2017-02-15 / Mailbag

Doesn't understand the logic

To The Editor:

Once again this winter, Dry Brook Road in Arkville was “sanded” and plowed, which I applaud and thank the highway department for their diligence.

However, why on earth is the truck sanding and then 15 minutes later coming back down toward Route 28 with the plow down? Isn’t this backwards? All the “sand,” a term I use loosely since it is actually brown dirt of some sort, is then plowed OFF the road.

I just don’t understand the logic or reasoning behind this backwards practice. And to use the old cliché, isn’t this a huge waste of taxpayer money to put the sand down then plow it off?

Nancy Fallon,

Fix two problems at once

To The Editor:

Remember the 1970s when forests were being destroyed by acid rain? The Adirondacks here in New York were the worst effected in the entire United States. Coal burning power plants in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Pennsylvania belched mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere, which then rode the wind to the northeast. Those pollutants mixed with rain clouds and fell to earth as acid rain. Stands of trees were dead or dying. Hundreds of lakes and ponds became lifeless as trout, frogs, salamanders, and aquatic plant life succumbed to the pollution. Osprey, heron and, otters also disappeared from the area. But, there is some good news.

The good news is that sulfate and nitrate concentrations have declined and the recovery rate of upstate waterways has increased. We have our government to thank for that; The Clean Air Act of 1970 and amendments to the Clean Air Act required coal-burning industries to reduce their emissions. And a good thing, too. Those emissions contribute to lung disease, to which young children are especially susceptible. There are also correlations between coal emissions, stroke, and heart disease. The Clean Air Act made a positive difference in both the health of the environment we depend and our individual health as well. Even those who do not yet believe that climate change is human influenced, agree that pollution is detrimental to human health.

Required to clean up its act, industry turned to one of our greatest resources: American ingenuity. Pressure from regulations enforced by the Clean Air Act forced industry to cultivate and harvest the values of science and technology. People and the environment are beneficiaries when American ingenuity is recognized as a resource.

With resources and support, American ingenuity can provide the solutions to our energy crisis. But, as implementing the Clean Air Act has shown, for American ingenuity to thrive, we must have the support of the United States government, as altruism is generally not the motive of industry.

Most industry is tied to the use of finite fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels pollutes our air and water, and is ultimately detrimental to our health. This situation is worldwide. The country that fine-tunes the science and technology of harvesting clean, renewable energy is going be the ultimate winner. I want America to be ahead of the curve, to earn and claim that honor – and its accompanying perks.

Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), would be a great obstacle to achieving that honor. Scott Pruitt would have no federal oversight ensuring state compliance to environmental protection regulations, which means states such as Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Pennsylvania could go back to the dirty coal practices we here in upstate New York still haven’t completely recovered from. We need the protection of the EPA to advocate for our health. Scott Pruitt as Administrator of EPA will put our health, the viability of the environment we depend on, and ingenuity-driven progress all in dire straits. We need someone capable of acknowledging the threats posed by pollution. We need someone who believes in and will utilize the greatest resource we have, American ingenuity. Scott Pruitt has a vested interest in maintaining the fossil fuel power structure. He will defend against American ingenuity to preserve that status quo.

We can work together. I know we can. And we might just be fixing two problems at once.

Charlene McLaughlin,

Keep Obamacare in place

To The Editor:

Twenty-eight years ago the Republican-aligned Heritage Foundation proposed that all Americans be forced to obtain health insurance. Using that idea four years later, leading Republicans proposed legislation conceptually similar to today’s Obamacare. Republicans then abandoned the effort.

Democrats revived the concept in 2010 and enacted it into law. They added other provisions including: an expansion of Medicaid; prevention of the denial of coverage for “pre-existing conditions;” some free preventive care; and mandates that insurers stop charging women more than men for coverage.

Before the law was enacted our predominantly private health insurance system left 50,000,000 people without coverage.

Obamacare has reduced the uninsured by over 20,000,000, including at least one of my neighbors. Many, however, pay enormous deductibles of $6,000 annually, in addition to premiums and co-pays.

