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.
Alabama, voting rights and John Roberts
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 provided, among other things, the requirement of preclearance from the Justice Department for actions regarding voting rights in certain states and specific jurisdictions. John Roberts led the way in sacking this provision. In 2013 in Shelby County v. Holder, Roberts’ decision boiled down to ‘enough time having passed’ and since the original law had been effective in preventing voting suppression it was time to end this provision of the 1965 Law.
Fast forward to today and we have Alabama doing what the law tried to prevent — defying the Supreme Courts’ demand that they change their ill-conceived gerrymandered map of congressional representation. In 2013, Justice Sotomayor provided logical counter argument to Roberts by saying that the decision and argument ‘that all was well now’ was like the person with an umbrella crying out that ‘I can trash my umbrella’ because I am no longer getting wet even though it is still rain falling. There were no violations from 1965 to 2013 because of the law. Roberts didn’t understand that?
Roberts and his five other Supremes are out of step with the country and are, along with the Orange Man, a threat to a fair and just society. Perhaps the six conservative justices should apply for positions with Israel’s soon-to-be ‘right-wing gutted’ Supreme Court.
We care about our Woodstock
Thank you Bennet Ratcliff for addressing the Michael Mulvey conundrum here in Woodstock. I too have and continue to be on the receiving end of Mulvey’s conspiracy theory rants filling up social media and now shoveled onto the letters page of HV1. I have to believe the town can see through his crap, but the support from Bill McKenna, Laura Ricci and Anula Courtis for the Mulvey show, whether tacit or not, is certainly a disappointment. Their silence is deafening, as they say. I believe we are better than this. I am very proud of the positive and clean campaign I have run and continue to run for Woodstock Town Council. Bennet Ratcliff, Linda Lover and myself are on the ballot in November because we actually care about our Woodstock and believe there is no place in our political discourse for the Michael Mulveys who only want to bring on the hate and lies.
I believe we can change the script Woodstock, and stop this abhorrent behavior. Let’s get back to talking about planting more trees and affordable housing and protecting our environment.
Candidate for Woodstock Town Council
Properly disposed of
When property comes into the possession of Woodstock’s Police Department (WPD) and it is no longer needed or required, there are procedures in place to remove the property. Firearms (vouchering required) for instance are sent to a company called Gun Busters where the firearms are destroyed and video evidence of the destruction is sent to the WPD. Narcotics (vouchering required) whether obtained and used for evidence or are not needed any more by patients and placed in the Med Drug box, are sent to Poughkeepsie, where for a fee the evidence is incinerated. Money (vouchering required) if not claimed is added to the town’s general fund. Most other objects/items (as of 12/8/2022 must be documented) that come into the possession of the WPD that are not needed as evidence or not wanted by the owners that were previously sent to Poughkeepsie and destroyed for a fee, are now sent to the Town of Saugerties transfer station.
District Attorney candidate Emanuel “Manny” Nneji’s journey, from his boyhood home in Nigeria to his appointment as Ulster County’s Chief Assistant District Attorney, is extremely impressive. His remarkable story includes a willingness to work a variety of entry-level jobs to help pay for his education at SUNY New Paltz and the University of Buffalo Law School.
With 32 years of experience as a prosecutor, Manny believes that when justice is properly served without bias, the community can keep faith in the system and thrive. Drawing from the valuable lessons learned while serving as Ulster’s assistant district attorney and assistant New York State Attorney General he has earned the respect of everyone who has worked with him, regardless of political affiliation.
Manny’s knowledge of the law, abundant energy, notable intellect and sincerity make him the ideal choice to be elected Ulster County’s next district attorney. With our continued support he will ensure that the district attorney’s office will be a diverse, communicative and effective environment in which a team of skilled attorneys can share his vision and work ethic.
As a gifted educator, coach, mentor and prosecutor, Emanuel Nneji deserves our vote of confidence, allowing him to continue to serve all Ulster County residents in the humble, principled and professional manner that we have all come to appreciate.
Paul K. Maloney
I used to have a “take no prisoners” attitude, but now I take two or three prisoners.
Past events, current events, made up events and future events — you could say… I’ve been eventized.
Wars Make Life Years
As a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War, I have experienced the complexities of war firsthand. My identity was shaped by a society and culture that came to believe I supported killing in an unjust war.
I joined the Marines to fight for my country and lost that identity weeks after being in Nam. When I came home, I was handed a script of rhetoric for being a veteran with PTSD. I memorized the role, which became a single-story narrative. I perceived myself as a victim of an unjust war in a failing political landscape.
