After reading the article about the Coykendall Lodge, it made
me kind of sad. So I started thinking on how our history seems
to be lost in the name of progress. It's funny with all this
attention being on this huge development we have forgotten
how we got to where we are. It srikes me kind of odd on how
much of this resort is about run off and keeping the water
clean for the city. Also about how our small towns are dying.
How easy it is for us to forget other small towns that died
along time ago, all in the name of clean water and progress.
I'm talking about towns like Arena and Shavertown and all
the other small towns that were lost to the city. My Aunt
and Uncle lost their store when the city decided to put the
Pepacton Reservoir in their town. How many people had their
homes and livelihoods disrupted in the name of eminent domain.
Haven't our past generations given up enough for the city?
That's why I find it so amazing that the DEC and the DEP say
that run off from this resort will not cause that much harm
to the reservoirs or the Esopus, get real! The Ashokan Reservoir
is already in serious trouble and yet they are willing to
try and save that and sacrifice the Pepacton. People sacrificed
their homes and property for that reservoir, so how dare they
dismiss this run off issue so lightly.
Look how much flooding we have had the past few years, flooding
we still have not completely recovered from. My husband and
I have seen all kinds of garbage floating in the reservoir.
I think maybe these agencies should be more concerned about
the garbage in the reservoirs instead of helping some huge
developer add more to it. Our reservoirs and streams are one
of our greatest assets, do you think fishermen will come here
to fish if our reservoirs are so polluted you can't eat the
Another thing is the small town dying issue. I think progress
is what killed our small towns along with letting our farmers
go under. I can remember going to Kingston with my dad as
a child and going through all the small towns like Phoenica
along the way. We use to stop at a small diner at the end
of town for lunch. Of course that was before Rt.28 was put
in and then all the little towns weren't so busy anymore.
Now we have 28 going from Kingston to Oneonta and straight
to the Mall and Wal Mart, thats why our small towns are dying.
By the way the people on their way to this resort will also
be going past the malls and Wal Mart. Its us the local people
that will save our small towns with responsible development
and progress. Progress can give us a lot, but it can also
take a lot away. I'm sure you have all gone on shopping trips
to Kingston and spent the day. You had a good day and enjoyed
yourself right? But did you find yourself breathing a sigh
of relief when you were headed up 28 out of all that traffic?
Its nice to shop and spend a day, but its nice to come home
to. So when you go to places like Kingston remember what progress
looks and feels like, and ask yoursef if this is what you
want for your small towns. Is this what you want to come home
to? Hopefully not. Bernadette Beyea
Paul Rakov, paid spokesman for Crossroads Ventures, has published
“answers” to the people of Hardenburgh’s
“questions” regarding their Belleayre real estate
venture. These “questions” and “answers”
arose from a meeting convened for the residents of Hardenburgh
by the town’s representative to the Ulster County Environmental
Management Council, with the chairs of two groups involved
in the closed-door negotiations that declined to sign the
“deal” Crossroads cut with the Governor’s
office. All were there to answer resident’s questions
about the negotiations that Hardenburgh was excluded from,
and to view maps of the brand new proposal’s proximity
to the Town.
Mr. Rakov unexpectedly showed up voicing dismay that he'd
not been invited. Since he is not a resident or taxpayer of
the Town of Hardenburgh nor was he directly involved in the
closed-door negotiations, this should not have come as a surprise.
He stayed and took copious notes which he turned into our
“questions” for his employer. This “Q and
A” is now being circulated on websites as if it were
a legitimate transcript of the meeting. It is not not. It's
a product of Mr. Rakov’s PR spin, no more than that.
That's his job.
I do have a question. Why should NY taxpayers pay to prioritize
snowmaking on the 5-star-luxury-resort-spa side of Belleayre
mountain so a private real estate development company can
sell ski-in-ski-out timeshares at 3100 feet? This proposed
private ski hill is furthest from the water source and would
needlessly waste resources to keep it viable, particularly
during our increasingly warm winters. If it were re-located
to the Wildacres section of the property, the Belleayre Ski
Center expansion could begin, more jobs could be created and
snow could be blown where it makes skiing sense not speculative
real estate sense.
Is it smart growth for the Governor’s office to put
New York taxpayers in the risky business of selling timeshares?
John Carney, Chair
Hardenburgh Association of Residents and Taxpayers (HART)
The Top 10 Distorted Claims by the Leaders of Save the Mountain...
1) Claim: The Belleayre Resort will feature 2,800 beds.
Fact: The Belleayre Resort will feature 948 bedrooms (in 629
hotel lodging units). Save the Mountain would have you believe
that the Resort will have
three beds.PER BEDROOM!
2) Claim: The Belleayre Resort will attract 4,000 people on
Fact: That would be more than four people per bedroom (no
wonder all those beds are needed [see Claim 1 above]). If
completely full, the Resort will
attract, at most, 1,800 people to stay overnight, many of
whom are already coming to the Belleayre Ski Center.
3) Claim: Through a digitally altered photo, Save the Mountain
all of the resort's buildings will be billowing smoke via
Fact: Save the Mountain is just blowing smoke. The Resort
will feature gas
burning fireplaces with only three new and two existing (at
the Marlowe Mansion) wood-burning units on the whole property.
4) Claim: The Belleayre Resort will be a "gated community,"
preventing resort guests from leaving and area residents from
entering, thus eliminating any economic benefits to local
businesses and any additional recreational activity options
for local community members.
Fact: No gates. Guests and locals can come and go as they
Resort will dedicate a room to local tourism information and
provide a staff member who will present up-to-date information
about local cultural events, activities and attractions outside
the Resort, and local shopping/dining/entertainment businesses.
All of the Resort's amenities, including the spa, golf course,
swimming pools, fitness center, restaurants, hiking trails,
climbing walls, etc. will be open to the public.
5) Claim: Taxes and property values "always, always"
go up wherever there
Fact: This is a very generalized statement for which Save
the Mountain should be asked to provide every single example
of this "always" occurring phenomenon. The reality
is that there has been no significant development in Ulster
County since 2001. And during that time, the median home sale
price has risen more than 90 percent from $130,000 to $248,000
(Marist College 2007 Annual Economic Report of the Hudson
Valley). The Resort will pay real property tax, which will
include the tax already being paid on the
land and taxes based on the increased value. This will result
in millions of dollars to the Margaretville and Onteora School
districts. In addition, the Resort will generate sales tax
and bed tax revenue for both Ulster and Delaware. These claims
will be substantiated by an accounting update to the original
DEIS, reflecting the Resort's new configuration. The resort
build and maintain its own roads, sewer lines, water lines
and other infrastructure elements. It will employ full-time
security and fund training of employees to become new emergency
medical and firefighting
volunteers for the towns. With a major increase in tax revenue
to the area and no significant increase in services provided,
how will taxes go up?