Local doctor, Ben Friedell, reports that his Tuesday evening volunteer-run free Oneonta Community Healthcare Center has roughly half the patients it had before Obamacare became law – and he says that’s great.

But let’s also look at the overall costs. Private insurers spend up to 20 percent on “overhead.” By contrast, single-payer Medi- care, passed by an earlier generation of Democrats in 1965, spends only two percent and some say five percent, on administrative costs. Medicare was originally supposed to cover all Americans, but as a compromise it started by only covering Americans age 65 and over. It was later amended to also cover the disabled, including me, but 52 years later it still hasn’t been extended to the rest of the population. Instead, House Speaker Ryan has proposed raising the eligibility age and privatizing it.

Developed nations with fully socialized healthcare like the UK, France, and some of the Nordic countries pay almost half what we do and all have far higher rankings for quality. Single-payer nations like Taiwan, Canada, etc. also pay less than Americans and all also rank higher in quality. And with government-financed or government-run systems, politicians can be pressured to preserve quality and control costs. Try doing that with United Healthcare or Empire Blue Cross.

Yes, Obamacare and its private insurance plans are too complicated and expensive. So it’s time to pressure our new Republican Representative, John Faso, by calling his DC office at 202 225- 5614, or calling his Delhi office at 607 746-9537. Demand that Obamacare be left in place until Medicare or the VA are improv- ed and extended to all. And tell Senators Schumer and Gillibrand also.

Michael Kaufman,

Please join the “huddle”

To The Editor:

On Saturday, Jan. 21, millions of people around the world came together peacefully and marched in various cities, demanding justice and equity for everyone in America. While identified as a “Women’s March”, participants included men, women and children of all nationalities, religions and socio-economic groups.

In Delhi, about 200 community members gathered in the Village Square, listened to music, heard the words of local speakers and showed their support for protecting the rights of American citizens. Inspired and energized by the success of the marches, many wondered what to do next, especially at a local level in their own neighborhoods. Guided by the organizers of the March on Washington, meetings called “huddles” have been organized to help people join others in their communities who want to continue to fight for what is right for the citizens of our nation. A “huddle” is defined as “a small group of people holding an informal conversation”. There will be a “huddle” held in the Delhi area on the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 25 for anyone interested in learning more about what we can do to protect our rights, our safety, our health, and our families, while recognizing that diversity is the strength of our country and that using peaceful means is the only way to achieve these things.

This is your chance to participate in creating change in whatever way you can. It is not necessary for you to commit to anything at this time, if you don’t wish to. The “huddle” is an opportunity for you to come and hear what other people are thinking and feeling about the road ahead, to share your thoughts and to find out how you might be able to contribute to the group’s efforts, in a way that works for you.

We welcome you to join others who share your concerns on the 25th. There is no cost for the event .

Please visit www.womensmarch.com/100/action2 and enter your zip code to RSVP! If you would like further information, feel free to email us at delawarecountyaction@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing many new faces and hope that together we can develop the next steps to implementing activities and actions that will help our voices be heard.

The Members of the
Women’s March Group
of Delaware County

What would possess him to lie?

To The Editor:

Everyone loves the Muppets. The two old grandpas in the balcony were revered for telling the truth.

Mike Hein said Dave Donaldson and I both: Opposed the monument to fallen soldiers. A lie. We both voted yes; opposed environmental projects. A lie. We both voted yes; opposed the Patriot’s Project for homeless vets. A lie. We both voted yes and opposed the strive project. A lie. We both voted yes.

The fact is both Dave and I voted to approve every project he declared we did not. To call him a liar would be accurate, and appropriate. Some might say that’s harsh.

The real question should be “what is the reasoning for the lies”? The fact is, Mr. Hein has a serious character flaw. Our voting records are in the legislative office and are available to any and all. What would possess him to lie? Maybe the man cannot distinguish between right and wrong?

I can only tell you that if any of my children exhibited this fantasy of perpetual embellishments when they were growing up, I would have quickly taken them for professional counseling.

What should be done when one acts in a dishonest matter? I guess right now the man should be held in public ridicule as a liar.

