Next week’s issue (October 21) will be the last issue in which letters criticizing a candidate for office in the November 3 election will be printed, so as to allow for a response. If space allows, letters endorsing a candidate which contain no criticism of his or her opponent will be accepted for publication in the October 28 issue. Thank you.
— Deb Alexsa, Editor
Well worth it
About 15 years ago when I was in the legislature, a woman called me and asked for assistance concerning public transportation provided by Ulster County. She was an amputee and wanted to take the bus to Kingston to get to her job.
She lived on a side street off Partition Street. Because the side street required extra skill, the bus had a hard time reaching her residence where she would be picked up. County officials suggested that she walk to the edge of Partition Street so the bus didn’t have to make the difficult turn to pick her up. She was very frustrated about this and asked me to please help her. I did.
The county said to me, “Why can’t she walk to the edge of Partition so the driver doesn’t have to negotiate that sharp turn?” I replied, “Why isn’t the driver able to make the turn to pick her up near her residence?” A stupid question asked by the official as she couldn’t get there in a wheelchair and in the winter at 6 a.m. the cold was brutal and sometimes snow was piled two to three feet high, making it impossible for her. This was a real problem.
Well, after a few meetings with me they agreed to try a different way of making that turn and what they insisted was impossible became reality.
So, today a lady comes into the salon, asks if I can cut her hair and I said, “Sure.” She looked closer at me and asked, “I know you.” I said, “Okay, but I’m sorry, I don’t believe I know you.” She said, “You’re Bob Aiello, and you helped me greatly with a problem when you were a legislator.”
By the way, she was sitting in a wheelchair and had one leg.” Oh my God, I thought, now I remember. I really fought for that. She thanked me profusely and we had a long conversation about all the progress she made since I had seen her all those years prior.
I was and still am stunned by today’s incident and even though being a politician brings much misery, times like this makes it all worth it.
Former county legislator
Calling all pumpkin artists
The Bakery has hosted Night of 100 Pumpkins for 30 years! We supply the tents and tables, facilitate the judging, solicit prizes from local businesses and host a Halloween night party with live music, free pumpkin bread, hot cider and cocoa. But the real work is what you all do, carving and decorating incredible works of temporary art using pumpkins.
This year, of course, is special. We cannot host our usual event at The Bakery because we cannot insure safe social distancing. But people still want to celebrate Halloween!
So this year, The Bakery is teaming up with the New Paltz Youth Program, Office for Community Wellness, New Paltz Rescue Squad, New Paltz Safe Coalition, New Paltz Police Department, parks and recreation, the town and village and the school district to present New Paltz with a safe and decentralized Halloween event. The plan is still being worked on, but it will include several locations where volunteers will distribute candy safely via grab-and-go locations, a youth window painting art project, selfie photo stations and much more.
The plan is that pumpkins can be dropped off at The Bakery on Friday, October 30 just like always. On Halloween, we will set up some of them on tables at The Bakery, but we will also bring your pumpkins to tables at each of the other sites so that the whole community will see them but no site will become crowded and we will get people moving through the whole village. Each site will have volunteers to insure that people move through safely and observe Covid guidelines.
There will be no judging or prizes this year and the event will take place during daylight hours. We hope that you will participate by carving or decorating your pumpkins and bringing them to The Bakery. Nothing is normal this year, but we can still celebrate Halloween and give back to our community with a great display of creative Halloween pumpkins. As always, every pumpkin artist gets a free pumpkin cookie!
Thank you and Happy Halloween!
The Bakery, New Paltz
Mohonk Preserve supports town
Many New Paltz residents recently received a mailed brochure in opposition to Local Law Number One, the Community Preservation Fund for Clean Water, Working Farms and Natural Areas. The brochure included a cover photo of Mohonk Preserve’s iconic Pin Oak Alee, a popular hiking destination accessed from our new Testimonial Gateway trailhead.
The use of imagery of the preserve on this mailer does not reflect our organization’s position on the ballot measure. It is Mohonk Preserve’s mission to protect the Shawangunk Mountains region and we support the Town of New Paltz’s commitment to preserving the irreplaceable natural resources that make this community so special.
Kevin Case, President & CEO
Compassion and empathy
I woke up Friday morning to the news that our president had the coronavirus. I immediately smiled, but then felt ashamed to be feeling happy about him being sick. I tempered my joyful reaction, wishing him a mild case with a decent recovery. I do not want to wish anybody harm or death. But a faint smile remained on my face.
