Kingston Times Letters: America’s soul; more about the airport

America’s soul

As we enter a new year, we need to change our focus to the soul of America and away from the worship of the false images of government, politicians and bureaucratic largess. As the recent tragedies of natural disasters reminded us, the heart and soul of Americans is the people helping their neighbors with compassion and self-sacrifice. Yes, there was the presence of government assistance, unfortunately often confused and misdirected by bureaucratic red tape.

Having recently returned from rural North Carolina, I witnessed the soul of individuals and private agencies directly serving the needs of the misfortunate. In one rural county, there are 400 homeless families where shelters are overflowing and people take refuge in abandoned buildings and the forests. Food pantries provide food and counseling, but the homeless cannot access helping services since there is no public transportation to access help or jobs. There are loving people who volunteer their personal assistance. A local farmer donates a whole field of tomatoes to the poor. A 74-year-old widow fills her car, after volunteering at a local food bank, and drives to abandoned buildings and woodland encampments to distribute food and milk to homeless families. A church group houses and feeds women and children for free for three months, supporting them with basic needs, and counseling many on basic sanitary and social skills. Unfortunately, they can only afford a three-month program, which is often insufficient for the effects to take place.

Locally, we have witnessed the heroic efforts of a young Poughkeepsie councilman, Chris Petsas, fight for the residents of a waterfront high-rise building housing the poor who were victimized by the lack of heat, hot water and accumulated garbage. While the city leaders ignored the crisis for the families, this councilman, through social media, awakened the community to this tragedy and the people responded. They drove cars and trucks to the building and distributed warm blankets, clothing and nutritional donations. Most of the city leaders remain silent.

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These are just a few of the examples of the awakening of the soul of America to the “love of neighbor,” personally accepting the responsibility for compassion and care for one another.

It is time and hope for our future to have the people become iconoclasts who peacefully dismantle the power and control of the image government, politicians, bureaucrats and “acadumbics” and acclaim the people as the authentic instruments and distributors of service to the needy. We the People, individually and collectively, are the true and most effective instruments of the soul of America.

Paul Jankiewicz, Ph.D.
Ulster Park

More about the airport

Recently, after reading where PATH-NY/NJ, the oversight agency for Stewart Airport, was allocating $116,000 out of millions of budgeted dollars, I expressed my outrage. I listed many reasons why it should be more, as well as ways to achieve the objectives. Well, I am not sure if I am a prophet or just lucky but wouldn’t you know, our own Gov. Cuomo just a month later publicly called for an investment of a total of $34 million at Stewart. So now I will try to manage the governor’s proposals with my previously stated solutions.

The Gov wants $27 million in government money. Well, go borrow the money like any other business. Either that or sell equity shares to interested parties like hotels or restaurant chains, airlines, local building trades’ pension funds or others that would benefit.

The Gov proposes $6 million in private investment. Well, as I suggested, let’s call the “favorite son” from Dutchess County, the president of Delta Airlines. Request that “little favor” or as I previously described a “little tit for tat.”

The Gov wants to get this done by 2021. Well, that’s way too long. How about the local building trades getting on board now and calling for a speeding up the time table? Our replaceable politicians could arise from their slumber and also get on the bandwagon here as well. Competition in political campaigns will do wonders, and the market is too mobile to wait three years. A 2019 deadline, although ambitious, is much more desirable.

The Gov wants to call it New York International Airport at Stewart Field. That’s probably better than the Cuomo International Arrivals Building and describes a location, or destination, instead of an individual.

Finally, not mentioned previously, a marketing plan including, but not limited to, competitively priced flights and reasonable connections, must be implemented so that when the improvements are completed the increase revenue produced pays for the proposed and gets a reasonable return on the investment.

So there you have it, probably in 300 words or less — how to get $34 million in Stewart Airport improvements off the ground.

Bruce McLean
Kingston

Dangerous times

Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury, became a best seller in two to three days. So, it looks like we all know that we have a mentally sick president. Wolff said that 100 percent of the people around him are concerned that he is psychologically unfit.

Mental health expert Dr. John Gartner said: “We have a situation where the most powerful man in the world could make all of human life extinct.” That is because has the right to launch the nuclear code. According to Dr. Gartner his symptoms show dementia.   We are in the position of having a demented man have this right. Dr. Gartner stated that dementia gets worse as it progresses, as it did with Hitler, who he said was diagnosed with dementia by his profession.

However, just knowing that fact, seems to have only helped the super wealthy to take advantage of knowing that they can manipulate him to do whatever they want, which started out with lowering their taxes.

