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.
What best serves the Town of Woodstock
It was suggested to us by one of our local vendors working at Woodstock Way that we should share the plans we had for 100 Tinker Street a/k/a Lasher Funeral Home in a public capacity, such as in a letter to the newspaper. We agree, and as such, we would like the community to know the following:
On Friday, March 26, we invited the community/Town Board members to visit with us at the Lasher property to further discuss our plans for developing 100 Tinker Street, at which time we announced our willingness to rethink our plans to develop the back acres/open field. We publicly stated at that meeting that we would put this intent in writing: our intent to preserve the open field and to sell that portion of the property back to neighbors who expressed a strong desire to buy it. It was also during this meeting that we heard neighbors and community residents express a strong desire for a townwide artist-in-residence (AIR) program. In an effort to work with the community towards this goal, we came up with a solution, which we were in the process of putting in motion. Specifically:
• Instead of demolishing the building on property that houses the actual funeral parlor, we said we would bring new life to it by creating two artist suites on the second floor: a studio room for painting/sculpting and two gallery rooms for works on display.
• And further, that all net proceeds generated from the gallery sales would be donated to Woodstock charities and emergency services in need, with gallery shows curated by local artists. We discussed these AIR plans publicly with various members of the community, up until the time we asked for an approval contingency, given the community call for potential zoning changes brought on by a building moratorium.
Additionally, we have attended talks with various Woodstock committees and heard from Ulster County Housing Board members about the need for affordable housing. In September of 2020, Woodstock Way rented a studio during the pandemic and provided it to one of our current local employees as a workforce dwelling. Recently, we have also identified two more locations for workforce dwellings here in Woodstock. During the talks with the town committees addressing ideas for housing, we have expressed our willingness to participate in identifying more possible options in and around town for affordable housing.
We bring this to your attention because we believe that the public should know our intentions with regard to 100 Tinker Street – yes, we hoped to purchase the property and develop it, but we also wanted to support our community by listening and finding middle ground. This is why we personally invited any interested party to reach out and meet with us. We wish the Peterson family all the best as they endeavor to find a buyer for 100 Tinker Street and likewise hope the community will include us in ongoing discussions about what best serves our town.
Jesse Halliburton, Ryan Giuliani
Woodstock Way Hotel
A farewell to John
Our Elting Library will soon be missing one of its finest. After many years of tireless service to the library, we will no longer see library director John Giralico, who has tirelessly served the library for many years and is now moving on to a well-earned retirement.
It was always a delight to run into John at the library. He may have been busy, but he always seemed to be able to find the time for a friendly chat. John, I’m sure the entire community would wish you a happy and fulfilling retirement.
It seems there have been some things our American society has had difficulty figuring out, but libraries, going clear back to Andrew Carnegie, are not one of them. I know for myself it is always a thrill when I am leaving my library with a book I am really looking forward to reading and that I didn’t even have to pay for.
There is so much more that our libraries offer other than just books. Elting offers cultural programs, book groups, programs for teens, as well as programs for children of all ages.
It is also worth looking on the webpage for the many electronic offerings. Under electronic services, you will find Kanopy and Hoopla, which offers wonderful movies, Universal Classes offering over 500 online courses, college prep tools, free academic tutoring, Brainforce Job Now, Quelo – which offers concert films and music documentaries – and Mango, a language learning program.
Libraries are so vital to our lives and our towns.
John, we will all miss you.
We have to get there
The proposed new gas-fired generating plant at Danskammer Point in Newburgh is not necessary. A press release from the New York Independent Systems Operator dated July 29, 2019 said, “The CRP baseline analysis found no reliability needs for the forecasted system conditions over the ten-year study period.” The 120 pages of the 2019 ISO report issue no call for new base-loaded thermal generating facilities that could be useful as spinning reserve. The study takes into account (p. 18) the closing of Indian Point 1, 2 and 3. It did note “deficiencies” that can “potentially be addressed by combinations of solutions.”
A webpage from Danskammer Energy spins the report thus: “Reports [sic] Findings: An upgraded Danskammer will serve as a reliable dispatchable energy source. According to NYISO, a large quantity of on-demand dispatchable resource is critical in maintaining reliability and transitioning the grid.”
