To the editor:
Despite significant Democratic voter registration advantages, our County supported Republican Gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin by about a 15,000 vote majority. Orange County easily elected a Republican Sheriff despite a bitter party primary after which the long-time Republican incumbent, Carl Dubois, endorsed the Democratic candidate, Bernie Rivers, a former Town of Chester police officer.
Our young but already quite accomplished State Senator, Democrat James Skoufis, narrowly won re-election against a candidate with little name recognition and almost no record. Our incumbent Congressman, Sean Patrick Maloney, chose to seek election from a re-configured district and lost by a substantial margin to another newcomer to elector politics. Our county’s new Congressman, Pat Ryan, has had a short career as the Ulster County Executive and now joins a very bitterly divided House of Representatives symbolized by the election of the man, Marc Molinari, who Ryan beat in a special election just three months ago to serve out the term of our new Lieutenant Governor, Mr. Delgado, but who has now won election from a bizarre shaped district which encompasses Dutchess County and snakes through to near Binghamton.
After the controversies of the last seven years concerning the proposed closing of Valley View and the proposed demolition of the Government Center – both of which were stymied by strong public opposition - our county government has been remarkably quiet during the last several years. We see no major initiatives to deal with climate change nor any strong initiatives to support local agriculture or re-build our under-invested in cities. Our county government continues to have a work force which does not look like the diversifying county.
The Town of Chester has a new and rising political star, Town Board member Brandon Holdridge, who has raised critical issues relating to the Town Ethics law which essentially insulates the members of the Town Board. There has been surprisingly little public outcry in Chester from a nearly $4,000,000 settlement with the Sherman Estate resolving a lawsuit which accused the Town Planning Board of intentionally frustrating the development of several hundred housing units in and around Bull Mill Road. While the Open Space Institute eventually bought the hundreds of acres upon which the development was planned, the lawsuit persisted as plaintiff credibly alleged – at least according to our federal Court of Appeals - that the Board acted out of anti-Semitic motives. After extensive litigation, the Town Board voted to settle the case in a manner which saddles Town taxpayers with significant annual payments for ten years. Of course, our Town insurance carrier will pay the bulk of the settlement.
On a happier note, the Campos family has now officially sold the Cancun Inn at 1396 to Jason Hartman, a young businessman who lives in Chester. Mr. Hartman intends to keep the Mexican restaurant’s name and to continue hosting Karaoke every Friday evening starting at 830 p.m. His grand opening is this coming Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and I trust the community will continue to embrace this wonderful restaurant. I wish Jason and his family and staff sustained success and a run every bit as grand as that of Israel [the magician] Campos and his wonderful family.
Michael Sussman, Esq.