The views and opinions expressed in our letters section are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Hudson Valley One. You can submit a letter to the editor here.
Sedition must be investigated
I attended many anti-war protests in Washington over the years. Helicopters always did surveillance, and there are cameras on downtown buildings. Police always knew exactly what was occurring in the course of a protest demonstration and march. The police were stationed out of sight but very close so they could appear almost instantly if a problem arose.
1) How could these protesters get to and into the Capitol with the surveillance I describe above unless the D.C. police deliberately did not follow their own protocol for managing a protest?
2) Why was the National Guard not on the scene from the morning? Did Donald Trump wait until the Capitol was invaded to give the order to allow the National Guard to be called out?
3) We know the FBI follows White Supremacy groups. They must have had information about the tactics and weapons that would be used at this insurrection. They must have informed the D.C. police. Why, then, were the police not present in force?
Donald Trump committed sedition when he called on people to stop the certification in congress. The D.C. police committed sedition if they deliberately failed to use all surveillance and information and protocols to stop the violence, the insurrection.
The protesters committed sedition when they invaded the Capitol.
Sedition must be investigated, and those involved must be charged and it must be tried in the courts.
We, the community and the region, are deeply saddened by the news of John Wackman’s passing. We have lost a great friend.
When John came to New Paltz not all that long ago, he came with limitless good energy and directed it at many of the good projects in the area. When he joined the New Paltz Climate Action Coalition, a lot of us were showing signs of fatigue after a decade of weekly meetings, demonstrations, etc. John brought with him an upbeat spirit, boundless energy and encouragement that gave our small, stalwart group a fresh new start.
There were very few organizations that John did not touch with his magic. But maybe most notable was his founding of the Repair Café, where anyone could bring “a beloved and broken item” to be lovingly repaired by local experts.
John also became the point person for Nyserda money targeting rooftop solar, and is credited with scores of installations throughout the region.
Especially memorable to us, was an event at the Rosendale Theatre where John, as a member, stood up before the show, and took on the role of gracious host (which he always did beautifully), and introduced at least 20 members of the audience by name — noting the various projects they were involved in!
While we will all miss John Wackman’s gracious enthusiasm, we know that our life here is so much better because of his all-too-brief stay among us.
Dan and Ann Guenther
GOP should abandon Trump
On Saturday morning I wrote to Alaska’s Senator Lisa Murkowski after reading that she will leave the Republican Party if President Donald Trump is not removed from office. This is the text of my letter:
“Dear Senator Murkowski:
“Thank you for courageously speaking out against President Trump. He has incited insurrection against the nation he has sworn to protect and defend. He is a blight against our democratic norms. He has turned citizen against citizen. He is amoral and evil.
“You have put country above party. You have earned my eternal gratitude.”
Are there any Murkowskis in the Ulster County Republican Party? Do Ulster County Republicans want Mr. Trump to remain in office even one minute more? And if he stays, why do you continue to stand with him?
The Republican Party is now the party of insurrection. It is a hollow party, the party of bridge-naming. It is the anti-vaxxer party, save when jumping the line for Covid immunization. It is the party of the Old South, the secessionist South, the failed, starred-and-barred South obsessed over a traitorous war fought for the right to enslave human beings. It is the party of the Kochs and Exxons obsessed over squeezing the last dime out of ordinary Americans. It is the party of fear.
Do you actually support a president who exhorted a mob to storm the Capitol building? If you remain in your party, you bring shame upon yourselves and your country. Follow Senator Lisa Murkowski’s example. Leave the party of insurrection. Rejoin the family of American patriotism.
True democracy in peril
The events of this past week should cause some serious reflection of all who value true democracy and the right to peacefully protest just cause. There has been the argument that the Black Lives Matter movement and subsequent protests, somehow justifies the violent D.C. protests we saw on January 6. There is a huge difference between 400 years of inequality, injustice, a sordid history of lynching and public displayed murders, whether by the Klan or police officers carrying out systemic racist policies, and the dissatisfaction with the results of an election. The former is not a conspiracy theory as history books and photographs will sadly attest, to our shame.
