Saturday, December 24, 2011

School Consolidation is bad

School Consolidation is bad.  Think about it.  It is just "kicking the can down the road" for a future day of reckoning.  The sickness to be cured in the schools is the out of control, over-inflated teacher salaries with unreasonable longevity step and coursework step increases, increasing pensions and increasing health benefits.  Consolidating school districts will only buy you about 3 to 5 years.  After that, the savings from consolidation will have been lost due to skyrocketing teacher compensation.  SUGGESTION- Go in the opposite direction.  Open competition between public and private schools. This School Choice with vouchers and Pell grants allow parents to choose which public and private school their children should attend.  Competition breeds excellence in teaching.  Our present public school, union-controlled teaching system breeds failing schools, which is obvious to all of us by now.  Let us push School Choice with vouchers.  Don't support consolidation, since the school sickness will continue.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Kingston School Taxpayers Demand Transparency in $12 Million Budget Gap Solution

There is a $12 Million deficit Kingston School District Crisis. We the taxpayers demand to know that the Kingston School Board's starting teacher contract negotiation position is set up to present a budget with a maximum of 2% property tax increase. Also, the public demands that teacher step increases & contract salary increases are temporarily suspended. Also, taxpayers demand that the teacher's union health insurance fund be dissolved and that the Kingston Teacher's union health plans are 50% paid for by the teachers. In addition, the teacher's health benefits will be pooled with the health benefits of other surrounding school districts in order to get the lowest health premiums.

Fellow taxpayers, please join in with more taxpayer demands and suggestions to help to save the education of our children as a priority over teacher compensation.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What is the Superintendent of Red Hook Schools apologizing for?

What is the Superintendent of Red Hook Schools apologizing for?  A December 10th Freeman article says that the Red Hook School Board president said that the Red Hook superintendent should not have sent an email to his employees to tell them that due to the new NY State 2% Tax Cap, the Red Hook district needs to keep any pay increase to 1%.  This is direct evidence of why are schools are failing in NY State.  Superintendents are afraid to communicate the dire financial consequences to the employees of a district.  I do not believe the Red Hook Schools superintendent violated any laws or rules.  The only thing that he violated is the "unwritten rule" of Thy shalt not cross the teacher's union.  The Red Hook School superintendent's apology about the email to the teachers speaks volumes of what has to be done to improve our children's education and to improve our local tax situation and economies.  We must push for vouchers and school choice so the NY State Teacher's union is no longer calling the shots from their lofty favoritism position that our NY State lawmakers have created for the Public School teacher's union, which is feared by our School district leaders.  The sooner we parents and taxpayers can unite behind school choice and vouchers, the sooner our children and towns will be able to succeed again. Tell your NY State senators and assembly people that you want vouchers and school choice.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kingston Fire Dept No Layoff Clause Cries Out for Contract Talks Open to Public

Does anyone remember what Common council members along with Mayor Sottile agreed to a No Layoff clause in the present Kingston Fire Dept Contract?   This lack of accountability cries out for union contract negotiations open to the public.  There is no law which states that union contract negotiations have to be secret.  If we had open negotiations, the Kingston Fire Union would not have obtained a No Layoff clause in their present contract.  The public would have screamed bloody murder.  Instead, we now have what looks like an impossible situation with an $8 Million Fire Dept. budget which could be cut in half (by using Volunteer Firemen) if we had the ability to threaten layoffs (as Governor Cuomo threatened with the CSEA and PEF unions).  The only way to reset this Fire Contract with the Tri-borough amendment is to declare Chapter 6 Municipal Bankruptcy.  In the meantime, many Kingstonians are harmed and are suffering by losing their homes and leaving the area.  Let's error on the side of the taxpayers and Keep all of our future union contracts open to the public, including the school district union contract negotiations.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kingston's #1 Problem to be solved is the inability to afford union contracts.

Kingston's #1 Problem to be solved is the inability to afford the present and future union contracts. The evidence for this is Mayor Sottile wanted to make city residents pay for garbage pickup. When that didn't fly, he closed the budget shortfall using about $1.2 Million of the reserve fund, leaving only about $1.5 Million for next year's reserve fund. Also, the city has about $2 to $3 Million of unfunded pensions for the union workers. Get the picture.  By the way, what is the solution to this union contract problem?

