Letters to the editor: 2019 election endorsements

Posted 10/23/19

Endorsements for Ben Johnson

My name is George Banta and although I live in Beach Lake, I own property and am a taxpayer in Tusten. I support Ben Johnson for the town supervisor. Ben has …

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Letters to the editor: 2019 election endorsements


Endorsements for Ben Johnson

My name is George Banta and although I live in Beach Lake, I own property and am a taxpayer in Tusten. I support Ben Johnson for the town supervisor. Ben has contributed immensely to this town both before and after becoming supervisor in 2004. When the state police were going to leave Narrowsburg, the Tusten Ambulance Service, of which I was president, decided to build an addition to house the police. I gave a year of my life to building the barracks along with Ben Johnson and another trooper who worked nearly every day, until 911 and Ben was called to New York City. During the 2005 flood, people were evacuated from the flooded flats to the town hall where Ben had cots, food and electricity for the residents. He had the town hall wired for a portable generator he purchased, so that during extended outages people had access to a warm building. With his police and emergency management background, he handled emergencies as efficiently as regular town business. Ben has always put the best interest of the whole town of Tusten first.

George Banta
Beach Lake, PA

Narrowsburg has limited finances and we should put money where it matters most, such as our aging water system, not emotional ventures like a food digester or Repair Cafe.

This is why we need Ben Johnson as Town Supervisor—a man who is experienced, pragmatic and efficient.

Board members, who know well of Ben’s skills in bettering our town, are backing an inexperienced person who has little understanding of town government. A person whose self-stated qualification is that he can run a meeting? A person stating that the board made The Union possible? We all know the board, led by Supervisor Wingert, washed its hands of responsibility. We all know its official position was that one public body cannot interfere with another, and that it pushed off this huge effort onto the shoulders of neighbors who had to join the Weidens’ lawsuit, and to a vocal citizen’s group.

So why do these Board members, including Wingert, support a town governance newcomer? Why do they conveniently forget what Ben has done for this town? One can only surmise that this faction wants a political yes-man instead of experienced leadership, so that they may pursue their own personal interests.

Food digesters and Repair Cafes might be nice to some, but this is not going to keep Tusten and the Hamlet of Narrowsburg viable. It is not going to fix the frequent leaks and repair in lines with crumbling connectors that Narrowsburg Water faces. Infrastructure, parking and revitalizing vacant buildings will.
These are Ben’s priorities and they should be our priorities.

Des Alexander
Narrowsburg, NY

I have known Ben Johnson for 34 years. Shortly after moving to Narrowsburg, I joined the Tusten Ambulance where I first met Ben Johnson, a NY State Trooper at the time. I remember responding to many a motor vehicle accident or disorderly person call where he was there to help with whatever we needed, even accompanying us to the hospital if necessary. When the state police decided to move from the Narrowsburg barracks to a larger facility, Tusten Supervisor Crandall and the Tusten Ambulance Service negotiated the building of an addition to house the state police. This would all be done by volunteer work, and Ben was one of three people that worked on the barracks nearly every day that year, 2001, until September 11, when he was diverted to New York City to an atmosphere that was traumatic to all the responders.

After retiring from the state police, Ben ran for town supervisor and served from 2004 to 2009. In November 2004, I was appointed as town clerk to fill the unexpired term. In this capacity, I worked closely with Ben the next five years and found him to be very competent and efficient, never confrontational or arrogant. He welcomed public input.

Among his accomplishments, Ben guided the town through a new comprehensive plan, hired an excellent bookkeeper, passed Climate Smart and fracking ban resolutions, created the Multi Municipal Task Force to create a road-use law that essentially precludes gas drilling, and during the 2005 flood, he immediately opened the town hall with overnight accommodations and a generator and had the foresight to apply for a revenue anticipation note to cover highway expenses until the FEMA funds he applied for arrived. We need the experience of a truly dedicated public servant. Please vote Ben for supervisor.

Kathy Michell
Narrowsburg, NY

Giving back to the community...

According to a GoFundMe post organized by Andy Hahn, candidate for Town Council in Callicoon, the candidate claims he wants “to give back to the community.” If Mr. Hahn really cared about his community, then why did he and his wife thwart a project that would have saved the taxpayers thousands of dollars annually? An agreement reached with a local energy supplier would have done just that.

