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.
Hudson Valley One welcomes letters from its readers. Letters should be fewer than 300 words and submitted by noon on Monday. Our policy is to print as many letters to the editor as possible. As with all print publications, available space is determined by ads sold. If there is insufficient space in a given issue, letters will be approved based on established content standards. Points of View will also run at our discretion.
Although Hudson Valley One does not specifically limit the number of letters a reader can submit per month, the publication of letters written by frequent correspondents may be delayed to make room for less-often-heard voices, but they will all appear on our website at hudsonvalleyone.com. All letters should be signed and include the author’s address and telephone number.
The county is lucky to have Esi Lewis as chair of the Human Rights Commission
I am writing in response to your recent article regarding the resignation of three Ulster County Human Rights Commission members, in particular their criticism of the current commission chair, Esi Lewis. I have worked with Esi for several years, first when she was a member of the Town of New Paltz’s Police Reform and Reinvention Committee, and then as a member of the Town Board. Esi is one of the smartest, most dependable board members I have worked with. Not only is she a very good listener, but she is also a very good communicator. Disagreement on boards and committees is unavoidable and, in many ways, an important part of the process. When Esi disagrees, she is respectful and doesn’t just try to derail the whole discussion by arguing (or resigning). Instead, she asks thoughtful, informed questions to help others see things they might have missed or to help people see the issue from a different perspective. The county is lucky to have her as chair of the Human Rights Commission.
Neil Bettez, Town Supervisor
There is more to life than politics
Regrettably, I conclude my contributions to the letters to the editor section. It appears as though politics has permeated every facet of life, shaping ideas and impressions that infiltrate our very core as humans. As I’ve perceived, this shift is mirrored in the selection of the Hudson Valley One letters to the editor.
I witness a barrage of political oratory, predominantly from those oblivious to the ripple effect in our inner worlds. It is intriguing to observe how the most blinkered among us proclaim that all will be remedied externally.
The irony is palpable, yet it also harbors an undercurrent of melancholy.
I have always found joy and a sense of accomplishment in having my thoughts published frequently in the past. I appreciate Hudson Valley One’s courage in posting the many topics I have covered. Thank you. Despite the numerous perspectives I presented over the years, not a single reader felt moved enough to express either criticism or commendation in your paper. I wonder what people are thinking. I have been told in person that my perspective was of value.
As I step back, I wait with bated breath to see if Hudson Valley One will deem this letter to the editor worthy of publication and if there will be any echoes in response.
To conclude, I borrow words from Aldous Huxley that encapsulate my sentiments, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
I encourage each reader to not just passively consume the rhetoric but to actively engage and grapple with the many perspectives presented. Challenge the echo chamber, for our collective progress depends upon it. There is more to life than politics.
I am very much still in this race
I would like to personally thank everyone who came out and voted in the Democratic primary and to thank all who helped with my campaign.
I am very much still in this race and will continue our work to make Woodstock the place that lives up to its famous name. A lot still needs to be done and only a fraction of the voters have been heard. In November, I will be on the ballot on the Working Families Party line. All Woodstockers will be able to vote; independents, non-enrolled, Democrats, Republicans, Greens, and yes, Working Families Party members. I look forward to a healthy, progressive and very positive campaign. Stay in touch.
Michael Veitch, Candidate
Woodstock Town Council
Smoke screen of concern
It’s confounding to read in these pages and elsewhere conservative politicians and their followers promote a plethora of memes and laws subverting LGBTQIA rights, especially in terms of gender expression, under the guise of “protecting” youth. The issues raised here are in the main highly personal, private decisions affecting, admittedly by both sides, a very small percent of individuals. Like my reaction to the current book banning craze: Why, nobody is forcing anyone to read or be anything, just presenting another view.
On the other hand, the concern for the number-one actual killer of youth, gun violence, effects 1000’s of times more individuals, goes largely undealt with because it seems the same folks who are so worried about protecting youth from themselves in the case of personal choice, are more concerned about rights to have the means to do harm rather than victims’ rights: so no fiery rhetoric or laws limiting gun ownership. We have the highest gun ownership rate in the world and the highest incidence of gun violence, but still the gun violence is blamed by some on purely psychological issues, yet social and other program opportunities that might help in that arena are cut or underfunded in budget reduction efforts while taxes for the wealthy remain untouched.
So all this brew-ha-ha over personal choices like gender expression or woman’s personal health decisions are controlled and blown up with a bomb of virtuous self-righteousness by people who claim at the same time to want government off their backs (by limiting other’s rights?), the smoke from that conflagration covers the fact that we are actually not supporting the right to life for the victims of gun violence.
