Central Hudson, 18th and 19th U.S. Congressional Districts, Burn pits & CPAPs and more letters from readers

The views and opinions expressed in our letters section are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Hudson Valley One. You can submit a letter to the editor here.


A car driving ON a portion of the EST bike/ped lane that meets design standards, but it is clearly not safe.

Let’s get it right

I read Terence Ward’s article “Sharing the road” about Gaby O’Shea’s crusade to make our roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians. You can watch her read her letter by searching for Town of New Paltz YouTube 7/21/2022 meeting. Given what she has gone through, her commentary is truly heroic and public service at its finest.

Gaby’s plea is simple: Because the Town (meaning taxpayers) is drafting an easement to take over all financial, management and liability responsibility for the Empire State Trail (EST) through the TransHudson commercial center, we’d like the opportunity to participate in its planning. Gaby, I and 70 other people who signed her letter want a new plan, not the one designed by TransHudson. We hope that the Town Board will apply for a Greenway Grant; they are specifically for planning connections to the EST.

I appreciate Supervisor Bettez’s response that the trail will meet all design standards, but it’s not the design – it’s the location that is the problem. The picture above is a picture of a car driving on a portion of the EST bike/ped lane that meets design standards, but it is clearly not safe.

Meeting design standards on dangerous locations is like performing a perfect surgery on the wrong leg. Let’s get it right.

Kitty Brown
New Paltz

Pat Ryan trying to cheat voters

I am writing today because I must share my frustrations with our County executive, Pat Ryan. Not only is he fleeing the county office while crime is rising, but after closing down our local small businesses and upending our economy, he now wants to take a track record of abject failure to Washington. He cannot be elected to Congress, for the good of our country.

Ryan is running for Congress in not just one, but two Congressional districts. I didn’t know that was even possible. Talk about election integrity. Maybe Ryan should focus on bringing the jobs he scared away back to Ulster County instead of trying to cheat the voters.

On August 23, I urge all of my neighbors to vote for Dutchess County executive Marc Molinaro for Congress in NY-19, and on November 8, please vote for Army National Guardsman and State assemblyman Colin Schmitt for Congress running in NY-18.

Kyle Doering
Shawangunk

Commentary on life

Chutney!

Watch out for these slogans: “Buy More – Save More” and “Nothing Is Everything.”

Dial 1 (800) MEDICARE just to hear the doubletalk.

Gains? No résumé should ever say what you have lost.

Consumer confidence for New York State: Chips and science will be homegrown!

The Catskills needs more tummlers.  Write me!

Ta-ta.  I am off to a Seniors against Agism focus group.

Myrna S. Hilton
Ulster Park

Death on the road

The vast majority of the roads in the Hudson Valley, our home, were footpaths, then cart paths, then they got paved. Some of the trails were thousands of years old. The cart paths are often about 300 years old. Meanwhile, the Valley was being invaded from the south by folks like me, in 1980, unable to afford what houses then cost in Westchester. When we sold our first house here, in the Village, the big question buyers asked first was, “Does it have cable TV?”

The roads were not keeping up with technology. We hear sad stories about Route 212, running up to Woodstock from Saugerties: a racetrack in which, surveys say, 98 percent of drivers believe that they have “above average” skills.

Last night just before the windstorm (climate change!), I was on 44/55 driving towards Gardiner. The speed limit is 55 miles per hour, but the road has dips and hills that block what the DOT calls “lines of sight.” Add in zero shoulders, and these old cart paths are the reason “death in a car accident”’ is still, despite our best efforts playing with drugs, our #1 killer!

Wake up, DOT. And everyone, please slow down a bit.

Paul Nathe
New Paltz

An official complaint

Please consider this e-mail an official “complaint” regarding Airbnbs and other short-term rentals in the Saugerties area. There is a tremendous housing shortage (especially affordable housing) and the oversaturation of short-term rentals plays a large part in causing that problem. I recently saw approximately 500 listings just on Airbnb’s website alone.

I am a homeowner who could no longer afford to buy in this area if I was looking for housing today. Long-term rental costs are through the roof and are scarce. Middle- and lower-class families are being pushed into homelessness because everyone wants to be an investment property owner. Something has to give. I encourage the Town/Village to take this problem seriously. Thank you.

Brian Brannick
Saugerties

Fishing for answers

I’ve never had any luck fishing in swimming pools.

Sparrow
Phoenicia

Salvation history irrelevant to this discussion

Mr. Civile: Perhaps the point of my last letter was too subtle. It’s obvious that the meaning was unclear to you. Maybe I should have written it as a song parody.

I have no interest in debating the meaning of the Bible, its ambiguities or its misinterpretations. The point is that the Bible is not – and should not be – a source of law in the United States, any more than the Quran or the Vedas or the Agamas. The First Amendment guarantees that. You can engage in all the rhetorical gymnastics you want in trying to convince people that the Bible doesn’t condone slavery, but for centuries it was used to justify that practice. Televangelists use it [to] rationalize their obscene wealth by ignoring most of what Jesus actually said (e.g., Matthew 19:24) and simply asserting that the Abrahamic covenant is a means to material entitlement. I used Numbers 5 to point out that anyone can play the Bible game to support their position. It. Doesn’t. Matter. The US Constitution protects everyone from laws based on religious beliefs.

Seven of the nine members of the Supreme Court are Catholics. Six of them voted to overturn “settled law” based on their orthodoxy. I believe this is in violation of the First Amendment. There are religions that value the life of the mother over that of the fetus when a choice needs to be made between them. Most atheists/agnostics are probably in that camp, too. The guarantee of the Establishment Clause has been undermined and other manifestations of that guarantee are now at risk, including gay marriage and civil rights.

