I see a huge breach of trust
On June 6, I received a phone call from Saugerties town justice candidate Claudia Andreassen regarding the upcoming primary. The call stated that she had been endorsed by the Ulster County Democratic Women and that she hoped she could count on my support. I told her I appreciated her call, especially since I have been researching candidates for the various positions in order to make informed decisions about who would receive my vote.
During my additional research, however, I learned that no endorsements are made for primary elections by this group. As a registered Democrat for 30-plus years and a woman, I feel betrayed and offended by this lie that attempted to capitalize on both of those facts to get my vote. I’m appalled by the fact that somebody who has been representing Saugerties in our justice system would have no qualms about lying to win the primary.
Even if she were running unopposed for re-election, this would be a huge breach of trust. In this case there is another candidate, also running on the Democratic ticket. I’m very concerned about other Democrats who have received similar phone calls from Claudia Andreassen, but who do not realize the information they received was false. That is what prompted this letter.
Thank you in advance for including this letter in your publication(s) as soon as possible, so more Saugerties residents can make an informed decision on June 23.
It has come to our attention that a candidate in the Saugerties Democratic primary for town judge has, without proper authorization, represented herself as having the endorsement of the Ulster County Democratic Women. At no time did the Democratic Women vote to grant Claudia Andreassen an endorsement and I have requested that she immediately cease to use or reference the endorsement in all future announcements, advertisements and other candidate materials and mailings.
Further, it is the policy of the Ulster County Democratic Committee and its subcommittees not to grant endorsements in a primary election. It is our sincere hope that her actions did not tarnish an otherwise fair and open Town of Saugerties Democratic primary for town judge.
Frank L. Cardinale, Chair
Ulster County Democratic Committee
Andreassen response to Cardinale
Your insulting misrepresentation of me is a classic game of political chicanery. One of the oldest tricks in the book.
The facts: I was contacted by the Ulster Democratic Women and congratulated on their endorsement by their chairperson on February 4, and they sent their insignia the following day. Four months later on June 10 and a week before the polls open, you telephone me after you admitted that you were contacted by Stan O’Dell, my challenger, that I incorrectly received the endorsement because there are no minutes of the meeting stating so.
The following day, minutes of said meeting were miraculously discovered. Then later that afternoon it was revealed that the minutes were not relevant after all, because the bylaws for the Ulster County Democratic Women clearly state that candidates are not permitted to be endorsed during a primary. One can only question the motives and integrity behind such deep research.
I would assume the same standard applies to Stan O’Dell’s advertised endorsement of the Independence Party (by Len Bernardo alone, I guess) as no minutes exist for any such endorsement. Did you call him to remove any sign of that faux endorsement?
Perhaps while you are bristling with investigative fervor, you can explain my opponent’s deceitful assertion, in his mailers to voters, that he is endorsed by five political parties.
My campaign will discontinue use of the Ulster County Democratic Women’s logo. I know I have the support of that fine group of women and do not wish to put them in a position that diminishes the importance of the 51% of the voting Democrats they represent.
I have never met you, Frank, but your position is an important one. You should act accordingly. I am concerned with this behavior. The Ulster County electorate deserves better. A judicial race should never have stooped to these levels.
Saugerties Town Justice
Malden on Hudson
Editor’s note:Saugertiesians registered with the Democratic Party can visit the polls on June 23, moved from its original date on April 28 due to Covid 19, or submit an absentee ballot, which can be mailed between June 13 and June 23. The location of polling places can be found at the county election site.
Claudia Andreassen has served our community honorably as Saugerties town judge for the past several terms. As most know too well, Saugerties has a lengthy history with dirty politics. This year is no different. I ask everyone to look above last-minute trash talk and innuendo.
Being a judge means you need to stay above the fray. Vote for Claudia Andreassen on or before June 23!
Right time, right place, right man
Socrates aptly described the essential qualities of a good judge: “Four things belong to a judge: To hear courteously; to answer wisely; to consider soberly; and to decide impartially.”
For anyone that knows Stan O’Dell, you know that he has all these qualities. I have had the honor and pleasure to know Stan in both a professional and personal manner and he continually exhibits the ability to resolve a problem/issue in a thoughtful and courteous manner. Whether working tirelessly during the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center, or volunteering regularly to assist the residents of his community, Stan is always resolute in completing the task at hand. Whether he wins or not you will always see Stan in our community ready to lend a hand or put out a fire, unlike his opponent who seems to only come out from behind the bench to campaign every four years. Vote for Stan O’Dell for Saugerties Town Justice.
