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letters to the editor

More investigation needed about Russian interference in our democratic elections

Posted 25 June 2019 at 9:46 am

Editor:

The Mueller Report stated that Paul Manafort, President Trump’s campaign manager, shared polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, who the FBI assesses to have ties to Russian intelligence. Furthermore, the Mueller Report states that leaked documents, stolen from the Democratic National Committee, were timed to undermine the 2016 Presidential election and harm candidate Clinton.

The Mueller Report also states, “The investigation did not always yield admissible information or testimony, or a complete picture of the activities undertaken by subjects of the investigation. Some individuals invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and were not, in the Office’s judgment, appropriate candidates for grants of immunity. The Office limited its pursuit of other witnesses and information – such as information known to attorneys or individuals claiming to be members of the media – in light of internal Department of Justice Policies.”

Since the Mueller Report did not fully pursue witnesses and testimony and we know Russia systematically interfered with our democratic elections it is time for a fully televised investigation.

William Fine

Brockport

Bourke is a man of courage and integrity

Posted 25 June 2019 at 9:41 am

Editor:

We need a sheriff who not only knows the Constitution, but understands what it actually means, and will uphold it fully.

We need a sheriff who knows what the original intent of his office was—to protect us from any and all persons and agencies who would infringe on our Constitutional rights.

We need a sheriff who knows that he is the highest power in the county and is not afraid to take that position for our sake.

We need a sheriff who understands that he has an office of the people, not a department of the county.

We need a sheriff who grew up in, lives in, and works in our county and intimately knows our community, our ways, and our needs.

We need a sheriff who coordinates our social service agencies and groups to accomplish the goal of securing our health and well-being.

We need a sheriff who treats us with care and concern, using discretion when necessary, and enacting fairness in every situation.

We need a sheriff we can be confident will not run roughshod over us, abuse us physically or verbally, or use his position to intimidate us.

We need a sheriff who will not bow to the wishes of those in political office, no matter the repercussions, because he knows he works for us.

We need a sheriff who will do everything in his power to keep us safe and secure.

We need a sheriff with the integrity to command the divisions in his office honestly and fairly.

We need a true Constitutional Protective Sheriff, as he was originally intended to be by our founding fathers.

That sheriff will be Chris Bourke, who has been working in a Constitutional Sheriff’s office and fully understands and embraces the tenets of that office. He will defend us to the full extent of his power and he is not afraid to face down the dragons that would destroy our liberty. He is a man of courage and integrity, as well as personable and sympathetic. He will combine the full knowledge and skills of his profession with the desire to keep us safe, healthy, and at peace.

Judith Larkin

Ridgeway

Assemblyman sees some positives in difficult legislative session in Albany

Posted 25 June 2019 at 8:33 am

Editor:

While it is fair to say that radical left-wing forces used this year’s Legislature in favor of seemingly everyone but the law-abiding middle-class, end of session negotiations yielded a $100 million relief package for Lake Ontario flood victims, an expansion of the State and Municipal Facilities program to aid local governments, such as shoreline communities, and a reinstatement of our Extreme Winter Recovery Funds – used to repave and revamp damaged roads and highways.

We fought diligently to expose the malfeasance behind the agenda of downstate politicians this year who pushed driver’s licenses for illegals, easing of marijuana laws and a slew of protections for criminals and those accused of crimes.

Despite these challenges, I am honored to have led the fight to protect our Gold Star families and ensure spouses and dependents of deceased military heroes receive the benefits they deserve.

I look forward to attending countless community events, meetings and functions this summer and fall – talking and listening to constituents and building a better understanding of their needs and desires to start 2020 off better than ever.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley

Batavia

Hawley represents the 139th District, which consists of Genesee, most of Orleans and part of Monroe County.

Sobieraski states his priorities if he serves as Orleans County’s next sheriff

Posted 24 June 2019 at 3:07 pm

Editor:

As one of two Republican candidates for Orleans County Sheriff, much has been written in the weeks and months leading up to Tuesday’s Republican primary. I wanted to establish the record straight on a few matters, offer my platforms to the public again and take this opportunity to thank everyone for the overwhelming support they’ve shown me during this campaign.