The salient points of my last letter were religious freedom, medical privacy and bodily autonomy. That’s it. Salvation history is irrelevant to this discussion.

Stephen Massardo
Saugerties

Dear Friends of Elting Library:

We are happy to let you know that our parking lot policy has been clarified and our recent towing issue has been resolved.

We will be reaching out to the community soon about our new policy. In addition, new signage that clearly articulates the policy will be posted when the policy goes into effect.

Thank you for your concern and feedback.

Robert Miller
Elting Memorial Library Board of Trustees 

Show them the door – the one with bars

Trump’s Secret Service loses January 5 and January 6 texts. That’s just it: Secret Service is “secret!” Shhhhh…

This all happened after this agency was notified to protect important info related to the televised insurrection. Secret Service text messages timeline:

January 16 – Four congressional committees request phone records be preserved.

January 25 – USSS employees told to preserve phone records.

January 27 – USSS phone migration process begins.

The growing controversy over the Secret Service and the unauthorized or improper deletion of text messages is a scandal by people who knew exactly what they were doing with the government-issued phones (they were on notice). The January 6 committee (J6) opined that deleted Secret Service texts may have violated the Federal Records Act.

An innocent mistake, I’m sure. And Nixon was changing the batteries in the tape recorder. And we all thought no one would outdo Nixon. Sad. Apparently “the Service” still is guarding “secrets!” Anyone surprised? Maybe they need a plumber to unclog documents fed down the toilet, too.

A senior SS official says employees got two reminders to preserve texts. It doesn’t look like a series of mistakes, but it looks like something more. The perception is not very good, is it? If the best-case scenario is incompetence, it is still not very good. It’s thought the lost messages may have provided critical information about former president Donald Trump’s plans and actions around the riot. Even Mike Pence’s reaction to his Secret Service detail during the attempted coup might have been made clearer.

We rely on the Secret Service to protect the president physically, not to protect the president politically. Everything Trump touches…well, you know the rest. Of course we know that most law enforcement agencies are conservative, and that they do usually lean red by taking on those trappings. Now we see the SS bends toward corruption. Overall, their excuse doesn’t pass the laugh test.

In conclusion, and IMHO, this was six degrees from sedition: The depth of this corruption is unbelievable. Another cog in the wheel of deceitfulness out of Trump-world. Seriously, are we expected to believe this? It’s so insulting to even put forth such a lame excuse.

It was not a mistake. This was not a bureaucratic SNAFU. It was, in fact, an intentional trashing of historical documents that needed to be saved for a criminal probe that everyone knew would be coming. It was done deliberately; the Secret Service had the warnings and received multiple e-mails around January 6 instructing them to preserve texts. A law enforcement agency like the Secret Service is supposed to preserve evidence. This is clearly a cover-up by them.

There are a lot of questions and many concerns. We need to dismantle and then rebuild the Secret Service. It’s time for a thorough top-to-bottom housecleaning and put the agency under stricter guidelines to vet potential agents. And we must prosecute to the fullest any employee involved in evading the law pertaining to government records. Anything short of this will be a whitewash.

I hope Trump and his enablers are shitting bricks. Every single day that more comes out has got to be making the ex-POTUS nervous and crazy. This J6 committee is providing a fact-finding hearing, afteñr all; so, let’s get all the facts and clear the air.

Oh, and Russia, if you’re listening: Can you find the thousands of deleted Secret Service text messages?

Neil Jarmel
West Hurley

Some thoughts

After a short vacation, we’re back.

The New York Times new slogan: All Lies Matter.

Was looking for the Woodstock Times; gave up and got Hudson Valley One – catchy name. It’s like reading a Red Chinese phone book; exciting!

Shout-out to señor Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Security director: Good to know the southern border’s now secure. He says so, so it must be.

January 6: The prosecution never rests – not until November. Democratic friend of mine says, “There’s only one side to the story – ours!”

Want an abortion in New York City? Go down to the subway.

Can the Red Tide be stopped? Governor Gavin Newsome for Democratic presidential nominee – after what he’s done to California, he’s the natural choice to follow the present administration.

Term limits and a ban on automatic weapons: two things that will never happen.

See ya next time!

Greg Safris
Woodstock

Public TV station in Woodstock

As a 30-year public access producer in Woodstock, I am dismayed at the dismal electronics conditions in the studio. Promises as old as 25 years ago about bringing the studio up to date have yielded only a very few pieces of equipment, sometimes already used.

I took off from producing my Ramble On show about two years ago because of fear of COVID, since I am at high-risk. During those two years things became more rundown; many electronic devices work only partially, if at all; some are over 25 years old and were obsolete 20 years ago. The station needs an electronic makeover; producership is at a 30-year low.

In a town such as Woodstock, there should be a first-class access station, completely user-friendly, with no need to hire techs to do a simple interview or listen to a local band or talk with world-class artists and musicians. (I do an arts and entertainment show and have been 29-30 years.) This year, I did only a few shows, one with two local young musicians; I stumbled along with the bitterly equipped studio.

I would like to see our decisionmakers act and fulfill promises, promises and more promises instead of concentrating on construction and real estate market trends. Let Woodstock be an arts colony with an able TV station. We deserve it.

John Jordan
Woodstock

Central Hudson tax

I have a problem with, and a couple questions about, Central Hudson’s announcement that starting on August 1, they will be adding a surcharge to cover the shortages that occurred as part of their COVID Relief Plan.