My friends in Saugerties
I have known Stan O’Dell for many years. He had a decorated career with the NYS police and retired as a senior investigator. Stan has always demonstrated a balanced and fair approach to anyone who had a problem or concern. He has always been motivated by the facts associated with a situation before rendering an opinion, conclusion or any sort of judgment. Even in casual conversation, Stan always wants to know if someone confirmed what others could easily assume to be the obvious. His extensive legal experience, his attention to detail and the dedication to the truth, I believe make him uniquely qualified to be a town justice. His loyalty to the law and belief in due process are only half of the reason I urge you to consider supporting Stan’s candidacy for town justice. Over the years, I have witnessed Stan, on many occasions, drop everything to help someone in need. From taking care of his ailing dad to helping a friend of a friend, Stan is always just a phone call away. Stan has a tremendous sense of community and has dedicated many years of service to the Shriners, The Elks, the Saugerties Fire Department and many other community groups and organizations. Dedication to Saugerties is deep in Stan’s heart and I believe is what is motivating him to run for town justice. I believe that Stan can bring a positive balanced change to the Saugerties Justice Court and he has the ethical, professional and community background to do it.
From New Paltz’s police chief
Over the last several days, I have struggled to find the words to explain my thoughts on the murder of George Floyd and the greater issue of entrenched systemic racism and inequality that is pervasive in our society — a system that I am a part of. At first, I was hesitant to say anything out of concern that my words would be viewed as hollow, divisive, insensitive or hypocritical. But instead I concluded that saying nothing makes me complicit and allows a system designed to oppress others to continue unabated. I care deeply about our community and realize that as chief of police I need to use my platform to help effect critically needed systemic change.
George Floyd was murdered; there is no other conclusion to draw. Those officers had a duty to care for Mr. Floyd and they failed. I am angry and sickened by the depraved indifference of human life captured in the video. I also realize that my anger about Mr. Floyd’s murder pales in comparison to the anger and rage that black people and communities of color must feel right now. For them, this killing is another stark example of the injustice and inequality within our society. I cannot begin to understand because I am a white male and wear a badge. My privilege shields me and skews the prism through which I view and live in the world.
In the last several years our agency has implemented changes to hiring, training, policy and supervision with the goal of being better servants to our community. We are a New York State-accredited police agency and one of the most diverse police departments in the area, representative of the community we serve. However, we are not perfect. We need to do more; we must do better within our agency, our profession and by our communities if we are going to reestablish trust and legitimacy.
For me, that starts with listening, which is what I did on Saturday. I was out on the streets during the peaceful demonstration in New Paltz. The anger and pain I witnessed were powerful, but the listening cannot stop there. I am inviting community members to contact me so I can hear more. I know this will be difficult — introspection and change usually are — and there is no easy solution. I will most likely not have answers to the many questions posed, but I am willing and want to listen to what the community has to say in the hope dialogue can lead to positive change. Please feel free to contact me at the New Paltz Police Department.
Chief of police, New Paltz
The tide is turning
The endorsed Saugerties Democratic Committee members have always lived up to their ideals and have been a reassuring presence over these last terrifying months. They deserve your vote: by absentee ballot, early in person, June 13-21; or on Primary Day, June 23. All voters matter. Our votes have never been so important — or the moment so opportune.
These last weeks have shone a spotlight on America’s failings. And the president’s mishandling of the protests — and of the pandemic — has shone a spotlight on his. We must keep those spotlights on. Otherwise, Trump, having divided and carved us up, will take us down.
The tide is turning. Evangelists — even Pat Robertson — are acknowledging that holding up a bible is not the same as upholding it. The D.C. archbishop and other faith leaders agree, and for that and Trump’s general moral turpitude are repudiating him. Some Trump rallygoers and rank-and-filers are realizing they belong to a group — the have-nots — that a Trump-exacerbated pandemic has disproportionately ravaged, and that Trump himself continues to ravage, pushing workers back into meat-packing plants and other dangerous situations.
Some whose pockets Trump fills are wondering: “What profits is a man to gain the whole world, yet lose his soul?” Grandparents are shuddering at the thought of leaving their grandchildren’s fates in Trump’s hands, and those grandchildren are on the march.
Police officers are marching with them and taking a stand by taking a knee. Emboldened by general Mattis, military officials are denouncing Trump for demanding deployment of active-duty forces and brutalizing peaceful protesters in order to stage a photo op.
Several incumbent GOPoliticians have finally voiced their long-held anti-Trump views. And a growing number of former Republican leaders — Bush, Powell, Rice, etc. — are piling on.
Let’s pile on as well. Let’s take a first step by voting for the endorsed Saugerties Democratic Committee. And then let’s keep marching!
I am writing to show my support for Claudia Andreassen for town justice in Saugerties. Judge Andreassen is a life-long Democrat who has been on the bench for two terms, serving our community well. We all deserve to have her on the bench for four more years. Please vote for Claudia.
