Can any of you remember way back in the mid 90's when a small group of entrepreneurs re-opened that nightclub at the old Tropical in Port Ewen? Yeah, those were fun times.
They had plenty of obstacles thrown in the way during the process. The Esopus town board, the local minister, and building inspector all leading the charge against. Well The place did open and run without much incident for about four years before business dropped off.
The fiscal drain on the partners at the onset made success a struggle. Eventually, a church bought the property, thus eliminating a much needed source of property taxes. That's a big chunk of commercial property too!
I bring this up in these last days before we head to the voting booth once more, because one of the lowest points in our County Legislature's history was also about this time.
Remember 1993? Yeah, It was only two years earlier when gay residents petitioned for a bill outlawing discrimination in employment and housing and the Ulster County Legislature refused even to debate it. One legislator, Attilio Contini, told his colleagues that homosexuality was "an illness and handicap." He added, "We don't pass laws giving special privileges to people who are retarded, criminally insane or demented."
It's not really that long ago folks.
This Contini is running for the same position once again. His views on equality are no different today than they were back in those "Good ol Days". Ironically, he is running in District 19 (consisting of Rosendale and part of Marbletown) against incumbent Robert Parete, one of the Legislature's hardest working Democrats.
Let me say, in the short time I've been on the sixth floor, Rob has impressed me the most. As issues come up for review in committee, successful programs and past reforms have Rob's fingerprints all over them. The more I research, the more I appreciate the amount of work he and a select few accomplished in the 4 short years the Democrats held the majority.
The idea that someone like his opponent, who still harbours such regressive ideals, would feel his place is back on the Legislature is somewhat surprizing. However, after watching those GOP debates in recent months, maybe not.
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