“The new sheriff in town” is neither a sheriff nor is he new.
Lanny Walter has lived in Saugerties for over 50 years, working as a people’s lawyer, community organizer and dedicated to the principles of progressive and positive change.
What is new, is a shift of power on the newly elected and more balanced School Board.
What is also new is the creation of a “radical left-wing liberal” menace. What is not new is creating a menace in response to opposition.
As for the “true doomsday” prediction, this threat has consistently proved false.
Lanny’s no radical
Lanny Walter “radical left-wing”? Lanny Walter who has been serving every good project in Saugerties for at least the past 30 years? George Heidcamp lives on a different planet from the rest of us.
Lanny was on the creation committee for the Boys and Girls Club. Radical left-wing? As chairman of the Saugerties Concerned Citizens he protected the beautiful 800-plus-acre Winston Farm from becoming a mega-dump. Radical left wing? He served as chair also for No Saugerties Casino, which protected the same beautiful farm from becoming a mega-casino and the farmland itself from becoming Indian sovereign territory off limits to local control or taxation. Radical left wing? He served on the Saugerties School Board for six years (George Heidcamp may know that’s a lot of work) and the BOCES board for twelve; first I’ve heard those were ever hotbeds of radical left activity.
He is the lawyer who sued pro bono to secure the right to vote for poll watchers and workers who were being deprived of that right because their duties kept them away from their own polling places. How radical left-wing is it to protect a public servant’s right to vote? Then there is his involvement in promoting the farmers’ market, the annual artists’ tours, street cleaning campaigns.
Lanny Walter is and has always been a tireless worker for the good of Saugerties and I hope he will be for decades to come.
An irresistible provocation
I resisted — well not completely — the clinical psychologist part of me in my reaction to George Heidcamp’s quote in “Conservatives and Republicans unite,” June 18, 2015, Saugerties Times: “There’s a new sheriff in town,” he said, “His name is Lanny Walter and he’s a radical left-wing liberal.” I do know Lanny, a dedicated citizen of our town, to be concerned about the disenfranchised, underprivileged, insufficiently represented. I know him to be intelligent, well educated, informed, humanistic as well as a sterling person, but I didn’t know he had been appointed Sheriff of the Radical Left-Wing Liberals of which I’m sure Chairman Heidcamp, like another chairman we all have heard of who demanded pledges of loyalty of his subjects, would define me. So be it. I admit to being a Liberal. And a Democrat. OMG, a Liberal Democrat! LOL!
Last week’s front page headline: “Barbarians at the Gate” could well have served for this week’s headline news. If anyone reading this gets any government benefits, including Medicare or Social Security, pay attention: These folks and their ilk are out to get you! We’ll have devastating oil tanker and pipeline explosions, too! Concerned about the health of our one and only Earth? You must be a Radical Left-Wing Liberal!
Name-calling, not substance
You wrote and published a POLTIX article in your June 18 edition of the Saugerties Times. You chose to include a quote from the Conservative party chair: “There’s a new sheriff in town. His name is Lanny Walter and he’s a radical left-wing liberal.” Democrats are not name-callers; we prefer addressing issues that touch the lives of people. For me Lanny is a pragmatist who for the past 25 years has worked with people of all political persuasions to keep an incinerator and landfill off the Winston Farm, to oppose a Casino on the Farm, to contribute his time and intelligence to the Saugerties School Board and BOCES, to find a productive way to develop the Winston Farm, to oppose the Pilgrim Pipeline and to engage in electoral politics. His contributions have been constructive and I am confident he will continue along those lines as chair of the Saugerties Democratic Committee.
The approach of attacking a party chair rather than facing up to issues and the qualifications of the candidates is merely political rhetoric and a diversion. While the Democratic Town Caucus is still in the future, the Executive Board has recommended Greg Helsmoortel for supervisor, Leeanne Thornton and Fred Costello Jr. for Town Board and Doug Myer for highway superintendent. I had the honor of nominating Chris Allen for the Legislature at the Democratic County Convention and Lanny seconded him. All our candidates are individuals who avoid political labels. They have pursued their work as elected officials in a professional and dignified manner, and will build upon their experience to move forward and help create an even brighter future for Saugerties and Ulster County.
Don’t give racists a pass
Let’s not allow people with their own limited political agenda to twist the facts in the racial massacre in South Carolina. The Christian right-wing is already trying to portray this tragedy as an assault on their narrow-minded political religion. This murder is clearly racially motivated as borne by witnesses and the murderer himself. He said that he had to commit this murder because blacks are raping white women and taking over the country. He insisted that “I have to do this” and spoke racially charged epithets while shooting these innocent people.
Twisting the facts does nothing but detract from the racial problems that continue to plague our country, especially in the south where the Confederate flag is still a symbol of pride despite its message of hate and slavery. It is time for us to take stock and hold ourselves, individually, responsible for ending racism. It’s a tall order but for starters you can help by calling out people who make racial jokes or comments. Do not give them a pass.
And keep this in mind. The murderer’s comments mimicked those of Donald Trump made just days before. Trump called Mexicans rapists and said they are taking over our country. Perhaps there’s no correlation, but we must be mindful that hateful comments breed hateful actions.
Jo Galante Cicale