Kingston Times letters (5/3-9)

Wrong project for the wrong time

Over the last few weeks, the community has raised serious concerns about the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center proposed for the Town of Ulster. These concerns include reductions in air quality and property values, safety concerns, noise pollution and light pollution, and impacts to the neighboring City of Kingston.
Beyond these concerns, there is another glaring issue with the proposed project. While our county, region and state are all making strides to move away from reliance on fossil fuels, we are currently considering a significant investment in fossil fuel infrastructure in our community.

This would be the first ever fossil fuel project for the company proposing the plant, and yet we’re just steps away from being able to build battery-only grid backup facilities in this state. By the time the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center is complete, it could be obsolete in favor of new plants that don’t require diesel or gas input to bolster our grid.

While our community might make an attractive location for proposed project because the delta that exists between our relatively good air quality, and the allowable limit which this plant would need to remain below, the reality is that this is the wrong project at the wrong time for 2018.


Abe Uchitelle

Editor’s note: The writer is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 103rd Assembly District seat.

Not a boutique hotel

In regards to the Daily Freeman’s March 10, 2018 article “Kingston boardinghouse applicant may try again as boutique hotel,” followed by April 12, 2018’s article “Zoning Board postpones ruling on boutique hotel status for boardinghouse.”

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meeting of April 12 addressed the use and area variance for 106 West Chestnut St. and the owner’s desire to operate this property as a “boutique hotel.”

I shudder to think what a tourist’s reaction would be if they made their reservation for what they believe is a “boutique hotel” at 106 West Chestnut St.

The owner of this property believes that by changing the status from boardinghouse to a boutique hotel he will be able to charge his residents more per day to alleviate his financial hardship. His boarders spoke at the April 12 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting/public hearing and have lived there for over a year. Many of these residents must share a bedroom with two or three roommates. This is permanent housing, not an overnight accommodation. They are referred to 106 West Chestnut St. by Ulster County DSS.

This property does not qualify as a boutique hotel because and Wikipedia both describe a boutique hotel as a small hotel that has between 10-100 rooms in unique settings with upscale accommodations and unique selling points.

Further, the property would have a big personality and be one of a kind with personal feeling and ambiance; it would have at least 10 rooms; and if not, it’s not a boutique hotel and would be classified an inn or bed/breakfast;

• The property could possess a contemporary vibe — with spirited guests to match, not generic, blah or bland surroundings;  

• The property could have modern or designer décor with quirky touch/cutting edge, sleek materials, stark palettes, bold color splashes;

• The property may have an urban setting right in the heart of town or could be a designer country villa;

• The property would be rich in local flavor — strong sense of place and reflects location’s heritage;

• The establishment would offer ultra personal service which separates them from a chain hotel — better personal, five-star hospitality service;

• The establishment would be eccentric with sense of humor — room details/guest programs;

• The management focuses on food and beverage — an outstanding restaurant/bar might be on premises;

• And last, but not least, often the establishment is furry pet-friendly — and there are fewer rules and restrictions that conventional hotels.

In conclusion, 106 West Chestnut St. fails all the criteria for boutique hotel status and it is my hope that the application is denied. This is another attempt to circumvent the use and area variances required for this property.

I hope that when a tour is conducted for the ZBA members, they are not restricted to one or two floors and will insist that they tour the entire complex from top to bottom and include all out-buildings too.  

Ellen DiFalco

Flynn’s the one

I, like so many of the residents in the 19th Congressional District, am motivated and eager to unseat John Faso, our current congressional representative. The rather large field of candidates can make the choice confusing. After attending several forums and “meet & greets” with the candidates, the choice was obvious to me. The one candidate who sticks out as progressive and is most electable is Brian Flynn.

While all the candidates talk the ideology of progressives, only Brian has specific, detailed, and implementable answers. He has a “Marshall Plan” for the American worker which includes training and re-training for the types of jobs available today. Flynn is an environmentalist who will work to empower the EPA by investing in green-collar jobs. When he talks about the issue of gun violence prevention he endorses the repeal of the “Dickey Amendment” passed in 1996 which prohibits the CDC from research on gun violence for advocacy or promotion of gun safety. He has been a long-term advocate of “Medicare for All” and his campaign is hosting town halls throughout the district in the month of May (see for details).