It took years for me to understand the limit of such a perspective. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once said, “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”
To move beyond Victimhood, I had first to acknowledge the identity the American press, film media, intellectuals, the DSM manual and politicians pinned on me and all veterans. After years of my victim dialogue not being heard, I looked at what it had taken me to survive the war, physical strength, courage and tolerance, along with gaining insight into life’s fragility. Tim O’Brien wrote in The Things They Carried, “They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die,” this emphasizes the weight of war experiences that stretches a veteran’s perspective life years beyond what a civilian 20-year-old may have learned in college.
I continue writing about war, hoping to encourage meaningful dialogue and challenge society to take responsibility for consistently identifying veterans as victims instead of men and women whose life learnings have gone to deeper realms that deserve to be harvested. Such domains catalyze the complex changes needed in our out-of-control leadership today.
Meyer is still very confused
In response to Meyer Rothberg’s letter of 7-26-23 entitled “An apology to Mr. Borelli”, Meyer shows a total lack of understanding of the fact that Mr. Borelli and I share the exact same concerns about transgender mutilation being prematurely forced upon younger children by doctors, other “authority figures” and even their own parents when these poor children don’t even have the mature mental capacity, yet, to understand the severe and irreversible consequences of such a serious decision. A perfect example of the disasters that can come upon a young child when the “authority figures” in their life coerce them into transgenderism was detailed in the news this past week in California in testimony at a hearing given by Chloe Cole. Google her. Still uncertain as to the gender dysphoria she thought she was experiencing, she was “persuaded” in starting the traditional blockers toward boyhood at the ripe old age of 12!! Now, at 19, she has de-transitioned back to a young woman, but with an irreversibly damaged body. In her wise testimony, she stated that “puberty is a rite of passage to adulthood, not a disease to be mitigated.” In other words, wait it out till you acquire a mature and reasonable thought process as an adult. Chloe said that she did NOT have suicidal thoughts BEFORE the transitioning began, but DID have suicidal thoughts AFTER her initial transition.
And, Meyer’s attack of my comments about Biden is quite laughable. Biden is hardly an internationally respected figure. Just ask the 13 gold star families who lost loved ones in Biden’s horrifically weak Afghanistan withdrawal fiasco. Also, a REAL leader doesn’t suck up to his country’s primary enemy (China). And a politically astute leader? You mean the guy who can’t put a cohesive sentence together, then gets lost trying to find his way off the podium? A moral, mature Christian? You mean the guy who thumbs his nose at his Catholic beliefs by championing the slaughter of the unborn? Yep, what a guy!
John N. Butz
AMMA Karunamayi visits Woodstock
In these stressful times of political divisiveness, wars, climate change and health concerns, developing peace within is paramount to our well-being and helps us to cultivate compassion for others. These are some of the main teachings of Amma Sri Karunamayi, who in India is revered as an incarnation of the Divine Mother. She’ll be here at the Bearsville Theater on August 22 – 23 after a four-year hiatus.
In the 20+ years Amma has been coming to Woodstock, she has helped me cultivate a deeper inner peace through meditation and selfless service. Her touch opens my heart and always fills me with a sense of light and love.
• Blessing Day, August 22, 11a.m. to 5 p.m. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. with live Kirtan; free to the public and you can have a private moment with Amma receiving her blessings; Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker Street (Route 212), Woodstock, NY 12498.
• Silent Meditation Retreat, August 23, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with fee); Amma refers to silence, “as the language of God and to be in silence as much as possible.”
• Vara Lakshmi Vratam Homa — Sacred Fire Ceremony, August 25, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., free; Ananda Ashram/Yoga Society of NY, 13 Sapphire Road, Monroe, NY 10950; please carpool.
All are welcome! Amma has spoken internationally on harmony and mutual respect between all religions, cultures and nationalities. She encourages all to “be in your own faith, travel your own path but elevate more and more on that path.”
Donations for our Woodstock program are appreciated to help cover the cost of the event and you can make them online at manidweepa.org, press donate, select Host city — Woodstock, OR send a check to SMVA TRUST c/o Lofstrand P.O. Box 382 Bearsville, NY 12409. Donations are tax deductible.
Joy Lofstrand, organizer
Thanks for the recognition
I write to give a note of hearty and unexpected thanks to Geddy Sveikauskas and his lovely article last week about the Maverick concerts. This past weekend would’ve surely done him proud, with amazing performances by Hubby Jenkins, Tracy Bonham, trailblazing New York pianist Adam Tendler and the magnificent Danish String Quartet, spanning the folk, classical and contemporary worlds of music, to large and appreciative audiences in our 1916 “music chapel.”
