Thursday, October 29, 2009


Richard Trumka, the President of the AFL-CIO, couldn't help but pre-empt his own Washington DC speech with a press release. He states: To our nation’s peril, the free trade orthodoxy continues to ignore a fundamental economic fact: It matters where things are made. Over the past decade, the U.S. industrial base has suffered an unprecedented decline. The loss of more than 5 million manufacturing jobs and the closure of over 50,000 manufacturing facilities have undermined our nation’s technical capacity to innovate and to make things, while at the same time decimating our middle class.

I would have to agree whole heartedly on this one. The way the rules of trade are laid out currently, large corporate short-term profits drive good jobs offshore while stock traders reward corporate leadership for their efforts with inflated worth and stock options. It's spelled GREED.

Richard points out that: Outside of the US, governments see manufacturing as key to long-term growth, and they target investment in industries and technology. In contrast, the U.S. government abandoned strategy to market forces and left workers and communities hanging without a safety net.

Have any of you bothered to check where the products you buy are made or assembled? I'll give you three guesses...Tick - times up! Just venture uptown Kingston... Pick any novelty gift shop and start your research. You'll see plenty of Chinese and Indonesian made goods right on Wall St.

The owners of these shops plea for the locals to buy locally, yet they don't practice their own rhetoric. Isn't that a drag? If Trumka had his way, everything uptown would be made in America but with a 20% mark up. I would look for and pay the extra for just that reason.

A few years ago, I went on a scouting mission. I checked out some of the big box stores. One of which was Bed Bath & Beyond in Ulster. Checked the selection and found the only product made in USA was the Kitchen Aid mixer. Come to find out, their biggest assembly site is a mile across and strattles the Texas/Mexico border. Guess where the majority of the assembly is done?

So Trumka has a point. Until we address where we make stuff, alter our free trade structure, and make the effort to buy American made products, we are never going to get out of the economic hole we are in. He states: Governments must restructure and regulate financial systems so that long-term investment is rewarded and gambling is not subsidized. We must use our financial resources to develop and deploy domestically-produced technology and, if there is better technology overseas, use our financial leverage to get those production systems located here.

So, you all have a homework assignment; Go out there, hit the stores and find the American made products that remain. Consider the slightly higher cost and then think about the dwindling workforce here in our country. I for one, still think where something is made matters.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


In a recent edition of the Kingston High School newspaper, they featured an article on TEXTING. This growing trend in communication for teenagers and college students has surpassed the actual phone call and Email to reach someone.

What the article didn't mention is the growing use of Texting in the global corporate world. That is; outside of the United States. Ranking last in this group are American business execs. It's hard to explain considering a text is the fastest form of communication ever invented, and also the most discrete form of electronic communication in existence.

One AP story I found thought to add Texting to: "Things My Teenager Can Do That I Can't." For those of us who have young adults in the house, you'd agree that they can whip out their phone and text their friends without looking at the damn thing.

One servey looked at European countries and found that half of British teenagers admit to sending text messages while they talk to another person. Does that happen at your dinner table? I bet it doesnt...If you can tell.

So whats the upside and why should American Execs join the Text phenom? Answer: the average e-mail is opened within 48 HOURS. Sure some of us who have incorporated Email into our continual routine, like us politicians and Bloggers, it still works. But for the most part, the estimate is spot on.

A text message however, is immediate. Instant. It's there, on your phone. It's undeniable. Try to ignore it and the phone will annoy you until you've opened the text. Hateful.

To give you an idea of how other countries have better embraced this form of communication, I found that the Finnish Prime Minister's voicemail greeting urges people to leave him a text rather than a voicemail or email. This I found in one of those random articles on Google and I had to laugh. Oh sorry [lol]

Another reason I like text messaging is they can be silent. A quick note you could get when chatter is inappropriate. The one article I found in a past Washington Journal had this to say about the corporate benefits:

You can send a text message and it arrives immediately. Immediately into the meeting where phones are on silent. Immediately while he is talking to your competitor on the other line. He can read your message while he is carrying on the other conversation. Even if that person's phone is turned off, the moment it comes on again, your text message arrives. No need to check voicemail. Just read a quick note.

