Letters (October 1-8)

mail-letter-sqDisturbing allegations

I was disturbed and appalled to read about the allegations against Chris Allen, a public official. Mr. Allen is entitled to his day in court, and is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

However, public officials are held to a higher standard. These charges will be resolved by our criminal justice system. The leadership of the Ulster County does not support these types of actions for candidacy in a reelection or election.

Violence against women has no place in our society. My thoughts are with the victim and the students who witnessed the conduct of Mr. Allen. I wish to thank the victim and the students as well as Mr. Bain for their volunteer work. We need more people like them in all communities.


I started my campaign for the Ulster County Legislature because I am looking to bring our community together and make Ulster County and Saugerties a better place to live. I am continuing my campaign and I ask the community for its support.

Angie Minew


The writer is opposing Allen for District 2 of the County Legislature.


A ramble on education

The level of discourse on this subject has degenerated and thus, in need of new consideration, a fresh analysis. Printed books are a relatively new phenomena especially regarding “we the people.” How many of our immediate ancestors, grandparents etc. went to college or were literate at all. So today we are trying to educate more of the people that we care about and should recognize that, really, we are trying to have them be able to get diplomas, improve their class, earn more money, getting a good education is a secondary boon. Consider Trump; money or critical thinking? Education, brain gymnastics, as contrasted with physical gymnastics, should be considered almost in a separate category from schooling. It too is a physical process. Brain-building, learning, is much like muscle-building. It happens naturally, but going to the gym helps, doing sports helps. So for brain development, experience and doing something with that experience helps. Attention, experimentation, trial and error, repetition all help. Much of this is evident. We are simply following ancient models. Still we have lost our way, discord reigns.

A major impediment is the world we live in, the social environment. Money has become all important, the more the better. Our one-world approach has led to great increases in efficiency, in farming, shipping, production of almost anything material. Mechanization, mass production, the integrated circuit, miniaturization, energy delivery and so many changes have contributed to stuff delivery. Our perseverance in minimizing human effort or “work” has succeeded beyond the strangest science fiction. We don’t need people much anymore. The chairs are fewer; all kinds of jobs are disappearing including musical. No joke, consider drones delivering mail and driverless Uber and pilotless trucks and planes. Not my fault, this is simple linear extrapolation by investors and designers. The problem is the musical chair game that surrounds education. How to deal with it. The sooner students are made aware of this chair quandary the better. If they want money help them to get the few jobs left or help them to start a small businesses and cooperatives. Give them the educational tools to build their own homes, plumbing, wiring, growing plants; recycle so they don’t need lots of money. If you want to brain educate them teach them what attention span is and how to develop it. How to focus, how to overcome adversity, meet challenges. How to be honest with where they are at and that it can always get better with effort. Whatever their level, they can improve. The higher they aim the safer the lower rung. Education can be pleasurable just like baseball. Early knowledge of ourselves helps. Being lost hurts. Teach them that the sun rises supporting the idea that faith exists and that religions are sweet fables and old books lose relevance simply because the world keeps changing.

Joe DiMattio
West Camp


Ignorance at town hall

Just as in my concern voiced a few months ago about the paid staff of the town not understanding the functions of the volunteer committees and boards, the same with the dispatcher that was unable to supply a remedy to an enforcement request, and the wrong terminology used by the code enforcement officer.

First, there is a stop-work order and consequently no certificate of occupancy in effect on Clovelea. If there was a condemnation order there would be an engineer’s report detailing the cause.

Second, no one should be manning a position that communicates with the general public without training in the procedures of the job with, at the least, a crib sheet for answers; at the most, a computer program that responds to key word prompts. The response of the dispatcher should have been exactly what the chief said in the interview. Because it wasn’t we get all this, to quote the mayor, BS.

For what we pay to run the town and village those in these jobs should at least practice what they had to know to pass their civil service exam to get the job. Nowhere in there are they encouraged to be creative in what they convey as fact.

Michael Sullivan Smith


Helsmoortel’s fiscal mismanagement

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office has rated the town of Saugerties as being ​in​ “moderate fiscal stress.” This annual rating which is to ​be ​used as a guide for municipalities ​for​ financial planning is the third annual report which began ​in 2013. The Saugerties fiscal stress rating places the town in the second highest rating of fiscal concern and among 11 municipalities out of 1600-plus which were reviewed by the Comptroller’s office. In all only 43 local governments showed some sign of fiscal stress.