Neither statement is flat wrong, except that “will” is presumptuous, and should read “could.” No one would dispute that bringing another 550 base-loaded MW plant on line would increase grid security and allow the retirement or slowdown of 550 MW elsewhere in the region. That is not at all the same as implying through statements like the “Reports findings” that such an addition is necessary, much less “critical.”
If there were no downsides, we might say okay. But there are very steep downsides. For one, the proposed plant is incompatible with the New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which aims for a 40 percent reduction in economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. We can get there using renewable energy sources, improved transmission and advancing battery storage. Face it, we have to get there. We won’t by building greenhouse gas mega-emitters; that’s moving backwards. Go to https://stoptheplant.org to send your arguments against the new plant to the Siting Board of the Public Service Commission.
Stephen Q. Shafer
Village of Saugerties CCA concerns & Texas troubles
In an April 5, 2021 article in the Daily Freeman, William Kimble reported some Village of Saugerties officials have become wary of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) as a result of the recent power debacle in Texas resulting in lengthy power outages and large increases in electricity bills.
Concerns that what happened in Texas could happen in a New York State CCA program are unfounded. Here’s why:
New York State has strict oversight of its grid operation and is part of a larger regional grid that provides backup, if needed. Texas does not. If any of the Texas customers had been a part of a CCA, as being offered in New York, they could not have been price-gouged. That’s because residents participating in a CCA are guaranteed a fixed rate that can’t be raised no matter what during the term of the contract with the energy provider. It seems the Texas experience is a reason to want to be part of a CCA, not a caution against.
It should also be emphasized that in a CCA, both the community and the individual retain the ultimate choice of the source that provides their electrical needs, and that the municipality has the choice of providers; it does not become the provider, as stated in the article. The power will always come from New York State’s (unlike Texas’!) well-regulated grid and by way of Central Hudson’s electrical delivery infrastructure and billing mechanism.
One must also realize that Central Hudson’s role in making the supply source decision is already an opt-out situation on your Central Hudson bill. If you don’t choose an energy provider, Central Hudson supplies what they want at whatever price it is, and the price is not fixed. If the community becomes involved in CCA, you have an additional choice, at a guaranteed price, from a preferred source in a process overseen by the New York State Public Service Commission for the consumers’ protection. What’s not to like?
Village of Saugerties trustees say they want to hear from their constituents on the matter of CCA. Intelligent feedback can only come from informed individuals. I urge village officials to complete the steps they have started to allow their constituents to have access to the information and outreach that is already being offered to town residents to further their knowledge of the workings of CCA. The outreach process to inform the community comes at no cost and with no commitment from anyone. The confusion and misconceptions contained in the Daily Freeman article are all the more reason to present factual information through the outreach program going forward.
If anyone would like to speak to the non-profit organization leading the awareness-building efforts relative to CCA, they can call (845) 859-9099 or send an e-mail to info@hudsonvalley communitypower.com.
Village of Saugerties
Delgado’s office responds to constituent’s needs
Typically, I will write to a politician when they do something that upsets me. But for well over a year, I have had a problem with the IRS owing me two years of refunds and a stimulus check that amounted to a large chunk of money. Good luck trying to reach anyone at the IRS.
Out of frustration, and expecting little more than a form-letter response, I wrote to Congressman Antonio Delgado. To my surprise, I received a call two days later from a staff member wanting to know all the details. Their advice was helpful and promised a follow-up. To my utter amazement, the IRS called me! While all my issues were not resolved, I was given a time frame when my money would be sent.
A big thank-you to Delgado’s office and an appreciation that government can respond to a constituent’s needs.
Cancel student debt
I write regarding the student debt crisis and in support of canceling student debt.
Most borrowers take on student debt as a necessary risk to finance an education that is needed to compete in the job market. My family and I are managing six figures of student debt, mostly from my pursuing a doctoral degree in order to work as a psychologist. I believe in what I do, but the continual financial sacrifices, of which my loan debt is the primary component, create significant stress. I have made job decisions solely based on managing my debt – at the cost of time with my family and milestones such as buying a house. It genuinely saddens me to think of others not pursuing helping professions, or for many, not being able to afford college at all, due to these concerns.
Not surprisingly, the student debt crisis affects black Americans, and particularly black women, to a greater degree than white Americans. The ACLU reported that canceling $50,000 of student debt per eligible borrower would function to reduce the racial wealth gap by at least 20 percent. However, the same report found that President Biden’s proposal to cancel $10,000 would actually increase the racial disparities. Please urge President Biden to cancel $50,000 of eligible debt through executive order while longer-term solutions to help future students are put into place. It would be life-changing for me and so many others.
