Thursday, March 5, 2009

HOT HOT HOT... Wade... Save Them... School Taxes... Church Tax Exemption... More...

[Copyrighted Photo]

[Copyrighted Photo]

[There are tens of millions of dollars worth of wholly tax exempt religious properties in the City of Kingston, without counting schools, playgrounds or graveyards... The Pointe of Praise represents just one of these churches / properties - and these photos are posted here simply because they relate to the larger issue noted towards the end of this posting AND to the issue (more specific) addressed directly below. This commentary - and the following - which some folks might respect and others might dislike intensely - is intended to educate the community about something that they might NOT be aware of. This commentary is NOT meant as an affront to any particular church, religion, type of faith and/or the constituents of "same."]

The arrest of Ronnie Wade, the CEO of "Save Them Now" - should definitely capture the public's attention. The recipient of $10,000 in grant money in 2008 - with probable bids in (?) for 2009 - Mr. Wade and the "Save Them Now" program were the target of some community outrage in late 2007 (spawning at least one public meeting) when Wade and Co. (Wade is the only one implicated in the drug bust thus far) attempted to buy or rent a house [to reputedly utilize for housing and "rehabilitating" (ahem) ex-cons] on Maiden Lane [a residential area, with a daycare (at the YWCA)] close by.

Kudos - big time - to URGENT for this one! I bow my head in deference and respect - and I'm NOT known to do so a whole lot!

I am impressed. I am impressed because I've done a lot of research on these types of jail and prison release programs - a good number of which DON'T appear to be on the "up and up" - and my gut told me (at one of the City Hall meetings where Mr. Wade appeared and spoke) that this guy - and organization - was nothing but trouble looking for easy bucks!

Now, one cannot make an allegation based on gut feelings - and, of course, Mr. Wade is "innocent until proven guilty" - despite the bags of heroin and cash he was apparently toting around and selling to undercover officers...

But I still think it might be appropriate to re-write the first line of today's "Daily Freeman" article; which reads, "The executive director of a local program that helps former inmates and drug addicts..." (Ariel Zangla) - and replace it with something like: MAJOR DRUG BUST ASSOCIATED WITH AN (ALLEGEDLY, BUT OF COURSE...) MAJOR SCUMBAG!

Charges - for this guy that just wanted to "help" these poor ex-cons re-integrate into society - reputedly include:

3 Counts of Felony Possession and Sale of a Controlled Substance

An Undisclosed Number of Misdemeanor Counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance

At least one Misdemeanor Possession of a Weapon charge [apparently CEO Wade was also an ex-con; and thus, not allowed to carry pepper spray or (ahem) sell heroin (reputedly at least "12 decks") himself!)

Wade's criminal background / record has not been disclosed - but his association with the New Progressive Baptist Church, via their "Save Them Now" program - and his association with Reverend G. Modele Clark - the Senior Pastor of the New Progressive Baptist Church - and the President of the Ulster County Ministers Alliance (was this guy Wade really so "sharp" that folks "up close and personal" didn't know what he was doing?) - is (for those "in the know") fairly well known.

As is Wade's possibly "too close for comfort" (?) association with the Queen's Galley (the two programs share the same building and reputedly have at least one Board member [a former candidate for the DA's office reputedly sits on both boards and/or the two programs share the same oversite Board (?)] overlap - which (referring to the Queen's Galley) has also (whilst doing what seems to be sincerely good deeds...) been the recipient of a good deal of this communities' generosity.

Some of the comments on the "Freeman's online site are rather "snooty" - and perhaps I sound a little "snooty," as well...

But this is coming from someone who HAS studied programs such as this... and who turned in a document of facts at the special meeting that was held back in 2007 - which I wonder... did anyone bother to read at all?

Plus, I have recently been engaged in a somewhat unpleasant e-mail exchange with one of the County Legislatures (D. Donaldson) on a similar issue (this one having to do, explicitly, with where to house registered sex offenders after their release) that has left me a little "steamed."

[I must give a positive shout-out and thank you to Ulster County Legislature Jeanette Provenzano (sp?) and some of the others... who apparently DO have our children's best interest's at heart! And say - to Jeanette and anyone else on the Legislature that cares about our community - could we please - sometimes soon - have YOU appear at a public meeting to discuss a few issues??????)]

See, all of this also comes at a time when school taxes are about to be hiked (reputedly projected by Board of Education President David Fletcher at nearly 10%) yet again... when 45 School teachers [today's "Freeman article, "School Jobs Going..." (Kyle Wind) cites Superintendent Gerard Gretzinger as having said "45"!] are scheduled to be let go... when GAR associates, despite community outcries, is reputedly coming back (at least one Alderman has said this is against "his" will...) for what will most likely be yet another property tax bite... when the City of Kingston is falling apart around us... when we are actually helping businesses and jobs LEAVE the City... when the Mayor (I spoke to someone at Assembly K. Cahills office about this - and a few other things - yesterday.) appears to be hiding (like the "Wizard of Oz"...) "behind curtain number three" --- and --- WE NEED YOUR HELP!

All of "that" without even touching on the "freedom of speech and press" issues, parade funding issues, contractual and lease issues, Kingston City Finance issues and other questions and/or controversies that have been drawing a good deal of attention (by those that care and are paying attention...) of late!

To which I would add my own concerns - related somewhat to the Wade, et. al, issue noted above - about the sheer number (in quantity and amount of $$$$$) of wholly tax-exempt religious buildings, properties and parking lots in this city - which take (even though a few of these sit empty and some of others see very little traffic and/or FREELY distributed "good works") at least TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars of potential City revenue - OFF the books - and put it on OUR (this applies to both homeowners and businesses) BACKS.

[The "Daily Freeman" articles referenced were in today's (3/5/09) "Daily Freeman" - and can also be found (at least earlier today) online at DailyFreeman.com, a "'Journal Register' Property." Some comments from "Freeman" readers are (or were, earlier today) available at the online site.]

Somebody needed to say all of that...

So I did.

NS

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes you did. Good job.

Anonymous said...

Call it a lapse in judgment, a relapse, a prolapse, or a collapse--zero tolerance is the only way to handle such behavior with no excuses for having heroin to sell or use or whatever. The pepper spray was obviously for self-protection that this pusher had when dealing his product in case someone tried to rip him off unless he was a letter carrier no one knew about. He deserves a long sentence on all counts especially for betraying the trust of the community. Whenever someone recovers from opiate addiction and seems to be on the straight and narrow and appears to be helping others we applaud that because Americans love the rehabilitated and detest the backslider. When they are caught dealing the very same poison they allegedly are waging the battle against, it is an affront to us all.
This arrest also puts non-profits in a bad light. I feel that religions in America have gone way too long being tax-exempt. They might deserve a break if they are just starting up but there's no way in heaven or hell that they should be allowed to continue without paying their fair share already, For G-d's sake pay up--the separation of church and state shouldn't mean they don't have to contribute if they want services and protection. This country is not a theocracy so if a group of atheists banded together, would they be able to claim tax-free status? Enough is enough. Pinchas Werba

Anonymous said...

you need a job stop being so negative.
u have tooo much free time

N.S. said...

Anon,

Thanks for your negative imput and unsequestered analysis of me (or pw?).

If this is in reference to me... let me say this:

Perhaps if I knew you - and you knew me - and you happened to be someone I respected - & someone that was sincerely trying to contribute to the good of the community - I would give it some thought...

But, as is...

Have a nice day.

NS