When the mayor and the Common Council asked us to agree with a citywide property revaluation in 2007, we were assured our new assessment would be updated yearly to reflect current market values. Either by intent or incompetence, the yearly adjustments didn’t happen. From 2007 through year end 2010, property values decreased by 28 percent. Meanwhile, without adjusting property values from their 2007 starting point, the city continued to tell Albany agencies our assessments were 100 percent of market value. End result, every city property owner paid more than their fair share of county and school taxes for the past 5 years.
The offices of mayor and all of the Common Council are up for vote in November. You can expect to be visited by candidates asking for your support. I suggest you ask each candidate if they “understand” the past failure and if they “promise” never to let the current disaster occur again. Don’t settle for “it is my intent,” the requirement for your support must be “I promise.”
And then let’s be alert and hold them to their promise.
Ronald E. Dietl
A note of kudos to your writer Carrie Jones Ross for her excellent, thought-provoking story “Different Flowers in One Garden” (Kingston Times, June 9). Ms. Ross fully captured not just the incredible compassion which united the groups and congregations in this mission of faith, but also the heritage which brought so many direct descendants of those resting in Mount Zion cemetery to the re-dedication.
In her story, Ms. Ross invoked every special moment and tear-jerking nuance, allowing the reader to feel as if they were present at the ceremony and, in turn, to remember those who served and suffered without the full recognition of their fellow New Yorkers, clergy and government of the time.
It would be an oversight not to again credit those whose hard work contributed to this historic reconciliation, including the Kingston Land Trust, the congregations and dignitaries on hand, Joakim Lartey and Ev Mann and POOK, as well as Kingston city historian Ed Ford. And once again to Ms. Ross, thank you for an outstanding story that helps to confirm the everyday power of caring and forgiveness.
Not a proud day
It was not a proud day for the State of New York when the legal definition of marriage was changed to include same-sex partners. Tragic fruits will result from turning our backs on God and the respect for faith of the forefathers of our country.
All people, including homosexuals, deserve compassion and love, but Jesus Christ was clear that marriage can only be the lifelong union of one man and one woman. That covenant was ordained by God and the state has no authority to alter this eternal truth.
It is also disappointing that this bill was an eleventh hour result of special interest politics in Albany. Had more time been taken to thoughtfully consider this issue and listen to each other, a better way could have been found. No matter what slings and arrows may be thrown, people of faith must bear witness to the teachings of Jesus Christ, marriage, and the family as instituted by God.
Johann Christoph Arnold
The sad blue truth
Dear Mr. Barton, I have enjoyed many of your editorials over the years but I feel you missed the boat on your article entitled “Kingston’s Blue Monday.” (Kingston Times, June 16) Blue for a man who was groomed for years to become the next police chief of Kingston? Maybe, mad that he was allowed by a gross oversight by our top three city employees to rip off us the taxpayers for now over $209,000 most definitely.
The fact that the blue wall protected one of their own, (not surprising) a man who (allegedly) was stealing and double-dipping for years, a man who claimed he made over $275,000 a year on his tax returns as a lieutenant in the police department? Really? And that did not raise any red flags?
Blue that the assistant school superintendent Pritchard told his boss that Matthews was double-dipping several times and his response was to tell Pritchard to apologize to Matthews — really, but still no action was taken?
The truth of the matter is that now that the state comptroller and the FBI are involved the good ol’ boys club can’t cover this mess up and the fact that all three men — the mayor, the police chief and the school superintendent are getting out at the same time is a “coincidence” — really, we may be blue but we’re not stupid!
The sad blue truth is that none of our three top-paid city employees whose combined salaries and extras is well over $375,000 a year failed us all. None took the lead and none has stepped up to the plate and emerged as a leader.
Sad that so many people are being affected by these three men’s inability to oversee their own individual departments from teachers who now have to wait to see if the new programs they worked so hard to get implemented will be kept or cut under a new school superintendent.
The policeman who had to have known what was going on but had to keep their silence to save their jobs, and a police chief that if he had not decided to retire, should have resigned over such a gross oversight under his watch, and lastly a mayor whose plate was already full defending his good friend’s management faux pas (former head of the DPW) in a sexual harassment lawsuit that the city lost and in retrospect should have settled out of court thus saving us taxpayers money.
Unfortunately, all three men are right now just keeping their seats warm and no one’s leading the city or the police department or our public schools.
All three men are just waiting it out until they can collect their pensions and fade away, all going their own separate directions probably getting the heck out of Kingston before the FBI and the State Comptroller’s Office finish their investigations and release their findings — leaving us taxpayers wondering why so much green was wasted and blue that no one did their jobs.