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.
Swings and frisbees
I love living in our vibrant Village of New Paltz, where we hear and see things. I grew up in the Town of New Paltz west of the Wallkill, where my parents still live. Their street is dark and eerily quiet at night. Maybe this is the reason why, years later, as an adult, I realized I’m afraid of the dark. I like living among people in a community like our Village.
Almost every evening, from my house, I can hear people using Hasbrouck Park’s swings. I’ve come to absolutely love that small squeaking sound the swings make, even at night. It’s nice to walk home from meetings after our board finishes “working hard at our jobs” when people are around and in the park. Seeing kids gathering and playing in Hasbrouck Park may be one of the most effective things we can do to protect our community from “the deluge.”
For decades, many community members have contributed in various ways to protect open space and New Paltz’s community character. That list is long, and recent examples our administration facilitated include the Mill Brook Preserve, OSI’s River-to-Ridge Trail and closing off a section of Historic Huguenot Street to vehicles. New Paltz has some of the best places in the world to take contemplative walks, exercise or immerse yourself in quiet and solitude.
Numerous community members, including New Paltz School District students, deputy mayor Alexandria Wojcik and trustee Michele Zipp have been working on a “skate garden” project for years. A skate garden’s design is intentionally different from a “skate park.” Some communities choose to hide places for skating in out-of-the-way locations. We want New Paltz’s skate garden to be easily accessible and visible to promote its use.
Enthusiasts using wheelchairs, skateboards, roller skates et cetera, as well as those who prefer to relax and chat, should feel welcome to participate or hang out amongst the skate garden’s memorial trees. The skate garden should be close to various outdoor activities in the park so families and folks with diverse interests may enjoy the playground, the ball courts, the swings and Hasbrouck Park’s lawn that’s used for sitting, playing, community events and drag shows.
I’m excited about a new and improved Hasbrouck Park.
Where I live and whether my son skateboards or plays ultimate Frisbee (my fav sport ever) has never and will never influence how I vote as a member of the village Board of Trustees. I am only motivated by projects that I believe will benefit our community.
Mayor Tim Rogers
Here’s your solution
In Steve Romine’s feedback on RFK, Jr. in the June 16 issue of Hudson Valley One, he summarized with, “(RFK, Jr.) is a shining light during a time of deceit by the Big Pharma Cabal who would mandate experimental vaccines on a trusting public coerced by fear and not by reason.”
Hmm, when all, during Covid’s initial onslaught, needed to wear masks, those who denied the science, refusing masks, were demanding their civil rights with no thought of their responsibility to others around them. That wasn’t freedom, that was myopic selfishness — unreasonable.
Latest from New York State: as of Friday, June 18, 70.9% of the over 18 population has had one shot, with 63% having two; a good sign of progress.
Yet, the conspiracy theorists conspire to deny science. Some fear all medicines, some have no faith in the science, some, rightly so, cannot vaccinate due to severe underlying conditions. Yet sadly, we can’t dissuade unreasonable people in their attempts to coerce those who rightly believe in the science and medicine to cease and desist in their losing battle to convince the vast and wise majority to protect themselves from severe sickness and possible death.
Two generations ago, there were those who denied the efficacy of the polio vaccine.
Thus, to Mr. Romine and others: you both won’t take the vaccine and try to persuade others to follow suit? OK then, here’s your solution: if you get sick from Covid, you should be denied any medical care except from those medical workers who also won’t be vaccinated. That’s reasonable.
Saugerties must do something about loud trucks, motorcycles
We moved here six years ago and love Saugerties. We patronize the businesses here regularly and want the town to continue to prosper and grow economically. Despite increased awareness of Saugerties in the last few years, many businesses are still only open three or four days a week (pre-Covid). Tourism is so important to the area, yet it seems spotty – sometimes the town is humming with activity and other times it’s quiet and calm.
Unfortunately, one constant is the endless stream of loud motorcycles, cars and pickup trucks that repeatedly loop through the main intersection every Friday and Saturday night, gunning it repeatedly to hear their unmuffled exhausts boom deafeningly off of the buildings. It’s often the same parade of a half-dozen vehicles circling through the town, revving and lurching in short bursts of speed.
Simply put, it’s obnoxious. They know it; the business owners know it; the police know it; and it’s deafening, disruptive and frankly, illegal.
