'Save our stages!' and more

Letters to the editor October 1 to 7

Posted 9/30/20

Letters to the editor October 1 to 7

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'Save our stages!' and more

Letters to the editor October 1 to 7

Posted

Save our stages!

I write not only as the producer of the Forestburgh Playhouse and Tavern, but also on behalf of all the live stage venues in Sullivan County and the surrounding region.

The pandemic has devastated the live theater industry and put actors, technicians, musicians and others out of work. There are now two crucial bi-partisan bills pending in Congress which will provide urgently needed assistance.

I write today to urge everyone to call or write to their federal Senators and House members to ask them to pass S. 4258/H.R.7806, the Save Our Stages Act and S. 3814/H. R7481, the RESTART Act.

These bipartisan and noncontroversial bills will help to ensure the survival of independent theater and music venues across the nation and here in Sullivan County and surrounding area.

Stages are experiencing upwards of 90-percent revenue loss and will be closed well into 2021 due to safety concerns posed by large indoor gatherings. Many report that they are in danger of having to close their doors forever which would not only be a travesty, but would also take a toll on our local economies.

Independent theater and music venues are economic multipliers and community builders, as well as beloved institutions. A Chicago study estimated that $1 spent at a small venue resulted in $12 of economic activities for neighboring restaurants, hotels and retail shops.

These venues closing permanently would also impact the entire music and theater economy and ecosystem in America—artists, talent agents, stagehands, security, catering, artist managers, tour bus industry, production, radio/social media/tv/print advertising, record companies and many others.

Please call and/or write to your representatives in Congress and urge them to pass

  1. 4258/H.R.7806, the Save Our Stages Act and S. 3814/H.R.7481, the RESTART Act. Doing so would ensure that independent venues such as the Forestburgh Playhouse and Tavern receive the financial assistance needed to be able to reopen our doors when it is safe to do so.

Franklin Trapp
Forestburgh, NY

A dismal attempt by political party bosses to sway the district attorney election

[September 22’s] bullying tactics by party chairmen Vegliante, Maas and Magilton, as well as state committeeman Bernardo, are entirely about their own political self-preservation after desperately trying and failing to anoint their chosen candidate for district attorney without an election by the people.

This summer, supporters of my candidacy from every part of Sullivan County collected more than 1,500 Democrat, Republican and Independent signatures to secure a third-party line on the November ballot. This was to give voters an additional line to support my candidacy. Some volunteers, however, may not have followed the technical requirements for a petition. I chose not to waste my time, money and effort in a lawsuit to contest the Board of Elections’ decision to disallow some signatures.

I welcome a full and fair investigation of the Board of Elections’ practices to register new and other voters, and the party bosses’ attempts to control candidates in this election, by the State Board of Elections, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Voter Fraud for the Southern District of New York.

In the June 23 GOP primary, the people resoundingly supported me as their choice to become the next Sullivan County District Attorney. This shocked and horrified the political bosses and their cronies who thought they could control the election for their anointed candidates. My lifelong independence from all political bosses is what the people of this county deserve and need from their district attorney.

These political dealmakers are not going to quiet me, nor the voices of thousands of people who want real prosecution and justice for all—and not just the politically connected and privileged few.

Frank J. LaBuda
Wurtsboro, NY

‘Senryu inspired by The Virus’

Lovers or just friends —

the Corona virus rules:

six feet each to each.

---

Isolation, but

‘tween “news” and social networks,

not this pandemic.

Mort Malkin
Milanville, PA

Regarding ‘No joy in Highland’

I read with interest your September 24-30 edition about the zoning dispute in the Town of Highland, “No joy in Highland.”

I take exception to appeals board chairman Larry Fishman’s caution that applicants must be familiar with the zoning and other development laws. This asks too much from ordinary citizens. In a zoned community, nothing can be taken for granted. A visit to the code enforcement or building officer is essential for a fair idea of what might be required. None of the information he/she conveys will be in writing and all is subject to the planning board’s review.

For 25 years, I worked for landscape architecture firms going through this strenuous process. We usually sought variances from township ordinances. The scale of projects—mostly mixed uses, large residential developments and office development—was certain to invite the opposition of township residents since they generally object to any significant change.

