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Wednesday, July 15, 2020


Follow the money

To the editor:
In a letter published on June 30, the SC Democratic Committee wants us to believe there is “systemic racism throughout our society”.
Those two words, “systemic racism” were invented by people who want to divide our country even more than it is. Mention those two words to intelligent, America-loving black leaders like author and documentary filmmaker Shelby Steele or long-time civil rights attorney Leo Terrell, or Bob Woodson of the Woodson Foundation (who, with his “1776 Project” is countering the radical left's push to add their “1619 Project” to our public schools which twists our country's real history and insists that black people must see themselves as victims and they cannot achieve the American dream) and many other black community leaders and they will laugh at you and then school you as to what has really been going on in this country. They will also remind you that America is the only country that fought a war to end slavery!
Throughout their letter, the Democratic Committee tells us what we should do and what we should demand.
Nowhere in their letter do they condemn the violence, destruction of federal and private property, looting and burning, injuries to police and business owners or even the killing of police and business owners. Why is that? Why has no Democrat come out against the violence, except for Wisconsin State Senator Tim Carpenter who was brutally beaten by some BLM protesters while taking photos with his phone of a protest in his district. He was quickly shut up by Pelosi and Schumer.
The Democratic Committee also tells us that we should “directly and specifically support the call and the efforts of the Black Live Matter movement.” That is because BLM is a fundraising arm of the Democrats! When you click on that donate button on the BLM website, you can click all around (be sure to read the disclosures sections) and follow the money right to the DNC.

Denise Connolly

A better strategy

To the editor:
I was elected into office for a variety of reasons, and a primary one in the towns of Highland and Bethel within my district had to do with the under-construction Eldred Preserve.
While on the campaign trail, I heard many times of the discontent with the fact that the Preserve's developer plans to discharge up to 17,000 gallons of wastewater every day into the pristine Halfway Brook, which flows south through Eldred and into the Delaware River at Barryville. I promised then that I would do all that I could to address this situation, and this letter is part of that effort.
Let me be clear that I fully support a thriving local economy, which my colleagues and I are striving to create every day we're in office. The Preserve promises to be a significant source of employment, along with tax revenue, when it's in full operation, and from what I know, it will capitalize on everything we love about Sullivan County - relaxing accommodations, beautiful natural resources, hospitable dining.
But it can do all that without polluting the environment at the same time. The proposal to discharge 17,000 gpd of wastewater after primary treatment is unnecessary and inappropriate given the high quality of the receiving stream and associated wetlands that will be impacted, as well as downstream aquatic habitats. Halfway Brook is a Class B(T) stream known for its recreation, including trout fishing and swimming. Halfway Brook's high water quality ensures its tremendous ecological and recreational value but also means the stream has little buffering capacity, and little ability to accept and process point source loads of nutrients, BOD, and salts without impacting the water quality and the best uses of the stream, associated lakes and wetlands.
The Eldred Preserve should be required to use, and should want to use, non-discharge alternatives that protect the creek, those who are downstream, and the ecological health of our region.
A large-scale, well-functioning septic system or other non-direct discharge strategy - which the owner of the Preserve can easily afford - is far preferable to the direct discharge of additional flow and pollution to this sensitive stream of such importance to the region's quality and health.
Further, there is reason to be concerned that the Preserve is anticipating additional development and expansion at this site that would increase the quantity of wastewater and pollution discharged to Halfway Brook. It is important that the Preserve and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation be required to disclose whatever is anticipated for this site that would result in an increased volume of wastewater discharges.
Halfway Brook drains directly to Delaware River Basin Outstanding Basin Waters, which we know as the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. Outstanding Basin Waters are those waterways with the most pristine quality in the Delaware River Basin and as a result have the highest level of anti-degradation protection available in the Delaware River Basin Commission's Special Protection Waters Program.
The ongoing quality and beauty of this stretch of river is directly dictated by the health of the tributaries that feed it. Harmful impacts to the Halfway Brook will have implications for the outstanding water quality, scenic, and recreational values of the Delaware River.
I've been in touch with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network about this matter, and they urge rejection of the surface discharge and that a non-discharge alternative be mandated. As they've said and I'll vigorously endorse, it's wrong to sacrifice the very nature that attracts customers to these kinds of businesses.