So it's no wonder this issue came up in a school paper. With about 3 Billion cell phone users, the number of students using them has got to surpass those who don't. Worldwide, about half of those phones are active texters. The problem arises when you use them when your attention should be elsewhere. You saw the PSA Video I posted a few weeks ago regarding driving while texting. It was brutal and hard to watch, but it got the message clear.

Now if we could only text people during the GOTV efforts leading up to election day. Hmmm


The source document for this article is from the official United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq. I have merely pasted the article I found on the Huffington Post below:

Article 31 of the Iraqi Constitution, drafted with the help of the Bush administration in 2005 and ratified by the Iraqi people, includes state-guaranteed (single payer) healthcare for life for every Iraqi citizen.

Article 31 reads: "First: Every citizen has the right to health care. The State shall maintain public health and provide the means of preventio
n and treatment by building different types of hospitals and health institutions.

Second: Individuals and entities have the right to build hospitals, clinics, or private health care centers under the supervision of the State, and this shall be regulated by law." There are other health care guarantees, including special provisions for children, the elderly, and the handicapped elsewhere in the 43-page document.

Under force of arms, President Bush imposed his particular idea of democracy on a people not asking for it - perhaps a nob
le undertaking in one context and a criminal violation of international law in another. Bush's followers are proud of the Iraqi Constitution, a model for the world, they told us.

So, according to the American political right-wing, government-guaranteed health care is good for Iraqis, but not good for us. Not good for you. They decry even a limited public option for you, but gleefully imposed upon the Iraqis what they label here as "socialism," with much Democratic Party member support.

Indeed, reading the Iraqi Constitution so near to the 8th anniversary of September 11, 2001 is instructive. It is the very definition of American right-wing hypocrisy.
We have (thus far) sacrificed more blood to wrest Iraq from tyranny than w
e lost on 9/11.
In addition, according to the Congressional Research Service, as of May 15, 2009 (Report 7-5700/RL33110) we have spent and/or authorized $864 Billion in military operations on Operation Enduring Freedom, which includes Iraq and Afghanistan. The overwhelming majority of those funds have been for the war in Iraq. Additional secret funding has been authorized for intelligence and special operations. The total is more than (or, in the worst case, equal to) the funding required to guarantee minimally decent health care here.

In other words, the most senior members of the Republican establishment - and
some Democrats like Max Baucus (D-MT) - have gladly spent more taxpayer funds to ensure health care as a Constitutional right in Iraq than they are willing to spend to give you any level of guaranteed coverage.

Most of our Representatives and Senators have voted to fund the war in Iraq. By default, they feel Iraqi Single Payer health care as a civil right for them. More than 40 Senators in DC feel Americans deserve less of an option even though 73% of the American public now sees the public option of national healthcare as a must.

So you can follow this issue further: Mark Dorlester was the author of this piece. You can find the original and embedded links here:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Tell me the people in Albanyland have lost their minds! As part of the new budget for 2010, both houses and the Governor have included a mandatory trade-in of all vehicle licence plates starting in April. At a cost!

For $25 dollars, you will have the privilege of heading to DMV and handing in your old ones for the new ones. There's no indication as to the design they have in mind. Their excuse? The reflective coating has worn off by now.

In reality; this is just another way of opening our wallets to offset the fiscal travesty the State is facing. But on the drivers in New York State? Thats almost as absurd at the commuter tax they levied on the residents along the Metro North railway. Yeah, people who never ride the rail pay for the thing!

Anyway, I digress. In addition to the fee, there's another cost if you want to keep your old number or specialty plate after the exchange. Nice huh?

The New York State Association of County Clerks has also voiced its opposition to the plan, and the group's president, St. Lawrence County Clerk Patty Ritchie, began circulating an online petition this week to shore up opposition.

