from July 6, 2006)
The caustic letter from Curt Schoeberl, Assessor, Town of Shawangunk
printed in the April 13th, 2006 issue of the Olive Press, covertly
accusing reservoir host towns (Olive is one of those) of tax
evasion and implied theft of County monies, needs to be answered.
Schoeberl says Senator Larkin (who introduced the Large Parcel
Bill) knew from the beginning that the Bill had always included
the word "reservoirs" in it's language--thus making
reservoir towns the recipients of Large Parcel designation.
Olive Matters has a copy of of Senator Larkin's letter to Richard
Smith, Esq.--a lawyer hired by Olive's Town Board in 2004 to
oppose the Large Parcel Law. Larkin stated in his letter to
Mr. Smith that...."The [Large Parcel] Law was not intended
to apply to reservoirs, particularly where the[re] are no wild
swings in value from year to year. Mr. Schoeberl is accusing
Senator Larkin of lying outright by insisting the word "reservoir"
IS in the Bill's language and Larkin knew about it when introducing
But as Mr. Schoeberl knows, the word "reservoir" NEVER
appears in Larkin's "Introducer's Memorandum in Support"
where Larkin introduced the L.P. Bill to the Senate. It does
not appear in wording of the Bill itself and it does not appear
in the wording of the final Large Parcel Law passed in 2002..
Evidently the word "reservoir" was a little SECRET
word--shared like a code ring by grown men and put into official
use by THE OFFICE OF REAL PROPERTY SERVICES (ORPS) who then
designated the majority of RESERVOIR TOWNS as LARGE PARCEL towns).
ORPS did this in order to perform a reservoirectomy upon the
unsuspecting rural folk of New York's reservoir host towns.
Originally, in '02, the Large Parcel Bill had been misrepresented
to the Senate and Assembly saying its primary purpose was to
protect townspeople from wild swings in taxes resulting from
large, high value properties in their towns. As we in Olive
know, the Large Parcel Law did not prevent, but caused wild
swings in Olive's taxes. In his letter to Smith, Senator Larkin
goes on to say " Furthermore, it was my intention that
the use of the alternate equalization formula in the Law would
be optional and used only if all affected municipalities opted
to use the large parcel equalization process." Of course,
Olive never opted to use the large parcel equalization process."
Schoeberl again misleads by stating that "...the non reservoir
towns in the County picked up [had to pay] an estimated $1,200,000
in county taxes." What he really is saying is that the
BOOTY of $1.2 million anticipated from this well plotted THEFT
of reservoir properties from their host towns did NOT occur.
This thievery by the way was prevented by the hard work and
tenaciousness of the townspeoples of those reservoir towns--not
by their State representatives. It is significant that most
towns hosting a reservoir are rural, bereft of businesses, short
on lawyer money and that a majority of them havc been endlessly
doing battle with the City who wishes to keep its reservoir
All that is left to Mr. Schoeberl is to once again try to confuse
and /or pit town against own in a divide and conquer effort
toward the next County Legislator's (and Onteora School Board's)
Large Parcel vote.
Best wishes to ALL our towns
I found my self reading the letter sent by Maureen O’Sullivan
on the June 22 edition of the paper and found my self getting
very angry at the most stupid anti local letter ever. This woman
moved to our community this past November im sure from the city
suddenly is the self proclaimed anti hunting, pro vegetarian,
Albert Einstein quoting savior of Shandaken that is going to
change all our minds and sit around a vegetarian burger and
sing happy happy songs all day. Well please allow me to educate
you on a little something miss O’ Sullivan first of all
the people of our community that do practice hunting are not
blood thirsty maniacs as you seem to imply most of us here that
do hunt do so one for yes the meat wish we share amongst friends
relatives and also hunting keeps deer population under control.
The most blood thirsty unsafe hunters that come to our community
for simply the right to brag they shot a deer then place in
the trash since they don’t know what to do with it are
from the city it self. Second there has been a rise with bear
sittings in our community and others for the past several years
the main cause in my opinion is due to CITY people leaving trash
out for you have no clue on how to live in harmony with nature.
