Slow Down The Dissolution Process
As the Republican Candidate for the district 15 Legislative seat in Ulster County, which encompasses the Village of Ellenville, as well as Napanoch and portions of the Town of Wawarsing; I am not in favor of the dissolution of the Village and it's absorption into the Town of Wawarsing,
The Village of Ellenville is on the cusp of becoming a destination to stay and enjoy. No longer is it merely a stop along the road to somewhere else. People are flocking here to enjoy our green spaces. They explore the trails and ridgeline; then grab a bite to eat on restaurants' row. This is followed by some amazing entertainment at the Shadowland. Storefronts are beginning to fill in up and down Canal and Center Streets. This is good for the residents, businesses, and our visitors alike. With fingers crossed, here is hoping the Nevele Sports Complex will become a reality very soon; further boosting our local economy.
We can't continue to blossom if our visitors and local citizens don't feel safe. This is not the time to disband our police force. It is great comfort to the citizens of Ellenville that police can arrive in minutes. If our police protection is required to be provided by the Ulster County Sheriff's Dept. or the New York State Police, it will be impossible to guarantee the same level of quick response. Even if the Town agreed to spend additional tax dollars to help improve law enforcement response time through additional manning, response times will still increase, sometimes drastically based on call volume elsewhere in the Town or County. Loss of the police department is just one reason that dissolving of the Village is a bad idea.
It was mentioned in some of the town board meetings we may have to restructure fire response. What will that look like? No one knows yet. Also, no one can agree on how much tax savings will happen with this process. The amount of tax savings would depend on the amount of debt the village is carrying at the time of dissolution. And while some have stipulated that this will not cause a tax increase for Town residents; how can it not? You are in essence asking for more services for more people at no additional cost. That math doesn't work in my household. Does it work in yours?
There seems to be a rush to do this because of the $20 million dollar prize. Well, experts say that the money will be closer to 3 to 7 million. As a V\village resident, I say we need to slow down and take a breath. There will always be time to complete the dissolution process. But now is not that time! This village has been through some hard times but we've turned the corner and things are looking up. Ellenville is unique and needs to stay that way.
Cassie Spoor, candidate
Ulster County Legislature
Unnecessary Flood Mitigation...
Every time I pass the Route 209 bridge project in Accord, I shake my head in amazement. It is a huge undertaking whose scope and sequence has had unmeasured environmental, political and economic consequence.
The road project is a huge undertaking that is analogous to using dynamite to take out a nest of yellow jackets.
Was there no better alternative than the construction project mess that the public will have endured for a year and a half?
As a 50-year town resident, I have experienced firsthand the Rochester Creek when it rarely floods over Route 209. When that happens, traffic is diverted through Mettacahonts Road. (If this has happened more than eight times in the last 50 years, I would be very surprised.)
The road closure usually would last for 10 hours or less, and then, as the waters abated, Route 209 would be reopened.
When the creek flooded and crossed the road, several homes and trailers on the west side of the road would occasionally be flooded.
To address these issues, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers many years ago brought in heavy equipment and went about clearing debris dams and straightening the creek channel. No big deal. The Corps made moderate improvements which, for the most part, mitigated the flooding problem.
Now we have our current solution to roadway flooding.(The current bridge is still structurally sound.) Design a massive project. Set up a project site with temporary buildings over what had been a corn field. Bring in a huge New Jersey firm to do the design, engineering and construction. Spend a year and a half to complete the job. Invest millions and millions to address a condition that could have been much more intelligently resolved with significantly less environmental impact. And , now those homes that in the past had been flooded may well still be subject to flooding. Why? Because the new roadway is not sufficiently extensive to stop flooding on the southwest side. They will still flood.
It seems to me that this project, given its environmental and economic impact, could have been much better planned, designed and implemented. And, it was simply not necessary.
New Health Bills Are Heartless And Cruel
How must it feel to be Rep. John Faso, pushed and pressured by President Trump to precipitously vote for a health care bill, only to hear the president weeks later call the bill "mean"?
For months, the medical and mental health communities of New York's 19th Congressional District have been strongly communicating that the House and Senate bills are not only heartless but actually cruel.
Real people, good people, our friends and neighbors will be hurt if this bill becomes law. The proposed bill seems to be a giant tax cut for the wealthiest few, funded by taking away services from children, the poor, the elderly and the disabled. Urgently, nearly every doctor, nursing and hospital organization stands highly critical or opposed.
As a practicing family physician of 40 years, every doctor I know has narratives of patients harmed by lack of access to care. Every doctor has stories of those saved because of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Our congressman's wife, a compassionate school nurse, never questions a child's insurance coverage when treating a scraped knee after in a playground fall. Compassionate nonjudgmental care for all, just like that delivered by a school nurse, should be the goal of improving and expanding our health care system. Rational Americans can have different policy approaches toward reaching universal health coverage.
This goal is a moral and ethical imperative.
Randall Rissman, M.D.
In Defense Of Project Cat 2
I saw the public notice from the Village of Saugerties regarding the feral cat efforts of this week by the Woodstock Feral Cat Group. I believe their actions are well meaning. However, under Ag and Markets law, section 374.5, the release back into the wild after capturing a dog or cat is a misdemeanor crime. The only release that can take place is adoption or to another humane society etc. In fact, Governor Cuomo vetoed (in 2015) an attempt to adjust the law (Assembly Bill 2778) allowing for feral cats to be released after neutering etc. back into the area from which they were trapped. I believe that veto still stands. So the action of the Woodstock Group is illegal and it would appear that the actions of Saugerties is supporting these questionable acts?
