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Love to Saugerties
I would like to give a shout out to three things that make me love Saugerties. First off, I loved Janet Asiain’s excellent letter of last week “Let’s get our priorities straight!” I so agree with her that we (the US) spend way too much money on defense, the business of maintaining and starting wars and on supporting the (hugely powerful and evil) fossil fuel industry. She makes an excellent point that we can use all that precious money for much better and healthier ends. It was too bad that her letter got so cut up in the paper, a little hard to put the pieces together. There is a climate study book group that Janet started at the Saugerties Library.
I would give another shout out to Smith Hardware for sharpening my garden tools and my scissors. They do a superb job, and this is the time to get your clippers in shape for spring. Another reason I love Smith’s hardware is because they sell a lot of bulk items: screws of all shapes and sizes, lamp fixings, bolts and nuts. The great thing about that is you don’t bring any unwanted plastics into the environment.
And a third shout out for Drake, who makes excellent (vegan) food to order in. While I am neither vegan nor vegetarian, in fact I love beef, but knowing what I now know about how terrible the beef industry contributes to carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, I try to stay away from beef. But Drake’s food is superb; you would never even know it was (scary) vegan. (firstname.lastname@example.org) If we all chose to eat one day a week vegetarian, we can have a huge positive effect on our environment. That is good to know, and easy to do.
A/k/a the flaming pants award
This is the inaugural year for the award. I am very pleased to announce that FOX “news” channel was nominated for the prestigious “George Santos Excellence in Journalism Award.” Perfect. But everyone wins that one. At least they say they do. Calling them “journalists” is too generous.
“The network” has become one of the biggest scandals in the history of American media. You reap what you sow, the fact there is a healthy dumbf**k tribal population that still consumes Fox News for breakfast, lunch and dinner and can’t wait for Tucker Carlson’s dessert — hmm, thinking it’s a worthy news diet, is beyond me. IMO, Tucker Carlson is one of the best snake oil salesmen on Fox. “Reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. Fuck it, we lie!”
How many times have right-wingers pushed back with willful ignorance like MAGAt HV1 letter writers, John Butz and George Civile, with “they’re best at reporting” and the “honest TV” narrative about Fox? Must be very strange living in your alternate reality and not being able to see that they were lying through their teeth and now are caught red-handed.
Fox News is a “news organization” in the same way a “urinal cake” is a cake. One difference — a urinal cake tries to get rid of the stink around it. In addition, and in Fox’s case, they piss on you.
Their argument in court with the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit is “We lie but our viewers don’t care as long as we tell them the lies they want to hear.” Overwhelmed with evidence, we’ve learned that they outright propagandized to their idiot and echo-chamber viewers. These Trumpublicans need deprogramming ASAP.
“You will obey me while I lead you and eat the garbage that I feed you” when feeling the stranglehold from “Fox NOOSE.”
I may be vile and pernicious,
But you can’t look away…
I’m the best you can get,
Have you guessed me yet?
I’m the slime oozing out from your
“Lights. Camera. Fiction! If you watch fake Fox News, just change the damn channel. Someone needs to put Fox News out of our misery already.”
I’m such a feminist, I decided not to have a career, so a woman could take my place.
State of the County
The County Charter is ignored or circumvented by both the Executive and the Legislature.
The Redistricting Commission submits a map that doesn’t comply with State law.
The comptroller and the Legislature gets denied access to financial records.
The capital project for the County’s Operation Center goes up by $10 million before the first shovel hit the ground.
The Finance Commissioner resigns after being accused of financial impropriety, which will trigger a very expensive investigation into County finances.
Properties don’t get foreclosed on for unpaid taxes.
County funds go into low interest rate accounts.
Most of the County’s experienced legislators decide not to run again.
This is what Executive Metzger is inheriting, what Comptroller Gallagher has been dealing with and what Legislator Maloney has been yelling about.
And what you and I will be paying for.
Neil misses the boat
Neil Jarmel’s “We read to know we’re not alone” in HV1’s Feedback section contains a dangerous and illogical “one-size-fits-all” conclusion that, apparently, EVERYONE from kindergarten through their entire adult life should be able to read any banned book of their choice, no matter how egregious, offensive, illicit, immoral, pornographic, etc.
Once a child acquires the wisdom, intelligence and maturity of an adult, legally considered to be 18 for all intents and purposes, he/she can choose to read anything they want.
However, in the world of our young, significantly impressionable and naive children, it is ludicrous to believe that the same adult parameters and guidelines should, likewise, apply. The perceptions, behaviors and realities of adults and children are from two different worlds.
Neil says “a banned book isn’t advocating anything other than the acceptance of reality.” Exactly whose reality is he describing? Certainly not that of a second grader. As Neil says, parents have the right to monitor what their kids read, but only the responsible parents will do this because they want to pass on to their children the values, integrity and character they were taught growing up. Unfortunately, irresponsible parents have no values and morals and will let their children read anything. If it’s banned, let them go out and buy inappropriate sexual and borderline pornographic trash, then foolishly gift it to their children. Then, in referencing these banned books, Neil astonishingly asks the insane question, “why don’t they want our kids to read these books?”
He incredibly goes on about banned books with “rather than protect our kids from ‘dirty’ ideals, controversial books can ultimately “boost” our intelligence!” How much intelligence does a second grader possess and how will this raunch boost the naive little one’s intelligence?