On the contrary, the claims of election fraud is a conspiracy theory. Sixty-four judges, many appointed by Donald Trump himself, ruled there was no evidence to support the presidential election was significantly fraudulent. Attorney General William Barr, Donald Trump’s closest ally, stated there was no fraud in the elections. The FBI has issued statements there was no evidence for fraud. None of that matters to Trump and his cult followers though as they marched on Washington carrying the rebel flag, a symbol of out and out racism and white supremacy and certainly not representative of true democracy, yet we are supposed to take them seriously as victims of election fraud. Those very same people though have no problem with, and voiced no objections to, the voter suppression that beset the black population whose votes were rejected around the country, documented by investigative reporter Greg Palast (gregpalast.com). In a lawsuit recently filed, Palast alleges in Georgia alone 200,000 black voters were removed from the voter rolls falsely claiming they moved out of state.
Meanwhile, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, promoting his conspiracy theory incited D.C. protesters with “you will never take back your country with weakness,” egged on by Rudy Giuliani proclaiming “trial by combat,” ignited the fuse that resulted in the literal attack on our democracy to disrupt the counting of electoral votes. This is hugely different from black people voicing protests over 400 years of authentic oppression and inequality.
The real problem is that this country was founded by white supremacists, who had no regard for black and indigenous people. Those who continue to carry the symbols of racism, and promote inequality between peoples, are the real culprits fomenting unrest that is destroying this country.
A time to take God’s side
This historical moment demands a response. Everyone is upset and worried, often for conflicting reasons. Finger pointing abounds. Millions are reacting, thinking aloud on social media, as if personal punditry will solve our national crisis.
Instead of showcasing political loyalties, instead of condemning or defending, isn’t it time to take a step back, to take a moment for prayer, listening, repenting, forgiving and healing? Aren’t we all guilty of quarreling? Haven’t we all known outrage, resentment and anger — the ingredients of violence?
Jesus reminds us that besides loving God, the most important commandment is to love our neighbor. Violence arises when we refuse to accept this simple plan for peace and reconciliation among people: loving our neighbors as ourselves regardless of their creed, color or politics.
This strategy is hard, but it will bring hope and healing. Much good can yet come from this moment if it propels us away from idolizing human leaders and brings us back to the knowledge that we have to work out our challenges person to person by loving each other.
We have to stop demonizing and disrespecting those with whom we disagree. Political parties don’t define us, our common humanity does. Jesus teaches us the best way to deal with our fellow humans, even when disagreement escalates to enmity: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
J. Heinrich Arnold
Know your rights
I’m writing in my capacity as Village of New Paltz Trustee and Village Board liaison to our Landlord-Tenant Relations Council to invite the community to attend a Know Your Public Utility Rights Training that I am hosting with NY’s Public Utility Law Project (PULP) on Wednesday, January 20.
The Know Your Public Utility Rights Training event on the 20th is free and open to the public; it will begin at 6 p.m., and you are welcome to sign-up in advance to receive the zoom link via this form: http://bit.ly/PULPtrainingNPZ or find the event on Facebook. This virtual discussion may be of particular interest to landlords and tenants, as well as property owners, as it will cover utility consumer rights in New York State and new consumer protections created during the Covid-19 crisis. PULP attorneys will shed light on the Parker-Mosley Act’s utility shutoff moratorium and will detail how consumers can receive financial assistance if they are in arrears. The presentation will also touch on the ongoing Central Hudson Gas and Electric Co. rate case and note how the public can get involved. Lastly, the session will close with an opportunity for the audience to ask questions. We will record the training so that it will be available as a resource to those who are unable to join us on the 20th.
