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.
Ulster Strong supports Kingstonian project
Ulster Strong, an organization formed to build a better community for all by advancing sustainable growth and broad economic opportunity throughout Ulster County, proudly supports the Kingstonian project and the many benefits it will deliver to the community.
This week we learned that another Uptown Kingston business is closing. This unfortunately adds to a growing number of vacant storefronts in the city’s largest commercial district. Now, more than ever, the city needs the economic boost provided by the Kingstonian project. In addition to the much-needed parking, Uptown businesses can expect more than 400 new residents, guests and staff. Our businesses need stability to flourish, and the Kingstonian will provide that.
This project has been scrutinized at every stage of the four-year-process, and the developers have responded to various boards and elected officials by making many changes and refinements. There have been projects suggested for the Uptown area before, and all have been rejected. The Kingstonian is proposed by local long-term residents, who have the best interest of the community in mind and have been involved in business development in Kingston for decades.
It is evident, based on the hundreds of outspoken supporters of this project since its beginning, that the majority of the community supports this project. We urge the Common Council to vote in favor of the partial street abandonment so we can soon see this project under construction.
Chair/CEO, Ulster Strong
Here to help
Everybody who’s in QAnon should go back to Al-Anon.
A revolutionary act
Many of our most popular Democratic leaders clamor for censorship if anyone wants to offer an alternative to the mainstream narrative on vaccines and COVID, or who challenge the origins of COVID or Fauci’s background.
Democrats have received multiple e-mails with a petition to sign to end the filibuster. At first I automatically clicked, then paused. Do I really want to give Democrats more power? Since vaccine passports and mandates, I see our democracy eroding. I didn’t sign the petition – a hard decision. I don’t think I’m the only one. Between the censorship culture developing now and the removal of the rights of “some” Americans (if it can happen to one it can happen to the other, just later), the 2024 presidential election may likely put a Republican in the White House. Let’s pray it’s not Donald Trump. Even DT should not have been censored – we set a very bad precedent with our very bad president. What we really needed was the Republicans Party to step up and assure the American people that the election was legitimate. Some Republicans did, but unfortunately they censured Liz Cheney, and since then most of them backpedaled.
Mandates, vaccine passports and intolerance of free speech empower the already-too-powerful. As someone else put it, “How did COVID turn a systemically racist patriarchy into a trustworthy government that cannot be questioned?” The United States is setting precedents now that can get out of control fast when we’re not expecting it, like a fire. This can be seen in the history of totalitarian governments and how they came about. Authors Orwell, Huxley and others have spelled out how it could happen here.
An example of how censorship is leading to the unraveling of our free society: The Organic Consumers’ Association (keeping organic standards clean and ethical) notified their donors in December that PayPal, their credit card processor for hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations (and recurring donations), cut off all of their accounts (OCA, Regeneration International and Citizens’ Regeneration Lobby) with no notice, claiming they were violators of PayPal’s “acceptable use” policies. Being forced to switch to another credit card processor, OCA had to ask all their donors to go to their donation page again. PayPal and Silicon Valley have become agents of censorship and intimidation.
As I write this note, it is Martin Luther King Day, a day honoring a man who gave eloquent voice to the oppressed, often from a jail cell. Together as people, we have won big successes in the realm of social justice, and we seem to be coming together on environmental justice as well. These forward progresses mean so much! But if we continue to advocate for Big Pharma and Big Tech, and allow them to control our freedom, we lose much of our forward movement. We lose our power as individual voices, our individual rights.
In our way-too-busy day, thanks to digital technology (no coincidence), it is a revolutionary act to stop. And think.
P. W, Higgins
Doings at our Woodstock Library
The Woodstock Library recently held virtual public hearings to discuss the possible relocation of the Library to 10 Dixon Avenue. I encourage fellow town residents to view the plans at www.woodstock.org/planning to see what is being proposed or listen to the presentation at Woodstock Library Relocation Public Hearing, January 13, 2022, YouTube. It was uplifting to hear the joy and excitement expressed by Library staff and community members – for me, a surprisingly mood-lifting event.
