Your article in today's paper would have been really great except
for one very important thing. Your slant that this was all
I WAS very impressed with what Steve has done in Shandaken, however,
it was NOT ME who contacted him or met with him in March - I don't
even know where you got that date, as you and I did not discuss
a meeting with Shandaken to discuss the Club, just that WE had
discussed it with them to get their do's and don'ts. After
all, they have already accomplished what we would like to accomplish
PAULA has done all the legwork on getting information on how they
started things, who to contact, and basically set the first building
block. WE - and it's not just Paula and I - are working
hard to get folks involved.
I appreciate the effort and the fact that for the most part, your
article was good - I just don't appreciate the fact that others
who have worked VERY hard to get this organization off the ground
were not really given the credit that is due them.
West Shokan, NY
This letter is written to support the re-election of Meg Carey,
as a Trustee of the Onteora School Board.
Meg, the Vice- President of the Board of Trustees, has had
6 years of outstanding leadership in behalf of parents, students,
and staff of the Onteora School District. She has been an
outspoken advocate for quality education, parents' participation
in the education of their children, and high standards for our
schools. In her own words, she believes that "the higher
state standards demand that the Board of Education provide the
educational leadership needed for all students to succeed. "
Meg, a respected member of this community, really listens
and responds to the legitimate concerns of parents, students and
staff. Her training as an educator and the experience she
gained as a member of site teams in the Woodstock Elementary School,
the Middle School and the High School, make her uniquely suited
to understand the concerns of all stakeholders , as well as
to act responsibly in her seeking of equitable solutions.
With the arrival of the new superintendent July 1st, our school
district will be starting a new era in the education of our children.
The present school board strongly supports the educational goals
of our district. Clearly we need the leadership that Meg
has provided in the development of those goals to realize their
manifestation. We also need a school board that has proven
it can work together for the best education for each and every
one of our children. And that is what Meg has always stood
for and worked for. We need Meg with her forsight, her experience
and her dependability as a school board trustee.
This Board needs the continued leadership of both Meg Carey and
Tom Rosato who will provide valued support and inspired leadership
at this crucial time of transition to the entire Onteora school
In the same week that New York City "delivers crushing blow"
to the Crossroads project, they tell us they've given away
$19 million dollars since the Memorandum of Agreement was signed.
I suppose if you are one of those folks who works for the CWC
or for New York City in some other capacity, this is good news.
You get to keep the money they gave you and spend it any way you
want. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, this is not good
news. Here's why.
a) A lot of the money they gave
away was in loans. That means it wasn't given away
it was loaned ˆ and must be paid back to them ˆ with
b) A lot of the grant money was
to those forced to put in new septic systems, or build storm water
systems. That's important work, and good for the environment,
but it's sort of like getting new underwear for your birthday.
You can't eat it, can't really even enjoy it and certainly
can't call it economic development.
c) According to a January press
release, the Catskill Fund for the Future has actually given away
$1.3 million for 87 economic development projects. That's
an average of $15,000 per project, a paltry sum when you think
about the average business investment today. And that paltry
sum is divided among five different counties (Delaware, Ulster,
Schoharie, Sullivan, and Greene) in at least four different years,
meaning an average annual gift of just $65,000 to all of Delaware
County and $65,000 to all of Ulster County, and $65,000 to all
of Greene County.
We are asked to compare this favorably to a project that will
have a $20 million dollar payroll every year ˆ a payroll
earned and spent primarily by people who live here, on things
they choose to buy ˆ not just things the City tells them
they can have. This $20 million dollar payroll will be earned
and spent mostly in two or three towns in the poorest sections
of these three counties, and this is just the payroll. The
investment in property and sales taxes will help everyone ˆ
not just those directly employed by or associated with the project.
The City of New York throws economic development crumbs when we're
starving for meaningful development: the kind that will
get our kids off the free lunch programs; the kind that will allow
our businesses to operate at full capacity throughout the year
ˆ not just weekends in summer and winter; the kind that will
allow us to stop begging for handouts from the City and take control
of our future ourselves. But we've been starved for
economic development so long that the crumbs look great and like
Rip Van Winkle, we're lulled to sleep by them. It's
the quintessential Catskill story.
