Sunday, July 31, 2011


Over the years, I have added additional layers of insulation in attics for clients all around Ulster County. This is one job that keeps me and anyone who cares to handle insulation, busy through the winter. Anyone paying heating bills soon find out that the initial cost of additional insulation is easily off-set by lower heating bills over the next three to four years. 

I'm writing on the Blog today about the product I just discovered through a friend involved with Sustainable Home Building. The subject of insulation came up because of the old torn-up jeans I was wearing on the job. It's the outfit I would wear whenever I had to insulate a crawl space with pink fiberglass. Well, actually, I just love my old beat up jeans.

The joke was "I could insulate the floor with my old jeans" which was only partially funny. He went on to tell me about this new Blue-Jean cellulose batts of insulation that has the same R rating as the stuff I was fighting with. So here I am researching the stuff.
Through my search, I found many examples of the product. But I jumped on Bonded Logic UltraTouch to make the point. They claim you can rub your face with it and it feels like your oldest pair of worn jeans. There's even kids pictured playing with it on several sites; like below. I'm guessing anyone promoting this non-formaldehyde non-fiberglass insulation will use kids in the ad to make their point. But the cost is just under three times to cost of the pink stuff.

For us home-builders, we have to ask the client if they are willing to spend extra for the insulation to lower their interior toxin levels at home. Some of them may have the money to do so, others not so much.  However, there are grants out there aimed to help people with renovations by bridging the difference in cost from conventional to cotton cellulose. 

Bonded Logic claims their product is 90% recycled Blue-Jeans. You may ask, where would they get the material. Well, last year, Levi Strauss initiated a Blue-Jean trade at selected stores. I don't know how successful that was because I didn't see evidence of the program locally. Besides, I've always used them until they were destroyed then threw them out. Factory scraps is the main source for the industry.

Keep in mind, the pink fiberglass I'm installing currently, has a cancer warning on the wrapper. Required under OSHA for those installing it. The denim insulation sources I saw, claim to contain no chemical irritants and requires no warning labels compared to other traditional products. There are no VOC concerns it is safe for you and the environment. These companies state this is a Class-A Building Product and meets the highest ASTM testing standards for fire and smoke ratings, fungi resistance and corrosiveness.

Will people jump on a more expensive product? If you have health concerns or already allergic to traditional pink...maybe. If you insist on building environmentally friendly...Possibly. If you can find another not-for-profit wiling to offset the cost...definitely.
Perhaps my friends in the Legislature can discuss this in the Environment Committee.

Friday, July 29, 2011


And now for some curious video: Here is a rear camera perspective of a train that crossed paths with a tornado. It's amazing that the tanker didn't explode.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Shayne Gallo Press Release July 26, 2011
Once again, all roads lead back to the Kings Inn.  I hope that as the months pass, my reasons for starting my campaign in front of the Kings Inn have become more and more clear to the community.  I hope that our efforts to lead the dialogue to the center of our city have refocused this election on the critical issues that we face.
This election must be about public safety, code enforcement and holding not-for-profit organizations, government agencies and landlords who receive rental income from these organizations and agencies, accountable for services provided to those in need.
 The current debate regarding the Kings Inn shows how addressing these “Quality of Life”  issues will put this city on the road towards recovery.  By addressing these issues, we will take the first necessary steps towards creating an active, safe and vibrant midtown corridor where our businesses can thrive and grow.
The citizens of Kingston own a valuable piece of real estate which is perfectly positioned on the main thoroughfare in the center of a potentially lucrative business district.  Over the course of the last decade, the city has incurred significant expense combating the former owners of the property and we have lost significant tax revenue.
Now that we own the property, we cannot afford to simply give it away.  We must take steps to sell the Kings Inn property to recoup the tax dollars that we have lost.  We need to return the property to the private sector where it can once again become a viable business property that generates needed tax revenue and employment opportunities in our city.
In order to sell our valuable piece of real estate, we need to prepare a shovel ready site in an attractive, safe and well maintained neighborhood. We must create a better “Quality of Life” environment that potential developers  will find attractive.
Just like a homeowner who is placing a property on the market, we have to invest capital to increase the market value of our property.  Any expenses that we incur in improving the site and the surrounding neighborhood will improve the marketability of the property and will result in an increased value of our asset and an overall improvement to the business climate in midtown.
I commend the work of the Kings Inn commission for moving towards clearing the site and preparing the site for development.  Nevertheless, any solicitation of interest in the property must wait until the parcel is shovel ready.  Figuratively speaking, the property must be staged.  There is no way to know the true value of our asset until this basic work has been done.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