This event is part of an ongoing housing & affordability outreach effort that I’ve made a priority: in fall 2019 I hosted an Affordable Housing paperwork party; in February of last year I hosted a Tenants’ Rights Town Hall on campus that featured a panel representing various organizations and resources for tenants and landlords; this past spring I hosted a virtual Census Silent Disco that emphasized the importance of renters making sure we get counted too; and last Friday night, Deputy Mayor KT Tobin and I hosted a virtual Affordability Town Hall. Since early in the Covid-19 global pandemic, I have been regularly tracking updates to housing laws as well as resources available to tenants and landlords during these unprecedented times in a response summary document that you can access at this link: bit.ly/NPZ-TenantLandlordCOVID19
Finally, the Landlord-Tenant Relations Council seeks new volunteers. The purpose of the LTRC is to advise, counsel and mediate problems and disputes, and to improve relations between landlords and tenants. The LTRC also creates and distributes the Tenant-Landlord zine and assists in educational outreach efforts such as the upcoming PULP workshop. If you are a tenant or a landlord in the Village of New Paltz with an interest in helping with these efforts, please send an email of interest to Ariana for the Village Board’s consideration: email@example.com.
Alex Wojcik, Trustee
Finding a cure for the disease of the past four years
I was looking through an old journal the other day, and found, without attribution, this quote: “The body, in an instinctive attempt to safeguard its proprietor’s emotional well-being, produces a substance that acts as an antibody against psychic pain, a ‘natural’ anesthetic. But many bodies won’t produce enough, and their poor proprietors are often left to lean on activism and/or alcohol for protection.”
Whoever may have said it, I think (s)he was talking about what Freud termed “denial,” at least where anesthetics and alcohol are concerned.
Activism, on the other hand, is not denial but acknowledgment. And for those with time and outrage on their hands, the coming years, like the past four, will provide plenty of cause and opportunity to engage in it. For though the hounds of hell unleashed in D.C. on January 6 were chased back underground, we must acknowledge that neither they nor their rabidity were brought to bay.
For many, given life’s challenges, anesthetics — by any name; natural or not — seem almost a necessity. But so, these deeply divided days, does activism — and I hope each of us, to whatever extent proves feasible and in whatever cause feels compelling, will find his or her own way to it. It’d be a powerful antibody against, and might even move us toward a cure for, the disease of the past four years.
Unfit, criminal authoritarian
Stop looking, we’ve found the voter fraud, and it’s always been Trump. No one could have envisioned that in the 21st century Americans would be living in the divided states of Trumplandia. Threatening two election officials with criminal action if they don’t find votes for Trump is beyond the pale and offensive behavior…. If this isn’t illegal, then it should be illegal.
Maybe the twelve traitorous Republican senators can go down to Georgia and help Trump find those 11,780 votes. How anyone can find the behavior of Trump and his enablers anything but deplorable is beyond me.
Our nation’s allies are mourning, and our enemies are gloating. America will never have the same standing in the world. Our country is being run by a clown thug supported and enabled by his hypocritical henchmen in the GOPP (Grossly Obsequious Pandering Party). And neither he nor his loyalists find a problem with this! They are not loyal to the Constitution or our nation and its people. They are loyal to one man — some because of threats and others because they are working to woo his ugly anti-democratic base for 2022 or 2024.
The president of the United States, ladies and gentlemen, is a joke! Desperation is a terrible-smelling cologne. Trump is once again showing treasonous behavior all about him. He is nothing but a liar, a con man, and a cheat. He needs to be ignored.
Concerns about Biden
In 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt and his advisors were told by his doctor that he was suffering from extremely high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, and it was the doctor’s experience that patients in this condition normally didn’t live more than six months. They kept this information from the public, and wanting to hold power they nominated Roosevelt for a fourth term. He spent most of the election campaign out of the country in the Pacific on one of the fleet cruisers. They switched vice president from Henry Wallace, who was considered too left wing, and replaced him with Harry Truman.
Roosevelt won and died 82 days into his fourth term. During those 82 days at Yalta, he met Joseph Stalin, who took advantage of an old and sick Roosevelt, getting his way in a post-war Europe and grabbing parts of China, which led to the communist takeover.
Fast forward 76 years to 2020. When it looked like Bernie Sanders was going to get the Democratic nomination, they narrowed the field so it was the “moderate” Joe Biden against socialist Bernie Sanders. Then they received a blessing — Covid — which gave them an excuse to keep Biden from having to campaign. They kept him in his basement so the voters didn’t see he was no longer physically or mentally up to the job of president. Even now that he’s the president-elect, they limit press access and only have him answer a few questions from friendly reporters who are selected before the press conference.
