Kingston Times letters (3/30-4/5)

Which way to waffle?

Rep. Faso cannot decide his position on healthcare policy. Campaigning, he repeatedly pronounced his position as “repeal and replace” the ACA. Once in office this position morphed and in a major written statement on Feb. 23 he favored “reform and fix.” These two positions are polar opposites; the first starts by eliminating the ACA and returning to pre-2009 health care with spotty coverage, enormous deductibles and double-digit yearly increases, while the second maintains the many benefits of the ACA and uses “fixes.” Then once again his stance changed to wholehearted acceptance of TrumpCare’s total “repeal” by eliminating the funding structure built into the legislation, thus assuring its collapse. Now that the Republican Congress finds itself frozen and divided over the repeal-repair debate Mr. Faso has decided to waffle and once again proclaims that he would like to work on repairing the ACA. Some call this type of behavior putting one’s finger up into the political winds in order to secure re-election.

If “fixing” is his true commitment, I urge all who are concerned about losing the many benefits of the ACA, such as covering pre-existing conditions, maternity care, medications and many more, to appeal to Mr. Faso to work to correct the damage to the ACA that Republicans have wrought over several years through legislation, and then through Trump’s presidential orders, which together are strangling our health care system. I call their behavior “repeal by neglect.” After Mr. Faso’s full support of TrumpCare, I hope he has waffled toward “fix” for good this time.

Dave Minch
Support for parking plan


As business owners, we support the City of Kingston’s parking plan for these reasons:


  • The goal of business-friendly on-street and municipal lot parking should be to provide easy access to retail stores and offices. Turnover is key. The flow of people in and out of the parking spaces needs to be ongoing. City parking lots will better serve customers’ needs for short-duration parking near their destination.
  • The kiosks will put us on a more level playing field with other communities that do a good job of welcoming visitors. If a lunch date is running longer, it will be easy to buy more time on the meter from inside the restaurant. No need for quarters; just a smart phone will do. Parking tickets will decline.
  • To keep taxes down, letting users pay for needed services is sensible. When we want to have lunch in a city restaurant, where a meal could be from $5 to $25, a $1 parking tab is not going to cause us to stay away.
  • People congregate in cities for access to needed services. We support the city’s effort to upgrade a service like parking that is so critical to our ability to serve our customers.

The city’s newly formed Parking Work Group needs to find affordable solutions for people who live and work in our business districts and need parking on a daily basis. With positive attitudes and innovative thinking, the city’s long-standing parking challenges can change for the better.

Pat Courtney Strong, Courtney Strong Inc.

Gwenn Benson, Stone Soup                                                 

B.C. Gee, Mezzanine Antiques

Joe and Elizabeth Baganz,
Joe Beez Famous Sandwiches

Ed Kang, The Broadmoor


Governor’s scheme bad

All 20 of the towns of Ulster County voted in unanimity to oppose Governor Cuomo’s Countywide Shared Services Property Tax Savings Plan (PPG S2005/A3005 Part U), and have asked me as president of the Ulster County Association of Town Supervisors and Village Mayors to write this letter expressing our opposition to what amounts to be yet another unfunded mandated from Albany being pushed down our throats. The governor’s proposal requires county executives/managers to study and develop new efficiency plans impacting the delivery and provision of town services. There are many facets of the plan we find disturbing and will ultimately negatively impact services to the constituents we are sworn to serve. Some of our concerns are:

  • These plans are not voluntary. The county executive/manager must put together a plan to go before county voters for approval at the general election in November. This proposal does not require town approval or at least any input into the process before going to a countywide vote which takes away decision-making power from those most impacted by changes. We see this as an infringement on our Home Rule rights granted by Article IX of the New York State Constitution.
  • The proposed budget does not provide any funding to pay for development or implementation of these plans. Yet another unfunded mandate thrust upon us.
  • The governor’s budget also eliminates AIM funding if the legislature does not adopt the Countywide Shared Services Property Tax Savings Plan. This works contrary to his stated goal of lowering property taxes, as AIM funding is a proven tax reduction tool.

We are requesting of all our elected state representatives to not vote for a budget which includes the governor’s “Property Tax Saving Proposal” or which includes the language contained in the governor’s Aid to Localities Budget Bill (S2003/A3003 on page 1060) that ties the distribution of AIM funding to the adoption of state legislation requiring Countywide Shared Services Property Tax Savings Plans.

