One last word on the midterms, taxes, your furnace and more letters from our 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.

Encouraging election results

The recently elected officials seem to have the values and strength to be able to finally support local government. 

From the first year in office, our administration in the Village of New Paltz has spent significant time and effort pursuing grants and financial support from NYS and the Federal government. We do this as an alternative to increasing costs for local property taxpayers.

When he first became our representative in August, Congressperson Ryan made sure the assistance New Paltz had been trying to secure for a water and sewer project near the Duzine Elementary School that started with former Congressperson Delgado stayed on track.

New Paltz’s project had made the final round along with 14 others, in a highly-competitive grant application process, that had been vetted by the previous member from NY-19, now Lt. Governor Delgado. Other projects selected for consideration in Ulster County included a new water tank in Rosendale, fixing an intersection in Lloyd to make it safer for pedestrians and vehicles while improving how stormwater is handled and a supportive housing project for previously homeless people with RUPCO and the Town of Ulster.

Representative Ryan made it clear he would like to advocate for these projects with the House Appropriations Committee. We are incredibly appreciative and have our fingers crossed. Hopefully, these 15 projects will be included in the Committee’s FY 2023 bills.

When Senator Jen Metzger was in office, she was particularly good at working with our local government. Jen would listen to what we needed and helped us pay for LED streetlights, a green infrastructure solution next to Hasbrouck Park and SUNY Impact Aid. We are excited to work with County Executive Metzger.

Our village administration actively lobbies Albany every year for SUNY Impact Aid to help offset the cost of providing emergency services in our SUNY New Paltz host community. We received a total of $600,000 after receiving assistance in FY 2019, FY 2020 and FY 2021.

Each year the village received assistance we would elect to share $50,000 with the townwide A-Fund for police expenses and then apply $150,000 towards New Paltz’s volunteer fire department’s reserve fund for future expenses to benefit townwide taxpayers. We anticipate lobbying our representatives in Albany again this January for the FY 2024 budget. 

We are elated Senator Michelle Hinchey was elected to represent our senate district so we may return to having a strong advocate in Albany, so hopefully we will receive SUNY Impact Aid again. The Senator and her team had been in regular contact with us even during the last two years while they weren’t our representative but understood the value of the New Paltz Fire Department and our role as a host community for SUNY New Paltz and an important host for the Mid-Hudson region.

Strong and thoughtful representation in DC, Albany and Ulster County government is imperative to New Paltz. We congratulate Pat, Michelle, Antonio and Jen for their election victories and thank them for being our stalwarts.

Mayor Tim Rogers
New Paltz

Remarkable!

Where else but in Hudson Valley One could George Civile publish his countless silly right-wing song parodies? Does anyone actually read or, less likely, sing them? Sing out, if you do! And even more remarkable, where else could John Butz get his 1,000+-word right-wing rants published but in HV1? “Nowhere, this where,” Al Capp’s Li’l Abner, and I, would say. Remarkable, and thus, I remark!

Meyer Rothberg
Saugerties

Well, that’s all folks!

Another day we voted our hopes and fears. My only serious sadness is that our governor is Andy’s hand-picked candidate and she accepted!

Why do I care so much about crime? And being able to defend myself now that I am disabled? The Bad Guys exist, and they prey on the wounded, the weak, the vulnerable. Maybe the law could recognize my “special needs” category? A small pocket .22 short is all I want. And world peace: Mr. Jamal’s latest letter was a step, IMO, in the left-right-left direction.

For the vets: “I don’t know, but I been told, Eskimo girls are mighty cold! Left…left…left, right!” “Toon, halt!”

Or is my true life too misogynistic? “Inuit” would’ve worked just as well, but only a fool tells a DI she is “disrespectful.”

Paul Nathe
New Paltz

Commentary on life

BeBabaLula, she’s my baby.

Personally, I am for many more erections. Two years is too long to wait!

Welcome one and all to road hazard city: cones, cones as far as the eye can see. Did you take your tranq? Stay calm. It could be worse – you could be on the subway!

“One lane only,” really. I only need one lane – cones, cones detour. Follow detour, this is your morning maze.

Banned at the entry: Who knew if you don’t bring a dog, you are not welcome at the Kingston Farmers’ Market?