I am the father of two adult sons who lives in a house in the Town of Carlton that I built with my own two hands. I am a 27-year member of the Orleans County community. I was born and raised in Lockport, the son of a Lockport Police Department Detective and a medical clerk at the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office. I was a police officer in the Lockport Police Department for four years before transferring to the Rochester Police Department.

I have been a police officer for over 31 years, and police supervisor for 22. I currently hold the rank of sergeant and am the Supervising Sergeant of the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Taskforce (G.R.A.N.E.T.). For the last 14 years, I have been a team leader for the Rochester PD SWAT Team. I served our country in the New York Army National Guard in the field of Military Intelligence. I have served on the board of directors for a substance abuse counseling clinic, Huther Doyle, for the last 18 years. It is not much smaller in size and budget as the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office. During my 7 year tenure as board chairman, I navigated the agency through some very challenging times and gained vast administrative experience. I was directly involved in securing both state and federal grants, meeting with county and state officials and the hiring of a new CEO. 

My diverse leadership experience makes me fully capable to head Orleans County’s largest law enforcement agency. My decades of leadership experience includes involvement in over 1,000 critical incidents. Officers do not follow me because of the rank on my sleeve, but rather because I have the requisite knowledge, skills and experience to make the right decisions that not only protect and benefit them, but more importantly safeguard the general public. I understand the nuances of providing law enforcement to smaller rural and suburban areas that are impacted by the influx of crimes and drug trafficking that originate in larger urban centers because I currently do it. I have experienced it all. Making our county safer will be at the forefront of every decision I make as sheriff of Orleans County. I will always put people before politics. 

While I have plans to improve all six divisions of the OCSO, these are my main priorities:

• Push back the Opioid Epidemic – This is the largest public health crisis we will ever see. As sheriff, I would work collaboratively with the Orleans County Major Felonies Crime Task Force, as I do now. Unlike the current administration, there will be no feuds. Over the years, I personally executed narcotics search warrants in Orleans County, and worked consistently with the task force. Through first-hand experience, I understand the devastation drugs bring to families and communities. I have long known that many of those who break into vehicles or burglarize homes are addicts looking to fuel their addictions. I also know we will never arrest our way out of an epidemic of this proportion and society is best served when people devastated by addiction are made whole again. A strong prevention piece will also be key to stopping addiction before it starts.

• Create safer roads and towns – In a 2017 statewide traffic report developed from NYS Department of Motor Vehicle statistics, it was determined that Orleans County had the most unsafe roads in the entire state when it comes to serious physical injury, fatal and alcohol-related crashes. I have maintained all along that I am not looking to ticket honest, hardworking folks. I will rid the roads of those that put our families’ safety at risk. The drivers with no or suspended licenses, with no insurance, driving at dangerously high speeds, intoxicated/impaired to the point where they are bound to crash. I don’t think anyone wants these people on our roads.

• Unify regional law enforcement – As the Orleans County Sheriff, I will take the lead role in reestablishing the relationships with our regional law enforcement agencies by forming a Law Enforcement Council. This will allow agency heads to meet on a regular basis and face our challenges on a unified front. We will regularly train with our partner agencies which will build a cohesive countywide law enforcement approach that best serves our community. This will also save taxpayer dollars.

• Increase moral for all employees – I will establish an awards program that recognizes those who go above and beyond in their service to our community. There will no longer be an A team and B team. There will be one team in which everyone gets treated fairly and has self-worth.

• Improve the Animal Control Service – No longer will you be told to either shelter or release a stray dog during off hours. These family pets will be transported to the shelter where they will be reunited with their owners.

Over the years I have brought awareness and raised in excess of $80,000 for the following charitable organizations: Special Olympics New York, Veterans Outreach Center, Huntington’s disease, US Navy Special Warfare Fund, Rochester Police Foundation and the family of a RPD officer who died unexpectedly. It is important for community leaders to set the example of philanthropy, which I will most certainly continue if elected Orleans County Sheriff. Community outreach and philanthropy is also an effective way for law enforcement to build relationships in neighborhoods and towns.

