I had to read the article, “Conservatives and Republicans Unite,” in the June 18 Saugerties Times, twice before I realized what had happened. The clue was the discussion around Fred Costello, Sr. stating that his son Fred Costello Jr. would not sign Conservative Chairman George Heidcamp’s loyalty oath required of candidates for Conservative Party nomination. The story did not include the wording of the oath, but it was clear that potential candidate had to agree to follow Conservative Party principles and report to Mr. Heidcamp from time to time. All well and good for a Conservative Party member, but what about members from other parties? If it hadn’t been for the Costellos’ refusal, an outside observer wouldn’t even know what had taken place.
Then it struck me. Mr. Heidcamp has carried off a major coup. The chairman of this small party — 441 enrolled members in Saugerties — has effectively taken over the Republican Party Committee representing 3,211 enrolled members in Saugerties. How? Because one of the Conservative Town Board candidates is no other than the now putative chairman of the Saugerties Republican Committee (SRC) Joseph Roberti Jr. So what is to take place? Will Mr. Heidcamp insist on becoming the chairman of the SRC, or will he merely attend their meetings and silently signal to Roberti, thumbs up, thumbs down on any issue that the Republican Committee. Perhaps, the Ulster County Republican Committee might remove Mr. Roberti for disloyalty to the party, or just let it go, because there is no one capable of taking the leadership role of the SRC other than Mr. Heidcamp or Gaetana Ciarlante. These are interesting things to speculate about. Maybe in the end registered Republicans will just have to reenroll in the Conservative Party en masse in an effort to regain control of their committee.
Roberti declares candidacy
I am pleased to announce my candidacy for the Saugerties Town Council. I believe given my past experience serving seven terms in the Ulster County Legislature and spending recent years closely studying town government make me very qualified for this position. I have received the endorsement of the Conservative and Reform Parties and will be seeking the Republican Party line at the upcoming party caucus.
If elected, I pledge to control runaway town spending and to seek to make town operations more efficient, to promote greater government transparency, to reevaluate and enhance economic development efforts, to protect and preserve our local environment — especially the Esopus Creek, and introduce legislation to limit campaign donations from town contractors.
I’m proud of my past record in delivering results for Saugerties residents. I worked with local concerned citizens to keep a mega-dump out of Saugerties. I wrote the “home rule” policy enacted by the County Legislature that prevented a casino from being built in our town and worked with the late Marie Post and state officials to help clean up a hazardous waste tire dump in Quarryville. I’ve worked with community members to place new traffic signals in Barclay Heights and Mt. Marion.
I was early, proud and vocal supporter of Clean Indoor Air Legislation. Working with my legislative colleagues we created the first-ever county program to educate young people about the dangers of smoking and the first-ever county discount prescription drug program. We also adopted legislation to update the county Open Space Plan and adopted policies to protect the environment.
I look forward to meeting and talking with Saugerties residents throughout the summer and fall about the important issues facing our community now and in the future.
Joe Roberti Jr.
Roots of anti-Italian prejudice run deep
In last week’s Saugerties Times, a letter titled “Nativism on Main St.” pertained to an acquaintance of mine who was walking along Main Street in the Village when a jogger glared at her and shouted “Right off the boat.” The comment was a direct insult to someone of Italian descent who was happy to retain her old world culture and appearance of family origin of strong and authentic people.
The burden of prejudice goes back to my grandfather’s time. He told me that when they finally had a house and the assessor came once a year, he would assess Italians higher than others. Knowing these immigrants couldn’t read well and might be timid of new ways in America he got away with this for awhile.
When he came back the next time he tried to raise the assessment again. My grandfather’s friends took the assessor aside and around the back of the house and told him if he tried that again they wouldn’t let him off so easily. The assessor never came back. That’s a true story told to me when I was just a little boy.
My father once told me that during the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, the judge told a friend he “would get them good and proper.” He later gave them the death sentence. On the 50th anniversary of their execution, then-Massachusetts Gov. Dukakis issued a posthumous pardon for the two men wrongly accused of murder.
There is no longer any room for such discrimination in a town whose sign reads, “Welcome to Friendly Saugerties.” As a former representative of Saugerties in the Ulster County Legislature I would like to extend my sincere apology to the writer as I too experienced that same burden when I was ten years old.
I wish to thank all of the registered Conservative Party voters who came out to support my candidacy for Saugerties town supervisor last month. In my nomination speech Mark Knaust referred to me as “instinctively conservative.” I thank Mark for sharing that observation with those present. It is a trait of which I am very proud.
The practice of conservative principles includes cautious, diligent and painstaking consideration prior to use of any and all resources; from natural resources to spending, especially someone else’s hard earned money. When in office I will continue to practice conservative principles, there is no doubt. I am “instinctively conservative.”
I wanted to thank all of the residents and spectators in the village of Saugerties with whom I interacted during the July 4th Parade. I shook a lot of hands and spoke to many people, and I appreciate the compliments on my work in the legislature and on my letters that appear in the paper. Everyone was very festive and hospitable, and the food and beverages were quite tasty. I am looking forward to next year’s parade.
Ulster County Legislature
Throw the bums out
New York State is a first-class state with a third-rate government. Its legislative output this session amounted to schlock, the kind of knock-off goods hawked by shady sidewalk vendors and sold to dear for the junk it is.
There was no real property tax relief, certainly no reform of the horrendous chaotic school tax and no attempt to curb mandates or take Medicaid off the property tax. (New York State is unique in still shifting a big chunk of this burden.)
Local governments and schools will continue to groan under state mandates that effectively avoid state responsibility, tax exemptions to favorite corporations and tax-draining religious bloc holdings will grow.
Giant real estate interests will continue to enjoy favored big-donor status, and you will continue to plan your retirement anywhere but here — what a waste of our beautiful state.
The media is even lending credence to state government’s disgraceful lack of ethics by creating bogus categories of governance as if they had some equivalence or legitimacy “mission” motivated to describe New York City. And mayor’s mojo, as opposed to “transactional” politics to describe Albany. What a load of bull crap!
Albany’s typical “transaction” is to horse trade favors and tax breaks in return for jobs for cronies and payola for the legislators. Do not dignify how the state government operates by giving it a high fallutin’ name.
So what makes it all go away? We do. We do not vote — given half the chance — for an incumbent; and no, we don’t worry that if our legislator — who has been in his/her gerrymandered leather seat for the last 25 years while all this “transactional” schlock was going down — is unseated, the sky will fall. The sky has already fallen, kiddo.
Of course, if instead of the expensive postcards from your public servants taking “credit” (the gall) for all the junk legislation this year, you get an apology, an acknowledgement, a mea culpa from your legislator that the mess isn’t all the fault of the other guy, the other party, the other legislative house but that he/she has been asleep at the switch while the state was driven off the rails, then it might be feasible to reward the candor and the promise to do better.
Failing that unlikely event, you must finally throw them out. You saw the perp walks. You counted the expensive legislative overtime. You saw the amazing attempt to justify the lack of any semblance of decency — “Preet Bharara ate our homework.” You saw the lack of any real ethics legislation. You witnessed the whole sordid operation.
And of course you heard the lies about the big deal property tax relief they scored for you.
Well, don’t spend that $135 — coming maybe in 2016 — “tax relief” all in one place, sucker. You’ll need it for the increase on your bill to compensate for the exemptions for the big boys, or a reassessment, or what you will pay under the so-called cap that isn’t really a cap on your bill no matter what the schlock merchants claim.
So tell me — even absent an abject apology — you’re really going to vote for that guy/gal again? Really?