OK, I’m going to say nice stuff in this letter. It’s important to do that, not to put out lists of where the people fell short, shirked their work, lost it or were occasionally rude. I mean, that stuff is hard to ignore and you sort of wonder, if you say nice things, do these people think you didn’t notice the crap? Especially those people who are bad like most of the time, hiding out, the ones whose attention you can’t seem to get, who will refer you away in a flash without any other words and call that service? So, I’ll say nice things but just to the good people, you know who you are, really. Because likely you love your job, you like people, and the people like you, so, well, you probably already know how incredibly important you are to our daily lives, how your service keeps us safe and neat and orderly and well behaved and making sure we clean up after ourselves and are reminded how much good neighbors are valued. But I would not want the creeps to get a free ride. They’re probably complaining right now because they didn’t get thanked, yeah, that’s the problem: nobody appreciates them, they’ll say. I work just as hard, they’ll say, but they don’t, not really: they’re slow and grumpy, maybe a little self-important, they don’t meet your eye, they’re waiting for everyone to love them, maybe then they’ll be better. Not good, necessarily, just better, and that’s where they’ll sit and complain for more this, more that ... well, that’s how they are. It really is a pity, like Bob Dylan sang: “you’d know what a drag it is to see you.”
Anyway, that’s mostly nice. I will do better next time, and no, you do not have to thank me ... that would just encourage my slothfulness, like, OK, my job’s done. But it’s not. I need to keep looking for those fine folks, letting them know I see them, remembering the particulars. Like that guy, today, doing some grounds cleanup on Clinton, works for the county, getting the curbsides clean, getting it ready for the spring: nice job! Thanks. I hope your friends and family know how brilliant you all are!
Meagher closing bad decision
The decision of the school board to close Meagher Elementary School was made with total disregard to what is truly best for the community. I wish to address this issue not from an elected official’s perspective, but from one of a realtor. The impact of this school closing will send a rippling effect to the home values and desirability of this neighborhood. Ask any realtor that you know who is familiar with the housing market inside the City of Kingston and they will tell you, one of the main attractions to this area was the close proximity to the school and that is exactly what young families want when they shop for a home. It is not just the house that makes them decide, it is the area, the quality of the nearby school and the convenience of having it within walking distance. These are key components to a solid neighborhood. In fact, Meagher School was one of the primary reasons that this neighborhood remained stable throughout the recent housing crisis. The argument that the school is not up to modern day classroom standards is weak — after all, it’s what is taught in our schools, not the classroom, which shapes the child. I also understand the impact of excessively high taxes (most of them school taxes) which are hard to justify when you read about the outrageous salaries earned by some administrators. There were far better options to explore and closing a well-performing school that plays an integral part of the stability of its community should have been the last resort. Look into re-aligning the grades and put sixth grade back in the elementary school, cut staff and assistants to the assistant. Ignoring the long-term impact to an entire community for a decision of this magnitude is irresponsible.
(Note: the writer is also the minority leader of the Kingston Common Council and First Ward alderwoman, and served as the 2010 president of the Ulster County Board of Realtors and is currently a director on that board.)
Save anti-tobacco program
According to Russ Sciandra, New York advocacy director for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, the New York State Assembly is proposing to eliminate funding for the New York State Tobacco Control Program. I understand that since 2007, funding for tobacco control in New York has already been cut by 30 percent and the result is starting to undermine the success of this program.
The New York State Tobacco Control Program works to protect our children from tobacco use and to help smokers quit. About 15 percent of New York high school students still smoke and with reduced funding that number will most likely increase. The smoking rate in adults which dropped to 16.8 percent in 2008 has been stalled by these budget cuts. Over $12 billion a year is spent by the tobacco companies to sell their deadly products. This money includes payments to licensed tobacco retailers to place their products and ads in locations in our neighborhood where our children purchase snacks. We must continue to fight the tobacco industry for the health of our children and our entire population. Every smoker that we help today to quit, or potential smoker to never start, is one less person we will be paying for medical services in the future.
Please let’s keep funding where it is working; saving lives and money both now and for the future. The New York State Tobacco Control Program does just that.
Let me do the consulting
I believe our state has a severe budget problem yet our state proposes to spend money that tests my belief. A news article says the state will hire a consultant to study traffic lights on Washington Avenue to the tune of $82,000.
Our city engineer says the traffic lights on Washington Avenue have long been a problem, with outages occurring every so often due to “aging controllers.”
Here’s my consultant report. Replace the aging controllers with new ones that have the capability of timed pedestrian crossing lights as a future consideration. Send my check in the amount of $82,000 to my mailing address ASAP as I need the money to pay my taxes.
Ronald E. Dietl
No toy cigarettes
Please note that at the end of the St. Patrick’s Day parade route, where the crowds were
the largest, a vendor had a table filled with St. Patrick’s Day hats, necklaces and other festive goodies for the children including horns, and a array of toys including a box of pretend cigarettes that were being sold for $1 (for a pack of two). The label read “Not for children under the age of 5.” I am outraged that toy cigarettes were sold at this event, and I urge the parade organizers to ban such products from being sold at the parade next year.
Michelle Diano Rosenbaum