Caution must be taken when dealing with “kitchen table issues” during a red moon. Police records show a large increase in face-slapping.

Ta-ta. I am off to see raging pitfalls and drip-drip waterfalls.

Myrna Hilton
Ulster Park

I say we take it back

“Wokeness” is merely a slang expression that means alertness or being perceptive about facts versus opinions. It is a measurable state of awareness about what’s happening in the world. My guess is that it encapsulates succinctly for everyone that one’s attitude or thinking matters – but unfortunately, many oppose such public discourse.

The MAGAt-elected Trumpublicans want all people to accept the public status quo as somehow fair and sacrosanct! So, to be in an involuntary dream state versus voluntary thinking only helps the hard racist right-wing by reinforcing their foundational beliefs.

We as a nation have relied on tokenism to prove America is the land of opportunity. And don’t forget, originally to “stay woke” meant not to get complacent or get a sense of false security as a POC (person of color) operating in a white world.

What we need to do is take a good hard look at the inequities baked into all our systems and start dismantling them. That won’t feel good, because we will lose things – chief among them, the freedom to relax and exist in a world made for people like us who believe everyone else experiences it just like we do.

“Wokeness” arises from understandable impatience with the still-slow and limited efforts to achieve the goal of treating people based on the “content of their character,” and not their color, origin, sex et cetera. The murder of George Floyd in broad daylight by agents of “the system” was a shocking revelation about how far we still must go, despite the progress of the last 60 years.

Yes, we had a strong civil rights movement, supported by many whites. But look at how many of those gains have been rolled back, thanks to the rise of no-holds-barred conservative activism claiming, “Enough is enough.” Witness the term “voter fraud” – code for Black voting – which translates into new voter suppression laws, including the power to overturn votes GOP legislatures don’t like.

We as a nation simply must come to grips with the fact that it has been “conservatives” who have obstructed change all along. People must stay aware of and be actively attentive to important facts and matters in question (especially issues of racial and social justice) when this term is used as a cudgel by assholes to discredit the notion of basic respect and empathy for other human beings.

We continually witness the word “woke” being used as an insult by the unthinking many, but these Rip Van Winkle types of unconscious sleepers really use it because they can’t spell “empathetic,” “educated” or “enlightened” and are complaining about wokeness because they’re afraid the world is moving on without them. Folks, with all due respect, why are we always addressing wokeness and not toxic nationalism? Sure, pulling down statues can be annoying; but in the end, it does less harm than marching with torches chanting “Jews will not replace us” or trying to argue that Black lives don’t matter.

If “woke” is the opposite of “fascist,” I am superwoke, megawoke, woke-a-holic, kentucky-fried woke or even sparkling-fried woke, maybe even double-dipped deep-fried woke, as well as wokerino and woke-woke-woke. Wokeness isn’t destroying America. It’s one of those words that is meant to be positive, but now has been twisted and stomped and turned around. I keep caffeine pills with me, just so I can be as extra-woke as needed.

Totalitarian ideology with mandates, censorship and government-controlled media et cetera is being nurtured. Leaders who focus useful idiots’ fears, anxiety and loneliness onto one or more focal points such as an orange man, LGBTQ, viruses, Jews, immigrant others and BLM, same-sex marriage or monkey bugs only double down when pushing back. Of course, hate and right-wing political forces are focused on protecting white Christian nationalism and their new status (what else is new?). Not many people seem to realize fascism isn’t a light switch. It doesn’t just “turn on.” It’s a process. An ideology that is slow-burning and creeps up on you.

Too many people think that a fascist country is like 1984 or “the Terror” under Stalin, and so they say, “Of course the USA isn’t a fascist country; where are the camps?” But that was fascism 1.0. We are at fascism 3.5.1: Hitler with a happy face on social media.

Hell, probably half of his anti-woke cultish followers with their sheer, blind, ham-fisted rage don’t know what a fascist really is, stands for and how a distorted reality can succeed in destroying democracy. Trumpian rhetoric, MAGAts and the Trumpublican political party are all weapons of choice to bring this ideology to fruition.

Let’s take the word “woke” back from our enemies whose pejorative goal is to sling it like mud or worse, stone us to death with its usage so they can put liberalism down with it and be able to put a knee on the neck of democracy with empty-slogan right-wing harping about their so-called freedom being jeopardized.