Robert A. Doherty

Engaged and relentless hope

To the editor:
To stay engaged for 2 decades on all levels of town and school board issues is not accurately defined as attacks, disparagement or disgruntledness. It's called Hope. Engaged and relentless hope, against all the accumulated evidence that the realization of that hope will always be just outside of reach.
It's also called ‘integrity', where one's actions have no collateral self-benefit, and the right course could actually have a negative personal and professional result.
As Fitzgerald's Carraway says of Jay Gatsby, “He was the single most hopeful person I have ever met, and will likely ever meet again.”

Chuck Petersheim

Take this seriously

To the editor:
I'm glad to see that judging by the relatively low infection/death rate people in Sullivan County and New York State are taking the coronavirus seriously.
This, is in contrast to almost all the GOP-controlled states that are witnessing alarming rises in the pandemic.
Don't those people realize it's far better to wear masks and keep six feet apart, than to heed Trump Republicans and end up six feet under?

Marshall Rubin

On to the next chapter

To the editor:
I am writing regarding my retirement from the County of Sullivan on Thursday, July 2, 2020. My last day with the Office for the Aging (OFA) and Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) will be on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
I would like to thank all the volunteers that provided a few hours or many hours of volunteer service to many agencies, stations and to your community, you truly make a difference. The definition of a volunteer is a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task or freely offers to do something and for that we say Thank you!
I have enjoyed my 33+ years of service with Sullivan County and the Sullivan County Office for the Aging and 30 years in the RSVP Program. I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with five (5) Office for the Aging directors- James P. Galligan, James Lyttle, Deborah Allen, Stephanie Brown, and Lise-Anne Deoul and three (3) RSVP Project Directors/Coordinators- Mary Inghrim, Carol J. Kelly, and Caryn Mathews and so many wonderful co-workers who are like family. I feel it is my time to move on to my next chapter of life in retirement.
I will take with me the everlasting friendships and memories that I have made over the years it truly has been a pleasure working with all of you.

Elaine M. Finkle
Recently Retired

This is not OK

To the editor:
A couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I drove across the bridge into Narrowsburg, N.Y. on our way to visit family graves in Youngsville.
As we drove up Bridge St., my daughter said that a N.Y.S. Trooper car was behind us, and apparently wanted us to pull over. We did so, and a male Trooper approached my daughter on the driver's side. A female Trooper came up behind me in the passenger seat.
The male Trooper stated that my daughter was not wearing her seat belt. She DEFINITELY was wearing it; but, unfortunately the black belt blended in perfectly with her black t-shirt.
Upon realizing his error the male Trooper ignored the FACT that he was wrong, and proceeded to ask for our licenses, registration and insurance card. Everything was in order.
After this most unsettling encounter, we were told to move along.
This was not OK! It was wrong on so many levels. That the Police could so blatantly ignore any semblance of sound reason and justice is incomprehensible!
I am a 79-year-old white woman and was very afraid. I cannot imagine how a 79-year-old Black woman would have felt under the same circumstances. The female Trooper standing behind me, with her hand on her pistol was frightening.

Virginia Shaara Jamieson
Beach Lake, PA

Roscoe joins BLM protests

To the editor:
Page 2 of the June 16th Democrat printed in large type read “Roscoe joins BLM protests.” I did not recognize any Roscoe residents in the picture, and the column next to the picture stated, “residents in neighboring hamlets and villages have taken to the streets”.
To say the least, I was disappointed. I believe the full name of the organization is “Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.” The Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors stated, “We are trained Marxists.”
In Russia Marxism led to Communism which is a system of complete government control and which has never succeeded in any country that tried it.
I have been a resident and an annual voter in Roscoe for the last 30 years, and I hope that “Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation” never comes to Roscoe again.
I hope that the Democrat uses better judgement in the future.