Big Indian, NY
When we had hearings on the Large Parcel Bill last summer, most
speakers were speaking in polarized emotional views of what is
fair and what is not fair. Tonight I come to discuss the
process of resolving this problem that has shock waves of implications
on the upcoming budget.
Olive heard and reacted to the long overdue process of updating
and evaluating our properties. We have met with Jim LaPlant,
the local ORPS representative and with Dorothy Martin from the
Real Property Division in Kingston. We are updating our
inventory and are redoing the RFP's (Request for Proposals)
to bring Olive's assessments in line with the neighboring
towns. We have committed to this procedure.
The Town of Olive Town Board has made major strides toward tax
parity by initiating a re-evaluation of all property within the
Town of Olive. Within a two year period, every parcel in Town,
including the Reservoir properties will be updated and assessed
increasing Olive's total assessment. Each town in
the Onteora School District should undertake a similar, current
tax update. The only fair way to assess school taxes is
if each town municipality has its responsibility to pay the tax
We have met numerous times with ORPS in Albany about compromising
on a realistic value of the reservoir properties. We have
met with the Coalition of Watershed Towns and their attorneys
on a monthly basis. We are in weekly, sometimes daily, contact
with real property and legislative attorneys.
We respectfully ask the School Board not to adopt the Large Parcel
Alternative Taxation Method for the school year of July 1, 2004
to June 30, 2005. At this time, there are many irons in the fire.
There may be crucial decisions that could make a hasty decision
a nightmare with voters voting on a budget with impartial tax
The Large Parcel Bill is Robin Hood in reverse. To allow
other towns to experience a minor decrease while Olive's
taxes are estimated to increase by 51% is a scenario for political
dissention and divisive tactics. To rob one district of
its own property and erode its tax base is a formula for budget
vote disaster. Onteora will get the same money from the
City of New York with or without The Large Parcel Bill.
If the purpose is to pass a budget that is educationally sound,
consider the impact of appeasing one town at the sake of another.
The voters in Olive will consider this action one of bias and
favoritism to solve Woodstock's high taxes at the cost of
Olive's tax base. The students of the Onteora Schools will
be the political pawns of a Contingency Budget that will result
as Town is pitted against Town until the legislature clarifies
and resolves the dilemma of The Large Parcel Bill. The only way
to have a fair system of taxation is to allow Olive to complete
its reval without the horror of experiencing a sudden, gigantic
raise in taxes within a single year.
Allow Olive to conduct the reval with a year's reprieve
from The Large Parcel Bill. Olive has been a supporter of the
school budget and has paid its share of taxes.
The Olive Town Board
School Board elections are set for May 18th. We're again
running for 3-year terms on the Onteora Board of Education. We
want to continue the positive climate we have in place on the
board, and the cooperative and compassionate process we've
helped establish for resolving issues and problems. As experienced
board members, we'd like to support the new Superintendent
as she assumes her duties on July 1st.
Our priority remains providing the best education we can for all
the students of the Onteora Central School District. Please help
us to continue to strive for excellence at Onteora.
We ask for your vote on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 for the Onteora
Board of Education.
Polls are open 2PM-9PM at local elementary schools. Absentee ballots
are available: call 657- 8851.
Thanks for your consideration.
Meg Carey, Glenford
Tom Rosato, Shandaken
The property owners and voters in the Town of Olive need to protest
the Large Parcel Bill that allows the Onteora School District
to collect taxes by an "alternate" means. "Alternate"
means that the City of New York, which owns over half of the property
in the Town of Olive, will pay its school taxes directly to the
Onteora School District. That leaves the remaining 49% of
individual property owners to make up 100% of Olive's share of
the tax levy. Is this fair? Woodstock and Shandaken
have lobbied to have the Board of Education accept this method
because they are high tax districts. They are and always
have been. They see this as an opportunity to lower their
town's taxes at Olive's expense.
