Saturday, November 9, 2013

Vote NO on the $138 Million KHS Bond

Vote NO on the $138 Million KHS Bond vote IF you want new companies to locate here.  Haven't you noticed that there is little or no private construction in Kingston.  City officials cannot get any developer to build a condo/parking garage in Uptown Kingston.  Do you think that is because of the high school condition.  No, it is because Kingston's business taxes are way TOO HIGH.  If you approve the KHS project, the Kingston TAX situation gets worse, much worse.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Revisit the deceit and lies in the passage of Obamacare.

Let's review the tortuous logic that American citizens have had to swallow to pass and accept the Obamacare law.  The Senate had to selectively bribe senators to vote for the law.  The House had to promise an obscure representative that abortion would not be funded by the law, only to have betrayed this promise in the actual law by requiring the funding of abortion and other religiously offensive mandates in the law.  The House and Senate passed the law emphasizing that there would be no direct "taxation" involved in the law, but only "penalty" charges for not signing up for obamacare.  After the law passed with all these bribes and lies told, the Supreme Court declared the premise for Obama's defense of the law was unconstitutional.  The Court said that mandating Americans to buy anything such as health insurance punishable by a "penalty" is unconstitutional under the Constitution's commerce clause.  However, Chief Justice John Roberts and 4 left leaning judges rewrote the affordable care act by saying if the law's "penalty" was called a "tax", the law would be constitutional, since Congress has the power to tax.  So the Congress and the American people rejected the original premise of an obamacare tax, but now the Supreme Court gave the American people a backhand slap in the face, by calling the obamacare mandate "penalty" a "tax".  So the American people are stuck with a "tax" they originally rejected when the law was originally debated in Congress.  So I dispute the claim that American citizens have a weak argument to protest obamacare.  Since the above demonstrates that the American people were duped, there is a compelling case for fighting obamacare tooth and nail.  To add insult to injury, guess who is administering and monitoring citizen compliance to obamacare......the IRS, which has been accused of spying on and harrassing American citizens before the last election.  I think there is overwhelming evidence to at least delay this law one year to allow American citizens a chance to debate and revisit the deceit and lies that occurred in the passage of this law.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kevin Cahill - Repeal the Triborough Amendment

Clarification of today's debate with Kevin Cahill. NYS Public Employees were barred from striking way before the Triborough Amendment. The enactment of the Triborough Amendment was a Hugh Carey election year union power grab to maintain terms and conditions of employment after the expiration of a contract. The real disaster of Triborough is that it requires continuation of all the terms of the contract, including binding grievance arbitration and collecting union dues (not required under the private sector decisions or the Triborough “doctrine”). To make matters worse, it was interpreted by the courts as taking away the legislative determination, to the extent that a legislative body cannot impose less favorable terms through a legislative determination unless the union puts all the terms “in play” by participating in the legislative hearing process, which they never do. In other words, school boards and municipalities have NO negotiating power at all.  Repealing this awful Triborough Amendment is what Kevin Cahill should be fighting for in Albany, not intefering and quibbling about Mike Hein Safety Net/Sales Tax policy that was already decided by Ulster County government.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

No Developers For Uptown Parking Garage Project

Now you can see why we are always complaining about the unreasonable Fire Budget and contract in Kingston.  Also, the Business property tax rate being higher than the residential property tax  rate chases developers away.  Do you notice that there is little or no private construction going on in Kingston?  I disagree with planner Sue Cahill.  The new Uptown vibrancy will not draw a developer.  But if the Mayor and Common Council had a plan to slash and reorganize the Fire Budget and to equalize business and residential property taxes, then developers would come.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Kevin Cahill..Please Apologize

Let's call a spade, a spade.  Kevin Cahill is at fault at least 90 percent.  He risked a spike in local City of Kingston and Town taxes in order to interfere and pressure County government to take on safety net......something Hein and the local towns had already committed to.  So now Cahill is happy with what Hein and the local towns had already committed to.  However, there is one small problem.  Since time ran out on Cahill's risk and the Assembly/Senate left town for good in 2013, we local taxpayers are left with millions of dollars less of local sales tax revenue which needs to be made up by property tax increases and local government layoffs and local government service cuts.  My basic question, "Kevin Cahill, what were you thinking of, when you risked the local government tax revenue in order to pick a fight with Mike Hein and local government leaders?"  My suggestion.  Admit that you made a mistake and admit that local legislative issues should be solved by local Ulster County citizens and not solved by Assemblymen interfering in the local legislative process.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Let's make a deal. Move the KHS $138 Million Bond Issue vote to the regular Election Day, Nov.5th.