A letter of support for Stan O’Dell for Saugerties Town Justice
Dear friends and neighbors, I ask you to join me in supporting Stan O’Dell for Saugerties Town Justice. I have had the pleasure of knowing Stan for many years. Over those years of knowing him whether it be casual talk over dinner or working along side him at a ﬁre scene, I’ve learned that Stan’s care and compassion for his community and everyone in it, no matter what your political affiliation is, is like no other. As a life-long registered Independence Party member on the Saugerties Town Board, I am very proud to support Mr. O’Dell for this important seat in our community as the Independence endorsed candidate. The seat of town justice is not only the deciding factor of peoples’ faults or accidents, it is sometimes the beginning of their new future. As a person who has been in the law world for over 30 years and has dealt with both the perpetrator and the victims over those many years, Stan has the knowledge behind him to fulﬁll this seat with integrity and compassion to all of those who come before him. As our next town justice, he will make you all proud representing us on the bench, and I am sure he will offer those before him the best opportunities to grow and learn while upholding the law and oath he will swear too. I urge all those who are in this June 23 primary to support Mr. O’Dell. It is trying times like these where we need solid leadership and professionalism to help guide us through.
Police reform in New Paltz — The town board’s statement
Over the past several months, magnified by COVID-19 and George Floyd’s murder, we have all, once again, witnessed great and disproportionate injustice, racism and oppression in our communities. With the outrage so many of us feel on a national and global level, we must recognize the opportunity to take a hard look at how we perpetuate these systems right here in New Paltz, and we must pledge to make courageous and bold change so we can ensure equity and justice in our community.
The Town Board, in its own role and in its role as police commission, is unanimously and wholly committed to a timely, thorough and complete review and reformation of police policies, protocols, practices and funding as needed to ensure that:
• All of our citizens are treated equally and fairly under the law, and that our law enforcement agency is trained in understanding and eliminating racism and injustice in all of our policing policies and practices.
• Our law enforcement agency’s use-of-force practices are focused almost entirely on de-escalation strategies and that all officers are trained to utilize strategies that de-emphasize all forms of violence in carrying out their duties.
• There is a complete and thorough review of the form and function of our police commission by an independent group to ensure that oversight of New Paltz’s law enforcement agency is led by a competent, trained and representative group of elected and/or appointed community members.
• Funding for the police and all Town of New Paltz social agencies is fully reviewed and reallocated as necessary to balance care and safety with an equal desire to eliminate and reverse all forms of systemic racism and oppression, so that we serve all of our citizens truly equitably.
Governor Cuomo’s recent executive order to “reinvent and modernize police strategies and programs with community input,” mandates what the town board is willing and wanting to do — to work closely and collaboratively with our community of diverse citizens to reform and transform our police and other municipal entities. Everything in our municipality is “on the table” for reformation and transformation. We are committed to drive racial equity and social justice throughout our community.
Neil Bettez, Alex Baer, David Brownstein, Julie Seyfert-Lillis, Daniel Torres
New Paltz Town Board
Councilman Schoonmaker for Andreassen
I am writing to announce my endorsement of Claudia Andreassen for town justice in the Democratic primary. While the decision itself was not hard for me to make, I personally held off as I think elected officials should not weigh in publicly in a judicial race. Seeing that I am the only council member to remain silent, however, and the only elected Democratic official in Saugerties, I felt it would be a disservice to the residents of Saugerties if I did not let them know who I feel is best for the job.
During my time on the council, I have seen Claudia’s compassion first-hand. When bail reform was still at the front of everyone’s minds, she did not call for immediate reform of it, but instead suggested we wait, let it actually be implemented, and then work from there. She recognized that one of the main issues was the lack of funding from the state. When the civil unrest began sweeping this country, she helped her granddaughter create posters to hang around the village to help educate residents on the injustices facing the black community. And on a more personal note, I found it impossible to leave her house after meeting with her husband Paul, a fellow councilman, without some form of leftovers being given to me by Claudia.
This is the kind of person we need on the bench. A judge who is kind, compassionate and caring. A judge who will treat each person as if they were part of her own family. A judge that is not only aware of the injustice that is built into our criminal justice system, but has been fighting to fix it her entire life. I urge you to vote for Claudia Andreassen on June 23 (or earlier by mail or at an early voting site).
Saugerties Town Councilperson
Saugerties Democratic Committeemember, District 4
Let’s set the record straight!
Last week’s letter to the editor from Elizabeth Weredyk contained false statements about the Saugerties Democratic Committee (SDC). As a longstanding and hardworking member of the SDC, I want to set the record straight.
We are not “establishment politics” and “career politicians.” We are committee volunteers and members of the Saugerties community who believe deeply in the values of justice for all, transparency and accountability of our elected officials. We are all longtime activists who choose to funnel our energy through the SDC for positive change in such issues as immigration, climate change, voter participation, social justice and income inequality. We believe real change does start at the bottom, which is why we work so hard on the committee and in the community. We fundamentally believe change is possible and work to change a system that leaves so many behind.
It is possible Elizabeth Weredyk didn’t know this information or our names because she has never been to any events we have hosted that bring together Democrats in this town for public forums, fundraisers for Democratic candidates, debates among primary candidates and more. Perhaps she didn’t attend these events because while she wrote about “OUR” Democratic line, she only just joined “OUR” party in January. She was registered in a different political party until January 2020. If she took the time to come to our meetings, meet us in person, participate in all the work we do all year long, then she possibly could make a judgement based on facts instead of her hunches. Like others who come to our public meetings, she would have realized that we are just the opposite of all the false statements she is making.