Flynn is not a carpetbagger — he is the third generation in his family to choose Greene County as home and can speak to the diversity of issues we face as a district and to the diversity of people who populate our district. He will stand up to tough questions  in a direct and honest way — for example, when asked why his company moved jobs from Western New York — he talks about the issues with our rail system in terms of getting local products to market (an issue he shares with many of our district’s farmers). As a result, he was able to bring hundreds of manufacturing jobs to the eastern U.S. including New York.

Brian Flynn is dynamic, intelligent and committed to our district and the day-to-day issues we face. Take the time to talk to him face to face and you will discover that he listens, really listens. I believe he is the strongest candidate to beat Faso and effectively represent us in Washington. It’s about time!

Cheryl Qamar

The silence ends

The Kingston P.B.A. Union, Inc., represents the brave men and women who serve the City of Kingston as police officers, individuals who selflessly serve this community and the residents they are sworn to protect. In the past year, a false narrative concerning our members has emerged and been championed by a few individuals in the city. Claims of excessive force and bias have been lodged against our members, and to date, the city and the PBA have remained silent as the cases have moved through the criminal justice system. The cases are over and today that silence ends.

Policing is the most transparent profession in our community, if not the nation. Our officers wear body cameras, drive patrol cars containing two cameras and GPS; radio and phone calls are recorded, and the data from our tasers are stored and can be accessed by a third party. Every encounter is recorded and every event documented. While this unprecedented transparency allows the community to hold police officers accountable when their actions are improper, it also serves to shield officers from false or misleading allegations. We no longer need to accept the false allegations and reckless comments made by the few.

Two incidents in the city have been the subject of public scrutiny and much media

attention. The first involved an individual arrested in September of 2015 who was allegedly “tased” twenty-one times. This was clearly a gross exaggeration as the subject was tasered 2 times in response to his behavior and non-compliance. In fact, the individual broke the law, was arrested for his conduct and just recently, was convicted after a trial by a jury of his peers.


The second incident that has garnered much news coverage was an arrest of a subject on Broadway stemming from a city code violation, possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage. When the officer questioned him for this violation, this young man changed a simple conversation into an arrest. He recently entered a plea instead of taking his case to a jury trial.

After careful review by a team of highly trained professionals, the conclusion was unanimous: The police officers involved in these arrests handled themselves well. Their actions met the highest professional standards of the profession and were consistent with their training. The officers’ actions were measured, proportional and appropriate.

Sadly, the common denominator in both incidents was the personal conduct of the individuals stopped by our officers. Not only were they uncooperative, they were combative. The actions of the individuals in question resulted in their arrest and convictions. It did not have to be this way. That nobody was seriously injured is a testament to the officers’ rigorous training and the restraint they demonstrated during these challenging interactions.

Mayor Noble’s actions and statements regarding these matters have been disappointing, to say the least. He knew for months that no one had been “tased” 21 times, but chose to keep the truth hidden for fear of angering members of the community. He knew that the officers had scrupulously followed the law and department procedures. He knew that all internal investigations had exonerated the officers. Instead of informing the community of these facts he inexplicably announced that they would face command discipline. This is political pandering at its worst.

Needless to say, no one has been disciplined over these incidents because no one did anything wrong.

Some in the community would have you see us as the problem, but when you see parents at school meetings or playing catch with their kids, remember that’s us too. We raise our families next to yours, coach your kids in Little League, and donate every penny we can to local sports and activities for our youth! We help unlock your vehicle, help you find the family dog and even hand out candy to your children on Halloween! That is who we really are. So, when you see a Kingston police officer on the street, keep an open mind and don’t let the heated political rhetoric of a few poison our community. Feel free to stop and have a conversation with him or her, we are happy to help you in any way we can. You might be surprised to find we share a lot in common. Thank you for your continued support.

Kingston P.B.A. Union, Inc.

There are 2 comments

  1. JP

    The Police in our communities never receive enough credit for the dangerous, hardworking job they do. Although some would like a world without police, I think of what would happen if there were no police. The answer, chaos! Many today base strong opinions without gathering all the facts, also, some wish to see society do whatever they like without respect for the law, or other civilians. Shame on the mayor for not standing up for what is right, and shame on those that defend unlawful behavior. As a member of this community, I thank the police for all they do. Please don’t get discouraged by the actions of a few.

    1. route 209 bald eagle

      We are already seeing the ferguson effect in kingston…

      I for one can’t understand why such a small group led by a professional protestor can get so much coverage in the local media. (And no I’m not saying protestors are paid, but Callie Jayne, who leads these things, IS a professional organizer. Not sure where the funding comes from but her entire job appears to be to move to Kingston and proceed to organize constant protests saying everything is racist.)

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