I am writing to express my outrage at Blake Killan's politically
motivated attempt at a cheap and dirty character assassination
of my husband, Dave Channon, in the Ulster Co. Townsman on
March 24, 2005. Killan and John Horn are attacking Dave because
he has the courage to speak out against the corrupt politics
practiced by the pro-Belleayre Resort forces in the Town of
Shandaken. The last campaign -- with Killan leading the charge
-- was waged and won (barely) on a crusade of outright lies,
innuendo, and intimidation. This latest display shows how
deep into the gutter they are willing to go.
Politically motivated harassment masquerading as news is a
constant drumbeat in the Ulster County Townsman. But make
no mistake: my website, EsopusCreek.com, was censored for
having a link to a different website that contained an unedited
town hall video of Jane Todd admitting her connection to Crossroads
Ventures. Blake Killan's hysterical misrepresentation of my
artwork was a desperate attempt to distract public attention
from the corruption and conflicts of interest that plague
the Cross Todd Munster administration.
My artwork ranges from the sublime to edgy comic adult satire,
similar to what anyone could find on cable TV any night of
the week. I urge everyone to visit EsopusCreek.com. There
is nothing offensive there. Bob Cross Jr. must honor his word
and put the link back up on the Shandaken town website.
I was amazed and troubled to find the work of local artist
David Channon so viciously mischaracterized in an article
published by the Ulster County Townsman.
Not only were works from Channon's catalog condemned out of
context, the most damaging context possible was conveniently
prefabricated by the author, Blake
Killan, who never personally viewed the works he questioned
or smeared. Half the artists in New York could just as easily
be tarred by Mr. Killian's insinuating brush, as he seems
incapable of grasping off beat humor or a role for art less
pristine than a
Norman Rockwell painting. It is the height of irresponsibility
for the Press to engage in character assassination. Journalists
should investigate unsubstantiated allegations, not be the
source of them.
The Ulster Townsman has brought biased sensationalism to a
new level in Blake Killan's latest personal assault against
Dave Channon. Killan's article bore little resemblence to
the far more objective coverage of the incident which was
reported in the March 9 Kingston Freeman and the Mar 17 edition
of The Phoenicia Times. It is so obvious that Killan is deeply
probing into Channon's work to justify castigating Channon
because he is an outspoken critic of Shandaken's current regime.
Esopus Creek Multimedia has complied with every term of Supervisor
Cross' requirements to be reinstated on the town's official
website. I find it particularly disturbing that the official
town newspaper chooses to endorse this brand of censorship
and resorts to suggestions that Channon is peddling pornography
and perversion on another website, which has nothing to do
with this issue. I am certain that the more sophistocated
readers se through the Ashcroftesque nature of Killan's witch
hunt agenda and will not support this sorry rag which has
no place as an offical town newspaper.
When newspapers print malicious opinion portrayed as objective
fact, everyone loses. So how can citizens and communities
protect themselves against the inaccuracies, sensationalism,
and irresponsible biases of "yellow journalism"?
Good newspapers live by ethical principles; scandal sheets
do not. Here are some of the most basic principles found in
textbooks and guidelines of journalistic ethics. They are
easy for any true newspaper to follow: 1) News stories, especially
major news stories, will have bylines, so that readers can
recognize the source of the information and be sure that they
are not receiving the views of only one individual; 2) News
stories cite their sources, concretely and specifically, so
that any reader can verify the information by going to those
sources; 3) News stories attempt to be balanced and therefore
include the views, preferably in their own words, of those
who might not agree with a story's general content; 4) New
stories convey facts and data without drawing conclusions
(real journalists trust their readers); 5) News stories avoid
applying labels to individuals or their work unless those
labels are a matter of public record (such as an occupation
or position in government) or chosen by the individual; and
6) News stories cite sources of information or funding that
may cause concerns about conflicts of interest.
