Saturday, May 31, 2008


Most readers will think Im reading too much into this, but whywould I come home from work on a Friday evening, drive down Broadway and see the municipal garbage cans are overflowing with trash?

Initially, I thought,,,It's Friday, we had Monday off so the task shift affected the routine garbage collection. So I continued downtown. The cans were empty. Every municipal garbage can below Garraghan Drive was empty!

Tell me, do we have a priority issue here?

Friday, May 30, 2008


Does anyone out there think this is easy?
This is what we deal with when hiring employees for a municipality. It’s almost too much to bear.
Department heads try their best to weed out applicants who either can’t work as a team or be trusted on a job alone.

Here we have Brian Lyons of Saugerties, an UC Corrections Officer, who is out on disability moonlighting as a pizza delivery man.
That alone would be shameful and worthy of dismissal, but there’s more.

He managed to find the gas card of UC Public Works Commissioner David Sheeley who said he had misplaced his gasoline card. Now, what would you do?
(this is where the thinking comes in)

Computers track expenses from every card used for gas within the fleet. Did Brian think no-one would ever notice the spent $800? Astounding! It’s considered petty larceny.

Now, here is the ultimate kick. Lyons yearly salary is almost $50K. He is collecting 100% while out on disability. I don’t get it. I dont think he's starving! That’s more than the median income average for Ulster County, including mine.

Sheriff Van Blarcum is dealing with the courts now to fire him. Best of luck.
With the economic stress that plagues us all, It pains me to see this kind of abuse of the system.
Paul, you have your hands full.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

BUSH LIED! Oh We Knew That Already.

"History appears poised to confirm what most Americans today have decided — that the decision to invade Iraq was a serious strategic blunder, No one, including me, can know with absolute certainty how the war will be viewed decades from now when we can more fully understand its impact." – Scott McClellan

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellen’s book What Happened hits the book stand on Monday, June 2nd. I haven’t seen a copy yet, but the media is eating it up. This would be the closest source and most candid perspective on the inner workings of the Bush administration to date.

Of course the passages concerning the Iraq war will be the most heavily debated, and the networks are going to sell a lot of commercial time during this one. I have always suspected the media purposely dumbed down the issues surrounding the Iraq invasion so the masses could still focus on their jobs, families and self indulgences so the bloody reality of war would still feel numb.

Bush, Cheney and the rest of the warlords tried to sell this war just like every other wartime President has. The only difference is that history has given them the time to justify their actions. This time out, there is no mercy. In this “instant-news” society, there is no downtime for anyone.

McClellen was in the most unique position to fully grasp what was happening in the White House. As press secretary, he was the publicist for the most powerful man in the world. Having lost his blind faith in the administration, he now finds himself an author at the center of the media storm we watch today.

For better explanations regarding his allegations in the book, Scott was with Wolf Blitzer on CNN Friday night. May 29th. And probably on YouTube everyday after that.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008



Jon Sennett has announced he is seeking the position of Chairman for the Ulster County Democratic Committee. For those who follow the workings of local party politics, you know the significance of this challenge.

Jon, being the committee’s nominee for UC District Attorney in 2007, lost that race due to the split loyalties of Democratic Committeemen. Had there been strong leadership at the top during last year’s races, we would have Ulster County’s most competent lawyer as our DA today.

Today, that leadership is finally recognized as the failure it always was, in the challenge made by none other than Jon Sennett himself. With the image of “Good ‘Ol Boys” stripped from the public’s perception of party officers, the respect that the position deserves will once again be earned and deserved.

Wednesday night’s Executive meeting was the setting for this great news, and for many, it was a joy to behold, for others…not so good. It’s the end of an era. You can guarantee that a number of old school - party elders will not be happy, but I will support this regime change in any way I can.

Thank you Jon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


After a three day holiday weekend, celebrating the memories of our servicemen, most of us begrudgingly go back to work Tuesday.
Most of us go through our days not knowing the struggles of life threatening illness.

Where we take for granted that our jobs are the only hurtle to make ends meet, some of us deal with cancer and the financial means to fight it.

