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.
Careful what you wish for
Yesterday, Tuesday, March 29, I came upon what may be a very clever “comment section” from the Daily Freeman. The topic was the proposed Winston Farm project. The sunny and rosy presentation was about as sincere as the truth behind the Easter Bunny.
After reading through this obvious PR piece, I decided to “comment.” I wrote my words carefully, reread them for errors and hit Send. Funny thing happened: nothing. That fact gave me pause. Why ask for comments and then not allow them to be sent? It was then that someone proposed to me that this is – ready for it – a PR piece to make us believe how wonderful the project will be for one and all.
And, because I was unable to submit my reply, I sent that reply directly to their editor. Wonder if anyone will ever see it there. So, below is the reply I wrote. Hopefully, we will all be able to read it in the next copy of HV1.
“Having just read about the Winston Farm proposal to say they sure do paint a rosy picture. However, since I am unable to join that conversation online, I resort to this.
“Should anyone believe the three ‘locals’’ depiction of this, I think you need a reality check. It hardly matters if one is robbed by out-of-area people or ‘locals;’ when anyone is robbed, they have been robbed. This totally inappropriate venture will impact everyone here and well beyond our immediate area. Caring citizens don’t disregard their fellow citizens’ quality of life, cause air, noise and potentially irreversible pollution to the aquifer beneath those fields in order to benefit themselves. Caring citizens don’t destroy habitat of wildlife, air quality, acres of trees and bring in the potential of thousands of people who will care not one bit about any impact they have. They will be here and gone until the next batch arrive – daily? weekly? Amphitheater means amplifying theater, music, whatever; keep amplified in mind as neighbors near and far attempt to enjoy the peace and quiet of their homes.
“Something like this is inappropriate here. And can anyone explain to me why there were no opportunities for anyone else to have inside information as to the final cost of Winston Farm? I don’t recall seeing any realtor for-sale signs out in the open. For sure, there are many of us who could have raised $3M and kept this historic farm forever green. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that three caring ‘locals’ got a great deal.”
No Mow May
In the Netherlands concern over the dangerous decline in bees led to National Sowing Day beginning in 2017. Free organic flower seeds are distributed by 1500 volunteers. Each seed packet contains a variety of flowers attractive to pollinators.
Founder Tom van de Beek notes that, “Bees are struggling everywhere and they can be fed everywhere. We started this program in the Netherlands, but that doesn’t mean it also ends in the Netherlands because the problem is global.”
Members of groups in this country are urging something even simpler: No Mow May. You don’t have to do a thing and you’ll still help bees! Just don’t mow part of your lawn and once flowers arrive, so will the bees. Concerned about your property looking messy? Just mow the borders, even display a Pollinator Pathway sign, and neighbors will see the orderliness of your intentions.
No Mow May will not only save the bees that pollinate our food source, but will cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. And if you were someone using neonics to kill insect pests, you may have been killing bees, since one square foot of grass could absorb enough neonics to kill one-million bees.
So, take the lazy way out! Don’t mow (much), water, fertilize or spray and give bees a chance. And remember, when foraging for pollen, bees have no interest in stinging you.
I’m worried that World War III will ruin my pedicure.
What follows is a letter to the CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM). This letter was in regard to a letter submitted previously to Hudson Valley One by another writer regarding a serious concern of hers.
I am a member of the NCPSSM. Recently another writer to the local newspaper placed a letter about Medicare and a possible attack upon Medicare and Medicaid. There is a program that is threatening our benefits called REACH.
This is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. This letter states that millions of Americans are quietly being enrolled into a pilot program called REACH (Realizing Equity, Access and Community Health) https://youtu.be/zvWygLG2gcM.
This program was initially started by the previous administration, Trump, which makes it suspect immediately. Apparently, this program allows commercial insurers and other not-for-profit companies to “manage” care for seniors enrolled in Traditional Medicare. And this is occurring without the knowledge and consent of the seniors.
