Wednesday, December 31, 2008


During the Thanksgiving Holiday, we get together with family and friends and make a point amongst ourselves to recognize what we are thankful for as the winter season approaches.

New Years Eve is different, we find ourselves in a personal space of reflection in these remaining hours, thinking about the accomplishments and failures, both personal and globally, as we set our sights to a new year full of promise.

We all have personal journeys that aren't all that different from each other. Family and friends have come and gone. We've lost loved ones and witnessed births. Our kids go off to college or come home with the fiancé.

But then theres the larger picture. Our economy is in a slump, people are unemployed, food pantries and meal services are seeing their numbers skyrocket. Past fuel prices pushed goods to an all time high and our housing market/assessments made living in New York State seem like a penalty.

It could be worse. There are places, even within our own country that are in serious need, where deplorable living conditions are the norm.

A simple review in any news site for the disasters of the last few years will show you the horrors and the joys in many communities. Joys?

When tragedy strikes, you'll find a community truly comes together to help financially and emotionally.

We saw this after Katrina, the Mississippi floods, the wildfires in California and the North East Blackout a few years ago. Not to mention the unforgettable community effort after 9-11.

But, If we look beyond our shores this year, You'll see another ground swell of community bonding as we watch countries where we are engaged, begin to flourish. Although Iraq has dominated the news for so long, we have forgotten about Afghanistan. [the real center of terrorism]

In KABUL Province, for instance, Soldiers from the New York National Guard delivered between 500 to 700 pounds of school supplies to help educate the next generation of Afghan youth.

The supplies were organized into student packs that included paper, notebooks, pens and pencils, clothing [even soccer and volleyballs] that the soldiers had received from family and friends at home.

NOTE: A good number of our New York National Guard arrived in Albany a few days ago.

Through the efforts of family members, church groups, school campaigns and several municipal organizations, supplies were gathered and shipped to Camp Blackhorse, which is co‐located with the Afghan National Army’s (ANA) Pol‐e‐charki garrison nearby.

According to their website: The troops are part of Afghan Regional Security Integration Command‐Central (ARSIC‐ C.) This command provides advisors and mentors to the ANA and the Afghan National Police in this area as part of the Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix (CJTF‐Phoenix) mission to grow and develop Afghanistan’s National Security Forces (ANSF.) The SECFOR troops provide security for the trainers and mentors during operations and convoys.

So, while you are navigating this snowy New Years Eve terrain with family and friends, I simply remind you that there is much to ponder as we leave 2008 behind us. Within our City, our Hudson Valley region, within our country's borders and abroad, we've seen good and not-so-good.

Look out for each other, support those in need and lets make 2009 the most positive year yet!

* If you would like to track what accomplishments are made in areas of conflict through our military, you can check out :
Keeping Tabs...a weekly electronic newsletter produced by the HQ 27th BCT Public Affairs Section for family members and friends back home and is available on‐line through the NYS Division of Military and Naval Affairs website at

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008


President Obama has offered Los Angeles deputy mayor, Nancy Sutley, as a senior member of his environmental team. Nancy, who is a lesbian, will be the highest ranking "openly homosexual" appointedmember in the new administration.

Sutley, will be named chairwoman of this new Council, which helps develop environmental policy and advises the President while the White House formulates fresh policy on such matters. Honestly, this has been lacking for quite some time.

Taken right from the AP: Nancy Sutley has a rich background in environmental public policy, having served on the California State Water Resources Control Board, as energy adviser to Gov. Gray Davis, and as the deputy secretary for policy and intergovernmental relations within the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Under consideration for an actual Cabinet position for Secretary of Interior, is John Berry. If chosen and confirmed, Berry would be the first openly-gay official to reach such a position and place him in control of all federal lands.

Why John Berry? He is currently the director of the Smithsonian National Zoo and former executive director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Obama has been steady on his promise to tap quality personnel from a broad spectrum of our society. Like many other minority groups who highlight the gains from this election, I, with my brothers and sisters in the LGBT community, will rejoice in our triumphs as well.

