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.
In response to Catskill Mountainkeeper’s call for balance
We welcome Catskill Mountainkeeper’s executive director’s letter to the editor dated August 16 where he calls upon our communities to find a balance between development and environmental conservation. However, he and many other well-intentioned people and environmental groups all too often frame any and all development in life-threatening existential terms, while offering little accommodation to local human and community development needs. Mountainkeeper says they want balance, but what they outline espouses the need to protect and conserve as much land as possible, limit most development and rely on some unspecified thing to maintain our local economy.
That “unspecified thing” is clearly more ’tourism.’ While our local tourism industry is doing great, it too comes at a cost — more visitors, more traffic, more hotels, resorts and restaurants, and amusements and more second home-owners and short-term rentals — things Mountainkeeper said they don’t want. When tourism-related developments are proposed, they are often opposed — glamping sites, resorts, hotels, retreats, and campgrounds have all met resistance for various reasons, often led by conservation groups.
Although we will not delve into specific development proposals mentioned in Mountainkeeper’s letter, we will point out that developers, by law, work with local planning and zoning boards and governments, get input from communities through public hearings and community outreach and hear from groups just like the Catskill Mountainkeeper. And they do respond, accommodate and adjust their applications to concerns and new insights all the time.
Mountainkeeper’s letter and activist work often use fear-mongering, and sensationalize every proposed development’s scope and impact — tapping into people’s instinctive resistance to change in general. These anxieties are leveraged to promote an aggressive ‘land conservation’ agenda. Their activist success leaves communities with few sustainable economic opportunities, aside from tourism, and results in limited tax revenue sources and increasingly expensive housing costs.
From our perspective, there is little ‘balance’ in Mountainkeeper’s message. And their message comes across to the public unambiguously — development of any kind is unwanted here; it will be obstructed in any way legally possible; and we will send a message to all would-be investors and developers — you are not welcome. For locals in need of affordable, working-class housing, services and income, their message intentionally or not comes across as sacrificing local’s real human needs in favor of a global environmental mission.
While fortunately there has been an uptick in developer interest in Ulster and Sullivan in the last few years, it is not assured as there are other places to invest. Limiting growth leaves us increasingly reliant on government support, or worse, dependent upon genuinely bad development proposals.
What we need is more listening to each other — our concerns, needs and goals. There is plenty of overlap and consensus if we seek them out. There are no ‘draw-bridges or walls’ that can stop newcomers arriving, or stop young adults from leaving. But what we can do is plan together and work in good faith to build a better future. The Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation and Ulster Strong welcome an approach that will result in balancing the needs of people and our ecosystems.
Mike Oates, President & CEO
Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation
Meagan P. Bianco, Director of Community Engagement
Hello, just gotta vent
The world abounds with evil and morons! Riddle me this.
Why aren’t there mass demonstrations in front of the Russian Embassy to protest Putin’s sick brutality? I guess it’s like when we were la di dah until December 7, 1941 living our lives oblivious to the evil that was obvious. I’ve decided to do a unique protest at the Russian Embassy soon. Weird idea, but so is the business as usual casualness that we are all lulled into by our day-to-day endless responsibilities and diversions. Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Myanmar, Syria, Afghanistan, Venezuela and other brutal sick nations are all aligned against us and even though Trump praised the leaders of Russia, China and North Korea they truly are an axis of evil! Many of our politicians are as clueless as the isolationists of pre WW2.
We need and deserve a better political system. When you are forced to only choose between two aged tweedle dumbs, two candidates that most serious and educated people do not want, clearly, it shows how broken our money driven system is!
Switching gears. Aside from most of us wanting better choices in politics, most people are good, they don’t litter, they believe in equal treatment and do not do to others what they would not want done to themselves. Most of us don’t try to sneak ahead in lines, drive on the service ramp to cut ahead of four cars (you can tell I just came back from Long Island). Most of us respect our neighbors and do the right thing.
Relative to that, here’s a last rant: This weekend, the obnoxious rude loudness of Harleys and Yamahas all revving their bikes and reverberating through New Paltz was annoying, to say the least.
What is wrong with these people who see nothing wrong with blasting our eardrums and peaceful days and nights with decibel excess!?
I know they are not part of the Axis Of Evil cited above and some are probably good citizens and hard-working people but, if you drew a right and wrong line, they would fall on the wrong side as inconsiderate boobs.
