I applaud Ulster County Legislator Hector S. Rodriguez for authoring
resolution 288, calling for the full adjudication of the Belleayre
Resort proposal and his letter of September 23 to the Times explaining
his position. Dean Glitter, our own indefetigable Donald Trump,
offers us "development" - his metaphor for making lots
of money by clear-cutting a mountain and killing just about everything
that lives on it.
Of course there will be jobs for the natives - doing laundry.
Making beds. Mowing lawns. Wiping toilet bowls and carrying bags
for a horde of Republicans from places like New Jersey. For what?
For two more insecticide laden golf courses, for more acres of
blacktop, for another bedroom suburbia of town homes and condos?
When the Onteora School Board enacted the Large Parcel Bill, I
am sure they did so because they thought it would be "fair"
and "equalize" taxes. The results were devastating.
People owning impressive, older properties that had not been assessed
in decades got the same 60% raise in taxes as did the young couple
who refinanced their reasonable starter home. What happened?
Well 60% of $100.00 is $60.00, and 60% of $1,800.00 is $1080.00.
They created "larger swings" of value in Olive without
substantially benefiting Shandaken and Woodstock.
In fact, when Olive negotiated with ORPS to raise the assessment
of the Ashokan Reservoir by 120%, the surrounding towns would
have received a 35% decrease in taxes without the Large Parcel
Bill. This new reservoir assessment and the re-evaluation
of Olive would have really benefited other towns without hurting
Questions are: Why then did they choose to slam Olive to
benefit other towns? Why did they appease Shandaken that
has not done a reval? Why did they concentrate on the New
York City property and ignore the 75% of New York State land that
comprises most of Shandaken? Are some towns more important
than others? Do their votes count more than Olive's? I think
If their purpose is to create budgets that will pass and benefit
the students, the Onteora School Board can't play favorites and
they can't play Russian Roulette with property taxes. They
need to let the Large Parcel Bill die its natural death and get
back to running the school, not the towns.
Olive Town Councilman
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstien (of Watergate fame) have often
said that good journalism is the best available version of the
truth. Locally, this area has 5 or so newspapers that serve us.
One, in its official capacity, has managed to bring the "art"
of propaganda and/or tabloid writing to a infamous, locally directed,
low in its attacks and distortions. The others have found
their niche in sharing the same pool of reporters and relying
on editing to reshape each story a few different ways too give
these respective publications a perceived uniqueness and fair
Unfortunately, the causality of these practices is truth.
Example : A few months ago the Shandaken Town Board voted unanimously
to have the town's highway department mow private soccer fields
"for the children".
This story was reported several times, first with the slant that
the usual nay-sayers objected and must therefore hate children
( for the record I love children, so much I encourage them to
follow the law, read on). Then the big break in the story was
when it was discovered no one on the Town Board bothered to consult
with the Highway Superintendent and his crews already had huge
workloads. One could argue that there is truth in these theories.
But consider the possibility that there was another angle to the
story that was omitted, the fact that this action was against
the New York State Constitution.
Was this because of deadlines? No, this story was recycled over
several weeks. Was it due to lack of information? no, this
information is readily available on the New York State web site.
Why then was it not reported?
Example 2: A complaint (OK, by me) was made to the Shandaken Town
Board that a local farmstand had outgrown the boundaries set up
by the Shandaken Planning Board and therefore was in violation
of its operating permit and its inadequate parking was creating
a traffic hazard. First the local tabloid reported that I complained
for personal reasons, that I resented the proprietors for political
reasons. Politics were not the motivating factor for the complaint.
If anything the local buzz is don't bother complaining because
nothing will be done about the situation because of politics.
What motivated me was I was involved in a "close call"
while driving on Rt. 28 when a vehicle several cars in front of
me slowed for a left hand turn and 6 or so cars quickly piled
up in front of this farm stand. No screeching tires or dramatic
maneuvers but enough to get any drivers heart pumping. If there
was a personal motivation perhaps it was the fact I was driving
my husbands truck at the time and anyone who has been in a significant
relationship knows you never want to go home and announce "Honey,
I smacked up the truck".