Later, I spoke to a whole bunch of friends, and they all had a similar reaction. Some thought it was good news. Some were clearly delighted. Some were fascinated and intrigued about the details. But all of them told me that they felt bad about initially feeling some form of happiness about the news that the president was sick.
On some level, it makes total sense. Looking back at the last few years with Trump as president, his cold, harsh, inhumane decisions have caused so much unnecessary pain for so many people. The cages at the border, separating immigrant parents from their children. Tossing out rolls of paper towels to the Puerto Rican people, with no real desire to help, after Hurricane Maria devastated their island. Calling the virus a hoax while months earlier knowing the truth about the highly contagious disease.
At this point over 200,000 people are dead, and the tragic death rate continues. The poor leadership about wearing masks and purposely sending only minimal help to Democratic states. His mocking Biden for wearing a mask. And how Trump ridiculed Hilary for taking time out on the campaign trail when she got sick during 2016. There is a lot more, but I’m sure you all get the drift. Trump almost never shows compassion or empathy for anybody who is hurting, sick or struggling in any way. In fact, he usually doubles down by trashing them when they are hurting the most.
Of course, it makes sense that so many of us had such a knee-jerk reaction of joy. But across the board, each immediately felt remorse for initially feeling delight when hearing about Trump’s illness. Our humanity surfaced, and in spite of our outrage for Trump’s inhumanity, our empathy and compassion rose because, at our core, we are hard-wired to care about others.
That quality is one of the beautiful things we all were born with. Most of us still have that quality intact, thank God. It’s a very sad story when somebody has experienced so much pain in their lives that they become totally shut down to the pain of others. And then there are those very damaged and diabolical few individuals who actually appear to get pleasure out of trashing those in pain. Donald Trump is clearly one of those people, and unfortunately he is still our president.
But, as Michelle Obama has encouraged, “When they go low, we go high.” Yes, many of us have had that kneejerk reaction of delight when we heard about Trump’s positive virus test. But we cannot give in to the pull to gloat. Because if we do this, then we are unintentionally fostering the same qualities that we hate in our president.
We are better than that. Our outrage is understandable. Our disgust for his behavior and belittling tactics is palpable. But, under all that reactionary venom, is the desire to have a leader with compassion and empathy. When president Obama went to that church in South Carolina to soothe the black community after a white supremacist killed members of their church, he touched them all with his rendering of “Amazing Grace.” And all over the country people pulled off the road, listened intently and wept. He reached everybody with his compassion and nurturing.
And that’s what most of us are made of. When somebody is hurting, we want to help. That’s who we are as Americans, and that’s who we are as human beings. We can have outrage for irrational behavior by others, but we do not need to give in to the pull of wishing them harm. We must protect our fragile, but beautiful human qualities of compassion and empathy. These are some of the important qualities we are seeking in our leaders. So, may God bless our United States of America, and help guide us toward voting those kind of caring leaders into office from now on!
Decency and integrity
Our normally congenial Saugerties neighborhood woke up on Thursday to several Biden-Harris signs destroyed or stolen. Additionally, someone spray-painted MAGA in huge red letters on the road in front of a house with Biden signs, just two doors from our home. Not surprisingly, this occurred soon after Trump refused to condemn white nationalists at the debate and instead instructed the right-wing extremist group Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”
Here in Saugerties, this local attempt at intimidation will not deter our unwavering support of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, our best hope to bring decency and integrity back to the White House. It strengthens our resolve to mask up, go to the polls and vote for the Democratic ticket.
There was a bright spot in this dark incident. After we reported the vandalism to our local elected officials, we heard from them immediately. And town supervisor Fred Costello and town board member Mike Ivino went the extra mile by coming by Saturday to paint over that awful reminder of incivility and division. Thank you, Fred and Mike. Little things don’t mean a lot. They mean everything.
Keep physical distance
Forget social distancing! From the early days of the pandemic I thought what a silly word to use. On the contrary, we should be even more social and civil in these times! But always keep physical; distance!
Malignant narcissism in action
C’mon America! Don’t get duped. This is plain and pure distraction. Political theatre. Trump once again is in search of a sympathetic vote from his base when he makes the statement, “Don’t be afraid of Covid.”
