Not a robber baron

in

To The Editor:
The proposed expansion of Belleayre Mountain Ski Center and the planned construction of the Belleayre Resort have been contentious issues that have engendered entrenched vociferous camps of proponents and detractors for more than a decade. The recent public forum held at the mountain was organized specifically to allow supporters and opponents three minutes center stage to present a show and tell of information, statistics, and projections in defense of their positions, thereby providing additional data compiled for the decision making agencies.

The presentations were structured and orderly. For the most part, speakers adhered to the rules, and spectators were respectful and non combative. This event represented the principles and process by which we are governed. A democratic political system, which grants its citizens the right to agree and disagree.

We are all equally entitled to publically state and defend our subjective opinions. However, it is my interpretation that the criticism directed at Kingdon Gould Jr. in last week’s letters to the editor by Rosina Montana was a pejorative, disrespectful attack on his personal character.

It is true that Mr. Gould “has been given and earned so much.” An ascribed position “to the manor born,” and acquired success achieved by decades of hard work often elicit a backlash of envy. Moreover, if deep pockets are a family legacy, the motivation to reach down into those pockets and share his bounty with those born without the proverbial silver spoon represents a willful choice. It is an expression of values and attitude, a commitment to acts of public service.

Kingdon’s meaningful contributions to community and country are legion. As the deserving recipient of the Spirit of the Catskills Award at the Belleayre Coalition’s Snowball this past January, his life-long role as patriot and philanthropist were attested to and acknowledged. Historically, wealthy patrons (hardly “robber barons”) have donated significant portions of their assets, created foundations, endowed schools, hospitals, recreational and religious facilities, research centers; institutions that serve the public interest and benefit the less than 99 percent.

In this relatively remote region we call home, we have been the recipients of the largess of benefactors who have launched and maintained worthy programs and projects, met the needs and filled the gaps that we “common folks” have not been able to initiate, implement or sustain. We have ample evidence, visible and tangible established markers and works in progress of past and ongoing efforts, input and generous infusions of necessary funding from dedicated donors.

Clashing factions can and should continue to debate and disagree about as yet unknown issues.
However, there should be universal agreement that those individuals who have contributed to an enhanced quality of life deserve our gratitude. Perhaps if we can agree to agree for communal good and welfare, the long awaited renaissance of this area will come sooner rather than too late.
I am in full support of any and all improvements for Belleayre and support the proposed Belleayre Resort project as well. I consider both Kingdon and Rosina to be loyal, supportive friends who contribute to our community.

Sindy Becker, PhD
Fleischmanns