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.
Barbaric situation at the border
Can anyone explain to me the difference between human trafficking and the slave trade? Watching what is going on at our southern border is criminal. Watching the video of the two coyotes dropping two girls three and five years old from a 15-foot fence is shocking. Only through sheer luck were they found and rescued. Someone paid the drug cartels to have them smuggled to the border. They are supposedly reunited with their mother. A few questions: Are we sure she’s the mother? Is there any proof or just her word? Who paid for their trip? When they were found, they had a knapsack with a cell phone and a phone number. Is the alleged mother being investigated to make sure she’s their real mother and not working for human traffickers?
We know boys, girls and women are trafficked and sold into sex slavery. The drug cartels are making hundreds of millions of dollars charging $5,000 and up to bring people to the border. The Trump policy of making them wait in Mexico slowed the traffic down. Then Biden announced during the campaign there would be no deportations during the first hundred days of his administration, and once in office, they allowed them across the border, overwhelming the system, keeping them packed like sardines in shelters, letting many go into the interior of the US, even though 10 percent are COVID-positive, with just a promise to appear in court at a later date.
By not even trying to secure the border, Biden is abetting the sex slave trade of the drug cartels. Contrary to statements by the Biden administration, this is in no way humane; barbaric is a better word.
A level playing field & democracy
In response to Tom McGee’s letter, “Some information about HR1” (HV1 3/31), the nonpartisan Wikipedia website’s HR1 article thumbnail says the bill will “expand voting rights, change campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of money in politics, limit partisan gerrymandering and create new ethics rules for federal officeholders.”
As a champion of the US Constitution, what is Mr. McGee objecting to? Perhaps the devil is in the details. Then quote the actual language in the bill that you claim would lead to widespread illegal voting. Disseminating misleading or inaccurate information does no one any good. I imagine most would agree that one eligible voter kept from voting by overzealous restrictions is equivalent to one vote cast by an ineligible voter. When Republican state officials purge tens of thousands from voter rolls, what is the net result? Most people want to cast an honest vote. Those mass purges do far more harm than good. The vote can be accessible to every eligible voter and still be secure.
Putting up hurdles to voting in the absence of evidence of wrongdoing is indefensible. It’s not surprising that a majority of registered Republicans support HR/S 1. They believe in a level playing field and democracy, too. If HR/S 1 succeeds in increasing voter participation, it may well improve Democrats’ election results. Mr. McGee sees that possibility as the hidden agenda. But most people see it as voters making the educated choice of which party is more deserving of their vote.
Our serious wound
Fellow frequent feedbacker Neil (I hate Trump more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow) Jarmel’s letter, “Falling in place,” seems to be a veiled response to my “Blowin’ in the Wind,” which spoke of POTUS Biden’s recent stair stumbles. Although Mr. Jarmel acknowledged, in his letter, President Biden’s falling incident, by comparing it to other presidents (Ford and Reagan) who did the same, Neil, once again missed (or avoided) the point of my letter: The mainstream media (MSM) and Democrats always criticized Trump’s frailties and always excuse Biden’s. (It should be noted that the MSM gleefully and relentlessly portrayed Republicans Ford’s and Reagan’s slips as signs of both clumsiness, stupidity or old age.) And while Neil asserts that Biden has certainly not fallen down in the “great job” he is doing as president, the “challenge” at the border, the disunity caused by his opposition to Georgia’s election reforms, the resulting MLB decision to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta – with the attendant loss of an estimated $75 to $100 million of economic benefits to that black-majority city – to the overwhelmingly white-majority City of Denver and his controversial proposed infrastructure bill (among other things) indicate that Biden is doing a “great job”…not so much. (By the way, Biden’s poll numbers, touted by Mr. Jarmel as a sign of his policies’ popularity, are rapidly declining as news of the effects of his policies are being discovered by the public.) Since I have defended Trump’s record and celebrated his accomplishments in previous letters in great detail, rather than do so again, I will deal with the major obstacle to national unity today: the ideological bias that makes objective and fair evaluations of candidates, leaders or policy proposals impossible.
