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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Letters

Monticello CSD Budget Vote

To the editor:
The Monticello School District budget is coming up for a vote on May 18, 2021. The total budget is $91,266,606, up $733,581 from last year.
This proposed budget doesn't mention a $4,900,000 “Gift” from the State Education Dept. Coronavirus Responsibility Act, received earlier.
According to budget data provided by the district, the Superintendent's total pay (including benefits and other remuneration) is $259,348, up from last year, and proposed to be $291,908.
The Assistant Supt. for business total pay is $223,526, up from last year.
The Assistant Supt. for Curriculum, total pay is $212,561, up from last year.
There are 6 other principals and assistants that are each making over $151,000 per year, not including benefits.
Breaking News!! Our Federal Govt., through its “America Rescue Plan” is sending our school district $11,000,000. Yes, 11 million dollars.
Vote “No” on May 18th and make them come back with a revised budget, with lower salaries for them and lower taxes for us.


Leo Glass
Monticello

This is not an adaptation

To the editor:
I certainly enjoy reading your newspaper and I almost always read “Here and There” by Ed Townsend, I rarely agree with his opinion but like to read an opposing point of view.
His column on May 10th “Taxes, Inflation are upon us” seemed just a little strange and some of his statements just didn't seem right. I was especially surprised to see his indication that Warren Buffet had a daughter named Jackie Cushman. Warren would be surprised as well since Ms. Cushman is the daughter of Newt Gingrich.
Then searching on some phrases in the opinion piece I discovered an opinion piece published in Newsweek on May 5th by Newt Gingrich. I discovered that most of the Ed Townsend Opinion piece is based on the Newt Gingrich Opinion Piece, in fact large sections are word for word copies of the work of Newt Gingrich.
The Merriam Webster website defines Plagiarism as “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own: use (another's production) without crediting the source”. This is not an adaptation of another Author's work, it is clear as a bell to me that this opinion piece is plagiarized from Newt Gingrich, he is never credited or even mentioned in the opinion piece. This is stolen work plain and simple.
Only a few weeks after the paper was awarded 10 New York Press Association Awards it is very disheartening to find such dishonesty printed in your paper. Everyone from Fred Stabbert on down should be ashamed that this passed through the editorial review process at the Sullivan County Democrat without proper attribution.

Editor's Note: It has always been the policy of the Sullivan County Democrat that all columnists, editors, writers and contributing writers must attribute any words that are not written by the author themselves. Unfortunately, the “Here and There” column written this past Tuesday was gleaned, in large part, from a Newsweek magazine editorial written by Newt Gingrich. While we go to extraordinary lengths to fact check, edit and proofread all submissions and staff generated copy, the publication of this opinion column without proper attribution was neither intended or deliberate. We apologize that we did not attribute the column to its author, Newt Gingrich, and also that Mr. Townsend misidentified Jackie Cushman as Warren Buffet's daughter when, in fact, she is Newt Gingrich's daughter.


Bill Godfrey
High View

The Democrat

To the editor:
I write a lot of poetry
I read a lot of books,
Pick up once the daily news
Full of low-down crooks
Love to feel some comfort
No matter where I'm at
No such paper of enjoyment
Except the Democrat
Since I picked it up like seven
years ago
Leaving those parts of Brooklyn
Just never let it go
I come to the page of many
Who wrote and quite like me
Wanted that twice a week and
wondered,
Could today be me?
Democrat stay where you're at
Those articles each week
Sure that everyone feels the
same
But some hold back, don't
speak.


Catherine LoBosco
Liberty

Sister Esther

To the editor:
While there are many who seek recognition for the good works they do, some deserved some not, there are a few who go about their work because it is a calling. They seek no awards, no pat on the back, no dinners in their honor. They do what they do because it brings them more fulfillment then the people they help.
Esther Harris is one of those people. A fixture at the Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless for years, she has finally retired. My right-hand person during my tenure as Director, she always made me look good. I loved working with her and want people to know how valuable, how important she was to those in the County in need.
Before the Pandemic, the SCFH, without question the most important agency for food, was the only place for many to get a hot meal on a daily basis. Giving hundreds of thousands of pantries, serving breakfast and lunch, helping those with HIV, and trying to find housing for those who might otherwise be left in the cold, Sister Esther as she is affectionately called, was in the middle of it all.
I want to thank her and give her the recognition she deserves but never seeks. Sullivan County is lucky to have had her here.