I urge voters to not be misled by political mudslinging. Please vote for the SDC endorsed candidates.
Affected by climate change
Last week we began to explore the commonality among the George Floyd incident, the pandemic and climate change. We focused on the federal administrative leadership, which we feel has been neither calming nor uniting. It might be called “inept.” This week we would like to explore the role that race plays in all three issues.
First: the George Floyd murder is all about race, and would exceed the word limit we have set for ourselves. So let’s move on.
Second: the pandemic has affected people of color to a much greater extent than the rest. If there is a silver lining for this pandemic, it is that it highlights many of the racial shortcomings of our society
Our son attended Swarthmore, an elite college in an elite town outside Philadelphia. He volunteered (as did many other students) in a poorer neighboring community called Chester. Chester was home to a burn plant, a power plant, a sewage treatment plant, Lily Cup Manufacturing and other polluting companies. Many of the “essential workers,” mostly people of color, also call this hom.
And if you are raised in a toxic environment such as Chester’s, you will tend not to be as well-educated, nor affluent, nor as healthy as those living in the adjacent town of Swarthmore. You would be categorized as the “marginalized.” People of color are also more than twice as likely to get the Covid virus.
Finally, there is a close correlation between race and climate change.
When we were recruiting at SUNY New Paltz for bus trips to New York and Washington to fight climate change, a disproportionate number of international students of color signed on. Queried why, they responded that climate change was already affecting their homelands: water in the streets of Bangladesh, excessive heat in Egypt, and crop failure due to drought in Mexico.
Clearly, people of color are the first and the worst to be impacted by climate change.
Dan and Ann Guenther
Protect the taxpayers
Having now seen the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Town of Woodstock and Selina, the devil isn’t only in its details. It’s also in its lack of details!
This project has been highly controversial with lawsuits and lawsuit protections filed. This MOU, without double-spacing type, would fit easily on two pages of 8 1/2” by 11” paper. Yes, that’s correct, folks, a standard residential lease form contains far more legalese and protection of parties than this critical MOU draft for this controversial project. If my lawyer presented a document to me such as this MOU to protect me under these circumstances, he’d be fired immediately.
However, opinion is this document isn’t about protecting neighbors as taxpayers. It’s about protecting the town board from controversy of a lawsuit and to give Selina the benefit of partial operation and continuance of construction prior to planning-board approval in violation of zoning law — under the guise that if Selina doesn’t cooperate, the town will stop them.
Further opinion, together with understanding Selina is in the hotel business, it seems apparent they’ve made a bed for town-board members who may approve this MOU. Zoning law clearly defines steps necessary for Selina to follow. This was affirmed by the ZBA interpretation a year ago.
Opinion is that proper town-board action is not circumventing due process or overruling the ZBA. Instead, let Selina choose to take action to recoup valid losses through town insurance for mistakes they feel were made by town officials. The insurance will pay town legal fees.
Selina should be forced to go through full site-plan review process without exemption or exception and without interference from the town board. The ZBA determination should not be overruled. The planning board process should not be compromised or influenced by potential litigation.
Paramount responsibility is protecting neighboring taxpayers from further expense, time loss and potential devaluation of real property and quality of life. In short, the town board should own any mistakes. To do so otherwise will be a stain on this town board.
Visit woodstockconcerns.com for details and like our Facebook page.
Easy to talk to
I support Claudia Andreassen for Saugerties town judge. She has many years of experience on the bench. She is a kind, caring and thoughtful person. I thankfully have never been on the other side of the bench when judge Andreassen was presiding, but one of my children was for a speeding ticket. My child said that in the courtroom Judge Andreassen was personable and easy to talk to. She did not make my child feel like a criminal, rather that they were the only person in the court.
We need this type of professionalism in our town court. If you are able, please vote for Claudia in the June 23 primary. Experience counts.
Protecting and serving
The men and women of the New Paltz Police Department appreciate the statement made by our chief of police. However, we feel it is important that the community hears directly from the members of the department as well. We unequivocally condemn the treatment and murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis.
We understand that this horrible incident has caused a great deal of pain throughout our community, state and nation. We want our community to know that we pledge to be instruments of change while continuing to treat all our citizens with fairness, compassion and empathy as we carry out our everyday responsibilities in protecting and serving the New Paltz community. We strive to be the servants of our community needs.
Members of the New Paltz Police Department
It’s time to raise the bar
I’m Elizabeth Weredyk and I ask for your vote on June 23 for the Saugerties Democratic Committee. So many of us feel under-represented. That so many things, organizations, groups, committees come before us, the people. Our voice has been overshadowed and drowned out by establishment politics and the personal agenda of career politicians. That feeling is real and the solution starts at the bottom.
Our first level of representation is election district representatives. Names we shamefully never know who all too often do not keep us informed. I run to represent Saugerties District 13 – “The Heights,” and if elected on June 23, I guarantee that you will know me, my contact information and everything going on in our village, town and county. Your questions and concerns will be heard and voiced.
