Wednesday, March 31, 2010


So it looks like we made a mistake last week when we altered the resolution regarding the Rail Trail. The latest skuttle is about whether we, as a legislative body, are entitled to create a committee to micro-manage the construction of the trail along Rt 209.

As I get familiarized with the saga pertaining to old rail beds and the hikin
g groups that want to utilize them, I find that this has been a never ending process that has out lived some of the proponents. There are some folks who want to pull out all the rails and scream at the thought of ever sharing the beds with trains. Then there are others who wont give up on the dream of one day riding from Kingston to Roxbury. I would fall into the latter group.

This rail bed in question holds neither of those arguments because this one is but a faint memory of it's early history. It serves as a path from Kingston to Hurley. The fight today is not about the $140K that is to be used for the design, but about who gets to chose the committee members responsible for the planning. The $140K just for planning.

The push to get the trail open along the rail bed is to increase the availability of health walking space in areas of the county. The County Exec and the Legislature both want additional opportunities to exercise and letting proponents of walking trails do the "leg work" makes sense.

Mike Hein was quoted: “I am in complete agreement with the core intent of this legislation, to be able to support the construction of a connection rail trail that is important to the trail system and is consistent with our desire to make Ulster County the healthiest county in New York state.”

As much as all of us are willing to work toward a solution to this administrative mess, we also acknowledge that there are still areas within the new charter that require review. Had this been looked at a bit closer before voting on the measure, I'm sure we would have come to a more unified conclusion. Speaking only for myself, I didn't see a problem with Rob Parete's amendment, turns out there was an issue, but then that's what our legal council was supposed to pick up. I miss Dan.

Maybe the rail Trail advocates would like to help me clean out the Rail tunnel under Delaware Avenue right here in Kingston?


OK, as a progressive Blog, you know that the disasters that happen to the not-so-progressive portion of the political world end up as literary fodder on blogs such as mine. Details about the great Sean Hannity and his 501(c)3 charity scam fall into that category. So here goes:

Accusations against Sean, Olie North, and their Freedom Alliance charity have mounted during the week. There's increasing outrage from concerned citizens of every stripe because of what looks like Hannity’s mis-use of the organization's funds. You see, Freedom Alliance is supposed to be a not-for-profit with their mission being to raise money for wounded Veteran's children. They produce concerts and set the money raised aside to help these families.

A grass roots organization called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) have formally filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the IRS for what it described as Freedom Concert’s
“illegal and deceptive marketing practices by suggesting that all money generated by ticket sales for the Freedom Concerts he sponsors each summer goes to scholarships for children of killed and wounded service members.” Now why would they say that?

Surprize! Premiere Marketing actually puts on the concerts. It's solidly a for-profit company that manages the speech engagements for Sean Hannity. They take a huge cut out of the money raised at these "concerts" as administrative fees. When I say huge, I mean over 50%. It looks like a judge is going to have to decide if the 501(c)3 status is permitted when such a substantial amount is funnelled into the Freedom Cruises where Michael Steele and Newt Gingrich come on board and do their shtick.

So it turns out that yet another well intended organization ends up being a front for faux do-gooders to make money for personal gain. It's too bad because the concept is ideal. Producing events to help put offspring of wounded or killed military personnel through college is a noble cause.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW says: “There is much more that will be revealed in the coming days. Most importantly, people will soon have some substantive action taken to ensure money donated to helping veterans and their families actually goes toward that cause rather than feeding into Premiere Marketing and funding politics." I understand some of the artists that participated aren't pleased to hear this either.

It seems the former GOP Chairman in Florida, Jim Greer is facing similar charges regarding the mis-management of funds while he was in that top spot. He has since resigned his post. You can be sure that Sean Hannity will do no such thing. It's just as well because we need him right where he and Glenn Beck can do what they do best.

One a closing note: an organization that I have promoted quite often is I think it's got a little more legitimacy at this point and they've done good things locally.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Although we are looking at another two days of rain early this week, it's a far cry from the worrisome wet season that was threatening our reservoir basin last month. Luckily the waters along the lower Esopus crested before wiping out another 200 homes.

