Saugerties Times letters (8/30-9/5)

Honored to have your support

For those who may not know, the Saugerties Public Library will be holding its budget vote on September 6 (a Thursday), from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (absentee ballots are now available at the library). Along with the budget, voters can select three candidates for the library’s board of trustees. I am one of those candidates (as a few before me have already stated here in the past month). I’m running to further serve our community. As a trustee I will be a fierce advocate for every Saugertesian and the library itself. I want to continue the library’s excellent community programming, retain and attract talented people to work there, and provide them fair wages in accordance with what taxpayers can afford. I also believe that going solar should be explored as it is beneficial to all involved. Our library is a treasure and together we can make sure it remains one. I would be honored to have your support one week from today.

Timothy J. Scott Jr.
Saugerties

Saugerties — a future Long Island?

We have attended all of the meetings regarding this proposed solar project; spoken directly to representatives from Geronimo and have written our concerns to the them, the planning board and the town supervisor. So, by now, you know where we stand: we are completely opposed to 100 acres of industry in a residential zone.

The zoning law was amended to accommodate solar industry in other locations in our town, but we think this was a misguided change in our zoning. Industrial zones are created because some projects are not compatible with residential communities, and this is certainly a perfect example. The threats to open space, natural habitats and our water supply are simply too important to ignore. If Saugerties goes this route, our rural community will resemble Long Island in the future. Is this what we want?

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Neighbors we have spoken to are too afraid to speak out due to sounding like they are opposed to solar, which we are not, and being labeled NIMBY — Not in my Backyard types. Our response is that we are in favor of solar/alternative energy when sited in the proper location only. And if we are not able to protect our own “backyard,” who and what are we able to protect? We applaud people who care enough about their environment to object to unacceptable situations in their midst. It must start at home. 

We bought our home in 1981 and since that time our area has been besieged by dangerous and unhealthy projects nearby…a mining and blasting situation, a company that burned PCB’s, a candle factory that that released toxic odors and a brickyard, proposed for the same field that now is proposing a solar industry. We think enough is enough. We have participated in many of the efforts to stop the degradation in our environment. Why is this location treated like a wasteland with no regard for the well-being of the people who live here? This is yet another assault. 

Regarding so-called “invasive” plants by Geronimo, the plants in the field are all successive plants, meaning that they are naturally propagated by wildlife. They do not require elimination by any herbicides whatsoever. 

During the Vietnam War, the great Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh would say that we “burned the village to save it.” The same convoluted thinking applies to the ruin of a beautiful field. We would like to make a further statement: this process was tainted even before it got to the planning board. No one seems to know who proposed such a significant change to the zoning law. No less in 2016!

Years ago when there was the proposed brickyard/mine for the same property, a few powerful voices were behind the project and their apparatchik (this is someone who is a party functionary of small significance in Russia). I think this person is now a part of town government and may be involved with the field in some way. Could it be this person who pushed the zoning law of 2016? The change passed the town board unanimously. Is it mere coincidence this Blue Stone project is proposed for the same field rather than first having checked out available properties in the Industrial Zone? Who owns this field now? Supposedly, a real estate company in Dewitt, NY (near Syracuse) with no phone number. How did they get into this act, if they really exist?

Alan Spivack and Joan Monastero
Saugerties

Vote for VanBlarcum

Ulster County Sheriff Paul VanBlarcum: 42 years a department veteran, three terms as sheriff and 22 years as a registered Democrat.

So that you may better understand my experience and knowledge of the value that Paul VanBlarcum brings to the sheriff’s department, I begin by saying from 1983 to 1984 I served as civil administrator and undersheriff for then-sheriff Ken Post. At that time, Paul VanBlarcum was a road patrol sheriff’s deputy. He stood out as a dedicated professional in every aspect of his job.