If a newspaper consistently fails on one or more of these
criteria -- or as in a recent issue of the Ulster County Townsman,
on all of them -- the paper does not properly belong in the
realm of journalism. As media abuses at the national level
demonstrate, people are often offered propoganda rather than
news. What we choose to read will affect us and our community.
What we take in and digest via our minds and hearts can poison
us as surely as what we eat.
We can help ourselves and the sources of our news by asking
papers to live by the standards of journalism, and indeed,
to live by the highest standards of journalism. The more strongly
people feel about issues, the greater the need for accurate,
fair, and unadorned information, and the more important role
in serving the community that true news reporting can play.
Every article pertaining to local news in Shandaken appearing
in the 3/24/05 issue of the Ulster County Townsman contains
gross factual error, intended misinformation and/or character
assassination. Whether it was cell towers, Pine Hill water
of the town’s website, Blake Killan has once again abandoned
all ethics associated with responsible journalism and used
the town’s "OFFICIAL PAPER" to promote the
republican political agenda.
What should be of particular concern to all citizens, is the
personal attack on Dave Channon. Killan’s article reeks
of McCarthyism, recalling dark days in America’s history
when good people were attacked for political revenge and control.
Anyone who knows Dave personally is proud to call him a friend.
Never afraid to speak his mind, he has another admiral quality,
he is never afraid to admit an error. When it was discovered
that Mr. Channon’s website inadvertently contained a
link to a link to a link to a link to another website, a simple
phone call could have remedied the situation. He has now corrected
this and his business link to EsoupusCreek.com should now
be restored on the Towns website.
By choosing to single out one person’s web-links for
censorship, Bob Cross not only violated Mr. Channon’s
right to free speech as laid out in the United States Constitution,
First amendment, but he challenged the very definition of
what should be construed as slanderous and offensive. The
original problem Mr. Cross stated with the web-link was that
it contained slander and offensive information about Councilwoman
Jane Todd. The information in question was an unedited video
clip from a public meeting and an accompanying transcript
of an exchange between her and Gary Gailes. It is Jane Todd’s
own voice referring to The Crossroad Ventures team as"WE."
So is it offensive to Mr. Cross that Jane Todd apparently
slandered herself? If she is not slandering herself, she is
admitting she has connections to Crossroad Ventures and has,
all by herself, given credibility to the complaints about
her conflict of interest regarding her connection to Crossroad
Ventures and the Belleayre resort. Are these personal attacks
against Dave meant to divert attention away from Jane Todd’s
public statement about herself? Will the Shandaken Town Board
now have to go back and address the fact that the Ethics committee
they appointed to address this issue met illegally and has
conveniently forgotten to fix that mistake?
During his campaign, Bob Cross pledged to "bring the
town together." It was his team that chose this slovenly
paper as Shandaken’s official paper. Make no mistake,
it has been Blake Killan, the Ulster County Townsman, Dean
Gitter and those who support their offensive tactics to divert
attention from the truth that divides this town.
Pine Hill, NY
Eric Hansen had a hostile, finger-pointing letter in the last
issue of the Phoenicia Times that was full of errors and misstatements.
This comes in the aftermath of recent malicious editorials
and articles in the Ulster County Townsman, our “official”
town newspaper, in which the editor repeats the same litany
of false accusations he has been making for years. It appears
that a repeat of the smear campaign of 2003 is gearing up.
The 2003 campaign in Shandaken was unprecedented in it’s
bitterness and it’s irresponsible misrepresentations
of issues and people. I have never seen anything like it in
the 24 years I have lived here. It was designed, financed
and executed to wipe anyone seen as a possible obstacle to
the proposed Belleayre Resort off the political map.
There is plenty to debate about locally when the facts are
on the table. And everyone has a right to their opinion, and
to lobby for what they want. That is the democratic process.
