Saugerties Times Letters (12/22-29)

Questioning hires

Let me share my concerns about this decision to have a formal (binding) contract with two retired ex-village police officers: 1. My understanding was that these officers were being paid $15 per hour. Why the large pay hike? Inflation? 2. It allows the Saugerties Police Department to increase its ranks by two. Why burden the taxpayer with two more unnecessary positions that will fall under PBA/union control (and protection)? 3. Are there any additional benefits given; like health insurance, clothing allowances, paid vacation and sick leave, expense accountants, overtime, etc.? 4. Both officers are supposedly retired, getting benefits from their previous positions as lieutenant and chief of the now dissolved Saugerties village police. 5. Why not offer these crossing guard positions to folks from within Saugerties that have been laid off? Do we need police officers to do this simple task? 6. Is it not an uncommon practice to have crossing guard volunteers?

David Radovanovic


Audit the Pentagon

For years I’ve heard about the inability of the Pentagon to audit its books. Now a Reuters investigation by Scot Paltrow has revealed that the Pentagon has lost track of $8 trillion since 1996 — that’s $400 billion a year. And I see little MSM coverage of this scandalous amount of mismanagement and probably fraud. Where is the demand for accountability? Where are the congressional hearings that are warranted when this much money is sent to the Pentagon and never accounted for? Will the new president be asked, “What will you do about what appears to be massive fraud and waste at the Pentagon?”

The Rev. Finley Schaef


Willy’s thanks

To my dear friends of Saugerties and Woodstock (the Love Knot connection), I cannot express more my deep gratitude toward the residents of the towns regarding your concern with my well being. So many folks stop me to ask how am I doing. I owe it to you for your concern and I’m returning a big hug to all of you. Thank you.


PS: My new residence is nice and cozy pulling me towards laziness. Now that’s scary. This is my next fight. Beware of comfort I say!

Ze’ve Willy Neumann


Burdick is tops

I would like to comment on the article “My Top Ten albums of all time, sort of” by your Almanac Weekly staff music writer, John Burdick. We have the extreme good fortune to have in our midst one of the best music journalists that I have ever read — period. Hands down, no exaggeration — right here in the Hudson Valley — John consistently delivers informative, thought-provoking, well-crafted and meticulously researched pieces on a regular basis. To have the privilege of reading such erudite, nuanced, and incisive articles in our local newspaper is particularly gratifying. John listens very closely and helps us to understand. As for his article, I could not agree more on his picks, particularly the top five choices. And, on the album Rain Dogs, the great Tom Waits said it best: “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

John Bohan


Standing up to destructive pipelines

As we watch the Water Protectors’ stand at Cannonball, North Dakota we are reminded of a struggle closer to home that bears many of the same aspects. First and foremost, both are campaigns to defend water quality and the environment. Any examination into the frequency of pipeline failures reveals that leaks happen, and happen often. Pipelines are the number one cause of oil spills in the United States. When they do rupture, they pollute water supply, wetlands and soil. Even their very construction can be destructive to fragile eco-systems and wildlife habitats.

Second, like the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Pilgrim Pipelines are opposed by first nation people. The Ramapaugh Lenape Nation of New Jersey has formed the Water Warrior Collective to defend their water and land against the threat of destruction that its development poses. And even though their prayer camp is located on tribal land, they face harassment and persecution of non-indigenous people.

Third, the battle against the Pilgrim Pipelines also is a struggle of organized citizenry against the power and influence of corporate wealth and greed. The Hudson Valley is a source of pure water and pristine wildlife that is unique to much of the world. It provides drinking water to millions, and its natural habitats are a valuable source of biodiversity.  The corporate interests behind the Pilgrim Pipelines don’t care about that. To them, it is merely a trough into which they want oil to flow, the flowing of which will profit only them. (This bears emphasis. These pipelines do not solve a local petroleum distribution problem. We do not have one.)

Last Sunday, members of the Saugerties Democratic Party and the Coalition Against the Pilgrim Pipelines were joined downtown by local residents in a vigil to support the Water Protectors of North Dakota and to protest against the petroleum pipelines proposed for our area. The more than two-dozen people participating were gratified by the warm and positive response of Saugerties passers-by. Hopefully, this portends of a successful outcome in our battle against these destructive initiatives

Bill Barr
Secretary, Saugerties Democratic Committee


Farmers Market canceled, will be back in spring

The Saugerties Farmers Market had to cancel the last market of the season that had been scheduled to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah on Dec. 17 due to severe weather.  We regret any disappointment caused both to customers and vendors.

We greatly appreciate our customers who come to the market week in and week out during the growing season and look forward to seeing you when the market returns on Memorial Day weekend Saturday, May 27, 2017.

We are also putting out a call for anyone interested in serving as the Market Manager as there is a job opening for next season. If interested, please send your resume and letter of interest to

Judith Spektor
coordinator Saugerties Farmers Market Committee


It’s a wrap

That’s the expression that comes at the end of the last camera shot in the film industry.  It’s the end of the shoot, but the beginning of the editing. So, now we have to look at what we can do about our future.

As I began to write my letter for this week, it was a full expression of my feelings on things like our future president’s picks such as Rex Tillerson, our next secretary of state, former CEO of Exxon Mobil, disbeliever of climate change (although now considering a change of mind) and supposedly worth only about  $150 million (really?). Wilbur Ross our next commerce secretary, worth around $2.9 billion; Betsy DeVos, our next education secretary who believes in charter schools, (something only some can afford), worth around $5.1 billionaire when adding her husband’s worth; Elaine Chao as secretary of transportation, worth about $5.2 billion; and of course Steve Bannon, former executive of the white supremacist Breitbart News.

When I read it to a friend, she said it was way too pessimistic, so I began to look for optimism. The first thing that came forth was the fact that I live here. We know how to “come together.” We started our road to fame in l969 with the Woodstock Festival.

So, seeking optimism, the first thing I discovered was that the leading professors of psychiatry at Harvard have diagnosed our next president as narcissistic. As I see it, anyone running for president has to be somewhat narcissistic, but not all are so easy to diagnose. Apparently, our next president was easy. He loves the camera, wants to keep his TV show. He loves having all eyes on himself, he tweets and wants admiration from all.

As I pondered this, I wondered if it could work in our favor. If our president really brings more to the masses, perhaps this can significantly feed his ego. After all, if you’re in a room with a small group of billionaires, and they all applaud you, it cannot be as satisfying as being in a rally of many thousands all screaming your name.

So, as I see it, there might be a possibility of all of us letting our president know what it is that will keep us applauding him. What came into my head was: “Come together, right now, over me.”

How about having music festivals expressing our desires for our country to our president? We could invite the president to come and speak or just let him watch it on YouTube. With enough “stars,” he just couldn’t miss it. That’s it for my optimism for this week.

Jill Paperno