Though technically nestled in the woods in West Hurley, the Maverick is, of course, one of the original “Woodstock Legends” and I’m grateful for it being recognized and celebrated in Hudson Valley One.
Alexander Platt, Music Director
Maverick Concerts, Inc.
Woodstock needs improved zoning and subdivision code
There has been a lot of disinformation and misinformation about the proposed subdivision and zoning code changes for the Town of Woodstock. The newly proposed Woodstock National development is a great example of why the town needs to update and modernize its subdivision and zoning codes. For those who have not read about the proposed Woodstock National development plan, it is a roughly 539-acre subdivision. It will contain 90 market-rate houses, 77 market-rate duplexes, 24 affordable houses and an 18-hole members-only golf course. The development is in the Town of Woodstock and the Town of Ulster, with 433 acres in Woodstock and 107 acres in Ulster.
This is exactly the type of development that the proposed changes to Woodstock’s zoning and subdivision codes are designed to address. The best way to understand the proposed changes is to examine a “before” and “after.” The “before” is how the current codes impact the proposed development and the “after” is how the new codes would affect the development.
Under the current code, there is no requirement for any affordable housing in the development. While the developers have promised some affordable housing, they are under no obligation to build it. Under the new code, 10% of the housing to be created must be affordable housing. In addition, the new code will require that affordable housing be integrated with the market price housing — not shunted to the side.
Under the current code, the entire 433 acres in Woodstock are considered “buildable.” Under the new code, the buildable area must exclude all wetlands, wetland buffers, streams and stream buffers and steep slopes. Removing these unbuildable areas from the total 433 acres results in the net buildable acreage. The net buildable acreage is then used to determine how many units are allowed to be built in the proposed subdivision. While no calculation has yet been done to determine the net buildable acreage, it is clear that it will be significantly less than the entire 433 Woodstock acres. This will cause a significant reduction in the number of units that will be allowed to be built while ensuring that the critical environmental features are not disturbed.
Under the current code, there is no requirement that any of the land be put into a conservation easement. Under the new code, 50% of the Woodstock acreage (Woodstock law has no say about the Ulster portion of the development) must be put into a conservation easement and stay forever wild. This means that at least 217 acres must be conserved and left untouched by the development. The land put into the conservation easement cannot be used as part of the golf course. In addition, the new code requires an extensive set of strict environmental criteria.
The proposed changes to the Woodstock zoning code are currently in an unofficial public comment period. The Housing Oversight Task Force (HOTF), which is working on the proposed code, has received incredibly valuable comments from the Ulster County Planning Board, Woodstock boards, committees and task forces and the general population. These comments have already resulted in significant improvements in the proposed code. The HOTF is still working through the comments and will have a new draft available shortly. We must address the shortcomings in our current zoning and subdivision code to ensure that new development in Woodstock is consistent with our community values.
Jeff Collins, Member of the Woodstock Housing Oversight Task Force
Judith Kerman, Member of the Woodstock Housing Oversight Task Force
Deborah DeWan, Co-Chair of the Woodstock Housing Oversight Task Force
Fairness is obviously missing
On July 20, 2023, the Supreme Court of Ulster County issued its two-page decision in a case involving the New York Department of Public Service/Public Service Commission (“DPS/PSC”) and Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation (“CenHud”) as defendants, against myself, the plaintiff. This decision was in response to a motion I made to reargue the motion to dismiss that was, in fact, granted to the defendants. The reargue decision was originally issued on February 11, 2023, two minutes after I filed my last reply to the defendants answer.
I objected to the fact my paperwork was completely disregarded and eleven days later the court vacated its own decision after I complained to the Committee on Judicial Conduct. The court then waited six months to issue a meager two-page decision that never mentioned anything from my submissions. Instead, the court based its decision on the legal principle of Collateral Estoppel, which declares if an issue was thoroughly and fairly litigated, it can’t be litigated again. The plain fact is the issue was not thoroughly litigated and it was not fair because all my well-documented sworn affidavits uncontested by the defendants and not disputed by the court, yet completely disregarded and nothing from them ever mentioned by the Judge Bryant. Also, a pro-se (self-represented) litigant’s paperwork is supposed to be judged by a higher standard, according to U.S. Supreme Court case law (Haines v. Kerner 1972; Cruz v. Beto 1972, etc.). State Supreme courts of Albany and Ulster County did not use that standard when it came to their previous decisions involving me. In the process, they violated my inalienable rights to due process and equal protection under the law protected by the US Constitution.
