Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Debt Ceiling Debate

It was interesting to listen to an interview with a Virginia Democrat, One of the Gang of Six?, who said that if the tax rate is lowered like it was when Reagan was President, that consumer spending would increase like it did before.  There is also talk of "Entitlement Reform".  Let's hope that means eliminating the Safety Net and putting people into work training programs rathering than perpetuate generations of non-workers families who should be contributing to society not living off of it.

It's also good to hear talks of reducing spending.  An average household would never be able to survive on the spending habits of government.  What if all safety nets, pork bellies, foreign aid, tax credits like EIC and additional child tax were eliminated.......just for a year?  Seems to me that the deficit would close significantly and quickly.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I'll Spell it Out "Entitlement Benefits"

Entitlement - means it's owed to you.  Generally it's something you work for, is due, and there shouldn't be any shame in asking for it.  However, this type of Entitlement means it's "my" money.  Swallowed up in taxes out of my pay check before I even see it. 

Per the New Deal it's reallocated funds to help individuals over economic humps so they could have living standards equal to those fortunate enough to still have jobs. It means you still have to look for a job, have pride in ownership, and live modestly. DSS and the Safety Net were NOT meant to be a way of life.  Someone said to me recently when I said I needed to stop and get some cash; "Oh are you going to Walmart".  I looked at them and said," No, I work for a living".  End of that conversation.

How about EBT cards being accepted at fast food chains! That's not up to my living standards.  I can't afford to eat out anymore.  How about using your EBT card for cigarette, lottery tickets, and beer but being charged four times more so the merchant can pocket the rest but ...shhhhhh..... you really were rang up with bread and milk.  I can't afford any of that either: not at $10 a pack and $9 a six pack.  And thank goodness that not only the merchant got arrested but so did the 42 (and numbers climbing) EBT card holders that misused their cards.  Thank you, Mr. DA.

I would say that there hasn't been a good ole fashion protest or boycott since the 70's.  And even though I support small business, these franchises that open their doors so more tax dollars abuse occurs, don't have my support anymore.  Please offer to give them a job, NOT TAKE THEIR EBT CARD.

(I was looking for links to include in this post, but unfortunately that had racial slurs and vicious comments. If anyone finds a good article, please post the link.  Thanks)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Golden Hill

Golden Hill supporters are well organized and committed to keeping open a professional care facility for any individual needing the service.  On the other side, all nursing homes in Ulster County are located on the eastern side of the County leaving the southern end without local coverage.  Arguably, Wawarsing and Rochester municipalities need a health care facility so loved ones can visit, and residents in need of medical monitoring that cannot live independently aren't so far removed from their community.  These same communities notably have a shortage of medical professionals that would add a quality of life to the area as well.

Unfortunately, as with everything in the County, it's a political football of personal agendas, concerned CSEA workers, and reports slanted in the direction of preferable decisions.  As elected officials, the desire of constituents should be the driving force of County legislative voting.  It is also the officials obligation to educate the constituent so they fully understand the issue including its cost and effect.  For instance, updating the Golden Hill facility will cost up to 85 million which will be past on to all tax payers.  The County will still have to pay medicaid, and get approval from the State to sell the Golden Hill license before the transaction is complete. 

This is not and will not be an easy process given the mix of political flavors involved, but keep the letters of support for all alternatives pouring in to your elected officials.  As with the right to have every vote counted, so should your opinion be on a County issue.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just A Thought

Government never runs like a well managed household.  A budget is prepared, voted on, and every last penny spent or you don't get the same amount in next year's buget.  Or so I was told.  Yet the new Director of Health with his MBA has cut one million dollars from the Health Department line and he was given the Mental Health department to work his fiscal magic.  I like the concept.

When I was younger, I kept my household budget in check by putting money in envelopes, and when it was gone that was it.  as I got older I thought it would be great to try and keep up with my neighbors, and although I can't complain about what I have, I work too much to enjoy it...........and I'm getting old fast.  So Ive some to the realization that cash is great, and I won't buy anything without it.  No credit cards. I live simpler and I enjoy it.

If I made this choice, I would expect the officials I elected to continue this practice in open government.  Don't bond for vehicles, don't spend money on mandates that don't have overwhelming returns, and if your envelope is empty at the end of the week stop the spending.  You see as Americans we aren't so dumb, and you as officials only know what's best for us if you are genuinely committed to listening.  I honestly wouldn't mind if you hired more people to investigate welfare fraud so the truly needy were the only ones that get assistance, and equally if some folks loose their jobs because the personnel budget is too high that's unfortunate but necessary..........remember there is attrition.  Over 100 properties were up for auction on April 13th, that can't mean that things are going well.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why We Really Elected You

I had the need for some input so I began scrolling through the news after simply doing an engine search on "news"...mmmmmmmmmmmm "Knit your Own Royal Wedding", ""Love you body like Neve Campbell, "How about Federal Debt Ceiling to be Hit by May 15th. Ceiling....what ceiling.  Do you mean that our elected officials have maxed out their credit cards (sorry) our credit cards, and now they are discussing raising their limits?  My daughter did that with my credit card when she went to college, and I cancelled it.  No raising the limit, no giving her another one.  If you can't manage a budget, especially when my money is involved then you're done.

