Saugerties Times letters (2/2-9)


Recent reports say the President has saved several thousand jobs.  But, it seems that our leaders are ignoring the biggest source of new jobs — renewables.

China is investing $360 billion in renewables generation. They expect to create 13,000,000 jobs through 2020. Globally, China presently has 40% of all jobs in renewables while the U.S. has only 10%.

China is gleeful because it will achieve global leadership in the core carbon-free technologies due to U.S. plans to “zero-out” federal clean energy funding by the Trump Administration.


Also happy are the oil-based, high carbon polluting energy corporations. They will continue pumping more and more carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere producing increased levels of acid rain and higher global temperatures. Have you noticed the damages to our bridges and roads. Acid rain is responsible for a great deal of the dissolving of cement. Oil company profits do not include repairs to the damage done by their products. Taxpayers are left to pay for that.

Our new president is going to throw away the future jobs of millions of Americans as the protector of wealthy cartels. From: The Daily Kos (internet). Sources: Think Progress and I.R.E.N.A.

William R. Hayes


Support Saugerties Democrats

The tumultuous gathering of women (and men) from around the world and around the country on Saturday January 21 included many folks from our own little town of Saugerties. As I walked the cavern of Fifth Avenue, fellow Saugertians magically appeared out of the crowd with their signs, their smiles, their calls for justice in these difficult days. We were energized by the magnitude of the event and the energy of the people there.

What is important now is to direct our energies in a united front to keep the Trump White House in full view of a vocal, literate and an activist electorate. We need to keep ourselves informed. We need to stay together and keep our progressive energy alive.

The Saugerties Democratic Committee has been articulating the same concerns and values that were evident on signs, slogans and the chanting of the march locally. We are concerned about our beautiful mountains and how the climate is affected by corporate greed and overpopulation; we are concerned about women having freedom of choice and equal pay for equal work; we are concerned about fairness, equality, racial justice for all. We are a welcoming community to all our immigrant neighbors. Peace and justice is our call. It is the hope of the Saugerties Democratic Committee that we work on these issues together in marching but also in voting including voting for local officials. It is time to identify and support Saugerties Democrats to run for Town Board, the Ulster County Legislature, and other local offices.

Saugerties Democrats encourage you to bring the energy that inspired you on January 21 to our next meeting, Tuesday February 28 at 7 p.m. at the Saugerties Senior Center. If you wish more information, or are thinking about becoming a candidate yourself, please feel free to contact our Chair, Lanny Walter at or First Vice Chair, Nancy E. K. Schaef at Our meetings are always held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at this location.

Nancy E.K. Schaef


Faso’s Misleading Questions

Rep. John Faso sent his constituents a single question survey: “Do you support reforming the Affordable Care Act to lower costs and expand access to healthcare?” In other words, “Would you like more coverage for less money?”

His constituents probably would reply differently had he asked them, “Do you support changing the Affordable Care Act to permit insurers to exclude coverage of pre-existing conditions?”

During the seven years it voted dozens of times to repeal the ACA, his caucus developed no alternative policies, because any alternative would necessarily change the trade-offs embedded in the ACA. Their alternative, when one day they announce it, will surely be weighted in favor of their contributors — insurers, healthcare providers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers — at the expense of families and households.

Rep. Faso is an experienced and intelligent man. Were he honestly interested in his constituents’ views, he would ask them neutral questions, not leading ones. Were he more forthright, he would level with them about policy trade-offs. He is off to a bad start. Sad, as his party leader would say.

Thomas Hamill


Faso’s positions on the ACA and Planned Parenthood

I support the maintenance of the health benefits afforded under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as the continued funding of Planned Parenthood.

In a recent conversation with Alan Chartock on WAMC ( Congressman John Faso, R-Kinderhook, representing the 19th Congressional District, discussed his positions on the ACA and Planned Parenthood.

To his credit, he explained that he was against the repeal of the ACA, but did support certain reforms mainly concerning the cost of the program. As to benefits, he supported coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, as well as adults up to 26 on their parent’s policies and the continued federal support for those on Medicaid. I want and expect Congressman Faso to also support maintaining no lifetime caps on insurance as well as the continued shrinking of the “donut hole” for purchasing pharmaceuticals.

In the interview he stressed that he was against political punitive actions against Planned Parenthood. He praised their work and supported funding all health services that they provide. He did support the Hyde Amendment which currently prohibits the federal funding of abortions.

