Kingston Times letters: Opinions on Faso; Mike Hein, what is freedom?

Town hall at City Hall

To combat overwhelming unpopularity some congresspersons are looking to have discussions with small groups of eight to 10 people at a time instead of meeting with large groups. Is this why our own congressperson will not confirm to appear at a town hall meeting on Feb. 24 [6 p.m. at City Hall, 420 Broadway] in Kingston? As of noon on Feb. 13, our congressperson’s office staff in Kingston does not know if he will attend.

Based on the population of our district it would take about 70,000 meetings to speak with all the people in New York’s 19th Congressional District. Assuming our congressperson does this over a two-year term, it would require about 95 meetings a day, every single day. And that is just each of us meeting with our congressperson once over the entire term of two years. There is a reason town hall meetings and representatives supposedly exist: scalability.

It is fair and reasonable to expect our representative to speak with us together in large groups as requested. It is tradition. Already there is significant interest (over 700 people) in the Facebook event for the upcoming town hall hosted by Citizen Action of the Hudson Valley. Many of us are concerned about our liberty, upholding our Constitution, the possible loss of healthcare, plus the continued attempts by some lawmakers to privatize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. I know I am. Faso wrote a 2004 New York Times op-ed about privatizing Social Security: “ … such a system could be a boon to Wall Street.” Why is Faso seeking to represent Wall Street instead of the Hudson Valley? Is it really possible to represent both?


These concepts, issues and programs have considerable impact on our families and friends. Many of those affected by such a change, especially the elderly, may not have the resources to overcome such a drastic shift in Social Security policy for instance. Most of us know at least one person who is struggling no matter how hard they work and how much they have sacrificed. I do.

I want a local non-partisan discussion on these matters to hear what other residents are concerned about, as the two major parties and our national news media are failing to hold our representatives accountable. We need to reject Faso if he tells us lies, we should applaud him if he tells the truth and we need to call him out if he uses doublespeak. I am not interested in lobbying Faso in small, divided, thus possibly conquered groups. I suppose this may make sense for a former professional lobbyist like Faso, but I am not a lobbyist. I am a concerned resident and voter in the Hudson Valley.

Gary Pennock
Stone Ridge


Free Hein’s staffers

Praise the veterans who fought, and some who were wounded and died protecting our freedoms by taking credit for the County Veterans Memorial, Veterans Cemetery and Patriot’s Project Center — but he doesn’t allow his staff to speak to the press?

County Executive Hein, what kind of freedoms do you approve of?

William F. Berardi


No democracy here

Self-contradicting, doublespeak or ignorance? Is the Republican Party a party of sycophants taking marching orders — marching to the beat of corporate profits rather than civic engagement? Congressman John Faso of New York’s 19th Congressional District voted on Feb. 2 to overturn an Obama-era gun policy that prevented Social Security Disability recipients with mental health disorders to buy and own guns, stating it was an overreach. At the same time he has supported legislation that prevents people with mental disease or defect to own guns, as per the 1968 Gun Control Act. Concurrently, he has condemned authorities for not doing enough to pre-empt massacres such as in Charleston, S.C. This is emblematic of the consistent contradictory actions and doublespeak that we are hearing from this administration thus far.

It is my opinion and observation as a mental health clinician, with decades of experience in the field, that Faso and all the others who voted to roll back that measure are clueless about SSD, mental illness, and the implications of what they have done. The Obama policy was attempting to fine-tune the earlier act in order to help identify individuals who are incompetent to own and operate a lethal weapon. A policy that no doubt was informed by social science. During the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, social scientists were informing the policy-making, culminating in the Great Society-era programs that have been the backbone of this country since. Today we see the sad result of how the Citizens United ruling has created a government run by the corporate class where policy is driven by the financial sector, with no separation of business and state, let alone church and state. Consequently, we are seeing the rollout of policies that are completely out of touch with the country outside of the politicians’ own gated communities.

This administration is clear that they want to run our government like a business not a democracy. Throwing out civics all together.  They forget that the American people are paying their salaries and that they work for us, not the other way around. This administration is moving quickly and recklessly, making up for the last eight years of trying to stall or stop anything that came from the Obama White House. As a result they are creating chaos and destabilization which will bring about more destruction in the end in one form or another. Their agenda is corporate deregulation at the expense of social programs and civil rights. People are not being “protected” by these actions, despite what they would like us to believe; citizens are being traumatized by the wave of disregard for human rights and the environment that is sweeping this nation.

