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.
All Paltzonians should feel safe
I would like to present some statistics in relation to the current effort by the Town of New Paltz to develop a plan of police reform and reinvention, as mandated last spring by Executive Order 203 by Governor Cuomo in response to the national reaction to the police murder of George Floyd. These data, from research by New Paltz Unified for a Responsible Budget and the author, point to the real feasibility of reducing New Paltz town police staffing and budget without diminishing the town’s peace and, with reinvestment of the savings, of actually improving security for many residents not currently well-served by the police.
Middle-class residents of New Paltz would likely agree that the Village and Town are safe places to live and work. Crime statistics back this up. Major crimes reported to the New Paltz Police Department (NPPD) have declined 59 percent since 1990, with a decline of 45 percent since 2010. In 2019, only 2.5 percent of arrests by the NPPD were for violent crimes.
A large portion of police activity is to protect narrow private interests. Thus, 40 percent of all arrests were related to keeping order in the Village late-night bar scene (eight hours of the week). Surely, the owners and not the taxpayers have the main responsibility here. Further, the largest single type of activity for NPPD officers is checking on properties when the owner is away. This occurred over 4,000 times in a 12-month period: three times more frequently than traffic stops. Even if we consider such property checks a valid public service, it probably does not need to be provided by (expensive) highly trained, armed officers.
Policing looms large as a portion of the Town’s budget: $2.9 million per year, accounting for more of the Town’s budget than highway maintenance, the Fire Department, the library, youth services, ambulance service, public health and the Rail Trail combined. Since 2010, in the time that crime rates dropped by 59 percent, the number of officers has remained undiminished and the personal services budget rose by 15 percent.
New Paltz has two major police forces in town, not even counting the State Police or the County Sheriff. The SUNY Police Department has just as many officers as the NPPD. No wonder the 3,000 students living on campus report feeling overpoliced. Counting the two police forces together, New Paltz has 3.3 officers per 1,000 residents: more than either Kingston or the Town of Ulster, whose crime rates are 79 percent and 31 percent higher, respectively.
The fact that New Paltz has little crime, after long-term declines, is not even the primary reason to entertain shrinking our police force. But it should allay fears about doing so. The real reason to consider “disinvesting” in armed police by, say, 25 percent, is the once-in-a-generation opportunity to reenvision the Town’s security more comprehensively and to reinvest the savings in efforts to respond positively and caringly when residents encounter mental health or suicide crises, or who lack connections to safe afterschool activities, housing, jobs and rehab resources.
New Paltzers, we have nothing to fear from fewer police. It’s time to stand up for a New Paltz that acknowledges and deals with the full range of threats and fears our residents face. Read the draft EO 203 report when it comes out in the next few weeks; ask yourself if it is on the side of business as usual or if it points to more equitable public safety arrangements; then speak out at the public hearing to let the Town Board know that it’s time for change.
Protecting outdoor spaces we love
Christopher “Kim” Elliman, the president and CEO of the Open Space Institute, recently opined in a local paper his views about the value of “Environmental Programs Protecting the Outdoor Spaces We Love.” Unfortunately, his one-sided economic perspective addressed no ecological or environmental concerns about the damage which the massive New York State billion-dollar recreation industry is doing to the dwindling biodiversity with the hordes of hikers, dog-walkers, cyclists, ATV users and tourists flooding the trails and wrecking New York State’s natural heritage. Millions of people are being invited by the recreation lobby to come and walk the Empire State Trail or the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail or the Hudson River Valley Greenway simply because it’s all about the big bucks of outdoor space recreation and the modernization and accessibility of parks – while at the same time ignoring the catastrophic effects of uncontrolled human intrusion that is degrading and destroying what islands of untouched wildlife habitat we have left. We need preservation of natural areas and not dog parks or “pseudo-preserves” or greenways, which are about as biodiverse as a golf course!
The Open Space Institute, Scenic Hudson and the assorted land conservancies of the Hudson Valley and the Catskills have been corrupted and coopted by greenbacks and capitalism and have become the agents of environmental destruction through the most sensitive ecological parcels of New York State. Wetlands are disappearing, remnant forest patches are being logged out, relic bogs and microniches are being swallowed up by rail trails, ziplines or ATVs and snowmobile trails. Neotropical bird-nesting habitats are being disturbed by unleashed dogs. Deer ticks, poison ivy-infested trails and invasive plant species are ruining the last virgin outposts of natural biodiversity.