The day following this incident
I attended a "Special" Shandaken Town Board Meeting
and used this opportunity to voice my concerns. The Supervisor
was also concerned but not about safety, just concerned I was
not following proper channels, inquired of the Town's Zoning enforcement
Officer if my public, verbal complaint was official. "Yes"
answered the Officer. To be fair, I did go to the ZEO office and
get the proper form to file a paper complaint but never sent it
in. So, one could argue I contributed to the story by not following
through. But I would be culpable if I did not admit I was
incensed to discover that the "News" reported was not
that perhaps this Farm Stand may be in violation (again) but that
I had not filed a peice of paper? What is going on here?
Two different newspapers inquired with the ZEO if I had filed
this crucial paper and that was the story? That I didn't?
Oh, wait, to add further credibility to the story it was reported
I was also allegedly taking photo's of said Farm Stand, which
for the record, I did not.
Having taken an Investigative Journalism class in my junior year
of high, I would expect the local papers to do the bare minimum
to qualify the story. Why for instance, when calling the ZEO,
did they not also inquire about the permit that was issued and
if there was a discrepancy between what was permitted and actually
going on? Why did they not also go to the video tape of the planning
board meeting where the permit was issued to see what was allowed?
As I recall the vendor promised to limit the Farm Stand to a mere
10 x 10 space, with 3 off road parking spaces. The ZEO proclaimed
he would be watching since TWO zoning violations were lifted so
the applicant could go through the process to become legal, so
is he? Furthermore, I would expect the reporters to question why
at the same meeting the Planning board felt it prudent to require
The Artist & Farmers Market in Pine Hill to report back
in 1 yr. to check on their compliance to their permit. This seasonal
market is being run in a huge building, adjacent to public parking
and in the center of Pine Hill, off the main drag. However the
Mt. Tremper Market, with it's two previous violations was not
required to report back for a yearly review, why? Lastly, I have
looked and found no provision in the law requiring a complaint
by a private citizen in order for the ZEO to do his job. While
diplomatically, it is understandably having someone else to blame
it on makes the job easier, the lack of a complaint in no way
releases the ZEO from investigating violations or enforcing the
law. If their are other forces working to prevent this,
they should be recognized and exposed.
In Shandaken, it has often been the case that you do what you
want and shoot the messenger or you build it, and then get approval.
Until everyone it held to the same version of the law, how can
our government ever hope to bring the town together? Until our
local papers start reporting the truth , also known as just the
facts, without worrying about who they will offend or who they
will recruit or retain on to their side how can the readers ever
trust what they read and make adequate conclusions?
Pine Hill, NY
Mixed messages! Last nights debate was so enlightening,
it is hard for me to imagine that there is anyone left that can
believe a word George W. Bush utters (between his arrogant smirks
and grumbles). He clumsily echoed his tried and true mantra
again and again, accusing Senator Kerry of sending "mixed
messages" to our troops and the world. In reality,
it is Mr. Bush who consistently and intentionally sends mixed
messages with two goals. 1. Keep the country
in fear and link Saddam Hussein to the horrendous attacks of
9/11 (which everyone now knows he had nothing to do with) and
2. To ensure that his oil mongering cronies become even more wealthy
by stealing the oil of a downtrodden Middle Eastern country.
The WAR! First it was weapons of mass destruction.
There were NONE. Then it was links to terrorists.
There were none before Bush invaded. Then it was to liberate
the Iraqis. Obviously not a welcomed hand as thousands of
people continue to die solely because of the unwelcomed American
occupation. Mr. Bush said of Mr. Kerry's opposition
to the way the war was waged and the lack of an effective exit
strategy that it is "Not a message a commander in chief gives."
I guess he assumes a better message is one of denial and refusal
to admit a mistake. Is this what we should teach our children?
