This Open Letter was sent to Planning Board Chairman John Horn...
Re: Andrew Poncic's application for Special Permit Use (to siphon
and transport spring water from Woodland Valley)
I ask that you and the Planning Board deny Andrew Poncic's application
for a special permit use in Woodland Valley. Aside from serious
environmental concerns, article VII of the Shandaken Zoning
Code (Special Permit Uses—Section 116-39) provides strong
reasons to reject this application. I quote:
In authorizing any permit use, the Planning Board shall take
into consideration the public health, safety and general welfare,
the comfort and convenience of the public in general and that
of the immediate neighborhood in particular.
Mr. Poncic has stated in the past that he plans to have tanker
trucks traveling the Woodland Valley road a minimum of 30 times
a week (trucks entering and leaving the valley 3 times a day,
5 days a week). Woodland Valley Road is not much more than a
narrow country lane, full of sharp twists and turns. In fact,
Mr. Poncic has stated that it made sense to engage the largest
trucks possible for a more "balanced" distribution
of weight. I have no doubt that he will eventually try to act
on this theory. Even the "smallest" water tanker will
present a real danger to people traveling the road, whether
on foot or driving. They are simply too large to negotiate this
particular road. Even one trip a day is too many.
It's been pointed out that big trucks already travel Woodland
Valley delivering fuel, hauling garbage, transporting gravel
and the like, with no significant accidents (though Ken Umhay
might argue this point). All these services are just that—services—which
to some extent aid in "the comfort", "convenience",
even the "public health" of Woodland Valley residents.
That they must be delivered by truck is something of a necessary
The introduction of tankers would be contrary to the safety
and general welfare of Valley residents and visitors. It would
serve one purpose only—to fatten Mr. Poncic’s already
Woodland Valley, NY
WRITE, UNITE and FIGHT!
If the mainstream media spent as much time investigating reports
of voting irregularities as they spend debunking them, we might
get at the truth- but we're not there yet. Recounts are going
on in New Hampshire, and Ohio is next. Remember the millions
who died defending our right to free, fair elections. In the
beginning, only wealthy white men could vote. After centuries
of struggle, women, non-whites, native Americans and, yes, even
poor people got the right to vote. We still fight gerrymandering,
partisan corruption, barricades of police intimidation, illegal
voter roll purges, defective equipment and ratty polling places
in poor neighborhoods. America has a lousy track record... no
wonder only a fraction of eligible voters even bother to pull
a lever or punch a chad.
Now that a few giant corporations control the media, now that
lock-step Republicans dominate the Senate, Congress, Supreme
Court and the White House, now that Republican-run private companies
make the electronic machines we vote on, now that evangelical
Christianity has replaced science with religion and broken down
the barriers between church and state... now we are supposed
to trust them to get the vote right? With secret codes in black
boxes that have no paper record? You buy a candy bar and you
get a receipt. Is the vote less important than a candy bar?
Shout for an end to paperless voting and don't stop shouting
till we get the job done.
I don't believe a majority of Americans voted for Bush. To those
that actually did, think about this: isn't it just possible
that George W. Bush is really an Anti-Christ? It may take many
shapes, but always feeds on hate. Hatred of abortion lets him
wage a war on false pretences, killing women and babies in Iraq.
Hatred of gay marriage lets him tap our phones and soil our
Constitution. Hatred of stem cell research lets him cripple
public education and health care. Hatred of condoms lets him
condemn millions to death from AIDS. Hatred of poor people getting
welfare lets him kill our overtime pay, lavish tax cuts
on millionaires, pave the way for the rape of social security,
wreck our reputation in the world, inflame a new generation
of terrorists, and send us racing into poverty, pollution and
pestilence. That doesn't sound like true Christian values to
Democrats and progressive people everywhere- don't be blue...
see red. Even with titanic odds against us, the reds only won
by a scant few percent. That's like me going 13 rounds with
Leon Spinks, never getting knocked down, and losing by a referee
decision. OK, so our ears are bleeding- people have bled for
But before reds impose a 40% national sales tax and bring back
the draft, before reds throw millions more in prison and make
torture legal, before reds provoke an unholy religious nuclear
war, let's try this: WRITE, UNITE and FIGHT! WRITE letters to
TV stations, newspapers
and politicians. UNITE in ever larger groups that include all
colors, religions, and all ways of life... and FIGHT like our
lives depend on it... because they do.
What has been most disheartening to me is the glee with which
the rape of Olive's tax base has been pursued by the other Towns
in the Onteora District and the County. If Woodstock and Shandakan
would expend as much energy in fostering their own tax bases
perhaps they would be better able to bear their own share of
the burden. For example, Woodstock made the choice to spurn
expansion of the old Grand Union market, to spurn the advances
of Marriott and any other developer who sought to build something
of substance. More power to Woodstock and their love of open
space and small town charm...why give up anything when they
can come take Olive's tax base?