Listening to a vision for what our Library could be was a welcome shot of positivity that I didn’t realize I needed. Treat yourself to an experience that will make you feel good about your town, your community, your neighbors, the services the Library provides and the pride we all can feel about living in a town of arts that has the heart to envision a better world for us all.
Prevent filibuster from blocking Freedom to Vote Act
There is much ado lately about protecting our elections from fraud, despite the fact that recounts and multiple court cases prove that the 2020 election was squeaky-clean. There is also much ado by some states that they, not the federal government, control how elections should be handled. Not so. The Constitution affirms that “…the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such (state) Regulations.”
In 1870, Congress added the 15th Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” In that same amendment, it provided that “the Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
Today’s Congress must use that power now and sideline the filibuster in order to protect the fundamental right in any Democracy: the right of the people to choose their leaders. Is the filibuster sacred? Hardly. It never was part of the Constitution or Senate rules, but was introduced by Southern congressmen after the Civil War to obstruct the civil rights of Black citizens…all the more reason to prevent the filibuster from blocking the Freedom to Vote Act.
Thankfully, our New York senators, Schumer and Gillibrand, see clearly on this issue.
ID should be required to vote
I agree with John Butz’s letter about requiring an ID to vote. We need an ID for just about everything else; what’s the big deal about requiring one to vote?
Supervisor McKenna wrote, “I look back with pride at our efforts over this past year . While COVID continued to whirl around us, we managed to do our jobs as efficiently as ever. Our roads were paved, our streets and homes kept safe, justice was dispensed,” et cetera, et cetera.
What he neglected to mention was whether the ongoing problems were resolved relating to the short-term rental law and noise ordinance, regulations that were passed during his term as supervisor that have caused additional problems. Oh, and what about the issues surrounding the misuse of the Big and Little Deep, a problem that has existed for years? When will he get around to solving those problems? When will he look to the future, as a former councilman suggested, rather than playing catch-up?
More Internet myths
I see the guy spreading stupid misleading pseudoscience is still at it. The collapse of the World Trade Center was from the attackers deliberately tilting the planes so several floors were hit with jet fuel and metal, knocking off the sprayed-on fireproofing. When several floors collapsed onto the next level, the total weight of five floors was enough to collapse the next, which added enough weight to pancake all floors in sequence. Molten steel under water? Be serious. If so, what did they do with the multi-ton glob of steel when it cooled? No such melted steel was found, only bent debris.
And as for cell phone radiation, if it was a hazard, workers on the towers would all be dead by now. The strength of an electrical field, my field professor taught, goes down by the cube of the distance from the transmitter. That is, the strength twice as far is one-eighth as much. Talking on your phone up against your head is way more higher radiation than any transmitter down the street.
Stop spreading this dumb conspiracy theory. And by the way, get vaccinated, all of you.
Supreme Court upending efforts to protect environment
Many in our local community are saddened about the failure to pass the Voting Rights Bills and the enduring difficult struggle to get something passed in the Build Back Better Bill. These are very important issues, but we cannot forget the climate issues that will determine whether our descendants or even our grandchildren will have a place to live and thrive. I am not referring to affordable housing (another difficult issue), but to our planet Earth.
Elizabeth Kolbert, writing for The New Yorker, posted an article entitled “The Supreme Court Case that Could Upend Efforts to Protect the Environment: The potential ramifications of West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency are profound.” The case West Virginia v. the EPA will determine whether the administration can regulate environmental initiatives. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of West Virginia, as they had done regarding President Biden’s vaccine mandate, it will impact and diminish executive branch actions, including environmental policies that urgently need to be implemented.
To further understand this issue, please google Ms. Kolbert’s New Yorker post of January 10.
Read your cash
A law passed by the 84th Congress and approved by President Dwight Eisenhower on July 30, 1956 declared, “In God We Trust” must appear on American currency. Eisenhower knew the horrors of war more than any American president. I believe that Americans, having helped defeat the evil of Hitler’s Nazi party, felt blessed by whatever higher power may have assisted them. What better way than to be reminded with every monetary exchange to have a statement written on our currency that identifies an entity more significant than a self, nation or the money itself?