The property tax levies imposed by towns throughout the State of New York represent a small fraction of the total property tax burden placed on our residents. True property tax reform in New York will only be achieved when we address how education is funded. Funding for education represent about 70 percent of the property tax burden placed on our residents. The way we currently fund education is based on an archaic agrarian system which places an unwieldy burden on residential taxpayers. True property tax reform must start there instead of picking on town governments. We work hard to provide essential services to our residents with a level of accountability not found in higher government. The time has come for Albany to support local governments instead of tearing them down and imposing unfunded mandates.

Please contact your state Senate and Assembly representatives and ask them not to support Governor Cuomo’s Property Tax “Savings” Plan.

Carl Chipman
President, Ulster County Association of
Town Supervisors & Mayors
Supervisor, Town of Rochester


Who should pay?

On Thursday, March 16 I read in the Freeman that water costs may well be going up 18 percent to cover the expenses of bringing the Copper Lake Dam into compliance with current state regulations. Well, attention Kingston Water Department — please send my 18 percent increase invoice to Rebecca Martin. I am not sure of her Kingston address, but as a City of Kingston property owner she gets a water bill and the assessor will be able to help.

The reason for this is very simple: Wasn’t it she as the leader of the obstructionist super-minority of six that led the charge to discourage and prevent Niagara Water from coming to Kingston/Ulster? Wasn’t it she and the other six that prevented 150 good-paying jobs, and the support jobs it would have created? Wasn’t it her perceived mob, too late realized as a mere half-dozen insurgents who prevented the construction of a building that would contribute to the local tax base? I am sure she will not mind picking up the tab in order to fulfill her plan of negative economic growth direction. Perhaps others would like to join me. If you do please feel free to contact me. Perhaps we can organize a list or petition and submit it to the Water Dept. so the can send all of those listed their 18 percent increases to Ms. Martin. I am sure she has the resources to cover the bill. Ms. Rebecca Martin certainly had the vocal and written resources to affect every other property owner with an additional yet unnecessary tax burden in order to fulfill her own selfish, negative and self-serving interest. What happened to Niagara Water was truly a deplorable disgrace.

P.S. — The above was printed in a local daily paper on March 23. Two days later a self-proclaimed member of the above-referenced mob wrote that we should not submit and accept every offer from a potential new employer or business venture. Well, Ms. J. Sayre is perhaps correct. We should never have allowed a time clock company from Binghamton, N.Y. to invade our land and quietly buy acres of land in Ulster in and create 8m000 jobs only to later pollute create a toxic waste land and then leave. Remember IBM? It’s now a pile of rubble on Boice’s Lane.  As a result, factories in the city were left empty, a rail passenger line was discontinued, the daily newspaper went bankrupt, schools and malls were built that because of the dwindling population (see census report) and business climate are now empty, and Kingston’s main industry is low income housing! In the meantime taxes continue to rise and if Ms. Sayre thinks the new federal government will give us money she seems to forget that we are a Sanctuary City that harbors criminals (that’s why they are called illegal) and may in the days to come, even be cut off from and lose already promised grants let alone new ones.

Bruce McLean


Protest Wells Fargo

Headlines about Standing Rock are no longer daily reminders about the struggle to defeat Dakota Access Pipeline. The memory of the historic gathering of many thousands of water protectors, Indigenous-led and supported by many allies, may be fading. There is so much happening that it may be easy for us to move on to other issues. However, Energy Transfer Partnership, the company which is building the Dakota Access Pipeline continues to reap great profits and the fight against the reckless greed of oil and gas pipelines which put our water, our communities, our climate at imminent risk continues as well. Many who stood at Standing Rock are facing harassment and serious criminal charges.

Energy Transfer Partners is not only completing DAPL, it is building a natural gas pipeline in West Texas — the Trans Pecos Pipeline which runs close to the Big Bend — the home of one of the most biodiverse desert regions in the world. Energy Transfer also has plans to build the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana which would carry Bakken Crude oil on its last leg of the DAPL to export in the Gulf.  It endangers the fragile Louisiana bayou, it risks destruction of the water and of the Cajun community through which it would run.

On April 8th from 10-1 we will be at the Wells Fargo Bank at 235 Fair St. in Kingston — one of the main investors in Energy Transfer Partnership — demanding that it divest all holdings in ETP and asking all who can to withdraw their money from the bank.

Please join us. Bring your voices and your signs!

As we continue to fight the plans of Pilgrim Pipelines to build crude oil pipelines along the state Thruway, we learn that it is all one fight whether in our backyard or somewhere else.

Sue Rosenberg