As I study articles and reports on New York state, county and local government, I must say that the government of today will not be the government of tomorrow!
As elected officials we must take a hard look at our own ability to stand up and make the hard decisions for tomorrow. If we act as we have in the past our future will be burdened with high taxes, overspending and citizens enslaved by our weakness.
We must lead with efficient and accountable spending, smaller government and citizens empowered to thrive in this state. We can still do so while being compassionate to those in need.
We must take this stance in our own county. We must prove that we can work to achieve change for a government that once again serves the people. This will not be easy or even popular. We know that it must be done. We were elected to lead and to make hard decisions while serving our citizens.
The future is ours to build with leadership, or destroy with the same old games.
Walter G. Frey Jr.
Ulster County legislator
Kingston Public Access needs your help
The Kingston Area Public Access Commission is seeking financial support from each town and city we serve. Your town supervisors and councilpersons need to know that our viewers support this action.
Please call them and tell them you support giving financial help to Channel 23 so we can continue to serve you.
Call these towns’ leaders and ask them to support Channel 23 financially. For more info or details, e-mail KAPA.Chair@gmal.com and ask for “Budget Details Requested” in the subject line.
Town of Esopus 331-0676 or 331-3709; Town of Ulster 382-1737 or 382-2765; Town of Kingston 336-8853; Town of Hurley 331-7474; Town of Rosendale 658-3159; Town of Marbletown 687-9673; City of Kingston 331-0080 or 334-3902
Thank you for your support!
KAPA commissioner-vice chair
Midtown survey not believable
In reading your front page article entitled “What Midtown Thinks” (Nov. 11), I find it hard to believe that this is how the majority of homeowners living in Midtown really feel about their day-to-day living or their quality of life or lack of in the Midtown area.
I feel this survey’s only purpose is to serve special interest groups who hope to cash in on federal and state grants and is not a fair assessment of the quality-of-life issues that plague the Midtown area.
This survey states that Midtown residents feel they are in a stable community and feel safe and have adequate police protection and that residents are happy with their schools and youth programs, and youth gang members’ numbers have dropped by over a third from two years ago when the same survey was conducted.
As a homeowner who lives in Midtown I would like to know just who these kids interviewed and where they live in the Midtown area and in this survey what are the boundaries of what is considered “Midtown”? Did it go by wards, as our elections do, or is it a different way of defining Midtown?
I have talked with several of my neighbors and friends who live in Midtown — no one I talked to was interviewed as well as several local merchants and churches who were never interviewed. I even spoke with former aldermen who served the Midtown area for years and they were not surveyed all agree on one thing that this survey is a joke. Case in point — should a stable community have the largest Department of Social Services fraud bust in the city’s history smack dab in the middle of Midtown with hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money ripped off while many local residents were participants?
Midtown where the city cannot convince one single developer to make a proposal on the old Kings Inn property that was seized by the city because no one wants it?
In Midtown where if you drive up Broadway from Elmendorf Street to Cedar Street you see many vacant, for sale or for rent empty storefronts on Midtowns busiest main street thoroughfare?
Ulster County now has the highest foreclosure rate in New York State with many of those foreclosed homes being in the Midtown area. The highest percentages of shootings, gang related arrests, murder, prostitution and drug busts in the city.
The highest concentration of soup kitchens and food pantries in the city whose numbers have grown out of control and most can not keep up.
Churches in the Midtown area are suffering — some are for sale, some are selling their rental homes for much-needed cash while others are seeing their congregation numbers dwindling to none.
Kingstonians now pay the third highest taxes in New York State. Midtown has the highest unemployment rate, services that used to be covered by our taxes are being cut daily and pay more get less seems to be the new theme.
While storm drains remain clogged and overrunning, flooding our dirty trash-strewn streets and making our neighborhood roads resemble Swiss cheese with so many potholes, leaves have to be bagged instead of swept into the curb and recyclables are now picked up every other week instead of weekly as before, just to name a few.
My alderman who is the liaison between the Common Council and the Police Department and Midtown, her own home was broken into while at least two of the gang-related drug shootings took place just steps from her own back door even her son was arrested for selling drugs on our streets. Last week on Van Dusen Street, a home invasion took place where the owner was held at gunpoint and robbed in Midtown.
The Hodge Center in Midtown struggles to find enough youth recreational activities and services at minimal or no charge to facilitate poor families, while babysitting many children whose parents both work while feeding them all at the same time.
The school district is now considering closing a school or two and forcing the school class size to grow from 22 students per class room to 27-30 per classroom yet my school taxes keep going up every year as my children get less and less one on one attention and help.
Our local press has been criticized by some, saying that they give the Midtown area an unfair rap and an unbalance of media attention. I say nonsense — I do not feel the media covers enough of what crimes are happening around us in Midtown.
I used to go down to the police station every Monday night and ask to see the police blotter. You would be shocked by how much crime is going on in our streets that never gets mentioned in the local papers.
Many of my friends and neighbors can not wait for the housing market to pick up so they can sell their homes and move out of Kingston. Others have fallen to foreclosure and some have simply walked away, realizing they owe too much now on their homes and simply stop paying their mortgage and walk away. If this keeps up, Kingston will be an empty bankrupt city with all its homes being rented out to Department of Social Services clients.
As I drove home last night from work around 1 a.m. and turned the corner at Broadway and Downs Street I see three “working” girls inviting me towards them. Aaah, home sweet home.
But let’s look on the bright side. I hear our mayor has received his real estate license so at least he will have lots of business to keep him busy after his final term is up and we have all left!
