Letters to the editor December 24 to 30
Often, adversity showcases the best in people. This snowstorm was just such an example.
The Town of Lumberland highway crew is to be commended for their handling of the storm response, and beyond that, for their helpfulness to the town’s citizens. It is no wonder that the crew performs as it does; they are led by example by a superintendent who personifies the “servant” in civil servant.
Don “Bosco” Hunt personally answered a call for assistance from one of our Lake DeVenoge community residents who had skidded off a side road. Refusing any remuneration, he simply said “no problem” and went on after a sleepless night to continue his calling to keep residents safe.
Susan Wade, Lake DeVenoge Property Owners Association secretary
Highland Lake, NY
Farm Women United strongly condemns Joe Biden’s selection of Tom Vilsack to once again head up the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Vilsack has a proven track record of advocating for corporate globalist agricultural policy while marginalizing and ignoring the struggles of family farmers of all races. Vilsack did nothing in his eight years as Secretary of Agriculture in the Obama administration to address racial discrimination in the USDA. He has never shown any concern about family farmers being squeezed out of business because of market concentration, loss of competitive markets and monopsony practices by agricultural cooperatives and corporations. All of these practices have lowered the farm-gate prices to well below the cost of production.
Tom Vilsack oversaw the debacle of increased federal government control over the National School Lunch Program, including banning whole milk and even two-percent fat milk from school lunches. For the last four years, Vilsack has made millions of dollars at dairy farmers’ expense, heading up the U.S. Dairy Export Council.
Tom Vilsack was the only cabinet secretary from the Obama administration to congratulate his successor, Sonny Perdue. This speaks volumes about the sad fact that the corporate global ag agenda forges ahead, accelerating the demise of family farmers and rural communities, regardless of the administration or party affiliation.
Tom Vilsack has never served the best interest of farmers, and there is no reason to believe that he ever will.
Tina Carlin, FWU Executive Director
We, as members of the Voting Reform committee of Ulster Activists, wish to take this opportunity to thank Sen. Jen Metzger publicly for her consistent support of the cornerstone of our democracy: full participation for all of us in the democratic process.
Good governance depends on our having the opportunity to elect officials who are not beholden to special interests. To this end, Jen Metzger ran her 2018 and 2020 campaigns without accepting donations from corporations or LLCs. The first bill she introduced after she took office in January 2019 was a bill to ban all corporate campaign contributions. She also supported bills to limit LLC political spending and to ban political fundraisers in Albany while the legislature is in session. For this, we thank her.
Citizens must be able to participate in elections. Metzger sponsored the bill (which passed almost unanimously) to expand primary election voting hours to align with general election voting hours. She also supported the CURE legislation, requiring voters to be given the opportunity to correct certain deficiencies in their absentee ballots so their votes may be counted. For this, we thank her.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges to all aspects of our lives in 2020, including voting. Metzger sponsored legislation that eased the effects of the pandemic by allowing electronic application for absentee ballots, extending the deadline for absentee ballots to be postmarked and extending the definition of illness in applying for an absentee ballot to include the risk of contracting or spreading a disease. For this, we thank her.
We are honored to have been represented in Albany by Sen. Metzger, and we wish her well in her future endeavors.
Paul Auer, Doris Chorny, Elizabeth Lee, Howard Leibovitch, Carol Nolan and Mindy Ross
Ulster County, NY
At the December 10 public meeting of Sullivan County’s Health and Family Services Committee, legislators were asked to review documents indicating that legal advice provided to them by the county attorney was counterfactual.
At issue was the following: when Sullivan County’s Adult Care Center at Sunset Lake (ACC) had been transferred to the Sunset Lake Local Development Corporation (LDC), the entity tasked to convey operation of the facility from the county to a private company.
Since at least October 8, when county attorney McGuire stated before the committee, “The facility [ACC] has been transferred to the LDC,” through at least November 19, when he stated at the regular monthly executive committee meeting of the legislature, “The LDC now owns the AC,” McGuire misrepresented ACC status. He further advised that, because the ACC no longer belonged to the county, legislators wishing to rescind prior authorization to sell it could no longer do so by simple majority vote.
Through October, November and into December, legislators grappled with the legislative jujitsu they were led to believe necessary to address their concerns. On December 10, however, they learned the ACC had transferred well after McGuire had stated—county clerk record of deed transfer is Friday, December 4, inked by legislature chairman Robert Doherty. Doherty, well aware of the many weeks of prior discussions, said nothing publicly about the misdirection. Why he and McGuire behaved as they did demands explanation.
Compounding matters, as legislator Steingart stated after learning the news, “I don’t think I was born yesterday… the property didn’t have to transfer on Friday. And then it wouldn’t have to go back and forth.”
Rock Hill, NY