Individuals wishing to represent our Democratic line will answer your questions. Candidates will be vetted, supported and then held accountable.
It is time to raise the bar, it is time for the Saugerties Democratic Committee to have transparency and inclusion. Let me help bring this to the Saugerties Democratic community. The election is June 23 and I ask my fellow Saugerties Democratic friends and neighbors to vote, to be heard and to be represented.
I’m Elizabeth Weredyk and you can contact me at 217-5681 or email@example.com. Thank you.
Maloney endorses Andreassen
On June 23, I’ll begin my first term as a Saugerties committeeman representing District 11. One of the foremost responsibilities of a committee representative is to find, vet and support good Democratic candidates. Claudia Andreassen, a two-term life-long Democratic judge who has a proven record of fairness and compassion, deserves, and should represent the Democratic line in the upcoming general election. June 23 is our chance to ensure that happens.
From traffic violation on up, I want my family, friends and neighbors standing in front of a judge I know is righteous, blind to anything but justice. No back-door conversations, no deals, no phone calls, no politics. It’s fairness, it’s equality, that’s justice. That’s Claudia Andreassen.
Election District 11, Saugerties
The power of your vote for the Saugerties Democratic Committee
My name is Ken Kleinberg, and I am running for a seat on the Saugerties Democratic Committee to represent District 2 (in the village). Having attended many committee meetings and seeing the current controversy over endorsements (or not) for the judicial race, I can tell you that there is power in this committee. They decide what email and social media messages you receive, what meetings you are invited to and where the money you donate goes. They attempt to control (and for sure influence) which candidates appear on the Democratic line and which are elected to represent our community.
Therefore, the experience and accountability of who is on this committee are of the utmost importance. Fortunately, these are elected positions and you get to decide with your vote. Many people that I’ve spoken with couldn’t even identify who represented them on this committee.
I urge you to consider the backgrounds of those running in your district. If elected, I’ll work collaboratively with existing and new committee members to represent you. As a Saugerties resident for 20 years, a life-long registered and voting Democrat and someone who cares deeply for our community and our people, I respectfully ask for your vote on June 23. Find me on Facebook @Ken4Democracy.
A Green for Andreassen
On June 23, the residents of Saugerties will be deciding who will represent them and their party for the upcoming town judicial race. It’s no accident I am a registered Green Party member. Democracy, social justice, ecological sustainability, economic justice — our platform is about people not politics.
Judge Andreassen encompasses these values and more. Spending 26 years in the world of probation and eight years on the bench, Claudia Andreassen has balanced accountability, respect and dignity for all. As we strive to make our town, county, state, country an equally fair place to live and thrive, we should be paying close attention to our judges. With probation reform in its infancy, we must choose carefully. For eight years Claudia has earned our trust and respect. She’s treated all that have entered her court equally with true blind justice.
Elected officials and judges are people. When you find one with the compassion, fairness and intellect of that in Claudia, you keep them.
Let’s keep Judge Andreassen Green.
Our record speaks for itself
As committed members of the Saugerties Democratic Committee, we look forward to continuing to serve on the committee as representatives for Election District 6. Despite the misguided challenge to our committee, we know that our record speaks for itself. Over the years, we have worked hard for our Saugerties neighbors and community, supporting Democratic candidates up and down the ballot, organizing important informational sessions for our community, and getting out the vote!
What is particularly great about the current makeup of the Saugerties Democratic Committee is how we utilize the diverse talents of our members in many ways, leading to strong, varied efforts that promote Democratic values. Some of the work we have done in just the past four years includes organizing the Democratic congressional debate with eight candidates in the Saugerties High School in 2018, coordinating get-out-the-vote canvassing in the past three elections, rallying volunteers to knock on doors and make phone calls leading up to elections, engaging in ongoing conversations with candidates up and down the ballot to provide needed support and to keep our finger on the pulse of the elections, and actively working to raise the visibility of our committee and attract new members.
The coming years will be no different and we look forward to continuing to work hard on behalf of our Election District 6 and all Democratic voters of Saugerties. Please vote in the June 23 primary. If you are in Election District 6, we humbly request that you vote for us – Nejla Liias and Mike Harkavy. Experience and commitment matter more than ever as we head toward November 2020.
Nejla Liias. Mike Harkavy
Election District 6, Saugerties
Distortion about permits
Twenty-five-thousand dollars in lawyer fees paid by contiguous neighbors and an application to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) by them is the reason the Town of Woodstock took action pertaining to the construction of what was known as “The Lodge.” It was their time and money that put a halt to the construction because of improperly issued building permits, not as [town supervisor Bill] McKenna made it appear when he said at a town-board meeting, “the town board challenged that [issuance of permits] before the ZBA that concluded the permits were issued in error.”
Why the self-promotion? Was it a need to impress us? Why didn’t McKenna, as Samuel Adams put it, “Give credit to whom credit is due.”
Our committee’s been active
In the Democratic primary that ends June 23, many Saugerties voters will be asked to choose their representatives on the Saugerties Democratic Committee.