Apparently, Medicare would allocate corporate middlemen a monthly payment to cover a defined portion of each senior’s medical expenses. These middlemen would keep for themselves what they don’t pay for each subscriber’s medical expenses as profit for themselves! This is a dangerous incentive to ration and restrict senior’s health care. If this is left unchecked, it will allow Wall Street investors this inroad into our traditional Medicare, without the input of doctors, seniors and/or Congress!
As an 83-year-old man with previous cancer treatments, likewise for the wife, I find this a direct attack upon my Medicare that I have paid into for 57 years to witness corporate America getting their tentacles into my program. I urge you and your stalwart staff, if not aware of this, to research to understand and protect the seniors from these cannibals.
I will copy this letter to the AARP and to my fellow representatives, state and federal. Thank you for your attention.
1. Have you thanked your implants lately?
2. There is no proper attire for a morning run. Just try not to look like a raving lunatic before you leave your place.
3. According to Deepak Chopra, every problem secretly manifests a solution. Then why can’t I find a used car?
Gladys Q. Flitchnick
While Putin’s Russian army invades a sovereign Ukraine, attacks civilian and hospital targets, murdering innocent adults and children and destroying their homes and hospitals, Trump trumpets his admiration for this murderous dictator, calling him a “genius” and referring to this invasion as a smart real estate operation. This tells us a lot about who Trump is; no surprise there for me.
Meanwhile, my hero, president Joe Biden, speaks his heart – and mine – and goes off-script to say this person, Vladimir Putin, should not be in power! Not sufficiently “diplomatic” for the pundits and wusses, but right on for me! And, better yet, he won’t apologize for what the Trump acolytes will call his “gaffe.” It is totally beyond me how any thinking person can admire Trump – that pussy-grabbing ignorant liar! Much less hope for him to ascend the presidency in 2024. I think of this period of American history as when the barbarians got to the gate and were driven away.
George, you can set this to the tune of “Sympathy for the Devil.” Insert and emphasize the line, after “smart real estate operation” – “I rode a tank, held a general’s rank, when the Blitzkrieg raged and the bodies stank.”
“The Supreme Court was offered a choice of codes; they chose Zip Code over ethics code.”
Myrna S. Hilton
Recently, The New York Times reported that the Hunter Biden laptop story, published by the New York Post, was genuine and not “Russian disinformation” as claimed by 50 high-level former intel officials. The laptop contained, among other things, e-mails that contradicted then-candidate Joe Biden’s claim that he had no knowledge of his son Hunter’s business dealings. When questioned during the debate by POTUS Trump about the Post report, Biden cited the 50 experts and dismissed the report as bogus. Indeed, with the exemption of Fox News, the vast majority of mainstream media outlets (including The New York Times) dismissed the story or censored it.
With this in view, Donald Trump related that Barack Obama warned him that the biggest problem facing his presidency was the nuclear ambitions of North Korea. Knowing of his friend’s warning to his defeated rival, POTUS Joe asked his former mentor, “What is the greatest problem ‘my’ administration will have to address?” Obama, still angry over being called out for his lies by the station’s opinion-show personalities, replied, “Fox News.” And, having anticipated the Biden question, the former POTUS sang the following song he wrote to Joe, titled “Don’t Let Fox News Catch You Lying” to explain his prompt, unequivocal reply. The song works best when sung to the tune of Gerry and the Pacemakers’ “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying.”
This parody is dedicated to Neil Jarmel (Fox News hater) and Ted Reiss. By the way, Ted, I did address your list of unkept Trump promises by pointing out that the list was taken from a propagandist, Robert Reich. To wit: “I [wasn’t] surprised that the source of Ted Reiss’ ‘Trump failure list’ was the far-left propagandist, noted for his dishonesty, Robert Reich.” (Like the propagandist he is, Reich offered the list without explanation and failed to acknowledge Trump’s many accomplishments.) And I wasn’t trying to show that Trump was as bad as Obama, but to challenge your assertion that Obama set the bar when it came to opposition. I only mentioned Obama’s failures in light of your claim that I was forgetful regarding mentioning Trump’s failures and did so in order to demonstrate your own forgetfulness regarding the incompetence of Obama that led to increasing opposition to his presidency. (Ted, I look forward to continuing this conversation in future letters. Until then, I hope you enjoy the parody below.) Finally, Ted, it is not necessary to push a button to be recognized as a sufferer of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Those who have this affliction are easily known by their deranged words. I’m certain Neil Jarmel is glad that you’re a member of the team. The question becomes: “Are you proud to be part of a group that has Neil as a member?”