Let's make a deal.  Move the KHS $138 Million Bond Issue vote to the regular Election Day, Nov.5th, and we the taxpayers will be less cynical and we may vote Yes.  What is cynicism?  It is the distrust of the motives of others.  We will request by letter and / or petition that the Kingston School Board move the vote on this single issue from December 10th to the regular November 5th Election Day.  This move of the vote day will save the district $15,000, since the Ulster County Board of Elections conducts the Nov.5th vote.  Also, the Nov.5th vote would dramatically increase voter participation on this issue.  Finally, the Nov.5th vote would reduce local voter cynicism for the scheduling the bond vote for Dec.10th, which is 2 weeks before Christmas, when many local taxpayers have already left for Florida.  Right now, the scheduling of the bond vote for Dec.10th appears to be motivated by "voter suppression", ie. more YES votes than NO votes will come out on Dec.10th.  Kingston School Board, let's do the right thing and move the bond issue vote from Dec.10th to Nov.5th.  If anyone is interested in helping by carrying a one-page 25 signature petition asking the school board to move this vote, please contact me.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Local Taxpayers Lose $10,000 per year due to lower property values

One thing the conservatives are correct on is the slow, dismantling and closing of our public schools, to pay for automatic salary and step increases, pensions and healthcare for union teachers in our Soviet-style monopolistic school systems.  The very bad economy and the lack of government money has exposed the illogical public school system which has grown into a monster, which is eating NY State taxpayers alive. What is the evidence of this?  As Governor Cuomo openly admits, young adults are leaving NY State in droves due to lack of job opportunities.  Do you want more evidence?  How about property tax values plummeting in many upstate areas?  Locally, property values have gone down as much as 5 percent per year.  What is 5 percent of a $200,000 house?  Thats's right.  A loss of $10,000 per year by taxpayers to finance a bloated public school system, which is paying good teachers more than we can afford.  The time for the conservative idea of school vouchers, school choice, and school competition among public, private and parochial schools, has come.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

School Vote Should be November 5th NOT December 10th.

Ulster County's Election Commissioners have verified that school budget votes could be handled on Election Day in November. Therefore, why not have this important building vote when everyone comes out to vote in November? This is the same subtle voter suppression technique that is used for the School Budget and school board votes held in May instead of November.  Let's call a spade a spade.  If the KHS renovation/expansion Vote is held on Election Day, many more people will vote and express their opinion and the project would probably be voted down.  If the KHS renovation/expansion Vote is held on December 10th, during the Christmas shopping season, the vote total will be way down and the building project could possibly pass.  Is this anyway to run a democracy?  I  don't think so.  The Kingston School Board and administration should be ashamed of themselves.  This is pure bold arrogance.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Caged Animals

When a leading intellectual such as Alan Chartock, who knows the score, tells us there is nothing that we can do to change the leadership in the NYS Assembly, then our democracy and republic are in deep trouble.  We citizens have been corraled.  We are like "caged animals".  How can we continue to teach with a straight face, our young high schoolers about Civics and "Go out and Vote", when Alan Chartock knows, Gov.Cuomo knows and we know that we "caged animals", we citizens in NY State can do "nothing" about this rotten state government that we have.  I say that we organize and put heat on our individual assemblymen.  SUGGESTION.  Ask Assemblyman Cahill, "Why do you continue supporting Shelly Silver as Speaker of the Assembly?"  Let's publish the answer in the Freeman.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What is Wrong with This Picture? --- The Case for School Vouchers