6) Claim: The hotel industry pays an average wage of only
$8.67 so, the people working at the Resort will not be making
Fact: The "hotel industry" is made up of a range
of levels from low/no service motels to five star luxury resorts.
Does anyone really believe that someone working in a roadside
motel in Iowa makes the same wage as someone working at the
Four Seasons in New York City? The Belleayre Resort will offer
hourly workers an average wage of $12.25 and salaried workers
an annual compensation of $51,000. All full-time positions
will include health insurance, paid vacations, bonuses, etc.
Many positions will also include
gratuity income from guest tips.
7) Claim: There are not enough workers in the area.
Fact: There will be plenty of applicants. A recent report
by the Ulster County Development Corporation stated that more
than 70,000 people in the six-county laborshed of the region
are either unemployed, underemployed (overqualified for the
job they have) or would re-enter the workforce if given the
right opportunity. And while it may be unrealistic to expect
workers to drive from Orange or Sullivan County for work,
the average total commuting distance for more than 65 percent
of Margaretville and Shandaken working residents is greater
than 50 miles. Many of them will find it very attractive to
work much closer to home.
8) Claim: Traffic will increase to the point that Route 28
will become a four lane superhighway.
Fact: The State Department of Transportation has no plans,
immediate or future, to expand Route 28. According to the
department, Route 28 is an underutilized road, though all
involved acknowledge busy spikes when skiers leave the Belleayre
Ski Center on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. If all guest
accommodations were occupied and all the guests left within
a two hour period (a completely unrealistic situation), it
would add one car every 12 seconds to Route 28, not nearly
enough to create traffic delays.
9) Claim: The 19 single hotel lodging units situated above
the former Highmount Ski Center will be seen for miles around
in all directions.
Fact: For perspective, the current cell phone tower atop of
Highmount is 199 feet tall. Each of these units will be built
no higher than 35 feet (less than a quarter of the cell tower's
height). They will be surrounded by trees (with average heights
of about 40-50 feet), especially on the southern side since
all views will be of the Highmount ski trails on the northern
side of the units. Balloon tests will be conducted to prove
that visibility of these units will be nearly impossible by
residents in Hardenburgh, Fleischmanns, Pine Hill or by travelers
on Route 28.
10) Claim: Once the developers get the green light on the
project, they can
build whatever they want, including more lodging units due
to "hospitality market conditions" as stated in
the Agreement in Principle.
Fact: The Agreement in Principle strictly limits the number
of units the developer can build. The construction time frame
is estimated as eight years from the time the first shovel
goes into the ground until the last unit is built, with the
major construction completed in the first two years. The construction
time-table will be dictated by the demand for the time-share
and fractional share units. If there is greater demand than
anticipated, the construction timeline will be accelerated.
If there is less, it will be slowed. In either case, that
would be a change in "hospitality market conditions."
However, under no circumstances can the developers build more
units or structures than laid out in the AIP, regardless of
* Bonus Claim #1: No one will be able to get a pizza delivered
because the restaurants will be so busy with construction
Fact: First, no one can get a pizza delivered now since no
restaurant can afford to offer that service. Second, busy
restaurants are a problem? Ask a restaurant owner if too much
business is their biggest concern. Eleven restaurants have
closed in the past two years along the Route 28 corridor,
whether they had delivery service or not!
* Bonus Claim #2: Construction of the Belleayre Resort will
set off a volcanic eruption that will destroy the Central
Fact: So preposterous that is does not merit comment.
. Note: Distorted claims as so plentiful, they could not be
limited to just 10.
Prepared by Crossroads Ventures in response to allegations
and claims made by the Save the Mountain leaders and their
supporters in recent letters to local papers, statements made
at the recent public scoping hearings and through press releases
issued by STM.
Mt. Tremper, NY
Some of you reading this were born and bred in these parts.
For you, the undulating mountains, the sweet clean air, the
quiet, the blessed quiet and calm of this cathedral we live
in, and the sounds, the sounds behind the quiet – the
cool bubbling flow of the water rushing or meandering down
to nurture us, the rustling leaves, all the familiar sounds
of nature, have been with you since birth. I could probably
go on for hours extolling the virtues – but why belabor
the obvious? For the rest of us, like Mona and I, who bought
a home up on Timber Lake Road 10 years ago, all of this is
new to us, an acquired taste, a need fulfilled. We have all
brought ourselves, one family at a time over the years, and
have slowly learned to fit in, have worked to become a part
of this oh so special community, and to reset our clocks so
as to dance in time with the seasons as they unfold around
us. It is something we cherish, something we all cherish,
and don’t want to see it taken from us.
That is what brought my family here to our home and why I
am writing today. I fear that this misguided project will
benefit the few – the few who need it least and have
the least stake in our community – and hurt the rest
of us. I feel a sense of urgency and a compelling need to
speak out. We are all the caretakers of this fragile wonderland
we share, and we not permitted to relinquish our responsibilities
to it. his proposed project will despoil our water, our air,
our God-given natural beauty, our economy and our quality
of life. I won’t expound on the damage to the aquifer,
or the traffic, or the tax burden we all will be forced to
shoulder, or the false unreasonable promises of so many local
jobs which will never materialize, or any of the other myriad
of objections to this proposal. There are those in our community
who can provide the indisputable facts far better and more
eloquently than I.
I would just like to say that unlike those of us who share
a sense of community, who have a stake in our community, as
well as the willingness to take the time and expend the energy
to work at maintaining and improving this community, we feel
that those who come in droves to this proposed enclave will
not become a part of us but instead will isolate themselves
behind the walls of an artificial village, a village built
just for that purpose – to contain them, their energies
and especially their purses. This Belleayre proposal is not
for all of us but only for a small circle of people who will
share in the immediate windfall profits to be reaped the future
expense of us all.
As someone who was present at the Belleayre Resort Scoping
Sessions, I would like to add some insight on Paul Smart's
last article on the subject.