(Obama singing to Biden)
Don’t let Fox News catch you lying
They’ll always check the things you say
Though a lie can help your cause
And win you some applause
Don’t let Fox News catch you lying
We know that lying is a bad thing
But lies fool folks and make your base sing
It won’t be hard to discover
One lie will lead to another
But if a lie makes you look right
Then lie with all your might
Just don’t let Fox News catch you lying
We know that lying is a bad thing
But there is good a bad lie can bring
A blatant lie may be opposed
But it won’t hurt if unexposed
Though the media is your friend
And they’ll protect you to the end
Don’t let Fox News catch you lying
Though a lie can help your cause
And win you some applause
Don’t let Fox News catch you lying
Don’t let Fox News catch you lying
Oh no…oh oh no
Master class in dignity
She, judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, faced many questions that were substantive, while other questions were less so. A small number of the Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee were excessively petty and overreaching. They wanted to turn the confirmation into a scorched earth-type preceding. It was nothing more than GOP nonsense. Those senators did not interview with professionalism.
Instead, “race” hovered over the SCOTUS confirmation hearing. An idiot’s guide was used by Republican senators to stir up racial tropes or start diatribes which left the clear impression that they rode the politics of white grievance. Whether judge Brown Jackson was sufficiently tough on criminals was a common refrain; she defended her record repeatedly when attacked on her sentencing record – basically reiterating “that cases need to be determined individually and on their merits.” This was all done even despite her beautiful endorsements from prominent police groups.
Some senators were plainly mean, accusatory and trying to trap. I was appalled at Senator Graham saying “fricking” at least three times. That man was so stupidly angry for nothing. Creepy Ted Cruz attempted to characterize her as a proponent of Critical Race Theory and baited her for a reaction. Sorry, Ted.
They didn’t care what she had to say. She told senator Tom Cotton, “It’s your job, not mine,” every time he asked his gotcha questions. They used this as a platform to preach their own agenda.
Senator Hawley’s attack on Ketanji Brown Jackson fell flat. As a political shark, his antics and goal were to rile up his base and provide low-hanging fruit for those who believe and embrace any of his falsehoods. Same with Senator Blackburn.
And finally, it was ridiculous that all these senators criticized her for doing her job as a defense attorney. Not always an attorney’s choice when called upon to work for the defense. Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson was qualified, and they knew it. End of discussion.
At times while watching on TV, it was hard to view. I’d “feel her” when she visibly bit her lip to hold in the internal voice yelling, “WTF? How is this man elected to a position of power?” She took lots of well-deserved pauses to breathe! Her self-control was impressive, but every so often her true feelings peeked through delightfully.
Yes, Ketanji Brown Jackson weathered a storm of inane questions, inappropriate racial dogwhistles and a lot of personal insults. She deserves confirmation – and a vacation, after sitting through this appalling televised Republicans’ sideshow. She demonstrated composure and dignity and kept her head when everyone else was losing theirs.
In conclusion, all their pathetic innuendo, manufactured outrage and thinly veiled hostility toward this supremely qualified and confident woman didn’t change any reasonable person’s mind. Should we pray for these elected Republican idiots, because they certainly need it? Newsflash: They resembled “Christians” carrying around their King James Version, yet not practicing what they preach – you know, like truth, forgiveness, love, helping those less fortunate.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson doesn’t need prayers; “She is covered by God. She is a saint!”
Get the facts
Bill McKenna wrote, “None of the trees in that area appeared to be in good condition. If that is indeed the case, then it is unclear if there is any violation at all.” Had he taken the time to research the cutting down of certain trees at the Bearsville Center, he would have known that there is a violation of the Tree Law (Town Code, chapter 217). The law requires that before anyone cuts down trees within 20 feet of Route 212, between Plochman Lane and the Bearsville/Wittenberg Road, they make application to the Town Board. No application was made. Additionally, in reference to what McKenna wrote, had the application been submitted and a site visit been made by an arborist, we would be clear as to the condition of the trees.
