Established in 2006, KingstonCitizens.org is a community-based organization committed to improving the quality of life of Kingston residents through accountability and transparency of local government. By providing citizens with timely and factual information, our work is meant to nurture citizen participation and empowerment through projects, education, and advocacy.
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Do you want to become a KingstonCitizens.org Fellow? Sign-up in advance to attend all eight of our upcoming educational forums in 2017. Deadline to do so is Friday, February 24th. Only 15 spots available! See our schedule below.
What you will receive:
A “reserved” seat throughout the 2017 educational forum series.
Become an expert! A free education on all presented topics including information on local and NYS policies and laws as they pertain to these subjects.
A certificate of completion from KingstonCitizens.org
Two of our “fellows” will be selected randomly to win a free year subscription to a local newspaper of their choice.
…and perhaps more surprises as we go along.
Write to Rebecca Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org with “KingstonCitizens.org Fellowship” in the subject line.
For more information, VIEW: KingstonCitizens.org Host Eight-Part Educational Forums in 2017.
Sunday, Feb. 26th, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
PART I: On Constitutional Law A conversation on constitutional law as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives.
With special guest Dr. Lynn Mills Eckert
Associate Professor of Political Science, Marist College
Sunday, March 19th, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PART II: On Climate Change, Energy, and Infrastructure A conversation on climate change, energy, and infrastructure as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives.
With special guest Kate Hudson, Esq.
Sunday, April 30th, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PART III: On Immigration A discussion on the Ulster County Legislature’s upcoming Resolution No. 138 “Creating A Policy To Maintain A Safe, Inclusive Government And Ensure The Protection, Order, Conduct, Safety, Health, And Well Being Of All Persons In Ulster County,” with guest panelists District 7 Legislator (Kingston) Jennifer Schwartz Berky and Ulster County Sheriff Van Blarcum. Other guests TBA. The discussion will review this and other local proposals using the guidance provided by Attorney General Schneiderman and the ACLU to help communities understand their rights under the proposed changes in Washington.
With special guests Jennifer Schwartz Berky District 7 Legislator
Sherriff Paul J. Van Blarcum Ulster County Sherriff
Sunday, May 21st, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PART IV: On Public Education A conversation on public education as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives.
With special guests Robin Jacobowitz, Ph.D.
Director of Education Projects at The Benjamin Center, SUNY New Paltz, Trustee, City of Kingston Board of Education and Executive Committee of Ulster County School Boards Association
James F. Shaughnessy, Jr., Officer City of Kingston Board of Education
Sunday, July 23rd, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PART V: On Women’s Issues A conversation on women’s issues as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives.
With special guests: TBA
Sunday, September 17th, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PART VI: On Economics
A conversation on economics as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives.
With special guest economist and energy analyst Evelyn Wright.
Sunday, October 22nd, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PART VII: On Strategic Organizing: Looking Forward A conversation on strategic organizing as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives. With special guest Callie Mackenzie Jayne Lead Organizer
Citizen Action of NY
Hudson Valley Chapter
Sunday, November 12th, 2017 From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PART VIII: On Local and NYS Clean Energy A conversation on local and NYS clean energy as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives. With special guests Jennifer Metzger, Director Citizens for Local Power
In November of last year, when Donald Trump became our president-elect, most of the world felt as if it had shifted in an unprecedented way. Whether citizens supported Trump or did not, there was a common feeling of either joyous or defeated disbelief.
It wasn’t long after that a list of Trump’s initiatives appeared for his first 100 days in office. With the support of a Republican majority in Congress, Trump’s initiatives suddenly seemed plausible. I saw this as an opportunity to look more closely at the checks and balances that exist in local, state and federal government.
We jumped quickly into action, creating a google document (so that citizens could collaborate) that outlines Trump’s initiatives so to better explore their context and, to identify local and New York State policies and laws that could help guide us through this new administration. We hosted very small meetings with a couple dozen citizens to start this important work and realized shortly after that it needed to continue and be open to more citizen’s input.