I have witnessed the ugly side of politics and often get asked how I keep my composure when people take cheat shots at me or tell half-truths. Years ago, I disrupted a street level drug network so bad that I became the proverbial thorn in their side. It was the busiest drug market in the city. During enforcement action, an elderly woman a few doors down would often peak through her curtains and give me a “thumbs up.” I often thought how I would feel if that was my grandmother. The drug leader became so angry with me that he put a bounty on my head and, on a relatively calm summer night, cowards attempted to collect on it by ambushing me. They fired three shots from across a street with one narrowly missing my head. Life is about perspective and keyboard bullies can never hurt me.

My largest frustration and disappointment has been my opponent’s unwillingness to publicly debate me. He has declined three separate debate invitations (Orleans County Chamber of Commerce, David Bellavia and me). Why would a candidate not want to publicly champion their values, service record and platform?

I believe the success of an organization hinges on effective leadership. I am a passionate law enforcement leader who loves Orleans County. I am confident that my leadership as Orleans County Sheriff will have a direct and positive impact on our community.

 Respectfully,

Brett A. Sobieraski

Carlton 

Lonsberry was right, Sobieraski is a proven leader with a heart for others

Posted 24 June 2019 at 1:39 pm

Editor:

This is response to Scott Smith’s letter to the Orleans Hub on June 19. I’d like to break it down just a bit. His letter is in response Bob Lonsberry’s endorsement of Brett. Mr. Smith’s first line in his letter was, “Bob, you don’t get it.” Wrong. Bob gets it, you don’t.

Everything Bob Lonsberry said about Brett is 100 percent accurate. The two most important things he said were, “Brett Sobieraski won’t let you down” and “Brett Sobieraski doesn’t let anybody down.” That’s what you can expect from him every single day.

Mr. Smith then goes on to say that, “Bob Lonsberry admires the guy because he can run long distances and carries a gun to work.” Well Mr. Smith, I think he admires him for why he ran long distances and swam the width of Lake Ontario. He did it for charity. He raised over $80,000. He seeks no personal glory. He likes to help people. That’s who he is, that’s what he does.

You also stated that Brett was an outsider. Once again you’re wrong. He’s lived in Orleans County for 27 years and built his house in Kent with his own two hands. Just because he has worked for the RPD for the last 30 years doesn’t mean he doesn’t love this county and the welfare of its people. To think otherwise is ludicrous.

Ask the older farmer from a couple of summers ago that was bailing hay by himself on a sweltering day while Brett was out for a run. The farmer would do a couple of bales, hop off his tractor and load them on the wagon then get back on the tractor to do a few more. Brett saw him struggling so he ran back to his house, got some gloves and help him bale his hayfield. That’s who he is, that’s what does. You can not question his integrity.

Mr. Smith also asked whether we liked what we see when we look outside the window. I like the serenity but I don’t like what Orleans County has become with the opioid epidemic we’re facing. Brett Sobieraski has a plan for that and it’s a good one. One that will work. He’s more than qualified to be our sheriff. Just read his campaign ad right here on the Hub.

There’s a lot more to this man and all the good things he has done that I can ever write in an e-mail. The only thing you did get right in your letter Mr. Smith, is when you said, “Do the right thing Orleans County.” Doing the right thing would be to vote for Brett Sobieraski as the next Orleans County Sheriff.

Tim Jurhs

Kendall

Sheriff’s Department employees shouldn’t pressure co-workers in sheriff’s election

Posted 24 June 2019 at 11:46 am

Editor:

I served in the military for 28 years with multiple combat tours and believe strongly in our country’s foundation. I, like many of my friends, fought to protect the freedoms guaranteed in our constitution and Bill of Rights – the civil liberties such as freedom of speech and protection from governmental oppression.

Moreover many of my friends, including my best friend, gave their lives to protect the freedoms our nation cherishes. However, a disturbing situation recently occurred and remains ongoing in the campaign for Orleans County sheriff which violates many rights my comrades served to protect.

One of our country’s most essential rights remains the ability for individuals to choose who they support during an election, free from coercion regarding their choice. Whether a person chooses to be liberal, conservative, democrat or republican, they have an assured protection from our government with regards to their political stance. This freedom remains essential to maintain democracy.

