Editorial: Some thoughts on some things

Kingston Times editor Dan Barton. (Photo: Keith Ferris/Keith Ferris Photo)

Kingston Times editor Dan Barton. (Photo: Keith Ferris/Keith Ferris Photo)

The debate thing: If what I hear around town about a City Hall Gallo-Noble-Polacco debate being almost set for Aug. 24 is true, then I approve wholeheartedly — as long as it’s in the evening when people can actually attend. (It was, and I do.) The voters deserve an opportunity to see those who would run Kingston discuss their views and challenge one another. And the way much of the dialogue in this campaign has read so far, this debate could turn out to be a corker. Maybe not as much as that one on Fox the other night, but as well we have learned these last three years, Gallo unscripted is Gallo unpredictable.

The Noble/Parete CMRR hearing thing: I’m all for giving people a chance to express their views directly to elected officials, in person, on social media, whatever. So I’m all in favor of this hearing, which may or may not ever come to pass. Personally, I’m curious — the railroad faction has kicked up a fuss both on Facebook and our website, but I don’t have a handle on how much the public at large thinks recreational rail past Hurley Mountain Road (or anywhere in Kingston) is a must-have. This hearing could give us all more of an indication of where the public in general stands on this issue. I’m still for the Hein compromise, by the way, and will reiterate that if the CMRR wants to operate in 2017, it needs to prove its political muscle at the polls this year. (If the pro-rail people fail to bounce even one of the 18 legislators who voted to rip up the tracks I think they needn’t be taken that seriously anymore.) Coming up with some outside investment would be nice too — the railroad’s had more than its share of suckle time at the public teat.


The inconsiderate drivers thing: I have a lot of love for the Rondout, but no love whatsoever for whomever it was driving a spiffy blue Audi it was who took up two spaces in the crowded municipal lot in front of the Trolley Museum a few Fridays back. That’s a jackass move that just tempts the universe to arrange fate to deliver something brutal to a car’s finish.

The Planned Parenthood thing: My response to this whatever it is with those videos is to announce here, in this editorial, that I am donating my body to science. (But I am open to payable-before-death cash offers.) My other response is to point out that PP, which does a very great deal more for women’s health than terminate pregnancies, is not selling fetal tissue to perverts and/or devil worshippers for jollies and/or dark rituals. It’s used in medical research, work that may one day find cures for really bad stuff like Alzheimer’s disease. Research that could help save many many lives.

In case you were wondering, here’s my stance on reproductive freedom, in three points: 1. Women having the final say over whether they’re having a baby or not is an essential human right and is essential to their having equal rights with men. On demand, and without apology. 2. No one who hasn’t ever had a uterus should have any say in any way on whether abortion should be legal or not. Pregnancy’s not a situation we’ll ever be in, us men, so I call on all of my fellow penis-bearers to pull out … from this argument. Look at it this way — a man could ejaculate, decide he wants to go across the street for a Snapple or synthetic marijuana or something and get hit by a bus and die while crossing that street. Or, and this is lamentably much more common, a man could just walk out and go do something else with his life besides parent his child. Either way, that baby is still coming, whether Dad’s around or not. 3. And anytime someone says “you could be aborting the next Einstein” please remind them that “you could also — and are actually more likely to — be aborting the next Hitler.” That is to say, there could well be something to the Donahue-Levitt Hypothesis.

The RUPCO thing: I think the Cedar Street plan is a good one. Quality affordable housing is an undeniable need. (And not just for artists, either.) This project also recaptures a significant amount of money that flowed out of Kingston in the form of both taxes and mortgages issued by the banks who coughed up the settlement which RUPCO is trying to access. That a RUPCO unit costs more than your average rental unit to construct I don’t have a problem with, as RUPCO is doing forward-thinking stuff like net-zero carbon impact and adding significant community space.

The inconsiderate dog owner thing: I have even less than no love whatsoever for whatever bad person it was who let their dog take a crap right outside our office and not clean it up. Really? It’s bad enough the Pike Plan zone smells like (human, probably drunkard) pee from time to time; dog poop is beyond the pale.

The Midtown arts district thing: Had a great meeting last week with some of the people trying to get this together. They have my full support — the arts is a going and growing thing in Kingston and everything possible should be done to support and sustain them. Kudos to the mayor (credit when credit’s earned) for his attention to and involvement in this matter.

