2017-11-01 / Mailbag

Parete shows party doesn’t matter

To the Editor:

We say that we would prefer representatives that would cross party lines to really represent their constituents. But when it comes to the voting booth many blindly pull the Republican or Democrat lever or worse, don’t vote at all.

One candidate for the Ulster County Legislature has actually crossed party lines to do what is best for his constituents. John Parete was so respected in the legislature that he was selected by both Republicans and Democrats to be Legislative Chair. Now both parties have abandoned him as a “traitor,” for working with people from the “the other” party. Perhaps he was a traitor to the parties. But he surely is a Statesman to those he represents. Maybe it’s time to think Independently.

Ann Carroll Michelotti,
Big Indian

Americans not getting a fair shake

To the Editor:

The US Senate just voted 51 to 50 to overturn the Obama regulation that allowed consumers to join class action lawsuits in disputes with banks and credit card companies. Vice President Pence cast another tie breaking vote after two Republican senators and all 48 Democrats and Independents voted to preserve consumers’ rights. This right to join with other plaintiffs in a lawsuit is important because often buried in the fine print of banking and credit card contracts are arbitration agreements which prevent consumers from taking these financial companies to court.

Disputes are settled by private arbitrators without any right of appeal. The arbitrators are paid by the financial firms and therefore have an incentive to decide against the plaintiff. The regulation did not prohibit arbitration agreements but it did permit class action lawsuits by groups of individuals who had signed such agreements. Recent cases such as Wells Fargo opening millions of fraudulent accounts to generate fees and Equifax allowing nearly half of all Americans’ financial information to be leaked point to the need to hold financial companies responsible for widespread criminal or negligent practices.

What is behind Mike Pence’s apparent pleasure at casting the deciding vote? He and the president are supposed to be committed to giving regular Americans an honest shake. Did they campaign on a promise to close the courtroom door to harmed Americans and to protect Wall Street malfeasance? These class action lawsuits can be very profitable for plaintiff’s attorneys and may not provide much relief to individual consumers but they are expensive for banks and credit card companies when they lose and that’s the point- to punish corporate bad actors and protect the public.

Wall Street is celebrating this repeal. Republicans and the Trump administration will announce that they have saved America from rapacious lawyers. They will be less eager to take credit for protecting Wall Street from criminal penalties.

Matt Frisch,
Todd Mountain

Campaigning absentees is dubious

To the Editor:

For many purposes, residence is established when a person can prove that they spend more than half the year at a locale. Unfortunately, it seems that one needn’t prove residency in order to vote; they only need to own property. Campaigning absentee landowners for their local vote is dubious for many reasons.

First, such an effort can only be called a type of colonialism, where our representatives will not be representing the local majority at all, but absentees. This goes against the primal assumption of democracy, that the people of any given place be represented in government by a duly elected official.

Second, that we can vote where we own property but do not live and work is a clear demonstration of our disaffection from home and place, as well as of the general disjunction and dislocation of our lives. If anyone values community and commitment to place, then they must criticize the practice of absentee voting.

It would be much more effective in the long run, and would create true resilience in the local community, if, instead of targeting absentee landowners for ghost votes, these groups and their members took the time to know their neighbors and involve themselves in the quotidian affairs of the local community. They should join local organizations, serving on volunteer fire squads, or in civic clubs; they could join churches.

Why not try cutting the umbilical cord to the corpulence of the city and taking a stab at the leanness of country or small town living? There would be few better ways to come to understand the plight and struggles of rural Americans. Why not get to know neighbors and their situations, their histories and values? Votes achieve little compared to what a resilient community can achieve on its own behalf. In order for a community to be resilient, it must boast a strong and involved fulltime population who have a deeper relationship to their place than it being a mere getaway, and who are willing to get to know one another rather than forcing their own agendas by whatever means possible.

I do not agree with the votes of many of my neighbors. Nevertheless, if real democracy is to be valued, the vote of those who live and work locally must be safeguarded. They should not be subject to the votes of absentee landowners.