Moreover, my military career enabled my travel to numerous countries where firsthand I observed coercion and oppression in political elections. These actions violate the rights we Americans cherish but often take for granted. Such political oppression now exists in Orleans County.

Some members of the current Orleans County Sheriff’s Department are employing political pressure against individuals supporting Brett for sheriff to the point of harassing individuals for having “Brett for Sheriff” signs in their yards. These actions are contrary to American ideals and protections guaranteed in our constitution sealed with patriots’ blood to protect those freedoms.

During all my years of service I could not imagine a situation wherein members of a government entity would employ intimidation to achieve a political end. Law enforcement officials dedicate their service to protecting all citizens, not just those who support their political ideals.

Some may argue that is their right to campaign for their candidate and I wholeheartedly agree.  However, intimidation, coercion and oppressive actions by members of a governmental organization not only violate ethics but subvert our constitutional foundation.

Moreover, when people feel they cannot back whom they choose to support without prejudice or fear of reprisal, something is wrong. All those that served desire a fair election, we served to protect the rights of all individuals.

I believe service in the Sheriff’s Department is similar to military service protecting individuals regardless of their political stance. Regardless, who wins, that person will be my sheriff and will have the respect garnered by that position.

However, if the future sheriff wins via intimidation and coercion, then will not only my respect be lost, but I will seriously question my and my fellow service-members’ sacrifice.

Keith McKinney

US Army retired

Lyndonville

Root’s son thanks father for important life lessons

Posted 24 June 2019 at 10:13 am

Editor:

I should start by saying that I am Joseph Root, Dale and Helen Root’s son. Dale Root is running for town of Shelby highway supervisor. So yes, I have some bias in the topic, but I’m not here to talk about the highway superintendent election.

I’m here to simply say that I am proud of you, Dale Root, and also thank you and mother for being our parents. You two have raise three pretty respectable children. We have had some pretty amazing times and some downright tough times, but I challenge you to show me a family that has not.

Dale Root has owned two businesses longer than I have been alive. And I now know why and how you did what you had to. You would leave Sunday night with the semi-truck and return home Thursday morning maybe Friday, only to work countless hours on the farm while home.

You punished your body across million miles of roads and highways at night so you could work on the farm during the day light. With what time you had left for us kids, you taught us the value of a dollar, and hard work (my wife would probably argue too much time was spent on the hard working part). Also to never lie cheat or steal.

You showed us compassion when mother was digging out a sliver which seemed to be a mile deep in our hand, or when one of our animals would die. Responsibility was a later lesson with the phase ” feed before feeding” which meant you better feed the livestock before you yourself go home to eat. You would get us out of bed to go to work especially if we had been out late the night before (I believe you enjoyed that part).

With all that going on you still beat the odds that a small family apple farm would not make it in today world. Thank you for finding a way to keep it alive for your children and grandchildren. Many years having to harvest current year’s crop before being fully being paid for the past’s year crop.

To have the strength to look into your wife’s eyes some years and tell her that she couldn’t buy all the Christmas gifts that the children wanted because taxes had to be paid. For fitting an extra 20 hours into an already 70-hour week, only to look across the room at disappointment in a child’s eyes for you wouldn’t be able to make that games, dance recital, FFA meeting or 4H show.

I now know. Thank you Dale and Helen Root

Respectfully, your son,

Joseph Root

Shelby

Murray taxpayers pay a higher tax rate than most others in county

Posted 24 June 2019 at 10:07 am

Editor:

It would be unfair to Murray residents if I didn’t refute a few of the points made by Mr. Wood. He is correct in that there are 10 towns in Orleans County, and Murray does have a $4.83 tax rate for town taxes (for outside-village residents. It’s $3.06 for village property owners.).

The range of taxes is actually $2.76 to $9.18. (Click here to see the town tax rates in Orleans County.) Albion has the lowest at $2.76 and Barre the highest at $9.18. (Village residents in Yates pay a $2.60 rate.)

Murray would be No. 7 on the list out of the ten for highest tax rates with a $4.83 rate.

