Monday, February 23, 2009

Looking for Feedback... Barack Obama at U.S. Mayor's Conference... You Tube... Local and National Issues in the Spotlight

"An excerpt from Obama's address to the U.S. Mayor's Conference in Miami, FL on June 21, 2008...

["Barack Obama at U.S. Mayor's Conference"; as submitted to You Tube by BarackObamadotcom on 6/21/08; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfwpQx5La9c]

1. "Kingston May Offer to Buy Out Employees" [Paul Kirby; "Daily Freeman" (DF); Sunday, 2/22/09; PP. A1 & A8]

Good Idea or No?

This involves a possible buyout / offer (which has apparently not been presented to the City Council yet) of $12,500 - for city employees that qualify for retirement...

These positions, whether through layoff or buyouts would reputedly be left vacant...

The buyout idea (Mayor Sottile is quoted in this article) could possibly prevent some layoffs [KPD, Fire Dpt.; DPW; Other?] and save some expenditures in the 2010 budget (in regard to base salary and benefit payouts) --- but this would likely mean that at least some of the employees that remain would probably be working overtime (paid at time-and-a-half or more?) hours...

Does it make sense to pay anyone overtime when jobs are so desperately needed?

2. "Mad About Red Hats" (Blaise Schweitzer; DF; "LIfe" section; Sun, 2/22/09;PP. E1 and E3]

Kudos!

If you missed this article ("Life" section) - please check it out! [Keep buying your local papers folks! We really do NEED and BENEFIT FROM them!]

My notes on article:

Inspiration, kindness, philanthropy and activism are not limited to the young and optimally physically fit - and these activities can enrich the lives of anyone that chooses to indulge!

My hats (I have an array of hats in a multitude of colors; in fact, a friend used to call me the "Mad Hatter") are off to you dear ladies!

3. General Question:

What is the connection between the Queen's Galley (food pantry plus) --- "Save Them Now" [Religion (?) based jail and/or prison re-entry program] --- and Attorney (former DA Candidate) Jonathan Sennett?

See article, "Dinner Benefits Kingston Food Pantry" [DF; 2/22/08; P. E3; Emphasis Mine]

I know I like to know exactly where my monies are going --- and the way this is announced - there is some ambiguity [proceeds go to...?) in the mix...

4. What do you think?

"Kingston Gives St. Pat's Parade $1,000 Discount On Police Costs" (Paul Kirby; DF; Sat. 2/21/09; PP. A1 and A6)

The Mayor, according to this article, is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) [host of the St. Patrick's Parade] - and this "discount" (for police services, etc?) rides on the wake of NOT offering City / financial assistance to help out a (much smaller, grant you) Mardi Gras parade [cancelled / shades of New Orleans?] --- that is apparently associated with the Roundout Business (a non-profit?) Association.

Please note that there are a couple of questions in this mix...

And that I am personally in favor of all parades and community events (they bring us together and put some new insights, culture and light into our lives!) --- but think that some of them should (maybe?) be scaled back in terms of expenses / grandiosity...

I wonder... Is it possible that the Guardian Angels (Hey Lenny!) might be able to help out (cutting police costs) at such events?

5. What do you think?

"No Reprieve for Row Houses" (Paul Kirby; DF; Sat., 2/21/09; PP. A1 and A6)

Apparently 16 apartments were carved out of a building (without the appropriate legal permissions) of a building designed and/or zoned for just six apartments (definitely uncool) --- but on the flip side, this situation is apt to put a lot of folks (who may or may not have been aware of the situation) out of their homes...

Thus, I wonder --- does this landlord owe his or her tenants their deposit and (this would be new...) a "sorry I screwed you up" payment (big enough to get them into housing of comparable costs) --- besides?

6. What do you think?

"Budget Secrecy Irks Watchdog... State Open Government Official Says Kingston School District Should Release Preliminary Version of 2009-10 Spending Plan" (Kyle Wind; DF; Sat, 2/21/09; P. A3]

Yes? No?

Makes sense to me...

7. Good News for Many:

Ulster County programs that are reputedly scheduled [according tho to the U.S. Dpt. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to receive funding include:

a. Multi County Community Development Corp: $158,832
b. Stuyvesant Supported Apartments: $91,069
c. Ulster County HMIS: $70,350
d. Permanent Supportive Housing Program: $58,209
e. Permanent Housing for Women with Children: $41,307

["Local Programs For Homeless Getting Federal Aid"; "Mid-Hudson News Network"; DF; Sat, 2/21/09; P. A3]

8. Should the City of Kingston be providing another $1,000 (less or more?) to the Ulster Performing Arts Center [UPAC) - which has already received City funding, despite the fact that UPAC charges pretty good money for tickets (unaffordable for many city residents) - and seems to be doing - compared to a whole lot of others - just fine?