The times they are a-changin’
I was going to visit my five-year-old granddaughter and was wondering, what with all that is going on in the world these days, if I would be able to buy her a tee-shirt with the peace sign logo on it, for a present. Just on Amazon alone, there were dozens and dozens of companies advertising peace/love tee shirts for kids.
Bob Dylan got it right!
If the Woodstock Library is declared to be a municipality, it can use its own planning and zoning regulations in place of the Town’s. Does anyone have a copy of those? If not, the case of “Matter of Monroe County” noted in the HV1 article last week does not apply. A friend of mine thinks that the Library really wants “sovereign immunity.” That’s got to be one heck of an MOU to grant that.
Treasure, not profit
Camilla Bradley’s idealized perspective of her father’s “dream” for what was formerly his Awosting “Reserve” is understandable in the context of familial sentiment. Outside of family, however, John Bradley and his mega-development plan on the Shawangunk Ridge were perceived very differently.
On October 30, 2002, the Times Herald-Record headline read: “Going, Going, Gunks. PAVING PARADISE. Luxury houses, golf course and resort slated to fill ‘one of the last great places on the planet’.”
John Bradley’s assertion that 349 luxury homes strewn across the Ridge from Mud Pond to beyond Lake Awosting would be ‘the best environmental protection that ever happened up there’ was seen as preposterous. The development was to be a gated community, with guardhouses at the entrances, literally above, beyond and apart from the existing Gardiner.
Bradley had bullied, threatened or menaced several proximate landowners and opponents to his “dream” (including myself), and engaged in other unseemly behaviors too numerous to recount here. John Bradley did not “get” a bad rap. He earned it. Blaming “the character” of one’s partners only emphasizes the failures of one’s own.
Local citizens from Gardiner and other Ridge communities organized themselves as Save the Ridge to stop the proposed development, and were quickly joined by The Mohonk Preserve, Friends of the Shawangunks, the Sierra Club and numerous other regional and national environmental organizations. Political leaders including Kevin Cahill and our beloved former United States Congressman Maurice Hinchey vociferously opposed the Awosting Reserve plan.
Bradley’s “dream” ended when he was sued by investors, their promised financial return being nowhere in sight. Courts ordered that the land be sold to settle the debt. The Trust for Public Land and the Open Space Institute purchased 2500 acres for $17 million; the parcel was ultimately transferred to the State of New York and annexed to Minnewaska State Park in 2006. The Bradleys retained ownership of 250 acres which is now the Awosting Club.
The fight to Save the Ridge transformed Gardiner. Reaffirming the values of its rural character and cognizant of the need to protect its natural resources, the community elected a new Town Board which undertook a long-overdue revision of our Zoning Law, including creation of the Shawangunk Ridge Protection District. It details sensible regulations and procedures allowing property owners reasonable use of their holdings within clear permitting rules, so that “the unique scenic character, water resources and fragile ecology of the Shawangunk Ridge” are conserved.
The official obituary for John Atwater Bradley states:
“…he focused on assembling substantial tracts of undeveloped wilderness lands in the Hudson Valley… utilizing ‘new forestry’ techniques of timber harvesting and minerals extraction which improved the indigenous ecosystem of diverse flora and fauna, and brought profit to the owners.” A similar patronizing ideation is evident in Camilla Bradley’s closing sentence of her recent Hudson Valley One point of view column: “I am working with the Town to allay any concerns.” Allay? Concerns?
For almost two years, Ms. Bradley has made it clear that she considers herself above the law (possibly in concert with Town officials, a situation now being scrutinized by the Town Board in Executive Session unavailable to the public), as evidenced in this partial timeline: June 2020: Town Building Inspector site visit to the Awosting Club, verbal notification to “CB” that site plan approval and Campground application were required; 4/26/21: Formal notice of Violation. Owner did not comply; 6/28/21: Formal notice of Violation. Owner did not comply; 7/22/21: Formal notice of Violation. Owner did not comply.
