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  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'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.