A Year of Change, Mostly Good
If you have only limited spare time to read opinion this holiday
season, we suggest you skip this editorial and turn directly
to Jen Holz’s column “On The Farm” on page
26. Over these past several years, her reflections on our
collective life have evolved into something many of us treasure.
They embody a wisdom so deeply grounded in the core values
we share here in these valleys that it’s become a great
privilege for us to bring them to you.
These are hard times for many of us and little about the future
looks easy or clear. Whether we speak or don’t speak
them, we all share concerns for our families and our ability
to provide for them. We share concerns for our friends and
neighbors, our communities and our region and the world beyond.
Our job as your newspaper is to try and bring you enough information
to help everybody navigate the present and build a workable
future for ourselves and our kids. Whether we’re succeeding
or not, we leave for you to judge. But in our view, if we
lose sight of the past, if we don’t learn from what
we and what those who’ve built these towns of ours have
been through, we’re in trouble. But so long as there
are perspectives like Jen’s helping guide us, we think
we’ll be OK because our humanity will remain intact.
If 2008 in America had a theme, it’s that real changes
were needed and people’s recognition of that need seems
to have been deep and broad enough to have changed our national
political balance. We tend to vote for Democrats and so see
that prospect as positive. And we do think it’s possible
that confidence in our new president may well stabilize the
short-term future and permit the beginnings of an economic
rebalancing that makes more sense than what’s recently
collapsed. What’s more, we take heart in seeing this
prospect widely shared across the political spectrum and around
That our collective, our political life has changed both countywide
and locally is also evident. We welcome our first County Executive
and the fiscal accountability the new charter has finally
brought. In Shandaken, where it’s clear that voting
majorities now lean solidly Democrat, no one who’s watched
or attended a Town Board meeting would argue there isn’t
a new and improved level of civility and cooperation evident
both on the board and in the audience. As with the town’s
previous GOP majority, questions of process have been regularly
raised, but they have tended to be over smaller and far less
significant issues. We think, on balance, that things are
being handled better now by most everyone.
In Olive, which has long functioned better, if not more openly,
change is harder to see. We do note with interest a rising
element of the electorate’s more conservative side,
seen in the strong vote for GOP Comptroller candidate James
Quigley last month. But alongside that we also note the progress
Olive has made with its sewer system, poising Boiceville to
surpass Phoenicia as a local business center should the latter
never okay its own sewer system in the coming years, and its
openness with the press over the past year.
Our school system seems, on balance, to be working well. We’re
pleased with the openness to new ideas evidenced by the board
and with their thoroughness in engaging complex problems.
Whether this board, under what’s likely to be very difficult
financial pressure, will be able to maintain their current
efforts will be anyone’s guess.
But as with our hopes up and down the ladder of governance
we deal with, our hopes are strong. Corrections were needed,
they’re being made. We’re strong people. WE should
come out stronger for all of this.
God bless us all. Have a happy holidays and see you in early
January, just before the big inauguration… BP