Saugerties Times letters (10/31-11/6)

Cutten for Comptroller

I hope voters of all parties are following the race for Ulster County Comptroller.

The County Comptroller has the extremely important job of auditing the money that Comes into and goes out of Ulster County — over $350 million/year. What if a contractor bills the county twice? What if some money gets embezzled?

A good comptroller will find out and speak up.

Lisa Cutten is a Certified Public Accountant with 35 years of experience in government auditing. She has been Comptroller of Poughkeepsie and Fishkill, and Treasurer of the City of Kingston. She has caught people bilking Ulster County and brought them to justice. You can watch her describe it on a video of the comptrollercandidate debate at dailyfreeman.com.

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Her opponent is March Gallagher, a lawyer with a Master’s Degree in Public Health, who has worked on women’s issues and economic development in addition to her private legal practice. She has never held an auditing position. She ran for County Executive this year and dropped out, allowing Pat Ryan to win. Pat Ryan now supports her candidacy.

This isn’t a matter of political right and left. It’s a matter of someone who is highly qualified versus someone who is poorly qualified and a little too chummy with Pat Ryan for the public good.

I wish March Gallagher well in her future career, as long as it is not Ulster County Comptroller. There is no reason for her to take that position when Lisa Cutten can bring years of auditing experience and a gutsy political independence to the job.

Nancy Schauffler
Woodstock

Clegg a perfect choice

In the race for Ulster County District Attorney, Mike Kavanagh is touting his prosecutorial experience. On January first, sweeping criminal justice reform comes to New York State. That means Kavanagh’s experience in a system that too often relies on lack of transparency will no longer exist. We need fresh eyes and innovative ideas to effectively promote public safety in this new era. 

Dave Clegg will bring new and essential skillsets to the office. While Kavanagh has been wringing his hands about how to deal with bail reform, Clegg has been studying diversion programs for non-violent offenders and, equally important, legal ways to hold dangerous criminals. You won’t get fear-mongering from Dave. Instead, he is focused on social justice and ways to ensure that the reforms that come down from Albany will work for the entire community. He is the perfect choice to lead us through these changes — a blend of intelligence, heart and legal acumen. Dave Clegg has my vote.

Tom Nolan
New Paltz

Re-elect Costello

If you’re wondering who to support for Saugerties Supervisor in the coming election, it should be pretty easy to decide. First, think of the one campaign issue that’s most important to you.

The Environment? Saugerties is the first and only town in Ulster County that is New York State Certified Climate Smart; Saugerties is using electric vehicles in its fleet; Saugerties is changing all town streetlights to LEDs; and Saugerties will be buying much of its electricity, at reduced prices, from the new solar farm at the closed landfill.

Safety and Security? The Saugerties Police Force is highly trained and its members regularly attend programs in new areas of concern such as family violence prevention and stemming the tide of the opioid crisis; our police force assists other towns in the county with their specialized services and expertise; and our police force has been accredited since 2013 by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Finances and Financial Stability? Saugerties will receive $30,000 a year rental from the solar farm at the transfer station; switching to LED bulbs and electric automobiles will save money as well as saving the environment; and town taxes in 2019 were well below the 2% state tax cap.

Community Activities and Involvement? The Town Board: approved repairs to the ice arena that will both bring money into the town as well as providing a venue where numerous town groups and individuals go for sports and other activities; signed a contract with the Saugerties Stallions to not only play their games at Cantine Memorial Field, but for the Stallions to also pay a rental fee for its use and pay for any improvements that are made.

And who has led the town in all these endeavors over the past two years? Town Supervisor Fred Costello. Re-Elect Fred Costello so he can continue to make Saugerties the envy of all the other towns in Ulster County. It’s really a very easy choice!

Kenneth Goldberg
Saugerties

Mike will make the tough decisions

On November 5, 2019, the residents of Saugerties have an opportunity to elect a young man to the Saugerties Town Board who at the age of 25 has the business sense, drive and commitment to our community of an individual way beyond his years.

Mike was born and raised in Saugerties and has always been very civic minded. He became a volunteer fireman approximately eight years ago and along with being on many committees with in his fire company, he has held the position of secretary, lieutenant and was recently elected as a captain for the year 2020. Along with this Mike has been on the Board of Fire Commissioners of the Centerville Fire District for the past two years. 

Mike knows that the position of town councilman involves making tough decisions that ultimately affect every Saugerties resident and that is in their respective pockets. Mike is committed to not only keeping Saugerties an affordable place where its residents can live and raise a family but looking to the future a thriving and economically sound place where our children’s children can live and raise their families.

I am respectfully asking all of my friends, family, colleagues and residents of Saugerties to please join me and cast your ballot for Mike Ivino on November 5.   

James Bruno
Saugerties

We need Leeanne

I would like to endorse Leeanne Thornton as a candidate for the Town Board. In the many years she has been liaison to the Comprehensive Planning Committee, I don’t think she has ever missed a meeting. She arrives chock full of reports on actions and discussions by the Town Board, sharing her excellent knowledge and expertise in a friendly open manner. I also admire her willingness to take leadership of the Esopus Creek Conservancy which has taken such an active role in keeping our waterways clean and the shoreline accessible to hikers and birdwatchers. We need Leeanne to remain on the Town Board.

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Barry Benepe
Saugerties

Vote for Cutten

I am one of the many Ulster County voters that doesn’t belong to a political party. Socially I’m slightly to the left on social issues and a little more than slightly to the right on government spending. I fully support government helping those in need, but I expect it to be done efficiently and effectively. The role of Comptroller is to insure that the tax payers are getting what they paid for.

Next year Ulster County will have a freshman Executive with an untried staff and at least five new legislators to govern our county. Now, more than ever we’ll need a competent Comptroller who has the training and experience of detecting governmental waste and fraud.

Before deciding on who you’ll vote for in November, visit the candidates for Comptroller’s face book and campaign sites. Evaluate their qualifications and experience and then choose the one you think will best do the job.

If you do that, then I’m sure you’ll be joining me in voting for Lisa Cutten, as the position calls for a accounting expert and she is one. Cutten can and will do the best job for us as our Comptroller.

Thomas Kadgen
Shokan

Absolute gentleman

Approximately eight months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Ivino for the very first time when he appeared before a screening committee to seek the Conservative endorsement.