This liar’s unequivocal guilt and incompetency is once again glaring. President Covidiot is reckless, disgraceful and his shameless actions come back to corrupt everyone that enters his world and requires those same people to rid themselves of the moral obligation of honor and truth.
Nothing adds up. A physician and a military officer should not lie for anyone, including the president. It would be more honorable to just say, “I have been ordered not to answer your questions. “Hearing that the best doctors treating a person at the highest level misspoke,” as every basic medical practitioner cried foul against them, only manages to feed the conspiracy theories and complete the destruction of their reputations and any trust in his personal physicians. The doctors were like his usual sycophants. “It’s an honor to treat the president blah blah blah.” Do they give out scripts with what to say?
Studies confirm “one out of every three Trump chumps are as stupid as the other two.” I’m totally at a point where I don’t give a crap whether or not he has Covid-19 or it is all BS! At this point, anyone who believes his tweets deserves what they get. This guy is a textbook wannabe dictator: the propaganda, the lies, and the drive by waves (those sure are some tiny hands) when he is sick enough to be hospitalized is nothing short of reckless. He should not be going on joyrides to stroke his ego.
I thought the stunt with the upside-down bible was bad, but this was just surreal.
The main thing I really care about is that we get rid of him for good and forever! So let’s stop giving him so much attention and start putting our focus on the election and how we can get Joe Biden in office and Trump in jail. Vote this muthafaker out and pray, for that is the only thing sane people can do at this time.
Support NPCPF at election
When New Paltz residents vote this November, I urge them to flip over the ballot and preserve our town’s unique character by voting yes for Local Law #1. This law will establish a Community Preservation Fund, which can only be used to protect farms, parks, trails and historic sites. It also will safeguard drinking water and nature so future generations can enjoy their health and recreational benefits.
I am a 25-year homeowner in the Town of New Paltz. My wife and I chose to live here because of the trails, farms and parks that are so close by. We raised our children here, and they grew strong and healthy in the shadow of the Gunks.
Now, in these challenging times, more people want to make New Paltz their home. That’s great, but it also will increase development pressure. Home prices are up by 30 percent and potential buyers are everywhere. Local Law #1 will enable these eager newcomers to become investors in the special places we all share.
The Community Preservation Fund is not a tax on residents. It’s a fee paid by buyers of homes. Anyone who buys a home over the Ulster County median price will pay a fee of 1.5 percent of the amount exceeding the median — which is currently $267,000. There is no fee on the value below the median. This ensures that buyers of lesser means won’t feel the impact.
For example, on the purchase of a $300,000 home, the fee would be $495. Most buyers will roll this into their mortgage and barely feel it.
If we reject this ballot measure, we’ll leave good money on the table that could have been spent to preserve New Paltz’s community character and create new places to enjoy the outdoors. In Warwick, Orange County, and Red Hook in Dutchess, similar programs have been in place for years. Both have generated millions of dollars for conservation at no cost to taxpayers.
In addition to living here, I’m also the land conservation director for Scenic Hudson. In the past, Scenic Hudson has partnered with the Town of New Paltz, the Wallkill Valley Land Trust and Ulster County to conserve land, including the locally beloved Taliaferro Farm. The Community Preservation Fund will help to protect more iconic places like this.
If you’re planning to vote by absentee ballot, remember to submit it by October 27 and vote yes on Local Law #1.
Vote yes on library bond
Two recent changes in the controversy surrounding the building of a new library provide insight into the controversy:
One — interest rates. They are near historic lows. Funding new construction costs little now.
Two — Increasing numbers of families move into the area. The New York Times featured Woodstock and Bloomberg featured Kingston in articles speaking about the surge in prices of real estate since March when the Covid-19 panic began.
The new library maintains an architectural link to the old while bringing up to date the former doctors’ office building converted into a library.
Vote yes now.
Vote no on library bond
Voters should be aware that the $5.8-million Woodstock Library bond on the November 3 ballot does not nearly cover the actual costs of a new library. Several years ago, the architect Tally stated a $7-million cost for his building design. The library board paid two more consultants to try to lower the cost a little bit.
Since the Covid crisis, building material costs have skyrocketed to double and triple amounts. These high increases are not included in the bond. The actual costs will be borne by the taxpayers of Woodstock. The touted “mere seven dollars per month for the average taxpayer” is a sop to get a yes vote. I t has no solidity.