Honestly, I just want them to do their jobs and do them well.


Is everybody familiar with that Sheriff in Arizona: Joe Arpaio?

Across the country he has been dubbed "America's Toughest Sheriff," as he makes many of his county's thousands or so inmates live in tents far away from the air conditioned jails. He reinstituted chain gangs [cool] including crews for women and juveniles. If that's not enough, I give him credit for banning smoking, eliminating coffee and stopped showing movies in his jails.

[like they need entertainment]

Well he's getting his own show on FOX Reality TV. The show features Arpaio and other officers using hysterical skits offered by comedy writers and carried out by professional actors to arrest suspects that are wanted by the state or federally.

Arpaio said in the AP; "It's kind of fun to show how stupid they are and, as I say, the looks on their face make for good television."

Joe isnt getting a free ride on this new fame however, he has a vocal crowd that insists he stop the tremendous job he is doing on the Illegal Immigration issue in Arizona. See, his county includes Phoenix, which is a sancuary city which provides a safe heaven for illegals with serious criminal records like rape, drug traficing and murder.

It seems, the "do nothing" state and federal border officers have dropped the ball, allowing a free flow of U.S. bound criminals to mix with the legal immigrants, forcing his department, according to him, to act on our behalf.

Paco Fabian, the spokesman for the Illegal-Immigrant Rights group America's Voice, was also quoted on the AP; "It's going to celebrate a sheriff that's frankly scaring this community, a sheriff that is racially profiling the Latino community, and I doubt that the show is going to reflect that."

Arpaio has launched a series of what he calls crime-suppression patrols. He says they have resulted in the deportation of hundreds of illegal immigrants, including many with criminal records. His quote in the same article: "We are the only ones cracking down on the state's human smuggling law."

Personally, I think the human and drug smuggling from Mexico would decrease significantly if they would just finish building that damn fence.

Will you be watching?

Friday, December 26, 2008


Have you ever been behind a snow covered vehicle a few days after a storm and been assaulted by a wall of ice from their car roof? We have all been there.
Maybe not on local city streets, but when you hit Rt 28, 209 or 9W at normal speeds, you can expect a few "close calls" now and then.

Well, one of those incidents wasn't one of those spectacles I'm talking about. In New Hampshure back in 2001, a wall of snow caught flight from a tractor-trailer roof and hit a following truck, smashed the windshield; causing the driver to swerve and kill a 20 year old woman. This prompted NH to institute laws regarding ice and snow removal for moving vehicles.

Members of our New York State legislature, both in the Assembly and Senate, have introduced such measures in the past. It hasn't gotten the needed attention from the rest of the public because it faces certain death in committee each year. Should we make this an issue locally?

You may ask, why do we even consider legislating something that should come so naturally to everyone driving. Well, take a look around. Cars full of snow are out there, some managed to get through several storms on our city streets without a ticket, never mind cleaning them off, and then they drive around like a moving snow bank for a week.

So it makes sense. For our safety, I think its worth considering forcing common sense on people when there are cases when the slackers cause harm to innocent people.

18 wheelers are some of the worst offenders on our highways and we all know how much snow can sit on a flat trailer like that. I don't want to become a statistic anymore than you do. Does that mean we have to have additional enforcement officers in the trees? Not at all, you could start by using those cameras on the roof at the Thruway Toll Booth. Thats our best place to start!

What do you think?

Saturday, December 20, 2008


The Catskill Animal Sanctuary, located on the border of Ulster and Saugerties, is in financial need just like everyone else. However this haven for abused and neglected farm animals, houses creatures we call "the voiceless victims" of the economic crisis.

So many people in Ulster County have made farm animals part of their families, but when times are tough and the threat of losing thier home or health insurance, they can no longer afford to care for these animals.

Two years ago, my friend Bettie and I rescued a domesticated Goose down by Rosita's Restaurant on the Rondout. It was frightened and limping when we finally caught her. Patrons of the bar threw stones at the friendly foul over the weekend and luckily did little harm. CAS is where we took her; Bettie and I visit the Sanctuary twice a year to check up on her.