“I never really felt threatened…people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break a law.” So spoke Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, on a radio show after the January insurrection that attempted to overturn the results of a democratic election in what is supposed to be the pantheon of peaceful government transfer of power.
Then, to be sure to make his point, the good senator said that if they (the rioters) were black people, he would have been worried about his safety (paraphrased). This seems to be the mantra of the New Republican Party, as amplified by Always-Trumpers in letters to the editor of this paper.
They weren’t armed because they didn’t have guns? Clubs, pipes, spray irritants…things that could cause bodily harm aren’t weapons in the hands of white people, but they would be in the hands of blacks?
They respect the police? Over 140 police officers were injured in the attack. Some were stabbed with makeshift weapons like fenceposts. Threats directed to Capitol police can be clearly heard in videos.
They were (99 percent) peaceful? The Capitol Building, where the most democratic government on the face of the Earth does its business, sustained over 30 million dollars of damage. Doors and windows broken in, public property destroyed, private property stolen. Classified government documents compromised.
There were direct threats of bodily harm to elected officials. The fact that there were doesn’t mitigate the acts.
The argument that they were angry and had legitimate reasons (stolen election…again?) to do what they did pales in comparison to people protesting the weekly killing of unarmed men and women because they are black.
The comparisons of this “legitimate” riot and the “illegitimate” BLM protests are overtly racist.
Poetry in motion
All poetry is just nature misquoted.
Straining at gnats and swallowing camels
“You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.” In his letter Send in the clowns, Neil Jarmel focused on the gnat of my careless, math mistakes regarding the percentage of protesters needed to qualify the January 6 rally as being 99% mostly peaceful. By doing so, Mr. Jarmel, once again avoided the main point (the camel if you will) of my letter which is the following: despite massive property destruction, many injuries and loss of life during the summer of 2020 protests, the majority of the media and Democrats characterized the protests as “mostly peaceful” because they supported the reasons for the protests. However, this same media refused to qualify the January 6 rally, in which the property damage, injuries and loss of life were minimal, as being “mostly peaceful” because Trump was involved. With this in view, even Mr. Jarmel, who demonstrated a remarkable capacity to determine percentages in his last letter, would admit that his largest percentage of 12% regarding the number of protestors involved in the “insurrection” is less than the remaining 88% of those attending the rally/protest who did not participate in it. This would, of course, qualify the January 6 crowd as being “mostly peaceful.”
Moreover, in my letter I gave reasonable support for the actual number of people attending the rally as being between 600 to 800 thousand. If the number attending was only 250,000, even 6,000 “insurrectionists” being among that crowd would make the protests 95% mostly peaceful. And, regarding the number of “weapons” discovered from 600 (or 6,000) people: it would not be wrong (unless Neil is counting pocket combs, hair brushes, nail files, tooth brushes, Q-tips and tweezers as weapons) to say that “most” of the “insurrectionists” were unarmed.
In the hope that Mr. Jarmel will continue our debate, I present the following questions for his consideration: An unarmed 35-year-old woman, Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, was shot and killed by a capitol police officer while in the capitol building on January 6 and the unnamed officer who shot her was not charged in the shooting. Although it can be argued that she was trespassing, does it bother you that Ms. Babbitt was killed and that the name of the officer who shot her has not been revealed? If you argue that by trespassing, the unarmed, Ms. Babbitt broke the law thus placing herself in jeopardy and was therefore responsible for her own death, do you think that the rest of the unarmed protestors — if shot — would also have been responsible if they died and the officers who shot them should also remain unknown and not criminally charged? Do you think police officers have the right to shoot other unarmed people who are trespassing during protests, as in the instances of those who stormed the building where the Senate was holding hearings on the Kavanaugh nomination or attacked Federal buildings and destroyed private property during the summer of 2020 protests? Should police officers have the right to shoot unarmed suspects when they are committing the crime of resisting arrest? Be careful as you answer the questions, Mr. Jarmel: you may very well find yourself swallowing another camel.
In praise of Elting Library
Living in New Paltz, with the beautiful natural setting and many in-town “amenities,” we are so fortunate. Whose spirit would NOT be lifted just seeing the gorgeous cliffs as soon as you pass the tollbooths and even more so when walking, biking or skiing the R2R trail! Even just being in the Mohonk and Minnewaska woods is a special, unique and memorable experience — every time! I could go on about the attractions, but we each have some favorites. And we are lucky to have a fairly well-functioning local government.
