Two Honduran brothers, Jose and Jorge Zaldivar, housed by their employer in a structure not intended to be used as a dwelling - what I would call a “firetrap” - with no certificate of occupancy and, therefore, no fire extinguisher or adequate construction that passed inspection, were burnt alive at the Rockmount Equestrian Center in Mount Marion. Saugerties Police Chief Louis Barbaria says “it would be hard to say that the lack of a certificate of occupancy is what caused the death of these two workers.” He says it’s a matter for the building department. Really!!!
It may be hard for Chief Barbaria to say it but it isn’t hard for me. Perhaps this is a matter of legal detail but I’d be surprised if such a casual attitude would prevail if these were two local men who were burnt alive. I understand (and hope) that the question of criminal charges is still open. And, at least, some civil action will be taken that will provide reparations to the Zaldivar family.
THE STATE OF FRACKING
There was a big sigh of relief when it was announced Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Joe Martens to head the NY State Department of Environmental Protection (DEC). Commissioner Martens, most recently President of the Open Space Institute, will bring a deep understanding of the environmental point of view to the table as he provides a leadership role to balance the agendas of the state, the environmentalists and the oil and gas industry.
As this controversy over whether to frack or not to frack continues in New York State, our responsibility to keep the water, air and land free from pollution is far from done. Invite everyone you know to call Governor Cuomo (518-474-8390) and Commissioner Martens (518-402-8545). Also continue to contact your state legislators with your reasons of why we do not want fracking in our state. Here is the link to a short but informative video to share: http://bit.ly/gR21Uz.
In 2010 the New York State Senate and Assembly both passed a temporary moratorium to wait for more research on the effects of fracking on the environment and public health much because of all your calls and emails. Your actions do make a difference. Remember democracy is not a spectator sport.
HOPE FOR A NEW YEAR
Throughout 2009 and 2010, I marveled at the inability of Albany to come to terms with the reality facing New Yorkers in the grip of this profound world-wide recession.
Like small children with eyes closed and fingers in their ears, seeking to ignore a situation,
Albany Leaders continued a “business as usual” style of taxing, fining and regulating while refusing to engage in meaningful reforms that would secure our economic future.
Throughout this period, many of us worked to give Albany a “reality check” and push it in a direction that would restore New York to its former greatness. Even with these efforts, Albany delivered unprecedented spending, and billions in new taxes – pushing farms, families and businesses past the breaking point.
Voters finally weighed in on the situation in the 2010 elections, sending a strong message across this state and nation, calling for a return to the basics – creating jobs, growing our economy and ensuring a government that works for the people – not the people working under the control and direction of a bloated, unsustainable bureaucracy.
Enter into January 2011 with its infusion of new faces with energy and direction, where we witnessed a united and historic message delivered by Governor Cuomo and all legislative leaders.
For the first time, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for the first time endorsed the immediate enactment of a property tax cap. Senate President Dean Skelos emphasized the importance of giving businesses the tools they need and then calling to get government out of the way. Governor Andrew Cuomo detailed the cold, hard facts of our state’s current fiscal situation and called for a transformation, to restore the Empire State to its former glory.
Yet in the midst of this, many jaded rank and file members sat scoffing at the message, leaving me to wonder whether this new found sense of unanimity amongst Albany’s leadership can weather the storm of inertia and self interest that will soon come to bear on the State Capitol.
I, for one, welcome this hopeful beginning, and call on my colleagues to become a part of a solution that brings New Yorkers together, rather serving up a tired recipe of gridlock and useless finger pointing.
I, for one, stand ready and invite my neighbors across the 127th Assembly District and the state to join our new governor in rebuilding New York.
We have an important opportunity. Let’s make it work.
Assemblyman, 127th District
A BETTER FIT
I am so happy to see the new theme, “Shine On Saugerties,” being used for this summer’s outdoor art exhibit. The wooden lighthouses promote a true Saugerties reflective atmosphere; one of slight nostalgia, and of historic value, like the town of Saugerties itself. To me, the “Horsin’ Around” theme, had a carnival look. In no way did it represent the town I was born in. The solar lights to be used on the lighthouses show the other side of the town’s feelings. It shows one of the more modern ways that also can be added to the historic side of Saugerties. Shine on, Saugerties.
Barbara Terwilliger Ambrosano
THANKS TO CANDY FUND CONTRIBUTORS
The last contributors to the C.A. Lynch Fire Company Christmas Candy Fund were the Village of Saugerties PBA, Anita Yates and Denise and William Brown. The Southside Vols thank them and all others who have donated to this fund. Your generosity enabled the firefighters to distribute candy throughout the village of Saugerties on Christmas Day for the 91st consecutive year.
C.A. Lynch Hose Co.