Sanctuary director Kathy Stevens said in the Record this week:"Our waiting list of people desperate to place animals, from rabbits to draft horses, is seven pages long,"

So the Sanctuary is having what they call a "Bale Out" [yes they went there] Animals rescued by the sanctuary require hay, grain, bedding, shelter construction, caregiver salaries, medical supplies and veterinary care.

Money raised this winter through the "Bale Out" will go into an account to be used only for expenses directly related to the care of the animals. You can donate by visiting where you can track the progress of this campaign.

Even if you don't have a needy animal or the means to donate right now, you can stop in for the winter open house on weekends. Bring the kids and witness the good work this organisation does. No dogs.

Directions: From Kingston, take 9W north through Ulster, past QuickChek and Angela Pizza until you reach Old Stage Road on your right. Follow signs. 336-8447

Thursday, December 18, 2008


We have just reached a pivotal moment in the renaissance of the Kingston waterfront. And with very little public witness.

The City of Kingston's Planning Board, after 6 long years of give and take, public hearings, and protests from far away sources, has finally voted unanimously to accept the completed FGEIS for the Hudson Landing housing development along the shores of the Hudson River in Kingston.

With the intent to use a once industrial and current toxic wasteland for the construction of 1500 homes and retail units, Tom Perna and company initially offered a much different model for the river property.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars and years later, the latest proposal offered to the Planning Board is a delight to see. As I prepare this posting, I am looking at the artist renditions of what we can expect from AVR. They are very different from those original penetentury style monsters we railed against in 2002.

So, the process worked. Public input and even the persistant roadblocks from heavily funded Not-for-profits that exist just for this purpose, caused AVR to reshape the depelopment to the welcomed neighbor we hope to see.

The first shovel wont hit the ground for about a year. Plenty of paperwork to finalize, but I have to make it clear that I am really happy with the current plan and would like the members from the past opposition to now help to make Hudson Landing a reality.

Here are some artistic renderings from the revised plan.


Get ready for some more bad news.

The MTA has just announced that the board is prepared to increase fares on commuter rail and road tolls as well as implement new tolls on some once free bridges in the metro area.

Our upstate economy has already suffered enough without increasing the costs of residents who still trek down to NYC for work.

23% is the number being floated around, and the Board, unless some magical influx of new funding, is expected to vote on this rate hike in April. The pocket gouging wont take effect until June, but who thinks this will help the Hudson Valley in our effort to survive this avalanche of new fees, diminished revenues and rising unemployment numbers?

There are a few months to go before we "discover" new revenues for the MTA, but keeping this from the public during this holiday season isnt going to make it any easier after your New Years Day hangover.

Happy trails everyone.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Chuck Schumer made a quick trip to a recycling facility this week. Taylor Recycling in Montgomery, NY. Which is just south of the Ulster County border in Orange.

His reason for dropping by the plant was to draw attention to the Bio-Mass project they are developing which would convert waste into electricity. Just a small example of the overall north east Renaissance in green and renewable energy development and manufacturing.

Why now? Well, to highlight the latest push by President-Elect Obama's recovery package that aims to stimulate the economy on a local level by allocating funds for municipal capital and infrastructure upgrades, such as road bridges, mass transit upgrades, sewer system diversions and of course recycling and green energy projects.

Here in Kingston, our own Economic Director has prepared an outline for submission for the new administration, describing in detail, what projects we have “shovel-ready” in our own back yard. Steve Finkle and staff have done their homework on this one and being prepared is usually smiled upon by those who seek an efficient outcome of fund allocation.

While touring the facility in Orange County, Schumer outlined the economic recovery plan, now being developed by Obama and House and Senate members.

Hinchey [seen here with Assemblyman Skartados] Gillibrand and Hall have each indicated their willingness and enthusiasm for the Hudson Valley region being central to the New York State economic boost. Having Senator Schumer come to this area, even if it is in Orange County, should give us reassurance of their continued focus locally.

