Voicing ones opinion in the public forum is important. However,
it is helpful to our community only if the facts are straight.
In a recent letter to the editor, the developer of the Belleayre
Resort at Catskill Park made several misleading and factually
inaccurate statements about The Catskill Center for Conservation
and Development. We have gone on record several times, as has
the Catskill Preservation Coalition (CPC), as being in full
support of the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center (BMSC) expansion.
Indeed, the economic payoff for the central Catskills would
We have asked to see the expansion plans for two important reasons.
if the Belleayre Resort is built as proposed along with the
Ski Center's expansion, the prudent thing to do is to look at
the cumulative impacts of both projects on our communities and
environment. Second, we are seeking the disclosure of the BMSC
plans to ensure that the expansion can move forward in the face
of the tremendous drain on the area's resources, particularly
water supply, that will result from the location and scale of
the proposed resort.
The Catskill Center and the CPC have endorsed the alternative
put forward by Congressman Maurice Hinchey. His proposal envisions
a scaled down Belleayre Resort project that would stimulate
economic growth and could dovetail with the BMSC expansion while
protecting the irreplaceable resources that define
our communities. Eleven environmental organizations are on record
supporting Congressman Hinchey's alternative because it balances
economic development with the protection of our natural resources.
Unfortunately, the developer of the proposed Belleayre Resort
Tom Alworth, Executive Director
The Catskill Center for Conservation
They’re doing it again folks. A dangerous and insidious
movement is taking place, right under our eyes this year. They
are trying to take Christ out of Christmas. I have it from reliable
undisclosed sources that the Grinch behind this movement has
now been identified as none other than the ACLU.
The take-over of our “One Nation, under God” is
being perpetrated by the amoral, anti-death penalty lefties,
as they continue to attempt to sacrifice our values. This outrageous
push to strip religion out from our Constitution, shows, once
again, that the liberal media is covering up the really important
news with frivolous stories about such things as, WMD’s,
whatever that was, one-bid contracts from the government and
4000 % profit on army supplies and other trite issues
For God’s sake’s folks, this is America. What is
war for if not for profit? That’s what this country stands
for. That’s what we send our brave young men and women
to preserve. In addition, they want to take away our Christian
right to celebrate Christmas, American style.
We all know what Christ would have wanted for Americans. He
sacrificed his life for us to celebrate with joy and wonder
at the toys, jewels, electronics and other disposables at this
joyous time. Christ would have wanted a flat screen TV in every
room. Does anyone doubt that?
What they want, is to take over the Christmas tree with their
puny candles, Kwanza fruits and vegetables and Muslim belly
They want to take over our shopping sprees, symbolizing the
very essence of this great nation, with their puny presents
and long, boring speeches. And most of us don’t even know
that it’s going on, right under our eyes.
Meanwhile, the media continues to cover up this dangerous movement,
while at the same time, trying to take away tax cuts for the
wealthy. Well, if they wanted to be rich, they should have gone
We can ignore those leftie liberal freaks and fight them right
here in Ulster County.
Let’s get out there and shop folks. Buy the biggest brightest
Christmas balls you can find, chop down those trees and create
exciting fire hazards. Wrap your presents sin extra layers of
disposable paper. Get dozens of those toys that keep your kids
attention for l0 minutes or less, and celebrate Jesus with a
drink of egg nog . He’d be proud of us.
Early this morning, December 13, 2005 at 12:01 A.M. Pacific
Standard Time, one Stanley "Tookie" Williams went
from this life to another; just where is not clear. By 12:20
A.M. there was no further contact or dialog with this person
and it is not for us to consign anyone to an eternal place of
As of 10:00 A.M. today there are still remnants of Mr. Williams'
supporters and sympathizers milling around San Quentin prison
which hosts the death chamber in which Mr. Williams was it's
latest guest. I and many others of sound mind and reason wonder
why the intercession on Mr. Williams' behalf after surviving
for 25 years longer than his victims. One victim was 21 when
Mr. Williams shot him as he lay in submission, face down on
the floor. That 21 year old man would now be 51 and probably
enjoying a wife and family. The other 3 were executed in a different
location, different day, different crime. They would probably
be enjoying life as expected.
Stanley "Tookie" Williams invented the "Crypts"
street gang of national fame who has the dubious distinction
of having executed more people than the Mafia and independent
criminals together [AP, 12/13/05]. A joint investigation by
local police and FBI targeted Mr. Williams who was arrested
and charged in accordance with the laws of California for murder
and other attendant infractions. He was found guilty and sentenced
to execution. The lawyers representing Mr. Williams did "due
diligence" and appealed the conviction [and sentence] a
number of times over the 25 year "grace" period he
enjoyed. All failed by the preponderance of evidence and the
efficiency of the court(s) which brought us all to December,
2005. Governor Schwartzenegger was "shoe horned" into
the fray with of course the objective that he would share the
"blame" for "Tookie's" demise. The Governor
rejected any clemency or commutation and the US Supreme Court
declined a stay of execution.
