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Friday, November 16, 2018



To the editor:
Frankly, I was confused after reading the article about the real estate summit held earlier this month in Callicoon. Why were two restauranteurs leading a panel on real estate, when the county is full of dynamic real estate pros ranging from Jeff Bank (financing), home inspectors, builders, and real estate people? I wasn't able to attend, but seemed an odd panel, notwithstanding their accomplishments in their primary field of business (food).

Charles Petersheim

County Workers To Protest Budget

To the editor:
The proposed 2019 Sullivan Count budget has something for everyone except its own employees in the offices of the Aging, Veterans, DMV, the 911 Center, County Clerk, Real Property Tax, Treasurer's, Information Services, Family Services, Community Services, Public Health, the Care Center at Sunset Lake, Transportation, The District Attorney, the Sheriffs, and other county offices and services.
We're tired of our vast majority taking home between $300 and $450 per week. Most of us have seen our pay increase only 4.5 percent the past six years, and that extra money was devoured by increases in our medical payroll deductions.
We're tired of making, on average, $10,000 per year less than equivalent positions in surrounding villages, towns, school districts, prisons and counties (even Delaware County!).
We're tired of working two jobs. We're tired of being tired.
As Teamster union rep for the majority of county workers, I can tell you county workers plan to jam the budget hearing Tuesday December 11 at 5:30 p.m.
This time things are different. We refuse to remain forgotten and neglected.
This time we are not backing down, and not going away.

Jerry Ebert

The Challenge and Opportunity in Preparing a County Budget

To the editor:
By the time you read this, the Sullivan County Legislature will be poring over the Tentative 2019 County Budget as proposed to us by County Manager Josh Potosek. It's a huge document that the County Manager and every division, department and unit in County Government have been working on for months.
What dominates legislators' minds is how to balance a budget between taking care of our employees and taking care of our taxpayers. We can't do that on the backs of either group (some of whom are one and the same), but the challenge lies in providing our hard-working staff a good salary and benefits that won't unduly burden taxpayers.
Costs are rising exponentially, even during a time when the County has benefitted from increased wages and tax revenue (particularly sales taxes). Healthcare and services we are State-mandated to provide are steadily eating up much of the increased funding we've gained.
Our crew of more than 1,000 employees deserves a livable wage - they've certainly earned it. They work hard, do what is right, don't give up, and provide compassionate, competent service day after day. We have several 24-hour departments: the Sheriff's Office (Patrol and Jail), the Care Center at Sunset Lake, the 911 Center, and when conditions demand, our Division of Public Works. If no one is available to relieve them at the end of their shifts, they cannot go home, no matter what responsibilities, gatherings or needs await them.
I witnessed this firsthand when I was a Sheriff's deputy, and I still do, even though I'm now retired. I've watched deputies wonder if they will have to miss their children's birthday parties, not to mention a simple family dinner. It's an incredibly tough situation that you never truly get used to, even though the job demands it.
But even then, these folks remain on duty, serving with pride, care and professionalism. That level of service deserves proper pay, benefits and praise - not just for a job well done but to ensure we keep the kind of people who give their best every day, no matter the circumstances.
Sullivan County cannot keep losing the best we have - the backbone of our staffing - to other places that pay better. Our citizens deserve the best, and so do our employees. They ARE Sullivan County. And I assure you this Legislature will keep that in mind as we near the December adoption of the 2019 County Budget.

Luis Alvarez

19th CD Betrayed by Delgado and Albany Dems

To the editor:
I'll complete this letter today, Oct. 30, and ask the Democrat to hold it until after Tuesday's election because as unworthy as I hold Antonio Delgado to serve in Congress my greater concern is the possibility of 2 more years of undermining our democratic institutions by Donald Trump and his congressional collaborators which includes our own incumbent 19th C.D. John Faso.
So, yes, I'll hold my nose on Tuesday and vote for Delgado, a candidate I view as reckless and self-serving in refusing to tell his would-be constituents - 19th CD democratic primary voters - of his secret life as a rapper, recording songs filled with racist, hateful, inciteful and misogynous language. As an independent my commitment to a House of Representatives that will stand up for democracy is paramount. Sadly, in winning a 22% plurality in last June's primary Delgado correctly gambled that neither the State Democratic Committee nor any of his six opponents would let the public in on his secret.
If Antonio Delgado truly cared about America he would have known his rapper past made him the least likely Democrat to win the seat, turning the race into a toss-up going into the final week. He would also have known that continued unchecked Trump control over all levels of government would translate into more targeting of democratic principles. That we would be only a single jailed journalist away from autocracy. Only a suspended cable news license from tyranny. Only a court decree crippling a NY Times or Washington Post to render the Bill of Rights meaningless.
Make no mistake, Mr. Delgado have every right to choose his lyrics and sing his songs. In the end, however, on Nov. 6, it is we, the 19th CD constituents, who will be the losers.
Should Delgado win he'll enter Congress tainted and ineffectual, regardless of which party controls the House. If he loses what further emboldenment for the anti-democratic forces already poised and positioned to bring about the New Order.
Note: The writer is a retired teacher of U. S. Government and History and long-time community activist in the Bethel hamlet of Smallwood.

Harold Saltzman

We will vote and get through this

To the editor:
I want to compliment the Democrat and Steve White for his thoughtful and “on point” arguments on many a sensitive topic. I particularly want to comment on Mr. White's letter entitled “There will be blood” that appeared in the November 2 edition.
Mr. Trump's bigotry and hate mongering frightens me as well, and has given permission to many to blame, accuse.... Perhaps there has been an upswing in the economy, but I believe it's “in spite of” not “because of” the current administration.
A climate has been created, not unlike the Third Reich, where “hate” abounds like a “cancer wound”, where being anyone who is not white and not Christian means you are not American.
I just completed a novel by Jay Frankston entitled ‘El Sereno', a work of fiction historically framed before, during and following the Spanish Civil War. I became deeply involved in the reading, and, at times, could not tell the difference between the Franco Regime and our president's attempt to become such a “regime”.
What I actually want to tell, Steve, I am on your side and so are many others. We will vote and get through this.

Geri Schwarz
Mongaup Valley

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