Why Rick Bunt for village trustee? I was born and raised in New Paltz and I’m a product of the New Paltz public school system. Many of you may know my parents, Fred and Cathy Bunt, who have lived here in New Paltz since the 1950’s. My parents grew up in the midst of the Great Depression and they passed along to me many of their core values -- like responsibility, working hard and saving for the future. I can remember as a child watching my mother cut out coupons and paying cash for everything she bought.
At the age of eleven, I had my own business mowing lawns for neighbors and delivering newspapers. Partly as a result of this experience, my campaign focuses on three points. First is fiscal responsibility. Over the past ten years, New Paltz has seen its taxes double. In the last two years we’ve seen a dramatic drop-off of our housing values, yet our taxes continue to go up. New Paltz has become unaffordable for many of its long-time residents. I personally know many people who have left our community to move south. Most families have to work longer and harder to make ends meet. And for our seniors who are on fixed incomes, the growing tax burden coupled with inflation can be a cause for great stress. First, my plan is to spend your tax dollars very wisely! We need to get as much value for our dollar as we can. Second, we need to look at new ways to generate tax revenue. New Paltz is in need of a Smart Growth Plan that maintains the historic character of our village. We also need to grow our business district and attract businesses that are needed in New Paltz. Lastly, we should explore all avenues of federal and state grants for our ever-aging infrastructure.
My platform will also focus on bringing political balance to the board. In a community as diverse as ours, where both locals and students co-exist, we must be tolerant and understanding of our neighbor. For too long the political pendulum has swung to either the far right or the far left. This has created much tension in our community. We must look to have a balance on this board and strive to develop a sustainable future for our community.
So why Rick Bunt? I graduated from Pace University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. I worked for many years with a money management firm in New York City. I have studied sustainable building and hold the designation of a Certified Sustainable Building Advisor. For the last eight years, I have owned and operated a general contracting business in the New Paltz area. I’m optimistic about the future of New Paltz. I want to see this community grow and prosper, but I want to do it wisely. I have the experience and background to move us in the right direction. I’m not going to spend your money just because it’s there. The budget is not just a number to me, it represents a lot of hard work, time and effort that you have contributed to this community and are continuing to contribute through your taxes.
We need to look at government in a new light because we are living in a new time. I would love your help and support. Please vote for me on May 3.
Kip Ruger has my vote
With a man like Kip Ruger running it almost makes me want to move from the town to the village so that I could vote for him. He is a family man with deep and personal ties to this New Paltz community. He has been a successful businessman and entrepreneur his whole life. He most certainly will bring his sensible and practical professional judgment, no-nonsense approach and overall level of caring concern to his responsibilities on the Village Board. Kip, thank you for running.
Place your vote for Jason West
With May 3 quickly approaching, it is important for students to know about the New Paltz Village Board elections. Many students don’t realize their power in our community. There are close to 3,000 students that live on the campus alone, without including those who live off-campus in the village as well. Students make up the majority of the New Paltz village, which gives us the power to elect the candidates WE see fit and WE want to have in office. With this said, it is important that we elect someone that has been and will communicate with students and put the ideas we believe in into action. For this reason as an individual student, not on behalf of the student body, I strongly support Jason West as New Paltz village mayor. With a previous term as the mayor of New Paltz, Jason has the experience, knowledge and motivation to serve as a successful mayor. He will fight for environmental initiatives, affordable housing for all and the revival of transparency within local government. I urge you on May 3 to get to the New Paltz Fire Station from noon to 9 p.m. and place your vote for Jason West!
Eve Stern, Executive Vice President
SUNY New Paltz Student Association
Vote for Stewart Glenn and the One Community Party
Village of New Paltz residents will go to the polls on Tuesday, May 3 to elect three village trustees. I am a resident of the Town of New Paltz and I believe there is an opportunity with this election to elect a board which will fully examine and institute the strengthening of ties between the town and Village of New Paltz in a fair-minded and respectful dialogue.
New Paltz is a wonderful place to live and one of the things that make it so special are the people of this community. Unfortunately, the Village Board has not fully utilized the talent and energy of its volunteer groups and, in fact, has alienated many.
I have known and worked with Stewart Glenn professionally for 25 years. Stewart was a respected and valued counsel to a number of municipal and non-profit organizations I have been involved with. I have seen Stewart in action and I believe that he brings the best mixture of experience, knowledge and character needed to help solve both the immediate and the long-term issues that the village trustees must deal with. Stewart has proven himself to be a pragmatic and effective consensus builder who knows how to find solutions to difficult problems. His demonstrated leadership skills and wide range of experiences will be of immense value as the Village Board grapples with the consequences of the current state budget and more fully explores the concept of consolidation. Stewart is intelligent, approachable and certainly dedicated to this community. His strong listening and communication skills would serve the village well. I am confident that his thoughtful decision-making and leadership skills would move our community forward.
