from June 22, 2006)
I am in total agreement with your editorial of June 13, 2006.
It is clear from the information provided by the Pratt Center
for Community development that Governor Pataki is not a “compassionate
Republican-Conservative,” which leaves us all to conclude
that New York State housing policy is no longer funding new
affordable housing for the low or middle income working families
and the Governor’s policies deliberately contributed towards
the development of the current crisis for affordable accessible
housing not only in Ulster County but for the entire state.
The fact that Ulster County for the past several years has had
a zero-vacancy-rate as reported by the Ulster County Planning
Department’s Housing Consortium annual report illustrates
why we have over 139 individuals. (See 2000 census figures)
with disabilities whom would like to leave the nursing home
but however, cannot due to the lack of available affordable
housing costing the taxpayers millions of dollars in unnecessary
Medicaid expenses. These Medicaid expenses are directly a burden
to the local county government and its taxpaying citizens.
The Hon. Senator John J. Bonacic is the majority leader of the
New York State Senate’s Housing Committee. It is no wonder
with policies like this why he cannot get the rest of the state
Republican leadership to support legislation for an accessible
affordable statewide housing trust for people with disabilities.
This fall we all need to ask both the candidates for Governor
whether or not they are going to change these current policies
because the people are getting tired of all the talk and lies
that only enrich those already well off and places our Seniors
Citizens and people with disabilities at risk as far as having
a decent, affordable place to live.
Thomas R. Siblo-Landsman
I would like to make the following suggestions for selecting
a new Ulster County Administrator. These recommendations are
based on having served a number of years on the UC Legislature
and having served on the bipartisan screening committee that
selected Cal Cunningham as the first, and very successful, County
Administrator. These suggestion are:
A bipartisan screening committee be established consisting of
two county legislators and three non-legislators. This committee
would screen and interview all candidates and make their recommendations
to the legislature.
The County Administrator position should be given additional
Any potential candidate must have served at least 5 years as
a County Administrator or Deputy in a county of comparable size
or larger than Ulster County. To avoid political cronyism this
experience must have been in a county other than Ulster County.
This is a position that needs to be filled with a seasoned,
experienced administrator - this not the time nor the place
for on the job training. Experience in another county will bring
the experience and a new perspective to our county for this
very important position.
While there are a number of additional boiler plate qualifications
that can be added - these suggestions, if followed, will provide
a strong foundation for getting the right person for the job.
The right person in this position will make our county legislators
more effective, efficient and better able to serve the people
of Ulster County.
William R. West
Maybe it isn’t the right time for me to write this letter,
but by writing now maybe other readers will have time to reflect
on it when deer-hunting season rolls around again in the fall.
I moved to Mount Tremper last November. I always enjoyed your
paper with its quirky mix of Comfort Stories, folk wisdom/old-timey
tidbits and Realpolitik
reporting on the local scene. However, as fall went on, I began
to feel only revulsion while reading your light-hearted, cheery
toned stories on deer-hunting. Maybe I haven’t been in
the community long enough to have seen your paper’s coverage
of the other side of the hunting debate as well. Maybe I’m
wrong, but it
was my impression that your paper consistently ran ’pro’
You always seemed to have your finger on the pulse of this community
and all the happenings and goings on
in it - with the singular exception when it came to hunting.
Since moving here, I’ve informally tried to feel out where
many of my neighbors and local acquaintances stood on this issue
and discovered that
quite a few of them shared my abhorrence for this ’normalized’
seasonal blood lust. There are strong feelings on both sides
of this issue and emotions run
Because hunting is such a controversial issue, I was more than
a little surprised at your paper’s seeming lack of awareness
or sensitivity to the strong
feelings on both sides. Like abortion rights and gay marriage,
this is a subject that most folks have strong opinions about
- either pro or con. Because of the wide spectrum of deeply
held moral positions (pro and con)on these other two issues
for example; I doubt if you’d run a ‘local gala
event’ type story about two gay men or lesbians who held
their wedding at a local eatery, focusing your coverage on ‘who
wore what’ and where the happy couple were going on their
Similarly, if an abortion clinic opened on Rte. 28 opposite
the High School, I seriously doubt that you’d
run a light-hearted article focusing on the clinic’s enhancement
of local services. Nor would you one-sidedly interview a High
School girl who availed herself of this clinic’s service
and quote her on how convenient the location was, or what a
positive experience the whole ‘abortion thing’ was.