The Catskills and the Hudson Valley are overrun by pandemic-driven recreationalists and not protected by responsible environmental stewardship, which, judging by the article written by Mr. Elliman, the Open Space Institute seems to lack. While it is true that New York State is a national leader in infrastructure and public health, it is an abysmal failure when it comes to protecting our precious natural world. The myopic greed-driven environmental organizations we have today are clear proof of that.
Victor C. Capelli
Town of Ulster
Let’s open the book and keep it open
“Let’s Talk,” given that the interpersonal sharing of the “bad” and “good” of community affairs is the “productive road” to more genuinely well-rooted and wholesomely acceptable adhesive solutions. Yes, that “productive road” to more open community minds, rather than “A closed mind is like a closed book: just like a block of wood.” Yes, let’s talk. Let’s open the book and keep it open.
Dr. A. J. Williams-Myers
Rush and generosity
In the February 24 edition, my letter was published in this section of the Hudson Valley One (thank you, editors) in tribute to Rush Limbaugh. It was a compilation of some of his best statements. I note some acts of philanthropy by Rush later in this letter. But first, I have to point out that in that same issue, one of Rush’s statements was confirmed by another contributor. One of his quotes refers to the left’s attitude being dark, pessimistic, sad and always angry. Then a few letters later is an angry letter condemning Rush. True, the letter starts with a comment he made on the passing of Jerry Garcia. I also heard that back in 1995. Being a Grateful Dead fan, it hurt. It was wrong, but you can’t judge or try to cancel a person by one statement. If so, we could cancel MLK for writing a letter to a young man (Ebony Magazine, 1958) telling him to seek counseling to overcome his homosexual feelings. The remainder of last week’s angry letter amounted to a lot of name-calling with no substance.
I would like to point out that not only was Rush an outspoken conservative advocate for America, but he also abided by his ideology with his charitable acts. Here’s some specifics:
Forbes listed Rush as Fourth Most Generous Celebrity in 2008, mainly due to a $4.2 million donation to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation (MCLEF), which supports families of fallen officers and soldiers.
Rush donated five million dollars to the Tunnels to Towers Foundation in 2019.
Over $50 million was raised over the years by Rush’s annual Leukemia and Lymphoma Cure-athon for blood cancer research.
In 2018, Rush donated a half-million dollars to the Dana Farber Cancer Clinic.
In 2007, Rush donated $8.4 million to the MCLEF, matching online donations.
In the past, Rush has donated to the Navy SEALs Museum, Move America Forward (care packages for military servicemen and women), Michael Milken and the Prostate Cancer Foundation, American Heritage Girls, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Els for Autism, Fisher Houses, Toys for Tots and Adopt-a-Soldier programs.
Country music singer John Rich was a source for much of the above information. Let’s hope Rush’s work continues. Thank God for lending us his talent for 70 years.
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few
We think we choose our leaders by voting, but whom we can vote for is determined by politically hungry people. So now New Paltz is going to have police and fire all housed in one place, in a cut-off corner of our town that is fenced in by the New York Thruway, our often-bumper-to-bumper-traffic-choked Main Street and a river that often floods and is then impassable to reach hundreds of residents (and our water treatment plant). Towns need trained planning personnel, and separately politicians to coordinate teams of citizens to advise on the needs of the Town. Why do we do self-governance this way? Probably because it is how we have done it for a couple of hundred years. At least now I know why it became necessary to destroy the Henry W. DuBois neighborhood: That pretty little lane needs to be widened to permit police cars and firetrucks to race to our rescue. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few! (Spock, 2752)
No matter what you thought of the Woodstock Library issue, the trustees went through a process of elimination before hiring an architect and gave us taxpayers a choice of various designs for their proposed new building. Some of you might know why the town was limited to just one architect’s design regarding the proposed addition to the Comeau building. However, should that be a reason why we taxpayers were not given a choice of various designs?
