Letters to the editor: Oct 31 to Nov 6

Posted 10/30/19

Geo vs Lou in District 5

We all know that a race as important as county legislator shouldn’t be determined by the number of lawn signs or any advertising for that matter. What should …

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Letters to the editor: Oct 31 to Nov 6


Geo vs Lou in District 5

We all know that a race as important as county legislator shouldn’t be determined by the number of lawn signs or any advertising for that matter. What should determine the winner is the name on those signs and the qualities and experience he or she can bring to that particular office.

George Conklin is a lifelong resident of the district in the Town of Fremont. George has spent the last 30 years as a self-employed carpenter. His opponent was a longtime union county employee. George is a graduate of the former Delaware Valley Central School. George has been a volunteer firefighter and EMS provider for 32 years, 20 of those years as member and past chief of the North Branch FD and 12 years as a member and assistant chief of the Hankins-Fremont FD.

George was a NYS-certified EMT for 15 years with 12 years as an active captain/president with Upper Delaware Volunteer Ambulance Corps. I have met Lou Setren on several occasions, and he is a polite, soft spoken gentleman. He has said that if elected he would be in favor of the county sharing revenue with the towns. I find that a bit ironic because, for the last four years, the county unions have been the loudest opponents of revenue sharing.

George Conklin has been serving his community for most of his adult life, including the past 16 years as a member of the Fremont Town Board and the last eight as supervisor. While George Conklin has been formulating responsible budgets, negotiating contracts and working hard with the Supervisors Association to propose a fair and equitable revenue-sharing plan, his opponent has been a longtime union county employee.
George Conklin has the experience necessary to serve from day one if elected. Join me and help elect George Conklin, legislator in District 5.

Thomas R. Bose
Youngsville, NY

Patrick Robinson for Wayne County district attorney

I am writing concerning the up-coming election for District Attorney of Wayne County. I want to encourage the voters of Wayne County to support Patrick Robinson when they go to the polls on November 5. I have known Pat for over 25 years, and I worked directly with him in the District Attorney’s Office for nearly two decades. Pat has always been one of the most dedicated and hardest working prosecutors I have known. He tirelessly puts in time evenings, nights and weekends when the lights in the other courthouse offices are off. He is a tireless advocate for the county’s crime v1ct1ms. He is respected by other attorneys and law enforcement throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania for his attention to the intricacies of criminal law and procedure and trial work.

Pat has handled cases involving crimes of every sort during his time as a prosecutor. Perhaps, the most challenging cases involve the children of Wayne County. Pat has received special recognition from victims’ organizations for his dogged pursuit of justice for these smallest and most vulnerable victims. Coaches may encourage a child on the game field, but Pat’s efforts have literally helped to re-build child victims and enable them to get back into the game of life. Much of this work goes unseen, but it makes a huge difference in the lives of crime victims and, by extension, the people of Wayne County.

There are times when the good conscience of a voter should compel him or her to cross party lines if necessary to do what is right. This election presents just such a time. The voters of Wayne County are fortunate to have the opportunity to elect Patrick Robinson as District Attorney on November 5th, and I earnestly encourage them to do so.

Michael P. Lehutsky
Honesdale, PA

Response to Tom Bose and the Town of Callicoon propane deal

In response to Mr. Bose’s letter to editor dated 10/24/19, I have decided to comment.

I am running for a Town of Callicoon Council seat, which clearly makes Mr. Bose uncomfortable. I am not running against him; in fact, I don’t feel as though I’m running against anyone. I am running to represent the unheard voices in our township.

When we voiced our concerns about the gas deal at a planning board meeting, Mr. Bose asserted that the town was exempt from following procedures. So, no need for environmental concerns, SEQRA, cost analysis, traffic study, or appropriate zoning.

To Mr. Bose’s statement about saving the town money, he did not provide a cost-benefit analysis of any sort. A private company utilizing town property, and not paying property tax, with the town responsible for maintenance of the grounds, does not sound like much of a cost saving. The liability could outweigh the benefits.

Regarding replacement of the wood stove at the town barn, why wasn’t a committee formed to investigate alternative energy sources and companies, and why did the town choose not to utilize a competitive bidding process?

We very clearly stated that voicing our concerns should not be construed as personal toward any representative of the township. In response, Mr. Bose attempted to damage our reputation. His behavior was and still is unbelievable.

I could have brought much of this to light back in the spring. I chose not to, and instead I gave much thought to how I might make a difference. I want to support a community that has supported me.
We are lucky to live in a country where free speech is allowed. Instead of angry words, let’s figure out how we can actually listen, and have positive results.

Andy Hahn
Jeffersonville, NY

Exit memo

Voters are aware that there is an important election for our town and district on Tuesday, November 5. It is my hope that they will exercise their right to vote since elected officials are there to serve you—not the other way around. Thus, it is your obligation to elect the people that you think will be available and accessible to serve you and your town going forward.

For over 24 years, I have served the town of Tusten in various capacities.

