Letters (February 11-18)

mail-letter-sqWho’s Who?

Who will be our next president and help us to get out of some of the problems and missteps created by our present commander-in-chief and his merry band? Is there a Republican or Democrat hiding behind curtain number three that we don’t know about? Hillary Clinton, the biggest lying phony since, since, since Barry Obama? Maybe not! How about Bernie Sanders, the choice of the young and the restless? Maybe not! Donald Trump, king of generalities and prince of no specifics? If we were at the beach trying to build sand castles…Maybe not!

Marco Rubio, the voice of illegal immigration? Maybe not! Ted Cruz, he of the Dr. Suess diatribe? Maybe not!

So many politicians, so little time. So many millions spent, so many creatively negative ads, so much baby kissing, ass kissing, trolling for more money, meandering bus tours, etc.


Town hall debates and discussions about such important issues as “the right to choose,” “climate change,” “gun control,” camouflage the real issues like ISIS, Russian aggression and empire building, Iranian nuclear power, North Korea’s recklessness, etc. In the end it looks like old same old is just around the corner. What a country!

Greg Safris


Democratic Values

Klaus Gabel writes in your February 4 edition that the County Democrats had a low turnout in 2015 ( 37% of the enrolled Democrats).  The Republicans did not do so much better, 42%.

I support Senator Bernie Sanders because I believe many voters of both of these parties and many independents do not believe that any of the candidates really address their concerns, and that the Democrats and Republicans cannot really be distinguished from each other, especially when they are cross-endorsed. While I do not agree with this conclusion, the efforts of the Saugerties Democratic Committee through the years have failed to inspire a respectable turnout. This poor turnout has not been due to lack of effort and hard work. Democrats in Saugerties have tried hard and the Saugerties Democratic Committee continues in these efforts.

The enthusiasm for Sanders is motivated by his commitment throughout his political life to advocate for the needs of the poor and less affluent and not the super wealthy. He is motivated not by the polls, but by progressive values that he believes will benefit most of us, and he speaks his mind. This is refreshing and energizing in the present lackluster climate of today’s politics.

Mr. Gabel, on the eve of the 2015 election, faulted me for re-stating the progressive Values Statement of the Saugerties Democratic Committee. In his view they had nothing to do with the local elections. I was trying to encourage Democrats to appreciate the values we share and motivate them to show-up at the polls to vote for people who are willing to identify with those values. I do think the response to Bernie is proving Mr. Gabel wrong. Those values speak to the millions of people who want us all to share a better life in this country and in Saugerties.

Lanny Walter


Vision For Clovelea

This is in response to a letter by Carol Cochrane in last weeks Saugerties Times pertaining to the Clovelea mansion in Barclay Heights.

A couple of years ago, the past owner of the property applied for a demolition permit to tear down the building to perhaps build some condominiums on the property. A group of concerned Saugerties citizens (including myself) got together to form an organization to try to save the building, which was then rededicated an important historic landmark by the Historic Review Board. And from my understanding this does not totally protect the building but makes it much more difficult to demolish. I would agree that the building is in desperate disrepair, but one piece of false information stated by the letter writer, and I should mention was perpetrated by this paper, is that the building is ‘burned out.’ It is true that there was a fire in the kitchen when it was a restaurant, but the owner at that time did repairs on the roof where the fire was and in so doing stabilized the structure. I know when the Friends of Clovelea group formed we got permission from the former owner to have several engineers examine the structure who deemed that the original building is structurally sound.

Of course the ugly deteriorating additions when observing the property from the street are very unstable — in fact, the front one collapsed awhile ago under the weight of snow on the roof.

The new present owner, from what I understand, has a vision for the property which would restore the mansion as much as possible respecting its historic stature and creating a profitable business endeavor.

This once glorious building, in my mind, is equal to the wonderful Wilderstein Estate in Rhinebeck and could have the same draw as a destination for Saugerties.

I understand tourism is one of the most important economic drivers for Ulster County as well as Saugerties, so this site would be a great addition to ‘places to visit’ like the Saugerties Lighthouse, Opus 40 and HITS.

To read more about the colorful history of this grand historic site see www.cloveleaestate.com/history

Mark Smith


Inching Toward The Money

This is an answer to a question raised by Hugh Reynolds’ article last week about the sales tax receipts hotly coveted by the county.

Mr. Reynolds noted that the townships, in their pledge of solidarity with the city of Kingston’s position to maintain the “status quo,” did not employ the negotiating tactic of “bargaining up.” By this he begs the question why didn’t the townships demand more than the 3% share of sales tax revenue they currently receive with the aim of “settling” for no less than 3% after the powder is spent and blood has dried on the negotiating floor.

The answer is simple. In the fifteen or so years since the agreement to apportion sales tax 85.5% county, 11.5% Kingston and 3% townships there has not been one complaint, not from the county, city or townships. Not one. All parties were satisfied.

Satisfied, that is, until the county started inching its fingers toward the revenue source. For the townships to suddenly demand more would be as transparent as the county’s sudden naked attempt to see that they get less. It would make us look, well, just as ridiculous.

By the way, kudos to Woodstock’s county legislator Jonathan Heppner for his quick take on this issue, and to Kingston’s Mayor Steve Noble for his successful overture to the towns.

Jeremy Wilber

Editor’s note: Jeremy Wilber is Woodstock Town Supervisor