Saugerties Times letters (10/24-30)

Vote for Allen

As a member of the Independence Party, I have always voted for County Legislator Chris Allen because of his intelligence, ideas, work ethic and guts. Legislator Allen is truly a man of the people, as his passion for how he serves his constituents is refreshing. From the first time Legislator Allen knocked on my door in 2013, I have followed him and gotten to know him on a personal level. Legislator Allen’s ability to brainstorm and his passion for political service is impressive. Relative to the two opponents running against Legislator Allen, there is no doubt in my mind that he will win. Unlike his one opponent John Schoonmaker, Legislator Allen takes attendance very seriously, as Councilman Schoonmaker has had extremely poor attendance on the Diaz Ambulance Emergency Services Board and the Animal Shelter Board. My life was saved by an emergency surgery in 2016 after an ambulance ride from Kingston Hospital up to Albany Medical Center, so I appreciate the services that Diaz provides. If Legislator Allen had been on the town board, he would have not missed important committee meetings. Legislator Allen’s attendance for meetings within the County Legislature was outstanding.

On Nov. 5, vote for Chris Allen for County Legislature on the Working Families Party or Independence Party line or do so through early voting. Legislator Allen is clearly the best choice for the job!

Russell DeCicco

Support Thornton

Over the past eight years I have worked with Leeann Thornton on various joint Town and Village of Saugerties committees. They include public access TV23 and the Comprehensive Plan committee. In my opinion, you will never find anyone as dedicated as she is. I am always amazed at the amount of knowledge she has acquired from holding her position on the Town of Saugerties Board.


I hope you will consider casting your vote this year to re-elect Leeann Thornton to the Saugerties Town Board.

Jeannine Mayer, trustee
Village of Saugerties

Dave Clegg for district attorney

One of the positions we get to vote for this year is the Ulster County District Attorney. For me, this 

decision is an easy one and I hope you will keep reading to know why.

I believe it is time for a District Attorney who counts success by the number of people helped by the District Attorney’s office, not by the number of people incarcerated. The way to do this is through Restorative Justice, an approach that recognizes that our criminal justice system and community have shared goals: to keep offenders accountable, repair harm and work collaboratively to prevent the next cycle of crime. 

To quote the Alliance for Safety and Justice (2019) “Perhaps to the surprise of some, the National Survey on Victims’ Views found that the overwhelming majority of crime victims believe that the criminal justice system relies too heavily on incarceration, and strongly prefer investments in prevention and treatment to more spending on prisons and jails.” (

Please note, I am not affiliated with Dave Clegg’s campaign; I am a resident of Ulster County who is tired of seeing vast sums of money that could be used much more wisely, spent on a criminal justice system that values people — those who are victims of crime and those who commit crimes. Mike Kavanagh, in his campaign material, calls attention to the past eight years during which he has been part of the DA’S office and emphasizes the number of cases “successfully” prosecuted by his office in the past eight years — over 30,000. Really? Is that what we are paying for? Is that what we want? Or, do we want to reduce the number of folks who become part of the criminal justice system — either as victims or as folks who commit crimes. Aren’t there so many better ways to spend our money?

One last word, if you want to know more about Dave Clegg and his thinking on the criminal justice system, please do as I did and go to his website, 

And speaking of “please,” do vote! Early voting runs from October 26 through November 3 (see Day is November 5, 2019.

