Saugerties Times election letters (10/27-11/2)

A Marine for legislature

This is right from Wikipedia: “The Marine Corps Core Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment have gained increased prominence in recent years. As an emphasis on performing morally on and off duty, the concept of core values has been infiltrated into many aspects of Marine life, beginning in basic training and continuing into service. This ethos provides guidance to Marines in difficult ethical situations and acts as a reminder to provide good order and discipline.”

We need elected officials who have these core values particularly in difficult ethical situations.

Additionally, I spoke to ex-marines who told me that making it through basic training gave them confidence throughout their professional career and life. They often said to themselves in times of stress or challenges, “if I can make it through Marine boot camp I can do this.”


Voters in Saugerties have the opportunity to have a Marine represent us in the Ulster County Legislature. Please help elect Mike MacIsaac to the Ulster County Legislature.

Gil Hartrum Jr.


Respect for Vinnie Altieri

Although I’m not a resident of Saugerties, New York, I would like to express my support and respect for someone who is running for office in that town. Vincent “Vinnie” Altieri has been a friend and co-worker of mine for 30 years. In those 30 years I’ve seen him climb through the ranks at the UC Sheriff’s Office, beginning with Deputy Sheriff in 1987 to the position of Criminal Division Captain — the position he commands at present. I’ve watched him successfully co-parent his beautiful daughter Ashley — a Saugerties school system honor student and star athlete. Not an easy feat in this day and age.

I’ve witnessed him as he’s watched over his amazing and beautiful mom after his dad passed away. I’ve sat in on hundreds of meetings where he’s been the voice of reason and intelligence. His analytical thought process and ability to work with numbers is mind-boggling. His reputation and loyalty are above reproach. His candid honesty isn’t always popular — but it’s always the truth. And even with his strong convictions and belief system in what’s right and wrong — he’s also very open-minded and fair. He’s willing to listen. You never have to wonder where you stand with Vinnie — he might not agree with you, but you never have to worry about turning your back.

I encourage all those registered, to get out and vote on November 7, 2017. Vote for Vincent “Vinnie” Altieri. He will definitely work for you and for Saugerties. He’s got no hidden agendas, I can assure you.

Barbara A. O’Brien
West Hurley


A mulligan

Two years ago I wrote a letter saying, “If you are happy with the town officials and status quo, then by all means vote for them.  However, if you’re tired of high taxes, out-of-control spending, the handing out of big raises, hiring personnel for political gain, nepotism and hidden agendas, there is another way:  follow the wave that is sweeping our country and vote them out of office.

Unfortunately, voters failed to vote for change last time around and we are now paying the price for that faux pas (in the form of astronomical raises and out-of-control spending).  The good news is, we have a second chance, a do-over, if you will. Grab the opportunity to make some real change.

Two years ago, under the Democrat-controlled town board, while the town was in contract negations with its unions, the board voted to give out hefty raises to all department heads and raises as high as 22%, with some receiving $10,000 annual salary increases.  Then, during the following year, the town board, still under Democrat control, proposed a budget that called for a 5.5% increase in property tax.

This year the NYS Comptroller’s office issued a report revealing Saugerties’ status as financially stressed—this may result in higher taxes.  In spite of that, the tentative budget for 2018 includes astronomical raises for top town officials including raises for members of the board and supervisor.  When is enough enough?  When was the last time you, ordinary Joe, got a raise?  Social Security recipients’ benefit increase amounted to about one percent, which was then promptly eaten up by increased medical premium charges.  It’s time to clean house.

We need new, fresh blood representing us in government—including new leadership.  Please, therefore, support the following on Tuesday November 7, 2017:  Jim Bruno for Town Supervisor; Don Tucker and Paul Andrseassen for Town Board;  Mary Wawro, Joe Maloney and Dean Fabiano for County Legislator; Lisa Stanley for Town Clerk;  Doug Myer for Highway Superintendent; and Dan Lamb for Town Justice.  These candidates all appear on Row “C.”