The statement “So help me God,” which politicians ignore, is the military enlistment oath. Every soldier and veteran in our nation has taken that oath. They have placed their fate and lives before God instead of money, politics or a particular faith.
My question is: Would those who control the majority of wealth in America today place their wealth before their own life or their loved ones? I have to believe the answer is “No.” So what is the difficulty in offering a fair percentage of their wealth through taxes to enhance the VA’s care for those veterans and soldiers who have and are protecting them? A partial answer is that wars provide vast wealth to the wealthy who own the corporations who supply our wars. But my interest is in a different moral question, which is so evident that it pains me to point it out. The most extraordinary costs get paid by the low-income families’ taxes who provided the soldiers to the military.
Have our politicians heard the oaths of these veterans, “So help me God,” so they believe that God will take care of them and they don’t have to? Credit cards online banking call us to forget what’s written on our currency? “In God We Trust.”
Are veterans the only group in America that suffers from wealth only in a few? Not. Are veterans the only ones whose lives are in danger? No. But they are the only ones having taken an oath to protect the entire population of America with their lives. The president, the House of Representatives and the Senate take an oath to protect the Constitution, which they interpret to their benefit. They do not take an oath to stand on the battlefields.
I believe that politicians in our government lack the moral courage to examine the overtly obvious issues confronting our soldiers and veterans. We all know the suicide rates and homelessness are epidemic in the veteran population. Addressing this would perhaps assist in helping to bring attention to the many in this country who also suffer under our government’s political corruption. Unfortunately, the wealthy dictate government policies. No one in America has collected more notes stating “In God We Trust” than our politicians and wealthy. Read your cash.
Another week and another wordy letter, well in excess of 500 words, from Neil Jarmel, bashing Trump and all things Republican. I have a suggested topic for his next letter: Tell us all the positive things that the Democrats have accomplished in this past year, as they have been in complete control of the White House and Congress. I’d expect this to be a much shorter letter.
With empty tool kits
Nothing to mimic
Cover your face!
How are they supposed to be glad they’re alive?
It’s different for me, at the finish
My toolbox overflowing
I know what I miss
For that boy, being dragged by his exuberant Dalmatian, music blaring, on his skis
I thought only to frown and avoid engaging
I biggered his void
I am sorry.
I later thought that if I were your age
I would think you were cool
Hatti J. Langsford
As solid as the ground we are standing on is not actually very comforting. I, for one, think that politicians lie so often they could pass a lie detector test, but the Earth beneath my feet is in constant motion. Shifty is what she is. Pols are just doing their thing: the art of the steal.
In my office is a globe. I am not the first to notice that if you slide South America over to Africa, they fit together like a kid’s first jigsaw puzzle. In fact, the two continents slid apart.
Okay, maybe you knew that, and maybe you know we call that movement tectonic plate shift. But did you know some mountain ranges are caused by these plates crashing into one another? A great example is Mt. Everest in the Himalayas.
Boring? Not to me. Earthquakes usually occur along fault lines where chunks of continents slide over and under each other. Bridges fall down! Gases and lava from our molten core slip out, like the yolk of an undercooked Easter egg!
It is happening right now: another existential threat to all of humanity over which, like all but war, mankind has no control.
Saturday, January 22 marked the 49-year anniversary of the most lethal insurrection that has ever occurred in our nation’s capital: the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade – a decision which legalized abortion. This insurrection against the value of human life gave physicians a “license to kill” developing human beings in the womb and has resulted in the deaths of over 62 million pre-born human beings, 36 percent of which were African Americans.
The following “Desolation Roe” (based upon Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row”) speaks of the victims of Roe v. Wade: the developing human person in the womb, whose growing heart is stopped by an abortion, and the woman whose heart is broken because she chose to have an abortion.