"Tookie" Williams has become an icon in that he wrote
children's books on how not to get into trouble. He was nominated
for a Nobel Peace prize and a Nobel prize for Literature, something
even Yassar Arafat could never arrange.
What else do we know about Stanley "Tookie" Williams?
Well, the books didn't work too well with his own son who is
doing big time in a California prison. The Crypts are still
around as a "Tookie" legacy and I have had the questionable
honor of knowing a few in the Bronx. Initiation into the Crypts
for the young men demands that the applicant kill another person
[stranger preferred] in the presence of a "back up"
or two. For a young female candidate she has a choice of killing
someone or engaging in sex with a male member in full view of
other [mixed] members.
Since the recent drive to "save Tookie" began the
only name we have read or heard of is "Tookie". The
victim's names have been erased from the original news media
reports of 25 years ago. Their relatives have become more obscure
and one might think the victims never had any worthwhile friends.
I would add that the demonstrators holding the vigil outside
of San Quentin were/are a strange lot that brought all kinds
of campaign slogans and causes to the meeting; "Abortion
Rights", "Get out of Iraq", "Bush is the
Executioner", and a plethora of other grievances. Had I
been there to oppose execution [which I do] I would have left
all my other placards and signs at home to display appropriately
at other gatherings. And when I say I am opposed to execution
it is with the understanding that a mutant or Cretan such as
"Tookie" Williams will do life without parole and
the lawyers will be barred from any attempt at "springing"
him. Ah, but the lawyers have entre to these appeal cases and
get paid by you and me for their endless efforts. They petition
the court and the court grants them permission [with pay], OK
? So I grudgingly vote for execution until life without parole
becomes part of my safety net.
And we should not forget the killing of two fine NY City Police
Officers and the shooting of a dedicated NY State Trooper in
the last couple weeks. Please don't tell me as Mayor Bloomberg
did on TV last night that, "guns kill people". If
that is so then let us send our guns and ammo with instructions
to Iraq and keep our young military folks at home. Do cars kill
people? Do kitchen knives kill people? Do people kill people?
Glenn T. Anderson
Thoughts on the 24 November 2005 “ON THE TRAIL “
When a comrade or loved one falls it is a compelling reaction
for those left standing to try and help the fallen one. The
urge to do so is stronger than the instinct to save one’s
Your hunting party killed two deer walking together .The second
one because it failed to move fast enough after the first was
We can only guess at the bond that had been forged between the
two. We can only speculate on the number of sunrises and sunsets
they had seen, how many miles they had walked together, how
many close calls they had seen each other through. However formed,
the strength and depth of this bond is evidenced by the unwillingness
of one to leave the other behind. It was a hesitation that proved
to be fatal.
In your article you make it sound like a mistake, and I guess
it was. And in the world where these deer lived mistakes are
unforgiving. Still, I think we can agree that it was a noble
and honorable thing to do… far more noble and honorable
than taking aim and pulling the trigger.
Once again, when the chips are down, Dean Gitter resorts to
what he does best: distorting facts and sowing fear to get what
he wants. Mr. Gitter’s letter in the Phoenicia Times last
week is just the most recent example of his willingness to spread
false and misleading information in an attempt to divide a community.
It is what people do when the case they are arguing is weak;
Mr. Gitter no doubt hopes that skewing the facts will shift
the focus away from the numerous adverse environmental impacts
created by his ill-placed and oversized resort.
To restate yet again for the record, the Catskill Preservation
Coalition (CPC), of which the Catskill Heritage Alliance (CHA)
is a member, has steadfastly supported expansion of the Belleayre
Mountain Ski Center. One reason we are opposed to Mr. Gitter’s
proposed mega-resort is that it would draw water from the same
source as the ski center and could thus limit an expanded center’s
ability to serve its growing public.
And again for the record: neither the CHA nor the CPC opposes
the development of tourism in the Central Catskills. In fact,
the Coalition endorses the regional development proposal recently
released by U.S. Congressman Maurice Hinchey. The Hinchey proposal,
based on Mr. Gitter’s resort plan, envisages a scaled-down
development package which would spur regional growth—including
the expansion of the ski center—while protecting the very
resources essential to the character of the Central Catskills
and the drinking water supply of nine million people.
It is perhaps not coincidental that Mr. Gitter should again
float these falsehoods at this time. He is currently appealing
a ruling by an independent DEC Judge that found against his
mega-resort proposal on 12 of 16 issues following a comprehensive
pre-“trial” hearing. That is a significant legal
obstacle, and Mr. Gitter will likely be left with the prospect
of several more years of adjudication.
The writing is on the wall. If Mr. Gitter really cares about
the Central Catskills and its communities—as he claims—it
is time for him to reconsider the Hinchey alternative, scale
down his proposal, and get on with development. The only one
who should be ashamed is Mr. Gitter.
Chairman, Catskill Heritage Alliance
The election is over and the voters have spoken. For me this
is now a time for reflection and analysis.