One of the very first questions asked of him was, “Why are you seeking our endorsement?” He detailed his reasons and then stated that he would be seeking an endorsement from all the other political parties as well, because he doesn’t want to be accountable to any one party. He explained how he wants to run for town board because he wants to get involved and help make Saugerties a better place to live.  He made it very clear from day one that he is in this for the people not party politics. He then laid out his vision. One-by-one, each member of the committee had an opportunity to interview Mike and each member asked a series of questions, after which Mike left the room.

I have been involved in politics for many years, as most readers are well aware, and I can honestly say that I have never met a more polite, decent and straight forward man in all that time. I couldn’t get over the way this young man conducted himself — an absolute gentleman. I feel strongly that Mike Ivino will be one of the best town board members we’ve had in many years. I appreciate that he was honest with us right up front stating that he’s in this to represent the people, not the party.

With that said, I ask all registered voters, no matter which party, if any, that you are affiliated with, to give Mike Ivino the opportunity to represent each and every one of us and to prove what he can do for Saugerties. On Election Day, November 5, please vote for Mike Ivino either on lines B,C, F, or G.

George D. Heidcamp Sr.
Saugerties

Vote Ivino, for change

After attending the Forum in Saugerties last evening I am writing this letter in support of Mike Ivino, for Town Councilman. When Mike presented himself his sincerity of “giving something back to the Community” stuck in my thoughts.

When he explained that he did not ask “party affiliation” when responding to a fire call in the Centerville District, he showed an understanding that we as constituents, with differences and concerns deserve a response with hopefully, a solution. Yes, he is 25 years old but it is time for new ideas as Saugerties enters the 2020s. Business should not be done as usual, it is time for change.

Christine Aiello
Saugerties

Regret your 2016 vote? 

Does anyone still believe Donald Trump is fit to lead our country, even after his unilateral, friend-forsaking, bloodbath-inviting withdrawal of troops from Syria? 

If you’re certain you didn’t make a grave mistake on Nov. 8, 2016, and that the man you elected that day didn’t make one on Oct. 13, 2019, stop reading. My words will only fuel your anger at us damned Dems are too blind to see how great your president is and how badly the fake media treats him. And that’s not what I want, especially since, thanks to your president, America is already erupting with anger.

But read on if you ever find yourself regretting your vote in 2016 — if Trump’s words and deeds sometimes repulse you; if you sometimes sense that those words and deeds feed your fear of “the other,” and that this fear may be misplaced; if you suspect that voting for someone just because he’ll deepen your already-deep pockets is wrong; if, alas, your pockets aren’t deep, and you worry that the Trump Gang will pick your pockets for the few scraps they contain in order to fatten their own bulging pockets; if you sometimes question your deeply held belief that abortion is more sinful than separating children from their parents and then putting those children in cages, more sinful than your president’s defying science and defiling the environment that every child everywhere — caged, uncaged, yet-unborn — will inhabit; or if you have other misgivings. 

We face important elections. We can vote early — between Oct. 26 and Nov. 3 — or on Election Day, Nov. 5. Please do! And if you’re a loyal Republican but have misgivings about your president, vote knowing that none of his loyal candidates have dared say a word — maybe because there are none — to rebuke him and ease those misgivings.

Tom Cherwin
Saugerties

Judicial elections need your attention

The Third Judicial District Supreme Court election is the least understood race on the ballot. Yet, it’s the longest commitment of any election — a 14-year term. This court hears mostly civil cases and its decisions affect our everyday lives. We are seeing the court in action now with the case against the Karolys construction and demolition dump in Saugerties. 

Unlike other political party endorsed candidates, the Supreme Court nominees are chosen by a handful of delegates — often voting in lockstep with the county party chairs — not in a primary or by local party committee members who represent the rank-and-file. Therefore, the “D,” “R,” “WFP,” or “C” are less telling. Too often uninformed voters (that’s most of us as far as the Supreme Court goes) depend on the party designation rather than knowledge about the candidates. I recommend that voters do some research before casting their ballot for the three Supreme Court vacancies (this year there are four candidates for three positions). Google the candidates and their legal background. Do they represent the powerful over the average person? Do they work for the public good or for large corporations? We need to determine — without their campaign message since they cannot speak about how they would rule in cases — their legal history, experience and who they represent. 

As a Democrat, I’m supporting Pat Ryan, Dave Clegg, March Gallagher, and Bryan Rounds on the county level. The local Democratic candidates will get my vote too. But I will be fully informed about all the Third Judicial District Supreme Court candidates before I cast my vote. I hope you will be too.

Christine Dinsmore
Saugerties

Good government endorsements

I write today to express my strong support of the following local candidates for office: Aaron Levine for County Legislative District 1, John Schoonmaker for County Legislative District 2, Fred Costello for supervisor, Leeanne Thornton for town board, and Nicole Roskos for town board. When I think of these individuals, I think of good government and how we as a community will continue to prosper with their leadership. Please support them on Election Day.

Timothy Scott, Jr.
Saugerties

Dave Clegg — a great man for D.A.

It is not often that you meet a great man…a man of vision and integrity. Dave Clegg is a great man.
I met Dave Clegg at a criminal justice forum. He speaks of criminal justice with passion and conviction. His vision of “smart on crime’ makes perfect sense. His weekly articles in the Woodstock and Saugerties Times give proof of his passion, knowledge and experience in the criminal justice arena. He is the perfect candidate arriving at the perfect time.

As far as giving to the community, Dave just happens to be a deacon at his church, and has been a long-time basketball coach. He is a great man who serves our community.

Let’s have this great man as our district attorney. Vote for Dave Clegg.

Jerry Cohen
Saugerties

Clegg will keep us safe

I support Dave Clegg for Ulster County District Attorney. He is smart, honest, fair and experienced. He is the perfect choice to lead the DA’s office as Ulster County navigates the criminal justice reforms that take effect in January. Nationally, criminal justice reform is a bipartisan issue. We need someone who is committed to joining the 21st century by keeping us safe while making the reforms work. Dave will make sure that criminal behavior, not poverty, will keep someone in jail. He will use the available tools to ensure that people with serious mental illness and addiction get the help they need, that dangerous criminals are prosecuted, and that the community and victim are protected and healed. Dave is the best person for the job.