VIEW: “Trump’s Initiatives: Local/State Policy and Laws”
The result is an educational series that will span 2017. Citizens can expect an array of subjects with expert panelists, a question and answer period, an interactive work session on KingstonCitizens.org’s document “Trump Initiatives and NYS Local/State Policy and Laws” and short tutorials to help navigate the City of Kingston’s municipal website.
Thanks to Peter Wetzler and Julie Hedrick of Church Des Artistes who have donated their beautiful space so that we are comfortable and supported in our efforts each month.
Please review the list of topics, dates, and details below. We are currently booking more guests and will make those announcements as they are confirmed. For now, put all of the following dates in your calendar!
We look forward to meeting more of our neighbors, making new connections and becoming more educated on a whole host of complicated topics.
Knowledge is power.
“Community Educational Forums: An Eight-Part Series”
at Church Des Artistes
79 Wurts Street
Historic Rondout section of Kingston, NY
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
Over the course of the series in 2017, citizens can expect an array of subjects with expert panelists, a question and answer period, an interactive work session on KingstonCitizens.org’s document “Trump Initiatives and NYS Local/State Policy and Laws” and short tutorials to help navigate the City of Kingston’s municipal website.
Moderated by KingstonCitizens.org Co-Founder Rebecca Martin.
Participants are encouraged to bring a dessert to share. Coffee and tea provided. We encourage citizens to bring along their personal computer laptop if they have one. All dates and topics subject to change.
PETITION: ” A Proposed Ban on Memorializing Resolutions is Undemocratic”
VIEW: Attend next session of the legislature to speak on Wednesday, February 15 at 7:00 pm (arrive at 6:45 pm)
READ: Resolution No. 32 of February 15, 2017 “Amending The Rules Of Order To Prohibit Memorializing Resolutions”
By Rebecca Martin
WHAT IS A MEMORIALIZING RESOLUTION? A memorializing resolution does not set forth policy or law. Instead, it creates text to cause people to remember. It is a tool to both educate and in this case, to remind us of our principles and values.
So why would members of the Ulster County Legislature want to “prohibit” this critical tool? In our opinion, it is incredibly short sited and potentially damaging to county governance.
“County Legislature Chairman Ken Ronk, R-Wallkill, said he has agreed to co-sponsor a resolution (#32 of 2017) introduced by Legislator Richard Parete to change the body’s rules by banning any resolution in which legislators aren’t taking action on issues directly under their control. Parete has repeatedly referred to these as a “waste of time.”
Such a ban is rare in legislative bodies. Memorializing resolutions state a legislative body’s position on an issue that may be outside its purview without taking direct action. However, they represent a significant opportunity for regional leadership and intergovernmental relationships.
In the past few years, the Ulster County Legislature has passed three memorializing resolutions on the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline and one on the proposed anchorages of crude oil on the Hudson River. In the last year, the legislature has been unanimous in its support of these statements, which add to the voice of an entire region that stands against these potentially hazardous projects.
Citing the recent use of memorializing resolutions as a “mockery” by the democrats, Chairman Ronk pointed to Legislator Jonathan Heppner’s (D-Woodstock) resolution opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as having not being relevant to county business. With approximately 20,000 residents now relying on the ACA for their healthcare coverage and the potential loss of $3 million in federal Medicaid funding, this is certainly the business of Ulster County.
Furthermore, do we want to lose the ability to take a stand on things that could severely impact our environment, such as pipelines and anchorages, without adding to the voices in the region who oppose them?”
District 7 Legislator Jennifer Schwartz Berky regarding the proposed ban on memorializing resolutions by the UC Legislature:
Please sign our PETITION and plan to attend the next session of the legislature Wednesday, February 15 at 7:00 pm to speak out on this proposed ban. Citizens who wish to speak should arrive early at 6:45 pm to sign in be prepared to speak no longer than 3 minutes. Address: Legislature Chambers, 6th Floor, Ulster County Office Building, 244 Fair Street, Kingston, NY 12401.