The Onteora School District and their trustees on the Board of
Education have a responsibility to serve all the children and
all the towns in their district. They are remiss if they
allow two towns to benefit from a tax loophole while two others,
Hurley and Olive, experience an outrageous hike in property taxes.
The District should run a school, not meddle in the geo-politics
of the town. The only fair way to equalize taxes is to have
all the towns in the District experience a revaluation of property
so that properties are assessed and thereby taxed with equality.
The Large Parcel Bill that blesses some and "dams" others,
excuse the pun, is not equal!
The column entitled "ULSTER Rx" in the latest issue
of the Olive Press of April 22, 2004, page 6 reports exactly what
a couple of my previous letters predidcted re: Health Care for
"Health Care for All" was concieved and nourished by
Legislator Robert Parete, D-Boiceville early last year. The Press
quoted him as declaring that, "it will not cost the County
a dime" and further observed that it is illegal for the [NY]
County(s) to finance this type of program in any way; operationally
or administratively [using taxpayer funds].
Now, lo and behold this latest report informs us that the County
indeed, would have to kick in $5,000 to get the prescription discount
plan rolling; $2,500 to Arxcel [a private firm] to set up the
County program and $2,500 to promote it [by whom?].
Mr. Parete was quite disingenuous (I have another term for it)
but this is what politicians do. I'm sure he can explain but remember;
"when you're explaining, you're losing".
I invited Mr. Parete to outline his plan a few times in the Press
but got no response. I did receive a luke warm and challanging
reception from him at the Firehouse Polling Station in Olivebridge
on election day (politicians like to frighten a potential adversary
into a defensive mode).He promised to meet with me (big deal)
but I never heard from him. I left messages on his answering device
twice. Town Supv. Bernt Liefeld after diagnosing my stress said
he would have Mr. Parete call me; it never happened.
So now that the Paretes are firmly invested with the power of
a dynasty with the Sr. Parete as party Chairman no one needs to
be responded to. To you all who ignore a constituant let me recite
an old principle in supervision. "Listen to the problem(s)
that come to you because, whether the problem is real or imaginary,
it's real to the person affected; deal with it!"
Since the benefits of this plan or program is to be financed or
paid for by subscribing member's premiums why cannot these potential
members pay the initial startup and structuring costs of the said
$5,000? $5,000 divided by 100 would be participants is quite reasonable
and surely there will be more than 100. To be sure there will
be the "slicksters" that will join later when the thing
is up and running. But then there can always be an increased
membership fee. Everyone pays their fair share and the taxpayer
remains a happy taxpayer. Is there anyone like a "happy"
taxpayer? Yes! As long as our politicians follow the law(s) and
don't make "end" runs. More importantly; you answer
to us. Not the other way around.
Glenn T. Anderson
We would like to thank whoever is responsible for flying the large
American flag on Route 28 west, near the Harley-Davidson store.
This flag had flown there for a long period of time, but then
was taken down for some reason. The location and size of the flag
is especially eye catching and impressive. We're sure that many
others get the same feeling we do, which makes us proud and pleased
to be Americans.
We know there is considerable expense and care in displaying and
lighting this symbol, and sincerely would like to thanks those
patriotic person or persons responsible.
Ron and Ann Every
I don't understand why there has been so much fuss about the closing
of the West Hurley School. The solution to this problem is extremely
obvious and simple. Just sell the school for $1 to the soon-to-be-created
Education Division of Halliburton, and it will get all the federal
funding it needs to become West Hurley University!
West Saugerties, NY
Just recently the members of the Phoenicia Water District (PWD)
received the 2003 report in the mail. This is always a helpful
report, but this year it had some disturbing news. On page two,
there is the statement: "It is possible that copper and lead
levels at your home may be higher than at other homes in the community
as the result of materials used in your home's plumbing."
Then the report advises us how to get the water in our home tested,
and how to flush the tap before drinking the water if you are
But the next paragraph says they are working on a plan to put
a corrosion control chemical in Phoenicia's water to minimize
the amount of lead and copper leaching from the plumbing in homes.
