A close look
I hope the Saugerties Town Board and the Saugerties Board of Ethics conducts a through investigation in the matter of a town employee and the department head the employee reports to. The Board of Ethics is reviewing this case and hopefully will reach a conscious decision regarding the dispute on going. I have been made aware of similar charges and circumstances only to be brushed aside by a silent assassin.
Call John Faso
Our representative, Congressman John Faso, is a member of the House Budget Committee. In January they passed the reconciliation bill to repeal spending related to aspects of the ACA. The ACA is a law and its future depends upon Congress. It is this committee that took the first steps to dismantle it. The Republicans are far from replacement but still they are bent on repeal. What they don’t want to reveal a basic shift in belief. Obamacare sought to cover as many as they could with a mandated 10 essential benefit requirements. The Republicans shift is not coverage for all but “accessible” insurance through weaker benefit packages, deregulation of insurance companies, unfair tax credits and block grants. The Republican plans favor the young, healthy and rich. The poorer and sicker will become more vulnerable. This is why there is no unified replacement. How do you serve up this deal to the American sense of fairness? How can you ignore constituent needs and still get re-elected?
Call John Faso: (202) 226-5614
Mary Anne Malkine
Olive Action Group
Time to stand up
On Feb. 15 the Ulster County Legislature was asked to approve two resolutions. One opposed the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare); the repeal would cause 20,000 residents in Ulster County to lose their access to health care.
A second resolution would have condemned “all hateful speech and violent action directed at any individual or group based on ethnicity, race, religion, gender, or gender identification.”
Saugerties legislators Mary Wawro and Dean Fabiano voted against both resolutions. Are these the people you want representing you in the legislature? In 2017 these legislators have to run for re-election. If you would like to help replace them, please let me know. We need to increase Democratic Party values in the legislature.
It is time to stand up.
Lanny Walter, chair
Saugerties Democratic Committee
Free press is vital
Donald Trump, barely one month since taking the oath of office, has devoted more energy to undermining and attempting to delegitimize the press and mainstream media than almost any other issue in his nascent/infant presidency. He repeatedly denounces the press as illegitimate and castigates earnest reporters asking reasonable questions at a press conference he himself called. His chief of staff, Reince Priebus, characterizes some of the media as “Washington daily gossip rags,” while the president’s most powerful aide, Stephen Bannon declares, “The press is the enemy.” This is not just disrespectful to the journalists who frequently take great risks in bringing truth to light, but is pernicious and dangerous for democracy.
A strong democracy needs an educated, informed electorate to hold its elected officials to account. The larger, more complex and more powerful that democracy, the greater the necessity of a free and unfettered press to keep the citizenry fully informed. Sometimes that means printing stories that are uncomfortable for those in positions of great responsibility. Sometimes, to get information that people in power may wish to repress, reporters must allow sources to remain anonymous. Our whistleblower laws, however weakly enforced, acknowledge the need to protect those who seek to speak the truth, especially when doing so presents great risks.
A free and independent press, the unfettered exchange of ideas, discussion of policies, analysis of regulations to implement those policies, are all essential to a strong, healthy and thriving democracy. The Constitution that Trump swore to uphold enshrines freedom of the press as one of our most basic rights. Cries of “fake news” when his incorrect facts are exposed or stories cast him in an unflattering light not only harm our democracy, but put him in default on the contract he made with all Americans when he took the oath of office.
Deidre J. Byrne
Climate change equals brain change
I wanted to warn you, who are reading this letter, that our brains are now being exposed to many toxic chemicals. Of course, those of us that are proud and happy that we have kept some of the unhealthy exposures away from our own backyard by sending fracking elsewhere, may believe that we have had a win, as we have — but, the fight continues. To make my point about brain damage, I want you to notice who we have voted in.
Our main leader has been diagnosed by many psychologists as having a mental illness and one of them has accrued more than 25,000 signatures of mental health professionals on a petition that requests the removal of the president based on his state of mental health.
When you add mental health issues to some of his cabinet choices, such as Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon Mobil who was awarded the “Order of Friendship” by Vladimir Putin in 2012; Steve Bannon, former head of Breitbart News who called women: “hysterical and hypercritical” and whose platform was for the alt-right, which stood for racism, whites only, and anti-Semitism; Betsy DeVos as head of education, who believes in more charter schools for some; and Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA, which he himself doesn’t believe in, it seems that we are heading to more toxins and environmental destruction.
So, where do we go from here? It looks like rallies are in our future and as we head towards spring, I can imagine that the crowds will grow. As I see the women’s marches come together with Muslims and black and white men, I believe that we can finally come together to show our numbers. If we stick together, we could get our government back and return to the issues that matter that start with hope and then move on to protecting our environment and our equal rights.