Both the village and town will benefit greatly with Stewart Glenn on the Village Board of Trustees and I encourage you to vote for Stewart Glenn and the One Community Party.
Caution: Consolidation study still in progress
I feel it is unfortunate and inopportune that statements recently made in various local papers may have led Hudson Valley residents, particularly those in New Paltz, to believe consolidation is the answer to all our financial and governmental woes. Of course we all want more effective and efficient government (and affordable), but comprehensive local Government Efficiency and Effectiveness Grant Studies, like the one being conducted in the town and village of New Paltz, need to be respected and the professionals need to be given the opportunity to diligently complete their studies BEFORE any generalizations should be permitted to pervade the thinking of our residents in the Hudson Valley.
While the “our poll shows” statements are regrettable, the most unfortunate fact is that the rhetoric of the die-hard consolidationists is dangerous, because their message -- “We Must Consolidate” at all costs (completely ignoring a plethora of unknowns) -- is biased and their “facts” slanted in favor of what they want to believe, not actual facts. We need to better understand the Special District taxes including sidewalks, lighting, parking meters, paving, parks and the total sum of these before we commitment to any changes. When calculated and added to the tax levy estimates for the residents of the village, the Special District taxes could “level the playing field,” that is, completely consume any estimated tax savings.
Please remember, it is a fact that only a tiny, all-commercial swath in the town is sidewalked, and we already pay a portion of the lighting in the town -- under consolidation only those of us who reside in the village would pay for the village sidewalks, lighting, our parks, our metered lots, etc. and we would still pay a portion of the town lighting just as we currently do.
I, for one, am focused on shared services which is the direction I see offering the most immediate and sustainable benefits and savings to the residents of New Paltz. The village, town, SUNY and school district are already assisting each other with equipment, emergencies and bulk buying. We have long known the benefits of working together and our collective commitment to continuing and increasing shared services for cost savings is very comprehensive. We are well on our way with defining areas that could use improvement and new avenues not yet explored.
Please remember the potential consolidation study is NOT yet completed and I urge every single citizen in the village and the town of New Paltz to wait until the final report before throwing support behind any one scenario or any group-think or local poll. There are many unknowns and while smaller government, as a blanket statement, appears compelling, everyone needs to know the whole story, with all the issues of special district taxes, the composition of the new government and the Big One -- will there be significant LONG TERM tax savings for all residents -- needs to be resolved and guaranteed before anyone can determination what would be “best for New Paltz.”
We support Stewart Glenn
We would like to express our unqualified support for Stewart Glenn’s candidacy for the Village Board. We have known Stewart in his professional career, as well as a personal friend for more than 30 years. Stewart has qualities that we admire and that we believe would contribute greatly to the welfare of our New Paltz community. Among those are vision, maturity, patience and a knowledge of the issues.
As a New Paltz born-and-raised son, he has a love for New Paltz which he has expressed through a variety of commitments to the village, as well as a desire for government to represent us all with intelligence and equanimity.
We are pleased to number among his supporters.
Ken and Joan Davies
In good hands with Kip Ruger
We write to heartily endorse the candidacy of David Kip Ruger, who is a candidate for the Village Board of Trustees. While we are not residents within the village, we nonetheless wish to add our voices to the chorus of Kip Ruger’s supporters.
Our friendship with Kip extends over the past 15 years. During that time, we have witnessed countless instances of Kip’s tireless commitment to neighbors and community members. Kip is always there to assist; be it in the middle of the night for a neighbor’s sump pump, or a before-dawn snow plowing for a community member in need.
Kip is a respected businessman within the New Paltz community. His business, Smitty’s, has been an integral part of the village for as long as we can remember. Village residents know that when it matters and when they and their automobile are in need, they will be in good hands with Kip.
Kip is a problem solver. His intelligence is understated, as he is a naturally quiet guy. However, time after time we have seen Kip produce solid solutions to complicated challenges. Kip’s knowledge of land, real estate, construction, business and more is impressive and we’ve learned much from him. Kip knows that one learns more from listening than from talking!
On an extremely personal note, those things which matter most to us are Kip’s open heart, generosity of spirit and sterling integrity.
When David Kip Ruger makes a promise, you can take it to the bank!