And then there is the Elting Library! What a treasure that is — with so much history. Granted, the collection is not too large, but being part of the Mid-Hudson Library System, it enables us to use the vast collections of that large network. And we do use it extensively. In a community of some 7,500 residents (not counting SUNY students), there are annually about 100,000 items requested for circulation! And there are other services and events, the library affords us — even sending a fax. And each time you walk into the library, or even on the walkway, you meet interesting people. Above all, what a friendly, knowledgeable, informative, helpful staff meets us each time we walk in!
I, for one, will miss chatting with John, the director for close to 50 years, who has finally decided to retire and take it easy — at least for three months. Hope to see you soon, John!
Wanted: More voters!
On the upcoming May 4, 2021 ballot we are asking village voters to affirm our strong recommendation that we move our May village elections to November. Here we detail our rationale that includes increased participation and efficiency with reduced cost.
It is well documented that national elections have the highest level of voter turnout, so it is not surprising that our village elections have the lowest turnout, as compared to even our town elections. For example, in the last presidential vote in 2020, the turnout for the Town of New Paltz was 39 percent, in the last town supervisor election it was 26 percent, and in the last three village elections it ranged from a low of 6 to a high of 13 percent.
We regularly “decide” the leadership of the village based on the choices made by fewer than 400 voters. This is indefensible in a village with a potential total electorate of about 6,500 residents aged 18+ eligible to vote, and needs serious attention and remedy.
Voter suppression is a hot topic these days because several states have legislation before them that will make legal practices that are proven to reduce participation. It’s been long documented that increasing the number of times people have to vote decreases the chances of them showing up — or being able to show up — multiple times again and again and again. In New Paltz, if you live in the village, it’s possible to be eligible to vote four times a year: village, school board/budget, June primaries, November general election. Reducing that to three will increase the number of people voting in village elections — a desired goal for little “d” democracy.
Yes, major parties are currently disallowed from village elections. But the process for creating an independent party and running on a non-partisan line is allowed in all NYS elections. Recall a few years back when Dan Torres ran for town board on both the Democratic line and his own created “Bull Moose” line. That option has not incited great participation here in the village in the past, nor is the ability to create your own party and run on that line going to go away with a move to November village elections.
Additionally, the state has recently instituted new election processes that the village does not have the capacity to allow for, but we certainly want to be able to provide these broadened ways to vote, in particular, early voting and vote-by-mail. And because of some arcane rules particular to villages, we also do not allow for affidavit voting. This solution — moving village elections to November — remedies these issues and further improves voter participation. (And if IRV (instant runoff voting, being test run in NYC this year) is added to the county repertoire, add ranked choice voting to the potential list of innovations we want to be a part of and offer to voters too.)
Additionally, centralizing the administration at the county level will be more efficient and save village taxpayers money. With the Ulster County Board of Elections running all local elections, the costs will be reduced overall. And results will also be more accessible, as they will be posted in a timely fashion as standard practice, on the BOE website and in the same location along with all the other election results across the county.
This proposal will get us more voters and reduce the burden on taxpayers. Mark your calendars for May 4 to please join us in voting yes at the firehouse from 12 to 9 p.m. to move our elections to November.
Mayor Tim Rogers
Deputy Mayor Dr. KT Tobin
Trustee Alexandra Wojcik
Trustee Michele Zipp
Atrocity in the woods
Ever since the opening up of the Ashokan Rail Trail (ART) in October of 2019, to great fanfare and the expected influx of more than 40,000 people a year to walk through this atrocity in the woods, the ART has become a major disturbance factor in the dissolution and disintegration of Catskill Park ecosystems and one of the factors for the accelerating pace of declining New York State biodiversity.
Now, on the 51st anniversary of Earth Day, when many of us are celebrating the successes, failures and challenges of an environmental movement ( sadly succumbed to the cooption of big business and the outdoor recreation industry), we have the ART as the prime example of a major Catskill Mountain environmental fiasco. Notwithstanding, the pandemic-induced craze to walk in the outdoors, the Ashokan Rail Trail is an impetus to wholesale environmental rapine.