Schumer said the package, with range between $500 and $700 billion, has three categories so far: "shovel-ready" road, sewer and water projects; longer-term infrastructure work, with preference given to those that create "green" jobs; and "significant aid" to state and local government health and education programs.

The Finkle proposal was voted on Dec 16th at the special Common Council meeting.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Saturday, December 13, 2008


There have been an increase of inquiries regarding the relocation of registered sex offenders to the City of Kingston in the last few months. The latest called to my attention about a residence close to the Kingston High School.

h the police department and the Sheriffs office keep a close watch on those who reside in each township, the residents have the right to know who is living in their neighborhood.

So I thought it would be a good idea to remind every one of the free websites available to those who have web access.

The sites are fairly up to date and although not fool proof, they provide an extensive DATA base throughout the state and indicate what level of offence they are registered at.

Mind you, not all registered sex offenders are paedophiles. That is a misconception in the general community. Things happen in peoples past, sometimes when they are youngsters themselves.

These sites are NOT tools to harass people. Our police departments know the locations of these men and women and wish to keep them on the registry and in the system. Causing undue public harassment and making false claims against people increases the likelyhood of forcing them underground and unattended. KPD and the Sheriffs Dept don't want that any more than you do.

But you have the right to know.

The second website provides more felony information in the neighborhood.
Both require that you submit your own Email address to track the level of use and to better fund their own efforts with grant funding.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans blocked the auto bailout this week, leaving the Big 3 and the hundreds of thousands who rely on them for their daily wages holding their a$$.

Here was the only real chance for the GOP to give a serious jab at the United Auto Workers union. Both Democrats and the UAW agreed that Detroit's workers should lower their wages and reduce their benefits to match those of Toyota, Nissan, and Honda workers in the United States. The Republicans wanted the pay modification done by 2009, the Dems by 2011. The ripple effect for the Michigan economy and the American economy for that matter, will be significant.

So as far as future elections... Michigan, being a crucial presidential swing state probably won't vote Republican for generations. Everyday people across Michigan fully understand the Republican Party opposed a bailout of their states main industry. Does anyone think they will forget? You can count on Michiganians voting against McConnell and his pals with a vengeance.

So, as a last ditch effort, the US Treasury will come to the rescue with a portion of the TARP funds, in an attempt to salvage what's left of the Big 3 auto
-makers and their antiquated business model. Yes, there will be a timeline for the complete overhaul of their fleet options, but so long as the President is willing to go along with the TARP option, we may see the better, more lean auto industry survive.

President Bush is a supporter of the UAW and the Auto bailout at this point. Sometimes an issue will reveal strange bedfellows.

With his lame-duck status, this provides Bush with a last minute assemblage of being useful. Now, if only we could do something about those last minute pardons we've been hearing about, you what has happened at the end of every other administration since the end of WWI.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


When it comes to the global image of the US, we all can agree that we've looked and acted better. So, with much research and a determination to engage the citizens of the world in a better light, President-elect Obama has picked Susan Rice as our UN Representative.

Here is a report I found on TIMEonline. I thought it would be worth bringing this article to everyone's attention. I think it's an astounding resume'
* * *
On paper, President-elect Barack Obama's choice for United Nations ambassador has much in common with another boundary-breaking, African-American, Stanford-affiliated, female foreign policy expert with the same surname. But the similarities with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice end there. Susan Rice brings to the U.N. job a career devotion to African affairs and eight years of experience in the Clinton administration.

• Age 44, Rice is married to Canadian journalist Ian Cameron, executive producer of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. They met in college when she was a freshman and he was a senior and are the parents of two children.

• She's a Washington, D.C. native and the first African-American woman named as U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

• Her father, Emmett Rice, was a governor of the Federal Reserve System. Her mother, Lois Dickson Fitt, is an academic scholar whose parents were born in Jamaica. Raised in a household that stressed education and public affairs knowledge, when Nixon resigned from office, a 9-year-old Rice was the one who told her parents the news.