Pre-Covid, many businesses had small tables set up on the sidewalk; Stella’s in particular has always had outdoor seating. Now Love Bites, Rock Da Kasbah, The Pig, Slices and many more do, too.
The endless parade of bikes and trucks with unmuffled exhausts has to be put in check. It’s only happening in Saugerties, by the way; never in Woodstock, Kingston nor Hudson – never. We’re there all the time.
Why? Because clearly the other towns have sent the message it’s not going to be tolerated. I don’t know what these towns have done specifically to discourage and enforce excessive noise, but it’s plainly evident that they’ve done something, and it worked.
Why hasn’t Saugerties done anything? Why haven’t either the police or the town government enacted some sort of “Low Noise” area on the two main streets in town? Simple enough and virtually no cost.
Paint some lines in the street; post several signs indicating it’s a low-noise residential and pedestrian-oriented area and that fines are applicable and will be enforced for violations.
Have the police in the area on weekend nights (I rarely if ever see any presence whatsoever downtown weekend nights) to discourage and issue warnings for the first 60 days; then start ticketing. I’d be willing to bet the vehicles of the people being ticketed wouldn’t pass state inspection if forced to get a reinspection.
There are ordinances in Saugerties that mandate the hours that construction, heavy equipment and landscaping can occur in the Village. Why aren’t any constraints being placed on when unmuffled motorcycles, cars and trucks can blast through the main area of downtown – repeatedly – which, in addition to businesses, has hundreds of apartments on the second stories of almost every business?
Do we need to get a petition together and start lobbying the local government and/or the police?
GOP strategy: Convince people to ignore what is happening
“Take a look around yuh, boy, it’s bound ta scare yuh, boy… And yuh tell me over and over again, my friend, Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the Eve of Destruction.”
January 6, 2021 needs to be looked at very closely in a bipartisan way. When America is attacked with a planned and organized insurrection, terrorized by a throng of the alt/right conspiratorial fringe with traitorous chants of “Hang Mike Pence,” the vice president of the United States, we must investigate it thoroughly.
Unfortunately for our country’s democracy and sanity, the Republicans in the Senate blocked an investigation into the deadly attack using an outdated procedural loophole we know as the filibuster. No surprise here! A pathetic effort on the part of Republicans to ignore the truth. They just don’t care that this insurrection was in part caused by their one-time leader who held the highest elected office: an authoritarian wannabe who egged on the aforementioned rioters and who wouldn’t take “loser” for an answer. They just don’t care about those that were murdered during this seditious act. They just don’t care that the Capitol Police were physically and violently manhandled. They just don’t care about the “why” and “how” of this seditious act and the breaking down of the “rule of law.”
For hours, the screams on the television coverage or radio were horrible, the sights were unimaginable and there was a complete loss of control. It was a “dark day” in the history of the United States Capitol, yet our elected GOP do not want a bipartisan investigation into this unfathomable attack.
All true American patriots understand that we are duty bound to investigate this to the fullest extent. All patriotic Americans understand that any and all attempts to minimize the nature of this treasonous attack are suspect and reflect disloyalty to America and all Americans.
I am tired of listening to elected “two-faced backstabbers” trying to minimize and defend the un-American treason they now support. They’re a bunch of traitors themselves who’ve been trying to wear the cloak of patriotism as they attempt to dismantle our democratic nation. Yes! They are traitors to our democracy; it will never be safe again, because of this Trumpublican Party vote. Cojones: They have none, as they’re caught up in their own self-righteous delusions – and enjoying the shitshow they’re causing. On the surface they believe the shitshow, but deep down they know it’s a crock. Damn ‘em all! Absolutely disgusting!
The entire GOP, in my opinion, equals an obstruction of justice and are looking really bad. Many of them feel it’s their duty to uphold evilness, lies and make sure it’s going their way. It has us all concerned citizens worried! A voice like Trump’s is deadly dangerous. That should have been evident to any smart members of the Republican Party in 2015. Unfortunately, they discounted his ability to manipulate and lower himself to any level to get what he wants. They thought he was a dragon on a chain that they could control. They are all Trumpublicans now – no platform, no party and drink the Kool-Aid of the cult. Ironically, the chancellor of Germany and his allies thought the exact same thing about Hitler when they enabled his rise out of misplaced self-interest. January 6 is just like 9/11/2001 or December 7, 1941 (the attack on Pearl Harbor): It is an American nightmare that became real.