Why are we spending close to, if not more than, $150 thousand on renovating the current supervisor’s cottage when we could save tens of thousands of dollars by adding another couple of hundred square feet to house his office in the new addition?
Do something, say something, write something! Show you are aware and care.
Federal school testing requirements
Once again, we see the child abuse of corporate and political-driven federal-required testing and its effects on children’s learning and mental and social health. It is time for teachers, their unions and parents to stand up and refuse to administer the tests and parents to keep their children home when these nonessential-to-learning tests are administered.
American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten called the decision not to grant waivers a “frustrating turn” of events. “It misses a huge opportunity to really help our students by allowing the waiver of assessments and the substitution, instead, of locally developed, authentic assessments that could be used by educators and parents as a baseline for work this summer and next year,” Weingarten said. Becky Pringle, the president of the National Education Association, encouraged states to apply for the waivers being made available, but also disparaged the value of the state exams during the pandemic: “Standardized tests have never been valid or reliable measures of what students know and are able to do, and they are especially unreliable now.”
Good news! Promising steps
The Woodstock community is benefiting from a fresh approach which the leadership at the library is undertaking. Jeff Collins, the new president of the Library Board, along with others, are charting a path forward which will include significant community input as the deliberations unfold for the improved Woodstock Library.
At this point, there are three options: 1. relocate the library, 2. build an entirely new library in the same location and 3. develop a renewed and enlarged library in the same location.
As we all move forward and fully engage the community in the public analyses of these choices, our community will be better able to come to a consensus about how to improve this important facility for our current residents, children/ families and for the future of our town.
Support the Village of Saugerties team of incumbents
I gladly write this letter of support for our hardworking team of Incumbents here in the Village of Saugerties, from mayor Bill Murphy to the three Village trustees: Jeff Helmuth, Brian Martin and Jeannine Mayer. All of these dedicated public servants work hard every day with no other agenda but to make our Village a great place to live. Each of these individuals come with their own skill sets that are irreplaceable. I have personally worked with or witnessed each perform their sworn oath to represent all of us without political motivation – just a desire to better our Village. The deputy mayor, Jeannine Mayer, with her years of experience; Brian Martin, fire commissioner and head of Buildings and Grounds; and Jeff Helmuth, retired from the DEP, who brings his knowledge and experience to the fight to keep our Esopus waters clean and usable.
I strongly urge my fellow Village of Saugerties residents to thoroughly research all of the candidates and vote for those that have our best interest in their hearts. With mayor Bill Murphy at the helm, deputy mayor Jeannine Mayer, along with trustees Jeff Helmuth and Brian Martin, I know we are in good hands.
Please vote March 16, 2021.
Every day counts
The nice thing about not working: Mondays are great!
Thanks for the assistance
Miracles are possible! The Steins of Woodstock and I both had similar-themed letters stating it is not possible for senior citizens to get vaccinated in Kingston. Someone put priority on my problem and spent hours and hours investigating on the computer, filling out papers, asking co-workers, finding telephone sites and calling every day. Some folks were gentle and pleasant – sorry, nothing was available, call tomorrow – some not so much. Suddenly, miraculously, there was an appointment in Kingston the next day for the first shot and scheduled second shot! After my problem had been solved, I received other offers of help for sites in Kingston, which I, with gratitude, passed on to three couples.
Ability to travel is somewhat age-dependent. Friends have been discussing their situations. Some have been independently able to travel; others had had assistance. Friends have traveled once, and eventually will be twice, to Albany, Glens Falls, Little Falls and New York City. Two people at different times traveled to Margaretville, one to Ellenville. Some trips had been in hazardous weather conditions.
My husband was at IBM for 30 years. After retirement, he worked part-time for the state, interviewing people with disabilities, recommending materials, installing them, teaching the recipients, repairing and driving over several counties. (I’m now beginning to be computer-literate: The computer is “hardware” and the things you put in are “software.” I still have a ways to go.) All of this has nothing to do with the Internet. Now at 80+ my husband is no longer able to learn new extensive technology, the Internet and drive all over. Without assistance, there would have been no vaccine for me. I am truly blessed.