I would also like to point out that just because tax rates may of laid flat, tax bills did not. Through a series of reassessments in the last few years, including my 2019 reassessment that was over a 10 percent hike, will further entrench me and my family with brutal tax bills.

I would also like to point out that in the last few months our town has been hit with separation agreements from an improperly removed employee and also has a pending lawsuit of negligence on its hands which we the taxpayers are going to be accountable for. What will our taxes look like when this all comes out?

Mr. Wood, I thank you for your 25-plus years of service. It’s not an easy position to be in, but we shouldn’t try to sugar coat what is going on in our town.  We as a town are bleeding money and it’s coming out of the pockets of the residents.

Adam Moore

Holley

Conservative Party leader urges support for Bourke, other candidates for town offices

Posted 24 June 2019 at 9:42 am

Editor:

Republicans voters on Tuesday will go to the polls to choose who will head the ticket. For sheriff you can vote for Christopher M. Bourke, a constitutional sheriff. He will work for the people. The other guy will accommodate the DA’s Office and the County Legislature. He promises in his ads to turn the Sheriff’s Department into ticket pushers. Will our deputies be reduced to hiding behind billboards and trolling parking lots for bad stickers on grandma’s truck? Nothing in his ads about lowering your taxes or saving and protecting our 2nd Amendment gun rights from an all intrusive State Government.

Do the voters want an aggressive, table-pounding superman fundraiser that’s worked his entire career in another county with murders every weekend and can’t stop the drugs from flowing over the border into our county from his own stomping grounds? He claims he’s in charge of that job. He’s going to keep us safe? No sir, we need a professional sheriff for the people like Christopher M. Bourke and one who doesn’t think it would be controversial to say who his under-sheriff will be.

In Murray you can vote for Joseph Sidonio for Town Supervisor and Dirk Lammes for Town Councilman. They will work for you, the people. Or you can vote for the incumbents who fight hard to maintain the old-guard status quo. Time to term limit these two incumbents.

In Ridgeway you can vote David M. Stalker. He will end the cronyism, back room deals, meeting law violations and foolish spending. Or vote for the long-time incumbent that has consistently presided over the second highest taxes in the region. Term limits are long overdue here.

In Shelby you can vote for Dale S. Root for change and private sector, money-saving common sense application of ideas or you can vote for the comfortable incumbent and it shows by all the bright red shiny new equipment. Term limits are needed badly.

In Clarendon you can vote for Tracy B. Chalker for Highway Superintendent. He is the clear choice, highly qualified to do the job. A fresh race with new challengers.

Keep in mind in the main election on Nov. 6 the Conservative-endorsed candidates: Mark L. Wambach for Shelby Town Justice, Kerri A. Richardson for Barre Town Councilwoman and Dr. Mary R. Neilans for Gaines Town Councilwoman

These are the candidates that the Orleans County Conservative Party Committee interviewed and we feel will keep in check the political shenanigans and be mindful of your tax dollars. We are the party of term limits. Twelve years in any one position and no or no more endorsements. So Republicans you have a choice. Elect people who will work for you or elect bureaucrats that will serve themselves and government. It’s your money at stake here. Do you want to keep more of it or do you enjoy having less of it. Get up. Get out. Go Vote.

Thank you,

Paul Lauricella

Lyndonville

Orleans County Conservative Party Chairman

Napoli is deserving of re-election in Ridgeway

Posted 23 June 2019 at 5:46 pm

Editor:

I’m writing this letter in support of re-electing Brian Napoli for Town Supervisor in Ridgeway. Having worked for the Town of Ridgeway Highway Department for over 33 years and under six  different town supervisors, Brian Napoli has been one of the most open, honest and available supervisors that I’ve worked with.

He’s been instrumental in helping us keep our highway equipment updated, moving forward with town-wide water, and other projects that benefit the town, while still being fiscally responsible.

The town is fortunate to have such an honest, hard-working and knowledgeable person as Brian as its current supervisor. Hopefully when the taxpayers of Ridgeway vote on Tuesday, they will vote for a proven successful supervisor.

Tim Feldman

Town of Ridgeway