The Solution is to completely reset these contracts and start over, ie. less pay, less benefits, less pensions. How can this be done? There is one item on this solution list -- Chapter 6 Municipal Bankruptcy. If there is a smart person out there who has a second better solution, please let us know. All I know is, without bold decisions, Kingston will have more crime, higer taxes, dirtier streets, less jobs and fewer and fewer young people buying homes and raising families here.  Kingston is a city with so much potential, but no bold leadership.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bravo to Mike Hein. Thanks for leading on the privatization of Golden Hill.

Bravo to Mike Hein.  Thanks for supporting Ulster taxpayers with your Leadership on the privatization of Golden Hill, which will drastically reduce annual county spending for subsidizing the county nursing home.  Mike, please continue putting Ulster County on a path which reduces government expenses and taxes, so more businesses will consider Ulster their home and more young adults will be able to live, work and buy homes in Ulster.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vote NO on Mid-Town Queen's Galley Soup Kitchen

The Queen's Galley soup kitchen/restaurant/training facility proposal for Kingston's Kings Inn site could be good for a location outside the City of Kingston. To turn around Mid-Town Kingston, you need to deconcentrate the poverty level by decreasing Section 8 & low price housing in Mid-Town. This soup kitchen would continue to attract both good and bad people from other counties to Kingston. Realistically, the Mid-Town crime level would continue to grow. Also, the housing on the side streets on both sides of Broadway would continue to be converted to absentee landlord ownership. A soup kitchen at the Kings Inn site would continue to concentrate and attract poor people to Mid-Town. Please Vote NO on this proposal.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Crisis of monumental proportions facing Kingston

The structural problems with the City of Kingston budget are very bad for the foreseeable future (ie.beyond 2 years, probably beyond 5 years). According to Mayor Sottile, Kingston is carrying around $3.5 Million of unpaid pension liabilities, which he plans on amortizing over the next 6 years at $600,000 per year.
This is painfully serious money that Kingston will have a hard time collecting from a dwindling tax base. If Kingston has to live with a 2% property tax cap, the new contracts for DPW, Fire and Police will have to be drastically cut. Positions will have to be cut. This is a crisis of monumental proportions facing Kingston this year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Equalize Kingston's Homestead and Business tax rates totally in one year

Equalize the Homestead and Business property tax rates totally in one year, ie. in next year's budget. Why next year's budget? Because this is the budget that has to include the new Municipal contracts being negotiated with the Police, Fire and DPW unions. With the 2% property tax cap, it will be that much more difficult for the 3 unions to win at the negotiating table or with the binding arbitration. Also, the aldermen/woman would be required to vote on the budget. This would expose if the alderpeople are serious about bringing businesses back to Kingston.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Public Schools are at a crossroads.

An August 21, 2011 Kingston Freeman article says that Mid-Hudson teacher salaries continue to climb at an alarming rate in the face of a devasting recession economy.  Our NY State Public Schools are at a crossroads.  Either they freeze teacher union contracts and eliminate step raises or they will have to go out of business by laying off more and more teachers each year.  This is the business model for teacher's unions in NY State.  The silver lining is that after this painful end of the public schools, a new competitive School Voucher system may replace it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

$25 Million Ulster County Deficit helps county make correct Golden Hill decision

The silver lining is that this bad $25 Million Ulster County budget deficit news helps the county legislators and Mike Hein make the correct decision on the future of Golden Hill.  They now can in good conscience decide to no longer subsidize Golden Hill each year.  County taxpayers should not have to pay higher taxes to subsidize Golden Hill any longer.  The Golden Hill subsidy is only going to grow in the coming years with the reduced Federal and State Medicaid support.  I am sure that a private concern would be willing to continue running Golden Hill at the high level of care that it deserves.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Homestead vs. Business 2-tier taxing system in the City of Kingston

Let's talk about Homestead vs. Business 2-tier taxing system in the City of Kingston.  The only way to equalize these 2 tax rates is to drastically cut the Kingston budget.  If any of the 7 candidates talk about equalizing Homestead and Business taxes, they should be challenged by asking them "What is the priority of drastic budget cuts that they propose?"  My priority of budget cuts are 1) cut the Paid Fire Dept. the most, 2) cut the DPW duplicate management positions proposed by Rich Cahill, 3) do not cut the Police.