She said the association's effort was attracting attention from across New York, drawing more than 17,000 signatures as of early Friday afternoon.

The state expects to raise over $250 million over the next two years by rolling out the new plates. Do you see this as anything other than a new way for the state to take our money? How bout making the state more business friendly and get that damn commuter rail on this side of the river.

State lawmakers have already approved the license plate replacement program and would need to vote again to revoke the measure. Should we start calling them now?

Sign the petition at

Friday, October 23, 2009


Today we gather to pay our respects to a great man. A warm, giving and focused man who served the community he loved as only he could.

Phil Terpening is going to be missed. You've read it in several reports and will hear it from his closest friends. But I haven't had the long history that many who knew him so well had. But for the occasional moments I did engage Phil, I found him to be one of the most approachable members of the County Legislature.

He would take the time to listen to all who sought his advise or banter. He was a big man. I had hopes of serving with Phil for as he said, his last term on the Legislature. I wont have that chance.

But there is a greater loss for his brother and daughter who will feel his absence a great deal more than we will. Our warm thoughts go out to them on this sad day.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


As many of you are aware, off-duty police officers, their families and friends are as the Freeman puts it, "fanning out across the city." They are armed with petitions that object to the proposed lay-offs in their department.

I understand that hundreds have already signed the petitions and hundreds more are expected to. Feel free to add your signature to mine when they greet you at your door. As tough as this budget is, I know the importance of a police presence in a city like ours.

I had the distinct joy of visiting the city of Newburgh a few days ago to help my brother. I walked around the lower Broadway area by their DMV building in the safety of daylight. The Newburgh Council is laying off dozens of police officers in a town over-run with crime and gang violence. It doesn't make sense.

Above is a picture of Broadway in Newburgh in the safety of daylight.

The Freeman notes: Sottile and the union have been in talks to avoid the job cuts, but so far, the issue remains unresolved. Officers in vehicles patrolling the streets is my main concern. That is where I will engage the department.

The proposed 2010 City budget will be the subject of a public hearing November 5th in the main chambers of City Hall.

Even with the layoffs, Sottile’s budget proposes to raise the city property tax rate for homeowners by nearly 10 percent. But with further explanation from Comptroller John Tuey, the actual dollar impact to the taxpayer will show a 1.5 to 4.5% increase because the overall assessment of city properties has dropped in value compared to the 2009 rates.

The assesment rate and the tax increase kick in at the same time. A 10% increase on property that is 8% lower in assessed value results in a fraction of what the initial increase in payout to the taxpayer as reported by the papers.

As promised, I will continue to pass along the details of what the council discusses. On a different note: the national unemployment rate (according to the benefit applications) is just under 10% but with a slight drop in continued collections. Odd.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I am just discovering that two marketing giants Target and CVS have made a minor effort to decrease the use of plastic bags.

Target, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal, announced Monday plans to give customers a 5-cent discount for every reusable bag they use to pack their purchases.

The PJ also states: CVS plans to give participating customers $1 cash bonuses on their CVS cards every four times they buy something but don't request plastic bags.

There has been a push by some lawmakers and green advocacy groups in recent years to eliminate the plastic bag plague that is happening throughout the state. Every retailer seems to push their plastic bags like there is little effect on the environment and the wind hasnt put enough of them in the trees around our neighborhoods.

I know Gary Bischoff (D-Saugerties) has been a strong advocate for the U C Legislature to do something regarding the obvious push by these retail giants to get their bags out in the public, but the county may be surpassed by the retailers themselves who may see this green shift as a good public image campaign.

The PJ points out that these two retailer's action could nudge other big retailers to take similar steps to join the "non-bag" movement. I can affirm that bringing myown reusable bag to Stewarts and Hannaford makes me feel better about my personal effort. If they all tap into that potential as a marketing strategy, they are on the right path.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


The poverty rate in Ulster County has jumped significantly in the last year, from just under 11% to well over 12%. In New York State, 13.6% of us earned less last year than the federal poverty level, currently defined as $10,830 for an individual, $14,570 for a couple and $22,050 for a family of four. Hard to fathom isn't it? I mean, you are earning enough to have Internet service, so you might not grasp what poverty is.