At the December 11 Scoping Session, a pro-development activist,
Joan Laurence-Bauer, complained that the meeting was not needed
because there had already been enough public input. In a way,
she was right! The DEC should have enough concerns of its
own without calling on area residents. But apparently it lacks
qualified scientists such as physicists, environmental engineers,
geologists, biologists, sociologists and others to study all
possible effects of a mega resort on the Catskill region.
Instead, the DEC staged a farce--a so-called public meeting
biased in favor of the developers. The preferential treatment
of DEC and other appointed and elected officials who often
spoke at length soaked up nearly the first hour of the proceedings.
The only official at the nset of the meeting who brought up
environmental concerns was Brian Shapiro of the Ulster County
Environmental Commission. Otherwise, it seemed to be a forum
for politicians and Crossroads Ventures employees who promoted
their interests, claiming their development would boost the
economy in our region. Such comments were not actually within
the range of environmental concerns and did not relate to
the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the purpose of
the DEC Scoping Session. Nevertheless, no one stopped them
from expounding on their dreams of economic gain.
In staying with the purpose of the Scoping, over the course
of the 2-night, extended meetings, countless speakers expressed
numerous environmental concerns, such as: Stripping forests
will contribute to run-off and flooding below the development
As opposed to the hotels of yesterday, a modern resort would
exude a multitude of chemicals, pesticides, cleaning agents,
medical waste and other contaminants to pollute local water,
and spoil NYC drinking water.
Gas-fired heating and other sources as well as trucks and
vehicles will pollute the air. Gases now trapped within the
mountain could result in explosions. Increased energy will
be needed to make snow in the face of global warming.
How will we handle an increase in sports and traffic-related
accidents? There will be the need for additional infrastructure
to support the influx of people.
The death or displacement of wildlife should stop developers
in their tracks. What will they do when large animals are
coming into the towns because their habitat is gone? We will
begin to have the dangerous situation that they have in New
Jersey where special animal management teams are allowed to
come into towns and shoot the deer-even at night and from
a moving vehicle!
Electric lighting from the resort will obliterate the night
skies. Blasting will echo in our mountain terrain and cause
noise pollution on the mountain and surrounding areas. The
nightly sound of snow-making is loud and eerie, and will add
to noise pollution in the area. Primary development will lead
to secondary development and possibly even an airport that
will wipe out the tranquility of the Catskills and completely
change forever the nature of our area.
So powerful are the proponents of the resort that they were
allowed to present their own plans with their own personnel
prior to the Scoping Sessions and maintained a presence throughout.
Their maps of the proposed resort appeared benign, the shape
colored green and the proposed resort areas hardly bigger
than my hand. But to get an idea of how large the resort would
be, you would have to look toward the bottom of their map,
on the left, to see that the entire nearby town of Pine Hill
was no larger than an inch worm!
I don't believe the DEC needs a rocket scientist to rule on
environmental concerns of the proposed Belleayre Resort. As
one man hollered at the beginning of the Scoping Session..."Too
I'd like to share a letter I recently sent to the DEC and
many elected representatives. I think the public needs to
know just how much concern there is within our communities
about the proposed Belleayre project. Thanks for your time.
Re: Concern about negative impact on the quality of life in
communities surrounding the proposed Belleayre resort encompassing
“For purple mountains majesty…” There is
something about the sight of a high mount that stirs the soul
within us humans. It’s no wonder that mountaintops figure
so heavily in poetic and religious imagery. Mountaintop experiences
can be profound.
Perhaps the ultimate example of this imagery is Moses walking
down from the mountaintop with the Ten Commandments, the moral
law for the human race. Whether we believe this as fact or
allegory, the setting was well chosen… a mountaintop.
When I lived in New York City and came to the mountains for
respite and recreation, the instant I saw those pristine mountaintops
come into view from Route 28, my shoulders would drop and
my spirits rise. The feeling is a common one – an ancient
one. It’s the reason I and so many others have chosen
to move our families and our lives here.
Recently, when seeing Highmount Ridge, foliage blazing in
the fire of the autumn season, I felt that joy of living in
the natural world so deeply… it took my breath away.
When I heard that it might be soon be sacrificed to line the
pockets of the profiteers just a little bit deeper, I wept.
So please- let’s enjoy our mountaintops. Let’s
hike them and ski them and share them. And let’s steward
them responsibly, so that generations yet unborn can have
their breaths taken away too. If we can save this High Mount
we must. There’s still time. But when it goes, it’s
gone… forever. And after the blasts, mingling with the
flow of the shuddering aquifer… will be a river of our
The truth is that fighting a developer who is well-funded
and who works within the law is difficult to beat. It happens
all the time in nearly every state and most home-grown opposition
groups lose to the developer. They lose swiftly, unceremoniously
and at great expense in a court of law, because regardless
of how colossal or aberrant the project may seem, if the project
is not against the law sheer will and sloganeering will not
stop it and it is dangerously naive to think otherwise.
It is also naive and just plain nonsense to believe that the
"compromisers" ever had the power to decree what
Dean Gitter or for that matter what any private property owner
can or can't do with his or her property. It would be nice,
folks, but that's not the way it works.
An experienced developer knows that the in-fighting and the
finger pointing between opposition groups in the editorial
pages has the fortunate effect of distracting attention away
from the most important aspect of the debate-the law.
Here is an example. In the mid-nineties the Republican town
board of Shandaken was approached by a developer who asked
that the zoning laws in the town be reviewed and perhaps changed
to include golf courses arguing that golf would be good business
for Shandaken. (Yep, that's right, before the mid-nineties
it was against the zoning laws of Shandaken to build a golf
course.) The board convened, and ultimately agreed with the
developer and the law was changed. Six months later this same
developer had another plan, this time for a mega-resort that
included, guess what, two golf courses and well, you know
On January 1, 2008, the newly elected town board of Democrats
in Shandaken took control and you can bet that this is giving
Mr. Gitter the jitters. Remember, final decisions about land
development, regardless of how big or how small, is not in
the hands of Hinchey, Spitzer or Alworth. It is absolutely
in the hands of the local town board and the law. Forget the
in-fighting and drop a line or two, or a thousand, to the
Shandaken town board.