An unfair and inaccurate depiction
Last week’s letter that described our mayor as “the most pro-development mayor in memory” was an unfair and hugely inaccurate depiction of the job Tim Rogers has done. In the letter, the writer does not recognize that any applicant’s plans for development are under the purview of our independent Village of New Paltz Planning Board, a group of dedicated volunteers from the community who spend many hours reviewing applications. This often can be a long, arduous task with little thanks. It is only upon their approval, during a very public process, open to all at bi-weekly Tuesday evening meetings, that projects proceed to the actual construction phase (which also includes a fine-tooth comb review by the village’s code enforcement officer who issues the building permit). Along the way, attorneys with very sharp pencils, specialists in planning and development law, review each application for whether it meets the letter of the law.
Mayor Tim Rogers throughout his tenure has encouraged and pushed the community to pay attention to these applications and has provided support and encouragement to the Planning Board and is adamant that board members strictly adhere to local and State code. He is also steadfast in making certain that the Planning Board operates independent of the administration. In my six years working with the Planning Board, first as a member and now as liaison to the board as village trustee, the mayor has never tilted the scales to favor a project, used his influence to sway a decision, nor remotely hinted at anything improper that might change the course of an application.
The letter also states that the village is considering a “gifting of land” to CVS/Five Guys or New Paltz Apartments. Nothing could be further from the truth. For both of these projects, this administration has been clear from day one, insisting that extensions of municipal water and sewer would only be considered if developers paid for their own connections and contributed to the village’s existing system by investing in separate capital projects to improve and upgrade our village-owned systems.
There’s an assertion that the proposed New Paltz Apartments would not be subject to the village’s affordable housing law. The developers have been reminded of this stipulation many times, including during public meetings with Mayor Rogers and the Planning Board. The developers have expressed no objections to the law’s requirement and, in fact, have mentioned the inclusion of affordable housing freely without nudging or exhibiting reluctance.
Finally, to state that the village department of public works and building department staff, elected officials, engineers and our sewer plant operator do not carefully monitor near-term and projected sewer plant capacity does a real disservice to our hard-working team who are thoroughly on the case. A dedicated group, by the way, who missed not a step during the Covid lockdown and kept the business of the village going even during our darkest periods. These are public servants who give their all to us and deserve accolades, not demeaning aspersions.
William Wheeler Murray
Trustee, Village of New Paltz
What looms ahead
A web is what spiders weave, and its function is to trap flies with its stickiness: The more they wriggle to get away, the more they trap themselves. On the other hand, if it is a tangled web that is woven, the weavers may have created their own trap, not realizing they have done so until they are caught in it. Weavers, keep in mind: The best means to prevent entanglement is staying with the truth, facts and transparency.
I was in the building business for a number of years constructing architecturally designed homes. Thirty years ago, I left building to become a health care professional. Today I own a pickup truck and do all the work around our home.
A few days ago, Helise, my wife, and I went to Kingston to pick up some MDF and melamine four-by-eight sheets to finish building a workbench in the basement. A Lowe’s employee and I loaded the sheets into the back of our truck, and Helise and I headed for home. At the first major intersection, a horn started blowing; I looked in the rearview mirror and saw that all five four-by-eight sheets were lying in the middle of the road in front of the driver blowing his horn. I pulled to the side of the road and watched the door of a small compact car in front of the pile of sheets open and a huge black man get out. He walked directly to the pile, bent over and lifted a sheet over his head and carried it to our truck, where he loaded it. I waited by the pile for him to return, because I couldn’t lift a sheet alone. He and Helise were discussing something about the back of the truck.
When he returned, unasked, he and I lifted and hauled the remaining sheets until we cleared the road while cars whizzed by us.
This powerful man had suggested to Helise and I that, instead of leaving the wood on the flatbed of the truck, that we lift the tailgate so the sheets were at an angle and would not come off again. I pushed up on the bottom of the five sheets and could not budge them. Suddenly I saw him lift all the sheets and I quickly grabbed the tailgate and shut it. We stood together smiling.
Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out ten dollars, offering it to him. He said, in accented English, “I did not stop for money.” Looking into his face, I reached my one hand up to his shoulder, with my other hand I opened the fingers of his hand and squeezed the money into it, saying, “Please take it, man; you’ve given us a renewed faith in humanity.” As he was leaving, I placed my hand to my heart and bowed to him with tears in my eyes. Helise said, “You are going to go to Heaven.” He smiled getting into his car.
We received a gift of compassion from a fellow human being, and my hope is he will read this, so he knows he not only made our day; he made all the ingredients of this pandemic year make a turn towards hope.
The real radicals
We are told that the election of now-disgraced former President Trump heralded the rise of populism in the US, driven by seething resentments of the elite class. But “populism” is an abstraction that too easily hides the actors who give it its real force. Those actors include the political class of radical Republicans at local, state and federal levels. Some are cunning and strategic; many are unprincipled cowards. But our country minimizes and rationalizes their actions at its peril. The events of just the last couple of months demonstrate the depth and reach of their radicalism.
• Even as extremist media outlets continue to perpetuate the lie of a stolen presidential election and GOP state officials seek more recounts of ballots already certified, we are learning that a desperate White House tried to use the Justice Department to reverse election results with incredible debunked theories – including claims that Italian satellites corrupted our ballots.
• Famously, the GOP Senate failed to approve a bipartisan commission to investigate the seditious January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
• Senator Mitch McConnell declared that if a Supreme Court nomination came up in 2024 – and possibly 2023 – and Republicans controlled the Senate, President Biden’s pick would not get a hearing: a repeat of the 2016 rejection of Merrick Garland. McConnell’s cynical actions have no parallel in American history.
• Radical Republicans promise to thwart the For the People Act, currently before the Senate, which would protect and expand voting rights, end partisan redistricting and curb the influence of dark money in politics. Instead, state legislators have passed restrictions on citizens’ freedom to vote and put vote-counting and certification in the hands of partisan officials.
Make no mistake about the gravest threats to our country. Republican radicals are a bomb whose timer is ticking.
The history of caring
Actually, there is absolutely no history of caring. It’s been with us since humans were walking on the planet. In fact, it’s not just a human quality. Most animals exhibit many qualities of caring toward their mates and offspring as well. Caring is part of our DNA. It’s hardwired into all of us. The problem then becomes: What happens to humans when their inherent ability to care becomes fractured, or shuts down completely? That’s the big question to explore. Here are a few stories that may give you some clarity about this problem.
When I was five years old, my sister lost her balance and fell down a few steps by the front of our house. I watched with horror and ran as fast as I could to the next-door neighbor’s house, yelling for help. The neighbor came running, only to find my sister sitting at the bottom of the stairs. She scraped her leg and it was bleeding a little, but otherwise she was all right. The neighbor took her in and cleaned up the scrape. Later she told everybody that Marty acted like my sister’s life was in jeopardy. I cared about my sister a lot, and was so relieved that she was going to be just fine. But her fall scared me, and I did what came naturally to any five-year-old. I was deeply concerned and ran to get her some help. The talk between the neighbor and my parents was confusing to me. They appeared to be proud of me, but they chuckled, assuming that my response was obviously an overreaction to the situation. This confusion was like a wound that influenced and distorted my thinking from that point on.
Years later, and now as a teenager, I had grown wary of ever showing to my peers that I cared. I recalled many situations with other kids who were being laughed at for one reason or another, and the kid who was targeted always yelled back that they didn’t care. Somehow we learned that if we told everybody that we didn’t care, we would escape the effects of being embarrassed and ridiculed in front of everybody. Acting like we didn’t care turned out to be a creative solution for what appeared to be an impossible situation. Unfortunately, after months of hiding those natural responses, though, many of those kids started to lose their connection to caring at all and began to numb out on all levels.
Fast-forward to high school. We all were doing our best to fit in and be liked in high school – always a challenging time for teenagers. I have a distinct memory of practicing how to look really cool, because looking cool was the opposite of caring, and seen as very attractive at that time. Or at least that’s what I believed. I’d look in the mirror at home, make a smug, slightly condescending face and practice reciting a phrase that I thought would prove to others that I was really cool. The phrase was, “Ask me if I care.” I looked forward to using that phrase, along with what I believed was a cool facial expression. And when anybody actually asked me if I cared, I’d always respond with, “Not really.” I took on an aloof attitude, somehow believing that it would give me an advantage. Looking back, I now understand that those distorted images of what was perceived as attractive caused me to numb out for many years of my life.