I’d like to offer an addendum to the “Light trespass” reporting by Terence Ward in the July 5 issue of HV1 (page11).
The issue of “light pollution and trespass” has recently been already discussed even in the New York Times and in The New Yorker.”
My objective was to bring to the Village Board’s attention those articles, and especially an article that appeared in HV1 on May 10, reporting on the same issue, but in the Ulster Town. There were many complaints about improper use of outdoor lighting, so the board undertook to create provisions in their town code. I asked our board to do likewise, and in the course I mentioned some of the “trespasses” here that I am aware of.
Tim informed me, and all present, that New Paltz does have an “outdoor lighting standards” for the village and he sent me the text. It provides very detailed and useful instructions; any infractions should be addressed to the building department.
Things go worse with coke!
If you carefully ignore some of the media, some things may have not come to your attention. On Sunday, July 2, or a day before or after, depending on which White House spokesperson was talking, a plastic baggy of cocaine was found in the private quarters library, later revised to a very busy hallway, later revised to a construction site near The Situation Room.
It has yet to move outside to Michele’s Victory garden, or Bill’s favorite hide-a-way with Monica.
There are two men this country should not have to endure again as president. The current mistake, or the guy before him that some folks still think cut deals with Putin to get elected and, as they all now seem to do, get filthy rich.
President Truman, who drove himself and his wife home after wrapping up both our wars in Europe and the Pacific, your nation needs a person with your character at The Helm. We are sinking fast!
Support your local businesses, the arts and historic preservationists
The town and village of Saugerties should be grateful and commend the efforts of Nina Schmidbaur, Danny Melnick and Isabel Soffer to repurpose underused and vacant structures in the Village of Saugerties. Nina and her family undertook the herculean task of restoring the Clovelea (formerly known as the Dragon Inn) on Route 9W to create offices and a holistic healing center while Isabel and Danny oversaw the renovations of the Dutch Chapel at 16 John Street (formerly the venue of John Street Jam founded by Steve and Terri Massardo). 16 John Street, to be known as The Local, will be used for performances, multicultural activities, readings, meetings, art exhibitions and more.
The Clovelea and The Local, independent of one another, are perfect examples of repurposing older buildings that may have been underused, vacant, and in the case of the Clovelea, inching closer to the wrecking ball and gone forever. Both locations are historic and the efforts of the Schmidbaurs, the Soffers and Melnicks, with scarce resources, should be applauded. We need these places to survive and thrive as a community. There have been other projects throughout the town and village that have done the same in recent years and their efforts should also be acknowledged and appreciated. Let’s hope this trend continues. Support your local businesses, the arts, and historic preservationists.
Malden on Hudson
Basketball and pickleball aficionados rejoice
A grant award from Ulster County will finally make this project happen.
Since 2016, the Village of New Paltz has been designing this plan and submitting various grant applications to rehabilitate the existing pickleball and basketball courts in Hasbrouck Park along Elting Avenue. The pickleball/basketball courts’ retaining wall is failing, fencing around the courts is collapsing, court surfaces are uneven, and inadequate spacing between court boundaries and fencing makes playing less safe. We also need to redirect stormwater and improve pedestrian and ADA access.
Grant award: $100,000
Local match: $175,621
Total project: $ 275,621
Thank you County Executive Metzger and Ulster County Legislature! Also thanks to New Paltz residents George Sifre and Justin Dates for volunteering and working on the original designs. Your help will finally be realized.
Mayor Tim Rogers
SCOTUS affirmative action decision hurts everyone
The latest Supreme Court decisions directly hit young people. Ending race-conscious admissions to colleges and overturning President Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness were crushing attacks on 18- to 29-year-olds. While it is obvious that keeping students and recent graduates steeped in debt is mostly a young person’s issue, affirmative action is too.
Affirmative action, one of the most effective tools for ameliorating racial inequality, benefits white students as well. In a world that is more interconnected than ever and where cultural literacy is needed to succeed in careers, a lack of diversity will disadvantage white graduates. Minorities always know the mores and subtleties of the majority culture — they have to — whereas majority cultures often don’t have a clue about other cultures. Diversity in universities is one way in which sheltered white students who spent their lives in segregated communities learn to negotiate the world and to live in a multiracial, multicultural society.
While I am most upset about SCOTUS taking an axe to affirmative action for its deleterious effect on students of color, I am saddened that the people who are cheering the decision don’t realize that this is horrendous for everyone. Perhaps this decision will further disadvantage U.S. young people as they compete in our interconnected world.
