from September 28, 2006)
Regarding The Charter
I do not belong to any political party: however, I regularly
attend legislative meetings as an involved citizen.
I believe that Ulster County’s fiscal woes have more to
do with the legislative system than the legislators. Ulster
County Government has become a very complex, multi-million dollar
operation. Under the existing system we have part time legislators
overseeing agencies with little, or no information, as to how
cost-effective they are. The legislators, by necessity, have
to rely on what they’re being told by department heads,
whose primary concern is creating the best department they can,
regardless of cost.
"Regardless of cost" has become a nightmare for Ulster
....and, speaking of costs, very soon the legislature must decide
what to do with the County infirmary. It must either be sold
or rebuilt. It may be that the county has a moral obligation
to maintain the infirmary; however, can we afford another run-away
The Persen House... Ulster County received a $ 350,000 grant
to renovate this historic building and put it to some civic
use. They stopped sinking money into it at the 2 million dollar
mark and it is believed that it will take an additional 650,000
to 1 million dollars to complete the project. The building remains
vacant, and looks like it will stay that way into the foreseeable
The Department of Probation Building went from an estimated
$ 890,000 in renovations to over 2.8 million by the time it
was completed. Or should I say almost completed. .
Ulster County Courthouse... In 1996 the courthouse went through
an extensive renovation to the tune of 5.7 million dollars.
In 2003 someone noticed that the roof was caving in. Cost an
additional $ 820,000.00
Need I mention The Jail?
Need I say more?
In November we will be voting on whether or not to adopt a new
form of County government.
I believe that we need to give real power to county wide elected
officials (Executive and Comptroller) and make them, and the
department heads they appoint, accountable. I will be voting
YES for The Charter and I hope this letter convinces you to
do the same.
I am writing as the Chairman of the Legislature with regard
to Legislator Susan Zimet's attendance, or reported lack thereof,
at the recent Public Hearing and Special Session held on August
23 to discuss the Charter.
Legislator Zimet had scheduled a family vacation out of the
area. She had advised me of this far in advance. At the time
that she and I discussed her vacation, the Public Hearing and
Special Session were not scheduled.
On August 9, our regular session was held and it was at this
time that a determination was made that a Public Hearing and
Special Session needed to be scheduled during the upcoming weeks.
With summer arriving, a number of Legislators had family vacations
already planned, children needing to be transported to college,
etc. There were several Legislators absent the night of the
Public Hearing and Special Session.
In the more than two years she has served, Legislator Zimet
has never missed a regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the
Legislature. Her first outing after a bad car accident last
year was to attend the monthly meeting, in pain, even though
I advised her to stay home. This year she has become Chairman
of the Arts, Education, Tourism and Community Relations Committee
and has re-arranged her personal life to accommodate meetings.
She also took on the task of overseeing a Budget Reform Committee
which required meeting time in addition to other Committee work
and Boards she is assigned to. All of this and yet, she is being
taken to task for missing a meeting due to a family vacation?
She has been conscientious of not scheduling any appointments
that would conflict with her routine meetings. Unfortunately,
politics can get quite dirty and if it were not for the fact
she is running for another political office, the truth is her
absence wouldn't have been pointed out just as it has not been
pointed out for any of the others.
David B. Donaldson, Chairman
Ulster County Legislature
I would like to commend the committee that put so much time
and effort into creating the Onteora 2006-2007 calendar that
we received recently. They did a terrific job putting together
the pictures and short writeups that made the history of our
school district come to life.
I'm also glad that they mentioned the part Helen Cordo played
over the years with the Poppy Court at Phoenicia Elementary
School in one of their writeups.
As an Olive resident, retired teacher aide, and parent of former
Onteora students I really enjoyed and appreciated it. Thank
Many thanks to The Olive Press for keeping its readers informed
on the Belleayre Resort saga. The appointment of pro-developer
Alan Steinberg as the Environmental Protection Agency's Regional
Administrator for the Catskills seems a classic example of setting
the fox to guard the henhouse.
New York State should reclaim through eminent domain the land
for the proposed Belleayre Resort as a public safety measure
to preserve the purity of the Catskill watersheds and reservoirs.
Big Indian, NY
The recent craclkdown on prostitution in the Cilty of Kingston
led to some unfortunate consequences for people, and, at the
same time, highlighted a number of issues - sex in the city,
drugs, community leaders, news coverage, media responsibility,
police priorities... .
