I think I was one of the last in the tradition of hiring professionals when I taught high school. By 1976 when new tenure rules made a teaching degree mandatory I moved on. Twenty years later Massachusetts instituted its standards, nullified licenses from teacher mills and began to hire professionals into teaching positions that actually had experience thinking for themselves that students could emulate. That same period saw a national push by employers and colleges to change the course that had been leading to such a lack of qualified high school graduates coming their way. It took a decade for this to become the Common Core but for that entire time the successes in Massachusetts were guiding the development.
As a person that stays up to date I was totally dismayed when the Beacon response in Oct. of 2013 initiated this whole campaign against the Common Core. It was done by uninformed people with personal gain over the needs of the community as their concern; a perfect formula for apolitical bandwagon and an embarrassment to New York State. Politicians do nothing but get attention for themselves. Learned professionals actually doing something are always the target for their peevish behavior. The successful politicizing of Common Core only proves the politicians’ assessment that ignorance is the norm of the electorate.
In my opinion anyone that makes a statement that the Common Core is bad for education either has never successfully applied their education or is clueless as to what education is for. In either case, they prove the case for Common Core.
Michael Sullivan Smith
If you haven’t heard, Ulster County Legislator Chris Allen was allegedly involved in a physical altercation on Sept. 19. He was attempting to park where he should not have. The victim, a school teacher, told him he couldn’t and needed to move. According to the victim, Chris got out of his car and pulled on the lanyard around her neck with enough force to leave abrasions. Chris told local media that it was nothing and it was only an altercation that will lead to nothing. I personally don’t see how someone with such anger and rage can make decisions for us when he can’t make the right ones for himself. We need to ensure that this coming election we do not elect someone that can harm others.
Allen must resign
In lieu of recent events regarding the current District 2 Legislator Chris Allen I feel he should do the “right thing” and step down from office and the race! I am ashamed of Allen’s actions. I see the legislator position as being like a policeman, fireman, EMT, soldier, sailor or marine. We represent the uniform or the seat. We hold those positions 24 hours a day and seven days a week and we should represent our positions with duty, honor and respect. His private life is his own but as an elected official I would hold MYSELF to a higher standard. That said I will keep my comments to this matter limited due to the current ongoing investigation. Ulster County deserves better! And as a voter and a veteran I feel that values comes before vote-ability. I will not focus on Mr. Allen’s issues. I will let the State Police do their jobs. Currently my job if elected is to focus on the issues at hand. Which is getting Ulster County back on the right track. Brining jobs back to Ulster County, tourism where I feel the Catskill Mountain Railroad is a critical component of the recovery, lowering taxes, stopping the growing heroin problem, stopping Common Core, repealing the SAFE Act, taking care of veterans issues and elderly rights. We all need to stay on course. With responsibility comes accountability and as the truth is unveiled, the system will make Mr. Allen accountable for his actions.
The writer is a candidate for County Legislature District 2.
I want to thank all of the voters who voted for me Sept. 10 and all of those voters who exercised their democratic right to vote. All registered voters are entitled to vote for whomever they choose to vote for, and no one deserves to be bullied or shamed into voting for someone based upon party affiliation, and no one should be berated in an attempt to make them feel guilty for the choice they made in the voting booth. Our freedom as citizens of the United States to vote for who we chose is what makes the United States a free and democratic society. Any undue pressures and bullying tactics that creates duress in the minds of voters is tyrannical and unacceptable within the confines of a free and democratic society, and it is unfortunate that such practices still take place in local elections around Saugerties and Ulster County.
During my dialogue with thousands of voters over the last four months, I have been allotted the opportunity to address some specific concerns that have been expressed to me by some of my constituents. In the last two weeks, one voter expressed a concern about the lack of mental health professionals that are available through the social service system affiliated with Ulster County government. In response, I am now looking into a potential proliferation of support groups from those suffering from depression or other emotional and mental health issues. Unfortunately as a result of many budgetary cuts in the last seven years, mental health programs have been cut. With the demand for mental health services increasing rather than declining, this has resulted in a shortage of services available to Ulster County residents. Perhaps some communal-based support groups that are augmented with support from the county and volunteers will fill some of the void left by these cuts in Ulster County government’s Mental Health Services. In addition, after a discussion with a family in District 2, an unsafe railroad crossing has been called to my attention. In response, I have phoned CSX Railroad in order to get them to come in and remove the excessive amounts of crushed stone that they left behind after they repaired some rail-lines back in May. A constituent request like this is of utmost importance, and I responded accordingly once I was notified of the situation.
Ulster County Legislature
Minew’s party status
Meeting many of you on the campaign trail and most ask either what party are you with or what lines you have. I am not enrolled until officially on Nov. 4, I will be an enrolled Conservative. I am asked why did I wait all this time to enroll in a party and why exactly did I select Conservative. After examining all parties I came to the conclusion that my beliefs lined more with the Conservative belief system. Although Republican and Independence parties concentrate their beliefs in conservative values I waited until I was educated, versed, and had a personal stake in the issues and topics to fully make my selection. Political views are a personal choice and should be made when you have invested in the outcome. I am only 35 years old. I moved to Saugerties with my family in 2008. It wasn’t until I realized the implications of taxes and the cost of living in the 2009/2010 election at the school level did I believe I could have a personal influence. In 2009/2010 I did consider running for School Board. I had the petition complete but at the last minute decided my family was too young and never turned in the petitions. Then I ran in 2013 and was successful. My voting record within the school also aligns with the Conservative and Republican values. At 18 it’s difficult to know what party line or truly what you beliefs are. Most voters become vested in a community when they become a homeowner, a parent, or an event happens to encourage civic responsibility. I’ll say for me it was all three. And it continues. I am not a politician and did not grow up here in Saugerties. I’m a regular woman, mom, wife, business owner, and person who believes in Saugerties. I am willing to work for solutions as I have seen firsthand what situations can arise if you are not educated and evolved within your local community.
Saugerties legislative district 2 has over 1,600 registered voters that are not enrolled in a party. When going door to door I came across many people who were not enrolled or were Independent. Being registered Independent many thought was actually being not enrolled in a party. Or I found people that did not know what party they were affiliated with. If you are anything like me you now have 2.5 children, live in a community where you have a vested interest, pay taxes, and are estimated 35 years old.
Repeal SAFE Act
At the August Saugerties Town Board meeting I made a verbal request to the board to pass a resolution calling for the repeal of the New York State SAFE Act. Following the meeting it was suggested to me by a board member that getting a petition to bring forth to the Town Board would help in getting such a resolution passed.
At the Sept. 16 Town Board meeting I presented the suggested petition with over 100 signatures calling for repeal of the SAFE Act and made a second verbal request along with other Second Amendment supporters. As with most requests made to the Town Board, the members remained mute.
I am hoping their muteness will transform into action which is needed at a local level to show state officials that we have not forgotten about their unconstitutional infringement on our Second Amendment rights. Such a resolution was taken by the Ulster County Legislature in June to show Albany that citizens care about their rights to protect themselves.
In March 2013, GOP Town Board candidate Bill Schirmer was a key proponent of passing a strong resolution calling for repeal of the SAFE Act. At that time the proposed resolution did not pass. Now in his second year as a Town Board member we hope that Bill will bring forth that former enthusiasm and respond affirmatively to for call for action and carry the resolution to a successful passage.
Town supervisor candidate