I have been the zoning board chairman for 14 years, a town councilmember for eight years, the UDC Water Use Chairman for a few years and a member of the comprehensive plan committee back in 1998 and 2007.
I’d like to share my limited knowledge after many years of community service in this town as to who I’ll vote for next Tuesday.

I will select a person that is open to another person’s view and has no agenda prior to discussion of any municipal topic.

I will select a person that has been tested under adverse conditions.

I will select a person that has some background in road and bridge repair, machinery, finance, infrastructure and water use. Those are just some of the topics that the town of Tusten faces now and in the next few years.
I will select a person who will leave this town a better place than how they found it.

I sincerely thank you for the many years that I have had an opportunity to serve you and the town.

Tony Ritter
Narrowsburg, NY

Endorsements for Robert Doherty

I recently received a professionally done, glossy mailing from the Sullivan County District 1 incumbent. Don’t be misled by a slick mailing. Ask instead, has this legislator ever reached out to me, spoken with me or spoken out for me?

During the four years of his term, the incumbent has failed to attend town board meetings in his district which include Bethel, Cochecton, Highland and Tusten. Not only that, but he has failed to advocate for the expressed concerns of his constituents. Election to public office at the least implies a trust; a trust that the elected official will show up, will listen and will work for his constituents.

Now, on the eve of election, we have campaign signs springing up all over the district (lots of them). Our legislator showed up so infrequently, it is a wonder that he even knew where to place these signs. But representing the people is in fact a public trust and voters of District 1 should not be misled by all the yard signs springing up like mushrooms along our public highways or the slick campaign mailings.

This is why I am supporting Robert Doherty in Sullivan County District 1. Doherty has already exhibited that he will attend local meetings, listen to people, communicate with them and work for them. These are things that Scott Samuelson has utterly failed to do. We need a legislator who will be there for us; not just at election time, but throughout the whole four-year term.

Andrew Boyar
Eldred, NY

I have been a Democrat my entire life, but in the upcoming election on November 5, I’m crossing over and voting for best candidate, Republican Rob Doherty, against Scott Samuelson for District 1 Legislator.

I am voting for Rob because he has a personal commitment to protecting our environment. He runs a thriving farm-to-table business that never got a tax abatement, and he relies solely on his business skills and our farmers to be given every opportunity to succeed and be protected from any more environmental disasters. Rob Doherty has a personal moral compass and understands the importance of keeping his commitments. He listens to people and speaks the truth. He has no problem telling us that the river towns have been abandoned by Scott Samuelson and the legislature, are constantly shortchanged and way too much county business goes on behind closed doors.

Rob shows up at local town meetings and participates, and he supports the work of our organizations. He recognizes the need to be prudent with tax money and stop all the unwanted and expensive boondoggle taxpayer-funded projects that ultimately fail and only seem to benefit a few politically connected people. And like Rob, the taxpayers are done with all this corruption and those perpetuating it for their own personal gain.
There’s no need to go over Scott Samuelson’s “crimes against his constituents.” Just know that Scott Samuelson hasn’t attended any town meetings in eight years, abused his political influence and carefully attended to enriching himself while in office—all at our expense. Now the taxpayers who have wanted a change for an awfully long time are “woke” as they say, and we are done! By voting for Rob Doherty for District 1 Legislator, you will help bring long-overdue change for the residents of District 1. I hope you will join me in voting for Rob Doherty on November 5.

Paula Campbell
Town of Highland

David Sager for Sullivan County Clerk

I have followed the race for Sullivan County Clerk with great interest. As Election Day approaches, it’s clear that both candidates have devoted supporters working hard to get their man elected.

I’ve narrowed it down for myself what I want in the next clerk. (1) I want a knowledgeable and competent person in the office. Advantage David Sager: In his 16 years of elected and appointed public service, Sager has performed admirably in positions ranging from county coroner and legislator to Monticello village manager. He knows government and knows how to get things done, including procuring funding and connecting with grant money. (2) I want a confident leader. Advantage Sager: If leading requires the temperament necessary to forcefully stand up and support the people under his supervision, in a way that may cause some to be uncomfortable, then give me Sager. If an effective leader must have the temperament to bear down and fight for the big ideas that will modernize the clerk’s office into a revenue-producing entity that will make the taxpayers proud, then give me Sager. If an accomplished leader must possess the temperament necessary to run the clerk’s office as a customer-first, user-friendly operation, in the same way that David has shown compassion and attentiveness to me and other patients he’s treated in his work as a chiropractor, then give me David Sager (3) I want a nice guy. That’s a draw. Both candidates are nice. Problem is, nice guys aren’t always the most qualified. Because David Sager is the most qualified, he has my vote.

Gail Rubenfeld
Bethel, NY

Endorsements for Brandi Merolla

In this age of global warming and resulting climate changes, we are seeing more and more weather extremes. In order to maintain a livable environment for future generations, we need to do all we can to reduce emissions, and to reduce the amount of non-biodegradable materials dumped into our landfills.