I never felt Biden would serve four years before bowing or being pushed out. Now with the Hunter Biden problems, I wonder if the Democrats won’t force him out if they feel he’ll hurt them in the 2022 congressional elections.
It scares me to think given his condition that he’ll have to deal with China, Russia and Iran.
It’s no business
Seeing Woodstock Town Supervisor Bill McKenna with a plow mounted on his truck after the last snow initially had me believing, based upon him saying he gave up his other business, he was going to plow Comeau Drive in order to be, as he had said; “ [he was] almost always the first employee here [at the town offices].”
Was I wrong? Was the plow on his truck for other reasons?
Listen to your heart
Stop thinking with your head and start hearting with your chest.
No tax break, Kingstonian
I think The Kingstonian would be a wonderful addition to Uptown Kingston. There is a great need for increased housing in the county. The Kingstonian will add wonderful units to the housing stock in Ulster County, add parking, a hotel, restaurants and retail space. This mix will surely add to the success of this project as a whole. The developers should be applauded for their efforts to bring this project to light.
While the developers should be supported, they should not be subsidized for building this project.
The project will undoubtedly increase business in the county. In addition, it will increase expenses for local municipalities in the area. Services that we all pay for. Undoubtedly, additional road work and services will need to be provided by the City of Kingston, Ulster County and others.
That the developers will do well should really be looked at here. A partner in this development is also a partner and owner in the nearby Kingston Plaza. With the planned walkway built, enormous value will be added to the already successful Kingston Plaza, with Hannaford as its anchor store. In addition, there are banking, financial, health-related businesses, restaurants and plenty of retail stores including Herzog’s, which will benefit in the plaza.
This project will be nowhere without the City of Kingston donating such a valuable piece of real estate. It benefits the entire project to create parking here, parking that should be paid for by the developers. With plenty of parking and customers, added retail square footage will be increased in Kingston Plaza. New buildings will go up, as will the value of Kingston Plaza. This increased value should not be built and paid for by the youth of this city or county!
Education costs continue to rise. We should offer respect and appreciation for those who have decided to step forward and educate our children. Teachers and educators have always been appreciated. These times have given parents all over a new appreciation for having their children in school. This is the first time in our lifetime that so many students have looked forward to getting back to class. It should be obvious to all that having a well-educated work force to draw from will only benefit The Kingstonian.
One of the mantras that has become more popular these days is the “shop-local” mantra. Surely professional talent from outside this area will be needed and utilized by The Kingstonian. Having an educated work force should be a priority for all. If the Kingstonian wants to be a good neighbor, they will support education in our area. Supporting education is an investment in our youth. An investment in our youth is an investment in all of our futures.
In order for The Kingstonian to be a real contribution to this area, they should be supporting this area. Supporting education is a must. The Kingstonian should not be built to the detriment of our youth and all of our futures in Ulster County.
Trump hath done good things
(with apologies to Mr. Shakespeare)
Friends, Americans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Trump, not to praise him.
The tweets that men send live after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with the Donald.
The noble Schumer
Hath told you Trump was malicious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Trump answer’d it.
He hath brought peace to much of the Middle East,
Restored the military and brought soldiers home from foreign lands.
Did this in Trump seem malicious?
When poor minorities cried, he funded your colleges, supported your businesses, defended your unborn babies and decreased your unemployment.
Was this racist?
Surely racism should be made of sterner stuff.
Yet the press says he was a racist;
And the press is fair and unbiased.
When he cut red tape to ease the burden on small businesses, when he defended your religious liberty and right of self-defense, when he negotiated fair trade deals and made you energy independent.
Was this ambition?
Yet Pelosi says he was ambitious;
And, sure, she is an honorable woman.
I do not write to disprove what the Democrats spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You and he loved America once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for her?
O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason.
And to your Gettysburg Address, I answer you, Mr. Lincoln,
As you rest within your coffin,
The answer is sadly, “No, no nation can long endure.”
The apple is once again eaten, and the serpent laughs.
Doing the library proud
Along with the Woodstock Library board, we were disheartened by the squeaker defeat of the library bond, maybe a sad case of death by pandemic. We are hoping that this project will come back to life. Judging from our years of service to non-profits, the library board did an outstanding job assessing need and vetting possible consultants.