Please also understand this figure does not include furniture, equipment or materials. The plan is to nearly double staffing for the larger building. All of this will need to be paid for by a vastly increased annual library budget. I anticipate this annual library budget will be at least one million dollars per year. All this money is to come from less than 5000 taxpayers. Since the library is a special district, they can exceed the two percent state tax cap. Seniors and veterans are not exempt from this increase.
There are alternatives. Let’s use local architects, builders and artisans to create a beautiful, functional, cost-efficient library. It would represent the best in Woodstock.
What you will get for your $5.8 million is likely a partially built architect’s vision. Yes, it will have a winding staircase as its centerpiece! Will it be a functional library? Probably not, unless you cough up much more money. What a hardship for people already struggling to meet their daily expenses.
The library board gleefully points to newcomers buying houses at high cost. Do they care about long-term residents trying to stay in their homes? Please consider this as you decide upon the bond vote on the back of your ballot.
McKenna’s faux pas
With [Bill] McKenna’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) fully staffed, one would think that if a zoning issue arose, a member of the Woodstock Environmental Commission and a member of the town board would turn to them for an answer rather than to the 15-year ZBA volunteer who was summarily removed by McKenna from the ZBA without cause.
Can you Trump this?
• Nero fiddled while Rome burned.
• Trump golfed while Americans died.
• Trump has portrayed his presidency and characterized himself as a cheerleader. Instead, he has become an infective fear leader.
• Trump vowed to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C. Indeed, he has done the opposite: he has “swamped the drain.”
• Trump has been recognized and characterized as a pathological liar. It is certainly true that he can’t stop lying. However, what is also true: Trump turns the word “pathological” around. That is, Trump takes the logical path to lying, a la Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda monster, who practiced telling the big lie over and over and over until the German people believed whatever he was lying about. Trump is doing the same with his base supporters.
Humpty-Trumpet sat on his wall
Humpty-Trumpet had a great fall
And all his supporters and his TV orators
Couldn’t put Humpty-Trumpet together again.
Protect our farmers and us
From the Mid Hudson News: “The governor has signed into law two bills sponsored by Senator Jen Metzger (D, Rosendale), chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee, to support family farms. One law ensures farmers negatively affected by Covid-19 do not lose their agricultural property tax assessments due to reduced sales. The second law signed in time for the fall holiday season, provides marketing assistance to promote products widely used in holiday celebrations that are produced by farms in New York.”
We need to re-elect Senator Jen Metzger to protect our farmers and us.
Please vote November 3. Your life and food may depend on it!
Real-estate transfer tax
I support the real-estate transfer tax. I received a flier from something called “Keep New Paltz Affordable” with an Albany address. It opposed our town board’s suggested transfer tax. The flyer contained some lies and distortions and also some things I just disagree with.
1. The flyer claimed how the funds raised could be used was unclear. It is not. Under state law these taxes will go to a dedicated fund for protection of priority places included in the Community Preservation Plan*( https://codes.findlaw.com/ny/general-municipal-law/gmu-sect-6-s.html).
2. The flyer claimed this tax places an unfair burden on New Paltz homeowners and businesses. Actually, it only taxes the upper portion of larger transactions and the tax is paid by buyers, not all homeowners. It does not tax most starter homes or condos in New Paltz: under $245,000, you pay no new tax.
3. The burden is not unfair to those buying more expensive property, either. The value over $245,000 is based in large part on the public and private efforts already which make this place worth the price. When individuals or developers sell a house over $245,000, they are capitalizing on past and present public expenditures that increased the value of their property as well as their own efforts. It is fair to ask individual buyers of that real estate to pitch-in to preserve that value for all of us.
4. The flyer offers a “comprehensive plan” and “zoning laws” to protect open space. Sounds nice, right? Just have a plan and open space is protected, right? Costs nobody nuthin’. But we already have these! And without funding there is much less such plans can actually execute to protect the open space and wetlands and community character that we need.
5. The flyer claims the tax will discourage homeownership in New Paltz. Bogus. What discourages it for many locals (and newbies, whom I love) is the market driving up prices; we are victims of our own success. Let’s fund our efforts to preserve the quality of life, in part, by what is essentially a small and progressive tax.