Pay the bills Bennet!
One of the only actual jobs for a Woodstock Town Board member is to review vouchers and to subsequently vote to pay the bills. This is important for many reasons. One, of course, is to stay current with work and purchases acquired by the town and to pay the people who are relying on said payment. Second, is to keep the town’s credit rating. When I was on the board with Jeremy Wilber and Bill McKenna, we were able to increase the town’s bond rating to triple A+, which meant lower interest rates on bonding for projects, providing lower taxes and better services. There were many times I came straight from work at 5 p.m. to review remaining vouchers before a subsequent business meeting. After all, I knew the importance of staying current, and hey, it was the job.
The fact that two board members did not review vouchers for what appears to be several months is derelict. The fact that one of them, Bennet Ratcliff, wants to be our supervisor, is unconscionable. The absence of a board member in July provided a political opportunity for Ratcliff and his partner-in-abstention, Conte, to quash the vote and to delay paying the bills.
When Supervisor McKenna, obtained a legal phone-in vote from councilperson Ricci, he was able to take care of the town’s business, which Ratcliff and Conte have been shirking for the better part of the year. However, Ratcliff would like you to believe that there was something else going on. That all the information wasn’t available. But that’s nonsense. The bills are in the bookkeeper’s office, always available to board members. It’s not the supervisor’s job to make sure that the board members are doing theirs.
I expect there will be more of this nonsense leading up to the November election.
One man crime wave
Ignore the lies
Fall for the grift
So many Trumplets
Think he’s god’s gift
But, again, he’ll take
Make America gag again!
Not going as planned
Every day, half our plans unravel.
In cash we trust
In a world where paper bills carry the weight of “In God We Trust,” are we placing a crown of thorns on morality and wearing it proudly? Our Constitution purportedly scribed with biblical inspirations, often feels twisted not by divine fingers but by the hands of power and wealth. Are we using holy words as camouflage, as a shield to disguise our actions, similar to a wolf donning sheep’s attire?
In the hallowed halls of Congress, where truth is pledged with the words “So help me, God,” some argue these words are out of place, best suited for places of worship. It’s akin to placing a fish out of the water, forcing it to adapt to an environment it was never meant for. The marriage of religion and politics is never holy matrimony; at times, it’s more of a power play.
History teaches us that when the political elite and the wealthy neglect the masses, it’s like planting seeds of rebellion in a parched land. Add the climate of our deteriorating environment and stretched resources, and we’ve got a ticking time bomb. Yet, with the alarm bells ringing, why do we seem deaf? It could be because, again, we’ve married religion with technology and placed our faith in the temple of technology, believing every glitch can be patched, every problem coded away.
Should we then etch “In God We Trust” in our software codes? Would that be any more impactful than its print on our currency? Or, imagine our politicians, stripped of pretenses, standing before a pure, unadulterated Constitution. Would that sincerity echo the sacred resonance of a prayer?
Although we’ve inscribed “In God We Trust” on currency; its essence seems lost in our actions. The intertwining of religion and politics often blurs lines. Our trust in technology overshadows looming concerns. The change will occur when we begin living our inscriptions.
What is the impact of marrying religion with politics?
How can we ensure our trust in technology does not overshadow looming concerns? What is the impact of marrying religion with politics?
How can we ensure our trust in technology does not overshadow looming concerns?
How can we begin living our inscriptions to effect change?
Attention public employees
There is a bill in the NY Senate (S5529) and NY State Assembly (A6566) that is active for 2023 – 2024. The bill enables public employers to offer an age 55 with ten years of service or age 55 with 25 years of service temporary retirement incentives for certain employees. I recommend that if you fall under the requirements listed above to, please write your state senator or state assemblyman. The more state employees that they hear from the better the chances of this bill being passed. It has stalled in previous years. Thank you.
Understanding Israel: A democracy governed by the rule of law
Was there ever an anti-Israel trope Fred Nagel didn’t fervently embrace as gospel truth (Understanding the State of Israel, August 9, 2023)?
One of his favorite canards is to paint Israel as an Apartheid nation that treats its Arab citizens with extreme brutality, denying them basic human rights, bent on “ethnic cleansing.” The problem in tarring Israel with that brush: it’s false.
Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy full rights under the law, including freedom of worship, access to healthcare, education and the courts. Where can an Apartheid-like system of restrictions on basic freedoms be found? In any area controlled by the Palestinians, actually.
According to law professor Eugene Kontorovitch in the Wall Street Journal, “What makes the ‘Israel Apartheid’ meme… despicable is that it’s not just a lie, it is an inversion of the truth. In all areas controlled by Israel, Jews and Arabs mix openly. Yet the PA has for decades ruled over Gaza and the West Bank — and all areas under its jurisdiction are Jew-free.”
What Israel wants is the security of its citizens, while its next-door neighbor loudly proclaims its intent to wipe out all Jews, establishing an Arab-only nation “from river to sea.” That’s a safety challenge Americans can’t relate to; Israelis confront it every day.
Israel has tried to establish peace by offering the Palestinian minority an independent nation of its own, the so-called “two-state solution.” Each of the three times it’s been offered, the Palestinians refused, with the support of hostile actors in the greater Arab world. The reason? There is plenty of political capital in keeping the Palestinians in a state of perpetual refugee status.
Or, that used to be true. There’s a sea change going on in the Middle East, and it scares the Palestinians beyond words. We note a slow but inexorable thawing in relations between Israel and virtually the entire Arab world. Some new allies are driven by mutual security interests, some recognize the vast economic potential of cooperating with Israel aka “Startup Nation,” a technological innovation behemoth. Now, there’s reinvigorated talk of normalized relations with Saudi Arabia, brokered by the US. The result will be a rogue Palestinian state alienated from its traditional allies.
Mr. Nagel and others who lean his way fail to recognize the new geopolitical realities of the region. It’s time they did. Peace is on the horizon, and Palestinian intractability, expressed in the form of terrorism, is out of sync with reality.
Israel craves peace; the false propaganda Palestinians have been peddling for years will not help them achieve reasonable real world goals. Crafting a vision for a peaceful future with an Israeli partner dedicated to its prosperity and self-determination with the full support of all Western and Arab nations, will.
Stop lying about Israel, Fred. Spend your energies promoting peaceful cooperation.
Mr. Gold is president of the Jewish Federation of Ulster County (UCJF.org).
Celebrating the resounding success of the 21st annual Saugerties Artists’ Studio Tour
I am thrilled to share with you the remarkable success of the 21st annual Saugerties Artists’ Studio Tour, held on August 12-13. As we reflect on this event, I wanted to take a moment to express our heartfelt gratitude and acknowledge the incredible contributions that made this year’s tour an unforgettable celebration of art and the Saugerties artist community.
The air was vibrant throughout the weekend as art enthusiasts embarked on a journey to meet the artists behind the captivating creations. Our town, Saugerties, was brimming with a sense of artistic camaraderie that can only be fostered by an event as engaging as this.
On behalf of myself and all the participating artists, I extend our sincerest thanks to the entities and individuals who stood by us and ensured the tour’s resounding success:
• The Kiwanis Club of Saugerties, whose unwavering support showcased their dedication to the arts and community growth.
• 98.1 KZE Radio, for amplifying our message and bringing attention to this cultural extravaganza.
• Marge Block and The Saugerties Historical Society, whose collaboration added a rich opportunity to show our creative expressions at their best.
• Saugerties Tourism and the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce, who played a role in connecting us with the wider community.
• Our tour map sponsors, who not only financially supported us but also enabled visitors to navigate throughout the town finding artistic treasures.
• The generous Saugerties village businesses that provided us with window spaces to display our work, turning the village into an art gallery.
• Hudson Valley One and the Daily Freeman, whose coverage helped spread the word and capture the essence of our event.
Most importantly, we extend our gratitude to our families, friends and supporters, whose tireless efforts behind the scenes shaped the tour’s success.
The Saugerties Artists’ Studio Tour is more than an event; it’s a testament to the power of creativity and community collaboration. It’s a celebration that bridges gaps, sparks conversations and enriches lives. Thank you for being a part of this journey and for helping us realize our artistic dreams.
Saugerties Artists Studio Tour Coordinator
A flatbed pick-up truck is used by, among others, a contractor who needs a vehicle that is easy to load building materials on or a person that plows snow who uses a sander for icy driveways. Based upon these facts and seeing McKenna in his new vehicle, a flatbed pick-up truck, I believe that we might see supervisor McKenna revert back to the daily work schedule he kept when he first became supervisor where he would as he stated, “get into the office about seven in the morning for a couple of hours, then go swing a hammer midday.”