In both of the above instances, I’m sure any stories you
ran about a local gay wedding or the opening of an abortion
clinic in the community would decidedly not be light-hearted,
or cheery in tone. I
think you’d instead maintain an editorially neutral position,
acknowledging both sides of the issue by giving each side some
Why then, do you write stories during deer-hunting season that
perpetuate the ‘normalization’ of this horror? stories
that many people find so incomprehensively offensive? Your deer-hunting
stories usually have the same cheery tone as your stories on
hiking one of the local trails, or a festive fund-raiser held
for a local charity.
The absolute worst deer-hunting article you ran ast winter was
the one concerning the two companion
deer. When one of them was killed by a hunter, the other refused
to leave his/her mate’s side and was also mindlessly slaughtered.
A line or two even went so far as to say that this beautiful,
loyal creature DESERVED to be killed because it lacked the intelligence
to run away to save itself. The ’journalist’ who
wrote this drivel must have the sensitivity of a tapeworm. This
story only brought tears to my eyes, as I’m sure it did
to others. It
didn’t fill us with delight at the ‘joy of hunting’
- but only with revulsion and sorrow.
When hunting season comes around again this fall, I hope you’ll
be a little more even-handed and sensitive
to the wide spectrum of opinion on this issue. I understand
that many long-time residents grew up in it, see nothing wrong
with the hunting culture, and don’t question its morality.
This kind of ’enculturated’ violence is usually
not reflected on. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, the most difficult
kinds of violence to overcome are those that have been institutionalized.
Through my informal survey, I’ve found that the hunting
culture is NOT monolithic in this community. If you assume that
it is, and that most of your readers are hunters, I ask you
to reconsider this assumption and try to see the community through
‘fresh eyes’ so to speak, like through say a relative
newcomer to the area such as myself. Maybe that assumption was
true 20 years ago - but I don’t think it’s true
today. I suspect there are just as many people here who are
opposed to hunting as there are those who have an entrenched
In my informal survey of where people stand on this issue, I’ve
come across quite a few otherwise traditionally-minded long-time
residents who, like myself, oppose hunting. These people would
never go hunting themselves, but tend to shrug with a sigh of
resignation and say “It’s just the culture around
here” when asked about it. Not everyone who opposes
hunting is a newcomer/interloper/property tax rasing vegetarian/vegan
former urbanite Bush hater. Many of us don’t fit this
stereotype. Many conservatives and
fundamentalist Christians also feel an aversion to hunting,
though they tend not to be as outspoken about their feelings.
To your readers who are pre-hunting, I would only say, isn’t
there ENOUGH violence in the world, without adding to it? Personally,
I feel the ‘suffering load’ on our beautiful Earth
is already way too high and
more of us need to start practicing what Hindus call ’Ahimsa”
- harmlessness to all living beings - as much as we can in our
There’s also a dark, murky underside to hunting just as
there is in that other form of socially sanctioned killing -
military combat. It is a dark underside that few are willing
to openly acknowledge. In his fascinating book, On Killing,
War College psychologist Lt. Col. Dave Grossman explores this
dark side of human/human killing during war. He writes of the
fairly consistent 20% of military combatants who hae psychopathological
tendencies that make them actually enjoy killing. If you’ve
read the book jarhead by ex-Marine sniper/sharpshooter Anthony
Swofford, you get a glimpse inside the mind of such an individual.
In this regard, when it comes to hunting maybe you already have
an inkling that Uncle Harry enjoys going out with his deer-hunting
rifle a little TOO much, and suspect that it’s not ALL
about sportsmanship or putting food on the table.
But even beyond this overtly sadistic 20% who enjoy blood shedding
and killing, Lt. Col. Grossman also recounts in his book the
experiences of a significantly larger number of ex-soldiers
who carried a lifelong burden of guilt, or were otherwise scarred
emotionally by their combat experiences. When it comes to taking
a life, to a child it can be equally traumatizing to pre-meditatedly
take the life of an animal, as it is for a grown man to take
the life of an enemy soldier during war.
I’d ask those mothers who harbor doubts, but uncomfortably
acquiesce to their young son’s initiation into this ‘sport’
because “It’s just the culture around here”
to reconsider, and think about the possible psychic and spiritual
mangling that might
result in a young child as a consequence.
