Letters (March 3-10)

mail-letter-sqSaugerties Conservatives like Heaney

The Ulster County Conservative Party voted to endorse Andrew Heaney for Congress District 19. The Town of Saugerties Conservative Party wholeheartedly supported this choice. Mr. Heaney is a young man who took the reins of a small family business when his Dad died and grew the business into a successful multi-state enterprise. He is an American success story. He is a hard working businessman, a husband and a father. His strong sense of civic commitment inspired him to run for public office. He knows firsthand how difficult it is to make payroll and provide decent salaries for those who work in his companies. His experience in business and navigating the complex government regulations is extremely important and helpful in developing policies for economic growth. Mr. Heaney has the know-how to make it easier for business to grow in the Hudson Valley. We need growth and good paying jobs so our children can afford to stay in New York.

Others are interested in this Congressional seat. Career politicians are not what we need. We can see how Albany and Washington work and we need to change that mindset. Please support Andrew Heaney as the Conservative Party candidate in a Primary election. Elect a man with integrity and ethics, Andrew Heaney.

George D Heidcamp Sr.
Town Saugerties Conservative Party

 

Support the arts in Saugerties

The Saugerties High School drama club will present Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella on April 29 and April 30. Our performers are grateful to have been invited to participate in First Friday, March 4 at Main Street Restaurant from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. We also plan to perform at Kingston Hospital and TenBroeck Commons.

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We are able to attend these events because of the support from the school district, but we also want to serve our community! We hope every family in Saugerties will reserve April 29 and 30 to attend our performances. Additionally, if you would like to provide financial support for this exceptional musical event, please support arts in our schools by visiting Kickstarter.com and search ‘Saugerties.’ Be a part of theater in Saugerties!  Support the arts, our students and live entertainment in Saugerties. But do it today! Our project must be funded by March 7. Thank you to all who support our ambitions!

Jackie and Alex Hayes, Director
Saugerties

 

Stop the pipeline

On February 24, 2015 the Saugerties Democratic Committee (SDC) adopted a Resolution asking the New York State Thruway Authority to reject use of its right-of-way for the purpose of oil and gas pipelines between Albany and Linden, New Jersey. The pipelines will carry crude oil fracked from Bakken Shale, which is highly flammable, from north to south, and will carry thousands of gallons of fuel oil northward while we travel along side in our cars and trucks. The pipelines pose a danger to structures, drinking water, surface water and streams running through the Town, to first responders and to the value of our homes. The SDC continues to oppose this new infrastructure which expands reliance upon fossil fuel, rather than turning our dependency for energy to safe renewable sources like the sun and wind power.

The Coalition against the Pilgrim Pipelines is holding a public meeting on March 8 at 7 p.m. at the Senior Center to educate the community about where the environmental review now stands for this proposal, and to give every concerned citizen an opportunity to be heard and assistance in making certain that all of our concerns are addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement that will be prepared. SDC supports CAPP’s ongoing effort throughout the Hudson Valley to resist imposing on Saugerties and its neighboring communities north and south  hazardous oil pipelines. Please plan to attend the meeting so your concerns will be addressed.

Lanny Walter, Chair
Saugerties

 

Hypocritical Hein and the $15 minimum wage

Ulster County Executive Hein criticized local municipalities for not using savings from the county takeover of Safety Net and election costs to lower property taxes. Although he may have a point, it’s hypocritical for Hein to criticize local government spending at the time he’s supporting a $15 state minimum wage that will impose a massive unfunded mandate on Saugerties and every municipality in Ulster County.

The state is considering increasing the minimum wage from $9 to $15 per hour over a five year period. My analysis shows this will increase Town of Saugerties spending by over $140,000 based on the current budget — making it even harder to remain within the property tax cap. A $15 minimum wage also means the town may have to eliminate the Summer Recreation Program, which employs mostly minimum wage workers and currently operates at a deficit. A large salary increase will likely make the program untenable without a large fee increase.

Experts believe that a drastic minimum wage increase will have a negative economic impact in rural areas like Ulster County. Local job growth will be curtailed as most of the new jobs created in the county pay under $15 per hour. Local non-profit groups will also feel the impact. Daycare expenses for families will increase and it will be harder for young people to find jobs.