West Hurley, NY
On the appointment of Doris Bartlett, we feel this is not
a good choice. She has publicly booed and hissed at the review
of the Resort Project (as did the new Supervisors wife). On
that subject, we believe she cannot be objective, and must
excuse herself from any and all votes on that subject. Can
she fulfill her duty to the Town Board and be at all meetings?When
she was assessor, she had to take off from January to April
for Tax Time.
Thankfully, Vinny Bernstein and Rob Stanley said a few words
about the Maureen Millar appointment and it got tabled. She
is in the same boat with Doris Bartlett and others, and her
placement on the Planning Board would force others to ask
for her to excuse herself from any voting on the Resort.
The Planning Board is now faced with the task of review of
the Resort Project. Don't you think it would be wiser to leave
a person who has now had a few years experience as a planner
to remain in his seat?
The new Town Board should separate itself from many issues
(cell towers, resort, etc.) and allow the planning board to
carry out its job, because the Planning Board is the involved
agency, not the Town Board. The Town Board must remember,
it speaks for all residents, not just a handful. Only this
will show the true transparency and honest open government
that they have promised us.
We shall see,
John and Jane Rossitz
One town board meeting and the fun starts. The same group
of folks that say they are happy about bringing the town together
are already starting a smear campaign.
A broad cross-section of people in town know Doris Bartlett
through her tax preparation business, her association with
Trout Unlimited, her volunteer work with the libraries and
with the town's dog kennels and I'll bet that none of them
have ever heard her 'boo and hiss' about anything. I guess
we can only have peace in this town if everyone agrees to
let the development go through as oversized as it is.
If someone wants to consider a compromise that will add rooms
and jobs at a scale that can help the area they will be smeared.
It must be all or nothing.
Why so big?
Apparently, because the developer lacks the creativity to
make money on a 300 or 400 room hotel at the Wild Acre's site.
Do you think that we could get by with 2 or 3 hundred jobs
instead of over 5 hundred?
How about a resort that encourages people to go out and support
our local businesses instead of a huge complex of stores at
a destination resort that will compete with them?
It is the job of the Planning, Zoning and Town Boards to consider
what is fair and best for the community within the law that
they swore to uphold, not the financial well being of the
developer, and all the boards have a roll to play in the review
of this project.
Pete Di Modica
Pine Hill, NY
And so it begins again, with the attempts to trash any one
who is not altogether in favor of the Resort Project.
Although booing and hissing is covered under the First Amendment,
Doris Bartlett and our new supervisor’s wife are intelligent,
articulate women who do not need to hiss and boo to express
If those on the Town Board who are not wholly inn favor of
the Project in its present form must recuse themselves, so
must those in favor of the Project. The appointments to the
Planning Board in the last administration’s four years
are known to be in favor of the Development. Obviously, this
is ridiculous. The people of Shandaken have many opinions
of the Belleayre Resort project and all must be considered,
but the Planning Board must deal with the Site Plan Review
of the project in an unbiased manner according to law.
The Town Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals also have a
role in the review of this development project.
Pine Hill, NY
I would like to thank the Shandaken Town Board for appointing
me to fill the vacant Town Board seat and I look forward to
serving my community in the coming year. I hope to be speaking
with many of you and listening to your ideas and concerns.
Please feel free to call me at Town Hall or at home if you
wish to discuss anything.
I appreciate the confidence of the Board and will do my best
to merit it.
A letter of concern to the residents of the Town of Shandaken:
As a former member of the Shandaken Ambulance Squad that is
now merely a concerned taxpayer, I was mystified by some of
the proceedings at the Jan.2 reorganization meeting.
While there was a modest debate over adding $1000.00 to the
Town’s allotment for the VFW and American Legion, no
one on the Board or in the audience appeared to bat an eye
when it came time to appoint the members of the ambulance
squad, even though it has become apparent over the past year
that there have been some serious managerial issues and financial
problems. These problems have cost the Town $100,000.00 in
lost revenue, in addition to the squad being at least $40,000.00
over budget in 2007, not to mention the obliteration of our
reputation in the County and State for being able to provide
top notch emergency care for our townspeople and anyone else
that needed assistance.
Why was Chad Storey shot down when he approached the former
Town Board with a plan to reorganize the ambulance and get
it back on track both operationally and financially? I realize
that it is difficult for politicians to admit to a mistake,
but I had hoped that the new Town Board would see the wisdom
of running the Ambulance Department more like a business,
where employees are hired or fired on the merits of their
competency and performance, rather than personal vendettas
or political expediencies. I would hope that the new Town
Board would at least appoint a committee of knowledgeable
people to oversee the operations of the Ambulance Department,
since I have no confidence that some of the present employees
are capable of providing us with adequate EMS service, let
alone their ability to manage the squad financially.
Remember, you as taxpayers and residents of the Town of Shandaken
are the ones that will ultimately suffer the most from this
fiasco. Demand an audit. Ask the Town Board why you can’t
have people in supervisory positions on the ambulance that
actually know how to run an ambulance service. Ask how many
people it takes to do the job that 2 people were doing without
issue for 10 years prior to 2007. At what expense? And why
so poorly? After all, it’s your tax dollars and well
being that are at stake here.
As New York State grapples with complicated issues like skyrocketing
property taxes, access to affordable and quality health care,
spiraling energy costs, improving education and an economic
downturn, New Yorkers, especially residents of the Hudson
Valley, are looking for leaders who will work together to
tackle these problems head on. Today, by evoking our storied
history of monumental accomplishments, Governor Spitzer acknowledged
these great challenges, articulating a clear vision for facing
them head on. I welcome his invitation to the Legislature
to work together as we change New York for the better.
The Governor covered a wide range of topics, and showed a
keen understanding of the issues families in our region care
about. He demonstrated a clear commitment to thoroughly address
the property tax crisis by forming a commission to examine
the way we fund our schools and local government consolidation.
When it came to education, even in
the face of a budget deficit, the Governor illustrated that
he remains committed to increasing state education aid and
ensuring equity for all children.
Equally important was the Governor's recognition of the role
higher education plays in economic development. SUNY New Paltz
and Ulster County Community College have proven time and again
that they can be the solid foundation of our local economy.
His proposal for a university Innovation Fund is entirely
consistent with the approach we have been working on with
The Solar Energy Consortium (TSEC). The Hudson Valley is poised
to become a global hub for the advancement of solar power
and this appropriation will allow us to harness New York's
unrivaled network of public and private universities to unite
our brightest minds behind a shared goal of restoring our
great state to its rightful position as a global force in
innovation, manufacturing, research and development.