During the last year or so I have spent a great deal of time
and energy, as a county legislator, focused on getting the new
Ulster County Jail completed in the most expeditious manner.
Unfortunately, I was so tuned in to this activity that I neglected
to hear the real questions people were asking about the jail
What people want to know is how the jail project got so off
track, so over budget and who was responsible for these circumstances.
In other words, the old questions of who, what, when, where
and why. These are questions that need to be answered for the
benefit of the legislature, so that these mistakes are not made
on any future projects and to answer all the questions that
the people of Ulster County are rightly asking.
Therefore, I suggest the following course of action to the Ulster
Appoint a "Blue Ribbon Commission" to investigate
all aspects of this project from its initial inception... planning,
property acquisition, contract letting, construction phase,
etc.... to the present time.
This commission should be fully insulated from any potential
political pressure. It should not become a political circus
- objective information is the goal.
The commission should be composed of two Democratic legislators
and two Republican legislators to provide the necessary link
to the legislature. In addition, there should be five non-legislative
persons of appropriate knowledge, experience and political diversity
to give the public the necessary confidence in the commission's
The commission should be adequately funded, given the power
to subpoena material, to take sworn testimony and to engage
independent, proper legal council when necessary.
This will not be an easy task; there will be no instant answers.
It is an activity that needs to be done now while information
and memories are still fresh.
Majority Leader of the
Ulster County legislature
Administrative Law judge Richard Wissler has been attacked for
his ruling on the proposed Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park,
but his decision to hear twelve issues was a responsible one.
As Judge Wissler writes in his ruling, issues are to be tried
if they are substantive, and "An issue is substantive if
there is sufficient doubt about the Applicant's ability to meet
statutory or regulatory criteria . . . such that a reasonable
person would require further inquiry." Many reasonable
people think that polluted runoff from two eighteen-hole golf
courses, a brook going dry, area wells being pulled down, increased
traffic on Route 28, light and noise pollution near wilderness
areas and harm to streams that support spawning trout are substantive
issues requiring further inquiry. The project as proposed is
simply way out of scale for a Catskills mountaintop. Only Mr.
Gitter's intransigence has kept it alive in its present form.
His public outbursts, in which he makes all kind of wild statements,
indicate how worried he's become.
And he should be worried. There are many compelling reasons
for scaling back his proposal from two mega-resort complexes
to one, as Congressman Hinchey has recommended. It's to be hoped
that Mr. Gitter will accept a compromise, subject to environmental
review, that will give him and his backers some of what they
want while minimizing negative impacts on the Catskill Park
and neighboring communities. Even if, on appeal, only some of
the twelve issues end up being adjudicated, that will still
be an extremely lengthy and costly process that serves no one's
interests, especially his.
Co-chair, Conservation Committee
Catskill Mountains Chapter of
New Paltz, NY
People who live near Saugerties or near Ellenville may not realize
that an Indian gambling casino in either will wound communities
for fifty miles around. A casino's sphere of strong, malignant
influence - increased gambling addiction and crime, decreased
local non-casino business - will certainly include a wide circle
of communities even if one alone has to pay for the traffic
lights, connect the sewers, supply the water and watch Main
Street wither. Moreover, not all 3,000-plus new employees coming
from afar, many with school-age children, will enroll their
children in the schools of the host town, which will be the
main recipient of payoffs from the casino.
This letter is to neighbors in the Hudson Valley who are today
as unaware about the consequences of casinos in Ulster and adjacent
counties as I was three months ago. Learning what has happened
in other communities of our state and neighboring states has
horrified me. Predicted benefits to the host town are illusory.
Commercial gambling casinos create or enable gambling addiction
in individuals, while hooking government on donations contingent
on government's kowtowing to them. Indian casinos pay no property
or school taxes. They follow no state or local regulations except
as they feel like it.
This letter does not detail what is so bad about a large commercial
casino. For that, read the Padavan report "All Gambling,
All the Time" which can be found at www.nocasinoeriecounty.org
or look at a web site of one of the groups in New York State
that treat the epidemic such as www.nosaugertiescasino.org or
www.upstate-citizens.org or www.dontgambleourfuture.org or cagnyinf.org.
www.ncalg.org is the web site of the National Coalition against
The way casinos reach and aggrandize and hide behind laws you
never knew about, if you think your town is safe because Saugerties
or Ellenville are twenty, even fifty, miles away, you are wrong.
If you think that Ellenville or Saugerties or Ulster are off
the hook if the site-shoppers go elsewhere in 2006, you are
wrong again. "Success" elsewhere will only bring them
back one day, unless state and federal lawmakers and judges
act in common sense to halt this epidemic. Senator George Voinovich
(R-OH) has introduced S. 1518 to amend the Indian Gaming Rights
Act so that IGRA cannot, as it now does, pre-empt a state's
constitutional prohibition against commercial casino gambling.
This bill needs sponsors in the U.S. Senate. You can write to
ours, or you can go to http://capwiz.com/congressorg to email
Stephen Shafer MD, MPH