The problem comes when character assassinations based on lies
are used as political weapons and people and facts are intentionally
and repeatedly misrepresented. This undermines authentic debate
and discussion and obscures the real issues at stake, which
I believe is the intention. The result: the public loses because
voters no longer have the information they need to make informed
Unfortunately, this is exactly what politics in general has
degenerated into - a process of obfuscating the real issues
to manipulate the voting public - and local politics is no
exception. Campaigns come down to a contest of who has more
money to push their agenda, and have little or no regard for
A call for integrity in Shandaken politics is in order. Debate,
argue, disagree, and confront when necessary, but leave the
lies out of it. To be a responsible citizen requires time
and a commitment to become accurately informed about issues
of concern. It requires much more than listening to rumors
and hate-mongering, and spreading them as if they were truth.
Let me just say that my letter to the editor was not full
of errors and misstatements. The Higley farmstand was wrung
through the wringer. I know because I was at the meetings.
If you don’t believe me and think I’m lying then
just ask AI Higley. The Phoenicia Plaza was wrung through
the Wringer. I know because I was at the meetings. If you
don’t believe me and think I’m lying then just
ask Jimmy McGrath. I never stated that I was pro resort, I
am pro golf courses, all I stated was that the town should
not bankrupt itself over an entity that may be perfectly legal.
I don’t know what kind of circles you think I run around
in, but I have never spoken to Dean Gitter nor have I ever
even met him. Your insinuation that I am part of a financed
plot is totally laughable. If I was, don’t you think
I could buy some false teeth? Millions of New York City residents
depend on the Esopus Creek. Don’t you think that the
D.E.C. and the D.E.P .will represent their constituency and
mandate rules and regulations that will be both stringent
and appropriate? Conspiracy theories are not appreciated when
it comes to the children of Shandaken. A generous offer of
a convenient site was offered, for a lease of one dollar a
year, for organized soccer. Why were the kids of S.A.Y.S.
used as pawns when this offer was given? Do you expect me
to believe that it was fought over because of the noise that
kids would make while playing a game? I think not! If you
don’t believe me and think I’m lying then just
ask the soccer moms. Judith the only statement that I opined
about you was your naive belief that there is very little
interest in snowmobiling. Do you think I’m also lying
about that? You had the chance to match the Town Master Plan
to the M.O.A clause that would allow traditional uses of city
owned property. I understand that you enjoy hiking; well snowmobile
trails would make an easier path for you to walk on in the
summer and also make it easier for emergency personnel to
respond in the case of an emergency. Judith, you filed the
lawsuit that effectively stopped cell phone usage in the town
of Shandaken. If you don’t believe me and think I’m
lying then just ask Sammy Umhay. Cell Towers are not permanent.
Once satellite communications are up and running they will
become obsolete. They will be sold fora dollar and dismantled
for scrap, probably to the benefit ofa local contractor. Let
me pose a hypothetical multi choice question: You are driving
on a cold and snowy night with little children in the back
seat and your car breaks down and you coast into a snow bank,
do you (A) Take your kids out on the road and start hitch
hiking. (B) Take your kids out and start walking. (C) Wrap
blankets around you and the kids and wait. (D) Pull out your
cell phone and call for help. The answer is of course, oops
I’m sorry, I forgot to premise the question with the
fact that you are driving in Shandaken, and that eliminates
(D). Judith, if you are again planning on suing the town over
cell towers I wish you would go out and talk to as many of
the people who live and work in Shandaken as you can (not
just the fanatical fringe element that you strategize with)
as I have done. I know that you will be honestly shocked by
the heavy support that cell phone coverage will receive. Then
I hope you will be thoroughly embarrassed by what you have
perpetrated on the people of Shandaken. Life is too short,
lighten up and get a grip.
Imagine my surprise, upon opening the Olive Press after its
recent hiatus, to discover a letter that attacks me, and in
such a personal way! Apparently this person is not even a
district resident, yet he has been annoyed enough by my words
to take the time to write to the Olive Press. The letter writer
challenges me to answer the questions he poses honestly. Well,
I'm not sure who he thinks he is, to demand an accounting,
but as all who know me are aware, I am never less than perfectly
truthful, and so I will oblige.