Having served on the committee since Trump’s election, I am hoping that most Democrats see the committee as strong, active and forward-looking. We have campaigned so hard for candidates such as Delgado, Figueroa, Ryan, Clegg and others. We helped keep our town in the capable hands of supervisor Costello and board members Thornton and Schoonmaker. We hold public forums on vital public issues. And we raise lots of funds to pour into these activities. Many Saugerties Democrats know of our efforts because they answer our calls to volunteer and support our fundraising efforts and our candidates.
A group is challenging the candidates who are nominated by the current committee and endorsed by the Ulster County Democratic Committee. Mostly these challengers have no record of work with local Democrats. Several only became Democrats in the past year or two. They are welcome to become active, but I oppose them taking over a large portion of our vigorous committee.
My colleague Mike Cimorelli and I are endorsed candidates in Election District 2 and ask for your support.
Working on your behalf
In eleven Saugerties election districts, registered Democrats will be asked to vote for representatives to the Saugerties Democratic Committee. I urge you to vote for the committee’s slate of candidates endorsed by the Ulster County Democratic Committee and other prominent Democrats.
Without fanfare, the Saugerties Democratic Committee has been working on your behalf to elect Democrats and to promote Democratic values. Perhaps you stopped by the 2018 and 2019 campaign offices during election season. Those storefronts were funded and staffed by the committee and its network of supporters.
You probably met committee members as they knocked on your door with Democratic candidates’ literature or spoke on the phone during their get-out-the-vote efforts. Maybe you went to one of the committee’s public forums on the New York Health Act, community policing, criminal justice reform, the home health care shortage or climate change. You may have relied on the Covid 19 resource lists produced and posted online by the committee.
The people behind these efforts are asking for your vote in the June 23 primary. To learn more about our great candidates and whether your election district has a committee primary, visit our website at saugertiesdemocrats.org. Keep the Saugerties Democratic Committee strong.
Instead of draining the swamp, Trump swamped the drain.
Notes from the pandemic
We have real-life heroes to applaud and admire — frontline workers from doctors and nurses to interns and volunteers. Will we remember them six months from now?
Where was the president during this crisis? Was he setting an example by wearing a mask or guiding us through this? Or was he hiding in a bunker?
And if you heard it repeatedly that we are all in this together, that is hogwash. Did any of you see the millionaires here consoling us? I didn’t see them. Did you?
For several months we’ve seen those TV commercials of actors pushing products of all sports without wearing a mask. That must have given some young people the idea that the virus was gone. Those irresponsible networks should have issued a caption under the commercials proclaiming “Made before the pandemic.”
There was certainly many sad examples of young people showing a lack of self-discipline and common sense when it came to wearing masks and maintain social distancing. Their parents should be very proud of them. They taught them well to ignore the wisdom of science and self-control.
The president’s only claim to fame was a strong and vibrant economy. Now it’s gone, perhaps swept away by the hand of God. Everyone he has mocked and everything he has done has been for naught. Will we be at his mercy for the next four years? Count them, four years of chaos and craziness.
Re-elect the incumbents
We have had the privilege of serving on the Saugerties Democratic Committee for the last five-and-a-half years combined. We’ve canvassed for candidates, made phone calls, mailed letters, organized fundraisers, attended meetings and engaged in other various community events. The support we’ve seen from our community during all this has been truly inspiring.
This is what it’s all about and why we want to continue serving you. We stand by our record as dedicated, hardworking and loyal Saugerties Democrats. If you’re a registered Democrat in Election District 8 (encompassing Glasco), please stand with us by supporting our re-election via absentee ballot or in person on June 23. We appreciate your support!
Tim Scott, Jr., Susan Breen
Coronavirus has taken over
Do you know what coronavirus is? Well, coronavirus is a virus that caused a pandemic and a pandemic is very bad. Many people have gotten coronavirus and some of them have died and some of them have not died.
Coronavirus is going on right now. If you can do anything to stop it, that would be just great. Please do anything you can to stop it! Stay inside and always stay six feet away from others so none of you can get hurt, please! In this regard, you will not be going to stores if you are in a country or state like New York. It is very dangerous. In some countries and states there is no coronavirus at all, but in some countries and states there are millions of coronavirus cases, and I don’t want you to be hurt by it! Stay inside so I know you’re safe.
Just like I said, no going to stores or shops! But you have to get food so some stores will be open and mostly please shop online so again no one gets hurt. Do you know anybody who has coronavirus?
James Fox, Age 7
It’s all about justice
“I can’t breathe,” the last words of George Floyd and Eric Garner, is a literal truth for communities of color as well as for too many individual black people brutally murdered by police. As reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. explained, 66 percent of black people live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant. We know that the destruction of Hurricanes Maria, Harvey, Katrina and Superstorm Sandy had a direct impact not only on marginalized and vulnerable communities but on communities of color, which reinforces that racial justice and climate justice are linked. But, to be clear, it’s all about justice.”
