Letters to the Editor October 20, 2011
John Merwin for North East supervisor
I am writing to show my support for John Merwin for the town of North East supervisor.
I have known and worked with John for over 20 years. When John was a town of North East councilman and I was on the village of Millerton board I worked with John on budgets for shared services. I’ve seen John volunteer as an EMT, school teacher in our community and most recently on the town of North East Zoning Board of Appeals.
As written last week in The Millerton News, ZBA Chairperson Julie Schroeder stated John “is a very capable and excellent member.” Why not ask the current town of North East board members who they support in this election and why?
The recent election ideas by the current supervisor have been waiting for what? The town highway garage and transfer stations are not new problems. They are actually 15 years old or more, but I guess this is as good a time as any to start talking about them.
I’ve discussed with the current supervisor some low-cost ideas to help our community. However, these ideas appear to have fallen on deaf ears. How about starting an interactive town website to assist the residents with our needs? To the best of my knowledge the town of North East is the only municipality in Dutchess County not to have this.
John will not have a learning curve to deal with. His experience with the town budget, interaction with shared services with the village of Millerton and the Millerton Fire District and highway department will allow John to step in and move forward immediately.
This is not a “shame on you” endorsement. It’s time for some new thinking and ideas. On election day, John Merwin will have my vote.
Dave Sherman deserves re-election
Too often I find political meetings dull or unproductive, so it was with reluctance that I agreed to attend the Democratic caucus this fall. I listened to both candidates for town supervisor outline their qualifications and life experience. Clearly, both are nice men of good intention. But only one — Dave Sherman — impressed me with the skills needed to navigate the opportunities and challenges ahead for the town. And, as he pointed out, these issues revolve around money.
Dave Sherman spoke knowledgeably about large fiscal projections as well as small budget details. In a precarious economic climate, this expertise is critical.
When I was in high school I would vote in class elections on the basis of the coolness factor — the boy I most wanted to sit next to, or the girl I thought was most like me. Age has taught me the value of those who have different strengths than mine, who can provide know-how beyond my capabilities. North East needs a strong financial manager for the coming years. Dave Sherman is such a man.
As I left the caucus that Saturday, a woman walked out angry, muttering that the day had come when Democrats endorsed a Republican and she would change her affiliation because of it. I disagree. I am proud of the party for recognizing a capable leader and having the courage to support the best candidate: Dave Sherman.
Victoria Perotti will get things done
Having served on the Amenia Town board for almost two years, I have gotten to know Victoria Perotti and have seen first hand, her ability to get issues resolved and get things done. She recognized that we needed to follow procedure and address code issues to effectuate the move into our “new” Town Hall. This was no easy task, but with her assistance, it was accomplished in 22 days — unbelievable! It has been a year, and it seems like the move was “seamless.” But, there is still more to do.
Victoria is always looking for grants to address the future needs of the Town Hall. One example is the NYSERDA grant we received. Through this funding, and other potential grants, we will be able to operate and maintain the building into the future. We need someone who has this expertise, not a naysayer who chides the “grant is not worth the paper it is written on.”
We need her positive thinking to recognize the potential of the Amenia town center, and the hamlet of Wassaic, as viable, healthy communities. As co-project manager of the Rail to the Trail project, Victoria has followed all the correct procedures so the project would meet the Federal Funding guidelines and even set up meetings with the Department of Transportation to clarify early issues that were brought to her attention.
There are many other examples, as well, as she works for the benefit of the taxpayers, helping to navigate through contracts and serving as deputy supervisor, handling emergencies with ease. Town supervisor is not an easy job, but Victoria Perotti has earned my vote, as she has demonstrated she can do the job. She is available, accessible and will serve us well. I hope you will consider voting for Victoria Perotti and the experience she brings to the table.
Darlene Riemer, R.A.
In support of Brian Coons for Pine Plains supervisor
In response to Rick Butler’s letter dated Oct. 13:
Brian Coons, who is running for the position of town supervisor in the town of Pine Plains, wears many hats.
Brian joined the army 18 years ago and has served in Iraq, Africa and Afghanistan. He has held the rank and titles of sergeant first class, coach and director of field operations. Brian has served as a town planner in Poughkeepsie over the last nine-and-a-half years and was fundamental in the formation of Civil Solutions International, a supplier of civil solutions focusing on providing short- and long-term stability to locations experiencing turmoil whether caused by armed conflict, epidemics or natural and manmade disasters. Brian is a busy man. Busy people get things done.
