Kingston Times letters (10/27-11/2)



This week’s edition is the last in which letters critical of a candidate standing for election on Nov. 8 will be printed, so as to allow a response in the Nov. 3 edition. Letters supporting a candidate and not criticizing his or her opponent, or letters which rebut an attack on a candidate in a previously published letter but contain no new attacks, will be accepted for the Nov. 3 edition.


I support Sara

This is written in recommendation of Sara McGinty, Democratic candidate for Surrogate’s Court judge of the County of Ulster on Nov. 8.

On a personal level, I’ve had the privilege to see Sara’s unique combination of expertise and compassion as she helped my sister and me navigate the complexities of placing our mother in assisted living and disposing of her property. It was a difficult time and Sara was with us every step of the way. Sara brings unquestioned qualities to the position of Surrogate’s Court judge. She has practiced in the court representing thousands of clients there for decades. Sara has been our family attorney and had helped us to prepare our will and living wills. I’m guessing that there are many families who have many positive memories of their experience as Sara, with her positive sense of humor, helped them to prepare the documents that would manage and measure the end of life questions for the generations to follow.


On a professional level I have seen Sara in a different light. Sara has been a community volunteer in assisting educators. For many years I taught an elective course titled Politics and Law at Rondout Valley High School. Sara graciously spoke to the students on Law Day representing the Bar Association of Ulster County offering about the U.S. Constitution. She also welcomed students as they observed the workings of the Rosendale Town Justice Court as part of their course requirements.

Now a community coordinator with WISE Services, I write also to share the kind of community involvement that Sara has undertaken for many years in service to the WISE Individualized Senior Experience at Rondout Valley High School. Sara serves on the WISE Task Force made up of students, teachers, parents and community volunteers. This group plans, networks, and assesses the various projects pursued by the students as they engage in new learning beyond the regular curriculum. Sara is a founding member of the WISE Task Force having served on the task force since 1999. She continues to do so long after her daughters’ own graduations. She provides the students with a time management workshop as part of their WISE experience, a valuable contribution. She reads journals, and, at the end of the semester, helps evaluate the student projects.

I am honored to recommend Sara McGinty for the position of Surrogate’s Court judge. Her temperament is outstanding, her knowledge is encyclopedic and her common sense is exemplary. The people of Ulster County will be well served by her efforts.

Andrew Lutz
Stone Ridge


Elect my dad

Please vote for my dad because he’s kind, smart, funny, understanding and no matter how busy he is, he always finds time to help people. Now it’s our turn to help him, so he can become the next Surrogate’s Court judge.

Peter Joseph Matera, age 10
West Park


An unproven conjecture

In Bob Berman’s article, “Cosmology Surprise” (Almanac Weekly, Oct 20-27), he claims that death does not exist and that our awareness “will always be alive,” a very strong statement to make without proof.

In biology, it is virtually axiomatic that function closely correlates with structure. There is abundant evidence that changes in our awareness, from infancy through old age, are correlated with structural changes in the brain. At death, our brain deteriorates along with our awareness. To the best of our knowledge, conscious awareness is rooted in the structure and functioning of the brain. That awareness can continue after death is an unproven conjecture.

Ronald E Hellman, M.D.


Bob Berman replies:

Thanks for your letter. What you say certainly is the mainstream “take” and I don’t dispute your logic. But as you’ll see if you read the Biocentrism books authored by myself and Robert Lanza, who like you is a medical doctor and noted researcher (he’s the pioneering “cloning guru” that Time magazine lists in its annual “100 most Influential People” issue) or read the critical comments in Amazon, there is a deeper, more central interpretation that is indeed well supported by science.

But until one starts delving into what consciousness is, and its surprisingly central role in physics (which, yes, goes beyond supposed subservience to neural structure) and looks at the solid evidence that demotes time and space as independently existing entities, I am afraid one cannot leave behind the classical model, and, with it, all the confusion accompanying it. Until you look further and give the entire package a fair hearing, our “no death’ conclusion may indeed seem like New Age babble or special pleading, and thus I do not in any way fault you for your letter.

P.S. — As for “function correlates with structure,” yes, perhaps. But back up to try to see what it is we are discussing. Researchers and authors into the nature of consciousness (e.g. Dennett) find an insuperable mystery. How does awareness (or “experience”) arise from any configuration of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen? This is a different and far deeper problem than merely determining what neural architecture controls what function, e.g. Vision in the occipital lobe.