The recent bombings and massacre in Oslo, Norway has everyone thinking about their own safety. At first I was in awe that a bomb went off in the Capital, but coupled with the horror that followed at the island youth camp, I found myself weeping, wondering how can someone actually do such a thing?
   We have since heard about the suspect and what his motives were. What's frightening is how many incidents we've had here and in other countries of similar nature. Fundamentalism of any kind always ends up hurting crowds of innocent people. 

What prompts someone to actually act on these beliefs is truly unknown to us. 
We can only lend our support to the victims and continue our vigilance of providing safety in our own neighborhoods to the best of our ability. Below is a video from a coffee shop surveillance cam,era during the blast at the Capital.

My opinion; this Breivik monster cant suffer enough to bring back all he has taken. My Norwegian brothers & sisters across America have a heavy heart as we learn of the extent of this tragedy. All of our thoughts are with them.


Thursday, July 21, 2011


Almost as important as the "News Of The World" scandal is the recent discussion regarding the lone Kings Inn proposal here in Kingston. An eyesore that everyone loves to point to when looking for a reason we have problems in Midtown. 

During the search process this last six months, only one developer has made the effort to present something. Unfortunately the proposal lends itself to adding to the problem we are trying to solve. Subsidized Housing.

I have to thank Safe Harbor for spending the time creating the plans and offering themselves to our needs, but Broadway, especially in midtown west, doesn't need four or five floors of financially stressed families where there is no work to support any additional residents.

In the Freeman, Rich Cahill wins the quote of the day: "I would rather see a hole in the ground than see a low-income housing project." He is right. 
Kingston has already surpassed what would be a comfortable margin of government subsidized housing within our borders. With the County still refusing to consume their rightful responsibility on the Safety Net issue, Kingston would be poised to handle just that many more clients of DSS. 

Safe Harbors of the Hudson is calling for up to 50 affordable apartments in two buildings at the corner. Could I suggest they look at the NOAH Hotel site on Abeel Street and give us a price? Now there's the "Hole in the ground" that could be filled with a structure of this kind.

Here's another question: Im reading that there also would be 24-hour security and such support services as job training at this facility. Are we keeping an eye on the evening street crowd or the residents who are to be placed in the new structure? I mean 24-hour security isn't doing very well at Spring Brook and Yosman Tower, so why would it work here?

All the Mayoral candidates are right to reject the proposal, but very few people have expressed interest in the crooked lot in question. Shayne mentioned condominiums at one point, but his quote summed it up stating: “Midtown has a disproportionate number of poor and low-income people. We need to have development at that site to diversify and create and foster an environment for all classes of people to live and work in Midtown.” Can anyone disagree with that?

When it comes to building condos and commercial space, the former parking garage site was the perfect location, but tradition would have it, we screwed up a great idea that would have really served the city best. Are we so stupid?

Andi, Hayes, Ron and even Jean have opined that Kingston has had enough of subsidized housing. I bet the Aldermanic and Legislative candidates would agree as well.  This is where a Comprehensive Plan would have helped in that developers would know what the citizens and government officials are looking for and where. This outfit may not have bothered with their proposal had they been provided with such a plan.

Some of us have spoken to developers who are actually waiting to see who survives the election process before jumping in. Depending on the outcome, some feel certain candidates would not be agreeable to work with from either lack of experience or inability to play well with others. It will be interesting to see who makes contact after November's election.

I'll leave you with one last quote from Andi: “We have a golden opportunity to recapture a valuable location along our Broadway business corridor. That’s right — business corridor, not another housing project. The lack of vision (by city officials), and taking the easy way out instead of solid economic growth can no longer continue." She's right!

Monday, July 18, 2011


It's hard to imagine that this large blob of a man, Roger Ailes, may actually be closer to total control of Faux News. James Murdoch is of course embroiled in the scandal in the UK, so it would seem likely that if the criminality of phone tapping is kept to the shoreline, Roger has to deal with one less hurtle as he manages the slander channel.

Rupert, James' father is of course the granddaddy of the empire. He is expected to claim he had nothing to do with the activities that have rocked the network, but how can he be perceived distant when it's his own son giving the orders? 