Closed Regional Economic Council Meetings Prove Cuomo Secrecy

I totally agree with the August 14, 2011 Freeman Editorial.  There are 10 Regional Economic Councils which are competing for $ 1 Billion in public taxpayer money for economic development.  An early meeting to discuss priorities in the local New Paltz Economic Council meeting was closed to the public and to the press.  In general, Governor Cuomo's style is one of secrecy.  Unlike Chris Christie of New Jersey, Cuomo does not take direct questions from citizens on the radio.  He goes on his friend, Fred Dicker's radio show, but only Fred is allowed to ask questions.  His agenda is revealed in a very controlled one-sided way, ie. very little public debate.  This local economic council in New Paltz is another glaring example of shutting out public awareness and public opinion.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Public school teachers rarely comment on their profession, compensation & cultural issues

Did you ever notice that individual public school teachers rarely comment on their teaching profession, compensation and cultural issues?  You rarely hear them on local talk radio, in opinion letters, or local TV.  Why is that?.........Answer:  The public school teacher's career is totally guided and directed by onerous teacher's unions.  Teachers do not have the freedom to comment, suggest or speak out about the improvement of children's lives unless the union approves of it.  Give me examples to prove me wrong.  Vouchers and school competition are the answer for student, parent and teacher freedom.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Professor Chartock mentions the Soviet Union & NY State Government

Professor Chartock mentions the Soviet Union.  Try changing something in NY State and you also feel like you are in Soviet Russia.  NY State is 100 percent controlled by Union leaders.  Cuomo and legislative leaders will dance with Union leaders to give the impression that progress is being made, but the reality is that NY State is dead last in Economic Freedom and progress.  Why won't Cuomo get rid of the Tri-Borough Amendment which is a ridiculous Union Advantage, freezing previous contracts while negotiating the next contract? When the jobs, young people and population (minus 2 in House of Representatives) return to NY State, only then will you know that things are really improving.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Saugerties School Board Decreases budget $1 after NO VOTE - ARROGANCE OF POWER

As I understand it, the Saugerties School Board did not announce that the contingency budget would be only $1 less if the 2nd budget vote was defeated. The ARROGANCE of POWER of the Saugerties School Board is very obvious. To make hundreds of Saugerties residents go to the polls to defeat a budget and to reward that vote with a mere $1 decrease in spending damages voter's trust and discourages voters from coming out for future votes. How can school board members live with themselves? The school board could have instituted the $1 less budget after the first budget rejection vote, without requiring interested voters to take the time and effort to come out for a second budget vote. To Saugerties voters, get serious and call Saugerties School Board of Education at 845-247-6500 and demand an end to step raises in the next teacher's contract. They are NOT required by state mandate.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kingston Area Public Access TV Channel 23 at the Carnegie Center

There is a golden opportunity to locate Kingston Area Public Access TV Channel 23 at the newly renovated Carnegie Learning Center. Kingston Public Access could either sublease space from the school district and/or the Center for Creative Studies or enter a joint TV operation with KHS-TV channel 20. If public access TV was located at the Carnegie Center, many local Kingston Area activities, live programs and Center for Creative Studies performances can be aired. This is an important opportunity.  We local school taxpayers should push for this. Call Crown Street (845-339-3000) and ask for the Superintendent.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bad Teachers in NY State --- No remedy except for Wisconsin reform

With NY State teacher's unions, there is no mechanism for weeding out bad teachers. Maybe bad teachers can be talked to by principals, but that is as far as it goes. After teachers obtain tenure, the unions are in control and teachers cannot be dismissed for poor classroom performance. What is the solution? Have NY State copy the Wisconsin model where taxpayers and their elected officials are in control and not the teacher's unions. In Wisconsin's new collective bargaining law, teacher's unions can only negotiate wages (up to the rate of inflation), but they cannot negotiate WORK RULES. See the difference. Whoever controls work rules, controls the progress or lack of progress in school districts. Don't listen to our local politicians when they say, "we don't want to go as far as Wisconsin has in reforming schools".