You may claim you do but you do not. Most city people that chose
to live here love it make changes to the way they live and habits
because they love the peace and beauty of our beautiful mountains
and all they have to offer and others like your self who come
here and first thing try to change the local mind set in order
to accommodate you. I found your letter to be very insulting
to people of our
community this is not the city nor will the people that have
lived all their lives here change in order to accommodate outsiders
I would say to Ms. Maureen O'Sullivan re: letter of 22 June
that "now" is always the best time to "introduce"
yourself to the new community of your choice. I would have done
it two days following arrival and it would have been a bit more
I [and I am sure others] have raked through the "muck"
of criticism you heaped on us "hillbillies", "country
bumpkins", "side hill farmers" and "stump
jumpers" finding not one virtue unless we interpret your
charges as compliments.
You even "trashed" our parochial Press for reporting
the news in a "light hearted", "cheery toned"
manner. Shame on you Olive Press for failing to see and report
life in these hills and valleys as it coulda, woulda, shoulda
be. Instead the Press celebrated a time honored aboriginal custom
and has not repented; probably won't.
You must join us in the Spring Turkey hunt Ms. Sullivan when
you will find a few starved or otherwise malnourished deer corpses
in the woods. You can combine your observations with a "hike
on the trail" as you prefer. Take pictures of those emaciated,
pain stricken bodies and submit them to the Press. They will
print them; guaranteed.
And yes, Ms. O'Sullivan; hunting is a great early start for
serving in the military. My father and grandfather called hunting
"early intervention. Keeps a kid out of trouble" We
were all "expert" [and safe] on the rifle range or
on the beach in WWII, Korea, Nam and other hot spots. Incidentally,
your source for numbers of shell shocked, battle fatigued and
stressed troops is probably correct but you are quoting a Lt.
Col. David [Dave to you] Grossman that teaches at the War College
in Rhode Island [which I have attended as a senior enlisted]
and he does not say our military should not break things and
kill people. He merely points out that war is "hell"
which is true and also the mantra throughout the course is that
"it's a kill or be killed strategy". No instructor
at the War College ever asks "those who have hunted prior
to military service, raise your hand" or "who in the
class likes to kill"? Dr. Grossman does however inform
the attendees that the UCMJ and Geneva Conference will be adhered
to [but a surrendering opponent must be observed closely and
the "cover" ready to shoot to kill].
You also include "Bush Hater" in the mix but if that
strengthens your particular philosophy that's fine. Whatever
works. Somehow you inserted abortion clinics on 28, Gay marriages,
vegetarians and uncles or fathers who take their sons hunting
[preparing them for a life of killing]. Then we are informed
that a diet book by John Robbin is the way to go and we do not
need meat of any kind. Ms. O'Sullivan, have you ever eaten a
Venison Gullion seasoned to taste with braised Rabbit on the
side? A glass of burgundy [oh, those poor crushed grapes]. Forget
I presume, Ms. O'Sullivan that you have been exposed to the
Bible in whatever form. Remember Esau? The hunter? The deer
hunter? And his father Isaac loved the stuff. Rebecca encouraged
hunting by cooking it. Look it up. Rebecca even committed fraud
by dressing younger brother Jacob in one of Esau's deer hides.
Anyway, we all welcome you and whomever to our kinky, "quirky"
way of life here in the mountains. We appreciate those who point
out our frailties, shortcomings and errors and includes those
recommendations and advice for redemption. The "smoke"
police, "fat" police and "thought" police
are certainly a part of our "sinking" society and
you forgot SUV's.
Incidentally, for your edification $3 per pound hamburger is
not in the same league as $7-8 per pound fat free venison [market
value] (US Dept of Agriculture, Jan. 2006) Oh yes, there are
licensed deer farms that provide market venison. And the "Venison
Donation" Program hosted by NYSDEC each year is popular.