Face it, we are all going to have allot of fun this year as the details of just how deep the tappings go and to what lengths they'll go to divert America's attention during primetime. 
Pass me the popcorn.


As tradition would have it, I found myself at the Immaculate Conception Church on Delaware Avenue this past weekend as they were celebrating their annual Bazaar. The combination of karaoke, gaming, beer and food makes for a good time for all who attend, but throw in us politicos and the party takes on a new vibe.
As you can see, we all have plenty of fun during the two day event since most candidates actually get along quite well. The attendees also like that we are all behaving like adults. Rich sang, what has become a staple of his repertoire, Johnny B Goode. He was the only Mayoral candidate brave enough to take the stage.
Like the others, Shayne met most of the attendees as they fully expect us candidates to reintroduce ourselves. I got to see a few folks that hardly get out as well. They come to expect to see many of us in person during events like this, so it was odd that a large number chose to skip it this year.

One thing is for sure, I never leave the bazaar hungry. There's no escaping the delicious Golabki,  home-made deserts, and fried dough. 
(all low calorie of course)

There are plenty of social events ahead of us and I look forward to seeing many new faces and many old friends as the summer campaign continues. Stay cool!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Yet another interview with Kingston's own Gerald Celente on RTtv speaking about the possible "China Spring" and the corporate global war on the people.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Shayne Gallo and I deposited our petitions Thursday morning to secure our place on the Ballot for this September's primary races. Reviewing the documents carefully is key to the process. Simple mistakes can throw you off with little recourse and from what I've heard, many of the other candidates for several positions are facing just that challenge.

My friends find it curious that I like the petition process. I find it to be not only a fun contest of sorts, but another excuse to get out there and engage the voters. If you collect most of the signatures yourself, you achieve additional facetime with neighbors who actually do want to meet you. 
Having said that, it is a comfort to have them in and secure in the hands of the BOE. Now you'll see the seven Mayoral candidates and the dozens of county and city candidates out there on the streets.

Don't miss this opportunity to ask questions of us at your own doorstep. It's a rare chance to nail us down on where we stand on issues. Well, for those who don't have a Blog that is.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


It's hard to believe, but there's a Solar development company in New York. This Brooklyn company has developed a new form of solar panels. It's a new twist on a current material. In smaller portions, the individual panels are shaped like artistically fashioned ivy leaves. Like the picture above, they decorate the wall's surface.

This product called Solar Ivy, was in the news a few years ago as the miniaturized plates were developed. I only recently discovered they were located in Brooklyn from a friend of mine in NYC. So I figured I would post about them as they set of to install a significant application at the University of Utah. The company is (SMIT) Sustainably Minded Interactive Technologies.
The developers are Sam (pictured right)  and his sister Teresita Cochran, and fellow Pratt alumnus Ben Howes. Testing their prototypes in a Navy Yard, They've been  contracted to install this system through funds derived right from student  contributions. What remains in raising funds is expected to come from local green awareness events.
As you can see by the pictures I found online, Solar Ivy is a composition of small photovoltaic panels shaped so that they can be installed in an attractive arrangement, much like ivy growing over a building's surface. The panels generate electricity that is used by the building, offsetting the amount of power the building buys from the utility company.

I guess the reason I'm compelled to post this terrific news is that we have another solar success story in New York State. It may not be here in our Hudson Valley Solar Consortium region, but it's here. I guess the next question would be why aren't WE utilizing this company for solar initiatives at SUNY or other New York colleges?  Why Utah? Did it ever occur to anyone to seek New York companies before purchasing foreign solar panels? Could we get a special deal from SMIT in the future? Can we pursue this? 

Saturday, July 09, 2011


Get ready for another stab in the heart of what's left of manufacturing in America. Just as more Americans are warming up to the "job saving" campaign of Buy American, the White House and Congress are preparing another Free Trade agreement with Columbia, Korea and Panama. 

