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Letters to the Editor

We welcome your opinion on any subject. You may contribute one letter per 30-day period.

This column may include "Opinion" pieces, submitted by public officials, and "Letters", submitted by citizens. These letters are presented as opinions only, not as news or confirmed facts.

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Supports Flynn

June 26, 2018 is Democratic primary day in NY 19 Congressional District. Seven candidates are running to replace John Faso, nicknamed “No Show” because of Faso’s unwillingness to meet his constituents in open Town Halls.

Any one of these candidates would serve this district better than Faso has.

Brian Flynn is my choice.

These times demand tested skills. Flynn at 19 lost his older brother in the Lockerbie plane bombing. For over 20 years, Flynn and other mourners made their way through several different administrations and Congresses to help produce the Iran/Libya Sanctions bill, to tighten plane security, and to bring one of the Lockerbie terrorists to justice. Flynn knows how to get legislation passed.

A businessman, Brian Flynn created over 400 well paying blue-collar jobs. Valuing hands-on skills, Flynn wants to help our public schools produce graduates educated in varied ways, including apprenticeships, so that all citizens can earn a living wage. Flynn believes workers need the protection of unions and shows this by having the only unionized campaign staff.

Brian Flynn wants every citizen to have access to affordable, quality health care and knows that Medicare for All will have a large enough pool of insured to make such health care possible.

Flynn is determined to fund Planned Parenthood and ensure that women control their reproductive health.

Flynn has refused to take money from corporate PACS or any officials related to the oil industry. He wants clean air, clean water, and a healthy planet.

Vote-- Win-with-Flynn. I’m in!

Anne McCabe
May 17


Middletown CSEA contract negotiations

Again, City of Middletown leaders are trying to divide our CSEA membership by using media coverage to twist the facts about our contract negotiations. While they’re using their recent theatrics to divide our membership – a classic anti-union tactic – they’re neglecting to mention the many hard-earned contract provisions they are trying to take from us while at the same time allowing others city vehicles for personal use, free health insurance, and doubling some non-CSEA salaries.

We’re not looking for the sweet perks that city leaders have endorsed for themselves and a few select others. We’re just looking for a fair deal, one that doesn’t hurt our members. It would be irresponsible for us to bring back a proposal to our members that guts our due process, outsources our jobs, eliminates our health insurance buyout (a buyout that saves taxpayers a substantial amount of money), and eliminates current worker’s compensation protections.

You know what makes Middletown great? The quality of life residents have thanks to the workers who clean and maintain the streets, pick up trash and recyclables, keep the parks in pristine condition, keep water and sewer systems running, answer emergency calls, and assist residents and taxpayers in many ways.

We all know that on a national level, the system is rigged against working people. The message city elected officials are sending through their words and actions is that they want that same rigged system in Middletown.

Glen Arnold
City of Middletown CSEA Unit
(May 11)


No to VC budget, yes to write-in candidate

The Xanthis administration will submit a 2018-19 bloated budget, with school board majority approval, to the Valley Central district residents on May 15. This budget is equivalent to the board giving the administration a blank check to fill In the amount it wishes. Superintendent Xanthis filled it in to the budget's brim with reckless spending. The initial under the cap 4.26% tax levy was reduced to 4.09% by a meager spending reduction of 17 hundredths of a  per cent from a $104.3 million dollar budget. Xanthis made expenditures to meet that allowable 4.09% tax levy showing no mercy to the taxpayer ! The 4.09% hike supports a total $104.2 million dollar spending plan, just shy of a year-over-year $3 million dollar jump ! These huge numbers spell a sizeable increase in your tax bill. 

Mr Xanthis padded the budget with some unnecessary positions and 4% pay raises for the entire administrative staff. Pay hikes to some salaries skyrocketed them into another galaxy ! School Superintendent Xanthis' annual salary alone will be $227,800(or $4380 weekly) ! Taxpayer affordability was never considered whatsoever. The initial 4.26% tax levy could have been reduced to under 3% without jeopardizing student education. At 4.09%, the school budget remains a taxpayer's nightmare.

The school board's responsibility is to approve a budget that provides a sound student education at a reasonable taxpayer cost; it fails miserably in meeting that responsibility. Taxpayer affordability is completely neglected. Obviously the district residents need a voice at the budget-construction table; that voice is Donald Berger, a write-in candidate for the board. I urge you to write in his name on the ballot as your only board vote. The other two incumbents running, who support this fiscally irresponsible budget, don't deserve our vote. 

John Lown
May 7


The Voice Behind The No

Valley Central I am the voice behind the NO.  I have been seated at table wearing  my hat for over 1,460 days, 208 weeks, over 80 board meetings and hundreds of school events.  Every meeting I look up and usually see the same few faces looking back at me.  But even though you are not physically there with me you are always there.  See I know who you are.  I see you at the grocery store and dining with your families at restaurants. I see you on field or in the bleachers cheering your children and grandchildren on. I see you at concerts, plays and open houses.  I have shared so many joyous events with you and your families over the years.

