What does Restore Kingston Pride mean to me?
I have to start with beliefs about families and people. I grew up in a place where lives were cheaper than most of you know. I watched people being hanged and shot down in the street in Africa on my way to seeing Marine Guards in the U.S. Embassy.
I remember thinking that there was a place where people had opportunities in safety that was foreign to me but normal to them.
When I adopted Kingston as my home in 2004 I learned a lot about a place that leaned on a business that fed and clothed and housed thousands and were able to do so because there was powerful economic prosperity here. Not just one business. I knew IBM was long gone by then but the city still reeled from the loss. There was a spawn of companies around that spawned many more that all in turn provided for thousands in turn.
When that business left, the neighborhood was devastated. There seemed to have been an expectation that the revenues generated from that could be replaced by the rest of us. It ends up, it could not. Yet the city still chose to spend as if that paradigm was still reality. And Kingston degraded into neighborhoods that created a reality that said your kids would not be safe on Broadway, would not be safe on Henry Street.
What Restore Kingston Pride means to me is prosperity. Where most of the people you know in the neighborhood are working great jobs that pay fantastic salaries and a small portion of that income goes back to the city encourages more of those companies to take a chance on our community.
Instead, what has been built is a place where new fantastic jobs can’t be located here because the city has created a tax climate that makes it impossible for fantastic, high-growth potential companies to plant roots here. How can this be? If we look in any direction we see heart-stopping landscapes. We see amazing river adventures. We see life-changing weekend camping. We see once-in-a-lifetime skiing.
We citizens know all of that is true, but yet we still can’t attract little more than a local coffee shop or a new art dealer.
Why? Because the city punishes business and earnings like they are the most evil concept ever conceived. Strange to do so for a city that was historically founded on the principles of production of our fertile soil and our contribution to things like the canal system, the brickyards and the cement business and so much more in our history.
If this city wants to become a fantastic place to love that doesn’t literally obliterate the retirees paying into the city coffers, it will learn that the business multiplier is the most prosperous way to grow the city resources, fund fantastic projects, give men and women a sense of pride every day by having produced something, lower all of our tax burden to each other by changing the ratio between those that only produce and those that only consume, and make this a town where everyone in the community relishes the chance to take a walk in the neighborhood, greet everyone with a smile and say, “Good Morning!”