In neighboring counties such as Sullivan: the rate jumped from under 14% to over 17%. Orange County decreased the level from 10.5% t
o about 9%. [Lucky them] The financial collapse in Newburgh will probably send that right back up by next spring.

The formula that helps distinguish what we call poverty is based on the cost of living in each of the counties listed here. However it doesn't account for families collecting from Social Services and/or collecting unemployment and food stamps to offset their means.

Applications for such services continue to mount throughout the state. The Hudson Valley is no exception. The dependence on food pantries and HEAP stipends is gaining in demand while the working poor struggle in a state that is bleeding manufacturing jobs, quality schooling and affordable housing.

There are over 180,000 people in Ulster County. More than 20,000 are at or under the poverty rate. 6,000 of those are children. The estimated number of uninsured in Ulster County is 26,000. This is just one factor leading to the high rate of low birth-weight in the area. About 8.5%. It's also a key factor in why many firms will not consider our county for relocation.

What does all this mean?? It means the time to invest in the betterment of our community is now. Those who have the task of making spending decisions, such as myself, have to work with other municipalities and the County to decrease spending and focus on the assets we have in Ulster.

People don't want canned answers to these questions. I suggest being clear on our intent on the county level regarding just what we intend to do about it. Commuter rail and solar energy models may be great long term plans [I've supported them here numerous times] But the effort to keep the lower middle class from slipping into the "hard to escape" cycle of poverty should be the same level of concern as keeping the tax increases to a minimum.

On a closing note: I do hope the Governor reconsiders his drastic cuts to housing and higher education for the 2010 budget. Our climb away from these statistics and the resurgence of a strong business community in Kingston and beyond depends on it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Here is an article in the Washington Times exposing a change in policy coverage for New Yorkers: Enlightening.

Ian Pearl has fought for his life every day of his 37 years. Confined to a wheelchair and hooked to a breathing tube, the muscular dystrophy victim refuses to give up. But his insurance company already has.

Legally barred from discriminating against individuals who submit large claims, the New York-based insurer simply canceled lines of coverage altogether in entire states to avoid paying high-cost claims like Mr. Pearl's.

In an e-mail, one Guardian Life Insurance Co. executive called high-cost patients such as Mr. Pearl "dogs" that the company could "get rid of."

A federal court quickly ruled that the company's actions were legal, so on Dec. 1, barring an order by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Mr. Pearl will lose his benefits. So will those who fit the same criteria.

Most of his medical treatment costs account for 'round the clock, in-home nursing care - for operation of his ventilator, hourly breathing treatments and continuous intravenous medication.

A Guardian spokesman said policies such as Mr. Pearl's - which offered unlimited home nursing - had simply become too expensive for new small-business customers to buy, and that even Medicaid and Medicare do not cover 24-hour home nursing. His parents, Warren and Susan Pearl of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said their health insurance premiums had risen over the years to $3,700 a month.

As a last resort, Mr. Pearl would be admitted to a state hospital under Medicaid. But the Pearls consider that a death sentence.

I thought it would be a good subject to discuss here.


Well, you've heard the impending increases rumoured for weeks. Now the papers have the hard copy that the Mayor intends to offer the Council. Makes a life threatening story for the people of this city.

Cutting Police Officers, accepting the early retirements of several Fire Fighters and shutting sown the programs in our Recreation department. You might think this is the end
of the process, but it isn't. Now it's up to the Aldermen to slash what's left.

We are faced with property taxes up by nearly 10 percent and eliminating 28 full-time jobs. There will be plenty of overtime to cover those police shifts. I'm not sure this will be the end result after we get our hands on it.

The public wants to know what we are going to do with the Fire Department. That too is part of the continuing debate amongst the nine of us.