Ruth Levine
Woodstock

Vote for Leeanne Thornton

We’ve known Leeanne Thornton for over 40 years and are amazed at how dedicated she has been in making Saugerties the best it can be for all its residents.
Serving on the Town Board for the last 16 years is only one facet of her commitment. Civic-mindedness just seems to come naturally for Leeanne as she has given unwavering support to numerous aspects of our community: from our youth to our seniors, to education and scholarship, and to the environment as well as to the arts. To each of these endeavors, she brings her intelligence, enthusiasm, energy, encouragement — all with a cooperative spirit.
On Nov. 5, vote for Leeanne Thornton, a woman whose record and experience has continually proven she values our community and all who call it home.

Colleen and Rich Greco
Saugerties

Roskos for Town Board

I am writing in support of Nicole Roskos as a candidate for town board. Since I first met Nicole over a decade ago, I’ve been impressed by her powers of observation and thoughtfulness. Always inquisitive, she listens and asks questions until she understands and grasps an issue, which is a trait we need in our elected officials. Nicole is passionate about the environment and will undoubtedly work to keep our town a healthy place to live. I admire her for being outspoken about climate change, an issue that affects us all. She is eager to make a difference, and we would be lucky to have her on the town board.

Patrick Landewe
Saugerties

Saugerties will be fortunate to have Roskos

I will be voting for Nicole Roskos for Town Board this November. Nicole has been a crucial part of my West Saugerties community for the last several years. As a kind neighbor, she often drops by to help me with my gardens, showing me what a kind person she truly is. Nicole is also an animal advocate, raising her own chickens, adopting 2 renegade ducks and 2 cats. We regularly bring our boys to the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, here in Saugerties. 

She is also dedicated to the environment, protecting our land from illegal dumping, and ensuring that our boys have a safe healthy future here. Nicole has valuable life experience as a teacher, a community forestry coordinator, and small business owner. I was so glad to see her running for town board. Saugerties will be fortunate to have her serving us. Vote Nicole Roskos on Nov. 5.

Amanda Chapin
Saugerties

Schoonmaker asks for your vote

As many of you know, our country has been hit by an opioid crisis and here in New York, Ulster County has been at the center of it. In 2016, Ulster had the highest rate of overdose deaths (15.2 per 100,000) in the state. While great strides have been made to reduce this, we must continue to be vigilant and to implement innovative strategies. It’s time that we start looking at how other communities have addressed the issue and dive into the data they have collected. The opioid epidemic affects all of us, not just some of us, and regardless of political stripe, we, the people of Ulster County, should consider all ideas and begin adopting the approaches that have been proven to work.

One such idea that has been effective is the requirement that all first responders be equipped with pamphlets containing information on hotlines to call, services offered by community organizations, including, importantly, those organizations that will help with the costs of rehabilitation. These would be passed out at every opioid-related call and could go a long way in helping those suffering, as well as their families, learn about the help that is out there. I feel that if we can educate people that there is a community of support for them that wants to help and can provide financial assistance, they will realize that the support system they lack is there and will reach out for help.

This type of forward-thinking is what we need in the County Legislature, which is why I am running to be your next representative in District 2. I hope I can count on your support on Nov. 5.

John Schoonmaker
Saugerties

Shabazz wanted to hurt cops 

My name is Raymond Nafey. I am a retired New York City detective, formally assigned to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Force, Northern District of New York, which includes Ulster County.

I read with interest today, the Kingston Daily Freeman’s article regarding the local campaign for district attorney. I felt compelled to respond as the assistant case agent assigned to the investigation of Ismail Shabazz a.k.a. Gary Faulkner which ultimately resulted in his arrest and guilty plea to unlawful sale of illegal firearms.

During my tenure with the Joint Terrorism Task Force, I became involved in an investigation whose origin stemmed from a meeting of Black Panther Party elements in New York City. This investigation brought the JTTF to the City of Kingston, New York.  During the next year and half an FBI undercover agent and confidential source made numerous trips to meet with Mr. Shabazz to discuss his involvement in the New Black Panther Party.

Mr. Shabazz was an advocate for the revolutionary tactics employed by the Black Panther Party, a radical organization known for violence and hatred toward law enforcement. During the investigation, many conversations occurred in which Mr. Shabazz spoke of his desire to physically injure members of local law enforcement. He took great pride in his belief that his mere presence intimated members of the local police agencies. A community activist, such as he was, in truly the worst sense.

The fact that I now read in local press accounts that an individual seeking the highest law enforcement position in Ulster County, the district attorney, has associated himself with such an individual as Mr. Shabazz, is deeply disturbing and appalling.

The article quotes the candidate saying, he had “absolutely no contact” and “I shook his hand. He was in a crowd. I don’t shun people. I didn’t know what he was alleged to have done” in and of itself is disturbing.

In today’s world of social media, such statements are easily disproven as shown here in another photograph publicly displayed on the candidate’s website as early as spring of 2019. (Editor’s note: A photo provided by the letter-writer, which shows Clegg and Shabazz together and smiling, could not be confirmed by Ulster Publishing to be, as of Oct. 22, 2019, on any Clegg website or social media page.)

It is more than apparent that the candidate and Mr. Shabazz are known to one another. It also appears that Mr. Shabazz is wearing a large Black Panther Party lapel pin as seen in the photo below. That in and of itself should have been enough for the candidate for district attorney to be concerned, and certainly not to have placed himself in such a compromising position.

Further, the candidate seeking such a sensitive position, one that politics should have little influence in, should be more open and honest about his affiliations and supporters.

The candidate’s response to the concern raised as a result of his campaign mailer, seems to be more than disingenuous. 

As a retired New York City Detective assigned to JTTF and one of the arresting officers of Mr. Shabazz, it seems that the people of Ulster County at large and members of Ulster County law enforcement should demand more of their district attorney.

Raymond Nafey
Detective, New York City Police Department (retired)

Support Al Bruno

I am asking all of the Saugerties residents in Legislative District 2, to get out and vote for Al Bruno.