First acknowledging the depth and profundity of the thing we are discussing is a prerequisite for seeing whether consciousness is truly transient, even if of course on one obvious level we must concede that the unfortunate dog lying dead in the road is no longer aware of you.


Not qualified

Sara McGinty is qualified to be a judge? I hardly think so. She was found guilty of professional misconduct for failing to protect the money she held for clients in her attorney trust account. She was caught when she bounced a check on her attorney trust account. She was investigated and found to have co-mingled money, failed to keep accurate account records and used client money to pay for her office expenses.

McGinty was careless with her client’s money but thinks she’s “well qualified” to be the judge whose job it is to watch over the proper handling of funds for minors and people who cannot take care of themselves.

McGinty says in her Oct. 20 letter to the editor that she wants to be transparent. She said the final ruling was that she “committed professional misconduct due to bad bookkeeping but that the errors were unintentional.” Actually, the final ruling was that the misconduct was so serious that McGinty’s law license was suspended for a year from 2008-2009 during which time she was only allowed to practice law on the condition that she provide quarterly reports by a certified public accountant to ensure she was properly handling client money. So much for transparency.

McGinty says the professional misconduct finding made her humble. Last month an independent judicial candidate screening panel rated McGinty “not qualified” for the position. A humble person would accept the rating of this independent panel and withdraw from the race. So much for humility.

Anne Lanzarone


The most qualified

Peter Matera is the most qualified candidate for Ulster County Surrogate’s Court judge.

Peter’s stellar 30-year career as a local attorney provides an unparalleled opportunity to be involved on the judicial level. He continuously earns the respect of his clients, fellow attorneys, judges and law enforcement.

The Ulster County Bar Association Judicial Screening Committee rated Peter Matera as highly qualified for the position of Ulster County Surrogate’s Court Judge, and the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission rated Peter Matera as the only Ulster County Surrogate’s Court candidate qualified to serve as judge.


I have personally witnessed how conscientiously and diligently he works.

The people of Ulster County would be well served by having Peter Matera as their next Surrogate’s Court Judge.

Diane Kraus, M.D.
Lake Hill


New campaign rules

Friends and I agree that never in our years walking on this planet have we seen, witnessed such a deplorable, base, crude year of campaigning.

In England campaigning lasts two to three months. It is sane, intelligent, dignified. Ours has become a three-ring circus. Cost? $1.5 billion dollars. Wasted dollars that could have fed kids, protected, cleaned up the environment, repaired a few bridges, better home care for the elderly, so much more. Campaigning over a year — stupid and wasteful.

Years ago candidates had to meet a strict criteria of rules; were scrutinized before campaigning. What happened to those standards?

Franklin Delano Roosevelt said when campaigning, “Do not mention my opponent’s name for good or ill. Each time you do, you give him free advertising. Focus on my accomplishments, my future plans for the people.”

Exactly! A set of rules must be created whose goal is to set standards for a campaign of high-mindedness, integrity, honor. To provide an example of profound leadership. To define a campaign worthy for the world to admire. Break the rules? A heavy fine.

Our government has lost its way and we the people have lost respect and are ashamed. We have been cast adrift and left rudderless without a strong wind to set the sails and chart a new course. A few have tried.

Joyce Benedict
Hyde Park


There for us

When no one else would help my husband and myself with a legal issue, Sara McGinty was there for us. When we lost the first battle she refused to give up and took the case all the way to the Appellate Division — without charging us anything. She was ready to fight right to the end because she believed in us and our case. And we won! I will never ever forget her and she will always be my angel. There isn’t anyone better qualified for Ulster County Surrogate’s Court judge. She will always have nothing but your best interest in mind. And beside all that, just listening to her talk about her kids, you know she is all about family. Please everyone get out there and vote for Sara McGinty, she is definitely the right person for the job.

Sharon Albright
High Falls


Faso: Mailers are dishonest

Local voters are being inundated with mail from my opponent Zephyr Teachout. Unfortunately, these mailers are filled with dishonest or grossly misleading information about my character and record.

For example, Ms. Teachout and her allies continue to intentionally mislead voters about my service in the Assembly. I voted 97 percent of the time and when not there I was usually at an official meeting or hearing elsewhere in the state. I don’t apologize for missing approximately 100 votes when my wife was being operated on for cancer. Fortunately, she made a full recovery. Teachout knows these facts but shamefully repeats her distortions.

Ms. Teachout also inexplicably attacks me for opposing the initial DEC-EPA plan to dredge the Hudson River. In fact, as former governor George Pataki has noted, there was legitimate concern at the time that clam-shell dredging would have serious short-term consequences for communities downriver. When it was clear that new technology would eliminate the risk, I supported the improved Hudson dredging.