Editor's note: Here at the Democrat, we have a responsibility to cover events happening in our communities. We can confirm there were local Roscoe residents in attedance at this demonstration who were motivated less by political ideology than by a sense of injustice toward the adversity faced by Americans of color.

Gerald McMurrer

Hulk Slams Sullivan Internet

To the editor:
During a recent interview, Jimmy Kimmel had asked Callicoon resident (and The Hulk) Mark Ruffalo why he wasn't taking the interview from home. He was blunt. “I'm here because our internet sucks,” he said. “How can we not have internet in rural New York at this point?” Great question.
In 2015, Governor Cuomo announced a new broadband program that would bring high-speed internet to all corners of the state. It would open up new opportunities for small businesses looking to grow, it would give students new ways to learn through technology, and yes, we might finally be able to stream a movie without waiting for it to buffer for an hour.
Unfortunately, these promises haven't come to fruition in large parts of Sullivan County. We've seen Charter Communications' bottom line continue to grow while many here are left with substandard internet services. People are often quoted thousands of dollars by Charter to run cable lines out to their homes. This is despite the fact that they could see decades of revenue increases from that infrastructure buildout.
We need to face the fact that profit-driven companies facing practically no competition do not have our communities' best interests in mind. This is where municipal broadband programs (MBPs) come in. MBPs come in all shapes and sizes, but the general concept is that communities own and operate their own networks. Countless examples across the country, including in rural areas, show they can work.
An investment in broadband is an investment in our entire community. It has the potential to expand our tax base, revitalize our economy, and reshape our rural areas. COVID-19 has forever changed the way we work and communicate with one another, and we need to be prepared for the future. That's why I'll be introducing a bill to give our municipalities the tools they need to create these types of projects.
We can no longer sit by and watch as other states create innovative new ways to provide services to their residents. Instead of giving handouts to multi-national, multi-billion dollar corporations, let's take that money and reinvest it here at home — and make our internet not suck.

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther

It's a two-way street

To the editor:
As the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “You are entitled to your own opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”
Samara Ferris' letter in the June 26, 2020 edition of the Democrat is a case in point. It starts right off with a mistruth - made all the more disturbing because Ms. Ferris claims she FOILed this info and should have her facts straight. I did not call the Emergency Meeting to which she refers - that was District 4 Legislator and Public Safety Committee Chairman Nicholas Salomone.
Makes me wonder what other inaccuracies she provided to the Department of State, though to this date I have not been contacted by the State on these accusations (nor has our counsel or clerk disagreed with our procedure).
Selectively telling the truth is almost as bad as peddling mistruths, and unfortunately that's what Ms. Ferris' next point does. It's true that I have in the past texted fellow legislators about upcoming meetings and discussion items, but it is also true (yet unmentioned by her) that legislators receive agenda packets via email at least 24 hours in advance of every meeting. I cannot and will not be held responsible for their decision to not open emails or engage in the legislative process. Communication is a two-way street.
As for the monies spent on feeding our hardworking crew at the Emergency Operations Center (as much as 15-hour days during the height of this crisis), it should be noted Ms. Ferris is begrudging sandwiches, pizza and the occasional lasagna (as opposed to “unlimited”) for the very people who were on the front lines and coordinating the distribution of free meals, medical supplies and badly needed masks Countywide during a pandemic - plus the constant, sometimes overwhelming, requests for information and other forms of assistance.
This expense equated to approximately $65 per day for 15 people over the entire span - or $4.33 per person per day. That said, I made it clear to the EOC that this continued kind of expense was unsustainable, and it was halted in April.
I will also note that I personally donated nearly $7,000 to supply food pantries throughout the County, along with bringing free food to our nurses at Catskill Regional Medical Center. Can Ms. Ferris say the same amidst her judgmentalism? (And by the way, calling me a misogynist and sexist is not what I'd call “brevity.”)
Finally, yes, I do read the Democrat - every issue, twice a week, for the past 35 years.
I anticipate this will be the last time I respond to Ms. Ferris. I neither have further time nor further interest in dealing with the mistruths she represents.

Robert A. Doherty

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