In answer to Mr. Butler’s concerns regarding Brian’s past attendance record on the Pine Plains Planning Board, Brian missed meetings when attending annual training and an extended training mission to Japan in December 2010. As a senior non-commissioned officer, Brian has multiple tours and has conducted civil military missions all over the world. Brian, 45, was asked to deploy on an upcoming mission to Afghanistan, however, due to his previous tours he decided to not deploy to better serve his community and the state of New York.
As his civic contributions demonstrate, Brian is not the type of individual to take on a responsibility that he cannot fulfill. If elected, Brian will serve the people of Pine Plains in the same rigorous and professional manner in which he has served his country.
I hope that this will put Mr. Butler’s concerns to rest.
Chair, Democratic Committee
It’s time we voted in a new town supervisor in North East
I believe there has been plenty of waste in the town of North East budget due to [town Supervisor] David Sherman’s mismanagement. If not for the efforts of Councilman Steven Merwin, however, the situation would be even worse. Mr. Merwin has employed exemplary knowledge, good judgement and true fiscal conservatism. For instance, he pushed to reduce the Highway Department’s request for a large tractor with lots of options to a smaller one without those options and cut the bill in half from $120,000 to $60,000. The smaller tractor has served the town just fine.
Councilman Merwin has maintained that we can save a lot of money by doing repairs on a plow truck we already have, rather than buying a new one. I agree. Furthermore, I think it was inappropriate for a town supervisor to hold a ridiculous open house to sell taxpayers on an overpriced vehicle with extravagant bells and whistles as Mr. Sherman did. People are aware that a shiny new truck is more appealing than an old one. They also know that in bad economic times especially, the responsible choice is to repair and replace your old vehicle as long as it continues to be less costly. Besides that, even if ordered, the new truck would not be received until after spring, so the old truck will have to be repaired for winter plowing anyway. Fortunately, the board as a whole has come to the same conclusion as Mr. Merwin and we will not be rushing into an unnecessary expenditure of $215,00.
I guess common sense and frugality just run in the Merwin family. Candidate for supervisor John Merwin plans to make cost savings for taxpayers a top priority. He understand that good management requires proper care of equipment taxpayers have already paid for with their hard-earned dollars, keeping town vehicles on a proper maintenance schedule and having a sensible equipment replacement plan in place. I will be voting for John Merwin for supervisor on Nov. 8. I hope you will too. Then Steven won’t have such an uphill battle to fight when he is trying to save you money.
Letter writer was, at the least, exaggerating about Sherman
“Do not bear false witness.” I believe that’s the Ninth Commandment. It means, don’t testify dishonestly.
It’s hard to say what Pam Michaud is up to — concocting, exaggerating or just winging it. She sure is wasting a lot of people’s time, including mine. I am starting to resent it. I resent much more that she is trying to darken the reputation of a man I respect and trust. I am forced to be specific.
Her last letter to this paper said town Supervisor Dave Sherman cost the town a grant for a salt shed. This is pure hooey. No grant was applied for because no grant was available: Federal block grants do not exist for temporary structures, which the salt shed will be. Why temporary? Because the current site is unsustainable, for a host of excellent reasons. Will it cost “as much as $40,000 or more?” No. Maybe $30,000. When a better site is found, the structure will be disassembled and moved, saving money. The supervisor recommended it be designed that way.
The Town Hall driveway is not a “simple job” with “unnecessary engineering plans.” Are you a paving contractor, Ms. Michaud? A secret civil engineer? The parking area is irregular and has drainage problems, among other issues. It was staked out so the situation could be evaluated and the final product assured. But now that the Millerton School might provide town offices, the supervisor wants to put paving at the Town Hall on hold, potentially saving money. But to Ms. Michaud, that’s mismanagement.
“The issues I have cited here are but a small sampling of the ways I believe your tax dollars are being wasted.” I shudder to think what the full onslaught must be, the sum total of Dave Sherman’s profligate, licentious ways with our town budget, which has shot up for the past 18 years at the blistering pace of 1.4 percent a year. Things are certainly going to hell in a hand basket. Summon the state, call the feds! Better yet, a nice local guy who’s never handled a budget bigger than his own, backed by a letter writer for whom facts are as elusive as common sense.
Cast your vote for Gazzoli
I am writing in support of Ron Gazzoli for assessor in Amenia, because of his experience, credibility and reliability.
In times of economic and financial uncertainty, one seeks expertise and stability. This is true in the most vital of areas affecting our taxes in local government: Property values. The office of assessor is central to our most valuable economic possession — our property.
So, when I elect my assessor I want someone who has three things that only Ron Gazzoli has: experience, credibility and reliability.