Glenn T. Anderson
Can you believe an entire school year has come and gone? To
me it seems like yesterday that I was writing you to ask for
your support in my run for the Onteora School Board. Since the
first year of my three-year term has ended I want to share with
you my experience, accomplishments and frustrations.
It has been an exciting year; and a year that has brought us
extreme sadness with Justine Winters resignation and passing.
I am very proud to have had Justine Winters lead our district
and learned a lot from her as a new board member. Justine taught
me a lot about working within an educational institution. We
laughed about how hard it was for me to learn the difference
between setting policies, a School Board’s number one
responsibility, and establishing regulations and procedures.
I felt I was not doing my job if I was not involved in the regulation
and procedure setting, but learned that was the responsibility
of our administrators. I think they all breathed a sigh of relief
when I finally understood that concept.
Justine will be missed. My prayers and thoughts go out to her
family and friends in the days and months to come.
My experience as a new board member was very positive because
I like what I am doing. I learned that working in a democratic
system is very slow! Something I am not accustomed to as a small
business owner. At first I perceived this as negative but quickly
learned to embrace it as a system that makes you think, rethink
and think some more. It also amazed me how so many people can
look at the same subject, facts and material and view it so
differently. That’s what makes the system so slow but
it also forces you to think, rethink and think some more. I
chose three committees to serve on: the audit committee, the
policy committee and the communications committee. I believe
that these committees are at the heart of any Board of Education.
During my tenure as Chairman of the policy committee we revised
and updated many policies. I want to express my sincere thanks
to Robin Sears and the Health Advisory Committee for establishing
the best Tobacco Policy in Ulster County, a new Wellness Policy
that will be in place before the July 2006 deadline. The committee
is now working on an Alcohol and Drug Policy, Military Recruitment,
and Student Code of Conduct that we want in place for the start
of the new school year.
While finally understanding the difference between setting policy
versus regulations and procedure, I believed that, as we revised
our policies one by one, our new policy book needed to have
the regulations and procedures reviewed by administration. We
can have all the policies we want but they are only as good
as consistent implementation.
In the 2005/2006 school year, as a member of the audit committee,
working with the Audit Committee Chairmen and Board Member Mary
Jane Bernholz, we strove to strengthen both the internal and
external audit function of the Onteora District. The new state
audit requirements have assisted us to do just that. We established
an audit committee which is an advisory committee to the Board
of Education, responsible for providing recommendations regarding
the appointment the external auditor, meet with the external
auditor prior to the beginning of the audit, review and discuss
with the external auditor any risk management developed as part
to the external audit, review the draft audit report and management
letter and assist the board in interpreting these documents;
and to review every corrective action plan developed by the
The hiring of the new internal auditor and the strengthened
role of the claims auditor will assist the Board of Education
assure that proper internal controls are in place and working.
With the creation of a quarterly newsletter in 2004/2005 school
year my role as a Board Member on the communication Committee
in the 2005/2006 school year was to continue the communication
process with a resolution to create a district wide calendar
to be distributed to all district stakeholders so that all may
have access to school activities and functions. The calendar
will have a district history theme. I found it very interesting
that back in 1953 the school district was made up of many one
room school houses,” community schools,” they were
called, some with only three children attending them. The decision
was made to establish a centralized campus in Boiceville and
our present day school was built. Talk about history repeating
itself. The community and Board of Education were faced with
some of the same decisions and problems we are facing today.
This year I tried to develop a School Board Column called “School
Board Fact Finder” in the local newspapers to communicate
facts on issues facing the board, but was not successful, with
the majority of the board and local media not sharing my viewpoint.
So I will continue to find a way to increase our communication
that we may all agree upon. I strongly believe our board needs
to improve our communications.
I also learned a lot about the budgetary process this year by
requesting and analyzing monthly budget status reports and comparing
the budget against actual expenses for the past three years.
This has helped me to analyze the fund balance. I believe that
these approaches lead us to keep the budget at a contingent
level increase, and it passed! We directed our business official,
Victoria, to establish a reserve account, which Onteora never
had, for the much-needed repairs that you supported and passed
through proposition #4.
