Letters to the Editor February 16, 2012
Don’t merge town, village
I would like to respond to a letter by Arthur Moshlak in last week’s Millerton News, in which he called for merging the governments of the village of Millerton and the town of North East.
This is, in my opinion, a terrible idea. After all the wrangling over the Millerton Overlook project, it was the village Planning Board simply conducting a careful and thorough State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process that brought the application to a halt. Because these board members did such a meticulous job, the village was protected from having an ill-conceived project go through.
Housing projects or other developments that occur in the village obviously have greater impact on the lives of village residents than town residents. At times the needs of village and town residents may differ. No criticism of our town Planning Board is intended here. If you are a village resident, when the issue of affordable housing in the village arises again, don’t you deserve to have a planning board composed of your fellow village residents to represent you and your concerns? Shouldn’t decisions that predominantly affect the village be made by village residents?
There are those who would under the guise of efficiency and economy, seek to shrink the influence of local decision makers. In this era of regional planning and a trend toward top-down control, retaining local sovereignty and home rule allows people at the local level to maintain their ability to make their own decisions about issues that affect them.
I believe that having strong, quality representation on separate village and town boards contributes to our ability to do this. A consolidation putting local decisions in the hands of a smaller pool of people would not be a positive development.
A related issue is the proposal to move the village and town offices to the former Millerton Elementary School. I think this would also be a mistake. In this dismal economic climate, there is no justification for taking on a costly renovation of the school and abandoning two adequately functioning buildings.
The real estate market is terrible and the buildings are too specific in their design to appeal to either residential or commercial buyers. The proposal seems to me to pose a great economic risk for both the town and village. It would certainly advance the goals of those who are pushing for a town/village consolidation.
If two separate buildings no longer housed the town and village governments, and they were physically located in the same building, would it not be easier for those who are pushing for the merger to achieve it? Is that why some are promoting this plan — as a stepping stone to consolidation?
The idea has been suggested that the former elementary school could become a satellite campus for Dutchess Community College or another educational institution as it is, after all, designed to be a school. I propose that an attempt be made to ascertain whether there would be any interest in this idea.
An argument against changing the CT liquor laws
A number of our customers come from the Lakeville/Salisbury area, so I read with interest about the Connecticut governor proposing that package stores open on Sundays. There are two (perhaps three) salient points to be made here.
One, people already are conveniently able to buy as much wine and or spirits as they need, or can tolerate. It is difficult to understand how Sunday opening will increase consumption and, therefore, tax revenues.
Secondly, having tried opening our New York state shop on Sundays for several different periods, I can state clearly that there is but one pie. You can cut it in six slices (days) or increase overhead and lower employee morale by making seven slices. There is at the end of the day just the same pie.
Lastly, and I think importantly, we all have a better attitude with a day off.
Will Carter, Pine Plains Fine Wines & Spirits
Houston not a role model
Why doesn’t someone just say it? OK, I will. Whitney Houston was not a role model. A drug addict who had all the resources that money can buy, who had the entire world supporting her, loving her for her music, did not have the will power to help herself. This is not a person we should be idolizing.
Role models are people like my son Zachary and over 7,000 others who gave their lives while serving the country and protecting our nation in the name of “Duty, Honor, Country!”
Role models are people that serve our community each day — the police officers, teachers, store owners, parents and all the others that make our community safe and comfortable.
Let’s stop idolizing “stars” just because they have one unique talent that pleases us for a moment of time.
Empty rhetoric from White House
When the Obama administration’s health-care financing plan was signed into law, President Barack Obama and Congress promised that funds under the new law would not cover abortions.
This has now been proven to be empty rhetoric.
Why? Because the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has mandated that under the health-care law, private health insurance plans must cover the “full range of FDA approved contraception” — in which category HHS explicitly included the abortion-inducing drug Ella.
This mandate includes a so-called “religious employer exemption,” yet the exemption is so narrowly defined that most religious schools, colleges, hospitals and charitable organizations serving the public do not qualify. Even an expanded definition of “religious employer” would fail to protect non-religiously affiliated organizations, individuals and even religiously affiliated health insurers whose pro-life consciences are nonetheless violated.
This is an unprecedented attack on the freedom of conscience of millions of Americans, eviscerating their freedom of choice to purchase private insurance that does not violate their ethical, moral or religious objections. I hope all readers will contact their elected representatives in Washington, D.C., and voice outrage over this anti-life mandate.
John J. Buchal