All of the outcomes were relatively predictable. But the big
surprise for me was the price point... $500 for the service,
with no other frills - "straight sex" said the newspaper.
Let's assume that the 8 people caught were only 25% of the available
market that evening. 32 transactions at $500 equals $16,000.
Assuming a 350 day year (no work on any religious holidays),
that's $5,600,000 per year. Now let's tax this at the current
sales tax of 8.0% and let's add a special tax. Call it an entertainment
tax, of 10%. That's $1,008,000. With all of the new taxes being
proposed and the various ways that the government is finding
to take our money, why not this? Legalize and tax. We all know
that prostitution has a long history, and has a large audience
covering all age groups - (by the way, a "hats off' to
the 76 year old fellow who was caught in the sting).
We would accomplish a few things if this were legalized: 1.
Additional tax revenue for a local government that seems to
have an insatiable need to raise taxes 2. End to the link between
prostitution and drug use (the ladies would become employees
of a company - Let's call it "Pleasure Inc." and Pleasure
Inc. would require monthly drug tests. The company motto could
be "While we say "yes" to many things, we say
"no" to drugs".) 3. The police could move on
to more serious crimes, like unsolved murders. With prostitution
legalized and the drug market diminished, we might not need
as many police, thereby saving tax dollars.
The problem would be the current law. I suppose that New York
State would have to pass a law allowing prostitution. That shouldn't
be a problem. We still have the leading members of the Axis
of Taxes. Fresh from their work on the Large Parcel Law, our
Assemblyman (Mr. Cahill) and our State Senator (Mr. Bonacic)
could handle this. They get the law passed in Albany, allowing
local towns and cities to legalize prostitution. When some of
their constituents object, they tell them, as they did with
the Large Parcel Bill - “we didn’t do it. It wasn’t
us, Kingston or Woodstock or ... legalized it.” Cahill
and Bonacic are both very good at this “shell game.”
Additional tax money (probably paid with a smile), reduction
of drug use, and better focus for law enforcement... there are
few programs today that could accomplish all of this.
The Town of Shandaken has a museum!!! It has been open 20 years,
how many of you know it exists? The Town Board has chosen to
It is popular with people doing geneology, people who used to
live here, old timers, and people from other areas, even other
countries. But within our own town it's passed over.
I have been involved with the museum since its conception and
have finally come to the conclusion that there is no future
for a museum in the town of Shandaken.
The museum receives no money from the town; has no budget. The
roof leaked and they did put a new roof on but the damage caused
is still evident. There are ceilings ready to fall, walls crumbling,
paint badly needed inside and out. It still needs gutters to
stop the erosion of the soil and building under the eaves. The
windows are literally rotting out and some are broken.
The library is asking for a budget of $83,000 from 54,500? They
receive monies from other sources also. The museum budget is
$0. There is something wrong with this picture. It seems to
me the Town must either recognize and take care of the museum
or close it.
It appears to me they have already chosen the latter - a slow
death for the one cultural edifice the town has to offer. It
is a shame the people of the Town of Shandaken have chosen to
disavow their heritage.
Nancy T. Smith
Pine Hill, NY
What would have happened had this administration representing
Corporate United States done as we all, as true Americans, expected
them to do upon the completing their invasion of Iraq?
What am I speaking about, you ask? Just this: had the government
of the United States, in the trinity of the Americas, put all
the Iraqi people to work and trained them for self management,
none of this chaos in the Middle East would be happening, including
what happened in Lebanon and Syria.
To the contrary: the true vision of the American people would
be alive in the minds and eyes of the world. This administration
has set precedence with the trial of Saddam Hussein. George
Walker Bush should likewise be put on trial for treason and
crimes against humanity.
Should the laws permit, William Jefferson Clinton should also
be put on trial for crimes against humanity by not putting a
bridle upon the corporate conglomerates that via NAFTA have
displaced all of these crossing the border, "illegal"
Americans from Mexico and Central America.
The Shandaken Eagle Day Committee wishes to offer many thanks
to all the volunteers who donated their time and enthusiastic
talents to the very successful Shandaken Eagle Day Celebration.
Thanks are due also to the community and many visitors who supported
and enjoyed our efforts. See you next year, August 25th, 2007
to celebrate Shandaken Day in beautiful Pine Hill.