Mr. Thayer wonders if I support compensating indigenous peoples
(since he freely labels himself "clueless" he will
not mind my pointing out that "Native American"
is not the preferred term) for lands that were "stolen"
by Olive natives, with roots that go back generations? His
question makes two assumptions that must be scientifically
solved before a thoughtful response can be mounted; first,
that there were indigenous people settled in what has been
known since 1823 as the Town of Olive; second, if the first
assumption is correct (if it is not, this next part is a non-issue)
that all of those Olive natives I referenced do not descend
from indigenous peoples. How does Mr. Thayer know this? Because
he judges based on surnames that sound European? What about
He then wonders if I support reparations? This question is
not as easy to address as his assumptions about Olive's history
and residents, but it is one that I have spent a great deal
of time studying (not because of Mr. Thayer's letter, however;
at the risk of infuriating him once again due to mentioning
my advanced degree, I cover the subject in one of my classes).
There are persuasive viewpoints on both sides of the reparations
issue and I am not sure exactly where I stand. (Or at least
I don't care to fully elaborate in a letter to the editor
that is already too long; there are a lot of variables to
sort out, such as who exactly would be the beneficiaries,
who would do the paying, who would administer it, and how
to figure out the amount to be paid.) Specific programs, including
affirmative action and underrepresented student fellowships,
while not precisely reparations, are efforts in our society
to address this past injustice. So there is some precedent
for taking historical "theft" into account when
deciding contemporary "fairness." On the subject
of eternity, the jury is still out.
Next, he describes the situation in the Tri-Valley district,
but even given the advanced degree that so irritates Mr. Thayer,
I was left scratching my head. In the first place, the comparison
between districts is flawed. In the OCS district and in the
county, it is Olive that does not have the votes, and we have
been told that in no uncertain terms by our elected representatives.
Then, according to the NYS Education Department, in 2002-03
Tri-Valley spent $8,614 per student for general education
and $19,607 per student for special education. Onteora spent
$9,106 per student for regular education and $26,567 per student
for special education. Both are considered "Average Need/Resource
Category" schools, and both districts spent more than
did similar schools ($7,111 per student for general education
and $17,042 per student for special education). Also, both
were above the Statewide average ($7,595 per student for general
education and $17,818 per student for special education).
Even if Neversink pays nothing and Denning pays it all, there
is no way the disparity between towns in Tri-Valley could
be what Mr. Thayer asserts ($33,500 per student).
At first I was not sure why he wasted his time writing an
attack letter so specifically directed at me, instead of a
more productive endeavor - you know, maybe getting involved
in his own town and school, or looking at the beautiful view
outside of the window or something. I wondered if he could
be one of the Olive Press editorial writers? No, the name
did not seem familiar, and although it could be disguised,
it is doubtful one of the local journalists would be so personally
vindictive. Then I decided that it is because of his extreme
hostility toward his neighbors in Neversink due to his taxes
and their not implementing the large parcel, coupled with
an irrational jealousy over my having the nerve to "show
off" my doctoral degree by (gasp) putting the letters
after my name. If that upset him, oh well. I was a first-generation
college student, and it took me 22 long years to walk across
that stage and receive my PhD. I don't "flaunt"
it most of the time, but if I want to advertise it on occasion,
that's my right. There are a large number of folks in Olive
who are pretty d-mn proud of me for earning it, I am still
unspoiled enough that I consider it to be a significant achievement,
and if that ain't humble enough to suit Mr. Thayer, that's
Certainly the most personally offensive thing he wrote was
to question my ethics. That's a laugh. Now there's the mark
of a sore loser - when all else fails, suggest that someone
who disagrees with you is immoral, evil, a bad person. Upset
the game board, make all the pieces fall to the floor, and
run away. Why stop at unethical - why not call me a commie
too? (How about "coy commie?;" then he could even
use alliteration.) I don't know who Alden Thayer is - frankly,
I don't care who he is - he may even be a she - but one thing
is for sure. Them's fighting words. Is that plain spoken enough?