I am proud that my neighbor and friend Chris Gibson has strongly endorsed my candidacy as his replacement in Congress. Along with my wife Mary Frances, I’ve lived, worked and raised a family here for over 33 years. I’ve crafted budgets that cut spending and taxes and fought to lower your property taxes. I’ve worked with Democrats and Republicans to get these things done, and I know how to deliver results for you.

My hope is to serve the people of our district in Congress and advance solutions to our problems. On Nov. 8, I humbly ask you to hire me for the job.

John Faso

Candidate, 19th Congressional District\


Teachout will protect Social Security

As a retired widow, I rely on my monthly Social Security payment as the foundation of my annual income. My late husband was self-employed, so there is no corporate pension.  Thankfully, I also have income from a lifetime of investment, but that can swing from plentiful to skimpy, as it did in the Great Recession. In those years, I was grateful that a portion of my well-being was secure and constant.

John Faso has written that he supports privatizing Social Security, noting that it would be “a boon to Wall Street.” That was consistent with his role as a corporate lobbyist for Wall Street financiers. It would not have been an advantage for me — or millions of other retired middle-class Americans; we depend on Social Security to provide protection from the stock market’s roller coaster ride. For some, it is their only security against poverty.

Zephyr Teachout understands that Social Security is a fundamental pledge to American workers. She promises to work toward protecting and expanding benefits by raising payments for the wealthy so they pay their fair share. On Nov. 8, I’ll be voting for her to serve in Congress. If you are retired — or hope to be — you should too.

Barbara Carroll
New Paltz


McGinty gets it

I met Sara McGinty through the Rosendale Chamber of Commerce about 15 years ago.  My husband, Wayne Waddell, and I used her legal services for a few real estate closings over the years. When I lost my husband suddenly, Sara really showed me her true ability for compassion by stepping into a role that I didn’t know needed filling, not only as my legal counsel, but also as an incredibly supportive friend. Her understanding of loss is exactly what we need for a Surrogate’s Court judge. Sara is someone who can find her way through the web of legalities surrounding death while keeping a soft heart, an open mind, and empathy for the people dealing with loss. She understands how to communicate clearly and precisely when dealing with the complications of inheritance. Her years of experience working with people in grief, her kindness, her knowledge of the legal system, and her good judgment will serve the people of Ulster County well. We would be lucky to have her in this position for the next 10 years.

Victoria Coyne


We’re not dumb

Like Zephyr Teachout said in her ad, John Faso is treating us like we’re dumb. It looks like he hopes it’s true.

Consider the Faso mailer that said that Teachout’s ideas would increase energy costs by $1,700 per household. What? He knows that pocketbook issues are hugely concerning to voters, so he invented some totally unverifiable equation (or picked a number out of the air?) to try to scare us into thinking, “Gee, I better vote for John Faso because I couldn’t afford to pay that bill.” Aren’t we all tired of these tricks?

Zephyr Teachout is opposed to energy taxes that would be a burden to working families. But she does think that corporate polluters shouldn’t be able to pollute our air, water, and communities for free. That’s why she supports a simple, elegant program called “Fee & Dividend,” that would force fossil fuel companies to pay a fee for the damage they are inflicting upon all of us.

That fee would encourage these companies to pollute less — and the money raised from the fee would get passed on to us, in the form of a check that would arrive in our mailboxes. Anyone can look it up on the Internet and learn more. (Note to Faso: Do this.)

Faso’s attack arithmetic is utterly without merit. I suggest that Mr. Faso educate himself before trying to scare us into voting for him. Maybe he’s hoping we won’t notice that he lobbied for fracked gas pipelines at great cost to us all, and the world that is our home.

Kathy Adin
Port Ewen


GOP 100 percent behind Hayes

The purpose of this letter is to explain why Jack Hayes is not on the ballot on the Republican line for the 103rd Assembly District. Jack was clearly the Republican Party’s choice for the Assembly district at our convention in May. Republican committeemen secured over 1,600 signatures to put him on the ballot when only 500 were required, and Jack completed the required acceptance form and as a notary public I notarized his signature. Jack brought his petitions to the state board of elections and filed them.

It was my responsibility to file the Wilson-Pakula authorization certificate, and in my haste to prepare for my trip to the Republican National Convention I completely forgot to do the paperwork. It was on final filing date at 11 p.m. when sitting in the hotel lobby in Cleveland with other county chairs did I realize it. I completely accept the blame and responsibility for this.