The Village of New Paltz will be in excellent hands with Kip Ruger as one of its trustees. We urge all village residents to vote for David Kip Ruger on Tuesday, May 3.
Ron and Margie Simon
Kip Ruger will protect and improve our village
Kip Ruger is a kind, generous and concerned neighbor. When we bought our home in New Paltz 20 years ago, we were weekenders. The first snowy winter, we would arrive late Friday evenings and our driveway was always plowed. We had no idea who the kind person was until way into the winter. That person was Kip Ruger. That’s the kind of person Kip is, always ready to help.
Kip is concerned about his neighbors, his village and his town. We think you should give him the opportunity to show the villagers how he could protect and improve all the things we love about living here.
Gloria and Jerry Gillman
Stewart Glenn is committed to cooperation
I suspect that you, as I, have been disgusted with the escalating contention between the elected village and the town officials over the past few years. While there have always been disagreements between these elected bodies, it has never risen to the present level. Both the town officials and the village officials have contributed to this problem. I urge you to elect people such as Stewart Glenn who are committed to cooperation. Then join with town voters to address the rest of the problem next fall.
Dave Lent, former town supervisor
Stewart Glenn for village trustee
I would like to thank Stewart Glenn for once again stepping up and trying to make New Paltz a better community by throwing his hat into the ring to run for village trustee. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of working together with various groups. He has served on or chaired a host of community, civic and professional committees and organizations. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Stewart on a committee and always found his input to be constructive and insightful. His even temperament and calm demeanor keeps the process moving forward toward thoughtful decisions and actionable ideas. Being a longtime resident of New Paltz, Stewart understands and appreciates the subtleties and nuances that make New Paltz the unique and wonderful place it is. As an attorney, Stewart clearly understands the complexity and necessity to work within the laws to bring about lasting change. Stewart will bring wisdom to the Village Board that is sorely lacking and so vitally needed in all levels of government. I just hope that we are wise enough to recognize that and vote for him.
Vote for Jason West on May 3
I have lived in New Paltz for about a decade now and can say without hesitation that I believe New Paltz is one of the greatest places, not just in the Hudson Valley, but in our country. My love for our community and my longing to see it improve was the main reason I chose to run for public office when I was still attending high school. Being elected at such a young age has given me the chance to meet a number of elected officials across our state and nation. A number of those people I admired so much that I chose to work on their campaigns, helping organize and attending their events, making phone calls, knocking on doors, etc. I have always felt that citizens should take an active role in democracy. Yet, through it all I have never written an endorsement letter for a candidate seeking office until today.
With all due respect to the other candidates seeking the position of mayor of New Paltz, one candidate clearly rises above the rest. He does so much that for the first time I felt it necessary to write a letter of support. That candidate’s name is Jason West.
It is truly rare to find someone that exemplifies all the things that make New Paltz great, not just in candidates for public office, but in our community as a whole.
Jason is the walking example of why New Paltz is as such an incredible place. Jason cares about the environment, he cares about open government and public participation, he cares about our local business owners, about the students and everything else that makes us so unique. He understands that the job is as much about potholes as it is about solar panels and he has no qualms about and excels at taking care of both.
Jason understands that New Paltz is not the cheapest place to live in and he wants to fix that through creative thinking and green technologies. He will work, as he has done in office and out of it, tirelessly to improve our community. Jason has never shied away from the tough questions and he has proven before that he will stand up for what he believes in. I have had the opportunity to call Jason my friend and my mentor and now I am looking forward to calling him my mayor. I urge you all to come out and vote for Jason West on May 3.
A vote for Sally Rhoads and Ariana Basco
Sally Rhoads and Ariana Basco are the most well-qualified candidates for positions on the New Paltz Village Board. Here are the grounds on which I believe they deserve your vote.
Sally Rhoads’ dedicated leadership of the New Paltz School District’s Board of Education during times of economic and political crisis, her consistent and principled efforts on behalf of responsiveness and competence in local government, and her exemplary avoidance of wild and extravagant claims about improvements she has already brought about or will bring about if only she is elected are indicative of her integrity. Her pivotal efforts for the dramatic expansion of the village library are a case in point. Although she was instrumental in bringing about community support and helping to raise the necessary funds (i.e. through organizing Library Fairs and used book sales) for the new Elting Memorial Library, she has not heaped accolades on herself as if she single-handedly did all the heavy lifting. Her excellent energy, initiative and dedication to this monumental task go a long way toward explaining why it was possible for this first-rate village library to be built. Sally Rhoads is an exceptionally intelligent person who has consistently demonstrated her leadership qualities by reasoning with constituents, listening to their views and establishing constructive and enduring policies. Her keen insight and wisdom regarding priorities for local government in general and our school district in particular are well documented in her fine record of public service. She can and will help to bring the various sectors of the New Paltz community together without arrogance, without bullying, without martyrdom and without happy talk.
