“It’s difficult to overstate the seriousness of the environmental threats coming from this administration. We have never had a head of the EPA so hostile towards the mission of the agency, and never had a President so unwilling to make decisions based on science and law.” – Kate Hudson, Waterkeeper Alliance
Please be sure to visit our upcoming SCHEDULE to learn more about future community educational forums.
Special thanks to Kate Hudson for her generosity in sharing her knowledge as our guest panelist; Peter and Julie at Church des Artists for their space, kindness, and for making this video; and, to all of our KingstonCitizens.org volunteers for their assistance.
Resources: VIEW: KingstonCitizens.org’s “Trump Administration Initiatives and NYS Local/State Policy and Laws”
“Why would we want to diminish our voice and power as a legislature? Are our actions any less important than any other legislative body or branch of government to our constituents? If we think so, we should not hold the office.”– Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Ulster County Legislator (Kingston, District 7) from “Commentary: Ban on Memorializing Resolutions in Ulster County Legislature is Undemocratic.” in the Kingston Times. VIEW
On Wednesday night, the Ulster County Legislature held its regular legislative session where the proposed ban on memorializing resolutions had its first reading. Other important items were debated (and adopted) including a memorializing resolution to request the NYS Legislature expand hate crimes (to include first responders and police officers) and, a resolution to prohibit cyber-bullying.
Thanks to all of the citizens who came out to speak that evening on a number of issues. We trust that watching these processes as thoroughly as you are will help to better assist you in speaking to your legislators on these important matters.
Speeches that were made by the Chairman, minority and majority leaders are located at the bottom of this post.
Filmed by Clark Richters of the Kingston News. Brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org.
FOR YOUR REFERENCE:
Resolution #91: “Amending The Rules Of Order To Prohibit Memorializing Resolutions”
VIEW: “Commentary: Ban on Memorializing Resolutions in Ulster County Legislature is Undemocratic.” in the Kingston Times by Jennifer Schwartz Berky, District 7 Legislator
Resolution #92: “Requesting The New York State Legislature Introduce Legislation Expanding The Hate Crimes Law, New York Penal Law §485.05”
Resolution No. 89“Adopting Proposed Local Law No. 17 of 2016 (A Local Law Prohibiting Cyber-Bullying In Ulster County)”
Last evening, the Ulster County Legislature Laws and Rules Committee had their monthly meeting with one of the items being to discuss Resolution No. 91 “Amending The Rules Of Order To Prohibit Memorializing Resolutions”. It passed through committee by a 4 / 3 vote. We filmed the meeting thanks to The Kingston News (brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org) so that you can see the debate from last night. We also took the liberty to note the legislator’s districts and localities they represent in the case that one of the members represents you and you wish to contact them directly.
Due to today’s snowstorm, the regular legislative session that was to be for this evening was moved to tomorrow night, Wednesday, March 15th at 7:00pm in Legislative Chambers (6th Floor) of the Ulster County Building located at 244 Fair Street in Kingston. Residents can sign-up to speak when they arrive.
We ask citizens consider coming to speak tomorrow in opposition of the Ulster County Legislature banning memorializing resolutions. Please keep comments respectful, succinct and no longer than three (3) minutes in length.
In the case that the meeting is moved again, we’ll send out an update.
VIEW Ulster County Legislature Laws and Rules Committee Meeting
Video from Tuesday, March 13, 2017
Last year, the Ulster County Legislature passed Resolution No. 251 “Amending The Rules Of Order To Set Procedure For Memorializing Resolutions” In it, it sets some protocols for memorializing resolutions stating that “any resolution which memorializes the New York State Legislature, Congress of the United States, or any other body to take an action which will not require a home rule message, shall be submitted and considered in Committee in accordance with the procedures set forth in these Rules of Order. When presented for consideration at a monthly or special meeting of the Legislature, Memorializing Resolutions shall not be debatable. Memorializing Resolutions shall, however, be amendable, may be referred to a Standing Committee of the Legislature, or may be withdrawn prior to a vote by the Legislative body.”
Only eight months later, District 18 Republican Legislator Richard A. Parete along with Legislators Dean Fabiano(District 3: Town of Saugerties, Town of Ulster) and Kenneth J. Ronk (District 13: Town of Shawangunk) have taken it a step further with a new resolution that would prohibit Memorializing Resolutions altogether.