Ulster County and Albany County Supreme courts seems to have a problem understanding binding federal case law on what “fair” due process of law is and what the governing standards regarding a pro-se litigant are. Maybe a federal judge will know!
I love NY!
I want it to thrive. Our state needs to compete for big business. IBM paid over one-billion dollars to walk away from East Fishkill, once THE state-of-the-art FAB in the world. And nobody came in to replace them, despite the power and sewage in place.
NYC is now aiming to be more like Las Vegas, with new gambling casinos and legalized prostitution, than trying to compete with Houston, Phoenix and several cities in both North and South Carolina. President Biden is not sending Mayor Adams more money, just an advisor, and the mayor has now proposed a new tent city of 1,000 men in a residential area.
Most of my friends do not camp.
Where in NY are we thriving? We are not … this steepening decline is economic death. Why? Too regulated, too taxed and too expensive. The last call will be when the big banks and brokerages leave the city. Ask not for whom the bell tolls.
Sadly, as the great Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy, and they is us.” Albany is our rotting core.
Congressman “Landslide” Ryan, fight the lead pollution put in the ground by Ma Bell, but also ‘get the lead out’ and help this once glorious state climb back, please.
Response to Ratcliff’s point of view
It’s a shame that Bennett Ratcliff, as a Town Board member, is now refusing to make Woodstock’s town payments. He lost the Democratic Party primary and is behaving spitefully. He also quit the Democratic Party after he lost, so he can run under the Working Families Party (oh! the irony).
With intense interest, I read Bennett Ratcliff’s Hudson Valley One editorial. Mr Ratcliff accuses Michael Mulvey and town supervisor Bill McKenna of being conspiracy theorists!
A bit of background: In Honduras, democratically elected President Zelaya outlawed open pit mines and increased worker’s meager wages by 60 percent. American businesses there were displeased with these changes. Zelaya was kidnapped and the authoritarian Micheletti was established in his place. Mr. Ratcliff played a key role in these changes, if the New York Times, the LA Times, Democracy Now and the Harvard Political Review are credible sources.
Based upon Mr. Ratcliff’s assertions, I can only assume that he views these news sources as part of a propaganda machine against him. Perhaps he will work to ensure that Woodstock is completely favorable to big business interests! I encourage all Woodstockers to follow this election carefully and to vote wisely.
A coup with connections
“ And last week, Mr. Micheletti brought the adviser from another firm with Clinton ties to the talks in Costa Rica. The adviser, Bennett Ratcliff of San Diego, refused to give details about his role at the talks.
“Every proposal that Micheletti’s group presented was written or approved by the American,” said another official close to the talks, referring to Mr. Ratcliff.
Democracy Now also reported on Mr Ratcliff’s role.
US Lobbyists with Clinton Ties Hired to Defend Honduran Coup Regime
Harvard Political Review: https://harvardpolitics.com/us-honduran-coup/
“ Bennett Ratcliff, another top Democratic campaigner with close ties to the Clintons, also worked for the Honduran coup government as a lobbyist in Washington.”
Letter vs. point of view
I have just read Bennet Ratcliff’s point of view (July 26) and have a few observations about disinformation.
I have always thought letters and point of views were different — the former being personal opinions about anything and the latter a view of some broader issue of interest. I now think they are both just personal opinions. The point of view headline and placement to me, and I think other readers, indicate greater weight and perhaps content accuracy. Ratcliff’s entry disproves my understanding. The only difference seems to be the allowed number of words.
Both Mulvey’s letter (July 19) and Ratcliff’s point of view are political statements. Does a letter warrant a point of view featured response? Neither is fact-checked. Ratcliff simply defends himself from Mulvey and then adds a few of his own charges against Bill McKenna, who won the Democratic primary. Ratcliff’s main point is that he is the subject of a disinformation campaign. He then goes on to make his own unsubstantiated charges, stating that Bill McKenna “actively encouraged and promoted” the disinformation campaign and is guilty of abuse of power. No proof, just stated. No different than a letter.
Articles by reporters, we hope are more accurate. In HV1 (July 19) Ratcliff was asked about his idea for a task force on what he calls “ the hostile workplace” in Woodstock town government. Your reporter did not ask about membership of the task force or its process. Ratcliff stated there would be “nothing investigative.” If not “investigative,” how will it find “solutions”?
We are fortunate to still have a local paper with reporters who know our communities and our issues. But we expect reported articles to inform us and for people to be questioned about the statements they make. This newspaper has an important role to play in helping all of us be well informed and in holding our candidates to the truth as much as possible.