It might be taboo to raise these questions, but I feel that
it this aspect of the debate must be brought out into the open
in regard to hunting, just as it is now being talked about on
the subject of war in books like ‘On Killing”, or
war correspondent Chris Hedges ’What Every Person Should
Know About War” Opposing
hunting is not only about animal rights, but is concerned with
the rights of children not to be emotionally damaged by what
for many is an extremely confusing and traumatic experience.
We need to take an
ethical stand and oppose hunting for them as well.
I hope in the future some writer somewhere will bring to light
the damage done to mostly boys by this practice of socially-sanctioned
brutality and killing, just as Grossman’s book helped
validate the emotional damage of combat on many veterans and
helped them see that they were not alone in their response to
the violence they got caught up in.
Especially for young boys of a very sensitive nature, who have
an inborn love of all animals, who are more interested in art
than sports or who otherwise don’t fit the cultural stereotype
of ’masculinity’ the hunting experience can be traumatic.
They are often pressured by pro-hunting family members into
this activity to ‘toughen them up’ or ‘make
a man’ out of them, as if they weren’t ‘OK’
just as they
are. I really hope some future writer will chronicle their hunting
stories to help educate future generations of parents.
And for those hunters who feel they’re saving money by
not having to buy meat at the supermarket, I’d say, you
don’t HAVE to continue eating a meat-based diet. Read
John Robbin’s Diet for a New America. You’ll be
a lot healthier as a result, and just as someone who quits smoking
eventually stops thinking about
cigarettes altogether, once you ‘go vegetarian’
soon you’ll stop thinking about meat. It will come to
have about as much appeal as chopping off your pinky finger,
putting it in a stew pot and eating it. Before long you’ll
acclimate to a tasty diet of healthy, violence-free vegetarian
alternatives. You’ll soon start getting yens for your
favorite veggie treat - and NOT a Big Mac.
I’d also tell your hunting readers that the few dollars
you’re saving by eating parasite-riddled venison rather
than $3 a pound hamburger meat might not even BEGIN to compensate
for the spiritual and emotional damage you might be causing
yourself and your children... At least consider the possibility
of this risk - and whether it’s worth taking.
Mount Tremper, NY
One of my earliest memories has me seated at the dinner table,
desperate to know what my parents were discussing in a secret
code which seemed impossible to decipher. As I grew older, and
my spelling skills improved, I began to understand their stilted
banter, and eventually, the innocence afforded by their seemingly
innovative dialogue was relinquished to a dinner table free
of disjointed letters. Topics deemed undesirable faded from
conversation altogether, and were relegated to hurried whispers
behind closed doors.
These conversations were often centered on family gossip, "adult"
topics, and the avoidance of buzzwords that could lead to tantrums
- all relatively meaningless subjects. However, I never expected
that information would be withheld that could jeopardize my
safety and health. Unfortunately, this is often the case when
dealing with sex education.
Many families feel that sex education should be the responsibility
of the school, as schools will have access to the most current
information and relevant technologies. Children and parents
alike generally feel that discussing a cumbersome topic elsewhere
makes the home environment easier to endure. Yet many children
are not receiving this education either at home or at school,
putting them at risk for unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted
The Healthy Teens Act is slowly working its way through the
New York State Senate with only a few weeks of session remaining.
If passed, this legislation will provide funding for schools
and organizations to develop and implement age appropriate,
medically accurate sex education. I believe very strongly that
our schools, communities, families and government ought to refrain
from dealing with these issues in muted tones, and instead afford
them the voice they deserve.
The safety and lives of young people must not be jeopardized,
especially when certain levels of autonomy begin to be realized.
It is imperative that we take proactive steps towards combating
potentially life-threatening behavior, and provide young people
with the information and resources needed to protect themselves.
This is one issue that cannot afford to be sequestered only
The overwhelming community opposition to a merger between Kingston
and Benedictine hospitals in 1997 was not just about abortion
("Talking the Talk," June 8). One of the most important
issues was tubal ligation, especially after a caesarean birth.
This is a common procedure, a simple way to prevent pregnancy
after one's family is complete, and standard practice in most
community hospitals. But it is a form of contraception, and
is therefore prohibited by the Ethical and Moral Directives
for Catholic Health Care Facilities.
