What to Expect: October 7th Common Council Meeting in Kingston – Public Comment Session

Kingston's Cooper Lake reservoir in drought in 2012, where the water levels were down 12.7 feet.
Kingston’s Cooper Lake reservoir in drought in 2012, where the water levels were down 12.7 feet.

 

VIEW the post on KingstonCitizens.org
VIEW the event invitation on Facebook

WHAT
Kingston Common Council Meeting
Public Comment

WHEN
Tuesday, October 7th at 7:30pm

WHERE
Kingston City Hall
Council Chambers (top floor)
420 Broadway (across from the Kingston High School)
Kingston, NY

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By Rebecca Martin

It’s great to see so many residents and neighbors planning to attend the Common Council meeting on Tuesday, October 7th to speak or to simply be present on the proposed Niagara Bottling Co. project.

As you know, the Niagara Bottling Co. project came out of the blue for most everyone with an early article in the Times Herald Record (September 10th) and shortly after, making front page news in both the Daily Freeman and Kingston Times.  From the proposal presented by Peter Romano of the Chazen Company to the Town of Ulster Planning Board on September 16th, Niagara Bottling Co. expressed their desire to begin their build in 2015. In doing so, they would be using the City of Kingston’s Cooper Lake to bottle and to sell as well as scouting out other ‘spring’ sources in Ulster County and beyond. The project was approved to be sent for a SEQRA review with the Town of Ulster Town Board taking the lead. A resolution was granted on 9/18/14 – just about the time the public became aware by the media.  Romano’s presentations were not on either agendas posted by the Town of Ulster.

Because of the swiftness of it all, KingstonCitizens.org prepared a Facebook event so that the public could go in front of the Common Council as soon as possible.  Although our passion for the subject is a no-brainer, this effort also illustrates how important it is to the people for transparent processes to be a priority for all local municipalities.  Local officials, take note.

(It may be necessary to do the very same thing at the next Town of Ulster Town Board meeting, too.  Their next Town Board meeting is on Thursday, October 16th at 7:00pm.  Public comment appears to occur later in the meeting. Stay tuned).

 

WHAT TO EXPECT. WHAT TO DO

1. ARRIVAL: We expect a very large turnout. The meeting begins at 7:30pm, so please plan to arrive early (7:00pm) so to find parking, to sign-up to speak when the list becomes available and to get a seat. It’ll be standing room only.

2. KINGSTON COMMON COUNCIL: It appears that the Common Council were caught off guard as much as we were. Many, if not most, are as concerned too. As a first step, lets work with the council in finding a solution by including an action that you wish the Council to take that is well within their jurisdiction and abilities. We want them to come back to the table with an action in response to the public’s requests. 

In Kingston, those that issued the ‘will share’ was City of Kingston Superintendent Judy Hansen of the Kingston Water Department. As an independent board, The Mayor of Kingston is the only public official who is a member. Ward 2 Alderman Brian Seche was given the role as council liaison, though it is unclear if he ever attended a meeting. The council, unfortunately, was never alerted.

Suggested Actions to request:

– For the Common Council to organize a public hearing/debate with city officials and guest speakers (such as Food & Water Watch).

– That a resolution be drafted to protect groundwater and Kingston’s surface water (Cooper Lake) from being being sold to private companies to bottle and to sell.

3. PUBLIC COMMENT: The public is taking advantage of the council meeting “public comment” period where anyone is able to speak. On his evening, we will be discussing Niagara, the use of Cooper Lake, and other items.  As per council rules,  council members “are not allowed to engage in debate during this period.”   If the project gets any further, there will be time for debate and more. That’s a promise.

3. COMMENT LENGTH: Because of the number of people who will want to speak on the 7th,  we ask that you come prepared with a statement. What is typical is that a speaker is given 3 minutes each. Try to keep it to that length and as noted above, consider ending with an action that you wish the Kingston Common Council to make that is in their jurisdiction.

4. THOSE IN FAVOR…:  Jobs will be the argument made by those who attend in favor of the Niagara Bottling Co. project.  For those who wish to, please prepare facts to counter.

5. FILMING: The public comment period will be filmed.

If you have further questions, please send them along to Rebecca Martin: rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org

 

7 thoughts on “What to Expect: October 7th Common Council Meeting in Kingston – Public Comment Session

  1. Please add me to any email list your are maintaining. I’m beyond livid about the audacity of this process – or lack of one – to date! See you at all pertinent meetings. Thank you for your volunteer grassroots efforts in organizing.

