Category Archives: Valley Viewpoints

Valley Viewpoints

Consider residents’ well-being: Richard Phillip Kline, Schroeppel

As I was baling hay, I received a phone call from a concerned citizen. They were quite surprised at some distorted facts and called because they did not feel it was an accurate assessment of me or my long political career.

As I used to tell my children, stay calm and consider the source. In light of this event, I would like to give the District 12 voters a chance to know the real facts about me.

Having always been consistently for growth and a low tax burden, I considered the offer by the county to take a look at Bion.

We thoroughly researched this and went through the proper channels. When all was said and done, the people said no and I, personally, rescinded the proposal.

My pro-growth, low tax burden agenda is driven by troubling trends I’ve watched over many years, both locally and beyond, where average people are working harder and keeping less.

For the rest of this letter to the editor, pick up the print version of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.

Valley Viewpoints

Comments weren’t personal

By Sandra J. Blanchard, Hannibal

Thank you, Michael Pereira, for your comments on what you called the road to nowhere.

I call that a road built illegally on private property owned by past Republican Oswego County Legislator Jack Beckwith and his wife, Faye Scott Beckwith.

I feel luckier than you, as I can separate friends and politics. I guess you can’t, as you seem to think that I have been throwing stones at the Beckwiths.

Please take the time to reread all the letters I have written on the illegal road built by Oswego County Highway Superintendent Kurt Ospelt and the Beckwiths.

Look closely because I do not think you will see anywhere I said Faye and Jack and their families are not good people. It’s about spending taxpayers’ money on an illegal road on private property.

There’s where being able to separate friendship and politics works. People can be great friends — that does not make them a good politician. Facts are facts! Records are records.

For the rest of this letter, pick up the print version of the Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.

Valley Viewpoints

New policy was unnecessary

I hope the school board is proud of themselves with the new policy they passed.

If you guys supposedly value the values and professionalism of your staff, this policy regarding conflicts of interest shouldn’t have been needed.

The result is that one of the best principals this district has had — a principal about whom the board and administration had nothing but good things to say — has decided to leave.

I commend the two board members who voted against this policy.

Tim McNamara, Fulton

These Valley Viewpoints letters also appear in Saturday’s Valley News:

  • School attendance is vital: William Lynch, Fulton schools superintendent
  • Engineer’s role questioned: George M. Clark, Oswego
  • Kline’s claims are misleading: Carl Richardson, Phoenix
  • Facts wrong in road letter: Doug Malone, county legislator

To read these letters, pick up the print version of The Valley News. Call 598-6397 to subscribe.

Valley Viewpoints: Hannibal road fiasco; Goodbye to beloved community members

Shame on county in road fiasco

I attended a meeting held by an Oswego County committee on the road that was built by the county without the proper permits and without notifying the people living with in the area that the road was to be constructed. I was very disappointed listening to the county officials speak as all I got out of it was “Gee, we’re sorry.” I guess there were some things that were not handled correctly. (County Administrator Phil) Church said we will work on doing a better job next time. Is there going to be a next time?

I for one am not sure that the base of the road was fully dug out, or was it just covered up for use by the county or Faye and Jack Beckwith in the near future? I believe that the county needs to prove to the taxpayers that the road was removed totally. This can be done by core samples taken every 50 feet on the road they wrongfully built that will prove it was dug out and restored to the way it was before they chose to put it in without town and state permits.

The (state Department of Environmental Conservation) gave them an OK to mine the sand. That contract is good for five more years. Does this mean that they are going to try again? There are four privately owned sand pits under contract by Oswego County at this time. They did admit there was a sand pit offered several years ago (same connecting sand pit). What went wrong there? Beckwith’s price was not a cheaper offer.

Admitted by the county in the media, the cost was $40,000 plus to build and remove the illegal road. Kevin Gardner, legislator, made a statement at the meeting that cost was only $10,000 dollars because the equipment used belonged to the county. Wow. I guess he forgot that it was Oswego county taxpayers who bought that equipment and fuel! Another statement made in the media was by (Kurt) Ospelt, county highway superintendent. Asked if he had any comments, he replied, “It was a lie.”

What? Church seemed to say that this type of contract had not been done in a while, therefore they maybe weren’t up to date on the issues. For me that is no excuse. When we elect you as a legislator we believe if an issue comes up that you are not totally clear on you find your laws and agreements, read and understand them before you move forward on any issue.