Councilperson Brandi Merolla has worked hard at making Tusten an environmental-friendly town. As chairperson of the Tusten Energy Committee, she has supported adding recycle containers at town buildings and grounds, and spearheaded the collection of soft plastics to be recycled to make Trex decking (please see the new Trex bench on the Narrowsburg deck, earned by collecting 500 pounds of soft plastic). She has supported the erection of solar panels at the town highway barn, now used to supply electricicity to town-owned buildings. Brandi has supported Narrowsburg in a purchase agreement to buy the streetlights in town from NYSEG and changing those lights to energy-efficient LED lamps. Also, she has gotten the NYS Power Authority to motivate NYSEG to stop dragging their feet (after numerous requests from Town officials) to change the numerous unlit street light bulbs in town, which had made walking in town very unsafe. Brandi secured funding to buy a machine to recycle food wastes into fertilizer.

Brandi is a hands-on person who helped bag dry ice and then transported those dry ice bags to the town hall for distribution during the severe windstorms and power outages we experienced here two years ago. She also brings the soft plastics collected to the collection point in Honesdale each week. Please vote on Election Day for Brandi Merolla, who has proven herself over the last two years by being a good listener and an innovative and progressive advocate for our current and future residents. She has helped secure grants and has helped keep the town budgets below the two-percent tax cap.

Michael Valenti
Narrowsburg, NY

I am an enthusiastic recycler of plastic bags and any kind of sheeting and wrappings, clean and dry. Councilwoman Brandi Merolla has initiated such a drive in our town of Narrowsburg. She follows up by collecting and delivering these materials to a receptor station in Honesdale.

Brandi deeply cares about our environment, and I will proudly vote for her this November 5.

Heidi Schneider
Narrowsburg, NY

Vincent Alukonis for Town of Delaware supervisor

I want to introduce you to my friend Vincent Alukonis. From collaborating with Vincent for the past seven years, I know him to be results-driven and detail-oriented. He can work either as a leader or in a group setting. Given the above and his experience and education, I endorse Vincent Alukonis for the Supervisor of the Town of Delaware.

Vincent Alukonis’ family has been associated with the Town of Delaware for over a century. Summers were spent at the original family house at the end of River Road. His parents eventually built their own home in 1963 also on River Road, and that is where Vincent currently resides.

I am impressed with Vincent’s community spirit and leadership during the past seven years. Coordinator of the Delaware Young at Heart, a board member of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of the Sullivan County Office of the Aging, a member of the Town of Delaware Board of Assessment Review and a member of and organist for Delaware Lodge #561 Free and Accepted Masons. His impressive resume touts other accomplishments three decades before that. I invite you to visit his Facebook page at Vincent Alukonis for Supervisor.

Mr. Alukonis graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1971, earned the BA in Political Science from St. John’s University in 1975 and holds the MA in Political Science from St. John’s University in 1981. His area of experience is state and local government and municipalities.

Vincent is the organist of Callicoon United Methodist Church, Grace Lutheran Church of North Branch and Jeffersonville United Methodist Church.

Again, I invite you to visit Mr. Alukonis’ Facebook page at Vincent Alukonis for Supervisor or e-mail him at

Betty Ringgenberg
Hortonville, NY

Setting the record straight

I don’t know about Debbie Conway’s political “mixed marriage,” but I do know that election season makes a target of anyone who pops their head up. Nonetheless, Ms. Conway’s barely veiled attempts to demean my 16-year record of works and accomplishments as a county legislator—presumably at the behest of my opponent in this race—is shameful.

As the old saying goes, “Honesty is the best policy.” I would add this: distorting the truth and misleading the good people of District 2, not so much.

Charging me with gerrymandering for my personal gain is downright delusional.

The fact is, the redistricting of Legislative District 2 and the entire county was done by a team of consultants hired by the county legislature, of which there are nine members. Contrary to your bogus claim of gerrymandering, District 2 was changed to meet the growth and shifting population of the county and not for any personal political advantage.

Here’s another fact: Half of my Highland constituency—some 200 voters—shifted away from me in Legislative District 2 to Legislative District 1, a move that was hardly in my best “political” interest.
But why bother confusing a good political hit job with anything so nettlesome as facts?

While the redistricting was contrary to my political interest, I voted for it because it served best the needs and interests of the people of Sullivan County. It’s the very consideration that I was elected to the legislature to make.

In my 16 years as a county legislator, I don’t recall Ms. Conway ever being involved in government, other than, for a short time, she was a seasonal employee with Department of Public Works. Beyond that, nothing. Now she has a soapbox which she hauls out to bitterly attack me whenever the opportunity arises. My candidacy once again offers her that opportunity and predictably, she takes it.

No biggie.

But as has been noted by others in the past, while you are entitled to your own opinion, you are not entitled to your facts. Ms. Conway should take that to heart. Who knows, if she does, she might even find more worthy candidates to support.

Kathy LaBuda
Wurtsboro, NY


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