  2. We received this comment today:

    The recent announcement of a water bottling plant proposed for the Town of Ulster should be viewed not only on the merits of the proposal but also for what such a proposal says about the attitudes of the leaders who make these decisions and the process in which it has come about. That our elected elites view the upstate economy’s prospects as so bleak that they would support resource extraction from public infrastructure that adds little to no value to the community is telling indeed. If anyone wonders why our upstate economy is so moribund we need look no further than the paradigm that calls itself “economic development.”

    While the governor isn’t standing on the courthouse steps with a bullhorn telling us, YOU HAVE NO FUTURE – SELL YOUR WATER, he may as well be. The purpose of the publics water infrastructure is to serve our needs and to promote genuine economic development that adds value. This infrastructure simply cannot be duplicated at any price today. This proposal adds little to no value and takes a shark bite out of our capacity. It imposes what could be called an opportunity cost on the community. More economically advantageous uses would be precluded with the capacity dedicated to the bottling operation. Sadly, like all the people who have fled New York’s high taxes in the past decade, now it seems our water will be following after them on tractor trailers.

    The secretive nature of this proposal is not it’s only disconcerting aspect. The announcement of the proposal via a regional economic development committee is reminiscent of the old Soviet five year plans. Indeed, the political, enviro regulatory gauntlet that has to be navigated in this state is enough to scare the bejeezus out of any honest businessman. As a consequence of this sad reality the field is left to business’s with political “connections”. That’s right, good old fashioned cronyism which takes us as far from having a dynamic economy as you can get. It would be interesting to see who has donated to whom for what amounts to a monopolistic franchise.

    Genuine economic development does not come easy. Our elected leadership seems to have lost confidence in our future. Whether its a short sighted proposal such as this or that other “winner” – stealing grannies social security check at a casino we can do better. There is something biblical in the fact of this proposal coming along while our area is in the midst of an extended period of little or no rain. Perhaps it’s natures way of reminding us of the importance of water. We elect our leaders to look after our interest which reminds me, we have an election coming up.

    http://www.weather.com/video/terrible-news-for-bottled-water-drinkers-52426?collid=/news

    • @KingstonNavigator

      I rarely, if ever, post anything online…but you’re comment was unusually articulate and I thought I might share this with you. I live at Cooper Lake, it’s almost close enough for me to throw a stone into….almost. I have been there for quite some time, and I spend a lot of time enjoying the woods in and around both Cooper Lake, and the Mink Hollow Intake where the water is diverted into the lake from the Mink Hollow stream.

      I started noticing an unusual surge of activity a few years ago, not just from local agencies, but also state and even federal agencies. I didn’t think much at first, but as time went on, it all started looking more coherent. Then they built the new Mink Hollow Intake, and it all started making sense. I asked all my neighbors about it and they all said that it was a dam, and that it was for flood control? I started asking more people, and they all thought it was a dam too? I even found a few references to the Mink Hollow Intake by Judith Hansen and others on the internet regarding the intake, and it was always referred to as a dam….but it’s not a dam, it doesn’t even look like dam. I knew it was a monitoring and control station for the flow of water into the reservoir, and I knew immediately why they had built it.

      I have watched over the last few years and really paid attention to the activity around Cooper Lake and the Mink Hollow stream. I have been telling people for the last couple of years that they were going to begin to privatize the water, and the evidence was piling up. Literally
      nobody believed me, they all made excuses for why there was so much activity, and were unable, or unwilling, to see how the projects were all connected.

      What I wanted to share with you was this…For years I was trying to find information on water privatization in this area, and I couldn’t find anything of any substance at all. Then I stumbled across an article on the ICLEI, and it’s affiliation with the World Bank. From there it was a cascade of information and insight. Everything started to make sense and a much more colorful picture emerged. It’s taken me a long time and a lot of research to figure all of this out. The most significant part of understanding what is really going on with Niagara Bottling and Cooper Lake however was to stop trying to understand this from the perspective of the information that we have been given by those who decide what information they want to give us, and to build an entirely new understanding from a completely different perspective.