It's well known that millions of our citizens who are ready, willing and able to work are unemployed and underemployed. It doesn't help he recently graduated workforce coming out of our schools to face such a diminished work option in the real world. But if you watch TV news, you'll see instead of creating jobs, our representatives in DC are busy trying to ram through another three ridiculous trade deals guaranteed to send even more jobs off shore. 
I'm reading several reports that President Obama has met with Juan Santos, (pictured above) president of Columbia with the intent to conjure up this agreement. How many people think this is going to help the American workforce? Given the opportunity, what would stop US corporations from establishing more cheap manufacturing  facilities there at the expense of our already underemployed Americans?
Sure, the President will get a pat on the back from those who stand to make a fortune on this deal, but the average worker will bare the brunt as more jobs emigrate to foreign lands. You might hear how President Santos has pledged to make working conditions equal to that of US standards, but who here believes that really?

It's exasperating to watch our national leaders squander our human resource when we desperately need to promote job growth here at home, these trade deals must stop. What has happened since NAFTA and the China trade status needs little study. We all agree that the slave labor in other countries is more preferable to the corporations, but how is it we would pursue yet another group of not only untrustworthy, but downright treacherous regimes to do business with? Look no further than Libya.

We need to be creating jobs here. There are more than enough bridges in the US that are far below the safety standard that we could set out to repair our nation's infrastructure instead of sending able bodies to the unemployment lines. Does no-one see this?
Below are some points found on the Labor sites that aim to highlight he issues of this pending deal:

  • In Colombia, one trade unionist is murdered almost every week and almost none of the murderers are brought to justice. 

  • The Korea agreement is the largest off-shoring deal of its kind since NAFTA. If enacted, it likely will displace 159,000 U.S. jobs, mostly in manufacturing. And its glaring loopholes would allow unscrupulous businesses to import illegally labelled goods from China and possible even from sweatshops in North Korea—potentially without any tariffs at all.

  • The Panama agreement has many of the problems of the other two deals, like deregulating big banks and letting foreign investors bypass U.S. health, safety labor and environmental laws. Panama is also a tax haven: a place where tax-dodging, money-laundering millionaires and billionaires hide their money.
I expect people to ask why at the county level, I or anyone else in local government would be concerned about the Federal trade issues like this one. Well, I feel we are all affected by what kind of employment landscape we must face after spending as much as we do on educating our kids, only to find our government working against us.

On a final note: Regarding the Made In America campaign, I will continue to ask that we all read the labels and invest in products made in the US. In a recent trip to Lowes, I found tools and supplies that were made here. For about the same price, I left happier knowing my purchase helped secure American jobs. With the impending trade agreements noted above... I'm no longer sure.

Monday, July 04, 2011


Born 1730 in  Magdeburg, Germany, Friedrich Von Steuben eventually found himself serving General Washington during our Revolutionary beginnings. As a teenager, emigrating to Prussia, he served in Infantry then Captain at the pleasure of Friedrich the Great. He was one of the 13 members of the Elite Class of War, where after the Seven Years War, found himself unemployed. Perfect timing for a chance meeting with Benjamin Franklin in Paris. 

By 1777, with his embellished credentials in hand, he had been recruited to train our cadets at Valley Forge. Training in the art of combat that had not happened before. From what I gather, our military leaders were just sending volunteers to regiments with little fighting experience. Sources indicate, Steuben was instructed to train an elite force that would then train other brigades. 
He has also been given the title of encampment designer in that he was the first to separate quarters from kitchen and latrines. Before that, these guys were doing everything everywhere. Imagine that.
Steuben forced the advanced use of the bayonet during combat, which later proved a determining factor when ammunition was depleted. His troops still went on to win numerous battles as a result. None of these accomplishments went unnoticed. So when the season of Independence celebration comes around every year, people take note of Friedrich Von Steuben's influence in our early military history. The fact that he was gay altered nothing regarding his ability to serve as one of Washington's best Generals.
Of course there are countless examples in history of great military leaders who also happen to be gay.  Alexander springs immediately to mind. It's just that much more special during these evolved times in New York, that one of the most celebrated generals from the Revolutionary War, General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben also happened to be gay.  His service to America is celebrated in festivals and parades all across the country, most fervently by the German-American community. There have been Ships, Submarines, and towns named after him as well as buildings, statues, national monuments and even a US Stamp published in his honor.

Once retired, Steuben settled near Utica, NY and was appointed a Regent for what evolved into the State University of New York. He never married and had no children. He left his estate to two younger men who had served as his aides-de-camp during the war. He is buried at what is now the Steuben Memorial State Historic Site in Oneida County, NY.