James Krueger,
Delhi

Supports John Parete on Election Day

To the Editor:

November signals the time to exercise one of our most basic rights: the right to elect the public officials who best represent what we want in our community and to responsibly grow our community.

This November, we have a first-timer: Kathy Nolan, or, as I think of her, Kathy NO-lan. She is running for Ulster County Legislator. She is against everything I would like to see happen in Shandaken and Ulster County to make it a better place, not only for ourselves, but also for our neighbors, our children, and our communities. Kathy NO-lan is financed by residents who do not live in Ulster County. Their interests are not our interests.

She lobbied for:

NO on improved cell phone service.

NO on the modernization of Belleayre Ski Center.

NO on the tourist trains in Phoenicia (where are the Pedal Cars that were supposed to replace the trains?)

NO to the environmentally beneficial waste treatment plant in Phoenicia?

NO to the The Resort near Belleayre.

NO to anything that she did not like or was paid to fight against.

Please don't stay home November 7. Think about what is best for our community.

Please vote Tuesday. My vote is going to John Parete.

Say “No” to No-lan.

Judy Shiner,
Big Indian

Voting is your patriotic duty

Election Day will soon be upon us. As a patriotic American, I believe it is my duty to vote in every election. This is a privilege I do not take lightly.

Voting is simple and easy and there is no reason why every American Citizen does not vote. This is not a major election year; however, for our town it is an important election. We have 3 ballot initiatives, as well on the ballot. For example - the 'Con Con' initiative, can change the direction of our whole state.

It does not matter if you are a Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal, Independent or what ever party affiliation you hold. Election day is to be cherished - as an American. Go to the polls and vote on Nov. 7th. Vote for the individuals that you believe will make our town better.

That being said, over the past several weeks, I have heard comment concerning the Supervisor's race. Whether you are for or against any candidate is your right; however, if you do not vote - then you have no right to complain.

Let the facts and their individuals accomplishments, and you own personal viewpoints guide you in your decision. Both individuals for supv. have held office - they have a record. That record speaks volumes rather than campaign speeches and promises.

Furthermore, their is much more than just the Supervisor seat at stake. We have 2 positions open for the town council as well. Remember, our board is not a dictatorship. The supervisor ONLY has one vote and is part of our Town Council - your voice - the citizens of Middletown. Whom is elected along with the existing board members will determine the direction that Middletown takes.

Vote wisely and vote for the best candidates - be an informed voter and not a party line follower. It is the individual that counts not their affiliation.

See you at the polls - Tuesday Nov. 7th.

Richard Rossi.
Denver

Let’s re-elect Middletown supervisor

To the Editor:

When I retired as Town of Middletown Supervisor in 2012, the Town of Middletown was a well-respected part of Delaware County. Before the end of the first term of my successor, the Town of Middletown had been turned into the unwanted stepchild of Delaware County. By the end of his first term, Pat Davis has restored the Town of Middletown to its original integrity within Delaware County.

Let’s keep it this way and support Pat Davis for Supervisor

Also, we have two fine gentlemen running for Town Council, Charlie Bush and Jake Rosa. Both were born, raised and lived in the Town of Middletown and have been successful in their own occupations. They understand the needs of the Town of Middletown. Support for these three gentlemen will be well given. Above all, exercise your God given right and vote.

Leonard Utter,
Margaretville
Retired Supervisor of the
Town of Middletown

Candidate seeks voters’ support

To the Editor:

I was raised in Delaware County by two good people; one happened to be a Democrat, while the other happened to be a Republican, but both of them stressed that giving back to the community was important, and even essential, for a life well lived. They also made it clear that while my sisters Polly and Peggy, brother Fred, and I might be luckier than some of our classmates and friends, we weren't better than anyone, but, because we were lucky, maybe we should especially consider giving back to the place that gave us so much.

In running for Town Supervisor, I am asking not only for your vote next Tuesday, but also for your support, for your investment and belief in the vision of hope and optimism I have - and have always had - for our Town, and for every resident of this community and county. Thank you.

Marge Miller,
Arkville

Don’t complain, if you don’t participate

Last Friday night my husband an I attended the candidate forum at the Legion Hall.