If we listen to the truth, NY State can be great again.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

No.1 Traits for new Kingston Superintendent --tough cost-cutter & union negotiator

The No.1 Traits for the new Kingston Schools Superintendent should be a tough cost-cutter, and teacher-union negotiator, who will deliver Zero Tax increases ever year for the next five years.  Unfortunately, the other board members are not thinking of the taxpayers and the local economy.  If you are not emphasizing the plight of the local taxpayers, you are guaranteeing that except for a select few, your high school graduates will never return to this area to live, work and raise a family.  Think about it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kingston & Saugerties Schools are failing. Please Complain!

We are really on the decks of the Titanic in NY State and in particular, the Kingston & Saugerties School Districts.  The violins are playing, the teacher's union continues to demand and get raises, pensions, all expense-paid benefits....WHILE graduation rates continue to fall (minus 4% in Kingston and minus 3% in Saugerties) and our young adults and college graduates continue to be unemployed and continue to leave Ulster County and NY State.  We are in the midst of a disaster, while our school officials continue painting a rosy picture and continue with policies which are harming both students and taxpayers.  What are we taxpayers and students to do?  Raise your voices, complain every day.  Make phone calls to Cahill, Lopez, school principals, school board members, every day.  This will work, if enough people complain to the people in power both locally and at the state level.  Please complain!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cuomo's Pension Reform is also unsustainable. Why? We need 401-k.

Cuomo's Pension Reform is also unsustainable. Why? Because it continues out of date "guaranteed defined payment, old-style pensions" which cities and school districts cannot predict and keep up with. The only way Cuomo's new pension reform is sustainable is the drastic reduction of the number of current and future government workers and teachers. The unions are way out of touch. If the unions were smart, they would be pushing for a 401(k)-type option, where the value of a pension is tied to the performance of financial markets and the investment decisions of the workers, rather than keep taxpayers on the hook for a guaranteed, defined payout. With Cuomo's plan, the number of state, city, town, teacher workers must necessarily be reduced dramatically. As an alternative to Cuomo's Tier 6, let's propose a Tier 6a which introduces a defined contribution, sustainable, affordable 401-k pension, like we have in private industry.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Saugerties Schools Alert - Abolish Guaranteed Pensions & Step Increases

Although all of NY State's school districts are feeling a lot of financial pain now due to state laws which favor teacher's unions heavily over taxpayers. It appears that the Saugerties School District is feeling the most pain of any district in the Hudson Valley.  I urge Saugerties residents to do more than just complain at school board meetings.  Saugerties residents have to contact your NY State representatives (Cahill, Lopez, etc.) and Gov.Cuomo's office and demand the end of the Tri-borough Amendment, which allows teacher union contracts with automatic pay step increases to stay in place after they are expired and to replace costly defined payment pensions with teacher contribution 401k pensions like the rest of us have in private industry.

Friday, June 3, 2011

NY State is giving union contractors favoritism - Costs are going up!

According to The Torch ( June 2, 2011) blog, there is continued union favoritism on individual contract bidding.  This may be how Gov. Cuomo is getting Silver's wing of the Assembly to agree to the Property Tax Cap.  If this is true, NYS residents are gaining on the Property Tax Cap, but losing with the "required" union contracts and "prevailing wage and rules".  In addition, Gov.Cuomo does not take live questions from taxpayers on Talk radio.  We taxpayers cannot ask him about this union favoritism.  He is insulated from public interaction. If anyone knows of any venue where taxpayers can interact with Governor Cuomo, please reply here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Retain Young Adults - Remove Union Control of our NY State Economy

The Governor could be showing better leadership on our No.1 Priority -- The retention of our young adults by removing union control of our economy. A recent Marist Poll of NY State young adults shows that over 30 per cent of our young adults plan on leaving NY State soon due to the lack of jobs.  NY State is last or close to last in Economic freedom.  To me ethics reform should come after a battle royal on elimination of the Tri-borough Amendment, 2% tax cap, making NY State a right to work state like New Hampshire, moving school board voting to November, and others.  Let's face it, our young people will continue to leave our state until the above reforms are enacted.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vote NO on School Budgets and Stop Forcing our Children Out of State