From many responses to a request for proposals, they selected three finalists, two of whom specialize in restoration of existing buildings and were equipped to revive the existing building if it proved sound and suitable for reuse. In spite of our bias toward reuse of existing buildings (shared by Argus Architecture & Preservation, P.C., a fellow finalist), we both concluded that the existing mid-20th century structure could not be made to meet 2020 environmental standards and 2020 needs.
The public was part of the selection process and key issues saw a lot of daylight. As the selected architect, we were given quality time with board and staff, and with our civil, mechanical and electrical engineers carefully studied the existing structure and site. An arborist had prepared an annotated plan showing specie and condition of all trees on the property and that governed the proposed site protection and landscape plans. The process was disciplined, with strong board engagement and a focused owners’ representative as second reality check
The pandemic has provided an indisputable argument for Woodstock to build a versatile new library with calibrated, treated ventilation and open areas permitting social distancing As we evolve new ways of congregating and reinforcing community, the library, with its sweep of shaded front lawn, will be a valuable resource, expanding on the library-fair tradition with visibility and walkability from downtown. And addressing climate change, low-carbon and carbon-positive materials and energy conservation at all stages of construction and operation will do Woodstock proud.
Response to Barbara Davison
I see it differently. If my 19-year-old son was sick with an addiction to drugs and killed another person while under the influence of those drugs, I would not want to see him spend the rest of his life in prison. If he were sentenced to 25 years, I would hope that he would get time off for good behavior and then be released back into my family to resume his life, having learned a very hard lesson. Having paid his debt to society, he will always have to live with his past.
I understand that families of victims are changed forever. I believe we all have choices in life. We can choose to accept, change or suffer.
I have read books written by people who forgave perpetrators for their crimes. The act of forgiveness allowed them to release anger, stop the pain and experience peace.
Every man for himself
I sat in front of the TV with photos flashing in my face of the Washington, DC Capitol building being overtaken by armed so-called Republicans. I feel personal and political danger has been loosed. With the confluence of the pandemic and the compromised rule of law, my fear of survival has increased. The foundations of our healthcare and our government are built upon trust, truth and morality. Those values were desecrated by Americans wearing shirts with codes written on them wishing more were killed in the Holocaust.
The lack of politicians fulfilling the needs of the voting public over the past 40 years has heightened tribalism. For many, the illusion of safety is in your chosen tribe. Truth, and facts, have been driven out of the public square by invisible deep-pocketed investors who benefit when our country is at war and societal chaos is in the market place. These circumstances allow important laws in that are in place to help common people exist to be sidelined by passing legislation to build drones, bombs and guns.
Healthcare and global warming get trapped in the legislative maze for years. When the market tilts, money falling out of the pockets of the lower and middle class is caught by the wealthy.
I was reading about the tradition of chivalry in the upper class in England, during the 19th century. Chivalry was a guiding principle for those in power. Your morality was being measured by your ability to respect the poor and disadvantaged.
Sayings we’ve all heard were proliferated at that time, such as: “Women and children first.” “The captain goes down with his ship.” In fact, the ship captain of the HMS Birkenhead that sank in 1852 was praised in the press for the sacrifice of his men who evacuated women and children first. Large numbers of men died before the rescue ship arrived.
A moral pendulum continually swings in world history. I see this in the novel The Three Musketeers written by Alexandre Dumas in 1844. This quote I heard as a kid on the football team and in the rhetoric of the White House. “All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall.”
Looking back 400 years from Dumas’s quote, we find Chaucer’s quote from The Knights Tale, published in 1387, it seems more fitting for today’s TV news, “Every man for himself.” This saying has stayed dead on course through the rough journeys for hundreds of years on the seas of man’s supposed moral evolution. Someone said four years ago they saw Dumas’ quote run out the White House back door, behind the captain abandoning America’s ship.
Chivalry was once paid for with blood and sweat. Today, how fat your wallet is gets mistaken for chivalry.
Blowin’ in the wind
I’m a big Bob Dylan fan, and often post his songs not only on my Facebook page but, also, on the various Bob Dylan Facebook fan clubs to which I belong.