Our ideas of a development often countered the laws or at least required greater explanation. All codes are written treating the township as a blank sheet of paper on which the town lays out its view of how development should proceed. Yet no tract of land is similar to any other and each proposal arises from individual ideas of what should be built and how the development will succeed.

The editorial “Watching over the town” was appealing in terms of the editor’s view of how smoothly things ought to go. But even in Tusten, the smallest item such as the placement and size of a sign can evolve into a long and heated argument, as happened a few years ago regarding the Sunoco station business sign.

When working in Lower Merion Township, PA for the planning board, I announced to a professional township planner that I had developed a “by right” application. I read carefully the laws related to this development abiding by everyone, so it should sail through the review process. She smiled and replied, “That is not how we play the game. We can surely find a few items to argue about.”

Edward M. Boyer
Narrowsburg, NY

James J. Greier running for town council

Hello, my name is James J Greier, or as my friends and family know me by Jamie. I’m running on the Democratic ticket for the office of Town Council for the Town of Fremont. The Town of Fremont has been my home for most of my life and the State of New York has been my home for all of my life. My wife, Onalie Mesa Greier, and I have been married for 17 years and have known each other since the third grade. We have two children, Rebecca and Jack, who both attend Sullivan West High School. I’m an avid outdoorsman and enjoy many activities this area offers.

I would like to serve the Town of Fremont on the town council and I look forward to your support this November 3. Thank you.

James J. Greier
Fremont, NY

Reelect Metzger to protect the environment

This election season, we have the opportunity to reelect a staunch advocate for protecting our health and environment. That is why I am urging you to vote to reelect Sen. Jen Metzger. She has been a life-long advocate of environmental rights. As our state senator, she has introduced a package of bills to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles in NYS. In December, the governor signed into law her bill (S5820) directing the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority to identify areas where EV infrastructure is insufficient and develop a plan to close the gaps. In December, she introduced legislation (S6906) to permanently ban fracking, and the ban was passed as part of the 2020-2021 state budget several months later. Additionally, Metzger introduced a bill (S8765) that would increase the number of zero-emission trucks on the road. Further, the NYS Senate, in July, passed two key bills from Metzger that protect our communities from toxic chemicals. Bill (S6308A) prohibits the sale and use of coal tar-based seal coat, a potent source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and a known human carcinogen. A second bill (S8809) requires a new, higher level of review by the NYS DEC to issue permits or renewals for fossil fuel-fired power plants.

In closing, if you care about your ability to breathe, the cleanliness of your water and our rivers and preserving our parklands from unnecessary pollutants, then vote for a cleaner environment and for Sen. Jen Metzger.

Stephen Weir
Gardiner, NY

Postal concerns

Amidst the overt and nefarious re-election campaign plans of this president and his administration has been his repeated attempts to functionally hinder and sow doubt in the United States Postal Service (USPS). His continuous baseless claims of “voter fraud” include the notion that mail-in ballots are somehow not legitimate. Meanwhile, he and his enablers have tried to knee-cap the functioning of the USPS and concomitantly imply that any lagging mail-in results should be questioned. This president’s unethical and anti-democratic behavior smacks of totalitarianism (see his buddy, Putin) and comes in the midst of his incompetent, unethical and disastrous response to COVID-19. Ironically, the president’s dysfunctional pandemic response is the primary cause of the current large increase in the popular demand for mail-in voting.

Relief by local control: Here in Wayne County, it is possible for any mail-in voter to circumvent both real and imagined USPS issues by physically bringing your completed mail-in ballot directly to the Wayne County Courthouse. According to Cindy Furman, director of the Board of Elections, sometime before the first week in October any resident of the county will be able to deposit their completed early ballot in a so designated ballot box at the Courthouse. Of course, all detailed procedures must be correctly followed, including using both envelopes enclosed in your mail-in ballot package. Currently, the regulations allow that those completed ballots can only be counted beginning at 7am on Election day. But Ms. Furman indicated that regulation, too, could be under revision.

By any means, Vote!

John Pace
Honesdale, PA

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