Now what this is all leading to is that our local officials are so busy with smoke and mirrors, and mismanagement that the budget coming out in the next five months hasn't been addressed.  They're so busy cancelling meetings, then calling special sessions (I counted seven since January), that they can't get their act together.  Hell, they can't even schedule a picture day.  It's April; the County book won't be ready until June. 

The resolution writing, committed legislators are being shut down by the old-timer pack if it doesn't fit into their agenda.  What a shame. This alone is a reason for term limits.  The initial reason for voting in our politicians is because we believed that they would make changes, help quality of life issues, and give us back the ability to live on what we make.  Yes we can make our own decisions, Yes we do know what's best for us, and right now we are looking for legislative action before you max out our credit cards and we see more people walking with backpacks than driving cars.  Just check out the vote on the Freeman's front page today.  Would shutting the federal goverment down impact you.........no. Why?  Because they are doing anything either except misplacing 2 billion dollars in the mid east.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

And Auerbach Taketh Away

When legislative leadership once again gets busted for arranging a secret meeting with the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency, they come out with a brilliant public relations campaign declaring that the RRA has received an "A+" (yes that's tongue in cheek) by the NYSDEC for cleaning up its act.  At a private tour on Wednesday, February 16th, the DEC went out to inspect the RRA's progress in mitigating the environmental mess that had been ongoing.  In attendance was DEC big wigs William Janeway, Region 3 Director; Thomas Rudolf, Region 3 Regional Engineer; Martin Brand,Regional Material Management Supervisor; Dave Pollock, Regional Enforcement Engineer; and Larry Ricci, Environmental Monitor. “It was a pleasure to tour the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency facilities at Kingston and New Paltz. DEC appreciates that a concerted effort has been made to improve the reliability of the operations,” said Mr. Janeway.

If you notice, Mr. Ricci is an Environmental Monitor which means the RRA pays to have their operations overseen by the DEC because over the years its been mismanaged to the point its become an environmental hazard. The WGHQ Wadnola show complete with Roberts and Frey sidekicks touted what a great job they did overseeing the RRA (even thought as past Board members and present Committee Chairs they were clueless), and a press release went out.

Then BAAAMMMM, out come Comptroller Auerbach with news that his report is coming out in the next ten days, and he will be seeking the DA's assistance in following up on a criminal investigation based on allegations from interviews and information from RRA staff.  Comptroller Auerbach has been a driving force to keep this County on target financially and oversees all departments operations. I hope that despite the political pressure he must be getting internally, he continues his work.

Green Tea Hippies

I thought this would be fun even though I'm a fiscal conservative, but an environmental "hippie" at heart. I firmly believe if we go back to basics and manage what we do, we can succeed!  You have to love the name, and remember it was the Yuppies that screwed things up not the hippies!  http://www.bigelowtea.com/trash-hippies.aspx 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Our Education System

So I'm told that my grandchildren wont be bogged down with learning cursive writting.  It's antiquated and no one writes any more.  They told me not to worry about my son's poor spelling skills because a computer will spell check for him...........yeah only if it recognizes the word.  So here is what I anticipate the great grandchildren to be like........................

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New RRA Board

I find it curious that the new RRA Board wants to continue into the investigation of the termination of the previous director rather than embracing their committment to be policymakers for a public authority commissioned to protect the environment and residents of Ulster County.  The Board did have a joint meeting with Kevin Roberts Governmental Administration Committee where they past a resolution "Authorizing a Joint Committee to be Established" Wow, an quasi-governmental authority authorized the Legislature to do something?  The RRA Board also changed its monthly meetings to coincide with the Governmental Administration Committee, although Al Teetsel questioned whether the regular working folk would be able to make their meetings at three in the afternoon.

With that, there was a Freeman article on January 26th quoting RRA Board members as questioning the credibility of employees statements regarding previous management but saying they would be available to anyone wanting to discuss their concerns.  Would you show up in an office and spill your guts only to open yourself up to being reprimanding or become part of a party to a law suit?  How about going on the Wadnola/Teetsel show as a new member with two meetings under your belt, and answering questions about the RRA - did you take a crash course? 

It seems that no one has taken a step back that should be.  Anyone affiliated (employee or RRA Board member) should be staying away from the RRA right now, and an outside consultant should be brought in.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Public Access Comes To Esopus

http://ucpnews.blogspot.com/  It's been a long time in the making, but hip hip hurray, Public Access is coming back on the air.