The Mayor was quoted: “This is obviously the most difficult budget that I have had to put together in my tenure as mayor." I would have to agree with him. This has been a perfect storm brewing for quite a while. We all watched as the pieces fell together since last fall. Now we are faced with the repercussions of a failed Federal and State economy, where neither the City of Kingston, nor any other towns in Ulster County can ignore serious course corrections.

You'll notice that next years budget is lower than this year. That doesn't dismiss your tax increase. A little more than half of the budget is revenue based. Monies come in through fees, payments, property sales, mortgage & sales tax revenue. With a good portion coming from the State and Fed. When those income levels drop, the burden shifts to the property owners to make up the missing revenue.

You didn't need a budget lesson here. You need US to set a course that runs the city safely and efficiently, without taxing the citizens out of their homes. We've done this before and we'll do it again. Not to this extent of course, but you should expect no less from us on the Council.

The Mayor pointed out that the rising pension and medical insurance costs, along with declining sales and mortgage tax revenues, are to blame for much of the city’s weak financial condition. We know the pension loss is tied very closely to the stock market. The medical costs...well, just follow the national headlines and watch the Congress squander an opportunity to make that less expensive and the sale of housing in Kingston? An all time low. Fewer people are willing to part with their hard earned cash at the local market, never mind buy a new house.

All I can say is allow us the next few months to digest this document and make the changes we deem possible. Now that the budget process has been shifted to the Council, I will delve more into the process here online.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Sunday, October 11, 2009


St John's Episcopal Church will once again have it's annual Harvest Ham Dinner on Tuesday, October 27th from 5 - 7pm.
It is an important fundraising event that helps the parish while providing an excellent opportunity for all the candidates to mix it up with the community in a less formal setting.

As many of you know, St John's is also the location of Angel Food East, the ministry that provides fresh meals to AIDS patients throughout our area. The meals offered during the event will be prepared by the same volunteers that make those meals and you have the opportunity to thank them for their selfless service while purchasing several extra meals, destined to feed their clients.

The number of meals served may reach 300, so get there early, get cozy with your running mates and opponents for a good cause. Meals are $14 a plate. Be careful parking on Albany Avenue.

Angel Food East Inc


With the skirmish on healthcare reform still raging in Washington, another voice from New York offers support for the working class. Our Junior Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand has joined 29 other Democratic senators in insisting that legislation to overhaul the nation’s health care system includes a government-run “public option” for medical insurance.

The Senate Finance Committee is set to vote on a health care overhaul package in two days. Gillibrand and the others made their views known to Harry Reid in hopes to persuade the outcome in the last minute.

The public option would suppress costs by increasing competition with private insurers. Opponents say the Public option would create an unfair competitive advantage over the private insurance firms. You know, they need the 3% increase in profits annually or their stockholders may spark a wholesale in stock sales.

In one Westchester paper, Gillibrand said: “We cannot have a system in which the only choice is private plans. Everyone should have the option of buying into a not-for-profit public plan at a rate that they can afford.”

Who among us doesn't know just how few options there are in the insurance market? Many states are dominated by a just a handful of for-profit health insurers with the suits deciding who gets the services they need.

Those of us without any health insurance are merely coasting toward the inevitable crisis that will wipe out all of our savings and bring us to bankruptcy. Having an affordable option, which scares the bejesus out of the Insurance Company supporters, would provide enough of us with the security to raise a family without the fear of losing our homes.

The letter to Reid is posted on a few News sites. You can find it easily, but let me include the piece that's going around the twitter world: “It is possible to create a public health insurance option that is modeled after private insurance — rates are negotiated and providers are not required to participate in the plan. The public plan would report to taxpayers, not to shareholders, and the public plan would be available continuously in all parts of the country.”

What many people are asking is where is Schumer on this? Why isn't his signature on the letter and when will he join the chorus of consumer advocates, health officials and economists who share this desire for public affordable healthcare?

Friday, October 09, 2009


This is a sign on Washington Avenue at the corner of Grandma Brown Lane. It was installed and run through a testing period much the same way we tested the Wall/N Front St traffic management issue.

