from July 20, 2006)
Is the Onterora School Board confused or what? Or maybe they
forgot to do their homework. First they hire a school Superintendent
that had to resign after the board found out that he had troubles
in his district. I still can’t believe that apparently
no board member thought to make a phone call to the school district
that the Superintendent worked for before they hired him. If
they had checked it’s more then likely they would have
found that there was a big problem in that district.
As reported the board decided to hire back several special education
positions that they just voted to eliminate a few months ago.
During the budget process the board voted four-to-three to eliminate
those positions to save over $300,000.00. Now the budget must
be increased. I guess at that time they were thinking about
all the tax payers that are finding it increasingly harder to
pay their taxes. Now evidently tax payers don’t count.
Every board member that I communicated with before the elections
last May told me that they were very concerned about the cost
per student in the Onteora School district. In fact Dave Patterson
in an e mail said that the rising cost to educate students in
the district was one of his prime reasons to run for a seat
on the board. Of course the $44,000,000.00 plus budget that
the board accepted earlier this year raised the cost per student
in the district.
The next turn of events that would make anyone wonder what they
were thinking is when they elected Marino D’Orazio President
of the Board when last year they ousted him. What will be the
next thing that they decide to change?
Dave Patterson stepped down as president of the school board,
at the July 11 meeting, citing the reason as lack of confidence
in him by two school board members. Patterson’s sense
of fair play and calmness will be sorely missed.
Marino D’Orazio was voted in as President. During the
course of the meeting, D’Orazio yelled and hurled accusations
LOUDLY and relentlessly over the microphone at Rita Vanacore
because they disagreed. While some board members sat helpless,
others were unsuccessful in calming down the rancor directed
at Vanacore by D’Orazio.
Regardless of who was right or wrong, D’Orazio’s
behavior is an embarrassment to the school board, to the position
he holds, and how he is seen by the community. All his bellowing
didn't win him anything. He lost what he was fighting for, but
in the fight, he showed what the board members will be up against
this year with him as president. This man is a bully of the
highest kind. He lives to argue. He is a lawyer. He's the kid
that loves to play, but runs with scissors. As a leader, what
a poor example of decorum he sets for the students and staff
of the Onteora School District.
By the end of the meeting I was shaking internally from the
episode, and expressed my concerns privately to D’Orazio
about the physical effect his yelling had on me. He blew me
off and never extended an apology as any gentleman would have
done. I expressed my concerns to two of the board members who
voted for D’Orazio to be president. They blew me off also.
It was an affront to be treated so condescendingly.
The Onteora School Board and the district are facing big issues
this year: the possible downsizing and consolidating of classrooms,
the possible building of a local campus, and the selection of
a new superintendent. The school board does not need a tyrannical,
abusive, father figure-cum-president to badger them in their
Mr. D’Orazio, gets a vote of “no confidence”
in leadership from me.
I was glad to read Mr. Teplensky's remarks that were quoted
in this paper. It is his right to make choices for his family,
but not his right to force his values on other young, vulnerable
kids. His obvious determination to make sure predatory military
recruiters have daily access to our children while they are
trying to learn is unacceptable to me, and most parents I know.
His jail-house vision for our schools assures a nightmarish
Gestapo-like educational environment of dogs and police, even
coming into our own homes! Our children are not criminals! They
are students! This awful obsession with more and bigger jails
is breaking our county and must stop before our schools and
neighborhoods are incarcerated.
Teplensky's failure to reveal his religious belief shows me
he is sympathetic with the movement to Christianize the public
school system. "Intelligent Design" is stealth code
for religious indoctrination. Teach various courses in religion,
but not in the science classroom. I strongly respect Mr. Teplensky's
right to his own beliefs, but his obvious desire to force his
personal beliefs on others makes him an bad choice for School
Superintendant. Far worse, this is a consistent national pattern
of fundamentalist religion walking hand in hand with the military
and repressive prison culture and politics. Freedom of religion
is a founding principle of America. Politics and religion don't
On another note, I wish to express support for the person who
created the post cards criticizing Bob Cross and the proposed
Belleayre Resort. They contain fair and accurate statements.
of speech is another founding principle of America. People who
run for public office must be prepared to face criticism from
their constituents. Mr. Cross does not have his temper under
control. He just got in a "fist fight" outside town
hall with someone who opposes his administration's policies.