Bennet’s gutter politics no surprise
If anybody caught the August 15 Woodstock Town Board meeting in person, or on YouTube, they will understand that candidate Bennet Ratcliff has made some serious enemies even from some who voted for him when he ran for the Town Board. I have no problem with Bennet challenging Bill McKenna, the current supervisor, on alternative ways of dealing with running the town, but allegedly spreading malicious harmful gossip online attempting to harm Bill’s marriage to win an election is gutter politics. But why does that surprise anyone coming from someone who has no remorse and even stated on my radio show he thinks he did a “good job” aiding and abetting the complete disruption of an elected democracy in Honduras. Former Honduran president Manuel Zalaysia of the center-right liberal party, upon election in 2005 proceeded to make some necessary reforms like raising the minimum wage 60%, offered subsidies to small farmers and lowered interest rates.
That, and Zalaysia’s willingness to work with Latin leftist states and seek constitutional reform, caused the right-wing corporate interests to carry out a coup de tat in 2009 that ended with Zalaysia exiled in Costa Rica at gunpoint early in the morning after some of his honor guard were killed.
According to The Harvard Political Review “Dancing With Monsters” (3/15/15), and the Council on Hemispheric Affairs “Labyrinth of Deception” 3/12/17 (the latter most detailed), the work of “lobbyist” Bennet Ratcliff and fellow lobbyist “Bill Clinton’s lawyer” Lanny Davis, shaped the new administration that very quickly turned Honduras into a narco-trafficking right-wing state with death squads murdering scores of innocent people.
If Bennet cannot admit an obvious massive failure and thinks it’s okay to try to disrupt a marriage to get elected, he is certainly not fit for the job of Woodstock town supervisor!
A matter of life and death
I am writing as a concerned citizen to inform the residents of the town and village of New Paltz of a situation that is becoming more common here and across the country. Our emergency medical services’ (EMS) needs have increased tremendously since the New Paltz Rescue Squad (NPRS) was founded 50 years ago in 1973 (please wish NPRS a happy 50th). In the 1970’s, when I first earned my EMT certification, we used retrofitted hearses as our ambulances (think Ghostbusters). We were all volunteers serving our communities to the best of our ability, and many lives were helped and saved. The needs of our community have changed significantly over the past half-century, and New Paltz Rescue Squad has adjusted to our growing needs with each new development in pre-hospital care practice, gradually increasing in size, expertise and effectiveness. This growth incurred growing costs, but town and village support has not kept up with the evolving needs.
One development in our state and across the country is a large reduction in the number of volunteers who take the rigorous training and in the overall number of volunteer squads. We have been seeing the effects of this in our region with our neighboring communities increasingly unable to respond to medical emergencies in a timely fashion or even at all (https://hudsonvalleyone.com/2022/09/13/a-comprehensive-study-of-emergency-services-in-ulster-county-is-long-overdue/).
New Paltz Rescue, the premier and most highly trained force, under the leadership of Chief Matthew Goodnow, has been increasingly called to mutual aid in our neighboring communities — and we have responded, but the town and village and other large organizations have not responded in kind to the growing EMS needs of our own community.
New Paltz Rescue is a 501.C3 not-for-profit organization, but with the increase in need, we had to become a professional organization with mostly paid staff. When you call 911, you can be sure you will be treated by a crew that can administer advanced life support. Our ambulances are the equivalent of an ER on wheels and response times are still, for the most part, under five minutes.
It is easy to take our EMS service for granted and expect an ambulance to respond quickly when we call. In order to maintain the high level of service that NPRS provides, the town and village boards and the large organizations that generate a large proportion of our EMS calls, must step up and support our New Paltz Rescue Squad with more revenue. It is a matter of life and death.
Dr. Rose Rudnitski
My friend “Mama” really enjoys reading the Feedback section. Because she tends to believe what she reads, I sent her the following song to encourage her to evaluate the opinions of letter writers with a critical eye. Moreover, I advised her that the song works best to the tune of Bob Dylan’s “Stuck inside of Mobile…” I also told her: “I wish I had more than 300 words for this song.”