6. The flyer claims this comes at the worst possible time. But our town was just featured in The New York Times! I am sure that sales were depressed this spring, but the real-estate market here is not just recovering from Covid, it is booming due to Covid, as folks are looking for bigger homes, more space away from the crowded cities and towns. If we do not want the (positive for us!) market forces to make us into another crowded city or town, now is the time for action.
On November 3, vote yes on increasing the real-estate transfer tax.
Campaign finance law violated
We are registered voters and residents of the Town of New Paltz and are working as volunteers to promote a ballot measure our town has placed on the November 3 general election ballot to create a fund for community preservation and to protect clean water, working farms and natural areas. The New Paltz town board unanimously approved this ballot measure in August.
In the last few weeks, New Paltz residents have received three mailers urging them to vote against the measure from a group calling themselves “Keep New Paltz Affordable.” The return address on the mailers for this group is 130 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York. Yesterday, local realtors in New Paltz received email messages from the New York State Association of Realtors at this same address urging them to oppose the measure. We have also seen ads on Facebook identified with “Keep New Paltz Affordable” urging no votes being paid for by the National Association of Realtors.
We have checked NYS Board of Elections website. While there is a committee registered as “Keep New Paltz Affordable,” they have failed to report any of their contributions or expenditures. This makes it impossible for New Paltz voters to know who is funding this committee and their campaign against our ballot measure or how much they have spent. We believe this is a clear violation of New York State campaign finance reporting requirements.
We are concerned about the outsized influence this out-of-town lobbying group is having on our local election with no regard for the intentions or interests of our community. We request that you investigate this “stealth” campaign and enjoin them from further advertising against our New Paltz ballot measure until they are prepared to identify themselves by reporting their contributions and expenditures to the NYS Board of Elections.
Thank you for your assistance.
No sense of decency
On October 8, the day after the vice-president debate, Trump accused Harris of being a communist. This has happened before! I am reminded that Roy Cohn was Trump’s attorney for many years. Why oh why neither Harris nor Biden has employed against Trump and Trumpism the effective, immortal lines Joseph Welch spontaneously directed to communist scaremonger Joseph McCarthy in the historically rhyming 1950s is beyond me: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
Metzger’s popular support
Although reports on campaign financing don’t always predict poll numbers of a given political race, they can often give a sense of which way the wind is blowing. Third-quarter results issued by the New York State Board of Elections show that the campaign of State Senator Jen Metzger brought in 1095 contributions, a high total among NY Senate candidates. Her opponent for district 42, Mike Martucci, generated 268 contributions.
Support from the state party organizations shows a similar imbalance. State political parties, with access to good data, typically invest money where they believe they have a better shot at winning.
Throughout the election cycle Martucci, a wealthy individual, has regularly loaned his campaign money, currently a total of $300,000. Do constituents of District 42 want a senator whom regular people support with their dollars or an opponent trying to buy a seat with bucks from his own bank?
Wake up, America
Last week my letter stated that Donald does not instill confidence except to his base. His refusal to wear a mast sets the tone for a great many of his followers who attend the rallies without masks. The news now is that Donald and his missus has Covid-19! In addition to those who surround him! Wow!
Does this come as a surprise to any of you? If it did, you should not be surprised. It does not come as a surprise to this writer. The doctors have been saying for months, that the precautions are to: Wear a mask, stay six feet away from each other, and stay away from crowds. What is so hard about that?
There is nothing hard about that; it is just that Donald does not believe it and does not practice it. Time after time, one sees him at these rallies without a mask, people crowding on each other, rapture on their faces as he prances and dances around the stage. Well, I would dare say many of these fans are going to be presently surprised when their temperature spikes and they wind up in the hospital or quarantined at home or even worse, the morgue, like over 200,000 dead and counting.
This figure makes this country the highest death toll in the world, all because of Donald’s lack of leadership, of failing to grasp the reins, not only in the beginning but in the early stages of this crap; all because he did not want to panic the American people! Give me a break. The only reason he acted this way is because he wants to get elected again. He downplayed the whole thing. He does not know how to establish working committees, taking input from others and acting accordingly — particularly at this time — from those professionals, such as doctors.