“Amending The Rules Of Order To Prohibit Memorializing Resolutions”
Many citizens were present at the regular legislative meeting in February to speak during public comment and to encourage the legislature to reject a ban on memorializing resolutions. Only upon arrival did we learn that earlier in the day, the Ulster County Legislature’s Laws and Rules committee tabled the resolution instead of passing it through to the floor as anticipated.
As reported in the Daily Freeman, Legislator Richard A. Parete stated that “The main reason [I pulled it] is because the full Legislature wasn’t there, and I don’t know if it had the votes to pass.” Parete said he would wait until March when he expects more legislators to be in to introduce the measure.” VIEW The Daily Freeman Article.
How does this appear to the public? Not only is a ban on memorializing resolutions undemocratic, but tabling proposed legislation due to not having the votes for it to pass lacks transparency.
Thanks for your support and in following this issue through to the end with us. It is not only important for citizens to speak to the issue but to also be a witness.
WHAT’S THE PROCESS?
In February of 2017, District 18 (Town of Hurley, Town of Marbletown) Legislator Richard Parate withdrew Resolution No. 32 “Amending the Rules of Order to Prohibit Memorializing Resolutions” for the Ulster County Legislature.
1. LAWS AND RULES. On Monday, March 13th at 6:30 pm it is anticipated that the UC Legislature Laws and Rules Committee (K.L. Binder Library on the 6th Floor of the Ulster County Office Building, 244 Fair Street, Kingston) will discuss whether or not to pass the resolution out to the floor the following evening. VIEW Facebook Event.
2. FIRST READING. If approved, the Resolution will have its first reading (though not out loud) on Tuesday, March 14th (Legislative Chambers on the 6th Floor of the Ulster County Office Building, 244 Fair Street, Kingston) at the regular legislative session that begins at 7:05pm. No action can be taken. VIEW Facebook Event
3. SECOND READING AND VOTE. On Tuesday, April 18th at 7:00pm during its regular Legislative session (Legislative Chambers on the 6th Floor of the Ulster County Office Building 244 Fair Street, Kingston), it is anticipated that the legislation will have its second reading and folloing, the full body will vote. VIEW Facebook Event
1. CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR. We encourage citizens to contact their Legislator and request that they reject the ban on memorializing resolutions throughout the months of March and April. VIEW: Ulster County Legislature Website to Find Your Legislator.
2. DEMOCRAT LEGISLATOR JOHN R. PARETE SAYS HE SUPPORTS A BAN. Given this is a Republican supported ban, it is important for citizens to know that District 22 Democratic Legislator John R. Parete has announced that he supports the ban, and could be the swing vote on the matter.
If you live in the Towns of Denning, Hardenburgh, Olive or Shandaken, please consider calling or emailing your representative directly to discuss his point of view, and to share yours. (845) 657-8500 or send an email to email@example.com
3. SIGN OUR PETITION. Sign our PETITION where your name and any comments that you make go directly to Legislators Richard Parete, Kenneth Ronk, Dean Fabiano and John Parete.
4. PLAN TO ATTEND UPCOMING MEETINGS. Please consider: a) Attend and speak during public comment at the regular Legislative sessions on Tuesday, March 14th (7:05pm) when it is anticipated the legislation will have its first read. No action will be taken and; b) Tuesday, April 18th (7:00pm) when it is anticipated that the Resolution will have its second reading and a vote by the legislature.
5. SHARE WITH FRIENDS! Please share this post with friends to help us to get the word out. Thank you for your support.
REVIEW: Tell Ulster County Legislature That a Proposed Ban on Memorializing Resolutions is Undemocratic.
Our first community educational forum “On Constitutional Law” was a huge success. At capacity, citizens took in a three-hour discussion on Constitutional Law as it pertains to the Trump Administration’s initiatives for his (their) first 100 days in office.
You can view the video HERE, or by clicking on the image above. We have done general markings to make it easier for the public to follow along (see below).
Because of the storm the day before our event, the Rondout in Kingston had lost its power for most of the afternoon making it impossible to stream. We will be streaming however next month, and for all the remaining educational panels throughout the 2017 season.
We hope that this series inspires citizens in our region to place more energy in connecting to neighbors and their communities. To become more knowledgeable and less afraid. To emphasize due process and to come to know how to access (and interpret) the laws that are in place to protect us.
