Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 03.18.21

Vote NO on the Blank Check

The Poestenkill Town Board held a meeting on March 4, 2021. As with all town board meetings they are open to the public. I had the opportunity to attend this meeting. There was one thing on the agenda of this meeting and that was “ambulance district”. The only place this meeting was posted was on the Town Website. The meeting was held at the town hall and was also a zoom meeting.

The Town Supervisor opened the meeting with a public comment period. One person attending the meeting asked a question in reference to the ambulance district. They wanted to know some information about the shared services the town was working on with the County. The Supervisor abruptly interrupted, and stated he would not entertain questions about the ambulance district. He said if you wanted to have a question answered, to put it in writing and someone would answer you. This is not the first time the Town Supervisor has “cut off” people with questions in reference to the proposed ambulance district.

Why would you have a Town Board meeting and not attempt to answer a taxpayers question? I think the Supervisor was very wrong in not allowing questions at a public meeting. People are asking questions in order to get information on how to vote in the upcoming ambulance district vote. Why would you not want the voters to get all the information they need to make their decision?

Lou Basle, Poestenkill

Poestenkill – Vote NO on the Blank Check Taxing District, Part 8

A blank check is a check signed by one person, and filled in at a later date by another person. Writing a blank check is kind of crazy. I wouldn’t do it, would you?

Voters in Poestenkill have the opportunity to reject writing a blank check for a new taxing district.

The voters on March 30 are restricted to property owners (New York State law for creating taxing districts), but the voters in November who may approve the funding include ALL registered voters. That could be a significantly different group of people – apartment dwellers, and family members living in a household who are not on the deed. Furthermore, turnout is often much higher for general elections than for special elections.

So one group writes the check, while another group fills in the dollar amount.

For a service we currently get at no cost to the taxpayers.

Kind of crazy, ain’t it?

For more information, please visit poestenkill.org.

Please vote no on the ambulance tax district vote on March 30, 2021, from Noon – 8PM at the Sullivan-Jones VFW in Poestenkill.

Dave Hass, Councilman, Town of Poestenkill


Please Stop the Disinformation About the Poestenkill Ambulance District Referendum

Let’s get real about the Poestenkill Ambulance District special election. This is not a “blank check ambulance district vote,” a phrase Board member Hass has used over and over. Rather, the Board has stated that if the measure passes it will work to determine whether the town’s ambulance service can be improved, and if it concludes there is a reasonable option for improving ambulance service at a reasonable cost, it will bring that to a second public vote and take action if a majority of residents vote in favor of moving forward. How is this a blank check? The Board is doing exactly what it should; it’s looking out for the best interests of residents, in a methodical way, with the input of taxpayers.

What is discouraging is how many people contend without proof that no improvement is possible and would refuse to let the Board do its due diligence for the residents of Poestenkill.

And for a board member to focus on a few instances where there was a good outcome when he knows there are numerous others where the outcome was not good, is seriously disingenuous. “We have a good system – let’s not take chances and possibly destroy it” he says. I say that’s fearmongering. There’s no reason to believe that using a different ambulance company, which for the first time in years could restore our mutual aid from other ambulance companies, will destroy our system. And there’s no reason to allege that having a different ambulance provider will cause our first responders to stop doing what they do for us out of the goodness of their hearts. We all know that Poestenkill is very fortunate to have our first responders and we all say thank you!

Finally, those who throw out “possible costs” of $1 million a year, or more, are doing nothing other than injecting false information into what should be an honest discussion.

So let’s let our Town Board do what its supposed to do and give it the opportunity to examine the options that may exist.

Steven Keller, Poestenkill

Why I Won’t be Voting “NO” in Poestenkill

I won’t be voting “NO” on this blatant money-grab by Keith Hammond, Harold Van Slyke and Eric Whobbler in the guise of an ambulance district not because I don’t want to vote “NO,” because it certainly deserves a “NO” vote.

I won’t be voting “NO” because the Town of Poestenkill is not providing absentee ballots for senior citizens in Poestenkill over the age of 70 who are subject to the “Matilda’s Law” put in place by Governor Cuomo which makes it the law for those people, including myself, to remain indoors, being only able to go outside for solitary exercise, and requiring us to pre-screen all visitors and aides by taking their temperature and seeing if person is exhibiting other flu-like symptoms.