• She attended the prestigious National Cathedral School, an all-girls academy. She was a star point guard on the basketball team and was known as "Spo," short for "Sportin'." She also lettered in two other varsity sports, and was president of the student council and valedictorian of her class.

• She earned her bachelor's degree from Stanford University went on to earn a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford, where got her master's degree and wrote a doctoral dissertation on the transformation of white-ruled Rhodesia into black-ruled Zimbabwe. While a college student, she launched a divestment effort to protest South African apartheid. After earning her Ph.D. at age 25, she briefly worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company.

• In her mid-20s, she worked as a foreign policy aide to Michael Dukakis during his 1988 presidential run. She later worked for John Kerry's 2004 campaign and was a senior foreign policy advisor to the Obama campaign.

• Rice was Clinton's top Africa diplomat when al Qaeda bombed the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which led to her first middle-of-the-night official phone call — from Kenya's ambassador alerting her to the attacks. Working for Clinton's National Security Council, she also dealt with issues related to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, including the president's widely criticized decision not to intervene. In 1995, she was appointed the NSA's lead Africa expert; she became pregnant with her first child while in the post and didn't take leave until one day before her son was born. She later served as assistant secretary of state for African Affairs in her early 30s. After leaving the state department, she worked as a senior fellow for the Brookings Institution.

• According to an article in the Stanford alumni magazine, while an assisant secretary of state, Rice once listened as Nigerian opposition leaders praised a recent tough speech she had given, completely unaware that the 5-foot-3, 33-year-old Rice was the one who had delivered it. Rice waited until the discussion had ended, smiled and introduced herself, shocking the men.

• Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is a longtime family friend and mentor.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Here's some good news for the region, The Walkway over the Hudson, a massive tourism project for Ulster and Dutchess Counties, just got another shot in the arm a few days ago. It seems Congressman Maurice Hinchey secured another $450 thousand federal dollars to push the project along.

This would increase the grant funding from almost $900K to well over a million for the purpose of restoring the ancient Railroad Bridge which crosses the Hudson from Highland to Poughkeepsie.

This is a Bridge erected over 100 years ago and served as a main freight line until the thing caught fire back in the 70's.

The conversion to a pedestrian cross-over park has been in the works for several years. Most of those involved are looking at late summer/early fall of next year to have the opening ceremonies. I have pondered how the future restaurants and amusements out over the river will split the sales tax revenue? Will it depend on the middle marker between county lines?

Coincidently, the completion is aimed at the same window that we celebrate the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial. (I am tired of writing that long title)

All of the river towns and cities have state and federal dollars coming in to boost the year long recognition of the accomplishments that lead to the wave of new colonization and industrialization in the Hudson Valley.

Job well done Maurice, but what do we have planned here in Kingston?

Monday, December 08, 2008


The following is an Email I received from Tom Hoffay regarding the Washington Avenue Moratorium...

Dear Friends....

I waited a few days before responding to the many emails I received concerning the pending Moratorium Legislation, so that I could have a reasonable understanding of the concerns that have arisen in the course of progress of the legislation through the Laws & Rules Committee and to the floor of the Common Council. There has been a fair amount of discussion concerning both the legislation and the proposed CVS pharmacy proposal now before the Planning Board. In anticipation of the Common Council meeting on December 16, I would like to engage that discussion with my thoughts on the subject.

Since the moratorium was first proposed there has been heated discussion as to the application of the moratorium to proposals previously pending before the Planning Board. This has been the focus of the pro and anti CVS groups. At the Council meeting on December 2nd. I offered an amendment to the legislation that would exempt all pending proposals before the Planning Board. This was not the first amendment to the legislation, previously all internal
alterations to existing buildings, requiring a building permit, were also exempted.

As the author and floor manager for the legislation, I take full responsibility for the decision to cut loose any connection between the proposed moratorium and the opposition to CVS. It was not done lightly, but seriously considered and adopted unanimously by the Council as the result of a number of considerations.