In return for allowing the energy provider to locate a single propane storage tank at the town barn location, the town would have received a new gas heating system, including installation and free annual maintenance at the town hall, all of the propane necessary to heat the town hall and up to 2,500 gallons annually to heat the town’s highway building at no cost to the town.

The Town of Callicoon has heated the highway building with an outdoor wood-burning boiler since 2012, saving the town approximately $9,000 annually. At a recent town board meeting, the Hahns proclaimed it was “childish” that the highway superintendent had to put wood in the stove and that the town should “just write the check” [to purchase the heating fuel].

When asked why they opposed this great cost-saving measure, the Hahns refused to respond. The Hahns’ attorney Ken Klein initiated an Article 78 proceeding preventing the town from moving forward with the agreement with the energy provider. Admittedly, procedural errors were made during the permitting process but they could have been corrected and the lease agreement would have been approved.

Instead of cooperating with the planning board to help make this cost-saving measure a reality, the Hahns began a legal proceeding that cost the town’s taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal fees. Does this sound like someone who “wants to give back to the community”?

Tom Bose
Callicoon, NY

Endorsements for Jane Quattrocchi

I know we are all thinking 2020; the media has us looking a full year ahead. But 2019 is the election year, and for the first time, we the voters of Pike County will be voting on Digital Scanning Voting Machines.

We also have a new courthouse and administration building.

We also have a new judge, Court of Common Pleas.

Prothonotary, just one of the offices up for election in two weeks, is the chief clerk of the court. As a lawyer and educator, Jane Quattrocchi has the legal expertise and managerial skill set to streamline the system by which court documents are filed for we the people of Pike County.

For my tax dollars, Jane Quattrocchi is the most competent candidate to task with the responsibility of upgrading the office of prothonotary in order to best serve the demands of the people of Pike County in the 21st century.

On November 5, remember to take the time to vote. And do yourself a service by voting for Jane Quattrocchi for prothonotary, Pike County PA.

Thank you.

Michael Trenner
Matamoras, PA

To the voters of Pike County: I am writing in support of Jane Quattrocchi’s candidacy for Pike County Prothonotary. The official who fills this office is responsible for recording all civil procedures before the Court of Common Pleas, including personal injury, medical malpractice, divorce, custody and protection from abuse. Jane is committed to streamlining these procedures by transitioning to an electronic filing system, which would improve efficiency, cut costs and eliminate unnecessary waste. Jane is one of the most hardworking, knowledgeable and articulate individuals I know; whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent, I urge you to go to the polls on November 5 and vote for her as our next prothonotary.

Nancy Schoenleber
Milford, PA

Linda Blom Johnson is everyone’s best choice for Supreme Court Justice

Democrats, Republicans, and Conservatives all win with Linda. Why? She’s qualified, not only as an attorney, but by a superior life resume. She is the only woman on the Third Judicial District’s Supreme Court Justice Ballot.

Linda Blom Johnson’s life resume pops with volunteer and public service work for women, families, challenged people, bar associations and for everyday people.

Linda is an indigent people’s appellate counsel for families in the family court process and a Supreme Court guardianship attorney. She navigates the intricacies of the prison system and works with the families of incarcerated individuals. Linda, for years, is a Special Olympics coach, homeless shelter volunteer at Joseph’s House and past president of the Capital District Women’s Bar Association. Linda is a delegate to the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York and alternate delegate to the New York State Bar Association, Treasurer of the Rensselaer County Bar Association and a Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College alumni association past director. She is an eight-year volunteer on the New York Bar Committee on Character and Fitness—a gatekeeper measuring attorneys who apply for bar admission.

During nearly 20 years in the trenches, Linda has been in over 100 Supreme Court trials. (Many attorneys have below 10 Supreme Court trials.) She has represented everyday people with body injuries, traumatic brain injuries and emotional injuries.

Linda Blom Johnson is everyone’s best choice for Supreme Court Justice.

William Chellis, Esq.
Jeffersonville, NY

Re-elect Brandi Merolla to the Tusten Town Council

With so many candidates running in the November 5 election, it is sometimes hard to know for whom to vote. In assessing candidates who might best represent your interests, look to what issues they support and how successfully they have pursued those goals. Brandi Merolla has an outstanding record of achievement. An ardent supporter of environmental conservation, she has fought to reduce the devastating effects of climate change while saving money for the people of Tusten.