New York’s higher education problem
The percentage of New York adults who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher is around 35 percent. Compare that with the percentage of adults in Russia who hold similar degrees, at about 55 percent. Think about that.
While higher education is by no means the only path to success in life, having an educated workforce has clear benefits for such institutions as education, healthcare and all kinds of industries. If we want a brighter future for New York State, increasing opportunities for higher education is foundational.
This said, in spite of the fact that New York is one of the wealthiest states in the union, state funding for higher education, including both the SUNY and CUNY systems, is simply embarrassing. Did you know that these days, less than 40 percent of the funding for SUNY comes from the state, whereas 15 years ago more than 60 percent of the funding came from the state?
When people think about great state universities in the US, they think Michigan, UC Berkeley, UVA, Wisconsin, Penn State. SUNY campuses rarely make it onto national rankings of the best state universities in the country. Not a single SUNY makes it onto the top 30 state universities, according to the most recent ranking by US News and World Report. Yet, New York regularly emerges as one of the wealthiest states in the nation by all kinds of indices. And education in general is highly valued by many in our state.
What is going on?
One conspicuous problem that helps explain this dismal situation is as follows: The wealthy elite in New York – who have, as a group, made billions and billions during the pandemic – are not paying their fair share of taxes. The Invest in Our New York Act, which will soon be presented to New York State lawmakers, could change this situation by making sure that the wealthy elite are taxed fairly just like you and me. Further, I propose that we encourage our lawmakers to allocate a substantial proportion of the proceeds from this act to be distributed to public higher education.
Want to ensure a bright future for all New Yorkers? We need to address New York’s public higher education problem.
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
I am writing this letter in hopes that after reading it, people will be more aware of brain injuries and the effects they have on people.
In the US alone, there are over 5.3 million adults and children living with brain injuries. Brain injuries can be caused by several different factors such as falls, car accidents, stroke, overdoses et cetera. Unfortunately, brain injuries affect those physically, cognitively, mentally and emotionally. It changes people’s lives completely and they have to learn not only a new way to accommodate their brain injury, but also a new way to love the new themselves.
I have been working with participants from the Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver Program for over two years, and it made me realize something very important. Brain injuries are like snowflakes and no two brain injuries are the same. March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. I want people to be aware that not all injuries are visible. People need to be made aware of the severity of brain injuries, so that they can either help themselves or a loved one. People with brain injuries need support and their loved ones need to be supported. Recovering from a brain injury is not an easy road, and feeling supported could make the road a little less bumpy.
The real America
My partner Charlotte and I went to the Javits Center on Sunday for her first vaccination. The trip down to New York City was a non-event, but things changed the minute we walked into the well-known building. Wow! The Javits Center was reconfigured to efficiently administer around 5,000 vaccinations each day. There were hundreds of friendly helpers giving out information and guiding folks toward where they needed to go. It’s a huge place and we walked a lot. But neither one of us were complaining. On the contrary, we were fascinated with how everybody was being so helpful, clear with giving directions and respectful to whomever they were speaking to.
There was a well-organized mixture of healthcare workers along with what appeared to be National Guard troops, working smoothly with each other. The staff was a blend of races and ages, focused on one thing: to help everybody receive a vaccination.
After Charlotte received her vaccination, we quietly sat, socially distanced, with others in the “observation” area for ten minutes or so, until we were given permission to leave. But while we were there, Charlotte told me that there were visuals on a big bulletin board with information in lots of different languages so nobody would be left out of receiving important information. High above were large speakers consistently putting out audio announcements with similar information, but each announcement ended with the same phrase. “Remember to wear a mask, wash your hands and respect social distancing. And remember that we are all in this together, and together we will all get through this.”
When it was time for us to leave, both Charlotte and I felt a little sad. We didn’t want to leave. I was so touched by the experience that I actually had a surge of desire to hug all the workers. Of course I didn’t, but that feeling spoke to me loud and clearly. This is the real America. This is what most Americans want to feel in their communities, their towns and cities across the nation. We all want cooperation, easy communication and we want to work together toward a common goal. We want to feel safe and respected, and we want to have a chance to build and enjoy a halfway-decent life with our families and friends. Based on what we experienced last Sunday, those longings are alive and well, right here in the real America.