Stopping CVS was never the intent of the legislation. CVS is not mentioned in the legislation, nor in the amendment. That the connection was mentioned, frequently, in the remarks of both opponents and supporters became an increasing distraction from what was its stated goal and that remains to provide time for the design standards efforts for Greenway, Gateway Grant given to the City of Kingston and Town of Ulster. At a certain point, it became clear to me, that continuing any association of the moratorium proposal and the CVS Pharmacy proposal would seriously jeopardize passage of the moratorium.

In caucus, with my council colleagues , I asked for their support for the legislation based on the number of pending studies and grants that would directly affect the Uptown community and the need to have design standards in place for the Washington Ave. Gateway. I received that support. It was always about controlling our destiny as a community by implementing designs that would become the standard for any new buildings proposed in the future. Any distraction from that goal would seriously undermine the efforts of the moratorium. In a number of public hearing held previous to the December 2nd meeting and in the Public Comment section of that meeting itself, it became quite clear that support for the moratorium and the resultant design standards was seriously imperilled by its linkage with the CVS proposal. If allowed to play itself out, the Mayor's expected veto and a return to the Council of the legislation would have divided the Uptown community and caused a loss of support for the very concept of design standards.

The CVS proposal is in the hands of the Planning Board and that is the process that should be the focus of those opposed to its approval. A moratorium intending to prevent the construction of a targeted project, is a misuse of the concept and subject to court action. CVS has a process already in place and the proper forum is the Planning Board. The moratorium legislation is the prerogative of the Common Council and will bind the Planning Board for future proposals.

I understand that not everyone will agree with my analysis of the state of these two proposals. I have spent a considerable amount of time at Public Hearings and Public Comment sessions and understand that there is a fierce debate , that may reflect on broader issues, for example the need for a Comprehensive Plan, the proper approach to Economic Development, box stores versus small business, even the role of public participation in the decision making process. These are important issues and need to be explored further. I look forward to continuing the dialogue.

What we must not lose sight of in these discussions, however, is that we are one community and the success or failure of our efforts will impact all of us. I was particularly distressed by the derision by proponents of CVS when discussing the Washington Avenue Gateway designs and troubled by the sarcasm aimed at anyone who disagreed with their point of view. I trust we will not do the same, nor seek to divide our own community.

-Tom Hoffay


The Obama team has tapped another local for his advisory team.

Ginny Apuzzo, who lives in Rosendale, was reached by the transition team to work on behalf of the Gay and Lesbian Community and lending her expertise on issues that continue to set some of us back when dealing with government and society in general.

Ginny has been active in the equal rights movement since her early days as a teacher in the 60's and joining the Sisterhood in the 70's.

Working with the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and becoming the national spokeswoman to raise support for people suffering with HIV/AIDS, Ginny has got enough experience to be a wise choice for the Obama team.

Ginny has her government experience as well. She worked in NYC with then Mayor Koch before the journey to Albany to work in the Cuomo administration. Eventually she found herself in the Clinton White House as the office manager in charge of the daily workings for Bill and Hillary's second four years.

You'll find her working tirelessly on Wall Street here in Kingston as she remains the driving force behind our regional LGBTQ Community Center. I served with Ginny during the first two terms of the Board of Directors and am proud to have had the experience as a team player; making a profound difference for so many people in the Hudson Valley.

Ginny was quoted in the AP as saying she will remain local to continue her efforts here, but will participate in the advisory role temporarily as the Obama Administration takes its first steps.

I am thrilled to know our new President has the forethought to bring in a well grounded and experienced activist for equality such as you.
Congratulations Ginny!

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Privacy is first priority. Unless you're in the running for the open Senate seat here in New York.

Thats right, the famous not so private Kennedy clan is pushing for Caroline to succeed Hillary Clinton as the Jr Senator from New York.

Poor Chuck! It seems, he cant get a break. He's the Senior Senator who gets over shadowed time and again by “rock star” like celebrity representatives.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said he and the rest of the family are urging Caroline to seek the New York governor’s appointment. You are shocked aren't you?