Let’s call it the value of the silver-haired practitioner. Ron knows the market. Ron knows the town, and he knows the value of our properties. Furthermore, Ron Gazzoli embodies the code of ethics for Amenia. He serves, according to the code, “to serve and benefit the public, and not for obtaining unwarranted personal or private gain in the performance of his official powers and duties.”
Ron Gazzoli is the informed voice of experience I expect to see returned to the Office of the Assessor in Amenia.
To the voters of Pine Plains
Here we go again... another should of, could of, would of, has begun!
It isn’t us against them; we are all in this together. Some give a little more of themselves than others, but in the end we all should just want Pine Plains to be our home, the place we love, laugh, cry, grow and die.
Once again the seated board members that find themselves running against Pine Plains United, have given more of themselves as a whole than has the rest of those seated and those that wish to unseat Gregg [Pulver], Bob [Couse] and George [Keeler]! These three have never lied about where they reside to obtain their seat or relied on a chosen few who think they are all-knowing of the best way for Pine Plains to grow. Much time is needed to keep Pine Plains running smoothly! We must keep people involved who actually have the time to do the job not just be figureheads for a fractioned group!
Please go vote on Nov. 8 and vote for Gregg Pulver, George Keeler and Bob Couse; keep our board able to function as one!!! Don’t think your vote won’t count because it could be what keeps our board strong, honest and working for the people of Pine Plains, all the people not just a few!
Dorean M. Gardner
Is this right?
I was thinking that the intersection at Maple and Main streets is really pedestrian unfriendly for the handicapped, the aged and the carriage-pusher. Are we in violation for access courtesies?
Vote for Sherman
I have been living in this town for many years, having my business here also. I have watched the town and village grow in the right direction at an appropriate pace. Changes in life can go toward good or bad. Because of seeing all the good things done, why would I risk change? Let’s go back to the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
I’m voting for Dave Sherman because I don’t need surprises in my life.
Personal attack on Sherman
In a letter last week, Pam Michaud raised a number of charges against our town supervisor. Hers was a breathless personal attack on a man I consider a solid, hard-working public servant who has done much to improve our town and village.
Dave Sherman is different than most politicians. Power is not what motivates him. He is driven to improve the area where he lives, do the best job he can for the most people and hold the respect of his neighbors and fellow town and village dwellers.
I’ve known Dave for almost 25 years, and he is unfailingly considerate, thoughtful and respectful. He runs a meeting politely, gets things done and most important — makes sure they are done right. He is an excellent listener, takes in every point of view and then does his darndest to do what is best for the community. This sometimes means that someone or some faction is not fully satisfied. That’s democracy; that’s putting the needs of others ahead of your own.
To have such a man so bitterly attacked takes me aback. Why the mean-spirited remarks? Why the sneering? To complain that he’s costing the town because he works late and keeps on the lights and air conditioning? Come on, here’s a man working above and beyond the job description and his low salary. (And, since Ms. Michaud believes the supervisor’s salary is too high, does this mean her candidate, Mr. Merwin, will lower it to the level of years ago?)
I am concerned about John Merwin’s political judgement, and the people advising him, notably Ms. Michaud. Did you know that John Merwin appointed her to an official position in his campaign (as a member of his Committee to Fill Vacancies)?
There are good reasons North East and Millerton have been getting attention lately. In my opinion, Dave Sherman has a lot to do with it. He wholeheartedly deserves reelection, and we are lucky to have him.
On behalf of the Pine Plains Hose Company we thank all who came out in support of our 911 march/ceremony and for all your donations. You made this event a big success. A special thank you to all fire, rescue and law enforcement personnel for your assistance.
Save community health centers
In their mission to inform the public, newspapers should also educate taxpayers about the budget debate on Capitol Hill. The debate now is not which programs to cut, but how much. This is the wrong approach, especially for programs like Community Health Centers. Many working families are turning to health centers for health care during the economic downturn. They have lost their health insurance along with their jobs, or they just carry catastrophic coverage that doesn’t pay for primary care. Chances are your neighbor or a family member is one of the 23 million people who are seeking help at a health center today.
I understand the need for fiscal restraint, but when we cut programs like these all of us pay a price — whether it is through higher insurance premiums or out-of-pocket costs, long lines at hospital waiting rooms, or even increased spread of communicable diseases. As a taxpayer, and the president and CEO of one of the largest community health center networks in New York state, I want my representatives in Congress to know how urgent it is to save Community Health Centers from the budget ax. Without them, we can’t save lives, and we certainly will not save taxpayers any money.
Anne Kauffman Nolon,
Masters in Public Health