Al is a lifelong resident of Saugerties and has devoted countless hours to extensive Community Service.  He is currently the Chairman for the Saugerties Assessment Board of Review, Chairman of the Saugerties Ethics committee and he sits on the Transportation Advisory Committee. The list goes on but Al doesn’t devote his time and effort to be in the lime light or for attention, he donates his time because he believes that Saugerties is a great place to live and raise a family but he also knows that there are challenges that the residents face and when elected to the Ulster County Legislature, he will devote his time and energy to make sure that not only the residents in his district are represented but all of the residents of Ulster County are treated equally.

Al is no nonsense individual who is committed to one thing and that is anything that he decides to take on. I am proud to support Al Bruno so please, get out and vote for Al on November 5, 2019.

James Bruno
Saugerties

A letter of support for Mike Ivino 

I write this letter as a person who has been fortunate enough to stay out of the tough world of politics. I have always been the non-partisan, vote for the right person guy. Currently I find myself shaking my head often, at what seems to be dividing us here in this nation, which is politics instead of service. This is why I have chosen to support a young businessman with energy, thought and a strong sense of public service for a seat on the Town of Saugerties Town Council. I have observed firsthand the hard work and willingness to give of himself for the community he was raised in. Whether it’s the simple gesture of helping his fellow neighbors, his service to the community in the fire department or volunteering and accepting positions on boards and committees, Mike gives his all with a cheerful and energetic attitude. I feel that if you are looking for a representative that truly has no other interest in being our Town Councilman other than working for the good of his community, Mike Ivino is our choice.

Stan O’Dell
Saugerties

Five Great Reasons to Vote for Mike Ivino for Saugerties Town Council

1- Mike is not only a lifelong resident of Saugerties, he also wants to retire in Saugerties.  This means Mike is committed to long term, cost effective solutions to managing our town budgets. All while balancing the needs of our community with revenues and expenses. 

2- As a first time home buyer in Saugerties, Mike is painfully aware of the burden of high taxes. On the local level, Mike will be making affordable home ownership a priority for all. 

 3- Mike is a small business manager.  Therefore, he has a keen understanding of the unique needs of small business owners. He is committed to developing an economic climate where small businesses can thrive. 

4- Since the age of 17, Mike has been a volunteer member of Cedar Grove Fire Company.  Currently, he is also serving as a Commissioner and Lieutenant.  On call 24 hours a day, Mike is dedicated to the safety of all residents and businesses in his District.

5- Mike Ivino is a registered Independent.  Devoted to citizens and causes, his sights are set on a bright future for the Town of Saugerties.  There is no better way to get young people involved in politics than to actually vote for one.  Look for Mike’s name on the Independent, Republican and Conservative lines. 

Our family encourages you & yours to join us in supporting Mike Ivino for Saugerties Town Council.

Sincerely,
Amy, Jesse, Jeremy & Justin DiCesare
Saugerties

Familial support

I support my husband Al Bruno for Ulster County Legislator! His  passion for politics makes him the right candidate for the job! While  his opponents were busy “trash-talking” Al…rather than getting into any verbal bashing, Al was busy putting his time and energy into focusing on what he can do for his community, for our community! With his common sense approach Al will bring a refreshing and much-needed breath of fresh air to the Ulster County legislator.
He is  committed to representing the people of his district and will do so with not only common sense but respect  and integrity as well! Join me in voting for Al Bruno for Ulster County Legislator!

Lisa Bruno
Saugerties

Must Shabazz be a social pariah forever?

The undersigned pastors of the Ministers’ Alliance of Ulster County protest in the strongest terms the unscrupulous, political pamphlet of community activist Ismail Shabazz and Democratic candidate for Ulster County District Attorney David Clegg being distributed by area GOP functionaries.

Ostensibly, the tumult centers around the optics of Mr. Clegg shaking the hand of Mr. Shabazz, a convicted felon. Apparently, it has become political poison for a politician, particularly one running for the county’s highest law enforcement office, to be caught on camera being civil and respectful to any human being who was ever convicted of a felony. We wonder if Mr. Shabazz was convicted of a misdemeanor, would there have been such an exhibition of ashes and sackcloth by these purists?

The political propaganda suggests that Mr. Clegg has all but disqualified himself for consideration as an effective district attorney by extending this international gesture of friendship and goodwill to a convicted felon. Mr. Shabazz is not an escaped felon. He is not wanted in any law enforcement jurisdiction. Mr. Shabazz is a law-abiding area resident who has paid his debt to society. Is he to be a social pariah for the rest of his life? Is he forever off limits to politicians and community leaders? Would these detractors have him carry a real or metaphoric ball and chain around for the remainder of his natural life? Do we exist in a community where forgiveness is never extended to ex-offenders?

The tool book of our vocation, the Bible, admonishes us in Luke 6:37: Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. The act of forgiveness is extremely critical if we are to exist peacefully in this society. So, whether or not Mr. Clegg knew he was shaking the hand of a felon should be immaterial as the candidates discuss the relevant issues during this political campaign. His handshake demonstrates to us and to the people we represent his humanity, compassion and humility.

The fact that an innocent handshake has risen to this ridiculous level of discourse points to an atmosphere of panic and desperation.

Consequently, we demand a public apology and a retraction of the distasteful propaganda piece.

Sincerely, in His service,
The Rev. Dr. G Modele Clarke
New Progressive Baptist Church

Pastor James Childs
Pointe of Praise Family Life Center

The Rev. Evelyn Clarke
New Progressive Baptist Church

The Rev. Arthur Coston
New Central Baptist Church

Elder Doris Hatcher Schuyler
Riverview Baptist Church

The Rev. Dr. Faye Taylor-Banks
Saint Mark’s AME Church

The Rev. Frank Alagna
Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Episcopal Church

Handshake controversy

I’m writing in response to your October 22nd article, “Mailers showing Dem DA hopeful with convicted felon spark controversy,” about the fact that there is a photograph of Dave Clegg, at one of his rallies, shaking hands with a formerly incarcerated citizen. As the article notes, a mailer with this photograph was sent out by a PAC. Clegg had nothing to do with either the mailer or the photograph. I’m dismayed that (as you reported, in a commendably objective article), this photograph has caused outrage and controversy in some quarters. Can anyone think of any politician alive who does not shake hands and take photographs with the people who attend the candidate’s rallies? This is bread and butter to any campaign, it’s “Campaigning 101.” A minister introduced Clegg to a citizen who had served his time and returned to the community. Was Clegg not supposed to shake his hand? How shameful it would have been had he not done so.