Not too long ago, I posted the original Rolling Stone magazine’s review of Dylan’s Saved album. The album’s cover featured a hand coming down from above with the index finger extending to the fingertips of other hands. Those fingers, below the hand from above, seem to be longing to be touched by the hand that was, apparently, reaching down from heaven, to save them from the flames that were burning in the distance.
The next time I checked my Facebook page, I was surprised to see my post had been removed with the explanation that it had violated Facebook’s standards for member posts and, consequently, my account would be, temporarily, suspended. Surprised by this, I noticed the directions — provided in the notification — for challenging Facebook’s decision, and, did so. In my challenge I questioned the reason a Rolling Stone review of any album would be considered a violation of Facebook’s standard for posts.
Apparently, my challenge was successful because, without explanation, my post was restored and my account reopened.
Recently, I learned that Potus Trump’s Twitter accounts have been permanently suspended because his tweets were considered inflammatory and dangerous. I further learned that Google, Apple and other app suppliers were considering removing the Parlor App from their stores. Since Parlor provides the same services as Twitter and Trump uses Parlor, if these app removals ever occur, Donald Trump’s tweeting voice will be silenced.
While some will be singing “free at last … free at last” over the prospect of shutting down Trump’s voice, perhaps, they should be concerned about the implications of such censorship. The following (to the tune of “Desolation Row) is my commentary regarding those who would sing songs of liberation when “anyone” is censored:
They’re selling postcards of the … bon fire
books are burning … in the flames
but the Press is strangely … silent
and they’re not naming … any names
Facebook is busy with their fact checks
they’re banning posts … they find unfair
they’re protecting us from…”some” information
they say only “the truth” is fit to share
And twitter has closed … ”Mr. Big’s” account
their leaders want us all … to know
“You won’t have to see ‘his’ words …no more
‘causes now the Dems … are running the show.”
Loneliness a cruel punishment
What sense are the rigid rules established by New York State regarding Covid separation and isolation in healthcare facilities if they heighten anxieties, compound confusion and deliver an earlier and lonelier death?
Rules are not to be seen as punishments, but:
Are they hastening the deaths of those in nursing homes?
Are they poisoning senses with abundance of caution?
And what about the stresses upon the loved ones?
The pandemic puts everyone on the new learning curve. We’ve learned so much in the interim and there are now vaccines and new viruses.
Isn’t it time to re examine and revaluate the rigid rules?
Okay quarantine is from 14 to ten days. That is positive. Still. safety first but sensibilities must follow the latest science.
Precautions, yes, protocols, yes. Punishments, no.
Separating a resident from his/her loved one means that human being no longer has the loved one’s stimulation and support. The sense of belonging and being loved is being extinguished.
Absence of a loved one is a weight that affects ones whole being. It’s like grief. It’s a loss. With the loss of companionship, there is loss of motivation, purpose, comfort and joy.
The weight of separation is carried by the resident and the loved ones.
Without the loved one’s voice, warm touch, familiar smile or frown, communication is dulled. Dull may lead to depression. Appetite and thirst decline. Desires disappear, and the music fades. Life and time seem to dwindle. Breathing is harder for all. And sometimes death appears too soon.
Loneliness is a cruel punishment. Thirty-nine died in our facility, not with Covid, but perhaps of the rigid rules placed upon them. Loved ones remain and so do the questions. Isn’t there a better way?
Science shows us vaccines, enhanced ventilation combined with negative rapid testing results can help minimize viral transmission.
Socialization is part of mental health science. Anxieties and fear affect mental health. New and learned mental health practices must be applied. Precautions and protocols still must exist.
All that in conjunction with permissions to be reconciled with loved ones who follow the same procedures may be life-sustaining.
Let’s allow residents and loved ones to be safely near one another again. Let them be vaccinated and continue health guidelines, keeping cleanliness paramount. Let’s lighten up sooner than later. Allow the touch, the sound, the smile and the tears to exist and be shared. Let the music play and allow love to last as long a possible.
Gratitude is immense for all the professional care given and received. The desire is for quality time together, again.
I am a 2020 nursing-facility widow.