John R. Parete

It's time we move forward

To The Editor:

The comments from the Cats- kill Heritage Alliance (CHA) at a recent Shandaken Town meeting make it seem that they support Belleayre Mountain Ski Center expansion. The truth is they have been opposed to the eastward expansion since it was first proposed as a new lift and trail down Cathedral Brook into Pine Hill back in the 1990s. They cited traffic issues, community character, and environmental concerns of cutting old growth forest near the Pine Hill drinking water. But it was really about obstructing a developer who once owned 1,200 acres of the Belleayre Ridge.

When Belleayre received $1.5 million from the environmental bond fund to hook the ski center to the underutilized Pine Hill sewage treatment facility, the project could have included hooking up all the businesses along the road from the ski center to Chelsea Park. This would have benefited the residents and the City with the elimination of many failing individual septic systems. CHA founding members fought the idea and the line was sent through the woods along the railroad within 100 feet of Pine Hill’s precious water. The real issue was that running the sewer line down the road would have made it easier for a future developer to take advantage of hooking up to the proposed sewer line. It was their hope that without a sewer hookup it would be harder for the developer to implement any plans.

When the Belleayre Resort plans were still being negotiated in public, the CHA took obstructionism to a whole new level. They solicited the help of any environmental organization willing to try to stop the resort. The EPA, NRDC, Riverkeeper, Catskill Center for Conservation and Development (CCCD), Trout Unlimited, Sierra Club, and others were invited to the review process. The tactics of the CHA took the negotiations from the public forum where everyone had an opportunity for input and criticism, to a closed-door environment where the CHA had a seat at the table but the community at large did not.

The result was an Agreement in Principle (AIP) that reduced the resort footprint significantly and protected 1,200 acres of the Belleayre Ridge. This AIP was supposedly negotiated by all parties in good faith and was approved by most of the groups including the DEC, EPA, NRDC, Riverkeeper, CCCD, and Trout Unlimited. The CHA continues to hold out with the hope of stopping the project and at the same time holding the Belleayre Mt. Ski Center expansion hostage.

This project has been hijacked by a small group of people hell bent on stopping the proposed resort project by any means possible. They are not looking for consensus. They are not concerned about the economic crisis we face. They care only about the environment if it supports their agenda. And they pretend to be supporters of Belleayre Mt. Ski Center but only for the portions of the expansion they want to see.

It is time we move forward with the next phase of Belleayre Mt. The Unit Management Plan has been negotiated, reviewed in public, and approved. I ask for the Shandaken Town Board to support resolution #60-17 with a unanimous push for the funding of the Belleayre Mt. Unit Management Plan.

Chuck Perez,
Big Indian

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Wow. Give em hell

Wow. Give em hell Chuck. Letter to the Editor I do my part by tweeting #FundtheUMP to Governor Cuomo every time he announces an economic development for some other area other than the #Catskills. The past two weeks I've spent checking for businesses and organizations on Twitter that could have got the eyes of millions of downstate tourists and skiers. Only Shandaken has a real presence on Twitter to get the word out about their local businesses, town meetings, and emergency alerts. Kudos to Joyce Grant! Town clerk tweeted the Resolution and petition to support Belleayre. That let me retweet it to the public timeline. Fleischmanns First is also emerging as a go-to for local events. No Democrats no Republicans and no real Business Advocates have a presence on Twitter. There doesn't seem to be an effective strategy to develop and sustain interconnectedness between businesses from Boiceville to Margaretville to Delhi that could have mobilized thousands to sign the Belleayre UMP petition. I love the Catskill Mountain News but they are not on Twitter either so I had to Retweet Daily Freeman and Watershed article's that included the Petition. FB is only friends or someone who likes and follows you. I checked about 200 businesses on FB in the community and each one only had a following of a couple of hundred or less followers. Mostly locals or part-timers. Tourists don't know you exist until they actually visit. They need to know about a business while they're planning their vacation. The #Fund the UMP petition has received less than 1,500 signatures. Twitter has the ability to reach millions of downstaters. Come on folks we can do better. Twitter Handle SkellBell@StacieSkelley Arkville NY
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