The SUNY Ulster-in-Kingston thing: I will expound on this more in this week’s print edition, but very, very impressive job done on this project. Placing a community college campus in the heart of the city will change many people’s lives for the better. Both my parents, who were both the first in their families to go to college, got their start at DCC; I’m sure many other families will prosper as a result of this resource being available to them.

There are 27 comments

  1. Bill Hutchison

    Suckle time at the public teat? Really? Please document what direct taxpayer subsidies the railroad has gotten (hint: none) and how that differs from the trail which will ALSO suckle at the public teat.

  2. Thomas Whyte

    Well, you had me until you dropped that ridiculous statement “suckle at the public teat”.

    The railroad gets no subsidies, pays taxes on it’s income, pays the county a percentage of it’s earnings and brings a lot of tourists into Ulster county…..tourists that spend money.

    We break our backs to keep this railroad running and yes that is of our own choosing. To insinuate that we are being subsidized is wrong.

  3. Thomas Whyte

    In addition to my last comment, you might want to speak with “Dear Leader” Mr Hein about the legal fees that he has burdened the taxpayers with in his efforts to terminate the railroad’s lease before it expires in May. This is of course being done to satisfy his friends in the land trusts. I am sure they make hefty campaign contributions.

    Word on the stteet says he has cost the CMRR over 40k in legal fees, 40 k that could have been invested in infrastructure. I also hear he has spent three times that amount of ulster county taxpayer funds.

    And you accuse the CMRR of being “on the teat”?

  4. Ryan Lennox

    Dan Barton you’re a disgrace. Thanks for insulting everything we rail folks stand up for because of your dumbed-down mentality on this subject. Know your facts before you speak. We work VERY HARD and we deserve to be heard.

    You know what I find the most amusing about when the county and foolish people like yourself go after CMRR? Most of CMRR’s active members are RESIDENTS of Ulster County. Such as myself. I’ve lived here for 25 years and I’ve cleared those rails from Kingston to Boiceville. So please, take a hike saying “suckle at the public teat”. You’re a disgrace for saying such an outrageous statement.

    1. Harrison Balduf "Islanderh93"

      Well Mr. Baba G, I can’t really comment on where you live, because I have no idea who you are or where you are from. I am not afraid to state I live in Nassau County on Long Island. I spent half of my weekends in Ulster County working on the railroad, and the other half helping my family at home while at college during the week studying to become a Merchant Mariner.

      As I currently do spent my money in Uslter County, and intend on moving there upon graduatino and a steady-paying job as an American sailor, I’m not sure county of residence is a great problem here. For instance, take a look on the CMRR or SaveTheRails site on where people came from to ride the railroad, and you’ll find that most were from outside Ulster County, most came to the county specifically to ride the railroad, at least half spent money on something that was not the railroad during the venture into the county, and that a majority hadn’t heard of the railroad before hand.
      You may also find it alarming that while 3/4 of railroad passengers are from outside the county of operation, 3/4 of rail-trail users are from within the county.
      If this is an argument of “the railroad isn’t going to help people in Ulster County”, then I suppose you don’t like when restaurants, bread/breakfasts, hotels, other musuems/shops and the county in general have out-of-county traffic, tourist dollars, and publicity.
      If you’re going to snark “the railroaders don’t care about anyone but themselves”, I’d like ask if you’ve met anyone who works on the railroad, because I’m not sure if we’ve met you.
      We are willing to take time off working on tracks, cars, operating crew, resource procurement and brush cutting in order to build a trail alongside the track if only the county were interested and permitting us to do that. Several of us (including me) are bicyclists and hikers who use trail systems closer to home on a regular basis, and we believe in building the trail next to the tracks… we just don’t see why you’d want to nuder the line’s potential as part of the rail system when we’re closer than ever to stitching the line back together, despite all that the county has done to us, and despite all it hasn’t done for us.

      I hope everyone can remain civil in the ensuing arguments, and that the truth is revealed that this railroad’s survival is only dependent political problems and not on any engineering, financial or operational problems.

      Mr. BABA G., did you ever check out those videos on Youtube I pointed out to you last time?

    2. Thomas Whyte

      Baba G step up and be a man and use your real name when you are making insulting comments. Hiding behind a made up screen name and throwing bombs is about as cowardly as you can get. You also bore us

    3. Steve Porter

      Things are great in Sullivan, where we are not Xenophobic. I guess there are some in Ulster who would prefer that Tom, Bill, and others do not work hard, and spend money there regularly. I can see that there are some that do not appreciate the railroad helping improve the local economy, even though some come from outside.