Make no mistake about it, this urban park punched into the Catskill woods is creating many environmental negatives, which when combined with the synergistic effects of climate change (erratic weather, drought, lack of snow cover, biological extinction) is producing a contrived manscape of outdoor recreation amenity-loaded boondoggle; designed to lure up the New York City (and elsewhere) hordes for only one reason — the tourist dollar.
Consider the impact of thousands of people, dogs, bikers, hikers, trail runners and skateboarders walking next to a shrinking Ashokan Reservoir (40% of NYC water supply) and it’s DEP, DEC, local land conservancy mismanaged ecosystems: the visual and olfactory blight of dog feces and doggy poop bags on the trail, an adjacent creeping “dead zone” of emigrating wildlife and birds away from the ART due to unleashed dog activity, the dog vector of deer tick spread, increasing invasive plant colonization (Japanese Knotweed, Japanese Stiltgrass and Barberry just to name a few), interruption and alteration of hydrologic surface and subsurface water pathways to vernal pools, wetlands, which in turn negatively affects critical salamander populations, forest fragmentation and disruption that diminishes aquifer recharge, vehicle exhaust emissions from idling cars at the parking lot producing more greenhouse gasses, the spread of poison ivy due to increasingly arid soil conditions and disturbance along the ART, the “urban heat island effect” of more blacktop and gravel road ways raising summertime and wintertime air and water temperatures. I haven’t even mentioned crime (a robbery was just reported there), litter and the congestion of too many people on the ART leading to still more “human” problems occurring every day.
Aldo Leopold, the conservationist and naturalist/author of A Sand County Almanac famously wrote, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Leopold also wrote; “Drums along the Mohawk are now honks along the rivers of the world. Homo sapiens putters no more under his own vine and fig tree, he has poured into his gas tank the stored motivity of countless creatures aspiring through the ages to wriggle their way to pastures anew. Antlike he swarms the continents.” In like fashion, the Ashokan Rail Trail just adds insult to injury on an already ravaged earth striving to survive in the man-engendered ecocide of The Sixth Extinction. Happy Earth Day!
Victor C. and Zura Capelli
Town of Ulster
For those of you who asked if I am related to the former Esopus town supervisor Shannan Harris, the one who said, according to Hudson Valley One, “she resigned as supervisor because she no longer wanted an ‘around-the-clock’ job” and “estimated her former position required 60 hours a week,” the answer is I am not.
Hogwash, the continuous GOP lying machine
Legislation “signing of the times” … Georgia Republicans are worried that Americans are planning to interfere in elections. So yes, let’s talk about “election fraud”! It seems it’s the Republicans who are guilty of it! What’s up with that? Do your homework, voters, and learn how the GOP works.
The Republicans know they cannot win the popular vote, so they are determined to make voting harder for everyone, especially minorities. These very new and horrible voter-suppression laws by the Georgia governor are a direct result of Georgia’s electoral votes going to Biden and two Democratic senators. The voter-suppression laws aren’t just about voter ID. It’s about shortening voting times, eliminating precincts, restricting vote-by-mail and eliminating drop-boxes. All of these are aimed at people of color and are meant to sustain white supremacy. They’ve hamstrung urban, high-density areas by forcing them to operate like rural areas. Most egregious is the provision that allows the state legislature to take over and oust the local election boards, giving absolute power over voting results to state legislatures. They’ve taken away the will of the people.
People like the Georgia governor bring to our attention a brighter light on what is wrong in America, and like Trump, they are their own worst enemy. The above is a specific outline of voter suppression that is on its way to being instituted in many states. There was zero significant voter fraud in the 2020 election. Period. It is a lie that the election was anything but secure. Georgia’s votes were counted and recounted over and over again! The conservative GOP of Georgia and the conservative US Supreme Court both said Biden won fair and square. It was man-child Trump, a presidential election loser, who tried to bribe the Georgia secretary of state. Therefore, there are no “election security” issues, nor any reason to change the way voting was in 2020. Republicans lost, so they now want to change the rules. Gaming, or manipulating (a situation), typically in a way that is unfair, is the only way for them going forward.
Standing for voter accessibility is a good thing. Unfortunately, common decency and integrity didn’t prevent from knowingly spreading false information by the Republican Party. I know black people and/or minorities are the big target, but I believe anything that will keep liberal populations from voting is on the table. The GOP is now fully engaged in a nationwide effort to suppress the vote of those most likely to vote against them. Unconscionable and despicable! Pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act now, or Republicans will gerrymander and vote-suppress our democracy to death.