Ariana Basco is well recognized for her thoughtful service on the Police Commission, as well as her outstanding leadership in the campus-based Environmental Task Force. In these and other roles, including her previous work as coordinator of the New York Public Interest Research Group, she has demonstrated success in seeing to completing the projects that she starts. Here are just a few first-hand observations to illustrate her productive efforts. In the aforementioned positions, she has mobilized students, faculty, staff, administration and food service personnel to work together for the ecologically significant goal of establishing a full-fledged campus recycling program. This is a far-reaching accomplishment in its own right: the campus has well over 8,000 students and 700 faculty in addition to its management personnel, maintenance and support staff. Ariana is therefore capable of formulating and implementing ambitious tasks covering large numbers of people with varied backgrounds and interests. Her ability to cultivate the best efforts of volunteers is a quality that can be put to excellent use upon her election to the Village Board. It is no secret that there are nowadays more and more vacancies on key committees because volunteers get driven away in the wake of dismissive or condescending treatment. Ariana’s talents can help substantially to show that citizen involvement is respected and valued, thereby bringing capable volunteers back into supportive and advisory roles in village governance.
The stewardship of Sally Rhoads and Ariana Basco, then, will be an invaluable step toward credible and responsive decision-making in times of economic and environmental crisis.
West will keep the village government progressive
Going back in time to four years ago, seeing Mayor Jason West lose the mayoral election was extremely disappointing. Many people regret not voting for him after being subjected to the last four years of Mayor Terry Dungan and his lack of care, or should I say unwillingness to promote new ideas beneficial to our community into action like Mr. West did.
Our community faces several challenges to get things working in the right manner again, such as allowing new businesses, not affecting our open space vistas, using the Village Master Plan to assist in guidelines for proposing new laws, utilizing our budget wisely to keep repairs ongoing and things operational, while allowing for more affordable housing by creating density within the village where it belongs. All of which are on Mr. West’s agenda if elected to office again. I have heard and discussed many of these issues and others with village residents and village business owners. The majority feel that if Mr. West is elected again, these issues could be dealt with head on because he has experience as mayor and knows the position well.
To keep the game fair, you need a referee. That’s the only way to propose a unification of the village and town government. I agree with Mr. West and others that studies should be done and consultants hired to test the feasibility of this idea. However, this community does not need four more years of ignoring the problems at hand. Too much time could be spent on this issue alone. And the result could be nothing getting done. At the end of the day, we are not going to be able to get rid of work trucks or employees. As of right now, the village and town public works departments need every person they have to keep up with maintenance. Plus, everybody on both boards work for a volunteer-like salary. Where will we save? I, as many of the other residents of this community, feel things would work a lot smoother if the town and village could work together respectfully.
Let’s keep our village government progressive, responsive and transparent by voting for Mr. Jason West.
Get out and vote on May 3
I was very excited the other night when I went to Woodland Pond and I saw so many good people, our friends and neighbors who are stepping up to lead our community by running for office in the Village of New Paltz elections on May 3. This has to be our biggest and most vibrant ballot of candidates in the nine years that I have lived in New Paltz. It is very encouraging. Thank you all for participating and taking ownership in our local government.
Those of you who know me, I think by now know that I am a straight shooter and I have the conviction for better government and better community. I volunteer my time on local projects and boards because I care that we leave the next generation with a better community and a better planet. These are foundational principles that were handed down to me by my father and my mother. “Always leave the campsite better than when you got there.”
We all have a basic understanding of many of the daunting situations before our community and our planet and we all mostly agree that something should be done proactively to make sure we pass it on to future generations with the hope for a better world, for a better tomorrow.
We tend to differ mostly on how we get there and on what exactly the role of the government is to do something about it; or in some cases if the government has a role. But I say this, the government is us and we are either an active part of it or we abdicate that privilege and that responsibility.
Stop yelling at the TV, the newspaper or the blog you just read. Get up off the couch and get down to the Village Hall and tell your board and your mayor that you want better local government. Look into the candidates who are up for election and see who you think is the best to lead us.
I personally am supporting Jason West for mayor and I am proud to say he is a friend of mine. He has the experience and the vision we need in our mayor. And more importantly, he looked me in the eye and told me that he knows that with all the good things he did while he was mayor the first time that he also made mistakes. And he also told me he can do better. Please join me and vote for Jason.