As you'll read in the press, there was a renewed call for our government to help with the situation. Namely water level control at the Ashokan Reservoir and to determine what could be done to help those in chronic harms way.

Our State Senator, John Bonacic was quoted asking that more authority be exerted over the New York City DEP's policy so that flooding along the creek could be prevented. John is spot on. I agree that the managers of the Ashokan Reservoir could have been pre-emptive in their efforts to curtail what could have been much worse. I did read that the DEP was releasing extra water into the Esopus a few weeks prior, but it wasn't enough. How many of us remember the horrors of years past when homes were washed away with only modest warning?

Bonacic also said: “In December, you know that Mother Nature is coming, you know you are going to have snow. I don’t know if this late you’d have this much snow, I don’t think anyone anticipated that, but you’re going to have the April rains al
ways, and you have to keep the reservoir levels lower to prevent flooding. It’s a danger to people’s homes and a danger to people’s lives.”

When asked, Senatorial candidate Larry Delarose, noted that "Ours is not the only continually flooded area in the Hudson Valley. The fact that so many people built on properties that were just too close to estuaries, makes this a problem throughout the region." He added: "What impresses me is how John [Bonacic] is actively engaged in helping to find solutions to the problem, both with the Esopus watershed and the continued water contamination issue in the Wawarsing area along the leaking NYC Aqueduct. Options are limited, but when officials work with their constituents as he has, optimal outcomes are much closer to reality."

When Delarose speaks of public service, he fully understands what the job of State Senator entails. Look no further than the 42nd District and you'll see how a representative from either party should interact with his constituents. I tend to agree with him. Regardless of how they carry on in Albany, Bonacic has always served his district well.

Other quoted sources in the press seemed to imply that because of the DEP's arrogance, they place peoples lives and property at risk with disregard. I'd like to think they are just inept in their water management practices rather than suspecting the worst.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


So here we are, the few short days after the US Congress and President have initiated sweeping legislation on health insurance, and the cries for a militia uprising have become louder. As reported on the News and through the internet, there is a band of wildcats warning of the upcoming days of tyranny and that we should prepare our arsenal for the big fight.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Three Percent.

I kid you not. These are folks who are preparing to gather at a State Park in Virginia, the closest one to DC that allows firearms, on April 19th. Why April 19th? Because they celebrate the heroic act of Timothy McVeigh on that day in '95 when he blew up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City.

One of the featured speakers at this event? Mike Vanderboegh. He's the author of this strange manifesto that has caught the attention of the FBI in recent months. On his Blog, he writes:

We can emulate the Sons of Liberty of old.
We can break their windows.

These windows are n
ot far away from where you are reading this right now. In virtually every city and county in this land, there is a local headquarters of Pelosi's party -- the Democrat party. These headquarters invariably have windows.

When the Sons of Liberty wanted to express their opposition to the actions of the King's ministers, they would gather in front of the homes and offices of his tax-collectors and government officials in Boston or New York and break their windows. Glass was expensive. The King's minions were often the most well-to-do.

The Sons of Liberty hit them in their pocketbooks.
Before we have to resort to rifles to resist their "well intentioned" tyranny. This is
not to say that the GOP (I refuse to call them "Republicans" for that is a misuse of the word) does not bear a large measure of responsibility for the situation we find ourselves in today. However, they have opposed this Intolerable Act.

Yet, if we do a thorough job of breaking Democrat windows, I am sure that the GOP will profit from the example.
So, if you wish to send a message that Pelosi and her party cannot fail to hear, break their windows. Break them NOW.

Break them and run to break again. Break them under cover of night. Break them in broad daylight. Break them and await arrest in willful, principled civil disobedience. Break them with rocks. Break them with slingshots. Break them with baseball bats. But BREAK T

The time has come to take your life, your liberty and that of your children and grandchildren into your own two hands and ACT. It is, after all, more humane than shooting them in self defense. And if we do a proper job, if we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democrat party headquarters across this country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary.

Sons of Liberty, this is your time. Break their windows!