Vote Row “C” on Tuesday, November 7th.

George D Heidcamp, Sr
Chairman Town of Saugerties Conservative Party, 1st Vice Chairman Ulster County Conservative Party


Vote MacIsaac

I have always been interested in politics and elections. One of the things that I noticed about Saugerties politics is how many people vote as if the election were a popularity contest. Rather than evaluate different candidates based on their experience, qualifications, platform and so on, many people vote because so and so went to school with their father, or their children played ball with a candidate’s children.

Regarding the legislature campaign in Saugerties (District 1), if one were to compare candidates Mary Wawro and Mike MacIsaac, there is no doubt in my mind that Mike would win hands down. I would like to urge me fellow citizens to take a serious look at Mike by going to his web site at, or better yet, call Mike at 862-308-5809.

Since Mary Wawro has been our legislator for almost six years, we need to look at what she has done to better our lives in Saugerties and Ulster County. It’s hard to find anything she has initiated in the Legislature that has improved our lives in Ulster County. As one who follows the news carefully, I don’t remember any initiatives or proposals or programs where she led the effort. Straight party line voting is not a leadership position.

Please lets look at merit and qualifications when we vote this time. It’s obvious. We need a change. Vote for MacIsaac.

Nancy E. K. Schaef


Jimmy Bruno, a true gentleman

I cannot think of anyone who would be a better Town Supervisor than my father, Jimmy Bruno. My father was born and raised in Saugerties and has always had a deep love for his town and community. He spent years volunteering as a coach for Little League and Babe Ruth. Even after I grew older and no longer played, he continued to volunteer as a coach because of his love for helping children and his community. He has served on the Saugerties Planning Board and has spent eight years on the Saugerties Town Board. He works year round hand making Christmas decorations for an incredible Christmas display on his property that he puts on every year for our community. He gets such joy from seeing the children’s faces light up and hearing from the adults that driving through his display each year has become part of their holiday tradition.

My father is the most generous and dedicated person that I know. He would drop anything he’s doing to help anyone in need. He has integrity and will fight for what he believes in. He is diplomatic and able to work with all people despite their differences so that the can come together to work for a common goal. He is against old politics and will always do what he thinks is best for the community.

My father is soft spoken and honest. He does not play the usual political games or bash anyone around him. He is a true gentleman.

One of the best things about my father is watching him with my children. He has said that his greatest joy in life has been becoming a grandfather, “Poppy.”


My father is committed to this town and will make this position a priority in his life. He has the knowledge, time, and experience which is needed to successfully carry out the duty of Town Supervisor.

My father is an amazing man and would be a wonderful supervisor for the Town of Saugerties.

Joey Bruno


Vinnie Altieri for Town Council

I am a 35 year resident of Saugerties, and I am proud to call this community my home. I have watched Saugerties grow in the past 35 years, and I believe that with the help of Vinnie Altieri, Saugerties will become an even better place to live.

I have known Vinnie Altieri for several years, from my first impression of him, until now, I knew he could do great things. Vinnie has been in law enforcement for many years and has earned his way up to Captain. Vinnie is very approachable and is always ready to listen to any concerns and will give valuable answers. He has proven to be very active in the community, and has made a home here with his daughter. I have seen Vinnie volunteer for the benefit of children, shop at local merchants and dine at local restaurants.   He is a man with Integrity, loyalty, and is committed to the Saugerties community. I truly believe that Vinnie will be an asset to the Town Council and will go above and beyond for the Saugerties community.

Please join me in voting for the best man for the job, Vincent Altieri.

Lorri Dickerson


Vinnie Altieri

My wife and I are both hopeful and grateful that Vinnie is running for town council. Hopeful that people will take a look at him to see how passionate he is about our town and the role he hopes to play in its future growth and prosperity. We need people like Mr. Altieri to be involved with discussion and decision making that will affect the present and future residents of this town.

