Elect John Hertzler to a 2-year term on the Town Board!
My Story by John Hertzler
Both my mother and father were born in 1912 in the same small town in central Pennsylvania, Port Royal…about a 1000 souls give or take. In 1940, Dad enlisted in the Army just in time for Pearl Harbor. The war took him half way around the world, then Korea took him the rest of the way. I was born in Savannah, Georgia where my folks settled in for a whole year in 1950, then on to St. Joe, Missouri; El Paso, Texas and then Casablanca, Morocco…where machine guns were in the field across the street as French Morocco divested itself of the French part. I grew up mostly in the Washington, D.C. area, where I attended Law School, got my Master’s Degree, worked in the Federal Government, then began a career in theatre and through it all, Port Royal was always…”home.”
My travels took me to San Francisco’s, American Conservatory Theatre where I worked until relocating to Los Angeles. All toll, I lived in California for nearly 30 years, married and had a daughter who now attends T-Burg High School.
In 2007 , I came to Cornell University to play the “Clarence Darrow” role in “INHERIT THE WIND,” began to teach at Cornell, putting down roots in this unique region of pristine lakes, family farms and vinyards, 1000 waterfalls, Amish buggies on the country roads…I knew I was home….again.
Everyday, I take in the beauty of this place as my daughter and I turn onto Cayuga View Road after soccer practice, crossing the old Black Diamond rail bed, and entering a pastoral landscape I previously thought existed only on canvases of the old masters…ash, walnut and maple trees, endless green and gold fields of corn, and Cayuga Lake shimmering in the late afternoon sun. I bought the old Rice house from Glen and Cara…and spent just about all I had restoring it. The work ‘s not yet done, and I figure it may never be, though I’ll keep sawing and hammering and painting my way to completion as best I can.
And now…why am I running for Town Board? The biggest reason is to have a direct voice in the future of this region. I agree with Drs. Anthony Ingraffea and Robert Howarth of Cornell, in the Engineering and Chemistry departments respectively, that the new technology of FRACKING is not safe, nor is it economically desirable and should not be embraced for the future of the Finger Lakes. The immense and under-reported risks of environmental destruction of land, air and water quality due to this particular drilling technique is not compatible with human habitation and must not be allowed to happen here. I have invested everything I have in this home and I will not see it destroyed for the sake of short term profit by some oil and gas company based in Houston or Tulsa or Norway. I do believe in encouraging other business and industry here such as expansion of the vinyards and tourism, dairy farming, grain farming, and home building… all life-affirming and appropriate manner of development for our region.
Another area of my interest is the search for a way to improve support of the Ulysses schools. Over the past few years, we have lost several excellent teachers to larger school districts and our ability to offer students honors courses, advanced courses in math and science, and sustainable programs in music and art has apparently been greatly reduced both by cut backs in state funding and the continued loss of revenue.
On a related issue, it has come to my attention that there is a great need to look at the coordination of fire protection and ambulance services in the region. From speaking at length with former board members and many Ulysses residents, I’ve become aware of the hard work undertaken and some hard feelings that have arisen in the past regarding village and town cooperation in the provision of both services.
I surely will investigate the decisions made regarding such questions and if there is anything to be done related to additional funds for Ulysses schools and improved coordination among various government entities, I promise you, I will diligently work to make it happen.
This is how I intend to dedicate my time and energy if elected…to preserve our heritage and plan for the future of Ulysses.