Ellen Rocco
New Paltz

Solid ideas

It was wonderful to participate in the League of Women’s Candidate Forum (debate) that was held on Friday, October 18th. Saugerties-Time Warner Access Channel 23 will be rebroadcasting the event several more times this coming Saturday and Sunday on October 26th and 27th. As one of the three candidates for Ulster County Legislative District 2, I was able to debate along with my two opponents and the two candidates running for Ulster County Legislature in District 1. This forum gave me an opportunity to really stand out as being the most well informed, well educated, knowledgeable and experienced candidate in this election, and I am the only candidate running for political office on the county legislative level who is running on specific, legitimate and important policy setting ideas that can be accomplished by the Ulster County Legislature and county government. During the debate, I was able to clarify a false idea that my Democratic opponent stated in his answer to a question about combatting climate change. County Legislators and the Ulster County Legislature do not have the legal authority to “ban fossil-fuel development in Ulster County,” as I pointed out that only state lawmakers can set policies to ban major fossil-fuel development projects like the Pilgrim Pipeline from being instituted throughout parts of New York State including Ulster County. My Democratic opponent stated that he would work “…to ban all fossil fuel development in Ulster County” and that Ulster County has been a lead pioneer in setting policies aimed at cleaning up our environment and addressing climate change like how Ulster County banned plastic bags prior to New York State government banning plastic bags Statewide. My Democratic opponent also incorrectly stated that he hoped that by Ulster County preemptively banning fossil-fuel development, it would lead to New York State following such a lawmaking policy change that he would institute if he were elected to the Ulster County Legislature. These statements demonstrate that my Democratic opponent has no conception of how and when Ulster County has its own sovereign right to establish laws and when state law supersedes Ulster County’s right under New York State Home Municipal Law Rule to set their own laws. Ulster County is able to ban the distribution of plastic bags through the types of local laws that allow counties to regulate certain types of commerce. Under Statewide environment review, (SEQR Review), State Agencies review major development projects that could negatively impact the environment.

In addition, I also pointed out that my Democratic opponent’s idea to establish an “Invasive Species Taskforce Committee” within the Ulster County Legislature is something that would not warrant more than two meetings per year, and in actuality, such a committee would have no enforcement power, as there is already a State Invasive Species Taskforce which can distribute money to municipalities like the Village and Town of Saugerties if Grants are submitted on time. Ulster County Budgetary funds will not go towards cleaning up the Saugerties Beach just as they will not go towards building a parking garage in the Village of Saugerties like what my Republican opponent has stated he would like to see happen … 

My platform is filled with solid ideas that can be accomplished with the support of my colleagues in county government. Improvements to the Office for the Aging and services to the elderly, a rule change that makes the Ulster County Legislature more professional and less drama-filled, a plan to set up an alternative healthcare network at opioid drug treatment centers and realistic plans to address our environmental-related issues at the Esopus Creek and our housing shortage in Ulster County are all within my platform. It will be a pleasant challenge to work to institute these ideas and an honor to serve you again in District 2. Vote for me on the Working Families Party Line or the Independence Party Line on Nov. 5 or through early voting in Ulster or Woodstock.

Chris Allen

Costello’s vigor and optimism

I attended the League of Women Voters debate last week, and was puzzled by town board member Andreassen’s failure to lay out his vision or plans for governing Saugerties should he be elected supervisor. Grievance and resentment are not plans.

On the other hand, Supervisor Costello, with vigor and optimism, let us all know his priorities for his second term.  I’m very comfortable with the direction of our town under Supervisor Costello’s stewardship and will enthusiastically vote for him to continue in office.

Christian Kelly

Support for March Gallagher

I am writing in support of March Gallagher’s candidacy for Ulster County Comptroller. I have been professionally engaged with March for over six years; first through her role as chief strategy officer with Pattern for Progress and then again as chief executive officer and president of Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley.  

I had first become acquainted with March when I was working as a journalist. She was serving as chair of Ulster County’s Industrial Development Agency and later as head of Ulster County Economic Development and was highly impressed with her work ethos — which included accountability and transparency — in a time when those traits were not always appreciated.