Grateful that he would choose to “Throw his hat” in the ring of local politics. The job is not easy, nor is it an envious one. Vinnie is, and has been a public servant for most of his adult life. We believe he understands the issues that our town and its residents face. And we believe he would be an asset as a member of the Saugerties Town Council!

Lou and Martha Collins


Why I’m running

For those who do not know me, I’m John Schoonmaker, a lifelong resident of Saugerties who graduated from Saugerties High in 2010. I studied biology at Siena College for four years, and now work as a Gnotobiology Specialist for Taconic Biosciences.

Many have asked me why I have decided to run for office at the age of 26. You don’t see many of my generation getting involved at this level. After spending some time thinking about how I could help those around me, and a little prodding from my brother Steven, I realized that I could make a difference where it matters most, my hometown. I believe it is time for me to give back to the community that raised me, and help Saugerties continue to grow.

I would bring a strong environmental approach to the board, looking to form a coalition with nearby municipalities and local environmental groups to clean up the Esopus Creek. In my childhood, the area around the beach was not so congested by vegetation, which is mostly invasive species like water chestnut and milfoil. I would also start looking into what other services we could combine within the town and village to help save the taxpayer money. It simply does not make sense to have two separate municipalities for essentially one town.

I hope I can count on your support come November 7. I will work hard to ensure every

resident’s concern is heard and addressed if possible. Saugerties has been going in a positive direction in the last few years, but I think we can do even better in the coming years. Let’s work together to ensure Saugerties keeps prospering, and create the real change that is possible.

John Schoonmaker
Saugerties Town Board Candidate


Vote Vinnie

As the Town of Saugerties is getting closer to election day on, Tuesday, November 5, the community needs to show their support of Vincent Altieri. Over the past 15 years of knowing Vincent Altieri he has show his leadership time and time again. Vincent oversees a $7 Million budget with his managing role as Captain at the Ulster County Sherriff Department.

As a small business owner in the Town of Saugerties, I count on the Town Council to make the smart, educated financial decisions. The Town Board needs to be able to keep our taxes in check and make it possible to keep our town thriving. Local business owners and taxpayers need someone like Vinnie to implement these decisions for the Town of Saugerties. Please don’t forget to get out and vote and show your support for Vincent Altieri for Town Board during the November election.

Anthony Gallo,
Gallo Electrical Construction Inc.  


New citizen for Joe Maloney

A few months ago my husband shared with Joe that he was worried about his wife and daughter. We were 6 months overdue from receiving our interview for citizenship in the Naturalization application process and in these uncertain times we were very concerned. Joe made no guarantees but asked for all the information we had and said he would make some phone calls regarding the situation on our behalf. The next day Joe called us excited and said we should be receiving a call within the next day or so. We did and had our interview the following week. Soon after we became citizens! It is always nice when you meet someone that is willing to go out of their way to throw their efforts behind you and follow through! I will be proudly casting my first vote as a U.S. Citizen for Joe Maloney for Ulster County Legislator on November 7th.

Patrice James, U.S. Citizen


Empty promises

I find it very interesting on the campaign approach of our two candidates for Town Supervisor, both of whom have been very active in Saugerties politics in leadership roles. Mr. Bruno has campaigned on lowering out taxes and tax breaks for senior citizens. All very important issues to the citizens of Saugerties and definitely attention getters. Who doesn’t want to pay less taxes?

My only question to Mr. Bruno is where were these ideas during his tenure on the Saugerties Town Board? Why didn’t he champion these issues before. And where is the lost revenue from lower taxes coming from? The backs of our town employees? From the reduction of safety in our community? Or a drastic raise in taxes for our middle class citizens? These are all answers that I need before I can make an educated decision.

Mr. Costello has chosen an approach where he has identified issues he can address, like solar power on town facilities, promote renewable cost-saving energy town wide, and elimination of services to reduce taxpayer expenses. Obviously not as glamorous as a candidate promising a Saugerties utopia where everyone’s taxes are eliminated or reduced! But he’s a candidate who, because of his integrity and honesty will not make campaign promises that he knows he can’t keep. He knows that he has to address taxes in Saugerties, it is an important issue, that has to be addressed in a bi-partisan community involved arena.

