An Open Letter to: State Senator Bonacic...
It has come to my attention that you were a key player in the
theft of taxes from the reservoir in my town of Olive. Evidently,
you claim to think that the large parcel law includes reservoirs
even though the intent was to prevent hardship on low-income
people from large swings in taxes of some large properties.
But then you said to prevent hardship you would introduce an
amendment to prevent the law from applying to reservoirs. You
delayed and delayed, up to the last minute, and then refused
to do that. The result has been an outrageous increase in Olive
taxes – about 60% in school taxes and, because the county
legislature applied it as well, 91% in county taxes. Sixty and
ninety percent! Senator Larkin has written a letter indicating
that the law was not intended to apply to stable reservoir properties
that do not have wide swings. The law has had the opposite effect
of what was intended. Many people will be unable to pay such
an increase and will be forced to leave. Clearly, this does
not bother you,
because your richer people will move in. The memorandum of intent
also stated that the law would go into effect only if all parties
affected agreed to it. Not only did Olive not agree to it, the
law was long hidden from the town. Are you also responsible
for that? All the math and complications of the law are perhaps
deliberately confusing, but what you did was not confusing.
You have even indicated you would block the amendment to the
law if it were introduced. You have betrayed your own
constituents in Olive. Perhaps you expect Olive people to meekly
accept it, and there will be no consequences to yourself, because
you think there is little we can do about it. You are wrong.
The law was presented as making things fair. It has done the
opposite. Olive has always paid its fair share of taxes because
the reservoir is in the town of Olive, in fact a major part
of it. Yes, it lies smack dab in the middle of Olive, not way
off in your town, or Lexington, or even Marlborough. And it
inconveniences town members and businesses considerably, with
all kinds of rules and
regulations, life threatening detours, and also checkpoints
during terrorist alerts. When the 1905 law was created to establish
the reservoir the agreement was to pay the taxes where it was
located not in other towns or locations.
The question is are you going to take the knife out of Olive’s
back and your hand out of its pockets? Are you going to do the
right thing and resubmit that amendment?
Leonard B. Holmes
I feel I must address Mr. Kevin Cahill’s comments made
in his letter to the Editor dated Dec. 21, 2004, concerning
his meeting with 13 residents of Olive. There were no accusations
“hurled”, no “angry statements” made,
and certainly there were no “tirades” and no “abusive
behavior “ from these 13 people. With the exception of
Mr. Cahill, the participants in this meeting were calm and soft-spoken.
Our spokesperson began reading from a prepared statement and
was rudely cut off by Mr. Cahill when she started to tell him
about the feelings of people in Olive concerning how the Large
Parcel Tax came into being on his watch
His explosive interruption, before the statement was completed,
made it very clear that he knew what was coming, and left me
with the impression that as Shakespeare said’ “Thou
doest protest too much”.
As for the letter he sent to us, I challenge anyone whose taxes
have been so drastically raised to find comfort or understanding
in this political double -talk. In his letter, I quote him:
“Since being signed into law, no amendments have been
introduced that would exempt reservoirs or other properties
owned by a municipality or the State of NY or any political
sub-division from the provision”.
I think that our Assemblyman should be the one to propose and
campaign for such an amendment on behalf of his constituents!
Actually, I wonder why he hasn’t already done that.
Anne Marie Seddon
Dear Editor, The Olivebridge and Samsonville United Methodist
Churches wish to thank our church families and community for
generously supporting our Missions Thrift Store in 2004. The
store offers low cost goods, along with a friendly gathering
place. By donating items, shopping at the Thrift Store, and
enjoying food prepared and served by our volunteers at our Saturday
Café, we have been able to assist others in need in our
community and beyond. These missions have included: The Food
Pantry located at The Olivebridge United Methodist Church, Rainbow
Kids program for inner city children of Kingston, Battered Woman’s
Shelter of Kingston, Darmstadt Shelter, Caring Hands Lunch Program,
Camp Epworth, local victims of fire, needy families in our community,
Hurricane Relief, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR),
Tsunami Relief through UMCOR, children of Appalachia, medicine
for Haiti, migrant workers, the children of Guatemala, and the
Children’s Home of Binghamton. We look forward to continuing
to help others through your support. The Mission Thrift Store
is currently open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 11 AM to 2 PM,
weather permitting. Lunch is served on Saturdays only; the kitchen
closes at 1:30 PM. Thank you and blessings to you all. The Missions
Committee and Pastor Anne Rossini
Your paper carried a letter from Carol Martineau Lopez in which
she made a statement about me that is without fact or merit
and I must set the record straight.