First, with municipalities and states asking for ideas on how to spend their “windfall” COVID relief dollars and seeing millions of dollars being spent on items like walking trails, why isn’t that money being applied to these costs that are directly related to COVID impacts? This surcharge is nothing more than an additional tax to cover COVID relief expenses.

Secondly, when did Central Hudson become a taxing authority?

Mark Hoffstatter
Saugerties

Shout from the mountaintops

Audre Geraldine Lorde was born on February 18, 1934 in New York City, and went on to become a leading African-American poet and essayist who gave voice to issues of race, gender and sexuality. She famously said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” She also wrote, “Your silence will not protect you,” implying, among other things, that silence on issues of moral significance can be a form of violence that, ultimately, works against the interests of those being silent. I wonder if those who admire Audre or agree with her quoted statements, often carried at rallies, would extend her notions of women’s freedom and silence to a developing human female in the womb.

Legal scholar and emeritus professor of law Kris McDaniel-Miccio’s article “Vaginal politics” spoke of the threat to women’s freedom resulting from the overturning of Roe v. Wade and argued that the “Alito decision” was not pro-life, but anti-woman. (To be fair, Kris could have mentioned that “Alito’s decision” was simply an argument for the overturning of a “constitutional right” created by bad law. As Alito and others have stated, Roe has faced withering criticism, including damning appraisals by pro-choice legal scholars, for half a century.) After advocating for the confrontation of the “Dobbs decision” “until it is a faint long-gone nightmare,” Kris advises readers to educate themselves “until the revolution comes.”

Part of this education process would be a skepticism not only towards MSNBC “or that wretched compilation of ‘news’ at Fox,” but even towards Kris McDaniel-Miccio. “Miccio skepticism” can best be served by reading views explaining why Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided in the first place. “Ten legal reasons to reject Roe” by Susan E. Willis, Esq. would be a good place to start. (I must confess that although skepticism is warranted when considering opinions on issues or news stories, it occurred to me that by failing to also describe MSNBC’s “news” compilations as being “wretched,” Ms Miccio, unwisely, implied that readers should be less skeptical of this wretched “news” outlet than Fox’s.)

Kris continues by encouraging readers to vote and take action in support of women’s rights, especially those seeking abortions. After encouraging political activism, Ms. Miccio concludes by warning against the cowardice of silence in the struggle to restore abortion on demand by quoting Abraham Lincoln’s reminder that “Silence makes cowards of us all.”

With all of the aforementioned in view, I wonder if Ms. Miccio appreciates the irony of her article’s silence on the fact that abortion involves not only the life of a woman, but the life of another human being developing within her womb. And if that life in the womb is female, abortion is not only a very real and present threat to female freedom, but female existence. Indeed, if “Silence makes cowards of us all,” then perhaps Ms. Miccio should consider that her failure to mention the developing human life killed during an abortion not only makes her a coward, but an accomplice to such killing.

In closing, I encourage Professor Miccio to take to heart the late Ms. Lorde’s words, which evaluated and judged the reasons for silence in the face of evil: “Your silence will not protect you.” For by seriously considering Audre’s words, in light of the evil of 63 million developing humans killed in the womb, perhaps Ms. Miccio will conclude that the reasons she remains silent on the victims of abortion are not good ones. And, perhaps, this conclusion will move her to end her silence and “shout from the mountaintops” in defense of life in the womb.

George Civile
Gardiner

MAGA Marc Molinaro

Voters in the August 23 special election will elect a congressman to complete the final four months of Antonio Delgado’s term in the 19th Congressional District: Ulster County executive Pat Ryan (D) vs. Dutchess County executive Marc Molinaro (R).

Molinaro has gotten some good press in local papers during his three terms as County executive. He touts himself as a practical problem-solver with a relatively moderate sheen (“relatively moderate” in context with today’s radical Republican party). His winning streak was interrupted by a 23-point loss as the 2018 GOP gubernatorial candidate.

Before he became County executive, Molinaro served two terms in the New York State Assembly. Here is a sampling of his voting record there:

Families 

• against extending health benefits (A8514)

• against allowing unmarried people to adopt a child (A1523)

• against legalizing same-sex marriage (A40003)

Housing 

• against rent regulations to protect tenants’ rights (A2674)

• against foreclosure assistance (during the financial crisis) (A10083)

Workers 

• against prohibiting discrimination in wages based on gender, race and national origin (A 6130)

• against protection for freelance workers (A 6698)

• against establishing the Wage Theft Prevention Act, which would protect workers by guaranteeing meal breaks, rest stops and the like (A 10163)

• against extending worker rights to farmworkers (A 1867)

Gun safety 

• against prohibiting domestic violence offenders from possessing firearms (A 7575)

• against micro-stamping of semi-automatic pistols that would better enable their tracing (A 6468)

• against requiring renewals for pistol and revolver licenses (A 801)

As an assemblyman, Marc Molinaro toed the line with his fellow far-right Republicans, loyal to the Party of No. 

So which Molinaro would he be as a congressman: an independent who thinks as an executive, or one member of a radical GOP House that votes as a unified block on practically every issue? His past foretells his future: MAGA Republican, his every vote reliably aimed toward one purpose – blocking Democratic initiatives, regaining power for the GOP. Power. Forget about working to defend and improve the lives of the American people.

Tom Denton
New Paltz

Clarification

Just recently I had an interesting conversation with a person I have known for a long time – not intimately, but time enough to talk frankly with each other. He was a diehard Republican, always was so, and still today at an advanced age. He knew about my letters to the newspapers New Paltz Times and Hudson Valley One. He knew me long enough to frankly state, “I don’t like any of your letters.”