Mr. Thayer may scoff, but it does sadden me that some of our
neighbors are so resentful. We never knew before the large
parcel ripped open these old wounds. (However, it does make
it much easier to justify voting with our dollars…what
I mean is, don't shop outside of Olive.) In the end, I have
concluded that if he is sparing the good people of Neversink
his poison pen, I guess I am happy to be of service.
Gina Giuliano, PhD
Castleton & Samsonville, NY
I am responding to a letter written by Alden Thayer in Claryville,
which appeared in the last issue of the Olive Press. I was
quite surprised that someone would resort to personal attacks
over a difference of opinion regarding the Large Parcel legislation.
Dr. Giuliano has been writing about the issue, using a combination
of her personal experience, historic evidence, and SED statistics.
Dr. Giuliano has refrained from personal attacks. Mr. Thayer’s
letter is another example of the declining level of civil
discourse in our society which is necessary for a functional
democracy. To call Dr. Giuliano ethically-challenged is not
only insulting, it is just plain wrong. I hope that in the
future, as events unfold, we can all stick to the issues and
not resort to name calling.
Robert G. Schmidt
In January of 2002, without notifying Olive's Town Officials,
Senators Bonacic and Larkin introduced the "Large Parcel
Bill" to the Legislature, saying that "The main
purpose of this bill is to reduce the wild swings both up
and down that occur for all assessed properties when a municipality
has a high value property whose assessed evaluation is in
flux from year to year." They had written that these
"...swings in property taxes [are] particularly hard
on senior citizens in what is already an economically struggling
area of the State." But with the exception of a brief
period in 1987 when the State Supreme Court ordered an assessment
reduction, there has been virtually NO FLUCTUATION IN THE
ASSESSMENT OF THE ASHOKAN RESERVOIR IN THE PAST 50 YEARS PLUS
UNTIL NOW WHEN THE ADOPTION OF THE LARGE PARCEL LAW ITSELF
CAUSED A HUGE SWING IN TAXES IN OLIVE: School Tax 60% up and
Property Tax 91% up. The State Legislatures' Introducer's
Memorandums both declare that THERE ARE NO FISCAL IMPLICATIONS
TO THE LARGE PARCEL BILL! Olive's Town Board knew better than
that!! Take half a town's tax base away--return only a small
fraction of it.....and you're definately going to have some
Appealing to the Onteora School Board--who were named by the
State Legislature to make this heavy political decision, Olive's
officials were assured that the Onteora School Board would
not enact the Law if Olive "made a significant move toward
a revaluation." At that time, in response to the School
Board's request, the Town of Olive wrote to the State Office
of Real Property Services and (armed with a box of new data
gathered in the court battle with the City) finally won its
appeal which affirmed a higher valuation of the reservoir
and set the stage for an Olive reval--which then commenced.
Yet when August rolled around...the Onteora School Board (
now heavily lobbied by Jeremy Wilber and Ulster County ORPS
with a little fancy dance they do misnamed "Fair and
Equal"), adopted the Law in spite of their word. This
adoption has resulted in the "legal" theft of over
half of Olive's Tax Base, a multicommunity tax feeding frenzy
and a fast track process of rapid gentrification, that will,
over a short period of time tear Olive's rural community apart.
And the side effect will certainly be a negative impact on
the passage of the Onteora School District budget. As in much
of politics, the ax usually falls on the most helpless--in
this case, our children--and the axemen and women (having
little insight into the meanings and effects of what they
do) perform as puppets of the State. (To be continued)
The waste of political energy that surrounds the "Large
Parcel' issue is enormous. Mistakes were made on all sides
in my view. Senator Larkin, the bill's originator, failed
to account for effects reaching
beyond his constituency. The Assembly and Senate members who
voted for it, may have failed to read and think about it--perhaps
weren't even physically present for the vote. When confronted
by distraught Olive citizens, Sen. Bonacic (Rep.) and Assemblyman
Cahill (Dem.) seemed to have "shucked and jived"
around the bill's value, concentrating on the behavior of
upset constituents rather than teasing out the elements of
their complaint and acting as intelligent mediators. There
were mantras on all sides about "just and fair"...on
and on. The only product is bad feelings and bad behavior
on some persons' parts. The real problem is untouched: PROPERTY
TAXES ARE REGRESSIVE TAXES. The burden falls on those least
able to pay. Other forms of taxation need to be considered.
