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Letters to the Editor

We encourage letters on topics of direct interest to the Hudson Valley but will accept contributions on any subject.

This column may include "Opinion" pieces, submitted by public officials, and "Letters", submitted by citizens. These submissions are presented as opinions only, not as news or confirmed facts.

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Who’s afraid of Handmaids?

Your article “Creepy scene at Putnam Legislature Meeting” revealed the sad fact that someone elected to serve on the legislature was “frightened” and had “horrible thoughts” after seeing five women in red robes and bonnets. These women were dressed as characters from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ a prize winning book, opera, film and television series which portrays women who have lost control of their reproductive rights and their right to speak. The legislators (who apparently cannot tell the difference between a hood and a bonnet) had no problem passing a resolution which contains numerous errors, untruths and sensationalist fabrications in order to call for repeal of portions of the Reproductive Health Act. They have no problem cutting off any meaningful citizen input to their deliberations, by permitting citizens to speak only about matters on that day’s agenda and only after they have finished voting. At their prior meeting in April 2, they apparently did not experience "horrible thoughts" when a supporter of their dishonest resolution revealed that his polarizing and divisive tactics were inspired by the tactics that led to the civil war a century and a half ago. The legislature has no problem with trying to take away our freedoms, preventing us from speaking, and endorsing inflammatory falsehoods, but they are too fragile to handle the sight of silent women in bonnets. It’s very sad.

Dwight Arthur
May 15


Elect Vinella

Nancy Vinella for Pine Bush School District Board is a good choice. Nancy is energetic, smart and deeply committed to the children and parents in the Pine Bush School District. She currently serves as Treasurer on the Pakanasink Elementary PTA and is my Co Leader of #43 Pine Bush School District girls currently enrolled in our #2 Girl Scout Troops. I have been volunteering with Nancy in Girl Scouts for the past 3 years and believe she would advocate for both Student & Parents opening the doors for strong parent involvement within the School District. Being a member of the Pakanasink Elementary School PTA I have seen great increase in programs run through the PTA and believe the same can be done throughout the District with assistance from the other Board Members. Nancy is a Team Player and a Great Listener and takes pride on those qualities. I believe it's time for a New Voice with New Ideas and Nancy Vinella is that Candidate. VOTE Nancy Vinella on May 21st.

Chareese Harper
Pine Bush
May 15


Albany Shouldn’t Sell Us Out to the Highest Cannabidders

Right now, New York’s legislature is working to legalize cannabis for adults.  Revenues in the first year alone are estimated in the billions.

The pending legislation provides that in exchange for these billions, large cannabusinesses will pay a few hundred million in taxes, provide some jobs, and take most of those billions out as  profits. Instead of looking only at the limited tax pie, NY should think bigger. If done right, cannabis legalization can be a huge boon: revitalizing communities throughout the state, helping our neighbors set up small businesses, prioritizing women and people of color, starting with our farmers.  

The proposed law ignores New York’s small farmers, craft producers and cooperatives, missing the chance to create tens of thousands of good local jobs for regular New Yorkers. The craft farm cannabis industry could follow the successful craft brewery industry, only bigger and more valuable. As farmers, we know how to grow crops outdoors, employing regenerative practices to responsibly produce pesticide-free crops which are healthier for humans and respect the planet. 

Regenerative agriculture, if practiced broadly, can literally stop climate change by capturing greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere and sequestering them in the soil. Contrast that with industrial indoor cannabis cultivation which relies on synthetic chemicals and is one of the worst carbon polluting industries in the US.

Done right, we can use cannabis to change our corporate and agri-cultures, shifting the paradigm towards practices that regenerate life on earth.

Andi Novick, 
Attorney, Farmer and Co-founder of NYSmallFarmA
May 15


Delgado calling for "tamping down the rhetoric"

Your recent reporting of Antonio DelGado [sic] calling for "tamping down the rhetoric" and laying the blame on "the highest seat in the land" called to mind the old adage that when you point a finger at others, 3 others are pointing back at you. Rep. DelGado need look no further than his own party and the media that supports it to see where the "tamping" needs to start.

If Pres. Trump had actually said that white supremacists are "good people," it wouldn't be any worse than Democrats and the media lying about it and saying he did when he didn't. And the truth is that he didn't, yet when Joe Biden flat-out lied in his campaign kick-off speech and insinuated that he did, DelGado didn't utter a peep, near as I can tell.

The truth is that the "good people" Trump referred to were the people who had gotten a permit to demonstrate against the destruction of monuments to southern history. He made that very clear in his remarks, but the sowers of division on the left took the "good people" out of context to paint Trump as a racist - which he is not. Unfortunately, Neo-Nazis and white supremacists joined the demonstration, and the Trump-hating media made it out to be that they were the entirety of it (so they could falsely accuse Trump of calling them "good people"), which they were not.

Then we have Democrats and the media blaming Trump for synagogue attacks when Jews and Israel have had no better friend than Trump. The New York Times published a blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon and a column claiming that Jesus Christ was Palestinian. CNN ran a "chyron" on-screen saying that Kellyanne Conway said Trump "commended Neo-Nazis" when she actually said he "condemned" Neo-Nazis. And Democrats in congress have made outrageous anti-Semitic statements from the floor of the House, and not a peep from DelGado.

This is not to say that Republicans are blameless, but that DelGado's "tamping" needs to start in his own party.

William Kriebel
Hopewell Junction
April 30


Support The Repowering of Danskammer

Let’s all get together and accomplish a positive development in our area - the repowering of the Danskammer Power Plant in Roseton.  Let me give you the reasons I believe we should unanimously support this project.