I have no dog in the fight except to say that something of a similar nature revolving around a cat shelter is being played out in the Town of Rochester where the shelter (which does not support or practice TNR) is applying for a zoning variance which has nothing to do with any process or policy around feral cats since the application is purely zoning in nature. However it has brought quite a bit of controversy.
And The Hate Goes On
In a column at the end of June I called for a more gentle tone, for people of good will to stop fueling the flames of violence. I decried that in some losers' dislike of the outcome of our election, there was a message that excited, and tried to justify an un-American response to our duly elected president.
I do not use the pejorative "un-American" lightly. It is certainly American to oppose our government and oppose our leaders — we were founded on the opposition to a monarch, and a remote one at that. But we take pride in our system that allows for a peaceful transition of power, from a (now) term-limited president, to another person, often a member of "the other" party.
There is a new temper in the air: the casting of the president as illegitimate. Bush was illegitimate as the Supreme Court decided against the Florida courts in the famous "hanging chad" recount. Trump is illegitimate because Putin somehow hacked loaded dice into the game.
But Bob Speziale, in his "A Bravo For Bill Lucas" letter, last week went further declaring "... the current president was narrowly elected by a fluke in the electoral college." Fluke? The electoral college did what it was designed to do — to now and then elect someone who may have strong majorities in some places without appealing to the entire nation. Look at the map — by states or more clearly by counties — as seen from space the nation has just (quite solid) dabs of blue on a red background.
So the losers don't like the outcome of the election. What else is new. Well yes there is something new. There was call for impeachment before Trump took office. There are references to violence, masquerading as art. There is a news media chasing Russian phantoms. There is an emerging call on the part of Democrats for more federalism, as opposed to Washington control of many matters. (This is new as the recent Democratic party has sided with overarching national control of more phases of our economy, personal lives, and top driven direction of our behavior.)
But what's really new is that the losers have ramped up, not policy, put personal attacks on the President. And not only the President but on other members of his party and indeed on those who supported his election, voted for him, or even agree with some of his priorities and direction.
The Bob Speziale letter suggested that I "...should acknowledge deliberate attempts to distract and offend." Isn't that what I did by criticizing severed heads, assassination references and offensive Trump-toons? And yes, I have my facts straight. TV and print journalism leans left. Whether one analyzes content of coverage, content of "fake news," political registration of journalists, political contributions of journalists or self-stated leaning, the answer is the same: left, left, left, left, and left. Their response is simple — we're left because that's the correct side and the others are wrong.
So my apologies for having offended Bill Lucas' neighbor. I don't know Bill Lucas but one hears that his work on behalf of the community is exemplary. I would hope that he would stop deliberate attempts to offend. Tone becomes immediately better and ever so much more civil if we talk of issues, and not the persona of their proponents.
There has already been a shooting of a Republican congressman by an inflamed, hating, Bernie Sanders supporting person .Let's hope that it does not turn out to be a murder.
However our cartoonist does not appear to be showing signs of civility. In his letter last week "Subject: Hate" in passing he called Trump a birther. As I recall it was Hillary in her unsuccessful quest for the Democratic nomination in 2008 who introduced the questionable status of Obama's "natural born citizen" qualification to be president. This, by the way, along with being 35 years old and 14 years a US resident, are the only "qualifications" for being president. So the "unqualified" being applied to Trump in both of the two referenced letters is, in the context presented, a deliberate attempt to distract.
The resisters are the haters — it is not Trump nor his supporter.
We get it, these writers and other losers don't like him, perhaps for many good reasons. We should be able to talk about the whys and wherefores of these reasons. To attribute one's own feelings of hate and one's own political methodology to others — from the voters to the President — is not helpful.
My point is that it is harmful. Less peaceful persons are being moved to extreme behavior. Freedom of speech is under assault on our campuses and many (still a small number) are being moved to violence in our community by the drumbeat of "oppose and resist." Widening the civil divide should only be the object if one desires war — and there is nothing uglier than a civil war.
Gardiner Democrats Plan Their Caucus
Registered Gardiner Democrats, please mark your calendars for July 14, 7 p.m. to attend the Gardiner Democratic Caucus at Town Hall. Please consider the slate endorsed by the Gardiner Democratic Committee for the 2017 election. For town supervisor, Lisa Lindsley; for the town council, David Dukler and Warren Wiegand.
I realize at this point, you might ask, "Well, if the Committee selected the candidates, why a caucus?" Simply, the Committee's selections are only a recommendation: in fact, it is highly anticipated that other candidates will introduce challenges that could result in uncontested races.
If this is not to your liking, then come out and hear Lindsley's plans to use her vast managerial experience to tackle our issues. She stands for preserving Gardiner's open space through smart development. She is committed to improving our parks and conserving natural resources. Her running mates have similar agendas and long histories of service to Gardiner. Dukler was a long-term president of the library board of trustees and instrumental in establishing monetary controls while raising money for the facility. Wiegand's long history of working on tight fiscal management, supporting open space planning and zoning laws kept Gardiner's taxes at the second lowest level of 19 towns in Ulster County.
A Good Job Along 209!
Thank you so much for the clean-up, drainage work and repair job you did across from our place on 209. All of us at Barthel's Farm thank you at the state Department of Transportation out of Napanoch! We appreciate your great job trimming and weeding, too. You all did such a nice job — thank you Lou, Jonathan and the crew.
All of us at Barthel's Farm Market