In April 2000, I took a staff position at Catskill Corners,
in addition to running my own business. At the time, a launch
of the Emerson Inn was imminent and one of my areas of expertise
is launching new businesses. I never planned to be a permanent
employee of the complex and while I worked there, I also served
other clients, wrote a newspaper column and taught school at
SUNY New Paltz and Ulster County Community College.
Late in 2001 (about 16 months after I started) exciting new
opportunities opened for my consulting business. I told CEO
Mark Johnson, that I could no longer continue full-time work
at the complex. I was urged to stay on as long as I could and
work as many hours as possible as I phased myself out of that
In the spring of 2002, I began work with a supermarket chain
launching five new supermarkets over a period of three years.
As a business launch specialist, it was an opportunity I did
not want to miss, and I ended my staff relationship with Catskill
Corners. So while it is true that I did phase out as the Marketing
Director, it was not, as Ms. Martineau-Lopez states, after a
five-year tenure and it was not, as implied, because of Ted
Wright. It was by my choice, long before Mr. Wright arrived.
Since that time, I have done project based consulting work for
Emerson Place. In all cases, the project scope was outlined
in advance, the price I was to be paid was agreed upon in advance,
and I was paid in full when I delivered the work requested.
I no longer do any work at all for either Emerson Place or Crossroads
Ventures. I have chosen to work exclusively with a non-profit
social and economic development agency. I have no current connection,
direct or indirect, financial or non financial, with Emerson
Place or Crossroads Ventures, by my choice.
I will not, as Ms. Martineau-Lopez did, speak for any other
employee, past or present at Catskill Corners or Emerson Place.
I only ask that others not try to speak for or about me, and
that they not twist facts about my employment to support their
I did not mean, in any way, to disparage or offend any employees
at Emerson Place. The intent of my letter was to communicate
my experience of being employed at Emerson Place and to point
out that if the ownership can not harmoniously manage and run
a small complex, how are they going to manage and run a huge
muliplex resort such as the proposed Belleayre project?
What I experienced were low wages, an inadequate compensation
package (I could not afford to have an additional $20-$40.00
taken out of my $8.00 an hour paycheck to pay for health coverage,
which was minimal) and in general, many dissatisfied and frustrated
employees. In addition, I felt the complex was poorly managed
as a whole, each venue against the other and a lack of unity
among employees. Management spending priorities seemed incomprehensible
(one example: they spent $3,000.00 on a fancy golf cart to move
things around the complex and somehow, the budget would not
allow for a decent printer at the Lodge).
Unlike the proposed Belleayre resort, Emerson Place fits into
the environment in both size and scope. The buildings have been
beautifully restored and well maintained. However, I suspect
the management problems at Emerson Place will be duplicated
in the new resort they are planning to build. Not to mention
the environmental impact that such a place would have on a fragile
eco-system. I wonder how Ralph Waldo Emerson would respond to
a "Mega Resort On Walden Pond". Favorably? I doubt
Mt. Tremper, NY
I'm just finishing The War on Freedom by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed,
which documents the strong, albeit circumstantial case for the
likelihood that elements of the US government had prior knowledge
of 9/11. The book also charts the course of Western domination
of the Middle East and cites examples from US history of other
manufactured provocations for war including Pearl Harbor and
the Gulf of Tonkin incident. As I was reading, I would tell
people how impressed I am with the book but I would always admit
that I wasn't sure what the title- "The War on Freedom"
After President Bush's inaugural speech, it finally hit me that
US foreign policy has, for decades, been engaged in a "war
on freedom". On a national level, freedom can be defined
as a country's right of self-determination. The US has sent
its diplomats, intelligence agents and armies all over the world
to frustrate countries' right of self-determination.