I had the privilege of greeting the American Cancer Bus at the Holiday Inn this Tuesday morning where I rejoined the support membership and signed the petition that’s heading to Washington. Cancer Action Network is sponsoring a coast to coast cruise in the bus to promote awareness of the FDA bottle-neck procedures holding back new revolutionary drugs to help fight cancer.

Traveling across the country, the CAN bus is stopping in hundreds of communities to build the movement to make cancer issues a national priority. It will bring the stories of cancer patients, survivors and friends to the presidential candidates to make cancer a priority issue in their administration.

I have not heard much on the issue during debates or on the campaign trail, so as the primaries wind down and the two remaining candidates battle through the summer, I expect to hear more from both. I, like so many of you, have lost family members to cancer, and we all know several courageous survivors among us.

Notables in the crowd were my friends Shelly Zimbler, Ward Todd and Lew Kirschner.

With Tony Marmo directing this north east district concerning cancer awareness and serving as liason to local government officials, I’m sure we are in good hands.

The RELAY FOR LIFE will occur this weekend at Deitz Stadium in Kingston. Join a team and make strides for a cure.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Have you been following this? The Texas District Attorney had pulled out all the stops to convict Border Patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean last year.

While on patrol along the US border, they startled and tried to stop a well known drug smuggler in his attempt to sneak into the country illegally in a van full of pot.

While brandishing what looked like a gun, the officers shot in the smugglers direction and while thinking they missed, they lost him in pursuit southward.

With an aggressive pro-amnesty DA Johnny Sutton, appointed by the president, negotiations between US and Mexico authorities brought the suspect back to US soil, with immunity, to testify that he had been shot in the butt.

Knowing that Aldrete-Davila, the smuggler, had been caught smuggling heroin two additional times during border crossings during the trial, the DA chose to keep the judge and jury unaware of this fact as he pressed on.

Well new efforts are underway to free the patrol guards. They have been jailed all this time, with evidence of physical abuse and family based threats as well as loss of income and self esteem. Petitions have been circulated and members of congress have asked the president to grant a pardon, but no success.

Attorneys for Ramos are arguing for his immediate release on bond because they say the remainder of his prison term is likely to be overturned by an appeals court anyway. Compean’s attorneys may mount a similar appeal.

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, who prosecuted Ramos and Compean, is facing ethics charges. The charges compare him to Mike Nifong, the discredited prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse rape case.
Considering the circumstances, I would ask that he be disbarred from law practice in Texas.

The two officers, Mexican-American US natives, were just doing their job. This particular case takes the whole xenophobe issue out of what is obviously a criminal act against federal laws. Illegal entry and drug smuggling.

If President Bush would simply pardon these unjustly imprisoned former Border Patrol Agents, we could all rest much easier knowing that in the United States, a foreign drug smuggler's word does not prevail over the word of federal agents in the line of duty.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Memorial Day, aka Decoration Day commemorates U.S. men and women who have perished while in military service to their country. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was expanded after World War I to include casualties of any war or military action .

Many people observe this holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. US Eastern time. Another tradition is to fly the U.S. flag at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers usually place an American flag upon each grave site located in a
National Cemetery.

In addition to remembrance, Memorial Day is also used as a time for picnics, barbecues and family gatherings. This is a three day weekend usually considered the kick-off to summer.

You may be heading to Lake George, Lake Taconic, or the Jersey Shore this weekend. Others have rented one of the Kingston Park pavilions for the family reunion. Either way, we all should remember the ultimate sacrifices our past and current military officers have and are performing in their duties.

The parade in Kingston is just one way we express our sincere thanks. But take the time to say thank you to any veterans you may meet all year long.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Yet another Democrat is poised to challenge Molinaro for the 103rd Assembly seat. What has he done or not done, to piss off so many people that crowds of democrats are lining up for the chance to beat him in November?

Laurette Giordino of E Fishkill (pictured left) and Dana Tompkins of Millbrook (lower right) stepped up weeks ago and now we meet Joseph Huff of Union Vale. (upper right)

Why is he running? He said he feels residents in the district have been overlooked and that "I'm running for the Assembly because I want to represent the voice of the people," He believes issues such as property taxes, school taxes and jobs have not been addressed.’