So, here we have Sarah Palin's Lock-n-load FaceBook comments, Glenn Beck advocating for street violence while at the same time as this "slack jaw" in Alabama is claiming credit for the dozen or so attacks on official properties across the country and advocating for more.

Someone should point out that while he's railing against the government and the evil takeover of health care, that his mere existence relies on his monthly disability check from...that same evil government he is speaking of.

April 19th...really?!


This Tuesday morning, I stopped at the Broadway Lights diner for a snack and there on the TV, was our President Obama, speaking to a crowd in the East Room. As I sat there, I got to witness him signing the landmark legislation that will affect everyone who has ever dealt with health insurance. That would be most of us.

Barack Obama, after thanking a number of key players in forming this legislation, signed this historic health care overhaul that is expected to guarantee coverage for an additional 32 million currently uninsured Americans. I watched the House proceedings on CSPAN Sunday night and had to
laugh at some of the rhetoric from some of the Representatives. I know that after showing their true colors during that session, many of them will have trouble back home in November. I loved the "Baby Killer" shout-out by Randy Neugebauer of Texas at Bart Stupak. Good stuff.

The Freeman pulled a good quote from the ceremony from the President:
"With all the punditry, all the lobbying, all the game-playing that passes for governing here in Washington, it's been easy at times to doubt our ability to do such a big thing, such a complicated thing, to wonder if there are limits to what we as a people can still achieve. We are not a nation that scales back its aspirations. We are not a nation that falls prey to doubt or mistrust. We don't fall prey to fear. We are not a nation that does what's easy. That's not who we are. That's not how we got here."

Watching this on the screen in the company of wait staff and some customers, It was quite surreal; considering everyone was pretty much in the working class category that this reform bill is intended to help. It's just odd knowing that there are people out there who truly believe this is the worst thing for Americans. That doing nothing would be better.

With decades of complete Republican control in both houses and the White House, there was little attempt to even mention reformation of health insurance, never mind act on it. Now, with the reality of just the opposite, there is action. Granted, it's not perfect. The bill is not the optimum "end all" reform bill that many of us wanted, but it's a terrific foundation of change in in a system that was destined to bankrupt most middle income households by the end of this decade.

After the President recited his list of the more immediate actions that the bill will provide, he sat down, signed the bill into law with a dozen pens and prompted thunderous applause by an audience overcome with jubilation, for rarely is it seen that something in Washington ever reaches some assemblage of completion. With the Reconciliation bill still heading toward the Senate, this occasion is about to set the election cycle into a very different outcome.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


As most of you know already, The Ulster County Legislature passed a memorializing resolution to support the latest version of the Belleayre Resort plans in Shandaken. Key word: memorializing.
The Resolution passed with three Nayes and one abstention, but not until the toothless legislation was argued about for 65 minutes.

Another memorializing Resolution that made it to the floor, was the opposition to the State mandating fair wages to temporary farm workers. Back and forth, back and forth.

That wasn't all. We closed with one more. This one was odd. It was a memorializing resolution to oppose the implementation of a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks in New York State. What was interesting, was that the legislation was worded improperly. Sponsored by Laura Petit, and offered by the Services & Ed Committee, the opposition is to a tax on all carbonated drinks. Carbonated! Who proof reads these things?

From an ABC report:
Paterson, with the support of both houses and notably Mayor Bloomburg has pushed for this new tax to help with the State budget, but sites the report, presented Friday at the American Heart Association's 50th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, which offers a picture of just how horrifying the damage done by excess consumption of sugary drinks can be.

Using a computer model and data from the Framingham Heart Study, the Nurses Health Study and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers estimated that the escalating consumption between 1990 and 2000 of soda and sugar-sweetened beverages, which they abbreviated as "SSBs," led to 75,000 new cases of diabetes and 14,000 new cases of coronary heart disease.

What's more, the burden of the diseases translated into $300 million to $550 million increase in health care costs between 2000 and 2010.

Like Rich Parete, I bring these examples to your attention, because we seem to take more time with memorializing resolutions with little meaning, than with the nuts-n-bolts that affect this county. And to think; I thought the Legislature would be different than the Common Council.


Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Sons Of Norway dinner held right here in Kingston. Sharing the German "Bergvagabunden" Lodge on Greenkill Avenue, the members gathered for the feast. Do we look hungry?

I was joined by members of my family (seen above) as well as some familiar faces around the City of Kingston. It is with great pride that I announce that my brothers and I are now members. And like the legendary Vikings of lore, we can eat!

My grandparents came over from Trondheim (pictured above) one of the numerous port cities in Norway. It may have been a smaller fishing port in the distant past, but today it is known as the Technology Centre of the country.

During the 8–11th centuries, United Norway was characterized by expansion and emigration by Viking Harald Fairhair who unified the kingdoms into one country after the Battle of Hafrsfjord, thus becoming the first king of a united Norway. Harald's realm was mainly a south Norwegian coastal region, but he ruled with such a strong hand that many Norwegians left the country to live in Iceland, Greenland and parts of Britain and Ireland. The modern-day Irish Limerick, Dublin and Waterford were founded by Norwegian settlers.

Upon the death of Haakon V, King of Norway, in 1319, three year-old Magnus Erickson inherited the throne as King Magnus VII. At the same time a movement to make Magnus King of Sweden proved successful. Thus, both Sweden and Norway were united under King Magnus VII.

Magnus ruled until 1350, when his son, Haakon, was placed on the throne. In 1363, Haakon married Margaret, the daughter of Danish King Valdemar. Upon the death of Haakon in 1379, their son, Olaf , who had already been elected to the throne of Denmark, united Denmark and united Norway under a single throne.

In 1814, the Kingdom of Norway broke away from Denmark after 400 years of being under Danish control. On May 17 of this year, a constitution was established by the Kingdom of Norway at the Constituent Assembly at Eidsvold, and, although a Norway was part of a kingdom with Sweden until 1905, Norway has chosen the Seventeenth of May (Syttende Mai) as its day of Independence.

There was a peaceful separation of Norway from Sweden in 1905. After a national referendum confirmed the people's preference for a monarchy over a republic, the Norwegian government offered the throne of Norway to the Danish Prince Carl. This marked the first time in over 500 years that Norway was independent again. Syttende Mai is celebrated in cities worldwide where larger populations of Norwegian immigrants still cluster.

Could we ever see such a Celebration in the City of Kingston? It would be a struggle to retain the locals who travel to Brooklyn each year, but maybe we could set aside a prior weekend festival downtown like we do for St Patricks Day and Cinco De Mayo. It would be interesting to see how much interest there might be for such an event.

You can learn more at

Monday, March 15, 2010


The Ancient Order of Hibernians orchestrated another successful St Patrick's Parade in the City of Kingston this Sunday; even as the sky opened up and rained like cats & dogs. Although there was one minor injury involving a teenager and a float, the overall parade occurred during a dry spell in the day.

Here are some pictures I took of the participants near the front of the first division. I hope you enjoy them.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Just as I suspected. There would come a time when the majority of the country would get tired of the Tea Party members claiming to speak for everyone. They don't. Lets welcome the Coffee Party!

It's a nice play on the Tea Party name, but has an authentic desire to join in coffee shops across the country to have rational conversation rather than chanting anti-Obama slogans. Imagine chatting with people who have shared your same disgust with the incendiary dialogue coming from those who oppose all things Washington and discuss common interests.

The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the chall
Ienges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.

I think this is a terrific idea, considering we have had neighborhood gatherings at select coffee shops through the years locally with notable success. We know the desire is there and we know the locations are available. With one serious addition...I like Coffee more than Tea.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


There has been a push in recent days to get a clearer picture of what the Health Care Reform proposal has to offer the American citizen. During the year long debate, the Democratic majority and the President lost the message war as the Republican Party of NO and the astroturf groups orchestrated by Big Pharma took to the streets and the airwaves chanting discouraging slogans and scaring uninformed seniors.

So as we head into the final week or so before the House votes for the already passed Senate Healthcare Bill, the public is getting one last blast of corrective language to better inform anyone who still has the desire to learn what's to come.