It doesn't matter how well the members of our two hospital boards
might get along. All Catholic hospitals are bound by the strictures
of that document, and cannot even cooperate in a substantial
way with a hospital that permits contraception.
"Reproductive rights" is a phrase that many feel is
merely a euphemism for abortion. While we as a community must
be vigilant in preserving access to legal abortion, we must
also remember that many other issues are involved in reproductive
freedom. Our local hospital or hospitals have the obligation
to provide full reproductive hospital services, including tubal
ligation (especially at the same time as caesarean birth), vasectomy
(when hospitalization is required), abortion (when hospitalization
is required), hospital back-up services to clinical abortion
providers, emergency contraception for rape victims and others,
and birth control counseling for hospital patients (such as
those on chemotherapy).
It is essential that these services remain available to the
Kingston community. We need both of our hospitals to remain
open. Or, if there can only be one hospital, it must be a secular
hospital, providing full services.
I am writing as a concerned parent in the Onteora School District.
I am not surprised that the Onteora Board of Education didn't
look into Interim Superintendent Peter J. Ferrara's background.
Why would they worry about his employment history when the current
OCS administration is practicing the same ethics (specifically
with the speech and hearing impaired children in the district)?
Recent articles stated that the Department of Civil Rights cited
the Ellenville School District for violations involving special
education. Services for students with disabilities were granted
based on fair hearings, but Ellenville was in trouble for prohibiting
dissention or discussion. Special needs students were given
inappropriate assistance while others had services taken away
because of budget concerns. This sound very much like the current
state of special education in the Onteora District.
I hope that the board of education can see that there is another
lesson to learn heare besides checking on someone's employment
Valerie T. Hill
I received a letter from our wonderful government's Department
of Veterans Affairs telling me that the V.A. is sorry and unhappy
that personal data on me and 27 million other vets was stolen.
The letter hopes that nothing bad will happen as a result of
their failure to protect that information, and advises us to
carefully audit our resources, and, while the "V.A. is
taking all possible steps to protect" us veterans, they
are not going to do diddly beyond the warning.
Surprised? Is that how our grateful government takes care of
Join me in contacting all our congressional representatives
to demand that the V.A. protect us from financial ruin, or have
all the tax cuts made that impossible?
Due to the large volume of water coming out of the portal each
time that there is a large rain, the land of the owners of The
Blue Barn and Copperhood Inn lose a lot of their land. However,
there is a solution. Before the flood of 1980 the portal water
went straight out to the mountain against a rock ledge where
no harm could happen, then the water broke through at a sharp
left and destroyed a lot of good flat land. The solution is
to dig out the land where the water used to go then place large
boulders to the left with pace to permit a small volumeof water
to follow the present course.
Clearly, it was censorship that you did not publish my letter
about the local art scene, the lack of meaningful content and
poking fun at the landscape painters. It did not agree with
your rosy eyed view of what pretends to be art. This reminds
me of another incidence of editorial power tripping. Some time
ago I submitted a letter raising the issue of a conflict of
interest by a certain person in the Shandaken Republican Party.
I changed my mind and left a message not to print it. Because
it was in agreement with how you view things you disregarded
my request not to publish it. I let that one go. It is easy
to get the impression that editors on small newspapers are on
ego driven power trip.
My respect for the Phoenicia Times has been diminished.
Mount Tremper, NY
It was refteshing to read the perspective within a recent editorial
piece by Dr. John Neumaier published in The Daily Frreeman and
be reminded how the forces of government on a daily basis, subliminally
subvert our personal fteedoms ,all in the name of preserving
social stability. The American people need to read and understand
that they are less free today then at any other time since our
Constitution was founded.
Once the media is sanctioned and people are no longer free to
state their minds, in fear of being fired or chastised, we can
watch the first ten amendments of our constitution be compromised.
The Patriot Act, which so limits our personal freedoms, is a
misnomer. There is nothing patriotic about being able to inspect
personal information via wiring taping, peruse e-mails or intercept
phone messages. It’s misleading and just another hop on
the bandwagon tactic that our current administration hopes the
public will buy and overlook, all in the name of frenetic chatter
about terrorism and being protected. Any educated person knows
all too well the hype behind these tactics. It allows the elite
to control and mold the society, with all the appearances of
concern for the citizenry, while the elite group seizes the
press, free information and personal rights.