Her kids are all grown up, theres nothing keeping her home and hey, if she wants to follow in here uncle's footsteps, well, maybe my leaning toward Kirsten Gillibrand was a little presumptuous.

Imagine what the election cycle would be like here in New York in two years with a Kennedy on the ballot. You would see just about the same turnout as we did this year. Their extended family would come out en masse for her if she does get the appointment and has to run for election in 2010.

Robert Kennedy said to the AP: “If she runs, you will see more Kennedys than you have ever seen in your life,”

So, are we prepared to offer Caroline the opportunity to keep the Camelot legacy alive for another generation? Are there any other Democrats who would sway Paterson's appointment if they even dared?

Lets also remember, Caroline was one of the first to endorse Obama during the primaries which would enhance the already prominent economic and educational support from Hillary herself, now that she'll be Secretary of State.

What can any of us say about the other contenders? Suozzi, Nadler, Gillibrand and even Cuomo wouldn't have the same appeal. Any thoughts from the Hudson Valley? What are her odds?

Friday, December 05, 2008


OK, so the Mayor used his VETO stamp on the Council's budget.

That is an option he has. I'm OK with that.

There is alot more I could have said to the press on this issue, but I held my tongue.

We, the Common Council, will meet again and override the VETO. It's been done before and you'll find it happens across this country without the shock value that we see here in the hamlet of Kingston.

Not much more to say on this except, any reason to spend more time with my colleagues is fine with me.

(picture stolen from UCP blogger, thanks Clark!)

Thursday, December 04, 2008


With the budget process just about done in every municipality across the state, many of us focus on what we have to do with our families, homes, paying bills and holiday shopping.

Dont lose sight of whats really important, your health. Pay attention to what is in your path when driving around this season.

Like this driver, a young man in his 30's, he looked down on the floor of his Jeep for just a second and ended up another accident statistic for Washington Avenue.

It was around 3pm on Wednesday when I heard a hard smack, like one of our nail guns went off in the kitchen, then I saw the Sherriffs car and the lights on down by the Lucas Ave GETTY.

Our paramedics and Mobile Life were only minutes later. The Jeep hit a commercial dump truck who's driver was unharmed. Luckily no-one was hurt.

I was only onsight this quick because I am remodeling the interior of a duplex near the Queens Galley on Washington Ave.

The pictures are worth showing to everyone because a simple moment of attention loss while driving can devistate a family.

Pay attention, buckle the kids and get that phone off your ear!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


WOW, What have I done?

The Council had the whole 2009 Budget intact and ready to go.

But like I said in a prior post, I was uncomfortable with the method we used to balance the budget. Always taking from the Departments of least resistance.

Well, To expedite the Budget vote, we used the form of "Long Roll" which calls on each Alderman once for a one time speach. The eight of my colleagues got to say their piece before getting to me, all voicing their heavy heart as we offered pink slips to some key personnel, but then I had to stand up and make the last comment.

We used to have two people working in the Refuse Code Enforcement. One full and one part.

When our Full timer resigned, our part timer went full and was saddled with the task of ticketing the property owners and educating those who repeat offenses. Not easy, considering the job was once a burden for two people.

This position was reduced to Part time. Why did this frustrate me? Because I am what the DPW staff calls Mr Clean, and its not because of my shaved head. I want more Code Enforcement not less. As many of you know, I just cant help cleaning wierd remote spots around the city. Although, its a compultion I should really get professional help for, it comforts me to know there is someone on the payroll doing the same task.

I unexpectedly got a "second" from Alderman Hoffay, to my motion to reinstate the position and then all hell broke loose. Thankfully, the City taxpayers will ONLY see an increase of 3.5 for residents. only up .02 from Monday nights Caucus estimate. Thank you John Tuey for having those numbers ready for me.

The job of Code Enforcement brings in more than twice the cost in fines and diminished tipping fees at UCRRA. I did what I felt I had to do.

(Some of us ended up at FLOW Lounge after the meeting, and yes, Blaber is 21.)