Helene Kendler
Lake Hill

Bruno will work for all taxpayers

First, I’d like to thank the League of Women Voters, for hosting a candidate’s forum, debate on Friday October 18, at the senior center. It was a pleasure and honor to participate with the community and other candidates. 

I am new to the political process, and not as polished as other candidates, not to mention nervous. I know a lot of what I wanted to say, just didn’t come out quite the way I wanted it to. And for that I’d like to apologize. I’d also like to clarify one point, and bring up one that wasn’t addressed at all. 

On the Environment: I do believe our environment does need as much serious attention we can give it. Climate change is a very real problem. We all need to become much more diligent in not only the waste we produce, but how we dispose of it. I will work hard towards solving the current crisis of disposal. I also believe, our energy usage can and should become one that requires much less dependency on fossil fuels. Not just on a local level, but on a national and global level as well. We must use technology in a way that actually reduces our total carbon footprint, not just ones that are “feel good programs”. We must do this while, maintaining and creating living wage jobs. Jobs that will enable our children and grandchildren the opportunity to live and raise a family here. One that will keep Saugerties and Ulster County, a viable place to call home, for generations to come. 

One very surprising omission during the evening, was the question on the opioid epidemic and crisis. While it was asked of the previous candidates, it was not one of the questions to the prospective Legislators. I would like to state publicly, I will do everything in my power to pass effective legislation that will help the victims of addiction — including providing additional funding for treatment centers, and professional assistance. I will look for ways for the county to partner with other agencies and programs such as R.Y.A.N. and DARE programs; reach out events to Boys & Girls Clubs; school groups, and scouts. I will look for ways to pass zero tolerance laws for dealers, and mandatory sentencing for those who are convicted of selling fentanyl-laced heroin. These people are just as much domestic terrorists and threats to our community as someone using a gun at a school! 

I will propose legislation that requires all pharmacies to have permanent drug disposal containers. not just during “Shed the Med” events. If we as a county, can “Shed the Meds” on a special occasion, then we can and must do it every day! This is absolutely essential for the well being of our children and our community. 

I am a taxpayer who will work for all taxpayers with integrity, honesty, and common sense.

Albert Bruno, Candidate for Ulster County Legislature, District 2
Saugerties

Andreassen: Dedicated public servant

Eight years ago when I had the audacity to think I could be a building inspector, then Town of Saugerties Building Inspector Paul Andreassen took it upon himself to mentor and train me. Never once commenting upon the dissonance of my gender, never once, for all his experience talking down to me. I count myself fortunate that I learned to know a dedicated public servant committed to hard work and integrity. I urge my Town of Saugerties neighbors to vote for Paul Andreassen for Town Supervisor.

Arlene Puentes
Kingston 

The decision is clear

Two years ago I felt the town had elected a diverse group of men and women that had the best interests of the community at the forefront, with no personal agendas, and that, as a town, our best years were ahead of us. I believed we had a team of elected officials that would be here for a very long time working together for the common interests of the residents of our community. I met Mr. Andreassen through Fred Costello. They campaigned together and ultimately celebrated together at the Democratic election celebration at Sues. 

One has to wonder, what has happened in the past two years to convince Andreassen to run against the man who introduced him to town politics? Can it be that he began to listen to a handful of people who could never fulfill their own political goals, litle Town Police Chief or a town board position on their own?
I think Mr. Andreassen could have been a valuable member of our town board had he worked together with all the members and just be a ‘resister’ as witnessed during the Kiwanis Ice Rink renovations debate, when instead of working together and lending his expertise, he merely abstained from voting. True leaders don’t take the easy way out, they make definitive decisions, like Fred Costello, who has led a team of committed local leaders; like Leeanne Thornton and John Schoonmaker in battling the Climate Crisis, fighting the Karolys dump, repairing the Ice Arena’s roof and most importantly, keeping communication lines open for all the residents and their elected officials. 

We have a great community here in Saugerties. We certainly can do better and will with the right leadership and, in the case of Saugerties Town Supervisor, the decision is clear. Vote Fred Costello.

Joe Puma
Saugerties

Support Costello

I support Fred Costello for re-election as our Saugerties Town Supervisor.

As was pointed out in a letter last week, Fred has demonstrated time and again, that his style of leadership involves using all of the input and energies from many different people in the community.  

Leadership does not involve knowing all the answers, but it does involve knowing where to find the answers. Leadership does not mean you can anticipate every issue, but it does mean you can recognize and respond meaningfully to issues when brought to your attention.  Leadership does not mean pointing fingers or backseat driving, anyone can do that.  It does involve developing and having relationships with people across a wide spectrum of beliefs and political affiliations and knowing how to bring people to work together. Fred’s leadership style embodies this.

In rebuttal to Cecelia Sciortino’s letter last week, the Recreation Advisory Committee (RAC) was aware of the planning for the Ice Rink project at all times, as was the Town Board. The RAC was also intimately involved in trying to solve the Small World Playground. Paul Andreassen was the Town Board liaison to the RAC for all of 2018 and still currently sits on the Town Board.

During the March 2018 RAC meeting, at which Councilman Andreassen was in attendance, the RAC was again advised of the deterioration of the Ice Rink, and that earlier in the winter the Town Board (5-0, including Jimmy Bruno) had authorized Praetorious and Conrad to generate bid specifications and drawings for the project. In January of 2019 the entire RAC was again informed of the engineered bid specifications developed by Praetorious and Conrad. The Town Board had all of this same information.  The vote to authorize the expenditure took place in June of 2019 (15 months after the RAC meeting). Of the vote he abstained from, Paul said, “I didn’t have enough information…” (Saugerties Times).  

In this same March 2018 meeting, the RAC was also informed that the Town’s insurance carrier would be doing a risk-assessment of Small World. Treated lumber well over 20 years old was rotting, and the playground was a danger as well as an eyesore. A local foundation that existed to generate financing for the construction of a new playground had faltered, due to unanticipated personal issues by a foundation member. In this meeting, Paul advocated for patching and fixing the playground, saying, “I did a walk-through. We should just fix and repair the rotted pieces until we can find funding for a new project.” Subsequently, Marjorie Block, longtime public advocate and servant has taken on the work of generating interest and financing for the playground’s future.