I hope that young people understand that Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices just made their lives more difficult. My plea to the under-30 crowd, join your Democratic Party and help shape the future. You have led in so many areas — climate, gun safety, equality — and we need you to lead us to a fairer and more just Supreme Court. Get involved with electoral politics. In the words of Pericles, “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”
Take a few minutes to listen to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is running for the Democratic nomination for President. He is clearly a long shot and has an uphill battle. His views and positions are either ignored or distorted by the main stream media. President Biden refuses to debate him about Ukraine, immigration or any other policy issue. He is labeled an “anti-vaxxer” but no one in the medical or pharmaceutical community will debate or discuss the matter with him. Even Dr. Peter Hotez, a prominent pro-vaccine voice, refuses to debate him (despite an offer of $1 million to Hotez favorite charity). What are they afraid of?
Please take a few minutes to actually listen to RFK Jr. in his own raspy voice. He discusses his positions on vaccinations, Ukraine, immigration, and freedom in a town hall meeting in Chicago with questions from people (and a moderator) who disagree with him. I must confess that I too wondered about his label as an “anti-vaxxer” and “conspiracy theorist,” but the more I listen to his own words, the better he sounds. Please listen, you might be surprised. Go to: https://www.newsnationnow.com/politics/2024-election/rfk-jr-town-hall-newsnation/
To celebrate the end of the Vietnam War, Americans invented Disco.
Another vision in toast
Play it to the jury as the opening statement! In a newly released audio, former President Donald Trump can be heard discussing ‘secret’ and ‘highly confidential’ documents on tape to several other individuals during a conversation at Mar-a-Lago.
“See, as president I could have declassified it,” Trump says at one point. “Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”
“Now we have a problem,” one staffer responds.
In case you haven’t heard it, this is the tape with TFG showing off secret documents to his friends. Can you imagine what else this cretin did with those documents?
First degree treason with a dash of bravado, just to get attention for himself: They need to revamp the presidential records act and exempt defense documents, or does everyone keep their invasion plans next to their golf shoes? Now we know where he keeps them. It’s a great place for invasion plans, isn’t it? This is getting better every day.
I love that his own people recorded him knowing he lies and is a sellout! LOL, talk about karma! Hopefully, like Nixon, it will be the audiotapes that put a halt to the orange madman.
Yeppers! He’s toast, awright! Okay, now it’s ready for jam. Lots of jam. Get this jammed up good.
But many believe he won’t spend a second in jail. So many looming legal problems — yeah, however, I’m going to wait until he’s been found guilty. He’s too freakin’ Teflon-coated to go down easily. We’ve all been here, thought he was toast, dozens of times over the last ten years.
Let’s celebrate when the conviction is a fact. Put it back in the toaster until it burns away. He should have been detained as a danger to the community. He needs to be removed from the public eye so the people of this country can have time to maybe heal from the gaping wounds he caused.
Spread orange marmalade all over a prison cell in his effigy? Ugh. I don’t think I can ever eat toast again. Fuck. I used to love toast with butter.
For those of you who wonder why from time to time I make reference to muck boots, specifically when it comes to a response from our supervisor, muck boots were the preferred shoes worn by individuals who wanted to avoid contamination when they cleaned out the manure from stables.
Messrs Butz and Borelli are distressed about the “woke” 7.2 percent of the population ruining the lives of our children. Aside from their apparent ignorance of the suffering that some people experience who find themselves locked in a gender that is wrong for them, Messrs Butz and Borelli apparently are unaware that this “woke” group amounts to 24 million people! And, although the term “woke” is intended as derogatory, it’s reference is AWAKE. And us awake folk, plus all those not enthralled with Trump, will vote in President Biden for his second term along with a fully awake Democratic Congress! Messrs Butz and Borelli can continue to sleep and dream along with their non-woke brethren.
A pile of poop
I could express all kinds of opinions about town politics in Woodstock, but what has driven me to write a letter is the event of coming upon some bear poop with plastic in it. In a mowed area of my property I came upon some poop that I assume to be from a bear due to the size of the pile and the number of bears in the area. Regardless of the animal it came from, finding a piece of a plastic bag in a pile of poop is very distressing.
So heads up for anyone who puts their garbage out in such a way that it becomes animal food or any visitors who need to leave garbage before leaving the area, please know that any carelessness could well end up in an animal’s gut. It’s not just ocean animals who are eating the plastic. The same event is happening right here at home.