Oh, and one more thing, this reminder: Fascism is much worse than inflation. Got it? 

Neil Jarmel
West Hurley

Sleep well?

No one intends to snore.

Sparrow
Phoenicia

Woodstock taxes & permits

Researching the reason my school taxes went up by 11.5 percent when the school budget only rose 1.19 percent was like peering into a black hole. The most viable explanation was that the astronomical rise in house sales values that have occurred in Woodstock over the past year or two floated all the Woodstock boats, whether one wishes (or can afford) to sell their property right now or not.

And in fact, the new “now” is essentially late in the valuation game: The current and predicted future astronomical rise in the Fed interest rate with its inevitable accompaniment in the mortgage sector is causing daily price reductions on Zillow for the Woodstock area. Last year my friend got a mortgage in the Albany area for close to three percent. I found today’s rate on the Internet at 7.933 percent, nearly five percent more. The difference on a $300,000 mortgage will be $15,000 per year or $1,250 per month in Year One, reduced a bit annually by modest principal repayments. After ten years, the difference will be over $100,000. This difference is painfully understood by those in redlined districts.

Can we expect our taxes to go down next year to reflect this downward change? Why do we pay for these immense gains in house sales prices benefiting only a few?

One surprising tidbit of knowledge I acquired during my research is that the treasured short-term rental permits held by current resident and non-resident owners of Woodstock properties can be acquired by the purchaser of that property as long as the application is made within 30 days after closing. I learned it from Zillow! I recommend that this be changed to either cancel the permit, as many have requested a reduction in the total number of them, or offer the freed-up permit to resident owners who have already applied. These permits are extremely financially valuable; Zillow estimates the rental income for the house I found at close to $5,000/month. I’m guessing that it would add $100,000+ to the sales value of the house.

Beverly Harris
Lake Hill

Apathy

I wonder how many times Woodstock’s zoning laws were assaulted this year.

Howard Harris
Woodstock

Holiday gift-giving

For 64 years, the members of the VFW Auxiliary to Post 8645 in New Paltz provide holiday gifts to approximately 100 Ulster County children in care. The Children’s Division of the Department of Social Services of Ulster County assumes financial responsibility as allocated by statute for the food, clothing and medical needs of these children. However, their responsibility ends there, and our organization continues to take on the project of securing a gift according to the children’s age and interests. Our members find this endeavor very satisfying.

Each year, our Auxiliary receives the needed funds by generous donations from Ulster County businesses, organizations and individuals. If you would like to make a donation to this worthwhile program, please make checks payable to VFW Auxiliary Post 8645 and mail to Lori Tunkel, 10 Michelle Drive, Gardiner NY 12525.

You may be assured that 100 percent of your generous contribution goes toward buying gifts for the children. Donations are tax-deductible. A financial statement for this program is available upon request.

Roma Jane Simpson, Auxiliary President
Cindy Dates, Secretary
Lori Tunkel, Treasurer
VFW Auxiliary to Post 8645
New Paltz

Neil’s political world

With the midterms over and the results still in doubt, there are still things happening that are worthy of discussion. For example, inflation is over seven percent and interest rates are rising; there is an unprecedented crisis at the border due to Joe Biden’s border policies; and crime is rising in most of the major cities. Moreover, the war in Ukraine grinds on and Putin is threatening the use of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, China and North Korea are saber-rattling.

With all of the above – and much more I could mention – in view, this new parody is inspired by the faint hope that Neil will be challenged to share his views on at least some of the stories listed above happening on TFG (That Failing Guy) Joe Biden’s watch. After all, Mr. Jarmel is a smart guy who Rebecca Wilk thinks is always right on the issues because he agrees with her, and POTUS Joe’s policies could use the support that “Neilsplaining” them would provide. The following is based on Madonna’s “Material Girl” and is titled “Neil’s Political World.” (The song begins with my observations of the present-day political realities that exist in the mind of Neil Jarmel where Donald Trump has permanent rent-free residence.)