Americans across this country agree that our health care system is broken: Unaccountable insurance companies ration care, soaring premiums cripple the budgets of our businesses and families, and vital care remains out of reach for far too many. The time for change has come. President Obama’s final proposal incorporates the best ideas from both parties to put Americans in control of our own health care.

Here is what Obama's Plan is expected to do:


• You will never be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions
• You will never be hit with arbitrary premium hikes
• You will never see your coverage revoked just when you get sick or injured
• You will never face unlimited out-of-pocket expenses for your care


• If you like your current doctor and you like your current plan, you keep them.
• Uninsured individuals and small business owners will become part of a powerful negotiating pool, just like members of Congress and other federal employees, lowering prices and increasing choice.
• Struggling middle-class families will receive a tax credit to make coverage even more affordable – the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history.


• We’ll save billions of dollars every year by reducing waste and abuse in our current system.
• We’ll save and create millions of jobs, raise wages and strengthen the economy.
• We’ll cut the deficit by nearly $1 trillion over two decades.

So you may ask, what if our elected leaders do nothing?

*Up to 17 million more people will be uninsured by 2019 than today.

*The average family's health care costs will nearly double by 2020, from $13,000 to $24,000 — meaning they'll be paying a quarter of their income toward health care costs.

*Insurers can continue the massive and arbitrary premium rate increases we've heard about recently — such as Anthem Blue Cross raising rates for customers in California by nearly 40%, and rates in Illinois going up by as much as 60%.

*As many as 275,000 people could die prematurely over the next 10 years because they don't have health insurance.

*Health care costs will take up a staggering amount of our national budget. In 1960, it was 5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), last year it was 17 percent. Costs will reach 21 percent of our economy by 2020 if we fail to act.

*Rapidly rising costs will make it harder for employers — particularly small businesses — to provide quality health insurance to employees, leading many to drop coverage or shift to plans that cover less.

*Even those who have insurance today will be less secure, and more likely to lose coverage if they switch jobs or lose their job due to rising costs on the individual market or being denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition.

So I don't have to add much more to the issue as a local Blogger. Frankly, we don't have much in the way of influence in the closing days of this debate. Here, I have expressed my concerns on the Insurance Industry dictated mess from the Senate and the lack of spine in the House. What I find amazing, is that support for the Public Option is growing at this late date. Simply amazing.

Reid has indicated that, if the House sends a reconciliation package that includes the Public Option, the supposed 53 votes in the Senate may have the opportunity to pass that too. We shall see.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


This past Tuesday evening, the Ulster County Legislature held an informational hearing on the current status of the Belleayre Resort proposal spearheaded by Dean Gitter.

Most of the members were in attendance and the public seating was at maximum capacity. After 11 years and 100 alterations to the project, you'd think the latest version would be a slam-dunk. Well not exactly.

It was good that the newest members of the body got to see the current models of the resort and to hear some of the background right from the source. With acknowledgement going to Jim Maloney for having this forum, the question period started with comments of support from a number of Legislators. One such coming from Frank Felicello where he prompted opinions from the long standing opposition members of the body.

Neither Legislator Gregorius nor Shapiro could help but retort to Frank's obstructionist innuendos. After some heated banter and an obvious loss of cool by Dean and several members, the 45 minute dissertation on the status of the proposal came to a close.

Senior members informed the public and us freshmen that the current plan is quite different from what was i
ntroduced 11 years ago and the process for which developers contend with provides a better product when all is said and done.

Anyone aware of the Hudson Landing project in Kingston knows that their final proposal is so much better due to the public and official engagement that pushed the developer to think outside the box. I'm glad to have been on the Council when we had the opportunity to vote in favor. Now it looks I may have the chance to repeat that performance, but on a larger scale.

Shapiro and Gregorius had the opportunity to address the Press after the hearing expressing resistance to the pre-emptive resolution of support that Gitter is seeking from the Legislature. (Support before seeking a final approval from the state) Don seems intent on getting more information before committing but I count on them both being the only two NO votes come March 16th. Mind you, this is a preliminary endorsement of the general project to help the process along as they finalize the DEIS.

Below are pictures of the two models for the Highmount addition, that were on display in chambers...