Dr. Neumaier points to his great concern regarding the apathy
surrounding health care & health insurance. He's right America
should be alerted! Suspect! UPSET! Most American's don't realize
that our legislators have these freedoms granted them, but not
their constituents. The inequaliie's of education, both private
and public, that make education feasible and attainable is limited
today more than ever before in our country's history. Costs
have spiraled and caused many to look at service areas for jobs
rather than seek higher education to better their social class
condition, simply because it's NOT within reach. Loans that
funded higher education have been compromised or have vanished
and added to the decline in college admission applications.
It then follows that via the outcome of the social pressures
to maintain one's lifestyle, commuting to one's job, parenting
and some attempt of activity in public and community affairs
we are diverted ftom the reality of our human condition and
fall into a complacent pattern of accepting what "is"
rather than exhorting changes to protect our human rights and
insist that the laws granted by our government remain protected.
It's all been carefully planned for complete and total control
by the elite. The current administration has the public in the
palm of their hands and they are squeezing for even further
WAKE UP AMERICA! We are busy, yes, but are we too busy to stand
up and notice? Are we ready to see our freedom of press, religion
and legal systems be manipulated to suit the will of the elite?
Are the people held in Cuba hoping we give up and let them remain
in custody of the United States without legal representation,
without due process rights? What are we thinking and why are
we NOT thinking? This is our country! Have we forgotten how
long it took to garner these freedoms and what drove us toward
Democracy? It was oppression! Let's hope that this reality helps
us to overcome and demand the rights we fought deliberately
to win. We are being oppressed again. We need to know this and
react. With people like Dr. J. Neumaier, exhorting a voice of
reason, I am grateful that there are still some intelligent
human beings in our society who are working at restoring the
balance we seem to have lost.
I've wanted to write about the open border problem with Mexico
for some time. However, I've contained myself, since every time
I let my friends know what I think, they call me a bigot. Well,
since I know what I've done for the Civil Rights movement back
in the 60's, I shouldn't have to defend myself on that score.
But, the reason that I've decided to press forward and put out
my thoughts, is because lightening struck my house last week.
That was indeed a wake up call. Actually it occurred at 1:15AM
and the loud explosion did just that. I realized that I might
as well speak my mind, since time is short and the country is
quickly going to h-ll in a handbasket.
In my opinion, (which of course is usually the truth), the "worker
program" is another expression for disenfranchising the
lower middle class and replacing them with foreign workers who
will work for less than legal minimum wage. Big business and
our leaders don't even have the word legal in their vocabulary
anyhow. For instance, how about the "rules of engagement"
for our troops in Haditha? These include busting down doors,
throwing in a bomb and then shooting indiscriminately at anything
including babies. Then, when they get caught, they blame the
soldiers, instead of the rules. How about mistakenly labeling
blacks felons and denying them their right to vote, even when
they are innocent? How about taking bribes and kick-backs? How
about the greedy rich paying no taxes and raising ours?
How bad can it possibly get? They want cheap labor, and they
want us to pay, and pay we will. Do you have any idea how much
money goes to non-citizen's welfare? Their education? Their
medical care? Do you wonder where that money comes from? It
comes from you, not the greedy rich. Don't get me wrong. I know
quite a few legal Hispanics from various countries that come
here, get their legal status, get good jobs with minimum wage
and send their money home to their families. We are, after all
a nation of immigrants..... we used to be a nation of legal
immigrants. No longer. These days, illegal is a good thing,
and legal is for idiots. Look at our leaders and tell me that
they follow the law. Well guess what? I still stop for red lights
and pay my bills. Don't hold that against me. It's an old habit.
I'll just keep trying to remind you that Democracy is Not a
I so much wanted and planned to take a "Letter to the Editor"
holiday this issue but I must reply to Jill Paperno, who continues
to inform us with no evidence. Question: how many members of
the fourth estate are whiling away their time in a U.S. prison
cell having been assigned there for revealing classified information?
What information may I ask?
We are in a conflict to change things around the world; not
a war. War is the act of breaking things and killing people
[as in Berlin, Cologne, Hiroshima and Nagasaki].
As far as media folks giving their lives for us the media has
been warned to stay in or close to the "Green Zone".
