a tradition of great benefaction, from Martin Cantine to Roy Helsmoortel to Bobby Siracusano and Thomas Struzzieri. Our town is also known for its tradition of generous support by families and individuals — especially in sports — and in this case the whole economic spectrum of successful businesses stood up for Saugerties and our library.

These brochure contributors, as we all know, are but the spring flowering of a much larger and brighter garden of community support that characterizes this town. Businesses in Saugerties traditionally, persistently and gladly support community events — I think we have more of them than in many other communities of our size.

Everybody loves the library, isn’t that true? I have visited 20 or 30 of them since my book tour began last May, and almost all of them knew about Saugerties and the remarkable addition that transformed our Carnegie into such a marvelous institution (turns out most of them also are glad to know or know of Frank Rees, too!) — and this from the directors of a truly fine array of beautiful libraries. What a tribute to Saugerties from its regional library peers.

Eleanor Redder pulled together this ad hoc committee, got it running, and stayed at it until the job was done. (Arf-arf.) The great photos are almost all by Nancy Forsythe, whose early design served as the model for what Mark Smith polished into that fine product that is out there today. Elaine White and Fred Backhaus came through for the Friends just when needed, and— mirabile dictu! —the final product, thanks also to the UPS Store, was something rare and beautiful.

Don’t you agree? I guess that’s just the way it goes in friendly Saugerties.

Vernon Benjamin



Is the mall doomed?

From comments on the fate of the Hudson Valley Mall in Kingston, posted to Saugertiesx.com and social media.

“It’s going to end up either like South Hills mall in Poughkeepsie or will have to turn into another galleria mall. If it turned into a galleria the traffic would be a nightmare for Kingston. People are watching their spending as the area is expensive in taxes, energy is out of control prices. Very sad.” — Karen Durant

“There is no industry here and no jobs.” —Taren M. Wrighton

“There is nothing to support a better mall, people have to travel far just to work a decent job and cost of living is awful. I left and so has most of my family. It’s a beautiful place to live but that is not enough anymore, you have to be able to eat and pay the bills. Ulster County is very difficult to get ahead in and selling a house is impossible. Having moved to a cheaper state I realize I had no idea how tough it was there and how much better it could be.” — Beverly Brauer

“Finally someone hits the nail on the head! Mid-level malls are failing, not because of internet sales, but because the middle class is falling into poverty and has no money to spend!” —Julie Wehmeyer