The revitalization of Stewart Airport, also mentioned by the
Governor, will provide our 21st century gateway to our economic
resurgence. In that vein, the upcoming 2009 Hudson-Champlain
Quadracentennial celebration presents an enormous opportunity
to showcase the Hudson Valley around the world. That is why
I have been working closely with organizations throughout
the region to plan for this historic event. The Governor's
acknowledgement of this and his endorsement of the commemorative
Walkway Over The Hudson represents a welcomed partnership
in this effort.
We have many challenges before us. The time is long past when
we can afford to allow politics and rhetoric to impede progress.
I will continue to work with the Governor and my colleagues
in the Legislature -- Republicans and Democrats -- to fight
for affordable and accessible health care coverage, equity
in education, property tax relief, energy independence and
real economic development; initiatives
that will truly serve working families in the Catskill and
Hudson Valley regions.
Assemblyman Kevin Cahill
The following is in response to a letter to the editor sent
in by Ms. Regina Reilly-Lydon:
This administration has dishonored and violated the trust
of the American people by misleading the country into the
disastrous occupation of Iraq and by undermining the rule
of law at home. The president's activities have been entirely
unacceptable and I agree with Ms. Reilly-Lydon that it demands
a response from Congress.
As you may know, this is not a new position that I have taken.
In the lead up to the Bush invasion of Iraq I was one of the
first and most vocal opponents of the president. I voted against
giving the president authority to use military force against
Iraq in October 2002. I was convinced that the Bush administration
was deliberately and purposefully misleading Congress and
our country about its justifications for the invasion of Iraq.
I knew that there was no evidence of a link between Iraq and
al-Qaeda, that there was no proof that Iraq continued to possess
weapons of mass destruction; that allegations of a nuclear
weapons program in Iraq were falsified, and that there was
no way that Iraq could present an imminent threat to our country.
At the time, my position was aggressively criticized by many
across the country, but I knew that it was the right position
for our country.
Throughout their time in control of Congress, Republicans
failed to conduct constitutionally-mandated oversight of the
illegal occupation and allowed the administration to act freely,
with great disregard to the rule of law and our Constitution.
As a result, the Democratic leadership in Congress faces a
quagmire of the Bush administration's creation and the biggest
executive power grab this nation has seen. During the first
year of the Democratic majority, we have held an unprecedented
number of hearings and launched many investigations into Bush's
failed foreign and domestic policies. Democrats have restored
Congress as an equal body of government and are determined
to continue to provide the oversight that the executive branch
needs and the American people deserve.
Ms. Reilly-Lydon has indicated her support of using impeachment
in order to hold the executive branch accountable. I believe
and have stated before that this administration is the most
impeachable in American history. In spite of that, it is clear
that based upon the construct of this Congress it is impossible
to impeach anyone. As an example of the circumstances we're
facing in Washington, one just needs to look to the vote we
had in the House in November to begin a withdrawal of U.S.
forces from Iraq now and complete that withdrawal by the middle
of December 2008. That proposal received only 218 votes in
the House of Representatives and makes it clear that it would
be almost impossible to get 218 members to stand up against
this administration and achieve an impeachment indictment.
It's very obvious and absolutely certain that a conviction
in the Senate is impossible because that would require 67
votes and the Senate couldn't even secure the necessary votes
to pass that Iraq withdrawal resolution, which just barely
passed the House. If the impeachment resolution did go to
the Senate, where it would definitely fail, the Bush administration
would could clearly say that the Congress found us not guilty
so everything we've done is ok.
The problem we're confronting is the weakness of this Congress
as well as the corruption of this administration. We need
a stronger Congress; more people willing to stand up against
this administration as I have been from the very beginning.
Impeachment would require a time-consuming legislative process,
including months that House impeachments and Senate trials
would take. While the we currently struggle to achieve a basic
one-half plus one majority in the Senate, an impeachment conviction
needs the support of two-thirds of senators, an impossibility
in this Congress.
Congress must formally repudiate the administration’s
misconduct. But Congress also has to address the many other
issues that demand action, including ending the war in Iraq
and protecting the rule of law. As a middle ground I have
introduced two resolutions in the House to censure the president
and other administration officials. The first resolution would
censure President Bush and Vice President Cheney for leading
the U.S. into war in Iraq under false pretenses and without
adequate planning. The second censure resolution addresses
the administration's repeated assaults on the rule of law.
But even these more moderate attempts to hold the administration
acountable have not yet been attainable. We have not gotten
the necessary number of people in the House or Senate who
are willing to stand up to the administration by endorsing
As a part of many fronts, I have spearheaded efforts that
have led to an opening of a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation
into the Bush administration's illegal warrantless wiretapping
of American citizens. Specifically, I want to find out who
within the DOJ first authorized the domestic surveillance
program and if the administration already enacted the program
before getting original DOJ approval. While initially stalled
by the president, that investigation is now moving forward
The administration has refused to recognize and cooperate
with Congress' legitimate responsibility to conduct oversight.
However, I can assure you, I will do everything I can to fully
investigate and hold this administration completely accountable
for all of the wrongdoings in which it has been engaged.
Congressman Maurice Hinchey
NYs 22nd Congressional District
Many progressive Democratic voters have in the past registered
on various websites promising:
--not to vote for candidates that continue to vote for funding
the occupation of Iraq
--not to vote for candidates don't support true true universal
health care for all
--not to vote for candidates that voted for the Patriot Acts
--not to vote for candidates that don't support GLBTQ equal
--not to vote for candidates that support NAFTA and WTO
--not to vote for candidates that take corporate money
Are you one of them? I certainly am.
So, the point is there is only one candidate on the New York
State Democratic Primary Ballot (or any state for that matter)
that actually fulfills a real progressive Democrat's values
and America's values, and that candidate is Dennis Kucinich.
The goal with http://www.newyorkersfordenniskucinich.org/
website is to have one million registered New York voters
promise to vote for Dennis Kucinich in the upcoming Feb 5th,
2008 Democratic Primary.
With John Kerry taking the '04 New York Democratic primary
with 407,643 votes, one million voters will almost certainly
win the state for Kucinich, and send a strong message to the
Democratic Party that Progressives are the majority of this
party, indeed the country, and we are taking our party and
our country back!