If all the nonsense could be put aside, energy would be better
placed organizing and making this a really important political
issue in the state. (There is a group in formation in Marbletown
already--put that energy there!)
--eliminate the Large Parcel Bill in the county, (Calm things
--let Olive proceed with reevaluation. (This won't bring taxes
down, but at least it conforms to an existing system and
doesn't insult the Town's geographic integrity.)
--organize against property taxes and for well formulated
newer systems of revenue raising, and
--everybody shake hands and grow up.
Mary Ann Mays
38 years ago my husband and I moved to the town of Olive.
We were newcomers and knew very little of the areas history.
My husband was an English teacher at Onteora. He retired from
that position after 33 years. I was the school secretary at
the Bennett School for many years. In that time we learned
a great deal about our Town and this entire area. We have
watched the slow decline of a fine educational institution,
Onteora Central School. This was caused for many reasons,
the times in which we lived, extremely poor administrations,
and apathy by many parents.
I do believe that the final blow to this fine school has been
handed to us by the Board of Education who is made up of mostly
newcomers to this area. They seem to have not done their homework
regarding the history of this school district. If they had
they would have come to a totally different decision regarding
the Large Parcel Law. By voting for this tax hike on the town
of Olive they have destroyed the only true supporters of this
District. These are the people who time and time again supported
this school. This is a town of people who value education
and what it can do for their children. They are hard working
and believe in the values that make good citizens.
It is sad that this board did not look into the previous votes
taken on the budget . They would have found overwhelmingly
that this town has supported the school while other towns
have consistently voted down their budgets. They would have
found that on top of the school budget we are the town that
provides police protection, fire protection, and many other
services for the High School and Jr. High not incurred by
the other towns. They also would have discovered that in many
cases the in-school services are used up not by the students
from the town of olive, but from the students who live in
the other towns, who remember, almost always voted their budgets
down. So in short they have given to those who hinder them
and taken form those who help them. The message they have
sent to all is that if you care about this school and vote
to support it you will be punished and if you do not support
it you will be rewarded. If only they had taken the time to
learn about the district they are representing, if only they
had thought this through. Now the damage is done and I cannot
see how it will ever be undone. The people in Olive are good,
descent people. They will never forget what has been done
to them. Their lives have been greatly changed by this overwhelming
burden that has been placed on them, both financially and
emotionally. All because we have a Board of Education who
never bothered to educate themselves.
There is a lot of news about Social Security and what is wrong
with it and how to fix it. A very simple fix comes to mind
- if it is going to run out of money in 2042, then why not
get more money for Social Security - how to do that?
Remove the cap. Right now every worker pays 6.2% of their
salary up to
$90,000 to withholding for Social Security. Most people do
not make that much, so remove the cap and then the wage earners
who make over $90,000 will have to pony up the funds to keep
the system solvent. Right now, Medicare has no cap. Every
wage earner pays 1.45% of each dollar to support Medicare.
Congressman Maurice Hinchey is holding meetings in our community
to let the people suggest ideas on how to fix social security.
This is one suggestion on how to do that.
I suggest each of you write to Congressman Hinchey with your
ideas. But if
you make Less than $90,000 a year, I would suggest this way
as opposed to raising the rates on the working people or cutting
benefits or moving the retirement age up.
Individuals should be saving and putting money away for retirement,
make sure There is a retirement for every wage earner - SSI
should still be responsible for the 6.2%. Private investment
is over and above that - leave SSI alone and fund it by removing
the cap on wage deductions.