Peace and love New Paltz, get out and vote on May 3.
Pete Healey can bring change
Those of us who know Pete Healey well can speak of his honesty, integrity and boundless energy. Many in New Paltz are probably familiar with his dedication to public issues and democratic processes. Active participant in many public forums, Pete has been the primary mover behind projects such as the public access TV. He contributed to establishing the local transit loop and is a committed participant in the consolidation study group. In this campaign Pete is calling for one government -- a long overdue necessity. He should be trusted to bring about that change.
Stewart Glenn deserves your vote
Stewart Glenn is my neighbor and my friend. Across our fences, we have had many discussions of village issues over the years. Stewart is intelligent, well informed and measured. Although we do not see eye to eye on all points, Stewart always remains open to discussion. With many qualified candidates running for office this election season, Stewart Glenn deserves your serious consideration. Vote on May 3.
Vote for Ariana Basco for positive change
As a community volunteer, parent and homeowner in the village, I am very happy that Ariana Basco is running for village trustee. In the past few years I have known and worked with Ariana on campus and on issues affecting our village. I have been very impressed with her positive professionalism. Ariana takes a fresh look at environmental and sustainability issues. We worked side by side in order to get more local food on campus. It was not easy and there is more work to do, but we did it together and met goals that many thought were impossible even just a year ago.
Ariana has served on our town police commission. She does not shy away from things just because it can be a hard road to accomplish them. She perseveres and makes a plan and sticks with it to the end. I think we are in a time where we need new ideas and that means fresh eyes and sometimes hard answers so that we can make positive change for our future. The old guard always says, “Now is not the time.” This is the wrong way to be. We have to say, “Now is the time, let’s do it a new way, the right way for the good of our community, state, country and planet!” The time to start change is now and Ariana Basco is someone who can help us start the process of change for our village now. Please join me in voting for Ariana Basco, Positive Party, on May 3.
United we stand
I am writing this as the son of Pete Healey, who is currently a candidate for public office in the Village of New Paltz. He has lived in New Paltz for nearly 30 years and spent 18 of those years raising me alongside the restaurants and culture that New Paltz has, which is so unique amongst towns these days. Days which grow increasingly harder as the months wear on. Currently, the country faces great turmoil and there are clearly changes that have to be made. America’s future depends on individual people and local governments to make those changes; changes which require the unification of groups that have long been separate, as well as remaining true to the things which are important, including our youth. My father knows the town as well as just about anyone I’ve met in my life. I know that he knows how to help the future because I believe myself to be a part of that future and I fervently believe that innumerable other youngsters, like I was myself ten years ago, would benefit immeasurably from his influence -- even if it is simply as an elected official. Not all of them could be lucky enough to have him as each and everyone’s father. Whatever happens in the election I hope that everyone will remember that traditionalist as it may seem, unification is in this case a step for progress and without it there could very possibly be a fall coming in the near future.
Cavan Patrick Healey
I strongly support Jason West for mayor
My name is KT Tobin. I’m a civic-minded working mom who has lived in and around New Paltz for 20-plus years, the past three as a homeowner in the village. I strongly support Jason West for mayor of New Paltz because he has values that reflect our community’s character and because he has demonstrated success in implementing positive, progressive change. In his previous term he created the Landlord/Tenant Council, the Environmental Conservation Commission and New Paltz GreenWorks; he provided the necessary leadership for the installation of ecologically friendly reed beds at the sewage treatment plant and solar panels on village hall, just to name a few.
Jason West will support our existing businesses and nurture more locally owned businesses to create more local jobs and to keep the dollars spent right here in New Paltz. He knows that what is good for our local economy is good for our environment and to look at either with a separate lens creates division and not progress. I’m confident Jason can lead our community in consensus and collaboration, supporting a strong local economy while protecting our natural environment and scenic vistas. They are inextricably intertwined as the environment, as well as providing the lifeblood of healthy air and water, is also the backbone of our economy, drawing people and their economic investment to our village.
As a CSA member who believes in the local food movement, I very much appreciate Jason’s focus on family farms and local agriculture. We need to protect our farms and keep them viable; to provide local food and to preserve our rural character.
Jason has the experience of building a budget with taxpayers in mind -- which is critical now more than ever. He is a smart, creative, energetic person who will keep the interests of seniors, students, and working and low-income families, as well as business owners and operators in mind during budget time.
