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Sunday, June 16, 2019


Good to see Al

To the editor:
I've known Al Dumas for 6 years now and know him to be a fantastic kind of man.
To see him taking on the responsibility to clean the War Memorials is just like Al.
It's nice to see someone that wants to preserve and make clean memories of our loved ones from war at a time that others want to destroy those memories by removing them from site and history.
Too bad his boss, that let him start this endeavor, won't let him finish the work which is for the public.

Don Dittmer
Lake Huntington

Deny the Tarpon/ Verizon Tower

To the editor:
Town of Thompson Planning Board Members, State Assemblywoman Gunther, County Legislator Sorensen, Senator Metzger,
As a concerned Fourth Generation resident of Wanaksink Lake I attended the Planning Board meeting to learn what Tarpon and Verizon had submitted, and to hear from two professionals we tax paying landowners hired -- a highly qualified RF Engineer, and an attorney specializing in cell towers. I went from being concerned to angry!
I'm not angry that we residents spent our own money to hire outside experts. I'm happy we did. I and many of my neighbors are prepared to spend more. What made me angry?
I learned the cell tower application has numerous deficiencies. I learned that independent expertise should have been made available to you, our representatives, at no cost! That indeed, it was the responsibility of the applicants to pay for real tests delivering real information upon which you could make a proper decision. I learned there was misinformation being peddled, that willing site owners had not been contacted. I learned that the proposed tower height of 184 feet can be even further increased without review. I learned that rather than evaluating impartial expert analysis that should have been done, self-serving corporate expediency, greed, and conflict of interest regarding the site owner were attempting to ram this proposal through your board.
I learned that according to our charter, you are responsible for protecting the beauty of the land we have worked hard to preserve for generations!
We all want improved cell service, but we do not want the natural beauty we cherish desecrated by an ugly steel tower rising high above the tree canopy.
It is not necessary, and it is not right! The RF Engineer said the impropriety of this site proposal was one of the most egregious he had reviewed, and he has seen thousands.
Our expert team has identified suitable alternatives to this plan.
I urge you to deny this application and move forward with a tower placed in a less intrusive location. There are viable alternatives to achieve our shared goals.
Over two hundred and sixty families living around Wanaksink Lake (that's a lot of people, mine now includes Fifth and Sixth generations) will be enraged if you allow this tower to needlessly ruin the beauty of our cherished lake.
Please do the right thing! Deny this application!

Mark DeMuro
Rock Hill

Dodging and dumping

To the editor:
I guess I have to object to the scolding tone of the SC Democrat's editorial a few weeks back, and accompanying article featuring quotes by Dan Silna of the new Eldred Preserve.
First, the Town of Eldred has been nothing but accommodating to the Preserve's renaissance, approving the gigantic project in record time. The only time anyone in the Town has been anything but cordial was when the Preserve dodged paying school and property taxes, and when many in the Town found out that the Preserve was attempting to gain permission to dump 17,000 gallons a day of treated wastewater into a trout stream.
The Democrat didn't alert the residents. The Preserve didn't alert the residents. The residents of the Town who were paying attention figured it out, and demanded a dialogue in the form of an open meeting with the DEC. So one could say that it was the Town that was courting dialogue and the Preserve dodging it, not vice versa. Same was true with the tax dodge.
In the same issue, Preserve developer Dan Silna, previously incarnated as an original partner in Chapin Estate, says that the ‘community needs his project.' I would disagree with that, though I do believe it could have been more true if the Preserve wouldn't have dodged their tax bill from which the Community would have benefited.
In fact, with no taxes being paid, and the project's thirst for tradesmen, hospitality staff and other assorted local workers (always in short supply), to us small business people who have been investing in Eldred for 20 years and struggle to maintain our businesses with good help, the competition from the Preserve is actually the opposite of what we need. For every worker the Preserve lures away, an Eldred or community business will be harmed. Considering this may or may not be an economically viable plan, the small business community might be competing not against a better business plan, but a deep pocket that can weather unprofitability - an unfair playing field for sure.
So while Mr. Silna may need Eldred as a palette for his legacy project, I would suggest Eldred really doesn't ‘need' - in any fashion - the Preserve. It must be an uncomfortable position to maintain, as the organization that is doing less for the town economically than the neighboring and much ballyhooed gas compressor station - which did not ask for a penny off their taxes.