He was a businessman with employees and hated the FICA tax, like most business owners with employees. But his dissatisfaction was not just the FICA tax, but the overall liberal thrust of the society in general; the FICA tax, “the stone in his boot,” the impetus for his dissatisfaction, in general. Part of this dissatisfaction came from his heritage: His father, grandfather were all solid Republicans. So, there was a drumbeat of anti-Democratic liberalism, socialism, independent of any knowledge he might have inculcated himself through a growth process of education and experiences, other than his cloistered environment growing up.

I also found that he viewed the concept of “socialism” in an unfavorable light. Coming from his environment of self-reliance and independent behavior, this concept was a threat to him – a threat in the sense that he did not really understand the term and where and how it came from. I then gave him the background to this rise of “socialism,” of the GOP POTUSs from approximately Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1893, through the first term of Herbert Clark Hoover, 1929-1933: seven Republicans out of a total of nine POTUSs at this time (Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson were the two Democrats).

I explained to him the thrust of the GOP at this time was business and business only: Let the states handle their own affairs. My friend had no problem with this reasoning. But when I explained to him this grab, grab, grab, every man for himself to the exclusion of others around him, particularly the banking industry and their “high-risk” adventures with investors’ money, all leading to the Great Depression of 1933, he did not have an answer.

And this Great Depression is what gave rise to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s. This is where the concept of “socialism” came from: It was the innovation and introduction of the federal government into the social realm of the states at this time, because it was the “cowboy” tactics of the seven GOP POTUSs previously that precipitated this with the Great Depression!

My friend was silent, not knowing what to say because he did not have the knowledge of the history of the GOP to combat my explanation. Then he went into this tirade about liberalism, that it was the fault of the Democrats. I informed him it was not the Democrats, but again the GOP, because they were the one that created the Great Depression and FDR’s rise in the federal government in the first place! Either they voted for FDR and supported him or they would be voted out of office, and if they voted for Hoover for a second term and he did nothing again, they would be voted out as well. They had no choice and voted FDR in.

Once FDR came into office, programs were set into place to ensure the welfare of the common man, the disadvantaged, the elderly – programs that the previous GOP POTUSs, did not address! It is liberal in the sense that there were no benefits previously to address these calamities.

I informed him that the Social Security that he and his wife are presently enjoying are a direct result of the innovation of FDR’s New Deal. The same applies to Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs of the 1960s, Medicare and Medicaid, the supplements to the Social Security Act of 1935. Without this Medicare, his heart transplant operation would have been cost-prohibitive. My friend listened, not saying much, but did not really take it in, nor did he understand it. But rather it was socialistic and liberal, despite my explanation – a lifetime of haranguing by his elders.

But I captured his attention when I mentioned to him that I was a Republican for 59 years because of my infatuation for “Ike” and the other GOP POTUSs, particularly Reagan. But when Donald Trump came into office and threatened to dismember the existing administrative state, along with his erratic behavior, this meant, at my age, those benefits that FDR placed into effect were going to undergo a change, if not outright elimination. As of June 2019, I left the GOP and enrolled in the Democratic Party – not that I was enamored of them any more than the GOP, but they are more inclined to protect my benefits. I informed him the two organizations that I fund consistently are the AARP and NCPSSM (National Committee for the Preservation of Medicare and Medicaid).

I wish I could inform the reader that he understood. But I have my doubts. But at least I gave him food for thought. We shook hands and parted.

Robert LaPolt
New Paltz

Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes

In the West Bank of Israel/Palestine, there’s a housing shortage, but it’s limited to one ethnic group: Palestinians, and by design. “More than 1,000 Palestinians in Masafer Yatta, including around 500 children, are bracing themselves for the potential arrival of Israeli bulldozers that would demolish their homes…this large-scale expulsion would amount to an act of forcible transfer, which is a war crime and crime against humanity,” Amnesty International recently warned. “The imminent displacement of Palestinians from Masafer Yatta offers a stark reminder of the cruel strategy Israel has used for decades to maintain its cruel system of apartheid over Palestinians.”

Palestinians, many of whom have lived in the West Bank for generations, are being evicted from their homes so that they can be demolished to make way for Jewish-only settlements and businesses. Authorities often claim the homes were built without “permits,” even though they may have existed for decades. For Palestinians, their biggest investment is their home. They may spend thousands of dollars pursuing a permit, only to be denied, like most others – and see their homes demolished with short notice (minutes), with the owner liable to pay the cost, losing possessions and forced to live in a refugee camp or rented house. Imagine the emotional stress, especially for children.

Israel controls development in the West Bank, isolating Palestinian communities to keep them segregated from Jewish-only communities through discriminatory planning and housing policies. This is a denial of the basic human right to an adequate standard of living, including housing. By contrast, Israel provides subsidies and services to encourage Jewish Israelis to settle there; courts even approve Jewish communities built without permits.

Palestinians peacefully protest, but are often arrested and met by excessive force by the Israeli Defense, who use rubber bullets, stun grenades and live ammunition. Some become frustrated and feel they have no choice but to turn to violence, which politicians stoke. Yet Palestinians are often met by settler violence, abetted by the IDF.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have documented Israel’s apartheid laws, policies and practices. Per international law, apartheid is a crime against humanity committed by one racial/ethnic group that maintains an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination over another group. Dispossession of land and fragmentation of the population are components of apartheid. Learn more at www.amnestyusa.org/endapartheid.

Israel often claims its actions are to maintain “security.” But the real goal of its colonial project is to create a contiguous Greater Israel from the Mediterranean in the east to Jordan in the west – Jewish only, without Palestinians.