Not supported were two transportation issues, Proposition #2,
the purchase of two new busses and Proposition #3, approving
an additional two-year contract to Hoyt Transportation. The
voters told us they did not want to buy new busses, so we will
keep what we have and make needed repairs as we go. Proposition
#3, did not let us extend the contract to Hoyt Transportation
for the additional two years, but on the positive side the bid
process allowed us to bring our very old outdated contracts
up to date. After our first year we will have the option to
extend the contract to Hoyt or go through the bid process again.
Regarding the Districts Transportation Department, this past
year the Board passed a resolution directing the implementation
of a reorganization plan of the Department to include proper
maintenance of all medical certification records, requirements
for appointing drivers, driver training education, creation
of records documenting all driver training and log books on
the use of the buses. The district also directed the transportation
department to conduct a New York State Education Department
Pupil Transportation Safety Review and identify the areas that
need improvement. You can see that we are addressing our outdated
contracts and our own internal controls and accountability.
We are now working with the Ulster County Department of Civil
Service to raise the criteria for the position of Transportation
Supervisor in all school in Ulster County. Something I am very
At present, our most urgent responsibility is hiring a new Superintendent.
We are utilizing the professional expertise of consultant, Richard
Lehr. Most likely by the time you receive this yearly review,
we will have interviewed a number of applicants.
The new year will start in July with a reorganization meeting
welcoming and congratulating our new Board Member Maxanne Resnick
and the re-election of Herb Rosenfeld, which will give the board
well rounded representation from all townships that some believed
In summary I have enjoyed my first year of “boardmanship”
and will continue to work diligently to make the best decisions
I can for the entire district. I hope you all have a nice summer.
Onteora School Trustee
To team sponsors: Woodstock Fire Co. #1, KOSCO, Stewarts Shops,
Miller/Howard Investments, Onteora Teachers Association, Sunflower
Natural Foods, Big Indian Fire Dept., The Woodstock Chimes Fund,
Hurley Ridge Market, Pine Hill Fire Co. #1 and Robert Backus;
and Raffle Sponsors: Mid-Hudson Athletic Club, Michael Haggerty,
Black Bear Restaurant, Woodstock Candy & Fudge, Get The
Scoop, Catskill Mountain Forest & Sports, Boiceville Inn,
Jaritas Florist, FS Tube & Raft Rental and Dicks Sports
Subway - On behalf of the entire Onteora Babe Ruth Baseball
League, I wish to thank you sincerely for the support you have
shown us in this, our eighteenth year. We are truly grateful
for every donation, however great or small, in the spirit of
supporting youth baseball in Onteora. It is because of your
kind generosity that we can honestly say we had a very successful
We bought and paid for our NEW Snack Shack through contributions
made by our can shake and by our raffle, toward which many of
you donated memberships, Major League Baseball Tickets, and
gift certificates as raffle prizes. We purchased fine new uniforms
through the continued support of our dedicated sponsors. For
this we want to give thanks and praise to all of you. It is
because of people and businesses like you and yours that we
at Onteora Babe Ruth Baseball can carry on year after year.
You mean the world to us, and we continue to encourage all our
players and parents alike to support you and your business by
shopping, supporting, and referring you throughout the Onteora
school district and beyond. Thanks again for all your help!