National debt: The ugly facts

National debt: The ugly facts(click)  How interesting that our government hasn't figured out yet that the economic boom of post World War II resulted from encouraging taxpayers to save their money, invest in the United States (bonds), and technological advancements. The trend of spend, spend, spend and credit, credit, credit has overtaken public rationalism since the 70's.  What happened? Was is that we, as the last of the baby boomers, couldn't handle cutting back because of the impacts of a fuel crisis and rising food costs? Or did the movements of music, love, and drugs from the 60's create a polar opposite of materialism and self-centerness. Unfortunately, the latter seems to have trickled into our government, and collecting tax dollars for member item money and grants to study everything imaginable (or beyond imaginable) is not only the norm but expected. It's expensive dinners, suits, and vacations at the highest level.

It's not "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" anymore, it's how much money can you spend to get elected so you can spend more money to stay elected. Although, I must admit that a very few elected officials refused ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) funds. I do understand that money needs to be spent on infrastructure which was one of the winning projects in the post-war recovery, but conducting studies on college student drinking habits or bows and arrows is decadent. I loved a comment posted by Assemblyman Crouch; "I have always put the interests of schools, municipalities, libraries and fire departments first when issuing member-item money,” said Crouch. “As an elected official, it is my obligation to do what is in the best interest of the district I represent, and I have always used member-item money for the benefit of the community as a whole whether it be rescue equipment or money set aside for libraries to renovate or expand." He went on to say if reforms weren't made to treat all constituents fairly and for a more transparent system, then it should be done away with.

The CNN article and video is an alarming no brainer (misnomer?) Alarming: 60% to 100% economic debt.  No brainer: private business, investment in local Mom and Pops, basic pride in ownership not Victorian extravagance.  Buy local, produce local, stay local. This being said I'm sure by now that everyone is aware SpectraWatt had major layoffs because "the Chinese are doing it cheaper".

Saturday, January 15, 2011

UlsterZen: Ulster County Sues Over Muddy Water

UlsterZen: Ulster County Sues Over Muddy Water

Economy Not So Good - Foreclosures

I tried unsuccessfully to find the CNN news report aired this morning regarding the foreclosure crisis.  In a nutshell, the correspondent reported that due to delays in bank notification, there is a sudden surge in foreclosure notification.  No, foreclosures aren't dropping contrary to reports of an economic upswing and job creations (which I am still skeptical about).

I would strongly urge that anyone in housing distress contact RUPCO at (845) 331-9860 or 1-888-377-7713. Unfortunately, the old saying that "Only a Fool Represents Himself" still holds true and foreclosure communications received from your lender cannot go ignore because the process will continue with or without your presence. Meaning, the lender will proceed with foreclosure litigation, the court will make a decision, and a sale date will be set. Not such a nice prospect to see a public auction notice for your home posted at the Post Office. And lenders, especially large ones, have so many departments and locations that generally one hand doesn't know what the other is doing. So speaking with their Loan Modification department won't stop what their Legal Department is doing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Here It Is

2011 Standing Committees (Legislative Committees to Make New Policies)

I just too tired to make any comments on this one.  It's politics as usually, and with any bit of luck, the tax payers will be remembered this year for more than the annual bill mailing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ulster County Sues Over Muddy Water


Seems that the County is finally sprouting some and going after the City bully that has been calling the shots locally for fifty some years.  They have been dictating who, what, where, and when all in the name of that elite group of city folk that control the entire state regardless of the impact on other communities.

Residents of the Town of Wawarsing have been unable to drink their well water and in some cases lost their homes due to the release of water through DEP aquaeucts which raises the ground water table.  When the water rises, it back washes septic tanks and leach fields into drinking water wells promoting microbial pathegens (Coliforms) potentially deadly to humans and animals. This all to provide support to an area that virtually sucks the entire State dry of all political and financial support.  THANKS.

Surprisingly, the Ulster County Health Department never took a lead role and cited DEP.  Violations and fines could have been levied providing a source for residents to reinvest into their homes.  Unfortunately, additional Catskill Watershed funding from the 2005 Flood Acquisition Project wasn't received either to relieve distressed homeowners.  Well, better late than never.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Out on a Limb

Sunday: Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik speaks at a news conference in Tucson, Ariz., a day after a shooting injured or killed 20 people, including a federal judge. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords survived the shooting and was in critical condition following brain surgery.

Click Freedom of Speech  for Fox News article.  I'm sure I'm going out on a limb here because all that I've ever heard and lived by is MY First Amendment Right to Free Speech and Expression.  Our forefathers certainly hit the mark when they included it in the Constitutional Rights of early United States government. 