He does not trust anyone. Would any of the previous Republican presidents previously mentioned, have so cavalierly taken this approach? I believe they would not have. Trump’s behavior is evident time and again as he fires or forces out people who are not loyal to him and instead places unqualified personnel in their stead. For example, two individuals are Samuel M. Saul, commissioner of Social Security. He has no prior experience in this department and answers to Donald Trump; Louis DeJoy, appointed by the USPS Board of Governors who were appointed by Donald Trump themselves, controversial appointment with other business interests, no experience in this department.
If you would like to know something about Donald behind the bluster and bombast, read two books:
1. Trump, Mary, Too Much and Not Enough, How My family created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,’Simon and Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10020 and
2. Woodward, Bob, Fear, Trump in the White House, Simon and Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY, 10021, 2018.
Mary Trump describes the relationship between his father and his son Donald, and how this affected his emotional growth and sheds light into his actions and behavior. Woodward’s book describes how Donald Trump operates with his underlings with the dominant emotion, fear. This concept explains somewhat as to why the Senate is so cowed by him; fearful that he will retaliate in some fashion. If they all stood up to him, what is he going to do? Two individuals resigned in disgust over his policies, senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona.
Wake up America. We have a Hitler in the making. My comment precisely in the first letter of 70 submitted to the local newspapers, dated August 4, 2016, four years ago.
Debate versus brawl
Debate –noun: A formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.”
Brawl – noun. A brawl is a fight, especially a big one involving a lot of people….
What Americans witnessed in the Biden and Trump debate was mislabeled, it was a brawl. Not between Biden and Trump but with all those watching across the entire world.
Republican and Democratic values and ideals were crushed in clear view. Morality which is the same as the white lines on our highways that keep us safely on the road while driving, were made invisible. We watched the Brink’s armored truck carrying our constitution careen off the road. Trump’s self-rage and hatred was evident, even to the most emotionally distant of us. In the brawl
I first saw the truck’s front wheel fly off, a loss of compassion and empathy for those who have died from Covid. Then the other front wheel, let’s not call it Black Lives Matter, but no lives matter, including the lives of his supporters. Those Proud Boys, if they act, in the end will be jailed or killed. Trump’s supports will be a very large group that will pay when there is no health care. Look at what the drug epidemic has done to those towns in middle America and now the overwhelmed hospitals from the pandemic. The right rear wheel goes next, which is the illusion that Republicans support the right to life. Trump is Oscar Diggs, who pulls the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. Donald represents the unborn and has abused multiple women. Behind Trump’s curtain, the wealthy hide their need to change laws to manipulate more money from the masses. They use right to life to get a voting block of folks willing to ignore what they will actually pay in their personal lives. These folks put birth in a different category than the deaths of infants, children, teenagers, young adults, midlife adults and elderly lives who will all pay with the current polices.
Then the left rear tire spun off, which was the justice department, military and police, which is the backbone of our democracy. Corruption is alive in America from the pinnacle of the presidency to the grifter on the Internet. Trust today has been winnowed down so that the majority of Americans’ hope is now lying at the side of the road almost wheel-less.
The last wheel rolling into the weeds is the military and veterans who have been humiliated and undermined by both Trump’s words and his policies, placing veterans’ care in the market place.
Police make the wall between politicians and the public. They stand in front of the outraged poor and underemployed to protect politicians who have undermined their education, food, housing and healthcare. The pandemic has made it blatant what gutting healthcare, and support will continue to bring
Vote to put the wheels back on the truck.
Exciting, important opportunity
Last week we received a call from the Office of the NYS Comptroller. Our village was selected to participate in a statewide case study so the comptroller may better understand Covid’s fiscal impacts on local governments The comptroller is working on this analysis with the New York Conference of Mayors and the Association of Towns of the State of New York.
In the Hudson Valley, they would like to survey the City of Peekskill, the Town of Cornwall and the Village of New Paltz. We are excited to participate and help explain the role and importance of local government.
Mayor Tim Rogers
Village of New Paltz
We need to catch up
It’s comfortable for most of us to believe that Biden and Harris will win the election. Shortly after, we will rejoin the Paris Accord, reinstate the Obama environmental restrictions that Trump rolled back, and enact something similar to the Green New Deal. Then we can all sit back, relax and enjoy the undoing of the nightmare of the last four years.
Having essentially lost those four years in the war against climate change, we need to redouble our efforts and commitment to the climate change battle. We are able to literally double the value of each wind turbine and solar panel by drastically cutting our personal consumption.
