Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - 4-8-21
Will avoid towns where hate signs are flaunted
I was recently ambushed in the same day by two ugly messages that are a sad indicator of the southward direction our collective moral compass seems to be taking. Motoring through Dover last week, I drove by a gentleman holding a home-made placard which he flashed at me just as I was passing. It read, in large hand-written block letters, JEWS WANT YOUR GUNS. (This was, mind you, only a day after 10 people were murdered in cold blood in a Boulder supermarket.) Later that day, as I was entering Millerton, I passed a house with a large banner affixed to it that loudly proclaimed “[Expletive] Biden.”
While several miles separate Dover from Millerton, there is little distance between the intent and ill heart of the people wielding these signs. One trafficks in hate speech (anti-Semitism, to be specific), the other in contempt speech: contempt for the president, contempt for the neighbors and visitors who elected him to office, and contempt for the social contract that enables us all to live side by side in peace.
For all the words of tolerance and good will that are presumably being dispensed at the many houses of worship that list each week in The Millerton News, it would appear that at least two of our neighbors have not gotten the memo.
Hate speech and contempt speech are different sides of the same coin, minted in fear and ignorance. However abhorrent to the eye and ear, they are both protected by the First Amendment. So I guess we are stuck with them.
If some residents of certain communities wish to exercise their right to free speech in such hostile and uncivil terms, those of us who take offense can choose to give those communities a wide berth. Once we are blissfully over this pandemic, there will be many other restaurants to dine in, many other movie theaters to attend, many other shops where we can get our goods and services, all in towns that don’t throw out the You-Are-Not-Welcome mat as soon as you arrive. Simple as that.
So, in the spirit of peaceful counterprotest, I choose to take an extended time out from Dover and Millerton, leaving open the possibility of returning some day in the distant future when its local warriors have hopefully had enough time to work through their repellent hate and anger management issues.
Carla Terrace resident unhappy with Willow Roots articles
In response to Millerton News articles regarding Willow Roots (WR) food pantry: Your articles, in some form, stated that residents of Carla Terrace (CT) are complainers. Your articles have belittled our concerns by simply labeling them “Quality of Life Issues.” Pantry co-founders Lisa and Nelson Zayas have used your paper to foster half-truths and lies by omission, too numerous to mention here. Our character is being portrayed as uncaring, cold-hearted and in doing so, you have fueled the flames vilifying us.
You have not interviewed us to provide information and context as to the root of our complaints. Had you interviewed me you would have found that I will oppose any business that would demand a special Planning Board approval to enter Carla Terrace from North Main Street. You could have reported that this is really about zoning, property rights, retaining assets and values, traffic patterns on our dead-end cul-de-sac, staving off the aggression of the Zayases as they again try to acquire a pass thru “asset” utilizing CT, adding immense value to their property at our expense.
You failed to report that CT is a 1960s residential sub-division within which are seven taxed, deeded lots on a dead-end road specifically to serve those seven owners, not properties outside it. In the subdivision’s 60-year existence, no adjacent owners have claimed a personal or commercial access to it, except during the Zayases’ 15 years of ownership when they tried, and were denied, well before the creation of WR.
Utilizing a town issued, 2004 permit allowing their winter RV to be parked in their back yard, the Zayases called the Pine Plains Highway Department in 2006 and parlayed that permit into a parking space for a rental apartment over their garage. This was done informally, without a permit. Zayas gave that apartment an address. As recently as June 2014, the rental was advertised on the website www.hotpads.com (Google it). The listing describes 10 Carla Terrace as a “private entry with separate driveway on a cul-de-sac.”
You reported two driveways: one at 23 North Main (NM) for usage by the residents and one at the back of the property for usage by tenants. The public should know that WR car traffic enters at 23 NM and drives thru, off the front pavement, over a back lawn area (now barren), onto the back of the tenant driveway onto the CT dead-end cul-de-sac.
Mr. Zayas mentions the approval of his tax-prep business. In the Pine Plains Planning Board May 2014 minutes, the business was approved; access into CT was denied.
The Zayases knew they needed a permit for WR from the town, but, in my opinion, they weren’t willing to risk denial for a third time so they just did it. Pre-COVID, the Zayases were banking on the Pine Plains Planning Board not stopping them. No room here, to share a disturbing September conversation with Mrs. Zayas and her stated personal influence within the Planning Board.