Finding the balance
A town supervisors’ number-one responsibility is the Town Budget. In that role, as supervisor of New Paltz, holding down taxes while providing the needed services for the town was my number-one priority.
When doing a municipal budget you have revenues, the fund balance and taxes to cover the cost of your expenses. The fund balance is there to protect the municipality from any disaster. If there is an excessive amount it should be used to hold down taxes. The problem arises when that fund becomes depleted, it creates an extreme problem for how you fund the following years without increasing taxes.
That happened years back when the Republican-led legislature had used so much fund balance that the County taxpayers were handed a 39 percent tax increase the following year.
I am thrilled that Executive Hein presented a zero-percent tax increase. The taxpayers
of Ulster County are hurting and they need their municipal governments to respect that. I will be voting in the affirmative on that budget.
I also understand the implications of using such a major piece of the fund balance. However, it is my deep belief that the executive has a plan and I am pretty confident I know how he plans to once again deliver a respectable budget next year when he is up for re-election. And even though going to Albany or Washington may be an option for him, I don’t think he would allow his legacy to be an enormous tax hike after he leaves.
Oh, and as an aside, despite Hugh Reynolds’ prediction, I have no intentions to run for New Paltz town supervisor or Ulster County Executive. As Joe Moriello, New Paltz town attorney once said to me, “You don’t go back … you only go higher!”
Ulster County legislator
DOT takes action
After receiving numerous phone calls regarding unsafe traffic conditions at the intersection of Albany and Roosevelt Avenues, I contacted the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to initiate an investigation to resolve the dangerous conditions. Subsequently, I initiated a resolution which passed the Common Council in October of 2009 requesting that the DOT resolve the unsafe traffic conditions.
The DOT has responded and they have concluded that the intersection is unsafe and traffic flow must be improved. The letter they sent states “the accident history revealed a pattern of left-turn accidents occurring when northbound vehicles turn from Albany Avenue onto Roosevelt Avenue.” Furthermore they have determined that “establishing a protected left-turn phase on northbound Albany Avenue at Roosevelt Avenue is needed to mitigate the left-turn accident pattern.”
While they will not be making the changes as quickly as we all would like, the DOT’s interim solution will be to prohibit left turns from northbound Albany Avenue into Roosevelt Avenue between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The DOT has indicated that signs will be placed to reflect the changing traffic flow. The long range fix to this problem will include replacing the traffic signal to make it safe for left-hand turns from Albany Avenue onto Roosevelt Avenue.
Thank you for your time and patience.
Alderman, Ward 6
Drivers, be alert
As hunting season approaches, all drivers should be extra alert. While deer and other wild animals frequently get into trouble crossing our “country” roads at any time, where far too many drivers speed along heedless of wildlife’s safety, in hunting season the danger is worse.
Deer and other hunted animals do not generally want to leave the fields and forests where their food and shelter is, but when guns and bows and arrows are being shot at them, they naturally run away in panic. Wouldn’t you?
In an attempt to escape the hunters, many more deer dash out of cover and sometimes that means into the roads. We can hardly expect them to be cautious crossing a road when a killer is after them. Therefore, more collisions with cars are inevitable.
Even if you don’t care about the deer suffering, consider your own safety and damage to your car, and drive more slowly and watchfully during hunting season. The life you save may be your own.
And by the way, the wildlife agencies who are supposed to protect our wildlife are actually in the pockets of hunters and the gun lobby, and they spread false propaganda about the “need” to hunt to keep excess populations down. DEC and other agencies manipulate the populations for hunters’ benefits. There would be less over-population if we had not killed off their natural predators for “sport.” Even worse, the so-called thinning of the herd is not really done by hunters, because for vanity’s sake, they try to kill the biggest, healthiest bucks they can, which leaves the gene pool diminished. In nature, the weak die off naturally. But humans have destroyed the natural balance so they can have impressive trophies.
Medical center open house
An open letter from Dr. Stephen and Pamela Hassett of EmUrgentCare to our new neighbors in Ulster County:
In 2003 our family opened EmUrgentCare in Coxsackie. Over the past seven years, our practice has grown and our emergency trained medical staff has treated over 100,000 patients. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve our community and provide medical treatment to our friends and neighbors. It has been a very fulfilling experience for our family.
We are excited to begin this process again in Saugerties and are looking forward to serving our new neighbors here in Ulster County. We are writing this letter to thank all of you who have embraced EmUrgentCare as we prepare to open our new facility on Route 9W. The finish line is in sight. We will be open and providing high quality medical care on December 1st of this year.
While we officially open on December 1, we are pleased to extend an invitation to come to our Open House on Saturday, November 27 from 12-3 p.m. You will be able to meet members of our medical staff and tour our facility. Food, beverages and health related giveaways will be provided. We will also be raffling off several items including an iPod Shuffle and iTunes gift cards.
The office is located at 2976 Route 9W. To enter our raffle, please bring in non-perishable food items to be donated to the Saugerties Food Pantry. A raffle ticket will be provided for each item donated.
We hope you can take a few minutes out of your busy weekend schedule to come in and meet our team. We certainly look forward to meeting you.
As the parents of four young children, we understand the trust and responsibility that comes with providing medical care. From a simple case of the sniffles to lacerations, broken bones, and the flu, we promise to treat each one of our patients with the care, compassion and respect they deserve.
Thank you again for your support and for welcoming us into your community. We look forward to serving you.
Dr. Stephen Hassett and Pamela Hassett