This is a sincere message to the parents of our Ulster County School districts.  Our Ulster County high school and college graduates are leaving NY State in droves.  Where are they going?  They are going to Right-to-Work states where unions and laws that favor unions do not control the school districts.  Where are examples of Right-to-Work states?  South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Texas and about 23 others including soon to be a Right-to-Work state - New Hampshire.  Large numbers of new jobs will never come back to NY State until we become a Right-to-Work state.  What should we do to send a clear message to Albany that we know how to stop our children from leaving NY State for Right-to-Work states?  Vote NO on every school budget until Albany gets the message!  If you vote yes, you are continuing the Sham which forces our children to leave the state.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Support Our Young Adults ------ Golden Hill (Private Ownership)

Keeping Golden Hill in Public Hands (owned by Ulster County) is a disaster for our Young Adults. Since it is well-known that Ulster County's subsidy will have to grow every year into the future, our young adults will be burdened with ever-increasing tax bills. The result will be that our young adults will continue to leave Ulster County. Look around. Why are there so few young adults settling here? High taxes. Please do not do anything that prevents our young adults from settling in Ulster County. In this age of tight money, Ulster County has to choose between a Young Adult Economy or ever increasing taxes.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Kingston School Taxpayers - Vote NO on the School Budget on Tues.May 17th

To all local taxpayers, a 4.9% tax increase is too much.  Any tax increase is too much.  Remember, if we increase school taxes 5% every year, in 10 years, our tax bills would have gone up 50%.  To bring jobs to Ulster County, we need tax decreases or at least Zero Tax increase.  It is very important for the taxpayers to send a message on Tuesday, May 17 by voting NO on the Kingston School Budget.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lack of Courage and Responsibility -- Kingston School Taxes Up 4.9% -

IRRESPONSIBLE - How can the 9 Members of the Kingston School Board Continue to Participate in this Farce called NYS school budgeting?  Can someone on the board speak out and appeal for help from the voters of NYS?  Over the past 50 years, the unions and the politicians that they have backed them, have rigged the public school system laws in the union's favor.  Is there anyone on the Kingston School Board who has enough courage to say the teacher unions are running the show?  (ie. Triborough Amendment which says the old contract with step increases stays in effect while negotiating new contract.). Public Schools in NYS are going off the cliff.  The Titanic is sinking. The school board members' silence is deafening.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Apply Kingston's $1 Million Surplus to a Zero Tax Increase

Let's apply the surplus announced to a Zero Tax increase or a Tax Decrease. If the City of Kingston can brag about a Zero Tax Increase, businesses will return to the vacant business properties.  In addition, residential property owners need this tax break badly so they can continue avoid foreclosure and stay in Kingston.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Get Rid of Step Increases in New Saugerties & Kingston Teacher Contracts

If Saugerties and Kingston School Boards are negotiating new teacher's contracts, they are not required to include step increases for longevity and coursework in the contract (it is a local issue). However, once the step increases are included in a contract, the teachers continue to get the step increases while negotiating the next contract.  The moral of this story for the Saugerties & Kingston School Boards is "DO NOT INCLUDE STEP INCREASES" in the new contracts.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bad News - Kingston School Board budget draft calls for 7.1% tax increase.

Kingston School Board budget draft calls for 7.1% tax increase.  The current budget draft continues the "dismantling" of our Kingston School district by closing a school and laying off teachers.  This type of cuts really hurts students and parents.  A pay freeze would only mildly affect the teachers, support & administrative personnel.  Keep in mind the teachers are doing their best, but it is the teacher union leaders who refuse to go along with a pay freeze.  Any pay freeze must not come with any strings to pay back the unions for their temporary pay freeze.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ulster County priority -- Young Adult Economy -- Reject Golden Hill status quo

I agree with County Executive Mike Hein's goal of keeping the 280 nursing home beds in the Kingston area.  However, the solution to this goal should in no way continue the annual $4 to $9 Million county subsidy and should in no way burden the county taxpayers to pay for a $160 Million new nursing home.  I look to Mike Hein's leadership skills to propose a road map on how to accomplish his goal of keeping the 280 nursing home beds in the Kingston area without any burden to county residents.  Remember, Mike Hein's goal is to preserve the 280 beds, not to preserve the status quo of Golden Hill.  Remember, Ulster County has to emphasize helping our young adults to stay here to work, buy homes and raise families.  This priority comes ahead of preserving the status quo at Golden Hill.  The Golden Hill tax burden will work against our young adult economy for many years to come.  Mike, we need your leadership skills on this issue.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kingston School Board Votes to Close the Meagher School