This is huge goal, but in reality, if everyone who registers
simply has 2 progressive friends register the following day,
we will have over 1 million promises in 20 days!
Just imagine if 1 Million NY progressive Democratic voters
actually got out and voted for Dennis on February 5th, 2008.
Then imagine what it would do for the campaign if each one
of them donated just $25 to help promote his progressive message.
So please, click on http://www.newyorkersfordenniskucinich.org/
to register your promise to vote for Dennis Kucinich on Feb.
5th, 2008, the New York Democratic Primary.
Then, invite all of your progressive friends to do the same.
And if you can, please then donate $25 to the Kucinich Campaign.
(More if you can, less if can't.)
Dennis' slogan is Strength Through Peace!
For the next 10 months: We must condemn the Republican leadership
mercilessly obstructing every congressional action of merit,
even where that action was supported by the overwhelming majority
of the American people. Although, the polls showed 81% supporting
the SCHIPS bill, Republican leadership initially engineered
the failure to override Bush’s veto.
We must condemn the Republican leadership for resorting to
filibusters at a historic record pace, since they lost the
majorities in Congress, which they did nothing but abuse while
in the majority.
We must condemn the Republican leadership for doing nothing
to hold the White House accountable for their lies and shredding
of the Constitution, through illegal wiretaps, torture, because
of their greed for political power, and not allowing investigations
into these matters.
We must condemn the Republican leadership for using our troops
as gangsters for capitalism, and exploiting their suffering
and death for profits for their war profiteer contributors.
We must condemn the Republican leadership for their cynical
hypocrisy in being the most corrupt and scandalous pack of
thieves who ever held national office. The “Duke”
Cunningham and Jack Abramoff scandals were only the tip of
an iceberg, which threatens the integrity of the entire legislative
branch of government. Today, Republicans are resigning at
an unprecedented clip, while posturing to their gullible diehard
supporters as being the most righteous.
We must condemn congressional Republicans, who allowed corporations
decide how much port security will be provided for the American
We must condemn the Republican leadership for encouraging
the most hateful and false negative attack ads that have ever
besmirched the American political discourse.
We must condemn congressional Republicans, who have repeately
uphold their oath of office and defend the Constitution, and
conduct themselves as the coequal branch of government, which
they’re supposed to be.
I was prepared to write a letter of apology, for being wrong
about Obama's predicted (by me) landslide victory in New Hampshire.
But, then I heard that Kucinich was demanding a recount -
shades of the election of 2000. Gore couldn't demand a recount,
because in this crazy media/lobbyist controlled country of
ours, he would be considered a Sore Loser. So, of course,
since Obama also couldn't risk being a Sore Loser, Kucinich
stepped up to the plate.
Now, to lapse back into the worst year of our lives, in 2000
we learned that the then unknown company Diebold had just
taken over the governments job of handling our votes. It's
been reported that between 75-80% of the ballots in New Hampshires
primaries, were "counted" by the hackable, prone-to-error,
Diebold optical-scan machines.
These systems were entirely programmed, serviced and controlled
by LHS Associates.. The Director of Sales and marketing for
LHS is a man named Ken Hajjar, who was convicted, in l990
of drug trafficking, another fairly profitable business. But
that one cost him 12 months in jail.
The Diebold machines used were the same model that were shown
being hacked in the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary, "Hacking
Democracy". It's been reported that Hillary Clinton received
about 7 points more in Diebold precincts, than in hand-counted
Now, let me make it clear that I am not even dreaming that
the Clintons were a part of hacking votes, however, since
the Republicans have experience with that process, I'm guessing
that they would prefer to run against her over Obama, particularly
if I'm right about his incredible charisma.
One more point is that Greenberg Traurig, the lawyer that
represented GW Bush during the recount in 2000, also represented
Jack Abramoff and ended up with the prize of being the lobbyist
for Diebold. This cozy group has your votes in their hands.
So much for my apology for now. If Kucinich ends up proving
that the votes were correct, I'll owe you one later.
It was 9:15 p.m., February 27, 1933, when the Reichstag Fire
began, 28 days after Hitler's Nazi party came to power in
a coalition govt. Hitler's coalition barely had enough seats
to govern and it was the Reichstag Fire which was used as
the ruse to abolish the Reichstag (German Parliament) and
assume full control. The Reichstag fire, a terrorist act,
was blamed on Communists and allowed Hitler to consolidate
his power and pass the Enabling Act. This Act gave Hitler
dictatorial powers in the case of national emergency. It was
Hitler's goal to abolish democracy more or less by legal means.
Hermann Goering later admitted he set the fire himself.
It was 235 days after Bush's inauguration to the office of
President of the United States that on 9/11/2001, "terrorists"
attacked sites around the country. The most highly contested
presidential election in American history, an election which
brought G. W Bush to power under the most tenuous of circumstances.
It was 9/11 which was used as the means for the Bush administration
to consolidate power and to pass some of the most sweeping
anti democratic legislation in American history including
the Patriot Act. It is 9/11, a terrorist act, which has allowed
this President to slowly roll back our Civil Liberties, dismantle
our democracy and to assume dictatorial powers.
"There are few things as odd as the calm, superior indifference
with which I and those like me watched the beginnings of the
Nazi revolution in Germany, as if from a box in the theater"
the words of Sebastian Haffner a young lawyer in Germany.
This calm indifference could describe to a T the attitude
of many Americans today, while our civil liberties are one
by one slipping away in the form of illegal wiretapping, stolen
elections, the assumption of dictatorial Presidential powers
and media consolidation.
During such a time, what is the role of a small town publisher
like Ulster Publishing in times of unprecedented deceit and
misinformation? Does it have a responsibility to inform us
about issues the larger corporate controlled conglomerates
wont? Ulster Publishing's papers do a good job covering local
town issues and this seems to largely define its scope of
coverage. But do we continue, dog bites man on Main St., type
stories when our democratic institutions are being dismantled
around us? Could the paper make room for more diverse voices
in other areas other then the letter section? The paper seems
to broaden its scope when it is deemed relevant such as detailed,
well researched articles about the growth of air traffic at
Stewart Airport. If the writer of that article had done as
much research into the truth about 9/11 would we see that
on the pages on Ulster Publishing's publications?