The Rev. Frank, well, he told us:
Republicans are never good
And if you don’t agree with him
well, Rev Frank would say, “you should”
The Book says love your worst neighbor
but to Republicans, Frank’s so aloof:
cos he says they “all” lack goodness
without showing some “real” proof
Oh, Mama, I’m not looking to offend but
Rev Frank wrote a propaganda letter;
and I hope it’s not a trend
Jarmel’s praising Rothberg:
He likes his response to, Dear, John Butz
cos he thinks Meyer’s so reasonable
and thinks John’s just an ignorant putz
Neil says Trump’s failed at everything;
he’s ever done or ever tried
but when Neil says such a foolish thing:
reasonable Meyer knows Neil’s lied
Oh, Mama, I’m not looking to offend
but Neil’s sending propaganda
to Hudson Valley One, again
When Fred sends in letters about Israel
He tries to be nuanced and fair
But when he speaks of Israel
Fred has no, fair, nuanced words to spare
He says: Christian love for Israel
Is just self-serving and untrue
But the real reason for this love:
is cos Jesus was an Israeli Jew
Oh, Mama, I don’t mean to offend
but Nagel’s sending anti-Israel propaganda
to Hudson Valley One, again
Oh, Mama, there’s more that I could say
but I’ve used up my 300 words
and I can’t say it today!
Answering the writer
While a lot of the letters in HV1 are in support of candidates, last week a High Falls guy questioned my desire to write. For him and for me writing is an outlet for thoughts, and I do hope others respond.
Example: NY State no longer permits dam building, but we need more reservoirs. The big ones are all owned by NY City, and we should not trust that they will share precious water when a multi-year drought hits this region.
Las Vegas and the winter vegetable farms of Arizona are in their 21st year of drought. Prudence leaders, please!
How to make a reservoir without a dam: dig a big hole in a riverbed.
The Wallkill has one, in Rifton. It should be dug deeper. The lower Esopus has good areas. Downstream from Woodstock, the Sawkill could feed a very large lake. Just below the Thruway, the Rondout would be a great spot. Most of this is good mountain water, too!
The Hudson’s salt line will come north if the drought is very bad and desalinization is very energy intensive. Besides, imagine the fun we could have year-round on these new lakes. We really do not have easy access to good lakes for swimming and ice skating.
The “ohmygawd” Godfather
The probable 2024 Republican nominee — twice impeached, thrice indicted — former ex-President Trump acted illegally to keep office. Most Americans say in the polls: Well, he has now “gone full mobster” after his threat to a prosecutor who is involved with his indictments. It is no surprise that he admires mobster presidents such as Putin, Erdogan, Duterte, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un.
The MAGAt’s will suspend disbelief. Their silence fuels his bullshit, he’s not a winner. Just fall in line behind a guy who is behaving like a mobster and threatening a federal prosecutor. However, we the sane will not suspend common sense.
What I don’t get are the salt of the earth mid-western types — especially women — whose impeccable manners and careful speech are so opposed to mob-like vulgarity of Trump and yet, the swearing, the lying, the serial infidelity, matter little, he is, their Don. These are supporters, who mistake totalitarian stupidity for machismo. It is an interesting read to go back to 2016 and see how many Republicans called Mr. Trump out for the wannabe gangster he really is.
I suspect it’s going to be a long wait. Will they ever come around to being sane? They are addicted. I reiterate: They’re feeding on the lies and bullshit. One word comes to mind. Sad.
The Don and his badfellas are just that — gangster-like. Witnessing in real time a mafia investigation would have been infinitely less soaked in ridiculousness than the present predicament, if only because the characters and their relationships to each other could never approach the hyper-caricatural flair of this cast.
How can one NOT make comments sharply critical of Trump and his allies? Not prosecuting the former president would be “a grave failure of justice.” Trump once said only ‘the mob’ uses the Fifth Amendment. How many times has he invoked it? When are his supporters going to realize that he acts more like a mafia boss than a president? Perhaps his biggest mob boss-like trait is loyalty. As soon as you are disloyal, you are out. Trump also has the whole “consigliere” thing. He loves talking about how he needs a Roy Cohn.
Oh, and by the way, it’s not a witch hunt if your own flying monkeys flip and are testifying against you.