Sending deep gratitude to all those helpers who turned the Javits Center into a warm environment filled with hope and inspiration. Thank you for showing us what is possible for our country.
Personally, I don’t think Cuomo should resign. He kept me and many of us relatively sane through months of this pandemic, so something is owed to him based on that alone.
Men who have power behave poorly, thinking that they are irresistible. It’s a problem with the culture. I do not know this man personally. Trump did so much worse on every level. Reprimand and remove Trumpism first.
You might say that one thing has nothing to do with the other, but it blatantly does. Democracy in this country is still in deep, deep trouble. I just wonder what my fellow women think they are doing and if it is for the general good. Why take him down now?
Fact vs. opinion
Fact: The presidential election of November 2020 is over. Donald Trump, claiming fake news and voting fraud, has lost. The courts have all sustained the legitimacy of the election process. Donald is out.
Opinion: Or is he? He has a following, citizenwise and congressional-wise. He is not out, which I believed at first. Actually, he is still a threat. There are numerous congressional leaders traipsing down to his haunt in Florida; he is still the de facto leader of the Republican Party and is their standard-bearer. This, plus the fact he has millions of adherents, citizens, flocking to him, supporting him like the movies show of the crowds thronging Adolf Hitler’s entrance down the highway or into an arena.
So, why are the Republicans, the Republican Party, with the exception of a few, so smitten with him? It is not they are smitten with him, but there are two reasons; let’s look at them.
One: Donald Trump rules by fear. There is a book out by Bob Woodward, entitled Fear: Trump in the White House. This book chronicles very nicely Trump’s modus operandi, his method of operation: fear, threats, firing, bluster, intimidation, anything to get his own way. Another book by his niece, Mary L. Trump, entitled Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, describes how Donald’s family turned him into a sociopath (pgs. 23/26/43 of her book). Money and power, the end-all of the game. These two books, alone, give the reader a glimpse into the psychological makeup of Donald. Four years in office show the public, the actual Donald in operation: his firing, getting people to do his bidding, not going by the rules, criticizing/canceling the rules and regulations of previous administrations, Republican and Democrat, as well as criticizing the Constitution. To wit: his statement, “The press is the enemy of the people.”
The press is what keeps these capitalists and politicians from running amuck over the Constitution. For an American president to state something like that is beyond this writer’s imagination. The press is the one thing that is worth fighting for, and the first thing a would-be dictator wants to get rid of is a free press and have one that is government-controlled in its stead – i.e., controlled by Donald.
Two: The Republicans hated the liberal agenda pushed through by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the 74th Congress in 1935; top of the list was the Social Security Act of that year. Also, Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, in the 89th Congress in 1965, passed the amendments to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that year. Both of these acts, Social Security of 1935 and the 1965 amendments to this act, Medicare and Medicaid, the Republicans fought like hell not to pass these amendments. (Roosevelt’s arch-enemy Conservative Hamilton Fish of the 17th Congressional District – Dutchess, Putnam and Rockland counties – led the fight to halt the 1935 Social Security Act.)
How many times have you heard a Republican state – senator Mitt Romney, for instance – that we will “never bring the deficit under control until we do something about the entitlements”? Baloney. If it wasn’t for those billion-dollar tax cuts the Republican presidents give to the wealthy and corporations after they assume office, this deficit will be more in the realm of acceptability.
Therefore, the two reasons listed above were/are fodder for the Republicans to have supported Donald Trump, and still will, in his quest to disembowel the present administrative system inherited from past administrations, Republican and Democratic. (This disembowelment, this “destruction of the administrative system” is a phrase used by Donald in his platform as he first threw his hat into the ring for the presidency back in 2016.)
Fact: I submitted my first letter to the newspaper in August 2016, alerting the reader to the bombastic, carnival, rah-rah rhetoric of Donald Trump. This letter was followed by 72 others over a period of four years This man is the only man of all the presidents to achieve this high office with no experience in his résumé. That’s right: no experience. He had no legislative, judicial or political experience of any kind when he assumed this office. And the last four years reflect this nicely.
Opinion: And this was a direct result of his childhood upbringing, his behavior, as he does not know how to function with people; he is first at all times – not you, not me, not the American people. Not once have I given him credit for anything he has addressed. He behavior will be the same if he gets back into office, but wiser after four years in this office and thus, more dangerous.
