Letters to the editor June 25 to July 1
In 1896, in Plessy versus Ferguson, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that racial separation on public railway cars did not violate the 14th Amendment. Subsequently, for generations, that decision became a basis for the racial segregation of public facilities throughout the South. But in 1954, in Brown versus Board of Education, a young civil rights lawyer and future Supreme Court Judge, Thurgood Marshall, argued before the Supreme Court that in education, separate but equal could never be achieved. That case contended that integrated education was necessary to guarantee the right to equal educational opportunities for all minorities. Marshall won that landmark case, but nevertheless, the promise of racial integration in schools has remained broadly unfulfilled. In schools, as in much of institutional American life, the “races” are mostly de facto separate and seem implicitly encouraged to remain so.
But in these weeks of ongoing demonstrations against the plague of police institutionalized racism, the activists themselves don’t conform to any such separation of races. United across their differences, they demand that this country end the disgrace of centuries of systemic racism—America’s original sin. The vast crowds taking part are invariably a complex integration of all segments of society, working together for positive change. Perhaps their impact is greater because all “flavors” of humanity are playing a visible role, one that profoundly argues and nearly screams, “Yes, it is so that, united by a heartfelt, common purpose, we can all get along while making the meaningful changes we seek.”
Even this president has been unable to ignore these displays of determination. The whole world is watching and has been inspired. The outpouring and struggle for justice of these American people has clearly impressed multitudes, everywhere, across the globe.
The amount of newsworthy subject matter in and around the Narrowsburg area is vast, from accounts of those coping with COVID-19, to our local support for Black Lives Matter, to Narrowsburg’s historical Black community with its noble history and prominent families, to the praise and recognition of the unsung individual heroes who have remained open to serve us for three months (Pete’s, the liquor stores, gas stations, curbside pickups, etc.), to parents and teachers valiantly trying to make sense of the new education formats, to loss of jobs and income, to the inability to make rent, buy food or care for others. These and so many more topics are worthy of attention and coverage by the River Reporter.
So it came as a real shock to me when I saw a copy of this week’s paper with frontpage headline in bold typeface “Narrowsburg goes to the dogs” followed by a front-page piece about the need for better dog-poo clean-up... on the flats.
I’ll just leave it at that.
A new policy by Sullivan County Legislature Chair Rob Doherty will disallow public comments at meetings of the legislature about non-elected county employees is a joke, likely illegal and is just another attempt to protect thin-skinned county attorney Michael McGuire and his supporters.
What is the county legislature going to do when public comment is about a new policy that was directed by county manager Josh Potosek or any other department head or commissioner?
And Undersheriff Eric Chaboty, who is not elected, can address the legislature freely whenever he wants, but no one can question what he is alleging? Are we in Russia? China? North Korea?
Shame on Doherty, vice chair Michael Brooks and majority leader Alan Sorensen (who’s busy promoting Orange County) for allowing this sham and pretending this is good government.
Our advice? Flood the legislature with phone calls and emails whenever you have an issue of concern that relates directly or indirectly about a non-elected county employee, especially those like disgraced former county court judge McGuire who was recommended for removal from the bench.
Note: A government agency can prohibit all public comments as part of its meetings. But if public comments are part of the agenda, a body can’t legally determine what people say in those comments.
Glen Spey, NY