‘The fierce urgency of now’ and more

Letters to the editor January 21 to 27

Posted 1/20/21

Letters to the editor January 21 to 27

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‘The fierce urgency of now’ and more

Letters to the editor January 21 to 27


‘Narrow, next-to-no time’ between tax payments

The Sullivan County School tax provides for up to three installments in September, October and November. The issue of concern is the narrow, next-to-no time between the second and third installments. It is an insane 48 hours, not a month like between the first and second installments. This has been implemented for a long time, is antiquated, terribly flawed and needs to be addressed for the 21st century.

This is not fair and is an extreme burden on those living on fixed incomes like social security. Simply put, there needs to be an equal amount of time between the installments, and I’m sure most property owners would concur.

An October 31 deadline and November 2 deadline doesn’t make sense, particularly when the same amount due, plus late fee interest, is demanded of property owners. The timing of Social Security and pensions are fixed, and it is only fair to permit an equal amount of time to fund the final installment. Now, many lifelong residents who are senior retirees, who cannot manage the 48-hour turnaround, are pushed into the January option packed atop with a penalty. However, the school tax is not the sole bill in their lives!

During this pandemic and damaging income losses, a 2020 hardship exemption from interest penalties should have been taken into consideration and would have been beneficial to homeowners who are already hurting enough. Business as usual doesn’t work well anymore. This 48-hour turnaround feels like extortion. The state property tax payment intervals are fair and the Sullivan County School District is obviously not.

I know of four people who, as much as they loved this community and environment, said this was the deciding factor to leave permanently. I can’t blame them.

It’s time for a change going forward to have parity with how the property tax is done, i.e. fairly!

Afi Phoebe
Narrowsburg and Jamaica, NY

‘The fierce urgency of now’

“A time comes when silence is betrayal.” Martin Luther King Jr. spoke those words in 1967 referencing the Vietnam War. They apply to January 6 and those who continue actively and passively perpetuating the Big Lie about election fraud and other falsehoods that brought armed insurrection by domestic terrorists to our nation’s Capitol.

Intelligence agencies warn that we must prepare for long-term danger from right-wing extremists, many of whom are white supremacists. “Now it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war.” Yet, many powerful people stay silent, betting they will stay afloat, while all around, others are swallowed by tumult.

Silence is a privilege of the powerful. It masquerades as neutrality but indicates self-interest and a lack of empathy. There are moments when we must speak to the needs and sufferings of others, must risk ourselves to do so, even if we do not have all the answers. “We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.”

Leaders must tell the truth now so we can salvage democracy and promote peace. “There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.”

Reject the death wish. Call on civic leaders to stop the doublespeak, disinformation and dog whistles. Reject racism, anti-Semitism and violence. Do it while we can. “We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.”

(All mentioned quotes were spoken by MLK.)

Lenore Rogan
Lords Valley, PA

In response to Greg Trigg’s ‘Hindsight is 2020’

What fun to see our bench featured in River Reporter. I also appreciate the birthday greetings. In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined such a celebration!

I thought you might like to know that the bench has a history: The bench was silent witness to a whole generation of children growing up on our street. Grace Johansen’s son proposed to his fiancée at the bench. She said “yes,” so Grace wrote a lovely poem about it in script, framed it and presented it to the happy couple at their wedding.

The bench was swept away, presumably lost forever, in Narrowsburg’s widespread flooding of 2006. Carol Creamer, who lives on Delaware Drive, called some days later to ask if our bench was missing, as her sons had spotted one near the riverbank. These several strapping lads retrieved it and returned it to its home so that passersby could again stop to relax as they gazed out across the river. The welcoming sign was replaced, and all was well.

Unfortunately, the bench later became witness to a mystery that may yet remain unsolved. A woman disappeared, reportedly, from that vicinity. The search involved policemen, sheriff’s department, dogs and a helicopter, but failed to yield a solution. The woman was visiting from New York City, so it received more than local coverage. We were told that a NY Post article reported that “her purse with some contents was found beside a tree near a bench on the riverbank.” We felt this raised our bench to a whole new status. We wondered what clues the bench would reveal if it could.

Meanwhile, the bench remains, waiting for those who might stop. Out of respect, no one has ever littered.

I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you, Greg, but I do follow your articles in River Reporter and hope someday we might meet. It is so refreshing to hear some new voices in town.

Beth Peck
Narrowsburg, NY


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