I've been overwhelmed by the barrage of untruths coming from
the liberal media, and have decided speak out for some of
the truth about current events. One, in particular about Martha
Stewart, I'll reserve for later. But first, I want to talk
about some environmental issues that surfaced recently in
Close to a hundred dolphins have beached themselves around
Key Largo last week. The liberal media tried to blame the
sonar testing in the area for the event. However, some people
say that the truth behind this story is that these fish are
trying to join us on land, thus attaining their full status
as mammals and will, if successful, try to take over parts
of the Congress. Also last week, two chimps attacked two humans
and escaped from their sanctuary, trying to reclaim their
rights in the forest. As most patriotic Americans know, the
Bible gave man dominion over animals. These chimps, left loose
in the forests, would threaten the lumberjacks who come to
clean the forests of trees and other rubble.
We must stop these attacks by illegal species at every turn.
Some people say they are trying to learn English and plan
to take over telemarketing jobs at super low wages. And, since
they would be considered American's, we'd end up having to
pay for their Medicare. Where would this leave the middle
class, which is already close to bankruptcy? Which brings
me to the final noteworthy event of the week. Has anyone,
other than me, noticed Martha Steward roots, upon her release?
Well, I can tell you that she had only one month's growth
of roots, and her sentence was for 5 months. We can safely
conclude that Martha Stewart, somehow managed to get her roots
done in prison. There she was, enjoying the same privileges
that honest working men and women enjoy, who are not lying
to the government. This, while innocent men, like Bernie Ebbers,
has to endure frivolous lawsuits started by a few disgruntled
employees. We should not stand for these abuses against those
that believe in the rights of the great corporations that
should and do have dominion over all other species.
As Chairman of the Ulster County Legislature, I was pleased
to see the unanimous passage of Resolution No. 112, known
as the "Patriot Plan." By making this concept come
to fruition, the Legislature displayed decisive character
by quickly acting upon one of the initiatives I noted as being
an important goal for 2005. Ulster County is reaching out
to the men and women in the United States Armed Forces in
a very united and determined effort to show our solidarity
and support to those who are making the ultimate sacrifice.
We fully understand the commitment these individuals have
pledged to honor toward the pursuit of peace, placing the
good of all before themselves. Therefore, the Patriot Plan
signifies much more than an extension for payment of taxes;
it is a representation of good will toward great people and
it is the very least we, as a community, can offer.
I am personally calling upon towns, school districts, villages
and local municipalities to adopt legislation enacting additional
time for military personnel to pay their taxes. Each tax district
in Ulster County should be in receipt of further instructions
from the Ulster County Treasurers Office on what procedural
steps need to be carried out in order to sign onto this plan.
I would like to thank Kingston Mayor James Sottile for offering
his immediate support for the Patriot Plan. It is my hope
that his encouragement to the members of the Kingston Common
Council, and his community, will be emulated by all of the
political leaders in Ulster County.
Dear Editor, For those of you who do not know me, I wanted
to take a moment to introduce myself, and to those of you
who do know me personally, I thought this would be a good
opportunity to let you know a little more about the New York
City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Mayor Michael
Bloomberg appointed me as the new Commissioner for the DEP
As many of you already know, DEP is primarily responsible
for managing New York City’s drinking water supply and
distribution and wastewater collection and treatment systems.
The amazing systems are what make New York City possible today,
and DEP is working hard to ensure their integrity for future
generations. DEP’s current 10-year capital budget calls
for $19 billion in investments to maintain, enhance, and expand
the City’s water and wastewater infrastructure and to
further other environmental priorities of the Bloomberg Administration.
