Saugerties Times letters (8/16-22)

Vote for Figueroa

I first met Juan Figueroa at the Democratic caucus, at which he was overwhelmingly chosen as the party’s nominee for Ulster County sheriff. Since then I have heard him speak at several events. Each time I am impressed by his understanding of the needs of the people in our diverse communities. I, like many others, want to see a more humane and effective way of dealing with young and first-time offenders, an end to targeting minorities, and fairer treatment of immigrants throughout our county.

Figueroa proposes a First Chance program to enroll young offenders in jobs programs and toward a better future. He plans targeted training programs for law enforcement in crisis and conflict management to make policing more effective in reducing crime. He supports increased community involvement in making towns and cities safer and to build mutual trust between the police and the people. Figueroa knows that community involvement fosters understanding among cultures and lessens fear and misunderstandings. He plans to use community education, effective law enforcement, and collaboration with county health agencies to deal with the current opioid crisis.

If you get a chance to hear Juan speak, I hope you will attend and find out his qualifications for yourself. I urge all registered Democrats to vote in the primary on Thursday, September 13 for Juan Figueroa for Ulster County sheriff.


Judith Lechner


Youth movement

It would appear that change is in the air. I’m particularly impressed by the number of younger men and women becoming involved in politics at the local level. Here in Saugerties we’ve seen a marked increase in attendance at committee meetings, fundraisers and candidacies at the local level. We’ve had a 20-something run for and win election to the town board. A Democrat has won the office of town supervisor. Another has been appointed to a seat on the town board and will be running in the next election to solidify that seat. Timothy Scott Jr. is vying for a seat on the board of the Saugerties Public Library and I support his candidacy wholeheartedly.

In these days of strife and turmoil it is refreshing to see greater interest and political involvement by the younger members of our town and village. All this is generating tremendous energy, innovation and progress.

John Terrell
Malden on Hudson


For change, vote Figueroa

Status quo includes hardline emphasis on arrests, rising incarceration, lack of training, discriminatory involvement practices, lack of community involvement. The status quo has resulted in a history of lawsuits within the Ulster County sheriff’s department costing the county close to half a million dollars. The status quo is a politicized sheriff’s office calling for citizens to carry concealed weapons, even to boycott the NFL. The status quo is the reporting of immigrants to ICE, no matter what the offense. Only those who commit a felony are supposed to be reported to ICE.

Juan Figueroa’s background as 22 years as a Marine, 25 years with the New York state troopers as a criminal investigator and as a trainer at the State Police Academy gives him excellent credentials to be an agent of change. Change is needed in many areas including more emphasis on community involvement as well as community policing. Training should be ongoing and comprehensive within the department.

The opioid crisis is well-known and well-documented. Current practice is heavy emphasis on arrests and use of Narcan. These are not solutions, only band-aids. Juan Figueroa’s plan is to also work with and health agencies to promote education, rehab programs and improved legislation. He has a plan to promote community education, including recognition of early signs of drug abuse.

To us, the choice is clear. We are voting for Juan Figueroa.

Linnea & Pat Masson
New Paltz


Faso and Collins

The relationships and similarities between President Donald Trump, Representative John Faso, and Representative Chris Collins, recently arrested and indicted on charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI, are striking and, potentially, enlightening.

A year ago, to help their president abort the Affordable Care Act, Faso conceived and Collins assisted in delivering a Luciferian amendment to Trump’s American Health Care Act. After being cursed and pummeled on all sides, their spawn died in stillbirth. Governor Cuomo had called it “a political Ponzi scheme,” explaining: “The Faso-Collins shell game cuts $2.3 billion in federal funding to New York, and will force every resident of this state to pay a ‘Faso-Collins Federal Tax’ to make up the difference to avoid decimation of our health care system.”

The Faso-Collins Amendment became known as the “Buffalo Bribe,” a reference to Collins’ hometown. Some wag dubbed it “Tammany Haul,” alluding to Boss Tweed’s New York City graft-and-corruption-riddled political machine of long ago, an era for which some politicians would seem to remain nostalgic. The Daily News labeled the amendment “egregious” and a “betrayal of New York from within.”