After what I saw and have read, it looks like the taxpayers need to get rid of some of these legislators and employees who have been there for years and still do not know their jobs! There are still too many unanswered questions on this and more with the way the county is handling things.

–Sandra Blanchard, Fulton

Goodbye to 2 great people

Each of us is unique, special and important in our own way. When we enter this world there are certain standards, goals, objectives and perhaps a way of life that are expected of us, some of which we may be able to achieve. Some of us lead quiet lives while others live in the public arena. Regardless of our station in life, we all have a contribution to make whether it be a good parent, a good provider, a good student, a good role model, a good friend, caring for other people or just by living the golden rule.

Our community was saddened this past week by the passing of two individuals who had a great impact on so many of our lives.

On Wednesday, July 24, an outstanding cardiologist, Dr. Jayakumar Thotambilu – “Dr. Jay,” passed away suddenly. He was a very caring man who seemed to be everyone’s heart doctor. Those of us who were his patients were fortunate to have his special kind of skilled professionalism and care that was extended in a confident and friendly way. Dr. Jay will be greatly missed.

On Thursday, July 25, former Fulton mayor Muriel Allerton, at 93 years of age, passed away. Muriel was a woman of determination who loved others and her community and did her best to enhance the life of others. She did so by involving herself in many organizations, committees and a wide range of issues. Muriel and her husband, Joe, attended numerous functions and activities to show their support of an individual or an organization’s hard work.

There is no right time to leave this earth and no explanation of when and how it will happen, so we should live our lives the best we can by loving our families, doing the best we can to help others in need, understanding that not everyone thinks or looks alike and not being judgmental, knowing that each family has its own situation to deal with. Dr. Jay and Muriel chose very diverse pathways but each contributed to the betterment of our community. We, as individuals and as a community, are better off for having had them in our lives.

–Bob and Sandy Weston, Fulton

Civil right or moral wrong

by Samuel A. Vescio of Fulton

I have no qualms writing this viewpoint, as I am on God’s side in this matter, something the Supreme Court failed to do.

In 1969, homosexuality was illegal in event state in the union, except Illinois, and abortion in all states as well.

Boy, have we come a long way. Millions of babies killed and gays are now allowed to marry.

Marriage is a sacred institution between one man and one woman to procreate. For two people of the same sex to have relations together is an abomination to the Lord. Not my words, but God’s words.

Furthermore, I don’t think that beging gay is a choice, as many of them wish they weren’t; but a sickness and/or an addiction, with proper treatment can be cured. However, this is as probable as trying to get someone to quit smoking. I’m not saying that gay people are bad people.

On the contrary, the are some of the nicest people I know. Straight or gay, we are all sinners and must repent and seek forgiveness while we still can.

God’s wrath is upon us daily with natural disasters, wars, and total unrest the world over — and we still don’t get the message. This is not a matter of equality but immorality and the time to repent and be forgiven is now.

For on that last day, it isn’t going to be the Supreme Court to render judgement, but the Supreme Master and it will be too late for forgiveness — only justice. Think about that long and hard.

Surprise! Surprise!

by Frank Castiglia, Fulton

I recently read a news story that wasn’t news to me or anyone that has been reading any of the letters I have been writing over the past four years.

In the news story, they give a lot of facts and figures saying how things are bad and they aren’t getting any better in Fulton. Also in the story, you can read the same thing being said by our mayor. Such as “We’ve done everything we could do” or “Until we get a handle on the health care, until we get a handle on the economy so everyone is not moving out, it’s going to get worse.”

Well, here is something new (only if you haven’t read or ignored what I have been saying for at least four years) — health care cost aren’t going to go down, more manufacturing companies are going to leave so you have to stop spending so much taxpayer money wastefully.

Even a high school student taking at least two classes in economics will tell you that when you spend more than you have coming in, you have to cut cost anywhere you can. That doesn’t not mean layoffs; that means cell phones, overtime, fuel costs, insurance costs, maintenance costs, and building costs (ie. two fire stations).

The same student will tell you that you have to increase revenues (not taxes, or user rates) so you can keep your costs to customers (taxpayers) down.

In the news story, the mayor said, “I don’t know what else we can do. If they know how to restructure it, I’m all ears.”

I think there in is the problem. You have to stop listening and start hearing. It seems that things go in one side and out the other.