Steve White
Bethel

I'm tired of watching the struggle

To the editor:
In Joshua Potosek's response (May 4) to my Letter to the Editor on April 30 about the Special Meeting of the Sullivan County Legislature on Friday, April 23, he opines that I have no right to insinuate wrongdoing by employees of Sullivan County government.
As a taxpayer, longtime resident and retired county employee, I have every right to publicly state my opinion. Initially, I had only asked “somebody” to explain. Today, I'm not insinuating anything; I'm stating that, whether intentional or due to incompetence, and not necessarily on the part of the ITS Commissioner, a duly elected legislator was unable to cast her vote and represent her constituents.
Mr. Potosek's response denies any need for a public explanation. He would prefer to discuss this in private. Nadia Rajsz, who was present via telephone, was denied the right to vote or motion due to lack of visual image; Luis Alvarez was unable even to participate via phoneline. I don't care that three ITS employees were ineffectually trying to fix the problem, as Mr. Potosek alleges; the problem was not fixed, the meeting was not halted, and multiple resolutions were passed to the satisfaction of an entirely partisan board. Every single one of these resolutions should be rescinded.
How can you have a Legislative Rule that requires a legislator's video image for voting, without securing the technological capacity for it? Ultimately, the County Manager (and Legislature) need to take responsibility instead of maligning taxpayers when they complain.
I'm tired of watching our county employees struggle to access meetings. Members of the public cannot comment remotely, and the meetings are inaccessible for the hearing impaired. These defects in our county's technology have obstructed our community's active participation in lawful government during the last year.


Lise Kennedy
Neversink

Communication is the key

To the editor:
In their press conference on the steps of the County Courthouse, four of my colleague legislators called for my resignation as chair. They claimed I don't communicate with them. The exact opposite is true, and I can prove it.
Through our clerk Annmarie Martin, I sent them notice of a proposed change in April 22's meeting to April 23. That email went to them on Tuesday, April 20, three days before the meeting! They had at least 48 hours to email me or her back.
Not one of them did, even though emails, instead of texts, are the way they have told me they want to communicate. If the topics of that meeting were so controversial that Legislator Rajsz had to invoke Rule 36 to table them, why didn't any of them say something before the meeting?
I wonder if some of them even read their emails. For example, at the last minute, they wanted to wait on approving the Code of Conduct, which has been under development for two years, because they thought it had some sort of secret political trap. But they had had a draft in their emails since February 24, and in all those weeks, I heard nothing.
For the record, I had zero to do with Nadia or Luis having trouble logging on to participate in the April 23 meeting. And I didn't move it to make it harder for them to attend. I work hard to make sure I have at least 5 votes for every resolution, but as past big votes prove, it's great to have a bigger majority or even a unanimous vote.
Maybe legislators Rajsz, Perrello, Alvarez and Steingart need to explain to their constituents why they don't communicate with me. Voters put them in office to work for their interests, not fight for personal or political agendas.
I am available to meet with any legislator to discuss any issue that they are prepared to discuss at any time.