(Stanza)

Neil hates Trump his base just loves him

I think that’s okay

Neil wants Trump to play his game

But he won’t play Neil’s way

He thinks his jeers will make me sad

And make Trump go away today

But I respond with musing songs

That express dismay

(Chorus)

‘Cos we are living in a political world

And Trump is always top of Neil’s mind

Yes we are living in a political world

And Neil’s words towards Trump are always unkind

(stanza)

Trump has gone; Neil thinks he stayed

That’s all right with me

He was our greatest president

As anyone can see

Old Neil complains and outrage feigns

To him Trump’s still a fright (that’s right!)

The fact that Trump may run again

Keeps Neil awake at night

(Chorus)

‘Cos we are living in a political world

And Neil is a political pro

You know that we are living in a political world

It’s time Neil shared some thoughts about Joe

(Chorus)

Yes we are living in a political world

When Trump left inflation was below two percent

But now it’s risen so very high

That folks can hardly pay their due rent

(I now speak as the voice of reason hoping to persuade Neil of the folly of his continued anti-Trump tirades)

(stanza)

Midterm’s tales will soon be told

We’ll know who’s lost and won (when done!)

If Neil’s team’s on the losing side

He won’t be having fun

But win or lose this will be true

He’ll wield words like a knife

What value has Neil’s politics

If his rantings cause more strife?

(Chorus)

Yes we are living in a political world

Where we can play political games

Those who want to help

The cause of peace

Should stop calling each other bad names

(Bridge 3X)

Neil lives in a political world (political)

(Stanza)

Though leaders come and leaders go

We all have to stay (oy vey!)

Some are good and some are bad

Don’t let them spoil your day

(Chorus)

‘Cos we are living in a political world

Where truth is viewed through political eyes

While you are living in a political world

Be sure your truths are not political lies

(Repeat to fade)

Living in Neil’s political world (political!) 3X

Neil’s political, his political, Neil’s political world

George Civile
Gardiner

Is it time to replace your furnace?

In our climate, the furnace is probably the most important appliance in your home. It provides the basic warmth you and your family need to be comfortable and even safe throughout the winter. However, it’s usually a large and complicated piece of machinery, meaning that it is pricey to fix and even more expensive to replace entirely. It is also likely to fail on one of the coldest days, and if it is a conventional oil or gas furnace, this means you now have a crisis.

The best decisions are usually not made while rushed and in a crisis. If your furnace is more than ten years old, take the time before it fails to consider replacing it with newer technology: the cold climate heat pump. They are very efficient and can both heat and cool your home. They will save you money, as you will never need to buy heating oil, propane or natural gas again. They require less maintenance than combustion heating systems; there are fewer safety concerns, as there is no open flame and no carbon monoxide generated; and they significantly reduce your carbon emissions.

It is important to shop around and find the best heat pump system for your home’s needs before your furnace fails. There are currently many financial incentives available, both rebates and tax credits, for the installation of heat pumps.

New Paltz Climate Smart offers monthly Climate Solution meetups on the first Tuesday of the month on a variety of topics, and we learn from each other. In November, our topic was “A Climate Solution That Will Save You Money: Heat Pump Technology,” and we had local heat pump installer Rycor as our sponsor. Other topics have been wide-ranging, but have included shifting to a plant-based diet, selecting an EV (electric vehicle), energy-saving ideas, building Net Zero, climate impacts of refrigerants, composting, and so much more. Send an e-mail to newpaltzclimatesmart@gmail.com if you would like to be notified of upcoming Climate Solution meetups.

Janelle Peotter
Climate Smart Coordinator
New Paltz

New Paltz’s Village Board wants followers, not volunteers

The New Paltz Village Board of Trustees is known for its “our-way-or-the-highway” attitude which bubbled up last Wednesday, November 9, during a two-hour meeting.

Was it juicy? No.

It was mean and publicly disrespectful to two village taxpayers — me and my friend Adele Ruger who had volunteered to serve on the Village Affordable Housing Board, in response to repeated pleas for volunteers.

We stepped up after telling the Village Board at a public hearing that we didn’t approve of passing laws to permit town residents (who don’t pay extra taxes or vote in village elections) to serve on village committees. The Mayor disagreed.

Still, both of us received copies of emails from trustee Michele Zipp recommending us. ”Jane has a lot to offer this board and deeply cares about affordable housing. I’d like to get her interest letter on the next board meeting with my support for appointment,” Trustee Zipp wrote.