Businesses, you need to join the fight! Democracy works for you too, and includes your employees and your customers!
If not now…when?
This past Tuesday morning, as I do every morning, I ate breakfast while listening to Democracy Now. It’s a wonderful and in-depth news report on the radio that is usually focused on liberal and progressive ideals. I tend to lean that way myself, so I’m often supportive to their points of view about the latest in the news. But this past Tuesday morning I was initially stunned, and then totally outraged, when I heard about the recent killing of another black man in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. It’s hard to believe that this police killing took place just ten miles from the ongoing trial about the George Floyd murder.
The victim, Duante Wright, a 20-year-old black man, was peacefully driving at 2 p.m. last Sunday afternoon, with his girlfriend sitting next to him in the passenger seat. He was pulled over by the police because of some air freshener hanging on his rearview mirror. Really? An air freshener? One thing led to another, and a few minutes later Duante was dead. That’s right: dead. Killed by a bullet, shot dead by a white female officer, a veteran of the police force for over 26 years. It was clearly an accident. But was it really? The bodycam recorded the incident, along with her yelling “Taser,” then shooting her gun. Her immediate reaction was that the shooting was a mistake. A mistake? Really?
I am not writing to go over all the details of the horrible incident. No. However, I am writing to let you all know how I reacted to the news. I slowed down while eating my breakfast, and listened more carefully. The more I heard, the more I was totally disgusted with yet another horrible police shooting of a black man. Then listening to the frustrated black activists speaking in no uncertain terms about the latest incident. More discussion about the flagrant racism that continues to affect all black people each and every day. I felt my righteous anger bubbling up. But what to do?
I am a 72-year-old white man, and never once had to fear the police in the same way black folks have had to, throughout their lives. The combination of the ongoing, relentless racism, and the unwavering archaic police attitudes that usually add to the problems, made me sick to my stomach. I can only imagine what it must be like for every black mother and father.
Over the last year I’ve been following the strong and inspiring words by outspoken black leaders, boldly insisting on the desperate need for major change. I’ve also been uplifted by the Black Lives Matter movement and marches around the country. Now the visible slogan has shifted from “I can’t breathe” to “driving while black.” It’s just so painful.
So, what am I going to do? Am I going to feel angry for a while, and then go back to my comfortable and cozy life? No. I now understand what is happening to black people in our country more than ever. It’s an ongoing tragedy. I know now what I honestly didn’t understand years ago. It is not okay. It is wrong. If I allow the oppressive racism to continue without speaking out against it, then I am an accomplice to the systematic mistreatment. This has to affect me and my body deeply. I must do something to let others know that, as a white man, I will not remain quiet any longer about the wrongs that are being done to black people. In fact, if I now choose to do nothing, then I might as well call myself a racist. If I do nothing, I am allowing the wound of moral injury to fester in my belly and my heart. If I do nothing, then I must decide to turn away and flip into denial. And if I choose that, then I allow something to die inside of me.
But I cannot do anything anymore. Writing this article is my first attempt at being visible and being heard about how I feel about these injustices. I am sorry that it has taken me this long to become more active in speaking out against the horrible oppression of racism. But I do believe that I may have moved the huge emotional boulder that was in my way for all those years. In the name of Breonna Taylor, Duante Wright, George Floyd and all the other black victims, I promise that I will do my best to challenge myself to be more outspoken. Silence or denial are no longer options for me.
And what will you do after reading this article? If you do nothing, then you are part of the problem. If you do something, anything, no matter how small, it will help build the momentum of change in our country, which so desperately needs to get unstuck in this area. But first, you must honestly explore your thoughts and feelings about racism. Will you join me today? If not now…when?
My father was a black man born in 1917. This is not an opinion or a judgment, but a fact. I never once heard him complain about how people treated him because of his race. The subject never came up. He worked all his life, from teen years to almost the end of his life. He served his country in the military. Most of the time he worked more than one job. His mother taught him how to sew, and he worked so hard at learning the craft that he became the supervisor of the tailor shop at West Point Military Academy. On his own, he learned how to sew slipcovers and drapes. He started and ran his own one-man business in his basement. He sewed them until 11 at night after working a full day at the Academy.