Robert A. Doherty
Sullivan County Legislature

Protecting Our Fish and Wildlife

To the editor:
Thank you, Ed VanPut, for your letter of concern over the recent regulation regarding the abuse of trout during their spawning season. It is absolutely ridiculous as you and all good sportsmen know. Our white tail deer are also suffering abuse by the same people who don't know how to manage fish and game.
The recent legislation of adding a “Holiday Hunt” for seven more days of big game season is the “tip of the iceberg”. What are you people in the D.E.C. trying to do, eliminate the white tail deer herd? I am eighty-three years old and have been hunting, fishing, and trapping since I was seven years old, accompanying my dad during those early years learning the “do's” and “don'ts” of these sports. Small game in the southern Catskills has suffered greatly with the arrival of the coyote and the stocking of fishers back in the 60's and 70's. Small game hunting will never rebound due to the predator situation and the “uncontrolled” population of birds of prey. It's impossible.
Our big game situation is what really concerns me most of all. Years ago, our Conservation Department managed deer with the help of the sportsmen “common sense” and cooperation.
Not so today! In recent years, the white-tailed deer populations have been decimated in many areas of the Southern Catskills due to poor management by personnel employed recently by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The days of Bill Sereringhaus, Fred Ford, Glenn Cole, and Dick Henry are gone. These individuals knew deer management and were field experienced and schooled for their positions. These gentlemen knew their job and worked hand and hand with the sportsmen seeking info to keep a well-balanced deer herd in all areas of the Southern zone. I wish I could say the same for the people in charge today.
These people are literally destroying what is left of the present deer population both buck and doe. Reason, they are uncooperative and have limited knowledge about their jobs except statistics, which are misleading and mean little or nothing when it comes to managing deer, but it gives them a way out of the problem.
The old timers I mentioned before would go to the sportsmen, listen to their advice, and respond accordingly. Not that way today. A good example is the three-point regulation in area 3A that had to be accomplished by going the political route. What a shame.
I would like to go back to the 40's and come forward to present day big game hunting. When I started hunting, the big game season ran from November 1st to November 15th. Over the years it was noted that with the season opening on November 1st, many does were not being bred due to the bucks being shot off (there were no doe seasons back then).
The Department biologist and game managers along with sportsmen input changed the season to run from November 15th to November 30th. Just “common sense” totally lacks today. This season went on for a number of years and the white tail population flourished and became large enough to warrant the 1st doe season in 1954. This “doe day” was the last day of the big game season and proved to be a success in balancing the deer population.
As years went on, the Conservation Department was renamed the Department of Environmental Conservation and the sportsmen have suffered ever since. Our game wardens or game protectors were now labeled En-Con officers thus giving them more work enforcing environmental abuse and, as a result, our fish and game protection suffered. These officers by the way do the best they can protecting our fish and wildlife along with the added burden of enforcing environmental laws.
They are to be congratulated for their dedication to their job while working for seven years without a contract. How ridiculous. This problem plus the length of the big game season, unqualified personnel, political appointees (who know little or nothing about their positions) and uncontrolled and monitored issuance of D map and nuisance permits has put our deer herd in serious jeopardy in the Southern Catskill. Simple as that!
The length of the big game season is ridiculous. With the addition of the “Holiday Hunt”, it will allow our white tails to be hunted approximately 89 days a year. How stupid can you people be!!
In case you aren't aware the white tail deer now along with trout and bass are the only species of fish and game that can be hunted and fished during their breeding season. What's wrong with this picture? Wake up management people, continue managing big game the way you have been over recent years and you will be looking for employment elsewhere.
I and many other sportsmen feel it is about time to go back to the good ole days when the season was 15 days long in order to achieve balance again in our deer herd. Let's forget about statistics.
When managing our deer herd use some good old “common sense”. You can't have a healthy deer population by hunting them 89 days, before the rut, during the rut, and after the rut, along with rampant issuance of doe permits and nuisance permits and the fawn mortality rate due to the bears, coyotes, and fishers and expect to have a healthy and balanced deer herd in the southern zone of the Catskills. It's impossible!! Let's forget about the greedy wants of some organizations and associations and give our deer a chance to rebound.
To achieve this, sportsmen must stand together, whether you hunt with a bow, gun, or muzzleloader and realize that our white tail deer are in trouble. The seasons must be shortened (not lengthened). Our deer population cannot stand this pressure. Listen now. It's time to act and put a stop to the ridiculous length of the big game season and the poor managing by the D.E.C.


Tom Yager
Grahamsville

Not quite effective

To the editor:
I just finished ‘Here and There' opinion column in the Tuesday edition of the Democrat: Hate Not Needed.
He started out with the premise regarding ‘a deeply divided Country'. As he continued, one could see where he might be headed and then there was the totally unnecessary, one sentence paragraph: “One just has to wonder why so many people hate America?”
True enough there's hate in America but I truly believe that for the most part, people on both sides of this ‘divide' do love their country. What they ‘hate' (to use Ed's term) is probably their view about the direction it's going. (That's why we vote, protest/ write letters to the editor/etc).
His article could have been much more effective if that sentence had been ‘edited'- OUT.


Jim Newton
Livingston Manor

Thank you to all who helped clean up our town!

To the editor:
I would like to publicly thank Laurie Ramie, Shannon Cilento and Ashley Hall-Bagdonas of the Upper Delaware Council for organizing a very successful Litterpluck. If you're so inclined, Sullivan County accepts litter plucked trash free through June 30. Call your Town or Village Clerk for free dump stickers.
With their direction and assistance, the litter on State Route 97 was picked up by UDC member towns from one end to the other. I'm sure there were hundreds of pounds of roadside trash that were disposed of at no cost thanks to Sullivan County's annual Litterpluck program.
It's troubling to realize that if we want our town to look nice, we have to go out and pick up other people's garbage every single year. It's a disgusting job and wouldn't be necessary if only people would carry a trash bag in their car and empty it when they get home.
We at the Town of Delaware had more volunteers than ever before and they did an amazing job - thanks to all who helped in our continued effort to clean up our Town!


Tess McBeath
Hortonville

Bring back the Cougars!

To the editor:
Bring back the Cougars!!
Every time I wear my Catskill Cougars jacket and hat, I am stopped by someone who states, “I wish the Cougars were still here.”
And yes, they could return as with the new alignment of the minor leagues, owners who lost their respective franchises are looking for new opportunities.
Bill and Patty Resnick did an outstanding effort with the Cougars but at significant cost, but this time it would be different as there would be other investors.
But the leadership of Bill Resnick and the Resnick Group would be vital to such an effort as they have the expertise of the area and business acumen.
Billy, please give this some thought and consideration as such an effort would be beneficial in many areas.