Please join me in voting for Jason West for mayor on May 3, noon to 9 p.m. at the village firehouse.
How can I justify a 4% tax increase
A 4% school tax increase in Highland is unrealistic in the economic climate that we’ve experienced, particularly since inflation has been almost flat. I can’t help but wonder how many taxpayers have received a 4% increase in their salaries or bank accounts recently? I know that Social Security recipients haven’t received a cost-of-living increase in the last two years. Common sense tells me that we can’t balance a budget by spending money that taxpayers don’t have, but that’s what we’ve done for years. If I handled my household budget the same way, I would have gone bankrupt years ago. How can I justify a 4% tax increase?
On the other hand, I sincerely believe in education and remain concerned for our children. Even with a 4% school tax increase, we have to make cuts in staff and programs that will adversely affect our students. If we proposed a tax increase below 4%, further cuts must be made and our students will feel more pain.
If you look closely at how we have spent our budgeted dollars over the years, you will see that we have allocated the most dollars for compensation and benefits. That’s not unusual for a school district. But if you look closer, the percentage of our budget for compensation and benefits has not stopped growing. As a matter of fact, it has grown disproportionately when compared to the remaining budget lines. Private workers have been making salary and benefit concessions for years during the recession, but public workers -- including our school employees -- have not. Our employees have received increases 2-3 times the cost of living. And our teachers only have had to pay about 5% of their medical premiums.
I was hoping against hope this year, that our unions would offer salary and medical concessions. But that hasn’t happened. With all due respect, it seems to me that our teachers’ union has a history of working against our children in the name of compensation and benefits. Just take a look at the fact that the percentage of our budget for compensation used to be below 50%, and now is well over 70%. Concessions would be fair since everyone else has had to make unwelcome sacrifices. With concessions, we would not have to cut programs, incur layoffs, and adversely affect our children that we claim are our top priority. Employee concessions would also set a good example for our students.
Last year, Governor Christie of New Jersey told voters not to support school budgets that didn’t include union concessions for the sake of students. And 60% of school budgets in New Jersey were turned down by voters. I’m not going to ask anyone to vote one way or the other. But I will ask voters to seriously think about what is fair -- for taxpayers and students. I hope what I’ve said will be on your minds when voting for a tax increase of 4% this year, after an 8% tax increase last year that was mainly to cover compensation and benefits.
Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We keep doing the same thing over and over again with our school budgets. What does that say about us?
Breaking a long-standing tradition
My father, whenever disappointed in a bad decision I had made, would say, “Just because everybody else jumped off the Empire State Building...would you?”
I was disappointed to read in last weeks letters that the New Paltz Democratic Party had decided to violate a cherished non-partisan tradition with the rational “The Green Party did it in 2003.” Since when did the Green Party set the standard for the Democrats?
Non-partisan politics had been a long-standing tradition in village elections. We are a small village and elect people not based on party affiliation, but on individual character. Candidates should not need the organizational or financial support of the major parties in a small election like ours. Candidates should not need to align themselves with any party ideology to gain recognition or respect.
I love living in a small village with neighbors I know. I know who’s running for office. I don’t care what party they subscribe to. I’m voting for a person, not a party. We shouldn’t be embarrassed to be smallville or hokey. Our election is on May 3, not the traditional second Tuesday in November schedule and our election is not affiliated with “party politics.” There’s just a good bunch of village citizens running. Kinda special, kinda nice.
Richard R. Steffens
Coffee and questions
Friday evening’s candidate’s forum sponsored by the bright and engaging young folk of a collective turned out to be quite a success. I’d guess there were about 50 citizens in attendance -- all the coffee shop would hold -- to hear our candidates for mayor and trustee respond to some quite esoteric questions posed by Justin, the arbiter of the show. Before going any further I think I should try to explain the collective -- they seem to center their belief in the coming great age of technology around the flow of a current, positive and negative, through the body politic -- at least that’s what this octogenarian guessed was what drove the thrust of the evening’s questions. In any case, Justin kept everyone on their toes and in line using his intellect and good humor to fine effect.
I think all the candidates were there except two -- one mayoral and one trustee. They all comported themselves well, and I don’t think there was one who could not serve us well in village government. (I have to add here that there was one mayoral candidate who in his distaste for one of our local paparazzo did show a somewhat peevish side that gave me pause as to his qualifications.) They all seemed comfortable with the idea of consolidation of local governments, but were shy of any specifics; there was considerable disagreement over the proposed noise ordinance; means of traffic alleviation on Main Street; role of the university in local affairs; and the size, role and weapons of our police department. The highlight of the evening for me was when one of the trustee candidates used an expression I haven’t heard since the Johnson era, “Educate Don’t Legislate,” in reference to the noise ordinance, but also, I thought, as a general good rule for fending off well meaning but intrusive and unenforceable local laws. All of this while the espresso machine sporadically roared in the background.
