My safety net.
And we should not forget the killing of two fine NY City Police
Officers and the shooting of a dedicated NY State Trooper
in the last couple weeks. Please don't tell me as Mayor Bloomberg
did on TV last night that, "guns kill people". If
that is so then let us send our guns and ammo with instructions
to Iraq and keep our young military folks at home. Do cars
kill people? Do kitchen knives kill people? Do people kill
Glenn T. Anderson
Thoughts on the 24 November 2005 “ON THE TRAIL “
When a comrade or loved one falls it is a compelling reaction
for those left standing to try and help the fallen one. The
urge to do so is stronger than the instinct to save one’s
Your hunting party killed two deer walking together .The second
one because it failed to move fast enough after the first
We can only guess at the bond that had been forged between
the two. We can only speculate on the number of sunrises and
sunsets they had seen, how many miles they had walked together,
how many close calls they had seen each other through. However
formed, the strength and depth of this bond is evidenced by
the unwillingness of one to leave the other behind. It was
a hesitation that proved to be fatal.
In your article you make it sound like a mistake, and I guess
it was. And in the world where these deer lived mistakes are
unforgiving. Still, I think we can agree that it was a noble
and honorable thing to do… far more noble and honorable
than taking aim and pulling the trigger.
Once again, when the chips are down, Dean Gitter resorts to
what he does best: distorting facts and sowing fear to get
what he wants. Mr. Gitter’s letter in the Phoenicia
Times last week is just the most recent example of his willingness
to spread false and misleading information in an attempt to
divide a community. It is what people do when the case they
are arguing is weak; Mr. Gitter no doubt hopes that skewing
the facts will shift the focus away from the numerous adverse
environmental impacts created by his ill-placed and oversized
To restate yet again for the record, the Catskill Preservation
Coalition (CPC), of which the Catskill Heritage Alliance (CHA)
is a member, has steadfastly supported expansion of the Belleayre
Mountain Ski Center. One reason we are opposed to Mr. Gitter’s
proposed mega-resort is that it would draw water from the
same source as the ski center and could thus limit an expanded
center’s ability to serve its growing public.
And again for the record: neither the CHA nor the CPC opposes
the development of tourism in the Central Catskills. In fact,
the Coalition endorses the regional development proposal recently
released by U.S. Congressman Maurice Hinchey. The Hinchey
proposal, based on Mr. Gitter’s resort plan, envisages
a scaled-down development package which would spur regional
growth—including the expansion of the ski center—while
protecting the very resources essential to the character of
the Central Catskills and the drinking water supply of nine
It is perhaps not coincidental that Mr. Gitter should again
float these falsehoods at this time. He is currently appealing
a ruling by an independent DEC Judge that found against his
mega-resort proposal on 12 of 16 issues following a comprehensive
pre-“trial” hearing. That is a significant legal
obstacle, and Mr. Gitter will likely be left with the prospect
of several more years of adjudication.
The writing is on the wall. If Mr. Gitter really cares about
the Central Catskills and its communities—as he claims—it
is time for him to reconsider the Hinchey alternative, scale
down his proposal, and get on with development. The only one
who should be ashamed is Mr. Gitter.
Chairman, Catskill Heritage Alliance
The election is over and the voters have spoken. For me this
is now a time for reflection and analysis.
During the last year or so I have spent a great deal of time
and energy, as a county legislator, focused on getting the
new Ulster County Jail completed in the most expeditious manner.
Unfortunately, I was so tuned in to this activity that I neglected
to hear the real questions people were asking about the jail
What people want to know is how the jail project got so off
track, so over budget and who was responsible for these circumstances.
In other words, the old questions of who, what, when, where
and why. These are questions that need to be answered for
the benefit of the legislature, so that these mistakes are
not made on any future projects and to answer all the questions
that the people of Ulster County are rightly asking.
Therefore, I suggest the following course of action to the
Ulster County Legislature.
Appoint a "Blue Ribbon Commission" to investigate
all aspects of this project from its initial inception...
planning, property acquisition, contract letting, construction
phase, etc.... to the present time.
This commission should be fully insulated from any potential
political pressure. It should not become a political circus
- objective information is the goal.
