Letters (July 23-30)


mail-letter-sqFreedom, not political opportunism

Our founding fathers created the Declaration of Independence and I believe that would be considered “political opportunism.”

Many of you are familiar with the statement in the Declaration of Independence, “we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal.” Do we know the rest? “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

The colonists wanted national and legal rights hence why they created and signed the Declaration of Independence. Gratification should be found in allowing people to seek opportunities and moments and not place limits on our opportunities based on the thoughts and feelings of others. It is my hope that the Fourth of July committee would not hinder the rights of Saugerties citizens and subject us to control of opportunity because that legal right angered someone watching a parade celebration. I would hope that the parade committee would continue on in the footsteps of founding fathers as outlined in Declaration of Independence. Isn’t that after all what all of us were there celebrating?


Angie Minew


Editor’s note: The writer, a candidate for County Legislature, was criticized by another letter-writer last week for entering a political float in the July 4 parade.


The use of power

I appreciated Mr. Heidcamp’s letter (Saugerties Times, July 16) clarifying the origin of the Conservative Party’s loyalty oath and its county-wide application. He certainly displays becoming modesty about his part in its origin, although it is hard to believe that he was only one in many in its creation. Of course, he indicates that it isn’t designed to control the signers, just for them to agree to support Conservative Party principles, but he doesn’t publish the loyalty oath so the reader can judge for oneself.

Regarding his remarks about Fred Costello earning only seven votes out of 44, I think it just shows how little the Conservative voters regard a person of principle. One has to remember that Mr. Costello along with his colleagues Leeanne Thornton and Greg Helsmoortel as well as Doug Myer all left the Republican Party because of that party’s leadership telling them what to do in performing their official duties.

Finally, Mr. Heidicamp asks why I, a registered Democrat, am interested in this matter. This is the political season and one must say that the development of a loyalty oath by one party that the chairman of another is willing to sign is, I think, rather dramatic. Since Mr. Roberti is familiar with trying to control elected officials, I would think this shows how desperate he is to be elected. Clearly Mr. Roberti is a most flexible politician, one where principles are only impediments to getting elected and achieving one’s self-interest.

Charles Lantz


Roberti for Town Board

I’m glad to hear that Joe Roberti Jr. is running for the Saugerties Town Board. Joe established himself as a independent thinker during his time as an Ulster County legislator. Our Town Board needs an independent thinker such as Joe.

Joe supported laws to prohibit smoking in bars, restaurants and other public places before it was popular. He helped protect our community from being the site of a mega-dump and casino and worked with local residents to clean-up a dangerous waste tire dump in Quarryville.

Joe will not be a rubber stamp for large spending increases and will work to make town government more open and accessible for taxpayers. I urge my fellow Republicans to support Joe at the Republican Caucus on Aug. 6.

Ross Simera


Lowering health care costs

As I have spoken to residents across Saugerties in recent weeks, I have heard one common complaint about our health care system: prescription drugs are too costly. Unfortunately, the cost of many prescription medications have increased in the last 18 months after various components of the Affordable Care Act have been implemented. As the Affordable Care Act becomes incrementally integrated into our health care system, health insurance companies have chosen to increase the co-pays associated with various prescription medications in order to maintain their profit margins. In 2009, it was reported in the media that health insurance companies only make profit margins of 2-4 percent which is actually not true if one factors in all of the depreciation that health insurance companies are able to write-off on their taxes from the depreciated valuation of their buildings, office equipment, motor vehicles and computers. All of this depreciated money goes straight into their cash flow and into the pockets of the wealthy executives who run the insurance companies. A legislative solution would be to have health insurance companies take a lower rate of depreciation relative to what is allowed for tradition manufacturing industries and other businesses. This would allow our federal government to have a better handle on determining how much money health insurance companies actually make in a given fiscal year. In addition, there needs to be a mechanism of price controls implemented into the costs associated with prescription drugs in order to prevent our citizens from the price gauging that occurs. It is unfortunate that the politicians in Washington and Albany have allowed the lawyers, lobbyists and executives from the health insurance companies and the drug companies to control our health care system. We need elected officials in government who will stand up for the citizens and not the special interests of those who truly control the health care system and the prescription drug industry.

Chris Allen
Ulster County Legislature


Patriotic service organization summer barbecue

​When I first heard that Artie Russell, a member of Saugerties SOS (Support Our Servicepeople), had lost his house in a fire, I was thankful that neither he nor his family were physically harmed. My second thought was “What can we do to help him​?” Art has been a friend to all and helps everyone else out, myself included. About five years ago the theme of the Saugerties July 4th parade was past heroes and it was then that I learned that one of Art’s ancestors who lived in this area had been a scout for the Colonies during the Revolutionary War. Maybe it’s in the genes but Art himself is a Vietnam War veteran and his son, Matt, served three tours in Iraq and was awarded the Silver Star for his heroic action.

During one of Matt’s tours Art became a hardworking member of SOS (Support our Service People) and it was then that I got to witness first hand his devotion to his fellow men and women. I even witnessed Art’s befriending of the neighborhood squirrels who came to share in his peanuts whenever they spotted his presence on his front porch.

​For the past 10 years SOS had held a summer BBQ. This year SOS will be donating all proceeds from the BBQ to the rebuilding of the Russell homestead. This event will be a joint effort involving the Saugerties American Legion and the Paul Luke Band and much more which will be announced in upcoming weeks. This benefit BBQ will take place on Saturday afternoon on Aug. 15 starting at 2 p.m. with the Paul Luke Band playing their Catskill Mountain Rock till 4 p.m. The Paul Luke Band has a long history of supporting veterans and for many years was a driving force behind the Nam Jams. Further musical entertainment for this event and for a guest speaker are being scheduled.

The Lamouree-Hackett Post #72 of the American Legion, of which Russell is also a member, is opening its doors and providing a venue for this event. The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness and supports many worthy community causes.

SOS was formed in 2003 and since that time has sent thousands of care packages to our American troops during their deployments. It also makes donations to local injured members of the military and to families who have suffered a casualty as a result of a deployment. It has also provided community education events on patriotism and supporting the troops. It is a 501(c)(3) and donations may be tax-deductible.

So please save the date. Tickets will be available from any member of SOS.

Gaetana Ciarlante
Founder and director, SOS