Special thanks to Dr. Lynn Eckert for her generosity in sharing her knowledge as our guest panelist; Peter and Julie at Church des Artists for their space, kindness, and for making this video; and, to all of our KingstonCitizens.org volunteers for their assistance.
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.
DONATE! As a volunteer group, your donation can help us fund our website, public meetings, social media campaign, fliers, and more. Thank you for your support! (your donation is currently not tax-deductible) Visit: DONATE
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 conversation on immigration as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s proposed initiatives.
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.
We were pleased to be on hand last evening to document the City of Kingston’s Natural Resource Inventory Project, an undertaking by the Kingston Conservation Advisory Council. We’ll post more information as we receive it.
Our educational forum on the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project brought in an estimated 402 people to Kingston City Hall with another 1,400 or so who streamed our event live yesterday. KingstonCitizens.org is pleased to share with you video from the entire event as well as materials for your review and to follow along.
As a reminder, in Ulster County, if you live in the City of Kingston, Town of Ulster, Town of Marlborough, Town of Lloyd, Town of Esopus, Town of Saugerties, Town of Rosendale, Village and Town of New Paltz or Town of Plattekill, then you are one of the potentially impacted communities listed in the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project and are considered an ‘Involved’ Agency in SEQRA.
Take LOCAL ACTION TODAY and contact your elected officials in impacted communities to requestthat they make commenting on the upcoming draft ‘Scope’ document a priority by taking a proactive approach to identify potential impacts of the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project that are unique to your community. If your municipality is not listed above, but you live in Ulster County, please contact Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and ask that the county work with us to organize a countywide coordinated draft scope review. VIEW for step by step instructions, emails, and phone numbers.
Please join KingstonCitizens.org’s mailing list by subscribing to our newsletter for important future updates. We have much in store. SIGN-UP for KingstonCitizens.org’s mailing list.
8:05 – 13:19 Mayor Steve Noble City of Kingston, NY “We have environmental staff that works on these issues….dedicated volunteers on a Conservation Advisory Council. We hope that Kingston can be a model for other communities up and down the Hudson River Valley”
13:20 – 21:47 Assemblyman Kevin Cahill District 103 “I see many, many Kingstonians here, but I also see friends from other communities. Let me join our Mayor in welcoming you to Standing Rock New York.”
00:52 – 07:27 Brooke Pickering – Cole Local Economies Project Hudson Valley Farm Hub
07:38 – 14:00 Jennifer Schwartz Berky
District 7 County Legislator
KingstonCitizens.org Policy and Planning
14:01 – 18:20 Callie Jayne Citizen Action NY
18:27 – 20:21 Local Call To Action VIEW Rebecca Martin, KingstonCitizens.org
20:33 – 27:31 Kevin J. Smith Woodstock Land Conservancy “There is a pumping station proposed in the Town of Ulster, and there is a trailer park directly across the Sawkill creek fro the very site of the pumping station. When we speak about Environmental Justice? Here we are. The trailer park has been flooded out several times. It is my understanding that the Heritage Energy property has been flooded out several times as well. All of this is just upstream from the confluence of the Sawkill with the Lower Esopus which is something of a delta. It’s where the Sawkill comes out of the mountains and the le wins it way out of the Rondout valley and they meet….what’s also there is the Town of Ulster’s wellheads. These are the kinds of things I would encourage you to get informed about and to reach out to your public officials.” VIEW: Local Call To Action
28:17 – 32:52 Citizen Question “Who are the owning parties of Pilgrim Pipelines, LLC?”
33:14 – 38:42 Citizen Question “Where is the oil being refined when it gets to where it’s going with the Pilgrim Pipelines?”
38:44 – 40:05 Citizen Question “Can you clear up the confusion for me from the film we saw today that speaks about two different pipelines?
40:06 – 42:57 Citizen Question
“Since the oil export ban was lifted, is there any action in NYS to overstep the 1909 act that it’s in place?”
43:00 – 46:10 Citizen Question
“If this is a private corporation using pipelines for private gain, where is the public good? Noticeably absent today is Congressman Faso. How do you foresee working with him as he seems to be in the pocket of big oil?”