I spent a long time in the counseling world before I was able to reclaim my ability to feel and subsequently be able to express my caring. It took time, but I now love being able to feel how much I care. I care about my own health and wellbeing. I care about my family and my friends. I care about our country and I care about the amazing planet we all live on. Thank God I can feel again, and thank God I can express my caring. Because of my new connection to caring, I am able to put my focus on goals that may bring me personal happiness and might possibly make a difference in the world.
If you want to start working towards reclaiming your connection to caring, then take a few minutes each day and think about whom or what you care about. Take some breaths and stay focused on how it feels to really care. See if you can tap into that feeling. If you already are a caring person, then do the same exercise for a few minutes each day. You also will benefit, as your ability to care will only grow stronger.
We need to take the time to nurture this crucial quality of our humanity. It’s a key in helping all of us shift our world toward a more caring society. Remember, caring too much is not the enemy. A lack of caring is the real culprit.
It’s not what people say
“Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment?” When Isaiah, the prophet, wrote these words 2,700 years ago, his question may well have been rhetorical, since such an event had already occurred when Moses led the Hebrews out of slavery from Egypt, and the nation of Israel was born on that day. Another “birth of a nation” in a single day occurred on May 14, 1948, when modern Israel, against all odds or historical precedence, was born.
In her “A response to George Civile,” Ms. Ingrid Blaufarb Hughes ignores the complex history of the establishment of Israel, including the attempt the day after Israel was granted UN status as a nation to defeat her by forces from various countries who invaded the newborn nation. Despite this and other failed attempts (1956, 1967, 1973, 1982 and 2006) to overthrow Israel, which resulted in her controlling more land from the “spoils of war,” Ms. Hughes condemns the US for “arming Israel” without noting that, despite Israel’s willingness to negotiate for a two-state solution over the years, all peace agreements have been rejected by the Palestinian leaders, including the one brokered by the Clinton administration in which they were granted most of what they wanted and more than they should reasonably have expected in a negotiation of this kind. Moreover, Ms. Hughes ignores the strategic reasons America would arm the only democracy in the region, and seems to imply that the primary reason for US aid to Israel “to the tune of 4 billion a year” is “funding the assault on Palestinians.” Because of this, and her assertion that Israel is not only dispossessing Palestinians, without reason, but also “slaughtering” them, the position of Ms. Hughes and the New Paltz Women in Black appears to be egregiously biased against Israel, her contrary claims notwithstanding.
For this reason, I present the following questions to Ingrid, in the hope that her answers will dispel my suspicions of bias: 1a) In light of your claim that your group’s criticism of Israel is not antisemitic, do you support Israel’s “right to exist?” 1b) If your answer is yes, has New Paltz Women in Black ever explicitly and publicly proclaimed their support of this right and renounced those who deny it? 2) In view of the 248 people killed in Israel’s response to Hamas’ bombing – including the 66 children that you mentioned – do you hold Hamas responsible in any way for those deaths, since Israel’s military actions were in response to 4,000 bombs fired by Hamas from areas in which they knew children and other civilians lived? 3) Considering the Holocaust, historical antisemitism, the UN-supported establishment of Israel and previous attempts listed above by its enemies to destroy it, as well as the expressed purpose of Iran and others to wipe Israel off the map: When attacked, should Israel merely use defensive weapons (as the “shield system” they now have in place paid for by the Obama administration as part of the $4 billion or so in American support given to their strategic ally), or should they defend themselves as any other nation would in similar circumstances? 4) Since you stated that “Palestinians and Jews alike need peace and safety,” has New Paltz Women in Black ever protested terrorism against Israel or antisemitic propaganda and violence against Jews throughout the world that threatens “the peace of Jews”?
In closing: Ms. Hughes, although, as previously noted, you stated that both Palestinians and Jews alike “need peace and safety,” your defense of Palestinian rights and criticism of Israel is a good example of bad propaganda, because it lacks context and balance. For this reason, I hope you will respond to these questions, because too often, it is not what people say that reveals their true beliefs and intentions, but what they don’t say that uncovers them.
