Kingston Times letters (4/19-25)

Not good for us

Picture this. A 450-foot-long gas, diesel, lithium ion battery grid tucked into the wooded area off Frank Sottile Boulevard and Miron Lane also bordering Fox Run and Sunrise Park’s residential streets in the Town of Ulster. This facility will stand 650 feet from 220 residences including at-risk seniors, low income, child daycare and a residence for special needs individuals. This experimental project features two eighty-foot stacks spewing toxic chemicals CO2, NOx, Fluorocarbons, SF6, HFCs and methane equal to the yearly emissions of the 20,000 residents at present.

In addition, this grid presents generator noise, 24-hour light, noxious odors (diesel fumes) and most certainly the destruction of the wildlife habitats nestled in this beautiful, verdant woodland.

All this in the heart of the Town of Ulster business district, including ShopRite, Planet Fitness and Kohl’s. Really!

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No jobs here either. Operations will be remote from the Midwest where Glide Path investors and Energy Foundry (hedge fund shareholders) can safely profit far removed from the consequences.

The fact is, our region will receive no utility benefit. Glide Path grid is for downstate Westchester as they prepare for the Indian Point nuclear power plant shutdown. The Town of Ulster has a vision for our future and that is green, clean energy for our benefit. It will happen with leadership and citizens working together. In the interim downstate should look to themselves for long-term solutions for their energy needs.

Note: The Town of Ulster boasts top air quality in New York state by recognized standards.

Susan McConekey
Town of Ulster

The Cuban way

Six of us from the Hudson Valley, including a couple who own a farm, will present a report and slideshow on a 10-day delegation studying Cuban farm and organic gardening. Pastors for Peace organized the delegation.

We will discuss an overview of U.S.-Cuba relations, organic farming and permaculture, the Cuban social safety nets, and look at Cuban education, religion and the arts.

At a time when organic farming is increasing in the Hudson Valley, many are interested in Cuban gardening that has the highest per capita rate of organic agriculture in the world.

Question and open discussions will follow. The presentation will take place: Wednesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Honors Center in College Hall (behind the Science Building, near Route 32 & Plattekill Avenue), SUNY New Paltz.

The event, sponsored by the New Paltz Environmental Studies Program is free and opened to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.

For directions and more information, see the campus map at www.New Paltz.edu/map/ or call (845) 566-9420.

Nora Gallardo
Wallkill

Trust doesn’t come easily

I was encouraged by Mayor Steve Noble’s written statement on Nov. 21, 2017 addressing the concerns of the community regarding police conduct in Kingston. While many of us who witnessed the mayor at the community police forum were unsure if he heard his constituents’ concerns, his statement indicated a commitment to “address areas in which we fall short of our shared vision for a community in which every individual feels safe, respected and valued.” As part of that commitment he reported that the appointed police commission would review all police complaints and make written decisions publicly available concerning its findings.

Since then, we’ve learned that a state [civil] service law would prohibit him from making those decisions public, leaving our city with a process that protects officers who act harmfully at the price of public trust and safety. In place of his commitment, the mayor has asked for our trust in him and his commission while it conducts its business behind closed doors.

For myself, this trust has become increasingly difficult to muster. Two weeks ago, the commission dismissed taking any action in the case of Fabian Marshall, a young black man who was wrestled to the ground and tased, reportedly 21 times, after being approached by a police officer who mistook him for a suspect while he waited for a ride to work. When I watch the video of the encounter online, I’m struck by how quickly and severely the officer physically escalates the situation in response to Mr. Marshall who is neither physically nor verbally threatening. If this is what correct police action looks like, I have more concerns about our system of policing than the commission alone.

In the past several months, the commission has dismissed, tabled, or in one case, recommended “command punishment” for complaints that describe officers acting violently with tasers and pepper spray towards young people of color who were innocent of a crime or being stopped for a ticketable offense. How will the public and, in particular, communities of color believe that the commission will ensure our city is policed safely after experiencing its inaction in cases of police violence? How can the commission unanimously decide that Mr. Marshall’s experience was business-as-usual while also describing the case as “troubling” during their vote?  Without written decisions, we have no way of knowing.

Regardless of our trust in him, the mayor works within a set of policies that historically have protected those with power while oppressing marginalized communities. These very policies barred him from creating transparency within his own police commission.  It may be that Mayor Steve Noble can now feel the frustration of a citizen blocked from pursuing safety, transparency and community control. My hope is that such feelings would fuel him to make necessary changes with the power he does hold, for example as the chief negotiator of our police contract. While his words inspire hope, Mayor Steve Noble will have to earn my trust through his actions.

Paul Mersfelder
Kingston

DA in error

Carnright is wrong! With regard to the April 6 story entitled “DA: Gang behind brutal slaying is still in Kingston” I found Carnright’s comments both disappointing and disingenuous. He has become far more political than he was when I voted for him and now seems to be spinning and playing games like other politicians, rather than being a straight shooter.

First, he claims not to have taken a position on Kingston adopting a welcoming city resolution, but concurrently calls it “nebulous and politically driven.” That sounds like a position to me.

Second, he also attempts to connect the resolution to the gang presence, further damning it, but fails to note whether the gang presence preceded Kingston adopting the resolution or whether gangs have also taken root in other towns throughout Ulster or nearby counties.

Third, and most importantly, he plays both sides and contradicts himself. He commented that he had participated in a program that offers legal status to undocumented immigrants who are crime victims or cooperating witnesses and would continue to do so and then stated, “I don’t want to give anybody the impression that I’m going to arbitrarily seek deportation of people who have not committed a crime,” said Carnright. “But if we have someone who is in a gang, who has committed a crime, will I use their immigration status? Sure.” How is this in any way different from the meaning of the Welcoming City resolution that Kingston adopted. It isn’t; it is virtually identical.

I know that the DA must run for office, so it is a political position in a sense, but he shouldn’t engage in rhetoric and fear-mongering as is clearly the case here. It is beneath the office of our county’s lead attorney.

Neil Millens
Kingston

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