I have heard that Mr. Gitter got in a fight with an opponent
a while back. We do not need this barroom brawl mentality in
Shandaken. I believe words are more powerful than fists anyway.
To Mr. Gitter: Please restrain yourself! Don't extend the grotesquely
elongated "Emerson Plaza Shopping Tunnel" all the
way to Route 17. To Mr. Cross: No slapping.
Academic Year in America is bringing more than 1,000 international
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Find out how you can change the world with us! Contact Kelley
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I finally forced myself to read the ridiculously long letter
Maureen O’Sullivan on the evils of hunting. Whew, I barely
have the strength
left to offer a response, but I’m going to give it a shot.
For the record, I don’t hunt any more. The last time I
shot a deer I felt awful, so I stopped doing it. I blame catch
and release fly-fishing, but the fact that I no longer hunt
notwithstanding, I found Ms. O’Sullivan’s letter
so critically flawed as to be outright offensive to my intelligence.
I’m sure there are a lot of rebuttal letters heading your
way full of reasons why people hunt, so I’ll leave that
to them that do and concentrate on the illegitimacy of her argument.
Ms. O’Sullivan’s attempt to use Dave Grossman’s
book, “On Killing,” to bolster her argument is simply
absurd. I haven’t read the book, but I did take the time
to Google some reviews and an abstract and I spent about a half
an hour on his Website, “Killolgy.” Guess what?
Not a word about hunting. Not even when I put the word hunting
into his site’s search engine. The main thrust of his
important research is that violence (human on human violence,
he makes quite a point about emphasizing that) in movies, video
games and the like desensitizes humans and, in particular, children
to the killing of other humans. I am in complete agreement with
that, but to take his research, cherry pick a bunch of stuff
from it and use it completely out of context is not only disingenuous,
but can only serve to undermine his very important work. I’m
guessing Mr. Grossman would not be pleased.
How could someone use research on the horrors of war and murder
(human on human murder) and equate it to hunting? Consider the
following quote from Ingrid Newkirk, President, People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals: “A rat is a pig is a dog
is a boy.”
What the hey? you might rightly wonder. Simply put, the killing
of a rat is the equivalent of killing a child. Accidentally
run over a squirrel, might as well have run over a human baby.
Sorry, can’t do research on a rat just because that research
could result in curing your precious child of cancer, because
the rat has as much value in our society as your kid. That’s
how such a thing as using Mr. Grossman’s book as an argument
against hunting can be proffered. Does this make sense to anyone?
Don’t want to hunt? Do what I do. Don’t hunt. It’s
easy and you don’t have to get up real early. The world
would be a very boring place indeed if we all thought alike,
but that palaverous letter smacks of the city slicker that moves
to a charming farm community and then lobbies his councilperson
to outlaw the spreading of manure because it's smelly.
Welcome to the neighborhood Ms. O’Sullivan, but you have
chosen to live in
an area rich in the hunting tradition, deal with it.
In regards to your article about the Ashokan Field Campus and
Steve Deutsch’s quote that it is difficult to get to our
(New Paltz) campus to use it because it is 40 miles away. I
live a mile from the Ashokan Campus, and over the years I have
driven to New Paltz hundreds, many hundreds of times and my
mileage is around 21 or 22 miles. This is a great difference
and if erroneous information is being used in negotiations,
it should raise a red flag... or at least an eyebrow.
Don F. Wyman
I find it extremely disturbing that apparently the "government"
is rounding up, arresting, and confining the Rainbow People
at their annual assembly. This latest? assult on our civil liberties
has the stink of Bush and Gonzales all over it, as most, if
not all, of the Rainbow tribe are probably left-wing if they
are political at all. My source is: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/06/27/18283162.php
I have written several letters concerning the HAVA law and it
appears that major changes are very soon on the horizon. Brad
Williams who is the Director of the New York Independent Living
Association (NYILA) sent me important information concerning
the recent developments and what they mean for voters with disabilities.