STR restrictions create hardships for Woodstock homeowners
The purpose of this letter is to expand on the comments regarding short-term rentals (STRs) I made at the June 8 Woodstock public hearing and reported on June 16 in Hudson Valley One:
In an effort to improve availability of affordable long-term lodging, the Town of Woodstock, without a public hearing, decided to require STR permits and set a cap lower than the number of approved STRs at that time. The town is now proposing a nine-month moratorium on STRs. While the council is well-meaning, these laws do not resolve the problem of affordable housing, and deny the rights of homeowners who already registered an STR with Ulster County and have been paying taxes on STR income.
Most STRs are not candidates for long-term rentals, since their owners use their houses whenever they can. They have STRs to defray some property costs, enabling them to enjoy their house when they can, maintain it over time and contribute to the community. They provide numerous benefits to a variety of different stakeholders, including:
• Provide revenue to local residents who help maintain the house.
• Deliver customers who support local businesses, helping Woodstock thrive.
• Help to keep properties in good condition, supporting neighborhood quality.
• Support Woodstock and Ulster County infrastructure through additional taxes.
Dozens of homeowners have tried to and not been allowed to purchase STR permits. This is especially heartbreaking for families who have been part of the community for many years (45 years in my case) and won’t be able to keep their homes and ties to Woodstock because of these new proposed laws.
In the last few weeks, our mayor’s missives are in almost every issue of Hudson Valley One — and not only on official business.
Thus, in one issue of Hudson Valley One he informs us how many pizzerias and how many Mexican restaurants there are in New Paltz!
In the June 16 issue, we read that trustee William Wheeler Murray proposed that during the Juneteenth ceremony Hasbrouck Park be renamed for Julia Jackson, a 19th-century prominent black resident. Nice gesture, although frankly, “what’s in a name? that which we call rose…” (Personally, I still drive across the Tappan Zee Bridge and Triborough Bridge and go to Avery Fisher Hall, no matter what their new appellatives are!)
Here we get the mayor’s (Dr. Jekyll) real feel and consideration for our community: He said to hold off “to build momentum” by getting opinions from historical experts and also public input on the idea.”
Here goes the mayor (Mr. Hyde) who plans to build a skateboarding bowl in the Hasbrouck (Jackson?) Park. And the last thing on his mind was, and continues to be, to call a public hearing to seek the public’s input on that idea, one that would truly rather negatively impact the community, with the exception of skateboarders.
Take your pick.
5G applied for in Woodstock
On June 4, Crown Castle, cell tower proliferator and 5G proponent, together with T-Mobile, jointly filed an application to install 5G transmitters on the California Quarry Road cell tower in Woodstock, which by the way is actually owned by the town, unlike other towns. The antennas will be using New Radio (NR) technology and will operate in the sub-six frequencies, which range from 600MGz to 6GHz. The reason I know this is not because the town informed me, or the public, but because I filed a Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) request.
To make matters worse, the town received the application on June 4, which starts the 60-day FCC “shot clock.” It was not until I brought this to the Woodstock citizenry’s attention, did the Planning Board (PB) begin to review the application having lost at least a month of valuable time. If no decision is delivered by the PB in 60 days, the 5G application is automatically deemed granted under federal law “Section 6409.”
When one understands that 5G radiation will not be replacing 4G radiation, but will be in addition to, it should be an issue that residents need to reckon with and opposition voiced immediately and not after it is installed.
Last December, the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NAS), the preeminent science-based entity in the US, published a report with the title “An Assessment of Illness in U.S. Government Employees and Their Families at Overseas Embassies (2020)” where chronic exposure to low-level non-thermal EMF/EMR was reported to be the primary cause of illnesses of US Embassy employees. “Plausible Mechanisms” were acknowledged on pages 17-20 and supported by the mountain of peer-reviewed literature referenced in the report and elsewhere.
Many people in NYC are getting sick from all the 5G antennas placed throughout that city on every corner. People are painting their walls with EMF/EMR shielding paint at $500 a gallon, and buying expensive shielding fabric for curtains on the windows to protect themselves. Others are leaving the city to come to Woodstock and neighboring towns hoping to get away from the invasion of 4G/5G transmitters.