21st annual Gardiner 5K Classic
The weather was picture perfect on July 20 for the Gardiner 5K Classic. Everyone had a wonderful time. We had waters stops along the way and our neighbors took out their hoses and cooled down the runners who wanted to get wet. Everyone enjoyed the BBQ after the run and the very popular kid’s fun run. Thanks to the many sponsors, runners/walkers and volunteers who gave of their time parking cars, working the registration desk, giving water to participants running/walking the course, setting up, cleaning up and just being there to help on the day of the race to make the Gardiner 5K Classic held at Majestic Park another successful event.
The proceeds from this race will be used to make improvements to the inside of the Gardiner firehouse. As a matter of fact, as of right now, the meeting room in the firehouse is being refurbished. The old paneling is being removed and is being replaced with drywall. New floors are being installed and the heating and air conditioning unit is being upgraded. All thanks to the proceeds that have been accumulated from the 5K run. A special thanks goes to the members of the Gardiner 5K Classic Committee: Barbara Clinton, John and Landon Fracasse, Bernadette Koonz, Terri Colucci, Luke Lyons and Donna Lyons for all of the help and advice given to the Gardiner Fire Department in order to make this race such a huge success. We couldn’t have done it without them.
Also, we would like to thank the many sponsors of the race our platinum sponsors: Rick Hanheide, Atelier Sartorio, O’Connor & Partners, Ultimate Homes, Walden Savings Bank, P &Gs Restaurant, Glacierpoint Gillette and Ten Broeck Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing.
Our gold sponsors: React Emergency Training, Dawe’s Septic and Repair, Mountain Brauhaus Restaurant, Salisbury Bank, Ulster Savings Bank, Jim DeMaio-State Farm Insurance, Carl Zatz, Franz Auto Service, Inc., The Law Offices of Robert F. Rich, Jr. PLLC., New Paltz Karate Academy, Foster and Schmalkuche, P.C., Amthor Welding Service Inc., Garvan’s, Affordable Housing Concept, Scott Barclay Trucking, Orange Bank and Trust Company, NYCOMCO, Skydive The Ranch, Masseo Landscaping Inc., Jellystone Lazy River Resort, Haight Fire Equipment Supply, Lightning Express Delivery Service, Inc., Main Course, New York State Solar Farm, Ireland Corners Gas and Convenience Inc., Fabbian, David Kucera, Inc., Kimlin Propane Co. Inc., P.E. Colucci Excavating Inc., Minnewaska Lodge, Marshall & Sterling Inc., Apuzzo Kitchens, The Bakery in New Paltz
Our silver sponsors: Whispers Cocktail Lounge, Ronald E. Clum, CPA, Fighting Spirits Karate Studio, Wrights Farm, The Rothman Family, The Inn @ Kettleboro, Hudson Valley Drones, Kornfeld, Rew, Newman and Simeone, John B. Ingenio, CPA, Freer Therapeutics, Dedrick’s Pharmacy of New Paltz, Royal King Cleaners, New Paltz Equipment Rental, Tom’s Auto Repair Shop, Glenn & Breheney PLLC, Attorneys, Yard Owl, Gordon Fire Equipment LLC., Wiedenkeller Insurance, Peter A. Rubin Insurance Agency, Meadowscent, Ireland Corners General Store, K & E Beverages,C2G Environmental Consultants, LLC, The Devine Agency Inc., Tantillo’s Farm Market LLC, The Disgruntled Chef, Beck’s True Value, Jim Wild Well Drilling LLC, Copart Auto Auction, Handmade & More, Inc.
And those businesses that either provided the gifts used as prizes for the various winners or gave a donation: Hopewell Fire Apparatus Service Co. Inc., Main Street Bistro, Saturn Software Systems, Inc., Medical Warehouse, New Paltz Wine and Spirits, Orange Bank and Trust Co., Mavis of Gardiner, Martha Linde, Honey’s CBD of Gardiner, Joan Connor Devere, Meadowscent, Ulster Savings Bank, Renegades, Wallkill View Farms, Café Mio, Pasquale’s, Town Cutters, Uptown Attic, Stewart’s, Cuts by Dawn, Shoprite, and Hannaford’s.
The support given to the Gardiner Fire Department, a volunteer organization made up of firefighters and EMT’s, was overwhelming and greatly appreciated. If you would like to join the Gardiner Fire Department, please visit our website at www.GardinerFireAndRescue.org and complete an application. We are always looking for volunteers. Next year’s 22nd annual Gardiner 5K Classic is scheduled for July 18 2024. See you there.
Donna M. Lyons, on behalf of
The Gardiner 5K Classic Committee
The Gardiner Fire Department