In referring to us faux “silly Nazis,” Neil says “books are for reading.” No kidding, but they’re for reading by people who have the maturity, wisdom and judgment to clearly understand the material they are reading and who have the ability to continue behaving morally, legally and ethically afterwards. These abilities and characteristics, obviously, are not yet present in our young children.
John N. Butz
When grants make projects more expensive
Our 1,350 linear foot (LF) by 4’ wide sidewalk project is finally ready to go out to bid. The remaining tasks include: Bid Verification, Construction and Construction Inspection. Sections include:
• Prospect Street: 380 LF between Slate Street and Henry W DuBois Drive (westside)
• Church Street: 500 LF north of Briarwood Court to Henry W DuBois Drive (eastside) and between Henry W DuBois Drive and Mulberry Street (westside)
• Huguenot Street: 470 LF of bluestone south of the monument past the burial ground (eastside)
The project’s construction estimate is $252,035 — but bids could be higher. The village had been awarded a NYSDOT grant for $201,628 sourced from Federal Highway Administration. NYSDOT design, construction and material standards must be used for all Federal-aid projects. This includes another $8,000 for Bid Verification. But way more bananas than that, we just got back three bids for Construction Inspection. The LOW bid was $137,500.
This means this Village of New Paltz project could cost approximately $400,000.
In Brooklyn via the “NYC DOT’s Expedited Sidewalk Repair Program” they’ll fix defective sidewalks and bill the property owner for “the actual cost of replacement.” Their program cost is $27.08 per square foot for a four-inch-thick sidewalk. Therefore, a 1,350’ x four-foot sidewalk project would cost $146,232. That is +$50,000 less than our project even with $200,000 in grant proceeds.
We previously visited staff at the DOT’s Poughkeepsie office and asked if there was any way to dial back inspection requirements or paperwork needed from engineers to make this project less expensive. Their staff was resourceful and helped us understand that because these were Federal Highway Administration dollars the paperwork needed to be “comprehensive.” They compared it to the type of Federal aid used to construct something that would actually require lots of engineering and inspections like the new Tappan Zee Bridge.
We will be investigating whether it makes sense to forfeit this $200,000 grant and have area contractors bid on this project without having to jump through these extra Federal government hoops.
Mayor Tim Rogers
For your awareness, Part III
In a previous letter, I briefly mentioned the 1886 Supreme Court Act, Santa F County v Southern Pacific Railroad. This was the act which created the corporation and took them out of the tax regulatory of the states. The basis for this act was the Industrial Revolution that let loose after the Civil War of 1865. The day of the homestead farm was in its initial stage of becoming history. I gave two examples of railroad men whose rail lines crossed state lines and paid the states no tax.
With the passage of the Supreme Court Act of 1886, there were eight POTUS’s. Six of them were Republican and two were Democrats. They were Cleveland (twice, D), McKinley (R), Roosevelt (R), Taft (R), Harding (R), Wilson (D), Coolidge (R) and Hoover (R). These six Republicans wanted nothing to do with the states. It was ‘grab’, ‘grab’, ‘grab’, ‘cutthroat business deals’, ‘business only’ and the hell with everything else. (I previously mentioned three authors whose research confirmed this.)
It was this free-wheeling business tactics of the six Republicans which contributed greatly to the Great Depression of the late 20s and early 30s, particularly the banks which played a prominent part leading to this depression.
Before FDR came to office at the end of Hoover’s first term, there was no separation between retail banking and commercial banking. A bank could and did, take an investor’s money without their knowledge for investment schemes. And then when it went bottom ups, investors lost everything. Roosevelt’s administration, along with the support of the Republicans, passed the Glass-Steagall Bill of 1933, commonly referred to as the Banking Act of 1933. More to follow regarding this bill.
Kindness makes courage
I worked many years in mental health and when I look back, kindness was the one action that saved the most lives.
Albert Camus wrote in his novel The Plague, “I must tell you this: this is not about heroism. It’s about decency. It may seem ridiculous, but the only way to fight the plague is with decency.
Pharmaceuticals appear to have reduced the number of deaths in today’s epidemics. However, if we include drug addiction, war addiction and wealth addiction, we may not have made the progress we are told we have on the news.
The COVID-19 virus has provided a new look at the human immune system and how desperately it needs acts of kindness to recover. Today we have profound communication tools capable of reaching millions of humans in seconds. Who is at the helm of these gargantuan media ships determines the outcomes of billions who need to eat, drink clean water and feel cared for by those in power. Unfortunately, I am not sure this communication power level is being used to repair our deeply wounded morality. Concentrating immense power in the hands of a few historically has caused holocausts. Today, so many are getting swept into the undertow of fear-driven media. Millions still hold on to the remnants of constitutional protections such as, “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 among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These folks are looking for decency in hospitals and at healthcare folks who still care enough to show human kindness. Some prescriptions are not written but delivered in the gentleness of touch, the softness of voice, and, most importantly, the kindness to listen holds the courage to help heal one’s soul.
On your mark. Get ready. Get set. Go. Oh wait, this is Woodstock; it doesn’t quite work that way. It is more like we have a problem, let’s protest or figure out a solution other than the one that was proposed, form a committee, have a meeting, maybe another, let the public know what we are doing, or not and, more likely than not, we may or may not arrive at a solution. For example, McKenna’s noise ordinance, short-term rental law issues, Church Road contamination and the Big and Little Deep just to name a few of the ongoing unresolved concerns.