Paul Andreassen is a nice guy, this is not a criticism, but when considering your vote for Town Supervisor next week, realize that being a nice guy is not a good enough reason to be given a leadership position. Vote for Fred Costello.

Bill Ball
Saugerties

Re-elect Costello

At the League of Women Voters debate on October 18, Paul Andreassen commented that the engagement of local citizens and their voices may have negatively affected the ongoing Karolys’ dumping situation and delayed its’ shut down. Frankly, this shows a lack of understanding of a healthy and responsive government, the role of citizens in holding government to account, and the incredible impact this is having on our town and community. It is very unfortunate to hear an elected official implying that the voices and concerns of citizens, whom he represents, should not be raised.

I work on issues all over the world where citizens are not empowered to raise their voices or give their input. These are communities where services are lacking, resources are limited, corruption is rampant, and communities are struggling. When there is not a strong and active community providing input, governments cannot be held to account.  They are critical for a functioning and transparent democracy.

And, as Fred Costello pointed out, it is precisely because of these citizens that the Town became fully aware of the terrible dumping that is happening. Imagine if they didn’t feel comfortable coming to the Supervisor of our town because he might think they shouldn’t be raising their voices?  If Paul Andreassen is elected as our next supervisor, is this what we can expect if we go to him for help? When we approach him with concerns about toxic materials coming into our community, will he tell us to be quiet?

I look forward to reelecting Fred Costello.  He is a leader who understands that responding and listening to the voices and input of Saugerties constituents, whom he represents, is part of his role as Town Supervisor. This is the type of leader that I want for our town — one who we know will listen and respect the input of all Saugertesians.

Nejla Liias
Saugerties

Chris Allen is the best choice

“Off Year” elections aren’t a time to take off from voting. These elections often provide our best opportunities to select candidates who will work most closely with us and for us.

County Legislator Chris Allen has demonstrated his ability to serve District 2 and Ulster County as a whole. Chris researches issues and presents well informed solutions. He attends County, Town and Village functions on a level that is unparalleled for his position! Most importantly, he is always available to address voter concerns regardless of their personal political views. Legislator Allen respects the viewpoints of all of his constituents.

November 5th offers everyone am opportunity to vote for the candidates of their choice. It is an opportunity and responsibility that no one should miss. I am a registered Democrat, and I will be voting for Chris Allen on November 5th. I know that many other Democrats, voters from all other political parties and those with no party affiliation will be voting for Chris too. Chris is clearly the best choice to be our County Legislator! Chris is on the Working Families Party and Independence Party lines.

Mary Carroll
Saugerties

Roskos: I love this community 

I decided to run for town board because I want to serve this community and improve the lives of our children, my 4 year old son and his generation. Stewardship of the earth and stewardship of tax dollars are not mutually exclusive. Thanks to the leadership of Fred Costello, we have already saved money by becoming a climate smart community through gas savings from electric cars, income from solar farms, and savings from LED lightbulbs. If elected, I will ensure that Saugerties continues to lead the county on Climate Smart technologies.

I will continue to fight the dumping on our neighbors at Goat Hill and Fel Quai roads until it is cleaned up. The opiod crisis is an everyday challenge for us all. Let’s bring this Oracle bus to Saugerties to educate the community. Pease join me at the Narcan training on Nov. 27 at the Senior Center.

I chose to raise my son in Saugerties because I love this community that much…the Hudson, the Esopus and the forested woodlands surrounding us. It has been honor to run for town board. Vote for me on November 5 and join a movement to build a Saugerties of both economic security and environmental integrity for the generations to come.

Nicole Roskos, Candidate for Town Board
Saugerties 

Chris is the best candidate

I am writing this letter in strong support of Chris Allen for Ulster County Legislature. I have known Chris for over ten years, and from the time I initially met him, I have always been impressed with his intellect, work ethic and how he has helped people as our County Legislator. As a registered Democrat who is progressive on many issues, I love how Chris has been in support of issues that are important to me and my family. Chris has been vocal against Common Core Testing and written several letters to the editor about this issue. Chris has attended numerous Board of Education meetings, and has marched with the Alliance for Quality Education in support of equitable funding for rural school districts. 

As an independent film maker, I also appreciate how Chris was instrumental in supporting the Hudson Valley Commission.

Chris’ performance at the recent debate demonstrates how he is the best candidate for re-election to be our County Legislature. On November 5th or through early voting, please join me and my family in voting for Chris Allen on the Working Families Party Line or the Independence Party line.

Katie Cokinos
Saugerites

Why vote in local elections?

On November 5, we have the opportunity to vote for our local leaders for town and county officials. Several of the founders of this country died to give us the right to vote. In many countries, people are still fighting and dying for a right that we often take for granted. For women, it wasn’t until 1920 with the passage of the 19th amendment that women were allowed to vote. For 70 years women fought hard for their right to vote, including being jailed, put in mental institutions and force fed to break hunger strikes.

Voting is one of the strongest tools we have as citizens to influence government. Voting makes elected officials accountable to the people whose interests they have been elected to represent. Your vote sends a message. Elected officials tend to listen to the majority. Elected officials look at voter turnout. If it is low, they assume people don’t care about the issues, and worse, many assume they are doing a good job.

Many local elections are decided by a handful of votes. Personally, I lost an election by 45 votes and won another by 36 votes. Several years ago, a town board seat in the Town of Ulster was decided by one vote.

I know that money can buy advertising and is always a factor in state and national elections, but much less so at the local level. Ultimately, our vote counts equally with that of the richest most powerful people in town. Voting is a true democratic process giving everyone the same voice. Please vote!

Gary Bischoff
Saugerties

Uncle Sam Needs You

Since November 8, 2016, my ruminations and rants have been a broken record. I don’t know how to turn that record off and stop playing it back to you, except to lift the needle and stop listening. And I don’t want to do that, because I worry that if too many of us do — turn off the broken records of our consciences: our newspapers and magazines, our social media, our MSNBCs and Democracy Nows, our friends’ laments, our children’s fears, our own rage — we’ll never change the music, never prevent this awful cacophony from becoming a funeral dirge. 

Many of us lack the time, energy, or inclination to actively join the struggle for our country’s soul and our planet’s survival. That’s how the pigs keep us out of their troughs. But most of us have the time and energy to vote, and may just lack the inclination. 