In most cases, it doesn't take much to discredit a leader or
derail a fragile local movement toward independence and social
justice- Cuba and Vietnam being two notable exceptions. As the
CIA knows, there are only so many honest leaders and once one
is removed, a nation’s dream of independence and peace
remains only a dream.
When the Bush Administration keeps repeating something, be it
“no child left behind”, “clear skies”,
“medicare reform” or “social security reform”,
we can be pretty sure that not only is it a lie but the opposite
is true and this rule of thumb holds for "spreading freedom
and ending tyranny." The Bush administration can be justly
accused of a lot of things but being timid is not one of them.
No lie is too brazen. When they go on a crusade to “spread
freedom and end tyranny”, any country which has not yet
turned over the keys to the treasury to Washington might as
well be prepared for the same treatment Iraq is getting. They
are about to be “liberated.”
I write this letter to alert the community of the unconstitutionality
of Ulster County's indigent defense system and the terrifying
attitudes harbored by the "people" who administer
this unjust machine. In Ulster County, an accused citizen who
cannot afford to retain counsel is doomed. The indigent system
in this county is not merely a railroad job, it's a bullet train.
I intend to file a class action lawsuit against Ulster County,
so as to vindicate the catchword values of "meaningful
representation" and "equal justice" that our
criminal system espouses in theory but rarely delivers in reality.
Such action in this county is long overdue.
Eric R. Kelly
It is with great pleasure that approximately 4200 Town of Olive
Corporation Shareholders give heartfelt thanks to
Sheriff Boeckelman, Lt. Young, Lt. Freer, Sgt. Van Blarcom and
the entire Ulster County Sheriff's Department, Mayor Sottile,
Kingston Police Chief Keller and the Kingston Police Department,
Kingston Fire Department, Dean Palen, Chip Schoonmaker, Darrin,
James Rodden of Ulster County Health Department, for the huge
effort put forth to plan for and assure a pleasant safe visit
to the U. C. Legislature Meeting by Olive Shareholders on the
evening of February 10.
With relatively short notice on my part, they all pulled together,
swung into coordinated high speed motion, and cleared the deck
for an amiable and productive Olive Shareholder- Ulster County
Legislator pizza lovefest.
We are most appreciative of all of the hard work put forth by
the above named folks on the behalf of Town of Olive Shareholders
and offer permanent free Olive Civil Defense Pizza to all those
We look forward to more such Shareholder Meetings to parse out
the many challenges the Town of Olive faces as a result of what
appears to be unlawful larcenous legislation. I believe that
unlawful implementation of Large Parcel through the efforts
of Legislators Stock and Shapiro will ultimately cost more than
the jail, with not a brick or beam to show.
Medical damages are mounting with approximately two thousand
cases of insomnia and hundreds more of post traumatic stress
disorder. With hundreds of children experiencing the fear of
losing their homes and communities, the social workers and psychologists
will be busy for years to come.
Lost productivity due to the mass insomnia will likely cost
the County about 220,000 dollars a day, according to an economist
I recently spoke to who has experience with similar litigation.
One day the lightbulb will go on at the Legislature and they
will deem it time for Stock and Shapiro to spend more time with
Over 4200 Olive Shareholders anxiously await that celebratory
Olive Shareholders take note: Pan Olivian Woodstock Window Shopping
Tours inaugurating this spring. See the homes of the rich and
famous Legislators on the way to an enriching window shopping
experience. Contact the Pan Olivian Woodstock Tour coordinator
for your free Olive shareholder bus tickets. Service to Woodstock
Town Board Meetings will inaugurate soon as well.