Despite that restriction by the Governor on our movements, which the Town of Poestenkill is well aware of, still they refuse to allow us to vote “NO” by absentee ballot, for something not only not needed, but insults the many good men and women in this town who have been providing quality rescue squad services to the people of Poestenkill for as long as I can remember in the 70+ years I have resided in this town.

Never have I heard of persons in this town being left to die because of no ambulance service as the hysteria-mongers are telling us is going to happen if this money-grab is not approved.

To the contrary, as was proven several years ago, when a man was struck by a car on Rt. 351, the rescue people were on the scene with little delay.

Some years back, I hit black ice near Creek Road and went head-first into a tree, and that accident scene was soon swarming with rescue personnel.

So why are we being sold a BILL OF GOODS by this Triumvirate of Hammond, Van Slyke and Whobbler?

Why are they choosing to insult the good men and women of this Town who already tirelessly and without seeking praise for themselves already provide quality emergency service to the people of the Town of Poestenkill?

Paul Plante, Averill Park

$2,000 Taxpayer Subsidy Per Poestenkill Ambulance Call

Dave Hass made an excellent point in a recent letter to The Advertiser, one certainly worth serious consideration.

Today Mohawk Ambulance provides service to Poestenkill for free; only the recipient of the service is charged.

If an Ambulance Tax District is established all Poestenkill taxpayers will contribute to paying $225,000 a year for what has been free ambulance service; the recipient of the service will also continue to be charged.

This is amounts to an additional $2,000 for each ambulance call in Poestenkill to be funded by an 18% increase in real property taxes.

The Town Board has not explained, not justified, not shown the cost/benefit of this $2,000 per call taxpayer subsidy.

Are unspecified, unknown potential ambulance service improvements worth an additional $2,000 per call? I have no way of answering that question for myself. Do you?

Owen Goldfarb, East Poestenkill

Democracy in America

Who are we as a people? Do we care only about ourselves, family and friends, or do we feel part of a larger community and nation, bound together by law? Do we honor the principles of equality and democracy set forth in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, or do we just want our side to win by whatever means necessary? What does it mean to be a patriot? These are crucial questions in these divisive times.

The former president and a majority of Republicans continue to claim that the election was stolen, despite the fact that every lawsuit brought around the country was dismissed for lack of evidence, often by Republican-appointed judges. It’s facts, not opinions, that matter in our legal system. And for those who still believe in “the steal”, how did so many Republicans win in local and congressional elections when they were on the same ballot as Trump?

Having lost the presidential election and control of the Senate, Republican state legislatures and governors around the country are enacting laws to restrict voting. While pretending to be neutral, these laws are designed to limit the turnout of those citizens who generally vote Democrat. These lawmakers are essentially and blatantly saying: “if these people won’t vote for us, we’ll take away their opportunity to vote.” Thats’s what they did in the South for a century after the Civil War to keep former slaves from voting. This wasn’t stopped until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Make no mistake, these new laws target the same people—the descendants of slaves, African Americans. It seems that the only people who are trying to steal elections are those who have been falsely crying about a stolen election.

So, how does preventing fellow American citizens from voting square with what is right and this nation’s ideals? And what does this say about a political party and leaders who always claim patriotism, yet now act in ways contrary to the democratic principles of America?

Michael Roland, Nassau

Vote Yes on the Poestenkill Ambulance District

In the March 11 Advertiser, four editorial letters were included regarding the establishment of an Ambulance District in Poestenkill. Three of the letters were from people that have never been involved in EMS and really seem to be “stuck on NO”. The fourth was written by a very experienced Firefighter/EMT and former 911 Dispatcher for Rensselaer County. Let me think which one of those opinions I value most. Mr. Hass was part of the Town Board that approved an Ambulance Committee to review the state of EMS and Ambulance service in our town. That committee spent hundreds of man-hours on that task. The committee was made up of concerned citizens that used their range of experience and knowledge to seek and review the facts. Just what you would expect such a committee to do. We started at “zero”. Top to bottom, no preconceived notions. And after hundreds of hours and objective review of hundreds of emergency calls in our town, and interviews with other municipalities and Ambulance Agencies, the committee was clear in their findings and recommendations. On the final night of the committee’s work, we all voted to recommend that the Town Board take action to improve Ambulance Service. We were clear; we needed to do better for our residents. As the result of that very clear determination, the town issued an RFP. The committee reviewed all responses and selected the two best for our town. The Town Board voted to exceed the state Tax Cap. All seemed to be in place. Then to the surprise of those that did the work and dug into the problem to find solutions, three voting board members voted to reject any and all bids. They voted to appoint a committee, then flat out ignore that body of work. Not one of the three board members (Mr. Hass included) had put any amount of time into solving our problem. Or had any real life experience providing EMS to anyone. I cannot understand that “logic”. Aren’t elected officials supposed to be looking out for our well being?