Please don’t be fooled by empty promises. Saugerties deserves much better than that.

Joe Puma


Supporting Joe Maloney 

I’ve gotten to know Joe and his family over the past several years. In that time he has become like family to me. From career advice and emotional support to financial planning. Joe has always been there for me. It is rare that you find people willing to listen anymore and Joe does more than that. He listens and cares.

I don’t vote often but I won’t be missing this November election for the world. Great father, great husband, great business owner and I am certain a great Legislator!

Augenija Fortuna


Old versus young?

I was both puzzled and concerned after reading the letter and ad placed in this paper by Jimmy Bruno, the Republican/Conservative candidate for Supervisor, in which he stated that he wants to cut property taxes for seniors over the age of 65, of which I happen to be one. In Saugerties, that’s a lot of people, and a whole lot of money. Either Mr. Bruno is unaware of the dire financial impact this would have on the remaining homeowners who would have to pick up the tab, or he is just trolling for votes from senior citizens. Neither is something we should expect from a candidate.

Nobody likes paying taxes, but nothing good can come from pitting older homeowners against the younger working people in our community. Rather, a clear focus on keeping taxes as low as possible benefits everyone.

Christian Kelly


Local elections matter

It is very important to engage young people in our democratic process. A young and inspiring leader on the Town Board will encourage young people to support their home town instead of leaving it. For this reason and many others, I am supporting John Schoonmaker, a lifelong resident of Saugerties, for a seat on the Saugerties Town Board. John Schoonmaker brings energy and innovative ideas to  issues that impact the future of the people and the town of Saugerties. John will work to bring jobs to our beautiful and historic town by promoting local businesses and attracting new enterprises. John is an active environmentalist who will work to keep our water clean and our beaches free of invasive plants. He opposes anchoring spaces for ships along the Hudson River.

John will encourage cooperation between town and village to save money without eliminating services. John will be available to all by keeping regular office hours to listen to your concerns.

Remember, local elections matter. They decide the future of all generations in Saugerties.

Judith Lechner


Vote for a voice

I take politics seriously. I care about who represents us. I looked at the voting records of our Ulster County Legislator, Mary Wawro. She voted against a resolution asking Congress not to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Res. 15 of 2017), she voted against Resolution 138 Condemning Violence and Hate Speech.

One of the important functions of our county legislature is to be a voice of Ulster County residents and the legislature itself by passing resolutions that can influence our state government or the federal government on issues that concern Ulster County. These are called memorializing resolutions. Mary Wawro voted to prohibit the legislature from using this valuable tool. This basically cripples our legislature from having influence on state and national issues.

We cannot keep electing people at the county level that basically vote for the Republican agenda and philosophy exemplified what is going on in Washington today. Please join me in voting for Mike MacIsaac, who will return our voice to the County Legislature.

Marcus Arthur


Shoe leather campaigning

I am responding to the lack of door to door campaigning by candidates for this year’s Town of Saugerties election. There are two Town Council positions and one Supervisor position that are up for grabs.

We have lived in Barclay Heights for 41 years. We also live on a corner lot with excessive visibility from all directions. This year to date I have had only two knocks on our door. Both Supervisory candidates and one councilman candidate, who did not introduce himself or even bother to look at me when he arrived at my door. When I heard the knock, I did say I was on the telephone and I really could not talk at that time however, one gentleman spoke to me and one did not.

Being elected to public office is not an entitlement; it takes a lot of hard work and a good pair of walking shoes, especially when seeking office for the very first time. I have always been a non-enrolled voter and try to intelligently make a decision when voting, not by party or popularity but by platforms and promises.

Needless to say I am very disappointed in how the candidates this year have promoted themselves. Like I said, getting elected to public office is hard work, a lot of pounding the pavement, meeting community residents and listening to their concerns. It is not a popularity contest or simply an entitlement.