I implore you to incline yourself toward what Martin Luther King called “the arc of the moral universe.” As he said, “It bends toward justice” — but only if we bend with it, only if we’re willing to challenge our ingrained attitudes, our cynicism and indifference and sense of hopelessness. 

For some of us, a crucial first step could be the one taken toward a polling booth.

Uncle Sam Wants You! Hell, he needs you! America needs you to vote, today through Sunday, or Tuesday, Election Day, November 5 — and if you’re willing to take a second step, to urge everyone you know to vote as well.

Let’s lift the needle and play a new record we can all sing in harmony to. We could not only “make such beautiful music together”; we could — to recapture a phrase stolen from us along with so much else — Make America Great Again.

Tom Cherwin
Saugerties

Thanks for your support

During this long campaign, I have had the pleasure of interacting with thousands of constituents throughout Saugerties and Malden with whom I have presented a very detailed and achievable platform. My platform is filled with feasible ideas that can be implemented with the requisite support from my colleagues in the Ulster County Legislature and with the cooperative assistance from Ulster County Government. From my four years of experiences in the Ulster County Legislature, I have developed a deep understanding of how County Budgets are planned, how funds are dispersed and how County Laws and Policies are written, passed and implemented. Having served on the Ways and Means Committee for three years, I have participated in the line-item analysis that takes place when reviewing the County Budgets at the committee-level prior to being voted on by the full legislature. Despite some of the rhetoric that is being presented during this political campaign for the District 2 race, the Ulster County Legislature already performs a line-by-line analysis of all County Budgets, so this process is not something new to Ulster County Government that can be created by a newly elected County Legislator in District 2.

During my four years of service, I have also developed a deep understanding of when County Government has the power to set its own laws and policies and when the supersession of State and Federal Laws supersedes the ability of County Government to create new laws or establish new policies. Any laws and policies regarding the restriction of fossil-fuel development projects can only be accomplished at the State-level for Ulster County and other New York Counties to follow. The suggested creation of a County-level invasive species committee to combat plant growth at the Village of Saugerties beach or elsewhere in Ulster County is not something that would amount to anything, as there already is a New York State Invasive Species Committee which has the enforcement power to direct the New York State DEC and NYC DEP to facilitate clean-up projects in all of the waterways throughout New York State. During recent weeks, I have had numerous discussions with officials from the DEP and DEC and residents along the Esopus Creek and Hudson River. From these discussions, I have learned that only the DEC and DEP has the enforcement power to enforce State Waterways and to deputize local residents and proprietors of recreational boating companies to inspect boats and recreational vehicles for foreign plant species prior to their entry into the Esopus Creek or Hudson River. During my third term in the legislature, I will work towards a policy that seeks clean-up assistance from the DEP at the Ashokan Reservoir, and I will pass along any information that I gather to Mayor Murphy , the Village Board and Town Government officials about their sovereign right to work with the DEC and DEP to help manage plant growth at the beach.

I want to thank all of the voters who have responded to my platform ideas about initiating some new employees into the Ulster County Office for the Aging to assist the elderly with the insurance appeals process, creating a less drama-filled environment in the Ulster County Legislature by implementing a new rule change and my idea to create an volunteer-based alternative healthcare network to assist in the treatment of opioid addicts. Experienced and well educated candidates for political office can work towards accomplishing improvements through their clear understanding of how government operates. The decision on who to vote for on November 5th or through early voting will also be a clear one: Vote for Chris Allen on the Working Families Party or Independence Party lines. Thank you for your support!

Chris Allen
Saugerties

Looking forward to fighting for Saugerties

As residents of Saugerties and readers of this paper know, I am a candidate for the Ulster County Legislature in District 1, which includes almost all of Saugerties west of the Thruway and all areas north of Malden Turnpike east of the Thruway. As someone who has been a resident of Saugerties for over 25 years, my heart and soul are here in our community, and I am committed to doing my part to ensure that Saugerties and Ulster County have a bright future.

Running for office is not an easy experience, as I am now aware. However, this campaign has been an absolutely enlightening and fulfilling experience. I am so grateful to all the people that have helped and encouraged me during this campaign. I am also so appreciative of all the people that paused from their busy schedules to talk to me while I was going door-to-door over these past months. But I am most grateful to the many people that shared their frustrations, concerns and problems with me. As a result of knocking on almost a thousand doors, I learned a lot about what people expect from their government leaders and representatives. Many of you have shared ideas about what would make our community here in Saugerties and Ulster County better. Rest assured that if I am elected as your representative, I will tirelessly fight for your concerns and move your ideas forward in the Ulster County Legislature.

I also wanted to inform all voters that Early Voting is currently running from now through Sunday, November 3rd. Any registered voter in Ulster County may cast a ballot early at any one of seven sites throughout Ulster County. For more information on locations and times, visit www.voteulster.com or call the Ulster County Board of Elections at 845-334-5470.

I humbly ask for your vote either on Election Day, Tuesday, November 5, or through Early Voting. However, regardless of who you vote for, please make sure you get out and vote.

Aaron Levine, Candidate for Ulster County Legislature, District 1
Saugerties

Wawro For Legislature

I would like to strongly recommend Mary Wawro for re-election to her current position in the Ulster County Legislature District 1. I have known Mary for over 20 years. She has been the daycare provider for my three daughters. Under her care all of my daughters were well prepared for kindergarten. My wife and I owe her a deep debt of gratitude for being so instrumental in helping prepare of children for their education. Mary exercises the same level of care and dedication with her legislative duties. Some politicians seem to enjoy the power and prestige these positions can bring an individual, Mary is more concerned about actually helping people and families in Ulster County. Mary has been involved in the following: Served as the chairperson for the Ulster County Social Services and Public Safety Committees.  

Is a member of various environmental & education programs.  

She also recognizes the problems and issues communities in Ulster County face with drug addiction. Mary has volunteered with the Woodstock PARI program and took the Angel Training. Mary has also been a very strong advocate for NARCAN Trainings and has actually sponsored these.   

We have seen Mary attend many events brining these issues front and center, most recently at the Ryan’s Run fundraiser in Kingston. 

William Sullivan
Saugerties

It is about the future! 