Evan Eisenhandler, Poestenkill

Dear Letters to the Editor:

In response to Cal Thomas’s praise of Donald Trump in “Trump reloaded”, March 11, 2021, in the Advertiser, he neglected to mention many of his illegal and other despicable actions committed prior to his presidency and during his administration. Here are just a few.

In the 70’s he and his father were sued by Nixon’s Justice Department for housing discrimination against minorities.

Trump University was a fake. It could not get accredited by New York State and he was forced to pay back $25 million dollars to those scammed.

He is a well known racist. Remember “There are good people on both sides” in response to the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in which one woman was run over and killed, and others injured?

Trump paid $150,000 to silence a porn star he slept with. He has repeatedly demeaned women. Remember “grab ‘em by the p…y?

I predict that the southern district of New York will soon indict Trump on massive tax fraud.

Thomas claims that Trump was “spot on” in his indictment of the five-week old Biden administration. If you have gotten your Covid vaccine shots, thank Biden and his administration for significantly increasing the distribution of vaccines. Trump completely downplayed the virus and held super-spreader events with many attendees not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. He is responsible for many of the 500,000 deaths to Covid.

Thomas does not even address the urging by Trump of the violent insurrection at the Capital by Trump supporters in which the lives of representatives by both parties were threatened. Many police offers were injured and one was killed. 

The Republican Party has been hijacked by too many extremist, radical and QAnon spouting nutcases. The Party would be better off ignoring and rejecting Trump. Maybe that will happen if Trump goes to jail as he should. 

Phil Kellerman, East Greenbush

Vote Yes on the Poestenkill Ambulance District – It’s an Initial Step, Not a Blank Check

It was informative to read the letter in the March 11 Advertiser from Michael Veshia, a retired Rensselaer County 911 dispatcher, which provided real facts, and fact-based opinions, regarding the ambulance situation in Poestenkill, based on his experience regarding emergency response. Thank you for your service Mr. Veshia. The big take-away is that Mr. Veshia has a significant difference of opinion as to the adequacy of ambulance service in Poestenkill from Dave Hass, a man with no actual emergency response experience and a habit of disseminating false, misleading and inflammatory statements. To put it even more clearly, a man with hands-on experience and expertise regarding the ability to dispatch ambulances for emergency situations in Poestenkill says the situation is far from excellent while one who does not have the experience says it is excellent. I choose to believe the expert.

The big question is why do Mr. Hass and his faction not want the town to even investigate whether ambulance response times can be improved? After all, establishing an ambulance district would not raise taxes, but would give the Town Board a chance to investigate alternatives to what we now have with Mohawk and deal with the contractual details regarding any potential alternative. Yet Mr. Hass fights the proposed district as if it is the final, as opposed to an initial, step. It’s the Board’s responsibility to, at least, determine whether our health and safety needs can be more effectively met, yet Board member Hass does not want to do so. Further, money will not flow unless the Board finds a viable alternative and voters accept that course of action in a subsequent referendum. It’s a simple fact that that is the process which the Board has established but Mr. Hass and his faction ignore facts.

I urge Poestenkill voters to let the process work, and to approve this initial referendum to establish an ambulance district. Thank you.

Steve Keller, Poestenkill

Poestenkill – Vote NO on the Blank Check Taxing District, Part 9

Politician: “Hey, I’ve got a great idea”

Normal person: “Oh boy.”

Politician: “Let’s tax air.”

Normal person: “That’s crazy, air is free”.