    4. David


      Truth is not limited by geography, nor an appreciation of history and heritage.

      In fact, if you want to develop a tourism business in any location, you need outsiders–and you need to consider what they say–because they are the ones who come in with new money from outside the community.

      I would say you should be a bit more respectful of Bill and others like him. He came and spent money in your area, as do others. That boosts your economy.

      In fact, I’m going to invite you to come to West Virginia, where I live. We have a lot of rail trails down here (on abandoned lines, not lines that were in service), and other trails, too, plus several scenic railroads, including one that is truly world famous and world class–Cass Scenic Railroad in Cass, Pocahontas County, which is also one end of the Greenbriar Rail Trail.

      And hey!!! Bring Mr. Barton along! Really, we want to show you some grand scenery and hospitality, both in the state as a whole, and in our state park system, which is considered one of the top five in the country.

    5. FactsPlease

      Baba G. What does that have to do with the facts that they presented? Nothing.
      If ad hominem is the best argument of the rail removers, then they have already lost.

  5. Thomas Whyte

    Harrison, Don’t waste your time with this guy. His comments are only intended to bait and incite people from the railroad. He is a cowardly worm hiding behind a made up moniker

  6. Tom Healy

    Mr Barton Re your “Public teat” comment: If you were to be fair, Your paper would have done a FOIL on how much taxpayer money has been actually spent against the railroad by Mike Hein and his office . Otherwise Your comments in this editorial are disappointing and nothing more than a fishing expedition for comments. — Trolling.

  7. GimmeTrail

    Why, the terms of the railroad’s lease with the county is a form of corporate welfare in andof itself. Extremely favorable terms, and in exchange, were the people of Ulster not supposed to get some kind of Steamtown thing? Nothing like waiting until the last year or so of the lease to show some actuall effort, CMRR!

    1. Thomas Whyte

      The fact that you tried to tie the “steamtown thing” into the CMRR lease tells me you don’t know the issue too well. Arm yourself with some facts, then you can attack.

  8. Bill Hutchison

    Dear Gimme:

    If the terms were soooo favorable, who is to blame? Did the railroad have some sort nefarious hold on the county? Please.

  9. K Wick


    Frankly, I am surprised at your stance. Sue would have been very disappointed were she still alive. You used to be a caring and careful reporter. How you could make a false comment like “the railroad’s had more than its share of suckle time at the public teat.” is beyond me.
    If you check the documentation, you will see that the railroad generates money for the County rather than taking money.

    Karl Wick

    1. nopolitics

      That’s right, Karl, absolutely correct, but why let the facts get in the way of the prevailing political winds, and the follow-the-leader mentality of Kindergarteners running Ulster County Kinderland?

  10. Bill Hutchison

    Dan carps about the supposed “suckle time at the public teat” for the railroad, which is a willfully, and blatantly untrue statement. It’s such a bald-faced characterization that I wonder why he seems to have such a vendetta against the railroad. The fact that he seems unconcerned that the county has spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal fees in its quest to kick the railroad out immediately rather than merely waiting until 2016 raises serious questions about his objectivity.

  11. Vince Taint


    Dan, I love your opinion on the CMRR. You are absolutely correct. I have also referred to them as suckling on the teet of the taxpayer, so we have lots in common.

    Enough time has been given for something to come of this lease. The current state of their operation is pathetic. The Kingston “operation” in particular smells like pure desperation with only recent “ramping up” as proclaimed by Mr. Gillis.

    CMRR supporters making disillusioned statements that local business is solely dependent on the CMRR for their success is enraging and simply not accurate at all. The tracks sit completely empty for over 300 days a year…EMPTY OVER 300 DAYS A YEAR!!!!! Yes, you heard right.

    CMRR t’aint never going to haul salt for towns.

    CMRR t’aint never going to be a key part of moving people to the Catskills

    CMRR t’aint __________________ (make your own fill in)

    This “RR” is a huge DUD…but perhaps it’s the management and not the current crop of RR fawk boys scrambling to finish their sand castle before high tide comes in.

    Whatever dudes, it’s time to hike your skirt up, quit crying, and figure out something that’s a bit more “doable” than the entire corridor. You stand to lose everything…

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