Discrimination: Myth and reality
A couple recent Supreme Court decisions focus on the meaning and perception of what the term discrimination actually means. By most people’s definition, discrimination is the unfair, unjust and prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of ethnicity, age, sex, and disability, among others. It could be said that for REAL discrimination to take place it goes deeper to include a conscious attempt, involving irrational emotions, that are based upon malice and hatred. These Supreme Court decisions do NOT involve any of these deeper and vile animosities.
Regarding the wedding web designer’s case, she prevailed because the court recognized her First Amendment right to freedom of religious expression. To work with or for a same sex couple violated her deep-seated religious beliefs. There was absolutely no hatred or malice involved, at all. It only existed in the imaginations of the “highly offended” progressive left. Besides, since when do such subjective allegations and imaginations supersede a person’s basic constitutionally guaranteed right?
On the College Affirmative Action Admissions decision, all that happened was the re-creation of an even playing field. If anything, the Affirmative Action Program, ITSELF, was discriminatory in that it discriminated against many non-black and non-Hispanic students, especially the much more qualified Asian students. EVERYONE now has the same opportunity to apply for and enter a college or university. As in all walks of life, merit and hard work with resultant good grades and proven resumes should determine your potential for success, not the color of your skin or ethnicity.
Can you imagine the following absurd scenario: A coalition of white NBA players complained because too many black men were given preferential treatment resulting in black men dominating the rosters of all the teams. So, Affirmative Action was passed resulting in far more white players on first teams while the likes of Steph Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, et al sit on the bench, watching less talented players taking away spots that they didn’t earn or deserve. In other words, talent doesn’t matter, quotas do. Similarly, in Major League baseball, why not put restrictions on the number of Spanish speaking players from many countries, so that more white guys can play.
We need to get real when it comes to identifying what discrimination is and is not.
John N. Butz
Fifty years ago, I read the book Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre.
The recent Democratic Party contest in Woodstock saw less than half of the eligible Democratic voters actually vote. In the race for supervisor, the two candidates were separated by less than 100 votes. In the race for the Town Board endorsements, one of the endorsements was decided by an even slimmer margin. This indicates that, for the voters that took part in the primary, there was close to a 50/50 split regarding who should be the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidates. The actual election for town supervisor and the Town Board seats is this November. Many of the same issues that the town has been facing remain to be solved in the upcoming months and should be approached with respect, truth and the keeping of the best interests of all Woodstock residents the utmost consideration. As time will inevitably move through the summer and fall, a responsibility of the electorate will be to scrutinize the character of the candidates, their knowledge of the community and their dedication to each Woodstock resident. When all is said and done and Election Day arrives, every voter should be guided by their conscience to vote for the person who will be most ethical and effective in representing them.
Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre entices the reader to examine their life with respect to “the meaning of life” during a given time period. I will be beginning to reread this book. Woodstock is experiencing a time when residents have the opportunity to review its meaning and values as a community amidst turbulent times. This can be a time to collaborate and move forward from divisiveness toward a brighter and more respectable future.
Gaslighting the public
The term “gaslighting” defined is an insidious form of manipulation and psychological control over an extended period of time whereby false information is systematically fed to a person causing a mistrust of reality. The public has been gaslighted about political assassinations, especially JFK & MLK, as the House Select Committee on Assassinations affirmed. The public is continually being gaslighted to get us into wars of aggression against small countries that pose no real threats to our national security. The public was gaslighted about the three World Trade Center buildings that collapsed in seconds on one day allegedly due to open-air uncontrolled fires that never before brought down high-rise steel-framed buildings in the history of the world. A review of the forensic evidence, declassified documents and the laws of physics reveals the public is being continually gaslighted. Recently, the US Department of Energy and the FBI both asserted the Covid pandemic originated from a leak in the Wuhan Lab which upends the gaslighting story of the fish market and natural evolution of the Covid virus. Recently, a report on the review of the peer-reviewed science on Covid autopsies was published in the Lancet Journal, and then censored 24 hours later, because it documented that 74% of fatalities that happened within 14 days after being vaccinated “were attributable to fatal vaccine injury syndromes” (page13 https://zenodo.org/record/8120771). An August 2022 study documents vaccine injury is “12.5 people per 10,000” with Pfizer and Moderna at the top of the list for “excess risk of serious adverse events” (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36055877/). That is a far cry from the conclusory statement of five in a million in the CDC narrative. RFK Jr., a vaccine injury lawyer, declares that number to now be “1 in 39”. Do your own research and quit being gaslighted. Our democracy depends on it.