If this is a problem in only some homes, why put a chemical in
our drinking water system that affects everyone, even if they
do not have high copper or lead levels in their home?
I called out water commissioner, Rick Ricciardella, to find out
more. He said before 1977, plumbers used leaded joints in houses.
When the PWD tested a sample of houses in the district for lead
and copper in the water, some houses showed higher levels, but
most houses didn't. The problem could be fixed if private homeowners
with the problem upgraded the plumbing in their own homes.
This seems to me to be the sensible plan: If a house has high
levels of copper or lead in the water, the homeowner is responsible
for replacing the plumbing that is creating the problem. People
are responsible for their own homes. Everyone in the water district
should not be forced to drink an additional chemical in their
water, because a few people have a problem in their own homes.
We have wonderful mountain water. There is nothing wrong with
the water, and there is nothing wrong with the water distribution
If you are concerned about chemicals being added to your drinking
water, I encourage you to let Commisioner Rick Ricciardella and
Supervisor Bob Cross know, so we can stop this chemical plan before
it is implemented.
Elizabeth Holland Kern
Often strong opinions lie quiet until an event in the news sparks
a rash of letters that support or oppose a particular point of
view. However, statements of values are also important in the
absence of crisis situations. With this in mind, I'd like to share
this statement, which was recently passed by the local Quaker
meeting to which I belong.
Bulls Head-Oswego Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of
Friends (Quakers) affirms its continued opposition to the death
penalty. As Quakers, we believe in the sanctity of human life;
that there is that of God in every human being; and in the potential
of each human being to serve as an agent of Divine Will. Based
on these beliefs, the deliberate taking of a human life is unacceptable,
under any circumstance.
State sanctioned murder, known as capital punishment, is an inconsistent
and hypocritical way to show that killing is wrong. We urge all
persons to press actively for the abolition of the death penalty
and to do so as a part of a broader effort to ensure equal justice
The death toll rises and the violence increases in Iraq but will
Americans wake up? We've all been pawns in an archaic bait and
switch. Historians know better, though we all watch in ignorance.
In anonymity, our soldiers return devastated by what they've seen,
as the rest of us gaze, mesmerized by Kobe, Janet and American
idols. A patriotic sleep walk has become a night terror for our
soldiers and for this "godly" country.
President Bush's recent press conference had some revealing, yet
scary aspects. He didn't respond to charges made in recent weeks
of former government officials that many mistakes were made in
the invasion of Iraq (which was planned for secretly even before
9/11.) He and the intelligence agencies ignored the many reports
of possible Al Qaeda attacks. The president cleverly evaded taking
any responsibility for this and for the incorrect estimate of
Iraqi resistance, for misrepresenting Saddam's possession of weapons
of mass destruction, for the 700 American deaths one year after
the invasion began, for the chaos, devastation and loss of thousands
of Iraqi civilian lives, the list goes on. It was clear that he
was well prepared for the reporter's questions. But in one revealing
moment, the president stated that he was unable to answer to what
mistakes he had made because he had not received the question
in advance! Maybe he should have had Dick Cheney by his side to
give the 'right' answers.
The scary part was his declaration that this was a war to bring
democracy to Iraq and the middle east, to change the world and
to continue the war until this was done no matter how long it
will take. History teaches that you can't import democracy at
the point of a gun. And fighting terrorism takes more than trying
to kill every known or unknown terrorist. (Where is Osama Bin
Laden?) The role of negotiation, diplomacy and international participation
is ignored. We have only succeeded in making the world hate us
And so, our safety, the lives of our children, our country's place
in the world, our economy, health and environment are in the hands
of a president and administration that have been wrong in leading
us into an endless war despite the finding of no weapons of mass
destruction, wrong in claims of Iraqi ties with Al Qaeda, wrong
in claims that the Iraqi people would welcome us with open arms,
wrong on the costs of this war, wrong that tax cuts for the wealthy
would result in American jobs, wrong that Saddam was a threat
to us and world peace, wrong that this war would make us safe
from terrorist attacks.