I wonder how small town newspapers in Germany during the Nazi
revolution responded to the onslaught on their democratic
institutions. Were they as equally silent as Ulster Publishing?
After 9/11 President Bush told the America people to go shopping.
Act as if nothing is wrong, maintain your role as consumer
and only fill your mind with dribble... Is Ulster Publishing
simply a part of the calming, laxative of the consumeristic
mindset? Don't worry, be happy, go shopping. What is the responsibility
of an "independent" newspaper in times like these?
While the Titanic is sinking do we still report on the shuffle
board game on deck? Do you the readers of Woodstock Times
want and deserve more? If so perhaps make your voice heard.
We the American people could take some lessons from the French
who in last month's strikes against changes in national policy
closed down the French railway system. We need to find a similar
resolve inside ourselves again or go shopping it's your choice.
I apologize for the somber tone of this letter but I believe
it is necessary. I wish all of you a Happy New Year.
It is now almost a year since the American people began to
experience the highest rising costs of gas and oil ever in
history. There is no end in sight and every time something
happens negatively we get another boast in retail prices at
the pumps and the fuel oil companies.
The question running through most minds is why? The vast majority
of the American people are all caught up the free market hypocrisy
consisting of an unregulated domestic oil industry. An industry
that has not upgraded its processing capacity in order to
deliberately keep the prices inflated under normal circumstances.
An industry that receives billions in government subsidies,
grants, and loans while the rest of the American people are
now faced with inflationary increases in everything that requires
some form of gas or diesel fuel needed for Inter--state delivery
and commerce. The entire U.S. economy is slowing down, prices
in real estate are falling while mortgages are rising and
foreclosures are reaching epidemic proportions. Now we are
facing a "winter of discontent" with dropping temperatures
and snowy conditions.
The monopoly in the oil industry is global with profits enough
for all in control. These folks are so greedy and rich we
could fund the U.S. budget several times over and enough to
spare for several more decades into the future. There was
even enough to purchase an entire U.S. Presidency.
There are important lessons to be learned by the people of
this country. Anyone who becomes President cannot the kind
of connections George W. Bush has to any national and global
monopoly. The next lesson is we need to nationalize the oil
industry lock stock and barrel. Whenever industry is allowed
to run uregulated it can lead to destroying the entire economy.
The Phoenicia Library would like to extend a warm "thank
you" to all of the community, for its continued support
past year. The people of this township, make the Library what
it is. We appreciate the hundreds of hours of volunteer help.
It may be for the plant sale in June, or the Valentine’s
Day card making, or the professional photography, mowing the
lawn, or the donations of books, or the organization of books
for sale, or the book club meetings, or the behind the scenes
administration of the Library. Whatever part you may have
been in being a part of our success, we are grateful. We are
also fortunate to have such a knowledgeable and dedicated
staff at the Phoenicia Library who are there to welcome and
assist your needs.
Once again, the library will be holding Valentine’s
Card making sessions as both a fun program for patrons, young
and old, and fundraising for itself. Please join us on Friday
Jan. 18, Thursday Jan. 24, Monday Jan. 28, and/or Mon-day
Feb. 4, from 3:30-5:00 pm. We supply the materials needed
to make Valentine’s Day cards - paper, stickers, foam
shapes, glitter, glue - you supply ideas and labor. Everyone
who makes a card gets to keep one that they made; the others
are sold for the benefit of the library for $1 apiece. The
cards are sold at the library, various stores in town, and
The Arts Upstairs Gallery.
If you haven’t already filled out and returned the library
survey asking what you like and don’t like about the
library and what you would like in a library of the future,
please do so as soon as you can; we’re hoping for about
100 more responses by SATURDAY, JAN 12, so that we can make
some decisions at our next board meeting on January 14. Each
member of your house-hold should fill out a separate copy
of the survey. We would like to hear from ALL residents of
the Town of Shandaken - full-time and part-time, owners and
renters, adults and children, library users and
non-users. Yes, even non-users, so we can find out what we
can do to attract them. You can pick up a copy at the library.
We need to hear from everyone to provide the Town with the
highest possible level of service. Thank you!
The library is looking for a new part-time staff member to
begin as soon as possible. Pay would be from $7.15 to $10.00
per hour, depending upon education, skills and responsibilities,
for ten hours per week in two shifts, plus at least one Saturday
per month. Requirements include basic computer skills; ability
to provide friend-ly service; working knowledge
of library methods and materials; and at least some college
education (including current college students). Knowledge
of circulation procedures, ability to run or assist with children’s
programs, or advanced computer skills, such as debugging,
will result in a higher pay level. Interested? Please send
your resume to our director, Regina Johnson, at Phoenicia
Library, PO Box 555, Phoenicia, NY 12464 or email@example.com.
Can you volunteer? We can always use a hand to help shelve
books, assist or lead children’s and adult programs,
help keep the bookstore in order, or other projects - your
choice. Stop by anytime; even half an hour a week shelving
would help. Or join The Friends of the Phoenicia Library.
We have magazines, newspapers, and tourist and government
information in print, and access to several databases through
our computers. Our hours
are Monday, Wednesday and Friday 1-6, Tuesday 10-4, Thursday
2-6, and Saturday 10-3. Stop in - and check us out!
I am looking for skiing company. I am a youthful senior and
intermediate skier hoping to connect with potential companion(s)
while skiing the slopes of Belleayre or any local ski mountains.
I dislike skiing alone and besides, it's not recommended.
If you even know of anyone who might be interested, please
pass along my request? My number's in the book or you can
e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to see a really exciting Light Sculpture, it is
on a tall evergreen tree in the middle of La Dutchess Anne's
parking lot. Chef Fabrice, at Le France D'Amerique there,
simian like, has exceeded last year's creative effort and
it has been extended to the interior decor with a lot of love.
The warm atmosphere and delicious food are what's happening
in Mt. Tremper.
The press has reported that the U.S. Secretary of the Interior,
Dick Kempthorne, has rejected the application of two Indian
tribes to locate casinos in Sullivan County. Neither site
selected by the tribe was part of their recognized reservations.
Their reservation is located far away from Monticello and
This is a successful outcome for the No Saugerties Casino
and people throughout the state who do not want the spread
of Indian casinos. One of our arguments against building a
mega-casino on the Winston Farm was that the Indian Tribe
looking to exploit that location had no historical relationship
to that land. In letters to Governor Spitzer and Secretary
Kempthorne we have urged them not to permit reservation shopping.