Israeli journalist Michel Warschawski quipped that “The symbol of Israel is no longer the Star of David, but rather the bulldozer.” Peace is difficult with unlawful demolitions. Israel receives almost $4 billion per year of US taxpayer money to enforce its brutal system of apartheid. Demand your members of Congress (202) 224-3121 hold Israel accountable.

Tom Midgley
Poughkeepsie

They did it again

A letter was sent to the Ethics Board regarding the fact that Supervisor McKenna interfered with a Planning Board (PB) hearing regarding a future potential building site by forbidding the PB to send the town’s Tree Committee to investigate the cutting of trees – something they had done in a previous case. The Ethics Board had previously written, regarding a prior ethics complaint made against McKenna, “When acting in his individual executive capacity, depending on the circumstances, there is the potential for considerations relating to the Town supervisor’s business to affect his impartiality. Therefore the Town supervisor should steer clear of activities that could be reasonably perceived as seeking to direct, override or influence the decision[s] of any of these individuals or entities.”

With regard to the complaint that McKenna interfered with the PB, the Ethics Board’s response was that McKenna did nothing wrong, writing, “As the [previous] text makes clear, this was general advice and whether there is the potential for the Town supervisor’s business to affect his impartiality will depend on the circumstance. In this case, there is no such potential.”

Yet, “potential” is defined as “having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.” It would therefore follow that if someone who was planning to build a house was aware that an individual was a qualified building contractor and they required such a service, there would be the potential of them hiring that individual. What is the “Town supervisor’s business” that the Ethics Board referred to?

Howard Harris
Woodstock

Climate change action needed

Action on climate change can’t wait! We’ve seen how our weather pattern has changed dramatically, and if nothing is done to stop the pollution, it will have a catastrophic impact on our Earth and we will lose our world as we know it.

There has to be a comprehensive approach to achieving the necessary goal, and our nation’s leaders must take immediate action to tackle this serious problem so we can continue to enjoy our Earth.

Pat Muller
Woodstock

In defense of myself & Israel

Mr. Nagel attacked my integrity; I’ll respond with verifiable facts (response to a letter by David Drimer, HV1, 07/28/2022). Readers may draw their own conclusions.

I believe everything I say defending Israel; it’s all verified through painstaking research. I don’t believe all criticisms of Israel are anti-Semitic. Israel is a democracy, receptive to legitimate criticism, just like the UK, Canada, France or Germany. But delegitimizing Israel’s existence is anti-Semitism. That’s the reason New York State has a law against Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS).

I’ll continue to defend Israel using reliably sourced information versus false propaganda. Perhaps I am a resident of an “alternate universe” to Mr. Nagel’s, as he suggests. In mine, truth matters.

Is Israel apartheid? South Africa was. Remember the Black judge who was appointed to that nation’s highest court? Obviously not; there were no Black judges. In Israel, there was Arab Supreme Court justice Salim Joubran.

Remember the Black South African doctor internationally recognized as the premier surgeon in the world performing breast cancer surgery? That never happened; it’s actually a Muslim Arab Israeli woman, Dr. Salma Abo Fou. It’s an inconvenient fact for proponents of the apartheid libel, but Arabs and Druze – 20 percent of Israel’s population – constitute half of all medical licenses.

But surely you remember when a Black political party in South Africa joined a parliamentary coalition to unseat the longtime prime minister. That would have been impossible. But an Arab political party known as Raam helped usher Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu into forced retirement. Is that what apartheid looks like?

Mr. Nagel accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing.” That’s what the Nazis did to European Jews in the 1930s and ’40s when six million persons were murdered in concentration camps. Comparing anything with the Holocaust is considered disgusting in modern society. How dare you, Fred. You should know better. Israel is the only participatory democracy in the region, where all citizens – regardless of race, national origin, gender and sexual orientation – enjoy freedom of speech, equal access to the courts, health care and education under the law. It’s widely regarded as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly nations on Earth. That’s true for all Jews, Muslims and Christians alike, and literally not even one other country in the entire region.

Mr. Nagel asserts Israel has “nothing but bullets for its five million Palestinians living under occupation.” Where do these bullets come from? From Jewish terrorists unleashing surprise lethal attacks against non-combatants in their homes? Sorry, Fred, that’s solely Palestinians, incited to violence by Hamas, the militant faction supported by the world’s most notorious bad actor, Iran. Surely, Mr. Nagel can’t believe it’s the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), who’ve been characterized as “the most ethical army” on the planet, according to a report by the independent High-Level Military Group (HLMG), made up of 11 senior military officers from five continents and a former UN war crimes prosecutor.

I’ve asked Mr. Nagel to debate on several occasions, but he ignored me. Jewish Voice for Peace accepted my invitation to discuss Israel. We’re jointly staging a publicly available online debate on Sunday, August 28. Visit UCJF.org for reservations. No cost to attend. Both parties are committed to a civil discourse. Mr. Nagel missed his opportunity to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Remember the famous quote from New York senator Daniel Moynihan, Fred: “You are entitled to your own opinion, sir. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

David Drimer
Kingston

Pat Ryan for Congress

We must all recognize that Pat Ryan, born and raised in Kingston, with West Point leadership training, having served two tours in Iraq, deserves our vote – both in the New York 19th special election and New York 18th primary on August 23. He has proven exceptionally effective as Ulster County executive, working for jobs, social health, small business assistance and power outage recovery. He will be effective at the federal level, where Pat can more directly work for our oft-forgotten veterans.