There was a lady from the lowlands
Who had great sadness in her eyes
She chose to end her pregnancy
‘Cos she believed some pro-choice lies:
“There was no growing life within her;
Only cells to be removed,” they said
So, if she chose to have an abortio
No human life would end up dead
Now she mourns with eyes that can be heard
And wants everyone she meets to know
That the sadness in her eyes will always speak
Because of Desolation Roe
I knew a woman young and pregnant
Who felt afraid and so all alone
I really would have tried to help her
If of her fears I would have known
She kept her fears from those who loved her
And she made a choice she can’t forget
Her friends encouraged her to make it
They said, “It’s a choice you won’t regret”
And though her friends have all moved away
Her regret remains and just seems to grow
And she prays for those who have the same regret
And prays there’ll be an end to Desolation Roe
Here comes a Planned Parenthood worker
She used to sing the tombstone blues
She once attacked all “anti-choice” people
But now she’s changed her “pro-choice” views
She discovered truth that gives freedom
From phony propaganda and blatant lies
And at her job in the death-dealing clinic
She began to hear the silent cries
So, she quit her job and sings a new song
And wants everyone she meets to know
When you know the truth, you’ll hear silent cries
And you’ll work to end Desolation Roe
There was a woman who chose abortion
Because she found herself in dire straits
She lived in a place called quiet desperation
But the choice she made is a choice she hates
Her heart alone knows its depth of sorrow
And she has given up all hopes of peace
‘Cos her broken heart condemns her
And she feels its ache will never cease
But there is one greater than her heart
One born of a woman so very long ago
He came to heal those brokenhearted by sin
And save the victims of Desolation Roe
Yes, I received your letter yesterday
About the abortion that you had
Your words hit me like a ton of bricks
They made me feel numb, then so sad
Those who fought to make abortion legal
Helped you think it was just about choice
They didn’t speak of aching hearts or deep regret
And didn’t speak for the baby who had no voice
But there’s forgiveness in the Prince of Peace
So many people come to trust and know
He died for every sinner with guilt and shame
Even the guilt and shame of Desolation Roe
Corruption or benevolence
Regarding the 1/19/22 letter: “Clarification on town corruption” by Nadia Steinzor, her analogy completely misses the mark and doesn’t clarify anything. She tries to make a parallel of a resident representing a hotel development corporation bankrolling the town to hire experts for its current review of short-term housing, with concerned residents who influenced the town to strengthen their zoning laws. The latter goal was to prevent an onslaught of wireless devices from invading Woodstock like what has happened in NYC. Similarly, Woodstock has created zoning laws to prevent neon signs from popping up everywhere as they have popped up in other communities with no restrictive zoning laws. Ms. Steinzor’s analogy is the opposite of what concerned residents want and that is less development not more development. No one is going to prosper financially because of Ms. Steinzor’s imagined corruption, which is what would happen with the hotel development scheme she portrays. Now we have a beautiful small town in Woodstock filled with natural beauty, clean air and plenty of good clean water. We also have minimal intrusion of toxic artificial manmade pulsing electromagnetic radiation being introduced into our environment when one considers what is being broadcast into other towns that have no regulations preventing that. Woodstock citizens have mobilized to make sure that we keep what we have that people are flocking here to experience. Because of a generous donor who helped to materialize the hopes of those concerned residents by offering to pay a portion of the fees of the expert lawyer they all wanted, is not corruption but benevolence and philanthropy. Was the generous individual who purchased the old laundromat parcel on Library Lane and gave it to the Town of Woodstock for the construction of the ill-fated library annex, corruption or a benefactor? There have been many donors to the town in the history of Woodstock. I think Ms. Steinzor needs to get her priorities straight, as she seems to be missing the whole point of community engagement and that different people have different things they can contribute to the wellbeing of the town. That is all that happened and we should all be thankful that we have generous people living amongst us in our community whose gifts to the town they will not profit from financially, but will benefit collectively with the rest of us.
Make more climate investments, Gov. Hochul
Now that we are experiencing typical winter weather, it may be difficult to recall the latest climate news: the last seven years were the warmest on record, with 2021 coming in at the fifth hottest year ever recorded on planet Earth.