Later, I watched March serve as a vital conduit between critical regional data generated by the regional think tank, Pattern for Progress, and the community-at-large; generating, studying, analyzing and then delivering sensitive albeit significant statistics on issues such as housing, healthcare, infrastructure and more. March always made sure the greater community and its leaders had these important findings for consideration by always reaching out across multiple sectors. March has a knack for rounding-up community, organizations and community members of all ilk to the same table for civil discussion, while also ensuring that anyone not native to the issues could easily and quickly learn about them. March did this, in part, simply by making herself available with a refreshing “open door” policy…which she still employs today. The outcome of March’s work with Pattern for Progress informed and shaped public policy development. One study heralded by March was on how the aging population in the Hudson Valley is impacting the healthcare system…that study is cited by the New York Caring Majority and others to create more homecare — that’s for us! 

Later I worked closely with March in my hunger relief work, in which I am still currently engaged, while she was in her role as CEO of Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley. March walked independently; fairly and squarely right down the middle of the road to ensure she could maintain relations on all sides — alienating nobody — which I know she will do as our comptroller. She championed a slew of important philanthropic causes ranging from the arts and education to animal welfare to emergency feeding, driven with passion and concern, and always went above and beyond in her fiscal oversight of financial contributions as if they came from her own checkbook.  March painstakingly avoided personal and professional conflicts of interest, no matter how challenging. That’s integrity. 

I am confident that March’s qualities of integrity, transparency and accountability within her work ethos will safeguard Ulster County tax dollars in our era of growth. 

Carrie Jones Ross

Dear Fred Jr.

You seem like such a nice boy. All smiles and pats on the back in your mom and dad’s restaurant. But shame on you.

How can you take credit for things that other people do in your newspaper ads? Let me thank them for you.

Climate Smart: Thanks Mike MacIsaac for spearheading and Mary O’Donnell and members of the CAC.

The Saugerties Arts Commission: Thanks Barbara Bravo for your suggestion and the town board for appointing the new board.

Mount Marion Dam: Thanks Doug Myers for the work you did with FEMA and New York Rising.

Platte Clove water culvert repair: Thanks Roehr’s Construction for the special equipment that you provided and the entire town board for approving the bid.

Solar installation at the town landfill: Thanks East Light Partners for approaching the town as developers to offer us this project.

Thanks Mike Ivino and Joe Maloney for organizing and sponsoring the animal shelter benefit. But Fred, where is the $500,000 estate money left to the animal shelter?


As for the Karolys dump question: Interrupting the court proceedings to sit and gawk. Don’t you think that the town attorneys and zoning board can handle their jobs without you?

You gave yourself a raise the first year in office. The budget has a fund for free tickets to fundraisers, luncheons, dinners banquets, galas. Why? Transparency anyone?

Frozen Ice Arena: Twenty years of overspending, setbacks on a tent that will never be used year-round. Probably a 39 percent heat loss! (It is a tent.) Who bothers to listen to any cohesive suggestions or plans of a permanent building, which would be standing now, (thanks Paul Andreassen, but nobody listened). This new repair of $1.3 million and rising is still a temporary solution. Not a building that would make Saugerties proud. Murky thinking, my boy! Nobody seems to have the time to research and question. Vote Yes! Yes! Yes! Spend without thought. Oops we need to raise the taxes. We have no savings — how could that be?

The Small World Playground: Why is the public having private fundraisers to replace a park that should have been maintained by our Parks and Recreation Department?

Oh Yes Another Little Problem: Are you outraged by what you call personal attacks? Have you noticed at least a dozen attacks in opinion on Paul Andreassen by your henchmen? You know who they are. They tell you what to do. But who is in the background telling you what to do and making decisions for the town?

Shame on you! I’m a voting Democrat my whole life. You were a Republican, and now you are in the Independence Party. Do you stand for anything?