This is Evidence of why School Board member elections should move from May to Election Day in November.  Everybody knows a small group of school district voters continues to sponsor and vote for board members who are ultimately elected and control the board independent of the wishes of the local taxpayers and parents. My observation is that a majority of local Kingston taxpayers would want to close an outlying school such as Zena School before closing the inner city Meagher School. Also, a majority of taxpayers want to revert to elementary schools aligned by grades K to 6 instead of K to 5.  Also, a majority of taxpayers want the school board to eliminate teacher step increases for longevity and coursework, as a means to counteract the Triborough Amendment and prevent local school tax increases. Let's move the school board member elections from May to November so the majority of school district citizens will have the time and opportunity to vote for people who will give us true representation.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cuomo needs Wisconsin-like union relief policy or his 2% tax cap will fail

It is a myth that public service unions are the only way to build a middle class.  What about IBM, ToyotaUSA, and our local banks?  They have middle class employees without unions.  Public service unions, forced union dues,  union contributions to local politicians and finally unions negotiating with these same local politicians for higher and more benefits produces an unsustainable tax burden that is destoying the school districts and municipalities in NY State and all across our country. Governor Walker's position on public service unions may be our only way out of this unsustainable tax nightmare.  If Governor Cuomo does not come up with a similar mandate and union relief policy as Wisconsin's Governor Walker, Cuomo's 2% property tax cap policy and NY State's future is doomed to failure.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Triborough Amendment is on a sinking ship

Anyone who is in favor of the Triborough Amendment is on a sinking ship. This amendment gives municipal & teacher unions a huge advantage by allowing them to continue operating under the old expired contract, which may include longevity step increases, until school districts and municipalities agree to a new "better" contract.  This amendment has destroyed the financial viability of school districts and municipalities in NY State.  Have you seen the financial numbers lately? Governor Cuomo is faced with a massive deficit and is pushing a 2% property tax cap for school districts and municipalities. However, in NY State unlike Wisconsin, Cuomo has not given schools and municipalities any mandate relief. I believe the Triborough Amendment will have to be repealed. Private sector jobs are now going to flock to Wisconsin away from Triborough Amendment states such as NY.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Get rid of the union-led school systems which rely on unfair group rewards

Unfortunately, our very important teachers are under the thumb of "aggressive" union leaders whose #1 objective is to collect union dues and spend the dues to elect politicians favorable to the union.  Please let me convince you that this #1 priority of union leaders interferes and eventually destroys educational excellence.  The individual teachers will not stick their neck out to work with administrators to better education with this union-led system.  The solution is to get rid of the union-led system which relies on unfair "group rewards" where all teachers get the same raises and step increases.  We need a competitive educational system which encourages the public, private and parochial schools to compete for students who will pay for their schooling with government issued school vouchers.  If we had true educational competition as the colleges do, you would see a tremendous resurgence and improvement in the education of our youth.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Closing Kingston elementary school buildings is Drastic!

Closing school buildings is Drastic!

Let's do a 2-step process with a checkpoint in between!

STEP 1-- Keep elementary schools open for now. Move 6th grade back to elementary schools. Make Middle schools 7, 8, 9th grades again. Make KHS 10, 11, 12 grades again (more room in closed cafeteria).

STEP 2-- If school population decreases further, look at closing an elementary school.

This type of go-slow logic must be used to lessen the impact on our children, their neighborhoods and the fabric of our city and towns.

In May, let's let the voters decide between moving 6th grade back to elementary schools and closing 2 elementary schools. If anyone out there knows how to get this on the May ballot please let me know. You can post it here on this blog.

Kingston Politics based on popularity. Let's post the issues here on this blog.

Kingston Politics has been mostly popularity-based, especially the aldermanic and Ulster legislative races. For me, the biggest issue is finding out where aldermanic and legislative candidates stand on issues. Can we come up with 4 or 5 city issues on which we can poll and document all 2011 aldermanic, legislative and mayoral candidates?  These 5 issues need to be specific, such as No tax or fee increases for 3 years, annual property tax assessment updates as promised previously, 10 per cent reduction in police, fire, dpw, city hall  budgets.  Please help to come up with 5 issues and to conduct this poll for the education and benefit of Kingston taxpayers and voters.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Before we close Kingston Schools, Let us vote whether to realign grades.