That first-hand experience — and having known recent sheriffs Bill Martin, Tom Mayone, Walter Bashnagle, Ken Post, Mike LaPaglia and Rich Bocklemann and the inner workings of the sheriff’s department — gave me some insight as to what it takes to be the sheriff of Ulster County. I do not hesitate to tell you that in my opinion Paul VanBlarcum is one of the best sheriffs this county has ever had.

But you don’t have take my word for it, simply look at the results of his 2014 election, where he ran unopposed and won 49,000 of the 51,000 eligible votes. That’s 96 percent of the total county vote. To say that Paul VanBlarcum is a popular sheriff countywide is clearly an understatement.

It is for these reasons, plus the fact that he is a 22-year registered Democrat and a 42-year veteran if the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department, that I strongly urge you, my fellow Democrats, to vote to keep him as the Democratic sheriff of Ulster County this primary day, Thursday, Sept. 13, so that he can continue to bring his administrative and criminal justice skills to the position that he performs so very well for all the people of Ulster County.

Charles Landi
Kingston

Thanks for the tree work

A big thank you to the Village and the DPW for the tree work done on John Street. It is a traveled road and sidewalk. While it can be sad to remove a tree, they have made the area safer for all and it is appreciated. Again, thank you.

The Reformed Church of Saugerties

Flash!

I just want to know why there are electronic signs by the schools that flash to tell you that you are driving too fast when school is not even in session?

Mark Smith
Saugerties

McCain the hero

With the recent passing of Senator John McCain, retrospective remembrances of the late Senator’s life have been disseminated by the media. Throughout these posthumous accounts of McCain’s life, numerous thematic traits emerge in describing him. McCain’s courage, patriotism and honor are described in the accounts of McCain’s captivity as a Prisoner-of-War while serving as a Naval Airman in Vietnam. 

During a bombing flight over Hanoi, McCain parachuted into a lake. Despite having been stabbed by the locals who pulled him out of the lake and having broken both of his arms, his shoulder and a leg, McCain refused to be released early from captivity as a POW when it was discovered that he was the son of Naval Commander. McCain did not want to receive preferential treatment relative to other POWs. McCain spent over five years in captivity during which his fractures had been improperly set, and he was repeatedly tortured. 

After a truce was declared, McCain and more than 500 other POWs were released from Hanoi. On March 14, 1973, a visibly disabled McCain was videotaped exiting from a military plane. Although McCain was only 37, he had aged considerably, he walked with a noticeable limp, and he was unable to lift his arms above his shoulders. 

Despite these hardships; however, McCain’s prowess as a political campaigner was legendry. After moving to Arizona and winning a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, McCain went on to serve nearly 32 years in the Senate.  

McCain unsuccessfully ran twice for President in 2000 and 2008. In both of these campaigns, he displayed a level of cordiality that probably will never be seen again in American politics. During the 2000 campaign, after candidate George W. Bush criticized McCain’s campaign for running negative ads, McCain told his campaign manager to stop running negative ads. In response, his dismayed campaign manager asked for clarification, to which McCain responded, “stop running all negative campaign ads. I want to run a campaign that my daughter would be proud of.” 

In 2008, when a voter stated at a McCain rally that she did not trust candidate Barack Obama because he was an “Arab,” McCain quickly replied that Obama was a fine family man and an American with whom he had a different view on what direction the country should go.

After being diagnosed with brain cancer, McCain risked his own life in order to fly into Washington for a late-night vote on the full-repeal of the Affordable Care Act. On the Senate floor, McCain gave an eloquent speech berating Congressional dysfunction, and he voted “no” because, although he wanted to see legislative improvements made, he knew that a full repeal of the ACA without a comparable and comprehensive replacement plan in place would be detrimental to our health care system. Consequently, McCain was seen as a hero by supporters of continuous health care laws and a traitor by many Republicans. Although McCain was a lifelong Republican who typically voted with his party, he gained a reputation as someone who voted with Democrats when he thought that they were on the right side of an issue. McCain will always be remembered for standing up for Veterans, passing campaign finance reform and sometimes scrutinizing the usage of our military.

Chris Allen
Saugerties

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