Politics is a game of give and take
I was deeply disturbed by what transpired at Woodstock’s recent Town Board meeting on August 15. Two diatribes were presented, first by Hillary Sanders-McKenna, wife of Bill McKenna, and then by Rachel Marco Havens, long-time resident of Woodstock, in which the behavior of Bennet Ratcliff, currently running under the Working Families Party for the position of Woodstock town supervisor (a position McKenna currently holds) was viciously attacked. While I don’t know what has gone on behind the scenes in terms of Bennet criticizing Bill, I do know all spiritual traditions I am familiar with teach love and forgiveness and that you should treat others as you would want them to treat you. This is particularly emphasized in Christianity. If Sanders-McKenna considers herself a Christian, her behavior was seriously off the mark, and since when is it suitable to bring in your wife to a public meeting to go on a tirade about how unfairly her husband is being treated? Rachel Marco Havens was recently elected as a member of the Woodstock Ethics Committee. I cannot consider her behavior at the meeting ethical. Did Bill ever attempt to sit down face-to-face with his antagonist/attacker Bennet and try to work things out? Has he tried to seriously listen to Bennet’s criticism and be open to the fact that some of it might be valid? Politics is a game of give and take and one in which you have to be able to take severe criticism without buckling, even if it appears to be painfully obstructionistic. Unlike the other Town Board members who seconded and ayed what Bill presented at meetings over the past many years like a chorus of parrots, Bennet challenged Bill and did so constantly. Two wrongs don’t make a right, however. If Bill believes he has been unfairly attacked by Bennet, that doesn’t excuse Bill from allowing Bennet to be attacked by Bill’s wife and a member of the Woodstock community at a public Town Board meeting. Although I did not attend the meeting on August 15 in person, I did hear it broadcast on Woodstock’s 104 radio station. I felt like I was attending some kind of a witch hunt/execution scene when those attending joined in jubilant rounds of applause after the diatribes had ended. While I do not deny that Bennet may have a shady political past, I choose to let bygones be bygones and deal with people as they present themselves in the here and now.
Behind these latest shenanigans, the illegal dumping of toxic waste in Shady, which puts Woodstock’s water supply at serious risk of contamination, continues to fester, as no real action has been taken. (The dump site is directly above the aquifer that supplies Woodstock’s water.) A town with a poisoned water supply becomes a town where nobody wants to live. The environmental committee which sought to address this serious problem was castrated when Alex Bolotov, the chair person of the committee, was fired by Bill for speaking up about the situation at Shady. Did he transmute the environmental committee into the Conspirimental Dimwittee, empowered to affect change only when it went along with his position: In the meantime, Frank and Pam Eighmey, who live adjacent to the dumping site, continue to shell out hundreds of dollars every month for bottled water as their well has been contaminated, and tens of thousands of dollars for legal fees, money they do not have (aka debt). They currently have a lawsuit against the Town of Woodstock and Vincent Conigliaro, who, along with his former wife, owns the property where the dumping took place. They have waited almost three years for something to be done. In the meantime, Vincent Conigliaro continues to get off scot free.
Regarding Jack Simpson’s “Tone it down” letter, many people have strong views about the issues of the day and feel a need to express them regardless of whether they change other’s minds or not. And then others don’t have opinions or, if they do, they are unwilling or even embarrassed to stand up for and share their values with others. It has nothing to do with “seeking attention.”
In response to Frank Moss’s “Mr. Butz lies about crime and the economy” letter and Steve Massardo’s “What’s the point, John?” letter, all of their statistics and comments would have value if all Americans could actually see and feel their positive results. None of their comments register with the common person when they continue to pay more at the grocery store and gas pumps. With these economic woes coupled higher mortgage rates and apartment rentals, studies are showing that people who are already living from pay check to pay check are paying $709 more per month in expenses than when Biden took office. These economic setbacks are the only things people see and feel; any positive spin and statistics are meaningless to them.
And to Steve, if “Bidenomics” is “having the strongest positive effect on the economy of any President since FDR”, why do more than half of Democratic voters want a 2024 candidate other than Biden or Harris?
Regarding crime, Frank’s statistics and comments are, also, falling on deaf ears. The average person does not see or feel any of Frank’s “positives.” Crime has spread to suburban areas where it hardly existed before. Poll after poll shows people’s increased fear and concern. This is no surprise considering all the carjackings, smash-and-grab incidents, mob looting, burglaries, assaults, etc, in the news. And why is this? The bastardization of our judicial system by liberal DA’s who think they’re solving problems and protecting innocent civilians and businesses by immediately releasing criminals to resume their crime sprees, as well as encouraging a total disrespect for law enforcement. No more accountability! People and businesses can’t run fast enough from the once beautiful city of San Francisco and other Democratically run cities.