People here need to let their towns know that they have a God-given right to a natural environment, as do the children of the future, and as us older folks had when we were young. 4G/5G EMF/EMR is artificial, manmade and toxic. Let’s protect what we have left.
We at the New Paltz Public Compost Bins and Pollinator Paradise Gardens in front of the New Paltz Community Center would like to thank all the organizations and people who have helped us make this a reality. They are: Bloom Fine Gardening, Kalleco Nursery, Town of New Paltz, New Paltz Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency, Custom Compost, Wallkill Valley Land Trust, donors to the Go Fund Me page, New Paltz Middle School Climate Club, other middle school students, the New Paltz Community Foundation, Amanda and John Gotto, Joanna Dempsey, Dr. Rose Rudnitski, Barbara Neiman, Liz Elkin, MJ Nusbaum, Brian Krebs, Jo Gangemi, Halle and Abby, and Cheryl Alloway. Please forgive me if I left anyone out. Compost bins can be used by all residents of New Paltz at 3 Veterans Dive.
How to best shape our future
We currently have several large projects in our village Planning Board pipeline and we expect more to come. So we are happy to see more and more people paying attention and chiming in on how we can manage growth during this post-pandemic housing crisis. As evidenced by the fact that our local government has already done most of what the new county housing plan (ulstercountyny.gov/planning/house-action) urges Ulster County towns and villages to do now to buttress against poorly-thought out development and protect the economically vulnerable and socially marginalized, our village has done considerable work over the last decade and is busy now doing more on this front because the market forces at work may be as challenging as we have ever seen.
We have a robust landlord-tenant council and good system for rental registration and inspection; our affordable housing law, board and eligibility list; a hard-working Planning Board and Environmental Policy Board; a new short-term rental law; have successfully re-zoned the NBR/Route 32N which has catalyzed great mixed use projects in that corridor; have required the payment of recreation fees (that’s how we got the new playground!); and, have an accessory dwelling law and more zoning changes at the public hearing stage right now. Village leadership has acted swiftly but also instituted a practice of keeping public hearings open for enough time to broaden and lengthen community conversations that guide revisions and improve proposed laws and zoning. And importantly, sometimes even abandons proposals given feedback heard in public hearings.
The New Paltz Village Board always fights hard for taxpayers. Village taxes have not increased since Mayor Tim Rogers’ first election in 2015 (in fact they have gone down by a small amount). And developers know us — it is now standard for them to publicly say they won’t pursue IDA PILOTs here, as we have been loud and clear about our opposition to these unfair and inequitable tax breaks that simply pad wealthy developers’ profits.
To be clear, there is still much to be done. Thankfully, we have a mayor, the most pro-communication mayor in memory, who is a leader committed to truth and transparency — as you can see in his social media posts and letters to the editor that regularly demonstrate how seriously he takes his job of serving the village, and engaging the community, providing information and making space to hear from constituents, to get the facts and our options clearly out there for consideration and informed dialogue, in order to improve our outcomes.
Given that, some necessary points of clarity and truth-telling are needed on these pages. Firstly, with our sewer infrastructure challenges known, the Village Board, staff and Environmental Policy Board have worked together studying sewer capacity and are well aware that New Paltz will not grow indefinitely. New Paltz is on the right path as real data is being used to guide these decisions.
Second, it is law on the books, and we follow it, always: Any project in the village that meets the ten or more unit criteria in our affordable housing law is REQUIRED and WILL have a minimum of ten percent affordable units as defined by village code. For example, stay tuned as the Zero Place affordable units will be available soon to households on our eligible list. Sidebar — there is currently a volunteer opening on the Affordable Housing Board, interested residents please submit applications to firstname.lastname@example.org. And check out the eligibility requirements to get on the affordable housing list here, so you can apply if you meet them: https://www.villageofnewpaltz.org/affordable-housing-board/ .
Thirdly, we all fought for that light on 32.
Follow the mayor on social media. Read his letters. Watch the meetings, read the minutes. For those who take the time and want it, the truth is readily available and evident. It is also vital because our challenges cannot be minimized.
Pay attention. Please bring your voice and thoughts, and help include those who are typically excluded from these dialogues and decision-making.
New Paltz will not be the same in ten years and we need authentic engagement and truth – all in, right here, right now – to shape our future.