With that said, it is important for the voters throughout the 103rd Assembly District know that the Republican Party is 100 percent behind Jack Hayes in this race. So I urge everyone to look for and vote for Jack Hayes on the Conservative line.

Roger Rascoe, Chairman
Ulster County Republican Committee


McGinty’s important qualities

In time for the upcoming elections, it is my hope that this letter is read by all of Ulster County. I worked on a part-time basis for Sara McGinty, as an office assistant for eight years; leaving for personal reasons only. When I read the article about the problem that happened with her bookkeeping, it brought up a lot of memories and strong feelings for me. I was there. I witnessed the entire process from the discovery of her mistake to her professional misconduct ruling. I saw what it did to her. This was not an intentional act by her. Anyone who owns a business knows how difficult keeping the finances in line can be. She made a mistake. She fixed the mistake right away. Sara was required to submit copies of all of her financial records for years as a result of this. It was a learning experience for her that only enhances the knowledge she has about practicing law and performing the duties of a Surrogate’s Court judge.

Aside from this issue, I can say that Sara McGinty has always had my vote for Ulster County Surrogate’s Court Judge. On countless occasions I have witnessed her patient counsel to families through the confusion of estate planning and of the devastation of settling estates when there is a death. I was always amazed at her ability to show such true compassion to her clients, even those she did not know personally. She never “had one foot out of the door” while she was talking with them. She listened and did not rush people. This patience and compassion does not come naturally to all of us, but Sara has it! Those are the qualities you want in a judge!

Patti Doran
Stone Ridge

Matera: Humble, honest

As a second-year law school student, Peter Matera played an integral role in choosing law as my career. Ever since I was little I always said I wanted to do something to help make the world a better place. I always envisioned that being something in the medical field, but it wasn’t until I met Mr. Matera that I realized that law would be where I could really make a difference. Mr. Matera has always assisted my family and all of our referrals with respect, honesty and integrity. He takes his time making sure to explain everything, answer every question, and is always prudent that he is doing what is in the best interest of his clients. His opinions have always been honest and backed with much knowledge and wisdom in his many years of experience.

It was this honesty and respect for every person that walked through his office door that inspired me. Peter has many years of experience in all areas of the law, but has remained a humble and honest attorney.

Mr. Matera has been a calm voice of reason and a sense of hope for many clients. Often, lawyers have had a reputation as being money-hungry and wanting to progress at the expense of others. Mr. Matera however, shatters this notion and proves that attorneys are here to help you when you need it the most.

Mr. Matera inspired me to work hard and remember that each client deserves respect and effective legal help. It should not matter if the client is poor or rich but what should matter is the case at hand, which should always be litigated to the best of my ability. It is this kind of integrity, honesty and trustworthiness that I strive to emulate.

Ernestina Carosella


Teachout’s for us, not the rich

In case you didn’t watch the debate on Time Warner Cable News Monday night, between the two candidates running for Congress in our area, need I say more than one of them is endorsed by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Maurice Hinchey?

The Democratic one named Zephyr Teachout was never a lobbyist like her opponent  John Faso, who  wants to “privatize” social security, the one thing that would put me out into the woods with my friends the deer and the bears, who don’t share the same taste for food that I have, and don’t even have TV’s or cell phones.

The only complaint I have against Teachout is that either she doesn’t have enough “techies” to run her campaign, or enough money to come at the top of the page when you Google her. If you search online, you’ll believe that she is going to raise our property taxes, whereas if you go to her site, you will see that her opponent increased them by 43 percent while he was lobbying in Albany. Teachout tried to explain that when you say “increase taxes,” you also need to ask “on who.” Also, according to the Daily Gazette, he once lobbied for the Constitution Pipeline, which has been opposed by the Sierra Club, Riverkeeper and Bernie Sanders.

As I see it, all you need to know is who is endorsing the candidates, and if Teachout has Bernie, Elizabeth and Maurice, what else do you need? She is for wind and solar over oil and gas for our energy; she comes from Dutchess County, which is on the other side of the Rhinecliff Bridge, (a five-minute drive from Saugerties)  or, in other words she lives “up here”, and she’s running for congress in “our area.”

It’s easy to know that she doesn’t have a big “money funder” by simply looking her up online.  Not only does it take a while to find her because you don’t know how to spell her first name, but apparently she isn’t funded by the BOOGI men. (Big Oil Or Gas Industry).