Saturday, March 06, 2010


I am happy to report that the House members who represent our region, Maurice Hinchey, John Hall and Scott Murphy, voted in favor of a very important bill last Wednesday. The "Keeping All Students Safe Act" by a vote of 242-153.

Pulling information from the Website:, I discover that H.R. 4247 was introduced in December by Education and Labor Committee chair George Miller (D-CA) and Committee member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). Their goal is simply to “outlaw child abuse in schools.”

The bill’s stated purposes include the following:

(1) prevent and reduce the use of physical restraint and seclusion in schools;

(2) ensure the safety of all students and school personnel in schools and promote a positive school culture and climate;

(3) protect students from physical or mental abuse, aversive behavioral interventions, physical restraint or seclusion;

(4) ensure that physical restraint and seclusion are imposed in school only when a student’s behavior poses an imminent danger of physical injury to the student, school personnel, or others….

Another line in the article I have to republish is: It’s hard to decide which is more shocking: the fact that 153 members of the United States Congress would see fit to vote against such a bill, or the fact that it was needed in the first place.

Doesn't that line startle you too?

Here is a link to the article:

Here is a link to the full roll call here.

Friday, March 05, 2010


Below is a portion of the press release from the office of Maurice Hinchey received through twitter:

Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D), and The Solar Energy Consortium (TSEC) President and CEO Vincent Cozzolino today announced that solar manufacturer, Solartech Renewables, will relocate its operations to Tech City and plans to create 100 new jobs within one year.

Solartech Renewables' move to Tech City was made possible due to a variety of funding sources
, including federal money Hinchey personally obtained from Congress and various sources of state funding, as well as extensive assistance from TSEC.

"Over the last three years, we've developed a strong core network of solar companies in the Hudson Valley. Solartech Renewables is a company with a bright future that will create 100 jobs in the Hudson Valley over the next year and help further our effort to develop the Hudson Valley as a solar energy research, development and manufacturing cluster," Hinchey said. "These types of targeted investments enable solar companies to come to the Hudson Valley to setup their business, create jobs, and contribute to the development of the region's overall economy. The Solar Energy Consortium has been remarkable in serving as the centerpiece of this ongoing effort, which has already had a great deal of success in our area."

Solartech Renewables' state-of-the art manufacturing facility is slated for commissioning at Tech City. The company will produce both standard and improved polycrystalline silicon solar panels. Solartech's initial production capacity of 12MW (or approximately 55,000 solar panels per year) will be operational in 2010. Additional modular expansion of the manufacturing line is planned through 2012. At inception, the manufacturing facility will start with 15,000 square feet of manufacturing floor space and the capacity for around-the-clock operations employing upwards of 50 Ulster County-area workers. Solartech's Tech City plant will be the only U.S.-owned solar panel manufacturing facility operating in the eastern United States.

"Solartech Renewables will serve as a proud producer of both standard and advanced 'Made in America – Made in New York' solar panels within the cluster of solar cell manufacturers and other solar companies developing in the Tech City complex and nearby in the Hudson Valley region," said Solartech Renewables Chairman and CEO Todd Roberts. "Congressman Hinchey and Assemblyman Cahill provide the leadership in the Hudson Valley region
for solar cluster in which we will operate, and of course for the employment, economic development and intellectual capital benefits that are created and retained here in Kingston as a result of their solar energy manufacturing leadership. Without their support, our launch in Kingston would not have been possible. We thank them and Governor Paterson for the clean energy policies, vision and support that have made New York the best place in the nation to commission an advanced solar panel manufacturing facility."

TSEC is an industry-driven, non-profit organization that provides leadership, organization, resources, and support for the establishment of a major solar energy industry cluster in New York. Hinchey helped establish TSEC in 2007 and has secured more than $31 million in federal funding for the consortium and its partners to establish a solar industry research and manufacturing cluster in the New York Hudson Valley region. TSEC has partnered with more than 70 small and large companies, including nearly a dozen that have already created 200 jobs in the Hudson Valley. TSEC expects another 300 new jobs to be created in the Hudson Valley within the next year, including 100 jobs associated with Solartech Renewables. By the end of 2011, these companies collectively plan to bring more than 1,000 new jobs to the Hudson Valley.