Please remember to vote on November 5. I have been honored to represent our community for the past 22 months. Together, we have achieved many wonderful milestones and I feel in many ways we are just getting started. 

Ironically a recent attack letter against me pointed to no less than seven milestone achievements that have happened during my time as Supervisor. It is disappointing that my opponent has chosen to employ the tired old negative campaign tactics of the past rather than articulate a vision for our future. My opponent’s increasing personal attacks against me and certain town departments in my view, do not qualify as vision for the future of Saugerties.

In my view, our community’s future, includes a newly renovated and state of the art Ice Arena, a new Animal Shelter which is funded in part by money that was pledged through resolution of the Bradford estate some years ago; a dog park planned by a committee of residents, enacting the initiatives identified in the Climate Action Plan; an invasive species management plan for the towns water ways; adoption of local legislation that will help the building department protect neighborhoods from abandoned or neglected properties; a reconstructed Small World Playground; a continuation of sound financial planning that has already improved the Town balance sheet; continued support for the Town’s emergency services; continued support for our Town’s infrastructure; continued efforts to seek improvements to the Town’s traffic patterns, pursuit of efforts that support our growing business community and much, much more. We have much to do and if we work together we can achieve great things. I will continue to work hard on behalf of everyone to make our local government represent the needs of our community. 

Fred Costello Jr.
Saugerties

Why you should vote for John Schoonmaker

With the climate crisis that we are facing today, many are left wondering, what can be done? With a federal government rolling back environmental regulations, where can people look to try and solve this problem? That would be your local government. 

Our counties and towns have been leading the fight on this issue, with Saugerties and Ulster County being at the forefront. Ulster County is just one of two municipalities that is a silver certified Climate Smart Community in the state, and Saugerties is the second town/city to become bronze certified. What this means is that we have gone above and beyond to bring policies that benefit our environment and make fiscal sense, as these programs save money in the long term. In Saugerties alone, we have leased out our capped landfill for a solar array, which we will hopefully buy 40% of their output to power our town government. But all of this is still not enough, and is why I am running for county legislature. We need to start pushing bold ideas, and challenging what we thought is possible. This is why I will work on banning fossil fuel projects across our county, so that Ulster continues to lead the way in these troubling times. I will also create a committee focused on fighting invasive species across the county as well as in Saugerties. With a worsening climate, this will become a bigger issue and we must present a united front to truly address it. And we must start thinking ahead, coming up with strategies for any future invasives that will come to our area so that we are not caught off guard.

Another issue many have with all levels of government is a lack of transparency. Most people have no idea what happens in our county and town governments, and it should be the job of elected officials to reach out and ensure the public is well informed. This is why I will hold monthly town halls throughout the district so that I can tell my constituents what exactly is going on in county government, as well as hear what their concerns are so that I can make informed decisions on the needs of Saugerties. At the end of the day, we are elected to office to serve the entire community, and we must never forget that.

These are just a few of the reasons why I am asking for your support on November 5th. It is time that the next generation take the torch and lead the way to a prosperous future here in Saugerties and Ulster County. As your County Legislator in District 2, I will do exactly that. 

John Schoonmaker, Candidate for County Legislature District 2
Saugerties 

Correction Needed

Thank you for your article, “Town board contest” in the last issue of Saugerties Times. It is helpful for the public to learn about the candidates; however, there was a significant error in reporting that needs to be corrected.

In the fourth paragraph (on the front page) is the statement “He (Mike Ivino) sought a Democratic endorsement…”  As an executive member of the Saugerties Democratic Committee, I can say that this is categorically false.

There is a process for becoming an endorsed candidate. The candidate would typically appear before the Democratic Committee’s candidate search subcommittee. If there is a positive recommendation from this subcommittee, the candidate then presents him- (or her-) self to the general committee membership and, if not a registered Democrat, requests a formal waiver to collect petition signatures for appearing on the Democratic line on the ballot. Mr. Ivino never appeared before the candidate search subcommittee, never approached the general membership of the committee, and did not submit petition signatures to the Board of Elections to run on the Democratic line. I hope you will make this correction in your paper in the next edition.

Bill Barr
Saugerties

Mike Ivino responds: I had conversations with Lanny (Walter, Dem Chair) that led to nowhere. Paul (Andreassen) and I had over 360 signatures to primary and at a meeting to give Wilson [Pekulas an authorization given by a political party to a candidate for public office in the State of New York  that allows the candidate not registered with that party to run as its candidate in a given election] no one ever gave us a look, and some people were upset that no one ever gave us a look…

Tireless Leeanne 

I just can’t keep up with her! Leeanne Thornton has twice the energy any normal human being should have! I have been on the Town Comprehensive Planning Committee for many years, and Leeanne has been our tireless liaison to the Town Board. She has probably attended more of those meetings than I have, and her input and reports have been invaluable to all of us on the committee.And I know she is the liaison for a few other Town committees as well!
But she is also involved and active in so many other organizations that enhance Saugerties. Until recently she was a full time social studies teacher, so I don’t know how she found the time to work on the Bristol Beach project, the Esopus Creek Conservancy, the Boys and Girls Club, and the many other projects, large and small, that have made Saugerties a better place to live. I was particularly impressed with how she integrated classes of kids into the Esopus Creek Conservancy to introduce generations of children to the riches of the natural world around us.
It is so rare to find such a dedicated and talented public servant. Leeanne cares deeply about our children, our environment, and the future of our town and its unique place in the Hudson Valley. I feel we would be foolish to not take advantage of her energetic dedication to Saugerties. We need to re-elect her to continue to work for us all!

Susan Weeks
Saugerties

Vote for Mary Wawro

I am proud to know Mary Wawro, legislative candidate, who is out there fighting to save our children’s lives. The opioid epidemic is taking more young lives everyday. There were more than 68,000 drug overdose deaths reported in 2018. Mary has advocated for Hope Rocks, and our grass roots peer to peer AWARENESS behavioral health program and others, to gain support from the Ulster County Legislature to help at risk youth in our County.

Mary recognizes how important it is to get help to those who are struggling with addiction as well as to provide Narcan trainings to the friends and family of those addicted. In her “spare time” she provides day care, positively shaping the minds of the babies who will be our future generation. I encourage everyone who can to vote for her.

Marie Shultis
Hurley

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