Perhaps we need to look at other large parcel candidates in
the Onteora District, like the Belleayre Ski Center...how would
Shandakan like that? Are all the Towns in Ulster County sharing
the tax base of Ulster where the HV Mall and all the big box
stores are shoehorned into a compact strip? Sounds like a large
parcel to me.
There are many ironies in this situation. By invoking the Large
Parcel issue, the School Board has sunk any hope of seeing a
budget passed in Olive, ever, so now they want to pass the hot
potato. The school district gets no benefit from this controversy,
it only suffers. No additional revenue is raised, and Olive's
loss will be faintly felt in reductions in the tax bills of
the other towns, yet Olive will get a massive wedgie right where
it hurts. Thanks.
Of course, I am seeing this as a resident of Olive, but I am
also a former resident of Shandaken and Woodstock. After IBM
left I experienced a significant drop in income from my sales
as an artist. By 1996 I was hurting, and relocating from Rosendale
to 'low-tax' Olive really enabled me to stay in New York, as
opposed to going to North Carolina or Virginia. Olive's low
tax status has been under continual threat since I moved here,
first from the City of New York and their attempt to lower their
assessment around the reservoir, and now this Large Parcel rape.
The squeeze is on and seeing the glee of our 'neighbors' is
Onerous taxes will continue until structural changes are made
in funding education. Perhaps the school board should look to
the coal and steel industries for their next initiative: declare
bankruptcy, void labor contracts, pension and healthcare commitments
and sell the schools. The Large Parcel act was designed to prevent
tax fluctuations on large capital installations, like power
plants, whose values could be manipulated by an Enron style
management. Its use on a reservoir in Olive, which covers more
than half our town, is a move worthy of Enron itself.
Dear Editor, The Supervisor of Woodstock stood before the Board
of Education numerous times crying, “Fair and Equal!”
He even duped the Supervisor of Shandaken into making it a duet.
If the School Board’s decision to enact the Large Parcel
Bill was to level the playing fields with regard to school taxes,
what will happen now that citizens within Woodstock who pay
more taxes to Saugerties and Kingston are now crying, “Fair
and Equal!” to their own Town Board. Should they now take
their “pound of flesh” or “bucket of water”
from Olive’s former reservoir or will Mr. Wilber figure
a way to redistribute tax money to make Woodstock’s school
taxes “ Fair and Equal!”
Did Mr. Cross and Mr. Wilber never hear of the old saying, “People
in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?” When Ulster
County’s Real Property Office was asked about Shandaken’s
last reval, the answer was, “I think it was in the seventies.
I have been here eighteen years and it hasn’t been done
within that time period.” How can Shandaken with an archaic
tax assessment base and with 75% of its state land under-assessed,
point fingers at Olive and cry, “Fair and Equal?”
Last year Olive negotiated a higher assessment of the Ashokan
Reservoir and rigorously initiated a town-wide reval to keep
up with Woodstock’s assessment that was done in 1992,
and updated twice, and with Hurley that does a yearly update.
Will the Onteora School Board now direct its attention to Shandaken
as the weakest tax link of the District?
How about the Towns, not the school district, doing the business
of the towns? Next year the Board of Education should avoid
the option of the Large Parcel Bill; stop meddling in the Home
Rule of the towns and get back to setting Educational Policy!
There are a number of issues scattered throughout the Olive
Press of November 11, 2004 that I wish to comment on and perhaps
The editorial begins with a "body slam" from the past
when the writer refers to the "stolen election" [of
2000]. What part of the Constitution, Mr./Madam editorial writer
do you not understand? Is it the electoral process [which is
left to the several states]; or the single date for selecting
electors; or perhaps the part you think the court(s) should
play in the actual selection. The US Supreme Court did nothing
other than to tell a lower [meddling] court to follow the Constitution.
I should be delighted to review the Constitution with you in
a public forum sir/madam, and let public embarrassment convince
you that the 2000 election was indeed "on the level".
Then you refer to Ulster County's "ancient political dynasty"
soon passing into oblivion. The dynasty is obviously the UC
Republican Party which by it's succession each election cycle
has risen quite often well above mediocrity. Gee, I was accused
of attacking a family when I referred to them as a dynasty.
What changed and where is my accuser lately?
Now on to other more important concerns such as a Police Commissioner
giving much free time and direction. Who cares where a volunteer
lives or votes when that person contributes to a community without
compensation and the contribution is a sharing of talent and
experience? So the person "fibbed" a little when stating
that he "is" a police officer. I lied to get into
the Navy at age 16 in 1943. What should happen to me? Lose my
citizenship? Sharing is a gift you give to yourself.