However, I have also been exposed to "children can be cruel", and the recent phenomona of reality television, and there are some things that shouldn't be said, expressed, or seen. Today, on CNN I heard a reporter interview a person who referred to the unfortunate shooting rampage in Tuscan, Arizona as reaction to a political marketing poke.  After reading the Fox News article, I must say I agree in theory with Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, that we have moved into a very mean, cruel society were threats and bullying is acceptable but we can fall back on our First Amendment Rights.  Honestly, I don't think that's what our forefathers were thinking when they wrote this.  Rather, it is acceptable to voice your honest opinion without having to been deemed an outlaw or in a woman's case, a Witch.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Harder You Fight the Bloodhounds, The Louder They Bark

Reapportionment Year  Hugh Reynolds has a refreshing way of looking at things.  As an observer, he has caught onto what some of the political insiders have been yelping about.  It's too bad that most of the legislative body doesn't seem to have a clue about the "behind close door" politicing, neopotism, and cronyism.  The complainers, and powerplayers aren't the good guys.  In fact, quite to the contrary, they are pulling the political strings and getting their way to their benefit. They are calling the real movers and shakers dissidents that are uncooperative, troublemakers.  Perhaps the dissidents are really the handful of honest legislators taking there elected positions seriously and represented the public.  Thank you Ms. Bernardo, Petit, and Zimet.  Thank you Mr. Madson, Sweeney, Gregorius, and Donaldson. I wish you all luck...............you'll need it to keep up the good fight.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Zachary Green

I couldn't imagine the emotional strain of going days without knowing where your child is.  If any one has seen Zachary Green, or has any information please call the contact numbers listed below.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Taking a Stand

Saugerties Legislator May Bolt from GOP
Mike Sweeney was made as hell and wasn't going to take it anymore.  When reporters say that they have never seen such a political legislature, when the County Executive says he can't believe that this legislature has done nothing in a year, when the inhouse fighting over takes elected officials to the point that the public isn't being served, sometimes you just have to say enough is enough and walk away..................and take some people with you.  Fortunately, a few legislators took notice (especially since it wasn't one of those crazy women...who listens to them) and as a group vowed to be better listeners, reach out to their colleagues, and make some changes. Although the same officials are at the helm, legislators are hopeful that there wil be changes. 

This included remarks that any Committee Chairs wanting to do business this month were welcome to schedule  meetings.  Interesting because the Resolution Appointing Committees was pulled by "the Sponsor"  dun dun dun.  And prior to its being pulled from the agenda, was not available on line or provided to legislators.  Curious. 

Let's hope there will be change for the better. Now is not the climate (sorry Republicans, I couldn't come up with a better word) for the good ole boy politics.  Especially since there is another election coming up. You can tell because Roberts was sporting a new hair do, and there was a mass mailing for Robert's Contracting.  Great advertising and business write off.  Sorry I am not as confident that real changes have been made, but I will keep my fingers crossed for a Happy, Prosperous, and Productive New Year.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Governments Are Not in Check

State Budgets: Day of Reckoning

Economists attempted to alert local governments in 2007 that the present condition of our economy would be comparable or worse than the Great Depression but no one was paying attention.  Illinois representatives note that "the precipitous drop in tax revenues exposed decades of reckless spending, unrealistic benefit packages, financial irresponsibility, and the use of political gimmicks to cover up government spending. New Jersey representatives state that the spending has caused a ripple effect due to benefit package problems not an income problem that won't be rectified for years." The lack of transparency of state disclosures is the worse that Wall Street Analyst Meredith Whitney has ever seen.  Information is only available from late 2007 prior to the financial downturn and she feels municipalities will be squeezed as states reduce funding but continue mandates. 

What it all boils down to is unrestrained spending that equates to job cuts and re-negotiating existing contracts which will only cause further loss of tax revenues.  You can't spend what you aren't earning.  And in my opinion, the cushy benefits packages aren't being given to the middle or working class bread winner but the big hit is high paid officials who weren't fiscally responsible with our money to begin with.  The Government's Golden Parachute so to speak.

Locally, over the past year and a half, audits have exposed departments and contracted agencies that are not being managed in a way to protect tax dollars. And where is Ulster County beginning the new year?  Seems that with the exception of their annual meeting, the legislative calendar is pretty clear...............?????

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Predictions

There will be some interesting changes this year in the County.  The majority and minority may find themselves in a position where they have to make friendly amendments because of a third party with bi-partisan membership. 

The good ole boys and girls will find they have to retire or take up new careers because of term limits.  Sorry but there is a lot to be said for new blood.

The first female Legislative chairperson will be appointed this year.

Political upsets with the new redistricting and twenty-three member legislature.

Precident setting changes to the Safety Net program and accountability by management so no further financial fiascos occur like the 12401 and Sunoco Broadway events.

Local level tax reform so the burden of supporting Ulster County doesn't fall soley on property owners.

Environmental reform with new Committee people and perhaps all Committees will have new chairmen.