Thanks to all volunteers: Craig Appolito, Brett and Wendy Barry,
Sophie Bodge, Evelyn Bennett, Tom Crucet, Father Chris Berean,
Jeff Collins, Jim Collins, John Crawford, Helen Cordo, Autumn
Carter, Iris Carter, Rev. Ralph Darmstadt, Larry Feehan, Dennis
Frano, Glenn Ford, Hope Gilsinger, Katherine, Maureen, Scott,
and Mary Gormley; Jacqueline Guglielmetti, Tom, Sean and Ryan
Hickey; Patricia Heinz, Blake Killin, Robert Kalb, Stephen LaMarca,
Glenn Miller, Karen Miller, Bill Lohre, Joanne Myers, Frank
Nazzaro, Paul Pettinato, Matt Persons, Christian Neal, Tiffany
Neal, Dave, Rolland, Beecher, Wade, Rebecca and Tanya Smith,
Jennifer and John Simone, R.J. and Storm Stanley, Adam Steen,
Henry Rope, Leighann Sharon, Carol Seitz, Marian, Kevin and
Patty Umhey; Mark and Andrew Wilsey, Bruce Winchell. Music:
Peggy Mulligan, Harry Jameson, Earl and Maryann Pardini, Peter
Halvorsen, Dennis Havel, Bruce Hildebrand, James Krueger, Keith
Holmquist, Michael Kelly. Eagle Makeover: Dakin Morehouse, Leon
Taufield, Denis McLane, Eric Morehouse, Jim Fletcher, Jane Floege.
Thank you to: WWI Re-enacting group and Guy Gormley, Mike Ricciardella,
Phoenicia Hotel, Boiceville Market, Shandaken Highway Dept.,
Shandaken Fire Companies, Shandaken Ambulance Service, Shandaken
Police Dept., St. Francis de Sales R. C. Parish, Ulster County
Sheriff Dept., Fish and Game Club, Phoenicia Rotary Club, the
Beast of Belleayre, Ulster County Rural Transportation, Ambest
Emblems, and the Shandaken Town Board
June LaMarca, Chairman
Committee: Joe Munster, Gene Gormley, June LaMarca,
Maureen Nagy, Bob Stanley,
Bruce Barry, Dakin Morehouse, Declan Feehan, Laurilyn Frasier,
Harry Jameson, Bob Cross
We read of "war" casualties and see the photo "parade"
of our finest young military members "killed in action"
daily. But do we stop to reflect on the "other" casualties.
The dictionary defines [military] casualties as "killed",
"wounded", "MIA" or otherwise "not
returned". Ah, but there are many other casualties of misguided
judgement, "know-it-all" management and "fictitious"
facts or reports. Our first casualty re: Iraq was not the twin
towers with it's 2700 attendant deaths, but it was military.
When the "bone heads" in DC decided to attack Iraq
for that which now becomes clear that Iraq had nothing to do
with [WTC], General Erick Shinseki, Army Chief of Staff since
1999 advised Pres. Bush , "Rummy" and the "Hunter"
that he would insist on more than 300,000 troops in an invasion
so as to insure the survival of the invading force with peace
after the dust settled. General Shinseki, a Tank Commander,
Infantry Commander, a top Ops, Planning & Training Officer,
Deputy Ch of Staff for Support, a skilled military Pilot and
Parachutist with Ribbons and appropriate Medals, many with oak
leaf clusters [2 and 3 repeat awards] for service in Nam plus
other "Hot" spots became the first casualty of the
Iraq debacle. He was "pushed" into involuntary retirement
while the three geniuses [above] set the Iraq "punishment"
in motion. In 1991 prior to Kuwait General Powell was not happy
about sending "his" troops off to war unless there
was a number he could live with. I would point out here that
"old" George Bush was a battle seasoned veteran [WWII]
and knew enough to leave the logistics and planning to those
that have been there, done that.
Members of our Nation Guard and military Reserve units have
been on a nearly continuous activation schedule; many with two
to four tours of duty. Many have come back in a body bag. Others
have returned to an empty home with divorce papers tacked to
the front door, "Dear John". That's bad enough but
the children are gone also. All parties to this event are casualties
of, not Iraq but of the White house and Pentagon. Some Guards
and Reservists have come back to no job for whatever reason.
In some case the Soldier/Sailor Act did not apply.
Don't forget the new [or old] residents of the VA hospitals
that were not only wounded from an RPG or IED but by the wife
who married a "whole" man and now has found one in
"mint" condition. Not many of those hopefully. None
the less a long stay or a lifetime in a VA hospital is not a
chateau on the Riviera or a bungalow for four.