The big threats looming for the American people are the 2022 midterm elections. If the chambers of Congress remain Democratic, Biden’s last two years will be productive. However, if one of the chambers goes Republican, there will be gridlock for the final two years and will set the stage for Donald to run again. Republicans in some states are tightening voting guidelines, in my opinion restricting immigrants. Wake up, you old citizens; we have been granted a reprieve, albeit temporary, with his ousting out of the Oval Office.
Bust the filibuster
The Senate filibuster, if it’s understood at all by most Americans, is likely associated with the fight by Southern segregationists to defeat civil rights legislation in the 1960s. This disgraceful rebellion against equality resonates as Mitch McConnell’s side of the Senate currently threatens to block legislation – S1, the For the People Act – that would expand and protect Americans’ right to vote, especially those whose votes have historically been suppressed. No winking here. Republicans have publicly acknowledged that they are at a “competitive disadvantage” when minority voters, especially, have unobstructed, equal access to the vote.
Democrats, if they are true to their commitments to civil rights, cannot allow a GOP filibuster to bury S1. Senators who oppose elimination of the filibuster, fearing it will be used against them in the future, know Senate rules permit alternatives:
• Reinstate the speaking filibuster, when a senator must address the floor – for hours, and hours…
• Flip the current rule that requires 60 votes to end debate; instead, require 41 “No” votes to block a measure, with all senators’ votes recorded.
• Eliminate the ability to filibuster the “motion to proceed,” a tactic that stops legislation from ever reaching the floor for debate. Make Republicans defend their obstruction on C-SPAN and all media.
• Revoke the “two-track” system that permits the Senate to bury a bill threatened with filibuster and proceed with other business. Again, force the GOP to tell Americans why they believe that curtailing early voting, removing drop boxes and requiring photo IDs and notaries’ signatures for voting better support democracy than no-excuse absentee ballots, lengthened early voting periods and independent commissions for redistricting: the core of S1.
Let McConnell’s obstructionists explain why they want to return America to the 1960s.
Nice job by all
Many more than three cheers are due to Woodstock Apothecary, Saugerties Town and Village officials and to the many other volunteers who on short notice gracefully put together a large-scale vaccination clinic at the Saugerties Junior High School on March 3.
Golf-cart drivers, parking directors, line marshals and wheelchair-pushers eased the lining-up. The Town supervisor worked the front door, while the Village mayor and the Parks and Buildings superintendent handled the first in a gamut of check-in tables.
Administrative and clinical volunteers start to finish were a pleasure to meet.
This was an historic and friendly event in Saugerties. Special thanks to Dr. Neal Smoller and his staff, not only for sourcing a ton of vaccine, but for doing the e-logistics of registering many people in a short time.
Stephen and Elizabeth Shafer
I was discussing political bias in the “mainstream media” with my brother the other day, and he used a quote from Colonel Kurtz from the film Apocalypse now! during our discussion. This inspired me to picture President Trump – dressed in black to hide his girth, as Brando was in the film – with a shaved head delivering the Kurtz monologue in a dimmed light, not on “horror,” but “fair elections.”