Francesca Ortolano, Commissioner
Onteora Babe Ruth Baseball League
This Monday, I stopped at a vegetable stand on the way home
from Catskill, where I went to visit a friend. When I left the
stand, I had lost my bearings and asked an elderly woman if
she could point me towards 32 South. She told me which direction
she thought it was, and then asked me if I knew what was happening
to my country. I took my chances and let her know of my left
leanings. She then revealed that she was from the Netherlands
and that being here at this time, was exactly as it was in Europe
in the late 30's. She didn't look that old to me, mostly because
her passion was that of a much younger person. She told me that
Americans were in a deep denial, and that Europeans would never
stand for such things as the blatant corporate and government
takeover that we have allowed to take place. She didn't know
what it would take to wake us up to the fact that we no longer
live in a democracy. All the while, I had thought that it was
the Europeans that had slept before World War II. Perhaps I
need to revisit the history of that time. When I left her, I
had to make 2 u-turns before finding my way onto 32 South. Soon
after, I heard the thunderstorms rolling in. With Al Gore warning
of catastrophic changes directly in front of us, with North
Korea threatening us with missiles, and Iran holding firm against
us, and with the increasing numbers of enemies that we've acquired
since our occupation in Iraq, I wondered where the next lightening
bolt will strike. I guess the rantings of people such as Gore,
Harry Reid, Murtha just aren't enough. They need We, the People
to back them up. Meanwhile, I hurried home to unplug my computer
and remembered what the Native American elders told me about
warnings from Mother Nature. OK. I'm getting the messages. The
answers? I'm still looking.
I could cry because we humans have made a mess out of this world.
Because we have been able to send people to the moon and beyond,
but we cannot cure diseases like cancer and AIDS.
Because medicine produced here in the USA is much more expensive
than in Mexico or Canada.
Because American soldiers are dying daily in Iraq and Afghanistan
and the ordinary citizen can do nothing about it.
Because 50 million of the American voters reelected a president
who enjoy playing wargames. His first excuse was to find the
terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center. The current excuse
is to bring democracy to the countries we have invaded.
Because the country needs and wants cheap important labor, but
the government wants to deport them to where they came from
to escape dire poverty.
Because our financial deficit is at an all time high. If you
and I miss one payment we lose our credit forever. I feel sorry
for our children and grandchildren who will bear this burden.
Because our media cannot tell us the truth about what really
goes on in the world. We only hear about earthquakes, floods,
tribal wars in far away Africa. As little as possible about
the unemployment here in the states or the ugly wars we are
forced by the government to fight.
Because retired people on fixed incomes are having a hard time
making ends meet.
Gasoline, heating oil, health insurance and doctor bills keep
rising and rising. We are in an inflation, as the government
keeps raising the cost of money. Are we heading to another crash
Because young students have to borrow big amounts of money to
be educated and it will be a terrible hardship to pay it all
back when they want to start their own families.
Because of the tremendous amounts of goods that we are importing
from other countries, especially from China and Japan. What
does the government do to protect our workers?
Because when I try to speak to bank employees on the phone they
are in India and other countries far away. Big Business is greedy
But all is not lost. We still are the greatest country in the
world. We have an election coming up in a few months - it is
time to make some changes. After eight years of mismanagement.
Let some fresh air and ideas come to Washington and Albany.
Our future depends on the higher education of our youth, the
retraining of those recently displaced by outsourcing, and the
ongoing training of our work force in general. The U.S. is losing
its global competitive edge whenever there are federal cuts.
On Saturday, July 1st students and parents across the nation
werehit by a spike in interest rates on college loans.
Congress has simply stood by and allowed student loan interest
rates to rise dramatically, while making parent loans even more
expensive, and ignoring the Miller-Durbin bill that would slash
interest rates in half on new loans.
By ignoring the growing need for affordable higher education,
students and parents everywhere are going further and further
into debt, creating a burden that is very often unsustainable.
Sadly, it is not a one-time occurrence -- the Republican leadership
continually refuses help make college affordable. The maximum
Pell Grant has been frozen for four years and the conservative
controlled Congress has failed to extend the college tuition
tax deduction, instead opting for tax breaks for the wealthy
We need to reverse these skewed priorities of Congress. The
failure of the current administration to make college affordable
for all qualified students not only impacts the hundreds of
thousands of individuals priced out of a college education annually,
but it also weakens our economic competitiveness.
Average tuition and fees at four-year public colleges have risen
40% since 2001 (when adjusted for inflation).
A majority of Americans are finding paying for college more
difficult than they did ten years ago.
The typical student borrower takes on $17,500 in loan debt.
It is vitally important that all concerned citizens take the
necessary steps to defeat the conservative Republican Congress
and restore some sanity to our federal government, which is
placing our democratic system of life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness at risk.