The president was wrong from the moment he was wrongfully declared
the winner of the election in the year 2000.
The Phoenicia Library will be holding its famous Plant Sale at
the Library Fair on Saturday, June 12. As always, we need
gardeners to help us out. Spring is here and now is the time to
start dividing perennials. Please pot them up for the sale, along
with any annuals, groundcovers, shrubs, houseplants, or herbs
you may want to donate. Label the plants with their names,
and we will help them find a happy new home.
If you need some help with digging and dividing, we have a few
volunteers who will come to your garden and assist you.
You can bring your plants to the library on Friday, June 11.
Or, if you need to have them picked up, we can arrange that.
For help with digging and potting, or for someone to pick
up your plants, please call Veronica Rowe at 688-5477 or Elizabeth
Holland Kern at 688-7314.
We look forward to getting together with you again at the
Library Fair in June.
Elizabeth Holland Kern
I've lived in Phoenicia for over 30 years and have always
appreciated our police officers on the way they handled the law.
On Saturday, April 17, 2004 at 7:25 P.M. I was driving from Bridge
Street left onto Main Street, when an officer (who was parked
at the comer and talking to some young girls), came hurriedly
behind me and was over zealous in saying that my headlights weren't
on. When I explained to him that it was still bright, he told
me to look in the newspaper to find the time when the sun comes
down (dusk). He took my credentials and sat in his car for about
20 minutes. When he returned he handed me a traffic ticket that
read 7:50P.M. Our officer's duty is to protect the peace
and security of our citizens and out of town visitors, not harass
them. To be over zealous does tremendous harm to the reputation
of our township and especially to our businesses. I personally
have heard complaints about the officer in question.
Since I pay taxes, I feel that there should be a way to complain
or give suggestions to help our community and improve our relationship
with all who are involved in the police department, such as Chief
of Police or Police Commissioner.
Big Indian, NY
The following letter was recently sent to NYS Department of Environmental
Commissioner Erin Crotty...
I have taken the liberty of sending you a copy of a petition that
we have begun circulating in the downstate area. The purpose of
the petition is to restate the strong affirmation of Belleayre's
constituency in support of New York State and the DECs very successful
efforts to bring the ski center back to its former position of
prominence among Northeast Ski Centers. This course of action
has had a dual effect of resuscitating a failing Central Catskills
economy and providing a quality recreational asset to the entire
downstate region. We applaud this effort and its very success
is the most prominent reason to continue to upgrade and improve
The Bel1eayre Mountain Ski Center.
The cause of concern for our organization is that we feel the
effort to derail the resort project initiated by the Crossroads
organization has caused certain partisans to attempt to link the
future of the ski center to the adjudication of the project. We
see the issues as separate and unique. The pioneering ski center
has been in existence as a state entity since 1949. Its future
is not and should not be linked to the issue of the resort project
any more than any other private project in the Catskills or the
State of New York for that matter. Our organization has taken
no position on the merits of the project. We do, however take
a very strong position on the continued success and progress at
The status of the ski center is defined and encouraged by
the constitution of the State of New York and as you know, is
designated as an Intensive Use area of the Forest Preserve. It
serves all the people of New York State in addition to attracting
out-of-state visitors to spend more time and money here to support
our businesses. We have been very successful implementing a plan
of success for the Bel1eayre Mountain Ski Center and The State
of New York has been the beneficiary. We thank you and your staff
for doing such a fine job in implementing the improvements at
the mountain in an environmentally sensitive manner in the letter
and the spirit of the constitutional authorization We, as an organization
and the signatories of our circulating petition drive want this
plan of success to continue. The continued success of The Ski
Center is vital to the economic health of our rural mountain region.
to Save Belleayre
We've reached the sobering point where we just can't believe anything
the current Administration says about 9/11 or Iraq or the War
on Terror or just about anything else anymore. The Administration
flouts and has violated national and international laws, endangered
world peace by escalating the possibility of an international
crisis, subverted and sacrificed democracy and civil rights under
the guise of the War on Terror, and increased--not decreased--the
risk of domestic terrorism and terrorism abroad--all of which
has dramatically weakened the political credibility of the United
States. The US Declaration of Independence makes clear our rights
as Americans when the vote does not place in power those who represent
the will of the people:
"Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these
ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and
to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles
and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem
most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
Impeachment, then, is a tool at out disposal--one, however, we
are not likely to make use of. But people from all across the
country are saying "enough" and "not in our name"
and are planning to take democracy to the streets this summer.