New Paltz Climate Action Coalition supports Black Lives Matter and the voices of those who are risking their health and lives, crying out for racial justice in towns and cities throughout our nation and around the globe. We addressed the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as the larger context of intense racism, at our recent weekly meetings.
People are disturbed and outraged. We have written letters demanding the arrest and prosecution of the four officers involved in murdering George Floyd. Members are now writing letters demanding justice for Breonna Taylor (Her killers submitted bold-faced lies on their police incident report and they are still on the police payroll). Collectively, we agreed to join in protests supporting Black Lives Matter in New Paltz and Kingston.
What good will it do to run our society on clean renewable energy if we are only, as Bill McKibben puts it, “Using solar power instead of coal to run the same sad mess of unfair and ugly oppression?” Police brutality and the climate crisis are bound together by the lethal impact they both have on our most vulnerable populations. Yet the climate movement has been slow to take on the issue of white supremacy in all its manifestations as part of the fight for climate justice.
Solidarity in this struggle for life itself is a two-way street. We climate activists need to show up for the fight against police brutality and in the larger battle against white supremacy. Let us listen to the voices from communities of color in the Hudson Valley and nationally, demanding justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castille, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Jamar Clark, Botham Jean, Laquan McDonald, Eric Garner and so many more who’ve lost their lives to police brutality and to systematic, institutionalized racism.
Let us stand together now, in loving solidarity, in all our strength, breaking out of the silos that separate movements in order to fight for racial justice and to save our planet.
Iris Marie Bloom
New Paltz Climate Action Coalition, New Paltz
On June 23, I will vote for Claudia Andreassen for Town Justice
I’m sure her opponent has many good qualities, but I value Claudia Andreassen’s background as a life-long Democrat and compassionate arbiter of justice for all, and, yes, the additional bonus that she is a woman. But it’s not just that she is a woman — she is the kind of woman we need to hold up in our society. One who make decisions about people’s lives, guided by facts, context and empathy — especially in this age of Black Lives Matter. Empathy is sorely lacking in our political discourse and criminal justice systems, making it seem that, for some people, cruelty and insensitivity are not simply aberrations, they are core values. This is not the way to build an inclusive, productive, happy society. Nor is it the kind of world I want to live in. On June 23, I will proudly and emphatically vote for Claudia Andreassen for Town Justice. She has been a beloved champion for justice in Saugerties for two terms, and her compassionate approach is more essential than ever before.
We need an honest look
It’s been very exciting and quite impressive to watch the way the culture in our country is actually shifting, day to day, since the murder of George Floyd. The institutionalized racism and police brutality are no longer in question. We know it exists. The 8-minute 46-second video clip of Floyd’s killing, in broad daylight and in front of many people, was such a defiant act by a policeman, that it literally shook up the whole world.
Now there is an unstoppable wave that is demanding real change. The slogan of Black Lives Matter has taken a big leap into the consciousness of each and every person in the United States, and this awareness is here to stay. Black lives do matter. But what will real change look like? Only time will tell.
It’s obviously important to vehemently protest the ongoing police brutality, and to continue to expose the horrible racism that is still perpetuated by police throughout our country. But, if racism is going to be rooted out of our country completely, we need to take an honest look at just how those generations of oppression have been internalized in the behaviors and lifestyles of black and brown people.
A wonderful next step for the leaders and organizers of the Black Lives Matter movement could be to encourage self-care, better nutrition and more exercise for their black and brown brothers and sisters.
But the push toward a healthier lifestyle must not and cannot stop with only each person taking responsibility for their well being. Our country needs to take broader steps if we are to create a more just and fair playing field for all people of color. One way to continue to engage in a healthier approach toward large populations is to begin helping those afflicted toward better self care of their bodies, which would be a crucial step in increasing life expectancies.
Subsidizing healthy foods could show the positive, long-term effects of good nutrition over a large group of people. This info could go far in waking up a population of people that have grown up on McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast foods for their nutritional needs. And the results could show a big decrease in diabetes, hypertension and asthma, the three underlying health issues that appear to be causing such a large number of deaths from the coronavirus in the African American community.
Talking about change to interrupt the deep racism in our country is a good start. But our next step must be to find creative and dynamic ways to take action.
Civil unrest is a big threat
Protests in the United States developed because of the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of a criminal wearing a police uniform. The murderers of George Floyd will be brought to justice. George Floyd has been buried and he will rest in peace.
Unfortunately, the peaceful protests in memory of George Floyd turned into rioting and looting due to the international political organization Black Lives Matter along with Antifa, a group working to overthrow the United States. The peaceful protests turned in to civil unrest and was one of the greatest threats to the United States in over 100 years. Our people were frightened and concerned as to what may happen and us having the ability to control it.
The foolish calls for disbanding police departments resulted in lawmakers moving to make reforms to police organizations. It should have been time for the demonstrators to stop and to seek some healing and to help those whose livelihoods were destroyed because of the riots. It is sad that those killed during these riots remained nameless with no fanfare as was created for George Floyd, but their lives mattered as much.