After this exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta, the monologue begins: Trump: Are you a character assassin? Jim Acosta: I’m a journalist. Trump: you’re neither. You’re an errand boy sent by Zucker to deflect the truth…
I’ve seen fair elections…elections that you’ve also seen…And I think this last election was fixed…But you have no right to condemn me as an insurrectionist for saying that…especially since I addressed the people present on January 6 and acknowledged that many of them would be marching “peacefully and patriotically” to the Capitol Building to make their voices heard. You had a right to impeach me…You had a right to do that…But you have no right to condemn me…It’s impossible for words to describe what is required to those who do not know what “fair” elections means or think they are unnecessary…Fair elections…fair elections have a face…And you must make a friend of fair elections. Fair elections and qualified candidates are your friends – if you desire true representative government because they are a safeguard of our democratic republic…If you do not desire such government, then they are enemies…they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies. I remember when I ran the first time…Seems a thousand years ago…We rode down the escalator and announced our intentions to a surprised and cheering crowd…Melania and I left Trump Tower afterwards…and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn’t speak. We went back there and found the press corps ridiculing our announcement and calling me a joke…And I remember…I…I…I cried…I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my hair out. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it…I never want to forget it. I never want to forget. And then I realized…like I was shot…like I was shot with the arrow of truth…the arrow that brings revelation right through my heart…and I thought:
My God…the genius of that. The genius. The…will…to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, diabolic in its motivation. And then I realized their corruption was worse than I imagined…worse than I ever thought possible…Because they could stand in the open and deliberately undermine a credible candidate with lies and propaganda…These were not monsters…These were men and women…trained journalists…people who fought with their pens and voices, who had families, who had children, who were filled with compassion…but they had the hypocrisy…the hypocrisy…the hypocrisy to forsake the objectivity – to which they are called – to do that….Although I reject such hypocrisy…If Mitt Romney had the support of a few of those men and women, his troubles against Obama would have ended very quickly…Unfortunately, modern politics requires candidates to have politically biased “journalists” as supporters who are perceived as moral…and at the same time who are willing to utilize their biased views to lie without feeling…without passion against those they oppose…without evaluating and then judging their actions by any objective standard…without judging. Because it is evaluating and judging by objective, absolute moral standards that exposes and defeats the horror…the horror…of… hypocrisy….
Let it all play out
The deliberate confusion about nursing home clients who died in a hospital, or a nursing home, to make Cuomo look good, was and is wrong and dishonest.
The actual policy about sending folks back into homes from hospitals was, arguably, not even wrong in retrospect. Cuomo’s political enemies are wrong to keep suggesting the actual nursing home deaths – lower in New York than many other states – are somehow caused after the fact with the deliberate reporting obfuscation.
The granting of immunity from civil suit to for-profit nursing homes is the more serious item and fits a pattern of Cuomo being progressive and for the people, except where there are private for-profit interests like hedge funds and real estate developers on the other side of the issue.
Our leaders are imperfect and sometimes lie to us: Think Churchill and Roosevelt. Did we want to lose them in the midst of the war for possibly dishonesty about one of hundreds of issues on which they were honest or performed well?
On the abuse of power in the form of sexual harassment: Soliciting a subordinate for an intimate relationship, whether “predatory” or “romantic and sincere,” is wrong; and if proved, there need to be consequences. That said, I think the emphasis on age of the victim infantilizes 25-year-old women. The victim was an adult and conducted herself as such; the age disparity may rightly embarrass Cuomo, but has no part in the discussion beyond that, in my view.
I would support a cleaner, green progressive against Cuomo, but given his relative integrity and rationality, I would right now vote for him again against most comers. But we shall see how investigations play out.
We are not as divided as our politicians or media suggest
You question what you see and hear from mainstream media and recognize that alternative news sources are also questionable.
You support a strong military to protect our way of life and basic healthcare to protect our actual lives.
You support the Second Amendment to protect our families, but know that some sort of control is necessary to stop them from being shot at places like school or church.
You can see CNN is highly biased mainstream media and FOX News is also highly biased mainstream media, too.
You recognize that no life matters more than another and from the beginning of America to today, Black Lives Matter haven’t mattered as much as the rest.
You support the police in securing our streets and recognize that no-knock warrants and the militarization of the police is simply bad policing.
You know the rich are entitled, but the poor are entitled to something too.
You may have some fringe beliefs that the world is flat, vaccines are for Bill Gates to track us, but also acknowledge that your beliefs do not make them facts.
You may believe that Hillary Clinton was a bad candidate, but also know that her gender, e-mail habits and husband are not why.
You can be against open-border immigration and also be against spending billions on border walls and cages for kids.
You support the symbols of America, like our flag, but you know the American Dream doesn’t apply to everyone all the time.
You know that protest is the voice of the unheard, but violence is the gag that silences you.
You are a Democrat or Republican or Libertarian without being a Communist or a Fascist or a Unabomber.
You can be a Republican and see Trump as part of the problem as much as you can be a Democrat and see Trumpism is not the problem.
We are not as divided as our politics suggest. Be the one of your community to call out the BS on both sides of this “with us or against us” nonsense.