As the father of a progressive US Army special operator who has been in Iraq and Afghanistan from before 9/11, who retires in 2022, veteran and foreign policy issues are exceptionally important to my wife and I. Especially now that Senate Republicans voted No on the previously approved Veterans’ Burn Pit Exposure Act, we need veterans like Pat in Congress. In Washington he’ll fight to improve the care administered by the VA and push back against privatization. Pat will also help veterans gain access to mental health care – specifically in the first few months post-active duty, when most suicides take place – along with voting to pass bipartisan legislation like the Deborah Sampson Act, which supports female veterans at risk of homelessness. Pat supports equal rights for LGBTQ veterans and laws allowing transgender individuals to serve in our military, additionally working to create business and job opportunities for veterans and better coordinate between the public and private sector.

Vote Pat Ryan – August 23.

Claude Suhl
High Falls

Burn pits & CPAPs

I am one of the high percentages of Vietnam-era veterans who must use CPAP machines to sleep. Below is part of my letter to the Veterans’ Administration (VA) Department of Pulmonology, where I have gotten my CPAP machine over the years.

To whom it may concern:

Forgive me for being one of the many caught in the financial dynamic of the VA, the Phillips Corporation and our ineffective United States government’s response to this life-threatening issue.

Over a year ago, I was told my CPAP machine would cause cancer. As of today, there has been no replacement with a safe Phillips machine or a different brand of CPAP. I have called, written and spoken to Albany, VA, and sent a letter to my government representatives, and nothing has changed.

Having been in health care myself, I feel bad about confronting those on the frontline with an issue they have no responsibility for. But unfortunately, I see government politics, corporations and VA leadership consistently placing veterans’ lives at the bottom of the list for funding their health care.

Neglect of our veterans’ lives on battlefields was overtly evident in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan: all unjust wars used to boost the American economy. But unfortunately, yesterday’s news showed the political importance of capital over life again, with our government not voting for a bill to help veterans exposed to burn pits.

Sincerely,
LW
USMC 1969-1970 Vietnam

Let me tell you a short story about a burn pit I experienced. At the foot of Marble Mountain, also the name of our Marine airbase where I was in Vietnam in 1969, was a burn pit. This pit was a military dump where MPs would fire their rifles over the heads of hundreds of Vietnamese crawling over rotting garbage, gathering up the military gear, blanket liners, rubber tires and outdated tins of food. I saw an MP scream in Vietnamese over a bullhorn, “The dump is closed.” I then watched a Vietnamese woman and her children scrabble out of the reeking debris. As the Vietnamese pickers left the garbage pile, the MPs poured gas around the edge of the enormous circle of garbage. When he lit a match, the fire raced the circumference, while those Vietnamese who stayed darted out of the flames grasping at the things they wanted. Finally, the wind carried a tremendous black swirl of smoke across the face of Marble Mountain, the sacred Buddha shrine.

In the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, burn pits included items such as plastics, rubber, chemical mixtures and medical waste that produced dangerous toxic smoke when burned.

I am unsure if burn pit smoke, jet engine fuel fumes, Agent Orange or the DDT sprayed over the hootch I lived in gave me sleep apnea. But I do know, having gone back to Vietnam in 1994 with a delegation from People to People to study Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Vietnamese, I saw in the Vietnam war museum in Hanoi babies in large bottles of formaldehyde with profound birth defects. In addition, the United States sprayed over 72,000 tons of Agent Orange on Vietnam, which once had land covered by 40 percent forest; now, it is 14 to 29 percent. Defoliation deprived the enemy of protection of not being seen, but it was a health cost to our soldiers and theirs.

Advanced corporate science creates compounds and materials and makes products that take lifetimes to determine if and how they may kill us. In those lost lifetimes, corporations grow vast wealth and call this process progress.

Larry Winters
New Paltz

Gun restrictions make sense

A letter from Frederick Gerty last week recommended law-abiding citizens carry a gun to shoot a mass killer. He cited the recent case in Greenwood, Indiana.

But a year ago (June 2021) in Arvada, Colorado, a “good-guy-with-a-gun,” John Hurley, shot a cop-killer (Ronald Troyke) who was bent on killing more police when they arrived on the scene. When the police arrived, one of them shot and killed the only armed man left standing, John Hurley.

It is best to have the armed, law-abiding citizens identifiable by being in uniform, and the armed outlaws identifiable by not being in uniform.

And I might add that if you shoot a gang member in a street fight, you will be considered part of another gang and be hunted down by his gang.

Gun restrictions make more sense.

Alan McKnight
Willow

Special election on August 23

There is an important special election coming on August 23, where we will be voting for the candidate who will finish Antonio Delgado’s congressional term. The choice is clear — vote for combat veteran Pat Ryan. Pat is the only candidate running in the special election who is pro-choice and committed to fighting climate change and for our democracy.

While his Republican opponent, Marc Molinaro, is trying to run as a moderate, his track record in the NYS Assembly was radically right — opposing the New York’s Reproductive Health Act, which would have codified Roe v Wade into NY State law and voting to cut off funds for poor New Yorkers to get abortions. He even transferred funds from his state campaign account into an anti-choice organization. Additionally, he voted against laws to protect workers, such as the Wage Theft Prevention Act that guaranteed workers meal breaks and rest stops and against a bill prohibiting discrimination in wages based on gender, race and national origin. And the National Rifle Association loves him, giving Molinaro an A rating. This on top of his full-throttle support of a candidate who believes the Big Lie that was behind the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Don’t think for a minute that our rights are safe because we live in New York. We need to elect Pat Ryan in the Special Election on August 23 and all Democrats in November. They are our best chance of to protect our rights, preserve our planet and save our democracy.