The now-former building Inspector also asserts that he was instructed “by the powers that be” to extend normal application deadlines. It is now 2022.
The cornucopia of extensions and profits accruing to the Awosting Club (it continues to operate without permits, without fines, without apology), the shameful precedent of preferential treatment and the arrogant and prolonged disregard for community standards shown by Ms. Bradley is in stark contrast with a family enterprise now seeking to be a “positive influence within the surrounding community.”
The legacy of saving the ridge 20 years ago challenges us to ensure that the best of Gardiner is not defiled: robust politics in a civilized arena, honorable governance, mutual trust and the many unpaid citizens who serve because they care deeply — about our library, our skateboarders, our dogs, our rail trail, our farmers, our artists and entrepreneurs and elders and ethics, our environment.
Our Ridge. Its presence is our treasure, not for profit.
Does this mean nothing? In God We Trust! Also, nothing? For the brave people being slaughtered by Putin, please tell your Senators and Congressperson to RUSH weapons to the free citizens of Ukraine so that they can defend themselves. We are not misinformed about this vicious attack, and do not say, even to yourself, “it is none of our business”, please. War is evil. Stop war by denying aggressors their selfish goals.
Neil’s word salads
It is obvious that Neil Jarmel is extremely impressed with his command of the English language as well as his mental Thesaurus from which he grabs his countless alternative descriptions of what he is trying to write about. The problem is, however, that in his rant of March 16th entitled: “I am because we are,” he probably lost 90% of our readers, including myself, as I found myself wishing that I had an interpreter or one of those old classic Captain Video decoder rings referred to by Ed Norton on an old Jackie Gleason Show episode.
Now, regarding his recent “Here we go again” letter of last week, and looking for any silver lining, I compliment Neil on his not using the word “Trump,” even once, or using the phrase “the prior administration.” But, after that, he suddenly and completely went downhill with another meltdown from my striking, yet, a deeper nerve. And, this doesn’t even include his potential reaction to my letter of last week that stood nearly side by side with his. No doubt, he will nearly totally exhaust his Thesaurus descriptive words and phrases, in his next letter. And, we may see Neil pull even more words from that special appendix he must have in his Thesaurus entitled “middle school name calling obscenities.”
And, still not understanding how news ratings work, Neil fears for my brain turning into tapioca because I get my news from “Fox IV drips.” If I got my news from Neil’s “IV drips at CNN, MSNBC, et al”, I’d be on life support, at best. Thanks for the concern anyway, Neil.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was not crazy about everything regarding Trump. However, Neil, Matt Frisch (recently), and others have no problem going to great lengths to elaborate and focus ONLY on Trump’s negatives, while they make it sound like they were describing Hitler, Idi Amin, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, or Heinrich Himmler……..who were REAL dangerous dictators, unlike Trump. It’s both curious and amusing how they totally “forget” to acknowledge the positives Trump did for our nation, in pre-pandemic times; a record financial and unemployment climate for ALL Americans of ALL colors. He had control over the levels of illegals, felons and drugs trying to sneak into our country which gave us all a much more comfortable sense of national security. When it comes to these positive achievements by Trump, the Trump haters have their heads buried in the sand and suddenly become mute. And, even though they are all totally silent on Biden’s many failures and their negative impact on ALL of us, I have to compliment Matt on his daring to acknowledge, if only in a surface fashion, just one of Biden’s many weaknesses.
Take a few deep breaths and relax, Neil……….these are only letters to the editor.
John N. Butz
It’s hard to imagine stepping away from “the land of the sea to the shining sea” into a country of poorly armed men and unprotected women and children fighting for their survival.
It’s overly apparent that no government capable of helping Ukraine is making any serious move other than throwing money and weapons at them. The enemy is Putin, not the Russian people. He has blindfolded and frightened the Russians and the world with his psychopathic willingness not to allow mass deaths to upset his game plan to be more remembered than the Faberge eggs.