His stubborn "steadfast" and "resolved" "determination"
to continue down a road to nowhere puts our brave men and women
of the armed forces in greater harm daily. He
said, "I will never submit America's security to an international
test." I assume this means he would prefer to alienate
the leaders of the majority of the free world in his own crusade,
as appointed by God, to "save the world and bring freedom
to the middle east". Can Freedom and Salvation come
through stubborn arrogance and the sin of pride. Is this
really the message we Americans want to send to the world?
I certainly don't. No matter what you think about John Kerry,
you must realize that another 4 years of the Bush/Cheney/Rove
- war for oil machine - will leave all of our hands and hearts
stained in the blood of an illegal and immoral, unending war on
the wrong front (rember the guy who used planes as bombs? Osama?).
Please vote, for the children yet unborn, let them have a world
of honesty and peace, its only fair.
Honorably discharged USAF
Veteran of the Iran/Iraq war,
David J. Turan
It was with delight that I observed the powerful presence, cogent
plans, and clear demonstration of John Kerry's calm, superior
intellect during the first presidential debate. I am hopeful that
others recognize the value of this candidate and the importance
of voting him into the office of the President. I believe that
John Kerry can realign the country with its allies, acknowledge
and deal with the failure of invading Iraq, lift the ban on stem-cell
research, stop the erosion of abortion rights, promote health
policies that favor people and science over pharmaceutical companies
and religious extremists, genuinely commit himself to the environment
and alternative energy policies, regain international goodwill,
and undo the tragically misguided policies of George Bush.
The so called Presidential Debate last night, Sept. 30, 2004 was
for me the first time I had ever really witnessed two human personalities
manifest themselves in one physical body. I refer of course to
Senator John Kerry and his ability to take two diametrically opposed
positions on each of many situations offered by the moderator,
Jim Lehrer of PBS; "I believe Sadaam Hussein is a threat
to the world and the United States in general", just prior
to launching the pre-emptive strike in Iraq he declared and now
states that he only "voted to 'authorize' the enforcement
by the U.S. of U.N. resolution #17", but that now, "it
is the wrong war at the wrong time".
On a morning show with Diane Sawyer Senator Kerry said that his
support for or against [the war] "depends on the outcome".
How's that for having it both ways? I would like to have the ability
to see the future especially when playing with "venture capital".
Mr. Kerry later criticized President Bush for not furnishing adequate
"body armor" to the troops and not equiping Hum-Vees
with armor plate shields. Mr. Kerry as I remember it, "voted
for the 87 billion supplimental budget before I voted against
John Kerry is seen as a proficient debater and I suppose he must
be if he can convince the electorate that we can be comfortable
with "up" and "down"; "go, no go";
"yes" and "no" at the same time. He is "personally
opposed to abortion but I will uphold the law permitting it"
instead of trying to overturn that law. He must have been present
when the great Yogi Berra wound up a college comencement address
with, "my final advice to ya's is when ya come to life's
fork in the road......, take it". Perhaps John Kerry should
go to Oklahoma dressed in Berberry hunting gear with a Franchi
12 Ga. over his shoulder and convince those folks that he's a
I would also wonder out loud if John Kerry is going to regale
us with Viet Nam war stories for four or eight years. He did that
three [or four] times last night. It is over sixty one years since
I "signed up" and I have yet to "swap war stories"
or revisit many unpleasant experiences. John Kerry would get sea
sick if he stood next to my old sea bag. 'Nuff said.
Now this doesn't mean that G.W. Bush is off the hook even though
he is consistant. I wrote you [the Editor] a letter prior
to the Iraq invasion wondering what we're going to do there, how
and why we'll do it and then the "biggie"; how do we
get out of there? I do believe, however that Iraq is directly
related to terrorism and that Sadaam in jail is better than Sadaam
in power. But for whom?
My question as a democrat these days is, "is John Kerry
the best we could do"? Democrat Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia
hit the nail on the head when he stated [at the republican convention
and I paraphrase] that the modern democrat party is not the party
of Roosevelt,Truman or [John] Kennedy. There is a world of difference
in the democrat party prior to 1963 and the present.