Thomas R. Siblo-Landsman
Al Gore's book, An Inconvenient Truth, can be bought at any
bookstore or found through our local libraries. The movie by
the same name is also being shown locally.
As most of us know, the book and movie concern the warming of
the planet caused by over-use of coal and oil. We have, according
to Gore (and most scientists who study global warming) a very
short time to change our ways.
The needed changes are enormous, and most of them must be made
by governmental agencies. Everyone who reads the book or sees
the movie should concentrate on advising our representatives
-- local, state, and federal -- to make the needed changes.
Whatever your political stance, if you believe global warming
threatens the future of our planet and the eventual lives of
your children and grandchildren, your voice is needed.
However, there are smaller, local events. If, for instance,
it is found that any area near you might be a good place for
electricity-producing windmills, welcome them. Don't run to
the planning board and complain that they might spoil your vision
of a perfect landscape. Make peace with the windmills.
Turn off your lights when you leave a room. Don't go in for
needless automobile trips. If you need to shop in Kingston,
see if there's someone you can take along. Use the bus. Plan
buying your next car very very carefully. .
And string a couple of clotheslines in your back yard and hang
out your wash. Mondays used to be washdays and neighbors met
while pinning up their sheets and towels. Who knows what neighborliness
was lost when the dryer appeared. Now the hung-out wash is frowned
on. In fact, in many places, illegal. I don't think it has yet
reached that point in our area, and I hang out my wash from
April to November. I'm sure I have neighbors who would prefer
I didn't, but hey, I'm an old lady and they don't yell at me.
I love the smell that comes from the great outdoors. But Al
Gore's inconvenient truth gives a better reason.
The point I want to make is this: that we need to lean on our
legislatures but there are many small things we can do, and
if we really believe in global warming, we should make these
changes. Not next year, but today.
Pine Hill, NY
Chapter 383 of the Laws of 2001 represents the single largest
expansion of gambling in the history of New York State.
Introduced at the request of Governor Pataki, in the wake of
September 11, 2001, it hurriedly passed the Senate the day it
was introduced, and the Assembly the following day and was signed
into law by the Governor on October 29, 2001. Minimal debate,
no hearings, in a state with a Constitution prohibiting gambling
with certain specific exceptions - not relevant to the bill.
Since any revenues that would result from this precedent-breaking
bill would not be realized for years to come, it would seem
not so much that 9/11 made the law necessary as that 9/11 made
the law possible - made it possible for many politicians to
do what they wanted to do previously.
The law authorizes the Governor to enter into casino gambling
compacts with the Seneca Nation of Indians to build three casinos
in the western part of the state (two, in Niagara and Salamanca,
have been built) and allows for future compacts for three casinos
in the Catskills. Currently, the Monticello Raceway casino proposal
is in the application process.
Other provisions authorize the Lottery Division to license racetracks
to install video lottery terminals (VLTs) at certain racetracks
in the State.
Many gambling interests contribute to New York politicians.
We have already looked at the contributions of Thomas Wilmot
and family, would-be casino developers in Saugerties and western
New York. Let’s take them as proxies for the gambling
lobby. How did the Wilmots’ contributions correlate with
how politicians voted?
The Senate version of the bill passed by a vote of 52-8. In
the 2000 election cycle, among the 52 politicians voting Yea,
two received contributions totaling $1,250.
In 2002, five of these politicians received a total of $7,050;
in 2004, eight of them received $15,700 - a grand total of $24,000.
Of the senators voting Nay, three received money from 2000-2004,
totaling for the entire period $2,700 ($2,000 to Sen. David
In the Assembly, 92 voted for the bill, 41 against. In 2000,
five supporters received a total of $3,925. In 2002, six received
$7,195; in 2004, ten received $11,900 - a total of $23,020.
Of the 41 Nay-sayers, four received $6,050, all in 2004 ($4,850
to Assemblyman Richard Brodsky.).
