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Discrimination in Bethel?

January 26, 2012

David Allen’s citing discrimination against second home owners in Bethel is long overdue. Bethel is largely supported by second-home owners and not only taxes them unfairly, but excludes them from town meetings by purposefully not holding meetings when they are able to attend. We have asked that meetings be held on Mondays or Thursdays and have been denied. Bethel loves our tax dollars and investment in economic growth, but not our participation in government.

At the last meeting held on a Thursday, I challenged the overspending of the board. Crumley rose to the challenge and announced that meetings would be changed back to Wednesday.

Having been shut out, I am left with no recourse but to write letters to the editor. The town board also employed this method on January 5 in “Setting the Record Straight,” its My View defending its case against Yasgur Road Productions.

“We certainly do not have a ‘cavalier’ attitude about the money we spend,” they wrote. However, what Sturm said to Allen at the January 4 meeting (when Allen asked the town to settle pending tax disputes out of court), “As far as I’m concerned, if you want to sue us the line is over there!” is not just cavalier, but foolhardy.

Litigation is expensive. Sturm admitted to spending $51,000 in five years on the Howard/Abramson case. The $3,100 more they claim to have spent last year will balloon if it hasn’t already.

Dollars aside, the cause is unjust. In May, the town was expecting 17,000 attendees at the Phish concert. Howard and Abramson were not “putting the town at any risk,” they were in fact helping us out by offering campsites, posing no more danger to Bethel than the risk that Bethel Woods put us in by inviting Phish in the first place.

Judith Maidenbaum
Kauneonga Lake, NY