I was pleased to find that all the candidates who attended seemed sincere and, overall, quite knowledgeable. What impressed me even more was the general tone of the event. As each candidate spoke it was apparent that they truly love this area and care deeply about the future of Middletown.

What was sad was the attendance. Perhaps 10 people that were not candidates or the organizers of the event. I will say right up front that I have not been to many community or political forums in 10 years here, so I am not passing judgement, only making an observation. I will be more “present” in the future.

It took me 70 some years to figure out that you get what you pay for, so don’t complain about the quality of the product.

Connie Jeffers,
Margaretville

Says Nolan is the wrong choice

In this year's election, there are no federal contests and many of the local offices are uncontested. But that doesn’t mean this is the year to sit it out.

The 22nd Ulster County Legislature seat for the towns of Denning, Hardenburgh, Olive, and Shandaken, is highly contested. Kathy Nolan is seeking to unseat John Parete.

Ms. Nolan stopped development of cell service (the towers were ugly). She chooses to ignore the clear loss of life and unnecessary challenges imposed on first responders because of poor cell service. She continues to doggedly fight development. There is no Belleayre Resort YET because her organization has taken the matter to the courts in Kingston and Albany. They lost in both courts, but now they are appealing, with no new grounds, the courts’ decisions.

On the other hand, John Parete has served well as our representative in the Legislature. willing to work across party lines. As our local representative to the Olympic Regional Development Authority, which runs Belleayre Mountain, he was instrumental in securing $8 million for the new gondola. He is a local employer who is willing when necessary to stand up to Mike Hein and fight for us.

I urge you to be sure to vote on November 7 for John Parete.

Carol Urban,
Chichester

New GOP faces running this year

To the Editor:

Delaware County Republicans have some new faces on the campaign trail this year.

Craig DuMond is now the Acting Sheriff for Delaware County since the recent retirement of Thomas Mills. Craig served as Under-Sheriff and is on the November 7 ballot being endorsed by the Republicans, Democrats and Conservatives.

Debra Goodrich is now the Acting Clerk since the retirement of Sharon O’Dell. Debra served as Deputy Clerk for Sharon for more than 16 years. Debra is on the November 7 ballot endorsed by the Republicans also being supported by the Conservative Party.

Beverly Shields is the current Treasurer running for re-election endorsed by the Republicans on the November 7 ballot also being supported by the Conservative Party.

Maria Kelso was re-elected as the County Chair and also serves as the Republican Election Commissioner since the retirement of Bill Campbell.

The 2017 November General Election Ballot will not only contain great candidates this year but the ballot also contains three proposals on the back of the ballot.

(1) Constitutional Convention (2) Allowing the complete or partial forfeiture of a public officer’s pension if he or she is convicted of a certain type of felony (3) Authorizing the Use of Forest Preserve Land for Specified Purposes.

I urge everyone to get out and cast their votes next Tuesday. It really does matter.

Maria Kelso,
Delaware County
Republican Chair

Patrick Davis has earned our trust

To The Editor:

I wholeheartedly support the re-election of Patrick Davis as Town of Middletown Supervisor.

Patrick has worked closely with the town board to achieve an impressive list of accomplishments, including fighting back against New York City’s attempt to have some of its tax assessments lowered by more than $10 million; helping secure a new CWC and DEP office (along with many new jobs) in Arkville, working with the board to obtain a grant to fund a new roof for the town’s salt shed, working towards obtaining a $50,000 clean energy grant to improve efficiency and save taxpayer dollars.

On top of all these achievements, Patrick Davis has brought respect back and good government back to Middletown. Party affiliation should not matter. Supervisor Davis has earned our support with a job well done.

Nelson Delameter,
Arkville

Refutes letter writer’s stance

To the Editor:

Recent Letters to the Editor have contained several factual errors that should be corrected. Bill Stanton and Malcolm Fairlie 'claim' there were outbursts and unprofessional behavior on Supervisor Miller's part in Town Hall, but as the minutes show that neither Stanton nor Fairlie ever attended a Town Board meeting, and neither worked in Town Hall, their claims are politically motivated hearsay. Stanton and Fairlie also reference an 'illegally changed law', which is also false and politically motivated, as the NYS Attorney General looked into the matter ('coincidentally' during an election year), and no fault or illegality was found.