Collins’ press has only gotten worse; according to CNBC, his indictment “highlighted the intertwined relationship between Collins’ life as a private businessman and his duties as a publicly elected representative.” Not altogether dissimilarly, after a stint in the state legislature, Faso was both a partner and a lobbyist at a law firm, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, that in 2010 was fined $550,000 and banned from working on the state’s public pension funds for five years because of the company’s pay-to-play practices.

Their (so far) one-step-ahead-of-the-law president would have been proud of both of them, if only they hadn’t been caught. (See Trump on McCain: “I like people that weren’t captured.”)

Here’s another side of the triangle: According to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, as of July 25, 2018 Collins had voted in line with Trump 98.9 percent of the time and Faso had slavishly followed his leader 90 percent of the time.

And another: According to The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker,” by the beginning of August 2018 Trump had made 4,229 false or misleading statements since he became president, more than 7.5 a day. Faso’s total is uncertain, but there is the famous, possible tip-of-the-iceberg, coldhearted promise he made to a pleading woman with a brain tumor/spinal condition that he would not vote to kill the ACA and jeopardize her “preexisting coverage” protection — and then did. And Collins is accused of lying to the FBI.

Collins, who at last count was worth $60 million, has contributed thousands to Faso’s war chest. Now, with the multimillionaire taking a prolonged furlough (and avoiding a dishonorable discharge), he may choose to arm the GOP militia and Faso with even more dollars, though this time they may have to be slipped through prison bars.

I hope John Faso is finally touched by a ray of light and decides to return any past and future Collins donations. He owes this simple gesture of scruple to the people of the district, of the state, and of the country, especially those who in good, if blind, faith elected him to office in 2016 and who, once again defying any recognizable notion of self-interest, may insist on voting for him this November.

Tom Cherwin


Artists’ Studio Tour success

The 16th Annual Saugerties Artists’ Studio Tour, August 11-12, our annual town-wide open studio tour, was a huge success. Spirits were high at the artists’ reception at Opus 40 on Friday evening and throughout the weekend as visitors traveled to meet the artists in the places where art is created. We, the artists who proudly call Saugerties home, are so grateful for all the support we receive in making the artists’ tour a reality. This showcase event is evidence of what can be achieved when artists, with support from the community can achieve. The Tour brings together people from close to home and outside of the area to explore and discover what a great town Saugerties is.


On behalf of myself and all 45 artists who participated in this year’s tour, we would like to thank: Supervisor Fred Costello, Jr. and the Saugerties Town Board for their on-going support, Kiwanis Club of Saugerties, Saugerties Times, Julie O’Connor of Almanac Weekly, 98.1 WKZE Radio, Marge Block and The Saugerties Historical Society, Saugerties Tourism, Ulster County Tourism, Arts Mid-Hudson and the Ulster County Legislature. Also, our tour map sponsors and Saugerties village businesses that graciously allowed us to show our work in their windows and their help to distribute tour maps.

Special thanks to Tad and Pat Richards of Opus 40 for hosting a fabulous Gallery Show that runs through September 9 and the Artists’ Reception, our families, friends and supporters, who are too numerous to mention who help us make the tour an outstanding celebration of the arts. We couldn’t have done it without your help.

Barbara Bravo, Tour Coordinator
Saugerties Artists Studio Tour

There is one comment

  1. James Marcus

    Mr. Juan Figueroa may be a very nice and articulate gentleman and pleasant to meet with and speak to.
    He retired from Law Enforcement and currently receives a $105,066 NYS Pension. I am sure he deserves it.
    Now he wants to get back into law enforcement and take on a job he has no experience in.
    Sheriff Paul VanBlarcum has run the sheriff’s department, annual budget, road patrol, and jail with professionalism and distinction. He has always been a fair and honorable human being and Sheriff. He should continue to do the excellent job he has always done and should be reelected.

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