Christine Dinsmore
Saugerties

Abusive behavior

Regarding Zac Shaw’s stories on frequent power outages in the Hudson Valley: I wonder how many folks have studied the benefits of burying power lines, as they have done in Germany and The U.K., to combat the more frequent challenges of climate change? The NWS predicts that winter-storms can only get more violent as the ocean temperatures heat up.

Central Hudson, owned by Fortis, could take out low-interest project finance loans, capitalize the expense over the life of the improvements and at the same time apply for matching government loans to take on the task of burying power lines throughout the Hudson Valley and help improve our lives. This would also help them protect their precious dividend that they pay out to investors. I’ve just signed up for what thousands are in line waiting for. I’ve purchased a stand-by generator and will have to wait well into next year for its installation, even though I’m paying thousands of dollars up front, for the generator. P.S., I’m retired and on fixed income. Suddenly, over-crowded Sun-Belt locations are starting to make sense. I won’t risk hypothermia if a hurricane blows the roof off my house, as I did in the ice-storm with frozen pipes and a 30-degree bedroom temperature.

Every which way, contractors and our utility company are treating us as if we have a bullseye on our back. It’s not only immoral, it’s abusive.

John Crowley
Woodstock

20th annual Gardiner 5K Classic thanks 

Of course it was a very hot day on July 21. It’s always hot for the Gardiner 5K Classic. That’s when we held the Gardiner 5K Classic. In spite of the weather, everyone had a wonderful time. We had waters stops along the way and our neighbors took out their hoses and cooled down the runners who wanted to get wet. We also brought back the BBQ and the kids’ fun run since the pandemic. Thanks to the many sponsors, runners/walkers and volunteers who gave of their time parking cars, working the registration desk, giving water to participants running/walking the course, setting up, cleaning up and just being there to help on the day of the race to make the Gardiner 5K Classic held at Majestic Park another successful event. The proceeds from this race will be used to make improvements to the inside of the Gardiner firehouse.

A special thanks goes to the members of the Gardiner 5K Classic Committee: Barbara Clinton, John and Landon Fracasse, Bernadette Koonz, Terri Colucci, Luke Lyons and Donna Lyons for all of the help and advice given to the Gardiner Fire Department in order to make this race such a huge success. We couldn’t have done it without them. 

Also, we would like to thank the many sponsors of the race — our platinum sponsors: Rick Hanheide, New Paltz Rescue Squad, O’Connor& Partners, Bubbe’s Deli & Grocery, Ridgeline Realty, P & G’s Restaurant, Gillette Creamery and P.E. Colucci Excavating, Inc.; our gold sponsors: React Emergency Training, Dawe’s Septic and Repair, Mobile Life Support Services, Mountain Brauhaus Restaurant, Salisbury Bank, Yard Owl, Ulster Savings Bank, Jim DeMaio-State Farm Insurance, Carl Zatz, Gardiner Animal Hospital, Franz Auto Service, Inc., The Law Offices of Robert F. Rich, Jr. PLLC., New Paltz Karate Academy, Foster and Schmalkuche, P.C., Ultimate Homes, Amthor Welding Service Inc., Garvan’s, Affordable Housing Concept, Scott Barclay Trucking, Upstate Energy Inc., Orange Bank and Trust Company, NYCOMCO, Skydive The Ranch, Masseo Landscaping Inc., Walden Savings Bank, Jellystone Lazy River Resort, Haight Fire Equipment Supply,Lightning Express Delivery Service, Inc., The Natural Pet Center at Ireland Corners, Main Course, New York State Solar Farm, Ireland Corners Gas and Convenience Inc., Fabbian’ and our silver sponsors: Whispers Cocktail Lounge, Ronald E. Clum, CPA, Fighting Spirits Karate Studio, Kellie James Salon, The Rothman Family, Maggie Mae’s LLC, The Inn @ Kettleboro, Hudson Valley Drones, Kornfeld, Rew, Newman and Simeone, John B. Ingenio, CPA, Freer Therapeutics, Dedrick’s Pharmacy of New Paltz, Royal King Cleaners, Stevens Realty Group, Gardiner Gazette, State Line Fire & Safety, Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery, New Paltz Equipment Rental, Nuvance Health, Tom’s Auto Repair Shop, Glenn & Breheney PLLC, Attorneys, Empire Tag and Title, Gordon Fire Equipment LLC., Wiedenkeller Insurance, Peter A. Rubin Insurance Agency, Lola’s, Meadowscent, Ireland Corners General Store,K & E Beverages, C2G Environmental Consultants, LLC, Main Street Bistro, Apuzzo Kitchens, Marshall & Sterling Inc., Dr. Scott I. Morrison, Optometry, PC., The Devine Agency Inc.; and those businesses that either provided the gifts used as prizes for the various winners or gave a donation: Hopewell Fire Apparatus Service Co. Inc., Patrick J. Ford CFP ® ChFC®, Saturn Software Systems, Inc., New Paltz Wine and Spirits, Will Capuano, Martha Linde, Scott Barclay Trucking, Joan Connor Devere, Mary Kay consultant Libra Banks, Mike’s Hot House, Taylor’s Greenhouse, Julian’s Provisions, Meadowscent, Ulster Savings Bank, Renegades, Wallkill View Farms,Café Mio, Pasquales, Town Cutters, Uptown Attic, Stewart’s, Liquid Mercantile, Cuts by Dawn, Shapers of New Paltz, ShopRite, and Hannafords.

The support given to the Gardiner Fire Department, a volunteer organization made up of firefighters and EMT’s, was overwhelming and greatly appreciated. If you would like to join the Gardiner Fire Department, please visit our website at www.GardinerFireAndRescue.org and complete an application. We are always looking for volunteers. Next year’s 21st Annual Gardiner 5K Classic is scheduled for July 20. See you there.