Ken Taylor's recent letter also contains a number of factual errors. Taylor asserts that the former Water Super was paid 'about $40,000'; this is untrue. Terry Johnson was paid $20k annually and received another $7k in covered health benefits from the Town. Ken also states that Highway and Transfer Station positions were eliminated under Supervisor Miller's administration, which is also false, for although personnel changes were discussed during Marge's tenure, they were disregarded for public and employee safety reasons. Additionally, Taylor claims that Andes, Roxbury and Hancock do the same good job of road maintenance with fewer highway personnel than Middletown, a comparison that, looked at closely, is apples to oranges. Hancock, which has only 4 more road miles to maintain than we do (132 to our 128), might be the closest comparison to Middletown, but Hancock has only 50 miles of paved road; we have 90. Hancock also doesn't have the population we do - spread out all over every corner of our 97.3 square miles, nor do they receive lake effect snow, existing as they do at a lower and flatter elevation in the southernmost part of Delaware County. Middletown, unlike any of the other Towns Taylor mentioned, also shares its municipal facilities with other local entities; for example, we share our salt shed with MCS, our 2 villages and the County, which means we need additional personnel to cover that position, managing our resources, and users, while filling trucks with road salt. FYI, both Andes, with 109 miles of road to maintain, and Roxbury, with just 97, have significantly smaller populations, yet in the final analysis, there's a lot more to keeping our roads maintained and safe than just looking at the numbers.

I have been going door to door with my sister for several months now as she listens to voter's concerns and affirms her commitment to representing their best interests. Marge took over the leadership of Town Government after one of the worst flood disasters in our history and despite the challenges of learning the job here and at County under very difficult circumstances, a whole lot of good was accomplished during her tenure for our community, and county. Thank you for your support for my sister, Marge Miller, for Town Supervisor.

Fred Miller,
Margaretville

Editor’s note: Mr. Taylor’s letter did not indicate the staffing cuts made were made during Miller’s terms.

--Supervisor responds to letter

To The Editor:

A letter in the News last week from my political opponent said I announced plans to expand the Arkville Water District. That claim is not true and I invite anyone reading this letter to get the minutes of the meeting from the Town Clerk or ask to hear the tape recording that was made at the meeting.

What I proposed, was a study, not a plan. The study I proposed would answer all of the questions raised in last week’s letter and then some. Here are the facts:

On October 11 Councilman Brian Sweeney and I attended a meeting in Albany at Sen. Seward’s office. We had requested the meeting to determine if there was any relief from the long-term loan for Arkville Water District taxpayers resulting from recent system upgrades and the mandated addition of a backup well.

Sen. Seward had gathered representatives from numerous funding agencies to listen to the facts about Arkville’s hardship case. Unfortunately, the USDA representative said his department rules don’t allow early loan repayment.

In the discussion that followed, others at the table explained that large sums of grant monies became available from the state this year to assist new municipal water projects and upgrades. Everyone agreed that extending the Arkville Water District was something worth exploring to see if it might make sense financially without adding new financial burdens. The experts at the table agreed to help do the research so the board could consider all options.

As a board, we would be remiss if we didn’t take a look at such a project — one that was proposed by Department of Health officials at the table — to see if it made financial sense. If it doesn’t, there is no harm in trying. On the other hand, if an extension would provide substantial benefits, it certainly is something to consider.

Brian and I returned from that meeting just moments before the beginning of the October 11 Town Board meeting. It was natural then, that we share with our colleagues and those present, the nature and results of our visit to Albany. Recounting that discussion was certainly not the same as “announcing plans” to take an action, as was stated in last week’s letter.

Further, even if plans were made, any such extension would be subject to a permissive referendum — so it would only happen if the residents approved it. I don’t know if my opponent left that out of her letter because she didn’t understand the facts or because it did not fit with the story she wanted to tell. But her letter makes it clear that she wants no part of even considering this matter, which is in my view, an irresponsible stand to take without having all facts at hand.