46:12 – 50:00 Citizen Question
“You mentioned the federal government hadn’t a role in this project because it’s an NYS issue. What would Congressman Faso’s role be then?”
50:02 – 51:11 Senator Amedore’s position on the Pilgrim Pipeline. “Senator Amedore stands with localities as it’s his belief that they know best of the effects it has on the community and its residents. We are located at 721 Broadway in Kingston, and we always welcome feedback. We are in the information gathering stages…we are here for you.”
51:20 – 52:43
At KingstonCitizens.org, we encourage you to get deep into your community and local government. Learn the law and process there first.” – Rebecca Martin, KingstonCitizens.org
Thank you: Lee Kalish, Daniel Clark and Prime Print Shop; Carly Winnie, Megan Weiss-Rowe, Kyle McIntosh of the City of Kingston; our KingstonCitizens.org volunteers: Kayce Waters, Heather Schwegler, Debra Bresnan. The Kingston News and all of our co-sponsors and supporters.
On Saturday, January 28th from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, KingstonCitizens.org will host an educational forum on the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project. Our end goal for the day will be to clarify what are the important next steps in SEQRA for citizens living in potentially impacted communities of the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project in Ulster County.
Until then, and after which (up until the scoping document arrives), here is a simple call to action that you can take to help your community prepare for the upcoming draft scoping document.
Although this effort is specific to our region, what we are working to accomplish can easily be applied to all of those living in potentially impacted communities up and down the proposed corridor of the Pilgrim Pipelines project. Imagine if we could create a strong push for citizens to call their elected officials and request the scoping process was placed high on their list and to prepare in advance? What an impact it could make in the State of New York and New Jersey!
We look forward to seeing you on Saturday. VIEW our event on Facebook
Local Call To Action: Your role in State Environmental Review Act (SEQRA) and the “Scoping” Process for the Proposed Pilgrim Pipelines.
On September 14, 2016, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA), the co-lead agencies for the environmental review of the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project, issued a positive declaration in SEQRA.
“A positive declaration, or “pos dec”, is a determination by the lead agency[s] that an action may result in one or more significant environmental impacts and so will require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before agency decisions may be made regarding the action.”
In addition to the pos dec, the co-lead agencies agreed to initiate a scoping process and extend the comment period for the draft scope once it is publically available. The purpose of a scoping comment period is to offer the public and interested parties the option to offer their feedback and “help determine the scope of subjects that will be studied in the DEIS concerning the Pilgrim Pipelines.” The DEIS is the primary source of environmental information to help involved agencies consider environmental concerns in making decisions about a proposed action. The DEIS examines the nature and extent of an action that is identified as a potential environmental impact, as well as steps that could be taken to avoid or minimize these impacts.
In Ulster County, if you live in the City of Kingston, Town of Ulster, Town of Marlborough, Town of Lloyd, Town of Esopus, Town of Saugerties, Town of Rosendale, Village and Town of New Paltz or Town of Plattekill, then you are one of the potentially impacted communities listed in the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project and are considered an ‘Involved’ Agency in SEQRA.
HELP YOUR COMMUNITY PREPARE. TAKE THESE SIMPLE STEPS FORWARD IMMEDIATELY:
1) LOCATE the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project’s desired path through your community. VIEWand scroll down to find Ulster County. From there, locate your municipality.
2) Are you a citizen living in any of the listed potentially impacted communities? If you are, continue reading. If you are not, but you are an Ulster County resident, please go to #4.
CALL and/or WRITE your Town Supervisor or your Village/City Mayor. Include your Council or Board Member President or Chair, too. REQUEST that they make commenting on the upcoming draft ‘Scope’ document a priority by taking a proactive approach to identify potential impacts of the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project that are UNIQUE to your community.
3) DISCUSS with your elected officials who could help to prepare your community document. Does your town or city have a Conservation Advisory Council? Could your local planning department be of assistance? Visit your local municipal website to find contacts and phone numbers.
4) CALL the Ulster County government offices and request that the county as an “Involved” Agency in SEQRA help to coordinate all Ulster County potentially impacted localities in the draft “Scoping” process:
Office of Ulster County Executive Mike Hein (845) 340-3800
Ulster County Legislator: Chairman Kenneth J. Ronk, Jr. (845) 566-7663
Ulster County Legislator: Majority Leader Mary Beth Maio (845) 546-7878
Ulster County Legislator: Minority Leader Hector S. Rodriguez (845) 401-2000
Ulster County Legislator: Energy and Environment Committee Chair Richard A. Parete (845) 687-4255
Ulster County Legislator: Energy and Environment Committee Deputy Chairwoman Tracey A. Bartels (845) 255-0804
UNITY: The state of being united or joined as a whole.