Then we have Stacey Banks of Woodstock singing the praises of
Supervisor Jeremy Wilber and the Onteora School Board for reaching
into the pockets of Olive [and Hurley] taxpayers only because
they could under the "Large Parcel" act. I would ask
Ms. Banks and Supervisor Wilber if I as a resident of Olive
might vote in a Woodstock election; the old "taxation without
representation" thing, don't you know? Ms. Banks allows
that a house in Olive with a market value of $100,000 should
be taxed at the same level that a $100,000 home in Woodstock.
Not so fast Ms. Banks. The reservoir which NYC pays taxes on
requires no public services as your $100,000 home in Woodstock
does and has no students attending Onteora. Likewise the businesses
in Woodstock that require Police and Fire response, street maintenance
and a park or two. (Anyone know of a fire or robbery in the
reservoir? NYC doesn't even have insurance and you do). The
asessed value of the reservoir with it's commensurate tax(es)
causes the real estate and school taxes to be lower in Olive
which is common all over the country. In fact a prospective
new home buyer inquires as to schools, shopping malls, churches
and TAXES when the real estate agent shows his offerings Ms.
Banks. I can see your expression when your r.e. agent explains
that "this town shares it's tax base income with East Gedunk,
the next town over". Your reply?, "Oh my, that's not
One of these days soon this joke will end whether it's Olive's
[and Hurley's] withdrawal from Onteora or a court intervenes.
As for the Onteora School Board; your days are numbered as you
come up for re-election. Those especially from Olive who "represented"
Shandaken, Woodstock and Marbletown and led by a "biased"
lawyer are targeted for extinction. You all now have the "Hutzpah"
to point to the victims and declare yourselves not responsible
for this debacle. You even suggest [led by the lawyer] that
another group or [political] entity take over where you left
off. If you, the school board are not happy with what you did
you don't need anyone else to "shill" the game for
you. Just back off the large parcel and do it the old way. We
can live with the usual annual increase even if it takes two
votes to "get it right".
Do you folks not know that politicians [which the school board
has become] are noted for creating commissions, authority(s),
associations and other "insulating" types of organizations?
Try barking at the Governor for the MTA ineptness and you will
be informed that the MTA is an independent public organization.
(Incidentally we pay an MTA surcharge on our phone bills. When
is the last time you took a subway in Olive?) This is your school
board attempting to transfer the responsibility. They say now
that they should not have to make those choices. Why didn't
they say that prior to invoking the Large Parcel Act?
Remember folks. This is the same board that implied that we,
their constituants are responsible for a short budget, depriving
the children and cheating the school system. This is what lawyer/politicians
do; blame the victim(s). So, under the circumstances we must
reject the next proposed budget [both times] while working the
court(s) and electing Olive board members who have Olive resident's
rights and equality in their interests or establish the "Olive/Hurley"
Central School District. Forget whatever relationship you have
with the Olive "Benedict Arnolds" who now appear as
scared rabbits in a forest fire. They have had more impact on
the residents of Olive [in various ways] than any "real"
politician of whatever office. In fact our other elected representatives
are decent, reliable public servants.
I respectfully decline consideration for any elected position
as I prefer being the "marksman", not the "target".
Glenn T. Anderson
The Ulster County Department of Social Services is appealing
to the community for donations in order to provide needy children,
families and senior citizens in our community with Christmas/holiday
gifts, new toys, new warm clothing (for children and adults/seniors)
and gifts or gift certificates for teenagers. All would be greatly
appreciated. Families can be 'adopted' and monetary donations
are also appreciated.
At this hectic time of year it is often possible to overlook
those people in our community who may not be as fortunate. In
the spirit of giving during this season, we would appreciate
any assistance in making this holiday season a special one for
We would also like to thank all of the individuals and businesses
who have helped us in the past. We could not have holiday gifts
without their assistance.
For more information, please contact Rachel Hunter at 334-5140.
Laura Boodakain, Rachel Hunter
UC Department of Social Services
Dear Editor, This is in response to your misinformation in your
article, “What’s in the budget.” Regarding
the budget for my office, Brian Grant and Doris Bartlett did
not receive any increase as they are busy attending classes
to obtain them certification. Therefore, they were not putting
a lot of time in the office, so I did not put in for an increase.
As far as all town employees receiving a four percent increase,
I believe some employees received more and 1 only received a
“two percent” increase. You also mentioned that
the assessors’ office was one of the largest line items.
The reason for this is that 911 was added to my budget against
my objections. Just getting the facts straight, once more. Sincerely,
Rosalie M. Boland, CSA
Chairman, Board of Assessors Publisher’s
Note: Thanks for the correction. The statement that all town
employees received a 4% increase was provided directly and verbatim
by Supervisor Cross, in Cross' office, and verified by his secretary.
Next budget, you can be sure we'll check the math for ourselves
before reporting it...