Brandi’s cooperative work with the Tusten Energy Committee secured $163,600 in grants this year to advance projects that reduce pollution and the town’s carbon footprint through comprehensive recycling and the use of renewable solar energy instead of fossil fuels. Under her leadership, the town achieved the coveted Climate Smart Communities status, only the 19th town in New York State to receive this designation, making the town eligible for additional financial assistance.

As chair of the Tusten Energy Committee for the past eight years, Brandi pursued replacing inefficient utility owned streetlights with energy efficient LED streetlights to reduce energy use. In addition, she discovered and reported NYSEG to the Public Service Commission to recover NYSEG’s unethical overcharging on the town’s streetlight electric bills. Her current efforts are centered on realizing a food-waste composting unit that will reduce landfill waste while producing valuable products of bio fuel and fertilizer. On November 5, please re-elect Brandi Merolla as councilmember for the Tusten Town Council.

Star Hesse
Narrowsburg, NY

Endorsements for Russell Reeves for County Clerk

As a Town of Liberty employee, I have worked under Town of Liberty Councilman Russell Reeves’s leadership for six years. His participation in the community is nothing short of admirable. The Liberty Fourth of July Festival, with Russ at the helm, is a gleaming success. Drawing thousands of people and many vendors, the event continues to grow every year. Russell Reeves worked countless hours to develop a Summer Camp initiative to preserve our town, secure our tax base and protect over 30,000 acres of land from tax exemption. This monumental task has sheltered our community from potential loss and created clarity for the future. Russ supported the construction of the new Town of Liberty animal shelter and is currently in favor of a dog park and walking trails. Russ amazingly finds time to devote to the Liberty Chamber of Commerce and enthusiastically promotes new business, sustainability of existing businesses and growth within our town.

Russell’s calm demeanor and personality play a strong roll in his exceptional leadership skills and his consistent ability to succeed in business, politics and in improving our community. This valuable experience and his stable character clearly give Reeves a huge and unparalleled advantage in serving us as our next Sullivan County clerk.

Joanne Gerow
Swan Lake, NY

Russell Reeves has done an excellent job as Sullivan County deputy clerk for the last eighteen months and should be elected to the position of Sullivan County Clerk. The recommendation of Dan Briggs is good enough for me, however, Russell has proven himself repeatedly. He has demonstrated his work ethic as a longtime business owner, as a member of the Liberty Town Board for the past six years, and as president of the Greater Liberty Chamber of Commerce for the last 10 years. Russell also took over as acting supervisor for the Town of Liberty for over six months. He has done an outstanding job in all of these endeavors.

Electing Russell will ensure continuity for a position that has many responsibilities. He has already shown that he can do the job effectively. From my experience with Russell, he is a man who shows up and who gets things done. He is intelligent, dedicated and hard-working and will well serve the citizens of Sullivan County.

Nancy Levine
Swan Lake, NY

‘Nadia Rajsz is the only choice for District 2 Legislator’

In our mixed marriage household (one Republican, one Democrat) we rarely agree on anything political, but occasionally a candidate comes along with qualities we both admire regardless of party line. Nadia Rajsz, the incumbent Sullivan County Legislator for District 2, is one such candidate.

A longtime Democrat, Nadia’s willingness to consider the best solutions to the problems facing our towns and county regardless of political considerations has earned her the respect and endorsement of not just her own Democratic party, but for the past two legislative elections, that of the Republican party, as well. And contrary to the claims being made by her opponent, Nadia has been active and accessible in her nearly four years as Legislator, attending many different town board meetings, and has been a strong voice on the county level for the entire District, including the river towns, whose issues and concerns have otherwise mostly been overlooked or ignored.

Many voters will remember that when she was in office, Nadia’s opponent, along with her District 1 cohort, spearheaded the gerrymandering of the legislative districts during the last redistricting process, seriously weakening the voice of the river towns.

Nadia has worked to secure funding for the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, promoting tourism and improving the economy of the region; facilitated the clean-up along the Byway and the Delaware River accesses by the County’s Green Team; and leads the fight to address the toxic Barnes Landfill, a ticking environmental time bomb that has been ignored for decades. Nadia can find her way without getting lost to significant historic attractions in her district: Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct and the Minisink Battleground Park. When you think about it, there is really nothing to think about: Nadia Rajsz is the only choice for District 2 Legislator.

Debra and John Conway
Barryville, NY


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