Our names were on the agenda for appointment. So we Zoomed in on the meeting.

The board meeting was odd. The Mayor jumped around the agenda and trustees rubber stamped his many motions with few contrary opinions voiced. Our appointments were ignored.

Public comment — usually at the beginning of a municipal meeting — was “overlooked” until the end.

That’s when Adele asked about our appointments.

The Mayor’s answer: You’re too busy. You’re both on the Town Planning Board.

Translation: We don’t want you. 

Whoa. Is this Mayor Tim Rogers or Mayor Tim Jong Un?

We didn’t go quietly.

I speak up when someone I don’t know — and who doesn’t know me — makes public statements about my public service. This dude is telling me I’m too busy to serve on a board that meets four times a year? 

I also don’t appreciate public officials who talk down to residents like me. After all, my village taxes help fund the Mayor’s salary.

Had there been any sense of courtesy among the trustees someone could have emailed or called us ahead of the meeting to say there had been a change of plans and our appointments were being put off or cancelled. Or sent a note of apology about the ugly tone afterwards. Nope. Crickets.

So we get it. The Village of New Paltz Trustees want followers, not volunteers. What they don’t seem to get is that real-life doesn’t work like Facebook.

Jane Schanberg
New Paltz

The beds our kids sleep in

When I reflect upon what I most often write, the question is, why does my focus return to wars, unexpressed trauma and the government’s struggle to see humanity absent from its agenda? What I came up with is when my life became a bargaining chip in the unjust war in Vietnam, I still feel it. In the years that followed, the lives spent for political power and money in that war got revealed. I lived, but my trust in the government has not returned.

A cultural split occurred between those who joined the military and those who protested the Vietnam war. It later became clear that the youth of that era were protesting adult authority more than those politicians sending troops to war. This division in my generation explains why several American wars since Vietnam have gone un-protested.

Moreover, as those Vietnam war protestors grew older, they disappeared into what some call maturity. Many found work in business and government, and most became addicted to capital and the stock market. Protestors had gotten educated and had a four-year head start over their brothers returning from losing the Vietnam war.

“What blows my mind,” to use a 1970 expression, is that Vietnam war protesters did not protest the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, in which some of their children and grandchildren were fighting. Or did they feel safe because most of their kids and grandkids went to college, and there was no draft? These new wars use unmanned automated high-tech weapons to kill our enemies and their families from a great distance, which the military and government hope to hide the immorality of killing our enemy and their innocent civilian families.

When our senses are not exposed to the smells and sounds of war, witnessing death as a flash on a screen at a great distance might be thought to dilute our moral responsibility for killing other human beings. So we will continue to see drone operators and button pushers of other long-distance weapons will being traumatized. They will earn the diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress.

In Vietnam, I figured out what I was doing halfway through my tour of duty. For most of my life, I’ve attempted to sort out how to make up for the lives I was a part of ending in Vietnam.

It took years to get educated, and I began working as a psychotherapist in a psychiatric hospital running groups. Patients only got into a psychiatric hospital if they were a danger to themselves or others. I worked with the suicidal, addicted and traumatized for 25 years. I learned why and how people struggle with wanting to stay alive and sober daily. I watched the healthcare system evolve into a business run by insurance companies. I witnessed the art of listening be reduced in time by medications.

I worked with veterans and the families of veterans, and I began to see that our culture and politics can affect individuals’ mental health as powerfully as drugs and alcohol. Yet, we have no medication for how our public deals with racism, incest, bullying or the aftereffects of war.

My generation has shoved Vietnam under the thick carpet in America’s living room. That carpet has holes and it’s filthy with lies. It is tromped on with combat boots endlessly. Today my generation is preparing our wills for the children we will shortly leave behind. Don’t think our kids don’t see that we made the beds they’re sleeping in by not protesting today’s wars and those soon coming into their lives.

Larry Winters
New Paltz

An observation or two!

It’s interesting to note how a “concession speech” demonstrates the “humanity” of a politician.

James Quigley is quoted (page A23, November 9, 2022 Hudson Valley One) as saying the following:

“…we now have a county executive with absolutely no operating experience…So God bless the United States….”

While Quigley has proven himself to be an able administrator, this statement reveals that he is a sore loser. All he had to do was swallow his disappointment and say that she won fair and square.