The other famous saying our mayor has used in the past is something he stole from Einstein. It goes like this: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Well, I have a saying, “Doing the same thing over and over and it’s not working and you don’t change it is foolish.”

I know that when people criticize you (city government) for the job you have done, you almost always take it personally. You (city government) have to stop taking it personally.

We can’t keep doing the same old, same old and think things will change.

Maybe now that it is “official” you will start to hear the things being said. God I sure hope so!

Blessing or bill of goods?

by Frank Castiglia, Fulton

At a recent Fulton Common Council meeting, a public hearing and vote on changing a certain area of the City of Fulton from M1 to R1A.

In that meeting, we were told a story about a couple that came back to Fulton in hopes of fulfilling their American dream of owning their own home in (the wife’s) hometown. I am glad that people want to come back to Fulton and I would like to see more of it.

My problem is…why this property and why this area of Fulton? There are many vacant homes in the city of Fulton that are in R1 and R1A Zoned areas.

Let’s take a little look back in time. It was 1965-1975 era and everything in Fulton looked great. The city leaders at that time sold the citizens of Fulton a bill of goods that at the time sounded and looked good. They told us that urban deployment was the way to go to get federal and state money and keep our taxes low.

They destroyed our beautiful and historic downtown. They also told the residents of a certain area that the best thing for them to do was be zoned M1 so they could sell their property easily to then Sealright. Everyone was happy.

Fast forward to 2013. With urban development came an increase in public assistance housing. Costs have driven many of the manufacturing out of our city. Now we have an increase in crime, an increase in taxes — both city and school— and increased cost mainly due to the bill of goods sold to us by the city leaders of 1965-1975 era.

Let me try and put this all together now. Over the past year or so, a certain landlord in Fulton was trying to buy a house that had been left vacant for over a year. He tried and tried to get the zoning board to change it back to an R2 and they (Zoning board) told him and two other buyers that they couldn’t do that without the city changing the law or the zone.

The zoning board has done a great job in lowing the number of rental properties in the city. Now, the above mentioned landlord couldn’t get or didn’t try to get anyone to sponsor a bill to change the zoning so he or one of the other two could buy the property.

I am very glad that a multi-unit rental was not put back on the tax rolls. We need single family homes. I thought it was all over and done with.

Then along came a city councilor from another ward that sponsored a bill to change the zoning from M1 to R1A because he wants to see a couple live their American Dream and we need to help the people of the southwest corner of the Fourth Ward.

Oh, did I fail to mention that this couple is related to him.

Now, when questioned about this, he had me read at the meeting the definition of the word relative in relationship to the code of ethics and a conflict of interest.

Because he is a second cousin, he is not forbidden from voting on this. We all have read about the couple — how they bought a house and started doing repairs only to find out that they couldn’t move in. This is where I have a problem or question.

Why wouldn’t they have had a lawyer find out what the zoning was way before they bought it and at least way before they started repairs. If building permits were needed to do the repairs, why didn’t the city code office tell them about the change?

Also, I have checked the tax records for this property and it doesn’t show them as an owner. Now, the only thing I can check is the tax records for the Oswego County property tax rolls.

I’m sure someone will come up with a real good story why it doesn’t show and it will be a good one…just like the last one.

If this all happened five years ago, way before the problem with the house being vacant, there never would be any questions or concerns.

It didn’t and I think the city taxpayers have been sold another bill of goods telling us how good this will be for us.

Only time will tell. I just fear that we have just added another nail into the casket for the city of Fulton. I really pray to God that I am wrong.

Suicide prevention

by Angela Marotta, Fulton

I am sending the following letter on behalf of Angela Marotta, a board member of the CNY Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Her contact information is below.

We must take action to prevent suicide. I lost my daughter, Ashley to suicide in 2007. It has taken me some time, but today I am dedicated to making suicide prevention my life’s mission.

Sadly, as the 10th leading cause of death, suicide continues to take an enormous toll on families, friends and entire communities. We must do more.

That is why last Thursday, I traveled to our nation’s capital to meet with members of Congress and urged their support of legislation furthering suicide prevention, education and research.

My involvement was part of a national movement coordinated by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention as part of their Annual Advocacy Forum.  Hundreds of volunteer advocates from across the country met with their members of Congress that day to encourage action to reduce suicide.

Even if you haven’t been personally affected by suicide, please take a moment to visit www.afsp.org and learn how you can get involved here in New York.