Letters: The Common Council’s responsibility, the railroad’s untapped potential

ktx sq washington stampThe Common Council’s obligation

Shayne Gallo represents everything that we teach our kids not to be. From bullying to morality, we preach to our children and teach them in school to have a certain level of respect for their fellow man.

I was bullied for a great majority of my school life. No one back then acknowledged the issue or simply didn’t care to. I was too young and inexperienced at life to know what was happening and how to stop it. Shayne Gallo’s lunatic berating of people is pathetic and an outright embarrassment to the city. It ultimately disgusts me to see others treated as I was when I was ignorant and powerless to stop it.

Jeremy Blaber, regardless of his past, work history or drug problems, is still a person and does not deserve to be subjected to the ranting of an abusive administrator. Nor did Mr. Dart, Mr. Rea, Ms. Fuentes or Mr. Bridges. There are more people that I am missing, but the point of this cyclic pattern is established.

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Kingston City Administration Legislation Article II, Chapter 49-4, A, “Pursuant to the provisions of § 806 of the General Municipal Law, it is hereby recognized that there are rules of ethical conduct for public officers and employees which must be observed in attainment of a high degree of moral and ethical conduct and in maintaining public confidence in our unit of local government.” Shayne Gallo has clearly violated this code of conduct more times than we dare to count.

Shayne Gallo is a man living in a shadow he will never fill. His half-empty attempts to propagate his own agenda only stem to hurt others in the city. His clear violation of numerous laws needs to be considered by the Common Council.

As stated in Section XIII, C13-3, B of the city charter “The Council shall have the power to investigate the affairs of every department or agency of City Government and the official conduct of every officer and employee.”

The Common Council clearly has the ability to resolve these issues. As our elected representatives they need to adhere to public demand.

Christopher Perry, Kingston

The railroad’s untapped potential

I take exception to your editorial of May 2. You didn’t take the time to find out what the [Catskill Mountain] Railroad is trying to accomplish. There has been virtually no support for 30 years from the county. Getting the tracks restored from Kingston to Phoenicia will allow for a dinner train and possible commuter service. Citizens would be able to come to Kingston to shop and not have to be on Route 28. There will be more folks riding the train than ever using the trails. If, and I say if, a large number of trail folks came, where will they park and at whose expense? Taxpayers, of course! The old O&W trail is often strewn with litter, and of course taxpayers pay for the cleanup. Also, the growth of weeds and trees along the right-of-way trail will need to be eliminated. Guess who will be expected to pay for that. The original intent of the county legislators and others was to have a linear operation so that other towns could benefit from the spin-off of many tourists. Steamtown was not a viable plan at that point. As to the trail in Kingston near Albany Avenue, no one will want to use it as the area is not safe. The railroad over the years had to clean up many tons of mattresses and other heavy items that the local residences seemed to feel was their private dumping ground. Where has the city or the county been to stop this? As to a few cranky old timers at Dutch Village, they don’t complain about all the truck fumes, do they? Most of the folks there like the train. As to the obesity crisis, it will not be solved by the trail. Maybe a few, perhaps. There are plenty of places to walk now. Methinks that someone is giving Mike Hein a bunch of bull and he’s got the mayor to do his dirty work. There are a lot of places in Kingston that are hazardous. Why aren’t they worried about that? Also, fix the potholes, etc. Instead of having both rail and trail, Mr. Hein it seems is just looking to make a name for himself for higher office and Kingston be damned.

John Prestopino, Orange County

 

There are 2 comments

  1. John Garesche

    Sorry, Mr. Prestopino, but facts and history do not support your point of view. There far more people who utilize the Hurley Rail Trial than have ever used the CM Railroad. The people of Kingston do NOT want the railroad anymore. The CMRR is NOT a good neighbor. I used to be supportive of rail and trail, but I do not think the CMRR is supportive of the idea. They pay it lip service, but that’s only when they see their lease in jeopardy. I think it would be great to have both, but it is not possible in Kingston or up until Boiceville (where the CMRR can continue to expand and operate as they have for many years.

