Letters to the editor June 17 and 23
Capacity-related traffic jams originate in Orange County, even when they spill over into Sullivan. But a far more relevant argument focuses on the responsibility to spend taxpayer funds where they’re needed. That’s why I’m asking our representatives, including Rep. Antonio Delgado, to make a wise decision with this funding.
We’re a tourism- and agriculture-oriented county. We all know this, whether we’ve lived here for a few days or a few decades. We have long-hosted visitors and tourism/ag industries without overflowing roads (with a few notable exceptions, like Woodstock). And our roads already possess the capacity to bring in more.
Our rail-trail system, however, can’t grow further without significant funding—and it’s worth spending money on. Even in segmented, sometimes hard-to-find parts, those pathways have brought new people and new business to this county while, at the same time, providing economic benefits for our existing businesses and health benefits for residents. That’s what we should be investing in, especially considering the need to boost our low health ranking.
Right now, you can walk, run, hike or bike along stretches of the former New York, Ontario & Western (O&W) Railway bed. But you get stopped by the Neversink River in Woodridge, the Fallsburg Tunnel in South Fallsburg, Route 17 and the Mongaup River in Ferndale, and a slew of private properties near Livingston Manor and Roscoe.
We’ve long had a goal to connect all these sections to create an incredible experience that would draw in people from all over the world. In fact, I firmly believe that we could repurpose funding for the Route 17 widening to rebuild the Ferndale Trestle that once carried trains 1,000 feet across and 100 feet above the Mongaup valley. It would be our own “Walkway Over the Hudson.”
Delgado has been a great friend to Sullivan County, and I remain confident that he and his colleagues can redirect efforts away from a wasteful expansion of 17 and toward a project that will bolster the tourism and agriculture destination that we already are.
Robert A. Doherty, Sullivan County Legislature chairman and District 1 legislator
There’s so much being written about the filibuster these days, but in all the articles I read, I feel like this important point gets lost: The filibuster isn’t mentioned in our Constitution. Not even one time.
Despite what some in the Senate might imply, the filibuster is just a procedural measure that can be changed at any point, like when Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump put Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.
That’s why it’s so ridiculous that the filibuster still stands in the way of almost every single progressive priority on Democrats’ docket. The Biden-Harris administration clearly has their eye on passing necessary reforms, like comprehensive climate legislation and raising the minimum wage, but the threat of the filibuster continues to throw the future of their legislative agenda into question.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. I’m putting my faith in the Senate to get rid of the filibuster as soon as possible. We can’t let a minority of senators continue to block the progress a majority of Americans voted for.
Livingston Manor, NY
I am excited to announce my candidacy for the Town of Highland Supervisor. I love my town and would be honored to serve the great people I have called neighbors and friends for over 15 years. We need to navigate the town into the 21st Century while still maintaining the character and beauty of the area and respecting the will of the people.
For far too long, the leadership in our town has only represented the interests of the chosen few. I am running on an independent, bipartisan party line that I helped to establish with Laura Burrell, Democrat, and Margaret Granese, Republican, called “Lifting Neighbors.” When it comes to local politics, party affiliation is less important as the decisions that need to be made rarely. It really comes down to who will always keep the interests of the residents at the forefront and lead with transparency, integrity, and a fearlessness to fight for what is right.
However, choice is important. The last two supervisor races were unopposed. I am a Democrat and have worked tirelessly to fundraise for candidates like Meagan Galligan and Antonio Delgado. I am dedicated to working with whomever is in office. I have a proven track record as chairman of the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Committee of working with our county and state Republican leaders to accomplish great things for our river communities.
The Democratic caucus is scheduled for Wednesday, June 23 at the new Eldred Preserve at 6 p.m.
I vow to bring meaningful new jobs to the area and lower taxes. The real estate boom and tax revenue that comes with it should find us in a secure financial position, but recent history shows wasteful spending and lack of accountability. Let’s look out for our seniors and veterans by establishing programs and grants for funding. We also need to fix our schools and advocate for students and faculty while still acting responsibly for taxpayers. We need to treat our law enforcement and highway departments with dignity and respect. We need to stabilize our codes and laws and get our code enforcement and building inspectors to act cohesively and with proper training.
There is so much to do, but I am propelled by the opportunity and potential.
Every voice matters, and I am committed to representing our common goals and values.
John Pizzolato, Town of Highland Supervisor Candidate
My compliments on the presentation and content of the tribute to Ed in [last] week’s River Reporter. Barbara Yeaman, your article is inspiring and touching. David Soete’s two photos are absolutely perfect, as they were for use in [the Upper Delaware Council’s] 2017 awards program. The information about Ed’s background with the newspaper and his subsequent accomplishments is well told.
It’s great to see Damascus Citizens for Sustainability taking the initiative to set up the Ed Wesely Bridge Fund.
Ed was a very special, giving person who deserves these accolades and more.
P.S. We appreciate Liam Mayo’s coverage of the June 3 Upper Delaware Council meeting as well and look forward to working with him on river valley stories of interest.
Upper Delaware Council Executive Director