In a few days, this sign will be gone. Although it was installed with good intentions, the affect it has on traffic during the day has been quite negative.
We didn't get the same amount of press on this one, so I thought I'd throw it out there for the weekend.

Are there any other traffic issues I should address before I leave the council?

Thursday, October 08, 2009


It seems unreal. Ulster County will have an actual physician heading the county's Health Department. The wild notion of initiating a worldwide search was usually a metaphor for calling your unemployed cousin in the next town. But in this case, it couldn't be more real.

I'm reading in the Freeman that Executive Hein, with the help of his staff, has selected Dr. La Mar Hasbrouck out of a long list of applicants and will introduce the good doctor via tele-conference next Wednesday.

I'm looking at the credentials here on the screen and find myself astonished that someone with these worldly experiences could be heading a department in Ulster County. He currently runs a national office in South America for the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. And he wants to come here?

Executive Hein got in his quote:
“Dr. Hasbrouck is an incredible addition to the Ulster County team as we look to transform the county Health Department into a truly top-notch health organization. He has deep experience in the public health sector both nationally and globally. I felt like Dr. Hasbrouck was a perfect fit and has the experience to implement my administration’s goal of making Ulster County the healthiest county in the state.”

If you can get past the mandatory negative stuff about Palen in the paper, you'll read about where Dr. Hasbrouck has been and what he has been a part of for the last decade. Amazing background.

With a roughly $5 million budget, about 80 employees, and the daunting task of cleaning up the issues within the department, I'd say he has some serious work ahead of him. It may not be the honorable position with the CDC’s Global AIDS Program that he had in Guyana, but the challenge will place him at the head of the table when it comes to the health of Ulster County.

I'm looking forward to meeting Dr. Hasbrouck in November.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Amazing that it took as long as it did. The changes made to the drug laws in New York State went into effect Wednesday. Placing discretion back in it's rightful place. With the judges.

Having the ability to place non-violent drug offenders into treatment centres rather than the traditional incarceration facilities has been a continued plea by most judges throughout the state since the draconian laws went into effect.

The Rockefeller Drug Laws dictated a "One sentence fits all" approach to be administered by the courts. These modifications eliminate some mandatory minimum sentences that judges were limited to, and gives them the option of allowing eligible drug-addicted defendants to participate in a treatment programs.

One of the few notable comments from our Governor came in the form of a quote:
“Under the Rockefeller Drug Laws, we did not treat the people who were addicted; we locked them up under some of the nation’s harshest sentences. Families were broken, money was wasted and we continued to wrestle with the statewide drug problem.”

Don't think there wasn't strong opposition to the changes. From what I've read, the state's District Attorneys Association opposed the legislation with a passion. The DAA is uncomfortable having Judges make decisions that may differ to what they consider hard line penalties. They cite the lack of clear standards set for drug treatment statewide.

From what public health and rehab officials have told me, we greatly under-utilize our drug rehab options and instead favor the "Lock Em Up" mentality that developed since the 70's. We've since filled our county jails across the state with non-violent drug addicts that could have been treated and sent out to have productive lives.

Instead, we have 20 something pot-heads doing time and then after serving, release a hardened criminal back to society. If you look this up on the AP you'll see there are about 2,000 felons that could presumably petition to have their cases reconsidered, whereas the courts would have to weigh these new standards in doing so. Half are from the NY Metro area.

I know that sounds threatening, but according to that same article, there are re-entry plans for obtaining housing, jobs, training, treatment and other services once they are released back into the community.

I guess this brings an additional question to the Ulster County Jail issue. Our push to build a new one was predicated on the idea that we didn't have the space to serve our needs in incarceration. (that and the poor conditions) With the possible decrease in Felony charges and more toward the rehabilitation of the non-violent offenders, will this open up more space at the jail?

Monday, October 05, 2009


Industrial plants are again the focus of the Environmental Protection Agency. (As they should be) Last week, the EPA announced that any plant that produces 25,000 tons of "greenhouse gas" per year will be required to make the upgrades to the most efficient technology available each time they either build new or significantly modify their plant.