All the statistics and carefully spun rhetoric in the world aren’t going to register with the public — only that which they see and feel!
John N. Butz
Open Space Institute … hurrah!
I know I am only one of so many people whose hearts are pounding with hope and joy at the prospect that the Open Space Institute’s talks with the Winston Farm owners will save the fate of not only this magnificent place, but of our town and community, the irreplaceable precious area that is home to wildlife, trees that provide homes for wildlife and help remove CO2, vernal pools, wildflowers and, of course, our pure water aquifer and so much more.
I implore anyone who cares about the future of our and neighboring communities to support these efforts. Our environment faces devastation at so many fronts and saving our open spaces is ever so very important.
Give and take
If Bennet is King of The Elves and Bill is Santa why can’t they just get along?
Woodstock National — pop the balloon
The Woodstock National proposal trial balloon recently floated in a pre-application submission to the Woodstock Planning Board, deserves close scrutiny.
According to archaeologists at the NYS Museum in Albany, Zena Highwoods — the entire length of the Sawkill River in Woodstock — is in an archaeologically and culturally sensitive zone. There are numerous Native American archaeological sites recorded and a development like this will most certainly compel the planning board to make a positive declaration of environmental and cultural impact, triggering DEC and SHPO to subject the project to the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process.
It is highly likely the extensive Phase 1 cultural resource survey required would reveal a trove of significant artifacts dating back thousands of years. The development site sits just upslope and adjacent to the Sawkill. With plentiful water, game for hunting, trail access and nearby agriculture lands, this would have been a prime habitation zone for Native Americans.
And, a recent preliminary survey of about 1/4 of the 600+ acre golf resort project property revealed many surface cultural stone landscape elements and a potential Native American ceremonial stone landscape (CSL). These features include: dry stacked stone mounds (cairns) of various sizes and styles, including a great cairn over 50 feet in length, stone snake/serpent and turtle effigies, “mega” walls, manitou stones and a directional compass stone. Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPO) should be consulted in any development review process.
For these reasons, Overlook Mountain Center strongly supports requiring the SEQR process to answer some of these pressing questions.
Glenn Kreisberg on behalf of Overlook Mountain Center BOD
Rebuffing Ratcliff Part II
After 2009’s Honduran-junta, Bennet Ratcliff fronted what Mother Jones’ Stepfanie Mencimer called “Jeb Bush’s Cyber Attack on Public Schools: Is the former Florida governor’s online-education advocacy: A) a stealth attack on teachers’ unions; B) presidential positioning; C) an effort to divert public money to private corporations; D) all of the above?”
Bush’s 2010-11 national online-education push promoted “technology as an instrument of ‘creative destruction against the public school system, part of the GOP’s national strategy: It siphons money from public institutions into for-profit companies (including those that are supporting Bush’s initiative), it undercuts public employees, their unions and the Democratic base. Alex Molnar, the director of publications at the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado-Boulder, says these policy prescriptions are part of a corporate-driven agenda to access public education funds. ‘These folks talk about a free market,’ he says, ‘but they couldn’t exist without taxpayer dollars. There is a limited audience for this. You have-to get policymakers to force people into it. To that end, you have-to get policymakers to buy in. Bennet Ratcliff, a political consultant who once produced ads for Bill Clinton and now does PR work for Bush’s foundation, says Digital Learning Now is all about ‘advocating for policies in the states and in districts that would promote digital learning. For instance, it could be talking to boards of education, it could be talking to state chiefs, it could be talking to governors, district [superintendents], legislators.’ None of this, he hastens to add, constitutes lobbying: ‘I do need to be very clear about that. This is an advocacy and education effort about digital learning. What we are not doing is lobbying.’ When I asked him who was actually-doing the talking, he [Ratcliff} replied, ‘Elves’” (Mencimer, https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/10/jeb-bush-digitial-learning-public-schools/).
States like Ohio and Utah that bought what Ratcliff’s “elves” sold were defrauded, harming students, teachers and taxpayers. A few years later Ratcliff served on Onteora’s School Board.