So let’s buy an electric car, install solar panels or join community solar, and put our electric dryer out by the curb. We, the consumers, have the power to double the value of everything done by government and industry.
It’s critical that we use this opportunity. It’s wrong if we don’t!
Dan and Ann Guenther
Vote yes on new library
Over the past decade, I’ve offered an annual two-month-long creative writing workshop for seniors at the Woodstock Library. This has always been an occasion for joy, creativity and community, and the library has enthusiastically supported it, in partnership with the nationally-recognized writers’ organization Poets & Writers. But because our quaint little library has no room for such a workshop — literally, no room — each time I’ve come in to teach, the director of the library has had to move out of her office so the class can use it. (Last year, we met in the only other room available, which is at the top of a steep flight of stairs. This was extremely difficult for some workshop participants.)
Every week before class, for years, the librarians have come into the director’s office and moved her furniture around to accommodate eleven writers, and the director has stopped whatever she was working on and vacated the premises. The first year this happened, it was heartwarming. Cute. Small-town. But Woodstock is a writers’ community (among other things): Does this cramped inadequate space reflect who we are in the year 2020 — or who we were in the year 1920?
Does it really serve us? Nostalgia has its value. But so do books and readers and writers and libraries are about these things. The dilapidated, tiny, moldy Woodstock Library has no more space for new books than it does for new readers or old writers.
Vote yes on November 3 to fund the new library this town needs.
Reimagining community safety
Experts are increasingly redefining violence as including all of the social factors that affect the individual adversely. It is publicly recognized that people with untreated mental illnesses are 16 times more likely to be killed by police than others who are stopped by the police. However, fewer readers will know that public health experts are increasingly classifying depression, substance abuse and other forms of self-harm as manifestations of societal structural violence. The number of people hospitalized for self-directed violence has increased consistently over the last 20 years, and in the last five years over 500,000 individuals per year were hospitalized for self-inflicted intentional violence.
In other words, when our fragile social ties are frayed by poverty and lack of healthcare and social support, vulnerable individuals are more likely to harm themselves. When structural supports are strengthened by allocating resources to community institutions like parks, libraries, food pantries and mental-health supports, the forms of violence that are self-inflicted are demonstrated to go down in frequency.
In small communities like New Paltz, members are far more likely to experience issues related to self-harm than are likely to experience harm by other people. In 2018 in New Paltz, there were 20 arrests made for interpersonal violence; many more people than that were victims of self-harm induced by lack of social support.
When we think about reimagining community safety here, we have to factor in how to address forms of violence that are prevalent here, such as depression and suicide, rather than homicides and assaults, which are infrequent. Let’s not criminalize mental illness, instead, let’s use our public dollars wisely and allocate resources to addressing self-harm and mental-health issues in small communities like ours!
Get the facts right
Do not be deterred from voting for a new Woodstock Library bond by those stoking fears with disinformation, alternative facts and wrong information as written in the recent Hudson Valley One letter calling the proposed new library a three-story when it is two, and claiming that the building site plan has not been approved, knowing it has not yet been submitted for site-plan approval but only will if the bond passes. The library will work as a team with the planning board.
That author and his cohorts cannot know how many trees need be removed with either their three-million-dollar-plus renovation proposal or a new building because no one knows yet. The front lawn is shared by Lasher Funeral Home, and all trees will be addressed once approval has been made. The library plans on saving as many trees as possible along with the only “historical” small room on the left front.
The figure of $8 million quoted is simply fiction. The 75 percent who voted for the extension/reno as stated is misleading and comes from a flawed survey several years ago. A more recent projection could be taken from the 2019 election when three board members who approved the new building were easily voted in as trustees and three who were against it were not.
The bond is for $5.8 million (not $7 or $8 million), and if it fails, we will go back to square one where we were 12 years ago. The new design has been vetted, well programmed and planned, architecturally designed, publicly approved, reviewed by professionals and cost effective.
The “greenest” thing about many older buildings in Woodstock is mold and mildew, which needs constant remediation. To spend $3 million on renovations plus a “green” addition tacked onto a damp, energy-inefficient. poorly ventilated, small building with patchwork additions, tiny rooms, a leaky roof and basement with years of built-up mold, is not a smart solution. Nor will it solve the library’s multiple, long-standing problems. We must be optimistic in this 21st century and build a great library for the next 80 years as planned with trustees, staff, architects and community involvement.