However, in a leaked tape, from a Republican retreat, confirmed in the press, he warned strongly against using the repeal of the ACA to also defund Planned Parenthood. He stated, “We are just walking into a gigantic political trap if we go down this path of sticking Planned Parenthood in the health insurance bill,” he said. “If you want to do it somewhere else, I have no problem, but I think we are creating a political minefield for ourselves — House and Senate.” What does this mean? Will he vote against repeal of the ACA if it includes defunding of Planned Parenthood? He owes the public an unequivocal statement that whether included in the ACA repeal bill, or voted on independently, he fully supports the funding of Planned Parenthood.

In order to maintain credibility with the voters, Congressman Faso’s public policy statements must clearly mirror his positions taken behind closed doors.

Mike Harkavy


Prevention and care saves lives

While Hugh Reynolds reporting on Congressman Faso’s speech at the Ulster County Chamber Breakfast was accurate, it was not complete. Faso compared having healthcare insurance to car insurance. “Your car insurance doesn’t pay you for oil changes, why do we expect healthcare insurance to pay for everything.” (The quote is approximate and captures the intent.)


If you can’t afford to get your oil changed every 5000 miles, your car won’t last as long and eventually will suffer more serious breakdowns which cost more to fix. If Faso’s analogy is used, human bodies are like cars. If we don’t get regular checkups, an illness that could be minor becomes major because it is not initially addressed and people end up in emergency rooms.

Expensive ER visits (paid for by tax payers and paying customers) to care for chronic illnesses suffered by people who couldn’t afford medications or regular checkups overburdened our healthcare system and costs spiraled out of control. We know that prevention and good ongoing care saves money and lives.

The Affordable Care Act was the first step in trying to provide regular care. Now the Republicans want to do away with it without any details as to what would replace it.

Please let Faso know his analogy doesn’t work. He needs to start thinking broader than the current system and envision a single-payer system. Those who want more healthcare can always buy additional insurance, like in Canada and Great Britain. But everyone would be covered for regular checkups and “damage and collision.” Having extra “bodywork or detailing” would be additional.

Congressman Faso’s office number is 845-514-2322.

Beth Murphy,
with a thank you to Susan Weeks


Disconnect, connect

Here are the countries of origin of our most deadly terrorist attacks:

World Trade Center — 15 of the 19 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, 2 United Arab Emirates, 1 Lebanon, 1 Egypt.

Pulse Nightclub Orlando — Omar Mir Seddique, born New Hyde Park, N.Y. to Afghanparents.

San Bernardino — Syed RizwanFarook,  born Chicago, parents from Pakistan; Tashfee Malik, born Pakistan, lived in Saudi Arabia.

Fort Hood Shooting — Nidal Hasan, born Arlington County Virginia to Palestinian parents from the West Bank.

Chattanooga — Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, naturalized American citizen born in Kuwait.

Here are the countries from which President Trump has banned immigrants: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia.

Is there some kind of disconnect? Why are the major terrorist sending nations omitted from the list?

Here are some of President Trump’s business interests connected to the Middle East:

Qatar Airways rents space in a Trump tower for its New York headquarters; Trump World Golf Club and Trump International Golf Club are located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; according to Associated Press, Trump’s May 2016 financial disclosure form includes information on a new business enterprise set up to operate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Because he refuses to release his tax forms, we may never know the details.

Is there some kind of connect here?

President Trump’s recent executive order serves no purpose other than to garner publicity and promote xenophobia, while protecting his business interests.

Laura Phillips


Thank you, Saugerties

To the entire community of Saugerties: I’d like to thank all of you for giving me the opportunity to have a life-long career doing something that has been both fulfilling and rewarding — being a police officer for you.

I’ve worked hard during my career to show my gratitude by being as helpful as possible to as many people as possible when answering the call to duty. As a result, I’ve learned much thanks to you and what I’ve learned has molded me into the police office that I became. The importance of respect immediately comes to mind, not only giving it, but receiving it as well. In fact, that single gesture had been returned to me tenfold throughout my career in law enforcement. I’ve also recognized my mistakes and strove never to repeat them.

So now, after having served you faithfully for 43 years, my retirement dates is here and I say thank you and goodbye, with all the love, admiration and respect you rightfully deserve.

I would also like to thank all of the volunteer fire personnel who, all these many years, have responded when I needed it, and I appreciate you for it. This community is truly blessed to have all of you as first responders.

I thank God and The Holy Mother Mary for keeping me — and all of Saugerties’ police officers — safe. I thank my wonderful wife Barbara for her kindness and patience, for always being there for me, willing to listen and for the many many meals she cooked for me and the men and women of the PD and our events.

And finally, to our daughter Theresa: remember always to show respect, work hard for the community and always be the great person you are now.

Donald Tucker, 1st Sergeant,
Saugerties Police