Election Year in a Small Town and the Living Gets... E D I T E D WITH PostScript!!!

Sullivan County Democrat 8/30/13

The moment I slammed my car door shut in front of the local cafe, I knew my letter to the editor, the long-awaited one, was published. It could've been the tell-tale sign when a party of eight seated at the outside table swiveled their heads as one and stared at me.

I did nothing remarkable this morning except toss accumulated trash at the town's garbage dump. I did dress for the event, wearing a little summer top, leggings and stiletto high heel sandals, allowing my long banana curls to run amok. Before winter season, I let my hair dry natural. It's no use styling it this time of year, given humidity and bugs. Besides, it gives me a je ne sais quoi.

Right at that moment, one woman yelled out, "You look like a movie star!"

I said, "Oh, I guess you read my letter."

To those of you not in the know, a local resident, Howie Block, wrote a letter to the editor which found its way in two local newspapers. I put up on my blog the 2nd letter which is a revised response that had been published along with the original letter (which would never have seen light of day):

The original letter to the editor in the Sullivan County Democrat that Block wrote was the one which most people read. The two letters in both newspapers are mostly the same except where Howie Block wrote in the first one:

"The woman is probably unstable."


He should really know better, considering he was a judge. Then, again, perhaps this may be the reason why he lost the election two years ago or so. As someone versed in law, he should know there's no reason to insult me as that is PERSONAL. He could disagree all he wants with his version, but to write something like this?

Even though he didn't put my name on the letter, everyone in town knows it's me as there are minutes taken during Town Hall meetings. The town's small enough everyone knows anyhow. It's a rather snarky letter, or as one of the officers said, "He finally learned from the past. At least he used the word, 'probably'."

At any rate, whatever he wanted to do succeeded, all right. It backfired. I became HERO OF THE DAY and now everyone's up at arms with littering and the frivolous lawsuits he slammed against the town which we, the taxpayers, get to pay.

Without any further ado, here's my letter (The Sullivan County Democrat added the Heading):

Defending Myself Against Block's Attacks

In reference to Howie Block's letter addressed to Town Supervisor Dan Sturm demanding an apology for comments stated at the last Town Board meeting, it was I who spoke about littering of garbage tossed in the lake by boat renters, namely Hasidim. 

 I gather by their garb they're Hasidim. With our diversified communities, I could've made a mistake and mixed them up with the Druids who frequent our town every summer for generations. They're a peaceful g-d fearing community. Except for those ritual human sacrifices.

 Should they be Hasidim, well, gauging Howie's vitriolic letter, I'm not allowed to complain as he's a proponent of Hasidaphobia, a coined term in homage to Islamophobia, a brand new form of prejudice.

 Hasidaphobia, similar to its counterpart, is where any disagreement or criticism about Hasidim, the religion and the community is tantamount to anti-Semitism.

 In the UK, I have Israeli friends who faced criminal charges for stating that terrorists who beheaded a soldier in the street with meat cleavers were Muslims. Because Israelis, especially Jews, aren't allowed to criticize Muslims as that's deemed hate talk and prejudicial. Today, no one's permitted to identify people who self-identify. In so doing, the onus falls on the commentator to defend against hatred when, in my case, I spoke in front of the Town Board to find a resolution from littering.

 Being called an anti-semite is repugnant. Even in face of global anti-semitism I take great pride as an American Jewish novelist, social satirist and recipient of several book awards and literary praise. In order not to confuse my readers, I contacted Wikipedia to amend my page and remove any references to me as "Jewish" as well as newspaper, magazine and blog articles to also expunge Jewish references to my family, notably Sam Levenson, a humorist, best-selling author and White Lake summer resident who resided in the bungalow where I live.

 That's neither here nor there. The apology Howie Block solicits from the Town Supervisor has nothing to do with my alleged Hasidaphobic conversation and has more to do with his now third attempt to get unemployment insurance from the Town of Bethel. To date, as per prior Board Minutes, Block cost the town ~$8,000 in legal fees for litigation. With his latest appeal, that figure shall aggregate $10,000 and upwards which is a lot for this town to absorb. As a former elected official, especially a JUDGE, he should know he's not entitled to unemployment. Yet, he remains silent, and instead writes letters to the editor as a sleight of hand. 

 Still, he should've put some thought into what he wrote, "The woman is probably unstable." It's not wise to insult a popular satire writer who blogs and talks on radio.

 To conclude, has anyone got that my issue has to do with littering?

 Maura Stone

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PS: I just found out that the Editor at the Sullivan County Democrat added the word, "Probably." 

It's W A R!

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