Let's do the Math.  It costs the Kingston School district and other NY State school districts around $15,000 to $20,000 per year to educate each child in their districts.  On the other hand, it costs
$3000 per year to send your child to local Catholic elementary schools.  What is the reason for this
$12,000 per year discrepancy?  There are 2 big reasons.  1) Uncontrollable increases in teacher union contracts including automatic step raises for all, benefit increases, pensions, plus percentage contract increases and 2)  Administrative overhead expenses.  Let's face it.  Education only requires a committed teacher and well-disciplined, enthusiastic children in a safe building.  How are we going to get Our education system back?  We are going to propose a small change to the New York State Constitution that will :"allow school vouchers to education our children".   These vouchers will then give each New York State parent or guardian a voucher of about $3000 or $4000 for each of their children between the ages of 5 to 17, to send their children to the schools of their choice, including public, private and parochial schools.  We will end up with drastically lower education bills and a superior, vibrant and competitive education system, which will put students first and teachers second.
Any volunteers interested in working on this project, let me know.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Use Rail Trail Grant to Complete Hudson River Walkway

The Cuomo $2 Million grant for the Trail came too quietly and too quickly without much taxpayer debate. On the other hand, the Perna trail where the new homes are to be built near the Kingston Point was only funded half-way (at least a million dollars short) by Cuomo. Therefore, there will be no Hudson River - Kingston Point trail this Summer and therefore there will be no new Kingston Point homes this Summer. Let's apply the $2 Million Rail Trail money to the Kingston Point walkway, so Mr.Perna can begin hiring construction workers at the new homes on the Hudson. Is this a good idea or a bad idea?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Kingston School Board Promotes Poverty not Prosperity

The Kingston School Board is kidding......right? The Kingston Area is reeling with 9.4% unemployment, which is a full 2 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate of 7.3 percent. We are closing 4 elementary schools and we are stilling giving teachers raises and raising taxes and on top of that you want to start universal pre-K. Please come to your senses and realize that you are destroying the ability of the Kingston area to attract serious businesses that will pay decent full time wages so families will want to settle here. Studies have shown that the positive effects of Head Start wear off around the 3rd grade. Universal Pre-K will siphon school funds away from basic reading writing and arithmetic and will put another burden around the necks of family and business taxpayers. Kingston School Board members, please start looking at the big picture. You are destroying the Kingston area, making it a 2nd rate community, whose product is poverty and not prosperity.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Unfair Committee Power Issue

I agree with the Ulster County Legislature minority on the unfair Committee Power issue. However, we citizens of NY State have been living with this unfair "Committee Stopping Votes on Laws" for a long time. For example, Assembly Speaker Silver (majority party) appoints the Assembly committee chairpeople. He basically tells them (and other majority lawmakers on the committee) what to do, otherwise these committee chairpeople will be removed. Therefore, if NY State citizens propose a reform bill such as "repeal of the Triborough Amendment", it will never be voted on in the Assembly, since it will die in committee. This says that the full body of the Assembly will never get a chance to vote on the bill, and we local voters will never get to see how our local assemblymen vote on the bill. Therefore, we citizens will be deprived of information on the true voting record of our assemblymen. Therefore, the majority leaders in the NY State Assembly and Senate have more power than the will of the people. Most reform ideas take several years to build a majority. With majority leaders appointing committee chairs, they have the ability to stop reform and citizen wishes.  To add insult to injury, the only way to change this unfair committee power system is for the majority party in the NY State Assembly to propose and pass a rules change.  Any bets on how likely that will happen?  Maybe the courts should be involved?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

New York State School Voucher Amendment

NY State is in a downward economic spiral which keeps the state close to the bottom of 50 states in being attractive to economic expansion. This year again, the outflow of people moving out of NY state is greater than the amount of people moving here. As you know, every 10 years, NY State loses more population relative to other states and therefore has fewer and fewer members of the House of Representatives. People and businesses continue to leave NY State, because the municipal and school taxes are too high. What does this say? It says that relative to the other states, NY State is getting poorer and can expect less clout in Congress. If our state is getting poorer and we will be getting less federal funding, we cannot expect increases in state aid to our local public schools. Therefore, what is the solution? We must consider an open competitive education environment where innovative private, parochial and charter schools are allowed to compete with our present public schools which are dominated and being milked dry by the powerful grip of the NY State Teachers Union. You will continue to see the obvious evidence of this destruction of our public schools by the excessive salary and benefits that our public school teachers receive relative to the ability of NY State homeowners and businesses ability to pay the taxes. What is the evidence? Many school districts are closing schools, increasing class size and laying off teachers. Therefore, we must get busy on a simple amendment to the NY State Constitution which allows our state to fund education with parental school vouchers, which can be used to pay for their children's education at the public, private, or parochial school of their choice. Competition among public, private and parochial schools will drastically lower our school taxes and will allow NY State to become a more attractive and affordable place to live, work and raise a family.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