Ralph John Savarese
Parksville

Unfounded accusations about Sullivan County employees

To the editor:
Friday's (April 30) edition of the Democrat contained a number of letters that insinuated wrongdoing by employees of Sullivan County government, an unfounded accusation that demands a response.
The most egregious misstatements were made about the April 23 meeting of the Legislature, where two legislators experienced difficulty in joining by video. One letter-writer went so far as to accuse our Information Technology Services (ITS) Commissioner of deliberately refusing to help a legislator join the meeting by video, insinuating nefarious and conspiratorial motives.
Had that letter-writer asked me or the Commissioner, they would have been accurately informed that no less than three ITS staff - plus two other County employees, all out of view of those in the Hearing Room - were attempting to assist that legislator to join by video, while the Commissioner monitored the entirety of the meeting in person.
The system was and continues to be set up to accommodate all legislators wishing to be seen and heard when they are unable to attend in person.
ITS does not disallow access to any meeting invitees. To allege otherwise unfoundedly impugns the character and integrity of the entire Division.
I expect accusations to be lodged against elected officials and leaders like myself in the normal course of things. It comes with the territory. But my staff should not be publicly drawn and quartered by those endeavoring to score a political point for or against legislators or other elected officials. I have asked legislators to recognize this, and I ask the same of the public.
Rather than posing rhetorical questions meant to cast aspersions more than discover the truth, I encourage these letter-writers to actually seek answers. They will find that the employees of this County - the people they pay to provide services - work hard, are diligent in their duties, and hold themselves to an ethical standard, regardless of the politics swirling about them at any given moment.


Joshua A. Potosek
Monticello

We, the Government

To the editor:
In his speech to Congress on April 28, President Biden asserted that “we the people” are “the government. You and I.” With this proclamation he intends for the nation to turn away from the course it adopted when Ronald Reagan declared government the “problem” at our doorstep.
Biden reminds us that the people have power—that government can be good or bad, effective or ineffective, according to the choices the people make in their votes for representation.
We the people—never united in our views, of course—allowed the Reaganite standards to dominate economic and political life until the hint of a course correction in Obama's 2008 election, which produced the significant Tea Party backlash two years later.
Trump's election and the unification of a radical Republican party generated a surge of counter activism that led the country to a different choice. People power, ever stirring and always in tension with its differences, now pushes President Biden to think big.
Biden's ambitious agenda—the passed COVID relief bill, the proposed American Jobs and Families Plans—aims to harness government to meet people's essential needs, neglected far too long: new jobs built on a response to climate change; economic equality that restores a thriving and broad-based middle class; racial justice that creates equal opportunities for building wealth and lives lived in safety and respect; subsidies for health care, child care, and education that give everyone a better chance to lead healthy, happy, productive lives. If Biden's proposed legislation passes, even in part, radical Republicans in Congress will find it difficult to convince Americans that government cannot work to serve the people's needs.
We the people do have the power and the instrument—if we speak up, speak out, act. Pressure our representatives, campaign, vote. We can make our government work for us, the people.


Tom Denton
Highland

Doherty needs to step down

To the editor:
Robert Doherty, Chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature, will continue running roughshod over standing rules, so long as he can do so cost-free.
In “Nothing Changes; If Nothing Changes”, he insisted state and county rules block legislators from participating in county government by phone - that's false - and confuses merely discussing whether to take a legislative action with actually taking it - that's baffling.
Anyone can read the county's rules for our Legislature. They permit participation and voting by phone, if only because they don't prohibit them.
Anyone can read the Governor's Executive Orders, in force throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. They permit local and state elected leaders to participate in respective governments by phone.
Whether willful or unintentional, Mr. Doherty's behavior on this matter requires him to step down as Chairman, if not resign from elected office. When he denied a duly elected legislator her right to invoke rules of our Legislature and vote by phone (April 23), he disrespected the sacrifices of those defending our way of life.
Nothing changes, if nothing changes, but wrecking balls don't bring change we need.


Dave Colavito
Rock Hill

Ma Ma Mia

To the editor:
That day will soon be here dear folks,
Loving thoughts for Mother
Blessed with thoughts of happiness
For the sister or the brother.
Daughter buying cards and of course a gift with love
When at night you close the light
You thank the Lord above.
Ma Ma Mia I love each day
That we are having fun
Shop and stop at the “Ice cream shop,” our day has just begun.
Mother's Day, what can I say
Wish you moms the best.
Thank you for all that you do
And for all of the rest.


Catherine LoBosco
Liberty




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