The NYS Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno sent a letter to
advocates who responded to an earlier action alert to update
them about the Senate’s efforts to comply with HAVA.
Mr. Williams indicates that the letter was written in a “technical
way” to “create a responsible tone” informing
recipients about actions being taken by the State to comply
with HAVA. The letter highlights the availability of federal
HAVA funds, addition of state funds for polling access, and
compliance with the recent federal court order.
All concerned citizens and advocates alike need to understand,
according to Williams, this communication is “in no way
shape or form, ensures full and meaningful compliance with HAVA
for New Yorkers with disabilities. Even the “present court
order referred to in his letter is woefully insufficient to
provide New Yorkers with disabilities the ability to vote “privately
and independently” on Primary and Election Days 2006.
Most of the counties in New York State are looking to implement
one fully accessible polling place per county with one or more
accessible voting machines. This is an outright violation o
the spirit and purpose of the HAVA law, and it imposes tremendous
transportation barriers and does not even come close to meeting
the voting needs of people with disabilities. New York City,
for example, is in the process of “expanding” its’
already “inadequate requirement to only five accessible
sites per borough,” which is totally absurd.
It is important to note the Hon. NYS Senator John Flanagan;
Chair of the NYS Senate Elections Committee, recently went public
with his “disapproval of this court approved plan.”
Below is an excerpt from an Associated Press article by Marc
Humbert on May 16, 2006:
Under a state plan before U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe in
Albany, many counties across the state would have just a few
accessible voting machines in place for the 2006 state elections.
That would leave many polling places without such new machines.
In New York City, only one polling place in each.
New machines. In New York City, only one polling place in each
of the city's five boroughs would have fully accessible machines
for the disabled, said Flanagan.
"It is a bad plan," Flanagan told an Albany news conference.
In a letter to Sharpe, the Long Island Republican called the
state board's plan "wholly insufficient to meet the needs
of voters with disabilities in New York State. I believe the
state can do better."
The current court order is being challenged by a group of disability,
civic and civil rights organizations in the U.S. Federal District
Court and the issue is far from resolved.
By obtaining state funds to help with polling place access begins
another entire set of problems. The American with Disabilities
Act (ADA) mandates both public and private access. This includes
access to polling places. The owners of public and private properties
are responsible for making their premises accessible. They should
comply with the law, invest the monies to make sites accessible,
or risk losing designation of being a polling place. Throwing
more state public money at a given responsibility only adds
to confusion. The exact process has not yet been fully defined.
Does a site apply to their county, establishing no other alternative?
The accessible site is in proximity, has an accessibility expert
suggest the most efficient solutions, obtain necessary bids,
apply to the state for final approval, hire the contractor,
supervise the work and notify the county upon completion? This
process could take several years. This is just not good enough
for the concerned citizens with disabilities.
NYS Attorney General Spitzer sued three upstate counties back
in 1999-2000 regarding the lack of polling place access. Two
of the counties complained in the media and before the court
date how impossible it would be to meet substantial compliance.
Finally, in the end when the counties put their mind to it they
were complaint within nine months by Election Day 2000.
There is an interesting article appearing in the July 5th, 2006
Albany Post-Star. It illustrates the beginning of some local
responsible action on the part of election officials. It is
satisfying to see them acknowledge, on the record, their own
responsibilities under HAVA and the ADA. Their view of consolidating
polling sites so that all locations are accessible and have
one of the new polling places at the local Independent Living
I will continue to keep the good citizens of Ulster County apprised
of the current situation and will continue to pass on significant
events as they develop in the days, weeks and months to come.
Thomas R. Siblo-Landsman
West Shokan, NY
Amy Goodman had an interview with a woman who's 18 year old
daughter was recruited into the Army on the promise that she'd
"travel and see the world" and get a college education.
In her Basic Training, she learned about "command rape".
You won't find that expression on the internet, but apparently,
you will find it when you get to Iraq.