Our national Treasury is a casualty in that the "folly"
of Iraq is not unlike the aberration of Viet Nam. Our grand
children will be getting bills and tax increases long after
they retire thus sending many to the welfare lines. The Halliburtons,
Cheneys, Bushes & Rummys will be feasting on Fois Gras [unless
PETA saves the geese]. To be sure our presidents of late have
taken the constitution quite seriously in that they really believe
to be Commander in Chief one must first start a war and then
micro manage the real warriors. We have [mis]managed our voting
There are casualties at home in the person of lonely wives and
children, mothers and fathers, siblings and neighbors along
with comrades in arms. They have already "maxed" out
attending funerals. We are all indeed casualties in that our
brains soften and our hearts harden as the perpetrators "stone
wall" and "slog" on.
Our economy is a casualty in that while it has been celebrated
as robust and growing [for some] it could be better. We still
have the poor, the homeless and uneducated that could be employed
in a WPA that would provide pay checks, health benefits and
even retirement [not welfare]. These folks would also contribute
to the Social Security "pool".Self respect and dignity
would be restored or generated.
There is another group that is on the casualty list; candidates
who supported the Iraq "adventure". They are members
of both major political parties but some with "silver lined"
tongues are slipping through already. They are those that voted
"yea" for Iraq and are not completely repentant. They
are speaking with "forked" tongue in "trashing"
Bush but still vote for his continuing the campaign whether
with funding or not opposing some negative bill.
A few of our reps in the congress have changed their minds and
there is nothing wrong with that. A couple of veterans with
much experience on the battle field have demonstrated courage
in the face of criticism for rectifying a "mistake".
How dare the Rush Limbaughs and other draft dodgers take their
The largest group of Iraq casualties is and will be those folks
who finally realize we/they were lied to and the lie was perpetuated
in the face of evidence to the contrary. Even the historians
will not have much "wiggle" room in their documentaries.
There is one act that will remedy this tragedy. Vote this year
for those who declare their election will insure a vote to cut
the funding for Iraq. Never mind the party; vote for the candidate.
Research your Rep. or Senator and read how they voted and what
they are promising now. Some candidates are scared already and
choosing their campaign language carefully. Make sure they can't
say later, "that's not what I said. I was misquoted or
quoted out of context".
Those that are not re-elected will retire at full pay and benefits
no matter the length of service. Talk about "lawful fraud"!!
Footnote** The St. John's Food Pantry knife story has happily
concluded with the proper check being forwarded to SJFP.
Glenn T. Anderson
If the Oil War mongers of Iraq were handed Bin Ladin on a silver
platter, they would reject him by saying he smelled too bad.
Otherwise they would have to get out of Iraq and stop the murder
of women and children which they call expendable.
My brain reminded me the other day of the humiliation, nay the
downright prejudice, that I and others of my ilk have suffered
over the centuries at the hands of the majority. Michaelangelo,
Picasso, Einstein and I have been labeled gauche. Julius Caesar,
Napoleon, Queen Victoria and I, with our left-handedness, have
suffered the majority’s snickers and brickbats. Bob Dylan,
Jimi, Ringo, Tiny Tim and I plink our ukuleles with our left
To all you righties I say: E equals M C squared, Gaul is divided
into three parts, and We are not amused, baby. Get my drift?
Lefty (aka J. Michael O’Neil)
I have been a resident of this area for almost thirty years
and a visitor and Belleayre Mountain skier for even longer.
I recently attended a local input session on the subject of
the renewing of New York City’s filtration avoidance permit.
Of all the people who spoke, I thought Sen. John Bonacic represented
our interests best. He was forceful, clear and articulate without
being strident or pugnacious. It was evident that he was committed
to seeing that our best interest was not completely subsumed
by the interests of New York City.
Soon we will be skiing on Belleayre Mountain again and enjoying
a new, hi-speed quad lift. More important, so will many first
time visitors. This new lift will allow Belleayre Ski Center
to attract a whole new group of skiers and families and further
fulfill its critical function as the engine that drives our
local economy. This “shot I the arm” will be greatly
enhanced by the new main lodge that is scheduled for construction
We have many people to thank for the funding for these vital
upgrades but central to the effort was Senator Bonacic.
I am neither a registered Democrat nor Republican but I am thankful
that we have Sen. Bonacic representing us in Albany.
Thomas H. White
Big Indian, NY