TSEC was central to bringing Solartech Renewables to Tech City -- providing $600,000 to facilitate the company's move to Tech City. The $600,000 comes from a $2.25 million allocation that Hinchey secured from Congress as part of the fiscal year 2010 budget to help the consortium bring in new solar companies to the Hudson Valley, create jobs and further grow the solar industry in the region.

Solartech was also awarded $1.5 million in manufacturing incentives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) under its Renewable, Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Product Manufacturing Incentive Program. The company also received Empire Zone certification for its Tech City manufacturing facility just prior to the end of 2009. Approximately $1.7 million in Empire Zone credits and job incentives are expected as a result of this certification. The Empire State Development Corporation is also contributing a $2 million convertible loan that Cahill helped obtain to bring the company to New York.


For those of us who are aware of the legal drama swirling around our leaders in Albany, one chapter stands out among the rest. The assault case and ultimate expulsion by the State Senate of Hiram Monserrate of Queens.

Since then, José R. Peralta, an Assembly member who's district overlaps that district, has taken up the challenge and, with the endorsement of the Democratic party, is heading toward a win this March 16th. There is just one twist.

Monserrate has collected enough signatures to qualify for a space on the ballot during the primary. He wants his seat back, claiming he was unfairly tried and expelled from the Senate. The 13th District is about 80% Democrat, so the winner of the Primary pretty much decides the race, that doesn't mean Hiram wont still be on the ballot in November as an independent. Plenty of time to paint himself as the victim, right?

Mr. Peralta enters the race with a record free of any controversy, is well liked and has the strong support of his electorate; including the party’s organization, elected officials and district leaders.
Considering just how much of a mess our State Senate has been in the past year partially because of the actions of Monserrate and a few others, it will be a just send-off for Hiram at the hands of the voters.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


Congressman Patrick Murphy speaks at the Human Rights Campaign’s press conference urging repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as part of HRCs citizen lobby day.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Ulster Legislature has a meeting! That is news in itself! With all the crazy show storms we've had in the last few weeks, the Legislature finally got around to having February's meeting March 1st. Nice.

Starting the evening we were introduced to the three Sheriff Deputies Polacco, Richards and Hughs. They volunteered in Haiti on our behalf. With an opening statement from Sheriff Van Blarcum, they each received a commendation for their efforts from Legislator Jack Hayes. Thunderous applause ensued.

Legislative Chairman Fred Wadnola addressed the body with his state of the County speech and hit on all the expected points as we followed along at our desks. Laying out the plans and duties of the legislature as we head into year two of the new charter. Much of what was brought up was the structure of the committees and the two generations of leadership that helped the process come to fruition.

We had the pleasure of a large audience made up primarily of CSEA members who work in the County DPW division. Their speakers emphasized how important the quality of life in the county is connected to how well the county is managed on the sixth floor as well as on the streets. They did an outstanding job clearing the roads throughout the county.

As far as legislation goes: we filled a number of appointments, gave our blessing to the Tourism department, set a bond request of over $1million to repair some bridges and set the rules of the Legislature into place.

What was interesting, was the muted objection to the $170K requested to borrow for the Sheriff Department car/bus request. I expected a fuss over the additional spending after such a punchy budget debate last December. After all, it is the Executive's requested budget that we are working with here. You would think he had the purchase of cars spelled out properly in his 2010 budget when he offered it. Guess it's up to the Legislature to clean everything up.

What struck me was the last minute distribution of info describing the bond in better detail only reached the Democratic caucus, leaving the Republicans with the original document to discuss from. This left Terry Bernardo unaware of the details as she expressed her issues with the bond. We had several hesitant members in the Democratic caucus before that memo arrived ourselves. Those concerns were satisfied during caucus. The bond passed with only two negatives, but we are still trying to find out how the communication line failed in the last hour. Not good.

This is starting to sound more like a report, so I'll stop there. I'll end with the good news that no-one was dragged out by an officers for disregarding protocol or attempting assault this month. I guess the public flogging that occurred in January scared off the Tea Crazies in the area.