When a new president can overturn the previous administration’s immigration policies, resulting in the southern borders being overrun, and then blame the previous administration for the crisis (and any criticism of this “blaming” is viewed as racist and unfair by the majority of the media and half of the country), finding solutions that actually solve the crisis will be difficult. Similarly, when a president can claim that a state’s reformed voter election laws, featuring required voter identification, are merely an attempt to return to racist “Jim Crow” laws and receives four Pinocchios from the Washington Post’s fact-checker for this claim, and yet continues to repeat the same lie without objections from his supporters or the press corps (despite the fact that a recent Rasmussen poll reveals that 73 percent of blacks and 81 percent of other minorities agree that voter identification should be required of voters), then, “Houston, we have a [serious] problem.” And when a president can keep the press corps from going to our borders to report on what’s actually happening there and informs them that he will only commit to transparency once he is “in a position” to “implement what we’re doing right now” with hardly an objection from the press corps, then truth that leads to objective analysis is chained and ideological bias will freely reign.
There is a Bible verse that says of the prophets and leaders of Israel, “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” Ultimately, this “dressing” led to the destruction and captivity of the nation. Many are calling for unity in America at a time when the lack of unity is palpable and, because of ideological bias, seemingly unachievable. If we “dress” the deep wound of our disunity as though its cause (ideological bias) is not serious, our leaders and “prophets” will continue to call for unity and eventually even announce, embrace and celebrate its arrival when “there is no unity.” With this in view, just as it is better to acknowledge the truth about a false peace, so it is better that the divisions in our society are clearly defined and accepted as such than to pretend that unity exists when it does not. For it is only when the divisions that exist in a country are clearly marked and acknowledged as serious that the reasons for these divisions can be understood and remedies for them sought. Without such addressing, the harmful consequences to America of continuing divisions (in which those on the other side of an issue are perceived as evil) are serious enough that a refusal to address them will make these wounds not only serious, but fatal to any hopes of the healing that brings genuine national unity.
Robbery at rail trail parking lot
I am writing this letter as a public service. A friend’s car was broken into and personal items stolen about ten days ago at the rail trail parking lot closer to Boiceville. Her car window was shattered and they stole her purse which was left in the car. This should be noted by your paper to alert the public.
Do not leave anything in your car when you go for a walk at the rail trail.
The human bootprint
The egregious photo of a mountain biker riding down a trail in Ferncliff Forest Preserve in Rhinebeck last Wednesday, in a local Kingston paper, exemplifies and underlines the outrageous abuses and ecological insults to New York State green spaces, whereby millions upon millions of people, bikers, hikers, dog-walkers, campers and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds are degrading and destroying vulnerable ecosystems and wildlife habitats through the profit- and outdoor-recreation-oriented policies of DEC, DEP and local land conservancies.
Mountain bikers, along with motorized ATVs and snowmobilers with their huge dirt-grabbing tires and treads, rip up forest leaf litter, topsoil, gravel and underbrush that are ecological niches for endangered forest wildflowers, ferns, rare plants, lichens and mosses. In Ulster County alone, there are over 84 endangered, threatened or environmentally “vulnerable” wildflower species, according to the New York Natural Heritage 2019 Rare Plant Status List. Mountain bikers also disturb nesting habitats of migratory and resident birds. Bikers scare away all animals which live in the forest. Mountain bikers erode and compact trails, accelerating mountain slope deterioration and more ecological disruption. The large treads of mountain bike tires also transport the seeds of invasive plants to other parts of the forest, like Japanese barberry, Japanese stiltgrass and poison ivy, which are overrunning New York State parks and campgrounds.
The photo of a mountain biker only serves to encourage more irresponsible people to invade our dwindling wild spaces, further stressing our disappearing biodiversity – all across the state! Forest preserves like Ferncliff (the term is an oxymoron in itself) do not protect our dwindling forest spaces, but only intensify the human bootprint on the remaining pristine green spaces still left in the Hudson Valley!