From this view, if our Congressman Faso would like to remain a representative of New York’s 19th Congressional District, he needs to start doing better research and holding town hall meetings before voting on anything, so he can hear from the people who not only pay his salary but who can also offer to educate him on the nature and impact of the  programs upon which he is legislating.

Noelle Damon


Congressman Faso must speak up

Congressman Faso, please put aside politics.

The list of threats you have failed to respond to is alarmingly diverse. Mr. Trump has this week alone attacked the independent judiciary, and you released no statement supporting the separation of powers. Mr. Trump drew equivalence between political oppression of Russian President Putin and America, literally attacking America’s role in the world at halftime of the Super Bowl. Again, Mr. Faso, you stayed silent.

Under President Trump, in just two weeks, the health care of at least 20 million Americans is being undermined, and healthcare for women threatened. You “are fine with it,” as long as it is done in a politically savvy way, in secretly taped comments quoted in the Washington Post. Sadly, it seems secret tapes are the only way you reveal your true opinion.

Mr. Trump is threatening the free press  but you say nothing. An embarrassingly unqualified education secretary is nominated and rammed through; you do not object. You claim to believe in climate change, but say nothing while efforts to forestall its worst effects are repealed. Doesn’t the fate of our children worry you, sir?

Perhaps worst of all, Steve Bannon, a white supremacist political advisor with no military background was named to the National Security Council while the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was removed from the council and you issued no statement? Please, sir, how does one sworn to uphold the Constitution justify staying silent while all this is occurring?

These are not Democratic or Republican positions, these are fundamental freedoms and principles at stake. Joint statements with your Democratic colleagues would have a powerful resonance in safeguarding political norms.

Jim Gordon
New Paltz


What Faso’s been up to

While the Republican administration attacks America’s free press and judicial system, elevates billionaire ideologue cronies to the nation’s highest positions of power and signs cruel, unconstitutional executive orders like the Muslim ban, this is what our New York 19th Congressional District representative John Faso has been up to:

• Voted for which would allow guns in school zones

• Voted to allow people with serious mental illness to be able to purchase guns

• Voted to repeal a rule requiring energy companies to disclose payments to foreign governments

• Voted to repeal a rule requiring some federal contractors to report labor violations

• Voted to repeal the Stream Protection Rule

• Voted for a budget resolution to repeal the Affordable Care Act

• Gained national media attention after being quoted in The Washington Post saying he had “no problem” with defunding Planned Parenthood

• Faced large protests against his support of ACA repeal

John Faso has voted in alignment with his Republican Party president’s position 92 percent of the time. In interviews, he talks in circles, never standing for anything. That’s because his allegiance is to his wealthy, arch-conservative donors, not to constituents. He does not represent the working- and middle-class people of our district, and that’s why we voters must make sure he’s a single-term legislator.

Michelle Sutton
Member, Move Forward New York

Zach Feuer
Founding member, Listen to Us, John Faso


Power of many kinds

Well, the first power out that the new “Fortis” needed to address since their takeover from Central Hudson, was beautifully handled. Many wires were repaired and trees removed within two to three hours, although some took longer. The brief outages that were blown in by some powerful winds were dealt with faster than I can remember while living with Central Hudson. So, I want to say: Thank you, Fortis, for making my life easier here in the Hudson Valley.


Now, on to the other power out: Well, our president now believes that he has complete control of our country, and since he’s obviously not a student of our history, he does not feel a strong need to study things like the Constitution and the makeup of other departments, which also have power.

Have you wondered why the present president is continuing to talk about voter fraud, and why he is sure that he won the popular vote as well as the electorate vote after he was already sworn in as president of the U.S.?
Maybe it’s because he’s concerned about the coming investigation. Why else would he be concentrating on voter fraud, when so much else is happening?

Remember the Trump campaign accusing his opponent of being sloppy with her email server, allowing the Russians to hack her? Remember that this led to the famous: “Lock Her Up” Trump campaign, which turned out to be successful? Well, I recently found out that Michael Flynn worked for Obama, who fired him for “insubordination” whatever that is, in 2014. So, what if Flynn was working with Putin during the election in order to help the Trump campaign? I guess the investigation will continue. If it doesn’t, we will have to put on our “pink hats” and make sure it does.

By the way, I wonder if there is anything in the Constitution that has requirements for running for president. After all, we have requirements for doctors, and also lawyers and teachers and electricians, and even driving a car. How about requirements for running the country other than being born in the United States and being over 35 years old? In order to have an effect on all of life on earth?

Jill Paperno