Knowing both sides are full of baloney doesn’t make you a moderate. It makes you one of the vast majority (I’d guess 300 million+) of Americans looking at the rest thinking, “Y’all crazy.”
Overabundant plastic waste
I wonder what’s going to happen to all the plastic waste we create in Ulster County, now that China has closed her borders. China no longer accepts the tons of waste produced and exported by the Western world to developing countries in Asia and Africa. Some of these small countries – Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines – being literally swamped with plastic, have decided they’ve had enough of our un-recyclable contaminated plastics. They now plan to return the full containers to “the Sender.” Not wanting to be stuck with these containers in return transit, China has decided to prohibit use of their ports for shipment of any exported contaminated plastics, putting further constraint on that export market.
Bulging bales and overflowing containers are piling up on the docks on the West Coast. How long before the bins mount up at our own transfer stations? There has already been a marked increase of waste materials since our communities have grown, due to the urban exodus.
What can we do?
• Take inventory of your plastic use.
• Is there something you can do to adjust and reduce your plastic consumption?
• Learn where your plastic trash goes.
• What is actually recycled and what goes to the landfill, the incinerator or overseas?
• Talk to your trash collector; visit the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency.
• Find out what their plan is for the future and how, as consumer and customer, can you help?
• Find out what the petrochemical industry has in mind for their plastics future.
• Look up the Plastic Trifecta.
• Look up Break Free from Plastics.
• Look up Beyond Plastics.
• Start to wonder.
New Paltz – where else?
Some blog recognized Orlando for having the most pizza places per capita. They topped cities across the country, with 21.6 pizza places per 100,000 people. Approximately every 4,630 people had their own pizza place in Orlando.
In New Paltz, with about 14,000 people, including about 3,000 SUNY New Paltz students when dorms are full, we have seven pizza places. Plus, Adam Monteverde is opening a new one called A! Pizza, so we’ll have eight shortly.
New Paltz’s per-capita ratio would be 57.1 pizza places, compared to Orlando’s paltry 21.6. That’s a pizza place for every 1,750 people in New Paltz. We have so many more pizza places per capita than the “US pizza capital.”
Plus, we also have six Mexican places, with a seventh on the way. El Guacamole is opening soon, next to the Post Office and Super Suds. And I’m not even counting the recently closed Taco Shack – RIP. We’ll still have a Mexican place for every 2,000 people in New Paltz.
I doubt there is a place on the planet with more pizza and Mexican places per capita than New Paltz, NY.
Flames, Gourmet, La Bella Pizza Bistro, Pasquale’s, Rino’s, Rocco’s, Village Pizza, A! Pizza; Burrito Burrito, La Charla, Los Jalapeños, Mexicali Blue, Mexican Kitchen, Órale, El Guacamole.
Mayor Tim Rogers
It didn’t have to happen this way. Some “flu,” huh? Covid-19, which is no common flu, has killed over 500,000 Americans in less than a year. And it was needless. It was absolutely imaginable, because we had exactly the right president in Donald Trump to help get us there. People didn’t take precautions because lying right-wing government officials tried to play off the pandemic as nothing, while their buddies sold off stocks before the inevitable crash. It didn’t have to happen this way, as experts said this would be our reality if people didn’t take precautions. Politics matters, but this is a moment that transcends Washington. And now look…
As God is my witness, I’ll never forget Trump being asked about this illness, and him telling the press that “It’s not real…it’s just the Democrats making this up.” Never forget: He purposely ignored or downplayed the science and public health policy/statements.
America’s heart is broken and they, the elected Republicans, could have saved thousands and thousands of lives. What a world. The USA dealt with this pandemic worse than any other country, under the GOP’s misguided leadership. This has been some year of opportunism, ignorance and inaction, and look what it has brought us.
Again, I reiterate that over half a million of our fellow Americans have vanished from the lives of their families. May they all rest in peace; and may the rest of us keep safe, follow the public health guidelines and get vaccinated when the opportunity arises, so that more of us don’t have to mourn our loved ones. Please, can we all take a moment to remember our fellow citizens who lost their lives to COVID? Thank you very much.
Folks, we must do better.