The list of sites include power plants, factories and refineries across the country.It is estimated that such industries are responsible for almost 70% of the greenhouse gas emissions that are released in the U.S.

When I saw the twitter post on this, I looked up the EPA online and found a quote from the EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. She said: "By using the power and authority of the Clean Air Act, we can begin reducing emissions from the nation's largest greenhouse gas-emitting facilities without placing an undue burden on the businesses that make up the vast majority of our economy,"

When she said the businesses that make up the vast majority, she meant the local coffee shops and hair salons at the street level. When the remaining 30% of the greenhouse gas is a result of domestic livestock droppings, our efforts to diminish our carbon footprint locally (however noble an effort) might look small when compared to the unregulated contributors that have caused the most carbon and methane offences for decades.

Considering how much flack the Obama Administration got this spring for pushing the car industry to lower their emissions standards for cars and trucks, I'm sure the EPA will be blasted for trying to cut industrial pollution as well.

I know I don't have to tell anyone that certain Senate members are struggling to block any authority of the EPA to regulate smoke stacks anymore than they already do. Look no further than where their contributions come from and who lobbies them the most, and you'll see who I referr to.

I point this out to the local community because I know there are so many grass roots efforts to diminish our footprint both municipal and private, that struggle because of the cost associated with the effort.
I dont advocate stopping the effort, but want to point out who the major "greenhouse gas" producers are and know that this type of regulation has been in need of an upgrade for a long time.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


The YWCA does a special dinner every year at Wiltwyck Country Club to recognize the prominent women in the Kingston area. Each year brings the opportunity to highlight the programs and goals that each of the nominees are involved in.

One of the ten award winners was our very own Rebecca Martin from Ward Nine. A blues vocalist and recent transplant from NYC, Rebecca has been recognized for the tireless effort she invests in making our Ward and city better for all who live here. Through community events, connecting the citizenry and keeping a close eye on the workings at City Hall, Rebecca has proven herself to be a worthy player in the civic circles throughout the city.

I can only say that it is so fitting that members of the Ward Nine Neighborhood Group nominated her and that she recieved the warm acknowlegment from the YWCA community. With several tables having supporters of all the award winners, the hootin & hollerin from around the room, mixed with exhaustive clapping, made some of the staff cover their ears every time someones name was announced. Rebecca's name was no different. What an enthusiastic crowd!

I expect, once completely over her flu, she'll be right back on track, working with anyone who wants to help in the fight to make Ward Nine and the City of Kingston a better place to work & raise a family.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Ulster County Budget 2010

So, our County Executive and his staff have offered the Legislature a budget with an increase under 4%. In these disastrous economic times, that is astonishing.

What's even more revealing is his ability to cut county jobs to make this happen. Trimming government jobs through attrition and layoffs may sound painful, but it is so overdue.

The county's Way & Means Committee will now have their stab at the document. Whether they find more cuts or put back s
ome of the employees will be up to the committee starting the 30th. I'm sure the members will be reviewing the options amongst themselves in the coming weeks.

Without seeing the document myself, I was told the board of Elections will be missing a few employees as a part of the personnel cuts. Lay-offs reaching 30+ will send a number of former employees either heading south or visiting the very programs that were administered by the county to make ends meet. Not what anyone wants to hear.

The county budget is 10 times the size of the City of Kingston, but with less than 10% of the county's population, the burden is much greater per city household. Let's not forget just how many of those households are outside of the tax base in Kingston.

The future isn't pretty here in Kingston. I would count my lucky stars that the Legislators are starting with a 3.5 increase to try and trim, we Aldermen will not be so lucky. If our Mayor hasn't drawn enough blood from the budget when it gets to us, we will set to the task of choosing who to lay off and what programs to cut. Dont expect me to bring anyone back this time.

Congrats to Mike Hein & Co. for this offering during this crucial financial crunch. A higher number was expected. Not that I wanted any increase at all, but...