Victor C. Capelli
Town of Ulster
Are developers paying fair share of taxes?
I’m a resident in Highland. Like many other fellow Highland residents, I have noticed numerous developments proposed and approved in what seemed to be a very rushed and non-transparent manner in the Town of Lloyd.
Our town supervisor Fred Pizzuto, when running for office, estimated if all of these projects were to go through, it would create a ten-percent population increase, not to mention an enormous impact on our current infrastructure and services. While we recognize the value of development, we respectfully request the facts and support if some of these developments would actually benefit the community and “lower the tax base,” as the Town Board, the Planning Board and the developers claim.
The big question is, has the Town Board done an assessment of if the tax revenue received from the proposed developments could, at the very least, offset the burden on the town’s public services such as fire, police and emergency services? Companies and developers, just like me and you, should pay their share of taxes.
Silver Gardens is one of the many recent proposed developments. Silver Gardens is proposed by developer Richard Gerentine in a joint venture with RUPCO, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization. The project will provide low-income individuals retirement apartment living. Numerous council members have claimed these types of developments would “enhance the tax base,” yet the structure of the organization does not support these claims.
Property taxes represent 67 percent of the Town of Lloyd’s 2019 revenue report. The Town of Lloyd incurs a much higher burden of taxes in 2020 at a 3.22 percent effective tax rate. This was well above neighboring townships such as Woodstock (at 1.92 percent), Gardiner (at 2.73 percent) and Esopus (at 2.68 percent). Imagine paying 42 cents higher at the gas station than your neighbors!
The union between Mr. Gerentine and RUPCO offers several tax advantages. The development will generate federal low-income housing credits. Mr. Gerentine will offset his federal tax liabilities in other mature properties, as Silver Gardens will benefit from accelerated depreciation on the building development. What is important to Lloyd residents is that the property tax abatement outlined in RP-485-b will also go to Mr. Gerentine, as RUPCO is not subject to property tax. This will alleviate 50 percent of the property tax bill to Mr. Gerentine in the first year. While creating affordable housing is important for our senior community, consideration should take place as to what burden that social support will cost the current taxpayers.
The Bridgeview community, where Silver Gardens will be located, pays more than its fair share of taxes. Bridgeview residents represent 6 percent of the population of the Town of Lloyd. However, they contribute almost 21 percent of the property tax value (approximately $650K out of $3.1M) to the town, according to the Fiscal Year 2019 audited financial statements. These individuals are essentially writing a check each year to Mr. Gerentine to support his business.
The Town Board has not released an assessment of the anticipated revenue from Silver Gardens or any major development. These planning documents would be important to understand what additional emergency services, police, fire and maintenance work would need to be done to handle the extra capacity. It would also help understand whether the additional revenue would be applied to the high balance of outstanding loans on water and sewer facilities, or to lower the already high tax burden on town residents.
All individuals, especially our seniors, deserve affordable housing. It is important that the community understands that the developer is building because it is profitable. It is profitable because they are exploiting policies in a joint venture with a not-for-profit to severely limit their tax burden. That burden will be shifted to the community to pay our roads, our loans and our public service members. The least the town can do is tell us what the bill will be and who will be left footing the bill.
The finish line!
Getting something done in Woodstock can be like trying to visit a friend who lives in an area you have never been to before. You know where you want to go, but are not sure how to get there. More often than not, you get lost, forget either where you are going or are misdirected by people who claim to know the area, and you rarely get to where you were trying to go.
Shootings in Kingston
On February 5, there was a drive-by shooting next to my son’s daycare at 9 a.m. in the morning. As a concerned father, I reached out to my elected representatives and received mixed responses. To her credit, Senator Hinchey got on the phone with me very quickly and was responsive to my concerns. Thank you! On the other hand, Assemblyman Cahill will not take a meeting, a Zoom call or even acknowledge my existence. His staff have been excellent gatekeepers, to their credit, and very responsive, but that doesn’t make my son any more safe. I find it interesting that Assemblyman Cahill can stonewall me for two-plus months, thinking that I will just go away. Keep in mind that this shooting occurred a few blocks away from his Kingston office.