So supporters of casino expansion received $47,020 and opponents
$8,750 from one important aspiring casino developer in three
election cycles beginning on the eve of the casino expansion
act. (Lobbying efforts and expenditures are not considered here.)
Did the money encourage the vote? In 2000 the Wilmot money was
minimal. Does the money reward the vote or influence future
votes? Can we expect our legislators to consider the public
interest without donations affecting their judgment?
Let the voter be aware and beware.
The word “immigration” has taken on the aspect of
a major threat especially when the term “illegal”
is tacked on to it. The mainstream media has presented vivid
images of a relentless surge of humanity from Mexico constantly
headed for the border. This is portrayed as detrimental to the
interests of the United States. Rather than shedding light on
the forces behind the greater numbers of people willing to risk
their lives and savings to get into the U.S., “illegals”
are denounced as criminals and all kinds of penalties are urged
as punishment. A careful analysis of the situation would reveal
that their desperation is fueled by a need to obtain jobs for
their very lives. Like American workers, Mexicans have been
adversely affected by NAFTA and their jobs have been out- sourced
Few Americans know the history of Mexican-American relations
and therefore are easily misled by rhetoric and empty slogans.
In a bloody war from 1846-1848, Mexican territories which became
the states of California, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona were
annexed. Later the independent republic of Texas was also annexed
to the U.S. The impetus for the U.S. actions was a belief that
the U.S. was ordained by a” higher power”
to occupy all the land from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This
policy was called “Manifest Destiny”. Many Mexican
ranchers were driven off their land by U.S. settlers.
Now, their descendents are accused of being illegal when they
come here for honest work. English is touted as being sacred,
when in fact it happened to be the language of those we fought
for our independence in 1776. It could have been French, German
We should allow those who couldn’t wait their turn because
of the absurdly low quotas allowed for Mexican emigration, to
get their green card and eventually apply for American citizenship.
Let’s unite and fight for improving the wages, working
conditions and universal healthcare for all low-income working
The November elections are 5 months away and I'm already sick
and tired of being asked for political donations. So I hosted
a $5 fundraiser for Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson who are
running for Governor and Lt. Governor of New York. Why just
$5? Because when we pass Clean Money Clean Elections that is
all that candidates would have to raise from voters to qualify
for enough public funding to run and win. When that happens
we can all say goodbye and good riddance to fundraising!
During the $5 fundraiser, nearly 1000 people in 35 house parties
all around the state were thrilled to hear Spitzer and Paterson
pledge their support for Clean Money, Clean Elections via conference
call. This system of full public financing has been very successful
in Maine and Arizona for quite a few years and Connecticut passed
it into law last year.
New York's legislature has done nothing to reform our ridiculous
campaign finance system. So candidates have $1000 a plate dinners
and the like, schmoozing with the wealthiest New Yorkers instead
of talking to voters about our needs and the issues we care
We need candidates who will fight for a system that will give
non-wealthy voters the political clout needed to solve our healthcare
crisis, improve our schools, clean up our environment, save
our jobs, and do the things that will make New York as great
as it can be. Lets all thank Spitzer and Paterson for their
support for Clean Money Clean Elections and vote into office
only candidates who seriously want to get money out of politics
by making Clean Money Clean Elections the law.
Having heard about cost overruns at the new Ulster County jail
for years I finally got to see the structure that the Republicans
forced on the taxpayers of Ulster County. It was more astounding
than anything I could have imagined. You, taxpayer, own it so
don't miss a chance to see it when the county offers tours.
Here's what the jail has:
- a lobby (only used for entering the building, don't forget)
that my house could fit into at least twice, with a terrazzo
inlay floor that says in huge letters, "Ulster County Sheriff";
landscaping of over $300,000 for a building that most people
in Ulster County will never see, even the inmates (see below);
- a separate office and an interview room for every crime you
can imagine and then some (just in case there is an arson, drug,
traffic, firearms, etc. crime at the same time and no one wants
- private offices that are larger than my house;
- five enormous conference rooms (one of them almost the size
of a football field) plus three other rooms that could also
be used for conferences;
- solid fine wood furniture (the present sheriff refused to
take any furniture from the existing facility so they ordered
all new luxury furniture);
- almost no rooms with walls at right angles (think of the cost
just for that);
- an isosceles triangular room that comes to a 20 degree angle
(I kid you not);
- six break rooms for employees (so god-forbid they should have
to walk more than just a few feet before they get to sit again);
- an employee cafeteria;
- a kitchen that could serve meals to an entire army;
- a medical wing the size of a hospital;
and much much more.