So, where do we stand? If impeachment happens, we have Mike Pence, a man who is not mentally ill, but believes in the same general ideas as Trump does. After all, they have already lowered taxes on the millionaires and billionaires. So, what do we do? I don’t know. But I promise to continue to watch this drama closely and see if we can come together as a group and push our leaders in the right direction.  There are more of us than there are of them.

Jill Paperno
Glenford

Support single-payer

New York could lead the way to national, single-payer, universal healthcare!

In the past three years the New York Assembly has passed the NY Health Act (A. 4738 / S. 4840) three times with huge majority support. With 32 cosponsors, we only need one more senator to have the majority in the state Senate.

Start the new year learning about actions in and around Ulster County to support the New York Health Act — affordable, universal health care for all New Yorkers. Katie Robbins, Director for the Campaign for New York Health, will speak.

Please come to the New York Health Act Orientation on Friday, Jan. 12 from 7-8:30 p.m. at New Paltz Community Center at 3 Veterans Drive, New Paltz. We will prepare to canvas for support from businesses the following day Saturday, Jan. 13 and beyond. Visit www.nyhealthact.com for the New York Health Act and www.nyhcampaign.org for the event organizers — The Campaign for New York Health.

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Beth Dulay
New Paltz

Who gets the windfall?

Right now, thanks to the tax reform bill, New York utilities, including Central Hudson’s owner, the Canadian corporation Fortis Inc., stand to see a huge reduction in their income tax charges. The reduction from 35 percent to 21 percent will save Central Hudson-Fortis approximately $5 million in the cost of providing electric service. Since utilities are regulated monopolies, this windfall must be passed through to rate-payers. In fact, Governor Cuomo and the head of the Public Service Commission have just announced that the resulting financial gains will go to utility customers.

But which customers? Will big business be the beneficiary? Big business already got plenty from the tax bill. Or will the windfall be used to help community members already burdened by electric charges many of them can’t afford, and to encourage reduced energy usage, which helps our environment?

Right now, the Central Hudson rate case gives the Public Service Commission a golden opportunity to reduce the fixed monthly charge that all residential customers must pay. At $24 a month, the company’s basic charge to residential rate-payers — the amount customers have to pay before they use any electricity at all — is the highest in New York State. Central Hudson even has the gall to be asking for an increase to $25 — five times higher on average than people pay in New Jersey, Massachusetts or Rhode Island. High fixed charges not only make electricity unaffordable for many people, they also work against the environment by discouraging energy conservation. When the fixed charge is low, low-energy users see their bills go way down, and the highest energy users pay more for the extra energy they use.

What better purpose for the coming $5 million tax bonanza than to correct this environmentally counterproductive and unjust situation? Big business has a big seat at the table in Albany. The Public Service Commission should live up to its name and mandate to ensure “fair and reasonable” rates by reducing the basic monthly charge for residential rate-payers.

Susan H. Gillespie

President of the board
Citizens for Local Power
Rosendale

Bring back the national news

I have lived in West Hurley for 82 years and have listened to WKNY for at least 50-plus years of that time. I especially like to listen at 7 a.m. for the national/world news and the local news at that time. Recently WKNY 1490 was bought by Radio Kingston. Starting yesterday morning, there was no national/world news which was previously aired by CBS. I contacted Radio Kingston explaining my concern about the absence of that type of news, and was told that there are several sources of national/world news and that Radio Kingston was going to only carry the local news, and will expand that portion by adding another local reporter. Since that is their position, I was just wondering how many others feel that getting the national/world News at that time is important to them. If your concern is like mine, you can contact Jimmy Buff on Facebook at “Radio Kingston” and express your concerns. Not just the news, but I’ve also enjoyed Warren and his pals with the sports, trivia and chatter in the mornings. Hopefully we can show enough interest to have them reconsider.

Ron Every
Hurley

A wake-up call

A recent newspaper article said the City Comprehensive Plan Zoning Committee wants to make Midtown look like New York City.

Here’s a wake-up call for that committee and their mentor, consultant George Janes. This is Kingston, N.Y. This will not be Brooklyn North. People are leaving New York City and coming here for a reason. I see no logical reason to duplicate the neighborhoods and quality of life they are leaving. We don’t want “street walks” to admire the goods in storefronts as we walk down Broadway. We are already spending tons of money for trails we can use to shop at the Kingston Plaza. We are not going to return to an era when we went “down to the corner store” to get today’s food and necessities. We drive to where we need to go.

Take off the visionary hat and enter the world of today. We are what we are; do you want to make it better? Then forget about bringing the New York City legacy of crime, filth and mugging into the very area the “newcomers” are trying to leave. Spend your time figuring out how to merge all the personal agenda thoughts in the Comprehensive Plan into a single well-thought out strategy.

Ronald E. Dietl
Kingston