Susan Puretz
Saugerties

Thanks to Gardiner’s Voters

On behalf of the Vote Yes Gardiner Committee for Open Space, Farmland and Clean Water, we’d like to thank everyone who helped support Gardiner’s efforts to enact a Community Preservation Fund (CPF).

In the November 8 election, Gardiner voters overwhelmingly said “Yes’’ to implementing a Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) to fund a Community Preservation Fund (CPF). Close to 75% of voters agreed that preserving Gardiner’s open space, farmland, and clean water is a high priority for the entire community.

It’s no small thing to get a majority of residents in any small town to agree on anything — but, thanks to the vision of Gardiner residents and the efforts of volunteers and partners, Gardiner had done just that!

The results of Gardiner CPF vote show that residents care about the health and well-being of people, the economy and our environment. They can be proud to have charted a path forward that will make us more resilient to climate change impacts while taking the preservation of the things that make our town such a wonderful place: clean air and water, recreation, scenic views, farms and historic preservation into account.

While it will take time for us all to see the protections put into place by the CPF, we can all take a moment to be thankful now.

Special thanks to all Gardiner voters, the volunteers who logged countless hours, partners who lent expertise and guidance to the campaign and residents who supported the effort.

With everyone’s help, Gardiner’s future is more beautiful than ever!

Neil Rindlaub
on behalf of the Vote Yes Gardiner Committee

Something rotten in the state of Woodstock?

In a line made famous by the movie The Life of Brian John Cleese asks a fellow member of the board ‘‘What did the Roman Empire ever give us”?

His colleague answers by stating, “They gave us the aqueduct, sanitation, roads, irrigation, medicine, education, wine, public baths, safety, order and peace.”

No such conclusion or agreement was reached by fellow members of the Woodstock Town Board at last week’s board meeting where as reported in Hudson Valley One’s November 8’s edition, a board meeting to pass a proposed budget descended into a mud-slinging match where serious allegations were leveled at and swapped by fellow members of the board.

Quote Bennet Ratcliffe to Supervisor Bill McKenna: “You have padded this budget with so many lines, that you’re able to then take it all and put it into your capital funds and your capital projects.”

McKenna replied to Ratcliffe: “Bennet. This is the most spiteful thing I’ve ever seen. You’re picking on a handful of employees.”

Ratcliffe wanted more funding to go towards trees, the environment, volunteers, senior rec teachers and human rights.

McKenna was against Ratcliff’s cuts to postage and contractual obligations in the clerk’s office. McKenna explained that a lot of the money doesn’t get spent until the end of the year, so you can’t go by what the current spending is as a guide.

It seems something is rotten in the state of Woodstock.

Do we need an ethics committee?

Chris Finlay
Woodstock

Rebecca is losing it

In response to Rebecca Wilk’s letter of 11-9-22, she is getting more confusing with each of her submissions.

She states that I believe in “Trump’s thoroughly debunked lies.” She also says that, in my “Fox News bubble,” I repeat Tucker Carlson’s talking points for every cruel, repressive, deadly right-wing policy, plot, treasonous action and violent crime. I’m sorry, Rebecca, but these extremely vague, general, yet serious assessments are meaningless without providing any SPECIFIC examples of what you’re trying to say about things you claim that I support. I reread my letter to you of 11-2-22 to connect any of the points I raised, with your vague assertions and found absolutely no confirmation of your statements. Out of whose hat did you pull these bizarre accusations? 

Another strange hang up of yours is your interpretation of how, when and with whom first names should be used. I’m not allowed to refer to by your first name because I’m not a personal friend, family member, neighbor, or business acquaintance? Calling someone, even a stranger, by their first name is usually considered civil, respectful and considerate. I’ve never encountered anyone who is actually offended by it.

And, you say that I don’t acknowledge you as a woman, adult or even a human … based upon what? Where on earth does this outlandish thought come from? Why, because I disagree with you, I’m canceling you? You most certainly have me confused with many Democrats, big tech and the lame-stream media who immediately cancel anyone who doesn’t agree with their agenda and beliefs. 

Unless you are able to give CLEAR examples of some of the above allegations, I and many readers are likely asking: “So, who is actually spreading misinformation here, Rebecca or John?”

John N. Butz
Modena