It’s extremely disappointing that Hein would support this plan without fully understanding the impacts to Ulster County residents, especially at a time when he’s hypercritical of local municipal spending.

Joe Roberti, Jr.
Saugerties

 

Crude oil trains not from Port of Albany

Good reporting in “Village trustees will consider anti-Pipeline resolution” (February 18) left a crucial point unclear: the routing of crude oil trains on the CSX River Line. These feared “bomb trains” do not originate in or pass through the Port of Albany, nor do they deliver to anywhere within 50 miles of  Linden, New Jersey. Thus the pipeline proposed Port–to-Linden would not, could not, replace a single train. Nonetheless, many people seeing the trains rolling south wrongly conclude the pipeline would reduce, even banish, them.

Pipelines can leak, they have read, but  trains can blow up and level a village. “The oil has to move somehow,” they observe, “Give us the pipeline.”

Such a risk-benefit analysis sounds reasonable, but does not apply here. The  risks of moving crude in the proposed Pilgrim pipeline can’t be weighed against those of moving it down the River Line in “bomb trains” that are independent of the proposed pipeline course.

Moreover, there is no requirement for 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude to “move somehow” from the Port to Linden. “Pilgrim” pretends that an average of 200,000 bpd has moved by barge between those points “every year.” [George Bochis in Saugerties Times, January 29, 2015]. In fact, the rate over the last 12 months has been one-tenth as much, a relative trickle in  the mid-Atlantic refinery supply stream.

The Pilgrim Pipeline project is unnecessary. It  would also be harmful.

Today’s crude oil unit trains are dangerous to every community they transit. If the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline were to move 200,000 bpd of crude oil from the Port, to fill it would require three times as many “bomb trains” to go through New York State to the Port of Albany as have been making that trip in the last year. These add-ons would not be on the River line, but would harm every community they traversed as they rolled from west and north into the City of Albany.

Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline Saugerties, of which I am a member, asks readers to call Gov. Cuomo at 518-474-8390 and request him to deny longitudinal use of the NYS Thruway Right of Way to Pilgrim Transportation of New York State, Inc.

Stephen Shafer
Saugerties

 

Where are we? Kingston? Rt. 17 in New Jersey?

I just saw in last week’s Saugerties Times the artist’s rendering of the proposed Holiday Inn to be built on the Winston Farm property near the Thruway. In the rendering the building looks like it could be a hospital or office building. I don’t understand why we in Saugerties think we have to accept these ‘corporate template’ style buildings when a company wants to develop property here. This building in my opinion has no charm or appeal or adds to the rural ambiance which I think Saugerties holds dear. I presume folks come to visit our ‘little corner of the world’ to get away from the mundane, anywhere look of their areas. And now we are going along again with what the corporation wants.

Take a drive through Hyde Park on Rt. 9 just across the river to see how a rural community can address new corporate development in a style that is consistent with a country atmosphere…even the McDonald’s is charming!

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Folks, we in Saugerties can do it if we want! This is especially important in the fact that tourism is the most important economic driver in Ulster County and Saugerties. If you agree, please let the Saugerties Planning Board know how you feel.

Mark Smith
Saugerties

 

The difference

In local conversations, I have been particularly concerned about the meanings of ‘anti-Zionism’ and ‘anti-Semitism.’ Are they one and the same? Are there distinctions between them? A child in the 1940’s, I was raised in a New York Jewish family under the horrific shadow and unimaginable abuses of ‘anti-Semitism.’ Today, a woman in my 70s, I am again being confronted with abuses of ‘anti-Semitism’ and labels by people who equate criticism of Israel and of U.S. policies towards Israel as both ‘anti-Zionist’ and ‘anti-Semitic.’ I wonder if there is a discussion group concerned with this topic or if there are people who would like to form one. I definitely need to.

To begin a conversation regarding this possibility, I see that Lillian Rosengarten, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, whose recently published book Survival and Conscience: From the Shadows of Nazi Germany to the Jewish Boat to Gaza (Just World Books), will be speaking at The Inquiring Mind in Saugerties, Saturday night March 12 at 7 p.m. Born in Nazi Germany, Lillian Rosengarten went there to talk about her book and was featured in the Jerusalem Post at the time. I hope that amongst the audience at the Inquiring Mind, there will be people who want to inquire more deeply into this topic.

Jane Toby
Catskill