My mind is made up; I will cast only one vote.

Christine Aiello


Costello: My positive vision for the town

As a candidate for Town Supervisor, it is and has been my intention to run a positive issue-oriented campaign. Upon making my decision to run for Town Supervisor, I informed my friend and fellow board member, Jim Bruno, of my intention to run and my commitment to a positive Gentleman’s contest of ideas for the future of our community.

To that end, I have tried to offer realistic plans to control spending and hold the line on taxes. I have advocated for zoning changes that will protect our neighborhoods from “zombie” homes that have been abandoned by their owners. I have been a voice in opposing the Pilgrim Pipeline, which risks the lives of our first responders and threatens our natural resources. I have advocated for alternative and improved access to the Internet. I have been a reliable champion for improving access to recreational opportunities for our community. I have and will double our efforts to employ alternative energy to protect the environment and save money. I have outlined an economic  plan that will build on the work that has been done by Supervisor Helsmoortel and have plans to restore a viable Economic Development Committee, which has fallen into inactivity.

These and many other initiatives will take hard work, experience and dedication. I have served as a member of the Saugerties Town Board for 14 years, eleven of which I had the privilege of serving as Deputy Supervisor. I have also gained significant experience managing the growth and expansion our family’s business. I believe that my experience uniquely qualifies me  to meet the challenges of serving as Town Supervisor of our community. Together, with your support,  we can make Saugerties stronger, safer, cleaner, more affordable  and ripe with new opportunities for the next generation.

Unfortunately,  my opponent and his surrogates have not fully subscribed to a positive  approach to our future. On a number of occasions,  it has come to my attention that they have engaged in direct mail, social media and “whisper” personal attacks towards me. I have chosen not to respond to these innuendos in the interest of offering a positive vision for our community. Campaign season is often “silly season” because traditionally candidates offer pie in the sky promises and level absurd attacks and accusations against their opponents.

Please do not be influenced by this dated, old and tired brand of campaign tactics. My contact information is readily available and  my phone number is 914-466-4080. I would be happy to discuss any range of topics with my fellow residents.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity of serving our community over the past few years. It would be an honor and a privilege to serve you as our next Town Supervisor.

Fred M. Costello Jr.


Vote for Vinny

I have know Vinny Altieri since the early 1908s when we both were working our first jobs at Caldor’s in Kingston. Through the years when we would see each other, I would admire hom , as his hard work ethic and strong sense of commitment propelled him to succeed and advance to where his is today with the Sheriff’s Departrment.

I believe we need Vinny’s strong independent thinking on the town board where his work ethic and commitment will work for all the residents of the town. Please join me in electing Vincent Altieri to the town council.

Randy Ricks


It’s all in the details

I want to thank the League of Women Voters for sponsoring the Saugerties’ Candidates’ Forum that was held at the Saugerties Senior Center on Monday night. I would encourage all of the residents of Saugerties who have access to Saugerties Lighthouse TV to watch the debate to see who all of the candidates are for this year’s ballot in Saugerties.

As your county legislator, I have demonstrated my ability to work with Government officials on the Town, Village, County, State and Federal levels towards assisting residents with their problems and concerns that they have presented to me. As your legislator, I have demonstrated an independent voting record that is free from influences within the legislature and outside of the legislature. I have earned the reputation of being well versed in the subject matter that pertains to the operations of County Government in addition to local, state and Federal Government too.

When watching the debate, you will notice a sharp contrast between the depths of knowledge that I possess relative to that of my opponent. I believe that governmental operations are part of a detail-oriented business, and my depth of knowledge was demonstrated throughout my performance at the debate. Simply saying that you believe in details without being able to state the specificity of which you are referring to, does not make one an expert at understanding governmental operations.