New York City is gearing up for massive protests around the Republican
National Convention slated for August 29th through September 2nd.
Everyone from community-based organizations to unions to faith-based
groups to global justice activists is preparing for this epic
event to peacefully and legally gather to make their voices heard
and to express their ideas about the direction of the country.
They represent the breadth and depth of the diverse population
that rejects this administration's agenda. CounterConvention.org
and rncnotwelcome.org are websites designed to help facilitate
communication and resources for all those opposed to the RNC and
this administration's evident and destructive policies.
Protesting, in what may well be a tense and angry time on the
streets of Manhattan, is certainly not the only means to changing
policy or having one's voice heard, but in a democracy it is a
legitimate vehicle for effecting change and expressing dissension--perhaps
particularly important in today's political climate where, once
again in our republic's history, as freedom-loving people, we
must begin to doubt the ability of American institutions to tolerate
There can be no doubt that with the 2004 elections the stakes
are very high. It is important that people do something that is
effective, and is heard, and that gets attention, and that doesn't
backfire. But there are also many other ways that people can participate
in the upcoming historic events opposing the RNC than actively
protesting in the streets.
1) There will be a 225-mile march traveling from the Democratic
National Convention in Boston to the Republican National Convention
in NYC, to move beyond the duality of electoral politics and to
celebrate grassroots activism and community awareness. There is
much funding needed for this exciting project, where participants
will be marching, networking, educating, sharing, singing, and
dancing in the streets. It is a very visible opportunity to energize
young people--and others--about our democratic political process.
2) Housing is needed for activists traveling from across the country
to the RNC. 3) Trained legal observers (coordinated by the
National Lawyer's Guild), who safeguard and advance the Constitutional
rights of the demonstrators by observing and recording incidents
and activities of law enforcement in relation to demonstrators,
so that lawyers representing arrestees or bringing an action against
the police generally will be able to objectively evaluate the
constitutionality of government conduct, are very much needed.
As Arianna Huffington, a nationally syndicated columnist and author
of Fanatics and Fools, said last week, " Bush and Co. have
been flouting the truth since the moment the Supreme Court handed
them the keys to the White House." If we hope to see democracy
continue to flourish, and if we really want to support our troops,
it's time to take action, now, and vote Bush out.
For the past couple years Onteora school district and our school
board have worked very hard to maintain quality education and
fiscal responsibility. Under our current circumstances I
believe they have done a fine job since this task is nearly impossible.
What is driving cost up while enrollment low? The cost of
health care is increasing, retirement benefits increasing and
also due to the "No Child Left Behind Act" school mandates
are increasing while money from the State and Federal Government
are decreasing. Also gas and oil prices are increasing and
the cost of the Iraq war. Financial burdens in school districts
are happening all over the country. My hometown school in
Ohio is closing this year due to the same reasons. Saugertees
is facing a 14% tax levy this year. Onteora faces a 9% tax
levy and if it does not pass our students will loose over a million
dollars in cuts, besides closing Hurley school. Cuts will
not only include administration, but programs such as summer school,
after school help, enrichments programs, field trips and many
sports programs. This is just the tip of cuts.
According to the Albany Times Union, Onteora has a 97% regents
diploma achievement compared to 74% of Saugertees, and 62% of
Kingston students. Onteora school district educates and
prepares our children for the future and this year drastic important
cuts in education are a threat.
It is important in these difficult times we re-elect Meg Carey
and Tom Rosato. They are experienced and believe in education
as the priority along with fiscal responsibility. On May18
is a district wide election. Vote yes for the proposed budget
and re-elect Meg Carey and Tom Rosato.