      If you, or anyone, really wants to understand not just what is happening with Cooper Lake and Niagara Bottling, but further, the reality of water privatization in general, I wish to offer this….try a different perspective, and start with the ICLEI. There is a very clear timeline and direction of events starting at the state level and working its way into every facet of our local communities with respect to water resources.
      What I found was a very well defined agenda, what you find may be different…Either way, your comment left me with impression that you you would at the very least be interested in a different take on the events unfolding here in our community, and how they are connected to a much broader agenda that has been actively engaged in the control and exploitation of water for profit around the globe.

      enjoy–

        • @KingstonNavigator

          I forgot to mention something that I you will understand the significance of. When I first became aware of the ICLEI a few years ago, the letters stood for, if I remember correctly, the International Council for Local Economic Initiatives, although the Wikipedia page says it was “Environmental” not “Economic”. They were not only found online by going through the World Bank’s website, they openly identified as a for-profit entity created and directed by the World Bank as a means to connect with communities on a local level. The fact that they scrapped their original brand, and relaunched it as something much more benign is interesting.

          What is also interesting is the fact that they have trademarked many of the terms that they use such as “ecoBUDGET” and “Greenhouse Gas Protocal” and they are packaged and promoted like products. Even more concerning to me is how often we see these trademarks used in our press and even capitalized, but never identified as a trademark in any way? That’s not only unethical on the part of the journalist, it’s a violation of intellectual property law if I am not mistaken…..which I may be, but I don’t think that I am. Further, it’s amazing that a brand as significant as the ICLEI, a brand that is currently in contract with (last time I checked) over 500 communities in the US, seems to have no complaints about their “products” not being identified in as property of the ICLEI. If history
          and present reality are any guide, companies fight very hard when it comes to intellectual property especially when it concerns their
          most valuable property, their brand. Every major corporate entity that I have ever worked with in matters concerning their brand have always issued a very rigid “style guide” of some sort to anyone that they did business with that clearly defined their rules and regulations for even mentioning their name, let alone using a logo or trademark.

          With words like “sustainable” and “climate change” becoming ubiquitous, the fact that their products are often represented in what we are taught to believe is our “sacred” press, without any mention of the fact the terms used are in fact, the intellectual property of
          the ICLEI is very alarming. In all my years at the working at experimental limits of marketing with large corporations using things like
          smell and touch to enhance experiential marketing initiatives, this complete ignorance of the fact that the ICLEI’s products get so much press without ever being identified as private intellectual property is a triumph of marketing . The way we use words like Xerox or Kleenex….the fact that my spell checker didn’t just underline “Xerox” and “Kleenex” is testament how powerful a brand can be.

          While I am carefully avoiding the mention of what I see unfolding, and how the ICLEI would be a integral part of any plan or strategy that in that direction, I will say that I am very concerned. The fact that no one has asked “Why” Niagara Bottling is here, in what I like to call “the best part of the best part of the world”. From everything I have read in the local press, it would seem that Niagara Bottling is falling victim to their own greed and haste. They didn’t do their homework, and now they have found themselves in what may be the legal battle of their corporate lives. What were they thinking….coming to Woodstock, NY of all places and trying to profit from exploiting OUR natural resources? Ignoring the fact that a pyrrihic victory in Woodstock (Kingston really) would actually help their efforts to privatize water, not just Niagara, but anyone with that intention. Ignoring that likely fact, it’s incredible that people honestly
          believe that these powerful entities just seem to “stumble” into their wealth and power. As if they didn’t have a plan. As if Niagara didn’t know exactly what they were doing when they first mentioned the name Cooper Lake.

          They are here for a reason…and I find it not only unlikely, but dangerous that we as a people don’t understand this. It serves to mystify and complicate the whole issue and while we are busy looking left…they will go right. I won’t speculate on what they are
          really doing here, but I sincerely doubt they have been surprised at all by our reaction, nor are the they surprised by the any resistance they have met so far. I will also offer that is also very unlikely that our “local officials” were surprised by their arrival either.
          Especially when you consider the haste with which significant investment and improvement has only recently been made to Kingston’s water infrastructure. Coincidence? Sure……maybe? I kindly doubt it however.

          enjoy!

  3. Niagra has a record of running aquifers dry and polluting others with their plants while processing the toxic water bottles they put our pure Resevoir water into! This is an outrage in the face of climate change to have this happen. We need thousands at this meeting! I am willing to hand out flyers in Kington if anyone else wishes to please contact me.. Flapperjorgie@gmail.com

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