Have we heard this before? Although it may sound like a broken record, the point is made that Molinaro has dropped the ball in Albany as their Assemblyman.

All three challengers are democrats and have different backgrounds in management, but I still put my faith in Laurette. Her go-get-em style and middle class blue collar stripes are as well earned as any of em and I believe the 103rd will be better served with her in Albany.

Stretching from Hudson to E Fishkill, the diverse needs of the district have proven too daunting for Molinaro, (pictured left) he is heckled at Bard College during every visit and is rarely seen at locations south of Red Hook. So the time is right for the district to go blue. Hell, what will the administration do for him as a Bruno puppet anyway?

I urge the bi-county Democratic Committeemen to chose Giordino as your candidate for the 103rd Assembly seat this June.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has asked the Public Service Commission to reject the plan of Entergy Corp to dice up the Northeast Nuclear Division into a stand-alone company. The plan would render the separated entity the ability to massage stock holder numbers while limiting the level of accountability to the consumer.

This is a plan aimed solely at enriching the CEOs at a more accelerated rate than before with the additional kilowatt cost burden on the northeast residents.

Based in New Orleans, Entergy plans to separate five nuclear plants from the rest of the energy conglomerate. While keeping a 50% stake in the company, they would offer the other half to its shareholders. The spin-off of the NE Division would also enable Entergy to avoid paying over $350 million to the New York Power Authority.

Mind you, there have been repeated mistakes, mishaps and technical failures at two of their facilities and the proximity of Indian Point to the NYC metropolitan area provides the greatest terrorist target in the northeast. The two planes that hit the WTC flew south along the Hudson River.

I made the case on the council floor back in 2003, when Pataki was to reinstate the temporary operating license, to begin the shutdown and refurbishing of the plant, only to be undermined by misleading Entergy letters to other councilmen. The memorializing resolution failed.

Now AG Cuomo is on the same page; citing the same safety issues as well as the easy target status of the plant’s location. The contamination radius of 50 miles, if a plane were to land in the cooling pools at the Indian Point plant, would extend beyond Manhattan. The exodus of people to our region and the economic disaster worldwide would end the comfortable life we think we have now.

I applaud Andrew Cuomo for taking such a daring stand against a powerful lobby and advocating for our safety and our wallets.


Oh Junior, what have you done now?

This war of words among Republican leaders is quite revealing. To see the end of this story play out, I need a front row seat. I better pull up another garbage can and get comfortable.

Each of the members of the Council have bad days, and we take turns pissing off other members sometimes with a vengeance. But the dirty mouth will bring you down every time.

To maintain your equanimity during all frustrating moments in any confrontation is our biggest challenge, and having any level of training in the world of public speaking, like a lawyer, should give anyone the edge on control. This tit-for-tat (I got tit in my article) between Teetsel and Cahill is unfortunate, but the hypocrisy in the timing is what gets me.

Rich, a word of advice, learn when not to jump into an issue. What is going on in DPW and City Hall regarding sexual harassment and the administration is no-longer a laughing matter. Your past comments will sting for a while, and people will snicker at you for a few months, but your source of income depends on respect in the court room.

Teetsel is correct in pointing out the double standard that Cahill has offered the public. When the allegations of sexual harassment were leveled against city employees, Rich should have stepped back and watched rather than inject himself into something no-outsider can help.

I don’t condone the actions of anyone harassing co-workers or in the home or in public, and I even recognize the harassment can work both ways, but leading the cause for the purpose of making personal headlines is sad at best.

Lets get back to what matters most to City residents…Jobs, Taxes and Safety.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Little by little, the City of Kingston is becoming a model city. It wasn’t too long ago that our image was that of Old School “Good Ol’ Boys” Politics and Ethnic ties took priority over good sense.

With the recent past city wide protest of the “White Supremist” rally and the significant upgrade to our Human Rights Mission, we see signs of maturity.

Now, through unfortunate circumstances, we have implemented Sexual Harassment Classes and all city employees are ordered to take them. What transpired between city employees is unfortunate and until the case is settled, all parties involved have soul-searching to do.

Demonstrations in support of administrative action, are a good civic exercise and allows an emotional release for the public. The gathering at City Hall showed us there were issues of concern either real or imagined by our citizens regarding the speed of the investigations. I would remind everyone that this process is slow and of an intimate nature. Calling for resignations or firings at this stage is premature.