Here's what the jail does NOT have:
An outdoor yard for inmates. So, if someone is incarcerated
for a year (maximum) or even for a week, they can NEVER step
outdoors. (Over half the people in jail are there because they
could not make bail and have not had a trial or been found guilty!)
How's that for good Republican planning?
Those "fiscally responsible" Republicans ignored recommendations
that the old jail could be expanded (which would have cost a
fraction of what it cost to build even a modest a new jail);
they hired the architect (who, with them, in my opinion and
that of many others, should be the first occupants of the jail);
they signed off on it - rotunda, rounded walls, palatial offices,
luxury furniture and all; they put their cronies in, with no
experience, to oversee a $100 million project; they ran into
problems from the start which they hid from legislators and
from the public and... they take no responsibility for it! Now,
they even have the gall to call themselves "reformers"!
Before they rev up their lies and name calling how about an
apology to the taxpayers? You Republicans were in charge (for
25 years!), you made an unforgivable mess with our money; you
have virtually bankrupted our county, we taxpayers are paying
for your mistakes, the least you can do - $100 million and counting
and counting - is to admit it and say you are sorry! Have you
Saugerties , NY
Now that Mother's Day has passed, I propose a day be established
to celebrate all non-mothers. I don't someone like Virginia
Woolf or Simone de Beauvoir but I was thinking of Miss Tennant,
Principal of John Howland Elementary School in Providence, Rhode
Island. She was a tall, handsome, Victorian-looking woman to
me at age twelve. My father died when I was in the sixth grade
and she did such extraordinary and unorthodox things to help
me get through it. For example, she would take me out of class,
give me the keys to her house and money to go to the store to
buy a bottle of gingerale and then put it inside her house.
Her house was about seven blocks away and it meant crossing
several streets, one fairly busy with a trolley line. I'm sure
it violated school laws and the errand made no sense in itself
but she was trying to restore my self-confidence and to tell
me that she trusted me. Amazing stuff.
About eight years later, on a weekend pass from Fort Dix, I
stepped off a bus on Cape Cod and there stood Miss Tennant waiting
to board. We recognized each other. I looked very fit in my
uniform and she had to have experienced pleasure and satisfaction
in seeing me.
Mildred Collins was head of my high school math department and
we had such a great relationship I used to wander into her office
after school to talk. She knew I painted and wrote and one day
she told me what a great experience it was to work with her
hands in clay in a class she was taking. In 1950, at age 17,
on some level, I knew she was a lesbian.
These are two of the women, non-mothers, that helped create
In later years I knew women who were unable to have children,
and women who chose not to have children. When I recall these
women along with some who did become mothers I am in a state
of pain and sad because I realized that many, if not all, had
been sexually abused while children by fathers, step fathers,
an uncle, an apartment building janitor, an older brother, the
live-in boyfriend. In the years I came to know these women they
experienced substance abuse, eating disorders, suicide attempts,
promiscuity, sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety attacks,
conflicted sexual identity, a pattern of interpreting reality
negatively, caused by low self-esteem. One woman I was briefly
close to, who had been abused by an uncle, did take her own
life when she was in her late forties.
A fellow once said in defense of his sexual molestation of a
wonderful girl whose house he shared, "It's no big deal."
He is wrong, of course. It is a very big deal. It follows people
to the grave and can put them in it before their time.
I don't know what percentage of women or men have been sexually
abused as children in our society. It must be quite high; unless
it is that we just recognize each other and gravitate towards
We could replace Mother's Day with "A Day For All Women."
Mount Tremper, NY