The collective did a fine job, they serve excellent coffee. (I had a very good French roast. “How much is that?” I asked. “As much as you think it’s worth,” responded the man behind the counter. I thought it was worth two bucks.) And they’ve set a high bar for the sponsors of the candidate forums we’re going to attend over the next few weeks.
Use common sense to pick your elected officials
I read with alarm and humor the letters from Corinne and Tom Nyquist regarding the non-partisan village elections. It has been a longstanding law that no political party involvement be in Village of New Paltz elections.
As the New Paltz Republican chair, I have never inserted partisanship in any comments regarding village elections. I ran for the Village Board in 1985 and used “The Candle Party” as my party. (“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”)
Shame on the Nyquist’s for blaming the Green Party as their hook, as if the Green Party should have any relevance in village politics today. They are contaminating the “purity” of our electoral process and I resent it, strongly.
Although we can use the Nyquist’s endorsements to our benefit. Jean Gallucci and Shari Osborn were part and parcel of the Dungan administration’s pogrom against our volunteer fire department and The Main Course and its owners, to name only a few.
Gallucci and Osborn’s incompetence and petty childlike behavior is almost equal to the destruction caused by Tom Nyquist and his puppet-master wife during their abysmal tenure in village politics. Now they want to influence your vote in the 2011 elections.
Good! Just vote against their choices and you’re off to a good start.
Village voters -- use your brains and good-old common sense when choosing your elected officials and discard these two party hacks’ advice, please! My choice is Jason West, Kip Ruger and Stewart Glenn. Vote as if the Village of New Paltz’s future depends on it! It does!
Vote for Jason West and Ariana Basco
We are fortunate to live in a place where the mayoral candidates are all good people; in fact, most of them even have some good ideas worth voting for. But only one, in my view, has some truly exceptional plans for our village and can make them happen: Jason West. I’ve lived in the village for 12 years, and in this period there has only been one time that I’ve witnessed the difference an elected official can make: that was the time West was mayor (from 2003 to 2007). His intelligence, vision and energetic determination are what is needed in New Paltz, now more than ever. On May 3, I’ll be voting for him, as well as for Ariana Basco for Village Trustee. I’ve been following her career in our community since she was my psychology student seven years ago, and I couldn’t be more proud of her many talents and virtues as an activist and community leader.
Vote Kip Ruger for Village Board
I’m retired in Florida, but if I still lived in New Paltz, my vote would go to Kip Ruger for the Village Board. I’ve known Kip since 1960 when Smitty and his family were neighbors. I’ve always found Kip to be a very hard worker, honest, caring, friendly and not a person that would shy away from his beliefs. The village couldn’t ask for a better candidate. Good luck Kip.
Gordon & Joanne Kreth
Ft. Myers, FL
Elect Jason West
I am starting my 28th year as a resident of the Town of New Paltz and my seventh year as a resident of the Village of New Paltz. During the last four years there has been some positive things done by the current village administration, but sad to say, the majority of their decisions have had a negative impact for those of us living in the village and in the town.
On May 3 I will cast my vote to elect Jason West as the next mayor. We need someone who cares about the environment and the future of this Village. I hope you will join me on May 3 and cast your vote for Jason West.
Warren T. Shanahan
What in the world was he thinking
What in the world did Ira Margolis hear at a village meeting that led him to believe Woodland Pond residents don’t contribute to the tax base and that we don’t allow “certain candidates an opportunity to speak”? (See his letter in the April 14 edition of the New Paltz Times.) On the contrary, Woodland Pond pays a large PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) to the village, town and school district, amounting to a substantial portion of our monthly fees. As for being “subsidized” by village taxpayers, I will simply point out that we utilize few public services, cause little nuisance, rarely contribute to traffic congestion and have no children in school. We do use village water and sewer, and probably rely more than the rest of you on our wonderful Rescue Squad, but we get billed directly for those services.
As for not allowing candidates equal access to voters at Woodland Pond: To the contrary, we held an open forum for all candidates on the ballot prior to the election last fall and again last week. All did not choose to participate last fall, but last week, all 13 came and were allowed equal time to speak. Both events were sponsored by our non-partisan Political Affairs Committee. The forum last week was a successful, informative event, thanks to the lively participation of the candidates.