Before we close any schools, let's realign the grades back to K through 6 for elementary school, 7 to 9 for middle school and 10 to 12 for high school.  Why?  Because a majority of taxpayers and parents want that.  Do you want to prove it?  During this May's school election, let's vote on whether to close 2 schools or do the above realignment.  This sounds reasonable.  Doesn't it?  This is what the Kingston School voters want.  Let's vote.

Monday, February 14, 2011

2 partners in the demise of our Schools in NYS

There are 2 partners in the demise of our Schools in NYS, 1) NYS laws extremely favorable to municipal and teacher's unions (Tri-borough amendment, lavish pensions, unfair arbitration process, etc.) and 2) Teacher's Unions which are continuing to demand raises and benefit swaps.  The school systems are disappearing before our eyes.  What will we be left with?  Hopefully, 1) School vouchers and 2) Individual Professional contracts for individual teachers (ie. If a teacher is good they get raises, If not, they do not get raises. We could involve the parents in the "grading" of teachers for purposes of getting individual raises.) Let's move toward excellence, getting rid of unfair group rewards for teacher's unions. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Public Schools Need Competition -- Enter Vouchers

The public schools need competition.  If you are serious about ending the decline of public education.  Introduce competition by allowing parents to use vouchers to send their children to the school of their choice, ie) public, private, parochial, charter, etc.  These different schools would compete for students much like public and private colleges compete for students.  Competition breeds excellence.  No Competition breeds complacency and failure.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Call your reps about MOVING election of School Boards from MAY to NOV

To all Taxpayers-- We need your support on a vote that will be coming to the Albany Senate and Assembly.....Let's call all of our NYS Assemblymen and Senators to prepare them to vote in FAVOR of MOVING the election of School Board members from MAY to NOVEMBER (Election Day). To all Taxpayers..if we get this vote day changed, we will be able to elect people who are not buddies of teachers and who will be looking out for the students and the taxpayers... This is a very important NYS issue...Call your representatives!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Kingston Mayoral Candidates - Tell us what you will push hard for !!!

We need specific proposals from our City of Kingston mayoral candidates.  For the next mayor, we want to hear specific game-changing things that you are going to push and fight for.  For example, we taxpayers desparately need 1) annual city-wide property assessments. Most of us are stuck at the pre-housing bubble 2006 assessments. This causes Kingston residents to pay unfair county, school taxes. 2) pay-freeze, no-step increase, 25% health contribution contracts, no manning clauses. 3) heavy volunteerism, much less union control of city.  4) Get rid of the Ulster County rule that the City of Kingston has to pay safety net welfare charges by threatening to keep all of the city sales tax from the county. Now is the time to negotiate with the county, since the 1% county sales tax add-on is up for renewal in the assembly.  Unless you candidates are talking specific proposals that you want to push, it sounds like a high school student council election, ie. popularity.  To my fellow taxpayers and bloggers, please post on this blog other City of Kingston initiatives that we can PUSH for together.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Does Cuomo have press conferences or Talk Radio appearances?

I have an important question.  Does Andrew Cuomo have or plan any press conferences or Talk Radio appearances where citizens can ask him questions?  So far, his appearances are scripted.  I want to ask him a simple question.  Andrew, do you support moving the election day for our local school boards from May to November to allow more citizens to participate and to allow for a more equitable election that is not skewed by low general citizen turn out and heavy teacher and teacher family turnout.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ALDERMANIC BULLETIN -- Get to work on the 2011 Contracts, delay term limits

Why are Kingston's Aldermen and Women working on secondary issues such as term limits when we taxpayers want to hear from them about their plans and positions on the PAY FREEZE, NO MANNING CLAUSE, PAY 25% OF HEALTH BENEFITS, NO STEP INCREASES contract negotiations coming up this year.  To my fellow Kingstonians, lets shine a light on the current aldermanic positions on these important contracts that will determine whether Kingston will be a viable place to live and work or whether it will continue to fail.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


To all Ulster County School Districts and Towns and Cities:

Please do the following.

1) NO STEP INCREASES (There is NO mandate for these.)

2) FREEZE WAGES IN NEW CONTRACTS. (There is NO mandate for percent increases.)