Nicholas Berg was so intent on being a contractor in Iraq [without
any prior experience as such] and sneaked into the country only
to be caught by the insurgents. Mr Berg was characterized as
"reckless" (AP/NY Times). He certainly didn't deserve
death, much less beheading. i must remind all who read or listen
that the insurgents are killing far more Iraqis than "invaders".
Kind of senseless, eh?
Back to the NY Times where Ms Paperno states we can identify
the real criminals by perusing the Times' masthead. Why Ms Paperno,
I'm ashamed that you would introduce discrimination into the
mix just to toss a few "slings" and "arrows".
Who takes journalists seriously anyway? They have the ability,
motive and mechanism to "make the news [as in Grant Park,
Chicago]. Ernie Pyle and his contemporaries were first class
news reporters and were loved by the "guys". Ernie
"went out" as one of us with honor guard and taps
[Stars & Stripes].
Glenn T. Anderson
This letter was written to all our county legislators...
Undoubtedly by now, you've heard that I have been terminated
as First Deputy Clerk of the Ulster County Legislature. My last
day of work is June 30.
This news was related to me on Thursday, June 15 by Clerk Kathleen
Carey Mihm which took me by total surprise, because before the
transition process, David Donaldson and Peter Loughran asked
me to stay on. I find it very distasteful and intentional that
after six months into the year, Ms. Mihm found it in her power
to terminate me. We never had a previous discussion to iron
out what appeared to be problems with the way I conduct myself,
nor acknowledge her displeasure with me until 11:10 am that
Thursday, June 15.
I find it very troublesome that Ms. Mihm thought I was capable
enough to cover the office in her absence when she went on vacation
early on into her appointment, went to Clerk's School to try
to learn what her responsibilities are and even got called out
of town for a family emergency recently and overnight, she is
not happy with me. Imagine that!
It deeply saddens me to not be able to continue to provide good
government for all of Ulster County, which I have done to the
best of my abilities for the past 34 1⁄2 years. To be
terminated at a moment's notice is disgraceful and unconscionable.
I have been a dedicated, devoted and hard-working employee throughout
my service and I don't believe I deserve this unwarranted treatment.
I will leave with my dignity and pride. I will miss each and
every one of you because you have been my extended family all
these years. It has been a pleasure to have been an Ulster County
employee, to have been the first woman in the history of Ulster
County to be Clerk of the Ulster County Legislature and my work
ethics and experience will be a hard act to follow.
All the best to you. Fondly
An Open Letter to the People of Denning...
I am sorry that the work on the bridge over the east branch
Of the Neversink River in the Town Of Denning may be put on
hold due to a shortage of funding to complete the work. We were
prepared to bond for the funds to complete the job through County
Resolution 201 of 2006 at the June 14th meeting of the legislature.
The bond needed a 2/3 vote as do all bonding resolutions.
Prior to the June 14th meeting, your representatives, Don Gregarious
and Brian Shapiro represented the need well and it sailed through
committee with a unanimous vote of both Democrats and Republicans.
This gave me full expectations that it would pass the legislature
the same way. There was no indication of any controversy over
the repair or the bond by anyone prior to the start of the meeting.
When the resolution came up for a vote, to my surprise the Minority
Leader, Glenn Noonan of Gardiner, stood up and said that all
the Republicans were voting against the resolution. When explaining
why, he indicated that it was because the Majority Leader, Jeanette
Provenzano of Kingston made some negative remarks against him
in the press.
As a result the resolution did not have the 2/3 vote needed
to pass. To my further suprise, even those Republicans that
supported it in committee and were sponsors of the resolution,
Legislator Fabiano of Saugerties, Legislator Felicello of Marlboro
and Legislator McAfee of Highland blindly followed their leader
Glenn Noonan and voted against the bond.
Since I have been unable to bridge the gap between the negative
remarks made by the Majority Leader against the Minority leader
and how it equates to punishing the people of Denning, you may
have better luck by calling any and all of those that voted
against County Resolution 201 starting with the Minority Leader
and those on the committee I mentioned earlier.
I ask you to try not to say anything negative to Minority Leader
Glenn Noonan. He can get quite sensitive and I don’t want
him to play politics against other townships.
David Donaldson, Chairman
Ulster County Legislature