I’m curious to know what “agenda” we are reported to be fostering and imposing on the village. If Woodland Pond residents have any common political interests, I would imagine it is to save Social Security and Medicare, keep our economy and environment safe and strong for our grandchildren and other such matters on the national agenda. As for our local “agenda,” residents here have diverse interests and opinions, much as in other parts of the village.
I hope that in the future, before criticizing us based on vague rumors, people in the wider New Paltz community will have the courtesy to get the correct information first. If you need any help with that, you can reach me by calling 256-5000 and asking to be connected.
Support the Groovy Blueberry Party
My name is Amanda Friedman. I am a previous student of the university (BA and MS) and resident of New Paltz (over ten years between 1995-2005), a frequent visitor and a lifetime advocate for the well being of the village. I have had the privilege of knowing Jon Cohen for many years as an employer, as a friend and as a collaborator for social change. Jon is an amazing family man, an honest businessman and a passionate, groovy and visionary man. He has never had a private agenda, nor has put his personal wants and business needs before the well being of his community, and has proven to keep his word with everyone I’ve ever seen cross his path.
Knowing that Jon is running for mayor and his amazing wife Amy for trustee, excites me on so many levels. They are so invested in the community -- through their family, real estate, business and their history with the town. I have heard so many times of how they each found and fell in love with New Paltz.
Years ago I remember Amy working so diligently to rebuild and support the longevity of Hasbrouck Park. She created a task force and advocated for the children and families of the community with Jon supporting the process every step of the way. Jon has worked tirelessly to maintain individuality and excitement within the business community as well.
As I moved out of New Paltz, I was grateful for the continued relationship with Jon, Amy and The Groovy Blueberry. I currently run an education center in NYC for children and young adults with autism. (Emerge and See Education Center -- www.emergeandsee.net). When we began our community building, Jon shared my information with others and helped facilitate my meeting several families in need in New Paltz and throughout the tri-state area. He also asked questions about autism and was proud to share what he learned with others. Jon and Amy also have supported us in Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism personally and via The Groovy Blueberry. Our team proudly sported donated T-shirts from The Groovy Blueberry, which helped us make a strong statement about the unique and beautiful style of our students and our team. When The Groovy Blueberry learned about “Light It Up Blue” and April being Autism Awareness Month, they put signs up in the store and spread the word.
No matter what the cause, what the situation, Jon and Amy are a duo of driven people who want their home, their friends and families, to do well, to learn and to be open about their lives. I just have to say that when I read about the “open door’ policy for government meetings, volunteerism as a priority and part of his candidacy, and more parking for the village to not just maintain but grow its economy, I had to write and share my passion and trust in them personally and politically!
Jon Cohen for mayor from someone who wishes they could still cast a vote, but encourages YOU to do so for the man with a heart, a philosophy and a campaign that truly behooves the whole community!
New York City
It’s the same as taxes
In the April 14 issue of the New Paltz Times a letter writer suggested that the residents of Woodland Pond received “representation without taxation.” It is true that we are represented by elected officials. However, Woodland Pond will soon pay $265,000 -- this year’s annual PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) to the village, town and school district of New Paltz. Whatever it’s called, it’s the same as taxes.
Douglas F. McBride
Jason West has what it takes to be mayor
There are essentially two qualities that we should look for in a village mayor. First, the individual must be a capable, experienced administrator of essential village services. Second, we need someone with passion and a vision for how we can move forward as a community. Several of the mayoral candidates have one quality or the other, but I believe that only one has both, and that candidate is Jason West.
Based on his previous service as mayor, Jason West is probably best known for the second quality, but many overlook his skill and effectiveness as a municipal manager. During his time as mayor, he secured grants, balanced the budget, maintained positive working relationships with village staff and the volunteer fire department and effectively oversaw key services such as water and road maintenance.
Jason’s passion for this community and his vision for how we can improve are well known. He launched several forward thinking initiatives during his time in office, from socially responsible housing and development policies to measures designed to protect local businesses to environmental innovations such as the installation of solar panels on Village Hall and the development of a more ecologically sound approach to sewage treatment. His principled stand in support of gay marriage not only placed New Paltz on the right side of history, it undoubtedly yielded great benefits by attracting attention and drawing tourist dollars to our unique community.
I am grateful to those who are willing to serve our village and I have a good deal of respect for all of the mayoral candidates. Among them there are competent administrators and impassioned advocates for worthy causes. But in my view Jason West possesses the balance of managerial ability and vision that is right for New Paltz. I hope you will join me in voting for him on May 3.