Regarding the classes, the Mayor said in the Freeman: "I do not believe this training has ever been offered by any administration in the past or that any type of training of his nature took place." I have to agree that we have not offered such classes, but there should be a degree of civil discourse in any workplace. Our hiring practices have changed significantly since Sottile took office.

The Mayor was quoted: “There are two sides to every story.” Again, even though Jim and I haven’t been speaking, I have to agree with this as well.

All of us have heard that the “fake breast” (I can’t believe I just wrote that) had been in the DPW offices since the mid 90s and the banter between the employees involved has escalated in the last year. So where does truth end and storytime begin? I don’t know and neither do you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


The political season is hardly a time for weak spirits. The New York State Assembly races are no different.

Robin Yess, of Esopus, has announced that she will run for Assembly, here in our 101st district against long time incumbent Kevin Cahill.

The district is huge, with most of Ulster County, part of Dutchess and stretching west for another hour by Rt. 28, I would say today’s gas prices are enough of a deterrent to running for such a seat, never mind the popularity of our current Assemblyman.

Yess founded the NY Property Tax Reform Coalition in 2006. If you ask around, you’ll find that taxpayers of all stripes are on board with that, including Kevin. I have a PROPERTY TAX REFORM sign in front of my house. That doesn’t make me any less progressive.

I support Cahill and expect him to keep his seat in the Assembly, he has a long history of success during his tenure, but having an opponent with financial experience in the private sector will alter the dialog in this and other campaigns.

The taxpayers are hurting, Robin and Kevin will focus on issues of the wallet this summer, and if all the members in the Assembly and State Senate feel our pain, they may have more incentive to change course in Albany.

Monday, May 19, 2008


So, you’re heading to Lake George for the weekend. You’ve got the fishing gear ready, car just had a tune-up, weather is lookin good and there’s no sign of the mother-in-law.
Wouldn’t it be great to know if your driving route had no delays in-store?

Well, great news! The State of New York has just launched a traffic alert system that provides real-time information about delays on New York’s highways. Can you believe it?

The system is called TransAlert, (that’s simple) and it sends e-mail or cell-phone text messages to subscribers to let them know when there are significant travel disruptions, such as highway accidents or lane closures. (how about speed traps?)

Drivers can customize the service, which is free, to receive statewide alerts or narrow the service by county.
This information is already distributed through the state Emergency Management Office’s electronic alert system, it’s just a matter of modifying the apparatus and providing access to the public.

If you have a cell phone with good service in New York, you can have the most reliable travel info in real-time courtesy of the state. Now, what about finding the cheapest gas prices?
Drivers can sign up for the traffic alerts at

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Organ harvesting is the new fountain of youth and it’s happening more than you think.

Human rights groups and numerous media outlets across the world have conducted stealth investigations into the rumored practices at Chinese prisons.

There are 36 death camps in China, where organs are taken while prisoners - many young and healthy people abducted by authorities - are still alive.

Arent the 2008 Olympics in China?

To paraphrase what I read in the AP story, these captives are put on display for viewing by potential organ buyers where they pick the donor that suits them.

The highest number of organs come from the Falun Gong practitioners. The healthiest source of body parts: they eat right, exercise, meditate, and are hooked on Buddhist values with a bit of Tao and Confucianism thrown in. It's all about physical and spiritual health and fitness to Falun Gong.

Get this, If you need a heart, a kidney, brain tissue or a new eye retina - you just contact one of the numerous hospitals advertising transplant services in China. If quality donors are scarce, they simply arrest a few healthy people that fit the bill.

Some of you may have seen TOURISTA in the theater? That was old school. This is sanctioned and funded by the Chinese government.

In China, people are arrested for spitting, as well as speaking against the communist leadership. Most convictions end in the death sentence. You are kept alive until someone completes their order, then off to midnight surgery where you never wake up.

The AP report noted that the survival period for a kidney is between 24-48 hours and a liver about 12 hours.
This is stated on the China International Transplantation Network Assistance Centre (CITNA) Website, "Before the living kidney transplantation, we will ensure the donor's renal function...So it is more safe than in other countries, where the organ is not from a living donor."