With all that's changed in the minds of New Yorkers regarding equal rights and the eminent retirement of DADT, the celebration of such a prominent figure in early American military history should not be forgotten. Steuben's personal history shapes the historical context which only helps us as we we evolve today. 

Happy Independence Day everyone!

Saturday, July 02, 2011


 I started my campaign for Mayor standing before the Kings Inn Hotel on Broadway speaking about the need to address quality of life issues in our city.  It is my goal to create a positive climate where our residents can feel safe and secure and our businesses can thrive and grow.  We all need to understand that the children in midtown and throughout the city must be able to play safely in their front yards and in their neighborhood parks. 
Today, I release details of my plan to restore safety to the streets of our city by utilizing existing city services to their fullest while creating a cooperative relationship between city, county, state and school district officials.
The Mayor and Police Chief have taken positive steps to address public safety issues by using operation impact grants to assign police officers to walk the streets of midtown Kingston.  As Mayor I will continue these programs and seek additional grant funding to support a visible police presence on the streets of Kingston.  I will also seek federal grant funding for after school programs and community groups to ensure that our children have a safe place to go after school.  Our Fire Chief has diligently enforced code violations throughout midtown.   As Mayor, I will support and expand these efforts.      
We also need to focus our attention on those juveniles who commit crimes. 
Many of these juveniles come from homes that lack adequate supervision and structure.  When our juveniles are properly supervised and attending school as required by the Education Law, they are not roaming the streets of the city committing crimes and creating nuisance in our neighborhoods. 
Our police officers are mandated by law to report suspicions of neglect or abuse.  The failure to provide adequate guardianship and supervision or the failure to ensure regular school attendance constitutes neglect.  When our officers have reason to believe that a child is not being adequately supervised or is not attending school regularly, that officer must file a report with Child Protective Services. 

As Mayor, I will develop and enforce procedures to ensure that every suspected case of inadequate guardianship or educational neglect is reported by our police officers and investigated by Child Protective Services. 
As Mayor I will develop and enforce procedures where every incident of truancy is documented and reported to the Kingston School District and the County Attorney.   
As Mayor I will develop and enforce procedures whereby our officers know which of our juveniles are subject to probation supervision.  When our officers learn of violations of probation by juveniles, those violations will be documented and promptly reported to the Department of Probation and the County Attorney.
Our dedicated police officers face safety issues every day in our community related to juvenile crime and truancy.  They report frustration with the lack of cooperation and communication between various county agencies. These agencies each have an important role in resolving the issues facing our city.   As Mayor I will ensure that our officers know that when they report conduct to the School District, Social Services or Probation, that those reports will be properly investigated and action will be taken.
As Mayor I will create a joint task force with representatives from the Kingston Police Department, Social Services, County Attorney, Kingston School District, Probation and Mental Health to address public safety issues which arise when our juveniles are unsupervised, truant and beyond the control of lawful authority.  
These agencies have overlapping responsibilities regarding issues of truancy, inadequate supervision and guardianship and juvenile behavioral issues.  All too often, these agencies are operating on parallel paths regarding individual families and children.  The lack of communication results in the duplication of services and unnecessary expense.  When information is not shared between agencies, opportunity for productive action is lost.
Representatives from these agencies must be encouraged to share information about individuals in the community.  Often our police officers are unaware that a child who is causing trouble on the street is already subject to an order of probation supervision, a social services order of supervision or a school district behavior contract.  When responding to a complaint regarding an individual, our police officers need to know if that individual is already before a Judge for similar or related conduct.  Currently there is no formal system for exchanging this type of information.   

As Mayor, I will put such a system in place and insure that through communication of necessary information between agencies, we are fully prepared to address incidents in our community.
Other candidates are speaking of quality of life issues such as fixing our sidewalks, banning smoking in our parks, and moving our fireworks festivities to July 4th. Still other candidates are being photographed trimming hedges in midtown. 
Sure these are all important quality of life issues, but it is my position that these issues cannot be addressed until we restore a sense of safety in our community.  Restoring safety to our streets will be my primary goal if elected Mayor. My years of legal experience in Family Court and as Assistant Corporation Council have given me a working knowledge of the various involved agencies and the scope of their duties and responsibilities. With this knowledge, I will be able to develop and enforce a comprehensive plan to share government services to ensure that our citizens feel safe in their homes and in the community and that their children can safely play in our neighborhoods and our parks.  Without this basic sense of safety, there can be no quality of life.