If Assemblyman Cahill cannot even be bothered to handle issues in his own district, why is he still in office? This is fundamentally why our political system is rotting away. “Leaders” like Assemblyman Cahill think that they’re above us, that they do not have to speak with us and that they have better things to do than be concerned with “our” problems. Maybe if I was a large-money donor or an insurance lobbyist I would get a call back. Unfortunately, I’m not; I’m just a father concerned for my son’s safety, and Assemblyman Cahill cannot be bothered to speak with me.
Public access is needed
An Internet access is a must-have, to follow along with government. #KingstonNY meetings are no longer broadcast on television. The city has not reappointed any members to the Cable Commission; Resolution 137 of 1995 a/k/a Section 14 Public, Educational, Government Access (PEG) and Section 15 rates Time Warner Cable (Spectrum) City of Kingston ten-year contract expired in 2016. The City of Kingston and towns are collecting revenue from the cable franchise fees over a half-million dollars from the cable subscribers and don’t direct any funds to the public access station.
Clark Richters, Sr.
Send in the clowns
“The man (Mr. Civile) doth protest too much, methinks.” His latest reply letter (April 7), Vol. 2 No. 14 edition, to my spot-on comments of an earlier “letter to the editor” of his, was ridiculous from start to finish.
Mr. Civile opined: “Neil also failed to mention that the FBI testified before Congress that no arms were found among the protestors of what had been characterized as an ‘armed’ insurrection, or that I wrote that, even if the crowd was only 50,000, the protest would still qualify as 99 percent mostly peaceful.”
In addition, Mr. Civile commented: “Neil also quibbled with my estimate of there being 600 people who ‘attacked’ the Capitol Building by claiming I have no basis for such a number. However, this was the estimate I read of the number of people who defied Trump’s admonition to ‘peacefully and patriotically’ make their voices heard. In any event, even if the crowd was twice or ten times that number…”
In a letter dated March 21, Mr. Civile typed this: “Since 600 is less than one percent of even 50,000, the qualifier that over 99 percent of those attending the ‘unarmed’ insurrection of January 6 were peaceful would be accurate.”
My percentages, based on your numbers, Mr. Civile, for all to see: [600 is what percent of 50,000? = 1.2 percent], [1,200 is what percent of 50,000? = 2.4 percent], [6,000 is what percent of 50,000? = 12 percent] Oh my, certainly not 99 percent peaceful, is it? Also, in the wake of the January 6 insurrection in the US Capitol, a popular narrative had emerged: that because rioters did not fire guns that day, they were not really “armed.” Sir, the word as defined is much broader, referring simply to carrying a weapon. So, the question is whether this insurrection involved people carrying weapons. And it certainly did.
The federal charges against the alleged rioters shows that they did come armed, and with a variety of weapons: stun guns (including a 950,000-volt stun-gun walking stick), bear spray, pepper spray, baseball bats and flagpoles wielded as clubs. Many makeshift weapons were also used, such as a thrown fire extinguisher, and insurrectionists brought zip-cuffs. An additional suspect also allegedly planted pipe bombs by the headquarters of the Democratic and Republican Parties the night before the riot and remains at large. And yes, those weapons brought violence and chaos to the Capitol and harmed Capitol Police (more than 100 police officers suffered injuries, including cracked ribs, gouged eyes and shattered spinal disks), even sadly killing one officer.
By the way, FBI spokesperson Carol Cratty said that FBI special agent Sanborn, when addressing Congress, was talking only specifically about arrests by the FBI (no guns found). Sanborn is quoted as saying, “To my knowledge, none,” but that leaves out the first part of Sanborn’s response, when she declined to speak for the DC Metropolitan Police Department or US Capitol Police or other law enforcement agencies that made arrests on the day of the riot – which included arrests of people allegedly carrying guns or in ownership of them.