In fact, many factual errors were stated by my opponent at the candidates’ forum on Monday Night. When my opponent stated that there are some legislators who claim “thousands of dollars” in mileage reimbursement on an annual basis, this was a false statement. After checking the facts, I discovered that the highest reimbursement turned in by any singular legislator for 2016 was $1,104, and that was turned in by a legislator who lives around 30 miles from the Ulster County Building and who has a near perfect attendance record. I myself only receive around $3.80 for every 24 mile round trip that I make to the County Building.

Living in Saugerties, when I attend the annual NYSAC State Conference in Albany, I commute back and forth rather than utilizing a hotel room which saves the taxpayers money on the costs of a hotel room. My total mileage reimbursements for 2016 were $677 which includes a perfect attendance record for monthly meetings and attendance at every committee meeting for which I had my resolutions going though for a vote. In addition, I have been very active in attending important events around Ulster County as a representative of District 2.

Providing truthful and factually correct information is an important aspect of being a government official.

Chris Allen, Ulster County Legislature


Allen on point

As an active voter and resident of the Village of Saugerties, I attended the League of Women Voters’ Candidates Forum last Monday night. Held at the Saugerties Senior Center, the forum concluded with a debate between Legislator Chris Allen and his opponent.

When the residents of Saugerties watch this debate on local access television via Lighthouse-TV, they will notice a sharp contrast between the two candidates. Allen was very articulate and knowledgeable about a wide array of subjects related to the operations of County Government and issues that affect the everyday lives of Saugerties residents, while his opponent was not. Legislator Allen was always able to articulate his points clearly, concisely and with great detail, while his opponent was often unable to fill the two minutes that are allotted to the candidates for a response. At one point, Allen’s opponent made the seemingly magnanimous offer that he would refuse the health insurance plan available to County Legislators because he “does not need the insurance.”  But what he failed to mention is that his wife, as stated in a local newspaper, works full time inside Ulster County Government within the Comptroller’s Office and that he has access to health insurance as her spouse.

In addition, his opponent incorrectly stated that County Legislators receive lifetime health insurance paid for in full after serving ten years in the legislature. This is a false statement, as all county employees (including his wife and he himself as her spouse) who earn health insurance benefits will receive 50% of their health insurance costs covered under MVP Gold (which is not the same insurance that current county employees receive) upon retirement and 10 years of employment after reaching the age of 55. Working more than 10 years does earn an employee more towards their insurance coverage, but an employee who works for 28 years as a county employee will only earn 80% coverage.

Legislator Allen did not address this issue, because he stayed on point and acted very diplomatically during the debate. If you were thinking of voting for Chris Allen’s opponent prior to the debate, take a look at that debate on TV-23, Lighthouse television, and you will very likely change your mind. Chris Allen is hard working, knowledgeable and effective as our legislator, and he deserves your vote on November 7.

Bill Barr 


There is one comment

  1. Shirley Catalano

    I have the honor of writing to endorse Jimmy Bruno, for Town Supervisor. I have known him for many years, both professionally and personally. He is a most impressive man whose work ethic, experience, and knowledge of the issues facing his community are second to none.

    Jimmy already has plans to bring new jobs into our community, a way to keep our assessments fair, and to give seniors a break on their taxes just to name a few. These will aid Saugerties in remaining a viable and an attractive community for both current and potential future residents.

    Jimmy, has served with distinction and courage on the town board for eight years. He is a current and valued member and during his time he refused to support a 5.3% increase on taxes, until he negotiated in down to 3.4%increase. He is currently a valued, respected, and effective board member. He owns and has owned a very successful business. He had a vision for vacant farmland in Saugerties and through hard work and determination Bishop’s gate development is a reality.
    He leads by example and has the determination to make the decisions that need to be made. His ability to reach out or be approached by others will him help to form and maintain strong lasting relationships. There is no other person that deserves this position more. Jimmy’s character is one that is built on integrity. He is kind, generous, hardworking, forthright, and trustworthy. It is with great pleasure that I ask you to join me in voting for Jimmy Bruno for Town Supervisor. Thank you! Shirley Catalano

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