Apparently, when this young woman, Suzanne Swift, got to Iraq,
she was invited by her Sergeant into his jeep and told: "you
want to have sex with me, don't you, Swift?"
She went to her equal opportunity officer and reported the incident,
but since he didn't believe her, she was on her own. After that,
she was pursued by other's in command and felt that since her
life was in their hands, she had best do what they wanted.
When she felt she had enough, she stopped complying, and the
Sergeant made her wear a wall clock around her neck for 2 weeks.
After l8 months, when she got out, she told her mother that
she had to return, since they had forced her to sign a waiver
ensuring her redeployment.
When she went on leave, she went into hiding. She was afraid
to go back, not to risk her life, but to get repeatedly raped
by her superiors. Later, the police came and arrested her for
going AWOL, and at present she's confined to her base. she has
Since her mother put up a web site, she said that she'd gotten
hundreds of emails and out of that she said that they've only
gotten three negative emails.. Mostly, they had a huge number
of people saying, “This happened to me, and it was swept
under the carpet,” or “He was promoted and moved
and it was swept under the carpet" or "my needs were
not met, and I was treated like a piranha.” My message
today to young women who want to serve their country. Take your
basic training on the internet, on the streets and at the polls
and fight for the return of Democracy.
Are we any safer today re: terrorists than pre 9-11? It matters
not that we are the richest, most powerful and the nicest people
on the planet as our fraudulent security measures and equipment
are well fortified with loads of political hype and "smoke".
[ref: the new catalog listing 11,000 mini-towns that attract
As we arise each morning we are informed of some new and more
bizarre terrorist attack on a different unexpected target. Instead
of a rail road station the train itself now gets attention.
And the list of dead and injured is extensive and "profitable".
My point is, "do we take an alternate route to work and
home each day?" Do we go to Malls, Sports events, Museums,Theatre
and other events? Reject mass transit and stay out of taxis;
you may be riding in a "4 wheel bomb". Ignore Pizza
shops and McDonalds. Junk food is not healthy anyway. Stay home!
One might think the military is a safe haven and it might be
if one is stationed in Nepal. Each evening a list of 12-14 casualties
runs across our TV screens complete with photos. [It's depression
Then our minds and hopes sink to a new low as we realize that
we are no closer to discouraging or eliminating terrorists who
enjoy doing what they do, especially joining their victims in
a "happy" death. Just the planning promotes a "high".
There is however a possible solution; there always is. During
WWII the allies wreaked havoc on those countries that harbored
Nazis, Fascists and the terrorists of the day. Even occupied
countries were destroyed in the retaking. We have differences
among some retired Generals and "sub" Flags as to
how to deal with this phenomena.
They can take a page from the Book of Joshua, a 13th century
BC General who with his troops took down the walls of Jericho
with a mighty shout; then rushed in and put the vanquished to
death by the sword. Of course we have more than "hoots"
and shouts in our arsenal but Jericho was destroyed and "burnt
to the ground". Thus began the ACLU and UN with their numerous
One modern day warrior states that bombing Dresden was not acceptable.
Another declares the A-bombs that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki
was an atrocity. Keep dreaming guys. It will only get worse
until we either leave or decide to convert Iraq into a parking
lot and then enforce the immigration laws back home for everyone.
There are those who remind us that we are descendants of Illegal
immigrants and that is correct. The Native American welcomed
us as history reveals; some upon landing on whatever shore and
others as we moved west. Then we became greedy, arrogant and
"superior" and eliminated our hosts either by annihilation
or by moving them around onto reservations created just for
them. Get the point?
I continue to ask [not rhetorically] why are we in Iraq? They
have nuclear weapons or components? They have assorted gases
and toxic materials? So do we. But we don't have that much oil.Then
too, Iraq was terrorist free until we arrived. Sadaam would
not have shared anything with Bin Laden or anyone else. Bin
Laden applied for a "green card" but Sadaam stamped
it "rejected". [See CIA].
The best thing we could do is pardon Sadaam and reinstall him
without a leash and Iraq will go away [for us]. If he is not
executed he will return. The Arab is persistent.