Editor's note
The Eldred Preserve project has received a number of tax breaks from the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), including mortgage and sales tax abatements for a period of time. The IDA often does this with the goal of attracting development.
The quote by Dan Silna that appeared in our April 5 story “As project nears completion, more jobs open in Sullivan County” referred to the need for a large community event and banquet hall.
“We will be able to host 125 people for an event and sit down 160 people for dinner,” Silna said. “We are doing this because the community needs it.

Chuck Petersheim

Dodging potholes

To the editor:
Have you noticed all of the potholes that are on every road that you travel in New York State? Have you traveled on RT 287 East, right after the Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge?
You know the one we just paid a bazillion dollars to build!! Less than two miles past that on 287 East at the first overpass there are so many potholes that you think that the fillings in your teeth are about to come out. There was less turbulence in a space shuttle launch!!! YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK!!!
Well good news I think I have a solution to New York's pothole problem. Hire “Gypsy Pavers”, you know the ones that show up every summer to do a little repair on your driveway that ends up costing you a lot more than you bargained for. Let's pay these “Gypsy Pavers” a dollar for every pothole that they can fix ( I know there are at least a million of them in Sullivan County, because it is impossible to drive around all of them.) This would give the “Gypsy Pavers” a steady income, and they wouldn't have to try to scam us taxpayers into selling us a new beautiful blacktop driveway for next to nothing, and best of all we could drive on our roads without playing dodge the pothole.

Matt Murphy

Public Safety Has Been Sacrificed at the Altar of Reform

To the editor:
The new bail reform package proposed by the Governor and recently passed by our state legislature is a threat to public safety and will make all of us less safe. In fact, our bail statute gave judges, elected by our community and its citizens, not DA's, the authority and wide discretion to set appropriate bail conditions on all crimes and to detain those who needed to be detained pending trial - which worked to protect our community. As a general rule, my office does not seek bail in cases where we do not believe incarceration is an appropriate punishment.
Now, under the guise of “reform” our judges will be all but powerless to set appropriate bail for scores of serious crimes where incarceration may be appropriate, including: the violent felony of burglary of a home; aggravated vehicular homicide; vehicular manslaughter; high speed police chases that place officers and citizens in imminent risk of death; trafficking and distribution of heroin; conspiracy to distribute cocaine, heroin and narcotics; various forms of sex trafficking; sex offenders who fail to register; cruelty to animals, including felony torturing of animals; unlawful surveillance, such as installing a spy camera in a bedroom or changing room; domestic violence assaults where physical injury is inflicted; the violent felony of robbery when the perpetrator is aided by one or more others; various forms of stalking; distribution of child pornography for profit; public lewdness; endangering the welfare of a child; endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person; bail jumping; and escape from police custody, to name just a few.
Now, in each of these cases, as a result of this law, the offender will be presumptively released on his or her own recognizance without any bail. Presumptive release in these cases will be compelled no matter the offender's prior criminal record. This is a direct threat to public safety.
In the federal system and in many other states, a judge can specifically consider the danger to the community posed by a specific offender in setting bail or even remanding a criminal defendant to jail pending trial. That is sensible, in the interests of public safety and the safety of the community. The United States Supreme Court has specifically upheld preventive detention under the 8th Amendment to the Constitution where a defendant has been charged with a serious crime and may pose a danger to the community. Nonetheless, our state legislature has steadfastly refused to allow judges to consider the danger a person poses to the community at large in determining whether that person should be detained pending trial.
What's more, under the discovery “reform” act, my office will have to turn over - within 15 days of arraignment - the names and contact information of the witnesses against these newly released defendants. Again, this is a shortsighted and disastrous law that will encourage witness intimidation and discourage witness participation in prosecutions or, worse, discourage victims from coming forward to report crimes committed against them at all. Public safety was sacrificed at the altar of reform by our state legislature. The residents of our state will be dealing with the consequences of this terrible legislation for a long time to come.

Jim Farrell

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