Cecelia Sciortino

Andreassen strong on the environment

Paul Andreassen does not have to prove his environmental bona fides to anyone. He’s been an environmental steward for this town all his life. As building inspector from 1996 to 2006, long before some of the candidates running for office were ever involved and before some of their supporters were born, Mr. Andreassen practically single-handedly went up against the candle factory on Kings Highway and, after long months of court battles, successfully had the company shut down for unsafe operating practices and a plethora of building and fire code violations. Where was the town board then? By his actions he may have prevented more deaths (there was one death attributed to operating after the closure was ordered by then Supreme Court Justice Vincent Bradley). Not only were they cited for code violations but for polluting the air and groundwater as well.  Where were the candidates then? Where was Mr. Costello? Although serving on the town board at the time was Mr. Costello busy building his apartment complexes and working at his parents’ restaurant? He was not at the hearings while Mr. Andreassen was being grilled by the company’s counsel on cross-examination.   

That’s the type of person Paul Andreassen was and will be as our town’s next supervisor; a staunch supporter of due process and a steward of the land, not someone looking for photo opportunities or headlines at the expense of others. Vote Nov. 5 for Paul Andreassen.

Gaetana Ciarlante

Ice Arena rebuttal

In your edition, last week, a letter to the editor contained inaccurate information, which I wish to address and correct concerning the Ice Arena project.

To write, there was lack of planning and the project loosely planned, is inaccurate. I first addressed my concerns to the town board in the spring of 2016 and received authorization to have our engineer explore different types of buildings, along with cost analysis. The process has been on-going for over three years. Our engineer has devoted much time and planning, along with putting his heart and soul into this project.  

The contractor has dragged their feet, miserably, since being awarded the contract in June, with multiple excuses and delays. Our engineer, along with the town, have done everything in our powers to get the contractor, along with the project, moving. Finally, the week before last, the project commenced on Oct. 9. 

The hybrid building is close to a conventional building. The side and end walls are constructed of steel, with exterior and interior metal cladding. The roof consists of PVC panels, not poly fabric like the old structure, and comes with a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty. The entire building is fully insulated.    

It was written the reinstall of the fire suppression system was not included in the overall budget, which is also inaccurate. Fire suppression is included in the budget, which I submitted to the entire town board and recreation committee on June 12, 2019, along with alluding to the budget in a recent Saugerties Times interview.

There are no hidden costs, all project components and expenses are detailed in that same budget. Unless there is some unforeseen and/or extenuating circumstance, which nobody can foresee, I fully expect the project to come in at or under budget. 

Unfortunately, there have been delays and timing is poor, due to contractor aforementioned, but the old dome fabric structure would never have made another year. Both youth hockey and high school leagues have scheduled their November games away and will not be losing a big chunk of their season. 

I greatly appreciate the writer speaking with me. It is unfortunate of the misinformation and rumors floating about. As I mentioned to the writer, and as I also express to anyone, who wishes to discuss the Ice Arena project, to please contact me. I have always had an open door policy and anyone is welcomed to contact and/or meet with me to discuss this project and/or any matter pertaining to the department.

Greg Chorvas, superintendent, Department of Parks, Recreation and Buildings

There are 3 comments

  1. Pete Johnson

    Chorvas started thinking about renovating the ice area in 2016 but not sooner??? Chorvas knew when it was first built it needed to be replaced in the future, but waited til 2016 to address these issues? There should have been funds dedicated each year all along for this. He’s lucky elected officials bailed him out with grant money. Unfortunately, this how things work in Saugerties. Two powerful department heads run things and the Supervisor is unwilling to hold them accountable or ask tough questions. The Saugerties town government has and always will be a joke until there is change.

  2. David Radovanovic

    It’s hard not to be cynical these days both locally and nationally. Though seeing all the new faces running is promising. Personally, I am casting my vote across partisan divides. I’d like to think a history of lots of talking though doing a whole lot of nothing should disqualify you. We need positive, constructive new ideas to make our quality of life better. We need a Saugerties government that is less based on patronage, insider deals, and the lethargy of small town politics.

  3. lisa fellows

    In response to Ms. Sciortino’s question “Where is the $500,000 estate money for shelter?”

    The town doesn’t have any control over this estate, nor will it. There is an executor that isn’t affiliated to the town whatsoever and the amount is far from from $500,000.
    ~ Lisa Fellows, shelter volunteer

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