FDR Was Against Government Unions

Regular people, such as teachers, firemen and postal workers do good things for society.  However, as FDR forcefully said that people who work for the government should not form labor unions.  FDR said, "All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management."  Public unions have pitted workers against citizens with the outlandish contract settlements, which include unheard of "automatic pay raises" for all workers independent of individual performance and no layoff clauses.  These public union contracts are currently bankrupting the postal service, cities, towns, counties and yes NY State.

Pseudo Democracy in NY State

The Kingston Freeman published an excellent editorial on Feb.9, 2013 on Pseudo Democracy, where the secret, rushing the enactment of new state gun laws by Governor Cuomo and the state legislature was roundly criticized for violating all normal governmental steps that we learn in school civics classes.  The Freeman expressed the total frustration that many NY State citizens have about our NY State government.  In calling for the Repeal of the Triborough Amendment, we citizens are told by our elected assemblymen and senators that this repeal has no chance, since Shelly Silver and Cuomo are against it.  Again, what happened to legislative hearings where citizens get a chance to push their wishes?  NY State government operations including the way the latest Gun law was pushed through secretly makes us New Yorkers feel like we are living in a state in Communist Russia.  I am sorry, but it is true.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Our priorities are not Obama's priorities

Unfortunately, all 4 of Obama's 2nd Inaugural priorities of (climate change, immigration reform, gun control & gay marriage) do not touch on the 2 top priorities for everyday working people and their children.  Obama seems to ignore the 2 priorities of 1) "lessening the crippling $16 Trillion debt that we are leaving our children and grandchildren"  2)  improving the economy and job opportunities.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cuomo Silent on Repeal of Triborough

In his State of the State speech, Andrew Cuomo failed to mention the most important NY State government reform available to help failing school budgets and town, county and city budgets.  REPEAL OF THE TRIBOROUGH AMENDMENT.  If we repeal the Triborough Amendment,  teacher and municipal unions would no longer be able to collect automatic step raises after their contracts expire.  In other words, these unions would be more likely to negotiate new contracts quicker if they know that step raises and other clauses of their old contracts were no longer in effect.
This repeal of the Triborough Amendment would save NY State tax payers millions of dollars.  Some of these dollars could be used to keep schools open and children better educated.  No other state in the USA has anything like the Triborough Amendment.  This amendment contributes to the fact that NY State is last or close to last in Economic Growth.

I wonder why Governor Cuomo avoids this reform which a majority of New Yorkers support?  The answer - Cuomo is in the tank for teacher and municipal unions.  Also, it is now very obvious that the NY State press and media are in the tank for Cuomo, because our journalists hardly mention or editorialize about Cuomo's avoidance of the Repeal of the Triborough Amendment.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

NY School Commission is Clueless

The commission's proposal is a joke, right?  They are proposing more failure for our public schools.  Do you know that only 3 states require Masters Degrees of their public school teachers (NY, Mass., and Ohio)?  The other 47 states equal or out-perform these states.  Advanced degrees hurt the teaching profession.  We don't need scholars to teacher our children.  We need down-to-earth passionate people who love to communicate with children.  Scholars often are not good at communicating with children.  Scholars often want more money for academic competence, whereas bachelor level teachers are more likely to love the art and results of teaching at a down-to-earth level.  As far as year-round school, this proposal is dead on arrival due to lack of funding.  Ask former governor Mario Cuomo.  The liberal public school elites have definitely run out of solutions for our failing public schools.   Let's try more charter schools and parent school choice via vouchers to allow parents to spend the vouchers to send their children to any public, private or parochial school that they deem best for their children.