Chinese hospitals have been privatized, so the transplant centers are in military institutions, financed by organ transplant recipients. The money is used for the overall military budget.

Today, China is the world center for organ transplants, and executes more people every year than the rest of the world together. By ignoring these atrocities of Human Rights and contributing in the 2008 Olympics, we send a clear message of impunity. Why is that?

So many of our large US Corporations and Iconic buildings are owned by Chinese business, while our unfair trade policies are pushing manufacturing to Chinese poverty camps to provide the US consumer cheap goods at WalMart.

Face it America, they own us already.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Last Thursday, the Laws & Rules Committee discussed and passed the legislation to toughen the laws on troublesome properties. Titled the Public Nuisance Abatement Law, law enforcement officers will have a more refined tool to handle repeat offender properties.

The City of Kingston will have the ability to zero in on the owners of properties where the police department responds to chronic complaints of criminal activity.

Former D.A. Donald A. Williams, touted the measure as an upgrade to several laws on the books, but will help the city and its residents deal more effectively with properties that engage in drug dealing and prostitution.

A special panel of appointed experts will hear complaints and try to resolve the problems before they become criminal matters and there are fines attached if you don’t comply with the noted infractions within 30 days.
One such punishment for ignoring the subpoena would be seizure of the property.

One of the contributing factors is the lack of information on applicants. Being a landlord, I have some wild stories about those tenants who slipped through my own screening process and became a living nightmare. This is where my friend Don Ryan comes in.

Civil Officer Donald Ryan said he will help landlords to better screen tenants, modify lease agreements to better prepare for evicting tenants who commit crimes.
During my last few tenant placements, Don helped me avoid some possible problems. I am grateful for his help. But I am a landlord whom actually cares about my neighborhood.
For those landlords who don’t, this law will help the neighbors who suffer the continual abuse of an absentee landlord or owner-occupant bringing down their quality of life.

Amen to that.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


US Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, has penned a new & revised version of the G.I. Bill.

With strong bi-partisan support, this upgrade should be an easy win. But we are talking about Washington DC.
Webb, a Vietnam Veteran, is the only sitting Senator with a son serving in Iraq, so he follows the welfare of our troops in a much more personal way than most.

What Webb doesn’t understand is why this generation of veterans, who are struggling with higher education tuitions is not on the national radar screen. You would think the two Democratic primary candidates would take up the issue, but even with the slumping economy and two occupations abroad, you hear nothing.

The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, aka GI Bill, provided for college or vocational education for returning World War II veterans as well as one year of unemployment compensation. Granted, the cost of a semester in college in ‘44 is quite different than today, but so is the demand for skilled graduates in today’s workforce. The GI Bill also provided low interest loans for returning veterans to buy homes and start businesses, try that with a national bank today.

Almost all US Senators and House Reps have signed on and is being sent to the President. Guess who has trouble with this proposal?

John McCain. No stranger to the veterans struggles in our tough economy, but he claims it would be too expensive to administer at this time. Stay tuned… McCain will have a change of heart and get on board. Someone will remind him that investing in our returning servicemen & women is one factor in getting our country’s economy and pride back on track.


Donations being accepted for the Clinton campaign for President in 2012 againt John McCain!

With the few remaining primaries ahead and little chance that Hillary will convince the SDs to award her the nom, Obama is sure to be the Democratic challenger to John McCain.

I suspect, McCain will win this November for the very reason I supported Clinton for the nomination. Obama is not quite ready for prime time.

To the left is a picture of Obama with Rev Wright back in less troubled times. I took down the PhotoShop picture of Obama because it skates to close to racism. Even with my history of Human Rights support, it was too much for some readers. Sorry.

So why is Hillary still in this? To make it quite clear that she will be the nominee in 2012.

I agree with this strategy. "Keep On Keepin On", as they say. Women will look back for years to come and see how far she got, and have a sense of pride. All the negative feelings will fade and like in, "The way we were" we will only remember the happy times. Well thats the plan anyway.

Unless the impossible happens and Obama picks Clinton as VP, this long distance prediction is how I see it.

I only wish I were wrong.