Now I must prepare for an analysis of the Israeli, Palestinian,
Hammas, Hazbolah world wide local event that is usurping our
attention re: Iraq. Stay tuned. It's sure to turn some folks
Glenn T. Anderson
Last month, I returned from New Orleans, where I worked for
a week or so with an incredible relief organization, Common
Ground Collective (where I left my son Mat to carry on). I would
like to tell a bit of what I saw and the ongoing work of Common
The devastation in New Orleans is beyond what I could have imagined,
despite all I had heard. The Ninth Ward, one of the most seriously
damaged areas, was also one of the poorest neighborhoods and
at the same time a community with the highest percentage of
owner occupied houses and a community to generations of working
Almost nine months after the Hurricane, the streets of the 9th
ward, the 8th ward, and others remain ravaged as if the Hurricane
took place just weeks ago. Other, more affluent neighborhoods,
equally damaged by the floods are recovering. But in the poor,
working class areas, street after street has only one or two
houses, if any, being repaired. Houses are shells waiting to
be homes again. There is rubble everywhere, piles of the remains
of people's lives. Smashed cars, rotten and moldy debris fill
the streets. And then like a miracle, there will be a house
with beautiful flowers planted in front or a tree, against all
odds, blooming with glorious pink flowers. And everywhere you
see signs, nailed to homes which for now are only dreams: "We
Are Coming Back!" and "No Bulldozing," screaming
out against the attempts to destroy neighborhoods with a long
history of struggle, family, community and also poverty, crime
and hard times as well.
In the blazing heat of the day, you see people pulling from
their homes rotten beams, broken refrigerators, furniture -
everything which makes up a family's life. On the street corners
and at the few stores opening up, people are greeting each other
with "hey you back?" and hugs and handshakes and laughter
and also the gazed stares of people shocked to come back and
find their wholes world destroyed.
The spirit of people determined to reclaim their lives, with
little resources is awe inspiring as is the energy and commitment
of so many people who have reached out to help.
The Common Ground Collective is one of the amazing responses
to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the lack of effective
response from the government! Begun right after the hurricane
hit, Common Ground had the first Free Health Clinic on the streets
of New Orleans just days after the flood. Common Ground has
grown from a handful of people to a network of hundreds of volunteers
running three health clinics, a legal clinic, several distribution
centers for food, clothing, essentials. It runs a media center,
in a house in the 8th Ward known affectionately as "The
House of Excellence," open to the public 8 a.m. to midnight
daily with free computers and phones for returning residents
use; a Women's Center; a tool lending library, providing a way
to rebuild both houses and working lives as well. They are organizing
workers coops - mechanics, plumbers and carpenters. They are
developing community gardens, bioremediation projects and alternative
energy sources. All this and more done completely by volunteers.
Most of the volunteers live in an abandoned Catholic school
in the 9th Ward. Hundreds of mainly young people live with bare
necessities and daily go out at 7 a.m. to gut buildings of residents
hoping to return. So far Common Ground has gutted over 600 houses
and has over 400 more on a waiting list. Since the hurricane
many thousands of people have worked with Common Ground, some
for a week or two and many for months at a time. When I left
New Orleans, CG had just taken over the management of a 350
unit low income housing project in the Algiers district, and
have begun with a vision of what a viable low income community
can be, complete with programs for kids, literacy programs,
food coops, drug rehab and more, tenants organizations and more.
It was difficult to leave Common Ground and New Orleans and
I asked, "what can I do from afar?" One clear, pressing
need at Common Ground is for vehicles. Their work is spread
out across the city. They desperately need a pick up truck,
a box truck and /or a van. CG is a not for profit entity and
donations are tax deductible. We are looking for individuals,
companies, organizations which may be ready to trade in or "retire"
a still viable vehicle and would be willing to donate to this
incredible organization. We hope to form a caravan sometime
this summer to bring such needed vehicles to New Orleans.
You can see more about Common Ground at their web site: www.commongroundrelief.org
. For more information please contact me at: email@example.com