The commission should be composed of two Democratic legislators
and two Republican legislators to provide the necessary link
to the legislature. In addition, there should be five non-legislative
persons of appropriate knowledge, experience and political
diversity to give the public the necessary confidence in the
The commission should be adequately funded, given the power
to subpoena material, to take sworn testimony and to engage
independent, proper legal council when necessary.
This will not be an easy task; there will be no instant answers.
It is an activity that needs to be done now while information
and memories are still fresh.
Majority Leader of the
Ulster County legislature
Administrative Law judge Richard Wissler has been attacked
for his ruling on the proposed Belleayre Resort at Catskill
Park, but his decision to hear twelve issues was a responsible
one. As Judge Wissler writes in his ruling, issues are to
be tried if they are substantive, and "An issue is substantive
if there is sufficient doubt about the Applicant's ability
to meet statutory or regulatory criteria . . . such that a
reasonable person would require further inquiry." Many
reasonable people think that polluted runoff from two eighteen-hole
golf courses, a brook going dry, area wells being pulled down,
increased traffic on Route 28, light and noise pollution near
wilderness areas and harm to streams that support spawning
trout are substantive issues requiring further inquiry. The
project as proposed is simply way out of scale for a Catskills
mountaintop. Only Mr. Gitter's intransigence has kept it alive
in its present form. His public outbursts, in which he makes
all kind of wild statements, indicate how worried he's become.
And he should be worried. There are many compelling reasons
for scaling back his proposal from two mega-resort complexes
to one, as Congressman Hinchey has recommended. It's to be
hoped that Mr. Gitter will accept a compromise, subject to
environmental review, that will give him and his backers some
of what they want while minimizing negative impacts on the
Catskill Park and neighboring communities. Even if, on appeal,
only some of the twelve issues end up being adjudicated, that
will still be an extremely lengthy and costly process that
serves no one's interests, especially his.
Co-chair, Conservation Committee
Catskill Mountains Chapter of
New Paltzm NY
People who live near Saugerties or near Ellenville may not
realize that an Indian gambling casino in either will wound
communities for fifty miles around. A casino's sphere of strong,
malignant influence - increased gambling addiction and crime,
decreased local non-casino business - will certainly include
a wide circle of communities even if one alone has to pay
for the traffic lights, connect the sewers, supply the water
and watch Main Street wither. Moreover, not all 3,000-plus
new employees coming from afar, many with school-age children,
will enroll their children in the schools of the host town,
which will be the main recipient of payoffs from the casino.
This letter is to neighbors in the Hudson Valley who are today
as unaware about the consequences of casinos in Ulster and
adjacent counties as I was three months ago. Learning what
has happened in other communities of our state and neighboring
states has horrified me. Predicted benefits to the host town
are illusory. Commercial gambling casinos create or enable
gambling addiction in individuals, while hooking government
on donations contingent on government's kowtowing to them.
Indian casinos pay no property or school taxes. They follow
no state or local regulations except as they feel like it.
This letter does not detail what is so bad about a large commercial
casino. For that, read the Padavan report "All Gambling,
All the Time" which can be found at www.nocasinoeriecounty.org
or look at a web site of one of the groups in New York State
that treat the epidemic such as www.nosaugertiescasino.org
or www.upstate-citizens.org or www.dontgambleourfuture.org
or cagnyinf.org. www.ncalg.org is the web site of the National
Coalition against Legalized Gambling.
The way casinos reach and aggrandize and hide behind laws
you never knew about, if you think your town is safe because
Saugerties or Ellenville are twenty, even fifty, miles away,
you are wrong. If you think that Ellenville or Saugerties
or Ulster are off the hook if the site-shoppers go elsewhere
in 2006, you are wrong again. "Success" elsewhere
will only bring them back one day, unless state and federal
lawmakers and judges act in common sense to halt this epidemic.
Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) has introduced S. 1518 to
amend the Indian Gaming Rights Act so that IGRA cannot, as
it now does, pre-empt a state's constitutional prohibition
against commercial casino gambling. This bill needs sponsors
in the U.S. Senate. You can write to ours, or you can go to
http://capwiz.com/congressorg to email them.
Stephen Shafer MD, MPH