  1. A smaller less efficient plant already exists on the property.  This new plant will be more efficient to operate, will generate less pollution in the air, and discharge much cooler water into the Hudson River than the existing plant.
  2. The natural gas infrastructure supply to the power plant already exists so there will be no inconvenience to the neighbors during construction.
  3. Let’s talk about the economic benefits:
  • $50 million dollars in revenue over a 20-year period.
  • The plant’s $5 million-dollar annual payroll.
  • The plant’s $12 million-dollar yearly expenditures on non-energy costs.
  • The cost of construction of the project at $400 million, using local labor, employing between 300 – 400 jobs during construction, and employing a work force of 30 – 40 permanent well-paid full-time positions once operational.
  1. The benefits of taxes paid to the Town of Newburgh and the Marlboro School District should be substantially higher than what the plant pays now.

Taking the above items into account, the new Danskammer Power Plant should be supported by those that live in the Town of Newburgh, along with the Marlboro School District, and all residents in the surrounding area.

Please help make this become a reality.  

Richard A. Gerentine
Ulster County Legislator District No. 11
April 29


Friends and supporters of Valley View Nursing Home

I am reaching out to you again due to the most recent actions of the OC Executive and some of the members of the OC Legislature. Many of you believe VV is safe from the lies and deception that surrounded the unsuccessful sale/closure, between 2010- 2015. Unfortunately, a new/different scheme that has been devised. Now that VV is not costing any county taxation dollars, the County Executive has determined a way to deplete the VV "Enterprise Fund/Reserves" This Reserves Fund was uncovered by Legislator Anagnostakis in 2013 but not County acknowledged until 2017.

December, 2018, the fund balance was $55 million. The fund balance has since decreased because  VV Capital projects are no longer bonded like other Orange County departments but instead the monies are taken from the fund.  Another sudden 2019 change to the fund,  is VV has to pay the County for all services(salary & benefits, $1.5 million)  they receive from  Personnel, Budget, Legal etc.  To add insult to injury, on 4/16/19, the Health & Mental Health Committee voted to have the County bill VV retroactively for 2018, in the amount of $1,581,162  Please keep in mind no other department is billed for County services it receives in either 2018 or 2019!

Show up/ speak up, 5/2/19  legislative meeting, 3:30pm, Legislative Chambers, 255 Main Street, Goshen, NY.  Please tell the full legislature , who will be voting on retroactively charging VV $1,581,162 for the same services every other county department receives at no cost, to vote NO to such disparate treatment!

Mary Ann McDonough
April 29


Israel and Palestinians

Israel is a rogue nation which repeatedly violates international law,  UN resolutions, and the human rights of Palestinians and Bedouins.   This outlaw and criminal  behavior  would not be possible without the  support of the United States and our taxpayer dollars ( $3.8 billion per year).  Since 1967 Israel has demolished 55,000 Palestinian homes - in 1948 Israel demolished 60,000 homes and terrorized  850,000 Palestinians into abandoning their land and homes.  Since 1967 the Israeli army (IDF) has militarily occupied  Gaza and the West Bank, and imposed a brutal blockade on Gaza,  intentionally causing shortages of food, water, electricity, and medical supplies.  This  year peaceful, non-violent  border protests by desperate Palestinians  were met with Israeli army sniper fire that killed over 200 Palestinians  including journalists,  medics, and  disabled demonstrators  in wheelchairs - IDF snipers  severely wounded  more than 20,000 protesters!

With the relentless, violent and illegal theft of occupied Palestinian lands, homes, and farms  to build apartheid, Jewish only settlements  there are now over 500,000 Jewish settlers occupying over 200 settlements, outposts, and neighborhoods.   Israel has been condemned widely by the international community for it’s brutal ethnic cleansing and creation of an apartheid state where only Jews have full citizenship and rights. 

The non-violent BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions)  movement is attempting to pressure Israel to end it’s military occupation, secure equal rights for all (Jews and Arabs), and to allow Palestinians to return to their  stolen lands.  A boycott ended South African apartheid - hopefully, BDS will end Israeli apartheid.

Eli Kassirer
New Paltz
April 20


Trump's shame is endless

    Trump reprehensibly continues to tarnish the memory of John McCain as a US senator and soldier. Trump claims POWs , as McCain was, are not heroes. Captain McCain was a hero. At the Vietnam War's outbreak he volunteered for combat duty as a naval fighter pilot who flew 22 missions until shot down over Hanoi sustaining two broken arms and a broken leg. Released in 1973 he was held captive for 5 1/2 years at the 'Hanoi Hilton', a prison known for its brutality. For meritorious service McCain received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross. 

    Senator McCain was not an ideologue who strictly followed the party line. He was a man of integrity who voted his conscience that at times put him at odds with Trump's policies both domestic and foreign. He did not bend to the will of Trump unlike his fellow Republican colleagues. The senator stood steadfast behind America's values and democratic principles that he fought and sacrificed for as a combat soldier. McCain, not a Trump puppet, was a frequent target of Trump's vitriol even after passing. 

     Trump, a draft-dodger, received a dubious 4-F medical deferment for  bone spurs in his feet permanently exempting him from military service. While POW McCain was subjected to torture, Trump, in a radio interview with Howard Stern, said avoiding sexually transmitted diseases while dating was his ' personal Vietnam. '  Such a man continues to denigrate the valor of a true American patriot. Is there no end to Trump's shamelessness !

John Lown
April 19



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