Politician: “We’ll just tell voters ‘Its only $7 per month and it’s good for you.’”

Normal person: “People won’t buy it, air is free.”

Politician: “We’ll scare them with lies and tell them ‘It’s for the children’.”

Normal person: “Hmmm, that just might work.”

This, in a nutshell, is the “ambulance issue” in Poestenkill.

We have excellent emergency response with the Poestenkill First Responders backed up by Mohawk Ambulance who provides ALS, BLS and transport at no cost to the taxpayers. We should be shouting from the rooftops how lucky we are. Our system is an example of government done right. It works because volunteers make it work.

Unfortunately, a small group of politicians think they can get ahead politically by scaring people and making vague promises they don’t even know how to keep. And they shamelessly tell you “It’s for the children.”

There is no “ambulance issue” in Poestenkill. We’re doing just fine.

For more information, please visit poestenkill.org.

Please reject the 18% tax hike and vote no on the ambulance tax district vote on March 30, 2021, from Noon – 8PM at the Sullivan-Jones VFW in Poestenkill.

Dave Hass, Councilman, Town of Poestenkill


Poestenkill is Not North Greenbush!

As a resident of Poestenkill since 1949, I wonder why we are being told how to vote on this ambulance district by someone from North Greenbush, when the two towns are distinctly dissimilar.

As of the census of 2000, there were 10,805 people, 4,161 households, and 2,916 families residing in the town of North Greenbush with a population density of 223.2/km² (578.0/mi²) and there were 4,336 housing units at an average density of 89.6/km² (232.0/mi²).

On the other hand, Poestenkill had a 2020 population of 4,495, less than half of that of North Greenbush, and unlike North Greenbush, Poestenkill, not surprisingly for a number of reasons, is currently declining at a rate of -0.04% annually and its population has decreased by -0.40% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 4,513 in 2010.

So why on earth would we in Poestenkill with a declining population be foolish enough to do something because people in a town twice our size with a growing population are doing it?

As to response times and “excellent service,” I think Councilman Wohlleber himself can testify as an expert as to just how rapidly emergency personnel can arrive at the scene of an alcohol-related two-car accident at the intersection of Plank and Blue Factory roads, which is “up in the mountains,” another stark difference between North Greenbush, which as anyone knows who has been there, is relatively flat with good roads, versus Poestenkill, which is not.

Does Councilman Wohlleber think it took an inordinate amount of time to get to the scene of that accident, which incidentally he was the cause of?

And are we who actually live in Poestenkill and know its road and terrain going to be so foolish as to believe that somehow, in some undefined way, having an ambulance district will give us better service during an ice storm or when there is two feet of snow on the ground, or when the roads are washed out after a flood?

If so, we are fools indeed!

Paul Plante, Averill Park

Letter to the Editor

The Poestenkill Ambulance Advisory Committee continues to post to its’ Facebook page that “the average taxpayer would pay a maximum of $85.00 a year if the ambulance district is established”. Are you that average taxpayer? The only resident that is “average” is one whose property has an assessed value of $150,000. Anything above that figure equates to a higher tax. Obviously, if your home is worth $300,000 double that amount.

In the first year of the ambulance district being established you will have a line item on your tax bill of $225,000. What about year two and thereafter? Will the service provided by an entity yet to be determined grow to $350,000, or $400,000? How much will it eventually cost to operate this ambulance district? Who knows what amount will be approved, or by who? Then what will you be paying?

The Poestenkill Ambulance Advisory Committee is also fond of posting response times. They are old, out-dated response times, with the latest being May of 2020. Why do they stop there? Since Mohawk Ambulance established itself in Brunswick later that year no data has been provided. Perhaps response times have improved and that would not fit their agenda?

Of the 154 EMS calls received in Poestenkill in 2020 how many required the service of Advance Life Support? How many were handled solely by our First Responders? For those, like myself, who live in East Poestenkill, a non-dedicated ambulance service is not going to improve response times or save lives, our First Responders will. They are highly trained, competent and first on the scene. Our current First Responders are the professionals, and they have been very vocal in their opposition to this tax district. I will vote NO on March 30th I hope you will join me and do the same.

Please visit www.poestenkill.org for further information.
Thank you, June Butler, Poestenkill Town Board Member

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