Letters to the Editor

June 16, 2015 

The Millbrook Library Board of Trustees has voted in a unanimous decision to ask the residents of the Town of Washington for an increase in public support from the currently allocated $100,000 per year to $184,000 per year.  This measure will be placed on the ballot for the November 3, 2015 General Election.

If the community votes to increase funding, the Library is projected to be financially stable for at least the next 10 years. It will be able to maintain current hours and staffing levels, and continue to serve as a vital community anchor in Millbrook. If the community denies increased funding to the Millbrook Library, the Library's current cash reserves will be depleted and the sustainability of our current operations would be put in jeopardy. In that situation, the Board would be forced to take serious action which may include reducing Library hours and staff.

Bears, elephants, tigers, and other animals do not voluntarily ride bicycles, stand on their heads, balance on balls, or jump through rings of fire. They don't perform these and other difficult tricks because they want to; they perform them because they're afraid of what will happen if they don't. 

Circuses that continue to use animals for entertainment are cruel. The Kelly Miller Circus, which is slated to come to the Millbrook Bandshell on June 18, is no exception. 

Most people would not stand for the ill treatment of animals. And yet, because the sad lives of circus animals is hidden in the backdrop, we attend the show and support animal cruelty without knowing it.

In 2013, a witness attending the Kelly Miller Circus saw a handler beat one of the elephants who was carrying four small children on her back  with a bullhook ( a metal rod with a sharp hook attached to it) until she screamed. 

To the editor,

This letter is to clarify why “notices” (not violation summons) went out to property owners in Wassaic and Amenia in February, 2015.  The Town of Amenia’s supervisor and her son, Councilman Stephen Perotti, and another board member, decided to vote on a service to remove snow from sidewalks in the hamlets of Wassaic and Amenia.  What they failed to recognize is that the service they voted on did not include the application of salt and sand.  The offering of this substandard service gave the property owners a false sense of security and it did not relieve them from being subject to the Town of Amenia’s Code, Chapter 101-13. Snow and ice Removal Required. (“…owner, occupant, agent or person in charge shall also treat the sidewalks abutting such property with ashes, sand or other material in such manner as to reasonably enable a person to walk thereon with safety.”)

To the editor,

My husband and I bought a house in Amenia 12 years ago, and found our neighbors incredibly welcoming. The area offers easy access to NYC, has beautiful scenery, and feels completely unpretentious. There are a broad range of housing options available, from horse farms to trailer parks. The population is equally diverse, from the few discrete rich and/or famous, to the many regular folk, and those who struggle to get by. Needless to say, this is not the Hamptons, and we wonder about the impact of 500 priveleged new residents.

For the second year in a row, the topic of ethics reform is being used as a bartering chip to determine how over $140 billion of our tax dollars will be spent. 

Last year the Governor bartered with GOP Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and IDC Leader Jeff Klein to shut down an ethics investigation, known as the Moreland Commission. It was only after they shut it down that they finally got around to working on the budget. This was done in a closed door meeting without input from other members of the legislature.

This year the Governor is bartering with ethics once again. Governor Cuomo has even stated that he’s willing to delay passage of the budget beyond the March 31st deadline if the legislature does not agree to his proposed ethics reforms.

I have only learned about Silo Ridge this week, after reading an article about it in the New York Times.

I read the article with great sadness and alarm. I love the Hudson Valley-the unspoiled, beautiful Hudson Valley. Having been born in NY State and with family members still there, I visit as often as I can and I never tire of its beauty. I have seriously considered moving back to NY, and may still, but to think that 800 plus acres in one of the most beautiful areas is going to be developed makes me ill and very sad. At the moment I live in Connecticut and I've seen how developers have ruined once lovely suburban towns here for the sake of greed. 

I hope with all my heart that the citizens of the Hudson Valley will help to carefully guard and protect the land that they have chosen to live on. Please support organizations like Scenic Hudson and other Land Trusts; once the developers get the land it will never be the same.


Claudia Manis


Posted: 3/18/2015

I was pleased to see your editorial promoting the end of suburban planning and supporting open space.  But you didn’t address the equally antiquated real property laws that have encouraged suburban development.

When unused open space (by people, that is) is taxed at its maximum potential value, it only follows that it will fall to development, as that is where the maximum value lies.  If these undeveloped open spaces survive, they only serve to subsidize the partially developed areas, which continue to enjoy relatively low taxes.  Once land is developed, and the open space disappears, taxes rise and the inefficiency of suburban living is realized. 

One improvement would be to use income taxes to pay for schools.  School districts would become more uniform if Federal taxes were distributed equally for educational purposes.  This measure would, by itself, slow suburbanization.   


Jane Geisler



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