Dad was pulled over occasionally for speeding. He would be in a rush leaving the Academy on his way to measure a client’s furniture and/or windows. He had enormous respect for the police, and here is what he taught me about being pulled over.
Pull over immediately. Turn engine off, keys on dashboard. License out of wallet and also put on dashboard. Hands on wheel. Get ready to say “Yes, officer.” He showed respect and it was shown to him in return. He did not have time to argue, defy or (horrors) lead the police on a police chase that put so many people in danger. He had to get to work.
The other reason he had no problems of the kind we see today is that he did not drink or take any other recreational drugs. There was no alcohol in the house. He was always completely sober. There are always going to be mentally ill people in the world. If we have the unfortunate circumstance of having to deal with a person or officer who is so mentally ill as to feel justified in squashing a human being to death in the street, sobriety could be one of the ways to deal calmly with that very serious situation. Being under the influence puts one at a grave disadvantage. It could cost you your life. Being completely sober could save it.
Dad did not wait for the world to act right. He took the lead in his own life and made it the best that he could for himself and his children.
Community Choice Aggregation
When I last expressed my support to the Village of Saugerties trustees for Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), I was confident that the proposal from Joule would be accepted. Now, the trustees are waffling, claiming that we may be exposing village residents to the “Texas catastrophe” of a widespread power failure and massive bills. That is not going to happen. Texas’ woes were largely the result of not being connected to the national power grid. We are connected. Furthermore, it is Joule’s proposal to not change the price of electricity for the entire life of the contract.
As for the other persistent objection of preferring an “opt-in” policy over one that requires an “opt-out” to change, that is precisely what Saugerties residents currently have with Central Hudson. Why delay this any longer? It is right for the village because it will save money and it is right for the environment because it will save carbon emissions. Say “Yes” to CCA.
Update stormwater laws
The public hearing on whether to update stormwater management laws for the Village of New Paltz remains open. We are seeking your feedback.
One goal of the update is to make sure the Village Planning Board has an easy-to-follow review process when members consider impacts from adding impervious surface and appropriate remediation. Impacts need to be considered for all applications that are less than one acre and, separately, for those that are greater than one acre for New York State Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) compliance.
For many years now, the New Paltz Village Board has been investing in solutions to fix our stormwater “inflow and infiltration” (I&I) problems. When too much stormwater enters and stresses out the system, I&I makes our treatment plant work harder, wasting electricity and increasing wear on our wastewater treatment plant’s multi-million-dollar mechanicals.
See proposed changes using this link, https://tinyurl.com/rssasshn, to “Chapter 178 – Subdivision of Land,” “Chapter 212 – Zoning,” and “Chapter 165 – Storm Sewers and Stormwater Management.”
Share comments to email@example.com or at the next Village Board meeting on April 28.
Mayor Tim Rogers
Not your typical Earth Day
One of our early losses caused by the pandemic in 2020 was the Earth Day celebration at the New Paltz Reformed Church on Huguenot Street. The annual event was sponsored by Interfaith Earth Action, New Paltz Climate Action Coalition and the Caring for Creation Committee of the Reformed Church. The happy atmosphere, fueled by the emerging colors of spring, the smell of great food, the sounds of local musicians and the enthusiasm of local activists and vendors, was replaced with self-quarantine and concern for those most vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19.
Spring 2021 is coming on strong. A week of warm weather has produced a colorful array of spring flowers and tree blossoms. And this year we will get to enjoy Earth Day Unbound, celebrating the efforts by local environmental and religious organizations to deal with all of the challenges we faced during the past year and the ongoing concerns of a changing climate. The sponsors are unfurling new videos throughout Earth Week, starting April 19, with presentations on avoiding single-use plastics, divestment from fossil fuel, repair revolution, passive solar energy, musical offerings and more. Local religious leaders will provide inspirational messages and there will be memorial tributes to two local environmental heroes, John Wackman and Dan Guenther. Visit the YouTube channel bit.ly/earthdayunbound and subscribe for access to all the Earth Day videos.
A feature of past Earth Day celebrations, the display of the flags of UN member countries (thanks to the Guenthers), will return to Huguenot Street. This year the flags will wave throughout Earth Week. An inspirational walk along the rail trail will be lined with signs showing the impact of human activity on our environment. Masks and social distancing will be required, but at least we’ll be outdoors, enjoying all the springtime gifts our planet has to offer. Can’t wait!