I'm not really sitting on the fence as I am hesitant to even vote;
something I have done since 1948. When the hors d'oeuvre platter
comes around with nothing appealing on it, you pass with a, "thanks,
but no thanks". I may do just that on November 2, 2004. But
if I do, I will keep my mouth shut as opposed to the "loud
mouths" that don't vote and have the most to say. Amen???
Glenn T. Anderson
I called Joanne Michaels last Sunday after reading her letter
to the editor to express my amazement that she would be promoting
Paul Gruner over Mary Work for Surrogate when she felt Judge Work
was doing such a horrible job in the Family Court, and as it turned
out, in a couple of seconds, she gave me a hundred reasons why
she thought Judge Gruner should be the Surrogate and Judge Work
should stay in the Family Court and the next thing I knew I was
on Joanne's television show.
Well, I haven't the faintest idea what I said on the show, but
I do remember saying or agreeing that judges have too much power
and later I wondered if that was a proper thing to say and guess
what? The next day I saw a headline that read Supreme Court Justice
Antonin Scalia says: "Some Judges are Displaying Too Much
Power" and I would consider that to be in good company except
that I rarely agree with anything that Justice Scalia says.
Which takes me to the reason I am writing this letter. Whatever
I did say on Joanne Michael's television show, this is what I
meant to say or want to reiterate:
We need a ground breaking county agency to handle family matters
and take the family out of the adversary system. The present system
incites animosity, dirty tricks, hiding the truth. We need to
take divorce out of the hands of lawyers and away from judges.
Judges have too much power in the matrimonial and family courts
and rely on a courtroom presentation where much too often the
best liar, deceiver and cheater wins. The cases drag on forever.
What incentive does a lawyer have to end a case when it conflicts
with his/her own fee generating self-interest. We need to change
the system so that husbands and wives expect to collaborate, not
defeat and destroy. We need to get out of the box. We need to
stop thinking about "winning;" we need to stop thinking
"barracuda." We need to stop feeding law guardians and
forensic evaluators. We need a panel of experts who can help resolve
financial and custody matters, not exacerbate them.
Do you recognize this need? Who's out here with me?
Russia is poised to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change!
The treaty needs a nod from just one more major country, so Russia's
ratification puts it into effect around the world. It's a start.
At least we now have an international platform from which to work
on this potentially disastrous problem. Climate change is fact.
By far the leading contributor to climate change is man's ever-increasing
combustion of fossil fuels. The carbon dioxide produced acts to
trap heat in near the earth's surface. Still open for debate is
exactly what's going to happen as the planet heats up, but it's
likely to be pretty unpleasant.
Also unpleasant is Bush's rejection of the Kyoto treaty three
years ago. What can we do? One thing is to support the passage
of the bipartisan Climate Stewardship Act sponsored by Senators
McCain and Lieberman. This sets mandatory greenhouse gas pollution
limits. Next is to dump Bush in November and get the United States
back to being a constructive part of the world again.
As ombudsmen for policyholders, the Professional Insurance Agents
of New York State Inc. wants to let New York drivers know about
an important letter they may be seeing in their mailboxes. Anyone
who receives a letter from the New York State Department of Motor
Vehicles indicating that his or her Social Security number is
invalid should not ignore the notice. It's important to contact
the DMV to straighten out the problem as soon as possible to avoid
complications that might arise.
The DMV is using new computer capabilities to verify all Social
Security numbers and has mailed nearly 500,000 letters to people
whose listed Social Security numbers could not be verified. The
reason for an invalid Social Security number can be as simple
as forgetting to notify the Department of Social Security after
a name change or as complicated as identity theft.
A second wave of notices is planned for November, suspending the
licenses of those who have not responded to the DMV inquires.
In addition to hindering your ability to drive, a suspended license
could have a negative effect on your auto insurance.
Should your insurance company find out about the suspended license,
it could cancel midterm or refuse to renew all the insurance polices
under your name - not just your own. It is important to note,
most insurance companies check the status of your driver's license
prior to renewal.
President, Professional Insurance Agents of New York State Inc.
Rockville Centre, NY