As for Blowin’ in the Wind, Mr. Civile’s faux facts with made-up numbers are based on his assumptions and/or his obfuscating the truth once again. It’s nothing more than BS wafting across the Hudson Valley One readership while we hold our collective nose. Yes, it smells really bad with his disinformation, purposeful misinformation, plus its convoluted reasoning/and mathematical assertions.
Bottom line: Mr. Civile’s newest railing last week was obviously a poor attempt at criticism of my earlier letter, which successfully countered his March 21 letter. He’s obviously doubling down with continued made-up nonsense. He now states size matters for his new propaganda piece. Well, I’ll see that, and raise you: that “Lies Matter More,” so please stop it.
We are again approaching a new dawn: Soon all public schools will be open. However, as some good news is coming to help, they need your help in imagining what school could be. What would your school look like or offer with unlimited resources for all who think big or think out of the box?
Here are my thoughts:
A school that honored spirituality of all kinds and had space for anyone’s spiritual needs; a place where young people could decide what cultural second or third language they would partake in at an early age, even age three; a place where anyone could speak freely in their own dialect; a place where the students farmed and grew their own dirt-to-plate food and helped in the dining area – perhaps the older children cooked, the younger ones set the table and everyone cleaned up; a place that didn’t look like a prison – maybe a house or more land, more outdoor learning for science, gym and art; a mix of all the schools, Montessori, Waldorf and Sudbury Schools; staggered schools, so that school started early and ended early for 5-to-10-year-olds and started later for 11 and up, such as 7-to-2 younger and 8-to-3 older; teens need more sleep and independence, while younger children learn best early; more art, more music; more men teaching in the younger grades, making young boys better readers and writers.
What are your thoughts? Speak up and dream big.
Thanks to local postmaster, letter-carriers
We live on a small, single-lane road with not much turnaround space. After all these many years of having our mail delivered, our postmaster decided our road was no longer safe for the delivery person to traverse and decided to stop delivery to our road. To our postmaster’s credit, he agreed to meet with the residents of our road, and after discussions and exploration of several options, he agreed to a compromise that will allow the residents of our road to continue to receive mail delivery.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank both our postmaster and our delivery people for taking their time to meet with us, hear our concerns and find a compromise solution that can work for everyone. It is a nice thing to know that at least on the local level, one’s concerns can be heard, respected and that compromise is possible. Thank you very much to our postmaster and our delivery people.
Growing up is hard
There are many grownups but few adults.
Atypical Earth Day Fair Unbound
Since 2002, there has been an Earth Day Fair on the grounds of the Reformed Church of New Paltz. Then, in 2020, COVID arrived, and it was canceled. This year, the New Paltz Climate Action Coalition, the New Paltz Interfaith Earth Action and the Caring for Creation Committee of the Reformed Church decided that safety and caution come first, so there will not be the typical Earth Day fair. Determined to make lemonade out of lemons, there will be instead an “Atypical Earth Day Fair Unbound.”
An online series on our YouTube channel, bit.ly/earthdayunbound, will feature Earth-conscious presenters (techno tabling!) offering a variety of environmental information and perspectives; in addition, community faith leaders will offer caring-for-Creation blessings from their traditions. You can also tune in to music from former Earth Day Fair performers. There will also be memorial tributes to John Wackman and Dan Guenther, who were important partners in past Earth Day programs, as well as being all-around environmental champions.
In keeping with our tradition, the flags of all the countries of the Earth will fly over Huguenot Street (thank you, Ann and Dan Guenther). This year, there will be additional signage about each country’s environmental footprint. You can also stroll down the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail from Broadhead to Mulberry Street and check out informational signs about reducing your own carbon footprint.
Since the flags and the signs along the rail trail will be up from approximately April 19 to April 25, we don’t have to worry about a one-day rain washout of Earth Day. More “lemonade” is in the form of online presentations not subject to quirky April weather.
Thanks, and be a part of our Atypical Earth Day Fair Unbound!