Some of these construction projects include the Third Water
Tunnel in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn; a new aqueduct
between the City and its upstate reservoirs; the filtration
plant for the Croton drinking water supply; an ultraviolet
treatment facility for the Catskill and Delaware supplies;
upgrades to a number of the City’s wastewater treatment
plants; and building out the water and sewer mains within
the City’s distribution network. Other important initiatives
include the furtherance of the Filtration Avoidance programs
protecting the Catskill and Delaware watersheds, and similar
watershed protection programs serving the Croton system. These
efforts will require continued strong collaboration with our
upstate partners and communities in the watersheds, as well
as our federal and state regulators.
DEP has many other responsibilities as well, including carrying
out Federal Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act regulations
within New York City; handling hazardous materials emergencies
and toxic site remediation; overseeing asbestos monitoring
and removal; enforcing the City’s air and noise codes;
billing and collecting for 800,000 water/sewer accounts; and
managing city-wide conservation programs. I have already learned
that DEP’s 6,000+ staff are committed to
providing these services professionally, efficiently, and
effectively. I look forward to leading them and learning from
I join DEP after serving as Columbia University’s Executive
Vice President for Government and Community Affairs, and before
that as Executive Vice President for Administration. Much
of my career has been spent in public service, and I was proud
to be the Commissioner for the Department of Sanitation under
Mayor David Dinkins. I also served as Director of Business
Development at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
and Commissioner for Traffic and Parking for the City of Boston.
I look forward to working with you, and hope that you will
contact my office if you have any concerns or suggestions
about how DEP can better serve the people of New York City
and our watersheds.
Very truly yours,
Commissioner, NYC DEP
The case of Terri Schiavo, which pits the husband of a woman
on life support against her parents, is once again making
headlines and re-igniting a national debate over when and
how medical treatment should be withdrawn. All this media
and legal attention has harmed Terri more than it has helped,
and clouded the real issues that are at stake.
These issues are our society's terrible fear of death and
suffering and our over-reliance on medical technology in a
desperate attempt to avoid both. We have also become dangerously
dependent on the state to make decisions for us.
That there is widespread public debate on a topic like this
can never be a bad thing. It shows that democracy is alive
and well. But where there are differences of opinion, and
differences in religious belief and faith, there must also
be respect for one another. So we should use this opportunity
not to push forward our own ideas and agendas, but to seek
This case, which has dragged on for over fifteen years, has
brought great anguish on both sides. My heart goes out to
Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who have loved and
longed for their daughter for so many years. I am a parent
myself and fully understand why they cannot accept being told
that there is no chance for greater recovery. Which parent
would not hold out in insistent hope?
From what I have read, Mary Schindler has taken care of her
brain-damaged daughter as only a true mother could. So even
though I feel differently, I can understand her plea to President
Bush "to save my little girl." All the same, I find
it frightening when not only a governor but also the Congress,
the Supreme Court, and even the President intervene in such
a personal and intimate issue, reducing it to legal hair-splitting
over a disabled person's "constitutional right to live."
My heart also goes out to Terri's husband, Michael, who has
pleaded for years that his wife be allowed to die. His belief
that death would leave her at peace and with God is in no
way selfish or unfeeling, as his many critics contend. In
fact, I respect his faith and would wish for my wife what
he is wishing for his.
This case goes far beyond Terri's physical condition, her
medical outlook (whatever it is) and whether or not her feeding
tube should be removed. It should give pause and lead to serious
soul-searching. In the end the creator of life, not we, should
decide when to take life away. Therefore re-inserting a feeding
tube, or fighting to keep one in, is no less a form of human
We are too afraid of death and dying. If Terri should die,
it will be painful, but no cause for despair: we all have
to die one day.
That an intense struggle over Terri’s life is occurring
during the Easter season highlights the message of Good Friday,
when we think of the death of Jesus, who longed to reconcile
everything in the universe. His crucifixion remains the supreme
example of suffering that was not in vain.
The temptation to run from pain--to choose the path of least
suffering--is only human. In Terri's case, there will be suffering
on both sides, no matter how the controversy is resolved.
All the more, shouldn't each of us lay aside our agendas and
opinions and ask that God's will be done?
Rev. Johann Christoph Arnold