And yes, this is a good time to invest in a new library. The interest rates are low for a 30-year bond and the pandemic has shown us that we need clean, safe environments, and our community to come together for the good of all. Let’s do another WPA deal as we did during the Great Depression, helping workers, families, kids and the vast number of library users (the most per capita in the area).
Get all the facts at a virtual Q+A about the bond October 19, 7-9 p.m. To register: https://bit.ly/33xSRPr
The divisive atmosphere has no place here. Vote yes on November 3.
New Paltz’s well-being
Groups in the Town of New Paltz are in the process of reimagining and reinventing the safety and well-being of the community by having a public debate that includes the cost of local policing. This is a result of the Governor’s Executive Order 203 of June 12, 2020, which requires the 500 NYS police and sheriff departments, along with the community and municipal governments, to prepare a report by April 1, 2021 detailing changes to policing and by extension to public safety and well-being of the citizens. This was all triggered by the police murder of George Floyd.
In New Paltz, several groups have come together (New Paltz Coalition for Public Safety and Well-Being) to develop a framework for change and will issue a series of pamphlets and letters to the editor outlining a shift from reform to reinvention of public safety and well-being.
They advocate several major changes. One is to redeploy resources from police to social-service teams that respond to calls relating to people in distress due to social, psychological or drug issues. The idea is for the police to focus more on threats to persons and property and enable these civilian teams to address social-type issues that would help reduce unnecessary police contacts with the public that often go wrong. The executive order describes how components of a police department can be “civilianized” (page 10). In other words, should New Paltz “deploy social-service personnel instead of, or in addition to, officers in some situations?” (page 12). This is an important question for New Paltz, given that, in 2018, there were only 20 arrests for violent crimes in the entire town. That is fewer arrests than there are officers (25?) in the police force!
Another major change is process oriented. The goal is to ensure the participation and inclusion of people of color and those most negatively impacted by police contacts. What is required is a public transparent process of writing the required report to “Involve the entire community in the discussion” (page 2). For example, include formerly incarcerated people, members of communities like Meadow Brook housing complex in New Paltz and LGBT community members. According to the guide (page 2), the process must be “collaborative…[and it would be a] mistake … to impose top-down solutions.”
The issue of policing versus community safety and well-being will be discussed this Thursday, October 15 at 7 p.m. at a public hearing to discuss the 2021 New Paltz town budget. The meeting of the New Paltz town board will seek public support to increase the budget tax-cap after increasing police personnel and seeking a major funding bond to build a new police department and courthouse. At the moment, there are no town proposals to cut the police budget, but social spending for library, fire department, rescue squad, public health, loop bus, rail trail, youth programs and highway maintenance are proposed for reductions.
The budget reflects our community priorities, and we believe change is required. Please try to join this meeting through a link posted on the New Paltz town board website. If you have any questions, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
New Paltz Community for Safety and Well-Being
Show some love, save a bundle
I have said before that we need to separate need from want. Some may want a big fancy new library, but is it really needed?
We are living in increasingly troubled times with our one and only environment taking it on the chin. It is time to change our way of thinking by making do with and showing some love for what we already have.
By voting no on the library bond issue November 3, you will be supporting an environmentally responsible plan for renovation, preserving the small-town charm of the library and its magnificent trees and saving Woodstock taxpayers a bundle.
Martucci for State Senate
As we approach Election day, it has only become more apparent as to why we must elect Mike Martucci to represent us in Albany. We need a representative who isn’t afraid to elevate our voices and make decisions for the betterment of our communities. One-party rule drowns out significant minority opinions that need to be heard. Policies decided and voted on a majority of Democratic politicians in New York City and Long Island greatly affect the Hudson Valley. We need a state government that is significantly more representative of its people.
Mike Martucci is dedicated to repealing bail reform to ensure our communities are their safest, introducing tax credits to mitigate burdens placed on our farmers and is committed to helping small businesses. As a local farmer, former business owner and philanthropist, it is evident these issues are personal to him as well. We live in communities that rely on our small businesses, our farmers, our families, etc., and I believe Mike will relay this sentiment while in office.
Whether you are Republican, Democrat or undecided, I hope you can see past party division and recognize the meaningful change Mike can make in our rural communities should we elect him to represent us in the New York State Senate.