Fortunately, Kempthorne heard our plea.
Unfortunately, our political leaders, including the governor,
Senator Bonacic and Congressman Hinchey, view the Kempthorne
ruling as a defeat. Casinos have a negative impact upon the
quality of life of any community in which they are located.
The short-term lure of gambling dollars obscures the long
term consequences of allowing such an intrusion with its many
Our political leaders need to continue to foster economic
growth proportionate and appropriate to the communities they
represent rather than to lament that the federal government
has refused to open wide the door to reservation shopping.
Chair, No Saugerties Casino, Inc
Back in May 2007, Ulster County legislative leaders (Chairman
David Donaldson and Minority Leader Glenn Noonan) anticipated
a possible Ulster County casino to be located in Ellenville.
Donaldson cited the nearby proposed casino in Monticello (Sullivan
County) as a favorable factor. "A casino in Sullivan
may very well affect that (Ellenville) area without getting
any benefit, you would have the negatives of gambling with
none of the money which comes with it."
Now, according to the January 5 edition of the Daily Freeman,
Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne has denied two Sullivan
County off-reservation casino applications thus removing both
the "negatives" and the "money" and the
false lure of casinos as paths to economic progress and state
solvency. Each new casino spreads its negative effect in an
outward radius of some 50 miles--sucking the money from the
local economy and those least able to afford it, creating
crime, traffic, social problems, and radically changing the
character of its host community. The enormous costs of problem
and pathological gambling (paid for in the end by taxpayers)
don't appear in the bright forecasts of casino publicists
and uncritical politicians with short-range perspectives.
On the day of the announcement of Secretary Kemphorne's decision,
Representative Hinchey, state Senator Bonacic, Governor Spitzer's
office rushed to decry it and promised continued efforts on
behalf of casino development. Representative Hinchey said,
"It's only temporarily wounded." Both Senator Schumer
and Senator Clinton have campaigned energetically for casino
approval. All of our politicians talk about economic development,
none about the (mostly) hidden costs of casinos.
Many of us learned about the downside of casinos in the course
of defending Saugerties from the intrusion of a mammoth casino.
Let our politicians hear from us.
Is the upcoming forum making it an easy way out for the board
by letting those at the forum decide the vision for the district?
The Onteora School Board is holding another Community Forum.
The purpose of this Forum is for the Board of Education to
receive input from all District stakeholder groups and interested
parties in order to develop a vision for the future of the
District. The School Board held a forum back in March of 2007
that drew approximately 80 so-called stakeholders. For some
time now the School Board has been referring to us as stakeholders.
Calling us tax payers would be appropriate because that’s
what we are. We may be stakeholders in a way, but we are tax
payers that pay almost all of the bills. More then likely
those that attended the last forum worked at the school or
have children going to school. It’s a sure bet that
very few seniors and retirees attended the last forum. The
results of a forum depend on who participated in forum and
must be considered when making any final decisions. There’s
no reason to believe that the same group won’t attend
According to the Ulster County Board of Election there are
11,152 eligible voters in the Onteora School district. To
take the opinion of 80 people and run with it are not the
true feelings of the district. Even if this next forum brings
in a few hundred people, it would still not reflect the feelings
of the total district.
A forum is somewhat different then a survey, but information
gathered from a survey or a questionnaire would give the board
a better overall understanding of what the total district
thinks should be done. Every tax payer should have the opportunity
to express their opinion about the future of the district.
In the Boards release announcing the forum they say that they
want input from all District stakeholders. One would think
that all means everyone that pays taxes. In 2007 the school
sent out two mailings. One of those mailings could have easily
included a survey or a questionnaire. If the School Board
and the school’s administrator’s want input from
all concerned tax payers, they should consider issuing a survey
or a simple questionnaire and not depend on the small percentage
of tax payers that will attend the forum. This could be done
by regular mail or posted on the school’s Web Page.
Recently I have heard and read a number of communications
from several men [I assume there probably are women who agree,
but it would be interesting to find out if it is only men]
objecting to and arguing against paying school taxes since
they no longer had children in said schools.
I am a man, no longer have children nor grandchildren in any
school in any taxing jurisdiction, I am past the bulk of my
earning years and am struggling to keep up with the soaring
cost of so many crucial aspects of a decent life. I find,
even with my eligibility for the enhanced STAR deduction,
that it is hard to pay such a large amount each fall for my
part of the school assessment. I would support a different
formula for funding our public education system provided it
was not one [such as paying through general income taxes]
which would then transfer almost COMPLETE control of our school
system to that ridiculously dysfunctional legislature in Albany.
BUT all of that not withstanding, I strongly disagree with
those who complain [would 'bitching' be the more applicable
word?] of contributing to this legal and social obligation.
First of all, these people need to realize that they were,
in fact, 'supported' by others when their own children were
in public school [those who choose to enroll their children
in non public schools, as I did with one of my children, in
my opinion, have no more weight in this topic than any others
who sent their children to public schools as that was their
free choice and the public schools were there for them if
they wanted to make use].
But much more importantly, these complainers need to get their
heads out of the sand and look at the fundamental reason that
we have chosen to have a public schools system. Well educated
children are a public resource that is beneficial to us all,
parents, non parents and 'post' parents. I submit they are
far more beneficial even than the good road system or good
legal system that these complainers benefit from. The more,
the better FOR US ALL.
Just look around at the loss that poorly educated children
are to our society. If that doesn't touch your heart, then
at least look at the cost [as opposed to the benefit that
they could be] that they pose on our society and to YOUR taxes
through increased costs to law enforcement [such as police,
court costs and jails] and our health care [such as unreimbursed
hospital costs] and reduced input to our social network such
as reduced income to the Social Security and Medicare funds.
Most of those complainers are [or soon will be] also drawing
on SS income and Medicare health benefits. Does it occur to
you that that system is 'under funded' because there are so
many under educated people making far less than they could
if better educated and thus contributing far less than they
otherwise would to these systems? You complainers are being
myopic in thinking that you are getting nothing for your [school
Now, if, on the other hand, you think you are contributing
to a school system that is not spending your money well, that
is a very different issue and I say to you that I share your
concerns, but suggest that you, instead, get out and use your
'bitching' power to get it improved, and stop trying to simply
opt out and tear it down, to your own detriment.