During the two years I have served as Supervisor, I have worked closely and transparently with other elected officials on both town and county levels, regardless of their party affiliations. If re-elected, I will continue to work with others to look into solutions for the betterment of Middletown residents and would appreciate your support in of my re-election. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Carl Patrick Davis
Supervisor
Town of Middletown

Cites irony of political descriptions

To the Editor:

Oh, the irony! I read comments in the mailbag from Republican supporters with words like “dictatorship,” “chaos,” “tense,” “angry outbursts,” “laughing stock,” and other catch words. Sounds like they were commenting on the current resident of the White House! Mention this to these same people and they will defend the president with; it’s all fake news, or prejudicial media, or better yet, telling it like it is, he speaks his mind. He’s just like us, political correctness is ruining this country. To them he is just being bold and not taking anyone’s b.s.

But, those comments weren’t made about the current administration, instead those words were used to describe Marge Miller, the previous Town Supervisor and current candidate. So, when it’s the president, these types of accusations are all lies and bad press, but when it’s a female Democratic candidate for local office it’s suddenly believed to be all true and ever so awful. Oh, the hypocrisy!

Wayne Caswell,
Arkville

Make Middletown incredible again

To the Editor:

Enough rhetoric! We are at an important junction!

Middletown needs a voice to bring all parties together to the table, and finally make decisions based on common sense instead of party allegiance!

That candidate is Julia Reischel.

If voters actually take time to disseminate Ms Reischels stance on the issues, you will clearly see like I have, that her priorities match the direction our town must move toward. She has a distinct and clear understanding of where to start our path toward responsible local government.

With our region seeing strong signs toward moderate growth, it's imperative to have council members who understand responsible ways for implementation.

Attracting millennial investment in our region is a key to sustainable growth. I believe Julia has a concrete understanding of this.

All investment in Middletown is important, and millennials provide long term results.

Forget politics and party allegiance for a moment.

We must make Middletown a place where all parties are heard and decisions actually made for the benefit of all.

The candidate who truly has a plan for implementing this is Julia Reischel.

We all benefit. It's the correct choice.

It's no longer simply about Democrats, Republicans, and independents!

No more in-fighting!

Vote smart. Vote Julia.

Drew Mitch,
Margaretville

Candidate explains platform

To the Editor:

Fiscal responsibility is a primary concern in any economy. Even more so today with Washington moving towards a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, along with the threat of declining Federal revenues resulting from possible cuts to Medicaid. Even though it consumes the largest share of Ulster County’s budget, our Department of Social Services is already stretched thin.

If large-scale capital projects run late, it will put further constraints on our county budget, leaving less money for Social Services. We need a Legislature that is willing and capable to apply due diligence and fiscal prudence to protect our most vulnerable population, so that the sick, poor and elderly not needlessly suffer.

We will all be affected by the rebuilding of our Family Court and the construction of a Fire Training Center. Our County government should not repeat the poor oversight that created unacceptable delays and cost overruns during the construction of our County Law Enforcement Center, which resulted in an outsized increase to our property taxes.

In our mountain towns we desire broad-band access, expanded wireless cell signal coverage, and better maintenance of our roads and bridges - some of which have yet to be fully rebuilt or repaired from Tropical Storm Irene more than six years ago. Global climate change will put increased stress on our mountain towns; witness recent hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico and Houston. We can no longer manage infrastructure reactively, waiting for Federal assistance to mitigate deteriorating conditions. Our county needs to do a better job to plan and prepare, and to get moving with improvements to our infrastructure.

Finally, our local economy needs greater diversification. Stifling development serves little purpose in enhancing our quality of life. And although there are competing views on how to move forward with sustainable development, we must first recognize that litigation does not build consensus.

Let’s stop looking backwards, and let’s end the partisan rancor. The time has arrived to move forward. Next Tuesday, your vote for me will send a strong message, and allow me to bring true leadership in addressing complex problems by providing practical solutions. Together we can have fairness and accountability, and together we can bring change.

Cliff Faintych,
Denning
Candidate for Legislature

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