    Also, the tax payer will NOT be the only one to fund a trail: as a member of the Woodstock Land Conservancy who is leading the charge for a trail – we will work to create the formation of a non-profit trail association that will be responsible for the maintenance of the trail – same as the Walkill Valley Rail Trail Association and many other non-profit rail trail associations. The CMRR is absolutely benefitting from government money – but not much, because they do not know how to get the public on their side. They should be a non-profit, but instead they are a for profit corporation using public property for their own benefit!

    As for use of the trail in the city – I use the railroad tracks now! I look forward to the day when I can actually bike the trail (which is not possible with the railroad ties in place) and walk it without fear or harassment by the train. The garbage will be cleaned up far faster by trail users than by the CMRR, and the heavy use will deter the homeless people who tend to hang out under some of the bridges now.

    The CMRR had 30 years to make it a functioning railroad, and had they been successful, this would be a different conversation. The fact is, they have not been successful. It’s time to put this public piece of property to it’s highest and best use. A rail trail is by far a much better use. Far more people prefer a rail trail. The time for a railroad is gone, the tie for a rail trail has come.

    John Garesche
    Resident of the city of Kingston
    Neighbor of the railroad tracks
    Member of the Board of Directors of the Woodstock Land Conservancy – fiscal sponsor of the Friends of The Catskill Mountain Rail Trail

  2. Bryanx

    Most of the voices I hear on both the Pro and Con sides of the rail debate seem to be highly loaded emotionally.

    The few voices of reason on either side tend to get lost in the noise.

    I get the impression that the CMRR has pissed off a few people in the past, and the grudges appear to be persisting.

    Being new to town I’m not loaded down with years of frustration in any specific regard, but I might suffer from some naivete in these subjects.

    In the past four years have been making a habit of studying macro and micro economic theory, the history of industrial development of the world, New Urbanism, economic migration patterns, and sustainable urban practices.

    I grew up in the Ultimate 20th Century sprawl town, Los Angeles, with its poor excuse for public transportation. Lived for a while in the Ultimate Well-Connected town, New York City, with its get-anywhere-any-time-of-day comprehensive transit system.

    Now I live in Kingston – where its close enough to walk, but everybody drives, and there is not much left to go to.

    And it confuses me.

    I see the cities and towns on the east bank of the Hudson. Most of them in a slightly better shape on average than the ones on the west bank. And I wonder how much having nearby (and in some cases: in-town) train access has anything to do with this clear difference. I’m thinking probably more than a little.

    And this place, Kingston, with a historic trolley museum by the water and a function stretch of track used for a tourist railroad at the top of town… HEAVYWEIGHT train enthusiasts right here.

    I hear people talking about potential for commuter rail, or at least extended scenic rides starting/ending in the city and going out through gorgeous countryside.

    And long-held enmity at CMRR that blind many to any visionary possibilities.

    In expectation of fuel costs (for personal transportation) potentially digging in to greater and greater percentages of personal income, some froward-thinking leaders are choosing a different path. The state of Massachusetts is looking to invest big on rail.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/26/us/massachusetts-plan-starts-small-for-big-upgrade-to-rail-system.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Will it be a boondoggle, or a sensible investment in their future relevance as a regional economic power? I don’t know. But they are thinking at a macro scale – increasing human connectivity utilizing efficient, proven methods.

    When was the last time real passenger service ran through here? 1958? 1960?

    Ask yourself this: Are you better off now than you were 50 years ago?

    And in another 5 or 10 years, with rail connectivity into the hills thoroughly gutted… what effect, in any, will that have on this city?

    Will it still be looking backwards, both feet firmly planted in the past?

    Bypassed by history.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/warren-buffett-wins-again-train-traffic-is-going-through-the-roof-2013-4

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