The Declaration of Independence was once a True North compass setting for the young United States.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Trump set the United States on the compass setting of magnetic North, moving us further away from the True North setting of unalienable rights taking us deeper into the heart of capitalism. Putin’s 500-foot yacht, Scheherazade, navigates by the same magnetic capitalist compass setting. The yacht’s name comes from a woman who stayed alive by telling the Persian king stories, just like Putin is doing to the Russian people. If he sold the seven hundred-million-dollar yacht, he could feed all the Russian people for a year.
Europe can smell on the east winds’ Ukrainian cities burning. Europe is in the most danger of Russia making war. Yet, it seems that their silence punctuates their micromovements in helping the Ukrainian people.
The world is watching the Ukrainian war where morality, humanity, information and truth seldom live in the same sentences. In America, the TV sounds of battle are drowned out by the Amazon delivery women ringing the doorbell.
I’ve heard Americans caring for those innocent folks dying in the Ukraine war. I’ve seen postings online about how terrible the brut Putin is like Hitler. I listened to the bark of protest after seeing children bombed on TV. Most folks offer compassionate words only heard by their families. Then, the next day, they go to work with or without a mask. Back home from work and online many folks verbally masturbate on Facebook about who slapped who during the Grammy Awards on TV.
Our politicians support NATO, while NATO is watching the dictator of Russia destroying Ukrainian lives and his own people’s lives and futures. The saying: “Make America Great” still echoes for many. Hey, I say wake up; it was never great. Maybe we are a great war machine. Having risked my life for the sea to shining sea, I speak for years we’ve intentionally misunderstood the word great. Perhaps you think being great is not being kind, not loving the folks in your community and not feeling compassion for the poor. I understand why you say, “Make great America again.” You need us to be the most powerful, richest, ass-kicking holders of Weapons of Mass Destruction that will kill significant numbers of people as quickly as God can. Just ask Putin.
Dereliction of duty
Woodstock’s American Legion post’s 1026 stewardship of our war memorial is lacking. The black POW flag has torn lose and flies as a pendent. The jerry-rigged lanyard is slack. The paint on the flag pole is peeling. It has the look of an abandoned building. I have called the Post and talked with the Town supervisor about this deplorable situation months ago and nothing has been done. Therefore, I am writing this letter to point out this insult to our honored dead.
William C. O’Neill, Former Sergeant USMC, Viet Nam combat veteran
Join the movement to defund the fossil fuel industry
Given that the fossil fuel industry is one of the major obstructions to alleviating the climate crisis, what action must we take? Strong government regulation, basically rendering the industry non-viable, is needed but appears to our representatives to be politically impossible.
However, the fossil fuel industry is completely dependent on loans and investments from the big banks. The Rainforest Action Network has identified JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank, Bank of America, TD, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, as the main providers of funds for pipelines, exploration, extraction and processing of oil and natural gas (mainly methane). These mega-banks make money using depositors’ money to enable the fossil fuel industry to destroy our climate. We can take our money out of these banks. This sends a strong message that more and more people care enough about the climate and the future to refuse to any longer fund the banks’ profiteering from their destruction.
In New Paltz we have Bank of America and Chase, Wells Fargo having left, and in the area there are TD banks. If we remove our money from these banks, we will need to put it somewhere. Fortunately, we have Ulster Savings and several credit unions who only do business locally. Heritage Federal Credit Union advertises that it is open to anyone who lives or works in the area. A list of fossil fuel free banks for banking online can be found at thegoodtrade.com.
Please join the movement to defund the fossil fuel industry by denying it access to your money.
Corrected letter for Spectrum senior discount
I just called Spectrum and found out, after 18 minutes on hold, that the citizen senior discount (a free 12th month of service if you’ve paid the last 11 months on time) is available only in some localities. Neither Kingston, New Paltz nor Woodstock is included. But Tim Rogers advises that, although the franchise agreement between the Town of New Paltz and Spectrum has expired, they are still legally obligated to provide this service to New Paltz senior citizens.
Monelle Malkine Richmond