Donna M. Lyons
on behalf of the Gardiner 5K Classic Committee and Gardiner Fire Department 

If not us, who? If not now, when?

With the approaching 77th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is far beyond time to outlaw nuclear weapons, their use in threats and the use of war as a method for solving differences between and within nations. Common sense — dialogue and negotiation, coupled with respect — provide a more firm, lasting and healthful future. I encourage everyone to contact their representatives (locally, statewide and nationally) to urge them to adopt stances that do not invest in the military-industrial complex (yes, it still exists).

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Russia, China, India, North Korea, the U.K., Israel, Pakistan and France should be contacted and urged to support their country’s signing of the TPNW (Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons). These nuclear-armed nations have not signed the treaty while scores of other nations have signed and ratified it. The development, proliferation and use of nuclear weapons is outlawed by the treaty which took effect at the beginning of 2021.

I would also urge citizens to contact their town boards and county/state legislatures to, in turn, exert pressure on their federal representatives to promote the signing of the treaty. Nuclear weaponry, especially, should not be permitted to exist — only nuclear power to benefit mankind. If each of us doesn’t say anything, who will? If we don’t do this now, when will it be done? Along with climate action, what will we answer our children and grandchildren when they ask: Why didn’t you try?

Terence Lover
Woodstock

Do the right thing

I am writing to support Puja Thompson in the very unfair manner in which she was treated by our New Paltz Elting Library. Ms. Thompson is a long-time resident of New Paltz and an Elting member. Her vehicle was parked in the library parking lot for less than an hour, not overnight and was towed. Ms. Thompson received no warning notice, as indicated on the website. Although there was a discrepancy between the parking lot sign and the website, the library could have easily cleared it up, apologized to Ms. Thompson and made some accommodation about the extremely high towing fee of $270.

The Elting Library is an integral part of our welcoming community. I have lived and worked in New Paltz for over 40 years and love our town. This inappropriate action by the library is greatly disappointing and I know it can still be remedied. It’s never too late to do the right thing!

Fonda Rothblatt
New Paltz

Lie buried

‘A great town needs a great library’…?

Two senile suppositions in one desultory breath…

Burn (most of) all the books!

Ron Rybacki
Woodstock

Neil’s endless implosions

Here comes the Jarmel merry-go-round again, with Neil’s weekly, out-of-control, display of mental fireworks on the ONLY topic upon which he’s “skilled” — the repeated assassination of Donald Trump, in print.

Proudly demonstrating that he has absolutely no depth or diversity in his closed mind and its “thinking” process, Neil never acknowledges and comments on his presumably beloved country and how it’s crumbling all around him, his family and the rest of us, regardless of whether we are Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians or Independents.

Where are Neil’s concerns about the felons, traffickers, record amounts of fentanyl with its accompanying deaths, and occasional terrorists, illegally pouring across our southern border, unimpeded, despite claims, for many months by our clown Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, that “our border is closed?” And, this doesn’t even address the countless numbers of “gotaways,” who they are and what danger they may present to our national security.

And, how about the incredible increase in the violent, unpredictable and deadly crimes which are no longer restricted to “tough urban neighborhoods?” Since Neil, his family and friends apparently and fortunately escaped any negative effects from the border and crime crises, he likely figures “what do I care, no need to comment on this stuff, at all?”

On our military front, again Neil offers no insight or opinions as to the perceived or real weakening of our military by its woke “leaders” who are much more concerned with ferreting out imaginary “white supremacy” and focusing on gender identity, inclusivity and diversity rather than on rebuilding our military with only the BEST and MOST QUALIFIED candidates that will be ready to challenge the REAL problems against enemies like Russia, North Korea, Iran and last but not least, CHINA! These contradictions in priorities as well as the severely botched Afghanistan withdrawal probably didn’t affect Neil or anyone Neil knows, hence his nonchalant aloofness regarding any serious military issues.

Now, inflation — here’s something about which even Neil cannot put his head in the sand. Unless, of course, Neil happens to be independently wealthy like many of his political heroes and their gated mansions in the suburbs with private security and limo service — you know, being out of touch with the lives and realities through which their constituents must suffer.

Funny how Neil condemns the Supreme Court for “being Christian” when our nation was founded upon solid Judeo-Christian values. If a Democratic president had appointed three liberal Justices to “pack the court,” we most likely wouldn’t be hearing a peep from Neil about his allegations of the incompetence of the Supreme Court.

Neil exaggerates his dilemma about not being able to find anymore words with which to crucify Trump that wouldn’t “melt his keyboard.” Along this line, here’s a potentially hilarious scenario for Neil: Once the red wave shows itself in this year’s midterm elections, the focus then becomes who the Democrats will pull off their extremely weak minor league bench to run in 2024. They will be hard pressed to find any “legitimate” candidates beyond the laughable Biden/Harris version of Abbott and Costello, backed up by Mayor Pete who couldn’t keep up with the potholes in South Bend, Indiana, in his prior life. So, let’s assume that Neil’s January 6 Committee can’t come up with any crimes committed by Trump and that Trump is the Republican nominee for the White House and wins a second term as President, forget about Neil’s smoldering keyboard problem; there will be a six-alarm, out-of-control fire under Neil’s “thinking cap,” due to the spontaneous combustion of the sawdust between his ears. Afterwards, if any of us still want to hear from Neil, again, we’d all have to take turns visiting him in the institution to which he’d been involuntarily committed.

John N. Butz
Modena

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