Did anyone see (and identify with...) R. Schmidt's "Letter to the Editor" in the Feb. 21 (Sat) DF (P. A7)? [It is worth looking up!]

I'd say he makes some pretty good points!

9. What do you Think?

"Homeowner Bailout Stirs Up Strong Feelings" (AP; DF; Sat.,2/21/09; PP. B1 and B4]

This article addresses the bank bailouts, the auto-industry bailouts and the bailouts made (or pending) for those that got behind on their mortgage payments -
and makes a very good point, in my opinion, when it asks (This is my own way of putting it...): "What about us?"

I'm certainly not against the bailouts that are geared towards helping people save their homes from foreclosure...

But there certainly is something to the fact that those of us that have been making our mortgage payments (some of us just barely!) - by reducing our lifestyles to barely living [thermostats turned down to 62; rice, soup and eggs; having to let our vehicles deteriorate (or sell them); putting off needed (unaffordable) medical and dental care; credit card payments overdue; other forms of credit wrecked; selling off treasured family heirlooms; etc...] in order to do so - could use a little help [I really need to get my car back on the road AND my broken tooth fixed!] too...

[There is a column, by Shirley Fischler, titled "My House is Officially 'Underwater'" (DF; Sat, 2/21/09; PP. D1 and D$) that addresses - from a slightly different angle - this issue too...)

10. What do you think?

"Obama Puts Mayors On Notice" (AP; DF; Sat, 2/21/09; P. B3]

Quote from article:

"Invoking his own name-and-shame policy... Obama warned the nation's mayors on Friday that he will "call them out" if they waste the money from his massive economic stimulus plan..."

Anyone keeping tabs?

[For more information on this (via the Internet) --- see: "Obama warns mayors not to waste stimulus money"; AP; 2/20/09; Road Runner; http://www.rr.com/news/politics/article/1151/6931827/Obama_warns_mayors_not_to_waste_stimulus_money]

Quote from above article:

"The American people are watching," Obama told a gathering of mayors at the White House. "They need this plan to work. They expect to see the money that they've earned _ they've worked so hard to earn _ spent in its intended purposes without waste, without inefficiency, without fraud."

---------------------------------------------------------

I guess that's it for now, other than noting:

(1) That former President G. Bush Jr. and the former First Lady, Laura Bush, apparently just moved into a new home in Dallas that is reputedly worth about $2.1 MILLION... ["Ex-President, Laura Bush Move To Dallas Home"; AP; DF; Sat, 2/21/09; P. B4]

(2) That I will be putting some photos / info up about the KAPA fundraiser when I get the film developed and appropriate permissions (for photos) in place; and...

(3) That I do have a "big" blog/article in the works - to be released in the near future - so please DO "stay tuned!"

Peace, Love, Equality and Humane Justice,

NS

[If you note any errors in this report, please inform me and I will (upon review) make the appropriate corrections).

1 comment:

N.S. said...

The following has been copied and pasted (with permission) from my email:

-------------------------------------

From Diane Reeder, CEO, Queens Galley - re one of the issues addressed in this thread:

-------------------------------------

"'Whew*! You have quite a few conversation starters here!

I'd like to address one in the hope that I can clear up some ambiguity. Regarding the Save Them Now anniversary dinner. The galley
has been hired by the Save Them Now program as a caterer for their event on Saturday the 28th of February. The event is a fundraiser for the Save Them Now program, checks are made payable to Save Them Now.

The Queens Galley will benefit by the number of attendees as the catering is payable by head count (the galley will get $10 a person
for providing the three course meal).

The Queens Galley periodically caters events as a way to earn income to fund programs such as the soup kitchen and Operation Frontline.

The galley has partnered with MANY organizations in the Hudson Valley and happy to offer an inexpensive alternative for catering SMALL events. The soup kitchen cannot function on donations alone, some
supplies must be purchased... and since the organization is run by chefs it seemed an obvious way to raise a little money was to cook for it :)

As for the connection of Jon Sennett, Jon is on the board of both organizations. Both Save Them Now and The Queens Galley have the same landlord, we both rent facilities from The Stockade Group. Beyond that connection the organizations are not affiliated.

I hope this clears up some of the confusion!
If not, feel free to email, call or stop by the Queens Galley to address additional concerns or questions."

-----------------------------------

The Queens Galley website is: www.thequeensgalley.org

-----------------------------------

[Thank you Diane]