Think hard about these numbers. There are 328 million people in the United States. There are 17,985 police agencies in the United States with 686,665 police officers. In 2019 there were nine unarmed black and 19 unarmed white people killed by police with almost all these deaths being found to be justified. There were 49 police officers killed in the line of duty in the same year. There were 1004 people killed by police in the United States in 2019, again, with almost all these deaths being found to be justified.
If the Black Lives Matter organization, was so concerned about black people, why don’t they take their movement to Chicago where there have been 247 blacks killed year to date with 18 black people being murdered in one day recently, the highest number in over 60 years? The reason BLM does nothing is because there is no political opportunity when trying to stop black on black murders.
Since 1960, thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., race relations in the United States have improved. He encouraged peace and closing the divide between black and white people. He also made certain opportunities for all people of all colors in the United States was the same.
We must remain steadfast to recognize and work to maintain the quality of black lives equally and for all to have the same freedoms and opportunities. There is still much to be done to improve the quality of life for all people. We need to improve our educational opportunities for all children and to lift all those who are living in poverty so they to can obtain a quality of life we all deserve.
To heal, we need to stop the protests. We need to support the nuclear family, and we should try to return to churches, synagogues or mosques as a family. And most importantly, we need to remember we are all one, not white, not black and not people of any other color. As one, we should all remember we are brothers and sisters who are part of one great family.
Continue the work of Saugerties Democratic Committee
I am writing in support of the Saugerties Democratic Committee. For years they have worked, often tirelessly, and have helped energize and organize people of our town to become active and engaged in the local political process.
Although I am not currently a member of the Saugerties Democratic Committee, I have worked with the committee during the last several campaigns, been so impressed with the store fronts they set up in town which became the hub of local, county and state campaigns.
I have never seen so many local people, young and not so young, experienced and new to political work, doing the hard work of door knocking, canvassing, registering voters and getting out the vote.
In addition, I have also been excited and impressed with the many educational forums, discussion groups and speakers on topics from the environment, education, justice reform, health care and more which has raised the level of civil discourse in our wonderful town.
It is more important than ever before to continue the work of Saugerties Democratic Committee and to support those who have worked so hard and effectively to build and sustain the Democratic Committee.
The Saugerties Democratic Committee primary
After attending a couple meetings of the Saugerties Democratic Committee over the past few years, I felt a bit out of place. On one hand, the committee seemed to be very active in many social movements and I admired the fervor. There were some very smart, experienced, capable and frankly, lovely people in the room. But on the other hand, I witnessed (and recorded) calls for retribution for actions that individuals made separately (like making a campaign donation or writing a letter) that didn’t coincide with what the committee decided. They sought to intimidate not only those that had not agreed with them, but to the members that did agree with them also, and ostensibly, the onlooker(s) as well. How welcoming, I thought.
A number of people have chosen to try to end this entitled, aggressive behavior. Last week, a letter by Louise Bloomfeld (“Choose wisely”) addressed this upcoming Democratic Committee primary. While I respect the ingenuity of the endorsement-in-third-person branding that was concocted (think Donald Trump saying Donald Trump endorses Donald Trump for president), I find the underlying message of the actual argument appalling: The “endorsed” committee members have donated much more money than “unendorsed” candidates, and thus, are better candidates. I am of the persuasion that money should be out of politics, that money is not speech and in the context of campaign-spending, only serves to stifle speech. Where’s my party at? “Only money equals commitment.” It logically follows that you have to pay for your endorsement. “If you don’t have money, we don’t want you!” Another cringe-worthy position to take.
I am a part of this excluded group that challenged for a seat, and I’ve already won — I will proudly be a Saugerties Democratic Committee member. I asked the secretary to include me on the committee mailing list to stay informed. My request went unacknowledged. I would have pushed the issue had I not known the committee had asked all members not to respond to any challenging candidate’s e-mails, even unrelated ones. Remember, we’re their constituents. The worst part of this all? I am not surprised by the childishness. Of course, I expect my exclusion to officially and magically end come July.
I urge everyone to go to https://saugertiesdemocrats.org/ and look at the list of sitting committee members. It’s the first time a full list has been published on the committee website, at least recently. Take a screenshot in case it disappears once “order is established.” And when you go to vote, if you’re torn or don’t know the names in front of you, consider not voting for the sitting member on the website. They have not sought fresh voices or new ideas, only acquiescence. There are too many unofficial sergeants-at-arms. After the primary, I urge you to come to meetings. See for yourself. Am I lying or distorting? Be heard. Get involved. Turn the tide and stop accepting the demands of the party and demand action from the party. We have to right our mothership, and there’s little time remaining.
Hope to see you soon.
An endorsement for Claudia Andreassen
Good morning, my name is Justine Gauckler and I own the Traveling Spiritualist and live here in Saugerties.
I’m writing you today to let you know that my business and my family are supporting Claudia for town justice — her judgeship is what this town needs. She’s fair, honest and doesn’t play favorites.
If there is anything else that’s needed, please don’t hesitate to email me.
My business is spiritual in nature. I do fluid art and spiritual guidance through tarot and crystals.