Every student, faculty and staff member and resident is sitting there with me for every vote I make.  I apologize to those that might be angry for my vote and feel that I have failed them.  Sometimes the hardest decisions and votes are the most unbiased and pure at heart.  My votes are based on the information presented before me and in no way are they are meant against anyone.  A "NO" vote is not a vote against the kids as some may lead you to believe.  It is not always easy to go against a majority but unfortunately sometimes you have too. After careful consideration I determined certain items were not in the best interest of the all those concerned.
Even today as I write this I stand behind my personal votes because I had you in mind when I made them. Each and every one of you!  I am truly honor and blessed to be elected by you to represent you. Please know that I hold that in the highest regard.  

I hope over the next few years I get to see many of you at meetings. I encourage all residents to stay informed of what is going on within the district. And I hope on May 15th you take the time to exercise your right to vote at the  VCHS Gymnasium from 6am to 9pm.  #VCPROUD

Sheila Schwartz
May 7


Supports Beals

As a reader of The MidHudson News, I’m writing to express my support for Jeff Beals for Congress, and to ask this paper to endorse him in the upcoming 19th Congressional District Democratic Party primary on June 26. 

I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Jeff over the past year, along with several other candidates. I’ve attended multiple forums, house parties, and fundraisers. I’ve observed how each candidate operates individually, and how they operate in a crowd. 

Jeff is the only one who truly stood out to me. 

Jeff’s candidacy speaks to me about the importance of looking beyond what’s palatable to the average voter to find the ideas, policies, and programs that will improve all our lives. Jeff reminded me that what the 19th lacks in economic power, our district can make up in the strength of his voice, his single-minded focus on the issues, and his commitment to restore justice, dignity, and opportunity to people who feel they are not being served. Those things cannot be bought.

Washington is a difficult place to succeed. Right now, we have a congressman who fits in perfectly. Personally, I don’t want someone to fit in. Yet, that seems like the main goal of every other Democratic candidate in the primary. 

I want someone to stand out, speak out, and make a difference. Jeff is the only congressional candidate talking to the great things we can do when we come together, and the great things our Federal government can do for us in return. That’s a fresh, optimistic message in what is certain to be a fierce, contentious campaign this November.

Brian Fuhr
(May 2)


We want and need more bipartisanship

Many readers may be surprised to learn, as I was, that most Americans value bipartisanship. That’s the conclusion of some careful research published last year (Public Opinion Quarterly, May 2017). It found that we appreciate bipartisan efforts by individual legislators -- especially legislators from a party that’s not ours -- and we feel greater confidence in Congress and its bills when votes come from both sides of the aisle.

I thought of the conclusions when I read the MidHudson News article (April 26) about an annual Bipartisan Index published by Georgetown University and the Lugar Center.  According to former Senator Richard Lugar, the Center’s founder, the Index measures “efforts of legislators to broaden the appeal of their sponsored legislation, to entertain a wider range of ideas, and to prioritize governance over posturing.”

Two local members of Congress,  Representatives John Faso (NY-19, Kinderhook) and Elise Stefanik (NY-21, Willsboro), ranked near the top, gaining 18th and 27th place respectively out of 435 House members, because of their frequent sponsorship and co-sponsorship  of bipartisan legislation.  

Seventeen of the top 30 places belonged to members of the House bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. Currently composed of 37 Democrats and 37 Republicans, including Faso and Stefanik, the Caucus works to find common ground and introduce bipartisan bills that can reduce the risks of our changing climate. 

Many voters want candidates who prioritize governance, and I think many, like me, feel it’s especially urgent in relation to climate change. Thoughtful policy solutions will mean a lot not just for us now but also for our children’s and grandchildren’s futures.

Eleanor Saunders, Hillsdale
Citizens’ Climate Lobby Volunteer
(May 2)


An invisible wall

I am white. I have never had to face the inhumane treatment that people of color have suffered in our country. The treatment of black people right here in our own community—Fabian Marshall, for instance, by Kingston police in 2015 when he was waiting for a ride to work, pushed aside by a police officer for questioning, thrown to the ground and tased.…. That is still in the air. Fabian’s treatment haunts me.  But it’s not enough to learn about this.  I want to be more present; listen to Fabian and his mother tell it in their own words. (This Friday night, 7 pm, May 4 at Holy Cross Santa Cruz Church in Kingston, following the screening of “Bethlehem to Brooklyn: Breaking the Surface,” that shows Latinx, African-American and Palestinian teenagers in their common struggles with difficult circumstances in their daily lives.) These experiences I have never had to deal with. But I have to do more than be aware.  I need to act.  I have to get out of the limitations of my privileged community.  I have to step across an immense divide - as I have done with getting to know the Palestinian people.  I want to break down an invisible wall (as well as dismantle the visible ones!) and work arm and arm with the black community right here in town.

Jane Toby
(May 1)



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