The most disturbing information in ​the report is the annual increase in Saugerties’ rating, taking us from 44.2 to 60.8 percent over a three-year period and a projection of 68 percent, the highest rating of fiscal stress, for the current year.

According to the Daily Freeman, town of Saugerties Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel’s response to this report is that he does “not agree ​with​​ their methodology.” ​But what has Mr. Helsmoortel done to investigate their methodology or implement an intervention in order to improve the town’s fiscal status?​ ​His response is lackadaisical and troubling to those of us who care about the future of our town and our ability to afford to remain in Saugerties.

As a concerned​,​ active ​and lifelong ​citizen in the ​town of Saugerties I ​attend​ almost all Town Board meetings. I have witnessed​,​ spoken against ​and even formed organizations ​opposing the Town Board’s decisions that increase town expenditures ​and liabilities ​which will be paid in one form or another by the​ taxpayers. Unfortunately these concerns seem to fall on deaf ears.​

This is the primary reason that I am running for town supervisor on election day, ​Nov. 3. We are all paying for the poor management of this current administration’s loose spending and poor choices. Together we can replace th​e town supervisor and the board members which have been in office for 12-16 years​. This crew has​ placed a financial yoke around Saugerties​ and a stranglehold of regulations preventing any substantial growth. Together we can​ replace it with a team ​which applies solutions for fiscal solvency for the betterment of town government and Saugerties residents.​ You can choose the new team on Row C.​ Give change a chance.​

​Gaetana Ciarlante


The opiate problem

In September, the Ulster Coalition Against Narcotics made a detailed presentation to the Ulster County Legislature. During the presentation, a woman told the story of how her 22-year-old son had recently overdosed on heroin and died. Her son’s death was particularly tragic, because she had been fighting with her health insurance company for several months over the company’s refusal to pay for a drug treatment program. The insurance company had informed her that her son “would have to fail” before they would be willing to pay for a drug treatment facility. At the end of her speech, she described how her son had failed to the point where he died from a drug overdose.

At the hearing, doctors and mental health professionals described how there is a shortage of health clinics that provide opiate-blocking drugs, and how there is also a need for more mental health-based treatment facilities and counselors who can assist addicts to effectively manage and beat their addiction problems. At this point in time, the battle against opiate addiction is primarily at the awareness stage. With this in mind, how can government and society work together to formulate effective strategies that move beyond the awareness stage? On the issue of health insurance companies refusing to pay for drug treatment programs, our society is facing a conundrum, because no single member of the Unites States Congress is willing to go after the for-profit insurance companies in order to force them to cover various modes of treatment (including drug treatment facilities) that are listed in individual health insurance policies. On this issue, Congress is gutless through their unwillingness to reform coverage protocols in the health insurance industry, and as a result, our health care system suffers as do all of the residents of the United States through the inferior coverage that we receive from health insurance companies.

On the state-level, for-profit addiction rehabilitation facilities can receive tax-based incentives to set up treatment facilities though incentives that lower their property tax assessment after investments are put into the property. Drug and addiction treatment centers that are non-for-profit can apply for government-based grants in order to facilitate their presence in a community, and a streamlining of the grant application processes for such drug and addiction treatment centers could foster a proliferation of such facilitates throughout Ulster County and New York State. In addition, I believe that we should expand upon the availability of mental health treatment programs, counselors and medical centers that administer opiate-blocking drugs. These efforts coupled with an increase in drug educational programs within our public school system can make a difference. These efforts against opiate addiction can also start at home through closer involvement between parents and guardians with their children. If a concerted effort is combined between parents, family, school officials, law enforcement and various levels of government, we can make a positive contribution towards eradicating the heroin and opiate epidemic that is plaguing our nation!

Chris Allen
Ulster County legislator


Poor argument

I am writing in response to the Sept. 26 opinion letter by Susan Puretz, rightly entitled “Bigoted letter,” as her letter is. Her letter employs ad hominem reasoning: It appeals to her prejudices, emotions and special interests rather than her intellect or reason; it attacks the person of Fred Nagel in order to discredit his opinion; it attacks his character and motivations rather than his position. I believe I understand from this viperous letter that Susan feels criticism of Israel is an attack upon her very own personhood — which may explain why supporters of Zionist Israel cannot bear to face criticism of the Israeli state. I would like to see Susan explain in a follow-up letter how she believes Israel is not an “apartheid” state or how Israel has not been acting in a “genocidal” way towards the Palestinian people. I’m certain that Fred Nagel will justly respond to her argument.

Jane Toby