We need action and funding to move faster from fossil fuels to clean energy — now. With political gridlock in Congress, it’s at least heartening to have had climate leadership here in New York.
But the clean energy funding Governor Kathy Hochul outlined recently in her Executive Budget still falls short of what the state’s own energy agency has said is needed. The 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates that New York meet clean energy and environmental justice targets, and NYSERDA estimates that will take $10 billion per year. This level of funding doesn’t show up in Governor Hochul’s 2022 budget.
New York has a budget surplus, and the governor should ask the legislature for a $15 billion down payment to reach those climate targets. This down payment would pay for such things as enhancing grid stability, subsidies for household energy adaptations, bringing clean energy to disadvantaged communities and supporting workers dependent on fossil fuel jobs.
Unless we make investments now to mitigate the climate crisis, while addressing environmental equity, future winters will be bleak, warmer and shorter.
Goodbye to corporate politics, hello to public representation
On Sunday January 16, Sarahana Shrestha kicked off her campaign to challenge incumbent Kevin Cahill for the Democratic nomination in the 2022 race for New York’s 103rd Assembly District. Shrestha has been inspired to run for office due to the lack of urgency in Albany on New York’s most pressing issues like the current climate disaster and the affordable housing crisis. An organizer from Esopus, Sarahana Shrestha vows to represent the people of this district and not join the team of New York’s many corporate influenced politicians that are dominated by the lobbyists that rule the halls of our state capitol. Albany is a deceitful place.
Speaking of the art of deception, any local political junkie could have predicted that Assemblymember Kevin Cahill would drown the press on the day of Shrestha’s campaign kickoff with some “hero” legislation, and that he did. While it is great that Assemblymember Cahill is introducing things like a bottle expansion law and a fossil fuel subsidies elimination act this year, he has been in office for decades, and this is too little too late. Both of these bills are extremely watered-down efforts on the action that needs to happen if we are going to make efforts to combat climate change. What is he going to do differently in the next term that he hasn’t already done in the last 20 years?
Another example of the political deception that continues to fester in Albany, is when the Assembly blindsided New Yorkers in failing to pass the New York Health Act despite a Democratic super-majority in both houses. For years, the Assembly passed the Health Act when they knew the Senate wouldn’t, then when both houses had super-majority, the bill was never taken to the floor for a vote. Assemblymember Cahill and his colleagues could have provided necessary public health infrastructure and prevented thousands of Covid-related deaths by passing this bill, but instead they catered to the insurance industry and their allies. Universal healthcare is especially needed as new illnesses and health issues are likely to occur from climate change.
Sarahana Shrestha is the only serious candidate for New York’s 103rd Assembly district. Over a thousand individual donors helped her out raise Cahill in the first reporting period, without any corporate money. Sarahana will not buckle to the pressure of the industry, and when she votes and champions bills to protect our health and well being, it will be us that she has in mind, not corporate greed and political self-interest.
Security analyst Robert Pape
Describing election deniers,
A full 20 percent of us
According to some polls
— The New York Times.
I can hear the 1 in 5 singing
“Onward, Christian soldiers”
In their protected, pious pews
On the Day of Insurrection,
As if it were the Resurrection;
Their current saviour, Trump,
Goading their army to advance;
Their former Saviour, Jesus,
Preaching to the gone-deaf choir,
Imploring it to hold fire;
The drumbeat of revenge
Syncing with their psalm,
And silencing His sermon —
Thus sparing Jesus
A second Crucifixion,
Not on a cross but a gallows,
For spoiling all the fun.
The American Experiment
Nearly going up in smoke.
Let Insurrection Day
Send up a smoke signal —
That the worshipful
And the war-ready
Are but two branches
Of the same kindling:
Both dry brushwood,
Each an accelerant
For the other.
Let Insurrection Day
Ring a smoke alarm —
That if the 20 percent
And the 80 percent
Don’t/won’t add up,
And make us 100 percent,
It may be the fire next time.