TOLERANCE: The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular, the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.
I think a lot about narratives in my community work because narratives and strategic messaging is key to achieving a good end result. Generally, when things turn out to worse, it’s because the majority doesn’t have good, factual information in a format that they can understand. Words matter – and when we fail, it’s because – at least in part – that our emotion got the best of us without a good, trusted (and factual) message to turn to.
So is it ‘unity’ or is it ‘tolerance’ that is most realistic in America if a dialogue is our end game?
“For everyone to be joined as a whole” as unity suggests, means the majority of one side needs to move over to the other. That’s beyond optimistic. That’s pollyanna.
Tolerance on the other hand, “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular, the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with” seems achievable in potentially bringing together more who live in a polarized state. Neither side loses anything by listening and, there is hope to learn something in that process. There is also a better chance at keeping relationships that matter intact.
There have been moments in the last several months where I haven’t been very ‘tolerant’ while trying to ‘unify’. Recently, I was told by a conservative friend in a moment of emotion, “Now you know how I have felt throughout the Obama administration.” To try to unify in that moment made me more indignant.
Had my narrative been one of tolerance, I might have had a different personal reaction. I know this because in contemplating it now, I am already more at ease.
I work hard and want to learn. Being human, I make mistakes and have patterns that require me at times to take several turns around the barn. The topical in learning is to listen. The deeper, more complicated parts are to pay attention to the tapes running insistently through our minds, trying to decipher what is true and what is not at any given moment. The gift in the work is from time to time, having access to our unique roadmap with a wisdom that is both mysterious and ancient.
On an even more personal note, music is the most compassionate teacher that I know. Beyond what I want it to do for me in the material world, what it provides is that infinite wisdom that I refer to and my access to it relies completely on the truth. To struggle to get there isn’t a punishment. It is work to get back to simple. Synchronicity and glimpses of grace, its reward. The same could be said for having a child. For having a pet. For getting lost in the woods. What a glorious opportunity to see simple in it’s most raw and real form. These are all miraculous reminders as we age and when we think we have seen and know it all.
Therefore, my personal reflection and new narrative today, that of tolerance. I’ll place the concept of unifying in the sandbox where it belongs.
Something has changed throughout the recent presidential campaign that led to Donald J. Trump becoming president. Whichever end of the spectrum you found yourself on, the citizen dialogue was unlike anything I have ever seen before. Over the past couple of years, I have witnessed hateful rhetoric. Anonymous blogs and posters throughout social media debating half truths fed by the media, slaying people in ways that were unfair, inappropriate and in some cases downright violent in nature. As overt as it has been, the anger leading up to where we are today has been a slow and simmering trajectory downward.
So now what? America is about to inaugurate an unapologetically crass multi-national business man turned reality star celebrity who lost the popular vote to become president. A man without any political experience on the grand stage to be the leader of the free world.
It is our aim at KingstonCitizens.org with the issues that we take on to understand the law and process around them. Whatever side one leans towards, we appreciate the bureaucraticprocesses in place because we know that when ciitzens choose to lean in, there is that to protect them as they come to better understand governing. When it’s not working, then there is a need for reform. Coming to better know the law and process provides a baseline, and these safeguards will most certainly erode if citizens do not become familiar with them.
Since December, KingstonCitizens.org has spent time preparing a document that outlines Trump’s initiatives for the first 100 days of his being in office and disseminating their context to better match initiatives, policy and laws as they pertain to NYS, Ulster County and our locality. It’s a ‘living’ document that we will work on throughout 2017 with volunteers to provide insight so that your civic efforts might be more focused and pointed.
Government on every level is a civic responsibility. Beyond Trump, the challenges that we face today is a burden that we all must shoulder. To protect our republic for generations to come – if a future republic is even possible at this point- we must hold our neighbors hand no matter who that is or how different their point of view is from yours – and get to work.
A special thanks to all of our volunteer contributors.