Bottom Line is that he is for the rich and she is for the rest of us.

Jill Paperno


Kirschner for McGinty

I was the Ulster County treasurer for 35 years, ending in 2009. One of my duties as county treasurer was to handle the estates of Ulster County residents who died without a will or any known family. I hired many local attorneys to represent the County in those estates, but one of the best ones I hired was Sara McGinty. Sara worked for me for 10 years, handling dozens of complicated estates, many of which required a high degree of expertise and diplomacy. I’ve seen Sara’s work in Surrogate’s Court and I’ve known her for 20 years as a friend. I am pleased to endorse her candidacy for Ulster County Surrogate’s Court judge and encourage Ulster County voters to support her on Election Day, Nov. 8.

Lew Kirschner


Seven for Sara

We hope that our friends and neighbors will vote for Sara McGinty for Ulster County Surrogate’s Court because she has the right kind of experience, compassion and expertise for the job. For 20 years, Sara has guided families through probate, estate administration, will contests and guardianship proceedings brought in Surrogate’s Court. She has been a tireless advocate for seniors, too.  Her counsel to her clients and her lectures on disability and estate planning empower seniors by providing the information they need to make straight-forward and cost-effective plans for themselves and their families. Last, Sara will be ready for the Surrogate’s Court judge from day one, because she was a town judge for eight years and continues to serve as a hearing officer, giving her the skills, demeanor and insight that the job demands. Join us to get out the vote for Sara McGinty on Nov. 8!

Janet Asiain, Saugerties
Blaze “Perri” Ardman, Rosendale
Eve Baer, Woodstock
Gai Galitzine, Kingston
Carol Fox Prescott, Woodstock
Susan Rosen, Port Ewen
Barbara Sarah, Kingston


Hillary’s no no-brainer

On Monday, Oct. 24, Bill Press, a journalist and television host, wrote an opinion letter for the Kingston Daily Freeman. Press makes the argument, “Don’t just vote against Trump; vote for Hillary.” He says, “voting for Hillary Clinton should be “an easy, automatic and enthusiastic choice. A no-brainer.”

The problem with Mr. Press’ argument is that some of us not only have brains but we research the issues and the backgrounds of our candidates. To defend his argument, Mr. Press states that Hillary Clinton presently opposes TPP, the most hideous, secretive and corporate of trade deals. Well, if you continue to use CNN or MSNBC as your news source, then the Wikileaks revelations may be a nebulous footnote for you. But if you read or hear the content of Hillary Clinton’s and her campaign’s emails, you know that Hillary Clinton supports the TPP. This makes sense, since the emails also reveal that Hillary Clinton has authentic private positions, yet contrasting public positions for you and me. In other words, she is a deceptive liar.

We must also look at the actions of our candidates. I have written before, and it is important to note that Hillary Clinton has chosen Ken Salazar, former secretary of the Interior to head her transition team. Ken Salazar is pro-TPP as was Tim Kaine a few days before being introduced as Clinton’s VP choice. Again, publicly, he must now say that he is against the TPP. I mention Ken Salazar often because the person who heads your transition team is extremely powerful, helping to make decisions about a president’s cabinet, those who will be closest to Hillary Clinton.

Bill Press speaks of Hillary Clinton’s experience. Yes, Hillary Clinton actually has a track record for all of us to see if we care to look. She set up an office as secretary of State to promote fracking globally. I have written about the fact that we must address the climate issue now and that Hillary Clinton will not lead us in the right direction on this issue.  She may mention the subject when she thinks it will be advantageous to do so but, according to her emails, she has said that environmentalists need to get a life.

In order not to make my letter too long, I will not get into foreign policy in this letter. I will only say that, yes, Hillary Clinton has experience as secretary of State and I find some of her actions in that capacity to be deplorable.

I will vote for Jill Stein on Nov. 8. For me, the choice is easy, automatic, and enthusiastic. A no-brainer. This is only because I have researched my candidate and the values and philosophies of the Green Party. If we are to have a world, we need to deal with the issue of climate change now, and transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. This will make the need for wars for oil obsolete. Dr. Stein, a Harvard-educated physician, also calls for an arms embargo and a peace initiative in the Middle East. We spend 56 percent of our discretionary income on the military, with almost 1,000 bases globally. All other countries combined have approximately 30. Just think of how Jill Stein will pay for the cancellation of student debt, if we decrease our wasteful, inhumane military spending.

I just urge everyone to find news sources where you can gather true facts that matter, then make educated choices in November.

Lisa Jobson